Students Vs The Drug War  

Students Vs The Drug War  
Posted by FoM on February 24, 2001 at 09:21:29 PT
By Phil Zabriskie 
Source: Rolling Stone 
Now That Washington Has Turned Its Repressive Drug Policies Against Students, A Growing Campus Network Is Fighting Back. When Shawn Heller and Brian Gralnick joined Students for Sensible Drug Policy in 1998, as sophomores at George Washington University, SSDP was just a handful of students from Rochester Institute of Technology. One of them, Kris Lotlikar, was working in Washington, D.C. at the Drug Reform Coordination Network. 
Heller met Lotlikar and started the second SSDP chapter, which soon included Gralnick. Their focus was decriminalizing marijuana for medical purposes - until Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind,) decided to target college students with drug convictions who were seeking federal loans. In October 1998, a law was passed as part of the Higher Education Act that prohibits any applicant with an adult drug conviction from receiving federal financial aid. No other group, including convicted murders, was similarly excluded. The Drug War had just hit college campuses. On the strength of that single issue - and with the backing of DRCNet - SSDP has grown into a national organization with more than seventy chapters, carrying out a sophisticated campaign to repeal the law. They have successfully pushed thirty-five student governments, the United States Student Association and the Association of Big Ten Schools to call for repeal of the HEA provision. Most notably, Heller, now SSDP's national director, and DRCNet campus coordinator Steven Silverman have met with Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.), both of whom pushed repeal bills last year. Neither bill passed. Neither was expected to. The debates were a victory for SSDP, however - an affirmation of sorts. In crafting their legislation, both congressmen leaned heavily on SSDP for information and research. They echoed many of SSDP's main arguments: The law singles out low-income families and, due to racial inequities in sentencing, nonwhite students; there is no like provision for any other crime; the federal government requires no such disclosure when it awards grants or subsidies to businessmen. In his remarks before the House Workforce and Education Committee, Scott mentioned the SSDP-led Coalition for HEA Reform campaign by name. The environment for drug policy reform hasn't improved with the new president, but the battle will continue this spring, when Frank plans to reintroduce his bill. Heller says SSDP members are preparing for the long haul. They are working with drug-policy reform veterans such as the Lindesmith Center - Drug Policy Foundation and cooperating groups such as DanceSafe and the Center for Women's Policy Studies - trying to branch out wherever they can, especially in areas where issues overlap. There are positive signs on the academic front, as well. SSDP chapters have collected roughly sixty signatures on an educator sign-on letter, including that of Hampshire College President George S. Prince Jr., the first university head to come out against the provision. "Education is the best antidote we have to most of our social ills," Prince says. "Why do you want to exclude people from the education system when trying to keep them in the system is the most important thing you can do?" Other potential allies include financial-aid administrators. The law "just doesn't seem to be all that much related to helping poor people go to school, which is my main mission," says Todd Morriss, a financial-aid administrator at Southwest Missouri State University. Terry Hartle, of the American Council on Education, says, "The mere fact of having made a mistake, most likely at a young age, over a drug violation shouldn't preclude someone getting student financial aid. SSDP, he says, is "working on the grass-roots or campus level, and that's where pressure on this needs to come from." Through mid-January, the Department of Education had processed more than 9.3 million financial-aid applications for the 2000-01 school year. Nearly 8.5 million (91 percent) were approved. All of 8,056 (.09%) have been denied aid under the Souder amendment. One of those is Marisa Garcia, a sophomore at California State University at Fullerton, who was deemed ineligible for student aid after having been convicted of marijuana possession (her penalty was a $415 fine). She and her mother had been counting on the loan. Marisa was able to stay in college only after she upped the number of hours she works at a local flower shop to thirty a week, and her mother took out a loan against her house. Marisa recently started an SSDP chapter at her school. "I'll stand up for everyone else who doesn't know there's someone fighting for them." The Republican congressmen who supported the bill insist that taxpayer money should not be wasted on drug users. In a faxed statement to Rolling Stone, Ron Paul (R-Tex.) wrote, "I believe it is completely legitimate and justifiable for Congress to restrict access to federal aid for those with substance-abuse problems. To do otherwise would support the erroneous notion that people have a right to taxpayer funds regardless of their actions." Souder let numerous phone calls seeking comment on his bill go unreturned. He has asserted elsewhere that federal financial aid "is a privilege, not a right." If SSDP is to succeed, one of its many tasks will be to parry the favorite accusation of its pro-Drug War opponents - that drug-law reformers are closet legalizers. Last October, Brian Gralnick attended a taping of CNN's Crossfire on the George Washington campus. He asked the hosts about the HEA drug provision. He drew limited responses from them, but after the show he approached Office of National Drug Control Policy spokesman Robert S. Weiner, who was in the audience. Their conversation quickly became a policy argument. Then Weiner said, "What are you, on drugs?" "The only drug I had that day was MSG in my Chinese food," Gralnick wrote later. Weiner says Gralnick accosted him while he was leaving with his wife, that "his head was darting back and forth, and he was coming at me in a very irrational way.... He did look a bit unstable. So., bid deal." About SSDP, he says, "All they want to do is legalize drugs." Some minds will not change. SSDP, though, has to identify those that might, be they students or elected officials. Barney Frank, SSDP's best ally on the Hill, says the students should keep the pressure on. "I hope people won't be discouraged because it's not likely to succeed right away," he says. "We've made some gains already, and if people keep it up, I think we'll ultimately get rid of the whole thing." News Article Courtesy Of MapInc. Rolling Stone (US) Author: Phil Zabriskie Published: February 24, 2001Copyright: 2001 Straight Arrow Publishers Company, L.P. Address: 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104-0298 Fax: (212) 767-8214 Contact: letters rollingstone.comWebsite: Forum: Articles & Web Sites:SSDP: - DPF: Washington U. President Endorsed Marijuana FAFSA War on Drugs Articles - SSDP
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Comment #14 posted by kaptinemo on February 25, 2001 at 09:10:46 PT:
LOL!!! 4D, you're dangerous!
I've long felt that laughter in the face of many antis would do more destruction to their bombastic positions than all the bullets and bombs ever could.It's a shame that the movement has such genuine talent in it, yet has such limited resources. I could think of any number of satiric commercials which would skewer anti positions like the methane-swollen windbags they are. And some that would cut to the one asking why children (Alberto Sepulveda, Esequiel Hernandez, et al) are being killed by DrugWarriors - in order to save them. a few good commercials on the order of Harry Browne's campaign ones about the WoSD would send the antis into a much-deserved 'hissy-fit'.
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Comment #13 posted by Heretic on February 25, 2001 at 08:13:35 PT:
Incarceration, Yes! - Education, No!
Ron Paul (R-Tex.) wrote, "I believe it is completely legitimate and justifiable for Congress to restrict access to federal aid for those with substance-abuse problems.Legislators who feel like Paul should also refuse to build and maintain prisons for pot smokers at public expense. Where is the consistency?Public funds are being spent. What is the public getting for their money?
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Comment #12 posted by CannabisMythsExposed on February 25, 2001 at 06:22:24 PT:
Message for Souder
"In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness".  (Matthew 23:28)
Cannabis Myths Exposed
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Comment #11 posted by NiftySplifty on February 25, 2001 at 01:03:39 PT
It's like watching a commercial!
Thanks for the entertaining pill-spot-spoof!I pictured people playing Frisbee and touch-football in the park, spattering their friends with oily discharge. I think there is an antidote for Calmexilcromdian poisoning...but, the efficacy studies at UCSD haven't shown it to actually work for anything.Nifty...
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Comment #10 posted by dddd on February 24, 2001 at 22:06:49 PT
Cults of Disinformation and Persuasion
Thank you Lehder.The more I think about it,the more similarities I can seebetween the two worlds.......The worlds of mind control through respected disinformation!Think about it?yes........That's what I said;...Respected Disinformation,,,and the disease, Respected Disinformation Syndrome,also known as RDS....RDS affects 97% of the people in the world........You should see your doctor if you are one of the many people who suffer from RDS...........Only your doctor will be able to tell if you have RDS,,,,,,,,,and he may be able to help.....     The family of people and friends here at Murke-Pifzer have a solution for people who are suffering from RDS..................Calmexilcromdian!Calmexilcromdian may help to block the symptoms of those seeking relief from RDS,,,so you can awaken to a whole new world!!!!!!!!.....................Calmexilcromian is not for everyone,,,you should not use Calmexilcromdian if you are taking html inhibitors..........(some side effects may include bewilderment,confusion,blind acceptance of unqualified perceptions,insomnia,mild strokes,and unaware oily bowel discharges.....most of thesewere suffered by those given sugar pills).......Calmexilcromdian!.....................Welcome Back!,,,,,,,,,,,Welcome Home!,,,,,........................................................................................................................................................................................................ 
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Comment #9 posted by Lehder on February 24, 2001 at 20:32:08 PT
CULT of Drug Warriors
These people are far more devious than their innocent followers believe.They are the political version of CULT leaders.Innocent and well meaning citizens are drawn intothe web of falsehoods,and the dialects of deception.There are numerous similarities,and paralells to the mind control tactics religious cult leaders....The public finds it hard to believe the hidden agendas of those in power...ddddYou have made a very keen comparison, dddd. A lot of "Good Amerikans" have some experience with cults - like having kids stuck in the Moonies, or, a better example yet, having been in an abusive drug "treatment" program. I wish more could see how they've been brainwashed.
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Comment #8 posted by dddd on February 24, 2001 at 19:59:51 PT
A Darker Side
>"Because what does he do? When cornered, he descends to the hoary old cesspool of epithets, decrying those who take issue with the policies he is supporting as 'being on drugs'."To add to Kaps excellent and colorful points about the pols,and their seemingly unnoticed absence ofcoherent response to people who question the WoDs.I think it gets even worse.It gets even worse when we realize that not one of the pols can seriously claim to beunaware of the facts about what the WoDs,and the absurd injustice of their laws,andpolicy.These people are far more devious than their innocent followers believe.They are thepolitical version of CULT leaders.Innocent and well meaning citizens are drawn intothe web of falsehoods,and the dialects of deception.There are numerous similarities,and paralells to the mind control tactics religious cult leaders.I believe comments from Observer,and others have made this point here in the past.The public finds it hard to believe the hidden agendas of those in power...dddd
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Comment #7 posted by anomynous on February 24, 2001 at 15:50:10 PT
it's 'it's'
it is misery: it's
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Comment #6 posted by anonymous on February 24, 2001 at 15:45:47 PT
its misery
miserableness is not a word
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Comment #5 posted by jAHn on February 24, 2001 at 12:22:36 PT
...He wouldn't have wanted to administer his life to such Irresponsibility and miserableness.
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Comment #4 posted by jAHn on February 24, 2001 at 12:19:16 PT
What gets at me Most...
...Is the fact that these very anti-people are probably the few who voted for "Dubya"Bush. How come THEY cannot have the argument thrown in their face about Drugs? Isn't voting for a druggie just saying, "Go do Drugs?"- In their "intellectual"(huh) streams of thought!? George W. Bush is the dumbest person to have control of SUCH responsibility! He CANNOT even talk or READ properly...That poster boy for Cocaine!...I hope people learn a BIG lesson off of this creep...That it's OK for a Society to Scrtunize and Demonize a user of Marijuana, but place a Coke-Sniffin' Hillbilly that sells the MOST advertised CRAP on this planet in an Office all of his own! The Freedom Fighters don't stand a chance against THAT kind of army... Being a Prohibitionist is THE EASIEST JOB IN THE WORLD to affix yourself to...and the pay...ooooh the PAY-OUT and PAY-OFF's! who would EVER want to quit!!? "What's so hard about Lying to a Bunch-o-Defenseless and Muted "American" minds? And, more importantly, International minds, as well...ahhh, THEY have no NEWSChannels!..We can pass ANYTHING off to 'em." ("RAPE!") President of "The United States" is the Highest Federal position ONE can affix their mantra to. Yet, Our Highest Federal "Officer" has an Illicit Drug "track record" longer than Timothy Leary's. Only if we had applied Dr.Leary's name to the ballot, Anti-Career would have talked it down with fire and lies. 
first page
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Comment #3 posted by RAS JAMES RSIFWH on February 24, 2001 at 12:02:54 PT
Ron Paul said tax payers shouldn't have to support student drug users...ok fine! then pot smokers shouldn't have to pay taxes to support politicians who take money from big tobacco like the republicans do.Tupac Amaru Shakur said it all years ago about the drug war and the poor...yes! rappers sounded the alarm first; "Instead of a war on poverty, they have a war on drugs; just so they can bother me...that's just the way it is."  Now they're bothering all of us. so instead of critizing rap, america tune in...for many of the young brothers and sisters have been keeping it real.Americans didn't listen; and now we, all, face a real danger...the loss of our freedoms. "If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning.....I'd hammer out danger. I'd hammer out warning. I'd hammer out love between our brothers and our sister..."Give all praise and thanks to JAH RASTAFARI! 
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Comment #2 posted by sm247 on February 24, 2001 at 10:42:21 PT
Higher Crime Act
 No other group, including convicted murders, was similarly excludedWhat kind of message is this sending to the people asouder geee sounds like it is okay to kill somebody.Souder let numerous phone calls seeking comment on his bill go unreturnedAs any constituent of asouder would know he doesn't return calls or write back to his constituents the only reason he is still in office is his last opponent was trying to censor radio stations Then Weiner said, "What are you, on drugs?" Maybe this guy had too many martinis with his breakfast screw him
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on February 24, 2001 at 10:28:38 PT:
What are they on, noetic blockers?
Isn't it strange that this was the best they could do?'Then Weiner said, "What are you, on drugs?"'Here is a man who is supposed to represent the office responsible for articulating the government's rationale behind drug prohibition. You would think, wouldn't you, that the position required poise, balance, an intellectual acumen worthy of Sophoclese...and a degree of personal decorum which precludes name-calling? In short, an 'elder statesman' type. Someone who can explain to us clearly and understandably why the clause in the program discriminates against convicted drug users...but not, say, murderers caught red-handed. Proven rapists. Child molestors. Well, we haven't gotten our money's worth of salary out of this guy, that's for sure.Because what does he do? When cornered, he descends to the hoary old cesspool of epithets, decrying those who take issue with the policies he is supporting as 'being on drugs'.I sometimnes think that perhaps the antis are themselves suffering from some sort of drug usage. That perhaps, without their knowledge or consent, their food is being doctored with chemicals which interfere with higher mental functioning. Rather like Dave Barry's "stupid ray'. It's the only way I can account for someone who is supposed to be so intelligent making such noises.
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