This Just In
(1)Communities Pay for High Prison Rate
(2)Editorial: Too Many Prisoners
(3)Editorial: Medical Marijuana: Do Not Prosecute
(4)Column: Come on Back and Make Some Sense

Hot Off The 'Net
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-Uncle Sam's Patented Marijuana Medicine / By Jacob Sullum
-Big Pharma In A Frenzy To Bring Cannabis-Based Medicines To Market
-Drug Truth Network
-Dispatches From Vienna / By Graham Boyd
-BC Under Smoke: Cannabis Culture Thrives In Vancouver
-Why Crackdowns On Drugs In Prison Completely Miss The Point
-Adopting A Human Rights-Based Global Drug Policy
-Would Legalizing Cannabis Benefit Your Community?

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Thu, 10 Jul 2008
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Gary Fields

Phoenix Neighborhood's Missing Men

PHOENIX -- When she hit 60, Sarah Coleman thought she was done raising children. But today she is among the millions of Americans left to fill the void for family members gone to jail.

Now 66 years old, Ms. Coleman has three youngsters at home -- ages 5, 3 and 1. She doesn't know the whereabouts of her granddaughter, who is their mother. As for the children's fathers, they have both been in trouble with the law. One is in prison serving a 10-year term for second-degree murder. The other has been in and out of jail on drug charges. "I didn't intend to raise my great-grandkids," says Ms. Coleman, who relies on supplies of diapers and baby wipes from a local social-services center. "There are so many things I can't do for them because of money, but I have to try."

Here in South Mountain, a district in south Phoenix, more than 3,800 residents are displaced, serving time in prison or the county jail. For every 100 adults, 6.1 are behind bars. That's more than five times the national average of 1.09 per 100, according to a report by the Pew Center, a nonpartisan research group.

Arizona has the fastest-growing prison population of the Western states, having increased 5.3% in 2007 to more than 38,000. Behind those figures are many hidden, related costs -- financial burdens that communities are often left to manage.

For every person who goes to jail, businesses lose either a potential employee or customer.




Pubdate: Fri, 11 Jul 2008
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2008 The Washington Post Company

States Should Stop Warehousing Nonviolent Offenders.

TWO REPORTS by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics show that the rate of growth in the prison and jail populations of the United States has slowed slightly but that the country still has the dubious distinction of being the largest jailer in the world. As of June 30, 2007, the country held roughly 2.3 million people behind bars, either in local or state jails or in federal prisons.




Pubdate: Fri, 11 Jul 2008
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA)
Copyright: 2008 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

At least as long as President Bush is in charge, the federal government is unlikely to advance medicine's use of marijuana. Absent common sense leadership in the White House, Congress should force the Justice Department to abandon prosecutions of possession for medically prescribed marijuana in states that allow the compassionate use of the drug.

Bipartisan sponsors will try to win House approval for a measure to guarantee no such abusive prosecutions in this state and the others with medical marijuana laws. Reps. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., hope to amend a Justice Department spending bill to forbid use of any money for prosecuting patients using marijuana in those states.

As authors of a guest op-ed Tuesday noted, some members of the Washington congressional delegation previously have opposed the measure. A year ago, Reps. Norm Dicks, Doc Hastings, Rick Larsen, Dave Reichert, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Adam Smith rejected this assurance to people sick enough to receive marijuana prescriptions. To their credit, Reps. Brian Baird, Jay Inslee and Jim McDermott opposed the wasteful use of federal funds.

In this state, where a people's initiative has offered compassion for a decade, the minimum expectation should be for every member of the congressional delegation to support the measure. While we wait for more science and less politics on medical marijuana, no patient should fear prosecution.



Pubdate: Fri, 11 Jul 2008
Source: Providence Journal, The (RI)
Copyright: 2008 The Providence Journal Company
Author: Bob Kerr

It was one of the good things in a bad year. It was a serious attempt to put some fairness and common sense into a system sadly lacking in either.

It was an attempt to keep people who shouldn't be in prison out of prison. It was hopeful.

And it was shot down by Governor Carcieri, who apparently wants to keep the ACI running at full capacity and then some.

So on Wednesday, people gathered across from the ACI in Cranston to point out how really shortsighted the governor has been.





Not a whole lot of new policy news this week, other than old stories are dragging on and advancing in sometimes disturbing ways. Independent contractors have been used in the international drug war for some time, but their use seems to be increasing according to the Wall Street Journal. In Hawaii, drug war politics and union politics are still tied up; in Pennsylvania some journalists and police are coming to the disturbing realization that drug dealers live in the suburbs too; and in Michigan voters will decide on medical marijuana.


Pubdate: Sat, 05 Jul 2008
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: August Cole

During the more than five years that three Northrop Grumman Corp. employees were held hostage in Colombia, captured while on a Defense Department job, the U.S. steadily increased its use of contractors to help fight the drug trade in dangerous parts of the world.

Although the biggest defense contractors have shown no interest in providing teams of armed security guards similar to those in Iraq from Blackwater Worldwide or DynCorp International, they are increasingly willing to operate close to danger.

The U.S. spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year hiring pilots, mechanics, and military and police trainers to combat the drug trade in South American countries, as well as Afghanistan and other Central Asian states. Lockheed Martin Corp. also supports peacekeeping forces in Darfur. Last year, the Defense Department tapped Northrop as one of five to lead a five-year contract focused on fighting terrorism and the drug trade. The contract could be worth as much as $15 billion if fully funded, but the work, under the Counter Narcoterrorism Technology Program Office, will be assigned through small contracts depending on the government's needs. Others given a shot at competing for the work include Blackwater, Raytheon Co., Lockheed and Arinc Inc.

"The military is not enamored of these other missions," said Brian Jenkins, a senior adviser at Rand Corp. and former Army Special Forces officer. The Pentagon has awarded Northrop seven smaller contracts as part of the larger counterdrug contract, but details are classified. Northrop spokesman Randy Belote said the company is making greater inroads into that line of business as such efforts become more high-tech. "It's moving more into the electronic surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance realm, so it's perfectly aligned with our business," he said.



Pubdate: Thu, 3 Jul 2008
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2008 The Honolulu Advertiser,


It is long past time to end the petty quarreling over implementation of public school teacher drug testing.

In the private sector, this would have been accomplished long ago.

Is it any wonder the public has little faith in government?

The tests were agreed to a year ago. Deadlines were set for implementation. The same old arguing is going on.

Neither side in this ugly dispute was clear about funding. Each carries the blame for that and each has a responsibility to settle the matter quickly and fairly.

Yes, this was the governor's idea, but it was agreed to by all sides in the contract and it is the Department of Education's responsibility to implement it and pay for it.

The governor is right that the cost estimates from the DOE seem wildly high.

The governor is wrong, however, to again raise the ill-conceived suggestion that pay raises should be tied to implementation of drug testing.

All of this smacks of the same old political fight between the DOE and the governor.

It needs to end now.




Pubdate: Mon, 07 Jul 2008
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)
Copyright: 2008 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc
Author: George Anastasia

The Comfort And Security Of Affluent Areas Are Selling Points For Criminals, Officials Say.

They were living the American dream.

A lavish home in the suburbs. Fine clothes and jewelry. Expensive cars. All financed, if federal investigators are correct, with narco dollars.

While the description was applied most recently to the lifestyle of Vicente and Chantal Esteves, a young couple arrested on charges of running an international cocaine distribution network from their home in Monmouth County, it could apply to a number of convicted or suspected drug kingpins whose cases have surfaced in the last two years.

They live in comfortable, upper-middle-class communities where BMWs are commonplace, swimming pools dot many backyards, and the school system is top-notch.

And they accumulate the kind of luxury items - authorities found nearly 100 Rolex watches and 100 pairs of Prada shoes in the Esteves residence - that separate the really wealthy from the merely well-to-do.

"It was an enterprise concealed in suburbia," said DEA Agent Douglas S. Collier, spokesman for the agency's Newark office that worked the Esteves case. "They had so much money they didn't know what to do with it."

While several neighbors, who would only speak anonymously, said last week that they wondered about the Esteveses' ostentatious lifestyle, narcotics investigators say it fits a pattern.

Drug kingpins, they say, move to the suburbs for the same reasons as anyone else - for comfort and security. And, like other goal-oriented entrepreneurs, many flaunt their success.




Pubdate: Tue, 8 Jul 2008
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Copyright: 2008 Detroit Free Press
Author: Dawson Bell, Free Press Staff Writer

The once-crowded field of ballot proposals hoping to win voter approval in November dwindled to just three Monday -- two constitutional amendments and one law -- as the deadline passed for submitting petitions.

Barring late action by the Legislature to assign another amendment to the ballot, those three will be the only policy decisions facing state voters Nov. 4 ( assuming all three survive legal challenges ).

The two amendments are:

. A proposed easing of restrictions on embryonic stem cell research ( current state law forbids research that imperils or destroys a human embryo ).

. A sweeping revision of the constitution's political provisions, reducing the size of the Legislature and appellate judiciary, cutting pay for state elected officials, and making changes in redistricting, nominating and other procedures.

The initiative would:

* Legalize the possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes.




Drug war politics and immigration politics got mixed up in San Francisco last week; more details about a sheriff's drug war slush fund have emerged; a judge punishes a man for possibly drinking too much water; and in an annual mid-summer ritual, police are asking people enjoying the great outdoors to spend some of that time working as cannabis spotters.


Pubdate: Fri, 4 Jul 2008
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Heather Knight, Chronicle Staff Writer

The population of San Francisco's juvenile hall is likely to spike now that the city has reversed its policy of shielding juvenile illegal immigrants convicted of felonies from federal immigration officials, city officials said Thursday.

And the undocumented youths are likely to see the length of their stays in detention increase dramatically as the juvenile probation department faces fewer alternatives to locking them up. At least one city official warned that many of the teenagers could be detained for a year or more.

Controversy over the number of youths locked up at juvenile hall erupted last spring when children's advocates criticized Mayor Gavin Newsom and his handpicked Chief Probation Officer William Siffermann for allowing the number of incarcerated youths to rise to 156, a 30-year high.

That was more than the maximum capacity of 150 at the new Youth Guidance Center near Twin Peaks, and city officials promised during the facility's construction that the beds would never be filled. Siffermann was hired by Newsom in 2005 in large part because he had cut the size of the juvenile hall population in Chicago.

After the complaints, Newsom promptly ordered the number in San Francisco reduced and issued an executive order demanding reform in the city's juvenile justice system. The number of incarcerated youths immediately went down to 128. As of Thursday, it was at 119.




Pubdate: Sat, 5 Jul 2008
Source: Florida Times-Union (FL)
Copyright: 2008 The Florida Times-Union
Author: Paul Pinkham

Smith Used $615,000 in Federal Funds for Tuition, a Lease, Private Lawyer and More

ST. MARYS - Camden County Sheriff Bill Smith stopped paying jail inmates from seized drug assets when state investigators began looking into the controversial practice last July, according to copies of checks he released to avoid a lawsuit last month.

But Smith continued to use the federal forfeiture money for other questionable expenditures such as college tuition for favored deputies, a Kingsland boxing club's lease, and a retainer for a private lawyer, the checks show. And he used the federally regulated fund to pay routine expenses after county commissioners cut his operating budget last year.

Federal guidelines say the asset money, returned to counties based on drug arrests, is to be used only for law enforcement purposes such as equipment, jails or training. They expressly say the funds are not to be used for the department's general operational costs or in any way that gives the appearance of extravagance, waste or impropriety.

But over the years , Smith has used the money to work inmates on private property, establish college scholarships and donate to Camden nonprofits. Questions over his use of the funds led County Commission Chairman Preston Rhodes to refuse to sign an authorization form in September to receive money from the federal government this year.




Pubdate: Sat, 5 Jul 2008
Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2008 Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Author: Michael A. Scarcella

BRADENTON - Little Sam Rich was free on bail awaiting sentencing in a drug case when a judge ordered him locked up after a urine test.

There were trace amounts of cocaine and marijuana in his system, but something else caught the judge's eye and convinced her that Rich had tried to cheat the system: his "abnormal" level of a chemical called creatinine.

Creatinine is a natural by-product of chemical reactions in muscle. Doctors look at creatinine levels to determine kidney functioning. But creatinine is also carefully watched by the courts as a measure of dilution in a urine sample.

A person who drinks a lot of water before a urine test will likely show low levels of creatinine, experts say, and in the world of drug courts, an abnormally low level of the chemical is considered a positive drug test.

"Creatinine is not, of course, an illegal substance," said Rich's attorney, Charles M. Britt III, who urged Circuit Judge Debra Johnes Riva to free Rich from jail at a hearing last week. "There is nothing out there showing he ever did anything wrong. We are basing this all on a lot of assumptions."

Riva was not moved. Riva said she had to put public safety first and was concerned Rich had been out using drugs while awaiting sentencing. Drug use leads to crime, she said. Riva ordered Rich held in custody until he is sentenced in his drug case this month.

But Rich likely will not be prosecuted for trying to defraud a urine test -- a misdemeanor -- because there is no solid evidence he tried to cheat. Britt said Rich is a landscaper who naturally drinks lots of water.



Pubdate: Fri, 4 Jul 2008
Source: Cheboygan Daily Tribune, The (MI)
Copyright: 2008 The Cheboygan Daily Tribune
Author: Mike Fornes, Tribune Staff Writer

LANSING - While enjoying the outdoors this summer, Michigan State Police troopers are asking residents and travelers to be on the lookout for indicators of illegal marijuana planting.

"With its fertile land and remote areas, Michigan is a popular state for marijuana planting," said Col. Peter C. Munoz, director of the Michigan State Police. "To avoid apprehension and forfeiture of their property, growers often plant marijuana on public land or on the property of others, making it common to find marijuana plants in farm fields, backyards, natural forest openings and the shores of lakes, rivers, streams and swamps."

Indicators of outdoor grow operations include unusual amounts of traffic; use of camping equipment or recreational vehicles on wooded property with no evidence of recreational activities; persons with little or no farming experience who purchase fertilizer, plastic PVC piping, chicken wire, camouflage netting and clothing; large amounts of PVC piping or irrigation hoses located in heavily wooded areas; and patrolled or guarded woods, swamps and other remote areas.




Some opponents of cannabis law reform appear to object on primarily esthetic grounds, based on a distaste for "cannabis culture" and all the lava lamps and tie-dyed clothing that go with it, never ceasing to amuse themselves with tiresome pot puns, stereotypes and cliches.

In counter-point, a student journalist argues that "cannabis culture" is defined by prohibition and may, he posits, depend on it for its very survival. Prohibition once again promoting what it claims to suppress.

For example, carefully consider the justifications offered by a DEA official for investing significant resources into tearing up cannabis crops while Californian beds are burning.

Finally, an informative column on the evolving jurisprudence surrounding the integration of medicinal cannabis law with labor and civil rights law in California.


Pubdate: Sun, 6 Jul 2008
Source: Boston Herald (MA)
Copyright: 2008 The Boston Herald, Inc
Author: Howie Carr

Marijuana makes you stupid. It's as simple as that.

And now in Massachusetts, we are going to have a ballot question that asks the following: Do you really want to make it even easier than it already is to get stupid, and stay stupid?

Yes, the Bong Brigade is on the march again. They want to put the high back into high school, the truckin' back in truck stops, the joint back in all those joint legislative committees. Stand by to see stoners at the Stone Zoo, potheads in Marblehead. The grass is always greener in Greenfield, dude.

If you liked HempFest on the Boston Common every September, you're going to love legalized marijuana.

This one's, like, totally for Jerry Garcia!

This year, the front group is something called the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, and it's pushing a Sensible State Marijuana Policy. Its flacks are available for media interviews to discuss their "sensible policy."

Organizers include the usual "concerned citizens," with a few token "former law enforcement professionals" thrown in. Their goal is to use the initiative to abolish criminal penalties for less than an ounce of marijuana or, to use their preferred word, hemp, as in, "Dude, did you know, like, George Washington's army used hemp when it was fighting in, uh, like, was it the Civil War, man?"

The sensible group's press release sounds like it was written after watching a "Dragnet 1967" marathon on TVLand. Harmless people, we are told, "are arrested, booked, entered into the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) system, resulting in a possible sentence of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine."

Key word: possible.




Pubdate: Mon, 07 Jul 2008
Source: Central Florida Future (U of Central Florida, FL Edu)
Copyright: 2008 Central Florida Future
Author: Ben Badio

As we coast through this election season, it seems that everyone has knowledge on current and relevant issues: the economy, gas prices, gay rights, etc. That said, there is one issue on the minds of American youth that you don't have to wait until an election year to hear about: Marijuana.

The fight for reform of weed laws has been quite a long battle - nearly half a century and counting - but the pot smokers of America refuse to relent. From their ongoing struggle against the woes of prohibition, the cannabis consumers of our country have managed to create what is now one of the nation's largest student organizations - the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. After all the buildup I've crammed into this introduction, it will probably surprise many readers that I think the legalization of marijuana is a terrible idea.

Before I explain myself, I feel obligated to mention this: I have nothing against pot smokers. Some of the nicest, most intelligent people I know are frequent users, and almost everyone I know will admit to trying it at least once in their lives. I honestly see nothing wrong with purchasing or smoking marijuana, - after all, it doesn't seem to have any negative effects, short or long term. It's the lack of any real negative effects that make weed the most popular illegal substance. I would never tell a pot smoker that what they are doing is wrong or try to get them to stop because it just doesn't seem like that big of a deal. That said, I myself have never participated in such an activity; it's just not my style. I like the idea of knowing that my zany thoughts sprout from a sober mind.

So why not legalize it? Simple logic: If pot becomes legal, it just won't be interesting anymore. Marijuana is one of the only illegal substances so influential in American culture that it's users have developed a sub-culture of their own. Weed culture is a nationwide phenomenon complete with films, music, books, stores and silly T- shirts; all dedicated to America's favorite criminal pastime. It's a culture with its own heroes, like Bob Marley, Willie Nelson, Cheech and Chong. A pot leaf is more than just a picture of a drug; it is a symbol that connects people to a lifestyle.




Pubdate: Thu, 10 Jul 2008
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Sacramento Bee
Author: Gordon Taylor

Re "As fires rage, the law protects us from marijuana," July 1: Peter Schrag's commentary on marijuana is short-sighted on many levels. For example, he suggests that law-enforcement agencies disregard large- scale marijuana cultivation because he doesn't perceive the imminent danger to our communities. Unfortunately, Mr. Schrag hasn't followed the news for the past two years.

Specifically, heavily armed drug gangs are invading California's once pristine forest land and stripping away the lush vegetation to clear space for marijuana cultivation. In turn, sophisticated crime syndicates are creating indoor marijuana factories in nearby, quiet residential neighborhoods, dumping toxic fertilizers and assorted chemicals into the otherwise clean community water systems.

These surreptitious activities pose serious health risks to unsuspecting residents, including children attending local schools. They should not be ignored, and they cannot be tolerated. Accordingly, the Drug Enforcement Administration regards these illegal incursions by drug profiteers as a clear and present danger to our national well- being.

Adopting a permissive attitude toward the marijuana trade will lead to three immediate consequences. First, it will encourage more involvement by organized crime. Second, it will lead to greater devastation of our natural environment. Third, it will further endanger the long-term health of our younger citizens. Click here to find out more!

Gordon Taylor, Sacramento

Special Agent in Charge,

DEA Sacramento Office



Pubdate: Tue, 8 Jul 2008
Source: Hanford Sentinel, The (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Lee Newspapers
Author: Thomas Elias

It is almost certain that the 56 percent of California voters who approved Proposition 215 in an attempt to legalize medical use of marijuana did not intend for employers to discriminate against persons who take advantage of the law they passed.

As it has evolved since passage, the 1996 initiative lets cities and counties issue medipot usage cards to users who smoke the weed to ward off pain caused by ailments from migraine headaches to a wide variety of cancers. Where they exist, the cards can only be obtained with a doctor's recommendation.

With that background, the question before the state Supreme Court earlier this year was whether an employer can fire a worker for using medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.

Given that court's longtime background as a bastion of civil liberties, most recently seen in a gay marriage decision very much in line with its tradition of ensuring Californians have even more rights than the U.S. Constitution guarantees, the answer was surprising.

Yes, the court said, a worker can be fired for using medipot with a doctor's permission even if that use has zero effect on his or her job performance.

"The Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215) does not eliminate marijuana's potential for abuse or the employer's legitimate interest in whether an employee uses the drug," said the 5-2 majority opinion written by Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar. She somehow thought she was backing up that statement by adding that "Under California law, an employer may require pre-employment drug tests and take illegal drug use into consideration in making employment decisions." What about legal drug use, as defined by California voters?




Two articles from the Los Angeles Times this week about the continuing slaughter in Mexico, as an escalated drug war backfires and causes the kind of turf-war gang violence that stopped in the U.S. when the prohibition of alcohol was repealed in 1933. Reporters in Mexico fear to even report on aspects of the drug turf wars for fear of becoming targets themselves.

The Irish government has an original, new way to stop drugs reports this week's Irish examiner newspaper: a new telephone hotline where people can denounce drug suspects to police. Similar programs, like "Dob-In-A-Dealer" in the U.K. and Australia, as well as "Crimestoppers" in the U.S. have failed to dent demand for, or reduce supply of illicit drugs.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper this week reports that the new chief of the Dangerous Drugs Board would fight the "war" on drugs in a most zealous manner. Vicente "Tito" Sotto III (formerly in the Philippine Senate), took the reigns of the prohibitionist agency following the admission last month by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Dionisio Santiago that police do "plant evidence," after all. Incoming DDB head Sotto did not mention Santiago's earlier promises to frame citizens to obtain drug convictions.

Speakers at a seminar on healthcare and drug abuse in Indonesia this week called on government to stop criminalizing drug users, reported the Jakarta Post in Indonesia. Harsh laws aimed at addicts make things worse by making people "too afraid to seek treatment because the police targeted them for arrest and criminal prosecution."


Pubdate: Tue, 8 Jul 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Six Are Found Monday Morning, Shot Execution-Style and Partially Burned in What Appears to Be Drug-Related Violence.

TIJUANA -- Police discovered the tortured and burned bodies of six men in an empty lot Monday morning, ending a period of relative calm in this border city beset by drug war violence.

Eleven bodies have been discovered since Saturday in violence believed to be drug-related, including the corpse of a woman found in a barrel, state and federal authorities said.

The weekend tally pushed the city's death toll this year to more than 260, compared with about 152 homicides at this time last year, and underscored authorities' difficulties curbing organized crime.




Pubdate: Sun, 6 Jul 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Ken Ellingwood

As Violence Has Soared, More Than 30 Reporters Have Died or Disappeared in Mexico Since 2000, the Group Reporters Without Borders Says.

VILLAHERMOSA, MEXICO -- Rodolfo Rincon had reason to feel cheery when he left his newspaper office on a January evening last year.


Colleagues believe Rincon, 54, was captured, and probably killed, by drug traffickers aggrieved by his crime coverage. He is among more than 30 reporters killed or missing in Mexico since 2000 as drug violence has skyrocketed, according to Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.

In many ways, Mexico's democratic evolution has afforded the news media greater freedom than at any time in modern history. But at the same time, reporters are working on a battlefield: Mexico is considered the most dangerous Latin American nation in which to be a journalist, and one of the riskiest in the world.




Pubdate: Mon, 07 Jul 2008
Source: Irish Examiner (Ireland)
Copyright: Examiner Publications Ltd, 2008
Author: Cormac O'Keeffe

A NATIONAL hotline to combat drug dealing is to be rolled out across the country from this autumn.

The confidential phoneline is aimed at providing "intimidated communities" a safe way to pass on information anonymously about drug dealing in their areas, and indirectly, to gardai.




Pubdate: Wed, 9 Jul 2008
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer (Philippines)
Copyright: 2008 Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines -- Former Sen. Vicente "Tito" Sotto III on Tuesday formally took over the helm of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and other agencies involved in the crusade against illegal drugs, but said that as a "war machine" the agency needs fine tuning.

Amid criticisms that it was part of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's political payback, Sotto accepted Tuesday his appointment to the post and lashed out at critics, saying politics was out of the question when it came to the campaign against the drug menace.


In an interview after the rites, Sotto told reporters, "When it comes to the issue of illegal drugs, politics is out of the question" as he maintained that he would focus on addressing the drug menace and buckle down to work.




Pubdate: Mon, 07 Jul 2008
Source: Jakarta Post (Indonesia)
Copyright: The Jakarta Post
Author: Erwida Maulia

Speakers at a seminar in Depok on Saturday said drug laws needed to place more of an emphasis on rehabilitation for users and stop treating addicts the same as traffickers and dealers.

Drug laws, according to an official from the Health Ministry, criminalize drug users, treating them like traffickers, which in turn undermines efforts aimed at rehabilitation.

The ministry's director for the development of mental health, Aminullah, said drug users require special treatment to help them break their addiction.

However, he said many users were too afraid to seek treatment because the police targeted them for arrest and criminal prosecution.



 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


LSD and Other Psychedelic Medicines Make a Comeback

By Charles Shaw

After a 40-year moratorium, credible research for treating illnesses and addictions with psychedelic compounds has made a miraculous comeback.


Laura Carlsen is the director of the Americas program for the Center for International Policy, which advocates foreign policy based on demilitarization and a respect for human rights. She writes extensively on Mexico.

Senator Patrick Leahy is a Vermont Democrat who heads the foreign operations subcommittee and is an advocate of the package.


By Jacob Sullum


By Paul Armentano

While the the American Medical Association claims pot has no medical value, Big Pharma is busy getting patents for marijuana products.


Century of Lies - 07/08/08 - John Stossel

ABC reporter John Stossel & DTN reporter Dean Becker spend the half hour discussing the drug war & Stossel's latest article at

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 07/09/08 - Ryan King

Ryan King of the Sentencing Project + Terry Nelson with the LEAP report, Cannabis College ad.


By Graham Boyd, ACLU

As I head to Vienna for a historic U.N. meeting on drug policy, I find myself reflecting on the pervasive influence of the United States on drug laws around the globe. The news of today, and of any given day, is permeated with tragedies and dramas that exist only because we, in the United States, have convinced ourselves and much of the world that prison and black markets are the best solutions to the human urge to ingest substances, despite (or perhaps because of) their powerful ability to alter brain chemistry.


Welcome to Vansterdam, where marijuana is as close to legal as it gets and cannabis culture has become mainstream. From the huge smoke-ins to cannabis-friendly establishments, it's clear that Vancouverites like their BC bud.


By Steve Rolles, Transform Drug Policy Foundation

So another report on drugs in prisons, another outline of how bad the problem is, another list of how drugs get into prisons, and set of recommendations for a crackdown - based on, you guessed it, a new co-ordinated strategy, new technology and some new guidelines on best practice.


ACLU Statement to the United Nations


World Have Your Say, BBC World Service

Dope on the ropes : two U.S states consider legalising cannabis for health, crime and economic reasons, you ask us... if it's the right time to take marijuana off the crime list... Would it spare police for bigger crimes, ease the pain of the sick and stop the dealers cashing in? Or will it just lead to people trying stronger drugs?


Write A Letter  ( Top )

Too Many Prisoners. A DrugSense Focus Alert.



By Anthony Papa

To the Editor:

Your editorial, while accurate, misses the overarching point. Prohibition failed in the past, and it is not working now. The scarce tax dollars currently being wasted by the White House on quixotic interdiction adventures pale in comparison to the decades of tax revenues we haven't been collecting because of prohibition.

These funds could help pay for honest drug education, free drug treatment on demand and better health care -- all things we need right now.

Instead of flawed government hype, we need policy alternatives to the drug war that uphold the sovereignty of individuals over their minds and bodies and are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.

Anthony Papa Communications Specialist Drug Policy Alliance

Pubdate: Mon, 7 Jul 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)


DrugSense recognizes Robert Sharpe for his 12 letters published during June, bringing the total number of published letters archived by MAP to 2,012. Robert writes as a volunteer for Common Sense for Drug Policy ( ). Robert spends about an hour a day after work, which is unrelated to drug policy, sending out letters. Robert's tips for letter writing success are at

You may read Robert's published letters at:


Allergies And Addictions  ( Top )

By Stephen Young

Just say no to corn. That's my current motto.

It's just for me - I don't want to force it on anyone else. But, personally, corn abstinence is the right thing.

There was a time in my life when I had lots of asthma attacks. The attacks were more or less daily events.

When I started to take a close look a when those attacks occurred, I realized many were precipitated by eating corn. I did a little research and learned that there are people who are indeed allergic to corn, so I decided to try and avoid the substance for a while.

A strange thing happened. The asthma attacks decreased in frequency and severity. They didn't disappear altogether until years later when I looked at other activities and events in my life that seemed to impact the asthma attacks.

But saying no to corn helped to get the ball rolling.

Giving up corn isn't necessarily an easy thing to do, particularly if you eat a typical American diet with frequent portions of processed fast food. Corn is hidden in many foods (just about anything that mentions "high fructose" or "modified food starch" on a label is suspect), but it's more difficult than that. Corn is hidden in many things I find tasty: most candy bars, many bakery sweets, most ice creams and so on.

Just thinking about a sticky-chewy-crunchy-sweet Snickers bar right now gets the old salivary glands pumping a bit. But I'm not going to have one, as I know the sensation of constricted lungs and other allergic reactions are not worth the taste.

For me, the negatives outweigh the positives, and thus I try my best to abstain.

Many people who have problems with substances may not realize the point when they've passed from beneficial use into detrimental use. However, as the benefits dwindle while the problems accumulate, the reality becomes difficult to ignore.

Some people give up at that point; some don't. But those who do give up tend to make the decision on their own, without coercion from the government or anyone else.

Our current model of prohibition suggests that by outlawing certain drugs for everyone, fewer people will reach the point of addiction when a substance's harms outweigh its benefits. But that makes little more sense than outlawing corn for everyone to protect me from my allergies.

A prohibition on corn might make the world less confusing for me, but why should all the people who enjoy a little corn on the cob be forced into the black market for produce?

This may seem like a silly question, but we are entering the season when state, local and federal government resources will be spent to eradicate wild hemp all over the nation. Rising gas prices won't stop it; all the great benefits of hemp won't stop it; the fact that no one gets high off the stuff won't stop it.

The helicopters will be flying and those mostly THC-free leaves will be burning allegedly to save someone somewhere from the dangers of evil marijuana - even though most Americans handle their cannabis just fine without major problems.

A small percentage of people who try common foods eventually learn they have allergies. A small percentage of people who try drugs find themselves addicted. Both of those small groups need to take responsibility for themselves to avoid substances they find dangerous.

That doesn't mean everyone needs to be protected, and it doesn't mean that prohibition offers that desired protection.

So, I'll continue to say no to corn, and anyone who wants can say no to other substances is welcome to make that choice. But, we would all be better if we could also just say no to prohibition.

Stephen Young is an editor with DrugSense Weekly and author of How to Inhale the Universe Without Wheezing and other Unconventional Asthma Lessons published by


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