Most of us weren’t even alive when Nixon first declared “War on Drugs” back in 1971, when he deemed drug users as “Public Enemy No.1”. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the biggest, costliest, failed war the United States has ever been in. The consequences that both individuals and societies have suffered because of this failed war are huge and it’s urgent we reform global and national drug policy. That was the International Drug Policy Alliance’s message for the Reform Conference and Rally held in Los Angeles last week.
This fight to end the War on Drugs is the new Jim Crowe” say attendees and speakers alike.
These events were sponsored by the DPA (Drug Policy Alliance) that’s advocating for the legalization of all drugs. The Conference featured top leaders from the global anti-Drug War movement from over thirty countries and dozens of activist organizations discussing and sharing their victories and struggles in trying to end the War on Drugs and to show unity by supporting each others efforts. There were more than 50 panels and speakers that included: California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, a Skype appearance by Virgin CEO Richard Branson, Executive Director of DPA Ethan Nadelmann, former New Mexico Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, with Deputy Director of NORML Paul Armentano and Co-Founder/Executive Director of Harborside Health Center Steve DeAngelo.
The Conference was kicked off by a Rally & Concert held in MacArthur Park Thursday. Literally hundreds of people gathered to demand the end of the War on Drugs and joined a diverse group of people and organizations this movement brings together. The four day long event wrapped up with an awards ceremony Saturday evening honoring those demonstrating exceptional work towards promoting sensible drug policy and alternatives to the Drug War. “Every political movement for freedom and justice has its heroes, yet only a select few ever win the recognition they deserve,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. The complete list of award recipients can be found here.
This week marked the 15th anniversary of California’s Proposition 215 (Prop 215) the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. To honor this milestone, father of Prop 215 Dennis Peron, along with Richard Eastman(Get the Greed out of Weed Tour 2011) and others marched and rallied at the Federal Building Saturday. At 4:20, nearly two pounds of medical marijuana was given away to patients and supporters at OccupyLA to mark the 15th anniversary of Prop. 215 in California; America’s first Medical Marijuana Patients State Law. The message was peace, love, compassion and healing to all that attended. I think that’s a positive message we can all adhere to.
HMJ would like to personally thank Tony Newman at DrugPolicy.org for allowing us to attend such an incredible and informative event!
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