Format: 2021-05

Drug War Chronicle #553 - September 26, 2008

1. Editorial: Drug Dogs Don't Have ESP, or What's Wrong with Judges Today?

Lawyers understand medicine better than doctors, and drug dogs have extra-sensory perception, some judges today seem to think. Judges should know better, and with people's health and freedom on the line have no excuse for not doing better.

2. Feature: Number of Schools Embracing Random Drug Testing on the Rise -- So is Opposition

Unleashed by a pair of US Supreme Court rulings, the Bush administration has been pushing random suspicionless drug testing of students. They've been having some success, but have also engendered a vigorous opposition movement.

3. Feature: Poll Finds Broad Support for Doing Away with Mandatory Minimum Sentencing for Nonviolent Offenders

Families Against Mandatory Minimums this week released polling data showing surprising levels of support for reform of our draconian mandatory minimum sentencing structure.

4. Offer: Unique and Important New Book on Medical Marijuana

"Dying to Get High," by sociologists Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb, is a groundbreaking work that provides an in-depth portrait of one of the country's most well-known medical marijuana collectives.

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

From sea to shining sea, cops, jail guards, and court officers go bad. This week, in addition to the usual rogues' gallery of corrupt cops, we get an abusive one, too.

6. Sentencing: Pennsylvania Senate Approves Treatment-Not-Jail Measure

Suffering a budgetary hangover after years of "tough on crime" and mandatory minimum sentencing policies, the Pennsylvania Senate voted last week to divert nonviolent drug offenders to treatment, among other reforms. The House is expected to pass the bill soon.

7. Search and Seizure: Florida Defense Attorneys Challenge Drug Dog "Hits"

The use of drug dogs to search vehicles during traffic stops is becoming increasingly popular with police. But now, some Florida attorneys are challenging the reliability of the dogs because some have been shown to "hit" consistently on cars -- even when no drugs are on board.

8. Medical Marijuana: Washington State Judge Plays Doctor, Convicts Authorized Patient of Cultivating His Own Medicine

In convicting a properly certified medical marijuana patient of cultivation, a Washington state judge has decided she's a doctor, not just a lawyer.

9. Salvia Divinorum: US Military Bases in England, Okinawa Say No to Sally D

The Marines in Okinawa and a US Air Force fighter wing in England have banned salvia divinorum. They're not the first military bases to act against the legal hallucinogen.

10. Latin America: Mexicans Bummed Out By Prohibition-Related Violence -- 44% Say Legalize Drugs

Mexico's high levels of prohibition-related violence are taking their toll on public confidence south of the border. But they are also making Mexicans more amenable to thinking about legalization, according to a new poll.

11. Europe: Dutchman Busted for Smoking Tobacco in Cannabis Coffee House

Holland banned tobacco smoking in public places, including coffee shops, effective July 1. Now one Amsterdammer who couldn't break his habit of mixing tobacco into his joints has been cited.

12. Europe: Kosovo Has Lowest Illicit Drug Prices in Region

Kosovo won its independence from Serbia after a US-NATO intervention in 1999. Now it boasts the cheapest dope in the Balkans.

13. Weekly: This Week in History

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

14. Job Opportunity: Program Manager, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, Silver Spring, MD

The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation (CJPF) is seeking a part-time Program Manager to work directly with its president in downtown Silver Spring, MD.

15. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Poll Shows Strong Support in Mexico for Drug Legalization," "Rachel Hoffman Fallout: One Officer Fired, Others Reprimanded," "Police Kill Really Small Dog, Claim it Threatened Them," "New Developments in the Ryan Frederick Case," "Idiot Proposes Lengthy Prison Sentence for George Michael," "Cop Fired For Choking Marijuana Suspect," "Salvia is Potent, But is it Dangerous?," "Obama's Contradictory Position on the Drug War," "Another Sign That Medical Marijuana Laws Are Working."

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19. Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

Visit our new web site each day to see a running countdown to the events coming up the soonest, and more.
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.

Drug War Chronicle #552 - September 19, 2008

1. Feature: Serious Crime Down, Drug Arrests Hold Steady, But Marijuana Arrests Increase to 872,000

The FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report is out. Serious crime is down across the board, but drug arrests held roughly steady. Marijuana arrests actually increased by 5% to more than 872,000 -- nearly 90% of them for simple possession.

2. Feature: US Lists "Major" Drug Producing and Trafficking Countries, Names Only Bolivia, Burma, and Venezuela as Not Complying

In its annual act of diplomatic hubris, the US government this week released its list of "major" drug producing and trafficking countries. Only three of them -- all political foes of Washington -- were found wanting.

3. Offer: Unique and Important New Book on Medical Marijuana

"Dying to Get High," by sociologists Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb, is a groundbreaking work that provides an in-depth portrait of one of the country's most well-known medical marijuana collectives.

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

A Texas constable and probation/parole officers in Massachusetts and North Carolina are in the spotlight this week.

5. Marijuana: Massachusetts Decrim Initiative Organizers Take Off the Gloves, File Criminal Complaints Against Prosecutors

With less than two months before Massachusetts voters go to the polls to vote on a marijuana decriminalization initiative, initiative supporters have filed criminal complaints against the organized opposition.

6. Salvia Divinorum: Nebraska Shopkeeper to Go on Trial For Selling "Intoxicants" in Magic Mint Case

A Nebraska shop-keeper must stand trial for selling salvia divinorum, even though it's not illegal in Nebraska.

7. Search and Seizure: Feds Must Get Warrant Before Scouring Cell Phone Location Records, Federal District Court Judge Rules

The government must obtain a search warrant based on probable cause before forcing wireless service providers to divulge historical cell phone tower location information, a federal district court hearing a drug trafficking case has ruled.

8. Latin America: Brazilian Cops Kill With Impunity, Moonlight as Drug Gang Executioners, UN Report Says

Brazilian police are killers, both on and off the job, according to a new report from the UN's Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary, and arbitrary executions.

9. Europe: Britain's Drug Advisory Panel Ponders Down-Scheduling Ecstasy

Britain's advisory panel on drug policy is about to undertake a review of the scheduling of ecstasy as a Class A drug, the most serious classification. The move comes after several reports saying the popular stimulant should be downgraded.

10. Europe: Dutch Supreme Court Says Patient Can Grow Marijuana for Therapeutic Use

Holland may be famous for its marijuana coffee houses, but pot cultivation remains illegal -- unless you are a patient who can demonstrate a medical necessity, the Dutch Supreme Court has ruled.

11. South Asia: Sri Lanka in Medical Marijuana Quandary

Marijuana has been used in ayurvedic medicine in South Asia for thousands of years. Now, authorities in Sri Lanka are seeking to authorize gardens to supply ayurvedic demand.

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

"Study: Decriminalizing Marijuana Doesn't Increase Use," "Happy Constitution Day!," "Drug Czar Embarrassed By Marijuana Arrest Rates," "A New Record for US Marijuana Arrests," "Mark Kleiman vs. 'Drug Policy Reform'."

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Visit our new web site each day to see a running countdown to the events coming up the soonest, and more.
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.

Drug War Chronicle #551 - September 12, 2008

1. Feature: US Sentencing Commission to Examine Alternatives to Incarceration

Coming off a summer symposium that brought together experts in criminal justice and sentencing issues, the US Sentencing Commission has announced that it is making alternatives to incarceration one of its priorities for the coming year. With a record 200,000-plus people in federal prison -- more than half of them drug offenders -- that is a good thing.

2. Feature: Battle Over California's Nonviolent Offender Recovery Act Initiative Begins to Heat Up

In November, California residents will vote on a massive, complicated "treatment not jail" initiative known as the Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act (NORA) and appearing on the ballot as Proposition 5. Battle lines are now being drawn.

3. Feature: Scholarship Fund Honoring 9/11 Hero John W. Perry Assists More Students Losing Financial Aid Because of Drug Convictions

The Higher Education Act (HEA) drug provision bars students with drug convictions from obtaining financial aid for specified periods. The John W. Perry Fund was created to help some of those students and to raise awareness of the injustice of the provision. This year, it is helping two students stay in school.

4. Offer: Unique and Important New Book on Medical Marijuana

"Dying to Get High," by sociologists Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb, is a groundbreaking work that provides an in-depth portrait of one of the country's most well-known medical marijuana collectives.

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

We have cops and prison guards getting into drug war trouble from coast to coast this week, from San Diego to Chicago and from Florida to Maryland.

6. Medical Marijuana: California Activist Grower Eddy Lepp Guilty in Federal Cultivation Case, Faces 10 Years to Life

California medical marijuana and marijuana legalization activist Eddy Lepp faces from 10 years to life in prison after being convicted by a federal jury of growing more 24,000 plants.

7. Marijuana: It's Official -- Fayetteville Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Initiative Makes November Ballot

It's official -- An initiative making adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority in Fayetteville, Arkansas, will be on the November 4 ballot. But local prosecutors and law enforcement officials say it doesn't matter.

8. Medical Marijuana: PTSD Victim Sues West Virginia Pain Management Center for Dismissing Him Because He Smokes Marijuana for Relief

Medical marijuana users all too frequently run into problems with medical practitioners who consider them nothing more than drug abusers. Now, a West Virginia victim of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is suing the doctor and clinic that dismissed him because he used pot to alleviate his symptoms.

9. Latin America: Embattled Mexican President Seeks More Money to Fight Crime, Drug Gangs

Mexican President Felipe Calderón staked his political reputation on doing battle with the drug cartels. Now, with prohibition-related violence at record levels and violent common crime also on the rise, he is looking for more money to save his legacy.

10. Latin America: Walters Continues US Attack on Venezuela Anti-Drug Efforts, Calls Chávez Policies "Global Threat"

Washington's war of words against Venezuela over its anti-drug interdiction efforts continued this week, as John Walters called the country a "global threat" because it does not cooperate in US anti-drug efforts.

11. South Asia: Indian Newspaper Cheers On Anti-Drug Vigilantes

Anti-drug vigilantism is not unknown in India or some other parts of the world, but it's not usually cheered on by the press. This week, it was in India's Orissa state.

12. Europe: Irish Judge Balks at Unquantified Drugged Driving Test

An Irish judge has dismissed drugged driving charges against a young man based solely on the presence of marijuana in his system. That's not sufficient to prove impairment, he ruled.

13. Weekly: This Week in History

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

14. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Jonathan Caulkins vs. The Boring Drug War Debate," "If Salvia Isn't Toxic or Addictive, What's the Argument for Banning it?," "How to Use Drugs Without Ruining Our Lives," "Jurors Fight Back Against the War on Medical Marijuana," "Smoke a Joint, Get Your Boss Fired," "If the Drug War Makes Sense to You, Nothing Else Will."

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18. Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

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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.

Drug War Chronicle #550 - September 5, 2008

1. Editorial: How Much Does It Cost to Build an Air-Conditioned Drug Smuggling Tunnel?

Every now and then authorities discover an electrified, air-conditioned tunnel underneath our border with Mexico or Canada, presumably built for drug smuggling. How many such tunnels go undiscovered? And does it take more than one successful smuggling operation to pay for a tunnel's construction?

2. Feature: Venezuela, US Governments Spar Over Drug Fighting

Washington and Caracas traded barbs over Venezuelan cooperation (or the lack thereof) with US drug fighters this week.

3. Chronicle Book Review: "On Speed: The Many Lives of Amphetamine," by Nicolas Rasmussen (2008, New York University Press, 352 pp, $29.95 HB)

With "On Speed: The Many Lives of Amphetamine," historian of science Nicholas Rasmussen has written a fascinating and enlightening history of America's favorite stimulant, and the role of drug companies, the medical profession, and consumers in making it that way.

4. Offer: Unique and Important New Book on Medical Marijuana

"Dying to Get High," by sociologists Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb, is a groundbreaking work that provides an in-depth portrait of one of the country's most well-known medical marijuana collectives.

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

A cop with a pain pill habit gets in trouble. So does yet another jail guard.

6. Presidential Politics: Both Major Party Tickets Include Former Drug Users

With the nomination of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice-presidential candidate, both major party tickets now include acknowledged former drug users. But there is little sign either party is going to do anything groundbreaking on drug policy reform.

7. Drug Use: Prescription Pills Up, Cocaine and Meth Down, Marijuana Holds Steady

The annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health is out. While some drugs are less popular than last year, others are more popular, and overall use levels remain largely unchanged.

8. Medical Marijuana: Los Angeles City Council Extends Moratorium

The Los Angeles City Council has extended its year-old moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries for another six months.

9. Marijuana: Fayetteville, Arkansas, Lowest Priority Initiative Turns in More Signatures

A lowest law enforcement priority initiative for adult marijuana possession offenses in Fayetteville, Arkansas, seems set for the November ballot as organizers hand in nearly a thousand additional signatures. They needed 300 valid ones.

10. Marijuana: SAFER Takes on the NFL, Cites "Hypocrisy" of Player's Huge Fine for Marijuana Possession

The marijuana reform group SAFER is accusing the NFL of hypocrisy over a huge fine imposed on one player for minor marijuana possession while the league makes hundreds of millions from alcohol advertising. It has an online petition you can sign.

11. Australia: Drug Researcher Says Ecstasy Safer Than Binge Drinking, Causes Flap

A leading Australian drug researcher has dared to suggest young people might be better off taking small doses of ecstasy rather than getting stinking drunk on a regular basis, and that has excited cries of blasphemy!

12. Latin America: Mexican Drug Violence Taking Toll on Pres. Calderón's Popularity

Mexican President Felipe Calderón called out the army to put the hurt on drug trafficking organizations. But with a rising prohibition-related death toll, as well as public impatience with common crime, his policies may be putting a bigger hurt on himself.

13. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Victim's Rights in the War on Drugs," "Palin Pick Makes Medical Marijuana a Problem Issue For McCain," "Police Raid Wrong Address, Hit Innocent Man With the Butt of a Shotgun," "Prosecutor Getting Nervous in the Ryan Frederick Case," "Republicans Promise to Continue the Drug War," "BREAKING: People Smoke Pot at Outdoor Concerts," "$20,000 Bond for One Ecstasy Pill," "How Much More Public Support Does Medical Marijuana Really Need?"

14. Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle?

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17. Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

Visit our new web site each day to see a running countdown to the events coming up the soonest, and more.
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.

Drug War Chronicle #549 - August 29, 2008

1. Feature: California Attorney General Issues Medical Marijuana Guidelines -- Mostly Good But Some Problems, Say Advocates

After more than a decade of conflict and confusion over California's medical marijuana laws, state Attorney General Jerry Brown Monday issued a series of guidelines for patients, providers, and police designed to specify just what is and is not allowable under the law.

2. Feature: Afghan Opium Production Declines Slightly From Record Levels

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime reported this week that Afghan opium production has decreased slightly this year. While the West praised the findings, independent observers were much less sanguine.

3. Offer: Unique and Important New Book on Medical Marijuana

"Dying to Get High," by sociologists Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb, is a groundbreaking work that provides an in-depth portrait of one of the country's most well-known medical marijuana collectives.

4. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Apply for an internship at DRCNet for this fall (or spring), and you could spend the semester fighting the good fight!

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

A key Coast Guard anti-drug fighter gets caught doing cocaine, plus the usual array of miscreants in blue.

6. Medical Marijuana: Washington State Fight Over Allowable Quantities Continues

Washington voters approved medical marijuana a decade ago, but confusion over what constitutes an allowable quantity of medicine and plants continues. Now, the state health department is trying to set rules, and patients aren't happy with what it's proposing.

7. Harm Reduction: Funds Begin to Flow to DC Needle Exchange Programs

For a decade, Congress has barred the city of Washington, DC, from spending money to fund needle exchange programs in an effort to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS. That ban was lifted earlier this year, and now the money is beginning to flow.

8. Law Enforcement: LEAP Barred From Asian-American Cops Meeting in Virginia

Somebody at the National Asian Peace Officers Association conference this week didn't want their members to hear from anti-prohibitionist cops. LEAP wants to know who and why.

9. Europe: Scottish Heroin Crackdown Sparks Violent Crime Increase

Police in Scotland engineered a crackdown on heroin in Dundee, only to find they had created a crime wave.

10. Death Penalty: More Executions in Iran, Saudi Arabia

This month, Iran has once again led the way in executing drug offenders.

11. Australia: Strong Support for Medical Marijuana, Needle Exchange Programs, National Survey Finds

Australians showed strong support for medical marijuana and harm reduction measures in a national survey. Marijuana legalization? Not so much, at least not yet.

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

"How Much More Public Support Does Medical Marijuana Really Need?," "New Medical Marijuana Regulations Are a Good Thing," "Police Cannot Identify Good Marijuana," "'Extremely Small Amount' of Marijuana Causes Panic Throughout Massachusetts," "California Attorney General Tells Police to Uphold Medical Marijuana Laws," "Biden is a 'Moderate' on Crime Issues?," "Joe Biden's Awful Record on Drug Policy."

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16. Resource: DRCNet Web Site Offers Wide Array of RSS Feeds for Your Reader

A new way for you to receive DRCNet articles -- Drug War Chronicle and more -- is now available.

17. Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

Visit our new web site each day to see a running countdown to the events coming up the soonest, and more.
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.

Drug War Chronicle #548 - August 22, 2008

1. Editorial: Why Hasn't Denver's Police Chief Been Fired for Violating Marijuana Laws?

In Hawaii County (the "Big Island") this week, city councilmembers respect their constituents so much that they approved a marijuana reform initiative for the ballot despite insufficient signatures. In Denver, police continue to flout not one but two similar laws that that city's voters passed. Why hasn't the police chief been fired for it?

2. Feature: The Drug Checkpoint That Wasn't -- Louisiana Lawmen Play Fast and Loose with the Constitution

There was a drug checkpoint on a Louisiana highway last week. Only one problem: they're illegal. Now the local cops are backtracking furiously and claiming it was really a legal highway safety checkpoint. And the drug dogs were there to help read drivers' licenses?

3. Feature: Seattle's Hempfest Again Draws Multitudes in Celebration of Cannabis Culture

Seattle's annual Hempfest, the world's largest marijuana "protestival," took place last weekend. Here's a brief report.

4. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Apply for an internship at DRCNet for this fall (or spring), and you could spend the semester fighting the good fight!

5. Salvia Divinorum: North Dakota Man, First in Nation Charged With Magic Mint Offense, Sees Charges Reduced

Kenneth Rau of Bismarck, North Dakota, the first man in the US arrested for possession of salvia divinorum, caught something of a break last week when prosecutors dropped the most serious charge against him. But he still faces five years in prison for $32 worth of salvia leaves he bought on eBay.

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

Cops "misplacing" money, cops providing help to a pot crew, a court security officer peddling pain pills, and a jail guard getting caught bringing in the goodies. Just another week in the drug war.

7. Marijuana: Massachusetts Decriminalization Initiative Polling Well

A November initiative that would decriminalize small-time marijuana possession in Massachusetts is now polling at over 70%.

8. Medical Marijuana: California Supreme Court to Take Up Limits Issue

The California Supreme Court will try to settle once and for all the issue of limits on the number of plants or amount of marijuana patients may possess.

9. Marijuana: Hawaii's Big Island to Vote on Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Initiative

An initiative that would make the enforcement of marijuana laws against adults the lowest law enforcement priority on Hawaii's Big Island will go to the voters in November.

10. Offer: Unique and Important New Book on Medical Marijuana

"Dying to Get High," by sociologists Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb, is a groundbreaking work that provides an in-depth portrait of one of the country's most well-known medical marijuana collectives.

11. Latin America: Mexico's PRD May Call for Legalization

Faced with rising levels of violence as Mexican drug traffickers, police, and soldiers engage in a multi-sided struggle for supremacy, Mexico's left-leaning Democratic Revolution Party may be about to call for legalization of the drug trade -- in both the US and Mexico.

12. Europe: Move Afoot in Poland to Legalize Marijuana

Poland treats marijuana possession toughly, but that could change if a movement now underway succeeds.

13. Weekly: This Week in History

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

14. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Panels Calls For Reduced Marijuana Enforcement During Democratic National Convention," "California Legislature Passes Employment Rights Bill for Medical Marijuana Patients," "Excellent Video: The Human Cost of Marijuana Prohibition," "College Presidents Call for Debate on Lowering the Drinking Age," "Pet Mountain Lion Gets Man Arrested for Marijuana," "Stephen Colbert's Top 7 Drug Moments," "If You Oppose Marijuana Laws, But Support Other Drug Laws, Read This," "Canadian Health Minister Attacks Doctors for Supporting Safe Injection Sites."

15. Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle?

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18. Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

Visit our new web site each day to see a running countdown to the events coming up the soonest, and more.
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.

Drug War Chronicle #547 - August 15, 2008

1. Editorial: The Coca Wars are Futile, Whereas Drug Legalization is a Win-Win

A recent article in Time made important points about the difference between the coca plant and its legal uses, vs. the international cocaine trade and efforts to fight it in Bolivia. Unfortunately, the article stopped there and didn't ask the next logical -- and desperately needed -- question.

2. Feature: Prosecutors Want Five Years for North Dakota Man Who Bought $32 Worth of Salvia Divinorum on eBay

Kenneth Rau is the first person in the US to face prison time for possessing salvia divinorum. Prosecutors have offered him five years in prison if he cops a plea. Otherwise, he faces up to 20.

3. Update and Appeal: StoptheDrugWar.org Media Coverage This Year

Thanks in part to growing web site traffic, StoptheDrugWar.org's media coverage is increasing in both frequency and importance. Financial support from our readers makes up a critical part of our budget -- please read this update and then make a generous donation to ensure that this work can continue.

4. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Apply for an internship at DRCNet for this fall (or spring), and you could spend the semester fighting the good fight!

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

A tough week for jail and prison guards, and some Virginia deputies could find themselves in trouble.

6. Marijuana: Mendocino County Coalition Moves to Further Restrict Cultivation -- But Late-Breaking Judge's Ruling May Undo Their Earlier Victory

The people who managed to overturn Mendocino County's groundbreaking Measure G, which barred prosecution of anyone growing fewer than 25 plants, are feeling emboldened. Now, they have hatched a new scheme to further tighten the screws.

7. Presidential Politics: Ralph Nader Says Free the Dopers, Jail the Corporate Crooks

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader unveils a strong drug policy platform and suggests the government should target corporate criminals instead of drug offenders.

8. Presidential Politics: Bob Barr Criticizes High-Profile Drug Raid on Maryland Mayor's Home

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr uses the raid on the home of the mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, to issue a broader critique of drug law enforcement.

9. Offer: Unique and Important New Book on Medical Marijuana

"Dying to Get High," by sociologists Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb, is a groundbreaking work that provides an in-depth portrait of one of the country's most well-known medical marijuana collectives.

10. Europe: Former British Anti-Drug Official Now Calls For Legalization

Britain's prohibition establishment suffered a high-ranking defection when a former Tony Blair drug policy coordinator went over to the other side in an online comment that has excited considerable British media attention.

11. Europe: French Police Start Saliva-Testing Drivers for Drugs

French police are cracking down on drugged drivers, and they unveiled a new tool in their kits this week: saliva testing.

12. Press Release: First Global Conference on Methamphetamine to Feature 80 Speakers from 16 Countries

For all the mouthing off by government officials about methamphetamine abuse, it took an NGO to take the obvious step of getting everybody who's working on the problem together to talk about it.

13. Weekly: This Week in History

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

14. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"The War on Drugs in 100 Seconds," "Another Top Drug War Official Calls for Legalization," "Stephen Colbert's Latest Outrageous Attack on Medical Marijuana," "Bob Barr Condemns Violent, Dog-Murdering Drug Raid," "Mexican Cartels Have Begun Kidnapping Americans," "Mayor Calvo Says Botched Drug Raids Are Commonplace," "TV Networks Refuse to Allow Discussion of Marijuana Laws," "The Real Reason SWAT Teams Kill Dogs and People," "Cartoon: Dogs as SWAT Team Target Practice."

15. Job Opportunities: Marijuana Policy Project, Washington, DC

The Marijuana Policy Project is hiring a Membership Coordinator and a Membership Assistant to work out of the organization's Washington, DC office.

16. 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.

17. Webmasters: Help the Movement by Running DRCNet Syndication Feeds on Your Web Site!

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18. Resource: DRCNet Web Site Offers Wide Array of RSS Feeds for Your Reader

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19. Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

Visit our new web site each day to see a running countdown to the events coming up the soonest, and more.
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.

Drug War Chronicle #546 - August 8, 2008

1. Feature: Feds Score Another Conviction Against a California Medical Marijuana Dispensary Operator

Federal prosecutors won another conviction against a California medical marijuana dispensary operator this week. It's easy pickings when the defense can't mention medical marijuana, and it raises issues about how to deal with local law enforcement officials who work with the feds to get around state law.

2. Law Enforcement: Killer Cop Walks in Ohio SWAT Raid Shooting, Relatives File Wrongful Death Suit

A Lima, Ohio, police sergeant who shot and killed an unarmed woman and wounded her infant son during a SWAT raid was acquitted on all counts this week. He only faced eight months, anyway. But this story isn't over -- relatives have now filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and the shooter.

3. Offer: Unique and Important New Book on Medical Marijuana

"Dying to Get High," by sociologists Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb, is a groundbreaking work that provides an in-depth portrait of one of the country's most well-known medical marijuana collectives.

4. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Apply for an internship at DRCNet for this fall (or spring), and you could spend the semester fighting the good fight!

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

A Boston cop goes to prison for being muscle for drug dealers, and a Miami-area cop and two prison guards get caught up in a massive Oxycontin and health fraud scandal.

6. Medical Marijuana: California Appeals Court Upholds State Law, Rejects San Diego County Claim

In a victory for California's medical marijuana law, a state appeals court has rejected a challenge to the law from San Diego County. But it isn't over yet. The county said Tuesday it would appeal to the state Supreme Court.

7. Medical Marijuana: National MS Society Takes Half-Step Toward Recognizing Therapeutic Uses

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is calling for more research on medical marijuana. While that's only a half-step on the society's part, it's a half-step forward.

8. Marijuana: Arizona Court of Appeals Rejects Religious Defense

The Arizona Court of Appeals has rejected a religious defense for marijuana use and possession.

9. Latin America: Argentine President Calls for Decriminalization of Drug Possession, Inclusion of Harm Reduction in National Drug Strategy

Argentina's president last week called for the decriminalization of drug possession, lending her support to a bill introduced last year by her justice minister and giving an implicit nod to a series of recent Argentine court decisions that have rejected punishing drug users.

10. Latin America: Peru Constitutional Court Overturns State Law Okaying Coca Crops

In a bid to regularize the situation of coca growers, one Peruvian department earlier this year moved to legalize the crop. This week, the country's highest constitutional court overturned that move, saying only the national government can set drug policy.

11. Southeast Asia: Drug User Group Demonstrates for Legal Drug Use in Jakarta

Drug user activists handed out brochures called for the legalization of drug use in some of Jakarta's most notorious dope-dealing hot-spots this week. It was the second user demonstration this summer in Indonesia.

12. Southeast Asia: DEA Bringing Drug War Tactics to Vietnam

DEA trainers are in Vietnam this month to show Vietnamese how to have a drug war American-style, but the UN's man on the scene doesn't find that particularly helpful.

13. Weekly: This Week in History

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

14. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"An Excellent Column on Marijuana Prohibition From Reuters," "Florida Prosecutor Stands Up For Rachel Hoffman, Refuses to Work With DEA," "After Killing His Dogs, Police Admit Mayor Calvo Was Probably Innocent," "DEA Secures Another Medical Marijuana Conviction by Lying in Court," "Police Are Confiscating Cars for Minor Drug Crimes," "Cop Acquitted After Killing Unarmed Mother and Shooting Her Baby," "Marijuana Offers Hope For Battling Colon Cancer," "Hey Politicians, Reforming Marijuana Laws is Smart Politics," "More Video of Drug Reformers and Their Encounters with the 'Other Side' at the UN in Vienna Last Month"

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. Webmasters: Help the Movement by Running DRCNet Syndication Feeds on Your Web Site!

Support the cause by featuring automatically-updating Drug War Chronicle and other DRCNet content links on your web site!

17. Resource: DRCNet Web Site Offers Wide Array of RSS Feeds for Your Reader

A new way for you to receive DRCNet articles -- Drug War Chronicle and more -- is now available.

18. Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

Visit our new web site each day to see a running countdown to the events coming up the soonest, and more.
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.

Drug War Chronicle #545 - August 1, 2008

1. Editorial: Two Dogs Dead, a Family Traumatized, Another Day in the Drug War

County police near Washington brought marijuana to a local mayor's home, then sent a SWAT team in because of the marijuana. Now the family's two dogs are dead. Another day in the drug war.

2. Feature: Federal Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Has Its Coming Out Party

For the first time in decades, there is a marijuana decriminalization bill before Congress. No one thinks it will pass this year, but you have to start somewhere.

3. Feature: Prescription Drug "Fatal Medical Errors" Rising Dramatically -- What Does It Mean?

A study released this week shows a dramatic increase in "fatal medical errors" related to self-administered prescription drugs, especially when other drugs and/or alcohol are involved. But the study is raising as many questions as answers.

4. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Apply for an internship at DRCNet for this fall (or spring), and you could spend the semester fighting the good fight!

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

Prison guards get busted as cocaine traffickers in Louisiana and New Jersey, and a pair of North Carolina cops plea to helping out the local cocaine trade.

6. Racial Profiling: Latest Illinois Report Prompts Civil Rights Groups to Call for End to Consent Searches

Another year, and another report showing racial profiling by Illinois law enforcement. Now, civil rights groups want the governor to end the policy of allowing consent searches by state troopers.

7. Harm Reduction: Bill to End Federal Needle Exchange Ban Filed

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) and 25 cosponsors have filed a bill that would lift the 20-year-old federal ban on funding for needle exchange programs.

8. Medical Marijuana: DEA Seizes Medical Marijuana Seized By Seattle Police

Although Washington state has a medical marijuana law and the city of Seattle has a lowest law enforcement priority ordinance, Seattle police two weeks ago raided a medical marijuana co-op, seizing patient records and 12 ounces of medicine. The co-op got the records back, but now the DEA has seized the marijuana.

9. Marijuana: Joplin, Missouri, Decrim Initiative in Final Signature-Gathering Push

An initiative that would decriminalize possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana in Joplin, Missouri, is in a last-minute push to get the number of valid signatures required to make the November ballot.

10. Marijuana: Fayetteville, Arkansas, Lowest Priority Initiative in Signature Drive

An initiative that would make adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority is in the signature-gathering phase in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

11. Southwest Asia: Iranian Harm Reduction Doctors Arrested, Held Without Explanation

A pair of Iranian physicians who are internationally known harm reduction practitioners have been arrested by Iranian authorities. No reason has been given, they are being held incommunicado, and there is a petition drive underway to secure their release.

12. Latin America: In Bid to Reduce US Influence, Bolivia to Fund Own Anti-Drug Unit

The Bolivian government announced late last week that it would fund its own anti-drug units in a bid to reduce foreign (read: US) influence over its coca and cocaine policies.

13. Europe: Britain's Drug War Not Working, Think-Tank Finds

A leading independent British commission has examined the UK's war on drugs and found it ineffective and misguided.

14. Weekly: This Week in History

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

15. Job Opportunity: Executive Director, Justice Policy Institute, DC

The Justice Policy Institute (JPI) is seeking a dedicated and experienced Executive Director for its Washington, DC office.

16. Job Opportunity: State Legislative Affairs Director, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, DC

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is hiring a State Legislative Affairs Director for its Washington, DC office.

17. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Marijuana Laws Killed Two People This Week," "SWAT Team Kills Mayor's Dogs in Botched Drug Raid," "Drug-Sniffing Turtle Discovers Marijuana," "Six More Drug War Disgraces," "US Drug War Funding Supports Human Rights Violations in Mexico," "Isn't it Already Illegal to Traffic Drugs in a Submarine?," "Drug Raid: Police Shoot Man, Find Nothing But Codeine Syrup," "Everyone Should Know the Story of Rachel Hoffman," "Concerned Citizen Launches "Drugs Bring Death" Campaign," "Drug Dealing, Entrepreneurship, and Drug Prohibition," "Hey, Dirtbags, Ya Wanna Know What Cops Think About Frank's Decrim Bill (and You)?"

18. 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.

19. Webmasters: Help the Movement by Running DRCNet Syndication Feeds on Your Web Site!

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20. Resource: DRCNet Web Site Offers Wide Array of RSS Feeds for Your Reader

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21. Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

Visit our new web site each day to see a running countdown to the events coming up the soonest, and more.
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.

Drug War Chronicle #544 - July 25, 2008

1. Editorial: It's Everybody Else Who's Crazy

A former State Department official who fought the Afghan drug war has taken to the New York Times to tell why the failure of the program is everybody else's fault not his.

2. Feature: The Vultures Circle Sturgis, But One Man Fights Back

With South Dakota's annual Sturgis Motorcyle Rally just a few days away, state law enforcement is gearing up for unwary travelers. Eric Sage was one of their victims last year. He's not going this year, but he just filed a civil suit over his mistreatment.

3. Feature: Going After Congressional Drug Warrior #1

Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) has made a political career out of being "tough on drugs." Now, in an election year where Obamamania has already swept his district, a newly-formed political action committee wants to make him pay for it.

4. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Apply for an internship at DRCNet for this fall (or spring), and you could spend the semester fighting the good fight!

5. Media: David Borden in Televised Drug Legalization Debate

StoptheDrugWar.org's executive director recently did a 25-minute debate on drug legalization on a network that airs across Europe and the Middle East. Video is online here.

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

Three cases of crooked cops in Florida this week, and a pair of asset forfeiture abuse situations in St, Louis and Muncie, Indiana.

7. Drug Testing: Hawaii Teachers Back Away from Random Testing Provisions of New Contract

Last year, Hawaiian teachers agreed to a labor contract that included random drug testing. Now, with one eye on costs and the other on the Constitution, they are balking, and the Republican governor is most unhappy.

8. Probable Cause: Washington Supreme Court Rules Marijuana Smell in Vehicle Not Enough to Arrest All Occupants

If a police officer smells marijuana coming from a car, that's not enough evidence to arrest everyone in it, the Washington state Supreme Court has ruled.

9. Medical Marijuana: Whole Plant Better Than Isolated Components in Pain Relief, Italian Study Finds

Research from Italy suggesting that whole-plant marijuana extracts provide more effective pain relief than isolated compounds from the plant should be welcome news for medical marijuana supporters.

10. Southwest Asia: Former US Anti-Drug Official Accuses Afghan Government of Complicity in Drug Trade -- US and NATO Not Doing Much Either, He Complains

The man who until last month was in charge of US anti-drug efforts in Afghanistan accuses the Karzai government of involvement in the drug trade. He's not too happy with the US military and NATO, either.

11. Death Penalty: More Executions in China, Saudi Arabia

The resort to the ultimate sanction for drug offenders continues apace in China and Saudi Arabia.

12. Canada: Quebec to Open Series of Safe Injection Sites

Health officials in Quebec are planning to open a safe injection site in Montreal, then Quebec City, and maybe more.

13. Australia: Grow Lights Now Illegal in South Australia

South Australia has now criminalized the possession of high intensity lights, reflectors, and anything else that might be used to grow marijuana. You now have to prove you weren't going to grow pot to avoid prosecution instead of the state having to prove you were.

14. Weekly: This Week in History

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

15. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Needle Exchange Saves Lives. Why Are We Still Arguing About It?," "A Revealing Remark From the Deputy Drug Czar," "The Drug War Doesn't Reduce Drug Use. Drug Users Reduce Drug Use.," "In New Orleans, You Can Get 5 Years in Prison for a Joint of Marijuana," "Police Kill Dog During Drug Raid, Find No Drugs," "Barack Obama Proposes 'Shifting the Model' on the Drug War," "Video Highlights from Vienna Drug Policy NGO Forum," "Drug Smugglers Use Hurricane for Cover."

16. Help Needed: Drug War Chronicle Seeking Cases of Informant Abuse

Drug War Chronicle is seeking information on serious police misconduct or misjudgments in the treatment of informants. Confidentiality will be protected.

17. 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.

18. Webmasters: Help the Movement by Running DRCNet Syndication Feeds on Your Web Site!

Support the cause by featuring automatically-updating Drug War Chronicle and other DRCNet content links on your web site!

19. Resource: DRCNet Web Site Offers Wide Array of RSS Feeds for Your Reader

A new way for you to receive DRCNet articles -- Drug War Chronicle and more -- is now available.

20. Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

Visit our new web site each day to see a running countdown to the events coming up the soonest, and more.
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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