Drug War Chronicle #606 - October 30, 2009

1. Editorial: How Much Does It Cost to Build an Air-Conditioned Drug Smuggling Tunnel?

Every now and then authorities discover an electrified, air-conditioned tunnel underneath our border with Mexico or Canada, presumably built for drug smuggling. How many such tunnels go undiscovered? And does it take more than one successful smuggling operation to pay for a tunnel's construction?

2. Feature: Historic Hearing on Marijuana Legalization in the California Legislature

For the first time in nearly a century, the California legislature took up marijuana legalization on this week. A Wednesday hearing on a legalization bill previewed the battle lines and arguments that lie ahead.

3. Drug War Chronicle Book Review: "Drug War Zone: Frontline Dispatches from the Streets of El Paso and Juarez," by Howard Campbell (2009, University of Texas Press, 310 pp., $24.95 PB)

If you're interested in the border or Mexico's drug war or drug culture or drug economy, or in drug law enforcement, we've got a book you need to read. University of Texas-El Paso sociologist and anthropologist Howard Campbell provides a vivid, rich, and nuanced portrayal of drugs and the drug war in El Paso-Juarez that couldn't be more timely.

4. 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.

5. Latin America: Mexico Drug War Update

Mexico's wave of prohibition-related violence grinds on, and Ciudad Juárez remains the epicenter.

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

More crooked jail guards, and a trooper who must have had a whopper of a habit.

7. Medical Marijuana: "Truth in Trials" Bill Reintroduced, Would Allow Medical Testimony in Federal Prosecutions

Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) has reintroduced the Truth in Trials Act, which would allow medical marijuana providers prosecuted under federal law to introduce medical evidence during their trials.

8. Medical Marijuana: New Hampshire Veto Override Falls Two Votes Short

New Hampshire will not become the 14th medical marijuana state -- at least, not yet. An effort to override Gov. Mark Lynch's veto fell two votes short in the state Senate Wednesday. Supporters vow to keep working.

9. Southwest Asia: Three DEA Agents Among Dead in Afghan Helicopter Crash

The DEA suffered its first spilled blood in Afghanistan Monday when three of its agents were killed in a helicopter crash that also took the lives of seven US soldiers. The chopper was returning from a drug raid when it went down.

10. Medical Marijuana: Colorado Court of Appeals Rules Caregivers Must Do More Than Just Grow Pot

Medical marijuana caregivers must actually know the patients for whom they are growing pot, the Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled. The opinion, if upheld on appeal, could put a crimp in the state's fast-growing medical marijuana industry.

11. Southeast Asia: UN's Top Health Rights Officials Calls for Decriminalizing Drug Use, Ending Forced "Rehab Camps"

In an address to an international health conference in Vietnam, the UN's top health rights official slammed forced "rehab camps" and called for decriminalizing drug use. As many as half million people could be locked up in punitive, old-school mass detoxification camps.

12. Latin America: Marijuana Legalization Fares Poorly in Chile Poll

If you are trying to figure out which Latin American country will be the first to legalize marijuana, you can probably eliminate Chile. Support for legalization there is in the teens -- and declining.

13. Weekly: This Week in History

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

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. 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. 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!

17. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Marijuana Debate! Former Judge vs. Several Complete Idiots," "Efforts to Stop Drugs at the Border Have Become a Joke," "It's Not Just Marijuana -- DEA is at War With Other Medicines Too," "A Marijuana Blog That's the Opposite of All the Others," "Obama Isn't Plotting to Legalize Marijuana, But Everyone Else Is," "Former Drug Czar Lies About His History of Attacking Medical Marijuana," "It's Official: The Media is in Love With Marijuana Legalization," "An Historic Hearing on Marijuana Legalization in Sacramento," "Our Side: San Diego ASA Protests State Narcs Lobby Awards," "Heroin Maintenance Comes to Denmark" and "Nice Article on Wisconsin's Medical Marijuana Bill and the Movement Supporting It."
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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