Drug War Chronicle #605 - October 23, 2009

1. Feature: Justice Department Issues Medical Marijuana Policy Memo -- No Prosecutions If Complying With State Law

The Justice Department this week formalized earlier statements from Attorney General Eric Holder that the federal government would not go after medical marijuana patients and providers in compliance with state laws. But in places where state law is contested terrain -- California, in particular -- plenty of confusion remains.

2. Feature: Busted for Handing Out Clean Needles -- The Mono Park 2 Fight Back in California's Central Valley

Modesto, California, is a sleepy, dusty, economically struggling small city in California's Central Valley. With high levels of methamphetamine and other injection drug use, it is a locale crying out for needle exchange programs. But local officials disagree, and when activists did it anyway, they got busted. Now, they're fighting back.

3. ALERT: Help StoptheDrugWar.org (DRCNet) Win $50,000 in America's Giving Challenge

"America's Giving Challenge" is offering prizes ranging from $500 to $50,000 to nonprofits who get the largest number of gifts from supporters between now and November 7. Any gift of $10 or higher -- made through the "Causes" program, which is linked in to Facebook -- counts equally toward the prize, and gifts can be made up to once a day. StoptheDrugWar.org is a contestant, and we're asking for your help by participating and by spreading the word.

4. Latin America: Mexico Drug War Update

For Mexico, drug prohibition is the deadly gift that keeps on giving. A thousand people have been killed in the past 40 days, and this year's death toll has now passed 6,000. And it seems to be accelerating.

5. 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.

6. Latin America: Mexico Ex-President Fox Lashes Out at President Calderon Over Drug War

Vicente Fox sicced the army on the so-called drug cartels when he was president of Mexico, but now he says his predecessor, Felipe Calderon, has gone too far down that path. It's time for the troops to return to the barracks, he said over the weekend.

7. Public Opinion: In Gallup Poll, Support for Legalizing Marijuana Reaches All-Time High, Majority in West

The world as we know it may indeed end in 2012, if the trend line in recent Gallup polls on marijuana legalization is any indication. More than half the people in the West now want to free the weed, and the figure is up to 45% nationwide.

8. Medical Marijuana: California Judge Issues Injunction Blocking LA Dispensary Moratorium

A California Superior Court judge is blocking the city of Los Angeles from enforcing its moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries. This as local prosecutors declare that all dispensaries are illegal, and as their numbers continue to grow.

9. Southwest Asia: Afghan Opium Trade Wreaking Global Havoc, UNODC Warns

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has issued a dire new report warning that the Afghan opium trade is spreading addiction, disease, and insurgency. Too bad it doesn't address the role of global drug prohibition in exacerbating all these problems.

10. Europe: In Opinion Poll, Romanians Reject Marijuana Legalization

According to a pair of recent opinion polls inspired by a presidential committee that recommended easing up on soft drugs and prostitution, Romanians favor the latter more than the former.

11. Asia: Drug Users Form Regional Organization

Drug users are organizing in Asia. After two years of meetings, the Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD) has been created in the vein of "nothing about us without us."

12. Weekly: This Week in History

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

13. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Medical Marijuana Isn't a Trojan Horse, the Drug War is a Trojan Horse," "The Daily Show's Best War on Drugs Moments," "Christian Science Monitor Thinks Arresting Cancer Patients Will Stop Marijuana Legalization," "John Stossel and Bill O'Reilly Debate Drug Legalization," "Oakland Airport's Awesome Marijuana Policy," "Cartoon: The First Time I Smoked Pot," "Obama's New Medical Marijuana Statement: What Just Happened?," "Do You Know Your Rights When Dealing With Police?," "Has Anyone Seen Former Drug Czar John Walters Lately?," "Washington Post Story on Crack Sentencing Bill."

14. Announcement: The 2009 International Drug Policy Reform Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 12-14

Every two years drug policy reformers from across the United States and around the world come to the International Drug Policy Reform Conference to listen, learn, network and strategize together for change. This year the conference is in Albuquerque, in November, and StoptheDrugWar.org is a partner.

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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