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Drug War Chronicle #520 - January 25, 2008

1. Editorial: Poverty and the Drug Laws

While we take on the drug war's many different currents, it's important to remember our moral and intellectual roots. One of those is the role prohibition plays in fueling poverty. Understanding of this will one day dawn, and legalization will be seen as the wiser course.

2. Feature: Faced With Slashed Federal Grants, Drug Task Forces Howl... and Plot to Get Their Funding Back

When Congress passed the omnibus appropriations bill a few weeks ago, it slashed funding for the federal grant program that funds local anti-drug task forces. Now the task forces are howling, and they and their allies are plotting a bid to get that money back.

3. In Memoriam: Judge Eleanor Schockett of LEAP

Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition wrote the following memorial for one of LEAP's most active leaders, Judge Eleanor Schockett. We reprint it from the LEAP web site.

4. Appeal: DRCNet Made Amazing Progress in 2007 and We Need Your Help for 2008

An outline of DRCNet's plans and recent accomplishments and an appeal for your support to make it all happen.

5. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"It's Really Easy to Put Innocent People in Jail for Drugs," "Idiot Steals Two Crocodiles and a Monkey, Blames Marijuana," "The Drug Czar's Awesome Plan to Blame Hugo Chavez for Everything," "Our Drug Laws Literally Allow Police to Steal From Innocent People," "Obama Pledges to Continue the Drug War," "Randomly Sad But True."

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: Virginia Narcotics Officer Killed Busting Down Door in Marijuana Grow Raid

A Chesapeake, Virginia, narcotics officer was killed last week as he attempted to break down a door during a raid on a suspected marijuana grow operation. His alleged killer now faces first degree murder charges.

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

Scandal broadens in Brooklyn South, a cop working for a federal drug task force goes bad in California, and a pair of private prison guards in Texas get in trouble.

9. Law Enforcement: Snitch Culture Gone Bad in Ohio -- 15 Prisoners to Go Free Because of Informant's Tainted Testimony

In the latest installment of an ongoing snitch scandal in northeast Ohio, a federal judge has freed 15 men sentenced to prison on crack conspiracy charges based on perjured testimony from a DEA informant. Now, the informant is in prison, and the DEA agent is in the crosshairs.

10. Medical Marijuana: Employers Can Fire Users, California Supreme Court Rules

The California Supreme Court has ruled that employers may fire medical marijuana users. The backlash is just getting underway.

11. Medical Marijuana: New Mexico Paraplegic Sues Over Seizure of Plants, Grow Equipment

Leonard French followed New Mexico's medical marijuana law to the letter, but that didn't stop the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force from seizing his plants and grow equipment and giving it to the DEA. Now he's suing.

12. Drug Penalties: New York Governor Proposes Tax Stamps -- $200 a Gram for Cocaine

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) has proposed a tax on illegal drugs as part of his budget proposal. $3.50 a gram for marijuana might be -- if it were legal, at least -- but $200 a gram for cocaine!?

13. Marijuana: New Hampshire Decriminalization Bill Wins Support at Hearing

A bill that would decriminalize the possession of up to 1.25 ounces of marijuana got a first hearing in the New Hampshire legislature this week. Two law enforcement officials spoke out in favor of it.

14. Marijuana: Burlington, Vermont City Council Rejects Decriminalization Measure

The city council in Burlington, Vermont, has rejected putting a marijuana decriminalization proposal before the voters. But a council committee will study the idea.

15. Harm Reduction: San Antonio Police Arrest Needle Exchangers, DA Ups the Ante

Last year, the Texas legislature approved a pilot needle exchange program in Bexar County (San Antonio), but a recalcitrant District Attorney has blocked it. Now, after San Antonio police arrested needle exchangers this week, the same DA is trying to hammer them.

16. Latin America: Mexican Soldiers Raid Police in Drug Fight in Rio Grande Valley Border Cities

The Mexican army has moved into a number of Rio Grande Valley border towns in Tamaulipas state and taken over from local police, whom it is investigating for links to the drug traffic.

17. Latin America: US Accuses Venezuela of "Colluding" with Cocaine Trade

US drug czar John Walters accused Venezuela of "colluding" in the cocaine traffic, an accusation Venezuela did not take lying down. Meanwhile, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez says he chews coca, much to the dismay of the Miami Herald.

18. Weekly: This Week in History

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

19. 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.

20. Internship Opportunity: Americans for Safe Access, Washington, DC

Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a national medical marijuana advocacy group, is currently seeking graduate and undergraduate interns for their Washington DC office.

21. Errata

Source credit for Virginia salvia ban article.

22. 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!

23. 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.

24. 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.
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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