This Just In
(1)366-Day Sentence For Dispensary Owner
(2)Pot Legalization Group Targets Vegas
(3)Web: Why We Must Reform Our Criminal Justice System
(4)Execs Earn Big Money at Drug Treatment Center

Hot Off The 'Net
-Hey Progressives: Why Don't You Care About The "Drug War"
-Why Not Two Days Instead Of 366? / Jacob Sullum
-Drug Truth Network
-Liberals Team With Conservatives To Pass A Nasty New Drug Law
-Smoked Cannabis' Effect On Lungs
-Nadelmann Vs Bennett On CNN
-A Drug War Truce? / Tim Dickinson

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Fri, 12 Jun 2009
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

A federal judge sentenced the owner of a Central California medical marijuana dispensary to a year and a day in prison Thursday, spurning the Obama administration's push to give the defendant five years imprisonment in a test case of new federal policies toward state pot laws.

Charles Lynch's case was the first to reach court after Attorney General Eric Holder announced in March that the administration would target only traffickers who violated both state and federal drug laws in California and 12 other states that allow the medical use of marijuana. The Justice Department said Lynch was properly convicted and shouldn't get leniency, despite his insistence that he complied with state law.

Lynch, former operator of Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers in Morro Bay ( San Luis Obispo County ), is the latest of several marijuana defendants to receive lighter-than-usual sentences for violating federal drug laws after arguing that they were complying with California's voter-approved medical marijuana law.

Federal courts have ruled that the 1996 state law, which allows patients to use the drug with their doctor's approval, is no defense to a charge of violating U.S. laws prohibiting marijuana possession, cultivation and distribution. But some federal judges have taken the state law into account in sentencing.




Pubdate: Fri, 12 Jun 2009
Source: Las Vegas Sun (NV)
Copyright: 2009 Las Vegas Sun, Inc
Author: Marshall Allen

Director Says Nevada Residents Are Pragmatic About Drug

The Marijuana Policy Project has set up its first state chapter in Las Vegas, launching another effort to get voters to legalize pot in Nevada.

The national nonprofit advocacy group is too late to qualify an initiative for the 2010 ballot, and would likely try for 2012, director Neil Levine said.

"Our goal is to see marijuana treated the same way as alcohol," Levine said.

Nevada voters twice since 2002 have rejected opportunities to legalize the use of marijuana, but in 2000, 65 percent of Nevadans approved a ballot initiative to allow the medical use of marijuana. The law authorized Nevadans to grow up to seven plants, only three mature, and possess an ounce for their own use.

The general ban on marijuana use, on the other hand, is "enormously failed public policy," Levine said. No one has died of a marijuana overdose, he said, and making the drug illegal puts its distribution in the hands of street gangs and drug traffickers, which increases crime.


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Pubdate: Thu, 11 Jun 2009
Source: Huffington Post (US Web)
Copyright: 2009 HuffingtonPost com, Inc.
Author: Jim Webb, Democratic U.S. Senator from Virginia

America's criminal justice system is broken.

How broken? The numbers are stark:

The United States has 5% of the world's population, yet possesses 25% of the world's prison population;

More than 2.38 million Americans are now in prison, and another 5 million remain on probation or parole. That amounts to 1 in every 31 adults in the United States is in prison, in jail, or on supervised release;

Incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1200% since 1980, up from 41,000 to 500,000 in 2008; and

60% of offenders are arrested for non-violent offensives--many driven by mental illness or drug addiction.

Numbers only tell part of the story.

While heavily focused on non-violent offenders, law enforcement has been distracted from pursuing the approximately one million gang members and drug cartels besieging our cities, often engaging in unprecedented levels of violence. Gangs in some areas commit 80% of the crimes and are heavily involved in drug distribution and other violent activities. This disturbing trend affects every community in the United States.




Pubdate: Thu, 11 Jun 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: Alan Zarembo

Salaries at a Tarzana Nonprofit Far Exceed Others in the Field.

In an industrial zone a few blocks off the 101 Freeway, the Tarzana Treatment Center relies on government contracts and nonprofit tax status to serve drug addicts in poverty or trouble with the law.

A clerk sits behind protective glass in the lobby. Down a hallway in the detox wing, down-and-out men are curled on their cots. The coat hooks in the rooms flip down so patients can't hang themselves.

It hardly seems like the headquarters of a $45-million-a-year business.

Tarzana dwarfs most other nonprofits in the same line of work. By far the largest user of public funds for drug treatment in Los Angeles County, it draws 85% of its money from taxpayers.

Its top executives have also made it a lucrative operation for themselves, with compensation and business arrangements that are highly unusual in the industry.

Chief operating officer Albert Senella earned $428,057 in 2007, soaring above the highest paid county employee -- the medical director of Harbor UCLA Medical Center, which has a budget 12 times Tarzana's. Chief executive Scott Taylor made $330,732 working 32 hours a week.





The Obama administration follows the classic drug war pattern at the border: same policy, just with more resources wasted. Tucked in the plans will be exemptions that allow more illegal shipments to be delivered as part of investigations ... surely such provisions will never be abused, right?

And, in another story we've heard again and again, illegal drugs are more dangerous thanks to prohibition.

While many in power still don't get it, more sane voices are being heard. An editorial in California rightly derides a plan to make politically incorrect cold medicines available only by prescription. And a citizen from Pennsylvania explains why the war on cannabis is absurd in a very personal way.


Pubdate: Sat, 06 Jun 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company
Author: Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post Staff Writer

Better Technology, Intelligence Stressed

The Obama administration released yesterday a counternarcotics strategy for the U.S.-Mexico border that calls for deploying new technology, stepping up intelligence gathering and increasing interdiction of ships, aircraft and vehicles that are smuggling drugs, gun and cash.

Among other things, the 65-page White House Office of National Drug Control Policy document says federal agencies should modernize airborne sensors and extend surveillance of boats "from the coast to beyond the horizon." It also calls for improving tracking devices that can be hidden in illegal shipments and, when necessary, allowing more banned items to move through smuggling networks to expose their leaders.

The report comes as President Obama has pledged to support and increase cooperation with Mexico President Felipe J. Calderon's crackdown on drug cartels by expanding the focus of U.S. efforts to contraband flowing in both directions between the two countries. The report emphasizes plugging gaps in U.S. intelligence about what goes undetected in the vast movement of goods between the two sides, and also stepping up investigative resources.

"The best way to partner with President Calderon and the Mexican authorities is for us to gain a deeper understanding of these trafficking operations," drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said, releasing the strategy in Albuquerque with U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.




Pubdate: Thu, 04 Jun 2009
Source: San Juan Journal (WA)
Copyright: 2009 San Juan Journal

San Juan County Health Officer Dr. Frank James has alerted the county's health care providers that at least three individuals have reported to local hospitals with a life-threatening illness likely caused by the use of cocaine contaminated with a drug generally used to treat animals.

According to James, the drug levamisole - now most often dispensed for use on animals - was previously used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and colon cancer in humans. He said the contamination of some cocaine has previously been reported across the United States, Canada and elsewhere, and that the drug is believed to be added to cocaine during production outside the United States.

People who snort, smoke, or inject crack or powder cocaine contaminated by levamisole can develop overwhelming, rapidly developing, and life-threatening infections, James said in a press release issued by the county's public information office. He reported that a patient with this condition in Seattle required hospitalization and treatment in intensive care.


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Pubdate: Mon, 8 Jun 2009
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2009 Record Searchlight

The typical doctor's office is busy enough without common-cold sufferers coming in for a prescription for cough medicine, but that's exactly what will happen if a bill that passed the state Senate last week becomes law.

Senate Bill 484, by Sen. Rod Wright, a Southern California Democrat, would stretch the reasonable limits on the sale of pseudoephedrine-based cold medicines to absurd lengths. In the name of stemming methamphetamine, which users and dealers cook up from medicines containing pseudoephedrine, SB 484 would require a doctor's prescription for the over-the-counter remedies, which many find the best way to clear up their runny noses.

If this were the best way to fight the plague of methamphetamine and the toxic labs where users distill it, we'd applaud the measure. But it's not.

Existing restrictions on the sale of pseudoephedrine, part of a 2006 federal law sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, have already worked extraordinarily well. That law, as anyone who's tried to buy Sudafed lately knows, requires buyers to go to a pharmacy counter, show a photo ID, and sign for the medicine, which is only sold in small quantities.




Pubdate: Mon, 8 Jun 2009
Source: Philadelphia Daily News (PA)
Copyright: 2009 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
Author: John Grant

SOME ARGUE, and I'm one of them, that we're entering a new progressive era like the one from 1900 to 1920 that followed the excesses of the robber barons and the Gilded Age.

That period saw the rise of a school of philosophy called Pragmatism. The point was to move beyond ideology and pure power, and look out the window to see how people actually lived their lives and to figure out practical ways to make it all work better.

Recently, I heard Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, give a speech at the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, an organization that works to make sense of the absurdities of our state's prison system.

Nadelmann, a pragmatist of the first order, ran down the problems with our failed drug war, especially the ridiculous prohibition of marijuana.


OK . . . I like to smoke pot now and then with friends.

To me, it's an innocuous substance, less dangerous than alcohol, but something that can be abused, especially by kids. If I smoke too much, I get slow and sluggish in the mind. If I'm high and try to read, I find myself reading the same paragraph six or seven times. It's impossible.

So I responsibly self-manage, and don't keep it in the house, lest I get the munchies late at night and gain 15 pounds. I do it sparingly and responsibly - and it's a positive in my life.



COMMENTS: (9-12)

An investigation of a drug bust gone bad in Florida shows the raid was compromised by leaks from the police department. Elsewhere, more corruption and injustice.


Pubdate: Wed, 10 Jun 2009
Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL)
Copyright: 2009 News-Journal Corporation
Author: Lyda Longa, Staff Writer

DAYTONA BEACH -- A drug raid at a house went awry after a Daytona Beach SWAT officer told a policewoman about an investigation at the targeted residence, and the policewoman told her girlfriend, an internal affairs report shows.

The house just happens to belong to the girlfriend's relatives, police said, and she warned them about the drug bust in advance.

As a result, when SWAT members and the Crime Suppression Team raided the property at 232 Walnut St. on Feb. 5, they found nothing, the report states. In addition, residents of the house told police they had been warned about the bust by someone linked to a Daytona Beach cop.

According to the internal affairs report, former SWAT member Ladislas Szabo, 43, started the ball rolling when he told fellow Officer Claudia Wright about a drug investigation at Walnut Street.

The house is one that Wright frequents often, according to the investigation, because of her girlfriend Carol Dew and her family.

Wright told Dew what Szabo said, and she told her relatives, police said.

Passing along the information to Dew and subsequently to the targets of the drug raid could have prompted a dangerous situation for SWAT and Crime Suppression Team members, Capt. Brian Skipper said.

In a memo to Deputy Chief Steve Beres on April 29, Skipper said that since the targets of the drug raid were warned, they could have prepared themselves to respond violently to the SWAT team.

Skipper said Szabo leaked information about the ongoing investigation, then lied about it when questioned by his superiors. The captain said Wright, meanwhile, gave information about an ongoing investigation to someone outside the department. Skipper also said Wright should have discussed her predicament with one of her supervisors, instead of going directly to Dew. Wright should have known that a criminal investigation was likely going to be compromised, the captain said.




Pubdate: Sun, 7 Jun 2009
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2009 Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division, Hearst Newspaper
Author: Dane Schiller

When South Houston police pulled over a gold Chevy Malibu for speeding on a summer afternoon in 2005, it marked the beginning of the end for at least 68 drug traffickers who over the next four years would be chased and charged with handling thousands of pounds of cocaine and millions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels.

>From that single traffic stop emerged a portrait of drug dealing and money laundering, murder and kidnapping, in which Houston was its central character -- the trampoline from which rampant chaos and criminality sprang, records show. It also helped unravel the secret lives of cartel workers who blended in as they went about the business of pumping drugs into the United States, and profits back into Mexico.

The driver became a government informant in exchange for leniency on unrelated criminal charges. His cooperation led to a major investigation in Houston, Operation Three Stars. The informant's identity remains a Drug Enforcement Administration secret, even as in late May five defendants from the last indictment in the investigation were sentenced to prison.

"It always comes back to the drugs," said an agent who was involved with the operation and spoke on the condition on anonymity. "That is the heartbeat of all this activity out there."

More than $5 million was seized as well as 3,000 pounds of cocaine during Three Stars, which resulted in nine federal indictments.

While the operation didn't snare any of Mexico's infamous drug cartel leaders, court documents and interviews with federal agents and lawyers indicate it dismantled five organizations.

The informant driving the Chevy Malibu tweaked DEA agents' interest with his insider's knowledge of a cartel-run bus line that shuttled cocaine and cash between Monterrey, Mexico and finally to Houston.




Pubdate: Sun, 7 Jun 2009
Source: Gwinnett Daily Post, The (GA)
Copyright: 2009 Post-Citizen Media Inc.
Author: Heather Hamacher, Staff Writer

Police Use Portion of Seized Funds to Combat Trafficking

LAWRENCEVILLE - In May 2008, Gwinnett police arrested 20-year-old Edgar Rodriguez-Alejandro at a Hamilton Road residence after responding to a kidnapping call.

Before the night was over, they had uncovered 12 kilograms of cocaine and nearly $8 million in cash from his residence next door.

Earlier this month, federal and local agents of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force seized 350 pounds of methamphetamine, a kilo of cocaine and an "undisclosed amount" of cash from two Duluth homes being used as "stash houses" by a Mexican crime syndicate.

U.S. officials believe metro Atlanta has become a major operational hub for Mexican drug cartels to distribute cocaine, marijuana and other drugs. Because of its location and proximity to major roadways, drugs can be brought into the metro area and quickly distributed to cities such as Miami, Detroit, Washington and New York.

If Gwinnett drug dealers contribute anything to society, ironically, it usually comes after they have been removed from society. That contribution comes in the form of seized drug money that helps provide law enforcement with the tools and training necessary to combat these traffickers.

"One benefit to being a drug hub is the forfeitures we receive," Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway said. "With budgets like they are, this enhances our ability to do what we need to do ... it keeps us in the latest technology."



 (12) Pubdate: Tue, 9 Jun 2009  ( Top )

Copyright: 2009 Naples Daily News Author: Liz Freeman


NAPLES -- The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a case of a Naples doctor convicted and sentenced last year for illegally dispensing pain medications.

The decision lets stand a conviction that a pain relief organization says harms the rights of doctors and patients alike and oversteps states' rights.

"It's a sad day for America because it puts pain doctors on such notice and legitimate pain patients will have a difficult time getting treatment," said Laura Cooper, general counsel for the Pain Relief Network, a national group that advocates for the rights of pain patients and doctors.



COMMENTS: (13-16)

Bleak economic realities continue to advance the case for cannabis legalization, especially in California.

Rhode Island is poised to become the second state to implement a medicinal cannabis dispensary licensing regime.

Los Angeles is reportedly finding itself overwhelmed with dispensaries and the task of managing the bureaucracy.

The Canadian parliament approved new sentencing legislation that would impose mandatory minimums on low level cannabis growers and suppliers. Hopefully the Senate will reject or stall bill C-15.


Pubdate: Thu, 11 Jun 2009
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writer

With polls showing the legalization of marijuana gaining public support, and a state budget crisis fueling an ever-more-desperate search for revenue, backers of the first major statewide initiative to legalize marijuana for personal use - and allow counties to tax and regulate the drug - say they're preparing to get the matter on the November 2010 ballot.

"We think the tides have turned," said Richard Lee, the executive director of Oaksterdam University, a major medical marijuana dispensary and advocacy group in Oakland, and a founder of, sponsor of the initiative.

He said polls showing voters' support for legalization and taxation of the drug, combined with the financial strains of a recession, mean that "this will be a landmark opportunity that will generate interest and funds nationwide." If successful, Lee said, the initiative will be viewed as a watershed - "a first step in changing federal law."

The initiative that Lee's group is preparing to circulate calls for legalization of small amounts of marijuana for personal possession by adults 21 and older, and allows cities and counties the option of regulating sales and cultivation. The legal amount would be 1 ounce for personal possession, with cultivation allowed in a space no larger than 5 feet by 5 feet.

The move comes as other legislative efforts to legalize marijuana are beginning to gain traction, including a special July election in Oakland to create a category for cannabis taxes, and hearings this fall on a bill by state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano to decriminalize the substance.

With California counties and cities facing huge cuts in critical programs because of the state's $24.3 billion budget deficit - supporters of efforts to legalize and tax marijuana have seized on a new and potentially potent financial argument to take a new look at the issue.




Pubdate: Wed, 10 Jun 2009
Source: Providence Journal, The (RI)
Copyright: 2009 The Providence Journal Company
Author: Cynthia Needham, for the Journal State House Bureau

PROVIDENCE -- Nearly a decade after patient advocates first pressed for full-scale legalization of marijuana for medical use, Rhode Island on Tuesday became only the second state to establish state-licensed dispensaries to sell the drug to the critically ill.

Senate lawmakers gave final approval to the House and Senate versions of the legislation, sending it to the governor's desk with enough votes to override a veto, if necessary.

Governor Carcieri, a longtime critic of medical marijuana, confirmed in a brief interview Tuesday that he will "do the same thing I've done with it in the past." A year ago he vetoed a compromise plan to study the concept, saying it would "move Rhode Island further down the path of weakening the laws governing -- and public perception of -- illicit drugs."

But Senate lawmakers approved the legislation in an easy 31-2 vote Tuesday, days after the House approved the same plans in a 63-5 vote. Both tallies are well beyond the three-fifths majority needed to override a veto.

Senate sponsor Rhoda Perry, D-Providence, predicts that if required, the Assembly will override a gubernatorial veto before the session ends later this month.




Pubdate: Wed, 10 Jun 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: John Hoeffel

The Number of Stores in the City Has Tripled, to Nearly 600, Since the City Council Imposed a Moratorium on New Outlets in 2007.

Stunned by the spread of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, the City Council moved Tuesday to close a loophole that had encouraged their rapid growth.

The council also rejected a dozen applications from dispensaries that sought permission to operate despite the city's moratorium and prepared to extend the ban for six months beyond its expiration in September.

And a council committee unveiled a revamped proposal for a comprehensive ordinance to replace the moratorium.

"We know that time is passing. We'll close the loopholes, plug these floodgates," said Councilman Ed Reyes, who leads the committee that oversees medical marijuana.

When the city adopted the moratorium in 2007, it allowed 186 dispensaries to stay open. Now there are 600 or more.

On Tuesday, council members labored for eight hours to reassert authority over a situation they said was out of control. The marathon session came months after city officials learned that dispensaries were violating the moratorium with impunity.

The moratorium included a provision that allowed dispensaries to file hardship exemption applications with the council. The city attorney's office had declined to take legal action to shut down any dispensaries with pending exemption requests. And the City Council had failed to act on them until Tuesday.

About 550 applications for exemptions have been filed.

The council voted to stop accepting applications, although it will be at least a week before that change takes effect.

The move was proposed by Councilman Jose Huizar, who complained that people were "putting up these fly-by-night operations knowing full well they could make a quick buck while they can operate under this loophole."




Pubdate: Tue, 9 Jun 2009
Source: Cord Weekly, The (CN ON Edu)
Copyright: 2009 The Cord Weekly
Author: Lauren Millet

Anyone charged with drug crimes will now have to serve a minimum sentence under the new Bill C-15

On June 8, the House of Commons passed a bill to institute mandatory minimum sentencing for marijuana and other drug crimes.

Bill C-15 seeks to impose mandatory minimum penalties for marijuana and other drug offences, including 6 months for 5 marijuana plants.

Marc Emery, the founder of the BC Marijuana Party and publisher of Cannabis, is currently facing extradition to the United States on charges of distribution of marijuana seeds.

Recently, Emery announced he intends to plead guilty to the charges in exchange for a reduced sentence, to be served in the United States.

"Stephen Harper hates the marijuana culture. First they went after me, now they're renewing their attack on the overall culture," said Emery in a press release from Cannabis Culture. "If marijuana people don't stand up against C-15, they'll find their freedom replaced with the bars of a jail cell."

The bill has been widely criticized by criminal justice experts, who point to the total failure of mandatory minimum sentencing in the United States to deter or reduce the amount of drug crimes occurring.


COMMENTS: (17-20)

An extended shootout near the Mexican resort town of Acapulco killed 18 people last week. The area is said to be in "a well-used route for smuggling [prohibited] drugs from South America."

Vicious drug gangs and kingpins (i.e., Mom and Pop with a few plants in the basement) caught in police dragnets and fishing expeditions under the Canadian C-15 mandatory minimum laws can expect a fully rigged jury should they take it to trial, as a widening Canadian police scandal involving the vetting of jurors leaks out onto the pages of at least a few newspapers in Canada. After mistrials were called Windsor and Barrie due to illegal screening of jurors by police (in some cases thousands of potential jurors were rejected to find 'just the right one') "a large number of convictions are now in doubt." Police and prosecutors rejected potential jurors because of "marijuana and other criminal charges (but not convictions), young offender records, provincial offence tickets, and people with conditional discharges or pardons for criminal offences." (This shows how promises to "seal" or "expunge" records are easily broken.) The widespread government practice of rigging juries in this manner "was not disclosed to the defence".

On the other side of the puddle over in Great Britain this week, police in London were embarrassed after revelations of waterboarding were splashed all over the UK press. Following an anonymous tip of cannabis dealing, London police hauled in a group of suspects and proceeded to torture them. After allegations of the police torture of cannabis suspects became known to the government, the "prosecutor applied for a public interest immunity certificate" to prevent the media (and public) from learning details of the police torture.


Pubdate: Mon, 8 Jun 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: Ken Ellingwood, Reporting from Mexico City

As if Mexican tourism needed more bad news, a weekend shootout left 18 gunmen and soldiers dead in Acapulco, the iconic if faded beach resort that has been working on a comeback in recent years.

The hours-long gunfight Saturday night took place in a seaside neighborhood of homes and cut-rate hotels that is mainly frequented by Mexicans and sits several miles from the main strip of tourist complexes.


The Acapulco area has seen scattered drug-related violence, though it is not a key battleground in the Mexican government's war against drug cartels. But coastal Guerrero state is a well-used route for smuggling illegal drugs from South America toward their main market in the United States and has been the scene of regular clashes between rival drug traffickers.



Pubdate: Wed, 10 Jun 2009
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 The Toronto Star
Author: Peter Small

Lawyers Demand Action As Mistrial Shows Practice Isn't Unique To Barrie

WINDSOR - A judge here has declared a mistrial in a murder case because the Crown had police do secret background checks on jurors - a development that has lawyers predicting a flood of defence challenges.

The ruling shows that the secret screening of potential jurors isn't confined to Barrie, which saw a recent mistrial and the dismissal of two jury panels last week.

Attorney General Chris Bentley said yesterday he still does not believe the practice is widespread.

But Greg Goulin, one of the defence counsel in the Windsor trial, predicted a rush of inquiries by members of the defence bar.

"There is no question that for every case under appeal, perhaps for every case where a jury sat, there's going to be probably letters going from the counsel that appeared in those cases to Crowns and prosecutors in those cases saying, 'Did you vet the jury in this case?'" he told reporters.


Peter Kormos, the provincial NDP justice critic, said that Bentley has not been straightforward about the extent to which "these highly inappropriate background checks have been taking place."

Kormos said Bentley has created a scenario where a large number of convictions are now in doubt.


Other jury candidates were cited as having criminal associates.

There were references to marijuana and other criminal charges (but not convictions), young offender records, provincial offence tickets, and people with conditional discharges or pardons for criminal offences.


The background information, obtained from Windsor police databases, was not disclosed to the defence and was used by prosecutors in rejecting prospective jurors, the judge found.


The whole process of police vetting juries attacks this principle, he told reporters. "It's frightening what they did."

It appears the practice has been going on in Barrie for at least four years.




Pubdate: Wed, 10 Jun 2009
Source: Times, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Times Newspapers Ltd
Author: Sean O'Neill

Metropolitan Police officers subjected suspects to waterboarding, according to allegations at the centre of a major anti-corruption inquiry, The Times has learnt.

The torture claims are part of a wide-ranging investigation which also includes accusations that officers fabricated evidence and stole suspects' property. It has already led to the abandonment of a drug trial and the suspension of several police officers.


Police said they found a large amount of cannabis and the suspects were charged with importation of a Class C drug.




Pubdate: Wed, 10 Jun 2009
Source: Times, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Times Newspapers Ltd
Author: Sean O'Neill, Crime Editor for the Times


The impression is more of a fortress than the friendly notion of neighbourhood policing that British forces are desperate to foster. This station is at the centre of one of the most sensitive corruption investigations the Metropolitan Police has faced for decades.

Allegations of evidence fabrication and theft of suspects' property developed into more serious claims that some individuals were subjected to violence and ill treatment amounting to torture. One claimant made an allegation of having been subjected to waterboarding.

The chain of events began last November when officers from Enfield carried out a series of raids. Addresses in Enfield and Tottenham were searched after a tip-off that people living there were involved in cannabis dealing.


The drug case appears to have been the catalyst for an inquiry into activities at Edmonton station by the Scotland Yard Directorate of Professional Standards, the Met's anti-corruption unit.


But the investigation had already taken a more dramatic turn and was examining disturbing claims that some officers had ill-treated suspects.

Information gleaned during the police's internal inquiry had chimed with claims made by some of the defendants in the cannabis inquiry.

At least one of those people had made an allegation of "waterboarding" at the time of the raid and arrests in November.

Senior officers have been horrified by the allegations. One source said: "This is as bad as it gets - these allegations are being treated with the utmost seriousness."


It was set for March 12 at Wood Green Crown Court, and opened with an extraordinary move from counsel for the Crown Prosecution Service. The prosecutor applied for a public interest immunity certificate, a legal device by which a hearing can be held in secrecy. The judge granted the application and the Crown then explained to the closed court why it was dropping the cannabis allegations.


To date, there have been no arrests and no charges.


 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


Like You Care About Other Issues?

By Ethan Nadelmann

If the 500,000 nonviolent drug offenders in jail had white faces, would society allow it?


By Jacob Sullum

As I predicted/hoped, U.S. District Judge George Wu used the "safety valve" for nonviolent, low-level drug offenders to avoid imposing the otherwise mandatory five-year sentence on Charlie Lynch, former operator of a medical marijuana dispensary in Morro Bay, California.


Century of Lies - 06/07/09 - Eugene Oscapella

Eugene Oscapella, Director of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy.

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 06/10/09 - Claudia Rubin

Claudia Rubin w/ RELEASE in the UK, regarding their campaign: "Nice People Take Drugs" + Dr. Joel Hochman's warning to parents & Julie Roberts of Drug Policy Alliance on forthcoming cannabis distribution in New Mexico


By Dana Larsen

On June 8, Canada's Parliament passed a new set of mandatory minimum penalties for a variety of marijuana and drug offences.


Does regular marijuana smoking cause COPD, Emphysema and/or Lung Cancer? In part 1, Donald Tashkin, MD examines risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.


Tonight's "Great Debate": Is the war on drugs a failure and would legalizing marijuana be a better solution? Former drug czar Bill Bennett and the head of the Drug Policy Alliance in a frank discussion about addiction, crime, and violence.


Obama's new drug czar says the administration won't legalize pot - but pressure for real reform is growing.

By Tim Dickinson



The Drug War Opinions In The Los Angeles Times. A DrugSense Focus Alert.


Accidental overdose took more lives last year than firearms, drownings and accidental falls combined. Ask your representative to cosponsor life-saving overdose prevention legislation.



By Gerald Clift

In Time magazine's March 13 issue, Alison Stateman notes "Pot is, after all, California's biggest cash crop, responsible for $14 billion a year in sales, dwarfing the state's second largest agricultural commodity -- milk and cream -- which brings in $7.3 billion a year, according to the most recent USDA statistics."

Economists Michael R. Caputo and Brian J. Ostrom explain in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology that "the total retail value of marijuana is virtually identical to potential tax revenue due to the low cost of production."

Under our prohibition of marijuana, an ounce can cost as little as $160 and as much as $800. However in Prague, where small amounts of marijuana are legal to possess, it is sold for only 85 cents an ounce.

Tobacco merchants in California similarly make as little as $1 an ounce and as much as $3 an ounce on legal tobacco, after sales tax. I visited a local tobacco shop in Vacaville where the most expensive tobacco was $4.76 per ounce. The clerk told me the store makes less than 50 percent of that price after taxes.

If we taxed an ounce of marijuana at 15,000 percent, we could take in tremendous revenue while consumers would still pay less than they're paying now under prohibition. Further, the merchants distributing marijuana would have a higher profit margin than merchants selling tobacco. A $1 ounce taxed at 15,000 percent would bring in $150 in tax revenue, and a $5 ounce at this tax would bring $750 in tax revenue.

The Associated Press reports that marijuana "is now the biggest source of income for Mexico's drug cartels," so the ones who would lose out are the drug cartels and dealers who sell to our kids. Prohibition created these drug dealers and, under current law, "teenagers say marijuana is easier to buy than cigarettes or beer," according to a study done by the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse. This is because drug dealers have no incentive to check identification, as respectable businesses would for legal marijuana and now do for alcohol and tobacco.

Some may contend that once pot is legalized, people would just grow it themselves and we would not increase revenue. Some people will grow their own, but look what happened with medical marijuana. Though patients can legally grow their own plants, they still go to co-ops for the convenience, and where prices are comparable to street prices. Just like tobacco and alcohol users, medical marijuana patients choose these dispensaries ( marijuana co-ops ) for convenience.

We have two choices: Either continue letting the drug cartels get rich off marijuana distribution to our neighbors and our kids while our schools and social services suffer budget cuts, or let the state get some much-needed revenue from people who are going to buy marijuana regardless of its legality.

The people of California have spoken in a Field Poll, saying 56 percent of Californians support legalization of marijuana. Now it's time for our legislators to do their job. Listen to the people and balance this state budget.

I urge everyone to contact their state legislators in support of taxation of marijuana. For complete citations, societal and health implications of marijuana legalization, and further analysis, visit

Gerald Clift Vacaville

Pubdate: Sat, 06 Jun 2009
Source: Reporter, The (Vacaville, CA)



By Jo-D Harrison and Richard Lake

As many of you know last year we lost prolific volunteer editors Elizabeth Wehrman and Derek Rea. The passing of Beth was recognized here and Derek here

Another previously prolific volunteer editor has cut back on his volunteer work for medical reasons.

The result is that over 95% of the articles posted during the last 15 days have been edited by Jay Bergstrom and Richard - a total of 435 articles. Both are struggling to keep up the pace.

In the last year Jo-D Harrison has extensively updated our editor training system. We desperately need more volunteer editors. We are both ready to assist any volunteers.

The work of being a volunteer editor is rewarding. The amount of work each volunteer does is completely under their control.

Please, if you or anybody you know would like to explore being a volunteer editor contact Jo-D at or Richard at

Thank You.

Richard Lake Is MAP's Senior Editor. Jo-D Harrison is the DrugSense Membership Coordinator and an Assistant Webmaster.


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