Drug War Chronicle #609 - November 20, 2009

1. Feature: Medical Marijuana in State Legislatures -- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Getting medical marijuana bills passed in state legislatures is a long, hard slog. So far this year, only one bill has passed into law, the Rhode Island dispensary bill, which builds on an existing medical marijuana law. Two states' legislatures, Minnesota and New Hampshire, passed bills, only to have them vetoed. But there's still hope in a few places. Here's a rundown of medical marijuana at the statehouse this year.

2. Feature: Fired Up in Albuquerque -- The 2009 International Drug Policy Reform Conference

The Drug Policy Alliance's 2009 International Drug Policy Reform Conference took place in Albuquerque last weekend. It was quite a show. Here's a scene report.

3. 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.

4. Latin America: Mexico Drug War Update

The Mexico Drug War Update took a break last week, but the violence didn't. Here's the latest rundown and body count.

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

One New Jersey prison guard gets indicted and another gets sentenced. There's also another Customs officer lured by lucre, a meth-slinging Indiana cop, and a Colorado cop turned pill provider.

6. Latin America: Former Mexican Foreigner Minister Accuses Army of Extra-Judicial Executions in Drug War

At a conference last week, former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda bluntly accused the Mexican military of murdering members of the so-called drug cartels to avenge its own losses in the country's bloody wave of prohibition-related violence.

7. Europe: Fired British Drug Advisor Calls for Royal Commission on Marijuana Decriminalization

If the British government thought it could shut up David Nutt, the head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, by firing him, it thought wrong. Now, the newly liberated drug expert is calling for a Royal Commission to examine decriminalizing marijuana.

8. Medical Marijuana: Battle Over Regulating Los Angeles Dispensaries Drags On, But Council Rejects Prosecutor's Advice

Los Angeles has been trying to regulate its mushrooming medical marijuana dispensaries for four years. It could be coming down to the wire next week, but storm clouds loom as city and county prosecutors argue that any medical marijuana sales are illegal.

9. Sentencing: Era of Mandatory Minimums for Drugs Comes to an End in Rhode Island

The era of mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses has come to an end in Rhode Island. But that's just a start -- you can still get up to 50 years for 10 pounds of pot.

10. Budget Crunch: Tennessee Could Free 4,000 Prisoners in Bid to Cut Costs

Like other states, Tennessee is feeling the effects of the bad economy, and so is the state's budget. Now, the governor is seeking a 9% across-the-board budget cut, and that could mean -- God forbid! -- that the state might have to let some nonviolent prisoners get out a few months early.

11. Prohibition: Kansas Politician Hears of New Drug, Responds with Plan to Ban It

Some legislators never met a psychoactive substance they didn't want to prohibit. Kansas state Sen. Peggy Mast (R) is one of them. Now, she wants to do to K-2 what she's already done to salvia divinorum and jimson weed.

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

"Tommy Chong's Prosecutor Says He Should Have Gotten More Jail Time," "Cheech and Chong vs. Bill O'Reilly: Worst Interview Ever," "'Buy American Pot!' Says American Marijuana Growers Association," "Drug Czar's Website Still Wrong About AMA's Medical Marijuana Stance," "DEA Website STILL Wrong About AMA's Medical Marijuana Stance," "Colorado Announces Plan to Tax Medical Marijuana," "As Long as the Drug War Continues, So Will the Corruption," "Marijuana is Practically Legal (But Only for Aging White People Who Live in the Suburbs)," "If You Care About Ending the Drug War, Watch This," "Will Foster is Almost Free. You Can Help Open That Prison Door By Acting Now," "Nice People Take Drugs."
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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