THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) EDITORIAL: PHELPS A PERFECT SHOW OF MARIJUANA WOES
Pubdate: Thu, 19 Feb 2009
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2009 The Sun-Times Co.
On Monday, after Richland County, S.C., Sheriff Leon Lott announced that he did not have enough evidence to arrest Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps for smoking marijuana at a November party in Columbia, the gold medalist issued a statement of regret. "I used bad judgment, and it's a mistake I won't make again," Phelps said. "For young people especially -- be careful about the decisions you make. One bad decision can really hurt you and the people you care about."
Phelps' mistake was not smoking pot so much as doing it in front of someone with a cell phone camera and no compunction about selling the picture to a British tabloid. And if that mistake hurt him, it's not because marijuana turned the record-breaking champion into a slacker or a drug addict. It's because consuming an arbitrarily proscribed intoxicant can result in serious legal ( and therefore social and economic ) consequences, which cause far more harm than marijuana itself.
This reality should be recognized by President Obama, whose own youthful pot smoking did not exactly hold him back but whose future might have been very different if he had been arrested on drug charges in high school or college. The same, of course, could be said for the two drug-experienced baby boomers who preceded him in the White House. But there are some indications that Obama may take a less dogmatic approach to drug policy.
A few days after that photo of Phelps sucking on a bong appeared in the News of the World, the Obama administration signaled that the president will keep his campaign promise to stop the Drug Enforcement Administration's raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, five of which have occurred since he took office. "The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws," a White House spokesman told the Washington Times, "and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind."
(2) COLUMN: END THE COLLATERAL DAMAGE OF MARIJUANA MISDEMEANORS AND ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 20 Feb 2009
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Copyright: 2009 The Seattle Times Company
Author: Lance Dickie, Seattle Times editorial columnist
Two bills to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana appear doomed in the state Legislature. Timid politicians cost taxpayers millions.
A dozen other states have concluded jail time for simple possession of marijuana is ruinous public policy. Oregon made that call almost four decades ago. In a time of imploding government budgets, Olympia is averting its eyes from easy savings. The criminal-justice expense is a substantial and grievous waste of tax dollars.
Senate Bill 5615 and House Bill 1177 -- sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, and Rep. Dave Upthegrove, D-Des Moines -- would reclassify adult possession of 40 grams or less of marijuana as a civil infraction. A $100 fine payable through the mail, like a parking ticket. Current law is a mandatory day in jail, and up to 90 days behind bars.
The oversized penalty is just the start. A misdemeanor-marijuana conviction haunts an offender seemingly forever. Alison Holcomb, drug-policy director of the ACLU of Washington, said that record can lead to loss of employment, housing and federal financial aid for college.
The proposal to reclassify 40 grams of marijuana -- roughly two packs of cigarettes -- from a misdemeanor to a class 2 civil infraction passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday with bipartisan support.
At an earlier hearing, proponents, including the King County Bar Association, testified about the mistaken application of criminal sanctions to a public-health issue and the collateral damage of the convictions in personal lives. The misdemeanors get dragged into divorce and child-custody proceedings.
The default position for opponents declares marijuana a gateway to harder illegal drugs. Increasingly that argument does not hold up to analysis and long-term studies.
(3) ANXIETY IN MASSACHUSETTS OVER SOFTER MARIJUANA LAW ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 20 Feb 2009
Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)
Copyright: 2009 The Christian Science Publishing Society
Author: Jeremy Kutner, Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor
Some Towns and Cities Seek Stiffer Penalties for Public Use, After State Voters Approved Decriminalization.
Massachusetts voters made history by approving a sweeping marijuana decriminalization law on Election Day, but campaign debates are reigniting as communities start to enforce the new rule.
The large margin of victory for the ballot initiative - 65 percent of voters approved the law - is already inspiring similar legislative efforts in other New England states, prompting close attention nationwide to the effects of a less stringent marijuana law.
Massachusetts is not the first state to decriminalize marijuana possession - 12 others have done so. But it is the first since the 1970s to eliminate criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of the drug, even for repeat offenders.
"There were changes in this direction between 1973 and 1978, but then that movement just stopped, and stopped dead," says Peter Reuter, a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland and the former director of the Drug Policy Research Center at the RAND Corp. "It revitalizes a reform movement that had put laws like this on the back burner."
(4) NM PROPOSES TO CRACK DOWN ON DRUGGED DRIVING ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 19 Feb 2009
Source: New Mexican, The (Santa Fe, NM)
Copyright: 2009 The Santa Fe New Mexican
Author: Barry Massey, The Associated Press
Gov. Bill Richardson and activists against drunken driving have another target: motorists who drive while under the influence of illegal drugs, including marijuana.
A legislative proposal backed by Richardson would crack down on "drugged driving" by establishing blood concentration levels for five illegal drugs: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, amphetamine and methamphetamine. The limits would establish a legal presumption that a driver was under the influence of a drug.
More than a dozen states have "per se" laws against drugged driving.
The proposed drug limits serve the same purpose as the blood-alcohol concentration standards New Mexico and many other states have for drunken driving. In New Mexico, it's illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level at or above 0.08 percent.
Rep. William Rehm, R-Albuquerque, said some drivers mix drugs and alcohol.
"It stands to reason if you are going out to party, you're going to go out and party," Rehm, a retired law enforcement officer, said Wednesday. However, it can be difficult currently to prosecute drivers who mix drugs and alcohol if their blood-alcohol level falls below the 0.08 percent threshold.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
One brave effort to change medical marijuana laws is taking place in
a small Missouri town. Elsewhere, typical drug war overkill
continues along with more of the same from people politicians who
should know better.
One brave effort to change medical marijuana laws is taking place in a small Missouri town. Elsewhere, typical drug war overkill continues along with more of the same from people politicians who should know better.
(5) GRASS-ROOTS EFFORT: VILLAGE LEGALIZES MEDICAL MARIJUANA ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 15 Feb 2009
Source: Joplin Globe, The (MO)
Copyright: 2009 The Joplin Globe
Author: Derek Spellman
CLIFF VILLAGE, Mo. - It's early evening and Joe Blundell is splayed out on his bed, on his stomach.
After a couple days of media interviews, it's just him, some friends, and a bout of pain.
I'm on my stomach because I couldn't sit ( in my wheelchair )," Blundell said.
More than three weeks have passed since Blundell, 30, stopped using marijuana. He abandoned the drug not long before he introduced an ordinance legalizing its use for medical reasons inside Cliff Village, a hamlet on Joplin's southern fringes, where Blundell serves as mayor. That ordinance passed two weeks ago.
Cliff Village has no employees and levies no taxes. It gets about $1,300 a year in distributions of state fuel taxes for road repairs and $120 to $200 more in cable TV franchise fees. But the village doesn't make many headlines. Until now.
The ordinance is largely a symbolic gesture. Cliff Village has no local court system of its own and the small Joplin suburb is still subject to state laws that ban marijuana even for medical purposes.
But Blundell and others are hoping their action will raise debate about the uses of marijuana.
This is symbolism, pure and simple," Blundell explained during some of his interviews. "I would like to be the brave one who grows the first plant, but they've built a lot of cages for the people who stick their necks out."
(6) VISALIA CHEERLEADERS TO BE SUBJECT TO DRUG TESTING, JUST LIKE ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 12 Feb 2009
Source: Fresno Bee, The (CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Fresno Bee
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/161 Author: Lewis Griswold
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/testing.htm (Drug Testing)
High school cheerleaders have argued for years that they're athletes - -- just like football, baseball and basketball players. Cheerleaders do complex stunts, work out with weights, and practice from June to March.
Now cheerleaders in Visalia can prove their point: They're being tested for drugs. Under a school policy approved last month, cheerleaders must submit to the same random drug tests given to other student-athletes. It appears to be the first district in the central San Joaquin Valley to take this step.
Cheerleading coach Cara Carnahan at Mt. Whitney High welcomes the change. "You don't want your daughter being thrown into the air by anyone on drugs," Carnahan said.
(7) SAMPSON REGIONAL PUTS AN END TO DISPENSING OF NARCOTIC PAIN MEDS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 15 Feb 2009
Source: Sampson Independent, The (NC)
Copyright: 2009, The Sampson Independent
Author: Chris Berendt
In an effort to reduce the epidemic of prescription drug abuse being felt in Sampson and across the country, emergency physicians at Sampson Regional Medical Center are no longer refilling narcotic pain and sedative medications. Instead of dispensing narcotic pills, they are instead doling out referrals to primary care physicians so patients may receive the proper treatment.
Sampson Regional is another in the growing number of emergency departments taking such measures to reduce the increasing overuse of narcotic and sedative medications used to treat chronic pain.
Medications such as Codeine, Hydrocodone ( Lortab and Vicodin ), Oxycodone ( Percocet ), Morphine, Darvocet, Oxycontin, Xanax and Valium are just some that will no longer be dispensed by emergency physicians. A full list is provided by hospital officials.
"We are trying to limit the amount of narcotics being given out," said Dr. Steven D. Kelley, chief of emergency medicine at Sampson Regional.
(8) SCHUMER PUSHES FUNDING TO COMBAT DRUG TRAFFICKING ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 18 Feb 2009
Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)
Copyright: 2009 Watertown Daily Times
U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer will visit Watertown this morning to detail his push for more federal funding to combat drug trafficking in four north country counties.
In a press release, the Democratic senator said he and Rep. John M. McHugh, R-Pierrepont Manor, are working in tandem to secure a "drug trafficking" designation for Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Franklin and Clinton counties.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy recently hired two drug intelligence officers to serve at the northern border through the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, the senator's office said. It is that program that the two politicians hope to persuade officials to bring here.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
The leader of one state prison system said something amazing last
"We've lost the war on drugs, yet we keep sending people to state
prisons." He then went on to explain why the war on drugs is already
overwhelming the prison system. In Louisiana, one lawmaker wants to
see special license plates for drug dealers. A report suggests that
the head of the DEA spent more than $120,000 on one chartered
flight, even though the agency has its own fleet of planes. And in
South Carolina, there won't be local charges for a pair of
10-year-olds who brought cannabis to school, but the county still
hasn't finished its investigation.
The leader of one state prison system said something amazing last week:
"We've lost the war on drugs, yet we keep sending people to state prisons." He then went on to explain why the war on drugs is already overwhelming the prison system. In Louisiana, one lawmaker wants to see special license plates for drug dealers. A report suggests that the head of the DEA spent more than $120,000 on one chartered flight, even though the agency has its own fleet of planes. And in South Carolina, there won't be local charges for a pair of 10-year-olds who brought cannabis to school, but the county still hasn't finished its investigation.
(9) PRISONS DIRECTOR DEMANDS REFORMS ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 13 Feb 2009
Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH)
Copyright: 2009 The Columbus Dispatch
Author: Alan Johnson, The Columbus Dispatch
State Lawmakers Urged to Alter Sentencing Laws to Help With Crowding
The head of Ohio's prison system gave state legislators a no-nonsense budget talk yesterday, saying, "We've lost the war on drugs, yet we keep sending people to state prisons."
Terry Collins, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, made an impassioned plea for sentencing reforms to divert more offenders from overcrowded state prisons and ease the burden on the financially strapped system.
The alternative: closing another prison in 2011, Collins told a House committee reviewing the state budget.
"We are at a critical and urgent stage," he said.
(10) BILL CALLS FOR SPECIAL LICENSES, PLATES FOR DRUG DEALERS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 14 Feb 2009
Source: Monroe News-Star (LA)
Copyright: 2009 The News-Star, Gannett
Author: Mike Hasten
BATON ROUGE - If drug dealers want to stay in business after being arrested more than once, they should have to let the world know what they are, says a Lafayette lawmaker who says he's tired of seeing drug deals and their effects in his neighborhood.
Rep. Rickey Hardy, D-Lafayette, has pre-filed HB11, that seeks to require second-offense drug dealers to carry special driver's licenses and put brightly colored license plates on their cars.
I'm pushing for it to be bright orange," said Hardy, who envisions that if dealers know they could face such a stigma, they might get out of the trade.
Drugs destroy communities and destroy families," he said. "They lead to rape, murder, burglaries, drive-by shootings and the list goes on and on. We can no longer defend the drug dealers. We need to do something about them."
Hardy said the intent of his bill is "to embarrass them. If they don't want to be upstanding citizens, make them stand out. They want a badge of honor? Here it is."
(11) DEA SPENDS $123,000 TO FLY AGENCY CHIEF TO COLOMBIA ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 2009
Source: Belleville News-Democrat (IL)
Copyright: 2009 Belleville News-Democrat
Author: Marisa Taylor
WASHINGTON -- The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration spent more than $123,000 to charter a private jet to fly to Bogota, Colombia, last fall instead of taking one of the agency's 106 planes.
The DEA paid a contractor an additional $5,380 to arrange Acting Administrator Michele Leonhart's trip last Oct. 28-30 with an outside company.
The DEA scheduled the trip as the nation was reeling from the worst economic crisis in decades and the national debt was climbing toward $10 trillion. Three weeks later, lawmakers slammed chief executive officers from three automakers for flying to Washington in private jets as Congress debated whether to bail out the auto industry.
William Brown, the special agent in charge of the DEA's aviation division, said he had asked DEA contractor L-3 Communications to arrange the flight because the plane that ordinarily would have flown the administrator was grounded for scheduled maintenance. He said he didn't question the cost at the time.
"Was it excessive? I guess you could look at it that way, but I don't think so," he said.
"I understand the concern about costs for these things. But we do our best to keep costs under control. I think the DEA is very conservative compared to other agencies."
(12) NO DRUG CHARGES FOR ELEMENTARY STUDENTS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 17 Feb 2009
Source: Aiken Standard (SC)
Copyright: 2009sAiken Standard
Author: Karen Daily
Family Court prosecutors will not pursue charges against two 10-year-old boys caught at school in early February with more than three grams of marijuana. The boys tried to sell the drugs for dessert and bubble gum. Officials said Monday the youngest age that children can be charged with a crime is 10, and typically that is done when the authorities have a strong belief that the children knew what they were doing was wrong. Knowing that the children were trying to sell the drugs for cakes and gum begs that question.
"I am fine with ( the outcome )," said Burnettown Police Chief David Paul Smith. "You really need to try and look at a what a 10-year-old really understands."
Burnettown police said they don't know where the two Jefferson Elementary School fourth-graders found the drugs or what prompted them to bring the drugs to school.
Smith said the investigation is now in the hands of narcotics officers at the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.
"Both students live outside my jurisdiction," he said.
Smith went on to say that the parents of the two boys were not under investigation, but he said the police would not leave them out the equation.
"If Aiken County were to find there are drugs in the homes, then charges could be filed," he said.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Police in Hawaii are predictably opposing a bill that would reduce
the penalty for possessing under an ounce to a $100.00 fine, on
the grounds that the current criminal penalties are seldom enforced
anyway, sending the wrong message to kids.
Sheriff Leon Lott decided to abandon his much ridiculed prosecution
of Michael Phelps, thanks in part to Phelps never specifying which
lapse in judgement he regrets, smoking cannabis or smoking cannabis
near a camera.
Activists in California have launched a lawsuit against the DMV
for unjustly suspending the driving privileges of registered
medicinal cannabis consumers.
Following the recent, reactionary cannabis re-reclassification in
Britain, the Home Office is now producing unintentionally amusing
anti-cannabis ads for television.
Police in Hawaii are predictably opposing a bill that would reduce the penalty for possessing under an ounce to a $100.00 fine, on the grounds that the current criminal penalties are seldom enforced anyway, sending the wrong message to kids.
Sheriff Leon Lott decided to abandon his much ridiculed prosecution of Michael Phelps, thanks in part to Phelps never specifying which lapse in judgement he regrets, smoking cannabis or smoking cannabis near a camera.
Activists in California have launched a lawsuit against the DMV for unjustly suspending the driving privileges of registered medicinal cannabis consumers.
Following the recent, reactionary cannabis re-reclassification in Britain, the Home Office is now producing unintentionally amusing anti-cannabis ads for television.
(13) SHOULD POT BE DECRIMINALIZED? ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 2009
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald (Hilo, HI)
Copyright: 2009 Hawaii Tribune Herald
Author: Peter Sur
Possessing under 1 ounce would draw fine, no jail time
The law enforcement community is taking a united stand against a bill that would reduce penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
House Bill 1192, now awaiting action in the Judiciary Committee, would make possession of less than an ounce a civil violation, subject to a $100 fine.
Minors would also be required to complete a drug awareness program, consisting of at least four hours of classroom instruction or group discussion and 10 hours of community service.
The bill has already survived votes by the combined Public Safety and Human Services committees. While most of the other bills introduced this session propose to amend the state's medical marijuana law, HB 1192 would remove the threat of jail time for some offenders.
First Deputy Prosecutor Charlene Iboshi said the penalties don't need to be reduced any further.
"They just get a slap on the wrist, anyway," Iboshi said.
Possession of marijuana in any amount is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail, although "they never get 30 days," Iboshi said.
She rejected the argument, advanced by proponents of decriminalizing marijuana, that it would save money. Iboshi said police typically recover small amounts of marijuana during traffic stops, and that such prosecutions don't add to the cost of law enforcement.
"It's not taking any more than a DUI, and it's not like a lot of money is spent" to make the arrest, she said.
The Hawaii Police Department submitted written testimony for the Feb. 5 committee hearing to oppose the bill.
(14) PHELPS AVOIDS S.C. POT CHARGES ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 17 Feb 2009
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2009 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Cited: Richland County sheriff http://www.rcsd.net/
Physical Evidence Lacking, Sheriff Says
Michael Phelps will not face criminal charges after a photo of him apparently smoking marijuana from a pipe sparked an investigation in South Carolina.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Monday that he didn't have enough physical evidence to press charges against the 23-year-old swimmer after the November party near the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
"We had a photo and him saying he was sorry for inappropriate behavior," Lott said at a news conference. "He never said, 'I smoked marijuana.' We didn't have physical evidence."
Lott defended the investigation, calling Phelps "an American hero ... but even with his star status, he is still obligated to obey the laws of our state."
In a statement Monday, Phelps said he would move forward in his training, "having put this whole thing behind me."
"I'm glad this matter is put to rest," Phelps' statement said. "But there are also some important lessons that I've learned. For me, it's all about recognizing that I used bad judgment and it's a mistake I won't make again. For young people especially -- be careful about the decisions you make. One bad decision can really hurt you and the people you care about."
The sheriff said the investigation began Feb. 2. Two days later, officers found the marijuana pipe thought to be used in the photo. They found it in a car. "The bong never made it to eBay," Lott said, referring to newspaper reports that the pipe had been posted on the online auction site.
Lott said the person who took the photo of Phelps at the party sold it for $100,000. He would not identify the photographer or say how he knew the amount.
(15) DMV SUED OVER MEDICAL MARIJUANA ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: Maura Dolan, Reporting from San Francisco
The Lawsuit Says Patients Are Unfairly Targeted for License Suspensions.
When Matt Vaughn was pulled over for speeding on Interstate 5 in Northern California early on a Sunday morning, he had a bag of marijuana on the passenger seat.
The California Highway Patrol officer smelled the weed, searched the car, took the marijuana and pipe and gave Vaughn a sobriety test, which he passed. An angry Vaughn showed the officer his doctor's recommendation to use marijuana for glaucoma. The officer was unimpressed.
"He said, in Glenn County, they don't recognize those kinds of things," said Vaughn, 55, who has a long ponytail, mustache and beard. "He was not very friendly about it."
The 2005 incident cost Vaughn a speeding ticket, his 1 1/4 ounce of pot and his driver's license -- and nine months of fighting the California Department of Motor Vehicles -- before he prevailed.
As a result of that and other encounters involving medical marijuana, an advocacy group has sued the DMV, asking for a written policy that says medical marijuana should be treated the same as prescription drugs.
The suit contends that the DMV has a pattern of investigating and suspending the driver's licenses of people who use pot on the recommendation of their doctors.
"It happens a disturbing amount," said Joseph D. Elford, chief counsel for Americans for Safe Access, which promotes legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes and research.
(16) MIND YOUR MENTAL HEALTH - WARNING ON CANNABIS TARGETS TEENAGERS ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 2009
Source: Guardian, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Guardian News and Media Limited
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/175 Author: Audrey Gillan
Teenage 'Dabblers' And Binge Smokers Targeted
Ukp 2m Campaign Welcomed After Drug's Reclassification
Drugs campaigners welcomed a new television advert shown last night aimed at warning teenagers of the mental health problems associated with cannabis.
The UKP 2.2m government campaign is targeted at 11-18 year olds. In the advert, one actor demonstrates the symptoms associated with smoking the drug. The film shows the mind-altering effects of the drug. The voiceover at the end warns: "The more you mess with cannabis, the more it can mess with your mind."
Promoted by Frank, the drugs advice and information service for teenagers run by the Home Office the Department of Health and the Department for Children, Families and Schools, it aims to tackle the high number of teenagers treated for cannabis use. In 2005, 10,000 11 to 17-year-olds were treated - 10 times the number a decade ago. It also aims to curtail the increasing use of skunk, a potent form of cannabis.
While it is not the first anti-cannabis advert to appear on British television, it is the first to specifically target 11-14 year-old "dabblers and contemplaters", children considering smoking the drug without awareness of any consequent problems. It is also aimed at slightly older peers who may have already tried the drug.
The campaign follows the reclassification of cannabis last month from class C to class B. The home secretary overruled the opinion of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which advised that cannabis should remain class C.
Now, no one is expecting Jamesian subtlety in a 40-second government health ad - but neon signs above people's heads? Really? Sometimes you just gotta love the government for trying. But alas, suggestion and allusion aren't optional extras in successful advertising - they are its defining feature. That's why the Flake advert entered into legend and why the pizza splattering across the windscreen in the public road safety campaign of a few years ago sticks in the mind. It's why we were advised to Go to Work on an Egg, rather than Eat an Egg for Breakfast Every Morning Because Then You Won't Be Hungry All Morning in the Office. Even the much-parodied American "This is your brain on drugs" campaign, which involved a lot of eggs being smashed and scrambled piqued the interest momentarily, in a way that adjectives rendered in neon simply do not.
COMMENTS: ( Top )
In Mexico, hundreds protested against the Mexican army, stopping
traffic at the U.S. border. "The Soldiers won't let us Live in
Peace, We are Scared," read banners. Government sources were quick
to claim the protests were organized by drug traffickers who paid
protesters with "backpacks full of schoolbooks, pens and paper,"
according to Die Weld newspaper. Other protesters complained about
"illegal detentions of loved ones, who they say were taken away in
military vehicles and have not been seen or heard from since."
And in Canada, more Al Capone -style gangland turf-battles prompted
a chorus of editorials calling, seemingly in unison, for longer jail
terms. At the same time we present three pieces this week from the
Canadian press bucking that trend, each arguing for reform. Maple
Ridge British Columbia Councilor Craig Speirs this week broke with a
long-standing government taboo, using the "P-word" (prohibition),
describing "prohibition law" as effective - for "gangsters". In
Victoria, B.C., Victoria police officer David Bratzer spoke against
drugs prohibition this week, also. "We have an environment where
law-enforcement officers are realizing these laws are ineffective,"
said Bratzer, a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. And
from the editorial board of the Chilliwack Times in the lower
mainland, B.C., while decrying "gangs... selling drugs" the Times
went on to admit, "There is a total disconnect right now between our
drug laws and actual human behaviour... the truth is that many
otherwise law-abiding people use them... Many people of all
political stripes now recognize that prohibition has not worked,
just like it failed with alcohol".
In Mexico, hundreds protested against the Mexican army, stopping traffic at the U.S. border. "The Soldiers won't let us Live in Peace, We are Scared," read banners. Government sources were quick to claim the protests were organized by drug traffickers who paid protesters with "backpacks full of schoolbooks, pens and paper," according to Die Weld newspaper. Other protesters complained about "illegal detentions of loved ones, who they say were taken away in military vehicles and have not been seen or heard from since."
And in Canada, more Al Capone -style gangland turf-battles prompted a chorus of editorials calling, seemingly in unison, for longer jail terms. At the same time we present three pieces this week from the Canadian press bucking that trend, each arguing for reform. Maple Ridge British Columbia Councilor Craig Speirs this week broke with a long-standing government taboo, using the "P-word" (prohibition), describing "prohibition law" as effective - for "gangsters". In Victoria, B.C., Victoria police officer David Bratzer spoke against drugs prohibition this week, also. "We have an environment where law-enforcement officers are realizing these laws are ineffective," said Bratzer, a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. And from the editorial board of the Chilliwack Times in the lower mainland, B.C., while decrying "gangs... selling drugs" the Times went on to admit, "There is a total disconnect right now between our drug laws and actual human behaviour... the truth is that many otherwise law-abiding people use them... Many people of all political stripes now recognize that prohibition has not worked, just like it failed with alcohol".
(17) MEXICANS PROTEST CAMPAIGN AGAINST DRUG CARTELS ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 18 Feb 2009
Source: Die Welt (Germany)
Copyright: DIE WELT, 2009
Author: Robin Emmott
In the largest in a series of anti-army protests this week, around 300 Mexican protesters congregated in the northern town of Monterrey Tuesday to protest army operations against drug gangs. Another 300 protesters shut highways in the Gulf city of Veracruz. Officials claimed that the protest was organized by drug traffickers.
Protesters block a main avenue as they hold up a banner that reads: "The Soldiers won't let us Live in Peace, We are Scared" in the northern industrial city of Monterrey, Mexico, Tuesday, Feb. 17
Natividad Gonzalez, governor of Nuevo Leon state, blamed Mexico's most violent drug gang, the Gulf cartel, and its armed wing, The Zetas, for the protests.
"There are reasons to believe it has to do with the Gulf cartel and the group known as The Zetas," he told a news conference.
Ten people died in a gun battle between troops and drug hitmen in Reynosa on Tuesday, police said, but added that the violence was not related to the protests.
State police chief Aldo Fasci said last week that crime organizations were paying people to protest against the army and that gangs were handing out backpacks full of schoolbooks, pens and paper to poor families who joined the demonstrations.
(18) CARTELS MAY BE PAYING PROTESTERS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 19 Feb 2009
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2009 The Dallas Morning News, Inc.
Author: Laurence Iliff, The Dallas Morning News
Border Rallies Target Use of Arny in Drug Areas
MEXICO CITY - Drug cartels unleashed a new and potentially powerful weapon this week in their battle with the government, analysts say - the use of unarmed civilian protesters to demand the withdrawal of army soldiers in drug hot spots along the Mexico-Texas border.
Protesters paralyzed nine bridges linking Mexico to Texas on Tuesday, and local, state and federal authorities allege that the demonstrators were paid by drug-trafficking groups.
If true, it puts the government in a delicate position. The protesters have a constitutional right to demonstrate peacefully, and they face increasingly tough economic conditions, including growing unemployment and a $5-a-day minimum wage.
Media reports quoted some protesters who anonymously said that they had been paid to hold anti-army signs. But others said they had legitimate grievances against the army for illegal detentions of loved ones, who they say were taken away in military vehicles and have not been seen or heard from since.
(19) TIME TO CONSIDER LEGALIZING DRUGS, SAYS LOCAL COUNCILLOR ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 17 Feb 2009
Source: Maple Ridge Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc
Author: Amy Steele
Until Canada ends its prohibition against drugs cracking down on gangs won't be successful because drug sales are too lucrative, said Councillor Craig Speirs at Monday's workshop meeting.
Speirs said the province needs to take a look at current drug laws, pointing out if they're legalized "you remove their money stream."
He said the current "prohibition law" works "extremely well" for gangsters.
(20) POLICE OFFICER CALLS FOR DRUG LEGALIZATION ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 2009
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Times Colonist
Author: Katie Derosa
Canada's drug laws are harmful, result in repeat offenders and waste taxpayers' money, a Victoria police officer told a group of students and marijuana activists yesterday.
David Bratzer was speaking at the 10th annual Cannabis Convention, held at the University of Victoria by the student society's Hempology 101 Club and the International Hempology 101 Society.
"We have an environment where law-enforcement officers are realizing these laws are ineffective," said Bratzer, speaking as a member of the U.S.-based Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
As for the recent spate of violent and brazen gang slayings in Vancouver, Bratzer calls them "drug-prohibition deaths," arguing they're the result of gang members fighting to control the multi- billion-dollar illegal drug market.
Law-enforcement officials, who deal with the adverse effects of drug prohibition every day, are able to more effectively champion the cause for legalization, said Ted Smith, president of the International Hempology 101 Society.
"It's one thing to put us off as a bunch of potheads, but when sober, intelligent people speak out, their opinion carries a lot of weight because of that."
(21) EXPECT MORE OF THE SAME ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 17 Feb 2009
Source: Chilliwack Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Chilliwack Times
It seems clear the rise of gang activity in our region has a lot to do with a system that doesn't want to punish gangs for selling drugs or weapons offences. Many have blamed judges for being out of step with the public. And they're right.
But there's another problem. There is a total disconnect right now between our drug laws and actual human behaviour. It's easy to say our legislators are out of step with the public. We don't want to make light of the health consequences of drugs, but the truth is that many otherwise law-abiding people use them. A 2004 Stats Canada report said 12.2 per cent of Canadians had used marijuana within the previous 12 months--almost double the 1989 totals. The real numbers are probably higher.
Many people of all political stripes now recognize that prohibition has not worked, just like it failed with alcohol--another drug with serious health consequences. It is arguably the biggest social engineering failure in modern history. Note that no one is seriously talking about bringing it back to combat alcohol problems. The last thing we need is a bunch of alcoholics busting into houses to pay for their habit.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
JOE ROGAN'S LETTER TO KELLOGG'S ( Top )
From The Joe Rogan Blog - http://blog.joerogan.net
5 OF THE MOST OVERRATED LEGAL HIGHS ( Top )
An Attack On Everyday Drugs (And A Few You've Never Heard Of)
By Manfred Johnson
Have you ever noticed that a lot of the legal drugs out there -- including the popular ones, like alcohol -- are wildly overrated?
SHERIFF LOTT'S POT SHOT ( Top )
By Jacob Sullum
Will Obama reject the anti-drug zealotry highlighted by the Michael Phelps farce?
DRUG WAR HORROR STORY IS ONLY A SEAM IN A COMPLEX FABRIC ( Top )
By Bill Conroy - Narconews
In covering the drug war along the U.S./Mexican border over the past five years, I've discovered that there are two kinds of stories: the ones that only make sense on the surface and those that are layered with the complexity of reality.
RESOLVING MARIJUANA PROHIBITION ( Top )
Students, faculty, media, politicians, activists and interested public across Canada are joining Marc-Boris St-Maurice, Executive Director of NORML Canada as he embarks on a national fact-finding tour to introduce "The National Resolution for the Legalization of Marijuana".
THE IBOGAINE FORUM 2009 ( Top )
This was a live broadcast from "The Ibogaine Forum 2009" at Northeastern University, in Boston, Mass. Presidents Day Weekend (Sat., Feb. 14 to Mon., Feb. 16)
REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL BOARD FOR 2008 ( Top )
INCB REAFFIRMS ITS SHAMEFUL COMMITMENT TO POLITICS OVER SCIENCE ( Top )
By Ethan Nadelmann
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the independent and quasi-judicial control organ monitoring the implementation of the United Nations drug control conventions, released its Annual Report 2008 today.
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Century of Lies - 02/17/09 - Mike Gray
Mike Gray, author of Drug Crazy & Chairman of Common Sense for Drug Policy + RN Ken Wolski reports on progress of marijuana law in New Jersey
Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 02/18/09 - Harold Hurtt
Police Chief of Houston Texas, Harold Hurtt + Irma Rios the director of the Houston crime lab.
MINISTRY OF DEFENCE PROPAGANDA AND THE AFGHAN DRUG WAR ( Top )
Transform Drug Policy Foundation (TDPF)
The media today is full of reports about a massive military operation in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, codenamed DIESEL. Closer examination reveals reporting of the operation to have been dramatically propagandized by the Ministry of Defense, with the media acting as their willing - if somewhat confused - accomplices.
SEATTLE POLICE CHIEF SAYS LEGALIZE DRUGS ( Top )
Retired Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper thinks we should legalize drugs after what he witnessed fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs."
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
GRINSPOON NEEDS HELP ANSWERING THE QUESTION: WHY DO I USE MARIJUANA? ( Top )
By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director
Author, Harvard academician, NORML Advisory Board member and respected physician, Lester Grinspoon, recently updated his webpage and is seeking cannabis consumers to contribute essays to his newly launched blog devoted to furthering understanding and appreciation of the way in which cannabis enhances a variety of human experiences.
SUPPORT MEDICINAL CANNABIS IN NEW JERSEY ( Top )
Meet Nancy. She lives with multiple sclerosis and risks arrest every time she uses medical marijuana to relieve her symptoms. Watch this video ( http://dpa.convio.net/site/R?i=GT6rk3avPPaR-xqMCijHyw.. ) and make a donation to join us in fighting for medical marijuana. ( http://dpa.convio.net/site/R?i=ILKBQKdT6xxh5PJZqY1N_Q.. )
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
TIME TO CHANGE U.S. DRUG POLICIES ( Top )
By Dalan Crockett and Paul Bennett
Editor of the Reformer:
An open letter to President Obama:
Dear Mr. President,
Not one American belongs in prison for drug use alone, in absence of a real crime. Using any drug in and of itself should not constitute criminal activity. Laws criminalizing personal behavior in which no one harms others or their property are arbitrary and subjective means that impose the will of one group of people on another. American jurisprudence too often omits the laws of nature in favor of harsh legal judgments that one-sidedly interpret some human behavior as being unlawful.
Two people have recently come under criminal investigation following marijuana allegations. How did it feel to learn of the arrest of your wary-gazed and proud brother in Kenya who asks for nothing but the dignity to live his own life; or an Olympic medalist groveling to the media with an act of contrition that he did something "not in a manner people have come to expect" of him? No one in good conscience would make adults who use marijuana wait another day to exercise their right of choice, free from criminal justice supervision.
Let us begin rational drug policy in your administration by ending marijuana prohibition, and moving this important and lucrative crop into the realm of a taxed and licensed supply and demand market for adult consumption.
In the main, adult use of marijuana is not criminally intended nor does it represent conduct unbecoming of a good citizen. Failure of this nation to understand that sends the message to millions of hard working, law abiding citizens that justice lay with the accusation, not upon an actual crime.
Furthermore, it is an insult to the American people that they are portrayed as incapable of maturely using marijuana in a manner consistent with responsible adult behavior.
This is not solely a matter of who is right, it is a matter of whether our nation is wrong to criminalize adults for private drug use. By doing so, the American and international drug war sends an immoral message to kids everywhere that adults settle their differences by locking each other up. Moreover, that we stigmatize adult behavior that turns friend against friend, brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor and creates crime where there was no crime before.
Therefore, we are not strictly writing to you as a matter of opinion or advocacy. Rather, we appeal to your good conscience. Please ask yourself, Mr. President, what kind of civilized nation puts its people into prison for privately using drugs? When will this greatest of modern human rights abuses come to an end, so that this nation, or any nation, will never again conduct a war against its own people?
Dalan Crockett and Paul Bennett
Pubdate: Wed, 11 Feb 2009
Source: Brattleboro Reformer (VT)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
Another Dead On Arrival Medical Cannabis Bill, HB 164 ( Top )
2009 marks yet another year with yet another bill, aimed toward legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. But, wait a minute. Aren't we the ones always decrying the beating of a dead horse, namely, the drug war? So, why is "our side" dragging out yet another doomed medi-pot bill, HB 164? As of today, "our side" is unable to persuade anyone to write a companion bill. A bill cannot pass into law without a companion bill. D.O.A. HB 164 doesn't have any sponsors, as yet, although there are several pro-medical cannabis supporters in our Texas legislature. So, where are these heroic, intelligent individuals?
They are bored, that's where they are. They are unmotivated. Maybe they'll get on board this year, and maybe they won't. Chances are, they wont hear too awful much feedback from their constituents, either way, except the usual batch of form letters, supplied to us, and our representatives, courtesy of our own big organizations. After all, this is one of hundreds of bills that appear in committee each year, and never even make it out onto the floor to be voted on. Except for the few that do not get resubmitted in any form, these kind of bills are the lowest of the low. Certainly, they don't rank up there with the bills that almost got passed last session, nor of the "sure to be passed" darlings that already have tons of sponsors, representatives who pledge to vote in favor of said bill. No, our bills invoke barely more than a yawn to those on our side in congress. To those not on our side, our bills scare the living daylights out of them. They either believe that our bills will lead to social disaster of some mysterious sort, or they have ulterior motives (these would be in the minority), such as drug companies being major contributors.
But, we are not asleep when it comes to getting our bills passed! We are not corrupt, nor uneducated. HB 164 is OUR bill; it protects US, our fellow Texans, our friends, family, and yes, every citizen. Texas needs to recognize some financial benefits, medical cannabis patients need to be able to benefit from their medication in safety and security, to the greatest extent the law will allow! Nobody benefits from throwing sick people into jail!
Our side can't keep letting yawns and lies dwell on our state's glowing Capitol Building. Maybe you've had the privilege of driving past this majestic landmark on a starry, clear night. It's inspiring. It's where lives are changed - where our lives are changed, and where the quality of our lives is changed. We hadn't ought to be sitting around just letting such changes occur without our input or direction. Just voting is not enough. Whomever we vote on will never vote our way all the time. That's why we must tell them whenever something very important comes before them. We must tell them how we want them to vote.
Please join Operation Contact Hi!, a weekly contact list containing 4 people or places you can contact to help get HB 164 passed. Each year, our bills die in committee because we fail to breathe life into them. This year, "give the gift of life". Help save Texas!!
Jimmy/420 is a pseudonym for a middle-aged conservative Christian Republican medi-pot patient somewhere in north Texas.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
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