Drug War Chronicle #578 - March 27, 2009

1. Feature: Failed Drug War Policies in Mexico? Let's Try More of the Same

As Mexicos's plague of prohibition-related violence continues unabated, Washington is moving to beef up the border and the Mexican repressive apparatus. But for the first time, US officials are openly admitting that some of it is our fault, possibly opening the way for the discussion of drug legalization to move in from the margins.

2. Feature: More Than A Quarter Million Marijuana Smokers in Drug Treatment Each Year -- Are We Wasting Valuable Treatment Resources?

The latest SAMHSA drug treatment statistics show that 288,000 people entered treatment for marijuana in 2007. Only one in six sought it; more than half were ordered there by the courts. Given continuing problems with cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs, is this how we want to spend our treatment dollars?

3. Sentencing: Rockefeller Drug Law Reform Deal Near, NY Times Says

Reform of New York's draconian Rockefeller drug laws is almost a done deal, the New York Times reported Thursday. But the devil is in the details, and advocates are biting their nails.

4. Medical Marijuana: In Wake of Holder Comments, Federal Judge Postpones Sentencing of California Medical Marijuana Provider Charles Lynch

California medical marijuana dispensary operator Charles Lynch was supposed to be sentenced to federal prison Monday. It didn't happen, and Lynch can thank Attorney General Holder for signaling a change of federal policy toward such prosecutions.

5. Medical Marijuana: DEA Raids San Francisco Dispensary Despite Holder Vow

The Justice Department will/will not raid medical marijuana providers in states where it's legal. Who knows? Attorney General Holder said last week the DEA would only go after dispensaries violating state law, but this week, the DEA hit a San Francisco dispensary that appears to be operating legally. Confusion and concern abound.

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

Narcs gone wild, narcs cheating on their pay, narcs stealing dope, narcs lying on the stand, a perverted sheriff heads to prison, and that's just the half of it.

7. Criminal Justice: US Senator Introduces Bill to Create Commission for "Top-to-Bottom" Review of Criminal Justice System

Sen Jim Webb (D-VA) has become a hero for drug reformers in the short time he's been in the Senate. Now, his latest effort is sure to earn him more kudos.

8. Privacy: Kansas House Passes Bill Mandating Drug Tests for Public Assistance

A number of states are considering bills to require drug testing to receive public assistance or unemployment benefits. Kansas is the first one where such a bill has won approval in even one chamber.

9. Medical Marijuana: Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire Bills Advance

Medical marijuana is on the move in the statehouses -- bills advanced this week in Illinois, Minnesota, and New Hampshire.

10. Marijuana: Legalization Bill Introduced in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has become the second state in as many months to see marijuana legalization bills come before the state legislature. This one would tax by grade for commercial sales, but also permit untaxed personal cultivation.

11. Southeast Asia: Indonesia to Treat Drug Users, Not Jail Them

In a memo to judges, Indonesia's Supreme Court has ordered them to send small-time drug users and possessors to treatment instead of prison.

12. Europe: Italian High Court Okays Lonesome Shepherd's Pot Smoking

If a lonely shepherd wants to get high while out with his flock, that's no skin off the state's nose, the Italian Supreme Court has ruled.

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

"Obama Won't Say Why He Opposes Marijuana Legalization," "Obama Insults Online Community for Supporting Marijuana Legalization," "Uh-Oh! Medical Marijuana Raid in San Francisco," "Yet Another Chance to Ask Obama About Marijuana Laws," "Marijuana Legalization Bill Introduced in Massachusetts," "If You Hate Gun Control, You Can Thank the Drug War for Causing it," "The Fine Line Between Drug Raids and Armed Robberies," "Sentencing Postponed in Charlie Lynch's Medical Marijuana Trial."

15. 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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