New international coalition to end Drug War

(From L) Andrew and Steve DeAngelo, John Davis, Henry Wykowski, Jamen Shively, Vicente Fox, Dale Gierenger, Dale Sky Jones and Nate Bradley announce a new coalition.

A former Latin American head of state, a current US state legislator, a former Microsoft executive, the founder of the largest dispensary in the US and the chancellor of the country’s premier cannabis university met with activists and businesspeople from all over the west coast to plan a new international push to end the global War on Drugs. On July 8, 2013 Jamen Shively, the Microsoft alumnus who plans to build the first American brand of high-grade cannabis, brought together members of the cannabis community from Mexico to Washington state in an all-star symposium held at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco in anticipation of a larger summit to be held in Mexico July 18-20.

Former Mexican president Vicente Fox (R) discusses legal possibilities with Arcview Group president Troy Dayton.

Topping the bill was former Mexican president Vicente Fox, who befriended Shively in 2001 and appeared at his side to plead for a ceasefire in the gruesome and devastating violence which has plagued his home country for decades but especially in the seven-year period since he left office in 2006. “Since 2006, young men in Mexico have been dying at a rate of forty per day,” Fox lamented in English, referencing a body count which has now exceeded the number of American dead in the Vietnam War. “Mexico has to find a way out of this trap.”

John Davis, Henry Wykowski and Jamen Shively discuss the end of the War on Drugs.

Shively, who speaks fluent Spanish and has spearheaded past efforts to bring internet literacy to Mexican children, spoke with visible emotion as he described the drug-related body count in Mexico, which has topped 86,000 since 2006. “We are acting with urgency,” he said, his voice breaking. “It is better to apologize for a hasty press conference today than to apologize at forty funerals tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that.”

Dale Sky Jones of Oaksterdam University spoke alongside her son Jackson.

Also present was Steve DeAngelo, who as executive director of the embattled Oakland dispensary Harborside Health Center intimately understands federal opposition to ending the nation’s longest-running war. Dale Sky Jones, executive chancellor of Oaksterdam University, pleaded for an end to cannabis prohibition as a strategy to better protect her young son who might one day fall victim to the drug war’s violence in absence of reform. The symposium also brought together Dale Gierenger, director of California NORML, and John Davis, co-founder of Seattle’s Hempfest and Northwest Patient’s Resource Center among about a dozen other dispensary representatives and activists. All reiterated their opposition to the drug war and called for cannabis regulation as a way to help curb the violence.


(From L): Activist Michelle Aldrich, entrepreneur Troy Dayton, Washington state Representative Roger Goodman, LEAP member Nate Bradley, NWPRC operator John Davis, Oaksterdam chancellor Dale Sky Jones, Harborside co-founder Steve DeAngelo, former Mexican president Vicente Fox, entrepreneur Jamen Shively, attorney Henry Wykowski, CalNORML director Dale Gierenger, Harborside director Andrew DeAngelo and Buds & Roses president Aaron Justis were among the dozens of luminaries who attended.

DeAngelo and Shively announced their intentions to join the American delegation to the next international symposium on the drug war hosted at El Centro Fox, the Guanajuato-based think tank named for the former Mexican president, which will take place over July18-20 and will also draw delegates from Latin American states and Portugal, which decriminalized all drugs a decade ago and has since seen significant reductions in youth use of illicit drugs. — West Coast Leaf News Service

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