Drug War Chronicle #617 - January 22, 2010

1. Feature: Anthrax-Tainted Heroin Takes Toll in Europe, Prompts Calls for Emergency Public Health Response

At least seven heroin users have died from dope contaminated with anthrax in Scotland, and one in Germany. Harm reductionists and public health experts are demanding that government respond with more than "quit using."

2. Feature: South Dakota Medical Marijuana Campaigners Set to Hand in Signatures for November Initiative

Will the second time be the charm in South Dakota? Four years ago, a medical marijuana initiative there lost by four points. Now, advocates are ready to try again, and they think they can go over the top this time.

3. Congress: Bill to Do Top-to-Bottom Review of Criminal Justice System, Drug War Passes Senate Judiciary Committee

Sen. Jim Webb's (D-VA) National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. If enacted, it would provide for the first comprehensive review of criminal justice policies in decades.

4. Latin America: Mexico Drug War Update

It was a relatively quiet week in Mexico's drug wars this week. Only about 15 people a day were killed.

5. Marijuana/Medical Marijuana: More States, More Bills, More Hearings

The statehouses are humming and marijuana-related bills are coming fast and furious. Here's a glance at a few introduced in recent days.

6. Public Opinion: ABC News/Washington Post Poll Shows Four Out of Five Support Medical Marijuana, Nearly Half Support Legalization

Motherhood, apple pie, and... medical marijuana? A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that acceptance of medical marijuana is approaching near unanimity -- and support for legalization is rising, too. Politicians, take heed!

7. Marijuana: No More Possession Prosecutions in Seattle, New City Attorney Says

Seven years ago, Seattle residents voted to make marijuana offenses the lowest law enforcement priority. Now, the newly elected city prosecutor agrees with them. He says he will not prosecute simple pot possession cases.

8. Medical Marijuana: Corzine Signs Bill, Making New Jersey the 14th State

And now there are 14 -- medical marijuana states, that is. The Garden State joined the list this week, although under the restrictive terms of the new law, the only pot gardens there will be in a handful of dispensaries.

9. Marijuana: Washington State Decriminalization and Legalization Bills Killed in Committee

The Washington state marijuana decrim and legalization bills were killed in committee this week. That means it will be up to the voters to legalize pot in November through an initiative -- if organizers can come up with enough signatures in time.

10. Europe: Copenhagen City Council Wants Cannabis Stores, But Proposal Faces Bumpy Ride in Parliament

Given rising gang problems surrounding the hash trade in Copenhagen, Danes can be forgiven for yearning for the good old days of Pusher Street, where hash was slung relatively peacefully. Now, the Copenhagen city council wants to experiment with cannabis stores, but that seems unlikely to fly with the Conservative national government.

11. 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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