This Just In
(1)Cops Say Resources Stretched Thin
(2)Cocaine Flow To 26 Cities Curbed
(3)Rapid Rise In Cocaine Use Aided By Two-Tier Prices, Say Charities
(4)Editorial: Pot A Health Issue Regardless Of Law

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 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Thu, 13 Sep 2007
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 The Province
Author: John Colebourn

Vancouver police said yesterday their resources are being "stretched thin" in the war on gangs.

"The violence is on everybody's radar," said Insp. Dean Robinson. "We are doing everything we can about it as a police department and we are working in concert with other agencies.

"We're stretched thin . . . We're not the only section in the department that could use more numbers.

"This city is a tremendous magnet for gang activity. Some gang members live here, many don't."

Of most concern, Robinson said, is innocent citizens getting caught in the crossfire.


Two people were shot last weekend at the upscale award-winning Quattro on Fourth restaurant.

Last month, two gunmen entered the Fortune Happiness restaurant on East Broadway and opened fire, killing two and sending six others to hospital with serious injuries. .


The lucrative drug trade is often the driving force.

"In Vancouver there is a strong drug trade," he said. "There's a lot of money to be made and I believe 90 per cent of the violence points to the drug trade."



Pubdate: Thu, 13 Sep 2007
Source: USA Today (US)
Page: 1A, Front Page
Copyright: 2007 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Donna Leinwand, USA TODAY

Tough action by Mexico is driving down the cocaine supply in 26 U.S. cities, a recently declassified Drug Enforcement Administration analysis shows, an encouraging drop in narcotics crossing the border that law enforcement officials hope will continue.

As evidence of the short supply, prices have spiked sharply and purity has decreased since September 2006, says the analysis, which previously had not been made public. A gram of pure cocaine sold for about $118.70 in the spring, a 29% increase from last fall. Purity decreases when dealers add other ingredients, such as baby formula and sugar, to stretch the supply.

Cocaine prices are at their highest since the DEA began calculating the price and purity data in April 2005, when a pure gram of cocaine sold for $93.63.

"The law enforcement community and intelligence community is asking, 'How did this work?' and 'How do we keep it going?' " says John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. "Less cocaine, less crack means fewer victims of drugs."


In Cleveland, police noted a contraction in drug markets in January. Homicides are up as local drug organizations vie for the shrinking cocaine supply, says Mayor Frank Jackson, who lauds a six-city, federally led task force for cracking down on local traffickers.

"It does create more violence, but that's a short-term thing," Jackson says. "That's the natural outcome of 20 years of crack cocaine and 30 years of powder."




Pubdate: Thu, 13 Sep 2007
Source: Guardian, The (UK)
Copyright: 2007 Guardian Newspapers Limited
Author: Alan Travis, home affairs editor

Number Of People Treated Almost Doubles

Focus On Heroin And Crack 'Should Be Reviewed'

A two-tier market in luxury and cut-price cocaine is developing in Britain, according to an annual survey by drug charities. Feedback from 80 drug services, police forces and drug action teams in 20 towns and cities shows that the rapid expansion in the use of the drug is being fuelled by street dealers selling cheaper, low-grade cocaine to teenagers, pub users and those on low incomes to mix with other drugs.

This cut-price cocaine - at around UKP30 a gram - is reported to be available in virtually every part of Britain, while more affluent customers are being offered much higher quality cocaine at UKP50 a gram.

The DrugScope 2007 survey reports that in Birmingham individual dealers are offering their customers a choice of two grades of cocaine - "commercialised" at UKP30 a gram and "Peruvian" at UKP50 a gram. In Nottingham a higher-quality form of cocaine is known as "rocket fuel".

The rapid growth in cut-price cocaine is reflected in new figures from the National Treatment Agency which show that the number of people going into treatment with cocaine as their main problem drug has nearly doubled, from 4,474 in 2003-04 to 8,609 in 2005-06. The number of teenagers in treatment for cocaine in the last two years has risen from 231 to 471.


Many users appear unconcerned about its class A criminal status or its serious health risks of heart problems, mental ill health and potential for dependency.


Martin Barnes, chief executive of DrugScope, said the government's strategy of concentrating on tackling use of heroin and crack cocaine was not necessarily the right response. "We are concerned that we may be entering a new era of problem drug use relating less to heroin and crack and more to the misuse of alcohol, cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy. The longer-term public health impacts of such a shift should not be underestimated," he said.




Pubdate: Thu, 13 Sep 2007
Source: Cape Breton Post (CN NS)
Copyright: 2007 Cape Breton Post

The head of the RCMP drug squad in Sydney offered a revealingly muted defence of the use of expensive helicopter time in the recent marijuana grow-op sweep that netted 1,122 plants at 25 sites. Cape Bretoners pay federal taxes that go to pay for the helicopter so it makes sense to put it to some use here, suggested Sgt. Loran Gavel.

Const. D.W. Reginato of the regional police force, which found more than 50 plants at a Millville residence the same day in the co- ordinated operation, related the bust to crimes committed for drug money. Though marijuana traffic is often linked to other drugs and other crimes, it's doubtful that much secondary crime can be attributed to cannabis itself.

Advocates for the relaxation of pot laws would say the only link between marijuana and other crime arises from the fact that possession and sale of this so-called soft drug is by definition illegal, which makes it a commodity of the criminal underworld. Legalize the drug in Canada and the crime connection would vanish, it's claimed - except, of course, for the case of big-time growers smuggling into the U.S.

Police don't really have to defend their enforcement efforts against marijuana trafficking. They're enforcing a federal law which governments across the country want enforced. The federal Liberal flirtation with the partial decriminalization of marijuana, making simple possession subject to only a modest fine, ended with the Conservative victory in January 2006.

Meanwhile the debate rages on, with one significant addition. New research is suggesting that cannabis may not be quite as benign a drug as the flower children of the Sixties - who now find themselves in the 60s again, in another sense - believed.


Marijuana advocates dismiss the new research as just more of the 1950s-vintage reefer madness scare dressed up in academic respectability. But the studies say what they say: there are risks, from moderate as well as from heavy use.

Enforcement zealots may cite such studies as clinching their case but they are wrong. There's ample evidence that enforcement bears little relationship to prevalence of use, and Canadians are the heaviest users in the industrialized world. Regardless of where the marijuana law goes from here, widespread use of the drug must be recognized as a public health issue which Canadians need to know a lot more about.





The drug war is still highly profitable, even as government officials have supposedly turned their main attention on the terror war. The Baltimore Sun reported last week that a Maryland firm has landed a "narcoterrorism" contract worth up to $15 billion. No one's saying exactly what the money will pay for, or how it will make the drug problem worse instead of better, as high dollar "anti-drug" initiatives often do.

As predicted in this space three years ago, a North Carolina "crack tax" which imposed taxes on those caught with illegal drugs, has been decisively declared unconstitutional. In Ohio, a legislator wants to further criminalize khat, a drug popular with the Somali immigrant community. Some Somalis seem to support the crackdown, while others understand that the move is likely to turn friends and neighbors into outlaws.

Also last week, Presidential hopeful John McCain continues to show no understanding of prohibition or his own personal experience (his wife had a drug problem, but nobody tried to send her or the person who sold her the drugs to prison) as he calls for a more aggressive drug war; and an Idaho man continues to push for a local cannabis legalization referendum.


Pubdate: Wed, 12 Sep 2007
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2007 The Baltimore Sun, a Times Mirror Newspaper.
Author: Tricia Bishop, Sun reporter

Annapolis Company Will Target DOD Jobs

ARINC Inc., which has spent the past eight decades supplying airlines with communications technology, said yesterday that it plans to also fight "narcoterrorism" - the flow of illegal drugs that finance terrorists - as part of a Department of Defense contract worth up to $15 billion.

The Annapolis company is one of five chosen from a pool of applicants to compete for jobs under the five-year contract, which was awarded by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command. That agency supports the U.S. Department of Defense Counter-Narcoterrorism Technology Program Office.

An official at the Army Space and Missile Defense Command confirmed the contract's existence yesterday, but could not provide details. Telephone calls to the counter-narcoterrorism office were not returned.

The trade publication, Washington Technology, reported other winners as Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrup Grumman Corp., Blackwater USA and Raytheon Technical Services Co.

The companies will compete for orders, including anti-drug technologies, special-purpose vehicles and aircraft, security training and advanced communications. Most of the work will be done outside the United States in areas such as Afghanistan and Colombia.




Pubdate: Sat, 08 Sep 2007
Source: Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN)
Copyright: 2007 The Knoxville News-Sentinel Co.
Author: Jamie Satterfield

You can tax sin, but you can't tax crime.

So concludes the state Court of Appeals in striking down as unconstitutional the state's Unauthorized Substance Tax Act, more commonly known as the "crack tax." In an opinion delivered Friday by Appellate Judge Sharon G. Lee, the court joined a growing list of chancellors across the state in declaring the crack tax unconstitutional. But it did so from an entirely different angle, thus sidestepping what has been the primary legal beef with the tax. Rather than address whether the tax violates an alleged drug dealer's rights to due process and against self-incrimination, the court instead determined that the tax itself is unconstitutional.

"Because it seeks to levy a tax on the privilege to engage in an activity that the Legislature has previously declared to be a crime, not a privilege, we must necessarily conclude that the drug tax is arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable and, therefore, invalid under the Constitution of this state," Lee wrote. The ruling comes in the case of construction worker Steven Waters. Waters was nabbed in April 2005 in a reverse sting operation by the Knox County Sheriff's Office. Ten days later, the state Department of Revenue slapped him with a tax bill of more than $55,000, including penalty and interest of more than $5,000 for not voluntarilypaying the tax by buying an "excise" sticker.

The agency filed a lien on his Lenoir City home and later confiscated $4,000 from his bank account -- all this before Waters had even appeared in court to face the charges.




Pubdate: Fri, 07 Sep 2007
Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH)
Copyright: 2007 The Columbus Dispatch
Author: Sherri Williams

Efforts to further criminalize khat, an illegal stimulant used here by some Somalis, should wait until East Africans are more educated about its penalties.

That's what immigrants told a state senator who's trying to make its prosecution easier last night.

Though some Somalis gathered at the meeting said the leafy substance is not harmful and has been used socially for centuries, others said it has an adverse impact on families.

More than 150 Somali immigrants and community leaders attended a forum held at the Global Mall on the North Side to discuss khat's presence in Columbus.

About 4,000 pounds of khat were seized by the Columbus Police narcotics division in 2006 and about 600 pounds have been seized so far this year, said Mike Weinman, legislative liaison for the division.

Khat already is illegal. But state Sen. Steve Stivers, a Republican from Columbus, drafted legislation last fall to make it easier to prosecute people for having khat.




Pubdate: Mon, 03 Sep 2007
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2007 The Denver Post Corp

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain on Sunday said the U.S. should step up its war on drugs as part of efforts to secure the country's borders.

He said that's because Americans are to blame for "creating the demand" for illegal drugs that come into the country and give too much power to drug cartels that terrorize border areas.

"We are creating the demand. We are creating the demand for these drugs coming across our border, which maybe means that we should go back more trying to make some progress and in telling Americans, particularly young Americans, that the use of drugs is a terrible thing for them to do," he said.




Pubdate: Wed, 05 Sep 2007
Source: Idaho Mountain Express (ID)
Copyright: 2007 Express Publishing, Inc
Author: Terry Smith, Express Staff Writer

Davidson Seeks Referendum Votes in Valley's Municipalities

If pro-marijuana advocate Ryan Davidson has his way, puffs of smoke in the Wood River Valley will be from more than just wildfires.

Davidson, a Garden City man who formerly lived in Bellevue, is trying to resurrect his three-year old campaign to legalize marijuana in some of the valley's municipalities. Specifically, the cities of Sun Valley and Hailey are on his hit list.

Davidson has initiated steps to try to get the issue on the ballots in those cities, perhaps as early as the general elections on Nov. 6.

As chairman of a group called Liberty Lobby of Idaho, Davidson has been embroiled in on-and-off legal battles with three of the valley's municipalities for the past three years. The various lawsuits started after Davidson filed prospective petitions in August 2004 to initiate referendum votes on legalizing marijuana in the cities of Sun Valley, Hailey and Ketchum.

All three cities denied his petitions on the constitutionality of the issue. Hailey further declined to process his petition because Davidson was not a resident of Hailey, a requirement that Davidson expects to be struck down in federal court.

His drive to legalize marijuana was given new life in September 2006 when the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that the city of Sun Valley did not have the right to determine the constitutionality of the issue, regardless of whether or not the proposed initiative appeared to be in violation of state or federal law.

The Supreme Court, in a precedent-setting decision, ruled that only the courts have the authority to determine the constitutionality of a referendum issue. However, if a referendum to legalize marijuana were passed in Idaho, it would likely be subject to litigation as it would be at odds with both state and federal law.

Nonetheless, with his Supreme Court victory in hand, Davidson formally requested on Aug. 24 that the city of Sun Valley certify his three-year-old petition. He got his certification a few days later in a letter from Sun Valley Assistant City Attorney Adam King.




An important story was published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about rogue cops who abuse the public, but then bounce around from local police force to local police force with little attention paid to their past. For as much resources as we spend on fighting drugs, at least a little could be put toward protecting communities from those who are supposed to protect them.

And as the drug war rolls on with huge amounts spent to fight drugs, police report record seizures at local, state and federal levels. And yet there appears to be no shortage of drugs on the street. Once again, nothing succeeds like failure in the drug war.

 (10) FORCEFUL IMPACT  ( Top )

Pubdate: Sun, 9 Sep 2007
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Copyright: 2007 Journal Sentinel Inc.
Author: Gina Barton

Journal Sentinel Watchdog Report

Suspects Have Accused Sgt. Jason Mucha 10 Times of Beating Them or Planting Drugs. He Wasn't Disciplined, but Courts Took Notice.

Jason Mucha has wanted to be a police detective since he was in high school.

He started building his resume upon graduation, becoming a Milwaukee police aide more than 10 years ago. He has worked in some of the city's toughest neighborhoods and made sergeant at 26.

But Mucha has built a resume of another kind.

In a three-year span, he was accused at least 10 times of beating suspects, planting drugs or both - claims so similar that judges took notice.

Mucha's record shows how an individual can be the subject of numerous misconduct allegations and continue to advance his career inside a department that lacks a reliable way to track problematic behavior. His story also shows how a single officer was instrumental in changing the way Wisconsin courts consider claims of police misconduct.

As far back as 1993, Milwaukee Police Department leaders recommended using computers to analyze use-of-force statistics. Ten years later, when Nannette Hegerty became chief, a tracking system created in 1999 wasn't working. She committed $500,000 more to get a better system, but it still isn't monitoring officers.




Pubdate: Tue, 04 Sep 2007
Source: Stamford Advocate, The (CT)
Copyright: 2007 Southern Connecticut Newspaper, Inc.
Author: Natasha Lee, Staff Writer

STAMFORD - The Police Department's narcotics and organized crime unit nearly doubled its arrests in 2006, crediting a citywide crackdown and increase in officers for the success.

Narcotics officers made more than 1,200 arrests last year, up from 677 in 2005, the unit reported. Arrests include narcotics violations, warrant arrests, liquor law violations, assaults and larcenies.

Police also seized close to $3 million worth of drugs, including $2 million of cocaine and heroin.

Lt. Jon Fontneau, who heads the narcotics and organized crime unit, said PCP and cocaine continue to be popular drugs for dealers and buyers, and that sales of illegally obtained prescription drugs have increased.

Last year, police seized $22,000 worth of prescription drugs, compared to $700 in 2005.

"They're a very aggressive, proactive group," said Capt. Richard Conklin, head of the detective bureau.




Pubdate: Fri, 07 Sep 2007
Source: Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA)
Copyright: 2007 The Press Democrat
Author: Katy Hillenmeyer, The Press Democrat

2.2 Million Marijuana Plants Seized by Authorities So Far This Year, Including 25,000 Destroyed in Raids This Week in Sonoma, Mendocino Counties

Narcotics agents have seized more than 2.2 million marijuana plants this year in California, topping a record of 1.6 million set last year through the state Department of Justice's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting.

One team of raiders removed 25,000 plants this week from the backcountry of Sonoma and Mendocino counties, clearing marijuana from two commercial growing operations in the Yorkville Highlands northwest of Cloverdale and The Geysers.

They whacked down 8,000 plants on private land off Highway 128 on Wednesday, a day after destroying 17,000 plants at The Geysers, said Sonoma County Sheriff's Sgt. Chris Bertoli, who supervises the Sonoma County Narcotics Task Force.

With a street value of $3,500 per pound, the cannabis -- prized for its buds that flower and mature outdoors in late summer and early fall -- would have supplied a nationwide black market, according to law enforcement.




Pubdate: Fri, 07 Sep 2007
Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)
Copyright: 2007 The Christian Science Publishing Society
Author: Faye Bowers, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Seizures of illegal drugs -- from marijuana to heroin -- are on the rise along the US-Mexican border again this year, breaking the previous record for major busts set just last year.

"We're overwhelmed with marijuana," says Anthony Coulson, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration ( DEA ) in Tucson. "We passed last year's record about two months ago."

Marijuana is the most-seized drug, followed by cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, Mr. Coulson says. "All of them are trending up."

The jump in drug seizures could be a result of tighter borders -- from more border patrol agents to new technology at ports of entry -- and newly established checkpoints within the United States. But the increase could also mean that more drugs are being shipped across the border -- possibly because Mexico has had a good growing season, much as Afghanistan did in producing record numbers of opium poppies this year. Or it could be because two drug cartels apparently formed an alliance to thwart a crackdown by Mexico's government and are now shipping more drugs to the north.




We could wish that major newspapers would address the medicinal marijuana issues as well as the author of the small weekly Reno News & Review did.

From Rhode Island's major newspaper comes an in depth article about their medicinal marijuana program, and the experiences of some of the patients. The efforts to pass their law by Rhonda O'Donnell, Tom Angell's mom is covered, but the paper does not make clear that Tom was the President of his university SSDP chapter at the time, while also serving as a MAP volunteer editor. Today Tom is the Government Relations Director for the national SSDP organization.

Canada's major medical journal takes Health Canada's bureaucrats to task for claiming they know how much marijuana approved patients need as medicine.

Governor Schwarzenegger has a new industrial hemp bill on his desk. Californians may wish to encourage the Governor to sign it.


Pubdate: Thu, 13 Sep 2007
Source: Reno News & Review (NV)
Copyright: 2007, Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: Dennis Myers

A Decade After Voters Started Approving Medical Marijuana, Congress Still Hasn't Gotten the Message

Nevada voters may have voted for medical marijuana, but that doesn't mean that law enforcement is willing to make it easy for them, nor are the politicians who set federal policy.

At this point, the greatest hope patients and their physicians have is next year's presidential election, which could bring into office a candidate willing to stop law enforcement raids on health care use of marijuana. And for Nevadans, the best way to affect that decision is in the January presidential caucuses in which most candidates have pledged to stop the raids.


On July 29, a vote was held in the U.S. House of Representatives on whether to tell federal agents and prosecutors to knock off harassment of patients in 12 states that have approved medical marijuana by cutting off money for such raids.

Nevada House members Shelley Berkley and Jon Porter voted for it. Dean Heller voted against it.

The measure failed, 165-262, nearly identical to a similar vote last year of 163-259.

It was the best showing the measure has received but still a long way from victory. Worse for proponents, it showed little growth in strength, even with the Democratic takeover of the House.


The vote was the subject of a great deal of online organizing and campaigning, with groups like the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCN) and the Drug Policy Alliance getting their constituencies to pressure their House members to vote for the Hinchey amendment.

But it has failed to crack the barrier to being a national news story. Of the news services, only Reuters covered the story and newspaper coverage tended to be concentrated in the states that have made medical marijuana legal under state law.


With presidential caucuses and primaries scheduled to start in four months, every presidential candidate has been questioned about the issue on the campaign trail, and most of them have said they would de-emphasize the raids. In New Hampshire, the first primary state, Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana has tracked the statements of the candidates.

So far, Democrats Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson, and Republicans Ron Paul and Tom Tancredo have said they support ending the raids. John McCain has given conflicting statements on the issue.

Republicans Sam Brownback, Rudolph Giuliani, Michael Huckabee, Duncan Hunter and Mitt Romney have said they would continue the raids.

Democrat Mike Gravel has not expressed himself on the specific issue of the raids, but supports making marijuana legal.

There are additional bits of information in the candidates' backgrounds that reflect on their stands. Barack Obama sponsored an amendment in the senate to stop the raids. Bill Richardson, as New Mexico governor, signed New Mexico's medical marijuana measure into law and last month criticized the arrest of a wheelchair-bound Malaga, N.M., man who was certified by the state Health Department to possess and smoke marijuana for medical reasons. The arrest took place in a raid on the man's home.

Joe Biden's stance on the raids stands in sharp contrast with most of his record on drugs in Congress, where he has been one of the most aggressive supporters of prohibition and the war on drugs.



Pubdate: Sun, 9 Sep 2007
Source: Providence Journal, The (RI)
Copyright: 2007 The Providence Journal Company
Author: Amanda Milkovits, Journal Staff Writer


O'Donnell, now 44, was a dynamo in a wheelchair, lobbying at the State House for marijuana to be made legal for the chronically ill in Rhode Island. Her son Tom Angell had brainstormed the idea with a friend in his dorm room at the University of Rhode Island. Angell, who was president of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy at the time, had heard a speaker hosted by the group whose wife used marijuana to relieve her pain. He thought about his mother.

Angell and his mother lobbied for the medical-marijuana legislation, which became law in January 2006 on a one-year trial after the General Assembly overrode Governor Carcieri's veto. The law became permanent this summer.


THE NEW STATE LAW, called the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act, allows patients with debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis, to possess up to 12 marijuana plants and 2.5 ounces of marijuana.

An adult without any felony drug convictions may serve as a "caregiver" for a patient, providing him or her with marijuana. A caregiver can have up to five patients, and up to 24 plants and 5 ounces of usable marijuana if they have more than one patient. A caregiver with one patient can have up to 12 plants and 2.5 ounces of marijuana.

As of early last month, 302 patients and 316 caregivers were enrolled in the program, according to the state Department of Health. A total of 149 physicians in Rhode Island have referred patients to the program. The Health Department has rejected 10 applicants as caregivers because of felony drug convictions, and a caregiver and patient have had their medical-marijuana identity cards revoked after being arrested for having dozens more plants than allowed.


Some Rhode Island patients say they worry that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration may target them. Some worry about losing their jobs or their federally subsidized housing. The DEA has raided dozens of dispensaries in California, outlets that sell marijuana products to people with marijuana identity cards, and warned landlords in Los Angeles that they could face conviction and seizure of their property for renting to the dispensaries. And in Oregon, the agency subpoenaed the medical records of patients in the state's medical-marijuana program for an investigation into marijuana growers.

But Anthony Pettigrew, agent for the New England field office of the DEA, said that while marijuana possession is against federal law, "the DEA never targets the sick and dying." The agency is more interested in organized drug traffickers, Pettigrew said. "I've been here for 22 years," he said, and "realistically, I've never seen anyone go to federal jail for possessing a joint."

O'Donnell said she knew the legislation left some issues unresolved, but she believed the state needed to start somewhere. "People say, 'Why don't you wait?'" O'Donnell said. "That's stupid to wait. We'd be waiting 25 years."

The work of O'Donnell and other patients helped make Rhode Island the 11th state in the country to legalize marijuana for medical use. But the very public battle overshadows the very private decisions of hundreds of people using the drug to deal with the ravages of cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis and other debilitating diseases.




Pubdate: Tue, 11 Sep 2007
Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal (Canada)
Copyright: 2007 Canadian Medical Association
Author: Pauline Comeau, Ottawa

But Where's The Science?

New evidence-based guidelines are urgently needed to help doctors negotiate Canada's hazy medical marijuana landscape, particularly in light of Health Canada's efforts to impose new dose limits, say the nation's leading cannabis researcher and doctors who have been queried about their marijuana authorizations.

Canada should also re-establish a formal process for developing responsible dosing strategies, says Mark Ware of McGill's University Health Centre, the sole researcher funded under the now defunct Medical Marijuana Research Program (CMAJ 2006;175:[12]: 1507-8).

The 1053 doctors now authorizing marijuana use for 1816 patients need "more evidence" regarding rational dose levels, he says. And Ware suggests the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoid could lead such an effort.

"There is more research, more trials, formulations that could be done," says Ware. "If we had a couple of days in a room with people and pharmacologists then we could sit around and say, here is the best we can come up with, here are some guidelines."

Under current medical marijuana rules, doctors authorize the amount of marijuana they and their patients feel is necessary. However, several who have recommended above 5 g per day were recently telephoned by a Health Canada medical marijuana program officer, and advised that the department recommends no more than 1-3 g per day, irrespective of the medical condition or means of consumption (inhaled, ingested or both). Health Canada also posted that recommendation on its Web site in October 2006, after officials noted the number of authorized users prescribed at more than 5 g per day had increased to 15% in June, 2006 from 10% a year earlier.


Health Canada's Russell says the goal of the calls to doctors is merely to "verify or clarify the proposed daily amount." But some physicians say they have felt challenged, and have either prescribed lower doses or withdrawn from the program altogether. "You wonder, like with the narcotic control program, if they're going to flag the doctors that have high [tetrahydrocannabinol authorization] practices or something; if you're going to be under scrutiny," said one physician on condition of anonymity.

"In the pain practice, there is enough potential heat on this that I do not want to stand out too much," says Dr. David Boyd of Victoria Hospital's London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ont. He has 50-plus patients using marijuana, and no longer authorizes more than 5 g per day.




Pubdate: Thu, 13 Sep 2007
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal, The (CA)
Copyright: 2007 The Ukiah Daily Journal
Author: Ben Brown, The Daily Journal

Late Tuesday night, the California Senate passed a bill that would allow four counties, including Mendocino County, to participate in a pilot program to test the viability of growing industrial hemp in California.

Assembly Bill 684, sponsored by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine), would institute a five-year program to test the viability of growing industrial hemp in California with pilot programs in Mendocino, Imperial, Kings and Yolo counties.

The bill now goes to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for approval or veto.

The bill is an amended version of one that passed both the Assembly and Senate in 2006, but was vetoed by Schwarzenegger. It has been amended to address his concerns.




In international news this week, U.S. officials publicly crow the latest bust of a Colombian "drug lord" will shake up "trafficking". Yet, "It was like getting Al Capone at the height of Prohibition," Adm. James Stavridis, commander of USSOUTHCOM let slip. Indeed it is, Admiral. Drug prohibition (also known as, Prohibition II) has its Al Capones, lined up waiting for a job. And when they are removed? Did Al Capone's arrest stop anyone from drinking, or disrupt the flow of alcohol?

A thought-provoking piece from the Sunday Mail in Australia this week ("Time For A Reality Check") didn't make any bones about it. They just came right out and said it. "The stereotype of a user is someone whose life is out of control but the truth is they are probably in the minority." Blasphemy! "The police officer admitted that some drug users, particularly those on marijuana or ecstasy, were often less trouble than alcohol or amphetamine abusers." How dare he admit that? Well, they have some political cover, in the form of a Queensland Drug Strategy report which has "uncomfortable facts for those who argue drug use is inherently 'wrong' while alcohol and tobacco use are acceptable."

And finally this week, compare and contrast (as only the Mapinc archives will let you do) the approaches two places are taking to two hallucinogens. One place, Hamilton Ontario, isn't having a problem with salvia divinorum, But this isn't stopping officials from trying to ban the 5-minute trip-producing plant. In Holland, where magic mushrooms are openly sold, officials have to react to the death of a 17-year-old tourist. A blanket ban for everyone, you know, to save the children? Let's go jail some adults? Hardly. Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen is proposing the following: a three-day waiting period, so that buyers don't impulsively take the powerful and long-lasting mushrooms, without some idea of what they are bargaining for.


Pubdate: Thu, 13 Sep 2007
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Times
Author: Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Officials say the capture of Diego Montoya this week will at least disrupt trafficking and could set off a power struggle.

MIAMI -- U.S. officials hailed the capture this week of a man alleged to be Colombia's most powerful drug lord, saying the arrest will at least disrupt trafficking and could set off a divisive power struggle among cartel leaders.

The officials and some experts hastened to add that the arrest Monday of Diego Montoya wasn't likely to significantly reduce the flow of drugs to North America, given U.S. demand for cocaine and the willingness of lesser capos to fill the leadership vacuum. As Bogota's newspaper El Tiempo editorialized Wednesday, the lesson of past arrests and killings of capos is akin to the durability of the English monarchy: "The King is Dead. Long Live the King."




Pubdate: Sun, 09 Sep 2007
Source: Sunday Mail (Australia)
Copyright: 2007 Queensland Newspapers
Author: Edmund Burke

"SARAH" sometimes likes to do a line of cocaine with friends after a nice glass of red wine. Occasionally the 28-year-old Brisbane-based university lecturer will drop some ecstasy.

She has tried ice, but says she didn't like it. She has dabbled in heroin, and now and again she'll smoke some weed. She doesn't view her occasional drug use as a problem - she says she doesn't see it as anybody's business but her own - and she has absolutely no intention of stopping.


Sarah is a successful academic, who by most people's standards seems to have her life in good order.

She doesn't suffer from depression and she isn't bipolar. She says she doesn't have a mental illness or emotional problems. She doesn't fit into the stereotype of a drug user but the confronting fact is, experts say, that most drug users in Queensland and the rest of Australia don't.


"The stereotype of a user is someone whose life is out of control but the truth is they are probably in the minority.

"We don't condone or condemn drug use but there are recreational users. People will make their own choices and we need to be presenting a more balanced view so at least it can be an informed one."


The police officer admitted that some drug users, particularly those on marijuana or ecstasy, were often less trouble than alcohol or amphetamine abusers.


The State Government's Queensland Drug Strategy 2006-2010 contains some uncomfortable facts for those who argue drug use is inherently "wrong" while alcohol and tobacco use are acceptable.

"Despite the widely held perception that drug-related problems are mainly caused by the use of illicit drugs, tobacco and alcohol are responsible for the most harm associated with drugs in our community," reads the report.


That means about seven times more people drink than take drugs, but about nine times as many deaths are attributed to alcohol than to illicit drug use.

It is this apparent hypocrisy in our attitude to drugs and alcohol which is often seized upon by young drug users.


"There is a line on Page 5 of that booklet that says when parents talk to their children they should not exaggerate or make false claims because if they do their children will not accept their advice," he says. "That is a lesson the Government would do well to listen to itself."




Pubdate: Tue, 11 Sep 2007
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Jessica Mcdiarmid

A powerful unregulated hallucinogen is being sold in shops and convenience stores across Hamilton. And there's nothing illegal about it.


Store clerk Madi McCann said the popularity of the herb, also called magic mint or diviner's sage, is on the rise.

But she said she doesn't think there is much potential for abuse. "It's like a 15-minute (magic) mushroom trip," said McCann, who works at Rock Universe, a store in Eastgate Square that sells salvia. "The effects are so overwhelming, it's usually a one-time thing."


At least one Ontario municipality has called for a ban. Port Colborne sent a resolution to all Ontario municipalities in May petitioning Health Canada to review salvia.

After seeing an ad in a store and researching the herb, Janice Coker of Stoney Creek was terrified.


Wende Wood, a psychiatric pharmacist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, said most users don't do salvia frequently.

"Even experienced hallucinogen users say it's very intense," said Wood. "Not a lot of people want to do it again." What people do under the influence is a concern, she said.

"People can freak out and do unsafe things," she said. "Their judgment and perception is off."

But other hallucinogenic plants such as jimson weed are more worrisome, said Wood. Research hasn't found salvia addictive or physically harmful.


"Most people that do it don't do it again. I don't have repeat customers."



Pubdate: Wed, 12 Sep 2007
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2007 The Edmonton Journal

THE HAGUE (CNS)- A new proposal from the mayor of Amsterdam is sure to be considered a bummer by certain visitors to the Dutch city: a three-day waiting period to buy hallucinogenic mushrooms. Mayor Job Cohen wants to require the wait period to allow mushroom buyers to fully understand exactly what it is they are purchasing, ANP news agency reported Tuesday.

The proposal seeks to prevent impulse purchases and follows several incidents that have occurred in the city involving tourists who have eaten hallucinogenic mushrooms.

In March, a 17-year-old French girl killed herself by jumping from a bridge in the city after having eaten mushrooms.


 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


By Bruce Mirken, September 11, 2007.

It gets harder and harder for the government to try and convince people that we are winning the war on drugs, yet they keep trying.


Tonight: 09/14/07 - Dr. Stanton Peele author "Addiction-Proof Your Child" + Drug War Facts

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

Last: 09/07/07 - Wash Post Writer Neal Peirce + Drug War Facts, Poppygate & Hempfest heroes


Century of Lies, 09/14/07

Paul Armentano, Jack Cole and Russ Jones of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition + Alexis Baden-Meyer of VoteHemp & Poppygate



In this video, Bill Maher asks Senator Chris Dodd for a "good reason" why marijuana should be illegal. Senator Dodd says he supports some legalization.


The 2007 Women's Visionary Congress audio recordings are now available for download and streaming audio (mp3) in the MAPS A/V Archive.


Please find the September 2007 issue of Cannabinoid Chronicles for your perusal at:


National Review of Medicine Editorial, September 15, 2007



In June 1998, in a Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York, the governments of the world announced a 10-year strategy to achieve significant and measurable results in the fight against drugs by the year 2008.

In Vienna in March 2008, we can show the world there is much more to fear from drug prohibition than from a tolerant alternative.



By Keith Martin

Let's face facts. The impending closure of Vancouver's Insite supervised injection site by the federal Conservative government will be the first casualty in their "New National Drug Strategy".

In killing this program, they will be committing thousands of people in the coming years to deaths that were entirely preventable, from overdoses, HIV/AIDS, sepsis, hepatitis C, etc.

Tragically, this decision will be driven by ideology and not facts as some of the most reputable medical journals in the world, including the Lancet and the British Medical Journal have published scientific, peer reviewed articles illustrating the enormous benefits of this program.

Scientific evaluations at the site, which opened in September 2003, have shown a 30 per cent increase in the rate of addicts using detoxification services, an increased use of methadone and other forms of addiction treatment and reduced injecting at the site. All of this amid a population that is the most difficult to reach with existing addiction services.

Many of these addicts live on the street or in flop houses and a good percentage also have what is referred to as dual diagnosis, an addiction problem and a psychiatric disease. Insite has reached into this population and given them access to health-care services and a way out of the hell that is Vancouver's Downtown East Side. It has also reduced costs to the taxpayer through fewer emergency hospital visits and a reduction in crime.

If Prime Minister Harper's government shuts Insite down they will be committing more than an egregious, ideologically driven mistake. They will be committing an act that is tantamount to murder against those whom society has forgotten.

Keith Martin Note: Dr. Keith Martin is the Member of Parliament for Esquimalt - Juan de Fuca and a physician who worked in detox, and alcohol and drug rehabilitation centres for 14 years

Pubdate: Fri, 07 Sep 2007
Source: Victoria News (CN BC)



By Neal R. Peirce

Thirty-eight million arrests, most for simple possession. Lives ruined, families disrupted. America turned into the most prison-happy nation on the face of the Earth.

Illegal rewards incentivizing shooting fields in inner-city neighborhoods -- enough bloodshed to appall even an Al Capone. Over $1 trillion in taxpayer outlays.

Thirty-six years after President Richard Nixon inaugurated this country's misbegotten "war on drugs," worldwide narcotics markets are booming, drug ring profits are higher than ever, and drugs cost less than ever on the street.

Our "war" is a miserable, incredibly costly failure.

But now, we're learning, there's a jarring new dimension. The drug war is directly feeding international terrorism. The most startling new evidence comes from Afghanistan, where the United States is leading a full-blown NATO campaign to eradicate production of poppies, the plant from which heroin is derived.

Colossal failure is already apparent. Afghanistan is producing 95 percent of the world's poppies; its production rose 58 percent last year alone.

And the biggest beneficiary? It's the Taliban, gaining popularity as it protects local poppy farmers against the Western-led eradication campaign. Then it becomes the opium sales agent into international markets, reaping huge amounts of money it can plow back into its terrorist campaign against the West.

One result, it's fair to say: American soldiers, dying in skirmishes in Afghanistan, are the latest casualties in the international campaign we've waged incessantly -- with friendly governments, inside the United Nations, wherever we've had the chance -- to make drugs globally illegal. American administrations, Republican and Democratic, persistently blame foreign countries and international drug supplies for our own domestic narcotics appetite.

And then, notes Jack Cole, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, "we go to countries like Afghanistan, spend millions or billions over the years to spray poppies and coca plants, in the process risking poisoning of other crops and people on the ground. And despite that, every year we see bumper crops."

The other prime example is "Plan Colombia" -- our multiyear, $4.7 billion ( so far ) campaign to stamp out coca production through spraying Colombia's farms, together with providing the Colombian government with military helicopters and sensitive intelligence-gathering technology. Our billions are also supposed to fight back FARC -- the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia -- a 17,000-strong peasant-based army described by international crime and terrorism expert Misha Glenny as "by far the largest terrorist organization in the Southern Hemisphere." But FARC, like the Taliban, allies itself with local farmers and finances operations through the drug trade. Last year, coca production was up 8 percent.

Will we ever learn? President Bush now wants to channel about $1 billion to Mexico to fight "narco-trafficking and violence on our border." Like past Mexican presidents, Felipe Calderon has pledged a major anti-trafficking campaign, fighting drug cartels responsible just this year for more than 1,000 murders ( including reporters, police and judges ).

But more drug-fighting money to Mexico won't do any good, says Cole: The United States' prohibition policy has created a "super-obscene profit motive." The inducements are so powerful that for every drug kingpin, domestic or foreign, that we put out of business, there's an aspirant ready to coerce and, if need be, kill his way to dominance.

Will we find any presidential candidate willing to talk to us honestly about our disaster-strewn policy, to suggest rational paths toward drug legalization? To credit us with intelligence -- that if we cared enough about our personal health to reduce drastically our consumption of readily available red meat, alcohol and tobacco, we might just be smart enough to resist dangerous narcotics? And that we could look to the Swiss and others for ways to wean addicts off truly dangerous substances?

I'm not holding my breath. Though, refreshingly, the rest of the world is starting to think afresh.

A prime example: The Senlis Council, a European-Canadian drug-policy institute that's done major research in Afghanistan, proposes licensing Afghanistan with the International Narcotics Control Board to sell its opium legally. Even a Western subsidy to pay Afghan farmers the same price the Taliban and drug lords do -- about $600 million a year -- would be well below what we're spending on eradication. And addiction is rare among pain patients.

Here's a chance for the West to spend money, visibly, helping poor Afghan farmers survive, instead of destroying their livelihoods. Simultaneously, the Taliban would lose its big revenue source for terrorist activities.

Couldn't we be this humanitarian and smart -- for once?

Pubdate: Tue, 04 Sep 2007
Copyright: 2007 The Washington Post Writers Group
Note: Peirce is a syndicated columnist who specializes in city and
state affairs.


"Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both." - Eleanor Roosevelt

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