Drug War Chronicle #538 - May 30, 2008

1. Feature: Summer's Here and the Time is Right for... Getting Busted Going to the Festival (If You're Not Careful)

Summer music festival season is here, and with it, the annual exercises in drug law enforcement aimed at festival-goers and highway travelers in general. Here are a few tips for avoiding trouble.

2. Feature: BC Supreme Court Rules Vancouver Safe Injection Site to Stay Open, Federal Drug Law Controlling It Unconstitutional

In a surprise ruling, the British Columbia Supreme Court has held that Canada's federal drug law is unconstitutional as applied to Vancouver's safe injection site. The site will therefore stay open despite the wishes of the Harper government.

3. Feature: Brazil Appeals Court Rules Drug Possession Not a Crime

A Brazilian appeals court in São Paulo has ruled that drug possession is not a crime. The ruling only applies to one case, but has set an important precedent.

4. 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!

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

A Connecticut prison guard gets busted, a pair of JFK airport Customs inspectors do too, an Arizona Border Patrol agent cops a plea, and a Connecticut narc heads to prison. Just another week in the drug war.

6. Medical Marijuana: California Appeals Court Throws Out Quantity Limits

A California appeals court has declared a 2004 law setting limits on the amount of marijuana patients may possess unconstitutional because it seeks to amend a voter initiative, and only the voters can do that.

7. Medical Marijuana: Employment Rights Bill Passes California Assembly

In January, the California Supreme Court ruled that employers could fire employees who tested positive for marijuana even if they were legal patients under California law. Now, a bill that would undo that ruling has passed the state Assembly.

8. Marijuana: Hawaii County Council Rejects "Green Harvest" Eradication Program

For 30 years, residents of Hawaii's Big Island have endured the annual helicopter swoops and marijuana field raids of "Operation Green Harvest." But last week, the local government said "no thank you" to the state and federal funding that support the operation.

9. Marijuana: Idaho Resort Town Passes Three Initiatives -- Again

For the second time in less than a year, voters in Hailey, Idaho, have passed a trio of marijuana reform municipal initiatives. The first time around, city officials rejected them. Now what will they do?

10. Sentencing: New Jersey Spends $331 Million a Year Jailing Nonviolent Drug Offenders, Study Finds as Legislature Ponders Reforms

A new study from the Drug Policy Alliance finds that New Jersey is spending more than $330 million a year to imprison drug offenders. The study comes as the state legislature ponders a first baby step toward reforming its tough drug sentencing laws.

11. Latin America: Rising Death Toll in Mexico's Drug War Signals Imminent Victory, Attorney General Claims

People are being killed in prohibition-related violence in Mexico at a rate 50% higher than last year. Mexico's attorney general claims that's a sign of success in the drug war.

12. Australia: Doc Group Lobbies for Tougher Western Australia Marijuana Laws, Cites Mental Health Threat

Citing an alleged link between marijuana use and mental illness, the Australian Medical Association is calling for tougher marijuana penalties. That goes against its earlier position that criminal laws don't work as a deterrent and can in fact be harmful to drug users.

13. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Barbara Kay Says Mean Things About Marijuana Users and the Reform Movement," "Another Ryan Frederick Update," "McClellan: Bush Partied So Much, He Couldn't Remember Whether He Tried Cocaine," "If the Drug War Reduces Violence, Please Explain What's Happening in Mexico," "Japanese Customs Hid 5 oz. of Marijuana in Passenger's Bag, Now They Can't Find It," "Ryan Frederick Formally Charged With First Degree Murder."

14. Weekly: This Week in History

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

15. Drug Policy Alliance's Advocacy Grants Program Application Deadline Approaching

With the application deadline fast approaching, Drug Policy Alliance has approximately $1.2 million to allocate during its 2008 Promoting Policy Change grant cycle.

16. 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.

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.
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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