This Just In
(1)High Court Upholds Medical Marijuana Law
(2)41 People Allegedly Linked to Mexican Drug Cartels
(3)Plea in Botched Raid Ends Feds' Case
(4)Police Losing Fight To Stop Cocaine Use

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 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Thu, 30 Oct 2008
Source: Great Falls Tribune (MT)
Copyright: 2008 Great Falls Tribune
Author: John S. Adams, Tribune Capitol Bureau

Montana courts cannot bar medical marijuana patients from using the drug as a condition of their probation or parole, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The decision overturned a lower court's ruling that prohibited a Conrad man from using marijuana while serving a three-year deferred sentence.

"This is a very big and important victory, both for patients and Montana voters," said Tom Daubert, founder and director of Patients and Families United, a support group for patients who use medical marijuana.

Montana voters overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative in 2004 legalizing the use of medical marijuana in the state.

In Tuesday's 6-1 decision, the Supreme Court found that District Judge Laurie McKinnon overstepped her authority when she barred Timothy Nelson of Conrad from using medical marijuana as a condition of his sentence.




Pubdate: Thu, 30 Oct 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Richard A. Serrano

The Suspects Include Emmanuel Sanchez, a Former Deputy Sheriff From Texas Who Was Found With $950,000 Hidden in His Pickup During a 2007 Traffic Stop in Georgia, Federal Authorities Say.

Federal authorities in Atlanta announced grand jury indictments Wednesday against 41 people allegedly connected to violent Mexican drug cartels, including a former deputy sheriff from Texas stopped with nearly $1 million in cash hidden in his pickup on a Georgia highway.

The trafficking operation moved hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana from the Southwest border to Atlanta, authorities said. It also involved extensive money laundering operations in which millions of dollars in drug proceeds allegedly were funneled through U.S. banks back to Mexico.

Authorities said about $22 million in cash was seized in raids, making it a record amount for an Atlanta case. It comes at a time when the cartels are pushing hard to solidify a hold on the Southeastern U.S. and other metropolitan areas far north of the Rio Grande.




Pubdate: Fri, 31 Oct 2008
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
Copyright: 2008 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Author: Bill Rankin, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Civil Rights Violated: Ex-Police Officer Could Be Imprisoned for 10 Years As a Result of Elderly Woman's '06 Death, Cover-Up.

The federal investigation into the fatal shooting of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston ended Thursday with the guilty plea of former Atlanta police Officer Arthur Bruce Tesler.

Against the advice of his lawyer, Tesler pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate civil rights, resulting in the Nov. 21, 2006, death of Johnston at her Neal Street home.

As part of a plea agreement, federal prosecutors will recommend a sentence of 10 years and one month in prison. Tesler, 42, is to be sentenced in February.

Johnston's killing shocked the nation. It also rocked the Atlanta police force with revelations that officers faked warrants to make drug cases.

"The killing of Kathryn Johnston by Atlanta police officers was a terrible and unnecessary tragedy," U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said. "We are glad that today's guilty plea brings another measure of justice to Ms. Johnston, her family and our community."

The case prompted a revamping of the narcotics squad and extensive training, Nahmias added.

The federal investigation is now over. The FBI will hand over a report to Atlanta police Chief Richard Pennington with recommendations that could lead to state prosecutions or administrative discipline of other officers, Nahmias said.




Pubdate: Fri, 31 Oct 2008
Source: Independent (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Author: Ben Russell

Number of people taking drug now tops 800,000, Home Office figures show

Britain is losing the war against cocaine with new figures showing a dramatic increase in people using the drug over the past decade and a slump in the volume seized by police.

The proportion of adults using cocaine in the past year has increased nearly four-fold since 1996, to an estimated 810,000 people a year, Home Office figures showed.

Separate figures showed the volume of cocaine seized by police has fallen by more than half since 2003 to 3.2 tonnes last year, despite an increase in the number of seizures.

Overall, drug use has fallen since 2004, led by continuing reductions in the use of cannabis, but the proportion of adults using cocaine in the past year has soared from 0.6 per cent in 1996 to 2.3 per cent in 2007-08.

Ministers are planning a major new public relations offensive targeting cocaine use, with another "Frank" campaign to warn youngsters of the dangers of using the drug.





Voters in the U.S. are set to decide on a number of drug policy-related initiatives next week. They range from reprioritizing cannabis enforcement in Hawaii to changing the way drug offenders are dealt with by the judicial system in California. And, some groups appear to be gearing up for future elections. Finally, in South Africa drug testing comes to the classroom with teachers being trained to administer drug tests themselves.


Pubdate: Wed, 29 Oct 2008
Source: Chico Enterprise-Record (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Chico Enterprise-Record
Author: Terry Vau Dell, Staff Writer

There are strong opinions on both sides for and against Proposition 5, the prison reform and drug treatment initiative on Tuesday's ballot.

Supporters say the Nonviolent Offenders Rehabilitation Act will reduce current prison overcrowding by removing thousands of drug users from the penal system, cutting parole for those who seek treatment from three years to as little as six months, while conversely increasing parole time for people convicted of violent or sex crimes.

Proposition 5 would provide about $460 million a year -- nearly triple the current amount -- to divert a wider variety of drug-related offenders into treatment, getting to the root of their addiction instead of incarcerating them, say advocates.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office estimates the measure could wind up costing taxpayers $1 billion a year, but potentially save another $2.5 billion in related prison construction costs by removing up to 18,000 inmates from the state's penitentiaries.

Opponents contend Proposition 5 is a deceptive and costly "social experiment," which is not aimed only at nonviolent drug users.




Pubdate: Sun, 26 Oct 2008
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Copyright: 2008 West Hawaii Today
Author: Bobby Command

Proposed amendment by Initiative to the Hawaii County Code

"Should the Hawaii County Code be amended to add a new article that would be titled and known as the 'Lowest Law Enforcement Priority of Cannabis Ordinance,' which would, 1. direct the county to make law enforcement related to marijuana offenses, when the cannabis is only intended for adult personal use, their lowest law enforcement priority; 2. define 'adult personal use' to include the use of cannabis on private property only by persons 21 years of age or older; 3. prevent county law enforcement officials from accepting deputizations or commissions from a federal law enforcement agency for purposes of investigating, citing, or arresting citizens or searching or seizing their property if doing so is inconsistent with the lowest law enforcement priority of cannabis ordinance; 4. prohibit the Hawaii County Council from authorizing the acceptance of or issuing funding to be used to investigate, cite, arrest, prosecute, search or seize property from adults when doing so would be inconsistent with the lowest law enforcement priority for cannabis policy; 5. and direct the County Council not to support the acceptance of any funds for the marijuana eradication program?"

Backed by a group known as Project Peaceful Skies, this law would essentially prohibit outside funding of marijuana enforcement, including green harvests which rely heavily upon helicopters.

Supporters say it would allow law enforcement officers to concentrate efforts on drugs such as crystal methamphetamine instead of adults 21 and older who use "cannabis" on private property for personal, religious or medicinal purposes.

"The National Institute for Drug Abuse has determined that eradication does not stop cultivation," said Adam Lehmann, campaign manager for Project Peaceful Sky. "It only increases the street value, which increases crime."

However, Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna said it is rare that someone arrested solely for a marijuana offense possesses small amounts of the drug.

"You don't get the complete picture with this proposal," said Mahuna. "Those who are busted usually have large amounts of marijuana, which is being used to make money or barter for other drugs."




Pubdate: Sun, 26 Oct 2008
Source: Corvallis Gazette-Times (OR)
Copyright: 2008 Lee Enterprises
Author: Bennett Hall, Corvallis Gazette-Times

On the eve of its 10th anniversary, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act is facing a determined attack by a coalition of business and other interests.

In November 1998, a voter-approved initiative made Oregon the second state, after California, to allow medicinal use of marijuana to help people deal with pain and side effects of treatment of certain conditions including cancer, AIDS and glaucoma. But the drug remains illegal under state and especially federal law, an inconvenient fact that has led to numerous difficulties in implementing the medical marijuana act.

Nevertheless, participation in the state's medical marijuana program has grown steadily, with more than 20,000 people currently holding cards authorizing them to use the drug.

Some employers have never been comfortable with the program, and now a coalition called the Drugfree Workplace Legislative Work Group is mounting a concerted effort to keep medical marijuana out of the job site and roll back major portions of the act.

"We are going to push hard this next session," Dan Harmon, the work group's chairman, told Albany Area Chamber of Commerce members Thursday. "We've told the legislative officers, 'You'd better tape your socks on, because we're going to come hard.'"

The executive vice president of Hoffman Corp., a large Portland construction firm, Harmon is also co-chairman of Associated Oregon Industries. The Drugfree Workplace Legislative Work Group is an offshoot of Workdrugfree, a program of the Oregon Nurses Foundation whose backers include 10 chambers of commerce and several regional business organizations.

When the Legislature convenes in January, the work group plans to reintroduce Senate Bill 465, which would exempt employers from having to accommodate medical marijuana users, no matter when or where they use the drug. The bill cleared the Oregon Senate in 2007 but died in a House committee.




Pubdate: Tue, 28 Oct 2008
Source: Herald, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2008 The Herald
Author: Dineo Matomela

"Drugs are a catalyst for a number of social ills at our schools, including Aids, violence, crime and suicide and we have decided to identify their use among our pupils."

These are the words of Kholiswa Mgaba, of drug and substance abuse management in the national education department, during the first of a two-day training programme and implementation of a drug policy at mostly "high risk schools" yesterday.

"We started training teachers here because we know that drug abuse at schools is a problem more than other parts of the province," she said.

Fifty teachers and principals of Port Elizabeth from 25 schools with drug use problems among pupils were trained at the Pine Lodge yesterday.

"We love the pupils and our approach to drug testing is that of restorative justice, not a punitive type of approach. We are preaching prevention, awareness and education.

"We are not doing random tests but voluntary tests. We will call the parents before the testing pupils," Mgaba said.

In cases where teachers and principals were not able to assist pupils with drug problems, they would be referred for monitoring.

The health departments, correctional services, safety and liaison, and the police would be also involved in assisting pupils.

The teachers and principals received a free kit comprising a manual, gloves, urine test and an indicator.




More bad news regarding the Mexican corruption, American prison crowding, and a drug war that police claim have priced a packet of heroin comparably to a pack of cigarettes.


Pubdate: Tue, 28 Oct 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times

Mexico Under Siege

At Least 35 Officials and Agents From an Elite Unit Have Been Fired or Arrested Following Tips From an Informant Involving the So-Called Beltran Leyva Cartel.

Reporting from Mexico City -- In a damning blow to its fight against drug traffickers, the Mexican government Monday acknowledged severe penetration of a top law enforcement agency by a vicious gang that may even have bought intelligence on U.S. operations from renegade employees.

At least 35 officials and agents from an elite unit within the federal attorney general's office have been fired or arrested in an investigation that began July 31 following tips from an informer.

The officials, including a senior intelligence director, are believed to have been leaking sensitive information to the very traffickers they were investigating for as long as four years, prosecutors said.

In exchange, prosecutors said, the corrupt government officials received monthly payments of $150,000 to $450,000 each from the so-called Beltran Leyva cartel, a drug gang based in the Pacific state of Sinaloa that is engaged in a bloody fight with rivals for domination of the region's lucrative trade.




Pubdate: Tue, 28 Oct 2008
Source: Monitor, The (McAllen, TX)
Copyright: 2008 The Monitor
Author: Jeremy Roebuck

Recent U.S. efforts to disrupt drug smuggling routes through the Rio Grande Valley have prompted threats of retaliation against authorities on this side of the river, according to an FBI intelligence report.

Vowing to maintain control over valuable trafficking corridors such as those in Reynosa, Matamoros and Miguel Aleman, the Gulf Cartel and its paramilitary enforcement wing, Los Zetas, have begun stockpiling weapons, reaching out to Texas gangs and issuing orders to "confront U.S. law enforcement agencies to zealously protect their criminal interests," the report states.

The organizations' encroachment north of the border marks a troubling shift in strategies, federal and local authorities say.

Prior to now, smugglers largely maintained a non-engagement policy with law enforcement here, even as they carried out hundreds of assassinations and violent attacks on authorities in Mexico.

"It's finally coming together - the cartels, the violence, the gangs," said one local law enforcement official. "It's going to get worse here before it gets any better."




Pubdate: Mon, 27 Oct 2008
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 2008 PG Publishing Co., Inc.
Author: Tom Barnew

HARRISBURG -- A steady rise in the number of inmates and the political risks of paroling prisoners early are complicating the state's efforts to ease crowded conditions in its prisons.

The 27 existing lockups now hold nearly 47,000 inmates, which is up from a population of just over 36,000 in 1998. The number of inmates is now 8 percent over the current capacity of 43,300.

And the tide keeps on rising. State Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard estimates that the overall prison population could top 57,000 by the end of 2012. Legislators' desire to be "tough on crime" and the public's fear of rising drug-related crimes have led to longer and more mandatory sentences.

Correctional costs, at $1.6 billion for 2008-09, are the third biggest item in the $28 billion state budget, after education and welfare costs.

Progress to ease the crowded cells is going slowly. The Department of Corrections wants to build three new state prisons, each costing $200 million and holding 2,000 inmates. But the first of the three new prisons won't be open before mid-to late 2011.




Pubdate: Sat, 25 Oct 2008
Source: Eagle-Tribune, The (MA)
Copyright: 2008 The Eagle-Tribune
Author: Meghan Carey

Police See Younger Dealers And Younger Customers

A bag of heroin costs less than a pack of cigarettes, and that's one of the main reasons more local teenagers are trying the narcotic, experts say.

Another reason might be that local drug dealers aren't much older than their teenage customers, according to police.

Four suspected drug dealers arrested this month range in age from 19 to 26. And police believe they have been selling heroin to 17-, 18- and 19-year-olds, Kingston police Chief Donald Briggs said.




Canadian medicinal cannabis activists won an incremental victory in court last week, when the Federal Court of Appeal declined to revisit, and thereby upheld, a lower-court ruling which found the government's near monopoly on medicinal cannabis cultivation is unconstitutional.

In British Columbia, the courts have ruled that police officers can not tag along behind electrical and safety inspectors on grow operation fishing expeditions without a warrant.

Doesn't this seem like a great time to revitalize the hemp industry?

As many states are poised to vote on cannabis law reform initiatives, some Californian's are still meeting resistance to the implementation of Prop 215.


Pubdate: Wed, 29 Oct 2008
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2008 Canwest Publishing Inc.

On Monday, the Federal Court of Appeal refused to entertain a government challenge to January's Sfetkopoulos decision, in which Justice Barry Strayer of the federal court's trial division struck down the rule that a licenced grower of medical marijuana can only have one customer. "We're not persuaded [Justice Strayer] committed any error," said Justice John Evans on behalf of the three-member appeal panel, endorsing their colleague's ruling with unusual haste.

What is perhaps most interesting about this is that Justice Strayer signalled in his original January ruling that he felt some sympathy with the government's position. "I have some misgivings," he had said, "about the Court prescribing therapeutic substances which are neither drugs approved under the elaborate and scientific processes of the Food and Drug Act, and on which there is far from a scientific consensus as to their benefits. But matters have moved well beyond that issue."

Lawyers for the government, he suggested, needed to stop trying to argue the established Charter right of access to medical marijuana out of existence, as they continue to do every time before they go before a court to quarrel over some procedural nicety and delay the creation of a sensible system of buyers and growers. "We must apply the Constitution," he said memorably, "as the Supreme Court of Canada has found it to be."

Apparently, the message has not sunk in, because the government's arguments do not appear to have improved noticeably between January and now; they offered merely the same old bogus pretexts for restricting the licenced supply and for maintaining Health Canada and Prairie Plant Systems' quasi-monopoly on cannabis production. The key justification was that limiting growers to one customer allowed the government and the police to more easily "maintain control over distribution of an unapproved drug product." Strayer bounced that argument, asking how a myriad of small-scale household growers could possibly be easier for police to regulate than a few medium-scale ones; the appeal court, too, was flummoxed by this idea.

Indeed, every justification offered for the one-to-one buyer-to-grower ratio works just as well if you turn it on its head.


At this point, it is worth asking: How much more harassment -- in the courts and otherwise-- is the government of Canada intending to impose upon medicinal marijuana users?




Pubdate: Wed, 29 Oct 2008
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Author: Andy Ivens, Staff Writer

Police Officers Barred From Joining Hydro Inspections Without Paperwork

B.C.'s controversial Safety Standards Act -- aimed at smoking out dangerous grow-ops -- has survived a constitutional challenge.

But police officers who tag along with municipal safety inspectors must bring along a search warrant before gaining access to a home, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled.

The judge said marijuana grow-ops, which often contain adaptations to allow electricity to illegally bypass a meter, are a safety hazard to the community.

The Electrical Fire Safety Initiative, which began in Surrey two years ago and has since spread to other jurisdictions, was successfully challenged by a Surrey man who refused to allow police to enter his home in May 2007 when they accompanied safety inspectors.

Jason Arkinstall -- an associate of the Hells Angels, according to a Province source -- told safety inspectors they were free to come inside and look for a marijuana grow-op.

But he refused to let the two RCMP officers with them enter without a search warrant signed by a judge.

The city used provisions of the act to cut off his power even though marijuana was never found.

In his judgment, Justice William Smart ruled the police needed a warrant, despite the fact they were not conducting a criminal investigation and only intended to search the home for the inspector's safety.




Pubdate: Tue, 28 Oct 2008
Source: Retriever, The (UMBC, MD Edu)
Copyright: 2008 UMBC Student Media.
Author: Brian Tschiegg

Do you feel your wallet shrinking as you drive your car? Many people are resorting to carpooling, public transportation, and many other forms of cheaper transportation, but some researchers have found a way for you to keep driving and save money: hemp. Hemp Global Solutions researches the use of hemp as a biofuel. They advocate hemp as a "potential solution to some of the major social and environmental challenges of the 21st century."

Industrial hemp has a long history in America already. During World War II, Japan cut off America's supply of hemp. In response, Congress lifted marijuana prohibition and encouraged farmers to grow hemp. The response was a boom in hemp crops in America, reaching 375,000 acres in 1943. In 1941, Henry Ford built a plastic car made from hemp and wheat straw. Hemp is still used today in most printed currency because of its resilient strength and water resistance.


As our country starts to look elsewhere for our energy needs, let's hope that the government's irrational stigma against THC containing crops like hemp will not cause them to overlook its inherent benefits. It could be a boom to our nation's economy and a solution to our long- term energy problem all while helping the environment instead of polluting it.



Pubdate: Mon, 27 Oct 2008
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Author: Jeff McDonald, Staff Writer

Board Wants to Resolve State-Federal Conflict

Despite batting .000 against a lineup of lawyers and judges across California, San Diego County is pressing its long-shot lawsuit against state medical marijuana laws toward the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Board of Supervisors voted to petition the nation's top court even before the California Supreme Court declined Oct. 16 to hear the county's argument that the state laws should be overturned.

For nearly three years, the supervisors have persisted in their legal fight rather than direct county health officials to issue identification cards to qualified medical marijuana patients as required by state law.

"This case is not about questioning the medicinal value of marijuana," Supervisor Dianne Jacob said. "It's about resolving the conflict between state and federal law."

For patients who rely on marijuana to relieve symptoms of cancer, AIDS and other illnesses, the ongoing resistance feels more like a slap in the face.


San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn remains unconvinced, however. He does not believe there is any medicinal value in marijuana.

"I don't think it's right, to be honest with you," he said. "Issuing the cards is condoning the use of marijuana. That's not a message I personally want to send."

Legal experts tend to agree with the courts that rejected the position staked out by San Diego and San Bernardino counties. Those judges and scholars say the bottom line is that state laws do not prevent federal agents from enforcing the Controlled Substances Act, which classifies marijuana as among the most dangerous known drugs.

"California can do whatever it wants to do and the U.S. government can do whatever it wants to do," said University of San Diego law professor Shaun Martin, who has argued three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and prevailed once. "The counties' position that there's a conflict on this is a minority - a very minority - view."




In Vancouver, Canada this week the results from the Heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) study are in, and confirmed what other prescription heroin programs have shown: illicit heroin use falls. In this trial, heroin use fell by almost 70 percent and illegal activity was cut. Participants were able to live normal lives. "Heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) is very safe when done properly... Our results show it to be very effective." Drug warriors denounced the investigations as a prelude to legalization.

Cops in Vancouver, Canada were able to cause Insite maximum financial damage last week by waiting until the last minute to break up a scheduled concert to have been held in front the of the supervised injection center. "They took $40,000 worth of sound equipment and threw it away... We had all the permits."

In the expansive faith of prohibitionism, any use of a drug is, by definition, abuse. But in the Irish Examiner this week, Father Peter McVerry challenges the "all use is abuse" dogma, imploring us to "distinguish between drug use and misuse". Drug war heresy, no doubt, but here's to hoping Father McVerry's discernment will spread.

And from Indonesia this week, a new way for drug war-loving dictators to dictate anti-drug edicts and slogans: send a text message everyone with cell phones. "Drugs destroys (sic) our youth's future. Stop using drugs now," began the Indonesian president's message. Sent to all cell phones in Indonesia, the anti-drug message was expected to jam the system for some 30 hours.


Pubdate: Thu, 30 Oct 2008
Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)
Copyright: 2008 The Christian Science Publishing Society
Author: Irwin Loy, Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

But Critics Say the Efforts Amount to a Dangerous Step Toward Legalizing Drugs.

Vancouver, British Columbia - Every morning for a year, Rob Vincent walked into a clinic on the edge of Vancouver's roughest neighborhood, rolled up his sleeves and injected pharmaceutical heroin.


The findings of the North American Opiate Medication Initiative, or NAOMI, were released here on Oct. 17 and the results, researchers say, are "remarkable."

"Heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) is very safe when done properly," Dr. Martin Schechter, NAOMI's principal investigator, said at a news conference held to announce the findings. "Our results show it to be very effective."


Yet others see the study's results as another wobbly step in the wrong direction.

"Giving drugs as a method of treatment is a bunch of nonsense," says Al Arsenault, a 27-year veteran of the Vancouver Police Department, now retired.

"These guys just don't get it. Drug addicts need the cure, not the poison."


"What they're doing is they want to legalize drugs, when there's not enough treatment centers available," Arsenault says. "That's totally backwards.




Pubdate: Fri, 24 Oct 2008
Source: Metro (Vancouver, CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Metro Canada
Author: Maria Cootauco

Permits for benefit featuring Bedouin Soundclash rejected: Police

A free concert that was to be put on by Bedouin Soundclash last night in front of the Insite clinic in the Downtown Eastside didn't happen after police say event organizers didn't have proper permits to put on the show.

"The city had declined a permit that was requested by the group," Const. Jana McGuinness said last night. "The city is concerned that pedestrians or motorists may be unduly put at risk by the event."

The band's lead singer, Jay Malinowski, called the end to the show "unnecessarily aggressive for something that is a humanitarian cause.

"They took $40,000 worth of sound equipment and threw it away . We wanted to play. We're here to play. We had all the permits."

Outside, at the corner of East Hastings and Columbia streets, dozens of police in riot gear stood on the street as people crowded on the sidewalk in front Insite.

"I think it's pretty wild," said Lindsay Kasting, 22, of the scene.

"You don't have a permit for a demonstration. I think it's out of proportion how (police) reacted."

According to Kailin See of Insite for Community Safety, the non-profit organization that put on the $10,000 event, police were contacted about the concert well in advance.



Pubdate: Wed, 29 Oct 2008
Source: Irish Examiner (Ireland)
Copyright: Examiner Publications Ltd, 2008
Author: Cormac O'Keeffe

SOCIETY needs to make a distinction between drug use and drug misuse and should consider the legal supply of drugs.

This call was made by veteran homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry in a speech at a conference on drugs last night.


But he said there was a massive difference between drug user per se and drug misuse.

"I do it along the lines of alcohol. Many people use alcohol but it doesn't have any dire consequence for themselves or for anybody else and people can use drugs without it having any dire consequences for themselves or anyone else, whereas the misuse of drugs is where drugs have consequences for oneself, one's family or one's community."

He said 98% of those who experiment with drugs do not go on to misuse them.


Fr McVerry said public discussion of drugs was dominated by either a climate of fear or a moral climate.




Pubdate: Tue, 28 Oct 2008
Source: Jakarta Post (Indonesia)
Copyright: The Jakarta Post

An anti-drug message from the Indonesian President to be broadcast by text message is expected to cause disruptions in cellular-phone text-messaging services in the country for more than 30 hours starting Tuesday afternoon.


Gatot said the message would not be sent all at once but in a series of data packets.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono wrote in the text message, "Drugs destroys our youth's future. Stop using drugs now. Do not let them make your future dark and hopeless."


 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


Special Interests Overwhelming the Public Interest

By Arianna Huffington


BC's illegal marijuana trade industry has evolved into a business giant, dubbed by some involved as 'The Union', Commanding upwards of $7 billion Canadian annually.

PROP 5  ( Top )

California Has A Chance To Treat Young People Struggling With Drug Problems The Right Way

The NORA initiative would invest $65 million annually into developing drug treatment programs for at-risk California youth under 18.

By Marsha Rosenbaum


If you ever wondered how low the opponents of medicinal marijuana could possibly stoop, just check out the 30-seconds of vile propaganda above. (I recommend having a strong anti-emetic handy.)

By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director


Century of Lies - 10/28/08 - Mikki Norris

Mikki Norris of Cannabis Consumers Campaign, Jeff Jones of Oaksterdam University & Glenn Greenway with the Poppygate Report.

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 10/29/08 - Amanda Fielding

Lady Niedpath, Amanda Fielding, the Director of the Beckley Foundation in the UK regarding their recent Cannabis Commission report, their report on the relative dangers of drugs and a discussion on the legitimate use of LSD and MDMA for medical purposes.


Proposals impacting marijuana policies -- both good and bad -- will appear on a number of ballots across the country on Election Day. Track the results for all of them here.


The United States Drug Czar and Michigan native John Walters held a press conference on Oct. 15, 2008 with local law enforcement officials to voice his opposition to Proposal 1, which would allow the use of medical marijuana in Michigan.


Tobacco products have had a long and inglorious history of largely unfettered marketing built around pseudoscience, false and misleading claims, and appeals to medical authority.


by Jon Gettman

This report reviews data on marijuana arrests in Massachusetts at the state, county, and local levels. Also examined are data on marijuana and other drug use, marijuana-related drug treatment admissions referred by the criminal justice system, criminal justice system costs, and clearance levels for serious crimes in Massachusetts.


VOTE  ( Top )

This voter guide will show you how your U.S. representative voted on syringe exchange programs, medical marijuana, substance abuse treatment, and drug war funding. You can also find out whether or not they cosponsored any of the ten drug policy reform bills that were introduced in the 110th Congress.


UCSF Study Seeking Pain Patients For Vaporized Medical Marijuana Safety Study, Compensation Offered

Visit to find out more about taking part in this groundbreaking study by University of California, San Francisco researcher Dr. Donald Abrams



By David Malmo-Levine

My name is David Malmo-Levine. In 2003 I appeared self-represented at the Supreme Court of Canada on "activist cannabis retail" charges similar to those faced by the Holy Smoke staff. Currently I'm a herb museum curator in Vancouver. I have been researching the history and economics of cannabis since 1992.

I am an atheist, but I consider cannabis to be the "Tree of Life" referred to in the first chapter of the Old Testament and the last chapter of the New Testament, as well as the "kanneh-bosm" mentioned in Exodus 30:23 in the Hebrew and Aramaic versions of the Old Testament. Exodus 30:23 is part of the list of ingredients of the holy anointing oil, where we get the words "Christ" and "Messiah" from - the "anointed" one ... anointed with holy kannebosm oil. I believe Moses and Jesus used cannabis for insight and for healing the blind ( those with glaucoma ) the lepers ( those with pruritus ) and those possessed by demons ( epilepsy ). Cannabis is a wonderful - almost magical - medicine with the ability to replace many of the over the counter drugs on the market today. To empower humanity with this magical medicine was one of the ultimate goals of the Holy Smoke staff.

As well as being a wonderful medicine, cannabis is also the best source of fuel in the plant kingdom. Did you know that you could eventually crank out hemp ethanol for about 15 cents per litre? The science to back that up is found in my article on hemp ethanol, found online. Given Canada's consumption of oil rate is about 2 million barrels per day, and the U.S. consumption of oil rate is about 20 million barrels per day, hemp ethanol stands to be a major industry, if ever the red tape around industrial hemp is removed. A legal hemp ethanol industry would end oil wars, reverse climate change ( through carbon sequestration ) and eliminate oil spills. What stands in the way of using hemp ethanol is the war on cannabis and cannabis users that creates the red tape around industrial hemp. Removing this red tape and helping humanity evolve into sustainable beings is another goal of the staff of Holy Smoke.

There are other economic reasons to re-legalize medicinal and social cannabis. Globally, the tobacco industry is worth about $430 billion dollars. Tobacco is grown in radioactive chemical fertilizers. Canadians drink over 240 million litres of alcohol every year, and those living in the U.S. drink over 2.5 billion. 99% of all "recreational"-drug-related deaths are due to alcohol and tobacco. The global pharmaceutical industry is worth over $500 billion per year. Over 100,000 US citizens die every year from synthetic drugs. We could ease the burden on our health care system by getting people to switch from deadly alcohol, tobacco and pills to cannabis - a herb that has never killed anyone. We could save billions every year in health-care costs. Not to mention the billions we waste in limited justice system resources, and the billions of tax dollars currently uncollected. And we could create hundreds of thousands of new jobs farming and gardening. These are all worthy goals that would dramatically change the quality of life of all Canadians for the better.

This is the holy mission that these men were on when they were arrested - trying to set an example of how this harmless, helpful herb could be fully taken advantage of. If they are punished, they will be punished for trying to save their world from poisonous drugs and fuels and trying to bring back the tree of life when the world needs it most. To punish them now would be to harm the harmless, given the fact that there are absolutely no victims from their crime. There are no marijuana drunk tanks, no marijuana cancer wards and nobody complaining of harm done to them.

Don't harm these harmless, helpful and holy people by taking away their freedom.

David Malmo-Levine Vancouver, B.C.

Pubdate: Tue, 21 Oct 2008
Source: Nelson Daily News (CN BC)


More Lies From Michigan  ( Top )

By Bruce Mirken

The opposition to Proposal 1, the Michigan medical marijuana initiative, is going on the air with this new TV ad - a spot so egregiously dishonest that even my very jaded jaw dropped when I saw it. It may set an all-time record for the most lies ever packed into a 30-second commercial, spoken by a narrator over grainy, black-and-white footage of what purports to be a medical marijuana dispensary. The most obvious:

1) California's medical marijuana law is "just like Proposal 1." No, it's not. California's law has almost none of the limitations and restrictions the Michigan proposal does - including a defined list of qualifying conditions and a mandatory patient registry and ID card system. And unlike California's law, Michigan's initiative does not authorize dispensaries. Period.

2) "Hundreds of pot-smoking clubs opened in strip malls all over the state. They grow pot there. They smoke it there. In every neighborhood." Even if this had the slightest relevance to Michigan (which it doesn't - see above), the statement is just plain false. I say this with some certainty, since I live in San Francisco, perhaps the most medical marijuana friendly city in the state. California dispensaries are not in every neighborhood: Most communities have none at all, while others have strictly regulated where they can locate. Many do not allow smoking on site, and almost none grow on site.

I happen to think medical marijuana dispensaries - when appropriately regulated and well run - are a perfectly fine thing, but they are simply irrelevant to the Michigan debate. But the opponents know the facts won't help them, so in desperation they resort to shameless lies.

Please take a second to learn the truth about Proposal 1 and how you can help.

Bruce Mirken is communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project - This piece originally appeared at the organization's blog -


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