Drug War Chronicle #536 - May 16, 2008

1. Feature: Battling Military Impunity in Mexico's Drug War

As the US Congress begins to move toward passing a massive anti-drug aid package aimed mainly at the Mexican military, abuses by soldiers in the drug war there have prompted a serious legal challenge.

2. Feature: Vancouver's Safe Injection Site Fights for Its Life -- Again

Time is running out for Vancouver's InSite, the only officially-sanctioned safe injection site in North America. The Conservative government of Canadian Prime Minister Harper has until June 30 to re-authorize the program, which it dislikes, and InSite supporters are now engaged in a major campaign to ensure its continued existence.

3. Law Enforcement: Death of Florida Student Forced to Become a Snitch Sparks Protests in Tallahassee

The killing of a Florida State University student who became an informer after being busted on drug charges has provoked angry protests by her friends and fellow students.

4. Offer: New Clergy Anti-Drug-War Video

Clergy are speaking out against the war on drugs! Donate $16 or more (or whatever you can afford) and we'll send you a copy.

5. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Apply for an internship at DRCNet for this fall (or spring), and you could spend the semester fighting the good fight!

6. Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

The evidence goes missing in Galveston, a pill-hungry cop goes down in Oklahoma, a pill-peddling cop gets popped in New Jersey, and another pill-peddling cop goes to prison in Indiana.

7. Medical Marijuana: GOP Attacks Obama for Suggesting He Would End Raids

The Republican National Committee Wednesday attacked Sen. Barack Obama for suggesting he would end DEA raids on medical marijuana providers in states where it is legal. Given broad popular support for medical marijuana, it is not at all clear that this will be a winning issue for the GOP.

8. Pregnancy: South Carolina Supreme Court Overturns Woman's Murder Conviction for Fetal Death After Cocaine Use

Regina McKnight was the first woman in South Carolina charged with murder for having a stillborn child after using drugs while pregnant. Now, after almost a decade behind bars, the state Supreme Court has overturned her guilty verdict, saying she had poor legal representation and was the victim of shoddy science.

9. Latin America: Prohibition-Related Violence Surges in Mexico

More than 100 people, including several top federal police commanders, have been killed in surging prohibition-related violence in Mexico in recent days as the so-called drug cartels strike back hard against police, soldiers, and each other.

10. Canada: Marijuana Legalization Retains Majority Support, Poll Finds

Canada's Conservative government wants to crack down on marijuana, but it's out of step with the population. According to a new poll, 53% want to legalize it.

11. Europe: Despite British Marijuana Reclassification, No Jail for Low-Level Sellers

The new tough line on marijuana signaled last week by the British government when it reclassified the herb may not be so tough after all. The British Sentencing Guidelines Council says small-scale sales and cultivation should be punished by probation and fines in most cases.

12. Southeast Asia: Vietnam Ponders Drug Decriminalization

The Vietnamese National Assembly is considering decriminalizing drug possession. But with most drug users sent to detox camps under administrative regulations instead of criminal charges, it might not make much difference in the real world.

13. Death Penalty: Malaysia Sentences Two to Hang for Marijuana Trafficking, Iran Executes Nine Drug Sellers

Two Thai citizens have been sentenced to death in Malaysia over 75 pounds of marijuana, and nine convicted drug sellers go to the gallows in Iran.

14. Weekly: This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.
Permission to Reprint: This issue of Drug War Chronicle is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

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