THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) U.S. FALTERS IN SCREENING BORDER PATROL NEAR MEXICO
Pubdate: Fri, 12 Mar 2010
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2010 The New York Times Company
Author: Randal C. Archibold
Federal anticorruption investigators continue to struggle to keep up with the screening of newly hired United States law enforcement officers working on the Mexican border and have fallen far behind in checking current employees as well, federal officials testified on Thursday.
The testimony came during a hearing in Washington before a subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security Committee on rising corruption among the ranks of federal law enforcement officers who patrol the border and guard ports of entry.
Representatives from the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security painted a grave picture of drug trafficking organizations trying to recruit federal officers to work for them and infiltrate the ranks.
Although the vast majority of officers do not betray their jobs, the corruption problem, said Kevin L. Perkins, an F.B.I. agent who helps supervise corruption investigations, "is significantly pervasive."
Internal affairs officials from the Department of Homeland Security said that the rapid post-9/11 growth of Customs and Border Protection - -- the agency has swelled in recent years to more than 41,000 frontline border agents and officers -- has meant that not all new hires are thoroughly vetted.
Polygraph examinations, which officials call an important tool to help weed out bad hires, were administered to about 15 percent of applicants by the end of 2009.
(2) FRENCH INSANITY BLAMED ON LSD ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 11 Mar 2010
Source: Sun, The (UK)
Copyright: 2010 News Group Newspapers Ltd
A MYSTERY illness that caused an entire French village to go temporarily mad 50-years ago has been blamed on secret CIA mind control experiments with LSD.
Hundreds of residents in picturesque Pont-Saint-Esprit were suddenly struck down with mass insanity and hallucinations on August 16, 1951.
At least five people in the southern French village died and dozens were locked up in asylums after witnessing terrifying hallucinations of dragons and fire.
In the horror scenes an 11-year-old tried to strangle his grandmother. Another man shouted: "I am a plane", before jumping out of a second-floor window, breaking his legs.
For decades the bizarre "Cursed Bread" incident was blamed on a local baker whose baguettes had been poisoned with either a psychedelic mould or mercury.
But new evidence points the finger at the American Central Intelligence Agency who are accused of spiking bread with LSD in a mind control experiment.
The incident -- which took place at the height of the Cold War -- was investigated by a Swiss pharmaceutical company Sandoz who have been revealed as the same people who secretly supplied the CIA with LSD.
Journalist H P Albarelli Jr came across CIA documents while investigating the suspicious suicide of a biochemist who fell from a 13th floor window two years after the "Cursed Bread" incident.
One note transcribes a conversation between a CIA agent and a Sandoz official who mentions the "secret of Pont-Saint-Esprit" and explains that it was not "at all" caused by mould but by diethylamide -- the D in LSD.
(3) A PENALTY TOO STIFF ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 11 Mar 2010
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2010 The Dallas Morning News, Inc.
Taxpayers Foot the Bill for Unreasonable Drug Sentences
It's usually not anyone's place in Dallas to tell Tyler jurors what to do or not to do in dealing with felons in their community. Smith County's law-enforcement officials are not accountable to outsiders on how they prosecute cases.
But here's the big "but": In sending defendants off to state prison, every county pushes the incarceration cost onto the rest of us. It costs roughly $50 a day to house offenders in Texas prisons.
And so it got our attention big time when a jury in Tyler sentenced a man to 35 years recently for possessing 4.6 ounces of marijuana, a sentence that tests our tolerance for prosecution of drug laws.
Let's be clear: Most of Texas' state prisoners deserve their punishment or need to be put away to protect society. About half the prison system's head count consists of violent offenders, and another 17 percent stole something or cheated somebody out of money.
Then there are the drug offenders, who constituted about 19 percent of the population of more than 155,000 inmates last year. Those convicted of possession alone made up about 11 percent.
A recent addition to that population is one Henry Walter Wooten, 54, of Tyler, who had the poor judgment to stand around a park with a joint in his mouth and baggies of weed in his pockets. Cops found more in his car.
Bottom line: guilty as charged on possession charges and guilty for sure of first-degree stupidity.
If Wooten's record had been clear, the amount of pot might have gotten him no more than two years behind bars. But two convictions from the 1980s - one for packing a gun, another for dealing drugs - boosted the sentencing range. And the fact that he was within 1,000 feet of a day care center added more years, to a maximum of life.
The prosecutor asked for 99 years, to set a precedent for punishing such crimes in Tyler. That kind of precedent would have been grotesque. From our vantage point, 35 years still is too costly and out of proportion to the crime, considering that it was a nonviolent offense. Plus, Wooten will serve more - unserved time from his previous drug conviction - since he was on parole at the time of his marijuana bust.
(4) FELONIOUS CHUNK ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 11 Mar 2010
Source: Sacramento News & Review (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: Skip Jones
Possession of Hashish Is Legal for State's Medical-Marijuana Patients, Not That Law Enforcement Seems to Know
American puffers have always had to deal with the fact that law-enforcement officials traditionally make a distinction between marijuana in plant form and concentrated derivatives such as hash and kief. Now that California has legalized marijuana for medicinal use, that distinction continues to send innocent patients to jail for possession of hash and other concentrates, despite the fact that they are clearly authorized by Proposition 215, according to former state Attorney General Bill Lockyer.
"Concentrated cannabis or hashish is included within the meaning of 'marijuana' as that term is used in the Compassionate Use Act of 1996," Lockyer determined in a 2003 ruling
Nevertheless, hardly a week goes by that I don't hear about a valid medical-marijuana patient getting arrested for possessing concentrates. Local authorities seem to be unaware of the law. Sacramento Police Department spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong, when asked if hashish and other concentrates are permitted under the state's medical-marijuana law, told SN&R that "If it's the same substance as hash, then my narcotics sergeant told me it's illegal."
Leong called several days later to say he had since learned that it is legal.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Will the federal government ever "get it" on medical marijuana?
State legislators and even a newspaper in Colorado are trying to
educate. In El Paso, Texas, more immigrants are coming from Mexico
to avoid the drug war. And, in North Carolina, can public schools
spy on students with school issued laptops? We'll find out, as the
case is going to court.
Will the federal government ever "get it" on medical marijuana? State legislators and even a newspaper in Colorado are trying to educate. In El Paso, Texas, more immigrants are coming from Mexico to avoid the drug war. And, in North Carolina, can public schools spy on students with school issued laptops? We'll find out, as the case is going to court.
(5) COLORADO ASKS U.S. TO HALT MEDICAL MARIJUANA RAIDS ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 08 Mar 2010
Source: Summit Daily News (CO)
Copyright: 2010 Summit Daily News
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/587 Note: from the Associated Press
DENVER (AP) - Colorado lawmakers trying to regulate marijuana dispensaries are asking the U.S. attorney general to stop raids of medical marijuana operations.
The group e-mailed the request to Eric Holder on Monday, following up on a letter sent last week.
The lawmakers say the raids are discouraging dispensary operators and medical marijuana patients and growers from working with them on the proposed regulations.
The letter was sent by Sens. Chris Romer and Nancy Spence and Reps. Tom Massey and Beth McCann.
(6) DISPENSE WITH THE NONSENSE ON MEDICAL POT DISPENSARIES ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 08 Mar 2010
Source: Daily Sentinel, The (Grand Junction, CO)
Copyright: 2010 Cox Newspapers, Inc.
Some people in Colorado, including Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, want the state Legislature to stuff the medical marijuana genie back in the hookah.
Yes, Colorado voters approved Amendment 20 a decade ago to legalize medical marijuana, they say. But voters never envisioned the system that has sprung up, with medical marijuana dispensaries on seemingly every corner in many municipalities.
True enough. But the measure adopted by voters in 2000 also didn't clearly identify how those with a right to medical marijuana were to legally obtain it. The dispensaries, which have developed in the past year in the wake of a decision from the Obama administration to make enforcement of federal marijuana laws a low priority, provide that needed legal resource.
Legislation being contemplated in the state Capitol would codify those dispensaries under state law and provide rules for regulating them.
(7) FAMILIES, BUSINESSES FLEE JUAREZ FOR U.S. PASTURES ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 7 Mar 2010
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2010 The Dallas Morning News, Inc.
Author: Alfredo Corchado, The Dallas Morning News
EL PASO - A painting in the apartment of novelist Benjamin Saenz depicts an exodus of Mexican campesinos to El Paso during the 1910 Mexican Revolution - part of a larger group of refugees that included business and civic leaders. Many settled in this Sunset Heights neighborhood.
A street named for then-President Porfirio Diaz cuts through the historic area. Another former Mexican general and president, Victoriano Huerta, is buried nearby.
These days, as drug cartel-fueled violence pushes a new wave of emigrants northward, history seems to be repeating itself - with one striking difference.
"This time, the newcomers are settling everywhere, the West, Eastside, Upper Valley, Horizon City," said Saenz, a literature professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. "It's not just Sunset Heights anymore, but everywhere."
This immigrant wave includes civic leaders and entrepreneurs, who have moved dozens of businesses north, generating jobs and a boost in the housing and real estate markets.
(8) SCHOOL-ISSUED LAPTOPS BEGIN TO RAISE PRIVACY, FIRST AMENDMENT ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 02 Mar 2010
Source: Pendulum, The (NC Edu Elon University)
Copyright: Elon University Pendulum2010
There have always been conflicts between the rights of schools and students' First Amendment rights.
Beginning with the court case Tinker v. Des Moines, the Supreme Court decided that students don't lose their First Amendment rights simply by walking through their schoolhouse doors.
Since that decision in 1969 though, many other court cases have occurred that seek to limit students' freedoms. New Jersey v. T.L.O set the precedent that students have less privacy in schools. The Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County v. Earls set the precedent that random drug testing of students involved in extracurricular activities does not violate the Fourth Amendment.
People have regularly questioned what role the school has to limit the rights of students while in school or during a school-related activity. It has rarely been questioned what role the school has to limit the rights of students while in their own homes - until now.
The Lower Merion school district in Pennsylvania is an area affluent enough to be able to issue all of its high school students laptops. In all, it provided laptops to about 2,300 students.
Blake Robbins, a high school sophomore, was issued a laptop by his school. He claims an assistant vice principal from the school took advantage of the camera embedded in the device to monitor his activity at home. The lawsuit claims assistant vice principal called in Robbins in to discuss "improper behavior" at home, citing pictures obtained from the school-issued laptop. Robbins said officials mistook candy for pills and thought he was selling drugs.
The school's officials admitted to using the webcams to find 42 alleged missing laptops. They did this without the knowledge of the students or their families.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
A new book verifies what many in the drug policy reform movement
already know: that the drug war is the new Jim Crow. Elsewhere,
police are still surprised by drug use throughout the nation, and
one police chief says he's more interested in arresting "quality"
drug dealers - those with lots of money to forfeit.
A new book verifies what many in the drug policy reform movement already know: that the drug war is the new Jim Crow. Elsewhere, police are still surprised by drug use throughout the nation, and one police chief says he's more interested in arresting "quality" drug dealers - those with lots of money to forfeit.
(9) THE NEW JIM CROW ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 8 Mar 2010
Source: Huffington Post (US Web)
Copyright: 2010 Michelle Alexander
Author: Mechelle Alexander
How the War on Drugs Gave Birth to a Permanent American Undercaste
Ever since Barack Obama lifted his right hand and took his oath of office, pledging to serve the United States as its 44th president, ordinary people and their leaders around the globe have been celebrating our nation's "triumph over race." Obama's election has been touted as the final nail in the coffin of Jim Crow, the bookend placed on the history of racial caste in America.
Obama's mere presence in the Oval Office is offered as proof that "the land of the free" has finally made good on its promise of equality. There's an implicit yet undeniable message embedded in his appearance on the world stage: this is what freedom looks like; this is what democracy can do for you. If you are poor, marginalized, or relegated to an inferior caste, there is hope for you. Trust us. Trust our rules, laws, customs, and wars. You, too, can get to the promised land.
Perhaps greater lies have been told in the past century, but they can be counted on one hand. Racial caste is alive and well in America.
Most people don't like it when I say this. It makes them angry. In the "era of color blindness" there's a nearly fanatical desire to cling to the myth that we as a nation have "moved beyond" race. Here are a few facts that run counter to that triumphant racial narrative:
*There are more African Americans under correctional control today -- in prison or jail, on probation or parole -- than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.
*As of 2004, more African American men were disenfranchised (due to felon disenfranchisement laws) than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified, prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race.
* A black child born today is less likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born during slavery. The recent disintegration of the African American family is due in large part to the mass imprisonment of black fathers.
(10) KALAUPAPA'S NO REFUGE FROM SCOURGE OF METH, POLICE SAY ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 03 Mar 2010
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2010 The Honolulu Advertiser
Author: Mary Vorsino
Hansen's Disease Patient's Arrest 'Really Not Shocking'
Moloka'i service providers and law enforcement say the arrest of a Kalaupapa Hansen's disease patient on federal drug distribution charges illustrates how even one of the state's smallest communities isn't immune from the scourge of Hawai'i's crystal meth problem.
The investigation has put a spotlight on Kalaupapa, the Hansen's disease settlement where 19 patients still live along with about 80 National Park Service and Department of Health workers.
Police said yesterday they believe at least part of the 18 grams of crystal meth that Kalaupapa patient Norbert Palea, 68, allegedly tried to bring into the settlement was destined for use there, probably by workers.
Police Sgt. Tim Meyer, of the Maui Police Department's Moloka'i station, said police have been looking into drug use in Kalaupapa for at least seven years, but have struggled to pin down a suspect.
Meyer said he believes Palea was the largest distributor of drugs.
But, he said, there are others.
"It's really not shocking," he said. "Ice is everywhere. Nobody is immune."
(11) DRUG USE UP AMONG NEW JAIL INMATES ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 11 Mar 2010
Source: Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ)
Copyright: 2010 The Arizona Republic
Author: Yvonne Wingett
Drug use skyrocketed among inmates booked into Maricopa County jails over the past year, especially among White men arrested for property-related crimes, according to a new report by Arizona State University.
Using urine tests and inmate questionnaires, researchers found that the rise of opiate use was especially dramatic among new arrestees, rising from about 2 percent in 2008 to 20 percent last year, according to the survey, "Arizona Arrestee Reporting Information Network, Heroin Alert," which was made public Wednesday.
Last year, about 130,000 inmates were booked into county jails.
Opiates include heroin, as well as many common prescription pain medications such as Vicodin, OxyContin, codeine, Demerol and Darvon.
David Choate, assistant director of ASU's Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety, said it is unclear why opiate use is on the rise among inmates, but he noted that prescription-drug use is rising nationally among the general population.
"We've had a number of years where (opiate use) was very, very stable," he said. "But over the past year, there's been just an incredible uptick among the White male property offenders."
(12) ALBANY-DOUGHERTY DRUG UNIT ARRESTED 'QUALITY' DEALERS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 9 Mar 2010
Source: Albany Herald, The (GA)
Copyright: 2010 The Albany Herald Publishing Company, Inc.
Author: J. D. Sumner
ALBANY -- For drug unit commander Bill Berry, drug investigations are really a matter of quality over quantity.
Giving his annual report to the Dougherty County Commission Monday, Berry gave numbers that -- on the surface -- seem to suggest a slow down in the department's drug eradication efforts.
Compared to 2008, arrests and charges brought against suspects by the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit for 2009 are down significantly. For 2009, the department arrested 393 individuals compared to 575 in 2008, bringing 617 total charges compared with 1,055 in 2008. But in terms of those same 2008 statistics, the department's drug and property seizure totals are high.
The ADDU seized roughly $800,000 worth of drugs in 2009 doubling the $400,000 seized in 2008. In terms of asset forfeiture -- property obtained through illegal drug sales -- the department was up to $368,000 in 2009 compared to $133,000 in 2008.
"We have essentially changed our tactics," Berry told the commission. "My philosophy is that if you cut the head off the snake, you don't have to worry about the rest of it...while we're still looking at the small users, our focus is on the large, multi-pound drug dealers with the mindset if we cut off the supply, everything else will deal with itself."
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
USA Today proclaimed on their front page that the U.S. seems to be
entering a new era of cannabis tolerance, however slowly.
Yet there are still opponents of cannabis law reform offering
uninformed predictions on what the future holds.
What can we learn from the knee-jerk response to synthetic cannabis-
like smoking blends? If nothing else, the police and the press are
still much better at popularizing drugs than us so called "pro-drug"
cannabis law reformers.
Vindication for a stubborn mother in Canada who invested time and
money in fighting a school board who attempted to expel her son for
allegedly consuming cannabis off school property.
USA Today proclaimed on their front page that the U.S. seems to be entering a new era of cannabis tolerance, however slowly.
Yet there are still opponents of cannabis law reform offering uninformed predictions on what the future holds.
What can we learn from the knee-jerk response to synthetic cannabis- like smoking blends? If nothing else, the police and the press are still much better at popularizing drugs than us so called "pro-drug" cannabis law reformers.
Vindication for a stubborn mother in Canada who invested time and money in fighting a school board who attempted to expel her son for allegedly consuming cannabis off school property.
(13) SLOWLY, LIMITS ON POT ARE FADING ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 9 Mar 2010
Source: USA Today (US)
Page: 1A, Front Page
Copyright: 2010 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Authors: William M. Welch and Donna Leinwand, USA TODAY
States' Moves Reflect 'New Era' of Acceptance
LOS ANGELES -- James Gray once saw himself as a drug warrior, a former federal prosecutor and county judge who sent people to prison for dealing pot and other drug offenses. Gradually, though, he became convinced that the ban on marijuana was making it more accessible to young people, not less.
"I ask kids all the time, and they'll tell you it is easier to get marijuana than a six-pack of beer because that is controlled by the government," he said, noting that drug dealers don't ask for IDs or honor minimum age requirements.
So Gray -- who spent two decades as a superior court judge in Orange County, Calif., and once ran for Congress as a Republican -- switched sides in the war on drugs, becoming an advocate for legalizing marijuana.
"Let's face reality," he says. "Taxing and regulating marijuana will make it less available to children than it is today."
Gray is part of a growing national movement to rethink pot laws. From California, where lawmakers may outright legalize marijuana, to New Jersey, which implemented a medical use law Jan. 19, states are taking unprecedented steps to loosen marijuana restrictions. Advocates of legalizing marijuana say generational, political and cultural shifts have taken the USA to a unique moment in its history of drug prohibition that could topple 40 years of tough restrictions on both medicinal and recreational marijuana use.
A Gallup Poll last October found 44% favor making marijuana legal, an eight-point jump since the question was asked in 2005. An ABC News- Washington Post poll in January found 81% favor making marijuana legal for medical use.
(14) TEENS, SOCIETY WILL SUFFER IF R.I. DECRIMINALIZES MARIJUANA ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 8 Mar 2010
Source: Providence Journal, The (RI)
Copyright: 2010 The Providence Journal Company
Author: Brendan P. Doherty
Why decriminalize marijuana when drugs are central to many of the problems relating to gangs, teenage suicide, teenage violence and low academic achievement?
Anyone close to the issue -- teachers, police officers, counselors, and parents -- can speak to this with certainty: Kids have been reaching out for guidance and direction for decades, and as a nation, we have not been able to provide an answer to the confused and sometimes hypocritical and contradictory environment they have grown up in.
Another mixed societal message is not going to help.
As a 28-year veteran of law enforcement and a former criminal investigator who has effectuated hundreds of narcotics arrests, I speak from empirical knowledge. I have interviewed hundreds of juveniles, adolescents and adults who were drug-dependent.
I realize that there may be no scientific data that indicates that marijuana is a gateway drug, in the sense that once you try it, you will get addicted, and you will escalate to using prescription drugs, cocaine or heroin. I understand that there are many people who have tried marijuana and have never progressed onto other dangerous drugs. However, in my countless interviews with heroin and cocaine addicts, there are only a handful who did not start with marijuana. In fact, many refer to the experience with marijuana, when they started on drugs, as the minor leagues.
Col. Brendan P. Doherty is superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.
(15) GEORGIA SENATOR WANTS TO MAKE SYNTHETIC POT ILLEGAL ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 06 Mar 2010
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
Copyright: 2010 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Author: Kristi E. Swartz, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Sen. Ed Harbison (D-Columbus) plans to introduce a bill next week that would make synthetic pot -- known as K2 or "spice" -- illegal.
The substance, which like potpourri and is marketed as incense, is sold in smoke shops. It mimics the affects of THC, the chemical in marijuana that gives users a high.
But K2 is actually much stronger, and that's giving Harbison and other officials concern.
"It's apparently something very serious that's been under the radar," he said. "We have to do something to react before we're way behind the eight ball on it."
A group of teenagers ended up at North Fulton Medical Center last Sunday after smoking the substance.
"It's legal, it's right there in front of the face of the kids, and they know about it," Harbison said Friday. "And I think we need to know about it."
The drug is illegal in Oklahoma. K2 is classified as a "Schedule 1? drug in that state. Other drugs classified as "schedule 1? include heroin, marijuana and GHB.
Harbison said he's talking to district attorneys to determine what class K2 should fall in.
"You're doing that so they know how to enforce it," he said.
Rep. Jay Neal (R-LaFayette) said he will introduce a bill on Monday to ban the substance. He has been working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's crime lab to help classify the chemicals.
"It's really begun to show it's presence here in the last little bit the scrutiny that the media is putting on it, and some of the things we've seen happen, it's going to be a growing problem and I believe a rapidly growing problem if we don't address it on the front end."
(16) BOARD DEFENDS COSTLY BATTLE ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 10 Mar 2010
Source: Peterborough Examiner, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Kennedy Gordon
'We just need to once again be clear on what the process is and make sure we're following it correctly'
Losing a crucial appeal at the Superior Court of Justice level was a learning experience for the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, says its chairwoman.
"Our main interest was in getting clarification as to how we implement expulsions under the Education Act," said Diane Lloyd.
"With this appeal, and this appeal not going through, we just need to once again be clear on what the process is and make sure we're following it correctly. Obviously there are some pieces that we're missing, so that's what we want to work on as a board."
This clarification cost the school board, meaning taxpayers, nearly $40,000.
Last week, the court rejected the board's appeal of a Child and Family Services Review Board decision to reinstate a PCVS student expelled in December 2008 for smoking marijuana.
The review board, referred to in court documents as the tribunal, ruled in March 2009 that the school did not have the authority to expel the teen because the drug use occurred off school property.
Jean Grant, the teen's mother, fought the expulsion on those grounds, saying the school had no right to punish her son for something that happened on his own time. The tribunal agreed, but the board disputed this, taking the case to Superior Court. The school board claimed the student's off-campus activities had a negative effect on the "climate" of the school, a new concept included in the Safe Schools Act in 2008.
"They filed this appeal last June, when he had applied to go back to school (after the tribunal ruling)," Grant said. "They wanted to re- expel him. They were wrong."
COMMENTS: ( Top )
Last week U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton swept through
Latin America on a series of photo-ops ending in Guatemala, where
that nation's drug czar and national police chief were just days
earlier jailed for stealing cocaine from drug traffickers. For her
part, Clinton studiously avoided any mention of the chief cause of
Latin American drug problems -- drug prohibition in the United
States. Clinton also carefully avoided any talk of legalization,
which several former Latin American presidents have called for in
the past year. The arrested Guatemalan drug czar reportedly claimed
to be "working for God and the law by going after drug traffickers".
Two sickening pieces from the Canadian media this week as
freedom-loving governments of rural communities salivate over the
prospect of a few jobs for an upcoming Canadian prison boom. Thanks
to a sustained government and media campaign vilifying people
involved with cannabis as dangerous drug criminals who deserve harsh
punishment, the expected passage of C-15 is expected to pack prisons
with cannabis "criminals" as Canada has never seen before. One study
done by the city of Terrace, B.C. ("The Economic Impact of a Rural
Correctional Facility. An Opportunity for Terrace"), has officials
and drug war camp followers excited over the prospect of increasing
"the federal jail population by 70 per cent". Or much more. "When
the United States implemented similar sentencing policies in 1985,"
drools the study, "there was an increase in prison populations over
15 years of 700%" The continuing challenge for government and media?
To hide the fact that most of this increase will be for non-violent
cannabis "crimes". So far, so good.
And finally this week, from Canada with Hypocrisy, as the
tough-on-drugs Conservative Party was back in the news this week
when "former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer received a $500 slap on
the wrist for careless driving" -- after being arrested for drunk
driving and possession of cocaine. "There isn't a Canadian, I think,
in the country, with perhaps the exception of Mr. Jaffer, who
doesn't feel that what happened today appears on the surface to be
favourable treatment," noted one opposition politician. Noted
another: "The Conservatives are conspicuously silent, only when the
law is being flouted by one of their own." Jail? that for you poor
people with a few pot plants. Jail isn't for gung-ho drug warrior
politicians - even if they are arrested for drunk driving.
Last week U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton swept through Latin America on a series of photo-ops ending in Guatemala, where that nation's drug czar and national police chief were just days earlier jailed for stealing cocaine from drug traffickers. For her part, Clinton studiously avoided any mention of the chief cause of Latin American drug problems -- drug prohibition in the United States. Clinton also carefully avoided any talk of legalization, which several former Latin American presidents have called for in the past year. The arrested Guatemalan drug czar reportedly claimed to be "working for God and the law by going after drug traffickers".
Two sickening pieces from the Canadian media this week as freedom-loving governments of rural communities salivate over the prospect of a few jobs for an upcoming Canadian prison boom. Thanks to a sustained government and media campaign vilifying people involved with cannabis as dangerous drug criminals who deserve harsh punishment, the expected passage of C-15 is expected to pack prisons with cannabis "criminals" as Canada has never seen before. One study done by the city of Terrace, B.C. ("The Economic Impact of a Rural Correctional Facility. An Opportunity for Terrace"), has officials and drug war camp followers excited over the prospect of increasing "the federal jail population by 70 per cent". Or much more. "When the United States implemented similar sentencing policies in 1985," drools the study, "there was an increase in prison populations over 15 years of 700%" The continuing challenge for government and media? To hide the fact that most of this increase will be for non-violent cannabis "crimes". So far, so good.
And finally this week, from Canada with Hypocrisy, as the tough-on-drugs Conservative Party was back in the news this week when "former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer received a $500 slap on the wrist for careless driving" -- after being arrested for drunk driving and possession of cocaine. "There isn't a Canadian, I think, in the country, with perhaps the exception of Mr. Jaffer, who doesn't feel that what happened today appears on the surface to be favourable treatment," noted one opposition politician. Noted another: "The Conservatives are conspicuously silent, only when the law is being flouted by one of their own." Jail? that for you poor people with a few pot plants. Jail isn't for gung-ho drug warrior politicians - even if they are arrested for drunk driving.
(17) HILLARY CLINTON URGES LATIN AMERICA TO FIGHT DRUG CORRUPTION ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 6 Mar 2010
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2010 The Washington Post Company
Author: Anne-Marie O'Connor
MEXICO CITY -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called for Latin America to fight drug corruption in a regional swing that ended Friday in Guatemala, days after that country's drug czar and national police chief were jailed on suspicion of leading a police ring that stole cocaine from drug traffickers.
"Organized crime has infiltrated all aspects of the Guatemalan state, and now rivals it in terms of power and influence," said Andrew Hudson, senior associate at Human Rights First in New York.
Drug czar Nelly Bonilla was arrested Tuesday, along with Police Chief Baltazar Gomez. They were accused of leading a criminal police gang that stole 1,500 pounds of cocaine.
"We're going to be asking more of a lot of our friends," Clinton said earlier during a stop in Costa Rica. "A number of them are not respecting democratic institutions. A number of them are not taking strong enough stands against the erosion of the rule of law because of the pressure from drug traffickers."
Bonilla said she was "working for God and the law by going after drug traffickers, and this is a nice way to get rid of us."
(18) BUILDING BOOM SET FOR FEDERAL PRISON SYSTEM ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 09 Mar 2010
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2010 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Janice Tibbetts, Canwest News Service
Capital Costs Budgeted To Rise 43% Next Year
The head of Canada's prison system says there will be "major construction initiatives" in the coming years to cope with federal legislation to imprison more offenders longer -- an assertion backed by new spending estimates showing a 43% increase in penitentiary capital costs next year.
Don Head, commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada, set the stage for prison expansion in a recent email obtained by Canwest News Service.
"Our government is making decisions based on what we need to do in order to make our communities safe," she said in an email. "Releasing criminals onto our streets early has a much higher cost than keeping criminals behind bars."
The Harper government has refused to divulge a total tab for its initiatives to imprison more offenders, citing cabinet confidences.
The government has proposed or passed several pieces of legislation that would impose mandatory minimum jail terms for a variety of crimes.
(19) JAIL RESTS ON BOOSTING PRISONER TOTAL ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 03 Mar 2010
Source: Terrace Standard (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Terrace Standard
Author: Kat Lee
THE CITY is banking on the federal government sending more people to jail for longer periods of time if its hope of an economy-boosting jail here is to be realized.
A city co-sponsored feasibility study lists three pieces of legislation the federal government wants passed, each one of which would result in more people headed for federal jail cells.
One piece of legislation calls for minimum sentences for serious drug cases, another would end the practice of lopping off two days for every day a person is sentenced if that person has been in jail since first arrested and another would impose mandatory jail time for fraud.
The new sentence requirements could boost the federal jail population by 70 per cent, the study suggests.
"Terrace is a community that is looking how to diversify and expand its tax base," she said, pointing out that a provincial jail in Prince George has had a positive economic impact for that community.
The following is the feasibility study prepared by the Northern Development Initiative Trust and the City of Terrace on the prospect of building a federal prison here.
The study is entitled, The Economic Impact of a Rural Correctional Facility. An Opportunity for Terrace, British Columbia.
Bill C-15 seeks to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act ("CDSA") and thereby the Criminal Code to impose minimum sentences for certain serious drug offenses such as dealing drugs for organized crime purposes or when a weapon or violence is involved.
Bill C-15 specifically mentions that in 2006/07 that approximately fifty percent of all drug-related court cases do not result in convictions and convictions rarely result in sentencing incarceration. The majority of offenders only receive probation. This data has drawn the conclusion that there are not sufficient penalties defined in the CDSA to act as a deterrent.
All of these bills will result in significant increases in prison populations. The minimum increase for Bill C- 15 alone is expected to be 10% (Scoffield, 2009) and together the bills have the possibility of increasing prison populations of upwards to 70%.
When the United States implemented similar sentencing policies in 1985 there was an increase in prison populations over 15 years of 700% (Drucker, 1999).
(20) JUDGE GIVES FORMER TORY MP $500 SLAP ON WRIST ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 10 Mar 2010
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 The Toronto Star
Author: Jesse McLean
Says 'I'm sure you can recognize a break when you see one' after drunk driving, cocaine charges withdrawn
Staff Reporter Justice advocates and opposition politicians are demanding an explanation after former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer received a $500 slap on the wrist for careless driving, a muted conclusion to his highly publicized drunk-driving and cocaine-possession charges.
Crown attorney Marie Balogh said the initial charges were withdrawn for "significant legal reasons" and there was no reasonable prospect of conviction, but refused to elaborate outside the Orangeville courtroom.
"There isn't a Canadian, I think, in the country, with perhaps the exception of Mr. Jaffer, who doesn't feel that what happened today appears on the surface to be favourable treatment," NDP justice critic Joe Comartin, who is also a lawyer, told reporters Tuesday.
"The real problem here, the real injustice on the surface is why would they have not proceeded with a trial. A one-line explanation from the prosecutor that she felt there wasn't sufficient evidence to get a conviction is simply not sufficient in these circumstances, especially with regard to the fact it's admitted he failed the breathalyzer," he said.
In Parliament, government critics called the Conservatives hypocritical for promoting an aggressive "tough-on-crime" agenda but staying quiet when it wasn't applied to one of their members.
When Liberal MP Anita Neville (Winnipeg Centre) asked Justice Minister Rob Nicholson why a self-professed law-and-order government would tolerate such an affront to the justice system, Nicholson accused her of hitting a new low.
"The Conservatives are conspicuously silent, only when the law is being flouted by one of their own," Neville said.
In the lead-up to the 2008 election, Jaffer took a hard line on drug abuse and drug dealers. His campaign ran radio ads chiding NDP Leader Jack Layton for comments years earlier that Jaffer cast as broad support for marijuana use.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
JUDGE JIM GRAY ON SIX GROUPS WHO BENEFIT FROM PROHIBITION ( Top )
Reason.tv's Paul Feine interviewed Gray about drug policy and the prospects for reform. The interview was shot by Alex Manning and edited by Hawk Jensen.
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Century Of Lies - 03/07/10 - Vanda Felbab-Brown
Vanda Felbab-Brown, from the Brookings Institute & author of "Shooting Up - Counter Insurgency and the Drug War" + Harvard Professor Jeffrey Miron
Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 03/07/10 - Mary Lynn Mathre
Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre & Al Byrne of Patients out of Time on medical marijuana news & forthcoming Cannabis Conference + "Life, Liberty & Happiness" from Oaksterdam University: COOKING WITH CANNABIS, with professor Sandy Moriarty & Tom Daubert on medical cannabis news in Montana
HOW GIL KERLIKOWSKE LIES - DRUGGED DRIVING ( Top )
By Pete Guither
We all know that the Drug Czar is required by law to lie. But does he really need to enjoy it so much?
PETER CHRIST AT COLUMBIA-GREENE COMMUNITY COLLEGE ( Top )
A lecture by retired police captain and co-founder of LEAP, Peter J. Christ, filmed at Columbia-Greene Community College, Hudson, New York, December 3, 2009
CNDBLOG 2010 ( Top )
Live monitoring of the 53rd session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Vienna, 8-12 March 2010
COSTA'S LEGACY: HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE UNODC ( Top )
Before talking about far more important things going on at this years CND, briefly to this morning, when the NGO representatives had a particularly fractious meeting with the UNODC Executive Director, Antonio Maria Costa.
ARE YOU CANNABIS DEFICIENT? ( Top )
by The Medicine Hunter
If the idea of having a marijuana deficiency sounds laughable to you, a growing body of science points at exactly such a possibility.
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
TAKE A MOMENT TO SUPPORT COMPASSION AND COMMON SENSE ( Top )
Please take a moment to support compassion and common sense by making a donation to DrugSense. Whether we realize it or not, public policies affect our everyday lives. When policies fail us, we often take notice only after its too late. Compassion and common sense may be the first casualties.
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LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
NO SIGN OF REEFER MADNESS ( Top )
By Russell Barth
Editor, The Record:
RE: More support needed to fight marijuana grow-ops
Robert T. Rock's assertion that "We're setting ourselves up for an explosion in mental health problems as the long-term effects of use become more apparent." doesn't hold water. Not only have the "studies" been repeatedly and soundly debunked, the math doesn't add up.
Canadians smoke the most potent pot in the world, we smoke more of it than any other country in the world, and teen pot use has increased four times in the past 30 years. There should have been a corresponding increase in the number of schizophrenia and psychosis cases in Canadian hospitals over that time, but the number of such cases has remained about the same at about 1.1% of the population. So while pot use has increased four times, psychosis has remained the same. So much for that "reefer madness" campaign.
And as for fixing the "grow-op" problem, how much more evidence do we need before we realize that the police and government approach is actually causing more problems than it is solving?
Russell Barth, federally licensed medical marijuana user
Pubdate: Thu, 04 Mar 2010
Source: Mission City Record (CN BC)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
Another World-Class Athlete Gets Punished for Using Marijuana ( Top )
by Mike Meno
Twenty-four-year-old American Ivory Williams-one of the fastest 100- meter sprinters in the world-will not be allowed to compete on the U.S. Team for this year's World Indoor Championships.
His offense? He tested positive for marijuana. Now Williams, who just last month ran the fastest 60 meters in the world, will be ineligible to compete for the next three months and will have to complete an anti-doping educational program.
It's simply maddening to see a 24-year-old world-class athlete get sidelined from his sport just because he used a substance that is safer than alcohol and isn't exactly what you'd call a performance- enhancing drug. To add insult to injury, his manager felt compelled to issue a token apology, saying Williams exhibited "poor judgment."
In a related, possibly even more frustrating story, the defending champion in the Iditarod-where dogs do the racing, not humans-might now be disqualified because he uses medical marijuana to treat the effects of throat cancer.
Of course, these are just the most recent examples of athletes being reprimanded and forced to apologize for using marijuana. (How can anyone forget the faux-outrages over Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps and Cy Young Award Winner Tim Lincecum?)
It's one thing for law enforcement to issue penalties to athletes for breaking the law, but it's quite another for sporting organizations to take it upon themselves to suspend athletes for doing something that isn't affecting their performance and is actually safer than many of the substances they could be using legally. The fact that these successful, healthy athletes sometimes use marijuana helps to defy inaccurate lazy stoner stereotypes, but the harsh penalties handed down by sporting officials in response simply furthers the baseless notion that marijuana is a particularly harmful drug that consenting adults should be ashamed of using.
Mike Meno is assistant director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. This blog entry was original posted at the MPP blog http://blog.mpp.org/
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty." - John Adams
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