Chronicle AM: INCB Head Frets Over Pot, MS Welfare Drug Test Fiasco, SWAT Fights Back, More (12/5/14)

Global anti-drug bureaucrats are grumbling about marijuana legalization in America, one New York county decides to do asset forfeiture for misdemeanor drug offenses, Mississippi's food stamp drug testing program comes up snake-eyes, the SWAT boys fight to keep their military toys, and more. Let's get to it:

Marijuana Policy

Missouri Legalization Initiative Petition Open for Public Comment. A legalization initiative petition sponsored by Show-Me Cannabis has been submitted to the secretary of state's office, and Missouri residents now have 30 days to comment on the initiative petition. They can do so here (it's Petition 2016-009). This is essentially the same petition submitted a month ago, but has been resubmitted with grammatical fixes.

INCB Head Complains About Legalization in US States. Lochan Naidoo, president of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is concerned about the implications of marijuana legalization in US states. "Legalization for recreational use is definitely not the right way to go," he told Reuters in an interview. "We do know about the damage that cannabis does to the brain," the South African physician said. "I'm not sure how well people are going to be able to protect their children." Naidoo added that the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs requires countries to comply with its provisions banning marijuana, and the US should do so in "all its territories."

Asset Forfeiture

New York County Approves Asset Forfeiture for Misdemeanor Drug Cases. Legislators in Orange County Thursday approved a law that allows authorities to seize cash and cars from defendants in misdemeanor drug cases, but only after they have been convicted. The measure passed on a party-line vote with Republicans voting for it and Democrats against despite fierce opposition from sitting Democrats and audience members. DA David Hoovler has portrayed the measure as means of keeping seized assets in the county instead of sending the money to the general fund in Albany, as required under the state's asset forfeiture law.

Drug Testing

Mississippi Welfare Drug Testing Program Has Only Two People Testing Positive. The state law that went into effect in August has so far resulted in 3,656 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, the food stamp program) applicants being screened for drug use, 38 being selected for drug testing, and a grand total of two testing positive for drugs. It's not clear how much the state has spent implementing the program, but Cassandra Welchin, policy director of the Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative, said the result was clear. "It's just a waste of money," she said. "Poor working families don't need a barrier to services and this is just another barrier."

Law Enforcement

SWAT Lobby Fights Back Against Policing Reforms in Wake of Ferguson. The National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA), which represents more than 1,500 SWAT teams across the country, has mobilized to protect the federal program that provided military surplus equipment to local law enforcement. NTOA sent emails to all 535 members of Congress urging them not to end or tighten up the Pentagon's 1033 program, which transfers equipment including armored vehicles, grenade launchers, and bayonets to local departments. NTOA executive director Mark Lomax has also been busy, reaching out to congressional offices and testifying before both the House and Senate Homeland Security committees. And it looks like it worked -- Congress will take no action on the program as this year's session winds down. Click on the link for much more.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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one fine collection of what's wrong with current drug enforcemen

From SWAT fighting to keep it's heavy artillery,to international shaming over police militarization.UN complaints about cannabis legalisation even as the current convention of UNODCP complains of US refusal to lower intolerance over drug policy?Forfeiture for minor drug crimes as the congress begins talking about the inequity of seizure programs.Then there's my all time favorite.Drug testing for welfare qualification.This is the number one proof that addiction is the one prejudice that is not only allowed but is entrenched in law and current policy in some states.Is an addict less deserving of food and a roof over their heads?Does an addict who's doing everything else right deserve to be punished for who they are?In BC in the 1970's the government tried on two separate occasions to make addiction to heroin a crime in itself.They had camps and confinement until cured as punishment.I was responsible,with several others for not only ending that push.We disgraced and defeated every point they made until they refused to appear when we were in attendance.We were always in attendance.Policies with no scientific basis for existance should easily be defeated by a group that simply knows what they speak of and press their points.Such programs are not only unscientific,they are also a financial disaster for everyone but those providing the test.Cannabis smokers are always the people with the most to lose,as cannabis still tests positive up to 45 days after smoking.Join whatever group is fighting these laws and read up enough to know why they make no sense.Then attend every public meeting.If there are none.Form an NGO and demand one.These people have no leg to stand on.They use fear and ignorance as their weapons.Fight them.It's for your own benefit,as they will eventually be coming for you.

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