THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) COLUMN: THE FLY ON THE ELEPHANT
Pubdate: Fri, 18 Jul 2008
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Dan Gardner, The Ottawa Citizen
Since We Spend All Our Time Talking About the Tiny Speck That Is Harm Reduction, Maybe We Should Just Get Rid of It and Move on to the Enormous Mess of Drug Policy in General
I've been writing about drug policy for more than a decade. In that time, I've seen the failure of current policies in a numbing array of statistics. I've seen the damage inflicted by our mistakes everywhere from Colombia to Russia and the streets of Vancouver's infamous downtown eastside.
And I've seen a long parade of politicians promise change by doing more -- much more -- of the same.
I want real change. The status quo is a disaster. Tinkering won't do. We need to start from the beginning and re-think the whole bloody mess.
And so I've reluctantly concluded that harm reduction has to go.
It's not that I'm opposed to philosophy of harm reduction. I support it passionately. It's humane and constructive.
And it's not that harm reduction programs -- needle exchanges, safe injection sites, and so on -- don't work. In fact, they've been subjected to extensive analysis and peer-reviewed studies published in some of the finest medical journals -- The Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Canadian Medical Association Journal -- have reported many positive results.
Nor is harm reduction responsible for the failures and tragedies we see all around us. Harm reduction didn't exist in this country 20 years ago and it was only in the mid-1990s that the term started popping up in the media. And it's still peripheral: In the latest version of the National Drug Strategy, harm reduction isn't even mentioned.
Compare this to law enforcement. Ever since drugs were first banned almost 90 years ago, the criminal law has been Canada's predominant means of dealing with them. It still is today: Three-quarters of drug-related funding goes to cops, courts and jails; a thin slice of the pie goes to prevention and treatment; the sliver that's left goes to harm reduction.
To blame harm reduction for the failure of the status quo isn't merely illogical. It's surreal.
And yet, that's precisely what's happening.
(2) COLUMN: DRUG TESTING OF TEACHERS NECESSARY? ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 17 Jul 2008
Source: Telegraph, The (Nashua, NH)
Copyright: 2008 Telegraph Publishing Company
Author: Michael Brindley
School superintendents are reluctant to test teachers for illegal drug use, even though most believe they have the right to do so.
That was the finding of a University of New Hampshire study that polled superintendents across the country, asking whether their district has policies on drug testing teachers, and whether they would support such policies.
The Telegraph's informal survey of local school districts found none that have implemented drug-testing policies for teachers.
For example, Robert Suprenant, superintendent in Milford, said there is drug testing done for school bus drivers but not for teachers.
"I can't say that I would see the need for that," he said. "It's not really something that's been considered."
The UNH study, titled "To Test or Not to Test? Drug Testing Teachers," was published in the June issue of Teachers College Record.
DeMitchell said the most common reasons superintendents gave for opting not to implement drug-testing policies is that they don't feel it is an issue among their staff.
"They don't see it as a problem and they don't see ( drug testing ) as effective," DeMitchell said.
(3) STATE SUPREME COURT NARROWS PROBABLE-CAUSE GROUNDS IN POT CASE ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 18 Jul 2008
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Copyright: 2008 The Seattle Times Company
Author: Leslie Anne Jones, Seattle Times staff reporter
Law-enforcement officers who detect the odor of marijuana from a vehicle can't arrest all of the occupants, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
In a unanimous ruling, the court determined the smell of pot isn't enough probable cause to warrant the arrest and search of everyone inside a car. While smell alone may be reason for a vehicle search, the court determined, it doesn't warrant handcuffing passengers without other supporting evidence.
Defense attorneys on Thursday called it a right-to-privacy victory. Law-enforcement officers say it won't greatly affect the way they make arrests.
(4) CARTELS TARGETING TOP POLITICIANS, FAMILIES WITH DEATH THREATS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 17 Jul 2008 Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2008 The Dallas Morning News Author: LAURENCE ILIFF / The
Dallas Morning News
MEXICO CITY - Having terrorized police and prosecutors across the country, Mexico's drug cartels are escalating their battle with the government by turning their sights on politicians. The most recent threat target is the governor of Chihuahua state, which borders Texas.
"Mr. Governor," reads a banner that was hung last week near his mother's home in Delicias, "put things in order or we will kill your family."
The mother of Gov. Jose Reyes Baeza lives about 200 yards from where the banner was posted along a major thoroughfare, authorities said. The governor's office is in nearby Chihuahua City.
Analysts said the Chihuahua threat was an ominous sign that trafficking groups are seeking to influence new levels of Mexico's political structure. The cartels have previously been accused of trying to influence municipal elections by contributing to political campaigns and threatening local politicians who refuse to cooperate with them.
"This is the most public threat made against a governor, but we know other governors have been threatened as well because they have said so," said Alfredo Quijano, editor of Norte newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, the epicenter of Mexico's drug violence.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
In the wake of a recent World Health Organization report suggesting
the U.S. still leads the world in drug use, some mainstream media
outlets are questioning the drug war. Others are worried about prison
systems at the breaking point, as are a group of prosecutors in
In the wake of a recent World Health Organization report suggesting the U.S. still leads the world in drug use, some mainstream media outlets are questioning the drug war. Others are worried about prison systems at the breaking point, as are a group of prosecutors in Florida.
(5) DRUG WAR AND DRUG USE STATS DON'T CONNECT ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 15 Jul 2008
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2008 Appeal-Democrat
Let's say you lay traps in your house to catch mice. After a year of this practice you have failed to catch any mice. Would you continue laying traps? Probably not.
After nearly 40 years of fighting the drug war in the United States ( the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration celebrated its 35th birthday this month ) we have failed to have any significant impact on drug use in America. A recent report by the World Health Organization puts America at the highest rate of illegal drug use among several First World nations.
Jacob Sullum, senior editor of libertarian Reason Magazine, analyzed the information and found further that increases and decreases in drug use in America seem to bear no relationship with government or law enforcement efforts: "Although marijuana arrests have increased by more than 150 percent since 1990, marijuana use seems to be just as common today as it was then, if not more so."
Even more striking, Sullum noticed that drug use in America was significantly higher than in those European nations with looser drug enforcement policies. Twice as many Americans have used marijuana as the Dutch and eight times as many have used cocaine.
If drug policies have such little effect on drug use, why are we continuing to fight this war? Don't blame it on the violent gangs. The gangs exist because of the black market caused by laws against drug use, not because of the drugs themselves. Don't blame it on Mexico or Colombia. Only four percent of Mexico's and Colombia's residents have used cocaine. All the violence and drug lords in Latin America exist to serve our citizens' demands.
(6) OPED: ON DEA'S 35TH BIRTHDAY, NOT MUCH TO CELEBRATE ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 15 Jul 2008
Source: Morning Call (Allentown, PA)
Copyright: 2008 The Morning Call Inc.
Author: Bill Steigerwald
"Of 17 countries surveyed, China and Japan had the lowest rates of drug use and the United States had the highest rate -- by far."
The Drug Enforcement Administration, which Richard Nixon created in 1973 and charged with the impossible but politically useful mission of winning the "all-out global war on the drug menace," turned 35 this month.
So, how's its track record after 35 years of difficult, often dangerous drug-war-making? If the DEA were a heroin addict, it would have overdosed on its own incompetence by age 6.
Despite its failures and the harm it's done to American society, however, the DEA has done more than merely survive. It's become a typically bloated, self-preserving federal bureaucracy whose power, budget and continuing existence bear no relation to its performance.
In 1974, the DEA had 1,470 special agents, a budget of less than $75 million ( $346 million in 2007 money ) and 43 offices in 31 countries. Today, it has 5,235 special agents, a $2.3 billion budget and 87 offices in 63 countries.
If you consider locking up mostly pot smokers and other perpetrators of victimless crimes a valid measure of success in the war on drugs, the DEA and its fellow state and local drug warriors deserve high praise.
Annual drug arrests have tripled in the last 25 years to 1.8 million in 2005 ( when 43 percent of all drug arrests were for marijuana offenses ). And we had about 500,000 drug criminals in various federal, state and local slammers in 2005, compared with 41,000 in 1980.
(7) EDITORIAL: TOO MANY PRISONERS ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 14 Jul 2008
Source: Evansville Courier & Press (IN)
Copyright: 2008 The Evansville Courier Company
The Issue: United States Is World's Largest Jailer
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.
The cost of housing and caring for inmates has been astronomical, an estimated $55 billion annual expense for taxpayers, according to the Pew Center on the States. The bloated number of inmates has been particularly painful for states, some of which have been forced to cut spending for higher education to fund corrections programs.
As a result, California is considering an overhaul of its prison policies, as are Kentucky, Mississippi, Rhode Island and South Carolina.
This fiscal crisis should be a wake-up call for all states. Tough sentences for murder, rape and the like are unquestionably necessary and contributed to a drop in such crimes over the past two decades. But prisons should be focused on holding the most dangerous criminals rather than on warehousing nonviolent, first-time offenders.
(8) PROSECUTORS TO SWEETEN PLEA DEALS TO CUT COSTS ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 14 Jul 2008
Source: Ledger, The (Lakeland, FL)
Copyright: 2008 The Ledger
Author: John Frank, St. Petersburg Times
BROOKSVILLE - The Hernando County State Attorney's Office plans to start offering some nonviolent defendants diluted sentences. The move is prompted by state budget cuts, which will force the office to prosecute some misdemeanor crimes less aggressively.
Brad King, the elected state attorney in the 5th Judicial Circuit, said the new initiative is necessary to "move more cases expeditiously through the system."
His office is operating with 14 fewer lawyers than a year ago, despite the ever-growing court dockets in the five-county circuit that includes Hernando.
Under the plan - developed in consultation with the circuit's chief judge and public defender - prosecutors will try to resolve more cases earlier in the process by making attractive plea offers to entice defendants to resolve their cases immediately.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
More mayhem in the drug war this week, with innocents killed and
incarcerated. Also, the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi is facing
federal charges for being too aggressive in the drug war; and if you
want to know how municipalities make decisions about police drug
dogs, follow the discussion from a town in North Carolina.
More mayhem in the drug war this week, with innocents killed and incarcerated. Also, the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi is facing federal charges for being too aggressive in the drug war; and if you want to know how municipalities make decisions about police drug dogs, follow the discussion from a town in North Carolina.
(9) DRUG BUST'S LEGACY: CRASH KILLS MOM OF 3 ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 12 Jul 2008
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2008 The Tribune Co.
Author: Stephen Thompson, The Tampa Tribune
PINELLAS PARK -- A mother of three is dead.
Her father, with whom she had come from Florence, S.C., for a construction job, is grieving.
And her father's girlfriend is in critical condition at Bayfront Medical Center.
These are three of the lives affected -- or taken -- when two men in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo ran a red light Thursday night while fleeing Pinellas Park police and T-boned the Ford Taurus the mother of three was driving, according to police.
Minutes before, two blocks away, one of the two men had sold $140 worth of crack cocaine to an undercover officer, in a Target parking lot, raising questions as to why police would meet suspects in an area populated by potential innocent bystanders.
(10) TASK FORCE LEADER APOLOGIZES FOR WRONGFUL ARREST ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 12 Jul 2008
Source: Mountain Press, The (TN)
Copyright: The Mountain Press 2008
Author: Jeff Farrell
The director of the Fourth Judicial District's Drug Task Force issued a public apology Friday to a Seymour man who was wrongly accused of a crime, but said the man's attorney caused a delay in dismissing the charges.
Task Force Director Mack Smith's two-and-a-half-page single-spaced statement includes one sentence that offers a direct explanation of how James Russell Kitts came to be misidentified as a drug dealer during an undercover operation.
"The identification of James Kitts as the seller of the purchased drugs was based on information garnered from various sources, including but not limited to, Sevier County 911 records and Tennessee motor vehicle registration records," Smith wrote. His name "was not arbitrarily pulled out of a hat and there was certainly not an intentional plan or design to charge an innocent man with these crimes."
The agent who erroneously identified Kitts is no longer with the task force, Smith said. Task force officers typically are associated with local law enforcement agencies and go back to their regular jobs after serving with the task force.
The written statement also notes, in general terms, that undercover agents rarely get the chance to confront defendants until after an operation is completed and the charges are filed, which often takes months.
(11) FEDERAL TRIAL A WHOLE DIFFERENT BALLGAME ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 13 Jul 2008
Source: Clarion-Ledger, The (Jackson, MS)
Copyright: 2008 The Clarion-Ledger
Author: Chris Joyner
For metro-Jackson residents, last week's indictment of Mayor Frank Melton and his two police bodyguards seems like deja vu.
After all, Jackson's first-term mayor spent eight months successfully fighting a criminal indictment for his role in damaging a reputed drug house the night of Aug. 26, 2006. That fight ended in an April 2007 trial and not-guilty verdicts for Melton and Jackson police Detectives Marcus Wright and Michael Recio, his bodyguards.
The new indictment stems from the same event, but the charges come from the federal system, making it a whole new ballgame for the three men.
Instead of fighting felony charges of burglary and malicious mischief, Melton, Wright and Recio will be defending themselves on charges they violated the U.S. Constitution. If the case goes to trial, they also will face veteran civil rights prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington and a broader jury pool.
When facing state charges, Melton assembled a legal team that included former Mayor Dale Danks Jr., his associate Michael Cory and criminal specialist Buddy Coxwell as well as Robert Shuler Smith and Winston Thompson. Smith now is Hinds County district attorney and Thompson his assistant.
In the trial, Melton's assemblage of legal talent picked apart the case built by then-District Attorney Faye Peterson's team. Mississippi College Law School professor Matt Steffey said Melton faces a different kind of opponent this time.
The Justice Department and the FBI are deep in resources and talent, he said.
"It's a career federal prosecutor and not lawyers in a state DA's office," he said. "They've got resources and time that the average district attorney doesn't have."
(12) LANDIS POLICE OFFICER ASKS TOWN BOARD TO RECONSIDER A CANINE ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 16 Jul 2008
Source: Salisbury Post (NC)
Copyright: 2008 Post Publishing Co.
Author: Shavonne Potts
LANDIS - Landis Police Officer Roger Hosey hopes the Board of Aldermen will reconsider it's position against a canine interdiction program. The decision sparked much debate between board members and law enforcement at Tuesday's meeting.
Hosey spoke about the program and the possibility it offers the town to keep money confiscated in drug seizures to help fund the police dog program. The board tabled the decision for future consideration. Hosey explained that he would function as a dog handler and, along with other agencies, Landis would patrol parts of Interstate 85. The dog would also be used on patrol in the town and at the schools. The officer mentioned a grant program with Milkbone and Food Lion which would award $10,000 to a law enforcement agency to fund a canine program. He pointed out that the Salisbury Police Department has received the grant in the past.
When a person is caught with illegal drugs and cash during a traffic stop, that person pays a tax to the government, 75 percent of which goes to the arresting law enforcement agency, he said.
This money is paid out over a quarter, Hosey said. "It's an opportunity to make the people who are committing these crimes pay," he said.
Landis Alderman Tony Hilton said he could not agree to have Landis officers patrolling the interstate and he didn't think the department needed a police dog. He also expressed concern that authorities would falsely seize cash from a person carrying around large sums of money legitimately, and relayed concerns from Landis residents that they don't see enough police presence. Hilton's other concern was what would happen to the police dog if Hosey left the department.
Hosey said he took his job seriously and had no intention of leaving for what Hilton called a "better offer."
"I've had better offers and I'm still here," Hosey said. Alderman James Furr said his only objections to the idea were that Landis was not located near an Interstate exit and if the town entered into the interdiction program with its neighbors, it would have to split the profits while bearing the brunt of the cost for the dog.
Alderman Roger Safrit said he was quite impressed with the program and thought it was a good idea.
"It's an opportunity for the Police Department to make some money," Safrit said.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Mexican drug cartels are allegedly infiltrating the outdoor cannabis
market in California. Nature abhors a vacuum.
Perhaps the Mexicans are taking back the market share they lost to
"B.C. Bud" when Americans could afford it.
In what is said to be a European first, the Italian Supreme Court
has recognized the right of Rastafarians to possess and use ganja
for spiritual purposes. Can infanticidal cannibalism be far
Finally, an overview of how medicinal cannabis law reform is
progressing across the Midwestern states, such as Michigan,
with initiatives more restrictive than California's Prop 215.
Mexican drug cartels are allegedly infiltrating the outdoor cannabis market in California. Nature abhors a vacuum.
Perhaps the Mexicans are taking back the market share they lost to "B.C. Bud" when Americans could afford it.
In what is said to be a European first, the Italian Supreme Court has recognized the right of Rastafarians to possess and use ganja for spiritual purposes. Can infanticidal cannibalism be far behind?
Finally, an overview of how medicinal cannabis law reform is progressing across the Midwestern states, such as Michigan, with initiatives more restrictive than California's Prop 215.
(13) CLUES IN SARATOGA POT BUST SUGGEST LINK TO MEXICAN DRUG CARTEL ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 16 Jul 2008
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2008 San Jose Mercury News
Author: Linda Goldston
'Same Fingerprint': Food, Fertilizer Found In Saratoga Pot Bust
From the bags of beans and rice found in the camp to the type of fertilizer used on the plants, the large marijuana farm in the Saratoga hills that was the scene of a deadly shooting last week has all of the marks of a Mexican drug cartel, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
The farm is part of a growing trend dating back to the 1980s, when increased security at the U.S.-Mexico border prompted drug trafficking organizations and cartels to move part of their business to California -- and closer to their buyers.
"It's the same fingerprint," said Bob Cooke, special agent in charge of the California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement. "These gardens are part of large organizations out of Mexico with command and control in the Bay Area."
Last week's raid stood out because a pot farm with 20,000 plants was discovered in the hills above multimillion-dollar homes.
"It's sort of like, whoa," said Kay Ralston. "You never think about something like that. This is a nice neighborhood, quiet, very safe. You don't think about pot farms."
Conditions in the camp were very similar to those at the pot farm found near Mount Umunhum in 2005. Also similar was the violence: Raids on both farms ended in shootings by officers, with one man killed at each farm.
(14) B.C. GROW-OP TIPS HAVE SLOWED, RCMP REPORT SAYS ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 14 Jul 2008
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2008 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Robert Matas
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's reputation as the cannabis capital of North America may be quickly fading. Tips and calls to police from the public about marijuana growing operations have declined significantly since mid-2003, according to an RCMP report compiled in response to a request from The Globe and Mail.
Marc Emery, Canada's so-called Prince of Pot, was not surprised.
"We're seeing a slight reduction in what is coming out of the Lower Mainland," Mr. Emery said yesterday in an interview, referring to the Greater Vancouver to Chilliwack corridor.
B.C.'s marijuana crop has been estimated to be worth as much as $6- billion, although no official statistics have ever been compiled. Mr. Emery, a highly successful marijuana seed vendor and outspoken advocate for legalization of the drug, currently faces a bid to have him extradited to the U.S. on charges of selling seeds on the Internet and sending them through the U.S. mail.
Mr. Emery identified three factors leading to the recent drop in grow- ops in B.C.: effective police enforcement has increased the risks; a strong Canadian dollar has made exports less profitable; and a downturn in the U.S. economy has led to many Americans trying their hands as suppliers.
Many people have started growing marijuana crops in U.S. National Forests throughout the western states, Mr. Emery said. Also, homeowners hurt by the mortgage crisis and laid-off workers desperate to keep their homes are converting a basement or spare room into something that can make them money. In many instances, they are turning to growing marijuana, he said.
A homeowner with only two high-intensity grow-lights can probably earn as much as $20,000 a year with minimal risk, Mr. Emery said. "It certainly is enough to tide people over, no problem, and two lights are not going to get you into trouble either. So it is a nice, modest- size grow [operation] that you can probably get away with."
(15) RASTAS CAN USE CANNABIS, ITALIAN COURT RULES ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 12 Jul 2008
Source: Independent (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Author: Peter Popham, in Rome
Rastafarians have always regarded Ethiopia as the promised land, but Italy could rank a close second after its Supreme Court ruled that smoking or possessing cannabis is not a criminal offence but a religious act when the person doing it is a Rastafarian.
Last year, the same court declared that cultivating even a single cannabis plant was a punishable offence. But now Italy's Court of Cassation has said Rastafarians use marijuana "not only as a medical but also as a meditative herb. And, as such [it is] a possible bearer of the psychophysical state to contemplation and prayer".
Release, the London-based drugs information service, said that the ruling was a European first.
The case was brought by a man in his forties from Perugia who was sentenced to 16 months in jail plus a UKP4,000 (UKP 3,000) fine in 2004 for possession of 97g of marijuana. The Supreme Court said the court of first appeal had failed to consider that the man, a Rastafarian, smoked marijuana according to the precepts of his religion, which, the judges said, permits the smoking of 10g per day. Rastafarians smoke the drug, said the court, "with the memory and in the belief that the sacred plant grew on the tomb of King Solomon".
The government is livid. The judgment "shatters the laws which forbid and proscribe penal sanctions for" the use of illegal drugs, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.
Right-wing politicians were scathing. Senator Maurizio Gasparri said: "Today we learn a Rasta is free to go around with drugs. If somebody belonged to a religion which permitted them to eat their children, would they give them the go-ahead, too?"
(16) ACROSS MIDWEST, INTEREST IN MEDICAL MARIJUANA GROWS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 13 Jul 2008
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2008 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Tim Jones, Chicago Tribune correspondent
Michigan Vote Seen As Test for Region on Issue
The move to legalize medical marijuana is advancing in the Midwest, with Michigan poised to be the first state between the Rockies and New England to sanction the use of the illegal drug by terminally or seriously ill people.
Michigan voters will decide in November whether to authorize marijuana use, if a doctor determines suffering from such diseases as cancer, Crohn's disease, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's or hepatitis C could be eased by the drug.
While years of public opinion polling show opposition to legalizing marijuana, polls and the overwhelming majority of state referendum votes show strong support for medical use of marijuana. At the same time, some physician groups have dropped their resistance to medical marijuana.
The combined effect of public opinion, medical research showing benefits of marijuana in the treatment of some diseases and shifts in attitudes in the medical community has fueled the movement that has seen 12 states adopt medical marijuana laws in the past dozen years.
But resistance is expected to develop, given the political volatility of the marijuana issue and the experience California has had since voters there endorsed use of medical marijuana in 1996.
The California law says that patients need a prescription to acquire the drug but it is otherwise vague. That legal opening led to the creation of so-called marijuana clubs and the large-scale growing of the drug in fields and homes. Hundreds of marijuana dispensaries are scattered around the state, and dozens of cities have cracked down on cultivation.
California endorsed "political chaos," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, which advocates "the repeal of marijuana prohibition."
"No other state has and no other state will replicate what California did," St. Pierre said. "Every ensuing state [has approved laws] that narrowly define the types of diseases, require the amount of cannabis they can possess is relatively small and the number of plants they can possess is relatively small. And there will be absolutely no retail dispensary-like model that has emerged in California."
COMMENTS: ( Top )
From the New York Times this week, the nation of Indonesia restarted
executions for drug offenses after a four-year lapse. First to face
the firing squad were two Nigerians on June 26.
Fighting a drug war means not having to worry when you gun down
innocent civilians at a road block, at least that's what it meant to
the Mexican military. The Mexican National Human Rights Commission
last week told of military killings and torture in the campaign
against "drug cartels". Sometimes, when acting as judge, jury and
executioner, mistakes are made. In one case, soldiers drove
"splinters beneath the fingernails and toenails" of a drug suspect,
only to learn the man was a victim of mistaken identity, reported
the Washington Post.
Needle exchanges give out clean needles, which limit the spread of
blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis. But the Winnipeg Free
Press newspaper in Canada this week gives us another peek into the
absolute failure and farce drug prohibition has become when it
revealed government can't stop people from injecting drugs, even in
prison. With ten times the rate of Hepatitis C and HIV inside of
prisons than on the outside, activists are now calling for
needle-exchanges inside of prison walls.
Top U.S. prohibitionist police officials were in Istanbul, Turkey
last week at the same time armed attackers launched an assault "in
front of" the American consulate there, according to the Turkish
Daily News newspaper. Meeting in Istanbul at the same time were
Michele Leonhart (acting DEA chief), ONDCP functionary Scott Burns,
as well as DEA Ankara desk jockey Mark Destito, who were jostled by
news of the attack which left three Turkish police dead. Not missing
an opportunity to capitalize on events, White House ONDCP
apparatchik Scott Burns attempted to link "those using drugs" to the
funding of terrorism.
A new book Dr Paul O'Mahony reviewed in this week's Irish Times
newspaper asks the question that won't go away: "Is it time to
legalise drugs?" The book, entitled "The Irish War on Drugs: The
Seductive Folly of Prohibition," lays out the case for
(re-)legalizing drugs. "The future is much more dangerous than the
present," says O'Mahony. "Prohibition can't handle the present. It
certainly won't be able to handle the future."
From the New York Times this week, the nation of Indonesia restarted executions for drug offenses after a four-year lapse. First to face the firing squad were two Nigerians on June 26.
Fighting a drug war means not having to worry when you gun down innocent civilians at a road block, at least that's what it meant to the Mexican military. The Mexican National Human Rights Commission last week told of military killings and torture in the campaign against "drug cartels". Sometimes, when acting as judge, jury and executioner, mistakes are made. In one case, soldiers drove "splinters beneath the fingernails and toenails" of a drug suspect, only to learn the man was a victim of mistaken identity, reported the Washington Post.
Needle exchanges give out clean needles, which limit the spread of blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis. But the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper in Canada this week gives us another peek into the absolute failure and farce drug prohibition has become when it revealed government can't stop people from injecting drugs, even in prison. With ten times the rate of Hepatitis C and HIV inside of prisons than on the outside, activists are now calling for needle-exchanges inside of prison walls.
Top U.S. prohibitionist police officials were in Istanbul, Turkey last week at the same time armed attackers launched an assault "in front of" the American consulate there, according to the Turkish Daily News newspaper. Meeting in Istanbul at the same time were Michele Leonhart (acting DEA chief), ONDCP functionary Scott Burns, as well as DEA Ankara desk jockey Mark Destito, who were jostled by news of the attack which left three Turkish police dead. Not missing an opportunity to capitalize on events, White House ONDCP apparatchik Scott Burns attempted to link "those using drugs" to the funding of terrorism.
A new book Dr Paul O'Mahony reviewed in this week's Irish Times newspaper asks the question that won't go away: "Is it time to legalise drugs?" The book, entitled "The Irish War on Drugs: The Seductive Folly of Prohibition," lays out the case for (re-)legalizing drugs. "The future is much more dangerous than the present," says O'Mahony. "Prohibition can't handle the present. It certainly won't be able to handle the future."
(17) EXECUTIONS FOR DRUG CRIMES ARE RESUMED IN INDONESIA ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 13 Jul 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
Author: Peter Gelling
JAKARTA, Indonesia -- This country has resumed executions for serious drug crimes after a four-year hiatus, and Indonesia's attorney general has warned drug offenders on death row that their executions may now be accelerated.
The resumption follows a decision last year by Indonesia's Constitutional Court that upheld the death penalty for serious drug offenses.
Two Nigerians convicted of drug trafficking were the first to be executed for drug crimes after the long break. The two, Samuel Iwachekwu Okoye and Hansen Anthony Nwaliosa, were put to death on June 26.
Indonesia executed the two Nigerians on the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, as a message to those trafficking drugs through the country.
There are 112 felons on death row. Seven have exhausted appeals and may be executed soon; they include three prisoners convicted in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, according to the attorney general's office. Eighteen other prisoners have appealed for clemency.
(18) REPORT CITES ABUSES BY MEXICAN MILITARY ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 12 Jul 2008
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2008 The Washington Post Company
Author: Manuel Roig-Franzia, Washington Post Foreign Service
Rights Panel Describes Torture, Killings in Anti-Drug Effort
MEXICO CITY -- The National Human Rights Commission on Friday accused the Mexican military of wrongfully killing eight civilians at roadblocks, torturing witnesses and allowing soldiers accused of rights violations to escape prosecution during its continuing campaign against drug cartels.
In a lengthy report, commission investigators documented a case of soldiers jamming splinters beneath the fingernails and toenails of a witness and forcibly injecting alcohol down his throat. The man had been mistaken for a drug dealer operating in the hills near the border south of Phoenix, the report said.
In another case, soldiers stormed a house in the western village of Uruapan and allegedly tortured two suspects by stabbing their genitals with electric cattle prods. Other suspects were held at military facilities, forced to undress and barred from communicating with lawyers or family.
Most of the abuses have gone unpunished, the report said. For instance, no action has been taken against soldiers suspected of shooting dead four civilians at a roadblock in the central state of Sinaloa, the report said.
(19) NEEDLE-EXCHANGES FOR FEDERAL PRISONS URGED ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 15 Jul 2008
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2008 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Jen Skerritt
Health activists are urging the Harper government to implement needle-exchange programs in federal prisons, saying the rising number of inmates infected with HIV and other diseases poses a serious threat to public health.
Richard Elliot, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, said studies from prisons across Canada have shown that inmates have 10 times the rate of HIV than the general population and more than 20 times the rate of Hepatitis C -- a blood-borne disease that affects the liver and is spread through sharing drug equipment.
(20) AMERICA'S TOP COPS IN ISTANBUL DURING ATTACK ON CONSULATE ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 10 Jul 2008
Source: Turkish Daily News (Turkey)
Copyright: 2008 Dogan Daily News Inc.
The armed attack in front of the American Consulate in Istanbul took place at a time when high-level U.S. drug enforcement agents were in town to attend the 26th International Drug Enforcement Conference, bringing together top law enforcement officials from 91 countries.
When the attack took place at around 10:30 a.m. yesterday, Michele Leonhart, the Drug Enforcement Agency's, or DEA, acting administrator; Scott Burns, deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; and Mark Destito, the DEA's Regional Director based in Ankara were briefing a group of journalists at the conference venue in the Conrad Hotel in Bethiktath district, 10 kilometers from Ystinye, where the consulate moved a few years ago.
The news of the attack, which left three Turkish police officers dead, sent shock waves through the U.S. agents who organized the conference with the Directorate of the Turkish Police.
Scott Burns from the White House said those using drugs are funding terrorism.
(21) IS IT TIME TO LEGALISE DRUGS? ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 12 Jul 2008
Source: Irish Times, The (Ireland)
Copyright: 2008 The Irish Times
Author: Carol Coulter, Legal Affairs Editor
Statistics on heroin, cocaine and cannabis use here are starker than ever. Is it time to forge a new approach to how we tackle drugs and drug addiction? asks Carol Coulter. EARLIER THIS WEEK we heard that the number of heroin addicts on methadone maintenance programmes has now reached 10,000. The week before we heard that the number of people using cocaine has doubled since 2003, with a four-fold increase in certain parts of the country.
In May a conference was told that a survey of teenagers in the south-east had shown that 41 per cent of them had used cannabis, twice as many as their European counterparts, while almost 50 per cent had used some illegal drug.
None of this comes as a surprise to Dr Paul O'Mahony, who has been examining drugs, crime and prison policy in Ireland for decades. It is yet further evidence, he says, of the failure of the policy of prohibiting drugs, which he believes has actually contributed to the growth in their misuse.
"The future is much more dangerous than the present. Prohibition can't handle the present. It certainly won't be able to handle the future."
The Irish War on Drugs: The Seductive Folly of Prohibition, is published by Manchester University Press, UKP 55 hardback, UKP 16.99 paperback
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
DAVID BORDEN IN TELEVISED DRUG LEGALIZATION DEBATE ( Top )
StoptheDrugWar.org's executive director recently did a 25-minute debate on drug legalization on a network that aired across Europe and the Middle East. Video is online at:
GOT YOUR NUMBER: NORA IS PROPOSITION 5! ( Top )
The Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act-the most ambitious sentencing and prison reform in U.S. history-just got its proposition number. The measure, sponsored by DPA Network, will appear as Proposition 5 on the California state ballot in November!
STRIP FOR THE PRINCIPAL ( Top )
How could anyone think a strip search for Advil was reasonable?
By Jacob Sullum
JIM HIGHTOWER ON POT -- SHARING HIS THOUGHTS ON POT, THAT IS ( Top )
"The powers that be like to play games, and Marijuana is a nice diversion."
GLOBAL CIVIL SOCIETY TELLS THE UN IT'S TIME TO FIX DRUG POLICY ( Top )
Drug War Chronicle, Issue #543, 7/18/08
Last week, some 300 delegates representing organizations from across the drug policy spectrum met in Vienna for the Beyond 2008 NGO Forum, an effort to provide civil society input on global drug policy.
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 07/16/08 - Robert Muhammed
Brother Robert Muhammed of the Nation of Islam & DTN's Dean Becker discuss Houston's criminal, justice system.
Century of Lies- 07/15/08 - Norm Stamper
Special with: Gatewood Galbreath, Norm Stamper, Carl Veley, Sanho Tree, Chuck Thomas, The "Marijuanalogues", Bruce Mirken, Ethan Nadelmann.
MAPS NEWS JULY 2008 ( Top )
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
NIDA Delays Vaporizer Research, Averts MAPS Lawsuit
ROLLING STONE: OBAMA ON ENDING THE DRUG WAR ( Top )
An interview with Barack Obama is the centre piece of this month's Rolling Stone magazine. Unsuprisingly, given the magazine's youth culture niche and long history as vocal critics drug war, they hit the likely next US president with a serious question about its failure and what he plans to do about it.
LEAP SPEAKER TONY SMITH ON CANADIAN TV ( Top )
Tony Smith appears on "Talk Politics" on CPAC TV to discuss LEAP and his career in the Vancouver Police Department with host Ken Rockburn.
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
JOB OPPORTUNITIES AT THE MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT ( Top )
* Office Administrator/Bookkeeper * Director of State Policies * Membership & Events Fellowship * State Policies Internship
For all positions, please visit http://www.mpp.org/jobs for full job descriptions, salary information, and instructions on how to apply.
WRITE A LETTER ( Top )
Get-Tough Policies Cause More Crime. A Drug Sense Focus Alert.
SUPPORT NORTH AMERICA'S ONLY SUPERVISED INJECTION FACILITY ( Top )
Sign a petition endorsing Insite.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
MANY SUPPORT MEDICAL POT ( Top )
By Bruce Dunn
On June 30, there was a letter from Dr. Nicholas Pace of New York University expressing concern about young people thinking marijuana harmless if a medical marijuana bill is enacted. Doctors prescribe methamphetamine, cocaine and morphine. Do teens think those drugs are harmless?
Moreover, a study by Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D, associate professor of psychology at the State University at Albany, and others reviewed all public data about teen use of marijuana before and after the enactment of the medical marijuana law in 10 states. In every state there was a decrease, more than 50 percent in some cases, in youthful use after implementation of the law.
Pace says academic medicine does not support the medical use of marijuana. Recently the student section of the American Medical Association voiced its support, and they are the future of medicine. Before that, the American College of Physicians expressed support and suggested the drug be rescheduled so it can be prescribed.
Other support comes from:
* The Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences report, 1999: "Nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety... all can be mitigated by marijuana";
* American Nurses Association, 2003: "Marijuana/cannabis has a wide margin of safety for use under prescribed supervision, and is effective for numerous conditions";
* Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General, 2004: "The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by illnesses like multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS _ or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them"; and
* DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis Young, 1988: "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest, therapeutically active substances known. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious for the DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance."
Bruce Dunn Morris
Pubdate: Tue, 08 Jul 2008
Source: Daily Star, The (NY)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
DRUG LAWS FERTILIZE TEEN VIOLENCE ( Top )
By Joy Strickland
As an advocate in the crusade to prevent teen violence, my starting point is that every child deserves a safe and supportive home, school and community. Prevention strategies such as mentoring and conflict resolution -- not to mention personal responsibility -- are key pieces of the strategies of Mothers Against Teen Violence and other groups committed to preventing violence in our communities.
But those pieces are only part of the solution and must be balanced and supported by a rational and effective national drug policy.
Enacted during the Nixon administration, the so-called war on drugs was designed to reduce supply and diminish demand for certain substances deemed harmful or undesirable. But the drug war has never met this objective, and unintended consequences have undermined the health and safety of our citizens, especially our children.
I will never forget 9-year-old Cory Weems, who was killed by a stray bullet in 1994 while having ice cream on his grandmother's front porch in Dallas. A drug dealer engaged in a car chase was convicted of this crime. Cory's picture hangs on my office wall, a reminder of one of the drug war's victims.
Or consider that despite billions spent annually toward arresting and prosecuting nearly 800,000 people for marijuana offenses, high school students continue to find marijuana easy to obtain.
By some estimates, as many as 250,000 people die every year from the proper use of prescription drugs. On the other hand, I am not aware of one single death directly caused by marijuana. Yet we pay $25,000 per year to send a drug user to prison, where he will likely have access to the same drugs for which he has been incarcerated.
If we can't keep drugs out of prisons, it is irrational to expect that we can keep them off our streets. It is equally irrational to lock up an individual because of what he chooses to put in his own body.
Drug addiction is not a moral issue. It is a medical problem requiring medical intervention. But if news reports are any indication, it is easy to believe that the rich and famous go to rehab while the poor go to jail. This disparity is the real moral issue.
The drug war keeps prices for the targeted substances artificially high, assuring that drug trafficking remains an incredibly profitable venture. The fantastic sums of money flowing from illegal drug sales have caused elected officials, police officers and prison guards -- just to name a few -- to fall prey to drug trafficking.
I have never used illegal drugs, nor do I advocate their use. But I believe the time has come for a change because our drug laws have failed us. The substances targeted by the drug war need to be decriminalized and controlled.
Those concerned about the message decriminalization would send to our children would do well to consider the message we are sending by continuing the status quo.
We don't want our children to face the same powerful temptations that many adults in authority have been powerless to resist. Instead, we want to remove the fantastic financial incentives to sell these substances to our children or recruit them into drug trafficking.
We don't want our children to die as innocent victims of turf wars and gang violence. We want all nonviolent drug abusers, regardless of class or race, to have access to rehabilitation.
And finally, we don't want our tax dollars spent enforcing ineffectual policies that undermine faith in our nation's laws.
Joy Strickland is CEO of the local chapter of Mothers Against Teen Violence and may be reached through www.matvinc.org. This piece was originally published in the Dallas Morning News.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"Drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car. You would call that not a disease but an error in judgement." - Philip K. Dick
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