Drug War Chronicle #548 - August 22, 2008

1. Editorial: Why Hasn't Denver's Police Chief Been Fired for Violating Marijuana Laws?

In Hawaii County (the "Big Island") this week, city councilmembers respect their constituents so much that they approved a marijuana reform initiative for the ballot despite insufficient signatures. In Denver, police continue to flout not one but two similar laws that that city's voters passed. Why hasn't the police chief been fired for it?

2. Feature: The Drug Checkpoint That Wasn't -- Louisiana Lawmen Play Fast and Loose with the Constitution

There was a drug checkpoint on a Louisiana highway last week. Only one problem: they're illegal. Now the local cops are backtracking furiously and claiming it was really a legal highway safety checkpoint. And the drug dogs were there to help read drivers' licenses?

3. Feature: Seattle's Hempfest Again Draws Multitudes in Celebration of Cannabis Culture

Seattle's annual Hempfest, the world's largest marijuana "protestival," took place last weekend. Here's a brief report.

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. Salvia Divinorum: North Dakota Man, First in Nation Charged With Magic Mint Offense, Sees Charges Reduced

Kenneth Rau of Bismarck, North Dakota, the first man in the US arrested for possession of salvia divinorum, caught something of a break last week when prosecutors dropped the most serious charge against him. But he still faces five years in prison for $32 worth of salvia leaves he bought on eBay.

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

Cops "misplacing" money, cops providing help to a pot crew, a court security officer peddling pain pills, and a jail guard getting caught bringing in the goodies. Just another week in the drug war.

7. Marijuana: Massachusetts Decriminalization Initiative Polling Well

A November initiative that would decriminalize small-time marijuana possession in Massachusetts is now polling at over 70%.

8. Medical Marijuana: California Supreme Court to Take Up Limits Issue

The California Supreme Court will try to settle once and for all the issue of limits on the number of plants or amount of marijuana patients may possess.

9. Marijuana: Hawaii's Big Island to Vote on Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Initiative

An initiative that would make the enforcement of marijuana laws against adults the lowest law enforcement priority on Hawaii's Big Island will go to the voters in November.

10. Offer: Unique and Important New Book on Medical Marijuana

"Dying to Get High," by sociologists Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb, is a groundbreaking work that provides an in-depth portrait of one of the country's most well-known medical marijuana collectives.

11. Latin America: Mexico's PRD May Call for Legalization

Faced with rising levels of violence as Mexican drug traffickers, police, and soldiers engage in a multi-sided struggle for supremacy, Mexico's left-leaning Democratic Revolution Party may be about to call for legalization of the drug trade -- in both the US and Mexico.

12. Europe: Move Afoot in Poland to Legalize Marijuana

Poland treats marijuana possession toughly, but that could change if a movement now underway succeeds.

13. Weekly: This Week in History

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

14. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Panels Calls For Reduced Marijuana Enforcement During Democratic National Convention," "California Legislature Passes Employment Rights Bill for Medical Marijuana Patients," "Excellent Video: The Human Cost of Marijuana Prohibition," "College Presidents Call for Debate on Lowering the Drinking Age," "Pet Mountain Lion Gets Man Arrested for Marijuana," "Stephen Colbert's Top 7 Drug Moments," "If You Oppose Marijuana Laws, But Support Other Drug Laws, Read This," "Canadian Health Minister Attacks Doctors for Supporting Safe Injection Sites."

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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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