Drug War Chronicle #611 - December 4, 2009

1. Feature: Medical Marijuana Gets Historic First Legislative Hearing in Pennsylvania

For the first time in Pennsylvania history, a state legislative committee held a hearing on medical marijuana Tuesday. It was a good start, and although there are significant hurdles to pass, momentum seems to be building.

2. Feature: At the Statehouse -- Salvia Banned in Four More States This Year

Some legislators' reflexive response to a newly known psychoactive substance is to ban it. That's certainly been the case with salvia divinorum, which was banned in four more states this year. Similar efforts failed or have yet to reach fruition in at least seven others.

3. Alert: Tell Congress to Repeal Unjust Crack Cocaine Sentences

A rare window of opportunity has opened for addressing one of the drug war's most glaring injustices.

4. Medical Marijuana: In Slap to DA, Jury Acquits San Diego Medical Marijuana Dispensary Operator

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis thinks selling medical marijuana is illegal. But a San Diego jury disagreed Tuesday in the first dispensary case since her latest round of raids back in September.

5. Latin America: Mexico Drug War Update

Three years ago this month, Mexican President Felipe Calderon sicced the military on the so-called drug cartels. Three years later, the drugs keep flowing north, the cash and guns keep flowing south, and more than 16,000 people have been killed. Here's the latest.

6. Marijuana: California Tax and Regulate Cannabis 2010 Initiative Suspends Signature Gathering -- Because They Have Enough

There are at least three marijuana legalization initiative campaigns under way in California, but Richard Lee's "Tax and Regulate Cannabis 2010 campaign" is the first to announce it has achieved its signature-gathering goals. Lee says they need 434,000 and they will end up with 700,000.

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

It's an odd mix this week: A cop with a gambling jones doing petty bribery, a pair of narcs misbehaving, and a Customs officer and a small town cop heading for prison are just the half of it.

8. Law Enforcement: Man Trying to Snuff Joint at Checkpoint Ends Up Dead -- Attorney Accuses Police

A Worcester, Massachusetts, resident tried to snuff out an ill-timed joint and fasten his seat belt as the vehicle he was in rolled up to a police sobriety checkpoint last week. He was dead within minutes, and his family's attorney claims he was beaten by police. Police have a different version of events.

9. Law Enforcement: Federal Judge Slams NYPD for Widespread Lying in Drug Cases

Testilying -- the practice of police perjuring themselves to get an arrest or win a case -- is so prevalent in the NYPD that something has to be done, a federal judge complained this week.

10. Law Enforcement: Utah "Meth Cops" Lose Out on Health Claims

Police in Utah who cleaned up meth labs in the 1980s and 1990s have filed dozens of workers compensation claims asserting exposure to the caustic chemicals caused a variety of physical ailments. Now, those claims are being dismissed for lack of evidence.

11. Middle East: Hamas Adopts Tough New Drug Laws, Includes Death Penalty for Dealers

Taking a step firmly backward, the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip is foregoing Israeli military drug law -- a remnant of the occupation -- for Egyptian drug law, which includes the death penalty for dealing.

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

"Proof that the Drug War Sucks: Mexico," "Why Legalizing Marijuana Will Reduce Violent Crime," "BBC News Says Hash is Safer Than Marijuana," "Study Shows Marijuana Reduces Other Drug Use," "Attorney General Promises Aggressive Marijuana Enforcement," "Deputy Drug Czar Asks: Why is Everyone Talking About Legalizing Marijuana?"

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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