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Drug War Chronicle #607 - November 6, 2009

1. Feature: Maine Voters Approve Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Maine has become the latest state to approve state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. It joins New Mexico and Rhode Island. But locally-allowed (or not) dispensaries are the rule in California, Colorado, and Washington. Both paths have their pluses and minuses.

2. Feature: Veterans Incarcerated and Ignored When They Could Be Getting Help, Report Finds

Nearly a quarter of a million American veterans were behind bars in 2004, many of them for drug abuse-related offenses, a new report finds. While the military, the Veterans Administration, and other agencies are taking some steps to help them, there is much more that could -- and should -- be done.

3. Europe: British Science vs. Politics Battle Explodes As Top Drug Advisor Fired for Heresy

The British government seems to think that if drug policy is not supported by science, you need to trash the science -- and the scientist -- not the failed policy. It fired a leading voice for science- and evidence-based drug policies last Friday for what amounted to heresy against official dogma.

4. Marijuana: Colorado Ski Town Votes to Legalize It, Measure Passes With 73%

Breckenridge, Colorado, a Rocky Mountain ski town, just voted overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana under municipal ordinance. Denver did that in 2005.

5. Latin America: Mexico Drug War Update

No break in Mexico's prohibition-related violence as the death toll since December 2006, when President Calderon called in the army, has now topped 15,000. The latest victims include a US soldier gunned down in a Ciudad Juárez strip club with five other people.

6. The Border: US Begins Turning Busted Smugglers Over to Mexico for Prosecution

For years, federal prosecutors on the US-Mexican border have been so swamped with smuggling cases that they refuse to prosecute busts under 500 pounds. Local prosecutors can't handle the overflow, either, so now, the US is sending busted Mexican pot smugglers back home to be prosecuted.

7. Drug Legalization: Senator Pushes Amendment to Censor Any Talk of That

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) is floating an amendment to Jim Webb's bill to create a commission on criminal justice reforms. Grassley's amendment would bar any talk of legalization or decriminalization.

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

The drug war corrodes the integrity of law enforcement in multiple ways, as we see this week: Testilying, sexual extortion, thievery, and the usual just plain old corrupt practices.

9. Marijuana Legalization: California Poll of Primary Voters Finds Narrow Majority Say Keep It Illegal

A new poll of likely California primary voters has a majority in favor of maintaining marijuana prohibition, but the pollster said that should not be read as suggesting legalization initiatives will necessarily go down to defeat. Different polling questions and populations provide different results, he said.

10. Europe: Dutch Cannabis Café Owner on Trial Over Amount of Pot on Hand

Dutch authorities at all levels are tightening the screws on the country's famous cannabis coffee shops, and now a prominent coffee shop owner is on trial for violating the rules about how much he can have on hand.

11. LAST CHANCE: Help (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 (TOMORROW). 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. is a contestant, and we're asking for your help by participating and by spreading the word.

12. Weekly: This Week in History

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