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Drug War Chronicle #612 - December 11, 2009

1. Feature: With Passage of Medical Marijuana Bill Pending, New Jersey Patient Faces 20 Years for Growing His Medicine

If advocates for medical marijuana in New Jersey needed a poster boy, they've found him in John Ray Wilson. The broke, unemployed, MS patient goes on trial next week for growing his own medicine. He's looking at 20 years in prison for something that might not even be a crime next month.

2. At the Statehouse: Sentencing, Drug Testing, Good Samaritan, Hemp, and SWAT Bills

In the final installment in our series on drug reform legislative activity, we look at sentencing, Good Samaritan laws, drug testing, and a couple of odds and ends.

3. Congress: Budget Deal Includes Series of Drug Reform Victories

Congressional budget negotiators have approved a conference committee bill that ends the ban on federal funding of needle exchange programs, ends the ban on the District of Columbia funding of needle exchange programs, and ends the ban on the District enacting a medical marijuana law approved by voters a decade ago. Oh, and it also slashes funding for the drug czar's ineffective youth anti-drug media campaign.

4. Appeal: Did You Know That We Are WINNING?

Unprecedented developments have us more optimistic than ever before at the prospects for significant change in drug policy.

5. 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.

6. Medical Marijuana: Los Angeles City Council Approves Measure to Cap Dispensaries at 70

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to slash the number of medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the city by nearly 90%. Under the measure approved, the number of dispensaries would be limited to 70.

7. Public Opinion: Majority Support for Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, Poll Finds

Woo-hoo! The end times are upon us. For the second time this year, a national public opinion poll reports majority support for legalizing marijuana.

8. Latin America: Mexico Drug War Update

Amnesty International accuses the Mexican military of human rights violations in the drug war -- a problem for US funding. Meanwhile, this year's south of the border prohibition-related death toll passed 7,000 this week.

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

More problems in the NYPD, "Starsky and Hutch" are being investigated in Camden, and a Florida cop heads to prison for tipping off drug traffickers.

10. Prosecution: No More Crack Pipe Felonies for Houston

Finally, some sanity in Houston! The Harris County District Attorney has announced that beginning January 1, people caught with trace amounts of drugs or drug paraphernalia with drug traces will no longer be charged with felonies.

11. Latin America: Top Honduran Anti-Drug Official Assassinated

Honduras' top anti-drug official Monday held a press conference urging the public to join the fight against drug traffickers. A day later, he was dead--gunned down in an ambush by assailants who escaped.

12. Europe: Czech Government Decriminalizes Up To Five Marijuana Plants, 15 Grams

Last year, the Czech parliament voted to decriminalize the possession of "small amounts" of drugs. Now, as the clock ticks toward January 1, when the new penal code takes effect, the cabinet is finally determining just what "small amounts" are.

13. Europe: Mayor of Amsterdam Says Cities Need Different Coffee Shop Policy From Border Towns

The Dutch government is pondering a further tightening of the screws on Holland's famous cannabis coffee shops, but Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen doesn't want a one-size-fits-all policy based on problems with border town "drug tourism."

14. Weekly: This Week in History

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

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 (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

"Good Stuff to Read," "Washington Post Writer Gets Tricked by the Drug Czar, Refuses to Accept Responsibility," "10 Rules for Dealing With Police (Film Preview)," "Deputy Drug Czar: I hate This job'," "No Marijuana Smoking at the Dog-Sled Races," "A Magical Day in Mexico," "No Drug Bust is Worth the Life of a Good Cop."
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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