This Just In
(1)Young People Using Less Cannabis Since Downgrade
(2)Anti-Drug Aid Package Would Give Mexico Air-Power Boost
(3)'Meth Gun' Is Latest Weapon Against Drugs
(4)The Quest For The Ultimate Cure For Addiction

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 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Thu, 25 Oct 2007
Source: Times, The (UK)
Copyright: 2007 Times Newspapers Ltd
Author: Richard Ford, Home Correspondent of The Times

Cannabis use among young people has fallen sharply since the Government downgraded it to a Class C drug three years ago, according to figures published today.

The proportion of 16 to 24 year olds who said they had used cannabis in the past year fell from 25 per cent when the law was changed, to 21 per cent in 2006/7, a total of about 1.3m youngsters.

But the findings show a continuing rise in the use of cocaine by both youngsters and adults though the use of heroin and ecstasy remains broadly stable.

The figures show significant increase in the use of amyl nitrate the sex enhancing drug known as poppers among adults and increases in the use of glue by youngsters.


Separate figures published today on drug seizures in 2005 show the impact of the policy towards cannabis of confiscating and warning those found with small amounts of the drug.

The number of cannabis seizures jumped 47 per cent to 114,202.

The figures also highlighted the increasing amount of home-grown cannabis in England and Wales. Police and customs seized 208,357 cannabis plants of which 82 per cent were found growing in areas of less than 50 plants.

Overall police and customs seized 69 tonnes of cannabis including 49 tonnes of traditional imported resin and 20 tonnes of herbal cannabis.

Gordon Brown has signalled that he may reclassify cannabis from a Class C to a Class B drug amidst fears that there are links between more potent strains known as skunk and mental illness.




Pubdate: Fri, 26 Oct 2007
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2007 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Chris Hawley, USA TODAY

MEXICO CITY -- Nearly half of a new $500 million U.S. aid package for Mexico would be used to purchase surveillance planes and helicopters so that Mexican police can track drug traffickers who are often better armed and operating faster vehicles than they are.

The aircraft would help the Mexican government build on its recent success in cracking down on drug cartels, Thomas Shannon, the State Department's top diplomat for Latin America, said Thursday in a telephone interview.

The $500 million, which has not yet been approved by Congress, is the first phase of a $1.4 billion anti-drug package that would be distributed in the next three years. The surveillance aircraft would help Mexican agents chase down the planes and speedboats that carry cocaine from South America to remote areas of Mexico, where it is then taken to the U.S. border.


An additional $100 million in the first wave of U.S. aid would go toward making Mexico's law enforcement system more effective, including classes and equipment to help conduct investigations, perform forensic tests, manage prisons and prepare court cases, Shannon said.

Another large share of the money would go toward X-ray machines, ion scanners and other devices for searching cargo, he said.

The package also calls for a major increase in U.S.-led training programs, although U.S. officials have stressed that U.S. forces will not be going on missions with Mexican soldiers or police, and the number of U.S. personnel operating in Mexico will not increase.

A small part of the $500 million would go toward weapons, Shannon said. He declined to elaborate. Mexican police complain they are increasingly outgunned by drug smugglers who buy assault-style rifles, grenade launchers and hand grenades in the USA.

Some experts in Mexico worry that increased military activity will lead to more drug-related violence. "I don't think (the aid) is going to stop the violence in Mexico. It's going to exacerbate it, raise the cost of drugs and worsen things," said Miguel Sarre, a criminal justice professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico.



Pubdate: Fri, 26 Oct 2007
Source: Springfield News-Leader (MO)
Copyright: 2007 The Springfield News-Leader
Author: Pete Smith, News-Leader

The Missouri Highway Patrol has been quietly testing a new scanning device that can detect the presence of meth with only the click of a button.

To law enforcement, it could be the future of crime-fighting technology.

To meth dealers and manufacturers, this might signal the turning point in the war against one of the country's greatest drug scourges.

But before police can begin widespread use of the scanner, it has to overcome several hurdles.

The company needs to confirm its reliability while securing enough investment to bring the device to market. The scanner models will cost between $2,000-$5,500, but the price could drop after several years.

Civil libertarians and defense attorneys are also raising concerns about the device's use in the prosecution of drug offenses, although no prosecutors yet have submitted evidence derived from the scanner.

Regardless of the obstacles, the meth scanner will likely debut in the coming months.


Because the meth scanner's current and future use in law enforcement falls into a gray area, Eric E. Sterling, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, laid out some scenarios of the device's use and how a court system might handle them -- assuming that the science behind the scanner is valid.




Pubdate: Thu, 25 Oct 2007
Source: Georgia Straight, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 The Georgia Straight
Author: Alex Roslin

Could the root of an African shrub hold the key to getting millions of addicts off heroin, coke, and crack - oh, yeah, and cure alcoholism in its spare time? Can a single dose of an extract from the mysterious shrub's root bark be worth years on a therapist's couch?

Some of the answers may soon be found in a three-bedroom house on the Sunshine Coast. Tucked away there on a hill, with a stunning view of the ocean and surrounded by tall trees, is the Iboga Therapy House.

Forty years after globetrotting backpackers introduced a substance called ibogaine into the U.S. drug culture, the extract from western Africa's Tabernanthe iboga shrub has become an underground rage among drug-addled Hollywood celebs willing to plunk down between $3,500 and $10,000 for ibogaine treatment at any one of about a dozen unregulated clinics worldwide, including the one in B.C.

Because ibogaine is illegal in the U.S. - one of just three countries to ban the substance, along with Belgium and Switzerland - clients have to travel to clinics in countries such as Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Slovenia for an "ibogaine experience".

Advocates liken the miracle drug - which can unleash a reality- shattering trip so powerful it has been described as "dying and going to hell 1,000 times" - to the Holy Grail of addiction cures, comparable in importance to the discovery of penicillin. Although ibogaine's alleged ability to quickly cure opiate addiction without withdrawal symptoms was discovered relatively recently, the substance has long been used in Gabon by hunters to stay alert and, in larger doses, in week-long sacred ceremonies in the Bwiti religion.

Yet despite the extraordinary claims about ibogaine's powers, a B.C. study launched last February is the first time the drug's therapeutic benefits for opiate addiction are being measured systematically in a public investigation. (Other clinics haven't released data.)

Preliminary results from the Sunshine Coast clinic have justified much of the hype. "I've witnessed people's lives being turned around," said Leah Martin, one of the study leaders. Of 20 pre-study clients who took ibogaine at the facility in 2004, 13 were found to be abstaining when evaluated later, after an average interval of six months. The abstainers included six out of seven cocaine or crack addicts, three of eight opiate addicts and four of five people with other addictions, including to meth and multiple substances.

With an overall abstinence rate of 65 percent, ibogaine does way better than the 10-percent average of conventional drug-treatment programs, Martin said. What's more, the clients at the B.C. facility are usually the hardest cases.


Advocates say the drug isn't addictive itself partly because the trip is so hellacious. "It is not a recreational drug," said Rick Doblin, president of the California-based Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies, which is helping to fund the Iboga Therapy House study. Doblin is also the principal investigator.

The ibogaine work is just one of MAPS's stable of groundbreaking research projects. The group is also funding the first-ever studies of therapy involving ecstasy, LSD, and magic mushrooms to deal with mental-health issues like posttraumatic stress, end-of-life anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The U.S. studies all have an official okay from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and even of the drug warriors at the Drug Enforcement Agency, and are attracting interest from the U.S. military for treating PTSD among Iraq vets.





Red Ribbon Week swept through our schools this week and was dutifully publicized by nearly every paper across our nation. Herb, our Newshawk who specializes in educational issues, knows from past experience he will be working hard to determine how many of the puff pieces should be archived all the while attempting to locate articles which are not merely regurgitating the same old story. Two editorials did land in our database with slightly different takes albeit none examined whether this program actually works.

A Wall Street Journal reporter wrote an informative article examining the consequences of our added border security. Similar to corner stores going out of business when the mega-stores move into the neighborhood, small-scale migrant smuggling operations are seemingly being replaced by large-scale drug cartels.

Drug Policy Alliance's Tony Newman provides an uplifting column to close this week's policy section.


Pubdate: Wed, 24 Oct 2007
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2007 The Dallas Morning News

On Monday, Red Ribbon Week observations began across the nation to focus students' attention on the dangers of drug abuse. The red ribbon commemorates Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, a U.S. counternarcotics agent who was kidnapped, tortured and bludgeoned to death in 1985 while working in northern Mexico.


But U.S. counternarcotics aid to Mexico is still stuck in the past. Washington devotes less than $50 million annually to help Mexico fight drugs, compared with the financial resources of a $13.8 billion Mexican trafficking industry that supplies most of the cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana consumed in the United States.

It is time for Washington to commit a level of counternarcotics cooperation equal to the task of fighting a cutthroat mafia. On Monday, President Bush asked Congress to approve a $1.4 billion program to help Mexico with intelligence-sharing, eradication and police training. This investment is long overdue.

But that's only half the challenge. On this side of the border, we'd like to see a similarly redoubled effort to reduce demand. It starts by making our children understand the deadly stakes. Whatever message they're getting at home and in the classroom, it isn't working.




Pubdate: Mon, 22 Oct 2007
Source: Lufkin Daily News (TX)
Copyright: 2007 The Lufkin Daily News


Many of those whose lives are endangered by illegal substances aren't undercover narcotics agents who die at the hand of drug cartel assassins. They're minors who consume alcohol, many of whom die at the hand of a friend - friends who give them alcohol and friends who drink and drive.

The friends who provided 19-year-old Nik Gallegos, an SFA freshman who died last month after drinking too much at a party, are now facing criminal charges. Even if they were to be dropped or they never spend a day in jail, it's likely that thoughts of what happened that night will torture them the rest of their days.

Although SFA officials say Gallegos' death was the first such occurrence for the college, it's likely that Gallegos isn't the first student to suffer from alcohol poisoning. We don't have the statistics on those who have come close.

Alcohol is a drug, and in the possession of a minor, an illegal substance, although far too often, it isn't considered as such. Alcohol continues to be the most widely used substance among Texas students, according to a survey of 78 Texas school districts by the Department of State Health Services. Binge drinking, which was defined as having five or more drinks on one occasion, was reported by 23 percent; 24 percent of high school seniors said they had driven a car after having a "good bit" to drink; and 10 percent had gone to class drunk.




Pubdate: Thu, 25 Oct 2007
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Joel Millman

Security Crackdown Cuts Illegal Crossing But Aids Smugglers

EL PASO, Texas -- A security crackdown on the Mexican border is believed to have reduced the number of people trying to cross illegally into the U.S. while increasing business for professional smugglers with ties to the drug trade.

Data to be released next week by the Department of Homeland Security are expected to show the number of illegal border crossers caught fell to less than one million for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, the first time that has occurred since 2003. Through the end of August, barely 800,000 apprehensions were recorded along the U.S.-Mexico border, a drop of more than 20% from the previous fiscal year.


But the crackdown also appears to be affecting the markets for smuggling people and drugs in Mexico. As tighter security makes crossing the border trickier and more hazardous, the traditional mom-and-pop operations in Mexico that used to ferry people across have been replaced by larger, more-professional criminal gangs, often with ties to the illegal-drug trade.

U.S. officials are reporting increased violence along the border, including gunfights between rival smuggling gangs, gangs hijacking each others' customers en route to U.S. destinations and the rape or assault of migrants.


Border Patrol agents have noticed that smaller-scale smugglers on the Mexican side are being replaced by more-sophisticated ones who appear to have ties to Mexico's cocaine cartels. Smugglers are carrying higher-caliber weapons and sometimes dress in camouflage uniforms and use military tactics to evade capture.




Pubdate: Thu, 25 Oct 2007
Source: Huffington Post (US Web)
Copyright: 2007 HuffingtonPost com, Inc.
Author: Tony Newman
Note: Tony Newman is the director of media relations at the Drug Policy

The United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars waging a 40-year "war on drugs" that is responsible for the imprisonment of 500,000 of our fellow Americans. Despite the enormous waste of money and lives, drugs are as easily available as ever. The warmongers say it is for the protection of the kids, yet high schoolers can easily obtain whatever they are looking for in this unregulated market. Fifty percent of high-school seniors will try marijuana before they graduate.

While I could easily write about my frustration and despair when thinking about how our elected officials wage this war on their fellow Americans and around the world, there is reason to be optimistic for change.

Here are my Top 10 reasons for optimism in the Fight Against the War on Drugs

* #1) The Public Supports Treatment instead of Jail for nonviolent drug offenders


* # 2) Millions Have Been Able to Overcome Addictions


* #3) The Science is with Us


* #4) Booker, Newsome, Rocky: Mayors Speaking Out Forcefully


* #5) Legalization reconsidered?


* #6) The Public Supports Medical Marijuana for People with HIV, Cancer and Others in Need


* #7) The Democrats Control House and Head Committees


* #8) Europe Continues to Lead the Way


* #9) The Public Is Tiring From Failed Wars


* #10) The Movement for Alternatives to the Drug War is Growing on Left, Right and Center


I have been a part of the drug policy reform movement for 8 and 1/2 years. There are times that I am discouraged and feel like we are taking two steps forward, two steps backwards and sometimes two steps to the side. But in my heart, I truly believe that there are many reasons to be optimistic and hopeful. We have to learn how to coexist with drugs. They have been around for thousands of years and will be around for thousands more. We are smart and passionate people and we can figure out how to reduce the harms from drugs and from drug prohibition.



Our nation is packed with overcrowded prisons and jails largely due to our erroneous drug policies. This week several authors covered this crisis and suggested similar resolutions.

Our first female DEA chief is headed for a top spot in the company which pays for one of the DEA's traveling museums. Don't expect many changes as her likely successor will be just as zealous about enforcing our failed policies instead of looking for solutions.

Speaking of righteous solutions, a University of Texas reporter provided good coverage of LEAP's Executive Director's recent speech which included drug policy history, Mr. Cole's background and his current views.


Pubdate: Wed, 24 Oct 2007
Source: Boston Herald (MA)
Copyright: 2007 The Boston Herald, Inc
Author: David W. White, Jr.
Note: David W. White Jr. is president of the Massachusetts Bar Association.

Prison populations now total more than 11,000, compared to about 2,500 in 1990.

Since long before Richard Nixon coined the phrase "War on Drugs," our country experienced a sharp increase in the penalties associated with illegal drug possession, distribution and trafficking. In Massachusetts, as in many states, more than a dozen minimum mandatory sentences were added to the books.

The demand for "truth in sentencing" was answered by a series of laws enhancing or restricting parole eligibility in 1980s and 1990s. But in the political shuffle, sentencing guidelines were unfortunately left on the sidelines.


Are we getting much bang for our buck? The answer is a resounding "No." Crimes of possession have not been reduced by the threat of longer sentences. Without effective parole, an increasing number of prisoners are being released from medium and maximum security prisons, unsupervised, uneducated and untrained. Recidivism rates are more than 50 percent in the three years following prisoner release.

The failure of the corrections system to reduce recidivism is a guarantee that there will be a continuing stream of victims.


Now is the time to advocate for meaningful reform, especially given the Legislature's current appetite for change.

However, such action will be incomplete if we fail to restore meaningful programs to the prisons, including education, job training and treatment for addiction and mental illness. To ensure a more harmonious transition from the cell block to society, we need to expand and improve our existing parole system.

Meaningful reforms will ensure improvements to only better society. These include reducing crime, restoring families and communities and cost savings to taxpayers. Our citizens deserve nothing less.



Pubdate: Thu, 18 Oct 2007
Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)
Copyright: 2007 Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Author: Ronald Fraser
Note: Ronald Fraser, Ph.D., writes on public policy issues for the DKT
Liberty Project, a Washington-based civil liberties organization.

Massachusetts' prison system is like an out-of-control carousel. In 2005, for example, 2,500 new inmates got on board just as 2,100 parolees stepped off and headed for home -- up from 1,300 in 1980. Nowadays Massachusetts towns and cities are struggling to cope with the special services needed by new parolees returning home each year.

America's lock-'em-up drug laws are keeping this merry-go-round spinning faster and faster. Nationally, the portion of inmates leaving state prisons after serving time for nonviolent drug offenses has shot up from 11 percent in 1985 to 37 percent in 2005. Here is how this trend plays out in Massachusetts.


While the enforcement of federal and state drug laws has not lowered the availability or use of illegal drugs, those laws have done more harm than good for drug users, taxpayers and local communities. Instead of dealing with drug abuse as a health issue in education and treatment centers, drug laws have sent thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens to prison. But prison time can backfire.


What to do? About one-half of all U.S. inmates are nonviolent offenders. Would it not make a lot more sense to solve the returning prisoner crisis by drastically cutting the number of nonviolent people cycled through Massachusetts' prisons and sent back to their hometowns every year?

Policymakers in Boston need to stop sending nonviolent offenders to prison and increase the use of non-prison punishments, including treatment for drug abusers and support services for other non-violent offenders.




Pubdate: Tue, 23 Oct 2007
Source: AlterNet (US Web)
Copyright: 2007 Independent Media Institute
Author: Sasha Abramsky, In These Times
Note: Sasha Abramsky is the author, most recently, of American Furies:
Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment.

Halfway between Sacramento and San Francisco is Solano Correctional Facility, nestled against a series of rolling hills, on the outskirts of the small city of Vacaville.


On paper, Solano has some of the best vocational training programs of any prison in California, with a metal shop that makes snowplow blades for the California Department of Transportation and a lens shop that manufactures almost all spectacle lenses for Medi-Cal -- the state's more expansive version of Medicaid -- and Medicare recipients statewide. The facility also routinely places soon-to-be-paroled workers in free-world jobs, such as in lens labs and opticians' offices, around the state. But on any given day, Solano has thousands of idle inmates because there aren't enough jobs, education slots and drug addiction treatment spots available for the surplus prisoners.


California's experiment in wholesale incarceration is one of the great policy failures of our times. Thirty years ago, California had 12 prisons and fewer than 30,000 prisoners. Today, after a generation of "tough-on-crime" legislation pushed through the legislature and the initiative process -- from three-strikes-and-you're-out to draconian anti-drug and anti-gang legislation -- the state has close to 175,000 inmates living in 34 prisons. That means almost one in every 200 California residents is now a prisoner of the state. ( And these numbers don't even include the tens of thousands more prisoners in county jails. ) The annual cost to taxpayers is about $10 billion per year, just shy of the amount the state annually puts into its vaunted public university system. If current spending trends continue, California will soon be spending more on prisons than on universities.


Perhaps most damning, by the early years of the century, California had a return-to-prison rate for parolees near 70 percent, which was worse than any other state. By contrast, as of December 2006, Florida's return-to-prison rate was 53 percent, New York's was 56 percent and Texas' was 25 percent, according to data collected by the Center for Evidence-Based Corrections at the University of California at Irvine.


Facing at least the possibility of the entire prison system being placed under court control because of chronic overcrowding, panicked state politicians -- urged on by Schwarzenegger -- this year approved a $7.3 billion emergency measure, known as AB 900, to expand the system by a mammoth 53,000 beds.


While more and more dollars are being devoted to corrections, the amount of money available per inmate for programming ( such as education, drug treatment, vocational training, mental health care and so on ) has declined as a percentage of the total cost of incarceration. In June, the state senate subcommittee in charge of overseeing the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's budget reported that a mere 5 percent of the $43,000 California spends on each inmate each year currently goes toward rehabilitation programs.


Yet California's prison system is peculiarly dysfunctional. A half century ago, under Gov. Edmund "Pat" Brown, the state was known for having one of the most progressive prison systems in the country, one that emphasized rehabilitation, drug treatment, education and alternatives to incarceration. Some of its prisons even boasted world-class libraries behind their imposing walls. That trend held through Ronald Reagan's years in Sacramento (1966-1974), and stayed good as recently as the gubernatorial tenure of Pat Brown's son, Jerry, in the late '70s. But today, after the disastrously "tough" consecutive gubernatorial tenures of George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson and Gray Davis from 1983 to 2003, the system is a byword for failure.


Don Specter, from the Prison Law Office, argued the situation is now so dire that only a court-imposed population cap on the prison system can nudge the state toward effective changes. He calls overcrowding "a crisis of constitutional dimensions that is dangerous for prisoners, unsafe for staff and a threat to the public." Specter and his colleagues urged the two judges to form a three-judge panel that would hear arguments and decide whether to force the state to rollback its prison population. To the amazement of many observers, they received an amicus brief from the prison workers' trade union, CCPOA.


Today, California stands on the threshold of a new era. Unless the state's residents send strong signals to their elected officials that enough's enough when it comes to prison-building, it will only be a matter of time before more state dollars go into locking up its citizens than providing its young people with a public university education.

In many ways, California remains a place of dreams, the pot of gold at the end of the American rainbow. But its criminal justice policies have, at the very least, put a dent in the optimism. California's gold rush to mass incarceration reflects priorities gone awry to a spectacular degree. It has taken three decades to get this far off track. Let's hope it doesn't take that long to put the state's criminal justice system back on a fairer, saner footing.



Pubdate: Tue, 23 Oct 2007
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Associated Press

Post's First Woman, Tandy, Will Take Job With Motorola

Drug Enforcement Administration chief Karen Tandy is resigning, ending her four-year tenure as the first woman to hold the post, and she will take a job at Motorola Inc.

Ms. Tandy told employees that she was leaving to take a job as a senior vice president of the Schaumburg, Ill., telecommunications-equipment company, said DEA spokesman Garrison Courtney.

Motorola is the chief sponsor of a DEA traveling museum exhibit about global drug trafficking and terrorism that Mr. Courtney said is funded solely by private donors and corporations, not taxpayers.


Ms. Tandy will succeed Michael Kennedy, who plans to retire at the end of the year, the company said. She was confirmed to head the DEA in July 2003. Ms. Tandy could be succeeded by another woman, Michele Leonhart, her second-in-command, who is a possible candidate for the top job. The DEA employs about 4,600 agents in the U.S. and in 85 countries. During her years at DEA, Ms. Tandy began its program to curb opium and heroin traffic by deploying agents to Afghanistan to track down local drug barons accused of financing the Taliban insurgency. The DEA has said its annual program has helped bring a more-than-700% increase in the seizure of opium, heroin and clandestine labs.

But a recent United Nations report forecast that Afghanistan would produce 9,000 tons of opium this year, up 34% from 2006 and enough to make more than 880 tons of heroin.




Pubdate: Thu, 18 Oct 2007
Source: Daily Texan (U of TX at Austin, Edu)
Copyright: 2007 Daily Texan
Author: Christopher Sanchez

Retired undercover narcotics officer, Jack A. Cole, the Executive Director of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, speaks passionately Wednesday afternoon in the atrium of the Peter T. Flawn Academic Center.

In 1970, narcotics officer Jack Cole went undercover to infiltrate the seedy world of drug pushers, users and abusers. For 14 years, he was a frontline soldier in the U.S. war on drugs.

Cole said he started having reservations about what he was doing three years into the gig, after living and working with the people he was trying to bust.


The retired officer denounced the war as racist and corrupt Wednesday in front of a packed room in the Flawn Academic Center. The government should legalize all drugs and distribute them for free in small maintenance doses to adults who want them, said Cole, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.


There were no illegal drugs before 1914, Cole said. To illustrate the point, he showed a flyer from the period advertising heroin as a cough suppressant.


The decision to ban the domestic distribution of narcotics in 1914 was done "for reasons steeped in racism," he said.




Yet another study on the correlation between daily cannabis use and "troubled" youth. The actual study discusses how "using cannabis functions as a form of self-medication and allows many ... to relax and forget about their worries," but the press disregarded that part.

No serious injuries were reported after British police deployed a tractor to gain entry to a cannabis cafe. "This is not about recreational drug use on a minor scale. We are not talking about an individual having a quiet joint in their own home. We are talking about 30 or 40 people in one place, many of them from out of town."

Oregonians are testing tolerance as prosecutors in Montana get their priorities straight.


Pubdate: Wed, 24 Oct 2007
Source: Scotsman (UK)
Copyright: 2007 The Scotsman Publications Ltd
Author: Lindsay McIntosh

Deprived youngsters who become involved in heavy cannabis use are less likely than their peers to be able to pull themselves out of the downward spiral the drug causes, a new study has found.

The report, for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, also warns that drugs workers may not be treating cannabis users' concerns about their behaviour seriously enough.

Researchers from the University of Bedfordshire discovered heavy cannabis abuse among vulnerable young people could worsen their existing social problems, such as low educational achievement, homelessness and unemployment.

Professor Neil McKeganey, of the University of Glasgow, who oversaw the project, said not enough studies had examined the lives of heavy users.


The report also suggests youth workers see cannabis use as a less serious problem than cocaine or heroin abuse.

The researchers say this may be because of their differing experience of cannabis, which was not available at such a high strength in previous decades.




Pubdate: Sun, 21 Oct 2007
Source: Argus, The (UK)
Copyright: 2007 Newsquest Media Group

A controversial "cannabis cafe" has reopened just days after police used a tractor to smash their way in.

During the dramatic raid the side of the building collapsed while people were still inside.

Now the owner of the cafe, which police believe is being used to sell cannabis, has tried to turn it into an impregnable fortress.

He has stacked car tyres filled with concrete around the building in Freshbrook Road, Lancing, and installed razor wire to deter intruders.

A spokesman for the owner, who did not want to be identified, said: "We were back up and running within days of the police raid."

One of those inside at the time said: "It was like something out of a Bruce Willis film. Somebody could have very easily been very badly hurt of even killed."

Another said: "It could have easily collapsed completely with everyone inside it. As it was people did get minor injuries, bumps and bruises, and one woman suffered an asthma attack."

But police were unapologetic about the estimated UKP20,000 worth of damage caused to the building when the tractor pulled away a window so officers could gain entry.

And they vowed to step up the pressure in a bid to close the cafe once and for all.




Pubdate: Mon, 22 Oct 2007
Source: Oregonian, The (Portland, OR)
Copyright: 2007 The Oregonian
Author: Andy Dworkin, The Oregonian

Signature Gatherers Want to Change Marijuana Laws in Oregon, Which Has a High Rate of Users

Oregonians, prepare for reefer referendum madness.

Starting today, signature gatherers will ask Portland residents to put a law on next year's ballot decriminalizing possession of as much as an ounce of marijuana.

It's a weird request, as possessing that much pot is already decriminalized statewide. Oregon was the first state to decriminalize a little dope, way back in 1973. Having a little marijuana is now a civil violation, like speeding, punishable by a $500 to $1,000 fine.

Other Oregon pot fanciers want to move way beyond removing penalties. They're aiming for a 2010 ballot measure to legally sell marijuana through Oregon liquor stores, taxing the sales for state revenue -- a law that, if passed, guarantees a war with the federal government.

NORML, the main U.S. group backing marijuana legalization, identifies Oregon, Nevada and Vermont as the three states where its legal pot dream seems most possible.

"We just had a conference in D.C., and there were so many people from Oregon declaring their intent for this initiative, that initiative, medical marijuana," NORML spokesman Allen St. Pierre said. "I'm not really sure what's going on up there."

What seems to be happening is a union of two of this pioneering state's great loves: ballot initiatives and dope smoking.




Pubdate: Sun, 21 Oct 2007
Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)
Copyright: 2007 The Billings Gazette
Author: Tristan Scott

Missoulian MISSOULA - Nearly a year after voters asked county law enforcement to ignore adult marijuana offenses, Missoula's top prosecutor has adopted an official policy to uphold the referendum.

"In the interest of compliance with the 2006 voter initiative on marijuana .. we are asking law enforcement officers to stop arresting individuals or writing and submitting tickets (with mandatory appearance dates) where the offense committed is solely possession of marijuana in misdemeanor amounts or possession of drug paraphernalia intended for use of marijuana," according to a draft of the policy by Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, an outspoken opponent of the measure.

Van Valkenburg's policy also instructs deputy prosecutors to charge misdemeanor marijuana cases on a lowest-priority basis when marijuana is the sole offense

"We will treat them as uncharged cases that will be assigned to a prosecutor and charged on a lowest priority basis," according to the policy. "If charged, we will seek issuance of a summons with the complaint."

If a defendant is charged but has no criminal record of consequence, county attorneys will offer a deferred prosecution agreement rather than filing formal charges. No court appearance would be required.




The Transform Drug Policy Foundation released a report this week calling drugs policies in the United Kingdom a "sham." The report, "After the War on Drugs: Tools for the Debate" laid blame for a "malfunctioning" drugs policy with prohibition. "Prohibition's failure is now widely understood and acknowledged among key stakeholders in the debate." The "political benefits of pursuing prohibition are now waning and the political costs of its continuation are becoming unsustainable."

While U.S. prohibitionists are still crowing their drug war (after all these years) finally caused the price U.S. consumers pay for cocaine to marginally rise, police in Queensland, Australia say they expect to see increases in the availability of the stimulant drug. A government study made the prediction this week, based on trends in "organised crime and bikie gangs".

Like their U.S. counterparts, Canadian jurors have the power to "nullify" laws they do not like by acquitting people who may have indeed broken laws, but when the law itself might be misguided, or unfairly applied in a given instance. The recent case of R. v. Krieger (2006) sheds some light on a Canadian precedent. The judge told jurors they must convict. But on appeal, the Canadian Supreme Court overturned it. Judges can no longer order jurors to convict. While defense attorneys are not permitted to tell jurors of their right to nullify laws (by refusing to convict), Canadian jurors are free to acquit or convict and needn't explain their choice to anyone.

And finally this week, the Bush administration requested another $1.4 billion "aid package to Mexico, to help the Mexican government fight narcotics traffickers." The aid will be spread out over the next three years and is earmarked for "the police and tools to dismantle drug cartels, including helicopters, surveillance planes, drug-sniffing dogs and software to track cases."


Pubdate: Sun, 21 Oct 2007
Source: Observer, The (UK)
Copyright: 2007 The Observer
Author: Jamie Doward, home affairs editor, The Observer

Think-Tank Says Prohibition Has Failed and Wants Talks on Legalisation As Home Office Defends Ban

The government's consultation on a new 10-year drugs strategy is a 'sham', according to one of Britain's leading think-tanks on narcotics, which warns that the current policy is fuelling a crime epidemic.

The Transform Drug Policy Foundation, the only UK organisation of its kind to advise the United Nations on such issues, will this week publish a new report claiming the current strategy has failed. The report, 'After the War on Drugs: Tools for the Debate', claims there is an urgent need for full consultation on allowing the controlled supply of illegal drugs. 'It is clear our drug policy cannot continue down the same failed path forever,' the report states. 'Prohibition's failure is now widely understood and acknowledged among key stakeholders in the debate... the political benefits of pursuing prohibition are now waning and the political costs of its continuation are becoming unsustainable.'

The report claims that drug prohibition has allowed organised crime to control the market and criminalised millions of users, putting a huge strain on the justice system. The Home Office estimates that half of all property crime is linked to fundraising to buy illegal drugs. The police claim that drug markets are the main driver of the UK's burgeoning gun culture. Official figures released last week showed that drug offences recorded by police had risen 14 per cent in April to June of this year, compared with the same period in 2006.

Politicians claim tough anti-drugs laws send clear signals to society. But Transform points to a Home Office survey, commissioned in 2000, which showed the social and economic costs of heroin and cocaine use were between UKP10.1 and UKP17.4 billion - the bulk of which were costs to the victims of drug-related crime.

'Over the course of 10 years, a series of different inquiry reports into UK drugs policy all say the same thing: the policy is malfunctioning,' said Steve Rolles, the report's author. 'They've all been blithely ignored by the government, which insists it is making progress.'

Last week, North Wales Police chief constable Richard Brunstrom said he would 'campaign hard' for drugs such as heroin to be legalised. Previously he has said that drugs laws are out of date and that the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 should be replaced by a new 'Substance Misuse Act'.


A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: 'We have undertaken an open consultation and we welcome constructive ideas and views on how we can continue to reduce drug harm. However, the government is emphatically opposed to the legalisation of drugs which would increase drug-related harm and break both international and domestic law.'



Pubdate: Mon, 22 Oct 2007
Source: Sunshine Coast Daily (Australia)
Copyright: 2007 APN News & Media Ltd
Author: Drew Cratchley

The prevalence of cocaine in Queensland is set to expand in the next three years as organised crime and bikie gangs work together to traffic the drug, a new report says.

A CMC study into trends in the Queensland cocaine industry concluded that while cocaine is less prevalent than amphetamines and cannabis, its market had expanded in recent years and had the potential for further growth.

CMC intelligence director Chris Keen said the supply of cocaine was increasing as crime groups begin to work with each other to import the drug.


Premier Anna Bligh said an increase in drug use was a by-product of the state's massive population growth.


"With more people moving here, unfortunately we do see an increase in some of those areas such as drug use."




Pubdate: Mon, 22 Oct 2007
Source: Law Times (Canada)
Copyright: CLB Media 2007
Author: Rosalind Conway

The common law recognizes the jury's power not to convict when a law is unfair, or when it would unfairly impact upon the accused. This is known as jury nullification. The trilogy of Canadian cases from the Supreme Court of Canada that have dealt with this are R. v. Morgentaler (1988), R. v. Latimer (2001), and the recent case of R. v. Krieger (2006).

Can a trial lawyer inform the jury of its power to nullify? Our law grants jurors the power to nullify, but prohibits counsel from telling them about it.


While the Supreme Court recognized in Morgentaler that the power to nullify exists, counsel cannot encourage it: "It is no doubt true that juries have a de facto power to disregard the law as stated to the jury by the judge. We cannot enter the jury room. The jury is never called upon to explain the reasons which lie behind a verdict . . . . But recognizing this reality is a far cry from suggesting that counsel may encourage a jury to ignore a law they do not support or to tell a jury that it has a right to do so."


On the other hand, the judge has the delicate task of preventing jury nullification without telling jurors that they must convict. This happened recently in the case of R. v. Krieger, a marijuana production case involving personal use for medical purposes and sharing for palliative purposes. The judge directed jurors to convict, and told them that they were bound to do so. However, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that, even when the evidence is overwhelming, the judge cannot direct a verdict of guilty.




Pubdate: Tue, 23 Oct 2007
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2007 The New York Times Company
Author: James C. McKinley Jr.

MEXICO CITY -- President Bush asked Congress on Monday to approve a $1.4 billion aid package over the next three years to help the Mexican government fight narcotics traffickers, who have unleashed a bloody underworld war that has left more than 4,000 dead across Mexico in the last two years.

The plan calls for the United States to give Mexico $500 million over the next 12 months to provide training for the police and tools to dismantle drug cartels, including helicopters, surveillance planes, drug-sniffing dogs and software to track cases.

An additional $50 million would go to Central American countries for the same purposes.



 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


U.S. Assistance Has Helped Mexican Counternarcotics Efforts, but the Flow of Illicit Drugs into the United States Remains High


Canadian Marc Emery, Canada's most prominent marijuana legalization activist, is at the top of the U.S, Drug Enforcement Agency's 'Most Wanted List' and now faces extradition to the U.S. and possible life imprisonment. His crime - selling marijuana seeds over the Internet.


By Bill Conroy,

The Bush administration and its cronies at the trough are anything but subtle when they feed.


By Bill Piper

President Bush's plan for battling the war on drugs will only cost taxpayers dearly and make trafficking more profitable.



10/24/07 - Marc Emery, publisher Cannabis Culture Magazine & star of new documentary: Prince of Pot - US vs. Marc Emery

Visit http:/


Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance and David Murray of the Office of National Drug Control Policy on drug policy reform.


'Cannabis use down since legal change', the Guardian reports today on its front page. And its true, at least if you believe the British Crime Survey. The report also knocks holes in a number of other recently hyped skunk-cannabis panics perpetuated by various tabloids and the Independent on Sunday (with its road-back-from-Damascus re-conversion to the wisdom of mass criminalization of young people as the sensible policy response).


by Jack Duggan


The Deal on Medical Marijuana

52 Reasons Why You Should Support Medical Marijuana Access

MPP's medical marijuana playing cards each contain a different fact about medical marijuana - an endorsement, breakthrough scientific research, polling data, or personal testimony about medical marijuana.


This is a 13-part series, videotaped at the Harm Reduction Forum in Ottawa, Courtyard Mariott Hotel, October 25, 2007. Speakers include Eugene Oscapella of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, Libby Davies, MP, Vancouver East (NDP), and Jake Cole, Green party Candidate.



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WHY: Reform Drug Policy!

Our Drug News Archive grows by 30 to 70 articles per day using a well-tuned, semi-automated process. Our Editors are the dedicated people who process the hundreds of articles that are sent to us.

We are currently organizing a training session by collecting a list of volunteers interested in becoming a part of our team. Our web-based, self-paced training course makes it easy to learn the few steps it takes to receive and process articles.

Please contact Jo-D Harrison, , if you would like additional information.



By Ken Chang

A lot of letter writers are adamantly in favor of random drug testing of teachers. These same writers of course are in favor of locker searches and drug-sniffing dogs in high schools. Their reasons are rock solid: "for the safety of our children." They don't want teachers who are high or drunk in contact with their children. No one wants a teacher all spaced out, glassy eyed or reeking of alcohol. These teachers should be tested so they can be arrested and expelled. Even if they find only one among the 13,500 teachers, it would be worth it.

I know it's a stretch, but I'm thinking that some of these children must go home to an abusive parent or family member. Wouldn't it be great, then, if they could have some kind of random testing in every home, to see if parents or relatives are not doing drugs and alcohol or illegal drugs in the presence of their children or their environment? Children spend more hours at home than at school, so this should be a no-brainer.

If you have nothing to hide, it should be all right. Just think that this is all "for the safety of the children" and you'll agree, this is the right thing to do.

Ken Chang


Pubdate: Sun, 21 Oct 2007
Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)



By Mark Greer

Want to see something really scary this Halloween? Then check out the alarming rise of cannabis-related arrests in the U.S. in the chart below. YIKES!!

It's a very simple proposition. Police have limited budgets, manpower, and resources. If they place a high priority on the arrest and prosecution of non-violent cannabis users, they simply can't address other areas of real concern, including predatory and violent crimes. Every minute spent arresting a cannabis user is a minute that law enforcement can't use to address rape, assault, break-ins, and domestic violence. Sadly, a marijuana consumer is arrested every 38 seconds in America.

But surely police no longer arrest cannabis consumers, focusing instead on the production and distribution of hard drugs and other legitimate public safety concerns, right? Unfortunately, a recent article by NORML Senior Policy Analyst Paul Armentano reveals a very different tale. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Report released on September 24th of this year, police arrested a record 829,625 persons for marijuana violations in 2006, representing "the highest annual total ever recorded and nearly three times the number of citizens busted 15 years ago." (see chart below) Want to know the scariest part: 89% of these arrests are for simple possession. BOO!!

How can you find out all of this frighteningly useful information? You can read it online at, along with over 187,000 drug policy-related articles aimed at increasing public awareness about this failed and expensive war on our personal rights and freedoms.*

This Halloween, ignore statistical "tricks" used by the federal government to make it look like prohibition is working, and instead send a "treat" to help DrugSense bring an end to the arrest of non-violent cannabis users.

To donate quickly and easily online, please click here: All on-line donations are secure, private and tax-deductible.

You can also make your check or money order payable to DrugSense and mail it to:

DrugSense 14252 Culver Dr #328 Irvine, CA 92604-0326

REMEMBER, you can easily repeat your donation every month, quarter, or half year to provide DrugSense with automatic, recurring support. ( Please sign up for whatever you can afford.

Thank you again for working to end the irrational war on drugs and for supporting DrugSense/MAP.

Mark Greer, Executive Director

* You can find Paul's article from AlterNet at:


2006 : 829,625

2005 : 786,545

2004 : 771,608

2003 : 755,187

2002 : 697,082

2001 : 723,627

2000 : 734,498

1999 : 704,812

1998 : 682,885

1997 : 695,200

1996 : 641,642

1995 : 588,963

1994 : 499,122

1993 : 380,689

1992 : 342,314

1991 : 287,850

1990 : 326,850

Chart of U.S. cannabis arrests per year from 1990-2006.

Mark Greer is the Executive Director of DrugSense and the Media Awareness Project (MAP) inc.


"Maybe the next campaign ought to be for assisted-suicide laws in our state. If they will not allow me to live in peace, and a little less pain, would they help me to die, humanely?" -- Robin Prosser

Prosser Commits Suicide / Missoula Independent (MT)

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