Drug War Chronicle #503 - September 28, 2007

1. Editorial: Let's Get Real Already About Ending Drug Prohibition

Record-high drug arrest rates have failed to stem the drug trade or reduce violence. It's time to get real and talk about legalization of drugs.

2. Feature: Marijuana, Drug Arrests Hit All-Time High -- Again

The FBI released its annual Uniform Crime Report, and both marijuana and all drug arrests are at an all-time high -- again.

3. Feature: Israeli Police Will No Longer Arrest First-Time Drug Users

In a shift in policy, Israeli police have announced they will no longer arrest first-time drug possession offenders.

4. Appeal: Massive Increases to Our Web Site Traffic Have Increased Our Costs...

Massive increases to our web site traffic, particularly during the last three months, have forced us to upgrade our web server -- not once, but twice -- and have increased our costs. We need your help to pay for it.

5. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

Why Do Police Really Oppose Marijuana Legalization? Missouri Police Chief Promises Not to Oppose Marijuana Decrim Initiative. Prohibition Causes Violence: Medical Marijuana Murders in California and Colorado. Obama Bad on Drug Policy. Mike Gravel Talks Drug Legalization. Asset Forfeiture Hurting Inner City Investment. More.

6. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Apply for an internship at DRCNet for this fall (or spring), and you could spend the semester fighting the good fight!

7. Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Cops planting drugs, cops stealing drugs, cops stealing and doing drugs, cops stealing drugs and money--just another week of drug prohibition-related corruption.

8. Marijuana: Four Initiatives Make November Ballot In Idaho Town

After a three year struggle with recalcitrant local officials, a dedicated and persistent activist has managed to get a package of marijuana initiatives on the ballot in a small Idaho town.

9. Drug Courts: New Jersey Supreme Court Broadens Eligibility

The New Jersey Supreme Court has issued a ruling that will extend drug court eligibility to any nonviolent offender who is likely to receive a sentence of probation.

10. Latin America: Citing Human Rights Abuses, Mexican Official Calls for Pulling Army Out of Drug War

Citing cases of human rights violations by soldiers prosecuting Mexico's drug war, the country's top human rights official has called for an end to the military's role.

11. Europe: German States Want Heroin Maintenance for Addicts

German state governments are urging the federal government to extend a successful heroin maintenance pilot program across the country.

12. Australia: South Australia Wants to Ban Marijuana Grow Recipes, Equipment

The state government of South Australia is supporting a bill that would make possession of drug-making recipes or possession of "drug making equipment" (grow lights) without a good reason a serious crime.

13. In Memoriam: Dr. John Beresford

An LSD pioneer and drug reform activist is memorialized by groups that knew him well.

14. Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle?

Do you read Drug War Chronicle? If so, we need your feedback to evaluate our work and make the case for Drug War Chronicle to funders. We need donations too.

15. Web Scan

Esquire on MedMJ and PTSD, drug lord getting less time than typical nonviolent offenders, DrugTruth Network.

16. Weekly: This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

17. Webmasters: Help the Movement by Running DRCNet Syndication Feeds on Your Web Site!

Support the cause by featuring automatically-updating Drug War Chronicle and other DRCNet content links on your web site!

18. Resource: DRCNet Web Site Offers Wide Array of RSS Feeds for Your Reader

A new way for you to receive DRCNet articles -- Drug War Chronicle and more -- is now available.

19. Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

Visit our new web site each day to see a running countdown to the events coming up the soonest, and more.

1. Editorial: Let's Get Real Already About Ending Drug Prohibition

David Borden, Executive Director

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David Borden
The annual FBI Uniform Crime Report came out last week, and the news it brought about drug arrests in 2006 was no surprise. Unsurprisingly, drug arrests again hit a record level -- 1,889,810 this time, 829,625 for marijuana, more than eight out of ten drug arrests for just possession. Almost nine out of ten marijuana arrests were for possession alone.

This all transpired in a year when violent crime was on the increase, 1.9% over 2005 and the second year in a row after a decade's decline. One should not exaggerate a relatively small number like 1.9%. But at a minimum an opportunity may have been lost to reduce violent crime. Why do we continue to plough such vast resources into drug enforcement that could otherwise be used to protect us from attacks -- attacks of whatever kind?

Despite a small uptick in the street price of cocaine recently -- due only to short-term operational challenges facing the industry -- all of this drug enforcement has been a massive failure. On Wednesday I attended a lunch talk at a DC-based foreign policy think tank given by Arnold Trebach, founder of our modern drug policy reform movement (he started the Drug Policy Foundation) and a professor emeritus of American University. In order to make the point about the futility of drug war, Arnold called a friend of his who is knowledgeable about the heroin scene prior to coming downtown for the talk. He wanted to know where one would go now in order to acquire heroin. After all, it's been awhile since he researched his 1982 work, The Heroin Solution.

Things have indeed changed since then, but despite perhaps millions of drug arrests over the years (10 million? 15? 20?), heroin has not become less available. In fact, it's easier to obtain it than ever before, at least if one knows the right people. According to Arnold, his friend told him that now you wouldn't go out to buy it, you'd just call the delivery service, and if you have any references to vouch for you, they would get it to you in about 20 minutes.

20 minutes. We could have finished our lunches, listened to half of Arnold's talk, then ordered some heroin, received it before the end of the talk and consumed it with dessert. (Of course for a variety of reasons, not limited to our need to get work done the rest of the day, we didn't do that and instead just took Arnold's friend's word that we could have.)

The diversion of resources away from more important -- and more feasible -- tasks is only one of many reasons to go with legalization. The money being spent on the illicit drug trade -- estimates globally are in the hundreds of billions of dollars -- is fueling violence, both global and local. I don't know whether the increase in drug arrests in the US played a role in the increase in violence last year, but it's clearly possible. Far more importantly, a chunk of the violence that we have suffered with throughout the years is directly or indirectly related to the drug trade.

And the money is warping society. How many young people have been lured into lives of criminality through the promise that the drug trade appears to offer? Most of them don't end up making great money doing so. But it's there, there's a prospect for advancement, and depending on your outlook it's glamorous and it lets you be part of something larger than yourself. Money from the drug trade is also helping to support those who want to carry out terrorist attacks, and in some places is fueling civil wars. All of this is happening because drugs are illegal, not because of any intrinsic properties of the drugs.

But would the sky fall if drugs were legal? Would so many more people use and get addicted to drugs that the harm would be greater from that than from the criminality created now by prohibition? Arnold told the audience that he believes we can devise a system for controlling a licit drug trade; that it would not be unduly difficult to do so (we do this already for the currently legal drugs, after all), and "we would survive." We could still help people with drug problems, we can regulate the drugs any number of different ways, we can face that challenge.

I in fact think the overall public health harm from drugs would decrease, not increase, even if more people experimented with them. After all, most people don't destroy themselves with drugs today, legal or illegal, despite their widespread availability, simply because they don't want to destroy themselves. For those who do get addicted to drugs like heroin, but who don't earn a fairly generous personal income, the artificially high prices that prohibition brings about for the drugs is a big part of making the habit so disruptive to their lives. I believe that on the public health side as well as on the criminal justice side, legalization will overall be a winning move, despite the harms that some drugs can have.

It can be hard to advance this discussion in circles of power. Arnold commented that at least eight people in US officialdom told him they would be glad to meet with him, they appreciated what he was doing, but they preferred not to meet him in their offices. They wanted to meet at one restaurant or another, where they hopefully would not been seen with him and thereby get in political hot water. That was a long time ago, but it is still the situation in many ways today.

And yet we do advance -- this organization and newsletter are here, for example, and the movement is growing in diversity and experience and size. Now it's time for the leaders to get real -- drug legalization is viable and it's the right thing to do. So stop demonizing it and start talking about it. Because sometimes leadership means actually leading.

(Signed copies of Arnold's two re-released books -- "The Heroin Solution" and "The Great Drug War" -- as well as his new work, "Fatal Distraction: The War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terror," can be obtained as membership premiums by donating to DRCNet.)

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2. Feature: Marijuana, Drug Arrests Hit All-Time High -- Again

The number of people arrested for marijuana offenses in the US last year was a record 829,625, according to the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report. The figure marks the fourth consecutive year and 11th time in the last 15 years that marijuana arrests hit an all-time high. More than five million people have been arrested for marijuana since 2000 alone.

Overall, some 1,889,810 people were arrested on drug charges last year -- another all-time high. More than eight out of ten of all drug arrests were for possession alone, and 89% of all marijuana arrests for possession.

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The continuing increases in drug arrests came as violent crime increased 1.9%, the second straight year of increases after a decade of declining violent crime rates. Property crime declined by 1.9%, mirroring the 10-year declining trend.

The total number of marijuana arrests in the US for 2006 far exceeded the total number of arrests in the US for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. The number of total drug arrests was greater than that for any other offense.

No law enforcement organizations contacted by the Chronicle responded to requests for comment on the link (or lack of) between continuing high levels of drug arrests and violent crime, but representatives of groups that would like to see fewer drug arrests were quick to respond to the numbers.

"These numbers are sadly not too surprising because we put a lot of money into arresting drug users," said Doug McVay, policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy. "That's what we're paying police to do. Law enforcement has to produce body counts to justify increased funding, and the way to do it is with drug users. There's an endless supply."

"These numbers refute the common myth that police will look the other way when it comes to personal marijuana possession," said Scott Morgan of Flex Your Rights, a group that instructs citizens on how to effectively exert their right to be free of unwarranted searches and seizures. "Liberal attitudes about pot have created a false sense of security for many, but the truth is that you can get in big trouble for it. In any police encounter, the best strategy is to refuse searches and not answer incriminating questions," he advised.

"The steady escalation of marijuana arrests is happening in direct defiance of public opinion," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Voters in communities all over the country, from Denver to Seattle to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and Missoula County, Montana, have passed measures saying they don't want marijuana arrests to be a priority, yet marijuana arrests have set an all-time record for four years running. It appears that police are taking their cue from White House drug czar John Walters, who is obsessed with marijuana, rather than the public who pays their salaries," he said.

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DEA post-raid publicity photo
"These numbers belie the myth that police do not target and arrest minor marijuana offenders," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), who noted that at current rates, a marijuana smoker is arrested every 38 seconds in America. "This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources that diverts law enforcement personnel away from focusing on serious and violent crime, including the war on terrorism," he said.

McVay pointed to the low criminal offense clearance rates also contained in the Uniform Crime Report. For property crimes overall, the clearance rate is only 16%, while even for murder, it was only 60%. "Those numbers are criminal," said McVay. "There's only one chance out of six that the cops will find out who broke into your home or stole your car. If the police weren't busy arresting drug users, maybe we wouldn't be seeing such low clearance rates and this increase in violent crime."

"Two other major points standout from today's record marijuana arrests," St. Pierre continued. "Overall, there has been a dramatic 188% increase in marijuana arrests in the last 15 years -- yet the public's access to pot remains largely unfettered and the self-reported use of cannabis remains largely unchanged. Second, America's Midwest is decidedly the hotbed for marijuana-related arrests with 57% of all marijuana-related arrests. The region of America with the least amount of marijuana-related arrests is the West with 30%. This latter result is arguably a testament to the passage of various state and local decriminalization efforts over the past several years."

"The bottom line is that we are wasting billions of dollars each year on a failed policy," Kampia said. "Despite record arrests, marijuana use remains higher than it was 15 years ago, when arrests were less than half the present level, and marijuana is the number one cash crop in the US. Marijuana is scientifically proven to be far safer than alcohol, and it's time to start regulating marijuana the same way we regulate wine, beer and liquor."

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3. Feature: Israeli Police Will No Longer Arrest First-Time Drug Users

In an effort to refocus Israeli drug law enforcement, the general inspector of the Israeli Police, Dudi Cohen, has announced that police will no longer arrest first-time drug users. The move comes as Israeli police reported they made more than 16,000 drug possession arrests and more than 8,000 drug sales arrests last year.

Israeli drug use levels are generally in line with those of Europe and North America. According to the UN Office on Drug Control's 2007 World Drug Report, 8.5% of Israelis smoke marijuana in a given year, placing them just below the more pot-friendly European nations (Cyprus, 14.1%; Italy and Spain, 11.2%; Switzerland 9.6%), as well as the US (12.6%) and Canada (16.8%). But for cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and ecstasy, Israeli usage levels hover squarely in the Western middle, with prevalence rates around 1%.

The shift in enforcement will begin with a pilot program for juvenile offenders, police said. The announcement came days after a widely-viewed documentary critical of the futility of the drug war appeared on Israeli television.

Under the new policy, people caught with "personal use" quantities of illegal drugs for the first time will be documented, but not arrested. Those quantities are set as follows:


Marijuana 15 grams Hashish 15 grams Opium 2 grams LSD 3 stamps Ecstasy 3 pills Cocaine 0.3 grams Heroin 0.3 grams

"We are not talking about the legalization of drugs," said Cohen. "But we will focus on the dealers and not the consumers."

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Jaffa Marina, Israel (Ilan Malester for sviva.gov.il)
"The General Inspector prefers to dry up the swamp instead of killing the mosquitoes one at a time," elaborated a senior officer in Intelligence and Investigations, the department which Cohen leads. "The system's new attitude toward users won't affect the popular drug use trends. Traditionally, when we stopped a student we caught for a first-time offense, he'd be delayed, brought to the station in a police car and would wait to be dealt with until a police officer was available to process his case; he'd endure a long interrogation and finally we'd look for a responsible party to come bail him out. The result was almost an entire day of police work dedicated to a file that would almost never lead to an indictment."

That amounted to a "useless investment" of police time, the officer said. Prosecuting all those drug cases resulted in a flood of cases for prosecutors that clogged the courts and took years to resolve, he added. Besides, he said, first-time drug offenders could be scared enough by police contact alone to change their ways. For those who don't, there is always the criminal justice system. "For most of those caught for the first-time, any contact with the police creates fear, explained the officer. When it comes to someone who's not a first-time offender, but that this is his way of life, we will prosecute him to the full extent of the law because he might drive under the influence or steal to pay for his drug use."

While the Green Leaf Party, which seeks marijuana legalization, welcomed the development, it was doubtful about the impact of the new policy and vowed to continue to work for an end to marijuana prohibition in the Jewish state.

"It is not clear to us that this will benefit marijuana users in any way, as once you've been stopped once, the second time they are free to arrest you," said Michelle Levine, a Green Leaf spokesperson. "They claim they are doing this to get the focus back on the distributors, though they've never focused on the distributors before. Furthermore, the police statement acknowledges that they will still interrogate first-time offenders when stopping them and recording their details for future interactions. That means they may ask them who their distributors are -- pressuring them to give names. The only difference at all is the first time a smoker is caught by the police with a small quantity, he will not actually be taken down to the station or charged, as is now the case," she said.

Green Leaf will continue to work for legalization, said Levine. "The Green Leaf Party is very busy with many projects right now, as we're organizing the 2nd Joint Arab Israeli Conference for Marijuana Policy and Peace, but we will not let up on the police for wasting taxpayer money on the drug war and we will not let up on our elected officials while nonviolent patriotic citizens rot in jail for marijuana offenses."

The Israeli police, for their part, will continue to fight drug trafficking. A new unit for the Negev region will work to seal the Jordanian border, which police describe as the major drug terminal for heroin and hashish being trafficked from Afghanistan. Another unit patrolling the Lebanese border will be reformed to concentrate on blocking Lebanese hash, as well as Afghan heroin and South American cocaine.

The drug laws must change, said Levine, who added that the party was increasingly popular. "Ale Yarok o Ale L'Nayedet!" ("Get With the Green Leaf Party or Get in the Police Car"), she added, repeating a popular party slogan.

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4. Appeal: Massive Increases to Our Web Site Traffic Have Increased Our Costs...

Massive increases to our web site traffic, particularly during the last three months, have forced us to upgrade our web server -- not once, but twice -- and have increased our costs. I'm writing to ask if you can help us manage this new expense. Would you be willing to make a donation to support this breakthrough work?

Things started picking up about a year ago, when we professionally redesigned the site and started publishing more than previously -- we don't just do the weekly Chronicle now, but also bring you daily blog posts, mainstream news links, an "activist feed" of bulletins from other organizations, and other interesting items.

Most recently we have had a series of big hits -- top links on sites like Reddit and Netscape where users vote for the stories they like -- and because it has continued, over and over for about three months, we have tentatively concluded that something is "going on" and that DRCNet has truly reached a new level sooner than we thought we would. Just this month, an item we posted made it to the #1 spot on the popular web site Digg, and that and another item paired with it collectively got almost 100,000 hits! On one day, StoptheDrugWar.org had almost as many people visit it as the Huffington Post -- if our server had been prepared for the traffic in advance, we would have gotten more.

Of course the costs of the machine, while significant, are only part of the picture. Literally every staff member at DRCNet is involved in this campaign, and that's a major devotion of resources that can only be sustained if you support us. Could you let us know if you're "in," by making a donation today, or by sending us an email to let us know if you will be soon?

As an encouragement, our friends at Common Sense for Drug Policy have agreed to donate copies of their updated "tabloid" publication including over 40 of the drug policy reform public service ads they have run in major publications for the past several years. Donate any amount to DRCNet this week, and we will send you a copy of the CSDP tabloid for free! Of course we continue to offer a range of books, videos, and StoptheDrugWar.org gift items as member incentives as well.

Visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate to make a donation online, or send your check or money order to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036. Donations to Drug Reform Coordination Network to support our lobbying work are not tax-deductible. Tax-deductible donations to support our educational work can be made payable to DRCNet Foundation, same address. We can also accept contributions of stock -- email [email protected] for the necessary info. Thank you in advance for your support.

Sincerely,


David Borden, Executive Director
P.O. Box 18402
Washington, DC 20036
http://stopthedrugwar.org

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5. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

Along with our weekly in-depth Chronicle reporting, DRCNet has since late summer also been providing daily content in the way of blogging in the Stop the Drug War Speakeasy -- huge numbers of people have been reading it recently -- as well as Latest News links (upper right-hand corner of most web pages), event listings (lower right-hand corner) and other info. Check out DRCNet every day to stay on top of the drug reform game!

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prohibition-era beer raid, Washington, DC (Library of Congress)

Since last issue:

David Borden pens: "Prohibition Causes Violence: Medical Marijuana Murders in California and Colorado," "Important Criminal Justice Hearings Coming Up in Senate," "Mike Gravel Talks Drug Legalization on"The Young Turks"," "Asset Forfeiture in Drug Cases is Hurting Investment in the Inner Cities" and "Drug Taxes Out of Control Violating Due Process."

Scott Morgan authors: "Why Do Police Really Oppose Marijuana Legalization?" (Reddit front page!), "Why Do Police Really Oppose Marijuana Legalization? Part II," "Missouri Police Chief Promises Not to Oppose Marijuana Decrim Initiative," "John Edwards Supports Needle Exchange," "Obama is So Bad on Drug Policy, He Got Endorsed By Prison Guards," "A Marijuana User Gets Arrested Every 38 Seconds in America."

Press releases, action alerts and other organizational announcements in the In the Trenches blog. And please join us in the Reader Blogs too.

Thanks for reading, and writing...

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6. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Want to help end the "war on drugs," while earning college credit too? Apply for a DRCNet internship for this fall semester (or spring) and you could come join the team and help us fight the fight!

DRCNet (also known as "Stop the Drug War") has a strong record of providing substantive work experience to our interns -- you won't spend the summer doing filing or running errands, you will play an integral role in one or more of our exciting programs. Options for work you can do with us include coalition outreach as part of the campaign to repeal the drug provision of the Higher Education Act, and to expand that effort to encompass other bad drug laws like the similar provisions in welfare and public housing law; blogosphere/web outreach; media research and outreach; web site work (research, writing, technical); possibly other areas. If you are chosen for an internship, we will strive to match your interests and abilities to whichever area is the best fit for you.

While our internships are unpaid, we will reimburse you for metro fare, and DRCNet is a fun and rewarding place to work. To apply, please send your resume to David Guard at [email protected], and feel free to contact us at (202) 293-8340. We hope to hear from you! Check out our web site at http://stopthedrugwar.org to learn more about our organization.

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7. Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Cops planting drugs, cops stealing drugs, cops stealing and doing drugs, cops stealing drugs and money -- just another week of drug prohibition-related corruption. Let's get to it:

In Milwaukee, an apparent rogue cop is accused of beating or planting drugs -- or both -- on at least 10 people, but has so far gone unpunished by the Milwaukee Police Department, even though the courts have taken note of the repeated allegations by people he has arrested. Sgt. Jason Mucha has been repeatedly cleared by the department's internal affairs unit, but at least four Wisconsin judges have acted on accusations against Mucha by defendants he arrested, in one case allowing others with similar allegations to testify and in another stating there was no reason Mucha should be considered more reliable than the defendant. In at least four cases involving the allegations, charges have been reduced or dismissed, but the Milwaukee Police Department promoted him nonetheless, leading to a rising outcry for reforms within the department and for a definitive investigation of the allegations against the one-time member of the "Night Train," a Milwaukee police unit routinely accused of excess and brutality by residents of the poor and minority neighborhoods in which it operated.

In Baltimore, a Maryland Transportation Authority Police officer was indicted along with her boyfriend on September 21 on charges they dealt crack cocaine from the Curtis Bay home they shared. Officer Angela Green, 25, and her boyfriend were both charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. The indictment comes three weeks after county police raided the home, finding 29 grams of crack in two safes. Green, who has three years with the Transportation Authority Police, is now suspended without pay pending trial.

In Dearborn Heights, Michigan, a now-former Dearborn police officer has been charged with using a controlled substance. Former officer Edward Sanchez, 30, admitted taking marijuana from suspects and baking it into brownies, which he shared with his wife, who was also charged. He achieved internet infamy last year when a tape of a 911 emergency call he made after eating the brownies began circulating. In it, Sanchez could be heard saying: "I think we're dying. We made brownies and I think we're dead, I really do." The city of Dearborn declined to prosecute, but neighboring Dearborn Heights decided to go after the couple earlier this month. They face up to 90 days in jail.

In South Bend, Indiana, a former South Bend police officer has pleaded guilty in a case where he stole drugs and money during a traffic stop. Former officer Haven Freeman, 31, pleaded to one count of using his official position to unlawfully demand property from a person and also to possession of heroin with intent to distribute. Freeman admitted in court that he stopped a vehicle in the summer of 2005 knowing that it was carrying drugs because of information from an informant. He told the vehicle's occupants that if they gave him their drugs and money, he would not arrest them or separate one of them from her child. He obtained several thousand dollars in cash and about 100 grams of heroin, which he turned over to his informant for resale. Now, Freeman faces up to 40 years in prison, but has been promised a more lenient sentence because he "accepted responsibility" with his guilty plea.

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8. Marijuana: Four Initiatives Make November Ballot In Idaho Town

A central Idaho marijuana legalization advocate's three-year struggle to get marijuana initiatives on the ballot in the town of Hailey will come to fruition in November. City officials announced last Friday that a package of marijuana initiatives proposed by Ryan Davidson will be on the November 6 ballot.

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Selkirk mountains, northern Idaho
Davidson sought in 2004 to file initiative petitions seeking the legalization of marijuana with the communities of Sun Valley, Hailey, and Ketchum, but local officials in all three locales balked. Sun Valley officials refused to process the initiatives, claiming they were unconstitutional. Davidson and his group, the Liberty Lobby of Idaho, took the municipality all the way to the Idaho Supreme Court, which issued a decision in Davidson's favor last year.

Davidson won a second court victory last month, when a US District Court issued a preliminary injunction barring the city of Hailey from requiring that initiative initiators be residents of the city.

Now, Davidson has four different marijuana initiatives on the November ballot. The first would mandate the city to revise its ordinances to regulate and tax marijuana sales and require it to advocate for the reform of marijuana laws at the state and national level. If approved by voters, city officials would have up to a year to implement the new ordinance. A second initiative would legalize the medical use of marijuana. The third initiative would make enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest law enforcement priority, while the fourth initiative would allow for the use of industrial hemp.

Local officials are resigned to letting the voters decide. "The only way this is going to go away is to let the people vote on it," said Hailey City Council President Rick Davis at a Monday council meeting.

"The voters have to vote on this; the Supreme Court was very clear," said Hailey city attorney Ned Williamson.

Voters in Hailey will get their chance in November. But Ketchum and Sun Valley could be next. Davidson told the Idaho Mountain Express he hoped to have initiatives on the ballot in those two cities for next May's local elections.

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9. Drug Courts: New Jersey Supreme Court Broadens Eligibility

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled unanimously last week that judges can allow offenders to enter drug court even if they have more than one previous conviction for a nonviolent offense. An earlier appeals court ruling had limited drug court eligibility only to those eligible for "special probation," which is limited to drug- or alcohol-using defendants with no more than one prior conviction.

Drug courts are designed to divert drug offenders or offenders with drug issues into a closely monitored drug treatment program instead of jail or prison.

While the state argued that only defendants eligible for "special probation" qualify for diversion, the state Supreme Court held that there is more than one route to drug court. Judges have the discretion to admit nonviolent offenders who would likely receive a probationary sentence anyway, the court held.

"It is inconceivable that the legislature granted a trial court power to impose a probationary sentence, but not the power to attach the one condition necessary to address the offender's desperate needs -- a drug rehabilitation program," Albin wrote in the unanimous opinion.

"Drug courts have achieved notable success," Albin continued. When someone with a drug problem is likely to get probation, Justice Barry Albin wrote, "it is preferable that defendant be monitored within a specialized court with personnel who have the particularized skills and training to maximize the prospect of the offender's rehabilitation."

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10. Latin America: Citing Human Rights Abuses, Mexican Official Calls for Pulling Army Out of Drug War

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Mexican army drug patrol
Mexico's top human rights official called last Friday for an end to the use of the Mexican Army in President Felipe Calderón's war against powerful drug trafficking organizations. The army has committed numerous human rights violations, he said, including rape, robbery, torture and murder.

José Luis Soberanes, head of the governmental National Human Rights Commission, made the call for the removal of the military from Mexico's bloody drug war -- more than 1,500 people have been killed so far this year -- as he released reports on four widely-publicized incidents of human rights abuses by the military. They are:

Soldiers are not trained for law enforcement, Soberanes said, and should be replaced by civilian police. "A policeman is trained to deal daily with citizens," Soberanes said, "and in necessary cases uses gradual and measured force. A soldier, because of the delicate nature of his task, is physically and mentally trained to fight enemies and obey orders."

Faced with escalating violence among drug trafficking organizations and between them and Mexican police, President Calderón deployed the military in various cities and states in the country beginning late last year. Thousands of troops were sent to Michoacán, Sinaloa, and other drug producing states.

Soberanes made his remarks as the US General Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report critical of US cooperation with Mexico to combat drug trafficking. That report, Drug Control: US Assistance Has Helped Mexican Counternarcotics Efforts, But Tons of Illicit Drugs Continue to Flow Into the United States, found that 90% of cocaine entering the US now comes through Mexico. While critical of corruption and lack of effort on the Mexican side, too, it praised Calderón for deploying the military in the battle against the drug trade.

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11. Europe: German States Want Heroin Maintenance for Addicts

German state governments are pressing the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel to open the way to providing free heroin for hard-core addicts throughout the country. A bill adopted in the Bundesrat and supported by 13 of the 16 state governments would transform what is now officially a heroin maintenance pilot program where hundreds of addicts in seven cities are provided free heroin into a national program paid for by health insurers.

Established in 2001 in an effort to help hard-core addicts get off the drug, reduce their levels of criminality, and reduce overdose deaths and disease, the the pilot program was deemed a success by the German government in May 2006. Plans were announced to expand it from 750 to as many as 1,500 people, but those apparently never materialized.

A federal drug official who supports broadening the program, Sabine Bätzing, told Deutsche Presse Agentur, said some 3,500 addicts would benefit from the program if it were available across the country. As with the pilot program, only those addicts who had failed on substitutes such as methadone would be eligible for the expanded program.

Birgit Schnieber-Jastram, social-welfare minister in Hamburg, told the news agency that pilot programs in her state had reduced drug consumption and helped break the link between addicts and illicit drug markets.

But the bill to expand the heroin maintenance program faces the opposition of Merkel's dominant Christian Democratic Union, which objects to the burden it says it would impose on insurers and is instead suggesting more pilot projects on an as needed basis. The CDU also argues that the aim of German heroin policy should be to wean addicts from heroin, not maintain them.

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12. Australia: South Australia Wants to Ban Marijuana Grow Recipes, Equipment

South Australia Attorney General Michael Atkinson Tuesday introduced legislation to the state parliament that would ban drug-making recipes and the possession of equipment that could be used to produce drugs without a reasonable excuse. The measure is aimed primarily at marijuana growers.

In remarks reported by The Age, Atkinson said people would have to prove why they have equipment used in the hydroponic cultivation of marijuana or face up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

"We want to make it very hard for drug cultivators and manufacturers in South Australia," he told reporters. "We think they're a pest, they're a nuisance, they're noxious and that we ought to make their lives so unbearable they might even go to another jurisdiction."

Atkinson said he isn't sure yet which items will be proscribed, but he would work with police to identify items used in hydroponic marijuana cultivation and other illicit drug laboratories. Atkinson did not say how the proposed law would be implemented.

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13. In Memoriam: Dr. John Beresford

(courtesy Gaia Media Foundation and Erowid)

Dr. John Beresford died on September 2, 2007 in a hospital in Canada. British-born John Beresford began his psychedelic research interests in 1961, when he resigned his post as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the New York Medical College and founded the Agora Scientific Trust, the world's first research organization devoted to investigating the effects of LSD. In contrast to Leary's invitation to "tune in, turn on and drop out," Beresford wanted to keep LSD in proper perspective as a tool of scientifically trained specialists.

He spent the next several decades working in psychiatry until 1991, when he resigned and founded the Committee on Unjust Sentencing, a group focused on the cause of people imprisoned on psychedelics-related charges. Beresford testified in front of the US Sentencing Commission and spoke out on his passion in many forums. In his later years he lived in Canada and continued to correspond with psychedelic prisoners.

At the international LSD Symposium in 2006, at the occasion of the 100th birthday of Albert Hofmann in Basel, Switzerland, Beresford presented the talk "Psychedelic Agents and the Structure of Consciousness: Stages in a Session Using LSD and DMT." Beresford was known for his outspokenness and persistence on many topics, and is fondly remembered for his tireless devotion to the causes he championed. He laid in state for four days, untouched, a Buddhist tradition, and was cremated later. His ashes mixed with rose petals and rice will be given to the river that flows through the Tibetan monastery he was closely affiliated with, as he asked.

Beresford, who described the discovery of LSD as possibly the most critical event in human history, remarked: "Take it once and you know that all you've known about consciousness is wrong." (From The Acid Queen, Robert Hunter, Chapter 7 of The Storming of the Mind, McClelland and Stewart Ltd., ©Robert Hunter, 1971)

Visit http://www.erowid.org/culture/characters/beresford_john/beresford_john.s... to learn more about Dr. Beresford.

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14. Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle?

Do you read Drug War Chronicle? If so, we'd like to hear from you. DRCNet needs two things:

  1. We are in between newsletter grants, and that makes our need for donations more pressing. Drug War Chronicle is free to read but not to produce! Click here to make a donation by credit card or PayPal, or to print out a form to send in by mail.

  2. Please send quotes and reports on how you put our flow of information to work, for use in upcoming grant proposals and letters to funders or potential funders. Do you use DRCNet as a source for public speaking? For letters to the editor? Helping you talk to friends or associates about the issue? Research? For your own edification? Have you changed your mind about any aspects of drug policy since subscribing, or inspired you to get involved in the cause? Do you reprint or repost portions of our bulletins on other lists or in other newsletters? Do you have any criticisms or complaints, or suggestions? We want to hear those too. Please send your response -- one or two sentences would be fine; more is great, too -- email [email protected] or reply to a Chronicle email or use our online comment form. Please let us know if we may reprint your comments, and if so, if we may include your name or if you wish to remain anonymous. IMPORTANT: Even if you have given us this kind of feedback before, we could use your updated feedback now too -- we need to hear from you!

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15. Web Scan

Medical Pot and the Iraq Veteran, Colby Buzzell in Esquire

Will Drug Lord Do Less Time Than the Average American Nonviolent Drug Offender?, Anthony Papa on AlterNet

DrugTruth Network:
Cultural Baggage for 09/21/07: Tony Papa of Drug Policy Alliance + Barry Hargrove, Deborah Vagins & Dr. Ken Collins + Official Govt. Truth (MP3)
Century of Lies for 09/21/07: Jacob Sullum of Reason + Drug War Facts, Jesse Jackson, "Everyone Loves Drug War" (MP3)

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16. Weekly: This Week in History

September 29, 1969: At the beginning of the second week of Operation Intercept, the Nixon Administration's failed, unilateral attempt to halt the flow of drugs from Mexico into the United States, the Bureau of the Budget (predecessor to the Office of Management and Budget) sends a scathing critique to the White House of the June report that served as the catalyst for the plan, calling it a "grossly inadequate basis for Presidential decision" and warning that its recommendations were based on faulty or unproven assertions.

October 4, 1970: Legendary singer Janis Joplin is found dead at Hollywood's Landmark Hotel, a victim of what is concluded to be an accidental heroin overdose.

October 2, 1982: Ronald Reagan, in a radio address to the nation on federal drug policy, says, "We're making no excuses for drugs -- hard, soft, or otherwise. Drugs are bad, and we're going after them. As I've said before, we've taken down the surrender flag and run up the battle flag. And we're going to win the war on drugs."

September 29, 1989: The domestic cocaine seizure record is set (still in effect today): 47,554 pounds in Sylmar, California.

October 2, 1992: Thirty-one people from various law enforcement agencies storm Donald Scott's 200-acre ranch in Malibu, California. Scott's wife screams when she sees the intruders. When sixty-one-year-old Scott, who believes thieves are breaking into his home, comes out of the bedroom with a gun, he is shot dead. A drug task force was looking for marijuana plants. Interestingly, Scott had refused earlier to negotiate a sale of his property to the government. DEA agents were there to seize the ranch. After extensive searches, no marijuana is found.

September 30, 1996: President Bill Clinton signs into law the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act for 1997. FY1997 totals provide increased drug-related funding for the two leading drug law enforcement agencies in the Department of Justice: FBI ($2,838 million) and DEA ($1,001 million).

October 3, 1996: US Public Law 104-237, known as the "Comprehensive Methamphetamine Control Act of 1996," is signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It contains provisions attempting to stop the importation of methamphetamine and precursor chemicals into the United States, attempting to control the manufacture of methamphetamine in clandestine laboratories, to increase penalties for trafficking in methamphetamine and List I precursor chemicals, to allow the government to seek restitution for the clean-up of clandestine laboratory sites, and attempting to stop rogue companies from selling large amounts of precursor chemicals that are diverted to clandestine laboratories.

October 1, 1998: The increase in funding of prisons and decrease in spending for schools prompts protests by California high school students.

September 28, 2001: Drug Enforcement Administration agents seize files containing legal and medical records of more than 5,000 medical marijuana patients associated with the California Medical Research Center in El Dorado County when they raid the home and office of Dr. Mollie Fry, a physician, and her husband, Dale Schafer, a lawyer who had earlier announced his bid for El Dorado County district attorney.

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17. Webmasters: Help the Movement by Running DRCNet Syndication Feeds on Your Web Site!

Are you a fan of DRCNet, and do you have a web site you'd like to use to spread the word more forcefully than a single link to our site can achieve? We are pleased to announce that DRCNet content syndication feeds are now available. Whether your readers' interest is in-depth reporting as in Drug War Chronicle, the ongoing commentary in our blogs, or info on specific drug war subtopics, we are now able to provide customizable code for you to paste into appropriate spots on your blog or web site to run automatically updating links to DRCNet educational content.

For example, if you're a big fan of Drug War Chronicle and you think your readers would benefit from it, you can have the latest issue's headlines, or a portion of them, automatically show up and refresh when each new issue comes out.

If your site is devoted to marijuana policy, you can run our topical archive, featuring links to every item we post to our site about marijuana -- Chronicle articles, blog posts, event listings, outside news links, more. The same for harm reduction, asset forfeiture, drug trade violence, needle exchange programs, Canada, ballot initiatives, roughly a hundred different topics we are now tracking on an ongoing basis. (Visit the Chronicle main page, right-hand column, to see the complete current list.)

If you're especially into our new Speakeasy blog section, new content coming out every day dealing with all the issues, you can run links to those posts or to subsections of the Speakeasy.

Click here to view a sample of what is available -- please note that the length, the look and other details of how it will appear on your site can be customized to match your needs and preferences.

Please also note that we will be happy to make additional permutations of our content available to you upon request (though we cannot promise immediate fulfillment of such requests as the timing will in many cases depend on the availability of our web site designer). Visit our Site Map page to see what is currently available -- any RSS feed made available there is also available as a javascript feed for your web site (along with the Chronicle feed which is not showing up yet but which you can find on the feeds page linked above). Feel free to try out our automatic feed generator, online here.

Contact us for assistance or to let us know what you are running and where. And thank you in advance for your support.

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18. Resource: DRCNet Web Site Offers Wide Array of RSS Feeds for Your Reader

RSS feeds are the wave of the future -- and DRCNet now offers them! The latest Drug War Chronicle issue is now available using RSS at http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/feed online.

We have many other RSS feeds available as well, following about a hundred different drug policy subtopics that we began tracking since the relaunch of our web site this summer -- indexing not only Drug War Chronicle articles but also Speakeasy blog posts, event listings, outside news links and more -- and for our daily blog postings and the different subtracks of them. Visit our Site Map page to peruse the full set.

Thank you for tuning in to DRCNet and drug policy reform!

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19. Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/appointmentbook.jpg
DRCNet's Reformer's Calendar is a tool you can use to let the world know about your events, and find out what is going on in your area in the issue. This resource used to run in our newsletter each week, but now is available from the right hand column of most of the pages on our web site.

The Reformer's Calendar publishes events large and small of interest to drug policy reformers around the world. Whether it's a major international conference, a demonstration bringing together people from around the region or a forum at the local college, we want to know so we can let others know, too.

But we need your help to keep the calendar current, so please make sure to contact us and don't assume that we already know about the event or that we'll hear about it from someone else, because that doesn't always happen.

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

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