This Just In
(1)OPED: Drug Tests Make No Sense
(2)OPED: County Errs In Ignoring Medical Marijuana Id Law
(3)Mexico Sending 2,500 Agents Into Troubled Border Town
(4)Column: Prince Of Pot's Deal With U.S. Shot Down By Ottawa

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 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Thu, 27 Mar 2008
Source: Age, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2008 The Age Company Ltd
Author: Gino Vumbaca
Referenced: The Report, 202 pages

YOU will often hear people talk about an issue being a question of common sense. In the area of drug policy, many people in the community think that drug testing of school students is such an issue. Surely we should do all we can to stop young people using drugs and so testing them to make sure they don't is common sense?

The truth is that some things are not as sensible as they may seem, and drug testing school students is one of those things.

The new report from the Australian National Council on Drugs, prepared by the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, clearly exposes school drug testing for the inefficient program it is.

Apart from costing between $100 million and $1 billion to introduce, depending on whether the program would cover all students or a random sample tested weekly or yearly, the evidence is clear that it would be ineffective and potentially harmful.

So how can such a sensible-sounding program be so wrong? First, let's think about the cost. When education became part of the centre stage of the recent federal election, would anyone have seriously accepted that the Government should spend an additional $1 billion of education money on collecting urine samples or mouth swabs from students? Or that turning teachers, in their chosen profession as educators of children, into quasi drug testers would be the "education revolution" the community was looking for?

Second, its substantive lack of effectiveness has to be considered. The independent, but limited, research available on this issue from the US shows us that when schools that have testing programs are compared with nearby schools that do not, very little difference in levels of drug use by students is found.

What needs to be remembered is that self-promotional reports from US schools that have introduced drug testing without any real information either on the level of drug use before testing or in surrounding schools that have not introduced testing, do not constitute independent evidence. Adherence to a belief or ideology they may be, but evidence they are not.

Third, there are several problems school drug testing can cause. Drug testing is by no means infallible and a percentage of false positive results will be returned. Thus we would be allowing a system to be put in place that we know will result in a proportion of students being falsely accused of using illegal drugs. This would be traumatic for such students and their families. Drug testing also undermines the critical area of trust between the school, its teachers and its students.




Pubdate: Fri, 28 Mar 2008
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Sacramento Bee
Authors: Ryan Landers and F. Aaron Smith, Special to The Bee

Sacramento County's Board of Supervisors is openly defying state law and doing so at the expense of the sick and suffering in our county. Worse, the board is doing it under false pretenses.


Supervisors and law enforcement representatives made much of the conflict between state and federal law. This argument took two main forms, both bogus.

The first, suggested by Sheriff John McGinness and repeated by some board members, is that issuing medical marijuana ID cards would somehow endanger local law enforcement officers, who would be torn between state and federal laws. But the courts have already answered this question definitively. Recently, one of California's appellate courts ruled, "It is not the job of the local police to enforce the federal drug laws." Rejecting an appeal request, the California Supreme Court decided to let the ruling stand.

In addition to this ruling, we have extensive real-world experience from other counties. Thirty-eight are already issuing medical marijuana ID cards, and some have been doing so for years. These include large and small counties from all regions of the state, including Los Angeles, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Orange and Kern counties, among others.

During the hearing, McGinness told supervisors that Contra Costa County refused to implement the program based on federal law. This is false. According to that county's Web site, the ID card program was made available in 2005. Additionally, the sheriff claimed that Alameda County is only issuing the IDs under the proviso that the DEA is notified of who has obtained a card - wrong again. Alameda County is following state law and is not notifying the DEA about participants in the program.

The governments and law enforcement agencies in these counties have suffered no adverse consequences or federal retaliation for issuing ID cards and following state law. None. Zero.

The second bogus reason was voiced by Supervisor Susan Peters, who said issuing the cards would give patients "a false sense of security .. putting Sacramento County residents in jeopardy of federal prosecution," because cardholders would still be subject to federal arrest. This assertion is false.

First, the ID card application clearly states that a card does not provide immunity from federal arrest or prosecution. No one is being told they have protection that isn't there.

Second, government statistics show that federal authorities make only 1 percent of all marijuana arrests, and 99 percent are made by local police, acting under state laws. And the few remaining federal arrests are almost all of large-scale marijuana producers and distributors, not individual patients. Indeed, federal Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Bill Grant has stated, "We have never targeted the sick and dying."




Pubdate: Fri, 28 Mar 2008
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2008 Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division, Hearst Newspaper
Author: Alfredo Corchado, The Dallas Morning News

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico -- The government of President Felipe Calderon on Thursday began a military surge of more than 2,500 soldiers and federal agents into this besieged border community in an attempt to tamp down a bloody drug war that has authorities jittery on both sides of the border.


Operation Chihuahua involves 2,026 soldiers and 425 federal agents, plus intelligence experts, investigators and forensic specialists. The goal is to control all access points in and out of the city, said Mexico's Defense Minister Guillermo Galvan Galvan.

Within hours of beginning the operation, soldiers took over the police department's communications operations, and Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz said a clean-up of the police department is underway. Starting Monday, soldiers will set up 46 checkpoints throughout the city, including international crossing points leading into and out of Texas and New Mexico. And soldiers will be checking for unregistered weapons and searching police cars for any possible links to drug cartels.

Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora stressed that the chaos in Ciudad Juarez and elsewhere in Mexico -- more than 5,000 killings across Mexico in the last two years have been linked to drug violence -- is not a sign of cartel strength, but "a sign of their weakness, decomposition and deterioration. It will take time to eradicate them."


On Thursday, the sight of dozens of federal agents and special-forces soldiers toting AR-15 assault rifles left many residents elated, others dubious.

Armando Alvarez, 40, an electrician, stared as the array of black SUVs carrying top officials to the airport passed him by.

"Thank God they finally get it," he said. "It was about time."

But Alfredo Quijano, editor of Norte de Ciudad Juarez newspaper, said the operation comes too late.

"These operations work as long as soldiers turn out en masse," he said, "but once they leave the narcos return, even though they never stop operating quietly."




Pubdate: Fri, 28 Mar 2008
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun

A tentative deal between Marc Emery, Vancouver's Prince of Pot, and the U.S. government over money-laundering and drug charges has been nixed by Ottawa.

Emery says the Conservative administration has refused to go along with a proposal that would have seen him spend five years behind bars for selling marijuana seeds through the mail.

Under the defunct pact, Emery was to plead guilty on both sides of the border and accept a sentence of 10 years imprisonment on the understanding he would serve half, mostly in Canada.

"All that was required for this deal was a rubber stamp from the federal government," Emery told me late Thursday. "They have, instead, rejected the deal without explanation . . . it is clearly political."

The longtime cannabis crusader said he originally agreed to the jail time in part to spare his associates and co-accused Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams from prosecution and prison.


U.S. prosecutors have offered Williams and Rainey jail sentences in the three-to-five-month range and probation in exchange for guilty pleas. Both are mulling it over.


Emery has flouted the law for more than a decade. He has run in federal, provincial and civic elections promoting his pro-cannabis platform.

He has championed legal marijuana at parliamentary hearings, on national television, at celebrity conferences, in his own magazine, Cannabis Culture, and on his own Internet channel, Pot TV.

The political landscape has changed dramatically as a result of Emery's politicking for cannabis.

Health Canada even recommended medical marijuana patients buy their seeds from Emery.

From 1998 until his arrest, Emery even paid provincial and federal taxes as a "marijuana seed vendor" totaling nearly $600,000.

"Over the last 10 years, I operated openly and transparently," Emery insisted.

"Six times a year, I sent every Member of Parliament a copy of my seed catalogue. I donated tens of thousands to politicians of every party, at every level of government. They all gladly cashed my cheques knowing full well the source of the money. Under the definition of the law, they are all guilty of money laundering, the very crime I'm being extradited for."





The co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce found ink in the Louisiana Weekly with his blunt history of how far people will go to gain financial reward and power. Since we don't seem to learn from our past mistakes, history always tends to repeat itself and modern day examples are never difficult to locate.

One company has created a program of staged 'horrors of drug addiction' to promote drug-free children. Of course you must first pay the initial $3,500 and $500 annual update fee. Another group of Drug War profiteers can be found all around the drug testing industry. A Washington State editor pitches in by suggesting voluntary student drug testing after mandatory testing was found unconstitutional. A lock-down and search in Ohio showed that drug dogs are just as intrusive and ineffective as drug testing. And all this may seem for naught as a North Carolina story reveals some will attempt to find euphoria from their own bare hands!


Pubdate: Mon, 24 Mar 2008
Source: Louisiana Weekly, The (New Orleans, LA)
Copyright: 2008 Louisiana Weekly Publishing Company
Author: Harry C. Alford

Power and greed go together like hand and glove. People who become rich do not stay rich unless they establish a foundation of power. Those who gain power solidify that power through the lust for wealth. There have been a few common folk come to the White House but none have ever left without being wealthy and powerful. It goes together because "He, who has the gold, makes the rules".


The British were the first to find that by infecting a large population with drug addiction you can control their very being. How else could a nation the size of the British Isles control a mighty China? The Brits imported opium into the populace of this extremely large geography and, thus, maintained control of its economy. Politics using drugs to control a targeted population turned out to be very effective.


It is no coincidence that shortly after the CIA was formed drugs were imported into the streets of Black communities. This activity created a power of its own. Through friends like the Mafia, as illustrated in the movie "The Godfather", the political apparatus pointed drugs to Black communities and any community bordering them. It was the same format that the Brits used on China. The Geo Politic using the ills and profits of drugs towards a distinct class of people that they desired to manipulate. Oh, don't be naive. This is real!

This sick reality has manifested itself into something quite overwhelming. There are two distinct divisions used in this social political apparatus here in the United States. There is the Military Industrial Complex and the Prison Industrial Complex. The Geo Politic uses the Military Industrial Complex to import massive quantities of drugs without fear of exposure or retribution.

This complex reaps much profit for the individuals involved and also ensures that war, the mechanism for revenue, will continue here and there throughout the world.


How do we fight it? It can be simple if we can leverage what political clout we have. Legalize drugs!! That would take the profit and vast revenue out of it. That would also bring transparency into the game. The Netherlands have legalized drugs and, to the surprise of all, this nation has a drug addiction rate that is 60% less than that of the United States and no one is in prison. Let's legalize drugs and upset this wicked game.



Pubdate: Mon, 24 Mar 2008
Source: Republican & Herald (PA)
Copyright: 2008 Pottsville Republican, Inc
Author: Mia Light

TAMAQUA - A Tamaqua area teenager is going to die of a heroin overdose next month, and the public is invited to attend.

The shocking invitation is an intentional part of the Reality Tour, a drug abuse prevention program slated for April 24 on the grounds of Lehigh Carbon Community College's Morgan Center, 234 High St.

The tour's message is delivered in a way that has earned the program national acclaim and has left an impression on many who take the tour.

Developed by Norma Norris, executive director of CANDLE Inc., Butler, which developed the program, the Reality Tour uses young people and adult volunteers from the community who re-enact the downward spiral of a drug-addicted teenager that begins when the teen gives in to peer pressure and goes to a party where heroin and other illegal drugs and alcohol are being used.


The Reality Tour is being brought to Schuylkill County through the combined effort of the Tamaqua Area Drug Prevention Program and the Schuylkill County Rape and Victim Assistance Center.

The program model is owned and copyrighted by CANDLE Inc., which provided the Tamaqua drug program a five-year license at a cost of $3,500 with an annual program update fee of $500 to conduct the Reality Tour at the LCCC Morgan Center.

The group plans to present the tour once each month over the five-year period.

The county Rape and Victim Assistance Center provided the entire amount to purchase the license.




Pubdate: Mon, 24 Mar 2008
Source: Yakima Herald-Republic (WA)
Copyright: 2008 Yakima Herald-Republic

Mandatory drug testing of students participating in extracurricular activities has been ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court, but that doesn't necessarily have to mean an end to the practice.

There may even be controlled circumstances where mandatory programs can meet constitutional muster. But if nothing else, why can't testing be done on a voluntary basis, backed by peer pressure to participate?


The state constitution's privacy clause is more restrictive than the U.S. Constitution and that portion could be amended to embrace the types of testing programs that are common in other parts of the country. But such an amendment -- requiring two-thirds approval of the state Legislature and ratification by state voters -- is a longshot at best.

Better to search out voluntary programs or a combination of voluntary/that can withstand challenge. Such programs are certainly worth the commitment of resources.

Students who care, and there are lots of them, deserve no less.

Members of the Yakima Herald-Republic editorial board are Michael Shepard, Sarah Jenkins and Bill Lee.



Pubdate: Tue, 25 Mar 2008
Source: Plain Dealer, The (Cleveland, OH)
Copyright: 2008 The Plain Dealer
Author: Thomas Ott

Nothing found at John Marshall, but 'strong message' delivered

Police and security officers have begun making random sweeps of Cleveland schools in search of drugs.

The first sweep came Thursday at John Marshall High School. School security officers, city police and two drug-sniffing dogs went through lockers for two hours while students were kept in their classrooms.

No drugs were found, but schools security chief Lester Fultz said he is more interested in making a point than making arrests.

"The goal is to send a very strong message in terms of what is not allowed in the buildings," he said. "We were not disappointed that we didn't find anything."

Sharon DeCarlo, who has two daughters at John Marshall, applauded the intent but criticized the execution.

She said school officials did not make clear to students what was going on, spawning rumors of an intruder and prompting worried teenagers to make cell-phone calls to their parents. The uproar came just five months after an armed student at Cleveland's SuccessTech Academy wounded two teachers and two other students, then killed himself.




Pubdate: Tue, 25 Mar 2008
Source: Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)

Preparing young people to cope with the temptation to become involved in unhealthy behavior has probably always been one of the hardest tasks for parents. But in today's world, it must often feel overwhelming. The range of potential hazards to their health covers the spectrum: eating too much fast food, Internet predators, becoming involved in gangs, and any number of dangerous ways to get high.

Risky new behaviors

The deaths of at least three Western North Carolina young people in recent months, victims of their efforts to obtain an altered state of consciousness, is a tragic reminder that parents best hope is to spend as much time as possible with their young people, to find opportunities to talk with them about their activities, to warn them about risky behavior and to be vigilant in watching for changes in their behavior that could mean trouble. In February, a 12-year-old Macon County girl accidentally killed herself playing the "choking game," a method of creating a high that's apparently increasingly common among adolescents. The participants either choke each other or use a noose to choke themselves to near unconsciousness before releasing the grip to achieve a euphoric state.

Last October, the 12-year-old son of Smoky Mountain High School football coach Dale Galloway was found dead after apparently choking himself to death during the night.

Grim tally from 'game' Since 1995, at least 82 children have died from playing this "game" according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Injury Center, which based its findings on media reports of individual cases.




Is it possible that the drug war will end by simply running out of money? Dissolution of the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant has many local agencies concerned about their futures.

Unfortunately forfeitures are still being used to enhance many enforcement budgets and, in many cases, actually make up the majority of their funding. A 'narc on your neighbor' press release from the Indiana state police caught the eye of a local columnist. The writer not only picked on their poor grammar but also easily reveals the fiction surrounding the facts. He closes by stating the $1 million-plus dollars of forfeiture money might be the incentive for their call for public assistance.

An Illinois reporter interviewed a psychologist who conducted a study on the fastest-growing segment of their prison population - women. The study concentrated on these women and their children of which most are poorly educated, in poverty, with drug addictions, and have more than the average number of children.


Pubdate: Mon, 24 Mar 2008
Source: Great Falls Tribune (MT)
Copyright: 2008 Great Falls Tribune
Author: Zachary Franz, Tribune Staff Writer

Some drug task forces in Montana and across the nation could face tough choices after a significant cut in their major source of funding.

"This is the most critical issue we've faced in the last 10 years for drug enforcement funding," said Jeff Faycosh, a member of the Montana Narcotics Officers Association.

There is $170.4 million set aside in the national budget in the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant in fiscal year 2008, which begins July 1. That's a decrease of about 67 percent from the FY 2007 total of $520 million. The Byrne grant is the largest source of drug enforcement funding in almost every state, according to an Associated Press report. In FY 2007, Montana got about $1.5 million in Byrne money, Faycosh said. For the 2008 budget year, Montana is projected to get about $460,000, he said.

The cuts took many law enforcement groups by surprise, Faycosh said.


Of the seven drug task forces in Montana, six rely on the Byrne grant as their primary source of money. The Central Montana Drug Task Force, which includes Cascade and Teton counties, is the only exception. That group is funded by a separate federal grant that wasn't cut.


Faycosh said it appears that $490 million for drug enforcement funding will be attached to the Iraq supplemental spending bill, which would be spread across the nation. Congress is expected to take up that bill sometime in late spring.

"That wouldn't give us an increase; it would just keep us where we are," he said.

However, President George Bush could veto that bill. The Bush administration has expressed a philosophy that the federal government should not be the primary source of funding for local law enforcement.




Pubdate: Fri, 21 Mar 2008
Source: Union Democrat, The (Sonora, CA)
Copyright: 2008 Western Communications, Inc
Author: Alisha Wyman, The Union Democrat

Proposed sweeping cuts to federal grants could all but shut down units geared toward drug suppression in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, local law enforcement officials worry.

Government officials are eyeing a 67 percent cut to grants it doles out from a variety of pots, including Cal-MMET, the Marijuana Suppression Program and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

This fiscal year, Tuolumne County received at total of $629,000 in grants for drug enforcement. The cut would slice away $421,430 from that amount.

Calaveras County receives a total of $525,000 from those programs.

Now, the Tuolumne County Narcotics Team comprises four county investigators, one Sonora Police Department Detective and one sergeant and clerical staff.

"We would have to scale that back tremendously," Sheriff Jim Mele said.

The team is a specialized group with training that is dedicated to investigating drugs, he said. If cuts go through, drug enforcement could shift to more of a patrol responsibility.


Widespread cuts to the grants would basically mean an unfunded narcotics unit within the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office, Under-Sheriff Michael Walker said.

The county would have to decide if it wanted to make up the losses out of its general fund.

"If they would not, we would have to make some serious decisions as to how we would operate the narcotics unit," he said, adding that the cuts are still uncertain.




Pubdate: Sun, 23 Mar 2008
Source: Times-Mail (IN)
Copyright: 2008 Times-Mail
Author: Mike Leonard

The arrival of spring means different things to different people.

For some, it's time to get out and breathe fresh air and work off those extra pounds gained over the winter. For others, it's time to plan projects, vacations and other such things.

To the Indiana State Police, spring is the time to spy on your neighbors, be suspicious of their activities and anoint yourself as a vigilante.


"Unfortunately marijuana growers use this time to prepare their plants. They will soon be planting their starter plants in farmer's cornfields, on hiking trails and in remote areas. They will then transport water and fertilizer to them on a regular basis. That is where you, the eyes and ears of the community come in," the release continues ( lack of commas and misplacement of the possessive apostrophe also courtesy of ISP ).


OK, now meter tampering, that's bad. Shocking, even. But demonizing grow lights and excessive amounts of buckets and pots? Please.

Food prices are skyrocketing, consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about herbicides and pesticides, and both food and flower gardeners are gearing up for the growing season. Gardening is good, and many gardeners are indeed growing starter plants from seeds by blacking out windows, turning on grow lights, using fertilizer and transferring plants from one size of pot into another. To suggest that legitimate and legal gardening activities be scrutinized by nosy neighbors is both wrong-headed and over-reaching.

Why not suggest that every gun owner is a potential murderer?


They're talking about marijuana here, not heroin, methamphetamine or other dangerous drugs. And what they're not talking about is burglary, assault, theft or other violent crimes. From where does this reefer madness come?

Perhaps the key to understanding this "rat on your neighbor" campaign is buried in the news release. According to Marijuana Eradication Sergeant Jeff Kastenschmidt, the state raked in more than $1 million in property seizures related to marijuana cultivation charges.


 (13) WOMEN IN PRISON  ( Top )

Pubdate: Mon, 24 Mar 2008
Source: Peoria Journal Star (IL)
Copyright: 2008sPeoria Journal Star
Author: Pam Adams

A Peoria Psychologist Looks At The Effect Of Incarceration On Illinois Families

In one short decade, from 1990 to 2000, the number of women sent to Illinois prisons nearly tripled. The number of children who, at some point in their lives, had a mother in prison rose even faster - mainly, according to psychologist Susan George, because of a rapid rise in the number of incarcerated women with three or more children.

The states' prison population is leveling off. Though women are less than 15 percent of Illinois' total prison population, they are the fastest-growing segment. George's work documents that women with four or more children are the fastest-growing segment of the fastest-growing segment.


"Incarcerated Mothers: The Project on Female Prisoners and Their Children" covers about 14,000 women and 35,000 children, the vast majority of them black.

As a research associate at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy, George sifted and matched data from the Illinois Department of Corrections, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and public welfare agencies such as Medicaid and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. She and the project's lead researcher, U of C professor George LaLonde, also reviewed children's school records and incarcerated mothers' income data.


Who are these women?

Women who go to prison are, by and large, poorly educated women, in poverty, with drug addictions, with more than the average number of children, who have horrific histories of physical and sexual abuse themselves. And so their children are growing up with all of that.

What are they going to prison for?

The big rise in women going to prison in this country is because they're addicted. ... They primarily go to prison on drug-related charges. ...


But you do the crime, you pay the time, right?

That's a nice sound bite. ... But there's no place, once you reach adulthood in our society, where taxpayers make the investment in you that they do once you're arrested. ... The rule-of-thumb cost on building prisons is $75,000 a bed.

That's a lot of money.

So here's another way to think about it: Here's this woman, she's 32, she has five kids, she has this long and terrible history of abuse, her kids are facing every disadvantage there is to face and we're going to spend a lot of money, arresting her, adjudicating her, sending her to prison.

There's no evidence that this makes anything better for anybody. If you think of it as a deadweight loss for taxpayers. ...


What happens to the children?

If what happened to you before you were 18 didn't matter after you were 18, this might not be important. ... But we know what happens in childhood can set people on a path that lasts a lifetime. ...

. Here's another thing we know from years of research, that when you have a certain amount of adversity in childhood, the chances you will become addicted are well laid out. ...




A British documentarian made headlines last week by subjecting herself to daily cannabis use for a month, filming what happened and airing the program on the BBC. Like some novice consumers, she found the experience unpleasant but, unlike most who do, she kept on smoking. What her experiment with a sample of one demonstrated exactly was left to the already panicked British media to interpret.

Alcohol prohibition was repealed, in part, when state and local governments refused to enforce it. The DEA might be forced to take over cannabis eradication on the Big Island, where Hawaii County Council may turn down substantial federal funding to finance the search and destroy program.

The Canadian medicinal cannabis program, on which cannabis prohibition depends, continues to face serious criticism from patients, grey market providers and doctors, who have little if any experience with natural health products.

Travel author and television host Rick Steves gave us an international perspective, hoping to initiate a "long-overdue public discussion about marijuana and marijuana prohibition."

 (14) SUPERSKUNK ME  ( Top )

Pubdate: Wed, 26 Mar 2008
Source: Daily Mail (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Associated Newspapers Ltd
Author: Natasha Courtenay-Smith

What Happened When One Woman Smoked Dope Daily for a Month for a BBC Documentary

Just a few puffs on a rolled-up cigarette containing "skunk" - a strong form of cannabis - was all it took to strip Nicky Taylor of all her capabilities and to induce a terrifying combination of paranoia, fear and anxiety.

As the drug took effect, she was rendered incapable of doing anything save look anxiously around her and try to calm her trembling hands.

But Nicky is not just another of the millions of Britons who smoke cannabis regularly. She chose to experiment with the drug as part of a BBC documentary in which she investigated just how damaging smoking different forms of the drug can be - with herself as a guinea pig.

"I felt absolutely terrified," recalls Nicky, a divorced mother-of- three, thinking back to her first experience just over a month ago.

"Paranoia set in, and I felt as if I was having a panic attack. At one point, I was simply too frightened to get out of my chair.

"I had a feeling the drug had unlocked some sort of paranoia in my head that would never go away again - I suddenly felt everyone hated me. Without doubt, that was one of the worst moments of my life."

It has been well over 20 years since Nicky first smoked cannabis, which she tried as a student.

But for this investigation she has spent the past month in Amsterdam, where she smoked around a joint of cannabis - which two years ago was downgraded from a class B to a class C drug in Britain - every day.

Controversially, she also allowed herself to be injected with pure THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in cannabis.

Her aim was to discover the true effect cannabis had on her mind and body - and conversely on the millions of Britons who now smoke it regularly.




Pubdate: Sat, 22 Mar 2008
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald (Hilo, HI)
Copyright: 2008 Hawaii Tribune Herald
Author: Jim Quirk

Should Hawaii County refuse to accept a $282,000 federal Drug Enforcement Administration grant for the island's marijuana eradication program, there is a possibility federal authorities will initiate their own eradication program, a DEA official said Friday.

Garrison Courtney, a DEA official in Washington, D.C., said his agency typically tries to respect the efforts of local jurisdictions in controlling illegal drugs like marijuana.

"There's a possibility" the DEA would initiate it's own marijuana eradication program on the Big Island if the local Police Department was unable to control the problem and if it were discovered harvested crops were being shipped to the mainland, he said.

If the DEA feels there is a trafficking problem, "then yes, we're most likely going to step in to relieve the trafficking," Courtney said.

Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna expressed concerns this week regarding the possibility of the County Council voting against accepting the grant money. The Police Department has very little funding from previous grants remaining for the eradication program, which has been operating on a minimal basis in recent months.

The latest DEA grant available is sorely needed to continue the program, Mahuna said, and he believes the program will eventually be taken over by the DEA if the council refuses the money.

Mahuna also said he is concerned that, should the council decide to not accept the grant, the DEA would be able to operate the program outside of the parameters established by the council. For instance, the council has control over how low to the ground police helicopters can fly when searching for marijuana crops.

Courtney said if the DEA initiated an eradication program on the island, it would attempt to respect laws of the local government, but the bottom line is the agency operates under federal regulations, not laws established by local governments.




Pubdate: Sat, 22 Mar 2008
Source: Cowichan News Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Cowichan News Leader

Since the current incarnation of Canada's medical marijuana program was established, doctors have been forced by Health Canada to act as sentinels for a product whose complexities, methods of delivery and side effects they have little firsthand information.

It's a situation that leaves many physicians hesitant to sign their names to the documents required for patients to access government pot.

"Our No. 1 complaint is that patients can't find a doctor who will endorse their MMAD application," says Eric Nash of Duncan's Island Harvest.

However, physicians' reluctance often has more to do with the bureaucratic reach of Health Canada than it does with their own personal misgivings about prescribing a drug that remains in legal limbo.

The Canadian Medical Association is slowly coming around to recognizing the valuable role medical cannabis can play in helping users achieve a higher quality of life.

But as recently as 2003 then-CMA president Dana Hanson said, "physicians should not be the gatekeeper for a substance for which we do not have adequate scientific proof of safety or efficacy."

Observers say the CMA's regularly parroted line rings hollow when general practitioners regularly prescribe drugs with little more knowledge than what they were told by representatives of the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture them.

The Canadian Medical Protective Association, the organization that insures 95 per cent of Canada's physicians, continues to issue its doctors a release from liability form that protects them from legal action relating to a clients' use of medical marijuana.

No such special form is required when prescribing addictive and dangerous drugs like Valium and codeine.




Pubdate: Wed, 26 Mar 2008
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA)
Copyright: 2008 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Author: Rick Steves, Guest Columnist

As a parent helping two children navigate their teen years, and as a travel writer who has seen firsthand how Europe deals with its drug problem, I've thought a lot about U.S. drug policy -- particularly our criminalization of marijuana.

Europe, like the U.S., is dealing with a persistent drug-abuse problem. But unlike us, Europe, which treats drug abuse primarily as a public health issue rather than a criminal issue, measures the success of its drug policy in terms of pragmatic harm reduction.

Europeans seek a cure that isn't more costly than the problem. While the U.S. spends its tax dollars on police, courts and prisons, Europe fights drug abuse by funding doctors, counselors and clinics. European Union policymakers estimate that for each euro invested in drug education and counseling, they save 15 euros in police and health costs. Similar estimates have been made for U.S. health-based approaches by the Rand Corp. and others.

While Europeans are as firmly opposed to hard drugs as we are, the difference in how they approach marijuana is striking. Take the Netherlands, with its famously liberal marijuana laws. On my last trip to Amsterdam, I visited a "coffee shop" -- a cafe that openly and legally sells marijuana to people over 18. I sat and observed the very local, almost quaint scene: Neighbors were chatting. An older couple (who apparently didn't enjoy the trendy ambience) parked their bikes and dropped in for a baggie to go. An underage customer was shooed away. Then a police officer showed up -- but only to post a warning about the latest danger from chemical drugs on the streets.




It's springtime in Afghanistan, a time for sowing. But it is also a time of reaping the bitter fruit of drug prohibition. A piece from the Canadian Globe and Mail newspaper this week gives another perspective on the relationship between the Taliban and "drugs". While prohibitionists claim "eradication" efforts save souls, and keep profits from the Taliban, instead, "drug eradication [is] feeding the insurgency in southern Afghanistan," thanks to prohibition. Not only is the war on drugs a price-support program for dealers in general, Afghan opium poppy crop eradication makes farmers want to join the Taliban like never before.

Mayors in British Columbia, Canada, say they know one thing: there are never enough police, especially if someone else (like the federal government, say) might pay for them. "At the end of the day, we all need police officers," declared one mayor polled by a B.C. newspaper this week. One challenge will be to publicly paint police increases as needed to tackle violence, guns, and gangs, when, instead, seizure laws applied to mom-and-pop with a few cannabis plants in the basement are the real "growth industry" targets police are drooling over in B.C.

Think because you never use drugs you have nothing to worry about? Don't be so sure. At first, Dubai officials claimed Mr. Le Huy's pills were heroin. When they turned out to be an over-the-counter remedy available in Dubai itself, infuriated officials decided they weren't going to be embarrassed by some German tourist, and "found" .03 of a gram of hashish. Dubai officials apparently are paid a bounty for drug arrests. "People shouldn't go to Dubai until the laws change... They are running a risk. Even if you're innocent and know about the laws, if they suspect you of anything, you run the risk of incarceration."


Pubdate: Mon, 24 Mar 2008
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2008, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Graeme Smith

(AP CP) Insurgency's Foot Soldiers Are Motivated By Loved Ones Lost To NATO Planes And Money Lost To Poppy-Eradication Programs

Air strikes and drug eradication are feeding the insurgency in southern Afghanistan, as those actions convince some villagers that their lives and livelihoods are under attack.

In a unique survey, The Globe and Mail interviewed 42 ordinary Taliban foot soldiers in Kandahar and discovered 12 fighters who said their family members had died in air strikes, and 21 who said their poppy fields had been targeted for destruction by anti-drug teams.

The results suggest an unusual concentration of first-hand experience with bombing deaths and opium eradication among the insurgents, analysts say. Despite the violence and expensive counter-narcotics campaigns in Afghanistan, most villagers have not been touched by these events themselves, and their prevalence among the Taliban highlights two important motives for the insurgency.




Pubdate: Wed, 26 Mar 2008
Source: Tri-City News (Port Coquitlam, CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Tri-City News

Federal policing dollars should go toward regional crime-fighting initiatives, say local mayors, who are taking a position contrary to several other leaders in Metro Vancouver.


However, Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts is urging her colleagues to take the long view.

"At the end of the day, we all need police officers," Watts said, but she added the crimes on the rise are homicides and gang-related offences which are handled by regional integrated policing teams.


She's spoken with federal and provincial solicitors general and they agree the money should go toward tackling gangs, organized crime and murderers.


Delta isn't currently part of IHIT, but Mayor Lois Jackson said Monday she's hoping council will next year vote to join the team.

In the meantime, Jackson said the federal money should go toward the most serious regional concerns, and that means murders, gangs and drugs.




Pubdate: Mon, 24 Mar 2008
Source: Times, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Times Newspapers Ltd
Author: Murad Ahmed

A speck of dirt invisible to the human eye was all it took to land Cat Le Huy in a Dubai jail.

Officials at Dubai airport claimed they had found 0.03 grams of hashish in the Endemol television executive's bag after he had travelled to the United Arab Emirates to visit a friend last month. They accused him of possession - -- which would have led to a mandatory four-year prison sentence had he been convicted. After he spent six weeks in Dubai's jails protesting his innocence, prosecutors dropped the case this month.

Mr Le Huy, 31, a German citizen living in London, claims that Dubai officials are paid a "bounty" for arresting drug offenders, a practice confirmed independently to The Times by sources who did not wish to be named.

"People shouldn't go to Dubai until the laws change," Mr Le Huy said. "They are running a risk. Even if you're innocent and know about the laws, if they suspect you of anything, you run the risk of incarceration."


At first he was accused of smuggling heroin after officials found pills in an unmarked container that turned out to be jet-lag medicine sold freely over the counter in Dubai and the US.


"The laws and punishments of a nation are theirs to set," he emphasised, adding: "My point is that you will be detained for a minimum of 21 days if they suspect you of anything, whether or not you're innocent."


 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


This consultation was held at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Vancouver, British Columbia on February 4th & 5th, 2008.

The report from the consultation has now been prepared and it can be downloaded here:


By Dr. Jocelyn Elders (Former Surgeon General)

An historic document from the 124,000-member American College of Physicians certifies the medical value of marijuana.



By John Tarleton

With a progressive new governor and state Republicans on the verge of extinction, New York may soon be ready to "drop the Rock".



By Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Director

When the court clerk finally called our case, the judge almost immediately called the attorneys to a bench conference, where he quickly indicated he would not have the time to hold this evidentiary hearing, but that he would refer the case to another judge in another courtroom, and we would have our evidentiary hearing that very day.



Washington, DC: US Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) has announced that he will shortly introduce legislation in Congress to strip the federal government of its authority to arrest responsible cannabis consumers. Representative Frank made the announcement Friday on the nationally syndicated television show, "Real Time With Bill Maher."



By Paul Armentano

It's laughable that the Feds are pushing the concept of pot addiction when science shows that withdrawal symptoms from caffeine are far worse.




DrugSense FOCUS Alert #362 - Monday, 24 March 2008

Earlier this month, the voters of Michigan succeeded in qualifying an initiative for the November election ballot. When passed by the voters on November 4th Michigan law will allow patients to use, possess, and grow their own marijuana for medical purposes with their doctors' approval. This will likely make Michigan the first medical marijuana state in the heartland, although there are bills pending in some other midwest states. Michigan is home to more than 10 million people. Of the states with current effective medical marijuana laws only California has a larger population.



By Bill Piper

Remember the Aid Elimination Penalty of the Higher Education Act we've been talking about? It's the federal law that denies student loans and other education assistance to students convicted of a drug law violation. Tens of thousands of students have been kicked out of college because of it, mostly for simple possession of marijuana. Momentum is building to repeal this unfair law this year, but we need your help.




By Robert P. Wood

Our federal government, our states, counties and cities are upside down in debt (39 percent of our federal debt is owed to China ) and Rep. Bart Stupak and 218 members of the U.S. House are requesting another $429.6 million to throw at the drug war.

Recently, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said that crime in Kentucky increased by 3 percent in the last 30 years while their state's prison corrections expenses have risen by 600 percent. Anyone paying attention knows that the 600 percent increase is due to the drug war. Does anyone think that throwing another $430 million at the drug war will end or even slow drug abuse?

Our jails and prisons are overflowing and our government wants to build more and bigger jails. We now have 1.5 million people incarcerated for drug offenses and the majority of them are for marijuana.

Drug task forces are carrying out a campaign of terror by breaking into over 40,000 homes a year with "no-knock" drug raids. They throw grenades into the homes and bust the doors down and rush in, heavily armed and ready to kill.

We have already spent over $1 trillion on this drug war. It is the longest and most expensive war in American history, and it is a war against the citizens of the United States of America.

I consider it to be corruption for our government to bury us in debt on this inhumane and barbaric drug war.

Federal lobbyists paid our legislators $2.45 billion in 2006. Some of the largest contributors were law enforcement associations, lawyer associations, pharmaceutical companies, prison and corrections associations and insurance companies.

It is time to hold Rep. Stupak and the rest of our war-mongering officials that are carrying out this drug war accountable on Election Day, and vote them out of office.

Get involved, go to and learn how you can help end this insane drug war.

Robert P. Wood, Caro

Pubdate: Sun, 23 Mar 2008
Source: Bay City Times, The (MI)



By Richard Lake

If you're interested in reforming drug policy, you probably feel somewhat lonely sometimes. It's like you're the only person on the planet who realizes how insane and destructive current anti-drug efforts are.

But, there is a group of dedicated activists who, in some ways, consider each other to be like family members. MAPsters, as they sometimes call themselves, know one other from their work as volunteers at DrugSense where they grow and maintain the DrugSense DrugNews Archive. ( ) This rich resource, available for FREE, helps researchers, activists, and the media understand the facts and truths behind the War on Drugs. MAPsters work together via e-mail, discussion list, sometimes phone calls, and maybe even a meeting at a conference. They are committed to ending the drug war one article at a time.

If you, too, want to lend a hand - help end the drug war from the comfort of your computer - here's a few things you can do:

* Write a Letter-to-the-Editor. Did you know that the editorial section is one the most read parts of newspapers? Single letters from people like you can cause an editorial board to begin to perceive drug policy as important to readers. You can be published author, too. If you need help, it's just a few clicks away at

* Help populate the DrugNews Archive. As you scour the newspaper and the Web, why not also help build this extensive resource by adding articles yourself? Become a Newshawk. It's easy using this special form If you want to learn more about Newshawking and the specs that make the archive work, please see

* Become an Editor. An Editor at MAP is a special individual, with an attention to detail, passion for sensible policies, and just a few hours per week to make sure that all posted articles contain proper attribution so important to research. You'll need to complete a Web- based, self-paced training course to become this kind of MAPster. If you are interested in joining the MAP editing team, please e-mail Jo-D Harrison at

* Donate. If you have more dollars than time, you can help by making a generous contribution to DrugSense. It's easy, fast, and secure. Just visit . You can also spread your donation over the course of a year by automatically repeating it every month, quarter, or half year. ( )

Checks can also be made payable to DrugSense and mailed to:

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

Join the family of friends worldwide - MAPsters - who want to stop this endless war on our rights and freedoms. Help end drug prohibition by volunteering and supporting DrugSense/MAP.

Richard is a retired U.S. Army Officer and has been a key factor in the generation of the DrugSense news archive. He works with hundreds of volunteer "NewsHawks" and the entire volunteer staff of editors. His feedback and training has made the news archive what it is.


"This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in."

-- Theodore Roosevelt

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