THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) COURT STILL PROHIBITS MARIJUANA POSSESSION
Pubdate: Thu, 11 Dec 2008
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2008 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Shannon Kari, Staff Writer
The prohibition against simple possession of marijuana has been upheld by an Ontario Superior Court judge, in a closely watched case that stemmed from the prosecution of Clifford Long, who was arrested by Toronto police with $40 worth of cannabis.
Justice Eva Frank overturned a decision by a lower court judge last year that found there was no valid restriction against possession of cannabis because of flaws with the country's medical marijuana regulations.
The lower court decision led to confusion about prosecuting simple possession cases in Ontario, said the federal government in its arguments before Judge Frank earlier this year.
The federal Crown argued that the present policies of Health Canada have resulted in enough marijuana for the nearly 2,000 people with medical certificates to possess the drug.
Judge Frank agreed with the arguments made by federal government lawyer Lisa Csele in the ruling issued this week. "Mr. Long has failed to establish that state conduct has infringed the interest of persons in medical need in obtaining a reasonable supply of marijuana," said the judge.
As a result, the prohibition against possession of marijuana is "still in force" and the medical regulations, including Health Canada's "supply policy" were found to be valid, explained Ms. Csele.
(2) SHOULD TEACHERS BE DRUG-TESTED? ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 11 Dec 2008
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2008 Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division, Hearst
Author: Ericka Mellon
Recent Arrests Have Some Calling On HISD, Others To Revisit Stance On Pre-Employment Screening
For many job applicants, whether the work involves driving trucks or answering phones, passing a drug test is a given.
That's not the case for Texas public school teachers.
The state does not require teachers to take drug tests before being hired, and local school districts aren't mandating the tests on their own.
Officials with several districts - including the Houston Independent School District, San Antonio ISD and Alief ISD - cited cost as one major reason they skip pre-employment drug screens for teachers. But with the recent drug arrests of more than a dozen HISD employees, some advocates are calling on districts to revisit their hiring practices.
"School teachers - next to parents, and in some cases, above parents - are the strongest role model in a child's life," said Calvina Fay, executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation. "If there's ever an employee that we should be looking that they're drug free, it should be teachers."
State Rep. Rob Eissler, who chairs the House Public Education Committee, said he would support studying mandatory drug screening for teaching applicants. More than 300,000 teachers currently work in the state's public schools.
(3) MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENT SPENDS 21 DAYS IN JAIL BEFORE HIS CASE ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 11 Dec 2008
Source: New Times (San Luis Obispo, CA)
Copyright: 2008 New Times
Author: Kylie Mendonca
A little more than a year ago, Richard Steenken obtained a doctor's recommendation for marijuana. He applied for and received a state patient ID card in case, he said, police questioned him. He grew his own marijuana plants. And then he was arrested for growing plants in his home. Despite his card and prescription, he was held in jail for 21 days before his case was dismissed.
The SLO County Sheriff's Department, which executed a search warrant on his home, said he was not complying with California law. Steenken maintains that he was harassed by the Sheriff's Department.
It's not clear what kind of investigation was done before deputies arrived, armed and dressed for SWAT operations, at Steenken's home, and then his girlfriend's less than three hours later. What is evident is that in the six days between the time a warrant was issued and served, Sheriff's detectives didn't check with the county health department to see if he had a patient card--recognized by the state as the best form of documentation for medical marijuana patients. Sheriff Sgt. Rick Neufeld said that step would generally be part of an investigation. He couldn't say why it wasn't done in this case.
"That's what's so funny and also so infuriating," Steenken said in an interview. "If they're doing this investigation, and they're spending all this time and all this money, you'd think they would check with the county to see if I had a county-issued card."
(4) IN MEXICO, ASSASSINS OF INCREASING SKILL ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 12 Dec 2008
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2008 The Washington Post Company
Author: William Booth, Washington Post Foreign Service
Well-Coordinated Cartel Hits Show Greater Sophistication
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- The hit was fast, bold, lethal. Jesus Huerta Yedra, a top federal prosecutor here, was gunned down last week in a busy intersection 100 yards from the U.S. border in a murder of precise choreography.
In Mexico's chaotic drug war, attacks are no longer the work of desperate amateurs with bad aim. Increasingly, the killings are being carried out by professionals, often hooded and gloved, who trap their targets in coordinated ambushes, strike with overwhelming firepower, and then vanish into the afternoon rush hour -- just as they did in the Huerta killing.
The paid assassins, known as sicarios, are rarely apprehended. Mexican officials say the commando squads probably travel from state to state, across a country where the government and its security forces are drawing alarming conclusions about the scope and skill of an enemy supported by billions of dollars in drug profits.
"They are getting very good at their jobs," said Hector Hawley Morelos, coordinator of the state forensics and crime laboratory here, where criminologists and coroners have been overwhelmed by more than 1,600 homicides in Juarez this year. "The assassins show a high level of sophistication. They have had training -- somewhere. They appear to have knowledge of police investigative procedures. For instance, they don't leave fingerprints. That is very disturbing."
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Students in Washington protesting a friend's suspension for
allegedly selling cannabis off school grounds have apparently helped
to educate administrators in the district about First Amendment
rights. In Michigan, a newspaper examines what it means for public
schools to be forced to provide drug education in the age of No
Child Left Behind. A Senator from North Dakota celebrated the
mechanization of border patrols and the stacks of federal money that
comes along with them. And a report from Wired looks at
brain-enhancing drugs, and why some scientists say they should not
Students in Washington protesting a friend's suspension for allegedly selling cannabis off school grounds have apparently helped to educate administrators in the district about First Amendment rights. In Michigan, a newspaper examines what it means for public schools to be forced to provide drug education in the age of No Child Left Behind. A Senator from North Dakota celebrated the mechanization of border patrols and the stacks of federal money that comes along with them. And a report from Wired looks at brain-enhancing drugs, and why some scientists say they should not be prohibited.
(5) ACLU SIDES WITH STUDENTS IN SCHOOL PROTEST ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 05 Dec 2008
Source: Whidbey News-Times (WA)
Copyright: 2008 Whidbey News Times
Author: Liz Burlingame
Students fighting for free speech rights on Oak Harbor campuses were recently backed by a powerful advocate which convinced the school district to amend its policy.
Attorney Rose Spidell from the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to Superintendent Rick Schulte objecting to Oak Harbor High School's "harsh disciplinary actions" and "censorship" during a campus-wide protest.
Last month, six students participated in a sit-in to appeal the school's discipline of their classmate, who was given a one-year expulsion for allegedly selling marijuana at a location off school grounds. When the teens refused to return to the class, or leave the lunchroom, officials had the students arrested by Oak Harbor police for disrupting the school.
Later that day, other students held a peaceful protest by spreading around a petition and writing messages on T-shirts.
The ACLU letter dated Nov. 21 states, "Fearing that some students planned to conduct a walkout during the Veteran's Day assembly that afternoon, school officials confiscated the petition and told students to remove their T-shirts or be sent home."
The following Monday, a dean of students usurped copies of a student rights handbook, which were later returned by the principal.
Spokesman Doug Honig said the ACLU receives thousands of letters a year from around the state and not every case is investigated. The ACLU took action in Oak Harbor, he said, to remind staff that there must be a "substantial material disruption of schools" for officials to step in.
(6) THE QUICK FALL TO ABUSE ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 07 Dec 2008
Source: Battle Creek Enquirer (MI)
Copyright: 2008 Battle Creek Enquirer
Author: Stephanie Antonian Rutherford
Going Beyond 'D.A.R.E.'
Seventeen-year-old Junetta Brown has witnessed how quickly some of her peers fall into the hazy world of substance abuse.
"I see a lot of kids get into drinking and drugs, because it's just easy," said Brown, a senior at Battle Creek Central High School.
Brown said she has reasons for saying no to drugs, but she didn't get them from a classroom.
"We all went through D.A.R.E. and learned about drugs in health class, but it really just focuses on telling us 'say no' or that it will hurt your body," Brown said. "That's not real life. We are out in real life and we need more than that to get us to not do drugs, because kids are still doing it."
Brown is among the millions of students across America who have passed through a variety of anti-substance abuse programming in middle school and high school classrooms.
Under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which includes a component known as Safe and Drug-Free Schools, every public school is required to provide some kind of drug-prevention education.
Every year, schools nationwide pour millions of dollars into substance-abuse education and programming. But how effective are they? And what are local schools doing to educate teens on the dangerous effects of drugs, tobacco and alcohol?
(7) SEN. CONRAD WELCOMES UAV ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 06 Dec 2008
Source: Grand Forks Herald (ND)
Copyright: 2008 Grand Forks Herald
WASHINGTON - Sen. Kent Conrad Saturday welcomed the arrival of the first unmanned aerial vehicle to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Grand Forks Air Branch. The arrival of the Predator B is the culmination of a four-year effort by Sen. Conrad ( D-N.D. ) and the congressional delegation to shore up security along the nation's northern border.
"It is vital to America's security that we protect our borders, particularly the northern border," Senator Conrad said. "The Grand Forks Air Branch plays an essential role in helping shut the door on terrorists who want to sneak across remote border points to strike on U.S. soil."
The Border Patrol headquarters in Grand Forks monitors close to 900 miles of territory along the U.S. border with Canada. The Air Branch includes helicopters for surveillance and interdiction as well as fixed wing airplanes fitted with specialized sensors and equipment. Now the Air Branch will use the state-of-the-art Predator B UAV to patrol and provide security along the northern border against terrorists, illegal immigration and narcotics traffickers.
Conrad has long been a supporter of establishing a branch of the Northern Border Air Wing in Grand Forks. In 2005, he secured $2 million in the Homeland Security Appropriations bill for the establishment and operation of a Grand Forks air branch. In 2006, he secured an additional $17 million in the Homeland Security Appropriations bill to accelerate plans for a Northern Border Air Wing.
(8) BRAIN-ENHANCING DRUGS: LEGALIZE 'EM, SCIENTISTS SAY ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 10 Dec 2008
Source: Wired Magazine (US)
Copyright: 2008 The Conde Nast Publications Inc
Author: Brandon Keim
If drugs can safely give your brain a boost, why not take them? And if you don't want to, why stop others?
In an era when attention-disorder drugs are regularly - and illegally - - being used for off-label purposes by people seeking a better grade or year-end job review, these are timely ethical questions.
The latest answer comes from Nature, where seven prominent ethicists and neuroscientists recently published a paper entitled, "Towards a responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy."
In short: Legalize 'em.
"Mentally competent adults," they write, "should be able to engage in cognitive enhancement using drugs."
Roughly seven percent of all college students, and up to 20 percent of scientists, have already used Ritalin or Adderall - originally intended to treat attention-deficit disorders - to improve their mental performance.
Some people argue that chemical cognition-enhancement is a form of cheating. Others say that it's unnatural. The Nature authors counter these charges: Brain boosters are only cheating, they say, if prohibited by the rules - which need not be the case. As for the drugs being unnatural, the authors argue, they're no more unnatural than medicine, education and housing.
In many ways, the arguments are compelling. Nobody rejects pasteurized milk or dental anesthesia or central heating because it's unnatural. And whether a brain is altered by drugs, education or healthy eating, it's being altered at the same neurobiological level. Making moral distinctions between them is arbitrary.
But if a few people use cognition-enhancing drugs, might everyone else be forced to follow, whether they want to or not?
If enough people improve their performance, then improvement becomes the status quo. Brain-boosting drug use could become a basic job requirement.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
A sharp contrast in drug war just this week is illustrated by the
first two stories. In one, a police investigator fired for his role
in an undercover sting that led to murder is trying to get his job
back; while in the other, a first time offense with a 55 year
sentence stands. And, other contrasts in reaction to drug laws
around the world. In Australia, the former NSW Young Australian of
the Year seems unrepentant about her cocaine use (except during
Ramadan); while in China, two drug users attempted to jump from
windows rather than facing Chinese drug police.
A sharp contrast in drug war just this week is illustrated by the first two stories. In one, a police investigator fired for his role in an undercover sting that led to murder is trying to get his job back; while in the other, a first time offense with a 55 year sentence stands. And, other contrasts in reaction to drug laws around the world. In Australia, the former NSW Young Australian of the Year seems unrepentant about her cocaine use (except during Ramadan); while in China, two drug users attempted to jump from windows rather than facing Chinese drug police.
(9) RACHEL HOFFMAN INVESTIGATOR'S FIRING CASE BOUND FOR ARBITRATION ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 09 Dec 2008
Source: Tallahassee Democrat (FL)
Copyright: 2008 Tallahassee Democrat
Author: Jennifer Portman, Staff Writer
An arbiter will decide whether former Tallahassee Police Investigator Ryan Pender gets his job back.
He was fired in September for his role in the drug sting that led to the death of 23-year-old confidential informant Rachel Hoffman. The city has denied Pender's request to be reinstated with back pay and benefits.
Pender's attorney, Paul Villeneuve, received the grievance denial letter late Friday. He has 15 days to notify the city of Pender's intent to seek arbitration.
"We look forward to the next stage and hope that we get a level playing field where we can debate the merits of this entire thing," Villeneuve said Monday.
Under police-union rules, the city and Pender must agree on an arbiter who will make a final decision. Villeneuve expects a hearing in the spring.
(10) UTAH RAPPER SENTENCED TO 55 YEARS IN PRISON LOSES APPEAL ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 08 Dec 2008
Source: Salt Lake Tribune (UT)
Copyright: 2008 The Salt Lake Tribune
A federal judge has rejected an appeal by a Utahn seeking to void a 55-year prison sentence for carrying a gun while selling marijuana.
U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell on Monday ruled the sentence handed down to record producer Weldon Angelos does not violate the separation of powers or his constitutional right to bear arms. Angelos had also argued prosecutors were vindictive in seeking such a harsh penalty for a first-time offender.
Campbell did order a Feb. 11 hearing to take evidence on whether the performance of Angelos' attorney during plea negotiations was deficient.
Angelos contends he rejected a plea offer because he was not adequately informed by his attorney of the risks he faced by going to trial. Because those events and decisions occurred outside of the courtroom, the judge said she needs to hear testimony from Angelos and any witnesses he may call.
(11) 'UNASHAMED' DRUG USER IKTIMAL HAGE-ALI SAYS SHE DIDN'T WANT ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 09 Dec 2008
Source: Australian, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2008sThe Australian
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/coke.htm (Cocaine)
Intercepted telephone calls between Young Australian of the Year contender Iktimal Hage-Ali and her cocaine dealer were played in the New South Wales District Court today.
Ms Hage-Ali, 24, is suing the state of NSW, claiming she was wrongly arrested and detained by police in November 2006.
Under cross examination today by Peter Bodor QC, for the state of NSW, Ms Hage-Ali said in late 2006 she bought cocaine from childhood friend Bruce Fahdi, but denied she had ever been an addict.
"Did you consider it necessary at times to lie to Fahdi to get drugs?" Mr Bodor asked.
She replied, "yes", and also agreed she had lied to him so she could get drugs on credit.
She further agreed she had lied to him because she had not wanted Fahdi to know she was consuming drugs during the religious period of Ramadan.
During the calls, and the dealer used codes, in which they called cocaine "dresses".
Middle Eastern Crime Squad officers arrested her on suspicion of being a drug supplier and she was released without charge hours after her arrest, after telling police she had bought cocaine for her own use.
The arrest occurred eight days before Ms Hage-Ali, a member of former prime minister John Howard's Muslim Community Reference Group, was named NSW Young Australian of the Year.
She later relinquished the title, amid a storm of controversy.
(12) TWO WOMEN JUMP FROM WINDOW ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 06 Dec 2008
Source: Shanghai Daily (China)
Copyright: 2008 Shanghai Daily Company
Author: Dong Hui
Two suspected drug addicts were injured when they jumped from the fourth story of a residential building in Shanghai's Baoshan District on Thursday afternoon. The pair were allegedly trying to escape from police.
The two, both Shanghai women, a 21-year-old surnamed Zhang and a 25-year-old surnamed Chen, jumped from a kitchen window and landed on a platform on the second floor, after police officers knocked at the door.
Two officers went to a residential building at 78 Changjiang Road S. about 2:10pm after being tipped off that someone was using drugs on the fourth floor.
When they knocked on the door, Zhang allegedly saw the officers through the door's spy-hole, and told her mother not to open the door.
Police then heard a neighbor living below shouting that someone had jumped off the building.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Cannabis law reformers are understandably anxious to learn how
President-Elect Obama will approach the issue.
Officials are still ironing out the wrinkles of medicinal
cannabis regulation in Michigan.
Opponents of cannabis decriminalization in Massachusetts are
raising concerns that the new law undermines efforts to keep
Persistent farmers in North Dakota have been granted licenses
to grow industrial hemp, but they still have the DEA to contend
Cannabis law reformers are understandably anxious to learn how President-Elect Obama will approach the issue.
Officials are still ironing out the wrinkles of medicinal cannabis regulation in Michigan.
Opponents of cannabis decriminalization in Massachusetts are raising concerns that the new law undermines efforts to keep schools drug-free.
Persistent farmers in North Dakota have been granted licenses to grow industrial hemp, but they still have the DEA to contend with.
(13) OBAMA SENDS MIXED MESSAGES ON MARIJUANA ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 09 Dec 2008
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Sacramento Bee
Author: Peter Schrag
There were moments not so long ago when Barack Obama was signaling that he was ready to end the costly and pointless federal raids on medical marijuana users and their caretakers. In the past few years, those raids have hit Californians particularly hard.
"The Justice Department going after sick individuals using this as a palliative instead of going after serious criminals makes no sense," he said in New Hampshire last year. In 2004, he seemed to favor the decriminalization of pot altogether.
On the day Obama was elected, voters in Michigan, by a 63-37 margin, put their state in the ranks of the 12 others that have passed medical marijuana laws since California broke the ice in 1996. On the same day, Massachusetts voters approved a measure that decriminalized possession of small amounts of pot altogether. Both votes should have helped Obama to get off the fence. But recent reports that Obama was considering Rep. Jim Ramstad, a moderate Minnesota Republican who's retiring from Congress, for the post of White House drug czar, send a very different message.
Ramstad, a recovering alcoholic, has been cheered as the sponsor of laws requiring insurers to cover drug treatment and mental health services. But he also voted for federal funding bans on needle exchanges and strongly opposed measures to stop federal arrests of medical marijuana patients in states like California where its use is legal.
There are reasons for Obama, like many other politicians, to be skittish about the issue. He's acknowledged drug use in his past. He doesn't want to trip on the matter when he has countless tougher things to deal with in his first years in office.
(14) WHERE WEED GROWS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 9 Dec 2008
Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 The Windsor Star
Author: Jack Lessenberry
Last week, medical marijuana officially became legal in Michigan, except, well, it isn't. That is, you can use it legally, as long as you don't ever try to obtain any of it.
And all this has bewildered state bureaucrats scratching their heads, trying to figure out what to do.
Here's what happened: Michigan voters on Nov. 4 overwhelmingly approved allowing the use of marijuana to help the symptoms of those suffering from illnesses such as glaucoma, HIV/AIDS and cancer. The vote was 3,006,820 yes to 1,790,889 no.
Unfortunately the proposal was so poorly written that it didn't specify how patients are supposed to get the marijuana. It said they can have up to 2.5 ounces in their possession, and they can grow up to a dozen plants for their own use.
Except, there is no legal way they can get their initial supply. And the state doesn't seem to have a clue what to do. "We are going to have a series of meetings and try to work out some rules," said James McCurtis, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Community Health, which seems to have gotten stuck with the job of both administering and figuring out the medical marijuana mess.
Eventually, the Department of Community Health intends to issue some ID cards to approved patients and, where needed, their caregivers, saying they are allowed to possess marijuana.
(15) WILL NEW POT LAW ERODE SCHOOL DRUG POLICIES? ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 09 Dec 2008
Source: Gloucester Daily Times (MA)
Copyright: 2008 Essex County Newspapers, Incorporated.
Author: John Hilliard
State education and public safety officials face a cloudy future for schools' marijuana rules in the month before a new law that decriminalizes possession of small amounts of the drug takes effect.
Some state education leaders are concerned the voter-approved Question 2 may have unknown consequences for school policies that punish marijuana possession.
Tom Scott, the executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, said the measure is silent on how it would affect existing state laws that give schools the right to suspend or expel students for marijuana possession, or whether it would undermine school policies banning the drug.
Whitney A. Taylor, treasurer and chairwoman of the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, which backed Question 2, said the measure was aimed solely at changing the penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana from a criminal to a civil one.
"It is not meant to sit there and undermine school policy," said Taylor.
She said her organization is working with the Executive Office of Public Safety as government officials review the measure. But she said there are no problems with Question 2.
"They're creating problems where there are no problems," said Taylor, referring to those concerned that Question 2 applies to schools.
(16) INDUSTRIAL HEMP PRODUCTION LICENSES ACCEPTED BY N.D. AG DEPARTMENT ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 08 Dec 2008
Source: Jamestown Sun (ND)
Copyright: 2008 Forum Communications Co.
The North Dakota Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for 2009 industrial hemp production licenses.
"The applications are due Jan. 1," said Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson. "Although the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration continues to prevent holders of state licenses from growing industrial hemp, NDDA remains committed to fully implementing state laws authorizing the production, processing and sale of this crop in North Dakota."
Johnson cautioned prospective growers that the process involves state and federal criminal background checks including fingerprints, together with associated fees and paperwork.
People interested in growing and processing industrial hemp should contact Ken Junkert at the North Dakota Department of Agriculture NDDA at 701-328-2231 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is also available on the NDDA Web site, www.agdepartment.com.
Johnson issued state licenses to two farmers -- Rep. David Monson, Osnabrock, and Wayne Hauge, Ray -- in 2008. After DEA failed to act on their applications as bulk manufacturers of industrial hemp, Monson and Hauge sued DEA in federal court. The case is currently on appeal before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul.
"Unless the federal courts act favorably on the matter, it may take congressional action to amend the Controlled Substances Act, enabling state-licensed growers to produce the crop," Johnson said. "This is unfortunate because industrial hemp production has virtually no potential for illegitimate purposes and because the crop could be valuable for North Dakota growers."
COMMENTS: ( Top )
In Mexico, a particularly bloody week of gangland-style murders as
rival cartels slug it out over market share. following on the heels
of news Mexico's drug czar was on the take from cartels, we learn
this week of similar accusations against Mexico's (former) acting
federal police chief, Gerardo Garay. Staunchly prohibitionist
Mexican President Calderon has used the military to wage "war"
against drug cartels there, resulting in soaring rates of homicide.
As drug deaths in Mexico skyrocket, this week Canadians learned that
drug related deaths in Province of British Columbia have fallen to
10-year lows. This "startling turnaround" occurred when The Globe
and Mail decided to check statistics compiled by the B.C. Coroners
Service. The "turnaround" comes despite a steady drumbeat of reports
insinuating deaths due to illegal drugs is at an all time high.
Yet another reminder this week of how spectacularly prohibition
"don't prohibit worth a dime" when the Transcontinental newspaper in
Australia let slip that the Port Augusta Prison had over a hundred
"drug incidents" - despite the fact this it is a prison. Instead of
denouncing drug prohibition as unworkable, opposition parties
decided instead to make political hay over the issue, blaming
"overcrowding" and offering up glittering generalities bespeaking
the need for a "secure environment in which drugs do not reach
And finally this week from the U.K., former police chief Tom Lloyd
(from Cambridgeshire) openly called for government to give heroin by
prescription to addicts. "I have long argued in favour of
prescribing heroin to addicts to reduce crime, harm to the addicts
and the dreadful effects on local communities, because there is no
drug that becomes more dangerous to the user or society when its
production and distribution are handed over to violent criminals."
In Mexico, a particularly bloody week of gangland-style murders as rival cartels slug it out over market share. following on the heels of news Mexico's drug czar was on the take from cartels, we learn this week of similar accusations against Mexico's (former) acting federal police chief, Gerardo Garay. Staunchly prohibitionist Mexican President Calderon has used the military to wage "war" against drug cartels there, resulting in soaring rates of homicide.
As drug deaths in Mexico skyrocket, this week Canadians learned that drug related deaths in Province of British Columbia have fallen to 10-year lows. This "startling turnaround" occurred when The Globe and Mail decided to check statistics compiled by the B.C. Coroners Service. The "turnaround" comes despite a steady drumbeat of reports insinuating deaths due to illegal drugs is at an all time high.
Yet another reminder this week of how spectacularly prohibition "don't prohibit worth a dime" when the Transcontinental newspaper in Australia let slip that the Port Augusta Prison had over a hundred "drug incidents" - despite the fact this it is a prison. Instead of denouncing drug prohibition as unworkable, opposition parties decided instead to make political hay over the issue, blaming "overcrowding" and offering up glittering generalities bespeaking the need for a "secure environment in which drugs do not reach prisons."
And finally this week from the U.K., former police chief Tom Lloyd (from Cambridgeshire) openly called for government to give heroin by prescription to addicts. "I have long argued in favour of prescribing heroin to addicts to reduce crime, harm to the addicts and the dreadful effects on local communities, because there is no drug that becomes more dangerous to the user or society when its production and distribution are handed over to violent criminals."
(17) MEXICO'S WAR ON DRUGS CLAIMS ANOTHER 30 LIVES ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 07 Dec 2008
Source: Observer, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Guardian News and Media Limited
Author: Ed Vulliamy, Staff Writer
Mexico's narco war - which has claimed more than 4,000 lives since a military offensive was launched against the drugs cartels two years ago - spiralled further out of control this weekend, as another 30 people were found dead and one of the country's most senior police chiefs was accused of collaborating with the drug barons.
On Friday, gangland executions were carried out in the Pacific state of Sinaloa, traditional homeland for Mexico's cartels, and 17 people died in the border town of Ciudad Juarez on Thursday, including a senior police investigator.
Yesterday, Mexico's former acting federal police chief, Gerardo Garay, was accused of collaborating with a notorious cartel and stealing money during a raid on a drug trafficking ring. A judge ordered Garay's arrest on suspicion of organised crime, robbery and abuse of power.
Calderon's government is the first in Mexico seriously to confront the cartels, and the resultant war is in part a response.
(18) B.C. DRUG DEATHS HIT A LOW NOT SEEN IN YEARS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 09 Dec 2008
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2008 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Robert Matas
Number Of Fatalities Could Drop By 80 Per Cent From 10 Years Ago Provincewide As Vancouver Prepares For 2010 Olympic Games
VANCOUVER -- The number of drug deaths in British Columbia has dipped to levels not seen in years 14 months before Vancouver welcomes the world to the 2010 Olympics. In a startling turnaround, the number of deaths in Vancouver as a result of a heroin overdose or the use of other illegal drugs could drop by as much as 80 per cent from the peak 10 years ago, according to preliminary statistics compiled for The Globe and Mail by the B.C. Coroners Service.
(19) TOO MANY DRUG INCIDENTS RECORDED AT LOCAL PRISON ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 09 Dec 2008
Source: Transcontinental, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2008 Fairfax Media.
Calls to assess the security at Port Augusta Prison have been raised again, after the release of the Department of Correctional Services annual report.
The report showed that one-third of the State's recorded drug incidents occurred at Port Augusta Prison, where only 18 per cent of the prisoners reside.
One hundred and two drug incidences were recorded in the latest annual report.
Shadow correctional services minister Stephen Wade said the issue of overcrowding needed to be addressed to provide a secure environment in which drugs do not reach prisons.
Mr Wade rejected claims that the statistic was positive.
He said there were plenty of other indications that correctional services was not winning the war on drugs.
"Prisons are meant to be drug free so the fact that they are getting in, indicates they are not effectively maintaining the security of the prison.
(20) 'PRESCRIBE HEROIN' - EX-POLICE CHIEF ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 05 Dec 2008
Source: Cambridge Evening News (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Cambridge Newspapers Ltd
The former head of Cambridgeshire police has called on the Government to follow the Swiss and give heroin to addicts.
Tom Lloyd, who was chief constable before Julie Spence took up the post, believes the pioneering move would reduce organised crime.
The heroin programme has helped reduce the number of drug users shooting up in parks, supporters say.
It aims is to help addicts function in society, with counselling from psychiatrists and social workers.
Mr Lloyd, who has campaigned for heroin prescriptions for addicts in a bid to reduce organised crime, said: "This is very good news for anybody interested in developing sensible, evidence-based policies for tackling the problem of illegal drugs.
"This decision comes after more than 10 years of successful trials with two thirds of the population in Switzerland voting in favour of this change because they know that it works.
"I have long argued in favour of prescribing heroin to addicts to reduce crime, harm to the addicts and the dreadful effects on local communities, because there is no drug that becomes more dangerous to the user or society when its production and distribution are handed over to violent criminals.
"The costs of administering the system are far less than the savings that would be made to the criminal justice and health systems. Crucially, if the government prescribes heroin the dealers would go out of business.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
DRUG WAR MAYHEM IN MEXICO -- THE PUBLIC IS SICK OF IT ( Top )
By Sara Miller Llana, Christian Science Monitor. Posted December 11, 2008.
With Drug-trafficking deaths skyrocketing by more than 117 percent in 2008, the Mexican president's drug policies are extremely unpopular.
OBAMA'S SMOKING DRAMA ( Top )
By Tony Newman, AlterNet
It is no fun having to explain to people, in person or on national television, how you came to start cigarettes again once they "catch" you.
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Century of Lies - 12/09/08 - Barry Cooper
Dr. Jim Ketchum, author of "Chemical Warware-Secrets Almost Forgotten" which lifts the veil of LSD tests in US Army + Barry Cooper, former narcotics officer, producer of KopBusters video and Never Get Busted DVD
Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 12/10/08 - Ethan Nadelmann
Martin Lee, author "Acid Dreams - The Complete Social History of LSD" + Ethan Nadelmann, dir of Drug Policy Alliance re Wall Street Op-Ed vs Czar Johan Walters
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION THAT MAKES TEENAGERS WANT TO DROP ACID? ( Top )
By Jacob Sullum
The Office of National Drug Control Policy brags that the latest Monitoring the Future Study, the results of which were released today, "shows that in 2008, illicit drug use among youth continued to decline."
OBAMA'S "OPEN FOR QUESTIONS" REVEALS CLAMOR FOR DRUG POLICY REFORM ( Top )
By Al Giordano
President-elect Obama - fulfilling multiple campaign promises to more deeply involve the public in setting priorities for his administration - opened up his Change.Gov website to questions from citizens, and asked the people to then rate the questions up or down.
IN HOLLAND, CANNABIS POLITICS HEATS UP ( Top )
Drug War Chronicle, Issue #564, 12/12/08
For more than 30 years under the policy of "gedoogbeleid," which could best be translated as "pragmatic tolerance," the Dutch have allowed the sale of personal amounts of marijuana through the coffee house system, even though doing so is technically illegal.
MAPS MDMA/PTSD TREATMENT MANUAL ( Top )
MAPS researchers Michael Mithoefer MD, Annie Mithoefer BSN, and June May Ruse PhD, have created a revised version of MAPS MDMA/PTSD treatment manual. The new version of the manual builds on a previous manual from 2005, and includes lessons learned from our recently completed US MDMA/PTSD pilot study.
AYAHUASCA HEALING BEYOND THE AMAZON ( Top )
The globalization of a traditional indigenous entheogenic practice
By Kenneth W. Tupper
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
SUPPORT ETHAN NADELMANN FOR DRUG CZAR ( Top )
We have had cops, doctors and soldiers. It's time for a Drug Czar who understands the full breadth, depth and importance of this issue. Sign the Petition to make Dr. Nadelmann Obama's Drug Czar.
WRITE A LETTER ( Top )
Repealing Today's Failed Prohibition - A DrugSense Focus Alert.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
CALL A TRUCE IN DRUG WAR ( Top )
By Owen Davis
Re: "U.S. can't duck serious issues at southern border," Tuesday Editorials. Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza's pessimism over Mexico's drug cartels is well-founded. However, his solution -- to pour billions of U.S. dollars into a continuation of the Nixon-era war on drugs -- is simply absurd. As long as we continue to treat drugs as a criminal justice matter rather than a public health matter, we will only enrich the drug dealers and impoverish the taxpayers of all nations.
The legalization of drugs would free up vast sums for substance abuse treatment programs, eliminate most of the corruption of police and public officials, and turn convicts into taxpayers on both sides of the border. Perhaps an Obama administration will have the courage to just say no to this senseless war on our own citizens.
Owen Davis Highland Village
Pubdate: Wed, 03 Dec 2008
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
U.S. Supreme Court: Federal Law Does Not Trump State Laws On Medical ( Top )
By Steve Kubby
Last Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court Monday quietly, but overwhelmingly destroyed the allegations by state law enforcement that, "Federal law trumps state laws on medical marijuana."
The Supremes declined to review a lower court decision that ordered Garden Grove, California, police to return marijuana seized from a medical marijuana patient. In November 2007, the California Fourth District Court of Appeal had ordered the marijuana returned, finding that "it is not the job of local police to enforce federal drug laws."
This was the fourth shot the Supremes had at bringing down Prop. 215 and, instead, the high court handed us a silent, but deadly victory. It may be a win by default, but it is most certainly a huge win, perhaps our greatest win to date.
Felix Kha was pulled over by Garden Grove police in 2005 and cited for marijuana possession despite showing officers his medical marijuana documentation. The case was subsequently dismissed, and the Orange County Superior Court ordered the police to return Kha's wrongfully seized quarter-ounce of marijuana. Police and the city of Garden Grove refused to return the pot, and appealed the ruling, but lost in the state appeals court last year.
Incredibly, the Appeals Court correctly assessed the federal and state laws on medical marijuana and found NO conflict. The justices found that the federal laws were intended to stop drug ABUSE, while the state laws rightfully addressed MEDICAL use, as provided under the concept of Federalism.
Here is how the three Appeals Court judges put it:
"Congress enacted the CSA to combat recreational drug abuse and curb drug trafficking. Gonzales v. Oregon, supra, 546 U.S. at p. 271; Gonzales v. Raich, supra, 545 U.S. at pp. 10-13.) Its goal was not to regulate the practice of medicine, a task that falls within the traditional powers of the states. (Gonzales v. Oregon, supra, 546 U.S. at p. 269.) Speaking for the majority in Gonzales v. Oregon, Justice Kennedy explained, "The [CSA] and our case law amply support the conclusion that Congress regulates medical practice insofar as it bars doctors from using their prescription-writing powers as a means to engage in illicit drug dealing and trafficking as conventionally understood. Beyond this, however, the statute manifests no intent to regulate the practice of medicine generally." (Ibid., italics added.)"
The California Supreme Court refused to review the case in March. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has followed suit. The refusals to hear the appeal means the two high courts have accepted the state appeals court's reasoning that California's medical marijuana law is not preempted by federal law and finally lays to waste the bogus claim that state police can ignore state law and arrest patients, or keep their medicine under federal law.
This is a huge win for all of us, because it removes one of the most basic foundations of law enforcements recalcitrance in obeying state marijuana laws and in upholding the rights of medical marijuana patients.
Special thanks to Americans for Safe Access and their brilliant attorney, Joe Elford, for a job well done.
Steve Kubby is Director of The American Medical Marijuana Association
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"Force without judgement falls of its own weight." - Horace
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