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MAPTalk-Digest Friday, November 20 2009 Volume 09 : Number 116

001 BBC Radio 4
    From: "Herb" <>
002 Web: The Future of Drug Policy Reform, Gauged From the DPA Conference i
    From: Richard Lake <>


Subj: 001 BBC Radio 4
From: "Herb" <>
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2009 16:15:41 -0800

The sacking of the government's former chief drugs adviser caused outrage in 
some quarters of the scientific community. Professor David Nutt had 
criticised the government's decision to reclassify cannabis from class C to 
class B. James Silver investigates the causes of the row and asks if the 
government's cannabis classification policy is in disarray. 


Subj: 002 Web: The Future of Drug Policy Reform, Gauged From the DPA Conference in Albuquerque 
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2009 19:53:57 -0800

Newshawk: Provides News Feeds to Over 200 Websites
Pubdate: Fri, 20 Nov 2009
Source: DrugSense Weekly (DSW)
Section: Feature Article
Author: Dan Linn
Note: Dan Linn is Executive Director of Illinois NORML, manager of 
the Letter of the Week section of DrugSense Weekly, and a grant 
recipient from the Marijuana Policy Project founding the Illinois 
Cannabis Patients Association.  He reported from the Conference for - those reports may be found at:


This was the second Drug Policy Alliance conference for me and I 
truly felt honored to attend.  To be in the company of so many of 
those instrumental in ending such a failed and unjust policy was 
glorious in and of itself. Some day when these laws have changed and 
history books look back at who was a part of the movement to end the 
absurdity it will in large part be because of the work done by the 
people who were at this conference, and the one in 2007. People from 
all aspects of the war on drugs, not just those working on medical 
cannabis legislation or legalization, but those in the fields of harm 
reduction, psychedelics, law enforcement, policy making and public 
health were in attendance and each was able to bring something unique 
to the table. To have such an array of individuals touched by the 
drug war and each seeing the need that our current situation is not 
working will stick with me forever.

One obvious difference about this conference than the one in 2007 was 
the optimism in the air and spirit that we are on the cusp of change. 
This optimism is likely due to Obama's presidential election but even 
small victories are growing and popping up similar to dandelions, 
contributing to this positive spirit. Whether it is the recent call 
for a review of the scheduling of cannabis by the AMA, the former 
leaders of Latin America calling for decriminalization of all drugs, 
the FDA working with

MAPS to get MDMA approved for PTSD for veterans, or the Department of 
Justice issuing formal guidelines directed against federal 
interference of state medical cannabis laws, these are different 
times than two years ago. And the reason is that the costs, hypocrisy 
and bloodshed of this war are becoming so unbearable for so many 
people that the media cannot ignore it and the politicians are slowly 
beginning to react.  As well, research revealing the power of 
substances such as cannabis, MDMA, and amphetamines to alleviate the 
physical and mental suffering of many patients begs the general 
public to revisit assumptions that these substances are dangerous to 
society. Indeed, many presenters at this conference seemed driven by 
a deep understanding and compassion for patients who would medically 
benefit from the end of prohibition.

Kind folks like Beto O'Rourke, council member of El Paso, TX, and 
Nubia Legarda, from the University of Texas-El Paso Students for 
Sensible Drug Policy, are examples of people who are contributing to 
this new rational and compassionate era. Because of their concern for 
human life and human rights, both put this issue on the international 
spotlight and forced people to face the hurtful truth, namely that 
the American federal government will not even let people have an open 
and honest discussion about ending drug prohibition to stop the 
violence in Cuidad Juarez.  Each of us can do something, anything to 
keep this momentum growing and add to the public outrage that is 
needed in order for lawmakers to change these failed policies.  In 
addition to that we should expect different changes in policy for 
different places because this is not simply about ending the War on 
Drugs. It is also about what we do after we end that war.

For me that has been the best part of bearing witness and 
participating in this momentous time, namely, having a say in exactly 
how we go about regulating drug consumption once legally allowed.  By 
exploring tolerance ranges and cultural attitudes towards 
intoxication, addiction and spirituality, one can begin to imagine 
ways that their community would approach substance usage in legal 
markets. I've learned of coca leaf tea, LSD and MDMA assisted 
psychotherapy, opioid overdose antidotes, and jet pilots on 
amphetamine.  I have fantasized about drug regulation schemes and 
have started to make them a reality by getting involved in the 
process to change these laws and working with lawmakers on different 
regulatory systems

In my opinion this world can expect a significant shift in drug 
policy reform in a second term Obama administration; until then there 
will be many incremental shifts back and forth. Additionally, as 
Ethan Nadelmann emphasized in his opening remarks, "We need to push 
Obama, but support him too," and I agree. We need to rally people 
behind changing these policies. We need to show them how and why this 
isn't working, what the solution is, and how we can achieve it by 
engaging those who have the ability to change these policies, whether 
it is politicians, the voters, or both. We can educate them and 
provide them with the framework for imagining a world where addiction 
is a public health matter and not reason for a person to take up 
space in the police blotter and our prisons. We can show them that 
all drug use is not abuse and that responsible, good people choose to 
use drugs for a number of reasons.

Finally, we can teach them that children will be better protected and 
that the world will be a better place once drugs are legal and regulated.

The 2009 International Drug Policy Reform Conference was a grand 
event.  It was full of education, professionalism and dedicated 
individuals, families and organizations.  It was my first time in 
Albuquerque and I was impressed with the people, the food, the 
scenery, and the approach that New Mexico has taken in reducing the 
harm of the War on Drugs. Plus, the coffee was strong and plentiful.


End of MAPTalk-Digest V09 #116

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