Thought this was interesting reading. As always, "Hope springs eternal"... -------- Forwarded message -------- Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 09:47:51 -0400 From: Charles Thomas To: email@example.com Subject: STRAT: Great news! UUA's drug policy Statement of Conscience passes intact Dear friends, I'm still here in Quebec City, where the UUA passed the drug policy reform Statement of Conscience yesterday. While a few UUs made a sincere attempt to defeat it and/or delete the most favorable parts, UUDPR successfully persuaded the necessary two-thirds majority of delegates to vote to pass it intact. There were some minor word changes in some parts, so the final version will not be on our web page until this evening. However, the best excerpts appear in our news release, below. We'll be faxing our release tonight and pitching reporters on Monday. Please flood your local newspapers with letters-to-the-editor this week. (To learn the most effective ways to right letters-to-the-editor on the drug issue, see http://www.mapinc.org ). Many thanks to all of you who helped to make this possible. Now the real work begins: public advocacy of the UUA's positions, including outreach to other denominations and working with the drug policy reform movement on local, state and national endeavors. Our new full-time communications director, Rose Deavers, and I will be e-mailing and calling you when there are important opportunities for you to take action! Peace, Chuck Thomas, executive director Unitarian Universalists for Drug Policy Reform (UUDPR) http://www.uudpr.org 301-270-1209 For Immediate Release June 24, 2002 Unitarian Universalist Association Breaks New Ground in Drug Policy Reform Denomination Calls for an End to the Drug War: "Remove Criminal Penalties" June 22, 2002 The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations passed a Statement of Conscience calling for "Alternatives to the War on Drugs." The religious denomination representing more than 1,000 congregations throughout the United States declared, "We do not believe that drug use should be considered criminal behavior." The comprehensive Statement of Conscience was passed at the 2002 General Assembly of the denomination (headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts) by a two-thirds majority of delegates from the congregations. Recognizing that "the consequences of the current drug war are cruel and counterproductive," the Statement calls for "alternatives that regard the reduction of harm as the appropriate standard by which to assess drug policies." The denomination's Principles recognize the "worth and dignity of every person" and advocate "justice, equity and compassion in human relations." The Statement of Conscience declares that the punitive, coercive drug policies of the United States violate these core religious principles. Specific proposals include: -- "Establish a legal, regulated, and taxed market for marijuana. Treat marijuana as we treat alcohol." -- "Remove criminal penalties for possession and use of currently illegal drugs, with drug abusers subject to arrest and imprisonment only if they commit an actual crime (e.g., assault, burglary, impaired driving, vandalism)." -- "Drug use, drug abuse, and drug addiction are distinct from one another. Using a drug does not necessarily mean abusing the drug, much less addiction to it. Drug abuse issues are essentially matters for medical attention. We do not believe that drug use should be considered criminal behavior." -- "Make all drugs legally available with a prescription by a licensed physician, subject to professional oversight. End the practice of punishing an individual for obtaining, possessing, or using an otherwise illegal substance to treat a medical condition," and allow "medically administered drug maintenance" as a treatment option for drug addiction. This groundbreaking Statement of Conscience goes beyond what any other religious denomination has thus far adopted. Unitarian Universalists plan to encourage other people of faith to follow suit. "We are hopeful that this powerful Statement will pave the way for other denominations to join the movement for more just and compassionate drug policies," said Charles Thomas, executive director of Unitarian Universalists for Drug Policy Reform, the denomination affiliate that facilitated the congregations' study and development of the Statement of Conscience. "Drug abuse can be a serious problem for some people, but it should be dealt with as a health issue, not a crime."