This Just In
(1)Victoria's Top Cop Vows To Catch Drug Dealers
(2)Drug Education In Schools Panned
(3)Column: Reefer Sadness
(4)Ending Disparity In Cocaine Sentencing Laws Has Support In NC

Hot Off The 'Net
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-Prohibition Doesn't Work, So Lets Have More Prohibition!
-ONDCP Director Kerlikowske NPR Interview
-Autumn Of The Capo: The Diary Of A Drug Lord / Ioan Grillo
-The History Of Weed

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Fri, 22 May 2009
Source: Victoria News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Black Press
Author: Rebecca Aldous

Drug Dealers Be Warned: Your Days Are Numbered.

Victoria police chief Jamie Graham is out to get you.

"We will continue to target those who infiltrate our communities and undermine everything decent we stand for," said Graham.

"Drugs and violence go together, that's why we are targeting the most violent dealers."

Last week, police seized $300,000 worth of drugs after 100 officers raided six suspected drug trafficking locations in the Capital Region.

The two-month-long case involved eight police organizations making it the South Island's largest co-ordinated investigation.

The bust eliminated a possible 1,800 drug deals from Victoria streets, said Graham. In less than 90 days, Greater Victoria police departments have taken more than $1 million worth of illicit drugs out of the system.

>From the search warrants executed in Victoria, Esquimalt and three in the Westshore area, two kilos of cocaine, 32 grams of heroin, 125 ecstasy pills, 615 grams of crystal methamphetamine and 1,099 grams of marijuana were confiscated. No firearms were found.




Pubdate: Fri, 22 May 2009
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2009 New Zealand Herald
Author: Andrew Laxon

Today is the final of a six-part series on the damage methamphetamine is doing to New Zealand and what we can do to fix it.

Traditional drug education in schools has little or no effect on young people's tendency to take drugs such as P, researchers have warned.

A Massey University review says bringing in experts to teach about the dangers of drugs and alcohol does not lead to a long-term change in student behaviour - mainly because teenagers have other stronger influences in their lives.

The research was dismissed by one of the country's longest-running providers, the Life Education Trust, as irrelevant academic criticism.

But the newly formed Stellar Trust, which aims to promote education about methamphetamine, says it is aware of the findings and is planning a more community-based approach.


Pubdate: Thu, 21 May 2009
Source: FFWD (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 FFWD
Author: Patrick Boyle

The Dutch Start Getting All Uptight And Shit

We've all heard tales of Amsterdam: the great European city of bacchanalia. Arriving by train, weary travellers walk along a canal that radiates outward from Centraal station and venture down any of the many narrow side streets that splay forth from each canal, leading to the city's best-known attractions. From the live sex shows and scantily clad prostitutes of the red light district to the so-called "coffee shops" where modest portions of cannabis and hashish can be bought and smoked, the city's core is brimming with a degree of naughtiness that comparatively puritan North Americans find jaw-dropping.

Nevertheless, as any recent visitor can tell you, there's something strange in the Amsterdam air these days - a distinctly different kind of stink than the acrid odour of an expertly rolled blunt. While the culture of permissiveness remains intact, it has been thoroughly rattled by a recent series of legal reforms. Nestled alongside policies that would see the red-light district scaled back by half, new rules designed to restrict the sale and consumption of soft drugs are on their way down the pipe; some have already arrived.

"I don't think there will ever be no coffee shops in Amsterdam, but there will be less in the future," says Prem Chitaroe, who manages Youth Hostel Meeting Point on Warmoesstraat, a bustling thoroughfare dotted with weed-friendly establishments. "There has been and there still is a lot of pressure from other European countries to stop the semi-legalization of soft drugs. But also in the last few years we have a [leading] party in the federal government that does not like the use of soft drugs in Holland."

Indeed, the centre-right Christian Democratic Appeal ( CDA ) party, largest of the four-party coalition that currently leads the Dutch national government, has been the driving force behind the recent backlash against the acceptance of soft drugs that has been the norm in Dutch politics for almost four decades. Nevertheless, the most crushing blow to coffee shop culture is legislation that has broad support in countries throughout the western world: a smoking ban.




Pubdate: Thu, 21 May 2009
Source: News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
Copyright: 2009 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Author: Thomasi Mcdonald, Staff Writer

RALEIGH - Some state criminal justice advocates say they would welcome an end to the disparity in federal sentences for crack cocaine and powder cocaine crimes.

The issue has spawned several fair sentencing bills and received national attention after the Obama administration recently signaled its support, particularly the elimination of harsh penalties for low-level drug offenses. "We wholeheartedly support those proposals," said Katy Parker, legal director of the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in Raleigh. "There is no medical or scientific distinction in powder cocaine or the base form known as crack. There's no research proving that crack is more addictive than powder cocaine."

Wake County District Attorney Colin Willoughby said a public hearing on Capitol Hill today on the issue is "a step in the right direction." The U.S. Attorney's Office in Raleigh, which prosecutes federal cases, declined to comment on the issue. Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison also declined to comment, saying he has not had a chance to review the proposed legislation.

There are several ways a local drug case may end up in federal court. Speaking during a national teleconference Wednesday, former Western Tennessee federal prosecutor Veronica F. Coleman-Davis said a joint task force consisting of local and federal authorities may make a drug arrest and the suspect may bargain with police to be prosecuted at the state level, where there are lesser penalties, if he or she cooperates. Willoughby said there also are instances in Wake County where local prosecutors ask the federal government to prosecute a case, particularly if the drugs have been intercepted at the airport or on an interstate highway, or for cases "that may have a larger impact."





At the U.S.-Mexico border, there's more U.S. law enforcement presence, but an article out of the Dallas Morning News suggests it may not make much difference.

As the international debate over drug policy increases, seemingly more opinions turn toward reform in a number of forums.


Pubdate: Mon, 18 May 2009
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2009 Associated Press

Newly Intensified Search For Cash, Weapons Being Smuggled From U.S. Yields Uneven Results

NOGALES, Ariz. ( AP ) - Hawks circle above the lines of traffic at the hot, arid border crossing into Mexico. Sagebrush catches clothes tossed by fence climbers. Three curious, dusty horses watch the federal agents who are tapping on car windows, opening trunks, looking in vain for contraband.

"We're sucking up a lot of exhaust out here," supervisory Customs and Border Protection officer Edith Serrano says.

This is what the Obama administration's new commitment to help Mexico fight its drug cartels looks like.

President Barack Obama this spring promised his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderon, that the U.S. would fight two of the biggest contributions U.S. residents make to drug cartels: cash and weapons. The latter is hard to come by in Mexico.

For the past five weeks, hundreds of agents participating in a newly intensified $95 million outbound inspection program have been stepping into southbound traffic lanes and stopping suspicious-looking cars and trucks.

Associated Press reporters fanned out to the busiest crossings along the Mexican border - Laredo and El Paso; Nogales, Ariz.; and San Diego - to see how effective the inspections are.

The findings? Wads of U.S. currency headed for Mexico, wedged into car doors, stuffed under mattresses, taped onto torsos, were sniffed out by dogs, seized by agents and locked away for possible investigations. No guns were found as the reporters watched; they rarely are.

"I do not believe we can even make a dent in [southbound smuggling] because that assumes the cartels are complete idiots, which they're not. Why in the world would they try to smuggle weapons and currency through a checkpoint when there are so many other options?" said Border Patrol Agent T.J. Bonner, president of the agents' union.




Pubdate: Thu, 21 May 2009
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Times Colonist
Author: Matthew Pearson, Times Colonist

A Victoria man might soon learn if there is smoke where there is fire.

Ian Layfield, an entrepreneur in the mail-order marijuana business, is in Toronto this week to pitch his product to the sharp-toothed judges on the CBC's Dragons' Den. Tomorrow, he hopes to persuade the panel of successful business people to invest in medicinal-marijuana distribution via mail.

"I think we have a very viable company and we would benefit from having at least one of the Dragons partner with us to make sure this company becomes the success we all want it to be," said Layfield, who uses the locally grown marijuana daily to treat arthritis.

Layfield launched the company, Canada's Medicinal Marihuana Store, last November to distribute products to people registered with Health Canada to legally use the substance.

He said he initially went to an audition for the show in April at the University of Victoria to help a friend, but while he was there, he read over the forms and decided his idea might have potential.




Pubdate: Sun, 17 May 2009
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2009 The New York Times Company
Author: Michael Winerip

ETHAN NADELMANN, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, has been advocating for legalization of marijuana for 20 years and says he's seen more progress in the last four months than in the previous two decades. "It's starting to cascade," he said. "Our model is the gay rights movement and their recent string of successes with gay marriage."

Mr. Nadelmann is a smart guy; he has a law degree and a doctorate from Harvard. He so impressed George Soros that the billionaire investor became the biggest financial backer for Mr. Nadelmann's advocacy. The Drug Policy Alliance has 45 staff members in seven offices nationwide working for legalization.

In the 25 years since Nancy Reagan advocated just saying no, Mr. Nadelmann has seen a progression through four public stages out of the five he believes are needed to achieve legalization.

Stage 1. Bill Clinton: I smoked but I did not inhale.

Stage 2. Al Gore: I smoked, it was wrong, I regret it, shame on me.

Stage 3. Michael Bloomberg ( asked if he'd tried pot ): "You bet I did and I enjoyed it."

Stage 4. Barack Obama: "I inhaled frequently - that was the point!"

Stage 5. Public Figure to Come: Yes, I smoke the occasional joint.

"We need to drop the 'd' from 'smoked,' " Mr. Nadelmann said, "and move from past to present."

For many reasons, the advocates are feeling hopeful. The Obama administration has reversed a Bush policy of prosecuting medical marijuana use, which is now legal in 13 states; a recent Field poll in California showed for the first time that a majority of registered voters in that state favors legalizing and taxing pot; Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has opposed legalization, now says he'd like to see a study done.




Pubdate: Wed, 20 May 2009
Source: State Journal-Register (IL)
Copyright: 2009 The State Journal-Register

PRESIDENT Barack Obama's request that Congress eliminate the disparity between sentences for crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses would abolish a clearly discriminatory law.

In general, the Obama administration seems to be taking a more fact-based and less ideological approach to drug enforcement, a welcome change from decades of elected officials upping the ante on sentencing to prove who's the toughest on crime at election time.

The result of that has been 500,000 people imprisoned in the United States for drug crimes, more than all of more-populated Western Europe combined for all other crimes, according to the Drug Policy Alliance Network, a critic of U.S. policy.

A rethinking of the war on drugs ( a term rejected last week by Obama's drug czar ) has been slowly occurring since the late 1990s, as many have questioned its efficacy at reducing drug use and the human cost of sending so many to prison.

EVEN SPRINGFIELD has been forward-thinking, with aldermen approving an ordinance in February allowing police the discretion of whether to charge those with less than 2.5 grams of marijuana with a crime or simply cite them for an ordinance violation.

The change, endorsed by Springfield Police Chief Ralph Caldwell after the department discovered it worked in similar Illinois cities, allows officers to spare those who have a few joints from the stain of a criminal record for a mistake that's been a rite of passage for millions of Americans.



COMMENTS: (9-12)

What happens when one country tries to crack down on illegal drug exports? According to the Christian Science Monitor, that country might experience increased domestic use. Elsewhere in the U.S., drug war corruption continues.


Pubdate: Sun, 17 May 2009
Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)
Copyright: 2009 The Christian Science Publishing Society
Author: Sara Miller Llana

Addiction Skyrockets As Drugs Bound The U.S. Circulate Within Mexico.

Mexico City - Gerardo Flores was 16 when he first was offered marijuana, and by the time he was 19 he had tried ecstasy, LSD, and cocaine. He had been arrested for stealing and expelled from school.

This is the new face of drug addiction in Mexico.

Today the country finds itself not just in a battle with drug traffickers vying for lucrative routes into the US, but with a domestic consumption problem that is ensnaring youngsters such as Mr. Flores. Fortified borders and a fracturing of drug cartels have led to a glut of drugs in Mexico, causing prices to drop and addiction rates to skyrocket. The number of addicts has grown in just six years by more than 50 percent, from 300,000 to 465,000, according to government statistics.

"There's been a big change in society; consumers are as young as 10 years old," says Lina Raquel Sotres, a social worker and head of a government-run recovery clinic in Mexico City. "All of the drugs that aren't accepted up north are consumed here. The drugs get used one way or another."

Mexico is the main transit point for drugs from South America: Roughly 90 percent of cocaine consumed in the United States goes first through Mexico, according to the U.S. State Department.




Pubdate: Tue, 19 May 2009
Source: Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale, IL)
Copyright: 2009 Southern Illinoisan
Author: Becky Malkovich

BENTON - Federal drug trafficking and weapons charges led to the Monday arrest of veteran Gallatin County Sheriff Raymond M. Martin, who is accused in a criminal complaint of dealing marijuana while on duty and in uniform.

Martin, sheriff since 1990, is charged with three counts of distribution of marijuana and two counts of carrying a firearm during and in relation to drug trafficking, according to the complaint filed in federal court in Benton.

The distribution charges allege Martin, 46, distributed a total of more than 1,000 grams of marijuana between April 27 and May 11, while the weapons charges allege he carried a stainless steel revolver during the drug sales.

Martin, who was arrested at his office in Shawneetown, became the target of investigators with Illinois State Police/Southern Illinois Drug Task Force and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in November 2008 when a person identified only as a confidential source reported being given two pounds of marijuana by Martin, who allegedly asked the source to "get rid of that," court documents said.

An alleged distribution deal would result in a 50-50 split of proceeds between the sheriff and the source, court documents allege.




Pubdate: Wed, 20 May 2009
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Paul Cherry, The Gazette

Could Face Decade In Prison: Following Admission, Trial Of Co-Accused Goes Ahead In Montreal Courthouse

A former customs agent is facing the possibility of a 10-year prison term after pleading guilty to taking part in a conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into Canada by recruiting another agent.

The guilty plea came just as Omar Riahi, 33, and four other people were set to begin their trial at the Montreal courthouse in a case related to Project Colisee, the joint police investigation into the Montreal Mafia and its associates.

Riahi worked briefly as a customs agent in 2004, but was employed as a military police officer in Halifax when he became a suspect in Project Colisee in August 2005.




Pubdate: Wed, 20 May 2009
Source: Mississauga News (CN ON)
Copyright: The Mississauga News 2009
Author: Louie Rosella

A Peel Regional Police officer facing drug-related charges will testify in his own defence this summer.

Cst. Sheldon Cook, 40, has pleaded not guilty to seven criminal offences, most of those in connection with a botched RCMP-controlled drug delivery on Nov. 16, 2005.

Cook appeared in court today, but the trial has essentially been adjourned until the week of Aug. 17 due to the availability of all parties involved in the case. Cook will testify for at least a few days in August.

Court recently heard that Cook never explained in a series of calls or meetings what happened on the night he's alleged to have stolen 15 bricks of a substance believed to have been cocaine.

Cst. Warren Williams said Cook told him the next day that he discovered the bricks in the trunk of his cruiser and had taken them home. He was going to take them back to the morality squad the next day.

"Mistakes happen. Then they get corrected," said Williams, who was with Cook when he and other officers found what they believed to be 102 bricks of suspected cocaine hidden in boxes of mangoes in a courier delivery truck.

The drugs turned out to be white flour, part of an RCMP-controlled delivery from Peru to Canada that went missing 12 hours earlier after arriving at Pearson International Airport.



COMMENTS: (13-16)

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a joint lawsuit by San Bernardino and San Diego counties that argued they did not need to comply with California's medicinal cannabis laws.

Nonetheless, Eddy Lepp has been sentenced to a federal mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison for cultivating over 1000 cannabis plants for medicinal purposes.

Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, or SAFER, is cultivating its campaign to equalize the penalties for consuming and possessing alcohol and cannabis on college campuses.

Vancouverites could not help but notice that the Olympic torch fashioned for the winter games in 2010 resembles a joint.


Pubdate: Tue, 19 May 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Contact: Author: David G. Savage, Reporting from Washington

Justices turn down appeals from San Diego and San Bernardino counties seeking to throw out the state's 13-year-old medical marijuana law.

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected appeals from two hold-out counties in Southern California that objected to the state's 13-year- old medical marijuana law and claimed it should be struck down as violating the federal drug control act.

Without comment, the court turned down the pair of appeals.

The action probably will clear the way for patients in San Diego and San Bernardino counties to seek county-issued identification cards that show they are eligible to possess and use marijuana.


Last year, a state appeals court upheld the California medical marijuana law and said it was not rendered void by the federal drug law. The California Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the two counties.

The counties then appealed to the Supreme Court.

Graham Boyd, director of the ACLU's Drug Reform Law Project, said Monday's order "marks a significant victory for medical marijuana patients and their advocates nationwide." It dispels any remaining doubts that the state laws are valid, he said, and it "leaves ample room for states to move forward . . . with independent medical marijuana policies."




Pubdate: Tue, 19 May 2009
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO -- A medical-marijuana advocate who grew 32,000 plants on his land in Lake County was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday by a federal judge who criticized the law she was applying.

"I think that amount of time is excessive, but it's not up to me," U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel said in sentencing Charles "Eddy" Lepp in a San Francisco courtroom crowded with his supporters.

Patel gave Lepp until July 6 to report to prison and said she would reconsider the sentence if Congress changed the law, which requires a 10-year term for growing at least 1,000 marijuana plants.

Lepp, 56, was arrested in 2004, after federal agents said they had found more than 32,000 marijuana plants in gardens near his home in Upper Lake, most of them in plain view of Highway 20.

He said the plants were all for patients who had a right to use marijuana with their doctors' approval under California law. Courts have ruled, however, that the state law does not bar federal prosecutions.




Pubdate: Sun, 17 May 2009
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2009 Record Searchlight
Author: Rick Callahan, Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS - Hey dude, can we talk?

Marijuana advocates who say pot is safer than alcohol want colleges to wade into a hazy debate over whether schools' tough pot penalties are actually worsening their drinking woes.

They argue that stiff punishments for being caught in a campus dorm with pot steer students to booze and add to binge drinking, drunken brawls and other booze-soaked troubles.

"You know, when you get high on marijuana you don't act violent - you just kind of sit there," said Mason Tvert, leader of a Denver-based group stoking the debate of pot vs. booze.

His group, Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, has helped students at 13 colleges pass measures calling on their schools to set pot penalties no worse than those faced by underage students caught drinking or other alcohol violations. So far, no schools have changed their pot penalties, he said.

SAFER calls its nonbinding referendum push the "Emerald Initiative," a play on the Amethyst Initiative more than 130 college presidents signed last year. The presidents want lawmakers to rethink the national drinking age of 21, arguing that current laws drive college drinking into the shadows and encourage binges.

The leader of the Amethyst Initiative, John McCardell Jr., president emeritus of Vermont's Middlebury College, says there's a big difference between the two debates.

"The fact is marijuana is prohibited across the board. It's not a matter of age discrimination, as where alcohol is concerned," he said.

Tvert argues the pot-vs.-booze question is still a valid debate.

"If they're willing to talk about letting 18-year-olds use a seriously harmful drug, why shouldn't we talk about whether they should be allowed to use a drug that's far less harmful?" he asked.



 (16) OLYMPIC TOKE?  ( Top )

Pubdate: Wed, 20 May 2009
Source: Metro (Vancouver, CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Metro Canada

2010 Torch Reminds Many Of Marijuana Joint

All hail - or inhale - the 2010 Olympic Torch.

Or, as it's jokingly known around Vancouver, the Olympic Toke.

Composed of stainless steel, aluminum and sheet moulding, the torch was designed to invoke snow, ice, skiing and skating, but to many, the metre-length white torch looks suspiciously like a marijuana joint, especially when lit.

That the torch bears a resemblance to Vancouver's biggest cash crop was evident right away to Jodie Emery, editor of Cannabis Culture magazine.

"A lot of people come to Vancouver because it's marijuana-friendly so I think people who already enjoy a joint themselves will feel a little more kinship to the Olympics," said Emery, who ran this month as a Green Party candidate in the provincial election.

"I'm sure the organizers didn't intend for it to look like a joint, but that's what a lot of people are seeing."

The association between toking and the Olympics didn't begin with the torch, of course.

At the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan, Whistler skier Ross Rebagliati won, then lost, the gold medal in snowboarding after testing positive for marijuana. The medal was returned after Rebagliati explained he had inhaled second-hand smoke.


COMMENTS: (17-20)

Drug tests to save the children? To prevent workplace accidents? To promote health and drug-free wholesome clean living? Oh sure: that's what they're for, of course. But the Guardian newspaper this week documents use of drug tests to circumvent government regulations which otherwise make employers give "redundancy payouts" to laid off employees. Since cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug, and "can remain detectable for several weeks after use," such "drug" tests are really a way for companies to save money by firing otherwise undetectable cannabis-users.

Impoverished drug mules may be given a break under new sentencing guidelines suggested a U.K. Sentencing Advisory Panel. "They are very often naive, vulnerable men and women from third world countries whose fates are totally disregarded by those at the top of the drug supply chain... Filling prisons with vulnerable women serving up to 15 years while their children starve abroad should become a thing of the past."

An editorial in the Nanaimo News Bulletin in Canada this week shed some light on C-15, a mandatory minimum drug bill, following in the footsteps of failed mandatory minimum laws in the U.S. While the Conservatives are keen to push through mandatory minimum drug laws (which make the prosecutor the real judge in drug cases) to fill up for-profit, private prisons, others are having second thoughts. Cowed Liberals "acknowledge in private" C-15's mandatory minimums are not "sound policy" - "Rather, the Liberals do not want to give the Conservatives an opening to accuse them of being 'soft' on crime. This is craven politics at its worst."

And finally this week, from NOW Magazine in Canada, a piece entitled "10 Reasons Why We Need To Decriminalize Drugs." Starting with "Drug laws are unconstitutional" (especially so in Canada), and ending up at, "The majority of Canadians oppose drug laws." Most "Canadians support the legalization of pot, according to an Angus Reid poll last year. More than 90 per cent believe it should be legal for medical purposes. The powers that be are messing with the will of the people."


Pubdate: Sun, 17 May 2009
Source: Guardian, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Guardian News and Media Limited
Author: Diane Taylor

Employers are increasingly using drug testing to get rid of staff without having to make redundancy payouts, as a way of -cutting costs during the recession, a charity has said.

Release, which focuses on drugs, the law and human rights, reported a four-fold increase in calls to its drugs team about problems with workplace testing in the first three months of 2009 compared with the same period last year.

In the first quarter of 2008, the team received 493 calls, with just 31 (6.2%) related to testing at work. In the first three months of this year, 548 calls were received with 145 (26.4%) about this issue.

In many cases callers have been getting in touch in a state of distress, having been tested for the first time after years in the same job.


Sacking employees who test positive for illicit drugs allows employers to avoid making redundancy payouts. Cannabis, which can remain detectable for several weeks after use, is the substance causing the biggest problems for employees.




Pubdate: Thu, 14 May 2009
Source: Guardian, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Guardian News and Media Limited
Author: Olga Heaven, The Guardian


It was heartening to read that prison sentences for "drug mules" - men and women who are used to carry drugs into the UK - could be reduced to less than two years (Long jail terms do not deter drug barons, say advisers, 23 April). As the Sentencing Advisory Panel members said: "They are very often naive, vulnerable men and women from third world countries whose fates are totally disregarded by those at the top of the drug supply chain."


Our experience, working for over 20 years with these women, sentenced for importation, shows that they are typically poor, badly educated single mothers who become drug mules out of desperation. The Sentencing Guidelines Council now recognises this.

Long deterrent sentences handed out in the UK to drug mules from abroad were always going to be ineffective, as the women were ignorant of the risk before leaving their homes. In addition, these women were often coerced and/or informed that, if caught, they would simply be deported.


Filling prisons with vulnerable women serving up to 15 years while their children starve abroad should become a thing of the past.



Pubdate: Thu, 21 May 2009
Source: Nanaimo News Bulletin (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009, BC Newspaper Group

After 35 years of experience with mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, Americans are beginning to abandon this discredited approach.

Yet Stephen Harper's Conservative government now wants to saddle Canadians with these expensive and ineffective laws.

Now before a Commons committee, Bill C-15 would impose a two-year mandatory minimum for dealing drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines in places where young people congregate. It would also impose a six-month jail sentence for growing even a single marijuana plant for the purpose of trafficking.

These minimum sentences may sound reasonable to most Canadians. Indeed, federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson told the Commons committee last month that the bill targets "serious drug traffickers, the people who are basically out to destroy our society."

But the committee also heard ample evidence that the mandatory minimums would fill our prisons with petty drug felons, creating an even greater backlog in our overwhelmed court system.

When questioned, Nicholson refused to provide two vital pieces of information: What evidence is there that this law will reduce crime? How much will it cost?

Of course, in a minority Parliament, the opposition parties could kill this initiative. But while the New Democrats and the Bloc Quebecois have voiced strong opposition to Bill C-15, the Liberals have indicated they will support it.

Why? Not because they think it is sound policy; they acknowledge in private that it is not.

Rather, the Liberals do not want to give the Conservatives an opening to accuse them of being "soft" on crime. This is craven politics at its worst.



Pubdate: Wed, 20 May 2009
Source: NOW Magazine (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 NOW Communications Inc.
Author: Enzo Di Matteo

1. Drug laws are unconstitutional.

Yeah, you're reading right. Courts at every level have ruled on the fact that drug use and addiction are health issues, not legal infractions. It's image-conscious politicians who have chosen to wilfully ignore those rulings. Yet the courts have been unwilling to hold lawmakers accountable. It's a vicious circle - a conspiracy even.

It's not clear how marijuana even got on the list of prohibited drugs back in 1923. It mysteriously appeared on the schedule without a debate in Parliament.


10. The majority of Canadians oppose drug laws.

Calls to end prohibition aren't just coming from weed advocates. The Globe and Ottawa Citizen called for the decriminalization of drugs more than a decade ago. The right-wing Fraser Institute has advocated legalization, calling the war on drugs a "complete failure." A majority of Canadians support the legalization of pot, according to an Angus Reid poll last year. More than 90 per cent believe it should be legal for medical purposes. The powers that be are messing with the will of the people.


 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


By Arianna Huffington

Is Obama really committed to a fundamental shift in America's approach to drug policy or is this about serving up a kinder, gentler drug war?


Former Congressman Says Drug War Lost



Century of Lies - 05/17/09 - Francisco Santos Calderon

Francisco Santos Calderon, Vice President of Colombia at the 39th Conference of the Americas, courtesy of Americas Society

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 05/20/09 - Ethan Nadelmann

Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Drug Policy Alliance + Afghan Army use of hashish estimated at 75% per Guardian report



Kathy Gyngell, author of a new Centre for Policy Studies report - 'The phoney war on drugs', is wrong to say we are losing the `war on drugs'; it is a rhetorical war that could never be won. And in (somewhat reluctant) defence of the UK Government, they have been distancing themselves from the terminology 'war on drugs' for some years, even the US is now moving away from the term. On that basis it is a somewhat strange rhetorical point to take issue with.


KUOW 'Weekday' is a Public Radio news show in Seattle, WA.


By Ioan Grillo / Mexico City,8599,1899404,00.html


No wonder all these beloved historical heroes never amounted to anything.




His number is 202-225-3265.



By Chris Conrad

Your editorial Friday against legal, regulated commerce in cannabis did not explain why you think consenting adults should be sent to prison for growing or selling marijuana in the first place. Instead, you blow smoke screens: federal tyranny, alcohol-related problems, fear of change.

This is your rationale for 2,500 or so Americans to be arrested each day, with many put through personal and financial devastation and locked away for years amid murderers, thugs and rapists. That is the status quo you promote.

I beg to differ. California writes its own laws, not the feds. Cannabis is safer than alcohol. Alcohol abuse may well go down when marijuana is legal for adults, reducing the very problems to which you referred.

As for facing change: Police focusing on violent and property crimes. New jobs and revenue throughout the state. Industrial hemp farmed to clean the environment and revive the economy. Responsible adults being left alone. Maybe even balanced reporting and analysis instead of drug war fever. We can handle that.

California needs to make this change, not fear it. Our state is better for having legalized medical marijuana. We can make it better yet by ending cannabis prohibition.

Chris Conrad El Cerrito

Pubdate: Tue, 12 May 2009
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)


Riding the Information Superhighway into the Oval Office  ( Top )

By Don E. Wirtshafter

This winter, President Obama and his staff encouraged the public to contact the White House with their ideas and to vote on those ideas at their website,

With help from the thousands of organizations and individuals that are supported by DrugSense, the top suggestions were about how cannabis legalization could help the economy, create jobs, address global warming, and meet the health care crisis.

DrugSense - the Internet home of the drug policy reform movement - had long been ready for the inevitable democratic approach to governing that has been pressing on Washington since the last election in 2004.

Almost one hundred thousand people, using the viral tools for advocacy and communication pioneered by DrugSense, practically took over the Oval Office and overwhelmed the usually cool Barack Obama.

The flustered President, when asked if legalizing cannabis could boost the economy, could only sputter "no, I don't think that is a good strategy . [laughter] . to grow our economy."

Donate Now! If you were as thrilled as I was that our issues were the top issues on the agenda set by the public, then please make a donation to DrugSense now. The national conversation about drug policy is changing, and DrugSense is the platform that most of the reform community uses for communication and advocacy.

If you were as outraged as I was that Barack Obama made a joke about the dynamic online engagement of drug policy reformers, then please make a donation to DrugSense now. Your contribution amplifies our voice throughout the nation, and enables activists to reach the news media and their political representatives quickly and effectively.

Help stop this war on our personal rights and freedoms.

Get involved. Write. Join. Donate.

Don E. Wirtshafter is the Chair of the Board, DrugSense


"Liberty is the only thing you can't have unless you give it to others." - William Allen White

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

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