This Just In
(1)Mexico Allows Possession of Drugs for 'Personal Use'
(2)Marijuana Debate Brews at City Hall
(3)Column: Priority Test: Health Care or Prisons?
(4)Police Seize Medical Marijuana Plants

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-Hempfest '09: The Biggest And Best Of All Time / Allen St. Pierre
-Hempfest Is Huge, But Is It Good Politics? / Eric Sterling
-Mexico Decriminalises Personal Drug Possession

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Fri, 21 Aug 2009 Source: Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)
Copyright: 2009 The Spokesman-Review Author: Mark Stevenson,
Associated Press MEXICO CITY - Mexico enacted a controversial law
Thursday decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana,
cocaine, heroin and other drugs while encouraging free government
treatment for drug dependency.

The law sets out maximum "personal use" amounts for drugs, also including LSD and methamphetamine. People detained with those quantities will no longer face criminal prosecution when the law goes into effect today. Anyone caught with drug amounts under the personal- use limit will be encouraged to seek treatment, and for those caught a third time treatment is mandatory - although the law does not specify penalties for noncompliance.

Mexican authorities said the change just recognized the long-standing practice here of not prosecuting people caught with small amounts of drugs that they could reasonably claim were for personal use, while setting rules and limits. Under previous law, possession of any amount of drugs was punishable by stiff jail sentences, but there was leeway for addicts caught with smaller amounts. In practice, nobody was prosecuted and sentenced to jail for small-time possession, said Bernardo Espino del Castillo, the coordinator of state offices for the attorney general's office.




Pubdate: Thu, 20 Aug 2009
Source: News Review, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2009 Yorkton News Review
Author: Devin Wilger

Local Woman Charged With Possession and Production

The debate over the legalization of marijuana came to the steps of city hall last week. A group of marijuana activists came to protest in support of Linda Maddaford. The Yorkton resident was recently charged with possession and production of controlled substances after her home was searched by RCMP officers, and her plants and growing equipment were seized.

Maddaford argues that due to health problems, she should be allowed to grow her plants, and that marijuana helps with her pain. Maddaford is diagnosed with mechanical back pain, myofascial pain syndrome onset spondylosis, degenerative arthritis and a right rotary cuff disorder.

"It helps relieve headaches, and spasms and pain. A person ends up being scattered and lacking in focus when you live with pain, and it's not funny," says Maddaford.

"When you're allergic to codine and opiates and you can't take the pharmaceutical chemical prescriptions, it leaves me no alternative but to choose alternative medicine."

Maddaford was licensed to grow medical marijuana from June 21, 2005 until June 21, 2008. After the sudden retirement of her doctor, Dr. Larry Wine, Maddaford says that she has had difficulty renewing her license. Maddaford claims that she was not growing since 2008, with the exception of two plants which she states were the perfect strain for her needs.




Pubdate: Thu, 20 Aug 2009
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2009 The New York Times Company
Author: Nicholas D. Kristof

At a time when we Americans may abandon health care reform because it supposedly is "too expensive," how is it that we can afford to imprison people like Curtis Wilkerson?

Mr. Wilkerson is serving a life sentence in California -- for stealing a $2.50 pair of socks. As The Economist noted recently, he already had two offenses on his record (both for abetting robbery at age 19), and so the "three strikes" law resulted in a life sentence.

This is unjust, of course. But considering that California spends almost $49,000 annually per prison inmate, it's also an extraordinary waste of money.

Astonishingly, many politicians seem to think that we should lead the world in prisons, not in health care or education. The United States is anomalous among industrialized countries in the high proportion of people we incarcerate; likewise, we stand out in the high proportion of people who have no medical care -- and partly as a result, our health care outcomes such as life expectancy and infant mortality are unusually poor.




Pubdate: Thu, 20 Aug 2009
Source: Traverse City Record-Eagle (MI)
Copyright: 2009 The Traverse City Record-Eagle
Author: Art Bukowski

RAPID CITY -- Police swooped in and confiscated several marijuana plants from a man after a local weekly newspaper wrote about him growing marijuana for medical use.

The Grand Traverse County-based Northern Express on July 27 ran a story about Kalkaska County resident Archie Kiel and others who grow and use marijuana.

Kiel, who lives on the outskirts of Rapid City, is authorized to grow marijuana for himself and two patients under Michigan's recently approved medical marijuana laws.

But officers with the state police-led, multi-jurisdictional Traverse Narcotics Team arrived at Kiel's house last week and seized about half of his nearly 70 marijuana plants. Authorities told him photos in the Northern Express revealed he had more than he was authorized to grow, Kiel said.

Kiel, 48, is allowed to have 12 plants for himself and 12 more for each of his patients, he said. He contends the remaining plants were intended for patients who hadn't yet obtained medical paperwork to permit them to use marijuana, but were in the process of doing so.

"I was totally trying to stay legal in every way, shape and form ... I'm trying to stay legal and take care of my patients," he said.

TNT Commander Lt. Kip Belcher wouldn't comment. Kalkaska County Prosecutor Brian Donnelly said he and Belcher discussed seizing all of the plants, but weren't comfortable going that far.





Different places in America take new approaches to drug problems. In Washington state, the Drug Market Initiative is underway, while in Peoria, the new approach is less subtle. Also this week, a drug-testing company gets hit by the recession, and a vast majority of paper money in Canada is contaminated with cocaine.


Pubdate: Thu, 13 Aug 2009
Source: Stranger, The (Seattle, WA)
Copyright: 2009 The Stranger
Author: Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

The City Is Finally Looking at Alternatives to the War on Drugs

In a stunning move by the city, and an acknowledgment that we cannot arrest our way out of a drug problem, the Seattle Police Department, King County prosecutors, and the city attorney's office have announced plans for a program to get street dealing out of Seattle's neighborhoods.

The Drug Market Initiative (DMI), based on a program in High Point, North Carolina, aims to provide social services to low-level street dealers, instead of simply arresting and jailing them. The program will focus on the 23rd Avenue corridor in the Central District, home to several open-air drug markets.

On August 6, the city held its first intervention, inviting 18 street dealers-along with their families, community members, and nonprofit groups-to the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center in the Central District to talk about the impact their dealing has had on the neighborhood. Dealers were presented with evidence collected against them during buy busts and video surveillance over the last few months, and they were told they could either quit dealing or go to jail.

While police and neighbors say dealers were generally receptive to the program and offer of services, prosecutors could file charges against two of the participants later this week. Of the 18 dealers offered clemency through the DMI, one failed to show up to the intervention and another was busted for dealing the next day.

If the program goes well, the city says it will survey neighbors in the next three or four months and look at expanding it to other neighborhoods in Seattle affected by the drug trade.



Pubdate: Mon, 17 Aug 2009
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Carrie Porter

Cops Use Old Brink's Truck to Shame Suspects; Video Cameras Add to the Drama

PEORIA, Ill. -- This industrial city, hard hit by the recession, has found a new, low-budget way to fight crime: Park an unmanned, former Brink's truck bristling with video cameras in front of the dwellings of troublemakers.

Police here call it the Armadillo. They say it has restored quiet to some formerly rowdy streets. Neighbors' calls for help have dropped sharply. About half of the truck's targets have fled the neighborhood.

"The truck is meant to be obnoxious and to cause shame," says Peoria Police Chief Steven Settingsgaard.

Police got a call at 2:30 one morning from Mary Smith, a 58-year-old computer operator at a Butternut Bread Bakery. Fighting back tears, she asked for relief from her neighbors' incessant yelling.

She and her husband, Terry, 61, a Butternut baker, have lived in their home on North Wisconsin Avenue for 30 years, and have seen the neighborhood fall into drug trafficking. The police suggested using the Armadillo.

That weekend, the truck pulled up to the offending neighbor's house. A police officer knocked on the door and told the residents a nuisance report had been filed. Within 24 hours, the Smiths say, the house was quiet. The occupants moved out soon thereafter.

"The difference was like night and day," Mrs. Smith says. The landlord, Phil Schertz, credits the Armadillo.

"The ugliness of the Armadillo is what makes it unique," says Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police. "A police car is not a particular stigma, but if people see that thing in front of your house, they know something bad is going on in there."


Continues: :


Pubdate: Sat, 15 Aug 2009
Source: Charlotte Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2009 The Charlotte Observer
Author: Kirsten Valle

Globallab Solutions of Charlotte Is Handing Out Far Fewer Test Cups These Days, Thanks to the Hiring Drought.

As GlobalLab Solutions searched for a new office a few years ago, when the economy was thriving and jobs were easier to find, one of the big questions on owner Mike Sullivan's mind was whether the space had two bathrooms.

His company's waiting room was often full. Dozens of job candidates lined up for the plastic cups and quick instructions - don't flush and don't wash your hands - that come with pre-employment drug tests.

"When you opened the doors at 8:30, you'd have five or 10 people waiting," said Sullivan, who runs the nine-employee company with his wife. "And then, a steady flow all day long."

These days, it's more like a trickle.

Surging unemployment and little new hiring means emptier waiting rooms and lighter pockets for drug-testing companies like GlobalLab Solutions. When hiring picks up, Sullivan and his crew will be among the first to notice.

He says business has been in the toilet since October, and he's seen no recent signs of an uptick.

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell last month to 9.4 percent, but there are still a record number of people looking for work. The local jobless rate has been higher - 12.4 percent for the Charlotte area in June, the latest numbers available. New state and local figures are set to come out later this month.

At its peak a couple of years ago, GlobalLab Solutions ran 50 drug tests a day for more than 1,200 clients, from local businesses to national chains, such as Books-A-Million. Sullivan, a silver-haired former banker, spent his days collecting lab results, maintaining the company's records, manning the phones to answer clients' questions and scrambling to keep up with the rush of orders.

These days, Sullivan, 61, has shifted his focus, slashing the waste from his business and ramping up marketing. He spends more time chatting with the test-takers. He's learned how to perform tests and how to detect cheaters, who have become more frequent as job-hunters turn increasingly desperate. Some have offered bribes or smuggled in other people's urine samples in their pockets.




Pubdate: Tue, 18 Aug 2009
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Randy Boswell, Staff Writer

A team of U.S. scientists has conducted tests showing that 85 per cent of Canadian currency carries traces of cocaine -- a finding that puts this country's money on a virtual par with the U.S. for contamination by the powerful, powdery drug.

Researchers headed by University of Massachusetts chemist Yuegang Zuo, presenting their findings to the American Chemical Society convention in Washington, D.C., said the "alarming" results -- higher than those in a previous study conducted only for U.S. banknotes -- may reflect growing use of the narcotic in North America during an era of economic stress. The latest experiments involved screening of paper currency from the U.S. and -- for the first time -- four other countries: Canada, Brazil, China and Japan.

Of the 27 Canadian banknotes examined, 23 tested positive for cocaine, ranging from minute amounts to one bill containing more than 2,500 micrograms of the drug -- proof that the money was "used in a drug transaction or uptake" by a user, Zuo said. "Although most of the U.S. and Canadian banknotes were contaminated with cocaine," Zuo said in an e-mail, "the amounts are usually very low -- [except for] those directly involved in a drug deal or abuse. People should not have any health concerns about handling paper money," Zuo said.

The researchers found cocaine contamination in 80 per cent of Brazilian currency, 20 per cent of the banknotes from China and just 12 per cent of those from Japan.



Some good opeds were published this week, including one about the inability of beer to solve racial profiling problems, as well a piece in the Washington Post by two law enforcement veterans suggesting the end of drug prohibition. Also, more corruption alleged in Texas, while one North Carolina city is considering using drug dogs to sniff visitors at public parks.


Pubdate: Sat, 15 Aug 2009
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2009 San Jose Mercury News
Authors: Walter Wilson and Michelle Alexander

Now that the men have drunk their beers and the media frenzy has subsided regarding whether Officer James Crowley was a racist or a good cop, and whether Professor Henry Louis Gates was out of line with his fury or perfectly justified, and whether President Barack Obama handled the whole ordeal well or stupidly, particularly when he suggested Crowley behaved stupidly -- now that all of that seems to be settled (or at least has quieted down), there are a few matters that remain unresolved.

A little more than a decade ago, the same incident would not have made national news. The media wasn't particularly interested in stories of racial profiling, believing those who complained of unfair treatment must have done something to deserve their fate. But if the media had covered the Gates story back then, and if President Bill Clinton had weighed in, what would have provoked shock and outrage was the president of the United States saying, "What I think we know, separate and apart from this incident, is that there's a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That's just a fact."

That comment would have caused a national firestorm because it would have occurred before civil rights organizations had managed to prove with truckloads of data and thousands of personal stories that racial profiling is a fact of life for countless black and brown people in the United States.

One might imagine that widespread acceptance of racial profiling as "a fact" is progress. But imagine if Gates were young, black, and poor and living in San Jose. Would he be better off today than he was a decade ago? The San Jose Police Department arrests more African Americans and Latinos per capita than any other city in California. Many of those arrests are "drunk in public" first-time arrests, which are ultimately dismissed. "Arrested and dismissed" sounds like no harm, no foul, right? Wrong. A mere arrest can result in the denial of employment for jobs like firefighter in some cities in Santa Clara County. And arrests can -- and often do -- result in the denial of public housing. An arrest (even if the charges are dropped) equals a record -- a life-changing event for young black men in cities across America.

Because of his race, the young Gates would be more likely to be stopped and searched in the months after his arrest. And if he is like most teenagers today -- of any race -- there is a decent chance that one day he'll have some marijuana, alcohol or other contraband. Police, prosecutors and judges would likely view him as a "repeat offender" -- a black kid with a record -- and in the blink of an eye, he is a felon. Suddenly, he may be denied the right to vote in many states and legally discriminated against in employment, housing, education, public benefits and jury service. He would be relegated to a permanent second-class citizenship.




Pubdate: Fri, 14 Aug 2009
Source: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (TX)
Copyright: 2009 The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
Author: Joshua Hull

Suspended Hockley County Sheriff David Kinney said he was caught off- guard after a civil case to have him permanently removed from office was filed Thursday and denied any wrongdoing.

A Lubbock judge temporarily removed Kinney from office without pay after Hockley County Attorney Christopher Dennis filed a lawsuit against him.

The suit accuses Kinney of incompetence due to the arrest of two of his deputies on charges of drug trafficking and other abuses of power.

I totally deny any of these charges," Kinney told The Avalanche- Journal in a phone interview this morning. "They're not really charges, they're allegations."

Kinney has served as sheriff since January 2005, and was re-elected in November for a second four-year term. He has been employed by the department in some capacity for more than 20 years, according to court filings.

A restraining order filed with the suspension restricted Kinney from accessing property or talking with anyone that could be involved in the case.

Kinney is in the process of hiring an attorney, he said, so he can challenge the order at an Aug. 24 hearing to determine whether or not the injunction is necessary.

Hopefully I can get these things straightened out by then," he said. "I thought we had a free country here but they've locked me down to where I can't talk to anybody."

Transcripts of phone conversations gathered in the federal investigation of former Hockley County deputies Gordon Bohannon and Jose Quintanilla, both accused of participating in a major meth ring, were used to gather evidence for the civil case with cooperation from the U.S. Attorney's office, Dennis said.

Kinney said those tapes, which court documents say detail his involvement in the illegal arrest of a federal informant, provide no basis for the petition filed against him.

I didn't do anything," he said. "I hope they play every one of those tapes."




Pubdate: Sun, 16 Aug 2009
Source: Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
Copyright: 2009 Asheville Citizen-Times
Author: Mike McWilliams

Mumpower Calls for Public Canine Patrol

In an effort to address what he calls an active downtown drug market, a city councilman wants police to use a drug dog to patrol public places.

Carl Mumpower raised the issue at last week's City Council meeting, but it was deferred to the council's Public Safety Committee for discussion. It's far from going before the council for a vote, but some question the constitutionality of such a practice.

"I want to do anything we can to address the active drug market in our downtown," Mumpower said, adding that Pritchard Park is a notorious spot for drug activity. "Downtown is a drug-free zone, but we've got too many people that are dealing and/or using drugs in public spaces downtown and I don't like it. I think it's harmful to let that go on."

Instead of using a typical police dog, like a German shepherd or Belgian Malinois, Mumpower suggests a more "user friendly" breed like a beagle that would alert for drugs, but not be a menacing presence. Mumpower said he wasn't aware of any other cities that have used drug dogs to patrol parks, but has seen dogs in use at airports.

Besides Pritchard Park, which has a park warden, Mumpower said he would also like to see a dog patrol Pack Square Park when it opens. Drug arrest data at Pritchard Park was not immediately available.

"I think we need to be thinking ahead to that large, active space and being proactive about it," Mumpower said. "That has the potential to be an incubator for crime if we don't get serious about it quickly. That should be a place of safety and fun, not misbehavior."

Asheville police spokeswoman Melissa Williams said she had not seen a proposal on the matter and declined to comment on its feasibility. The Police Department has five police dog teams, which do more than narcotics detection. The dogs, among other duties, are also used to search buildings, track suspects and protect officers.




Pubdate: Mon, 17 Aug 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company
Authors: Peter Moskos, and Stanford "Neill" Franklin

Undercover Baltimore police officer Dante Arthur was doing what he does well, arresting drug dealers, when he approached a group in January. What he didn't know was that one of suspects knew from a previous arrest that Arthur was police. Arthur was shot twice in the face. In the gunfight that ensued, Arthur's partner returned fire and shot one of the suspects, three of whom were later arrested.

In many ways, Dante Arthur was lucky. He lived. Nationwide, a police officer dies on duty nearly every other day. Too often a flag-draped casket is followed by miles of flashing red and blue lights. Even more officers are shot and wounded, too many fighting the war on drugs. The prohibition on drugs leads to unregulated, and often violent, public drug dealing. Perhaps counterintuitively, better police training and bigger guns are not the answer.

When it makes sense to deal drugs in public, a neighborhood becomes home to drug violence. For a low-level drug dealer, working the street means more money and fewer economic risks. If police come, and they will, some young kid will be left holding the bag while the dealer walks around the block. But if the dealer sells inside, one raid, by either police or robbers, can put him out of business for good. Only those virtually immune from arrests (much less imprisonment) -- college students, the wealthy and those who never buy or sell from strangers -- can deal indoors.

Six years ago one of us wrote a column on this page, "Victims of the War on Drugs." It discussed violence, poor community relations, overly aggressive policing and riots. It failed to mention one important harm: the drug war's clear and present danger toward men and women in blue.




Those who weren't at Woodstock took a moment to remember the festival of forty years ago, and one journalist who inadvertently got stuck in the traffic jam pondered how the event might be remembered today if the cannabis consumers who attended had instead been drinking.

Cannabis enthusiasts provided another display of how civilized they can be at the Seattle Hempfest.

Many seem shocked that two off-duty cops caught hot-boxing in a van in Las Vegas were otherwise decent people, good neighbours and exemplary police officers.

The students of a cannabis consuming teacher, whose career came to an end after the police released unverified allegations that he was contributing to their delinquency, came to his defense.


Pubdate: Sun, 16 Aug 2009
Source: Morning Call (Allentown, PA)
Copyright: 2009 The Morning Call Inc.
Author: Paul Carpenter

Except for a trip out West two months earlier, the Volkswagen (not the Beetle, one of those miniature station wagon things) was brand new, so the Catskills seemed like a good destination for a weekend outing.

It was a time of upheaval for the nation and for me. After nearly nine years in the military, I took my discharge in 1965, partly because of my inability to embrace the proper gung-ho attitudes about Vietnam.

Four years later, I still was struggling to transform myself from the world of technology, clarity and regimentation to the slapdash, irrepressible world of journalism. I had landed my first job at a daily newspaper, in Towanda, Bradford County, which was less than three hours in a VW from the scene of another upheaval -- the Woodstock festival near Monticello, N.Y.

My wife, our three little kids and I did not know about that bash until we were in one of the world's worst traffic jams. Hundreds of cars and trucks were at a dead stop for miles and miles, with no way to escape.

Horrible car crash? Some other disaster? No, said a state trooper, everybody's trying to get into a music festival out in the middle of nowhere, just over those hills.

That sounds like loads of fun, so how long before we can get in?

We never did get in, which probably was a good thing, because I later learned it might not have been the best place for children under 10. But there was quite a party, right there on the jammed highway.


One of the main lessons we should take from this 40-year-old event is that some illegal drugs, especially marijuana, should not be illegal. Think about it this way:

Suppose you found a way to assemble thousands and thousands of people at a festival out in the boonies, and heavy rain turned it into a mud bath. The crowd is far bigger than anticipated, so you run out of food, water and toilet paper. Security breaks down and people with tickets see people without tickets being admitted.

Now suppose that instead of pot, the drug of choice at this festival is booze. How long would it be before it turned into a brutal free- for-all of disastrous proportions?




Pubdate: Sat, 15 Aug 2009
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Copyright: 2009 The Seattle Times Company
Author: Phillip Lucas, Seattle Times staff reporter
Cited: Seattle Hempfest

Seattle Hempfest, the annual two-day festival that's equal parts party and protest against marijuana laws, is set to take over three waterfront parks this weekend to highlight an issue some lawmakers are planning again to pursue in 2010.

Bills were introduced in both chambers of the state Legislature in 2009 calling for possession charges for adults caught with less than 40 grams of marijuana -- nearly 1.5 ounces -- to be reclassified from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction. Instead of serving one-day mandatory minimum sentences in jail, offenders would be able to pay a $100 fine and not have to appear in court.

Legal penalties for users younger than 18 would still be those for a misdemeanor under the proposal.

The bill cleared the state Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support, but the proposal never got a hearing in the state House of Representatives.

Marijuana advocacy groups and some state legislators say politics may have kept the issue from moving forward last year.

"Many legislators have been concerned that their support would come back to haunt them in their re-election campaigns," said Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, one of the bill's original sponsors.

Kohl-Welles and other legislators anticipate presenting the proposal again in 2010, saying voters likely are already in favor of marijuana- policy reform in Washington.

"The people are ahead of the politicians," said Rep. Brendan Williams, D-Olympia, who co-sponsored the House's version of the bill. "But, unfortunately, the politicians aren't even giving them the chance to talk about this issue."


Vivian McPeak, Seattle Hempfest's organizer, said punishing people with 40 grams or less doesn't affect dealers and has little effect on the number of people who use the drug overall.

"If someone has 40 grams of pot in one bag, they're probably a casual user," McPeak said.

The possibility of decriminalizing possession doesn't sit well with addiction therapists and anti-drug organizations, who argue decriminalization could cause people to overlook harmful aspects of marijuana use, related risks of addiction and the possibility that the use of harder drugs could increase.




Pubdate: Wed, 19 Aug 2009
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2009 The Honolulu Advertiser
Author: Mary Vorsino

Marijuana Charges, Police Chase in Vegas Get National Attention

Those who know the two Honolulu police officers arrested in Las Vegas last weekend on marijuana charges expressed shock yesterday at the news, while the head of the police union called the incident a "black eye" for the department and the state.

The story has made headlines around the country and has been a hot topic on Internet blog sites.

HPD officials have said officers Kevin Fujioka and Shayne Souza could be suspended or fired if the allegations are true.

The veteran HPD officers were arrested Saturday night in Las Vegas on marijuana charges, after allegedly leading police on a short chase in a van and by foot. Souza, a 20-year-old veteran of the Honolulu Police Department, was pepper-sprayed during the incident because he resisted arrest, police said. Fujioka has been with HPD for 13 years. Scott Wilson, a social worker from Honolulu, was also arrested.

Neither of the officers has returned to work, and officials could not say yesterday when they will.

"As far as their status when they return, it's being discussed at this time," HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu said.

The three are members of the "Honolulu's Finest" men's softball team, which is made up of police officers, firefighters and some friends and family members. On Saturday night, the team won the men's softball tournament at the 2009 Nevada Police & Fire Games at Desert Breeze Park, about six miles from the Las Vegas Strip.

That night at the park, the three were arrested, officials said. Las Vegas police approached the men about 7:45 p.m. as they were in a white van parked across two spots. As officers neared, the van drove off. Then the van stopped, and Souza and Fujioka got out and allegedly briefly ran from police.

"It's a little bit shocking," said Johnette Aipa, who has known Souza and his family for about 20 years.

She added, "All I can say is they're good neighbors."

Others from the Kapolei cul-de-sac where Souza lives also expressed shock.

"He's a good guy," said Jovencio Castro Jr., who lives two doors down from Souza.




Pubdate: Tue, 11 Aug 2009
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Copyright: 2009 Journal Sentinel Inc.
Author: Jim Stingl

The smoke is clearing from the stampede of reaction I got after Sunday's column about the marijuana-puffing Wauwatosa East High School math teacher who lost his job.

Roger Payne got a raw deal, I wrote, because lurid allegations about drug dealing, cocaine, parties for underage kids, and child porn were widely reported but never charged in court. In the end, Payne got 15 days in jail and probation for being a pot smoker and filing a false police report, but his 25-year career was ruined.

Here's what some readers had to say, starting with the negative reactions:

"In my opinion, this guy got off easy. He has been breaking the law for over 20 years and finally got caught," said Todd Thelen.

"'Mildly illegal.' That's a good one," Walter Strahota said, quoting my words about pot. "Is that like being sort of pregnant? He's a bad role model for kids and got about what he deserved, in my opinion."


Several of Payne's former students and others came to his defense.

Portia Turner called him the best math teacher she ever had, adding, "I think that it is really sad that Mr. Payne may not find a job because of the lies that someone decided to tell. None of Mr. Payne's students, myself included, care that he smoked pot. It never affected his teaching."

"I graduated from East a few years ago, and I can add my name to the long list of students who can attest to Mr. Payne's superiority as a teacher. I only took a few classes in high school that I still remember as academically rigorous and fascinating, and his was one," said Anna Joranger.




Results from the North American Opiate Medication Initiative in Canada are in, any they show heroin is more effective than methadone, leading to higher rates of recovery. Study results were published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine. The NAOMI study next looks at drug substitution, specifically, whether or not addicts can distinguish between heroin and hydromorphone.

In the U.K., police in Brighton have (on the basis of a single rumor) decided that cannabis laced with heroin is "heading to Brighton streets." According to the Argus newspaper, police became convinced the expensively tainted pot existed after "secret off-the-record discussions between police and a supplier in London." No actual samples of heroin-laced cannabis have been found by police.

In the U.K. last week, government drug advisors (their advice is always followed when recommending increases in punishments) recommended a new legal high known as "spice" be banned. The recommendation was made after it was determined that the substance (synthetic cannabis) was indeed effective, yet "found to cause paranoia and panic attacks." Government is "determined to crack down on those so-called 'legal highs' that pose a significant health risk," according to a Home Office spokesman.

And finally, we leave you with a piece by Joseph Quesnel in the Canadian Winnipeg Sun newspaper. Canada's drug prohibition laws are causing problems by handing a lucrative market to violent gangs. Moreover, arresting "key decision-makers from the gangs", says Quesnel, (as police announced in Winnipeg) will only intensify turf wars over lucrative drug markets. "It is politically incorrect but accurate to say drug prohibition laws contribute to the profitability of crime... demand will always exist for drugs and because they are illegal, they are highly profitable... The most logical answer is to move towards drug decriminalization or legalization."


Pubdate: Thu, 20 Aug 2009
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Tiffany Crawford, Canwest News Service

More Effective Than Methadone. 251 Montreal, Vancouver Drug Users Monitored

A Canadian study that found giving heroin to hard-core drug addicts at a supervised clinic leads to a higher rate of recovery than giving them methadone was published yesterday in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

The study, titled North American Opiate Medication Initiative, studied whether heroin-assisted therapy benefits people who suffer from opiate addictions. The study was released in October 2008, but was not published until yesterday.

The NAOMI report concluded that injecting addicts with diacetylmorphine, the active ingredient in heroin, was more effective than oral methadone.


The study found that those on the diacetylmorphine had an 88-per-cent better chance of kicking the habit, compared with 54 per cent in the methadone group. Further, the reduction in rates of illicit-drug use or other illegal activity was 67 per cent in the diacetylmorphine group and nearly 48 per cent in the methadone group.




Pubdate: Thu, 13 Aug 2009
Source: Argus, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Newsquest Media Group
Author: Naomi Loomes

Dealers are lacing cannabis with highly addictive heroin to get users hooked on the deadly drug.

Secret off-the-record discussions between police and a supplier in London have revealed how recreational drug users are being tricked into becoming addicted to Class A drugs.

Officers fear it could lead to a surge in addicts in Brighton and Hove, which is already known as the drug death capital of England.

They believe cannabis users are becoming accidentally dragged into heroin use.

It follows the discovery that potent, paranoia-inducing cannabis, known as skunk, was being sold in large quantities in Brighton and Hove last year.

Detective Sergeant Hari McCarthy, of Sussex Police, said: "People buy it thinking it's just very strong weed."

"It's not being sold as skunk, just good weed, but it's an easy way to get users hooked on heroin."




Pubdate: Wed, 12 Aug 2009
Source: Daily Telegraph (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Telegraph Group Limited
Author: Tom Whitehead

A legal "high" known as Spice that is stronger than cannabis is to be banned after advice from the Government's drug advisers.

The herbal mix mimics the effect of cannabis and pouches are widely sold on the internet and in so-called "head shops" for around UKP20.

But the Home Office is now set to act after the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said it should be banned.


Spice is sold under brands such as Spice Silver, Spice Gold, Spice Diamond and Spice Yucatan Fire - prices are similar to cannabis.


"These are not harmless herbal alternatives and have been found to cause paranoia and panic attacks."

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are determined to crack down on those so-called 'legal highs' that pose a significant health risk. "



Pubdate: Sat, 15 Aug 2009
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2009 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Joseph Quesnel

Escalating gang violence in Winnipeg is claiming more lives and police are not even putting a dent into the problem.

Police and policy makers need to wake up to the reality of what is driving gang crime and deal with those causes.


Much of the recent violence has been attributed to violent rivalries between the Indian Posse and other gangs that are turning the North End into a war zone.

Turf Wars


I hope Chaput is correct, but I believe police activity will only temporarily hold off these turf wars. After the lull in activity, more gang crimes will continue and other innocent law-abiding victims will be brutalized.


It is politically incorrect but accurate to say drug prohibition laws contribute to the profitability of crime. For someone growing up in the North End, engaging in drug solicitation is a "get-rich-quick" scheme out there.

The problem is always that no matter how many gang leaders or decision-makers you take out, one will emerge to take his place. The simple reason is that demand will always exist for drugs and because they are illegal, they are highly profitable.

In other words, we have to remove the high profit that comes from this drug trade. The most logical answer is to move towards drug decriminalization or legalization.


While decriminalization or legalization will not stop gangs entirely as they will shift to other illegal activities, such as auto theft and fraud, removing the profits associated with illegal drugs will substantially reduce the gains associated with engaging in this activity.



 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


Here is a book project called The Cannabis Papers: a citizen's guide to cannabinoids. It is written by "Publius" - a penname once used by the founders and redrafted by the folks at Illinois NORML. The book's essays will be released first online and then published together later this year.


Marc gives a passionate, funny and informative speech to the Vancouver faithful. Go to for more details about his tour and the upcoming Worldwide Rally for The Prince of Pot protest September 19.


Marijuana Is Safer, But Students Are Pushed to More Dangerous Booze

By Paul Armentano and Steve Fox and Mason Tvert

The stats for death and injury tied to alcohol on campus are staggering, yet students are more harshly punished for pot -- which is far more benign.


By Paul Armentano and Steve Fox

The authors of a new book on misconceptions about marijuana respond to the torrent of comments on an excerpt published on AlterNet.


Background Studies in Europe have suggested that injectable diacetylmorphine, the active ingredient in heroin, can be an effective adjunctive treatment for chronic, relapsing opioid dependence.


Former Baltimore cops Neill Franklin and Peter Moskos say we should legalize drugs to prevent police officers from dying in the line of fire of the senseless "war on drugs."


By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director


By Eric Sterling


On Thursday Mexico finally enacted legislation to decriminalize personal possession of small quantities of all drugs.



Help support us and fellow reformers by placing one or more of these way-kewl banners on your site:


Psychedelic Perspectives on a Sustainable Future

Date: Sunday, August 23rd, 2009. Location: Cafe Mare @ 740 Front Street # 100 Santa Cruz, CA. Time: 9 PM to Close



By Kim Storm

Regarding Tuesday's editorial "Drug cartels put Mexico, U.S. at risk," it's not the drug cartels that have taken away our basic human right to sovereignty over our own bodies.

No drug cartel has ever tried to dictate the lifestyles of private citizens or declared war against those who don't comply. The drug cartels aren't the ones that have taken away Americans' rights to privacy, due process and equal protection of the law.

In fact, no honest discussion of human rights can, or should, take place without including the biggest, most powerful violator of human rights - our own government.

American drug warriors destroy millions of lives, contribute to the destruction of the rain forest and help destabilize governments all around the world.

Pubdate: Thu, 13 Aug 2009
Source: Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ)


The Case For Medical Marijuana  ( Top )

By Bruce Mirken

In a piece published [1]here last week, Rachel Ehrenfeld reports with dismay that the National Institute on Drug Abuse is presently soliciting proposals from contractors to grow marijuana for research and other purposes. Unfortunately, Ehrenfeld's misunderstanding of this request for proposals is so monumental that one doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Ehrenfeld suggests that this is some sinister part of "ObamaCare." "For the first time," she writes, "the government is soliciting organizations that can grow marijuana on a 'large scale,' with the capability to 'prepare marijuana cigarettes and related products ... distribute marijuana, marijuana cigarettes and cannabinoids, and other related products' not only for research, but also for 'other government programs.'"

Ehrenfeld spends several paragraphs explaining how this is all the evil brainchild of George Soros, the pet villain of prohibitionists. After all, "Since when is the U.S. government in the business of distributing marijuana cigarettes?"

Since 1978, actually. The federal government has been distributing medical marijuana to a small group of patients for more than [2]three decades via a program known as an IND (for "investigational new drug"). This program has been covered in the media from [3]time to time, and still exists, although it was closed to new enrolment by President George H.W. Bush in 1992. It's not exactly a state secret.

In addition, under present (thoroughly dysfunctional) rules, scientists doing clinical research on marijuana must obtain the marijuana for testing [4]from NIDA. Since the 1970s, the government has contracted with the University of Mississippi to produce marijuana for this purpose, and all expectations are that the university will get the contract again. In other words, there is nothing new here.

Having completely misconstrued NIDA's request for proposals as something new and sinister, Ehrenfeld proceeds with a selective, wildly distorted description of research on medical marijuana, claiming, "The evidence about the harm caused by marijuana to the individual user and society is overwhelming."

In fact, there is a wealth of research that documents marijuana's medical [5]efficacy and safety, and a vast array of medical and public health organizations that have recognized marijuana's [6]medical potential.

For the record, let's consider a bit of what's been said about medical marijuana by organizations that are presumably not part of the Evil Soros Conspiracy. Bear in mind that this is just a tiny sampling of the material that's available from respected medical organizations.

From the 124,000-member [7]American College of Physicians:

"Given marijuana's proven efficacy at treating certain symptoms and its relatively low toxicity, reclassification [out of Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act] would reduce barriers to research and increase availability of cannabinoid drugs to patients who have failed to respond to other treatments. ...

"Evidence not only supports the use of medical marijuana in certain conditions but also suggests numerous indications for cannabinoids."

From the [8]American Nurses Association:

"There is a growing body of evidence that marijuana has a significant margin of safety when used under a practitioner's supervision when all of the patient's medications can be considered in the therapeutic regimen. ...

"There is significant research that demonstrates a connection between therapeutic use of marijuana/cannabis and symptom relief. The American Nurses Association actively supports patients' rights to legally and safely access marijuana/cannabis for symptom management and to promote quality of life for patients needing such an alternative to conventional therapy."

From the Lymphoma Foundation of America, HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and others (in a [9]brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court):

"For certain persons the medical use of marijuana can literally mean the difference between life and death. At a minimum, marijuana provides some seriously ill patients the gift of relative health and the ability to function as productive members of society."

And finally, from a study of smoked marijuana as a treatment for HIV-related nerve pain, published in the February 13, 2007, issue of the journal [10]Neurology:

"The first cannabis cigarette reduced chronic pain by a median of 72% vs. 15% with placebo ... No serious adverse events were reported. Conclusion: Smoked cannabis was well tolerated and effectively relieved chronic neuropathic pain from HIV-associated sensory neuropathy."

Marijuana has been used as a medicine for some 5,000 years--maybe longer, actually, but written records only go back that far. In the world of scientific reality--not to be confused with the BizarroWorld inhabited by certain prohibition ideologues--it is both effective at treating a number of troubling symptoms and safer than the pharmaceuticals taken by millions of patients every day. Indeed, as a "recreational" substance it's vastly safer than booze. But it's much easier to imagine conspiracies run by billionaires with foreign-sounding names than it is to read and understand the actual research.

This article first appeared at Bruce Mirken, a longtime health writer, serves as director of communications for the [11] Marijuana Policy Project.


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.] 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.


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