THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) SUPPORTERS OF MARIJUANA BALLOT QUESTION LODGE COMPLAINT
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Sep 2008
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2008 The Associated Press
Author: Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press
Backers of a promarijuana ballot initiative charged yesterday that 11 district attorneys violated campaign finance laws and twisted the truth about the question.
Whitney Taylor of the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy said the district attorneys raised and spent money to oppose the question before forming their Coalition to Save Our Streets. Campaign finance laws require groups to form a committee before raising and spending money.
Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone brushed aside the group's criticism, calling it a ploy to distract attention from critics of the ballot question.
Leone attended a rally on the steps of the Statehouse with other district attorneys, police, clergy, and community organizers to call for the measure's defeat.
"I'm not sure what the proponents of this question were smoking when they brought this to our state," said the Rev. Jeffrey Brown.
The question would make possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a civil offense rather than criminal offense, and would make it punishable by a $100 fine. Opponents say such a change in law would essentially normalize use of marijuana, while supporters say it would reduce a burden on the criminal justice system by sparing those found with small amounts from facing a criminal record and jail.
Taylor's group has filed complaints with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance and the attorney general's office against the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association and the public relations firm hired to handle opposition to the question. "This was an attempt to keep their organization as covert as they could for as long a possible," Taylor said.
(2) DRUG LAW SITS AT FOREFRONT OF OKLAHOMA STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 66 ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Sep 2008
Source: Oklahoman, The (OK)
Copyright: 2008 The Oklahoma Publishing Co.
Author: John David Sutter, Staff Writer
TULSA -- A defense attorney who supports decriminalizing drug use is challenging a former police officer in the race for a Tulsa area House of Representatives seat.
Jay K. Ramey, R-Tulsa, is the first candidate to challenge Democratic incumbent Lucky Lamons since he was elected in 2002 to the House District 66 seat.
The district boundary includes parts of downtown, midtown and west Tulsa and Sand Springs. The election is Nov. 4.
Lawyer Supports Drug Courts
Ramey said Oklahoma could halve the budget for the Corrections Department by making all marijuana offenses misdemeanors and reducing sentences for other drug use.
"I think the police would better use their time looking for armed robbers rather than spending hours and hours arresting people for small amounts of marijuana," he said.
(3) STONER'S NDP BID UP IN SMOKE ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Sep 2008
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2008 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Peter Zimonjic
The NDP has fired one of its candidates in British Columbia after a video surfaced of him taking LSD, smoking more than 20 cannabis joints in a single go and driving while under the influence of drugs.
Dana Larsen, a former editor of Cannabis Culture magazine and one-time candidate for the marijuana party, was running for the NDP in the riding of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast.
Larsen also helped to set up the Vancouver Seed Bank, which not only sells coca seeds, but also marijuana and poppy seeds. Larsen is well plugged in to the cannabis scene and has dozens of videos on YouTube in which he reads from his book: Harry Pothead and the Marijuana Stone.
Larsen resigned following a discussion with NDP officials yesterday.
"I didn't want this to distract from the larger issues of the campaign. Since it seemed to be something people would be focusing on, I decided to submit my resignation," he said in an interview.
The NDP has yet to name a new candidate for the riding.
Gerry Scott, campaign manager for the NDP national campaign in B.C., said Larsen's history as a marijuana advocate wasn't a factor in the resignation.
(4) ISLAND POT COULD BE CANADA'S SUPPLY ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Sep 2008
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Times Colonist
Author: Sandra McCulloch, Times Colonist
Cowichan Growers Apply for Contract to Be Major Supplier of Medical Marijuana
Marijuana grown on Vancouver Island could soon be offering pain relief and other benefits to medical patients across Canada.
Horticulturist Eric Nash and his partner Wendy Little operate Island Harvest in the Cowichan Valley, which they say is Canada's first and only production facility of certified organic medical marijuana.
Their operation is licensed and approved by Health Canada, and they have been supplying two patients with marijuana who are registered with the Health Canada program authorizing use of the drug for certain medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord disease and cancer.
Now they are applying for a contract to be a major supplier of marijuana for some of the 2,500 people across the country who are enrolled in the Health Canada program.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Is there any sincerity in the drug war? U.S. anti-drug officials
says Venezuelan is not fighting an effective drug war, something the
Venezuelans said about the U.S. many months ago. (For a summary of
other recent skirmishes in the war over the drug war in Latin
America, see today's international section.) In Hawaii, one
commentator finally asks tough questions about the controversial
plan to drug test school teachers in the state. In domestic national
news, another year, another record number of marijuana arrests, but
somebody apparently forgot to brief the drug czar on the figures.
And, from England, an interesting analysis of the impact of illegal
drugs on the music of some popular artists.
Is there any sincerity in the drug war? U.S. anti-drug officials says Venezuelan is not fighting an effective drug war, something the Venezuelans said about the U.S. many months ago. (For a summary of other recent skirmishes in the war over the drug war in Latin America, see today's international section.) In Hawaii, one commentator finally asks tough questions about the controversial plan to drug test school teachers in the state. In domestic national news, another year, another record number of marijuana arrests, but somebody apparently forgot to brief the drug czar on the figures.
And, from England, an interesting analysis of the impact of illegal drugs on the music of some popular artists.
(5) U.S. ACCUSES VENEZUELAN OFFICIALS IN DRUG CASE ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 13 Sep 2008
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Jose De Cordoba, in Guasdalito, Venezuela, and David Luhnow
in Mexico City
ELORZA, Venezuela -- The U.S. government, ratcheting up a diplomatic crisis with one of its leading suppliers of crude oil, placed sanctions on several high-ranking Venezuelan officials Friday, accusing them of aiding the drug trafficking of Colombia's main guerrilla army.
The Treasury Department said it would freeze financial assets and bar any business dealings with three key aides to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, including two intelligence officials and the former interior and justice minister.
"Today's designation exposes two senior Venezuelan government officials and one former official who armed, abetted and funded the FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia], even as it terrorized and kidnapped innocents," said Adam J. Szubin, director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
The U.S. move escalates a fast-growing diplomatic confrontation between Washington and a small bloc of anti-U.S. governments in the region that are led by Mr. Chavez's Venezuela and include Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Honduras.
Thursday, Mr. Chavez accused the U.S. of planning his overthrow and, amid a hail of vulgar insults, ordered U.S. ambassador Patrick Duddy to leave the country within 72 hours. That followed a similar move Wednesday by Bolivian President Evo Morales, who kicked out U.S. ambassador Philip Goldberg after accusing him of fomenting a separatist movement in eastern Bolivia. On Friday, Honduras said it would indefinitely postpone allowing the U.S. ambassador there to present his credentials out of solidarity with Venezuela and Bolivia.
(6) OPED: TEACHER DRUG TESTING A THREAT TO BASIC RIGHTS ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 12 Sep 2008
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2008 The Honolulu Advertiser,
Author: Richard S. Miller
Lingle Plan A Cynical Strategy To Win Points, Embarrass BOE, HSTA
Contrary to some misguided commentators, Gov. Linda Lingle's attempt to saddle our public school teachers with random drug testing is an overtly cynical strategy, designed to win political points by embarrassing the Hawaii State Teachers Association and Board of Education and at the expense of hardworking educators' fundamental rights.
Such testing would do nothing to make our students any safer, but would most certainly deprive them of further critical services and supplies and leave taxpayers footing the bill.
Remarkably, Gov. Lingle appears to have relished placing our dedicated teachers and, particularly, their union between a rock and a hard place. It is no secret that, like many of us, teachers struggle with Hawai'i's cost of living - about 30 percent more than the Mainland. While the raises offered to entice our teachers toward random drug testing were not too substantial - 4 percent per year for two years - many teachers simply could not afford to turn them down. This placed the HSTA in the untenable position of having to accept random drug testing in violation of teachers' constitutional rights or give up sorely needed raises.
The teachers, in weighing whether to ratify the contract, confronted the same nasty dilemma. Their response, however, has been mischaracterized in the public debate. Of the 13,404 educators eligible to vote, only 8,449 cast ballots. While a majority of voting members (5,176) ratified the proposed contract, these "yes" votes constitute a minority - 43 percent - of eligible votes. In no way did the majority of HSTA members consent to relinquish their rights and accept random drug testing: 57 percent either voted against the contract or did not vote at all.
The governor's draconian attempt to deprive teachers of their basic rights through random drug testing might be justified if it would increase student safety or, perhaps, if it did not violate both the U.S. and Hawai'i constitutions. However, it fails on both accounts. There is simply no reason to think that Hawai'i's teachers ever have or would imperil students through drug involvement. When HSTA asked the BOE to "describe any incidents, occurrences, or reports substantiating suspicions held by the BOE of illegal use by teachers of illicit drugs or alcohol at the workplace from January 1, 2000, to the present," the board answered that there were none.
(7) THE DRUG WAR'S LATEST TALLY: 872,721 POT ARRESTS, AN ALL-TIME ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 16 Sep 2008
Source: AlterNet (US Web)
Copyright: 2008 Independent Media Institute
Author: Paul Armentano
Cannabis Arrests Now Comprise Nearly 47.5 Percent of All Drug Arrests in the United States, 89% of Them for Mere Possession.
If denial is the first sign of addiction, then Drug Czar John Walters is hooked to the gills. He's addicted to targeting and arresting marijuana consumers, and he'll do and say anything to keep this irrational and punitive policy in place.
Speaking earlier this month on C-Span, the reigning Czar stretched his usual deceit to outrageous new heights. Responding to a question from the Marijuana Policy Project's Dan Bernath, Walters flatly denied the charge that over 800,000 Americans are arrested annually for violating pot laws.
"We didn't arrest 800,000 marijuana users," Walters proclaimed. "That's [a] lie."
If only it were.
According to data released yesterday in the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report, police in 2007 arrested over 872,000 U.S. citizens - that's nearly one out of every two Americans busted for illicit drugs - -- for weed.
The raw data is available from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation here http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/arrests/index.html and here http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_29.html
That figure is a five percent increase over the total number of Americans busted in 2006. It's more than three times the number of citizens charged with pot violations sixteen years ago.
(8) WOULD THE BEATLES HAVE SOUNDED THE SAME IF THEY'D NEVER TAKEN ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 14 Sep 2008
Source: Sunday Herald, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Sunday Herald
Author: Jasper Hamill
Exploration of Effects of Mind-Altering Drugs Says They May Have Opened Doors of Perception for the Fabs
Could a drug-free mind ever imagine sailing the oceans in a yellow submarine, or talking to a girl with kaleidoscope eyes? That was the question asked by a Scottish scientist who spoke at Liverpool's famous Cavern Club last week in an attempt to divine whether The Beatles would have been as good if they had not indulged in illegal substances.
Professor Judith Pratt, of the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, examined the effects drugs have on the way individuals perceive the world before relating it back to The Beatles's evolution from innocent boy band to spaced-out hippies, a trip that saw their music evolve from pop to Technicolor psychedelia and eventually into heroin-influenced blues.
The event was not a normal scientific symposium: after her talk, the audience stood up and sang along to Hey Jude.
Pratt said: "What would their songs be like if they hadn't been exposed to drugs? Taking drugs certainly had a positive influence on The Beatles's songwriting, although that's not to say you should encourage people to take them. The boost in creativity comes from the way drugs changed their perception. But it's a moot point whether they would have made the same music if it weren't for what they were taking."
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
In the UK, some heroin addicts in prison will now be allowed to use
the drug while incarcerated. In an Indiana county, warrant servers
have been drafted into the drug war. And elsewhere, the arbitrary
injustice and ineffective approaches continue.
In the UK, some heroin addicts in prison will now be allowed to use the drug while incarcerated. In an Indiana county, warrant servers have been drafted into the drug war. And elsewhere, the arbitrary injustice and ineffective approaches continue.
(9) 20 CONS USE FREE DRUG KIT ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 14 Sep 2008
Source: Sunday Mail (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Daily Record and Sunday Mail Ltd.
Author: Raymond Hainey
TWENTY jailed junkies have been given heroin kits to help them shoot up safely in their cells.
Prison chiefs handed them out despite insisting drug users would be reported to police.
Prison officers have slammed the scheme - which aims to cut the spread of AIDS and hepatitis C.
Derek Turner, of the Prison Officers Association Scotland, said: "We are against illegal drug taking in prisons.
"We understand the health issues but we shouldn't be giving prisoners the equipment to make drugs easier to take."
The kits include citric acid to sterilise needles, swabs to clean skin and a foil cup to mix and heat heroin - but no syringes.
(10) NO TOLERANCE FOR DRUGS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 14 Sep 2008
Source: Journal Gazette, The (Fort Wayne, IN)
Copyright: 2008 The Journal Gazette
Author: Jeff Wiehe
County Directs Warrants Officers To Be Vigilant For Illegal Substances
Mark Reed smelled it from the front porch Tuesday.
Banging on the door of a red house in the 400 block of DeWald Street, the Allen County police warrants officer was looking for a sex offender wanted for a parole violation. Several of Reed's fellow officers surrounded the home, peeked into windows and talked to neighbors.
The last time they came to the home, months before, they arrested the man asleep on a couch inside. This time, they struck out. Nobody was there, but .
"Smells like marijuana," Reed said.
It's not an unusual odor to be lingering around the people officers deal with. But until recently, it was not unusual for warrants officers to look the other way when they found a small amount of drugs.
Not any longer. Infused with younger personnel and a more aggressive outlook, the Allen County warrants officer staff is making additional drug arrests and confiscating more drugs and more guns while serving roughly 11,000 warrants yearly.
(11) OPED: A MERCILESS JUSTICE ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 14 Sep 2008
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2008 The Dallas Morning News, Inc.
Author: Carol Steiker
When Susan LeFevre was 19, she was arrested for selling drugs to an undercover officer in Saginaw, Mich. It was 1974, and she was a first-time offender. She believed that if she pleaded guilty, she would probably get probation.
She was wrong. After her guilty plea, she was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in state prison.
One year later, Ms. LeFevre hopped a fence and fled the prison. She moved to California and adopted her middle name, Marie. Years passed. She eventually married and raised three children, dedicating herself to her family and charitable causes. She never committed another offense. Her husband and children knew nothing about her youthful conviction or prison sentence - until April, when, 32 years after her escape, she was arrested and extradited to Michigan.
Ms. LeFevre's lawyers have asked the judge to set aside her original drug sentence, but the local district attorney has filed new charges against her for escaping prison. If convicted, Ms. LeFevre could be sentenced to an additional five years on top of her drug sentence. It is almost certain that Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm will have to decide whether to commute her sentence.
Supporters of clemency contend that locking up Marie LeFevre would destroy her family and serve no purpose, as she already has done what the original sentencing judge urged her to do back in 1975: turn her life around. Opponents argue that commutation would send the wrong message and reward Ms. LeFevre's escape from prison.
Both sides miss the bigger picture.
(12) SIX-MONTH SWEEP IN DANIA BEACH RESULTS IN 85 ARRESTED ON DRUG ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 13 Sep 2008
Source: Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Copyright: 2008 Sun-Sentinel Company
Author: Sallie James, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Cocaine-Selling Charges Filed Against 85 in Dania Beach Over 6 Months
DANIA BEACH - They worked the northwest and southwest sections of the city, hawking drugs on street corners and in alleyways in what they thought was anonymity.
But for months, hidden cameras had been recording their drug sales.
On Friday, the Broward Sheriff's Office announced charges against 85 alleged crack cocaine dealers as part of a six-month investigation called "Operation Street Sweeper."
Ranging in age from 14 to 62, the suspects are accused of selling drugs to undercover deputies 220 times, with one dealer returning on 13 separate occasions.
The suspects include 10 juveniles and eight women, Sheriff Al Lamberti said.
As of Friday morning, 61 were in custody. They will face charges of delivery of cocaine, a second-degree felony.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
A community on Vancouver Island has begun fighting residential grow
operations with red tape.
Another medicinal cannabis consumer, provider and advocate has
spent his last, needlessly painful days on Earth, facing criminal
More reminders from California and Colorado that passing medicinal
cannabis law reform initiatives is one thing, but getting public
employees, prosecutors, police and politicians to respect the will
of the electorate is another.
A community on Vancouver Island has begun fighting residential grow operations with red tape.
Another medicinal cannabis consumer, provider and advocate has spent his last, needlessly painful days on Earth, facing criminal prosecution.
More reminders from California and Colorado that passing medicinal cannabis law reform initiatives is one thing, but getting public employees, prosecutors, police and politicians to respect the will of the electorate is another.
(13) COLWOOD BILLING HOMEOWNER FOR GROW-OP ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 17 Sep 2008
Source: Goldstream Gazette (Victoria, CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Goldstream News Gazette
Author: Edward Hill
West Shore RCMP busted a 463-plant marijuana grow-op in Colwood Monday, leaving the homeowner on the hook for cleanup and repair costs.
The bust is the first test of Colwood's nuisance and controlled substances bylaw, where the homeowner can be billed for police and staff resources used to dismantle illegal drug operations.
Colwood bylaw officer Kevin Atkinson confirmed City and health authorities will be investigating the Promenade Crescent house for safety concerns and building code violations.
"Billing kicks in when police start dismantling the grow-op," Atkinson said. "Everything now is billable time."
Five West Shore RCMP officers raided the house about 4:30 p.m. Sept. 15, booting down the door after the occupants wouldn't answer. Two men in their late 20s or early 30s were arrested without incident, said Const. Ross Wallace.
It's unclear if either of the men owned the property, but both face charges of production of a controlled substance. No weapons were found in the house, Wallace said.
"It was a good sized grow. This was a good one to shut down," he said. "The (463) plants were near the stage of being harvested."
Billing for police and Colwood staff, utility, fire and building inspectors, plus house repairs, will likely cost on the order of $40,000, if Langford's first grow-op charge is any measure.
(14) DILLON MAN'S DEATH PUTS MEDICAL POT LAW BACK IN SPOTLIGHT ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 14 Sep 2008
Source: Great Falls Tribune (MT)
Copyright: 2008 Great Falls Tribune
Author: John S. Adams, Tribune Capitol Bureau
HELENA - Summer Sutton-Day said all her husband, Scott Day, wanted in life was to live with as little pain as possible while helping others find a way to cope with their suffering.
Scott was diagnosed as a child with mucopolysaccharidosis, a rare congenital disease caused by the lack of certain enzymes which, over the course of his life, spawned diverse and severe physical pain and other serious health problems.
When he was diagnosed, doctors said he probably wouldn't live to see his twenties.
He was 34 when he died Tuesday at his home in Dillon.
Friends and family say medical marijuana was a key reason for Scott's surprising longevity.
They say the tragedy is he spent the final six months of his life facing criminal prosecution for growing the medicine that kept him alive.
"I'll tell you what; we're all going to die. Scott was going to die sooner than most of us," said Scott's mother, Linda Day of Sheridan. "I'm not saying that this caused his death. I am going to say his death was probably a little premature, because you can't imagine what he's gone through."
(15) MARIJUANA, A GROWING BATTLE ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 14 Sep 2008
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2008 The Denver Post Corp
Author: Jason Blevins, The Denver Post
Medical Marijuana Can Be Used, Distributed, but Cultivators Face Jail
HUERFANO COUNTY - Mike Stetler is proud of his garden. It took him months to get the lush jungle just right.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" he said.
A decade ago, the labor of planting would have been impossible for Stetler. Strung out on Demerol, OxyContin, morphine and oxycodone, the pain-addled Navy veteran was, he says, "a slobbering zombie, stupid and living in la-la land."
Since 2002, though, when he started growing and smoking the medicinal marijuana he now tends so carefully, he hasn't touched a pill.
"The pain isn't all the way gone, but I can live again. I can get out of bed. The sun is shining on me again," he said. "See what God does? He gives us something beautiful to use. This healing herb. And what happens?"
What happened is sheriff's deputies landed a helicopter on his land, broke open two padlocked gates and ransacked his trailer, ripping a gaping hole in the roof. They seized 44 marijuana plants and more than eight state-issued medical-marijuana cards that indicate other medical-marijuana patients have told the state he is their designated caregiver. They left a search warrant hanging over Stetler's medical- marijuana sign.
Almost eight years after Colorado voters approved Amendment 20, engraving in the Colorado Constitution the lawful use of doctor- recommended medical marijuana for those "suffering from debilitating medical conditions," police and prosecutors zealously pursue medical- marijuana growers like Stetler, citing everything from the fact that they just don't like the law to concerns about public safety and confusion over what the law allows.
(16) POLICE RETURN POT TO PATIENT THREE YEARS LATER ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 16 Sep 2008
Source: Orange County Register, The (CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Orange County Register
Author: Cindy Carcamo, The Orange County Register
Referenced: The guidelines http://drugsense.org/url/kKMJR2lu
'That's A Chunk of Hash,' Huntington Beach Man Says.
HUNTINGTON BEACH- It was like Christmas Day for Jim Spray. He giggled with glee as he tore into brown paper bags as if they were presents.
These bags, however, were filled with jars of his medical marijuana and other paraphernalia that had been stored for nearly three years at the city's police department.
A court order today forced officials to give it back, marking the second time in a year that Huntington Beach police have had to return seized marijuana to a patient after court rulings stated that the marijuana should not have been seized in the first place.
"That's a chunk of hash," said Spray, a 52-year-old trade show decorator from Huntington Beach. A tall, stocky police official watched as the medical marijuana patient inspected a tiny eye shadow- sized container full of hashish.
"It's still good. I almost forgot about all this," said Spray, who uses medical marijuana because of pain from a herniated disc.
It has been almost three years since Huntington Beach officers confiscated Spray's estimated 4 ounces of marijuana and a $1,000 growing system, which included special lighting and a water-timing system.
While police had destroyed most of the growing equipment, officials returned Spray's marijuana today after an order from Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Borris.
The order came nearly nine months after the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that the city must return Spray's marijuana and equipment taken from his home in Nov. 2005. Spray was represented by attorneys with medical marijuana advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access.
The Huntington Beach Police Department doesn't have a policy regarding medical marijuana, officials have said in the past. Officers interpret the Compassionate Use Act as protecting medical marijuana recipients from prosecution, not arrest.
COMMENTS: ( Top )
In both of the South American nations of Bolivia and Venezuela, U.S.
ambassadors were ejected after simmering rows, ostensibly over
drugs, threatened to boil over. After Bolivian president Evo Morales
ejected the U.S. ambassador, president Hugo Chavez of Venezuela
followed suit, simultaneously recalling the Venezuelan ambassador
from the U.S. "When there is a new government in the United States,
we'll send an ambassador," said Chavez. Washington had accused the
Chavez government of allowing cocaine to be trafficked through
Venezuela, a charge which Chavez denies. Bolivian President Evo
Morales, a coca farmer himself, has been at odds with Washington's
zero tolerance coca policy since being elected to the presidency in
2003. Both leaders accuse the Bush regime of trying to topple the
popularly elected presidents. Washington, in retaliation against
Bolivia, this week added the nation to a "list of nations failing to
fight illegal narcotics".
In Canada, a looming federal election called by the ruling
conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has brought drug policy
to the forefront once again. An article in the Georgia Straight
newspaper in British Columbia put the spotlight on Harper's eternal
"get tougher" drugs policy in an interview with Simon Fraser
University psychology professor Bruce Alexander this week. Harper's
prohibitionist notions "go back to the old idea that the reason we
have people who aren't behaving properly is drugs-that drugs have a
magical quality of taking over human beings who would otherwise be
normal guys shopping at Wal-Mart," Alexander said.
In both of the South American nations of Bolivia and Venezuela, U.S. ambassadors were ejected after simmering rows, ostensibly over drugs, threatened to boil over. After Bolivian president Evo Morales ejected the U.S. ambassador, president Hugo Chavez of Venezuela followed suit, simultaneously recalling the Venezuelan ambassador from the U.S. "When there is a new government in the United States, we'll send an ambassador," said Chavez. Washington had accused the Chavez government of allowing cocaine to be trafficked through Venezuela, a charge which Chavez denies. Bolivian President Evo Morales, a coca farmer himself, has been at odds with Washington's zero tolerance coca policy since being elected to the presidency in 2003. Both leaders accuse the Bush regime of trying to topple the popularly elected presidents. Washington, in retaliation against Bolivia, this week added the nation to a "list of nations failing to fight illegal narcotics".
In Canada, a looming federal election called by the ruling conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has brought drug policy to the forefront once again. An article in the Georgia Straight newspaper in British Columbia put the spotlight on Harper's eternal "get tougher" drugs policy in an interview with Simon Fraser University psychology professor Bruce Alexander this week. Harper's prohibitionist notions "go back to the old idea that the reason we have people who aren't behaving properly is drugs-that drugs have a magical quality of taking over human beings who would otherwise be normal guys shopping at Wal-Mart," Alexander said.
(17) ALLEGING COUP PLOT, CHAVEZ OUSTS U.S. ENVOY ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 12 Sep 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
Author: Simon Romero
CARACAS, Venezuela -- President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela said Thursday that he was expelling the American ambassador, Patrick Duddy, giving him 72 hours to leave the country. Mr. Chavez took this step after he said his government had discovered an American-supported plot by military officers to topple him.
He also recalled his ambassador to Washington, Bernardo Alvarez, and explained his decision by expressing solidarity with Bolivia's embattled president, Evo Morales, who on Wednesday expelled the American ambassador there, Philip S. Goldberg, accusing him of supporting rebellious groups in eastern Bolivia..
"When there is a new government in the United States, we'll send an ambassador," Mr. Chavez said, using an expletive to refer to Americans.
(18) BOLIVIA ORDERS U.S. AMBASSADOR EXPELLED ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 11 Sep 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
President Evo Morales Accuses Ambassador Philip Goldberg of Fostering Divisions in the Fractured Andean Nation.
BUENOS AIRES -- Bolivian President Evo Morales ordered the expulsion Wednesday of the U.S. ambassador to his country, accusing him of fostering divisions in the deeply fractured Andean nation.
The move comes as tensions rise and violence increases in states opposed to the leftist policies of Morales. The president has regularly accused Washington and its ambassador of plotting against him.
"The one who conspires against democracy and above all seeks the division of Bolivia is the ambassador of the United States," Morales said during a speech at the presidential palace.
"We don't want people who are separatists, who foment divisions, who conspire against unity," Morales said, referring to Goldberg.
The expulsion order is the culmination of tension between Morales and Goldberg that mirrors the deteriorating state of U.S.-Bolivian relations.
Morales, who took office in January 2006 as Bolivia's first Indian president, is an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the region's preeminent critic of Washington.
Despite Morales' frequent assaults on U.S. policy, Bolivia receives more than $100 million a year in U.S. aid, much of it to fight the drug trade. Bolivia is the world's third-largest producer of the coca leaf, the raw ingredient in cocaine.
(19) U.S. CENSURE OF BOLIVIA RAISES HEAT ON MORALES ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 17 Sep 2008
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: John Lyons
SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia -- Days after President Evo Morales expelled the U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, Washington has added the country to its list of nations failing to fight illegal narcotics, a decision that could have economic consequences for the natural-gas-rich nation.
The move could embolden U.S. lawmakers who oppose the renewal of Bolivia's trade preferences, which are due to expire in the coming months. Such an economic blow would add to Mr. Morales's problems. Mr. Morales is battling provincial governors who have declared autonomy in the nation's gas-rich farmlands. They accuse Mr. Morales of trying to impose a Cuba-styled regime by nationalizing industries and pushing a new constitution that redefines property, centralizes power and grants rights based on ethnicity.
(20) RESEARCHER CONDEMNS PRIME MINISTER STEPHEN HARPER'S WAR ON DRUGS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Sep 2008
Source: Georgia Straight, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Georgia Straight
Author: Pieta Woolley
When retired SFU psychology professor Bruce Alexander starts thinking about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's $63.8-million National Anti-Drug Strategy, he "goes ballistic".
The year-old policy promotes cracking down on illicit drugs, mandatory minimum sentences, media messages to youth, increasing abstinence-based treatment capacity, and funding more police officers. In other words, a classic drug-prohibition stance-one the Conservatives are repeating heading into the October 14 election.
But ending prohibition isn't the answer to the drug crisis, either, according to Alexander.
In his new book, The Globalisation of Addiction: A Study in Poverty of the Spirit (Oxford University Press, $70), he argues that the true roots of drug misuse in Canada go far deeper. Dislocation, fragmentation, and isolation are the side effects of unregulated capitalism, Alexander said.
Drug addiction, he noted, is only part of the psychological toll of living in a society in which families regularly fall apart, land is stolen, and so many people have little connection to their homes. Misery is everywhere, he believes, and citizens work hard to alter their realities, with or without drugs.
"The Harper government has a very strong economic ideology," Alexander told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. "That's a perfectly legitimate idea, but in their hands it's a dogma. And if you take it as a dogma, then you simply can't recognize that a problem as terrifying as addiction has its roots in the kind of fragmentation that is inevitably produced by free-market economics.
"So they have to go back to the old idea that the reason we have people who aren't behaving properly is drugs-that drugs have a magical quality of taking over human beings who would otherwise be normal guys shopping at Wal-Mart."
So far, no major federal political party has picked up on Alexander's analysis, which was first introduced in his much-read 2001 paper The Roots of Addiction in Free Market Society. Though none of the parties had released its election platform as of press time, there has been plenty of talk about prohibition. A Green party policy document promises that Green MPs would legalize marijuana and launch a "public consultation on the decriminalization of illicit drugs".
Alexander, however, notes that the height of Vancouver's drug problem, historically, came at the height of prohibition, in 1950. He thinks prohibition is a waste of money and energy. Internationally, Alexander said, Sweden and the Netherlands have the fewest drug problems in Europe. Yet one has among the loosest drug laws, and the other among the tightest. Clearly, he thinks, other forces besides drugs are leading citizens to drugs.
To Alexander, the political solutions to the drug crisis are obvious. Build housing that people can afford. Fund schools and health care. Settle Native land claims. Make quality of life a top priority, and support citizens to easily create stable lives. Then drugs will become irrelevant.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
IT'S TIME FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO ABANDON THE DRUG WAR ( Top )
By Bob Barr, Huffington Post
The federal government must turn the decision on drug policy back to the states and the citizens themselves.
PALIN'S POT PROBLEM ( Top )
Why should other Alaskans be arrested for something Sarah Palin once did with impunity?
By Jacob Sullum, Reason Magazine
PLAN MEXICO SPENDING PLAN RELEASED ( Top )
Narco News Has Obtained, and Makes Available to the Public, the 38- Page FY 2008 Appropriations Document
By Kristin Bricker
MAJOR ILLICIT DRUG PRODUCING COUNTRIES FOR FISCAL YEAR 2009 ( Top )
In their annual exercise in congressionally-mandated diplomatic hubris, the Bush administration and the US State Department Tuesday released its FY 2009 List of Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries.
Drug War Chronicle, Issue #552, 9/19/08
US CONGRESS CELEBRATES 75 YEARS OF DRUG LEGALISATION AND REGULATION ( Top )
Let's raise a toast with the US Congress, that this week celebrated 75 years of drug legalisation and regulation. Yes indeed, it is a magnificent 75 years since the disaster of alcohol prohibition was ended.
Transform Drug Policy Foundation
CATO UNBOUND - RESPONSIBLE PSYCHOACTIVE DRUG USE ( Top )
The conversation over responsible psychoactive drug use continued at CATO last week, with more contributions from Jacob Sullum, Mark Kleiman and Jonathan Caulkins.
ANGRY WHITE REPUBLICANS THWART LEGAL VOTER REGISTRATION IN ALABAMA ( Top )
Alabama Prisons Commissioner Richard Allen stopped a voter registration drive for inmates Thursday under pressure from the Alabama Republican Party.
By Loretta Nall
RIP PROFESSOR CHARLES WHITEBREAD, GOOD GUY AND DRUG LAW HISTORIAN ( Top )
Famous BAR/BRI criminal law lecturer and USC Law School Professor Charles Whitebread passed away Tuesday.
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS WHEN ENCOUNTERING LAW ENFORCEMENT ( Top )
If government agents question you, it is important to understand your rights. You should be careful about what you say when approached by law enforcement officials. If you give answers, they can be used against you in a criminal, immigration, or civil case.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
DRUG WAR IMPINGES ON CIVIL LIBERTIES ( Top )
By Hank Smith
An Aug. 26 letter to the editor, "Don't give up on drug war," urging the continuance of the current "war on drugs" illustrates the lack of common sense many people have on this issue.
This insane war is the greatest threat to civil liberties that we face. The police can't wait to look into or sniff your car whenever you are stopped for a minor traffic infraction. I always feel sorry for the poor sap I see stopped on the side of the road going through that wringer. Their lives can be ruined.
It infuriates me that untold billions of tax dollars go to the salaries and benefits of drug warriors at all levels of law enforcement. It is a waste of money.
The writer states drug law violations are "illegal behavior" and groups that behavior with the likes of theft, rape and murder. The latter three crimes are obviously wrong, and harm another person or their property. Drug use is a crime only because the government says it is.
As we should have learned from alcohol, prohibition does not work. It only pushes the activity underground, introducing unsavory elements of society into the equation and raising prices. Nearly all crime associated with drug use is because drugs are illegal.
You don't see alcoholics breaking into our homes to get money to buy a shot of whiskey. Addicts will always be with us. They harm themselves and cause endless suffering for those who love and care about them. What they need is treatment, not a jail cell.
Our prisons are overcrowded with nonviolent drug offenders and dangerous criminals are walking the street -- talk about a waste of resources. We live in a supposedly free country, yet we can be put into jail for the rest of our lives for possessing a plant. It is preposterous! Why do we tolerate this? This country was founded on the principle of freedom of the individual. There should be no drug laws. What people choose to ingest into their bodies is their own business.
HANK SMITH Toms River
Pubdate: Tue, 09 Sep 2008
Source: Asbury Park Press (NJ)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
The Drug War's Attack On Freedom ( Top )
by Jacob G. Hornberger
Mackenzie Phillips, daughter of the founder of the Mamas and Papas pop group and a former star in the television sitcom "One Day at a Time," was arrested last week and charged with possession of narcotics. The arrest took place while Phillips was going through the security screening at Los Angeles International Airport.
There are two things wrong with this picture.
First, aren't those airport security checkpoints intended to stop terrorists and hijackers, not drug addicts? Why should airport gendarmes have the authority to take people into custody for possession of items that are unrelated to terrorism or hijacking?
More fundamentally, why should the government have the authority to punish any person for possession of drugs? Of course, that is the central moral challenge to the drug war itself.
Why shouldn't a person be free to possess or ingest any substance, no matter how harmful? Isn't that a necessary part of the concept of individual freedom. If the government can send an adult to his room for ingesting non-approved substances, how can people in that society honestly be considered free?
Why shouldn't the state simply leave people like Mackenzie Phillips alone? Sure, the woman seems to have a drug problem. According to the Associated Press, back in 1982 she lost her job at "One Day at a Time" because of drug-related charges. But isn't that her business? What business does the state have punishing her for a drug addiction?
Why not just punish those people who violate the rights of others and leave everyone else alone? Isn't that what we do with people who ingest alcohol?
Meanwhile, the bodies of 24 men were recently found outside Mexico City, victims of the latest battles between rival drug gangs. In other parts of Mexico, 17 other people were killed last week, some of whom had been decapitated. According to the Reforma newspaper, 3,148 people have been killed in drug-related violence just this year.
Arrests of drug addicts, gang wars, and murders and executions. Just another week in the life of the 30-year-old war on drugs. With no end in sight.
Isn't it time to bring all this abuse, death, and destruction to a stop? Isn't it time to simply repeal the drug war?
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation - http://www.fff.org/
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"The people who are regarded as moral luminaries are those who forego ordinary pleasures themselves and find compensation in interfering with the pleasures of others." - Bertrand Russell
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