Drug War Chronicle #596 - July 31, 2009

1. Feature: Crack/Powder Cocaine Sentencing Disparity Bill Passes Key House Subcommittee, Heads for Floor Vote

A bill that would eliminate the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity by punishing federal crack offenses the same way it punishes powder offenses has passed a key committee vote and is headed for the House floor. Companion legislation is brewing in the Senate.

2. Feature: Two Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Have Been Filed in California for Next Year's Ballot

It appears increasingly likely that Californians will have a chance to vote on marijuana legalization next year. Two initiatives have been filed, one that would create legalization, one that would create semi-legalization. Is now the right time? Opinion in the movement is divided.

3. Book Offer: This is Your Country on Drugs

To kick off our summer fundraising drive, DRCNet is pleased to offer Ryan Grim's exciting new book, "This Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America," as our latest membership premium. Things are happening, and the importance of your support at this time could not be greater.

4. Latin America: Mexican Drug War Week in Review

Hardly a day goes by without another body being found in Mexico's prohibition-related violence, and the Mexican government is under increasing fire as the death toll rises. Now, thanks to upcoming journalist Bernd Debusmann Jr., the Chronicle will be watching and summarizing events on a weekly basis.

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

A potentially very ugly scandal is brewing in the DC suburbs, a Pennsylvania cop gets busted just after buying some smack, a California prison guard was peddling PCP, and a former Miami-Dade cop cops a plea in an Ecstasy sting.

6. Racial Profiling: Illinois Annual Traffic Stop Report Reprises Same Old Story

As a state senator concerned with racial profiling, President Obama championed a bill requiring Illinois law enforcement agencies to report on traffic stops. The latest annual report is out and it's pretty much the same old story: Blacks and Hispanics are much more likely to be asked to consent to searches, but cops are much more likely to actually find contraband if the driver is white.

7. Drug Treatment: California's Prop. 36 Funding Takes Massive Hit

California's Proposition 36 "treatment not jail" law is likely to lead to neither treatment nor jail as its funding gets slashed by 83% because of the state's budget crisis.

8. Medical Marijuana: Maine Activist Headed for Prison

Maine marijuana activist Don Christen is getting ready to do eight months behind bars after the state Supreme Court rejected his appeal in a marijuana cultivation case where he argued he was growing for patients.

9. Marijuana: Decrim a Done Deal in Cook County

With Cook County (greater Chicago) Board President Todd Stroger saying he will not veto last Tuesday's passage of a marijuana decriminalization ordinance, it looks like decrim is a done deal -- at least in unincorporated areas of the county. The move also gives towns and cities in the county the option to adopt decrim as well.

10. Marijuana: Colorado Ski Town to Vote on Legalizing Marijuana Possession

In 2005, voters in Denver approved the legalization of possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, though local authorities have since ignored that vote. Now, voters in the Colorado ski town of Breckenridge will get the same opportunity. A local initiative is headed for this November's ballot -- unless the town council just goes ahead and approves it first.

11. Latin America: Five Killed, Six Wounded, Six Missing in Attack on Colombian Soldiers, Coca Eradicators

Somebody opened fire on Colombian soldiers and coca eradicators Monday, leaving of a toll of dead, wounded, and missing. There are plenty of suspects.

12. Weekly: This Week in History

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

13. 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.

14. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Want to Prevent Marijuana Growing on Public Land? Legalize It," "More Evidence That Marijuana Prevents Cancer," "Trick Question on the DEA Job Application?," "Cop Accidentally Reveals the Wisdom of Marijuana Legalization," "Drug Czar Gets Caught Lying and Contradicting Himself," "Mexico's Drug War is Eventually Going to Collapse," "Drug Warriors for Sensible Drug Policy," "Should Employers Provide Reimbursement for Medical Marijuana Costs?," "Crack Sentencing Reform Bill Passes Full Judiciary Committee," "More Big News: Needle Exchange Legislation Passes US House of Representatives," "Glorious Kyrgyzstan -- the Best Harm Reduction Program in Central Asia."

15. 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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