Drug War Chronicle #577 - March 20, 2009

1. Feature: Legislatures Take Up "Good Samaritan" Overdose Bills in Bid to Reduce Deaths

Lives are being lost because when someone ODs on drugs, friends fearful of arrest of themselves or the victim hesitate to seek help. In 2007, New Mexico became the first state to pass a Good Samaritan law protecting people calling for help in ODs. This year, similar bills are popping up around the country.

2. Feature: Bills to Require Drug Testing for Welfare, Unemployment Pop Up Around the Country

Faced with economic crises, fiscal shortfalls, and growing welfare and unemployment rolls, some state legislators are proposing a really bad idea: drug testing welfare and/or unemployment recipients. But there is a broad array of organizations lined up against them. Oh, and there's that pesky Constitution, too.

3. Medical Marijuana: California Dispensary Operator Faces Decades in Federal Prison at Sentencing Monday

The Obama administration may have signaled an end to the federal war against medical marijuana in California, but there is unfinished business from the Bush era crusades. A tragic case in point is that of Morro Bay dispensary operator Charles Lynch, who faces years in federal prison when he is sentenced Monday.

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

This week, we have some drug cops whose misbehavior may not reach the standard of corruption, but is certainly worth noting. And then we have the usual corrupt cops.

5. Medical Marijuana: Attorney General Holder Sends Another Signal -- No DEA Busts Unless You Violate State Law

For the second time in three weeks, Attorney General Holder has said there will be no more DEA raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in states where it is legal -- as long as they are operating under state laws. But that still leaves some wiggle room.

6. Latin America: Mexico Prohibition Violence Catches Washington's Eye, New Initiatives Pending

Congress wants the Obama administration to "do something" about the prohibition-related violence ravaging Mexico. But that "something" just looks like more drug war.

7. Latin America: Peru to Export Coca Beer

Tired of the same old coca products? Now you can try coca beer! Coming soon to a bar near you... but only if you live in Peru, China, South Africa, Argentina, or Venezuela.

8. Drug Raids: Cops Shoot Michigan Student Over "A Few Tablespoonfuls" of Marijuana

There is outrage in western Michigan after an unarmed university student was shot and seriously wounded in a drug raid last week. And what did the cops find? "A few tablespoons full" of marijuana.

9. Medical Marijuana: New Hampshire Bill Wins Committee Vote, Heads for House Floor

A medical marijuana bill in New Hampshire has passed a key committee vote and is now headed for the House floor. A similar measure failed there by a handful of votes two years ago.

10. Medical Marijuana: Not in Iowa, Not This Year

The Hawkeye State turns a deaf ear to the entreaties of medical marijuana patients. A bill that would have helped has died without action.

11. Weekly: This Week in History

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

12. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

Scott Morgan brings us: "Former Drug Czar Doesn't Care If You Grow Marijuana," "Behind Bars in the Land of the Free," "The Debate Over Medical Marijuana Should Have Ended a Decade Ago," "Is it Even Intellectually Possible to 'Oppose' Medical Marijuana?," "Police Dispatcher Fired for Giving Medical Marijuana to Sick Relative," "Ron Paul Murders Stephen Baldwin in Marijuana Legalization Debate," "Police Lobby for Harsh Marijuana Laws," "Pennsylvania Liquor Store Employees Will Now be Nicer to You," "Police Shoot Unarmed Marijuana Suspect."

13. Students: Intern at StoptheDrugWar (DRCNet) and Help Stop the Drug War!

Apply for an internship at DRCNet and you could spend a semester fighting the good fight!

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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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