Import Temp

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan Urged to Make War on Drugs A Top Priority at Upcoming World Conference Against Racism

Letter Released Today Signed by Rep. McKinney, Harry Belafonte, NAACP Chair Julian Bond, New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, Danny Glover, Gloria Steinem and More
Despite Equal Rates of Drug Use, Minorities Disproportionately Targeted

A letter, signed by more than 100 celebrities, civil rights and religious leaders, was sent today to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, urging him to make the drug war a top priority at the upcoming UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. Excerpts from the letter will also appear on Monday, August 27 in the Durban newspaper, Daily News.

"In one country after another we see racial and ethnic minorities targeted and persecuted in the name of the 'war on drugs,'" says the letter. "We call on you, Mr.

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 or Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6916

More than 100 Celebrities, Elected Officials, and Civil Rights Leaders Urge UN Secretary General to Make Drug War a Top Priority

Harry Belafonte, NAACP Chair Julian Bond, and Former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders Call On International Community to Address Racism Inherent in U.S.-led Drug War

Days before a delegation of civil rights and religious leaders against the drug war leaves for Durban, South Africa for the World Conference Against Racism, a letter will be sent to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urging him to make the U.S.-led drug war a top priority.

Over 100 religious, civil rights and congressional leaders and entertainers have signed the letter, including Rep. John Conyers, Harry Belafonte, Gloria Steinem, Danny Glover, former U.S.

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 or Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6916

Harsh New Federal Penalties for Ecstasy Take Effect

Leading Scientists Warn Penalties Will Do More Harm Than Good

On May 1st, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, as instructed by Congress, will adopt an emergency amendment to increase federal penalties for Ecstasy-related offenses. The new penalties will treat Ecstasy harsher than cocaine and almost as severely as heroin. Under the new penalties less than half a pound of Ecstasy will warrant a five-year sentence and 2,000 grams will warrant a ten-year sentence. In comparison, it takes over a pound of powdered cocaine to warrant a five-year sentence and 5,000 grams to warrant a ten-year sentence.

William McColl at 202-216-0035 or Bill Piper at 202-216-0035

Clemency Recipients to Join Angela Davis and NAACP for Northern California Tour Spotlighting Racial Discrimination and the U.S. War on Drugs

Speakers to Focus on Proposition 36, Mandatory Minimum Sentencing and Three Strikes Law

Last December, Kemba Smith and Dorothy Gaines, two African American women, were granted clemency by President Clinton after being sentenced to excessively long prison terms for their tangential roles in their boyfriends' drug conspiracies.

Now, after receiving national media attention, including a Washington Post story on Smith and a Frontline series featuring Gaines, they will join professor and long-time prisoner rights activist Angela Davis (to appear in San Francisco only) and hundreds of California residents to protest the racial discrimination inherent in the U.S.

Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6916

U.S. Delegation Against the Drug War to Attend World Conference Against Racism in South Africa, August 28 - September 7

Religious Leaders, Treatment Providers and Civil Rights Advocates to Call for End to Racial Injustice in U.S. War on Drugs
Black Men Imprisoned for Drug Offenses at 13 Times the Rate of White Men

The Campaign to End Race Discrimination in the War on Drugs, an ad-hoc coalition of drug policy reform advocates, is calling for an end to the apartheid-like American criminal justice system fueled by the war on drugs.

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 or Shayna Samuels at 212-548-6916

Medical Marijuana Goes to the Supreme Court

Upcoming Forum Sponsored by the Lindesmith Center - Drug Policy Foundation.

Medical marijuana continues to make news as the U.S. Supreme Court hears the case, US v. Oakland Cannabis Buyer' Cooperative. Last month, Santa Clara University Law Professor, Gerald Uelmen argued before the Supreme Court that exceptions should be made for seriously ill patients and that the government itself has made exceptions in the past. Gerald Uelmen will be speaking at an upcoming forum sponsored by the Lindesmith Center - Drug Policy Foundation.

Other professionals in the field of medical marijuana who will be speaking at the forum are:

Tod H.

Julie Ruckel at 415-921-4987

Over 100 Top Latin American Leaders Call on President Bush to Halt "Plan Colombia" at Upcoming Summit of the Americas

Nobel Laureates, Political and Religious Ministers, Civic and Cultural Leaders Call U.S. Anti-Drug Aid Source of Violence, Threat to Environment

Days before the Summit of the Americas began in Quebec City, a formidable cross-section of Latin American leadership called on President Bush to go back to the drawing board with "Plan Colombia," charging that the U.S.-backed anti drug campaign is fueling a bloody war, poisoning food crops and the environment, and forcing tens of thousands of poor farmers off their land.

The remarkable group - composed of former heads of state, cabinet ministers and legislators, as well as prominent authors, intellectuals, a

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 or Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6916

Warfare, Interdiction Not Answer to America's Drug Problem

Nation's Leading Drug Policy Reform Advocate and Author of Cops Across Borders Available for Interviews

On Friday an American missionary plane mistakenly suspected of trafficking drugs was shot down by a Peruvian jet working in cooperation with a U.S. surveillance plane, killing missionary Veronica Bowers and her 7-month old daughter.

The tragedy was a result of a joint drug interdiction effort in Peru, which has reduced the amount of coca grown in the region by two thirds, according to government estimates. Colombia has now replaced Peru as the principal source of cocaine.

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 or Shayna Samuels at 212 547 6916

Critics Call Likely Bush Drug Czar Pick -- John Walters -- the

Nation

Despite the fact that Americans are increasingly supporting alternatives to the war on drugs, President Bush is expected to appoint a drug czar likely to rely more heavily than his predecessors on policies proven to be ineffective.

Critics note that decades of the "get tough" approaches supported by Walters have landed nearly 500,000 Americans behind bars, consumed tens of billions of tax dollars, and left illicit drugs cheaper, purer and more available than ever in the U.S.

Walters, who worked for former drug czar William Bennett in various posts, is seriously at odds

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 x 1383 or Shayna Samuels at (212) 547-6916

The Failed Drug War: Shadow Conventions Spotlight Issues Parties Won't Touch

Money-Dominated Politics, Growing Inequality and Poverty Amidst Prosperity

In the wake of the major parties' little noted and highly scripted platform proceedings, an unprecedented coalition of Democrats and Republicans, community activists and political leaders, comedians and celebrities affirmed their commitment to a powerful alternative to the party conventions.

Shadow Conventions 2000: A Citizens' Intervention in American Politics will counter the conventional by focusing on issues that the parties just won't touch.

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