THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) CALIF. JUDGE DEALS BLOW TO MEDICAL POT MOVEMENT
Pubdate: Fri, 18 Apr 2008
Source: Recorder, The (CA)
Copyright: 2008 ALM Properties, Inc.
Author: Evan Hill, The Recorder
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday that federal law allows landlords to boot medical marijuana dispensaries that rent from them.
The decision by Judge Margaret Oldendorf was a strike against dispensaries in their legal battle against the Drug Enforcement Administration. The agency, over the past year or so, has notified landlords who rent to dispensaries that doing so is a violation of federal law, even though medical marijuana is legal in California.
The case before Oldendorf stemmed from Northridge, Calif., landlord Parthenia Center's attempt to evict dispensary Today's Health Care Inc.
Oldendorf ruled that federal law gave Parthenia the right to evict THC, citing the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1, that supported the federal government's ability to prohibit medical marijuana despite the passage of California's Compassionate Use Act in 1996.
The high court's majority opinion, Oldendorf said in a written ruling, found that the Constitution's Supremacy Clause "unambiguously provides that if there is any conflict between federal and state law, federal law shall prevail."
Several attorneys involved with medical marijuana-related litigation say the decision could hurt dispensaries' ability to find landlords willing to rent to them. The DEA letters alone have already forced several Bay Area dispensaries to close. Arcata, Calif.-based attorney Steven Schectman, who represented THC and said he plans to appeal, said the case will determine the future of medical marijuana.
(2) WHY SMOKING CANNABIS IS NO LONGER THE 'SOFT OPTION' ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 18 Apr 2008
Source: Herald, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 The Herald
Author: Julia Horton
There is a view among some parents in Scotland that it is better for teenagers to sit around smoking cannabis than go rampaging through the streets drunk.
But with new stronger forms of the drug fuelling concerns it causes severe mental illness and agencies backing pressure from Prime Minister Gordon Brown to toughen its classification, there is growing evidence and opinion that smoking joints is not a "safe" option.
Today a new report showed one in 10 Scottish 15-year-olds admit to regularly taking the drug - despite health risks and the threat of prosecution.
One parent whose opinions have been altered by differences she sees is Edinburgh mother Tina Woolnough, who has three children aged 14, 12 and nine.
(3) IMPENDING PRO-DOPE HOLIDAY PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON LOCAL ATTITUDES ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 18 Apr 2008
Source: Colorado Daily (Boulder, CO)
Copyright: 2008 New Colorado Daily, Inc.
Author: Evan Sandsmark, Colorado Daily Staff
Marijuana users abound in Boulder.
A report released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in August 2005 revealed that 10.3 percent of Boulder residents over the age of 12 admitted to using marijuana in the last month. The impending Sunday, April 20 (4/20) celebration of the psychoactive herb, held annually on the CU campus, calls attention to the issues surrounding, as well the opinions regarding, marijuana use.
On one hand, there are organizations like Sensible Colorado, a group that "envisions a system where drug use becomes a health issue, not a crime issue," according to its website.
(4) DRUG POLICY GROUP OPPOSES TOUGHER THREE-STRIKES LAW ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 18 Apr 2008
Source: Greenwich Time (CT)
Copyright: 2008 Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc
Author: Zach Lowe, Staff Writer
A report released yesterday urged officials to invest in treating drug offenders and keeping the mentally ill out of prison, instead of adopting harsher measures in the wake of last year's Cheshire home invasion murders.
The report, commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance, which seeks reform of tough drug laws, estimates that at least two-thirds of the state's prisoners have serious addictions. It recommends the state continue policies it began before the Cheshire murders sparked a temporary ban on parole and calls for a three-strikes law for repeat offenders.
In the Cheshire case, two burglars on parole killed a woman and her two daughters during a July home invasion. The victims' family have argued publicly for three-strikes legislation.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Our first two stories aren't really news, but they illustrate what
seems to be more willingness by the media to ask not only what's
happening locally with attitudes towards drugs and drug law
enforcement, but also how a variety of perspectives might inform the
subject. Two other opeds show that ideas about drug policy reform
aren't new, and they aren't going away any time soon.
Our first two stories aren't really news, but they illustrate what seems to be more willingness by the media to ask not only what's happening locally with attitudes towards drugs and drug law enforcement, but also how a variety of perspectives might inform the subject. Two other opeds show that ideas about drug policy reform aren't new, and they aren't going away any time soon.
(5) HAVE FLORIDA CRIME LAWS GONE TO POT? ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 13 Apr 2008
Source: News Herald (FL)
Copyright: 2008 The News Herald
Author: Jeremy Morrison
Mosley High School Assistant Principal Brian Barnes was arrested April 1 for allegedly purchasing more than 20 grams of marijuana. Police said he told investigators he wanted the illegal herb for stress relief and recreational use.
Though the federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance, a characterization that denotes addictiveness and denies any currently accepted medical use, 13 states' Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Oregon' have altered laws regarding the substance, pursuing decriminalization or a medicinal path. The result has been a patchwork of laws that treat identical acts starkly differently, depending on locale.
Under Florida law, Barnes faces up to five years behind bars if found guilty as charged.
" You gotta be kidding me," said Vince Neeson, a narcotics officer with the San Francisco Police Department. "You guys are tough. Simple possession for use? We don't even bother with it."
Local Law Enforcement
Bay County Sheriff's Office Captain Ricky Ramie has absolutely no tolerance for marijuana.
"Did they get all that dope out of here?" the captain called from his office.
A few minutes later, an officer presented Ramie with a sealed evidence bag full of pot. It was dark green and pressed nearly flat.
"As you can see, this is a very big bud," Ramie said as he fluffed the pot out of its compressed form.
This marijuana, Ramie suspects, came into Bay County from Mexico. Sometimes, it's so compressed, his team uses an axe to break it up. The content of THC, the ingredient in marijuana that makes users 'high,' is low is this type of marijuana.
A different grade of pot is grown stateside. It's stickier and much more potent. But to Ramie, it's all the same: bad news.
(6) VOICES OF FAITH ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 12 Apr 2008
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2008 Record Searchlight
Editor's Note: Each week, the Record Searchlight will pose a question to the religious leaders of our community. We will print the responses as space allows and then post the remainder on Redding.com. We invite all faith leaders in the north state to participate and share their beliefs with our readers. Those who would like to participate are asked to contact Community Editor Debra Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. How does your faith tradition view substances, such as caffeine, alcohol and marijuana? Does the legality of the substance make a difference?
From a Buddhist perspective, is there a difference between a triple-shot no-foam latte, a fruity Merlot or some groovy ganja? Not really. They all artificially alter perception and thinking and as such are discouraged. A primary tenet of Buddhism is a clear look at reality uncluttered by false attachments to transitory things and from addictions to harmful behavior.
While the use of caffeine - green tea, a common staple of many Buddhists, contains caffeine - or the consumption of alcohol as a social lubricant is legal, and marijuana is not, it is not the legality of the substance that is determinative. Rather, it is the effect of the substance on one's clarity and mindfulness that is a challenge for a Buddhist. Legal or not, any substance that alters one's clarity of thinking is discouraged in Buddhism.
The Buddha wrote: "There are six results of drinking: decreasing wealth, increasing quarrels, danger of disease, gaining an evil reputation, indecent exposure and ruining intelligence."
However, even the Buddha wouldn't criticize or harshly condemn a social drinker or one who is addicted to a substance, legal or not. He would, and we should, work to minimize harm to ourselves and to assist those who are abusing their thinking with mind-altering chemicals.
(7) DRUG SANITY ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 14 Apr 2008
Source: New Republic, The (US)
Copyright: 2008 The New Republic
Author: Kurt L. Schmoke
The former mayor of Baltimore on how the next president should reform the U.S.'s drug policy.
A different commander-in-chief will soon assume leadership of the War on Drugs. Let's hope that a new leader will implement a new strategy, because for nearly a century now-- following the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914--America's War on Drugs has been seen primarily as a criminal justice problem.
And for nearly a century, we've seen this approach to fighting drugs fail and fail and then fail again.
Almost nobody's pleased with the results.
So my question is: Why haven't we been able to change course?
(8) OPED: THE WAR ON DRUGS IS A WAR AGAINST AMERICA ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 10 Apr 2008
Source: Record, The (Harvard Law School, MA Edu)
Copyright: 2008 Harvard Law School Record Corporation
Author: Matt Hutchens
For almost forty years, America has been engaged in a war which has cost us trillions of dollars and ruined the lives of millions of our citizens. We have been fighting against drugs in a street war across the country. The definition enemy combatant has changed through the course of this conflict, first encompassing only the smugglers and distributors, then growing to include users, and now reaching beyond our borders to the farmers in the developing world who produce the source crops. Today we are told that all these parties are contributing to the forces of Terror, and that the whole chain of enemy forces is complicit in a conspiracy against us. If this were true, though, wouldn't we disarm our enemies by taking control of the economic forces that are the source of their power?
Last Thursday, Jack Cole, retired detective lieutenant and former undercover agent for the New Jersey State Police was present on campus to share his perspective on the War on Drugs. Today he represents the anti-prohibition group, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. In his new role he seeks to expose the self-reinforcing and self-destructive nature of the drug war by sharing his experience as a police officer and informing others with statistics. Cole argues that the billions spent on the drug war have only resulted in bloated police staffing, media scare tactics to justify and expand spending, and distorted market prices for drugs that actually encourage rather than discourage production.
According to DEA statistics, the wholesale cost of hard drugs has consistently fallen over the course of the last 40 years while the quality produced has risen.
The result is a market flooded with drugs that pose a high risk of causing overdose for users.
Meanwhile the rate of addiction in the United States has remained constant at 1.3% of the population.
The ever greater commitment of resources to fighting drugs has forced police and legislators to expand the frontiers of the drug war to produce ever higher arrest statistics, but the result has been the creation of a police state which primarily incarcerates non-violent offenders. Detective Cole argues that the original motivation for the drug war was racism and that the system today carries a terrible legacy of quiet, systematic discrimination. Just over one percent of all Americans are imprisoned today.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Another innocent family claims to be victimized by a mistaken police
raid, this time in Pennsylvania. As a commentator explains how the
war on drugs is a war on youth, campus police in North Carolina
demonstrate the principle. And, all those super-tough meth laws
apparently aren't tough enough for some people.
Another innocent family claims to be victimized by a mistaken police raid, this time in Pennsylvania. As a commentator explains how the war on drugs is a war on youth, campus police in North Carolina demonstrate the principle. And, all those super-tough meth laws apparently aren't tough enough for some people.
(9) FAMILY SUES COPS OVER RAID OF HOME ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 08 Apr 2008
Source: Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, PA)
Copyright: 2008 The Standard-Speaker
Author: Kent Jackson
Noise from the apartment next door woke 65-year-old Barbara Gomez , who got out of bed as police wearing hoods and carrying guns burst inside.
They tossed Gomez to the floor, bruising her eye, while her 9-year-old granddaughter fell on top of her in fear. They handcuffed her adult son, Wilian Taveras Gomez, and teenaged grandson, Wilfredo Taveras.
For the next 4 1/2 hours on Sept. 5, 2007, the police detained the family, questioned them, searched the premises with a dog and took $605 when they left, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday.
The lawsuit said the police had no warrants to search the home or arrest any of the family.
Police acted, in part, because the family members, although legal residents, are Hispanics and not citizens, the lawsuit said.
On the day of the incident, police from Hazleton, the Luzerne County Drug Task Force Police, which draws from several departments, and agents of the state Attorney General's Office, were conducting Operation Boomerang, a sweep of the area for alleged cocaine dealers.
(10) OPED: THE WAR ON DRUGS IS A WAR ON OUR YOUTH ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 12 Apr 2008
Source: Roanoke Times (VA)
Copyright: 2008 Roanoke Times
Author: Matthew Fogg
When I speak out against the war on drugs, I do so from a position of experience. I supervised a major metropolitan area Drug Enforcement Administration task force. I have tracked America's most wanted fugitives. I have participated in SWAT operations. I know about the drug war's failures from firsthand, frontline experience.
This "war" -- declared as such by President Richard Nixon in 1971 -- has escalated over the years and is now one of the most egregious policies of government wrongdoing in our nation's history.
It is a violent and wasteful exercise in futility. It is an assault on our Constitution. It is both a racist and cultural assault upon the citizens of this nation, with no legal justification. And it is not founded upon any coherent notion of justice or common sense.
Most of all, the drug war fails to protect our youth. In fact, it increases both the harms and danger to today's generation of young people.
How many of today's politicians have used drugs in their past? Has their former drug use prevented them from seeking office? Did that use prevent them from getting elected? Did that use prevent them from being effective in their offices?
Obviously, the answer is no. Many elected leaders admit past drug use, including a former president and a current candidate for our nation's highest office. But would any of them have risen to positions of prominence and power if their past had included a conviction for drugs?
Using illegal drugs is most often done in a person's youth. The most common substance of experimentation is marijuana. That particular plant has been around for thousands of years and has a prominent place in human history as both an agricultural commodity ( for its fiber and seed ) and as a medicine.
(11) FROSH DENY 'DRUG RING,' DECRY RAID ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 11 Apr 2008
Source: Chronicle, The (Duke U, NC Edu)
Copyright: 2008 Duke Student Publishing Company
Author: Julia Love
Although friends call them "Harold and Kumar" after the marijuana-smoking title characters in the 2004 flick, two residents of Randolph Residence Hall said the substances seized from their room in an April 3 raid by Duke University Police Department officers were a far cry from contraband.
Plastic bags containing "leafy-green vegetable matter," white powder and 119 unidentified pills were confiscated from the third-floor room, according to a police blotter. But the freshmen wrote in a jointly authored e-mail that what appeared to be illegal substances were merely oregano, powdered sugar and vitamin C supplements.
Maj. Gloria Graham, DUPD operations commander, declined to comment on the investigation or whether the substances seized from the room had since been identified.
March 25, nine days before the raid, DUPD investigators viewed "a bundle of green leafy substance" in the room through an open door when responding to a complaint of marijuana odor, but could not enter because the residents were not present to consent to a search, according to a police report.
The incident raised a red flag for the residents, who wrote that officers could not have viewed anything within the room without stepping inside. They added that others on the hall said they saw the police walking around inside their room without their permission.
(12) OVER-THE-COUNTER ATTACK ON METH ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 13 Apr 2008
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Copyright: 2008 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Author: Christine Byers, and Lee Logan
The fire hoses had been rolled up.
The 11-year-old burn victim had been taken to the hospital.
And Jefferson County's Sgt. Gary Higginbotham was left shaking his head as he surveyed the scene of the methamphetamine lab explosion.
He knew that, in other states, authorities could have quickly caught the Festus homeowners' illegal purchases of a key ingredient to make meth.
But not here - not in the heart of America's fight against meth labs.
Missouri has long led the nation in meth lab busts. Illinois hasn't been far behind. Yet neither state has adopted stricter laws for obtaining meth's key ingredient, pseudoephedrine. The laws are credited with helping Oklahoma and Oregon see the biggest declines of meth labs of any states.
Had the Festus couple tried to buy pseudoephedrine illegally in Oklahoma, clerks would have refused the sale.
In Oregon, the purchase would have required multiple doctors and prescriptions.
But in Missouri and Illinois, all the addicts had to do was sign paper logs that are often too cumbersome for police to check.
Missouri is set to strengthen oversight, but police worry meth cooks will cross state lines to buy supplies. So does Missouri Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart, who is pushing for a tougher law.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Cannabis is gradually becoming culturally integrated, as generations
who grew up with the herb continue to casually consume it, seeming to
eschew their parent's tobacco and alcohol.
The cities of San Francisco and Berkeley have come to the defense
of cannabis dispensaries, and property owners who provide them with
space, who have been threatened with asset forfeiture by the DEA.
Like a weed pushing up through a concrete sidewalk, the industrial
hemp industry is inescapably taking root in Canada.
Documents obtained by Canadians for Safe Access director Philippe
Lucas revealed how medicinal cannabis users are in arrears $554,225
for government-grown cannabis, leading one tabloid to remark,
"Government dudes ... everybody knows you're supposed to get the
money up front."
Cannabis is gradually becoming culturally integrated, as generations who grew up with the herb continue to casually consume it, seeming to eschew their parent's tobacco and alcohol.
The cities of San Francisco and Berkeley have come to the defense of cannabis dispensaries, and property owners who provide them with space, who have been threatened with asset forfeiture by the DEA.
Like a weed pushing up through a concrete sidewalk, the industrial hemp industry is inescapably taking root in Canada.
Documents obtained by Canadians for Safe Access director Philippe Lucas revealed how medicinal cannabis users are in arrears $554,225 for government-grown cannabis, leading one tabloid to remark, "Government dudes ... everybody knows you're supposed to get the money up front."
(13) MIDLIFE TOKING ON THE RISE ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 15 Apr 2008
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2008, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Carly Weeks
Ice-cold beer probably won't be the only mood-altering substance on the menu in many backyards across Canada this summer.
An increasing number of adults - particularly those in their 30s and 40s - are using marijuana, according to a new Ontario-wide report that reflects what experts describe as a growing cross-country trend.
Canadians in their late teens and early 20s are usually considered the predominant pot-smoking demographic.
But the average age of marijuana users in Ontario was 31 in 2005, compared with 26 in 1977, according to a report released yesterday by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The report found that 40 per cent of those surveyed in 2005 who reported smoking pot in the previous year were between 30 and 49. In 1977, that number was just 15.4 per cent.
"Basically, it tells us that cannabis use has become a more and more acceptable lifestyle for adults," said Juergen Rehm, senior scientist at CAMH. "Now we see it is trickling into the lives of more and more and older and older Ontarians."
Those pot smokers won't usually be found slumped on the couch in the middle of the day listening to Led Zeppelin albums, either. Nearly one-third of those who used marijuana in the previous year had completed at least some post-secondary education, and 32 per cent earned more than $50,000 a year, the report said.
Dr. Rehm said there is no real health concern among the 14 per cent of Ontarians who reported occasionally smoking marijuana on a recreational basis, about once a month or less. The problem is with the 2 per cent of Ontarians who smoke often, are intoxicated for long periods of time and are considered "hazardous" users.
The same survey found that overall rates of cigarette smoking and drinking and driving have significantly declined in Ontario over the past decade, while binge drinking remains elevated.
(14) MAYOR BACKS POT CLUBS IN DISPUTE WITH FEDS ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 16 Apr 2008
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Copyright: 2008 San Francisco Examiner
Author: David Smith, The Examiner
SAN FRANCISCO - Mayor Gavin Newsom called for an investigation into "threatening" letters from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency to local landlords who rent space to medical marijuana dispensaries and called upon Capitol Hill officials to convene a congressional hearing.
The state allows the sale of marijuana for medical uses, but the drug remains illegal under federal law. In late December 2007, the DEA mailed letters to property owners in The City warning that federal agents could seize the assets of property owners who rent space to marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco.
In an April 8 letter to U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., obtained by The Examiner, Newsom requested "immediate oversight" of the federal agency's "on-going interference with implementation of the law."
"San Francisco strongly opposes Drug Enforcement Agency interference in medical cannabis dispensing and the recent sensational threatening letters to these property owners threatening asset forfeiture and imprisonment," Newsom wrote.
The City has more than 30 medical marijuana dispensaries, according to local advocates. In the wake of the December letters, city officials have moved swiftly to show support for San Francisco's pot clubs.
In February, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution authored by Supervisor Chris Daly reaffirming The City as a sanctuary for medical marijuana and condemning DEA actions against property owners.
Berkeley has also passed a resolution against the DEA's tactics, condemning raids of medical marijuana dispensaries, and state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, has introduced a bill asking President Bush and Congress to pass legislation requiring the DEA to respect medical marijuana laws in states.
Calls to the Drug Enforcement Agency for comment were not returned.
(15) HEMP NUTRITION HOLDS VALUE-ADDED POTENTIAL ( Top )
The strength and durability of hemp fibre is well known, leading to a number of textile applications. Hemp oil has features that make it a very attractive ingredient in the cosmetics industry, as well.
Now, thanks to a growing body of research, the nutritional value of hemp seeds is also being proven, adding yet another dimension to the crop's tremendous value-added potential.
The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA) is spearheading a comprehensive research and market development program, the goal of which is to sustain the industry's current rapid growth by establishing and disseminating science-based information about the crop's dietary attributes.
"We're tracking retail sales of hemp products and, overall, the markets here and in the United States have been growing consistently by about 30 per cent per year since 2001," said Gero Leson, an environmental scientist and consultant.
The CHTA received some help in its efforts through the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture's Agriculture Development Fund (ADF), which provided funding towards one of the organization's research initiatives looking at the nutritional characteristics of hemp seeds.
Leson served as a principal investigator for the project.
"The ADF project focused on the fatty acid composition of hemp oil, as well as select micronutrients, mainly the relevant minerals and vitamins. There were a couple of minor compounds we looked at, too, such as flavonoids and phytosterols," he said.
The research analyzed a number of samples, covering the four commercially relevant hemp varieties grown in Canada and one emerging variety.
"The one concern would be that competition for acreage with other crops, and rising hemp seed prices may put a little dent into those prospects, but I guess that's the same for a number of other commodities.
Overall, I think our work is showing that there is very nice potential for the crop to grow."
The fact that commercial hemp farming remains illegal in the United States gives Canada a real leg up to cash in on that.
(16) MEDICAL MARIJUANA USERS OWE OTTAWA MORE THAN $500,000 ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 14 Apr 2008
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2008, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Dean Beeby, Canadian Press
OTTAWA -- Medical marijuana users are on the hook for more than $500,000 in unpaid bills for the government-certified substance, raising questions about the effectiveness of Health Canada's troubled pot program.
Newly disclosed statistics show that Health Canada has sent final notices - and sometimes dispatched a collection agency as well - to 462 registered users since government marijuana first became available in 2003.
"Most of the 462 individuals who have received a letter regarding their accounts in arrears have had their shipment ceased," department spokesman Paul Duchesne said in an e-mail.
The unpaid bills, totalling $554,255 as of Dec. 31, have tripled in value in the past two years and have resulted in some seriously ill citizens returning to the black market for their medication. The marijuana distribution service was specifically designed to give patients a legal alternative to street pot.
Officials have handed 29 overdue accounts to collection agencies that so far have been able to recoup just $2,000.
The statistics, acquired through the Access to Information Act and questions to Health Canada, suggest a deeply flawed program as the number of users in arrears has soared to about two-thirds of all 739 patients licensed to buy government marijuana.
COMMENTS: ( Top )
In Leipzig, Germany, 29 cannabis smokers turned up with lead
poisoning recently, according to reports. They had been exposed to
lead particles added to cannabis, evidently to increase the weight
(and cost) of the illicit substance. Smokers turned up with textbook
cases of lead poisoning, symptoms of which included "stomach cramps,
nausea, anemia and fatigue... a telltale bluish line along their
In Vancouver, Canada, an expert advisory committee asked by the
federal government to report on Insite, North America's only
supervised injection center, came back last week finding none of the
problems promised would occur by police and prohibitionist
politicians. Instead, the supervised injection center saved lives,
and the harms of drugs were reduced.
In Mexico, President Felipe Calderon's escalated drug war --
made-to-order in Washington D.C. -- is increasingly bloody, and even
Washington Post readers must learn of it. This week Post readers get
the official party line on the bloodbath in a backgrounder which
explains it for the folks on the Potomac. While, yes, the there are
perhaps some "accusations" of human rights abuses, such
"accusations" must of course (according to the Post) be pitted
against the wider "demand for security." And don't worry about human
rights abuses, anyway, because few ever complain through proper
channels. "The message is clear," says Gen. Jose Antonio Lopez
Portillo, "There are very few complaints." See? The Mexican war
against drugs is ticking away nicely.
It took a newspaper reporter only 26 minutes to buy heroin, and that
at a main shopping street in the city of Hove in the U.K.. Last
week, Brighton Kemptown MP Des Turner called for "fresh alternative
thinking" about drugs. "The policy we have at the moment of
criminalising drugs obviously isn't working... decriminalise drug
use and supply people who are unfortunate enough to be drug addicts
from our own pharmacies which we know to be safe."
In Leipzig, Germany, 29 cannabis smokers turned up with lead poisoning recently, according to reports. They had been exposed to lead particles added to cannabis, evidently to increase the weight (and cost) of the illicit substance. Smokers turned up with textbook cases of lead poisoning, symptoms of which included "stomach cramps, nausea, anemia and fatigue... a telltale bluish line along their gums."
In Vancouver, Canada, an expert advisory committee asked by the federal government to report on Insite, North America's only supervised injection center, came back last week finding none of the problems promised would occur by police and prohibitionist politicians. Instead, the supervised injection center saved lives, and the harms of drugs were reduced.
In Mexico, President Felipe Calderon's escalated drug war -- made-to-order in Washington D.C. -- is increasingly bloody, and even Washington Post readers must learn of it. This week Post readers get the official party line on the bloodbath in a backgrounder which explains it for the folks on the Potomac. While, yes, the there are perhaps some "accusations" of human rights abuses, such "accusations" must of course (according to the Post) be pitted against the wider "demand for security." And don't worry about human rights abuses, anyway, because few ever complain through proper channels. "The message is clear," says Gen. Jose Antonio Lopez Portillo, "There are very few complaints." See? The Mexican war against drugs is ticking away nicely.
It took a newspaper reporter only 26 minutes to buy heroin, and that at a main shopping street in the city of Hove in the U.K.. Last week, Brighton Kemptown MP Des Turner called for "fresh alternative thinking" about drugs. "The policy we have at the moment of criminalising drugs obviously isn't working... decriminalise drug use and supply people who are unfortunate enough to be drug addicts from our own pharmacies which we know to be safe."
(17) MARIJUANA SMOKERS WERE POISONED WITH LEAD IN LEIPZIG ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 15 Apr 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
Author: Denise Grady
They had stomach cramps, nausea, anemia and fatigue, and some even had a telltale bluish line along their gums -- classic signs of lead poisoning. But the cases, last year in Leipzig, Germany, puzzled doctors. Lead poisoning is rare in Germany, and yet here were 29 cases in just a few months. The doctors noticed a pattern: the patients were young, from 16 to 33; they were students or unemployed; and they had body piercings and a history of smoking.
In a letter published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, the doctors wrote, "On questioning, all the patients eventually conceded that they were regular users of marijuana."
Three provided samples for testing. Sure enough, their marijuana was full of lead. One bag bought from a dealer even contained lead particles big enough to see, which meant the lead must have been added deliberately, rather than being absorbed into the plant from contaminated soil.
The core temperature of a joint can reach nearly 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, the doctors noted -- more than hot enough to melt lead, which can be absorbed through the respiratory tract.
(18) INJECTION SITE DOESN'T BOOST CRIME: STUDY ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 12 Apr 2008
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2008 Southam Inc.
Vancouver's supervised injection site shows no signs of causing increased drug use or crime, according to an expert advisory committee commissioned by the federal government.
The federal committee members also say in a report released yesterday the site saves one life a year from overdose deaths, is working at capacity, and the majority of the public wants to see the service continue.
The committee found no evidence of increased loitering, dealing or petty crime around the site and police data shows no change in the crime rate in the Downtown Eastside.
(19) IN MEXICO, WAR ON DRUG CARTELS TAKES WIDER TOLL ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 14 Apr 2008
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2008 The Washington Post Company
Author: Manuel Roig-Franzia, Washington Post Foreign Service
Military Campaign Draws Accusations of Rights Abuses
NOCUPETARO, Mexico -- Plastic sacks give Norberto Ramirez chills.
On the May night last year when his nightmare began, Ramirez said, Mexican soldiers pulled a plastic sack over his head and cinched it around his neck while he lay inside a dark bar in this desolate village. He gagged. They pulled off the sack, he said, then put it back and cinched again.
It went on like that for hours.
"I thought I was going to die, and I wanted to die," said Ramirez, 44, whose recollections match details in a human rights commission report authorized by the government and in interviews with more than a dozen villagers.
Ramirez's ordeal occurred during one of the most volatile moments in Mexico's military campaign against drug cartels, a war that has ranged from the U.S.-Mexican border to Gulf ports to insular rural outposts such as this, and that pits the country's demand for security against its stated commitment to human rights.
Mexico's army opened its first department-level human rights office this year. But the office is authorized only to pass on complaints, not initiate investigations on its own. Gen. Jose Antonio Lopez Portillo, who heads the office, said the military's human rights record during the deployment has been "satisfactory."
Of the 421 human rights complaints his office received between December 2006 and February 2007, he said, more than 100 have been dismissed for insufficient evidence. No soldiers have been convicted, he said, and only the case of a shooting in June at a checkpoint in Sinaloa state that killed two women and three children has reached the military courts. He declined to discuss the Nocupetaro case specifically.
"The message is clear," Lopez Portillo said. "There are very few complaints."
(20) MP SUGGESTS DECRIMINALISING HARD DRUGS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 10 Apr 2008
Source: Argus, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Newsquest Media Group
Author: Andy Whelan
Brighton Kemptown MP Des Turner has called for hard drugs to be legalised.
The Labour MP spoke out after an investigation by The Argus lifted the lid on street dealing in Brighton and Hove.
Reporter Andy Whelan bought heroin from a man in one of Hove's main shopping streets. And it took him just 26 minutes to obtain the drug.
Dr Turner's comments come after details of yet another young victim of the city's heroin trade were revealed.
An inquest into the death of Tania Meires heard that heroin in Brighton was so pure that injecting it was like "playing Russian roulette every time".
Dr Turner said it was now time to decriminalise drug use and supply the substances over the counter in a regulated way. advertisement
In what is certain to cause a storm of controversy, the MP said: "The policy we have at the moment of criminalising drugs obviously isn't working.
"We need some fresh alternative thinking if we are to get a grip on the problem.
"I would rather we decriminalise drug use and supply people who are unfortunate enough to be drug addicts from our own pharmacies which we know to be safe."
"People immediately will accuse me of being soft on drugs, which I'm not. It is a view I have reluctantly come to because the policies aren't working.
He said: "I don't advocate anybody abusing their body with drugs but clearly some want to.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
CAUGHT SHILLING FOR THE DRUG WAR, POLLSTER ATTACKS THE MESSENGER ( Top )
By Arianna Huffington
Pollster Mark Mellman was hired by Lockheed Martin to push for funding for drug tracking planes in Colombia and doesn't like being called on it.
ENTHEON VILLAGE 2007 FINAL REPORT ( Top )
The much awaited Entheon Village 2007 Final Report is now available online. The 2007 final report also includes some information about plans for Entheon Village 2008.
DIVERSION WORKS ( Top )
A new report commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance outlines how Connecticut can save money and increase public safety through diverting people with mental health and substance abuse issues away from prison.
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Century of Lies- 04/15/08 - Jeff Blackburn
Jeff Blackburn, head of Texas Innocence Project, Tulia defense attorney and Amarillo medical marijuana case victor.
Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 04/16/08 - Jack Cole
Jack Cole, director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
HILLARY'S UNINSPIRING DRUG REFORM PLAN ( Top )
By Ellen Komp
We are likely to see more money spent on failed policies if Hillary moves back to the White House in 2009.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM BARACK OBAMA ON DRUG POLICY? ( Top )
I posed a challenge for blogger Pat Rogers concerning Barack Obama and his drug policy positions:
Write up a speech that Obama could make on drug policy that would.
a) Win your vote b) Not wreck his chances in November to beat John McCain
Pat was already one step ahead of me, as he's already worked on such a speech. He sent it to me and I've posted it here. He's welcoming feedback on it. I'm very impressed with it, but I'm not yet convinced that Obama could make that speech and not find it to be a political landmine.
VANCOUVER'S INSITE SERVICE AND OTHER SUPERVISED INJECTION SITES ( Top )
What has been learned from research?
Final report of the Expert Advisory Committee on Supervised Injection Site Research
Prepared for the Hon. Tony Clement, Minister of Health, Government of Canada
THIS IS YOUR COUNTRY ON DRUGS ( Top )
Ethan Nadelmann, president of the Drug Policy Alliance, visited the L.A. Times editorial board recently to discuss alternative approaches to America's war on drugs. This is a partial transcript of that discussion.
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
NORML To Hold First Annual 4/20 Moneybomb ( Top )
Organization's Facebook Supporters Reach 420,000
Washington, DC: NORML is offering supporters the opportunity to join NORML for only $4.20 this Sunday, April 20th, available exclusively at http://www.420moneybomb.com/
All supporters who take advantage of this celebratory, one-day-only offer will receive a special NORML sticker, Freedom Card, and a one- year NORML membership, which usually costs $35.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
AN INSANE WAR ( Top )
By Chris Wiley
In response to Jerry Cameron's opinion article "By ceding on low-level offenders, we gain ground in drug war" ( March 30) and regarding the war on drugs, it is encouraging to see that some in law enforcement, having fought in this war, realize its futility.
Since this "war" officially began in 1970, what has been achieved? Nothing positive; 1.6 million citizens are arrested per year on drug charges. Their lives are basically ruined. A record ensures trouble when applying for jobs. Lifetime incomes are adversely affected, reputations are ruined, and families are humiliated and stigmatized.
Currently, $7.7 billion tax dollars are spent annually to fight this unending war. It is estimated that if marijuana were legalized, tax revenue would be $6.2 billion per year. So, if we quit spending the $7.7 billion and collected the $6.2 billion, we would be $13.9 billion ahead!
Even more importantly, law enforcement could be redirected to fighting real crime. If you take the crime out of drugs, what do you have left? You have the government in charge of the drugs, not the usage of drugs. You have resources freed up to initiate new programs. You have room in prisons for those who really should be there.
Legalization does not condone the use of drugs anymore than the legalization of alcohol condones its use. People choose on an individual basis what they will or will not do based on their integrity and education.
Our hypocritical politicians need to get real about this issue. Drugs are not going away. Availability has not been altered. History has proven that prohibition does not work. When someone does something over and over again that does not work, or is harmful to him, he is determined to be insane.
The same applies to the war on drugs.
Chris Wiley Ocala
Pubdate: Thu, 10 Apr 2008
Source: Star-Banner, The (Ocala, FL)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
FRANK INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO REMOVE FEDERAL PENALTIES ON PERSONAL ( Top )
From the Office of Barney Frank
Congressman Barney Frank today introduced bi-partisan legislation aimed at removing federal restrictions on the individual use of marijuana A(HR 5843). One bill would remove federal penalties for the personal use of marijuana, and the other (HR 5842) ... versions of which Frank has filed in several preceding sessions of Congress ... would allow the medical use of marijuana in states that have chosen to make its use for medical purposes legal with a doctor's recommendation. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) joined Frank as a cosponsor of the federal penalties bill. The cosponsors of the medical marijuana bill are Rep. Paul, along with Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Sam Farr (D-CA).
Congressman Frank released the following statement explaining the legislation.
"I think it is poor law enforcement to keep on the books legislation that establishes as a crime something which in fact society does not seriously wish to prosecute. In my view, having federal law enforcement agents engaged in the prosecution of people who are personally using marijuana is a waste of scarce resources better used for serious crimes. In fact, this type of prosecution often meets with public disapproval. The most frequent recent examples have been federal prosecutions of individuals using marijuana for medical purposes in states that have voted ... usually by public referenda ... to allow such use. Because current federal law has been interpreted as superseding state law in this area, most states that have made medical use of marijuana legal have been unable to actually implement their laws.
"When doctors recommend the use of marijuana for their patients and states are willing to permit it, I think it's wrong for the federal government to subject either the doctors or the patients to criminal prosecution. More broadly speaking, the norm in America is for the states to decide whether particular behaviors should be made criminal. To make the smoking of marijuana, whether for medical purposes or not, one of those extremely rare instances of federal crime ... literally, to make a `federal case' out of it ... is wholly disproportionate to the activity involved. We do not have federal criminal prohibitions against drinking alcoholic beverages, and there are generally no criminal penalties for the use of tobacco at the state and federal levels for adults. There is no rational argument for treating marijuana so differently from these other substances.= "
"To those who say that the government should not be encouraging the smoking of marijuana, my response is that I completely agree. But it is a great mistake to divide all human activity into two categories: those that are criminally prohibited, and those that are encouraged. In a free society, there must be a very considerable zone of activity between those two poles in which people are allowed to make their own choices as long as they are not impinging on the rights, freedom, or property of others. I believe it is important with regard to tobacco, marijuana and alcohol, among other things, that we strictly regulate the age at which people may use these substances. And, enforcement of age restrictions should be firm. But, criminalizing choices that adults make because we think they are unwise ones, when the choices involved have no negative effect on the rights of others, is not appropriate in a free society."
"If the laws I am proposing pass, states will still be free to treat marijuana as they wish. But I do not believe that the federal government should treat adults who choose to smoke marijuana as criminals. Federal law enforcement is a serious business, and we should be concentrating our efforts in this regard on measures that truly protect the public."
A summary of the bill is available here:
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"I don't like people who take drugs... Customs men for example."
-- Mick Miller
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