Monday, December 10, 2007

International Drug Policy Reform Conference

I got back last night from the Big Easy where I attended the Drug Policy Alliance International Conference.

Thursday I had breakfast with a man who was locked in the New Orleans city jail when Katrina hit. He watched as the flood waters rose to the top of the third bunk. His life flashed before his eyes and he saw his mother crying over his dead body. The water stopped before it reached the ceiling and the next day the inmates taken to a bridge were they were left without food and water for 5 days. Then they were loaded on buses and taken to other jails and prisons around the state. This guy spent 4 months in a jail in Shreveport and then was released, never charged with a crime. He's now running for mayor of NOLA.

Most of the day was spent hanging out with Elvy Musika. We attended a panel discussion on psychedelics. Next we heard an address by the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime .

In between these sessions I shared the sacrament a number of times with different other conference participants. Later someone gave me a "special" capsule. About an hour after taking that I went to my room and floated above my bed for a bit.

Then there was a discussion by a panel of Mexican drug policy reformers. Next there was a special treat, 20 reefer song videos, starting with Cab Calloway and extending to rap; presented by Dr. John Morgan.

Friday morning I heard a medical marijuana panel and then played hooky from the conference and went to find my friend who lives in N.O. and plays music on the streets. That night I went to see him play at the Dragon's Den on the edge of the Quarter.

On Saturday there was an excellent panel discussion with a number of presenters from around Europe, who talked about drug policies in their countries.

After the plenary session a brass band played and then we all followed them outside and marched down Bourbon Street and back up Royale.

There were 1200 conference attendees, the biggest drug policy reform conference in history. We spent three days learning, sharing, networking, and having a large time.


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