This Just In
(1)OPED: Let's End Drug Prohibition
(2)OPED: Our Drug Policy Is a Success
(3)Hospitals Now a Theater in Mexico's Drug War
(4)Casual Drug Users Blamed for Violence in Juarez

Hot Off The 'Net
-Prohibition Ended 75 Years Ago, But What Have We Learned? / Rob Kampia
-Legal Ease With Kirk Tousaw
-Drug Truth Network
-Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies Bulletin
-Black Police Association Writes To Obama To Oppose Ramstad
-Genetic Analyses Of Ancient Cannabis From Central Asia
-LEAP Speaker Neill Franklin Discusses Ending Prohibition

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Fri, 5 Dec 2008
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Ethan A. Nadelmann

Most Americans agreed that alcohol suppression was worse than alcohol consumption.

It's already shaping up as a day of celebration, with parties planned, bars prepping for recession-defying rounds of drinks, and newspapers set to publish cocktail recipes concocted especially for the day.

But let's hope it also serves as a day of reflection. We should consider why our forebears rejoiced at the relegalization of a powerful drug long associated with bountiful pleasure and pain, and consider too the lessons for our time.

The Americans who voted in 1933 to repeal prohibition differed greatly in their reasons for overturning the system. But almost all agreed that the evils of failed suppression far outweighed the evils of alcohol consumption.

The change from just 15 years earlier, when most Americans saw alcohol as the root of the problem and voted to ban it, was dramatic. Prohibition's failure to create an Alcohol Free Society sank in quickly. Booze flowed as readily as before, but now it was illicit, filling criminal coffers at taxpayer expense.




Pubdate: Fri, 5 Dec 2008
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: John Walters

Workplace Tests for Cocaine Show the Lowest Use on Record.

Whatever challenges await him, President-elect Barack Obama will not have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to keeping a lid on the use of illegal drugs. Our policy has been a success -- although that success is one of Washington's best kept secrets.

Reported drug use among eighth, 10th and 12th graders has declined for six straight years. Teen use of cocaine, marijuana and inhalants is down significantly, while consumption of methamphetamine and hallucinogens like LSD and Ecstasy has all but collapsed.

The number of workplace tests that are positive for cocaine is down sharply, to the lowest levels on record. Even the sudden spike of meth use -- remember the headlines from just a few years ago? -- has yielded to a combination of state and federal regulations controlling meth ingredients. And abroad, crackdowns in Colombia and Mexico have caused the price of cocaine to roughly double in the past two years.

These results are testament to the efforts and teamwork of men and women who are virtually unknown to most Americans. They include people like community organizer Rev. Richard McCain in southeast Cleveland, who risked his life to drive crack dealers out of his neighborhood; drug-treatment experts like Dr. Johanna Ferman, who developed new ways to reach female addicts with young children in the nation's capital; and principals like Lisa Brady, who instituted a drug-testing program and watched drug use fall like a rock at her Flemington, N.J., high school. They include Nashville, Tenn., Judge Seth Norman, who got tired of seeing the same faces over and over again and decided to found a drug court, where he coaches defendants to stay clean and sanctions them when they fail.




Pubdate: Fri, 5 Dec 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
Author: Marc Lacey

TIJUANA, Mexico -- The sedated patient, his bullet wounds still fresh from a shootout the night before, was lying on a gurney in the intensive care unit of a prestigious private hospital here late last month with intravenous fluids dripping into his arm. Suddenly, steel-faced gunmen barged in and filled him with even more bullets. This time, he was dead for sure.

Hit men pursuing rivals into intensive care units and emergency rooms. Shootouts in lobbies and corridors. Doctors kidnapped and held for ransom, or threatened with death if a wounded gunman dies under their care. With alarming speed, Mexico's violent drug war is finding its way into the seeming sanctuary of the nation's hospitals, shaking the health care system and leaving workers fearing for their lives while trying to save the lives of others.

"Remember that hospital scene from 'The Godfather?' " asked Dr. Hector Rico, an otolaryngologist here, speaking about the part in which Michael Corleone saves his hospitalized father from a hit squad. "That's how we live."




Pubdate: Fri, 5 Dec 2008
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2008 El Paso Times
Author: Stephanie Sanchez

EL PASO -- Sometimes controversial and always outspoken, former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates said Thursday that casual drug users in the U.S. are at the root of the violence in Juarez and should be shot.

Gates was in El Paso to speak at a ceremony for graduating peace officers.

Gates, who led the Los Angeles Police Department from 1978 to 1992, also predicted that the violence in Juarez would spill over into El Paso and that law enforcement agencies on the U.S. side should be prepared.

"I don't think the people in the United States are grasping what a serious problem it is. Mexico has lost more people in a very short period of time than those lost in Iraq or Afghanistan," he said.

"I think, you know, I have such a low opinion of the people in the United States who continue to use drugs. They are really responsible for what's happening in Mexico -- they really are. We go along every day. We don't take that responsibility that we ought to assume. Somebody asked me one time about casual drug users, I said they ought to take them out and shoot them."





As if everything that happens in the U.S. drug czar's office isn't disturbing enough, now the New York Times reports that the job appears to be a launching pad for lucrative but morally questionable influence peddling, at least for one former drug czar.

Elsewhere, the economic arguments for ending drug prohibition grow as financial news worsens for government; in a change of pace, the DEA looks for "savvy" applicants; and a Maine group wants to be exempt from marijuana laws based on religious freedom.


Pubdate: Sun, 30 Nov 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 The New York Times Company
Author: David Barstow

In the spring of 2007 a tiny military contractor with a slender track record went shopping for a precious Beltway commodity.

The company, Defense Solutions, sought the services of a retired general with national stature, someone who could open doors at the highest levels of government and help it win a huge prize: the right to supply Iraq with thousands of armored vehicles.

Access like this does not come cheap, but it was an opportunity potentially worth billions in sales, and Defense Solutions soon found its man. The company signed Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general and military analyst for NBC News, to a consulting contract starting June 15, 2007.

Four days later the general swung into action. He sent a personal note and 15-page briefing packet to David H. Petraeus, the commanding general in Iraq, strongly recommending Defense Solutions and its offer to supply Iraq with 5,000 armored vehicles from Eastern Europe. "No other proposal is quicker, less costly, or more certain to succeed," he said.

Thus, within days of hiring General McCaffrey, the Defense Solutions sales pitch was in the hands of the American commander with the greatest influence over Iraq's expanding military.

"That's what I pay him for," Timothy D. Ringgold, chief executive of Defense Solutions, said in an interview.

General McCaffrey did not mention his new contract with Defense Solutions in his letter to General Petraeus. Nor did he disclose it when he went on CNBC that same week and praised the commander Defense Solutions was now counting on for help -- "He's got the heart of a lion" -- or when he told Congress the next month that it should immediately supply Iraq with large numbers of armored vehicles and other equipment.

He had made similar arguments before he was hired by Defense Solutions, but this time he went further. In his testimony to Congress, General McCaffrey criticized a Pentagon plan to supply Iraq with several hundred armored vehicles made in the United States by a competitor of Defense Solutions. He called the plan "not in the right ballpark" and urged Congress to instead equip Iraq with 5,000 armored vehicles.

"We've got Iraqi army battalions driving around in Toyota trucks," he said, echoing an argument made to General Petraeus in the Defense Solutions briefing packet.




Pubdate: Tue, 2 Dec 2008
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2008 The Baltimore Sun Company
Author: Dan Rodricks

Friday marks 75 years since repeal of the Volstead Act, which made the manufacture, distribution and consumption of alcoholic beverages illegal in the United States. As the anniversary of the end of Prohibition approaches, modern advocates of a similar repeal are calling again for the decriminalization of heroin, cocaine and marijuana - and this time they've come packing a money argument by a Harvard economist.

I like money arguments. They are usually a lot more effective than emotional ones or those that exploit stubborn prejudices with the intent of maintaining the status quo.

As the American economy recedes, state and local tax revenues fall and government budgets are cut, the money argument for changing the way we do things - from enforcing the laws to educating children - makes the most sense and has the strongest appeal.

I've made the argument in this space for more government investment in drug treatment, criminal rehabilitation and ex-offender services - and not just because it's the humane thing to do, but because it's the common-sense thing to do.

We have the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world, and fancy revolving doors on an expensive prison system that takes back, within just three years, more than half of all inmates it releases. We keep financing public failure on a scale that would never be tolerated in private enterprise.




Pubdate: Wed, 3 Dec 2008
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2008 Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division, Hearst Newspaper
Author: Dane Schiller, Houston Chronicle

Recruiter Emphasizes the Value of Brains Over Brawn

A federal drug agent gets a badge, and is trained to shoot, kick in doors and slap on handcuffs.

Often though, it is the smarter agent, not the stronger one, who catches the bad guy.

"It is brains, not just brawn," said Violet Szeleczky, a senior Drug Enforcement Administration agent based in Houston. "You have to be able to put two and two together," she said of the twists an investigation takes.

Szeleczky, who oversees the recruiting squad in this region, is hoping to get that message across in order to boost the number of women who might otherwise shy away from a career with the DEA, which is 91 percent male.

It is a disparity not unlike those among the ranks of the Houston Police Department, the Marine Corps and other outfits also trying to extend their appeal to female recruits.

The HPD, which is 86 percent male, recently unveiled advertising that features images of female officers and testimonials posted on the Web.

"In my entire life, I have never felt more purposeful and elated every time I wake up to start a new day," says Anna Swanson, a new officer who was the leader of her HPD Academy class. "I have never been so happy and healthy as I am now and full of direction and purpose."




Pubdate: Sat, 29 Nov 2008
Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)
Copyright: 2008 Bangor Daily News Inc.
Author: Judy Harrison

Temple Of Advanced Enlightenment Seeks Religious Exemption From DEA

BANGOR, Maine - Every Tuesday and Sunday afternoon the living room in the Rev. Kevin Loring's apartment becomes a tiny house of worship.

The head of the 3-year-old Temple of Advanced Enlightenment earlier this week stood next to a round table as five others sat on sofas and chairs pushed back against the walls. They formed an uneven circle in the second-floor walk-up.

"We use music as a form of prayer," Loring, 28, told them as the service began. "It helps us to see a little bit more clearly."

He played Ben Harper's "I'll Rise" as the worshippers bowed their heads. After the song, the minister gave thanks to the Pure One and to Mother Earth. Then the minister prepared the sacrament by placing a small amount of marijuana in a wooden pipe.

"The taking of the sacrament is a very serious tradition," he said. "It's a very holy spiritual tool. It is with great respect that we take part in the sacrament."

Loring lit the pipe at 4:20 p.m., inhaled, exhaled, then took a drink of water from a large clear glass. The minister passed the pipe and lighter to his fellow clergyman, the Rev. Garrett Wozneak, 28, of Glenburn. Wozneak inhaled, exhaled, passed the pipe and drank from the glass Loring offered as they participated in the Sacred Smoking Circle.

In smoking marijuana followed by taking a drink, participants take in the four elements - marijuana from the earth, fire to light it, wind to inhale and exhale the smoke and water, according to Loring.

"Cannabis is the Divine Inheritance given to all people by Mother Earth so that we may unlock the mystery of the many and varied messages of the Pure One," the group's Web site states.




More crisis, corruption and overkill, and a rare bit of justice, at least for the survivors.


Pubdate: Mon, 01 Dec 2008
Source: Sacramento Union, The (CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Sacramento Union
Author: Don Thompson

California's day of reckoning has finally come for three decades of tough-on-crime policies that led to overcrowded prisons and unconstitutional conditions for inmates.

The federal courts have already found that the prison system's delivery of health and mental health care is so negligent that it's a direct cause of inmate deaths.

A special three-judge panel reconvenes Tuesday and is prepared to decide whether crowding has become so bad that inmates cannot receive proper care. If they do, the panel will decide if lowering the inmate population is the only way to fix the problems.

That could result in an order to release tens of thousands of California inmates before their terms are finished, a move Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republican lawmakers say would endanger public safety.

"The time has come: The extreme, pervasive and long-lasting overcrowding in California prisons must be addressed," attorney Michael Bien, representing inmates, told the judges during the opening of the trial.




Pubdate: Tue, 02 Dec 2008
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Kelly Sinoski

TransLink steps up security at certain stations in an effort to quell the perception that the transit line is a magnet for crime

TransLink plans to boost bike patrols and introduce police dogs at SkyTrain stations in an attempt to bolster security and quell a public perception that the transit line is a magnet for crime.

The move, based on two recent TransLink public opinion studies and a crime analysis, is aimed at securing the public transit system, particularly at stations where transit users say they feel "apprehensive" or the least safe.

The security review comes ahead of the 2009 opening of the Canada Line linking Vancouver and Richmond and the 2010 Winter Olympics.

"We really needed to step back and have an honest look at what was happening and how to deal with it," TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie said.

TransLink has already boosted the number of SkyTrain attendants and transit police at stations perceived to be the least safe, including Surrey Central, New Westminster, Broadway, Main and Metrotown.

It is also in the midst of training bike patrols, upgrading stations such as Broadway and testing sniffer dogs, making use of city police and RCMP dogs trained in detecting drugs and explosives.

Transit Police Chief Ward Clapham said if the dogs work out and are accepted by the public, transit police could develop their own team of sniffer dogs, using either German shepherds or Labradors, or work in partnership with Vancouver police and RCMP dog teams.




Pubdate: Tue, 02 Dec 2008
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2008 The Sun-Times Co.
Author: Frank Main

Four Harvey police officers, 10 Cook County jail guards and a Chicago police officer have been charged with providing muscle for what they thought were major drug deals - but were really fake transactions that were part of an FBI sting.

In one of the largest crackdowns on law enforcement officers in recent years, the FBI is accusing the officers of accepting between $400 and $4,000 each on one or more occasions to serve as lookouts and intervene if police or rival drug dealers attempted to interfere with shipments of cocaine and heroin.

In May, for instance, jail guards Ahyetoro Taylor and Raphael Manuel accompanied someone they thought brokered large-scale drug transactions but was really an undercover FBI agent.

A twin-propeller plane landed at the west suburban DuPage Airport, where they boarded and began counting what they thought was 80 kilograms of cocaine stashed in four duffel bags, according to federal authorities.

They allegedly took the bags to the undercover FBI agent's car and watched as another undercover agent pulled up in a Mercedes, took the bags and drove off.

Taylor and Manuel took $4,000 each, authorities said.




Pubdate: Wed, 3 Dec 2008
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2008 The Washington Post Company
Author: Del Quentin Wilber, Washington Post Staff Writer

The mother of a quadriplegic inmate who died in 2004 after suffering breathing problems at the D.C. jail has reached financial settlements with the District government and his care providers, her attorneys disclosed yesterday.

The settlements were reached in the controversial death of Jonathan Magbie, a 27-year-old Maryland man who was paralyzed from the neck down and used a mouth-operated wheelchair.

Magbie died four days into a 10-day jail sentence for possessing marijuana, which he said he used to ease the discomfort caused by his disability. The jail infirmary, where he was housed for several days, wasn't equipped with the ventilator he needed to breathe at night.

His death sparked several government investigations, which exposed major lapses in Magbie's care at the D.C. jail and Greater Southeast Hospital.

Attorneys for his mother, Mary R. Scott, declined to provide details of the financial settlement, which she reached with the city, private contractors and the insurance company that covered doctors at the hospital. The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Scott, called the settlement "substantial" in a news release.




Based on the number of plants torn up and people arrested, an anti-cannabis campaign in California was celebrated in the U.S. capital as a great success.

Cannabis warriors in Hawaii are finding reasons not to implement a new lowest enforcement priority initiative on the Big Island.

Medicinal cannabis activists won a legal victory last week when the California Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of lower court rulings, which ordered the Garden Grove City Police to return a patient's now three year old stash.

Finally, an interview with High Times Editor David Bienenstock on his new cannabis smoker's handbook.


Pubdate: Wed, 03 Dec 2008
Source: Porterville Recorder (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Freedom Communications Inc.
Author: Glen Faison

Timing: Sheriff In Nation's Capital Thursday.

A trial program in Tulare County that targets marijuana growing operations proved so successful it's being recognized Thursday in the nation's capital.

The Sheriff's Department was nominated for, and has received, this year's National Marijuana Initiative Award.

Sheriff Bill Wittman is in Washington, D.C. to receive the recognition of achievements during a ceremony in the Eisenhower Office Building.

The award is in recognition of the marijuana eradication and drug trafficking investigations resulting from operation LOCCUST.

Operation LOCCUST was a law enforcement demonstration project that blended the region's best capabilities into a unified attack upon marijuana cultivators and the criminal enterprises bankrolling the cultivation sites, according to information released by Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Sgt. Chris Douglass.

The effort led to removal of thousands of marijuana plants prior to harvest, in addition to a number of arrests.


The season's effort involved more than 240 federal, state and local agency personnel, representing 14 local, state and federal agencies.

By day and by night, uniformed police patrolled the dusty Sierra Mountain roads to identify possible suspects," Douglass said in a prepared release. "Law enforcement took control of the usual and accustomed marijuana growing regions to make LOCCUST a success."




Pubdate: Mon, 01 Dec 2008
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Copyright: 2008 West Hawaii Today
Author: John Burnett, Stephens Media

State, Federal Jurisdiction Trump County Initiative

HILO -- County Prosecutor Jay Kimura says he has consulted with state Attorney General Mark Bennett, and still views the Project Peaceful Sky ordinance as "unenforceable."

The measure, which Big Island voters approved overwhelmingly Nov. 4, would make the personal adult use of marijuana the county's lowest law enforcement priority. It would leave the enforcement of marijuana laws to each police officer's personal discretion, and would direct the County Council not to accept state or federal funds for marijuana eradication.

"On the face of the ordinance, it appears to violate the separation of powers requirement under the (County) Charter, and as far as the state marijuana laws, there is a pre-emption issue," Kimura told Stephens Media last week. "Under the Constitution, the state Legislature can pass laws, and in the areas where it passes laws, it prevents the county from passing contrary laws.

"We prosecute under the authority of the Attorney General, so these are state laws. So that would not change. As far as how the county proceeds on it at the police level, they're also bound by the Constitution to prosecute all laws, if they're valid laws, so it really wouldn't change anything. They would still need to enforce the law."

Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna, who is retiring Dec. 31, earlier called the initiative, which passed muster with Hawaii County voters by a margin of nearly 10,000 votes, a "resolution," not a law, and added "there will be no change how we prioritize the enforcement of marijuana. The resolution does not invalidate federal law. 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," Mahuna said in early November.




Pubdate: Tue, 2 Dec 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Christopher Goffard
Referenced: Cited: Americans for Safe Access

Garden Grove Had Appealed a Ruling That Ordered the Return of Drug Seized From a Patient During a Traffic Stop.

More than three years after Garden Grove police seized a small amount of marijuana from a chronic pain patient, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider the city's argument -- which divided California's major law enforcement organizations -- that it should not have to give the drugs back.

Advocates cheered the development as a step forward for medical marijuana users to get their "medicine" back from police.

"This is our biggest legal victory to date, and we're very glad it's now become final," said Joe Elford, an attorney with Americans for Safe Access, an Oakland-based medical marijuana advocacy group.

City officials expressed disappointment and said their position was never to challenge the constitutionality of California's medical marijuana law, only whether police could be forced to return the drug.

Police pulled over Felix Kha, a Garden Grove resident, in June 2005 for a traffic violation and found him in possession of one-third of an ounce of marijuana.

Though Orange County prosecutors dropped drug charges after a doctor confirmed that the cannabis was for medical use, police refused to return the drugs on the grounds that to do so violated federal drug distribution laws.

A judge in Orange County Superior Court sided with Kha, ordering the police to return his marijuana. But the city again refused and instead appealed to California's 4th District Court of Appeal. The court of appeal also sided with Kha, declaring that patients enjoy a federally protected property right to their medical marijuana.




Pubdate: Wed, 03 Dec 2008
Source: Shepherd Express (Milwaukee, WI)
Copyright: 2008 Alternative Publications Inc.
Author: Lisa Kaiser

A Shepherd Q&A With High Times Editor David Bienenstock

People have been smoking pot ever since they discovered that sparking one was good clean fun. So why do we need The Official High Times Pot Smoker's Handbook, published just in time for the holidays? Editor David Bienenstock explains that even an experienced stoner could learn a few things-as well as get involved in the larger marijuana movement to make pot smoking legal, especially for those who are chronically ill.

In this Shepherd Q&A, Bienenstock also discusses President-elect Barack Obama's proposed drug policy changes, why Wisconsin should join the 13 states that have legalized medical marijuana, and some of the best things to do when you're stoned.

Shepherd: Why did you decide to write an official High Times pot smoker's handbook? Are you saying that we've been doing it wrong all of these years?

Bienenstock: The best answer I can give you is that Bill Clinton was a Rhodes scholar, a student at Oxford University, and he didn't even know he should inhale. So I think even the most well-seasoned smoker could stand to learn something new.

Shepherd: The war on drugs wasn't discussed much during this presidential campaign. But will Obama's drug policy differ from Bush's?

Bienenstock: Yes. Short answer, yes. Whether or not it's going to be "change you can breathe in" is yet to be determined. But we've gone from one of the worst administrations on everything you can imagine, including drug policy, to at least a chance to go in a new direction. I can't say what Obama is going to do. But what he's promised to do already in the short term is to have the federal government get off the backs of the states that have approved medical marijuana. And that in and of itself would be a huge change in our policy.


Shepherd: Here's the part of the interview where you can crassly plug your book. Why should it be under everyone's Christmas tree this year?

Bienenstock: Even if you do smoke pot, I hope that you would find a lot to learn from reading it, and have a lot of fun. And it does make a great gift, because everybody-everybody, everybody-knows somebody who smokes pot and enjoys it. And they'll think you're cool and they'll know that you respect them and their lifestyle. You can buy the book for them and read it first and learn a little something about your friends and neighbors.

I want pot smokers to be knowledgeable about what we're doing, and to be proud of what we're doing and to be well versed in it and to feel that we're part of a large community full of good people.

What's your take?



The Swiss this week, in a national referendum, approved a prescription heroin program for addicts, but at the same time rejected a bid to decriminalize marijuana. While "Needle Park" open-air heroin sales and use have occupied foreign media, the successful Swiss prescription heroin program, started in 1994, didn't captivate media in quite the same way. Prohibitionist U.S. and the U.N. have criticized the program as "fuelling drug abuse," but other countries (Canada, Spain, Belgium, Holland) have begun similar trial programs.

Holland this week extended a ban of dried psychedelic mushrooms to include fresh psychedelic mushrooms, as well. Users say magic mushrooms can be used as "aids in spiritual awareness, [to] gain[] personal insight." To spare people from "unpredictable and therefore risky behaviour," the Dutch Justice Ministry will now jail people for up to four years for possessing them.

Peers (members of the U.K. House of Lords) last week "spoke out in the House of Lords to support delaying government plans to upgrade cannabis from Class C to Class B after it was opposed by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs," the Lancashire Evening Post reported. The news that members of the House of Lords had spoken against government plans to re-classify cannabis to a more serious "Class C", came amidst a 151% increase in cannabis warnings handed out in Lancashire. "The police should be spending more time looking for real crime as opposed to busting people for a little bit of dope when they are not doing real harm," responded Don Barnard of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance.

And finally this week, scientists were stunned to find almost a kilo of "psychoactive" cannabis buried in a tomb in northwestern China about 2,700 years ago. "To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent," says Dr Ethan Russo, neurologist and author of numerous books and papers on the plant. Buried with what is believed to be a shaman, and preserved because of arid conditions, the cannabis was "cultivated for psychoactive purposes," says Russo.


Pubdate: Mon, 01 Dec 2008
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 The Toronto Star
Author: Alexander G. Higgins, Associated Press

Voters Endorse Drugs-For-Addicts Measure While Rejecting Bid To Decriminalize Marijuana

GENEVA-The world's most comprehensive legalized heroin program became permanent yesterday with overwhelming approval from Swiss voters who also rejected the decriminalization of marijuana.

The heroin program, started in 1994, is offered in 23 centres across Switzerland. It has helped eliminate scenes of large groups of drug users shooting up in parks that marred Swiss cities in the 1980s and 1990s. The plan is credited with reducing crime and improving the health and daily lives of addicts.


The United States and the UN narcotics board have criticized the program for potentially fuelling drug abuse, but it has attracted attention from other governments, which in recent years have started or are considering their own programs modelled on the system.

The Netherlands started a program in 2006 that serves nearly 600 patients. Britain has allowed individual doctors to prescribe heroin since the 1920s, and has been running trials similar to the Swiss approach in recent years. Belgium, Germany, Spain and Canada are running trial programs too.




Pubdate: Sat, 29 Nov 2008
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2008 Reuters

Country Attempting to Shed Its 'Anything-Goes' Image

AMSTERDAM - The Netherlands will ban the sale and cultivation of all hallucinogenic "magic" mushrooms next week, the latest target of a country seeking to shed its "anything goes" image.

The Dutch government proposed the ban in April, citing the dangerous behavioural effects of magic mushrooms following the death of a French teenager who jumped from an Amsterdam bridge in 2007 after consuming the hallucinogenic fungus.

"The use of magic mushrooms has hallucinogenic effects. It is proven that this can lead to unpredictable and therefore risky behaviour," the Dutch Health Ministry said in a statement.

A challenge to the ban was rejected by a court in the Hague on Friday. From Monday, the production or sale of fresh magic mushrooms could lead to a maximum jail sentence of four years, a spokesman for the Dutch Justice Ministry said on Friday.


Some proponents of magic mushrooms say that their use aids in spiritual awareness, gaining personal insight.




Pubdate: Wed, 26 Nov 2008
Source: Lancashire Evening Post (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Lancashire Evening Post
Author: Chris Visser

The number of cautions issued for cannabis use in Lancashire has rocketed by 151% in 12 months.

Figures released in Westminster show that there were 528 cannabis warnings issued by Lancashire Police in 2007/08 compared to just 210 the previous year.

The revelation comes after peers spoke out in the House of Lords to support delaying government plans to upgrade cannabis from Class C to Class B after it was opposed by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.


Talking of the Lancashire figures, Don Barnard of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance, said: "The police should be spending more time looking for real crime as opposed to busting people for a little bit of dope when they are not doing real harm.

"I find it absolutely horrendous that people are being cautioned like this. I'm quite surprised at the figures when you are hearing from Home Secretary Jacqui Smith that there is no progress.

"I think there are a substantial number of people growing cannabis for medical reasons and they are getting cautions."



Pubdate: Fri, 28 Nov 2008
Source: Chronicle Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2008 The Halifax Herald Limited
Author: Dean Beeby, Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Researchers say they have located the world's oldest stash of marijuana, in a tomb in a remote part of China.

The cache of cannabis is about 2,700 years old and was clearly "cultivated for psychoactive purposes," rather than as fibre for clothing or as food, says a research paper in the Journal of Experimental Botany.

The 789 grams of dried cannabis was buried alongside a light-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian man, likely a shaman of the Gushi culture, near Turpan in northwestern China.

The extremely dry conditions and alkaline soil acted as preservatives, allowing a team of scientists to carefully analyze the stash, which still looked green although it had lost its distinctive odour.

"To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent," says the newly published paper, whose lead author is American neurologist Dr. Ethan B. Russo.


The marijuana was found to have a relatively high content of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis, but the sample was too old to determine a precise percentage.



 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


By Rob Kampia, Marijuana Policy Project

It's time to bring marijuana under responsible controls and end the monopoly we've handed to gangsters.


Criminal lawyer Kirk Tousaw discusses four legal battles that are raging in the war on the War on Cannabis in Canada.


Century of Lies - 12/02/08 - Kevin Zeese

Kevin Zeese, president of Common Sense for Drug Policy regarding the financial impact of the drug war and the US financial fiasco + Terry Nelson reports for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition + "commercial" for the Uri-Liminator!

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 12/03/08 - Terry Nelson

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition press conference at the National Press Club in Wash DC, call for the end of drug prohibition, with Neal Peirce of Wash Post, Terry Nelson & Richard Van Wickler of LEAP & Eric Sterling of Criminal Justice Policy Foundation.


The Winter 2008 - 2009 MAPS Bulletin is now available online as a single PDF file.


A coalition of advocacy and nonprofit organizations, including the National Black Police Association, sent a letter today to President- elect Barack Obama preemptively pushing back against the nomination of Rep. James Ramstad (R-Minn.) to be head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, or "Drug Czar."


The Yanghai Tombs near Turpan, Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region, China have recently been excavated to reveal the 2700-year-old grave of a Caucasoid shaman whose accoutrements included a large cache of cannabis, superbly preserved by climatic and burial conditions.


Former Maryland State Police Maj. Neill Franklin on Fox News on the 75th anniversary of the repeal of alcohol prohibition discussing ending the war on drugs.



December is the 75th anniversary of when America's leaders had the good sense to end alcohol prohibition. Today, we have another ineffective, harmful and expensive prohibition, the "war on drugs." LEAP has made it easy for you to take action and let your legislators know that we can't afford prohibition in these tough economic times.

Visit for more information.


The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's largest marijuana policy reform organization, is seeking a Communications Assistant, to be based in the organization's main office in Washington, D.C. This position is an excellent opportunity to play an integral role in a fast-paced, well-respected advocacy organization.

The Communications Assistant works in MPP's Communications Department, which is responsible for effectively communicating MPP's message to the media and the public through written materials and media relations.

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By David R. Ford

I'm adding a few words regarding Chief Mahuna's comments about the voter-approved pot initiative.

The government has not been able to prove one toxicity related death, ever, from marijuana. Compare that to alcohol, nicotine and pharmaceutical products that together cause the death of more than 600,000 Americans annually! The government continues to claim that marijuana has no medical value, and consequently it is a controlled Schedule I drug, along with heroin, too dangerous to prescribe! That makes as much sense as having Dracula guard our blood bank. I'm offering the DEA $1 million cash if it can prove its charge that pot has no medical value.

In 1995, after 30 years of scientific research, editors of the respected British medical journal Lancet concluded, "The smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health." Marijuana's only danger is arrest for possession.

If it's not dangerous, why is it prohibited medicine? Because an herb cannot be patented, making it a threat to alcohol, nicotine and pharmaceutical companies who pay Uncle Sam billions in taxes! Uncle is the protector of those death-causing drugs. Marijuana prohibition is caused by ignorance, arrogance, politics, greed, power, money, lies, perjury and shameful government betrayal against the world's safest medicine, and high.

The DEA's own judge Young, after two years of researching medical marijuana, stated: "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man." I have two major books on this subject. See

David R. Ford Sonoma, Calif.

Pubdate: Sun, 23 Nov 2008
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald (Hilo, HI)


DrugSense recognizes Russell Barth of Napean, Ontario for his 15 letters published during November, bringing his total that we know of to 478 - an increase of 101 published letters since November 2007. Russell frequently includes 'Federally licensed medical marijuana user' and 'Patients Against Ignorance and Discrimination on Cannabis' in his letter signature block.

You may read all of his published letters at


20 Points Regarding Drug Prohibition And Political Corruption  ( Top )

By Stephen Young

1. Is there a connection between drug prohibition and political corruption? Before exploring that question, it's important to remember that correlation does not equal causation. But certain minds may draw lines between certain points.

2. The State of Illinois, where I live, is notorious for political corruption. Our previous Republican governor is currently in prison for his misdeeds.

3. Ongoing federal investigations are inching closer our current governor (a Democrat), with one of his top fund-raisers currently serving time. Another investigation near the current governor involves a financial contributor accused of taking state funds to perform drug tests for the state, but then failing to perform those drug tests.

4. Legislators in Illinois rarely resist the lure of anti-drug laws. Just last year new enhanced marijuana growing penalties were adopted, despite the existence of already harsh laws.

5. Illinois has a useless medical marijuana law that was adopted in the late 1970s. It remains on the books, but it offers no legal protection or supply for users.

6. Legislators in Illinois like to pretend that medical marijuana is a controversial issue that could hurt them at election time. A proposed medical marijuana bill that might actually help users has been kicked around committees in the legislature for several sessions. The original sponsor, who suffered from AIDS, has since died.

7. While the medical marijuana bill has languished, Illinois Democrats have held the Senate, the House, the Governor's mansion and just about every other position of power in the state, recklessly pushing the state deeper into debt. Still, many legislators from both parties say they favor propaganda over science when it comes to medical cannabis. Furthermore, they suggest serious political fallout could come from supporting medical marijuana.

8. The medical marijuana voter initiative that passed in neighboring Michigan last month was approved by a majority in every county in the state. Not a surprise, as opinion polls show consistent general support for medical marijuana, even in Illinois.

9. I spoke with Barrack Obama on the phone very briefly about a decade ago. I was working as a newspaper reporter and he was a state senator co-sponsoring a bill that was supposed to reign in political corruption in Illinois (the bill was called "The Gift Ban Act"). I left a message seeking comment, but Sen. Obama didn't call back until a week after the story was published. He said there must have been some confusion in the office and that he just missed the message until that point. I was busy working on something else when he called, so I said it was too late. By that point in my career, I knew that if a politician wanted to be quoted on an issue, they returned the call immediately. If not, they wouldn't.

9. The Gift Ban Act was challenged on constitutional grounds and eventually replaced with other legislation. Corruption remains embedded in Illinois political culture as evidenced by points 2 and 3 above.

10. One of Barrack Obama's final bills to be pushed though the Illinois legislature before he started his campaign for the U.S. Senate banned the herbal drug ephedra. Unlike the Gift Ban Act, the ephedra ban stuck.

11. The former Republican governor who is now serving time in prison once vetoed a bill that would have allowed educational institutions to study industrial hemp in Illinois. He said he worried about the message being sent to people with drug problems. Taking kickbacks from many - including, allegedly, at least one anti-drug organization - apparently did not send the wrong message.

12. Every autumn, state police use state helicopters to look for marijuana fields. More often than not they find wild hemp fields that don't produce intoxicants. The officers burn those fields anyway. The wild hemp returns the next year.

13. Over the past several years, Illinois has made at least 40,000 marijuana arrests annually.

14. Political corruption arrests happen in the state, but they certainly don't happen by the thousand.

15. In Illinois, the political system almost always works for powerful special interests, rarely for the little guy. Last week, citing budget problems, the current governor shut down several public parks and historic sites used by common people. There was no talk of plans to stop using helicopter fuel and police time to torch non-intoxicating weeds.

16. Nor was there talk of how medical marijuana generates revenue in some states, and how hemp generates revenue in some countries.

17. It's not difficult to appreciate the attractiveness of drug laws for corrupt politicians. Keeping the law enforcement apparatus permanently trained on an issue like illegal drugs, which permeates our culture, makes every citizen is a suspect (hence the alleged need for drug tests at work and school).

18. If law enforcement has to worry about anyone ingesting cannabis at any time, even with a doctor's recommendation, how many law enforcement resources will ever be available to investigate political corruption?

19. In Illinois, watch for the influence of special interests and political cronies to see bills actually turn into laws. Who are the special interests who keep pushing drug prohibition?

20. Or are the politicians themselves the special interests in this case?

Stephen Young is an editor with DrugSense Weekly and author of the book How To Inhale The Universe Without Wheezing.


"Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water." - W.C. Fields

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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.

We wish to thank all our contributors, editors, NewsHawks and letter writing activists. Please help us help reform. Become a NewsHawk See for info on contributing clippings.

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