Drug War Chronicle #594 - July 17, 2009

1. Feature: California Tax Authority Says Legal Marijuana Could Generate $1.4 Billion in Tax Revenue a Year

A report from the California Board of Equalization estimating that the state could take in $1.4 billion a year by legalizing and taxing marijuana is only adding to the mounting pressure for legalization in the Golden State, which is saddled with a $26 billion budget deficit.

2. Feature: Colorado Hearing Monday on Plan to Limit Dispensaries Expected to Draw Loud Opposition

Colorado's medical marijuana program is taking off, with the number of patients, recommending physicians, and dispensaries all on the rise. But a state agency has proposed rule changes that could blunt the growth, endanger the new-style dispensaries and make it more difficult for patients to obtain their medicine. There should be fireworks at Monday's public hearing on the proposal.

3. Drug War Chronicle Book Review: "This Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America," by Ryan Grim (2009, John Wiley & Sons, 264 pp., $24.95 HB)

Ryan Grim has produced an entertaining, enlightening, and absorbing social history of drug use in America. We have checked it out, and we think you should too.

4. Law Enforcement: At Least Four Killed by Police Doing Drug Enforcement Actions So Far This Month

Shem Walker was trying to run scruffy ruffians off of his stoop. Now, he's dead. Adam Stogner didn't want to let a deputy see what he had in his mouth. Now, he's dead. Demarco Washington didn't want to go back to jail on a drug charge. Now, he's dead. And so is an unnamed man who allegedly pointed a gun at police during a predawn drug raid.

5. Medical Marijuana: US House Overturns Barr Amendment, Removes Obstacle to Implementing 1998 DC Vote

Eleven years after DC voters overwhelmingly approved a medical marijuana initiative, Congress is finally butting out. The House yesterday approved the annual District appropriations bill without the Barr amendment, which had barred the District from implementing that vote.

6. Harm Reduction: House Subcommittee Approves Legislation Eliminating the Needle Exchange Funding Ban

A provision of the federal code that has stymied AIDS and Hepatitis prevention efforts in favor of the drug war may soon be history.

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

It's a corrupt cops twofer for New Jersey, another twofer for Indiana, a two-for-one special on Texas deputies, and a lone prison guard in Florida.

8. Latin America: Human Rights Watch Calls on Obama Administration to Block Some Anti-Drug Aid Over Human Rights Abuses

As part of the Merida Initiative to provide Mexico with more than a billion dollars in anti-drug aid, Congress imposed human rights conditions on Mexico. Now, Human Rights Watch is urging the Obama administration to withhold some of that aid until Mexico deals with human rights abuses by its military.

9. Latin America: Washington, Bogota on Verge of Deal to Make Colombian Military Air Base Regional Hub for Counter-Narcotics, More

America's drug war in Latin America is a bipartisan affair. The Obama administration is negotiating with the Colombian government to create a major anti-drug base there to replace the one in Manta, Ecuador. Oh, and it also has nice force projection capabilities.

10. Afghanistan: The DEA Is on the Way

It's not just Marines pouring into Afghanistan this summer. As the Obama administration shifts its emphasis from poppy eradication to targeting traffickers, the DEA is expanding operations there big-time.

11. Medical Marijuana: Hawaii Legislature Overrides Veto of Bill to Study Program Problems

Hawaii's Republican Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed a bill that would have created a task force to study problems and issues with the state's medical marijuana program. Now, the legislature has overridden that veto.

12. Marijuana Legalization: CBS News Poll Has Support at 41% Nationwide

Another public opinion poll shows support for marijuana legalization approaching -- but not quite reaching -- majority status. The reform movement has come a long way, but the numbers suggest it still has a ways to go.

13. India: Moonshine Deaths Stir Alcohol Prohibition Debate in Gujarat

When 136 people died after drinking illicit alcohol in India's Gujarat state, critics were quick to call for an end to alcohol prohibition there. The state government isn't listening to them.

14. Weekly: This Week in History

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

15. 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.

16. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Ethan Nadelmann Challenges NAACP to Oppose the Drug War," "The Mexican Drug War is Losing Public Support," "Man Tries to Swallow Drugs, Gets Choked to Death by Police," "Congress Slashes Funding for Anti-Drug Propaganda," "Pablo Escobar's Pet Hippos Are Still Alive (And Causing Big Problems)," "How to Win a Marijuana Debate on Television," "'The Potent Smell of Marijuana Legalization is In the Air'," "No One Takes the Drug Czar's Office Seriously (Not Even the President)," "An Epidemic of Botched Drug Raids in Maryland," "I Was Turned Away Again Trying to Visit Medical Marijuana POW Will Foster in Jail Last Night," "I Visited Imprisoned Medical Marijuana Patient Will Foster in Jail Last Night," "New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Medical Marijuana Bill, A Handful of Additional Votes Needed to Override," "Big News: House Subcommittee Approves Legislation Eliminating the Needle Exchange Funding Ban."

17. 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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