Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Tommy McDonald 510-338-8827</p>
LOS ANGELES— Will California, Washington State or Colorado vote to legalize marijuana in 2012? What are the solutions to the national overdose crisis that takes more lives than car accidents or gun violence? Why do blacks go to jail for drugs at 13 times the rate of whites even though they use and sell drugs at similar rates? What are the results of Portugal decriminalizing all drugs 10 years ago? What can be done about the 50,000 prohibition-related deaths in Mexico since President Calderon ramped up the Mexican drug war five years ago?
People will gather to answer these questions and many more at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Los Angeles, November 2-5. The Drug Policy Alliance is co-hosting the 2011 International Drug Policy Reform Conference with the ACLU, the Harm Reduction Coalition, International Drug Policy Consortium, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Marijuana Policy Project, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Open Society Foundations, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. For a full list of partners, more information on the conference, and registration details: Visit http://www.reformconference.org/
In the past decade, voters and legislators have enacted more than 150 drug policy reforms on issues ranging from medical marijuana to treatment-instead-of-incarceration for nonviolent drug law violations. Building on the momentum from these victories, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, former two-term Republican Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson, California NAACP director Alice Huffman, Mexican poet and movement leader Javier Sicilia, and travel writer Rick Steves will join more than 1,000 drug policy experts, health care and drug treatment professionals, a half-dozen elected officials, law enforcement, students, and formerly incarcerated people from around the country and across the world will gather to promote alternatives to the failed war on drugs.
For the first time in the Reform Conference's two-decade-long history, there will be a mass public protest. It will acknowledge this year's 40th anniversary of the war on drugs, demand health-centered alternatives, and celebrate this incredible, diverse movement. "No More Drug War: A Rally & Concert to End the War on Drugs" is taking place Thursday, November 3rd at the Levitt Pavilion in historic MacArthur Park. The event will feature international reform leaders, live music, spoken word artists, and a host of gourmet food trucks
There will be more than 50 panels and roundtable discussions at the conference – below is a small sampling. For the full list of panels, including descriptions and speakers, see: http://www.reformconference.org/program/sessions
State of the Movement: What's it Going to Take to Make Marijuana Legal?
While support for making marijuana legal is growing rapidly and California's Proposition 19 came close to win¬ning last year, we still haven't reached the tipping point. What can we expect to see on the ballot in 2012 and beyond? Leading advocates and political consultants will discuss what it will take to win at the state and national level, and share insights from the most extensive mari¬juana reform public opinion research ever conducted.
Elected Officials: Hearing from our Representatives on Drug Policy Reform
Elected officials are pivotal to drug policy reform, yet they are often the last ones on board. What are the best arguments to use to persuade elected officials that drug use should be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal justice issue? How can we build bipartisan coalitions for drug policy reform? How can we best support our elected allies as they fight for drug policy reform? And what are the lessons of recent legislative victories and defeats?
Innovative Approaches to Medical Marijuana Distribution and Services
Patients need improved access to high-quality medical marijuana, support services, and increased civil and legal protections. What are the obstacles? How are different jurisdictions and providers addressing these issues? And how do state and national leaders perceive this issue?
Know Your Rights: How to Deal with Law Enforcement and NOT Get Arrested
The Bill of Rights provides each of us with certain inalienable rights. Flex Your Rights' Know Your Rights training incorporates real-life scenarios designed for easy application during police encounters. Learn practical methods for retaining and protecting your rights during car stops, street encounters and when the police knock at your door.
Sex, Drugs, and Building a Movement
Sex workers and drug users are both criminalized for what we do with our bodies, yet we don't always work together. What are the connections between the sex worker advocacy movement and the drug policy reform movement? How have the laws criminalizing drug use and drug users been adapted and used against sex workers? And how can we build stronger connections across these two movements to reach even larger victories?
Innovative Policy Responses to Overdose
The number of overdose deaths has climbed dramatically in the last decade, mostly because of prescription drugs. Accidental drug overdose is now the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Significant federal funding is directed toward preventing HIV/AIDS and homicide, but virtually no federal dollars are designated for overdose prevention – even though overdose kills more people than murder or HIV/AIDS. What is the significance of the successful passage of 911 Good Samaritan legisla¬tion in several states, and the expansion of access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone? And what other effective policy responses are available to stem this easily preventable epidemic?
Making Sense of Drug Testing
Despite drug testing's many limitations, it is used extensively in the criminal justice system, and its use is expanding into other areas such as driving under the in¬fluence of drugs checkpoints and welfare eligibility. This panel will examine the scientific limits of drug testing, emerging trends in the use of these tests, and strategies to curtail their use.
The Portuguese Decriminalization Model in Global Context
Portuguese drug policy is widely heralded as an international model. How do we situate the Portuguese experience within a broader international context to examine its significance for European and global drug policy? Is Portugal a model that other countries can replicate? Should we be concerned about the Dutch back-tracking? What's going on in Greece, where the Prime Minister recently introduced a decriminalization proposal? Is Denmark emerging as a new leader? And what's the evolving role of the European Union?