The Lindesmith Center - DPF Network News

  The Lindesmith Center - DPF Network News

Posted by FoM on July 14, 2000 at 12:33:39 PT
Drug Policy Foundation and Lindesmith Center Merge 
Source: TLC-DPF 

On July 1 two of the leading drug policy reform groups, the Drug Policy Foundation and the Lindesmith Center, merged to become the largest drug-reform organization in the nation. The Lindesmith Center, created in 1994, is the leading independent drug policy institute in the United States. The Drug Policy Foundation, created in 1987, is the principal membership-based organization advocating for drug policy reform. 
The new organization, tentatively named The Lindesmith Center – Drug Policy Foundation until a new name is developed, will maintain offices in New Mexico; New York; San Francisco; and Washington, DC. The merger of these two leading drug policy groups is a sign of how sophisticated and popular the drug reform movement has become; and the new organization will be a great blow to this nation’s current drug policies. Until a new web site can be developed for this new group, information on each group can be found at: and NEWS – July 2000This Issue:Drug Policy Foundation and Lindesmith Center Merge ‘Shadow’ Conventions to Highlight Drug Reform Colombia to Get $1.3 Billion in U.S. Military Aid Denver "No-Knock" Raids Unnecessary, Study Shows Nevada Chief Justice Recommends Reducing Penalties for Pot U.N. Official Wants Internet Drug Info Prosecuted Like Genocide Washington Democrats Adopt Anti-Drug War Planks New York Judge Beats Citizen Initiatives to the Punch U.S. Surgeon General: The Evidence Supports Syringe Exchange Programs Clinton Commutes Sentence of Five Drug Offenders Portugal and Netherlands Enact Major Drug Policy Reforms ACLU Launches On-Line Civil Liberties/Anti-Drug War Campaign 1) Drug Policy Foundation and Lindesmith Center Merge:On July 1 two of the leading drug policy reform groups, the Drug Policy Foundation and the Lindesmith Center, merged to become the largest drug-reform organization in the nation. The Lindesmith Center, created in 1994, is the leading independent drug policy institute in the United States. The Drug Policy Foundation, created in 1987, is the principal membership-based organization advocating for drug policy reform. The new organization, tentatively named The Lindesmith Center – Drug Policy Foundation until a new name is developed, will maintain offices in New Mexico; New York; San Francisco; and Washington, DC. The merger of these two leading drug policy groups is a sign of how sophisticated and popular the drug reform movement has become; and the new organization will be a great blow to this nation’s current drug policies. Until a new web site can be developed for this new group, information on each group can be found at: and 2) ‘Shadow’ Conventions to Highlight Drug Reform:A non-partisan coalition of reform groups are holding alternative, or ‘shadow’, conventions during both the upcoming Republican and Democratic conventions, in order to highlight issues that many Americans believe are not being addressed by either party. The three issues to be highlighted in these shadow conventions are the failed War on Drugs, poverty in America, and the role of money in campaigns. These conventions will convene in Philadelphia during the Republican National Convention, held July 30 through August 4 , and in Los Angeles during the Democratic National Convention, held August 13 through August 17. Sponsors of the shadow conventions include the Lindesmith Center – Drug Policy Foundation, Call to Renewal, Common Cause, Public Campaign and author and syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington. Each shadow convention will run during the first three days of the Democratic and Republican conventions, with each of the three days dedicated to each of the three issues. During the morning and afternoon of each day, a diverse body of speakers will address the media, the public and politicians on that day’s issue. Panels, workshops, music, films, and comic relief will follow. Speakers at various shadow convention events include Senators John McCain, Russell Feingold, and Paul Wellstone; New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson; Representative Tom Campbell; civil-rights leader Jessie Jackson; actors Warrant Beatty and Ron Silver; comedian Al Franken ; and Bill Maher, host of Comedy Central’s Politically Incorrect.The Lindesmith Center – Drug Policy Foundation, with the help of drug reform organizations around the country, is coordinating the drug policy day at each convention. The drug policy day during the Philadelphia Republican Convention will be held on August 1 and will be centered around three themes: the impact of the war on drugs on American families; the economic costs and consequences of current drug policies; and the evisceration of American civil rights and liberties by the war on drugs. The drug policy day for the Los Angeles Democratic Convention will be held on August 15 and will highlight three themes: protecting our youth from both drug abuse and the war on drugs; the racist origins, conduct and consequences of the drug war; and the public health implications of U.S. drug policy. These shadow conventions will offer the drug reform movement an enormous opportunity to show Americans that the drug war does more harm than good and that there are viable, rational and humane alternatives to it. Already the upcoming shadow conventions have grabbed media attention, with articles on them appearing in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Los Angeles Times, and dozens of other newspapers. The events themselves are expected to garner unprecedented media attention, including major TV networks. Millions of Americans could be exposed to a growing movement of people that recognize that the War on Drugs is a disaster and that effective alternatives exist that can save lives, cut crime, and reduce human misery.To become a part of these conventions or to obtain more information on them, please go to the Shadow Conventions 2000 section of Shadow Conventions Conventions: The Government & DPF Invite You To The Shadow Convention Colombia to Get $1.3 Billion in U.S. Military Aid:In June, the Senate finally approved its Foreign Operation bill containing one billion dollars in military aid to Colombia’s military, most of it in the form of expensive military helicopters. The Senate approval comes on the heels of the House approval in March of over $1.7 billion in military aid to Colombia. A conference of House and Senate members reconciled differences between both bills and agreed on a total of $1.3 billion in aid to Colombia, some humanitarian, but most for that country’s anti-narcotic and counter-insurgency efforts. The aid, given to support the Colombian government’s "Push into Southern Colombia", a counter-insurgency campaign against Marxist rebels waging a four-decade old civil war, is the first step in a multi-year commitment of financial backing and on-site training and advising of Colombian soldiers by U.S. personnel that threatens to draw the U.S. full-force into Colombia’s 40-year old military quagmire. In addition to helicopters and financial aid the bill allows up to 500 U.S. military pilots or advisors and 300 civilian contractors to aid the Colombian military’s efforts. In the event that American personnel are fired upon, killed or become missing the President can send as many U.S. soldiers to Colombia as necessary.The Clinton administration and drug czar Barry McCaffrey strongly supported the proposed military aid as part of U.S. eradication and interdiction efforts in Latin America. Much of Colombia’s coca production is believed to occur in southern Colombia, a region largely controlled by the rebels. But critics have pointed out that arming foreign governments is a costly and ineffective way to reduce drug abuse at home. A 1994 RAND Corporation study found that, dollar for dollar, providing treatment to cocaine users in the U.S. is 23 times more cost effective than eradicating coca at its source. The Colombian military also has a record of human rights abuses and is itself linked to major drug trafficking.An amendment to the Senate Foreign Operation bill offered by Senator Gorton (R-WA) that would have eliminated all but $200 million in aid to Colombia failed 19 to 79. Senator Gorton warned his colleagues that "[t]he capacity of this body for self-delusion seems to this Senator to be unlimited. Mark my words, we are on the verge…of involvement in a civil war in Latin America, without the slightest promise that our intervention will be a success…This is a down payment, and a down payment only. Next year we are likely to hear we need more money and more men."A motion to kill an amendment by Senator Wellstone that would have diverted just $225 million of the $1 billion in aid to domestic drug treatment programs passed 89-11, killing the amendment. During debate Wellstone asked "Do we back a military escalation that may worsen a war? More Weapons and more soldiers have not and cannot defeat the source of illegal narcotics."The only real debate over the Colombian aid was whether the U.S. should give the Colombia military refurbished Huey II helicopters or Black Hawk helicopters. Officially the debate was one of costs vs. efficiency. While Black Hawk supporters claimed that Black Hawks could carry more people and would require less training for Colombian soldiers to use, supporters of Hueys claimed that Hueys were just as effective but far cheaper to provide. Behind the scenes, however, the debate was really one of which type of helicopter was made in which district, and which company gave campaign contributions to which member. An amendment proposed by Senator Dodd (D-CT) that would have effectively removed the Hueys and replaced them with Black Hawks was narrowly defeated, 47-51. Black Hawks are made by Connecticut-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation which has given Dodd over $30,000 in campaign contributions. The vote on his amendment fell remarkably along geographical lines with Senators in districts that manufacture Hueys voting against the amendment and Senators in districts that manufacture Black Hawks voting for the amendment. House and Senate members decided during conference to provide both Black Hawks and Hueys to Colombia, thus satisfying both sides of the debate, as well as both companies.If your Senator voted for either Wellstone’s or Gorton’s amendment, please take the time to send him or her a thank-you letter. Their votes were lonely but principled votes and they must be commended for courage and know that their constituents appreciate their stands. VOTED IN FAVOR OF PAUL WELLSTONE’S (D-MN) AMENDMENT SHIFTING $225 MILLION IN MILITARY AID FUNDING TO DOMESTIC DRUG TREATMENT:Boxer (D-CA)(co-sponsor) Grams (R-MN) Murray (D-WA)Byrd (D-WV) Harkin (D-IA) Specter (R-PA)Dorgan (D-ND) Leahy (D-VT) Wellstone (D-MN)Feingold (D-WI) Mikulski (D-MD)VOTED IN FAVOR OF SLADE GORTON’S (R-WA) AMENDMENT SLASHING THE COLOMBIA PACKAGE FROM NEARLY ONE BILLION DOWN TO $200 MILLION IN ORDER TO PAY DOWN THE NATIONAL DEBT:Allard (R-CO) Gorton (R-WA) Kohl (D-WI)Boxer (D-CA) Gramm (R-TX) Leahy (D-VT)Collins (R-ME) Grams (R-MN) Mikulski (D-MD)Craig (R-ID) Gregg (R-NH) Murray (D-WA)Crapo (R-ID) Harkin (D-IA) Specter (R-PA)Enzi (R-WY) Hutchinson (R-AR) Thomas (R-WY)Fitzgerald (R-IL)Colombia Drug War Put On Hold All Over Again - The Colombia Drug War Control or Bio Warfare? 4) Denver "No-Knock" Raids Unnecessary, Study Shows:A recent study by the Denver Rocky Mountain News found that of the 146 suspects targeted by Denver police in no-knock drug raids last year, only a third ended up facing any kind of felony charges; and of those only two received prison time. In many of the cases no drugs or much less drugs than expected were found. In fact, felony arrests from no-knock drug raids were far less likely to result in prison sentences than overall felony drug arrests, the study found. The use of no-knock raids by Denver police has been under fire recently, ever since officers raided the wrong house last September and shot to death, Ismael Mena, one of the residents. Community activists and civil libertarians have since questioned whether the rewards of no-knock raids, in terms of catching drug dealers, outweigh the risks posed to both officers and citizens.The Rocky Mountain News, analyzing search warrants, police reports and court records, concluded that if prison time is the measure, no-knock raids are a fairly ineffective tool in the city’s war on drugs. Of the 146 suspects whose homes were raided under no-knock warrants in 1999, only 49 percent were ever charged with felonies, and almost all of them received probation, community service, or only a month or two in Denver County Jail. Only two people (4 percent of those charged with felonies) were sent to prison. In contrast 21 percent of all Denver felony defendants went to prison in 1999.The study found that almost all of the 1999 no-knock raids were targeted at suspected drug dealers, but little in the way of narcotics were recovered in most cases. The raids were usually conducted based solely on tips from informants, and in most cases these tips were never substantiated before a house was raided. Even veteran narcotics officers were found to have sought and exercised no-knock warrants based solely on the word of informants, without conducting undercover buys to verify the tips before breaking down doors guns drawn. Said Leroy Lemos of the Justice for Mena Committee, a community organization that sprung up in the aftermath of the September no-knock raid that left Ismael Mena dead, "No-knock raids are being used loosely with little regard to public safety. The more information we receive about the effectiveness of no-knock warrants, and also about where they are being served in communities of people of color, it seems mighty suspicious."No-Knock Raids not Colorblind No-Knock Raid Sparks FBI Probe Knock Numbers Going Up Time To Slam Door Shut On Some Raids 5) Nevada Chief Justice Recommends Reducing Penalties for Pot:In June, a Nevada judicial commission headed by Chief Justice Bob Rose recommended reducing penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and being under the influence of drugs. The Judicial Assessment Commission of the Nevada Supreme Court made the same recommendations five years ago, but the legislature ignored their recommendations.Currently Nevada laws makes possession of even small amounts of marijuana a felony – one of the toughest laws in the country. The Commission recommended making possession a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Chief Justice Bob Rose declared that doing so would bring Nevada law "in line with the other 49 states…a more realistic penalty."The Commission also recommended that the penalty for being under the influence of a controlled substance be reduced to a misdemeanor. Under current law, a person who drives while under the influence of drugs is charged with a misdemeanor, while a person who walks down the street under the influence of drugs can be charged with a felony.The 40-member commission’s final report will be out around September. Half of the commission members are judges and lawyers.While Nevada’s next legislative session doesn’t begin until 2001, legislators have already begun drafting proposed bills, including one by Assemblywoman Chris Giun-Chigliani (D-Las Vegas) to defelonize, under certain circumstances, possession of small amounts of marijuana.Panel To Call For Easing of Marijuana Penalties Calls for Softer Laws on Pot Possession 6) U.N. Official Wants Internet Drug Info Prosecuted Like Genocide:Pino Arlacchi, head of the Vienna-based United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, reported recently that he wants to use the power of the U.N. to crack down on the use of the Internet in trading illegal drugs by classifying some activities as a universal crime like genocide.Currently only genocide and crimes against humanity fall under ‘universal jurisdiction’, meaning that they can be pursued internationally. Arlacchi told a news briefing in June that his office was exploring the option of placing various internet crimes – including drug-related crimes – under universal jurisdiction because crimes via the internet can easily evade traditional jurisdictional lines. Arlacchi noted that while use of the internet in the actual facilitation of drug trafficking is very minimal, the internet provides people from around the world with information promoting illegal drug use and how to manufacture illicit substances.Said Arlacchi "The Internet provides a lot of extremely dangerous substances. You can enter a completely different world where the issue is treated in the opposite view as it should be. And unfortunately, these views are spreading and we are now thinking about some instrument to at least stop the expansion of this flow of information." The idea of expanding universal jurisdiction to include certain internet activities will be explored in depth at a United Nations symposium in Palermo, Italy, at the end of this year. UN Aide Wants Web Drug Crime Pursued Like Genocide Washington Democrats Adopt Anti-Drug War Planks:In June, Washington State Democrats adopted several anti-drug war amendments to their party’s platform during their state party convention. Among other things the new platform calls for making drug abuse a problem for the Surgeon General to solve, not the Attorney General; substituting monitored home detention for imprisonment for most victimless nonviolent drug offenses; eliminating mandatory federal drug sentences; prohibiting mandatory drug testing by employers; abolishing current marijuana laws for adults over 21 years of age, and allowing each individual to possess up to 2 marijuana plants and one ounce of marijuana for personal use; and allowing licensed production and taxed distribution of marijuana through cafes, licensed drinking places, and Washington’s state-run liquor stores.Democrats Take Big Step to Left in Their Platform New York Judge Beats Citizen Initiatives to the Punch:Using her wide latitude to restructure state courts, New York’s Chief Judge Judith S. Kayne recently ordered all New York State courts to begin phasing in a program that would require that nearly all nonviolent drug-addicted offenders be offered drug treatment instead of jail time. While many states, including New York, have adopted certain pilot projects to steer drug addicts to drug treatment on a limited basis, Kayne’s move makes New York the first state to adopt such a program statewide. The plan, patterned after 16 pilot drug courts across the state, would allow eligible offenders who test positive for drugs to enter rehabilitation under strict court monitoring. Drug offenders who opt for the treatment would plead guilty and be sentenced for their crime, then have their sentences deferred pending successful completion of a treatment program. They would then be assigned to specially trained judges who would monitor their cases, send them to a rigorous in-house treatment program that generally last up to two years, and then subject then upon release to an intense monitoring program by court officials, including continued drug tests. If they relapse, they will go to jail, likely receiving a harsher sentence then normally given in such cases.The program would not apply to violent criminals or those facing mandatory sentences like the ones imposed under New York’s draconian Rockefeller-era drug laws. Established in 1973, the Rockefeller laws impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to life for selling more than two ounces or possessing more than four ounces of illegal drugs – a sentence stiffer than the minimum sentence for manslaughter or rape. Criminal justice experts and court officials note that court-required treatment has an average success rate of 70 percent and that the program would likely reduce the number of people who repeatedly commit crimes to support their addictions. In New York City’s pilot programs, only 12 percent of the offenders who participated were arrested again, compared with 35 percent of those who did not go through a program. The program is expected to divert up to 10,000 nonviolent criminals a year to addiction treatment centers instead of prison and save the state $500 million a year in prison, foster care and mental health costs, without requiring more beds in treatment programs.This change in the way New York deals with nonviolent drug users comes five months before California and Massachusetts voters will vote on citizen-initiated ballot measures to divert many non-violent drug offenders into drug treatment programs. Arizona voters passed a similar initiative in 1996. That initiative also required the Arizona Supreme Court to monitor and report on the impact of the initiative. The Court found that under the initiative taxpayers saved $2.5 million the first year, and that 78% of participants later tested drug-free. Plan for Nonviolent Addicts Coming U.S. Surgeon General: The Evidence Supports Syringe Exchange: Programs:Responding to a request by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher reviewed the latest research on syringe exchange programs (SEP) to determine their level of effectiveness in saving lives. In a report issued in March by the Department of Health and Human Services, Satcher concludes that, "[t]he senior scientists of the Department and I have unanimously agreed that there is conclusive scientific evidence that syringe exchange programs, as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy, are an effective public health intervention that reduces transmission of HIV and does not encourage the illegal use of drugs."The report notes that substantial evidence shows that needle exchange programs decrease new HIV seroconversions, increase the number of injection drug users referred to and retained in substance abuse treatment, and provides a proven increase in the opportunities for multiple prevention services and referral and entry into medical care. Noting that numerous studies have shown that needle exchange programs reach and serve the most disenfranchised population at high risk for HIV infection, the report concludes that NEP’s can play a unique role in facilitating the engagement of these populations in meaningful prevention and treatment opportunities.A copy of the full report can be found on 10) Clinton Commutes Sentence of Five Drug Offenders:In a surprising move, President Clinton commuted the prison sentences of four women who were convicted of drug crimes and received harsher sentences than their boyfriends or husbands who were more heavily involved in the drug trade and more able to bargain with prosecutors for lesser sentences. He also commuted the sentence of one male drug-offender. In one case Amy Pofahl, who played only a cursory role in her husbands Ecstasy trade, received 24 years in prison with no possibility of parole, while her husband received just three years probation. In many of the cases the White House was overwhelmed with letters from prosecutors, judges, members of Congress and the general public asking the President to grant clemency, proving that letters, complaints, and public pressure can make a difference. Presidential aids say that as his presidency winds down, clemency requests from women in similar circumstances are making their way to the President and he will consider those cases as well. Please take the time to e-mail the President at President and thank him for standing up for justice and commuting the sentences of these women. Ask him to commute the sentence of the many other men and women in similar circumstances. The women freed included Amy Pofahl, Serena Nunn, Louise House, and Shawndra Mills. One man, serving time on a drug conviction, was also freed.  Women Granted Clemency By Clinton Portugal and Netherlands Enact Major Drug Policy Reforms:In July, Portugal and the Netherlands enacted legislation that dramatically change their country’s drug policies. The Portugal Parliament, following the example of Spain and Italy, decriminalized all drug use, including the use of heroin. In the Netherlands, the Parliament narrowly approved legislation to allow regulated marijuana cultivation. Under the new law in Portugal, drug users will no longer face prison terms for the mere possession or use of an illegal drug. Instead, drug users will be treated as sick people with police reporting drug users to local authority commissions who will ensure that addicts seek treatment. "The idea is to get away from punishment towards treatment," said Carlos Borges, a government policy spokesman. "We consider a drug-dependent person to be sick, not a criminal." Previously, drug users and anyone caught possessing illegal drugs for personal use faced up to one year in prison.In an effort to curb prohibition-related crime and reduce the illegal export of marijuana, the Netherlands passed legislation allowing the government to legalize, license, and regulate the cultivation of marijuana. Previously, coffee shops in the Netherlands were permitted to openly sell marijuana and hash, but it was a crime to grow marijuana. "One of the main objectives is to fight crime," said Labor Party parliamentarian Thanasis Apostolou, who drafted the resolution. "By regulating the supply we would know who is selling what and where it is going." Portugal Legalises Drug Use ACLU Launches On-Line Civil Liberties/Anti-Drug War Campaign:The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has launched a special new web site highlighting our nation’s "Liberties at Risk." The site features news about freedom of speech, privacy, fairness, and threats from the "War on Drugs." The campaign features several personal stories from individuals who have faced threats to their liberties, such as the story of an African American Army sergeant and his 12 –year-old son who faced a terrifying racial profiling stop in Oklahoma. Visitors can take action on these critical civil liberties issues by contacting Members directly through the site, as well using a postcard utility to sends the news to friends. The "Liberties at Risk" campaign can be found at:  How to Contact Your Representative and Senators: To Call: Find out who your representative is by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121. You can find the names of your senators by calling (202) 224-3121.To Fax, Write a Letter, or E-mail: Call the Capitol Switchboard, then call your representative’s or senator’s office to get the fax number. You can e-mail your House and Senate members by going to or Letters can be sent to your representatives in both houses as follows: Honorable [name of your representative] Honorable [name of your senator]U.S. House of Representatives U.S. SenateWashington, DC 20515-1101 Washington, DC 20510-2203Lindesmith Center - Drug Policy Foundation, Washington Office4455 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite B-500Washington, DC 20008-2328Phone: (202) 537-5005 • Fax: (202) 537-3007 • Web: and join the Advocacy Network, send us your name, fax number and/or e-mail to the address above or dpf

Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help


Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 14, 2000 at 14:30:34 PT

DrugSense Weekly, July 14, 2000 # 157

Hi Everyone,Since I already posted The Shadow Conventions from Lindesmith I am posting DrugSense Weekly's News Here.DrugSense Weekly, July 14, 2000# 157 & DPF Invite You To The Shadow Convention MapInc. Archives:!
[ Post Comment ]

  Post Comment

Name:       Optional Password: 
Comment:   [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]

Link URL: 
Link Title: