THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) STUDY BACKS SAFE-INJECTION SITE'S WORK
Pubdate: Fri, 25 May 2007
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Author: Rod Mickleburgh
Use of Centre Increases Rate of Addicts Entering Detox 30%, London- Based Medical Journal Finds
VANCOUVER -- On the eve of the expected unveiling next week of the federal Conservatives' long-waited anti-drug strategy, a significant new study has endorsed the benefits of Vancouver's controversial safe- injection site for heroin addicts, a pilot project many fear Ottawa will end.
The study, published today in the London-based medical journal Addiction, found that use of the city's supervised injection facility known as Insite increased the rate of addicts entering detox by 30 per cent.
As well, the study determined users of North America's only safe- injection site were more likely to reduce their heroin intake and pursue formal treatment programs such as methadone once they left detox.
The dramatic findings appear to echo precisely what the ultimate arbiter of the facility's fate, federal Health Minister Tony Clement, has said Insite needs to demonstrate to prove its worth: lower drug use and success in fighting addiction.
They also fly in the face of an earlier RCMP report critical of the site, asserting there is "considerable evidence" that allowing addicts to shoot up safely increases the use of illegal drugs.
Despite the study, however, Insite backers continue to worry that the distaste of many Conservatives for harm-reduction programs, which treat drug addiction as a health problem rather than a criminal matter, will result in the centre's demise by the end of the year.
(2) MEXICO TO BOOST TAPPING OF PHONES AND E-MAIL WITH U.S. AID ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 25 May 2007
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Times
Author: Sam Enriquez, Times Staff Writer
Calderon Is Seeking to Expand Monitoring of Drug Gangs; Washington Also May Have Access to the Data.
MEXICO CITY -- Mexico is expanding its ability to tap telephone calls and e-mail using money from the U.S. government, a move that underlines how the country's conservative government is increasingly willing to cooperate with the United States on law enforcement.
The expansion comes as President Felipe Calderon is pushing to amend the Mexican Constitution to allow officials to tap phones without a judge's approval in some cases. Calderon argues that the government needs the authority to combat drug gangs, which have killed hundreds of people this year.
Mexican authorities for years have been able to wiretap most telephone conversations and tap into e-mail, but the new $3-million Communications Intercept System being installed by Mexico's Federal Investigative Agency will expand their reach.
The system will allow authorities to track cellphone users as they travel, according to contract specifications. It includes extensive storage capacity and will allow authorities to identify callers by voice. The system, scheduled to begin operation this month, was paid for by the U.S. State Department and sold by Verint Systems Inc., a politically well-connected firm based in Melville, N.Y., that specializes in electronic surveillance.
(3) RESEARCHERS PRESS DEA TO LET THEM GROW MARIJUANA ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 24 May 2007
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2007 The Washington Post Company
Author: Marc Kaufman, Washington Post Staff Writer
Armed with a legal decision in their favor, scientists and advocates of medical research on marijuana pressed the Drug Enforcement Administration yesterday to allow them to grow their own, saying that pot supplied by the government is too hard to get and that its poor quality limits their research.
The proponents said a DEA administrative law judge's recent ruling that it would be in "the public interest" to have additional marijuana grown -- and to break the government's monopoly on growing it -- had put them closer to their goal than ever before.
"The DEA has an opportunity here to live up to its rhetoric, which has been that marijuana advocates should work on conducting research rather than filing lawsuits," said Richard Doblin, president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which has fought for years for access to government-controlled supplies to test possible medical uses of marijuana.
"It's become more and more obvious that the DEA has been obstructing potentially beneficial medical research, and now is the time for them to change," he said.
(4) MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL PASSED ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 24 May 2007
Source: Providence Journal, The (RI)
Copyright: 2007 The Providence Journal Company
Author: Steve Peoples, Journal State House Bureau
PROVIDENCE -- Pamela Bailey sat quietly on the wooden bench inside State House Room 212 as the politicians approved the bill named for her son.
She would say later that she was grateful, but that she didn't need a state law to remember her firstborn.
"We didn't have to have it in the limelight. He'll always be with me," she said of Edward O. Hawkins, whose name will forever appear on the title of the state's medical marijuana law. It was Bailey's sister, Sen. Rhoda E. Perry, D-Providence, who suggested the name.
Hawkins, who spent the last months of his life in Rhode Island hospitals and a nursing home, died from complications related to AIDS in 2003. He was 41.
"It was a terrible, terrible death. Absolutely horrible," said his mother. "He was skin and bones. Nobody could even realize."
While the bill to permanently extend the medical marijuana law passed the House and Senate earlier in the month, the legislation cleared its final procedural hurdle yesterday after the full House passed the identical Senate version. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee also voted yesterday to approve the House version of the bill, although the House vote makes subsequent Senate action unnecessary.
The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act is now headed to the governor's desk, where it will be vetoed, according to the governor's spokesman, Jeff Neal. But there is sufficient support in the House to override the governor -- 51 of 75 members endorsed the measure yesterday. Forty-five votes, or three-fifths, are required to overturn a veto.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
After media all over the nation hyped the scariest aspects of the
absurd "flavored meth" story in recent weeks, finally a reporter
tried to uncover the truth behind the story. And, in reality, not
much truth was found by Bobbi Mlynar of the Kansas Emporia Gazette,
just a lot of rumor, innuendo and assumptions. If there was only
more prohibition-related journalism like this. Another fairly
balanced story about student drug testing was published in the Los
Angeles Times. Also last week, politicians from around the country
show their weakness on no-brainer drug reforms, again.
After media all over the nation hyped the scariest aspects of the absurd "flavored meth" story in recent weeks, finally a reporter tried to uncover the truth behind the story. And, in reality, not much truth was found by Bobbi Mlynar of the Kansas Emporia Gazette, just a lot of rumor, innuendo and assumptions. If there was only more prohibition-related journalism like this. Another fairly balanced story about student drug testing was published in the Los Angeles Times. Also last week, politicians from around the country show their weakness on no-brainer drug reforms, again.
(5) DRUG RUMORS SPUR NATIONAL ALERT ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 18 May 2007
Source: Emporia Gazette, The (KS)
Copyright: 2007 The Emporia Gazette
Author: Bobbi Mlynar
Rumors circulating nationwide about flavored methamphetamines have not yet been confirmed by lab tests. Until they know with certainty, however, law enforcement, school officials and anti-drug groups across the country are taking it seriously.
The Carson City, Nev., Sheriff's Office is credited with the initial seizure of flavored meth known as "strawberry quick."
Sgt. Darrin Sloan, who leads the Special Enforcement Team in Carson City, said that the new meth came to light during a buy set up with an informant who had worked with sheriff's officers on about 10 cases. The informant said that he could buy what he called "pink meth" from one of the suspects the SET was investigating.
"He purchased it. He brought it back to us and said the guy called it 'strawberry meth,'" Sloan said in an interview Wednesday night. "When I looked at it, I'd never seen anything like it. I don't know how they did it."
Sloan said the pink-colored meth was alleged to have come from Sacramento.
"It's actually been the only case here," he said.
The crime laboratory has not yet confirmed the presence of flavoring in the seized meth. The lab will have the report ready when the case goes to trial.
"They have a machine they can put it in and they can break it all down," he said.
Sloan said the "strawberry quick" did not have the scent of strawberry.
"To me, it just smelled like meth. ... It's got to be bad, no matter what they put in it," he said.
Ephedrine, anhydrous ammonia and battery acid are among the ingredients used to manufacture methamphetamines.
Harrison said the lab has been doing surveys regularly to check for the presence of flavored meth.
"Nobody's seeing it," he said. "We've had a couple of colored drugs but nothing that really seems to be flavored."
Meth may be colored with food coloring and if it's purple, he said, it may have been colored by a pH imbalance from improper "cooking."
(6) PUT TO THE TEST ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 21 May 2007
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Times
Author: Shari Roan, Times Staff Writer
More Schools Are Asking Students to Take Drug Tests, Saying It Gives Them a Reason to 'Say No.' Addiction Experts Contend Results Are Unreliable.
ONCE a year or so, Roy Tialavea is summoned from his classes at Oceanside High School to report to the athletic director's office bathroom. He receives a urine specimen cup and heads for a stall.
The 17-year-old is unruffled. Random drug testing has been going on for two years at the school. He's used to it. "I don't use drugs so I don't have to worry about getting caught," he says.
His mother, Robyn, thinks her son steers clear of drugs and alcohol. But, she says, no parent can know for sure what a teenager is up to.
"If he doesn't like testing, I really don't care," she says. "I think it's a wonderful tool. It creates the fear that they could be tested."
Call it the 2007 version of "just say no."
Concerned with high rates of adolescent substance abuse, hundreds of middle schools and high schools nationwide have quietly begun testing some or all students for drugs -- to the dismay of some health and addiction experts.
Although less than 5% of all high schools have such programs, testing is now common in schools throughout Texas, Florida, Kentucky and parts of California. In Southern California, many private high schools have implemented drug testing, as have several public school districts in Orange County and San Diego. Nationwide, as many as 1,000 schools have established programs, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
But health officials, by and large, oppose school-based drug testing. NAADAC, the Assn. for Addiction Professionals, has released a statement critical of such programs. And in March, the American Academy of Pediatrics cautioned against random school-based drug testing until more research is completed. The two groups are among those who say testing is not reliable enough, violates trust between adults and teens and is not set up to deal effectively with students who have positive results.
Though adults debate testing's merits, students at some high schools hand over urine specimen cups as comfortably as they turn in late library books.
(7) NO HELP FOR NEEDLE-EXCHANGE LEGISLATION ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 17 May 2007
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2007 Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division, Hearst Newspaper
AUSTIN -- A bill creating a needle-exchange program for drug users appears dead this session.
House Public Health Chairwoman Dianne White Delisi, R-Temple, said Wednesday that she won't bring the Senate-passed bill to a vote.
"I have not been persuaded that the public health benefits outweigh the concerns of many members, myself included, of providing needles for those that are using illegal drugs," she said.
Texas is the only state in the country that does not allow a needle-exchange program for drug users.
The House sponsor of the bill said she believes it would have passed the committee if put to a vote. "It's a sad day in the state of Texas that we do not have the opportunity in this Legislature to save lives," said Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio.
(8) GOVERNOR UNDECIDED ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 17 May 2007
Source: Times Argus (Barre, VT)
Copyright: 2007 Times Argus
Author: Daniel Barlow Vermont Press Bureau
MONTPELIER - Medical marijuana advocates are waiting to see what Gov. James Douglas does with a proposed new law expanding the state's program, with many hopeful he will allow it to become law without his signature.
Douglas, a Republican, took a similar stance three years ago when the Vermont Legislature passed the medical marijuana law allowing some patients with extremely serious illnesses to legally use and obtain the drug as a medication.
The new proposal would expand the law to include illnesses that are chronic, progressive or debilitating, such as severe arthritis or shingles.
Max Schlueter, the director of the Vermont Crime Information Center, the Public Safety Department division that overseas the program, said there are 35 people and six caregivers registered with the state to use marijuana.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
While the drug war is sometimes perceived as a steady source of
revenue for police, there is a point of diminishing returns. Just
ask the Tennessee sheriff who is considering selling his
department's helicopter, used primarily for marijuana spotting,
because of declining drug seizure-related revenue.
A pair of North Carolina police accused of corruption are losing
their jobs, but they won't be prosecuted, and their case seems to
screw up a larger federal corruption case. In Pennsylvania, police
are pressing some schools to allow drug dogs to perform searches
during school hours, but at least some school officials are wisely
holding out. Also last week, law enforcement officials don't even
understand why someone would be transporting 3,800 gallons of liquid
cocaine, and a court rules that police can't just slice open a teddy
bear without a proper warrant.
While the drug war is sometimes perceived as a steady source of revenue for police, there is a point of diminishing returns. Just ask the Tennessee sheriff who is considering selling his department's helicopter, used primarily for marijuana spotting, because of declining drug seizure-related revenue.
A pair of North Carolina police accused of corruption are losing their jobs, but they won't be prosecuted, and their case seems to screw up a larger federal corruption case. In Pennsylvania, police are pressing some schools to allow drug dogs to perform searches during school hours, but at least some school officials are wisely holding out. Also last week, law enforcement officials don't even understand why someone would be transporting 3,800 gallons of liquid cocaine, and a court rules that police can't just slice open a teddy bear without a proper warrant.
(9) DECLINING REVENUE FROM DRUG SEIZURES MAY GROUND HAWKINS COUNTY ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 22 May 2007
Source: Kingsport Times-News (TN)
Copyright: 2007 Kingsport Publishing Corporation
Author: Jeff Bobo
With revenue from the seizure of drug-related property on the decline, Hawkins County Sheriff Roger Christian said Monday he may have to chop the department's marijuana eradication helicopter from the 2007-08 fiscal year budget to avoid ending up in the red.
Between insurance, storage and maintenance, the helicopter costs the Hawkins County Sheriff's Office about $20,000 annually simply to possess before it even gets off the ground. Insurance is $9,300 per year alone.
During the current fiscal year, the sheriff's department was anticipating $75,000 in revenue from drug fines, court costs and seizures based on previous years. But instead that figure will come in at barely over $41,000 this year.
The biggest revenue difference is in property seizures. Two years ago, the HCSO netted 138,906 in seized property. Last year, that figure dropped to $49,147. In this current fiscal year with a little more than a month left to go, the department has netted only $15,000 in seized property.
Seizures, fines and court costs are all deposited in the department's drug fund. That overall revenue figure will have dropped from $175,565 in 2004-05 to about $41,000 in 2006-07.
Just a couple of years ago, there was more than $300,000 in the HCSO's drug fund. In recent years, however, the department has chipped away at the drug fund to balance its budget and meet rising operation costs, and Christian said it's currently down to almost nothing.
(10) 2 OF FIRED DEPUTIES WON'T BE CHARGED ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 17 May 2007
Source: Herald-Sun, The (Durham, NC)
Copyright: 2007 The Herald-Sun
Author: Brianne Dopart
DURHAM -- Two former Durham County sheriff's deputies fired in the aftermath of a drug-related sting at a Durham nightclub last October are not being held criminally responsible, but a third former deputy - -- the then-owner of the club -- has pleaded guilty to drug charges and will be sentenced Aug. 10. Former deputy Michael Paul Owens pleaded guilty last month to maintaining the La Zona nightclub at 2825 North Roxboro Road as an establishment for the sale of drugs and conspiracy to traffic cocaine, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Hairston said Wednesday. Hairston said Owens could be sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison.
Owens and six other men were arrested in an Oct. 13 raid at La Zona. Five ounces of cocaine were confiscated during the raid.
Owens is the only person to date to have been charged in connection with the alleged trafficking conspiracy. Hairston declined to say whether charges against more people will be filed.
The two former deputies who lost their jobs -- William "Keith" Dodson and Brad King -- had moonlighted as security guards at La Zona. They were fired after the raid for violating the Sheriff's Office secondary employment policy, Sheriff's Office Captain Paul Martin said Wednesday. Martin said the October raid cut short an undercover probe of alleged criminal activity at the club. That investigation was believed to be much more wide-ranging than the eventual drug case built against Owens and any possible unnamed co-conspirators.
Law enforcement reportedly made its move after evidence surfaced that Owens and perhaps some others were planning an armed robbery. Search warrants linked to the La Zona raid alleged that vehicles and people seen frequenting the club were known to be involved in a wide array of criminal activities, including "drug trafficking, armed robberies, murder ( for hire ), prostitution and human trafficking."
(11) K-9 DRUG SWEEP SPARKS DEBATE ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 17 May 2007
Source: Colonial, The (PA)
Copyright: 2007 Montgomery Newspapers
Author: Keith Phucas
In recent years, K-9 sweeps of schools by police have raised concerns that these searches may violate students' constitutional rights. While some area school districts have allowed sweeps, others have not embraced the practice.
In the past year, the Colonial Board of School Directors has resisted requests by local police to perform K-9 searches of hallway lockers in district schools.
A letter from the school board's attorney claims that merely having a suspicion and not hard evidence of student drug use on campus is an insufficient reason to let the police dogs routinely search school lockers.
While fear of unreasonable searches is a legitimate concern when the animals are used to randomly sniff a student's body, clothing or book bag, the same expectation of privacy does not apply to school lockers, which are school property, according to an analysis of a 1998 Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling involving a former Harborcreek High School student in Erie County.
The former student, Vincent Cass, was arrested in 1994 after a K-9 sweep of his school found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in his locker. Cass filed a lawsuit claiming the police action constituted an unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment and Article 1, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Though the trial court granted a motion to suppress the seized evidence, and the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the ruling, the state Supreme Court ultimately reversed the decision.
The justices ruled students' measure of privacy was limited regarding school lockers, and concluded from case law that dogs sniffing lockers was not even considered a search under the Fourth Amendment, according to a case summary by legal expert Mark Strezelecki.
In other words, K-9 sweeps of school lockers are legally permissible. However, the decision to allow the practice is up to each individual school district.
Plymouth Township police Chief Carmen Pettine has said random, unannounced sweeps with trained dogs would deter students from bringing drugs to local schools, but the Colonial School Board's strict guidelines make carrying out routine sweeps nearly impossible.
"The school [district] shut the door on me," Pettine said.
(12) 3,800 GALLONS OF LIQUID COCAINE SEIZED FROM VESSEL ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 15 May 2007
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2007 The Tribune Co.
Author: Elaine Silvestrini
TAMPA - The investigators of "Operation Panama Express" have seized an unprecedented shipment of 3,800 gallons of cocaine in liquid form aboard an Ecuadorian fishing vessel in the Eastern Pacific.
The milky-white syrup was in the fish hold of a vessel named the Emperador that was intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard on April 25, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph K. Ruddy, who oversees the Tampa-based international investigation of Colombian drug trafficking.
Ruddy said authorities have seen liquid cocaine before, but always in smaller quantities - smuggled in rum bottles, for instance. This, he said, was the largest seizure of the liquid form of cocaine by far. He said the substance has a strong odor similar to ammonia.
Ruddy said he did not know the purpose behind the liquid form, other than possibly to avoid detection by law enforcement. A chemist calculated that a gallon of the substance would make roughly 2 kilograms of powdered cocaine. Ruddy said authorities think the liquid was to have been processed into powder in Mexico before being shipped to the United States or another country.
(13) TEDDY BEAR SEARCH RULED ILLEGAL ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 16 May 2007
Source: Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA)
Copyright: 2007 The Press Democrat
Rohnert Park police should have obtained a search warrant before splitting open a teddy bear found to contain a half-pound of marijuana, a state appeals court ruled.
The bear was turned over to police in August 2005 by the owner of a mailing business who became suspicious after a man sent several overnight packages to different addresses in Wisconsin.
Gilberto Perez Pereira was arrested after calling to ask about the shipment.
Police found methamphetamine, shotgun shells and drug paraphernalia when they searched his home.
The charges were dismissed by Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Cerena Wong, who ruled that police should have obtained a search warrant before looking inside the bear.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Your commentator was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of an
activist for the regulated use of marijuana, and friend, Dr. Tod
Mikuriya. I remember working closely with him on the California
Marijuana Initiative of 1972 effort, visiting his home with the
basement silk-screen factory where his East Bay crew made posters
and t-shirts for the initiative. Then a few years later running into
him at the 4th of July event across from the White House, where he
was dressed in an Uncle Sam suit. We delivered boxes of legalization
petitions Tod had gathered to the White House gate. Of the two
obituaries below, the second more closely reflects his life.
Thursday saw the launch of a new statewide medical marijuana
initiative in the heartland. And in Canada a Charter of Rights and
Freedoms case continues at the lowest court level in B.C., but which
has the potential to eventually change not only Canada's medical
marijuana laws, but also the marijuana laws.
Your commentator was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of an activist for the regulated use of marijuana, and friend, Dr. Tod Mikuriya. I remember working closely with him on the California Marijuana Initiative of 1972 effort, visiting his home with the basement silk-screen factory where his East Bay crew made posters and t-shirts for the initiative. Then a few years later running into him at the 4th of July event across from the White House, where he was dressed in an Uncle Sam suit. We delivered boxes of legalization petitions Tod had gathered to the White House gate. Of the two obituaries below, the second more closely reflects his life.
Thursday saw the launch of a new statewide medical marijuana initiative in the heartland. And in Canada a Charter of Rights and Freedoms case continues at the lowest court level in B.C., but which has the potential to eventually change not only Canada's medical marijuana laws, but also the marijuana laws.
(14) TOD MIKURIYA -- PSYCHIATRIST, MEDICAL MARIJUANA ADVOCATE ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 22 May 2007
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tod H. Mikuriya, a Berkeley psychiatrist who helped draft California's medical marijuana law, died at his home Sunday of complications of cancer. He was 73.
Dr. Mikuriya was a well-known medical marijuana advocate whose practice made him the physician of last resort for patients throughout California who said marijuana eases their suffering.
He was the founder of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians and an architect of Proposition 215, the initiative approved in 1996 by state voters that legalized growing and using marijuana for medical purposes with a doctor's recommendation.
In 2003, Dr. Mikuriya was investigated by the Medical Board of California on allegations of unprofessional conduct and negligence in his handling of 16 cases since 1998. Supporters said the case was politically motivated and payback for his vocal support of medical marijuana.
The state placed him on probation, but Dr. Mikuriya appealed and continued to practice. "If his health hadn't failed, he would have appealed ( to a state appeals court )," friend Fred Gardner said Monday.
"It didn't affect his practice, it just affected his pride," Gardner said of the Medical Board's ruling. "It hurt him that he was considered anything but a great doctor going by the book."
Dr. Mikuriya was born in Pennsylvania in 1933 to Anna Schwenk, a German immigrant and practicing Baha'i, and Tadafumi Mikuriya, a Japanese samurai who converted to Christianity. He received a Quaker education at George School and Haverford College before graduating from Reed College and serving as a medic in the Army. He attended Temple University School of Medicine, where he saw a reference in a pharmacology text to the medical uses of marijuana.
(15) THE DOCTOR OF LAST RESORT ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 23 May 2007
Source: Anderson Valley Advertiser (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Anderson Valley Advertiser
Author: Fred Gardner
When the Medical Marijuana Patients Union held a symposium in Fort Bragg in August, 2004, Sheriff Tony Craver asked an organizer to please introduce him to Dr. Tod Mikuriya. It turned out that Mikuriya had left after participating in a morning panel. "That's one man I've always wanted to meet," said Craver, looking down in disappointment. The sheriff knew there was something unique about Mikuriya, and so did half the cops and prosecutors in California, who, unlike Tony Craver, fiercely resented him for legitimizing people previously considered criminals.
Mikuriya died Sunday at his home in the Berkeley Hills. He was 73. The cause was complications of cancer.
In the final days he'd been in the care of his sisters, Beverly, an MD from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Mary Jane of San Francisco, and his longtime assistant, John Trapp. Cancer had been diagnosed originally in his lungs, and as of last March it had been detected in his liver, too. Dennis Peron and Dale Gieringer threw farewell parties for him. He canceled a trip to Hungary where he was to present a paper at the International Cannabinoid Research Society meeting.
His office began steering patients to other doctors.
And then his condition improved.
In late May 2006 Mikuriya attended his 50th reunion at Reed College and sang rounds with his old madrigal group.
His office geared up again.
He wrote the lead section of an article recounting what California doctors had learned in the 10 years since the passage of Prop 215 ( "Medical Marijuana in California, 1996-2006," O'Shaughnessy's, Winter/Spring 2007). He met with a publisher about reissuing "Marijuana Medical Papers," his 1973 anthology of pre-prohibition medical literature -the new edition to include a CD containing eight more articles that had come to his attention over the years.
He had many visits from his 12-year-old daughter, Hero, the apple of his eye; they even went cross-country skiing one weekend.
As recently as March Mikuriya played a key role organizing a symposium at which retired colonel James Ketchum, MD, discussed the Army's secret search for a cannabinoid-based incapacitating agent. Mikuriya had begun assembling the contents for a new anthology, "Cannabis Clinical Papers," that would include studies by colleagues and three major papers of his own: "Cannabis as a Substitute for Alcohol;" "Cannabis as a First-Line Treatment for Mental Disorders;" and "Cannabis Eases Post-Traumatic Stress." ( The titles alone reflect the relevance of Mikuriya's concerns. )
Even his historical studies related to our present time and place.
For example: "An 1873 survey by British tax officials in India elicited a range of views on cannabis that seems strikingly contemporary... 'the general opinion seems to be that the evil effects of ganja have been exaggerated.'" )
Tod Hiro Mikuriya was born in Eastern Pennsylvania in 1933 to Anna ( Schwenk ) and Tadafumi Mikuriya. His father was a Japanese Samurai who converted to Christianity, his mother a German immigrant and practicing Baha'i. Tod and his two younger sisters went to Quaker schools. "The Quakers were proprietors of the underground railway," Tod noted. "The cannabis prohibition has the same dynamics as the bigotry and racism my family and I experienced starting on December 7, 1941, when we were transformed from normal-but-different people into war-criminal surrogates."
He graduated from Reed College in 1956, served as a medic in the U.S. Army, and then attended Temple University School of Medicine. It was at Temple that a reference in a pharmacology text to the medical utility of marijuana triggered the interest that would define Mikuriya's career.
After getting his medical degree, Mikuriya served an internship at Southern Pacific General Hospital in San Francisco, specialized in psychiatry at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, and completed his training at Mendocino State Hospital. In 1967 he became director of non-classified marijuana research for the National Institute of Mental Health Center for Narcotics and Drug Abuse. He left the position after several months, he said, "When it became clear they only wanted research into damaging effects, not helpful ones."
Mikuriya moved to Berkeley in 1970 and entered private practice.
He was active in Amorphia, a West Coast reform group that eventually folded into NORML, and helped organize a 1972 marijuana legalization initiative, working alongside Michael and Michelle Aldrich, Pebbles Trippet, and others who stayed with the struggle through the ensuing decades of cultural and political rollback.
(16) MEDICAL MARIJUANA USE INITIATIVE LAUNCHES IN MICH. ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 24 May 2007
Source: Detroit News (MI)
Copyright: 2007 The Detroit News
Author: Kim Kozlowski, The Detroit News
An initiative that would allow seriously ill Michigan residents to use marijuana as a pain reliever without repercussions will be launched this week, The Coalition for Compassionate Care announced Wednesday.
The Ferndale-based, grassroots group plans to collect 550,000 signatures within six months for a citizen's initiative known as the Michigan Medicinal Marijuana Act. It would allow patients to grow and use small amounts of marijuana for relief from pain associated with cancer, multiple sclerosis and other diseases.
If 304,101 signatures are validated, the initiative would go to the Michigan Legislature, according to Coalition for Compassionate Care Spokeswoman Dianne Byrum. The act would appear on the November 2008 ballot if lawmakers reject or chose not to vote on it.
Residents interested in volunteering for the campaign can go to the coalition's Web site, http://stoparrestingpatients.org
(17) POT CHALLENGE GETS HIGH-PROFILE HELP ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 24 May 2007
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Times Colonist
Author: Richard Watts, Times Colonist
Philippe Lucas, founder of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society, is flying high.
As a supplier of medical marijuana and political activist bent on reforming Canada's pot laws, Lucas has a supportive MP in Vancouver East New Democrat Libby Davies.
He has what he called "an interested and engaged judge" in Justice Robert Edwards, now hearing the society's Charter of Rights challenge arising from a raid on the compassion society's grow-operation near Sooke. And he has a Tory Senator, Pierre Claude Nolin, to testify for the society when the trial resumes on June 11.
Lucas also has word from Davies that Canada's Auditor General Sheila Fraser has begun the preliminary stages of checking into certain user fees attached to Canada's current medical marijuana program.
Lucas has hepatitis C and has Health Canada permission to grow and possess marijuana. But he has said in interviews and in court that he found it nearly impossible to comply with Health Canada regulations.
Lucas said regulations required signatures from two medical specialists, and he had to fill out a 33-page application.
"It was nearly impossible for me to comply," said Lucas in court. "I'm not sure what somebody in a smaller community would do."
Meanwhile, Davies said yesterday she would like to see the auditor general take a close look at Health Canada's medical marijuana regulations. The MP said she believes the federal government is only satisfying previous court rulings that have called it unconstitutional to prevent sick people from resorting to marijuana as medicine.
Government is complying, said Davies, but only just, and only reluctantly.
"It's like the government doesn't really want it to work," she said.
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Summer approaches, and in Afghanistan, the poppies are blooming. And
are they ever blooming, with some estimates saying that the crop
this year could be 20% bigger than last year's bumper crop. The
rhetoric is heating up too, as the US state department proclaimed,
"Counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism are effectively the same
thing," in preparation for using "counter-terror" tactics against
drug users and sellers. Involvement with opium creates profits which
"are thought to reach the Taleban". Asserts the U.S. state
department: "everybody recognizes that... the Taleban" gets "funding
from narcotics." Ardent prohibitionists back in Washington have had
enough of the disobedience of Afghani farmers, and are ready to
search and destroy and spray defoliant on what's left, hoping that
will compel obedience. Others like the Senlis Council urge western
governments to instead buy the opium from Afghani farmers, as is
done in Australia, India, Turkey and elsewhere.
While Afghani opium supplies "90% of the world's demand", the
Canadian National Post newspaper reports, the opium and heroin cause
problems for users in Afghanistan, as well. There are a million
"drug addicts" there, according to a 2005 U.N. study. 50,000 of them
use heroin; 150,000 use opium. And the biggest single category of
Afghan "addicts" according to the U.N.? Some 500,000 are "addicts"
In Mexico, president Felipe Calderon ordered some 30,000 "troops and
police" to go "across the country" to try to suppress
prohibition-related violence as drug cartels jockey for access to
the lucrative U.S. illegal drug market in a series of bloody turf
battles. While the Mexican government tries to spin this in a
favorable direction, critics say the violence and killings aren't
from government pressure so much as turf battles for market share.
Cartels "act completely autonomous of the government; the government
does not affect their operations nor their plans for business," said
Jose Arturo Yanez of the Professional Police Training Institute in
And we leave you this week with disappointing news from the north,
as Canada's right-wing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper is said to axe
the budget for Insite, North America's first and only supervised
injection center, located in Vancouver, British Columbia. Harper has
been a staunch supporter of the war in Afghanistan, but with
Canadian casualties mounting up there, Harper needs to divert
attention away from that quagmire, and what could be better than to
ramp up the "war on drugs" at home? Sold as a crackdown on "grow
ops" (i.e., anyone growing any number of cannabis plants) and "drug
dealers", harm reduction budgets were cut as police budgets are set
to swell. "There is no money for harm reduction, which is quite
ominous for what will be," said Leon Mar of the Canadian HIV-AIDS
Legal Network. Other critics of the PM's plan denounced the
"U.S.-style war on drugs, an approach that has proven time and time
again to be counter-productive and a tragic waste of public funds."
Summer approaches, and in Afghanistan, the poppies are blooming. And are they ever blooming, with some estimates saying that the crop this year could be 20% bigger than last year's bumper crop. The rhetoric is heating up too, as the US state department proclaimed, "Counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism are effectively the same thing," in preparation for using "counter-terror" tactics against drug users and sellers. Involvement with opium creates profits which "are thought to reach the Taleban". Asserts the U.S. state department: "everybody recognizes that... the Taleban" gets "funding from narcotics." Ardent prohibitionists back in Washington have had enough of the disobedience of Afghani farmers, and are ready to search and destroy and spray defoliant on what's left, hoping that will compel obedience. Others like the Senlis Council urge western governments to instead buy the opium from Afghani farmers, as is done in Australia, India, Turkey and elsewhere.
While Afghani opium supplies "90% of the world's demand", the Canadian National Post newspaper reports, the opium and heroin cause problems for users in Afghanistan, as well. There are a million "drug addicts" there, according to a 2005 U.N. study. 50,000 of them use heroin; 150,000 use opium. And the biggest single category of Afghan "addicts" according to the U.N.? Some 500,000 are "addicts" to "hashish".
In Mexico, president Felipe Calderon ordered some 30,000 "troops and police" to go "across the country" to try to suppress prohibition-related violence as drug cartels jockey for access to the lucrative U.S. illegal drug market in a series of bloody turf battles. While the Mexican government tries to spin this in a favorable direction, critics say the violence and killings aren't from government pressure so much as turf battles for market share. Cartels "act completely autonomous of the government; the government does not affect their operations nor their plans for business," said Jose Arturo Yanez of the Professional Police Training Institute in Mexico City.
And we leave you this week with disappointing news from the north, as Canada's right-wing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper is said to axe the budget for Insite, North America's first and only supervised injection center, located in Vancouver, British Columbia. Harper has been a staunch supporter of the war in Afghanistan, but with Canadian casualties mounting up there, Harper needs to divert attention away from that quagmire, and what could be better than to ramp up the "war on drugs" at home? Sold as a crackdown on "grow ops" (i.e., anyone growing any number of cannabis plants) and "drug dealers", harm reduction budgets were cut as police budgets are set to swell. "There is no money for harm reduction, which is quite ominous for what will be," said Leon Mar of the Canadian HIV-AIDS Legal Network. Other critics of the PM's plan denounced the "U.S.-style war on drugs, an approach that has proven time and time again to be counter-productive and a tragic waste of public funds."
(18) CALL TO DECLARE WAR ON AFGHAN POPPY FIELDS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 22 May 2007
Source: Scotsman (UK)
Copyright: 2007 The Scotsman Publications Ltd
Author: Tanya Thompson
Afghanistan's opium crop appears set to rise by up to 20 per cent in the wake of last year's record haul, prompting calls for NATO and United States forces to play a bigger role in the war on drugs.
With growing drug profits flowing to the Taleban, western governments are being urged to use a two-pronged approach: combining their efforts on anti-narcotics and anti-terrorism.
Thomas Schweich, a senior U.S. state department official, has briefed NATO ambassadors in Brussels and General Dan McNeill, the top NATO general in Afghanistan, on the need for increased military co-operation on the drug front.
"Counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism are effectively the same thing," said Mr Schweich. "I think everybody recognises that with the Taleban receiving funding from narcotics, much more so than in the past, that there has to be a co-ordinated effort."
Afghanistan accounts for more than 90 per cent of the world's heroin supply, and a significant portion of the profits from the AUKP1.57 billion trade are thought to reach the Taleban, who tax and protect poppy farmers and drug-runners.
Use It For Medicine
A poppy-for-medicine model, where village-cultivated plants would be transformed into codeine and morphine tablets, could help Afghanistan diversify its economy and become an international trade partner.
By controlling the entire production process - from seed to tablet in the villages, farmers and their communities would be given the financial incentive necessary to sever links with the insurgency.
As the revenues from all medicine sales would remain in the villages, communities would be given an economic opportunity they would want to protect - particularly against drug traffickers, and alternative development would be possible.
- -- Emmanuel Reinert is the executive director of the Senlis Council.
(19) RECORD POPPY CROP A HARVEST OF MISERY ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 22 May 2007
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2007 Southam Inc.
Author: Tom Blackwell
Although it is a strict Muslim country, held in the grip of a fundamentalist regime for five years until 2001, Afghanistan is suffering from a boom in heroin addiction.
The international community has sought to crack down on the warweary nation's record poppy crops, now serving 90% of the world's demand, but the abundant supply of heroin's main raw ingredient has taken a terrible toll at home.
An influx of Afghan refugees who became addicted in Iran and in Pakistan, the trauma and physical ravages of nearly 30 years of war, and grinding poverty are also blamed.
"It is not only the rest of the world that is suffering. We are suffering; it is a big problem for us as well," says Dr. Tariq Suliman, who heads the Nejat centre, a local rehab clinic.
He says the international community, so focused on curbing poppy production, has paid little heed to Afghanistan's domestic drug epidemic.
A United Nations study in 2005 estimated there are a million Afghan drug addicts: 50,000 using heroin, 150,000 opium, 500,000 hashish and about 400,000 using other illicit drugs and pharmaceuticals. The number of heroin addicts doubled in Kabul between 2003 and 2005.
And their ranks have undoubtedly swollen since then, says Dr. Suliman.
(20) ESCALATING DRUG WAR GRIPS MEXICO ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 23 May 2007
Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)
Copyright: 2007 The Christian Science Publishing Society
Author: Sara Miller Llana
President Calderon's Popularity Has Soared As He Takes On The Increasingly Brutal Drug Cartels.
Mexico City - Faced with assassinations of top police officials, death tolls at historic highs, and beheadings in the most innocuous public spaces, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon sent an unprecedented 30,000 troops and police across the country to tackle drug-related violence after taking office in December.
But nearly six months later the terror has only gotten worse, as drug cartels battle for smuggling routes into the US. Officials are now even comparing the violence to the drug wars that plagued Colombia for more than a decade.
Jose Arturo Yanez, a drug expert at Mexico City's Professional Police Training Institute, says that some 200 police officers have been killed in the past 16 months - the highest number ever.
Troop Deployments Questioned
But some, like Mr. Yanez , dismiss the government line - that violence will get worse as the government clamps down on deeply rooted organized crime networks.
"The government says that the violence and executions are the result of government pressure," he says. "[The drug gangs] act completely autonomous of the government; the government does not affect their operations nor their plans for business."
And the national Human Rights Commission recently condemned the military for human rights abuse claims in Michoacan, Calderon's home state and the starting point for the military anti-drug initiatives.
"I don't want the military here," says Elias Sheinberg, a Mexican architect, reacting to calls for troops to be deployed to the capital. "I fear the troops. It reminds me too much of war, and the last thing I want is to be in war."
(21) TORIES TO LAUNCH CRACKDOWN ON GROW-OPS, DRUG DEALERS ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 23 May 2007
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Times Colonist
Author: Janice Tibbetts, CanWest News Service
The Harper government's new anti-drug strategy is expected to take a tough approach to illicit drugs, including cracking down on grow-ops and pushers and retreating from "harm reduction" measures such as safe injection sites for addicts.
The new strategy, slated to be announced next week, is also understood to include more money for treatment and a national drug-use prevention campaign.
The federal budget last March offered a glimpse of the strategy by allocating an additional $64 million over two years for enforcement, treatment, and prevention. But the budget figures did not mention harm-reduction measures, which aim to limit the spread of infectious diseases through substance abuse.
"They haven't explicitly said they are getting rid of harm reduction, but the budget numbers speak for themselves," said Leon Mar, spokesman for the Canadian HIV-AIDS Legal Network. "There is no money for harm reduction, which is quite ominous for what will be."
Joanne Csete, the network's executive director, recently wrote in a letter to parliamentarians that the Conservatives are contemplating "a U.S.-style war on drugs, an approach that has proven time and time again to be counter-productive and a tragic waste of public funds."
The new Conservative strategy is also expected to endorse drug-treatment courts, which already exist in Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto and Ottawa. Instead of criminal sanctions, drug addicts can be ordered into treatment programs.
Canada is currently operating under a 20-year-old national drug strategy that has been criticized for a lack of direction, targets, and measurable results. The government spends $385 million a year under the strategy, most of it on law-enforcement measures such as police investigations, prosecutions and border controls.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
NPR ON INDUSTRIAL HEMP ( Top )
NPR did an excellent story on industrial hemp today. You can go to the following link and listen to the audio.
SPIRITUAL HIGHS AND LEGAL BLOWS ( Top )
The power and peril of religious exemptions from drug prohibition.
By Jacob Sullum
HOW MUCH FOR ALL THAT HEROIN? ( Top )
The Art And Science Of The DEA's Drug Valuations
By Michelle Tsai
CULTURAL BAGGAGE RADIO SHOW ( Top )
Tonight: 05/25/07 - Celebration of the life of Dr. Tod Mikuriya with interview segments from the good doctor as well as thoughts and remembrances of his sister Beverly and his friends Michael and Michelle Aldrich and DrugSense's Richard Lake.
MULTIDISCIPLINARY ASSOCIATION FOR PSYCHEDELIC STUDIES NEWS ( Top )
WOMEN ON WEED ( Top )
Six pot smoking women agreed to come on camera to express their viewpoint. Take a look at what they said.
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
DONATE TO DRUGSENSE ( Top )
Help keep DrugSense Weekly moving forward
MPP SEEKS WEB ADMINISTRATOR ( Top )
The Marijuana Policy Project is hiring a Web Administrator, to be based in MPP's headquarters in Washington, D.C.
MPP is a heavily Apple-based organization, so extensive experience with Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server is a huge plus. Ideally, the candidate will be comfortable working with and supporting Mac OS X systems, servers and applications.
Please visit http://www.mpp.org/jobs for a full job description, salary information, and instructions on how to apply.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
DRUG TESTING SHOWS IRONY OF THE 'PROBLEM' ( Top )
By Brian C. Bennett
Rich Figel's column did a great job of synopsizing the situation with regard to our nation's drug war. The one thing he didn't do, though, was to define the nature of the "drug problem" itself. The nature of the problem is this: These drug users are so crafty, stealthy and having such a minimal impact on society that we can't even tell who the vast majority of them are. But if we have to resort to testing their waste fluid ( on pain of unemployment ) just to determine who they are, then exactly how much of a "problem" can they possibly be?
Brian C. Bennett North Garden, Va.
Editor's note: Brian C. Bennett does statistical analysis and research for the organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
Pubdate: Wed, 16 May 2007
Author: Brian C. Bennett
Source: Honolulu Weekly (HI)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
Chipping Away At The Drug War For 500 Weeks ( Top )
By Stephen Young
Roughly ten years ago, DrugSense Weekly distributed its first issue. Today, we release issue number 500.
Our goal has been to present a comprehensive summary of essential news and details from the drug war in a weekly capsule. We continue to try and fulfill that goal, while attempting to keep our approach current, so you may have already noticed a somewhat different look with this issue. I will discuss those changes in more detail shortly.
We've published a history of DrugSense ( see http://www.drugsense.org/pages/history ) and details about how DrugSense Weekly evolved ( see http://www.drugsense.org/dsw/2003/ds03.n300.html#sec5) in this space before and you can consult them if you are interested in the early days.
In fact, we've published a little bit of everything that exposes the grim failures of the drug war. Not only coverage and commentary on every major prohibition-related story in the world for the past decade in our news sections, but we've also highlighted hundreds of independent, individual voices through the links at Hot Off The Net, the Letter Of The Week and the Feature Article.
Some may view our perspectives as biased against the drug war, but it's impossible to sift through thousands of articles and pieces of personal writing to see prohibition as anything but a monumental, heart-breaking disaster. Our bias has always been toward reality, not the fantasy of a drug-free world as presented by professional drug warriors.
Through the creation and distribution of this newsletter we hope to have raised others' consciousness on the issues.
In an effort to continue to do that, we have streamlined the newsletter a bit. In the news sections, the number of lines of information about the stories has been reduced, and placed in a different position. The source and date of the article now appears directly after the headline. Readers who would like more information about the piece, or to read it in its entirety, can simply click the link in the "Continues" line which still closes each news story excerpt.
Those who read this publication on the Web will note a new table of contents designed to make it easier to find what you're looking for in the DrugSense Weekly.
As always, we appreciate our readers and contributors who make this all possible. If you would like to support our work at DrugSense Weekly, and to help end the drug war, please make a contribution to DrugSense here - http://www.drugsense.org/donate/
We'll keep at it, and with you're help now, maybe there won't be a need for this newsletter less than 500 weeks from now.
Stephen Young is an editor with DrugSense Weekly
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"The DrugSense Weekly newsletter and web page is designed for the activist on the go." - DrugSense Weekly Newsletter, Issue 1, July, 1997
DS Weekly is one of the many free educational services DrugSense offers our members. Watch this feature to learn more about what DrugSense can do for you.
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NOTICE: ( Top )
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MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION TO DRUGSENSE ON-LINE ( Top )
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