Drug War Chronicle #553 - September 26, 2008

1. Editorial: Drug Dogs Don't Have ESP, or What's Wrong with Judges Today?

Lawyers understand medicine better than doctors, and drug dogs have extra-sensory perception, some judges today seem to think. Judges should know better, and with people's health and freedom on the line have no excuse for not doing better.

2. Feature: Number of Schools Embracing Random Drug Testing on the Rise -- So is Opposition

Unleashed by a pair of US Supreme Court rulings, the Bush administration has been pushing random suspicionless drug testing of students. They've been having some success, but have also engendered a vigorous opposition movement.

3. Feature: Poll Finds Broad Support for Doing Away with Mandatory Minimum Sentencing for Nonviolent Offenders

Families Against Mandatory Minimums this week released polling data showing surprising levels of support for reform of our draconian mandatory minimum sentencing structure.

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

From sea to shining sea, cops, jail guards, and court officers go bad. This week, in addition to the usual rogues' gallery of corrupt cops, we get an abusive one, too.

6. Sentencing: Pennsylvania Senate Approves Treatment-Not-Jail Measure

Suffering a budgetary hangover after years of "tough on crime" and mandatory minimum sentencing policies, the Pennsylvania Senate voted last week to divert nonviolent drug offenders to treatment, among other reforms. The House is expected to pass the bill soon.

7. Search and Seizure: Florida Defense Attorneys Challenge Drug Dog "Hits"

The use of drug dogs to search vehicles during traffic stops is becoming increasingly popular with police. But now, some Florida attorneys are challenging the reliability of the dogs because some have been shown to "hit" consistently on cars -- even when no drugs are on board.

8. Medical Marijuana: Washington State Judge Plays Doctor, Convicts Authorized Patient of Cultivating His Own Medicine

In convicting a properly certified medical marijuana patient of cultivation, a Washington state judge has decided she's a doctor, not just a lawyer.

9. Salvia Divinorum: US Military Bases in England, Okinawa Say No to Sally D

The Marines in Okinawa and a US Air Force fighter wing in England have banned salvia divinorum. They're not the first military bases to act against the legal hallucinogen.

10. Latin America: Mexicans Bummed Out By Prohibition-Related Violence -- 44% Say Legalize Drugs

Mexico's high levels of prohibition-related violence are taking their toll on public confidence south of the border. But they are also making Mexicans more amenable to thinking about legalization, according to a new poll.

11. Europe: Dutchman Busted for Smoking Tobacco in Cannabis Coffee House

Holland banned tobacco smoking in public places, including coffee shops, effective July 1. Now one Amsterdammer who couldn't break his habit of mixing tobacco into his joints has been cited.

12. Europe: Kosovo Has Lowest Illicit Drug Prices in Region

Kosovo won its independence from Serbia after a US-NATO intervention in 1999. Now it boasts the cheapest dope in the Balkans.

13. Weekly: This Week in History

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

14. Job Opportunity: Program Manager, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, Silver Spring, MD

The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation (CJPF) is seeking a part-time Program Manager to work directly with its president in downtown Silver Spring, MD.

15. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Poll Shows Strong Support in Mexico for Drug Legalization," "Rachel Hoffman Fallout: One Officer Fired, Others Reprimanded," "Police Kill Really Small Dog, Claim it Threatened Them," "New Developments in the Ryan Frederick Case," "Idiot Proposes Lengthy Prison Sentence for George Michael," "Cop Fired For Choking Marijuana Suspect," "Salvia is Potent, But is it Dangerous?," "Obama's Contradictory Position on the Drug War," "Another Sign That Medical Marijuana Laws Are Working."

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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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