This Just In
(1)Drug Cartels in Mexico Put Up 'Help Wanted' Ads
(2)Sentences Reduced For 3,000 Cocaine Inmates
(3)Police Right To Search, Seize Evidence Affirmed
(4)Top Court To Rule On Use Of Sniffer Dogs

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 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Fri, 25 Apr 2008
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2008 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Chris Hawley, USA TODAY

Fliers, Banners Urge Soldiers to Defect for Good Pay, Free Cars, Better Food

MEXICO CITY -- One of Mexico's biggest drug cartels has launched a brazen recruiting campaign, putting up fliers and banners promising good pay, free cars and better food to army soldiers who join the cartel's elite band of hit men.

"We don't feed you Maruchan soups," said one banner in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, referring to a brand of ramen noodles.

The recruiting by the Gulf Cartel reflects how Mexico's fight against traffickers increasingly resembles a real war, nearly 17 months after President Felipe Calderon ordered the army into drug hot spots.

"Army and police-force conflicts with heavily armed narcotics cartels have escalated to levels equivalent to military small-unit combat," the U.S. Embassy said last week in a travel warning to Americans.

Fliers urging soldiers to defect began appearing earlier this month in the border city of Reynosa. They were pasted on telephone poles over government posters that offered rewards to drug informants.

"Former soldiers sought to form armed group; good pay, 500 dollars," the fliers read.


The Mexican military has long had a problem with desertion. From January to September last year, 4,956 soldiers deserted, about 2.5% of the force, according to the National Defense Secretariat.

Soldiers are facing more incentive to switch sides because of Calderon's decision to use troops against the drug traffickers, said Arturo Alvarado , a sociologist who studies criminal-justice issues at the College of Mexico.

Thousands of soldiers have spent months away from their families, patrolling border cities. An army private earns an average of $533 a month, the National Defense Secretariat said.

"I don't see why these supposed recruiting ( signs ) should be a particular worry to the government because the recruiting occurs in other ways," Alvarado said.

"But what's true is that there is enormous desertion in the Mexican army and police force," he said. "They should be worried about that and take action to offer better working conditions."



Pubdate: Fri, 25 Apr 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Some 3,000 inmates convicted on crack cocaine charges have had their prison sentences reduced since the federal government eased penalties for drug crimes that mostly involved blacks, said a federal Sentencing Commission study released on Thursday.

In December, the commission voted to ease the way courts meted out penalties for drug crimes to address disparities in the treatment of crack-related crimes compared with those involving powdered cocaine. Four out of five crack cocaine defendants are black, and most powder cocaine convictions involve whites.

Since March 3, when new federal sentencing guidelines went into effect, 3,647 crack cocaine offenders had applied for early release. The study said that federal judges nationwide had agreed to reduce prison sentences for 3,075 inmates.

About 1,600 federal inmates were eligible for immediate release, but the study said it was not clear how many offenders had been actually been freed.

Black inmates accounted for 84 percent of those given less prison time, bolstering the commission's view that the former guidelines had created a racial disparity because of the way cocaine offenders were sentenced.




Pubdate: Thu, 24 Apr 2008
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Author: Pete Yost, Associated Press

It's OK Even If Arrest Violated State Law, Supreme Court Rules

The Supreme Court affirmed Wednesday that police have the power to conduct searches and seize evidence, even when done during an arrest that turns out to have violated state law.

The unanimous decision comes in a case from Portsmouth, Va., where city detectives seized crack cocaine from a motorist after arresting him for a traffic ticket.

David Lee Moore was pulled over for driving with a suspended license. The violation is a minor crime in Virginia and calls for police to issue a court summons and let the driver go.

Instead, city detectives arrested Moore and prosecutors say that drugs taken from him in a subsequent search can be used against him as evidence.


State law, said the Virginia Supreme Court, restricted officers to issuing a ticket in exchange for a promise to appear later in court. Virginia courts dismissed the indictment against Moore.

Moore argued that the Fourth Amendment permits a search only following a lawful state arrest.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she finds more support for Moore's position in previous court cases than the rest of the court does. But she said she agrees that the arrest and search of Moore was constitutional, even though it violated Virginia law.




Pubdate: Fri, 25 Apr 2008
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Janice Tibbetts, The Ottawa Citizen

Critics Say Using Animals to Detect Drugs in Public Places Is Unreasonable Search, Seizure

A case that started with a dog named Chief trying to sniff out drugs at a n Ontario high school culminates in a Supreme Court of Canada ruling today on whether police can use scent-tracking canines for random searches in public places, including schools, parks, malls, airports and bus terminals.

"This has far-reaching implications way past schools," said Paul Wubben, director of education for the St. Clair Catholic District School Board in southern Ontario, where principals routinely call police to bring in sniffer dogs to help rid schools of drugs.

At issue in the Supreme Court is whether sniffer dogs are an invasion of privacy that amounts to unreasonable search and seizure under the Charter of Rights. The court will hand down rulings in two separate cases that have sparked enormous commentary and speculation in legal circles, in the absence of any clear Canadian law.

The decisions could put an end to random sweeps with sniffer dogs, which are commonplace.

In the case that has attracted the most attention, the court will decide whether police in Sarnia, Ont., violated the student body's constitutional rights by bringing a scent-tracking dog into St. Patrick's High School i n November 2002.

The police, who had received a standing invitation from the principal, admitted in earlier proceedings that they were not acting on a tip, they had no reason to believe student safety was threatened and that it would have been a "fruitless exercise" to try to obtain a search warrant.





Thank goodness for freedom of speech and newspapers willing to participate in the process! After a documentary called "Crystal Darkness" was blasted throughout the state of Arizona the East Valley Tribune printed OPEDs from both sides of the issue.

Two Whitefish, Montana residents found ink in their local paper explaining why they disagree with student drug testing in response to a public meeting about the subject. Meanwhile a Florida school district discusses plans to double the number of students tested even though a recent survey reported a decline in drug use.


Pubdate: Fri, 18 Apr 2008
Source: East Valley Tribune (AZ)
Copyright: 2008 East Valley Tribune.
Authors: Terry Goddard, and Don Stapley

In an effort to educate Arizona residents about the horrible impact methamphetamine has on people, lives and our community, a 30-minute documentary, "Crystal Darkness," was shown Tuesday on virtually every television station across our state.

"Crystal Darkness" organizers hoped the effort would initiate conversations about meth and encourage current and former meth users to seek treatment.

The program, which has already aired in eight other markets in the Southwest as well as Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, was especially relevant in Arizona.

According to the 2006 Arizona Youth Survey, 4.3 percent of Arizona's youth ages 13 to 17 have tried meth - significantly higher than the national average. Not only that, but meth is the No. 1 crime problem in Arizona with 75 percent of property and violent crimes and 65 percent of child abuse cases linked to meth use.

While we applaud the efforts of "Crystal Darkness" to shed a necessary light on meth use in Arizona, a long-term public awareness effort in our state is needed. In fact, such an effort was identified as a key missing component by the Governor's Methamphetamine Task Force.


Although we continue to receive positive feedback from the community regarding the Arizona Meth Project's efforts, we have come to a point where we need the public's help in order to continue the project's good work.

We are currently appealing to the public for donations so that we can show the third phase of advertising, which will demonstrate how an individual's meth habit affects the people around them - their friends and families.

While the first two phases of ads showed the physical effects of meth use - rotting teeth, bloody scabs and a trip to the hospital emergency room - the third phase shows how meth destroys the relationships with friends and loved ones.




Pubdate: Fri, 18 Apr 2008
Source: East Valley Tribune (AZ)
Copyright: 2008 East Valley Tribune.
Author: Bill Richardson

Speed kills! And so do a lot of other drugs. But speed, now known as met h, continues to be the emotional rallying cry for politicians who have jumped on the anti-drug headline-grabbing bandwagon. And Tuesday night's statewide showing of "Crystal Darkness" brought them out in droves.

Campaign working, can do more

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Terry Goddard, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon were all echoing emotional testimonials on methamphetamine. They sounded like President Bush and his prewar weapons of mass destruction rant.

Same clowns, different circus.


Meth abuse has been marketed by some to hit a special emotional button.

In Portland, Ore., the Willamette Week newspaper started asking questions about meth; reporters asked questions about the claims made by the political and commercial doomsday crowd and The Oregonian, the state's biggest newspaper.

A March 2006 story by Angela Valdez ( "Meth Madness: How The Oregonian manufactured an epidemic, politicians bought in and you're paying" ) raised questions and brought honest, nonemotional answers. Dr. Jim Thayer, the director of a Portland addiction treatment center, said that a feeling of hysteria has been created and he's worried meth will take away resources used to treat other addictions.


In August 2005, New York Times writer John Tierney reported that meth addiction occurs in only 5 percent of Americans who have sampled the drug, compared with 3 percent in those who have sampled heroin. That puts a dent in the "one time and you're hooked" argument.

In a June 2006 Fox News report, "Study Busts Meth Myths, Says Abuse Is Not An Epidemic or Even Widespread," it was reported "meth use is rare in most of the United States, not the raging epidemic described by politicians an d the media. Meth is a dangerous drug but among the least commonly used. Overheated rhetoric, unsupported assertions, and factual errors about meth, lead to poor decisions about how to spend public dollars combating drug addiction."


We're a nation of drug abusers and there's always going to be someone out there to meet the demand. Meth is just one more demonstrative failure of our losing war against all drugs and addiction. And it's one more success for the purveyors and marketers of illegal drugs. The bottom line: Meth isn't the only drug in town.



Pubdate: Thu, 17 Apr 2008
Source: Whitefish Pilot (MT)
Copyright: 2008 The Whitefish Pilot
Author: Miriam Lewis
Note: Miriam Lewis is a resident of Whitefish.

I am very distressed about the movement to introduce random, suspicionless drug testing in Whitefish. I was at the meeting April 7, and did not speak as I had to leave early. I feel I need to voice this opinion as many other parents feel as I do.

First I would like to point to a recent case in Washington state that trumped the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that you quoted: In a March 13 ruling ( York v. Wahkiakum ), the Washington state Supreme Court rejected the random, suspicionless drug-testing of high school students.

In so doing, the court threw out a Wahkiakum School District policy in effect since 1999 that forced would-be student athletes to participate in drug tests if they wished to participate in school sports.

The state constitution offers protections to students that federal courts have failed to find in the Fourth Amendment, the court held.


Another study by Robert Taylor, professor at San Diego State, in The Cato Journal. Taylor states, "Few people would question the desirability of minimizing the use of drugs among minors. The use of random, suspicionless drug-testing of school athletes as a means to achieve this end is more op en to question, however.

"Not only does this policy invade the privacy of a group of students who are relatively unlikely to use drugs, but it also discourages athletic participation and may actually lead to an increase in overall drug use. Even in those cases where the adoption of such testing leads to a reduction in overall drug use, compensating behavior by student athletes guarantees that the reduction in use will be smaller, perhaps much smaller, than expected.


As for myself, I want to raise my children in a loving, trusting home where they gain ( or lose ) trust based on their actions and choices. I think of it as starting with a clean slate and as they grow, they earn our trust and their freedom by making good choices.

To start by saying we don't trust them and that they have to prove us wrong is not effective or empowering. Drug testing the kids and making them "guilty until proven innocent" doesn't earn their respect.

It is an attempt to force respect and only causes a negative image of authority and of the school system. It is against every gut feeling I ha ve as a mother, and I cannot allow it to happen for my children. It is quit e simply wrong.



Pubdate: Thu, 17 Apr 2008
Source: Whitefish Pilot (MT)
Copyright: 2008 The Whitefish Pilot
Author: Marie Le Moyne-Rhodes
Note: Marie Le Moyne-Rhodes lives in Whitefish.

The American Academy of Pediatrics in its latest policy statement reports , "Drug testing poses substantial risks -- in particular, the risk of harming the parent-child and school-child relationships by creating an environment of resentment, distrust, and suspicion."

Indeed, most physicians oppose the use of testing at home and in school, because: Test validity is only guaranteed when the collector witnesses filling of the cup. They warn that parents watching teens in the bathroom is unethical and developmentally damaging.


I believe education's mandate does not call for analyzing bladder contents. Urine testing is pushed by the President's Office of National Drug Control Policy.


It is time we to turn to approaches suggested by the Council on School Health. I am asking our caring and intelligent staff to find more innovative and objectively informed solutions. I deeply worry about the direction it is taking. We are sending contradictory, negative messages that lack respect and discourage communication. Guilty before proven innocent.... Why target motivated students? Why punish them by excluding them from the activities that may be their salvation?




Pubdate: Wed, 23 Apr 2008
Source: Ledger, The (Lakeland, FL)
Copyright: 2008 The Ledger
Author: John Chambliss, The Ledger

BARTOW - The Polk County School District plans to double the number of students who will be randomly tested for drugs.

In addition to athletes, district officials will target Future Farmers of America, Future Business Leaders of America and any other extracurricular group that competes.

The testing program was discussed at a School Board work session Tuesday.

If the district receives an annual $200,000 federally funded grant, testing new students would begin by November and the number of students randomly tested would jump from 4,500 to 9,000. In all, the grant would total $600,000 over three years.

The tests will target only recreational drugs, not steroids.

In 2004, the district began testing for steroids, but later stopped because it became too expensive.




Pubdate: Sat, 19 Apr 2008
Source: Gainesville Sun, The (FL)
Copyright: 2008 The Gainesville Sun
Author: Karen Voyles

State officials touted a seven-year decline in teen drug use this week while releasing results of the 2007 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey.

Continue to 2nd paragraph The annual survey is intended to measure youth substance use statewide. This year it included answers from 7,836 sixth-through 12th-graders in 43 of the state's 67 counties.

In a news release accompanying the results, Office of Drug Control Direct or Bill Janes described the 2007 survey results as "Great news for Florida." Janes also said "Illegal drug use continues to decline. I am concerned about increases in abuse of prescription drugs, but the overall trends are excellent."


Marijuana use has fallen 24 percent since 2000 and was at 11 percent for youths reporting use in the past 30 days.

Alcohol was still the most common substance used by youngsters. Its use rate was at 31.2 percent, down from 34.3 percent in 2000.


Twenty-seven percent of students reported they had been bullied and 23 percent acknowledged they had bullied others. From the results, state analysts determined that, "While there does not appear to be a clear link between being bullied and drug use, responses do indicate a link between substance abuse and students who bully."



We all know that alcohol is the most abused 'drug' among young and old but we continue to allow the masses to concentrate on the few. A Pennsylvania paper covered a drug raid targeting a local college campus. No mention is made about how an 'alcohol raid' might turn out. Although a New York State Trooper mentioned alcohol in a gathering of concerned parents, most of his 'scare speech' concentrated on other illicit substances.

You know the saying, "I would give my eye tooth to ..." ? Some California female inmates are actually making that choice to get transferred to minimum-security prisons! Unfortunately dental bills are not the only health costs involved in the incarceration system as revealed in an LA Times editorial.

Closing this section is a fantastic OPED LEAP founder, Peter Christ.


Pubdate: Tue, 22 Apr 2008
Source: Altoona Mirror (PA)
Copyright: 2008 Altoona Mirror
Authors: Phil Ray, and Mark Leberfinger

A drug raid Monday was a "little bit unique" because those targeted for arrest included 10 students at Penn State Altoona, Blair County District Attorney Richard A. Consiglio said.

Drug raids in the Altoona area have become an almost daily event, but never before has law enforcement focused squarely on a student population.

The message Monday was: "Nobody is going to get under the radar. We look at everybody," Consiglio said.


Those arrested were 10 out of more than 4,000 students, she said, adding that the vast majority of students "are doing good in the community."

The students arrested will be subject to a disciplinary and appeal process, but Bechtel-Wherry said expulsion also is a possibility.


Although none of the students sold drugs on campus, several were charged with selling within a school zone, or within 1,000 feet of the campus , which could mean a two-year mandatory minimum sentence in a state correctional institution.



Pubdate: Fri, 18 Apr 2008
Source: Chronicle, The (NY)
Copyright: 2008 Straus Newspapers
Author: Linda Smith Hancharick

CHESTER - "I always respect my enemy," New York State Trooper Steven V. Nevel told Chester parents last week.

He was talking about the neighborhood pusher.

"Drug dealers aren't stupid," said Nevel, the school and community outreach coordinator out of Troop "F" in Middletown. "They are good business people. As everything in the country goes up - gas, food, and other essentials - drug prices are going down. They have a product to move, too. They are willing to cut the price to move it. Then, when the demand gets better, they'll raise the prices."

Nevel came to the Chester Town Hall last Wednesday at the request of some parents who want to be vigilant about this threat to their kids. They want to know what to look for. Just like the technology that kids use every day, like cell phones and iPods, drugs and their manner of use have changed too.


Heroin overtakes crack

The good news is that cocaine and crack are not as big in this area as they used to be.

"Crack literally is a five-minute high," Nevel said. "I've worked narcotics. An informant said crack was ten times better than the best se x she ever had. But you are always chasing that same high."


The bad news is that there is a lot of heroin out there, along with a new product called "cheese" - a mixture of black tar heroin and Tylenol cold medicine. It's cheap - about $2 a pack - and available. Kids usually snort heroin or smoke it.

"Whatever is going on in the biggest city around you is coming to your area," Nevel said.

But the biggest drug of choice can be found inside most homes - alcohol.

"They are hiding it in their water bottles," Nevel said. "They are walking around school drinking alcohol from water bottles."

"Kids think they are invincible," said Mary Luciana, a parent and Chester Board of Education member. "That's been since the dawn of time."




Pubdate: Fri, 18 Apr 2008
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2008 San Jose Mercury News
Author: Edwin Garcia

Some Have Teeth Pulled To Live With Kids

SACRAMENTO - Sarina Borg had a tough choice to make. She could wait for months, maybe more than a year, to have her rotting teeth repaired by a dentist. Or she could get them pulled to be reunited with her baby daughter.

In California women's prisons, dozens if not hundreds of inmates like Borg are faced with the same wrenching decision: To gain access to a host of vocational-training and drug-rehabilitation programs for non-violent offenders - including a course that teaches them parenting skills while living with their children in special housing - - they must be cleared of any pre-existing health problems.

Just one badly damaged tooth will block them from entering a program.

"It's unconscionable," said Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, who has proposed legislation to shorten the waiting list for women wanting to get their teeth fixed by a prison dentist, a measure that passed its first committee hearing last week.

"We have women who are getting 16 and 18 out of 34 teeth pulled, and that really destroys their future job prospects," Lieber said. "We have to change the situation."


Mothers who undergo extractions to live with their children in the community prisons, and who learn job skills there, have difficulty finding work upon their release because employers would rather not hire someone whose mouth has more gaps than teeth.

"It's probably almost as big a deal as having a criminal record," said Allyson West, director of the California Reentry Program, which prepares inmates for their release from San Quentin. "They're going to be pigeonholed because of their appearance."




Pubdate: Thu, 17 Apr 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times

Because the Legislature Wouldn't Fix the Inmate Medical System, the State Is Facing a $7-Billion Bill.

California's leaders are faced with the job of under-funding the state's already struggling schools and cutting services to the poor because of a chronic budget shortfall, exacerbated by the weak economy. But on the bright side, we stand to get a whole bunch of gleaming new prison buildings.

The federal receiver in charge of the state's prison healthcare system ha s requested $7 billion to pay for seven new facilities for chronically sick or mentally ill inmates. The Legislature will have little choice but to go along because the receiver, J. Clark Kelso, is backed by the power of the federal bench, which can order the state to spend the money. This comes at a time when the shortfall has been projected at up to $16.5 billion, though it has since been reduced through borrowing and budget cuts.

Lawmakers are crying foul about the added burden on the budget, even though they have no one but themselves to blame. A prison crisis that combines overcrowding, a negligent healthcare program and a crumbling juvenile justice system has been worsening for three decades, during which time dozens of studies have chronicled the problems and pointed the way to solving them. The reports are now gathering dust on a shelf somewhere, ignored by lawmakers. Indeed, legislators and the electorate have decisively made matters worse by approving get-tough-on-crime initiatives that further cram prisons and do nothing to address conditions inside.


The only solution is to cut the prison population by implementing reforms such as those suggested by the Little Hoover Commission. And lawmakers might want to get on with it before they get hit with another whopping bi ll from the federal justice system. Delay and inaction have gotten us to this point; only the courage to act on these proposals will get us out.



Pubdate: Thu, 17 Apr 2008
Source: Buffalo News (NY)
Copyright: 2008 The Buffalo News
Author: Peter Christ, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

I commend the work of all the agencies involved in the March 26 drug bust in Erie and Niagara counties. I'm a retired police captain from the Town of Tonawanda, and I understand the difficulty of the job they have to do. But I do have one question: Why do we put our police officers in this position?

Look at the manpower used in this drug bust. The agencies used 100 officers to track down 36 suspects. They also say that at 4 a.m. they used 300 officers, so that's using 8.3 officers per arrest. There's nothing wrong with that except that while those 300 officers are doing that, what other jobs aren't being done? You've got 300 of them pulled off the streets for a day.

Also, these arrests were preceded by an expensive and lengthy investigation. What will be the result of all this hard work, money and time spent? Will we have fewer drugs in our community? No. Will it be harder for people to get drugs? No. Will it keep drugs out of the schools? No.


Here's an idea for a kinder, gentler drug bust: How about simply not arresting people for doing drugs? I'm not talking about not arresting criminals. I'm talking about why we criminalize behavior that simply isn't criminal.

If you're an alcoholic in this society today, what do we do for you? Most people respond nothing, but that's not true. We have treatment on demand for the alcoholic. There's no waiting list for Alcoholics Anonymous; anyone who wants to come in gets treatment.


The only way to have a kinder and gentler approach to dealing with our drug problems is to have a regulated and controlled marketplace. And the only way you can control and regulate the marketplace is to legalize the drugs. All of them.



The burgeoning medical cannabis industry in California is spawning a proliferation of spin-off businesses, including now a place of higher learning.

Record numbers turned out around the world to peacefully celebrate 4/20. As usual, very few problems were caused by these large gatherings, in sharp contrast to, for example, a drunken riot that broke out in Montreal two days later following a hockey game.

A bill that would decriminalize possession of a quarter ounce or less of cannabis passed in the New Hampshire House, but it may be vetoed by the governor if it is not killed by a seemingly hostile Senate.

A Canadian couple are challenging the authority and science behind a community bylaw that allows police officers to enter homes without a warrant on the heels of fire and electrical inspectors.


Pubdate: Mon, 21 Apr 2008
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Justin Berton, Chronicle Staff Writer
Cited: Oaksterdam University

Oakland -- Ryan and Matthew Epperley awoke at 4 a.m. in Redding, loaded their Dodge Durango with clothes for the weekend and arrived in Oakland on a Saturday morning just in time to attend their first class at Oaksterdam University.

The brothers were among 20 people enrolled in the two-day course that, by Sunday evening, would teach them how to own and operate a pot club in California. They'd learn how to grow their product indoors, harvest it and cook with it, and hear from several lecturers on the legality of such a practice.

Ryan, 30, resembled Larry the Cable Guy with his well-worn baseball cap and a sleeveless shirt that revealed a shoulder tattoo of a skull and dagger. He was awake late one night watching television when he saw a report on Oaksterdam.

"I jumped right up and wrote down the phone number," Ryan said. "I knew right then, if we can get in on the ground floor and this thing takes off - we'll make a killing."

Ryan is not alone in his exuberance. Almost 12 years after California voters passed Proposition 215, the state initiative that allows dispensaries to sell marijuana to people with medical recommendations from a doctor, pot clubs have become a lucrative business. About 500 clubs in California bring in an estimated $870 million to $2 billion in revenue annually, according to the State Board of Equalization.

Yet the mixed legal messages over pot clubs - California allows it, but the federal government does not - is what caused Ryan's brother, Matthew, to get in the car and join his older brother.



 (17) CU'S 4/20 POT SMOKE-OUT DRAWS CROWD OF 10,000  ( Top )

Pubdate: Sun, 20 Apr 2008
Source: Daily Camera (Boulder, CO)
Copyright: 2008 The Daily Camera.
Author: Vanessa Miller

"Nine, eight, seven ... "

A crowd of about 10,000 people collectively began counting down on the University of Colorado's Norlin Quadrangle just before 4:20 p.m. today.

Yet the massive puff of pot smoke that hovers over CU's Boulder campus every April 20 - the date of an annual, internationally recognized celebration of marijuana - began rising over the sea of heads earlier than normal this year.

"Oh forget it," one student said, aborting the countdown to 4:20 p.m. and lighting his pipe early. He closed his eyes, taking a deep, long drag.


Although it's become an annual and renowned event at CU, this year's 4/20 celebration was different in some ways than in many previous years: The crowd was so large it migrated from the long-traditional site of Farrand Field to the larger Norlin quad; festivities kicked off earlier than normal with daytime concerts; and CU police handed out zero citations.

"At this point, none are anticipated," said CU police Cmdr. Brad Wiesley.

Officers in the past have gone to great lengths to catch people in the illegal act of smoking pot on 4/20.

In 2006, CU police dispatched undercover photographers to snap pictures of smokers. Photos of 150 alleged offenders then were posted on the department's Web site, and witnesses were offered $50 to positively identify the suspects - who then were ticketed. Another year, smokers on Farrand were doused with sprinklers.

"We can't do the same thing year after year," Wiesley said hours before today's smoking began. "So I doubt we'll do anything like the pictures. ... There's no way our 12 to 15 officers are going to be able to deal with a crowd of 10,000. We just can't do strong enforcement when we're outnumbered 700 or 800 to one."




Pubdate: Wed, 23 Apr 2008
Source: Concord Monitor (NH)
Copyright: 2008 Monitor Publishing Company
Author: Lauren R. Dorgan

State senators from both parties parried with advocates of marijuana decriminalization yesterday, asking a number of skeptical questions about a bill that cleared the House but appears doomed in the Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Committee did not take a vote on the bill, although its chairman, Sen. Joe Foster, has previously said he knows of no senator who supports it. Minutes after the House passed the bill, Gov. John Lynch announced that he would veto the measure, which would decriminalize possession of a quarter of an ounce of marijuana and cut penalties to a fine.


At the marijuana hearing, Sens. Bob Clegg and David Gottesman zeroed in on how the bill would compare with underage drinking laws, which in some cases result in stricter penalties.

Clegg, a Hudson Republican, also said other laws make transporting marijuana or possessing paraphernalia illegal.

"If they have a quarter ounce, how would they get to use it?" Clegg said. "They can't smoke it in a pipe, and they can't roll it?"

Noting that the quarter ounce of marijuana that would be decriminalized under House Bill 1623 equates to about eight joints, Clegg said that someone could be charged with a violation for possession of the drug but eight misdemeanors for each rolling paper. Afterward, Clegg said: "This bill gives a false sense of security."

But a variety of proponents of decriminalization - including a medical student and a corrections officer - argued that the bill would be a first step in correcting a drug policy that they argued was excessive and ineffectual. Matt Simon, of the advocacy group New Hampshire Common Sense, said that 11 other states have passed decriminalization laws.

"None of the gloom-and-doom scenarios have happened," Simon said.




Pubdate: Tue, 22 Apr 2008
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun

Couple Fights Legislation Allowing Police and Inspectors to Enter Homes

Provincial legislation allowing police and safety inspectors to enter homes suspected of being used to grow marijuana is being challenged by a lawyer representing a Hells Angels associate, assisted by lawyers from the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

Victoria lawyer Joseph Arvay, who represents Surrey residents Jason Arkinstall and Jennifer Green, told B.C. Supreme Court Justice William Smart that the authorities were not entitled to enter someone's home without a proper warrant, and that to cut off electrical power if a person won't permit entry was a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has been granted intervenor status in the case that is being heard in chambers. BCCLA litigation director Grace Pastine said Monday that the legislation was being used as a "tool to conduct warrantless searches of citizens' homes which was a clear violation of the Charter."

Arvay described the provincial government's attempts to use the Safety Standards Amendment Act to close down marijuana-growing operations as "moral panic" caused by frustration and exasperation at not being able to cope with the numbers of such operations in the province.

The province should not exceed its power and if the authorities could use this to bust growing operations, Arvay asked, what was to prevent them from doing the same for suspected gambling dens or pedophilia rings?




A background piece from the Washington Post this week sheds some light on the deteriorating border situation with Mexico. Authorities chop the head off of cartel after cartel, only to unleash more violence as smaller drug trafficking organizations jockey for the lucrative trade. Entire police forces have resigned after threats from increasingly brazen traffickers, as happened last month in Puerto Palomas, Mexico. U.S. officials worry they are unprepared for an influx of Mexican police seeking asylum from drug cartel violence.

The New Zealand government, with the best of intentions, banned the "part y pill" BZP. As a result of the BZP prohibition, manufactures and users closed the gap by switching to a variety of other, less well-known pills that are not banned. "Many are sold without age restrictions and carry limited information about ingredients." Some "users are suffering significant side effects, including vomiting" from the legal pills.

In Afghanistan, western troops aren't doing enough to support Afghan opium eradication, says Kandahar Governor Asadullah Khalid in the Canadian Glob e and Mail newspaper last week. So far, 13 police were killed in poppy eradication operations this month, asserted Asadullah. NATO forces aren't helping, said Asadullah, and even "appear to be blocking the effort," he claimed.

And in Canada, the Mayor of Vancouver, Sam Sullivan, says he isn't asking the Conservative Harper government to give a green light to a proposed legal-drug-substitution program, simply in order to then nix the Insite supervised injection center. "I'm focused on keeping this one [injection center]... I know it's not the answer, but it is an important part of getting to the answer."


Pubdate: Sun, 20 Apr 2008
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2008 The Washington Post Company
Author: Manuel Roig-Franzia, Washington Post Foreign Service

Brutality Gives Rise to Formidable New Problems for Both Countries

PUERTO PALOMAS, Mexico -- Javier Emilio Perez Ortega, a workaholic Mexican police chief, showed up at the sleepy, two-lane border crossing here last month and asked U.S. authorities for political asylum.


A U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed in January while chasing suspected traffickers fleeing back to Mexico, AK-47 bullets have been found a half-mile inside U.S. territory after shootouts in Mexican border towns, and wounded Mexican police have been taken to the United States for treatment at heavily guarded hospitals.


The cartels probably knew that the Mexican military was coming months before its arrival in late March and saw Puerto Palomas as an acceptable alternative, a high-ranking Mexican federal government official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the campaign against cartels.

"They have their own intelligence operations," the official said of the cartels. "For them, it's like a chess game."




Pubdate: Sat, 19 Apr 2008
Source: Dominion Post, The (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2008 The Dominion Post
Author: Anna Chalmers

THE Health Ministry has launched an investigation into "new generation" party pills rapidly filling shop shelves, amid reports that they are making users sick.


Many are sold without age restrictions and carry limited information about ingredients.

The Health Ministry has confirmed it is investigating and has arranged testing of the new-generation pills through Environmental Science and Research.

But the Drug Foundation has criticised officials for acting too slowly, particularly as reports emerge that users are suffering significant side effects, including vomiting.

Health Ministry public health chief adviser Ashley Bloomfield said staff had visited retailers and were monitoring websites and blogs to identify pills that were the "highest priority" for testing.




Pubdate: Mon, 21 Apr 2008
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2008, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Graeme Smith

Lack of support from foreign troops for Afghanistan's poppy-eradication operation costing lives, he says

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -- Foreign troops have undermined the Afghan government's poppy-eradication campaign in Kandahar, the governor says, and the lack of support has added to the risks of the operation.

At least 13 police have been killed and one reported missing during poppy eradication so far this month, and the task has been more difficult, Governor Asadullah Khalid said, because his NATO allies refuse to help an d, in some cases, appear to be blocking the effort.


Canadian troops are usually instructed to avoid interfering with opium cultivation or eradication; Canadian drug policy focuses on alternative livelihoods for farmers.




Pubdate: Fri, 18 Apr 2008
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Vancouver Courier
Author: Mike Howell, Vancouver Courier

Injection Site Seen As Complement to Mayor's Plan

Mayor Sam Sullivan says his proposal for a drug treatment program for addicts is not a signal to the Conservative government to approve the program and then shut down the city's supervised injection site.

Sullivan agreed that not all Conservative members of parliament support Insite but he said many are also against his Chronic Addiction Substitution Treatment (CAST) program. The mayor wouldn't name the MPs.

"I've talked to many ministers who wholeheartedly endorse the supervised injection site and lobby within their own caucus for it," Sullivan told t he Courier. "But some of them are very opposed to CAST and the ideas behind it, whereas others are very supportive of it."


The mayor denies his comments meant Insite should close. He wants it to remain open for at least another three-and-a-half years. He added that Minister Clement is aware of his position.

Sullivan, however, said he won't lobby for more injection sites. Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe told the Courier last year that he believed Vancouver needed at least five sites. Lowe is lobbying Health Canada for three injection sites for Victoria.

"I'm focused on keeping this one," Sullivan said Wednesday. "I know it's not the answer, but it is an important part of getting to the answer."


 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


By Ethan Nadelmann, Drug Policy Alliance

The U.S. dwarfs the rest of the world when it comes to locking up its citizens, due in large part to madness of our incarceration policies.


The Supreme Court of Canada ruled today that two random searches conducted by dog sniffers were unlawful.


By Malakkar Vohryzek

Why are we still incarcerating people who use controlled substances, when we have ample evidence that this "cure" is worse than the "disease"?


The last two presidents and two of the current candidates have either used illegal substances or have had substance abuse problems. Does this show that winners don't always refuse to use drugs? Jacob Sullum and Charles "Cully" Stimson debate.


DPA vs. ONDCP  ( Top )

DPA Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann goes head to head with David Murray, chief scientist for the Office of National Drug Control Policy in this live debate recorded in Chicago earlier this month.


Century of Lies- 04/22/08 - David Duncan

Doctor David F. Duncan discusses the lack of valid science to support the policy of drug war.

Cultural Baggage Radio Show- 04/23/08 - Norm Kent

Norm Kent of NORML at 420 Fest, Dan Bernath of MPP, Doug McVay with Drug War Facts, Philippe Lucas of VICS & Eddy Lepp - exonerated of largest ever DEA MJ bust.


Transform Drug Policy Foundation

At March's UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna I had witnessed at first hand the painful process of some of the more progressive countries trying to have a resolution on human rights compliance in international drug policy adopted, against the express wishes of small group of opposing countries, perhaps unsurprisingly made up largely of some of the world's most notorious human rights abusers.


The April 2008 MAPS Email News Update is now available online. This issue, written by David Jay Brown, discusses - among other things - new developments spawned by MAPS participation in the WPF 2008, the recent Paris Hallucinations conference, the potential for a new MAPS sponsored MDMA/PTSD study in France, the 2007 Entheon Village report, MAPS' Psychedelic Emergency Services programs, Sasha Shulgin's recent open-heart surgery, and the fantastic new art for sale in the MAPS Webstore from Carolyn Mary Kleefeld, Brummbaer, and Dean Chamberlain.



Congress is considering the first marijuana decriminalization bill in 25 years. Urge your representative to support it!



By Redford Givens

A major concern about drug testing is the fact that 65 prescription and over the counter medications produce false positive results. If someone takes Advil, Nuprin, Motrin, Excedrin IB ( Ibuprofen ), Aleve ( Naproxen ) , has a Kidney infection, Diabetes or Liver Disease there could be a false positive for marijuana. Nyquil, Contact, Sudafed, Allerest, Tavist-D, Dimetapp, Phenegan-D, Robitussin Cold and Flu, Vicks Nyquil ( Ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, propylephedrine, phenylephrine, or desoxyephedrine ) create erroneous indications for amphetamines. Poppy Seeds, Tylenol with codeine, Cough suppressants with Dextromethorphan ( DXM ), and most prescription pain medications produce a false positive for Heroin use.

Random drug testing has not been proven to deter drug use. In 2003, the National Institute on Drug Abuse funded the largest study ever conducted on the topic. Researchers found no differences in illegal drug use among students in schools that tested and those that did not.

Incidentally, using a $4 drug test is about as effective as using a peashooter to hunt elephants, the false positive rate will be enormous. But what do the Board of Trustees care about how many kids they wreck so long as they can posture as drug crusaders. A few expensive law suits because of false positives will give Amador County Trustees some new financial problems to wrestle with.

While they held office, Peter Bensinger ( former DEA head ), Robert L Dupont ( former drug czar ) and Carlton Turner ( former drug czar ) shamelessly promoted drug testing as the solution to drug problems. Later, they joined together to form Bensinger, Dupont & Associates, the world's largest drug testing company, to cash in on the drug testing laws they wrote. Bensinger, Dupont & Associates reaps a fortune for their useless drug testing schemes.

The only beneficiaries of drug testing are the makers of the tests.

Redford Givens, webmaster, DRCNet Online Library of Drug Policy

Pubdate: Fri, 18 Apr 2008
Source: Ledger Dispatch (Jackson, CA)



By Mary Jane Borden

If you're like most citizens, you've recently computed the amount of tax you owe both Federal and local governments. Perhaps you're getting a refund, or maybe you wrote a big check. Whether you're wealthy, middle class, or poor, what you pay for is what you get, including the War on Drugs. From the archives of the Media Awareness Project, here are some things YOU bought with your tax dollars in 2007:

$42,000,000,000 for cannabis prohibition. "Why $42 billion? Because that's what our current marijuana laws cost American taxpayers each year, according to a new study by researcher Jon Gettman, Ph.D. -- $10.7 billion in direct law enforcement costs, and $31.1 billion in lost tax revenues. Basing his calculations mainly on U.S. government statistics, Gettman concludes that marijuana in the U.S. is a $113 billion dollar business. That's a huge chunk of economic activity that is unregulated and untaxed because it's almost entirely off the books."

$1,400,000,000 for Mexican drug enforcement. "President Bush asked Congress on Monday to approve a $1.4 billion aid package over the next three years to help the Mexican government fight narcotics traffickers . An additional $50 million would go to Central American countries for the same purposes."

$590,000,000 for Colombian drug enforcement and crop spraying. "About three-quarters of the military aid is dedicated to supporting the aerial crop spraying program, which uses an enhanced form of Roundup weed killer , containing the chemical defoliant glyphosate. What's next -- the 2008 budget. The Bush administration has asked Congress for $590-million for Colombia in the Foreign Aid Bill. As in previous years the majority of this money -- $450-million -- would be dedicated to military support."

$158,000,000 for marijuana enforcement in Michigan. "Marijuana is Michigan's third most valuable cash crop with an annual value of $350 million. Tax free. At the same time, we're spending $158 million to enforce marijuana prohibition and make criminals out of people like the Johnson's ."

$100,000,000 for expanded prisons in Connecticut. A study by the Drug Policy Alliance, "recommended the state turn down the so-called three-strikes law mandating automatic life sentences for defendants convicted of a third violent felony . [such] proposals could cost the state at least $100 million in annual prison expenses."

$10,450,000 for a wrongful death in New York. "The mother of an unarmed m an killed by an undercover police officer seven years ago called on the Bronx district attorney's office yesterday to reopen a criminal investigation after a jury awarded her $10.45 million for the wrongful death of her son . including $7 million in punitive damages and $3 million for pain and suffering."

$84,000 for drug dogs in Wisconsin. "It costs about $12,000 to buy each dog and to train it and its handler. These are only seven dogs, spread across 72 counties."

$50,000 for tracking devices and dogs in Indiana. Tippecanoe County, IN. "About $50,000 has been brought in this year under prosecutor Pat Harrington, who took office in January. 'We've now got a bomb dog and four other canines,' Lendermon said of the sheriff's department. About $6,300 was used in March and April to buy GPS tracking devices for the state police and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for use in their vehicles."

$5,900 or the return of marijuana seized from a California medical patient. "At least one victory for medical marijuana was won over the past year when Grover Beach police returned 20 grams of marijuana to Ken Parson in January. Parson's prescription was allowed under state law. Grover Beach police were required to return the marijuana to Parsons or pay a $5,900 fee."

The numbers and references above come from actual 2007 newspaper reports that are stored permanently by volunteer activists in the DrugSense DrugNews Archive ( ). This information is available for FREE, but it isn't free to produce. DrugSense, too, incurs Internet storage, bandwidth, and technical support charges that must be covered so that we can bring the truth about the cost of the War on Drugs to the media and public.

If you think that your tax dollars can be better spent, then you know it's time to change drug policy. Won't you please devote just a few of the equivalent dollars you pay in taxes to help end the drug war once and for all time?

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

Please note that DrugSense is a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit dedicate d to accuracy in the media concerning drug policy topics. Your donation is tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

Help save tax dollars by ending the War on Drugs. Support sensible drug policies by supporting DrugSense.

Mary Jane Borden is a writer, artist, and activist in drug policy from Westerville, Ohio. She serves as Business Manager/Fundraising Specialist for DrugSense.


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-- Barack Obama

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