THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) VANCOUVER ANTI-DRUG OFFICIAL ARRESTED FOR HASHISH POSSESSION
Pubdate: Fri, 15 Jun 2007
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 The Province
Author: Steven Edwards, CanWest News Service
UNITED NATIONS -- An anti-narcotics official from Vancouver is being held in Dubai after being arrested for possessing hashish and poppy flowers.
A Dubai court will rule Tuesday on drug charges against Bert Tatham, 35, who was arrested on his way back to Vancouver after helping farmers in Afghanistan find alternatives to poppy cultivation.
Tatham is accused of carrying 0.6 grams of hashish -- an almost trace amount that his lawyers said had inadvertently become attached to his clothing because of the nature of his work.
Dubai authorities also said Tatham had two, two-year-old dried poppy flowers, which have no utility to make opium or heroin, and traces of narcotics in his blood.
Dubai has zero tolerance toward drug possession.
(2) RAIDS TERRIFY CHILDREN ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 14 Jun 2007
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Toronto Star
Author: Linda Diebel, Staff reporter
Here's a different perspective on yesterday's police raids.
It comes from Andrene, who is 10 years old and experienced the first minutes at the end of police guns after officers burst into her bedroom just before dawn.
She was there with her mother, Sharon Mitchell, 32, and baby sister, Alexandra, 2. Down the hall in another bedroom were her cousin, Joanna, 9, and Joanna's mother, Charmaine Osbourne, 30.
"This morning, the police officers, they came and they were kicking down the doors," said Andrene in a solemn voice. "And they came in with their guns and they were pointing at my sister and me.
"My sister got scared and she was crying."
Everything happened at once. A loud explosion, noise, chaos, smoke, doors battered down and police guns with red lights glowing in the dark.
One of the older girls was so terrified, she wet herself.
At some point during the raid on the townhouse on Driftwood Ave., in a city housing complex near Jane St. and Finch Ave. W., police arrested the girls' uncle, Fitzroy Osbourne, 28. He is brother to both Sharon and Charmaine.
By last night, it wasn't clear if he had been charged and police said no announcements would be made until today.
Andrene doesn't know about any of that. All she knows is that she was scared. "(The) guns they pointed at the kids aren't good," she said. "I don't think they'd better (do that) anymore."
When asked why not, she replied softly: "Because other kids get scared."
(3) U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE IN UTAH BLASTS BUSH ADMINISTRATION PUSH FOR ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 14 Jun 2007
Source: Salt Lake Tribune (UT)
Copyright: 2007 The Salt Lake Tribune
Author: Lara Jakes Jordan and Matt Apuzzo
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is trying to roll back a Supreme Court decision by pushing legislation that would require prison time for nearly all criminals.
The Justice Department is offering the plan as an opening salvo in a larger debate about whether sentences for crack cocaine are unfairly harsh and racially discriminatory.
Republicans are seizing the administration's crackdown, packaged in legislation to combat violent crime, as a campaign issue for 2008.
In a speech June 1 to announce the bill, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales urged Congress to re-impose mandatory minimum prison sentences against federal convicts - and not let judges consider such penalties "merely a suggestion."
Such an overhaul, in part, "will strengthen our hand in fighting criminals who threaten the safety and security of all Americans," Gonzales said in the speech, delivered three days before the FBI announced a slight national uptick in violent crime during 2006.
Judges, however, were livid over the proposal to limit their power.
"This would require one-size-fits-all justice," said U.S. District Judge Paul G. Cassell, chairman of the Criminal Law committee of the Judicial Conference, the judicial branch's policy-making body.
"The vast majority of the public would like the judges to make the individualized decisions needed to make these very difficult sentencing decisions," Cassell said. "Judges are the ones who look the defendants in the eyes. They hear from the victims. They hear from the prosecutors."
(4) COLUMN: WE CAN SCORE ONE FOR THE NAYSAYERS ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 15 Jun 2007
Source: Ottawa Citizen ( CN ON )
Copyright: 2007 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Dan Gardner, The Ottawa Citizen
It is my privilege today to break major news: In less than a year, the trade in illicit drugs will be all but wiped out.
Cocaine. Methamphetamine. Marijuana. All will vanish. And heroin, too. The timing for our soldiers in Afghanistan couldn't be better. Eliminate the illicit heroin trade and most of the Taliban's funding dries up. Total victory is at hand.
Now, I would understand if the reader is a bit incredulous. After all, the news is full of stories about record heroin production, meth busts, grow-op raids and cocaine seizures. Prices are flat or falling, indicating supply is stable or growing. Can we really be on the verge of a drug-free world?
Well, we must be. A United Nations declaration says so.
In 1998, the UN hosted a General Assembly Special Session under the official slogan: "A Drug-Free World: We Can Do It." Many major leaders personally attended, including U.S. president Bill Clinton. There was massive media coverage.
The point of this gathering was to produce a political declaration which would guide the decades-old global war on drugs. The United States was the main author of the first draft, and it was ambitious: The "eradication" of the illicit-drug trade would be complete by 2008. A group of Latin American governments got that softened slightly to the phrase "eliminating or significantly reducing."
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
A Vermont editor admits policy and practices have "their role" but
has the audacity to blame drug users for travesties prohibition
causes! This is in the same county where the DA compares the war on
drugs to the war on Iraq and the same city where the Mayor has been
singing the cannabis decriminalization song for quite some time.
The right to privacy continues to slip away from all students for
the same old egregious reasons. Two articles report claims of the
success of drug testing and drug dogs even though the amount of
drugs found and positive test results are miniscule. Another article
reveals that these policies may soon creep into the University
A Vermont editor admits policy and practices have "their role" but has the audacity to blame drug users for travesties prohibition causes! This is in the same county where the DA compares the war on drugs to the war on Iraq and the same city where the Mayor has been singing the cannabis decriminalization song for quite some time.
The right to privacy continues to slip away from all students for the same old egregious reasons. Two articles report claims of the success of drug testing and drug dogs even though the amount of drugs found and positive test results are miniscule. Another article reveals that these policies may soon creep into the University level.
(5) EDITORIAL: NO MARKET, NO DRUG PROBLEM ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jun 2007
Source: Times Argus (Barre, VT)
Copyright: 2007 Times Argus
For years, the United States has been waging a war on drugs, but the war is not being won and in fact, it isn't even showing much progress. Also, it can't grab eye-catching headlines because there are two other issues - the war on terror and illegal immigration -- that for now command more immediate attention.
If there's a path to success in the war on drugs, politicians and the police will surely have their roles to play. But the solution must also involve a dramatic change of behavior by the drug users among us. As long as there are consumers willing to wink at the law and provide a robust market for the drug dealers, terrible things will continue to happen. Those who blithely purchase and use illegal narcotics must be made aware of the indirect consequences of their acts and accept some personal responsibility for the widespread violence of the drug trade.
Consider the current situation in Mexico. Last Saturday's Los Angeles Times described a wave of particularly brutal murders there that are directly connected to the illegal sale of drugs. The report noted that one particularly violent drug cartel had recently split into two rival factions, each determined to force Mexico's already beleaguered law enforcement apparatus into full retreat.
Also last week, a business owner was kidnapped after being released from a hospital where he had been recovering from wounds suffered in a May 31 attack. He has not been seen since. The next day, there were grenade attacks on two police stations and an army barracks in the state of Guerrero. Seven people died in the apparent drug-related attacks, authorities said.
As long as otherwise law-abiding citizens are willing to buy drugs illegally, the present strategy is doomed to fail. Our government, and other governments, must urgently explore alternative solutions, including raising the consciousness ( and awakening the consciences ) of consumers about their part in the tragic consequences of illegal drug consumption, wherever it occurs.
(6) LAWYERS, COPS SPAR OVER THE WAR ON DRUGS ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jun 2007
Source: Times Argus (Barre, VT)
Copyright: 2007 Times Argus
Author: Daniel Barlow, Vermont Press Bureau
MONTPELIER -- If you ask Windsor County State's Attorney Robert Sand, the war on drugs is a bit like the war in Iraq.
Both are wars based on misinformation that have led to extreme human suffering, Sand said during a forum in Montpelier Thursday on drug policies. And both wars have no end in sight and are escalated by unsustainable surges, he said.
"If the harm of our response outweighs the harm of the use of the drug itself, then we need to change our response," said Sand, who added that violence is only associated with marijuana when "transactions go awry."
Several of the panelists in the morning could not disagree with Sand more.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Darrow compared the war on drugs to efforts to stop domestic violence or fraud. Those two societal problems also continue to exist, but it doesn't mean that law enforcement should stop its "ongoing response," he explained.
Barre Police Chief Tim Bombardier agreed, saying that decriminalizing marijuana would lead to companies marketing the drug to teenagers as it has tobacco and alcohol. He endorsed expanding prevention and treatment efforts, including expanding the drug court program to all of Vermont's counties.
But Sand found support in an unlikely place: Barre Mayor Thomas Lauzon, a public accountant who was elected in May 2006 and recently came out in support of legalizing marijuana and instituting the death penalty for heroin and cocaine dealers.
Picking up on a metaphor used earlier by Sand that if the drug war was a public company then its stockholders would be revolting, Lauzon said that it would have long ago been delisted for its results.
(7) SEARCH DOG SNIFFS OUT DRUGS AT 2 MAUI SCHOOLS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 10 Jun 2007
Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)
Copyright: 2007 Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Author: Alexandre Da Silva
The Success of the Pilot Program Has Education Officials Urging Its Expansion
Custer, a 6-year-old golden retriever, has been successfully sniffing out drugs and alcohol at two Maui schools since February and proponents say the pilot search program should be expanded to schools statewide.
In seven random visits to Lahaina Intermediate School since February, Custer, a 6-year-old golden retriever, found two bags with marijuana or traces of the drug, a partially smoked joint or marijuana cigarette, rolling papers and about 30 liquor bottles, said Principal Marsha Nakamura.
Lahainaluna High School Principal Michael Nakano said the unannounced dog visits also uncovered alcohol bottles and marijuana on his campus.
Board of Education member Mary Cochran, who spearheaded the 5-month-old program, said she believes it should be added to all secondary schools.
"That's what I want. The timing is right politically, with the random drug-testing" of teachers, said Cochran, who represents Maui. "To me, it's not just the teachers, it's everybody."
The proposal comes as the state Department of Education is revising Chapter 19, the administrative rules on student misconduct, to possibly allow dogs to sniff students' lockers.
Searches are OK only in common areas like cafeterias, gymnasiums and bushes, with students, lockers, backpacks, purses and vehicles being off-limits.
Whitney White, owner of Interquest Detection Canines of Hawaii, which is running the pilot program on Maui, said principals want access to lockers.
"The principals that I've been dealing with have really been pushing for more latitude in that," she said.
The company, which has search dogs in 1,200 school districts nationwide, would be able to cover all 297 Hawaii public schools "as quickly as possible" if asked, White said. She said only Hawaii and Alaska lack comprehensive dog-search programs in public schools.
When the department announced it would use dogs to combat drugs, alcohol and firearms, the American Civil Liberties Union warned that the random searches could violate students' rights. But parent and student reaction to the program has been positive, according to the Maui principals.
Nakamura said most of the contraband found at her campus, including a punctured beer bottle likely used as a device to smoke pot, were near a basketball court used by area residents in the evening and weekends. She said, however, that one plastic bag containing the drug was hidden in a bush fronting a classroom, and that at least six students have been caught doing drugs on campus.
(8) FEW FRANCIS HOWELL HIGH SCHOOLERS TEST POSITIVE FOR DRUGS ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jun 2007
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Copyright: 2007 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Author: Shane Anthony
ST. CHARLES COUNTY -- A year of mandatory random drug testing in the Francis Howell School District produced few positive tests, according to district leaders who say they want to continue the program next school year.
A little more than 2 percent of mandatory random tests of Francis Howell District high school students were positive for drugs, administrators said Thursday.
Jim Joyce, the district's director of communications, said 16 of the 660 random drug tests came back positive, finding marijuana, amphetamines or cocaine.
The program offered help to students who needed it and gave others a reason to say no, he said. He also said the number of code of conduct violations related to drugs and alcohol dropped by 6 percent.
"We do believe it is a deterrent to drug use," Joyce said.
All students who were involved in extracurricular activities or had a campus parking permit were required to be part of the random testing pool. Parents also could sign up their child voluntarily.
Joyce said about 4,000 students -- about 68 percent of the district's high school students -- were in the testing pool.
Joyce said most of the positive tests -- more than 80 percent -- found marijuana. Two tests were positive for more than one substance.
(9) A SNIFFING SLEUTH ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 13 Jun 2007
Source: Greensboro News & Record (NC)
Copyright: 2007 Greensboro News & Record, Inc.
Author: Eric J.S. Townsend
GREENSBORO -- A drug-sniffing police dog? On a university campus? This pooch may have its work cut out for it.
UNCG police welcomed its first four-legged officer to the force last month. Now in training, Aja, a German shepherd bred overseas, should be ready for duty by fall semester.
Police officials said last week that Aja won't be used to randomly patrol the dorms. In balancing public safety with personal privacy, the school tips the scale toward privacy -- for now -- though they want to use the dog in other investigations: for example, at DWI checkpoints, to track criminals who rob students on campus or who "jump and run" from a traffic stop, and at public events.
But don't think Aja will never show in the dorms, UNCG police Maj. Jamie Herring said.
If officers investigate claims of drugs in a particular room, the dog will be called in to help.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
The following stories, unfortunately, are not unique but I'm going
to keep drawing attention to them until we start treating drug abuse
as a medical condition and insist our police force "protect and
serve". If there are any law enforcement officers reading this -
PLEASE join or contribute to LEAP, http://www.leap.cc/
The following stories, unfortunately, are not unique but I'm going to keep drawing attention to them until we start treating drug abuse as a medical condition and insist our police force "protect and serve". If there are any law enforcement officers reading this - PLEASE join or contribute to LEAP, http://www.leap.cc/
(10) POLICE OFFER NO APOLOGY FOR RAID ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 09 Jun 2007
Source: Capital, The (MD)
Copyright: 2007, The Capital
Authors: Earl Kelly, And Scott Daugherty, Staff Writers
Still Probing How SWAT Team Hit Wrong Place
Citing legal concerns, Annapolis police officials are refusing to apologize for terrorizing four immigrant tenants when they raided the wrong Spa Cove apartment earlier this week, saying it could take 10 days before they even know what went wrong. "In this day and age, people have to apologize, but as soon as you apologize, you put yourself in a defensive position legally," Officer Hal Dalton, city police spokesman, said after a media conference.
One resident, Silvia Bernal, 30, said in a story about the incident that was first reported in The Capital that police never identified themselves, but kicked her husband in the groin and pushed her to the ground. They then handcuffed them both as two other residents of the apartment - another couple - returned from a trip to the store.
Alderman David H. Cordle, R-Ward 5 and chairman of the Public Safety Committee, said this morning police had not briefed him about the raid.
Mr. Cordle, an investigator with the State's Attorney's Office, said, "I have been on search warrants, and I have prepared dozens and dozens of search warrants, and usually the team that executes the warrant will swing by to check the location before executing the warrant."
He called the event "a relatively harmless mistake in the scheme of things - there was no gunfire, and there were no deaths."
Officer Dalton said he has seen "perhaps a dozen" cases of raids being executed on the wrong address during his 30 years as an officer.
It was around 8:20 p.m. on Wednesday when officers carrying assault rifles and shields busted open the door to an apartment at 905 Primrose Road, while the couple inside were having dinner.
The police then used a loud "flash-bang" grenade to disorient and subdue the two.
When the second couple tried to help Mrs. Bernal, police pushed them to the floor, the victims said. The second woman, who is 4 months pregnant, ran outside and clung to a railing while her husband pleaded with police to take it easy on his pregnant wife.
The husband said an officer replied: "I don't care."
Shortly after raiding the apartment - witnesses said it took about 20 to 25 minutes - an officer on the scene exited the building and realized they had the wrong building. Neighbors said the heavily armed officers ran out of 905 Primrose Road, piled into a large truck.
They drove around the parking lot, and jumped out again in front of 901 Primrose, which was the address they originally intended.
"That was the craziest thing I ever saw," said Tim Goss, who witnessed the two raids from his balcony. "I bet they felt pretty dumb."
No one was home at the 901 Primrose apartment when police broke down the door to that apartment.
(11) MOTHER AWARDED $10 MILLION ASKS REOPENING OF POLICE CASE ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jun 2007
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2007 The New York Times Company
Author: Timothy Williams
The mother of an unarmed man killed by an undercover police officer seven years ago called on the Bronx district attorney's office yesterday to reopen a criminal investigation after a jury awarded her $10.45 million for the wrongful death of her son.
The unarmed man, Malcolm Ferguson, 23, was shot on March 1, 2000, during a struggle with Louis Rivera, the plainclothes officer, who was investigating narcotics sales in the Soundview section of the Bronx.
The shooting, which prompted large protests in the neighborhood, occurred two blocks from the apartment building vestibule where Amadou Diallo was shot at 41 times by undercover police officers in 1999.
After an investigation, the Bronx district attorney, Robert T. Johnson, declined to file criminal charges against Officer Rivera. Officer Rivera said he had accidentally fired a gunshot that struck Mr. Ferguson in the head as they wrestled in a stairwell. He remains on active duty.
On Wednesday, a Civil Court jury in the Bronx found Officer Rivera responsible for Mr. Ferguson's death and awarded Mr. Ferguson's mother the $10.45 million, including $7 million in punitive damages and $3 million for pain and suffering.
(12) SPEER RESIDENTS DELIVER PETITION SEEKING TRANSFER OF HARDBALL ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jun 2007
Source: Herald News (West Paterson, NJ)
Copyright: 2007 North Jersey Media Group Inc.
Author: Ed Beeson
PASSAIC -- Residents of Speer Village say they are chafing under the authority of a Passaic police officer who told them he's the new sheriff in their town.
Many who live here, in the city's largest public housing complex, say a pair of city police officers recently assigned to patrol the grounds ticket, harass and arrest residents who feel they are doing nothing wrong. One officer in particular, Officer Alex Castellon, who resident leader Rene Griggs said introduced himself as the new sheriff, is the focus of many residents' ire.
"His tone and his attitude were not professional. It was very nasty," she said.
Last week, residents delivered a petition to Castellon's supervisor, asking the police department to reassign the officer.
Passaic Housing Authority Director Bill Snyder said he was concerned by the complaints. But he said the persistent drug, gang and quality-of-life issues at Speer Village demand an aggressive level of enforcement if they are to be overcome.
Yet residents say that Castellon and his partner, Officer Thomas Ragsdale, who were assigned to the beat in February, have quickly made themselves unwelcome here. They complain that the officers monitor their comings and goings like hawks watching prey. They complain that they write tickets for offenses such as stubbing out cigarettes on the ground, even though there are no proper ashtrays on site. They complain that when arrests are made, the suspects are roughed up and thrown to the ground.
Still, residents say officers seem to view many here, especially young men, as criminals. Percy Williams, 17, says the two officers have accused him of being a drug dealer, when he says he is just a high school student. Another resident, Joshua Gathers, 20, said a diabetic friend once visited him only to be asked by the officers, who looked at the insulin injection marks on his arm, "How long you been clean for?"
"It might sound trivial," Griggs, the resident leader, said, "but it builds up into frustration."
(13) COUPLE'S BATTLE RAGES ON VS. GRAND RAPIDS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 10 Jun 2007
Source: Grand Rapids Press (MI)
Copyright: 2007 Grand Rapids Press
Author: Barton Deiters, The Grand Rapids Press
GRAND RAPIDS -- The cost has been tremendous and the victories small so far, but an Alger Heights couple say a long court battle has been worth it to support their claims of abuse by the Grand Rapids Police Department.
Lawyers, representing the city in the couple's 2005 civil rights lawsuit, say Jelte and Janine Jansma got what's coming to people who bring drugs into neighborhoods.
It's been nearly four years since Grand Rapids police burst through the couple's bedroom door. The couple say police threw Janine Jansma, who was naked, on the floor, breaking her wrist and arm, as they demanded to know where they had hidden drugs.
Police were led to the home after a group of teens were found smoking marijuana outside Alger Elementary School. The teens said they purchased the marijuana from one of the Jansmas' sons.
Police swept through the Jansmas' home in August 2003 and found marijuana -- mostly stems and seeds, plastic baggies and a small scale.
The Jansmas were charged with hindering and opposing a police officer, drug possession and maintaining a drug house. Police later seized the home.
Now, after spending tens of thousands of dollars on attorney fees, the Jansmas have had all charges dropped.
On Thursday, they found out an appeals court has ruled the city cannot take their home of 27 years, which they mortgaged to pay the lawyers.
However, the house was declared a nuisance to the neighborhood and the son who allegedly used and sold drugs there cannot live in the home.
The couple hopes a federal judge will award them more than $1 million and -- as important, they say -- send a message to Grand Rapids police.
They also believe the city needs to hold back on using the Special Response Team -- a team that wears body armor and helmets and is used in house-entry situations.
The Jansmas say machine guns were held to their heads in the raid.
"They should only be used for high-risk operations like hostage situations," Jelte Jansma said.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Will Connecticut or New York become the thirteenth state to legalize
medical marijuana under state law? A growing share of the Members of
the European Parliament, the law making body of the European Union,
support decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana. While cannabinoids
have been the subject of medical studies published in over a hundred
United States peer reviewed medical journals so far this year few
make the news like the report from Germany did. Most folks outside
California think all Californians have easy access to medical
marijuana; however, the fact is that easy access exists in less than
a fifth of the state. While free speech activists wait for the
results of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the 'Bong Hits 4
Jesus' case, due any day, it appears that in Canada free speech is
whatever a school principal says it is.
Will Connecticut or New York become the thirteenth state to legalize medical marijuana under state law? A growing share of the Members of the European Parliament, the law making body of the European Union, support decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana. While cannabinoids have been the subject of medical studies published in over a hundred United States peer reviewed medical journals so far this year few make the news like the report from Germany did. Most folks outside California think all Californians have easy access to medical marijuana; however, the fact is that easy access exists in less than a fifth of the state. While free speech activists wait for the results of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' case, due any day, it appears that in Canada free speech is whatever a school principal says it is.
(14) LEGISLATORS GRAPPLE OVER HOW TO LEGALIZE MEDICAL MARIJUANA USE ( Top )
Source: New York Times (NY)
Pubdate: Thu, 14 Jun 2007
Copyright: 2007 The New York Times Company
Authors: Danny Hakim and Michael M. Grynbaum
ALBANY - Gov. Eliot Spitzer and legislative leaders said this week that the use of marijuana for medical purposes should be made legal in New York State.
But whether all involved can come to an agreement on how that should be done with one week left in the legislative session remains in significant doubt. One question they must answer: Should the state be in the business of growing and distributing marijuana to sick people? And if not, how should those people obtain it?
And even though a dozen other states have legalized marijuana use to ease the pain of a variety of diseases, buying, selling or possessing marijuana remains a federal crime. The deliberation comes on the heels of a similar bill recently passed in Connecticut that is awaiting the signature of Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
In New York, the Democratic-led Assembly passed a bill on Wednesday that would give doctors the authority to grant eligible patients a certification allowing them to legally acquire and use marijuana or to grow up to a dozen plants at a time.
Senator Vincent N. Leibell, a Republican whose district includes Putnam County and parts of Westchester and Dutchess Counties, said he would introduce legislation that would take a different approach. He said he would prefer that the state's Health Department be in charge of growing and dispensing marijuana.
"The key issue is control," he said. "How do you control manufacture, and how do you control dispensement? Those are the two issues that'll be out there."
The Senate majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno, said that he supported the idea - he has supported efforts to legalize marijuana for medical use in the past - but that "the Assembly version doesn't work."
He said he believed there was enough time left in the session to work out the differences, though lawmakers are grappling with a wide variety of issues in the five remaining days of the session.
(15) MEPs BACK LEGAL CANNABIS ( Top )
Source: Manchester Evening News (UK)
Pubdate: Wed, 13 Jun 2007
Copyright: 2007 Manchester Evening News
Author: Yakub Qureshi
A THIRD of Britain's Euro MPs support the decriminalisation of cannabis, according to a study.
They were second only to the Dutch in their support for a change in the law.
Research by Manchester University shows a significant proportion of British MEPs who answered a survey believe the drug should be made legal despite growing health fears over its use.
There are thought to be two million regular users of the drug in Britain. Studies suggest it is linked to severe mental illness such as schizophrenia. Thirty-seven of Britain's 78 MEPs took part in the study.
The findings were made as part of a survey of all Members of the European Parliament, which showed that around a fifth supported a change in the law.
Only MEPs in Holland showed stronger support than Britain, with 83 per cent backing wider decriminalisation.
(16) CANNABIS HELPS TREAT ALLERGIC REACTIONS ( Top )
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Pubdate: Mon, 11 Jun 2007
Copyright: 2007 New Zealand Herald
A cannabis folk remedy has been resurrected by scientists who found that active ingredients in the drug reduce allergic reactions.
The research, conducted on mice, points the way towards new cannabis-based treatments for irritated skin.
Extracts from the hemp plant were traditionally used to treat inflammation and could be bought from chemists in the early part of the 20th century.
But fears about the intoxicating effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that causes the cannabis high, led to a ban on sales in the 1930s.
The new research suggests that the herbalists who used cannabis ointments to treat eczema knew what they were doing.
Scientists now believe that cannabis skin lotion, in a safe form too diluted to affect the brain, could make a comeback. The team from the University of Bonn in Germany stumbled on the anti-inflammatory effect of THC while conducting a brain study on mice. The animals were genetically engineered so they could not respond to cannabinoids, either THC or its natural equivalents generated in the brain.
(17) POT LAWS HURT THOSE WHO ALREADY SUFFER ( Top )
Source: Tribune, The (San Luis Obispo, CA)
Pubdate: Sun, 10 Jun 2007
Copyright: 2007 The Tribune
Author: Bob Cuddy
Elaine McKellips, a 55-year-old Republican grandmother, doesn't think of herself as a bad person, let alone a criminal. She has a son, daughter-inlaw and two grandchildren in Oregon. Her son fought in Operation Desert Storm.
Elaine, who lives in Atascadero, has been a lawabiding businesswoman. She once even turned in a meth dealer in her neighborhood.
But various illnesses with obscure-sounding names have grabbed her and thrown her down: degenerative disc disease, spastic esophagus, hyperactive bowel.
Incapacitated, Elaine reluctantly took her doctor's advice and went to Morro Bay's Compassionate Care Center to get medical marijuana to help with the nausea. It worked.
Then the center closed, collateral damage in the war on drugs and the nation's culture wars.
Elaine doesn't understand why there is such little compassion for them -- for her -- in this struggle.
"I'm not a druggie," she says. "I don't know why they see me as a problem.
Losing access "makes my life more hopeless," she says. "I don't want to live like this."
"If you see someone suffering," she asks, "how can you say you're not going to help him?"
(18) RALLY HELD IN SUPPORT OF FREE SPEECH RIGHTS ( Top )
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Pubdate: Thu, 14 Jun 2007
Copyright: 2007 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Matthew Barton, Leader-Post
The residents of Wawota, population 500, were surprised to see protesters waving signs and shouting into a megaphone Tuesday.
"We can't believe this happened in small-town Wawota," Melanie Taylor, a 17-year-old student at Wawota Parkland School, said Wednesday.
Taylor said she saw five men and two students standing outside the school waving flags and signs. One of the flags resembled the Canadian flag, but instead of a maple leaf, it had a cannabis leaf.
Student Kieran King is the focus of the activity in Wawota. He was suspended from school for three days after disobeying the school's lockdown order during a walkout protest.
King, his brother, members from the Saskatchewan Marijuana Party, a member of the NDP and another person rallied outside the school in the name of freedom of speech.
The 15-year-old student said marijuana is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. Principal Susan Wilson asked King to stop talking about marijuana to students at school. King claimed it was a violation of his right to free speech.
"(Students) don't need to be thinking about marijuana and thinking it's OK. It's something you shouldn't do. I don't think the principal is wrong at all," Taylor said.
The school division stood behind Wilson's decision to suspend King.
"Schools are not public places. They are institutions with expectations of conduct," said Don Rempel, the director of education for the South East Cornerstone School Division.
King's suspension means he will miss his final exams because he's to leave for China today. By missing his exams he will lose 30 per cent of his final marks. His mother is trying to negotiate with the school to have his final exams faxed to the Canadian embassy in Shanghai.
King is an honour student and has marks in the 80s and 90s. He would still pass Grade 10 even with the severely reduced marks.
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Summer is upon us, and Afghanistan's bumper crop of poppies blanket
the country with flowery reminders of the failure of U.S. policy in
the region, especially the failure of U.S. drug policy. A
prohibitionist U.S. Congress on the other end of the planet in
Washington D.C., has decided the $6 billion they will pour into the
area this year will go more to "tackle Afghan opium", as the
Christian Science Monitor put it last week. But winning "hearts and
minds" presents a problem for gung-ho U.S. slash-and-burn
prohibitionists who want to spray crop-killing poisons on Afghan
poppy farms. Since the Taliban control vast swaths of the
countryside and are gaining daily (the U.S.-propped Karzai regime
controls Kabul and not much else), U.S. prohibitionists reason it
must be "the drugs." The bill, "passed by the full House... would
also require the U.S. military to provide logistical support to as
many as 150 U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency personnel." The bill may
face some resistance in the Senate. "I don't want to see the
American GIs tasked as the principal persons," said Senator John
Warner, "that have got to go in and clean up this situation."
Mayor Sam Sullivan in Vancouver, Canada, has apparently given up on
attempting to get funding for Insite, North American's only
supervised injection center. The mayor remarked last week that
Insite was only temporary. "Certainly, it's clear to me that there
isn't a great enthusiasm for this technique, and I actually share
the view that we need ultimately to have different and new
innovative approaches... I have always looked at this site as a
temporary measure, just like I look at needle exchanges as temporary
measures." The Mayor is instead studying the creation of a program
where addicts might be given legal prescription drugs in place of
illegal street drugs.
And finally, we leave you with a piece from criminal justice and
gang researcher Michael C. Chettleburgh, which appeared in the
Canadian National Post newspaper this week. Concludes Chettleburgh,
"we need to embark upon drug legalization, which will starve gangs
of their principal oxygen supply and serve to upset the attractive
risk-reward proposition that every new gangster now faces... "There
is no contradiction in being pro-drug-reform yet anti-drug use. In
its present form, the war on drugs is both bad public policy and a
fight we cannot win. All drug users should have the right to harm
themselves if they so choose. Recognizing that we cannot eliminate
their demand, I would much prefer that drug users purchase their
wares in a controlled setting rather than from young gangsters, who
effectively control what gets sold, where it gets sold and to whom
it gets sold."
Summer is upon us, and Afghanistan's bumper crop of poppies blanket the country with flowery reminders of the failure of U.S. policy in the region, especially the failure of U.S. drug policy. A prohibitionist U.S. Congress on the other end of the planet in Washington D.C., has decided the $6 billion they will pour into the area this year will go more to "tackle Afghan opium", as the Christian Science Monitor put it last week. But winning "hearts and minds" presents a problem for gung-ho U.S. slash-and-burn prohibitionists who want to spray crop-killing poisons on Afghan poppy farms. Since the Taliban control vast swaths of the countryside and are gaining daily (the U.S.-propped Karzai regime controls Kabul and not much else), U.S. prohibitionists reason it must be "the drugs." The bill, "passed by the full House... would also require the U.S. military to provide logistical support to as many as 150 U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency personnel." The bill may face some resistance in the Senate. "I don't want to see the American GIs tasked as the principal persons," said Senator John Warner, "that have got to go in and clean up this situation."
Mayor Sam Sullivan in Vancouver, Canada, has apparently given up on attempting to get funding for Insite, North American's only supervised injection center. The mayor remarked last week that Insite was only temporary. "Certainly, it's clear to me that there isn't a great enthusiasm for this technique, and I actually share the view that we need ultimately to have different and new innovative approaches... I have always looked at this site as a temporary measure, just like I look at needle exchanges as temporary measures." The Mayor is instead studying the creation of a program where addicts might be given legal prescription drugs in place of illegal street drugs.
And finally, we leave you with a piece from criminal justice and gang researcher Michael C. Chettleburgh, which appeared in the Canadian National Post newspaper this week. Concludes Chettleburgh, "we need to embark upon drug legalization, which will starve gangs of their principal oxygen supply and serve to upset the attractive risk-reward proposition that every new gangster now faces... "There is no contradiction in being pro-drug-reform yet anti-drug use. In its present form, the war on drugs is both bad public policy and a fight we cannot win. All drug users should have the right to harm themselves if they so choose. Recognizing that we cannot eliminate their demand, I would much prefer that drug users purchase their wares in a controlled setting rather than from young gangsters, who effectively control what gets sold, where it gets sold and to whom it gets sold."
(19) U.S. CONGRESS URGES MILITARY TO TACKLE AFGHAN OPIUM ( Top )
Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)
Pubdate: Thu, 14 Jun 2007
Copyright: 2007 The Christian Science Publishing Society
Author: Gordon Lubold, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Destroying The Nation's Mainstay Crop Could Complicate U.S. Troops' Efforts To Win Hearts And Minds.
Washington - A bumper crop of poppies in Afghanistan is prompting Congress to push a reluctant U.S. military into a bigger role to rid the country of the illegal trade.
The reason? Officials have long suspected that the centuries-old opium industry is funding the Taliban and other insurgents in Afghanistan.
But direct intervention is tricky for U.S. troops. If a key part of their counterinsurgency campaign is to win the hearts and minds of Afghans, the thinking goes, Americans can't be seen as the face of an effort to burn fields and eradicate a livelihood that is illegal but central to the country's fragile financial system.
Currently, the U.S. provides only indirect support. Its policy leaves it to the Afghan government to contain the opium trade. By international agreement, British military forces are designated to support the Afghan effort, but they generally do not take an active role against the trade.
With opium production there skyrocketing, the U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a $6.4 billion aid and reconstruction package for Afghanistan that contains a major counternarcotics component. The legislation would create a new position in government that would develop and coordinate a "coherent counternarcotics strategy" for all U.S. government entities working in Afghanistan. The measure includes an anticorruption initiative that would cut funding to Afghan local and provincial governments found to be connected to Islamic terror organizations or narcotics traffickers. The bill, passed by the full House but not yet the Senate, would also require the U.S. military to provide logistical support to as many as 150 U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency personnel, such as flying them in and out of the field to conduct operations.
Lawmakers like Reps. Tom Lantos (D) of California and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) of Florida, who cosponsored the bill, believe the U.S. has to do more.
But pushing the U.S. military into a more significant role is a danger, says Christopher Langton, a retired British military officer and analyst with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.
"A large part of the insurgency's successful propaganda campaign dwells on the fact that the international community is in Afghanistan in the guise of invaders and occupiers," he says. "If you allow us, the so-called invaders and occupiers, to ravage an Afghan farmer's crop, you just reinforce that message."
"I don't want to see the American GIs tasked as the principal persons that have got to go in and clean up this situation," Warner said.
"That's right," came General Lute's response. "This is fundamentally a law-enforcement and governance role, not a military role."
(20) EDITORIAL: AFGHAN MISSION UNRAVELS ( Top )
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Pubdate: Mon, 09 Jul 2007
Copyright: 2007 St. Petersburg Times
Iraq continues to consume the oxygen in Washington, but a new congressional report should shift public attention back to the first front in the war on terror.
The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, reported in alarming detail last month on the extent to which the security and domestic situations have deteriorated in Afghanistan, where NATO and a U.S.-led coalition are fighting Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists.
The United States attacked Afghanistan a year and a half before invading Iraq as punishment for the Taliban government harboring al- Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and has spent $15-billion, not including the cost of military operations, to stabilize and rebuild the country. While the GAO acknowledged areas of progress, such as in diversifying the economy and training an Afghan army, it found that after five years of international efforts, the security situation "has not improved and, moreover, has deteriorated significantly in the last year." The rebuilding is hampered by a resurgence of the Taliban, the limited capability of Afghan security forces, an inept government, corruption and the labor force's reliance on growing opium, with some of the profits going to fund terrorist activity.
The picture is bleak across the board. While Washington provided $6- billion through last year to train and equip the Afghan security services, no army combat units or police units are fully capable of operating by themselves.
Broader dysfunctions within society only compound the security problem. The report notes: "Afghanistan still has no formal national judicial system for the police to rely upon, opium poppy cultivation is at record levels and the Afghan police often find themselves facing better- armed drug traffickers and militias."
(21) INJECTION SITE TEMPORARY - MAYOR ( Top )
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jun 2007
Copyright: 2007 Vancouver Courier
Author: Mike Howell, Staff Writer
Mayor Sam Sullivan will not lobby the federal government for another supervised injection site because the ruling Conservatives don't favour a second site.
Sullivan said he tailors his approach to drug initiatives, such as prescribing legal drugs to addicts, around the fact that Prime Stephen Harper and his party question the success of Insite in the Downtown Eastside.
"I've tried to structure my proposals around the thinking of people in Ottawa, as well as the needs of people with drug addictions," Sullivan told the Courier Wednesday. "Certainly, it's clear to me that there isn't a great enthusiasm for this technique, and I actually share the view that we need ultimately to have different and new innovative approaches."
"I don't think [its closing] should be based on an arbitrary date," Sullivan said. "It should be based on when it's not needed. I have always looked at this site as a temporary measure, just like I look at needle exchanges as temporary measures."
The mayor said he's focused on his proposal to give prescription medication to up to 800 drug-addicted criminals in the Downtown Eastside. Inner Change, a non-profit created to write the proposal, has yet to send the paperwork to Health Canada for approval.
Sullivan said Insite could be used as a "recruitment centre" for what he calls his Chronic Addiction Substitution Treatment program, or CAST. The type of prescription drugs to be used, the cost of the program and the doctors who will prescribe the medication haven't been finalized.
Louie said the mayor's comments on Insite and his prescription drug proposal are confusing, and that Sullivan contradicts himself from day to day. Louie believes the mayor is willing to trade with the Conservatives their approval of the CAST program for the closure of Insite.
Louie wondered why the CAST initiative has not been brought before council. "Why is it controlled outside the public realm?"
(22) OPED: PUT THE GANGS OUT OF BUSINESS: LEGALIZE DRUGS ( Top )
Source: National Post (Canada)
Pubdate: Wed, 13 Jun 2007
Copyright: 2007 Southam Inc.
Author: Michael C. Chettleburgh
Many allocate blame to street gangsters for this sorry state of affairs -- the idea being that if it weren't for these aggressive and money-hungry "pushers," we wouldn't have such a problem. However, this reasoning is incomplete: It fails to consider the demand generated by millions of Canadians of all ages who, at least once this year, will act on their desire and make a back-alley purchase of an illicit drug.
Moreover, more than two million Americans now call prison home, the majority of which are young black and Hispanic men. About half of them are serving time for relatively minor drug offences. Today, things are so bad that the FBI has made street gangs and the underlying drug trade their number one priority, even over domestic terrorism. The failure in this campaign is a testament to the abject failure of the U.S. war on drugs and gangs.
Canada has the opportunity, but perhaps not the courage, to employ a different approach on street gangs.
Finally, we need to embark upon drug legalization, which will starve gangs of their principal oxygen supply and serve to upset the attractive risk-reward proposition that every new gangster now faces.
Rather than continue to incur only the massive costs of the drug trade -- addictions, policing, corrections and loss of life -- why not also capture the massive financial benefit (over $400-billion in North America alone), which we presently reserve for the exclusive enjoyment of street gangs and other criminal organizations?
Like other drugs we deem socially acceptable -- nicotine delivered in cigarettes and alcohol for instance, which collectively kill about 50,000 Canadians every year -- we ought to control the production and distribution of illicit drugs and tax their consumption.
There is no contradiction in being pro-drug-reform yet anti-drug use. In its present form, the war on drugs is both bad public policy and a fight we cannot win. All drug users should have the right to harm themselves if they so choose. Recognizing that we cannot eliminate their demand, I would much prefer that drug users purchase their wares in a controlled setting rather than from young gangsters, who effectively control what gets sold, where it gets sold and to whom it gets sold.
Drug reform will not solve the drug problem entirely. But it will go a long way to solving what has been termed the "drug-problem problem," which is the pull of the gang and its associated crime and violence.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
HANNITY & COLMES DISCUSS STOP SNITCHING MOVEMENT ( Top )
Dr. Marc Lamont Hill appears on Hannity & Colmes to discuss the Stop Snitching movement.
SO MUCH FOR BIG PHARMA'S 'ANTI-POT' PILL ( Top )
By Paul Armentano, AlterNet. Posted June 15, 2007.
The FDA has rejected a controversial diet aid that is supposed to counteract the effects of pot and has been linked to suicidal thoughts and depression.
CULTURAL BAGGAGE RADIO SHOW ( Top )
Tonight: 06/15/07 - DTN Reporter Glenn Greenway takes an in depth look at "Poppygate" + Drug War Facts, Cliff Thornton & Phil Smith
Last: 06/08/07 - Richard Traylor disproves faulty Tx correctional urine tests & Doug McVay with Drug War Facts & Phil Smith of Stop The Drug War
ETHAN NADELMANN SPEAKS IN DETROIT ( Top )
Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance speaks about creating an exit strategy to end the "War On Drugs" and make a road to drug sense and prison reform.
MULTIDISCIPLINARY ASSOCIATION FOR PSYCHEDELIC STUDIES NEWS ( Top )
STONERS IN THE MIST ( Top )
"Stoners in the Mist" is a satirical documentary from AboveTheInfluence.com in which "Dr. Barnard Puck," clad in safari clothes, observes "stoners" in their natural habitat.
REALITY CHECK : THERE IS PLENTY OF COCA ( Top )
The latest U.S. coca cultivation estimates make one thing clear: There is plenty of coca.
by John M. Walsh, Senior Associate, Washington Office on Latin America
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
DOES YOUR POLITICIAN SUFFER FROM CHRONIC RE-ELECTION PARANOIA (CREEP)? ( Top )
Do you think our nation has an Incarcerex dependence? Tell your elected officials to give up the quick fix and create a new bottom line for the war on drugs. Take action now.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
A BRONX RESTAURANT WITH A DRUG PROBLEM ( Top )
By Tony Newman
To the Editor:
Emily Brady's Street Level column about the drug dealing at a Kennedy Fried Chicken in the Bronx ( "A Corner Once Sunny, Made Dreary by Drugs," June 3 ) was disturbing and depressing. It is disturbing that the mother featured in the column is afraid for her children's safety while they eat their meal. It is depressing because the current strategies employed by our country to address the drug-dealing problems are destined to fail.
The conventional wisdom is to call for more police to crack down on the drug dealers and send them away to prison for many years. The problem is that we have tried this failing strategy for 30-plus years, starting with the Rockefeller drug laws. These draconian laws have not delivered on their promise to rid our streets of drugs or keep people from using them.
A more difficult but effective strategy would be to create decent paying jobs for those youth in the Bronx who are selling drugs, and to offer treatment instead of jail for those struggling with addiction. When half of the adult black males in New York don't have jobs and there are long waiting lists at treatment centers, we are destined to have "once sunny" corners turned into dangerous and "dreary" places.
The writer is communications director, Drug Policy Alliance.
Pubdate: Sun, 10 Jun 2007
Source: New York Times (NY)
LETTER WRITER OF THE MONTH - MAY ( Top )
DrugSense recognizes Robert Sharpe for his 17 letters published during May, bringing the total number of published letters archived by MAP to 1,767. Robert writes as a volunteer for Common Sense for Drug Policy (http://www.csdp.org) Robert spends about an hour a day, most days, after work sending out letters. Roberts tips for letter writing success are at http://www.mapinc.org/resource/tips.htm
You may read Robert's published letters at:
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
Law Enforcement Lying And Stealing - SOP ( Top )
By Pete Guither
This is a pretty amazing story.
"Ascension Alverez-Tejeda and his girlfriend drove up to a traffic light. As the light turned green, the car in front of them lurched forward, then stalled. Alverez-Tejeda managed to stop in time, but the truck behind him tapped his bumper. As Alverez-Tejeda got out to inspect the damage, two officers pulled up in a police cruiser and arrested the truck driver for drunk driving. The officers got Alverez-Tejeda and his girl- friend to drive to a nearby parking lot, leave the keys in the car and get into the cruiser for processing. Just then, out of nowhere, someone snuck into their car and drove off with it. As the couple stood by in shock, the police jumped into their cruiser and chased after the car thief with sirens blaring. The police then returned to the parking lot, told the couple that the thief had gotten away and dropped them off at a local hotel. "
The whole incident was staged.
Everyone mentioned above except Alverez-Tejeda and his girlfriend were police (or working for them). It was all an elaborate ruse to search the car without tipping off the drug conspirators.
This was a case that went to the 9th Circuit Court on whether this was an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment, and the court ruled that it was not.
It's certainly an interesting case, and a little disturbing, but it's not the huge Fourth Amendment debacle that a few are making it out to be.
What some commenters online are failing to notice is that both parties agreed that the government in this case had more than enough probable cause (from wiretaps, etc) to legally search the car. This was not a fishing expedition in the sense that we're used to examining. The only question was how they went about getting the car to do the search. So the court was examining whether the nature of the seizure (pretending to steal the car instead of just taking it) was unreasonable, and ruled it wasn't.
And quite frankly, compared to the violence of home invasion as part of the drug war, this ruse involving a tap of the bumper seems less of a constitutional concern to me.
This doesn't meant that I like it. Just that I don't think the 9th Circuit was wrong in this case, given the current weakness of the Fourth Amendment.
However, I also think that law enforcement should consider carefully the ramifications of their actions. They probably considered this operation to be a crafty or cute idea (and I can imagine the high-fives afterwards with the car "thief.") But what does it say to the public that they serve?
One of the serious repercussions of the drug war is the fact that, in the eyes of the public, law enforcement has become a force to be feared, not trusted. An agency of lies and corruption that will take your friends away. That breakdown in the perception of law enforcement's status with the public makes it easier for violent crime to exist, and is destructive to communities.
Every time that law enforcement uses techniques such as lying and stealing as part of their standard operating procedure, they drive a further wedge into their relationship with their employers and feed the societal sickness we are experiencing.
Note that this thought was articulated by Kozinski within the 9th circuit opinion:
"If people can't trust the representations of government officials, the phrase "I'm from the government and I'm here to help" will become even more terrifying."
Articles at Wired Blog (http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/06/appeals_court_r.html) , Volokh (http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2007_06_03-2007_06_09.shtml#1181324646) , Daily Kos (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/6/10/103631/297)
Pete Guither is the author of Drug WarRant - http://www.drugwarrant.com - a weblog at the front lines of the drug war, where this piece was first presented.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
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