Saturday, January 31, 2009

Obama Continuing Bush's Loyalty to the Inquisition

on promoting dirty needles

Time Lag in Vienna

Programs that give drug addicts access to clean needles have been shown the world over to slow the spread of deadly diseases including H.I.V./AIDS and hepatitis. Public health experts were relieved when President Obama announced his support for ending a ban on federal funding for such programs.

Unfortunately, Mr. Obama’s message seems not to have reached the American delegation to a United Nations drug policy summit in Vienna, where progress is stalled on a plan that would guide global drug control and AIDS prevention efforts for years to come. The delegation has angered allies, especially the European Union, by blocking efforts to incorporate references to the concept of “harm reduction” — of which needle exchange is a prime example — into the plan.

State Department officials said that they were resisting the harm-reduction language because it could also be interpreted as endorsing legalized drugs or providing addicts with a place to inject drugs. But the Vienna plan does not require any country to adopt policies it finds inappropriate. And by resisting the harm-reduction language, the American delegation is alienating allies and sending precisely the wrong message to developing nations, which must do a lot more to control AIDS and other addiction-related diseases.

Some members of Congress are rightly angry about the impasse in Vienna. On Wednesday, three members fired off a letter to Susan Rice, the new American ambassador to the United Nations, urging that the United States’ delegation in Vienna be given new marching orders on the harm-reduction language. If that doesn’t happen, the letter warns, “we risk crafting a U.N. declaration that is at odds with our own national policies and interests, even as we needlessly alienate our nation’s allies in Europe.”

Friday, January 30, 2009

Medical Marijuana - Needle Exchange: Negative Indicators of 'Change'

As if the drug inquisition merely belonged to Bush!
Obama Sends Drug Warriors to UN, DEA to CA:
Stop Fighting Bush's Drug War

Maia Szalavitz

As someone who cares about humane drug policy, I expect politicians to disappoint me. Obama created a rare glimmer of light here with his honesty about his own experience--but his choice of drug warriors like Joe Biden and Rahm Emmanuel for high level posts has made me wary.

Now, with a new raid on California's medical marijuana dispensaries and with Bush holdovers trying to push the UN to drop support for needle exchange and other harm reduction programs in its document to set drug policy for the next ten years, I am beginning to lose hope.

Amazingly, however, progressives in Congress (!) are speaking out about the possible UN fiasco--sending a letter to our new UN Ambassador Susan Rice to protest the actions of these officials. Reps. Henry Waxman, Jose Serrano and Barbara Lee write:

Unfortunately, we understand that the U.S. delegation in Vienna has been actively blocking the efforts of some of our closest allies--including the European Union--to incorporate into the declaration reference to harm reduction measures such as needle exchange. We find it hard to understand how the U.S. delegation could object to language which would not obligate any country to adopt particular policies with which it disagrees.

I will go further. Obama has said that he supports lifting the federal ban on funding for needle exchange programs in the U.S. and that he supports science-based policy, which backs this action. He has said that he will end the raids on medical marijuana in states that have legalized it.

I suspect that he's afraid that any action in this direction will be jumped on with glee by right-wing critics. I think he fears a repeat of the Clinton administration's "Don't ask, don't tell," culture war disaster. But as he pointed out to his critics in relation to economic policy, "I won."

That's right, Mr. President, you won! And you won not despite taking evidence-based positions on tough issues--but because you did so.

I think you'll find that when people are worried about their jobs, it's hard for them to work up steam about imaginary bogeymen like those hyped by drug warriors. When you face real problems like feeding your kids, false hypotheticals like needle exchange "sending the wrong message" and turning us into a nation of junkies just don't get traction. (Quick question: would making clean needles available make you start shooting up? Didn't think so-- and same is true for everyone who is not already doing so!).

When your financial future is at risk, it's hard to see spending money on raiding and incarcerating medical marijuana users and distributors as a good investment--or even to see medical marijuana use as a problem, let alone one worthy of expensive and ineffective police intervention. (Has medical marijuana made your or your kids into dope fiends? Surveys find states with it tend to have *less* use by youth).

Take advantage of this rare opportunity to expose the tired rhetoric of the drug war and do the right thing, as you promised. Support harm reduction like the rest of the developed world does. Recognize how out of touch the U.S. has become in its drug strategy.

This is not the 70's or even the 80's or 90's-- like Bush's economic policies, his drug policies have visibly and risibly failed. The main power drug warriors have left is politicians' outsized fear of their past success. Don't give them undue credit--and don't underestimate how the ground has shifted in favor of sane, humane drug strategy, not war.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bolivia - Coca as Obama's Barometer

The Contradictions Facing a Black President of the American Empire

Johann Hari

Johann Hari

Posted January 23, 2009 | 03:11 PM (EST)

The tears are finally drying - the tears of the Bush years, and the tears of awe at the sight of a black President of the United States. So what now? The cliché of the day is that Barack Obama will inevitably disappoint the hopes of a watching world, but the truth is more subtle than that. If we want to see how Obama will change the world - for good or bad - we need to trace the deep structural factors that underlie US foreign policy, and tease out what he will do about them. A useful case study of these pressures is about to flicker onto our news pages for a moment - from the top of the world.

Bolivia is the poorest country in Latin America, and its lofty slums 4000 meters above sea level seem a world away from the high theatre of the inauguration. But if we look at this country closely, we can explain one of the great paradoxes of the United States - that it has incubated a triumphant civil rights movement at home, yet thwarted civil rights movements abroad. Bolivia shows us in stark detail the contradictions facing a black President of the American empire.

The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, has a story strikingly similar to Obama's. In 2006 he became the first indigenous President of his country - and a symbol of the potential of democracy. When the Spanish arrived in Bolivia in the sixteenth century, they enslaved the indigenous majority and worked millions to death. As recently as the 1950s, an indigenous person wasn't even allowed to walk through the centre of La Paz, where the presidential palace and city cathedral stand. They were (and are) routinely compared to monkeys and apes.

Morales was born to a poor potato-farmer in the mountains, and grew up scavenging for discarded orange peel or banana skins to eat. Of his seven siblings, four starved to death as babies. Throughout his adult life, it was taken for granted that the country would be ruled by the white mestizo minority; the "Indians" were too "child-like" to manage a country.

Given that the US is constitutionally a democracy and its Presidents say they are committed to spreading democracy across the world, you would expect them to welcome the democratic rise of Morales. But wait. Bolivia has massive reserves of natural gas - a geo-strategic asset, and one that rakes in billions for US corporations. Here is where the complications set in.

Before Morales, the white mestizo elite was happy to allow US companies to simply take the gas and leave the Bolivian people with short change: just 18 percent of the royalties. Indeed, they handed almost the entire country to US interests, while skimming a small percentage for themselves. In 1999, an American company, Bechtel, was handed the water supply - and water rates for the poor majority doubled.

Morales ran for election against this agenda. He said that Bolivia's resources should be used for the benefit of millions of bitterly poor Bolivians, not a tiny number of super-rich Americans. He kept his promise. Now Bolivia keeps 82 percent of the vast gas royalties - and he has used the money to increase health spending by 300 percent, and to build the country's first pension system. He is one of the most popular leaders in the democratic world. In slums across South America, I have seen this pink tide rising through the barrios and favelas, where millions of people are seeing doctors and schools for the first time in their lives.

I suspect that a majority of the American people - who are good and decent - would be pleased and support this process if they were told about it honestly. But how did the US government (and much of the media) react? George Bush fulminated that "democracy is being eroded in Bolivia", and a recent US ambassador to the country compared Morales to Osama Bin Laden. Why? To them, you are a democrat if you give your resources to US corporations, and you are a dictator if you give them to your own people. The will of the Bolivian people is irrelevant.

There is another layer of disagreement between Morales and US power. Bolivians have a widespread millennia-long tradition chewing coca leaves, or brewing them in tea: it's a good way of keeping your energy up when you are doing grinding work at such a high altitude. But in the 1980s, the Reagan administration announced that this was contrary to the demands of the "war on drugs". They trained and paid for elite white military units to forcibly "eliminate coca." They rampaged across the Bolivian countryside destroying the crops of desperately poor people. Evo Morales - a coca farmer himself - saw them burn a peasant farmer alive, an experience he says "changed me forever." He wants to legalize coca for private use - and he is supported by 80 percent of Bolivians.

For these reasons, the US has been moving to trash Morales. Latin America still lives in the shadow of its own 9/11: on September 11th 1973, Henry Kissinger and the CIA backed the coup that led to the violent death of the freely elected President of Chile, Salvador Allende, to stop his programme of democratic socialism from proceeding

Over the past few years, the techniques have become a little less crude. By an odd quirk of fate, almost all of Bolivia's gas supplies are in the east of the country - where the richest, whitest part of the population lives. So the US government has been funding and fueling the hard-right separatist movements that want these regions to break away. Then the mestizos would happily hand the gas to US companies like in the good ol' days - and Morales would be left without resources. The interference became so severe that last September Morales had to expel the US Ambassador for "conspiring against democracy." This weekend, Morales is holding a major referendum on a new constitution for the country which will entrench the rights of the indigenous people.

Enter Obama - and his paradoxes. He is obviously a person of good will and good sense, but he is operating in a system subject to many undemocratic pressures. Bolivia illustrates the tension. The rise of Morales reminds us of the America the world loves - its yes-we-can openness and civil rights movements. Yet the presence of gas and coca reminds us of the America the world hates - the desire to establish "full spectrum dominance" over the world's resources and send troops barging into their countries, whatever the pesky natives think.

Which America will Obama embody? The answer is both - at first. Morales has welcomed him as "a brother", and Obama has made it clear he wants a dialogue, rather than the abuse of the Bush years. Yet who is Obama's Bolivia advisor? A lawyer called Greg Craig, who represents Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada - the hard-right former President of Bolivia who imposed some of the most extreme privatizations of the 1980s, and is now wanted on charges of genocide in Bolivia for the massacres of indigenous protesters. Craig's legal team says Morales is (yes) leading "an offensive against democracy."

The structural pressures within the US political system that drove hostility to a democratic civil rights leader like Morales up to now have not dissolved in the cold Washington air. The US is still dependent on foreign fossil fuels to keep its lights on, the drug war bureaucracy will continue its senseless crusade, and US corporations still buy Senators from both parties. Obama will still be swayed by those factors.

But while this is a reason to be frustrated, it isn't a reason to be cynical. Why? Because while he will be swayed by those factors, he will also subtly erode them over time. Obama has made energy independence - a massive transition away from foreign oil and gas, and towards the wind, sun and waves - the centre of his governing programme. If the US is no longer addicted to Bolivian gas, then its governments will be much less inclined to topple anybody else who wants to control it. (If they're off oil, they'll be much less invested in the Saudi tyranny and petro-wars in the Middle East too.)

Obama also says he wants to peel back the distorting effect of corporate money on the US political system. He is already less slathered in corporate cash than any President since the 1920s. The further he pushes it back, the more breathing-space democratic movements like Morales' get to control their own resources. He also seems to be a less fanatical drug warrior than his predecessors, offering praise in the past for those who believe the US should concentrate on treating addicts at home rather than trying to burn and fumigate their supply from every forest or mountain on earth.

But we will see. If you want to know if Obama is really altering the tectonic forces that drive American power, keep an eye on the rooftop of the world.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

$3 Billion More For Cigarette Market Protection

This is some 'change'
as US DEA criminal behavior continues...

As part of the $825 billion economic stimulus bill passed by the House last week, the Democratic Party leadership and the Obama administration included $3 billion for the controversial Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program, which funds multi-agency drug task forces across the country, and $1 billion for the Community Oriented Policing (COPS) program, which will pay for thousands of additional police officers to hit the streets. Drug enforcement lobby groups are pleased, particularly about the Byrne funding, but others predict that any "stimulus" more Byrne grants might provide will be followed long-term drag on state budgets in ways going beyond the federal dollars.
Sen. Harkin and Iowa law enforcement officials at 2004 press conference
In one of the few drug policy-related decisions made by the Bush administration that reformers could cheer, the Bush administration tried throughout its second term to reduce or eliminate funding for the Byrne grants. In so doing, it was heeding the concerns of conservative and taxpayer groups, who called the program "an ineffective and inefficient use of resources." But while the Bush administration tried to gut the program, Congress, still tied to the "tough on drugs" mentality, kept trying to restore funding, albeit at reduced levels.

The Byrne grant program, and especially its funding of the scandal-ridden multi-jurisdictional anti-drug task forces, also came in for harsh criticism from drug reform, civil rights and criminal justice groups. For these critics, the program was in dire need of reform because of incidents like the Tulia, Texas, scandal, where a Byrne-funded task force police officer managed to get 10% of the black population of the town locked up on bogus cocaine distribution charges. Scandals like Tulia showed the Byrne grant program "did more harm than good," the critics wrote in a 2006 letter demanding reform.

Of course, Tulia wasn't the only Byrne-related scandal. A 2002 report from the ACLU of Texas found 16 more scandals involving Byrne grant-funded task forces in Texas, including cases of witness tampering, falsifying of government records, fabricating evidence, false imprisonment, racial profiling, and sexual harassment. Byrne-related scandals have also occurred in other states, including the misuse of millions of dollars of grant money in Kentucky and Massachusetts, false convictions because of police perjury in Missouri, and making deals with drug offenders to drop or lower charges in exchange for cash or vehicles in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

In accord with its own budget-cutting imperatives, and in response to critics on the right and left, the Bush administration again tried to zero out the Byrne grant program in FY 2008. While the program was indeed cut from $520 million in 2007, Congress still funded it at $170 million for 2008. Now, it has folded the Byrne program and the Clinton-era COPS program into the emergency economic stimulus bill, leading to loud cheers from the law enforcement community.

"Safe communities are the foundation of a growing economy, and increased Byrne JAG funding will help state and local governments hire officers, add prosecutors and fund critical treatment and crime prevention programs," said National Criminal Justice Association President David Steingraber, executive director of the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance. "I applaud the stimulus bill proposed by the House Democrats and press Congress for its quick approval."

"This is very encouraging," said Bob Bushman, vice-president of the National Narcotics Officers Associations Coalition and a 35-year veteran of drug law enforcement in Minnesota. "We think it's a very good sign that this was included in the House bill. The House side was where we struggled in past years. Maybe now the House has listened to us and is taking our concerns more seriously," he said. "We built a broad coalition of law enforcement and drug treatment and prevention people."

Byrne money doesn't just fund the task forces, Bushman pointed out, although he conceded that's where much of the money has gone. "Byrne money goes to all 50 states, and most of them used it for the multi-jurisdictional task forces. Here in Minnesota, we split it between task forces and offender reentry programs and drug courts."

While a answer to just how much Byrne money has gone to the task forces remains buried deep in the bowels of the Justice Department -- part of the problem is that the 50 states are awarded block grants and then decide at the state level how to allocate the funds, and some states are better than others at reporting back to Justice -- observers put a low-ball figure of at least 25% going to fund them, and possibly much higher.

The task forces are needed, said Bowman. "While we are never going to arrest our way out of this, I've seen too much of the damage done by drug abuse, and we need all the help we can get," he said. "Not just for policing, but also for treatment and prevention and drug courts. We need all three pillars, and the Byrne program helps with all three."

If law enforcement was pleased, that wasn't the case with civil rights, taxpayer, and drug reform groups. They said they were disappointed in the restoration of funding under the auspices of the economic stimulus bill, and vowed to continue to try to either cut or reform the program.

"We're working on a letter to Congress about the Byrne grants right now," said Lawanda Johnson, communications director for the Justice Policy Institute, one of the organizations that had signed on to the 2006 DPA letter. "The Byrne grant program is not an effective use of funds for preserving public safety or stimulating the economy. The only way you will get an economic boost from this is if you own stock in Corrections Corporation of America," she laughed, grimly.

"With so many smart people working on the budget and the stimulus package, you would think they would understand that the states are looking to reduce their prison populations and change those policies that have jailed so many people," said Johnson. "To then turn around and have the federal government invest $4 billion in more police and more grants seems paradoxical. It's just going to jack up the spending for states and localities, and they are already struggling."

"We oppose the wasteful economic stimulus bill and we oppose the inclusion of the Byrne grants in it," said Leslie Paige, spokesperson for Citizens Against Government Waste, one of the conservative taxpayer groups that has opposed the grants for the past several years. "If there is going to be government spending, the least you can do is make sure the money is going to have a long term positive impact on the economy."

"This is disappointing, but not surprising," said Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance. "This reverses Bush's cuts in the program and restores funding at even higher levels. At the same time Congress and the Obama administration are expressing great concern about racial disparities and over-incarceration, they keep trying to fund this program, which will only stimulate more arrests of more nonviolent drug offenders," Piper noted.

"The Democrats are framing this as helping in these tough economic times, but the people who will be arrested will end up in state prison, and the states will have to pay for that," Piper pointed out. "The states may well end up paying more in the long run. It's far from clear that this will stimulate the economy, but what is clear is that it will stimulate the breaking up of families and decreasing productivity and tax revenues, especially in communities already devastated by the impact of over-incarceration."

Killing funding outright is unlikely, said Piper. "I don't think there's any way we can stop this from being included because the support for it is strong and bipartisan," he said. "No one wants to go up against the police. Our real hope is that later in the year we can put some restrictions on the program, which is what we've been working on. Instead of trying to cut it, we can try to use it to encourage state and local law enforcement to change how they operate. They're so addicted to federal funding that they may do just about anything, such as documenting arrests or having performance measures."

Bushman and the rest of law enforcement aren't resting easy just yet. "The funding has to survive hearings and make it into the final appropriation," he noted. "This is not a done deal yet."

But it looks like Congress is well on the way to funding three more years of Byrne grants at $1 billion a year, the highest level of funding in years. And don't forget the 13,000 new police officers to be funded for the next three years by the COPS program. If Congress and the cops have their way, we can look forward to more drug busts, more prosecutions, more people sentenced to prison, and a greater burden on already deficit-ridden state budgets.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Others Are Not

From the comments section at Drug War Chronicle:

Obama's First Acts on the Marijuana Issue Reek of Betrayal

Obama's First Acts on the Marijuana Issue Reek of Betrayal

When the first poll was posted by the Obama Administration the most recommended change was to Re-Legalize Marijuana. But then on December 26th Obama flatly responded that he has no intention on Re-Legalizing Marijuana. Subsequently Obama took the first poll results off of the site and started a second poll. And even though Marijuana Re-Legalization remained in the top 5 requests Obama refused to utter any additional clarification as to what he would do to represent the large contingent of Americans that continue to demand an end to the War on Marijuana.

Then on Thursday (01/22/2009) Federal DEA agents raided a Medical Marijuana cultivation facility, just days after Obama was officially inaugurated:

Medical Marijuana: DEA Hits California Dispensary in First Raid of Obama Administration -- New President Promised End to Raids

The fact of the matter is that Obama himself has admitted to using both Marijuana and even harder drugs such as cocaine. Yet it appears that he is completely willing to allow the continued annual persecution of nearly 900.000 Marijuana users each year: a figure that has tripled since 1990. Are we seeing the beginnings of an Imperial Presidency where there is one set of standards for the elite and another for us commoners?

What we may be watching here is the "Bamboozling" of all those American voters who cast their vote for Obama believing he would stand for "change" we could all believe in. Though I still want to give him a fair chance I must say that I have been skeptical of Obama long before his election as our 44th President. I had previously reported on his close ties to Globalists such as Brzezinski in the following article that I had authored in mid-2008:

Curious Obama: Globalist Traitor

Of all the suggestions for Legalizing Marijuana the one that seems to make the most sense is the MERP model. Under this plan every adult citizen would get to grow up to 100 plants without any regulation, taxation or other interference from the federal government. By taking the profit out of growing Marijuana there would be many immediate benefits:

* Destroy the Drug Gangs and Cartels
* Stop the Criminalization of our American Citizens
* Restore Personal Liberties Lost After 911
* Destroy the Prison Industrial Complex
* Save Taxpayers 20 Billion Each Year

You can learn more about the MERP Model through the following links:


Marijuana: Past, Present and Future from Bruce Cain on Vimeo.

Why Lou Dobbs Should Support Marijuana Legalization


The MERP Project
The Marijuana Re-Legalization Policy (MRP) Project

Marijuana Re-Legalization Coming in 1st in 2nd Obama Poll(12/31/2008)

Yes We Can -- Have Legal, Untaxed Marijuana (12/23/2008)


Bruce W. Cain Discusses the MERP Model, for Marijuana Relegalization, with "Sense and Sensimilla"

And despite the fact that none of the moneyed drug organizations -- such as NORML, DPA, MPP -- will support the MERP Model, there is really nothing very radical about the MERP Model. It would basically allow adult Americans to cultivate Marijuana in the same way we have always allowed the production of home brewed beer.

At any rate I support the MERP Model and I think you should too. 70 years of Marijuana Prohibition is 70 years too long. And Obama’s opposition to our request to Re-Legalize Marijuana is like getting a lump of coal for Christmas.

I believe it is time to gather each of these lumps of coal and use them to light a giant fire under Obama. It is “high time” we put his feet to the fire until the MERP Model is implemented and the War on Marijuana ends once and for ever.

You can join the movement to implement the MERP Model by getting on my mailing list at Here is the link to join my mailing list:

I also recommend becoming part of the US Marijuana Party as they were the only drug reform group that supported my write-in candidacy in 2008 and continue to support the MERP Model for Re-Legalizing Marijuana:

Let’s make 2009 the year we insist: “Yes We Can” Have Legal Marijuana for Every Adult American and perhaps for every Adult on planet Earth. Please send and post this article as widely as possible. The time for real change begins NOW!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

DPA's Bill Piper Optimistic About Obama

New President, New Drug Policy Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama 60x85Today marks an historic turning point for all Americans.

Less than a generation ago, African Americans were denied the right to vote in some states. Now the White House, built by slave labor in the 18th century, will be home to America's first Black president.

With hard work, struggle and organizing, it seems anything is possible. We have more opportunites today than could have ever before been imagined.

You and I now have an opportunity more important than ever before to push Congress to reform our nation's drug laws and reduce the death, disease, crime and suffering associated with both drugs and the war on drugs.

In 16 years, America has gone from a president who said he smoked marijuana but "didn't inhale" to a president who "inhaled; that was the point." President Obama has even admitted to using cocaine when he was younger, and the American people don't seem to be holding it against him. He is open about his struggle, like that of millions of Americans, with addiction to one of the world's most powerful drugs: nicotine.

Obama agrees with many of us in the drug policy reform movement about treating drug use as a health issue and not a criminal justice one. He continues to talk about reforming mandatory minimum sentencing and repealing the federal syringe ban that is responsible for hundreds of thousands of Americans contracting HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and other infectious diseases.

Whether you voted for Obama, McCain, Barr, Nader or some other presidential candidate, one thing is clear. It is time for citizens and policymakers alike to stand up and be counted. The walls of drug prohibition are beginning to crumble. You can join me in seizing this historic moment to remove more bricks.


Bill Piper
Director, Office of National Affairs
Drug Policy Alliance

Monday, January 19, 2009

Change Caffeine To Crack

Found this a the criminal justice page at

An uncommon display of how prohibition promotes drug abuse

Free-Base Caffeine

by Matt Kelley

Published January 19, 2009 @ 07:36PM PST

Via DailyDish: A video from a citizen-journalist in Vancouver shows us step-by-step how to free-base caffeine for an amphetamine-like high.

This two minute how-to video makes quite a strong argument for the legalization of drugs. If we want to get wasted on legal substances, that's exactly what we're going to do. There will always be another drug, another method of using a common substance (like coffee) to get high. Alcohol is more destructive than marijuana, but only pot is illegal. People have used drugs for thousands of years - they are as much a part of human nature as having a system of justice. The law will never stay ahead of the ways we manage to alter our consciousness.

Legal drugs could be controlled and taxed (to a point). Instead, illegal drugs are dangerous and expensive and tax-free.

Which should we do - legalize drugs or make coffee and alcohol illegal?

(Images above via Flickr: left Lotzman Katzman, right uzi978)

This footage was prepared recently by a citizen-journalist / advocate in Vancouver.
Contrary to what one might think, it's a pretty good PSA for crack addicts wanting to manage their addiction ... and it's apparently legal, too.

Presumably Obama sees this.

Hence he has something to go on when he hears from Bolivian President Evo Morals about legalizing Coca.

1993 U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment Report Alternative Coca Reductions Strategies, which recommends legalizing Coca

Effectiveness of Criminal N.Y. Rockefeller Drug Laws- Douglas Willinger

Quantitative and Qualitative Effects of Cocaine Prohibition- Douglas Willinger

D.P.F. Coca Papers:

November 1989; "Drug Policy 1989-1990 A Reformer’s Catalog”,
“Coca: an Alternative to Cocaine?”
by Anthony Richard Henman

November 1990; “The Great Issues of Drug Policy”
“The Ever-Changing, Ever-Confused Popular Conception of Cocaine”,
by Douglas A. Willinger

November 1991; “New Frontiers in Drug Policy”
“Cocaine Prohibition, Water or Gasoline…?”
by Douglas A. Willinger

November 1992; “Strategies for Change”,
“Cocaine Conversion: Onwards to Coca”
by Douglas A. Willinger

Oliver Stone Chews Coca With Evo Morales

Oliver Stone hangs out and chews coca with Bolivian president

Captf572fec9e96f4320a2047f0603d6da7 U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone kicked a soccer ball and chewed coca leaves with Bolivia's leftist President Evo Morales earlier this week, reports the Associated Press.

The two men had their fun during an interview for a documentary Stone is planning on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a close ally of Morales.

Photos released by the Bolivian government show Morales and Stone chewing coca and kicking a ball around the lawn of the presidential residence in La Paz.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City!

Friday, January 16, 2009

DEA Criminal Conspiracy to Block Marijuana Study

Also see Lester Grinspoon on MJ Pharmaceuticalization- Mercantilism:

Criminal DEA overules its own administrative judge who recommended in favor of study!
The FDA is likely urging the DEA and NIDA to block research. The FDA works for big pharma and is not interested in advancing medical science. Big pharma hates medical marijuana because they cannot make money on it and will lose market share for their drugs. The FDA is just protecting big pharma profits.

(from this article's comments section at Stop the Drug War)
From Stop the Drug War:

Feature: Politics Trumps Science as DEA Rejects Researcher's Request to Grow Marijuana for FDA-Approved Studies

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Wednesday blocked the years-long effort of a University of Massachusetts-Amherst researcher to end the federal government's monopoly on the supply of marijuana available for research. In doing so, the agency overruled its own Administrative Law Judge, Mary Ellen Bittner, who nearly two years ago formally recommended that the project be approved.
Lyle Craker (courtesy
UMass-Amherst Professor Lyle Craker initially filed a petition in June 2001 seeking to cultivate research-grade marijuana for use by researchers in Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved studies aimed at developing the plant as legal prescription medicine. Currently, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is the sole source of marijuana for researchers, but that agency has repeatedly refused to make it available for privately-funded, FDA-approved studies seeking to develop smoked or vaporized marijuana into a prescription medication. Researchers have also complained about the quality of the marijuana produced at the federal government's Mississippi pot farm.

From the beginning, Bush administration officials have been unresponsive or sought to delay the proceedings in the Craker case. The DEA first did not respond to Craker's requests for status reports on his request, then told him it had lost his filing. When he submitted a photocopy, the DEA rejected that as improper. It took until 2004 for the agency to get around to rejecting Craker's request, and ever since then for that rejection to go through the administrative appeal process.

It was during that process that DEA Administrative Law Judge Bittner made her formal recommendation supporting Craker's request: "I conclude that granting Respondent's petition would not be inconsistent with the Single Convention, there would be minimal risk of diversion of marijuana..., that there is currently an inadequate supply of marijuana available for research purposes, that competition in the provision of marijuana for such purposes is inadequate, and that the Respondent has complied with applicable laws and has never been convicted of any violation of any law pertaining to controlled substances," Bittner wrote as she weighed the factors involved in her decision. "I find there that Respondent's registration to cultivate marijuana would be in the public interest."

Judge Bittner's recommendation was based largely on the fact that marijuana is the only Schedule I drug that the DEA prohibits from being produced by private laboratories for scientific research, which has resulted in a unique government monopoly that fundamentally obstructs appropriate research and regulatory channels. Other controlled substances, including LSD, MDMA, heroin and cocaine, are available to researchers from DEA-licensed private laboratories.

In contrast, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) remains scientists' sole source of marijuana, despite the agency's repeated refusal to make marijuana available for privately-funded, FDA-approved studies that seek to develop smoked or vaporized marijuana into a legal, prescription medicine.

As Judge Bittner concluded, "NIDA's system for evaluating requests for marijuana has resulted in some researchers who hold DEA registrations and requisite approval from [HHS and FDA] being unable to conduct their research because NIDA has refused to provide them with marijuana. I therefore find that the existing supply is not adequate."

But just as was the case with DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young's famous 1988 recommendation that marijuana was among the safest therapeutically active substances known to man and should be rescheduled, Bittner's recommendation was also ignored by her own agency. In the final decision issued this week, the DEA simply rejected most of Bittner's findings, and rejected Craker's petition.

"I am saddened that the DEA is ignoring the best interests of so many seriously ill people who wish for scientific investigations that could lead to development of the marijuana plant as a prescription medicine," said Professor Craker. "Patients with serious illnesses deserve legitimate research that might establish medical marijuana as a fully legal, FDA-approved treatment. Today, that effort has been dealt a serious blow."

Craker wasn't the only one protesting. The ACLU Drug Law Reform Project, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) all supported Craker's quest, and all blasted the DEA decision.

"It's no surprise that an administration that has rejected science again and again has, as one of its final acts, blocked a critical research project," said MPP director of government relations Aaron Houston. "With the new administration publicly committed to respecting scientific research and valuing data over dogma, this final act of desperation isn't surprising, but the true victims are the millions of patients who might benefit."

"With one foot out the door, the Bush administration has once again found time to undermine scientific freedom," said Allen Hopper, litigation director for the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project. "In stubbornly retaining the unique government monopoly over the supply of research marijuana over the objections of DEA's own administrative law judge, the Bush administration has effectively blocked the proper regulatory channels that would allow the drug to become a wholly legitimate prescription medication."

"The DEA and NIDA, but not the FDA, are clearly frightened of permitting privately-funded, scientific research into the risks and benefits of the medical uses of marijuana," said Rick Doblin, president of MAPS. "We need the Obama Administration to reverse this egregious suppression of scientific research that the outgoing administration so fears will reveal inconvenient truths."

Despite the DEA rejection, these are the waning days of the Bush administration, and this isn't over yet. Look for another lawsuit or an appeal to the Obama administration, said Doblin.

Drug War Issues Medical Marijuana
Politics & Advocacy DEA

DEA Blocks Medical Marijuana Research

Criminal Mercantilism for Big Pharm

From Stop The Drug War:

DEA Blatantly Blocks Medical Marijuana Research

After stalling for two years, the DEA has conveniently chosen the final days of the Bush Administration to act on the Craker petition:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Bush administration struck a parting shot to legitimate science today as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) refused to end the unique government monopoly over the supply of marijuana available for Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved research. DEA's final ruling rejected the formal recommendation of DEA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mary Ellen Bittner, issued nearly two years ago following extensive legal hearings.

"With one foot out the door, the Bush administration has once again found time to undermine scientific freedom," said Allen Hopper, litigation director of the American Civil Liberties Union Drug Law Reform Project. "In stubbornly retaining the unique government monopoly over the supply of research marijuana over the objections of DEA's own administrative law judge, the Bush administration has effectively blocked the proper regulatory channels that would allow the drug to become a wholly legitimate prescription medication."

The DEA ruling constitutes a formal rejection of University of Massachusetts at Amherst Professor Lyle Craker's petition, filed initially June 24, 2001, to cultivate research-grade marijuana for use by scientists in FDA-approved studies aimed at developing the drug as a legal, prescription medication. [ACLU]

Marijuana, unlike LSD, MDMA, heroin and cocaine, is almost impossible to obtain for research purposes and the DEA will do everything in its virtually infinite unchecked power to keep it that way. We all know why: they’re afraid of what the research will show.

The really disgusting part of all this is that the drug warriors actually go around claiming that we need more research before we can allow patients to use medical marijuana, all the while doing everything in their power right before our eyes to prevent that research from happening. There’s nothing secret about any of this. You can just watch them do it.

And the best part of all is that the DEA actually managed to churn out a 118-page monstrosity explaining their position, which can be summed up as follows:

Marijuana is bad and we are powerful, so f**k you. Furthermore…f**k you. And in conclusion, based on the aforementioned facts…f**k you.

I don’t know why it took them over a hundred pages to flesh it out. I guess they just love killing trees.

DEA On Marijuana Scheduling

From Stop The Drug War:

Feature: DEA Rejects Yet Another Rescheduling Petition, But the End Game Lies Far Down the Road

The DEA has rejected yet another petition seeking to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), this one from Iowa-based marijuana reformer Carl Olsen. It is only the latest petition rejection by the agency in a glacially-paced struggle to reschedule marijuana that has been going on since 1972.
marijuana plants
But Olsen and other advocates of the rescheduling tactic say that is to be expected, and the rejection is only the opening phase of this particular battle, not the end of the line. And while Olsen heads to federal court to challenge the DEA ruling, another petition to reschedule marijuana is still in process, as it has been for the past six years.

Richard Nixon was just beginning his second term in office when the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) filed the first rescheduling petition. It took 22 years and numerous court challenges before the DEA finally rejected that petition. In the meantime, the DEA rescheduled marijuana's primary psychoactive ingredient, THC, as a Schedule II drug in 1985 and loosened controls over THC even further by rescheduling it to Schedule III in 1999. That allows doctors to prescribe Marinol, but not marijuana.

Another rescheduling petition, filed by Olsen in 1992, was rejected years later, as was a 1995 petition submitted by former NORML head, researcher, and professor of public policy Jon Gettman. In 2002, Gettman, in association with a long list of supporters, submitted yet another Cannabis Rescheduling Petition, which remains pending.

Under the CSA, he argues, substances must meet several criteria to be placed in Schedule I, the most restrictive schedule. The substance must have a high potential for abuse, it must have "no currently accepted medical use" in the US, and there must be a lack of accepted safety for use of the substance. Both the Olsen petition that was rejected last month (although the decision was not published until this week) and the pending Gettman petition argue that marijuana no longer qualifies to be placed in Schedule I because it does have "currently accepted medical use" in the US, citing in particular the ever-growing number of states that have legalized its medicinal use.

But the two petitions differ in the way they seek to remedy the situation, and it is this difference that accounts for the vastly different pace at which they have been handled by the DEA. While the Gettman petition is still awaiting a ruling six years after it was filed, Olsen's petition was only filed this year. The Gettman petition seeks to reschedule marijuana through the administrative process, the Olsen petition argues that the issue is a matter of statutory law. Under the CSA, if marijuana is found to have "currently accepted medical use," it cannot be Schedule I.

"I filed in May, filed a federal lawsuit in September, and got a ruling December," said Olsen. "The DEA has never moved that fast on a petition in its history, and by denying the petition, it is avoiding the possibility of having to deal with it again because now it will instead go back to the court of appeals."

Olsen's petition was not a request, but a demand that DEA recognize the reality that marijuana cannot be a Schedule I drug, he said. "I didn't ask for anything; I demanded that they comply with the law. It's not a Schedule I drug, and they are breaking the law by keeping it there," he said. "The statute says it can't be a Schedule I drug if it has accepted medical use, and 13 states say it has accepted medical use. Doesn't that mean anything?"

Not according to the DEA it doesn't. "Your petition and notice rest on your contention that federal drug law gives states the authority to determine, for purposes of the CSA, whether a drug has a 'currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,' and that marijuana has such a currently accepted medical use because 12 states have passed laws relating to the use of marijuana for medical purposes," wrote DEA Deputy Administrator Michele Leonhart in denying the petition.

Leonhart cited the Raich medical marijuana case in arguing that marijuana has no "accepted medical use" because the federal government doesn't recognize it, and even quoted from the decision: "The Supremacy Clause unambiguously provides that if there is any conflict between federal and state law, federal law shall prevail," and "Congress expressly found that [marijuana] has no acceptable medical uses."

Leonhart also quickly disposed of additional arguments presented by Olsen, summarizing her position by finding that "the existence of state legislation is not relevant to a scheduling determination." Thus, "there is no statutory basis for DEA to grant your petition to initiate proceedings to reschedule marijuana. Nor is there any basis to initiate any action based on your August 5th notice. The Petitioner's request is denied."

Now, it will be up to the federal courts to decide who is right. "The court has to rule on my complaint to enjoin the DEA from enforcing Schedule I," said Olsen. "If they rule in my favor, the DEA cannot claim it is a Schedule I drug; it will have to remove it from Schedule I."

In either case, the losing side will appeal. Look for a resolution of the Olsen case some time in the not-so-near future.

That's just how Olsen planned it, said Gettman. "I wasn't surprised at the DEA decision, and I don't think Carl was either," he said. "The whole point of his petition was to get this into federal court, and to do that, he had to be rejected administratively. This is really the beginning of Carl's legal challenge rather than the end."

Gettman credited Olsen with breaking new ground with the petition and even for inspiring Gettman himself to get involved with rescheduling. "Carl's arguments greatly clarify and build on state-level recognition of medical use, and set the stage for greater attention to this matter," he said. "And I have to say that Carl's activity and pioneering efforts are one of the things that inspired me to file the 1995 petition in the first place."

Meanwhile, Gettman's petition is still pending, although it has already moved through several stages of a lengthy bureaucratic process involving the DEA, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). "The last time we got a status report from FDA, they were nearing the end of their review," Gettman reported.

He is no hurry right now, he said. "We have deliberately decided not to pressure the government to complete the review. We would prefer to deal with the next administration instead of the current one," he explained. "Regardless of how the election turned out, we would have new personnel overseeing the process, and we think a fresh perspective would be beneficial."

Even if the FDA were to come down with a favorable review, there are many steps between that and actually rescheduling marijuana, and even then, the fight over marijuana will still be underway, said Gettman. "Rescheduling will not make medical marijuana available right away and it is not the end of deciding marijuana's regulatory status, it's the beginning," he said. "But it would change the regulatory environment and make it easier for states to accelerate the pace of reform, as well as make it easier for human studies to get under way and for companies to develop marijuana as a medical substance. Schedule I status discourages companies from doing that."

NORML founder Keith Stroup, who was in on the original 1972 rescheduling effort applauds Gettman's and Olsen's efforts, but said he has lost faith in ever gaining redress through that process. "I just don't believe anymore that the rulemaking process is ever going to work in our favor," he said. "We've been trying since 1973, and I think we're going to have to win this the old-fashioned way, through the legislative process or voter initiatives. I just don't think the people in those agencies have the principled courage to do the right thing," Stroup added.

"Still, I'm pleased that Carl and Jon continue to pursue these avenues," he said. "It's to our advantage to put pressure on the system wherever we can."

Whether it's a long-shot or not, the effort to change the marijuana laws through seeking rescheduling is not going away. And who knows? It might actually pay off big one of these years.

Politics & Advocacy Federal Courts - DEA - Congress

FDA On GM Process

For animals and plant based pharmaceuticals-
something to compare with official attitudes towards Marijuana and other herbs

FDA pledges openness on gene-altered products


WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health officials Thursday pledged a new, open process for approving drugs and foods from genetically engineered animals.

Consumer groups complained the policy won't do enough to tell people if they're eating gene-altered animals and fails to protect the environment. They urged the incoming Obama administration to reconsider it.

Genetic engineering, already widely used for crops, is on the threshold of producing animals that can grow faster or even yield drugs that treat human illnesses. Although the potential benefits — and profits — are huge, many individuals have qualms about manipulating the genetic code of other living creatures.

In issuing its long-awaited final policy, the Food and Drug Administration said it will not allow any products from genetically engineered animals to be sold without first submitting them to scrutiny by independent advisers at a public meeting. The government will allow exceptions for research animals, such as lab rats, and the FDA will post those on its Web site.

Genetically engineered — or GE — animals are not clones, which the FDA has already said are safe to eat. Clones are exact copies of an animal. With GE animals, their DNA has been altered to produce a desirable characteristic.

"We will not approve any application until we are convinced of the safety and effectiveness," said FDA biotechnology expert Larisa Rudenko, who has been working on the complex issue since 1989. "The public should rest assured that we are not going to be rushing any decisions."

But consumer groups said the FDA's policy will not require all genetically engineered foods to be labeled as such. And they said the government has not done enough to examine the potential impact of genetically engineered animals on the environment, particularly if some escape and begin to mate with animals in nature.

"They are completely ignoring consumers' overwhelming desire for labeling," said Michael Hansen, a senior scientist with Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports. FDA officials said genetically engineered foods will be labeled if they are different in some important way from natural foods, for example, no-fat filet mignon.

The FDA also failed to require a cradle-to-grave tracking system for genetically engineered animals, said Gregory Jaffe, who heads the biotechnology project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. He's particularly concerned about animals that are not supposed to enter the food supply chain.

"The FDA has made some small but important changes to increase the transparency of this process," said Jaffe. "It helps, but the devil is in the details."

While not calling for a repeal of the FDA policy, Jaffe urged the incoming Obama administration to work with Congress on a new law that specifically addresses the genetic engineering issue. The FDA based its policy on older laws that apply to animal drugs.

Drugs and foods from GE animals will become increasingly common in the next five to ten years. For example, an FDA advisory committee last week considered approval of an anti-clotting drug produced from the milk of GE goats. The scientific advisers concluded that the drug — ATryn — appears to be safe and effective. A final FDA decision is pending. And a Massachusetts company hopes to win FDA approval this year for a faster-growing salmon.

The biotechnology industry welcomed the FDA's announcement.

"This system will ensure the products made available through this science will go through a rigorous and transparent review process before being approved for the marketplace," said Barbara Glenn, a senior scientific adviser with the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Holder - Breuer Law Firm Long Involved With Drug Policy

Obama Justice Department Appointees from powerhouse food, pharmaceutical and cigarette industry law firm of
Covington & Burling
that advised the anti drug war Drug Policy Foundation

Obama's selection as the U.S. Attorney General: Eric Holder
Holder, yet another ex-Clintonite, was Clinton's Deputy Attorney General and US Attorney General for the Washington DC area. He is an extreme drug warrior who believes that harsher and longer sentences should be enacted for minor crimes such as marijuana use and prostitution. This, in spite of the mounting evidence that the "war on drugs" is a failure and has amounted to nothing more than a war on black people, which also appears to be it's original intent. He wants harsher sentencing for marijuana, which will impact American youth more than any other demographic, and it will specifically impact African-American youth, who are already targeted to be shuffled off to America's new plantations, US prisons.
From a Wall Street Journal comments board:

Eric Holder the Attorney General nominee, has been a pharmaceutical company prostitute working for many companies in their defense. he will come before the Senate on Thursday and let us hope that Senator Grassley or Specter among others will crucify him in his defense of Medicaid fraud. He , for example was the lead defense lawyer for Merck in their huge fraud case involving marketing practices and billing. How can make over 2 million per year defending corrupt Big Pharma, and then be expected to be an agresssive advocate against Medicaid fraud. Get rid of this creep and get someone with no ties to PhRMA….Holder would be the worst choice imaginable at the same time the DOJ is trying to clean up the billions of dollars bilked from taxpayers illegally from Pharmaceutical companies. Go get him Grassley-we will be watching.
Comment by Pharmacleanup - January 12, 2009 at 1:14 pm
From The Washington Independent:

Here’s an interesting tidbit from yesterday’s Legal Times: Attorney General-designate Eric Holder last week revealed to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he earned more than $2.1 million in 2008 as a partner at Covington & Burling. That’s even better than the average partner at the firm, who earns a measly $1.175 million. And it soars high above the $186,000 salary Holder would get if he’s confirmed as attorney general.

2009 is projected to look even better, even if Holder is no longer at the firm, Legal Times reports. Holder expects to rake in $2.5 million in deferred compensation, some other work he did at the firm this year, and a severance payment of $1.3 million. (That’s severance for quitting?!)

Holder listed his net worth at $5.7 million.

How did Holder make all this money at the firm? By representing huge corporations when they got into trouble. As I’ve reported before, Holder’s clients at Covington included the National Football League, the pharmaceutical giant Merck, the big banana Chiquita Brands, UBS Financial Services and Bank of America. He’d also registered as a lobbyist for Global Crossing and other companies.

Having earned millions of dollars defending the world’s wealthiest corporations doesn’t make Eric Holder unqualified to be attorney general; one could argue that having been both a prosecutor and a defender, he knows how both sides work and can be particularly effective.

On the other hand, it does underscore the circles he travels in and who he might be inclined to do favors for in the future.

From his Covington & Burling bio:

"The Feds Increasing Focus on the Pharmaceutical Industry," Update Magazine 2001, Issue 6 with permission from FDLI (11/30/2001), Co-Author

Obama's selection for heading the Justice Department criminal prosecution division: Lanny Breuer

From his Covington & Burling bio:

Lanny Breuer, co-chair of Covington’s White Collar Defense and Investigations practice group, specializes in white collar criminal and complex civil litigation, internal corporate investigations, congressional investigations, antitrust cartel proceedings, and other matters involving high-profile legal, political, and public relations risks. Mr. Breuer represents corporations and individuals across a broad array of subject matters including corporate accountability, fraud and abuse, securities investigations and litigation, food and drug regulation, medical device health and safety, antitrust, conflicts of interest [bold added], environmental crimes, foreign corrupt practices, national security, and export controls. Mr. Breuer has been recognized as a leading litigator, including being named a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. Washingtonian Magazine recently described Mr. Breuer as “one of the cleverest in Washington.”

Representing several major corporations before Congress, including a leading Internet company in a hearing concerning its foreign business activities, major pharmaceutical companies targeted in oversight investigations, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in a national security investigation, and a large Wall Street firm in the Enron hearings.

· Washingtonian, named one of thirty “Big Guns,” the top lawyers in Washington (December 2007).

· Best Lawyers in America, selected as a top white collar criminal defense, health care, corporate governance and compliance law attorney as well as a top commercial and product liability litigator (2009).

The law firm: Covington & Burling:

The founders of Covington & Burling foresaw the pervasive effects of the forthcoming era of federal legislation, regulation, and taxation. In 1919, they sought to create a firm in the nation's capital that could advise and represent corporations located anywhere in the nation or the world on a wide range of legal issues. Today our Washington office has over 300 lawyers representing clients according to the highest standards and fulfilling the firm's strong commitment to public service. Our lawyers are supported by nearly 100 paralegals and by information management specialists in the library, and in the litigation and practice support, and technology departments.

This firm’s oldest practices is its presence in food and drug law, with its web-site in 2005 listing 18 attorneys at its Washington, D.C. headquarters – 9 partners including two former Chief Counsels to the Food and Drug Administration (and including Marialuisa Gallozzi, ”assigned to take primary responsibility for advising the [Drug Policy] Foundation”), and 9 associates – who devote all or a major portion of their time to this practice, plus 6 additional lawyers at its offices in London and Brussels. According to the firm’s site at

Covington & Burling has a large and comprehensive food and drug law practice. The Firm’s food and drug practice began at the Firm’s founding in 1919 with representation of the National Canners Association (now the National Food Processors Association and still a client). From that time, the Firm’s practice has steadily expanded to include all types of food and drug work and work relating to scientific and technology research. Past and present clients for which the Firm serves as general counsel or principal outside counsel include the Animal Health Institute, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Bakers Association, American Forest & Paper Association, Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology, Corn Refiners Association, Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, Epilepsy Foundation of America, Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils, International Dairy Foods Association, National Food Laboratories, National Pharmaceutical Council, Consumer Healthcare Products Association and Toxicology Forum.

This work includes political organization on behalf of its clientèle industries. According to the firm’s site at

The Firm was actively involved on behalf of major clients in connection with each important statutory revision in the federal food and drug laws, including the 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and its major amendments, including —

the Pesticide Amendments of 1954,
the Food Additives Amendment of 1958,
the Color Additive Amendments of 1960,
the Drug Amendments of 1962,
the Animal Drug Amendments of 1968,
the Medical Device Amendments of 1976,
the Orphan Drug Act,
the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984,
the Generic Animal Drug and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1988,
the Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1988,
the Safe Medical Devices Act of 1990,
the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990,
the Prescription Drug User Fee Act of 1992,
the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act of 1994,
the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994,
the Animal Drug Availability Act of 1996,
the FDA Export Reform and Enhancement Act of 1996,
the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, and
the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997.

Our lawyers have advised or represented clients in a wide range of legislative matters at both the federal and state levels. We have prepared draft legislation and analyzed legislative proposals, including interaction with Congressional members and staff. We have prepared Congressional testimony and advised clients in connection with committee and subcommittee hearings. Our lawyers have advised clients on compliance with new statutory enactments, and represented trade association clients in rulemaking proceedings to implement new statutes. As the 104th Congress undertook to address the issues of general regulatory reform and more specifically FDA reform, firm lawyers played a major role in conjunction with food, drug and cosmetic industry trade associations and other clients in analyzing and drafting legislative reform proposals, and in preparing testimony for presentation at committee hearings.

Covington & Burling’s clientele amongst pharmaceutical and agriculture related firms includes:

GlaxoSmithKline, Monsanto, Merck, Warner-Lambert (Pfizer), Eli Lilly, The Balli Group

Covington for decades has been a preeminent antitrust advisor, regularly providing U.S. and EU antitrust advice to Rx and OTC pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology firms around the world in connection with mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, litigation, R&D collaborations, licensing transactions and other strategic transactions. We have been home to four former heads of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and two Chairmen of the ABA Antitrust Law Section - a unique distinction among law firms actively practicing in the antitrust area.


From Coca: Forgotten Medicine

Unmentioned in the firm’s web site is its long established activities as one of, if not unquestionably in every way the world’s largest, legal representative of such agricultural-commodity related industries in one way or another, of pharmaceutical and Tobacco (cigarette) interests.

Covington & Burling also represents every major American tobacco company, including Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., Lorillard Tobacco Co., Philip Morris Inc., and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co, as well as the now-defunct industry trade association, the Tobacco Institute. The firm helped develop and coordinate the Whitecoat Project, an attempt to keep controversy alive regarding the dangers of passive smoking by hiring scientists to back up and attempt to give credibility to the tobacco industry's point of view that second-hand smoke is not a health risk.

According to internal tobacco industry documents analyzed in 1999 by Public Citizen and the Center for Justice and Democracy, Covington & Burling was a principle organizer and funding conduit for tort reform efforts on behalf of the tobacco industry. Covington & Burling has acted as a pipeline to direct money from its tobacco industry clients to tort reform groups in the states and across the country. For example, in 1995, the tobacco industry allocated nearly $5.5 million to the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA), more than half of ATRA’s $10.2 million budget according to the Associated Press.8

A memo written by a Covington & Burling partner that year reveals the extent to which the law firm helped orchestrate the tobacco industry's tort reform agenda. Written to the industry’s "Tort Reform Policy Committee," the memo called for an expansion of efforts, including a "communications program … intended to enhance our ability to enact favorable legislation at both the federal and state level." The memo noted that "these media activities, to be effective, must not be linked to the tobacco industry."

Covington & Burling is also one of the largest contributors of pro bono work for a wide array of causes from Big Brothers/Sisters to medical marijuana (Therapeutic Cannabis), and has provided valuable legal assistance in a number of such cases, including that by that firm’s Partner Dr. Michael Michelson. This includes work for various tax exempt status Foundations dedicated to some issue or another, including the Drug Policy Foundation. Philanthropic and Grant-Making Organizations

The Firm’s lawyers are regularly sought out to advise on the creation, reorganization and funding of private foundations (including family and company foundations, as well as foundations affiliated with associations or other tax-exempt entities), supporting organizations and public charities and the use of charitable contributions to accomplish specific client goals. In addition, charitable remainder and charitable lead trusts, which require analysis of the federal and state income, gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax consequences of each structure, are used to achieve clients’ charitable, tax and family goals. Our clients include the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, the Packard Humanities Institute, Verizon Foundation and UTC Foundation. In one instance we represent affiliated grant-making organizations worth well in excess of $1 billion.

Covington & Burling’s practice with foundations is a long established connection, with the name Frederic A. Delano (Edward Burling’s bother in law by marriage), appearing amongst the 1909 founders of the Carnegie Institution of Washington D.C. (with Daniel Coit Gilman, Cleveland H. Dodge, Andrew Dickson White, and Elihu Root, Darius Ogden Mills and William E. Morrow), and in 1921 the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace was incorporated by Frederic A. Delano, Robert S. Brookings, Elihu Root, who became its first president, John W. Davis, Dwight Morrow, James T. Shotwell. Frederic A. Delano’s name appears as the 1924 founder of the influential Washington D.C. planning group “Committee of 100.”


Covington & Burling's work with foundations has included that with the Washington, .D.C. based Drug Policy Foundation, founded by American University professor Arnold S. Trebach with Kevin Zeese.

Covington & Burling has advised the Drug Policy Foundation.

1988-1989 Drug Policy Foundation Biennial Report- March 1990 Letter by D.P.F.'s Trebach and Zeese

The Drug Policy Foundation was created by people who were convinced that the excesses of the massive worldwide war on drugs were an evil that had to be openly opposed by good men and women everywhere. While the founders of the organization were Americans, they had sympathetic colleagues in many countries who urged tem on and joined with them in this effort. These citizens and officials constitute what may be termed what may be termed the loyal opposition to the war on drugs. They support the worldwide effort to control drug-related crime and corruption, to combat predatory criminal syndicates, to ameliorate the tragedies of drug abuse, and to improve public health. But hey oppose many of the extremist tactics and counter productive strategies now used in this effort.

The Foundation believes that peaceful methods offer the best hope for curbing drug abuse while preserving the constitutional rights of all. Through research, education, legal action, and public information programs, the Drug Policy Foundation hopes to delineate rational models of effective drug policy reform for the nations of the world. The first step is to convince the public and policy makers that opposition to the drug war is decent and humane.

Contrary to claims made by drug warriors, we in the reformist movement are not “pro-drug”. We are concerned about the negative health effects of drugs, but we see the problem aggravated by a prohibitionists policy. Drug prohibition provides criminals a thriving black market that generates obscene profits. These criminals uses their money to buy guns and bribes police. Overworked police fight a loosing battle with the drug gangs.

We in the movement are alarmed at the harsh, mandatory penalties for drugs. In some places, a rock or two of crack will land a user in prison for at least 10 years

The Foundation is not a legalization organization, even though many in the Foundation support outright legalization. The Foundation is concerned with a variety of issues, including education the public about the effects of drug use, preventing the spread of AIDS among drug users, allowing the medical use of currently prohibited drugs, allowing doctors to prescribe drugs as they and their patients see necessary, expanding the availability of drug treatment, creating more effective and less corrupt police forces, preventing the erosion of civil liberties, ensuring the proper use of drug tests in society, and developing social, instead of criminal, controls to prevent drug abuse.

The Foundation is an education, research and legal center. It publishes books, articles and newsletter; rewards people for outstanding achievement in the field of drug policy; responds to media and scholarly information requests; presents regular forums and annual international conference; and represents in court those wronged by the drug war.

The Foundation is a charitable corporation under the laws of the District of Columbia and section 501 ©(3) of the U.S Internal Revenue Code. Thus, all contributions to the Foundation at=re tax-deductable. To maintain its independence, the Drug Policy Foundation neither seeks nor will it accept government funding. The Drug Policy Foundation extends thanks to these persons and organizations who provided vital support during 1988-89. Special thanks go to our three largest contributors: the Chicago Resource Center and its president, Richard Dennis, and executive director, Mary Ann Snyder; the Linnel Foundation in Boston, Mass., and the late Robert Linnell; and Anne “Petey” Cerf of Lawrence, Kan. Their support was and continues to be invaluable to the work of the Foundation.

While the Drug Policy Foundation has outstanding counsel in Kevin Zeese, the leading Washington law firm Covington and Burling accepted the Foundation as a pro bono publico [for the public good] client in regard to corporate and tax matters in 1988. We have received valuable advice from Marialuisa Gallozzi, the Covington and Burling associate assigned to take primary responsibility for advising the Foundation. Having Covington and Burling in our corner is a source of great comfort.”

Notably, with the DPF's work involving drugs that were banned ostensibly based on beliefs that such substances were too risky, the attorney-adviser has her fields of promenance in practices in food, drug and insurance industry law.

Marialuisa ("ML") Gallozzi is a partner in the insurance coverage and food and drug practices.

Her insurance advisory practice focuses on: negotiating settlements of insurance coverage disputes; advising policyholders on the insurance aspects of transactions; negotiating and analyzing terms of policies, including clinical trials, patent and other specialty coverages; and representing policyholders in claims against insolvent and runoff insurers in the United States and abroad, and state guaranty funds. She also provides food and drug advice to manufacturers of medical devices, over-the-counter drugs, and dietary supplements. [bold added]

Ms. Gallozzi is a managing partner for Legal Personnel at the firm, with responsibility for associate issues. She served as an Associate Ombudsperson and co-chaired the summer associate program from 2004 to 2006.

[Her activities include:]

  • Advised Sotheby's on placement of its E&O coverage.
  • Represented a major American food supplier in complex novation transaction involving workers compensation policies.
  • Advised a clinical trials organization on coverage under its clinical trials policy.
  • Represented a multinational corporation seeking coverage for an employee dishonesty claim involving a foreign subsidiary.
  • Represented a medical device manufacturer in dealings with FDA concerning a product recall and subsequent investigation.
  • Represented a financial services company in recovering for its property and business interruption losses caused by the September 11 terrorist attacks.
  • Negotiated numerous settlements with domestic and foreign insurance carriers securing coverage for silicone breast implant, IUD, heart-valve, asbestos, and environmental claims.

Honors and Rankings

  • Chambers USA, leading Insurance - Policyholder lawyer (2007-2008)
  • Guide to the World’s Leading Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers, Legal Media Group/Euromoney (2006)
  • The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers (2007)


Presentations and Speeches

  • "Settlement Credits and Excess Insurers," Mealey’s “All Sums: Reallocation & Settlement Credits” Conference (November 2005)
  • "The Food Industry’s View About the Development of Plant-Made Pharmaceutical and Industrials," USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum: Ensuring a Healthy Food Supply (February 2004)
  • "Insuring Biotech Risks," American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee CLE Seminar (March 2003)
She is highly regarded within insurance law, so described as:
Rising star Marialuisa Gallozzi enters the tables in recognition of her vast experience in asbestos, silica, pharmaceutical and other coverage claims, in addition to insurer insolvencies. Described as “an expert on London insolvency matters and schemes of arrangement,” she works with US, Bermuda and London market insurers and captive insurers. Peers consider her “an intellectually strong negotiator and adviser with excellent judgment.”

"[She] focuses on representing policyholders in claims against insolvent insurers, an area where she is “really making a name for herself.”

No elaboration is given about what Trebach or Zeese term the 'valuable advice' that she gave the Drug Policy Foundation.

Obama AG From Covington & Burling

Covington & Burling - Bio - Eric H. Holder Jr.

Obama Asst AG Breuer Also From Covington & Burling

Covington & Burling - Bio - Lanny A. Breuer

Drug Policy Foundation Washington, D.C. Legal Connection

Drug Policy Foundation Was Advised By Covington & Burling Food and Drug Attorney

Covington & Burling - Bio - Marialuisa S. Gallozzi