This Just In
(1)Bid To Legalize Pot Advances
(2)Medical Marijuana User In Fear Of Law
(3)Tracing The Big Business Of The Canadian Bud
(4)Gloucester Delegate's Marijuana Bills Voted Down

Hot Off The 'Net
-The Forfeiture Racket / Radley Balko
-UNODC Promotes Human Rights Abuses / by Pete Guither
-NYC Police Accused Of 'Anal Assault' Over Marijuana Use / Tony Newman
-Health Tragedy / Russ Belville
-Drug Truth Network
-The Marijuana Cancer Cure Cult / Bruce Mirken
-The Downside Of High

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Fri, 29 Jan 2010
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles Times
Author: John Hoeffel

Initiative Backers Gather What Is Likely to Be Enough Signatures to Put Their Measure on the California Ballot in November.

Proponents of an initiative to make California the first state to legalize marijuana have collected about 693,800 signatures, virtually guaranteeing that the measure will appear on a crowded November ballot.

"This is a historic first step toward ending cannabis prohibition," said Richard Lee, the measure's main backer.

Advocates, trailed by television cameras and photographers, dropped off petitions with elections officials in the state's largest counties, including Los Angeles, where organizers said 143,105 voters signed.

Lee, a successful Oakland marijuana entrepreneur, bankrolled a professional signature-gathering effort that circulated the petition in every county except Alpine, which only has about 800 registered voters.

The initiative would make it legal for anyone 21 and older to possess an ounce of marijuana and grow plants in an area no larger than 25 square feet for personal use. It would also allow cities and counties to permit marijuana to be grown and sold, and to impose taxes on it.




Pubdate: Thu, 28 Jan 2010
Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 The Windsor Star
Author: Craig Pearson

"Sarah" puts her lips to the vapour-filled bag, inhaling medicine and worry in one intoxicating breath.

The 52-year-old Windsor woman, who did not want her real name used, is a Health Canada-approved medical marijuana user. Or, at least, she used to be.

Right now she lives in limbo, largely shutting herself in at home alone with a federal medical marijuana card that expired at the beginning of December, with no explanation why her renewed exemption hasn't arrived. And with fears about the law.

"There's a lot of pain," she said through tears, her bare feet knotted, her hands and voice trembling. "They shouldn't leave people in a predicament like this. They shouldn't make a system that is so difficult. If you're this sick, you can't fight a system."

Sarah was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1997. She doesn't know how she contracted the disease, but knows the havoc it wreaks. It led to a raft of worsening auto-immune and neurological ailments -- "white noise" in her head and pain throbbing in her hands, feet, arms and legs. Doctors suspect multiple sclerosis.




Pubdate: Thu, 28 Jan 2010
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2010 The Edmonton Journal
Author: John Mackie, Vancouver Sun

Television Preview


Time and channel: Tonight at 9 on CBC

Marijuana is believed to be a $20-billion industry in Canada. But most discussion about the drug is centred around the moral issue of whether to legalize it or not.

Lionel Goddard thought it was high time somebody looked at marijuana as a business, not a social issue. The result is CannaBIZ, an hour-long documentary airing on CBC-TV's DocZone tonight.

Goddard is a former CBC reporter-turned-documentary filmmaker. He was approached by the network to do a film on "the state of the marijuana industry in Canada."

He decided he needed to focus on a single community, and chose Grand Forks, an idyllic town near Nelson, B.C.

"It's in the Kootenays, in the heartland of marijuana, where the hippies came in the '60s and planted the first B.C. bud," Goddard explained.

Grand Forks leaped to mind because it achieved national notoriety in the late 1990s for having the "marijuana mayor," Brian Taylor.

He not only admitted smoking marijuana, he wanted Grand Forks to become the centre of a new marijuana/ hemp industry. He wound up being defeated in 1999, but was undeterred, becoming the head of the B.C. Marijuana Party for the 2001 provincial election and campaigning around B.C. in a "cannibus."




Pubdate: Thu, 28 Jan 2010
Source: Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA)
Copyright: 2010 The Virginian-Pilot
Author: Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer

Testimony from a former police officer, a professor, and patients with HIV and an artificial hip wasn't enough to sway lawmakers on a House subcommittee Wednesday evening. Both of Del. Harvey Morgan's bills to loosen restrictions on medical marijuana and reduce marijuana-related penalties were voted down.

The Gloucester Republican' s first proposal, to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug and reduce penalties for distributing certain quantities, was voted down by committee members who disputed that it would save the state money and said it eased the punishments dealt out to drug dealers.

But his second bill, which would allow doctors to use marijuana to treat more diseases, found more traction, including from the subcommittee's chair, House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, who said he helped Morgan draft the bill.

"I truly believe if we can use morphine and opiates and narcotics, we ought to be able to use marijuana," he said.

The bill was voted down, but delegates said they would be open to a proposal that named specific diseases that marijuana could be prescribed to treat.





A North Carolina newspaper is reporting on U.S. Marines who face punishment, including discharge, for smoking a substance that hasn't been outlawed yet. In Illinois, some are lobbying for a bill that would protect people who report overdoses from prosecution. A sort of strange story out of Georgia, where drug police want a shipping firm to change it's practices to make it easier to catch those who ship illegal drugs. However, the shipping company denies that the described practices exist. And, at the Mexican border, one city's resources are taxed by the need to both bury unclaimed drug war dead and to keep those bodies organized in case they are needed as evidence.


Pubdate: Sun, 24 Jan 2010
Source: Jacksonville Daily News (NC)
Copyright: 2010 Jacksonville Daily News
Author: Hope Hodge

When Pfc. Matthew Clark was placed on restriction last month, he thought he'd been busted for smoking in the barracks.

Now he faces court-martial and administrative separation from the Marine Corps after being accused of smoking a legal substance many of his friends had never even heard about.

Clark and a friend, Pfc. Dijon Lawless, both students at Camp Johnson's Marine Corps Combat Service Support School, learned from another Marine private about "spice," a legal blend of herbs that produces cannabinoid effects including increased relaxation, loss of coordination and mild hallucinations when smoked.

Clark and Lawless went to a local tobacco shop where packets of spice are kept in a large front display case and sold by the ounce, beginning at $20 for a half-gram packet.

The packaging is marked as "incense," but Clark and Lawless said they also purchased blunt wraps at the shop to smoke it in.

"If I knew that it was illegal for us to be smoking this, I would never have bought it," Clark said.

Initially, the two Marines said they were charged with two counts of Universal Code of Military Justice Article 92, failure to obey a direct order, for smoking in their barracks and compromising duty readiness. But in mid-January, they said they were told that officers with their Logistics Operations School were pursuing courts-martial and dishonorable discharges for each of them.

While the conflict over spice has remained low profile on East Coast Marine Corps bases, widespread use by military personnel has led to specific regulations elsewhere.




Pubdate: Sun, 24 Jan 2010
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2010 The New York Times Company
Author: Katie Fretland

As a former heroin user, Kathleen Kane-Willis said she remembered being afraid when she called 911 to report a drug overdose because she thought she might be arrested. Now a drug policy researcher at Roosevelt University, Ms. Kane-Willis is pushing to resurrect legislation that would help shield callers from prosecution when they seek medical attention for themselves or someone else who has overdosed.

"No one should die because they are afraid to call 911," Ms. Kane-Willis said.

State Representative Constance A. Howard, Democrat of Chicago, sponsored a bill in 2008 modeled after a New Mexico law that gave limited immunity to overdose victims and witnesses. The bill stalled in the House Rules Committee over concerns that it would conflict with the state's prosecution of cases involving drug-induced homicide.

Other states have stymied similar legislation, but proponents in Illinois are not deterred.




Pubdate: Fri, 22 Jan 2010
Source: Athens Banner-Herald (GA)
Copyright: 2010 Athens Newspapers Inc
Author: Joe Johnson

When a shipment of drugs absolutely, positively has to be there on time, traffickers sometimes turn to commercial shipping companies, according to law enforcement officials.

"Guys who are doing this are not stupid, and there's a reason why they use these package distribution services," said Athens-Clarke police Lt. Mike Hunsinger, who supervises the Northeast Georgia Regional Drug Task Force.

"They can track a shipment and know when it arrives - it's like having a trusted courier without having to pay the big bucks," he said.

Private companies provide online tracking services that allow both the sender and recipient to monitor a package's progress from pickup to delivery, and all points between.

But that level of customer service may thwart authorities who don't want suspects to be tipped off before officers can make arrests, police said.

Given the time, police will plan a so-called "controlled" delivery - dressing an undercover officer as a delivery man in order to bust the person waiting on the package, police said.

Two years ago, members of the drug task force delivered more than 40 pounds of intercepted pot that were addressed to vacant homes on Sunset Drive, and arrested three suspected traffickers.

But earlier this month, workers at an Athens FedEx shipping center opened a suspicious package bound for an address in Auburn and found it contained five pounds of marijuana.

Though company officials notified authorities and turned over the marijuana, officers lost the element of surprise and couldn't arrest anyone.

"FedEx already put on the tracking report that it had been turned over to police, so if the suspects were tracking the package on the Internet, they would have known we had (the package) prior to (our) going to the residence," Barrow County sheriff's Investigator Matt Guthas said. "If we were to send an undercover officer to the address, it would have placed him in a high degree of jeopardy."




Pubdate: Sun, 24 Jan 2010
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2010 El Paso Times
Author: Stephanie Sanchez

JUAREZ -- Hundreds of murder victims in this ravaged city are all but forgotten.

Nobody in officialdom knows who they are. Nobody in the outside world cared enough to claim their bodies.

They are shipped to San Rafael Municipal Cemetery. There each is awaited by a simple wood box, a 6-foot hole in the Chihuahuan Desert and maybe a plain metal plate with an engraved number. No cross adorns these final resting spots, for this is where unidentified victims of the city's drug wars are unceremoniously buried.

About 200 people who died violently last year ended up in paupers' graves at San Rafael. They were among more than 2,600 murder victims in Juarez in 2009.


Juarez, population 1.5 million, had its deadliest month in August with 315 homicides. The bloodshed continued in September with 307 killings, October with 306, November with 254 and December with 292.

By comparison, New York City, with 7 million people more than Juarez, had 466 murders in all of 2009.

The unrelenting violence in Juarez is fueled by rival gangs, reportedly the Juarez and the Sinaloa cartels, fighting for control of the area's drug trade.

The annual toll in Juarez rose from 1,587 murders in 2008 to 2,643 last year. More than 140 people died in the first three weeks of 2010.

Before the beginning of the drug war in January 2008, unidentified corpses were buried in mass graves. But Chihuahua's government changed the interment policy for unidentified people so that unidentified corpses would be buried in individual graves, Sandoval said.

These days, the cartel war is putting heavy pressure on police and the morgue.

By law, Juarez officials cannot cremate the bodies of people who are murdered. This is because the bodies might need to be exhumed and used as evidence, Sandoval said.




Irony in Texas as drug court judge faces charges that he offered judicial favoritism in drug cases in return for money and sex from defendants. In Washington, D.C., a newspaper report witnesses police testilying with his own eyes. And, while we give the officers a hard time in this space most weeks, kudos to the pair in Memphis who limited risk to bystanders (including an infant) by declining to return fire after an undercover drug bust went sour. And in Georgia, an attorney who was acquitted on drug charges understandably wants his legal fees paid by prosecutors. The prosecutors aren't interested in that arrangement.


Pubdate: Sun, 24 Jan 2010
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2010 El Paso Times
Author: Ramon Bracamontes

EL PASO -- Manuel Barraza got little attention during the three months he presided over a state drug court. Now he is getting more publicity than he ever wanted by becoming the first El Paso judge in 14 years to stand trial on criminal charges.

Federal prosecutors allege that Barraza attempted to trade judicial favors for sex and money.

Countless lawyers and a curious citizenry streamed in and out of the courtroom all last week to watch as the government presented its evidence against Barraza, 54. Prosecutors will resume their case Monday.

The salacious charges and testimony -- one witness said Barraza could have "a buffet" of women -- may wreck Barraza's career. A conviction could send him to prison and cost him his law license.

El Paso last saw a judge on trial in 1995.

In that case, retired state district judge Enrique "Henry" Pena, Magistrate Scott Segall and defense lawyer Gary Hill were indicted on federal racketeering, extortion and bribery charges. Jurors acquitted them all.

Barraza, sworn in last January and arrested April, is charged with "collaborating" with four women to corrupt justice in a drug case.




Pubdate: Sun, 24 Jan 2010
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2010 The Washington Post Company
Author: Gene Weingarten

Last week I was a juror in the trial of a man accused of selling a $10 bag of heroin to an undercover police officer. At the end of the two days of testimony, I concluded that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I also concluded that he should be acquitted.

In my mind, it came down to a simple, unsettling question: Is it worse to let a drug dealer go free, or to reward the police for lying under oath?

As it turned out, my question became moot. At the end of criminal trials in D.C. Superior Court, but before deliberations, the judge discloses to the 14-person jury which two of them had been randomly selected to be alternates. I was one of the two, so I was dismissed. I never got to do what I had planned, which was to hold out for acquittal. I'd assumed my stubbornness would hang the jury, because I assumed the others would want to convict. Manifestly, the guy did it.




Pubdate: Fri, 22 Jan 2010
Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Copyright: 2010 The Commercial Appeal
Author: Hank Dudding

An undercover Memphis police officer met a crack dealer at the trunk of a 2005 Ford for what looked to be a routine drug sale.

Nothing that followed was routine.

Within seconds, police said, the dealer and a 16-year-old boy pulled guns, demanded money and discovered the officer's recording device before firing a flurry of shots at the officer and his partner.

2009 Crime Series. The officers escaped, one playing dead in a ditch while the other diverted attention from his partner. Neither was injured.

Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin said the officers didn't shoot back because they were concerned about hitting a 11/2 -year-old baby who was in the Ford.

Three suspects, Bernard Frazier, 23; Xaviera Oliver, 27; and Michael Young, 16, face two counts each of attempted first-degree murder, along with robbery, drug and gun charges.

"It's amazing to me that you would ... bring your child to a drug deal," Godwin said. "Something's really missing here that you would do such a thing."

The baby was taken from Oliver, the child's mother, and placed in the father's custody.

"We're very fortunate that the child is safe (and) the officers, of course, are safe. And I'm glad the suspects weren't injured, at this point," Godwin said. "They're very fortunate, because in another situation fire would have been returned."




Pubdate: Mon, 25 Jan 2010
Source: Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus,GA)
Copyright: 2010 Ledger-Enquirer
Author: Alan Riquelmy

Federal Prosecutors Say Its Case 'Was Grounded In A Series Of Compelling Facts'

Federal prosecutors argued in a response filed Friday that a motion by Columbus attorney Mark Shelnutt, who wants attorney fees and expenses awarded to him, should be denied.

Shelnutt, acquitted in November by a jury on charges including money laundering, aiding and abetting a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, attempted bribery and making false statements, argues in a Dec. 15 motion that prosecutors waged a "baseless, vexatious, frivolous, bad faith, harassing and stubborn" case against him.

Stating that he paid or must pay attorneys more than $190,000, and that he incurred some $35,000 in expenses while defending himself, Shelnutt argues that prosecutors had evidence before trial that cleared him of any alleged crime. Also, prosecutors knew or should have known that all 40 of the original charges in the May 21 indictment couldn't be supported by the facts, Shelnutt adds.


Continues: :


In an effort to appear to be doing something, to placate vocal, if outnumbered, community groups, L.A. has passed an unworkable ordinance, which they expect to be legally challenged, to limit the proliferation of cannabis dispensaries.

Reconsideration of progressive cannabis policies is spreading into ever more conservative states, inspiring what might seem to Californians as very old arguments in opposition.

Thank goodness for writers like LTE virtuoso Robert Sharpe, who use the power of the internet to overcome cultural isolation.

The attention of the world will soon be turned to Vancouver, or "Vansterdam" as it is affectionately known in cannabis culture.


Pubdate: Wed, 27 Jan 2010
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles Times
Author: John Hoeffel

City Council Passes an Ordinance That Will Close Hundreds of Dispensaries and Limit Where They Operate.

The Los Angeles City Council, without debate, gave final approval Tuesday to a medical marijuana ordinance that will impose some of the toughest rules in the state but was assailed by advocates who said the law will drastically restrict access to the drug.

The measure, which was finally passed more than 4 1/2 years after the council started to discuss the issue, will do little to calm the contentious debate over how Los Angeles should restrain a dispensary boom that has seen hundreds of pot stores cluster on the city's major boulevards.

At least two organizations representing dispensaries are deciding whether to sue the city; one of them is also weighing whether to collect signatures for a referendum. The city attorney, who says state law does not allow collectives to sell marijuana, continues to press a lawsuit against an Eagle Rock dispensary in a bid to get the courts to decide the issue. And the Los Angeles County district attorney is prosecuting dispensary operators.

The ordinance, which aims to erase the carnival-esque image of Los Angeles as the capital of a weed resurgence, will allow city officials to shut down hundreds of dispensaries. But it will also impose restrictions on where they can be located, limits that operators say will eliminate most sites outside of isolated industrial parks.

"It's a disaster for patients," said James Shaw, director of the Union of Medical Marijuana Patients.




Pubdate: Mon, 25 Jan 2010
Source: Daily Press (Newport News,VA)
Copyright: 2010 The Daily Press

RICHMOND -- When House of Delegates Republicans showed up for their daily caucus huddle and strategy session in the Capitol late last week, there was a plate of fresh brownies and a forged note waiting for them.

"Friends, Please enjoy these homemade brownies! -- Harvey Morgan" Conservative lawmakers pulled the munchies prank to tease Del. Harvey Morgan, a Gloucester pharmacist and Republican whose push to decriminalize pot possession and expand the state's medical marijuana statute caught many political observers off guard. In his third decade in the General Assembly, Morgan comes from the classic mold of the Virginia gentleman.

Morgan has taken the gentle ribbing in stride and argued that marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol or cigarettes. Morgan said he doesn't want to see peoples' lives and careers ruined by criminal convictions for small amounts of pot. Morgan has also offered a pocketbook argument, saying that a money-starved state budget considering teacher layoffs should overhaul the priorities of overworked police officers, judges and sheriffs.

"In this time of economic hardship, we need to examine how our tax dollars are spent," he said. "This idea is way overdue."


Under Morgan's bill, marijuana possession under an ounce would become a civil offense triggering a $500 fine. According to Peninsula arrest statistics, the overwhelming majority of pot busts are for simple possession rather than distribution.

Still, local law enforcement officials aren't exactly flocking to Morgan's proposal.

"I see so many young people use marijuana and the next thing they're into is stealing," Newport News Police Chief James Fox said. "Then they get involved with cocaine and heroin and their life is gone." Fox said the department is putting more emphasis on marijuana because the city's last two homicides involved the drug.

When police investigated the Jan. 8 shooting death of Lloyd George Robinson, they found a small amount of marijuana. At the time of his death, witnesses told police that the person who shot the 46-year-old Robinson was after drugs.




Pubdate: Sun, 24 Jan 2010
Source: Daily Press (Newport News,VA)
Copyright: 2010 The Daily Press
Author: Robert Sharpe

It's not just "left coast" states like California and Washington that are considering marijuana law reforms to help balance state budgets. For the first time in years, the Virginia General Assembly will consider common-sense marijuana law reform. House Bill 1134 would replace criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession with a civil penalty of $500.

The bill's sponsor is no dope-smoking hippy; in fact, he is uniquely qualified to push the envelope. Del. Harvey Morgan is a Republican member of the Virginia General Assembly and an assistant clinical professor of pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University's medical school. His bill is grounded in legitimate clinical expertise and much-needed fiscal conservatism.

Marijuana decriminalization would reap tens of millions of dollars, saving the jobs of police, firefighters and teachers in the process. There were 19,911 marijuana arrests in Virginia in 2008. Those arrests would have generated $9,955,500 in revenue if a civil penalty of $500 were in place.

Instead, almost 20,000 people were burdened with criminal records. The opportunity costs associated with the zero-tolerance approach are tremendous. Police, court and jail time, not to mention the lost tax revenue from busted users who now face lifelong diminished employment opportunities, together represent untold millions of tax dollars down the drain.


Of course, the biggest drug war ruse of all is the infamous "gateway" theory. Opponents of marijuana law reform will inevitably claim that marijuana is a "gateway" drug, the use of which leads to heroin and crack addiction. HB 1134 contains incentives for small-scale personal cultivation that would lead consumers to grow their own. That's a good thing. Organized crime would take a big hit.

We should be undermining drug cartels, not subsidizing them.



 (16) THIS BUD'S FOR YOU ...  ( Top )

Pubdate: Wed, 27 Jan 2010
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER -- That sweet scent in the air during next month's Olympic Games might be the smell of success. Then again, it could just be the weed.

It will be far from business as usual for much of Vancouver during the Olympics, but marijuana advocates and police say the city's laissez faire attitude toward the infamous B.C. bud won't change.

"Our officers show an exceptional amount of discretion with respect to people smoking marijuana and that will continue," said Const. Lindsey Houghton, a spokesperson for the Vancouver Police Department.

That's not to say police will completely turn a blind eye.

"There are people who are coming to visit that live in countries where it may certainly not be against the law so I don't expect people will come here seeking to openly contravene our drug laws," Houghton said. "But you know, I'm sure there will be people who do it and I'm sure our officers will do their best to remind them that that's against the law."

While marijuana remains illegal in Canada, with the exception of those with special permits to smoke medical marijuana, Vancouverites are known for their relaxed attitude toward the herb.

It's almost more common to catch a whiff of weed on the streets of this West Coast city than it is to smell the smoke of an actual cigarette.

"Even though the Games are drawing the people here, people aren't going to be at the event 24 hours a day so I think they're going to be looking for stuff to do in their spare time as well," said Salvador Daswani, co-owner of Vansterdam clothing.

"Definitely our marijuana culture could be a huge part of that."

His shop sells a "Vansterdam 2010" T-shirt featuring a man running with a lit marijuana cigarette, blowing smoke in the shape of five rings.




Oscar Temaru, the former president of French Polynesia (four times) has joined the list of former heads of state supporting some type of legalization. Last week, Temaru said selling pakalolo (cannabis) to European tourists would be a way to ease unemployment on Tahiti, as well as bring in needed income. "Foreigners often arrive at out hotels and ask for cannabis" and selling it in Tahiti "could be a way of creating jobs for young people, by allowing them to sell it to foreigners."

In Canada, the far right Harper government this week made known it would make reintroducing Bill C-15 (mandatory minimums for pot) a priority when parliament is next in session. Mandatory minimums have been roundly denounced as unfair, unjust, ineffective in their stated goals, and, in reality, designed to pack privatized prisons.

While police benefit tremendously in term of salaries, manpower and career because of drug prohibition, not all police go along with turning a blind eye to the conflict of interest many police have over drug prohibition. Some, like officer David Bratzer of the Victoria, Canada police department, are members of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) and speak out against the war on drugs. "Drug enforcement now dominates what police officers do, so every day in my job I find myself trying to manage the consequences of drug prohibition," says Bratzer. "All of these issues are more related to the prohibition of drugs than drug-use itself... a system of regulation would be more effective and less harmful than drug prohibition."

And finally this week, we leave you with a few words from Dr Alex Wodak, Director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at St. Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, Australia. Writing in the The Australian about syringe exchange and drugs prohibition in general, Wodak notes, "One by one the dominoes of the war on drugs are slowly starting to fall. Future U.S. generations will wonder why it took 21 years to overturn this important symbol of that war... As the rest of the world adopts drug law reform, hardline approaches will be harder to sustain."


Pubdate: Wed, 27 Jan 2010
Source: Daily Mail (UK)
Copyright: 2010 Associated Newspapers Ltd

Former President Urges New Scheme on Tahiti

Former President Oscar Temaru Claims Cannabis Should Be Legalised On Tahiti

The French paradise island of Tahiti could be set to legalise cannabis - so that jobless youngsters can earn money selling it to tourists.


Mr Temaru said: 'Foreigners often arrive at out hotels and ask for cannabis.

'We know [that] there are countries in Europe that have legalised it, like Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands.

Selling cannabis (L) could bring revenue from tourists visiting Tahiti, according to former President of the island, Oscar Temaru

'So doing the same thing here could be a way of creating jobs for young people, by allowing them to sell it to foreigners,' he told the local TNTV television station.




Pubdate: Mon, 25 Jan 2010
Source: Hill Times, The (Ottawa, CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 Hill Times Publishing Inc.
Author: Harris MacLeod

Government House Leader Jay Hill says the government's main legislative priorities are the next budget and economic issues.


The opposition House leaders are warning Prime Minister Stephen Harper that he shouldn't take their cooperation for granted in the next session and say his government has "soured" the atmosphere in the Commons by proroguing Parliament.

"It will be quite tense," said NDP House Leader Libby Davies (Vancouver East, B.C.) of her expectations for the resumption of Parliament, March 3.


Mr. Hill said the main legislative priority for when Parliament returns will be the budget and economic issues. In terms of the 36 bills that died, the government intends to reintroduce Bill C-6, on consumer product safety, as well as Bill C-15, concerning drug-related offences, in their original forms.




Pubdate: Sat, 23 Jan 2010
Source: Cowichan News Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Cowichan News Leader
Author: Krista Siefken

David Bratzer enforces the law, but he doesn't necessary agree with it when it comes to illegal drugs.

"One of the sad things about the prohibition of drugs in our society is that despite more than four decades of heavy drug enforcement, we see today that drugs are cheaper, more available and more pure than ever before," said Bratzer, an active officer with the Victoria Police Department who sees the war on drugs as a failure.

"Drug enforcement now dominates what police officers do, so every day in my job I find myself trying to manage the consequences of drug prohibition.

"All of these issues are more related to the prohibition of drugs than drug-use itself."


An international organization, LEAP is made up of cops, judges and prosecutors who want to legalize and regulate drugs to minimize crime, disease, addiction and death.

"We don't support drug abuse or breaking the law," said Bratzer. "But we believe a system of regulation would be more effective and less harmful than drug prohibition."


"So if you regulate and control drugs then at least you can have some parameters that would protect the public."



Pubdate: Sat, 23 Jan 2010
Source: Australian, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2010 The Australian
Author: Alex Wodak

In December the U.S. Senate passed a bill, signed into law by President Barack Obama just before Christmas, allowing the federal government for the first time since 1988 to allocate funding to needle syringe programs.


One by one the dominoes of the war on drugs are slowly starting to fall. Future U.S. generations will wonder why it took 21 years to overturn this important symbol of that war. The historically tokenistic needle syringe program in the U.S. will leave a huge health, social and economic legacy for future generations to deal with. A major lesson of this experience has been the high cost of allowing policy on a sensitive issue to be determined by intuition rather than clear scientific research findings.

The dominoes are also falling in other countries. The parliament of the Czech Republic passed legislation that became operational on January 1. As with a half-dozen countries in Europe and a similar number in South America, persons in the Czech Republic possessing illicit drugs below specified quantities will no longer risk arrest.

Last week a senior Canadian court denied an appeal by the federal government that aimed to close a medically supervised injecting centre in Vancouver operated by the government of British Columbia. The majority decision was based on views about federal-provisional government responsibilities. But the original judgment also recognised that government obligations to provide effective health services for persons who used legal drugs injudiciously should extend to persons who use illegal drugs injudiciously.


As the rest of the world adopts drug law reform, hardline approaches will be harder to sustain.


 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )



By Pete Guither At Drugwarrant.Com


By Tony Newman

New York City police have arrested over 300,000 people for low-level marijuana possession since 1997, sometimes employing outrageous methods to humiliate citizens.


By Russ Belville

Patients Denied Life-Saving Transplants for Their "Abuse of Illicit Substances"

Let's end the needless discrimination against desperately ill cannabis consumers.


Century of Lies - 01/24/10 - Arthur Burnett

Judge Arthur Burnett, director of National African American Drug Policy Coalition, Howard Josepher of Exponets in NYC + Paul Armentano of NORML

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 01/24/10 - Peter Christ

Peter Christ, founding member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition + Neill Franklin a working Baltimore policeman


By Bruce Mirken

It's not as far-fetched as it sounds, but some enthusiasts may be going too far.


Teenagers who start smoking marijuana before the age of sixteen are four times more likely to become schizophrenic. That's the startling conclusion of some of the world's top schizophrenia experts, whose research is featured in the new documentary The Downside of High.



Bill To Regulate Marijuana Studied In New Hampshire


The President will respond to a collection of your questions in a live YouTube interview at the White House, MONDAY, FEB. 1st. Submit now, and vote often.


Demonstrate widespread support for ending marijuana prohibition by sending a message of thanks to the legislators in CA, WA and NH who have sponsored bills to tax and regulate marijuana.



By Kirk Muse

Dear Editor,

While Nebraska and many other states are trying to figure out how to close their massive budget shortfalls, the Dutch are trying to figure out what to do with their closed prisons.

While the Netherlands has a total population of about 16.5 million, it has only about 12,000 prisoners. On the other hand, the United States has greater than 2,300,000 total prisoners.

If my math is correct, we in the U. S. have 18.2 fold the Dutch general population and 191.6 fold their prison population.

Why the glaring disparity? I suggest it's our drug policies.

In the Netherlands, adult citizens can use, buy and possess small amounts of marijuana without criminal sanctions. In the United States, adult citizens are subject to arrest, and jail or prison for buying, selling or possessing various amounts of marijuana.

Kirk Muse Mesa, Ariz.

Pubdate: Wed, 20 Jan 2010
Source: McCook Daily Gazette (NE)


Time For Florida To Legalize And Tax Marijuana  ( Top )

By Kingsley Guy

Florida lawmakers face a daunting task in the upcoming legislative session: They must close a budget gap that could reach $2.4 billion.

The situation, however, could be worse. To their credit, previous legislatures had enough fiscal sense not to take Florida down the same tax-and-spend path trod by California. The Golden State faces a $20 billion shortfall, which amounts to a fiscal straightjacket from which even Houdini couldn't have escaped.

Yet, even lawmakers in fiscally-inept California are considering a couple of good revenue raising ideas that Florida legislators should adopt. The ideas might not have an immediate impact in Florida, but they would provide a decent income stream down the line.

The first is allowing offshore drilling for oil and natural gas, which would result in royalty revenue. California banned offshore drilling after the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, and for good reason. As with Florida, the coastline is a vital natural and economic asset that must be protected.

But drilling technology has come a long way in the last four decades, and it's far safer than at the time of the Santa Barbara spill. In fact, there hasn't been a major drilling spill in U.S. waters since Santa Barbara. Drilling isn't risk free, but the chances for disaster are small.

The second sensible idea coming out of California is - hold onto your hats - legalizing and taxing marijuana. I already can hear the reaction from self-anointed Florida "conservatives." It goes something like this:

"Are you nuts? We'd be turning the state over to drug-crazed, hippie, liberal, Godless reprobates. Anyone advocating such a course of action would be doing the work of the devil."

To which, I would counter: "Those who have argued for an end to the un-winnable drug war include the late William F. Buckley, the intellectual godfather of the modern conservative movement; the late Milton Friedman, the free-market economist whose economic thinking laid the foundation of the modern conservative movement; and George P. Shultz, Ronald Reagan's venerable secretary of State."

None of them stumped for drug use, but they all realized fighting the drug war caused more problems than it solved.

The illegal profits have turned some of the most reprehensible people in the world into major power brokers, who use a share of their fortunes to corrupt politicians, judges and police officers. The drug war is helping to destabilize foreign governments, including Mexico's and Afghanistan's. Profits are being used to bankroll terrorists. Arresting, trying and incarcerating those involved in the drug trade costs this nation and the states tens of billions of dollars annually that could be used for constructive purposes.

Meanwhile, government isn't raising a dime in taxes. That's not the case with alcohol and tobacco, legal drugs that cause far more misery and death than all the illegal drugs combined.

The claim that legalizing illegal drugs would result in a massive increase in use is far from proven. Just look at legalized tobacco. Its use has been declining in recent decades, and per capita alcohol consumption in the United States has dropped by half since the middle of the 19th century.

Florida isn't California, and marijuana legalization and taxation will be more difficult to sell here. But it's time to start pushing hard for it. The cause could get a lift from the "tea party" movement. Tea- party libertarians need to convince the so-called "conservatives" waving placards next to them (many of whom never heard of Buckley, Friedman or Shultz) that it's time to call a halt to the war on drugs.

Kingsley Guy Is a columnist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, where this piece originally appeared -


"Marijuana is a herb and a flower. God put it here. If He put it here and He wants it to grow, what gives the government the right to say that God is wrong?" - Willie Nelson

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