This Just In
(1)Entrepreneurs Discover Gold As 'Pot Culture' Wafts Into Mainstream
(2)Editorial: Don't Bogart That Research
(3)Juarez Massacre Chillingly Routine
(4)The War On Drugs Is Immoral Idiocy, We Need The Courage Of Argentina

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-Obama, Ignoring Local Outrage / Moira Birss
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-Canadian MDMA/PTSD Study Poised To Begin

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Thu, 03 Sep 2009
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2009 San Jose Mercury News
Author: Adam Tschorn, Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times

In June, an estimated 25,000 people attended the inaugural THC Expo hemp and art show in downtown Los Angeles, an event that pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy - including a $22,400 payment directly to the city of Los Angeles for use of its convention center.

Barneys New York in Beverly Hills is celebrating the Woodstock spirit by selling $78 "Hashish" candles in Jonathan Adler pots with bas- relief marijuana leaves; Hickey offers $75 linen pocket squares or $120 custom polo shirts bearing the five-part leaf; and French designer Lucien Pellat-Finet is serving up white-gold and diamond custom pot-leaf-emblazoned wristwatches for $49,000 and belt buckles for $56,000.

Earlier this year, Season 5 of Showtime's "Weeds" kicked off with promotional materials plastered on bus shelters, buses and billboards throughout the city. Last year, just across from the tourist-packed Farmers Market, a "Pineapple Express" billboard belched faux pot smoke into the air. Even the '70s slacker-stoner comedians Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong are back. After recently concluding an international tour, they say they are working on another movie, voicing an animated version of themselves and even batting around the idea of staging a Cheech and Chong Broadway musical.

Rolling into mainstream

After decades of bubbling up around the edges of so-called civilized society, marijuana seems to be marching mainstream at a fairly rapid pace. At least in urban areas such as Los Angeles, cannabis culture is coming out of the closet.




Pubdate: Fri, 4 Sep 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times

When the federal Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a request for proposals, seeking competitive applications for the production, analysis and distribution of "marijuana cigarettes," the request might have seemed a bit unusual to those unfamiliar with Washington's dance around cannabis research. The federal government, after all, is not widely known to support marijuana cultivation.

But those in the know just shrugged. The department has issued similar requests every few years to select a contractor to conduct government-approved marijuana research, and with depressing regularity it has then awarded an exclusive contract to the University of Mississippi. For 40 years now, Washington has sought such "competitive applications" and Mississippi "wins" every time.

This rigged contest has successfully thwarted meaningful academic inquiry into marijuana's medicinal value, without which the debate over its efficacy is bound to endure. Other studies -- not conducted by the University of Mississippi -- have suggested that marijuana has therapeutic value. But because the United States has discouraged such research and made it legally difficult to undertake, these studies have been limited in scope. What's missing is the broad research analyzing the cultivation and properties of different strains and their effects on a variety of illnesses. For example, a strain of cannabis that is most effective with glaucoma may not be the same strain best suited to cancer patients.




Pubdate: Fri, 4 Sep 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: Ken Ellingwood, Reporting from Mexico City

Mexico Under Siege

Gunmen Kill 18 at a Rehab Clinic, After a Week When 75 Died. Since Last Year, 3,000 Have Been Slain.

The deed was stomach-turning: Hooded gunmen burst into a Ciudad Juarez drug treatment center, gathered together those inside and lined them up before opening fire with semiautomatic weapons. When the shooting was over, 18 people were dead.

Attention focused immediately on the site of Wednesday night's killings: a rehab center, where addicts go to get clean, suggesting a new level of depravity in Mexico's drug violence.

Theories abounded: The victims were targets of rival gang members. They owed money to the wrong people. They were pawns in a turf war between cartels that has made Ciudad Juarez the scene of a bloody death match for 20 months.

Odds are that the slayings, like hundreds of others in the border city, will never be solved. The crime is a further sign of the chaos enveloping Ciudad Juarez and a reminder of another tragic development that has accompanied the flow of cocaine and other drugs through Mexico: a big and growing problem of local drug addiction.




Pubdate: Thu, 03 Sep 2009
Source: Guardian, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Guardian News and Media Limited
Author: Simon Jenkens, Staff Writer

While Latin American Countries Decriminalise Narcotics, Britain Persists In Prohibition That Causes Vast Human Suffering

I guess it had to happen this way. The greatest social menace of the new century is not terrorism but drugs, and it is the poor who will have to lead the revolution. The global trade in illicit narcotics ranks with that in oil and arms. Its prohibition wrecks the lives of wealthy and wretched, east and west alike. It fills jails, corrupts politicians and plagues nations. It finances wars from Afghanistan to Colombia. It is utterly mad.

There is no sign of reform emanating from the self-satisfied liberal democracies of west Europe or north America. Reform is not mentioned by Barack Obama, Gordon Brown, Nicolas Sarkozy or Angela Merkel. Their countries can sustain prohibition, just, by extravagant penal repression and by sweeping the consequences underground. Politicians will smirk and say, as they did in their youth, that they can "handle" drugs.

No such luxury is available to the political economies of Latin America. They have been wrecked by Washington's demand that they stop exporting drugs to fuel America's unregulated cocaine market. It is like trying to stop traffic jams by imposing an oil ban in the Gulf.

Push has finally come to shove. Last week the Argentine supreme court declared in a landmark ruling that it was "unconstitutional" to prosecute citizens for having drugs for their personal use. It asserted in ringing terms that "adults should be free to make lifestyle decisions without the intervention of the state". This classic statement of civil liberty comes not from some liberal British home secretary or Tory ideologue. They would not dare. The doctrine is adumbrated by a regime only 25 years from dictatorship.





As the reverberations of drug legalization for personal amounts in Mexico and Argentina spread, there has been the question of how the U.S. will react. A Canadian columnist suggests that the reaction will remain muted, much as that might have seemed impossible a few years ago.

But, within the U.S., the federal drug war goes on as usual. The current drug czar is making local appearances to announce a small variation on the same old counterproductive strategies. A different federal agency apologizes for linking Tecate and tortillas to drug cartels working in public U.S. forests. And in Georgia, a judge decides a marijuana arrest is not a solid foundation for the recall of a local elected official.


Pubdate: Sun, 30 Aug 2009
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Times Colonist
Author: Colby Cosh, Times Colonist

Say, are we still having that debate over whether the United States constitutes an empire? I remember the idea seeming controversial a few years back. In 2009, the whole idea of disagreeing with it seems quaint.

But maybe things will look different in a few years. Empires do not rise and fall; they expand and contract, relax and relent. In an extraordinary turn of events, Caesar has temporarily turned a blind eye to the policing of morals in the provinces, allowing startling drug reforms in two major "partner" states.

This month, the Mexican government decriminalized the possession of very small amounts of illicit drugs. Not just marijuana, which is subject to a possession limit of five grams, but the whole kaboodle: Cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, even heroin.

In general the U. S. media treated this as a counter-intuitive move made in the midst of a full-scale war between drug cartels and the Mexican state.

But it is precisely the bloodiness of that war that has Mexico moving away from ideological prohibitionism.




Pubdate: Wed, 02 Sep 2009
Source: Marion Daily Republican (IL)
Copyright: 2009 Marion Daily Republican
Author: Matt Hawkins, Staff Writer, The Associated Press contributed

Carterville, Ill. - Hours after launching an anti-methamphetamine advertising campaign Tuesday in St. Louis, federal drug czar Gil Kerlikowske joined Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and other officials for a meth roundtable at John A. Logan College.

The $9 million media blitz will target the states with the worst meth problems - Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky and Nebraska in the Midwest. Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico also will be targeted.

"When meth first reared its head across the nation, Washington D.C. didn't listen to the problem," Kerlikowske said. "Meth is still lower than other drugs, but if you're in a small town devastated by meth, you don't give a darn about the national numbers."




Pubdate: Sat, 29 Aug 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times

An advocate for Latino rights says she was appalled to learn that the U.S. Forest Service is warning the public that campers who eat tortillas, drink Tecate beer and play Spanish music could be armed marijuana growers.

Polly Baca, co-chairwoman of the Colorado Latino Forum, said the warning is profiling and discriminatory, and could put Latino campers in danger.

The agency quickly retracted the warning, issued Wednesday amid an investigation into how much marijuana was being cultivated in Colorado's national forests.




Pubdate: Fri, 28 Aug 2009
Source: Citizen, The (GA)
Copyright: 2009 Fayette Publishing, Inc.
Author: John Munford, Staff Writer

The effort to remove Fayette County Commissioner Robert Horgan from office was dealt a legal death blow in LaGrange this morning.

Superior Court Judge A. Quillian Baldwin ruled that Horgan's May 23 arrest for possession of marijuana was not connected to his position in office and therefore the recall petition was insufficient.

That ruling officially kills the recall effort undertaken by Robert Ross of Peachtree City and a committee that was formed to recall Horgan from office.

But Horgan's political career is not out of the woods yet. Judge Baldwin suggested that when the criminal case goes forward, Horgan could be forced to resign as a condition of his probation.



Not a whole lot of big stories about law enforcement and prisons this week, but several small stories illuminate the folly of the drug war. In Arizona, an attorney publicly states that prosecuting an inmate with 56 years left on his sentence for using marijuana in prison is a waste of time and resources. In Georgia, a prosecutor made a "business decision" to keep only half the cash confiscated from a man convicted of no crimes. A close look at a young police officer in Tennessee who went undercover for a year. And, in Cyprus, prison officials are upset that some prisoners are smuggling drug tests behind bars.


Pubdate: Thu, 27 Aug 2009
Source: East Valley Tribune (AZ)
Copyright: 2009 East Valley Tribune.
Details: Author: Matt Brown

I currently represent a client charged with possession of marijuana. By itself, that's not unusual. What is unusual, however, is that the state claims he had weed in prison. He just finished serving his 18th year, and he's got a little over 56 years left to go. He's middle-aged.

Why would the state choose to prosecute such a case? What else can they do to him? He's going to enjoy his field trips to court. If he goes to trial, it's going to feel good to wear street clothes and take the restraints off, even if it's just for a little while. What kind of plea is a "lifer" going to want to take?

The prosecutor knows all of this because I told him. He doesn't seem to care.

Dockets are already too full. Everyone in the system is already overworked. When I hear about budget cuts, I wonder how much of the budget goes to meaningless prosecutions. Win or lose, the practical effect of my client's case is going to be the same: It won't matter. We will all just be a little bit busier for the next few months.




Pubdate: Sun, 30 Aug 2009
Source: Athens Banner-Herald (GA)
Copyright: 2009 Athens Newspapers Inc
Author: Joe Johnson

Property Seizures by Prosecutors

An Athens man won a rare victory this month when he cut a deal to get back half of more than $10,000 in suspected drug money that police seized from him in December.

An attorney argued the money was legitimate - that nearly all of it came from the man's mother after she sold property in East Athens - and police found the money during an illegal search.

Faced with a potentially long and costly court battle, the prosecutor decided to cut his losses and negotiate a deal that allowed the man and his mother to keep $5,152, said the attorney, Edward Tolley.

"The district attorney has to invest his time in these cases, and so for him to expend the amount of hours that would be needed to fight our claim would not be a good business decision," Tolley said.




Pubdate: Sun, 30 Aug 2009
Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Copyright: 2009 The Commercial Appeal
Author: Kristina Goetz, Memphis Commercial Appeal

She 'Was Always On Edge' In Her Role As A Junkie

April Leatherwood no longer goes by the name Summer Smith.

Summer's brown, greasy hair has been cut and bleached, highlighted to April's honey blond. Summer's glasses have been removed to reveal April's 20/20 vision.

And Summer's feet -- once covered by the same filthy pair of socks for an entire year -- now slide into April's black flip-flops with a fresh pedicure and red toenail polish.

The physical transformation is complete -- a signal that one life is over and another can resume.


In a year's time, her work resulted in more than 280 arrests -- from low-level drug peddlers to big-name dealers.

"Not only is she there to buy drugs, but she's there to listen and gather intel," said Det. Paul Sherman, coordinator of the undercover operations unit. "Every day she's not buying drugs. Sometimes she's just hanging out with these people and listening to ... who broke in that store, who did that armed robbery, who did that drive-by shooting."

Leatherwood, paid roughly $45,000 a year, was given a different Social Security number and junkies' clothes. She roamed the streets of Memphis in the same foul-smelling shirt. She didn't shower, brush her teeth or shave her legs. She stood outside neighborhood corner stores, smoking, befriending crack addicts so they'd take her to their dealers.

"No matter how much I would try to make myself feel like I was one of them, no matter how dirty I got, no matter how much I did the things they did or talked the way they talked or looked the way they looked, still in the back of your head you know you're not one of them," she said.




Pubdate: Sat, 29 Aug 2009
Source: Cyprus Mail, The (Cyprus)
Copyright: Cyprus Mail 2009
Author: Alexia Saoulli, Staff Writer

THE CENTRAL Prison authorities launched an investigation this week after three drugs tests were found in an inmate's prison cell.

Apparently the tests had been used by unknown convicts to carry out experiments on their own urine samples. Prison officials suspect the idea behind these experiments was to give convicts a better understanding of how the tests worked so that they could dupe prison authorities regarding their drug use.

The find was yesterday confirmed by a source inside the prisons.

According to the source the tests were found three or four days ago in the cell of an inmate who had only recently been incarcerated and had denied the tests were his.

The source explained the tests were used to screen inmates for drugs in their urine.

By law prison authorities had the right to order convicts to take a drugs test, he said.

Inmates who refused to give a urine sample were punished twice as much as inmates who consented to the test and came back positive for drugs, he added.

"Sometimes inmates try and trick the test. They'll get a urine sample from an inmate who doesn't use drugs and put it in a bag and then place it in their genitals. When they're asked to give a sample they pretend to give their own urine but they are actually filling it with the clean sample. If they aren't properly checked before giving the test they get away with it," he said.

In this case it appeared the inmates were trying out a new method of evasion.

"It seems they were trying to see what sort of drugs the test picks up on and how many days they have so that the drugs don't show up in their urine. They make cocktails of drugs you see, combining Valium and other drugs, and they probably wanted to see what could and couldn't be picked up by the test," the source said.




The Australian, British and Canadian media have finally taken notice of a study released last June that cast doubt on there being a causal relationship between cannabis and schizophrenia.

Cannabis news junkies have long been aware that cannabinoids mitigate brain damage from strokes and oxygen deprivation, but a new, lightly reported study suggests that cannabis may prevent alcohol- related brain damage as well.

Los Angeles medicinal cannabis dispensaries are organizing and flexing their political muscle in defense of their increasingly robust industry.

In Colorado, the absurdities of cannabis prohibition are revealing themselves as the state attempts to reconcile their medicinal cannabis policies with conflicting, "zero tolerance" federal laws.


Pubdate: Thu, 27 Aug 2009
Source: Sentinel, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Northcliffe Electronic Publishing Ltd.

A STUDY by North Staffordshire academics has rejected a link between smoking cannabis and an increase in mental illness.

The research found there were no rises in cases of schizophrenia or psychoses diagnosed in the UK over nine years, during which the use of the drug had grown substantially.

Pro-cannabis campaigners seized on the results as supporting the legalising of cannabis, and claimed the report had been suppressed.

But the leading expert behind the study said it could be too low-key to re-ignite the debate on whether restrictions should be removed from soft drugs.

>From their base at the Harplands Psychiatric Hospital in Hartshill, the four experts reviewed the notes of hundreds of thousands of patients at 183 GP practices throughout the country to look for any changing rate in cases of schizophrenia.

The work had been set up to see if earlier forecasts from other experts had been borne out, that the mental disorder would soar through the growing popularity of cannabis.

Published in the Schizophrenia Research journal, a paper on the study said: "A recent review concluded that cannabis use increases the risk of psychotic outcomes.

"Furthermore an accepted model of the association between cannabis and schizophrenia indicated its incidence would increase from 1990 onwards.

"We examined trends in the annual psychosis incidence and prevalence as measured by diagnosed cases from 1996 to 2005 and found it to be either stable or declining.

"The casual models linking cannabis with schizophrenia and other psychoses are therefore not supported by our study."




Pubdate: Thu, 03 Sep 2009
Source: Auburn Plainsman, The (Auburn U, AL Edu)
Copyright: 2009 The Auburn Plainsman
Author: Max Newfield, Staff Writer

The results of a University of California San Diego study claim adolescents who use marijuana may be less susceptible to brain damage from binge drinking.

"I was definitely surprised by the results," said Susan Tapert, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego, and one of the main researchers in the study.

The study's goal was to research the capacity of the adolescent brain to process information efficiently after exposure to drugs and alcohol.

Between 2007 and 2009, researchers studied adolescents ages 16 to 19.

The subjects were divided into three groups: binge drinkers, binge drinkers who also used marijuana and a control group who rarely or never used alcohol or drugs.

Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks in one sitting for men and four or more drinks in one sitting for women.

The researchers were surprised to find the results of the study deviated from what they had hypothesized, Tapert said.

"We found that the damage to their white matter was right in the middle (of the results)," Tapert said, about the subjects who frequently used marijuana and alcohol. "Obviously, we expected them to have the highest level of damage (of all the test participants)."

There are many possibilities the adolescents who only used alcohol showed more brain damage than those who used alcohol and marijuana, Tapert said.

"This was only one study done at one time," Tapert said. "Maybe the kids who used marijuana were healthier than those who only used alcohol, or maybe one group was more candid than the other."

Tapert also said she would not rule out that marijuana could possibly have protective properties, but she said more evidence is needed.




Pubdate: Sat, 29 Aug 2009
Source: Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Newspaper group
Author: Tony Castro, Staff Writer

Los Angeles' booming cottage industry of medical marijuana vendors is mobilizing to fight the city's three-month crackdown that threatens to shutter hundreds of dispensaries.

Vendors say they're prepared to take their battle to court to fulfill the promise of Proposition 215 -- the 1996 voter-approved measure that legalized marijuana for medicinal use. Attorney Stewart Richlin, who represents more than 100 dispensaries, said he believes dispensaries that have been or are about to be closed are entitled to monetary damages. An alternative would be a court injunction allowing them to reopen or stay open.

"State law (permits), without equivocation, the cultivation, transportation and distribution of medical marijuana," Richlin said, "and these cities now need to be forced by a judge and court to comply with the law.

"These are not criminals. They are patients and centers treating patients."

But city officials say they are pressing ahead with the crackdown launched in June, when regulators began reviewing applications for permits to operate the dispensaries.

They say a majority of the dispensaries are lucrative cash businesses that require customers to provide little or no proof of medical need. And because the dispensaries have mushroomed throughout the city, they are now attracting crime and violence.




Pubdate: Mon, 31 Aug 2009
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2009 The Denver Post Corp

Conflicting Federal and State Laws Make It Difficult, If Not Impossible, for Some to Use Doctor-Prescribed Marijuana.

Though Coloradans voted to legalize marijuana for medicinal use nine years ago, certified medical-marijuana users, many of whom are battling chronic pain, are being evicted from federal housing.

That's because federal law categorizes marijuana as an illegal drug.

Two Colorado men are fighting such evictions in court and similar battles are taking place in 13 other states that allow medical- marijuana use, according to The Post's Nancy Lofholm.

Given earlier court rulings, it's doubtful those battles will prevail for the evicted. That's why we think elected officials in Washington should correct the conflict between state and national law.

"It's safe to say this is a growing problem. We're going to encounter it more," said Brian Vicente, an advocate for medical-marijuana users.

To get a more poignant take on the situation, consider Bill Hewitt, one of the Colorado men fighting his eviction.

"It's disgusting," Hewitt told Lofholm. "Most disabled can't afford a house, so they get assistance. These people should not be thrown in the street because they use a medication that alleviates pain."

Hewitt suffers from muscular dystrophy. He claims smoking marijuana has replaced prescription painkillers that produced negative side effects.

Pot, he says, allowed him to toss tranquilizers, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills and other drugs in the trash. Hard -- but legal -- drugs such as morphine and Oxycontin also are painkillers that medical-marijuana advocates claim can be shelved in favor of pot.


If use of relatively inexpensive marijuana cuts a need for those prescription medications, isn't that better for everyone?




As violence continues to increase around Mexico, President Felipe Calderon's administration is still claiming that it is making headway against drug cartels. An new report from Calderon's party suggest that the cartels are the ones really getting hurt by the policy. Some residents aren't so sure. In a similar story, the nature of the drug war seems to be changing in Afghanistan. A new report from the U.N. suggests that the new generation of drug lords in Afghanistan aren't just making money for ideology's sake; they are making money for money's sake.

In Cyprus, it seems police might have something more serious to focus on than those "legal high" ads on the Internet. Finally in Niagara Falls, Canada, stoners won't be flocking to highway 420 on April 20 any more as a local politician continues to work for a name change.


Pubdate: Wed, 2 Sep 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: Ken Ellingwood, Reporting from Mexico City

A Written Copy of the State of the Nation Address Is Given to a New Mexican Congress Likely to Show Its Clout.

The Mexican government on Tuesday proclaimed that it was making progress in its war against drug traffickers, in a state of the nation report delivered to a new Congress expected to challenge President Felipe Calderon during his remaining three years in office.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ruled the country for seven decades until 2000, is back in control of the Chamber of Deputies, which plays a key role in budget decisions that will be high on the agenda in coming months.

The PRI defeated Calderon's National Action Party, or PAN, during July congressional elections amid broad public dissatisfaction over the sagging economy and misgivings about the drug war. The PAN retains the largest number of seats in the 128-member Senate.

After the afternoon opening ceremony, Interior Minister Fernando Gomez Mont handed Congress a written version of the president's annual report cataloging what the administration views as its accomplishments during the previous 12 months.

The report, or informe, says the administration has made strides in its 2 3/4 -year-old drug war, which has killed more than 11,000 people since Calderon became president. It says the government has hit trafficking groups hard with major seizures of narcotics, weapons and cash and more than 24,000 arrests through June.

The offensive "has weakened the structures of organized crime and achieved record numbers in terms of seizures," the report says. "This has strengthened the rule of law and advanced the recovery of public security."

But many Mexicans are disturbed by the rising death toll. Spectacular slayings, including beheadings and bodies left in piles, have created a sense among many residents that crime and violence in Mexico have spun out of control.




Pubdate: Wed, 2 Sep 2009
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2009 The New York Times Company
Author: Richard A. Oppel Jr.

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Though the Afghan opium harvest has declined for the second consecutive year, a new United Nations report says, there is growing evidence that some Afghan insurgent forces are becoming "narco-cartels" -- similar to anti-government guerrilla groups in Colombia -- that view drug profits as more important than ideology.

Afghanistan's multibillion-dollar illicit narcotics industry finances much of the country's insurgency, and the influence of drug money is a major reason the Afghan government is considered among the most corrupt in the world.

Afghanistan's production of opium, the raw material for heroin, declined by 10 percent this year, and the amount of land used to cultivate opium fell by 22 percent, according to a report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime that is to be formally released Wednesday.

The smaller harvest, largely attributed to market forces and heightened interdiction efforts, is a rare bit of good news for the United States and the coalition of Western governments whose troops and taxpayers are supporting what even American commanders describe as a deteriorating situation as the war approaches its ninth year.




Pubdate: Wed, 02 Sep 2009
Source: Cyprus Mail, The (Cyprus)
Copyright: Cyprus Mail 2009
Author: George Psyllides, Staff Writer

AUTHORITIES are taking a closer look at the sale of herbal drug alternatives through Cyprus-based Internet websites, police said yesterday.

At least one of two websites makes these herbal incense mixtures available in Cyprus with names such as Skunk - a clear reference to the illegal potent strain of cannabis.

These are part of a reportedly growing market of so-called "legal highs", some of which are banned in several countries but not in Cyprus.

Police however want to get a hold of a sample to test it and determine the ingredients, Drug Law Enforcement Unit Commander Philipos Vrontos told the Cyprus Mail.

The website says Skunk is "an aromatic herbal blend" that releases a sweet fruity aroma when burned.

A legal highs UK-based website is not so modest, advertising Skunk as "by far the strongest MJ alternative available."




Pubdate: Wed, 02 Sep 2009
Source: Niagara Falls Review, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Corey Larocque

City residents will get a chance to select the new name for Highway 420, the provincial highway that runs between Stanley Avenue and the Queen Elizabeth Way.

Niagara Falls council voted Monday to narrow the list to three names and to get the public's opinion, especially from the Royal Canadian Legions and other veterans groups.

"We're all going to be driving this highway. Why not let everyone be a part of what the name is going to be," said Coun. Victor Pietrangelo, who launched a search for a new name for the highway in March.


Pietrangelo said his motivation for changing the name was to perpetuate the arenas' "memorial" designation, but he was also aware changing the name could end the association the highway has with the movement to legalize marijuana. Because pot-smokers consider 4:20 p.m., the best time of day to toke up, the area near the highway has been the site of an annual pro-marijuana rally in April.



 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )



By Fred Gardner, O'Shaughnessy's

Phillip Northcutt started legally cultivating medical marijuana to deal with PTSD from fighting in the Iraq. It wasn't long before the police and the courts caught up with him.


Century of Lies - 08/30/09 - Paul Wright

Paul Wright, editor of Prison Legal News + Abolitionists Moment

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 08/30/09 - Ethan Nadelmann

Ethan Nadelmann, Dir of Drug Policy Alliance re progress in the 100 year drug war + "Johnny Appleweed" by Brian Ashley Jones


An Okanagan care home resident with full body paralysis was confined to his bed against his will after his wheelchair was confiscated for a week - all because he smokes medical marijuana to relieve his Multiple Sclerosis.


One cop straight out of The Wire crunches the numbers with's political columnist to discover that America's prohibition of narcotics may be costing more lives than Mexico's - and nearly enough dollars for universal health care. So why not repeal our drug laws? Because cops are making money off them, too.


Set to Expand U.S. Military Presence in Colombia

By Moira Birss

Obama continues to defend the expansion of U.S. military operations in Latin America, but against what threat?


Marilyn Holsten was a medicinal marijuana patient who was evicted from social housing for smoking her medicine. While awaiting that fate she died on August 14, 2009. A group gathered on Wednesday to remember her and to protest against the insane treatment of cannabis users.


Two Vancouver therapists have become the first Canadians to be permitted to give ecstasy to patients in a scientific trial aimed at finding new ways to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder.



Decriminalization - A Better Approach? - A DrugSense Focus Alert


Crafting the Obama Drug Strategy

September 10, 2009: 6-7 pm (EDT)

Online event. Registration required, and free of charge.

In this online discussion, the Drug Czar will briefly outline what he has been hearing in his meetings around the nation, with most of the hour dedicated to Q&A dialogue with the audience. Moderating the discussion will be Steve Goldsmith, Dan Paul Professor of Government and Director of the Innovations in American Government Program at HKS, as well as former two-term Mayor of Indianapolis.



By Michael Honohan

You will be hard pressed to find any statistic directly and unequivocally linking marijuana use to a single death. Yet how many people must die, how many young people must end up in prison, and how many thousand acres of forest land must burn before Americans stop supporting the billions spent on the war against marijuana?

Michael Honohan, Marietta

Pubdate: Wed, 26 Aug 2009
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)


DrugSense recognizes Bruce Codere from Fox Creek, Alberta for his eight letters published during August, bringing his career total that we know of to 37. You may read his published letters here


U.S. Drug War Priorities Need Re-Evaluation  ( Top )

By Mary Jane Borden

On August 26, 2001, syndicated columnist David Broder penned the Op-Ed, "U.S. Drug War Priorities in Need of Re-Evaluation" , which appeared in the Columbus Dispatch among a number of Midwest newspapers. Just eight days later, FBI agents joined a raid on the Rainbow Farm in southern Michigan and killed the well-known marijuana reform activists, Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm.

Reacting to this tragedy, I wrote the following LTE to the Columbus Dispatch:

Dear Editor,

"Shots heard round the world" emanated last week from Michigan and should be considered a response to David Broder's column, "U.S. Drug War Priorities in Need of Re-evaluation." (Columbus Dispatch, Sunday August 26, 2001). These shots were fired by the FBI and Michigan State Police killing long-time marijuana activists, Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm. Granted, agents reported that the duo in separate incidences aimed their rifles at police and that the two set their Rainbow Farm buildings ablaze and fired at news helicopters. However, the actions taken by the two men very much resemble what would happen if you cornered an angry dog. Quite likely he will bite.

Why might Mr. Crosslin and Mr. Rohm have felt cornered? The government was about to take away everything they held dear: Mr. Crosslin's Rainbow Farm where pro-marijuana concerts were held on a regular basis and Mr. Rohm's 13-year old son. Both were to occur because government agents had observed the use and sale of marijuana and other drugs on the premises.

Here's where Mr. Broder's article and the Rainbow Farm intersect. The U.S. drug-war priorities do indeed need re-evaluation. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants all of us the right to "peaceably assemble." Like most events involving marijuana, gatherings at the Rainbow Farm were almost always peaceful. And as for drugs, which aren't mentioned in the Bill of Rights, I don't believe that the Cleveland Browns or Cincinnati Bengals stadium owners have faced the possibility of losing their property or family because "drugs" (namely, alcohol which kills more than 10 times the number people annually than all illegal drugs combined) were either consumed or sold on the premises even though we've many times witnessed the violence that results when rabid fans have had too much to drink.

That anything as peaceful as a "Rainbow Farm" should come under such governmental scrutiny that the end result is death should certainly serve as a wake-up call. It cries out for re-evaluation.

( signed ) Mary Jane Borden

The letter was never sent. Why? Within another eight days, on September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four airliners, flying two of them into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and one into a Pennsylvania cornfield. A total of 2,993 people were killed in this violent attack. Who among us will ever forget it?

The 9/11 Commission Report states that, "On July 2 [2001] FBI Counterterrorism Division sent a message to federal agencies and state and local law enforcement agencies summarizing information regarding threats from Bin Ladin. It warned that there was an increased volume of threat reporting, indicating a potential for attacks against U.S. targets abroad from groups 'aligned with or sympathetic to 'Usama Bin Ladin.'" (p. 258) The report also concluded, "In sum, the domestic agencies never mobilized in response to the threat. They did not have direction, and did not have a plan to institute." (p. 265)

In January 2002, Washington Post Staff Writer, Peter Carlson, composed an account of the Rainbow Farm tragedy stating, "Outside [the Rainbow Farm grounds], the state police had brought in an armored personnel carrier borrowed from the Michigan National Guard. On Sunday, the FBI arrived, more than 50 strong, summoned to the scene because the helicopter shooting was a federal crime." (Was the Rainbow Farm Another Waco? ).

One has to wonder: Increased volume of threat reporting. Potential for attacks against U.S. targets from groups aligned with Bin Ladin. No direction and no plan. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution right to peaceably assemble. Armored personnel carrier. Fifty FBI agents. That anything as peaceful as a "Rainbow Farm" should come under such governmental scrutiny that the end result is death should certainly serve as a wake-up call. 2,993 9/11 victims and 2 marijuana activists dead. September 2001 indeed served a wake-up call. And, U.S. drug war priorities are still in need of re-evaluation.

For more information concerning the Rainbow Farm, please visit its memorial website at . Note on the 'Pictures' link that Tommy Chong among other notables regularly appeared there. Tom and Rollie would be so proud that Michigan is now a medical marijuana state.

Mary Jane Borden is a writer, artist, and activist in drug policy from Westerville, Ohio. She serves as Business Manager/Fundraising Specialist for DrugSense.


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