This Just In
(1)Jump in Coca Cultivation in Colombia Shocks U.N.
(2)Mexicans Move Across Border to Flee Drug Crime
(3)New Rules Make It Harder to Clean Dirty Money
(4)Marijuana Found in Long-Sealed City Safe

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-Drug Truth Network

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Thu, 19 Jun 2008
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Associated Press
Author: Toby Muse, Associated Press

Bogota, Colombia -- Colombian peasants devoted 27 percent more land to growing coca last year, the United Nations reported Wednesday, calling the increase "a surprise and a shock" given intense efforts to eradicate cocaine's raw ingredient.

Estimated cocaine production, however, increased only slightly in Colombia and other Andean nations - to about 994 metric tons in 2007 from 984 metric tons the year before, according to the U.N. - as cultivation shifted to smaller, less-productive plots in more remote locations.

The net increase in coca farmland came despite record U.S.-backed eradication efforts that disrupted the growing cycle, said Gen. Oscar Naranjo, the chief of Colombia's police.

"These young crops, the new ones, are less productive, both in the number of leaves and in terms of the potency of the leaf," Naranjo said, and coca farmers in remote locations can't get chemicals needed to process the leaves as easily.

Still, coca farmers are aggressively tearing down forests to make way for crops and laboratories, and the young plants will eventually produce much more coca if eradication efforts don't keep up.

"The increase in coca cultivation in Colombia is a surprise and shock: a surprise because it comes at a time when the Colombian government is trying so hard to eradicate coca; a shock because of the magnitude of cultivation," said Antonio Maria Costa, director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.




Pubdate: Fri, 20 Jun 2008
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2008 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Chris Hawley, USA TODAY

Falling U.S. Home Prices Beckon Middle Class Seeking 'Tranquility'

MEXICO CITY - In February, Salvador Urbina decided he was tired of the shootouts, the kidnappings and the military patrols in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez.

So he put his house up for sale, packed up his car, and moved his wife and children across the border to El Paso, joining a growing stream of professionals who are relocating to the USA to get away from Mexico's drug wars.

"I didn't want to leave," said Urbina, a lawyer. "But there's a very deep psychosis developing in Juarez. Criminals are taking advantage of the situation there. Every day I worried about the safety of my wife and family."

In U.S. cities along the border, middle-class Mexicans are buying homes or renting apartments and even moving their businesses across the border, say real estate agents, chambers of commerce and city officials. Many are getting investor visas for a long-term stay.

Dropping housing prices in the USA are part of the draw, said Mireya Durazo, a real estate agent in San Diego, across the border from Tijuana. But the main impetus is a wave of violence unleashed by Mexico's 18-month-old crackdown on drug cartels, she said.

"First it was the dentists, then lawyers and doctors ... now it's teachers, owners of little stores, people from the working class," Durazo said.

Drug gangs are increasingly bringing civilians into the fray as they battle soldiers and each other for control of drug smuggling corridors, known as "plazas."

In all, about 4,000 people have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon began deploying troops to attack the cartels in December 2006, according to a tally by the Reforma newspaper. Polls released recently by Reforma and El Universal newspaper show most Mexicans say the government is losing the battle.




Pubdate: Fri, 20 Jun 2008
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Fiona Anderson, Vancouver Sun

B.C. drug dealers and other criminals will have a tougher time disposing of their ill-gotten gains as new federal anti-money- laundering legislation cracks down on real estate purchases and currency exchange operations.

The new law, which will be in force Monday, also adds other rules aimed at hindering the disposal of large amounts of cash.

Realtors will have to take more steps to ensure they know who they are dealing with. They will also need to hang on to information identifying their clients for five years.

"We know organized crime buys houses and they buy houses on a regular basis," said Ken Fraser, executive director of investigations with the Financial Institutions Commission of B.C.

Some purchases are made to carry out more illegal activity, such as marijuana-growing operations and amphetamine labs, Fraser said. Others are aimed at laundering the money to turn proceeds of crime into a legitimate asset.

To date, those purchases have often been made using fake identification, Fraser said. "It's not that onerous to assume another identity and purchase property," he said.

In many cases the person listed on the title doesn't even know his name has been used, he added. Under the new rules, realtors have "to ensure the person they are dealing with is the person whose ID is produced," Fraser said.




Pubdate: Fri, 20 Jun 2008
Source: Birmingham News, The (AL)
Copyright: 2008 The Birmingham News
Author: Russ Henderson, Staff Reporter

FAIRHOPE -- The event was planned and advertised weeks ago: At the new Fairhope Museum of History, officials would open a city safe that had been abandoned and unused since 1971.

What would be inside? Nothing? Old city records?

On Thursday morning, a crowd of nearly 30 Fairhopers watched as locksmith Nevitt Baker lifted away its heavy, black door. A musty smell filled the room, and the crowd laughed as news cameras and curious locals closed in on the open safe. One woman rushed her young son out of the museum, saying she didn't want him to see what was inside.

A few called out the obvious -- its bottom shelves were filled with marijuana. The vault apparently had last been used by police investigators to stash drug evidence.

"Here is somebody's name, somebody I remember, who would be terribly embarrassed right now," said Donnie Barrett, the museum's director, as he later examined a label attached to one of several matchboxes filled with dry, 37-year-old dope. "It looks like a whole bunch of dope is what we've found here. I wish it was a little bit more than that," Barrett said.

The city's Police Department used the building until moving to its present offices in 2002, long after City Hall had moved in 1971. But paperwork stored in the safe alongside the marijuana seemed to indicate that none of it predated 1971, Barrett said.

Why was this evidence left behind or forgotten?

"That's not the sort of historical question we'd wanted to have to ask," Barrett said. "But it's better than nothing."





For those who don't understand why drug policy in America is an upside-down disaster, some headlines from the mainstream press offer clues this week. In Florida, new data suggests many more Floridians are dying from legal drugs compared to illegal drugs. Next, hard drug abuse seems to be experienced by more older women, despite an increasingly aggressive drug war. And, as we become increasingly addicted to surveying kids about their bad habits, it's possible that asking kids about risky behavior may put some ideas in their heads. Finally, a little light of sanity from New Jersey, where a high school student interested in keeping his peers safe denounced student drug testing.


Pubdate: Sat, 14 Jun 2008
Source: Star-Banner, The (Ocala, FL)
Copyright: 2008 The Star-Banner
Author: Damien Cave, The New York Times

Prescription Drugs in 3 Times More Deaths Than Illicit Ones.

MIAMI - From "Scarface" to "Miami Vice," Florida's drug problem has been portrayed as the story of a single narcotic: cocaine. But for Floridians, prescription drugs are increasingly a far more lethal habit.

An analysis of autopsies in 2007 released this week by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission found that the rate of deaths caused by prescription drugs was three times the rate of deaths caused by illicit ones.

Law enforcement officials said that the shift toward prescription-drug abuse, which began here about eight years ago, showed no sign of letting up and that the state must do more to control it.

"You have health care providers involved, you have doctor shoppers, and then there are crimes like robbing drug shipments," said Jeff Beasley, a drug intelligence inspector for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which co-sponsored the study. "There is a multitude of ways to get these drugs, and that's what makes things complicated."

The report's findings track with similar studies by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which has found that roughly 7 million Americans are abusing prescription drugs. If accurate, that would be an increase of 80 percent in six years and more than the total abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, Ecstasy and inhalants.

The Florida report analyzed 168,900 deaths statewide. Cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines caused 989 deaths, it found, while legal opioids - strong painkillers in brand-name drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin - caused 2,328.

Drugs with benzodiazepine, mainly depressants like Valium and Xanax, led to 743 deaths. Alcohol was the most commonly occurring drug, appearing in the bodies of 4,179 of the dead and judged the cause of death of 466 - fewer than cocaine (843) but more than methamphetamine ( 25 ) and marijuana ( 0 ).




Pubdate: Sat, 14 Jun 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
Author: Charles M. Blow

The actress Tatum O'Neal was arrested recently on charges of buying crack cocaine from a man on the street near her New York City home. She is a 44-year-old mother of three. She has spent years in and out of drug abuse treatment ( which she chronicled in her 2004 memoir ), and according to her publicist she will continue to "attend meetings" for drug and alcohol abuse.

Ms. O'Neal illustrates a disturbing trend among those being admitted to substance abuse treatment services: a growing percentage of older women are being treated for harder drugs.

Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealed that the total number of admissions to treatment services from 1996 to 2005 (the last year for which detailed data are available) stayed about the same among people under 40, but jumped 52 percent among those 40 and older. Of the 40 and older group, the rise in admissions among men was 44 percent. Among women, it was 82 percent.

(During the same span, the population in the United States age 40 and older grew by only 19 percent.)

Of these women, admissions for nonsmoked cocaine have doubled; admissions for crack cocaine have tripled; admissions for opiates other than heroin have nearly quadrupled; and admissions for methamphetamines have increased sevenfold.

These trends could grow stronger. A 2006 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse focused on drug use among baby boomers, all of whom were 41 to 59 years old in 2005. It concluded that "the large size of this cohort, coupled with greater lifetime rates of drug use than previous generations, might result in unprecedented high numbers of older drug users in the next 15 to 20 years."




Pubdate: Sun, 15 Jun 2008
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Sharon Kirkey, Canwest News Service

Asking About Unsafe Sex, Drinking, Using Drugs May Lead Youths To The Activities

Asking teens about risky behaviour is risky, according to U.S. researchers who say merely asking about unsafe sex, drinking or using drugs may make teens more likely to engage in the activities.

"When we ask questions, it can actually change people's behaviours," says Gavan Fitzsimons, professor of marketing and psychology at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Reporting in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Fitzsimons says the reality of teen life is sobering. In the past 30 days, 43.3 per cent of our children have drunk alcohol, 9.9 per cent have driven a car or other vehicle when they had been drinking alcohol and 20 per cent have used marijuana, he and co-author Sarah Moore write. In Canada, 12 per cent of boys and 13 per cent of girls have sex by age 14 or 15, according to Statistics Canada.

Most teens have conflicting attitudes toward risky behaviour, and growing research suggests that asking them about it reminds them of inconsistencies between what they want to do and what they should do, Fitzsimons says. Asking about risky behaviour, he says, may inadvertently activate a more positive attitude toward doing it.

In an experiment, one group of college students was asked a question about exercising; another group was asked a question about how many times they would use illegal drugs in the coming two months.

At the end of the two-month period, both groups were asked to report how many times they had used drugs. The control group said they used drugs an average of once over the two-month period. The group asked the drug question said they used an average of 2.8 times.

When the researchers broke it down and looked only at those who had reported at least some drug use in the past, the students asked about drugs reported using drugs an average of 10.3 times over the two-month study period, versus an average of four times by the control group.

In another experiment, researchers found that asking a question about drinking increased use of alcohol from 1.2 times to 3.2 times over a week.

It's hard to pin down exactly what's happening in the mind, Fitzsimons said in an interview. "People have these implicit and explicit attitudes toward things. At a conscious level, you may say, 'Oh, you know, drinking a lot is bad for me and I shouldn't do that,' and I answer, no I won't do that.

"But at a gut level, there's a desire to engage in these vices, especially for these young people."

Why do questions tap into that? "We believe that when you just ask the question and don't engage in any followup at all, people have a flash of themselves engaging in that vice behaviour




Pubdate: Wed, 11 Jun 2008
Source: Asbury Park Press (NJ)
Copyright: 2008 Asbury Park Press
Author: Brendan Benedict

As a senior at Allentown High School, I served as vice president of Life-Savers, a club dedicated to preventing student substance abuse. This year our Board of Education proposed a policy that would require students who wish to participate in extracurricular activities to submit to random urinalysis tests for illicit drug use. While I understand the desire to do more, I believe the policy will do more harm than good. My fellow students and I are organizing against this policy, which is ineffective, discounts student input, invades privacy and erodes trust.

In response to the proposal, I joined with my peers to form a group, Students Morally Against Random Testing ( SMART ), to mobilize opposition to student drug testing. Composed of more than 250 students, parents and alumni, we are an active voice at board meetings. We have asked the board to reject the drug testing proposal and submitted a petition with at least 450 signatures from high school students.

We presented the board with scientific research that found drug testing to be ineffective in reducing student drug use. A pair of University of Michigan studies, conducted in 2003, compared students in schools with and without a drug testing program and found virtually no difference in illegal drug use. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics points to research indicating that student drug testing programs actually may lead adolescents to engage in more risky behaviors, such as Friday-night binge drinking, which will not show up on a drug test Monday morning.




Our first three stories this week highlight the corruption and overkill typical of drug law enforcement, some of it on an elevated level. The last story is about a sheriff's race in Florida where candidates were invited to a forum to discuss drug problems, yet none explicitly advocated getting tougher on drugs.


Pubdate: Wed, 18 Jun 2008
Source: Charlotte Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2008 The Charlotte Observer
Author: Gary L. Wright

Investigation Targeted Suspect's House

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers Gerald Holas and Jason Ross are accused of helping a suspected drug dealer avoid police detection and protecting his illegal drug activity, according to the FBI. Holas is accused of warning the alleged drug dealer about an impending drug bust earlier this month.

He's also accused of advising the suspected dealer to move because his home was "hot" and that police might soon swoop in. The two officers also allegedly gave the suspected dealer the address of a person who had robbed him, allowing the dealer to seek revenge. The details about the police officers' activities were revealed in a 27-page affidavit unsealed in federal court in Charlotte Tuesday. Holas and Ross, both 35, resigned last week and were charged with conspiring with alleged dealer David C. Lockhart to distribute crack cocaine.

The charge is punishable by up to life in prison and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.

Lockhart, 25, also is charged in connection with the conspiracy. The affidavit says the former officers have admitted to authorities that they protected Lockhart's cocaine distribution, but say they did so in exchange for Lockhart providing them information they could use to arrest his suppliers and customers.

The officers also admitted participating in a number of acts to further Lockhart's drug distribution, the court document says. Lockhart has admitted that he moved large quantities of cocaine with others, the affidavit says, and confirmed the officers' account that he would get their protection in exchange for information that would help in arresting others. In a case that has drawn criticism from police brass and the Charlotte mayor, the FBI disclosed a series of incidents linking the officers and Lockhart.



 (10) 'REEFER' MADNESS  ( Top )

Pubdate: Sat, 14 Jun 2008
Source: New York Post (NY)
Copyright: 2008 N.Y.P. Holdings, Inc.
Authors: Irene Plagianos and Murray Weiss

A drug-law reform activist spent a night in jail after hurling abuse at cops in an attempt to stop them from collaring pot-smokers outside his Greenwich Village home, police said.

As undercover cops nabbed the two dopers Thursday night, Randy Credico allegedly burst from his Gay Street home and screamed, "You guys are really solving murders out here? Why don't you guys get a life! F- - - you all! You can't tell me what to do!"

Credico admitted to The Post he was trying to prevent the arrest of the teens.

"I'm constantly warning kids not to smoke pot on that street," Credico said. "These cops are making Mickey Mouse pot arrests - what a waste of time and money."

Credico is the director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, which documents arrests for marijuana violations.




Pubdate: Wed, 18 Jun 2008
Source: Sun Times, The (Owen Sound, CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Scott Dunn

Drinking And Driving Penalties Also Going Up

Police across Canada will have new powers to investigate drivers suspected of being impaired by drugs starting July 2, when penalties for driving while impaired will also go up.

Police who suspect drug impairment will have authority to require roadside physical co-ordination tests to gauge sobriety. If, in the opinion of the officer, the suspect fails, then the driver will be taken to a police detachment to be tested by a "drug evaluation expert," which all police services will likely have to train.

Neither city police officials or the South Bruce OPP media relations officer were familiar enough with the changes to comment.

However, Ontario Provincial Police Chief Superintendent Bill Grodzinski, commander of the OPP highway safety division, said Wednesday that "what we're seeing is a very significant shift . . . What we're seeing is more drug-impaired operators."

The legislation "provides police with that additional help that we want."

The drug evaluations experts will have authority to demand samples of saliva, urine or blood to determine the presence of alcohol or a drug without a warrant, Department of Justice spokeswoman Carole Saindon said.




Pubdate: Sat, 14 Jun 2008
Source: Jackson County Floridan (FL)
Copyright: 2008 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC
Author: Deborah Buckhalter

The 10 men who want to be the next sheriff of Jackson County were quizzed Thursday about how they would deal with substance abuse among young people of the community.

The forum held at Chipola College was put on by the Panhandle Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Coalition. The candidates were given an advance copy of the five questions they were to answer, and drew numbers to determine the order in which they would answer each.

The candidates are Chuck Anderson, John Dennis, Sonny Fortunato, Aldrich D. Johnson, William Nelson, Jim Peacock, Lou Roberts, Robbie Wester, Darryl Williams and Zannie Williams.

When asked what behaviors they would expect their staff members to model for today's youth, most of the candidates said they'd expect their deputies and other employees to behave as professionals both on and off duty so that they could be role models as they play their private roles in society as well as while one the job.

If the violate rules of conduct, most candidates said, their staff members would be subject to certain disciplinary actions based on the type of infraction and its severity.

When asked what they would do to educate the public on the subject of alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse, candidates had a variety of ideas, in addition to working with agencies who already deal with the problem.

Aldrich Johnson said he'd hold public service campaigns and recruit volunteers.

Jim Peacock said he'd train his deputies to refer drug-using youths to a helping agency on first encounter. He also said he'd like to institute a junior deputy program as a peer-to-peer educational tool. Darryl Williams said he'd like to initiate new school programs like student seminars on high-risk behaviors.




Adverse effects were "linked" to medicinal cannabis by the Canadian press last week following a meta-analysis published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on the frequency of side-effects such as dizziness, fatigue and euphoria experienced by cannabis-naive patients given Sativex and Marinol during brief clinical trials. The researchers recommend that more research be generously funded on the frequency of such adverse effects from long-term whole cannabis use by experienced patients.

One wonders how long the United States can afford to deny struggling farmers the opportunity to grow industrial hemp like their Canadian and European competitors.

Cannabis laws are often exploited by estranged couples and former friends as a weapon of intimidation, extortion and revenge. Sometimes they are abused by cops against activists who get under their skin.

Last month a Californian appeal court ruled that medicinal cannabis plant and weight limits imposed by individual counties are unconstitutional, leaving the determination of how much is too much to the discretion of reluctant doctors, ignorant police officers and uninformed prosecutors.


Pubdate: Tue, 17 Jun 2008
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Author: Pamela Fayerman, Vancouver Sun
Referenced: See Hot Off The Net Below

Users Experience More Drowsiness, Dizziness Than Non-Users, Research Finds

The use of medical marijuana to relieve pain and other disease symptoms can cause a huge range of adverse effects, says an analysis of safety studies co-authored by University of B.C. and McGill University researchers.

The researchers evaluated 31 studies done around the world during the past 40 years and found that while nearly 97 per cent of adverse events were not serious or life threatening, medicinal marijuana users still have an 86-per-cent increase in the rate of non-serious adverse effects like drowsiness and dizziness compared to non-users, according to the study in the June 17 Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The risk of suffering serious, adverse effects requiring hospitalization is not elevated in medicinal marijuana users, compared to non-users, according to the study. But studies on patients taking marijuana have nevertheless shown that serious effects have rarely been documented, including multiple sclerosis relapses, convulsions, respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders, urinary infections, cancer tumour progression and psychiatric disorders.


They stressed that 99 per cent of the serious adverse events were reported in only two major studies, which proves that plenty more research needs to be done to make any conclusions about safety issues.


Collet said he wasn't surprised about the non-serious adverse events because marijuana is known to impact the central nervous system. The study confirms that short-term use of existing medical marijuana agents increase the risk of non-serious adverse events, he said. But since all the studies analysed were short term (median of two weeks) the effects of long term use are poorly understood and high-quality trials are needed.




Pubdate: Mon, 16 Jun 2008
Source: Lompoc Record (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Lee Central Coast Newspapers
Author: Joe White

Wonderful little Lompoc is no refuge from, let's call it what it is, our present economic recession. Celite is in transition and our school system is facing budget cuts and lay-offs. As our economy continues to contract, farmers worry yet again about the amount of rain we have received this year.

Nonetheless, with a few creative, entrepreneurial pioneers there looms a major, widespread economic opportunity for our community. It is perfect serendipity in its fit with Lompoc. Here is a boom for agriculture with an opportunity for generating multiple light-support industries paying strong, competitive wages and engaging the talents of product developers, marketers, designers, as well as a rich use of our city wi-fi system. Could it be a new grape variety added to our buoyant, thriving wine industry? No, it is hemp.

If you shake your head and roll your eyes, then read no more as you are neither pioneer nor entrepreneur. You dwell in the past.

What is your judgment of the following parent? Child, "Can I have some grape juice?" Parent, "No. You can't have any wine." Child, "Sorry, I wanted grape juice." Parent, "I know, but you see wine has alcohol in it." Child, "OK, but I wanted grape JUICE." Parent, "Sweetheart, wine is grape juice. So, no. Please stop asking or you will be punished."

Hemp has so little THC in it, the psychoactive component in marijuana, that it cannot be ingested in any manner to get the marijuana high. Yet, hemp cannot be grown commercially in the United States because the DEA, not the Department of Agriculture, seems unable to distinguish between grape juice and wine. As of the fall of `07, two North Dakota farmers have been tied up in federal court by the DEA as the farmers' state issued, state condoned permit to grow industrial hemp was overridden by federal Judge Daniel Hovland. (see watch the video.) However, things do not seem to be going well for the DEA as they face irritated farmers in North Dakota, Kentucky, Vermont, California, Oregon, and the list goes on.




Pubdate: Tue, 17 Jun 2008
Source: Hendersonville Times-News (NC)
Copyright: 2008 Hendersonville Newspaper Corporation
Author: John Harber, Times-News Staff Writer

An attorney for a Polk County man who advocates marijuana for medicinal purposes has filed motions in his criminal case that say the Polk County Sheriff's Office used false information to obtain a search warrant.

Steve Marlowe, 59, of Mill Spring was arrested in November 2007 and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for the use or sale of marijuana and manufacturing marijuana.

Marlowe's attorney, Ben Scales of Asheville, has filed motions that claim the Polk County Sheriff's Office forced an informant to give investigators information to obtain a search warrant.

The motions are slated to be heard Monday in Polk County Superior Court. "The search warrant was executed by the Polk County Sheriff's Department on November 13, 2007," Scales said in his motion. "The warrant was issued upon information contained in the affidavit of Lt. Matt Prince, which in turn is based upon a statement by a formerly confidential informant named Charles Grady Shehan Jr."

According to the search warrant, Lt. Prince relied on statements made by Shehan.

"Mr. Shehan, it is alleged, visited the defendant's (Marlowe) residence just prior to the issuance of the warrant and saw marijuana plants growing and other contraband therein," Scales said in his motion. "(Mr. Marlowe) will show that by Shehan's own admission, he was never inside the defendant's residence, and had not been inside that dwelling in at least eight years, but that he was induced by Lt. Trent Carswell and Prince and others to make and sign a false statement that he had seen illegal activity occurring in the defendant's residence."




Pubdate: Sun, 15 Jun 2008
Source: Times-Standard (Eureka, CA)
Copyright: 2008 MediaNews Group, Inc.
Author: Thadeus Greenson, The Times-Standard

The gray world of medical marijuana law seems to have just gotten a bit grayer.

A California court of appeals ruled last month that the restrictions on the amount of marijuana a patient can possess and cultivate outlined in Senate Bill 420, passed in 2003, are unconstitutional, causing counties across the state to rethink their medical marijuana ordinances.

The Del Norte County Board of Supervisors voted this week to drop its ordinance that restricted medical marijuana cultivation to 99 plants grown in a 100-square-foot space, after spending weeks actually discussing tightening those restrictions. Humboldt County may soon follow suit.

"(The court decision) adds another layer of ambiguity to an already ambiguous law," said Del Norte District Attorney Mike Riese. "It was an enforcement headache to begin with -- it may have graduated to an enforcement migraine at this point."

In the appellate ruling in the case of the People vs. Patrick Kelly, the court ruled SB 420 to be unconstitutional because it amended a voter-passed initiative, Proposition 215, that didn't explicitly say it could be amended by the Legislature. According to the court's ruling, Proposition 215 can only be amended by a ballot measure.


This leaves California counties, like Del Norte and Humboldt, without any standards for determining what quantities fall within medical use. And, that is being interpreted in different ways.


"The obvious easy answer is if the medical marijuana is medically necessary, have your physician specify the dosage and the amount you can have in your possession," Henion said.

But doctors might not be willing to do that, said Eureka attorney Neal Sanders, who specializes in marijuana cases.

"There's really no way for a doctor to say you have to smoke X amount of marijuana to get the relief you need because the potency is so varied," he said.




In Quebec, Canada this week, the surprise acquittal of a man who shot a police officer who was part of a dynamic entry team in search of drugs is causing a review of police tactics. "Few crimes are as heinous as that of unbridled government power. Few threats to our public security are as grave as the ability of unseen forces to intrude into our lives and thoughts," wrote The Suburban newspaper. "So many laws aimed not at protecting victims but at protecting us from ourselves. It is sheer madness."

Meanwhile in the Canadian province of British Columbia, a prison guard's coffee was apparently spiked with what was thought to be heroin, resulting in the man's hospitalization. Prohibited drugs like heroin are often more plentiful inside of prison walls than outside. Drugs "are smuggled into prisons by new inmates who put the narcotic in a balloon and swallow it. Sometimes the substances are put in hollowed out tennis balls and tossed over the fence." So much for prohibition.

In Ireland, Trinity College psychologist and criminologist Paul O'Mahony declared in a new book that the war on drugs had "failed catastrophically". Claiming a "human right" to take drugs, O'Mahony noted that prohibition, while failing to halt drug use, may have instead increased the use of drugs. To end prohibition, "the concept of a human right to use drugs can fulfil this role of providing a meaningful, inspiring and unifying idea which can guide the transition to a fully non-prohibitionist system."

And in the Philippines this week, the scandal of the country's top narc openly admitting that, yes, cops there do plant drugs (but only to get a conviction they couldn't otherwise obtain), has been met with a deafening silence from Philippine press and president alike. "It is as if she [the Philippine president] is in fact in agreement with the practice [of planting drugs to get convictions]... If the president cannot deal with Santiago, then she is just as guilty as hell."

 (17) JUSTICE DONE  ( Top )

Pubdate: Wed, 18 Jun 2008
Source: Suburban, The (CN QU)
Copyright: 2008 The Suburban

Some one hundred years ago, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. constructed the foundational maxim of legitimate legal order: "Justice must be seen to be done as well as to be done." These thirteen simple words embodied the hopes and strivings of those of compassionate conscience and noble purpose who recognized that a just society is predicated on the recognition of the claim by every citizen on a presumptive tolerance from the state.

Few statements could underlie better why the acquittal of Basil Parasiris was right and just. Parasiris and his family were awakened before dawn by police officers who battered down the door to his home. He said he acted in self-defence in the shoot-out that followed which resulted in the death of police constable Daniel Tessier. Parasiris claimed throughout that he did not know they were police and thought it was a break-in. Some of the officers had come right to his bedroom door. As tragic as Tessier's death was, the jury agreed and in a manner of speaking a break-in was just what it was.


Justice Guy Cournoyer of Quebec Superior Court, had invalidated the search warrant the officers were using. Mr. Parasiris was targeted in a police probe into cocaine trafficking. But Judge Cournoyer ruled that the police failed to prove he had drugs in his home and weren't justified in using force to enter. The force was a battering ram at 5.00 am.


Few crimes are as heinous as that of unbridled government power. Few threats to our public security are as grave as the ability of unseen forces to intrude into our lives and thoughts. Few fears are more paralysing to the commonweal than the possibility of violation of our most sacred trusts by public servants who shield themselves behind screens of immunity. The greatest danger to our free society lurks in the insidious encroachment by agents of the state operating without understanding or guidance from compassionate authority.

And this problem is broader than the power of police officers. We have oversight and control by so many government statocrats into every aspect of our private lives. So many laws aimed not at protecting victims but at protecting us from ourselves. It is sheer madness. The reality is that if we have to live our lives weighing every action, every communication, every human contact, wondering what agents of the state might find out about, how they would analyse it, judge it, tamper with it, and somehow use it to our detriment, we are not truly free.




Pubdate: Sat, 14 Jun 2008
Source: Kamloops Daily News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Kamloops Daily News
Author: Jason Hewlett

A Kamloops prison guard got more than cream or sugar in his coffee when the spiked beverage landed him in Royal Inland Hospital.

A spokesman for the B.C. Government Employees' Union claims an inmate laced the rookie guard's coffee with heroin last week.


Purdy said drugs are smuggled into prisons by new inmates who put the narcotic in a balloon and swallow it. Sometimes the substances are put in hollowed out tennis balls and tossed over the fence.




Pubdate: Mon, 16 Jun 2008
Source: Irish Examiner (Ireland)
Copyright: Examiner Publications Ltd, 2008
Author: Cormac O'Keefe

Drugs should be legalised because there is a "human right" to use them, according to a new book by an Irish criminal law expert.

Paul O'Mahony also said the war on drugs had "failed catastrophically" in Ireland, and across the world.

The Trinity College psychologist and criminologist said it was a "scandal" that enormous resources were being used to enforce prohibition. He said this policy had not only failed to lower drug use, but may have contributed to its increase.

In his book, The Irish War on Drugs, the Seductive Folly of Prohibition, Mr O'Mahony said the campaign for abolition needed a clear, rallying idea, which would cut through complex arguments.

"What is required to achieve a tipping point, a revolution in thinking, is a bold, inspirational idea to which people can subscribe as a matter of self-evident principle.

"Only the concept of a human right to use drugs can fulfil this role of providing a meaningful, inspiring and unifying idea which can guide the transition to a fully non-prohibitionist system."

He said there was a human right to use drugs, so long as it did not negatively impact on the rights of others.



 (20) AS GUILTY AS HELL  ( Top )

Pubdate: Tue, 17 Jun 2008
Source: Philippine Star (Philippines)
Copyright: PhilSTAR Daily Inc. 2008

It has been more than a week since Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director general Dionisio Santiago made a public admission that some of his agents sometimes resort to planting evidence in order to nail hard to get illegal drug personalities.

Judging by the silence and inaction of higher authorities regarding that highly damning statement, Santiago may as well have said absolutely nothing at all. In this country, there are indeed some people who are either above the law or beyond reproach.

The president, who loves to tout her administration as being on the way to eliminating the drug problem, has not given Santiago even a light rap on the wrist. It is as if she is in fact in agreement with the practice.


After all, framing illegal drug traders may not be as bad as extrajudicial killings. Still, this is not to say that it should be tolerated and encouraged. Being illegal in itself, not to mention that it is in fact very dangerous, the practice should still be stopped.

Cutting corners with the law can be abused, and can be used against otherwise innocent people whose only fault may be to rub certain people the wrong way. And it can cast a cloud of doubt on all legal law enforcement operations.


After Santiago got the flak over his statement, he clumsily tried to cover his tracks by saying he was just joking. What is worse than lying is getting caught with a joke that makes nobody laugh. If the president cannot deal with Santiago, then she is just as guilty as hell.


 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


By Pete Guither from


The therapeutic use of cannabis and cannabis-based medicines raises safety concerns for patients, clinicians, policy-makers, insurers, researchers and regulators. Although the efficacy of cannabinoids is being increasingly demonstrated in randomized controlled trials, most safety information comes from studies of recreational use.


A Survey of Bolivia, Colombia and Peru

U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime


What would be the harm?

"Learning From Each Other: Enhancing Community-Based Harm Reduction Programs and Practices in Canada" is the final report on the research undertaken by the Canadian Harm Reduction Network and the Canadian AIDS Society on useful and innovative harm reduction programs and practices in nine small-to-medium-sized cities in Canada ... and some of the ways that challenges to them are being met.


By Vince Beiser, Huffington Post

If only we could forgive the thousands of imprisoned casual drug users in the way we've forgiven Barack Obama.


Is better marijuana really worse for you?

By Jacob Sullum, Reason Magazine


Major Overseas TV Network Tackles a Story the U.S. Networks Fear to Cover

Narco News has been investigating the House of Death murders for more than four years now, publishing some 70 stories to date on the case, which involved a U.S. government informant's participation (with the alleged knowledge of his U.S. handlers) in at least a dozen murders in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The U.S. government's role in those murders is compounded by an ongoing cover-up of its complicity that reaches into the highest levels of the departments of Justice and Homeland Security.


John Walters, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, talks about a new study on marijuana on the Dr. Drew radio show. Walters is followed by Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, and callers.


Sayeeda Warsi, Tory party shadow spokeswoman for community cohesion and social action (and former vice-chair of the Conservative party) announced recently that her party will make Khat illegal if they come to power.


By Pete Guither from


The Impact of State Medical Marijuana Laws

By Karen O'Keefe, Esq., Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D., and Bruce Mirken

A newly updated analysis shows that state medical marijuana laws have not increased teen marijuana use, despite fears that have been raised when such measures are considered. Teen marijuana use has consistently declined in states with medical marijuana laws, and generally more markedly than national averages.


Century of Lies - 06/17/08 - Sylvester Salcedo

Sylvester Salcedo, a former naval intelligence officer is running for State Rep as a Democrat in Connecticutt. He's also a spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Cultural Baggage - 06/18/08 - Bill Piper

Bill Piper of Drug Policy Alliance, Bruce Mirken of Marijuana Policy Project, Paul Armentano of NORML, Randy Credico of William Kuntsler Fund, Terry Nelson of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Doug McVay with Drug War Facts & Glenn Greenway with the Poppygate Report.



The Marijuana Policy Project is hiring a Director of State Policies, to be based in our headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The Director of State Policies manages MPP's grassroots and direct lobbying efforts in all state legislatures, as well as managing MPP's State Policies department staff. The overarching goal of the position is to pass medical marijuana legislation and/or marijuana regulation legislation in state legislatures, while preventing bad bills from being enacted.

Please visit for a full job description, salary information, and instructions on how to apply. (MPP is not taking phone calls about this position; rather, all interested candidates should apply by using the process described at the link above.)


"Damage Done" introduces a group of maverick cops - and former cops - who have put in decades fighting the war on drugs. They may be libertarians, Republicans, socialists or evangelical Christians, but they all believe strongly that drug prohibition is a terrible mistake and that all illicit drugs should be controlled by government, not in the hands of criminals.



Editor's Note: To honor the passing of Derek Rea, who was in charge of picking the Letter of the Week for at least nine years, this space stands unfilled this week. To learn more about Derek, please read the feature article below.


Derek Rea: 1954 - 2008  ( Top )

By Danielle Schumacher and Stephen Young

The drug policy reform movement lost a dedicated activist and a great human being when Derek Rea died earlier this week.

Regular readers of DrugSense Weekly enjoyed his work with every issue, as he was the person who sifted through all the Media Awareness Project's published letters to the editor in order to choose a Letter of the Week.

And as a long-time MAP editor, Derek made sure we all had the latest news.

Both jobs were completely voluntary and rather repetitive, but Derek seemed honored to do them for roughly a decade. He had great respect for letter writers and other activists, though he insisted his own work was minor compared to some. But his efforts were crucial. Those efforts touched many while blossoming into other types of activism.

Derek was in the construction business by trade but some who knew him first through email before meeting him in person may have mistaken him for a graduate student inspired by the idealism of youth.

He was passionate about justice and very well-read on the subject, as well as on other subjects. (Derek was also published author, having written "The Big Black Book of Scanner Frequencies.")

But far from taking up a cause as a passing fancy, Derek had seen injustice up close. That's one of the reasons he did volunteer work early in the morning, even when he had to be at a job site by 6 a.m.

Despite his awesome work ethic, Derek was a fun and uplifting person to be around.

After he got to know someone, he might have shown them the tattoo on his chest - "Genesis 1:12." Look it up in the King James Bible: "And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good." A marvellous refutation for fundamentalist cannabis haters, the tattoo fit Derek well - subtly understated, but totally righteous.

Derek was an amazing friend. When his friends were in tight situations, or if Derek just thought they needed help, he was there, offering unconditional support.

He spoke in a southern Illinois drawl sometimes peppered with the kind of language you're likely to encounter on a construction site or the in the streets of East St. Louis, but his manner and demeanor were infinitely polite.

Asked to join the Board of Directors of Illinois NORML a few years ago, Derek was clearly flattered but also completely humble. He knew he couldn't pass it up, but he said he wondered what he had to offer, as if he hadn't been working every day for all those years.

Once on the Illinois NORML Board, he rarely missed a meeting, even though he had a five hour drive to get up to Chicago where the meetings usually took place.

Derek understood the value of cannabis. He loved the compassion clubs in California and was moved to write about one he visited during a NORML conference. His report was published in this space ( see ).

When he was diagnosed with acute leukemia several months ago, he knew cannabis would be a powerful weapon in the battle. Indeed, Derek said he had helped others when they were in similar situations, but didn't truly understand how important it was until he became sick himself.

While he was in the hospital for treatment, he would lament about how guilty he felt for having the only medicine that worked, while everyone else on his floor suffered.

He said it was so horrible to hear their agony, and some days two or three other patients on the floor would lose their battles. Nurses and doctors flocked to his room for respite, as he was quite cheerful under the circumstances and clearly thriving through the treatment (he actually gained weight, instead of losing it), while so many other languished in misery.

His type of leukemia is almost impossible to overcome, however, he had gotten back to work and was otherwise doing great. His doctors were totally amazed at his recovery. They are all aware of his secret medicine by now, so he surely made a huge impact on them.

Derek had just finished another round of chemotherapy last week. Monday June 16, 2008, his wife, Eileen took him back to the hospital, but he could not overcome the pneumonia that developed the day before.

In addition to Eileen, who he described as his soul mate, he leaves his mother, four daughters, and four grandchildren.

Derek often said it was difficult to be an activist in the socially conservative area in which he lived, so locally he kept a rather low profile. He feared discovery and he feared drug tests on the job, yet he continued sifting through those letters, editing those news stories, and helping other patients.

His local obituary highlights his activism. The second paragraph starts this way: "Mr. Rea was an active volunteer with NORML and the Media Awareness Project."

The word "active" just barely captures his dedication. And to say he will be missed horribly just barely captures the loss.

Danielle Schumacher is the founder of UIUC NORML/SSDP, an Illinois NORML Board Member and former Chancellor of Oaksterdam University. Stephen Young is an editor with DrugSense Weekly, an Illinois NORML Board Member and author of the book "How To Inhale The Universe Without Wheezing."


"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little." - Edmund Burke

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Policy and Law Enforcement/Prison content selection and analysis by Stephen Young (, This Just In selection by Richard Lake ( and Stephen Young, International content selection and analysis by Doug Snead (, Cannabis/Hemp content selection and analysis, Hot Off The Net selection and Layout by Matt Elrod ( Analysis comments represent the personal views of editors, not necessarily the views of DrugSense.

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