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Drug War Chronicle #581 - April 17, 2009

1. Feature: Mexico's Congress Hosts Forum on Marijuana Regulation, Decriminalization

Is Mexico ready to decriminalize marijuana possession? The Mexican Congress devoted a three-day forum to the notion this week, even as Presidents Obama and Calderón met to plot a better drug war on the border.

2. Feature: ASA in Federal Appeals Court Seeking to Force Government to Correct Medical Marijuana Misinformation

The medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access argued in federal appeals court Tuesday that a federal law requires government agencies to make accurate, objective statements -- not misinformation -- when it comes to medical marijuana. But Obama administration lawyers disagree.

3. Appeal: It's Time to STOP Wasting Time, Money & Lives

With an economic crisis requiring sensible budget cuts, a Constitution-friendly administration and more people joining the drug policy reform movement than ever before, has a unique opportunity to make our case.

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

More problems for the Philly narcs, another border guard goes down, so does a Puerto Rican husband and wife team, and a TSA guard gets popped. Just another week of drug-related law enforcement corruption.

5. Sentencing: Number of African Americans in Prison for Drugs Falling, Whites Increasing

A significant change in the impact of our drug policies may have occurred in the last few years. The number of African Americans doing time for drug charges is down, both percentage-wise and in raw numbers. Not so for whites.

6. Drug Raids: Michigan Student Shot in the Chest Over "Spoonsful" of Marijuana to Be Charged

A Michigan cop shot college student Derek Copp in the chest during a drug raid last month in which police seized only a small amount of marijuana (at least according to Copp's lawyer; the cops aren't talking). Now they're coming after him with drug possession charges.

7. Free Speech: Grand Jury Subpoenas Prominent Pain Relief Advocate Who Has Criticized the Prosecution of a Kansas Physician

The federal prosecutor going after Kansas physician Dr. Steven Schneider and his wife is now aiming at the couple's activist defenders as well. Siobhan Reynolds of the Pain Relief Network has been served a subpoena by a federal grand jury for obstruction of justice in the case, but vows not to cooperate.

8. ONDCP: Addiction Specialist Nominated as Assistant Drug Czar

The Obama administration has nominated a well-respected addiction researcher to be the number two man in the drug czar's office. Are we in for a bout of drug treatment now?

9. Latin America: Colombia's Uribe Seeks to Recriminalize Drug Possession

Drug possession has been legal in Colombia since 1994. But now, a teetotaling President Uribe wants to go back to the bad old days.

10. Latin America: Shining Path Kills 14 Soldiers in Peruvian Coca-Growing Area

Last August, the Peruvian government embarked on a campaign to regain control of one of the country's key coca-growing areas. It's not working out very well so far.

11. Southeast Asia: Vietnam Ponder Karaoke Bar Dance Ban in Bid to Slow Ecstasy Use

Dancing in karaoke clubs would be banned under a Vietnamese government effort to reduce Ecstasy use. "Behavior with less danger to society," such as swaying to the beat, however, would be okay.

12. The Movies: "American Violet" Film Opens Tonight, Tells the Story of the Hearne, Texas, Injustice

This new release from Samuel Goldwyn Films examines the true events that occurred in Hearne, Texas, to show how the drug laws and enforcement practices target African-Americans, and how the justice system often uses threats and intimidation to steer people toward guilty pleas, regardless of their innocence or the evidence against them.

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

"CU-Boulder Reminds Students to Have a Massive Pot Party on 4/20," "Obama Declares War on American Drug Users," "Obama Creates New 'Border Czar' Position, Cartel Leaders Laugh in Unison," "We'll Pay You $14 Billion to Legalize Marijuana," "In the Future, Opposing Legalization Will Be Political Suicide," "Mexican Ambassador Says Marijuana Legalization Should be Seriously Discussed," "FOX News Says Marijuana Activists are 'Internet Trolls.'"

15. Job Opportunity: Executive Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Washington, DC

Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is seeking a responsible, proven leader committed to drug policy reform and grassroots activism to lead the organization with vision and confidence.

16. Job Opportunities: Development Officer, Nevada Communication Director, and Summer Internships, Marijuana Policy Project

The Marijuana Policy Project is hiring for several positions in Washington, DC and Nevada.

17. Job Opportunity: Policy Analyst/Content Editor, Common Sense for Drug Policy -- DRCNet Office in Washington, DC

Common Sense for Drug Policy is seeking an editorially-skilled individual to maintain and grow its network of web sites, including the in-depth online presentation on drug policy issues,

18. Errata: 4/3/09 Danger of Drug Enforcement Story

Correction to 4/3/09 danger of drug enforcement story, and accompanying discussion.

19. 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!

20. 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.
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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