Drug War Chronicle #572 - February 13, 2009

1. Editorial: Obama's Other War

As commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama must now oversee our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As President, he is also responsible for another war, one that has gone on much longer and been more costly in terms of dollars spent and lives lost -- the war on drugs.

2. Feature: It's Time for a New Drug Policy Paradigm, Say Latin American Leaders

The Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy issued a report Wednesday calling for harm reduction, treating drug use as a public health issue, and decriminalizing marijuana. The report was an intervention aimed as much at Washington as at Vienna, where the UN meets next month to plot global drug strategy.

3. Feature: Drug Reformers Boycott Kellogg Cereals Over Dumping of Michael Phelps Over Bong Photo

The Michael Phelps bong photo story has taken on a life of its own. It has garnered huge media coverage, much of it openly critical of the marijuana laws and official attitudes toward pot smokers. Now, drug reformers, sensing an opportunity to advance the cause, have organized a boycott of Kellogg cereals for refusing to renew his endorsement contract.

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

There may be something rotten in the dope squad in Philly, something definitely was rotten in Beantown, and yes, another jail guard goes down.

5. ONDCP: Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske Named New Drug Czar

The drug reform community was hoping for a public health person -- not a cop or soldier -- to be named as drug czar. A cop is what we got, but a cop from a liberal town. Will an (arguably) progressive police chief as drug czar be as good?

6. Incarceration: Federal Judges Order California to Free Tens of Thousands of Prisoners

California has been addicted to mass incarceration for the past quarter-century. Now, it looks like some federal judges are going to make the state go cold turkey. Tens of thousands of prisoners could be set free because California can't or won't pay to treat them as the Constitution requires.

7. Pain Management: FDA to Tighten Regulation of Extended-Release and Patch Opioid Meds

The FDA is moving to tighten prescribing rules for extended-release and patch opioid pain medications. That means it could be harder for patients to obtain drugs like OxyContin and Duragesic, but it's not a done deal yet.

8. Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Passes Senate Committee

Medical marijuana is moving again in Minnesota. A bill this week passed a Senate committee, despite crazed testimony from LaRouchites and Christian conservatives.

9. Europe: Danish Heroin Maintenance Program to Commence Next Month

Denmark is about to become the latest European country to cut to the chase and embrace heroin maintenance for particularly recalcitrant smack users.

10. Europe: British Drug Advisory Panel Recommends Downgrading Ecstasy, Government Says No

Once again, the British government has ignored the recommendations of its own advisory committee to down-schedule a drug. Last year, it was marijuana. This time, it's Ecstasy. And it looks like next time, the same thing will happen with LSD. It's making some wonder whether the government wants evidence-based drug policies or not.

11. Europe: Dutch Banks Must Deal With Cannabis Cafes, Minister Says

Dutch banks have been snubbing coffee house accounts, closing existing ones and refusing to open new ones. Now, the Dutch government says the coffee houses are legal businesses and the banks must deal with them.

12. Alert: Keep the Promise, President Obama -- Stop the Medical Marijuana Raids!

Bush administration holdovers are ordering raids on state-authorized medical marijuana clinics, despite President Obama's pledge to stop them. Please ask the new president and attorney general to take corrective actions sooner rather than later.

13. 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.

14. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Apply for an internship at DRCNet for this spring (or summer), and you could spend the semester fighting the good fight!

15. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Police Are Trying Very Hard to Bust Michael Phelps for Smoking a Bong," "USA Swimming Deserves Condemnation for Suspending Michael Phelps," "There Are So Many People in Jail, They Literally Don't Fit," "Has Obama Made a Good Choice for Drug Czar?," "Marijuana Probably Won't Give You Cancer in Your Testicles," "Crazed Sheriff Arrests Eight in Phelps Bong Investigation," "Call Kellogg's Today: Here's the Number," "SNL Slams Kellogg's for Dissing Marijuana Users," "Boycott Kellogg's! Fight Corporate Demonization of Marijuana," "Good Kathleen Parker Editorial on Michael Phelps."

16. Job Opportunity: Online Content Manager, Marijuana Policy Project, Washington, DC

The Marijuana Policy Project is seeking an experienced Online Content Manager to develop and manage MPP's online communications strategy from its Washington, DC office.
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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