THIS JUST IN ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jul 2009
Source: New Times (San Luis Obispo, CA)
Copyright: 2009 New Times
Author: Kylie Mendonca
The ( Involuntary ) Confessions of a Confidential Informant
Snitches. Rats. Turncoats. Squealers. There's no shortage of names for people who start their criminal justice career on one side of the law, and then, through a series of self-preserving acts, find themselves working on the opposite side as confidential informants. Police informants get evidence, they help make cases, and they put themselves in danger to do it. Cops and prosecutors call them indispensable.
Not every person who gives information to the police is a criminal. Many are just concerned citizens who report suspected crimes in their neighborhoods. And many people who testify in court are simply witnesses to a crime. But many people who turn informant for the law have motives that are a far cry from justice or community activism; they are, themselves, criminals working off potential charges or even getting paid to inform on other law-breakers.
People who oppose the use of criminal informants argue that offering money in exchange for information may actually lead informants to seek out and encourage crimes that would not otherwise happen. And even police acknowledge that reducing criminal charges for informants, who are willing to participate in or set up other illegal events for law enforcement, can seem to trivialize the initial crime.
For many professionals in law enforcement it comes down to weighing greater and lesser evils against each other. Weighing, say, the value of trading the prosecution of a small-time drug dealer against the prosecution of a medium-sized drug dealer, and maybe eventually an entire drug ring. The identities of these informants are almost always kept secret long after the cases are over. This is both to protect their health and keep them useful. The practice of using criminals as confidential informants is widespread, but at the end of the day is the public really safer, trading one criminal for another?
This is the story of a man who made a short career as a confidential paid informant for the SLO County Sheriff's Department. Despite the short length of his service, he became a key figure in one of the most notorious recent cases originating in this county, the federal prosecution of medical marijuana dispenser Charles Lynch. His name is Daniel Victor Lee, and over the course of seven months he worked on ten cases, being paid a total of $8,185 for his participation, according to correspondence from the district attorney's office. Despite following tips that led to three different states, New Times was unable to find him to seek his side of the story. For that matter, court records show a defense attorney who sought to depose him for a case couldn't locate him either. Nonetheless, court documents collected from several cases tell Lee's story.
(2) JUST SAY NOW ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jul 2009
Source: Willamette Week (Portland, OR)
Copyright: 2009 Willamette Week Newspaper
Author: Mike Miliard
The Fight To Legalize Marijuana Is Burning Up Like Never Before - But Some Advocates Are Claiming If It Doesn't Happen Soon, It May Never Happen At All.
The Obama administration, already overtaxed with two foreign wars, made headlines in May when it waved a white flag in a fight much closer to home. Gil Kerlikowske, the White House's newly minted director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy - the so-called drug czar - called for an end to the "War on Drugs."
Granted, Kerlikowske wasn't signaling an intention to lay down arms and pick up a pack of E-Z Widers. His was a semantic shift - a pledge to abandon gung-ho fighting words and imprisonment in favor of treatment. But it was newsworthy nonetheless. As Bruce Mirken, communications director of the Marijuana Policy Project - the biggest pot-policy reform group in the country - puts it: "Can you imagine [Bush administration czar] John Walters saying that? The earth would open up!"
Kerlikowske's speech may have been a subtle testing of the political landscape surrounding the marijuana question as we find ourselves at a pivotal moment in the push for pot legalization. The horrific violence of Mexican cartels, which make perhaps as much as 75 percent of their money from marijuana ( in Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard's estimation ), has started moving across our Southwestern borders. The budget meltdown in California has led state pols - even GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger - to reconsider the tax revenues ( $14 billion, according to Time ) that could be harvested from the Golden State's biggest cash crop. Politicians, no longer confined to the left and libertarian right, are increasingly willing to say legalization makes sense.
Nearly every day offers another object lesson in the merits of marijuana reform. And the American people seem to be noticing. At least four polls in the past three months have shown a greater uptick in the public's receptiveness to legalization than ever before. One Zogby poll released earlier this year found that 52 percent felt pot should be regulated and taxed. So far, the president - who supported decriminalization when running for U.S. Senate in 2004, but not when running for president in 2008 - hasn't exactly been a profile in courage. But that may not matter all that much. "Obama is against gay marriage, at least nominally, yet that issue is moving forward, too," said statistician Nate Silver, founder of fivethirtyeight.com. "Once one state does something, then other states start to think about it."
(3) AIDS ACTIVISTS ARRESTED IN WASHINGTON ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 10 Jul 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Associated Press
Twenty-Six People Were Charged With Unlawfully Demonstrating in the Capitol Rotunda.
Washington -- A group of AIDS activists was arrested Thursday for unlawfully demonstrating in the Capitol rotunda, a Capitol Police spokeswoman said.
Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said 11 men and 15 women each face a charge of unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct and loud and boisterous behavior. Their names and ages were not immediately released.
Schneider said the group entered the rotunda and linked themselves together with a white chain.
The area is usually crowded with tourists, but police restricted the traffic while they made arrests.
The activists carried signs in support of funding for needle exchange, HIV/AIDS housing and programs aimed at fighting AIDS.
They chanted "Fight global AIDS now" and "Clean needles save lives." They marched in a circle before lying down on the floor.
Police bound the activists' hands together and dragged some of the demonstrators to their feet as they arrested them.
The arrests were made one day before President Obama is to arrive in Ghana, where 320,000 people are HIV-positive, according to the United Nations' AIDS-fighting agency, UNAIDS.
(4) METHADONE CLINIC RUN OUT OF TOWN ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jul 2009
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Colette Derworiz, Staff Writer
Hostile Meeting Final Straw: Facility Lawyer
A methadone clinic that has been forced to move three times in six years will permanently shut down this summer after being intimidated by "irrational hotheads," the clinic's lawyer said Wednesday.
Hugh Ham, who represents Second Chance Recovery, said the clinic will close its doors and leave Calgary as soon as it can find alternatives for its 500 patients.
The decision came less than 24 hours after hundreds of residents showed up at a Braeside community meeting to vent their anger at the clinic's arrival in their neighbourhood earlier this week.
"This is a perfect example of not in my backyard," Ham said.
"If not in this backyard, where?"
Ham cautioned the clinic's closure could push dozens of people back into a life of addiction.
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
While the general public seems to be getting a better understanding about the need for drug policy reform, particularly as it related to medical cannabis, some politicians still don't get it. In fact, it would seem vast segments of major political party leadership don't get it. Fortunately, there are some political alternatives who do get it. Also this week, the first needle exchange in North America is shutting down, and some of the Colorado legislature doesn't seem to get it either.
(5) OPED: REPUBLICANS WOULD BE WISE TO SUPPORT MEDICAL MARIJUANA, ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 5 Jul 2009
Source: Telegraph, The (Nashua, NH)
Copyright: 2009 Telegraph Publishing Company
Author: Dennis Acton
As a committed Republican activist, it has not been easy coming forward and describing my experience with cancer and medical marijuana.
I kept quiet for years after I successfully used marijuana to relieve my nausea when expensive prescription drugs had failed. I didn't want this on my medical records, and I certainly didn't want everyone to know that I had to break the law to find an effective treatment.
I only recently came forward because I strongly believe that HB 648, which recently passed the House and Senate, should become law in New Hampshire.
The bill would create the most tightly crafted medical marijuana law in the country, and it would probably be used as a model for other states that want to allow access but are concerned about ensuring accountability and security.
All legitimate concerns about how the cultivation and dispensation of marijuana can be controlled are addressed in the final version of the bill, which will soon make its way to Gov. John Lynch's desk.
Unfortunately, most Republican leaders have been unwilling to reconsider our party's longstanding opposition to medical marijuana. A large majority of Republicans I have spoken to are in favor of the bill, yet our leaders have dismissed the effort entirely.
(6) LIBERTARIANS LOBBY FOR ST CHARLES COUNTY MAN ACCUSED OF GROWING ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 07 Jul 2009
Source: St. Charles Journal (MO)
Copyright: 2009 St. Louis Post-Dispatch L.L.C
Author: Steve Pokin, Staff Writer
The central committee of the St. Charles County Libertarian Party last month urged county Prosecutor Jack Banas to drop criminal charges against Kenneth Wells, accused of growing marijuana in his home.
Wells, 54, of unincorporated St. Charles County, stated in the June 7 Pokin Around column that he grew the plants in his basement for medical reasons that include epilepsy and other neurologic problems stemming from a 1983 stroke.
But Missouri does not have a medical marijuana law that allows growing and using marijuana when prescribed by a medical doctor. Thirteen states have such a law.
Wells' trial is scheduled for Sept. 1. He faces five to 15 years in prison.
"First and foremost, what people do in their own home is their own business," said Allen J. Underdown, chairman of the Libertarian central committee for the county.
(7) LANDMARK NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAM CLOSING DOWN ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 08 Jul 2009
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2009 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Robert Matas
Innovative Program Run By The Downtown Eastside Youth Activities Society Is Ending After 21 Years Amid Allegations Of Mismanagement And Financial Improprieties
North America's first needle exchange program, run by the Downtown Eastside Youth Activities Society, is closing down after 21 years amid allegations of mismanagement and financial improprieties.
John Turvey, a former drug addict who formed the group in Canada's most desolate neighbourhood, defied authorities in 1988 with the radical idea of dispensing clean needles to intravenous drug users with HIV/AIDS who were dying in rapidly increasing numbers. He confronted strident opposition from police and politicians who believed the unconventional service provided mostly by former addicts would encourage drug use and lead to an increasing number of contaminated needles abandoned in school grounds and neighbourhood parks.
The opposition proved groundless. Within years, the radical innovation was broadly embraced across Canada and the United States as an effective measure to combat a deadly threat to public health. Mr. Turvey, who initially paid for the program out of his own pocket, had anticipated 200 addicts would exchange needles. Within six months, more than 2,000 people in Vancouver were using the service. Municipal and then regional health authorities stepped in to pick up the bills. At its peak in the late 1990s, as many as three million needles a year were being distributed in Vancouver.
(8) COLUMN: WHAT IS STATE SMOKING? ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 07 Jul 2009
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2009 The Denver Post Corp
Author: Susan Greene, Columnist
On good days, Jason Young walks with a cane or uses a wheelchair. On bad ones, he can't get out of bed.
"The pain overwhelms me without something to take care of it," says the 33-year-old multiple sclerosis patient from Denver.
At first, he treated his muscle spasms with prescribed Percocet, which made him drool. Then he switched to Vicodin, which made him dumb.
Finally, Young turned to a different treatment - daily fixes of high-grade marijuana. Now he's having more good days than bad.
"The law works," he says. "The state is trying to fix a policy that isn't broken."
Young is one of 7,630 Coloradans registered under a voter-approved law legalizing marijuana for people with medical problems. The state doesn't track the number of so-called caregivers designated to grow and dispense the "medicine."
(Turns out that terms like "dealer" and "pot" are frowned upon by health officials. )
The caregiving business has boomed since Barack Obama signaled that his administration won't prosecute medical users or suppliers who follow state laws. Some 30 dispensaries have opened in Colorado since he took office.
One of the busiest is Patients' Choice on South Broadway, offering 18 organic strains to take the edge off everything from broken bones to nausea. Its "A-Train" herb offers a peppy buzz that's light on the lungs. I'm told. And "Maui Wowie" promises sleep for insomniacs.
Young is partial to a prescribed blend of "Endless Sky" and "Island Sweet Skunk," and to orange-flavor hashish lollipops that ease pain smoke-free.
Co-owner Jim Bent claims his shop has 300 customers; he and partners opened it in February.
To keep business budding, he and fellow caregivers are rallying against a proposed policy to limit their clientele to only five patients per provider. The reforms also would redefine "caregiver" to mean someone who also cooks, cleans or gives rides to sick users.
The first attempt to curb legal dealing went up in smoke.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
More predictable consequences of prohibition for prisons and law enforcement. Also this week in Canada, the U.S. indicts a Canadian border guard, while the RCMP refocuses on some local areas.
(9) PRISONER CROWDING IS CITED AFTER RIOT ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 07 Jul 2009
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2009 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Jonathan Saltzman
Population Is Up Fivefold Since 1980
The weekend riot at the Middlesex Jail in Cambridge has put a spotlight on overcrowding at Massachusetts jails, where the total population has soared more than 500 percent since 1980 and has pushed many institutions well beyond their capacity.
The Middlesex Jail, which occupies the 17th through 20th floors of the otherwise vacant 22-story former courthouse on Thorndike Street, was built for 161 people but has long exceeded that population. Last September it held 415 detainees, nearly 2 1/2 times its capacity, according to the state Department of Correction's most recent quarterly report on overcrowding at prisons and jails.
"The fact of the matter is the jails are brutally overcrowded in Middlesex County,'' said David W. White Jr., a Boston lawyer who chaired a Massachusetts Bar Association task force that released a study in April on overcrowding.
While the cause of Sunday's riot appeared to stem from detainees' concerns about a possible swine flu outbreak, prisoner advocates and jail officials said severe overcrowding is also creating tremendous stress in detention centers across the state, making violence more likely.
"We have a facility that was built for 160, and yesterday we had 403,'' Scott Brazis, superintendent of the jail, said yesterday. "When you have a place that is just so overpopulated . . . [disturbances] can happen at any facility at any time across the country, and this facility is no different.''
(10) POLICE CRACKDOWNS MAY ENCOURAGE DRUG USE ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 3 Jul 2009
Source: New Scientist (UK)
Copyright: New Scientist, RBI Limited 2009
Author: Jim Giles
TOUGH policing of the illegal drugs market may have the perverse effect of making drugs more affordable and thereby encouraging people to use them, according to a new model of the dynamics of this market.
Its creators, a team of economists led by Manolis Galenianos of Pennsylvania State University in University Park, stop short of calling for police to soften their approach because this would also have adverse consequences. But for law enforcers whose aim is to discourage drug use, the findings hint that tough policing alone may not be the most effective way to tackle the problem.
The model is based on the interactions of a hypothetical population of buyers and sellers. Unlike other models of the market in illicit drugs, it takes into account two factors that are crucial to the way sellers and buyers act that tend not to be present in conventional markets.
One concerns the way consumers judge quality. In the market for electronic goods, say, consumers generally have access to reliable information about the quality of the product. In contrast, heroin users often have no way of gauging the quality of a purchase before they use it.
The second concerns what is known as "search cost". While buyers of TVs can easily switch shops if they don't like a seller, drug users face an increased risk of arrest every time they search out a new dealer. So in Galenianos's model, buyers make purchasing decisions without considering whether they could get higher-quality drugs at a lower price from somewhere other than their usual supplier.
The model produces results that resemble some of what is seen in real drug markets, suggesting that it provides a useful reflection of the real world. It also throws up fresh ways in which dealers and addicts may relate to each other, and some unexpected ways in which these ties can impact the price of drugs.
(11) U.S. INDICTS CANADIAN GUARD ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 07 Jul 2009
Source: Langley Advance (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Matthew Claxton, Writer, Langley Advance
A Guard Who Worked At The Aldergrove Border Crossing Is Wanted By American Authorities.
An Aldergrove border guard faces charges of conspiracy to smuggle drugs in the United States, and may face extradition.
An arrest warrant for Jasbir Singh Grewal was issued in a Seattle courtroom two weeks ago.
Grewal is accused of allowing at least 12 large shipments of cocaine concealed in motor homes to cross into B.C. from Washington state through the Aldergrove crossing.
A grand jury indictment indicates Grewal is charged with conspiracy to export cocaine, allegedly in partnership with several others.
The cocaine was allegedly moved north in a recreation vehicle, and Grewal was paid $50,000 per shipment, according to the U.S. indictment.
Police south of the border believe Grewal was warned in advance that a shipment was coming in, and that he told the driver of the vehicle by phone to come through the booth where he was stationed. The indictment claims the smuggling began in the summer of 2007 and continued until November 2008.
(12) RCMP SHIFTING FOCUS TO GANGS ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 07 Jul 2009
Source: Fort McMurray Today (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 Osprey Media
Author: Roland Cilliers, Staff Writer
Local RCMP plan to shift their focus from its drug unit in favour of a larger gang enforcement unit.
Karolina Malik of the Fort McMurray RCMP told Today local law enforcement will be making several changes to better respond to crime.
"We need to make sure that we stay up to date with different things that are happening in the community, and given different situations that have occurred over the years we need to make sure that we evolve and make sure that our policing is effective - and also in the way we investigate things," said Malik.
More details about the planned changes weren't available at press time as the RCMP isn't officially releasing the information at this time.
"There are a few changes that will be happening but in order for things to be approved we need to bring things forward to the municipality and there will be changes that need to be happening, but they need to be approved first," said Malik.
As it exists now the Fort McMurray drug unit consists of eight members who undertake operations involving drug trafficking in the community.
Cannabis & Hemp-
Thanks in part to a few television stations refusing to air their public service announcement, MPP drew national attention to their "tax me" campaign in California.
A judge in South Dakota made an example of cannabis activist Bob Newland, forbidding him from advocating cannabis law reform for one year as a condition of his sentence for cannabis possession, thus drawing more attention to Newland's cause.
The Wall Street Journal reported on efforts in L.A. to bury their medicinal marijuana dispensary bonanza in bureaucracy.
Former seed merchant Marc Emery is preparing to serve time in a U.S. prison with a cross-Canada tour, urging supporters to lobby for his return.
(13) AD PUSHES POT AS BUDGET FIX ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 8 Jul 2009
Source: Daily Press, The (Escanaba, MI)
Page: Front Page
Copyright: 2009 The Daily Press
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A pro-marijuana group is launching another television bid to legalize pot in California -- this time with the pitch that legalizing and taxing the drug could help solve the state's massive budget deficit.
The 30-second spot, airing Wednesday and paid for by the Marijuana Policy Project, features a retired 58-year-old state worker who says state leaders "are ignoring millions of Californians who want to pay taxes."
"We're marijuana consumers," says Nadene Herndon of Fair Oaks, who says she began using marijuana after suffering multiple strokes three years ago. "Instead of being treated like criminals for using a substance safer than alcohol, we want to pay our fair share."
State lawmakers are bitterly debating how to close a $26.3 billion budget deficit that likely means cuts to state services.
In February, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, introduced a bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. Bill supporters estimate the state's pot industry could bring in more than $1 billion in taxes.
The ad will air on several cable news channels and network broadcast affiliates in Los Angeles, Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.
The group said in a statement that three California stations -- KABC- TV in Los Angeles, KGO-TV of San Francisco and KNTV-TV in San Jose -- refused to air the ad.
Representatives from the three stations did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.
(14) MARIJUANA ADVOCATE BOB NEWLAND GETS 45 DAYS IN JAIL, PROBATION ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 7 Jul 2009
Source: Rapid City Journal (SD)
Copyright: 2009 The Rapid City Journal
Author: Andrea J. Cook
Medical marijuana proponent Bob Newland's advocacy days are over - at least for a year while he is under court supervision.
Newland, who pleaded guilty to felony possession of marijuana, was sentenced Monday to one year in the Pennington County Jail.
Before his sentencing, Newland told Seventh Circuit Judge John "Jack" Delaney that he has had butterflies in his stomach since his arrest in March. Newland said he was humbled by the letters of support that were forwarded to the judge.
"Today, I'm frightened," Newland said. "Nothing I can say would be other than self-serving.
Delaney also told Newland that he is not to take a public role in efforts to legalize marijuana for the next year.
Delaney suspended all but 45 days of the sentence however, any violation of the terms of his sentence will send Newland to jail for the full year.
"You are not going to take a position as a public figure who got a light sentence," Delaney warned Newland.
Delaney said Newland case was not a typical possession case.
"I have an entire segment of society that will take note of this case," Delaney said. Several of Newland's friends and supporters were in the courtroom.
Delaney said Newland's advocacy was not an issue, what was an issue was the idea of an adult doing anything that would encourage kids to drink or do drugs. Juvenile courts are packed with kids who have drug problems, Delaney said.
"Ninety-five percent of my chronic truants are using pot," Delaney said.
(15) L.A. TARGETS CANNABIS CLUBS ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 08 Jul 2009
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Sabrina Shankman
LOS ANGELES -- Daniel Halbert moved here from Phoenix this year to invest his life savings in what he hoped was a golden opportunity: the medical-marijuana business.
But on Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council told him to shut down his dispensary, part of a broad crackdown against a growing and unregulated marijuana industry. More than 600 dispensaries have taken advantage of a loophole in city regulations to open shop here in the past two years.
The unchecked growth has alarmed some city leaders.
"They were like a rash," said City Councilman Ed Reyes, who is leading the effort to shut down many of the dispensaries. He said a colleague told him that at one dispensary near a high school, the student crowds outside made the pot store look "like an ice cream shop from the 1950s."
The planning committee has begun hearings to close the loophole used by dispensaries to set up shop with scarcely any paperwork or permits.
At the committee's first hearings last week, it told 28 dispensaries to close or face a fine. This week, it was Mr. Halbert's turn.
(16) POT CRUSADER HAS HIGH HOPES ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 7 Jul 2009
Source: Lethbridge Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 The Lethbridge Herald
Author: Caroline Zentner
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?196 (Emery, Marc)
Marc Emery, the self-titled Prince of Pot, is no stranger to a jail cell but this time he's heading south of the border and fully expects he'll get a five-year sentence when he pleads guilty to a count of distributing marijuana for selling cannabis seeds.
Emery, who also publishes Cannabis Culture Magazine, stopped in Lethbridge Tuesday as part of his farewell tour before he pleads guilty to the charge in a Seattle courtroom in September or October.
He was scheduled to give an evening presentation at the University of Lethbridge Student Union Building, an event sponsored by the Southern Alberta Cannabis Club and B.O.B. Headquarters. He's travelling across the country and calling on supporters to ready themselves to lobby politicians.
"The thing I am asking my supporters to do once I am sentenced and put in a U.S. jail is to get me transferred back to Canada," Emery said.
In return for his guilty plea, other charges for conspiracy to money launder and conspiracy to manufacture will be dropped. Two of his employees have also pleaded guilty to distributing marijuana and are awaiting sentencing, likely two years of probation. That allows him to avoid facing longer prison terms and hefty financial penalties.
Emery gave up his fight against extradition on the advice of his lawyers. Even so, he said he finds it ironic that the biggest beneficiaries of his seed business were the Canadian and British Columbian governments. He maintains he conducted his business out in the open and paid taxes on the money he made. But he admits to being belligerent and unrepentant, too, and that likely hasn't won him any favours with the U.S. criminal justice system.
"Why must we obey drug laws?" you ask. "The law is the law," comes back the answer from prohibitionist government and police. The Washington Post this week reported that in order to save Mexicans from the lawlessness of drugs, "to extract confessions, [Mexican government] soldiers beat [suspects], held plastic bags over their heads until some lost consciousness, strapped their feet to a ceiling while dunking their heads in water and applied electric shocks". The anti-drug tortures came to light after two dozen Tijuana policemen were detained for over a month on a military base. Those tortured were accused, ironically, of corruption.
"Are there no prisons?" You bet there are, and while robbers, murderers, and rapists may get a slap on the wrist, prisons in Canada are gearing up for massive increases after passage of the C-15 (mandatory minimums for pot) are expected to pack prisons with petty cannabis criminals. "The new unit" on Prince Edward Island "is expected to be complete by next year and is estimated to cost about $2-3 million. But this is only the beginning".
Meanwhile in B.C., Canada, statistics collected by the Coroners Service say drug deaths are down over the last ten years. Some credit the supervised injection site, Insite, opened in 2003, for bringing the number of deaths down in Vancouver from "191 in 1998 to 30 in 2008."
When drug policy reformers meet prohibitionists with logic and persuasion, all too often prohibitionists respond with assertion and demands of obedience, rather than explanation. The pattern was repeated in Alberta, Canada last week when Alberta Justice Minister Alison Redford was called to justify prohibition. "Forget trying to rationalize that the sole reason there is violence around the drug trade is because drugs are illegal and the dealers are competing for a market share." As time goes on, such unreasoning prohibition is eroding, and even carries a political price. "Redford should remember that as more and more people find themselves comfortable in admitting they are recreational drug users, especially pot smokers, the more she risks alienating a large number of people who identify themselves as Tory voters."
(17) MEXICO ACCUSED OF TORTURE IN DRUG WAR ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jul 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company
Army Using Brutality To Fight Trafficking, Rights Groups Say
PUERTO LAS OLLAS, Mexico -- The Mexican army has carried out forced disappearances, acts of torture and illegal raids in pursuit of drug traffickers, according to documents and interviews with victims, their families, political leaders and human rights monitors.
In Tijuana, across the border from San Diego, two dozen policemen who were arrested on drug charges in March alleged that, to extract confessions, soldiers beat them, held plastic bags over their heads until some lost consciousness, strapped their feet to a ceiling while dunking their heads in water and applied electric shocks, according to court documents, letters and interviews with their relatives and defense lawyers.
The officers were detained at a military base for more than a month.
"It really takes a lot of cynicism, a lot of hypocrisy, for the United States to say, 'We will give you money to fight drug trafficking as long as you respect human rights,' " said Jose Raymundo Diaz Taboada, director of the Acapulco office of the Collective Against Torture and Impunity, which documents abuses in Guerrero.
Guerrero said it took four days for the army to admit that it was holding his brother. When he finally saw him, he said, his brother was covered in bruises. He later told Guerrero that soldiers had beaten him four times and asphyxiated him with a plastic bag until he passed out.
(18) P.E.I. JAIL TO GET MAJOR EXPANSION ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 02 Jul 2009
Source: Times & Transcript (Moncton, CN NK)
Copyright: 2009 New Brunswick Publishing Company
This new unit will create an additional 48 beds and will create a separate space for lower-risk inmates who only serve intermittent sentences -- known as 'weekenders.'
"There is overcrowding, particularly on weekends," said Craig McDowell, Sleepy Hollow's corrections manager.
"The major issue is for security and safety concerns with regards to weekenders coming in, and more often than not they are pressured to lug drugs into the institution and so on."
The new unit is expected to be complete by next year and is estimated to cost about $2-3 million.
But this is only the beginning of many upgrades.
(19) DRUG DEATHS DOWN ( Top )
Pubdate: Tue, 07 Jul 2009
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Across B.C., fewer drug users are dying of overdoses. The number of deaths has dropped from a high of 396 in 1998 to 133 in 2008, according to B.C. Coroners Service statistics. In Vancouver, the number of drug deaths is down from a high of 191 in 1998 to 30 in 2008. Proponents of Insite credit the supervised injection site, which was opened in 2003. But the decreasing popularity of injectable drugs in favour of crack and meth is also likely a factor.
(20) WHATEVER YOUR VALUES, REDFORD IS WAY OFF BASE ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 03 Jul 2009
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Dave Breakenridge
Forget the talk that might lump me in with the most hardcore of the freedom fighters.
Forget trying to rationalize that the sole reason there is violence around the drug trade is because drugs are illegal and the dealers are competing for a market share.
Forget the argument alcohol was once the subject of violent organized crime clashes, during a time when it was prohibited.
Legalize drugs? What have you been smoking? Those arguments don't take well in Alberta.
Oh, and nix the line about marijuana being less harmful, and drug users more apt to be a harm to themselves rather than to others.
Despite all that, gangs are bad and if you want to smoke a spliff come Saturday, you're with the gangsters, according to our top law enforcers.
I'm no fancy big-city lawyer like Justice Minister Alison Redford, but if hers is what qualifies as a reasoned argument, I guess I saved money by not going to law school.
Who cares if it's proven that programs that divert people from the jail system and into treatment actually save us money in the long run?
She's right, if marijuana were made legal, there would still be a market for other illegal drugs, but as reason for prohibition, it is the most faulty kind of logic. We may as well reinstitute alcohol prohibition.
And Redford should remember that as more and more people find themselves comfortable in admitting they are recreational drug users, especially pot smokers, the more she risks alienating a large number of people who identify themselves as Tory voters.
In a war to win the hearts and minds of Albertans, Redford is likely hitting the right notes for the choir, but will do little to sway the congregation.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
"WE WANT TO PAY OUR FAIR SHARE" ( Top )
This MPP Foundation commercial, featuring an actual California marijuana consumer, began airing on cable and broadcast television in much of California on July 8.
NEW HAMPSHIRE GOV. LYNCH VETOES MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL ( Top )
By Radical Russ
If the governor is going to veto a bill anyway, why compromise?
BRUCE MIRKEN DEFENDS MPP ADS ON FOX NEWS ( Top )
MPP Director of Communications Bruce Mirken talks about the benefits of taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol as a way to help California's budget problems. He also criticizes the rejection of ads promoting this reform by several California TV stations in the wake of Governor Schwarzenegger's call for open debate on the subject. Debating him is Calvina Fay of the Drug Free America Foundation.
THIS IS YOUR COUNTRY ON DRUGS: HOW THE DARE GENERATION GOT HIGH ( Top )
By Ryan Grim
Exclusive from new book shares the '80s generation's encounter with illicit drugs, and how they really caught on.
COPPING TO THE POPPY CROP FLOP ( Top )
By Jacob Sullum
Can the farmers and the drug warriors be friends?
DR. NANCY SNYDERMAN AND GUESTS WONDER IF MARIJUANA SHOULD BE LEGAL ( Top )
From MSNBC's "The Rounds", Dr Gregory Carter squares off with Dr. Hal Urschel WHO owns an addiction recovery center and former drug czar Barry McCafferty
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Century of Lies - 07/05/09 - Jerry Epstein
Jerry Epstein, president of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas + Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance on Michael Jackson's unnecessary overdose death.
Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 07/08/09 - Jerry Paradis
Jerry Paradis, Canadian Judge (ret) & speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition + Paul Armentano of NORML on forthcoming convention in San Francisco
LETTER FROM LSD-INVENTOR ALBERT HOFMANN TO APPLE CEO STEVE JOBS ( Top )
Read the Never-Before-Published Letter From LSD-Inventor Albert Hofmann to Apple CEO Steve Jobs
By Ryan Grim
DRUG CRAZY ONLINE ( Top )
The new website, Libertary.com, has just posted a free online version of the full text of "Drug Crazy: How We Got Into This Mess and How We Can Get Out."
With legalization of all drugs as the central thrust of this 198-page non-fiction thriller, the timing could not be better.
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
REGISTER FOR AN UPCOMING CONFERENCE ( Top )
Yes We Cannabis!
The 2009 NORML Conference will be held Thursday, September 24 through Saturday, September 26 at the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco, CA.
Blueprints for Beyond Prohibition ( Top )
Vancouver, B.C., Oct. 23-25, 2009
The Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy presents its third national conference, hosted by CSSDP chapters at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia.
International Drug Policy Reform Conference ( Top )
November 12-14, 2009, Albuquerque, New Mexico
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
Copyright: The Progress-Index 2009 ( Top )
WHAT ARE THEY THINKING ABOUT MARIJUANA POLICY?
By Charles Johnson
To the Editor:
I was very disappointed to receive a letter from our congressman, Republican Randy Forbes, recently in which he stated he is unalterably opposed to marijuana legalization for medicinal or recreational use. I was mostly disappointed, because in his letter he was not familiar with drug classification in the United States by the Drug Enforcement Agency. He referred to cocaine/crack as a schedule I narcotic and looped it in with meth, PCP, marijuana, heroin and, as he put it, 100 other schedule I narcotics.
Marijuana is a Schedule I narcotic, however cocaine, even in its form as crack, is a schedule II narcotic, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. This is one of the reasons we should be reaching out to our representatives and citizens. I think education and awareness is the best way to resolve this part of the war on drugs. Everyone knows cocaine/crack is worse than marijuana. I have seen physical addiction and overdoses first hand.
I have never seen a marijuana overdose or heard of physical addiction to marijuana. I think any person who assumes the unalterable position that marijuana is worse than crack cannot be effective in resolving drug issues. I was also disappointed to hear him say; "Federal Health Officials believe that the public is better served if science, rather than the ballot box or the courts, were used to judge a drug's utility."
I didn't vote for a guy who wanted to do what he thought would be best for the constituency. I voted for a guy who would listen to and represent the wishes of the constituency with an open mind and from an informed perspective. Republicans who share this unalterable view, such as Republican Rep. Mark Kirk from Chicago who has called for federal legislation to sentence certain first-time marijuana offenders to up to 25 years in prison, are very disturbing. Locking up non-violent people and throwing away the key is immoral.
What's more disturbing is that citizens in our communities are being encouraged to spy on each other and threatened. They are told to be on the look out and contact private e-mail addresses if they see marijuana growing on their property or someone else's, otherwise, they could lose their property through forfeiture laws. Marijuana users are also portrayed as evil doers who smoke marijuana in front of their children. A lot of people would say if you use tobacco or drink in front of your children you're a bad parent. I personally do not share that point of view. It is a matter of personal freedom and it's time for the elected officials to listen, learn and represent the citizens.
There is a lot of stepped up rhetoric about marijuana these days. I hope most people are too smart to listen to the William Randolph Hearst propaganda tactics. This is 2009 not 1932. There were 50,000 alcohol poisonings in the United States last year. There were 435,000 deaths from tobacco, 7,600 from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and 0 overdoses or poisonings from marijuana. I cannot believe our elected leaders don't have anything better to do. They encourage us to spy on each other and report back to them. They threaten us with up to 25 years in prison for non-violent offenses. They deny citizens who are seriously ill a little comfort and relief from pain. To take an unalterable and uninformed position on other people's freedoms, privacy and comfort is unacceptable and we need to vote these elected officials out.
Charles Johnson Dinwiddie County
Pubdate: Thu, 02 Jul 2009
Source: Progress-Index, The (VA)
LETTER WRITER OF THE MONTH - June ( Top )
DrugSense recognizes Kirk Muse of Mesa, Arizona for his four letters published during June, bringing the total number of published letters archived by MAP to 1,114. Kirk is also a volunteer newshawk, having newshawked 113 MAP archived articles so far this year.
You may read Kirk's published letters at:
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
Pissing On Drug Warrior Graves ( Top )
By Dean Becker
Those who support drug prohibition are the best friends the drug lords could ever hope for.
Drug warriors stand in eternal support of Osama bin Laden and worldwide terrorism; they are the wind beneath the wings of the barbarous cartels in Mexico and serve as home boys to the violent gangs that run roughshod in our neighborhoods. Drug war proponents have crafted policies that ensure ever increasing numbers of deaths from overdose, street corner shoot outs and from diseases that could have been prevented via a more intelligent policy.
In my work I have sought the answer to a very simple question: "Can you name the #1 success of the drug war?" One would think that after a hundred years there would be a powerful answer to the question, but the truth is, from the drug czar on down through the DEA to the cop on the beat there is no one who will answer, none willing to even attempt to justify the horrors created by this policy of drug prohibition.
Behind closed doors, these politicians, judges and law enforcement personnel agree, that the drug war is a failed, hopeless policy. Yet when the corporate media puts that microphone to their face and turns that camera on, they revert to cannibalism. In order for them to thrive, they insist on maintaining the lie and continue devouring generations of our children, for making the same mistakes they made in their youth. (Right, Mr. Obama?)
Those who thrive on eternal drug war refuse to debate me, to submit to an interview on my radio shows, to email or write me or to even talk with me in public. They live in a world of lies, a mutual absolution society. There is no truth, justice, logic, scientific fact, medical data or any legitimate reason for this drug war to exist. The main reason it continues is the silence of the lambs, the populace so afraid to speak, so paranoid of the glaring truth that surrounds us that they remain in the grip of a taboo so powerful that they stand helplessly while the drug war devours our Constitution, fills our prisons with our children, empowers criminals worldwide and wastes hundreds of billions of our tax dollars.
If you're afraid to speak about the drug war at work, in school, in church or elsewhere, you must educate yourself, embolden your efforts and get off the couch to email, write, call and visit your elected officials. You'll be surprised, they get it, they know the full truth about this drug war, they are just waiting to hear it from you.
I'm finishing a new book and might I suggest you use it as a tool to embolden your efforts: "This Is Your Country on Drugs - The Secret History of Getting High in America" by Ryan Grim. Ryan has assembled facts and history enough to give the reader new confidence and enough backbone to do battle in ending the drug war.
Each day you remain silent, you reinforce and support this modern inquisition and it's myriad and murderous ways; and we are once again and so easily one day closer to the destruction of liberty, of America itself.
What do you want America to be, a land of cops, dogs and prisons? That is where we are and will forever be if we do not soon sound the alarm to prevent further damage to our nation from the policy of drug prohibition. You hold the key; you are the answer.
This article first appeared in the Huffington Post as the first entry in Dean Becker's new blog http://drugsense.org/url/FszU5bvS
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"Seven beers followed by two Scotches and a thimble of marijuana and it's funny how sleep comes all on it's own." - David Sedaris
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