This Just In
(1)Willie Nelson's Canceled Concert Inspires State Senator's Song
(2)Man Who Was Helping Sick Friend Avoids Record In Marijuana Case
(3)Provincial Committee Passes Law Aimed At Crime Houses
(4)Legislators Right To Just Say No To Pot

Hot Off The 'Net
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-Report Of The International Narcotics Control Board For 2009
-The Budgetary Impact Of Drug Legalization / Jeffrey Miron
-The 'Drug War' Mentality Still Rules / Doug Bennett

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Thu, 25 Feb 2010
Source: Star-News (NC)
Copyright: 2010 Wilmington Morning Star
Author: Ana Ribeiro

State Sen. Charlie Albertson says he can relate to country music legend Willie Nelson.

Sen. Charlie Albertson -(D) Duplin A lifelong musician himself, the Duplin County Democrat spent 56 days on a tour bus in Germany in the late '70s and understands how "a bus is sort of like a home to a band," he said

So he got upset after state alcohol officers raided Nelson's tour bus in Albertson's home county and cited band members for possession of marijuana and moonshine.

It's only natural that Albertson is now expressing his frustration musically.

With his own voice and musician friends from Nashville, he recently recorded "Leave the Man Alone," a country-flavored lament about how he wishes the officers would have just let Nelson "sing and play his songs" in peace.

Regarding Nelson's decision not to play in Duplin County after the Jan. 28 bust, the song says: "We lost more than the revenue. It hurt the county's name."


The bust happened less than an hour before the scheduled concert. John Vogt, the events center's executive director, said it lost $30,000 because Nelson didn't perform.




Pubdate: Thu, 25 Feb 2010
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Andrew Seymour, The Ottawa Citizen

An Ottawa technology consultant who told a judge he possessed more than a kilogram of marijuana because he was using it to help a sick friend avoided a criminal record when the judge gave him an absolute discharge Wednesday.

Ontario Court Justice Jack Nadelle said a discharge for Lyle "Rick" Tweedy was appropriate and not against the public interest given the extraordinary circumstances in the case, which involved Tweedy possessing a little more than 1.2 kilograms of the drug. He was, he testified, planning to make hemp oil out of marijuana to help his friend Margot MacLeod ease the pain caused by her cervical cancer. She died Jan. 12.

Tweedy, 44, was arrested in May 2009 after police officers, searching for a marijuana grow-op at the Tranquility Lane house where he was staying, found the drug in his bedroom. The search warrant was targeting his roommates, who are still facing charges before the court.

Tweedy pleaded guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking in late January. Federal Crown prosecutors had been seeking a four-to-six-month conditional sentence to be served in the community.

Court heard Tweedy had been caring for MacLeod over the final five months of her life, staying with her regularly to attend to both her physical and emotional needs and spending the final nights of her life at her hospital bedside.

In a letter to the court written last October, MacLeod, who was 42, wrote that Tweedy was "the only person willing to do whatever he could to help me."




Pubdate: Thu, 25 Feb 2010
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Lee Greenberg, The Ottawa Citizen

Act Gives Authorities Power To Shut Down Nuisance Dwellings

A law designed by an Ottawa MPP to rid neighbourhoods of crack houses, booze cans, brothels and marijuana grow-ops was suddenly given new life Wednesday after opposition parties abandoned a filibuster and allowed the legislation to pass through committee.

The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act (SCAN), conceived by Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi, would give authorities the power to shut down nuisance dwellings for up to 90 days.

The law is used in other Canadian jurisdictions and was prompted by problems with crack houses in Ottawa's Hintonburg.

The bill was effectively killed in November after opposition Conservatives and New Democrats staged a mini-filibuster at committee hearings. But those opponents suddenly gave up their bid to scuttle the bill Wednesday.




Pubdate: Thu, 25 Feb 2010
Source: Columbian, The (WA)
Copyright: 2010 The Columbian Publishing Co.
Author: Ann Donnelly

A growing number of people in our state are joining many in Oregon and California in believing that marijuana use should be decriminalized. Their changing attitudes, described in the Wall Street Journal in a Jan. 15 article "Push for Looser Pot Laws Gains Momentum," have been molded during 20 years of proselytizing by founder George Soros and other drug-legalization promoters. In more than a dozen states, Soros (as detailed in David Broder's book, "Democracy Derailed") has sponsored voter initiatives for the more widely accepted medical marijuana and then for legalization. Initiatives to move beyond medical marijuana to legalize and tax the drug are gaining steam in California and Oregon, intended for 2010 ballots.

Budget-strapped Washington is the next target. Last month, two measures reached our state's House Public Safety Committee that, if passed, would have permitted the sale of marijuana to adults in Washington's 160 state-run liquor stores. One supporter, Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, stated "the amount of money that we could realize over legalizing it and regulating it is close to $300 million a year."

This year, thankfully, both legalization measures were voted down but if the movement's history is any guide, new bills and initiatives are already in the works. Their lure will be millions in tax revenue, but those come with incalculable offsetting costs.

Marijuana sold legally from dozens of easily accessible liquor stores will not be consumed only by adults, so those harmed will include vulnerable kids and their families. Few legislators or policymakers, let alone adolescents or parents, know one of the most persuasive arguments against societal acceptance of marijuana: It appears to be a leading risk factor in severe mental illness. Role in schizophrenia?





A new article about an old story points out how willing government sometimes is to save people from themselves, even if those people get killed in the process. All these nasty efforts to save children from drugs - maybe we should just let them sleep in a little more often. The second in command at the drug czar's office appears to be a treatment junkie. And patients aren't the only ones making plans for a new medical cannabis law in New Jersey.

 (5) THE CHEMIST'S WAR  ( Top )

Pubdate: Fri, 19 Feb 2010
Source: Slate (US Web)
Copyright: 2010 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC
Author: Deborah Blum

The Little-Told Story of How the U.S. Government Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition With Deadly Consequences.

It was Christmas Eve 1926, the streets aglitter with snow and lights, when the man afraid of Santa Claus stumbled into the emergency room at New York City's Bellevue Hospital. He was flushed, gasping with fear: Santa Claus, he kept telling the nurses, was just behind him, wielding a baseball bat.

Before hospital staff realized how sick he was--the alcohol-induced hallucination was just a symptom--the man died. So did another holiday partygoer. And another. As dusk fell on Christmas, the hospital staff tallied up more than 60 people made desperately ill by alcohol and eight dead from it. Within the next two days, yet another 23 people died in the city from celebrating the season.

Doctors were accustomed to alcohol poisoning by then, the routine of life in the Prohibition era. The bootlegged whiskies and so-called gins often made people sick. The liquor produced in hidden stills frequently came tainted with metals and other impurities. But this outbreak was bizarrely different. The deaths, as investigators would shortly realize, came courtesy of the U.S. government.

Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.




Pubdate: Mon, 22 Feb 2010
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Agence France-Presse

Study Looked At More Than 8,000

Teens who sleep fewer than seven hours per night are more likely to use illegal drugs, according to a study released Sunday.

The research also found a link between a lack of sleep and the likelihood of illegal drug use, which can spread through teens' networks "like a contagion," infecting siblings, friends and acquaintances as many as four degrees of separation removed.

Researchers at the University of California San Diego and Harvard University mapped the sleep patterns and drug use of more than 8,000 teens for the study.

"Adolescents are embedded in complex social networks and are especially vulnerable to peer effects -- possibly not only with respect to drugs, but also with respect to sleep," said the study, which was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The researchers found that a teen with one friend who sleeps fewer than seven hours is 11 per cent more likely also to sleep fewer than seven hours.

Teens with a friend who uses marijuana -- the most popular drug among U.S. adolescents -- are more than twice as likely to use pot themselves.


Continues: :


Pubdate: Mon, 22 Feb 2010
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)
Copyright: 2010 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc
Author: Don Sapatkin, Inquirer Staff Writer

To much of official Washington, the portrait of substance abuse in the United States is grim:

More than 22 million Americans abuse drugs or alcohol.

Just 10 percent of them get treated - and an alarming number relapse.

At treatment centers designed to help them, half the counselors quit each year. Worse, the newest research-based therapies often do not reach clinics at all.

In the dysfunction, A. Thomas McLellan sees opportunity.

"We've got to put scientific information into policies that make sense and will deliver for Americans," said McLellan, who left Philadelphia six months ago to become the nation's No. 2 drug-policy official.

Science, he says, can make treatment inviting, catch abuse before it turns into addiction, save communities millions of dollars - in short, remake a system that has been shaped by the politics of avoidance. There is even a "science of recovery," and he said he believed that talking about it would help move the national conversation about recovery from one of shame to one of triumph.

Passionate about bringing science to Washington, yes. Enjoying doing it, no.

Seated on a couch in his sparsely furnished office a few blocks from the White House, the lanky and mustachioed psychologist was characteristically blunt.

"I guess I could be called a ready, fire, aim kind of guy," said McLellan, 61. "Government is ready, aim . . . aim . . . aim . . . you get the drift?"

Two years ago, happily rehabbing his boat and content directing a leading research center on Independence Mall, McLellan had no interest in Washington. Then his 30-year-old son died of a combination of anti-anxiety medication and alcohol poisoning; his older son was in treatment at the Betty Ford Center at the time.




Pubdate: Mon, 22 Feb 2010
Source: Daily Journal, The (Vineland, NJ)
Copyright: 2010 Daily Journal
Author: Joseph P. Smith

VINELAND -- New Jersey farmers, including some in this area, see a chance to add an important new crop now that the state has legalized medical marijuana.

"We would all like to grow it because we think it would be a good cash crop -- literally," Fairfield nurseryman Roger Ruske said.

The New Jersey Farm Bureau, a trade group for agriculture, has looked into the issue in depth and found good news and problems with the idea.

New Jersey last month adopted a law allowing medical use of marijuana.

Farm Bureau research associate Ed Wengryn said the legislation isn't written clearly enough for the state Department of Health and Senior Services to write regulations. "But I will say there are growers interested in it -- but they're interested in the concept," Wengryn said.

"(Whether) the economics work in the long run is really going to be the driving factor, because the price isn't going to be set by market conditions," he said. "There is no market. You can compare it to street value, but you can only go so much above street value for people."

There is something else farmers need to consider. They may face stiff competition from another major industry in the state.

Wengryn said the pharmaceutical industry is in a good position to bogart the marijuana business if it chooses to try.

Drug firms aren't well known for having green thumbs, but they actually have research farms that could be converted. They also have the experienced staff and the money to negotiate their ways through government bureaucracies.




An acquittal in a high profile New York City police abuse trial came last week. A North Carolina sheriff is making taxpayers foot the bill for his pet helicopter, even though he promised he wouldn't. In South Carolina, a budget crisis helps build momentum for prison reform. And in Illinois, one town wants to get tougher on huffers.


Pubdate: Tue, 23 Feb 2010
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2010 The New York Times Company
Author: Kareem Fahim

A Brooklyn jury found three police officers not guilty on Monday of abusing a suspect in the Prospect Park subway station during a 2008 arrest, in a case that recalled some of the city's most notorious police brutality episodes but never generated as much public outcry or departmental change.

Acquitting all three men on all counts, the jurors rejected Michael Mineo's claims that Officer Richard Kern had attacked him and repeatedly rammed a baton between his buttocks, thereby making the charges against the two other officers -- that they had helped cover up the abuse -- irrelevant.

"I'll finally get a good night's sleep," Officer Kern said after the verdict was read. "I'm glad the system works. It's been a long road and it's finally over, thank God."

The verdict, by a jury of six men and six women, came after just one full day of deliberations in a trial that lasted four weeks. One juror, Stevan L. Miller, said in an interview that the prosecution's case had "so many holes" that he and other jurors were shocked when they finished. "The defense didn't have to do anything," Mr. Miller said.




Pubdate: Wed, 24 Feb 2010
Source: Star-News (NC)
Copyright: 2010 Wilmington Morning Star
Author: David Reynolds

In March of 2008, when New Hanover County was considering the purchase of a helicopter for the sheriff's office, authorities said local taxpayers wouldn't foot the bill.

At the time, former sheriff Sid Causey said the $683,050 helicopter would be paid for by federal grants and seized drug money.

But now that Sheriff Ed McMahon is forwarding money the office received from forfeitures that occurred in local courts during the past few years, that promise appears to no longer hold true.

The $323,529.15 McMahon has decided should go toward education includes $114,985 spent on the helicopter. It also includes an additional $42,186 the office spent in the following fiscal year to upgrade the helicopter's flight management system.

On Tuesday, McMahon acknowledged his decision to give forfeiture money to the schools means, in essence, taxpayers have to foot the bill for some of the helicopter.

But he also said there's nothing he can do about that now. His review of recent forfeitures convinced him the money should go to the schools. In the past, he said, confusion occurred because the law doesn't specify that forfeited money goes toward education, though the state constitution does.




Pubdate: Mon, 22 Feb 2010
Source: Greenville News (SC)
Copyright: 2010 The Greenville News
Author: Paul Alongi, Staff writer

State taxpayers spend millions each year to lock up prisoners for probation violations, driving under suspension and other nonviolent offenses -- and the costs are expected to swell by hundreds of millions if nothing is done.

Prison admissions have grown 26 percent in a decade with a large chunk coming not from murderers, rapists and other violent criminals but lower-level offenders.

Forty-nine percent of the state's inmates are imprisoned for nonviolent offenses, mostly drug and property crimes. Forty-four percent of new inmates have sentences of less than 18 months.

A state already in dire financial shape could be faced with building as many as two new prisons in five years at a cost of $317 million, plus another $141 million a year in operating costs.

Critics blame get-tough sentencing policies of the past two decades -- adopted in an atmosphere that made it difficult for lawmakers to be seen as soft on crime.

"Basically, the system got out of control," said Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Hartsville. "We cannot build our way out of this process. It's too cost prohibitive."




Pubdate: Tue, 16 Feb 2010
Source: Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale, IL)
Copyright: 2010 Southern Illinoisan
Author: Mike Riopell

SPRINGFIELD - Southern Illinois officials want to target people who show up in court over and over after being arrested for inhaling chemicals to get high.

Williamson County Assistant State's Attorney Ryan Hall said he sees the same handful of people being caught by police for what is known as "huffing" - a practice in which products such as paint are inhaled.

"It's a reoccurring problem with various individuals," Hall said. "They're addicts."

Under current state law, a judge can send an offender for jail for 30 days. That time doesn't typically include any treatment, and it's not long enough for someone to kick the addiction, Hall said.

"We can't do anything for these people," Hall said.

Legislation pending in Springfield would increase the maximum sentence to up to a year for someone's second huffing offense. And treatment could be a possible sentencing option.




Californians can sleep easier tonight with the knowledge that Bryan Epis has been ordered to serve out the balance of a 10-year prison term for cultivating medicinal cannabis.

Many cannabis law reformers of decades past had hoped that cannabis would be legalized when baby boomers took the reins of power. Perhaps boomers retiring will have a larger impact.

The medicinal cannabis industry continues to spawn many ancillary businesses and gather economic momentum, but many questions remain, for example, should medicinal cannabis consumers be permitted to own guns?


Pubdate: Tue, 23 Feb 2010
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2010 The Sacramento Bee
Author: Denny Walsh

Bryan James Epis, the first person associated with a California cannabis buyers' club to be tried in federal court for growing pot, was ordered back to prison Monday by a Sacramento judge to serve the balance of a 10-year term.

Epis, 42, had been free for nearly six years on an order issued by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after he had served more than two years of the term for growing and conspiring to grow marijuana.

The case, now nearly 13 years old, remains a rallying point for medical marijuana proponents nationwide, who view it as the ultimate injustice to come from the chasm between the state's allowance for medicinal use and a federal policy of zero tolerance.

In July 2002, a Sacramento jury found Epis planned to grow at least 1,000 plants and that he grew at least 100 plants in the spring of 1997 at his Chico residence. The fact the house is within 1,000 feet of Chico Senior High School is one reason Epis is not eligible for a term less than the 10-year mandatory minimum attached to the 1,000- plant conviction.

Among the things that made the trial memorable were the contrasting styles of defense lawyer J. Tony Serra, with his trademark passion and florid prose, and prosecutor Samuel Wong, aloof and mostly dispassionate. Wong's cool demeanor cracks, however, when the Epis prosecution is referred to as a medical marijuana case.

His voice rising, Wong said during Monday's hearing, "As the court knows, this is not a medical marijuana case. That term doesn't ever apply to cases of this scope. Mr. Bryan Epis grew and distributed large amounts of marijuana even before the law changed in California."

Epis testified that he started using marijuana in his teens to manage chronic pain from a near-fatal car accident. He testified that he started the growing operation after California voters in 1996 approved Proposition 215, the so-called Compassionate Use Act allowing medicinal use with a doctor's recommendation.




Pubdate: Mon, 22 Feb 2010
Source: Summit Daily News (CO)
Copyright: 2010 Summit Daily News
Author: Matt Sedensky, Associated Press Writer

MIAMI (AP) - In her 88 years, Florence Siegel has learned how to relax: A glass of red wine. A crisp copy of The New York Times, if she can wrest it from her husband. Some classical music, preferably Bach. And every night like clockwork, she lifts a pipe to her lips and smokes marijuana.

Long a fixture among young people, use of the country's most popular illicit drug is now growing among the AARP set, as the massive generation of baby boomers who came of age in the 1960s and '70s grows older.

The number of people aged 50 and older reporting marijuana use in the prior year went up from 1.9 percent to 2.9 percent from 2002 to 2008, according to surveys from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The rise was most dramatic among 55- to 59-year-olds, whose reported marijuana use more than tripled from 1.6 percent in 2002 to 5.1 percent.

Observers expect further increases as 78 million boomers born between 1945 and 1964 age. For many boomers, the drug never held the stigma it did for previous generations, and they tried it decades ago.

Some have used it ever since, while others are revisiting the habit in retirement, either for recreation or as a way to cope with the aches and pains of aging.




Pubdate: Sun, 21 Feb 2010
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2010 The Sacramento Bee
Author: Peter Hecht

LOS ANGELES -- Three decades ago, Bruce Perlowin was smuggling hundreds of thousands of pounds of Colombian marijuana to California in fishing boats passing beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. His childhood friend, David Tobias, was trafficking dope across turquoise Caribbean waters to Florida and Georgia.

On Saturday, at a Los Angeles medical marijuana trade show teeming with entrepreneurs hoping to cash in on California's legal pot market, the two chums were reunited as business consultants marketing "solutions for an emerging industry."

Their Medical Marijuana Inc. booth is one of scores of competing exhibits at Hemp Con 2010, a three-day event promoters say will draw 30,000 visitors to the Los Angeles Convention Center this weekend. The once unfathomable expo signals the reach of California's fast-budding cannabis economy and the intense lure of both pot seekers and entrepreneurial dreamers to get a toke of the action.

Inside the 70,000-square-foot exhibit space Saturday, an Azusa sheet metal worker and his cousin, a former cultivator, were marketing $35,000 to $105,000 Tow and Grow trailers for growing medicinal weed.

A Santa Ana leasing agent was pitching retail space for marijuana dispensaries in a glistening new building. A retired Los Angeles lawyer was marketing a home delivery company for medical cannabis users. A communications specialist was selling a telephone service that gives driving directions to get any marijuana patient, anywhere in California, to the closest pot store.

"Thousands of jobs are being created in this industry overnight," exulted one convention speaker, Michael Lerner, publisher of the Kush pot magazine in Southern California and operator of, a site billed as "the Facebook for medical marijuana."

"The movement has happened. We're not stopping now," he said.




Pubdate: Sat, 20 Feb 2010
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2010 Record Searchlight
Author: Scott Mobley

Gun shop manager Patrick Jones says he wants to sell as many firearms as he can.

But Jones won't do business with known medical cannabis patients, such as Army Spc. Sean Merritt, an honorably discharged and disabled veteran.

That refusal has drawn criticism from Merritt and other medical marijuana advocates, who have twice gone to Redding City Council chambers to denounce Jones, who happens to be mayor, for violating patients' rights.

"There is nothing in state law that says I cannot own or possess a firearm," Merritt said at a recent council meeting. "And to be told as such is branding me as a severe mental patient or a felon. I am neither."

Jones has said he is merely following the law - in this case, a federal law that forbids gun dealers from selling firearms to anyone who is "an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana."

Would-be gun owners are required to fill out a federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) form that poses questions about the buyer's criminal history, mental health, citizenship and drug use.

Along with marijuana, Question 11e on the ATF form asks about "any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance."

If a buyer marks "yes" to Question 11e, the sale cannot go forward, Jones said.

Merritt uses medical cannabis to help dampen the constant stabbing pain in his groin and spasms in his thigh he has suffered since a military doctor performing a hernia operation on him cut a nerve.

The pharmaceuticals prescribed to Merritt by the Veterans Administration left him feeling "like a zombie," he has said. Merritt credits cannabis for allowing him a better life.




Denmark this week opened a clinic "to distribute free heroin under medical supervision" to addicts. Denmark follows the nations of Switzerland, Netherlands, and Germany with its program, which is expected to serve less than 300 people when fully operating.

Government prohibitionists in Canada hailed the United Nations' International Narcotics Control Board announcement this week that Canada isn't strictly interpreting the provisions of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics (by allowing patients to grow their own cannabis). "[T]he 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics, which Canada has signed, says the government must be the sole distributor" of cannabis. Apparently the U.N. Single Convention on Narcotics is like the laws of the Medes and Persians - no decree nor statute which the U.N. established may be changed.

As the prohibition-related violence in Mexico continues unabated, and as another Mexican national election looms, mainstream media and government mouthpieces like the Los Angeles times find themselves with a dilemma. How to paint the Mexican carnage as an effect of those evil "drugs" and "gangs" without reminding readers of legalization? While pleasing to his masters in Washington, the Mexican president's failed prohibitionist strategy of escalating the "war" with drug traffickers, purchased him "a dramatic decline nationwide in support for [his] government." Political opponents say Calderon is "playing favorites in going after drug gangs, leaving the largest and most powerful of them... untouched." Also buried in a LA Times printed piece this week we learn "the citizen outcry in Ciudad Juarez has been focused on demands that the government change course and withdraw the army." Blame the people of Mexico, says the Times, for they "have in effect become complicit by failing to speak out." And what did the LA Times have to print about the drug policy conference in Mexico City earlier this week? ("Winds of Change: Drug Policy Around the World," organized by the Collective for a Comprehensive Drug Policy) Not a word.

And finally from New Zealand this week, more fallout from the government knee-jerk rejection of a "408-page, three-year long study," commissioned by the government there, presumably in an attempt to dredge up something useful in bolstering (cannabis) prohibition. When the study (as so many others in the past) found the opposite, the prime minister would have none of it. "There is no clear community view that use of mind-altering substances is immoral," concluded the report. "[H]eavy-handed regulation to prevent a very small harm is not justified as a matter of principle and risks being counter-productive...Most of us also recognise ... that using these substances can bring benefits such as increased sociability and relaxation." Heresy!


Pubdate: Tue, 23 Feb 2010
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 The Ottawa Citizen

After years of controversy, Denmark opened its first clinic on Monday to distribute free heroin under medical supervision to people who are heavily addicted to the drug.

The Scandinavian country joins Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany to allow prescriptions for medicinal heroin.

The clinic is set to serve only 120 of some 300 hard-core heroin addicts -- or only about one per cent of all drug addicts in the country.




Pubdate: Thu, 25 Feb 2010
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2010 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Steven Edwards, Canwest News Service

Justice Minister Puts Marijuana Regulations Under Review

Justice Minister Robert Nicholson said Wednesday the government's medical marijuana regulations are under review after the UN's drugs watchdog warned Canada needs to tighten up the system.

The Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board said Canada is operating outside international treaty rules aimed at minimizing the risk criminals will get hold of cannabis grown under the program.

"The whole question of medical marijuana is being looked at by the minister of health with respect to the options that she has," said Nicholson, whose ministry serves as the umbrella agency for the government's antidrug efforts.


Nicholson said he took heart from that, adding it "plays very well" into the government's efforts to push through a crime bill containing tougher drugs-offences sentencing provisions that has been held up in the Senate.


Canada increased the number of cannabis cultivation licences a person can hold last year after court decisions stated patients' earlier access had been too restricted.

Currently, Health Canada has issued almost 4,900 permits allowing people to possess medical marijuana they get from more than 1,100 licensed growers, some of whom are growing it for their own use.

"Canada continues to be one of the few countries in the world that allows cannabis to be prescribed by doctors to patients with certain serious illnesses," said the INCB report.

But the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics, which Canada has signed, says the government must be the sole distributor of the otherwise illegal substance, which patients use as a pain reliever.




Pubdate: Sat, 20 Feb 2010
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles Times
Author: Tracy Wilkinson, Reporting from Mexico City


The January Killing of 15 Youths in Juarez Has Created a Furor, and Fear and Fatalism Could Be Losing Their Hold


"By hearing the demands and the indignation directly," political analyst Alfonso Zarate in Mexico City said, Calderon "has an opportunity to rectify and to act differently."


A poll out this week showed a dramatic decline nationwide in support for Calderon's government. An overwhelming majority said violent crime had increased substantially in the last six months, and solidly half the nation said the president's war on drug cartels was failing. The poll by Buendia & Laredo surveyed 1,000 people in face-to-face interviews and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

And there has been a busy confluence of voices of criticism from segments of society, such as the Roman Catholic Church, that had remained largely on the sidelines.

A member of Calderon's own National Action Party, legislator Manuel Clouthier Carrillo, accused the government of playing favorites in going after drug gangs, leaving the largest and most powerful of them, the so-called Sinaloa cartel led by fugitive kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, untouched. Clouthier was not clear about what Calderon's alleged motives might be, but the suggestion stung and his colleagues are demanding that he retract it.

So far the citizen outcry in Ciudad Juarez has been focused on demands that the government change course and withdraw the army (Calderon refused). It has not addressed residents' own responsibilities in challenging drug gangs.

Many Mexicans have in effect become complicit by failing to speak out.




Pubdate: Wed, 17 Feb 2010
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2010 New Zealand Herald
Author: Brian Rudman


Given the hysterical response from Justice Minister Simon Power to their 408-page, three-year long study, Sir Geoffrey Palmer and his fellow commissioners must be wondering if anything is possible under Mr Power.

It's hard to remember a major policy discussion document being so summarily and publicly rejected.

Through gritted teeth, the minister "welcomed" the report, then harrumphed: "I want to make to clear the Government will make no changes to the status quo."


Ironically, former Labour Prime Minister Palmer and his law commissioner colleagues use the anti-nanny state argument - that Mr Power and his party so frequently trot out - to back their argument for a change of approach in how we deal with the personal use of drugs.

Going back to basics, they argue: "There is no clear community view that use of mind-altering substances is immoral.

"Many of us will have drunk alcohol in the recent past, itself a mind-altering substance, without feeling morally compromised. Most of us also recognise ... that using these substances can bring benefits . such as increased sociability and relaxation."

They argue that drug regulation in itself undermines values that are "important to our social fabric ... for example, the ability for individuals to exercise freedom of choice and personal autonomy."


"If someone, fully aware of the risks involved, chooses to participate in an activity that risks causing harm only to themselves, most of us would respect the right to make that choice, even if we consider the choice to be wrong or misguided."

They do support regulation when drug use "harms other people", however, "heavy-handed regulation to prevent a very small harm is not justified as a matter of principle and risks being counter-productive."



 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


By Daniela Perdomo

More and more of the nation's 78 million Boomers are discovering they'd rather smoke marijuana than reach for a pharmaceutical.


What about Dubya's alleged cocaine consumption as a younger man? Or Rush Limbaugh's painkiller addiction?


By Kristin Bricker

International Conference in Mexico City Provides Hope, Inspiration to a Budding Domestic Movement


We're speaking with a few everyday soccer moms with a secret -- they love smoking marijuana. We'll see what a day in the life is like for these pothead mamas, and then they'll sound-off against moms who completely disagree with their lifestyle.


Century of Lies - 02/21/10 - Rick Doblin

Dr. Rick Doblin, Pres. of Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies + Keith Stroup of NORML from Time4Hemp program

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 02/21/10 - Casper Leitch

Casper Leitch, host of Time4Hemp invites DTN host Dean Becker as guest, Abolitionist's Moment & Request for Respondents to Pain Killer Survey


Society has to give urgent attention to preventing drug abuse, the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board said today, underlining the need for more actions and commitment.


By Jeffrey Miron

My latest estimates of how drug legalization would affect government spending and tax revenue are here. A quick summary:


By Doug Bennett

Recent articles and editorials in the Record Searchlight haven't shed much light on the roots of the problem or the view of medical marijuana patients in the current rush to get ordinances passed. I will try to do that here.


Write A Letter  ( Top )

The International Narcotics Control Board On Cannabis

Tell the President: We Need a New Direction for Drug Policy  ( Top )

The Obama administration has gone astray on drug policy. The president proposed a Bush-style drug war budget, and his nominee for DEA director is an anti-reform Bush administration holdover. Tell the president you want a new direction for drug policy.


Since 1992, MTV has produced and aired reality television shows like "The Real World," which feature young people consuming large quantities of alcohol and then engaging in reckless, violent, destructive, and oftentimes illegal behavior. Yet it has never once shown a cast member consuming marijuana, which the network almost surely prohibits and undoubtedly discourages.

Sign a petition to tell MTV to "start getting real" on marijuana.



By Don Hayes

Re: "Building more prisons in Florida isn't the answer: Feb. 16, editorial

All kinds of illegal drugs are a health problem, not a criminal one. Many governments in Latin America say that the war on drugs is a complete failure and are decriminalizing their use. In 2001 Portugal, with a predominantly Catholic population, changed its very hard line against drugs and now allows all illegal drugs, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

If you are caught using any of these drugs, arrangements are made to send you to a psychologist and/or health center for treatment. But you do not have to go! The result? All drug use there has declined, from heroin to marijuana. HIV from sharing needles has also declined.

Meanwhile in America, with its severe criminal policies, cocaine and heroin use has escalated. We spend billions of dollars every year fighting it. It's a well-known law: Whatever you resist will persist. More people are in our jails from "illegal" drug use than any other so-called crime. Meanwhile, gangs deal in drugs, have drive-by shootings protecting their turf, and we just keep spending more and more money. We need to wake up.

Don Hayes, Tampa

Pubdate: Fri, 19 Feb 2010
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)


UNODC Censors Its Own Website Making the Case For Cannabis Decriminalisation  ( Top )

By Steve Rolles, Transform

The page on the UN Office on Drugs and Crime site that we flagged up on the blog earlier this week ( ) has now been censored to remove the section featuring a rare outbreak of pragmatism making the case for cannabis decriminalisation. This seems rather pathetic. The page in question has sat unmolested since September 2006, over 3 years, only to be stripped of the decrim-arguments now, the day after we blog about it.

Why, its almost as if ...

Anyway, as people should all know by now the internet never forgets, and you can read the page as it was using the ever useful Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

Page before -

Page now (note missing section 4) -

I hope that the fact they have rather childishly censored this page on their own site will help teach the UNODC another lesson: Internet users do not like being treated like idiots and tend to respond rather badly.

So to all our internet friends: Please link this and the previous blog as much as possible, blog about it elsewhere, and use twitter, Facebook and all your other internet toys to get the original page (and its censorship) as much publicity as possible.

By all means contact a few journo friends as well, see if you can get it in the news. They should be interested as it makes considerably more interesting news than (or at least an interesting counterpoint to) the latest tedious INCB report, obsessed as ever with attacking countries who, wait for it, dare contemplate decriminalising drug possession.

Transform's ( ) vision is a world in which the War on Drugs is over and effective and humane systems of drug regulation have been established. This piece was originally posted at the organization's blog -


"I don't like people who take drugs ... Customs men for example." - Mick Miller

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