THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) SHASTA LAKE WILL CONSIDER LIMITING MEDICAL MARIJUANA CO-OPS
Pubdate: Thu, 17 Sep 2009
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2009 Record Searchlight
Author: David Benda
Two weeks after Shasta Lake enacted a 45-day moratorium on medical marijuana co-operatives, the city tonight will consider permanent zoning guidelines for the nonprofit groups.
Hours of operation, requirements for security cameras, banning use of cannabis at the business, placing the collectives appropriate distances from schools and public parks, and capping the number of pot dispensaries doing business in the city at two would be included in the new restrictions.
Tonight's Shasta Lake Planning Commission meeting comes two days after Shasta County rejected a 45-day ban on collectives in unincorporated areas while Tehama County approved a similar ban.
Current zoning codes already in place should be able to adequately cover medical cannabis co-ops, Director of Resource Management Russ Mull told Shasta County supervisors before Tuesday's decision.
It's the same position Redding has taken. The city basically treats medical marijuana collectives as pharmacies and requires they do business in appropriately zoned areas.
(2) HOUSE BILL SHIFTS STUDENT LENDING ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 18 Sep 2009
Source: Journal Gazette, The (Fort Wayne, IN)
Copyright: 2009 The Journal Gazette
Author: Sylvia A Smith, Washington editor
WASHINGTON - Students will turn to Uncle Sam, not private lenders, for loans to pay for their college educations, the House voted Thursday. The legislation is a blow to major banks and student loan giant Sallie Mae, which will be cut out of a large part of the $92 billion business.
The bill also eases restrictions on students who are convicted of drug possession, erasing a 10-year-old provision authored by Rep. Mark Souder, R-3rd, that limits their access to federally guaranteed student loans.
But Souder said he has an agreement with the author of the bill to resurrect the restriction for people convicted of a felony not a misdemeanor possession charge. He said that would probably mean the restriction would apply to people convicted of possession of cocaine and meth but not marijuana.
But he said the restriction against loans for students convicted of drug possession likely would not have withstood a court test.
(3) TEXAS HIGH WAYS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 1 Oct 2009
Source: Texas Monthly (TX)
Copyright: 2009 Texas Monthly, Inc.
Author: William Martin
Why the Unlikeliest of States--Ours--Should Legalize Marijuana.
In the early years of the twentieth century, as they poured across the border into Texas, Mexican immigrants brought with them a familiar and cheap intoxicant: cannabis, which they called marihuana (in those days, it was spelled with an h instead of a j). Perhaps because they were young, predominantly male, and away from home--strong correlates of troublesome behavior--they were seen as lacking appropriate inhibition, especially when they came to town on weekends. Cerveza may have been more culpable, but cannabis made an easier target. In 1914, after a melee allegedly involving a marijuana smoker, the El Paso city government passed what is believed to have been the first law banning a drug that had been legally and widely used for at least five thousand years. Other cities and states quickly followed suit. Before long, marijuana was forbidden everywhere, and its use was often harshly punished.
It's ironic, then, that nearly a century after it fired the first shot in the war on weed, the Sun City has been flirting with a cease-fire. In January, besieged by drug wars in Mexico that killed more than 5,600 people in 2008, almost a third in neighboring Ciudad Juarez alone, the El Paso City Council unanimously approved city representative Beto O'Rourke's motion that the federal government hold an open and honest debate about legalizing all narcotics in the United States. Mayor John Cook vetoed that recommendation. "We would be the laughingstock of the country for having something like this on the books," he said.
The incident drew national attention and some criticism, but it sparked the kind of serious conversation O'Rourke was seeking. "No one is laughing about it," he says. "It's not funny that sixteen hundred people died in our sister city in the course of one year in the most brutal fashion imaginable. We've had waves of violence before, but it took events of this magnitude to convince everyone that something is deeply wrong here, that we are part of the problem and we can do something to fix it. It's the demand that's fueling this war. If our drug laws were different, I will absolutely guarantee you that our body count would be different."
(4) HOW POT BECAME LEGAL ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 28 Sep 2009
Source: Fortune (US)
Copyright: 2009 Time Inc.
Author: Roger Parloff
Medical Marijuana Is Giving Activists a Chance to Show How a Legitimized Pot Business Can Work. Is the End of Prohibition Upon Us?
When Irvin Rosenfeld, 56, picks me up at the Fort Lauderdale airport, his SUV reeks of marijuana. The vice president for sales at a local brokerage firm, Rosenfeld has been smoking 10 to 12 marijuana cigarettes a day for 38 years, he says.
That's probably unusual in itself, but what makes Rosenfeld exceptional is that for the past 27 years, he has been copping his weed directly from the United States government.
Every 25 days Rosenfeld goes to a pharmacy and picks up a tin of 300 federally grown and rolled cigarettes that have been sent there for him by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), acting with approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Rosenfeld smokes the marijuana to relieve chronic pain and muscle spasms caused by a rare bone disease. When he was 10, doctors discovered that his skeleton was riddled with more than 200 tumors, due to a condition known as multiple congenital cartilaginous exostosis. Despite seven operations, he still lives with scores of tumors in his bones.
Rosenfeld is one of four people in the United States whom the federal government supplies with medical marijuana. Each is a living anomaly because, officially, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, NIDA, and the FDA all take the position that marijuana has "no currently accepted medical use."
This article is not another polemic about why it should or shouldn't be. Today, in any case, the pertinent question is whether it already has been -- at least on a local-option basis. We're referring to a cultural phenomenon that has been evolving for the past 15 years, topped off by a crucial policy reversal that was quietly instituted by President Barack Obama in February.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Is the U.S. media finally ready to deal seriously with medical
cannabis? Possibly, according to a story in the Columbia Journalism
Review. While some people are getting more comfortable with
marijuana, hoasca is a different story. And, in the world of
education, a Florida school district wants to drug test new
teachers, while a Colorado University segregates the medical
marijuana community from other campus housing.
Is the U.S. media finally ready to deal seriously with medical cannabis? Possibly, according to a story in the Columbia Journalism Review. While some people are getting more comfortable with marijuana, hoasca is a different story. And, in the world of education, a Florida school district wants to drug test new teachers, while a Colorado University segregates the medical marijuana community from other campus housing.
(5) ROCK BOTTOM ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 15 Sep 2009
Source: Columbia Journalism Review (US)
Copyright: 2009 Columbia Journalism Review
Author: David Downs
Get stoked: The MSM Are Acting Less Childish About Pot
The strain of "reefer madness" that's been infecting American newsrooms since at least 1911 appears to be abating amid some sobering new economic realities. Salacious stories about cannabis continue to move newspapers just as briskly now as they did in the early Twentieth century, when the drug became illegal. But the fever's changed gears.
"The de facto ban on serious, cogent mainstream media discussion about the topic has been lifted," says Stephen Gutwillig, State Policy Director for the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington. "They've stopped acting like they're in sixth grade. There's less puns and 'scare quotes.' The Wall Street Journal did a front-page story last week that treated medical marijuana like just another industry story."
Recently, The New York Times ran a classic, "Style" section hit piece on cannabis, but then followed it up, almost as a mea culpa, with an extremely insightful and bold "roundtable discussion" with leading thinkers on the topic. The Economist now stands alongside the National Review in calling for legalization, and even the staid Congressional Quarterly Researcher devoted its entire June issue to a thorough review of the topic.
Watchers say demographic changes (about half of the adult population born since 1960 has tried the drug by age 21) and the Obama administration's progressive outlook have combined forces with pure capital interests and technology to effect a pushback against traditional law-and-order voices on the issue.
(6) PSYCHEDELIC TEA BREWS UNEASE ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 16 Sep 2009
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Stephanie Simon
Santa Fe Residents Fight Church's Planned Site, Say Drink Endangers Public Safety
SANTA FE, N.M. -- A secretive religious group that fought a long legal battle for the right to drink hallucinogenic tea in pursuit of spiritual growth now plans to build a temple and greenhouse in a wealthy community here -- to the dismay of local residents.
The church was founded in Brazil in 1961 and remains most popular there, but about 150 people in the U.S., including about 60 in Santa Fe, practice the faith, which goes by the Portuguese name Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal or UDV. Members say the church is based on Christian theology but also borrows from other faiths and finds spirituality in nature.
Since the U.S. branch of the religion emerged in the late 1980s, practitioners have imported from Brazil their sacramental tea, known as hoasca, which is brewed from two Amazonian plants and contains the psychedelic compound dimethyltryptamine, or DMT. The U.S. government classifies DMT as a Schedule I controlled substance, the same designation given to heroin and marijuana. But in a unanimous ruling in 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the UDV had the right to use hoasca in its ceremonies.
Now, the Santa Fe branch has drawn up plans to build a greenhouse for growing their own sacred plants, a ceremonial kitchen for brewing the tea and a 7,100-square-foot temple, complete with a children's nursery and foot-thick walls to ensure privacy.
(7) NEW MANATEE TEACHERS MAY FACE DRUG TESTING ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 10 Sep 2009
Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2009 Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Author: Christopher O'Donnell
MANATEE COUNTY - School district officials are proposing that all new employees and substitute teachers pass a drug test before being hired. School Board members will review the policy at a meeting Monday night.
"It's a deterrent," said Darcy Hopko, assistant superintendent. "We would like anyone that comes on board to be totally clear of any kind of drugs."
If adopted, new hires would have to submit a urine sample for the test that detects most recreational drugs and also some prescription drugs such as methadone and barbiturates.
Each test costs the district $44. The district hires around 250 new employees each year.
The district already tests bus drivers and custodians.
Current teachers and other workers would be exempt unless the district suspects them of drug use, Hopko said.
(8) UNIVERSITY ALLOWS FRESHMAN POT PATIENTS TO LIVE OFF-CAMPUS ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 14 Sep 2009
Source: Colorado Daily (Boulder, CO)
Copyright: 2009 New Colorado Daily, Inc.
Author: Melanie Asmar, Colorado Daily
In the year since a high-profile case shone a light on the issue of medical-marijuana cardholders living in University of Colorado dorms, only one student using medicinal pot has requested to be released from the school requirement that all freshman live on campus.
CU's drug policy does not allow marijuana -- or any other illegal drug or alcohol -- in its on-campus housing facilities. That includes medical marijuana, said CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard.
"It's not that were trying to punish students who have a legitimate need for medical marijuana," Hilliard said. "We don't want marijuana or any other drugs present in the housing facilities because it's an attractive nuisance."
The university made that distinction more explicit last year, when then-freshman Edward Nicholson faced criminal charges and was suspended from CU over the summer after the police confiscated about two ounces of marijuana from his residence hall in May 2008. Nicholson was a designated medical-marijuana caregiver for his brother, which allowed him to hold and administer the drug.
After his marijuana was taken, Nicholson hired an attorney and threatened to sue the school. CU eventually dropped the charges, and a few months later, the CU Police Department returned Nicholson's marijuana to him, to the elation of a crowd of pot advocates gathered outside the station.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Is the drug war worth it? The Christian Science Monitor asks that
question and then studies crime data to come up with the answer,
"Maybe not." Interesting, the data hasn't changed that much for the
past decade, but now they get it. Better now than never. In Mexico,
another effort to get local Mexican police reinvolved with the drug
war. Meanwhile, that Mexican violence is not only spilling into the
U.S., but Canada as well, according to reports. And, an explanation
of why the drug war continues to be popular with police.
Is the drug war worth it? The Christian Science Monitor asks that question and then studies crime data to come up with the answer, "Maybe not." Interesting, the data hasn't changed that much for the past decade, but now they get it. Better now than never. In Mexico, another effort to get local Mexican police reinvolved with the drug war. Meanwhile, that Mexican violence is not only spilling into the U.S., but Canada as well, according to reports. And, an explanation of why the drug war continues to be popular with police.
(9) IS WAR ON DRUGS WORTH IT? MAYBE NOT, NEW FBI DATA SUGGEST ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 15 Sep 2009
Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)
Copyright: 2009 The Christian Science Publishing Society
Author: Patrik Jonsson
Many law enforcement officers now say the drug interdiction effort is costly and unsuccessful. The bulk of drug arrests in 2008 were for simple possession, almost half for marijuana.
Atlanta - Every 18 seconds, an American is busted for drug possession, according to Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) crime statistics released Monday.
The new statistics point to a continued emphasis on drug interdiction - - otherwise known as the "war on drugs" - that more and more law enforcement officers are now questioning. While many experts hold the anti-drug campaign to be the key reason for the decline in the crime rate in the US, especially violent crime, since the 1990s, these police officers, as well as current and retired judges and prosecutors see, instead, thousands of American lives ruined for small drug infractions in a costly and possibly unwinnable "war."
"Not only do these officers see the terrible results that their work has had on individuals' lives, but a lot of what I hear from beat officers and undercover narcotics agents is they've seen colleagues die in the line of fire trying to enforce laws that have no positive impacts," says Tom Angell, a spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) in Washington. "For a lot of them, this is about trying to keep good cops alive by repealing stupid prohibition laws."
(10) IN MEXICO'S DRUG WARS, LOCAL POLICE STEPPING UP ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 16 Sep 2009
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2009 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Chris Hawley, USA TODAY
Efforts To Boost Forces Challenges Traditions
URUAPAN, Mexico -- One of the main doors of the police station here is riddled with bullet holes. Shrapnel from grenades scars nearby walls. Inside, a makeshift shrine to the Virgin Mary honors three local officers who died in the past year fighting Mexico's drug traffickers.
So far, it's been a one-sided battle. The police force in Uruapan, a city of 280,000 that sits astride a major smuggling route in the Sierra Madre mountains, doesn't have a single detective. Mexican law prevents local police from questioning witnesses, doing undercover work or searching homes. The department is so poor that officers must buy their own bullets, at about 75 cents a pop, for target practice.
"We're the ones out there every day, the easy targets for the drug traffickers," says Police Chief Adolfo Medina, whose house was hit by gunfire in March. "But we're handicapped."
That may be changing. As Mexico's U.S.-funded drug war reaches new levels of violence, President Felipe Calderon's government has launched a $1 billion drive to train and equip beleaguered local police forces that, historically, focused on rounding up town drunks or dishing out traffic violations.
(11) MEXICAN DRUG WAR CUTS OFF B.C. DEALERS ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 14 Sep 2009
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Natalie Alcoba, Staff Writer
Well before the Mexican government advertised its war on drugs, there were signs in British Columbia that things were going awry in the lucrative narcotics trade.
Supply lines were drying up, recalled B.C.-based RCMP Superintendent Pat Fogarty, because the cartels were too busy fighting the Mexican military.
It was translating into rip offs, or people who could not pay back what they owed -- a dicey situation among gangsters that often results in bloodshed.
"This is where the tentacles of the disruption in Mexico bled over into Canada, in terms of violence," said Supt. Fogarty, in charge of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit in B.C. He has more than 20 years' experience battling organized crime.
Police in British Columbia say the Lower Mainland has seen a spike in gang-related violence this year over last, and most of it is gun warfare.
Described as a region with "powerful" organized crime units, but no dominant group, more than 120 gangs operate in the area, all of them capitalizing on the drug trade.
(12) AGENCIES GET $2.1 MILLION IN DRUG CASH ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 11 Sep 2009
Source: Gwinnett Daily Post, The (GA)
Copyright: 2009 Post-Citizen Media Inc.
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2480 Author: Josh Green, Staff Writer
LAWRENCEVILLE - Drug runners inadvertently made a $2.1 million contribution Thursday to two local agencies bent on bringing them down.
Federal officials presented Lawrenceville police and the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department with checks symbolizing the fruits of an 18-month, multi-agency investigation dubbed "Operation Grand Finale," which disrupted a major cell of Mexico's notorious Gulf Cartel, officials said.
The operation resulted in 16 federal arrests and the seizure of $3.5 million, 219 pounds of methamphetamine and more than a half ton of cocaine, officials said.
About $60 million in bulk cash proceeds has been captured since the formation of a special metro-wide strike force in 2007 that involves both local agencies, said FBI special agent in charge Gregory Jones.
With the aide of wiretaps and informants, the recent operation brought down several kingpins importing drugs from Mexico, Jones said.
"We see the trickle-down effect on the streets from gangs selling and distributing on a local level," Jones said.
The seized cash will help the local departments fill budgetary gaps left by a soured economy. State and federal laws restrict departments from using the money to fund salaries.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
As our feature article this week observes, cannabis seems to be
becoming increasingly mainstream, and the media appear to be taking
the matter more seriously, making it more difficult for drug warriors
to demonize and marginalize cannabis law reformers.
It is finally dawning on some Canadian municipalities that there is
no mechanism in place for the inspection of authorized medicinal
cannabis growing facilities. How this issue is resolved might answer
some of the larger questions surrounding how growing your own for
personal use might be regulated in the future.
Speaking of the future, young people seem to be getting the "message"
that their elders have avoided, and understand all to well that
cannabis is "safer" than alcohol.
Finally, a seasoned stoner reflects back on over four decades of
cannabis culture and cannabis prohibition in New York City.
As our feature article this week observes, cannabis seems to be becoming increasingly mainstream, and the media appear to be taking the matter more seriously, making it more difficult for drug warriors to demonize and marginalize cannabis law reformers.
It is finally dawning on some Canadian municipalities that there is no mechanism in place for the inspection of authorized medicinal cannabis growing facilities. How this issue is resolved might answer some of the larger questions surrounding how growing your own for personal use might be regulated in the future.
Speaking of the future, young people seem to be getting the "message" that their elders have avoided, and understand all to well that cannabis is "safer" than alcohol.
Finally, a seasoned stoner reflects back on over four decades of cannabis culture and cannabis prohibition in New York City.
(13) A POPULAR PLANT IS QUIETLY SPREADING ACROSS TV SCREENS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 15 Sep 2009
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2009 The New York Times Company
Author: Brian Stelter
LOS ANGELES -- Tips for cultivating marijuana. Testimonials by patients about its medical benefits. Cannabis cooking lessons. Even citations for award-winning strains of pot. Viewers here can now watch, every week, what amounts to a pro-weed news program.
Booted off one skittish TV station but quickly picked up by another, the low-budget "Cannabis Planet" show is televised evidence of how entrenched marijuana has become in California's cultural firmament and a potent example of the way the pot subculture has been edging into the national mainstream.
"We're trying to show the legitimacy of this plant," said Brad Lane, the executive producer of the half-hour program.
Mr. Lane pays for the twice-weekly air time on the independent station KJLA -- Thursday and Saturday nights at 11:30, sandwiched between "Bikini Beach" and "Jewelry Central" -- and says he is now breaking even, almost two months after the show's premiere. "Cannabis Planet" focuses on medical, agricultural and industrial uses of the hemp plant, purposely ignoring marijuana's recreational aspects. Viewers, for instance, see very little actual smoking, even though the hosts and producers are known to inhale between takes. "We're walking on eggshells here, to be honest," Mr. Lane said.
Still, "Cannabis Planet" remains on the air -- with not a single complaint from viewers, according to the station.
(14) SCRUTINY FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA SITES ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 14 Sep 2009
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Kim Bolan, Staff Writer
Council Asks Where Legal Pot Is Grown To Ensure Homes Properly Modified
The City of Surrey wants to know which of its residents have licences to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Surrey Coun. Marvin Hunt pitched a resolution last week to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities asking the federal government to inform cities when medicinal pot licences are approved.
This would allow municipalities to pinpoint where the pot is being grown and ensure homes are properly modified, he said.
"We will make sure they get the proper permits and inspections so the place won't be a fire hazard for them or anyone else," Hunt added.
The resolution was made on behalf of B.C. fire chiefs, who argue medical marijuana growers often alter wiring and make structural changes to their homes before starting their growing operations.
Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis said this not only creates an increased fire risk but poses health problems in the home, such as mould and improper chemical storage.
Also, when people leave a home or move out, the city doesn't necessarily know the house was used to grow pot.
"The city doesn't know where they are," Garis said, adding: "It's no different than a criminal grow-op because of the clandestine nature. Even though there are indications they should seek approval, there are no requirements."
(15) SOME POTENT ARGUMENTS FOR LEGALIZING MARIJUANA ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 13 Sep 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company
Author: Robert McCartney
As Maryland weighs legalizing medical marijuana, it should consider my experience when I visited the student lounge at Montgomery College's Rockville campus at lunchtime last week and began interviewing randomly selected students about their views on weed.
Among the first group I approached, one of the four young men volunteered within minutes that he not only smoked marijuana but also sold it. He told me his price list: $10 a gram for "middies," the least potent and most readily available variety; $20 a gram for "headies" with more THC; $35 for the strongest, "exotic" types, like "white widow."
The youth's matter-of-fact attitude highlights a reality that's under our nose but is often overlooked in the oh-so-earnest debates over drug policy. When it comes to marijuana, American society has lost the war on drugs--and that's okay. We should stop squandering time and money trying to reverse history and instead legalize both medical and recreational use of this mild narcotic widely seen as no more harmful than alcohol.
(16) THE SPLITTING IMAGE OF POT ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 13 Sep 2009
Source: New York Magazine (NY)
Copyright: 2009 New York Magazine
Author: Mark Jacobson
On the One Hand, Marijuana Is Practically Legal - More Mainstream, Accessorized, and Taken for Granted Than Ever Before. On the Other, Kids Are Getting Busted in the City in Record Numbers. Guess Which Kids.
Any righteous cannabisalista knows the timeline, the grand saga of humanity's interface with the vegetable mind of the planet.
Back in 8000 B.C., before Genesis in Sarah Palin's book, the sentient were weaving hemp plant into loincloths. The Chinese had it in their pharmacopoeia by 2700 B.C. The Founding Fathers used pot processed into paper stock to write a draft of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, which made sense, since Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, along with their slaves, of course, had been raising the crop for decades.
There are other, darker dates, too, like June 14, 1937, when Congress, four years after repealing alcohol prohibition, passed the "Marihuana Tax Act," which essentially outlawed the use of "all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L.," including the "growing," "the seeds thereof," and "the resin extracted from any part of such plant."
As far as yours truly is concerned, however, the most important date in pot history took place on a chilly early-December night shortly after the Great Blackout of 1965, when, seated on the pitcher's mound of a frost-covered baseball diamond in Alley Pond Park, Queens, I first got high on the stuff.
That means I've been a pothead for going on 44 years now, or approximately 72.1 percent of my current life. Should I live to be 100, that percentage will increase to 83 percent, since, as Fats Waller implied when he sang "If You're a Viper," you're always a viper.
COMMENTS: ( Top )
In Canada last October, there was a Federal election. When it looked
to Albera Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer like the election might be
close, Jaffer played his "ace in the hole", a slick political hit ad
to tar political opponents with links to drugs. (Jaffer lost in an
surprise upset to the NDP.) Now, almost a year later, Rahim Jaffer
was charged with possession of cocaine when an after-midnight
traffic stop for drunk driving last week turned up a packet of
cocaine on the former Conservative MP.
An article by Simon Fraser University Criminology Professor Neil
Boyd, in this week's Vancouver Sun newspaper welcomes another
election this fall as that "will kill critical anti-crime
legislation" including mandatory minimums for drug crime. "Any one
who sells any amount of any illegal drug, and anyone who grows more
than five marijuana plants will go to jail for a minimum term of six
months. Who does this legislation target? User-dealers with
addiction and mental health problems -- and marijuana growers who
are neither predatory nor violent."
And from England this week, two cogent pieces in support of
legalizing drugs. The first, by John Gray in last Sunday's Observer
notes, "The war on drugs is a failed policy that has injured far
more people than it has protected... The anti-drug crusade will go
down as among the greatest follies of modern times... Though
politicians like to pretend they embody a moral consensus, there is
none on the morality of drug use." The problem? "It remains the case
that without a change of mind in the leaders of rich countries,
above all in the United States, the futile global crusade will
In "Better World: Legalise Drugs", New Scientist author Clare Wilson
says, "the war on drugs is making the world a much more dangerous
place... The evidence suggests most of the problems stem not from
drugs themselves, but from the fact that they are illegal. The
obvious answer, then, is to make them legal." The problem with that?
"Unfortunately, the idea that banning drugs is the best way to
protect vulnerable people - especially children - has acquired a
strong emotional grip, one that politicians are happy to exploit."
In Canada last October, there was a Federal election. When it looked to Albera Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer like the election might be close, Jaffer played his "ace in the hole", a slick political hit ad to tar political opponents with links to drugs. (Jaffer lost in an surprise upset to the NDP.) Now, almost a year later, Rahim Jaffer was charged with possession of cocaine when an after-midnight traffic stop for drunk driving last week turned up a packet of cocaine on the former Conservative MP.
An article by Simon Fraser University Criminology Professor Neil Boyd, in this week's Vancouver Sun newspaper welcomes another election this fall as that "will kill critical anti-crime legislation" including mandatory minimums for drug crime. "Any one who sells any amount of any illegal drug, and anyone who grows more than five marijuana plants will go to jail for a minimum term of six months. Who does this legislation target? User-dealers with addiction and mental health problems -- and marijuana growers who are neither predatory nor violent."
And from England this week, two cogent pieces in support of legalizing drugs. The first, by John Gray in last Sunday's Observer notes, "The war on drugs is a failed policy that has injured far more people than it has protected... The anti-drug crusade will go down as among the greatest follies of modern times... Though politicians like to pretend they embody a moral consensus, there is none on the morality of drug use." The problem? "It remains the case that without a change of mind in the leaders of rich countries, above all in the United States, the futile global crusade will continue."
In "Better World: Legalise Drugs", New Scientist author Clare Wilson says, "the war on drugs is making the world a much more dangerous place... The evidence suggests most of the problems stem not from drugs themselves, but from the fact that they are illegal. The obvious answer, then, is to make them legal." The problem with that? "Unfortunately, the idea that banning drugs is the best way to protect vulnerable people - especially children - has acquired a strong emotional grip, one that politicians are happy to exploit."
(17) FORMER MP JAFFER FACES CHARGES OF COCAINE POSSESSION, DRUNK DRIVING ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 17 Sep 2009
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2009 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Kate Hammer, With a report from The Canadian
Former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer, once a precocious rising political star, has been charged with drunk driving and cocaine possession.
"When we arrested him, we handcuffed and searched him and that's when we located the cocaine on his person," said Sargeant Mike Garant of the Caledon OPP.
Days before the vote, Mr. Jaffer's campaign approved radio ads chiding NDP Leader Jack Layton for comments years earlier that Mr. Jaffer cast as broad support for marijuana use. The spots said, in part, "Edmontonians understand how difficult it is to make sure our children make the right choices, especially on serious issues like drug use. The Conservative Party supports drug-free schools and getting tough with drug dealers who sell illegal drugs to children. Don't let our schools go up in smoke. On Oct. 14, vote Conservative."
(18) WE CAN ONLY GET TOUGH ON CRIME IF LEGISLATION IS UP TO THE TASK ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 14 Sep 2009
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Neil Boyd, Criminology Professor, Simon Fraser University.
Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan has complained that a fall election will kill critical anti-crime legislation currently before the House of Commons, bills that would eliminate the faint hope clause and impose mandatory minimums for drug crime.
Even more questionable are the extremely expensive mandatory minimums for drug crime, depriving the judiciary of the possibility of tailoring the punishment to fit the crime. If the legislation here was smart and focussed, it might be easy to support -- target those who have guns and spring traps in grow-ops and those who expose children to public safety risks in the course of illegal drug distribution -- and creatively increase the use of financial penalties to take the profit out of the industry.
But that's not what they're doing. Any one who sells any amount of any illegal drug, and anyone who grows more than five marijuana plants will go to jail for a minimum term of six months.
Who does this legislation target? User-dealers with addiction and mental health problems -- and marijuana growers who are neither predatory nor violent. Just take a look at who gets arrested and convicted of illegal drug trafficking in Canada today -- they are almost always small time user dealers; only a tiny percentage of those convicted are kingpins of the industry.
These election bills should die on the order paper. The Tories aren't tough on crime; they're stupid on crime. What's disappointing is that Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals have been so unwilling to challenge the morally and scientifically bankrupt agenda that the Tories have been advancing.
There's still time, however, and it's quite likely that Canadians would listen. It's fine to be tough on crime -- on people who are violent and predatory -- but let's make sure that our legislation is actually up to the task.
(19) THE CASE FOR LEGALISING ALL DRUGS IS UNANSWERABLE ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 13 Sep 2009
Source: Observer, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Guardian News and Media Limited
Author: John Gray
The war on drugs is a failed policy that has injured far more people than it has protected. Around 14,000 people have died in Mexico's drug wars since the end of 2006, more than 1,000 of them in the first three months of this year. Beyond the overflowing morgues in Mexican border towns, there are uncounted numbers who have been maimed, traumatised or displaced. From Liverpool to Moscow, Tokyo to Detroit, a punitive regime of prohibition has turned streets into battlefields, while drug use has remained embedded in the way we live. The anti-drug crusade will go down as among the greatest follies of modern times.
Though politicians like to pretend they embody a moral consensus, there is none on the morality of drug use. Barack Obama has admitted to taking cocaine, while David Cameron refuses to answer the question. Neither has suffered any significant political fall-out. Everyone knows drug use was commonplace in the generation from which these politicians come and no one is fussed. What is more bothersome is that the tacit admission by these leaders that drug use is a normal part of life goes with unwavering support for the failed policy of prohibition.
The urgent need is for a shift in thinking. There are hopeful signs of this happening in some of the emerging countries, such as Argentina, Mexico and Brazil (whose former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso last week argued forcefully in this newspaper that the war on drugs has failed). There is no reason why these countries, which bear much of the brunt of the drug wars, should wait for an outbreak of reason among politicians in rich countries. They should abandon prohibition as soon as they can.
It remains the case that without a change of mind in the leaders of rich countries, above all in the United States, the futile global crusade will continue. The likelihood that the American political classes will call a halt any time soon must be close to zero. Yet it is pleasant to dream that President Obama, in the midst of all the other dilemmas he is facing, may one day ask himself whether America or the world can any longer afford the absurd war on drugs.
(20) BETTER WORLD: LEGALISE DRUGS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 10 Sep 2009
Source: New Scientist (UK)
Copyright: 2009 New Scientist, RBI Limited
Author: Clare Wilson
Far from protecting us and our children, the war on drugs is making the world a much more dangerous place.
The evidence suggests most of the problems stem not from drugs themselves, but from the fact that they are illegal. The obvious answer, then, is to make them legal.
Making drugs illegal also makes them more dangerous. The lack of access to clean needles for drug users who inject is a major factor in the spread of lethal viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C.
So what's the alternative? There are several models for the legal provision of recreational drugs. They include prescription by doctors, consumption at licensed premises or even sale on a similar basis to alcohol and tobacco, with health warnings and age limits. If this prospect appals you, consider the fact that in the U.S. today, many teenagers say they find it easier to buy cannabis than beer.
Taking any drug - including alcohol and nicotine - does have health risks, but a legal market would at least ensure that the substances people ingest or inject are available unadulterated and at known dosages. Much of the estimated $300 billion earned from illegal drugs worldwide, which now funds crime, corruption and environmental destruction, could support legitimate jobs. And instead of spending tens of billions enforcing prohibition, governments would gain income from taxes that could be spent on medical treatment for the small proportion of users who become addicted or whose health is otherwise harmed.
Unfortunately, the idea that banning drugs is the best way to protect vulnerable people - especially children - has acquired a strong emotional grip, one that politicians are happy to exploit. For many decades, laws and public policy have flown in the face of the evidence. Far from protecting us, this approach has made the world a much more dangerous place than it need be.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
DRUG WAR'S RACIST ROOTS? ( Top )
NORML DAILY AUDIO STASH ( Top )
Dr. Mitch Earleywine on Jack Herer's heart attack and cannabis & PSAs that fail to stop kids from toking; Hempstalk live audio.
JACK HERER & DR. PHILIP LEVEQUE AT PORTLAND HEMPSTALK ( Top )
THE MARIJUANA ADS THAT ABC, FOX, AND CBS REFUSED TO SHOW YOU ( Top )
Three of the biggest TV stations in New York City don't want you to know about it. ABC, FOX, and CBS affiliates all refused to run ads in support of protecting medical marijuana patients. This is the message they don't want you to hear:
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Century of Lies - 09/13/09 - Kathleen Staudt
Professors Kathleen Stoudt & Tony Payan from UT El Paso regarding forthcoming conference on the war on drugs + Border Czar Allen Bersen & Lew Rockwell "Never Talk to the Police"
Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 09/13/09 - Paul Armentano
Paul Armentano, Dep. Dir of NORML, co author of "Marijuana is Safer, So Why are We Driving People to Drink?" + Throwing Down the Gauntlet #2
MARIJUANA ARRESTS DROP FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2002 ( Top )
by Bruce Mirken
HEROIN TRIALS WELCOME - BUT THE WAIT HAS COST LIVES ( Top )
Transform yesterday wholeheartedly welcomed the results of the heroin prescribing trials (as reported by the BBC), and the understanding that these pilots would be rolled out further still - perhaps to four or five new locations.
However, as the RIOTT Trials are published to much celebration, what have we really discovered?
HOUSE PASSES STUDENT LOAN BILL WITH LIMITS ON "AID ELIMINATION PENALTY" ( Top )
Drug War Chronicle, Issue #601, 9/18/09
The infamous Higher Education Act (HEA) anti-drug provision, or "Aid Elimination Penalty," which bars students committing drug offenses from receiving financial aid for specified periods of time, took a step toward further dilution this week when the US House of Representatives Thursday approved H.R. 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA).
DRUG CZAR FOLLIES AND QUESTIONS ( Top )
A couple weeks ago, I let you know about an upcoming online event sponsored by Harvard, featuring the Drug Czar.
The audio file from that discussion is now available for download here:
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
WRITE A LETTER ( Top )
How Pot Became Legal - A DrugSense Focus Alert
BOSTON FREEDOM RALLY ( Top )
September 19, 2009, High Noon, Boston Common
Mark your calendars! This year's Boston Freedom Rally will be the best yet, celebrating 20 years of The Rally.
ATTEND THE 38TH ANNUAL NATIONAL NORML CONFERENCE ( Top )
The 2009 NORML Conference will be held Thursday, September 24 through Saturday, September 26 at the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco, CA. Join NORML's staff and Board of Directors - and over 500 policy activists, medical patients, cultivators, doctors, politicians, and clinical investigators - as we congregate and celebrate in one of America's most 'cannabis friendly' cities.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
U.S. NOT A GOOD EXAMPLE By Maria Benham Regarding Gwynne Dyer's ( Top )
read an article with some common sense when it comes to individual use of illegal drugs. Humans have been altering their mental states for eons and will continue to do so. Education, scientific facts and responsibility usually modify the individual's use of drugs. There will always be a small percentage of the population that cannot control their addictions. Locking people up in jail will never solve that problem. The U.S. is proving to be a good example of what not to do. Maria Benham Arva
Pubdate: Sat, 12 Sep 2009
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
Media Awareness On Drug Prohibition Grows ( Top )
By Stephen Young
Have you heard the news?
Big media are backing away from drug war hysteria.
An oped by Misha Glenny in the New York Times today ends this way:
"After 80 years of war on drugs, consumers have easier access to a greater variety of these products than ever. Prices continue to drop while the profits of narco-traffickers go up. But - given the developments in South America, Europe and Canada - we are perhaps for the first time seeing the emergence of a coalition determined to challenge a policy that generates unimaginable misery year in and year out." ( see http://tinyurl.com/kulj9c )
In recent days, both Fortune ( http://tinyurl.com/nfdlat ) and the Wall Street Journal ( http://tinyurl.com/lx6vs3) have printed serious, in-depth features on medical cannabis as business. Compare those stories against a horrendous bit of speculative fiction posing as journalism presented by National Public Radio just five months ago - ( see http://tinyurl.com/msed8q )
Recent analysis in the Columbia Journalism Review ( http://tinyurl.com/kpkw68) noted that a serious approach to medical cannabis that rejects propagandistic scare tactics is becoming more of the norm among media outlets.
After closely watching the mainstream media's coverage of the drug war for roughly ten years, I've got to say: It's about time.
Why is it happening now? Consider the following factors:
* The carnage in Mexico illustrates the true horrors of prohibition's logical progression
* The ongoing trend of Latin American nations moving to legalize personal drug use
* New positive research about the benefits of cannabinoids is released almost daily
* Financial crises at multiple levels of government, coupled with financial success in medical cannabis markets leads to new thinking about solutions
* Bloggers dissection of drug war disinformation from the mainstream media
* The Media Awareness Project's efforts to archive both good and bad articles and to encourage activist response
And one more big one: Mass media markets with eroding audiences trying to find new ways to connect. The big media has always been a stumbling block to drug policy reform, as it seemed to find value in the sensationalism and appearance of moral rectitude that one-sided drug war stories offer.
Now, with some major newspapers barely hanging on (stories out of Chicago this week suggest that the Sun-Times has just enough cash to cover liquidation, unless a big investor steps up), editors seem to understand that readers want real, accurate information on controversial issues like drug prohibition - not a modified DARE lesson.
Of course, the transformation is not complete. The New York Times just a few weeks ago displayed schizophrenia when it published a fairly glowing book review of an anti-cannabis polemic titled "The Lost Child: A Mother's Story" by Julie Myerson. Along with neglecting to question passages that reflect scientifically questionable reefer madness, the book review failed to mention concerns about narrative accuracy that were debated when the book was first published in Myerson's native England.
But, later, in another section of the paper, the Times did at least mention the fact that Meyerson's son told a different story, though the article focused more on the ethics of writing about family problems.
Drug war addiction is a tough habit to break. The whole press corps won't get it overnight. But, the real news is that many seem to be on their way.
Stephen Young is an editor with DrugSense Weekly
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." - Marcus Aurelius
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