The end of the year is a time both for reflection and looking ahead. Please read my words below with a critical mind and a generous heart. I'd welcome your thoughts on what we're planning for next year and I'd deeply appreciate your to the Drug Policy Alliance today.
It's an especially good moment right now because an anonymous major donor has agreed to match, dollar-for-dollar, all membership contributions to the Drug Policy Alliance through the end of the year. When you make a gift by December 31, 2006, your gift will go twice as far toward ending the war on drugs!
I'm excited about the prospects for significant reform in 2007. The Democratic victories a few weeks ago bode well for our movement. Some of the worst drug war zealots are no longer the chairs of powerful Congressional committees, and some of our best allies are now in key leadership positions. This gives us the chance to shift from almost constant defense to creative offense on .
In , Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer has promised to take some bold steps on reforming the draconian Rockefeller drug laws, and both Lieutenant Governor-elect David Paterson and Attorney General-elect Andrew Cuomo have worked closely with us in recent years.
In , recently re-elected Governor Bill Richardson has told us he will work hard to make sure medical marijuana becomes legal in in 2007.
In both Governor Corzine and key legislative leaders are supportive of much of our agenda. I am hopeful we will finally win our multi-year battle to legalize needle exchange this month and move on to other important issues next year.
In , some of our closest allies will occupy leadership positions in the legislature, and there's reason to hope that Governor Schwarzenegger will hew a little closer to his libertarian and politically moderate instincts.
Sometimes I wonder how we can make real progress with so many other important issues competing for attention. The war in . Global warming. Immigration. The budget and trade deficits. Health care. Terrorism. Growing income inequality. You name it. But then I remember that the drug war is fueled by media and political hysteria and that prospects for reform are often best when quiet pragmatism replaces demagoguery.
We're fighting hard, on many fronts, to roll back the drug war and promote drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. In , we're fighting in both the legislature and the courts to defend Prop 36, the treatment-instead-of-incarceration law that DPA drafted, put on the ballot and won six years ago. It now ranks as the most significant piece of sentencing reform in the country since the repeal of alcohol Prohibition.
In we helped pass a sentencing reform package that significantly lessens sentences for simple drug possession. In , we've worked in coalition with our allies to defend and strengthen 's medical marijuana law. We just played an important role in 's passing a law that makes it the largest U.S. city to go on record in support of ending marijuana prohibition. In September, the board of supervisors approved a DPA-led effort to allow for the distribution of naloxone, a drug that saves lives by reversing the effects of opiate overdose. This year DPA introduced Beyond Zero Tolerance, our model for cost-effective drug education in high schools.
In 2006 our media office issued nearly 100 press releases and organized 11 press conferences, generating hundreds of stories, and dozens of radio and TV interviews, editorials, and favorable columns. Our 80 e-action alerts generated thousands of faxes, letters and calls to state legislators and members of Congress.
These are just a few of the victories and efforts you have been a part of in 2006.
We grow stronger and more effective every year, but we need your help to become the sort of powerful advocacy organization that is not just respected but feared. In 2007 DPA will press for medical marijuana legislation in , , , and . We'll fight and win some battles to reduce drug sentences and promote harm reduction policies. We'll expand our work with the PTA and others to keep kids safe by providing reality-based drug education. And we will keep pushing the envelope by advocating for an end to marijuana prohibition, and vigorous debate on all drug policy options including legalization, and for our core principle that no one deserves to be punished solely for they put into their body.
Your immediate support, along with the matching gift offer, will help us win these and other heartening successes.
I'm proud to have you with us. I hope you'll take a moment right now to renew your membership or become a member of DPA. We really need your support now more than ever.
PS: Please don't forget about the Matching Grant - your contribution will be doubled, dollar for dollar. If you would like your contributions to be tax-deductible, please .So please give generously - and give now! Thank you.