THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) COUPLE FOUND GUILTY IN POT CASE
Pubdate: Fri, 17 Aug 2007
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2007 The Sacramento Bee
Author: Denny Walsh, Bee Staff Writer
El Dorado Doctor and Husband Insist Their Plants Are Medicinal.
An El Dorado County couple who insist they treat marijuana only as a medicine, but who ran afoul of the federal government's zero tolerance for the drug, were found guilty Thursday by a Sacramento jury of conspiring to grow and distribute marijuana.
It took the jury less than three hours on the 10th day of trial to convict Marion P. "Mollie" Fry, a physician, and her attorney husband, Dale C. Schafer, of a conspiracy to distribute and grow at least 100 plants.
The jury also found them guilty of manufacturing marijuana. In Schafer's case, the panel found he had manufactured at least 100 plants.
Fry, 51, and Schafer, 53, are scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 26. They each face a minimum of five years in prison.
A grand jury indictment, returned more than two years ago, says the conspiracy continued from Aug. 1, 1999, to the day narcotics officers raided the couples' Greenwood home and Cool offices -- Sept. 28, 2001.
In his closing argument, Schafer's attorney, J. Tony Serra, acknowledged his client grew marijuana on his property, but not with Fry and not 100 plants. The five-year mandatory minimum was triggered for both defendants by the 100-plant finding.
"He admits he grew," Serra said of his client. "He doesn't expect to walk out of here without a conviction."
Even though medical necessity is not a defense to federal marijuana charges, U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. allowed Schafer to tell the jury much of the back story of the couple's involvement with the drug.
"He has a right to explain why he did what he did," the judge ruled.
(2) PAINFUL DRUG WAR VICTORY ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 16 Aug 2007
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2007 News World Communications, Inc.
Author: Zachary David Skaggs
Since 2000, the Drug Enforcement Administration has embarked on a muscular campaign against prescription painkiller abuse. It has utilized undercover investigations, SWAT raids, asset forfeiture, and high profile trials against "kingpin" doctors. These tactics should be familiar to anyone who has studied the drug war, but the results are a shocker. Prescription opioids have actually grown scarce.
To put it bluntly, the DEA has finally found a drug war it can win.
"Opiophobia" is a term that describes doctors' increasing unwillingness to prescribe opioid painkillers - a class of drugs that includes Vicodin and OxyContin - and especially high-dose opioids, to those in pain. This fear is rooted in the DEA's practice of jailing those doctors it deems are prescribing outside "legitimate medical standards."
Because pain doesn't show up on an MRI, doctors work together with their patients to achieve proper dosage. And, thanks to individual chemistry, pain level, drug tolerance, or typically, all three, patients vary tremendously in the number of milligrams they require. But when the only thing doctors know for certain is that prescribing large amounts of opioids endanger them, it is those suffering the worst who go undermedicated.
Call it "opiophobia," call it a "chilling effect," or simply, doctors behaving rationally, the result is the same: massive underprescription of opioids and radical undertreatment of pain. A Stanford study puts the number of undermedicated chronic pain patients at about 50 percent. According to the American Pain Society, fewer than 50 percent of cancer patients receive sufficient pain relief.
(3) DRUG LEGALISATION IS PLAYING RUSSIAN ROULETTE ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 16 Aug 2007
Source: Financial Times (UK)
Copyright: The Financial Times Limited 2007
Author: Joseph Califano
Willem Buiter's proposal on these pages last week for the European Union (and the world) to legalise all drugs, including heroin and cocaine, is a one-way ticket to destroying millions of children, increasing violent crime and pushing up healthcare costs.
Like most legalisation buffs, Professor Buiter suggests a regulated system where access to drugs would be prohibited for minors. Our experience with laws restricting access by children and adolescents to tobacco and alcohol makes it clear that keeping legal drugs away from minors would be an impossible dream. Teen smoking and drinking are at epidemic levels in the US and across much of the European continent. In Great Britain, keeping bars open has led to an explosion of drunkenness among teens so widespread that the government is likely to return to limited hours for pubs.
Today, the US has some 60m regular smokers, up to 20m alcoholics and alcohol abusers and about 6m illegal drug addicts. Experts such as Columbia University's Herbert Kleber believe that, with legalisation, the number of cocaine addicts alone could leapfrog beyond the number of alcoholics. The experience of European nations that have tried various shades of legalisation bears him out.
Switzerland's "Needle Park", touted as a way to restrict a few hundred heroin users to a small area, turned into a grotesque tourist attraction of 20,000 heroin addicts and junkies. It had to be closed before it infected the entire city of Zurich.
(4) 950 ORGANIZED CRIME GROUPS IN CANADA: REPORT ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, Aug 17, 2007
Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Canada Web)
Copyright: 2007 CBC
Police identified 950 organized crime groups operating in Canada in 2007, up from 800 the year before, according to a report released Friday.
The report, prepared by Canada's Criminal Intelligence Service, provides a picture of organized crime in the country based on information provided by police forces and law enforcement agencies across the country.
But RCMP Commissioner William Elliott, who chaired the report, said the findings do not necessarily mean there are more crime groups operating in Canada - it may just mean that police are getting better at working together to identify the groups.
"We're encouraged because we know that this year we're in a position to know more about the number of groups, their activities, and that is very much helping our enforcement efforts," Elliott told reporters at a press conference in Calgary.
The report notes that 80 per cent of organized crime groups are involved in the illegal drug trade, with the most popular drug being marijuana and the biggest grow operations found in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Great news! A drug testing company reports that positive results for
cocaine tests have dropped dramatically this year in Miami, leading
the federal drug czar to say that such numbers prove all those
billions spent in Colombia are going to good use. Interesting how
the drug-testing industry, which needs the drug war to survive, is
stepping up for the drug czar right as details about a new anti-drug
agreement between Mexico and the U.S. are being negotiated.
And since the drug testing industry depends on cannabis being
illegal, it's not surprising that it still is, despite clear
evidence that cannabis is less risky than some legal drugs. The
feds, still targeting state-approved medical cannabis operations,
have subpoenaed information about medical marijuana users in Oregon.
And, a disabled Florida man imprisoned for 25 years on dubious
charges, hopes the governor has some compassion.
Great news! A drug testing company reports that positive results for cocaine tests have dropped dramatically this year in Miami, leading the federal drug czar to say that such numbers prove all those billions spent in Colombia are going to good use. Interesting how the drug-testing industry, which needs the drug war to survive, is stepping up for the drug czar right as details about a new anti-drug agreement between Mexico and the U.S. are being negotiated.
And since the drug testing industry depends on cannabis being illegal, it's not surprising that it still is, despite clear evidence that cannabis is less risky than some legal drugs. The feds, still targeting state-approved medical cannabis operations, have subpoenaed information about medical marijuana users in Oregon. And, a disabled Florida man imprisoned for 25 years on dubious charges, hopes the governor has some compassion.
(5) POSITIVE COCAINE TESTS FALL IN S. FLA ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 10 Aug 2007
Source: Miami Herald (FL)
Copyright: 2007 The Miami Herald
Author: Evan S. Benn And Frank Greve
Workplace Drug Tests Showed A Big Decline In Cocaine Use Across The Country And Especially In South Florida.
Cocaine use in South Florida's workforce has experienced a sharp decline this year compared to 2006, mirroring a national trend that shows the drug's use at a 10-year low, a leading U.S. testing firm reports.
"The Miami-Fort Lauderdale area saw a dramatic decline of approximately 18.1 percent in cocaine positivity rates among workers," said Barry Sample, the director of science and technology for employee testing at Quest Diagnostics. "This drop may suggest that employees in the area either are choosing not to use cocaine or lack access to the drug."
Nationwide, there was a 16 percent drop in positive workplace drug tests for cocaine in the first six months of the year, Quest announced Thursday.
The Lyndhurst, N.J.,-based company compiled its report on 4.4 million drug tests conducted from January through June. The nationwide rate - -- about one test in every 172 was positive for cocaine -- is the lowest in the 10 years since Quest began reporting cocaine in its testing index, a widely used benchmark.
In the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area, about one in every 147 drug tests came back positive for cocaine, based on Quest's data for the first six months of the year. In 2006, it was one in every 120 tests.
Those tested included people from the general work force as well as those with jobs that require federally mandated drug tests, like pilots, truck and bus drivers and nuclear power plant employees.
White House drug czar John Walters cheered the Quest report's findings.
Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said cocaine has become harder to find and more expensive in many cities, although Miami and Fort Lauderdale were not included in a list of cities he said were experiencing that trend. Cocaine scarcity and price spikes have been reported in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Washington, Walters said.
Emergency-room visits for cocaine-related problems also are down, Walters said, adding that he has never seen so many cocaine-use trends "pointing in the same direction."
(6) COLUMN: A LESS-DANGEROUS INTOXICANT ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 12 Aug 2007
Source: Orange County Register, The (CA)
Copyright: 2007 The Orange County Register
Author: Konrad Moore
Alcohol Spawns Violence, Death and Economic Harm; Marijuana Doesn't.
There is a saying in criminal law: Those who sin while drunk will be punished while sober. The expression reflects the reality that alcohol commonly underlies criminal conduct. Approximately 40 percent of fatal traffic crashes involve alcohol, and more than half of all homicides and incidents of domestic violence are alcohol-related.
Both liberal and conservative values embrace public safety. But, notwithstanding our nation's brief experiment with Prohibition, both groups seem content to continue with the status quo regarding alcohol. Use of the nation's leading legal intoxicant is at once a chief contributor to crime and social destruction, and is simultaneously and routinely glorified as essential to a good time.
Alcohol costs the U.S. economy an estimated $134 billion per year in lost productivity and earnings through alcohol-related illness, premature death and crime. Scientific literature suggests that in approximately 10 percent of the population alcohol use leads to alcoholism.
How, then, does alcohol continue to escape the country's often puritanical view of drugs, and does it make sense to consider reforming drug laws based on an assessment of their dangerousness? The answer to the first question is a matter of historical and sociological debate, the answer to the second is clearly yes.
Certainly, there are drugs more dangerous and addictive than alcohol, including methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. By the same measure, it is appropriate to recognize marijuana as falling on the other side of the proverbial ledger. Although it may well be ad
(7) OREGON SUBPOENAS WORRY MEDICAL MARIJUANA ADVOCATES ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 12 Aug 2007
Source: Argus Observer (OR)
Copyright: 2007 Ontario Argus Observer
Federal subpoenas seeking medical records of 17 Oregon medical marijuana patients have growers and users upset and nervous even as a federal judge considers whether to throw the subpoenas out.
"It's crazy. It's really scary. If they can get my records, they can get Gov. ( Ted ) Kulongoski's, they can get yours," said Donald DuPay, a former Portland police officer and 2006 candidate for Multnomah County sheriff.
DuPay says his records are among those subpoenaed.
A federal grand jury in Yakima, Wash., issued the subpoenas in April as part of an investigation of some growers in Oregon and Washington.
The patients are not targets of the grand jury.
A Seattle spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration declined comment.
The subpoenas were served on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, which issues permits to patients and their authorized growers.
A second subpoena went to The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, a private Portland clinic where doctors determine whether a patient's condition would be eased by marijuana.
(8) PASCO MAN DOING 25 YEARS FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING SEEKS CLEMENCY ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 10 Aug 2007
Source: Miami Herald (FL)
Copyright: 2007 The Miami Herald
Author: The Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A Pasco County man with multiple sclerosis who was convicted of drug trafficking for having a large stash of prescription drugs he said were for pain should receive clemency, his family said Thursday.
Richard Paey has served four years of a 25-year minimum mandatory sentence for drug trafficking. The former lawyer and father of three injured his back in a 1985 car crash and has said he has pain from that in addition to his multiple sclerosis. He argued in court that only large amounts of strong narcotics eased that pain.
Prosecutors alleged that using forged prescriptions to obtain so many pills meant he had to be selling them. Paey said he got undated prescription forms from a New Jersey doctor because Florida physicians were reluctant to prescribe drugs in the amounts he needs.
In a hearing before clemency staff, Paey's wife and children said the four years he's already served are enough.
"I would like to have him home, so we don't have to spend another 21 and a half years without him," his daughter, Katherine Paey said. "Because he's already missing ... us growing up. And he's missed birthdays. And, you know, just us being without him is painful."
Richard Paey, who is now wheelchair-bound, appealed his conviction, but the Florida Supreme Court in March declined to hear the case.
The clemency staff can recommend his case to Gov. Charlie Crist and the clemency board, which could then take it up and has the power to order him released early. A final decision isn't likely for months.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
The fight over federal drug money is getting nasty in Indiana, where
the ONDCP is investigating a local High Intensity Drug Trafficking
Area program that decided to hold on to the interest accumulated
from federal drug funds. The ONDCP is kind of funny, they don't care
how the police enforce the laws, there's never any criticism about
corruption, but try to keep their compound interest, and watch out!
Also last week: A story out of Canada show's that country's military
does not seem to be immune to drug corruption; a rookie cop makes
all the wrong moves in a drug bust; and serious questions about the
state of democracy in a country which has the highest incarceration
rate in the world.
The fight over federal drug money is getting nasty in Indiana, where the ONDCP is investigating a local High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program that decided to hold on to the interest accumulated from federal drug funds. The ONDCP is kind of funny, they don't care how the police enforce the laws, there's never any criticism about corruption, but try to keep their compound interest, and watch out!
Also last week: A story out of Canada show's that country's military does not seem to be immune to drug corruption; a rookie cop makes all the wrong moves in a drug bust; and serious questions about the state of democracy in a country which has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
(9) 'INQUIRY' IS NOT A 'CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION' ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 10 Aug 2007
Source: Post-Tribune (Merrillville, IN)
Copyright: 2007 Post-Tribune
Author: John Byrne, Post-Tribune staff writer
The state police lieutenant looking into federal criticisms about finances at the Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program is challenging federal drug officials' assertions he has begun a "criminal investigation" into the agency.
In a letter this week to Lake County HIDTA chairman and acting U.S. Attorney David Capp, Scott Burns, deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said he had "been informed, since our meeting, that the Indiana State Police have commenced a criminal investigation related to HIDTA funds."
State Police Lt. David Kirkham insisted Friday no state police investigation into HIDTA has commenced, criminal or otherwise.
Kirkham said he has begun an "inquiry," at the behest of the HIDTA board of directors, to look into ONDCP complaints about alleged financial irregularities at the federally funded regional drug and gang task force.
"I was asked by the HIDTA board to look into a few things that the ONDCP brought up, some concerns they had about how the HIDTA was being run," the lieutenant said.
Kirkham said he was chosen to address the federal criticisms because he was sitting at the HIDTA board meeting when law enforcement officials decided to appoint somebody to respond to the ONDCP complaints.
"They looked around the table and said, 'Do you want to do it?' and I said 'sure,'" Kirkham said.
HIDTA fiscal officer Linda James, wife of Post-Tribune Editorial Page Editor Rich James, was transferred Thursday from HIDTA to a job with the Lake County Sheriff's Department amid mounting criticism from the ONDCP.
Federal officials reportedly are upset Lake County's HIDTA has made it a policy to keep interest money raised from federal funds, a deviation from federal policy.
(10) COCAINE USE SPURS REVIEW OF NAVY DRUG-TEST PROGRAM ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 14 Aug 2007
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2007, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Justine Hunter
VICTORIA -- The Canadian navy is reviewing its drug-testing program after evidence of widespread cocaine use and trafficking aboard armed military patrol ship HMCS Saskatoon - allegedly involving as many as a third of the crew - has come to light in a series of military trials.
Four sailors have been dismissed from the Canadian Forces and three so far have been convicted of cocaine trafficking, following an undercover investigation by the Forces.
"There's a goodly level of concern with regard to the circumstances and a lot of smart people are putting their heads toward whether there needs to be changes to the random drug-testing program," Lieutenant-Commander Gerry Pash, a spokesman for Maritime Forces Pacific, said yesterday.
Chief Petty Officer Leonard Hearns, who was brought aboard the ship to try to bring the drug problem under control in January of 2006, testified that discipline aboard the Saskatoon was non-existent.
"In my 38-year-long career, I have never seen such an appalling sight," CPO Hearns told the court. "The ship was disorganized, there was no discipline and no trust among the crew," he said in an account reported by CBC News and confirmed by a military spokesperson.
Jason Ennis, 24, was convicted last week in a military court of trafficking, and has been fined $2,000. Mr. Ennis told the court between 10 and 12 members of the 31-member crew used cocaine regularly during the time of the investigation, in January, 2006.
However, he testified he did not use drugs while on the ship, which is armed with a 40 mm rapid-firing cannon and two .50 calibre machine guns.
(11) ASPEN COCAINE CASE MIGHT NOT HOLD UP IN COURT ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 08 Aug 2007
Source: Summit Daily News (CO)
Copyright: 2007 Summit Daily News
Author: Joel Stonington, Pitkin County Correspondent
Constitutional Issue Looms Over Charges Of Cocaine Possession
ASPEN - The fate of Moses Greengrass is in the hands of District Judge James Boyd, who will decide whether his arrest in March was constitutional.
Greengrass, 26, faces charges of felony possession of more than 25 grams of cocaine and possession with intent to sell. If Boyd deems the arrest unconstitutional, the prosecution will have no case, and Greengrass will go free.
Greengrass remains in the Pitkin County Jail for allegedly violating his parole. Greengrass was released from prison in January after serving seven years for his role in a 1999 crime spree in Aspen, which involved local teenagers committing a string of armed robberies in the upper valley; he would not be released from jail on the current charges even if he could pay the $25,000 bond.
Boyd heard evidence during a seven-hour hearing Monday on whether to allow evidence. Boyd said he will issue a written ruling before Greengrass's arraignment, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 10.
At issue is the first few contacts that rookie Aspen police officer Jeff Fain made with Greengrass on the night of March 22. Though Fain was in training at the time, he was the one who allegedly saw Greengrass make a deal and was the arresting officer.
During Monday's hearing, Fain admitted making mistakes during the arrest, such as telling Greengrass, "Sucks to be you," just after the arrest. Fain said his training officer reprimanded him after the incident was over.
Fain was still in training at the time of Greengrass' arrest; his training was extended because he failed some tests, such as knowing every Aspen street name.
McCarty also brought up Fain's recent car wreck while on the job, in which Fain was at fault, and said it shows Fain is willing to put the public at risk to make a bust.
(12) STARS AND BARS ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 27 Aug 2007
Source: Nation, The (US)
Copyright: 2007 The Nation Company
Author: Daniel Lazare
How can you tell when a democracy is dead? When concentration camps spring up and everyone shivers in fear? Or is it when concentration camps spring up and no one shivers in fear because everyone knows they're not for "people like us" ( in Woody Allen's marvelous phrase ) but for the others, the troublemakers, the ones you can tell are guilty merely by the color of their skin, the shape of their nose or their social class?
Questions like these are unavoidable in the face of America's homegrown gulag archipelago, a vast network of jails, prisons and "supermax" tombs for the living dead that, without anyone quite noticing, has metastasized into the largest detention system in the advanced industrial world.
The proportion of the U.S. population languishing in such facilities now stands at 737 per 100,000, the highest rate on earth and some five to twelve times that of Britain, France and other Western European countries or Japan. With 5 percent of the world's population, the United States has close to a quarter of the world's prisoners, which, curiously enough, is the same as its annual contribution to global warming.
With 2.2 million people behind bars and another 5 million on probation or parole, it has approximately 3.2 percent of the adult population under some form of criminal-justice supervision, which is to say one person in thirty-two. For African-Americans, the numbers are even more astonishing. By the mid-1990s, 7 percent of black males were behind bars, while the rate of imprisonment for black males between the ages of 25 and 29 now stands at one in eight.
While conservatives have spent the past three or four decades bemoaning the growth of single-parent families, there is a very simple reason some 1.5 million American children are fatherless or ( less often ) motherless: Their parents are locked up. Because they are confined for the most part in distant rural prisons, moreover, only about one child in five gets to visit them as often as once a month.
What's that you say? Who cares whether a bunch of "rapists, murderers, robbers, and even terrorists and spies," as Republican Senator Mitch McConnell once characterized America's prison population, get to see their kids? In fact, surprisingly few denizens of the American gulag have been sent away for violent crimes.
In 2002 just 19 percent of the felony sentences handed down at the state level were for violent offenses, and of those only about 5 percent were for murder.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
The Stranger article reminds us that this is the weekend of the
world's largest hempfest. It is nice to see so many DrugSense
supporters on the speaker's list - to include board members Don
Wirtshafter, Chairman of the Board, and Nora Callahan, Financial
Officer, as well as staff member Philippe Lucas, Director of
Communications. However, the overall premise of the article reads
more like a personal opinion rather than anything based on real
It is amazing that a decade after voters created California law
police officers within the state still get away with violating their
oath of office and Article 3, Section 3.5 of the California
While the New Mexico medicinal marijuana law runs into some
difficulties it is good to see efforts in another state, Kansas, to
Finally, the DEA claims that it is the fault of Congress that
industrial hemp is not legal for farmers to grow in the United
States. But perhaps it is really the willful misinterpretation of
the law by DEA bureaucrats and agents. After all, they think they
are smarter than medical doctors, too.
The Stranger article reminds us that this is the weekend of the world's largest hempfest. It is nice to see so many DrugSense supporters on the speaker's list - to include board members Don Wirtshafter, Chairman of the Board, and Nora Callahan, Financial Officer, as well as staff member Philippe Lucas, Director of Communications. However, the overall premise of the article reads more like a personal opinion rather than anything based on real studies.
It is amazing that a decade after voters created California law police officers within the state still get away with violating their oath of office and Article 3, Section 3.5 of the California Constitution http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.const/.article_3
While the New Mexico medicinal marijuana law runs into some difficulties it is good to see efforts in another state, Kansas, to protect patients.
Finally, the DEA claims that it is the fault of Congress that industrial hemp is not legal for farmers to grow in the United States. But perhaps it is really the willful misinterpretation of the law by DEA bureaucrats and agents. After all, they think they are smarter than medical doctors, too.
(13) TOKE LIKE A GIRL ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 16 Aug 2007
Source: Stranger, The (Seattle, WA)
Copyright: 2007 The Stranger
Author: Ari Spool
With all this social pressure on women not to be stoners, the gender divide is not surprising. Every aspect of getting stoned is banned from women's psyches--relaxing, eating, and feeling pleasure. It's reminiscent of old-school ideas about female sexuality--orgasms aren't ladylike so why would women want to have them?
But women should ignore that sexist Hempfest poster, and, like Fiona, hit Hempfest this weekend. (It's August 18 and 19 at Myrtle Edwards Park with five stages of music and speakers and brownie vendors galore.) They should also feel free to upend stereotypes all year long and, like Fiona, put their feet up after work and take a long toke from a gravity bong.
For more information about Seattle Hempfest and a full schedule of musicians and speakers go to www.hempfest.org.
(14) LAPD WILL CONTINUE TO HELP WITH FEDERAL POT STORE RAIDS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 16 Aug 2007
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Times
Author: Steve Hymon
Some on the Council Say the Action Undermines a State Law Allowing the Medical Marijuana Sales.
Los Angeles police said Wednesday that they will continue to participate in federal raids on local medical marijuana dispensaries against the wishes of some members of the City Council.
A continuing conflict between federal and state drug laws, they said, has created a stalemate that doesn't appear likely to soon end.
Officials with the Los Angeles Police Department contend that it's their job to help enforce the federal law. Council members argue that police raids, at best, send a mixed message about the city's support for the state law passed in 1996 to permit the use of marijuana for prescribed medical purposes.
(15) LEGAL FEARS HACK AWAY AT STATE'S POT PLAN ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 15 Aug 2007
Source: New Mexican, The (Santa Fe, NM)
Copyright: 2007 The Santa Fe New Mexican
Author: Diana Del Mauro, The New Mexican
Patients Have Few Options to Find Pain-Relieving Drug
New Mexico could have been the first state in the nation to build a centralized production and distribution system for medical marijuana, but the Health Department doesn't want to take the risk of butting up against federal law.
Upon advice from Attorney General Gary King, Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil said the second phase of the new state law that would have made that happen won't be pursued.
"The Department of Health will not subject its employees to potential federal prosecution, and therefore will not distribute or produce medical marijuana," Vigil said in a written statement Wednesday.
That decision appears to leave patients who participate in the state's Medical Cannabis Program with three options: grow their own marijuana plants; purchase bags of pot on the black market; or get a prescription for the legal, synthetic form of tetrahydrocannabinol, one of 400 chemicals in the marijuana plant.
But Reena Szczepanski, director of Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico - a group that lobbied for the law - insists there are other solutions, if only King would provide "more meaningful" legal direction.
(16) FORMER A.G. TO PUSH FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 15 Aug 2007
Source: Topeka Capital-Journal (KS)
Copyright: 2007 The Topeka Capital-Journal
Author: Tim Carpenter, The Capital-Journal
Stephan Wants Patients Protected
Former Attorney General Robert Stephan plans to speak out Friday about what he believes is the need to legalize the medical consumption of marijuana in Kansas.
The state's chief law enforcement officer from 1979 to 1995 will participate in a news conference in the Statehouse hosted by Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition, which seeks legal protection for patients who use marijuana as part of a treatment program and for physicians who recommend the drug to patients.
Laura Green, director of the coalition, said in an interview Tuesday that laws relating to medicinal use of marijuana are on the books in more than 30 states. A dozen states rigidly shield patients from prosecution when consuming cannabis for medical purposes.
(17) LONG ARM OF LAW MAY SOMEDAY WEAR HEMP ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 16 Aug 2007
Source: Beaverton Valley Times, The (Portland, OR)
Copyright: 2007 Pamplin Media Group
Author: Anne Marie DiStefano
DEA Blames It On Congress
The DEA's position on hemp is pretty clear: "The law is the law is the law," says Garrison Courtney, who is the lead spokesman for the DEA's public information office. "To get hemp, you have to grow marijuana."
Don't blame the DEA, he says, if the law seems contradictory: "That's something that Congress put together, and really, the beef should be with them, not us."
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Where has it been found that prohibition "can defeat the cartels,"
and when has prohibition won "the battle"? Apparently, politicians
have discovered, that place is the U.S. and Mexico. There, launching
a "courageous new offensive" (that can really "fight drug sales")
one may hope to rescue a country "from a criminal drug machine" --
"the deadly cartels Mexico is fighting." On the heels of Plan
Colombia (a multi-billion dollar boondoggle to prop up a right-wing
Colombian regime and spray plant killer on rainforests in hopes of
killing coca), which oversaw a fall in cocaine prices, a new "Plan
Mexico" is set to repeat Plan Colombia's dubious results. A piece in
the Washington Post this week ("It's Our Drug War, Too"), lays out
official visions of battle, offensive, and defeat of the
cartel-enemy dancing in the head of former Bush administration
functionary Roger F. Noriega.
In Vancouver, Canada, official statistics this week were published
which say that drug overdose deaths are increasing there. What might
help lower that number? More supervised injection sites. "If
anything, it's an argument for more supervised injection places,"
said Donald MacPherson, a drug policy coordinator in the city. Mayor
Alan Lowe of Victoria, Canada, suggests that Vancouver could use
another five supervised injection centers over the current one
center, to handle the load. Lowe will ask Health Canada for approval
for three sites in the city of Victoria.
If you're a bureaucrat, your biggest "risk" is that your
department's budget will be cut next fiscal year. Likewise, when the
Canadian government asked a private firm to conduct a review of drug
policy, answers that must be music to a bureaucrats's ears came
forth. You see (said the report) what the government needs is...
more. More government, that is. With more government ("hire, train
and maintain sufficient staff") and less of course, of that
"insufficient funding" stuff, Canada's war on drugs can correctly
face illicit-drug challenges. Predictably, the report led at least
one "formal department request for more money."
And from Holland this week, there's talk of tightening up magic
mushroom sales after a 17-year-old tourist from France supposedly
ate some and fell to her death. To provide political cover for
banning the mushrooms, Dutch Health Minister Ab Klink ordered a
study on the risks of the psychedelic fungi, which are currently
sold over-the-counter with few restrictions in the Netherlands.
Where has it been found that prohibition "can defeat the cartels," and when has prohibition won "the battle"? Apparently, politicians have discovered, that place is the U.S. and Mexico. There, launching a "courageous new offensive" (that can really "fight drug sales") one may hope to rescue a country "from a criminal drug machine" -- "the deadly cartels Mexico is fighting." On the heels of Plan Colombia (a multi-billion dollar boondoggle to prop up a right-wing Colombian regime and spray plant killer on rainforests in hopes of killing coca), which oversaw a fall in cocaine prices, a new "Plan Mexico" is set to repeat Plan Colombia's dubious results. A piece in the Washington Post this week ("It's Our Drug War, Too"), lays out official visions of battle, offensive, and defeat of the cartel-enemy dancing in the head of former Bush administration functionary Roger F. Noriega.
In Vancouver, Canada, official statistics this week were published which say that drug overdose deaths are increasing there. What might help lower that number? More supervised injection sites. "If anything, it's an argument for more supervised injection places," said Donald MacPherson, a drug policy coordinator in the city. Mayor Alan Lowe of Victoria, Canada, suggests that Vancouver could use another five supervised injection centers over the current one center, to handle the load. Lowe will ask Health Canada for approval for three sites in the city of Victoria.
If you're a bureaucrat, your biggest "risk" is that your department's budget will be cut next fiscal year. Likewise, when the Canadian government asked a private firm to conduct a review of drug policy, answers that must be music to a bureaucrats's ears came forth. You see (said the report) what the government needs is... more. More government, that is. With more government ("hire, train and maintain sufficient staff") and less of course, of that "insufficient funding" stuff, Canada's war on drugs can correctly face illicit-drug challenges. Predictably, the report led at least one "formal department request for more money."
And from Holland this week, there's talk of tightening up magic mushroom sales after a 17-year-old tourist from France supposedly ate some and fell to her death. To provide political cover for banning the mushrooms, Dutch Health Minister Ab Klink ordered a study on the risks of the psychedelic fungi, which are currently sold over-the-counter with few restrictions in the Netherlands.
(18) IT'S OUR DRUG WAR, TOO ( Top )
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Pubdate: Thu, 16 Aug 2007
Copyright: 2007 The Washington Post Company
Author: Roger F. Noriega
How America and Mexico Can Defeat the Cartels
U.S. and Mexican authorities are nearing agreement on an aid package to support Mexico's courageous new offensive against the deadly drug syndicates that threaten both our nations. The stakes are high for the United States: We depend on Mexico as a cooperative neighbor and trade partner, and most of the marijuana and as much as 90 percent of the cocaine consumed in this country pours over our southern border. If Mexico cannot make significant headway against the bloodthirsty cartels, our security and our people will suffer the consequences.
Conceding the corruption or weakness of some local police forces, Calderon has deployed 20,000 Mexican soldiers to help match the firepower of murderous drug gangs.
Certain elements of such a partnership are uncontroversial and are likely to win universal support. Surveillance and eavesdropping equipment, radar for aerial interdiction, aircraft for drug-tracking teams and assorted special training are reportedly already part of the agreement. Under the administration of Vicente Fox the two governments began working together, with U.S. aid directed at database improvements, law enforcement training and material support for border-crossing posts. Increased coordination in these areas should be part of the new agreement.
Felipe Calderon has already demonstrated his commitment to rescuing his country from a criminal drug machine, and he welcomes increased U.S. support. There are few challenges more grave than those posed by the deadly cartels Mexico is fighting. And there are few opportunities more precious than helping our Mexican friends win the battle on our doorstep.
(19) INCREASE IN OVERDOSE DEATHS 'AN ARGUMENT FOR MORE SAFE ( Top )
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Pubdate: Wed, 08 Aug 2007
Copyright: 2007 Vancouver Courier
Author: Mike Howell
36 people dead in first six months of 2007 compared to 26 for same period last year
Drug overdose deaths in Vancouver and the rest of the province have increased over last year, according to preliminary statistics from the B.C. Coroners Service.
The statistics suggested to the city's drug policy coordinator, Donald MacPherson, that an increase in deaths is alarming and that more than one supervised injection site is needed in Vancouver.
"For a city our size, we should be much lower than [the recent statistics]," MacPherson told the Courier. "If anything, it's an argument for more supervised injection places."
Insite on East Hastings is North America's only legal supervised injection site. It opened in September 2003. No one has died of an overdose at the site.
Several studies conducted by the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS indicate that users of Insite contact drug counsellors and are referred to treatment.
The facility has also helped reduce the incidents of needle sharing among addicts, reducing the spread of diseases. The injection site averages more than 600 injections per day.
Two weeks ago, Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe told the Courier that Vancouver could use another five supervised injection sites. Victoria will apply this year to Health Canada to get approval for three sites.
Lowe said having Sullivan as an ally would be an asset when Victoria sends its proposal to Health Canada. Sullivan has called the city's injection site a temporary measure, although he said he supports extending its operating agreement with the federal government.
(20) CANADA'S DRUG WAR FACES GROWING 'RISKS' ( Top )
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Pubdate: Sun, 12 Aug 2007
Copyright: 2007 The London Free Press
Author: Alan Findlay, Sun Media
Insufficient Funding And Concerns About The Harper Government's Commitment Top The List Of Issues.
OTTAWA -- Canada's war on drugs is facing a number of challenges, including insufficient funding and concerns about a Conservative government's commitment to some aspects of the national program, a government-commissioned evaluation reports.
The review of Canada's Drug Strategy highlights a number of "risks" since the program was renewed in 2003, beginning with an inability to hire, train and maintain sufficient staff amidst a proliferation of clandestine labs and grow-ops and other pressures.
According to the report, completed last October but only recently made public, the challenges led to at least one formal department request for more money.
"Conservative governments are sometimes associated with a preference for enforcement-based measures rather than, for example, treatment and harm reduction," the evaluation states.
"There had been proposed reforms to cannabis legislation (decriminalization), but these have since fallen by the wayside since the new government took over."
(21) MAGIC MUSHROOMS MAY BE BANNED IN NETHERLANDS ( Top )
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Pubdate: Tue, 07 Aug 2007
Copyright: 2007 Detroit Free Press
Author: Toby Sterling, Associated Press
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- The famously liberal Netherlands has been swinging toward the right, cracking down on immigration, religious freedoms and the freewheeling red light district. The next possible target? Magic mushrooms.
The death of a 17-year-old French girl, who jumped from a building after eating psychedelic mushrooms while on a school visit, has ignited a campaign to ban the fungi -- sold legally at smartshops as long as they're fresh.
Regulation of mushrooms is even less stringent than Holland's famously loose laws on marijuana, which is illegal but tolerated in "coffee shops" that are a major tourist attraction.
Gaelle Caroff's parents blamed their daughter's death in March on hallucinations brought on by the mushrooms, although the teenager had suffered from psychiatric problems in the past. Photographs of her beautiful, youthful face have been splashed across newspapers around the country.
In May, Health Minister Ab Klink ordered the national health institute to perform a new study on the risks of mushrooms. Depending on the conclusions, which are due next month, he said he would either recommend that mushroom sales be limited to those over 18 or impose a total ban.
Dutch government data suggest most mushrooms sold in smartshops are eaten by tourists. Since Caroff's death, other dramatic stories involving foreigners have been reported in the Dutch press:
A majority of parties in parliament ranging from centrist to far right have demanded the hallucinogenic mushrooms be outlawed.
If the government does ban mushrooms, it will be in keeping with conservative trends that have been sweeping the country in recent years. Since 2001, Muslim immigrants have been under pressure to learn Dutch and integrate, and there have been calls by some to ban Islamic schools and radical mosques.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
SMOKING POT WON'T MAKE YOU CRAZY ( Top )
But Dealing with the Lies about It Will
By Paul Armentano and Mitch Earlywine, August 13, 2007
A new attempt to scare pot smokers in Britain alleges that smoking pot can increase the risk of becoming "psychotic." A quick glance at the data cited reveals no such correlation.
U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL COUGHS UP MONEY TO HOUSE OF DEATH WHISTLEBLOWER ( Top )
By Bill Conroy,
The U.S. government is going to pay, literally, for its shameful efforts to silence Sandalio Gonzalez, the DEA field-office chief who exposed the House of Death cover-up.
CULTURAL BAGGAGE RADIO SHOW ( Top )
Tonight: 08/17/07 - LEAP members: Charles Rowland & Tim Datig plus Pat McCann on jail "virtual visits" + Willie Nelson Joins LEAP!
Last: 08/10/07 - Thomas Schweich, State Dept Counter-Narcotics official's "plan" for Afghanistan.
CASA WILL NOT TOLERATE INFESTATION ( Top )
By Jacob Sullum, August 16, 2007
MCCAIN SAYS 'NO SIMILARITY' BETWEEN ALCOHOL AND DRUG PROHIBITION ( Top )
By Matt Simon, sendtherightmessage.com
I decided presidential candidates should have to answer difficult questions about the War on Drugs, and somebody has to do the asking.
DAYDREAMING ABOUT OUR UPCOMING CONFERENCE ( Top )
Have you registered yet for the 2007 International Drug Policy Reform conference? To get a better idea about what your experience might really be like, we offer this imagined "day at the conference."
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
MPP SEEKS OUTREACH COORDINATOR ( Top )
The Outreach Coordinator assists with online outreach, including utilizing blogs, online social networking sites, and online advertising. Candidates should be skilled in effectively exploiting all forms of digital technology and media to attract new supporters and should have knowledge of Web 2.0 technologies and trends (blogs, RSS, video sharing technology, tags, etc.) and familiarity with online social networking.
For a full job description, as well as application instructions, please visit http://www.mpp.org/jobs
WRITE A LETTER ( Top )
Just Say No To "Plan Mexico" - A DrugSense Focus Alert
ATTEND 6TH ANNUAL LAKOTA HEMP DAYS ( Top )
August 21-23 2007 in Kiza Park, Manderson, South Dakota.
Enjoy first-hand the making of finished hemp products, from paper and insulation, to concrete and skin lotion, camping, music and much more. Details available at http://www.kizapark.com/
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
MARIJUANA PROHIBITION IS IMMORAL, DESTRUCTIVE ( Top )
By Ivan Smason, Ph.D., J.D.
Re: Medipot Harassment Lets Illicit Use Thrive, August 2-8, 2007
In the final paragraph of his featured opinion essay, Tom Elias essentially said that "if marijuana is truly destructive," why not focus anti-marijuana police and adjudication monies and forces against large-scale commercial growers of cannabis "whose sales have truly destructive potential." Respectfully however, the problem with what he said is that marijuana is NOT truly destructive. On the other hand, the federal anti-marijuana laws are destructive, immoral and in violation of the supreme law of the land that is the U.S. Constitution.
The marijuana prohibition is immoral and destructive because destructive punishments initiated by police for its use almost never bear a relation to a crime itself. That is to say that the act of consuming cannabis is not an immoral, dangerous or a destructive act. Conversely, consuming natural cannabis is much safer and healthier than consuming alcohol, tobacco, many foods and drinks and many-to-most pharmaceutical "drugs." Poisonous house-cleaning products are available for purchase every day by the endless gallon, but mostly healthy cannabis is banned from purchase, or even cultivation. Tellingly, while marijuana use is not destructive, the fines, torments, adulterations, disenfranchisements and murders meted out for its acquisition are immoral and highly destructive.
The marijuana prohibition is, technically, unconstitutional. The reason for this is that the Constitution enumerates the limits it places on the federal government in relation to the individual states and the citizenry. The U.S. Constitution does not give the federal government the right or power to prohibit the personal consumption of anything at all. That the so-called "Supreme Court" has collectively enabled this unconstitutionality and immorality, says much more about a lack of wisdom or humanity among its "justices" than it does about the utility of cannabis. By extending federal authority onto matters of state and personal sovereignty, both Congress and the Supreme Court have, technically, broken our peoples' supreme law.
Moral democracies such as ours are supposed to have tolerant governments that are responsive to the will of the people, and the people have made it clear that we do not want cannabis prohibition as a matter of law or policy, unconstitutional or labeled otherwise.
Ivan Smason, Ph.D., J.D. Santa Monica
Pubdate: Thu, 09 Aug 2007
Author: Ivan Smason
Source: Santa Monica Mirror (CA)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF STATES TO THEIR PEOPLE ( Top )
By Pete Guither
When New Mexico passed their medical marijuana law that required the state to supply patients with marijuana, that turned some heads -- surely this was an interesting end run around the approach of busting medical marijuana dispensaries that the DEA uses in California. How would the DEA bust a state?
The problem, unfortunately, is that folks figured out that the DEA might just go after the individual state employees who are complying with state law and, in the process, violating federal law.
So the state of New Mexico has decided not to comply with state law ( see http://tinyurl.com/yoj84u ) [thanks, Wayne] so as not to force state employees to be put at risk. And to an extent, I can understand the stated sentiment (although it certainly would be an interesting court case).
What I can't help wondering, however, is how hard the state is trying. Have they merely come up with an excuse to give up? Don't they have a responsibility to continue to attempt to find a way to make state law work?
And this got me thinking about a fascinating post by Alex at Drug Law Blog: "Daily News on LAPD Involvement in Dispensary Raids" ( see http://druglaw.typepad.com/drug_law_blog/2007/08/daily-news-on-l.html ). The question there is whether members of the LAPD are actually helping the DEA bust dispensaries that are legal under state law, and what that says about the LAPD. They claim to just be there to maintain order, but what about their responsibility to the law?
I'm not saying that the LAPD should defy the DEA. No gunfights in the street between state and federal cops just yet. Federal law supersedes state law. But that doesn't mean that the LAPD needs to... assist.
As a Superior Court Judge recently noted: "It is up to the federal government to enforce its laws. Indeed, the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government from impressing 'into its service -- and at no cost to itself -- the police officers of the 50 States." ( see http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/2007/07/10.html#a2349)
So what should the LAPD do? If they really believed in their responsibility to the people, the law, and the state, then they would protect those all the way up to the point where federal law specifically took over, and then merely step out of the way. I would position police officers to protect marijuana dispensaries in the state, with instructions to step aside for the DEA only if and when the police and California attorney general were completely satisfied with the legal paperwork spelling out the DEA's jurisdiction in that particular raid and the specific provisions of federal law that trumped state law (and the DEA might have to wait for an hour or two while the proper state officials were brought in to inspect such documents).
Now that would be something to see. And the people of California should demand that of their police departments.
Pete Guither is the author of Drug WarRant - www.drugwarrant.com - a weblog at the front lines of the drug war, where this piece was first presented.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. " - John Adams
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