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Expansion of medical marijuana gets first OK

Location: 
Montpelier, VT
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Times Argus (VT)
URL: 
http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070301/NEWS02/703010404/1003/NEWS02

Mexican drug gains U.S. following

Location: 
Boston, MA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Reuters
URL: 
http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=inDepthNews&storyID=2007-02-28T130642Z_01_N24424552_RTRUKOC_0_US-DRUGS-SALVIA.xml&WTmodLoc=NewsHome-C3-inDepthNews-2

Lawmakers target marijuana-flavored candy

Location: 
GA
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
URL: 
http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/ajc/georgia/entries/2007/02/27/lawmakers_targe_1.html

The Sentencing Project: Disenfranchisement News & Updates

Maryland: Lawmakers Push to Restore Vote Maryland lawmakers are pushing a bill that would immediately restore the right to vote following release from prison, the Baltimore Sun reported. The proposed legislation would also change the current Maryland law which bans formerly incarcerated individuals with two felony convictions from voting three years after sentence completion. Bills have also been introduced that would restore voting rights after completion of sentence, including parole. Similar proposals failed in the state last year. For additional coverage, see the Washington Post and the Washington Times. Florida: Gov. Crist Vows to Restore the Vote Gov. Charlie Crist said this week that he may issue an executive order restoring civil rights to formerly incarcerated individuals who have completed their sentences, the St. Petersburg Times reported. “My plan is to work with you to make sure we restore civil rights,” Crist said during a visit with the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators. “The important thing is that we get there. It’s going to be better than where we are now, I can tell you that.” Crist indicated he may still continue to seek a policy change in the four-member Cabinet, or by changing state law, though Cabinet member, Attorney General Bill McCollum, opposes automatic restoration. Alabama: Amending Constitution to State’s Old Ways Will Strip Rights, and Money from State Residents An editorial in the Anniston Star condemned Alabama’s stringent disenfranchisement laws. Commenting on Attorney General Troy King’s proposal for a constitutional amendment requiring all individuals who have completed a felony sentence to apply to the state parole board to get their voting rights restored after finishing their punishment, the editorial board stated: “By adding King's amendment to the Constitution citizens are either voting to raise the revenue for hearing and processing the requests or they are indicating their willingness to accept the problems the amendment will create” for an overworked, overburdened Board of Pardons and Paroles. For more coverage, see Votelaw. Arizona: Accountant Faces Prison for Voting The confusion behind who can vote and when has sparked a court case for an Arizona man who may face up to five years in prison for voting in the 2004 presidential election. Dale Schwartz had been on probation for illegally collecting unemployment benefits, and said he didn’t know the law banned those on probation from voting. Schwartz rejected a plea bargain offer for the voting charge that would have doled out a three-month prison term, according to the Phoenix New Times. “No one ever told me the law about this,” he says. “I just can't accept pleading guilty to something I didn't know about.” Colorado: Parolees Hoping to Vote Face Attorney General, Secretary of State Opposition The ACLU and the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition rallied this week for community support of SB 83, an election reform bill that would allow people on parole to vote. Both the Attorney General's office and the Secretary of State's office oppose parolee voting on grounds that it is unconstitutional. The Colorado constitution, however, states that persons confined in prison may not vote, but it leaves the voting rights of parolees at the discretion of the legislature, granting that body the power to define "term of imprisonment." The Colorado Supreme Court recently confirmed this by stating, "...parole is part of the incarcerated person's sentence when the General Assembly so provides." Previous legislatures saw fit to disenfranchise parolees by voting to define parole as part of the "term of imprisonment." Currently, people on probation and people in jail serving a misdemeanor sentence can vote. National: If They Can be Recruited for Military, They Should be Able to Vote An Associated Press article reported that the U.S. military is accepting more recruits with criminal and felony records. In response to the article, a “Concurring Opinions” writer asked on why the nation would allow formerly incarcerated individuals to represent the country in the armed forces but not at the ballot box. “If we trust felons (at least some of them) enough to let them carry guns and have access to our military in the middle of a war, I can't see an argument that there's any valid reason to prevent them from voting,” wrote Scott Moss.
Location: 
United States

Man disputes law, marijuana conviction

Location: 
WA
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Spokesman-Review (WA)
URL: 
http://www.spokesmanreview.com/local/story.asp?ID=176436

Mandatory drug terms are targeted in report

Location: 
MD
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Baltimore Sun
URL: 
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.minimum27feb27,0,1196962.story?coll=bal-local-headlines

(Cigarette) Ban Creates Black Market in Prisons

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Associated Press (CA)
URL: 
http://www.dailynews.com/antelopevalley/ci_5305678

Extreme Politics: Vermont Mayor Calls for Death Penalty for Hard Drug Dealers, Legalizing Marijuana

Barre, Vermont, Mayor Thomas Lauzon's frustration with drugs and drug policy is showing, and it's making him just a touch schizophrenic. In remarks reported in the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus Saturday, Lauzon called for the death penalty for crack and heroin dealers, and in the same breath, called for the legalization of marijuana.

He said he plans to ask the state legislature to adopt the death penalty and to legalize marijuana. Failing that, he said, he hopes to open to a statewide discussion about the state's drug problem, probably beginning with an April forum in Barre.

Barre (pronounced "berry") is an old-time boomtown that in days gone by was known as "The Chicago of New England." Today Barre is famed as an exporter of fine, granite, graveside monuments, a distinction that earned it a "ZipUSA" feature in the October 2003 issue of National Geographic.

"People who are dealing crack and dealing heroin have zero social value and should be put to death," Lauzon said. "I'm sure everyone will distance themselves from me," Lauzon said Saturday of his death-penalty call. "But if anyone tells you we're winning the war on drugs, they're lying."

Saturday evening he reiterated that stance in another interview with the Times Argus. "What social value do they have? They are dealing crack and heroin to young people, knowing full well what the effects will be," the mayor said. "What purpose do they serve in society other than to destroy lives, to destroy families?"

Vermont politicians reacted cautiously. State Sen. Richard Sears (D-Bennington), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he understood Lauzon's frustration, but didn't embrace either the death penalty for dealing hard drugs or legalizing marijuana. "I think the man is very frustrated, and I understand his frustration," Sears said. "The problem in my view is we've ignored this problem until it's out of hand."

Jason Gibbs, a spokesman for Gov. James Douglas, told the newspaper that while the governor was not unalterably opposed to the death penalty, he was opposed to legalizing marijuana. "He's not unalterably opposed to the death penalty, but he doesn't have any plans to introduce it. There are some circumstances he would support a death penalty, but I'm not sure this is among them," Gibbs said. "Marijuana is a gateway drug for some folks, so he would not support legalization."

Lauzon said he had discussed his proposals with some legislators, but hadn't gotten very far. "They listen politely. I would like to have a statewide conversation. The conversation I'd like to start with is 'How are we doing?' Are we happy with our progress in the war on drugs? What are we doing in Vermont with regard to the war on drugs?" Lauzon said. "Maybe we start in Barre."

While Lauzon's proposal for the death penalty for drug dealers is a first in recent Vermont history, his call for legalizing marijuana echoes one made last December by Windsor County States Attorney Robert Sand, who called for the legalization of marijuana and decriminalization of other drugs. And so goes the drug debate in Vermont.

Drug-test bill prefers saliva over urine jar

Location: 
HI
United States
Publication/Source: 
Star Bulletin (HI)
URL: 
http://starbulletin.com/2007/02/25/news/story07.html

Editorial: Truth and medical marijuana

Location: 
Chicago, IL
United States
Publication/Source: 
Chicago Tribune
URL: 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0702240205feb24,1,7151264.story?coll=chi-opinionfront-hed

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