Tuesday, June 20, 2006

My Mom is Not a Criminal

Tell the Feds to Stop Arresting the Seriously Ill

My mom suffers from multiple sclerosis, and – on her doctor’s recommendation – uses marijuana to alleviate the painful symptoms of her disease. Luckily, our state legislature in Rhode Island just passed a law to protect seriously ill medical marijuana patients like her from arrest.

But alarmingly, the federal government still classifies my mother as a criminal and reserves the right to put her in jail just for trying to ease her pain.

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on an amendment to stop the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration from spending any money to arrest medical marijuana patients in Rhode Island and the ten other states that have made the compassionate choice to allow doctors to make medical decisions for their patients.

People like my mom need you to take action now and tell Congress to respect states’ rights to protect the seriously ill. To make it as easy as possible for you, our allies at the Marijuana Policy Project have created a prewritten letter that you can quickly edit and send to your member of Congress. All you have to do is click over to http://action.mpp.org

This amendment has been voted on for the past three years and it keeps getting more and more support. Last year, we got 161 votes out of the 218 we need. We can pass the amendment this year and finally stop the federal government’s war on medical marijuana patients – but not without your help.

My mom and other people suffering from serious illnesses need you to take action today.

Please do your part and send a letter to your member of Congress by visiting http://action.mpp.org

From my family to yours,
Tom Angell
SSDP Campaigns Director

Monday, June 19, 2006

Witness the Drug War Firsthand in Colombia

I'm passing the following message on from Witness for Peace's Erik Cooke. This is an exciting opportunity being jointly offered by SSDP and WFP. (Some of you may remember that Erik used to be SSDP's legislative director.)

Witness the Drug War Firsthand in Colombia


We all know that the Drug War is an abysmal failure in the U.S.: gleaming new prisons, hysterical government propaganda, invasions of privacy, racial discrimination, and a massive waste of taxpayer dollars.

But, the impact of the Drug War in the U.S. is only part of picture.

Another Drug War is being waged even more violently in South America. This war fumigates subsistence crops along with coca. This war inflames a 40 year-old civil war in Colombia. This war classifies impoverished farmers as narcotraffickers. This war sends military aid to human rights abusers. This war has helped cause the largest internal displacement in the world. This brutal war is the same one that we all fight so passionately against here at home.

Witness for Peace has teamed up with Students for Sensible Drug Policy to host a delegation to Colombia, this August, to witness firsthand the devastating implications of the Drug War in Colombia. Led by Sanho Tree of the Institute for Policy Studies, myself, and in-country guides, during this delegation, you will have opportunities to meet with experts, U.S. and Colombian government officials, farmers, human rights leaders, and many others drawn into this struggle. You will visit communities that have been impacted by U.S. military aid and anti-drug efforts. You will also gather tools and understanding that will enable you to educate your policymakers on how U.S. policy is impacting Colombia. Most importantly, you will experience the irrefutable physical impacts of U.S. policy – on the people, the land, and the government.

Yes, this Drug War is an awful reality that we have inherited. However, we have the power and the responsibility to correct this horrible injustice. The first step in that process is to understand what forms injustice takes.

You can find the flyer for the delegation, including dates and costs, at: www.witnessforpeace.org/pdf/del_col_ssdp_aug_06.pdf.

If you need further information on the situation in Colombia or about the delegation, please be in contact with me by phone at 202-547-6112 or by email at erik@witnessforpeace.org.

I challenge and urge each of you to strongly consider signing up for this delegation. You will return changed.

In solidarity,

P.S. Witness for Peace offers several other delegations, on a variety of themes, to not only Colombia, but also to Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and an upcoming Bolivia delegation. For more information visit http://www.witnessforpeace.org/travel/schedule.html.