This Just In
(1)No 'Silver Bullet' For Afghan Opium Trade
(2)Japan Profited As Opium Dealer In Wartime China
(3)Column: Show-Boating On Pot
(4)OPED: Give Peace A Chance - Forget The War On Drugs

Hot Off The 'Net
-Let Afghanistan Grow The World's Opium Supply / Ethan A. Nadelmann
-House Of Death Ruling Reveals The Truth Of The Drug War / Bill Conroy
-High: The True Tale Of Marijuana
-Cultural Baggage Radio Show
-War On Drugs: Impact On National Security / Frosty Wooldridge
-The Prince Of Pot With Barry Cooper

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Thu, 30 Aug 2007
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2007 Southam Inc.
Author: Mike Blanchfield, CanWest News Service

OTTAWA - Britain's top diplomat in Canada has dismissed a poll, commissioned by the international think-tank that is championing the legalization of Afghanistan's contentious opium poppy crop, which shows that Canadians overwhelmingly support for the use of Afghan opium for medicinal purposes.

"It is a surprise that people reach for silver bullets," British High Commissioner Anthony Cary said in an interview yesterday.

Mr. Cary was responding to the release of an Ipsos Reid survey of 1,000 Canadians, conducted on behalf of the Senlis Council, which found that nearly eight in 10 Canadians (79%) want Prime Minister Stephen Harper to back an international pilot project that would help transform Afghanistan's illicit opium cultivation into a legal way of providing codeine and other legitimate pain medications to the international market.

The release of the poll yesterday comes two days after the United Nations' latest audit of the poppy farming trade found that Afghanistan's production of opium, the key ingredient in heroin, has now reached record levels in the six years that western nations have controlled the country.


This week, the UN said for the first time that the illicit trade is directly linked to funding of the Taliban insurgency that threatens Canada and its military allies.

The Canadian government, along with its Western allies, rejects the legalization of the opium trade, in part because the Afghan government in Kabul views it as un-Islamic.




Pubdate: Thu, 30 Aug 2007
Source: Japan Times (Japan)
Copyright: 2007 The Japan Times
Author: Reiji Yoshida

Puppet Regimes, Army Paid: Document

A Japanese narcotics firm in wartime occupied China sold enough opium to nearly match the annual budget of Tokyo's puppet government in Nanjing, according to an internal company document recently discovered by The Japan Times.

The 21-page document, found in an archive at the National Diet Library of Tokyo, showed opium dealer Hung Chi Shan Tang (or Hong Ji Shan Tang as it would now be spelled) sold as much as 300 million yuan worth of opium in 1941, when the annual budget of the Nanjing Government was 370 million yuan.

Although not widely known at home, Japan's opium trade in China was considered an essential financial resource for the Imperial Japanese Army and Japan's puppet governments.

An outline of the opium dealings first came to light in the mid-1980s, when historians uncovered several secret government documents. Many key details, however, have remained a mystery.

The document, titled "Outline of Hung Chi Shan Tang," reveals the history of the Shanghai-based company, headed by Hajime Satomi, that was believed to be the dominant opium trader in Japanese-controlled central China, including Shanghai, until early 1944.


One of the reasons Hung Chi Shan Tang was established in 1939 was "to put the opium business under Japan's wartime control," Satomi wrote in the document, whose first page is stamped "secret."

According to historians, profits from the opium trade bankrolled the Imperial army's unofficial spying activities not covered by the official military budget. Later, revenue from the opium monopoly became a major financial source for the puppet governments of Inner Mongolia, Nanjing and Manchukuo, which was set up in 1932 in Manchuria.

The Inner Mongolia puppet government, set up in 1937, systematically grew poppies to raise revenue, and its largest opium dealer was Hung Chi Shan Tang. In 1942, its opium revenues accounted for as much as 28 percent of its initial budget.

"Since (opium) was the only product with which the Mongolian Government can earn foreign currency, we have made our best efforts to expand sales channels," Satomi stated in the document.




Pubdate: Thu, 30 Aug 2007
Source: Boulder Weekly (CO)
Copyright: 2007 Boulder Weekly
Author: Paul Danish

Ever wonder why marijuana is still illegal? It has nothing to do with the inherent safety or danger of the drug. It's been known for decades that it is less harmful than alcohol in terms of its potential to addict, of its potential to cause violent behavior and of its potential to cause long-term health risks.

If you want to know why marijuana is still illegal consider the remarks some Denver City Council members made Monday evening before voting to put a marijuana initiative on the Denver ballot this November. The initiative, sponsored by Citizens for a Safer Denver, would make enforcement of laws against marijuana possession Denver's "lowest law-enforcement priority."

The council voted unanimously to put the initiative on the city's ballot this November (as required by law), but not before several council members used the occasion to dis both the initiative and Mason Tvert, Citizens for a Safer Denver's chair.

Councilwoman Carol Boigon said the initiative "made a joke out of the electoral process."

"I think it is an unserious effort - an effort aimed at street theater, at capturing media attention, at making light of it," she said. "Were this a serious effort, it would be at the state."

Amazingly, she didn't say whether she would support a serious effort, but let it ride.

A joke, eh? Well there isn't much humor either in arresting 500,000 to 750,000 Americans a year (including about 2,500 in Denver) and giving them criminal records for an activity that is less harmful than drinking beer, the activity that has made the mayor of Denver a multi- millionaire.




Pubdate: Thu, 30 Aug 2007
Source: Times, The (UK)
Copyright: 2007 Times Newspapers Ltd
Author: Anatole Kaletsky

We Need a Radical Approach to Tackling Crime on British Streets

When a newly appointed minister arrives at his office in Whitehall, the first thing his permanent secretary gently tells him is to avoid simple answers to complex problems.

What I am about to say therefore guarantees that I will never be asked to join a government advisory panel or Royal Commission; but since I can earn a decent living without having to impress politicians, let me break the taboo. The fact is that many complex problems do have simple answers. What politicians mean when they say "there are no simple answers" is that the simple answers are not the same as easy ones. The easy answer to almost any political problem is to highlight its complexity, plead for patience, appoint a policy czar and set up a Royal Commission. The simple answer is often to do something bold and previously unthinkable. In other words, to cut the Gordian knot instead of trying to untie it.





After running what some perceived as alarmist coverage on used needle disposal problems in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Chronicle now publishes a bold proposal in reaction: create an injection center.

Working in the drug war offers so many opportunities for corruption, its not surprising that the Department of Homeland Security's Counter Narcotics Department is trying to make the most of no-bid contract policies. Also last week, Ethan Nadelmann gets the front cover of Foreign Policy; and a crackdown on internet pharmacies seems to be in the planning stage.


Pubdate: Thu, 23 Aug 2007
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: C.W. Nevius

A month after we chronicled "the march of the junkies" at the needle exchange center near Golden Gate Park, longtime neighbors say things have improved. Residents who live near the center on Haight said it was the source of used syringes being discarded in the park and in their yards by drug users.

"It has lightened up, I have to admit," says Les Silverman, who has lived a block from the Panhandle on Cole Street since 1975 and told us he'd found needles in his front yard garden. "It's a little better."

Park gardeners ( who have been told not to talk to the media ) say they are coming across fewer needles, and our recent morning trip to the park did not find nearly as many syringes as a month earlier.

That's great. But insiders say it doesn't have anything to do with serious reform in the way needles are distributed to intravenous drug users, something the city has been facilitating since 1992 to curb the spread of disease.

"As much as I'd like to claim credit," says Peter Davidson, chairman of the board of the Homeless Youth Alliance, which runs the Haight needle exchange, "I think it is because of the police doing these sweeps and moving people out."

Again, that's terrific, but how long will the sweeps last? ( A police source tells us that four officers and a sergeant are being pulled off the street for two hours every morning. )

If we're really serious about a long-term solution for discarded needles littering our parks, it may be time for a bold, new initiative - a city-sponsored injection center where drug users could go, receive a clean needle, and inject themselves in a sanitary environment.

Sounds shocking, doesn't it?

Dr. Thomas Kerr, an HIV/AIDS researcher at the University of British Columbia, who has studied an injection facility in Vancouver - the only one in North America - understands the reaction.




Pubdate: Thu, 23 Aug 2007
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Robert O'Harrow Jr., Washington Post

Feds Find Ways To Avoid Competitive Bidding

Washington - Under pressure from the White House and Congress to deliver a long-delayed plan last year, officials at the Department of Homeland Security's counter-narcotics office took a shortcut that has become common at federal agencies: They hired help through a no-bid contract.

And the firm they hired showed them how to do it.

Scott Chronister, a senior official in the Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement, reached out to a former colleague at a private consulting firm for advice. The consultant suggested that Chronister's office could avoid competition and get the work done quickly under an arrangement in which the firm "approached the government with a 'unique and innovative concept,' " documents and interviews show.

A contract worth up to $579,000 was awarded to the consultant's firm in September.

Though small by government standards, the counter-narcotics contract illustrates the government's steady move away from relying on competition to secure the best deals for products and services.

A recent congressional report estimated that federal spending on contracts awarded without open competition has tripled, to $207 billion, since 2000, with a $60 billion increase last year alone. The category includes deals in which officials take advantage of provisions allowing them to sidestep competition for speed and convenience and cases where the government sharply limits the number of bidders or expands work under open-ended contracts.

Government auditors say the result often is higher prices for taxpayers and an undue reliance on a limited number of contractors.




Pubdate: Sat, 01 Sep 2007
Source: Foreign Policy (US)
Copyright: 2007 Foreign Policy
Author: Ethan Nadelmann

Prohibition has failed--again. Instead of treating the demand for illegal drugs as a market, and addicts as patients, policymakers the world over have boosted the profits of drug lords and fostered narcostates that would frighten Al Capone. Finally, a smarter drug control regime that values reality over rhetoric is rising to replace the "war" on drugs.

"The Global War on Drugs Can Be Won"

No, it can't. A "drug-free world," which the United Nations describes as a realistic goal, is no more attainable than an "alcohol-free world"--and no one has talked about that with a straight face since the repeal of Prohibition in the United States in 1933. Yet futile rhetoric about winning a "war on drugs" persists, despite mountains of evidence documenting its moral and ideological bankruptcy. When the U.N. General Assembly Special Session on drugs convened in 1998, it committed to "eliminating or significantly reducing the illicit cultivation of the coca bush, the cannabis plant and the opium poppy by the year 2008" and to "achieving significant and measurable results in the field of demand reduction." But today, global production and consumption of those drugs are roughly the same as they were a decade ago; meanwhile, many producers have become more efficient, and cocaine and heroin have become purer and cheaper.




Pubdate: Mon, 27 Aug 2007
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2007 The Tribune Co.
Author: Tom Breen, The Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.VA. - Drug shipments from illegal online pharmacies were once so frequent in Appalachia that delivery companies had to add trucks to their routes.

Police have cracked down on such deliveries but are confronted by a booming global network of so-called rogue pharmacies operating online.

For people addicted to prescription medications such as the painkiller hydrocodone - sold mostly as Vicodin - the days of "doctor shopping" are over as long as they have Internet access. With the help of unscrupulous doctors and pharmacists, hundreds of Web sites dispense prescription narcotics to customers in exchange for nothing more than a credit card number.

Even as law enforcement agencies and state governments respond, the number of rogue pharmacies continues to grow, filling hundreds of prescriptions a day, according to a recent study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, which reported the additional parcel delivery trucks in southeastern Kentucky, says about 95 percent of products sold by online pharmacies are controlled substances. By comparison, controlled substances amount to roughly 11 percent of the dosages dispensed by legitimate pharmacies.

The DEA found that 34 rogue pharmacies dispensed more than 98.5 million dosage units of hydrocodone products in 2006.

Pharmacist Don Perdue has seen customers who run out of prescription refills turn to illegal online pharmacies.

"This is a major problem," said Perdue, chairman of the West Virginia House of Delegates' Health and Human Resources Committee, which wants to see federal law changed to make it easier to shut down illicit pharmacies.

Congress is considering legislation that would clarify federal law on Internet pharmacies and increase penalties for selling pharmaceuticals to minors.




A California minister is asking why a man who fired no shots in a deadly drug deal is facing a much more serious charges than other men who were involved. In Texas, police will have the option to give low level offenders, including minor cannabis offenders, a ticket instead of a full-blown arrest. In Florida, budget cuts are leading to questions about the future of DARE in the state, and about who to release from prison early. And, in Cleveland, more drug corruption, this time involving a patrolman.


Pubdate: Thu, 23 Aug 2007
Source: Chico Enterprise-Record (CA)
Copyright: 2007 The Media News Group
Author: Terry VAU Dell, Staff Writer

OROVILLE -- A pastor said Wednesday that some members of the Oroville community believe a Bay Area man charged with capital murder in an aborted drug deal that left three people dead is being treated unjustly.

"All we're asking for is that the arm of justice swing evenly for everyone involved," said Pastor Kevin Thompson of the No. 1 Church of God.

The Oroville pastor said Deandre Tyrone Lowe, 38, who is black, should be charged the same as three white Oroville-area men, who were previously convicted of lesser drug charges in the case. The pastor said after talking with Lowe in the county jail and members of the community, he plans to air his concerns about how the case is being prosecuted with District Attorney Mike Ramsey.

Ramsey defended his decision to file capital murder charges against Lowe based on evidence indicating the man was part of an alleged plan to rob four marijuana sellers at gunpoint during a meeting at an Oroville motel last Oct. 22.

The drug deal ended in an exchange of gunfire inside the motel room, killing two of the would-be buyers from the and a seller.

The three other sellers, subsequently pleaded guilty to drug-related charges and two were sentenced to identical four-year prison terms. Because he had represented one of the drug suspects, Chico attorney Jodea Foster told Superior Court Judge James Reilley Wednesday he could not accept an appointment to defend Lowe. Lowe, who surrendered to authorities in Seattle this month, is due back in court today with his newly-appointed attorney, Philip Heithecker.

Though prosecutors concede Lowe did not fire any shots during the aborted drug deal, he remains held without bail on two counts of capital murder under a state law that holds accomplices liable for deaths that occur during certain serious crimes, including robbery.

Ramsey said he has not decided whether to seek the death penalty for Lowe or life in prison without the possibility of parole. Because there would have been no shootout had the Oroville men not cultivated or tried to sell marijuana, the pastor feels they should have faced the same charge as Lowe. "The community believes that there is a disparity in the charges that are being brought," the Oroville pastor outside of court Wednesday.

"If Mr. Lowe is being charged as a principal, we believe those other defendants should have been charged as a principal also," he said.

"If this goes the way it appears to be going, it will not only set this town back 100 years, it will also set humanity back," added the Oroville pastor.




Pubdate: Fri, 24 Aug 2007
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 2007 Star-Telegram Operating, Ltd.
Author: John Moritz

AUSTIN -- If a police officer in Texas catches you with a few ounces of marijuana you're going to jail, right? Maybe not.

Beginning Sept. 1, police officers will have the discretion to issue citations similar to traffic tickets rather than hauling the offender to jail. House Bill 2391, which passed with virtually no opposition during the 2007 legislative session and was signed into law without fanfare by Gov. Rick Perry, does not change the penalty for pot possession.

But supporters say the discretion may only be used when the person is in possession of four ounces of marijuana or less and lives in the county where the stop was made, and only when the suspect is not considered a threat to public safety. Plus, they say, it will save a lot of time and paperwork for beat cops and it will help prevent local jails from being clogged with otherwise low-risk lawbreakers.

"From my perspective, it gives police officers another tool in their belt when dealing with nonviolent offenders," said Deputy Chief Dennis McKnight of the Bexar County Sheriff's Department. "Rather than spending three hours taking a guy downtown, booking him into jail, taking him before a magistrate and taking his paperwork up to the district attorney, I can write him a ticket compelling him to show up in court.




Pubdate: Fri, 24 Aug 2007
Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)
Author: Joe Follick, H-T Capital Bureau

Plan Would Save Money by Moving Inmates to Work Release or Other Programs

TALLAHASSEE -- Facing a bad economy that will require lawmakers to cut $1 billion or more from the state budget in a special session next month, Gov. Charlie Crist and the Legislature are looking for significant ways to reduce spending.

James McDonough has a plan to do just that. But the political consequences may be more than Crist and the Legislature are prepared to deal with.

McDonough, who heads Florida's Department of Corrections, wants to reduce hard time for thousands of the state's inmates.

Moving inmates from prisons to work release, substance abuse and education programs, McDonough said, will save millions of dollars and improve public safety by helping convicts make successful transitions from life behind bars.

The plan would reduce DOC spending by 10 percent -- more than double the cut Crist asked state agencies to prepare to make -- and would mark a major change after years of "tough on crime" policies that have doubled the number of Florida inmates since 1990.



 (12) EDITORIAL: DARE TO CUT D.A.R.E.?  ( Top )

Pubdate: Fri, 24 Aug 2007
Source: Ledger, The (Lakeland, FL)
Copyright: 2007 The Ledger

Florida Budget Cuts

Few adults, particularly parents, would question the need for schools to offer programs educating children and teens about the dangers of drugs. But it may be time to end, at least for now, the approach long embraced by Florida officials.

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, which began almost a quarter-century ago in Los Angeles, is widely used in schools in our region and around the nation. Typically, police officers are trained to talk to children about avoiding the illegal use of drugs and involvement in gangs.

But, in a telling move, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is asking the state to end the agency's participation in the program. FDLE officials have suggested cutting $376,362 for the anti-drug program from its yearly appropriation. The money is currently used to fund a D.A.R.E. training program for deputies and police officers.

With the state facing a $1.5 billion shortfall, decision makers at the FDLE are forced to reduce expenses and focus on essential services. D.A.R.E. is no longer deemed a priority.




Pubdate: Mon, 27 Aug 2007
Source: Plain Dealer, The (Cleveland, OH)
Copyright: 2007 The Plain Dealer
Author: Joe Guillen and Leah Boyd

Cleveland Patrolman Charged In Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy

A Cleveland police officer was arrested Saturday night in connection with a cocaine distribution ring after a lengthy FBI investigation.

Patrol-man Zvonko Sarlog is under a federal indictment for conspiracy to distribute cocaine, police said. Six other people, none of them police officers, were also indicted, police said.

Law enforcement officials said Sarlog, who was hired six years ago, received the cocaine through a relative who brought the drugs to him from Mexico. The relative also has been arrested.




Denver will vote, again, on marijuana, but will the police department honor the will of the people this time? In San Mateo County, about a half hour drive south of San Francisco, a rouge county DA, in clear violation of his oath and state law, calls in the DEA to terrorize medicinal marijuana users - and the city cops help!

From Canada comes an in depth review of the history of their marijuana laws. And unlike the Seattle Hempfest, the Ontario cops did their best to crush a hempfest, which hurt it though it was still successful.

Another California newspaper calls for changes in Prop. 215, but that can not happen without another initiative. Limits of amounts are a common issue in newspaper editorials. So what are the limits? Prop. 215 has none. But Senate Bill 420 provided a floor, a lower amount, which holders of the medical marijuana ID cards may expect California law enforcement to honor - sometimes, and more often in some parts of the state than in others - as it is the law. The issue is complex. However, most California experts suggest the starting place to learn more about the limits is


Pubdate: Tue, 28 Aug 2007
Source: Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)
Copyright: 2007 Denver Publishing Co.
Author: Stuart Steers, Rocky Mountain News

Initiative Takes Some Heat Before Getting Approval

Denver voters will have the final say on whether the city should change its marijuana laws, but that didn't stop several City Council members from accusing pot activists of turning city elections into a farce.

"You're trying to make a joke out of the electoral process in Denver," said Councilwoman Carol Boigan. "I think this is aimed at street theater and capturing media attention."

The council voted unanimously Monday to refer to voters a ballot initiative that would direct Denver police to make the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana "the city's lowest law enforcement priority." Backers of the proposed ordinance turned in several thousand signatures to earn a spot on the November ballot.


In 2005, Denver voters made the possession of small amounts of marijuana legal in Denver. Denver police, however, have continued to cite people who possess less than an ounce of the drug, saying they have to enforce state law.


Proponents of the ballot measure said they don't dispute that marijuana can harm some people, but said liquor is far more dangerous, and yet the council approved a contract with Coors Brewing Co. to sell beer at the Colorado Convention Center.

"Alcohol leads to countless crimes in this city," said Mason Tvert, director of Safer Colorado, sponsor of the ballot initiative. "What message do you send when you hold hands with Coors?"



Pubdate: Fri, 31 Aug 2007
Source: Oakland Tribune, The (CA)
Copyright: 2007 MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers
Author: Michael Manekin, Staff Writer

San Mateo County DA Calls in Feds After Group Contests Desist Order


Before the raids, the district attorney's office was holding out hope that Patients Choice "would recognize what they were doing as not in compliance with California law, and they would shut down," said San Mateo County District Attorney Jim Fox.

Instead, Patients Choice asked its attorney to send the district attorney's office a letter saying that its business was perfectly in compliance with state law in accordance with Proposition 215, the 1996 ballot measure that state voters approved to allow use of medical marijuana; SB420, a bill passed by the state Legislature in 2004 that allows medical marijuana patients to form their own cooperatives; and People v. Urziceanu, a 2005 appellate court ruling that found that SB420 allows consumer cooperatives, such as Patients Choice, to accept money in exchange for medicine.

Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe considered the letter, reflected on the state's ambiguous legal definition of medical marijuana dispensaries, and made a decision.

"We could have sat here and spent a great deal of taxpayer money in San Mateo County, prosecuting it and going through the appeals, or we could bring the case to the attention of the federal government," Wagstaffe said.

When Matt Kumin, the San Francisco-based attorney for Patients Choice and a consultant to some 80 medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state, learned that federal agents had raided his clients and two additional dispensaries, his reaction was swift.

"The local DA tries to do a prosecution, but it's too difficult. He's got a bitter taste in his mouth, so he calls the feds.


Actually, until now San Mateo County had not been conservative when it came to medical marijuana.

One year after 66 percent of voters passed Prop. 215, the Board of Supervisors approved a trial program for the county hospital to treat terminally ill patients with medical marijuana.

When the state began to issue cards for medical marijuana patients in 2004, the county was one of the first to begin registering qualified residents, said John Conley, the county's public health director.

"The Board of Supervisors has been very supportive of medical marijuana in general," Conley said.

Maybe that's why on Thursday Supervisor Jerry Hill questioned the legitimacy of the raids on the three medical marijuana dispensaries, provided that the businesses were "clearly providing the drug for medical reasons."


A DEA spokesperson would not comment on the issue and said the agency only concerns itself with federal drug laws. The county's Narcotics Task Force and the San Mateo Police Department, which assisted in the raid after cooperating with a nine-month investigation of the dispensaries, refused to comment on the issue, explaining that the search warrants and other documents related to the case were sealed.


If the dispensaries were in compliance with state law, Mirken wonders "why on Earth are the San Mateo police involved in a conspiracy to undermine state law? That is truly outrageous."

The answer, said San Mateo police Lt. Mike Brunicardi on Thursday, is that the police department has "an obligation to the residents of San Mateo" to assist federal agents if they report illegal operations within the city.


Mayor 'Thrilled' By Raids

That sort of progressive thinking stumps some local officials and angers others. While nearly all of the county's supervisors have gone on record defending the use of medical marijuana, the board has yet to enact any ordinances to regulate dispensaries.

San Mateo Mayor John Lee said of the raids: "I'm just thrilled to death they did it. We don't need that kind of stuff in our city."




Pubdate: Sat, 25 Aug 2007
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Toronto Star
Author: Lynda Hurst, Feature Writer

Just As Canadians Are Embracing Pot As Never Before, the Government Plans a New War on Drugs. The Move Is Fitting, Given This Country's Ambivalent Relationship With Weed Over the Decades

In announcing an upcoming federal anti-drug campaign, Health Minister Tony Clement stated the obvious this week.

"The messages young people have received during the past several years have been confusing and conflicting to say the least."


"Two or three times there has been rigorous debate in favour of decriminalizing," says Alan Young. "Promises were made, then reversed."

Indeed, it was back in 1973 that the LeDain Commission called for an end to charges for simple possession, not immediately but in the near future. It also noted that "no evidence that scientific judgment" had played a role in criminalizing it in the first place.

Marijuana was, in fact, a virtually unknown drug when it was made illegal in 1923 without debate in Parliament and as a seemingly ad hoc add-on to the Opium and Drug Act.

It's believed the influencing factor was a 1922 book by Canada's first female magistrate, the early feminist but moral conservative, Emily Murphy. The Black Candle relied heavily on U.S. information on the "dangerous and evil effects" of marijuana, saying it turned users into "raving maniacs ... liable to kill or indulge in violence."


In 2002, two parliamentary committees heard from a wide array of experts and lobbyists.

The Commons committee concluded that penalties for simple possession were disproportionately harsh; the Senate committee stated that marijuana was not a gateway to harder drugs.


In 2003, the Liberal government introduced a bill to decriminalize possession of less than 15 grams, making it subject to a fine but no criminal record.

The move caused immediate criticism in Washington. It warned Ottawa that if the bill passed, Canadians would pay for it at the border with increased security checks and lengthy delays.

"There's the hypocrisy of the situation," says Oscapella, noting there are 12 American states where possession of under one ounce (28.45 grams) carries only a fine, 11 of which adopted the policy in the mid-1970s.




Pubdate: Thu, 30 Aug 2007
Source: Sault Star, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Sault Star
Author: Michael Purvis

Organizer Says Increased Presence a Deliberate Crackdown, No Comment From OPP

Organizers and attendees at an annual cannabis festival east of Sault Ste. Marie say police used a RIDE check as a cover while officers staged a deliberate crackdown on marijuana users last weekend.

Derek Telasco said he was shocked to see a mobile command unit set up and as many as 20 police officers manning what he described as a military-style roadblock a short distance from the Hempfest grounds. "I felt like I was in Soviet-controlled Poland or something," said Telasco, 37, a Windsor-area marijuana activist who attended the festival, north of Bruce Mines.


Waddell said police had a similar presence in the first year of the festival, but have since decreased their presence. Two years ago no police attended the festival, and last year only two cars showed up. He blames this year's police action on pressure from the Conservative federal government, and OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino.


"At one point in time someone came in and told us the police were telling everyone that all the bands were cancelled for Saturday night," said Hayward, 27. He said no bands had cancelled that night.




Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2007
Source: Bakersfield Californian, The (CA)
Copyright: 2007 The Bakersfield Californian


Sometimes, as has been the case in Kern County, the local Sheriff's Department is providing manpower support on DEA busts -- in effect, helping arrest suspects for crimes committed with the sheriff's tacit approval.

Does that make Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood a co-conspirator in a series of federal crimes? Clearly we've gone through the looking glass on this one. No wonder Youngblood eventually opted to stop issuing permits -- at the potential risk, we assume, of flouting state law.

We need to rectify this bizarre state of affairs by cleaning up the inadequacies of the law created by Proposition 215. Those voluntary medical marijuana ID cards need to be mandatory and foolproof, for the protection of the user if nothing else. As it stands, less than 2 percent of medical marijuana users apply for the ID cards.


State law should also tighten the amount of marijuana a single patient can possess at any one time. California law currently allows much greater quantities than other states that allow medical marijuana possession. The larger the quantity, the bigger the likelihood that black-market abuse will take place, either among dispensaries or patients.



The opium harvest is coming in this season, and is setting records for size. The Guardian newspaper asks policy spokesmen, what can be done to "Solve Afghanistan's Opium Crisis," which of course can only mean, "bring production of the drug to an end." As expected, government has an idea: more government will stop drugs, and any proposal that does not involve the use of force is off the table. "We need structured investments in governance, law enforcement," said Chris Alexander, Deputy special representative of the UN secretary general to Afghanistan. And allowing Afghan farmers to grow opium, just as farmers in Turkey, Tasmania and England may do? Oh no! That would be all wrong. "On legalisation, we have" (says Alexander), "real questions about the credibility of that proposal." Meanwhile, the Senlis Council suggests: simply buy the opium crop from farmers.

Once again, we find out: prisons don't stop drug use. The prison walls meant to control the disobedient turn out to be holding tanks for drugs, as well as drug users. In New Zealand, officials are pondering the unthinkable: allowing a needle exchange within prisons. Far from keeping drugs away from people, prisons encourage transmission of diseases like hepatitis and HIV, with shared needles. "For some reason prisoners are able to get their hands on drugs," said executive director Ross Bell of the New Zealand Drug Foundation.

In Vancouver, Canada, the only supervised injection center in North America, Insite, is back on the block as Conservatives seek to stop the program as a sop to their political base. Study after study has shown Insite to be effective and helpful: preventing fatal overdoses as well as steering addicts to services like rehab. But in the evidence-free world of political spin, evidence of the harms reduced by Insite can never be enough. "Unfortunately, it appears that no amount of evidence will convince the Conservatives, skeptical since the project was launched in 2003, of Insite's value."

We leave you this week with an opinion piece that was published across Canada last week, "Prohibition Of Drugs Fails." As Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Afghanistan adventure increasingly produces little more than photo-ops of flag-draped coffins and military funerals, the Harper regime needs some visible successes, and what's better than a drug war to drum up support? "Like an old dog that can't learn new tricks, the Harper government seems bent on preserving the tired, utterly disproven message that drug prohibition works, writes Jeremy Loome. Government "seems bent on ignoring evidence and public opinion in favour of imposing rigid, ineffective ideology that damages society." Drug laws "don't stop people from getting or using drugs. Period."


Pubdate: Wed, 29 Aug 2007
Source: Guardian, The (UK)
Copyright: 2007 Guardian Newspapers Limited
Author: Declan Walsh and Ian Black, The Guardian


The UN reported on Monday that there had been a "frightening" explosion in opium production in Afghanistan with Helmand province, where Britain has 7,000 troops deployed, leading the way. A record crop means that the country now accounts for 93% of the world's supply and the situation is getting worse daily despite billions being spent to eradicate the trade since 2001. Here the Guardian asks experts in the field what can be done to bring production of the drug to an end.

Chris Alexander, Deputy special representative of the UN secretary general to Afghanistan

The report is astonishingly downbeat and rightly so. But it does point to some solutions. This year we have doubled the number of poppy free provinces from six to 13. The incentives for others to follow suit must be massively strengthened. We need structured investments in governance, law enforcement, agriculture and infrastructure.


On legalisation, we have real questions about the credibility of that proposal. You cannot legalise something in the absence of the rule of law. Legalisation would merely add a notionally legalised component of production.


Norine Macdonald, The Senlis Council

The international community is spending millions of dollars on flawed strategies. Poppy crop eradication was reinforced this year but in the current environment of rural poverty and lack of sustainable alternatives, eradication is wholly ineffective. The crisis is a problem of economic development. Farmers are cultivating poppy because there are no profitable alternatives. In such an environment, crop eradication puts the future of Afghanistan and the entire region in jeopardy.

Opium is the raw material for morphine and other essential medicines. To start tackling the economic nature of the crisis, we presented in June a village-based Poppy for Medicine model whose crux is the production of painkilling medicines. Such a programme would allow farming communities to produce morphine locally, bringing added value to the villages and providing rural communities with viable economic opportunities. This would trigger alternative livelihood programmes, foster rural development and generate economic diversification.

The Senlis Council wants international support for our request to run scientific Poppy for Medicine pilot projects in the next planting season. The alarming UN figures should be reason enough to try a different approach, tailored to the realities of Afghanistan in terms of security and development.

The Senlis Council is a security and development policy group.


Senior Nato Official


This is about power and control: you are challenging their authority in another way. They'll tell the farmers: sell poppy to the government and we'll kill you or rape your daughters; sell to us and we won't."



Pubdate: Tue, 28 Aug 2007
Source: Dominion Post, The (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2007 The Dominion Post
Author: Jenny Ling

Needle exchange programmes in prisons and counsellors in police cells are being touted as solutions to drug use in jails.

The Drug Foundation policy statement, made public yesterday, urges a "whole of government" plan across the criminal justice system, including police, courts and prisons.

It wants offenders given access to treatments similar to the health sector, such as clean needles and expanded methadone programmes.

"For some reason prisoners are able to get their hands on drugs," executive director Ross Bell said.

"We need to be pragmatic about the services we provide. The fundamental principle should be that any health service available in the community should be available in prison."


The idea that providing needles encouraged drug use was "a classic argument proved not to be the case".



Pubdate: Mon, 27 Aug 2007
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2007, The Globe and Mail Company


Speaking to the Canadian Medical Association last week, federal Health Minister Tony Clement was non-committal on the future of Vancouver's safe injection site. But he seemed to be leaning against extending Insite's licence when it expires at year's end, telling doctors that recent research has cast doubt on the pilot project's usefulness.

Where is Mr. Clement getting his information? He hasn't said. Most likely it is from a well-publicized article published this past spring in the Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice. The report was authored by Colin Mangham, the director of research for the Drug Prevention Network of Canada, a hard-line organization. Last year, former Reform MP Randy White, the then-head of the network, lauded what he saw as the Conservative government's tough approach on drugs.


Unsurprisingly, much of the report put out by Mr. White's research director reads more like a rant against the "ideology" of harm- reduction and its alleged infiltration into society than a scientific study. It contains no first-hand research; the bulk of its findings consist of simplistic efforts to poke holes in the litany of more serious studies demonstrating Insite's benefits.

Indeed, virtually all serious research suggests that the program has had considerable benefits with little downside. Reports in reputable medical journals such as The Lancet and the BMJ (British Medical Journal) have shown that Insite reduces needle-sharing in the community, reducing the spread of disease. While 500 users overdosed at Insite over a two-year period, onsite medical assistance prevented a single one from dying - something that would never have been the case on the street.

Far from encouraging drug use, as its opponents claim, Insite has encouraged addicts to kick their habits. Over a one-year period of study, it made 2,000 referrals, 40 per cent of them to addiction counselling. One in five regular visitors to the site enlisted in detoxification programs - resulting, said a recent report in the British medical journal Addictions, in a 30-per-cent rise in the number of local addicts making use of such services. Similar findings were reported last year in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Last week, a group of 134 prominent Canadian doctors and health professionals endorsed a commentary by Dr. Stephen Hwang in the journal Open Medicine calling for Insite to be continued on the basis that it "provide[s] a number of benefits, including reduced needle sharing, decreased public drug use, fewer publicly discarded syringes, and more rapid entry into detoxification services by persons using the facility."


Unfortunately, it appears that no amount of evidence will convince the Conservatives, skeptical since the project was launched in 2003, of Insite's value.




Pubdate: Tue, 28 Aug 2007
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The London Free Press
Author: Jeremy Loome

Welcome to the new war on drugs, same as the old war, and courtesy of Canada's federal government.

Like an old dog that can't learn new tricks, the Harper government seems bent on preserving the tired, utterly disproven message that drug prohibition works.


There is an overwhelming abundance of proof that prohibitions against illegal drugs simply create a massive marketplace for criminals and narco-economically driven nations, as well as some demons that are convenient at police and government budget appropriation time.

They don't stop people from getting or using drugs. Period.


That our government seems bent on ignoring evidence and public opinion in favour of imposing rigid, ineffective ideology that damages society begs the question: What are these guys smoking?


 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


By Ethan A. Nadelmann, AlterNet. Posted August 31, 2007.

Given that farmers are going to produce opium -- somehow, somewhere -- so long as the global demand for heroin persists, maybe the world is better off, all things considered, with 90 percent of it coming from Afghanistan.


By Bill Conroy, Aug 25th, 2007

The U.S. government must surely be greasing up its spin machine in the wake of a federal judge's recent ruling in a lawsuit filed by the families of the House of Death murder victims.


Filmmaker John Holowach has made the first 13 minutes of his upcoming documentary available at:


Century of Lies: Seattle Hempfest Retrospect I + Poppygate


Tonight: 08/31/07 - Seattle Hempfest Retrospect II + Terry Nelson & LEAP report, Drug War Facts & BBC News re Afghanistan


Last: 08/24/07 - Professor Arnold Trebach Re: "Fatal Alliance" with Mexico + Terry Nelson of LEAP, Official Govt. Truth, Poppygate


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


By Frosty Wooldridge, August 27, 2007

Which proves more worthless? The "War on Terror" for the past five years or the "War on Drugs" for the past 35 years?


Marc Emery talks with Barry Cooper, ex-Texas police officer and now producer of "Never Get Busted Again" (Part 1) (Part 2)



More than seven months after a DEA judge ruled that the agency should approve the several-year-old application of a researcher to grow research-grade marijuana, the DEA continues to stonewall. Ask your member of Congress to take action here:


The DEA and a regional narcotics taskforce raided the home of a paraplegic medical marijuana patient in what appears to be a cruel publicity stunt designed to intimidate New Mexico patients and policymakers.


Activist Joseph Zoretic passed away last week. Joe is survived by his young son, Stephen, and his wife and reform partner Dee Dee Zoretic. Together, Joe and Dee Dee made a well known freedom fighting couple in Ohio's Democratic political circles emanating from Cleveland and their hometown of Lakewood.

Tragedy has struck this family hard in recent months with the death of Dee Dee's father and her mother having cancer. Combined with their own health issues and limited income puts this family in serious trouble. Any donations to help in this time of need can be made via the OPN website,


The Seattle Hempfest Core Group lost one of their precious gems last week. Their "Traffic Ogre" for years, burly, bearded Meril Draper was in a motorcycle accident and lost the battle at Harborview Medical Center.

You may recognize Meril's name (pronounced "Merle"), as he was a proficient LTE writer.



By Dan Linn

If the Illinois lawmakers need some extra green for the budget perhaps they should consider marijuana, regulating and taxing that is.

After all, the state is spending money to arrest, prosecute and imprison this part of the population when the state could be making a significant amount of money if they simply taxed the use of marijuana.

Marijuana arrests in Illinois have been around 40,000 a year since 2000 and that is just those that get caught with marijuana; imagine how many others there are who were not arrested but would also probably prefer to buy marijuana legally and be taxed instead of illegally and risk arrest.

From a financial standpoint it would make sense to tax and regulate marijuana versus incarcerating those who use this plant because one way spends money and the other way makes money.

Alcohol prohibition only led to increased gang violence and huge profits for those willing to risk breaking the law. Maybe it is time for Illinois lawmakers to see that this is very similar to marijuana and that the state could make money from taxing marijuana just like it does from alcohol.

Could anyone imagine arresting adult alcohol users if they are doing nothing wrong other than drinking? It is absurd. Why are we arresting adult marijuana users?

For 70 years adult marijuana use has been outlawed, and now is the time to end this prohibition and war on the American marijuana using population.

Marijuana is not for everyone, and kids should not use it, but please stop wasting tax dollars arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating these Americans and start making money by taxing adult marijuana use.

After all, we seem to be having a budget problem, so maybe a little extra income could help, but maybe I am just high.

Dan Linn, Executive Director, Illinois Chapter National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (Illinois NORML)

Pubdate: Wed, 22 Aug 2007
Source: Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)



By Michael Jones

Attorney General Gary King generated front page headlines all over New Mexico with his advice that the feds might arrest and prosecute Health Department employees that distribute medical marijuana.

"The production and distribution of marijuana is still a crime at the federal level ... and that is something that state laws can't change," said Tom Riley, spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

How wise is it to maintain the status quo that has wasted tens of billions of tax dollars during each of the last 37 years? Fiscal responsibility is often not compatible with government actions, but to spend a trillion dollars in about 40 years on a policy that was a failure before it was even implemented with nothing positive ( but plenty of negatives ) to show in return for the money is criminal.

But the feds just will not stop. Your state legalized medical marijuana? That's too bad, we're going to use our limited resources and round up harmless distributors of medical pot while "gangstas" engage in running gun battles endangering the lives of countless bystanders.

Apparently spending billions of tax dollars around the world in the war on drugs without any success just isn't enough. We'll be sending tens of millions to Mexico to help it fight its war on drugs. News coverage mentions the Mexican president's determination and his sending of military units to fight the cartels.

Reports earlier this year detailed how many Mexican police officers had been coerced by death threats and corrupted with bribes. They also mentioned how corruption was spreading within the military units being sent to fight the cartels. So, are we in a bidding war with the Mexican cartels over who can bribe the most people? If so we are doomed to lose again.

Meanwhile back at home people who need marijuana for relief of medical symptoms are caught between the proper fearfulness of the state personnel required by law to administer to their needs and White House Drug Czar John Walters.

New Mexico is the most recent state to legalize medical marijuana, but it won't be the last. The feds' pursuit of those violating federal law but not state law is a waste of time, money and effort. The tide is turning, and eventually this version of prohibition will come to an end like the previous one and for much the same reasons.

The government can't stop the flow of illegal drugs because it cannot end the demand. The tipping point will be reached when people are tired of the abuses of civil rights by the criminal justice system and by the continued endangerment of the nation's youth by the maintenance of a black market system of drug distribution. The person who decides what to sell, its purity, strength, and price is a criminal. That's also the person who decides whether to sell to your children or grandchildren.

Drugs are too dangerous to allow criminals to be in charge. Legalized regulation, distribution and taxation will remove the criminals from the equation. Not decriminalization, legalized regulation.

There will be less disease and death, less crime, less addiction and billions of tax dollars for education and prevention programs.

Before retiring to Los Ranchos de Taos, J. Michael Jones was deputy chief of the Gainesville, Fla., Police Department. He is on the speaker's bureau of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Visit

Pubdate: Thu, 23 Aug 2007
Source: Albuquerque Journal (NM)
Copyright: 2007 Albuquerque Journal
Author: Michael Jones, LEAP


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