This Just In
(1)Drug Money
(2)Pot-Related Deaths Fan Debate
(3)Massachusetts Looks to Turn Over New Leaf on Pot
(4)Former Anti-Marijuana Lobbyist Switches Sides

Hot Off The 'Net
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-Drug Truth Network
-SSDP At The D.A.R.E. Conference
-Medicinal Cannabis User Nailed On The Colbert Report
-The Naked Queen

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Thu, 14 Aug 2008
Source: Stranger, The (Seattle, WA)
Copyright: 2008 The Stranger
Author: Dominic Holden

KOMO Television Takes Pot Activists' Cash, Refuses to Air Pot Activists' Infomercial

A local television station claims an infomercial hosted by travel writer Rick Steves promotes the use of marijuana and is consequently refusing to air it. But Fisher Communications, which owns KOMO television, collected thousands of dollars without airing the show.

"It supported that people smoke marijuana," says Jim Clayton, KOMO's vice president and general manager, about the drug-policy-reform infomercial. "Smoking marijuana is illegal and we don't promote things that are illegal on our television station," he says. "We don't tell people to go rob banks,= either."

Clayton went on to claim that he rejected the program, Marijuana: It's Time for a Conversation, because the station is "federally licensed, and we have to protect the license at all costs." Under Federal Communications Commission ( FCC ) rules, he says, the station can't air shows that advise breaking the law. But when repeatedly pressed for an example of how the show advocated marijuana use, Clayton said, "I don't know. I watched it a few weeks ago, and I don't remember anything specific." ( You can watch it online at )

Rick Steves, well-known PBS travel guide and the host of the talk-show-formatted program, says, "There is no way anybody can watch that show and think it advocates smoking marijuana. Nobody on the panel even hinted that they enjoyed marijuana." The script does not advise viewers to smoke marijuana, nor does the screen ever flash an image of pot. "They were talking about the legal, social, economic, and civil rights ramifications of a misguided law," says Steves.

In addition to KOMO ( the local ABC affiliate ), KIRO ( CBS ) rejected the 30-minute show outright and refused to explain its decision to the show's producers. KING ( along with its sister station KONG, both with NBC ) would only allow the program to air after 1:00 a.m.

KOMO's decision not to air the program came as a shock to the ACLU of Washington, which spent more than $100,000 producing the program, including thousands of dollars that went to KOMO to use its staff and studios at Fisher Plaza.




Pubdate: Fri, 15 Aug 2008
Source: Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA)
Copyright: 2008 The Virginian-Pilot
Author: Shawn Day, The Virginian-Pilot

Is Loss of Life Too High a Cost?

Virginia Beach - When Michael Phillips was gunned down in an undercover operation last week, he became the second local detective to be killed investigating suspected marijuana dealers in the past seven months.

The deaths have sparked debate about the enforcement of marijuana and other drug laws, with some activists arguing that continuing the war on drugs is just bad policy.

Others, including many local officials, say the killings confirm the dangers surrounding the drug trade.

"From the perspective of Mike Phillips' widow, I'd say we're worse off fighting the battle," said state Sen. Kenneth Stolle, a former Virginia Beach police sergeant and undercover officer. "From Mike Phillips' perspective the day he was killed, I'm sure he felt it was a battle that needed to be fought, that the benefits outweighed the risk."

"Drugs," Stolle said, "are about the most evil thing in the community that I know of right now."




Pubdate: Thu, 14 Aug 2008
Source: Boston Herald (MA)
Copyright: 2008 The Boston Herald, Inc
Author: O'Ryan Johnson

An overwhelming number of Bay Staters replying to a Suffolk University/WHDH Ch. 7 poll say the state's marijuana laws should go up in smoke.

The poll regarding questions set to appear on the Nov. 4 ballot shows that 72 percent of Greater Boston residents favor snuffing out criminal penalties for suspects carrying less than an ounce of pot, and replacing them with civil fines. Under the measure, a person stopped with marijuana would be given a $100 ticket and forced to forfeit the drug

"The public may be signaling that pursuing small-time marijuana users is a waste of taxpayer resources," said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Bureau at Suffolk University. "This issue suggests there is a libertarian streak in the thinking of the Massachusetts voter."




Pubdate: Thu, 14 Aug 2008
Source: Hill, The (US DC)
Copyright: 2008 The Hill
Author: Mike Soraghan

The last time the House debated medical marijuana, David Krahl trod the halls of Capitol Hill lobbying against the legislation as deputy director of the Drug Free America Foundation.

Now, he's ready to lobby for allowing medicinal use of marijuana, and do anything he can to support it.

So far, no one has asked him for help, but in a recent letter to medical marijuana bill sponsor Rep. Maurice Hinchey ( D-N.Y. ), he proclaimed that he'd reversed his position on whether cannabis can be a medicine.

"I'm saying, 'Here I am, an individual who had one point of view, and now I have a different one,' " Krahl said in an interview.

Krahl left the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based foundation in October, and has returned to teaching. He declined to name the college where he is teaching, but said the topic is "drugs, deviance and crime."

"Being away from the Drug Free America Foundation allowed me an opportunity to take a fresh look at the issue," Krahl said. "I don't have skin in the game anymore."





Sometimes, as our first story shows, the press understands the contradictions inherent in the drug war. But, as the second story shows, sometimes the media still doesn't get it. Also this week, new experimental treatments for addiction emerge; and at least one writer sees what's wrong with the marijuana eradication programs in California.


Pubdate: Mon, 11 Aug 2008
Source: Desert Dispatch, The (Victorville CA)
Copyright: 2008 Freedom Communications, Inc.
Author: Scott Shackford

If we were a cruel newspaper, the headline to this editorial would read "Postmus contributes to county gang problem."

After all, Assessor Bill Postmus, when he was Barstow's representative and chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, made a big deal out of efforts to combat gangs in the county.

Now, apparently, it turns out Postmus is addicted to methamphetamines. And as everybody knows, when you use drugs, you contribute to the gang problem.

That's not really true, though. While drug demand indeed contributes to gang violence in America, it's because our extremely harsh drug laws have created a dangerous black market that gives gangs their reason for existence.

In reality, Postmus has only contributed to the gang problem inasmuch as every politician who has milked the drug war and fears of gangs to get votes has. His alleged meth use is just a symptom of typical political hypocrisy. Interestingly, we have yet to see anybody suggest that Postmus should face criminal sanctions should the allegations prove to be true, but perhaps because there are also greater allegations of misconduct in the assessor's office. The meth claims are being treated as a sign of a personal flaw.

That's how it should be for everybody, not just politicians. It's important to note in the report we ran Aug. 8 that friends of Postmus have been helping him seek rehab for his addictions. We point this out because we argue that addiction is a personal issue, not a government problem.




Pubdate: Tue, 12 Aug 2008
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2008 The Dallas Morning News, Inc.
Author: David McLemore, The Dallas Morning News

US Officials Say Binational Response Can Curb Violence

EL PASO - Top U.S. law enforcement officials praised Mexico's anti-drug efforts Monday and urged more binational cooperation as an antidote to the drug-fueled violence along the border.

FBI Director Robert Mueller, addressing the fifth annual border security conference at the University of Texas at El Paso, said that is concerned with the high level of violence along the border and the drug and human smuggling and gang activity that generates it.

Of particular concern is the violence just across the border in Ciudad Juarez, where 700 people have been killed in drug violence this year, Mr. Mueller said. He praised Mexican President Felipe Calderon for his strong response.

"We have two cartels fighting for control. President Calderon has taken the fight to them, but serious challenges still exist to border security that must be met with a joint effort," he said.




Pubdate: Thu, 14 Aug 2008
Source: Dallas Observer (TX)
Copyright: 2008 Village Voice Media
Author: Megan Feldman

Does An Unproven Treatment That Combats Drug Addiction With Drugs Promise More Than It Can Deliver?


Such innovations have fueled a revolution of sorts within the treatment community. The American Medical Association first defined alcoholism as an illness in 1956, but for decades, the predominant treatment models combated the problem as a psychological condition or moral weakness. Alcoholics Anonymous became the most reputable way to help addicts live stable, productive lives, and one-on-one psychotherapy was incorporated into residential and outpatient treatment programs. While the 12 steps and behavioral modification remain central to treatment, the emerging paradigm considers addiction a biological condition as chronic and medically treatable as diabetes or high blood pressure.

"You can't say this is a medical disorder and then say the treatments won't be medical," says Dr. Bryon Adinoff, distinguished professor of alcohol and drug abuse research at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and a psychiatrist on the substance abuse team at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center. "Even 12 Steps says this is a medical disorder. I think of it like a blood pressure disorder-getting people to eat right, take meds, et cetera. Every chronic condition takes a combination of medical and psychosocial treatments."

Prometa is perhaps the most contentious new treatment. Hythiam claims the protocol curbs cravings and helps addicts stay clean and sober through a combination of pills and injectable medicines combined with follow-up psychological and nutritional counseling. Most medications used to manage substance abuse must be taken continuously, but Prometa takes the "drugs for drug abuse" approach to a new level: Do one round of the 30-day protocol, Hythiam and supportive clinicians say, and your brain is definitively altered.

Yet researchers, physicians and public officials say Hythiam may be taking too large of an intuitive leap with Prometa. They've criticized the company for marketing the treatment, which can cost up to $15,000 per person, to governments and private clinics without first proving its efficacy through the gold standard in medical research: a series of double-blind, placebo-controlled trials that are peer-reviewed and published in a medical journal. Those studies test two groups, one given a placebo and the other the real drug, while the subjects and researchers are uncertain which is which until the end of the trial.




Pubdate: Tue, 12 Aug 2008
Source: Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Newspaper Group
Author: David Herrick

Even as California's massive budget deficit prompts new cuts to Medi-Cal's drug benefits for HIV/AIDS patients, county officials here waste precious resources in doomed legal challenges to state medical marijuana laws designed to help many of those very patients.

For more than two-and-a-half years, San Bernardino and San Diego county officials sought somebody - anybody - in the courts who might entertain their convoluted arguments against obeying state medical marijuana laws requiring an identification card system for qualified patients.

And twice - first in 2006 and then just last week by the 4th District Court of Appeals - the courts have quickly dismissed their arguments.

Despite coming up empty, the two county boards of supervisors must now decide whether to appeal their case one last time to the California Supreme Court. Whether out of respect for the rule of law, compassion for suffering medical marijuana patients or simply acknowledging the waste to taxpayers, the choice should be easy: It's time for county officials to drop their challenge, obey the law and move on to more important matters.




The Rachel Hoffman tragedy in Florida has led to an apparent rift between the DEA and the State Attorney of Florida, who has advised state and local law enforcement agencies that he won't be prosecuting cases that involve DEA agents. In New York, a man is charged with a felony for swallowing a joint. In California, there is outrage that intoxicating grapes are being replaced with intoxicating buds; and, despite the fact that Washington state's relatively pot-friendly stance will be on display at the annual Seattle Hempfest, the laws can still be tough there.


Pubdate: Fri, 08 Aug 2008
Source: Tallahassee Democrat (FL)
Copyright: 2008 Tallahassee Democrat
Author: Jennifer Portman

State Attorney Willie Meggs has advised state and local law-enforcement agencies that he will no longer prosecute cases that involve federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents.

Meggs' decision, outlined in a letter sent to agencies Wednesday, follows last week's grand-jury hearing in which DEA agents were not allowed to testify voluntarily in the Rachel Hoffman case.

"It's probably more symbolic than it is substantive, but I am very serious about it," Meggs, state attorney for the 2nd Judicial Circuit, said Thursday. "I'm just not going to play that little game with those folks. ... I can't work with people who don't cooperate."

Hoffman, 23, was working as a confidential informant for the Tallahassee Police Department in May when she was killed in a botched drug sting. Three DEA officers were involved in the operation.

Grand jurors, in a scathing presentment Friday that deemed TPD negligent in Hoffman's death, recommended that the department not work with the DEA until the agents are allowed to testify.

Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell took that recommendation to heart immediately. Friday he met with his command staff and instructed them to cease working with the DEA until it would cooperate with the State Attorney's Office, said spokesman Tony Drzewiecki.




Pubdate: Fri, 08 Aug 2008
Source: Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY)
Copyright: 2008 The Herald Company
Author: Robert A. Baker

SYRACUSE, NY -- While smoking a joint in public could land you an appearance ticket, swallowing that joint in front of the officer that would have written the ticket could get you arrested on felony charges. George Ellmore, 51, of 201 Oxford St., Syracuse, learned that lesson first-hand Aug. 1, according to a Syracuse police arrest report.

Syracuse Police Officer Richard Cunningham was on patrol at 3:30 p.m. when he said he saw Ellmore trying to light a marijuana cigarette at Bellevue and Midland avenues. Cunningham was able to walk close enough to Ellmore to notice the smell of marijuana burning, Cunningham wrote.

Ellmore noticed Cunningham approaching as Ellmore put the hand-rolled cigarette to his lips, Cunningham wrote. Ellmore took one more puff, popped the joint into his mouth and swallowed it, Cunningham wrote.

"When asked why he swallowed it, he said he didn't swallow anything," Cunningham wrote.

Cunningham informed Ellmore that he was under arrest for tampering with physical evidence, a felony. Ellmore reacted to that news by struggling with officers.

Ellmore was also charged with obstructing government administration and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors. He pleaded innocent at his arraignment and was released on his own recognizance.




Pubdate: Sat, 09 Aug 2008
Source: Summit Daily News (CO)
Copyright: 2008 Summit Daily News
Author: Shannon Dininny, Associated Press

Crop Could Surpass Grapes In Value This Year

WAPATO, Wash. - Across central Washington's fruit bowl, farmers are buying vineyards, hoping to establish roots in the area and capitalize on the booming wine industry.

Authorities believe some of the buyers are living in Mexico and their vineyards are producing tens of thousands of illegal marijuana plants - - a crop that could easily surpass grapes in value this year.

Law enforcement officials in the Yakima Valley already have converged on seven vineyards that had been converted to marijuana operations this summer. At least five had been recently purchased - the buyers are still being tracked - and one had been leased to pot growers by an unknowing owner.

Pot growers aren't just hiding their crops in national forests and random cornfields any more, said Washington State Patrol Sgt. Richard A. Beghtol.

"They are able to amass a huge amount of money and using that money to go out and buy land to do their marijuana cultivation," Beghtol said. "It's their big moneymaker."



 (12) TOUGH ALL OVER  ( Top )

Pubdate: Thu, 14 Aug 2008
Source: Stranger, The (Seattle, WA)
Copyright: 2008 The Stranger
Author: Dominic Holden

You don't have to visit Nicaragua to get busted for pot. Every year in King County, the FBI reports, police arrest around 4,000 pot smokers.

Yes, Seattle voters made pot possession the city's lowest law-enforcement priority in 2003-Seattle officers arrest people for pot possession at about one-tenth the rate of the state as a whole-and thousands of people will be toking freely at Hempfest this weekend ( Sat Sun Aug 16 17 from 10 am to 8 pm in Myrtle Edwards Park ). But you can still get busted, particularly once you leave the city limits.

Pot penalties in Washington State are harsh. A single joint can land you a misdemeanor conviction, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. And growing pot, selling pot, or possessing more than 40 grams is a felony, carrying a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine and five years in prison. And beware those ganja brownies: If you're busted with them, cops can charge you based on the weight of the brownies themselves, not the amount of pot in them.

The slammer is only half the hell of a pot bust. If convicted, the mark on your record interferes with getting apartments, student loans, and jobs. And you'd better be as sober as an Amish funeral while they piss-test you for months afterward.

Better not to get caught in the first place. Jeffrey Steinborn, a pot defense attorney and member of the legal committee for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws ( NORML ), has some tips for staying stoned and free.




Californian courts are unwillingly to accept local authorities disregarding state medicinal cannabis laws in deference to federal laws they prefer, and more than one editorial board has opined that it is past time these officials accepted reality and did something more productive.

Kudos to the Eureka Reporter for asking a question too often overlooked, but becoming more common, in drug war reportage; how much is all this costing us?

A reminder from Maryland that many cannabis cultivators do not fit the "kingpin" profile, despite decades of police predation culling the least criminal from the herd.

Tommy Chong is back in the limelight as a pioneer of stoner flicks, a genre gaining in social acceptability and box office receipts.


Pubdate: Wed, 13 Aug 2008
Source: Porterville Recorder (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Freedom Communications Inc.

Fourth District Court of Appeal upholds validity of state law over federal supremacy

On July 31 California's Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed that California's medical marijuana laws are valid despite the fact that federal law does not make any provision for the medicinal use of marijuana. This means that state, county and local officials, whether they like the laws put in place by the people through the initiative process and later the Legislature, are duty-bound the implement those laws.

For years various officials who don't approve of the laws that give bona fide patients the right to use, possess and grow marijuana have argued that because federal law places marijuana on Schedule I (which prohibits any use, including medical) under the 1974 Controlled Substances Act (CSA), that the California law is invalid. The doctrine of "federal supremacy," they have argued, doesn't allow states to have less restrictive laws.

That argument was always disingenuous or worse. Our federal Constitution created a system in which the states have wide latitude to take different legal approaches to various issues, explicitly to allow the states to be "laboratories of democracy" and try different approaches, with other states free to study the results and emulate them or not. Only on rare occasions does Congress declare that the feds have "occupied the field" in a way that precludes the states from trying different approaches.



 (14) POT SWEEP COSTS DOJ $347,000  ( Top )

Pubdate: Wed, 13 Aug 2008
Source: Eureka Reporter, The (CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Eureka Reporter
Author: John C. Osborn

The California Department of Justice spent at least $347,000 in its role in the weeklong drug raid dubbed Operation Southern Sweep in June.

The operation brought about 450 federal, state and local law enforcement personnel together to bust an alleged commercial marijuana grow operation connected to a single group in Humboldt County between June 24 and 28.

According to a public records request by The Eureka Reporter for the costs incurred in Operation Southern Sweep, the DOJ allocated $347,202 toward the operation.

Of that, an estimated $131,574 was spent on personnel, $183,894 on overtime, $26,283 in expenses, such as travel and lodging, and $5,451 on equipment, the request response stated.

Salary costs are based on the total hours worked by sworn officers at the Special Agent top pay grade ($7,341 a month) and the middle pay grade for non-sworn personnel.

The salary costs do not include any incurred by management personnel because the time spent on specific projects is not maintained for these employees, though the costs are estimated to be nominal, the request response stated.

The Eureka Reporter also sent out Freedom of Information Act requests to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Service, Drug Enforcement Agency and Internal Revenue Service -- all agencies involved in the operation.

The IRS denied the request, as the records could not be found.

Even if found, the IRS stated in a response letter that the information would be exempt from public disclosure on a number of grounds, including a claim that disclosure would "reveal law enforcement techniques, procedures and guidelines protected" by the Freedom of Information Act.




Pubdate: Sun, 10 Aug 2008
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2008 The Baltimore Sun Company
Author: Kevin Rector

Ecologist, Decades-Long Teacher Revered By Residents

For many, Bob Chance has been the face of ecology in Harford County.

He taught earth science during a three-decade run in the public schools - and was named to the school system's Hall of Fame. He promoted recycling long before the government got involved. He wrote a nature column for the local paper, won election to public office, and showed countless youngsters the wonders of the great outdoors as Ranger Bob.

And now he is, at 62, a defendant in a drug case.

Authorities say he has been growing marijuana at the farm where he raises and sells Christmas trees. And they say they found enough of the drug, either in plant form or packaged in freezers, to roll thousands of joints - so they are taking steps to seize his farm.

Some who know Chance think that's going too far. He is an "old hippie," but is no drug dealer, said Terence O. Hanley, a Bel Air town commissioner and former mayor who has known him for 30 years.

"Everybody, quite frankly, that I have run into thinks it's absurd that he's being charged with the intent to distribute," Hanley said. "Here's a guy who has really done a lot of great things for our town, our community, our kids. I'm shocked that he's in this predicament, and I only wish the best for him. I would hate to see this man lose his farm."

But Harford County State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly said police and prosecutors have a duty to treat Chance the same as everyone else.

"I don't think there's two standards in the community - that there's one standard for regular people who go around and don't do all the things this guy does and then there's another standard for people who have done all the things this guy does," Cassilly said.


In May, Harford County detectives and investigators from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, acting on a tip, raided his farm, court records show.

According to a statement by Harford County Deputy Sheriff Sean Marston in federal court documents, detectives found 12 marijuana plants growing outdoors, seven plants growing indoors, more than a pound and a half of packaged marijuana in freezers in outbuildings, and about 33 grams of hallucinogenic mushrooms.


Chance's trial is scheduled for Oct. 22. If convicted of all five counts, he will face a maximum of 20 years in prison.




Pubdate: Mon, 11 Aug 2008
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Michael Reid, Canwest News Service

Co-Pioneer Of Stoner Movie Genre Still Smokin' And Rehashing Pot Head Notoriety

You might think that three decades after Tommy Chong pioneered the stoner movie genre with Cheech Marin in Up in Smoke, Canada's Prince of Pot would be tired of, pardon the pun, rehashing his reputation as a famous pothead.

"No, not at all. I'm not tired of talking, period," laughs the Edmonton-born cannabis comic, still smokin' after all these years. "When you get to my age, man, you look for people to talk to."

Chong, 70, was in the news again last week when Cheech and Chong, Hollywood's original stoners, announced they would reunite for Hey, What's That Smell?, their first comedy tour in 25 years. It was perfect timing, what with the renaissance in stoner flicks: Pineapple Express, the Harold and Kumar movies, Knocked Up, Dude, Where's My Car? and so on.


Is he worried the DVD release of a.k.a. Tommy Chong will put him back on the authorities' radar? Not at all, says the comic best known to a younger generation as Leo, the aging hippie, on Fox's That '70s Show.

"I never worried about it when I was in jail because I didn't do anything wrong," Chong says. "They're the ones who have to suffer the karma and it's coming down on them. I'm just laughing at it."

Besides, he says, there's safety in numbers. He rattles off a list of famous dope-smokers: Norman Mailer, Louis Armstrong ("the biggest pothead, he smoked every day"), architect Frank Gehry and Montel Williams ("because he has MS, he has to").

He says it's no coincidence some of the most notorious stoners are geniuses. "Some of my biggest heroes in the entertainment business smoke pot. I'm in good company."




In the U.K., another about-face from the ranks of prohibition made the news as a former director of the (Labour party) government Cabinet Office's Anti-Drug Co-ordination Unit called for drug legalization. In office a few years back, Julian Critchley scoffed at the idea of legalization as "folly", but this week got press after admitting prohibition (jailing drug users) "doesn't work, can not work." The Labour government was swift to denounce Critchley's comments.

In Canada, a blistering attack on the minority conservative government's attempts to misrepresent and close Insite, from the pages of a Vancouver Sun editorial. Health Minister Tony Clement's "diatribes" against Insite show him "a first-class hypocrite... opposing Insite does little for the Harperites beyond playing to their political base." Government has "better things to do than whine about Insite."

The Edmonton Sun in Canada reports that Vancouver provincial court judge Jerry Paradis has seen enough in his 28 year judicial career to realize drug prohibition is "leaving the law of supply and demand to the criminals... there's always a demand for these drugs, there always will be a demand." What's the answer, says Paradis, who is also a member of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)? Legalize and regulate, this will stop the dealers.

Sure, Kuwait might jail hapless foreigners for years because they possessed a few grams of hashish. But this didn't stop the Kuwait Times this week from running an opinion piece by Bernd Debusmann criticizing America's national obsession with jailing cannabis users. "America's marijuana prohibition... has not done is keep Americans from using marijuana." Here Kuwaitis learned of America's 1930s drug "czar" Harry Anslinger who proclaimed marijuana "an addictive drug which induces in its users insanity, criminality and death." Little different, says Debusmann, from American drug czar John Walter's proclamation marijuana causes "dependency, disease and dysfunction."


Pubdate: Wed, 13 Aug 2008
Source: Daily Telegraph (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Telegraph Group Limited

Julian Critchley, the former director of the Cabinet Office's Anti-Drug Co-ordination Unit, said Labour's "tough on drugs" approach was like "shifting the deck-chairs around on the Titanic".

He said: "The drugs strategy doesn't work, can not work, because we have no way of controlling the supply of drugs."

It comes after a report found that police and customs are fighting a losing battle against the illegal drug trade despite billions of pounds being spent every year on fighting it. Mr Critchley, who ran the Cabinet Office's Anti-Drug Co-ordination Unit in the early years of the Labour Government, said a belief that drug use could be legislated away is "folly".


But he had become convinced that anti-drugs policy and enforcement had produced "no significant, lasting impact on the availability, affordability or use of drugs."

The only way to effectively battle the problem would be to legalise drugs and take control over their supply, he claimed.


A Home Office spokesman said: "We have no intention of either decriminalising or legalising currently controlled drugs for recreational purposes.

"Drugs are controlled for good reason - they are harmful to health. Their control protects individuals and the public from the harms caused by their misuse."




Pubdate: Sat, 9 Aug 2008
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun

Health Minister Tony Clement's diatribes against Vancouver's safe injection site are becoming tiresome and embarrassing.


What is it about safe injection sites that Clement cannot get his mind around? He understands and endorses the need for clean needles. The sites merely add a desk and chair, and health-care oversight to the mix.

What's more, Clement is proving himself a first-class hypocrite. The health minister doesn't want addicts shooting up; he wants them off drugs.


B.C.'s government has pledged $2.4 million annually for The Crossing at Keremeos, to begin accepting residents in January. So far the feds have contributed zip.


B.C.'s Supreme Court ruled recently that access to Insite constitutes a right -- to life, liberty and security of the person -- under the Charter.


Ministerial jaw flapping about the evils of safe-injection sites at this stage are thereby pointless, and politically unproductive for Conservatives.


In fact, opposing Insite does little for the Harperites beyond playing to their political base, likely to vote for them anyway.


So, just as they've turned a blind eye to private medical clinics to appease right leaning supporters, they need to do the same for liberal-minded folks who agree with no less an authority than the World Health Organization on Insite.

The minister surely has better things to do than whine about Insite. There's an overcrowding crisis in Canada's emergency departments, a dearth of certain medical services in specific provinces and a dire shortage of family physicians coast to coast.



Pubdate: Fri, 8 Aug 2008
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2008 Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Bill Kaufmann


A growing number of ex-cops, prosecutors and judges are convinced none of those frustrations would even rear their heads if the most obvious solution to the drug-driven gang malevolence was adopted.

After 28 years as a provincial court judge in the Vancouver area, Jerry Paradis is convinced drug prohibition ensures police will have their hands full of greedmongering killers.

He's seen much of it in Vancouver and expresses a weary familiarity to similar tales in Calgary and Edmonton.

"Right now, it's leaving the law of supply and demand to the criminals," says Paradis, who retired in 2003.

When he first joined the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Paradis admits the reaction from colleagues was often hostile.

"Since then, I've seen a sea-change," he says. "The cliche is thinking outside the box, but the reality is all of us have been boxed in by orthodoxy."


Legalizing and regulating even hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin would cut the dealers off at their knees. Besides, he says, "there's always a demand for these drugs, there always will be a demand." Police say some of the latest gang shootings in Calgary have been bloody personal vendettas. But the departure point for all the aggression is drugs, mainly cocaine.




Pubdate: Wed, 13 Aug 2008
Source: Kuwait Times (Kuwait)
Copyright: 2008 Kuwait Times Newspaper
Author: Bernd Debusmann

(Reuters) America's alcohol prohibition lasted 13 years, filled the country's prisons, inspired contempt for the law among millions, bred corruption and produced Al Capone. What it did not do was keep Americans from drinking.

America's marijuana prohibition drew into its 72nd year this month.

It has created a huge underground industry catering to users, helped the U.S. prison population balloon into the world's largest, and diverted the resources of American law enforcement. What it has not done is keep Americans from using marijuana.

On the contrary.


Anslinger deemed marijuana "an addictive drug which induces in its users insanity, criminality and death." Walters often takes issue with "the perception that marijuana is about fun and freedom.

It isn't. It's about dependency, disease and dysfunction.


When Barney Frank, at a news conference to explain the rationale for his bill, was asked what timeline he had in mind, he quipped: "Not soon . but eventually, you'll see the development of a marijuana futures market." David Murray, the chief scientist in the drug czar's office who had listened to the briefing, was not amused. "It's not funny," he said, "not funny at all." But not impossible either, in the long run.


 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


Conservatives should oppose federal prosecution of medical marijuana providers

By Jacob Sullum



Norm Stamper is a cop who saw it all during his 34 years on active duty. As police of Seattle from 1994 through 2000, he was in charge during violent World Trade Organization protests in the Emerald City.


At a news conference on Aug. 8th, Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader outlined his plan to empty prisons of non-violent drug offenders and fill them up with corporate criminals.

Video: rtsp://


Century of Lies - 08/12/08 - Arthur Burnett

American Bar Association panel on drugs featuring Judge Arthur Burnett of NAADPC, Jay Rorty of ACLU and Judge Lynn Sharard

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 08/13/08 - Philippe Lucas

Philippe Lucas of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society discusses drug war tactics of US, Canada and the UN + Terry Nelson of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition


"I am Christopher Columbus at a flat earth conference. I am Charles Darwin at a creationist conference. I am Micah Daigle at a DARE conference."


Computer technician, medicinal cannabis user and "pothead" Gary Ross gets nailed by Stephen Colbert


The Naked Queen is a cultural critique of the mythic foundations of the war on drugs which has in essence become a war on cannabis. Starting with the ancient history of cannabis and leading to the extremism of U.S. federal policy with regard to this enigmatic plant, this feature documentary strips away the propagandist illusions about cannabis with its "roots in hell", unveiling the hypocrisy of this entrenched policy.



Drug War Madness. A DrugSense Focus Alert


DPA seeks interns who are ready to be part of a growing movement for drug policy reform. Interns work as policy team members in our state campaigns. Intern tasks include creating fact sheets, conducting research, participating in policy discussions and meetings, and producing materials for our state and national campaigns.


The Marijuana Policy Project has two new job openings in our headquarters in Washington, D.C.: Membership Coordinator and Membership Assistant

For both positions, please visit for full job descriptions, salary information, and instructions on how to apply.



By Craig Bettenhausen

This Berwyn Heights raid seems very shocking, but perhaps it shouldn't ( "Prince George's raid prompts call for probe," Aug. 8). The "war on drugs" has been doing things like this to people for decades.

Maybe we'll finally pay attention to how dangerous and counterproductive the "war on drugs" is now that a white middle-class family has suffered the sort of pain and indignity poor and nonwhite people have repeatedly suffered in this war for decades.

But putting the racial aspects of the drug war aside for a moment, I would ask everyone to read about this incident and think about whether the drug war is worth all this.

Are you willing to accept that any Tuesday morning, the police might kick down your door, murder your pets, make you walk backward down the stairs in your underwear with your hands above your head, then handcuff you and throw you to the floor to stare at the pets' corpses - - all to be sure that no one is getting high and eating cookies?

Craig Bettenhausen,


Pubdate: Mon, 11 Aug 2008
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)


Drug Prohibition - An Untenable Hypocrisy  ( Top )

By Danny Kushlick

Julian Critchley has come out and said what those in charge of UK drug policy won't admit: prohibition doesn't work

The former head of the government's UK anti-drug co-ordination unit (UKADCU), Julian Critchley, posted to BBC Home Affairs correspondent Mark Easton's blog last week, The War on Drugs, calling for the legalisation of drugs. In his post ( ) he also reports how those he met during his time at the unit knew that criminalisation was causing more harm than the drugs themselves. (This comes as no surprise to anyone who has read the damning report from the prime ministers strategy unit from 2003.)

Critchley says:

"I think what was truly depressing about my time in UKADCU was that the overwhelming majority of professionals I met, including those from the police, the health service, government and voluntary sectors held the same view: the illegality of drugs causes far more problems for society and the individual than it solves. Yet publicly, all those intelligent, knowledgeable people were forced to repeat the nonsensical mantra that the Government would be 'tough on drugs', even though they all knew that the Government's policy was actually causing harm."

Critchley is to be congratulated for speaking out with such candour on the issue. I have met many former and current civil servants who are of the same opinion, but haven't gone public. What Critchley makes absolutely clear is that many, if not most of those working in the drugs field are knowingly colluding with a regime that actively causes harm. Their silence is not based on ignorance but is tacit support for one of the great social policy disasters of the last 100 years.

Critchley, having retrained as a teacher, concludes with the following:

"I find that when presented with the facts, the students I teach are quite capable of considering issues such as this, and reaching rational conclusions even if they started with a blind Daily Mail-esque approach. I find it a shame that no mainstream political party accords the electorate the same respect."

His final comment ought to send a shiver down the spine of every UK voter. If you voted in the last election, you probably voted for prohibition. You voted to gift hundreds of billions of pounds to organised crime each year, to undermine the social and economic development of producer countries such as Colombia, Afghanistan as well as transit countries such as Guinea Bissau and Jamaica. You voted to double the amount of acquisitive crime in the UK and to double the prison population with it. Your "X" contributed to misery and degradation for millions of the most marginalised people on earth. Unless we all do something to change it, you will probably vote for prohibition next time too.

In 2003 at a press conference, I asked the then drugs spokesperson at the Home Office, Bob Ainsworth MP, whether the government would support a cost benefit analysis ( ) of drug law enforcement. Quick as a flash his reply came back: "Why would we want to do that unless we were going to legalise drugs?" Does that sound like a man ignorant of where that audit trail would lead?

It is the candour of the likes of Critchley and others that exposes the hypocrisy of those failing to speak out and makes prohibition untenable in the long term. As Joseph McNamara, former police chief of Kansas City and San Jose put it: "The drug war cannot stand the light of day. It will collapse as quickly as the Vietnam war, as soon as people find out what's really going on." Tragically and despicably, the government's commitment to populist posturing means that the collapse will come far too late for many.

Danny Kushlick is director of Transform Drug Policy Foundation. This piece first appeared in The Guardian,


"I don't use drugs; my dreams are frightening enough." - M.C. Escher

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