Drug War Chronicle #583 - May 1, 2009

1. Editorial: What's With All the Good News Lately?

Many drug policy reformers saw 1996 and the passage of two favorable state ballot initiatives as the "end of the beginning" for our cause. Does the increasing amount of good news in 2009 mean that this is the "beginning of the end"?

2. Feature: Marijuana Reform Approaches the Tipping Point

Marijuana legalization seems to have entered the mainstream in the first part of 2009. Drug War Chronicle asks some reform movement players just what's going on -- and what isn't.

3. Sentencing: Obama Administration Tells Congress to End Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity

After more than two decades of the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity and all its racially pernicious effects, pressure is mounting to eliminate it. And now, for the first time, it is the position of the US Justice Department that that should be the case.

4. 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, StoptheDrugWar.org has a unique opportunity to make our case.

5. Marijuana: Marc Emery Associates Plead Guilty in Seattle, Face Canadian Probation

Two of Canadian "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery's former employees have pleaded guilty to marijuana conspiracy charges in Seattle in return for probation in Canada, but the fate of Emery himself remains up in the air.

6. Law Enforcement: Florida House Passes Watered Down "Rachel's Law" in Bid to Protect Informants from Dangerous Assignments

Rachel Hoffman was murdered by violent criminals after Florida police coerced the small-time marijuana seller into becoming an informant, and sent her out with $13,000 to buy cocaine and guns. Now, the Florida legislature is attempting to pass a bill that would limit police use of informants, but the cop lobby has already managed to weaken it.

7. Medical Marijuana: New Hampshire Bill Passes Senate, Awaits Governor's Signature

New Hampshire is on the verge of becoming the 14th medical marijuana state after a bill passed the state Senate this week. Now the question is whether the Democratic governor will sign it.

8. Medical Marijuana: Rhode Island Dispensary Bill Passes Senate

A bill that would establish "compassion centers" for medical marijuana patients has passed the Rhode Island Senate -- again. Gov. Donald Carcieri vetoed a similar bill last year; it's unclear what he will do if the bill passes the House this year.

9. Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Passes Senate

The Minnesota Senate has approved a medical marijuana bill. It now moves to the House, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) appears poised to veto if it it passes.

10. Prohibition: Measure to Ban BZP Moving in Colorado Legislature

Confronted with an unregulated substance enjoyed by young people, the Colorado legislature is responding with a reflexive prohibitionist posture. BZP, meet the drug war.

11. Latin America: Mexico Senate Approves Bill Decriminalizing Drug Possession

Mexico's Senate has passed a bill decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of all drugs. It still has to pass the Chamber of Deputies, and the clock is ticking.

12. Canada: Provincial Court Rules Ontario Benefits Law Discriminates Against Alcoholics, Drug Addicts

A decade ago, Ontario's conservative government passed a law limiting disability benefits to people disabled by alcohol or drug addiction. Now, a provincial court has ruled that violates the province's human rights code.

13. Europe: Cannabis Cafes in Dutch Border Region to Go Members Only?

The latest brainchild of Maastricht, Holland, Mayor Gerd Leers, in his never-ending campaign to clean up problems associated with cannabis cafes on the country's borders with France, Belgium, and Germany, is to make the cafes member-only.

14. Weekly: This Week in History

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

15. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"In Case You Haven't Heard Enough Cops Talk About Legalizing Drugs This Year...," "Obama Goes to War Against Afghan Opium," "Seriously, Don't Try to Eat Your Marijuana if You're Pulled Over," "Mexican Senate Votes to Decriminalize Drug Possession," "Obama Supports Ending the Cocaine Sentencing Disparity," "Rhode Island Senate Votes to Create Medical Marijuana Dispensaries," "New Hampshire Senate Votes to Legalize Medical Marijuana," "Minnesota Senate Votes to Legalize Medical Marijuana," "Rep. Engel Introduces Bill to Create Independent Drug Policy Commission," "The Federal Government Grows Some of the Worst Marijuana in America," "Even Cowboys Want to Legalize Drugs," "Jim Webb Says Marijuana Legalization is 'On the Table'."

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

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