This Just In
(1)Top Court Nixes Medical Marijuana Limits
(2)Kidnapper Testifies That Texan Killed In Mexico
(3)Vivid Testimony In Trial Of Three Officers Accused In Subway Station Assault
(4)Three Strikes Law Stupid, Says Expert

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 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Fri, 22 Jan 2010
Source: Oakland Tribune, The (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Bay Area News Group
Author: Josh Richman, Oakland Tribune

The California Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously struck down state law's limits -- and, most likely, local limits, too -- on how much marijuana a patient or caregiver can possess or grow for medical purposes.

But the state's highest court revived another part of state law that a lower court had ordered voided, protecting the state's voluntary identification card program for patients and caregivers.

The state attorney general's office had agreed with lawyers for defendant Patrick Kelly, of Lakewood, that the limits should be abolished but the ID card system retained.

Kris Hermes, spokesman for Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access, said the court's ruling also renders unconstitutional many city and county ordinances that impose possession and cultivation limits. Oakland, for example, had set limits of up to 72 indoor plants with up to 32 square feet of canopy, or up to 20 outdoor plants at any stage of development, and as much as 3 pounds of dried marijuana.

"I imagine it'll apply to us as well," Oakland City Attorney John Russo agreed. Though the ruling doesn't affect other local regulations, such as dispensary permits or police de-prioritization of marijuana enforcement, he added, "I think you can surmise pretty safely that this decision indicates a very short remaining life for some of the local attempts to quantify (legal amounts)."




Pubdate: Thu, 21 Jan 2010
Source: Herald Democrat (Sherman,TX)
Copyright: 2010 Herald Democrat

McALLEN, Texas--A man who worked as a kidnapper for the Mexican Gulf cartel testified Wednesday that a kidnapping team was ordered in the summer of 2008 to convince drug dealers in south Texas to work with the cartel and to sniff out potential competitors.

The kidnapping team took orders from Jaime Gonzalez Duran, known as "El Hummer," a founding member of the Zetas, the cartel's enforcement arm, testified Gerardo Zamora Espinoza.

Gonzalez wanted "people in the drug business to know that the cartel could operate on this (the U.S.) side," Zamora Espinoza testified Wednesday during the trial of Luis Avila Hernandez, who has been charged in three kidnappings.

Mexican authorities arrested Gonzalez later that year. He is being held in a maximum security prison there, while he is tried on organized crime charges.

Zamora Espinoza testified he was involved in as many as seven kidnappings but pleaded guilty to charges in only one in a deal with prosecutors. Zamora Espinoza said his nephew, Angelo Raul Hernandez Jr., ran the kidnapping squad based in Weslaco and received the names of some targets directly from Gonzalez.




Pubdate: Fri, 22 Jan 2010
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2010 The New York Times Company
Author: Kareem Fahim

In October 2008, from different vantage points, three members of the Dallas family watched the frenzied sequence of events that Michael Mineo says led to his abuse at the hands of police officers and that the officers say led to a mostly unexceptional arrest.

Andrea Dallas watched from her car parked on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn as police officers who had seen Mr. Mineo smoking a marijuana cigarette chased him into the Prospect Park subway station. Her son, James Avery Dallas, and her husband, also named James, saw the officers confront Mr. Mineo in the station.

On Thursday, as the case opened in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, Ms. Dallas and her son testified that they had heard the same anguished expression of disbelief over and over again from Mr. Mineo: that an officer had "shoved a walkie-talkie" between his buttocks.

"He never stopped yelling," Ms. Dallas said. "That's the only thing I heard him say."

The Dallases' testimony provided the first witness accounts of the hazy, disputed events of Oct. 15, 2008, when prosecutors contend Officer Richard Kern repeatedly shoved his retractable baton between Mr. Mineo's buttocks. Two other officers, Alex Cruz and Andrew Morales, are charged with covering up the assault. The officers have been assigned to desk duty, with their guns and badges taken away.




Pubdate: Thu, 21 Jan 2010
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2010 New Zealand Herald
Authors: Andrew Koubaridis and Edward Gay

The "three strikes" law could see some of the worst criminals still eligible for parole depending on the order in which they commit their crimes, a criminologist has said.

The law, which National and Act have agreed to pass, opens the way for huge inconsistencies in sentencing, said Professor Greg Newbold.

The University of Canterbury criminologist said an offender who committed two assaults and a murder - in that order - would be locked up for life, because the maximum sentence for murder was life imprisonment.

But the new law would mean that someone who committed murder and then two assaults would only serve the maximum penalty for assault, a sentence length that varies depending on the attack and not a life sentence.

Police Minister Judith Collins last night defended the law, saying most murderers were given life sentences in which they were eventually allowed to apply for parole, which carried set conditions.

"If the offender later reoffends when on parole then they will most likely be recalled to prison to continue to serve their life sentence for the murder [first strike] as they have breached the terms of their parole."

But Professor Newbold said a prisoner would still be able to apply for parole within 12 months of being recalled to prison.

He said the law was "stupid" and lacked credibility and predicted it would be challenged by defence lawyers.





The senselessness of the war on drugs is a theme that runs through several stories this week. In Iowa, a young man has a series of run-ins with authority after his refusal to stop using medicine that helped him. In Florida, state laws and other factors make needle exchanges difficult to fund and operate. Another sad story of drug violence spilling over onto vacationers in Mexico, and a Hawaiian newspaper illustrates the ongoing failure of the criminal justice system to deal with drug problems with one person who has been through the system dozens of times.

 (5) HAZY FUTURE  ( Top )

Pubdate: Tue, 19 Jan 2010
Source: Des Moines Register (IA)
Copyright: 2010 The Des Moines Register.
Author: Aaron W. Jaco

The boyish young man in the khaki slacks and brown sweater looks Warren County Attorney Bryan Tingle straight in the eyes and declares that his constitutional rights are being squashed.

He tells Tingle from his seat in the courtroom that Iowa's legal system is treading on his freedom of religion, and on the freedom of science and medicine to explore treatment alternatives for the chronically and mentally ill.

With eyes gazing intently through his curly black hair, he tells Tingle that he's not afraid of going to prison. And there's a distinct possibility that, within a few weeks, he could land himself there for five years.

He tells Tingle, who stands over him in a suit and tie, that if he were to receive a prison sentence, he'd like to be held in contempt of court and serve additional time.

"I'd have serious contempt for that decision," he says.

This is Jason Karimi, a 21-year-old Milo native whose allegiance to the illegal drug marijuana has nearly landed him in prison on multiple occasions since 2007, most recently during the above-outlined Jan. 5 probation revocation hearing.

But despite the legal troubles, Karimi says marijuana has saved his life, dragging him twice out of suicidal depression. He has argued, and continues to argue, for his right to use the drug as medication to treat mental illness - a lingering anxiety recently diagnosed as bipolar disorder.

Karimi's is the story of how an honor student became a twice-convicted criminal. How a young man decided to treat his own mental illness with an illegal drug. How an aspiring computer technician became an amateur advocate for medical marijuana.

"I've had a crazy last couple of years," Karimi said Jan. 6, leaning forward in an armchair in a friend's Altoona apartment. "People don't believe me, sometimes, when I try to tell them what's happened."




Pubdate: Sun, 17 Jan 2010
Source: Ledger, The (Lakeland, FL)
Copyright: 2010 The Ledger
Author: Robin Williams Adams, The Ledger

BARTOW - Syringe-exchange programs can reduce the spread of HIV, AIDS and hepatitis among IV-drug users without increasing illegal drug use, many studies conclude, but a 21-year ban on federal funding has limited those programs from expanding nationwide.

States, cities, counties or private groups have had to find money to run them on their own because the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can't. That created a patchwork network of programs that gives clean needles in exchange for used ones that may contain infected blood.

The number of syringe-exchange efforts could increase now that Congress and President Obama approved legislation in mid-December to end the ban, a move that would allow some CDC money to be spent on those programs.

"Science has shown these programs reduce HIV transmission and do not increase use of illegal drugs," said Nikki Kay, a CDC spokeswoman.

A syringe-exchange program, she and others said, gives health programs access to people who use IV drugs. They can link drug users to substance abuse treatment, education, behavioral intervention programs, HIV testing and, as needed, HIV treatment.

For Polk County to get a program up and running, however, it will require more than federal help. State legislators would need to allow a public health exemption to laws that target possession of drug paraphernalia.




Pubdate: Sun, 17 Jan 2010
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles Times
Author: Hector Becerra

Bobby Salcedo's Killing Shattered the Romantic Image Many Mexican Americans Shared About Their Homeland.

Bobby Salcedo grew up in El Monte, his immigrant parents staking the family's future in the working-class suburb that felt worlds away from the Mexican farming towns of their roots.

But like so many Mexican Americans, some of Salcedo's fondest memories were from the winter and summer vacations when his family would pack into the van and drive 1,300 miles south to the lands of their ancestors in Jalisco.

The pace of life slowed there, with children hanging out in town plazas late into the night and young men handing flowers to pretty girls as they strolled in opposing circles. For many young Mexican Americans, that small-town life seemed a panacea compared to the urban stresses of Los Angeles, and to being cooped up at home, playing video games and watching TV.

The connection to Mexico stayed with Salcedo through the years as he became an assistant principal and El Monte school board member. He continued to visit family in Mexico, and did charity work for South El Monte's sister city, Gomez Palacio in Durango state. He met his future wife there.

The 33-year-old Salcedo and his wife returned to her hometown this Christmas to visit family and friends. A few days later, they were at a bar when masked gunmen, suspected members of a drug cartel, burst in and kidnapped Salcedo and five other men. They were shot to death execution-style and dumped near a canal.

The case made headlines as an example of Mexico's out-of-control drug war and prompted mourning in El Monte, where Salcedo was a popular educator and a rising community leader.




Pubdate: Sun, 17 Jan 2010
Source: Garden Island (Lihue, HI)
Copyright: 2010 Kauai Publishing Co.

Sixty-six arrests. Twenty-three convictions. Nine felonies.

Three children, ages 2, 4 and 7, with another on the way.

And now, 10 years in prison.

It doesn't take a mathematician to crunch these numbers and figure out that something went very, very wrong.

The story of Ashlee Pasion Rita is a sad one. We believe it could and should have been averted.

Fifth Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe on Jan. 6 sentenced the 27-year-old mother of three to 10 years in prison for numerous drug and property crimes.

In April, as police executed a search warrant, Rita exited her house holding a toddler in her arms with an ice pipe in her waistband. Inside, officers found a loaded .22 caliber handgun between the cushions of the living-room couch.

The incident was the latest in a long line of dangerous behavior for Rita.

Her criminal history included numerous arrests and convictions, including one case in which she was convicted of seven felony counts of forgery, a felony count of theft, and one felony count of burglary.

Where did things go off the rails?




While other print media are having trouble, a magazine devoted to one drug trial in North Carolina seems to be doing quite well. Elsewhere in the drug war, drug use and smuggling continues at both ends of the age spectrum, and another claim that the drug war is working, this time because seizures are allegedly down at the U.S.-Mexican border.


Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jan 2010
Source: News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
Copyright: 2010 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Author: Thomasi Mcdonald

A magazine has hit the streets of the Triangle that discloses privileged information from a federal criminal investigation that sent a man to prison for life. Some say Diamond Resort Magazine, which has sold about 1,000 copies at $10 apiece, is a tool to intimidate potential witnesses from testifying at criminal trials. The magazine reprints court documents including witness interviews and plea agreements, and it refers to "snitching" as violating the "code of the street."

"People are already afraid to give information anonymously," said Donna-maria Harris, whose 24-year-old son was one of four men murdered inside a West Durham townhouse five years ago. Harris was appalled when she found out information about her son's death was in the magazine. "Now we have a magazine that's printing information about who comes forward, with their names and pictures. To me it's just one step above kiddie porn. It comes across as an intimidation tactic."

The magazine's publisher, Delora Croudy, 23, who lives in Wake County, said her motive is to scare young people straight.

"I'm giving it to you raw, without the sugar coating. This is reality," Croudy said Monday. She said the magazine's name "just came to me." Diamond Resort's front cover features a photograph of Donald Stanton "Face" Shealey, 27, of Durham. In July, Judge Carl Fox sentenced Shealey in a New Hanover County federal court to life in prison for drug trafficking and money-laundering charges.




Pubdate: Tue, 19 Jan 2010
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal, The (CA)
Copyright: 2010 The Ukiah Daily Journal

Police caught 188 students possessing, using or selling marijuana on campus so far this year. That number doesn't include alcohol violations, Dewey said.

Ukiah police want to use dogs and city reserves to crack down on marijuana and alcohol sales at Ukiah High School.

The Ukiah City Council on Wednesday will consider Police Chief Chris Dewey's proposal to use $20,793 left over after buying five detective vehicles for less than was expected, to create a Police Narcotic Canine Program.

"Over the last five years, on average, approximately 113 Ukiah High School students a year have been found to be in possession, under the influence, or have sold marijuana or alcohol on the school campus," Dewey writes to open his memo to the council.

Two students were hospitalized last year after eating marijuana brownies several students were distributing via a campus locker.

He said based on a school district administrator's estimate, the high school will lose $300,000 in average daily attendance (ADA) funding from the expulsions that have resulted from marijuana violations so far this year.


Continues: :


Pubdate: Fri, 15 Jan 2010
Source: Surrey Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Surrey Leader
Author: Tracy Holmes

A 70-year-old Surrey man learned this week he will spend two years in a U.S. prison for his role in trying to smuggle ecstasy pills through the Pacific Highway border.

Judge Thomas Zilly told Amar Kumar Dutt the sentence for his conspiracy to distribute ecstasy charge was light only because of the senior's advanced age and health problems.

"If you were 25 years old this is not the sentence I would give you," Zilly said in a Jan. 14 statement from the U.S. attorney's office in Seattle.

According to the statement, Dutt was arrested on May 29, 2009, after more than 40,000 ecstasy pills packaged in plastic bags were found floating in the gas tank of a southbound minivan.

Officers became suspicious of Dutt after he told an inspector he was heading south to look for "healing crystals." A detector dog alerted officers to the vehicle's gas tank.

At the time, officials estimated the value of the drugs at $500,000.

At sentencing Thursday, Dutt expressed embarrassment and remorse, the statement notes.




Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jan 2010
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2010 El Paso Times
Author: Daniel Borunda

EL PASO -- The cartel war in Juarez is hindering the flow of illegal drugs and may be the reason for a steep drop in the amount of marijuana seized last year at "stash houses" in El Paso.

The West Texas Stash House Unit last year reported it seized about 4,200 pounds of marijuana, plummeting from total seizures of 23,700 pounds in 2008 and 41,000 pounds in 2007.

The drop is extraordinary considering that in past years it was not uncommon for narcotic investigators to make a ton seizure in a single raid.

There are believed to be hundreds of stash houses in El Paso, where drugs that have been smuggled across the border are stored before being transported to cities across the nation.

U.S. narcotics investigators said the drop in stash house seizures is due in part to difficulties smugglers are having, not only with law enforcement and the Mexican army, but also with enemy narco-traffickers in a war between the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels.

"Seizures are down, the prices of drugs are up, and further, the purity of cocaine is down," said Special Agent Diana Apodaca of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in El Paso.

In 2009, about 2,600 people were killed in Juarez due in part to a fight for control of smuggling routes and street drug sales. There have more than 100 slayings in 2010.




As hoped for and mentioned in last week's newsletter, New Jersey has become the 14th state to regulate cannabis for medicinal purposes.

As psychedelic scholar Rick Doblin points out, if the usual avenues one would take to achieve their goals are blocked, people will often find other paths.

Prohibition is like building a dam without a spillway. The water will find a way, leaving a trail of destruction and erosion in its path.

Too often the war on cannabis drives a wedge between parents and their children, much as it drives a wedge between doctors and their patients.


Pubdate: Tue, 19 Jan 2010
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)
Copyright: 2010 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc
Author: Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer

With New Jersey's endorsement of medical marijuana, there may be no stopping the rehabilitation of cannabis from illegal drug to legitimate therapy.

Late yesterday, Gov. Corzine signed a law making New Jersey the fourteenth state to legalize medical pot. Four more states and the District of Columbia are expected to follow suit by year's end.

Many things are driving this sea change. The federal government last year announced that it would no longer prosecute medical marijuana smokers in states where it is legal, while the National Institutes of Health has begun funding research on medicinal use in a reversal of a long-standing policy.

Gallup Polls show a solid majority of Americans sympathetic to therapeutic marijuana use.

And the usually conservative American Medical Association, along with the Philadelphia-based American College of Physicians, has joined other medical groups in calling for research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines.

Lawyer Keith Stroup, who founded the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) in 1970, rejoiced: "We've had more political progress and public support in the past three years than in the previous 30. We've largely won the hearts and minds of Americans."

Paul Cohen, a physician and lawyer who teaches public health law at Georgetown University, said, "I think we're pretty close to the tipping point."




Pubdate: Tue, 19 Jan 2010
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2010 The New York Times Company
Author: Gardiner Harris

Despite the Obama administration's tacit support of more liberal state medical marijuana laws, the federal government still discourages research into the medicinal uses of smoked marijuana. That may be one reason that -- even though some patients swear by it - -- there is no good scientific evidence that legalizing marijuana's use provides any benefits over current therapies.

Lyle E. Craker, a professor of plant sciences at the University of Massachusetts, has been trying to get permission from federal authorities for nearly nine years to grow a supply of the plant that he could study and provide to researchers for clinical trials.

But the Drug Enforcement Administration -- more concerned about abuse than potential benefits -- has refused, even after the agency's own administrative law judge ruled in 2007 that Dr. Craker's application should be approved, and even after Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in March ended the Bush administration's policy of raiding dispensers of medical marijuana that comply with state laws.

"All I want to be able to do is grow it so that it can be tested," Dr. Craker said in comments echoed by other researchers.

Marijuana is the only major drug for which the federal government controls the only legal research supply and for which the government requires a special scientific review.

"The more it becomes clear to people that the federal government is blocking these studies, the more people are willing to defect by using politics instead of science to legalize medicinal uses at the state level," said Rick Doblin, executive director of a nonprofit group dedicated to researching psychedelics for medical uses.




Pubdate: Mon, 18 Jan 2010
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2010 Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Michael Platt

"He has to come home."

Phyllis Heltay's words hang between desperation and disbelief.

She's been fighting for over a year to bring her 11-year-old grandson home to Canada after he was taken into custody by the State of Oregon and placed in foster care.

Noah Kirkman faces the possibility of being permanently adopted out to strangers, despite having a mother and sister in Calgary, and at least three willing homes where the Canadian boy might be cared for by blood relatives.

One of those relations is Noah's mother Lisa Kirkman, and therein lies the rub: Oregon's Department of Human Services considers Lisa such an unfit parent, they'd rather keep Noah in the foster system than let him come home.

They won't say why. Indeed, officials in that state won't even acknowledge the existence of the Canadian child in their custody, who lives with a foster family and attends school near Eugene, Ore.

"I am not able to provide you with any information about specific child welfare cases," said Gene Evans, a state spokesman.

The silence is official, but Lisa Kirkman has reams of court documents to back her story, which started when social workers arrived on the doorstep to take Noah away "for a few days."

That was September 2008, and Lisa has been battling to get her son back ever since, with her last physical contact in July 2009. Since last summer, they've only spoken through supervised phone calls.

"It's an absolute and utter nightmare," said Lisa, a 34-year-old freelance journalist. "To me this is an abduction - they took my child from me for no reason."


To make matters more sticky, Lisa has a criminal record in Canada. She is a marijuana crusader and columnist, and was busted years ago for growing medical marijuana without a permit.

That past led Oregon officials to keep Noah and place him in foster care, forcing Lisa to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and swear off drugs before they'll even consider returning her son.




Pubdate: Sat, 16 Jan 2010
Source: Asbury Park Press (NJ)
Copyright: 2010 Asbury Park Press
Author: Erik Larsen, Staff Writer

On her deathbed in 2003, Cheryl Miller made her husband James promise her that he would not give up their fight to have the use of marijuana for medical purposes legalized.

Having suffered from a debilitating form of multiple sclerosis since 1971, Miller used marijuana to ease the painful symptoms of her disease.

Together, the Toms River couple engaged in carefully crafted acts of civil disobedience that culminated in 1998 with chomping down a piece of marijuana outside the office of a congressman opposed to legalization of the drug for any reason.

So when the Legislature on Monday approved a bill that would make New Jersey the 14th state to allow chronically ill patients access to marijuana for medical reasons, the occasion was bittersweet for James Miller, 57, who still lives in Ocean County.

"I didn't hear the name Cheryl Miller mentioned. It's not why I went, to hear my late wife's name mentioned," Miller said Wednesday, during a speech at the Red Bank Public Library.

"You'd think maybe somebody who stood there in the beginning, virtually by herself . . .," he continued, before stopping himself. "When I say stand, she couldn't move her arms or her legs by herself at all -- I mean that figuratively. So why do I think that was an oversight?"

Though Cheryl Miller is credited with helping bring down former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr's re-election bid in 2002 over the issue, a position that Barr has since reversed, the controversial, in-your-face tactics of the Millers have not exactly endeared them to the protocol and image-conscious political establishment.

But in the 1990s, when the legalization of medical marijuana was seen largely as a backdoor, slippery slope effort to decriminalize cannabis altogether, unorthodox means were the only way the Millers could gain any attention.




Interesting juxtaposition of methamphetamine related articles from New Zealand this week. On the one hand the New Zealand Herald informed us 4 out of 5 government-beholden "frontline anti-P" (the media calls meth "P" there) "advocates" do agree: New Zealand's government gets an A-plus for strengthening meth prohibition. On the other hand, the Sunday News informs us New Zealand is now awash in Shabu (a.k.a. Ya Ba, etc.) - imported methamphetamine tablets. Classic balloon effect: "Ya Ba was imported following a major shortage in the local P market, caused by police crackdowns on dealers and gangs."

Meanwhile, back in the U.K. a similar balloon effect seen in the face of the illegality of millennia-old plant medicines like cannabis, has led to the popularity of legal designer drugs like mephedrone. The alarm was sounded again in York last week when a 17-year-old boarding-school student was carted off to the hospital after reacting badly to the stuff.

From the El Paso Times this week we learn of the new, "changed" strategy President Felipe Calderon will use to fight the tide of prohibition-caused mayhem. What's this new strategy? Oh, same as the old one: throw a few thousand soldiers at the violence-saturated border town of Juarez. That should stop the flow of drugs and halt the murders - just like it did before.

And finally this week from the Philippines, the Freeman newspaper reports college students will be tested for drugs, especially their "drug of choice," marijuana. This is because marijuana (as we all know) "has no medicinal purpose and that it has ill effects that destroys the mind and the body... Marijuana is declared by law as dangerous drugs because it is a scientific fact that it is addictive, abuse has ill effects just like shabu and other illegal drugs." See, and now you thought taking cannabis induced the munchies, and the munchies are good, right? Wrong! "The reason why marijuana users crave for food is because it is destroying one's stomach."


Pubdate: Sat, 16 Jan 2010
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2010 New Zealand Herald
Author: Andrew Laxon

The Herald's War on P series last year produced an overwhelming reaction from readers and a swift response from the Government. This week, we revisit the people and the issues to find out what has changed.



Three frontline anti-P advocates were asked to rate the Government's policies. They gave it marks out of 10.

Alistair Burry - 7 out of 10 Stellar Trust chairman

Wants more police and Customs officers and faster change overall but credits National for taking the problem seriously.

Mike Sabin - 6 out of 10 Methcon director

A mixed score. Sabin gives the Government a 9 for cracking down on supply but 5 for treatment and only 2 for curbing demand.

Chris Wilkins - 9 out of 10 Massey University drug researcher

Sees the package as a good mix of strategies with measurable goals.



Pubdate: Sun, 17 Jan 2010
Source: Sunday News (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2010 Fairfax New Zealand Limited
Author: Steve Hopkins

A POWERFUL methamphetamine drug known as "crazy medicine" in Thailand has hit New Zealand's capital city.

Sunday News has been told tens of thousands of Ya Ba pills arrived in Wellington late last year from the infamous Golden Triangle.

The Ya Ba was imported following a major shortage in the local P market, caused by police crackdowns on dealers and gangs. More than 380 officers worked on 12 operations across the country in November and December, resulting in nearly 400 arrests and the discovery of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of the Class A drug.




Pubdate: Tue, 19 Jan 2010
Source: Press, The (York, UK)
Copyright: 2010 Newsquest Media Group
Author: Jennifer Bell

THE head of a school at the centre of a drugs scare has said every head teacher in the country should be aware of "legal highs".

Jeff Bower, head of Woldgate College, in Pocklington, said the drug-induced collapse which saw a 17-year-old sixth-former rushed to York Hospital, had hit the school "right between the eyes" - and urged other heads to take pro-active action to prevent further incidents.

The pupil, who has not been named, has been suspended from school indefinitely for consuming the drug mephedrone, a "legal high" drug - one that mirrors the effects of prohibited substances, but is not banned. Mr Bower said he was facing one of two options in regard to the boy.


The drug - commonly known as Meow, bubbles, M-CAT or 4-MMC - is not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and is available to purchase in some shops or through the internet providing it is sold as plant fertiliser that it is not for human consumption.

The recreational drug comes in crystal, powder, capsule or liquid form and has effects similar to that of amphetamines and ecstasy.




Pubdate: Fri, 15 Jan 2010
Source: El Paso Times ( TX )
Copyright: 2010 El Paso Times
Author: Stephanie Sanchez

JUAREZ -- President Felipe Calderon will use a slightly different approach in combating the ongoing drug violence that has claimed more than 4,350 lives since the beginning of 2008.

Calderon announced that an additional 2,000 federal police officers would be deployed to Juarez this month. The officers, he said, will help stop extortions and kidnappings that continue to victimize people of all backgrounds.


Rival drug gangs -- reportedly the Juarez and the Si naloa cartels -- continue their savage and unrelenting war for control of the area's drug trade. More than 120 people have already been killed in 2010.




Pubdate: Tue, 19 Jan 2010
Source: Freeman, The (Philippines)
Copyright: 2010 The Freeman
Author: Johanna T. Natavio


Preventive and demand reduction advocates of the Department of Education, PDEA, PNP and the Dangerous Drugs Board must educate the youth that marijuana has no medicinal purpose and that it has ill effects that destroys the mind and the body.

Marijuana is declared by law as dangerous drugs because it is a scientific fact that it is addictive, abuse has ill effects just like shabu and other illegal drugs.

According to DDB, myth propagated by old-timers that marijuana sniffing has no ill effects and even serves to restore appetite is totally erroneous. The reason why marijuana users crave for food is because it is destroying one's stomach.

Areas in the country identified as marijuana plantations like Benguet, Balamban of Cebu and San Fernando of Bukidnon has been changed to abaca plantations and silkworm industry.

This year, it is expected that the random drug testing for high school conducted by Department of Education in coordination with the Department of Health will go full swing, while the Commission on Higher Education has initially started testing college students.


 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


The pure, unadulterated, distilled essence of Reefer Madness, courtesy of California Assembly Candidate, Republican Paul Chabot.


California's Supreme Court issued its long awaited opinion regarding the constitutionality of state-imposed limits regarding the amount of marijuana patients may legally possess and grow.


Prompts Calls for Emergency Public Health Response

Drug War Chronicle, Issue #617, 1/22/10


Transform UK are delighted to announce that the Home Office has finally made the report available: Drugs Value for Money Review July 2007

It's worth a look to discover what the Home Office thinks is too sensitive for public viewing.


MAPS sends a free monthly email update to thousands of MAPS supporters, colleagues, and friends.


Century of Lies - 01/17/10 - Margaret Dooley Samuley

Margeret Dooley Samuely of Drug Policy Alliance + Mark Mauer of Sentencing Project & Phil Smith with Corrupt Cop Stories

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 01/17/10 - Phil Smith

Superior Court Judge David Nichols (ret) for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition + Phil Smith of Drug War Chronicle re legal marijuana approval in Calif legislature hearing.


Eight in 10 Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use and nearly half favor decriminalizing the drug more generally, both far higher than a decade ago.



Virginia Lawmaker Proposes Medical Marijuana Bill.

A DrugSense Focus Alert


Law enforcement groups are fighting to maintain marijuana prohibition and their industry of arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana. SAFER is fighting back and we need your help.



By Kirk Muse

The United States' drug-prohibition policies are like a broken sewer pipe that's not only flooding and stinking up our own home, but our neighbors' homes as well.

The solution is not to use more mops and buckets of law enforcement, but rather to fix the broken sewer pipe of drug prohibition.

Law enforcement didn't get rid of the alcohol cartels. Ending alcohol prohibition got rid of the alcohol cartels, and the violence and corruption that went with them.

Kirk Muse Mesa, Ariz.

Pubdate: Fri, 15 Jan 2010
Source: El Paso Times (TX)


No One's Told Drug-War Soldier About Peace Breaking Out  ( Top )

By Susan Greene

The Obama administration has pledged to end federal interference in states that have legalized medical marijuana. But in Colorado, it has failed to call off one of its dogs.

A Coloradan who works for the president's drug-policy office is leading efforts to undermine the state's constitutional amendment allowing cannabis for medical use. On the federal dime, Tom Gorman, director of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, is lobbying state lawmakers to gut the Colorado law.

Either Gorman didn't get the memo about changes in federal drug policy, or he's going rogue. Whichever the case, no one in D.C. seems to mind.

"I'm not about to stand back and let federal drug laws in this country continue to be violated," Gorman says.

Since President Barack Obama took office a year ago, the Justice Department has taken the stance that pot-smoking patients and sanctioned suppliers shouldn't be targeted for federal prosecution in states that allow medical marijuana.

Gorman has spent years lobbying against Amendment 20, which Coloradans approved in 2000. If Obama has shifted direction on medical marijuana, the 66-year-old veteran of three administrations' drug wars obviously hasn't followed. Pot smokers are gaming the system, he complains, and addiction, chaos and moral decay no doubt will ensue. He's trying to convince lawmakers that they'd be sanctioning drug trafficking by passing a bill that would set specific rules on growing and selling pot, even for medicinal use.

"If Colorado state leaders elect to legitimize and try to regulate dispensaries, that action would be in violation of Federal Law . . .," he threatened in a memo that's being passed around the state Capitol.

"Dispensaries aren't what Coloradans had in mind when they approved the amendment," adds Gorman, who, in addition to his expertise on drugs, apparently has his finger on the pulse of the electorate.

Gorman has a contract that funnels $150,000 a year in federal money through a regional grant administered by Douglas County. Though he runs an arm of the National Drug Control Policy office in four Western states, he parses that he doesn't work for the feds.

"Technically, if you ask me who I represent, it's the Colorado Drug Investigators Association," he tells me, oddly.

That technicality exempts him from longstanding federal laws prohibiting federal workers from lobbying, he claims. Meanwhile, he's lobbying without having registered as a lobbyist, and says he's doing so with the nod of his bosses.

They wouldn't comment.

Jeffrey Sweetin, the Drug Enforcement Administration's chief in Colorado, says Gorman isn't so much lobbying as educating.

"It's not uncommon for us to weigh in at the statehouse," he says. "It's a part of the guy's job to share his expertise."

Whether for or against medical marijuana, you'll probably agree that government has no business paying functionaries to work in contradiction to its own policies.

"There's certainly something wrong when the Obama administration, on one hand, states that it's going to respect state laws, but on the other hand sends in an official to try to make those laws as restrictive as possible," says Steve Fox of the national Marijuana Policy Project.

Gorman seems curiously unconcerned about the security of his government-sponsored crusade. Drug trafficking is drug trafficking, he says, no matter what you call it.

And a lobbyist is a lobbyist, no matter which government agency happens to be laundering his paycheck.

Susan Greene is a columnist at the Denver Post where this piece first appeared:


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