Drug War Chronicle #633 - May 21, 2010

1. Feature: A Thousand Face Execution for Drug Offenses Each Year, Report Finds

At least 32 countries have laws on the books allowing for the death penalty for some drug offenses. The United States is one of them. And as many as a thousand people a year face execution for drug offenses, according to a new report.

2. Feature: California Marijuana Initiative Has Slim Lead

Less than six months from election day, the California "tax and regulate" initiative to legalize marijuana has the support of half the voters, according to two polls this week. But just barely, and it has to get those numbers up to be sure of a November win.

3. Law Enforcement: More Raids Gone Bad, Making May a Bad Month for SWAT

Two more SWAT raids gone bad leave a Detroit girl dead by police gunfire and a Georgia grandmother hospitalized with a heart attack. It's time to start thinking about how we can rein-in paramilitarized policing.

4. Congress: Drug Warrior Rep. Mark Souder Resigns over Affair

Ding-dong, the witch is dead! Congress's most prolific and energetic drug warrior has gone down in flames, and reformers are not missing him.

5. Canada: Marc Emery Extradited to United States

Canadian "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery is now a resident of the American drug war gulag. He was extradited from Vancouver yesterday. Don't we all feel a bit safer now?

6. Latin America: Mexico Drug War Update

Mexican President Felipe Calderon visited Washington this week, but on the ground back home, it was business as usual as prohibition-related violence continues to wrack the country.

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

We've got a trifecta of dirty NYPD cops this week, as well as a snake pit full of crooked jail guards down in Florida, another one in St. Louis, and a pill-peddling court officer in Massachusetts.

8. Medical Marijuana: Oregon Dispensary Initiative Backers Turn in Signatures

It's starting to look more and more certain that the Oregon medical marijuana dispensary initiative will be on the November ballot. Organizers handed in 30,000 more signatures than they need Thursday, and they still have five weeks to get more if necessary.

9. Marijuana: Bill to Increase Possession Penalties Advances in Louisiana Senate

Marching boldly backward into the last century, the Louisiana Senate this week approved a bill that toughens the state's already harsh penalties for second-time marijuana possession offenders. Don't these guys have a budget deficit and an environmental disaster to keep them busy?

10. Appeal: 2010 is Important in Drug Policy -- And So Are You

2010 is a critical year in the effort to end prohibition and the war on drugs. The StoptheDrugWar.org (DRCNet) "Changing Minds, Changing Laws, Changing Lives" campaign is asking for you to pitch in -- your support is more important now than it has ever been before!

11. Europe: Berlin Set to Increase Legal Marijuana Possession Limits

You can already legally possess up to 10 grams of pot in Berlin, but the city-state's health administrator thinks that isn't enough. She says, "I'll see your 10 and raise you 5."

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. 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!

15. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Forcing People into Treatment for Marijuana Doesn't Prove That It's Addictive," "Tim Pawlenty is a Drug War Idiot," "Accurate Media Coverage Upsets Drug Czar," "Top Drug Warrior Mark Souder Resigns from Congress After Affair with Staffer," "Elena Kagan and the Crack/Powder Sentencing Disparity."
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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