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2001 Cognitive Liberty News

Nov. 21, 2001
Sonia Francine Demands Cognitive Liberty
SAO PAULO, Brazil, Nov 20 (Reuters) - A popular Brazilian television host who was fired for admitting she occasionally smoked marijuana was unrepentant on Tuesday, saying she was not a criminal as her dismissal re-ignited national debate on pot laws. "[T]he fact that a person consumes a substance should not turn that person into a criminal, even if that substance is bad for them or is bad for their health," said Francine, who says she smokes very little, usually at parties or friends' homes. >> Read More

Nov. 20, 2001
UK Drug Body Says Punishment Does Not Stop Drug Use

LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - People should not face criminal charges for possessing small amounts of any illegal drug, a leading UK drugs research organisation said on Tuesday. "The evidence shows that criminal sanctions do not stop people using drugs," DrugScope Chief Executive Roger Howard said in a statement. >> Read More

Nov. 9, 2001

Researcher Finds Most People Use Drugs Without Problems

(c) The Dominion (Wellington, New Zealand), Nov. 2001
Recreational drug use is here to stay and we need to get our heads around this and stop thinking about prohibiting drugs. Regulation and education is what is needed, not prohibition, says Peter Cohen, sociologist and associate Professor at the Centre for Drug Research at the University of Amsterdam, as he eschews a cup of coffee for a glass of sparkling mineral water. >> Read More

Nov. 7, 2001
Federal Court Hears Rastafarian Case
(c) Honolulu Star Bulletin, Nov. 6, 2001
Rastafarians smoke marijuana in a rite as common as communion for Catholics, an attorney of the American Civil Liberties Union said after a first-of-its-kind hearing before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. >> Read More

Nov. 6, 2001
Five Years of Struggle: 
The DEA vs. Doctors & Patients

On November 5, 1996, five million California residents voted for and passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act. This Tuesday marks the five-year anniversary of the monumental decision by California residents to let doctors, not police officers, decide on appropriate medication for individual patients. Despite a growing nationwide consensus that marijuana is a safe medicinal herb, the DEA still vilifies the plant and federal agents continue to target patient-users. >> Read More

Nov. 5, 2001
FDA Approves MDMA Research
The FDA has approved a protocol submitted by the Multi-disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), authorizing a study on the safety and possible benefits of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for sufferers of post traumatic stress disorder. >> Read More

Nov. 1, 2001
Groups Call for Liberty and 
Security in September 11th Aftermath

WASHINGTON -- A diverse coalition of 45 humanitarian, religious, human rights and civil liberties organizations including the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics, Alliance for Justice, Amnesty International USA, and Human Rights Watch, today released a set of recommendations for responding to the September 11th attacks. The groups stressed the importance of abiding by human rights and humanitarian law in acting to bring the perpetrators to justice and preventing future attacks. >> Read More

October 25, 2001
Drugging or Torture of 9-11 Suspects 
Breaks Constitution, Law, and Treaties

Amidst reports that the FBI is considering the use of forced drugging and even torture to make suspects in the September 11 attacks divulge information, the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE) is calling on the FBI and other government agencies involved in the investigation to respect US and International law, which strictly forbids such invasive and brutal police tactics. >> Read More

October 22, 2001
1.6 Million Drug Arrests Made in 2000
According to a report released Monday by the FBI, 1.6 million arrests were made for drug offense violations in the year 2000, a slight increase (0.5 percent) over 1999 figures.
   For the sixth straight year, more people were arrested for drug offenses than for any other offense category. In fact, in the year 2000 more people were arrested for drug offenses than for murder, rape, arson, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, and auto theft combined. >> Read More

October 22, 2001
Judge Disqualified for Illegally Altered Thinking

Frances M. Campbell, Esq.
Judges who smoke marijuana are not qualified to preside over capital trials, so said the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last Friday. While this conclusion is not-at-all surprising coming from the federal judiciary, Summerlin v. Stewart, 2001 U.S. App. LEXIS 21733 (9th Cir., October 12, 2001) raised some very interesting questions about the nature of “judging,” and whether any person is truly qualified to be a Judge. >> Read More

October 16, 2001
“Cognitive Liberty” Testimony Heard 
In New Zealand House of Representatives 

The New Zealand House of Representatives is currently considering amendments to the country’s Human Rights Bill. On October 10, 2001, Kevin O’Connell and Blair Anderson appeared before the Committee to testify that any “human rights” legislative amendment, while supported in principle, was inherently violated by New Zealand’s existing drug prohibition laws. >> Read More

October 15, 2001
Alert! Say No to John Walters as Next Drug Czar

The Senate is currently considering whether to confirm John Walters, as our nation's next drug czar. John Walters, is too divisive, too insensitive, and too extreme to lead national drug policy. Walters is an ardent drug warrior who supports harsh sentences for non-violent drug offenders, opposes medical marijuana, supports escalation of the Latin American drug war, and denies that racial disparities exist in the criminal justice system. Please act immediately to tell your Senator to vote against John Walters. >> Read More & Act now!

October 10 2001
Report Shows 1 Million Americans
Currently Use Psychedelics

On Thursday October 4, 2001, the US government released the results of the 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, the primary method of estimating the prevalence of illicit drug, alcohol and tobacco use in the US. According to the Survey, last year roughly 1 million Americans were current users of "hallucinogens," meaning that they had used LSD, PCP, peyote, mescaline, mushrooms, or MDMA (Ecstasy) during the month prior to the interview. This number represents 0.4 percent of the population aged 12 and older. >> Read More

October 4, 2001
Salvia Divinorum Defense Fund Established
Responding to the fact that the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), is currently considering whether to outlaw the plant Salvia divinorum, the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE) has established the Salvia Divinorum Defense Fund for the purpose of initiating a number of new projects aimed at protecting the fragile legal status of this power plant. >> Read More 

October 3, 2001
Dr. John C. Lilly Dies at 86
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dr. John Cunningham Lilly, who championed the study of
interspecies communications during a career that probed the mystery of human
consciousness, has died. He was 86. >> Read More

October 2, 2001
This [War on Terrorism] 
Isn't Like The War On Drugs

David Grinspoon & Lester Grinspoon

This new war, we are being told, will not be like the other wars, when we knew where to drop our bombs. TV commentators repeatedly make the analogy to the "war on drugs." Unfortunately there is a valid comparison between these two struggles that goes beyond the one which the pundits have mentioned. Their point is that in each the enemy is shadowy, nonlocalized, shifting, and hard to target or eradicate. All true. But there is a reason why the war on drugs is unwinnable and, unfortunately, the same may become true of this conflict. >> Read More

September 27, 2001
Drug War Redux:
The Attorney General's Misguided
Model For The War Against Terrorism

Sam McDonald, © Reason Magazine September 27, 2001
Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft and an army of Justice Department officials have descended on Congress this week, lobbying hard for a utility belt of new police powers that they say would allow them to fight the critical war on terrorism. Disturbingly, Ashcroft's rhetoric reveals an ignorance of the immediate past instead of a vision for the future. In an attempt to show just how benign the War on Terror will be for law-abiding citizens, Ashcroft has chosen an odd model: the War on Drugs.  >> Read More

September 13, 2001
DEA's Library Revealed
A Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Smoking Gun, shows which magazines, journals, and books the agency monitors, ignores, or doesn't know about. >> Read More

August 30, 2001
Government’s War on Raves Went Too Far,
Louisiana Court Rules

The American Civil Liberties Union scored a victory last Friday when U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous ruled that prosecutors cannot force the organizers of a rave dance party to ban pacifiers or glow sticks. >> Read More

August 20, 2001
Ecstasy Experts Want Realistic Messages
Brian Vastag,  © Jnl of the American Medical Assoc.
As the popularity of the drug ecstasy (MDMA) continues to climb --11% of high school seniors have tried it, according to a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) survey -- behavioral researchers are recommending control strategies that may seem antithetical to ever-expanding law enforcement efforts. Instead of focusing on eradication and punishment, these social scientists take another tack: they encourage harm reduction that acknowledges the realities of ecstasy. >> Read More

August 6, 2001
Illinois Governor Signs Harsh New Ecstasy Law
Today, Illinois Governor George H. Ryan signed into law one of the nation’s harshest laws concerning possession of the popular drug Ecstasy (MDMA). Under the new law, a person convicted of possessing just 15 doses of Ecstasy in Illinois will receive a mandatory minimum sentence of 4 years in prison, up to a maximum of 15 years.  >> Read More

August 3, 2001
Salvia Divinorum Monitor
Salvia divinorum is a potent psychoactive plant traditionally used by the Mazatecs for divination. Presently, the plant is legal worldwide, but recent news coverage (July 2001) calling attention to the fact that the plant is both psychoactive and legal has heightened the interest of governments in controlling the plant. In an effort to monitor the changing climate concerning Salvia divinorum, the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics, has established the Salvia Divinorum Monitor, a central Internet site with the latest news concerning the plant's legal status. Visit the Salvia Divinorum Monitor Online.

July 27, 2001
Ram Dass Joins 
CCLE's Board of Advisors

The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics is very honored to welcome Ram Dass as the newest member to its Board of Advisors. Ram Dass, a.k.a. Richard Alpert, is a globally loved spiritual teacher who has influenced millions with his books and lectures. He is the author of eight books and the founder of the Hanuman and Seva Foundations. His 1971 classic Be Here Now was an international bestseller. >>Read More

July 24, 2001
New Federal Anti-Ecstasy Bill Introduced  
In conjunction with a 2-day NIDA-directed Ecstasy conference, Senator Bob Graham (D-Fla), on July 19, 2001, introduced the “Ecstasy Prevention Act of 2001.” An initial analysis by the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE) shows that this new bill, while giving lip-service to generating more scientific data about the health consequences of MDMA (Ecstasy), directs over 22 million dollars to increased law enforcement, media propaganda, and the creation of a new MDMA drug test. >> Read More

July 20, 2001
Update on Europe's Changing Drug Policy
With U.S. drug policy becoming ever more moralistic, punitive, and coercive, parts of Europe are changing course. Several countries have recently reworked their Prohibition policies, and just a few days ago the head of the British prison system called for the legalization of all drugs. >> Read More

July 13, 2001
Legislation Introduced to 
Create U.S. Department of Peace

Washington, DC— On Wednesday July 11, Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced legislation to create a cabinet level agency dedicated to peacemaking and the study of conditions that are conducive to peace. 
   ”The time for peace is now,” Congressman Kucinich said. “At the dawn of a new millennium, there is no better time to review age old challenges with new thinking that peace is not only the absence of violence, but the presence of a higher evolution of human awareness with respect, trust and integrity toward humankind. Our founding fathers recognized that peace was one of the highest duties of the newly organized free and independent states. But too often, we have overlooked the long-term solution of peace for instant gratification of war. >> Read More 

July 9, 2001
Salvia Divinorum in the New York Times
On July 9, 2001, the New York Times ran a story about Salvia divinorum, noting that it as a legal hallucinogenic plant that is currently gaining in popularity, and listing several Web sites where the plant, leaves, and extracts can be purchased. The article quoted a DEA spokesperson who said that while the plant is not currently controlled, the DEA is aware of it and is currently "collecting information on it." It thus appears to be only a matter of time before the US government will move to place Salvia divinorum in Schedule I. >> Read More

July 9, 2001
CCLE Announces 
Opening of the Cognitive Liberty Salon

The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE) is pleased to announce the opening of the Cognitive Liberty Salon, a virtual environment (a.k.a., e-mail discussion list) where interested people can comfortably meet to discuss the many facets of cognitive liberty and autonomy. 

July 2, 2001
Columnist Advocates "Cognitive Liberty" 
on CNN's Talkback Live!

Today, on a CNN Talkback Live show titled "Why All The Agony Over Ecstasy," Deroy Murdock of the Scripps Howard News Service argued the cognitive liberty position, and mentioned the Alchemind Society, stating, among other things:

"But the whole point I'm making is that I endorse something that I call Cognitive Liberty. A group called the Alchemind Society has been promoting that concept. And that is that we ought to let adults enjoy, a variety of states of consciousness if they wish."
>> Read More

July 2, 2001
Portugal Reforms Its National Drug Policy

Starting today, Portugal introduces Europe's most liberal drug policy. Beginning July 1, 2001, there will be no criminal penalties in that country to use and possess not only cannabis but also heavy drugs such as cocaine, heroin and amphetamines. >> Read More

June 21, 2001
In Reply to Ambassador Davidow
Richard Glen Boire, J.D.
In his speech "A Closer Look at the Legalization of Drugs," Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow does his best to discredit the growing number of citizens in the US and Mexico who are calling for an end to the so-called “Drug War.”
As the Executive Director of a civil rights organization focused on cognitive liberty, I write to comment on what Ambassador Davidow calls the “philosophical argument that the government does not have a right to say to the citizens how they should conduct their private lives.” >> Read More

June 20, 2001
Tracing the Synapsis of Our Spirituality

In Philadelphia, a researcher discovers areas of the brain that are activated during meditation. At two other universities in San Diego and North Carolina, doctors study how epilepsy and certain hallucinogenic drugs can produce religious epiphanies. And in Canada, a neuroscientist fits people with magnetized helmets that produce "spiritual" experiences for the secular. >> Read More

June 12, 2001
Supreme Court Sets Limits on 
Police Use of High-Tech Surveillance Equipment

In an important decision setting a boundary on when police may use certain high-tech surveillance equipment, the US Supreme Court ruled on Monday that police must obtain a search warrant before using an infrared heat-detecting device to peer into a person’s home. The decision has important implications for cognitive liberty. >> Read More 

June 7, 2001
CCLE Welcomes 
Adam Richard Fish as the Summer Fellow, 2001

The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE) is happy to announce that Adam Richard Fish will be serving as our first Summer Fellow. To learn more about Mr. Fish, or our Summer Fellow Program, click here.

May 22, 2001
ONDCP Live Web cast on MDMA (Ecstasy) 

On Thursday, May 24, 2001, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), is holding a live videoconference on the topic “What’s All the Rave About?: What You Should Know About Ecstasy.” Viewers will have the opportunity to call or fax questions to the experts. Please take this opportunity to call in and let the government know how you feel about its policy of prohibiting MDMA and making criminals out of otherwise law-abiding people who use MDMA without causing harm to others. >> Read More 

May 21, 2001
Dutch Court Rules in Favor 
of Ayahuasca-using Santo Daime Member

Arno Adelaars © May 21, 2001

AMSTERDAM- On Monday, May 21 2001, Geraldine Fijneman, head of the Amsterdam branch of the ayahuasca-using Santo Daime church was acquitted by the court. Judge Marcus and his two colleagues decided that, although it was proven that Ms. Fijneman had owned, transported and distributed a DMT-containing substance, her constitutional right to Freedom of Religion must be respected. >>Read More

May 15, 2001
Abandoned on the Battlefield:
US Supreme Court Rejects
Medical Necessity in Marijuana Distribution Case

On Monday, May 14, 2001, the United States Supreme Court held that organizations that grow or distribute medical marijuana to sick people, may not raise a medical necessity defense to violating the federal Controlled Substances Act. >>Read More

May 7, 2001
This is Your Brain on God:
Neurotheology and Cognitive Liberty

The new field of neurotheology is examining what specifically happens within the brain when a person has a “religious” or “spiritual” experience. Early research is showing that not only does a person’s brain activity change in particular areas while that person is experiencing a religious epiphany, but such epiphanies can be occasioned, for some people, by stimulating various parts of the brain by various means. These findings underscore the importance of permitting individuals unfettered access to the full-spectrum of consciousness, and the freedom to achieve various states of mind by various means. Newsweek’s May 7, 2001 issue features a good summary of what’s 
new in neurotheology. >>Read More

April 10, 2001
Report Finds Ecstasy Bill Flawed
A report released today by a California civil rights organization concludes that a proposed bill regarding MDMA or “ecstasy” may impede research on the drug’s medicinal potential, and also pose enforcement problems that could lead to civil rights violations, especially of young people attending raves. >> Read More

April 7, 2001
You Hip To The Entheogen Revolution?
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A lot of ink has been spilled over civil rights battles. Blood too, for that matter. And pontificators have given us our last civil rights fights for a long time. They say affirmative action is the last battle. They say gay rights is the last battle. They might even say that political correctness is a civil rights battle. But what has not been addressed is the freedom of consciousness movement.   >>>>
Read More

April 5, 2001
California Moves to Schedule MDMA (Ecstasy) and add mandatory minimum for using or being "under the influence" of the drug 
The California legislature is currently considering a bill (AB 1416) that threatens to: (1) make MDMA (Ecstasy) a Schedule I controlled substance in California, and (2) make it a crime to be “under the influence” of MDMA anywhere in California. A conviction for using or being under the influence of MDMA would result in a 90-day mandatory minimum sentence in county jail. >>Read More

March 29, 2001
Freedom of Religion versus the Psychotropic Substance Treaty: Notes on the Ayahuasca Court Case in Holland
AMSTERDAM - On Friday 23 March 2001, two church leaders of the ayahuasca-using Santo Daime church appeared in court in Amsterdam on charges of possessing and transporting a Schedule 1 drug. The two church leaders, Geraldine Fijneman, leader of the Amsterdam branch of the Brasilian based Santo Daime church, and Hans Bogers, head of the The Hague branch were arrested on 6 October 1999, in a chapel in the city of Amsterdam during a church service.  >> Read More

March 26, 2001
U.S. Supreme Court Set to Hear First Ever
Oral Argument on Medical Marijuana

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, March 28, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument from attorneys who say that federal law permits a “necessity defense” for people with severe illnesses who use medical marijuana. The Court’s ruling in U.S. v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative (No. 00-151) will become the first opinion by the nation’s highest court on the topic of medical marijuana. >> Read More

March 21, 2001
Guidelines Stiffened for Selling Ecstasy
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Sentencing Commission stiffened guideline penalties for selling the drug ecstasy, more than tripling potential jail terms to over 6 years for people caught selling 800 pills. >> Read More

March 7, 2001
Censorship is Latest Drug War Tactic
as Government Seeks to Put "Rave"
Dance Promoters in Prison

A local music promoter and a concert hall manager who face up to 20 years in prison and $500,000 in fines simply for staging the electronic dance music events known as "raves" said today that the charges against them amount to censorship and have asked a federal court here to dismiss the case. >> Read More

March 2, 2001
The War on Some Drugs: 
The Crushing of Cognitive Liberty

The A pharmacy fills the other corner. This pharmacy even carries morphine, a potent opiate sedative. And yet, geographically bracketed by Molson and morphine, any resident of my apartment building who merely possessed a marijuana cigarette would be a criminal subject to arrest. >> Read More

March 1, 2001
Shakespeare's Pipes Found to Contain Residue of Cocaine, Myristic Acid, Tobacco and Hints of Marijuana
Dr. Francis Thackeray, a paleontologist at the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria has just published the findings of his analysis of residue found in Shakespeare’s pipes. The analysis revealed residue of cocaine, myristic acid, tobacco, and hints of marijuana.  >> Read More

February 27, 2001
Ecstasy Sentencing Update II
The U.S. Sentencing Commission has agreed to hear public comment at its upcoming March 19 hearing, and has reconsidered its initial proposal to equate MDMA to heroin under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. >> Read More

February 5, 2001
Ecstasy Sentencing Update
Today, the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics submitted written comments to the U.S. Sentencing Commission with regard to the emergency amendments concerning MDMA (Ecstasy). With only about 72 hours of notice approximately 85 people submitted public comments to the Commission through the CCLE, totaling well over 200 pages. >> Read More

January 31, 2001
Ecstasy Sentencing Alert!
Ecstasy = Heroin?

The Federal Government intends to increase the punishment for MDMA (Ecstasy) offenses, so that Ecstasy is treated (for the purposes of federal sentencing), the same as heroin. The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics is coordinating the submission of public comments to the Sentencing Commission. Indications are that the Commission genuinely seeks input on the question of how federal Ecstasy offenses should be punished.  >> Read More