This Just In
(1)President Finds Reception Is Mixed After Recent Slayings
(2)Drug Law Proposals Set To Be Rejected
(3)Covert Medical-Marijuana Growing Operations Surface In Suburban Homes
(4)State Asks Jackson Co. To Tighten Drug Tax Spending

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 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Fri, 12 Feb 2010
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2010 El Paso Times
Author: Adriana Gomez Licon, El Paso Times

Caleron Told: Enough

JUAREZ -- Anger, fear and skepticism received Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Juarez on Thursday.

Testimonials of leaders in the city where more than 4,500 people have died in the past two years had the same theme: enough with the violence.

Calderon, his wife, Margarita Zavala, and seven members of his Cabinet were surrounded by hundreds of heavily armed soldiers and police officers.

At the Cibeles convention center, business, religious and education leaders complained about the brutality of the drug war, human-rights violations by the military, unemployment and increasing taxes.

The massacre that killed 15 people, mostly teenagers on Jan. 30, triggered Calderon to visit the deadliest city in Mexico for the second time in his administration. He sent his condolences to the families of the victims and mentioned ambiguous changes in the strategy to fight organized crime. The military presence will continue in the border city.

"It pains me as the president of the nation what's going on," Calderon said.

Some relatives of those killed in the massacre showed their backs to the president during his speech. Angry and upset, four mothers of the victims killed in the birthday party massacre refused to attend a private meeting with the president earlier at the community center Casa Amiga.

At one point, Luz Maria Davila Garcia, who lost her teenage sons in the mass attack, interrupted a speech by Chihuahua Gov. Jose Reyes Baeza Terrazas and bypassed security to talk to Calderon face to face.




Pubdate: Thu, 11 Feb 2010
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2010 New Zealand Herald

A Law Commission report calling for possible decriminalisation of some drug use and allowing cannabis for medicinal use is set to be rejected by the Government.

The commission said it agreed with vigorous law enforcement on commercial drug dealers, but that there should be less emphasis on punishment of personal possession and use, and more emphasis on delivering effective treatment to addicts.

However, Justice Minister Simon Power says there is no prospect drug laws will be relaxed.

The commission report says there is no doubt that alcohol and illegal drugs both cause harm to the community, but "while the harms and costs associated with alcohol are typically understated and misunderstood, those associated with illegal drugs are often generalised and overblown".

It said the focus of drug laws should be on preventing the harm to others from drug use, not on preventing self-harm or reflecting moral values.




Pubdate: Fri, 12 Feb 2010
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2010 The Denver Post Corp
Author: Jace Larson, 9News

HIGHLANDS RANCH -- From the outside, Chris Bartkowicz's house looks like most of the others in his Highlands Ranch neighborhood.

The interior is a different story.

Bartkowicz has built a large medical-marijuana growing operation in the basement of his $637,000 suburban home, and he is far from alone.

9News discovered that dozens of suburban homes around Denver have been converted to indoor medical-marijuana farms.

"Whether it's a small grow or a big grow, I don't think the average person realizes how close to their front door it is," Bartkowicz said.

"I'm definitely hidden in suburbia," he said.

A jungle of electrical wires and water hoses snakes from room to room in the home's basement, all supporting Bartkowicz's nearly $500,000 medical-marijuana operation.

This year, he is hoping for a record profit.

"I'd like to see somewhere in the vicinity of $400,000 " he said, though he admits he could make as little as $100,000 depending on what happens with proposed laws regarding medical marijuana.




Pubdate: Thu, 11 Feb 2010
Source: Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
Copyright: 2010 Asheville Citizen-Times
Author: Jon Ostendorff

SYLVA - The Department of State Treasurer asked Jackson County to take better control over spending money that came from taxing drug dealers.

Responding to an article Sunday in the Citizen-Times, state Fiscal Management Section Director Sharon Edmundson said in a letter that two county officials should sign off on checks from the narcotics fund.

Sheriff Jimmy Ashe since 2007 has directed $10,588 to sports programs, trophies, booster clubs and a high school chorus, according to documents obtained by the newspaper under state public records law.

The sheriff often spent the money with no oversight. In one case he directed $3,000 to youth baseball teams - including a team on which his son played.

The N.C. Department of Justice in a memo to sheriffs said the drug tax money is intended to help law enforcement "deter and investigate crimes, especially drug offenses."

Ashe said he directed the spending in response to personal, sometimes unwritten requests from people in the community. His captain over investigations signed the checks.

The money came from supplies and equipment accounts within the Sheriff's Office budget and was later reimbursed through its narcotics fund.

Sheriffs and police get 75 percent of taxes collected from drug dealers in the cases they investigate.





In a time when many people's attention is focused on skyrocketing health care costs, brilliant legislators in Mississippi just made it much more expensive to deal with a simple cold. Sufferers will now need to get a doctor's prescription to get over-the-counter cold medication, all in the name of the war against meth.

In other stupid vote news, the City Council of El Paso, Texas, did approve of a resolution against violence in neighboring Juarez, Mexico, but not until calls for the legalization of cannabis were removed. Elsewhere, a cogent argument against the drug czar; and a strange story about a crusade to save teen students from heroin overdose, except none of the examples are students, and most aren't teens.


Pubdate: Wed, 03 Feb 2010
Source: Clarion-Ledger, The (Jackson, MS)
Copyright: 2010 Associated Press
Author: Shelia Byrd

The Senate on Tuesday sent to the governor House Bill 512, which supporters say is designed to curtail the state's escalating meth activity. The House earlier passed the bill. Gov. Haley Barbour said he would sign the bill.

The law would go into effect July 1. Oregon passed a similar law in 2006.

Barbour said the new law would "make it more difficult to obtain the ingredients for this drug that tears families apart and harms many of our communities. Meth labs threaten public safety, and I don't think there is any doubt we will see a drop in the number of labs in our state."

Only four senators voted against the bill. They were Sens. John Horhn, D-Jackson; Walter Michel, R-Jackson; Willie Simmons, D-Cleveland; and Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville.

Dozens of law enforcement officials, including Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Director Marshall Fisher, were in the Senate gallery listening to the debate. Many of them have said they're "sick" of the toll the drug has taken across the state, where 981 arrests were made in 2009 and nearly 600 meth labs were seized.

Pelahatchie Police Chief Glenda Shoemaker called the legislation "a blessing." Shoemaker said meth has become a problem in her town of 1,500, located in central Mississippi. She said four meth labs have been busted in recent years, a significant number for her town's size. "These are people I know. People I love. I can't do anything for them, and it just makes me want to cry," Shoemaker said, referring to local addicts.

Drug manufacturers had lobbied lawmakers for a real-time tracking system instead of the prescription bill. They've said the prescription bill likely will lead to meth addicts and cooks crossing state lines to get the ingredients.

Andy Fish, senior vice president of Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a group that represents over-the-counter drug manufacturers, said Mississippi had taken a step back in the fight against meth.




Pubdate: Wed, 10 Feb 2010
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2010 El Paso Times
Author: David Burge, El Paso Times

EL PASO -- The City Council heard more than two hours of testimony, but in the end backed away from supporting legalized marijuana as a way to combat drug violence in neighboring Juarez.

The council voted 6-2 Tuesday to condemn the violence in Juarez and deleted a paragraph that called for the legalization of marijuana and government regulation of its sale.

City Reps. Beto O'Rourke and Steve Ortega co-wrote the resolution. O'Rourke said he was against deleting the language about marijuana legalization.

He said it was an important part of addressing the ongoing violence in Juarez, which has been responsible for more than 4,500 deaths in the past two years.

About 60 percent of the drug cartels' revenue comes from the sale of marijuana to the United States, he said. Cutting off a significant source of its revenue could prevent the cartels from continuing to "kill and terrorize with impunity," he said.




Pubdate: Sat, 6 Feb 2010
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2010 The Washington Times, LLC.
Author: Timothy Lynch

Voters are disgusted by the reckless spending of politicians in Washington. The backlash is coming, so policymakers are now scrambling to do something, or at least be seen as doing something, about the enormous federal debt. Now is a good time for Congress to abolish government agencies that are outdated, dysfunctional or just unnecessary.

A prime candidate for abolition is the office of the so-called "drug czar."

The position of the drug czar was created by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act in 1988. It was a time of drug war hysteria. Former first lady Nancy Reagan called casual drug users "accomplices to murder." President George H.W. Bush vowed to make the war one of his top priorities. During his inaugural address, he said, "Take my word for it. This scourge will stop." The conservative firebrand William Bennett became the first czar and made headlines with brash talk of beheading drug dealers. The nation's capital was declared to be a "high intensity drug-trafficking" zone. There were raids and arrests - including the notorious trial of then-Mayor Marion Barry.

In theory, the drug czar's office was supposed to develop a long-term strategy to win the drug war and bring about a "drug-free society." Each year, the czar would call for more governmental efforts to "reduce demand" and to "disrupt the supply" of narcotics. Instead of millions, the government started to spend billions.

The bureaucracy flourished as more agents were hired and more high-tech equipment was purchased. The criminal justice system expanded to handle the influx of cases. More prosecutors. More judges. More prison guards.

And yet, millions and millions of Americans continued using drugs.We now know that Presidents Obama and Clinton were among them. Indeed, nowadays, police agencies like the FBI can only recruit young people if the agencies are willing to overlook past drug use.




Pubdate: Sat, 6 Feb 2010
Source: Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Copyright: 2010 The Daily Herald Company
Author: Jamie Sotonoff

After three Lake Zurich High School alumni died of heroin overdoses in the past 14 months, Lake Zurich mom Michelle Hines organized a forum about drug use in the community.

Hines, who facilitates Willow Creek Community Church's Christian 12-Step Program, said the stories are so heartbreaking that she feels an urgent need to educate people about the dangerous drug that's become trendy in the suburbs.

"When I found out about all the kids dying, I thought, 'Enough already.' Someone's got to do something. We've got to fight back," Hines said. "Heroin is in our town and kids are dying. If parents don't know it's here, then they can't educate their kids. We're doing the best we can to let them know."

In December 2008, former Lake Zurich student Kelly Gawron, 19, was found dead in her bed after overdosing on heroin.

Then in June 2009, a 22-year-old Lake Zurich alumnus died in the hospital, three days after overdosing, Hines said.

A month later, a 21-year-old former student died in a halfway house, struggling to recover from his heroin addiction, said his family, who asked not to be identified.

In an effort to prevent more deaths, the Feb. 9 forum at Lake Zurich High School aims to educate people about the drug activity going on in the community and teach them ways to help someone who is using drugs.




This week: more corruption; less DARE; and, police in Hamilton, Ontario say cocaine is out while Ketamine is in, at least for the local teen set.


Pubdate: Wed, 03 Feb 2010
Source: Spartanburg Herald Journal (SC)
Copyright: 2010 The Spartanburg Herald-Journal
Author: Jason Spencer

Spartanburg County Clerk of Court Faces Drug Charges Kitchens Accused of Conspiring With Area Businessman to Sell Drugs Held As Evidence

GREENVILLE -- Federal investigators arrested Spartanburg County Clerk of Court Marc Kitchens and an area real estate developer early Tuesday after agents say Kitchens received $3,000 for a summer drug deal -- and investigators believe the drugs in question came from the evidence locker in Kitchens' office.

Kitchens is accused of conspiring with Woodruff businessman Terry Glenn Lanford to take cocaine and methamphetamine from the locker and sell it to a drug dealer in the Orlando, Fla., area between April 2009 and January 2010.

That charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $2 million fine.




Pubdate: Tue, 09 Feb 2010
Source: Roanoke Times (VA)
Copyright: 2010 Roanoke Times
Author: Neil Harvey

Police Chief Jeff Dudley Said The Program Took Up A Lot Of Man-Hours.

After two decades and nearly 3,800 participants, Salem's Camp DARE has become a victim of tight budget times.

City Manager Kevin Boggess announced Tuesday that the free summer camp, which annually hosted rising seventh-graders, will be cut indefinitely, a move he said will save the city more than $100,000 a year.

Last year, 208 of 320 eligible students attended the camp, according to city spokesman Mike Stevens. The eight-week camp hosts boys and girls separately during weeklong sessions and, running from June to August, falls in parts of two fiscal years.




Pubdate: Mon, 08 Feb 2010
Source: Sentinel, The (Carlisle, PA)
Copyright: 2010 The Sentinel, a division of Lee Enterprise
Author: Heather Stauffer

With No State Funding For DARE Programs This Year, Alternatives Are Being Considered For The Future

When news broke last year that the state was pulling all funding for the DARE anti-drug education program, Mechanicsburg and Carlisle school districts and the associated police departments said they were interested in continuing the program anyway.

And so they did, with the departments reporting that they taught DARE classes through this school year on the strength of community donors and then absorbed the remainder of the cost.

But changes are on the horizon.

"Starting with next school year, we will be in a custom-made program with Mechanicsburg School District," said Mechanicsburg police Chief David Spotts.

Spotts said the program, which is being developed by the district and both Upper Allen and Mechanicsburg police departments, will include some of the same drug and alcohol abuse and civic responsibility focus that DARE does. However, he said, they are also going to make it more relevant by adding information about current issues like sexting, cyber-bullying and gangs.


Continues: :


Pubdate: Fri, 05 Feb 2010
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Carmelina Prete

The animal painkiller ketamine is replacing cocaine as a street drug of choice among teens, according to Hamilton police.

Typically sold as a white powder in small vials of about a gram, the drug, also known as Special K, looks like cocaine but costs a third of the price. At about $10 to $20 a vial or a "bump," it's a cheap alternative to the $50 a gram cocaine costs.

"Kids are taking this but it's certainly not just the kids," said Constable Perry Mason, a school resource officer. "It's an emerging problem in the community and schools are just a reflection of the community."

Hamilton police say the street value of cocaine has nearly doubled from $29,000 a kilogram in 2007 to $57,000 to $59,000 a kilogram today.

At the same time, the cost of designer drugs such as ecstasy and Special K dropped. Club prices were about $20 a pill in 2007. Now they're $5, police said.

Today, an ounce of cocaine costs about $1,500 whereas an ounce of ketamine goes for about $450 to $500.

Cocaine, a stimulant, and ketamine, a fast-acting and powerful anaesthetic and painkiller used in veterinary and human surgery, produce different highs.

But Sue Kennedy, executive director with Alternatives For Youth, a local counselling service for youths with addictions, said it could be more about experimentation than finding a similar high.

"(It could be) kids are not even making the distinction between ketamine and cocaine. 'Who cares? I'm just going to use something to feel different to get a buzz or get high,'" she said. "Are kids necessarily making the distinction? Depending who's dealing or sharing or using, do they know what they're ingesting? Maybe, maybe not."




There was good news and bad news last week, or rather, good news and bad journalism.

Prosecutors in Washington State concluded that the law governing whether qualified medicinal cannabis growers may or may not grow collectively is too ambiguous to be enforced.

Mice tasked with finding their way through mazes should avoid injecting themselves with high doses of the synthetic cannabinoid HU210, or at least, not expect it to mitigate the symptoms of their Alzheimer's.

Medicinal cannabis champion Denis Peron was in Oregon last week, advocating complete legalization and regulation of the cannabis industry.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration predicted that aging, cannabis consuming baby boomers will swamp the health care system by 2020.


Pubdate: Tue, 09 Feb 2010
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Copyright: 2010 The Seattle Times Company

Calling the law unclear, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said Tuesday his office will not file criminal charges against a former Seattle man who police said had more plants at his community medical- marijuana garden than allowed under state law.

Mark Spohn called Seattle police on May 26 after four armed men, posing as FBI agents, entered his house and stole some of the recently harvested marijuana plants he was growing at his Wallingford garden. When police arrived they found that Spohn had more than 100 additional plants, which he was growing for himself and 20 other authorized medical-marijuana patients, according to court paperwork.

Police seized the bulk of what they found, leaving 15 plants -- the state Department of Health's limit for an individual medical-marijuana patient -- and forwarded the case to the Prosecutor's Office.

Satterberg said there is no specific state law when it comes to community gardens.

"The law neither permits nor prohibits a collective [medical marijuana] operation," Satterberg said, adding that he is not "obligated to prosecute people because they have a few plants too many."

According to the memo announcing the prosecutor's decision to not file charges, the law doesn't "explicitly address how marijuana should be manufactured by a provider in a legal manner or how it should be distributed to patients."

"Chief among these ambiguities is the question of whether or not an authorized provider of marijuana is allowed to provide for more than one patient over a period of time," the memo says. "The statute is simply unclear as to whether such activity is prohibited or not."

Douglas Hiatt, a medical-marijuana activist and Spohn's lawyer, called Satterberg's decision "the right thing to do."




Pubdate: Tue, 09 Feb 2010
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Pamela Fayerman, Vancouver Sun Health Issues Reporter

Synthetic Form Of The Drug Shows A Negative Effect In High Doses

Marijuana does not appear to improve memory or reverse effects of Alzheimer's disease, according to a University of B.C. study done on mice bred to have genetic mutations for the disease.

"We are a little surprised actually. Originally, we were hoping there would be a positive effect, based on previous research," said Dr. Weihong Song, the Canada Research Chair in Alzheimer's disease and a UBC psychiatry professor.

Wong said in an interview that the experiments were meant to validate research going back about six years that showed that marijuana might protect brain cells from injurious inflammation and even promote regeneration of neurons.

That got scientists excited about the possibility of a benefit, since the brains of Alzheimer's patients shrink as cells die off.

Six researchers affiliated with the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute used a synthetic derivative of cannabis called HU210, which is 100 to 800 times more potent than marijuana consumed by humans.

In experiments, mice were initially taught how to get to a desired location in a maze.

The mice that got high dose HU210 did no better than control subject mice, which got no drug, or those that got a low dose.


Song concedes it's too early to conclude that medicinal marijuana won't be useful in Alzheimer's disease, especially since the study, published in the journal Current Alzheimer Research, was done in mice and using high doses.

"But what we can say at this point is that the previous research done with rats and mice on the [beneficial] effects of synthetic cannabinoids is not necessarily applicable to humans.




Pubdate: Mon, 8 Feb 2010
Source: Mail Tribune, The (Medford, OR)
Copyright: 2010 The Mail Tribune
Author: John Darling, for the Mail Tribune

ASHLAND -- The man who opened the nation's first "pot club" for medical marijuana users will come to town Tuesday to speak in favor of legalizing marijuana.

Dennis Peron, known as the "father of medical marijuana," supports across-the-board legalization of marijuana. In a telephone interview, he said enforcing existing laws costs the criminal justice system a fortune.

Peron is scheduled to speak from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday in the Meese Auditorium in the Visual Arts Building at Southern Oregon University, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland. The free presentation is sponsored by Ashland Alternative Health, a clinic that helps people obtain medical marijuana cards.

Peron championed California's 1996 medical marijuana ballot measure - -- the first in the nation.

His position is at one extreme in the range of opinions on marijuana's role in society. Law enforcement officials say the present arrangement, in which some people with a medical condition can legally possess marijuana, makes enforcement of drug laws difficult.

In Southern Oregon, police have arrested a number of medical marijuana card holders for exceeding the number of plants they were allowed to grow and seized hundreds of pounds of illegal pot in several widely publicized arrests.

Peron said the passage of medical marijuana laws changed the image of pot from something used by "long-hair, hippie-crazy" people to a drug of middle-class people.

"It helped make (marijuana use) more benevolent. We changed the tide," said Peron. He said the thrust of his work now is ballot measures to normalize distribution, so "you can get it at Walgreens," at affordable prices.




Pubdate: Mon, 8 Feb 2010
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2010 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Kay Lazar, Globe Staff
Referenced: The survey

Legions of Pot-Smoking Hippies From Decades Past Have Apparently Morphed into Middle-Aged Americans Who Carry With Them a Potentially Large-Scale Drug Problem.

Roughly 8 percent of Americans ages 50 to 59 had used an illicit drug in the past year, according to a recent survey by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Marijuana was the most commonly used, but close behind was abuse of prescription drugs, such as anti-anxiety medications, painkillers, and sleeping pills.

The percentage of pot and pill abusers in this age group grew by more than 50 percent between 2002 and 2008, as more baby boomers hit 50.

Now, researchers who conducted the survey worry that high rates of lifetime drug use among boomers, that massive, society-altering generation born between 1946 and 1964, is likely to create health complications for millions of aging Americans and swamp the country's drug-treatment programs.

"We are projecting that by the year 2020, we will probably have enough people in the 50-to-59 age group needing [substance abuse] treatment that we will probably need to double the number of treatment facilities," said Peter Delany, the substance abuse agency's director of the Office of Applied Studies.

Delaney said that illicit drugs may cause greater impairment as users get older.

"We do know," he said, "that physiology slows down as you age, so the stuff processed out of your body faster when you were younger won't be processed out so quickly when you are older."

That means that marijuana and abused prescription drugs may be lingering longer in people who are now also likely to be regularly ingesting prescribed medications, such as cholesterol-lowering medicine or pills to tackle high blood pressure. That could result in harmful interactions and side effects. It also means that unsuspecting physicians may, for instance, misdiagnose symptoms of memory loss caused by chronic marijuana use as memory impairments caused by the onset of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease.




As expected, the rightist Harper regime this week announced plans to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, to undo a provincial court ruling allowing Insite, the supervised injection site in Vancouver, B.C. It wasn't that Justice Minister Rob Nicholson was ordered by party apparatchiks to loudly oppose Insite as a sop and distraction tossed to the conservative political base, oh no! Rather, it is that the existence of Insite raises abstruse legal points, "regarding the doctrine of inter-jurisdictional immunity and the division of powers between the federal and provincial governments," - points which the justice minister feels obligated to explore.

When confronted with the need for a needle exchange - inside prisons - government faces a dilemma. Allow a needle exchange which would save lives (not to mention future health care costs) but in so doing, admit not even the prohibition of prison walls keeps out drugs. Or, to not admit the regular breaches of prison security and futility of prohibition, by not allowing needle exchanges in prison. While supporting needle exchange in prison, a piece in the Canadian Chronicle Herald newspaper this week nicely glosses over this larger issue. "In an ideal world, it would be impossible to smuggle drugs into a jail, and that would solve the problem. But the real world is not water-tight, and where there is a will, there is a way." Which sums up the failure of prohibition.

In a heroic action to save children from the clutches of drugs, the RCMP raided a medicinal marijuana dispensary in icy Nunavut, Canada Jan. 29, sparing countless young lives from the death and degradation which accompanies drug use. The proprietor of Nunavut's first medical cannabis dispensary, Ed deVries, 51, instead claimed that more than 500 citizens of Iqaluit (about 7% of the town) were registered with Health Canada as legally able to use cannabis for medicine. Eric Idlaut, of the Qikiqtaaluk Compassionate Society: "Elders who use marijuana as medicine would benefit from having a place they can obtain it without having to pay street prices."

The Arizona Republic this week ran a lengthy article on the newest slogan to be repeated about Mexico. Because of the "drug cartels" you see, we must now repeat the following mantra: "Mexico is a 'Narco-State'". Grudgingly, the Republic mentions legalization - if only to immediately dismiss such an idea (which it buries near the end of this whopper of an article). The real take home and take action message the Republic would have us believe? The "government needs to focus on the prosecution of crimes" - Mexico isn't jailing enough of its own people. Because, you know, throwing lots of people in jail always solves drug problems. Will Mexico never learn this fact from the more enlightened United States?


Pubdate: Wed, 10 Feb 2010
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Canwest Publishing Inc.

The federal government plans to ask the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn a B.C. ruling that allowed a safe-injection site to remain open, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Tuesday.

"This case raises important questions regarding the doctrine of inter-jurisdictional immunity and the division of powers between the federal and provincial governments," he said.




Pubdate: Tue, 09 Feb 2010
Source: Chronicle Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2010 The Halifax Herald Limited

Needle Swap Worth A Try

PRISONS are closed environments. But they are no more circumscribed than the debate about how to run them.

Judging by the tenor of remarks posted on our online news site, the general public went into attitudinal lockdown immediately after a report, released last week, recommended needle-exchange programs for convicts who are drug addicts.

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network makes a compelling case, backed up by 50 testimonials from ex-prisoners, for giving "harm reduction" policies a try in prisons. But the plea for reform contained in Under the Skin is falling on the deaf ears of the electorate and of elected officials.

Sadly, it is not just inmates who pay the price for such short-sightedness. The sharing of contaminated, makeshift needles is a plague in prisons, but the consequences cannot be contained there. As the report points out, the prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C is 10 to 20 times higher in the prison population than in the general population. Yet most prisoners eventually return to their families and communities, where they spread diseases they might not even know they are carrying.

Public health is but one of the concerns. Another is cost - and the fact is that needle-exchange programs are far more cost-efficient than treating patients with incurable, infectious diseases.

In an ideal world, it would be impossible to smuggle drugs into a jail, and that would solve the problem. But the real world is not water-tight, and where there is a will, there is a way. To completely stop drug trafficking in prisons, you'd have to resort to body cavity searches of all staff, visitors and volunteers every single day.




Pubdate: Mon, 08 Feb 2010
Source: Nunavut News North (CN NU)
Copyright: 2010 Northern News Services Limited
Author: Kassina Ryder

Charges Laid Against Two Men Involved With Qikiqtaaluk Compassionate Society

IQALUIT - The RCMP raided Nunavut's first compassion club selling marijuana for medicinal use Jan. 29, and charged two men with drug trafficking.

Police seized two pounds of marijuana, $7,200 in cash, a GMC Yukon and trafficking materials during a search of two Iqaluit residences, according to an RCMP press release.

Ed deVries, 51, was charged with possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime. Sakku Kripinak, 30, was charged with one count of possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.


In an interview prior to his arrest, deVries said more than 500 people in Iqaluit, a city of nearly 7,000 people, were registered with the society, including elders, and the list was growing.

"We're not in hiding. We're in an appropriate downtown location that is respectful to the neighbourhood," he said. "We run controlled hours, very strict hours, and we're acting in respect to the neighbourhood."


In an interview with Nunavut News/North before the bust, Qikiqtaaluk Compassionate Society media representative Eric Idlaut said the idea of a compassion club was becoming popular in Nunavut's other communities.

"We're receiving a lot of inquiries from smaller communities on how to become members with our society," Idlaut said. "The first inquiry is how to become members of our society and how they can come up with a compassionate society in their own communities."

Elders who use marijuana as medicine would benefit from having a place they can obtain it without having to pay street prices, Idlaut said.




Pubdate: Sun, 07 Feb 2010
Source: Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ)
Copyright: 2010 The Arizona Republic
Author: Chris Hawley, Republic Mexico City Bureau

Rising Lawlessness Echoes State Of '90s-Era Colombia

MEXICO CITY - For months, the leaders of Tancitaro had held firm against the drug lords battling for control of this central Mexican town.

Then one morning, after months of threats and violence from the traffickers, they finally surrendered.

Before dawn, gunmen kidnapped the elderly fathers of the town administrator and the secretary of the City Council. Within hours, both officials resigned along with the mayor, the entire seven-member City Council, two department heads, the police chief and all 60 police officers. Tancitaro had fallen to the enemy.


Former President Ernesto Zedillo, writer Carlos Fuentes, former foreign minister Jorge Castaneda and the former chief of Calderon's National Action Party have publicly questioned the president's strategy.


But in Mexico, the government needs to focus on the prosecution of crimes instead of flooding the streets with troops, Buscaglia said.

Only about half of detainees are ever convicted, and most are low-level thugs, not the money launderers, accountants and managers who keep the cartels running.


Only three things could change the balance, said Ray Walser, an expert on Latin America at the conservative Heritage Foundation: a massive increase in U.S. drug aid, a large addiction-treatment program in the United States or the legalization of drugs in the United States.

None of these measures seems to be on the horizon, Walser said.



 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


Retired Det. Lt. New Jersey State Trooper Jack Cole who is also the Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is on the phone to talk about decriminalizing marijuana and the benefits of legalizing drugs so that we can control them rather than the drug dealers controlling them.


By Paul Armentano

The fifteen-second ad, asserting that taxing and regulating the adult use and sale of marijuana would raise 'billions of dollars in national revenue,' was rejected out of hand

SAFEGAMES 2010  ( Top )

The SafeGames website as a resource for locals and visitors to Vancouver. This website contains resources to help inform and connect visitors with informational videos and handouts, various harm reduction services available during the Olympics, and information on SafeGames' partners.


If "cops don't make laws, they just enforce them", why are police opposing marijuana legalization?

By Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator


Century of Lies - 02/07/10 - Micah Daigle

Michael Daigle of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Allison Holcomb of ACLU in Wash State, DTN editorial: "The American Dream", extracts from PBS, CNN

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 02/07/10 - Barry Cooper

Barry Cooper, former narc extraordiaire + Corrupt Cop Story with Phil Smith & NPR extract on Bail Bond scams in US + Abolitionist's Movement


By Margaret Dooley-Sammuli

By opting for a policy of sending low-level offenders to state prison, California is far out of step with other states - and out of time.


10 February 2010 - In a report issued today, UNODC projects stable cultivation of opium poppy in Afghanistan this year (measured in hectares), with a possible decrease in production (number of tons). "There is a good chance that Afghanistan will produce less opium this year," said UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa.


The February 3 NYU Law Forum brought together a group of experts, mostly from organizations seeking alternatives to the U.S.'s current "war on drugs" method, to discuss potential models for drug decriminalization.


Write A Letter  ( Top )

Colorado In The News. A DrugSense Focus Alert.



By Stace Tackaberry

Re. "Don't legalize it," by Carol James, letters, Feb. 1 I couldn't agree less with Ms. Carol James' letter expressing her "opposition against the legalization of marijuana in Summit County."

Of course, the law should never allow minors to purchase, possess or consume marijuana or, for that matter, any intoxicating substance. However, as an adult, I don't want Carol James, Christian Thurstone or any government entity telling me, through legislation, what I may ingest into my body. That's my business, not theirs. If after consumption I should act irresponsibly by driving a motor vehicle, operating heavy equipment, becoming abusive toward others, etc. then the authorities should deal with me for that reason, not because some nanny-folks have determined that something is not good for me. Did we learn nothing from the almost 15 years liquor prohibition?

Stace Tackaberry Breckenridge

Pubdate: Fri, 05 Feb 2010
Source: Summit Daily News (CO)


DrugSense recognizes Patrick Brumm of Madison, Wisconsin for his three letters published during January. Patrick is a new letter writer who wrote during the month in support of the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act. You may read his letters at


Keeping The Lights On  ( Top )

By Mary Jane Borden

Electricity is an interesting phenomenon. It gives light to see clearly in the dark. With clarity, we perform better; trip over fewer obstacles. Electricity is often taken for granted, as if it will always be there each time we flick a switch. It's one of those things that isn't missed until it's gone. When the lights go out, everything changes.

For fifteen years, the drug policy community has benefited from a knowledge base and information hub that, like electricity, has quietly and efficiently "kept the lights on" to reform cruel and corrupt drug policies.

The knowledgebase provided by DrugSense ( serves as an "early warning system," letting us know about important developments often as they happen. Over 130 like minded organizations depend on the DrugSense hub to carry out their respective reform missions.

DrugSense's many projects have helped to build the momentum that allows us to stand where we are today: Fourteen states and counting have passed medical marijuana laws. Californians will be voting on a legalization initiative this fall. We now have cannabis colleges, conferences, and expos. At this pivotal point in history, do we allow the switch to flick off?

Like many organizations in these trying times, DrugSense's funding base is shifting and shrinking. To make matters worse, its controversial focus challenges efforts to secure funding from traditional sources.

Despite these hardships, the quest for common sense in cannabis policy has one important ally: YOU! And you are needed right now.

Please participate in the "Paying Forward - 420 Campaign" by making a pledge in 420 increments - $4.20, $42.00, or $420.00 (or more) - to DrugSense at Because DrugSense is a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit, your contribution is tax deductible.

Keep this electrifying movement going and its light of truth shining. That way, we won't have to learn what is lost after it is too late.

Mary Jane Borden is writer, artist and drug policy reform activist from Westerville, Ohio. She serves as Business Manager/Fundraising Specialist for DrugSense and as the Editor of Drug War Facts


"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference."

-- Elie Wiesel

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Policy and Law Enforcement/Prison content selection and analysis by Stephen Young (, This Just In selection by Richard Lake ( and Stephen Young, International content selection and analysis by Doug Snead (, Cannabis/Hemp content selection and analysis, Hot Off The Net selection and Layout by Matt Elrod ( Analysis comments represent the personal views of editors, not necessarily the views of DrugSense.

We wish to thank all our contributors, editors, NewsHawks and letter writing activists. Please help us help reform. Become a NewsHawk See for info on contributing clippings.

NOTICE:  ( Top )

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