This Just In
(1)Coke Bust To Curb Street Crime?
(2)'Community Urinalysis' Helps Trace The Spread Of Narcotics
(3)Pro-Marijuana Group Wants To Pull Initiative In Return For City Promise
(4)Editorial: The A,B,Cs Of Drug Abuse

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 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Fri, 24 Aug 2007
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2007 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Bruce Owen

Police Expect To See A Temporary Decrease

A weekend bust of almost a quarter million dollars worth of cocaine at an alleged Portage Avenue drug lair will trigger a drop in street crime, a police officer said Thursday.

Sgt. Rick Guyader of the Winnipeg Police Service's organized crime unit said Sunday's seizure will reduce the amount of crack on the street, meaning some users won't have anything to buy so they won't pull gas bar robberies or break-ins to pay for a fix.

"It's a significant hit," Guyader said, adding police have noticed a drop in crime before when they put a big drug cell out of business.

But he added that drop doesn't last long. Someone is always quick to fill in that gap to supply what appears to be Winnipeg's insatiable taste for cheap crack cocaine.

"These guys will be scrambling because they don't want to lose their customers."

The seizure is just one of several over the past year in which police have snagged alleged large-scale drug dealers in the process of handling their wares.

Guyader said in this case the person behind the operation escaped capture, but police haven't given up looking for him.

That person never touches the drugs -- he always has others do it for him.

"They only lay their hands on the money," he said.

And it's big money.




Pubdate: Wed, 22 Aug 2007
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2007 The Dallas Morning News
Author: Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Researchers have figured out how to give an entire community a drug test using just a teaspoon of wastewater from a city's sewer plant.

The test wouldn't be used to finger any single person as a drug user. But it would help federal law enforcement and other agencies track the spread of dangerous drugs, like methamphetamines, across the country.

Oregon State University scientists tested 10 unnamed American cities for remnants of drugs, both legal and illegal, from wastewater streams. They were able to show that they could get a good snapshot of what people are taking.

"It's a community urinalysis," said Caleb Banta-Green, a University of Washington drug abuse researcher who was part of the Oregon State team. The scientists presented their results Tuesday at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston.

Two federal agencies have taken samples from U.S. waterways to see if drug testing a whole city is doable, but they haven't gotten as far as the Oregon researchers.

In the study presented Tuesday, one teaspoon of untreated sewage water from each of the cities was tested for 15 drugs.




Pubdate: Fri, 24 Aug 2007
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2007 The Denver Post Corp
Author: George Merritt, Denver Post Staff Writer

Too Late, a City Attorney Says, As the Issue Takes Another Twist in Its Journey to the Ballot.

The marijuana interest group that was furious last week because the Denver City Council did not like its initiative is now ticked off that the city won't let the group kill it.

Citizens for a Safer Denver collected more than 10,000 signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot asking voters to make marijuana possession the "lowest law enforcement priority" in Denver.

But Thursday the group offered to spike the initiative if the city would agree not to ticket people for marijuana possession during the 2008 Democratic National Convention and state that pot is less harmful that booze.

So far, there are no takers.

"Absolutely not," Councilman Charlie Brown said. "I think it's a publicity stunt."




Pubdate: Thu, 23 Aug 2007
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Ottawa Citizen

Health Minister Tony Clement's promise to educate young people about drugs, if done properly, might be very useful.

The more information young people have, the better equipped they will be to make good decisions. Among the many reasons for the decline in youth smoking is, probably, the increase in public knowledge about the effects of the habit. Teenagers today have seen images of diseased lungs. If they take up smoking, it isn't out of ignorance of the consequences.

It follows that 13-year-olds might be better able to navigate their teenage years if they understood the health consequences of ecstasy, crystal meth and crack cocaine -- and OxyContin, Percodan, and the other prescription drugs that are now also street drugs.

To make young people understand the specific dangers of drugs, however, it is also necessary to explain how drugs work, and to be honest about the fact that not all drugs are the same. There are ill effects associated with marijuana use, but the degree of harm is relatively minor for moderate users, and it's a good bet that at least some teachers in Canadian high schools had more than an academic familiarity with the drug in their youth.

It would be dishonest and hypocritical for those teachers to stand up in front of students and speak of marijuana and heroin as though they were the same thing, differently packaged. They're not.

That seems to be the kind of education campaign Mr. Clement has in mind, though. "We will discourage young people from thinking there are safe amounts or that there are safe drugs," he said recently.

He also hopes to dispel any notions teenagers might have that marijuana is legal in Canada. That would serve a useful function because, sadly, smoking pot is still against the law.





A newspaper out of North Carolina publicized a little noticed new law that requires doctors to use tamper-proof prescription pads for Medicaid patients. The only problem: There's no standard or model for such pads. That will leave more people under-treated for pain in the U.S., which is already a documented problem, according to our second story.

Also last week, a very lengthy piece explores how the high-end glass bong business is growing in spite of (or perhaps due to) cannabis prohibition; editorialists in Los Angeles bust the police on selective enforcement of federal laws; and Joe Califano and CASA spout more nonsense, which the media reports as fact.


Pubdate: Wed, 15 Aug 2007
Source: Greensboro News & Record (NC)
Copyright: 2007 Greensboro News & Record, Inc.
Author: Lex Alexander

GREENSBORO -- An impending requirement that doctors use tamper-proof prescription pads for some patients has them waiting for specifics and wondering whether they'll be ready for the Oct. 1 deadline.

The requirement, inserted without debate into a larger bill on defense spending, is intended to prevent fraudulent prescriptions.

It applies to prescriptions for people covered by Medicaid, a federally funded program that, with some state money, provides health insurance for some lower-income children and families.

A doctor's failure to use a tamper-proof pad could mean that the pharmacy would not be paid by Medicaid for the prescription.

Steven C. Anderson, the president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, has written Congress asking for a delay in the start date so that doctors, pharmacists and Medicaid itself can prepare.


Earlier this month, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where Medicaid is administered at the federal level, hadn't yet introduced written guidelines for states. A search of the agency's Web site Tuesday turned up no new information, and attempts to contact spokesmen for the agency were unsuccessful.

Jay Campbell, executive director of the N.C. Board of Pharmacy, says the legislation doesn't define "tamper-proof" and appears to end reimbursement for phone-in prescriptions, as well.

"An awful lot of Medicaid patients are not going to be able to get their drugs, their prescription medications," he said, because the new rules will make it too difficult for pharmacies to do the things they need to get payments from Medicaid for prescriptions they fill.




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.



 (7) THE BONG SHOW  ( Top )

Pubdate: Thu, 16 Aug 2007
Source: Phoenix New Times (AZ)
Copyright: 2007 New Times, Inc.
Author: Ray Stern

Pay $1,200 for a Water Pipe? Are You High?


Most of the bongs at the store are more practical -- they're essentially glass versions of the plastic tube bongs from the '80s, like the one Spicoli used in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Yet even the midrange bongs are much fancier than their old-school predecessors, employing the latest glass-working and coloring techniques. Dozens of such bongs line the shelved walls, most with price tags of more than $150. Sayegh points to a monster bong, a nine-foot sectional glass tuber made in California, and brags that he's sold two of that particular model in the past eight months, for $1,200 each.

Those in the know say the market for nice glassware for stoners has been growing since the mid-'90s, especially in California and the Northwest, and for a host of reasons, has taken off in recent years in the Valley. Not every smoker uses expensive paraphernalia, of course, but the demand is enormous, judging from the number of stores in metro Phoenix that sell the stuff.

In Tempe, a college town that has long been the area's ground zero for head shops, competition among bong sellers has never been higher. At least five new head shops have opened in the college town in the past three years, with three specializing in high-end merchandise. Veteran stores like Trails, Hippie Gypsy, the Headquarters, and the Graffiti Shop, meanwhile, don't appear to be hurting.

It's a business success story that's making aspiring artists like Lynch -- not to mention fashionable, well-to-do stoners -- very happy, indeed.

"Most people [in the business] would agree this is a genuine American movement. It's a revolution," Lynch says. "We've created an industry where there wasn't one before."




Pubdate: Fri, 17 Aug 2007
Source: Los Angeles Daily News (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Newspaper Group

LAPD Enforces Federal Law on Pot, but Not Immigration

WHEN federal agents busted down doors raiding medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles in July, Los Angeles Police Department officers were their comrades in arms.

The department's assistance in the raids infuriated some City Council members, who chastised them Wednesday for cooperating with the Drug Enforcement Agency and for enforcing federal drug laws that are in conflict with California's medical-marijuana law - and the will of the public. They even threatened to forbid the LAPD from cooperating with the DEA, but that would require the council to actually take an unequivocal stand.

LAPD officials just brushed off the criticism, essentially telling the council to get over it. The department will continue to help the feds bust medical-marijuana dispensaries, they said, even though Chief William Bratton has declared the department supports the state law.

The explanation that officials offered was simple: The LAPD has a policy of enforcing federal laws.

That would make sense if it were a policy that the department actually followed. But the truth is that the LAPD only enforces the federal laws that it feels like enforcing.

Despite pressure from federal authorities and many residents of Los Angeles, the LAPD has refused to enforce immigration laws and officers don't ask about citizenship status except in the rarest instances.

The department has stuck to Special Order 40, which prohibits LAPD officers from asking people about their citizenship status. So much for working with the feds.




Pubdate: Thu, 16 Aug 2007
Source: Newsday (NY)
Copyright: 2007 Newsday Inc.

Millions of middle- and high-school students nationwide attend what researchers characterized as "drug-infested" schools, according to a study conducted at Columbia University.

A report, to be released Thursday by the university's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, found that 80 percent of high-schoolers and 44 percent of middle-schoolers interviewed by researchers say they have witnessed illegal drug use, dealing or possession at school, or have seen classmates drunk or high on school grounds. Based on these interviews, researchers characterized schools as drug-infested or not.

Joseph A. Califano Jr., chairman and president of the center, said an estimated 16 million students who attend schools the researchers characterized as drug infested.

"Unless we get the drugs out of these schools," he said, "we're never going to get the kind of test scores and academic achievement we need to compete."




The drug war, always promoted as necessary to save the children, has corrupted yet another group of children, this time high school students in Texas who set up an multi-million dollar smuggling ring. Also close to the border, hushed-up reports suggest the Mexican drug war is seeping into the U.S.

In other news, a stoic grandmother is cruelly denied the presence of her family at her deathbed because federal officials said the 86-year-old's crimes were too serious - while critics suggest the feds punished her all the way until the end because she wouldn't snitch on her family. And, the number of wiretaps in Colorado quadruples.


Pubdate: Sat, 18 Aug 2007
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2007 El Paso Times
Author: Daniel Borunda, El Paso Times

HORIZON CITY -- The halls of Horizon High School are spotless and shine with new paint that comes with being one of the newest high schools in the El Paso region.

But the pristine campus decorated with its scorpion mascot -- according to a federal agents -- was the recruiting ground for a student-led drug trafficking ring suspected of smuggling 14 tons of marijuana between JuA!rez and Oklahoma City last school year.

Recent Horizon High graduate Rene Humberto Perez, alias "Jetta," is accused of hiring fellow students to drive marijuana-filled vehicles destined for an Oklahoma City connection identified only as "El Tio" ( the uncle ), a federal criminal complaint affidavit stated.

The allegations of a student drug smuggling ring based out of the high school was met with mix of surprise and uneasiness in the fast-growing community east of El Paso.




Pubdate: Sun, 19 Aug 2007
Source: San Antonio Express-News (TX)
Copyright: 2007 San Antonio Express-News
Author: Mariano Castillo, Express-News Border Bureau

LAREDO -- When police investigators realized the hit men they had under surveillance were about to attack a local dentist driving a Hummer, they issued a hurried order to a patrol car.

Pull the Hummer over, right now.

A few frantic moments later, the dentist was parked, the police cruiser behind him, lights flashing. The hit men kept driving, thrown off by an apparent routine traffic stop.

They had almost killed the wrong man -- again.

But police were only days away from stopping them for good.

At its ferocious peak in 2005 and 2006, a war between Mexico's two biggest drug cartels for control of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, made international headlines. But only recently have details emerged on how part of it was fought in the United States, in the streets of Laredo.

Court testimony and documents, police investigative reports and interviews with law enforcement officers show the Gulf Cartel organized three cells of gunmen to operate in Laredo as it defended its turf against the Sinaloa Cartel.

They killed five people in about a year before the Laredo cops brought them down.

Before and since, both cartels have sent individual assassins on U.S. missions, officials say, although most of their warfare has been confined to their own country.




Pubdate: Fri, 17 Aug 2007
Source: News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
Copyright: 2007 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Author: Mandy Locke

CLAYTON - Thirteen years after Alva Mae "Granny" Groves was locked up for conspiring to trade crack cocaine for food stamps, she's finally home.

It took death to free her. Federal prosecutors wanted the ailing great-grandmother behind bars for at least another decade as punishment for her role in the family scheme.

Groves will be buried today among generations of kin in Johnston County. She died last week at a federal prison hospital in Texas after being refused the privilege of dying at home under the watch of her children. She was 86.

"It's a relief she's dead, but it's a hurt, a real hurt we weren't with her," said daughter Everline Johnson of Red Springs. "What could she have hurt?"

Prison officials wouldn't comment on Groves' case, citing privacy concerns. In a brief letter that was mailed to Groves on her death bed, prison officials advised her that her crime was too grave to allow her to be turned loose.

Groves was tending her garden the day investigators stormed her double-wide mobile home and hauled her to jail. Within a year, she was sentenced to federal prison for 24 years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to sell and distribute cocaine and aiding and abetting the trading of crack cocaine for food stamps. She was 74.

Groves' family says prosecutors came down hard on her mostly because she wouldn't help investigators build a case that could have locked up her children for life.

"My real crime ... was refusing to testify against my sons, children of my womb, that were conceived, birthed and raised with love," Groves wrote in a 2001 letter to November Coalition, a non-profit organization rallying support to free her and others sentenced to prison for long stretches on drug offenses.




Pubdate: Mon, 20 Aug 2007
Source: Summit Daily News (CO)
Copyright: 2007 Summit Daily News
Author: The Associated Press

DENVER - Court-approved wiretaps are rising dramatically in Colorado, resulting in more drug arrests but raising privacy concerns.

Federal prosecutors used 108 wiretaps in Colorado during U.S. Attorney Troy Eid's first year, a fourfold increase over the previous 12 months, the Rocky Mountain News reported Monday, citing data from Eid's office.

State prosecutors used 43 court-authorized wiretaps in 2006, about 3 1-2 times more than in 2005, according to figures from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Eid's office said the increase in wiretaps has led to more drug seizures. Since Eid took office in August 2006, federal agents have sized 1,151 kilograms of marijuana and 126 kilograms of cocaine, compared with 122 kilograms of pot and 13 kilograms of cocaine in the previous 12 months.

Defense attorneys worry that it's too easy to get court approval for a wiretap, and that judges hear only prosecutors' side before deciding whether to approve them.

The court administrative office reported that no state or federal judge turned down a request for a wiretap last year, and only five requests were turned down over the past decade, out of more than 15,000 sought.




Out of all the dumb, wasteful war on pot ideas tried over the past several decades, a new one seems to especially please the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy. The plan calls for isolating and identifying isotopes in order to help the ONDCP "decide where to concentrate its resources." As if the ONDCP doesn't automatically train its resources on cannabis no matter how much scientific research is involved.

In Denver, the City Council has agreed to place a ballot initiative asking whether marijuana should be the lowest enforcement priority. And, industrial hemp continues to gain support around the country, despite the feds studied ignorance on the issue.


Pubdate: Tue, 21 Aug 2007
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2007 The New York Times Company
Author: Hillary Rosner

Every so often, a package of marijuana arrives in Jason B. West's mail at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. While Dr. West may not be the only one on campus receiving deliveries of illegal drugs, he is probably the only one getting them compliments of the federal government.

Dr. West's marijuana supply is decidedly not for consumption. It is meticulously cataloged and managed, repeatedly weighed to make sure none disappears, and returned to the sender (a laboratory at the University of Mississippi) or destroyed when he is done with it.

With financing from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Dr. West, 34, is creating a model that can identify the geographic origin of cannabis plants based on certain chemical calling cards. The agency hopes to use the research to help decide where to concentrate its resources.

The research, the Marijuana Signature Project, relies on stable isotopes, which are forms of an element like nitrogen or oxygen, that have distinct atomic masses. Long employed in ecological research, stable isotopes are increasingly used for forensic purposes, including investigations into blood doping, arson and trafficking in contraband like drugs and endangered species.




Pubdate: Tue, 21 Aug 2007
Source: Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)
Copyright: 2007 Denver Publishing Co.
Author: Stuart Steers, Rocky Mountain News

Plan Would Make Small Amounts the 'Lowest' Priority

Voters will decide this fall on a ballot initiative that would make possession of small amounts of marijuana the "lowest law enforcement priority" of Denver police, the City Council decided Monday night.

Most council members oppose the measure, but a pro-marijuana group forced their hand after gathering enough signatures to put it to a vote.

"A number of us will be voting to put something on the ballot we won't be supporting ourselves," said Councilwoman Jeanne Robb.

Earlier this month the council considered enacting the ordinance, rather than referring it to voters, as part of a legal maneuver to get it thrown out by the courts. Council members decided not to do that, but they say the initiative, if approved by voters, still could be overturned by a judge.

The group SAFER, sponsors of the ballot initiative, also authored a successful 2005 ballot initiative that legalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults in Denver. State law, however, still prohibits marijuana use, and Denver police continue to arrest people for possession.




Pubdate: Mon, 20 Aug 2007
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Haley Davies, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer

State legislators are expected to consider a measure this week that would allow hemp to be grown in California, rekindling the debate over whether such a move would increase cultivation of illegal marijuana and conflict with federal laws regulating the drug.

A committee of the state Senate is scheduled today to review legislation to permit California farmers to grow industrial hemp. The bill - AB684 - would establish a five-year pilot program in several California counties and define "industrial hemp" as separate from "marijuana" under the state's Health and Safety Code.

Last year, a similar bill reached the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but he vetoed it, saying he was "very concerned that this bill would give legitimate growers a false sense of security and a belief that production of 'industrial hemp' is somehow a legal activity under federal law."

The new bill was co-authored by Assemblymen Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine (Orange County), the same lawmakers who pushed last year's hemp legislation.

"It's such an incredible crop," said Leno, referring to the versatility of hemp.




Pubdate: Sat, 18 Aug 2007
Source: Ashland Daily Tidings (OR)
Copyright: 2007 Ashland Daily Tidings
Author: Robert Plain, Ashland Daily Tidings

Many know Ashland resident Andy Kerr as an ardent environmental activist, but he is also on the board of directors for the North American Industrial Hemp Council.

"Most of my career I've dealt with the supply side of the timber economy," said the former executive director of the Oregon Natural Resources Council, who was active in the so-called timber wars of the 1980s. "I tried to constrict supply so we wouldn't be cutting down old growth forests. This is dealing with the demand side of the forest conservation equation."

In April, Kerr testified before the state Senate's committee on Environment and Natural Resource Committee about the possibility of using hemp to replace wood as a building material.

"Hemp has great potential because it has a very long fiber that can be mixed with agricultural waste to make paper and construction products that are stronger than wood," he said. "Is it a miracle fiber. Well, 'miracle' is overused, but it is superior in many cases."

He is also a proponent of a bill that has died several times in the state legislature to legalize growing hemp.

"Under the law it is legal to possess and you can import it," he said. "There is a customs code, but you can't grow it. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) thinks it is marijuana."




The MAPInc archives give you a perspective on how the media frames drug policy issues, a perspective that you'd be hard pressed to get elsewhere. Take some of last week's drug policy news from Canada as an example. A government report (penned by government police) was clear: Canadians must stoke their fears of crime and drugs. We can see from the archives, headlines screaming, all across Canada, in unison: crime is on the rise.

It must be true, yes I know: for the papers (quoting police) say it's so. From the Calgary Herald, we learn of a (police claimed) "crime boom". Of course, this "crime boom" is because of "drugs", reveal police. Similarly, the Ottawa Citizen newspaper informed citizens what police tell them to say, also: "organized crime" is on the "rise". It was the same in western Canada, as the Vancouver Province similarly repeated the police mantra: drugs, crime, boom. "Extremely addictive, deadly drugs such as crystal meth, heroin and crack cocaine damage individuals, their families and society," pounded in police.

But wait, what's this we find in a different Ottawa Citizen piece this week? "There's a fairly clean argument that people don't think crime is as serious as it was 30 years ago," says leading Canadian sociologist researcher Reginald Bibby in a report, released last week also. But surely, it is just the uninformed and unwashed masses who believe that crime isn't really so bad as we are told it is? Yet it turns out, the Canadian people's "concern over crime" is right on target. Canada's "overall reported crime rate sank to its lowest point in 25 years in 2006," reported Statistics Canada.

So which is it? Is Canada really in the clutches of a drug-fueled organized crime boom, as police assert, or is crime at a 25-year low, as statisticians say?

And from New Zealand, a fly appeared in the prohibitionist ointment this week as government efforts to jail people for using benzylpiperazine (BZP) hit a legal snag. Parliament, re-writing "Misuse of Drugs" laws were turned back by the top government lawyer. Why? Automatically assuming users are dealers -- simply because they might have a handful of BZP "party" pills -- violates the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. "The bill reverses the onus of proof for those accused of supplying BZP from being presumed innocent to being presumed guilty."


Pubdate: Sat, 18 Aug 2007
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2007 Calgary Herald
Author: Gwendolyn Richards

Gangs Growing In Canada

Organized crime and gangs involved in the drug trade are flourishing in Canada, with nearly 150 new groups added to the national list of about 800, according to a new report compiled by Canada's law enforcement agencies.


The report by Criminal Intelligence Service Canada shows that about 80 per cent of all Canadian crime groups -- about 950 -- are involved with drugs.


Friday's national report showed most large-scale marijuana grow ops are found in B.C., Ontario and Quebec. Those provinces also serve as distribution hubs for cocaine.

Ecstasy is generally carried from Canada to the U.S., as well as Australia and Japan.

And drugs are at the heart of more criminal activity than anything else. Fights over territory have led to property crimes, assaults and homicides, the report says.



Pubdate: Sat, 18 Aug 2007
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Meagan Fitzpatrick, The Ottawa Citizen

Number of Gangs Operating in Canada Jumps to 950: RCMP

Canadian police are tackling more organized crime this year than last, statistics released yesterday reveal.


The illegal drug trade still makes up the bulk of organized crime activity in Canada, with about 80 per cent of all gangs involved in it. The majority are growing, distributing and transporting marijuana and much of the activity is in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Those provinces are also hubs for cocaine distribution to the rest of the country once it enters Canada.




Pubdate: Sun, 19 Aug 2007
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 The Province
Author: Glenda Luymes

Federal Report Says We Are Hub For Drug Production, Distribution


The report identifies B.C. as a "hub" for organized crime group activity, such as drug production and distribution.

Many of Canada's large-scale marijuana grow-ops are located in B.C., Ontario and Quebec, where pot is sometimes exported to the U.S. in exchange for cocaine.

B.C. also produces much of the country's ecstasy, which is exported all over the world, and the province is also one of the top suppliers in Canada's domestic methamphetamine market.

The report quotes Vancouver's new police chief, who emphasizes the negative impacts of the drug trade.

"Extremely addictive, deadly drugs such as crystal meth, heroin and crack cocaine damage individuals, their families and society," said Chief Jim Chu.




Pubdate: Thu, 23 Aug 2007
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Misty Harris

Grim though the headlines are most days, national concern over crime is at its lowest level in three decades, a leading Canadian sociologist has found.

In 1975, nearly six in 10 Canadians felt crime was a "very serious" problem. By contrast, the proportion of people who feel that way now has declined to just a third of the population, according to a report released today by University of Lethbridge researcher Reginald Bibby.


The research, based on a nationwide sample of 1,600 people, is consistent with a recent Statistics Canada finding that the country's overall reported crime rate sank to its lowest point in 25 years in 2006.

"There's a fairly clean argument that people don't think crime is as serious as it was 30 years ago," Mr. Bibby says.




Pubdate: Thu, 23 Aug 2007
Source: Dominion Post, The (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2007 The Dominion Post

A bill to criminalise party pills has hit a snag before making it to Parliament, with legal advice suggesting supply limits could be too low to secure a conviction.

The Misuse of Drugs (Classification of BZP) Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament yesterday, and seeks to elevate products containing benzylpiperazine, the most common active ingredient in party pills, to the same status as cannabis.

But in an evaluation of the bill, Attorney-General Michael Cullen - using Crown Law advice - said it breached the Bill of Rights Act.

Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton announced the planned bill in June, saying he hoped to have legislation passed by Christmas. The proposed law change was scheduled to take effect on December 18, but could be delayed if changes are needed.


But Dr. Cullen said the amount of BZP set out in the bill deemed to be for supply - five grams, about enough for 100 party pills, and the same amount relating to supplying methamphetamine - is "not sufficiently high that it is safe to conclude that there is a high probability that the purpose of possession of the drug is supply".



 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


"To the Point," KCRW, Public Radio International

President Bush and Congress may be willing to spend a billion American dollars to help Mexico's President Calderon control drug traffic, official corruption and brutal violence. Will US aid come with strings attached? Will it work? Is it time to re-think prohibition as the basis of the "war on drugs?"


DPA's executive director, Ethan Nadelmann, will appear on Chicago's WNUR radio station this Saturday, August 25th, at 10:20 AM EST to discuss his recent cover story "Think Again: Drugs", published in Foreign Policy magazine. The program will be broadcast live over-the- air and commercial free. Feel free to listen live online at the WNUR 89.3 FM website!,


Ethan Nadelmann makes a splash. His cover article: Think Again: Drugs in Foreign Policy is garnering a lot of attention, including this story on FOX news that actually wonders whether legalizing drugs might be better than prohibition.


Last: 08/17/07 - LEAP members: Charles Rowland & Tim Datig plus Pat McCann on jail "virtual visits" and Willie Nelson Joins LEAP!

Listen Live Fridays 8:00 PM, ET, 7:00 CT, 6:00 MT & 5:00 PT at

Century of Lies for 08/17/07

Canadian Reports from Marc Emery & Matt Elrod + Ron Pauls Sec. Jesse Benton



from Drug War Chronicle, Issue #499, 8/24/07

Cannabis Nation was on the march in Seattle last weekend. An estimated 150,000 people showed up Saturday and Sunday at Myrtle Edwards Park on Elliot Bay just north of downtown to celebrate the 16th annual Seattle Hempfest and call for marijuana legalization.



Filmmakers Gerard Ungerman and Audrey Brohey take a look at the government's efforts to quash trading with Colombia, and find some surprisingly lax activities taking place.


Just posted on the Cannabis Closet now, our most recent issue is out!

Come join us with our good friend Howard Dover from Green Therapy on the Cannabis Closet this week.

Love and stuff,

Alison Myrden The Cannabis Closet



Washington Newspapers Print Two Important OPEDS - A DrugSense Focus Alert



By Gary Storck

News reports say nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars is needed to fix structurally deficient U.S. bridges and highways but that states and the federal government have been unable or unwilling to come up with the money.

While ensuring the safety of our nation's infrastructure has become a luxury we can't afford, there is always more money to pour down the bottomless pit of marijuana prohibition. Even cancer and multiple sclerosis patients are fair game.

Thursday, Aug. 2, marked the 70th anniversary of the date President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Marijuana Tax Act into law. Ruled unconstitutional in 1969, marijuana prohibition was continued under the 1971 Controlled Substances Act.

While alcohol prohibition only lasted 14 years, marijuana prohibition is 70 and going strong. Seventy years of ceaseless reefer madness propaganda has so demonized cannabis that most elected officials stipulate to this absurd ideology without question, when taxing and regulating marijuana could solve numerous problems while generating revenue instead of wasting it.

Seventy years of lying about marijuana is too long, and it has made a mockery of American values like personal freedom and privacy, and encouraged disrespect for the law. The government should make no laws that tell us what we can or cannot put in our own bodies. Taxing and regulating marijuana is the only sensible option.

Gary Storck, co-founder Madison NORML

Pubdate: Thu, 09 Aug 2007
Author: Gary Storck
Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)



By Misha Glenny

We've Spent 36 Years and Billions of Dollars Fighting It, but the Drug Trade Keeps Growing

Poppies were the first thing that British army Capt. Leo Docherty noticed when he arrived in Afghanistan's turbulent Helmand province in April 2006. "They were growing right outside the gate of our Forward Operating Base," he told me. Within two weeks of his deployment to the remote town of Sangin, he realized that "poppy is the economic mainstay and everyone is involved right up to the higher echelons of the local government."

Poppy, of course, is the plant from which opium -- and heroin -- are derived.

Docherty was quick to realize that the military push into northern Helmand province was going to run into serious trouble. The rumor was "that we were there to eradicate the poppy," he said. "The Taliban aren't stupid and so they said, 'These guys are here to destroy your livelihood, so let's take up arms against them.' And it's been a downward spiral since then."

Despite the presence of 35,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, the drug trade there is going gangbusters. According to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime ( UNODC ), Afghan opium production in 2006 rose a staggering 57 percent over the previous year. Next month, the United Nations is expected to release a report showing an additional 15 percent jump in opium production this year while highlighting the sobering fact that Afghanistan now accounts for 95 percent of the world's poppy crop. But the success of the illegal narcotics industry isn't confined to Afghanistan. Business is booming in South America, the Middle East, Africa and across the United States.

Thirty-six years and hundreds of billions of dollars after President Richard M. Nixon launched the war on drugs, consumers worldwide are taking more narcotics and criminals are making fatter profits than ever before. The syndicates that control narcotics production and distribution reap the profits from an annual turnover of $400 billion to $500 billion. And terrorist organizations such as the Taliban are using this money to expand their operations and buy ever more sophisticated weapons, threatening Western security.

In the past two years, the drug war has become the Taliban's most effective recruiter in Afghanistan. Afghanistan's Muslim extremists have reinvigorated themselves by supporting and taxing the countless peasants who are dependent one way or another on the opium trade, their only reliable source of income. The Taliban is becoming richer and stronger by the day, especially in the east and south of the country. The "War on Drugs" is defeating the "war on terror."

* * *

For the past three years, I have been traveling the world researching a book on the jaw-dropping rise of transnational organized crime since the collapse of communism and the advent of globalization. I have witnessed how a ferocious drug gang mounted an assault on Sao Paolo, closing the city for three days as citizens cowered at home. I have watched Bedouins shift hundreds of kilos of cocaine across the Egyptian-Israeli border on the backs of camels, and observed how South Africa and West Africa have become an international narcotics distribution hub.

The trade in illegal narcotics begets violence, poverty and tragedy. And wherever I went around the world, gangsters, cops, victims, academics and politicians delivered the same message: The war on drugs is the underlying cause of the misery. Everywhere, that is, except Washington, where a powerful bipartisan consensus has turned the issue into a political third rail.

The problem starts with prohibition, the basis of the war on drugs. The theory is that if you hurt the producers and consumers of drugs badly enough, they'll stop doing what they're doing. But instead, the trade goes underground, which means that the state's only contact with it is through law enforcement, i.e. busting those involved, whether producers, distributors or users. So vast is the demand for drugs in the United States, the European Union and the Far East that nobody has anything approaching the ability to police the trade.

Prohibition gives narcotics huge added value as a commodity. Once traffickers get around the business risks -- getting busted or being shot by competitors -- they stand to make vast profits. A confidential strategy report prepared in 2005 for British Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet and later leaked to the media offered one of the most damning indictments of the efficacy of the drug war. Law enforcement agencies seize less than 20 percent of the 700 tons of cocaine and 550 tons of heroin produced annually. According to the report, they would have to seize 60 to 80 percent to make the industry unprofitable for the traffickers.

Supply is so plentiful that the price of a gram of heroin is plummeting in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom. According to the UNODC, the street price of a gram of cocaine in the United States is now less than $70, compared with $184 in 1990. Adjusted for inflation, that's a threefold drop.

Continues At:

Pubdate: Sun, 19 Aug 2007
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Page: B01
Copyright: 2007 The Washington Post Company
Details: Author: Misha Glenny

Note: Misha Glenny is a former BBC correspondent and the author of "McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Underworld," to be published next year.


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