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Drug War Chronicle #592 - July 3, 2009

Will Foster case makes John Stossel's blog -- via Drug War Chronicle!

1. Feature: US Gives Up on Eradicating Afghan Opium Poppies, Will Target Traffickers Instead

Faced with a growing Taliban insurgency fueled by opium and heroin profits and inflamed by the destruction of farmers' fields, the US last weekend announced a dramatic shift in its Afghan anti-drug strategy. The US will abandon what has been a pillar of its anti-drug strategy worldwide: eradication.

2. Feature: Marijuana Legalization Legislation in the Works in Portugal

Portugal has been getting good press over its decriminalization approach to drug use, including from unexpected places like the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Now, some Portuguese lawmakers are ready to take the next step. A bill to legalize the possession, cultivation, and sale of marijuana is being prepared.

3. Drug War Chronicle Book Review: "Seeds of Terror: How Heroin is Bankrolling the Taliban and Al Qaeda," by Gretchen Peters (2009, Thomas Dunne Press, 300 pp., $25.95 HB)

With US and NATO policies for dealing with the Afghan poppy group undergoing quite radical shifts -- giving up on eradication, treating traffickers as terrorists -- Gretchen Peters' exposé of the links between the traffic in prohibited drugs and the Taliban and Al Qaeda couldn't be more timely or more informative.

4. 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.

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

It's been a relatively quiet week on the corrupt cops front, with just two stories, but one of them is a real doozy.

6. The Border: Obama Administration Could Deploy Up to 1,500 National Guard Troops in Bid to Increase Anti-Drug Efforts

Here comes the National Guard! The Obama administration is planning to send 1,500 National Guard troops to the Mexican border to support drug war law enforcement there.

7. Latin America: Obama Administration Declines to Restore Bolivian Trade Preferences, Cites Government's Acceptance of Coca Production

Relations between Bolivia and the US just got a little rockier as the Obama administration declined to restore trade preferences, citing Bolivia's "encouragement" of coca cultivation, and Bolivian President Morales responded with hard words.

8. Marijuana: Rhode Island Senate Okays Commission to Explore Marijuana Prohibition, Legalization, and Decriminalization

Thanks to last minute action by the state Senate, Rhode Island will create a commission to explore all aspects of marijuana prohibition, decriminalization, and legalization. It will issue a report seven months from now. And Gov. Carcieri can't veto it.

9. Industrial Hemp: Bill Passes Oregon Legislature, Heads for Governor's Desk

"It's about rope, not dope" was the message as the Oregon House passed a bill allowing for industrial hemp production. It already passed the Senate, and the governor is expected to sign it, but it passed by veto-proof majorities if he doesn't. Still, the federal prohibition on hemp production in the US remains an enormous obstacle.

10. Medical Marijuana: Users, Growers Can Sue Over Police Raids, California Appeals Court Rules

Cops who confiscate legally permitted marijuana or plants from patients and growers in California could pay out the nose for their violations of the constitution, a California appeals court has ruled in the first decision of its kind. That just might rein in some of those renegade, recalcitrant departments who want to ignore a law they don't like.

11. Medical Marijuana: Oakland Dispensary Tax in Hands of Voters

Voters in Oakland will decide whether to impose a whopping 1500% tax increase on dispensaries, and it's not an attack on them. In fact, it was the dispensaries' own idea. Talk about your good citizens.

12. Alert: Medical Marijuana Defendant Bryan Epis Wants YOU to Take Political Action

Bryan Epis was the first medical marijuana provider to be prosecuted by the federal government, and he is one of dozens of people whose fate is still caught up in the federal system despite recent policy shifts by the Obama administration. Bryan is asking all of us to take action to help those who have risked much to help patients.

13. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"New Study: Marijuana Doesn't Increase Your Risk of Going Crazy," "Innocent Teenage Girls Forced to 'Jump Up and Down' During Marijuana Search," "Can You Name One Good Thing About the War on Marijuana?," "Opponents of Marijuana Legalization Will Say Anything," "A Surprise Encounter with Former Drug Czar John Walters," "Obama Seeks Volunteer Drug War Soldiers," "An Awesome Marijuana Debate on the McLaughlin Group," "US Admits Failure, Calls Off Opium Eradication in Afghanistan," "Boring Drug War Reporting from the Mainstream Press," "Marijuana Expo Draws 20,000 to LA Convention Center," "I Went to Visit Will Foster in Jail a Couple of Nights Ago."

14. Weekly: This Week in History

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

15. Please: Don't Shoot!

The killing of Tarika Wilson, an unarmed mother holding her child, and the maiming of that child, is an inevitable consequences of the overuse of SWAT teams and the growing paramilitarization of the drug war.

16. Students: Intern at (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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