THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) SUPREME COURT SAYS CHILD'S RIGHTS VIOLATED BY STRIP SEARCH
Pubdate: Fri, 26 Jun 2009
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2009 The New York Times Company
WASHINGTON -- A strip search of a 13-year-old girl by officials at her middle school violated the Constitution, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday in an 8-to-1 decision.
The student, Savana Redding, had been suspected of bringing prescription-strength ibuprofen to the school, in Safford, Ariz.
Justice David H. Souter, writing for the majority, said a search of Ms. Redding's backpack and outer garments did not offend the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches. But the pills in question, each no stronger than two Advils, did not justify an "embarrassing, frightening and humiliating search," Justice Souter wrote.
School officials ordered Ms. Redding, whom another girl had accused of giving her drugs, to strip to her bra and underpants and to pull them away from her body, exposing her breasts and pelvic area. No drugs were found.
The case attracted national attention and gave rise to an intense debate over how much leeway school officials should have in enforcing zero-tolerance policies for drugs and violence. Some parents were outraged by the intrusiveness of the search, while others worried about tying the hands of school officials charged with keeping their children safe.
The case also revealed a gender fault line at the court. In an unusual interview about a pending case, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told USA Today in the spring that judging from their comments at the argument, her colleagues, all men, had failed to appreciate what Ms. Redding had endured.
"They have never been a 13-year-old girl," Justice Ginsburg said. "It's a very sensitive age for a girl. I don't think that my colleagues, some of them, quite understood."
In the end, Justice Ginsburg's view of the constitutionality of the search prevailed.
(2) JUSTICES RULE LAB ANALYSTS MUST TESTIFY ON RESULTS ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 26 Jun 2009
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2009 The New York Times Company
Author: Adam Liptak
WASHINGTON -- Crime laboratory reports may not be used against criminal defendants at trial unless the analysts responsible for creating them give testimony and subject themselves to cross- examination, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a 5-to-4 decision.
The ruling was an extension of a 2004 decision that breathed new life into the Sixth Amendment's confrontation clause, which gives a criminal defendant the right "to be confronted with the witnesses against him."
Four dissenting justices said that scientific evidence should be treated differently than, say, statements from witnesses to a crime. They warned that the decision would subject the nation's criminal justice system to "a crushing burden" and that it means "guilty defendants will go free, on the most technical grounds."
The two sides differed sharply about the practical consequences of requiring testimony from crime laboratory analysts. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the four dissenters, said Philadelphia's 18 drug analysts will now each be required to testify in more than 69 trials next year, and Cleveland's six drug analysts in 117 trials each.
Noting that 500 employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation laboratory in Quantico, Va., conduct more than a million scientific tests each year, Justice Kennedy wrote, "The court's decision means that before any of those million tests reaches a jury, at least one of the laboratory's analysts must board a plane, find his or her way to an unfamiliar courthouse and sit there waiting to read aloud notes made months ago."
Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, scoffed at those "back-of-the-envelope calculations."
In any event, he added, the court is not entitled to ignore even an unwise constitutional command for reasons of convenience.
"The confrontation clause may make the prosecution of criminals more burdensome, but that is equally true of the right to trial by jury and the privilege against self-incrimination," Justice Scalia wrote.
"The sky will not fall after today's decision," he added.
But that is not how prosecutors saw it. "It's a train wreck," Scott Burns, the executive director of the National District Attorneys Association, said of the decision.
"To now require that criminalists in offices and labs that are already burdened and in states where budgets are already being cut back," Mr. Burns said, "to travel to courtrooms and wait to say that cocaine is cocaine -- we're still kind of reeling from this decision."
(3) MEXICAN REFUGEES SEEK HAVEN IN CANADA ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 2009
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Giuseppe Valiante, Staff Writer
Asylum Backlog; Drug Violence, Promise Of Easy Entry Blamed For Increase
Hundreds of Mexican refugee claimants are entering Canada every month due to spiralling drug cartel violence and the presence of scam artists promising refuge in Canada, experts say.
In the first four months of this year, 4,768 asylum applications from Mexican citizens were referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, the most out of any country of origin.
More than 8,000 cases were referred in 2008, and the refugee board has a backlog of 13,300 applications.
Alberto Lozano, spokesman for the Mexican embassy in Ottawa, said less than 11% of the applications are approved, which he said suggests "that several cases are linked with economic issues."
"I wouldn't say that most of the cases were linked with violence in their homeland," Mr. Lozano said.
"That's why it's a pretty touchy issue."
Mr. Lozano said there is an industry in Mexico dedicated to providing false information about immigrating to Canada.
(4) CANADA A KEY HUB FOR ECSTASY, UN SAYS ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 2009
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 The Toronto Star
Author: Lee-Anne Goodman, Canadian Press
WASHINGTON-Canadian gangs are the leading suppliers of ecstasy in North America and increasingly proficient producers of methamphetamine for markets around the world, the United Nations drug czar says.
"Canada has emerged an important hub for ecstasy and amphetamines," Antonio Maria Costa told a news conference yesterday in the U.S. capital as he released the agency's 2009 World Drug Report.
Costa said the lucrative underground industry of manufacturing amphetamines has migrated north to Canada since both the U.S. and Mexico banned the chemical precursors used to make the drugs.
An anti-gang bill before Parliament is being held up by the Liberals, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said. "Under the new legislation, these people are looking at two-year prison terms as a minimum," said Nicholson, who blamed the hold-up on Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.
"I am asking him to do something, call people, get this bill moving through the system. I am hoping this increases the pressure on him to make this a priority and get this bill passed."
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
The U.S. is ready to crack down at borders where crack-downs aren't necessary, but at least some politicians can't even imagine how the U.S. might be contributing to the failure of the drug war.
Another federal official has acknowledged that at least one drug war policy is bad. The U.S. Attorney General has endorsed the idea of equalizing crack and powder cocaine sentences. On the other hand, the state School Board of Hawaii has endorsed the idea of random searches of student lockers.
(5) REPORT ON ARMS SMUGGLING TO MEXICO CALLED INCOMPLETE ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 20 Jun 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: Josh Meyer, Reporting from Washington
A Republican Lawmaker Takes Exception to the Conclusion That U.S. Weapons Fuel a Rise in Mexico Drug Violence.
A government audit of U.S. efforts to stop arms trafficking to Mexico was criticized Friday by a Republican lawmaker who said its conclusion that smuggled weapons from America were fueling the rise of violent Mexican drug cartels was based on incomplete data.
The report, released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office, said that the United States lacked a coordinated strategy to stem the flow of smuggled weapons.
It listed a wide array of shortcomings, both operational and legal, that it said had allowed thousands of weapons made or sold in the United States to find their way to the cartels.
One of its findings was that more than 90% of the firearms traced by authorities after being seized in Mexico over the last three years came from the United States.
At a hearing held Friday to discuss the report, Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) praised its primary author for undertaking such a comprehensive and timely analysis.
But Mack said he was also "troubled by the fact that the report makes conclusions based on opinions and assumptions rather than facts."
"I don't know that the report itself is something that we should put a lot of value in," Mack said.
(6) U.S. TO RAMP UP DRUG RAIDS AT CANADIAN BORDER ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Jun 2009
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Sheldon Alberts, Canwest News Service
Cap on Number of Agents Lifted in Cartel Crackdown
The Obama administration is strengthening efforts to intercept drug rings smuggling narcotics across the Canada-U.S. border under an agreement that will bring a sharp increase in the number of immigration and customs agents conducting raids and making arrests.
Under the deal announced Thursday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will have the power to authorize an unlimited number of agents to investigate cross-border drug crimes.
While aimed primarily at helping the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration address the overwhelming challenge of fighting Mexican drug cartels along the country's southwest border, administration officials made it clear they will be watching the Canada-U.S. boundary, too.
"Stay tuned. You are going to see a lot more activity," said John Morton, the assistant secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
(7) ATTORNEY GENERAL WANTS REVIEW OF COCAINE SENTENCES ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jun 2009
Source: Charlotte Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2009 The Charlotte Observer
Author: Devlin Barrett, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON Attorney General Eric Holder sought support Wednesday for erasing the gap in prison sentences for crack and powder cocaine crimes, a disparity that hits black defendants the hardest.
The effort to change federal sentencing laws for cocaine has broad support but may still unravel amid disagreements about how equal the sentences should be, and whether the whole sentencing system needs to be changed.
"One thing is very clear: We must review our federal cocaine sentencing policy," Holder said at a legal discussion sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus.
Under current law, it takes 100 times more powdered cocaine than crack cocaine to trigger the same harsh, mandatory minimum sentences.
"This administration firmly believes that the disparity in crack and powdered cocaine sentences is unwarranted," Holder said. "It must be eliminated."
The law was passed in the 1980s during the spread of crack in American cities, which officials blamed for a rise in violence. Yet in the years since, worries about crack have declined.
(8) HAWAII SCHOOL BOARD APPROVES LOCKER SEARCHES, ANTI-DRUG DOGS ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Jun 2009
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2009 The Honolulu Advertiser
Author: Loren Moreno
The state Board of Education last night voted 8-4 to approve controversial changes to the public school system's disciplinary rules, including allowing for suspicionless locker searches and drug-sniffing dogs.
For nearly two years, board members have been grappling with sweeping changes to rules governing student conduct and discipline. A major point of disagreement has been whether to allow searches of student lockers solely at the discretion of principals and school administrators, and the use of drug-sniffing dogs.
"I am thinking of the 99 percent of our students who are entitled to safe environments," board member Mary Cochran said last night.
The four members who voted no were board chairman Garrett Toguchi, vice chairwoman Lei Ahu Isa, Carol Mon Lee and Kim Coco Iwamoto. Breene Harimoto was absent.
The policy will be reviewed by the state attorney general and must be signed by Gov. Linda Lingle before it can take effect.
Board members debated at length over whether locker searches should be allowed with or without cause.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
Being a narc means never having to say you're sorry - just ask the Mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland. The Mayor did nothing wrong, but police shot and killed both of his dogs in an unnecessary and botched drug raid. Now after investigating themselves, police still insist they did nothing wrong. That likely will be the stance of police involved in a botched drug raid on another innocent family in a nearby county. Also last week, some DEA agents say they are being forced to break the law while working in Afghanistan, while some Australian politicians are calling for smarter thinking on prisons, without displaying too much of that smart thinking themselves.
(9) SHERIFF SAYS DEPUTIES 'DID THEIR JOB' ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 20 Jun 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company
Author: Aaron C. Davis, Washington Post Staff Writer
Review Finds No Wrongdoing in SWAT Raid That Killed Dogs
The Prince George's County sheriff's office has concluded that deputies did nothing wrong when they charged into the home of the mayor of Berwyn Heights during a drug investigation last summer and fatally shot his family's two dogs.
The findings of the internal review "are consistent with what I've felt all along: My deputies did their job to the fullest extent of their abilities," Sheriff Michael Jackson said at a news conference.
The announcement drew immediate condemnation from Mayor Cheye Calvo.
"It's outrageous," he said. "Not only is he not admitting any wrongdoing, but he's saying this went down the way it was supposed to and he's actually commending his police officers for what they did."
Members of the SWAT team killed Calvo's black Labrador retrievers after deputies broke down his door and raided his home in search of a drug-filled package that had been addressed to Calvo's wife.
Law enforcement officials have since acknowledged that Calvo and his wife, Trinity Tomsic, were victims of a smuggling scheme that used a FedEx driver to ship drugs. They said the couple knew nothing about the box. County police, who were leading the drug investigation, have said they were unaware it was the mayor's house.
(10) FAMILY SUES AFTER SWAT TEAM RAIDS THEIR APARTMENT BY MISTAKE ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 21 Jun 2009
Source: Washington Examiner (DC)
Copyright: 2009 Washington Examiner
Author: Alan Suderman
Kenyan immigrant Nancy Njoroge had been living in the United States for a year when a Montgomery County SWAT team burst into her Gaithersburg apartment at 4 a.m., handcuffed her and her two teenage daughters, and searched her apartment, court records show.
Police found nothing.
The reason: Njoroge lived in No. 202 of her apartment complex. The police had a search warrant for apartment 201. After rejecting an offer from the county's claims adjuster of a "couple of movie passes," the American Civil Liberties Union is suing the county on the family's behalf for unspecified damages, according to ACLU records filed in court.
The ACLU said the purpose of the lawsuit was to hold the police department accountable for its mistake. "Officers had but one apartment to locate, in a quiet and well-lit hallway in the dead of night, without distraction and with clearly marked doors and numbers," ACLU lawyer Fritz Mulhauser said in a letter to the county.
Njoroge and her daughters have suffered emotional distress since the attack and have seen their work and school lives disrupted, according to their lawyers.
"I have a lot of problems," Njoroge told a police investigator about a month after the 2005 incident. "From that day, when I see a police car, I shake."
(11) AGENTS SAY DEA IS FORCING THEM ILLEGALLY TO WORK IN AFGHANISTAN ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 20 Jun 2009
Source: Tribune, The (San Luis Obispo, CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Tribune
Author: Marisa Taylor, McClatchy Newspapers
As the Obama administration ramps up the Drug Enforcement Administration's presence in Afghanistan, some special-agent pilots contend that they're being illegally forced to go to a combat zone, while others who've volunteered say they're not being properly equipped.
In interviews with McClatchy Newspapers, more than a dozen DEA agents describe a badly managed system in which some pilots have been sent to Afghanistan under duress or as punishment for bucking their superiors.
Such complaints, so far mostly arising from the DEA's Aviation Division, could complicate the Obama administration's efforts to send dozens of additional DEA agents to Afghanistan as part of a civilian and military personnel "surge" that aims to stabilize the country.
Veteran DEA pilot Daniel Offield has alleged in an employment discrimination complaint he was told if he refuses to go to Afghanistan in July he'll be demoted. The Stockton, Calif., agent asked for a reprieve because he was in the process of adopting two special-needs children and offered to serve his required temporary duty in other countries.
Another agent, David Beavers, told McClatchy Newspapers that he was ordered in July 2007 to prepare to go to Afghanistan in two weeks while he was on bereavement leave after his mother-in-law died. To avoid going, the Orlando, Fla., pilot decided to retire early.
Both men have flown for the DEA in Latin American countries wracked by drug violence, but they say service in a combat zone should be treated as voluntary because they're not military personnel.
(12) BUILDING NEW PRISONS COSTLY - CHEAPER OPTIONS NEEDED: PM ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 22 Jun 2009
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2009 New Zealand Herald
Building new prisons is outrageously expensive and alternatives such as housing prisoners in converted shipping containers have to be considered, Prime Minister John Key said today.
Corrections Minister Judith Collins has floated the idea of prisoners building their own cells from shipping containers.
Opponents say the proposal is inhumane.
Mr Key said it was only one idea to get around a serious problem due to a lack of prison space.
"It's one of a number ( of options )... and I can't tell you if it is likely to take place."
Mr Key said prisons were running out capacity and cheaper options had to be found to house prisoners.
Under the previous government it had cost more than $600,000 to build a single new prison cell.
"That is an outrageous sum of money, that is more than the average cost of the average New Zealand home. I can't see that the public are going to support a situation where prisoners are going to be put in a cell that cost more than there house," Mr Key said.
Cannabis & Hemp-
Medicinal cannabis dispensaries are appearing in Washington state, despite remaining explicitly forbidden.
It's summertime, and time for various federal, state and local police agencies to join together and brag about costly, time consuming and entirely futile cannabis eradication efforts.
A bill that would establish three, state run cannabis dispensaries in New Hampshire awaits the governor's signature, having passed the house and senate with robust support.
It is often argued that alcohol is rightfully exempted from drug prohibition because it is culturally and historically assimilated. How many generations will it take before we can say the same thing of cannabis?
(13) MEDICINAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES OPEN IN WASH. ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 2009
Source: Tri-City Herald (WA)
Copyright: 2009 Tri-City Herald
Author: John Stucke
SPOKANE, Wash. Now that marijuana can be legally used to ease patients' pain, dispensaries are opening in Spokane to provide it.
And regardless of whether such stores are what Washington voters and legislators envisioned when they allowed medical marijuana, it may only be a matter of time before the businesses are commonplace: Medical marijuana has been approved in more than a dozen states.
The dispensaries' legal status, however, remains hazy.
For Judy, a medical marijuana customer who asked that her last name be withheld, the drug has been a blessing.
She credits it for alleviating the pain from a severe brain trauma and other injuries sustained 12 years ago when a suicidal man rammed his pickup into her car.
The crash severed her leg below the hip.
"I remain thankful to be alive," she said.
After years of buying marijuana illegally, Judy now has a doctor's note that says marijuana is a proper medication to ease her pain.
She buys her supply from a shop called Change. It opened two months ago and is run by Christopher Stevens, Noah Zarate and Scott Shupe.
People smoke and buy marijuana at the Northwest Boulevard store, and police know about it. The owners wrote a letter to Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick about their business; her reply stated that her officers are committed to enforcing local, state and federal laws.
(14) $27 MILLION IN 'POT' PLANTS SEIZED; CAMPSITE UNCOVERED ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 2009
Source: Sampson Independent, The (NC)
Copyright: 2009, The Sampson Independent
Author: Doug Clark
Multiple Law Enforcement Agencies, Including Sheriff Jimmy Thornton And The Sampson County Sheriff's Department, The SBI, The DEA, The National Guard And Clinton Police Helped Uncover Four Fields Of Marijuana Wednesday. In Addition To The 11,000 Pot Plants, Officers Uncovered A Campsite And A Complex Irrigation System Apparently Used To Water The Plants.( Photos by Doug Clark )
INGOLD -- Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton tracks back through at least an acre and a half of land just off of Wright Bridge Road and looks through a bag of plumbing fixtures buried deep behind a make-shift camp. It's full of garbage.
"This is some living, huh?" Thornton says as he puts the bag down and looks over unused food that is sitting under a canvas cover.
Working off tips from residents in the area and in association with the annual Drug Eradication Day, agencies came together to uncover no less than four sites that were growing marijuana in the area, the biggest one being about a mile off U.S. Highway 701 and just north of Garland.
In total, 11,000 plants, some that grew to be 3 to 5 feet high, were seized. Estimated street value, officers said, $27 million. No arrests have been made.
"We estimate it at $2,500 a plant," said Thornton. "And I will tell you something, it is great that these drugs won't get in the hands of our children. What is the grower's loss, is a certain future for our children."
(15) AFTER LAWMAKERS' OK, MARIJUANA BILL GOES TO LYNCH ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 2009
Source: Telegraph, The (Nashua, NH)
Copyright: 2009 Telegraph Publishing Company
Author: Kevin Landrigan
CONCORD -- With little controversy, the New Hampshire Legislature sought to make this the 14th state to give the chronically ill access to marijuana to relieve their suffering.
The House of Representatives approved the latest compromise late Wednesday, 232-108. The state Senate endorsed it, 14-10.
But the bill (HB 648) still faces its stiffest test from three-term Democratic Gov. John Lynch, who has yet to say whether he can accept a new compromise.
Lynch told reporters his biggest concern was an earlier bill that made it too easy for residents to cultivate marijuana, a substance that would remain illegal to possess under federal criminal law.
"I will be reading it very carefully with that as my guide," Lynch said.
Earlier this month, Lynch told legislative supporters that he would have vetoed a bill that allowed residents or designated caregivers to grow their own marijuana.
House and Senate leaders spent the past three weeks trying to address the Lynch-cited shortcomings. The compromise would create three, nonprofit "compassion centers" where patients and caregivers could obtain marijuana.
Sen. Peggy Gilmour, D-Hollis, had worked on the compromise and is a co-founder of the state's first hospice for the terminally ill.
"We have constructed the most restrictive law in the land," Gilmour said. "Our committee worked very hard to take every concern the governor had and try to ameliorate them."
(16) MARIJUANA MAMAS! ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jun 2009
Source: Valdosta Daily Times (GA)
Copyright: 2009 Valdosta Daily Times
Author: Gina Kaysen Fernandes
Is Pot The New Pilates?
A new wave of reefer madness is sweeping suburbia - but it's not just teenagers who are lighting up. Middle-aged, middle-class soccer moms are smoking pot ... a lot. These women aren't stoners: they're teachers, lawyers, and, perhaps, even your neighbor who prefers puffing a joint to sipping chardonnay.
"Marijuana is the magic in my life that helps me unwind, stay sane, and have more energy," says Sonia, a 24-year-old mother from Los Angeles. Working full-time as a restaurant manager leaves Sonia feeling stressed out and drained at the end of the day. She smokes once or twice daily to relax. "I have a stressful job, it's something that helps me wind down so I don't take out my frustration on my husband or my child."
Sonia became a mother at the age of 22 and suffered from some depression. She turned to marijuana to help curb the baby blues. A doctor later diagnosed Sonia with anxiety and wrote her a prescription for the herbal remedy. Sonia gets her stash from a medicinal marijuana clinic and takes comfort in knowing the pot she smokes is legal and high quality.
Mary is a 37-year-old, self-employed mother in Seattle who smokes pot several times a week. "It is relaxing, fun, and once in a while I self-medicate for cramps or headaches," said Mary. She says she prefers smoking to drinking beer because it's easier on the body and has fewer calories. Mary buys her bags from a dealer, making it more risky because "there's still a real danger of being arrested," says Mary.
The Web site, Chikii.com, surveyed hundreds of women nationwide between the ages of 25 and 60 years old. Out of that group, 52 percent admitted to using marijuana at least 10 times a year. 27 percent smoked between one and seven times a week. And 78 percent of those women knew someone who got high on a regular basis.
The results of recent surveys are no surprise to Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. "These findings are indicative of women's willingness to admit to the social stigma that was so high in the 1970s and 80s," said St. Pierre.
The top UN anti-drug official, Antonio Maria Costa, berated Canada last week in support of the conservative Harper regime's mandatory minimum laws. "Canada has emerged an important hub for ecstasy and amphetamines". In 2007, Canada, asserted the UN drug warrior, produced MDMA "bound for the U.S., Australia and Japan".
A piece in the U.K. Guardian newspaper shows the utter futility of attempting to stop cocaine from reaching buyers in the U.S.: smugglers are perfecting single-use cocaine cargo submersibles that are very difficult to find. If only one in four make it, the subs are profitable. "Once the semi-subs are out at sea it's 98% impossible to detect them," admits Colombia's military. The number of HIV cases among Egyptian intravenous drug could soon get much larger, reports the Egyptian Gazette newspaper. "Sharing needles and syringes is very high in Egypt. This is very alarming because although only one per cent of IDUs are HIV-positive, the high percentage of needle sharing may mean that we are sitting on a ticking bomb."
While medical marihuana may be controversial in some states in the U.S., in the land of milk and honey, cannabis is quietly becoming an accepted treatment for a wide range of maladies. "As the cultivation of the Cannabis plant became legal," writes Ha'aretz this week, "the number of patients prescribed medicinal marijuana grew from two in 2000 to more than 700 today... to reach 1,200 within three months." What profit is it? In Israel now, "[c]annabis growing is on the verge of becoming an economic goldmine and entrepreneurs seeking to tap its potential are eyeing the endeavor."
And from Malaysia this weed, news of government anti- "dadah" (drug) sweeps, where government drug agents perform surprise drug-tests of entire villages in the middle of the night. But not everyone is going along quietly, and are resisting the totalitarian intrusions. A "commotion started when the authorities confiscated the MyKad [an official compulsory identity card] of six suspected addicts from Serkam Pantai, who refused to follow AADK officers... for a urine test," reported the New Straits Times this week. However, despite the best intentions of anti-drug agents hoping to ensnare at least a few drug users, events "turned out to be disappointing as all the youths brought in for urine tests tested negative for drugs." Explained officials, "We are trying to help the community by preventing their area from being used as a 'port' for dadah addiction... Our objective is to clear the area of dadah addicts".
(17) UN DRUG CZAR URGES CANADA TO TAKE ACTION ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 2009
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2009 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Lee-Anne Goodman
Gangs Seen As Global Suppliers Of Ecstasy, Amphetamines
WASHINGTON -- The United Nations' drug czar is urging Canada to take action on a UN report that identifies Canadian gangs as the leading suppliers of ecstasy in North America and increasingly proficient producers of methamphetamine for markets around the world.
"Canada has emerged an important hub for ecstasy and amphetamines," Antonio Maria Costa told a news conference Wednesday in the U.S. capital as he released the agency's 2009 World Drug Report.
In 2007, half the ecstasy produced in Canada was destined for markets outside Canada, most of it bound for the U.S., Australia and Japan, the report found. Japan has identified Canada as the single biggest source for seized ecstasy tablets, followed by the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.
The report also found Canadian organized crime groups have significantly increased their participation in the meth trade over the past few years.
(18) COLOMBIA: SECRET OF THE SWAMPS: COLOMBIA'S COCAINE SUBMARINES ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 22 Jun 2009
Source: Guardian, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Guardian News and Media Limited
Author: Sibylla Brodzinsky
Mangrove Boatyards Build To Order For Traffickers Supplying US Market
But it is narco-subs that carry the greatest tonnage - possibly as much as a third of all Colombia's cocaine exports, estimated at 600 tonnes a year.
They are designed to ride low, with only about a foot of the vessel above water so the captain can see where he's going through Plexiglas windows. The hulls are shaped to cause minimum wake and the exhaust pipes snake out from the engine room and down into the water to minimize the thermal signature.
"Once the semi-subs are out at sea it's 98% impossible to detect them," says Major Raul Donado of Colombia's marines, based in the southern Pacific coast city of Tumaco.
On the rare occasions they are detected at sea, crews typically open an emergency valve built into the subs to scuttle the vessels and their cargo.
But Miguel Angel Montoya, a former drug trafficker who says he met more than a dozen crews before they set off on their journey, says the new law will probably have little effect.
"I don't think anything will change, because the organisations take advantage of the poverty in Colombia to lure crew members to make the trip for $10,000 or $20,000," says Montoya, a Mexican who was involved with the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels until 2004. Captains are better paid at about $50,000-$60,000.
(19) NEEDLE SHARING RIFE AMONG DRUG USERS ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 22 Jun 2009
Source: Egyptian Gazette, The (Egypt)
Copyright: Eltahrir House 2009
The prevalence of HIV among intravenous drug users (IDUs) in Egypt is relatively low, but needle sharing is rife among this group, putting them at risk of contracting the virus, experts say. "Sharing needles and syringes is very high in Egypt. This is very alarming because although only one per cent of IDUs are HIV-positive, the high percentage of needle sharing may mean that we are sitting on a ticking bomb," Ehab Kharrat, a senior programme advisor for the UNDP HIV/AIDS Regional Programme in the Arab States (HARPAS), said.
"But the promising thing is that right now we have four or five outreach projects for IDUs in Egypt and these projects are effective. There are also drug rehabilitation centres which have started to have an impact and hopefully will prevent an HIV epidemic from spreading among IDUs," Kharrat said, adding that their success rate in getting people off drugs was 40-60 per cent.
(20) HEALTH MINISTRY, DRUG DEALERS TEAM UP TO HELP CHRONICALLY ILL ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 20 Jun 2009
Source: Ha'aretz (Israel)
Copyright: 2009 Ha'aretz Daily Newspaper Ltd.
Author: Haim Shadmi, Haaretz Correspondent
This is how Yohai Golan-Gild describes how he turned from an organizer of psychedelic drug parties into a provider of medicinal marijuana in Israel - with the full approval of the Health Ministry. The path taken by Golan-Gild represents the quiet but fascinating revolution that Israeli society has undergone over the last decade. In 1999, the Health Ministry legalized the use of Cannabis, the plant from which marijuana and hashish are derived, for use by patients suffering from serious symptoms such as pain, nausea and loss of appetite.
As the cultivation of the Cannabis plant became legal, the number of patients prescribed medicinal marijuana grew from two in 2000 to more than 700 today. The number is expected to reach 1,200 within three months. Cannabis growing is on the verge of becoming an economic goldmine and entrepreneurs seeking to tap its potential are eyeing the endeavor. The consumption of cannabis products, which was completely forbidden up until ten years ago, is now becoming regulated and may eventually gain the status of any other drug supplied to the general public.
(21) HOSTILE RECEPTION TO DADAH OP ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 22 Jun 2009
Source: New Straits Times (Malaysia)
Copyright: 2009 New Straits Times
Author: Jason Gerald John
MALACCA: An operation by the state National Anti-Dadah Agency (AADK) to weed out drug addicts in Serkam drew heat from hostile villagers and a local assemblyman even tried to prevent the suspects from being taken for a urine test. Serkan assemblyman Ghazale Mohamad told the agency's officers that he would report the matter to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam.
The commotion started when the authorities confiscated the MyKad of six suspected addicts from Serkam Pantai, who refused to follow AADK officers to the Home Ministry Complex in Ayer Keroh for a urine test.
The four coordinated operations, which began at 11pm on Saturday, were supposed to be huge affairs but turned out to be disappointing as all the youths brought in for urine tests tested negative for drugs.
At a press conference later, Ibrahim said Ops Serkam was to be a major bust because intelligence received indicated that it was a major "port" for addicts in the state.
"We received orders from our headquarters to weed out the addicts in the area.
On the operations last night, Ibrahim said the round-up operations were not a total failure. He called on villagers to understand the functions of the AADK.
"We are trying to help the community by preventing their area from being used as a 'port' for dadah addiction.
"Our objective is to clear the area of dadah addicts and we will ensure we are successful," he said, refusing to comment on Ghazale's actions.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
WORLD DRUG REPORT PREFACE MAJORS ON LEGALISATION ( Top )
Below is the text from the Preface to World Drug Report 2009 - dominated by a detailed rebuttal of the growing calls for a debate on legal regulation of drug production and supply. We have deconstructed these kind of critiques so many times before, we won't be doing it again here - other than to observe it is the same confused mix of misrepresentations, straw man arguments, and logical fallacies that we are used to hearing from the UNODC's drug warriors. The particularly strange thing here though is that some of the analysis of the problem, the critique at least, is actually fairly good - it's where it leads that is so extraordinary....
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Century of Lies - 06/21/09 - Allan Clear
Allan Clear, Exec. Dir. of the Harm Reduction Coalition on what we have wrought & Chris Hermes of Americans for Safe Access on "land mark decision" on medical marijuana.
Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 06/24/09 - Moises Naim
Dr. Moises Naim, editor of Foreign Policy magazine & Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief and speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
DR. EVAN WOOD DISCUSSES THE UNODC WORLD DRUG REPORT ON CBC ( Top )
Dr. Evan Wood of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS discusses the World Drug Report 2009 by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN THREE COUNTRIES: THE ADVANTAGES OF FEDERALISM ( Top )
By Jacob Sullum
TAKING THE HIGH ROAD ( Top )
Geraldo Rivera investigates the medicinal marijuana boom for California doctors.
LEAP STUMPS THE DRUG CZAR ( Top )
Tom Angell, media relations director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, asks White House "Drug Czar" Gil Kerlikowske what he thinks of all the recent discussion on drug legalization.
HOUSTON POLICE MUM ON MARIJUANA PRISONER'S DEATH ( Top )
By David Edwards and Stephen Webster
A woman serving a short sentence in a Houston, Texas, jail for possession of marijuana died in custody over the weekend, and officers are not saying how or why.
DRUGS 'DECK OF CARDS' MOCKS INHALING POLITICIANS ( Top )
Charity's controversial Nice People Take Drugs campaign enters second phase with website quoting 'hypocritical' politicians, from George Bush to Barack Obama, on their own drug use.
ENDING THE DEATH PENALTY FOR DRUG OFFENSES ( Top )
Now Is the Time, Say Human Rights, Harm Reduction Groups
Drug War Chronicle, Issue #591, 6/26/09
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
EDUCATE ANTONIO MARIA COSTA ( Top )
Help teach the world's drug czar that drug prohibition is the exact opposite of drug control.
Please visit http://www.DrugWarDebate.com/ to contact Mr. Costa. A sample letter that you can edit (if you want) has been provided, so you can let the "czar" know that people calling for the legalization of drugs are endorsing more effective "control" over drugs than we have now, not less.
DESIGN A T-SHIRT FOR STUDENTS FOR SENSIBLE DRUG POLICY ( Top )
A call for creativity!
SSDP is searching for new t-shirt ideas, and we'd love to hear what you've got. We sell t-shirts at conferences, gatherings and other events as well as on our website.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
TIME TO END PROHIBITION FOR DRUGS? ( Top )
By Michael G. Brautigam
To the Editor:
As a former prosecutor who did his time in the war on drugs ( Brooklyn in the golden age of crack, late '80s, early '90s ), I agree wholeheartedly with Nicholas D. Kristof's views that the war on drugs is over ( "Drugs Won the War," column, June 14).
In addition to Mr. Kristof's three main points, let me add two of my own. First, abandoning the war on drugs will provide a tremendous opportunity to appropriately intervene in the lives of people who are abusing drugs. Forcing an addict to register with the government and be subject to attempts to influence his or her behavior in exchange for access to the drug of choice is appropriate; kicking in the door and arresting the person are inappropriate.
Second, the military is becoming increasingly entangled in the war on drugs, a law enforcement role that is entirely inappropriate. Our brave fighting men and women should be protecting us from real threats, not burning poppy fields and arresting drug lords in Afghanistan.
Tinkering around the edges will not do it, and I do not favor state-by-state experiments. The federal government declared the war on drugs, and the federal government should now declare victory ( or defeat, it doesn't matter ), and end the war. Radical reform is needed now.
As Michael Douglas, portraying the drug czar, so wisely said in the movie "Traffic," the war on drugs is a war on ourselves and our families.
Michael G. Brautigam Cincinnati
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Jun 2009
Source: New York Times (NY)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
Looking For Rational Approaches Through Pros And Cons ( Top )
By Mary Jane Borden
"When these difficult Cases occur, they are difficult chiefly because while we have them under Consideration all the Reasons pro and con are not present to the Mind at the same time... To get over this, my Way is, to divide half a Sheet of Paper by a Line into two Columns, writing over the one Pro, and over the other Con... And tho' the Weight of Reasons cannot be taken with the Precision of Algebraic Quantities, yet when each is thus considered separately and comparatively, and the whole lies before me, I think I can judge better, and am less likely to take a rash Step..."
Benjamin Franklin Letter to Joseph Priestley September 19, 1772)
Like Benjamin Franklin, many of us make difficult decisions by penning pros and cons on a divided sheet of paper. Applying this concept to the 21st Century, a non-profit called ProCon.org established a website that over the last 20 years has picked "topics that are complicated and important to many Americans and that fit [ProCon.org's] mission of 'Promoting education, critical thinking, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan primarily pro-con format.'"
ProCon.org carries this simple divided list one step further by assigning a ranking system to the citations used to substantiate the pro and con positions. Statistical reports from government sources secure the highest five star rankings, while experts, the media, and organizations/VIPs scale respectively downward from four stars to one star. ProCon.org applies a defined, objective methodology to its ranking system, citations, and selection of topics for analysis.
While several categories touch on public policies toward illegal drugs (ACLU, Death Penalty, Felon Voting, and Alternative Energy), three speak directly to the topic: Sports and Drugs, Prescription Drugs, and Medical Marijuana.
Sports and Drugs focuses on athletic competition and performance enhancing substances, often hitting reform's radar when the target is marijuana. Displayed in the recently-added Prescription Drugs category are ads for yesterday's therapeutic agents, many of which are now today's illicit substances. Cocaine toothache drops, morphine cough syrup for children, Bayer brand heroin, and Eli Lilly methamphetamine - side by side with ads for currently marketed pharmaceuticals - show that legal versus illegal is more a function of social mores and moral regulation than the drug itself.
The Medical Marijuana category illustrates this well. The "Should marijuana be a medical option" link scrolls through pages and pages of pro and con citations, with the "pros" eventually overcoming the "con" argument to win the debate.
The utility of ProCon.org doesn't end with simply balancing the debate; the site contains a wealth of information relating to medicinal cannabis. Check out these links:
Medical Marijuana Historical Timeline. This cited timeline begins in 2737 BC and advances by major cannabis related event into the present. Did you know that Gautama Buddha is said to have survived by eating only cannabis seeds? Or that cannabis root applied to skin eases inflammation? Learn more at: http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/viewresource.asp?resourceID=000143
Peer-Reviewed Studies on Marijuana. The sixty-five studies that comprise this list dispel the myth that no scientific research exists concerning herbal cannabis. Labeled "Pro," "Con," or "Not Clearly Pro or Con," the "Pros" are clearly winning. http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/viewresource.asp?resourceID=000884
Deaths from Marijuana v. 17 FDA-Approved Drugs. This interesting table found its roots in ProCon.org's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the number of deaths caused by marijuana compared to the number of deaths caused by 17 FDA-approved drugs, many used in place of marijuana. "Primary suspect of the death" for marijuana = 0. "Primary suspect" for the 17 FDA-approved drugs = 10,008. http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/viewresource.asp?resourceID=000145
We live in complex and contentious times, marked by varied and changing issues that often become mired in confusing messages from conflicting messengers. ProCon.org's mission and format help sort through the mountain of supporting and opposing viewpoints. As Benjamin Franklin astutely observed, by evaluating an issue's pros and cons, we can "judge better, and [be] less likely to take a rash step."
Mary Jane Borden is a writer, artist, and activist in drug policy from Westerville, Ohio. She serves as Business Manager/Fundraising Specialist for DrugSense
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"I don't like people who take drugs... Customs men for example." - Mick Miller
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