PRDI/VCL Forum History


Topic and Speakers

Thursday April 11, 1996,

New York Society for Ethical Culture, New York City

Towards a Compassionate and Cost-Effective Drug Policy*

The Honorable Robert W. Sweet, Speaker

Kathy H. Rocklen, Esq., Moderator

Ernest Drucker MD, Mr. Robert Gangi, Carol Weiss MD, Ms. Julie Stewart, Mr. Richard Stratton, Panelists

Thursday May 2, 1996,

New York Society for Ethical Culture, New York City

Towards a Compassionate and Cost-Effective Drug Policy

Chief Nicholas Pastore, Speaker
The Honorable Carrie Saxon Perry, Speaker

The Honorable Milton Mollen, Moderator

Robert Newman MD, Mr. Alan Clear, Robert Silbering Esq., Panelists

Tuesday May 21, 1996

New York Society for Ethical Culture, New York City

Alternative Drug Policy in Baltimore

The Honorable Kurt Schmoke, Mayor of Baltimore, Speaker

The Hon. Jack B. Weinstein, Moderator

Prof. Derrick Bell Esq., David Condliffe Esq., Joseph McNamara Ph.D., Bart Majoor Ph.D., Susan Powers Esq., Panelists

Thursday Oct. 17, 1996

All Souls Unitarian Church, New York City

Teens, Guns and Drugs

Professor Alfred Blumstein, Speaker

Charles Adler Esq. Moderator

Joel Brown Ph.D., Eddie Ellis MA MS, Prof. Lynn Zimmer, Panelists

Thursday Nov 14, 1996,

All Souls Unitarian Church, New York City

Truth in Government: Drugs, AIDS and the CIA**

Joycelyn Elders MD, Speaker

Leonard M. Marks Esq., Moderator

Dan Baum, Dawn Day, Ph.D. Alfred W. McCoy Ph.D., Panelists

Wednesday May 14, 1997

New York Society for Ethical Culture, New York City

Drugs and Prison - Is Justice in Jeopardy?

Hugh Downs, Speaker

Eric Sterling Esq., Moderator

Steven Donziger Esq., Thomas Eddy, John Flateau, JoAnne Page Esq, Panelists

Thursday, June 5, 1997
Waterbury Bar Association, Waterbury Connecticut

A Rational Discussion of Current Drug Laws***

The Honorable Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, Speaker
Timothy C. Moynahan Esq. Moderator

State Rep. Mike Lawlor, State Sen. Toni Harp, State Rep. Ellen Scalettar, Mark L. Kraus MD, State's Attorney John A. Connelly, Commissioner Thomas A. Kirk MD, Panelists

Thursday, Dec. 4, 1997
Association of the Bar of the City of New York, New York City

Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Charles D. Adler, Moderator

The Hon. Charles S. Haight, The Hon. Phyllis Skloot Bamberger, Terrence P. Farley Esq., Jonathan P. Caulkins Ph.D., Julie Stewart, Steven Donziger Esq., Panelists

Thursday, Jan. 29, 1998

Suffolk University Law School, Boston

Is the Drug War Forever?

Anthony Lewis, Moderator

Professor John Flym, The Hon. Nancy Gertner, Dr. David Lewis MD, The Honorable Elliot Richardson, Panelists

*The entire forum was published in the Fordham Urban Law Journal (Vol. XXIV, Number 2, 1997).

**A half hour video of this forum has been distributed and shown nationwide on cable television.

***Katzenbach's speech was published in The Fordham Urban Law Journal (Vol. XXV, No., 3, 1998).



Events Supported by PRDI in 1998

 The following were public events in 1998 that were sponsored by other organizations, but which PRDI played an important role in terms of publicity, press relations, and other forms of technical support.

University events:

  • "Marijuana myths, marijuana facts." A series of university lectures by Dr.'s John Morgan and Lynn Zimmer on the subject of marijuana's health risks and harm reduction. Forums were held at New York University (February 18), Penn State (April 7), and Western Connecticut University (April 22).
  • "Does marijuana have medical value?" Lecture by Dr. Lester Grinspoon at Amherst College, Massachusetts (April 22).
  • "Know your rights: What you need to know about police stops and searches." Lectures by PRDI Board member and attorney Stanley Neustadter at Columbia University (February 23), and New York University (February 24).
  • "Medical marijuana and drug war politics." This was a PRDI organized forum at Hunter College, held on May 7, 1998. Panelists included Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, Kildare Clarke, M.D., J.D., Robert Kampia, John Sheridan, and Iris Cruz, M.Ed.
  • "The need for an open-ended discussion regarding the Drug War and its consequences." Forum featuring speakers from the VCL held at Western Connecticut State University (November 18).

Drug Policy Reform Group of Minnesota forums:

  • "Mandatory minimum sentences, are they worth the cost?" (February 5)
  • "Harm reduction and alternative drug policy" (April 27).
  • "'Just Say No' doesn't work: Healthy alternatives to current youth drug prevention programs" (September 2).
  • "Why is drug policy a healthcare issue?" (September 24).
  • "Drug policy on the state level: Options from Connecticut" (November 25).

Miscellaneous events:

  • "You know what I'm saying?" A public forum and film showing of a new documentary about a needle exchange program in the South Bronx (December 8). This event was organized by the film's producer and the Center on Violence and Human Survival at John Jay College.
  • "Drug testing and your job." A forum organized by the Marijuana Reform Party of New York (October 22).
  • "Legalize the medical use of marijuana: Current state of law and medicine." A public forum organized by the Civil Rights Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association (December 1).

PRDI also produced and distributed several dozen copies of its new "Forum Manual" to local groups around the country, to assist them in organize additional events next year.