ACLU’s Drug Reform Project Relocates To Santa Cruz

ACLU’s Drug Reform Project Relocates To Santa Cruz
Posted by CN Staff on February 28, 2005 at 07:25:29 PT
By Nancy Pasternack, Sentinel Staff Writer 
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Cruz -- A newly relocated branch of the American Civil Liberties Union will throw itself the equivalent of an activist housewarming party Thursday.Now almost fully staffed with six attorneys and four other workers, the ACLU’s Drug Law Reform Project will host "American’s Failed Drug War — Santa Cruz & the National Debate," a community forum, at Parish Hall in Holy Cross Church.
The branch moved into offices on Pacific Avenue from its old home in New Haven, Conn., home of Yale University, last June.Thursday’s forum, co-hosted by the ACLU’s Santa Cruz chapter, will feature a panel of the organization’s lawyers, as well as Michael and Valerie Corral of Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana."I hope we’ll have an open discussion and that I’ll get a more nuanced sense of where Santa Cruz stands (on drug law reform issues)," said Anjuli Verma, Drug Law Reform Project spokeswoman and a newcomer to the area. The Drug Law Reform Project was started in 1999 by Graham Boyd, who will moderate Thursday’s forum.Verma said ACLU leaders were attracted to Santa Cruz largely because of its political climate. "There’s an element of New York-style activism, but it seems different here. There’s a bigger group of mobilized, activist young people," Verma said." There’s a really cool synergy with the professors at UC (Santa Cruz), and the general spirit of the community." One of the primary missions of the Drug Law Reform Project, Verma said, is to disband regional narcotics task forces. The organization currently has three active cases. In one such case, the group represents 10 African-American residents of Hearne, Texas, arrested in 2000 as part of a drug sweep. The arrests were made based on the testimony of a confidential informant, who later confessed to fabricating evidence.The Drug Law Reform Project bases much of its case, Verma said, on a similar one pending in Tulia, Texas.Randy Credico, a New York City activist who brought the events of Tulia to the attention of civil rights attorneys and the media, recently produced a short documentary film about the case.Credico, who heads the William Kunstler Fund in New York City, said the ACLU’s decision to move its drug-law reform headquarters to Santa Cruz comes as a bit of a surprise."It’s a very liberal, very smart community and it makes some sense to go there," but given the nature of the issues Drug Law Reform Project champions, "I would have chosen Oakland," he said.The significance of Santa Cruz in another key Drug Law Reform Project case, however, makes the town a natural fit, said Verma.One of several high-profile Drug Enforcement Administration raids on medical-marijuana cooperatives targeted WAMM in September 2002. The raid led to Santa Cruz v. Ashcroft, a case whose outcome is believed to be at the mercy of a similar case currently awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court ruling."This is the place where it all began," Verma said. Tim Morgan, a Santa Cruz lawyer and conservative activist, said he takes a dim view of both the Drug Law Reform Project’s relocation and its upcoming forum.The grassroots reputation the ACLU cultivates, he said, strikes a false note with the move from one high-rent region to another."It would be more impressive if they were setting up in a poor rural town," he said. "One might admire a little more their resolve." The format for Thursday’s forum, he said, is typical of the way the ACLU operates."That’s the best way to gain consensus — to have all your friends on the panel," he said.Verma is hoping to show Credico’s documentary in Santa Cruz shortly before Drug Law Reform Project clients in Hearne, Texas, go to trial in May.Both the Tulia and Hearne cases, she said, are significant because they demonstrate that "the drug war serves as the new form of Jim Crow. "We like to think that era’s over," Verma said, "but it’s not." If You Go:WHAT: ACLU Drug Law Reform Project Community Forum. WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday. WHERE: Parish Hall at Holy Cross Church, 126 High St., Santa Cruz. INFORMATION: 471-9000, Ext. 11.Note: Community forum set for this week at Holy Cross Church includes attorneys, WAMM founders.Complete Title: ACLU’s Drug Law Reform Project Relocates to Santa CruzSource: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)Author: Nancy Pasternack, Sentinel Staff Writer Published: February 28, 2005 Copyright: 2005 Santa Cruz SentinelContact: editorial santa-cruz.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:ACLU From WAMM Protest Grass? - Metro Santa Cruz Group Wins Legal Round
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on February 28, 2005 at 08:04:35 PT
Thanks Dongenero and Duzt!
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Comment #3 posted by Duzt on February 28, 2005 at 07:53:44 PT
article for you FOM
nothing to do with this article, checking my stocks this morning and noticed this.
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on February 28, 2005 at 07:36:06 PT
snipped- deadly failure of MS drug
Perhaps cannabis should be considered as a treatment for MS?NEW YORK (Reuters) - Biogen Idec (Nasdaq:BIIB - news) and Elan Corp. Plc (NYSE:ELN - news) (ELN.I) on Monday suspended sales of their much-heralded new multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri after a patient died from a rare and often fatal central nervous system disease.
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on February 28, 2005 at 07:30:57 PT
snipped Sativex article
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's GW Pharmaceuticals said Monday it was accelerating plans to introduce its cannabis-based medicines into the United States as U.S. founder investors increased their stake in the business.
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