THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) RAIDS TARGET VAST POT-GROWING NETWORK IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Pubdate: Thu, 26 Jun 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Tim Reiterman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Searches Continue in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties After Authorities Seize $60 Million in Plants and $160,000 in Cash.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Raids this week on a massive commercial marijuana operation with indoor growing facilities and thousands of acres in Northern California's pot belt have netted 10,000 plants worth up to $60 million, $160,000 in cash and 30 firearms, authorities reported Wednesday.
A force of 450 officers from numerous agencies Tuesday served dozens of search warrants. Officials said Wednesday they still were searching almost 2,000 acres in Humboldt and Mendocino counties that belonged to the targets of the 2-year-old investigation.
Authorities arrested one man who allegedly assaulted a federal agent serving a warrant.
The state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement began the probe in early 2006, officials said, after a California-based organization bought a large parcel of mountainous land. Authorities suspected that people associated with the group were growing marijuana in buildings and greenhouses and then selling it.
(2) POLICE OFFICIAL AND GUARD ARE KILLED IN MEXICO ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Jun 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
Author: James C. McKinley Jr.
MEXICO CITY -- A gunman killed a high-ranking commander in the federal police and a bodyguard as they ate lunch at a busy restaurant here on Thursday, in what appeared to be the latest attack on law enforcement officials who are waging a campaign against drug traffickers, the authorities said.
Cmdr. Igor Labastida Calderon, who oversaw a division that monitors smuggling, had stopped for a bite with three bodyguards and an aide, a police spokesman, Eduardo Cano, said at a news conference.
At 12:50 p.m., a man walked in and opened fire on their table with a pistol. Commander Labastida died at the scene. One bodyguard was also killed, while the others and the aide were seriously wounded. The gunman sprinted out, jumped into a waiting sedan and escaped, Mr. Cano said.
No one had been arrested in the attack by the evening. The police commander often stopped at the small restaurant for lunch.
Commander Labastida was the fourth high-ranking federal police official to be killed since January. An additional seven federal agents have been killed in reprisals for antinarcotics operations, while a dozen more have fallen in gun battles with drug dealers.
The United States is trying to help Mexico battle the cartels. Late Thursday, the Senate passed a bill, the "Merida Initiative," to provide Mexico with $400 million this year for aircraft, equipment and training to fight the drug trade. President Bush is expected to sign the bill, which also gives Central American countries $65 million.
(3) TOBACCO BAN WAFTS INTO AMSTERDAM POT SHOPS - BUT JOINTS STILL ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Jun 2008
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2008 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Jeffrey Stinson, USA TODAY
AMSTERDAM - Starting next week, you'll still be able to legally smoke a joint in the famously relaxed coffee shops of Amsterdam - but for a cigarette, you'll have to step outside.
A tobacco ban that goes into effect Tuesday in the Netherlands has both tourists and shop owners, like, totally confused, man.
"It's crazy," says Jon Foster, 36, an American who owns the popular Grey Area coffee shop in the gentrified Jordaan area of central Amsterdam. "It seems totally illogical to have a business that specializes in smoking and you ban tobacco."
The new law prohibits smoking in bars, cafes, restaurants and clubs to protect people from secondhand tobacco smoke.
(4) SUSPECTED HIGH DRIVERS FACE MANDATORY BODY-FLUID TESTS ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 25 Jun 2008
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Times Colonist
Author: Janice Tibbetts, Canwest News Service
OTTAWA -- Drivers who get behind the wheel while high on drugs will face roadside testing and they could be ordered to surrender urine, blood or saliva samples at the police station under a controversial new law that takes effect one week from today.
Drivers who refuse to comply will be subject to a minimum $1,000 fine - -- the same penalty for refusing the breathalyzer.
Police will be given their new powers to nab drug-impaired drivers after almost five years of intense debate in the federal Parliament.
The law, passed this year after three failed attempts, has been lauded by law enforcement and groups who say drug-induced drivers are escaping unpunished at a time when their numbers are climbing.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Our first story shows how difficult it is to untangle the web of
prohibition-based damage, while the second story shows that trying
to prohibit a certain drug can be accomplished with little effort,
even if you've only got one idiot who is just competent enough to
use a phone making that effort.
Another strange survey purporting to show that participation in
family meals impacts teen drug use was released, but this one
suggest it just doesn't matter for one gender. And, more progress in
the drug war: drug researchers have graduated from analyzing
individual samples of human waste to analyzing huge quantities of
mixed human waste.
Our first story shows how difficult it is to untangle the web of prohibition-based damage, while the second story shows that trying to prohibit a certain drug can be accomplished with little effort, even if you've only got one idiot who is just competent enough to use a phone making that effort.
Another strange survey purporting to show that participation in family meals impacts teen drug use was released, but this one suggest it just doesn't matter for one gender. And, more progress in the drug war: drug researchers have graduated from analyzing individual samples of human waste to analyzing huge quantities of mixed human waste.
(5) WEBB URGES FRESH LOOK AT THE WAR ON DRUGS ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 20 Jun 2008
Source: Daily Press (Newport News,VA)
Copyright: 2008 The Daily Press
Author: David Lerman
The Senator Says Billions Spent On Locking People Up Hasn't Reduced The Flow Of Drugs.
Virginia Sen. Jim Webb began building a public case Thursday to change the nation's drug laws to stress treatment over incarceration for nonviolent offenders.
The freshman Democrat held a hearing of the Joint Economic Committee to solicit testimony from prosecutors and scholars who argued that the decades-long emphasis on incarceration has been costly and ineffective.
Armed with statistics showing soaring incarceration rates and drug seizures, Webb argued -- and his witnesses agreed -- that authorities have failed to reduce the supply of drugs appreciably.
"Despite the number of people we have arrested, the illegal drug industry and the flow of drugs to our citizens remain undiminished," Webb said.
While much of his work in the Senate has focused on the Iraq war and a new GI bill for veterans, Webb has sought to stir a public debate on an issue he acknowledged could be politically perilous. Advocating reductions in prison time, of course, can trigger charges of being "soft on crime."
But with more than 2 million Americans now behind bars and drug offenders swamping the prisons, Webb argued, it may be more cost effective to consider treatment options for nonviolent offenders.
(6) LOCAL LEGISLATORS KNOW LITTLE ABOUT 'MAGIC MINT' ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 21 Jun 2008
Source: Cullman Times, The (AL)
Copyright: 2008 The Cullman Times
Author: Patrick McCreless
The hallucinogen salvia divinorum is legal and available in Alabama, but that may soon change.
Deborah Soule, executive director for the Huntsville-based Partnership for a Drug Free Community, said efforts are currently under way to outlaw the drug once and for all. Since 2007, Soule has personally contacted many of Alabama's legislators and Gov. Bob Riley to bring attention to the drug.
She had limited success during the last legislative session, when Sen. Roger Bedford Jr. sponsored a bill to make salvia a controlled substance. However, the bill never made it made it out of committee.
"It just got caught up in a log jam of a Republican filibuster," Bedford said.
To Soule, the real problem with the bill was the lack of education about salvia.
"The biggest problem in the Alabama Legislature is a lot of people didn't know about it," Soule said.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration ( DEA ), salvia - also referred to as Maria Pastora, Sage of the Seers and Magic Mint - is a perennial herb in the mint family native to certain areas of the Sierra Mazateca regions of Oaxaca, Mexico. The substance has been employed by the Mazatec Indians for its hallucinogen effects for ritual divination and healing.
In the United States, however, teenagers and college students are the ones who reportedly take advantage of the drug.
"Unfortunately it has become a designer drug for young people," Bedford said.
(7) FAMILY MEALS TURN GIRLS AWAY FROM DRUGS ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 23 Jun 2008
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2008 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Shannon Proudfoot, Canwest News Service
Not So With Boys, Study Reveals. Discrepancy Might Have To Do With The Way Sons And Daughters Engage With Parents
Adolescent girls who sit down for frequent meals with their families are half as likely to smoke, drink and use marijuana as those who share family meals less often, according to a new study.
"Part of it is just parents being more in touch with their kids, being able to see earlier on if their kids are veering down a path that might not be filled with healthy choices," said Marla Eisenberg, lead author of the paper and a professor of pediatrics in the University of Minnesota's medical school.
Family meals may also offer protection simply because they increase the amount of time teens spend at home instead of out with their friends, she said - the environment where they are most likely to experiment with cigarettes, drugs and alcohol.
Interestingly, teen boys do not enjoy the same benefit, with frequent family meals having no bearing on their substance use down the road.
"It's really not as clear for boys; we've had a hard time pinning down what's going on with boys," Eisenberg said.
(8) ANALYZING A CITY'S SEWAGE CAN PUT A NUMBER ON ITS VICES ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 23 Jun 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Marla Cone, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
One Big Drug Test
Experts Are Examining the Outflow in Several U.S. and European Cities, and the Data Can Be Surprising.
Which city uses more cocaine: Los Angeles or London? Is heroin a big problem in San Diego? And has Ecstasy emerged in rural America?
Environmental scientists are beginning to use an unsavory new tool -- raw sewage -- to paint an accurate portrait of drug abuse in communities. Like one big, citywide urinalysis, tests at municipal sewage plants in many areas of the United States and Europe, including Los Angeles County, have detected illicit drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana.
Law enforcement officials have long sought a way to come up with reliable and verifiable calculations of narcotics use, to identify new trends and formulate policies. Surveys, the backbone of drug-use estimates, are only as reliable as the people who answer them. But sewage does not lie.
Since people excrete chemicals in urine and flush it down toilets, measuring raw sewage for street drugs can provide quick, fairly precise snapshots of drug use in communities, even on a particular day.
The results have been intriguing: Methamphetamine levels in sewage are much higher in Las Vegas than in Omaha and Oklahoma City, Okla. Los Angeles County has more cocaine in its sewage than several major European cities. And Londoners apparently are heavier users of heroin than people in cities in Italy and Switzerland.
"Every sample has one illicit drug or another, regardless of location," said Jennifer Field, an environmental chemist at Oregon State University who has tested sewage in many U.S. cities. "You may see differences from place to place, but there's always something."
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Our stories have a common theme this week: prohibition making law
enforcement more dangerous and corrupt at the same time.
Our stories have a common theme this week: prohibition making law enforcement more dangerous and corrupt at the same time.
(9) DEA: BORDER HIT LIST NOT YET VERIFIED ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 24 Jun 2008
Source: Las Cruces Sun-News (NM)
Copyright: 2008 Las Cruces Sun-News
Author: Jose L. Medina
LAS CRUCES - The head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for the El Paso sector - which includes New Mexico - said Monday that a purported Mexican drug cartel hit list that may name more than a dozen Americans has not been confirmed as credible since its existence became public late last week.
"Nobody has substantiated it. In other words, if it does exist, it hasn't gotten to us yet," said John "Jack" Riley, special agent in charge for the El Paso DEA office.
Riley said this is the first, but not likely the last, time a potential hit list has surfaced that names individuals living on this side of the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Our guys and our analysts and agents have not personally seen it," Riley said. "... That's not to say we won't be looking at it. And I would imagine, if the trend continues, if this is accurate, it probably won't be the last."
The possible existence of a list naming Americans or residents of the U.S. became public Thursday evening when an El Paso television station aired an interview with the family member of one of the 15 to 20 people reportedly on the list.
(10) TESTIMONY BEGINS IN FATAL MARIJUANA SHOOT-OUT AT MOTEL ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 19 Jun 2008
Source: Chico Enterprise-Record (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Chico Enterprise-Record
Author: Terry VAU Dell, Staff Writer
OROVILLE -- A Vallejo man went on trial Wednesday, charged with the murders of two of three men killed in a gun battle during a marijuana buy at an Oroville motel in 2006.
Though there is no evidence Deandre Tyrone Lowe, now 39, was ever armed, prosecutors are charging him with murder under the so-called "felony murder rule," which holds accomplices liable for deaths that occur during certain serious crimes.
According to police reports, during the Oct. 22, 2006, transaction at the Best Value Inn in Oroville, one of four would-be buyers, Dejuan Dean, 34, of Vallejo, pulled a gun and ordered the other two men with him -- including Lowe -- to scoop up the money and drugs, from three Concow area pot sellers.
Thomas Kile, 37, of Concow, pulled his own gun at that point. In the ensuing gun battle, Kile, Dean and a second drug buyer, Lee Miles Nixon, 33, were killed.
Lowe's Oakland attorney, Mario Andrews told Lowe's jury Wednesday the government reasoned, "Three men are dead and someone has to pay."
The defense attorney pointed out all three of the surviving white marijuana sellers involved in the deal were allowed to plead guilty to "simple drug charges" and a fourth man, who rode with them to the motel, was not charged at all because he had no criminal record and would make a "perfect witness" for the prosecution.
(11) FBI: OFFICER MAY HAVE FAILED TO REPORT MONEY FROM DRUG BUST ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 20 Jun 2008
Source: Charlotte Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2008 The Charlotte Observer
Author: Gary L. Wright
The case against two Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers accused of helping a drug dealer may also involve unreported money from a drug bust and arsons at two houses - including one that was mistakenly burned, court documents show.
Officer Jason Ross seized cocaine, drug scales, and a pistol from alleged drug dealer David Lockhart last July during a search of a business on Tuckaseegee Road, court records show.
Officer Ross did not report finding any money, records show. But a confidential source has told investigators that Lockhart had $6,000 in cash at the time of the search, court documents show. The source says he had helped count the money.
Lockhart told investigators that he had at least $2,500 at the time, and that the two police officers allowed him to keep the money, according to an FBI affidavit.
Officers Ross and Gerald Holas resigned last week and were charged with conspiring to distribute crack cocaine. Lockhart is also charged in the conspiracy. All three made brief appearances in court Thursday but their bond hearings were postponed.
(12) EX-SHERIFF GETS 6-YEAR SENTENCE ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 20 Jun 2008
Source: Fayetteville Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2008 Fayetteville Observer
Author: John Fuquay
RALEIGH -- As the top law enforcement officer taking over a scandal-plagued bureaucracy in 1994, Sheriff Glenn Maynor gave Robeson County hope for a fresh start.
But an end to the corruption never came, and on Thursday a federal judge gave the now disgraced former sheriff six years in prison. "I dropped the ball. I should have kept up with it, and I didn't," Maynor told the court, his voice cracking and trailing off. Although evidence failed to prove Maynor knew the full extent of corruption around him, U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle held Maynor responsible for running a dirty Sheriff's Office with a history of scandal that preceded him.
Boyle had already sentenced 20 of Maynor's deputies, including almost the entire command staff and all of the drug enforcement deputies. "If you were a broom to sweep clean, why didn't you fire these deputies, arrest them, get rid of them?" Boyle asked. "The only implication is you either turned a blind eye or were part of it." Maynor, who turns 62 next week, has until Aug. 1 to report to prison.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Mason Tvert and SAFER of Colorado made another media splash last
week by suggesting that the Denver International Airport open a
cannabis lounge to reduce alcohol-fueled flight rage. The media used
the story to give their audiences a chuckle, but nevertheless, Tvert
once again got his message out that cannabis is safer than alcohol.
Last week the U.S. government went deeper into debt to launch
"Operation Southern Sweep," deploying about 450 agents and a
motorcade of SUVs to tear up cannabis plants and damage homes in
Industrial hemp breeders in Manitoba are reportedly developing new
strains from 18th century genetics.
In an effort to appear fair and balanced, the Boston Globe
mischaracterized cannabis law reform activists as the ideological
mirror image of fundamentalist prohibitionists, accusing reformers
of failing to acknowledge cannabis-related harm, while criticizing
prohibitionists for ignoring prohibition-related harm.
Mason Tvert and SAFER of Colorado made another media splash last week by suggesting that the Denver International Airport open a cannabis lounge to reduce alcohol-fueled flight rage. The media used the story to give their audiences a chuckle, but nevertheless, Tvert once again got his message out that cannabis is safer than alcohol.
Last week the U.S. government went deeper into debt to launch "Operation Southern Sweep," deploying about 450 agents and a motorcade of SUVs to tear up cannabis plants and damage homes in California.
Industrial hemp breeders in Manitoba are reportedly developing new strains from 18th century genetics.
In an effort to appear fair and balanced, the Boston Globe mischaracterized cannabis law reform activists as the ideological mirror image of fundamentalist prohibitionists, accusing reformers of failing to acknowledge cannabis-related harm, while criticizing prohibitionists for ignoring prohibition-related harm.
(13) GROUP WANTS POT IN AIRPORT LOUNGES ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 25 Jun 2008
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2008 The Denver Post Corp
Author: Felisa Cardona
Marijuana proponents want to know why federal officials continue to allow people to use alcohol on airplanes, but won't allow pot smoking in the lounges at Denver International Airport.
"Does it make sense to allow adults to use a drug that causes problems on airplanes and not allow them to use one that does not cause problems on airplanes?" asked Mason Tvert, executive director of Safer Alternatives For Enjoyable Recreation.
SAFER held a press conference on Tuesday outside the offices of the Federal Aviation Administration in Denver to propose a solution to the rash of in-flight disturbances on airplanes over the last year.
Last week, a New York woman, Christina Szele, was arrested after she started smoking in her JetBlue airline seat and punched a flight attendant who stepped in to stop her. Her plane, enroute to San Francisco from New York, was diverted to Denver because of the situation.
And in the last few months, DIA has been a hot spot for arrests of drunken, unruly airplane passengers.
Tvert argues that marijuana alleviates anxiety for people who are afraid to fly and that passengers could use pot in the smoking lounges at the airport as a safer alternative to alcohol.
DIA spokesman Chuck Cannon said he does not foresee marijuana smoking in the airport.
(14) FEDS LAUNCH MASSIVE POT STING ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 25 Jun 2008
Source: Times-Standard (Eureka, CA)
Copyright: 2008 MediaNews Group, Inc.
Author: Sean Garmire
Agents Sweep SoHum Commercial Grows
Motorcades of government SUVs poured through Humboldt County communities Tuesday as hundreds of federal and state agents began their search for commercial marijuana growing operations in a multi- day investigation the FBI has dubbed "Operation Southern Sweep."
The bureau's spokesman Joseph Schadler reported 450 agents with several federal agencies would be serving search warrants and collecting evidence on properties where "corporate marijuana growing operations" were suspected.
On Tuesday morning, at the operation's command center in Fortuna's River Lodge parking lot, Schadler said 27 search warrants would be executed over the course of the day, and two more are expected later this week.
He said he could not discuss what properties agents raided Tuesday, or which they had yet to investigate.
Medical marijuana dispensaries and 215 patients would not be targeted by the investigation, Schadler said. The Humboldt Cooperative, a medical marijuana dispensary in Arcata, said Tuesday evening that federal agents had not interfered with business.
"We're not here to set policy or interfere with California's compassionate use laws," Schadler said. The FBI is investigating "for-profit and corporate grow operations beyond the scope of 215."
(15) GROWERS BREEDING NEW HEMP ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 25 Jun 2008
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2008 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Martin Cash
Hemp growers in the Dauphin region are going back to some of the original hemp breeds in the area from the 18th century to come up with new varieties.
Unlike more commercially acceptable grains like wheat and barley, commercial hemp growers must register and certify the seed they use every crop year. That is largely a result of regulatory pressures, mostly from the United States, about concerns over the control of marijuana which is another type of hemp.
Joe Federowich, chairman of Parkland Prairie Hemp Growers Co-Op, said it takes several years to certify and register new varieties of hemp seeds. If the region is ever to be successful in developing an industrial hemp processing plant, it is going to need a much larger supply of seeds to feed the plant with fibre, he said.
"We've been breeding since 2001," he said. "You can't use seed from the bin. You need high pedigree seeds."
That's why the Dauphin group is now using some of the seeds from the original 18th century plants to cross breed with other hemp seeds that have proven to be successful in Manitoba to create new and better varieties. Over the years, it has been able to register several new varieties.
Federowich said he believes the tight regulatory controls might relax over time, but plant breeding is still a long-term process.
(16) MARIJUANA'S RISING POTENCY SPARKS DEBATE ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 23 Jun 2008
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2008 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Neil Munshi, Globe Correspondent
It's a dangerous, highly addictive drug whose skyrocketing potency has only increased its stranglehold on our nation's youth. Or it's mostly harmless, a substance not much worse than caffeine - with medicinal value to boot.
It's marijuana. And the polarized debate about its safety has been rekindled by two reports released separately this month by the federal government and a leading drug prohibition group. Both studies conclude that marijuana's potency has increased, which they link to reports of more addiction, mental health problems, and emergency room admissions related to marijuana use among teenagers.
Advocates of less punitive marijuana laws immediately decried the reports as alarmist, saying there's no evidence linking greater potency to a rise in health problems among pot smokers.
Academics say both sides are guilty of selectively presenting data to bolster their positions.
In a field with limited research, partisans tend to create paper thin arguments, as easily made as they are countered, said Roger Roffman, professor of sociology at the University of Washington.
"I think [both sides] do a disservice to the general public," said Roffman, who has written papers and edited books on marijuana use and dependence. On websites of drug policy reform advocates, "you'll find lots of information about the very adverse consequences of criminalizing marijuana and very little mention of the very real harm associated with marijuana among some people in some circumstances," he said.
Meanwhile, on government and prohibitionist websites, he said, "you'll find plenty of information on the harmful consequences of marijuana abuse and very little information, perhaps, on the harmful consequences of criminalizing marijuana."
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Prohibition, censorship and book burning (or rather book "pulping")
coincided this week in Australia as a controversial government
pamphlet was destroyed - by the government. According to livid
prohibitions in Australia, the pamphlet sent "mixed messages" about
drug use to children. Regardless of facts, children must learn only
one thing: drugs declared illegal by politicians are "never safe to
Reports this week confirmed that coca cultivation hasn't declined in
Colombia, despite billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars generously
heaped on aerial spraying contractors, and propping up right-wing
strongmen there. True, a hardier coca hybrid has survived the
spraying to propagate. And true, also, spraying caused coca
cultivation to eat ever-farther into the precious rainforest. Still,
coca production soared to a staggering "994 metric tons in 2007 from
984 metric tons the year before." Exclaimed top UN prohibitionist
Antonio Maria Costa: "The increase in coca cultivation in Colombia
is a surprise and shock." Did he really expect prohibition would
In Africa, U.S. prohibitionists are on the move. In Nigeria, the
U.S. government ordered that a body scanning X-ray machine should be
installed, to augment Nigeria's crack National Drug Law Enforcement
Agency (NDLEA) airport scanning capabilities. And in Accra, Ghana,
U.S. government prohibitionists have erected a multitude of new DEA
offices, and sent there swarms of officers to harass their people,
and eat out their substance. Or, as a Ghanaian newspaper cheerfully
puts it, "The office.. will increase DEA's effort in fighting the
The right-wing Harper regime in Canada hinted this week there are no
"plans" for new prisons - they simply want to sardine many more
people into existing prisons, possibly expanding them. The whole
prison pipeline (police, prosecutors, prisons) is gearing up for a
major increase in drug (cannabis) arrests. By making non-violent pot
offences (which rarely result in jail time now) draw mandatory
minimum jail time, "an increase in the offender population may
result", admitted the Correctional Service of Canada.
Prohibition, censorship and book burning (or rather book "pulping") coincided this week in Australia as a controversial government pamphlet was destroyed - by the government. According to livid prohibitions in Australia, the pamphlet sent "mixed messages" about drug use to children. Regardless of facts, children must learn only one thing: drugs declared illegal by politicians are "never safe to take".
Reports this week confirmed that coca cultivation hasn't declined in Colombia, despite billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars generously heaped on aerial spraying contractors, and propping up right-wing strongmen there. True, a hardier coca hybrid has survived the spraying to propagate. And true, also, spraying caused coca cultivation to eat ever-farther into the precious rainforest. Still, coca production soared to a staggering "994 metric tons in 2007 from 984 metric tons the year before." Exclaimed top UN prohibitionist Antonio Maria Costa: "The increase in coca cultivation in Colombia is a surprise and shock." Did he really expect prohibition would work?
In Africa, U.S. prohibitionists are on the move. In Nigeria, the U.S. government ordered that a body scanning X-ray machine should be installed, to augment Nigeria's crack National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) airport scanning capabilities. And in Accra, Ghana, U.S. government prohibitionists have erected a multitude of new DEA offices, and sent there swarms of officers to harass their people, and eat out their substance. Or, as a Ghanaian newspaper cheerfully puts it, "The office.. will increase DEA's effort in fighting the drug menace."
The right-wing Harper regime in Canada hinted this week there are no "plans" for new prisons - they simply want to sardine many more people into existing prisons, possibly expanding them. The whole prison pipeline (police, prosecutors, prisons) is gearing up for a major increase in drug (cannabis) arrests. By making non-violent pot offences (which rarely result in jail time now) draw mandatory minimum jail time, "an increase in the offender population may result", admitted the Correctional Service of Canada.
(17) MIXED MESSAGES ON DRUGS PULPED ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 23 Jun 2008
Source: South Coast Register (Australia)
Copyright: 2008 Rural Press Ltd
THE pulping of a Iemma Government pamphlet that sent mixed messages to school children about drug use is a victory for families, claims shadow minister for health Jillian Skinner.
"The pulping of this offensive document was the only option Health Minister Reba Meagher could take," Mrs Skinner said.
"The decision of the Health Minister's department to produce this document in the first place casts fresh doubts about Reba Meagher's judgment."
She called on Mrs Meagher to confirm how many pamphlets were produced, and how much it cost taxpayers.
"Drug education must carry the simple message that it is never safe to take illegal drugs," said Mrs Skinner.
(18) JUMP IN COCA CULTIVATION IN COLOMBIA SHOCKS U.N. ( 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.
(19) NDLEA GETS X-RAY SCANNING MACHINE FROM US ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 18 Jun 2008
Source: Tide, The (Nigeria)
Copyright: 2008 The Tide
Author: Ike Wigodo
The United States Government last week donated a body scanning X-ray machine to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The x-ray scanner machine was inaugurated at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja by the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Robin Renee Sanders.
(20) WAR ON DRUGS INTENSIFIES- AS AMERICA'S DEA SETS UP ACCRA OFFICE ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 20 Jun 2008
Source: Statesman, The (Ghana)
Copyright: 2008 The Statesman
Author: Kwame Addo-Kufuor
Government has intensified efforts to fight the drug menace which is giving the nation a bad image in the international world.
The establishment of an office in Accra by America's Drug Enforcement Administration is expected to provide greater impetus for the fight.
The office, which would be established between July and August will increase DEA's effort in fighting the drug menace in the West Coast Region, as more personnel are expected to be recruited to beef up the fight.
This came to light when a 5-member delegation from the Drug Enforcement Administration for Europe and Africa met the Interior Minister, Kwame Addo-Kufuor, to develop appropriate linkages to tackle the drug problem that has engulfed the country.
According to Dr Addo Kufuor, the provision of an X-ray machine at the Kotoka International Airport, speed boats to patrol the coastline, as well as the intensive and effective training of personnel at the Narcotics Control Board, Navy, Police and other stakeholders could make a positive impact on the campaign against drugs.
(21) NO PLANS FOR NEW PRISONS DESPITE ELECTION PROMISES ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 23 Jun 2008
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Janice Tibbetts, Canwest News Service
Government To Renovate, Upgrade The Existing Facilities
OTTAWA -- The Harper government has no long-term plans to build new prisons to house an anticipated influx of offenders convicted under the Conservatives' tough-on-crime initiatives, despite setting aside up to $245 million for at least one extra penitentiary immediately after coming to power two years ago.
According to a Correctional Service of Canada capital plan, existing prisons, which are aging and already full, would be renovated and expanded to meet increasing demands over the next decade if need be, but "at this time there are no major prisons envisaged."
The Correctional Service acknowledges, however, that "with the implementation for various government initiatives in tackling crime, an increase in the offender population may result."
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
REEFER MADNESS: REVISITED ( Top )
A New Book By Doug Snead
What made people think that using a little marijuana would turn good boys into murderous fiends? Where did folks get the notion that smoking some cannabis would turn nice girls into tramps?
Reefer Madness: Revisited is a retrospective look at the propaganda that gave police and politicians excuse to jail people for growing or using the cannabis plant.
ECSTASY IS THE KEY TO TREATING PTSD ( Top )
By Amy Turner
At last the incurably traumatized may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And controversially, ecstasy may be key to taming their demons.
DECRIMINALIZATION OF CANNABIS ( Top )
Wim van den Brink, Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research
This paper discusses the case for decriminalization of cannabis use, based on a careful weighing of the currently available evidence regarding advantages and risks of such a policy.
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Century of Lies- 06/24/08 - Richard Watkins
Richard Watkins a former Texas warden and current member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition + Eugene Fields, reporter with Orange County Register
Cultural Baggage Radio Show- 06/25/08 - Mary Lynn Mathre
Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre of Patients Out of Time discusses medical cannabis + Terry Nelson for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
IT'S TIME TO GET RID OF THE GOOD-PEOPLE-VS.-BAD-PEOPLE VIEW OF DRUG USE ( Top )
By Maggie Mahar and Niko Karvounis, Health Beat
When discussing treatments for drug addiction, instead of arguing about ideology, let's look at science.
UNPLUGGED: SHOULD DRUGS BE LEGALISED? ( Top )
The curse of illegal drugs has blighted communities and destroyed lives but some believe the radical solution is to end prohibition. Unplugged's Martin Stanford debates the issue with a panel of experts.
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
WRITE A LETTER ( Top )
CALIFORNIA PATIENT CAUGHT IN THE WAR ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA
A DrugSense Focus Alert
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
TAX DOLLARS BEING USED TO DEFY LAW ( Top )
By Jon Palmer
My health and my ability to lead a normal life are in danger - from my local police. Worse, they've disregarded state law in order to do it.
Allow me to explain:
Living in constant pain has become a way of life for me. I was born with a rare genetic blood disorder called Factor V Leiden thrombophilia. The condition is life-threatening and causes spontaneous blood clotting throughout every blood vessel in my body. The clots lead to acute and severe pain in my extremities.
The agony is so unbearable that at times I can't walk.
In order to manage this disease, I take 245 prescription pills each week - including morphine to ease the pain. The side effects of my pain-management regimen made living a semi-normal life impossible. Besides the mental haze the high-dose morphine had me in, it caused constant nausea - until one of my physicians suggested I try medical marijuana.
The medical marijuana eased my pain without any adverse side effects and allowed me to significantly reduce my morphine dosage. Fortunately, California voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996, and 10 years later, Kern County enacted an ordinance allowing regulated medical-marijuana facilities just outside my hometown of Bakersfield.
I came to rely on Nature's Medicinal - one of the local medical-marijuana collectives - as a clean, legitimate source for my medicine. Most importantly, I felt safe there. After all, these facilities were legal under state law, regulated by the county and licensed by the Sheriff's Department.
I have always been aware that federal law treats medical-marijuana patients like common criminals, but assumed that local law enforcement officials would respect the state laws that allow me to treat my pain in accordance with my doctor's advice. Sadly, I was mistaken.
Last May, Bakersfield police officers and Kern County sheriff's deputies participated in a federal Drug Enforcement Administration raid on Nature's Medicinal. They arrested my caregivers for violations of federal drug laws, disregarding the fact that they were operating in compliance with state and local law.
Shortly after the raid, other caregivers in the area ceased operations for fear that they too would suffer the same fate. Faced with the prospect of having to immediately double my morphine dosage and take to the streets to find my medicine, I was devastated.
The most outrageous part of the ordeal is that local officials used state and municipal tax dollars to arrest these individuals who were in full compliance with state and municipal laws.
Perhaps the local officers were not sure whether their job was to enforce state or federal law. If that was the case, fortunately the Fourth District Court of Appeals has provided some pretty specific guidance. Last November, the court unanimously ruled, "it is not the job of the local police to enforce the federal drug laws."
But federal officials seemingly don't like the fact that the voters and the Legislature have decided to protect medical-marijuana patients and caregivers from state prosecution and want to circumvent those laws. Whatever the reason for their actions, it is clear that voters in California never intended to pass a medical-marijuana law and then allow their tax dollars to be used to undermine it.
Fortunately, there is a bill pending in the state Assembly that would provide clear direction to state and local law enforcement in this matter. AB 2743, by Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, D-San Diego, would make it official policy that state and local law enforcement are not to willfully assist in federal attempts to lock up patients and providers who are acting in accordance with state law.
Hopefully the Legislature will approve this sensible legislation before more patients like me are forced into the streets to obtain their medicine. Our votes don't count for much if our tax dollars can be used to thwart the very laws we enact.
Jon Palmer writes from Bakersfield.
Pubdate: Mon, 16 Jun 2008
Source: Los Angeles Daily News (CA)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
TAKING A TRIP THROUGH TIME ( Top )
By Mark Greer
If DrugSense and the Media Awareness Project (MAP) are known for one thing, it must certainly be our DrugNews Archive. This incredibly important information resource now holds over 195,000 clippings on all aspects of drug policy, regardless of spin. We have been collecting articles on this topic since 1995 and have some stories dating back as far as 1991.
Here is a sample of some of landmark articles that have become the foundation of this unique and dynamic resource:
-- 1990 -- "Test Negative," Scientific American. Thursday, March 1, 1990. This was the very first full-text article in the archive, and it covers a topic that is still controversial: drug testing. http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v90/n000/a01.html
-- 1994 -- "Toxic Alternative to Natural Fiber," Sacramento Bee. Thursday, April 7, 1994, by Jay Bergstrom. This is the first Letter- to-the-Editor (PUB LTE) favorable to drug policy reform in the archive. http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v94/n000/a001.html
-- 1995 -- "Say 'No' to Legalization of Marijuana," Wall Street Journal. Friday, August 18, 1995, by Donna Shalala. By the Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Clinton, this prohibition-focused Op-ed is the first opinion piece in the archive. http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v95/n000/a04.html
-- 1996 -- "Misfire on Drug Policy," National Review. Monday, February 26, 1996, by William F. Buckley, Jr. This is ground-breaking editorial calling the drug war a failure kicked off the first of many intensive MAP letter-writing campaigns in support of ending prohibition. http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v96/n000/a08.html
-- 1996 -- "Stopping Drug Traffickers," Warsaw Voice (Poland). Sunday, March 10, 1996, by Konrad Niklewicz. This first clipping from outside of North America. Unfortunately, it took a decidedly pro-drug war stance. http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v96/n000/a09.html
-- 1999 -- "Officer Tells of Undercover Work," Amarillo Globe News. Sunday, August 8, 1998, by Greg Cunningham. A "puff piece" about undercover cop, Tom Coleman, and the drug arrests he made in the small Texas town of Tulia. http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99/n000/a18.html
-- 2000 -- "The Race to Racism," Amarillo Globe News. Friday, September 15, 2000, by Redford Givens. Online media activism matures as MAP letter writers condemn the racism that led to the Tulia arrests. http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v00/n1585/a01.html
-- 2002 -- "Drug Charges Dropped after Tulia Case Collapses," Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Sunday, April 14, 2002, by Linda Kane. The Tulia case collapses after undercover cop Tom Coleman was found to be lying and becomes discredited. http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v02/n721/a06.html
As you can see, this robust archive tracks the twists and turns of our substance use policies, allowing us to identify challenges and to measure progress over time.
And, all of this incredible information is available for FREE!
However, it isn't free to produce; this valuable resource costs time and money to maintain. Please consider making a donation today. To donate quickly and easily online, please click here: http://drugsense.org/donate/.
All on-line donations are secure, private, and tax-deductible.
Checks can also be made payable to DrugSense and mailed to:
DrugSense 14252 Culver Dr #328 Irvine, CA 92604-0326
Or donate by phone: 800.266.5759
If you have more time than money, you can volunteer to help. Please contact Jo-D Harrison at email@example.com to find out how.
Thank you for ensuring that important DrugSense resources like our DrugNews archive stand the test of time and achieve our shared goal of sensible, compassionate, and humane policies.
Mark Greer is the Executive Director of DrugSense.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post 'Thou shalt not steal,' 'Thou shalt not commit adultery,' and 'Thou shalt not lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment." - George Carlin
DS Weekly is one of the many free educational services DrugSense offers our members. Watch this feature to learn more about what DrugSense can do for you.
TO SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS:
Please utilize the following URLs
Policy and Law Enforcement/Prison content selection and analysis by Stephen Young (firstname.lastname@example.org), This Just In selection by Richard Lake (email@example.com) and Stephen Young, International content selection and analysis by Doug Snead (firstname.lastname@example.org), Cannabis/Hemp content selection and analysis, Hot Off The Net selection and Layout by Matt Elrod (email@example.com). Analysis comments represent the personal views of editors, not necessarily the views of DrugSense.
We wish to thank all our contributors, editors, NewsHawks and letter writing activists. Please help us help reform. Become a NewsHawk See http://www.mapinc.org/hawk.htm for info on contributing clippings.
NOTICE: ( Top )
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION TO DRUGSENSE ON-LINE ( Top )
Mail in your contribution. Make checks payable to MAP Inc. send your contribution to:
The Media Awareness Project (MAP) Inc. D/B/a DrugSense 14252 Culver Drive #328 Irvine, CA, 92604-0326 (800) 266 5759 MGreer@mapinc.org