READERS, PLEASE NOTE: Some DrugSense staff members will be attending the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico next week, so we will not be publishing DrugSense Weekly on Nov. 13. We will resume our regular publishing schedule on Nov. 20.
This Just In
(1)Mexican Pot Gangs Infiltrate Indian Reservations In U.S.
(2)At Home A Daunting Frontier
(3)Report: Pot Use, Arrests Rising In California
(4)Supreme Court Hears People Vs. Kelly Arguments

Hot Off The 'Net
-The Supreme Court Hears People Vs. Kelly Arguments - Video
-Letting The Science, Not The Politicians, Decide About Marijuana
-Peace With Poppies / Jacob Sullum
-Maine Voters Approve Medical Marijuana Initiative, Question 5
-Dutch Among Lowest Cannabis Users In Europe - Report
-Drug Truth Network
-Healing A Broken System

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Thu, 5 Nov 2009
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Joel Millman

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. -- Police Chief Carmen Smith says he knows three things about suspected drug trafficker Artemio Corona: He's from Mexico, prefers a Glock .40-caliber handgun, and is quite possibly growing marijuana on the Indian reservation that Mr. Smith patrols.

Last year, Mr. Smith's detectives identified Mr. Corona as the alleged mastermind behind several large marijuana plantations on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in central Oregon. These "grows," as police call them, had a harvest of 12,000 adult plants, with an estimated street value of $10 million. Five suspects were arrested and pleaded guilty to federal trafficking charges. But their alleged boss, Mr. Corona, who has not been indicted, remains a "person of interest" to federal authorities and hasn't been found.

Cultivating marijuana in Indian country represents a new twist in the decades-old illicit drug trade between Mexico and the U.S., the world's largest drug-consuming market. For decades, Mexican drug gangs grew marijuana in Mexico, smuggled it across the border, and sold it in the U.S. But in the past few years, they have done what any burgeoning business would do: move closer to their customers.

Illicit pot farms, the vast majority run by gangs with ties to Mexico, are growing fast across the country. The U.S. Forest Service has discovered pot farms in 61 national forests across 16 states this year, up from 49 forests in 10 states last year. New territories include public land in Colorado, Wisconsin, Michigan, Alabama and Virginia.




Pubdate: Fri, 6 Nov 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: Sebastian Rotella, Reporting from Nogales, Ariz.

Few people understand the Mexican border like Alan Bersin. Now posed to lead Customs, he thinks the terrain can be tamed.

Alan Bersin is back at the border and on the move.

On the third day of a sprint through Texas and Arizona, a law enforcement convoy zooms into Nogales. Riding in a sport utility vehicle, Bersin scans a dusty landscape that he knows well: this desert town of 20,000 with its fast-food joints and discount shops facing the pastel facades and helter-skelter skyline of Nogales, Mexico, a city of 300,000 just south of the fence.

Bersin, a compact 63-year-old with the stride of a former star football player at Harvard, arrives at the Nogales station, the U.S. Border Patrol's biggest. His entourage hurries into a roll call room crowded with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, many of them Latinos whose small talk is sprinkled with Spanish.

Bersin is the federal point man at the border for the second time in his career and the officers' likely new boss, having been nominated for commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. He gives a pep talk in crisp tones tinged with his native Brooklyn.

"We will make a huge change at this border," he says. "You are here at a moment of history being made. You will tell your grandchildren about it someday."

The border czar has come to Arizona to assess a smuggling onslaught that generates more arrests and marijuana seizures than anywhere else on the international line. Smugglers use cranes to lift drug-laden cars over the fence; unemployed Mexican miners dig tunnels; cartel pilots fly above the oxygen limit. In Sonora state this summer, police found a Chevy Suburban containing victims of Mexico's drug war: 11 corpses chopped into pieces.




Pubdate: Fri, 6 Nov 2009
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

Marijuana arrests in California are increasing faster than the nationwide rate, and African Americans are being booked for pot-related crimes much more often than whites, a new report says.

But despite the rise in arrests and in the seizure of marijuana plants, use of pot in California has increased slightly, said the report, part of a nationwide study released Thursday by a Virginia researcher.

In both California and the United States as a whole, "we keep arresting more and more people, but it's not having a deterrent effect," said Jon Gettman, an adjunct assistant professor of criminal justice at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va.

Nationally, Gettman said, marijuana arrests have doubled since 1991,but marijuana use is unchanged.




Pubdate: Thu, 5 Nov 2009
Source: Willits News (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Willits News
Author: Linda Williams

The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a live televised broadcast Tuesday morning for the pivotal medical marijuana case of People vs. Kelly. The special session was held at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.

The landmark case could decide whether any limits on possession of marijuana for medical purposes can be legally imposed by the Legislature. A ruling on the constitutionality of the limits could end the hodgepodge of interpretations currently in place.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in August 2008, leaving in place the California Attorney General's guidelines also issued in August 2008. A ruling in December 2008 by Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John Behnke allowed the Measure B limits approved by Mendocino County voters in June 2008 to take effect.





There are changes coming to how drug defendants from Mexico will be treated when caught in the U.S., but don't expect that to impact any problems on either side of the border. In fact, smuggling is becoming so common, anti-drug rallies for students sponsored by law enforcement are turning into anti-smuggling rallies in some communities.

The good news is that least one sitting judge is demanding sensible drug policy reforms with regard to illegal drug sales near schools. And columnist George Will continues his persistent yet oblique critique of the war on drugs by focusing on the U.S. drug czar.


Pubdate: Sat, 31 Oct 2009
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2009 The New York Times Company
Author: Randal C. Archibold

NOGALES, Ariz. -- In a break with a longstanding drug enforcement practice, the authorities in the United States and Mexico have agreed to have some Mexicans caught smuggling drugs into the United States returned to Mexico for prosecution.

Last weekend, for the first time, a suspected marijuana smuggler, found at the border with 44 pounds of the drug hidden in his car, was turned over to Mexican prosecutors. He could be prosecuted under Mexican law for felony export violations and other charges.

The new approach is a step toward resolving a nettlesome problem at the border: very often, Mexicans caught smuggling drugs do not face prosecution in the United States for that crime.

The reasons vary, but federal prosecutors here and across the Southwest have often rejected cases involving relatively small amounts of drugs, usually less than 500 pounds of marijuana, because of the large volume of those cases and limited resources to handle them. In recent years, prosecutions for immigration violations have surged while drug prosecutions have declined.




Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 2009
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Author: Leslie Berestein

SOUTH COUNTY -- Not long ago, the anti-drug message from the government to teens was just say no to taking drugs. These days in San Diego County, kids are learning to just say no to smuggling drugs.

Yesterday, a stream of students shuffled into the gym at Montgomery High School in South County, clambering onto the bleachers as if attending a pep rally. They were there to listen to agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement warn them about the dangers of being recruited to work as drug mules.

>From Oct. 1 of last year to the end of September, 54 youths from 14 to 17 were caught smuggling marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine through the pedestrian lanes of the San Ysidro port of entry, the drugs taped to their bodies. Only one teen was caught doing this during the same period the previous year. Arrests of teens for drug smuggling were up at other California ports of entry as well, according to ICE.




Pubdate: Sun, 1 Nov 2009
Source: Reading Eagle-Times (PA)
Copyright: 2009 Reading Eagle Company
Details: Author: Holly Herman

Punishment for Drug Sales Within 1,000 Feet of Schools Has Unintended Consequences

A Berks County judge called for immediate action from legislators to repeal a law allowing prosecutors to seek mandatory sentences for drug dealers selling within 1,000 feet of a school.

"We cannot continue to fill up the prisons with nonviolent people who sell marijuana," Judge Linda K.M. Ludgate said. "We are in a state budget crisis. This law no longer makes sense."

Ludgate, head of criminal court, was on a Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing advisory committee that concluded the law must be repealed.




Pubdate: Thu, 29 Oct 2009
Source: Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Writers Group
Author: George Will

WASHINGTON -- During his immersion in his new job, Gil Kerlikowske attended a focus group of 7-year-old girls and was mystified by their talk about "farm parties." Then he realized they meant "pharm parties" -- sampling pharmaceuticals from their parents' medicine cabinets. What he learned -- besides that young humans have less native sense than young dachshunds have -- is that his job has wrinkles unanticipated when he became director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

"People," he says, "want a different conversation" about drug policies. With his first report to the president early next year, he could increase the quotient of realism.

Law enforcement has a "can-do culture" but it also instructs its practitioners about what cannot be done, at least by law enforcement alone. Kerlikowske, who was top cop in Buffalo and then Seattle, knows that officers sweeping drug users from cities' streets feel as though they are "regurgitating perps through the system."

He dryly notes that "not many people think the drug war is a success." Furthermore, the recession's toll on state budgets has concentrated minds on the costs of drug offense incarcerations -- costs that in some states are larger than expenditures on secondary education. Fortunately, the first drug courts were established two decades ago and today there are 2,300 nationwide, pointing drug policy away from punishment and toward treatment.

Kerlikowske is familiar with Portugal's experience since 2001 with decriminalization of all drugs, including heroin and cocaine. Nature made Kerlikowske laconic and experience has made him prudent, so he steers clear of the "L" word, legalization, even regarding marijuana.




Three years after Atlanta police killed a 92-year-old woman in a trumped up drug raid, police officials are still withholding documents related to the incident. Shameful. Also, disturbing behavior by leaders of a New Hampshire police department, where an officer has been suspended, allegedly due to his support of drug policy reform. And, officials in both Canada and New Zealand insist on more power to collect bodily fluids. Yuck.


Pubdate: Sat, 31 Oct 2009
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
Copyright: 2009 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Author: Bill Rankin

A relative of the 92-year-old woman killed in an Atlanta police raid three years ago asked a federal judge Friday to sanction the city for withholding documents in a wrongful death lawsuit.

"Such evasion and misconduct makes a mockery of the truth-finding process that is at the heart of the judicial system and must be severely punished," said a motion filed by Sarah Dozier, the victim's niece.

An APD spokeswoman, Sgt. Lisa Keyes, deferred comment to the city's law department. Acting city attorney Roger Bhadari said the city is reviewing the motion and "will respond accordingly." Beyond that, he said, the city has no further comment.

In 2007, Dozier, the niece of Kathryn Johnston, filed suit against the city and APD over Johnston's killing.




Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 2009
Source: Union Leader (Manchester, NH)
Copyright: 2009 The Union Leader Corp.
Author: Jason Schreiber

EPPING - A local police officer who claims he has been targeted because of his involvement with a group that wants to legalize drugs has been suspended from the force.

Officer Bradley Jardis said he was told Monday that he was being suspended with pay pending an investigation.

Police Chief Gregory Dodge would not comment on the suspension, but Jardis said he believes it resulted from his decision to go public with disciplinary action taken against him in July and claims that he has been ridiculed by certain Epping police personnel because he's a member of an international organization called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

An outspoken critic of current drug laws, Jardis was the subject of an internal police investigation in July that resulted from a disagreement between him and then-police Sgt. Sean Gallagher. That investigation led to a recommendation that Jardis be suspended for six days.




Pubdate: Sat, 31 Oct 2009
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Canwest News Service

Canwest News Service The Harper government has tabled a bill that would restore a power for the courts to order offenders to surrender urine samples or other bodily fluids if they are on probation and suspected of violating an order not to drink or take drugs.

The ability to demand random samples was struck down three years ago by the Supreme Court, which invited Parliament to craft legislation that complies with the Charter of Rights.

Under the revamped regime proposed Friday, judges would be able to impose drug-and-alcohol prohibition orders that would permit police and probation officers to request samples when there is reasonable grounds to believe that an individual has breached a condition of their release.




Pubdate: Wed, 28 Oct 2009
Source: Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2009 Allied Press Limited

Police will have wider powers to take DNA samples, under a law passed by Parliament today in the face of strong opposition from the Green Party.

The provisions of the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Amendment Bill will be introduced in stages.

The first stage allows police to take samples from people charged with a range of serious offences, wider than the present category.

The second stage, to take effect in 2011, will allow police to take DNA samples from anyone they intend charging with an imprisonable offence.

Police won't need to gain consent and they will be able to take samples without judicial approval.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the bill would bring extraordinary powers to police, who could use "assault" to obtain a bodily sample when there was only an intent to charge.

Ms Turei said there was an element of racism in the justice system and Maori would be more likely to suffer under the legislation.




Last week the New York Times noticed how ancillary industries and businesses are being spawned, and perhaps irrevocably established, by the expanding medicinal cannabis market.

The citizens of Breckenridge, CO voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis and paraphernalia last week and, according to the police chief, those who wish to avoid a ticket and fine can get a medicinal cannabis card "without much difficulty."

The world is taking notice of the winds of change blowing around cannabis attitudes and policy in the United States, and a writer at optimistically predicts progress in other areas of personal liberty, thanks in part to the internet.


Pubdate: Thu, 5 Nov 2009
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2009 The New York Times Company
Author: Andrew Adam Newman

AFTER Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced in March that he would end the Bush administration practice of frequently raiding medical marijuana dispensaries, the dispensaries have been growing, appropriately enough, like weeds.

Among the 14 states with medical marijuana laws, Colorado has experienced particularly brisk growth in the stores. From fewer than two dozen dispensaries in the state in January, there are now more than 60 just in Denver and nearby Boulder, and more than 10,000 registered medical marijuana patients statewide, according to reports in Westword, a Denver alternative weekly.

When Westword announced recently that it would hire a registered patient to write reviews of the dispensaries (for a column called "Mile Highs and Lows"), it received 400 applications, according to Patricia Calhoun, its editor. And dispensary owners -- called ganjapreneurs in a recent headline in the weekly -- are placing ads, accounting for nearly seven pages of advertising in a recent 92-page issue.

Now a business that has nothing to do with cannabis is aiming its ads at medical marijuana patients. A new print ad -- by TDA Advertising and Design of Boulder -- for Hapa Sushi, a restaurant chain based in Boulder, features a map of Denver and Boulder with 63 dots. Four dots are red, representing the four Hapa locations, and the remaining 59 are blue, representing medical marijuana dispensaries, some of which, it turns out, are just a stone's throw from the restaurants. The ad was to appear Thursday in the Denver/Boulder edition of The Onion and in Westword later in the month.

"We're just kind of saying, 'Look, these dispensaries exist and they're becoming part of our community, so let's welcome them in and have some fun,'" said Mark Van Grack, owner of Hapa Sushi, a privately held, 10-year-old chain. "If you're going to smoke pot, you're going to get the munchies, so come to Hapa to eat."




Pubdate: Tue, 03 Nov 2009
Source: Summit Daily News (CO)
Copyright: 2009 Summit Daily News
Author: Robert Allen, Staff Writer

BRECKENRIDGE - Breckenridge residents voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and paraphernalia Tuesday under town law. In early returns, some 72 percent of voters approved the measure.

The vote means that, effective Jan. 1, people 21 and up in Breckenridge will be able to legally possess one ounce or less of the drug.

Possession remains illegal under state law, but Breckenridge Police Chief Rick Holman said his department will "still have the ability to exercise discretion."

"It's never been something that we've spent a lot of time on, so I don't expect this to be a big change in how we really do business," he said.

Currently, the petty, non-jailable offense under town code carries a maximum $100 fine. In 2008, Breckenridge Police Department ticketed 10 people under the town marijuana possession law, according to BPD ticket statistics.


And like many other towns in the state, Breckenridge could soon be home to a medical marijuana dispensary. The town passed a set of regulations for such businesses in October, and the dispensaries already exist in Frisco and Silverthorne.

Holman said that while his department may still ticket people for possessing marijuana, people who want to smoke it legally can obtain a state-issued medical marijuana card without much difficulty.



Pubdate: Sun, 1 Nov 2009
Source: Sunday Times (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Times Newspapers Ltd.
Author: Andrew Sullivan

The Humble Joint Can Save Lives. We Look Forward to the End of Senseless Prohibition

You know things are shifting in America when Fortune magazine, the bible for business journalism, runs a cover story titled "Is pot already legal?". You also know it when Barack Obama's Department of Justice publishes a long-expected memo signalling that the federal government will no longer raid medical marijuana dispensaries if they are legal under state law. That happened formally this month.

It was not, moreover, a symbolic gesture. Marijuana for medical reasons -- to tackle chemotherapy-induced nausea or Aids-related wasting or glaucoma, among other conditions -- is now legal in 13 states, including the biggest, California. Next year, 13 more states are planning referendums or new laws following suit. Last week a California legislative committee held the first hearings not simply on whether medical marijuana should remain legal, but on whether all marijuana should be decriminalised, full stop. The incentive? The vast amounts of money the bankrupt state could raise by taxing cannabis.

Now look at the polling on the question. In 1970, 84% of Americans supported keeping marijuana illegal. Today, that number has collapsed to 54%. The proportion believing that marijuana should be legal has gone from 18% at the end of the 1960s to 44% today. On current trends, a majority of Americans will favour legalisation by the end of Obama's first term. In the western states, 53% already favour legalising and taxing the stuff. Support for legalisation is strongest among the young -- the Obama generation -- but has climbed among self-described Republicans as well.

But the reality is already ahead of the polls. Take a trip, so to speak, to Los Angeles today, where one would be forgiven for thinking that marijuana was already legal. There are more than 800 marijuana dispensaries in the city -- and an estimated 7,000 in the state of California as a whole (many times more than in Holland).

Getting a doctor's recommendation for marijuana is easier than getting health insurance -- just look at the ads in the papers, where a consultation costs about $200.




Pubdate: Tue, 03 Nov 2009
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2009 Washington Post. Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC
Author: Jacob Weisberg, Slate

Getting High, Gay Marriage And Going To Cuba Will Soon Be Legal In The U.S.

'I think this would be a good time for a beer," Franklin D. Roosevelt said upon signing a bill that made 3.2% lager legal again, some months ahead of the full repeal of Prohibition. I hope Barack Obama will come up with some comparably witty remarks as he presides over the dismantling of contemporary forms of prohibition in the U.S. --laws that prevent gay marriage, restrict cannabis as a Schedule I Controlled Substance and ban travel to Cuba.

Prohibition now is different from Prohibition then. When the 18th Amendment went into effect in 1920, it was a radical social experiment challenging a custom as old as civilization. Its predictable failure came to an end when Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment in 1933. Today prohibition is a byword for futile attempts to legislate morality and remake human nature.

Our forms of prohibition are more sins of omission than commission. Rather than trying to take away long-standing rights, they're instances of conservative laws failing to keep pace with a liberalizing society. But like Prohibition in the '20s, these restrictions have become indefensible as well as impractical, and as a result are fading fast. Within 10 years, it seems a reasonable guess that Americans will travel freely to Cuba, that all states will recognize gay unions and that few will retain criminal penalties for marijuana use by individuals. Whether or not Democrats retain control of Congress, whether or not Obama is reelected, these reforms are inevitable -- not because politics has changed but because society has.




Canada was the first country in North America to allow a supervised injection site. Now, some are calling for a "Safer Inhalation" site, where crack cocaine smokers can use the drug in a manner that won't result in additional harm to the user, like the spread of infection diseases. Dr. Evan Wood, director of the Urban Health Research Initiative at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, argues such an inhalation facility would facilitate the "rapid uptake of addiction treatment" in addition to other benefits.

A storm of criticism was unleashed on the UK Government last week following the firing of Professor David Nutt as "Drugs Tsar", which in turn followed Nutt's comments concerning the relative harms of drugs. Why? Such advice was, apparently, not the type of advice government wanted when it appointed Nutt to the Advisory panel. Children might be confused, said the Prime Minister.

"Politicians hate it when experts shine the light of truth on supposedly unimpeachable government ideology," noted Mindelle Jacobs in the Calgary Sun. "Drug policy experts don't go around promoting drug use. The braver ones, however, do point out the absurdity of the world's drug laws."

On the other hand, Jon Ferry (columnist writing on the former UK Tsar in this week's The Province newspaper in British Columbia, Canada) argues scientists should be seen and not heard -- especially if they might be helpful to those "drug-legalization advocates". And we all know, explains Ferry, that "peer review" stuff is "often little more than an ideological rubber stamp."

While much was made in the media last week over The UK Drug Tsar's firing, we leave you hear with a bit of media awareness straight from Professor Nutt, the former UK Drugs Tsar himself. David Nutt:

"The following data illustrates a remarkable finding. It derives from the PhD of a Scottish graduate, Alasdair JM Forsyth, who looked at every single newspaper report of drug deaths in Scotland from 1990 to 1999 and compared them with the coroners' data.

"Over the decade, there were 2,255 drug deaths, of which the Scottish newspapers reported 546. For aspirin, only one in every 265 deaths were reported... They were more interested in heroin, where one in five deaths were reported, and methadone, where one in 16 deaths were reported.

"They were also more interested in stimulants. With amphetamines, deaths are relatively rare at 36, but one in three were reported; for cocaine it was one in eight. Amazingly, almost every single ecstasy death - that is, 26 out of 28 of those where ecstasy was named as a possible contributory factor - was reported. So there's a peculiar imbalance in terms of reporting that is clearly inappropriate in relation to the relative harms of ecstasy compared with other drugs. The reporting gives the impression that ecstasy is a much more dangerous drug than it is. This is one of the reasons I wrote the article about horse riding that caused such extreme media reactions earlier this year."


Pubdate: Mon, 2 Nov 2009
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Evan Wood

When Canadians think of crack cocaine, many remember disturbing television images seen in the late 1980's, when the drug first gained notoriety in the United States. More recently, crack has emerged as an enormous health and social problem in many Canadian cities.


Finally, although studies from the United States have implied that the HIV virus may be transmitted by the sharing of crack pipes or oral sex among individuals with cuts and burns on their lips from crack smoking, we do not believe this is the primary reason an inhalation room should be evaluated. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that the use of the Insite injecting facility in Vancouver enabled more rapid uptake of addiction treatment. A similar investigation should be the primary aim for any clinical trial of an inhalation facility.



Pubdate: Wed, 04 Nov 2009
Source: Calgary Sun, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 The Calgary Sun
Author: Mindelle Jacobs

Politicians hate it when experts shine the light of truth on supposedly unimpeachable government ideology.


Drug policy experts don't go around promoting drug use.

The braver ones, however, do point out the absurdity of the world's drug laws.


In 2002, more than 37,000 Canadians died from tobacco use and another 4,000 died from booze-related causes. In contrast, less than 1,700 Canadians (.8% of all deaths) succumbed from illegal drug use.

Politicians would rather shuffle an inconvenient scientist out of the way than confront the truth.



Pubdate: Mon, 02 Nov 2009
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Jon Ferry, Columnist

Stick To Research Or Get Into Politics -- But Not Both

Prince Charles, who visits Vancouver later this week, may have had his shortcomings as a husband. But it's obvious he tried to be a good father to son Harry over the so-called wild child's substance-abuse problems.

When Harry admitted smoking pot and boozing as a teenager, Charles sent him for a short, sharp visit to a London rehabilitation clinic to learn about the dangers of drug addiction.

If Harry had been over here, of course, a quick trip to Main and Hastings would have sufficed. For sheer shock value, the drug bazaar there always gets high ratings from overseas visitors.

In Britain, as in Canada meanwhile, the public debate continues to rage over the proliferation and politicization of drugs. Indeed, the parallels are striking.

The latest U.K. controversy surrounds top government drug adviser David Nutt who, amongst other things, said British ministers ignored scientific evidence when taking a tougher stand against marijuana. Nutt claimed smoking pot created only a "relatively small risk" of psychotic illness and accused the minister who reclassified the drug of "distorting and devaluing" scientific research.

He suggested all drugs, legal and illegal, be ranked on a harm index, with alcohol coming fifth, behind heroin, cocaine, barbiturates and methadone. Tobacco would rank ninth, ahead of marijuana, LSD and ecstasy.

"No one is suggesting that drugs are not harmful," the high-profile medical professor said. "The critical question is one of scale and degree."

Nutt repeated his quirky claim that the risks of taking ecstasy are no worse than riding a horse. He also attacked the "artificial" separation of alcohol and tobacco from other currently illegal drugs.

However, his outspoken sentiments sat ill with Britain's Labour government, in tough against the resurgent Tories. And he was fired late last week as chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

Nutt's words, though, will be music to Metro Vancouver's drug-legalization advocates, who argue the issue should be taken out of the hands of politicians and put into those of scientists.

I disagree. Scientists nowadays appear no less biased than politicians. And "peer review" in scientific papers is often little more than an ideological rubber stamp.

For example, any scientist brave enough to seriously question his peers about the notion of human-induced global warming would be as welcome at B.C.'s politically correct universities as a skunk at a wedding. His funding sources would soon dry up.




Pubdate: Tue, 3 Nov 2009
Source: Guardian, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Guardian News and Media Limited
Author: David Nutt

David Nutt, the Government's Former Chief Drugs Adviser, on How He Formulated His Controversial Views on Drugs


Media Bias

I want to move on now to look at how people gather information about drugs and the challenges of communicating the best evidence relating to drug harms to the public. This is difficult in the face of what you might call a peculiar media imbalance in relation to drugs. The following data illustrates a remarkable finding. It derives from the PhD of a Scottish graduate, Alasdair JM Forsyth, who looked at every single newspaper report of drug deaths in Scotland from 1990 to 1999 and compared them with the coroners' data.

Over the decade, there were 2,255 drug deaths, of which the Scottish newspapers reported 546. For aspirin, only one in every 265 deaths were reported. For morphine, one in 72 deaths were reported, indicating that editors were not interested in this opiate. They were more interested in heroin, where one in five deaths were reported, and methadone, where one in 16 deaths were reported.

They were also more interested in stimulants. With amphetamines, deaths are relatively rare at 36, but one in three were reported; for cocaine it was one in eight. Amazingly, almost every single ecstasy death - that is, 26 out of 28 of those where ecstasy was named as a possible contributory factor - was reported. So there's a peculiar imbalance in terms of reporting that is clearly inappropriate in relation to the relative harms of ecstasy compared with other drugs. The reporting gives the impression that ecstasy is a much more dangerous drug than it is. This is one of the reasons I wrote the article about horse riding that caused such extreme media reactions earlier this year. The other thing you'll notice is that there is a drug missing, and that's cannabis. Also missing is alcohol, which will have killed a similar number - 2,000-3,000 people - in Scotland over that time, maybe more. Of course, cannabis wouldn't have killed anyone because it doesn't kill. And that's one of the reasons why we thought cannabis should be class C, because you cannot die of cannabis overdose.



 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )



By Jag Davies

The federal govt. is still blocking the process that would allow the marijuana plant to be brought to market as a prescription medicine.


Opium in Afghanistan

By Jacob Sullum


First State to Weigh In on Issue Since Obama Administration Announced It Would Not Prosecute Medical Marijuana Patients and Caregivers Who Comply with State Laws


AMSTERDAM, Nov 5 (Reuters) - The Dutch are among the lowest users of marijuana or cannabis in Europe despite the Netherlands' well-known tolerance of the drug, according to a regional study published on Thursday.


Century of Lies - 11/01/09 - Bradley Jardis

Bradley Jardis, a working policeman is under fire for his involvement with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition + Cliff Thornton of Efficacy & extract from PBS program: "Botany of Desire"

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 11/01/09 - Howard Wooldridge

Howard Wooldridge, founder of Citizens Opposing Prohibition + Phil Smith of Drug War Chronicle on the level of violence in Mexico


Veterans Battling Addiction and Incarceration.

Drug Policy Alliance; November 2009.

This report examines the significant barriers that veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan face in obtaining effective treatment for mental health and substance abuse problems, and the tragic consequences of leaving these wounds of war untreated: addiction, homelessness, suicide, overdose and incarceration.



Science Clashes With Politics In The United Kingdom - A DrugSense Focus Alert


It's not too late to register for the premier drug policy event of the year taking place next week in Albuquerque. Join us for sessions on everything from ending marijuana prohibition to preventing overdose, and honor luminaries of the drug policy reform movement at our awards dinner.



By Justin Davis

Why isn't marijuana legal? People who don't smoke still pay for it. How? You're paying taxes to keep it illegal for law enforcement people who are in jail on marijuana charges for their housing and their food.

People are getting their kids taken away because of weed, and kids are getting cancer from secondhand smoke from cigarettes. Innocent people get killed all the time from drunk drivers, but it is legal to drink.

If marijuana was legalized, it would create thousands of new jobs from plant stores, growers, coffee shops and transporting. Sure, marijuana has some bad effects, but nowhere near what cigarettes have.

Thousands of people die from cigarettes a year; nobody died off of marijuana alone.

Crime rates would go down as well. It would keep hardworking people who do smoke out of bad neighborhoods and away from serious criminals. It should be a personal decision whether you want to smoke or not, not the government's.

Wouldn't it be better for the billions of dollars spent on marijuana to go to the government instead of criminal's pockets?

Justin Davis, Ridgecrest

Pubdate: Tue, 27 Oct 2009
Source: Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)


DrugSense recognizes Travis Erbacher of Langley, British Columbia for his five letters published during October which brings his career total, that we know of, to 14. You may review his published letters at:


Pot Acceptable? Not For Young And Nonwhite  ( Top )

By Stephen Gutwillig

This year is a watershed year in pot politics.

The Obama administration recently announced it would defer to state medical marijuana laws and stop federal prosecutions of patients and providers who comply with them.

In California, the tanking economy inspired Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to call for debating marijuana taxation and regulation, a bill was introduced in Sacramento to do just that, and four separate ballot initiatives are circulating to allow voters the chance to decide the issue for themselves.

Schwarzenegger's position was echoed by New York Gov. David Paterson and by Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, who suggested legalizing pot could cripple Mexican and U.S. gangs. The unprecedented momentum to question marijuana prohibition is being fueled by a widely remarked-upon phenomenon -- the cultural mainstreaming of marijuana.

From Showtime's established hit "Weeds" to the "Is Pot Already Legal?" cover of Fortune magazine in September, marijuana is commanding attention and an odd kind of respect for its sheer popularity and massive revenues.

Marie Claire magazine and the "Today Show" profiled "stiletto stoners," stressed-out women professionals who unwind with a doobie instead of a cosmo. And in a recent style feature, the Los Angeles Times gushed that "cannabis culture is coming out of the closet," citing its ubiquity across the spectrum of pop culture and high-end design. "It's here to stay," the Times proclaimed.

Pot is indeed flourishing in the mainstream as never before, but the sometimes giddy discussion overlooks a sinister parallel phenomenon: More people are being arrested for pot crimes than ever; they are increasingly young and disproportionately nonwhite.

In 2008, the police arrested 847,864 people nationwide for marijuana violations, according to the 2008 FBI Uniform Crime Report. Pot arrests represent fully half of all drug arrests reported in the United States. The overwhelming majority -- a whopping 89 percent -- were charged with possession only.

Most striking, the marijuana arrest rate in the United States has nearly tripled since 1991.

Examples from both coasts illustrate this. In California, according to the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, crime arrest rates have generally plummeted statewide from 1990 to 2008 by an average of 40 percent. Drug possession arrests for everything but marijuana collectively fell by nearly 30 percent. But during that same 18-year period, arrests for marijuana possession in California skyrocketed 127 percent. In 2008, more Californians were arrested for pot offenses than any year since decriminalization took effect 34 years ago.

Similarly, New York state decriminalized simple marijuana possession in the 1970s. But under Mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, New York City has become one of the marijuana arrest capitals of the world -- 40,300 arrests last year.

In the years between 1997 and 2008, the NYPD made 12 times as many pot possession arrests as in the previous 12 years, according to a study by the New York Civil Liberties Union. How can the notion that marijuana is "here to stay" coexist with these rates of marijuana arrests? Apparently because the people caught in the crossfire aren't considered part of the mainstream. In California, African-Americans are three times as likely as whites to be arrested for a pot crime, according to the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice. If you're young and nonwhite, you are especially targeted.

The increase in marijuana possession arrests of California teenagers of color since 1990 is quadruple that group's population growth.

In New York City, blacks and Latinos -- who represent about half the city's population -- accounted for 86 percent of everyone charged with pot possession in 2008. The NYCLU report says federal studies show young whites use marijuana at higher rates than blacks and Latinos.

Supporters of marijuana prohibition often argue that few possession busts lead to incarceration. First, that argument ignores the countless parolees and probationers sent back to jail and prison nationwide for failing drug tests or being caught with a joint. And it seriously diminishes the lifelong stigma any criminal conviction has for many young people of color, whose educational and professional opportunities are severely curtailed as a result of racist enforcement.

Getting caught with a joint means being photographed, fingerprinted and permanently entered in the vast criminal database. Apparently marijuana serves as a gateway after all, feeding young people into the criminal justice system and on to a marginalized adulthood.

Widespread discussion of everyday marijuana consumption is helping turn the tide against decades of failed marijuana prohibition. However, too much of that conversation is ignoring the people most impacted by our punitive policies.

We must end pot prohibition and stop the massive number of arrests and biased enforcement that are at its core.

Stephen Gutwillig is the California state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an organization working to promote alternatives to the federal war on drugs. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Gutwillig. This piece first appear at


"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison

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.


Please utilize the following URLs


Policy and Law Enforcement/Prison content selection and analysis by Stephen Young (, This Just In selection by Richard Lake ( and Stephen Young, International content selection and analysis by Doug Snead (, Cannabis/Hemp content selection and analysis, Hot Off The Net selection and Layout by Matt Elrod ( 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 for info on contributing clippings.

NOTICE:  ( Top )

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.



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

RSS DrugSense Weekly current issue this issue

Back Issues: 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010