THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) POLICE TOLD TO IGNORE POT POSSESSION DURING CONVENTION
Pubdate: Fri, 22 Aug 2008
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2008 The Washington Times, LLC.
Author: Valerie Richardson
DENVER - A city drug panel has voted to urge police to refrain from arresting adults for marijuana possession during next week's Democratic National Convention, but the cops aren't necessarily on board.
Lt. Ernie Martinez, the police department's representative on the panel, said police, bracing for potentially tens of thousands of protesters during the Aug. 25-28 convention, would have more pressing duties than rounding up pot smokers.
At the same time, he said, authorities wouldn't ignore blatant flouting of the law. "If something occurs in front of us, we're going to act," he said.
The Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel, appointed by Mayor John Hickenlooper, voted 5-3 at its Wednesday night meeting to issue a recommendation discouraging police from "arresting, detaining or issuing a citation" to any adult caught with up to one ounce of marijuana during the four-day convention.
Denver voters have twice approved initiatives calling on police to overlook adult marijuana possession but police, citing state and federal laws, have continued to make marijuana-related arrests. A department spokesman yesterday said it was reviewing the panel's recommendation.
(2) POT, STEM CELLS MAKE THE BALLOT ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 22 Aug 2008
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Copyright: 2008 Detroit Free Press
Author: Dawson Bell, Free Press Staff Writer
Backers of State Reform Effort Promise to Appeal
LANSING -- The field of statewide ballot proposals for 2008 appears to be set at two -- medical marijuana and embryonic stem cell research -- following approval of ballot wording by a state elections panel Thursday. Advertisement
The proposal to permit the cultivation, possession and use of marijuana by patients with certain debilitating illnesses, such as muscular dystrophy or HIV-AIDS, was designated as Proposal 1 by the Board of State Canvassers.
(3) FEDS' MEDICAL POT CHALLENGE TOSSED ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 22 Aug 2008
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Santa Cruz Sentinel
Author: Jennifer Squires, Sentinel Staff
A federal court ruling handed down Wednesday has lifted the hopes of medical marijuana users by denying a Bush administration request to toss a lawsuit brought by Santa Cruz city and county officials and Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana members.
WAMM co-founder Valerie Corral called the ruling "hopeful." WAMM had its medical marijuana seized by federal agents in a 2002 raid.
"Our lawsuit is really much more of an appeal than a lawsuit. It's an appeal for mercy from the federal government," Corral said. "We're not asking to break the law. We're asking to have another avenue for relief."
The plaintiffs in the case contend that the federal government is deliberately interfering with how the state makes the distinction between legal and illegal marijuana use: the recommendation of a state-licensed physician to recommend medical marijuana to a sick patient. The plaintiffs say the federal government is seeking to disrupt California's medical marijuana law by targeting doctors who approve their patients' medical marijuana use and local governments that issue state-approved medical pot cards, among other things. That, the plaintiffs say, interferes with California's Constitutional right to make its own laws.
(4) COLUMN: CONSERVATIVES' TOUGH TALK ON DRUGS IS A CHEAP POLITICAL ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 22 Aug 2008
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Barbara Yaffe, The Vancouver Sun
The Harper government's escalating rhetoric on drug policy will turn off as many voters as it turns on.
Health Minister Tony Clement on Monday ramped up an attack on Vancouver's supervised injection site, questioning the medical ethics of health care workers who support harm reduction strategies such as Insite.
Conservatives have also mailed flyers to people across the country, equating drug pushers -- who clearly are criminals -- with junkies, who are addicts with huge social problems. It pledges: "The Conservative government will clean up drug crime."
A new Angus Reid poll reveals that, in B.C. and Alberta, arguably the region where people might be most inclined to consider the injection site when deciding which party to support, a majority of people in fact endorse Insite.
Specifically, 53 per cent of British Columbians and 56 per cent of Albertans say they strongly or moderately support the Downtown Eastside harm-reduction clinic.
Across Canada, nearly 40 per cent support it, even as 19 per cent also mistakenly believe that Insite hands out free drugs. Insite, of course, provides no more than a safe setting, clean needles and some nursing oversight.
The World Health Organization, as well as the medical establishment domestically, support harm reduction and supervised injection sites.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
A fresh round of prohibition propaganda attempts to connect the war
on drugs to other problematic issues, from the war on terror to
basic parenting skills. In Illinois, one newspaper is calling the
state legislature out for cuts in substance abuse treatment; and one
California town shoots down a proposal to randomly drug test public
officials on constitutional grounds.
A fresh round of prohibition propaganda attempts to connect the war on drugs to other problematic issues, from the war on terror to basic parenting skills. In Illinois, one newspaper is calling the state legislature out for cuts in substance abuse treatment; and one California town shoots down a proposal to randomly drug test public officials on constitutional grounds.
(5) MISSOURIAN CONNECTED WAR ON DRUGS TO WAR ON TERROR ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 17 Aug 2008
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Copyright: 2008 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Author: Phillip Dine, Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON -- If you want to understand the man leading the U.S. fight against the tightening links between narcotics and terror, some clues can be found in Cape Girardeau, St. Louis and Springfield, Ill.
Those are the places that forged Missourian Michael Braun, chief of operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration. These days, the DEA's mission isn't just to combat the world's $322 billion drug trade, but also to seek and destroy a new type of hybrid terrorist group/drug cartel that Braun describes as "meaner and uglier than anything law enforcement or the military have ever faced."
"It is all interconnected and getting damned scary."
It's a fight that has taken Braun from the streets of St. Louis to the jungles of Brazil, the Mexican border and the mountains of Afghanistan. Since 2005, he's overseen DEA operations around the world, while also leading intelligence operations that include the Pentagon and FBI.
A fierce demeanor, a shaved head and a beard, along with a 6-foot 3-inch, 210-pound chiseled frame give Braun the type of appearance that not only a drug dealer might flee on a dark street. At age 55, he gets up at 4:45 every morning to run three to four miles or lift weights.
He speaks in a surprisingly soft voice, often about the Midwestern work ethic and values he absorbed growing up in Missouri, and the lessons he learned from local law enforcement officers in Missouri and Illinois.
"He's a straight-talking tough guy with all the right experiences on the ground in the rough parts of the world," said Michael Jacobson, a counterterrorism expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Douglas Farah, a national security consultant who works frequently with the federal government, called Braun "the person who realized how DEA could fit into the war on terror in a more robust way."
(6) CRACKDOWN ON SMUGGLERS NEEDED, CHERTOFF SAYS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 16 Aug 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
Author: Randal C. Archibold
LOS ANGELES -- The rising tide of guns flowing into Mexico from the United States, which is fueling some of the worst drug violence in Mexico in years, can be stopped only by cracking down on smugglers the way federal authorities hobbled the Mafia, the secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff, said Thursday.
Mr. Chertoff gave that assessment in an interview as he attended a conference here of governors from United States and Mexican border states that ended Friday.
With thousands killed in Mexico in the past year as drug cartels battle for turf and supremacy, security along the border remained a major focus of the governors, who were under heavy guard by local, state and federal law enforcement officers.
The Mexican governors sought to emphasize the United States' place as the chief recipient of drugs and exporter of weapons. United States officials have estimated that 90 percent to 95 percent of the weapons used in Mexico's drug violence come from the United States.
(7) PARENTS' PRESCRIPTION DRUGS POSE RISK TO TEENS ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 15 Aug 2008
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Elizabeth Fernandez, Chronicle Staff Writer
Parents who don't safeguard their medications are putting their teenagers at serious risk of addiction to prescription drugs, according to a national survey.
The survey, released Thursday by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, found that parents are dropping the ball on preventing their kids from using drugs, drinking and smoking. Teenagers surveyed said it's easier to buy narcotics than beer. Nearly half the 17-year-olds in the survey said they have at least one friend who abuses prescription drugs.
By overlooking the dangers posed in the medicine cabinet, parents in effect become "passive pushers," said Joseph Califano Jr., chairman and president of the center. The study surveyed 1,002 youths ages 12 to 17 along with more than 300 of their parents between April and June.
(8) EDITORIAL: NOT WISE TO CUT DRUG TREATMENT DOLLARS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 14 Aug 2008
Source: Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Copyright: 2008 The Daily Herald Company
When the needle goes into the arm, it does more than puncture the flesh and feed a drug habit. It also pierces society's ability to manage itself in a safe and sound way. Drug abuse is a huge public health problem.
But there is a positive trend - through the years, treatment has become more widely accepted as a key solution to the problem of drug addiction. And it has become more available.
That is, except in Illinois.
The state has cut $55 million out of a $113 million budget for substance abuse treatment programs. This has thrust many suburban treatment providers into a struggle to provide services. In some instances, they have been forced to turn people away.
They will be among those who can no longer experience the hope that comes with each day free of addiction. If they find help nowhere else, they will be counted among those government statistics that show addiction's ugly toll on society.
We know the governor and legislature have few easy choices when it comes to balancing a battered state budget. But they need to think a lot harder about the financial folly of cutting drug treatment programs. What they save now, in cutting treatment, will only cost the state much more over the long run.
If they are forward thinking, they will realize this - research shows that for every $1 spent on substance abuse treatment, $7 is saved in reduced crime and health care costs ( California Drug and Alcohol Treatment Assessment. )
We would invite the governor and lawmakers to ask judges, who value treatment as an alternative to imprisonment, what they think of these budget cuts.
They might say they leave them with no alternative but to incarcerate a drug offender which, in Illinois, costs taxpayers $22,627 per inmate per year. And keep in mind that existing dollars are being cut from providers, not what has been budgeted and not spent.
(9) RANDOM DRUG TESTING DEEMED UNCONSTITUTIONAL ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 16 Aug 2008
Source: Daily Press (Victorville, CA)
Copyright: 2008 Freedom Communications, Inc.
Author: Ryan Orr, Staff Writer
Biane Responds to Tax Collectors Random Drug Testing Idea
SAN BERNARDINO -- The county's 4th District Supervisor is exploring options to set up a voluntary random drug testing program for exempt employees.
Supervisor Gary Ovitt has asked county counsel to look into the idea of letting elected officials and their staff participate in voluntary drug tests, said Mark Kirk, Ovitt's chief of staff. Both Kirk and Ovitt said they would volunteer to be tested.
"At the end of the day having drug testing is not going to restore a whole lot of confidence in the county's leadership, but if that's something we could do to restore some of the confidence than we would have no problem doing it," Kirk said.
First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt said he would also volunteer for drug testing.
"If we implemented this for top management, I would volunteer for testing because I consider that leading by example," Mitzelfelt said. Mitzelfelt's spokesman David Zook said he would absolutely volunteer for testing.
Mitzelfelt pointed out that if elected officials tested positive for drugs, they could not be fired or disciplined because they were elected by the people.
In response to a suggestion by Tax Collector Dick Larsen to implement mandatory drug testing for elected officials and top management, Chairman Paul Biane said that a supreme court ruling prohibits such a program.
"The court ruled that agencies could not order the testing of existing employees without a reasonable suspicion of substance abuse," Biane wrote.
He did share Larsen's concern about allegations that Assessor Bill Postmus has battled an addiction to methamphetamine.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Lack of access to medicine in a Colorado jail has led to a lawsuit,
and the cancer patient who filed the lawsuit is likely to win,
according to a report out of the Rocky Mountain News. The cost of
the war on drugs is explained to taxpayers in Lake County, Illinois,
as a local newspaper details the dollars going toward drug
prosecutions at the county level. Also, Virginia is leading states
in reducing crack sentences, while in New York, drug corruption has
now reached the police academy level.
Lack of access to medicine in a Colorado jail has led to a lawsuit, and the cancer patient who filed the lawsuit is likely to win, according to a report out of the Rocky Mountain News. The cost of the war on drugs is explained to taxpayers in Lake County, Illinois, as a local newspaper details the dollars going toward drug prosecutions at the county level. Also, Virginia is leading states in reducing crack sentences, while in New York, drug corruption has now reached the police academy level.
(10) $150,000 SETTLEMENT LIKELY FOR MAN DENIED MEDICATION ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 16 Aug 2008
Source: Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)
Copyright: 2008 Denver Publishing Co.
Author: Daniel J. Chacon
A terminally ill man who claimed to have been treated "like an animal" after he was booked into the Denver jail is poised to get a $150,000 settlement from the city.
Timothy Thomason, who has non-Hodgkins lymphoma, filed a lawsuit against the city and sheriff's Deputy Joseph Cleveland, alleging he was deprived of his constitutional rights when he was denied medical treatment and access to his medications while he was in the city's custody.
"I've experienced excruciating pain in my life with my cancer. But this was one of the most painful and scary experiences I've ever had," Thomason said in a 2006 interview with the Rocky Mountain News.
The 34-year-old Denver man was arrested at his home Aug. 25, 2006, on suspicion of cultivating marijuana.
Thomason, who is licensed to have and grow marijuana for medical purposes, relies on a regimen of powerful painkillers, including OxyContin and Xanax, to control his severe pain and anxiety.
After he was arrested, officers retrieved his medications and took them to the city jail.
One of the arresting officers told jailers that Thomason was sick "and to treat him nicely," according to court documents.
Thomason alleged the exact opposite happened.
(11) WAR ON DRUG COSTS ESCALATE ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 16 Aug 2008
Source: News Sun (IL)
Copyright: 2008 Digital Chicago & Sun-Times News Group
Author: Craig Peterson, Special to the News-Sun
Taxpayers Absorb Most Of Prosecution Expenses
WAUKEGAN -- Lake County will spend $702,969 prosecuting drug offenses this year.
While that number increases each year, the federal government's annual grant funding of $204,858 to prosecute is unchanged from 20 years ago. Except for an estimated $30,000 in revenue from asset forfeitures, county taxpayers absorb the difference: $468,111 which accounts for 3.7 percent of the state's attorney's office's $12.7 million budget.
The state's attorney's multijurisdictional drug prosecution grant program funds four assistant state's attorneys, two secretaries, a paralegal and an investigator -- eight of 126 full-time positions in State's Attorney Michael Waller's office.
The program's goal is to deter drug-related crime through criminal investigations and prosecutions and focus on increasing the penalties of drug-related offenses, a strategy that has filled federal and state prisons with more non-violent drug offenders. According to Department of Justice statistics, non-violent drug offenders accounted for nearly a quarter of federal and state prison populations in 2006.
Although one objective is stiffer penalties for drug offenses, Waller said the county's drug prosecution program does not contribute to that trend. He said first-time offenders are not sentenced to prison, since the focus is on treatment.
(12) VA LEADS IN CRACK SENTENCE REDUCTIONS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 16 Aug 2008
Source: Daily Press (Newport News,VA)
Copyright: 2008 The Daily Press
Author: Peter Dujardin
Under new rules, federal judges in the state have lowered the terms of at least 825 prisoners.
NEWPORT NEWS - Virginia leads the nation in the number of prisoners who've had sentences reduced under new federal sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine, U.S. Sentencing Commission numbers show.
Federal judges in Virginia have lowered the sentences of at least 825 prisoners since the new rules took effect March 3 -- with the average prisoner getting more than two years cut from a sentence, according to a recent report from the commission.
Judges have granted sentence reductions to 65 percent of the 1,271 federal prisoners in Virginia whose applications were acted upon by July 22. The numbers don't show how many have been released from prison.
Over the past 5 1/2 months, local defense attorneys, federal prosecutors and judges have been busy working on a slew of sentencing reductions coming through the federal system.
(13) POLICE ACADEMY STUDENT HELD ON DRUG-SALE CHARGE ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 18 Aug 2008
Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 Watertown Daily Times
STONE RIDGE - A would-be police officer is in the Ulster County jail, accused of selling drugs to an undercover narcotics officer.
Twenty-two year old David Wiggins of J Kingston, a student in the Ulster County Community College police academy, faces felony drug charges for allegedly selling cocaine to s member of the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics team.
Authorities claim Wiggins sold the cocaine to the officer on Thursday, and they quickly arrested him on Friday after figuring out he was enrolled in the police academy in Stone Ridge, about 60 miles south of Albany.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
In the borderless age of youtube, camera phones, blogging, and media
activism, like the Media Awareness Project, lazy journalists are
finding it harder to submit inaccurate international cannabis
Hemp won a victory in New Zealand, where the world's most southern
legal hemp crop could be harvested as early as next spring.
The LA Times asked the question, "Medical Marijuana: What Does
Science Say?," as if science matters. Sorry. Of course science
matters, but it is easy to become cynical when the debate becomes
The Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana made progress on the
legal front. "Utilizing selective arrests and prosecutions, the
federal government has sought to sabotage California's reasoned
approach to medical marijuana use," said Graham Boyd, Director of the
ACLU Drug Law Reform Project. "For the first time, a court has
recognized that a calculated plan by the federal government to
undercut state medical marijuana laws is patently
In the borderless age of youtube, camera phones, blogging, and media activism, like the Media Awareness Project, lazy journalists are finding it harder to submit inaccurate international cannabis columns.
Hemp won a victory in New Zealand, where the world's most southern legal hemp crop could be harvested as early as next spring.
The LA Times asked the question, "Medical Marijuana: What Does Science Say?," as if science matters. Sorry. Of course science matters, but it is easy to become cynical when the debate becomes monotonous.
The Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana made progress on the legal front. "Utilizing selective arrests and prosecutions, the federal government has sought to sabotage California's reasoned approach to medical marijuana use," said Graham Boyd, Director of the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project. "For the first time, a court has recognized that a calculated plan by the federal government to undercut state medical marijuana laws is patently unconstitutional."
(14) WRITER SAYS CANADIAN CRITICISM OF HIS 'POT EDWARD ISLAND' ARTICLE UNFOUNDED ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 21 Aug 2008
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2008 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Referenced: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n785/a07.html Continues: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08.n801.a04.html
(CNS) - The author of an article in a Boston newspaper that claimed Prince Edward Island was a marijuana paradise has fired back at Canadians who derided his story as wildly inaccurate.
Alan Earls, a reporter for the Boston Phoenix weekly, had described P. E. I. as "Pot Edward Island," and claimed among other things that it has become a haven for dope growers fuelled by cheap Quebec electricity.
In reality, P. E. I. gets most of its power from New Brunswick, and Denis Morin, and RCMP spokesman quoted in the article about the seizure of increasing amounts of marijuana in the province later said that the figures were "quite minor in the scale of things for P. E. I. and Canada."
In a response to his critics in Monday's edition of the newspaper, Mr. Earls said they were motivated by "anger that a dumb American would have the audacity to find fault with anything Canadian (it is tough, I'll admit), let alone anything having to do with Canada's garden spot, P. E. I."
(15) PERSEVERANCE LEADS TO HEMP APPROVAL ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 19 Aug 2008
Source: Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2008 Allied Press Limited
Author: Glenn Conway
The first hemp crop to come from New Zealand seed will be grown in the Catlins this summer in a move its backers believe could open up a new lucrative option for New Zealand farmers.
Long-time industrial hemp campaigner Mack McIntosh has fought officialdom for more than two years to get clearance to grow and market the only New Zealand-manufactured hemp cultivar.
A letter recently arrived in his Tawanui mailbox, confirming the Director-general of Health had approved his "Aotearoa 1" cultivar to be used to grow hemp for industrial purposes.
He likened the news to winning his own Olympic gold medal.
It also means growers no longer have to import seed from Canada to grow commercial hemp crops.
The approval gives New Zealand growers the chance to mass-produce hemp by-products, ranging from clothing and soaps to biofuels.
Mr McIntosh came close to giving up on his battle for permission, but yesterday said he had renewed energy to grow the crop and see hemp become a new export and commercial possibility.
The Clutha Agricultural Development Board has been involved with Mr McIntosh's push for approval and believes hemp crops could provide farmers with an exciting land use alternative, especially in marginal areas where very little other forms of agriculture were possible.
(16) MEDICAL MARIJUANA: WHAT DOES SCIENCE SAY? ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 18 Aug 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Jill U. Adams
Alert: Medical Marijuana Pro-Con http://www.mapinc.org/alert/0382.html Related:: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n794/a04.html (Pro) Related: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n794/a06.html (Con)
A Look at the Pros and Cons of Medical Marijuana Use, a Topic That Inspires Strong Opinions on Both Sides.
DEPENDING ON whom you ask, marijuana is a dangerous drug that should be kept illegal alongside heroin and PCP, or it's a miracle herb with a trove of medical benefits that the government is seeking to deny the public -- or something in between: a plant with medical uses and drawbacks, worth exploring.
As the political debates over medical marijuana drag on, a small cadre of researchers continues to test inhaled marijuana for the treatment of pain, nausea and muscle spasms.
All drugs have risks, they point out -- including ones in most Americans' medicine cabinets, such as aspirin and other pain-relievers or antihistamines such as Benadryl. Doctors try to balance those risks against the potential for medical good -- why not for marijuana as well, they ask.
The truth, these researchers say, is that marijuana has medical benefits -- for chronic-pain syndromes, cancer pain, multiple sclerosis, AIDS wasting syndrome and the nausea that accompanies chemotherapy -- and attempts to understand and harness these are being hampered. Also, they add, science reveals that the risks of marijuana use, which have been thoroughly researched, are real but generally small.
Read on to learn what science has to say about the medical pros and cons, and some mitigating factors, of Cannabis sativa.
(17) FEDERAL WAR ON MEDICAL POT CHALLENGED ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 21 Aug 2008
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Referenced: http://www.drugpolicy.org/marijuana/medical/challenges/cases/conant/ Cited: ACLU http://www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/medmarijuana/index.html Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/topic/Conant (Conant v. Walters)
A federal judge breathed new life Wednesday into medical marijuana advocates' effort to ward off the federal crackdown on medical pot in California, saying enforcement of U.S. drug laws can go too far if it seeks to interfere with state authority.
U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose denied a Bush administration request to dismiss a lawsuit by Santa Cruz city and county officials and members of a medical marijuana collective whose drugs were seized by federal agents in a 2002 raid.
The Santa Cruz raid was one of many actions by federal authorities against suppliers of marijuana in California since the state's voters approved a 1996 initiative allowing individuals to grow and use pot with their doctors' approval. Federal prosecutors have shut down medical marijuana dispensaries, threatened to sue the dispensaries' landlords, won convictions against growers for violating federal narcotics laws and sought to punish doctors for recommending marijuana.
The U.S. Supreme Court and other courts have upheld the federal actions, except for the government's attempt to strip federal prescription licenses from the doctors. But Fogel said the plaintiffs in the current case may be able to show that the federal government exceeded its constitutional authority by trying to force California to repeal its medical marijuana law.
The suit claims federal prosecutors have tried to disrupt the California law by enforcement that targeted critical participants in the state system - doctors who approved their patients' marijuana use, local officials who issued state-approved identification cards to medical marijuana users, local governments whose zoning allowed pot dispensaries, and marijuana suppliers who cooperated with local governments.
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Prohibitionists constantly claim that any lessening of the penalties,
the slightest wavering in the government commitment to jail as many
drug users as possible, will result in more people taking drugs. But
the U.K.'s National Health Service's own figures, released last week,
show a different story. When cannabis was re-classified to a less-
serious "C" classification, cannabis use decreased. It "would appear
to indicate that the classification to class C did not have the type
of adverse effects that had been discussed," said Michael Farrell
psychiatrist at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.
Also in the U.K. last week, a backlash against prohibition-defector
Julian Critchley (a former top anti-drug official) as staunch
prohibitionists are trotted out to recite the official rationale
behind jailing, say, cannabis users. In a piece run by the
Independent newspaper, former Chief Constable Ian Oliver reveals that
such ideas are "dangerously naive views" because "legalisation of
drugs would lead inevitably to a greater number of addictions." Crime
"would not be eliminated or reduced." You see, there exists a "global
movement to overturn the United Nations Conventions and secure the
legalisation of all drugs driven by people who see huge profits to be
had from marketing another addictive substance."
In Canada, Health Minister Tony Clement continued to attack very the
idea of a supervised injection center, hectoring doctors in the
process last week. Howls of derision were heaped upon Clement from
papers large and small. "Presumably, Clement would rather see addicts
perish in a place outside of medical supervision," wrote one B.C.
paper editorial. "The idea that Insite does more harm than good,"
continued the column "has been so thoroughly undermined by clinical
data as to be laughable." Even the normally Harper-regime-friendly
Globe and Mail opined, "Not himself a doctor, Mr. Clement's scolding
would have been presumptuous under any circumstances... As his own
party distributes literature dehumanizing that disease's sufferers,
Mr. Clement is in no position to deliver lectures on compassion."
Prohibitionists constantly claim that any lessening of the penalties, the slightest wavering in the government commitment to jail as many drug users as possible, will result in more people taking drugs. But the U.K.'s National Health Service's own figures, released last week, show a different story. When cannabis was re-classified to a less- serious "C" classification, cannabis use decreased. It "would appear to indicate that the classification to class C did not have the type of adverse effects that had been discussed," said Michael Farrell psychiatrist at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.
Also in the U.K. last week, a backlash against prohibition-defector Julian Critchley (a former top anti-drug official) as staunch prohibitionists are trotted out to recite the official rationale behind jailing, say, cannabis users. In a piece run by the Independent newspaper, former Chief Constable Ian Oliver reveals that such ideas are "dangerously naive views" because "legalisation of drugs would lead inevitably to a greater number of addictions." Crime "would not be eliminated or reduced." You see, there exists a "global movement to overturn the United Nations Conventions and secure the legalisation of all drugs driven by people who see huge profits to be had from marketing another addictive substance."
In Canada, Health Minister Tony Clement continued to attack very the idea of a supervised injection center, hectoring doctors in the process last week. Howls of derision were heaped upon Clement from papers large and small. "Presumably, Clement would rather see addicts perish in a place outside of medical supervision," wrote one B.C. paper editorial. "The idea that Insite does more harm than good," continued the column "has been so thoroughly undermined by clinical data as to be laughable." Even the normally Harper-regime-friendly Globe and Mail opined, "Not himself a doctor, Mr. Clement's scolding would have been presumptuous under any circumstances... As his own party distributes literature dehumanizing that disease's sufferers, Mr. Clement is in no position to deliver lectures on compassion."
(18) COCAINE USE IN ENGLAND AND WALES RISES AS CANNABIS USE FALLS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 19 Aug 2008
Source: British Medical Journal, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
Author: Helen Macdonald
The number of people using cocaine in England and Wales rose last year, although fewer people used cannabis, the latest figures show.
The data from the NHS Information Centre, published this week, are set against an overall decline in drug misuse over recent years.
However, the use of cannabis continues to fall. It reached a peak in 2002, when 10.9% of adults reported taking it. Last year 8.2% of the population, an estimated 2.6 million people, reported taking cannabis, down from 8.7% the previous year.
"Falling cannabis use is positive news and would appear to indicate that the classification to class C did not have the type of adverse effects that had been discussed," said Michael Farrell, consultant psychiatrist at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.
"This is consistent with the finding in western Australia a number of years ago where rates of self reported cannabis fell after softening legislation."
(19) LEGALISING DRUGS WOULD ONLY MAKE MATTERS WORSE ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 19 Aug 2008
Source: Independent (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Author: Ian Oliver
Now he has become a teacher, his dangerously naive views appear to be more harmful than an inadequate UK drug policy, and he must associate with a limited group of professionals if his assertion is not gross exaggeration. The majority of people in the UK do not wish to see drugs legalised, and only 6 per cent of the global population between the ages of 15-64 use drugs; this is hardly justification for legalisation.
The legalisation of drugs would lead inevitably to a greater number of addictions, an increased burden on the health and social services, and there would be no compensating diminution in criminal justice costs as, contrary to the view held by legalisers, crime would not be eliminated or reduced.
Perhaps it is not widely known that there is a global movement to overturn the United Nations Conventions and secure the legalisation of all drugs driven by people who see huge profits to be had from marketing another addictive substance. Research has demonstrated that the dependency rate for "legal" drugs among those who chose to use them would be around 50 per cent, the same as tobacco, which is why major companies are turning to developing countries in order to encourage smoking.
(20) HEALTH NUT ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 20 Aug 2008
Source: North Shore News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 North Shore News
Health Minister Tony Clement demonstrated this week that he has an alarmingly poor understanding of the principles on which the medical profession is built.
In an address to the Canadian Medical Association Monday, Clement said health professionals who support Vancouver's safe injection site are immoral. By allowing addicts to take drugs in a clinical environment, nurses and other staff are neglecting their duty to do no harm to their charges.
Presumably, Clement would rather see addicts perish in a place outside of medical supervision.
The idea that Insite does more harm than good has been so thoroughly undermined by clinical data as to be laughable.
(21) NO REASON TO SCOLD DOCTORS ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 20 Aug 2008
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2008 The Globe and Mail Company
Not himself a doctor, Mr. Clement's scolding would have been presumptuous under any circumstances. But it was all the more dubious, because of the analogy he went on to draw. "Imagine for a moment a doctor who has a patient with a serious but treatable case of cancer," he said. "Would it be ethical for that doctor to give that woman morphine and otherwise make her comfortable until she died of her disease, rather than offer the patient treatment toward full recovery?"
As is always the case when he attempts to present harm reduction and rehabilitation as mutually exclusive options, Mr. Clement neglected to mention that Insite does not divert addicts from treatment. On the contrary, it actively encourages them to seek it. In addition to the reams of peer-reviewed research that Mr. Clement continues to dismiss, his own comparatively skeptical advisory panel acknowledged that such encouragement has led to increased use of rehabilitation facilities.
If Mr. Clement believes that long-term treatment is underfunded, as he spent much of his speech arguing, then his government should increase funding for it. But that does not justify attacking the morals of medical professionals who believe, with ample research to support them, that facilities such as Insite are life-saving tools in treating the disease of drug addiction. As his own party distributes literature dehumanizing that disease's sufferers, Mr. Clement is in no position to deliver lectures on compassion.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
THERE'S A NEW ARMY IN THE DRUG WAR AND IT'S... NINJAS? ( Top )
By Pete Guither at Drug WarRant - www.drugwarrant.com
UNLOCKING THE POWER OF ART TO COUNTER INJUSTICE ( Top )
By Anthony Papa, AlterNet.
The Drug Policy Alliance's re:FORM art auction benefit marries art with tackling the ridiculous "war on drugs."
Q & A WITH TOMMY CHONG ( Top )
The hippie icon recently celebrated his 70th birthday, published his 2nd book, and announced the end of his 26-year feud with Cheech Marin
WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS: CHANGES IN THE SOUTHEAST ASIAN DRUGS MARKET ( Top )
The report, Withdrawal Symptoms: changes in the Southeast Asian Drugs Market, draws on hundreds of interviews with farmers, users and traders. It finds that harm reduction and alternative livelihood policies must be in place before any opium reduction if negative health and development impacts are to be avoided.
THE HUMAN COST OF MARIJUANA PROHIBITION ( Top )
by John Berry
MPP just released a new documentary examining the effects of marijuana prohibition on people's lives. The piece looks at four stories (including our own Rob Kampia's) as examples of how marijuana prohibition and its consequences impact the lives of a diverse group of Americans and their families.
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Century of Lies - 08/19/08 - Richard Burton
Richard P. Burton, Director of Project Reach & former chair of NAACP Prisoner Rights committee + Doug McVay of Drug War Fact & Misha Glenny discusses drug war on Charlie Rose/PBS
Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 08/20/08 - Peter Moskos
Peter Moskos, professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, author of Cop in the Hood & recent US NEWS & World Report article: "Drugs are too dangerous not to regulate - We should legalize them" + Poppygate Report with Glenn Greenway, Terry Nelson with LEAP Report
HEMPFEST AGAIN DRAWS MULTITUDES IN CELEBRATION OF CANNABIS CULTURE ( Top )
Drug War Chronicle, Issue #548, 8/22/08
Last Saturday and Sunday, Seattle's Myrtle Edwards Park, a mile-long strip of land fronting Puget Sound just north of downtown, once again played host to the Seattle Hempfest. And once again, the Hempfest lived up to its reputation as the world's largest marijuana "protestival."
THE RAZOR WIRE, Vol. 11, No. 1, Summer/Fall 2008 ( Top )
Now online at:
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
WRITE A LETTER ( Top )
Medical Marijuana Pro Con. A DrugSense Focus Alert.
STOP SWAT-STYLE DRUG RAIDS ( Top )
Ask the U.S. Conference of Mayors to support an end to violent, SWAT- style police raids like the one that left a D.C.-area mayor handcuffed in his boxer shorts while his family's two dogs bled to death.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
POT ARREST PUTS FACE ON 'DRUG-WAR' SCAM ( Top )
By Carmen Yarrusso
Many were saddened by the arrest of local farmer David Orde for the "crime" of growing marijuana. ( July 30: "Lull Farm owner arrested after police find marijuana plants" ).
But beyond feeling sad, we should all feel guilty for condoning the insane criminalization of the most basic of human rights - the right to sovereignty over your own body.
Like the Iraq war and the "war on terror," the so-called "drug war" is a government contrived "war" based on lies that generates massive profits for a few while causing massive suffering for many.
The drug war is futile by design ( and thus never-ending ) because it doesn't "fight" drugs - quite the contrary - it strongly encourages production and distribution of prohibited drugs by guaranteeing extremely high profits.
But the most insidious and evil aspect of the drug war is it manufactures its own enemies by criminalizing the most basic of human rights - the right of sovereignty over your own body. The drug war could not exist without first inventing a bogus crime.
Our government wastes billions of tax dollars each year harassing and jailing millions of decent, productive Americans for a government-invented "crime." The use of drugs - even dangerous drugs like alcohol and nicotine - simply doesn't meet any reasonable definition of "crime."
Real crime requires action that harms another. Real crime requires both a victim and a perpetrator. For example, robbery harms another and has both a victim and a perpetrator. Only a corrupt, depraved government could invent a crime you commit against yourself.
If you use certain drugs, our government claims you're both a criminal and a victim at the same time. Since the perpetrator can't be separated from the victim, the victim is further punished for the "crime." This pathetic perversion of justice is vigorously championed by our government for selfish political reasons.
More than 50 government agencies share billions of your tax dollars each year "fighting" a government-created crime. Of the millions of illegal drug users, the vast majority use marijuana.
If marijuana were legal like alcohol, these government agencies would suddenly lose billions of dollars because millions of former "criminals" would suddenly be granted sovereignty over their own bodies. The vast army amassed to fight the drug war would need to be dissolved at great cost.
That's why our government strongly opposes even honest debate about marijuana legalization because the massive money-making scam would soon end.
By using lies and deception our government convinces gullible Americans that simply putting something into your own body is a serious crime.
But evidence clearly shows that nearly all the harm associated with drug use is caused by creating the bogus crime, not from the actual drug use. There are millions of drug users but relatively few are harmed by their drug use. These few should be patients, not criminals.
We're appalled when Islamic regimes invent bogus crimes against reading certain books or listening to certain music. Using certain drugs is our government's version of the same thing.
But the worldwide consequences of U.S. drug prohibition are far more serious and severe. All of these "crimes" lack the moral basis of real crime. All are clear cases of a repressive government dictating the private personal behavior of its citizens.
If real crime is knowingly causing harm to others, then the real crime here is not drug use, but making drug use a "crime." And the real criminals are not drug users, but ordinary people like us, who sit back and condone a ruthless scam that has been exported and exploited around the world, leaving massive human suffering in its wake.
CARMEN YARRUSSO Brookline
Pubdate: Wed, 13 Aug 2008
Source: Telegraph, The (Nashua, NH)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
LAWMAN CALLS FOR ENDING POT PROHIBITION ( Top )
By Greg Francisco
Recently, while driving through Saginaw, I happened to tune into a radio program featuring an interview with Saginaw County Sheriff Charles Brown, who was railing against the dangers of marijuana.
Speaking as a former federal law enforcement officer, I would like to respond. We can argue from now until doomsday whether marijuana is a deadly gateway drug, a simple plant neither inherently good nor evil or a great boon to mankind given by a loving creator. And we can continue to completely miss the point.
The real question should be, is prohibition the best way to deal with the dangers, real or imagined, of marijuana?
Marijuana is here to stay, deeply ingrained in our society. Thinking we ever will achieve the utopian vision of a marijuana-free society is just so much wishful thinking. The best we ever can hope for is to control marijuana and mitigate any damage it may cause. Seventy-three years after marijuana prohibition was first enacted and 35 years after President Nixon declared a "War on Drugs," marijuana is cheaper, more potent, more prevalent and more available than ever before.
Brown calls marijuana prohibition a "drug control strategy." The reality is prohibition takes all control over who manufactures and distributes marijuana away from legitimate government oversight and hands it over instead to criminal gangs.
Marijuana prohibition means no control whatsoever. Marijuana dealers don't ask underage children to show an ID, they just want to see the cash.
Regardless of one's opinion on the relative dangers of marijuana abuse, one thing we all ought to agree on is that prohibition is the worst scheme possible to control it.
When our grandparents wisely abandoned alcohol prohibition, it wasn't because they decided booze isn't so dangerous after all. Rather, they had the integrity to face the truth -- prohibition was making the problem worse -- along with the courage to do what had to be done. Do we?
Marijuana prohibition is horribly expensive, annually costing Michigan taxpayers close to $200 million in police, court and jail costs alone. At the same time it deprives the state treasury of hundreds of millions of dollars in potential tax revenues, makes criminals out of tens of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens and opens the door to steady erosions in our privacy and civil liberties. The only successes of marijuana prohibition have been to guarantee lifetime employment to those doing the prohibiting and to make a very few very bad people very rich.
Marijuana prohibition has been a dismal failure, a failure made even more glaring when compared to the sensible way we deal with alcohol and tobacco, the two most deadly drugs in our society today. The solution is obvious. The only question is, do we have the courage to do it? Or are we doomed to another 35 years of failure?
Brown would be well advised to check out the Web site of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, www.leap.cc, where he can learn why more and more of his fellow professional lawmen are calling for an end to prohibition.
Legalize, regulate and tax marijuana so that we finally can control marijuana.
Greg Francisco is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Law Enforcement Academy and a former Coast Guard narcotics interdiction officer. This piece was posted the Saginaw News -
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"There is only one honest impulse at the bottom of Puritanism, and that is the impulse to punish the man with a superior capacity for happiness." - H.L. Mencken
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