Drug Policy Foundation Conference
Approximately 450 drug policy reformers from around the world gathered
in Washington, DC Nov. 17-19 for the annual conference of the Drug
Policy Foundation (DPF).
Among the many outstanding presentations at the conference:
- David Condliffe, the new executive director of DPF, reminded the attendees
that carefully designed government programs are fiscally conservative and
benefit working Americans; the drug war is not such a program. Citing the
experience of WWII seamen who most frequently survived -- those who
were grabbing and saving the lives of their drowning companions --
"we have more energy when we help" those who need.
- Julie Stewart, president and founder of Families Against Mandatory
Minimums (FAMM), introduced her brother, Jeff Stewart, who until the week
before had been serving a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for conspiracy
to grow marijuana plants. Speaking from his prison experience he observed
that the "drug war" had become a "race war," with mandatory
minimums a key weapon.
- Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) told how drug policy reform activists
should make their case to Congress.
- Public health officials described how current drug policies are harming
the health of Americans, especially the poor and those at high risk for
contracting AIDS. Dr. Krisitne Gebbie, former AIDS policy coordinator
for President Clinton, said U.S. drug policies "have seriously undermined
our ability to address the public's health."
[For more information about any of these panels, contact the Drug Policy
Foundation at 202-537-5005. The publications staff put together a newsletter
for each day of the conference, which is now available.]