Drug War Chronicle #550 - September 5, 2008

1. Editorial: How Much Does It Cost to Build an Air-Conditioned Drug Smuggling Tunnel?

Every now and then authorities discover an electrified, air-conditioned tunnel underneath our border with Mexico or Canada, presumably built for drug smuggling. How many such tunnels go undiscovered? And does it take more than one successful smuggling operation to pay for a tunnel's construction?

2. Feature: Venezuela, US Governments Spar Over Drug Fighting

Washington and Caracas traded barbs over Venezuelan cooperation (or the lack thereof) with US drug fighters this week.

3. Chronicle Book Review: "On Speed: The Many Lives of Amphetamine," by Nicolas Rasmussen (2008, New York University Press, 352 pp, $29.95 HB)

With "On Speed: The Many Lives of Amphetamine," historian of science Nicholas Rasmussen has written a fascinating and enlightening history of America's favorite stimulant, and the role of drug companies, the medical profession, and consumers in making it that way.

4. 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.

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

A cop with a pain pill habit gets in trouble. So does yet another jail guard.

6. Presidential Politics: Both Major Party Tickets Include Former Drug Users

With the nomination of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice-presidential candidate, both major party tickets now include acknowledged former drug users. But there is little sign either party is going to do anything groundbreaking on drug policy reform.

7. Drug Use: Prescription Pills Up, Cocaine and Meth Down, Marijuana Holds Steady

The annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health is out. While some drugs are less popular than last year, others are more popular, and overall use levels remain largely unchanged.

8. Medical Marijuana: Los Angeles City Council Extends Moratorium

The Los Angeles City Council has extended its year-old moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries for another six months.

9. Marijuana: Fayetteville, Arkansas, Lowest Priority Initiative Turns in More Signatures

A lowest law enforcement priority initiative for adult marijuana possession offenses in Fayetteville, Arkansas, seems set for the November ballot as organizers hand in nearly a thousand additional signatures. They needed 300 valid ones.

10. Marijuana: SAFER Takes on the NFL, Cites "Hypocrisy" of Player's Huge Fine for Marijuana Possession

The marijuana reform group SAFER is accusing the NFL of hypocrisy over a huge fine imposed on one player for minor marijuana possession while the league makes hundreds of millions from alcohol advertising. It has an online petition you can sign.

11. Australia: Drug Researcher Says Ecstasy Safer Than Binge Drinking, Causes Flap

A leading Australian drug researcher has dared to suggest young people might be better off taking small doses of ecstasy rather than getting stinking drunk on a regular basis, and that has excited cries of blasphemy!

12. Latin America: Mexican Drug Violence Taking Toll on Pres. Calderón's Popularity

Mexican President Felipe Calderón called out the army to put the hurt on drug trafficking organizations. But with a rising prohibition-related death toll, as well as public impatience with common crime, his policies may be putting a bigger hurt on himself.

13. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Victim's Rights in the War on Drugs," "Palin Pick Makes Medical Marijuana a Problem Issue For McCain," "Police Raid Wrong Address, Hit Innocent Man With the Butt of a Shotgun," "Prosecutor Getting Nervous in the Ryan Frederick Case," "Republicans Promise to Continue the Drug War," "BREAKING: People Smoke Pot at Outdoor Concerts," "$20,000 Bond for One Ecstasy Pill," "How Much More Public Support Does Medical Marijuana Really Need?"

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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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