This Just In
(1)The Marijuana Closet
(2)Abortion Funds, Marijuana Among Subjects in House Bill
(3)Forces Swarm to Counter Drug Gang
(4)Analysis Shows Marijuana Tax Would Generate $1.4 Billion

Hot Off The 'Net
-Love Thy Neighbor: The Immorality Of Marijuana Prohibition
-Ethan Nadelmann Speaks At The NAACP Conference
-Drug Truth Network
-Drugsense/MAP Insider Newsletter Issue 11
-Marijuana Nation
-"Crisis In California" - Calvina Fay Debates Rob Kampia

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Thu, 16 Jul 2009
Source: Pasadena Weekly (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Southland Publishing
Author: Bruce Mirken

Pot Has Lots of Medicinal and Financial Benefits, But TV Stations Still Dare Not Say Its Name

Earlier this month, the organization I work for, the Marijuana Policy Project, inadvertently stirred up a hornet's nest with what we thought was a pretty straightforward TV commercial. That our modest little ad proved too hot to handle for such Los Angeles-area stations as KNBC, KABC, KTLA, KTTV and KCOP ( plus a couple stations in San Francisco ) says more about socially acceptable attitudes regarding marijuana than about the ad ( or the drug ) itself.

After a series of images depicting spending cuts expected as a result of California's budget crisis, Nadene Herndon of Fair Oaks ( near Sacramento ) looks at the camera and says: "Sacramento says huge cuts to schools, health care and police are inevitable due to California's budget crisis. Even our state parks could be closed. But the governor and legislature are ignoring millions of Californians who want to pay taxes.

"We're marijuana consumers. Instead of being treated like criminals for using a safe substance, we want to pay our fair share. Taxes from California's marijuana industry could pay the salaries of 20,000 teachers. Isn't it time?"

The spot concludes with a slide reading, "Tax and Regulate Marijuana."

That's it. Nothing in the spot urged people to light up, and there were no images of marijuana or marijuana use at all. Yet over half a dozen major-market TV stations, including the NBC and ABC affiliates in LA and San Francisco, flatly refused to air it. The general manager of KABC insisted to me in an oddly heated phone conversation that the commercial advocates marijuana use, and he wasn't going to advocate illegal activity on his station.




Pubdate: Fri, 17 Jul 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post

The D.C. government could fund abortions for the poor and take steps toward legalizing marijuana for medical purposes under a spending bill passed by the House yesterday.

The measure passed by a narrow 219 to 208 vote. Many antiabortion Democrats voted against it because of the move by Democratic leaders to permit the D.C. government to use locally raised tax revenue to provide abortions, reversing a long-standing ban imposed by Congress. The bill would also begin to phase out a school voucher program for D.C. students that is popular with Republicans, and it would establish a needle exchange program for intravenous drug users to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Republicans were blocked from being able to vote on reversing the Democratic moves but forced an amendment to prohibit the use of federal funding for needle exchange programs in many parts of the District, prompting concerns among AIDS activists that the city could lose a valuable weapon in the fight against the disease.

The amendment, offered by Rep. Jack Kingston ( R-Ga. ), would prohibit the city from using federal funds to distribute needles for the "injection of illegal drugs . . . within 1,000 feet of a public or private day care center, elementary school, vocational school, secondary school, college, junior college, university, public swimming pool, park, playground, video arcade or youth center."

A companion bill in the Senate does not contain language prohibiting the use of federal dollars for needle exchanges. But it is not certain that provisions to permit abortion funding and medicinal use of marijuana will survive when the Senate takes up the spending bill.




Pubdate: Fri, 17 Jul 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: Ken Ellingwood, Reporting from Mexico City

Mexico Under Siege

Mexico is to deploy 5,500 security personnel to the western state of Michoacan, where a series of recent attacks has killed 16 police officers. The La Familia drug gang is suspected in the slayings.

By Ken Ellingwood, Reporting from Mexico City

Mexican authorities announced plans Thursday to send 5,500 police officers and military personnel to the western state of Michoacan to confront a violent crime syndicate offering some of the fiercest resistance President Felipe Calderon's government has faced since launching its war on drugs 2 1/2 years ago.

About 1,000 extra police officers were deployed Thursday before officials outlined the broader buildup. The move, which included providing helicopters and other equipment, represented a show of resolve in Calderon's home state, a major drug-trafficking corridor where 16 police officers have been killed recently in well-coordinated attacks. Following the assaults, police have patrolled in convoys and curtailed nighttime operations as a way to avoid further casualties.

One Mexican pundit said the recent aggressiveness by the drug-trafficking group La Familia was the equivalent of the surprise 1968 Tet offensive by communist forces in the Vietnam War.




Pubdate: Thu, 16 Jul 2009
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2009 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Marcus Wohlsen, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - A bill to tax and regulate marijuana in California like alcohol would generate nearly $1.4 billion in revenue for the cash-strapped state, according to an official analysis released Wednesday by tax officials.

The State Board of Equalization report estimates marijuana retail sales would bring $990 million from a $50-per-ounce fee and $392 million in sales taxes.

The bill introduced by San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano in February would allow adults 21 and older to legally possess, grow and sell marijuana.

Ammiano has promoted the bill as a way to help bridge the state's $26.3 billion budget shortfall.

"It defies reason to propose closing parks and eliminating vital services for the poor while this potential revenue is available," Ammiano said in a statement.





It's all about the money this week, as prohibitionists wonder if they will have enough to continue the crusade. Throughout the U.S., drug prosecutions could become much more complex for lab analysts, after the Supreme Court ruled that people on trial have the right to face lab analysts during trial. Prosecutors predict disaster.

Elsewhere, budget problems in California may undermine Prop. 36; Ukiah County is not going to spend as much on cannabis prosecutions; and a used car deal becomes the first business to be crushed by anti-meth laws in Washington State.


Pubdate: Wed, 15 Jul 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company
Author: Tom Jackman, Washington Post Staff Writer

High Court Requires Scientists to Testify

The predictions are dire. In New York, murderers could walk free. In Fairfax County, drunken driving cases could be dismissed. And nationwide, thousands of drug cases might have to be thrown out of court annually.

Legal experts and prosecutors are concerned about the results of last month's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that requires lab analysts to be in court to testify about their tests. Lab sheets that identify a substance as a narcotic or breath-test printouts describing a suspect's blood-alcohol level are no longer sufficient evidence, the court ruled. A person must be in court to talk about the test results.

The opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, has prosecutors and judges shaking their heads in disgust and defense lawyers nodding with satisfaction at the notion that the Constitution's Sixth Amendment guarantee that defendants "shall enjoy the right . . . to be confronted with the witnesses against him" is not satisfied by a sheet of paper.

"This is the biggest case for the defense since Miranda," said Fairfax defense lawyer Paul L. McGlone, referring to the Supreme Court ruling that required police to inform defendants of their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. He said judges "are no longer going to assume certain facts are true without requiring the prosecution to actually put on their evidence."

Four drunken driving cases in Fairfax and at least one in Prince William County have been thrown out by judges after defense attorneys used the new ruling to challenge the prosecution's evidence.

States and counties across the country handle evidence differently, so the problems caused by the ruling vary widely. But many jurisdictions have a similar issue: Crime labs that test drug and DNA samples face huge backlogs even when scientists and analysts do not have to testify. If the workers are taken out of the labs to appear in court, those backlogs will grow.

In drug cases, more than 1.5 million samples are analyzed by state and local labs each year, resulting in more than 350,000 felony convictions, national statistics show. "Even if only 5 percent of drug cases culminate in trials, the burden on the states is oppressive," a group of state attorneys general wrote in a brief for the case.




Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jul 2009
Source: Chico News & Review, The (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: Christine G.K. LaPado, Staff Writer

Drug Court Officials Decry Possible Loss Of Prop. 36 Funding

When voters passed Proposition 36, the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, in 2000, many law-enforcement officials thought it wouldn't work. By mandating treatment instead of incarceration for first- and second-time nonviolent drug offenders, it lacked a "hammer"-the threat of jail time-that would make sure people stuck with their treatment regimens.

But most now agree the program has been a success, and nowhere more so than in Butte County. Here it's kept more than 2,000 people out of jail, turned around many lives, and saved the county and state millions of dollars in incarceration costs.

If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gets his way on the state budget, however, that success is about to end.




Pubdate: Fri, 10 Jul 2009
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal, The (CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Ukiah Daily Journal
Author: K.C. Meadows, Staff Writer

A staff shortage in the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office has led DA Meredith Lintott to advise her attorneys to limit the marijuana cases they file.

In an internal memo leaked to the Daily Journal, Lintott gives the following "charging directions":

"Cases submitted for prosecution where the total plant count is under 200 plants and/or the total amount of processed marijuana involved is less than 20 pounds shall be rejected."

Factors to consider, according to the memo, separate from the plant count, are whether weapons were involved, whether any children were on scene, whether the marijuana was clearly intended for sale, whether the arrestee has a criminal history and whether there were workers on scene and if they had workers compensation insurance.

In all cases, the memo explains, the DA attorneys should use their discretion and use the memo as a guideline, not a policy.




Pubdate: Tue, 14 Jul 2009
Source: Whidbey News-Times (WA)
Copyright: 2009 Whidbey News Times
Author: Jessie Stensland, Assistant Editor

A North Whidbey used car lot earned the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first dealership to have its license yanked by the state due to methamphetamine contamination.

The state Department of Licensing issued a summary suspension of O&J Sales' license last week. The notice of summary suspension states that meth contamination of vehicles, as well as the business' failure to transfer titles in a timely manner, as the reasons for the action. Brad Benfield, spokesman for the department, said it was the first time meth contamination has been cited in a suspension.

But the owner of O&J Sales is frustrated by what he feels is an overzealous health department, unclear state rules about meth contamination and the unequal application of those rules.

"If the standards were applied to every car dealership in the state, most of them would go out of business," said Oak Harbor resident Mark Brown, a retired elementary school teacher and owner of the car lot.

The standard that the Island County Health Department used is so low, Brown said, that a meth smoker could contaminate a car by simply going on a test drive. On the other side, health officials are just starting to realize the mounting problems with meth use - specifically the smoking of the crystalline drug - tainting homes and cars, possibly putting unsuspecting people at a health risk.



COMMENTS: (9-12)

A Canadian landlord isn't happy about being penalized for unknowingly renting to a cannabis grow-op. Also from Canada, Marc Emery says he's not worried about jail in the U.S., while there's more carnage in Mexico and methadone vending machines in a UK prison.


Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jul 2009
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Don Peat, Staff Writer

VAUGHAN -- A knock on the door from York Regional Police was the first time landlord Hasan Farooq found out his tenant had a marijuana grow-op.

While the cops arrested his renter, Farooq quickly found out he was on the hook for the building and fire code violations created by the clandestine operation.

"It makes me angry; the next day the criminals got out," Farooq said. "They're not getting punished and here we are being penalized."

Farooq was shocked to learn the 75-year-old man renting his home was secretly growing marijuana and even stealing hydro to do it. The illegal hydro hook-up was right inside the front door but outside the home still looked fine.

After the police raid, Farooq was able to go in the house to see the damage. He said there was mould everywhere, water in the light fixtures and $140,000 in repairs that had to be done to the house.

Farooq ended up facing the charges in court where he was given a $5,000 fine for fire code violations on top of having to pay to fix the house.

Part of his punishment was going public with his story to help educate other landlords about the dangers of being an absentee landlord, Vaughan Fire Chief Greg Senay said. He said yesterday the court-ordered media appearance was the first in Canada.




Pubdate: Fri, 10 Jul 2009
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Richard Liebrecht, Staff Writer

The prince of pot took shots at the government and praised parenthood yesterday in his last words to Edmonton supporters before heading to jail this fall.

Alberta's capital was Marc Emery's latest stop in his farewell summer tour of Canada.

"I'm not repentant. I'm not trite. I'm proud of what I've done," said Emery before dozens at Beaver Hill House Park, 105 Street and Jasper Avenue.

He's perhaps Canada's most prominent marijuana advocate, a veteran of more than 30 years of pushing pot.

"Am I worried about going to jail in a U.S. federal penitentiary? No," he said. Jail has offered "some of the best days of my life."

Emery is heading for the clink in the U.S. this fall after accepting a plea bargain in June. He'll be sentenced on one count of distributing marijuana seeds by mail to U.S. customers.




Pubdate: Wed, 15 Jul 2009
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: David Luhnow

MEXICO CITY -- Twelve undercover federal police agents were captured, tortured, and executed by a relatively new and dangerous Mexican cartel calling itself La Familia, or The Family, officials said Tuesday.

The killings are a major psychological blow to President Felipe Calderon's war on drugs. The bodies of 11 men and one woman were found by locals on the side of a highway in Mr. CalderA'n's home state of Michoacan on Monday. The victims had their hands and feet tied, showed signs of torture, and had all been shot in the head at close range.

The agents had been in Michoacan to gather intelligence on the cartel, said Federal Police spokesman Juan Carlos Buenrostro. Officials said they believed the killings were connected to the weekend capture of Arnoldo Rueda Medina, one of the cartel's major operators.

Since the Saturday arrest, gunmen believed to be working for the cartel have gone on a rampage, attacking police stations, army patrols and hotels in several different cities in Michoacan with grenades and high-caliber weapons like AK-47s and AR-15 semiautomatic rifles. The attacks killed two soldiers and six other federal police agents, and wounded a further 18 agents.




Pubdate: Wed, 15 Jul 2009
Source: Nottingham Evening Post (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Northcliffe Electronic Publishing Ltd

CONVICTS in Nottingham Prison are able to obtain the heroin substitute methadone from vending machines, it has emerged.

The machines allow prisoners to receive a personalised dose of methadone automatically as long as they can provide a fingerprint or an iris scan to prove their identity.

HMP Nottingham is one of 57 out of 140 jails in the UK that have had the biometric machines fitted so far as part of a ?4million programme - with another 13 jails in line to take part in the scheme.

But the project has now led to fears that the system will encourage drug abuse in prison rather than fight it.



COMMENTS: (13-16)

It seems to be gradually dawning on the general public that medicinal cannabis dispensaries are an improvement over the alternatives.

Are prohibitionists who argue that today's cannabis is "not your father's marijuana" being counter-productive?

If cannabis legalization is a more "simplistic" approach than mandatory minimum sentences, why is cannabis law reform so complicated?

At least some of the press were not impressed with Governor John Lynch's glib rationale for vetoing a medicinal cannabis bill in New Hampshire.


Pubdate: Tue, 14 Jul 2009
Source: Union, The (Grass Valley, CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Union
Author: Jeff Ackerman, Editor, Publisher, Columnist

A friend suggested Grass Valley would be a better place to open western Nevada County's first marijuana dispensary. "I knew a guy whose last name was Potts and he lived on High Street," he told me. We had a good laugh until I realized he was serious.

National sports commentators had fun with Grass Valley not long ago when professional football player Ricky Williams was visiting a yoga farm here after leaving football because they wouldn't let him smoke pot. He soon realized that yoga and pot didn't pay nearly as much as professional football, so he dropped the pipe and returned to the Miami Dolphins, where many of his teammates were probably shooting steroids through their butt pads and foreheads.

I bring this up as Nevada City - which some say is Grass Valley's contrary sister - studies the notion of opening a medical marijuana dispensary. A fellow named Harry Bennett, who reportedly has a doctor's note that allows him to consume marijuana, has asked the city if he can open a shop, much like the one up in Colfax. We sent a reporter up there to check it out and discovered it is quite the well- run operation that seems to be doing everything it is supposed to do by way of rules and regulations. Maybe that's why the mayor of Colfax told us there have been no problems with the business.

Nevada City's City Council is doing a thorough job studying the issue in an effort to craft an ordinance that will ensure safeguards are in place should they allow a dispensary to open. Police Chief Lou Trovato and a couple of councilwomen even visited the Colfax shop on a fact- finding tour.

They didn't see drug addicts sleeping on the sidewalks, didn't get robbed, and nobody offered them sex in exchange for drug money. The business was very much like a drugstore, complete with candy bars, cookies and brownies. And . by the way . they sell painkillers at drugstores and I don't see pill-poppers hanging out in the parking lot of Longs. They go in, get their pills, and go home.

That's one of the reasons they ought to allow someone to open a dispensary (the fellow in Colfax is also in the running to open one here) in Nevada City and/or Grass Valley.




Pubdate: Tue, 14 Jul 2009
Source: Santa Barbara Independent, The (CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Santa Barbara Independent, Inc.
Author: Starshine Roshell, Columnist

Keep Your Offspring From Smoking By Being A Pothead Yourself

It's not easy keeping kids off ganja these days. The world, it seems, has gone to pot. President Obama admits to having "inhaled frequently" in his youth. Hollywood Dudes-of-the-Hour Seth Rogen and James Franco shared a joint (or an authentic-looking prop) onstage at the MTV Movie Awards last summer. Regular moms can get hash prescriptions for anxiety and pick up a dimebag from a clinic on their way to yoga.

Even when photos surfaced this year of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps taking a bong hit, the nation sort of shrugged with disinterest. Most of his endorsement deals failed to flinch. Last week, Subway launched a new TV commercial featuring Phelps (does he always look that stoned?) and the Sly Stone anthem "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)." Can't you just see Subway's board meeting after the bong photo broke? "Fellas! We sell snack food! Tell me again why this is bad news?"

If a guy can suck skunkweed recreationally and still win 14 gold medals, what's to dissuade teens from taking their first curious puff? In my experience, there's only one way to keep your kids from becoming potheads.

You've got to become one yourself. That's right. Light up for the sake of sobriety. Inhale in the name of clean living. Take a hit for the temperance team.

My parents, you see, were big tokers. They smoked dope. They talked dope. They may have even sold dope. In fifth-grade health class, I raised my hand and informed the teacher that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, is short for tetrahydrocannabinol. And when I came home from class spouting the potential health risks of smoking it, my parents shouted "Lies!" and stormed the campus the next day to shame my teacher for preaching the ridiculous propaganda of the establishment.


But in fact the school didn't need to convince me not to smoke "Mary Jane," "grass," or "rope," as it was reportedly called "on the street." (Have you ever heard someone refer to reefer as "rope?" I've been listening closely since fifth grade: never.) Getting high was something my parents did; and as such, it was the single lamest thing a human being could do.




Pubdate: Wed, 15 Jul 2009
Source: Calgary Sun, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 The Calgary Sun
Author: Roy Clancy, Staff Writer

Simplistic Calls To 'End Prohibition' Ignore Complicated Reality

The "Prince of Pot" sounded disappointed.

Marc Emery, the Vancouver seed seller who will turn himself in to U.S. authorities in September, was in Alberta last week as part of his farewell tour.

While he drew small gatherings in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge, there were no cops, no controversy and little media coverage.

Emery admitted he was on his best behaviour because of bail conditions, so he didn't smoke up with supporters as usual.

Even so, the activist, sometimes described as the Johnny Appleseed of pot, said he's given them "marching orders" to fight "the terrible dangers posed to ourselves and our children from prohibition."


The notion that ending prohibition against drugs would fix all our problems is a pipe dream.

The bitter truth is there are no simple solutions to this complex and multifaceted challenge confronting the world.



Pubdate: Mon, 13 Jul 2009
Source: Portsmouth Herald (NH)
Copyright: 2009 Seacoast Newspapers

Governor John Lynch disappointed many people in pain and suffering on Friday when he vetoed the proposed medical marijuana law in New Hampshire. He also disappointed their families and friends.

He said he could "empathize" with the supporters of the bill. But if he could empathize with the people in pain or nausea who would have benefited from medical marijuana he might have signed the bill.

Instead, he sided with law enforcement arguments about the drug somehow getting into the hands of people who don't qualify.

"The fact remains that marijuana use for any purpose remains illegal under federal law," he said.

That didn't stop 13 other states - and governors - from passing similar laws.

We hope the Legislature will override his veto. However, the numbers needed to reach a two-thirds majority to do so in the House and Senate look doubtful.

But the bill's sponsor, Rep. Evalyn Merrick of Lancaster, says she will try.

Sen. Martha Fuller Clark of Portsmouth said the Legislature "leaned over backwards to create the most focused law in the country" and that law enforcement concerns were "ill-founded" and had been addressed.

She also is probably correct when she says advocates of medical marijuana will have to go back to the drawing board next year.

They will have to make their message clear to more people. This past session was filled with controversial bills. Maybe next year will allow more time for the issue to be examined and debated.

Maybe next year the governor will come to the correct decision.


COMMENTS: (17-20)

Human Rights Watch this week recommended Merida Initiative money be withheld from Mexico because of a "rapidly growing number of serious abuses." After Felipe CalderA3n was elected to the Presidency in 2006 and stepped up the use of the military in the drug war, Mexico has been embroiled in bloody turf battles as drug cartels fight over market share providing prohibited drugs to consumers in the U.S.

The city of Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada, joins a handful of other cities across Canada which give out free crack pipe kits. While Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin agrees "harm reduction is important," city councilor Geoff Young, however, denounced the harm reduction measure, blaming drug users for problems the city has. The "city is going downhill fast and a lot of that downhill journey is because of the prevalence of drug users," claimed Young.

A report by the U.S. General Accounting Office to be released next month denounced Venezuela as a "hub" for cocaine trafficking. "A high level of corruption within the Venezuelan government, military and other law enforcement and security forces contributes to the permissive environment," asserted the report. Venezuela has been at loggerheads with the U.S. since the election of Hugo Chavez. In 2005, Chavez accused U.S. drug agents of spying on the oil-rich Latin America nation.

And finally, from London Mayor and Telegraph newspaper columnist Boris Johnson, an embarrassingly simply observation: if British farmers can grow opium, why can't Afghan farmers do the same? "To put it at its bluntest: why are we paying our farmers to grow poppies in Oxfordshire, and paying our soldiers to destroy them in Afghanistan?"


Pubdate: Tue, 14 Jul 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: Ken Ellingwood, Reporting from Mexico City

It calls on the Obama administration to not release tens of millions of dollars under the Merida Initiative unless Mexico allows soldiers accused of drug war abuses to be tried in civilian courts.

Citing alleged rights abuses by Mexican soldiers assigned to the drug war, Human Rights Watch urged the Obama administration Monday to not release tens of millions of dollars in withheld security aid unless Mexico allows such abuse cases to be tried in civilian courts.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the U.S.-based group said Mexico's military courts had failed to bring to justice troops whom Human Rights Watch holds responsible for a "rapidly growing number of serious abuses."


Rights advocates accuse soldiers of torture, rape, illegal arrest and even killings. Mexico says it takes allegations against soldiers seriously but it has insisted that, under Mexican law, only military courts can try soldiers.


Over the weekend, gunmen carried out coordinated attacks against police stations around the state, killing five federal officers, after the arrest of a ranking La Familia figure.



Pubdate: Fri, 10 Jul 2009
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Times Colonist
Author: Bill Cleverley, Staff Writer

Victoria councillors have agreed to allow the Vancouver Island Health Authority to oversee distribution of free crack-pipe kits in the city - -- but only on a temporary basis.

Mayor Dean Fortin said the pilot program would have to include an assessment of community support for the program. "We'll send the letter [to VIHA] recognizing that harm reduction is important and that if it's part of their current harm-reduction efforts [that] they start to hand out mouthpieces and sticks, they can integrate that in now."


Only Coun. Geoff Young expressed concerns. "The far view of our citizens is that the city is going downhill fast and a lot of that downhill journey is because of the prevalence of drug users in the downtown," Young said earlier this week.

He said a needle exchange could be creating a place where potential drug users know they can find a dealer.



Pubdate: Thu, 16 Jul 2009
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Jose De Cordoba, Staff Writer

Venezuela is fast becoming a major hub for cocaine trafficking in the Western Hemisphere, according to a report written by the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress. The report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office is sure to raise tensions between Venezuela and the U.S. at a delicate moment in the two countries' often testy relations.

The report, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, blames widespread government corruption for increases in cocaine transshipments through Venezuela. Such shipments have soared more than fourfold to 260 metric tons in 2007 from 60 metric tons in 2004 as the government of President Hugo Chavez has systematically slashed its antinarcotics cooperation efforts with the U.S., according to the report.

"A high level of corruption within the Venezuelan government, military and other law enforcement and security forces contributes to the permissive environment," says the report, scheduled to be released this month. Many of the drug shipments come from Colombian "illegal armed groups" such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the report says, which the Venezuelan government provides with "a lifeline" of support and a haven within Venezuela. FARC is a communist guerrilla group.




Pubdate: Mon, 13 Jul 2009
Source: Daily Telegraph (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Telegraph Group Limited
Author: Boris Johnson

Why Pay Our Farmers to Produce Opium While Afghan Poppy Crops Are Razed, Asks Boris Johnson.

We are nearing the end of the season for the big ornamental poppies that flower all over South Oxfordshire, the area I used to represent in parliament. The petals have fallen to the ground, pink and purple and red. But I expect the seed-pods are still standing tall. If you take a sharp knife to one of those seed-pods, and make a careful diagonal incision, you will see a white latex ooze out. What is that gunk? That is opium, my friend; and the reason there are so many giant poppies all over that part of England is that the seeds have been blown in the wind or carried in the guts of birds. They have come from the farms. We actually grow opium there, and we grow it officially.


The illegal opium trade now accounts for about 52 per cent of the Afghan economy, about $3 billion a year in revenues, and about 90 per cent of the world supply of heroin. With that kind of money at stake, it is no wonder that the Karzai government is said to have become hopelessly corrupt.

No one has a real interest in stamping it out. The politicians are on the take. The Taliban use drugs money to finance their operations. American, British and other Nato forces have come to realise that eradication programmes risk deepening local poverty and losing the very "hearts and minds" they are there to win.


To put it at its bluntest: why are we paying our farmers to grow poppies in Oxfordshire, and paying our soldiers to destroy them in Afghanistan?


But it would also help our mission if our strategy was more closely aligned with the real economic interests of Afghanistan. We have utterly failed to stamp out the opium crop - quite the reverse. Let us help the Afghans to obtain what legal value they can from their poppies. No one should pretend that this solution is easy, or that it is complete. As long as heroin is illegal in most jurisdictions (for the foreseeable future, that is), the price of illegal opium will probably be higher than the legal crop, and the drugs barons will not be entirely undermined. But we should at least try an option that offers the world cheaper pain relief, and the Afghans a viable legal alternative for their harvest.



 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


By Tommy McDonald

In light of the toll that marijuana prohibition takes on the lives of our neighbors, can we justly say "that's the price you pay?"


Human Rights, Racial Justice and the Drug War The talk is on a panel called Smarter Strategies toward Safer Communities.

Should Marijuana be legalized? What would it mean for African Americans? The issue was debated at the NAACP Convention.


Century of Lies - 07/12/09 - Ryan Grim

Ryan Grim, author This is Your Country on Drugs - The Secret History of Getting High in America + CBS News report on Oaksterdam

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 07/15/09 - Jack Cole

Jack Cole, director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, plus Dr. Fredrick Polak of Amsterdam, courtesy CBS News + "Interesting Man" III


Many of you received our DrugSense/MAP Insider Newsletter Issue 11 in the mail a few days ago. We would like to make sure that those who missed it see this most recent edition. Here's its link in PDF format:

If you would like to receive a print copy of the Insider by mail, please e-mail your contact Mary Jane Borden at Also, please let us know if there are any topics you would like to see covered in future editions, or if you have any questions or comments about the current issue.


The New War Over Weed - A Special Report


Calvina Fay Director of Drug Free America Foundation debates Rob Kampia of MPP





By Steven J. Catalano

Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

Excess is death and moderation is life. Really Dennis, your anti-Berkeley bias ( Dennis Wyatt's July 10 column: "Hey man, like tax me, like a lot, like now" ) is shooting your professional journalistic integrity right out of the saddle! Is this not a free society?

Nothing that isn't overtly dangerous should be made arbitrarily illegal. No commonly used herb, commodity or comestible should be denied to any free adult in America. We are free to choose, as individual adults, what, how much and how often we may indulge in. After all it's not marijuana that's harmful per se; but the habitual over-use of it can have a dulling effect on the mind. Just like alcohol, marijuana should be regulated and taxed because, unlike alcohol, there are no documented incidents of death caused by marijuana use. That's right, zero direct fatalities!

Just because we don't want children using it does not mean that adults should be barred from it. The same is true of a number of things including tobacco, prescription drugs and alcohol. When are we as a society going to learn to be responsible for ourselves?

If we ask the government to delve into areas which are by rights personal choices; we are opening the door to arbitrary prohibition on a broader scale. And prohibition does not work in a free society. The only way government prohibition could work is if our freedoms were rescinded, repealed or at least substantially reduced! And I don't think anybody wants that.

Raise your children by setting a good example; teach them well; and above all, don't cast blame on inanimate objects, substances or disparate groups of peoples! As Shakespeare said, the fault lies within us all; that's the way we're made. We each have to learn to choose wisely in a free society. Freedom carries with it responsibility; if children aren't taught this, they grow into irresponsibly excessive adults.

Steven J. Catalano Manteca

Pubdate: Sat, 11 Jul 2009
Source: Manteca Bulletin (CA)



By Ryan Grim

In one of the most disturbing videos to have emerged from the drug war, a dashboard camera has caught police officers in Louisiana using force on a man who was trying to put a small bag of white powder in his mouth. The man died a short time later at the scene.

A person who answered the phone at the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office confirmed that the dash-cam video is authentic. A spokesman, though, wasn't immediately available.

The man was apparently attempting to avoid arrest by swallowing the drugs he had on him.

In the video, an officer can be heard repeatedly shouting "spit it out," while he is shown trying to force the man's jaw open. An officer later is heard describing what they found in his mouth as a "plastic bag with white powder."

"Is he breathing?" one officer can be heard asking, after several minutes of attempting to force open his mouth.

"I don't know," says another.

The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office later said that the officers actions were warranted. "He was appropriate in his actions. He followed departmental protocol in trying to arrest a subject who tried to resist," Chief Deputy Jason Ard told local reporters.

See for the video and follow-up reporting.

Ryan Grim is the senior congressional correspondent for the Huffington Post, where this report first appeared. He is a former staff reporter with and Washington City Paper. He won the 2007 Alt-Weekly Award for best long-form news-story and is the author of the book, "This Is Your Country on Drugs."


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