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DrugWarRant.com, the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
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November 2003
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Catching up

While I’ve been busy doing a musical and other fun stuff, a lot’s been happening in the drug war. Some of this will be old news to some of you, but these are a few stories I felt important to include. For more review of events in the past week, be sure to check out the current issues of Drug War Chronicle and Drug Sense Weekly. Also, some material from Talk Left.
bullet imageAnother Drug War Victim: File this under a stupid self-inflicted act if you will, but the fact is that it never would have happened if the victim had not been driven to it by desperation as a result of the drug war.
Texas Man Chokes to Death on Marijuana

A man changing a flat tire choked to death on a bag of marijuana he had stuffed down his throat in an apparent attempt to hide it from police who stopped to help him, authorities said. Nickolas Sandoval, 24, died Wednesday.
“Officers went from ‘Oh, hey, here is someone with a flat tire’ to ‘Hey, this guy is choking,'” Lott told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Sandoval, of Ponder, was pronounced dead at a hospital. Cause of death: “asphyxiation due to aspiration of plastic bag,” according to a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Sandoval was convicted at least three times of marijuana possession, and pleaded guilty two years ago to a drunken-driving charge.

While this one won’t go on my Drug War Victims page, it still is a tragedy.
bullet imageNot Weapons of Mass Destruction
You may remember my piece about the North Caroline district attorney who decided to charge meth lab suspects with “manufacturing a nuclear or chemical weapon.” Well, Judge James Baker has a little more common sense and threw out 15 of the charges. Good for him.
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Ganja decriminalization may have a vote in parliament this session in Jamaica More here.
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Americans for Safe Access targeting congressmen who voted against medical marijuana.

For the first time, a medical marijuana advocacy group is going after Congressmen where they live. Beginning Monday morning, every registered voter in four House Congressional districts will receive a phone call about their Representative’s opposition to an amendment that would have stopped federal raids on medical marijuana patients and providers. Over 600,000 voters will be called during the week.
The recorded messages feature either a medical marijuana patient describing her plight or one of the jurors who recanted their verdict in the Ed Rosenthal medical marijuana cultivation case. Both explain that the House member voted to continue the current policy — despite polls showing 80% of Americans support medical marijuana — and ask that voters spread the word. The campaign targets Representatives Wally Herger (R, CA 2nd), Elton Gallegly (R, CA 24th), Joe Baca (D, CA 43rd), and David Wu (D, OR 1st).
“We’re sure the congressmen are so busy with other matters that they don’t realize how important the suffering of everyday people is to their constituents,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, the organization sponsoring the calls. “We’re educating the voters about the Congressmen’s record, so those voters can educate their Congressmen about compassion.”

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Another voice for Medical Marijuana
The Union of American Hebrew Congregations, which speaks for the largest Jewish denomination in the United States, the Reform movement, has adopted a resolution supporting the use of marijuana for medical reasons.

THEREFORE, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations resolves to:

  1. Urge elected officials in the United States to support federal legislation and regulation to allow the medicinal use of marijuana for patients with intractable pain and other conditions, under medical supervision;
  2. Urge the Food and Drug Administration to expand the scope of allowable Investigational New Drug applications in order to move research forward more quickly toward an approved product;
  3. Call for further medical research on marijuana and its constituent compounds with the goal of developing reliable and safe cannabinoid drugs for management of debilitating conditions; and
  4. Call upon congregations to advocate for the necessary changes in local, state and federal law to permit the medicinal use of marijuana and ensure its accessibility for that purpose.

Full resolution available online (pdf)
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Rush Speaks
via DesertCat (who was right so far)…

For people who are truly addicted, I mean hard-core, really addicted, putting them in jail doesn’t do any good. There’s no way. I mean the penalty may be what society thinks is just. It’s not going to fix anything. It’s not going to help those people get off the drug or get rehabbed or any of that. Jail is, you know, one thing that is not really productive to this.

Keep it up, Rush. You could be a very strong voice for reform.
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Walters afraid to debate
Drug czar gets cool reception in S.F.

White House drug czar John Walters received a chilly welcome Monday as he brought his 25-city tour to the Bay Area — dozens of protesters blasted his stance against medical marijuana, and even his host said he’d been disingenuous.

He also refused offers to debate, saying he’d only debate George Soros, Peter Lewis, or John Sperling (individuals who have donated to drug reform activities and who are not public speakers). While Walters occasionally talks about debating, he really is not willing to do so. And my offer still stands – any time, any place.

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