Drug War Chronicle #551 - September 12, 2008

1. Feature: US Sentencing Commission to Examine Alternatives to Incarceration

Coming off a summer symposium that brought together experts in criminal justice and sentencing issues, the US Sentencing Commission has announced that it is making alternatives to incarceration one of its priorities for the coming year. With a record 200,000-plus people in federal prison -- more than half of them drug offenders -- that is a good thing.

2. Feature: Battle Over California's Nonviolent Offender Recovery Act Initiative Begins to Heat Up

In November, California residents will vote on a massive, complicated "treatment not jail" initiative known as the Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act (NORA) and appearing on the ballot as Proposition 5. Battle lines are now being drawn.

3. Feature: Scholarship Fund Honoring 9/11 Hero John W. Perry Assists More Students Losing Financial Aid Because of Drug Convictions

The Higher Education Act (HEA) drug provision bars students with drug convictions from obtaining financial aid for specified periods. The John W. Perry Fund was created to help some of those students and to raise awareness of the injustice of the provision. This year, it is helping two students stay in school.

4. Offer: Unique and Important New Book on Medical Marijuana

"Dying to Get High," by sociologists Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb, is a groundbreaking work that provides an in-depth portrait of one of the country's most well-known medical marijuana collectives.

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

We have cops and prison guards getting into drug war trouble from coast to coast this week, from San Diego to Chicago and from Florida to Maryland.

6. Medical Marijuana: California Activist Grower Eddy Lepp Guilty in Federal Cultivation Case, Faces 10 Years to Life

California medical marijuana and marijuana legalization activist Eddy Lepp faces from 10 years to life in prison after being convicted by a federal jury of growing more 24,000 plants.

7. Marijuana: It's Official -- Fayetteville Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Initiative Makes November Ballot

It's official -- An initiative making adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority in Fayetteville, Arkansas, will be on the November 4 ballot. But local prosecutors and law enforcement officials say it doesn't matter.

8. Medical Marijuana: PTSD Victim Sues West Virginia Pain Management Center for Dismissing Him Because He Smokes Marijuana for Relief

Medical marijuana users all too frequently run into problems with medical practitioners who consider them nothing more than drug abusers. Now, a West Virginia victim of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is suing the doctor and clinic that dismissed him because he used pot to alleviate his symptoms.

9. Latin America: Embattled Mexican President Seeks More Money to Fight Crime, Drug Gangs

Mexican President Felipe Calderón staked his political reputation on doing battle with the drug cartels. Now, with prohibition-related violence at record levels and violent common crime also on the rise, he is looking for more money to save his legacy.

10. Latin America: Walters Continues US Attack on Venezuela Anti-Drug Efforts, Calls Chávez Policies "Global Threat"

Washington's war of words against Venezuela over its anti-drug interdiction efforts continued this week, as John Walters called the country a "global threat" because it does not cooperate in US anti-drug efforts.

11. South Asia: Indian Newspaper Cheers On Anti-Drug Vigilantes

Anti-drug vigilantism is not unknown in India or some other parts of the world, but it's not usually cheered on by the press. This week, it was in India's Orissa state.

12. Europe: Irish Judge Balks at Unquantified Drugged Driving Test

An Irish judge has dismissed drugged driving charges against a young man based solely on the presence of marijuana in his system. That's not sufficient to prove impairment, he ruled.

13. Weekly: This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

14. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Jonathan Caulkins vs. The Boring Drug War Debate," "If Salvia Isn't Toxic or Addictive, What's the Argument for Banning it?," "How to Use Drugs Without Ruining Our Lives," "Jurors Fight Back Against the War on Medical Marijuana," "Smoke a Joint, Get Your Boss Fired," "If the Drug War Makes Sense to You, Nothing Else Will."

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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.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School

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