THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) COLUMN: SPECIAL HEARING SET AFTER JUDGE'S DEATH LEAVES CASE HANGING
Pubdate: Thu, 29 Nov 2007
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Author: Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun
Criminal Drug-Trafficking Trial Involves Important Constitutional Challenge
The death of B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Edwards has jeopardized a lengthy and costly Victoria criminal trial involving an important constitutional challenge of the marijuana law.
In most criminal cases, when a judge is unable to follow through to judgment a mistrial is declared and everyone begins again.
There is too much at stake here, so on Friday a rare hearing has been scheduled in Vancouver to see if there is a way to save the huge expense incurred and the evidence already presented.
"We don't want to see the incredible effort by the chronically ill patients who have supported and testified in this case lost," defence lawyer Kirk Tousaw said Wednesday.
"We're hoping to find a way to move forward because this case has such widespread repercussions for the tens of thousands of terminally ill and ailing Canadians who get therapeutic help from marijuana."
Tousaw and colleague John Conroy have been arguing the criminal law is constitutionally invalid because the federal government has failed to provide adequate access and supply of medical marijuana as required under the prevailing Supreme Court of Canada decision about the criminal prohibition.
Should everyone go through the expense of mounting a retrial, or might it be possible for the justice to read a transcript of what's happened since the trial began in May and continue?
(2) JUDGE: CONGRESS SHOULD DECIDE ON HEMP ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 30 Nov 2007
Source: Minot Daily News (ND)
Copyright: 2007 Minot Daily News
Author: Marvin Baker
Referenced: the court ruling http://drugsense.org/url/22uxnbag
Bismarck -- A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit two North Dakota farmers filed against the federal government in an effort to grow and harvest industrial hemp without reprisal.
Judge Daniel Hovland stated in his 22-page judgment Wednesday that Wayne Hauge of Ray and David Monson of Osnabrock should allow Congress to settle the issue of whether industrial hemp is a legal agricultural commodity or a controlled substance.
Hovland said the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007, introduced in the House of Representatives in February by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, was designed to address the current issue. Hovland referred to the act numerous times during a Nov. 14 hearing. It is yet to be debated.
"Congress can best address this problem and passage of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007 would accomplish what the plaintiffs seek in this issue," Hovland wrote. "Whether efforts to amend the law prevail, and whether North Dakota farmers will be permitted to grow industrial hemp in the future, are issues that should ultimately rest in the hands of Congress rather than in the hands of a federal judge."
North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson said the dismissal leaves the farmers with little recourse except to appeal to a higher court.
"The judge said this is a matter best left to Congress," Johnson said. "It is disappointing because realistically, I don't think Congress will deal with it."
Johnson issued state industrial hemp licenses to Monson and Hauge earlier this year under regulations developed under state law by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. However, the licenses required Drug Enforcement Administration approval to take effect.
"Mr. Monson and Mr. Hauge did everything they were supposed to do; they submitted to background checks; they filled out a lot of paperwork, and they paid considerable fees," Johnson said. "Now, the growing season is long over, and they still have had no word from DEA, other than a complaint that there was not enough time for the agency to conduct a complete review for a license that, if approved, would have been for only one year."
In a related development, the DEA has sent a memorandum of agreement to NDSU, which if signed, would clear the way for industrial hemp research in Fargo.
Tom Murphy of the Vote Hemp advocacy organization, has been watching the case from his home in Rockport, Maine. Like Hauge, he said he is disappointed with the ruling but isn't surprised.
Murphy said neither farmer should have to risk his integrity or his farm to challenge the government on this issue. Instead, Murphy said the DEA should realize industrial hemp is a valuable agricultural commodity and that with all the security measures in place in the law, farmers should be allowed to grow it.
(3) NEEDLE EXCHANGE SMOOTH IN ATLANTIC CITY ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 29 Nov 2007
Source: Press of Atlantic City, The (NJ)
Copyright: 2007 South Jersey Publishing Co.
Author: Pete McAleer, Statehouse Bureau
Atlantic City quietly began its first legal needle-exchange program Tuesday, becoming the first city in New Jersey to take part in a pilot program aimed at reducing the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The first day of Atlantic City's needle-exchange program saw 20 people register and turn in used needles for clean ones at the Oasis Drop-In Center on South Tennessee Avenue, according to Roseanne Scotti, director of Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey, an organization that lobbied for years for needle-exchange programs in New Jersey.
The Oasis center, operated by the South Jersey Aids Alliance, already provides free HIV counseling and testing, drug-treatment referrals and other social services. A methadone clinic is located across the street.
Atlantic City and three other municipalities - Camden, Newark and Paterson - were given the authority to distribute clean needles without a prescription under a December 2006 law signed by Gov. Jon S. Corzine. Camden is expected to start its program in January. Newark and Paterson expect to start soon after.
The Drug Policy Alliance of New Jersey continues to lobby for a law that would allow for the pharmaceutical sale of syringes without a prescription. New Jersey is one of only three states to require a prescription to purchase a syringe in a pharmacy.
(4) EDITORIAL: THE AIDS FIGHT IS FAR FROM OVER ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 30 Nov 2007
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Hearst Communications Inc.
Put the smartest scientific minds in a computer lab. Give them all the time and money in the world to design the perfect organism. It's doubtful they could come up with a tougher, more wily creation than the virus that causes AIDS.
Ponder its track record: Decades after it terrorized American cities, HIV was largely quelled through prevention, awareness and life- extending drugs. The national infection rate has steadied at 40,000 new cases for years.
But the bug is back and in ways that make it as troubling as ever. In the recent past, the new cases were mostly found among needle users, a definably small (and politically unappealing) group. That's why this country has pretty much gone to sleep on a topic that once produced Hollywood movies, books and endless strategizing.
Now, HIV is heading back for a return engagement if the indicators are right. This time, the scourge needs to be finished off once and for all.
One report in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds infection rates rising among gay men, the group that first encountered HIV and battled back. Why the relapse? According to the health experts who wrote the report, the danger of HIV and AIDS is "not as frightening as it was," thanks to drugs that can forestall a full- blown case. Successful medicine invites complacency, it seems.
The second dose of bad news is a study breaking down HIV rates in Washington, D.C. The highest percentage of infected residents there are heterosexuals, not needle users or gay men. Though the nation's capital has a notably lousy health system, HIV has taken full advantage and broken out of its familiar boundaries. It's now behaving as it does in sub-Saharan Africa: reaching into the lives across the board: pregnant moms, men, women and families.
Decades into the AIDS plague, the answers are ready if the will can be found. Education and prevention - including wider testing - should be adopted to catch infection early. Also, a ban on federal money for needle exchange programs should be lifted. All three leading Democratic presidential contenders now favor allowing federal money for such needle swaps, a sign that a once-touchy idea is a now a so- what notion. On the GOP side, no one is railing against needle giveaways.
This Saturday marks the 20th World AIDS Day, one of those calendar markings that sounds contrived. But with the deadly - and avoidable - numbers heading in new directions, it's a moment to mark. The fight is nowhere near over.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
A local analysis of new crack sentencing guidelines suggests the
changes will make very little difference for most offenders. That
same analysis of the local statistics shows again how the disparity
will continue to affect minorities. So the sentencing guideline
overhaul may not have been a revolution in policy, but MDMA might
offer a revolution for the treatment of post-traumatic stress
disorder. That's not a surprise, but the detailed and positive story
published by the Washington Post was enlightened in a way that most
WP stories about illegal drugs aren't.
Also last week, professional prohibitionists want presidential
candidate Barack Obama to be more dishonest about drug use; while a
tribal court in South Dakota has struck down a local tribal
council's decision to drug test itself.
A local analysis of new crack sentencing guidelines suggests the changes will make very little difference for most offenders. That same analysis of the local statistics shows again how the disparity will continue to affect minorities. So the sentencing guideline overhaul may not have been a revolution in policy, but MDMA might offer a revolution for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. That's not a surprise, but the detailed and positive story published by the Washington Post was enlightened in a way that most WP stories about illegal drugs aren't.
Also last week, professional prohibitionists want presidential candidate Barack Obama to be more dishonest about drug use; while a tribal court in South Dakota has struck down a local tribal council's decision to drug test itself.
(5) NEW CRACK SENTENCING GUIDELINES CALLED 'ALMOST INCONSEQUENTIAL' ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Nov 2007
Source: Citizens' Voice, The (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
Copyright: 2007 The Citizens' Voice
Author: Erin L. Nissley, Staff Writer
Get caught dealing five grams of crack and you will get at least five years in a federal prison.
It would take a case involving 500 grams of powder cocaine to get the same minimum sentence.
It's a discrepancy critics say leads to harsher punishments for minorities and the poor, who experts say are more likely to buy and sell crack because it's cheaper and more potent than powder.
The U.S. Sentencing Commission eased the sentencing guidelines for crack dealers and users this month, dropping sentencing guidelines two levels for crack offenders. That's good news for the 350 people imprisoned on crack charges in the Scranton-based U.S. Middle District of Pennsylvania, all of whom could be eligible for early release.
What it does not affect, however, is mandatory minimum and maximum sentences for powder and crack. Those have to be changed by an act of Congress. And until then, the two-level drop in sentencing guidelines for crack cases is, as local attorney Joseph D'Andrea puts it, "almost inconsequential."
The mandatory minimums treat crack offenders 100 times more harshly than powder cocaine offender, and can only be changed through legislation.
Here in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, which includes Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wayne, Monroe and Susquehanna counties, there were sentencings in 133 crack cases from Oct. 1, 2006 through Aug. 30.
In the same time period, there were 70 sentencings in cocaine cases.
Almost 70 percent of defendants in those crack cases were black, and about 19 percent were Hispanic. About 12 percent were white, according to data kept by Len Bogart, chief U.S. probation officer in Scranton.
(6) THE PEACE DRUG ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Nov 2007
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2007 The Washington Post Company
Author: Tom Shroder
Post-traumatic stress disorder had destroyed Donna Kilgore's life. Then experimental therapy with MDMA, a psychedelic drug better known as ecstasy, showed her a way out. Was it a fluke -- or the future?
THE BED IS TILTING!
Or the couch, or whatever. A futon. Slanted.
She hadn't noticed it before, but now she can't stop noticing. Like the princess and the pea.
By objective measure, the tilt is negligible, a fraction of an inch, but she can't be fooled by appearances, not with the sleep mask on. In her inner darkness, the slight tilt magnifies, and suddenly she feels as if she might slide off, and that idea makes her giggle.
"I feel really, really weird," she says. "Crooked!"
Donna Kilgore laughs, a high-pitched sound that contains both thrill and anxiety. That she feels anything at all, anything other than the weighty, oppressive numbness that has filled her for 11 years, is enough in itself to make her giddy.
But there is something more at work inside her, something growing from the little white capsule she swallowed just minutes ago. She's subject No. 1 in a historic experiment, the first U.S. government-sanctioned research in two decades into the potential of psychedelic drugs to treat psychiatric disorders. This 2004 session in the office of a Charleston, S.C., psychiatrist is being recorded on audiocassettes, which Donna will later hand to a journalist.
The tape reveals her reaction as she listens to the gentle piano music playing in her headphones. Behind her eyelids, movies begin to unreel. She tries to say what she sees: Cars careening down the wrong side of the road. Vivid images of her oldest daughter, then all three of her children. She's overcome with an all-consuming love, a love she thought she'd lost forever.
"Now I feel all warm and fuzzy," she announces. "I'm not nervous anymore."
"What level of distress do you feel right now?" a deeply mellow voice beside her asks.
Donna answers with a giggle. "I don't think I got the placebo," she says.
FOURTEEN YEARS AGO, Donna Kilgore was raped.
When the stranger at the door asked if her husband were home, she hesitated. Not long, but long enough. That was her mistake.
(7) ANTI-DRUG CROWD SAYS BARACK OBAMA'S TALK WAS BAD MEDICINE ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 21 Nov 2007
Source: New York Daily News (NY)
Copyright: 2007 Daily News, L.P.
Author: Helen Kennedy, Daily News Staff Writer
Anti-drug crusaders bashed Barack Obama's candid chat with New Hampshire high schoolers Tuesday, saying his casual manner sent a dangerous message: You can get high and still be President.
"A person in his position has an obligation to be very clear about the seriousness and illegality and potentially deadly results of using drugs," said Calvina Fay, executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation.
She said the two most effective weapons against teen addiction are emphasizing the harm drugs can cause and stressing societal disapproval of using them.
"He basically violated both of those," Fay said.
She said Obama's telling kids he did drugs and came out okay might also lull parents into being less alarmed about their kids' dabbling with banned substances.
"His outcome was very different from what we normally see. Most kids that use drugs don't become presidential candidates," Fay said.
(8) TRIBAL COUNCIL DRUG-TEST ORDER SUSPENDED ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 21 Nov 2007
Source: Rapid City Journal (SD)
Copyright: 2007 The Rapid City Journal
Author: Bill Harlan
Members of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council who were suspended for not taking a drug test have been reinstated, after a tribal judge struck down the requirement.
In October, the tribal council passed a resolution requiring members and other elected officials to take a "hair follicle" drug test.
The ordinance was in response to the arrest in New Mexico of Councilman Don Garnier, who faces a federal charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute it.
Tribal Judge Lisa Adams earlier this month upheld the test for council members but struck down the requirement for the tribe's treasurer.
On Nov. 7, a motion to rescind the drug-test requirement order failed by a vote of 12-2 of the tribal council.
Last week, however, Judge Adams killed the measure "in its entirety for vagueness," according to documents faxed to the Rapid City Journal from the office of Oglala Sioux Tribe President John Steele.
At least 11 tribal officials took the hair-follicle test, as did Steele.
Two council members refused, arguing the council had no authority to pass the ordinance.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
As drug corruption becomes more pervasive in law enforcement, some
officials are trying to defend their own crookedness, instead of
actually rooting out the problems. Even self-proclaimed religious
leaders are getting in on the act. Very sad.
As drug corruption becomes more pervasive in law enforcement, some officials are trying to defend their own crookedness, instead of actually rooting out the problems. Even self-proclaimed religious leaders are getting in on the act. Very sad.
(9) DRUG TASK FORCE FACES AUDIT CRITICAL ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 26 Nov 2007
Source: Star Press, The (IN)
Copyright: 2007 The Star Press
Author: Seth Slabaugh
At Issue Is Where The Drug Task Force Should Deposit Cash And The Proceeds From The Sale Of Other Property Seized From Drug Dealers.
MUNCIE -- The Muncie-Delaware County Drug Task Force is playing a game of keep away that uses money instead of a ball, and the state of Indiana is the monkey in the middle.
Going back to at least 1999, the DTF has ignored a state law requiring cash and proceeds from the sale of other property seized from drug dealers to be deposited in the general fund of the governmental unit employing the DTF officers, according to the State Board of Accounts.
Any excess money remaining after the reimbursement of law enforcement costs is supposed to be transferred from the local general fund to the state treasurer for deposit in the state's common school fund.
In response, Muncie police Sgt. Jess Neal, head of the DTF, said in an interview that most asset forfeitures here involving drug-related crimes go through the local courts.
He provided as an example the case of State vs. Malcom X Crim, 20, 2013 E. Park Ave.
In August, DTF and the county prosecutor's office obtained a default judgment of $312 against Crim ( a suspected cocaine dealer ) signed by Delaware Circuit Court 4 Judge John Feick. The judge ordered DTF to deliver the $312 to the "City of Muncie General Fund, Account # 231-204-39071."
But that account number, as well as account # 227-00-367011, are DTF accounts, not city general fund accounts, the State Board of Accounts says. For years, the DTF has been obtaining court orders to forfeit assets seized from drug dealers to the two DTF accounts, also known as the MPD Drug Interdiction Fund and the MPD Drug Task Force Forfeiture Fund, which the court orders falsely call city of Muncie general fund accounts, the state says.
(10) HEDGES' CASE HINGES ON PROBE OF DRUG UNIT ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Nov 2007
Source: Tribune, The (San Luis Obispo, CA)
Copyright: 2007 The Tribune
Author: Leslie Parrilla
Sheriff calls taping of deputy legal because of criminal investigation, but some officials say there wasn't one
Whether Sheriff Pat Hedges is guilty of illegal eavesdropping depends largely on whether he ordered a criminal investigation into his department's narcotics unit and a chief deputy, as Hedges said when defending his actions.
But two investigators in the Sheriff's Department and one former high-ranking sheriff's official have told The Tribune there was no criminal investigation.
Hedges, the county's top law enforcement official, declined to talk to The Tribune for this
story. He has said that he secretly videotaped one of his chief deputies meeting with a subordinate to discuss a grievance last year. The sheriff said the videotaping was part of his criminal investigation into an allegation that Chief Deputy Gary Hoving was interfering with a criminal investigation into the narcotics unit, according to court documents.
Hedges and Undersheriff Steve Bolts have pointed to an audit and interviews with employees spanning several months as proof that a criminal investigation was conducted. Ultimately, they determined the allegations were unfounded.
The secret taping is the subject of a criminal probe by the state Attorney General's Office and a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Hoving against Hedges, Bolts and the county.
(11) U.S. JUDGE DISMISSES CHARGES IN DRUG CASE ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Nov 2007
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2007 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Matt Viser
Raps Boston Officer, Sloppy Prosecution
A federal judge has dismissed charges against an alleged drug dealer, citing fabricated statements made in court by a Boston patrol officer and slow, sloppy work by federal prosecutors.
Earl Dessesaure, who was arrested and charged with drug dealing in February 2003, should be released from jail, and no further charges can be pursued in the case, according to a ruling handed down Friday.
In her harshly worded decision, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner upbraided Boston police for conducting a warrantless search of Dessesaure's apartment, which prohibited most of the evidence from being used in court.
In addition, court records show that Boston police Officer John Broderick Jr. lied in court, discarded notes that could have contradicted his testimony, and relied on information from unreliable informants.
"This is a deeply flawed prosecution - from the Boston police officer who lied in court, to the prosecutor who justified a blatantly illegal search," Gertner wrote. "To allow this prosecution to continue would not advance the administration of justice; it would undermine it."
Police investigators conducted a review in 2005 of Broderick's actions and determined that challenges to his credibility were unfounded.
(12) BORDER AGENTS' CASE GETS HOLIDAY PUSH ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 24 Nov 2007
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Times
Author: Johanna Neuman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Conservatives Are Seeking Pardons for Two Officers in the Shooting a Fleeing Man Who Now Faces Smuggling Charges.
WASHINGTON -- Conservatives expressed bitter disappointment Friday that President Bush did not use the Thanksgiving holiday to pardon two U.S. border agents who have been imprisoned for a year for shooting and injuring a man now accused of drug smuggling.
"We had hoped that President Bush, who was compassionate enough to pardon two turkeys in the Rose Garden, might also have had enough compassion to pardon two law enforcement officers who spent their lives defending us at the border," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher ( R-Huntington Beach ).
A group of Christian and evangelical leaders -- including Paul M. Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition and David A. Keene of the American Conservative Union -- excoriated Bush, saying his inaction ran counter to compassionate conservatism and Christian values.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Prohibitionists who argue that consumers want nothing more from
cannabis than inebriation have never attended a High Times Cannabis
Cup in Amsterdam.
A California Appeals Court ruled in favor of Felix Kha, a medical
cannabis patient seeking the return of 8 grams seized by police. In
addition to ruling that federal law does not trump state law, the
court condemned the policy of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) of
mandatory seizure of medical cannabis.
City counselors in Hailey are awaiting the opinion of the Attorney
General of Idaho on whether or not, and to what extent, their
recently passed cannabis law reform acts violate the state
Canadian cannabis activists are mobilizing against proposed
amendments to federal drug legislation that would impose mandatory
minimum prison sentences for cultivation and trafficking, part of a
larger conservative drug war surge.
Prohibitionists who argue that consumers want nothing more from cannabis than inebriation have never attended a High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam.
A California Appeals Court ruled in favor of Felix Kha, a medical cannabis patient seeking the return of 8 grams seized by police. In addition to ruling that federal law does not trump state law, the court condemned the policy of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) of mandatory seizure of medical cannabis.
City counselors in Hailey are awaiting the opinion of the Attorney General of Idaho on whether or not, and to what extent, their recently passed cannabis law reform acts violate the state constitution.
Canadian cannabis activists are mobilizing against proposed amendments to federal drug legislation that would impose mandatory minimum prison sentences for cultivation and trafficking, part of a larger conservative drug war surge.
(13) WORLD'S POT SMOKERS CELEBRATE MARIJUANA ( Top )
AMSTERDAM -- Cannabis connoisseurs in their thousands have descended on the Dutch capital of Amsterdam this week to sample and select the winners of the 20th annual Cannabis Cup competition.
"There's a lot of good competition this year," said 'Herbal Santa' a longtime marijuana smoker from Orange County, Calif., who only provided his name as Jim when asked.
Organizers said they expected about 3,500 participants.
The week-long Cannabis Cup is spread out at various coffee shops throughout Amsterdam, although the main events are held in a club on the outskirts of the city, tucked behind a McDonald's fast-food restaurant and a do-it-yourself store. The event coincides with the annual U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, allowing participants from across the Atlantic to spend a week's holiday in Amsterdam.
The event was started in 1987 by Steven Hager, the editor of New York- based magazine High Times that advocates the legalization of cannabis, and has become a key annual event among cannabis-oriented business and for many pot smokers.
Judges pay a fee of up to $200 to participate in selecting the winners with their task to examine the potency, taste, smell, curing and overall experience of various herbs.
(14) COURT ORDERS GARDEN GROVE POLICE TO RETURN SEIZED POT ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 28 Nov 2007
Source: Orange County Register, The (CA)
Copyright: 2007 The Orange County Register
Author: Rachanee Srisavasdi, The Orange County Register
Cited: http://www.americansforsafeaccess.org/ Referenced: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/G036250.PDF Related: http://drugsense.org/url/3063rABP
Ruling by State Appeal Judges Is a Win for Medical Marijuana Patients, Advocates Say.
SANTA ANA - The Garden Grove Police Department must return seized marijuana to a medical marijuana patient, a state appeals court ruled today, setting a precedent for police agencies statewide to refrain from such seizures.
A three-justice panel from the state's Fourth Appellate District ruled that police must give back eight grams of the drug from Felix Kha of Garden Grove in June 2005 during a traffic stop.
Criminal charges were later dismissed after Kha proved he had a prescription for the drug which he uses for back pain. Kha asked for the pot back, and a judge agreed.
But the city of Garden Grove appealed, saying it did not want to break federal law. While medical marijuana is legal in California, it is illegal under federal law.
But in the published ruling, the justices said state law comes first.
"By returning Kha's marijuana to him, the Garden Grove police would not just be upholding the principles of federalism ... They would be fulfilling their more traditional duty to administer the laws of this state," according to the 41-page ruling.
"We do not believe that federal drug laws supersede or preempt Kha's right to a return of his property," they later continued.
(15) HAILEY BACKS OFF ON MARIJUANA REFORMS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Nov 2007
Source: Times-News, The (ID)
Copyright: 2007 Magic Valley Newspapers
Author: Cass Friedman, Times-News writer
HAILEY - Three of Hailey's four City Council members voted Monday to freeze their consideration of three recently passed marijuana reform acts while the Idaho Attorney General's office forms an opinion on the legality of the acts.
But all three council members seemed willing to follow the will of voters, so long as it poses no conflict with their oath to not violate state laws. In the meantime they are heeding the direction of the city attorney.
"It is my strong recommendation that we do not pursue an option tonight," said City Attorney Ned Williamson, who pointed out the apparent conflict between the state Constitution and the ordinances.
"I think it would be foolish to admit that there are no issues with the general laws of the state of Idaho," Williamson said. "Hailey has the right to pass laws but they have to be constitutional."
Williamson said the attorney general's office has begun a review of the newly passed measures, but he has no idea how long that review will take.
The three measures passed were to legalize medical marijuana, make enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest police priority, and legalize industrial hemp. Voters turned down a fourth initiative that would have legalized marijuana use and required the city to regulate sales.
After the attorney general offers an opinion, Williamson said, council members will have several options. They can simply implement the three initiatives without making changes. They may amend the acts to avoid legal conflicts, repeal the acts, or have the city challenge the law in court.
(16) IT'S A MOVE TOWARD THE AMERICAN DRUG WAR STYLE ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 26 Nov 2007
Source: Nelson Daily News (CN BC)
Page: Front Page
Copyright: 2007 Nelson Daily News
Author: Sara Newham
Proposed Legislation: Federal Legislation Introduced by Tories That's Aimed at Tougher Drug Laws Slammed by Local Marijuana Advocates
The Conservatives' proposed legislation to implement mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes would clog up the courts and increase profits in organized crime according to some Nelson residents.
The Tories tabled legislation last week that would see mandatory prison sentences introduced and a longer maximum penalty for cannabis production if it is passed in the House of Commons.
"It's a move toward the American drug war style that definitely hasn't worked there and I would say it's a nice little Christmas gift for organized crime," said Paul DeFelice co-owner of the Holy Smoke Culture Shop.
DeFelice, Holy Smoke co-owner Alan Middlemiss, and associates Kelsey Stratas and Akka Annis are awaiting trials for a variety of charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act stemming from a police investigation last year. DeFelice is charged with possession of and trafficking in marijuana.
Marc Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine, known widely as the Prince of Pot and under threat of extradition to the United States for selling marijuana seeds to residents there, agreed with DeFelice and explained that it would just drive up the price of drugs.
"It's going to be bad thing for the country in every sense. The first thing that's going to happen is the price of marijuana and all street drugs rise a lot if they started rounding up people and putting them in jail. What that means first and foremost is addicts will steal a lot more from the community to pay for these drugs because the drugs don't stop getting consumed, they just rise in price to compensate for the risk," Emery told the Daily News.
"We'll see more of what we have in the United States: [that is] more people carrying guns if they think they're going to be put in jail for mandatory minimums. Some people would just rather have a firefight than get caught if they absolutely know they're going to jail."
DeFelice added that it could lead to turf wars.
"It drives out the small time people and caters to the tougher biker types and people who have the muscle to protect what they've got. Because the law of the black market is if you can't protect it, somebody will take it and what we see is prohibition crime, not drug crime," he said, in terms of the effect it will have on the pot market.
"It's people protecting their turf. They can't go to the court to solve their problems so they have to pull guns on each other so that's what this will lead to."
COMMENTS: ( Top )
According to Thai politician Chalerm Yubamrung, the extra-judicial
death squad killing of drug suspects in Thailand in 2003 - over
2,500 people gunned down - wasn't the handiwork of police, and they
weren't working down blacklists of old drug arrests. "Instead, it
could be that people were killed by their peers to cut the leads for
authorities to pursue... Some people just accused the then
government. There was a high number of killings, but no one knew who
carried out the activities." Yubamrung vowed to "revive" the Thaksin
Shinawatra style of fighting drugs.
A piece this week by Brian Hennigan of the Edinburgh Evening News
points out the unintended messages of jailing someone for growing a
single tiny cannabis plant in his home, while refusing to jail
violent criminals who have hurt others. Stuart Duncan goes to jail
for "one sickly plant". At the same time in Scotland, "a former
nurse who injected a four-month-old girl with a potentially fatal
dose of insulin was spared a prison term" and a "chap who shot a
heavily pregnant woman with his airgun was placed on probation."
Another government panel reports on a forbidden drug, another
recommendation that users of the drug not be punished so harshly,
followed by another government declaration they aren't listening to
their own panel of experts. After all, the government appointed
panel of experts came up with the wrong conclusion, namely, that
"ecstasy could be downgraded." Not to worry: the government (the
U.K. government, in this case) "has no intention of reclassifying
ecstasy," revealed the Home Office.
A row broke out in Scotland over drugs policy when police in
Edinburgh suggested a drugs amnesty where officers would simply take
away small quantities of drugs from users, rather than arresting
them. The idea is to "free up more time for officers to patrol
Edinburgh's busiest area rather than dealing with cases of minor
possession." The proposed move, supported by Edinburgh Chief
Inspector Andy Gilhooley and Tory councillor Joanna Mowat, was
denounced by prohibitionist politicians as a "drug tolerance zone".
According to Thai politician Chalerm Yubamrung, the extra-judicial death squad killing of drug suspects in Thailand in 2003 - over 2,500 people gunned down - wasn't the handiwork of police, and they weren't working down blacklists of old drug arrests. "Instead, it could be that people were killed by their peers to cut the leads for authorities to pursue... Some people just accused the then government. There was a high number of killings, but no one knew who carried out the activities." Yubamrung vowed to "revive" the Thaksin Shinawatra style of fighting drugs.
A piece this week by Brian Hennigan of the Edinburgh Evening News points out the unintended messages of jailing someone for growing a single tiny cannabis plant in his home, while refusing to jail violent criminals who have hurt others. Stuart Duncan goes to jail for "one sickly plant". At the same time in Scotland, "a former nurse who injected a four-month-old girl with a potentially fatal dose of insulin was spared a prison term" and a "chap who shot a heavily pregnant woman with his airgun was placed on probation."
Another government panel reports on a forbidden drug, another recommendation that users of the drug not be punished so harshly, followed by another government declaration they aren't listening to their own panel of experts. After all, the government appointed panel of experts came up with the wrong conclusion, namely, that "ecstasy could be downgraded." Not to worry: the government (the U.K. government, in this case) "has no intention of reclassifying ecstasy," revealed the Home Office.
A row broke out in Scotland over drugs policy when police in Edinburgh suggested a drugs amnesty where officers would simply take away small quantities of drugs from users, rather than arresting them. The idea is to "free up more time for officers to patrol Edinburgh's busiest area rather than dealing with cases of minor possession." The proposed move, supported by Edinburgh Chief Inspector Andy Gilhooley and Tory councillor Joanna Mowat, was denounced by prohibitionist politicians as a "drug tolerance zone".
(17) DEFENDING THE WAR ON DRUGS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Nov 2007
Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)
Copyright: The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 2007
Author: Surasak Glahan
Veteran politician Chalerm Yubamrung recently joined the People Power Party (PPP) and is seen as its number two. Over the past month, he has expressed his ambition to become interior minister and revive the Thaksin Shinawatra government's controversial war on drugs, which led to the deaths of more than 2,500 people in alleged extra-judicial killings by police. Surasak Glahan asked him how he plans to revive the policy. Below are excerpts from the interview.
Do you intend to use the same heavy-handed approach applied by the Thaksin administration?
Drug suppression needs to be handled seriously, the same way the Thaksin administration did. Regarding the extra-judicial killings, people misunderstood that authorities killed innocent people. Instead, it could be that people were killed by their peers to cut the leads for authorities to pursue.
We will declare a new phase of the war on drugs. We also aim to reduce the number of drug users, so there will be both prevention and suppression.
Don't you think the implementation of this policy should be conducted in a careful and gradual manner?
Illicit drug suppression cannot be handled gradually. It needs timeframes and targets, as well as authorities staying alert. But when there are mistakes and doubts, we need to clear the air promptly. It needs to be strictly, urgently and hastily handled with the provision of special taskforces.
The Thaksin administration set a target for each province to list local dealers. Do you intend to do the same?
It won't be changed. If we are worried about more extra-judicial killings, we have to find out first whether the killings, if they happen, were driven by large drug traders or by authorities.
Should people be concerned about whether innocent people will be victimised by this policy, or by more extra-judicial killings?
There won't be victimisation of innocent people. Those who were affected are not the real innocents. The police did not just break into someone's bedroom and shoot them.
Do you think the Thaksin policy had any faults, and if so how do you plan to correct them?
There were not any failures. Some people just accused the then government. There was a high number of killings, but no one knew who carried out the activities.
Is the war on drugs policy a political gimmick to instigate fear as well as trying to gain votes from fretting parents?
(18) CRAZY SENTENCES SHOW JUSTICE HAS GONE TO POT ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Nov 2007
Source: Edinburgh Evening News (UK)
Copyright: 2007 The Scotsman Publications Ltd
Author: Brian Hennigan
AS a small nation on a mission to develop and compete in an increasingly complex international environment, it's vital that we waste as many of our resources as possible. That is one message you could take from a recent court case.
Stuart Duncan bought a cannabis farm kit over the internet. As you might expect from the productive efforts of someone who thought buying a cannabis farm kit over the internet was a sound investment, he failed to produce anything other than one sickly plant. His lawyer described the attempt as "virtually useless".
And now Stuart Duncan is going to be sent to a prison. A prison where he will need to be fed, watered, cared for and guarded in an extraordinary use of resources that seems to scream that we have nothing better to do with taxpayers' money.
The other week a former nurse who injected a four-month-old girl with a potentially fatal dose of insulin was spared a prison term when her case came before the High Court in Edinburgh. Earlier this year, a Muirhouse chap who shot a heavily pregnant woman with his airgun was placed on probation.
The distinction between these crimes and the dopey dope farmer is that one can identify clear victims who sustained real injury. Who has been harmed by Stuart Duncan's crime?
(19) EXPERTS CALL FOR A SOFTER LINE ON KILLER DRUG ECSTASY ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 29 Nov 2007
Source: Evening Standard (London, UK)
Copyright: 2007 Associated Newspapers Ltd.
The killer drug ecstasy could be downgraded to Class B within months - forcing the courts to take a softer line against dealers and users.
A panel of Government experts has been quietly discussing the hugely controversial move for more than a year.
Senior members of the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs want the drug to be downgraded from Class A to B when they pass their verdict next summer.
Hugely influential voices on the committee want ecstasy downgrading, including the Government's main scientific adviser on drugs.
Professor David Nutt argues that ecstasy's presence alongside other hard drugs such as heroin and crack is an 'anomaly'.
Sources said the council decided to review ecstasy's status after a report by Parliament's Science and Technology Committee suggested it caused less harm than other class A drugs.
But separate studies have warned of a long-term danger to users, in addition to the short-term risks of dehydration or the body over-heating.
After today's open session the committee will spend six months compiling a report for the Home Secretary.
Jacqui Smith must then take the politically difficult final decision over whether to accept the drug should be downgraded.
A Home Office spokesman said: "We will consider the Advisory Council's advice carefully, as we do for any advice it provides.
"However, the Government has no intention of reclassifying ecstasy."
(20) DRUGS AMNESTY FOR CITY CENTRE ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 26 Nov 2007
Source: Edinburgh Evening News (UK)
Copyright: 2007 The Scotsman Publications Ltd
Author: Alan McEwen, Crime Reporter
POLICE officers will be told not to arrest people for minor drug possession in the city centre under radical plans being considered.
People carrying "small" quantities of cocaine, heroin, Ecstasy and other illegal substances would simply have them confiscated.
Police chiefs want to free up more time for officers to patrol Edinburgh's busiest area rather than dealing with cases of minor possession.
But the proposal was attacked by politicians today who said any relaxation of the law would create a "drug tolerance zone".
Inspector Andy Gilhooley, who has just taken charge of the central policing team at the West End station, briefed his officers on the proposed measures last week.
Although he stressed the move had not been implemented, he added he supported the idea.
He added: "I'm interested in keeping officers on the streets rather than having them distracted for several hours to deal with someone caught with a small amount of drugs.
But Tory councillor Joanna Mowat, who sits on the police board, gave a "cautious welcome" to the idea.
She said: "I think this could be a pragmatic approach."
A Scottish Government spokesman maintained that cracking down on drug possession remained official policy.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
JIM GIERACH ON WUWM RADIO, WISCONSIN ( Top )
Jim Gierach is a former prosecutor in the Cook County Attorney's Office in Chicago. He's now a defense attorney and a member of the group LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. He speaks with Dan Harmon on the "Lake Effect" program, WUWM radio, Wisconsin, Tue, 27 Nov 2007
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
11/28/07 - Roger Goodman, Wash State Rep + Poppygate & Corrupt Cop Story
Century of Lies
11/27/07 - Dr. David Bearman speaks to Wisc. Med School 2/2
IN SEARCH OF THE DIVINE VEGETAL, Part 2 ( Top )
Monday, November 26
From the Amazon jungles to downtown Canada, ideas about Ayahuasca revive a decades-old argument about the uses and abuses, the ecstasies and the efficacies of mind-altering plants. Ayahuasca has been part of shamanic tradition for centuries. Broadcasters Thomas McKinnon and Leonard Cler-Cunningham travel the old trails, attend the ceremonies, and debate the religious, economic and political questions surrounding the divine vegetal.
ETHAN NADELMANN AND DANIEL WOLFE DISCUSS INTERNATIONAL DRUG POLICY ( Top )
Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of DPA, and Daniel Wolfe, deputy director of the International Harm Reduction Development Project, discuss international drug policy and the impact of Nadelmann's cover article in Foreign Policy magazine.
POLITICS OF FEAR: HARPER'S "WAR ON DRUGS" ( Top )
In Canada, there is a growing movement of NGOs and individuals to defeat Harper's "war on drugs."
by Libby Davies
RETIRED B.C. JUDGE JERRY PARADIS OF LEAP ON CALGARY TV ( Top )
Thanks to Debbie and Keith Fagin and Deb Harper.
MORE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY REEFER MADNESS EXPOSED ( Top )
By Steve Rolles, Transform Drug Policy Foundation
Back in mid-September the Independent on Sunday (IOS) ran yet another cannabis themed news feature this time under the dramatic headline Re- classification of cannabis `fuels youth crime wave'.
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
THE BIGGEST AND THE BEST: NEW ORLEANS 2007 ( Top )
With only days to go, the 2007 International Drug Policy Reform conference is set to convene in New Orleans Dec. 5-8 with a record number of attendees. More than a thousand drug policy activists, researchers, criminal justice and treatment advocates, students, legislators and others will attend sessions on nearly every subject within the drug policy reform spectrum. There's still time to join us: register today!
Perhaps the biggest highlight among dozens of new features for 2007 is a special plenary featuring the executive director of the UN's Office of Drugs & Crime, Dr. Antonio Maria Costa. The UN's drug policy is often criticized by those within the reform movement, and we are pleased that Dr. Costa has accepted our invitation to make his case for the UN's drug policies before an audience of those who care most deeply about them.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
WHERE'S PROBABLE CAUSE IN DRUG TESTING? ( Top )
By Michael D. Clark
If the ACLU has an agenda, it is that of the Founding Fathers, who fought a revolution to secure the very rights Ben Clinger ( Letter, Nov. 20) would so eagerly relinquish. If that's to be characterized as progressive, so be it. I actually think it's quite conservative.
What the ACLU is doing is fighting to preserve one of our fundamental rights from further government encroachment and circumscription, an all-too-present danger in this post 9/11 world.
Mr. Clinger claims to have read the Constitution, but he must have skipped over the Bill of Rights, in particular the Fourth Amendment, which states, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause." Where's the probable cause, Mr. Clinger, in random drug testing? There is none. It paints all teachers with the same ignominious brush of suspicion.
I, a proud and drug-free teacher, applaud the ACLU for taking up this cause, especially after the quislings who make up the HSTA leadership abdicated their responsibility in this most critical of issues.
Mr. Clinger can surrender his basic liberties if he likes, but as for me, I stand with Ben Franklin who once wrote, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Michael D. Clark Honolulu
Pubdate: Mon, 26 Nov 2007
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
Bonds - Another Target in War on Drugs? ( Top )
By Anthony Papa
What does the war on drugs have to do with baseball? Ask Barry Bonds, who was just indicted by federal prosecutors on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. Bonds is now facing up to 30 years in prison if convicted. Anti-doping advocates, including America's deputy drug czar, are calling for jail time for baseball players who use steroids, saying that it may be the only effective deterrent for curbing illegal use.
Let's face it, while Bonds' indictment for lying to a grand jury may have legal basis, the real underlying reason for this federal indictment four years after the BALCO investigation is their failure to get Bonds to admit he had used steroids or any other performance-enhancing drugs. In that case, a business named Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) was alleged to be distributing illegal performance-enhancing drugs, and was investigated by several governmental agencies. This resulted in a huge scandal which involved many major league baseball players and led to Major League Baseball initiating penalties for players caught using steroids in 2004.
Now the government is ready to take down the home-run king, along with the entire sport of baseball, by pushing their personal agenda of a zero tolerance for drug use. Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, thinks that Major League Baseball's rules concerning the use of performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids don't pack enough of a wallop in terms of functioning as a real deterrent. He is rooting for Bonds to be imprisoned so it sends a clear message.
Imprisonment of record-breaking hitters like Bonds will not solve baseball's problem. I know this is true because of the failed war on drugs. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. It has 5% of the world's population, but 25% of the world's prisoners, with more than 2.3 million citizens sitting behind bars - that's a rate of one in every 136 U.S. residents. About 55% of all federal and over 20% of all state prisoners are convicted of drug-law violations, with many of them serving mandatory minimum sentences for simple possession offenses. And despite all of the incarceration, drugs and drug use are as prevalent as ever. Are we now going to add major league players to drug war statistics?
For the sake of argument, what if Bonds did use steroids? Does he belong in jail? He is not the first athlete to use them and he will not be the last. The pursuit for athletic superiority through the use of chemicals has been around a long time. Before steroids were officially banned in the early 1970's, almost 70% of all Olympic athletes had used them.
Is it ethical to sentence someone to a lengthy prison term for putting substances in their own bodies? The premise for prosecuting the other war with no exit strategy - the drug war - has slowly but surely infiltrated the public's eye through different vehicles. Now the feds attempt to bring their message through the sport of baseball. Bonds joins the ranks of the demonized; ranks that include medical marijuana users, pain sufferers and their doctors who prescribe opioid analgesics, and students who are forced to urinate in cups. All of this in the name of a drug-free America, without concern for individuals' rights.
At one time baseball was our obsession. It was a sport that walked hand and hand with the American dream, full of heroes of whom we could all be proud. Now the federal government, with its crusade against any and all drug use, has begun a new mission to alter our way of thinking - no matter what the cost or how many lives are ruined. I say no to the government trying to destroy our national past time, and no to imprisoning a baseball king.
Anthony Papa is an artist, writer, noted advocate against the war on drugs and co-founder of the Mothers of the New York Disappeared. Mr. Papa's stinging opinion pieces about the drug war have appeared in news sources across the country. He is a frequent public speaker and college lecturer on his art and criminal justice issues. Currently he is a communications specialist for Drug Policy Alliance in NYC. Mr. Papa is the author of 15 to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom (2004), a memoir about his experience of being sentenced to state prison for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense under New York's draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others." - Buddha
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