Thursday, November 20, 2003


I'm trying to figure out how to make it to NYC tomorrow to attend the NY NORML fundraiser at The Slipper Room, 167 Orchard Street, at the corner of Stanton Street. That's the lower east side just under 2nd and 2nd and just above Chinatown. I'm way overdue for a trip to the Apple but the timing as always is a little bit off. I sure would like to finally meet Preston Peet and hear his set though.

In any event, just in case I get there and don't blog tomorrow, I'm giving you a double dose today. I was thinking it was time to post some lighter fare.

First up out of the inbox is this game, Stoner Fluxx™, a new version of a game I've never heard of before but sounds like fun and the creators have pledged one dollar from every pack sold to the benefit of drug policy reform. I don't know these folks but I'll buy a deck of cards from a company who will post this on their website.

We believe the public is ready to start openly talking about the need to end the drug war, yet the topic of legalization has been so taboo that people have been afraid to bring up the subject," stated Andrew Looney, co-founder and Creative Director of Looney Labs. "We're hoping that a fun and easy card game will be a good way to break the ice. Party games usually are."

Groups benefiting from sales of Stoner Fluxx, which retails for $13, include NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), the Drug Policy Alliance, MPP (Marijuana Policy Project) and, among others.

Three of my favorite organizations and I have a feeling the among others are on my list too.


I subscribe to the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics newsletter. The science often goes over my head but they occassionally post something I can really relate to. This one is for the memory impaired on my reading list, Insufficient Memory - Can a pill boost your brain’s ability to hold information?

The article would suggest that the answer is yes.

Swallowing pills to make learning easier or to make memories stick is no longer pie-in-the-sky thinking. Scientists have learned so much about the way the human brain learns and remembers that they are fashioning the first generation of memory enhancers.

"It's no longer just about correcting an abnormality," said Steven Ferris, executive director of the Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center at New York University School of Medicine. "The idea that we only use drugs to treat disease is changing."

No one thinks twice, he said, about spending to correct age-related body changes affecting hair, the eyes, bones, skin, even erectile dysfunction. "Why should the brain be any different?" he asked.

Why indeed.


I don't remember how I found this site but I found it amusing enough to save the link. It's hasn't changed much in the last few weeks except for the contests. The archived content is good for a few entertaining moments however, after all, who doesn't love a good plate of nachos once in a while?.


One thing I really love about attending drug reform conferences is the opportunity to network with other activists. Fighting against this WOSDU from behind the computer screen can be a lonely business and it's energizing to meet your fellow warriors and hear of their successes in the greater struggle to enact sane policy.

One of the people I connected with in New Jersey was Norma Sapp of the Oklahoma chapter of NORML. Norma is an amazing woman and a tireless reformer who together with a group of courageous activists have made incredible progress in sentencing reform in their state.

I was glad to hear from Norma this week. They are blazing a trail for reform in the south. She reports having a heavily scheduled week of meetings on her return home and this encouraging news.

The best thing I heard there was one of our highest ranking Senators said "we have to get rid of Mandatory Sentencing". I have about 4 weeks to help him get out a good bill for the session!

You can bet the ranch she will deliver that bill. She also returned to find a new chapter of FAMM had organized in her short absence and she'll be lending her expertise to this effort as well. Keep an eye on OK. I have a feeling we are going to see some real progress coming from there in the weeks to come thanks to this human dynamo. You rock Norma.


Speaking of sentencing reform, one reason our prisons are filled beyond their intended capacity is the John Ashcroft inspired zero tolerance - give no defendant a break under any circumstances- practice of reincarcerating probationers for minor violations of their probationary conditions.

Robert Kroll's excellent piece on the impact of this practice on fourth amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizures just surfaced in the inbox recently. He makes an irrefutable case for reform in this process.

Any person convicted of ANY drug or other serious offenses who is put on probation, loses the legal right to refuse unreasonable, unwarranted, police searches.

...The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Those words are sacred in a free society, are among the precious liberties we have; the protection against oppression.

....Hundreds of times a day, throughout the United States, judges deprive persons of this protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, for periods lasting three to five years, depending on the crime. And, an untold number of times a day, throughout the country, police officers take advantage of the judges’ permission to search unreasonably, which is to say, without any probable or just cause other than perhaps their dislike for a person’s race, ethnicity, appearance, politics, status or attitude. Police have lists of Fourth Amendment waivers and use it as their cheat sheet for busting drug abusers and thieves without cause. Anyone who doubts this has not been keeping up with the stream of reporting of police misconduct nationally.

These policies amount to licensed bigotry and should concern us all whether or not we have loved ones lost to the prison-industrial complex.


Your favorite danger to civilized society and mine, the ever repugnant Mark Souder is up to his evil tricks and is attempting to introduce legislation to impose even more draconian sentences on "drug crimes". The alert is not even posted on the websites yet so I give you the basic info from Drug Policy Alliance in toto.

The so-called Drug Sentencing Reform Act has yet to be introduced, but
it will do the following:

** Tie the hands of judges by making it harder for them to reduce sentences for non-violent drug offenders. (It does this by expanding the so-called 'Feeney Amendment' to apply to drug offenses). This will mean longer sentences for non-violent offenses, with taxpayers like you picking up the cost!

** Mandates that most people on parole, probation or supervised release be subjected to random drug testing, even if their original offense had nothing to do with drugs. (If enacted, thousands of non-violent Americans could be sent to prison for years for smoking marijuana in the privacy of their own home and then failing a drug test.)

** Directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to no longer allow lower sentences for non-violent drug offenders that have certain mitigating circumstances (such as being addicted to drugs) or for non-violent drug offenders that made a mistake and are otherwise good citizens.

** Enacts new draconian penalties for growing, distributing, and providing 'high-potency' marijuana to others, including medical marijuana - which often has a higher potency to better relieve the suffering of AIDS, Cancer, and other patients. If enacted, this provision will allow the federal government to send more medical marijuana patients and their caregivers to federal prison for years, in some cases decades.

Don't wait for this proposal to get legs. Call your representatives now and tell them not to support this insane legislation.


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