Format: 2021-05

Drug War Chronicle #543 - July 18, 2008

1. Feature: Beyond 2008 -- Global Civil Society Tells the UN It's Time to Fix International Drug Policy

Meeting in Vienna last week, representatives of more than 300 non-governmental organizations concerned with various aspects of drug policy crafted a consensus document calling for a fundamental shift in global drug control.

2. Chronicle Book Review: "Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicine," by Wendy Chapkis and Richard J. Webb (2008, NYU Press, 244 pp., $22.00 PB)

Two sociologists take on medical marijuana and Santa Cruz's Wo/Men's Access to Medical Marijuana (WAMM) collective. We review their efforts and find them worthy.

3. 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.

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 North Texas officer snitches for the Zetas, a Louisiana cop gets a package of pot from Mexico, a New Jersey Transit cop gets popped with pounds of pot, a Mississippi cop gets nailed for stealing from the dope fund, and an Ohio narc goes to prison for stealing cocaine.

6. Medical Marijuana: Seattle Police Seize Hundreds of Patient Files in Raid on Co-op

Washington has a medical marijuana law and Seattle has a lowest law enforcement priority ordinance, but that didn't stop Seattle cops from seizing hundreds of patient files from a Seattle co-op.

7. Search and Seizure: Strip Search of School Girl for Ibuprofen Went Too Far, Federal Appeals Court Says

You can't strip search a school girl to see if she's carrying a low-grade pain reliever, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. The only shocking thing about this verdict is that five out 11 of the justices disagreed.

8. Europe: Battle of the Swiss Drug Referenda

Voters in Switzerland will have a clear choice on drug policy as they go to the polls November 30.

9. Europe: Austrian Parliament Okays Medical Marijuana, But Only State Agency Can Grow It

Austria's parliament has taken a first step toward making medical marijuana available. A bill it approved allows a state agency to grow it.

10. Europe: Rastafarians Can Smoke Marijuana, Italian Court Rules

Italy's highest court has recognized the religious use of marijuana in a case involving an Italian Rastafarian.

11. Death Penalty: Indonesia Gives Go-Ahead for More Executions

Indonesia had not executed anyone for four years as its high court considered a constitutional challenge to the death penalty for drug offenders. But the challenge is over, the death penalty remains, the executions have started again, and there are more on tap.

12. Europe: Selling Grow Equipment Not a Crime, British Appeals Court Rules

Selling equipment used to grow marijuana is not in itself a crime, a British appeals court has ruled.

13. Weekly: This Week in History

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

14. Job Opportunities: Two Full-time Jobs, a Fellowship, and an Internship, Marijuana Policy Project, DC

The Marijuana Policy Project has openings for an Office Administrator/Bookkeeper, a Director of State Policies, a Membership and Events Fellow, and a State Policies Intern in their headquarters in Washington, DC.

15. Job Opportunity: Outreach Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, DC or San Francisco

Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is seeking a highly motivated, well-organized Outreach Director for its Washington, DC or San Francisco office to assist with strengthening the student movement to end the failed War on Drugs.

16. Job Opportunity: Media Relations Director, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), Washington, DC

Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) seeks a Media Relations Director to prepare and disseminate information on FAMM's federal and state campaigns through newspapers, periodicals, television and radio and other forms of media.

17. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Drug Testing Advocate Gets Busted For Drugs," "U.S. Drug Warriors Interfere With Vienna Drug Policy Summit," "Former Staffer Accuses Drug Czar's Office of Faking Statistics," "Opponents of Marijuana Reform Can't Keep Their Story Straight," "The Link Between Sagging Pants Laws and the Drug War," "Prosecutors Spend Confiscated Drug Money on Margarita Machine, Win 'Best Margarita' at County Fair," "Save the Children, Legalize Drugs," "How Many Patients You Say??... Well Here Are Their Names, Addresses, and Card Numbers."

18. 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.

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22. 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 #542 - July 11, 2008

1. Editorial: Do Drug Laws Affect Drug Use Rates? Evidently Not

Another major study has shown that drug policy doesn't affect drug use rates, and we already know the drug war doesn't affect sales. But we know the harm that prohibition does. So what's the point?

2. Feature: Vested Interests of Prohibition I: The Police

Who profits from drug prohibition? With this article we begin our occasional series on Vested Interests of Prohibition, and we begin with a law enforcement establishment grown fat off drug war bounty.

3. Feature: Despite Harsh Drug Policies, US Leads in Cannabis, Cocaine Use, Global Survey Finds

An international survey covering 54,000 people in 17 countries representing all regions of the globe has found that the US leads the world in cannabis and cocaine use rate despite decades of harsh policies aimed at users. That strongly suggests harsh drug policies don't necessarily result in lower use rates, the researchers said.

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

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5. 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.

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

Cops in LA and New York get caught lying about drug busts, a couple of Indiana cops get in trouble, an Alabama cop is headed for prison, and, of course, more jail guards get caught.

7. Marijuana: Massachusetts Decrim Initiative Approved for November Ballot

The Massachusetts State Secretary has certified for the November ballot an initiative that would decriminalize marijuana possession in the Bay State.

8. Marijuana: Oregon Initiative For Regulated Sales Starts Gathering Signatures

Oregon already has decriminalization and medical marijuana. Now, some state activists have launched an initiative campaign to allow for taxed and regulated sales to adults. If they can get the required signatures, the measure will be on the 2010 ballot.

9. Pain Medicine: Pain Relief Network Sues State of Washington Over Narcotic Prescribing Guidelines

A pain patients' and doctors' advocacy group has filed a lawsuit challenging opioid prescribing guidelines promulgated by the state of Washington.

10. Marijuana: Georgia Grand Jury Foreman Says Legalize It

Grand juries are usually noted for their compliance with prosecutorial desires, but at the end of their terms, they get to issue reports on what they experienced and recommendations for improvements. A Georgia grand jury foreman has used that opportunity to call for marijuana legalization.

11. Drug Prohibition: No Clue in the Texas Legislature

Over the years, the Texas legislature has developed a reputation for producing some less than bright ideas, among other unsavory qualities. This week, one Texas legislator seemed determined to win this year's crown.

12. Latin America: Ecuador Assembly Pardons Hundreds of Drug Mules

Last year, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, whose father had done time in US jails as a drug courier, vowed to release hundreds of low-level drug mules serving long sentences. Now, the country's legislative organ has turned that vow into reality.

13. Middle East: Iraq Becomes Key Conduit in Global Drug Trade

Instability fostered by the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 has led to the embattled country becoming a key conduit for Afghan opium to Europe and the Middle East. Drug use rates are rising, too.

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

"If Police Don't Find Anything During a Drug Raid, Should They Have To Fix the Damage?," "'Clearly there's no LSD, and how long does it take to test a chocolate-chip cookie for marijuana?'," "Do Pharmaceutical Companies Support Marijuana Prohibition?," "Police Refuse to Take Responsibility For Botched Drug Raid," "Police Discover World's Most Expensive Marijuana," "Congressional Black Caucus Members Try to Ban Menthol Cigarettes," "Almost Any Drug Offense Can Keep You from Becoming a Citizen or Getting a Green Card."

16. Job Opportunity: Harm Reduction Counselor/Driver, FROST'D @ Harlem United, New York City

The Foundation for Research on Sexually Transmitted Diseases, a harm reduction agency in New York City, is hiring.

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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 #541 - June 27, 2008

1. Editorial: How Long Does an Experiment Need to Continue Before It's Declared a Failure? (e.g. Drug Prohibition)

US federal drug prohibition began with the Harrison Narcotics Act in 1914 -- close to a century ago. And yet the Taliban last year could earn a hundred million dollars from the opium trade, and there's not a single drug free high school in our country. When will the failed and not very noble experiment be ended, so we can start to clean up the mess it's left for us?

2. Feature: Future Doctors Support Medical Marijuana

The AMA's med student branch, the Medical Student Section, overwhelmingly passed a resolution supporting medical marijuana at the AMA national convention earlier this month. With the other large national med student group, the American Medical Student Association, already supporting it, it looks like therapeutic cannabis has a future in US medicine.

3. Feature: New Jersey State Assembly Passes Bill Reforming State's "Drug-Free School Zone" Law

In a bid to defeat the iconic dope-dealer lurking in the schoolyard shadows, New Jersey was one of many states to pass a "drug-free school zone" law. Now, the state Assembly has passed a bill that will be the first step in undoing it.

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

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5. 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.

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

An Ohio jailer, a Connecticut cop, and a pair of Florida deputies get busted, a Louisiana cop goes on trial, a Texas constable cops a plea, and so does a Texas US Border Patrol Agent.

7. Marijuana: Mendocino County Move to Restrict Grows Passes, Barely

Two weeks ago, we reported on the battle over Mendocino County's Measure B, which would rein in the county's liberal cultivation laws. Now the results are in: B won in a squeaker.

8. Marijuana: Puerto Rico Ex-Officials Say Legalize It

Some well-known Puerto Ricans are calling for the legalization, taxation, and regulate sale of marijuana in a bid to reduce the prison population and keep kids away from unsavory elements.

9. Europe: Hashish Growers Fight Police in "Greece's Colombia"

Hashish growers on the Greek island of Crete ambushed police on Sunday. They also did it last fall. Once again, a manhunt is underway. And once again, the Greek media is talking about "Greece's Colombia."

10. Latin America: Bolivia's Chapare Coca Growers Tell USAID to Get Lost, Say They Will Seek Funding from Venezuela

Coca grower unions in Bolivia's Chapare region have told USAID to get lost. They'll seek assistance from Venezuela's Hugo Chávez instead, they said.

11. Southwest Asia: West Threatens to Block Iran Drug Aid Over Nuclear Issue

The US and European Union are threatening to stop helping Iran fight to stem the tide of Afghan opium and heroin -- heroin destined not only for the Islamic republics but also for the veins of users in places like Berlin and London. It's part of the high-wire pressure act aimed at stopping Iran's nuclear program.

12. Southwest Asia: Taliban Makes $100 Million a Year Off Drug Prohibition

The Taliban is profiting from prohibition. The Islamic insurgents made $100 million last year taxing poppy farmers, UNODC head Antonio Maria Costa said this week.

13. Death Penalty: More Executions, More Death Sentences, A Glimmer of Hope in Vietnam

China celebrates Anti-Drug Day with more executions and death sentences, but there have been more of both elsewhere this month, too.

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

"Nation's Mayors Take a Stand for Harm Reduction," "And the Winner of the War on Meth is…Cocaine," "Our Drug War Alliances in South America Are Crumbling," "Trained Pigeons That Smuggle Drugs and Cell Phones Into Prison," "They're Drug Testing Our Sewage," "Don Imus: Critic of Racial Profiling?," "George Will's Weak Defense of Our Embarrassing Incarceration Rates," "Rising Coca Cultivation In Colombia Is Driving the UN Drug Czar Crazy."

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19. 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 #540 - June 20, 2008

1. Feature: US Drug Policies Flawed and Failed, Experts Tell Congressional Committee

In a historic US Congress Joint Economic Committee hearing Thursday, Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) opened up discussion on the Hill of the economic costs of US drug policy.

2. Feature: Amsterdam, Connecticut? Drug Reformer With Bold Vision Seeks State Office, Radical Change

A former Navy officer and drug fighter turned drug reformer is running for the state House of Representatives in Connecticut. He's calling for safe injection sites, opiate maintenance, and taxed and regulated marijuana sales, and he could use your help.

3. Law Enforcement: SWAT Run Amok

A Chicago SWAT raid of a social club and the killing of a homeowner in a Florida SWAT raid that netted less than an ounce of marijuana are the latest incidents to put heavy-handed police tactics in the spotlight.

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

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5. 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.

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

Trouble in the Hoosier State this week, with some Indy cops busted for ripping off pot dealers and selling their wares and a Muncie drug task force being investigated over its asset forfeiture practices. Also, a Wyoming jailer steals his cop father's drug dog pot stash, and a Massachusetts cop cops a plea.

7. Medical Marijuana: Bill Passes New York Assembly, Senate Must Act By Monday

For the second year in a row, the New York Assembly has passed a medical marijuana bill. But the state Senate must act by Monday, when the legislature recesses, or the effort to enact a medical marijuana law in the Empire State will be dead for this year.

8. Medical Marijuana: Massachusetts Entrepreneur Gets Monopoly Distribution Initiative on Michigan Town Ballot -- Officials Surprised and Confused

A Massachusetts man has gotten a medical marijuana distribution initiative on the ballot in Ferndale, Michigan. Is he positioning himself to cash in when (and if) voters approve a statewide medical marijuana initiative in November?

9. Press Release: New Report Finds Teen Marijuana Use Down in States With Medical Marijuana Laws

Opponents of medical marijuana sometimes argue that allowing it will encourage kids to smoke pot. But new report coauthored by SUNY Albany researcher Dr. Mitch Earleywine has found that teen marijuana use has actually declined in states that have medical marijuana laws, and more markedly than national averages.

10. Europe: Amsterdam's Coffee Shops Brace for Tobacco Smoking Ban

A Dutch ban on tobacco smoking in public venues has Amsterdam's coffee shop owners worried. Smoking marijuana remains okay, but those Euro-style tobacco-laced joints will be forbidden.

11. Latin America: Coca Production Up Last Year, UN Reports

Coca production in the Andes was up last year, the UN reported this week. The biggest percentage increase was in Colombia, where years of US-funded herbicide spraying have failed to stop farmers.

12. Middle East: Israel to Ban Bong Sales?

The Law, Constitution, and Justice Committee of Israel's Knesset (parliament) has approved a measure that would ban the sale of bongs, or water pipes often used to smoke marijuana. It has two more readings to go and then a floor vote to become law.

13. Latin America: Human Rights a Casualty in Chihuahua's Drug War

The Mexican army undertook Operation Join Together Chihuahua in March, as thousands of troops poured into the Mexican border state. As has been the case elsewhere in Mexico, the arrival of the troops has been followed by a growing chorus of human rights complaints.

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

"Dutch Smoking Ban Could Improve Marijuana Quality," "Drug Cops Shouldn't be Paid With Confiscated Drug Money, But They Are," "Increased Pot Potency Just Proves That Marijuana Laws Have Failed," "Why You Shouldn't Try to Eat Your Marijuana if You're Pulled Over," "U.S. Government Stopped Research After Finding That Marijuana Slowed Cancer Growth," "Mexican Drug War Analysis: It's Not Going Well."

16. Job Opportunity: Director of State Policies, Marijuana Policy Project, Washington, DC

The Marijuana Policy Project is seeking a seasoned professional to fill the position of Director of State Policies in MPP's headquarters in Washington, DC. The Director of State Policies manages MPP's grassroots and direct lobbying efforts in all state legislatures.

17. Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle?

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20. 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 #539 - June 13, 2008

1. Feature: Western Hemisphere's Only Heroin Maintenance Program Coming to an End

For the past three years, a select group of heroin addicts in Vancouver and Montreal have received pharmaceutical grade heroin as part of a pilot heroin maintenance program. Now, the NAOMI program is winding down, the researchers are assembling their reports, and the addicts are back on the streets.

2. Feature: Mendocino Marijuana Battle Waits for Election Results, Restrictive Initiative Draws Strong Opposition

California's Mendocino County has grown rich off of marijuana, but problems have come with the prosperity. Now, everyone is waiting to see whether last week's still undecided election will mean the county takes a step backward from its liberal cultivation laws.

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

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4. 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.

5. Sentencing: US Jail and Prison Population At All-Time High Again Last Year

Another year, another all-time high in US prisoners, and the drug war continues to make a major contribution. This is getting really old.

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

Busy, busy. Border guards going down, prison guards going down, more cops in trouble, and more investigations of a perjury-condoning prosecutor in Detroit.

7. Medical Marijuana: Oregon Appeals Court Protects Workers

The Oregon Court of Appeals has rejected an employer's firing of a medical marijuana patient who did not use on the job, saying it violates state anti-discrimination laws.

8. Busted: Veteran Yippie Activist Dana Beal Arrested in Illinois

Veteran activist Dana Beal of Global Marijuana March fame spent more than a week behind bars in Illinois, arrested on money-laundering charges after police found $150,000 in cash. But he bailed out Thursday after the original charge vanished, to be replaced by an obstruction of justice charge. The cash is still in custody.

9. Latin America: US House Approves Mexico Anti-Drug Aid Bill, But Mexico Balks at Senate Human Rights Conditions

The Merida Initiative anti-drug assistance package for Mexico and Central America passed the House this week, but Mexico is balking at human rights and other conditions in the Senate version of the bill. Will the Senate sacrifice human rights on the altar of the drug war?

10. Southwest Asia: Afghanistan Makes "World's Largest" Drug Bust -- 260 Tons of Hash Destroyed

What may have been the largest drug bust ever took place in Afghanistan this week. But while NATO claimed it dealt a hard blow to the Taliban, profits from the lost hash are miniscule compared to what the group rakes in from the opium trade.

11. Latin America: More Argentine Courts Throw Out Drug Possession Charges

The Argentine government is working on a rewrite of its drug laws, but courts there aren't waiting for the politicians. In April, two federal tribunals in Buenos Aires declared the drug possession laws unconstitutional, and now more courts have followed suit.

12. Europe: Scottish Parliament Think-Tank Calls for Prescription Heroin, Safe Injection Sites, Legalized Marijuana

A Scottish think-tank tasked by Parliament with figuring out how to reduce drug-related harm has called for marijuana legalization, safe injection sites, and opiate maintenance.

13. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Will John McCain Avoid Running a 'Tough-On-Crime' Campaign?," "World Record Marijuana Crop Gets Blown Up By Fighter Jets," "Two More Horrible Drug Raid Disasters," "Bob Barr's Newfound Drug War Opposition Shows That Anything is Possible," "Vietnam Orders Police to Win the Drug War by August," "Stop Making Excuses and Go Watch 'The Wire'," "People are Getting Themselves Arrested Just So They Can Sell Drugs in Jail," "The Drug War is a War on Communities of Color," "George Bush and Cocaine: How the President Might Save His Approval Rating."

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

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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 #538 - May 30, 2008

1. Feature: Summer's Here and the Time is Right for... Getting Busted Going to the Festival (If You're Not Careful)

Summer music festival season is here, and with it, the annual exercises in drug law enforcement aimed at festival-goers and highway travelers in general. Here are a few tips for avoiding trouble.

2. Feature: BC Supreme Court Rules Vancouver Safe Injection Site to Stay Open, Federal Drug Law Controlling It Unconstitutional

In a surprise ruling, the British Columbia Supreme Court has held that Canada's federal drug law is unconstitutional as applied to Vancouver's safe injection site. The site will therefore stay open despite the wishes of the Harper government.

3. Feature: Brazil Appeals Court Rules Drug Possession Not a Crime

A Brazilian appeals court in São Paulo has ruled that drug possession is not a crime. The ruling only applies to one case, but has set an important precedent.

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

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

A Connecticut prison guard gets busted, a pair of JFK airport Customs inspectors do too, an Arizona Border Patrol agent cops a plea, and a Connecticut narc heads to prison. Just another week in the drug war.

6. Medical Marijuana: California Appeals Court Throws Out Quantity Limits

A California appeals court has declared a 2004 law setting limits on the amount of marijuana patients may possess unconstitutional because it seeks to amend a voter initiative, and only the voters can do that.

7. Medical Marijuana: Employment Rights Bill Passes California Assembly

In January, the California Supreme Court ruled that employers could fire employees who tested positive for marijuana even if they were legal patients under California law. Now, a bill that would undo that ruling has passed the state Assembly.

8. Marijuana: Hawaii County Council Rejects "Green Harvest" Eradication Program

For 30 years, residents of Hawaii's Big Island have endured the annual helicopter swoops and marijuana field raids of "Operation Green Harvest." But last week, the local government said "no thank you" to the state and federal funding that support the operation.

9. Marijuana: Idaho Resort Town Passes Three Initiatives -- Again

For the second time in less than a year, voters in Hailey, Idaho, have passed a trio of marijuana reform municipal initiatives. The first time around, city officials rejected them. Now what will they do?

10. Sentencing: New Jersey Spends $331 Million a Year Jailing Nonviolent Drug Offenders, Study Finds as Legislature Ponders Reforms

A new study from the Drug Policy Alliance finds that New Jersey is spending more than $330 million a year to imprison drug offenders. The study comes as the state legislature ponders a first baby step toward reforming its tough drug sentencing laws.

11. Latin America: Rising Death Toll in Mexico's Drug War Signals Imminent Victory, Attorney General Claims

People are being killed in prohibition-related violence in Mexico at a rate 50% higher than last year. Mexico's attorney general claims that's a sign of success in the drug war.

12. Australia: Doc Group Lobbies for Tougher Western Australia Marijuana Laws, Cites Mental Health Threat

Citing an alleged link between marijuana use and mental illness, the Australian Medical Association is calling for tougher marijuana penalties. That goes against its earlier position that criminal laws don't work as a deterrent and can in fact be harmful to drug users.

13. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Barbara Kay Says Mean Things About Marijuana Users and the Reform Movement," "Another Ryan Frederick Update," "McClellan: Bush Partied So Much, He Couldn't Remember Whether He Tried Cocaine," "If the Drug War Reduces Violence, Please Explain What's Happening in Mexico," "Japanese Customs Hid 5 oz. of Marijuana in Passenger's Bag, Now They Can't Find It," "Ryan Frederick Formally Charged With First Degree Murder."

14. Weekly: This Week in History

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

15. Drug Policy Alliance's Advocacy Grants Program Application Deadline Approaching

With the application deadline fast approaching, Drug Policy Alliance has approximately $1.2 million to allocate during its 2008 Promoting Policy Change grant cycle.

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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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 #537 - May 23, 2008

1. Feature: New Mexico's Medical Marijuana Law Is Working, But There Is a Hang-Up Over Production and Distribution

Nearly a year after it went into effect, New Mexico's medical marijuana program is registering and providing ID cards to patients, but its innovative provisions for state-licensed, -owned, or -operated marijuana production and distribution are stalled in the regulatory process.

2. Feature: Medical Marijuana at the Statehouse -- Stalled in St. Paul, Progress in Providence, Coming Out in Columbus

No one ever said it was going to be easy to get medical marijuana bill through state legislatures, and recent events in Minnesota and Rhode Island reinforce the notion that it's a lengthy, arduous process. But it isn't going to happen at all if you don't try, and that's what one Ohio legislator is doing.

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

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

On opposite sides of the country, crooked cops are headed for long prison sentences, and another Atlanta narc is going to the big house. Meanwhile, a Customs and Border Protection agent in San Diego and a jail guard in the Florida panhandle get busted.

5. Law Enforcement: Missouri Residents Sue Over Fake DEA Agent Busts

The DEA agent helped police in a Missouri do some COPS-style raids earlier this year. There was only one problem: He wasn't a DEA agent. Now the people busted are suing.

6. Pain Medicine: Kansas Doctor Fights Back, Attacks Federal Prosecution and Controlled Substances Act as Unconstitutional

Attorneys for Dr. Stephen Schneider, a Kansas physician indicted by the feds as a "pill mill" operator, have now filed a motion seeking dismissal of the indictment and challenging the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act.

7. Drug Treatment: Massachusetts Senate Ponders "Secure Treatment Centers"

Faced with high rates of opiate addiction and a rising overdose toll, the Massachusetts Senate is considering funding a pair of "secure treatment centers" for arrested drug users.

8. Europe: New Head of British Government Drug Advisory Council Favors Downgrading Ecstasy

The British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, the government body charged with setting drug policy, has a new chairman this week, and he has said he wants to downgrade Ecstasy to a less serious drug classification.

9. Europe: Colombian Vice-President Wants Debate on Cocaine Legalization

Colombia's vice-president went to London to attend events related to a new British campaign against cocaine consumption, but while he was there, he suggested maybe legalization should be part of the discussion.

10. Europe: Calabrian Mob Grows Rich and Powerful on Cocaine Profits

Move over, Sicilian Mafia. The Calabrian mob, grown rich and powerful off trafficking in black market cocaine, are the new tough guys in Europe.

11. Latin America: Chilean Senator Challenges Inclusion of Marijuana on "Dangerous Drugs" List

The Chilean government recently reclassified marijuana as a "dangerous drug" like heroin or methamphetamine, but one senator is crying foul.

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

"Rachel Hoffman's Family Issues an Urgent Call for Change," "If You Write Bad Pro-Drug War Editorials, We Will Find Them and Embarrass You," "The Obama Campaign Responds to My Criticism of His Position on Marijuana Decriminalization," "Informant Identified in Fatal Maple Tree/Marijuana Mix-up," "Virginia Senator Jim Webb Speaks Out Against Marijuana Laws," "New British Drug Czar Supports Reducing Penalties for Ecstasy," "Drug Czars Say the Darndest Things," "Dick Morris Tells John McCain to Propose Harsher Cocaine Laws," "'You Don't Want This!'"

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

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

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17. 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 #536 - May 16, 2008

1. Feature: Battling Military Impunity in Mexico's Drug War

As the US Congress begins to move toward passing a massive anti-drug aid package aimed mainly at the Mexican military, abuses by soldiers in the drug war there have prompted a serious legal challenge.

2. Feature: Vancouver's Safe Injection Site Fights for Its Life -- Again

Time is running out for Vancouver's InSite, the only officially-sanctioned safe injection site in North America. The Conservative government of Canadian Prime Minister Harper has until June 30 to re-authorize the program, which it dislikes, and InSite supporters are now engaged in a major campaign to ensure its continued existence.

3. Law Enforcement: Death of Florida Student Forced to Become a Snitch Sparks Protests in Tallahassee

The killing of a Florida State University student who became an informer after being busted on drug charges has provoked angry protests by her friends and fellow students.

4. Offer: New Clergy Anti-Drug-War Video

Clergy are speaking out against the war on drugs! Donate $16 or more (or whatever you can afford) and we'll send you a copy.

5. 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!

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

The evidence goes missing in Galveston, a pill-hungry cop goes down in Oklahoma, a pill-peddling cop gets popped in New Jersey, and another pill-peddling cop goes to prison in Indiana.

7. Medical Marijuana: GOP Attacks Obama for Suggesting He Would End Raids

The Republican National Committee Wednesday attacked Sen. Barack Obama for suggesting he would end DEA raids on medical marijuana providers in states where it is legal. Given broad popular support for medical marijuana, it is not at all clear that this will be a winning issue for the GOP.

8. Pregnancy: South Carolina Supreme Court Overturns Woman's Murder Conviction for Fetal Death After Cocaine Use

Regina McKnight was the first woman in South Carolina charged with murder for having a stillborn child after using drugs while pregnant. Now, after almost a decade behind bars, the state Supreme Court has overturned her guilty verdict, saying she had poor legal representation and was the victim of shoddy science.

9. Latin America: Prohibition-Related Violence Surges in Mexico

More than 100 people, including several top federal police commanders, have been killed in surging prohibition-related violence in Mexico in recent days as the so-called drug cartels strike back hard against police, soldiers, and each other.

10. Canada: Marijuana Legalization Retains Majority Support, Poll Finds

Canada's Conservative government wants to crack down on marijuana, but it's out of step with the population. According to a new poll, 53% want to legalize it.

11. Europe: Despite British Marijuana Reclassification, No Jail for Low-Level Sellers

The new tough line on marijuana signaled last week by the British government when it reclassified the herb may not be so tough after all. The British Sentencing Guidelines Council says small-scale sales and cultivation should be punished by probation and fines in most cases.

12. Southeast Asia: Vietnam Ponders Drug Decriminalization

The Vietnamese National Assembly is considering decriminalizing drug possession. But with most drug users sent to detox camps under administrative regulations instead of criminal charges, it might not make much difference in the real world.

13. Death Penalty: Malaysia Sentences Two to Hang for Marijuana Trafficking, Iran Executes Nine Drug Sellers

Two Thai citizens have been sentenced to death in Malaysia over 75 pounds of marijuana, and nine convicted drug sellers go to the gallows in Iran.

14. Weekly: This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.
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 #535 - May 9, 2008

1. Feature: "Color Blind" Drug War Disproportionately Targets Black Americans

It's not exactly "stop the presses" material, but two new reports from Human Rights Watch and the Sentencing Project provide even more confirmation that America's drug war is racially biased and waged mainly against black Americans.

2. Feature: Global Marijuana Day Demonstrations Meet Repression in Handful of Cities

In more than 200 cities worldwide, activists celebrated the Global Marijuana March on Saturday. But in a handful of places, there was trouble, with local authorities trying to repress the marches. Here's a report.

3. News Release: Will SDSU Drug Bust Coverage Raise the Critical Questions?

Will SDSU's Drug Bust Reduce Drug Availability on Campus in the Future? Advocates Urge Media to Look Beyond the Surface, Ask Critical Questions About Raid's Long-Term Implications for Drug Trade (or Lack Thereof)

4. Offer: New Clergy Anti-Drug-War Video

Clergy are speaking out against the war on drugs! Donate $16 or more (or whatever you can afford) and we'll send you a copy.

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

Belated justice comes for two crooked cops, one in Dallas and one in Long Beach.

6. Salvia Watch: Magic Mint Now Illegal in Kansas, But Alabama Bill Dies

Alabama lawmakers declined to ban salvia divinorum, letting two bills die this week, but a prohibition on the psychedelic plant went into effect in Kansas.

7. Medical Marijuana: House Judiciary Chair Calls Out DEA on California Raids

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has sent the DEA a letter demanding that it explain its raids on medical marijuana patients and providers in California. He's threatening to hold hearings, too.

8. Medical Marijuana: Oregon Medical Marijuana Foe Drops Initiative Effort

A conservative Oregon political operative who specializes in "tough on crime" ballot initiatives has given up plans for an initiative that would undo the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act -- at least for this year.

9. Harm Reduction: San Antonio Needle Exchange Program Not To Be, Texas Attorney General Says Would Violate State Law

The Texas attorney general has issued an opinion that a law passed last year to allow a needle exchange program in San Antonio does not protect exchange workers from arrest under state paraphernalia laws, so the Lone Star State's first officially-sanctioned needle exchange is dead -- for now.

10. Europe: In Step Backwards, Britain Reschedules Marijuana as More Dangerous Drug

As expected, the British government announced Wednesday it would reclassify marijuana as a more dangerous drug, thus theoretically increasing maximum jail sentences for pot smokers. In so doing, the government rejected the recommendation of its own advisory panel that marijuana stay a Class B drug.

11. Europe: Dutch Marijuana Tax Revenues at $600 Million a Year, Crop Is Country's Third Largest Export

Marijuana is big business in the Netherlands -- a conservative estimate says that the government collects $600 million a year in tax revenues from the coffee shops.

12. Southwest Asia: Iran Accuses West of Ignoring Afghan Opium, US Marines Conveniently Aid Tehran's Case

Iran complains that the West is ignoring opium production in Afghanistan, and some US Marines inadvertently help Tehran make its case.

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

"Drug Cops Raid Innocent Man, Shoot Him 5 Times, Then File Bogus Charges," "Mississippi Drug War Blues: The Case of Cory Maye," "British Prime Minister Ignores His Own Experts and increases Penalties for Marijuana," "Judge Says Stun Guns Can't Be Mentioned in Autopsies," "John Conyers Demands Answers From DEA Over the Medical Marijuana Raids," "Don't Use Text Messages to Advertise Your Cocaine Prices," "Man Dies After Being Denied a Liver Transplant For Using Medical Marijuana," "Bloody Culiacan," "Dia Mundial de la Marijuana (Global Marijuana Day), Mexico City," "Will SDSU Drug Bust Coverage Ask the Critical Questions?," "Marijuana: UK’s Police and Drug Policy Experts Object to PM’s Reefer Madness," "Nobody is Safe from Drug Prohibition’s SWAT Teams."

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 for this fall (or spring), and you could spend the semester fighting the good fight!

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

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

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 #534 - May 2, 2008

1. In Mexico, Opposition to Plan Merida Emerges

High US officials hit the road for Latin America this week in a series of trips to lobby for passage of Plan Mérida, the $1.4 billion anti-drug aid package for Mexico. But at a forum on drug policy in Culiacán, Sinaloa, there was little but objections to the plan, especially its emphasis on using the Mexican military in the drug war.

2. In Mexico's Drug Heartland, A Debate on Alternatives to the Drug War Takes Place

Culiacán, Sinaloa, is the home of one of Mexico's most feared drug trafficking organizations, the Sinaloa Cartel. This week, it was also home to a groundbreaking conference on alternatives to the drug war. As that conference ended Wednesday evening, cops, soldiers, and narcos went at it on the streets of Culiacán, leaving two cops and two narcos dead, and providing poignant punctuation to the conference.

3. Dedication: Seattle Musician Timothy Garon, Victim of the Drug War

Seattle-area musician Timothy Garon passed away late last night after being denied a needed transplant by the University of Washington Medical Center because of his medical marijuana use.

4. Offer: New Clergy Anti-Drug-War Video

Clergy are speaking out against the war on drugs! Donate $16 or more (or whatever you can afford) and we'll send you a copy.

5. Sentencing: Woman Who Fled Michigan Drug Sentence 32 Years Ago Caught in California, Faces 20 Years

Susan LeFevre got busted in Michigan at age 19 for small-time heroin sales. She copped a plea in hopes of leniency, but was instead sentenced to at least 10 years in prison. In 1976, she jumped the wall and fled to California, where she has led an exemplary life every since. Now, thanks to an anonymous tip, she has been tracked down and jailed pending extradition to Michigan. Should she now have to serve her time?

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

New Haven's former top narc heads to prison, a Louisiana DARE officer goes down, a South Carolina jail guard gets caught shooting cocaine, and an Idaho deputy gets caught ripping off cash and drugs.

7. Sentencing: Federal Crack Sentence Reductions Begin to Take Hold

The US Sentencing Commission announced that changes in the crack cocaine sentencing guidelines would be retroactive, allowing current prisoners a chance at a sentence cut. In the month since prisoners began to be able to apply for cuts, some 3,000 have received them.

8. Marijuana: New York City Pot Arrest Capital of the World

New York City decriminalized marijuana possession nearly three decades ago, but cops there still managed to arrest nearly 40,000 people for pot last year and 400,000 in the last decade.

9. Europe: Dutch Ban on Magic Mushrooms Moves Closer

The Dutch are about to ban magic mushrooms. The cabinet passed a proposal and sent it to parliament, where it is expected to be approved.

10. Canada: Supreme Court Nixes Random Use of Drug Dogs

In contrast with the US Supreme Court, which held that a drug dog sniff did not constitute a search, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled last week that it does, and that random drug dog searches are unconstitutional.

11. Weekly: This Week in History

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

12. 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!

13. Job Listing: Field Coordinator, Americans for Safe Access, Oakland

Americans for Safe Access is looking to hire a field coordinator for their Oakland, California headquarters.
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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