The 2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference is fast approaching. For three days from October 23rd through October 26th attendees will have the opportunity to interact with people committed to finding alternatives to the war on drugs while participating in sessions given by leading experts from around the world. This year’s conference is taking place in Denver, Colorado, where the drug policy reform landscape has just recently changed dramatically. In 2011, the conference hosted over 1,000 people representing 30 different countries. We wish to continue this stellar record of attendance and are pleased to offer scholarship assistance to allow a diverse group of people to participate.
We encourage you to attend the conference and have included the link to information about the National and International Scholarship applications here. Please be aware that although generous, our scholarships do not cover the full cost of attending the Conference. The deadline to apply for scholarships if you are from the US is August 2, for international attendees it is July 31.
Numerous NORML staff, board members and chapter leaders will be in attendance for this important bi-annual drug policy reform conference…hope to see you there too!
Allen St. Pierre
Our friends at High Times scored a really provocative and informative interview with Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, where Mr. Fox demonstrates both a wide range of knowledge about the need for countries like America and Mexico to end cannabis prohibition and forward-looking vision about the need for regulation and tax laws similar to alcohol products.
Mr. Obama and company, when your own Partnership for a Drug-Free [sic] America is left little-to-do but inane surveys indicating that American parents do not want cannabis marketed to their children when it is legal and the former president of the country where America’s failed war on some drugs has caused the most social upheaval, street violence, political and law enforcement corruption…maybe you should start listening and acting upon their recommendations.
The so-called Partnership for a Drug-Free [sic] America (PDFA) has been a prolific, yet impotent, anti-marijuana propaganda machine since its inception in the mid 1980′s under President Ronald ‘Just Say No’ Reagan. No other quasi governmental or private entity spent more money or had greater access to mainstream media to try to perpetuate the federal government’s failed cannabis prohibition. Only the now unpopular and underfunded DARE program rivaled PDFA in it’s high visibility efforts to maintain support among the American populace for cannabis prohibition–but was equally feckless–wasting billions in taxpayer dollars and not impacting youth drug use rates.
Both DARE and PDFA were largely ignored and underfunded by the George W. Bush Administration from 2000-2008, with the current administration continuing to follow suit by diminishing the size and scope of both’s finances and public reach.
After the PDFA released a new survey today, with media outlets starting to contact NORML for commentary, only then did it become clear to me that the beginning of the end is die in the cast for PDFA when they chose to put out a survey that in effect says ‘marijuana legalization is coming, but only for adults’.
Really?! PDFA needed to waste even more funding and bandwidth informing the public that support for cannabis legalization for adults is at an all time high, but that parents surveyed don’t think the herbal drug should be legalized for youth or marketed to children.
Gee. Was there anybody in America advocating that children should be able to legally buy and use cannabis products?
While the PFDA’s most recent survey seeks to create a political red herring about children and cannabis, the survey affirms the now obvious in American life: public support for continuing cannabis prohibition is at an all time low and tax-n-regulating cannabis is an alternative public policy that now enjoys majority support.
After watching and archiving hundreds of anti-cannabis propaganda commercials from the PDFA going back to the late 1980s, reading this new survey acknowledging 1) Legalization is quickly picking up public and political support in America, 2) Americans want a sensible cannabis policy, where, like with alcohol products, only adults have legal and controlled access and 3) Parents have concerns about potential cannabis advertisements in mass media demonstrates to me that another major socio-political ‘tea leaf” has revealed itself with the PDFA now left to propagandize about if and how legal cannabis will marketed, not whether cannabis is an inherently ‘evil’ drug that will forever be prohibited.
With even the hardcore anti-cannabis folks at PDFA now recognizing the changing attitudes about cannabis in favor of legalization, when will Congress and the White House finally embrace this political reality too?
At a meeting with drug reform advocates in San Francisco, former Mexican President Fox expressed support for California’s efforts to legally regulate cannabis, medical and otherwise. He said that California has a strong cultural influence on Mexico, and that progress here would help efforts there.
Speakers included Dale Sky Jones for CCPR, Nate Bradley for LEAP and myself for California NORML, who noted that marijuana prohibition is an international problem founded on international treaties, which need to be fixed through international cooperation by the U.S., Mexico, and other countries. Many thanks to President Fox, Jamen Shively, and Steve DeAngelo for arranging this meeting. - Dale Gieringer, CA NORML
Former Mexican president Fox urges marijuana legalizationSource: Reuters – Tue, 9 Jul 2013 12:40 AM
By Ronnie Cohen
SAN FRANCISCO, July 8 (Reuters) – Former Mexican President Vicente Fox took his crusade to legalize marijuana to San Francisco on Monday, joining pot advocates to urge the United States and his own country to decriminalize the sale and recreational use of cannabis.
Fox met for three hours with the advocates, including Steve DeAngelo, the Oakland-based executive director of California’s largest marijuana dispensary, and former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively, who hopes to create a Seattle-based pot brand now that Washington state has legalized recreational use.
Legalization, Fox told reporters after the meeting, is the only way to end the violence of Mexican drug cartels, which he blamed on America’s war on drugs.
“The cost of the war is becoming unbearable – too high for Mexico, for Latin America and for the rest of the world,” Fox said in English.
Every day, he said, 40 young people are killed in drug-related violence.
Fox’s position on legalizing drugs has evolved over time since the days when he cooperated with U.S. efforts to tamp down production in Mexico during his 2000-2006 presidential term. He has been increasingly vocal in his opposition to current policies, backing two prior efforts to legalize marijuana in Mexico.
Mexico’s current president, Enrique Pena Nieto, has opposed legalization. But he recently said that he would consider world opinion on the matter, particularly in light of recent voter-approved initiatives to legalize marijuana in Washington state and Colorado for recreational use.
In San Francisco on Monday, Fox said he had signed on to attend and help develop an international summit later this month in Mexico to strategize a path to end marijuana prohibition.
Participants scheduled to attend the three-day meeting starting July 18 in San Cristobal include an American surgeon, the dean of Harvard’s School of Public Health and a Mexican congressman who plans to introduce a bill to legalize marijuana in Mexico this summer, Fox said.
The bill, which he expects to be introduced by Mexican lawmaker Fernando Belaunzaran, would legalize adult recreational use of marijuana, Fox said.
Support for legalizing marijuana in the United States has been growing. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have passed medical marijuana laws, according to the pro-legalization National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. But the drug remains illegal under federal law.
Lifting the prohibition on cannabis in Mexico, however, appears to face more of an uphill battle. Mexican lawmakers have rejected previous legalization efforts and polls have shown little popular support for the idea.
But Fox promised to wage what he said was a necessary battle.
“We cannot afford more blood and the loss of more young people,” Fox said. “We must get out of the trap we are in.” (Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Eric Walsh)
In St. Louis, Missouri Sgt. Gary Wiegert has been given permission by his chief of police to become an official lobbyist in the state to legalize marijuana for the non-profit organization Show Me Cannabis.
While there are hundreds of former law enforcement officers lobbying with the non-profit group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), having a currently employed law enforcement officer being given the ‘green’ light by their command to lobby for marijuana legalization maybe a first. Regardless, it most certainly will not be the last!
Article appeared from the AP in the Kansas City Star:
ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson has reversed course and will allow a veteran officer to moonlight as a lobbyist for a pro-marijuana organization.Dotson wrote to police Sgt. Gary Wiegert on Tuesday saying his request for “secondary employment” will be allowed.
Wiegert filed a complaint earlier this year with U.S. District Court claiming the department violated his First Amendment rights to free speech for refusing to allow him to lobby on behalf of Show-Me Cannabis.
Wiegert worked for three years as a lobbyist for the St. Louis Tea Party. In February, he submitted a new application to the department. The application did not require him to state for whom he would lobby. It was approved but revoked after the department learned Wiegert was lobbying for the pro-marijuana group.