Skip to main content

Chronicle AM: USA Today Slams Asset Forfeiture, NY Times on AFT Drug Stash House Stings, More (11/20/14)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #862)
Consequences of Prohibition

A new Maine legalization group lays out its vision, take your medical marijuana card when you go to Nevada next year, asset forfeiture gets ripped by USA Today, the New York Times takes a look at a questionable law enforcement practice, and more. Let's get to it:

Highway patrol or highwayman? Asset forfeiture gets more criticism. (
Marijuana Policy

New Maine Legalization Group Wants Home Grows, Social Clubs. Calling itself Legalize Maine, a new group has emerged with a plan to free the weed there. Group organizer Paul McCarrier said his plan is "home grown" -- a jab at the Washington, DC-based Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which has been laying the groundwork for statewide legalization there for the past several years -- and would allow for home cultivation, the use of marijuana in social clubs, and an 8% tax on sales. MPP has not released details of what it will propose for the 2016 ballot, but its local initiatives in the state did not address home cultivation or allow for social clubs. Click on the link to read more detail on the Legalize Maine plan.

Medical Marijuana

Iowa Pharmacy Board Punts on Reclassification. The Board has decided to defer a decision on whether to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II under state law until its January meeting. The Board could have decided at its Wednesday meeting to recommend to the legislature that marijuana be rescheduled after a public hearing Monday, but while it said marijuana does have medical use, it also worried that it has high abuse potential. The board was (in)acting on a petition from Des Moines medical marijuana activist Carl Olsen.

Nevada Will Honor Medical Marijuana Cards from Other States. Once dispensaries begin to open in the state next year, people holding medical marijuana recommendations from other states will be able to purchase marijuana there.

Asset Forfeiture

Civil Asset Forfeiture Should "Go Away," Says USA Today. USA Today has joined the growing ranks of newspapers calling for state and federal civil asset forfeiture reform. In a Wednesday editorial, the country's third-largest daily circulation newspaper said asset forfeiture had come "unmoored" from its original intent of taking the profit out of crime and now appeared like something "one might expect in a banana republic, not the United States." The newspaper called for action on pending federal asset forfeiture reform bills and ended its editorial thusly: "Civil asset forfeiture is government at its absolute worst -- intimidating helpless citizens for its own benefit. It needs to go away."

Law Enforcement

New York Times Examines ATF Fake Drug Stash House Rip-Off Stings. The Times turns a jaundiced eye to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' (ATF) use of imaginary stash-house stings, where undercover agents entice people into participating in what they thought were robberies of drug stash houses, only to be arrested and imprisoned, sometimes for decades. The newspaper notes that although most of the stings have survived legal challenges, some federal judges are now throwing out such cases. One federal judge in Los Angeles threw out a case earlier this year, citing "outrageous government misconduct" with the ATF "trawling for crooks in seedy, poverty-ridden areas -- all without an iota of suspicion that any particular person has committed similar conduct in the past." Almost all of the people wrapped up in the stings have been brown or black. Clarence Walker has covered this issue for the Chronicle here and here.


Argentina As Latin America's Newest Drug Trafficking Hub. Argentina is emerging as a new drug trafficking hub, according to this analysis in World Politics Review. Author Benoit Gomis points to a number of factors ranging from geography to the size of the Argentine drug market, as well as infiltration by regional drug operations, weak law enforcement, and corruption. Gomis suggests one thing Argentina can do is emulate its neighbor Uruguay, which legalized marijuana last year in a bid to undercut the drug trade. Click on the link to read the whole thing.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

After legalizing personal growing, that's the next step forward. I wonder what the general public will think. Maybe they won' need much convincing that bars shouldn't be shielded from level playing field competition from weed.

Sun, 11/23/2014 - 6:48pm Permalink
Anonymous510000 (not verified)

These medicrats in Iowa need to wake up. Snap out of it.  Wake up and smell the coffee. Come into the 21st century and get the picture. Cuz, see, the fact that "it also worried that it has high abuse potential" RINGS HOLLOW. Such comments have been the empty-headed stock-in-trade of these mediots; they go on pretending that they have some sort of 'justification' with such platitudinous hyperbole to continue their obnoxious empire over everyone.
 Remember something called ALCOHOL?
    WHY IS ALCOHOL NOT A SCHEDULE 2 DRUG IF THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE ALL SO WORRIED ABOUT? Fact is that 'scheduling' came in with the DEA and Nixon in 1970-1971 and is part of the problem. But during so-called Alcohol Prohibition one of my now deceased friends who was born before World War 1 often told me that he used to get doctors to write prescriptions for booze during that era. I have since seen copies of the old pink prescription forms for 'medicinal alcohol'. SO WHY DIDN'T ALCOHOL GET 'SCHEDULED' when Tricky Dick set up the DEA and scheduling baloney? FACT IS WE HAVE NEVER HAD TRUE PROHIBITION OF ANY DRUGS IN THE U.S INCLUDING ALCOHOL EXCEPT THE SO-CALLED SCHEDULE I DRUGS (pot, heroin, LSD, etc).. There has only been ONE real Prohibition concerning drugs, and that was and is it. But this never gets talked about, and people wouldn't get it, so we talk about Prohibition 2 instead. Whatever.

   Yeah. I also remember that my bro-in-law used to tell me that during that same era in the Vietnam War in which he fought that THEY HAD BEER WHEN THEY DIDN'T HAVE ANYTHING ELSE. He was vehemently 'anti-drug', tho, and I had the sad, very sad experience of knowing he died in part from the effects of chronic alcoholism. WHICH IS ALSO A DRUG. HELLO? It seems like people are just plain insane when it comes to these subjects. Fact is that MAKING HIM A CRIMINAL FOR DRINKING WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PRODUCTIVE. It wouldn't have 'helped' him. Why is it considered productive with other substances is beyond me... The carnage continues. But silence is a form of aquiescensce to the perpetration which becomes a form of COMPLICITY. I am not a well person myself and am 60 years old, but I made a vow for the latter reason NOT TO REMAIN SILENT CONCERNING THIS SUBJECT many decades ago. So as long as their is breath left in my carcass expect more 'noises' to emerge from it concerning this subject...  If people are made uncomfortable, then that'll be just fine. Whatever it takes.

Sun, 11/30/2014 - 9:03pm Permalink

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.