THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) BILL TARGETS SENTENCING RULES FOR CRACK AND POWDER COCAINE
Pubdate: Fri, 16 Oct 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company
Author: Carrie Johnson, Washington Post Staff Writer
The Senate's second-ranking Democrat introduced a bill Thursday that would eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and powdered cocaine, an issue that has frustrated judges, civil rights advocates and drug reform proponents for more than two decades.
Under current law, it takes 100 times as much powdered cocaine as crack to trigger the same mandatory minimum sentence. Activists say that disparity disproportionately impacts African Americans.
"The sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine has contributed to the imprisonment of African Americans at six times the rate of whites and to the United States' position as the world's leader in incarcerations," Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a statement. "It's time for us to act."
Durbin's bill would also increase the quantity of crack cocaine required to trigger a mandatory prison term, as well as stiffen penalties for large-scale drug traffickers and violent criminals.
Some law enforcement officials have advocated eliminating the disparity by increasing the penalties for possession of powder cocaine, rather than, as Durbin's bill does, reducing the sentence for crack.
But those calling for a change in the law also cite economic reasons at a time when budgets are tight, noting that half of all federal inmates are imprisoned for drug offenses.
(2) REPORT RENEWS CALL FOR POT LEGALIZATION ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 16 Oct 2009
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2009 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Tiffany Crawford, Canwest News Service
A report released Thursday that shows the number of pot smokers in the world has grown to more than 160 million people has Canadian advocates renewing calls for legalization of the drug.
An Australian study, citing United Nations data from 2006 and published Thursday in the journal Lancet, found that about 166 million people aged 15-64 -- or an estimated one in 25 in that age range -- reported using cannabis. That's up from about 159 million people in 2005.
"It's not going away. So should one in 25 people be criminalized for smoking pot?" asked Eugene Oscapella, an Ottawa professor and spokesman for the Canadian Foundation For Drug Policy. "What this number says to me is the world is not drug free. Some people prefer alcohol over cannabis and some people prefer cannabis."
The foundation is urging the Canadian government to legalize and regulate marijuana, by allowing people to grow their own and taxing sales the way it regulates alcohol or tobacco.
(3) OPED: THE TRUTH ABOUT MEDICAL MARIJUANA ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 15 Oct 2009
Source: Daily Camera (Boulder, CO)
Copyright: 2009 The Daily Camera.
Author: Robert J. Corry, Jr.
These are promising times for Colorado's medical marijuana patients. For years, they've suffered in the dark, desperately seeking only to follow their physicians' orders to use marijuana to address their debilitating medical conditions, taking their wheelchairs at midnight to the streets to purchase low-quality medicine at inflated prices, or struggling in the difficult and physically-taxing endeavor of growing it themselves in expensive indoor gardens. But finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Patients can visualize a world where the supply of medical marijuana is almost as safe to obtain as more dangerous and addictive hard narcotics such as Oxycontin, Percocet, or Fentanyl.
The optimism hasn't come easy. In August, the Boulder District Attorney's Office prosecuted Jason Lauve, a wheelchair-bound medical marijuana patient for two felony charges of possessing low-quality medical marijuana for his own use. While two high-level prosecutors participated in the four-day trial, these talented attorneys could not overcome simple facts: Jason was protected under the Colorado Constitution, which allows him to consume marijuana to treat extreme pain associated with his broken back.
In addition to understanding Lauve's legal rights, many jurors saw the light about marijuana's continued prohibition. Marijuana has alleviated human suffering for thousands of years, is not physically addictive, does not rip apart internal organs like harsh narcotics, and presents an all-natural and organic alternative to synthetic medicine.
After the verdict and an ensuing firestorm of taxpayer outrage, Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett opened his mind. He said that it would be better if marijuana were legal outright, and not just for medical purposes. This is an extraordinary statement from a prosecutor, and Garnett should be applauded for seeing that prohibition is a failed policy that only hurts those that have already suffered too much.
(4) GANGS SEE NZ AS SOFT UNDERBELLY ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 15 Oct 2009
Source: Dominion Post, The (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2009 The Dominion Post
Author: Kiran Chug
New Zealand is seen as a soft target by gangs, which launder millions of dollars through this country, says the head of an Australian police unit set up to combat Melbourne's criminal underworld.
Detective Inspector Bernie Edwards of Victoria Police told the Police Association conference in Wellington yesterday that New Zealand needed to do more to crack down on organised crime.
Mr Edwards heads the Purana Taskforce, set up after a "crisis" of gangland killings in Melbourne, on which the television drama Underbelly was based.
New Zealand needed to target organised crime rings, or risk reaching a crisis point of its own, he said. "Hopefully you realise that you need to stop it before the problems start. You will get shootings, you will get killings - if you do nothing about it."
Police Minister Judith Collins told the conference gangs had infiltrated businesses, and turned legitimate enterprises into money-laundering outlets.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether the government
needs to make it easier for citizens to claim seized assets; police
and the real experts argued about the actual weight and value of
cannabis plants; some in North Carolina seem shocked by cocaine at
the University of North Carolina; and a British journalist discovers
that there really are legal highs.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether the government needs to make it easier for citizens to claim seized assets; police and the real experts argued about the actual weight and value of cannabis plants; some in North Carolina seem shocked by cocaine at the University of North Carolina; and a British journalist discovers that there really are legal highs.
(5) JUSTICES WEIGH RULES ON RECOVERING SEIZED ASSETS ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 14 Oct 2009
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Jess Bravin
WASHINGTON -- Every year, police agencies seize more than $1 billion of cars, cash and other goods linked to drug crimes. The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on how hard it should be for owners to try to recover that property.
Police typically get to keep much of what they seize, although owners can fight forfeiture in court. On Wednesday, the central issue will be whether owners are entitled to a prompt, informal hearing to argue that they should get their property back while waiting for a formal forfeiture proceeding that could be scheduled months or years in the future. At present, some states impound the property during that lag time and provide owners no recourse. Critics say many innocent owners just give up during that period, and states then are free to sell their cars and other items.
The justices will hear a case from Chicago involving six different property owners, including Tyhesha Brunston, who loaned her Chevrolet Impala to a childhood friend who was later arrested in the car and charged with possessing drugs.
"Words can't describe how mad I was" at him, says Ms. Brunston, 30 years old. "He was not supposed to be smoking marijuana in my car."
Illinois law allows "innocent owners" to reclaim seized property. But in practice they may have to wait months -- or in Ms. Brunston's case, three years -- before recovering their cars.
Last year, the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that the Constitution requires that owners get a more timely chance to seek return of their property.In Texas, some officials near the Mexican border say the problem of violence spill-over from Mexico isn't as big a problem as some officials stationed further from the border insist. Yet, an official from the Mexican side of the border came to the U.S. last week to remind citizens that our drug policies are the root of the horrible violence in his country.
Elsewhere, another upbeat story in the prospects for drug reform, but one expert notes that the mainstream media is still missing crucial stories that would be helpful to reform.
(6) VALUE OF ILLEGAL MARIJUANA CROPS UP FOR DEBATE ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 12 Oct 2009
Source: Fresno Bee, The (CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Fresno Bee
Author: Jim Guy
Supporters of legalizing marijuana and officers charged with seizing it have different opinions about the drug, but they agree on one point: It's a valuable crop.
Just how valuable, however, is another point of contention.
With the arrival of fall, growers of the illicit crop are racing to harvest the plants while law enforcement officials rush to find and wipe out growing sites. In two recent seizures in Tulare and Fresno counties, officials destroyed thousands of plants, which they said were worth $7.2 million.
That estimate is based on a formula used by the state Department of Justice: on average, each plant would yield a pound of usable marijuana over its remaining lifetime, and a pound of marijuana is worth about $4,000 when sold in small quantities on the street.
While marijuana advocates generally agree with authorities on the value of a pound of marijuana, they disagree that each plant yields a pound of pot. They say authorities should measure the actual marijuana seized, rather than make assumptions about a plant's lifetime potential.
The argument is more than a technical discussion. Larger quantities generally result in harsher penalties in court.
Keith Stroup, legal counsel for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, better known as NORML, calls the values police put on seizures "self-serving."
"I don't think most plants [would yield a pound] at any one time - unless it's a massive plant," he said. "What would make more sense would be to weigh the buds," which are the part of the marijuana plant where the intoxicant, a chemical called THC, is located.
Special Agent Casey McEnry of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency in San Francisco disagrees.
"We're not weighing the plants," she said. "When I give an estimate, it's based on how many pounds [a plant] is capable of producing."
(7) COCAINE CASE IS THE BUZZ OF UNC ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 11 Oct 2009
Source: News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
Copyright: 2009 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Authors: Eric Ferreri and Jesse James Deconto
CHAPEL HILL - In a college town where booze is king and pot is popular, the recent arrests of seven current or former UNC-Chapel Hill students on cocaine charges created a stir.
The charges were unusual -- particularly because two people were charged with felony drug trafficking. But experts say all this is not likely an indicator of a surge in cocaine's popularity.
"I haven't noticed a huge problem with it," said Scott Gallisdorfer, who, as the university's undergraduate student attorney general, evaluates students charged with crimes to decide which will face the student honor court. "We don't get a ton of cocaine cases. The vast majority are marijuana."
During the past four years, the number of students facing honor court charges for alcohol violations has outpaced all drug charges, according to the most recent honor court data available.
And a 2008 survey of UNC-CH students revealed a wide disparity in the use of these vices: 69 percent of respondents said they'd consumed alcohol in the last 30 days, about 20 percent had used marijuana in that period and just 2.5 percent had used cocaine.
Still, the cocaine busts last month at a local apartment have been a hot topic among students and parents. Several students arrested were in fraternities or sororities, including two women who lived in the Chi Omega house -- a detail the student newspaper The Daily Tar Heel pointed out repeatedly in its reporting.
(8) THE RISE AND RISE OF LEGAL HIGHS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 11 Oct 2009
Source: Guardian, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Guardian News and Media Limited
Author: Tom Lamont
Good Trip? A Personal Investigation into the UKP10m-A-Year Market in Legal Drugs
How can you get high without breaking the law? A survey of friends and colleagues. "Smoke nutmeg," said an actor. "Find a dodgy Starbucks barista who'll sell you the nitrous oxide cans they use to whip cream," said a banker. "Ask around for something called Methedrome, or Mephedrone, or Mephedrome," advised an account manager. "Lick a newt," texted a doctor, "and don't ask me things like this again." One PR directed me towards news stories about Spice, an over-the-counter smoking mixture that was reported to have effects similar to cannabis; a web developer directed me to a recent issue of Mixmag, announcing the new popularity of "analogue drugs" such as Mephedrone (aha!) in British clubs.
Something known as "that purple drank" was a favourite of American rappers in the 1990s, an A&R man told me: "I think it was a mixture of cough syrup and Sprite and it made everything move very slowly." A teacher remembered that a fistful of ProPlus worked when he was younger.
A civil servant had tried snorting Dreft detergent, to no effect.
I was sifting through this jumble of urban myth and murky fact when a report was forwarded to me by a medical student.
Published last month by drugs information charity DrugScope, the report stated that "legal highs" had, for the first time, made a significant impression in its annual survey of drug use. Legal highs?
Law Enforcement & Prisons
A Georgia newspaper calls for a thorough investigation into the killing of an unarmed minister by drug agents, while the violence and corruption of the drug war continue.
(9) EDITORIAL: THOROUGH INVESTIGATION THE ONLY OPTION ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 13 Oct 2009
Source: Northeast Georgian, The (Cornelia, GA)
Copyright: 2009 The Northeast Georgian
The shooting death of the Rev. Jonathan Ayers by undercover drug agents in Toccoa on Sept. 1 calls for answers.
Certainly, the public demands it and Ayers' family and the agents involved deserve it.
The investigation into the incident is close to wrapping up, with the latest timetable pushing out the conclusion until around the first of November.
While no one wants the quest for answers to drag out unnecessarily, similarly we should not expect any less than a full and complete investigation - one that brings conclusive answers.
Complicating the matter is a backlog of cases at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's State Crime Lab. Some of those cases the lab is under court order to complete.
Further hampering a timely conclusion are state employee furloughs, a heavy caseload for GBI agents and unfilled positions within the GBI.
(10) PALOMAS MAYOR ABDUCTED, KILLED ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 09 Oct 2009
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2009 El Paso Times
Authors: Daniel Borunda, and Matt Robinson
The mayor of Palomas, Mexico, was shot and killed after being abducted Thursday -- an act of violence that sent shockwaves rippling across the border.
The slaying of Mayor Estanislao "Tani" Garcia was the highest-profile homicide in a small town better known for luring U.S. tourists to its pharmacies and shops across the border from Columbus, N.M. Chihuahua state police spokesman Arturo Sandoval said initial findings indicate that Garcia was abducted in the morning and his body was found around 1 p.m. Thursday.
They said he had been shot, but it was not know how many times or with what kind of weapon.
Officials also said Garcia's burned-out truck was found south of Palomas near where the body was found.
(11) CHARGES LIKELY AGAINST GWINNETT DRUG INVESTIGATORS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 10 Oct 2009
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
Copyright: 2009 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Author: Andria Simmons
Charges Likely Against Gwinnett Drug Investigators
Two former Gwinnett County narcotics investigators are likely to face criminal charges for stealing money reserved for undercover drug buys, a department spokesman said Friday.
Lt. David Butler, who supervised narcotics and prostitution investigations, resigned July 16 after being confronted about an unknown amount of cash that disappeared from a safe containing "buy money." His subordinate, Officer Vennie Harden, also is suspected of pocketing buy money earlier this year. Harden resigned in lieu of termination July 13.
Internal investigations into the allegations of theft are complete. However, police aren't releasing the findings because a criminal investigation is pending.
"The criminal side is going to be wrapped up in the next week or so," department spokesman Cpl. David Schiralli said. "We're probably going to be pressing charges."
(12) N.S. DEPUTY SHERIFF ARRESTED ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 10 Oct 2009
Source: Times & Transcript (Moncton, CN NK)
Copyright: 2009 New Brunswick Publishing Company
HALIFAX - Halifax police arrested a deputy sheriff yesterday for allegedly trying to bring illicit drugs into a local jail.
The 40-year-old uniformed officer and an unidentified woman were picked up after investigators observed what they described as an alleged drug transaction.
The deputy sheriff, who was not named, was apprehended near the Dartmouth courthouse while the 22-year-old woman was arrested at a nearby intersection.
Justice Minister Ross Landry said charges were pending related to "suspected drug activity."
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
A new report in the Lancet on the "Adverse health effects of non-
medical cannabis use" has some wondering why this exceptionally
hazardous herb is becoming increasingly popular with young people,
"either in ignorance or defiance of its damaging effects on health."
Protesters planted hemp seeds on the lawn of DEA headquarters in
Virginia, and were promptly arrested.
Jack Herer is slowly recovering from the heart attack he suffered
following an impassioned speech he delivered at the Seattle Hemp
The aptly named Massachusetts Joint Revenue Committee held hearings
to consider a bill that would legalize, tax and regulate cannabis.
Check out the video in "Hot Off The Net" below.
A new report in the Lancet on the "Adverse health effects of non- medical cannabis use" has some wondering why this exceptionally hazardous herb is becoming increasingly popular with young people, "either in ignorance or defiance of its damaging effects on health."
Protesters planted hemp seeds on the lawn of DEA headquarters in Virginia, and were promptly arrested.
Jack Herer is slowly recovering from the heart attack he suffered following an impassioned speech he delivered at the Seattle Hemp Fest.
The aptly named Massachusetts Joint Revenue Committee held hearings to consider a bill that would legalize, tax and regulate cannabis. Check out the video in "Hot Off The Net" below.
(13) CANNABIS: STUDY DEMONSTRATES THE SCALE OF DRUG'S GLOBAL POPULARITY ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 16 Oct 2009
Source: Belfast Telegraph (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Belfast Telegraph Newspapers Ltd.
Author: Jeremy Laurance
It is 40 years since cannabis unleashed the "flower power" revolution of the 1960s, encouraging a generation in Europe and the US to "make love not war". Young people at the time hoped their legacy would be world peace. Instead, it has turned out to be a world of fuzzy dope- heads.
In the intervening decades, the drug whose intoxicating effects have been known for 4,000 years has been increasingly adopted by adolescents and young adults across the globe.
Today, an estimated one in 25 adults of working age - 166 million people around the world - has used cannabis to get high, either in ignorance or defiance of its damaging effects on health. Now, the extraordinary popularity of the drug is posing a significant public health challenge, doctors say.
Writing in The Lancet, Wayne Hall of the University of Queensland and Louisa Degenhardt of the University of New South Wales, Australia, say cannabis slows reaction times and increases the risk of accidents, causes bronchitis, interferes with learning, memory and education and, most seriously, may double the risk of schizophrenia. Yet these effects have failed to dent its popularity.
"Since cannabis use was first reported over 40 years ago by US college students, its recreational or non-medical use has spread globally, first to high-income countries, and recently to low-income and middle- income countries," they say.
Citing figures from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime for 2006, they say cannabis use is highest in the US, Australia and New Zealand (where more than 8 per cent of the population indulge), followed by Europe. But because Asia and Africa have bigger populations, they also have the highest proportion of the world's cannabis users, accounting for almost a third (31 per cent) and a quarter (25 per cent) respectively.
(14) WHERE TO GO TO SOW PROTEST? DEA GRASS ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 14 Oct 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company
Author: David Montgomery, Washington Post Staff Writer
Activists Dig into Symbolism in Effort to Legalize Hemp
You want to dig a garden, you need a shovel. You want to dig a guerrilla garden of illegal hemp on the front lawn of Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters and get arrested for the cameras, you need a symbol.
Shortly before they all were happily handcuffed Tuesday, the farmers took one look at what the activists had brought to dig with, and just shook their heads.
The symbolic shovels were shiny, chrome-plated affairs, the kind for turning the earth in a Washington photo op, stamped with slogans: "Reefer Madness Will Be Buried." When the shovel blades were experimentally pressed into the mulch outside the group's hotel, they bent like toys.
"You'll have a real hard time getting through the grass," observed Wayne Hauge, 51, a North Dakota farmer whose previous interactions with police amount to a ticket for driving an overloaded truck of lentils. "Not exactly the divot I was thinking of."
But never mind.
Time to leave for the demonstration, the protest, the blow against the empire of DEA regulations.
They piled into a 1985 Mercedes-Benz painted the color of a Granny Smith apple. Its diesel engine had been converted to run on waste cooking oil supplied for free by a restaurant in Columbia Heights. For the adventure, Adam Eidinger, communications director for the advocacy group Vote Hemp and owner of the Mercedes, spiked the cooking grease with waste hemp oil. He was wearing pants, shirt, socks and shoes all made from hemp.
The hemp mobile purred over the Potomac River on the road to Arlington.
(15) MARIJUANA ACTIVIST SHOWING SIGNS OF IMPROVEMENT AFTER HEART ATTACK ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 13 Oct 2009
Source: Oregonian, The (Portland, OR)
Copyright: 2009 The Oregonian
Author: Anne Saker, The Oregonian
Jack Herer, a leader in the modern marijuana legalization movement, has been discharged from a Portland hospital nearly a month after a Sept. 12 heart attack, and his family has moved him to a Eugene nursing facility.
Herer, 70, of Lower Lake, Calif., had just delivered what for him was a typical barn-burner of a speech promoting hemp at Portland's Hempstalk festival when he collapsed. He was airlifted to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and was in critical but stable condition for more than three weeks.
Herer had improved enough to be released from Emanuel and moved, said Paul Stanford, a longtime friend who is executive director of The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation in Portland.
"He is waking up and gazing appropriately when someone's talking," Stanford said Monday, "but he's not really communicating in any way."
The heavy-set Herer suffered a stroke in 2000, and for several years after, he struggled to regain his speech and locomotion. Stanford said that before Herer addressed the Sept. 12 festival at Portland's Kelley Point Park, "Jack was telling everyone that he never felt better."
(16) LEGALIZE IT? ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 15 Oct 2009
Source: Valley Advocate (Easthampton, MA)
Copyright: 2009 New Mass Media
Author: Maureen Turner
A Northampton Lawyer Brings A Bill To Tax And Regulate Pot To The Statehouse.
In 1981, Dick Evans, a Northampton attorney and long-time advocate for drug law reform, drafted a marijuana legalization bill "just to see what one would look like," he said.
Evans got the bill before the state Legislature via the right to petition, a law that allows citizens to file bills. And because he found a legislator to file the bill on his behalf-improbably enough, it was Andrew Card, who went on to serve as chief of staff to George W. Bush but at the time was a progressive Republican state rep from eastern Mass.-it was guaranteed a committee hearing.
The day of the hearing, Evans said, "I loaded a few friends in the car and we drove down to Boston." When they arrived, they found the room packed with anti-drug parents' groups and other opponents. Evans offered his testimony in support of the bill, then the opponents offered theirs.
"Then the chairman of the committee looked at his watch and said, 'I think we heard enough. Let's put this to a vote. All in favor say "Aye."'
"My friends and I jumped up and said 'Aye!'" Evans said. Then the committee chair asked for those opposed to say "nay."
"The building shook," Evans recalled with a laugh. "Bang went the gavel, and that was it for 28 years."
This week, Evans once again traveled to Boston to make the case for a marijuana legalization bill he drafted, at an Oct. 14 hearing of the Joint Committee on Revenue. Like the one he filed 28 years ago, this bill calls for the regulation of commercial growing and sale of marijuana, and would impose an excise tax on the product.
While Evans does not expect the bill to fast-track into law, he does hope it will spark a healthy, honest public discussion about marijuana, in a way that was not possible back in 1981.
COMMENTS: ( Top )
While the "Conservative" minority government in Canada was hoping to
rush a harsh mandatory minimum drug bill through parliament, it
appears that the deliberative function of Canada's Senate is working
as designed. Senator Claude Nolin last week told conservative party
mouthpiece and Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, the Senate will put
the bill, C-15, "through 'rigorous' scrutiny," reported The Ottawa
Police in West Australia are smacking their lips at potential salary
and staffing increases as Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett
reaches for that old political standby: scapegoating cannabis users.
Framing the issue as indignation over "people caught with weapons or
drugs were being let off in court," Barnett introduced legislation
to strip probable cause rights from the citizens, allowing police to
stop and search anyone "without reason". The real target? Cannabis
Last week Barnett "thrilled delegates," according to The Australian
newspaper, "by promising to also introduce legislation within days
to throw out ... 2003 drug laws, which allow people to grow two
cannabis plants per household without criminal charge." Whittling
away at the amount of cannabis needed to prosecute, the proposed
laws will call for prosecution for possession of more than 10 grams
of cannabis, down from the 30 grams adults are allowed to posses
currently. "Cannabis is not a harmless or soft drug," proclaimed the
Western Australian Premier. "Research continues to show that
cannabis can lead to a host of health and mental health problems
including schizophrenia, and can be a gateway to harder drugs."
Meanwhile in a Queensland Australia newspaper, retired Narcotics
Officer and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition member Norm Stamper
lays out a blunt fact about drugs: "people like their drugs and
don't appreciate the Government telling them they can't have them."
Prohibitionists need to quit lying about the effects of drugs. True:
"Mind and mood-altering drugs can cause serious damage to
adolescents' normal development," admits Stamper. "So can lies."
While the "Conservative" minority government in Canada was hoping to rush a harsh mandatory minimum drug bill through parliament, it appears that the deliberative function of Canada's Senate is working as designed. Senator Claude Nolin last week told conservative party mouthpiece and Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, the Senate will put the bill, C-15, "through 'rigorous' scrutiny," reported The Ottawa Citizen.
Police in West Australia are smacking their lips at potential salary and staffing increases as Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett reaches for that old political standby: scapegoating cannabis users. Framing the issue as indignation over "people caught with weapons or drugs were being let off in court," Barnett introduced legislation to strip probable cause rights from the citizens, allowing police to stop and search anyone "without reason". The real target? Cannabis users.
Last week Barnett "thrilled delegates," according to The Australian newspaper, "by promising to also introduce legislation within days to throw out ... 2003 drug laws, which allow people to grow two cannabis plants per household without criminal charge." Whittling away at the amount of cannabis needed to prosecute, the proposed laws will call for prosecution for possession of more than 10 grams of cannabis, down from the 30 grams adults are allowed to posses currently. "Cannabis is not a harmless or soft drug," proclaimed the Western Australian Premier. "Research continues to show that cannabis can lead to a host of health and mental health problems including schizophrenia, and can be a gateway to harder drugs."
Meanwhile in a Queensland Australia newspaper, retired Narcotics Officer and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition member Norm Stamper lays out a blunt fact about drugs: "people like their drugs and don't appreciate the Government telling them they can't have them." Prohibitionists need to quit lying about the effects of drugs. True: "Mind and mood-altering drugs can cause serious damage to adolescents' normal development," admits Stamper. "So can lies."
(17) SENATE TAKES AIM AT SECOND TORY CRIME BILL ( Top )
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
Conservative Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, an expert in drug policy, warned Nicholson that the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee intends to put his bill -- a centrepiece of the government's law-and-order agenda -- through "rigorous" scrutiny.
The drug bill sailed through the House of Commons earlier this year after the Liberals teamed up with the Conservatives, despite grumbling within Grit ranks that they were being told to support a bad bill so they wouldn't be accused of being soft on crime.
The bill would also strip judges of their discretion on whether to incarcerate drug traffickers, including offenders who grow and then sell as few as five marijuana plants.
(18) POLICE EMPOWERED FOR WEST'S DRUG WAR ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 12 Oct 2009
Source: Australian, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2009 The Australian
Author: Amanda O'Brien
West Australian police will have the nation's toughest powers to stop and search people under a plan, unveiled yesterday, which removes the need for them to show any grounds for suspecting an offence.
Premier Colin Barnett said it was intolerable that people caught with weapons or drugs were being let off in court because police could not establish that there were sufficient grounds to search them.
He said legislation would be introduced within weeks to allow anyone to be stopped and searched without reason in a bid to reclaim the streets from thugs.
He thrilled delegates by promising to also introduce legislation within days to throw out the former Labor government's contentious 2003 drug laws, which allow people to grow two cannabis plants per household without criminal charge.
(19) PREMIER COLIN BARNETT TO INTRODUCE TOUGHER MARIJUANA LEGISLATION ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 11 Oct 2009
Source: Sunday Times (Australia)
Copyright: 2009 The Sunday Times
Mr Barnett says the Government will introduce legislation this week to repeal WA's Cannabis Control Act of 2003. He will also seek to make changes to the 1981 Misuse of Drugs Act and the Young Offenders Act of 1994, saying it will send a clear message that the Government does not endorse illicit drug use.
Mr Barnett said the cannabis-related legislation was the first in a series of steps the Government would take to send a clear anti-drugs message to the community and toughen penalties for people who broke the law through drug-related offences.
"Cannabis is not a harmless or soft drug. Research continues to show that cannabis can lead to a host of health and mental health problems including schizophrenia, and can be a gateway to harder drugs.
The new cannabis-related laws will:
* Prosecute those in possession of more than 10g of cannabis. This is a reduction from the previous Labor government's stance, which saw those in possession of more than 30g prosecuted.
* See subsequent offences for possession being prosecuted as criminal offences.
Prosecute people for cultivating cannabis plants. Under the previous Labor government's regime, people could grow two cannabis plants per person, per household without facing criminal charges.
(20) TIME TO DECRIMINALISE DRUGS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 15 Oct 2009
Source: Courier-Mail, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2009 Queensland Newspapers
Author: Norm Stamper
Of all the noteworthy reasons offered for putting an end to the "War on Drugs", the one that surely gets the least play is this: people like their drugs and don't appreciate the Government telling them they can't have them.
We've told our kids that cannabis is a "gateway" drug. Smoke it and you'll surely wind up face down in a urine-soaked alley, a needle sticking out of the collapsed vein in your arm.
We've told them, by the very act of repealing alcohol prohibition in the United States 76 years ago, that booze is safer than pot. We've told them that those who use drugs are criminals, and those who become addicted are "junkies" or "dope fiends". We've told them to "just say no", surely inoculating them and their friends against any foreseeable drug use.
The problem is that so much of what we've told our children is a lie. And they know it.
Mind and mood-altering drugs can cause serious damage to adolescents' normal development. So can lies.
I'm a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (www.leap.cc), an organisation of 13,000 present and former criminal justice practitioners and allies. We've concluded that the drug war, prosecuted with bogus claims and shrill propaganda, has made the world much less safe for all, especially our youth.
Our agenda? End the drug war; replace prohibition with a regulatory model; reverse the 7:1 ratio of funding for enforcement over prevention and treatment, thereby reducing death, disease, crime, and addiction; and support solid educational programs that help all people, young and old, make informed judgments about what they choose to put into their bodies.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
WHY IS L.A.'S DISTRICT ATTORNEY AIDING AND ABETTING MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS? ( Top )
By Bruce Mirken
Attorney Cooley has sweeping plans to boost the profits of drug cartels, and increasing the slaughter these vicious gangs perpetrate on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
THE PRO-DRUG CZAR ( Top )
By Daniel Lyons
The son of a respected rabbi, Harvard grad, and former Princeton professor might seem like an unlikely advocate for legalizing marijuana. But when you meet Ethan Nadelmann, it all makes a lot of sense.
MASSACHUSETTS MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION HEARING, STATE HOUSE, 10.14.2009 ( Top )
Massachusetts Joint Revenue Committee Hearing on Marijuana Legalization, Regulation, Taxation, and the right to grow your own for personal, non commercial use with Keith Stroup (NORML), Bill Downing, Steven Epstein, State Reps and Senators and others.
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Century of Lies- 10/11/09 - Robert Field
Robert Field, hotelier and Co-Chairman of Common Sense for Drug Policy + DTN listeners recognize 8 years of Drug Truth Network
Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 10/11/09 - Anthony Placido
Anthony Placido, Asst. Administer and Chief of Intelligence for the DEA + Terry Nelson of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
HEMP FARMERS PLANT HEMP SEEDS AT DEA HEADQUARTERS ( Top )
Fresh from the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) annual convention last weekend in Washington, DC, a pair of real life farmers who want to plant hemp farmers joined with hemp industry figures and spokesmen to travel across the Potomac River to DEA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, where, in an act of civil disobedience, they took shovels to the lawn and planted hemp seeds.
SAMHSA RELEASES LATEST TEDS REPORT ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE ADMISSIONS ( Top )
In its latest Treatment Episode Data set (TEDS) report, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that the criminal justice system was the largest single source of referrals to substance abuse treatment, accounting for 37 percent of all admissions (approximately 671,000 of the 1.8 million admissions).
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
IT'S TIME TO TAKE A REAL LOOK AT THE DRUG WAR ( Top )
Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) recently introduced a bill, S.714, to create a blue ribbon commission to look at the reasons we have so many people behind bars in America.
We know the reason: drug prohibition.
Now we have an opportunity to make sure this important commission gets off the ground and looks at the right issues. Please take one minute to fill in your information below, edit the letter if you want, and click to send this important message to your one U.S. House representative, your two U.S. senators and President Barack Obama. Then, tell your friends to do the same!
AMERICAN VIOLET ON DVD ( Top )
American Violet is an important and compelling film based on the real- life incident in Hearne, Texas where a large segment of the African- American population was busted on false drug charges in a massive operation. One young single mother, with the help of the ACLU, brought the house of cards down.
The film is available on DVD and Blu-Ray. Get it now at Amazon.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
MARIJUANA USE HOLDS RISKS, SUCH AS DRUG ADDICTION ( Top )
By Cyril H. Wecht, M.D.
The emotional hysteria generated by any reference to marijuana usage (illicit or medically authorized) is a fascinating psychological-sociological phenomenon throughout the U.S. This exaggerated reaction can be traced back to the 1930s when Harry Anslinger, the head of the federal drug agency at the time, spent a lot of effort castigating marijuana usage. It is truly amazing that this perception lingers today.
In almost a half-century of forensic pathology practice, having performed 17,000 autopsies, I have never attributed a death directly to a marijuana overdose. I have reviewed more than twice that number of cases signed out by other forensic pathologists in other jurisdictions, and I have never seen a death certificate listing marijuana overdose as the cause of death.
"Acute combined drug toxicity" is a growing cause of death in our country, not limited to celebrities such as Elvis Presley, Anna Nicole Smith or Michael Jackson. It is my fervent hope that the federal and state agencies charged with the responsibility of controlling the improper use of drugs and chemical compounds will deem it necessary to concentrate on this kind of drug abuse, with at least the same level of passion that they have used in trying to prevent patients from receiving a physician-prescribed therapeutic dose of a comparatively benign drug such as marijuana.
Cyril H. Wecht, M.D. Pittsburgh
Pubdate: Tue, 6 Oct 2009
Source: USA Today (US)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
DON'T WORRY, IT'S JUST FOR THE DRUG WAR ( Top )
By Pete Guither
Last month, the U.S. denied that they were setting up military bases in Colombia, ( see http://tinyurl.com/mwtcvv ), claiming that the new arrangement to lease up to seven military bases in Colombia was simply for "fighting drug traffickers."
This didn't pass the smell test for Venezuela's Chavez and Bolivia's Morales, who were concerned about having these military bases in their back yards. (see http://tinyurl.com/yg3hmjq )
Now Evo Morales has announced that Bolivia plans to buy six military aircraft "to fight drug traffickers." See http://tinyurl.com/yf3g4wy )
"Last week we issued a supreme decree to . acquire six K-8 aircraft from China," said Morales in a speech in La Paz to mark the 52nd anniversary of the Bolivian Air Force.
"The aircraft purchase is aimed at the fight against drug trafficking and not . any arms race," he added.
This, after the U.S. blocked them from purchasing Czech planes.
Morales' main regional ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, is also buying Chinese K-8 to be used to pursue cocaine flights. They replace a purchase of Brazilian Super Tucanos blocked by a US arms embargo.
Sure is handy to have that drug war, isn't it?
Pete Guither is the author of Drug WarRant ( http://www.drugwarrant.com ) a weblog at the front lines of the drug war, where this piece was first presented.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"As long as there's a disconnect with the federal law, it's guaranteed there will be problems along the way." - Dr. Alfredo Vigil, New Mexico's secretary of health, on starting state-sanctioned medical cannabis dispensaries.
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