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August 23, 2004 - The New York Times

Warm Welcome for Republicans in a Bid to Reach Drug Détente

By Ian Austen

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

Republicans may be apprehensive about what kind of reception they will receive when they arrive in New York next week for their national convention, but one unlikely group -- the Drug Policy Alliance -- has decided to greet them with open arms.

The alliance, which supports, among other things, easing laws involving marijuana and other drugs, has been raising money to take out advertisements in The New York Sun to welcome the Republican delegates for the four-day convention. (See the ad here, PDF Format)

"I think there were a few people who were a little weirded out that we were making this kind of pitch and welcoming the Republicans," said Ethan Nadelmann, the group's executive director.

"But there are many other people who think we'll get a major breakthrough on drugs by a 'Nixon goes to China' initiative from a Republican."

Besides welcoming the conventioneers, the ads will quote public remarks made by prominent Republicans -- including Arnold Schwarzenegger, George P. Shultz and Milton Friedman -- that Mr. Nadelmann said indicated support for changes in the drug law.

The alliance, which draws most of its membership from, as Mr. Nadelmann puts it, "the progressive end of the spectrum," selected The Sun because its conservative bent is shared by many Republicans and because the paper plans to distribute copies to convention delegates.

An e-mail appeal from the group had raised, as of late Friday, $10,289.50 from 202 donors to cover the cost of the ads.

"When we do an e-mail blast, sometimes we're lucky to get $1,000," Mr. Nadelmann said. "In this case we got $10,000 in 48 hours."

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