THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) GROUP PUSHES FOR DRUG LAW REFORM
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Oct 2007
Source: Daily Campus, The (UConn, CT Edu)
Copyright: 2007 The Daily Campus
Author: Brittany Dorn
Students Work to Halt Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Offenses
Stationing themselves in different places on campus this week, members of UConn's chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) urged their peers to speak out regarding a little-known provision in the Higher Education Act.
This provision, "The Aid Elimination Penalty" dictates that in addition to being punished by the law, students convicted of drug offenses will lose federal financial aid for college.
Punishment is as follows: after a student is convicted of possession of a controlled substance, they lose their aid for one year. After their second offense, they lose aid for two years and after a third offense, they will lose federal aid indefinitely, according to the SSDP Web site.
Punishment for selling a controlled substance is stricter: the first offense results in a two-year loss of federal financial aid and after the second offense the student loses aid indefinitely.
Nearly 200,000 students have been denied financial aid because of this policy, according to SSDP and in the last year alone, 6,106 students were denied federal aid because of drug convictions.
Students who disagree with the penalty argue that it does more harm than good, because drug offenders denied a college education are more likely to turn to illegal activity. They also say the penalty favors wealthy students who don't rely on financial aid to attend college.
Perhaps most of all, they take issue with the fact that the penalty applies only to drug offenders.
No other criminal offense causes you to lose financial aid, according to Tom Angell, spokesperson for SSDP's national office. He said has found that students are outraged to learn that murderers, rapists and burglars are eligible for financial aid, while a student convicted for smoking marijuana is temporarily not. "We think it's a totally counterproductive and senseless policy," Angell said.
(2) STUDENTS MIXED ABOUT POT TAXES, LEGALIZATION ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Oct 2007
Source: Daily Trojan (U of Southern CA Edu)
Copyright: 2007 Daily Trojan
Author: Callie Schweitzer
A New Study Examining the Economics of Pot Raises Questions About Legalization.
Depression, chronic pain, insomnia, stress.
For these and almost anything else that ails you, an alleged umbrella cure has emerged. It's not a magical pill, Eastern medicine or the latest marvel - it's marijuana.
But a new study shows marijuana's usage goes beyond medicinal; the drug can be helpful in the economic realm as well.
Jon Gettman, a longtime policy analyst who holds a Ph.D. in public policy, has published a new study contending that legalizing marijuana would create tax revenue and save taxpayers millions of dollars. If marijuana were legalized and taxed, similar to alcohol and other commodities, those who use the drug would be paying the taxes, he said.
The study found that the United States is losing $30 million to underground marijuana sales and diverting money from the regional economy, Gettman said.
"Right now, the people who are profiting most, the growers and sellers, are not paying a dime for the problems their industry creates," he said.
College and high school students are the ones most affected by marijuana's illegal status, Gettman said.
"Who do you think gets busted the most? College and high school kids," he said. "The arrest rate for teens or young adults is three or four times higher than the rest of the public."
Gettman said he believes youths working to legalize marijuana is "good citizenship."
"The law hits people who are vulnerable," he said. "College kids need to realize that this affects them as taxpayers down the road."
Complicating matters, prescriptions to purchase and consume marijuana are being handed out like candy in California.
One USC student, who was first prescribed medicinal marijuana at 18 years old, said the process "was one of the easiest things I've ever done in my life."
The student, who received his prescription on Cahuenga Boulevard in Los Angeles, said he walked into the clinic with $150 and his driver's license. A secretary "rubbed his shoulders" and told him he "had come to the right place."
While the student, who declined to give his name, said he told the doctor he needed the prescription to ease chronic back pain, he admitted to having an ulterior primary goal.
"I got it to smoke pot," he said. "Whether or not it was for a medical reason."
Legalizing marijuana won't change how people act, said Bruce Margolin, director of the Los Angeles chapter of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
"Everyone already does it," he said. "If it were legalized, people would sell it and buy it like they do tomatoes."
(3) CANADIANS SAY NO TO 'JUST SAY NO' ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Oct 2007
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The London Free Press
Author: Sarah Green, Sun Media
A New Poll Suggests Ottawa's Anti-Drug Plan Should Focus on Treatment and Prevention.
Just say no to "just say no."
An Angus Reid Strategies poll released yesterday shows Canadians back some of the federal government's $64-million anti-drug strategy, but they say the plan needs to stress more than enforcement, treatment and prevention.
Three-quarters of Canadians support mandatory prison sentences for serious narcotics offences and 84 per cent favour plans to create anti-drug campaigns aimed at children.
But more than half of Canadians want the federal government to leave harm-reduction programs, such as needle exchanges and safe-injection sites, intact.
The poll also found more than half of Canadians support the legalization of marijuana.
(4) 'NO FLY' ON STEROIDS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Oct 2007
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Times
Author: Patt Morrison
Under Homeland Security's 'Secure Flight,' Your Union Card or Reading Preferences Could Help Keep You Off a Plane.
Don't look now -- by which, of course, I mean do look now.
Haven't heard of Secure Flight? That's the way they like it in D.C. But some of the people who do know about it are not pleased.
Canadians are peeved: Some airline flights that merely fly over the United States, without so much as touching a wheel to U.S. soil, would have to fork over more information about passengers, and do it as much as three days before the flights take off. Canada already worked with the U.S. to craft its own no-fly list and security policies. "What's the point of this cooperative approach if our list isn't deemed to be good enough for the United States?" asked Air Transport Assn. of Canada Vice President Fred Gaspar.
Finally, businesspeople and the travel industry don't seem thrilled, judging from Web discourse. The 72-hour government security check and requests for yet more passenger data will apply to more than just Canadian overflights. When someone says "government," the word expeditious doesn't come to mind. What will befall the last-minute traveler? With all this going on, the one thing we shouldn't do is put our tray tables up and bury our noses in any old bestseller. Bill Scannell is with the Identity Project, a privacy-rights group funded by IT rich guy and civil libertarian John Gilmore. He told me that customs and border records he's seen for five Identity Project sympathizers noted that one carried a book called "Drugs and Your Rights." Another file noted chattily that the passenger had been traveling for about a month, had gone to a computer conference, visited friends and is -- in quotes -- a computer software "entrepreneur." Which, when you put it that way, sounds more alarming than "union member."
Oh, am I busted. On my recent home-to-mother flights, I read Susan Faludi's new book, "Terror Dream," about post-9/11 America; the New Yorker with a piece on Jenna Bush's first book; and a comic volume called "Unusually Stupid Politicians."
TSA is accepting public comments on Secure Flight's latest plans; the deadline is Oct. 22. Be careful what you say, unless you don't mind getting home for Christmas . . . in January.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Some interesting questions about leadership and moral authority in
the drug war were raised by different news stories last week. It
didn't seem to be widely publicized outside of the Army Times
publication, but the U.S. Defense Department's personnel chief
suggested that many federal legislators would need a moral waiver to
join the army under today's conditions, given the likelihood of past
drug use by that generation. In Colorado, some school authorities
believe they have the authority to take students' cell phones to
read and transcribe text messages on those phones. Even more shady,
those school officials also believe it is OK to impersonate students
via text messages to lay a trap for suspected rule breakers.
After decades of confirmed abuses, the U.S. Congress is suddenly up
in arms over teen boot camps; however, they still don't seem to get
the crack/cocaine disparity, so an expert published a helpful oped
this week. And, finally, a columnist in Pennsylvania gets it.
Some interesting questions about leadership and moral authority in the drug war were raised by different news stories last week. It didn't seem to be widely publicized outside of the Army Times publication, but the U.S. Defense Department's personnel chief suggested that many federal legislators would need a moral waiver to join the army under today's conditions, given the likelihood of past drug use by that generation. In Colorado, some school authorities believe they have the authority to take students' cell phones to read and transcribe text messages on those phones. Even more shady, those school officials also believe it is OK to impersonate students via text messages to lay a trap for suspected rule breakers.
After decades of confirmed abuses, the U.S. Congress is suddenly up in arms over teen boot camps; however, they still don't seem to get the crack/cocaine disparity, so an expert published a helpful oped this week. And, finally, a columnist in Pennsylvania gets it.
(5) CHU: SOME LAWMAKERS WOULD NEED MORAL WAIVER ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 11 Oct 2007
Source: Army Times (US)
Copyright: 2007 Army Times Publishing Company
Author: William H. McMichael, Staff writer
The Defense Department's personnel chief says that a "significant fraction" of members of Congress have probably smoked marijuana and, if they were somehow age-eligible, would need a waiver to join the U.S. military today.
David S.C. Chu made the observation in describing the process by which so-called "personal conduct waivers" are granted to potential recruits who admit marijuana use. One of the questions recruiters ask, he told defense reporters during a Pentagon briefing on armed forces recruiting, is whether a recruit has ever used marijuana. He said that in the Marine Corps, admission of one use requires a waiver.
"That's a pretty tough standard," said Chu, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "Not to be cheeky about this, but if we applied that standard to our legislative overseers, a significant fraction would need a waiver to join the United States military," Chu said.
CNN reporter Barbara Starr wanted to know the basis for his contention. "Based upon public statements about past marijuana usage," Chu said. Starr followed up, asking, "Are you saying that members of Congress who oversee your department --"
"I'm saying that in our society, experimental drug usage is a significant issue with young people," Chu said. "We require a review if you acknowledge that you've done so. That's all I'm saying. That affects a large fraction of our population."
(6) ACLU: STUDENTS' RIGHTS VIOLATED WHEN SCHOOL READ TEXT MESSAGES ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 11 Oct 2007
Source: Daily Camera (Boulder, CO)
Copyright: 2007 The Daily Camera.
Author: Vanessa Miller
The Boulder Valley School District is standing behind high school administrators after the American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday accused them of "committing felonies" by seizing students' cell phones, reading their text messages and making transcripts.
The ACLU of Colorado sent a letter Wednesday to the school board demanding changes at Louisville's Monarch High School after at least 13 students reported having their cell phones taken and their text messages read at the end of last school year.
Parents of those students contacted the civil-rights group following the seizures, said ACLU legal director Mark Silverstein. According to the ACLU, parents say that administrators told students they have no privacy rights when on school property, meaning officials can seize phones and read text messages; that they misled students to gain possession of their friends' cell phones; and that they sent text messages from confiscated phones to other students, pretending to be the phone's owner.
"Prior to confiscating the students' cellular phones and transcribing text messages found on them, Monarch administrators contacted the BVSD legal counsel's office and were told it was indeed legal for them to take the actions that they were considering," said district spokesman Briggs Gamblin.
But, Gamblin said, the district will review the incident "and the district's position" because it "takes very seriously the civil liberties of each of its more than 28,000 students."
Monarch administrators didn't return calls Wednesday from the Camera.
The ACLU gives the following details of the allegations:
On May 24, a school security officer brought a sophomore to see Assistant Principal Drew Adams because the student was suspected of breaking two school rules -- being in a prohibited parking lot and smoking cigarettes. Adams took the student's cell phone, calling it a "distraction," and later told the student he had read text messages that made some "incriminating" mentions of marijuana.
The student's mother learned Adams had written down text messages from her son's phone, and when she asked for the phone back, she said Adams insisted on keeping it over the Memorial Day weekend. When the phone eventually was returned, the student's mother discovered Adams had sent messages to her son's friends, posing as the student.
(7) HOUSE PANEL URGES TOUGH LAWS ON KIDS BOOT CAMPS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 11 Oct 2007
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2007 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Ken Dilanian, USA TODAY
Tales of Teens' Abuse, Deaths Strike Chord
Members of Congress from both parties reacted with outrage Wednesday to wrenching testimony from parents of children who died in residential programs for troubled teens, saying a federal law may be needed to remedy a lack of oversight.
"I can't think of any testimony that we have heard in this committee that has caused a greater sense of anger and sorrow," said Democrat George Miller of California, chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, moments after hearing three parents recount the deaths of their teenagers in wilderness therapy programs designed to help them.
Rep. Buck McKeon, the ranking Republican from California, said he does not like to expand the role of the federal government, "but there are some times when it has to happen."
Several states don't regulate private wilderness programs, boot camps and therapeutic boarding schools, which enroll thousands of children each year and have been the subject of what the Government Accountability Office ( GAO ) called "widespread" allegations of abuse and neglect. No law prevents operators who have been disciplined in one state from setting up shop in another -- something investigators say happens often.
(8) 5 MYTHS ABOUT THAT DEMON CRACK ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 14 Oct 2007
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2007 The Washington Post Company
Author: Craig Reinarman
Should judges have the discretion to depart from severe sentencing guidelines if they lead to unjust results? The Supreme Court wrestled with this question Oct. 2 during oral arguments in a crack-related case, Kimbrough v. United States . The case had percolated up through the lower courts because the trial judge refused to impose a required sentence he found deeply unfair.
At the peak of the panic over crack cocaine in the mid-1980s, Congress passed a rash of laws requiring longer prison sentences. One such law created a 100-to-1 disparity between crack and cocaine offenses. You have to get caught with 500 grams of powder cocaine -- but only five grams of crack cocaine -- to get a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.
Crack is often used in impoverished inner cities, and police focus their surveillance efforts there. The result? Racially discriminatory sentencing that has packed prisons with African Americans. Many state and district court judges agree that the disparity is unfair, and only 13 of the 50 states still legally distinguish between crack and cocaine. In fact, the 20-year-old crack laws are based on myths:
1. Crack is different from cocaine.
(9) COLUMN: LET'S END FAILED & DOGMATIC DRUG WAR ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 14 Oct 2007
Source: Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA)
Copyright: 2007 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: Bill Steigerwald, Tribune-Review
Let's hear it for America's drug police.
Last year our drug warriors made 829,627 marijuana arrests.
That's the most ever, according to the FBI. Arrests for marijuana -- arguably the least dangerous drug ever declared illegal in America -- are up nearly threefold since 1990. Total arrests for all illegal drugs in 2006 hit 1.89 million, up from 1.08 million in 1990.
If you think those 829,627 Americans were all out selling weed to 10-year-olds at the local strip mall until they were heroically brought to justice, you've had way too many Bush administration cocktails.
Nearly 90 percent of marijuana arrests last year were for possession only. About 90,000 citizens were busted for selling or manufacturing pot, which includes anyone nabbed for growing it for personal use or for medical use. Since about a third of all marijuana arrestees were under 19, there's a good chance a kid you know or love is among the victims of our immoral, irrational and expensive two-front war on ( some ) drugs and personal freedom.
But even if the drug war's body count doesn't touch you personally, its economic costs do.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Despite optimistic headlines, some local reports from police seem to
challenge the current public relations campaign by the Office of
National Drug Control Policy which suggests cocaine supplies are
being reduced around the country. Elsewhere, more corruption; a long
look at the implications of a having a state-wide computerized
drug-data base in South Carolina; and another district attorney
candidate in New York is openly criticizing the drug war.
Despite optimistic headlines, some local reports from police seem to challenge the current public relations campaign by the Office of National Drug Control Policy which suggests cocaine supplies are being reduced around the country. Elsewhere, more corruption; a long look at the implications of a having a state-wide computerized drug-data base in South Carolina; and another district attorney candidate in New York is openly criticizing the drug war.
(10) COCAINE CLAMPS RESTRICT ACCESS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 11 Oct 2007
Source: Jacksonville Daily News (NC)
Copyright: 2007 Jacksonville Daily News
Author: Lindell Kay
With Mexican authorities targeting suppliers south of the border and U.S. agencies stopping smugglers at sea, the flow of cocaine into America is being squeezed, according to federal officials.
But area police say cocaine is still readily available to those who know where to look.
"End users can still buy cocaine in Onslow County," said Capt. Rick Sutherland of the Onslow County Sheriff's Department. "They may have to go to more than one dealer to find it, but it is out there."
The Office of National Drug Control Policy announced last week that coordinated efforts between the U.S. and Mexico over the summer have made a major impact on the cocaine market, driving prices up around the country. The shortage has driven the nationwide price for cocaine to the highest level in almost 20 years. The average national cost of cocaine has increased 24 percent from around $95 to $120 a gram over a six-month period that ended in June, according to a report by ONDCP.
(11) BECK TO RESIGN FROM ZANESVILLE POLICE ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 13 Oct 2007
Source: Times Recorder (Zanesville, OH)
Copyright: 2007 Times Recorder
Author: KATHY THOMPSON
ZANESVILLE - The second Zanesville police officer who is the target of a federal investigation will be resigning from the department, according to the police chief.
Sean Beck, 28, was arrested by FBI agents and charged with one count of extortion and one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Beck was immediately transported to the Franklin County Jail and waived both a preliminary hearing and a bond hearing this past week.
According to Chief Eric Lambes, Beck has notified the department of his intention to resign in the next few days.
(12) CRIMEFIGHTING - OR `BIG BROTHER'? ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 14 Oct 2007
Source: State, The (SC)
Copyright: 2007 The State
Author: John Monk
The drug war in your medicine cabinet S.C. soon will start tracking prescription drugs by computer.
Is this a blow against the black market or invasion of privacy?
The hunt for black market pushers and users of prescription drugs such as OxyContin is going high tech.
As early as January, a new computer at the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control will go online, linking the state's 1,225 independent and chain pharmacies.
From then on, all pharmacies will upload to DHEC information on everyone in South Carolina who buys painkillers, tranquilizers or stimulants. This data includes the patient's name, date of birth, address, kind of medication, dosage and the prescribing doctor.
Some say the new system smacks of "Big Brother," but law officers love it because it will save them time.
(13) MCNALLY SAYS DA'S OFFICE IN DISARRAY ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 12 Oct 2007
Source: Times Union (Albany, NY)
Copyright: 2007 Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation
Author: Bob Gardinier
Rensselaer County district attorney candidate backs drug laws reform
COLONIE -- The Democrat running for Rensselaer County district attorney said the office is in disarray under the current administration and inexperienced prosecutors are handling local court dockets.
"It is broken at levels they don't even know about," said Richard J. McNally Jr., a former county prosecutor, public defender and current county conflict defender. "Prosecution is not something you learn overnight and the office needs to apply that fundamental concept with leadership from top to bottom."
McNally of Valley Falls faces Republican Gregory Cholakis in November. He made the comments to the Times Union editorial board recently.
District Attorney Patricia DeAngelis is not seeking re-election. Her one term in the $119,600-a-year post has been a bumpy ride. She and her office suffered several reversals on cases and DeAngelis has been chastised by higher courts for courtroom antics and prosecutorial errors.
The Rockefeller-era drug laws need scrutiny, McNally said.
"The laws need to be changed because there is not enough flexibility and more judicial discretion would be appropriate."
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger terminated an industrial hemp bill in
California, expressing concern that the proposed law would send the
wrong message to farmers that hemp cultivation is somehow legal
under federal law.
Cannabis eradication has taken a back seat to conflict in Lebanon,
prompting the United Nations Development Programme to renew their
efforts to encourage farmers to grow alternative crops, such as
British tabloids continued to hyperbolize the repercussions of
Britain's schizophrenic drug policy, in this case, border
interdiction spawning domestic production of high quality "skunk"
weed, to press for re-reclassification.
Former DEA agent Bob Stutman was dressed for success against
casually attired High Times Magazine editor-in-chief Steve Hagar in
another "Heads vs. Feds" debate.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger terminated an industrial hemp bill in California, expressing concern that the proposed law would send the wrong message to farmers that hemp cultivation is somehow legal under federal law.
Cannabis eradication has taken a back seat to conflict in Lebanon, prompting the United Nations Development Programme to renew their efforts to encourage farmers to grow alternative crops, such as industrial hemp.
British tabloids continued to hyperbolize the repercussions of Britain's schizophrenic drug policy, in this case, border interdiction spawning domestic production of high quality "skunk" weed, to press for re-reclassification.
Former DEA agent Bob Stutman was dressed for success against casually attired High Times Magazine editor-in-chief Steve Hagar in another "Heads vs. Feds" debate.
(14) SCHWARZENEGGER AGAIN VETOES INDUSTRIAL HEMP BILL ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 15 Oct 2007
Source: Oakland Tribune, The (CA)
Copyright: 2007 MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers
Author: Sarah Terry-Cobo, Correspondent
Governor Cites Federal Ban in Rejecting Redrafted Legislation
On Thursday Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the Industrial Hemp Farming act again, even though the bill's authors said they had redrafted the legislation from last year's version to address the governor's concerns.
The bill authorizes farmers in four counties to grow plots of nonpsychoactive hemp as a pilot project, but has no effect on federal legislation.
In a statement on his Web site, Schwarzenegger said, "I would like to support the expansion of a new agricultural commodity in this State.
"Unfortunately, I am very concerned that this bill would give legitimate growers a false sense of security and a belief that production of 'industrial hemp' is somehow a legal activity under federal law."
Opponents argue biological similarities make it difficult to distinguish between the two varieties and can hinder law enforcement. John Lovell, legislative council with the California Narcotics Officers Association, was pleased with the governor's decision.
"When you talk to experienced narcotics officers, (they) can't tell the difference" between industrial and drug cannabis plants.
Authors of the bill, Assemblymen Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and Chuck DeVore, R-Orange County, argue California farmers could benefit by growing the plant here instead of importing the raw materials from foreign countries.
DeVore said in an interview Friday afternoon, "I understand it may make things difficult for law enforcement, but so does the Fourth Amendment.
(15) IN LEBANON, A COMEBACK FOR CANNABIS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 16 Oct 2007
Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)
Copyright: 2007 The Christian Science Publishing Society
Author: Nicholas Blanford, Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
Farmers in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley Are Growing More Marijuana Now That Government Forces Are Once Again Too Busy With Conflicts to Stop Them.
Bekaa Valley, Lebanon - Ali plucks a sprig of the cannabis sativa plant and sniffs its distinctive leaves with appreciation. This Lebanese farmer's field of marijuana, a splash of bright green on the sun-baked plains of eastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, will yield around 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of cannabis resin, or hashish, which he will sell for about $10,000, many times more than he could hope to earn from legitimate crops and for almost no work at all.
"All I have to do is throw the seeds on the ground, add a little water, and that's it," says Ali, who spoke on the condition that his full name was not used. "I would be crazy not to grow [marijuana]."
Hashish production is illegal in Lebanon, and each year since the early 1990s police backed by troops bulldoze the crops before they can be harvested, leaving farmers penniless. But the failure of United Nations and government programs to encourage the growth of legitimate crops, coupled with months of political crisis, deteriorating economic prospects, and a frail security climate have encouraged farmers to return to large-scale marijuana cultivation.
"The worse the security situation is in Lebanon, the more we can grow," says Ali.
Despite the threat of police raids destroying their crops, farmers say the financial returns justify the risk. This year they were lucky, however. The Army was unable to spare troops to provide security for the police raids because of the raging battle during the summer growing season against Islamist militants in a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon. Furthermore, the heavily armed local farmers made it clear to the police that they would resist attempts to wipe out their marijuana crops.
"We told the police that for every [marijuana] plant they cut down, we would kill one policeman," says Ibtissam, the wife of a marijuana farmer in the village of Taraya.
With the end of the civil war in 1990, the Lebanese government launched a drug eradication program in coordination with the United Nations Development Programme ( UNDP ).
The program fizzled out a year later, although the UNDP continues to seek new ways of persuading farmers to grow alternative legal crops, such as plants with medicinal qualities that can be sold to pharmaceutical companies. The UNDP is about to launch a one-year pilot project to grow industrial hemp, which comes from cannabis but does not have narcotic properties.
(16) DEADLY SKUNK FLOOD CITY ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 15 Oct 2007
Source: Evening Standard (London, UK)
Copyright: 2007 Associated Newspapers Ltd.
Author: Martin Bentham
Dramatic new evidence of the dangers of cannabis emerged today as government scientists warned that the most harmful "skunk" variety is flooding our streets.
The Forensic Science Service said that skunk now accounted for 75 per cent of cannabis seized.
It also revealed that seizures of all forms of cannabis have shot up by 42 per cent, with nearly 4,300 kilos confiscated by police and customs in the first half of this year.
The revelations will increase the pressure on the Government to restore cannabis to its former class B status, reversing its decision to downgrade it to a class C drug.
The powerful drug can cause mental illness, say medical experts, and has led to a number of killings by addicts. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has already announced a review of the drug's status.
The effect of skunk, typically two to three times more powerful than other forms of cannabis, was a prime concern which led to his decision and today's revelations will heighten fears about the drug's impact.
Mr Ames said one reason for the surge in skunk was that cannabis was increasingly produced in Britain. Customs and police had made smuggling more difficult and growing numbers of foreigners are being brought to Britain by drug gangs to work in houses converted into cannabis factories.
(17) IS MARIJUANA GOOD OR EVIL? ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 17 Oct 2007
Source: Redlands Daily Facts (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Redlands Daily Facts
Author: David James Heiss, Staff Writer
REDLANDS - Marijuana might be good medicine. It was a staple crop of our forefathers, and "thousands" of products are made from hemp, from the sails of the first boats ever built to modern-day dynamite, according to editor-in-chief of High Times magazine Steve Hagar, a former writer for the New York Daily News.
On the other hand, the majority of Americans don't agree that marijuana should be legalized, including Bob Stutman, a former Drug Enforcement Agency agent who debated with Hagar on the issue Tuesday night at the University of Redlands' Orton Center.
The event, moderated by government department chairman Ed Wingenbach, drew a large crowd, most of who seemed to cheer on Hagar's many jabs during the "Heads vs. Feds" convocation.
Hagar, sporting a denim jacket and dark jeans, began the debate, expanding upon five points he felt were important for his side.
Stutman, former head of the Drug Enforcement Agency's New York City division, wore a red-and-white pin-striped dress shirt and dark dress pants.
He accused Hagar of presenting "opinion and innuendo as fact," and offered his own set of facts.
Danielle Zimmerman, a junior entrepreneurship and art major from Jamesville, Calif., felt that Hagar more articulately related his points to the mostly university audience.
"Steve killed it. He had the whole thing going for him, and was the stronger debater," she said.
COMMENTS: ( Top )
The UK Herald newspaper this week reported Afghan President Hamid
Karzai is almost ready to cave to U.S. demands to spray herbicide on
Afghan (poppy) farms. The move, "masterminded" by Ambassador William
("Chemical Bill") Wood, increases danger to British troops there, by
driving more farmers into the hands of a resurgent Taliban. In a new
twist, the Herald newspaper reported the CIA and Pentagon oppose
herbicide spraying. "The Pentagon and the CIA have lined up as
surprising allies of the Europeans, lobbying against their own State
Department's policy on drug eradication and its endorsement by the
In the UK, North Wales Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom's report
last week concluding the prohibition of drugs should be replaced
with some form of regulation, continues to reverberate in the
British press. The North Wales Police Authority chiefs this week
endorsed Chief Brunstrom's report, though falling short of calls to
legalize all drugs. Others, like MP David Jones, condemned the idea.
Said Chief Brunstrom, "I despair of the flat-earthers who are
refusing to look at the evidence." Current drugs policy is
"irrational, illogical, immoral and hypocritical," said Brunstrom.
"Most importantly it doesn't work."
In surprise move, the Dutch government decided to completely ban the
sale of hallucinogenic mushrooms. The decision was in response to
several foreign tourists who took the drug and were then killed in
accidents or who committed suicide. Insiders predict an increase in
the street-sales of dried mushrooms and LSD. "So you'll have a rise
in incidents, but they won't be recorded as mushroom-related, and
the politicians can declare victory."
Bolivia celebrated Indigenous Resistance Day last week on October
12. An article from the UK New Statesman newspaper recounts the 2005
victory of Bolivian president Evo Morales as resistance and
confrontation with the U.S. establishment. The "policy for the
eradication of the coca leaf came directly from the U.S. government,
and was a direct attack on the cocaleros, indigenous peasants who
live in the most deprived areas of the country."
The UK Herald newspaper this week reported Afghan President Hamid Karzai is almost ready to cave to U.S. demands to spray herbicide on Afghan (poppy) farms. The move, "masterminded" by Ambassador William ("Chemical Bill") Wood, increases danger to British troops there, by driving more farmers into the hands of a resurgent Taliban. In a new twist, the Herald newspaper reported the CIA and Pentagon oppose herbicide spraying. "The Pentagon and the CIA have lined up as surprising allies of the Europeans, lobbying against their own State Department's policy on drug eradication and its endorsement by the White House."
In the UK, North Wales Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom's report last week concluding the prohibition of drugs should be replaced with some form of regulation, continues to reverberate in the British press. The North Wales Police Authority chiefs this week endorsed Chief Brunstrom's report, though falling short of calls to legalize all drugs. Others, like MP David Jones, condemned the idea. Said Chief Brunstrom, "I despair of the flat-earthers who are refusing to look at the evidence." Current drugs policy is "irrational, illogical, immoral and hypocritical," said Brunstrom. "Most importantly it doesn't work."
In surprise move, the Dutch government decided to completely ban the sale of hallucinogenic mushrooms. The decision was in response to several foreign tourists who took the drug and were then killed in accidents or who committed suicide. Insiders predict an increase in the street-sales of dried mushrooms and LSD. "So you'll have a rise in incidents, but they won't be recorded as mushroom-related, and the politicians can declare victory."
Bolivia celebrated Indigenous Resistance Day last week on October 12. An article from the UK New Statesman newspaper recounts the 2005 victory of Bolivian president Evo Morales as resistance and confrontation with the U.S. establishment. The "policy for the eradication of the coca leaf came directly from the U.S. government, and was a direct attack on the cocaleros, indigenous peasants who live in the most deprived areas of the country."
(18) HERBICIDE RISK TO SOLDIERS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 09 Oct 2007
Source: Herald, The (UK)
Copyright: 2007 The Herald
Author: Ian Bruce, Defence Correspondent
British troops fighting a bitter insurgent war in Helmand province could be placed in even more danger if the Afghan government approves a new US-backed programme to eliminate the country's poppy-crop by spraying it with herbicide.
UK officials leading the battle against the burgeoning opium output from the poppies say the policy would backfire by wiping out the livelihoods of tens of thousands of local farmers and could drive them into the arms of the Taliban.
It might also wipe out food crops grown alongside the poppies and hand the insurgents a major propaganda victory by allowing them to claim that the West was waging chemical warfare on civilians.
While President Hamid Karzai continues to resist American efforts to begin widespread spraying from the air, sources say he looks likely to approve a new scheme to use hand-sprays to destroy crops in selected areas.
US pressure on the Afghan government is being masterminded by Ambassador William Wood. He earned the nickname "Chemical Bill" in his previous post in Colombia due to his enthusiasm for spraying illegal coca fields with herbicides.
Both the Pentagon and the CIA have lined up as surprising allies of the Europeans, lobbying against their own State Department's policy on drug eradication and its endorsement by the White House.
(19) AUTHORITY BACKING BRUNSTROM IN CALL FOR DRUGS LAW REFORMS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 16 Oct 2007
Source: Daily Post (UK)
Copyright: 2007 Trinity Mirror North West & North Wales Author:
Steve Bagnall, Daily Post
NORTH Wales Police Authority chiefs yesterday backed calls for a radical overhaul of drug laws by the chief constable -- to the fury of opponents.
Although the authority stepped back from supporting Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom's call to legalise all drugs, members urged a review of the Misuse of Drugs Act.
But as Mr Brunstrom hailed the support a "fantastic result" Clwyd West MP David Jones said the Home Office had confirmed it was going to boot his ideas into touch.
NWPA members yesterday agreed the current laws should be replaced with a "Misuse of Substances Act."
They want any new law to be based on the "strong regulation of all forms of drugs" including alcohol and tobacco and with a "hierarchy of harm."
NWPA chairman Ian Roberts said: "We welcome the important contribution by the Chief Constable to the ongoing debate.
"It is clear that the current approach isn't working.
"We, therefore, urge a review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and its possible replacement by a Misuse of Substances Act founded on the strong regulation of all forms of drugs and based upon a new hierarchy of harm that includes alcohol and nicotine."
At a meeting with the authority yesterday, Mr Brunstrom said: "I despair of the flat-earthers who are refusing to look at the evidence."
He claimed current drugs' policy was "irrational, illogical, immoral and hypocritical."
Mr Brunstrom added: "Most importantly it doesn't work."
He said he regarded those who managed drug production as evil.
"What better than to cut their profits, put them out of business?" Mr Brunstrom said.
"We have handed over the production, control and supply of the entire thing to active criminals. How can that possibly be a good outcome of government policy?"
(20) DUTCH DECLARE HALLUCINOGENIC MUSHROOMS ILLEGAL ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 13 Oct 2007
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2007 The Washington Post Company
Author: Toby Sterling, Associated Press
AMSTERDAM -- The Netherlands will ban the sale of hallucinogenic mushrooms, the government announced Friday, tightening the country's famed liberal drug policies after the suicide of an intoxicated teenager.
Mushrooms "will be outlawed the same way as other drugs," Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin said. "The way we will enforce the ban is through targeting sellers."
But the outright ban had not been expected: The government had solicited advice from vendors, advocacy groups and the city of Amsterdam, which benefits financially from drug-related tourism, on how to improve the situation.
Mushroom vendors suggested stricter ID controls to prevent underage buyers and strong warnings against mixing mushrooms with other drugs. Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen had suggested a three-day "cooling off" period between ordering them and using them.
The Justice Ministry decided those measures did not go far enough.
Murat Kucuksen, whose farm, Procare, supplies about half the psychedelic mushrooms on the Dutch market, predicted that the trade will move underground as a result of the ban. Prices will rise, and dealers will sell dried mushrooms, or LSD, as a substitute to tourists without offering any guidance, he said.
"So you'll have a rise in incidents, but they won't be recorded as mushroom-related, and the politicians can declare victory," he said.
(21) THE RESISTANCE CONTINUES ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 12 Oct 2007
Source: New Statesman (UK)
Copyright: 2007 New Statesman
Author: Amancay Colque
NS marks Indigenous Resistance Day with an article from Bolivian Campaigner Amancay Colque, who explains why the Evo Morales government is in confrontation with the 'establishment'
October 12th traditionally was celebrated as the anniversary of Columbus' "discovery" of the Americas. For the indigenous peoples of the continent, this "discovery" meant hundreds of years of genocide and misery. Now the day has been reclaimed as the "Day of Indigenous Resistance" in Venezuela and Bolivia, two countries with presidents of indigenous descent who are refusing to toe Washington's line.
In 1995 a new political party, MAS IPSP, was formed in response to the government of the time blindly following instructions from the IMF and World Bank. For instance, the policy for the eradication of the coca leaf came directly from the U.S. government, and was a direct attack on the cocaleros, indigenous peasants who live in the most deprived areas of the country. Natural resources were privatised and state-owned companies sold off at ridiculously low prices. Trade unions, students and indigenous peasants resisted, but everything seemed to be in vain.
In December 2005 Evo Morales-MAS won the elections with 54% of the vote. The demands of the people in October 2003 were the renationalisation of the hydrocarbons industry, a constituent assembly to re-write the constitution so as to reflect people's wishes, such as land reform and education as well as the extradition and trial of Goni.
The implementation of these demands, which are demands of the people, has put the Evo Morales government in direct confrontation with the powerful establishment.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
CRACK USERS DO MORE TIME THAN PEOPLE CONVICTED OF MANSLAUGHTER ( Top )
By Jessica Pupovac
When crack cocaine possession means 24 years in prison and manslaughter means only 3, you know something is seriously wrong with the U.S. criminal justice system.
NORML'S DAILY AUDIO STASH ( Top )
Rick Steves' keynote speech Friday Oct. 12th at the NORML 2007 Conference
Tommy Chong attended the NORML Annual Conference awards ceremony on Friday October 12th at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Los Angeles.
CULTURAL BAGGAGE RADIO SHOW ( Top )
10/17/07: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Busts: Dr. Mitch Earleywine, Judge James P. Gray, Rick Steves, Doug McVay, Rob Kampia, Rebecca Saltzman, Ethan Nadelmann, James Anthony, Cliff Schaffer, Phil Smith & Poppygate
10/10/07: Celebrating 6 Years of Drug Truth, Mike Smithson LEAP, Kevin Zeese, Bruce Mirken + Canada's PM, Marc Emery, Poppygate & more!
Listen Live Tuesdays 12.30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 MT & 9:30 AM PT at www.KPFT.org
CANNABINOID CHRONICLES ( Top )
The October 2007 issue of Cannabinoid Chronicles is now online.
DEA BUST THE ARTS DISTRICT HEALING CENTER IN LOS ANGELES ( Top )
A video from last week's DEA raid of the Arts District Healing Center cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles.
BBC'S 'MORAL MAZE' TACKLES DRUG LAW REFORM ( Top )
Following on from Chief Inspector Brunstrom's report last week the BBC's long running series the Moral Maze tackled the moral issues around illicit drug use and specifically the laws that criminalise it.
You can listen to the broadcast (45 minutes) here:
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
END CRACK AND POWDER COCAINE SENTENCING DISPARITIES ( Top )
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
HARPER SAYS TO LOCK 'EM UP! ( Top )
By Cameron Wigmore
I'd like to give thanks to the Harper government for a new 'war'.
Like in the USA where the 'war on drugs' has been ongoing for decades, this Canadian effort will likely create a few jobs in the areas of law enforcement. We will, over the long term, likely need to build more jails ( as they have needed to do in the USA ) in order to house non-violent offenders, and our recently announced federal tax surplus will probably help to pay for this ongoing cost. Never mind that incarceration will cost more than rehabilitation; Mr. Harper clearly believes that the jobs created are more important than the negative costs to our society. These fellow Canadians - these neighbours, coworkers, family and friends of ours - they're only addicts after all, right? Mr. Harper says we should lock 'em up!
Treatment and rehabilitation sounds too 'nice' for Harper government's 'every man for himself' ideology. Although treatment and rehabilitation are proven to be effective, long term incarceration sounds braver & more prideful. Thank you, Mr. Harper for choosing to charge into a war on drugs in Canada, something the USA has already failed to win.
I am a recovered addict with seven years clean & sober. I've just brought my family to Nanaimo, and soon we'll be purchasing a house. After using drugs for nearly a decade, I managed to make it out of active addiction, disease free and with no criminal record, and this is largely due to the community support and addiction recovery services that were available to me prior to getting clean. I'm not shy about this fact; I'm proud of the man I am, and I'm grateful to be living in this country with a history of giving and sharing that shows we take care of ours.
Thank you Mr. Harper for trying to take these opportunities away from other Canadians.
Cameron Wigmore Nanaimo
Pubdate: Fri, 12 Oct 2007
Source: Kootenay Western Star (CN BC)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
How Prop. 215 was Gutted from a Full Exemption to a Bogus ( Top )
By Steve Kubby
When the People of California wrote and passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, it was intended to exempt patients from criminal prosecution. The Attorney General even said so when he wrote his Title and Summary to Prop. 215:
"Exempts patients and defined caregivers who possess or cultivate marijuana for medical treatment recommended by a physician from criminal laws which otherwise prohibit possession or cultivation of marijuana." ( Source: http://vote96.sos.ca.gov/BP/215.htm )
Nowhere in the official Title and Summary, nor in the text of the initiative, does it say anything about an affirmative defense, or any limits or restrictions. In fact, once a physician issues his recommendation, the only legal issue is whether or not the marijuana is being used for medical purposes or if it is being diverted to non- medical purposes. No matter how much marijuana a patient may have, the Compassionate Use Act is supposed to exempt them, unless it is being diverted into non-medical use.
It was the Lungren vs Peron case, that allowed Lungren to gut the Compassionate Use Act, forcing patients and caregivers to prove their right to possess and use marijuana, with the burden of proof on the defendant, using an [WINDOWS-1252?]"affirmative [WINDOWS-1252?]defense".
Although Lungren knew he had committed the state to his Title and Summary, which said patients and caregivers were "exempt," he was able to get the judge to rely upon the ballot arguments from our side, to claim that the CUA only provides a defense in court. Yet the judge ignores similarly extreme statements by our opponent that this was 'marijuana "legalization" and there would be "no restrictions" on how much or where you could grow.
Also, the judge claims, "The statutory language limits the patient's access to marijuana to that which is personally cultivated by the patient or the patient's primary caregiver on behalf of the patient. But that isn't what the CUA says at all. Just take a look at what the it actually says:
"(2) Nothing in this act shall be construed to supersede legislation prohibiting persons from engaging in conduct that endangers others, nor to condone the diversion of marijuana for non- medical purposes."
The CUA says nothing about amounts, only about diversion to non- medical purposes. It was this judge, led by the nose by Lungren, who decided that a patient can have "too much for personal use." So, according to this judge, you can legally possess marijuana -- unless the police decide you are possessing for sale, in which case your exempt status evaporates as soon as you are accused. What good is it being exempt, if a mere accusation removes that protection?
This decision also errors by weighing the ballot arguments with equal weight against the Title and Summary. This is clearly an error, since anyone can say whatever they want in the ballot argument, while the Title and Summary MUST be "a true and impartial statement of the purpose of any initiative." Below is the law that makes this so:
CAL. ELECTIONS CODE SEC. 9051: "Within 10 days after it is filed, the Attorney General shall provide and return to the Secretary of State a ballot title for the measure. The ballot title may differ from the legislative or other title of the measure and shall express in not exceeding 100 words the purpose of the measure. In providing the ballot title, the Attorney General shall give a true and impartial statement of the purpose of the measure in such language that the ballot title shall neither be an argument, nor be likely to create prejudice, for or against the proposed measure."
Does the CUA provide an exemption for possession for sales? If you can legally possess something, that would imply the ability to sell it as well. Of course that isn't the case with prescription drugs, but then medical marijuana isn't a prescription drug, is it? The California Legislature took up this question, after the judge in Lungren vs. Peron said sales was not allowed, and passed SB 420 which DOES allow caregivers, MCDs, and members of cooperatives to be paid remuneration for their costs and time. So, if the CUA didn't authorize sales before, it does now and it is a fraud to charge a patient or caregiver with "possession for sales," when it is now legal for them to possess AND sell for medical purposes.
Sick, disabled and dying patients throughout California are still being raided by SWAT teams, arrested, jailed, humiliated, treated like criminals, bankrupted, children abducted by CPS and made even sicker, because of those who are still deliberately opposing this law, eleven years after the People of California voted to EXEMPT patients and caregivers from criminal penalties.
It is time to stop playing games with people's lives and uphold the Compassionate Use Act as it was written and passed by the People of California.
If you would like to read the decision in Lungren vs. Peron, you can find a copy at Chris Conrad's web site:
Steve Kubby is the National Director for the The American Medical Marijuana Association.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
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