This Just In
(1)On-The Spot Fine Call For Small Amounts of Cannabis
(2)Another Thing Europe Doesn't Agree On
(3)2 Toledo Officers Fail Random Test For Drugs, Are Relieved Of Duty
(4)Drug Lords Finding Safe Haven In Bolivia

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 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Thu, 26 Nov 2009
Source: Press and Journal, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Aberdeen Journals Ltd
Author: Tim Pauling

Most Police Officers Surveyed Want To Extend Fixed-Penalty Notices

People caught with small amounts of cannabis for their own use should get off with an on-the-spot fine, most police officers believe.

A survey conducted as part of a review of fixed-penalty notices for antisocial behaviour found that extending their use to possession of "personal amounts" of cannabis was popular among police officers, with 83% in favour.

Police are allowed to issue UKP40 fines for 10 specified offences in Scotland. A total of 94% of the 65,500 fines issued between April 2007 and March 2009 were for three categories breach of the peace, drinking in public, and urinating/defecating in public.

If an offender accepts and pays the fine, no further action is taken and it is not recorded as a criminal conviction. If challenged, the issue goes to court.

Eight out of 10 officers surveyed for the research were positive about the use of on-the-spot fines. They were regarded as simple, reduced red tape, and were better suited to dealing with the high volume of minor offences in town and city centres in the evening and at weekends.

Estimates are that they save almost 22,000 hours of police time a year.




Pubdate: Fri, 27 Nov 2009
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Javier Espinoza

Europe has yet to come up with a unified approach to medical marijuana. The Dutch will tell you it is legal to use the drug to treat certain illnesses; while the Swedish don't recognize any medical use for cannabis at all.

"European policy is not really changing at all and I don't think this issue is even on the European agenda. The topic is too controversial and too political," said Catherine Sandvos, a legal expert for the Hague-based Cannabis Bureau, a Dutch national agency aimed at providing high-quality cannabis for medical purposes.

Ms. Sandvos's native Netherlands has led Europe when it comes to legalizing medical marijuana, which it treats separately from marijuana legally available at one of Amsterdam's famous coffee shops. The Dutch police stopped enforcing laws against marijuana in 1976 following an overall tolerance policy in the country. "It's hard when you try to explain to outsiders that it is illegal to grow cannabis in the Netherlands, but that it is tolerated to buy it," she says.

But those who buy the drug on the streets are not getting the quality severely ill patients would need. The Dutch government set up the Cannabis Bureau -- the only institution of its kind in the continent - -- in September 2003.




Pubdate: Thu, 26 Nov 2009
Source: Blade, The (Toledo, OH)
Copyright: 2009 The Blade
Author: Bridget Tharp, Blade Staff Writer

Two Toledo Police officers are temporarily off duty without pay after the department's first random drug testing revealed that both had allegedly used marijuana.

Police Chief Mike Navarre declined to identify the officers last night pending their administrative hearings.

One of the officers allegedly admitted to a personnel captain Friday that he had used marijuana and was immediately taken off-duty. The other was forced off-duty Monday, the same day administrators received results of the drug tests, Chief Navarre said.

The Toledo Police Department randomly screened 48 patrol officers for drugs with urine tests last Thursday.




Pubdate: Fri, 27 Nov 2009
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Times, LLC.
Author: Martin Arostegui

SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia - Narco-trafficking cartels are migrating to the Andes region in Bolivia, where a diminished U.S. presence has allowed a boom in cocaine production and the opening of new drug routes, regional anti-drug officials say.

Recent studies by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime show a steep rise in cocaine production in Bolivia and a smaller increase in Peru. They also show a drop in Colombian cocaine output, which is subject to increased anti-drug efforts by the U.S. and Colombian governments.

Potentially more significant is Bolivia's emergence as a major hub for jungle laboratories that turn coca paste, which can be imported from anywhere in the Andean region, into refined cocaine.

"Like never before we have discovered these types of factories around the country," said Col. Oscar Nina, chief of Bolivia's police anti-drug unit. He added that his unit has destroyed more than 20 cocaine laboratories so far this year.

In addition, he recently warned of the increasing presence of powerful Mexican crime organizations that control drug movements.





A comprehensive look at the way AIDS is transmitted through shared needle use was published in the New York Times Magazine last week. Elsewhere, some in Florida are looking to Texas as a model for law enforcement reform; more data is published confirming that cannabis is less damaging to individuals (and societies) than alcohol and tobacco; and a proposal to tax medical marijuana in Colorado.

 (5) THE NEEDLE NEXUS  ( Top )

Pubdate: Sun, 22 Nov 2009
Source: New York Times Magazine (NY)
Copyright: 2009 The New York Times Company
Author: Tina Rosenberg

Of all the mysteries posed by AIDS, perhaps the deepest and most damaging is a human one: why have we failed so utterly to stop its transmission? Most people with H.I.V. in the world, including a vast majority of the 22 million who are infected in sub-Saharan Africa, caught it from a sexual partner.

Despite billions of dollars spent to slow this form of transmission, only a few countries have had significant success -- among them Thailand, Uganda and Zimbabwe -- and their achievements have been unreplicable, poorly understood and short-lived. We know that abstinence, sexual fidelity and consistent condom use all prevent the spread of H.I.V. But we do not yet know how to persuade people to act accordingly.

Then there is another way that H.I.V. infects: by injection with a hypodermic needle previously used by an infected person.

Outside Africa, a huge part of the AIDS epidemic involves people who were infected this way. In Russia, 83 percent of infections in which the origin is known come from needle sharing.

In Ukraine, the figure is 64 percent; Kazakhstan, 74 percent; Malaysia, 72 percent; Vietnam, 52 percent; China, 44 percent.

Shared needles are also the primary transmission route for H.I.V. in parts of Asia. In the United States, needle-sharing directly accounts for more than 25 percent of AIDS cases.




Pubdate: Sat, 21 Nov 2009
Source: Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Copyright: 2009 Sun-Sentinel Company
Details: Author: Randy Schultz
Note: Randy Schultz is the editor of the editorial page of The
Palm Beach Post.

For two days, conservatives and liberals told each other how much they agree on one of Florida's most important issues.

That issue is criminal justice, and the new choir sang Monday and Tuesday in Tampa at Justice Summit 2009. Sponsored by the Collins Center for Public Policy and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the gathering amounted to a pep rally for change that the state has needed for two decades.

What's different? The issues now include money, and Florida's leading business groups care.

For 25 years, Florida's criminal justice policy has been to lock up as many people as possible for as long as possible. The Legislature has approved sentencing guidelines and minimum mandatory sentences. The Legislature has required inmates to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences. Even Pinellas County State Attorney Bernie McCabe, one of Florida's most hard-line prosecutors, says, "We take away a driver's license for durned near everything."


Continues: :


Pubdate: Thu, 19 Nov 2009
Source: Huffington Post (US Web)
Copyright: 2009 HuffingtonPost com, Inc.
Author: Paul Armentano
Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML

Writing in the book Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (Chelsea Green, 2009), I argue that it is irrational for our society to condone, if not encourage, the use of alcohol -- an intoxicant that directly contributes to tens of thousands of deaths annually and countless social problems -- while simultaneously stigmatizing and criminalizing the use of cannabis, a substance that is incapable of causing lethal overdose and is associated with far fewer societal costs. Well now a new study, authored by researchers from the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia at the University of Victoria and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse at the University of Ottawa has directly compared the societal costs of marijuana and alcohol, as well as tobacco, and the final tally isn't pretty.

Health-related costs per user are eight times higher for drinkers than they are for those who use cannabis, and are more than 40 times higher for tobacco smokers, according to the report, published in the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal.

It states, "In terms of [health-related] costs per user: tobacco-related health costs are over $800 per user, alcohol-related health costs are much lower at $165 per user, and cannabis-related health costs are the lowest at $20 per user."



Pubdate: Sun, 22 Nov 2009
Source: Pueblo Chieftain (CO)
Copyright: 2009 The Star-Journal Publishing Corp.
Author: John Suthers

A Taxing Problem

In 2000, Colorado voters passed Amendment 20 to allow patients to use medical marijuana with a doctor's certification. Communities across the state are grappling with the issue now. In Pueblo, City Council has placed a three-month and the county commissioners a four-month moratorium on whether to permit and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries. (Colorado Attorney General John Suthers last week gave Gov. Bill Ritter his formal opinion on applying the state sales tax to the purchase and sale of medical marijuana. Here are excerpts:)

Colorado law is clear: Medical marijuana, in most instances, should be subject to state and local sales taxes. This formal opinion should help clear up many of the uncertainties surrounding the taxation of medical marijuana. Many other questions surrounding medical marijuana and Amendment 20 to the Colorado Constitution will have to be resolved by the courts or the Colorado Legislature.




More than three years after the fact, a sort of apology finally comes from the Atlanta Police Department to a community where an innocent 92-year-old woman was gunned down by officers. However, other recent news stories indicate that Atlanta Police are still withholding documents from the family of the victim. And, in the same state, another botched drug raid and another dead body. Elsewhere, drug-related corruption continues to show up at higher levels of law enforcement.


Pubdate: Tue, 24 Nov 2009
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
Copyright: 2009 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Author: Ernie Suggs

For the people gathered at Lindsay Street Baptist Church for a town hall meeting marking the third anniversary of the killing of Kathryn Johnston, nothing much has changed in their neighborhood.

Widely known simply as English Avenue, the area is still wracked with drugs, violence and crime. Abandoned homes, some brand new but unsellable, still dot the neighborhood. Ivory Young, the city council representative in the area, said that only 13 percent of the property in the area is owner occupied. The rest is being rented or has been boarded up by an absentee landlord.

But for the people who attended the meeting, primarily to listen to mayoral candidates Mary Norwood and Kasim Reed, those who still love the area left with one thing -- a sense of remorse from the police department over Johnston's death.

"I take full responsibility for what happened. What happened to Mrs. Johnston was tragic," said Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington. "I don't think anybody ever apologized to the Johnston family. But I'd like to take this moment to personally apologize. You can't have an ongoing healing process until someone steps up and say they were wrong."

It was three years ago this week that the 92-year-old Johnston exposed problems so deep inside certain parts of the APD that she nearly brought the department down. On the evening of Nov. 21, 2006, several members of the APD drug unit stormed into Johnston's home and pumped two shots into her chest, killing her.




Pubdate: Thu, 19 Nov 2009
Source: Augusta Chronicle, The (GA)
Copyright: 2009 The Augusta Chronicle
Author: Adam Folk, Staff Writer

Three Richmond County narcotics officers were placed on desk duty Wednesday after a shooting the night before that killed a man wanted on several drug charges.

The fatal shooting of Michael Nestor, 30, is the second involving Richmond County sheriff's officers in less than two weeks, and the fourth in less than a year.

At a news conference Wednesday, Sheriff Ronnie Strength said investigators Philip Hambrick, Jason Saal and Mike Swint were involved in the shooting. He said Mr. Nestor was shot multiple times after he tried to strike one of the officers with his car.

The sheriff did not release photos of the officers, saying he didn't want to jeopardize any ongoing cases. According to Sheriff Strength, the events unfolded this way:




Pubdate: Sun, 22 Nov 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: Sebastian Rotella, Reporting from Nogales, Ariz.

Peers Say He'd Never Help Mexican Cartels. His Trial Starts Monday.

Around here, the grim joke goes, most people work for the government or the mafias.

Or both.

Richard Padilla Cramer apparently had bested the temptations that come with the territory. During three decades in border law enforcement, he made the most of his pitch-perfect Spanish and talent for undercover work. He locked up corrupt officials, racked up drug busts and rose through the ranks. He retired after a coveted stint as a U.S. attache for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Mexico, the land he had left as a child.

At 56, the former anti-drug chief was an immigrant success story: a decorated Vietnam veteran; a youthful, solidly built grandfather whose three children served in the military and law enforcement.

So his arrest in September resounded in the close-knit law enforcement community like a bomb blast in the desert. The alleged corruption goes beyond the typical case of an inspector waving drug loads north.

In a trial set to begin Monday in Miami, authorities will charge that Cramer sold his talents to drug lords while in Mexico, acting in effect as a counter-espionage consultant helping to unmask informants and set up smuggling deals. Raising fears of gangsters buying the expertise of U.S. law enforcement, investigators predict that the case will widen to bring down more agents.




Pubdate: Tue, 24 Nov 2009
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2009 El Paso Times
Author: Adriana Gomez Licon

EL PASO -- The Customs and Border Protection employee arrested on bribery and marijuana smuggling charges was an administrator at the Ysleta Port of Entry, a prosecutor said Monday.

Martha Alicia Garnica, 43, a former CBP inspector and El Paso police officer, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Mesa for a detention hearing. Mesa said he would withhold a decision on bond for Garnica until Dec. 1.

Mark Randazzo, a special agent for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, testified that between April and November, Garnica met and spoke on the phone with a drug trafficker several times. He said Garnica and the drug trafficker instructed and paid a CBP officer to allow drugs and undocumented immigrants into the country. Randazzo did not say the drug trafficker's name.

But he said that Garnica and Carlos Francisco Ramirez-Rosales took over as heads of the operation when the trafficker's brother was killed at the Seven & Seven bar in Juarez in August, a shooting in which two El Pasoans were slain.

Testimony also unveiled the name of a fourth person arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials Wednesday after they raided Garnica's home on the East Side.




L.A. city councillors believe they have crafted a dispensary ordinance that strikes the right balance between economic realities and drug war delusions.

Two medicinal cannabis cafes in Oregon, where licensed caregivers and patients gather, trade, donate and partake, are garnering national attention.

The Washington Post noticed the renewed confidence and optimism evident at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference held last week in New Mexico.

Wisconsin may soon join the states with safe access to medicinal cannabis with the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act.


Pubdate: Wed, 25 Nov 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: John Hoeffel

Council Members Also Signal That They May Cap Dispensaries at Between 70 and 200.

Dispensaries in Los Angeles could continue to accept cash for medical marijuana under a provision approved by the City Council on Tuesday, after it adopted language carefully crafted to maneuver past the city attorney's adamant position that state law bars the sale of the drug.

Plowing through more than 50 proposed changes to its draft medical marijuana ordinance, the council also signaled that it would probably cap the total number of dispensaries at between 70 and 200. The council asked city officials to return next Wednesday with studies on caps and on restrictions that would keep dispensaries either 500 feet or 1,000 feet from places such as schools and parks. The council also added new restrictions on dispensaries and rejected efforts to loosen requirements.

By the close of the daylong session, the council had made substantial headway on an issue that has bedeviled it for years.

With a judge's recent ruling that the city's moratorium on dispensaries was invalid, the city has almost no control over the hundreds that have opened.

The council, which avoided the word "sales" on the advice of its lawyers, decided that Los Angeles would allow "cash contributions, reimbursements and compensations" as long as they comply with state law.

Council President Eric Garcetti stepped in to negotiate the provision after an extended discussion. "We have some very elegant and flexible language that will adjust as state law is defined," he said.

City Atty. Carmen Trutanich and Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley had urged the council to explicitly ban the sale of marijuana.




Pubdate: Tue, 24 Nov 2009
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2009 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Tracy Loew, USA TODAY

A Legal Place to Socialize, Medicate

PORTLAND, Ore. -- At first glance, the Cannabis Cafe, in a former adult club called Rumpspankers, looks like any other coffee shop. Customers sip coffee while playing cards, working on computers or sharing a meal.

It's also where people approved to use marijuana for medical purposes can smoke joints and pipes, or use a vaporizer that collects marijuana fumes for inhaling.

It's all legal, and for cancer patient Albert Santistevan, 56, it's about time. "It's a very positive atmosphere. We could use more places like that," the former jewelry shop owner says.

A few weeks ago, Santistevan would have had no public place to go. But after the Obama administration's decision last month to soften the federal stance on medical marijuana, the Cannabis Cafe and a smaller lounge across town -- called Highway 420, a number pot users have used as code for marijuana -- opened.

"It's nice to be around people who understand your medicine," says Madeline Martinez, executive director of the Oregon chapter of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), which operates and monitors the cafe. "Many times we're deemed as criminals rather than patients."


"It really is a revolutionary model in that the cannabis isn't being bought and sold," says Russ Belville, national outreach coordinator for NORML.

No marijuana is sold in the cafe. Oregon law prohibits the sale of marijuana, although it can be exchanged among medical marijuana cardholders. Patients bring marijuana grown by themselves or by their designated caregivers. They also donate marijuana for other patrons to use.

Portland police say they have not received any complaints about the cafe, and it is not under any special scrutiny.

Jan Clutter, who lives near the cafe, said neighbors would probably prefer the establishment be located elsewhere, but there has been no push to have it moved.

"It's better than having a sex club, a strip joint or a bar full of drunks open down the street," neighbor Claudia Nix says.




Pubdate: Mon, 23 Nov 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company
Author: Karl Vick, Washington Post Staff Writer

Approval for Medical Use Expands Alongside Criticism of Prohibition

The same day they rejected a gay marriage ballot measure, residents of Maine voted overwhelmingly to allow the sale of medical marijuana over the counter at state-licensed dispensaries.

Later in the month, the American Medical Association reversed a longtime position and urged the federal government to remove marijuana from Schedule One of the Controlled Substances Act, which equates it with heroin and cocaine.

A few days later, advocates for easing marijuana laws left their biannual strategy conference with plans to press ahead on all fronts - -- state law, ballot measures, and court -- in a movement that for the first time in decades appeared to be gaining ground.

"This issue is breaking out in a remarkably rapid way now," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Public opinion is changing very, very rapidly."

The shift is widely described as generational. A Gallup poll in October found 44 percent of Americans favor full legalization of marijuana -- a rise of 13 points since 2000. Gallup said that if public support continues growing at a rate of 1 to 2 percent per year, "the majority of Americans could favor legalization of the drug in as little as four years."

A 53 percent majority already does so in the West, according to the survey. The finding heartens advocates collecting signatures to put the question of legalization before California voters in a 2010 initiative.

At last week's International Drug Reform Conference, activists gamed specific proposals for taxing and regulating pot along the lines of cigarettes and alcohol, as a bill pending in the California Legislature would do. The measure is not expected to pass, but in urging its serious debate, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) gave credence to a potential revenue source that the state's tax chief said could raise $1.3 billion in the recession, which advocates describe as a boon.

There were also tips on lobbying state legislatures, where measures decriminalizing possession of small amounts have passed in 14 states. Activists predict half of states will have laws allowing possession for medical purposes in the near future.




Pubdate: Wed, 25 Nov 2009
Source: Capital Times, The (WI)
Copyright: 2009 The Capital Times
Author: Steven Elbow

Christine Harrington smokes marijuana. Her husband grows it for her at their Crawford County home, about 35 miles south of La Crosse. But she doesn't consider herself or her husband to be criminals. She says she smokes it because it eases the cramps, tremors and stomach problems caused by multiple sclerosis.

But last January, when Crawford County sheriff's deputies got a tip that the Harringtons were growing pot, they executed a search warrant, seized her marijuana and jailed her husband on a felony charge for manufacturing the drug.

John Harrington got off relatively easy; he pleaded to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. But it cost the family of four plenty. Harrington lost his job as a school janitor at a time when the family was facing $10,000 in legal fees.

Under a legislative proposal to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, Christine Harrington's marijuana use and her husband's production of the illegal plant might not be a problem. The proposal would allow up to 3 ounces of marijuana or 12 plants to patients whose doctors recommended marijuana for medical reasons. Qualifying users could register with the state Department of Health Services for an identification card, which would allow police to quickly verify that they were legitimate marijuana users. The bill requires distribution centers, referred to as "compassion centers," to be nonprofit and to pay $5,000 a year for a license.

The bill specifies a number of ailments that would qualify patients to legally use the drug: HIV, cancer, hepatitis C, Alzheimer's and post- traumatic stress syndrome, to name a few. But it also includes any chronic or debilitating disease that causes wasting away, severe pain, nausea, seizures or muscle spasms as well as "any other medical condition" designated by the state as debilitating.




In Mexico, the violence that goes hand-in-hand with prohibition continues and grows worse. "What Mexico is experiencing is narco terrorism," proclaimed Richard Valdemar in this week's El Paso Times. Valdemar's apparent task was to explain why this violence is now to be re-branded as "terrorism" - without reminding readers that government-sponsored drug prohibition hands lucrative drug markets to the Mexican gangs.

The solution to violent Mexican nacro-traffickers? For control-bent governments, simply repealing prohibition is a repugnant thought. Instead, visions of ever-greater government power dance in official heads. Why waste the opportunity for one colossal failure of government control (drugs prohibition) to beget ever more government? Government won't. The Mexican government sees the "crisis" as an opportunity to send in the so-called "elite Red Beret" government soldiers. (The El Paso Times did not mention whether they arrived by parachute or not.) As expected, "Despite the soldiers' presence, the murders by armed assailants continued unabated." Businesses in Juarez called for U.N. peacekeeper troops out of desperation.

Government prohibitionists in D.C., likewise view the situation as great opportunity to expand government, now, merging the two nations' law enforcement as fast as possible. A Washington Post article this week extolled "new levels of information sharing" in the form of a massive "new five-story bunker" of data deep within Mexico City to "connect Mexican authorities with U.S. law enforcement databases" (just the "authorities", mind you). Mexican police, having unfettered access to data on Americans that ordinary Americans aren't even allowed to see? Don't worry: U.S. officials promise they will make sure only non-corrupt Mexican authorities get "to receive U.S. intelligence, including access to undercover agents and confidential informants." Feel better, now?

And finally this week, two pieces on psychedelic healing and ayahuasca medicine. The first piece, from The Meliorist newspaper in Canada, tells of Amazonian ayahuasca-based religions, including ayahuasca-fueled "psychedelic warfare in which one shaman uses spirits to battle the spirits of other shamans." In modern Brazil, people take ayahuasca "under the supervision of a master who asks the user questions to aid them on their spiritual quest." The Daily Telegraph newspaper the U.K. last week explored the possible benefits of psychedelic drugs. Results? "92 per cent of people in a group taking MDMA (under legal trial conditions) experienced a significant drop in their post-traumatic stress disorder scale."


Pubdate: Tue, 24 Nov 2009
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2009 El Paso Times
Author: Diana Washington Valdez

EL PASO -- The Juarez drug murders are attracting attention not only for their numbers, but also for the increasing brutality with which they are being carried out.


"What Mexico is experiencing is narco terrorism," said Richard Valdemar, an international gang expert and retired California law enforcement officer. "The battle between the cartels has become a terrorist war. We also have two gang cultures that have come together - -- the U.S. prison-based gang culture and an increasingly violent Mexican gang culture. Together, they are sinking to the lowest common denominator."

The kind of beheadings that are taking place in Mexico occurred among gangs in the Middle East for many years before they were seen in this part of the world. "In this hemisphere, we began to see this type of brutal violence in Colombia, and then it moved its way up north," he said.




Pubdate: Mon, 23 Nov 2009
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2009 El Paso Times
Author: Diana Washington Valdez

The latest attempts to bring law and order to Juarez include a noise campaign by the Autonomous University of Juarez and the deployment of an elite "Red Beret" paratroopers unit to the violence-ravaged city.

Chihuahua Joint Operation officials said a total of 2,500 soldiers from Mexico City, including paratrooper and infantry units, began arriving in Juarez during the past few days.

The soldiers are supposed to help beef up local police patrols and gather intelligence about organized crime. They are expected to remain in Juarez for at least the next six weeks.


Nearly 4,000 people have been killed in Juarez since December 2006 when the government declared war against Mexico's drug cartels. The border city has become the center of a bloody drug-trafficking turf battle between the Carrillo Fuentes and the Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman cartels.

Despite the soldiers' presence, the murders by armed assailants continued unabated. During the weekend, 11 people were murdered, including a 14-year-old boy and two women.


Business organizations are continuing to explore ways to bring the United Nations to the border, as observers or for a peacekeeping mission.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has said the United Nations is not needed.



Pubdate: Sun, 22 Nov 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company

After Long Era of Mistrust, Nations Merge Training, Intelligence and Technology

MEXICO CITY -- To avenge the arrest of their leader, Mexican drug cartel commandos went on a rampage this summer across the lawless state of Michoacan, seizing 12 Mexican police officers and dumping their bound and stripped corpses in a pile beside a busy highway.

The slaughtered federal agents, it later emerged, had something in common: All had been vetted and trained by the U.S. government to work alongside its anti-narcotics agents. Officials said the American connection made them high-value targets for the cartels, which are lashing back ruthlessly against a military crackdown involving unprecedented cooperation between the two countries.


"The recognition by both sides, at the highest levels, that we have a shared responsibility for drug trafficking and serious crime in Mexico is a watershed change," said John Feeley, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.


In addition, Mexican technicians are using U.S. government software to help build Platform Mexico, a computer network housed in a new five-story bunker at the edge of Mexico City. When the facility opens next week, the network will connect Mexican authorities with U.S. law enforcement databases. The most useful information, such as traces of weapons used in crimes, is being translated into Spanish.

"This is one of our most important reforms because if you don't have the intelligence, the information, you are just reacting. This will make us proactive," said Jose Francisco Niembro Gonzalez, director of Platform Mexico.

While hardware and technology are important, senior officials in both governments describe the vetting program as the linchpin for their new levels of information sharing. Under an agreement with the Mexican government, U.S. agencies administer lie-detector tests and background checks for hundreds of Mexican agents now working with U.S. counterparts. These vetted units, which include elements in the Mexican military, are cleared to receive U.S. intelligence, including access to undercover agents and confidential informants.


For the first time, the Mexican navy participated in joint military exercises with the United States earlier this year. Frank Mora, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for Western Hemispheric affairs, said the military-to-military cooperation has expanded to include counternarcotics, intelligence analysis and helicopter pilot training.

"It's not just the Mexicans needing us," he said. "It is us needing the Mexicans."



Pubdate: Thu, 19 Nov 2009
Source: Meliorist, The (CN AB Edu)
Copyright: 2009 The Meliorist
Author: Ian Del Bigio

In the murky depths of the Amazon, there is a rare combination of vine and plant geneses, when combined, they are among one of the most powerful hallucinogens known to man. Its many forms, which vary from brewer to brewer, are known as ayahuasca.


In these southern reaches, there are many tribes with traditions of ayahuasca use that vary from mild religious use to shamanistic ritualism.

In the extreme cases, there is an element of psychedelic warfare in which one shaman uses spirits to battle the spirits of other shamans.


Ayahuasca, even in brewed and prepared form, is legal in North America. However, it is by no means recreational as vomiting and sickness, which makes it a little unpopular, often accompany it.

Ayahuasca use, however, is still occurring today.

In some parts of Brazil, people use it under the supervision of a master who asks the user questions to aid them on their spiritual quest. People use the drug routinely to cleanse themselves of impurity of character and self.

All around the world, drugs have been used to understand oneself and the world around them. Ayahuasca is just one of many drugs people have used to answer questions they couldn't fathom and explain the unexplained.



Pubdate: Mon, 16 Nov 2009
Source: Daily Telegraph (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Telegraph Media Group Limited
Author: Arran Frood

New Studies Are Testing Whether Psychedelic Drugs Such As LSD and MDMA Can Treat OCD, Post Traumatic Stress and Cancer Related Anxiety.


So what exactly is the evidence so far? The American journal Neurology recently reported that LSD and psilocybin can be more effective than conventional migraine drugs in controlling cluster headache attacks, preventing new cycles of attacks, and extending remission periods. Meanwhile, a study at the University of Arizona, Tuscon, used psilocybin to treat obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and showed a positive but temporary reduction in OCD symptoms.

At last year's annual convention of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies in Chicago, Dr Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist, showed that 92 per cent of people in a group taking MDMA (under legal trial conditions) experienced a significant drop in their post-traumatic stress disorder scale. And in Solothurn in Switzerland, psychotherapist Peter Gasser, is undertaking legal, controlled clinical trials at his private practice to test whether LSD-assisted psychotherapy can help people with the anxieties related to terminal cancer. Similar experiments in the Sixties showed positive results.

Dr Ben Sessa, a psychiatrist from the Department of Psychopharmacology at Bristol University, is among those who have endorsed the return of psychedelic research. "Recent trials are now demonstrating positive results using the same modern protocols as demanded for other conventional drugs," he says. "I totally support research that explores the therapeutic possibility of these drugs. As a doctor, not to so would be to turn my back on my patients."


But what is the opinion of those who have tried them? Most that I have spoken to claim to have found their underground sessions useful. Interest is growing across Europe, helped by easy access through the internet. It appears that, legal or not, in a search for relief, more and more people are willing to take the risks.


 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )



The Monumentally Stupid Drug War Is Not

By Jim Hightower

The war on marijuana is insane; our officials keep sacrificing tax dollars, lives, civil liberties, and their own credibility in this misguided and losing effort.


Is this trip worth a warm mouthful of spit?

By Jacob Sullum


By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director

While there is a constant buzz of cannabis law reform these days in America, largely at the local and state level, unfortunately these strong winds of change do not largely penetrate the Capital Beltway.


Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 11/22/09 - Danny Kushlick

Danny Kushlick outlines "After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation" from Transform in the UK + interview of Ira Glasser at the Drug Policy Alliance conference

Century of Lies - 11/22/09 - Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian

"Cannabis, Cartels & Crime: Would Legalization Help?" Ambassador Edward Djerejian, Professor William Martin, DEA Agent Gary Hale & Ethan Nadelmann, Dir of the Drug Policy Alliance at the James A. Baker III Institute for Policy Studies


UHRI's new report, Drug Situation in Vancouver, contains more than 10 years of prospective data on drug use trends, drug availability, HIV rates and mortality rates among people in the Vancouver area who use hard drugs such as heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine.

Hear the CBC interview with co-author Dr. Evan Wood.



Help Reform Marijuana Laws - A DrugSense Focus Alert


One in four Americans lives in a state with duly-enacted medical marijuana laws. Unfortunately, law-abiding citizens from these states are still prosecuted on marijuana-related charges in federal courts, and in the process denied the opportunity to speak the truth at their trial! Urge your Members of Congress support the "Truth in Trials" bill.



By Julie Frisbie

I keep reading articles about marijuana raids everywhere. And I keep thinking about all the good that would come if it were finally legalized (not just medically). Not only would this rid people of growing it in large quantities, but by taxing the use of it would help California's budget and perhaps boost the economy which is obviously suffering.

One thing that I would like to make clear is that people who want to use marijuana will use it the same whether it is illegal or not. Marijuana also is not as harmful as many people make it out to be. Why is it that something such as alcohol which kills 85,000 people annually is legal whereas marijuana has killed 0 and is illegal? This doesn't make much sense to me. Drug use such as tobacco also kills between 340,000 and 395,000 people each year. Tobacco and alcohol both have their age limits and regulations, why can't marijuana have its own, as well? Especially considering the fact that tobacco and alcohol kills many people each year and marijuana kills none.

Marijuana is also non-addictive (unless you are part of the 10 percent of Americans who already have an addictive behavior) and has been proven to be non-violent by the U.S. Shafer Commission.

For the record, I am not a marijuana user, I just don't see the harm in it. I definitely believe there would be a more positive outcome from finally legalizing it.

Julie Frisbie


Pubdate: Fri, 20 Nov 2009
Source: Times-Standard (Eureka, CA)
Copyright: 2009 Times-Standard



By Mary Jane Borden

Will history repeat itself? Is what happened before destined to occur again? If so, can we hasten the outcome? History. That amorphous high school course can be a great teacher, if only we heed its lessons.

Central Ohio sits in a unique position with regard to history. One hundred years ago, it was at the epicenter of an emerging social movement. This movement conjoined women's suffrage with Protestant churches and the Republican Party. A mere pledge of personal restraint grew to envelop America in its worldview and pose serious and lasting Constitutional issues. While repeatedly repudiated as ineffective and corrupt, it exists in the form of the present day "War on Drugs." That movement was alcohol prohibition.

Westerville, the upscale suburb on the northeast side of Columbus, still bills itself as the "Dry Capitol of the World." Although "wet" voter initiatives have shrunk the actual dry area of this quiet, peaceful village, prohibition's roots are deeply imbedded in it. Westerville is the home of the Anti-Saloon League Museum located adjacent to the Westerville Public Library. This historic home became the national headquarters of the Anti-Saloon League and its American Issue Publishing Company in 1909. It houses one of the largest collections of prohibition-oriented literature in the world.

Consider these statistics. From 1909 to 1923, the Anti-Saloon League produced: 157 million copies of temperance papers, 2 million books, 5 million pamphlets, 114 million leaflets, 2 million window placards, and 18 million small cards. The flow of mail was so large that Westerville became the smallest community in the country with a first-class post office. At the height of the 1919 campaign to ratify the 18th Amendment outlawing alcohol, more than 40 tons of anti-alcohol material poured from the League's printing presses each month!

This volume of material had the familiar ring of hyperbole, exaggeration, and emotion used by the modern day, government-sponsored anti-drug media campaigns made famous by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Partnership for a Drug Free America. The threads that weave through drug prohibition are hauntingly similar to alcohol prohibition.

Yet, within ten years of their peak publishing volume, all was lost for the Anti-Saloon League. Alcohol regained its legal status with passage of the 21st Amendment in 1933. The League faded and disbanded, its remnants now on display as a relic in a museum and library.

Can we do the same for the drug war?

A Prohibition ditty from the last century. Sound familiar?

Prohibition is an awful flop. We like it. It can't stop what it's meant to stop. We like it. It's left a trail of graft and slime, It's filled our land with vice and crime, It don't prohibit worth a dime, Nevertheless we're for it.

Mary Jane Borden is a writer, artist, and activist in drug policy from Westerville, Ohio. She serves as Business Manager/Fundraising Specialist for DrugSense.


"Death comes at you no matter what you do in this life, and to equate drugs with death is a facile comparison." -Jerry Garcia

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