This Just In
(1)Workers Can Be Fired For Using Medical Pot Off Duty, Court Rules
(2)Undercover Work Seen As Mix Of Art, Temptation And, Sometimes, Corruption
(3)Mukasey Sees Risk In Early Release
(4)Marijuana Bill Getting Mixed Reviews

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 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Fri, 25 Jan 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Referenced: The decision

The California Supreme Court weakened the effect of the state's beleaguered medical marijuana law, ruling Thursday that employers may fire workers for using physician-recommended marijuana while off duty, even if it did not hurt their job performance.

Supporters of medical marijuana immediately criticized the court's 5-2 ruling, saying it undermined the 1996 law, which prohibits the state from criminalizing the medical use of the drug.

Hundreds of medical marijuana users have complained that they have been fired, threatened with termination or not hired by California companies because of their drug use, according to one advocacy group.

In siding with employers, the California Supreme Court said the Compassionate Use Act passed by voters and later amended by the Legislature imposed no requirements on employers.

"The Compassionate Use Act does not eliminate marijuana's potential for abuse or the employer's legitimate interest in whether an employee uses the drug," Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar wrote for the majority.

Justice Joyce L. Kennard called the decision "conspicuously lacking in compassion."

"The majority's holding disrespects the will of California's voters," wrote Kennard, whose dissent was joined by Justice Carlos R. Moreno.

The voters "surely never intended that persons who availed themselves" of the medical marijuana act "would thereby disqualify themselves from employment," Kennard said.

Within hours of the court's decision, Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) announced that he would introduce legislation to prevent employers from discriminating against medical marijuana users.

"The people of California did not intend that patients be unemployed in order to use medical marijuana," he said.




Pubdate: Fri, 25 Jan 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
Author: Cara Buckley

Working as an undercover narcotics officer is among the most dangerous jobs on the police force. You have to pretend to be an addict and win the trust of dealers. But if you must do the job, it would seem, a good place to land would be the area designated by the Police Department as Brooklyn South.

For as large as it is, covering the vast territory that is lower Brooklyn, Brooklyn South is far from the most crime-ridden patrol borough in the city. It is home to stretches of middle-class homes in neighborhoods like Midwood, Ocean Parkway and Sheepshead Bay, and includes the boutique-filled byways of Park Slope, the boardwalks of Coney Island and the cobblestone streets of Red Hook.

Last year, 71 murders were recorded in Brooklyn South, about half as many as were reported in either the Bronx or Brooklyn North, which includes such neighborhoods as Brownsville and Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Yet it is in Brooklyn South that a corruption scandal has gripped the narcotics unit. After allegations surfaced that undercover officers were rewarding informants with drugs, 4 officers have been arrested, 6 suspended and 10 put on desk duty.

Corruption has a history of metastasizing in all types of law enforcement commands, and all types of precincts, from the busy to the sleepy. And corruption in narcotics units is one of the most common scourges of police departments. For undercover officers, temptation is everywhere, the pressure is enormous, and it is easy to quietly pocket a bad guy's drugs or cash.

"The problems that come with vice enforcement are as old as policing themselves," said Eugene O'Donnell, a professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. (Mr. O'Donnell also briefly represented one of the arrested officers, but no longer does; he would not comment specifically on the Brooklyn South case.)

"It's a dirty business," he said, "and it's hard to be involved in the business and not get your hands dirty."




Pubdate: Fri, 25 Jan 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Richard B. Schmitt, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Clemency for Crack Inmates Could Boost Crime, the Attorney General Says.

Atty. Gen. Michael B. Mukasey on Thursday attacked plans to roll back the sentences of thousands of federal prisoners convicted under harsh crack cocaine laws, saying that the move could return many violent offenders to the streets and increase the crime problems of U.S. cities.

Mukasey told the U.S. Conference of Mayors that about 1,600 convicted criminals -- "many of them violent gang members" -- could be released as early as March under a decision by the U.S. commission that sets sentencing guidelines for federal crimes.

"Before we take that step, we need to think long and hard about whether that's the best way to go about this -- whether it best serves the interests of justice and public safety," Mukasey said. "A sudden influx of criminals from federal prison into your communities could lead to a surge in new victims with a tragic but predictable result."

The remarks, while consistent with previous Justice Department pronouncements on the issue, represented the most pointed criticism to date from Mukasey and showed him taking an aggressive stance as the Bush administration's chief crime fighter.


After years of debate about the fairness and efficacy of lengthy sentences for people caught dealing crack cocaine, the U.S. Sentencing Commission approved guidelines last month that made roughly 19,500 federal prisoners convicted of crack-related crimes -- 85% of whom are African American -- eligible for sentence reductions.

About 2,500 of the eligible inmates could be released in the year after March 3, when inmates are allowed to start applying for reductions, which are estimated to average 27 months.

The others will still have time to serve -- in some cases a decade or more -- even if they qualify for a break, because their original sentences were so long.

The bleak assessment offered by Mukasey was challenged by inmate advocacy groups, public defenders, judges and even some of the big- city mayors listening to his remarks.


"About 700,000 people are coming out of prison this year, many of whom were convicted of a violent offense. So now the change means we'll have 701,600 instead. Seems like he's kind of missing the point," said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, an inmate advocacy group in Washington.

Mauer said that the criticism "is really an insult to the judges."




Pubdate: Thu, 24 Jan 2008
Source: Citizen, The (Laconia, NH)
Copyright: 2008 Geo. J. Foster Company
Author: Cutter Mitchell

A bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana is getting mixed reception, both from Lakes Region lawmakers and those who testified on the bill at a committee hearing.

Supporters and opponents of House Bill 1623 testified at a hearing before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Tuesday.

At the hearing, a New Hampshire police officer and corrections officer testified on behalf of the bill while representatives from the New Hampshire Attorney General's office and Chiefs of Police Association spoke against the bill. One assertion made by the Chiefs Association was that such a law might open the door on marijuana use in the Granite State.


Under the proposed law, possession of less than 1.25 ounces of marijuana would be considered a violation, punishable by a maximum penalty of a $200 fine. It would also eliminate "penalties for the manufacture or sale of less than 1.25 ounces of marijuana."

"That sounds like a really good idea to me," said Rep. Beth Arsenault, D-Laconia.

Possession of marijuana in the Granite State is currently considered either a felony or a Class A misdemeanor depending on the amount possessed. Even in the misdemeanor case, "a person may be sentenced to a maximum term of imprisonment of not more than 3 years, a fine of not more than $25,000, or both," according to state law.

HB1623's main sponsor is Rep. Jeffrey Fontas, D-Nashua, who says it is more about preserving the opportunities of young people rather than anything to do with marijuana.

Right now, anyone with a possession conviction is ineligible to receive federal financial aid and may be excluded from certain government jobs.


"It's a decent step in the correct direction," said Matt Simon, spokesman for the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy.

In addition to 1623, House Bill 1567 aims a little lower on the spectrum and calls for lower penalties on possession of a quarter of an ounce instead of an ounce and a quarter. The bills were introduced side by side.

"The criminalization of marijuana is very much like prohibition. Let's look at this responsibly rather than some ideology," said Weed, who is the main sponsor of 1567 and a co-sponsor of 1623.

"We are not making it legal, we are just downgrading the penalty," said Simon. "Society should be careful about what we characterize as criminal." One of the benefits asserted in the bill is that it would likely decrease the number of court cases, both felony and misdemeanor, and the related costs associated with marijuana possession.


A video of the hearing can be seen at Other information on the state's marijuana laws can be found at Attorney General's website at or




The U.S. drug czar has had nearly eight years to solve America's drug problem, but has no evidence to show any success at all, so does he take responsibility? No, he lashes out at one Latin American leader, blaming one small country for big drug problems in the U.S.

Elsewhere, the drug war continues to spill over the U.S.-Mexico border; one state takes an innovative approach to deal with overdose deaths; and the U.S. seizes a piece of history and resells it at a bargain basement price before a court says the seizure was illegal.


Pubdate: Mon, 21 Jan 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Chris Kraul Los, Angeles Times Staff Writer

In Unusually Harsh Criticism of the Venezuelan President, John P. Walters Blames Lack of Enforcement for an Increase in Drug Shipments.

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA -- White House drug czar John P. Walters charged Sunday that the government of President Hugo Chavez was facilitating the rising flow of drugs from his nation to Europe and North America through a lack of enforcement.

The public criticism by Walters, who heads the Office of National Drug Control Policy, was unusually harsh for the Bush administration, which has tried to steer clear of provoking the fiery Venezuelan leader.

With some exceptions, State Department and counter-narcotics officials typically have made anonymous remarks disparaging Venezuela's weak drug interdiction program.

"Where are the big seizures, where are the big arrests of individuals who are at least logistical coordinators? When it's being launched from controlled airports and seaports, where are the arrests of corrupt officials? At some point here, this is tantamount to collusion," Walters said in an interview.

In September, the U.S. government said Venezuela's was one of two governments that had failed to take sufficient counter-narcotics actions. The Venezuela Information Office, a Washington-based agency funded by the Chavez government, said the accusations were misleading and ignored the country's "history of cooperating" with international agencies.

Complaints about Venezuelan counter-narcotics operations have risen since August 2005, when Chavez ordered a halt to all cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration office in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital. Since then, seizures have fallen, and drug shipments by aircraft and shipping containers have skyrocketed, U.S. officials have said.




Pubdate: Mon, 21 Jan 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Officials Say Smugglers Are Getting More Aggressive in Response to the U.S.'s More Stringent Security Efforts.

IMPERIAL SAND DUNES -- The off-road enthusiasts were revving their dune buggies and all-terrain vehicles Saturday morning when a brown Hummer suddenly cut into the campground. The man at the wheel, a suspected drug smuggler, was heading to Mexico, fast.

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar, the only person in the way, threw a spike strip in front of the car. The Hummer sped up. "It looked like the man swerved and hit the agent intentionally," said one witness.

Aguilar, struck by the Hummer going an estimated 55 mph, died within minutes.

On Sunday, officials released more details about the attack in the Imperial Sand Dunes recreation area, which came amid a surge in assaults against federal agents in many areas along the border in recent months.

U.S. authorities said the suspect drove over the dunes back to Mexico along with another vehicle. The FBI, which is handling the investigation, said Mexican authorities are assisting in the probe.

Aguilar, 32, a six-year veteran, was part of an anti-smuggling team patrolling the scenic landscape of sand dunes and trailer-dotted campgrounds in southeast California. On weekends, when the dunes fill with riders, Mexican smugglers slip across the open border, trying to blend in with the other off-road vehicles.




Pubdate: Sun, 20 Jan 2008
Source: Kennebec Journal (Augusta, ME)
Copyright: 2008 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc
Author: Doug Harlow

WATERVILLE -- There were 34 fatal drug overdoses in Maine in 1997 -- 19 determined by the medical examiner's office as accidental.

In 2006, there were 167 drug overdoses resulting in death, 135 of them by accident.

"It's epidemic," said Marcella Sorg, director of the state's Rural Drug and Alcohol Research Program at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine. "It really started to rise in the late 1990s; it really began to rise rapidly in 2002."

Sorg, who studies all Maine drug-related deaths for the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, said cocaine continues to be the biggest problem, followed closely by prescription narcotics.

With that alarming spike in the number of drug overdoses, local health, clergy and law-enforcement officials formed the Kennebec County Overdose Task Force to help residents recognize the symptoms of an overdose and learn how to respond.

Last week, the task force began distributing an educational DVD aimed at teaching the public how to help someone who has overdosed on drugs.

"Save A Life," is a 10-minute video that could do just that, said LeeAnna Lavoie, an overdose prevention health educator with MaineGeneral Medical Center.

"The idea is to educate people about overdose. It's a huge problem in all of Maine, particularly in Portland, central Maine and the Bangor area," Lavoie said. "If people are overdosing, what can people around them do to save their lives."




Pubdate: Wed, 16 Jan 2008
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2008 Globe Newspaper Company

The U.S. government had no right to seize and auction off a sleek, 22-foot sailboat that once belonged to a teenage John F. Kennedy, a federal judge has ruled in a case that stemmed from a drug investigation. U.S. District Judge William G. Young ordered the government to pay one of the boat's co-owners more than $125,000 to compensate for seizing the Flash II, a Star class sloop that the late president owned for six years. In a judgment filed yesterday, Young ruled that Dr. Kerry Scott Lane, a Florida anaesthesiologist, should be paid $73,898 in compensation plus interest and $51,929 in legal fees as a result of the wrongful seizure of the sailboat, which Kennedy sold in 1942 before shipping out to the Pacific in World War II. But US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan has notified the court that he will appeal the ruling, and Lane said yesterday that he will, too. Lane said Young should have awarded him far more in compensation and fees because the boat was worth roughly ten times the $100,000 it fetched at an auction of JFK memorabilia at Guernsey's in 2005.

"We won the case, but, financially, I got a raw deal," said Lane, who lives in West Palm Beach and contends that the value of the boat plunged before the auction because of bad publicity. "I want my boat back if I'm not going to be compensated fairly."


On Oct. 1, Young ruled that the government should never have seized the boat to begin with, because it had failed to prove that Anderson used drug money to buy and refurbish the boat. Nor does the government have any right to the proceeds, he wrote.

But the matter is hardly settled. Sullivan's office said it will appeal Young's ruling, but did not specify why. Lane's lawyer, Brenda Grantland of Mill Valley, Calif., said the government's own appraiser had put the sloop's value at $800,000 to $1 million. But, she said, the government auctioned it off for $100,000 to a Texas resident in what her client characterized as a fire sale.



In San Francisco, the murder rate has been on the rise. Instead of using that as a cue to intensify the drug war, the mayor wants police to focus on homicide specifically, even reassigning whole units of narcotics officers to deal with the problem in a more straight-forward way. Elsewhere, tragedy and corruption are still commonplace in the drug war, and sometimes they intersect.


Pubdate: Sat, 19 Jan 2008
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Jaxon Van Derbeken, Chronicle Staff Writer

A day after San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom threatened to demote police commanders unless they did more to fight homicides, Chief Heather Fong ordered investigators in the department's drug and gang units to put on uniforms and patrol city streets at night, officials said Friday.

Newsom met with the command staff and other officials at City Hall on Monday, a day after San Francisco recorded its sixth homicide of the year. Last year's homicide total, 98, was the most in San Francisco in a dozen years.

The mayor told commanders that their current strategy of combatting violent crime wasn't working and that he would replace them if they couldn't get the job done, said one official who attended the meeting, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment.

Newsom was particularly concerned about the shooting last Saturday outside a Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory girls basketball game that killed Terrell "Terray" Rogers, a community activist who was gunned down when he walked out of the gym at halftime. The mayor told the group he had known Rogers, whose Peacekeepers anti-violence group was active in the Bayview neighborhood.

Newsom talked about wanting to double or triple the number of officers in the Bayview, officials said.

"The mayor is upset about the homicide rate in the city. He made it clear he wants to change things," said Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard. "He said, 'Enough is enough. Our current approach isn't working, and it's time to fix it.' "

The next day, all 70 or so officers in the narcotics and gang task force units were reassigned to the evening shift in uniform. Some said they had been told to abandon current investigations, although department officials insisted they would continue their existing duties even as they pound a beat.

Some reassigned investigators in the gang and narcotics units were skeptical, saying potential informants were unlikely to risk being seen talking to a uniformed officer and that police who might be asked later to work undercover could be jeopardized if they are seen now on patrol. None of the officers would speak on the record, fearing retribution.




Pubdate: Sat, 19 Jan 2008
Source: Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA)
Copyright: 2008 The Virginian-Pilot
Author: John Hopkins

Portlock residents who saw a deadly police shooting unfold on their "quiet street" are finding it difficult to return to normalcy. The man accused of killing Detective Jarrod Shivers said he had no idea the man he shot was a police officer until it was too late.

Redstart Avenue, a street that dead-ends at a church, still was reeling Friday after a police officer was fatally shot there the night before. The residents say they are in disbelief after realizing that a 28-year-old neighbor is a suspect.

"It shocked me to death," said Mavis Cosner, who has lived on the street since 1960. "I'm still a little nervous."

Shivers, a 34-year-old father, was shot as was trying to enter at the house in the street's 900 block around 8:30 p.m. He and several other officers were there with a search warrant as part of a drug investigation, police said.

Shivers was pronounced dead at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. He left behind a wife and three children - ages 2, 8 and 14.

After the shooting, detectives on scene retreated for their safety. The home, which sits in the middle of the block, remained surrounded until the SWAT team arrived and entered.

Police arrested 28-year-old Ryan David Frederick, who lived at the home, and charged him with first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He is being held in the Chesapeake City Jail.

Frederick said in a jailhouse interview Friday he had no idea a police officer was on the other side of the door when he opened fire.

"No, sir," he told WAVY-TV. "I just wish I knew who they were," he said. "I didn't want any trouble."

Frederick said he was in bed when he heard someone trying to come into the home.

"I thought it was the person who had broken into my house the other day," he said.

Frederick said his home had been burglarized two or three days earlier.

Frederick's family could not be reached for comment, and he declined to speak to The Virginian-Pilot.

Police did not say whom they were investigating when they executed the search warrant. Other than a few misdemeanor traffic violations, Frederick has not been convicted of any felony crimes in Chesapeake, according to online court records.




Pubdate: Tue, 22 Jan 2008
Source: Plain Dealer, The (Cleveland, OH)
Copyright: 2008 The Plain Dealer
Author: John Caniglia, Plain Dealer Reporter

26 Cases Tied to Informant, DEA Agent Who Manipulated System

Geneva France walked out of federal prison with $68 and a bus ticket home. That's all the government had to offer a woman who had served 16 months of a decade-long prison sentence for a crime she didn't commit.

The mother of three returned to her family, but her youngest child -- who was 18 months old when France was sent to prison -- didn't recognize her.

And France, 25, had no home to return to.

Her landlord had evicted her from the rental during her incarceration, and everything she owned had been tossed on the street.

France's case is the nightmare scenario for a system that critics say sometimes dispenses justice differently for rich and poor.

It shows how easy it is for the government to get convictions in cases built on shaky investigations.

Defense attorneys say a street-smart but dishonest informant and a federal agent working without oversight manipulated the system to convict France and dozens of others.

"They stole the truth," France said. "I don't think I'll ever trust people again. It's too hard."

"I don't know how a human being with a heart could stand up there and lie about another person," France said. "They stole part of my life."




Pubdate: Fri, 18 Jan 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Scott Glover Los Angeles, Times Staff Writer

Federal Authorities Allege That Sgt. Alvaro Murillo Stole From Drug Dealers Then Sold the Drugs.

A veteran Huntington Park police officer once assigned to a federal anti-drug task force was arrested Thursday on charges that he conspired with others to distribute large quantities of cocaine and marijuana, federal authorities said.

Sgt. Alvaro Murillo, who allegedly was called "The Godfather" by his cohorts, is accused of using his job as a police officer to recruit informants in the drug world, then use them to help him steal narcotics from dealers.

Murillo allegedly arranged for the drugs to be put back on the street for his own profit, according to an indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

One of Murillo's informants, Alberto Del Real-Gallardo, who authorities said was dubbed the "Fat Man," was also arrested Thursday.

In the indictment, prosecutors detailed several instances in which Murillo and Real-Gallardo allegedly recruited informants to gather intelligence on drug dealers and then ripped them off. They were charged with possessing, with intent to distribute, 5 kilograms of cocaine and 340 kilos of marijuana.




Pubdate: Fri, 18 Jan 2008
Source: Newsday (NY)
Copyright: 2008 Newsday Inc.
Author: Luis Perez And Christine Armario

A New York City police sergeant has been charged with aiding a Wyandanch drug dealer who suspected he was being followed by federal agents, according to a complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court.

Roosevelt Green used a New York Police Department computer to run the license plate numbers of two Drug Enforcement Administration vehicles surveilling Frank Wilson, a Wyandanch man arrested in May for leading a cocaine distribution ring, the complaint states.

Authorities caught Green and Wilson talking about the vehicles on a wiretap and executed a search warrant of the sergeant's Wyandanch house on May 22, 2007. Green, 46, was arraigned this afternoon on charges of unlawful use of a computer and lying to federal officers.

Magistrate Judge Arlene Rosario Lindsay allowed Green to leave the courthouse in Central Islip with his family after posting a $250,000 cash bond on his house. Green declined to comment, but his wife spoke on his behalf.

"He's a good cop," Sandra Green said. "A very good cop."




Members of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) are understandably upset that the British government seems bent on re-reclassifying cannabis, no matter what a report the ACMD are currently crafting recommends. Critics of the Council charge that the ACMD has been infiltrated by "genuine but misguided" legalisers.

Vermont may join five other states in legalizing industrial hemp in defiance of federal law and the DEA. It is understandable but unfortunate that some genuine hemp advocates oppose broader cannabis law reform.

Crimestoppers, a community-based program in Canada that rewards anonymous snitches, is being overwhelmed with tips on growing operations, including tips provided by rival growers.

Yet another study has demonstrated the promise of cannabinoids for cancer treatment, joining a growing body of evidence that cannabis may be protective and even curative for a broad spectrum of conditions and diseases.


Pubdate: Sun, 20 Jan 2008
Source: Independent on Sunday (UK)
Copyright: Independent Newspapers Ltd.
Authors: Brian Brady and Jonathan Owen

An angry row has blown up over proposals to upgrade cannabis to a class B drug, with leading experts from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) accusing the Government of a "deliberate leak" of its plans. Ignoring a directive not to speak to journalists about reports that the Government has already made its mind up, ACMD member Professor Les Iversen, a pharmacologist at Oxford University, said: "I was not pleased to read what appears to be a deliberate leak about the government's alleged intention to reclassify, regardless of advice received.

"If ACMD were to recommend no change and this were to happen, I believe it would be the first time that any Home Secretary acted against the recommendations offered and it would call into question the whole function and future of this group."

The outburst followed claims that Gordon Brown and the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, were determined to reverse the decision to downgrade the drug to class C when the ACMD completes its report in the next few months. Although its recommendations are not yet known, ministers are already making clear that Ms Smith is prepared to overrule the expert body.

But one former member of the influential council last night claimed the ACMD was totally opposed to the Government's stance. "There is no way that the ACMD would support any reclassification of cannabis, unless there were some political shenanigans going on," said the Reverend Martin Blakeborough.

Rev Blakeborough, who runs the Kaleidoscope drug abuse charity, said: "There is no significantly new evidence to suggest that cannabis is any more harmful than in the last review we did 18 months ago."

"The only reason that the ACMD is being forced to discuss this matter is because every new Home Secretary seems to want to show how tough they are," he added.


But David Raynes, of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, criticised the ACMD's stance and said that it was dominated by people who advocate "harm reduction" and whose sympathies lie with pro- legalisation campaigners: "I actually think that the harm reduction/liberalisation/legalisation lobby is too strong in there (and in the Home Office). Some ACMD members are genuine but misguided, some are just the great and good with little understanding of the legalisation game that is being played by others."




Pubdate: Wed, 23 Jan 2008
Source: Rutland Herald (VT)
Copyright: 2008 Rutland Herald
Author: Peter Hirschfield, Vermont Press Bureau

Inside the Statehouse, mounted to a wall in the House Agriculture Committee room, is a World War II-era poster asking patriotic citizens to "Grow Hemp for the War."

The framed relic harkens back to a time when hemp flourished as one of the country's premier agricultural commodities. Thomas Jefferson himself called hemp a "first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country." The first two drafts of the U.S. Constitution were penned on hemp paper.

Hemp's reputation has since fallen on hard times. A victim of guilt by genetic association, hemp was outlawed after World War II in an effort to clamp down on its psychotropic cousin, marijuana.

Before the end of the 2008 session, however, lawmakers here could cast votes on a bill aimed at resurrecting the crop in Vermont.

"People in general are convinced it's not a bogeyman, and in fact it may be a good step in laying the groundwork for another economic opportunity for farmers," Rep. David Zuckerman, a Burlington Progressive, said Tuesday.


But hemp, a strain of cannabis sativa, shares its species with marijuana. Though hemp has barely detectable levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, the Drug Enforcement Agency, which wields federal jurisdiction over hemp cultivation, draws no legal distinction between the two plants.

David Monson, a state representative from North Dakota, spearheaded efforts to legalize hemp in his state after a fungus outbreak blighted wheat and barley crops there. He traveled to Vermont this week to speak with lawmakers about the merits of hemp legalization.

Though federal law enforcement officials have suggested that legalizing hemp is tantamount to legalizing marijuana, Monson said North Dakotans have dispelled that myth.

"We have made it very clear that we are against the legalization of marijuana, even for medicinal use," Monson said Tuesday.


Even if Vermont joins five other states in passing hemp legislation, Vermont farmers would likely face the same federal obstacles impeding hemp cultivation in North Dakota, where the DEA has thus far refused to grant federal hemp-growing licenses to farmers in his state.

Still, Zuckerman said, a united front by states may compel the federal government to ease hemp restrictions.

"As more states do this, it will force Congress to revisit the issue," Zuckerman said.



Pubdate: Tue, 22 Jan 2008
Source: Standard, The (St. Catharines, CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 The Standard
Author: Grant LaFleche, Standard Staff

Marijuana Is Slowly Bleeding Crime Stoppers Of Niagara.

The community-based tip line's raison d'etre is to generate tips for police and pay cash rewards for those that result in an arrest or conviction.

But Crime Stoppers has a limited budget. Most of the around $23,000 it needs to run its operations and pay for tips comes through fundraising.

"We're not funded by the government, we are not an arm of the police," said Crime Stoppers of Niagara chairman Stu Black. "We get our money through donations."

So it's simple math. The more successful tips that come in, the more money Crime Stoppers pays out. And in the last two years, it has been paying out a lot thanks to tips about pot-growing operations.

"I was very concerned this past summer that we were in real danger," said Black. "We are getting so many tips about marijuana growing operations, particularly in St. Catharines and Niagara Falls, that we've been paying out more."


Ironically, the lure of being paid for tips has resulted in what Black describes as the "bad guys" ratting on each other, particularly when it comes to marijuana grows.

"Some people who know there is a grow-op in their neighbourhood just want it out of there and they don't care about the money," Black said. "For others, well, they want the money and that includes the bad guys."

Whatever the reason for the tips, however, Black says Crime Stoppers wants them.

"Crime Stoppers does make the community a better a place, and that's why I'm involved," Black said. "And those inside tips are often very important."

Tips are completely anonymous, Black said. Crime Stoppers gives a tipster a special ID code that is the only way the organization tracks tips.




Pubdate: Mon, 21 Jan 2008
Source: West Australian (Australia)
Copyright: 2008 West Australian Newspapers Limited

HAMBURG - The active ingredient in marijuana may suppress tumour invasion in highly invasive cancers, according to new research in Germany.

Cannabinoids, the active components in marijuana, are already used medically to reduce the side effects of cancer treatment, such as pain, weight loss and vomiting.

But the new study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, finds that the compounds may also have an anti-cancer effect.

However, more research is needed to determine whether the laboratory results would hold true in humans, the authors wrote.

Dr Robert Ramer and Dr Burkhard Hinz of the University of Rostock in Germany investigated whether and by what mechanism cannabinoids inhibit tumour cell invasion.

Cannabinoids did suppress tumour cell invasion and stimulated the expression of TIMP-1, an inhibitor of a group of enzymes that are involved in tumour cell invasion.

"To our knowledge, this is the first report of TIMP-1-dependent anti- invasive effects of cannabinoids," the two researchers said in a joint statement.




In the history of drug prohibition, surely the extra-judicial killing of 2,500 Thai people will merit a mention. The killings of drug suspects in 2002-2003 happened after the former Prime Minister of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra, established quotas and pressured police to draw up blacklists of suspects involved with drugs. Police complied, and by early 2003, thousands of people on police drug-blacklists had been killed - shot down at home and work by what were believed to be police vigilantes. But even after the Shinawatra regime was deposed in a bloodless coup in 2006, and the new government held an inquest to find out what happened, "no evidence" could be found to identify or punish the killers. "Due to lack of evidence, as many witnesses have refused to come forward to provide vital information to the investigators, this panel couldn't hold anyone responsible," Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said this week. Other Thai public investigations on the killings have produced similar results.

The head of the Canadian Police national drug branch, Superintendent Paul Nadeau said U.S. claims of an epidemic of Canadian meth-laced "extreme ecstasy" were pure bunk. Frightful tales of a flood of Canadian meth-MDMA were spun a few weeks ago by U.S. drug czar John Walters. "That term is unknown to us, certainly in Canada, and I can tell you that I've spoken to law enforcement people in the U.S. and they've never heard of it either so it would appear that it's a term that somebody came up with in a boardroom in Washington, D.C.," protested the top RCMP narc.

In Chendipada, India, bhang (cannabis) has been used religiously for ages and still flourishes, even though the (now) illegal plant is destroyed by authorities in regular eradication campaigns. Destined to wage what seems to be a futile "war" against this plant medicine and inebriant, authorities raid some of the larger cannabis farms each year. Instead of admitting they can't win against a plant people want on a massive scale, authorities instead blame shadowy "kingpins" who corrupt "local villagers... allured by the agents and have given away their lands for cannabis plantations."

And from Teesside in the U.K., a brave new tool in the struggle that pub owners and landlords are waging against their patrons who might happen to be enjoying a quiet drink: up against the wall, and be searched by police! In a move sure to drive patrons away from participating pubs, police have begun blitz-style raids on pub patrons. After the judgement of police dogs who "sniffed out" those who police say were in "contact" with drugs, pub patrons were marched "outside and searched in vans." Teesside pub owners boasted of ways to hurt pub patrons who may also use drugs, spraying "anti-freeze and WD40 on [pub toilets, which] makes the blood vessels in their nostrils explode when they snort off it."


Pubdate: Mon, 21 Jan 2008
Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)
Copyright: The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 2008
Author: Anucha Charoenpo

Investigators' Final Report Blames No One

Nakhon Ratchasima - The inquiry into the extra-judicial killings during the war on drugs by those serving under the Thaksin Shinawatra government has found no evidence which would enable the punishment of those involved, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said yesterday. More than 2,500 people are believed to have been killed.

Gen Surayud said he had just received a final report from panel chairman Khanit na Nakhon stating that no one could be held to blame for the killings.

"Due to lack of evidence, as many witnesses have refused to come forward to provide vital information to the investigators, this panel couldn't hold anyone responsible," he said when leading reporters on a tour of his resort home in Khao Yai Thieng in Sikhiu district.

The committee, formally known as the Independent Commission for Study and Analysis of the Formation and Implementation of Drug Suppression Policy (ICID), was appointed by the Surayud government in August last year.

It has 12 members, including senior criminal justice officials, law enforcement officers, and human rights defenders. It had been given 10 months to investigate the deaths of about 2,500 people killed during the three-month anti-drugs drive from Feb 1 to April 30, 2003.

The ICID was not the only agency which was unsuccessful in solving cases involving human rights abuses committed during the Thaksin regime.




Pubdate: Mon, 21 Jan 2008
Source: Chronicle Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2008 The Canadian Press
Author: Canadian Press

VANCOUVER (CP) - The head of the RCMP's national drug branch is debunking claims by the U.S. drug czar, who claims organized crime rings in Canada are dumping dangerous, methamphetamine-laced "extreme ecstasy" into his country.

Supt. Paul Nadeau said he doesn't know why John Walters, of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, would make such statements in a widely distributed news release without checking facts with Canadian officials.

"I shook my head when I read the release that they put out," said Nadeau, who's never heard of extreme ecstasy.

"That term is unknown to us, certainly in Canada, and I can tell you that I've spoken to law enforcement people in the U.S. and they've never heard of it either so it would appear that it's a term that somebody came up with in a boardroom in Washington, D.C."

The release has generated huge media buzz in the U.S., with some news outlets using names such as "turbo-charged ecstasy," which is supposedly flowing across the border from Canada.

In the release, Walters warns public health and safety leaders that more than 55 per cent of ecstasy samples seized in the U.S. last year contained meth, a stimulant that affects the central nervous system.




Pubdate: Mon, 21 Jan 2008
Source: Statesman, The (India)
Copyright: 2008 The Statesman

Cannabis cultivation continues to flourish on a massive scale at Chendipada and its adjoining areas in the district despite destruction of plantations each year by the excise authorities. The reason is that the kingpin behind the racket has remained elusive so far. The authorities ended their drive after destroying the plantations and registering cases against some of the local villagers in this connection.

What is appalling is that authorities despite conduct raids in each year are yet to establish the identity of the main culprits though they admit their existence.

The excise authorities conducted raids for a stretch of 17 days in seven phases in December and January in some places under the Chhendipada police station area. The operation, said to be the largest so far, covered an area of about 1.5 lakh acres.

The officials who conducted the raid burnt about 4.5 lakh cannabis trees raised on government and forest lands in the peripheral villages like Patrapara, Patakmunda, Raipal, Pururanagarh, Marudhipa and Kanalaoi of Chhendipada.


The cultivation is not only limited to chhendipada area, but have spread to Kishorenagar area of the district and beyond the adjoining borders of Sambalpur and Deogarh district.

The local villagers of this belt have been allured by the agents and have given away their lands for cannabis plantations. One of the villagers of Raipal was offered Rs 8,000 to let out his half acres of land for four months.



Pubdate: Tue, 22 Jan 2008
Source: Evening Gazette (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Gazette Media Company Limited
Author: Angela Rainey, Evening Gazette

LANDLORDS across Teesside say they support a mammoth drugs blitz in their pubs after a raid resulted in 10 arrests.

The crackdown on drug-use in licensed premises came only four days after Pubwatch landlords signed an agreement with police to have their pubs randomly searched.


Other targets included The Lingfield Farm, Coulby Newham; The Viking, Middlesbrough; The Apple Tree at Marton Manor; The Southern Cross, Marton, and The Brunton Arms, Nunthorpe. They were stormed by 18 officers.

A dog sniffed out those who had been in contact with drugs and suspects were led outside and searched in vans.


One licensee, who asked not to be named, said: "I spray the top of my toilet cisterns with baby oil - that way the drugs go mushy and they can't snort them.

"I've heard of one landlord who sprays anti-freeze and WD40 on his. It makes the blood vessels in their nostrils explode when they snort off it."


 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


Marc and Alan discuss the recent Canadian medical cannabis court victory of Jan 10th, 2008, the BC3 extradition, and Marc's recent "Deal" in which he has agreed to turn himself in for a 10 year sentence in exchange for no jail time for his two co-accused, Greg Williams and Michele Rainey.


by Forrest Hylton


By Mark Haden

Prohibition of illegal drugs is a failed social policy and new models of regulation of these substances are needed. This paper explores a proposal for a post-prohibition, public health based model for the regulation of the most problematic drugs, the smokable and injectable stimulants.


This briefing to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) considers the political and media backdrop to the latest review, and how they have distorted both science and policy thinking around this issue, as well as offering a broader critique of the classification system and the flawed and hopelessly outdated science (or lack of) on which it is nominally based.


"Reducing the adverse health and social consequences of drug abuse: A comprehensive approach" is inspired by the international drug control treaties and supported by a growing body of scientific and medical evidence. Moreover, it was prepared in close consultation with the International Narcotics Control Board.

It calls for a comprehensive approach to drug abuse in which prevention and treatment of substance use disorders constitute the initial stages. Provision of facilities to reduce the harmful consequences of drug abuse complete the approach.


The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a membership-based, IRS-approved 501 (c) (3) non-profit research and educational organization. MAPS assists scientists to design, fund, obtain approval for and report on studies into the risks and benefits of MDMA, psychedelic drugs and marijuana.


Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 01/23/08 - Mike Gray

Mike Gray, author of Drug Crazy and Chairman of Common Sense for Drug Policy discusses his forthcoming video: "Clergy Against the War on Drugs" + Charles Thomas of Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative & Poppygate, Official Government Truth.

Century of Lies - 01/22/08 - Edwin Sanders

"Black America: The Debate Within" panel discussion from New Orleans drug conference featuring Rev. Edwin Sanders, Naomi Long, Prof. James Peterson and Prof. Glenn Loury.


Clinical and preclinical research on the therapeutic use of cannabis indicates that cannabinoids may curb the progression of various life- threatening diseases - including multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer's disease, and brain cancer, according to an updated report published by the NORML Foundation.



John Walters Caught Lying Again. A DrugSense Focus Alert.


The Marijuana Policy Project has three full-time jobs and two internships available:

1. Graphic Designer (Washington, D.C.) 2. System Support Specialist (Washington, D.C.) 3. Field Coordinator (Boston) 4. Internships: Outreach Intern and State Policies Intern (Washington, D.C.)

For all positions, please visit



By Stephen Kravcik, MD

Re: Crack pipe end run upsets O'Brien, Jan. 14.

The Ontario government has chosen to fund the crack pipe program cancelled by Ottawa's municipal politicians. Mayor Larry O'Brien stated that the program provided no benefit to its users. He is wrong.

Ottawa's program was virtually unique.

It was set up, not so much to prevent sharing of crack pipes, but more to prevent intravenous injection of crack cocaine.

The utility of this hinges upon the fact that those addicted to crack cocaine will self-administer it in any way possible, through intravenous injection or inhalation. This is a very powerful addiction.

Let us not be mistaken here. We are not talking about kids trying out crack because they have a bit of extra money and access to a crack pipe. This program is oriented towards those who cannot stop taking the drug. These are people whose lives revolve around cocaine, who may not have the social circumstances or mental health to stop taking the drug through rehab or otherwise.

The crack-pipe program reduced the crack cocaine injection rate from 96 per cent to 78 per cent. It reduced the crack pipe sharing rate from 37 per cent to 12 per cent. The program was too small and too short lived to yield a statistically significant reduction in hepatitis C or HIV prevalence, but its 4,000 visits by crack users did increase access to education, social support, health services and referrals to other social service and drug treatment services.

The importance of reduction in intravenous injection rates cannot be overstated. Prevention of a single case of HIV or hepatitis C saves the system at least $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Moreover, bacterial infections will be reduced.

This autumn, I cared for a young woman whose disseminated bacterial infection, caused by intravenous cocaine use, mandated six weeks of treatment in hospital. This cost our society at least $50,000.

There is no doubt that getting people off drugs is preferable. But that is not a real possibility for some addicts. The whole point of harm reduction manoeuvres like the crack pipe program is to accept the reality that, because of addiction, mental illness or circumstances, there are individuals who will put themselves in harm's way.

It is not only cost-effective and healthier to offer safer alternatives like crack pipe programs, needle exchange programs and even alcohol maintenance programs, it is also compassionate and realistic.

If the thought of such programs offends one's values, that's too bad. The proof that these programs save lives, reduce illness and save money is unequivocal.

Perhaps we should direct our energies at redoubling our efforts to ensure all children are raised in homes free of abuse, with adequate education and employment opportunities, so that addiction problems do not develop.

Stephen Kravcik, MD, Manotick

Pubdate: Sun, 20 Jan 2008
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)


Lou Dobbs And The Drug War  ( Top )

By Jacob Hornberger

Last night, CNN television commentator Lou Dobbs was commenting on the recent death of a Border Patrol agent at the hands of drug dealers along the border. The agent had used his vehicle to try to stop the Hummer that was being driven by the drug dealers. The drug dealers crashed into the agent's vehicle, killing him, and then drove the Hummer back into Mexico where they escaped capture.

Dobbs blamed the deaths on the drug dealers and the so-called open-border policy of the U.S. government, which is one of his favorite rants.

What Dobbs fails to comprehend, however, is that he himself, along with other supporters of the war on drugs, are morally responsible for the death of that Border Patrol agent. That is, Dobbs and other drug-war supporters cannot escape moral responsibility for the agent's death by simply pointing to the legal (and moral) responsibility of the drug dealers who killed him. "Dobbs and his drug-war cohorts just cannot let go of their beloved war, not even when it has gone on for more than three decades, with nothing but death, destruction, corruption, and failure to show for it."

If the drug war had been ended years ago, as libertarians have long advocated, there would be no more drug gangs and drug lords. Those types of people survive and prosper only in black markets, not regular markets. If drugs were legalized, the people selling drugs would be pharmacies and other normally operating businesses, just as they were before U.S. officials made the sale and distribution of drugs illegal.

By putting drug gangs and drug lords out of business immediately, the legalization of drugs would obviously cause the types of occurrences that resulted in that Border Patrol's death to immediately disappear. That is, there wouldn't be drug gangs trying to smuggle drugs into the United States because, again, there wouldn't be any more drug gangs. Given that there wouldn't have been any more drug gangs, there wouldn't have been the altercation that resulted in the Border Patrol agent's death.

Yet, Dobbs and his drug-war cohorts just cannot let go of their beloved war, not even when it has gone on for more than three decades, with nothing but death, destruction, corruption, and failure to show for it. Even worse, they cannot bring themselves to take personal responsibility for its consequences. Like liberals and the welfare state, they inevitably exclaim, "Please, judge us by our good intentions, not by the actual results of our philosophy."

Why do people like Dobbs continue to favor the drug war? Hope springs eternal in the minds of people who favor paternalistic government programs, whether the program is the drug war, Social Security, Medicare, immigration controls, trade protectionism, or the like. Despite all the crises, messes, and perversions that such programs produce year after year, decade after decade, their advocates continue to hope that some day an enterprising politician and bureaucrat will finally make them succeed.

But they will never succeed, at least not without a police state imposed within our country.

Look at North Korea and how it has sealed its borders. They'll never admit it openly, but that is effectively the model of those who wish to seal the borders of the United States.

Look at the Berlin Wall. They'll never admit it openly, but that is effectively the model of those who wish to build a wall along our Southern border.

Look at Cuba and its retirement, educational, and health care systems. They'll never admit it, but that is effectively the model of those who wish that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and public schooling could finally be made to work.

What's the alternative to socialism, interventionism, and a police state? Free markets, private property, and limited government, as libertarians have long maintained. Echoing the words of Ronald Reagan, libertarians exclaim, "Tear down these walls!"

Unfortunately, as a conservative Dobbs cannot bring himself to embrace free markets, private property, and limited government in the areas of trade, immigration, retirement, health care, and education. But wouldn't it be nice if he, along with other conservatives and liberals, would take personal responsibility for the consequences of their beloved government programs. Taking moral responsibility for the death of that Border Patrol agent who died at the hands of drug dealers - and apologizing to his family - would be a good place to start.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation - . This piece originally appeared at MWC News -


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