THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) ABUSE OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS DIPS
Pubdate: Fri, 11 Sep 2009
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2009 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Donna Leinwand, USA TODAY
Study: Meth Use Down, Pot Up
WASHINGTON - Fewer people abused prescription drugs last year than in 2007, reversing an upward trend in abuse of potent painkillers such as OxyContin, a federal drug survey found.
People who once saw little risk in abusing prescription drugs are responding to health reports underscoring dangers of misuse, says Eric Broderick, acting administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which conducts the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health made public Thursday.
"If people perceive alcohol, drugs and tobacco as being risky, they are more inclined not to do it," says Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He credits last year's federally funded anti-drug ad campaign, which he called a "full-court press on prescription drugs."
(2) KIDNAP VICTIM FOUND DEAD ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 10 Sep 2009
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2009 El Paso Times
Authors: Michael D. Hernandez and Daniel Borunda
Horizon City Man's Mutilated Body Found in Juarez Late Tuesday
HORIZON CITY -- A man who was boldly kidnapped at gunpoint from his home in Horizon City last week was found dead in Juarez -- his mutilated body laid out in a macabre display intended to send a message.
The abduction and slaying of Sergio Saucedo was one of the most blatant examples of drug violence in El Paso since a war between cartels began in Juarez in January 2008.
Saucedo's body was found late Tuesday, his hands chopped off and left resting on his bare chest, a plastic bag stuffed in his mouth and his pants pulled down to his ankles in an apparent attempt to humiliate him. His body was found about 11 p.m. at Camino Viejo San Jose and Ejercito Nacional streets, Chihuahua state police said.
The severed hands signify that the victim was considered a thief, law enforcement agents said.
El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles said Saucedo had ties to one of the Mexican cartels battling for control over the lucrative smuggling routes, but he declined to disclose specific information about the connection. Court records show that Saucedo, 30, was convicted in 2003 of possession of marijuana over 5 pounds and under 50 pounds. In 2007, he was charged with money laundering. Last year, Saucedo was charged with a probation violation and with criminal negligence for abandoning or endangering a child.
Even though Saucedo's kidnapping and death, and the fatal shooting in May of informant Jose Daniel Gonzalez-Galeana outside his East Side home, have been tied to Mexican drug cartels, officials insist that the violence in Juarez is not spilling into El Paso.
(3) COLOMBIA'S HIGH COURT SAYS DRUG CONSUMPTION NOT A CRIME ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 10 Sep 2009
Source: Latin American Herald-Tribune (Venezuela)
Copyright: 2009 Latin American Herald-Tribune
BOGOTA - Colombia's Supreme Court ruled that possession of illegal drugs for personal use is not a criminal offense, citing a 1994 decision by the country's Constitutional Court, Caracol Radio said Wednesday.
Drug consumption "generates in a person problems of addiction and slavery that turn one into a sick, compulsive individual deserving of therapeutic medical treatment instead of a punishment," the judges said.
Their ruling came in a case involving a man prosecuted for possession of 1.3 grams (.04 ounces) of cocaine. The court overturned his conviction and ordered him immediately released.
"In the exercise of his personal and private rights, the accused did not harm others," so his conduct "cannot be the object of any punishment," the Supreme Court found.
Colombia's Constitutional Court said in 1994 that possession of illegal drugs within fixed limits was not subject to prosecution, but the hard-line government of President Alvaro Uribe is currently trying to undue that decision with a constitutional amendment.
The administration's proposal was approved in June by the lower house of Congress and is now under review by a Senate committee.
(4) AYERS RECALLED AS 'AWESOME MAN OF GOD' ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 10 Sep 2009
Source: Toccoa Record, The (GA)
Copyright: 2009 The Toccoa Record
Author: Rob Moore, Staff Writer, The Northeast Georgian
One of the late Rev. Jonathan Ayers' best friends says drug agents were mistaken when they went after him last week in Toccoa.
"I'm certain that the things that have happened have all been a mistake," said Daniel Parker, who served as senior pastor of Baldwin Baptist Church when Ayers served there as youth pastor.
Ayers, 28-year-old senior pastor of Shoal Creek Baptist Church near Lavonia, died a short time after an NCIS ( Narcotics Criminal Investigation and Suppression ) opened fire on his car in a convenience store parking lot at the corner of Broad and Currahee streets.
"Jonathan was just a man of incredible character," Parker said. "Everybody loved him. I know you hear that a lot, but once you met him, you loved him."
Ayers' and Parker's relationship was very close, even after the two left Baldwin Baptist Church.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Not too many big stories in the policy section this week, though
some small stories show what's still happening in the drug war. In
Kentucky, a lawsuit brought by a student who was one of a group
strip searched for reasons that are unclear has been settled. An
Arizona newspaper finds its readers who responded to a poll want
some drug policy reform. Some doctors have an idea for a marijuana
summit; and a trial in Pennsylvania includes testimony that social
security checks are accepted in some circles for overpriced street
Not too many big stories in the policy section this week, though some small stories show what's still happening in the drug war. In Kentucky, a lawsuit brought by a student who was one of a group strip searched for reasons that are unclear has been settled. An Arizona newspaper finds its readers who responded to a poll want some drug policy reform. Some doctors have an idea for a marijuana summit; and a trial in Pennsylvania includes testimony that social security checks are accepted in some circles for overpriced street drugs.
(5) STRIP SEARCH SUIT ENDS ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 04 Sep 2009
Source: News-Enterprise, The (Elizabethtown, KY)
Copyright: 2009 News-Enterprise
Author: Bob White
Federal Judge Dismisses Some Claims
LOUISVILLE - A lawsuit against Hardin County Schools and the city of Vine Grove stemming from a 2007 search of Brown Street Alternative Education Center students was dismissed Wednesday after a settlement was reached by parties involved the day before.
The suit, filed by former Brown Street student Nicole Pendleton, claimed a September 2007 "strip search" of a bus load of students was unwarranted and violated civil rights and state laws regarding assault, false imprisonment and invasion of privacy.
Pendleton said school and city police employees forced her and more than a dozen other students to partially disrobe so authorities could feel around brassieres, pant legs and waistlines for contraband. No contraband was found, according to the complaint or depositions of any party to the case.
On the Tuesday prior to the settlement, U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer B. Coffman dismissed federal claims of Pendleton's civil rights being violated and claims against individuals participating in, or supervising those involved with, the search as part of her answer to motions for summary judgments.
Coffman allowed Pendleton's pursuit of some of the state-law claims including negligence, assault, emotional distress, false imprisonment and invasion of privacy, according to her opinion.
Depositions of former Police Chief Dale Riggs and Principal Joe Welch reflected confusion as to why the search ever was conducted.
Riggs, in his deposition said students were being searched for marijuana, but Welch, in his deposition, said he didn't know why the search was performed.
Either way, Bell said no defendants to the suit admit wrongdoing or acting irresponsibly.
(6) READERS GREATLY IN FAVOR OF EASING DRUG-USE LAWS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 8 Sep 2009
Source: Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, AZ)
Copyright: 2009 Arizona Daily Star
Seventy-three percent of readers who responded to last week's online poll agreed with our editorial position that Mexico is doing the right thing by decriminalizing small quantities of drugs meant for personal use. Further, 52 percent of readers said the United States' war on drugs isn't working and should end. Only 10 percent of readers said U.S. drug policies are working or should only be modified slightly. On the question of whether Mexico's new law would increase "drug tourism" by Americans into Mexico, 56 percent of respondents in the unscientific poll said it would.
(7) WHAT THIS COUNTRY NEEDS IS A MARIJUANA SUMMIT ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 5 Sep 2009
Source: Santa Barbara Independent, The (CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Santa Barbara Independent, Inc.
Author: David Bearman
Note: David Bearman, M.D., physician, founder of the Isla Vista
Medical Clinic, former Goleta Water District boardmember, and current
Goleta West Sanitary District boardmember.
One Doctor's Answer to the Beer Summit
When a white cop handcuffed a black professor outside his own home we had a beer summit in the name of better race relations.
That summit addressed the number one social problem in this country since 1619 (the date the first African slaves were sold in the U.S.)
I'm calling for a marijuana summit.
This summit will benefit the health of millions, while saving hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.
The federal government must concur with what we the people already know. In the Obama Transition Team's own on-line poll, respondents overwhelmingly selected legalizing marijuana as our country's number one priority.
(8) DRUG USERS TELL OF SOCIAL SECURITY ABUSE ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 06 Sep 2009
Source: Williamsport Sun-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 2009 Williamsport Sun-Gazette
Author: R.A. Walker
There was disturbing testimony this past week during the drug trial in U.S. Middle District Court of now-admitted drug dealer Dorothy Robinson, not the least of which were revelations about Social Security disability benefits fueling drug habits and money intended for the care of children being siphoned off to pay drug tabs.
The testimony of at least three witnesses included statements about turning over Social Security money and checks to pay for drugs supplied on credit, often at jacked-up prices.
The trial ended with a guilty plea avoiding a possible life sentence for Robinson, had she been found guilty of all the alleged drug offenses, and she is protected from further prosecution in connection with the drug conspiracy detailed during trial; but the plea agreement she signed made clear she and others involved in the conspiracy are not protected from action by the Internal Revenue Service or Social Security Administration.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
More tragedy arises from thoughtless attempts at drug law enforcement.
A minister was killed in Georgia by a drug task force though he was
not the target of the task force, and he didn't have any drugs on
him. Elsewhere, heavy-handed tactics hurt citizens and the police.
More tragedy arises from thoughtless attempts at drug law enforcement. A minister was killed in Georgia by a drug task force though he was not the target of the task force, and he didn't have any drugs on him. Elsewhere, heavy-handed tactics hurt citizens and the police.
(9) GBI SAYS PASTOR WASN'T INVESTIGATION'S TARGET ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 4 Sep 2009
Source: Athens Banner-Herald (GA)
Copyright: 2009 Athens Newspapers Inc
Author: Dionne Walker, Associated Press
Ayers Fatally Shot; Video Shows Authorities Fired at His Car
ATLANTA - A 28-year-old Franklin County pastor killed by drug task force agents this week was a father-to-be who settled in a small town where he felt called to the ministry, a relative said Thursday.
Jonathan Paul Ayers, pastor of Shoal Creek Baptist Church in Lavonia, was not a target of the investigation that ended in gunfire at a Toccoa gas station Tuesday, Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead said.
Instead, a passenger in Ayers' car - an unidentified woman - was the target of the investigation, authorities said. Ayers was shot about 2:30 p.m. after he dropped the woman off at a store in downtown Toccoa.
Drug agents approached Ayers for questioning, but he tried to avoid them, putting his car in reverse and hitting one of the agents, Bankhead said.
A grainy surveillance video from a nearby store shows two drug task-force agents emerge from a black sport utility vehicle before Ayers' small car backs up. The two men fire into the passenger side of Ayers' car, and then it takes off with the agents running behind it, the video - posted on a Toccoa TV station's Web site - shows.
(10) QUITMAN COUNTY RESIDENTS ALLEGE MISTREATMENT BY SHERIFF'S ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 6 Sep 2009
Source: Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus,GA)
Copyright: 2009 Ledger-Enquirer
Author: Lily Gordon
A Columbus attorney hired to represent eight Quitman County, Ga., residents -- who were arrested last week in connection with what authorities called a small-scale riot in Georgetown -- has accused Sheriff Steve Newton and his deputies of employing "heavy-handed tactics" on citizens to include public strip searches and racial profiling.
During a news conference Friday in Columbus, attorney Joseph Wiley addressed several issues that he and his clients believe precipitated the Aug. 27 confrontation in which an estimated 200 Quitman County residents faced-off against officers from several surrounding agencies in front of the Georgetown Courthouse. Wiley specifically accused Newton, who was elected sheriff in January, of encouraging and condoning such policing methods as public strip searches and racial profiling in an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise of ridding the county of drugs.
"My office has performed an investigation in Quitman County -- Georgetown and what we have discovered is that the sheriff's office is using heavy-handed, unlawful improper police tactics," Wiley said.
"They've made over 250 arrests since Sheriff Newton has been elected and that's only a six-man department. That's an extreme amount of arrests for a small area, a small department. The police tactics being used that we have discovered are egregious, they are unlawful and that's why you had the riot that took place last week."
(11) 74-YEAR-OLD ALLEGES EXCESSIVE FORCE USED IN SEARCH ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 8 Sep 2009
Source: Fayetteville Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2009 Fayetteville Observer
Author: Michael Futch
Bessie Small and her family had finished up a Sunday supper of soup, corn, green peas and fatback. Then she headed to bed between 11 o'clock and midnight.
"I woke up in a turmoil," she said on Monday.
The 74-year-old Small said law enforcement officers used excessive force while executing a search warrant at her home in Haymount.
Fayetteville Police Chief Thomas Bergamine, reached at his home on Monday night, said: "We have received no complaint of officers using excessive force. However, if there's a report of officers using excessive force, we will fully investigate it."
A Fayetteville police watch commander who did not want to be quoted by name called it a mutual aid search warrant.
"We used the same safety tactics as we do on all search warrants where there's a situation of high risk," he said.
Fayetteville police agreed to help Cumberland County ABC officers attempting to arrest Larry Everett on warrants of trafficking cocaine, the watch commander said.
Over the last month, the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office dismissed murder charges against Everett, Small's 24-year-old grandson. He is now wanted on the drug-related charges, according to the watch commander.
"They say they were looking for my grandson," Small said. "My grandson has not stayed here for about two years. If they had told me they was the police, I would have got up and let them in. Anybody would tell them nobody lives here but me."
Small said a "a squad team or something" grabbed her out of her bed early Sunday morning, handcuffed her, held a gun to her face and ransacked her house for no apparent reason. During the home invasion, she said, the agents busted her front and bathroom doors, broke a fan, kicked out a window in her dining room, cracked her large-screen television set and snatched a fire alarm out of the wall.
(12) SEARCH WARRANT MISTAKE HELPS REVERSE 2 WOMEN'S DRUG CONVICTIONS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 8 Sep 2009
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2009 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Jeff Long
Before search, police realized warrant listed wrong apartment -- they arrested women after raiding unit across hall instead
When police charged into the building with a battering ram, their search warrant authorized them to smash open the door of Apartment D at the top of the stairs, where Jerry Lechner was still asleep.
"That would have scared me a little bit -- somebody knocks down your door," Lechner said, recalling the early-morning encounter three years ago in Cary.
Luckily for Lechner -- and his door -- the Illinois State Police investigator in charge realized it was Apartment C, across the hall, where an informant had bought cocaine. So they broke down that door instead, arresting two women, who later were sentenced to 8 years in state prison on drug dealing charges.
The search uncovered about $90,000 worth of cocaine and marijuana, according to news reports. But in a recent ruling that underscores the precise protocols police must follow in such cases, the Illinois 2nd District Appellate Court overturned the convictions of Lisa Urbina, 30, and Alex Fahey, 21.
They remain at the state prison in Decatur while prosecutors file an appeal with the Illinois State Supreme Court, said McHenry County State's Atty. Louis Bianchi.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Over a dozen medical cannabis dispensaries were raided last week in
the San Diego area by federal and local law enforcement. The raids
occurred only a day after the San Diego City Council voted 6-1 to
implement a medical marijuana task force to help the city draft local
Conflicts between the Michigan Medicinal Marijuana Act and federal
law are still being reconciled.
Seeming to presage today's raids on dispensaries in Washington
State, the Tacoma News Tribune editorialized against Spokane County
tolerating "California-style dispensaries that operate like
commercial marijuana shops."
Over a dozen medical cannabis dispensaries were raided last week in the San Diego area by federal and local law enforcement. The raids occurred only a day after the San Diego City Council voted 6-1 to implement a medical marijuana task force to help the city draft local laws.
Conflicts between the Michigan Medicinal Marijuana Act and federal law are still being reconciled.
Seeming to presage today's raids on dispensaries in Washington State, the Tacoma News Tribune editorialized against Spokane County tolerating "California-style dispensaries that operate like commercial marijuana shops."
(13) RAIDS SHUT DOWN MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 10 Sep 2009
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Author: Kristina Davis, Union-Tribune Staff Writer
District Attorney's Office Leads Multiagency Effort
Law enforcement officers raided an unknown number of medical-marijuana dispensaries around the San Diego region yesterday, authorities said.
The District Attorney's Office, which is leading the multiagency operation, declined to give further details, saying more information would be released today.
Word of the raids began spreading about noon with reports of armed officers from the San Diego Police Department, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies bursting into dispensaries or collectives.
Raids were reported at a handful of dispensaries, including Pacific Beach Collective on Turquoise Street, Green Kross Collective on Mission Boulevard and Hillcrest Compassion Care on University Avenue. Late yesterday, a red sign in front of Pacific Beach Collective read: "This location has been involved in the trafficking of illegal narcotics. Criminal prosecution is pending."
It was unclear how many people were arrested or what charges they faced. Calls to numerous dispensaries were unanswered.
The raids shook the medical-marijuana community and prompted angry responses.
Don Duncan, California director for Americans for Safe Access, said in a statement: "Not only does the federal government have no place helping to enforce state and local medical marijuana laws, local officials must regulate medical marijuana and enforce those laws with civil actions, not with the barrel of a gun."
(14) TASK FORCE TO STUDY POT DISPENSARY ISSUES ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 9 Sep 2009
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Author: Helen Gao, Union-Tribune Staff Writer
San Diego will create a citizens task force to study how to regulate medical-marijuana dispensaries, which have proliferated throughout the city and stirred public safety concerns.
By a 6-1 vote yesterday, the City Council decided to form the task force, with Councilman Carl DeMaio dissenting and Council President Ben Hueso absent.
DeMaio and a half-dozen residents argued against the task force, saying the state has issued guidelines that just need to be enforced.
Several cities in the county either have banned marijuana dispensaries or put a moratorium on them pending regulation. In July, San Diego suspended approvals for new dispensaries, but more have popped up.
We need to get these regulations in place. It's a wild west out there," said Joshua Bilben, a San Diego resident who uses medical marijuana to ease chronic pain.
Claudine Scott with the East Village Association told the council that the city must strengthen its permitting process and give residents a say.
(The dispensaries) should go before the community to explain why they are needed in the neighborhood," Scott said.
San Diego, like many cities, lacks land-use guidelines governing where marijuana collectives or cooperatives may be located. Nothing in the city's regulations prevent them from opening next to schools, playgrounds or churches. Unlike liquor stores and adult businesses, dispensaries are not required to go through the Police Department to obtain permits before opening.
(15) COMMISSION WILL TAKE SECOND SHOT AT EVICTING MEDICINAL POT-GROWER ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 9 Sep 2009
Source: Niles Daily Star (MI)
Copyright: 2009 Niles Daily Star
Author: Jessica Sieff, Niles Daily Star
The Niles Housing Commission on Tuesday said it would take a second shot at evicting a resident growing marijuana in a public housing unit for medicinal purposes.
Last week, the commission dismissed its first case against defendant Steve Allain after he raised "technical and procedural" defenses, according to commission attorney Michael Bell. Bell said Tuesday that the commission will refile their motion Wednesday.
The housing commission served a 14-day eviction notice to Allain in late June. While growing marijuana for medicinal purposes is legal in Michigan, the funding for the housing unit comes from the federal government, which does not allow it.
Refiling the complaint, Bell said, is a way to address all of Allain's procedural defenses without having both parties argue them in court.
"Rather than allow the argument to be about policy or procedure," Bell said he wanted to see the issue come down to the matter of the law.
Under the Michigan Medicinal Marijuana Act passed in 2008, those suffering from specified medical conditions and subsequently permitted to take part in the state's sponsored program are allowed to grow and use marijuana to alleviate symptoms related to those illnesses.
But the state law exists only in the shadow of federal regulations and because the commission's public housing units fall under federal guidelines the commission believes having the drug on the property is grounds for eviction.
(16) EDITORIAL: DOPE DISPENSARIES? NOT HERE, PLEASE ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 8 Sep 2009
Source: News Tribune, The (Tacoma, WA)
Copyright: 2009 Tacoma News Inc.
The best way to deal with weeds is to whack them before they go to seed. Prosecutors are doing pretty much that to marijuana dispensaries that have taken root in Spokane, of all places.
The Spokane County prosecutor's office is pressing drug-dealing felony charges against a man busted last year with five pounds of marijuana in his home. Darren J. McCrea, 41, is the founder of SpoCannabis, a group that sells the drug to patients certified by doctors as eligible for medical marijuana.
Washington voters approved the medicinal use of cannabis in 1998 - but under tight restrictions.
California was already becoming notorious for effectively legalizing recreational dope-smoking through its extremely lax medical marijuana law. Washingtonians were offered their own loophole-riddled marijuana initiative in 1997, and they resoundingly rejected it.
The one they did pass the next year, Initiative 692, was explicitly designed to forbid the California-style dispensaries that operate like commercial marijuana shops. Its sponsors touted its safeguards, including a provision that let a "primary caregiver" provide limited amounts of marijuana to a patient under conditions that precluded drug-dealing.
COMMENTS: ( Top )
The reverberations of Mexico and Argentina's recent moves toward
decrim continue to be heard in the news media - but only if you
listen carefully. Washington's stance on Latin decrim, stated a
piece carried in the Stabroek News (a Guyana newspaper), seems to be
downplaying events. This is in contrast to the Bush regime's firm
hand in preventing Mexico from drug decrim, earlier.
In Latin America, says Gwynne Dyer, writing in the Canadian
Telegraph-Journal newspaper this week, people are "fed up to the
back teeth with the violent and dogmatic U.S. policy on drugs, and
they are starting to do something about it." That "something" is to
rethink rigid prohibitionist ideologies that have packed prisons,
but have not stopped drugs. Outside of the U.S., the war on drugs,
says Dyer, "is coming to an end much sooner, and one can imagine a
time when the job of the history books will be to explain how this
berserk aberration ever came about."
In this week's Coast Reporter newspaper, from B.C. Canada, author
Brent Richter suggests Canada legalize marijuana. "It's time to stop
the nervous nail-biting and myopic prohibition of marijuana.
Undercut the criminal economy, lessen the burden on the justice
system, and install a regulated and lucrative legalized system for
the benefit of all."
And from the New Zealand Herald this week, a reminder ibogaine
treatment continues outside of the U.S. (it is banned in the U.S.).
Ibogaine is notable as a hallucinogen because "it reduces craving
and leads drug users to confront their drug-taking behaviour after
one or two doses." Drug reform advocate Dana Beal was in New Zealand
this week to address "a public forum at the University of Otago on
the use of ibogaine". Supporters are hoping to have ibogaine
"trialled" in New Zealand. "If that drug doesn't have long-lasting
side effects from a one-off use and does fix addiction, that's
potentially a major addition to our armoury," said Dr Fraser Todd,
of the National Addiction Centre, Christchurch Medical School.
The reverberations of Mexico and Argentina's recent moves toward decrim continue to be heard in the news media - but only if you listen carefully. Washington's stance on Latin decrim, stated a piece carried in the Stabroek News (a Guyana newspaper), seems to be downplaying events. This is in contrast to the Bush regime's firm hand in preventing Mexico from drug decrim, earlier.
In Latin America, says Gwynne Dyer, writing in the Canadian Telegraph-Journal newspaper this week, people are "fed up to the back teeth with the violent and dogmatic U.S. policy on drugs, and they are starting to do something about it." That "something" is to rethink rigid prohibitionist ideologies that have packed prisons, but have not stopped drugs. Outside of the U.S., the war on drugs, says Dyer, "is coming to an end much sooner, and one can imagine a time when the job of the history books will be to explain how this berserk aberration ever came about."
In this week's Coast Reporter newspaper, from B.C. Canada, author Brent Richter suggests Canada legalize marijuana. "It's time to stop the nervous nail-biting and myopic prohibition of marijuana. Undercut the criminal economy, lessen the burden on the justice system, and install a regulated and lucrative legalized system for the benefit of all."
And from the New Zealand Herald this week, a reminder ibogaine treatment continues outside of the U.S. (it is banned in the U.S.). Ibogaine is notable as a hallucinogen because "it reduces craving and leads drug users to confront their drug-taking behaviour after one or two doses." Drug reform advocate Dana Beal was in New Zealand this week to address "a public forum at the University of Otago on the use of ibogaine". Supporters are hoping to have ibogaine "trialled" in New Zealand. "If that drug doesn't have long-lasting side effects from a one-off use and does fix addiction, that's potentially a major addition to our armoury," said Dr Fraser Todd, of the National Addiction Centre, Christchurch Medical School.
(17) FRESH THINKING ON THE WAR ON DRUGS? ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 9 Sep 2009
Source: Stabroek News (Guyana)
Copyright: 2009 Reuters
Author: Bernd Debusmann, Reuters
A Loud Silence
There are times when silence can be as eloquent as words. Take the case of Washington's reaction to announcements, in quick succession, from Mexico and Argentina of changes in their drug policies that run counter to America's own rigidly prohibitionist federal laws. No U.S. expressions of dismay or alarm.
Contrast that with three years ago, when Mexico was close to enacting timid reforms almost identical to those that became effective on August 21. In 2006, shouts of shock and horror from the administration of George W Bush reached such a pitch that the then Mexican president, Vicente Fox, abruptly vetoed a bill his own party had written and he had supported.
What has changed? Was it a matter of something happening in August, when most of official Washington is on holiday? Or was it a sign of greater American readiness to rethink a war on drugs that has, in almost four decades, failed to curb production and stifle consumption of illicit drugs? And that despite law enforcement efforts that resulted in an average of around 4,700 arrests for drug offences every single day since the beginning of the millennium. (Just under 40 percent of those arrests are for possession of marijuana).
Or was it a matter of more countries realising that, as drug reform advocate Ethan Nadelmann puts it, "looking to the United States as a role model for drug control is like looking to apartheid-era South Africa for how to deal with race." Nadelmann heads the Drug Policy Alliance, one of several groups lobbying for reform of US drug policies.
(18) SOME COUNTRIES ARE SCALING BACK WAR ON DRUGS ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 9 Sep 2009
Source: Telegraph-Journal (Saint John, CN NK)
Copyright: 2009 Brunswick News Inc.
Author: Gwynne Dyer
It's too early to say that there is a general revolt against the "war on drugs" that the United States has been waging for the past 39 years, but something significant is happening. European countries have been quietly defecting from the war for years, decriminalizing personal consumption of some or all of the banned drugs in order to minimize harm to their own people, but it's different when countries like Argentina and Mexico do it.
Latin American countries are much more in the firing line. The United States can hurt them a lot if it is angered by their actions, and it has a long history of doing just that.
But from Argentina to Mexico, they are fed up to the back teeth with the violent and dogmatic U.S. policy on drugs, and they are starting to do something about it.
In mid-August, the Mexican government declared that it will no longer be a punishable offence to possess up to half a gram of cocaine (about four lines), 5 grams of marijuana (around four joints), 50 mg of heroin or 40 mg of methamphetamine.
At the end of August, Argentina's supreme court did something even bolder: it ruled that, under the Argentine constitution, "Each adult is free to make lifestyle decisions without the intervention of the state, and dismissed a case against youths who had been arrested for possessing a few joints.
In an ideal world, this ruling would have a powerful resonance in the United States, whose constitution also restricts the right of the federal government to meddle in citizens' private affairs.
But there is little chance that American voters will choose to end this longest of all American wars any time soon, even though its casualties far exceed those on any other American war since 1945. The "War on Drugs" will not end in the United States until a very different generation comes to power.
Elsewhere, however, it is coming to an end much sooner, and one can imagine a time when the job of the history books will be to explain how this berserk aberration ever came about.
(19) LEGALIZE IT, TAX IT, FORGET ABOUT IT ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 4 Sep 2009
Source: Coast Reporter (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Coast Reporter
Author: Brent Richter
It's starting to smell like there's going to be another federal election this fall, and if there is, you can bet the economy is going to be issue number one.
As revenues are down, deficits are up and service cuts are on the way, the message from the governments to their ministries and departments on keeping the lights on is getting repetitive: "Be creative."
Here's a creative thought. Stop pouring funding into law enforcement, courts and corrections to enforce drug laws while organized crime groups' profits are in the hundreds of millions and shootings across the Lower Mainland help the gangs carve out their territories.
It's time to stop the nervous nail-biting and myopic prohibition of marijuana. Undercut the criminal economy, lessen the burden on the justice system, and install a regulated and lucrative legalized system for the benefit of all.
(20) DRUG CAMPAIGNER PUSHES TRANCE CURE ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 5 Sep 2009
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2009 New Zealand Herald
A pro-cannabis group is pushing for the introduction of a hallucinogenic-type drug as a treatment for P addiction.
American drug law reform campaigner Dana Beal will today address a public forum at the University of Otago on the use of ibogaine, a drug which sends people into a dream-like trance for several hours.
Supporters say it reduces craving and leads drug users to confront their drug-taking behaviour after one or two doses, with the help of psychotherapy. Ibogaine has previously been used with heroin addicts and is now being promoted as a weapon against pure methamphetamine.
However the drug is banned in some countries, including the United States and Europe, because of its hallucinogenic properties.
Dr Fraser Todd, a senior lecturer at the National Addiction Centre at Christchurch Medical School, said the main problem with ibogaine was a lack of clinical trials to prove its safety and effectiveness.
It worked in a similar way to ketamine, a drug which had been tested overseas and could be trialled soon in New Zealand.
"If that drug [ibogaine] doesn't have long-lasting side effects from a one-off use and does fix addiction, that's potentially a major addition to our armoury."
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
HOW WEED WON THE WEST - TRAILER #1 ( Top )
BLUEPRINT FOR A BETTER WORLD: LEGALISE DRUGS ( Top )
This weeks' edition of New Scientist magazine has a cover feature titled 'Blueprint for a better world' that considers 10 'radical ideas for transforming society and changing the way countries are run'. One of them is the legalisation and regulation of drugs.
DRUG CONTROL BECOMES SPEECH CONTROL ( Top )
A federal prosecutor tries to silence a pain treatment activist.
By Jacob Sullum
THE RACISM OF MARIJUANA PROHIBITION ( Top )
Enforcement of marijuana laws disproportionately affects young African Americans -- even though their usage rates are lower than whites'.
By Stephen Gutwillig
POT-TV REMOVED FROM YOUTUBE ( Top )
by Jodie Emery
On Tuesday evening, our webmaster decided to upload all of the old videos from www.Pot-tv.net (or www.Pot.tv) to our YouTube account at YouTube.com/PotTV, which had more than 10,200 subscribers and over 300 videos since 2006.
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Century of Lies - 09/06/09 - Russ Jones
Russ Jones with 30+ years law enforcement experience and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition + Abolitionists Moment
Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 09/06/09 - John H. Richardson
John H. Richardson of Esquire + "Throwing Down the Gauntlet" #1
WILL FOSTER BACK IN PRISON IN OKLAHOMA ( Top )
Supporters Mount Campaign to Free Him
Drug War Chronicle, Issue #600, 9/11/09
CANNABINOID SYSTEM IN NEUROPROTECTION - RAPHAEL MECHOULAM ( Top )
At 2004 Cannabis Therapeutics Conference, Dr. Mechoulam, Professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, describes the role of Cannabinoids as anti-inflammatory for arthritis, as neuroprotectant for brain injury and as a possible treatment for PTSD.
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
WRITE A LETTER ( Top )
Prohibition Has Failed - Time For A New Drugs Policy
A DrugSense Focus Alert
STOP C-15 - PHONE JAM ( Top )
Victoria, B.C.: The International Hempology 101 Society will be initiating a national campaign to stop Bill C-15. The Phone Jam will happen Monday September 14, 2009 from 8.00 am in Halifax until midnight in Victoria. We will be calling senators all day to make sure they are informed on this bill before the house resumes the next day.
NORML SHOW LIVE FROM PORTLAND HEMPSTALK THIS SATURDAY ( Top )
This weekend NORML SHOW LIVE comes to you direct from Kelley Point Park in Portland, Oregon, for the fifth annual Portland Hempstalk. The live stream begins at 6pm PT / 9pm ET and continues for two hours. You can listen to the show live three ways.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
CHANCES OF FALSE POSITIVE TOO HIGH ( Top )
My applause to the enlightened Galena High School parents who voted against mandatory random drug testing.
The legal issues here, although disturbing, are not my area of expertise and I'll refrain from comment. As an analytical chemist whose career was largely devoted to drug analysis, I do feel qualified to make the following comments:
Drug testing is not something that should be placed in the hands of bureaucratic amateurs. All screening tests can produce false positives and, depending on the manufacturer, some more than others. Rather than counseling, a positive result for a screening test requires a more rigorous confirmatory test, usually GCMS. Additionally, there are tests to confirm the integrity of the sample to check for adulteration, dilution for example.
I seriously doubt that all of this, if done right, can be achieved for $40. For such testing to hold up, it should be performed in an accredited laboratory where control results are included. The possibility that even one student could have a young life upended with a false positive result is enough for me as a Galena parent to vote no.
Pubdate: Mon, 31 Aug 2009
Source: Reno Gazette-Journal (NV)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
The Numbers Are in ( Top )
Despite 70+ Years of Criminal Prohibition, Marijuana Is Hugely Popular
By Paul Armentano, NORML
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has once again released their annual survey on "drug use and health" - you know, the one where representatives of the federal government go door-to-door and ask Americans if they are presently breaking state and federal law by using illicit drugs. The same survey where respondents have historically under reported their usage of alcohol and tobacco - these two legal substances - by as much as 30 to 50 percent, and arguably under report their use of illicit substances by an even greater margin. The same survey that - despite these inherent limitations - "is the primary source of statistical information on the use of illegal drugs by the U.S. population." Yeah, that one.
So what does the government’s latest round of ’statistical (though highly questionable) information’ tell us? Nothing we didn’t already know.
Despite 70+ years of criminal prohibition, marijuana still remains widely popular among Americans, with over 102 million Americans (41 percent of the U.S. population) having used it during their lifetimes, 26 million (10 percent) having used it in the past year, and over 15 million (6 percent) admitting that they use it regularly. (By contrast, fewer than 15 percent of adults have ever tried cocaine, the second most ‘popular’ illicit drug, and fewer than 2 percent have ever tried heroin - so much for that supposed ‘gateway effect.’) Predictably, all of the 2008 marijuana use figures are higher than those that were reported for the previous year - great work John Walters!
Equally predictably, the government’s long-standing prohibition and anti-pot ’scare’ campaigns have done little, if anything, to dissuade young people from trying it. According to the survey, 15 percent of those age 14 to 15 have tried pot (including 12 percent in the past year), as have 31 percent of those age 16 to 17 (a quarter of which have done so in the past year) - percentages that make marijuana virtually as popular as alcohol among these age groups. By age 20, 45 percent of adolescents have tried pot, and nearly a third of those age 18 to 20 have done so in the past year. And by age 25, 54 percent of the population has admittedly used marijuana.
Question: Does anyone still believe that marijuana prohibition is working - or that all of these people deserve to be behind bars?
For too long, advocates of prohibition have framed their arguments on the false assumption that the continued enforcement of said laws "protects our children." As the numbers above illustrate, this premise is nonsense. In fact, just the opposite is true.
The government’s war on cannabis and cannabis consumers endangers the health and safety of our children. It enables young people to have unregulated access to marijuana - easier access than they presently have to alcohol. It enables young people to interact and befriend pushers of other illegal, more dangerous drugs. It compels young people to dismiss the educational messages they receive pertaining to the potential health risks posed by the use of "hard drugs" and prescription pharmaceuticals, because kids say, "If they lied to me about pot, why wouldn’t they be lying to me about everything else, too?"
Most importantly, the criminal laws are far more likely to result in having our children arrested, placed behind bars, and stigmatized with a lifelong criminal record than they are likely to in any way discourage them to try pot.
In short, what the results from the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health is simple and consistent; in fact, we say it all the time: Remember prohibition? It still doesn’t work!
Paul Armentano is the deputy director of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), and is the co-author of the book Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink (2009, Chelsea Green).
Posted on September 10, 2009, Printed on September 11, 2009 http://www.alternet.org/story/142556/
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"I don't need drugs to make my life tragic." - Eddie Vedder
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