THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) SENATE TAKES AIM AT SECOND TORY CRIME BILL
Pubdate: Fri, 9 Oct 2009
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Janice Tibbetts, Canwest News Service
Committee Grills Minister Over Minimum Sentence Exceptions
The Liberal-dominated Senate, a day after rewriting a Harper government crime bill, signalled that it will alter another piece of law-and-order legislation that would automatically jail drug dealers and marijuana growers for the first time in Canada.
A Senate committee grilled Justice Minister Rob Nicholson on his proposed legislation Thursday -- particularly an element allowing drug pushers in six Canadian cities to escape jail time if they go through drug treatment courts -- an option that is not available elsewhere because drug courts exist only in those cities.
"How can you bring in all of these minimum sentences and say, if there are drug treatment courts in your area, you won't have to go to jail for the minimum sentence?" Liberal Senator George Baker said after the hearing.
"I think definitely amendments will be put forth by Liberal members and by Conservative members."
(2) STUDY FINDS HIGH RATE OF IMPRISONMENT AMONG DROPOUTS ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 9 Oct 2009
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2009 The New York Times Company
Author: Sam Dillon
On any given day, about one in every 10 young male high school dropouts is in jail or juvenile detention, compared with one in 35 young male high school graduates, according to a new study of the effects of dropping out of school in an America where demand for low-skill workers is plunging.
The picture is even bleaker for African-Americans, with nearly one in four young black male dropouts incarcerated or otherwise institutionalized on an average day, the study said. That compares with about one in 14 young, male, white, Asian or Hispanic dropouts.
Researchers at Northeastern University used census and other government data to carry out the study, which tracks the employment, workplace, parenting and criminal justice experiences of young high school dropouts.
"We're trying to show what it means to be a dropout in the 21st century United States," said Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern, who headed a team of researchers that prepared the report. "It's one of the country's costliest problems. The unemployment, the incarceration rates -- it's scary."
(3) NY's ROCKEFELLER DRUG LAW REFORM TAKES EFFECT ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 9 Oct 2009
Source: AlterNet (US Web)
Copyright: 2009 Independent Media Institute
Author: Gabriel Sayegh
Change We Can Believe In
Jail for Drug Offenses Is No Longer Mandatory in New York: Judges Can Send People Suffering From Addiction into a Range of Programs, Such As Treatment and Mental Health Services.
This week, two essential components of Rockefeller Drug Law reform go into effect: restoration of judicial discretion and resentencing eligibility for some people currently incarcerated under the failed laws. The enactment of these hard-won reforms signals a major shift in New York's approach to drug abuse and dependency.
By restoring discretion, incarceration for drug offenses is no longer mandatory: judges once more have the ability to send individuals suffering from addiction into a range of programs, such as treatment and mental health services. In addition, nearly 1,500 people currently incarcerated under the old laws for low-level, nonviolent drug offenses can now petition the court for resentencing. If approved by a judge, many of these people will finally be released.
Enacted in 1973, the Rockefeller Drug Laws mandated extremely harsh mandatory minimum prison terms for possession or sale of relatively small amounts of drugs. Although intended to target "kingpins," most of the people incarcerated under the laws were convicted of low-level, nonviolent offenses. Many had no prior criminal records. The laws marked an unprecedented shift towards addressing drug abuse and dependency through the criminal justice system, instead of through health-oriented systems. Unfortunately, the Rockefeller Drug Laws became the template for implementing the nation's drug war.
(4) D.A. PREPARES TO CRACK DOWN ON POT OUTLETS ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 9 Oct 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: John Hoeffel
Cooley Says the Vast Majority of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in L.A. County Are Operating Illegally.
Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley said Thursday he will prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries for over-the-counter sales, targeting a practice that has become commonplace under an initiative approved by California voters more than a decade ago.
"The vast, vast, vast majority, about 100%, of dispensaries in Los Angeles County and the city are operating illegally, they are dealing marijuana illegally, according to our theory," he said. "The time is right to deal with this problem."
Cooley and Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich recently concluded that state law bars sales of medical marijuana, an opinion that could spark a renewed effort by law enforcement across the state to rein in the use of marijuana. It comes as polls show a majority of state voters back legalization of marijuana, and supporters are working to place the issue on the ballot next year.
The district attorney's office is investigating about a dozen dispensaries, following police raids, and is considering filing felony charges against one that straddles the Los Angeles-Culver City line.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
More independent thought regarding the drug war here in the U.S. and
abroad - from elected officials even. In Washington, D.C., AIDS
awareness seems to be finally growing, as infection rates in the
city rival some very poor countries. And despite all the new
awareness, there are still some people who don't get it; but of
course, their paycheck depends on not getting it.
More independent thought regarding the drug war here in the U.S. and abroad - from elected officials even. In Washington, D.C., AIDS awareness seems to be finally growing, as infection rates in the city rival some very poor countries. And despite all the new awareness, there are still some people who don't get it; but of course, their paycheck depends on not getting it.
(5) KEENE COUNCILORS TO WRITE REPS, NOT RESOLUTION ( Top )
Keene Councilors To Write Reps, Not Resolution
Pubdate: Fri, 2 Oct 2009
Source: Union Leader (Manchester, NH)
Copyright: 2009 The Union Leader Corp.
Author: Melanie Plenda, Union Leader Correspondent
KEENE - Councilors voted Thursday night to send letters to state lawmakers expressing their individual opinions on decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The 9-5 vote came in response to a request made last month by retired Keene police officer and former city councilman Frederick Parsells. He had asked councilors to write a resolution advising legislators that the city backs decriminalization.
The resolution would have had no legal weight; its intent was to send a strong message to Concord, Parsells said.
A Sept. 17 vote resulted in some confusion, so the councilors took up the issue again last night.
Councilor Philip Jones made a motion to amend the question being voted on, so that sentiments about the marijuana question would be expressed by each person on the council -- not by the council on behalf of the city.
(6) MAKE DRUGS LEGAL, SAYS FORMER U.S. POLICE CHIEF ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 3 Oct 2009
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Copyright: 2009 The Sydney Morning Herald
Author: Michael Duffy
A RETIRED American police chief will tell a Sydney audience tomorrow that the war on drugs has been a failure, and a disaster for police forces.
Norm Stamper retired as chief of police in Seattle in 2000, and is a spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a fast-growing U.S. organisation of 13,000 current and former police officers, prison warders, prosecutors and judges.
He says that since Richard Nixon began the drug war in 1971, the most common reason for arresting young Americans has been for non-violent drug offences. Millions have been jailed, with often devastating effects on themselves and their families. Mr Stamper said this had driven a wedge between police and many otherwise law-abiding Americans.
(7) STEPPING UP FOR CLINIC BY RAISING $800,000 ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 4 Oct 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company
Author: N. C. Aizenman, Washington Post Staff
D.C. AIDS Walk
With many District residents stunned by recent findings that the city's HIV/AIDS infection rate is at epidemic levels, the 23rd annual AIDS Walk Washington attracted the highest turnout in several years, organizers said Saturday.
More than 7,000 participants, ranging from 20-somethings in ball gowns and other festive costumes to senior citizens in T-shirts, strolled or ran the 5-kilometer route along Pennsylvania Avenue NW in the morning, raising nearly $800,000 to benefit the nonprofit Whitman-Walker Clinic and its HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs.
Don Blanchon, the clinic's executive director and chief executive, attributed the heightened awareness to publication of a city study in March that found that 3 percent of District residents are infected with HIV -- a higher rate than in West Africa and on par with those in Uganda and parts of Kenya.
"There was a bit of shock and embarrassment and disappointment that we haven't done more in the fight against AIDS," Blanchon said. "So what we've seen in the months since that report has been a renewed sense of commitment -- more people volunteering, more people donating."
"I'm an epidemiologist, and I still find the statistics surprising," said Kathy Bainbridge, 44, who decided to join the timed-run portion of the event with several neighbors.
Many in the crowd also said they had been touched personally by the disease, which has hit the city's African American men particularly hard, infecting nearly 7 percent.
(8) 'WAR ON DRUGS' CONFERENCE GOT THE ISSUE WRONG ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 04 Oct 2009
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2009 El Paso Times
Author: Robert Almonte
The recent the "War on Drugs" conference held in El Paso was a dismal failure and merely an effort to push the pro-legalization agenda.
Pro-legalization advocates, including Beto O'Rourke, have argued that the nation's current war on drugs has been a complete failure. This is simply not true.
While not perfect, there have been several successes: Today, there are fewer people using drugs in the U.S. than 30 years ago. Overall, drug use has decreased by 30 percent in the last 20 years, while cocaine use has dropped by 70 percent.
A study by the University of Michigan, "Monitoring the Future," showed there were approximately 900,000 fewer eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders using illegal drugs in 2008 than in 2001. These successes are a result of a comprehensive strategy of prevention, treatment, and enforcement.
Legalization advocates argue that jails are full of people charged with possession of only small amounts of marijuana. According to the Bureau of Justice, of the 1.2 million prisoners in the United States, 80.4 percent are incarcerated for offenses not involving drugs. Less than one-half of 1 percent are jailed for marijuana possession only.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Some local drug court employees in Georgia are offended by a new
report suggesting that the courts aren't all that effective.
Elsewhere, drug war law takes more life and creates more scapegoats.
Some local drug court employees in Georgia are offended by a new report suggesting that the courts aren't all that effective. Elsewhere, drug war law takes more life and creates more scapegoats.
(9) SUPPORTERS: DRUG COURT DOES WORK ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 3 Oct 2009
Source: Times, The (Gainesville, GA)
Copyright: 2009 Gainesville Times
Author: Stephen Gurr
Referenced: The report http://drugsense.org/url/Nr6BWT5C
Report Criticizes System
A national organization's critical report on drug courts has supporters defending a system they say has reduced repeat offenses and improved lives by making substance abuse treatment a part of the judicial process.
This week the 11,000-member National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers issued "America's Problem-Solving Courts: The Criminal Costs of Treatment and the Case for Reform," a report that studied some of the nation's 2,100-plus drug, DUI and mental health courts. Hall County operates four treatment courts that require participants to get ongoing court-monitored treatment for substance abuse or mental health issues. All but DUI court are voluntary.
The report criticizes drug courts that require participants to plead guilty to the underlying charge before treatment begins. In Hall County's felony drug court, the criminal charge is dismissed and the conviction erased if a participant successfully completes the intensive two-year program.
The report claims that the system "results in dismissals for relatively few defendants."
But in Hall County drug court, 91 percent of the people who have entered the program have successfully completed it and had their charges dropped, with 313 graduates since the program started in 2000. Only 4.9 percent of those who have completed the program have gone on to commit new offenses, a far lower recidivism rate than typical felony cases, according to Debbie Mott, Hall County's director of treatment services.
Superior Court Judge Jason Deal, who oversees felony drug court in Hall and Dawson counties, disagrees with the report's contention that drug courts should be operated without requiring a participant to first plead guilty.
Deal said one of the keys to the effectiveness of drug courts is that participants know if they don't complete the requirements and are terminated from the program, the felony conviction stays.
(10) DRUG GANG HIT LEAVES A FORMER KELOWNA RESIDENT DEAD ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 02 Oct 2009
Source: Kelowna Capital News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009, West Partners Publishing Ltd.
Author: Mike Simmons, Staff Writer
A former Kelowna resident was one of the men killed in a violent shooting in Mexico.
B.C. men Jeffrey Ronald Ivans and Gordon Douglas Kendall were shot at the Gloria Sun Condominiums in Puerto Vallarta on Sept. 27, according to the Mexican publication Noticias Puerto Vallarta. Witnesses said a group of armed men arrived at the building.
Ivans was shot five times by a 9 mm handgun.
Witnesses confirmed that a young man shot Kendall and then pursued Ivans out to the pool area of the building, where Ivans' body was found.
A 25-calibre pistol with six bullets in it was found at his side.
Both men were shot again after receiving fatal wounds, a style that Mexican authorities suspect involved "the adjustment of accounts."
(11) A TALE OF TWO DRUGGIES; AND GOVERNMENT QUITS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 3 Oct 2009
Source: Journal-Inquirer (Manchester, CT)
Copyright: 2009 Journal-Inquirer
Author: Chris Powell
Connecticut's sensation the other day was the arrest of a woman from Windham for a weeklong crime spree, the robbery of six banks from West Springfield to Westerly, R.I. The woman, 34, has a criminal record involving drugs and prostitution and police believe she committed the robberies to support her drug addiction. That suspicion about her was shared in a television station's interview with a friend who lamented emotionally his inability to stop her. The friend speculated that her robberies were a "cry for help." Indeed, the woman did not disguise herself as, a bit ridiculously, she told bank tellers that she was carrying a bomb in a handbag.
A couple of days after the Windham woman's arrest, the 21-year-old son of Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and drug charges in connection with incidents this year and in 2007. The mayor's son was lucky to get a suspended sentence. His parents say he has mental health and addiction problems and is getting treatment. Since Mayor Malloy is again a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor, a newspaper was able to extract well wishes for him and his son from two of his rivals.
Of course nobody bothered casting around for well wishes for the sad sack from Windham. She's probably facing a long stay at the women's prison in Niantic.
In their own ways the two cases were pathetic, but not as pathetic as government's treatment of the underlying problems -- criminal treatment. After all, is society really better served by driving such problems underground and outside the law? What if such problems were decriminalized and medicalized -- that is, if people were allowed to be recognized as addicts and to obtain their intoxicants by prescription in a clinical environment where they might at least be invited to obtain whatever addiction-breaking help is available?
(12) CHOPPER PILOT JAILED ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 06 Oct 2009
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Lora Grindlay, The Province
Kelowna Man, 29, Dubbed 'Sacrificial Lamb' By Lawyer
A 29-year-old Kelowna helicopter pilot has been sentenced to almost four years in jail for his part in a cross-border drug-smuggling ring.
Jeremy Snow was given the 46-month sentence Friday by Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle's U.S. District Court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance (marijuana).
Snow was arrested March 5 when he landed a helicopter in the woods of northern Idaho with 79 kilograms of marijuana on board. His arrest came as part of Operation Blade Runner, a joint Canada-U.S. investigation.
Just prior to Snow's arrest, Samuel Lindsay-Brown, 24, of Nelson was arrested on Feb. 23 in Ione, Wash., when his helicopter landed and 193 kg of marijuana was seized.
Lindsay-Brown committed suicide four days later while in Spokane County Jail.
A U.S. court document filed by Snow's lawyer, Richard Troberman, describes Snow as a "sacrificial lamb" who was a student at a commercial helicopter flying school when he was recruited to fly the load after the group's regular pilot refused because of the arrest of Lindsay-Brown.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Who could have guessed that domestic cannabis cultivators compete
with Mexican drug cartels?
Marc's wife Jodie Emery and the "Vansterdam" cannabis community are
coming to terms with the Prince of Pot's conspicuous absence.
As foreseen by reformers and feared by prohibitionists, the ubiquity
and economic momentum of the medicinal cannabis industry in
California is gradually undermining criminal prohibition.
Even wildly optimistic reformers fail to account for all the
ancillary economic activity cannabis legalization will foster.
Who could have guessed that domestic cannabis cultivators compete with Mexican drug cartels?
Marc's wife Jodie Emery and the "Vansterdam" cannabis community are coming to terms with the Prince of Pot's conspicuous absence.
As foreseen by reformers and feared by prohibitionists, the ubiquity and economic momentum of the medicinal cannabis industry in California is gradually undermining criminal prohibition.
Even wildly optimistic reformers fail to account for all the ancillary economic activity cannabis legalization will foster.
(13) U.S. MARIJUANA GROWERS CUTTING INTO PROFITS OF MEXICAN TRAFFICKERS ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 7 Oct 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company
Author: Steve Fainaru and William Booth Washington Post Foreign Service
Cartels Face an Economic Battle
ARCATA, Calif. -- Stiff competition from thousands of mom-and-pop marijuana farmers in the United States threatens the bottom line for powerful Mexican drug organizations in a way that decades of arrests and seizures have not, according to law enforcement officials and pot growers in the United States and Mexico.
Illicit pot production in the United States has been increasing steadily for decades. But recent changes in state laws that allow the use and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes are giving U.S. growers a competitive advantage, challenging the traditional dominance of the Mexican traffickers, who once made brands such as Acapulco Gold the standard for quality.
Almost all of the marijuana consumed in the multibillion-dollar U.S. market once came from Mexico or Colombia. Now as much as half is produced domestically, often by small-scale operators who painstakingly tend greenhouses and indoor gardens to produce the more potent, and expensive, product that consumers now demand, according to authorities and marijuana dealers on both sides of the border.
The shifting economics of the marijuana trade have broad implications for Mexico's war against the drug cartels, suggesting that market forces, as much as law enforcement, can extract a heavy price from criminal organizations that have used the spectacular profits generated by pot sales to fuel the violence and corruption that plague the Mexican state.
(14) TORCH PASSED TO PRINCE OF POT'S WIFE ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 07 Oct 2009
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Vancouver Courier
Author: Janaya Fuller-Evans
Jodie Emery, wife of the self-styled Prince of Pot Marc Emery, is moving ahead with business plans for the Cannabis Culture Headquarters store.
Emery is replacing her husband as sole director of Avalon Sunsplash Ltd., the parent company of Cannabis Culture, following his arrest last week.
Marc Emery was taken into custody at B.C.'s Supreme Court Sept. 28. He faces the possibility of extradition to the United States on charges of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and is expected to plead guilty in return for a five-year sentence.
A previous licence application to the city for the business at 307 W. Hastings St. was denied last summer, in part because of her husband's previous convictions on drug-related charges.
The new application should be filed within the next two weeks, according to Emery, who said she's "almost 100 per cent certain" the application will go through, as the majority of city council's problems with the business concerned her husband's involvement.
The company withdrew an application for the Hastings Pot Block's upstairs administrative offices last July because there was no need for a business licence for the political headquarters of the B.C. Marijuana Party, according to lawyer Kirk Tousaw.
Tousaw, who is representing Avalon Sunsplash, said he expects the licence for Cannabis Culture's retail store to be approved.
Marc Emery's lawyers are filing a submission to fight his extradition to the U.S. Tousaw said it could be a month or more before a decision is made.
(15) MEASURE THAT COULD STIR THE POLITICAL POT ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 7 Oct 2009
Source: Ventura County Star (CA)
Copyright: 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co.
Author: Timm Herdt
Forget Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner, Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom. It says here that the most interesting political issue in California next June might not be the Republican and Democratic nominations for governor, but possibly a ballot proposition with the following title: "Changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to Be Regulated and Taxed."
Actually, there are three very similar initiatives now cleared for signature-gathering, but this specific one is sponsored by Richard Lee of Oaksterdam University, one of the most devoted marijuana reformers in the state.
"Oaksterdam" is a section of Oakland that aspires to be like the Dutch city of Amsterdam, where marijuana is legal. The neighborhood features a cluster of medical marijuana facilities and the university it houses boasts that it provides "quality training for the cannabis industry."
Some may snicker at this Cheech & Chong-like narrative, but these are people with a track record of advancing the cause of eliminating marijuana laws.
In 2004, the people of Oaksterdam helped to pass Oakland's Measure Z, which declares prosecution of adult use of marijuana to be that city's "lowest law enforcement priority."
With a little help from such national groups as the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Policy Project, it's entirely possible that this ballot initiative could succeed in collecting the requisite 433,971 valid voter signatures by Feb. 18 and thus make it onto the June ballot.
If it does, well, voters have already shown their willingness to support a partial truce in the war on drugs. In 2000, despite strong law enforcement opposition, they overwhelmingly approved Proposition 36, requiring that certain drug offenders receive treatment instead of jail time. And in 1996, Proposition 215, which legalized the medical use of marijuana, passed by 11 percentage points.
California voters have shown themselves to be well out ahead of elected officials in their willingness to rethink marijuana policy.
(16) WANTED: POT CRITIC WITH SHREWD TASTE AND MEDICAL NEED ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 5 Oct 2009
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2009 The New York Times Company
Author: Richard Perez-Pena
Don't look for phrases like "insouciant yet skunky." At least, not yet.
Westword, an alternative weekly newspaper in Denver, has the standard lineup of film, food and music critics. But in what may be a first for American journalism, the paper is shopping around for a medical marijuana critic.
The idea is not to assess the green stuff itself, but to review the dispensaries that have sprouted like, um, weeds in Denver this year.
"We want to see what kind of place it is, how well they care for you and also how sketchy the place is," said Patricia Calhoun, editor of Westword. "Do they actually look at your medical marijuana card? Do they let you slip some cash under the counter and bypass the rules?"
Last week, the paper published a call for a regular freelance reviewer with a real, doctor-certified medical need -- asking each candidate to send a resume and an essay on "What Marijuana Means to Me" -- and received several dozen applications within a few days.
"Every time an application comes in, it's like opening a little birthday present, because most of them are quite hilarious," Ms. Calhoun said.
"It is the wild west of medical marijuana out here," Ms. Calhoun said. "There were a couple of dozen dispensaries this spring, and now it's over 100. We just heard there's going to be a drive-through dispensary."
Dispensaries promote different strains with distinctive flavors -- there are, after all, marijuana snobs just as there are wine snobs -- and some mix their wares into foods like hummus, pesto and chocolate. So why not critique the cannabis, too?
"It could well be that we will be reviewing the product itself, eventually," she said.
COMMENTS: ( Top )
In the U.K., despite increasing penalties for cocaine crimes, young
people are using the inexpensive stimulant more than in 2006, while
The Times newspaper hails an experimental cocaine vaccine as a shiny
new silver bullet to stop cocaine use.
The Canadian Supreme Court last week rejected government attempts to
justify use of drug sniffer dogs as a "pretext for a search for
Canadian Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson again goaded the
Canadian Senate to pass mandatory minimum laws for drugs, put
forward by the Conservative Party. Nicholson's praise for mandatory
minimums comes at a time when many U.S. states are repealing
mandatory minimums which have packed prisons with low-level drug
offenders while doing little to actually stem drugs.
A piece in this week's Houston Chronicle asks, "how to end the
slaughter in Juarez (Mexico)?" Answer: stop drug prohibition.
Re-allow adults the same freedoms all Americans once shared. As one
ex-narcotics officer admits: "Drug prohibition is causing all of
this... The global war on drugs is probably the greatest public
policy failure of all time."
In the U.K., despite increasing penalties for cocaine crimes, young people are using the inexpensive stimulant more than in 2006, while The Times newspaper hails an experimental cocaine vaccine as a shiny new silver bullet to stop cocaine use.
The Canadian Supreme Court last week rejected government attempts to justify use of drug sniffer dogs as a "pretext for a search for drugs."
Canadian Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson again goaded the Canadian Senate to pass mandatory minimum laws for drugs, put forward by the Conservative Party. Nicholson's praise for mandatory minimums comes at a time when many U.S. states are repealing mandatory minimums which have packed prisons with low-level drug offenders while doing little to actually stem drugs.
A piece in this week's Houston Chronicle asks, "how to end the slaughter in Juarez (Mexico)?" Answer: stop drug prohibition. Re-allow adults the same freedoms all Americans once shared. As one ex-narcotics officer admits: "Drug prohibition is causing all of this... The global war on drugs is probably the greatest public policy failure of all time."
(17) ADDICTION TO COCAINE AMONG YOUNG DOUBLES IN FOUR YEARS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 8 Oct 2009
Source: Times, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Times Newspapers Ltd
Author: David Rose, Health Correspondent
The number of young people addicted to cocaine has nearly doubled in four years as dependence on heroin or crack declines, NHS figures suggest.
Officials heralded the end of the "Trainspotting" generation as the number of 18 to 24 year-olds seeking treatment for heroin and crack problems has fallen 30 per cent from 12,320 in 2005-06 to 8,603 last year.
But the number in this age group seeking treatment for serious cocaine addiction rose from 1,591 users in 2005 to 2,998 in 2008, reflecting the increasing popularity of the drug in Britain's pubs, clubs and bars.
Animal and human studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that high levels of anti-cocaine antibodies in the blood can stop addicts experiencing a high. Doctors at Yale University School of Medicine gave the vaccine to 55 cocaine addicts and found that 38 per cent were able to achieve the necessary antibody levels to reduce the drug's effects, enabling them to wean themselves off it. However, the researchers add that users would require repeated injections to maintain the effects and it may be several years before a viable vaccination is available.
(18) DOG SEARCH IN DRUG CASE REJECTED BY COURT ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 05 Oct 2009
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2009 The StarPhoenix
Author: Heather Polischuk, Saskatchewan News Network; Regina Leader-Post
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has ruled against the Crown in a case involving use of a drug-sniffer dog -- an issue that has been a bone of contention in Canadian courts in recent years.
The court handed down last week its decision in the case of an Ottawa man, Kang-Po Tom Yeh, who had been arrested and charged with possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking and possession of crime proceeds following a traffic stop by RCMP near Caronport in April 2007.
He went to trial but was acquitted by Queen's Bench Justice Ellen Gunn, who found police had no grounds to call in a drug-sniffer dog to perform a vehicle search that turned up about 5,000 ecstasy pills, 8.5 kilograms of marijuana and $10,000 in cash.
"Police conduct must be considered objectively from the perspective of the ordinary travelling public, as well as from the perspective of crime prevention," Jackson wrote. "If the police can use a sniffer dog when a person is detained in the circumstances such as the case at bar, the traffic stop runs the risk of becoming a pretext for a search for drugs."
(19) JUSTICE MINISTER CRITICIZES SENATE FOR DELAYING 'TOUGH ON CRIME' ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 05 Oct 2009
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Kim Bolan
Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says he is frustrated that the Senate is holding up several "tough on crime" bills, including one that would eliminate double credit for time served before someone is convicted.
Nicholson said in an interview Friday that Canadians are demanding action - particularly to combat out-of-control gang crime.
"I have nine bills before parliament right now and want to get them passed and I am not going to go quietly and have them die on the order paper because these are things that have been asked for," Nicholson said.
"All of these are steps in the right direction and they send the right message to Canadians that we will stand up for victims and law-abiding Canadians."
The elimination of two-for-one credit and minimum sentences for drug traffickers are just two of the components awaiting approval from the Liberal-dominated senate.
But Liberal Senator Larry Campbell said Nicholson should let the Senate do its job and debate each bill thoroughly. Witnesses have been testifying about the two-for-one credit bill in recent days.
"Who is saying we aren't passing it? We are studying it," Campbell said.
"Mr. Nicholson thinks that he lives in the dictatorship of Mr. Harper. We are simply doing our jobs."
He said the two-for-one bill was not received by the Senate until after everyone went home for the summer.
"We never started looking at it until we got back two weeks ago. This idea that we should rubber stamp it for a government that only has support of about a third of the population is ludicrous."
(20) HOW TO END THE SLAUGHTER IN JUAREZ? ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 28 Sep 2009
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2009 Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division, Hearst Newspaper
Author: Dudley Althaus, Houston Chronicle
Some Look to Medellin As a Model, and Others Say Decriminalizing Drugs Is the Answer
CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO --- Seemingly impervious to any treatment, murder has settled into the sinews of this border city like a pestilence.
Many on both sides of the border argue that as long as narcotics remain outlawed in the U.S., the world's biggest illicit narcotics bazaar --- Juarez --- much of Mexico and the Texas borderlands will serve as a blood-soaked trampoline.
"Drug prohibition is causing all of this," said Terry Nelson, a retired U.S. anti-drug agent who spoke at a conference last week at the University of Texas --- El Paso that called for narcotics decriminalization as a means to end the violence. "The global war on drugs is probably the greatest public policy failure of all time."
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
MOUNTIES IGNORE POT SMOKEOUT - MANCHESTER ( Top )
A video by Dave Ridley
CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN - NY'S ROCKEFELLER DRUG LAW REFORM TAKES EFFECT ( Top )
By Gabriel Sayegh
Jail for drug offenses is no longer mandatory in New York: judges can send people suffering from addiction into a range of programs, such as treatment and mental health services.
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Century of Lies - 10/04/09 - Kirk Tousaw
Kirk Tousaw, atty fighting Marc Emery's extradition to the US + Paul Armentano and Steve Dillon of NORML & Abolitionist's Moment
Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 10/04/09 - Beto O'Rourke
Reports from the El Paso conference on the War on Drugs: UTEP president, mayors of El Paso & Ciudad Juarez, Councilman Beto O'Rourke, Terry Nelson of LEAP, & Mike Agar
NORML'S 38TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE - STRUNG THROUGH THE HEART ( Top )
NORML's 38th annual conference in San Francisco, convened September 24-26, was the best attended, ever.
By George Rohrbacher
RICK DOBLIN DISCUSSES UPCOMING MDMA RESEARCH IN VANCOUVER ( Top )
On September 30, Rick Doblin was interviewed on CFAX-1070 AM, Canadian talk radio, about MAPS research in Vancouver.
TIME TO COUNT AND COMPARE THE COSTS OF LEGAL AND ILLEGAL DRUGS ( Top )
A new report published by the Scottish Government this week called 'Assessing the Scale and Impact of Illicit Drug Markets in Scotland' estimated that 'the total economic and social cost of illicit drug use in Scotland is estimated at just under 3.5bn.'
THE FINE LINE BETWEEN POT FEES AND POT PRICES ( Top )
By Jacob Sullum
DAVID PATERSON DOES THE RIGHT THING AND DROPS THE ROCK ( Top )
By Anthony Papa
Today is a historic day for New York, the day that the Rockefeller Drug Law reforms kicked in, setting in motion the release of 1,500 low-level nonviolent drug offenders.
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
FREE DANA BEAL ( Top )
Veteran cannabis activist Dana Beal was one of three men arrested on October 1st in Ashland, Nebraska, after they were pulled over at a traffic stop and police found 150 pounds of cannabis.
ORDER A FREE "MAKE MARIJUANA LEGAL" STICKER ( Top )
Show your support for ending marijuana prohibition with a FREE "Make Marijuana Legal" sticker!
THE POTENTIALLY DEADLY ALCOHOL-MARIJUANA QUIZ ( Top )
Test your knowledge about the relative harms of alcohol and marijuana. There are 10 questions in all.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
WHY DOES UPSET CONTINUE TO PICK ON LEGAL GROWERS? ( Top )
Steven B. Thompson
Jeff Racine, Commander of UPSET: "Some patients, as well as some caregivers who are allowed to grow pot, are abusing the law and obtaining permits through fraud. This deception is creating more problems for law enforcement in Michigan and the other states which have enacted medical marijuana laws."
Excuse me!! Is he saying that the Michigan Dept. of Health is committing fraud? Just what does he know that they don't know? You have to tame your ego Mr. Racine! At least three counties up there are not buying into your lying rhetoric! All this waste of our tax money while Lansing cries that we have none and cuts health, education and welfare for those that need it the most. And for what? Just to pull a plant out of the ground?
We responsible adult cannabis consumers take great offense to the word "hemp" being used in such a derogatory manner when this wonderful plant has played such an important part in our American history. We are coming out of our closets because we are UPSET that Cannabis Prohibition still exists in the land of the free. For every plant pulled and destroyed, 100 more will be planted in their place. We will overgrow the government - our government - and nothing will stop us! We are not going away, and we will not quit using this miracle plant!
If you ever want our help in capturing real criminals who peddle real drugs, Mr.Racine, just ask. Otherwise, your funding-days may be numbered, because Lansing says that we must cut waste.
Rev. Steven B. Thompson, executive director Michigan NORML
Pubdate: Sat, 3 Oct 2009
Source: Daily Press, The (Escanaba, MI)
LETTER WRITER OF THE MONTH - SEPTEMBER ( Top )
DrugSense recognizes Herb Couch of Nelson, B.C. for his eight letters published during September which brings his career total, that we know of, to 27. Herb also newshawks for MAP under a variety of newshawk lines, adding substantially to the number of news clippings archived.
You may review his published letters at:
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
WRITING LETTERS TO THE EDITOR WORKS! ( Top )
By Richard Lake
September ended with 1,805 letters published in support of drug policy reform. If the trend continues this will be the largest number of published letters since 2005. Please click this link to see the counts http://www.mapinc.org/lte/ as shown in our published letters archive.
Please check out the Published Letters Awards page http://www.mapinc.org/lteaward.htm and the letter of writers recognized for the best letter of the week at http://www.mapinc.org/lte_awards/weekly.php
We will leave it up to you to speculate as to why there is a surge in LTE writing this year.
Most drug policy reform organizations encourage writing LTEs, for example:
How To Mount An Effective Letter Writing Campaign http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=3464
Letters to the Editors http://ssdp.org/resources/media.php
Letters to the Editor How-To http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=310
How to Write Letters to the Editor http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/activist/howlte.htm
Tips from MAP's most successful letter writers include How to Write a Letter to the Editor http://www.mapinc.org/resource/how2lte.htm and Tips for Getting Letters to the Editor Published http://www.mapinc.org/resource/tips.htm
As suggested by MAP's top letter writers recent newspaper opinion items make the best targets for your letters. These may be found at http://www.mapinc.org/opinion.htm Other recent articles which could be letter writing targets may be accessed from the MAP home page www.mapinc.org
Since you are reading this you have the best tool to write LTEs already - internet access. Please help sustain the activism represented by all the reform oriented letters published so far this year.
Your letters to the editor are always helpful. Even if a newspaper does not publish your letter you have let that newspaper know that the issue you write about is important to you.
Richard Lake is Senior Editor of Mapinc.org - www.mapinc.org This piece was initially prepared as a DrugSense Focus Alert - http://www.mapinc.org/alert/0416.html
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"This is a proud day for me and so many of my colleagues who have fought for so long to overhaul these laws and restore judicial discretion in narcotics cases." - New York Governor David Paterson on the enactment of a law reforming Rockefeller-era drug laws in the state.
DS Weekly is one of the many free educational services DrugSense offers our members. Watch this feature to learn more about what DrugSense can do for you.
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Policy and Law Enforcement/Prison content selection and analysis by Stephen Young (firstname.lastname@example.org), This Just In selection by Richard Lake (email@example.com) and Stephen Young, International content selection and analysis by Doug Snead (firstname.lastname@example.org), Cannabis/Hemp content selection and analysis, Hot Off The Net selection and Layout by Matt Elrod (email@example.com). Analysis comments represent the personal views of editors, not necessarily the views of DrugSense.
We wish to thank all our contributors, editors, NewsHawks and letter writing activists. Please help us help reform. Become a NewsHawk See http://www.mapinc.org/hawk.htm for info on contributing clippings.
NOTICE: ( Top )
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MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION TO DRUGSENSE ON-LINE ( Top )
Mail in your contribution. Make checks payable to MAP Inc. send your contribution to:
The Media Awareness Project (MAP) Inc. D/B/a DrugSense 14252 Culver Drive #328 Irvine, CA, 92604-0326 (800) 266 5759 MGreer@mapinc.org