News in Brief 6/25/99

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Former D.A.R.E. Officer Sentenced in Cocaine Case

A former D.A.R.E. officer in Wisconsin was sentenced last week to five years in prison for selling cocaine. Kenneth Dodge, an employee of the Menominee Tribal Police Department since February 1983, was fired in June 1997 after selling cocaine to an undercover agent on three occasions while he was a bartender at a local tavern. In addition to the five-year prison sentence, Circuit Court Judge Earl Schmidt revoked Dodge's driver's license for three years and fined him $302 in court fees and fines.

Swiss High Court Rules Ecstasy Sales Not a "Serious" Crime

On Tuesday June 15, the Swiss Supreme Court overturned a one-year prison sentence given by the State Court of Bern to a man convicted of selling 1000 tablets of Ecstasy. In its ruling, the Supreme Court classified Ecstasy as a "soft drug," saying that while Ecstasy was not a harmless substance; it did not pose a serious health risk.

Rick Doblin, president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, told The Week Online, "It's a link between honest medical research and objective risk assessment, both of which the we could use more of in the United States." The court also rejected a plea from a state court for a harsher sentence for a man convicted of selling more than 1,300 tablets of Ecstasy. Drug offenses classified as "serious," such as dealing cocaine or heroin, carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison under Swiss law.

On Sunday, the Guardian printed an editorial in support of the Swiss Court decision. The editorial can be found at http://www.guardian.co.uk/.

Scottish Public Health Docs Call for Marijuana Legalization

This week, the British Medical Association's Scottish committee on public health medicine called for the legalization of marijuana for recreational and medical use. The doctors, who plan to put forward a motion at the association's annual conference in Belfast next month, are the first medical professionals to advocate a measure supporting the legalization of recreational use of marijuana. The doctors said they hope the legalization of marijuana will cut down on the use of more dangerous drugs such as heroin and cocaine. George Venters, the chairman of the Scottish Committee, has said he feels confident that the committee will easily win public support after all the facts are out. A spokesperson for the BMA would only comment that the ideas presented by the committee do not represent the ideas and policies of the association as a whole.

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Issue #96, 6/25/99 Governor of New Mexico Calls Drug War Failed -- Calls for Discussion of Alternatives | Hyde's Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act Passes House Easily | Vancouver's Cannabis Cafe, Hemp BC Closed | Activist Banned from Talking About Marijuana | NEW YORK: Staten Island Assemblyman Wants Needle Exchange Banned | IDAHO: "Drug Bust: The Longest War" TV Special Preempted by Drug Testing Speech in Boise | News in Brief | Supreme Court Roundup | WASHINGTON: Free Video and Lunch-Talk Series | Editorial: Can't Keep a Good Idea Down
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