This Just In
(1)Medical Marijuana Advocate Arrested In Sting
(2)Demand For Hemp Soaring, Firm Moves To Bigger Plant
(3)Medical Marijuana Policy Undetermined
(4)Organized Crime Branching Out

Hot Off The 'Net
-Pot Policy At The Federal Level: Time To Get To Work! / Paul Armentano
-Drug Truth Network
-Opportunities For Drug Reform In The Obama Era / Ethan Nadelmann
-Obama On Drugs / By Jacob Sullum
-Mushrooms, Russia And History
-MAPS News - November 2008

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Fri, 14 Nov 2008
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2008 The Honolulu Advertiser
Author: Christie Wilson, Advertiser Maui Bureau

PA'IA, Maui -- The head of a medical marijuana advocacy group on Maui and six other men have been charged with running a drug trafficking ring.

The suspects were arrested Tuesday following a two-year investigation surrounding the Patients Without Time organization located on Baldwin Avenue in Pa'ia, said Capt. Gerald Matsunaga of the Maui Police Department.

As part of the investigation dubbed Operation Weedkiller, Maui police, assisted by other county, state and federal law enforcement agencies, recovered more than 335 plants, nearly 16 pounds of marijuana, a small amount of hashish and more than $14,000 in cash from several homes and businesses, he said.

"They exploited the medicinal marijuana laws to sell marijuana to turn a financial profit," Matsunaga said.

State Rep. Joe Bertram III, D-11th (Kihei, Wailea, Makena), yesterday defended Patients Without Time and its director, Brian Murphy, 53, who was indicted on 13 offenses, including criminal conspiracy and commercial promotion of marijuana. Bertram said the organization provides marijuana to the disabled and critically ill patients legally registered under the state's medical marijuana law.

"It's a godsend to sick people here on Maui. It's heartbreaking. A lot of people now are left in the lurch. They were getting a medicine that's safe and reliable and now it's gone," Bertram said.

"How are these people who have these permits supposed to have access to this medicine that the state said is available to them? This is major problem."




Pubdate: Thu, 13 Nov 2008
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2008 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Murray McNeill

Not only is demand for hemp products skyrocketing -- Canadian hemp seed exports increased by 300 per cent and hemp oil exports by 85 per cent from 2006 to 2007 -- but one of the country's oldest and largest hemp food producers, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils, is moving into a new state-of-the-art processing plant this week that will boost its production capacity by 500 per cent.

And Wednesday, the federal and provincial governments added icing to the cake with the unveiling of a new national strategy for developing the hemp industry in Canada.

"In the last 10 years, the Canadian hemp industry has grown from an emerging niche market to a point where we are now being recognized as a global leader in hemp production," said Mike Fata, chairman of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance ( CHTA ) and president and co-founder of Manitoba Harvest Hemp.

"With the province's support, this hemp strategy has given us a road map to new opportunities and continued growth of the hemp industry in Canada."

Fata said the creation of a national strategy gives the industry instant credibility.

"It proves the industry is here and it's not just a fad."




Pubdate: Thu, 13 Nov 2008
Source: North Wind, The (Northern MI U, MI Edu)
Copyright: 2008 The North Wind
Author: Carson Lemahieu

Universities across Michigan may soon face trouble enforcing a newly passed proposal which legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Proposal 1, which passed in Michigan in the Nov. 4 election, legalized the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana with a valid prescription.

Carl Holm, director of Housing and Residence Life, said NMU has not reached a decision on any campus policy towards medical marijuana.

"I haven't given it any thought," he said. "I don't know how often we will deal with this. When I think of people who are ( getting medical marijuana ), I don't think of college-age students."

NMU Public Safety Sgt. Ken Love said he hasn't been given any information on how medicinal marijuana would be treated on campus.




Pubdate: Thu, 13 Nov 2008
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Kim Bolan, Staff Writer

E-Waste Is New Source Of Loot For Criminals, RCMP Commissioner Says

Organized criminals in Canada still rely on the drug trade for profits, but are branching out into all kinds of new illegal businesses, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott said Wednesday.

Elliott told the Vancouver Board of Trade that some members of the 900 identifiable crime groups in Canada are also involved in commercial crimes such as vehicle theft, credit card fraud, trafficking in human organs and even the illegal disposal of electronic waste such as computers and cellphones.

"Criminal networks can profit by collecting e-waste in developed nations and exporting it to so-called recyclers in developing countries where it is often handled improperly," Elliott said. "This is a violation of Canadian and international law and it is creating an environmental and human health crisis."

As organized crime has grown, it has also become more sophisticated, subcontracting out some of its illegal activity, said Elliott, who was appointed to the top job 16 months ago.

"It is also becoming more fluid," he said. "Crime groups are now forming temporary alliances with what we refer to as criminal service providers who perpetrate crime."

But crime groups are still heavily involved in the drug trade, particularly in the three largest urban centres in Canada -- Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

"Illegal drugs are still the mainstay of organized crime and we see the deleterious effects in our communities across the country," he said.





A school district in Florida really wants students to participate in drug surveys - so much that a family was denied school pictures for daring to try and opt out.

The drug war continues to take a toll on the criminal justice system, with many public defenders offices declaring that they are at the breaking point.

A pharmaceutical drug that was supposed to help users loose weight by blocking cannabinoid receptors may be finally done as more research suggests that users face negative psychological effects from the drug. So, if it's not therapeutic to block cannabinoid receptors for some people, it seems conversely true that filling those receptors would be beneficial for other people.

And in Hawaii, a police chief ignores the will of the voters.


Pubdate: Sat, 08 Nov 2008
Source: News-Press (Fort Myers, FL)
Copyright: 2008 The News-Press
Author: Sam Cook

Dustin Worth admits to having a libertarian lean.

"I'm only registered Republican because the third party is not an electable option," says Dustin, 38.

The less government intrusion, the better for him.

Dustin and wife, Sandra, who live in Lehigh Acres, maintain the same philosophy about the Lee County School District.

Educate our children, but refrain from asking unnecessary and personal questions that are none of the district's business.

"We are fed up with government schools dictating to parents as to how they decide what's best for our children," says Sandra Worth, 42.

The Worths bumped heads with the district in September when their son, Alec, a sixth-grader at Oak Hammock Middle in Fort Myers, was not allowed to take his class picture for the school yearbook.

When Dustin signed off on a release of the directory information code of conduct for students grades 6-12, he took one exception, drawing a line through the last sentence.

The sentence is new to the release this year, according to district spokesman Joe Donzelli.

It reads: Permission is also given to allow my child to participate in anonymous surveys involving the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.

The Worths want to know why the district needs to survey students about smoking, drinking and drugging.

Dustin sent a letter to Principal Clayton Simmons on Sept. 25, asking Alec's picture be taken on makeup day. His attorney sent an Oct. 14 letter to Simmons and staff attorney Robert Dodig with a similar request. Both were denied.




Pubdate: Sun, 9 Nov 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Page: A1, Front Page
Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
Author: Erik Eckholm

MIAMI -- Public defenders' offices in at least seven states are refusing to take on new cases or have sued to limit them, citing overwhelming workloads that they say undermine the constitutional right to counsel for the poor.

Public defenders are notoriously overworked, and their turnover is high and their pay low. But now, in the most open revolt by public defenders in memory, many of the government-appointed lawyers say that state budget cuts and rising caseloads have pushed them to the breaking point.

In September, a Florida judge ruled that the public defenders' office in Miami-Dade County could refuse to represent many of those arrested on lesser felony charges so its lawyers could provide a better defense for other clients. Over the last three years, the average number of felony cases handled by each lawyer in a year has climbed to close to 500, from 367, officials said, and caseloads for lawyers assigned to misdemeanor cases have risen to 2,225, from 1,380.

"Right now a lot of public defenders are starting to stand up and say, 'No more: We can't ethically handle this many cases,' " said David J. Carroll, director of research for the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.

The Miami-Dade case, which is being closely watched across the country, was appealed by the state, which says that defender offices must share the burden of falling revenues. On Friday, the Florida Supreme Court sent the case to an appellate court for a ruling. If the judge's decision is upheld, it will force courts here to draw lawyers from a smaller state office and contract with private lawyers to represent defendants, at greater expense.




Pubdate: Thu, 6 Nov 2008
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2008 San Jose Mercury News
Author: Linda A. Johnson, AP Business Writer

TRENTON, N.J.--French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis said Wednesday it is halting all research on a diet drug sold in Europe, Acomplia, and rival Pfizer Inc. hours later said it is ending research on an experimental weight-loss drug in the same class.

Both drugs work by blocking the pleasure centers that give marijuana smokers the "munchies"--the cannabinoid type 1, or CB1, receptors.

Given that obesity and related complications are arguably the world's biggest public health problem, the demise of both drugs will be a big disappointment for patients and doctors, and possibly for investors. The decisions leave New York-based Pfizer, the world's top drugmaker by sales, and Paris-based Sanofi-Aventis, ranked No. 4, suddenly without drugs in a category all but guaranteed as a blockbuster.

"This will significantly affect the perception of their ( future ) revenues," but the companies could overcome that with replacement drugs down the road, said analyst Steve Brozak of WBB Securities.

Just four years ago, scientists were touting Acomplia as a Holy Grail of medical research, saying it showed promise in helping people lose weight, control blood sugar and other aspects of diabetes, lower cholesterol, quit smoking and stop abusing alcohol, marijuana and cocaine.

Some researchers predicted that once Acomplia got approval for weight loss or smoking cessation, research would ramp up in those other areas. But that early promise didn't materialize, it didn't win approval for smoking cessation and problems began piling up as psychiatric side effects--now a huge red flag for regulators--emerged in various studies of Acomplia as a diet drug.




Pubdate: Fri, 07 Nov 2008
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald (Hilo, HI)
Copyright: 2008 Hawaii Tribune Herald
Author: Peter Sur

Nothing In Ballot Measure Trumps Federal Law, Says Police Chief

The Police Department won't ease enforcement of marijuana laws following the passage of a ballot initiative making that the "lowest law enforcement priority."

"No. 1, it's not a law. It's a resolution," Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna said. "No. 2, there will be no change how we prioritize the enforcement of marijuana.

"The resolution does not invalidate federal law," Mahuna said. "It doesn't legalize marijuana. It's still a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

"We will continue in our efforts to reduce the availability of illegal marijuana," he said.

"Nothing that's in a resolution can nullify and -- to put it simply -- trump a federal law," Mahuna said. "We can't back a resolution contrary to federal law. And it's in contravention of state law."

The initiative took effect upon its approval.




The mayor of Jackson, Mississippi got out of local charges that he overstepped legal boundaries when he supervised the destruction of an alleged drug house in the city. But now, his federal trial starts. Elsewhere, more corruption and profiteering.

 (9) MELTON ON TRIAL  ( Top )

Pubdate: Sun, 09 Nov 2008
Source: Clarion-Ledger, The (Jackson, MS)
Copyright: 2008 The Clarion-Ledger
Author: Chris Joyner

Mayor Frank Melton will enter a courtroom this week for the third time in two years to face criminal charges arising from his cowboy crime-fighting style.

This time, he'll face the federal government and charges that could land him in prison for up to 25 years.

While Melton's reputation for unorthodox behavior goes back to his days as a television commentator, as mayor he sounded an early warning in his July 4, 2005, inaugural address.

"We will deal with crime in a way you have never seen before," he said.

Over the next 14 months, Melton, flanked by his armed police bodyguards, cruised the city's streets in the Jackson Police Department's Mobile Command Unit, stopped traffic to conduct impromptu searches for weapons or drugs, and carried out crusades against hoodlums, suspected and actual.

Quickly, the mayor's crusader persona began raising eyebrows among citizens and state and local officials. Tough talk about crime devolved into scenes of Melton banging on doors with the butt of a shotgun and declaring the city to be under a "state of emergency." He also began consorting with a cadre of young men, some facing charges for violent crimes.

On Aug. 26, 2006, after taking in part of a New Orleans Saints preseason football game at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium, Melton and his entourage paid the first of two visits that night to 1305 Ridgeway St. That nighttime raid left gaping holes in the northwest Jackson duplex and urgent questions on whether the mayor had violated the law and the trust of his office.

Beginning this week, Melton will defend himself in the second trial involving the Ridgeway Street duplex.




Pubdate: Mon, 10 Nov 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
Author: Andrew Becker

A veteran customs inspector recently arrested in Texas on drug charges helped traffickers smuggle about 3,000 pounds of cocaine into the country over five years, according to a court document filed last week.

The inspector, Jorge A. Leija, 43, allowed smugglers to drive cars loaded with cocaine through his entry lane at the Eagle Pass border crossing, about 140 miles southwest of San Antonio, without inspection, according to testimony by an unnamed Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

Mr. Leija was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars from January 2001 to October 2006, the agent said at a bail hearing on Thursday in Federal District Court in Del Rio, Tex.

Court documents said Mr. Leija was also paid $30,000 to make false statements on an application he submitted in September 2003 to obtain an American passport for another person.

Mr. Leija worked as an inspector for 11 years, said Rick Pauza, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman in Laredo, Tex.




Pubdate: Mon, 10 Nov 2008
Source: Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Copyright: 2008 Sun-Sentinel Company
Author: Linda Trischitta

The city's police department has received so much money from partnering on Drug Enforcement Administration task forces, it hasn't figured out how to spend all the cash.

"It's a nice luxury to have, absolutely," said Chief Ross Licata, "and allows us to purchase equipment it would be difficult to find funding for in these tough times."

Lighthouse Point police have served on federal anti-drug task forces for more than a decade, and have $3.3 million total in shared forfeiture funds for their efforts. It must be spent for specific purposes, including investigations, officer education and equipment.

Licata's 32 officers patrol a 2.5-square-mile city of 11,202 residents, where single-family homes have an average market value of $727,467.

From September 2007 through September 2008, crime in the city rose 18.5 percent, from 303 incidents to 359. The top three categories where crime went up were Internet and contractor fraud (39 incidents in 2007, 71 through September ); drugs ( 12 vs. 28) and petty larcenies ( 98 vs. 120 ). There were no rape, murder, kidnapping or arson cases in the past year and Licata reports there was a 50 percent rise in arrests.

Last year, police used $15,000 of DEA funds for ammunition for 20 new semi-automatic rifles.




Pubdate: Fri, 07 Nov 2008
Source: Galesburg Register-Mail (IL)
Copyright: 2008 Galesburg Register-Mail
Author: Susan Kaufman

Felony Could Be Vacated With Completion Of Program

GALESBURG -- A former Galesburg Police Department lieutenant will spend the next 180 days in the Knox County jail after pleading guilty to stealing drugs from the department's evidence locker.

David W. Hendricks, 50, pleaded guilty Oct. 2 to one count of possession of a controlled substance and official misconduct.

In imposing the sentence Thursday in Knox County Circuit Court, Judge Steven Bordner said Hendricks tarnished the reputation of the police department and brought shame to himself and the community. He said failing to impose a sentence of incarceration would further reflect badly on the police department and justice system.

Bordner also sentenced Hendricks to TASC probation. Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities is a program whereby a non-violent offender may be sentenced to probation and drug treatment. If the offender successfully completes conditions of the program, the judge may vacate the judgment and dismiss the criminal proceedings. If that would happen, the felony offenses would not be on Hendricks' record, which would leave him eligible to receive his police pension.




Law enforcement officials charged with implementing Question 2 in Massachusetts are expressing concern that reducing the penalty for possession from a criminal to a civil offence will encourage teen use and embolden dealers, contradicting one of their arguments in opposition to passage of the initiative, that police seldom arrest anyone for simple possession anyway.

Police in Los Angeles County topped their record for cannabis plants eradicated in a single year by 30 per cent in 2008, including a 116,000 plant farm, which they claim is the largest clandestine cannabis grow discovered in U.S. history. Is this supposed to be good news or bad news for prohibitionists?

Hemp is a hardy plant. Long after our species is extinct there will be hemp plants, but some beleaguered American farmers aren't prepared to wait that long.

Speaking of losing the farm, Canadian courts are being forced to address the constitutionality of relatively recent asset forfeiture legislation.


Pubdate: Sun, 09 Nov 2008
Source: Eagle-Tribune, The (MA)
Copyright: 2008 The Eagle-Tribune
Author: Brian Messenger

Lawmakers Still Unsure About Implementation

Nearly 2 million people voted to ease the state's marijuana laws last week, but to Haverhill Deputy police Chief Donald Thompson, the new guidelines simply don't make sense.

Under the new rules, he said, an 18-year-old stopped for a routine traffic violation who is found to have under an ounce of marijuana on him would not be arrested. But if the same person has a single, unopened beer in the car, he would be subject to arrest.

"I don't think people thought it through," Thompson said of Question 2, which was approved by 65 percent of voters at the polls on Tuesday.

The ballot question called for the decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Those caught with an ounce or less will be forced to give up the drugs and pay a $100 fine instead of criminal penalties. Those under 18 will be required to complete a drug awareness program or face a stiffer $1,000 fine.

Groveland police Chief Robert Kirmelewicz said he fears that under the relaxed law, drug dealers will take more chances selling marijuana, especially to younger people. The current penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Massachusetts is up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

"I feel this will not only encourage the use of marijuana in communities, but will also empower drug dealers to sell marijuana to our children, knowing the absence of criminal prosecution," Kirmelewicz said. "I am very disappointed with the passing of this law.


Thompson, Haverhill's deputy police chief, questioned why state officials failed to invest in an advertising campaign before the election to show the public the risks associated with approving Question 2, chief among them that its passage could lead to more drug abuse among young people.

"I'm disappointed the state didn't put up a fight," he said.




Pubdate: Tue, 11 Nov 2008
Source: Pasadena Star-News, The (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Pasadena Star News
Author: Brian Day

Sheriff Reports Marijuana Haul Worth $14 Billion

Los Angeles County sheriff's officials announced Monday the department seized an estimated $14 billion in marijuana this season, which they believe is the largest one-year haul ever.

Found largely in outdoor pot farms in the forest, the plants are primarily grown by Mexican cartels, officials said.

"I believe this is probably the highest season in ... history," said Lt. Joe Nu ez of the sheriff's Narcotics Bureau.

This year also saw the largest single seizure of pot in United States history, according to sheriff's officials.

The Marijuana Enforcement Team team in August found a 116,000-plant farm in mountains of the Angeles National Forest above San Dimas.

It took 40 people two days to chop down the crop, bundle it and fly it out by helicopter.

The pot was estimated to be worth nearly $500 million, officials said, and shattered the previous record of about 85,000 plants seized in a single bust by the MET team in 2007.

"I believe this is the largest marijuana grow in the United States," Sheriff Lee Baca said of the bust.

Pot was seized in the forest above San Dimas several times this year, and officials return annually to find new outdoor marijuana grows, Lt. Phil Abner of the sheriff's Narcotics Bureau said.

In all, this year saw a 30 percent increase in the amount of marijuana seized by the Sheriff's Department compared to last year, officials said.




Pubdate: Thu, 13 Nov 2008
Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN)
Copyright: 2008 Star Tribune
Author: James Walsh, Star Tribune

Pot -- or not pot. That seems to be the question.

Two North Dakota farmers on Wednesday took their battle to grow industrial hemp to the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Paul, where their attorney argued that hemp is so distinct from marijuana that it should not be subject to federal regulation. At stake, say hemp sellers and would-be farmers, is a potentially booming commodity that would help U.S. growers and consumers alike.

"I get real excited about it because of our economic times. It's a crop that would be very, very lucrative," said Lynn Gordon, owner of the French Meadow Bakery, who attended oral arguments at the U.S. Courthouse in St. Paul. French Meadow makes Healthy Hemp bread, muffins and bagels -- all big sellers, Gordon said -- but must buy its hemp from Canada.

"I pay so much for it now," she said.

Federal law allows the import and sale of non-drug hemp stalk, fiber, oil and seeds in the U.S., saying it is separate from marijuana. In fact, hemp is used in paper, textiles, food and even fuel. But federal law also lumps hemp and marijuana together -- they both are classified as Cannabis sativa L. -- when it comes to growing the plants, making it almost impossible for U.S. farmers to legally raise the crop.

Garrison Courtney, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the reason for the prohibition is simple -- hemp and marijuana come from the same plant and all parts of the marijuana plant contain some level of THC, the narcotic that produces the "high." THC is a controlled substance under federal law.

"To get hemp, you have to grow a marijuana plant. To grow a marijuana plant, you have to be registered with the DEA," Courtney said.


In the meantime, the North Dakota Legislature amended its law to no longer require DEA approval. But Hauge and Munson held off planting, saying they have no desire to run afoul of the feds.

"I don't want to risk losing my farm," Munson said.




Pubdate: Wed, 12 Nov 2008
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Janice Tibbetts, Canwest News Service

Conflicting Rulings Previously Issued By Lower Courts

Judy Ann Craig, a former realtor with a golden touch for gardening, will try to convince the Supreme Court of Canada tomorrow that being forced to forfeit her North Vancouver home for running a marijuana grow-op is extreme punishment for her crime.

Ms. Craig is one of three Canadians -- two from British Columbia and one from Quebec -- challenging the seizure of homes in which they grew marijuana, a penalty that has been toughened since federal drug laws were changed in 2002.

The 58-year-old horticulturalist contends that running a small-scale operation, mainly in her basement, should not warrant the same harsh penalties imposed for large, sophisticated businesses controlled by organized crime.

"Forfeiture of a residence of someone at retirement age with no record is severe and destroys hope of rehabilitation," Ms. Craig's lawyer, Howard Rubin, argues in a Supreme Court brief that describes her as "a minor cog in a broader sociological problem."

Ms. Craig, who says she started growing marijuana at the urging of an HIV-infected friend a decade ago, pleaded guilty in 2003 after police seized 186 marijuana plants.

She received a conditional sentence and a $115,000 fine, but, since she had no other assets and owed $250,000 in unpaid taxes from her ill-gotten earnings, the court ordered the forfeiture of her two- storey home, valued at $460,000 at the time of her 2005 sentencing.

Mr. Rubin will argue that federal forfeiture laws for drug crimes should not apply to Ms. Craig, whom he described in court testimony as an "independent" entrepreneur.




It is a bit like watching a train wreck in slow motion as Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat decreed an anti-drug pogrom for Thailand. the anti drug drive is the political brainchild of ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who - from exile in Hong Kong - directs policy in Thailand. This anti-drug push "among the government's top priorities in its first year in office," won't be like the last one in 2002 (where police slaughtered thousands of drug suspects with no arrests or trials), the government promises. Thai police are counting the expected profits from police seizures of property labeled "drug related assets" in the Asian kingdom.

Similarly in South Australia, government there is elated over new laws allowing police to seize property from people that are simply "declared" traffickers by police (no conviction needed). "Previously," reports this week's Advertiser newspaper, "a person had to be convicted of a crime before their assets could be seized."

Canadian newspapers reported this week that Canada will pony up 1.2 million dollars for "wheat seeds and fertilizer for thousands" of farmers in Afghanistan who already "meet the minimum farm-size requirement, [and] have the ability to irrigate". This will be done in hopes of displacing poppy production, which NATO forces claim funds Taliban insurgents. Reports did not mention if the wheat seeds distributed would be "terminator seeds," which are patented, genetically modified seeds designed to be sterile (thus preventing farmers from saving seeds). In Iraq, U.S. occupiers have dictated farmers there must use terminator wheat seeds.

It's true: four out of five Canadian doctors support Insite, the supervised injection center in Vancouver credited for saving lives from overdose, and limiting the spread of HIV. In a Canadian medical Association survey, 78% of the physicians agreed that "harm-reduction strategies, including safe-injection sites, should be part of a publicly funded strategy to treat addiction." The right-wing Harper government has been severely critical of the supervised injection center as government approval of drug use.


Pubdate: Sat, 08 Nov 2008
Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)
Copyright: The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 2008

Just Another Populist Push, Govt Critics Say

CHIANG MAI : Justice Minister Somsak Kiatsuranond yesterday kicked off a drugs suppression drive in the North amid concerns that the revived campaign was just another populist scheme to strengthen the People Power party's political grip on the region.

Concerns were rife at yesterday's meeting which was attended by 500 people to learn about the government's 90-day drugs suppression operation scheduled to run from this month through to January next year.


The local bodies were not required to explain the disbursement of the drug-fighting money.

The sources said that certain officials suspected the drug scheme was part of a government ploy to boost its popularity before the next general election.

It was widely speculated among participants at the meeting that the government would dissolve the House in mid-December.

According to the sources, the anti-drug plan was drafted in Hong Kong before deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's phone-in to the Rajamangala Stadium rally last Saturday.


Mr Somsak spent 15 minutes summarising the drug campaign which was among the government's top priorities in its first year in office.



Pubdate: Fri, 07 Nov 2008
Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)
Copyright: The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 2008

Concerns Raised Over Human Rights Violations

Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat yesterday revived the controversial war on drugs, kicking off a 90-day campaign and stirring concerns about a new wave of human rights violations.

He played down the deaths of thousands of people in the previous war on drugs by the Thaksin Shinawatra administration, which drew condemnation from around the world - deaths Thai authorities blamed on drug dealers.

Delivering an anti-drugs policy to a gathering of about 500 officials at the Army Club, Mr Somchai called on the authorities to exploit all the resources at their disposal to fight drugs.


"Drugs abound because there is a demand. We have to reduce the number of buyers. Without buyers, there can be nothing to worry about, even if the drugs are sold for 25 satang," he said.


Former prime minister Thaksin's war on drugs, launched in 2003, was criticised by many people in Thailand and abroad. More than 2,500 people were killed.

A barrage of complaints and reports claimed many of those who died had nothing to do with the drug trade.

Human rights activists and relatives of many of the dead accused police of extra-judicial killings.


Thaksin and the police claimed the victims were killed by drug gangs wanting to cover their tracks.

"Police are responsible for the suppression of drugs, not for killing," Mr Somchai said.


The aim was to reduce supply to users aged 13 to 18 years. Those caught buying drugs would be treated and rehabilitated at military camps.

Mr Chartchai said arrested addicts who refused to accept compulsory treatment and rehabilitation would be sent to jail.

He said the ONCB expected to seize hundreds of millions of baht in assets illegally acquired from dealing in drugs next year.




Pubdate: Sun, 09 Nov 2008
Source: Advertiser, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2008 Advertiser Newspapers Ltd
Author: Nigel Hunt

The State Government will launch a fresh assault on drug traffickers with new laws giving police greater powers to seize their assets. Planned amendments to legislation will allow assets such as property or cars controlled by the targeted criminal, but used by another person, to be seized.

Attorney-General Michael Atkinson said that under proposed laws to be introduced early next year, the Government would be able to "declare" a person a drug trafficker. "Once declared traffickers, they can have their assets seized," he said.


The State Government last amended the confiscation-of-assets legislation in April 2006, giving police enhanced laws to tackle organised crime figures.

Under those changes, police now only have to prove on the balance of probabilities that a crime has been committed.

Previously, a person had to be convicted of a crime before their assets could be seized.




Pubdate: Sun, 09 Nov 2008
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2008 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Ethan Baron, Canwest News Service

(CNS) - Canada is providing $1.2 million to buy wheat seeds and fertilizer for thousands of Afghan farmers, but the Taliban warn they may attack any foreigners who attempt to distribute the seeds.

The money will pay for 293 tonnes of wheat seed, to supply more than 5,000 farmers with 50 kilograms each, and plant a total of 2,000 hectares of land.

"We look forward to working with the governor of Kandahar to sow these seeds of peace," said Elissa Golberg, head of Canadian development operations in Kandahar province.


Seeds will go to farmers who meet the minimum farm-size requirement, have the ability to irrigate, and are in need.



Pubdate: Tue, 11 Nov 2008
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Christina Spencer

Canadian doctors overwhelmingly support public funding of safe drug-injection sites, including a Vancouver clinic roundly condemned by former health minister Tony Clement.

Of 540 physicians surveyed by the Canadian Medical Association, 78% agree or strongly agree "harm-reduction strategies, including safe-injection sites, should be part of a publicly funded strategy to treat addiction."


The project is meant to reduce both overdose deaths and transmission of blood-borne disease among those who share needles. Insite's supporters hope it will also encourage users to seek treatment. The clinic is part of a broader-based approach to drugs called "harm reduction."



 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


By Paul Armentano, NORML

Three suggestions for how Obama can take immediate, practical steps to reform America's antiquated and punitive pot laws.


Century of Lies - 11/11/08 - Cele Castillo

Cele Castillo, former DEA agent, Iran-Contra whisteleblower & author of "Powderburns, Cocaine, Contras & the Drug War" + Terry Nelson Reports for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 11/12/08 - Eddy Lepp

Reverend Eddy Lepp faces 2 life sentences for growing marijuana for his church, Bruce Mirken discusses advances in marijuana laws on election day, Sanho Tree discusses Plan Colombia on BBC.


By Ethan Nadelmann, Drug Policy Alliance

We have an opportunity to re-shape drug policy for a generation.


By Jacob Sullum

Should reformers dare to hope?


For the first time since its original publication by Pantheon Books in 1957, Robert Gordon and Valentina Pavlovna Wasson's "Mushrooms, Russia and History" is available for download, free of charge, thanks to the New Alexandria archive.

MAPS NEWS - NOVEMBER 2008  ( Top )

News from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies



MPP Seeks Legislative Analyst And Arizona Campaign Coordinator

Legislative Analyst - Candidates should have exceptional oral communication skills, flawless writing, and a professional appearance. Candidates should also be highly organized, self-motivated, and able to accomplish a defined and ambitious set of goals. Candidates who are lawyers are strongly preferred, as are candidates with experience working in public policy.

The Legislative Analyst is in charge of monitoring all marijuana-related bills -- and generating letters from the grassroots for or against the most important bills -- in approximately 18-21 states.

Arizona Campaign Manager - This position is based in Arizona and runs through November 2010.

The overarching goal of the Campaign Manager is to oversee all aspects of the Michigan statewide ballot initiative campaign, successfully implementing the campaign strategy from the campaign's inception through Election Day and ensuring that every possible measure is taken to win the campaign. All aspects of the campaign will be overseen by MPP's Director of State Campaigns, with the Campaign Manager playing a key supporting role to the Director of State Campaigns and the campaign consultants.

This position requires a minimum of two years of statewide campaign experience in a senior management position, though five or more years are preferred.

For details on how to apply see:



By Keith Jones

Regarding your story of Oct. 29 reporting the seizure of $118,000 in an I-40 traffic stop: Chalk up one more highway robbery to the mis-named "war on drugs."

Let's be real; this is an industry living off of the pretense of protecting us from ourselves. If you deal in or carry cash, beware! Ninety percent of the cash in circulation has drug residue embedded in it and once it is seized, it is your problem to hire the lawyer and prove your innocence.

My client took his mother's life savings of $12,000 that he retrieved for her from her coffee can in her just-sold New Mexico house to his Oklahoma house to her as he prepared to care for her in her last years. He learned a lesson the hard way.

So did my car dealer friend with $23,000 in cash, returning with a bill of sale from Arizona. This industry - just like Senator Ted, Sheriff Mike or Tulia Tom - love to think they are heroic public servants while they feed themselves, their friends and their departments with money for payrolls, fancy equipment, new cars and "seminar" trips, in the name of protecting us from drugs.

Call it by it's real name - highway robbery.

Real drug-use reduction will come about the same way it happened with tobacco - we treated it like the health problem it is; we arrested no one and educated everyone.

Keith Jones Amarill

Pubdate: Mon, 03 Nov 2008
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)


DrugSense recognizes Allan Erickson of Eugene, Oregon for his four published letters during October, which brings his total published letters that we know of to 135. Allan is a frequent MAP newshawk and writes a blog at

You may read his published letters at:



By Richard Lake

Editor's Note: This DrugSense Focus Alert was initially distributed on Nov. 11.

Today is Remembrance Day in Australia and Canada and Veterans Day in the United States.

The symbol of the day is the poppy that grows in Flanders' Fields. Service members of our three countries are serving today in Afghanistan, a country where a different kind of poppy, the one which is the source of opium and heroin is intertwined with the war - and drug policy - as noted in these news clippings It is a week since a milestone election in the United States. By now you are probably aware of how the election results have and could possibly in the future impact drug policy. We are starting to see that reflected in some of the news clippings here Reflecting on the election results we have updated our Questions for Our "Leaders" webpage

Last Friday marked a milestone for the Media Awareness Project. On that day our two hundred thousandth news clipping was posted. The news clipping was 'Pot Activist Loses Bid To Have Charges Stayed' at We thank you for your support of our efforts. Without you we could not have reached this milestone.

Richard Lake is the Senior Editor for the Media Awareness Project's news clipping service. He oversaw just about all of the 200,000 clippings that have been posted by MAP.


"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." - William James

DS Weekly is one of the many free educational services DrugSense offers our members. Watch this feature to learn more about what DrugSense can do for you.


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Policy and Law Enforcement/Prison content selection and analysis by Stephen Young (, This Just In selection by Richard Lake ( and Stephen Young, International content selection and analysis by Doug Snead (, Cannabis/Hemp content selection and analysis, Hot Off The Net selection and Layout by Matt Elrod ( Analysis comments represent the personal views of editors, not necessarily the views of DrugSense.

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