THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) VETS MAKE UP QUARTER OF NATION'S HOMELESS
Pubdate: Thu, 8 Nov 2007
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Times
Author: Associated Press
Lonnie Bowen Jr. was once a social worker, but for 17 years the Vietnam war veteran has slept on the streets off and on as he's battled substance abuse and mental health problems.
"It's been a hard struggle," said Bowen, 62, as he rolled a cigarette outside a homeless processing center in downtown Philadelphia, where he planned to seek help for his drug and alcohol problem, as he has before.
Every night, hundreds of thousands of veterans like Bowen are without a home.
Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the United States, though they are only 11 percent of the general adult population, according to a report to be released Thursday by the Alliance to End Homelessness, a public education nonprofit.
Some advocates say such an early presence of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan at shelters does not bode well for the future. It took roughly a decade for the lives of Vietnam veterans to unravel to the point that they started showing up among the homeless. Advocates worry that intense and repeated deployments leave newer veterans particularly vulnerable.
"We're going to be having a tsunami of them eventually because the mental health toll from this war is enormous," said Daniel Tooth, director of veterans affairs for Lancaster County, Pa.
While services for homeless veterans have improved in the past 20 years, advocates say more financial resources still are needed. With the spotlight on the plight of Iraq veterans, they hope more will be done to prevent homelessness and provide affordable housing to the younger veterans while there's a window of opportunity.
"When the Vietnam War ended, that was part of the problem. The war was over, it was off TV, nobody wanted to hear about it," said John Keaveney, a Vietnam veteran and a founder of New Directions in Los Angeles, which gives veterans help with substance abuse, job training and shelter.
"I think they'll be forgotten," Keaveney said of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. "People get tired of it. It's not glitzy that these are young, honorable, patriotic Americans. They'll just be veterans, and that happens after every war."
(2) GOLD FROM GREEN IN A GRAY AREA ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 8 Nov 2007
Source: North Coast Journal (Arcatia, CA)
Copyright: 2007 North Coast Journal
Author: Bob Doran
You Might Be Surprised Who Profits From the Semi-Legal Marijuana Trade
A billowing cloud of controversy surrounding medical marijuana has made it the hot topic du jour in Arcata. Last month, after an indoor medical marijuana growing operation burned in a rental house, the subject jumped from the front pages of local newspapers to the City Council chambers. City staff from the planning, fire and police departments had been chewing on the perceived problem at weekly confabs for over a year, but the house fire moved the issue to the forefront of public debate.
There's a common misconception when it comes to the medical marijuana trade. Probably because the business has its roots in the black market, most assume that no one involved pays taxes.
The question came up in passing when the Arcata council was deliberating on medical pot issues. When discussion turned to a proposal to cap the number of dispensaries, Councilman Paul Pitino brought up a salient point: He'd noticed that one of the dispensaries, the Humboldt Cooperative, was listed as "one of the largest sales tax payers in Arcata," in a recent city report on tax contributions.
"Are we going to arbitrarily limit something that's funding the city?" he wondered aloud.
Dennis Turner of the Humboldt Cooperative is proud of the fact that his business pays its taxes. He's owner of what he claims is the largest dispensary in Arcata - and by extension, in Humboldt County, since there are currently no dispensaries outside the Arcata city limits. Turner told the City Council that the Cooperative serves 5,200 patients and buys from "over 80 growers." That's on top of the product that the Cooperative grows at its Isaacson's facility.
"We got a state of California sales permit the day we opened," he noted in a recent interview. He claimed that his was one of the first dispensaries to do so, and that his letters to the state Board of Equalization helped inspire that agency's decision to establish an official system for collecting taxes on medical pot.
"We're extremely interactive with government," he said. "We don't have any issues with that. We know what to do and we do it. So we pay our taxes. We got our federal tax ID number and started 1099-ing the growers."
That's right - it's not just sales tax that's paid by those associated with the dispensary. The growers pay income tax too, at least some of them.
(3) U.S. SAYS WAR ON NARCOTICS IS WORKING ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 9 Nov 2007
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Times
Author: Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
The White House Drug Policy Director, Visiting Colombia, Says Efforts to Disrupt Trafficking Have Cut Cocaine Supplies in the United States.
Interruptions of the flow of cocaine to the United States are causing street prices to rise, a sign that the "war on drugs" is working, the White House anti-drug chief said here Thursday.
John P. Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, told reporters that interdictions in Colombia, in other countries along cocaine transit routes and on the open seas were reducing drug supplies, according to data on price and purity gathered in 37 major U.S. cities.
As a result of reduced supply, street cocaine prices over the first nine months of the year rose to an average $136.93 per pure gram at the end of September, a 44% increase from January, he said. Price and purity data were supported by other measures, including reduced evidence of cocaine use as found in workplace tests, he said.
Price bumps in U.S. street cocaine prices have occurred before, touted by U.S. law enforcement officials each time as evidence that counter- narcotics policies were working. But the increases often proved temporary and were followed by supply adjustments by drug dealers and a settling back of cocaine prices.
However, Walters said his office had not seen such an extended rise in prices since the White House started tracking the data. "Nine months isn't temporary in my view," he said.
Critics who acknowledge that more cocaine is being seized point out that data on Colombian coca cultivation do not conclusively show that production is down.
Others, such as Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, a New York-based organization advocating alternatives to the administration's drug policy, said higher prices inevitably cause dealers to boost supply.
"Assuming that high cocaine prices are hurting cartels is like assuming high gasoline prices are hurting oil companies," Piper said.
(4) PLAN MEXICO? US AID MAY WORSEN DRUG WAR VIOLENCE ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 09 Nov 2007
Source: Spanish Journal (Milwaukee, WI)
Copyright: 2007 Spanish Journal
Author: Ethan Nadelmann
President Bush requested $1.4 billion of American taxpayer money for counter-narcotics aid to Mexico. It is a familiar game.
U.S. leaders blame another country for our failure to reduce drug misuse here at home. That country escalates its war against drugs but asks the U.S. to pick up part of the tab. Aid is given, but it ends up having no effect on the availability of drugs in the United States. Politicians in Washington point their fingers again, and the cycle continues.
Of course, it's tempting to give aid to Mexico. Calderon seems to be doing all the right things in cracking down on drug traffickers. He's appointed new people to key military and criminal justice positions, deployed troops to quell drug violence, reasserted federal police power and extradited major traffickers to the U.S.
But all this provides little reason to hope that Mexico will turn a corner in its efforts to control the illegal drug trade. For a guide to what's in store, one need only look at past sexenios (the six-year terms of Mexican presidents).
What Calderon is doing now differs little from what his predecessors did at the start of their terms. The results are always the same -- encouraging at first, but then it all starts up again. Drug- trafficking gangs re-group with new leaders and new connections. Previously incorruptible officers are newly corrupted. Police of all ranks, and all shades of probity, tremble in fear of assassins' bullets. And Mexicans again wonder why the cycle never really stops.
So what should policymakers do?
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Ironies are almost overwhelming this week in drug policy news. A
stern-sounding Republican presidential candidate has been jetted
about the country this year by a convicted drug dealer. A former
drug czar who repeatedly used the media to manipulate the public
into supporting the drug war is now criticizing the media for
manipulating the public into not supporting the Iraq war (and he
still doesn't understand that drug prohibition helps, not hurts,
terrorists). A drug researcher who does studies on laboratory
animals felt terrorized by animal rights activist, but she seems
unaware that casual drug users in America are routinely subject to
much more terrifying situations from authorities who are part of the
anti-drug complex from which she profits. And the Wall Street
Journal suggests marijuana and bridge (the card game) can lead to
Ironies are almost overwhelming this week in drug policy news. A stern-sounding Republican presidential candidate has been jetted about the country this year by a convicted drug dealer. A former drug czar who repeatedly used the media to manipulate the public into supporting the drug war is now criticizing the media for manipulating the public into not supporting the Iraq war (and he still doesn't understand that drug prohibition helps, not hurts, terrorists). A drug researcher who does studies on laboratory animals felt terrorized by animal rights activist, but she seems unaware that casual drug users in America are routinely subject to much more terrifying situations from authorities who are part of the anti-drug complex from which she profits. And the Wall Street Journal suggests marijuana and bridge (the card game) can lead to financial ruin.
(5) THOMPSON ADVISER HAS CRIMINAL PAST ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 04 Nov 2007
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2007 The Washington Post Company
Author: Matthew Mosk, Washington Post Staff Writer
Republican presidential candidate Fred D. Thompson has been crisscrossing the country since early this summer on a private jet lent to him by a businessman and close adviser who has a criminal record for drug dealing.
Thompson selected the businessman, Philip Martin, to raise seed money for his White House bid. Martin is one of four campaign co-chairmen and the head of a group called the "first day founders." Campaign aides jokingly began to refer to Martin, who has been friends with Thompson since the early 1990s, as the head of "Thompson's Airforce."
Thompson's frequent flights aboard Martin's twin-engine Cessna 560 Citation have saved him more than $100,000, because until the law changed in September, campaign-finance rules allowed presidential candidates to reimburse private jet owners for just a fraction of the true cost of flights.
Martin entered a plea of guilty to the sale of 11 pounds of marijuana in 1979; the court withheld judgment pending completion of his probation. He was charged in 1983 with violating his probation and with multiple counts of felony bookmaking, cocaine trafficking and conspiracy. He pleaded no contest to the cocaine-trafficking and conspiracy charges, which stemmed from a plan to sell $30,000 worth of the drug, and was continued on probation.
Thompson's campaign said the candidate was not aware of the multiple criminal cases, for which Martin served no jail time. All are described in public court records.
(6) GENERAL SAYS DRUG MONEY FUNDS TERRORISTS ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 29 Oct 2007
Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer (IL)
Copyright: 2007 Edwardsville Publishing Company.
Author: Norma Mendoza
McCaffrey Speaks At SIUE's Arts & Issues Series
Drugs are funding the war in the Middle East, four-star Gen. Barry McCaffrey, U.S. Army ( Ret. ), told the crowd gathered to hear his discussion about the war on terror at an SIUE Arts & Issues presentation Saturday night.
"( Our government ) has been willfully in denial of that reality."
He said the majority of the 44 recognized terrorist organizations are not funded by any communist state, but rather by the international crime of drug smuggling.
"If you want to make hundreds of millions of dollars, you get into drugs."
Despite the large amounts of money funneled into these groups through illegal drug operations, he said the terrorist organizations are badly damaged and intimidated. A recent offensive against them resulted in the most deaths since the Civil War Battle of Antietam, McCaffrey said.
"The first day of the Tarawa offensive wasn't as bad," he said.
McCaffrey, who is the president of his own consulting firm in Arlington, Va., was the most highly decorated and the youngest four-star general in the U.S. Army. His 32-year Army career stretches from Vietnam to Desert Storm where he served as commander in chief of the U.S. Army.
A sergeant first-class in the National Guard told McCaffrey that he has been in Iraq two times and in his opinion, in addition to that war and the one in Afghanistan, there is a third war going on in this country.
He blamed U.S. media for focusing on the negative aspects of the wars and ignoring the positive.
"They over-analyze everything," he said. "And they are manipulating the American public against the war."
(7) OPED: WHY I USE LABORATORY ANIMALS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 01 Nov 2007
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Times
Author: Edythe London
A UCLA Scientist Targeted by Animal Rights Militants Defends Her Research on Addiction and the Brain.
For years, I have watched with growing concern as my UCLA colleagues have been subjected to increasing harassment, violence and threats by animal rights extremists. In the last 15 months, these attempts at intimidation have included the placement of a Molotov cocktail-type device at a colleague's home and another under a colleague's car -- thankfully, they didn't ignite -- as well as rocks thrown through windows, phone and e-mail threats, banging on doors in the middle of the night and, on several occasions, direct confrontations with young children.
Then, several weeks ago, an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the work I have been doing to understand and treat nicotine addition among adolescents informed readers that some of my research is done on primates. I was instantly on my guard. Would I be the next victim? Would the more extremist elements of the animal rights movement now turn their sights on me?
The answer came this week when the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for vandalism that caused between $20,000 and $30,000 worth of damage to my home after extremists broke a window and inserted a garden hose, flooding the interior. Later, in a public statement addressed to me, the extremists said they had been torn between flooding my house or setting it afire. Maybe I should feel lucky.
(8) CEO OF CRISIS-HIT BEAR DENIES HE USED MARIJUANA ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 02 Nov 2007
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
NEW YORK -- Bear Stearns Cos. Chief Executive James Cayne, in an email to the securities firm's 15,000 employees, said he hadn't "engaged in inappropriate conduct," a response to a Wall Street Journal article about his handling of the credit-market crisis that included details of his marijuana use.
Mr. Cayne, 73 years old, said he was "intensely focused" on the firm's business and denied that he had smoked marijuana at a 2004 bridge tournament in Memphis as reported by the Journal.
A page-one article yesterday examining Mr. Cayne's leadership of the firm said he has used marijuana in more-private settings, according to people who say they have witnessed him doing so or participating with him. The bulk of the article detailed how Mr. Cayne played bridge and golf outside the office during a critical period in the summer, when two of Bear's hedge funds imploded. In the Journal article, Mr. Cayne denied emphatically that the 2004 pot incident occurred. "There is no chance that it happened," he said in the article. "Zero chance." Asked more generally whether he smoked pot during bridge tournaments or on other occasions, Mr. Cayne said in the article that he would respond only "to a specific allegation," not to general questions. In a note to clients, Punk, Ziegel & Co.'s Richard Bove said "the article clearly places the company in play" because Mr. Cayne would more likely sell Bear than retire "in disgrace."
The analyst added that he has placed sell recommendations on every brokerage stock except for Bear because of his belief that the firm could be a compelling acquisition target. David Trone, a securities analyst at investment bank Fox-Pitt Kelton Cochran Caronia Waller, suggested that the notion of drug use could make Mr. Cayne's position untenable. But he added that criticism of Mr. Cayne's performance was largely undeserved. "The collapse of Bear-branded hedge funds creates limited consequence to the company itself," wrote Mr. Trone, who has a buy rating on Bear shares.
Bear's shares fell 5%, to $107.94 in 4 p.m. New York Stock Exchange composite trading amid a broader market swoon and steep declines by financial firms.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Crack/cocaine sentencing disparities are about to be reduced, and
the U.S. Justice Department is worried - are they concerned there
will be too much justice? In other police news, Rhode Island courts
are arguing about the appropriate circumstances for cavity searches
of drug suspects; a Wisconsin newspaper looks at the repercussions
of tough parole policies; and the Hollywoodization of a former drug
lord spurs debate about the ability of that former drug lord to
profit from his story.
Crack/cocaine sentencing disparities are about to be reduced, and the U.S. Justice Department is worried - are they concerned there will be too much justice? In other police news, Rhode Island courts are arguing about the appropriate circumstances for cavity searches of drug suspects; a Wisconsin newspaper looks at the repercussions of tough parole policies; and the Hollywoodization of a former drug lord spurs debate about the ability of that former drug lord to profit from his story.
(9) RULES LOWER PRISON TERMS IN SENTENCES FOR CRACK ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 02 Nov 2007
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2007 The New York Times Company
Author: Solomon Moore
Crack cocaine offenders will receive shorter prison sentences under more lenient federal sentencing guidelines that went into effect yesterday.
The United States Sentencing Commission, a government panel that recommends appropriate federal prison terms, estimated that the new guidelines would reduce the federal prison population by 3,800 in 15 years.
The new guidelines will reduce the average sentence for crack cocaine possession to 8 years 10 months from 10 years 1 month. At a sentencing commission hearing in Washington on Nov. 13, members will consider whether to apply the guidelines retroactively to an estimated 19,500 crack cocaine offenders who were sentenced under the earlier, stricter guidelines.
The changes to the original 1987 guidelines could also add impetus to three bills in the Senate, one sponsored by a Democrat and two by Republicans, that would reduce or eliminate mandatory minimums for simple drug possession.
Department of Justice officials said yesterday that applying the new guidelines retroactively would erode federal drug enforcement efforts and undermine Congress's role in creating sentencing policy.
"The commission is now considering applying the changes retroactively, something that Congress has not suggested in any of the pending bills," wrote a department spokesman, Peter Carr. "As we state in a letter filed with the commission today, we believe this would be a mistake, having a serious impact on the safety of our communities and impose an unreasonable burden upon our judicial system."
If the guidelines are retroactive, crack cocaine offenders would be eligible to apply to the judge or court that sentenced them for reduced prison terms.
(10) APPEALS RULING LOOKS AT POLICE RIGHT TO DO CAVITY SEARCH ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 1 Nov 2007
Source: Providence Journal, The (RI)
Copyright: 2007 The Providence Journal Company
Author: Edward Fitzpatrick
When do the police have a right to look between your buttocks to see if there are drugs hidden there?
A federal appeals court addressed that question this week in overturning a ruling that said a Woonsocket police officer lacked the reasonable suspicion required to check for drugs between Kenny Barnes' buttocks.
Barnes, 28, of Woonsocket, is charged with possessing crack cocaine with the intent to distribute. Barnes was strip searched after his arrest, and when the police told him he had to undergo a visual cavity search, he "reached behind his back and removed a bag containing cocaine base from between his buttocks," according to the decision. ( Crack cocaine is a form of cocaine base. )
Federal public defenders argued that the 34.79 grams of crack cocaine had been seized in violation of Barnes' Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. And in June 2006, Senior U.S. District Judge Ernest C. Torres refused to allow prosecutors to use the crack cocaine as evidence.
"In short, it paints with too broad a brush to say that every person arrested on a drug charge automatically is subject not only to a strip search but also to a visual body cavity search," Torres wrote. "While evidence of drug trafficking may be sufficient to justify a strip search, some more individualized suspicion, ordinarily, is required to extend the search to bodily cavities."
Federal prosecutors appealed the suppression of that evidence, placing the case on hold. And in a decision issued Monday, the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Torres' order, sending the case back to Providence.
(11) SENTENCING LAW FILLS CELLS ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 31 Oct 2007
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Copyright: 2007 Journal Sentinel Inc.
Author: David Doege
Slip-Ups On Extended Supervision Can Add To Truth-In-Sentencing Terms
Seven years after David Lex went to prison with a five-year term for his role in a marijuana smuggling ring, he's still got more than four years left behind bars.
Lex is still doing time because of an aspect of the state's truth-in-sentencing scheme that didn't get a lot of attention when it took effect in late 1999. And Lex is far from alone.
Lex was one of 2,400 people who were sent back to the state's crowded prison system last year because they couldn't stay out of trouble while on extended supervision, the portion of a truth-in-sentencing term that follows prison.
When truth in sentencing took effect seven years ago, most of the hype concerning it focused on the fact that it came without parole. Inmates sentenced would have to serve every day of the prison term they received because there was no parole feature to let them out early for good behavior.
But the sentencing system isn't as cut and dried as it might sound.
That's because in place of parole, it features extended supervision. And failure on extended supervision means a former inmate can be returned again and again to prison with significant sentences. The possibility of going back - oftentimes for years - exists until an offender successfully completes the last minute of the last day of extended supervision.
The impact of that little-discussed aspect is now beginning to firmly take hold. And prisons already brimming with inmates serving the front end of their sentences, the so-called confinement portion, are having to find room at an increasing rate for offenders who failed on the back end of their terms, their periods of extended supervision.
(12) GANGING UP ON MOVIE'S 'LIES' ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 04 Nov 2007
Source: New York Post (NY)
Copyright: 2007 N.Y.P. Holdings, Inc.
Author: Susannah Cahalan
Hit film "American Gangster" whitewashes the seedy story of a ruthless Harlem drug dealer, says the former prosecutor who inspired one of the film's central characters and who cooperated with the filmmakers.
The movie is now stuffing the pockets of the former druglord, who is legally able to profit from his crimes.
Frank Lucas, a Harlem heroin kingpin of the 1960s and '70s portrayed by Denzel Washington, was convicted in 1975 of conspiracy to distribute heroin. Because the conviction occurred before the passage of the "Son of Sam" law, Lucas is not banned from selling the story of his crimes.
Lucas has already received $300,000 from Universal Pictures and another $500,000 from the studio and Washington to buy a house and a new car, a source in the production told The Post.
Lucas says he also has plans for a gangster video game and a clothing line, and is negotiating a possible sequel to the film.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
The Dutch are staying the course with their medicinal cannabis
cultivation and distribution program, despite their inability to
compete economically with grey market "coffee shops."
Californian courts are trying to reconcile workplace drug testing
with the state Compassionate Use Act and persons with disabilities
Voters in Denver sent a message to their police and prosecutors to
make cannabis possession offenses their lowest enforcement priority,
thanks to the initiative of Citizens for a SAFER Denver.
A lawsuit launched by two North Dakota farmers to force the DEA to
relinquish their interstate commerce grip on industrial hemp might
have national significance.
The Dutch are staying the course with their medicinal cannabis cultivation and distribution program, despite their inability to compete economically with grey market "coffee shops."
Californian courts are trying to reconcile workplace drug testing with the state Compassionate Use Act and persons with disabilities legislation.
Voters in Denver sent a message to their police and prosecutors to make cannabis possession offenses their lowest enforcement priority, thanks to the initiative of Citizens for a SAFER Denver.
A lawsuit launched by two North Dakota farmers to force the DEA to relinquish their interstate commerce grip on industrial hemp might have national significance.
(13) DUTCH HEALTH MINISTER EXTENDS MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM FOR ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 07 Nov 2007
Source: International Herald-Tribune (International)
Copyright: International Herald Tribune 2007
Cited: Trimbos Institute http://www.trimbos.nl/
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands: The Dutch Health Ministry announced plans Wednesday to extend its experimental medical marijuana program for five years, despite setbacks.
Under the program, launched in 2003, standardized marijuana is grown by government-licensed growers under controlled conditions and sold by prescription in pharmacies.
But few patients, even armed with a doctor's prescription, bought the regulated weed since they could buy it at a third of the price in "coffee shops," where it remains illegal but tolerated if sold in small amounts.
The medical marijuana plan was meant to allow the growers licensed by the ministry's Bureau for Medical Cannabis to build a customer base and eventually take over production from illegal growers. It also would give companies a chance to develop and register cannabis-based prescription drugs.
Health Minister Ab Klink said in a letter to parliament Wednesday that one Dutch company, Echo Pharmaceuticals BV, had made progress gaining approval for its drug, and he wanted to give it more time to succeed.
The ministry said British company GW Pharmaceuticals PLC, which sells a marijuana-based oral medicine in Canada, has withdrawn from the Dutch approval process.
The centrist government agreed as part of its coalition pact not to change country's famed tolerance policy on unregulated marijuana, which is rife with contradictions.
Advocates say full legalization would lead to better labeling of the plant's chemical contents.
(14) CAN MEDICAL POT USER BE FIRED FOR FAILING DRUG TEST? ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 07 Nov 2007
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Author: Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Cited: http://www.americansforsafeaccess.org/ Related: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4407
Court to Rule:
Sacramento -- A divided California Supreme Court grappled Tuesday with the application of the state's medical marijuana law in the workplace, debating whether an employee who uses pot to cope with pain or illness can be fired for violating federal drug laws.
The case of Gary Ross, a 45-year-old computer technician fired by a small Sacramento firm for failing a drug test, is the latest in a series of federal-state conflicts since California voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996, legalizing the medical use of marijuana if a doctor recommends it. At least 11 states have since adopted similar laws.
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the federal government's authority to shut state-approved medical marijuana dispensaries and prosecute patients and their suppliers for violating federal laws that ban marijuana possession, cultivation and distribution. But the application of Prop. 215 to issues of hiring and firing depends mostly on the meaning of California law - the 1996 initiative, a follow-up legislative measure and a disability discrimination law - on which the state's top court is the final authority.
The state's voters intended to allow medical marijuana users "to fully participate in life regardless of any potential disability," Stewart Katz, a lawyer for Ross, told the court during Tuesday's hourlong hearing in Sacramento. That includes having a job, he said.
But several justices noted that although Prop. 215 protected medical marijuana users and their caregivers from state criminal prosecution, it never mentioned the workplace.
(15) DENVER PUTS POT BUSTS ON COPS' BACK BURNER ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 07 Nov 2007
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2007 The Denver Post Corp
Author: Felisa Cardona, The Denver Post
Denver Initiated Question 100 (Marijuana law enforcement):
* Yes 55.5%
More than half of Denver voters favored an initiative making marijuana the city's lowest law enforcement priority.
With just a handful of ballots left to count, the measure had captured 55 percent of the vote. The result means the mayor must appoint a panel to monitor how marijuana cases are handled by the police and city prosecutors and issue a report. "It appears as if it is going to pass, and it shows there is a wealth of support around the city," said Mason Tvert, campaign director of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, the group behind the initiative.
Tvert says the measure was motivated by what he says are overzealous police who continue to cite adults for possessing under an ounce of marijuana despite a law that allows simple pot possession in Denver.
Denver police and prosecutors say possessing marijuana still violates state and federal laws.
A spokeswoman for Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has said that enforcement of laws governing small amounts of marijuana is already a low priority.
Similar initiatives passed in Seattle in 2003 and in Missoula, Mont. last year.
Seattle's marijuana panel reported that marijuana prosecutions and arrests are down, but Seattle's city attorney says the group cannot agree whether the initiative caused the drop.
In Missoula, the city attorney has told prosecutors in his office not to pursue simple marijuana possession cases involving adults.
"These sorts of measures in cities and towns across the country have an unbroken winning streak, and it's looking like that streak is continuing, and that's a sign that voters around the country don't want police time and effort wasted on small-time marijuana enforcement," said Bruce Mirken, spokesman for the Washington D.C.- based Marijuana Policy Project, a group that contributed $30,000 to SAFER.
(16) HEMP FOR THE HEMP-LESS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 03 Nov 2007
Source: Sunday Paper, The (Atlanta, GA)
Copyright: 2007 The Sunday Paper
Author: Josh Clark
Will A Lawsuit Filed By North Dakota Farmers Resurrect Georgia's Hemp Industry?
In 2000, Americans spent $11 billion on marijuana. As many as 13 percent of Atlantans (including the metro area--can't forget the suburban kids) smoke pot. Those are stunning statistics. But while marijuana usually bogarts the spotlight, lately its buzz-kill cousin hemp is getting its moment in the sun, thanks to a lawsuit filed by two North Dakota farmers against the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The farmers, Wayne Hauge and Dave Monson, were granted licenses by the state to grow hemp for industrial use. The only problem is that hemp falls under federal guidelines for controlled substances. So, without an exemption, each time the farmers ship hemp across the state border, the feds--in the form of the DEA, for example--will confiscate or burn their crops. Also, Monson (who is a Republican state legislator) and Hauge both face serious jail time.
Since a Congressional measure to remove hemp from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act has been indefinitely stalled, the problem may come down to a question of states' rights. Though trafficking across state lines poses a problem, the state could conceivably protect the farmers' crops--after all, North Dakota already issued the licenses to grow the hemp. The case, which will get a hearing in federal court on Nov. 14, may set a precedent that encourages hemp farming elsewhere.
Would-be hemp farmers in Georgia, however, need not hold their breath: Georgia is the state that considered outlawing food products that contain hemp as recently as 2006, so it's extremely unlikely that Georgia's legislators would be looking for a way to exempt hemp cultivation from the state's controlled-substances prohibitions.
"This is so far-fetched as possibly being something we would have to deal with, it seems unnecessary to even discuss it hypothetically," says Rep. Ellis Black, a Democrat from Valdosta. Black is a farmer and a member of the House Agriculture Committee. Despite his initial gruffness, he does have a working knowledge of the hemp industry. "It seems to be one of these things that is so labor-intensive, we couldn't compete with all of the other countries that have cheap labor available to them," he says.
Yet Canada, certainly no hot spot for cheap labor, is a major hemp producer. Since commercial hemp farming was re-legalized in Canada in 1998, the majority of hempseeds and oil in the U.S. now originates in Canada and in the European Union (EU). The United States would have a long way to go to catch up.
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Prohibition drives up the price of what would ordinarily be
agricultural commodities to black market heights, offering rich
financial incentives to those breaking the law by supplying the
demand. And people who are given such great financial incentives
find ways to undermine prohibition, and fly under the radar.
Sometimes, under the radar quite literally, we learn. Yet another
mini- submarine shipyard was discovered in Colombia. The 55-foot,
350-hp submersibles could carry a crew of 4 and a cargo of about 3
to 5 tons of (presumably) cocaine.
It was a confusing week for followers of cannabis research. The
Irish Independent trumpeted the dire warning this week: "Cannabis
Far More Toxic To The Adolescent Brain." Warns Doctor Hugh Garavan,
"We are finding differences with cannabis users. The hippocampus is
being driven to work harder." Conclusion: cannabis is "toxic to
youngsters." But wait, a Swiss report this week concluded the
opposite, "Positive Effects Found For Pot Users... [youth] who
smoked marijuana do as well or better in some areas as those who
don't, researchers said yesterday."
Meanwhile back in India, the Hindustan Times reported that many
there start their day with a bhang (a cannabis-milk drink) from
"government-run bhang shops" in Rajasthan. Are they partying, or
getting stoned? No, this is how they have worshipped for thousands
of years. "Don't call it nasha (intoxicant). It is the prasad of
Lord Shiva... We do not drink alcohol. All we take is bhang, which
we consider as prasad."
Prohibition drives up the price of what would ordinarily be agricultural commodities to black market heights, offering rich financial incentives to those breaking the law by supplying the demand. And people who are given such great financial incentives find ways to undermine prohibition, and fly under the radar. Sometimes, under the radar quite literally, we learn. Yet another mini- submarine shipyard was discovered in Colombia. The 55-foot, 350-hp submersibles could carry a crew of 4 and a cargo of about 3 to 5 tons of (presumably) cocaine.
It was a confusing week for followers of cannabis research. The Irish Independent trumpeted the dire warning this week: "Cannabis Far More Toxic To The Adolescent Brain." Warns Doctor Hugh Garavan, "We are finding differences with cannabis users. The hippocampus is being driven to work harder." Conclusion: cannabis is "toxic to youngsters." But wait, a Swiss report this week concluded the opposite, "Positive Effects Found For Pot Users... [youth] who smoked marijuana do as well or better in some areas as those who don't, researchers said yesterday."
Meanwhile back in India, the Hindustan Times reported that many there start their day with a bhang (a cannabis-milk drink) from "government-run bhang shops" in Rajasthan. Are they partying, or getting stoned? No, this is how they have worshipped for thousands of years. "Don't call it nasha (intoxicant). It is the prasad of Lord Shiva... We do not drink alcohol. All we take is bhang, which we consider as prasad."
(17) COLOMBIAN DRUG CARTELS TAKE UNDERWATER ROUTE ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 06 Nov 2007
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Times
Author: Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Submersibles Are Used to Ferry Narcotics. Some in U.S. Fear the Tactic May Inspire Terrorists.
CALI, COLOMBIA -- It was on a routine patrol that the Colombian coast guard stumbled upon an eerie outpost amid the mangroves: a mini-shipyard where suspected drug traffickers were building submarines.
Perched on a makeshift wooden dry dock late last month were two 55-foot-long fiberglass vessels, one ready for launch, the other about 70% complete. Each was outfitted with a 350-horsepower Cummins diesel engine and enough fuel capacity to reach the coast of Central America or Mexico, hundreds of miles to the north.
The vessels had cargo space that could fit 5 tons of cocaine, a senior officer with the Colombian coast guard's Pacific command said in an interview.
The design featured tubing for air, crude conning towers and cramped bunk space for a crew of four, he added.
(18) CANNABIS FAR MORE TOXIC TO THE ADOLESCENT BRAIN ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 05 Nov 2007
Source: Irish Independent (Ireland)
Copyright: Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd
Author: Gareth Morgan
CANNABIS is far more toxic to the brains of young people who are exposed to the drug, than it is to adults, according to ground-breaking new Irish research.
The unpublished work, by scientists at Trinity College, Dublin, includes technology which actually takes photographs of subjects' brains.
But the research also suggests that the drug is more toxic to youngsters.
Dr Hugh Garavan, who is leading one of the studies is examining the prefrontal cortex which is used for decision making, and the hippocampus which is used for memory.
"We are finding differences with cannabis users. The hippocampus is being driven to work harder, perhaps to overcompensate for the drug."
(19) POSITIVE EFFECTS FOUND FOR POT USERS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 06 Nov 2007
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2007 Reuters
Youths Found To Have Better Relations With Peers And Good Grades
(Reuters) - A study of more than 5,000 youngsters in Switzerland has found those who smoked marijuana do as well or better in some areas as those who don't, researchers said yesterday.
The study did not confirm the hypothesis that those who abstained from marijuana and tobacco functioned better overall, the authors said.
In fact, those who used only marijuana were "more socially driven ... significantly more likely to practise sports and they have a better relationship with their peers" than abstainers, it said.
(20) STARTING THE DAY WITH THE CUP THAT KICKS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 04 Nov 2007
Source: Hindustan Times (India)
Copyright: 2007, Hindustan Times Ltd.
Author: Anil Sharma, Indo-Asian News Service
For some in Rajasthan's Rajsamand district, the day starts not with a hot cuppa but with a bhang-laced drink made from cannabis.
At six in the morning, people begin slowly trooping into government-run bhang shops in the district for the drink, made from the leaves of cannabis that grows wild in many parts of northern India.
Most people don't like calling bhang an intoxicant but a prasad (holy offering) of Lord Shiva.
"Don't call it nasha (intoxicant). It is the prasad of Lord Shiva," said Radhey Lal, in his late 60s, cradling a glass of bhang ki thandai in his hand.
"We do not drink alcohol. All we take is bhang, which we consider as prasad," said Kishna, who is in his early 30s.
There are around 785 government-licensed bhang shops in Rajasthan, of which 23 are in Rajsamand district.
On an average, every year 400-450 quintals of bhang is consumed in the state. Shopkeepers are not allowed to sell bhang to those below 18 years of age.
The womenfolk do not seem to object to the men taking bhang. They say it is better than their consuming country liquor.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
11/07/07 - Bruce Mirken, Marijuana Policy Project, Debate: DEA's Dr. David Murray & Dr. Ethan Nadelmann of Drug Policy Alliance
Century of Lies
11/06/07 Philippe Lucas, Vancouver Island Compassion Society
DOES SMOKING POT MAKE YOU A BETTER FRIEND AND ATHLETE? ( Top )
By Jacob Sullum, November 6, 2007
A Swiss study reported in the November issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine finds that teenagers who smoke just marijuana seem to be better adjusted than teenagers who smoke tobacco as well as pot.
MASSACHUSETTS STATE HOUSE MARIJUANA DECRIM HEARING IN BOSTON, MA ( Top )
With MassCann/NORML, LEAP, medical marijuana users, and Paul T. Breeden of Boston Live TV.
Marijuana Decrim Hearing- Mass State House-11/5/2007- Part I
Marijuana Decrim Hearing- Mass State House-11/5/2007-Part II
Marijuana Decrim Hearing- Mass State House-11/5/2007-Part III
'PLAN MEXICO' LATEST FRONT IN FAILED U.S. DRUG WAR ( Top )
By Laura Carlsen, Foreign Policy in Focus
The latest in U.S. hegemony over its Southern neighbors.
WEB LOG OF DR. TOM O'CONNELL : IS THE DRUG WAR ENDING? ( Top )
GEOPOLITICS OF DRUGS: NARCOAVION DE GUANT NAMO ( Top )
Before President Bush proposed giving the Mexican government more than a billion dollars in aid to fight the war on drugs last week, we noticed a strange phenomenon. Either it's a series of coincidences, or it's evidence of serious corruption.
LORDS SAVAGE DRUG STRATEGY CONSULTATION, AND DEBATE PROHIBITION ( Top )
Monday's Lords drugs debate provided some overdue parliamentary critique of the Government's woefully inadequate drug strategy consultation, as well as providing a forum for an all too rare debate on prohibition and legalisation/regulation.
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
PERSUADE BUSH TO PARDON THOUSANDS OF NONVIOLENT DRUG OFFENDERS ( Top )
President Bush's decision to spare Scooter Libby prison time -- having used the commutation power almost not at all previously -- has ignited a national debate on sentencing and incarceration. You can help by signing our online petition, "Save Bush's Legacy by Persuading Him to Pardon Thousands of Nonviolent Drug Offenders and Not Be a Hypocrite."
HOTEL CUT OFF DATE SOON APPROACHING FOR DRUG POLICY CONFERENCE ( Top )
If you have not yet made your hotel reservations at the Astor Crowne Plaza for the International Drug Policy Reform Conference, you must do so by Monday, November 12, 2007 in order to receive the conference rate. Please be aware if you are an award or scholarship recipient this does not apply to you.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
N.W.T. Mountie's Slaying Even More Reason to Legalize Drugs ( Top )
By Alan Randell
Re: "Mountie's widow begs town to fight drugs: 1,000 people pack arena for memorial," The Journal, Oct. 28
I totally understand Jodie Worden's position.
In the hours following the death of my youngest child in 1993 -- shortly after he ingested some heroin -- I urged the local police to go after those who provided Peter with the drug.
However, as time went by, I realized that Peter was not killed by the drug. Rather, like Const. Christopher Worden, he was a victim of drug prohibition.
When alcohol was banned, many law enforcement officers were killed by the violence and mayhem that prohibition induced and thousands of users were blinded by the effects of bathtub gin and other illegal concoctions.
But when alcohol was made legal again, the number of such tragedies dropped precipitately.
Surely the very same effect will occur when we come to our collective senses and legalize all drugs.
Alan Randell, Victoria
Pubdate: Tue, 30 Oct 2007
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
APA Awards Unanimous Support for Medical Marijuana ( Top )
By Isabelle Duerme
Washington, D.C. (AHN) - In an attempt to push forward the acceptance of the effectiveness of medical marijuana, the American Psychiatric Association has declared their unanimous vote in support of the legal protection of patients with doctors' recommendations to use the herb for medical reasons.
Proclaimed in an action paper awaiting approval from the APA Board of Trustees this December, the argument noted that 12 states have already adopted the laws allowing regulated use of medical marijuana.
It pointed out, "The threat of arrest by federal agents, however, still exists. Seriously ill patients living in these states with medical marijuana recommendations from their doctors should not be subjected to the treat of punitive federal prosecution for merely attempting to alleviate the chronic pain, side effects, or symptoms associated with their conditions or resulting from their overall treatment regimens...[We] support protection for patients and physicians participating in state approved medical marijuana programs."
Being the second action paper put out calling for further facilitations in the research "into the medical utility of marijuana," the vote was described to be "a landmark, a proud day for our profession," as declared by Abraham L. Halpern, M.D., professor emeritus of psychiatry at the New York Medical College, and former president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.
"As physicians, we cannot abide our patients being subject to arrest and jail for using a physician-recommended treatment that clearly relieves suffering for many who are not helped by conventional treatments," Dr. Halpern added, as quoted by the Salem News.
The consequences that have been facing those using medical marijuana has been a growing issue in the state.
A most recent incident related to the controversy involved a Gary Ross, who filed a court case complaining that his company terminated him for using the herb, despite the fact that it was doctor-approved, as reported by the AP.
Isabelle Duerme is an AHN News Writer. This story was originally published at http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7009092768
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"If people behaved like governments, you'd call the cops." - Kelvin Throop
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