Jimi Devine's blog

New York Medical Marijuana Program Brings in $3 Million from Application Process

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Today state officials in New York will close the application process to open a dispensary.

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CT Lawmakers Push to Add Children and Hospital Patients to Medical Marijuana Program

[image:1 align:left caption:true]This week the General Law Committee of the Connecticut House and Senate gave its approval for a final vote to add children to the state's medical marijuana prog

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20 Texas students test positive for marijuana at $4400 each.

More student drug testing results to speak for themselves. 

"Since the program began last April, 2,254 students in the district have been randomly tested. Of those, 1 percent of them tested positive for a drug that is on the list of banned substances, said Regina Bennett, the district’s Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities (SDFSC) coordinator."

"The program, which costs about $100,000 per year, allows the district’s high schools to randomly test students for illegal drugs and the overuse of prescription drugs if they have a parking sticker and/or are involved in extra-curricular activities. Also, parents who have students that don’t fall into either category can voluntarily ask for their children to be included in the group"[Star Community Newspapers]

The way the numbers work out is staggering, from the article it's safe to presume roughly 22.54 students tested positive for a banned substance. Of those, 90% were for marijuana. A small percentage tested positive for amphetamines, Adderall is a safe bet.. We are talking about spending around $4400 to catch each person who tested positive, and even worse these students are denied access to school resources after we've already wasted all this money just to pick them out of 55,000 other pupils.

Regina Bennett, the district’s Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities coordinator, really smashed the nail on the head. 

“That’s good because hopefully it was a deterrent.” 

 Yes, a deterrent to students using after school programs that actually keep them off drugs. 

In the end they tested 4% of the school district and only 1% tested positive. Another $100,000 in education funding flushed down the drain by the drug war.

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20 Texas students test positive for marijuana at $4400 each.

More student drug testing results to speak for themselves. 

"Since the program began last April, 2,254 students in the district have been randomly tested. Of those, 1 percent of them tested positive for a drug that is on the list of banned substances, said Regina Bennett, the district’s Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities (SDFSC) coordinator."

"The program, which costs about $100,000 per year, allows the district’s high schools to randomly test students for illegal drugs and the overuse of prescription drugs if they have a parking sticker and/or are involved in extra-curricular activities. Also, parents who have students that don’t fall into either category can voluntarily ask for their children to be included in the group"[Star Community Newspapers]

The way the numbers work out is staggering, from the article its safe to presume roughly 22.54 students tested positive for a banned substance. Of those, 90% were for marijuana. A small percentage tested positive for anphetimines, Adderall is a safe bet.. We are talking about spending around $4400 to catch each of the people that tested positive, and even worse these students are denied access to school resources after we've already wasted all this money just to pick them out of 55,000 other pupils.

Regina Bennett, the district’s Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities coordinator, really smashed the nail on the head. 

“That’s good because hopefully it was a deterrent.” 

 Yes, a deterrent to students using after school programs that actually keep them off drugs. 

In the end they tested 4% of the school district and only 1% tested positive. Another $100,000 in education funding flushed down the drain by the drug war.

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Finally Someone is Blaming Prohibition!


Today’s Wall Street Journal features a piece by Mary Anastasia O’Grady entitled “Mexico pays the price of prohibition.” In a time where the media continues to blame drugs as the problem it is refreshing to see an article that goes to the root of the problem in the headline.

O’Grady makes clear and concise points in regards to the 4,909 people that have been killed since Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s offensive against organized crime started two years ago,

For perspective on how violent Mexico has become, consider that the total number of Americans killed in Iraq since March 2003 is 4,142.

The article continues on to link other aspects of Mexico’s war on drugs to the overall issues effecting our southern neighbor.

As this column has pointed out many times, one reason that security has so deteriorated in the past decade is the demand in the U.S. for illegal narcotics, and the U.S. government's crackdown on the Caribbean trafficking route. Mexican cartels have risen up to serve the U.S. market, and their earnings have made them rich and well-armed.

The column clearly recognizes the basic concepts of supply and demand when speaking on financial realities of how much cash is being pumped into Mexican cartels on the border, while falling short of saying the only way to fix this major problem is to legalize drugs.

O’Grady goes on to close the piece with a quote from former U.S. Foreign Service Officer Laurence Kerr.

America has been in Mexico's shoes: flush with the bounty of illegal liquor sales, organized crime thoroughly penetrated the U.S. justice system during Prohibition. As long as Americans willingly bury Mexican drug traffickers in greenbacks, progress in constraining the trade is likely to be limited." Regrettably, Mexico's institutional reform will also be limited and the death toll will keep climbing.
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How many patients you say??…well here are their names, addresses, and card numbers


In another sloppy example of government errors made in the war on drugs, Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety amazingly emailed the entire list of state authorized medical marijuana patients to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. The paper ran a front page story mentioning how the state had provided the names, addresses, card numbers, and recommending physicians of all Hawaii’s registered patients.

Needless to say the over 4,200 people who find marijuana helpful with a doctors recommendation were not impressed with the breach.
"Nobody here was a very happy camper," said James Propotnick, the department's deputy director for law enforcement. "People started calling. ... We were notified immediately. I don't think the paper was hot off the press 15 minutes and we started getting calls."

From what the editor is saying it looks like this all arose because of someone being lazy with very secure information.
"We just wanted to know the number of people in Hawai'i County who were currently receiving medical marijuana, and they erroneously sent us the list with the actual names."
So from this perspective it seems the Department of Public Safety just sent the whole list out instead of actually counting the number of patients. The information requested clearly was not that complex and rather then taking ten minutes to answer a media inquiry, they have threatened the security of Hawaii’s patients and their medicine.

Thankfully Hawaii’s best and brightest are on the case.

"It has to do with safety," Propotnick said. "Let's say that there's a whole lot of people who want to steal marijuana and you publish the list with the names and addresses. Now what have we done?”

Thank you Captain Obvious.
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How many patients you say??…well here is their names, addresses, and card numbers

 
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George Bush and Cocaine: How the President Might Save His Approval Rating

[Editor's Note: Jimi Devine is an intern at StoptheDrugWar.org. His bio is in our "staff" section.]

As the eyes of the political spectrum make their way through Scott McClellan's expose on his Bush administration experiences, which includes information involving GW’s cocaine use, the president will continue to deny his actions. But Bush shouldn’t be so quick to repeat that he was too wasted to remember whether he powdered his nose -- look at this honest group of politicians who have come out on the record about their past drug use and the lack of negative effects on their political careers.

Obviously the current flagship of an open door policy to past drug use has to be Barrack Obama. In 1995's "Dreams From My Father" the Democratic frontrunner acknowledged his drug use before even becoming a member of the Illinois state legislature. Over primary season this did open Obama up to attack, most famously Mitt Romney noting: "I think that was a huge error by Barack Obama… it is just the wrong way for people who want to be the leader of the free world."

As we look at Obama and a few of the politicians who admit to being in the "once or twice" club, the underlying similarity between many is their political prominence. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg famously responded to the marijuana question with, "You bet I did, and I enjoyed it." Nevertheless, a dash of irony is added by New York being the marijuana arrest capital of the world.

While Bloomberg's approach wasn't for everyone, others did come out of the smokey closet. Past presidential contenders John Edwards, John Kerry, and Howard Dean admitted together at 2003 presidential debate they had all tried the drug in the past. Few went into detail like Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer who cooked up his marijuana in some baked beans with a friend while at Columbia University.

Finally we come to Al Gore. As a senator in the 1980s he took part in the hearings to approve Supreme Court nominees. When Douglas H. Ginsburg came under fire for his past marijuana use, Gore stepped up and admitted he had also tried the drug in the past. Of course, it was later found at that “tried” meant a lot more than occasional consumption.

So here now we sit with allegations from a former press secretary that the President of the United States can't remember if he ever tried cocaine. I think it's pretty obvious how the president needs to use this as a boost to his credibility. Look at Dean and Gore, one is the Chairman of the DNC and the other convinced us that the ice caps are melting. If Bush decides to come out from his closet or from under his marble desk, at the very least he would be saying something the American people could believe.

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DEA Inteligence audit goes pretty bad....

A Department of Justice audit on the DEA’s use of intelligence analysts had some shocking finds, and a few suggestions.
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SDSU SSDP President's Speech Today.

I was able to get my hands on a transcription of the speech that San Diego State University SSDP President Randy Hencken gave to many San Diego media outlets at a protest to "Operation Sudden Fall".
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Entrapment in the Granite State

A Concord, New Hampshire principal tricked a student into delivering two small bags of marijuana to a police ambush behind Bishop Brady High School. Principal Jean Barker took it upon herself to set up seventeen year old Concord High School senior John Huckins.

After Confiscating another student's cellphone it received a message from Huckins asking "Yo, you need a bag." Presuming that Huckins was referring to marijuana she immediately attempted to get Huckins to come sell two bags of marijuana in the school parking lot. Huckins was immediately skeptical of the deal, nevertheless Barker was able to coax him into delivering the bags.

Huckins arrived at school and was apprehended by the police. A quarter-ounce of marijuana was confiscated from Huckins person. Later he told the police that he used the drug to deal with anxiety issues according to the police report.

Barker attempted to defend her actions claiming that Huckin's willingness to bring marijuana to the school placed her school at risk.

Many other questions however remain unanswered. Immediately one must ask what gave the principal the right to use the student's cell phone to entrap Huckins? While texting illegal drug sales is never a good idea, what could give Barker the right to look at someone's personal message. This whole case stems back to a major invasion of privacy. If you open someone's mail it is a federal crime. I can't seem to understand why Barker's actions in opening the message wouldn't be?

Huckins attorney Mark Howard makes an even more valid point,

"It is a crime in the state of New Hampshire to elicit a drug offense if you are not either a police officer or working under the direction of a police officer,"
So now we get into more legal issues in regards to this would-be Drug Warrior. In attempting to take the Drug War into her own hands Jean Barker only incriminated herself.

Huckins on the other hand is in a fight to be able to continue his education. Originally suspended for ten days he has now been kicked out of school for the rest of the year and risks losing his acceptance to college. Huckins had no criminal record prior to this event, now he deals with the risk of 7 years in jail for the quarter of marijuana he had that day.
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New England Pushes for Marijuana Decrim.

Over the recent months I have had the pleasure of observing the work that folks have been doing in Massachusetts and New Hampshire in regards to Marijuana Decriminalization. New Hampshire's HB 1623 that would decriminalize marijuana up to a quarter of an ounce was not "Supposed" to pass the house. Thankfully the legislators of the Granite State where professing dismay to the idea of students losing their financial aid for mistake.
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