THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) NATO ALLIES REJECT CALL TO CONFRONT DRUG LORDS
Pubdate: Fri, 10 Oct 2008
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2008 The Associated Press
BUDAPEST, Hungary - A number of NATO countries are balking at the United States' request that their troops in Afghanistan do more to confront drug lords whose money helps bankroll the Taliban, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday at a meeting of NATO defense ministers.
"It's been a good conversation; it's been a frank one. I think people are listening to one another," Gates said.
Some of the NATO countries, including Germany, Italy and Spain, have expressed concerns that a more aggressive counterdrug effort would lead to a backlash against international troops.
(2) THE WAR ON THE WAR ON DRUGS HITS KIRKLAND ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 08 Oct 2008
Source: Seattle Weekly (WA)
Copyright: 2008 Seattle Weekly
Author: Damon Agnos
Competing Candidates Share A Common Theme: It'S Time For A Change.
Containing parts of Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, and points east, the 45th Legislative District is hardly a hotbed of radicalism. But the two candidates for one of the district's two House seats share a position well out of the political mainstream: They both advocate wholesale changes to the War on Drugs.
In his time away from the capital, incumbent State Rep. Roger Goodman ( D-Kirkland ) heads the King County Bar Association's Drug Policy Project, where he works on moving drug policy's focus from crime and punishment to public health. His challenger, Toby Nixon ( R-Kirkland ), who held the seat from 2002 to 2006 before leaving to run for the state Senate ( he lost his bid for an open seat to Eric Oemig ), has spoken out in defense of Washington's medical marijuana law and pushed a bill requiring performance audits of drug-enforcement policies.
If a moderate Eastside district has voted to elect both these candidates, is the general public ready for wholesale drug policy reform? "I think people are receptive," says Nixon, "if you can get them to settle down and have a conversation. Too often it's fear and hysteria driving our policies." Noting that "some have observed that it's unfortunate that we're running against each other," Nixon adds that he's not sure he and Goodman have any disagreements on drug policy reform. But he wishes Goodman had followed his lead and pushed more drug policy reform bills as a legislator. "It's unfortunate that the House leadership has not allowed him to pursue an important issue," Nixon says.
However, Goodman sees the legislator's role in drug policy reform differently. Noting that Washington is already more progressive than most states when it comes to drugs, he says further progress must be preceded by "cultural change," before adding, "I work on that in my other job [at the KCBA], and by educating my colleagues. But I was elected to represent my district. I'm not a grenade-thrower."
(3) NEW BILL TARGETS ROGUE DRUGGISTS ON THE INTERNET ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 9 Oct 2008
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Sarah Rubenstein
President Bush is set to sign legislation that will help the federal government crack down on hundreds of rogue Internet pharmacies that peddle controlled substances like the painkiller Vicodin or the stimulant Ritalin.
The bill reflects growing concern among parents and public-health experts that certain online pharmacies enable almost anyone to purchase drugs with a few mouse clicks and without seeing a doctor or getting a valid prescription. Experts believe the Web sites are fueling an increase in the abuse of prescription drugs, especially among teenagers.
The legislation, approved by Congress last month, aims to make it harder for people to obtain the drugs by prohibiting online pharmacies from dispensing medications to anyone without a valid prescription from a doctor who has examined the purchaser in person at least once. It would have little effect on legal online pharmacies, such as drugstore.com and the sites of pharmacy chains Walgreen Co. and CVS Caremark Corp. that already impose such rules on their customers.
Regulators say the new law is intended in part to strengthen the federal government's ability to enforce existing statutes and make clear how they apply to the Internet. "This is really making explicit what has been implicit," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and the bill's lead sponsor in the Senate. "We've tried to close this loophole by essentially addressing this problem of controlled substances being sold without any medical oversight or prescription."
(4) DRUG-RELATED CONVICTIONS QUASHED DUE TO MOUNTIE'S FABRICATIONS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 09 Oct 2008
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2008 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Canadian Press
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia's Court of Appeal has quashed drug convictions against a dozen people because an RCMP officer fabricated evidence against them. In a decision released yesterday, the court says none of the convictions can stand because former Mountie Daniel Ryan sold drugs while lying under oath to justify search warrants for the premises of the 12 men who were convicted.
"While investigating the appellants for drug-related offences, then RCMP officer Daniel Ryan kept a dark secret," the court says in its decision. "In fact he was a drug dealer, breaking the very laws that he was sworn to uphold."
The court says the rights of the men to fair trials were infringed.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Voters in California have the chance to reduce the number of people
behind bars, but if they vote on a competing initiative they could
actually raise the number. The San Francisco Chronicle compares the
two issues. In the Washington Post, a heartbreaking but eye-opening
account about the lack of treatment options for middle class addicts
who haven't entered the criminal justice system. From England, a
report on how LSD relieves the pain of what some describe as
"suicide headaches"; and Massachusetts police chiefs have controlled
crime to the degree that they don't want to give up their ability to
punish low-level marijuana users as harshly as possible.
Voters in California have the chance to reduce the number of people behind bars, but if they vote on a competing initiative they could actually raise the number. The San Francisco Chronicle compares the two issues. In the Washington Post, a heartbreaking but eye-opening account about the lack of treatment options for middle class addicts who haven't entered the criminal justice system. From England, a report on how LSD relieves the pain of what some describe as "suicide headaches"; and Massachusetts police chiefs have controlled crime to the degree that they don't want to give up their ability to punish low-level marijuana users as harshly as possible.
(5) 3 CRIME INITIATIVES AWAIT VOTERS IN NOVEMBER ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 5 Oct 2008
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Demian Bulwa, Chronicle Staff Writer
They're not dueling initiatives. But a pair of anti-crime measures on the Nov. 4 state ballot could hardly be more different in their approach to improving California's criminal justice system.
Proposition 5 would divert more drug addicts and nonviolent offenders from prison to rehabilitation programs. Proposition 6 would set aside money for anti-crime agencies and put more convicts - gang members in particular - behind bars.
One would shrink the prison system, the other make it bigger.
The resulting battle has backers of the measures trading accusations - - not only about whether the proposals would work, but whether the other side's motives are pure.
Prop. 5, opponents say, is just a step toward legalizing drugs. Those who oppose Prop. 6 call it a money grab by law enforcement.
"They are definitely looking at the criminal justice system from different ends of the binoculars," said San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey, who supports Prop. 6 and has not taken a position on Prop. 5.
(6) WHY WE COULDN'T SAVE NICOLE ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 7 Oct 2008
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2008 The Washington Post Company
Author: Jacqueline M. Duda
Finding Treatment for Addiction Was Harder Than We Thought
We're a hardy family, used to weathering all manner of surprises as we've seen four kids through various stages of toddlerhood, childhood and adolescence. So when our fun-loving 22-year-old, Nicole, shocked us by admitting a heroin addiction and asked for our help in overcoming it, my husband and I froze only an instant. Then we leapt into action, firmly believing that with the aid of 21st-century medical treatment, we could help her reclaim her life.
Surely, we thought, college-educated suburbanites like us could locate professional help: drug counselors, doctors, therapists specializing in addiction. Surely detoxification centers would treat desperate addicts and work out a payment plan. Surely we could check her into some kind of residential treatment program with a minimum of delay.
We were wrong.
The next several months of trying to get her affordable treatment were like entering some unknown circle of hell. Then the world as we knew it came crashing down when two policemen showed up -- two years ago yesterday -- to tell us that Nicole had been found dead of an accidental overdose.
We're still adjusting to life in a reconfigured family that bumps along like a wagon missing a wheel. Meanwhile, we continue to probe the gaps in the addiction treatment system to share what we learn in hopes of helping others avoid tragedy.
(7) LSD CURED MY HEADACHE ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 7 Oct 2008
Source: Independent (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Author: Arran Frood
Cluster Headaches Cause Such Severe Pain That Some Sufferers Are Driven to Suicide. Now One Man Believes He's Found a Surprising Cure
This is the story of a man known online as Flash - a man driven to the brink of suicide by the debilitating effects of cluster headaches. After years of ineffectual treatments, Flash stumbled on what he declared was a new treatment, as controversial as it was, he claimed, effective: hallucinogenic drugs.
Flash was ridiculed by the cluster headache community for his "miracle cure". But when a survey of fellow sufferers who self-medicated with hallucinogens was published in the mainstream journal Neurology, the results gave weight to his claims. The Harvard Medical School scientists who conducted the survey have now applied for a preliminary clinical trial on the subject.
Cluster headache ( CH ) remains an enigma to the medical profession. First chronicled in 1745, and frequently misdiagnosed as migraine, the condition is hardly a household name. Yet cluster headache affects as many as one in a thousand people - 60,000 people in the UK alone, almost matching the prevalence of cystic fibrosis.
(8) POLICE CHIEFS: VOTE NO TO POT ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 09 Oct 2008
Source: Republican, The (Springfield, MA)
Copyright: 2008 The Republican
WEST SPRINGFIELD - Law enforcement officials from Western Massachusetts gathered Wednesday to voice their opposition to Question 2 on the November ballot, a measure that would decriminalize possession of an ounce or less or marijuana.
"Ballot Question 2 is a green light to drug dealers to target young children, especially high school students, to buy and use drugs," Hampden County District Attorney William M. Bennett said during a press conference held in front of West Springfield High School.
Others who spoke out in opposition to the ballot question were police Chiefs Anthony R. Scott, of Holyoke, Bruce W. McMahon, of Easthampton, and David F. Guilbault, of Greenfield; Hampden County Sheriff Michael J. Ashe Jr.; Berkshire County District Attorney David F. Capeless; and Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel.
Question 2, if passed by voters Nov. 4, would replace criminal penalties for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana with a $100 fine. The measure is sponsored by the Boston-based Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, which is seeking the decriminalization of what it considers a minor offense but said the question would have no impact on arrests involving the sale, distribution or trafficking of any amount of marijuana.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Once again, the corrosive effects of prohibition on police and crime
in general are on display in this week's news stories. From thugs
who pose as police to steal medical cannabis, to a 5-year-old who
brought cannabis to school, it's hard to see how the drug war is a
positive force in U.S. society. And things don't look much better up
north in Canada, as police want the ability to search trash for
evidence even as stories of major past failures in the drug war are
Once again, the corrosive effects of prohibition on police and crime in general are on display in this week's news stories. From thugs who pose as police to steal medical cannabis, to a 5-year-old who brought cannabis to school, it's hard to see how the drug war is a positive force in U.S. society. And things don't look much better up north in Canada, as police want the ability to search trash for evidence even as stories of major past failures in the drug war are recounted.
(9) THIEVES ATTEMPTING TO STEAL POT POSED AS POLICE OFFICERS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 4 Oct 2008
Source: Chico Enterprise-Record (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Chico Enterprise-Record
Author: Greg Welter, Staff Writer
OROVILLE -- The Butte County Sheriff's Office warns that five recent attempts to steal pot from medical marijuana growers have included two incidents with shots fired and two in which thieves posed as law enforcement.
In the latter incidents people possibly wearing some type of uniform and identifying themselves as being from either the Sheriff's Office or the Drug Enforcement Administration were allegedly involved.
In both instances, marijuana was reportedly taken.
The Sheriff's Office has arrested suspects in two of the five incidents. Chico police have arrested one suspect who allegedly fired a pistol at a grower in an attempt to steal pot plants from his yard.
Officials said anyone contacting the public about marijuana grows will have proper law enforcement identification, such as badges, and wear uniforms with patches identifying their agency.
(10) BOY, 5, BRINGS BAG OF MARIJUANA TO SCHOOL ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 01 Oct 2008
Source: State Journal-Register (IL)
Copyright: 2008 The State Journal-Register
Police and child welfare investigators are trying to determine how a 5-year-old boy obtained the bag of marijuana he took to his kindergarten class Monday.
Police seized the bag of drugs and notified the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services about the incident, which happened at Owen Marsh Elementary School, 1100 Avon Drive, about noon Monday.
The kindergarten teacher heard one student make reference to another student who had some "weed" at his desk. The teacher walked over and saw a bag of suspected marijuana sitting on the boy's desk.
The teacher took the bag and notified the principal, who called Springfield police.
Police said the teacher at one point asked the boy what was in the bag, and he responded that it was "weed."
(11) HIGH COURT TO CONSIDER IF POLICE CAN SEIZE TRASH ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 06 Oct 2008
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2008 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Janice Tibbetts, Canwest News Service
Household Waste Led To The Arrest Of Calgary Drug Dealer
OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada is about to tackle trash.
One of the most significant cases of the fall session, which begins this week, will be heard on Friday when the bench considers whether police should be permitted to continue their longtime practice of rummaging through garbage set outside for municipal collection.
Lawyers for Calgary drug dealer Russell Patrick will argue that coffee grounds, bill remnants, bank statements, empty pill bottles, dinner scraps and other discarded refuse is private information that should be constitutionally shielded from the eyes of the state.
"Household waste may disclose a variety of personal information including one's lifestyle choices, DNA, finances, health and identification," lawyer Jennifer Ruttan says in a court brief.
(12) FIRED BIKER COP SETTLES SUIT AGAINST PROVINCE ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 09 Oct 2008
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Chad Skelton
A fired biker-gang investigator who sued the Organized Crime Agency of B.C. for wrongful dismissal has reached an out-of-court settlement with the province.
Allen Dalstrom was fired by OCABC Chief Officer David Douglas in 2004 after concerns were raised about Dalstrom's handling of Project Phoenix, a multimillion-dollar investigation of the Hells Angels that was never prosecuted, and over comments Dalstrom allegedly made to a journalist writing a book about the Angels.
Dalstrom alleged in court documents that Phoenix failed because of a turf war between the RCMP and the OCABC.
His trial threatened to expose divisions between the RCMP and municipal police in B.C., with some of the most senior officers in the province scheduled to testify. They included RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass, former deputy commissioner Bev Busson and former Vancouver police chief Jamie Graham.
Dalstrom's trial began last month but only lasted a few days before the two sides entered settlement talks.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
As job losses mount around the world, employment in the cannabis
industry becomes more attractive. Among the benefits; tax-free
income and no pre-employment drug testing.
An interesting column from the Independent of the U.K. on the
heals of a report by the British think-tank, the Beckley
Foundation, which recommended that cannabis be legally regulated.
Why not legalize cannabis? It might lead to the legalization
of other prohibited substances.
The same slippery-slope, guilt-by-association objections are
being raised by law enforcement officials in opposition to
various cannabis law reform initiatives which will appear
on election ballots in November.
The cannabis phytopharmaceutical Sativex may soon be approved
in New Zealand, in part to blunt calls for medicinal cannabis
As job losses mount around the world, employment in the cannabis industry becomes more attractive. Among the benefits; tax-free income and no pre-employment drug testing.
An interesting column from the Independent of the U.K. on the heals of a report by the British think-tank, the Beckley Foundation, which recommended that cannabis be legally regulated. Why not legalize cannabis? It might lead to the legalization of other prohibited substances.
The same slippery-slope, guilt-by-association objections are being raised by law enforcement officials in opposition to various cannabis law reform initiatives which will appear on election ballots in November.
The cannabis phytopharmaceutical Sativex may soon be approved in New Zealand, in part to blunt calls for medicinal cannabis law reform.
(13) NO SHORTAGE OF ILLEGAL POT GROOMERS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 05 Oct 2008
Source: Chronicle Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2008 The Halifax Herald Limited
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/180 Author: Elianna Lev, Canadian Press
Tax-Free Income Also Often Comes With Free Food, Pot, And Possibly Criminal Charges
VANCOUVER - There's green to be made clipping and trimming the green leaves in British Columbia's marijuana industry.
The prospect of tax-free income is driving some people into temporary work as "clippers" for indoor and outdoor grow operations.
It's not only against the law, it's also considered the most labour- intensive part of the harvesting process. But there isn't a shortage of people willing to do the work.
Pot clippers - also known as trimmers - groom marijuana plants that have been harvested from fields or indoor grow operations. The workers pare down the buds from the plants to make them presentable for sale.
A demand for workers throughout the province starts at the beginning of fall, when most outdoor crops are ready to be harvested.
Payment is either on an hourly basis, starting around $10 an hour, or by weight, according to individuals who have worked in the business but did not want to be identified. Meals are often provided and clippers are usually allowed to keep some of the product for personal use.
Although the work was repetitive and labour-intensive, the woman said she trimmed as much as she could because she was getting paid by the ounce. She could make up to $300 in cash for a single day's work.
"My relationship with cash was shifting, it was just paper," she said. "I was stuffing it into my pocket, I was like, 'This is demented.' "
The woman said she looks back on the experience favourably and would do it again in the future. Although there were pitfalls - along with the long hours, she also started feeling sick from breathing in dust in the close quarters - she made a lot off money in four weeks.
(14) IS IT TIME THE WORLD FORGOT ABOUT CANNABIS IN ITS WAR AGAINST DRUGS? ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 3 Oct 2008
Source: Independent (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/209 Author: Michael McCarthy
The Big Question:
Is It Time The World Forgot About Cannabis In Its War Against Drugs?
Why Are We Asking This Now?
Because yesterday a British think-tank published a report for next year's United Nations Strategic Drug Policy Review, suggesting that a decriminalised, regulated market in cannabis would cause less harm than the prohibition of the drug currently in force across most of the world.
What Is the UN Review?
It is an examination of progress made since the international community, at a special session of the UN General Assembly in New York in June 1998, agreed a 10-year programme of activity for the control of illegal drug use and markets - the "war on drugs". It is thought unlikely that enormous progress will be reported in 2009, as many drugs are purer, cheaper, and more widely available than ever before. Experts on drug policy are therefore looking again at the alternative to prohibition which is always in the background, but which no office- holding politician hoping for re-election appears able to contemplate - legalisation.
Wouldn't the Legalisation of Cannabis Pave the Way to the Legalisation of All Drugs?
It might well do, which is why, no matter what the relative harm of dope may be compared to cigarettes or whisky, a move to end prohibition would be stoutly resisted by opponents of liberalising the drug laws, and welcomed by those who would like to see liberalisation brought in. For it is the issue of prohibition itself, rather than the issue of cannabis, which is really at the heart of the argument. The drugs-liberalisation pressure group Transform yesterday welcomed the Global Cannabis Commission's call for legalisation, but said it would also welcome its now being applied to heroin and cocaine.
(15) DA BLODGETT SPEAKS OUT AGAINST QUESTION 2 ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 9 Oct 2008
Source: Georgetown Record (MA)
Copyright: 2008 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/3519 Author: Sarah Menesale
Georgetown - Mary Jane, pot, weed, ganga -- call it what you want, but Massachusetts voters will decide on a burning issue in the Nov. 4 election that's caused quite a stir between advocates and opponents of current marijuana laws in the commonwealth.
Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett talked about his opposition to Question 2 -- which would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana -- at a meeting Friday morning with Community Newspaper Company reporters and editors in Beverly. His opinions differ sharply with those of Georgetown's Steve Epstein, a well-known local advocate of reducing the penalties for marijuana possession.
"Ballot Question 2 would undoubtedly have a negative effect on children. It will facilitate young people smoking grass," Blodgett said.
Blodgett focused on what decriminalization would mean and the dangers of marijuana during the informal question-and-answer session.
"There's no question this is a baby step [for supporters]. Their ultimate goal is the legalization of drugs," he said of Question 2, which he said is being back by Hungarian-born American financial guru and political activist George Soros.
Georgetown's Steve Epstein disagrees that a move toward legalization would be bad policy.
Epstein, an attorney and Georgetown resident since 1987, is one of the founders of the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, which was started in 1989.
"I think it should be [fully] legalized. I make no bones about it," said Epstein this week. He says that's where he differs from the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, which is backing Question 2. That group is currently not lobbying for further decriminalization beyond what is called for in the ballot initiative, but Epstein thinks Question 2 should just be a first step.
(16) CANNABIS SPRAY USE MAY BE MADE LEGAL ( Top )
Cannabis products could soon be used legally for medical purposes, after an application by a leading drug company to market a liquid version for pain relief.
Medsafe is considering whether to allow the marketing and sale of cannabis spray, Sativex, after an application from its British maker.
It comes as the Government faces increasing pressure from some patients and scientists to legalise cannabis use to alleviate chronic pain for accident victims and some sufferers of multiple sclerosis and cancer.
Cannabis is a class C drug and cannabis preparations are class B drugs, but the Medicines Act allows the drug to be used with ministerial approval.
The Health Ministry said approval to use Sativex had been granted for three patients, and a further application was pending.
The spray, which is administered under the tongue, was developed by British firm GW Pharmaceuticals for multiple sclerosis patients and has been legal in Canada since 2005.
Rose Wall, the ministry's quality and safety manager, said the Medsafe application to market Sativex as a medicine was still being considered.
In a briefing paper to former health minister Pete Hodgson, issued by the ministry last year, officials said there was "sufficient evidence of safety and efficacy of cannabis in some medical conditions" to support consideration of compassionate, controlled use.
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Police in Canada have been caught again spending large sums of money
for reports that bolster prohibition and police power. This week the
RCMP confirmed e-mails which surfaced admitting the police force
spent $15,000 for reports denouncing Insite, the supervised
injection center in Vancouver. Though police were happy the report
turned out as desired, they wanted to cover up the fact it was the
police who were responsible for the report: "As per our request, the
report has no reference to the RCMP," the obedient report-writers
reported back to the RCMP.
In a surprise move last week, Mexican president Calderon introduced
a proposal for treatment instead of incarceration for those
possessing small amounts of drugs. Calderon has escalated the drug
war during his two years in office, only to watch violence spiral
out of control as traffickers battle for market turf. When
Calderon's predecessor introduced similar legislation a few years
ago, it was met with howls of "Legalization!" from Washington
prohibitionists, and Fox backed down.
Ottawa Citizen columnist Dan Gardner laments this week that "the
primary source of information about the drug trade is the United
Nations Office on Drugs and Crime." Gardner points out the
non-rationally explainable and religious nature of drug prohibition
at the UN as "a cause, a crusade, a faith. One does not question a
faith. One promotes it... Don't be fooled by the UN imprimatur. The
World Drug Report is crude propaganda."
And also this week, reporter James Risen writes in the New York
Times that US-installed Afghan president Hamid Karzai has a brother,
Ahmed Wali Karzai, who is deeply involved in the drug trade there.
Such reports have Washington worried "perceptions that the Afghan
president might be protecting his brother are damaging his
credibility," writes Risen. Ahmed denies reports he's a drug lord,
"I am a victim of vicious politics."
Police in Canada have been caught again spending large sums of money for reports that bolster prohibition and police power. This week the RCMP confirmed e-mails which surfaced admitting the police force spent $15,000 for reports denouncing Insite, the supervised injection center in Vancouver. Though police were happy the report turned out as desired, they wanted to cover up the fact it was the police who were responsible for the report: "As per our request, the report has no reference to the RCMP," the obedient report-writers reported back to the RCMP.
In a surprise move last week, Mexican president Calderon introduced a proposal for treatment instead of incarceration for those possessing small amounts of drugs. Calderon has escalated the drug war during his two years in office, only to watch violence spiral out of control as traffickers battle for market turf. When Calderon's predecessor introduced similar legislation a few years ago, it was met with howls of "Legalization!" from Washington prohibitionists, and Fox backed down.
Ottawa Citizen columnist Dan Gardner laments this week that "the primary source of information about the drug trade is the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime." Gardner points out the non-rationally explainable and religious nature of drug prohibition at the UN as "a cause, a crusade, a faith. One does not question a faith. One promotes it... Don't be fooled by the UN imprimatur. The World Drug Report is crude propaganda."
And also this week, reporter James Risen writes in the New York Times that US-installed Afghan president Hamid Karzai has a brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, who is deeply involved in the drug trade there. Such reports have Washington worried "perceptions that the Afghan president might be protecting his brother are damaging his credibility," writes Risen. Ahmed denies reports he's a drug lord, "I am a victim of vicious politics."
(17) RCMP ROLE IN INJECTION SITE STUDIES DRAWS FIRE ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 09 Oct 2008
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Times Colonist
Author: David Hogben, Canwest News Service
The Pivot Legal Society has asked federal auditor general Sheila Fraser to examine whether the RCMP exceeded its law-enforcement mandate by commissioning studies into Vancouver's supervised injection site.
Pivot lawyer and spokesman Doug King yesterday revealed RCMP e-mails indicating the national police force commissioned reports researching Insite.
"The RCMP Act gave the RCMP a mandate to act as peace officers for the citizens of Canada. Using public funds entrusted to them to fund a cynical critique of health-based research clearly does not fall within this mandate," King said.
One of the reports paid for by the RCMP was written by anti-harm reduction activist Colin Mangham. Federal Health Minister Tony Clement referred to Mangham's report when he argued academic research into supervised injection sites was deeply divided.
One e-mail, written by then-RCMP Const. Chuck Doucette, states: "Dr. Mangham's report has now been published. This e-mail contains a link to the web page for the Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice and to his report. As per our request, the report has no reference to the RCMP."
Linteau confirmed the RCMP paid $10,000 for that report and $5,000 for another. She could not say how much the RCMP paid for the other two reports.
(18) MEXICO'S PRESIDENT BEGINS PLAN TO DECRIMINALIZE SMALL-TIME DRUG USE ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 03 Oct 2008
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Miguel Angel Gutierrez, Reuters
Law To Cover Tiny Amounts Of Pot, Opium, Cocaine, Heroin, Meth
MEXICO CITY -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon, locked in a bloody battle with drug cartels, wants to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of street drugs in a plan likely to irk Washington.
Calderon, a conservative in power nearly two years, sent a proposal to Congress yesterday that would scrap the penalties for drugs including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, opium and marijuana.
"What we are seeking is to not treat an addict as a criminal, but rather as a sick person and give them psychological and medical treatment," said Sen. Alejandro Gonzalez, head of the Senate's justice committee.
Reviving a similar effort by his predecessor, Calderon aims to free up police to hunt for dealers and smugglers. But the plan could run into opposition in largely conservative Mexico as well as in the United States.
Former president Vicente Fox introduced a drug decriminalization measure in 2006 but ditched it after Washington objected and critics on both sides of the border said it could lure "drug tourists" from the United States and elsewhere.
(19) THE WAR ON DRUGS IS A BUST ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 08 Oct 2008
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Dan Gardner
Discussion has been scant. It has also been ignorant and vapid. Even the Manley report said nothing intelligent about it. "Coherent counter-narcotic strategies need to be adopted by all relevant authorities," the report sagely recommended, leaving the identity of these marvelous strategies to the reader's imagination.
This failure has many causes but a key one is the simple fact that the primary source of information about the drug trade is the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
For the UNODC, the criminal prohibition of drugs is not merely a tool of public policy. It is a cause, a crusade, a faith. One does not question a faith. One promotes it.
Over the following 10 years, cocaine output grew 20 per cent and opium production doubled. That's according to the UNODC's own figures.
There lots more examples but I think the point is clear.
Don't be fooled by the UN imprimatur. The World Drug Report is crude propaganda.
Journalists and politicians who take it at face value contribute to the manipulation of public opinion and the stifling of meaningful debate. And that is unacceptable at a time when Canadian soldiers are fighting and dying in the War on Drugs.
(20) REPORTS LINK KARZAI'S BROTHER TO HEROIN TRADE ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 5 Oct 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
Author: James Risen
WASHINGTON -- When Afghan security forces found an enormous cache of heroin hidden beneath concrete blocks in a tractor-trailer outside Kandahar in 2004, the local Afghan commander quickly impounded the truck and notified his boss.
The assertions about the involvement of the president's brother in the incidents were never investigated, according to American and Afghan officials, even though allegations that he has benefited from narcotics trafficking have circulated widely in Afghanistan.
Both President Karzai and Ahmed Wali Karzai, now the chief of the Kandahar Provincial Council, the governing body for the region that includes Afghanistan's second largest city, dismiss the allegations as politically motivated attacks by longtime foes.
"I am not a drug dealer, I never was and I never will be," the president's brother said in a recent phone interview. "I am a victim of vicious politics."
But the assertions about him have deeply worried top American officials in Kabul and in Washington. The United States officials fear that perceptions that the Afghan president might be protecting his brother are damaging his credibility and undermining efforts by the United States to buttress his government, which has been under siege from rivals and a Taliban insurgency fueled by drug money, several senior Bush administration officials said. Their concerns have intensified as American troops have been deployed to the country in growing numbers.
"What appears to be a fairly common Afghan public perception of corruption inside their government is a tremendously corrosive element working against establishing long-term confidence in that government -- a very serious matter," said Lt. Gen. David W. Barno, who was commander of coalition military forces in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005 and is now retired. "That could be problematic strategically for the United States."
The White House says it believes that Ahmed Wali Karzai is involved in drug trafficking, and American officials have repeatedly warned President Karzai that his brother is a political liability, two senior Bush administration officials said in interviews last week.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
A CLASS ACTION SUIT I'D LIKE TO SEE ( Top )
By Pete Guither
From Drug Warrant - http://www.drugwarrant.com
Interesting press release about the problems of field drug test kits that are so ubiquitous, yet keep giving false positives and really messing up people's lives.
PROGRESSIVE VOTER GUIDE TO DRUG ISSUES ( Top )
Find out how Obama and McCain compare on everything from drug sentencing laws to drug use in politicians' personal lives.
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Century of Lies - 10/07/08 - Susan Boyd
Susan Boyd, author "From Witches to Crack Moms" + Fritz Wenzel of Zogby on poll: "76% of Americans see drug war as failure"
Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 10/08/08 - Ryan King
Ryan King of Sentencing Project on voter disenfrancisement + Phil Jackson with black perspective on drug war.
IS THERE ANYTHING CBD CAN'T DO? THEN WHY IS IT ILLEGAL? ( Top )
By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
While the prohibition of cannabis is absurd, the ban on the plant's non-psychoactive components is even more mind-boggling.
ONDCP HAS FAILED TO CUT MARIJUANA USE, MISUSED TREATMENT STATS ( Top )
by Jon Gettman
Recently released data from two major federal government reports, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the Treatment Episode Data Set, underscore the failure of Bush Administration drug policies.
DRUG-RELATED CRIME BIGGEST THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY IN THE AMERICAS ( Top )
Drug trafficking and the violence committed by its associated organized crime is the biggest threat to public safety in the Americas, according to the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
SHOULD PENNSYLVANIA LEGALIZE MARIJUANA? ( Top )
Thousands of Pennsylvanians each year are arrested for possessing and using marijuana. Does this policy of jailing marijuana users make any sense? What are the reasons for this policy? What are the reasons against it? Our panelists debated these issues prior to a general question-and-answer period.
Speakers: Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director, NORML and the NORML Foundation; David Freed, Cumberland County District Attorney; Professor Daniel Kenney, Dickinson College (Moderator)
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
APPLY FOR A JOB WITH MPP ( Top )
The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's largest marijuana policy reform organization, is seeking a Community Organizer, to be based in the Marijuana Policy Project of Nevada's (MPP-NV's) Las Vegas office.
MPP-NV's ultimate goal is to pass a statewide ballot initiative that would tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol in Nevada, thereby ending marijuana prohibition in the state. This position is an exciting opportunity to play an integral role in a groundbreaking organization that seeks to significantly and permanently reform marijuana policy.
To apply, please see http://www.mpp.org/jobs/process.html and follow the instructions there.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
ADDRESSING THE OMMP ISSUE ( Top )
By Allan Erickson
Hannah Guzik and the Daily Tidings have done a good job covering the marijuana issue -- an issue which the anti-pot, anti-OMMP [Oregon Medical Marijuana Program] folks seem to dominate these days.
I was terribly irked, however, by the statement from Ashland Police Department's Deputy Police Chief Rich Walsh when he said, "It's kind of like medical marijuana. You can basically go out and stub your toe and get a medical marijuana card, and say your toe hurts. And that's just not right." ( "Enforcement vs. regulation," Sept. 29)
Lets consider for just a moment what Oregon cannabis activists are saying and doing. They are saying marijuana is medicine and that it should be regulated. Great. The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program is a successful program that has led to increased regulation. Nearly $1 million collected by the OMMP was actually used by the state for other purposes. How many other health care programs are so successfully self supporting?
But there are some 300,000 pot smokers in Oregon according to Jeffery Miron's economic report ( mentioned in the article ). And these citizens have to either grow under clandestine methods or buy from the black market -- a black market that is so profitable we now have Mexican cartels growing multi-thousand plant crops in our remote wild areas, damaging our streams, rivers and fishing holes with chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. It seems among the greatest failures of pot prohibition is the increased pot production controlled by foreign cartels.
Legalization ( not decriminalization ) would remove the criminal element completely, ending their assault on our beautiful state while providing both work for Oregonians and funds for state coffers.
If the issue is about harm ... well ... we better ban cigarettes, cars and alcohol.
Allan Erickson, Drug Policy Forum of Oregon Eugene
Pubdate: Fri, 3 Oct 2008
Source: Ashland Daily Tidings (OR)
LETTER WRITER OF THE MONTH - SEPTEMBER ( Top )
DrugSense recognizes Chris Buors of Winnipeg, Manitoba for his two letters published during September bring his total published letters that we know of to 233.
You may review his published letters at:
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
The Golden Rule ( Top )
By Mary Jane Borden
There is an ancient phrase that most of us know: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. It's called the Golden Rule for a reason. When applied, the best - golden - relationships, as a general rule, will result. It represents the best of humanity and serves as the basis for human rights. People almost universally want to be treated with kindness and respect. If I treat my neighbor this way, perhaps he will respond similarly, for most people don't seek confrontation and conflict. At least not face-to-face.
Drug policy reform has flourished in Cyberspace. Until the advent of the Internet, those interested in this topic lacked an inexpensive means to communicate and strategize with one another. Further, many were separated by geographic distances, rarely, if ever, having the capability to personally interact.
The evolution of the Internet over the last decade, especially the growing availability of broadband, has given reformers the ability to quickly, easily, and inexpensively speak to one another, view Webpages, send text messages, and of course, exchange e-mail about drug policy in real time. However, geographic dispersion remains, as does the lack of in-person interaction. Instead of expressive eyes gazing back you, your visual interface becomes a cold computer screen.
Words can be both flowers and swords. When words of praise and gratitude are expressed, the recipient grows and blossoms. When words are harsh and cruel, they cut and injure.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) understood the potential of the Internet to induce both productive and destructive conduct and thus published RFC 1855 in October of 1995. This document remains THE standard of social conduct - network etiquette or netiquette - on e-mail lists, newsgroups, networks, blogs, and forums. Please see: http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1855
Because we are rooted in Cyberspace, DrugSense understands the dynamics behind online communication. At about the same time as the IETF established RFC 1855 on netiquette, DrugSense was founded. We have grown with the Internet to now manage over 120 client Websites and oversee 180+ e-mail discussion lists, with very few problems. Almost all activists know and understand the Golden Rule. Most agree with the importance of treating both colleagues and the opposition with the utmost kindness and respect.
DrugSense's Acceptable Use Policy can be found at http://www.drugsense.org/pages/aup.htm. This updated document spells out our general policy, mailing list guidelines, prohibited activities, and procedures to report violations.
As we state in the AUP, DrugSense believes that drug policy is most effectively advanced through "promoting a culture of ethical and lawful behavior, openness, trust, and integrity." This approach is key to credibly presenting our message to policy makers and the media. Netiquette is the application of the Golden Rule to Cyberspace. We learned long ago that the Golden Rule enhances and improves communication, fosters human rights, and brings forth the best of humanity. It is in the universal adoption of this rule that reform stands the best chance of ending the War on Drugs.
Mary Jane Borden is a writer, artist, and activist in drug policy from Westerville, Ohio. She serves as Business Manager/Fundraising Specialist for DrugSense
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty." - George Bernard Shaw
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NOTICE: ( Top )
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MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION TO DRUGSENSE ON-LINE ( Top )
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