This Just In
(1)CA Medical Marijuana Advocates Concerned About Obama Appointments
(2)A Toke A Day Keeps Memory Loss At Bay
(3)Woman Accused In FBI Agent's Death Is Jailed
(4)Halifax Police Determined To Nip Violent Feud In The Bud

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 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Thu, 20 Nov 2008
Source: Capitol Weekly (Sacramento, CA)
Copyright: 2008 Capitol Weekly Group
Author: Malcolm Maclachlan

In this year's presidential election, medical marijuana advocates in California were pretty clear on which candidate they were rooting for. On multiple occasions, Democrat Barack Obama has pledged to end the federal raids that have bedeviled the state's dispensaries for years under the Bush administration.

But some of their relief has turned into concern as the incoming president has begun to consider appointments to key posts. Obama will reportedly appoint two men who have been fierce critics of medical marijuana: Eric Holder, rumored to be Obama's pick for attorney general, and Donald Vereen as transitional co-chair of the Office of National Drug Control Policy ( ONDCP ).

If confirmed to run the Justice Department, Holder would have wide authority to set policy and priorities for the Drug Enforcement Administration. Under President George W. Bush, the DEA has conducted dozens of high profile raids on medical marijuana dispensaries that are allowed to operate openly under California law. Officials have frequently referred to their operators as "criminals" and "drug dealers."

Holder has a long history of past positions that appear to be closer to current policy than to Obama's campaign pledge. According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, he proposed stiffening federal marijuana penalties in 1997 while serving as Deputy Attorney General under President Bill Clinton.


Vereen appears to have taken even stronger anti-medical marijuana positions. He served as the deputy director of ONDCP from 1998 to 2001. In the April, 1999 issues of Psychiatric News, the Journal of the American Psychiatric Association, he called doctors who prescribed marijuana "irresponsible" and advocated arresting medical marijuana patients.

He has also frequently gone on record essentially claiming that marijuana can't be thought of as a treatment because it's usually smoked and because dosages are difficult to control. This position has just as frequently been mocked by advocates, who note that there is not a single documented case of a person dying from a marijuana overdose.

Of most concern to advocates may be Vereen's opposition to a medical marijuana initiative which passed in Michigan this year. Speaking in his role as the director of Community Based Public Health at the University of Michigan, he said the initiative "puts young people at risk."




Pubdate: Thu, 20 Nov 2008
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2008 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Heather Sokoloff and Josh Wingrove

Small Doses Of Marijuana Improve The Function Of Aging Brains, Scientists Find

Turns out a few dances with Mary Jane can do wonders for an aging brain.

Yes, a daily toke in later-middle and old age can help slow memory loss, or the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis, a new study suggests.

It's a pre-emptive strike, one not effective at reversing previous memory loss. But aging boomers still shouldn't go overboard, researchers say. In tests on lab rats, all it took was the equivalent of one human puff.

"We are not trying to make anyone high," said Gary Wenk, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Ohio State University. "We are trying to tease out the positive aspects of this plant."

The benefit was found in a synthetic compound identical to tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana, which researchers say activated areas of aged brains in rats affected by memory loss, and stimulated the formation of new brain cells.




Pubdate: Thu, 20 Nov 2008
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 2008 PG Publishing Co., Inc.
Author: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

INDIANA TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A drug suspect's wife was arraigned early Thursday morning on a homicide charge, accused of killing an FBI agent at her home during a regional drug raid throughout the Pittsburgh area.

Affidavit: Drug Suspect's Wife Shot FBI Agent

Special Agent Sam Hicks was shot to death on Woods Run Road in Indiana Township at about 6 a.m. Wednesday. Authorities are investigating the circumstances between the time law enforcement agents showed up at Robert and Christina Korbe's front door and when Hicks was shot.

According to an affidavit obtained by WTAE Channel 4 Action News, police surrounded the house and announced themselves saying, "This is Pittsburgh police. We have a warrant for your arrest."

The affidavit indicated that Hicks, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, looked inside the house and saw a man running, at which point, authorities said Robert Korbe, 39, went to the basement to flush cocaine down the sink.

According to the affidavit, Christina Korbe said she got a gun and fired one shot down the steps, thinking it was a burglar coming in and not federal agents. The gunshot struck Hicks, and other agents and officers pulled him out of the house and started CPR. He later died at a hospital.




Pubdate: Thu, 20 Nov 2008
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2008 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Oliver Moore

HALIFAX -- Police are pouring unprecedented resources into a bid to head off the resumption of a violent 30-year feud between two local families. The city has been rattled this week by two shootings that police confirmed yesterday are linked to a battle for control of an area known as Spryfield, a long-standing turf war that has included gunfire and firebombings.

"It appears the feud has begun again," Frank Beazley, Chief of Halifax Regional Police, said yesterday. "[These are] the latest incidents in a long-standing conflict between two families involved in the drug trade."

Jimmy Melvin Sr. was shot at on Monday and an unidentified person wounded Tuesday. The chief would not identify which group is suspected in the attacks, but it is no secret locally that the Melvins have long been at odds with the Marriott family.

Neither of the shootings this week was fatal but the more recent, outside the region's largest hospital, left Chief Beazley "horrified."

"I've put significant ... manpower into this investigation," he said yesterday, speaking broadly about the feud. "I've deployed resources to this investigation like no other investigation in the past."





Some fallout from recent voter initiative results was expected (like law enforcement suggesting that they are startled), but some other surprising things have happened. In Hawaii, an activist has filed a formal complaint about a local police chief's antagonism toward democracy. And, in Massachusetts, as the celebrations die down over a relaxation in cannabis laws, at least one astute observed asks why legislators are trying to crack down on another plant. And in other countries, some press outlets take a more open-minded view of the future of drug policy, while in Canada, one province has created a national hemp strategy. Which U.S. state will be the first to do that?


Pubdate: Thu, 13 Nov 2008
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Copyright: 2008 West Hawaii Today
Author: Jim Quirk

HILO -- A complaint was filed Wednesday with the Hawaii County Police Commission against Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna regarding his recent comments about the voter-approved marijuana initiative.

Roger Christie, pastor of the THC Cannabis Ministry in Hilo, said Wednesday he filed the complaint because of comments Mahuna made in two Nov. 7 newspaper articles.

The initiative, which was approved by voters in the Nov. 4 election, made marijuana enforcement the lowest police priority when it's intended for adult personal use.

Mahuna stated in the articles that nothing will change in how the Police Department deals with marijuana enforcement.

Christie complains that Mahuna's views go against commission regulations that require officers and employees to "observe and obey all federal and state laws ( and ) ordinances of the county."

Although Mahuna views the initiative as a resolution and not law, Christie said it is an ordinance.




Pubdate: Thu, 20 Nov 2008
Source: Valley Advocate (Easthampton, MA)
Copyright: 2008 New Mass Media
Author: Mark Roessler

After Massachusetts' Leap Forward Voting To Decriminalize Marijuana, Why Take A Step Backward With Salvia Divinorum?

My first experience with an hallucinogenic substance was decades before I'd ever heard of salvia divinorum or the recent efforts to criminalize it.

Though, at that time, I didn't have the sense or experience to know what I was getting into, I was with people I trusted in a safe, comfortable environment, and I had an immensely pleasurable experience.

After the drug had been administered, I remember lying back in the Naugahyde recliner and staring at a poster featuring a collage of 1930s movie stars. Before I could focus on any one image, the previously bland music they were playing became a thumping roar. Clark Gable, Boris Karloff and Judy Garland began to swirl, and even though my eyes were open, I began to see stars. Millions of brilliant points of light shot past me as if I was going into hyperdrive, and then my body began to lift from the chair and elongate. Like a rubber band powering a propeller in a toy airplane, my legs felt as if they were twisting about time after time, wrapping themselves into a coiled rope.

I was mesmerized by the sights, sounds and feelings I was experiencing, and the only interruption was the occasional request I heard from my handlers to "open big."

I was eight years old, getting my first fillings at the family dentist. I'd been told the stuff I was breathing was laughing gas, but though it was fun, I didn't even giggle. I was in awe, and when it was over, I wanted more. Upon returning home, I asked my mom if I could get some for Christmas.

In the past few weeks, there has been a strange hypocrisy at work on Beacon Hill: Massachusetts voters have overwhelmingly decided in favor of decriminalizing marijuana in amounts of an ounce or less, while at the same time lawmakers are debating outlawing salvia divinorum. Currently salvia is legal and can be purchased locally. It's part of the sage family, like mint, but it's the only member of that genus known to have mind-altering qualities when consumed.




Pubdate: Sun, 16 Nov 2008
Source: Observer, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 The Observer
Author: Carl Wilkinson

Danny Kushlick: 'We Need to Manage the People Who Use Them and Help the People Who Misuse Them, Not Criminalise Either of Them'

Danny Kushlick Is the Founder and Head of Policy and Communications at Transform Drug Policy Foundation

People will always use and misuse drugs. On that basis, we need to manage the people who use them and help the people who misuse them, not criminalise either of them.

Prohibition is a gangsters' charter. It's the second largest opportunity for organised crime to make money to the value of UKP 160bn a year, every year.

We are being lied to. The public is being duped into believing that prohibition works when it doesn't. It creates crime, it creates ill health, and it destabilises producer countries and transit countries to the point where their development issues become intractable.

Legalisation is not a panacea. There are deep social and political problems that underlie the misuse of drugs, including inequality, deprivation, discrimination. The legalisation and regulation of drugs enables us to deal with these problems, rather than criminalise the people involved.




Pubdate: Mon, 17 Nov 2008
Source: World-Spectator, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2008 The World-Spectator.

The Province of Manitoba has released a national hemp strategy that will seek to identify new opportunities for farmers, processors, researchers and exporters.

"Manitoba's farmers and processors are at the leading edge of hemp production," Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Rosann Wowchuk ( said ) recently.

Hemp can be used in a wide range of consumer and industrial applications.

The National Industrial Hemp Strategy identifies the opportunities and challenges in three categories:

* Health and food;

* Fibre and industrial oil, and;

* Production and breeding.

The strategy was introduced at the CHTA's annual meeting in Winnipeg last Wednesday.




Another expensive annual effort to eradicate cannabis in California ends for the season, allegedly netting 5 million plants. How many did they miss? Tough questions are also asked about what's happening in Mexico and prohibition's place in the disaster. And speaking of the Mexican disaster, another high level official has been arrested for corruption. And, in Canada, new asset forfeiture procedures still seem very arbitrary to one observer.


Pubdate: Thu, 20 Nov 2008
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Associated Press

State and federal drug enforcement officials say they have pulled more than 5 million marijuana plants from public and private land this year, a record amount.

The state Department of Justice, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies announced Wednesday that they have seized 5.2 million marijuana plants. Most of those were on public land.

John Gaines, chief of California's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, said more than half the nation's domestically produced marijuana is grown in California.

State and federal agencies participating in the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting and Operation Green Acres 2 also made 143 arrests and seized 142 weapons.




Pubdate: Mon, 17 Nov 2008
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Author: Mike Gray

In case you haven't noticed, there's a low-level civil war under way south of the border, and the bad guys seem to be winning. In the 24 months since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against Mexico's drug cartels, over 6,500 soldiers, narcos, cops, judges and innocent bystanders have been gunned down, beheaded or blown up.

Absolutely no one is safe. In May the country's top law enforcement officer was riddled with bullets after his bodyguards dropped him off at home. The assassins were waiting on the other side of the door - literally an inside job.

Incidents like this make it painfully clear that Mexico's police agencies have been thoroughly infiltrated, but last month the staggering extent of the dry rot got everyone's attention. Two of the country's top anti-narcotics officials were charged with spying for the cartel they were supposed to be prosecuting. Thirty-five of their subordinates are under investigation.

How is it possible for the most sensitive units within the Attorney General's Office to be so easily penetrated? Simple. The amount of cash afloat in the illegal drug market is almost beyond imagining. Even the low level officials in this debacle were taking home $150,000 a month - and apparently had been for years. Their bosses, drawing three times that amount, had become double-digit millionaires.




Pubdate: Tue, 18 Nov 2008
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2008 The Washington Post Company
Author: William Booth, Washington Post Foreign Service

MEXICO CITY -- A senior Mexican police official who worked as the country's liaison with Interpol was arrested Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation into information leaks from top law enforcement authorities to the nation's notorious drug cartels.

Ricardo Gutierrez Vargas was director for International Police Affairs and Interpol at the Federal Investigative Agency, the Mexican version of the FBI. Interpol is the world's largest international police organization and is charged with combating terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking. An official such as Gutierrez could have had access to reams of sensitive intelligence gathered by Mexican and international law enforcement.

Gutierrez was placed under house arrest pending the outcome of the investigation.

The latest detention, announced Tuesday night by the Mexican federal attorney general's office, is part of the government's "Operation Clean House," launched after the January arrest of Alfredo Beltran Leyva. He leads a brutal drug cartel centered in Sinaloa state, which is battling with rivals and police for cocaine-trafficking routes into the United States.

In the last year, about 4,000 people have died in the drug wars. Mexican President Felipe Calderon has made confronting the cartels a centerpiece of his administration.


Continues: URL:


Pubdate: Wed, 19 Nov 2008
Source: North Shore News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 North Shore News1
Author: Jerry Paradis

The B.C. Court of Appeal, in three notable cases, two of which were argued before the Supreme Court of Canada last week, has ordered or upheld forfeitures of property worth $100,000, $150,000 and $341,000, all of which were used in grow-ops.

Nothing mentioned by the court distinguished the "nature and gravity of the offence" or "the circumstances of the offender" in any of the cases, those criteria being what our drug law requires be taken into account when considering whether forfeiture would be "disproportionate."

The fallout of that failure to provide guidance to trial courts was starkly illustrated in R. v. Sundstrom, a decision of provincial court Judge Carol Baird Ellan in Sechelt last July. It shows how a good judge, one who is known to be intelligent and knowledgeable, can be forced to rely on rhetorical gymnastics in the absence of sound guiding principles.

Sundstrom's grow-op was confined to two underground bunkers on his property. The number of plants found is irrelevant: as with the three other cases, the actual number was not a factor in the discussion of forfeiture.

The property was valued at $600,000, he owned it outright and there was nothing to suggest that it had been paid for through proceeds from the grow-op ( he'd owned it since the mid-'70s ). Baird Ellan ordered it to be forfeited. Why is never clear.

She says that this "facility . . . was much more elaborate than the garden variety cultivation" ( the pun may or may not have been intended ).

It turns out that the elaborateness was in its "careful" concealment in bunkers. She said that the crown had established, "as an aggravated fact, that both . . . the bunkers were designed . . . mainly for the purpose of growing marijuana."

Later she found "as aggravated facts that the defendant operated the cultivation mainly for profit, and derived a substantial income" from it.

In other words, the aggravating features of the offence were that ( a ) it was committed and, ( b ) it was committed in secret.




And so in begins in Michigan, where state officials are tasked with implementing new medicinal cannabis legislation contradicted by federal prohibition.

In Japan, a failure to prohibit cannabis seeds is being blamed for an increase in cultivation, consumption and arrests.

A classic specimen of anti-cannabis propaganda from Massachusetts, the latest state to decriminalize the herb.

A county council in Maryland hopes to discourage teens from using cannabis by prohibiting the sale of single, inexpensive cigars used in "blunts," but as a tobacco industry lobbyist pointed out, the new law may simply create job openings for those willing to purchase packs for resale.


Pubdate: Wed, 19 Nov 2008
Source: Lansing State Journal (MI)
Copyright: 2008 Lansing State Journal
Author: Matthew Miller

Growing Plants for Medical Purposes Will Be Legal - but Having Seeds Won't

Though medical marijuana soon will be legal in Michigan, patients and their caregivers still will have to break the law to get it, at least the first time.

Proposal 1 will allow approved patients and their caretakers to possess and grow the drug, but there won't be a legal way to get marijuana seeds or seedlings.

"How do you get from point A to point B? There is no law that protects you there," said James McCurtis, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Community Health, "and we are not giving any advice on how you get your marijuana."

It's a gray area that's common to most of the 13 states that have passed medical marijuana initiatives. California is alone in allowing "dispensaries" to sell marijuana on a nonprofit basis.

And "like many things in the world that happen in a legal gray area, it seems to happen without a great deal of difficulty," said Bruce Mirken, communications director at the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C.

"It's unfortunate that there are limits right now to what a state can do," he added.

With the possession, distribution and sale of marijuana still illegal under federal law," Mirken said, "If you set up a full scale distribution system for seeds or seedlings, you run the risk of running afoul of the feds."


Federal Law 'Supreme'

John Walters, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, emphasized that Proposal 1 hadn't changed anything as far as the federal government is concerned.

"(Marijuana) is illegal by federal law, and federal law is supreme," he said, though he acknowledged that federal law tries "to focus on major trafficking and distribution."

But Dianne Byrum, spokeswoman for the Coalition for Compassionate Care, the group that supported the proposal, said there's hope that President-elect Barack Obama will ease current restrictions.

Indeed, Obama has promised to stop Drug Enforcement Administration raids on patients in states that allow medical marijuana.




Pubdate: Mon, 17 Nov 2008
Source: Mainichi Daily News (Japan)
Copyright: 2008 The Mainichi Newspapers Co.
Contact: Authors: Ryo Takeuchi, Taichi Yamamoto, Naozumi Takahashi, and Taizo Yamada

Marijuana usage is a growing problem in Japanese society, particularly among young people. Students from Keio University, Doshisha University and other prestigious universities as well as entertainers, sumo wrestlers, a professional tennis player, and a dentist have been arrested for violating the Cannabis Control Law. The lack of regulations prohibiting the possession of marijuana seeds, and the lowering of the psychological hurdle to inhaling marijuana, as compared to other illegal drugs, have all contributed to the problem.

Investigators from the Metropolitan Police Department barged into an apartment on the 7th floor of a building in Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, acting on information that the occupant possessed marijuana. Opening a closet, they found a small marijuana patch -- 25 marijuana plants growing to a height of 40 centimeters under lighting equipment.

"In the past, I acquired the seeds abroad, and then cultivated them for personal use," said actor Taishu Kase (real name Nobuhiro Kawamoto), 38, after his arrest for violating the Cannabis Control Law.

Recently, there has been a surge in cases involving people who have cultivated marijuana from seeds. According to the National Police Agency, 73 people involved in 91 cases were brought up on charges of cultivating marijuana in the first half of fiscal 2008. The number of cases had increased by 18, and the number of individuals implicated had risen by 23 over the same period of the previous fiscal year. The rise in the number of arrests can be blamed in part on the limits of the law, which prohibits cultivation of marijuana, but does not establish punitive restrictions on the possession of the seeds, which are sold for use as feed, and for other purposes. The Compliance and Narcotics Division of the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare explains that marijuana seeds are not prohibited because they "do not contain any harmful ingredients."




Pubdate: Wed, 19 Nov 2008
Source: Marlborough Enterprise (MA)
Copyright: 2008 Tri-Town Transcript
Author: Stephen Wallace

MARLBOROUGH - Dealing a blow to years of work and recent gains in youth drug prevention, Massachusetts has joined a growing, but still short, list of states to decriminalize marijuana possession. At least that is the intention of some 65 percent of voters checking "Yes" on a ballot initiative that makes possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a civil offense (punishable by a ticket) as opposed to a criminal one.

And this on the same day that the same voters approved a ban on greyhound racing.

Protect the dogs but throw the kids under the bus. Go figure.

Indeed, opponents of the ballot initiative which include state constitutional officers, district attorneys, police chiefs, ministers, school superintendents, and major newspapers say, "We believe that efforts to legalize drugs of any kind represent the wrong direction for Massachusetts and put our children, our families, and our communities at risk."

For its part, the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, which backed the measure, points proudly to the monetary savings for police departments, never mind the total national economic cost of drug abuse of $254.8 billion in 2008 or the obvious cost shifting to an already overburdened health care system. For example, Massachusetts' Coalition for Safe Streets says that marijuana is already a primary factor in juvenile ER admissions.




Pubdate: Tue, 18 Nov 2008
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2008 The Washington Post Company
Author: Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post Staff Writer

The Prince George's County Council adopted one of the nation's most sweeping restrictions on the sale of cigars yesterday, an effort to curb a growing trend among urban youths of using hollowed-out cigars to smoke marijuana.

The council voted 8 to 1 to ban the sale of single cigars, requiring stores to sell them in packages of at least five. The new law will also make it easier to charge someone possessing a cigar with a drug paraphernalia offense.

The action drew a threat of legal action by the Maryland Association of Tobacco and Candy Distributors, whose lobbyist said the council had overstepped its authority in regulating a legal tobacco product. A proposed state law to ban the sale of single cigars died this year.

The county measure's passage was applauded by local anti-drug activists and the county police and health departments. The law is aimed primarily at small cigars sold individually at convenience stores and gas stations. Such cigars are often marketed in youth- friendly flavors such as cherry, apple and lime and are sold for as little as 80 cents to $1.

Tobacco stores that specialize in cigar sales, and often sell high-end cigars for as much as $5 apiece or more, are excluded from the legislation's restrictions, as are other locations that are sometimes age-restricted, including golf courses, fraternal lodges, bars and restaurants.


The law was opposed by tobacco distributors and the Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris. Last year, Altria bought the company that makes Black and Mild cigars, a popular brand for single sales, Dachille said. Bruce C. Bereano, a lobbyist for the distributors, said the intent of the law was "laudable." But, he said, the law will only create a cottage industry of people who buy cigars in packs of five and then sell them individually on the streets.




In Canada, a study released last week shows that Insite, the supervised injection site in Vancouver, can be expected to save about $20 million over the project's projected 10-year life span, preventing an estimated 1,191 cases of HIV, and some 54 cases of hepatitis C infection. Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi and Gregory Zaric: "The conclusion that my co-author and I would want to put forward is that we believe that Insite does provide good value for money, if you were to look at the cost effectiveness."

In Malaysia, two foreigners (Indonesians) were sentenced to death by hanging, for dealing some 5.7 kilograms of marijuana in 2007.

In Yemen, officials in Sana'a destroyed 1,400 kilos of hashish along with 170 million pills. But Nigeria got the prize for the biggest anti-drug dog-and-pony show of the week, putting some 5,000 kilos of drugs to the torch amid much pageantry, pomp and ceremony. Officiating over festivities was Master of Ceremonies Ahmadu Giade (Nigerian National Drug Law Enforcement Agency chief) "who led other dignitaries to set the drugs ablaze" as cameras rolled and anti-drug speeches were made.


Pubdate: Tue, 18 Nov 2008
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2008 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Linda Nguyen, Canwest News Service

Canada's only supervised drug injection site can save the Canadian health care system as much as $20-million and substantially increase a population's life span over a 10-year period in Vancouver, according to a study published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.


The facility would also increase the population's life span, resulting in what the study calls a gain of 920 life years compared with a model that had no supervised injection site.


A total of 1,191 cases of HIV infection and 54 cases of hepatitis C infection could be averted over a decade with the operation of the facility, according to the study, authored by Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi with St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and the University of Toronto, along with Gregory Zaric with the University of Western Ontario in London.

"The conclusion that my co-author and I would want to put forward is that we believe that Insite does provide good value for money, if you were to look at the cost effectiveness," Mr. Zaric said. "This study ultimately brings one more piece of information when deciding the fate of Insite."




Pubdate: Sun, 16 Nov 2008
Source: Jakarta Post (Indonesia)
Copyright: The Jakarta Post
Author: Hotli Simanjuntak

A court in Kuala Lumpur sentenced two Indonesians to death by hanging for marijuana dealing on Friday. Drug crimes are punishable by death in the country.

Mohammad Idris (32) and Zainuddin (40), both from Aceh, were caught trying to sell marijuana at a kiosk in the city in September last year. Local police confiscated 5.7 kilograms of marijuana from them.




Pubdate: Sat, 15 Nov 2008
Source: Yemen Observer (Yemen)
Copyright: 2008 Yemen Observer
Author: Mohammed al-Qiri

The Prosecutors Office of Sana'a has destroyed 1477 kilograms of hashish, and 170 million pills of various kinds of drugs. Security forces seized these drugs at the Sana'a airport and in the eastern governorates of Hadramout and al-Maharah. The pills were hidden in chocolate, and wrapped in pieces of cloth.




Pubdate: Mon, 10 Nov 2008
Source: Leadership Nigeria (Nigeria)
Copyright: 2008 Leadership Newspapers Group Limited
Author: Mansur Sani Malam

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has publicly destroyed 5,154,295 Kilogrammes of narcotic drugs in Kano metropoils.

The drugs were jointly seized by the Kano State, Jigawa State and Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) Commands of the Agency.

In his keynote address, the chief executive of the Agency, Ahmadu Giade, who led other dignitaries to set the drugs ablaze, explained that the event offered another opportunity to make the society safer and better.


When marriages disintegrate due to involvement in narcotic drugs, again both the guilty and the innocent are affected."



 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


By Phillip S. Smith, Drug War Chronicle

After eight years of drug war status quo under the GOP, drug reformers are now hoping for positive changes in federal drug policies.


Expert Witness Radio

An Interview with Bill Conroy Detailing Iran-Contra Whistleblower Celerino Castillo's Recent Sentencing on Minor Weapons Charges

By Michael Levine, Mark Marshall, and Bill Conroy



By Jacob Sullum

Barack Obama's selection of Eric Holder as his attorney general is a very discouraging sign for anyone who hoped the new administration would de-escalate the war on drugs.


And We Didn't Have To Arrest 20 Million Americans To Do It

By Paul Armentano, NORML

According to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control, fewer Americans are smoking cigarettes than at any time in modern history.


Century of Lies - 11/18/08 - Ray Manzarek

Ray Manzarek of the Doors recounts their first rehearsal (high on weed), report from Australia on the benefits of hemp + NEWS that US HHS has a patent on marijuana.

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 11/19/08 - Buford Terrell

Buford Terrell, retired professor of law & Brian Arthur owner of Mazatec Garden discuss the potential outlawing of "salvia"


After a little over two years, four hundred and fifty three blog posts and over 225,000 page views, Transform thought it was time to assemble a best-of list. And here it is.


Municipal elections in British Columbia Saturday saw Vancouver get another in a string of pro-drug reform mayors, while a marijuana reformer was returned to the mayor's office in Grand Forks in the interior, and another prominent reform advocate was elected to the city council in Victoria.


Write A Letter  ( Top )


A DrugSense Focus Alert.



By Ralph Givens

Before seeking to expand a long-failed drug crusade with a new salvia divonorum ban, people like state Rep. Charles "Doc" Anderson, R-Waco, should consider the results that America's war on drugs has produced in the last 94 years.

When drug prohibition began, there was no such thing as a "drug crime." Addicts could buy morphine, heroin, cocaine and anything else they wanted cheaply and legally at the corner pharmacy. There was no need to rob, whore and murder to satisfy addictions.

It is impossible to find any drug crimes in the historic record while drugs were legal. All of the drug crimes, drug gangs and criminal drug activity are the result of a foolhardy prohibition policy. Addicts worked regular jobs, raised decent families and were indistinguishable from their teetotaling neighbors before drug prohibition.

Nowadays, 60 percent of the prison population is doing time for a victimless drug crime.

Likewise, accidental overdoses were extremely rare when addicts used pure pharmaceutical drugs. Almost every drug death before drug laws went on the books was a suicide done because of terminal health problems. At present, experts say there are more than 20,000 accidental drug overdoses a year. That's a lot of needless bloodshed to justify.

Rep. Anderson's self-serving politics ignores the counterproductive nature of a drug crusade that has caused a disaster where there was no problem.

Ralph Givens Daly City, Calif.

Pubdate: Sat, 15 Nov 2008
Source: Waco Tribune-Herald (TX)



By Jo-D Harrison

It's 11:11 p.m. on November 19, 2008 and I'm feverishly chain-smoking cigarettes and guzzling vodka in an attempt to calm down as I type this story. I left my sister's house a little over an hour ago after a wonderful night of chatting and chili. She lives in the town of POTtsboro, Texas which has more cops per square inch than any town I've ever been in. I keep my drinking to very minimal amounts and tonight validated all those sober visits I've made.

I was half-way home when I saw a most dreaded sight - flashing blue lights in my rear-view mirror. I quickly started scanning the winding, country road until I found a place to safely pull over. A POTtsboro police officer approached my driver-side window, politely introduced himself, and asked for my Drivers License and proof of insurance. I was prepared for his request and handed him both items.

He then informed me that he had pulled me over for faulty operating equipment. Said one of my brake lights was stuck on and the other was not working at all. He asked me to sit tight and returned to his vehicle to run my numbers.

He returned to my window a few minutes later and asked me to step to the rear of my vehicle while he "explained this to me". Instead of "explaining this to me" he started a fishing expedition:

"Ever been arrested before?" he asked.

"Yes, a misdemeanor marijuana possession in California around '98," I answered.

"Do you have any marijuana in your possession?"


"Do you mind if I search your vehicle?"

I responded, "I will comply with your requests but will not give you permission to search my vehicle."

His head cocked to the side, similar to the way my border collie does when I talk to him, and a few moments slowly ticked by.

"OK, just stand here for a minute and I'll get back to you." he said as he returned to his car. A few moments later he informed me that a K9 Unit was on their way and we would be waiting for their arrival.

Some polite and quite interesting conversation filled the next 30 minutes. I think we were both fishing for information at this point. In between the small talk about how long each of us had lived in the area, how great the fishing was right now and how it was "a very nice night for November," the real questions/answers slipped out.

He explained that his experience has told him everyone who refuses a search is trying to hide something. I replied that it is a shame all citizens do not understand nor exercise our Bill of Rights. I also commented that I was about to prove his assumption was incorrect. At some point he informed me I was only the third person in his entire career to refuse a search.

I found an opening to talk about medical marijuana since it was connected to my possession charge. He asked if my husband had a prescription and quickly conceded when I responded with "Tom had a recommendation from his doctor."

"A recommendation, yes." He nodded. It does give me some hope that this young Texas police officer seemed to realize the difference!

When I asked how long he was allowed to detain me while we waited for the dogs he nervously agreed with me as I answered my own question with "a reasonable amount of time to be determined by the officer." Of course we all, hopefully, know the judge/jury would have that final decision.

He then commented that he is usually fairly lenient with small amounts of marijuana but had zero tolerance for any other drug. I replied, "I would hope alcohol would be your greatest concern, yes?!"

I mentioned that Texas has recently passed a state law which gives the arresting officer discretion in minor marijuana possession cases and asked him if/how he implemented that law. Unfortunately he answered that marijuana possession is still a class B misdemeanor and our county has not yet implemented the structure to avoid taking the suspect through the jail scene.

I asked him if he would have called for the dogs had I given him permission to search my car. He answered, "No, and you would probably be home by now, right?!" He followed with, "If someone asked to search my car I would let them - I've nothing to hide!" I responded that he should check out the ACLU website the next time he had a few spare moments.

Finally, two Sherman squad cars pulled in and one female and two male officers stepped over to speak with the POTtsboro officer. I was very lightly patted down by the courteous female officer. I asked her several K9 questions as one of the male officers walked a gorgeous German Shepherd around my car twice.

It was at the end of the second lap when the dog "alerted" by jumping up on my passenger-side quarter panel. "GOOD BOY!" the officer said as he playfully patted the dog and took him back to his car.

The officer approached me and said, "Our dog has alerted on your vehicle so we are going to search it now."

They were, thankfully, respectful of my property and each of the three of them approached me at different times during the search with similar questions.

They all started with, "Tell me truthfully why you refused his search request." and ended with if/when was the last time I carried/smoked marijuana in my vehicle.

I have NEVER carried marijuana in my car and I think both sides were trying to figure out why the dog would "alert" as they seemed to begin to believe this fact also.

I have NEVER smoked marijuana in my car but knew the dog would "alert" from the moment I was given the information that K9 was on the way.

As the event drew to a close they all seemed to justify their dog's "alert" by concluding my car had received a secondhand high from the marijuana that must have oozed out of my body every time I drove it!

So, the morale(s) of the story?

1) Never, NEVER, drive a vehicle on public streets unless it is in good working condition, the tags, your Drivers License and insurance are all up-to-date.

2) Always be courteous to police officers since they have your freedom in their hands.

3) MEMORIZE THIS: "Officer, I will fully cooperate with you but I will not give you permission to search my person and/or vehicle" SERIOUSLY, MEMORIZE IT!! Also make time to visit the ACLU website and print their Know Your Rights: Bustcard,

Jo-D Harrison is our Membership Coordinator and an Assistant Webmaster. On November 20th she successfully repaired her brake lights by installing the correct bulbs for a total cost of $2.41!


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