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Chronicle AM -- January 10, 2014

The marijuana issue continues hot and heavy, one of our favorite authors is nominated for an award, harm reduction bills move in Wisconsin, and the US Sentencing Commission wants to cut drug sentences. And more. Let's get to it:

Dr. Carl Hart, nominated for an NAACP Image Award for "High Price" (
Marijuana Policy

Colorado Legal Marijuana Sales Hit $5 Million in First Week. Sales of legal marijuana in Colorado since January 1 are estimated to have exceeded $5 million, with some 100,000 people lining up to buy it, according to industry insiders.

Colorado Republicans File Bill to Ban Food Stamps in Marijuana Shops. File under: solutions in search of problems. There is no evidence that anyone has ever used a food stamp EBT card to purchase marijuana products, but that hasn't stopped a handful of GOP state legislators to file a bill to outlaw it. "We need this bill, if for nothing else, as a statement," said Rep. Jared Wright (R-Grand Junction). "We shouldn't be enabling anyone to buy a substance that is banned under federal law. It's not a good use of taxpayer money," he said. The bill is Senate Bill 37.

New Hampshire House Didn't Vote on Marijuana Legalization. The House was set to vote Wednesday on a bill to legalize marijuana, but it didn't happen. The vote has instead been pushed back for a week as legislators dealt first with attempts to override vetoes on bills passed last year. The bill is House Bill 492.

No Marijuana Legalization Bill for Ohio This Year. The only Ohio legislator to push for marijuana legalization last year won't try it again this year. Rep. Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown) said he had no plans to introduce a measure this year after last year's effort to pass a resolution to let residents vote on the issue was sidelined.

Washington Congressman Urges Feds to Act Quickly on Marijuana Banking. Rep. Denny Heck (D-Washington) Friday called on federal regulators to move swiftly to resolve the issue of financial institutions being able to do business with legal marijuana businesses. In a statement, the coauthor of pending federal legislation that would do just that said that "it is urgent federal regulators come to a resolution on this issue as soon as possible."

Powerful Maryland Pol Comes Out for Marijuana Legalization. Delegate Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore) has joined the list of powerful state legislators calling for marijuana legalization. She said legalization is one of "the biggest, most important issues" facing the General Assembly this year. She joins Senate President Thomas Miller (D) and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur in supporting legalization, but Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and House Speaker Michael Busch (D) both oppose it.

Steny Hoyer Opposes Marijuana Legalization in Maryland. US House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said Thursday he opposes legalizing pot in the state. "I'm not a proponent of legalizing marijuana," he said. "As I talked to people who deal with drug abuse issues, with rehabilitation issues, I became convinced that marijuana was, in fact, a threshold drug and it would lead to the use of harder, very harmful drugs," he added.

Medical Marijuana

Kentucky House Panel Holds Medical Marijuana Hearing. The House Health and Welfare Committee held a hearing Thursday to discuss medical marijuana. No specific bill was under discussion, but one legislator, Sen. Perry Clark (D-Louisville) filed a bill this week, Senate Bill 43, which would legalize medical marijuana.

Florida House Committee Chair Will Propose Bill to Legalize High CBD Strains for Seizures. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Shalimar), chair of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, said Thursday he would introduce a bill to allow for the medical use of marijuana strains that are high in CBDs. The vow came after a heart-wrenching hearing from parents of children who suffer seizure disorders, who called on the legislature to legalize strains such as "Charlotte's Web."

Asset Forfeiture

Utah Attorney General Sees Asset Forfeiture as Tool against Drug Legalizing Attorneys. After changes to undo asset forfeiture reforms approved by voters in 2000 snuck through the state legislature last year came under this week, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes issued a brief defending the new law. But a bullet point justifying a new cap on attorneys' fees for people who successfully defend their property is setting off alarms among First Amendment advocates. "By setting a limit on attorney's fees it will take away the incentive for attorneys who actively promote the legalization of drugs in the state of Utah from soliciting clients who are engaged in criminal activity," the attorney general's brief said. Click on the link for a lengthier critique.

Drug Testing

Welfare Drug Testing Bill Coming Back in Indiana. House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) said Thursday that while welfare drug testing legislation is not part of the House Republican agenda, a pending bill to do just that is "one we're going to enthusiastically endorse and move forward on." The bill, which passed the House, but not the Senate, last year, would require drug testing of welfare recipients based on some form of reasonable suspicion.

Harm Reduction

Push On to End Needle Exchange Ban in Federal Funding Bill. Harm reduction and public health advocates are urging lawmakers to lift the prohibition on the use of federal funds to pay for needle exchange programs. The battlefield is the conference committee that will reconcile House and Senate budget bills. The Senate version had language that included funding for needle exchanges, but the GOP-led House is expected to oppose it.

Wisconsin Overdose 911, Naloxone Bills Pass Assembly Committee. A bill to provide limited legal immunity to people who notify authorities of an overdose passed the Assembly Criminal Justice Committee Thursday. So did a bill that would allow first responders to carry and use the overdose reversal drug naloxone. Both now goes to the full Assembly, which should vote on them Tuesday. The bills have the backing of Attorney General JB Van Hollen (R) and are expected to sail through the Senate as well.


Carl Hart Wins NAACP Image Award Nomination for "High Price." Neuroscientist and Drug Policy Alliance board member Carl Hart's "High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self Discovery That Changes Everything You Know About Drugs and Society" has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the category of literary nonfiction. The awards ceremony takes place on February 22.


US Sentencing Commission Suggests Lowering Drug Guideline Sentences. The US Sentencing Commission voted Thursday to publish proposed federal drug sentencing guideline amendments that would include lowering guideline sentences for drug trafficking offenses. The amendments would reduce drug trafficking sentences by about 11 months, leading to a reduction in the federal prison population of more than 6,000 prisoners five years after taking effect. The commission is now seeking public comment on the proposal.


Jamaica Marijuana Growers to Organize. Jamaican legalization activists and marijuana growers will form a Cannabis Future Growers and Producers Association as part of a major conference next week. The "Going Forward -- Legalize It" conference is organized by the Ganja Law Reform Coalition, the Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Task Force, and the National Alliance for the Legalization of Ganja, and hopes to help lay the groundwork for a legal marijuana industry on the island.

Canada's SensibleBC Sees 2014 as a Building Year. After an effort to put marijuana reform on the provincial ballot via an initiative faltered last year, Sensible BC leader Dana Larsen said this year would be a year of building momentum, training canvassers, and spreading the message of marijuana legalization. Larsen will also be touring the province this spring and summer to build support.

Drug War Chronicle Book Review: "Dope Menace: The Sensational World of Drug Paperbacks, 1900-1975," by Stephen J. Gertz (2008, Feral House Press, 219 pp., $24.95 PB)

For anyone with an interest in drugs, kitsch, and popular culture, "Dope Menace" is going to be a real pleasure -- and probably something of an education. Lavishly illustrated with more than a hundred pulp paperback book covers, many of them gloriously lurid, their cover text tawdry and sensational, the book offers a delicious, delirious excursion to the far shores of post-World War II pop culture, a place where the sordid mixed with the forbidden, and sexual anxiety -- or was it curiosity? -- permeated almost everything.
"Love Addict" screamed the title of one pulp paperback. "She came offering her body... for a shot of heroin!" The cover enticed, showing an attractive woman lifting her black dress high enough to reveal the pale flesh of her thigh above the top of her black stockings as she prepares to inject herself with the needle she holds in one hand while a man smoking a cigarette reclines on a bed watching. "A novel of today's Sex-Ravished, Dope-Hungry Girls."

Gertz knows his pulp. A respected authority on antiquarian books, he also contributed to "Sin-A-Rama," an award-winning visual history of sleaze paperbacks from the 1960s. And he puts his knowledge on fine display here, not only with his lovely selection of cover art -- more on which later -- but also with a downright scholarly text that takes up about half of the book's first 60 pages.

Gertz's exposition is as revelatory as his collection of cover art is alluring. His text provides a capsule history of the golden era of pulp paperback publishing in the 1950s and 1960s -- some 243 million of those 25-cent pocket-sized paperbacks sold in 1952 alone -- when, long before the dawn of the Internet, the mass pulp market was a key means of informing (or misinforming) the great unwashed curious about things where cultural knowledge had been lost (drugs since the advent of drug prohibition) or suppressed (sex since forever).

In the 1950s, hard back books were sold at bookstores. But, available at countless newsstands, grocery and drug stores, anywhere an enterprising publisher or wholesaler could squeeze in a display rack, the pulps radically democratized knowledge about drugs, albeit vicariously, and sometimes, thanks to hack writers who knew nothing of which they wrote, with ridiculously ludicrous misinformation.

Like the Internet, the pulps can be seen as a transgressive medium for their time, one that allowed the spread of knowledge outside officially sanctioned avenues. And like the Internet, the emergence of the pulps in general, and dope and sex pulps in particular, excited the wrath of moral crusaders. Gertz opens the book with a 1952 quote from Congressman Ezekiel Gathings (D-Arkansas), who complained that the pulps appealed to "adults with low ethical standard" and were "a media for the dissemination of appeals to sensuality, immorality, filth, perversion, and degeneracy."

But that didn't stop publishers from cranking out dozens, perhaps hundreds, of dope pulp titles a year for decades. And the publishers, of course, were responding to an apparently insatiable demand for the tawdry tomes with lurid covers, hopefully featuring beautiful women in various states of drug-crazed undress.

Gertz's text is a grand tour of the dope pulp phenomenon, reaching back to early forebears like the drug "confessionals" of Fitz Hugh Ludlow and Alastair Crowley and the racist anti-opium novels of more than a century ago before plunging headlong into the morass of sin and sensuality of mid-century mass market America. We go from such figures as Willliam Burroughs, whose dope memoir "Junkie" got the classic dope pulp treatment, to those nameless hacks (Gertz names them and their pen names, but I won't) whose prose was sometimes so awful and misbegotten that you have to laugh out loud. And you get a detailed treatment of some of the more esteemed illustrators as well.

But it's the cover art that really sells this book. How can you resist such kitsch as: "Reefer Club. A glimpse into the lives of our lost generation," superimposed over a cover montage showing images of passed out women with smoke drifting over them. "The girl was a slave of marijuana -- Yet was she wholly bad?"

If you lay "Dope Menace" on your coffee table, you're going to end up with amused friends and a well-thumbed volume. And you're going to learn something in between the laughs.

I have to say a word about Feral House, the publisher of "Dope Menace." I first became aware of them sometime back in the early 1990s, when Feral House head Adam Parfrey published "Apocalypse Culture," a truly mind-bending compendium of pieces from the far fringes of the American wasteland. Since then, Parfrey and company have continued cranking out the weirdness. If titles like "Mexican Pulp Art," "Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin," "Death Scenes: A Homicide Detective's Scrapbook," "Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground," or "Porn and Pong: How Grand Theft Auto, Tomb Raider and Other Sexy Games Changed Our Culture" sound like they might appeal to you -- or for that matter if you're looking for a serious memoir like Anthony Papa's "15 to Life" (available from DRCNet as a premium) -- check out the Feral House catalog. This short list is just a taste.

Cellblock Poetry Release

[Courtesy of Shot Caller Press, LLC] Hello Everyone, I want to let you know that we have just completed the book "Cellblock Poetry", which features the 'best' poetry entered into our 2007 contest. I personally want to thank everyone for their support and effort. It is truly appreciated. Just so you know we are currently holding a writing contest for prisoners and ex-prisoners. We hope to publish an anthology of the 'best' stories and writers once again. We can only do so if we have enough entries to choose from, so please help us spread the word the contest closes August 31, 2008. To get the rules and obtain a copy of the entry form log onto: and follow the contest link I would like to remind you all that we are looking for writers and artists to publish. Our goal is to provide realistic and unique insights into prisons and the criminal justice system through the medium of select writings and artwork. Our belief is that stories change the world. We are not a non-profit organization, because we want those who have been published through Shot Caller Press, LLC to know they have accomplished something. We are dedicated to publish the best, marketable writings and artwork. Our current mission here at Shot Caller Press, LLC is developing an inventory, which means we are in the process of editing and developing several manuscripts written by prisoners, their families and advocates working toward improving our current system. As we continue to develop these manuscripts we will continue to conduct contests for prisoners, their families and others involved, so keep watching for our contest announcements. If your interested in purchasing a copy of 'Cellblock Poetry' you can do so by going to our web site: We use PayPal secure shopping cart for all orders Thanks again everyone hope to hear from you all real soon, Theresa M. Huggins CEO, Shot Caller Press, LLC [email protected] 503-890-1027

Writing Contest for Prisons!

[Courtesy of Shot Caller Press, LLC] Dear Friends, Shot Caller Press, LLC announces the next prison contest, Prison Short Story Contest, for prisoners and ex-prisoners. To find out more information follow this link: Cash Prizes are as follows: 1st Place - $250.00 2nd Place - $150.00 3rd Place - $75.00 At the end of this message is our announcement for the winners of the Poetry Contest and those selected to be published in our next book: Cellblock Poetry. If you want to pre-purchase a book at and pay no shipping cost follow this link: We would be honored if you pass this message on to anyone who might be interested. Thank you for all your support, Theresa Huggins CEO, Shot Caller Press, LLC [email protected] 503-890-1027 THE WINNERS OF THE 2007 POETRY CONTEST * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * FIRST PLACE WINNER - $250 WILLIAM DAVIS, JR. "THIS BOND WE SHARE" (Mark Stiles Unit, Texas) SECOND PLACE WINNER - $100 PERRY MICHAEL ORLANDO "WHERE FREEDOM LIES" (Federal Satellite Low, Georgia) THIRD PLACE WINNER - $75 BRENT MAY, SR. "WHEN THE PRISON SPEAKS" (California Correctional Institute, California) EDITOR'S CHOICE - $25 EACH Gabriel Reyes "Snap" (Pelican Bay State Prison, California) Jerome Sloan "Scared Crooked" (Snake River Correctional Center, Oregon) Tammica Summers "Imagine How it Feels" (Broward Correctional Center, Florida) Lewis Corder "Crank" (Waupun Correctional Institute, Wisconsin) HONORABLE MENTIONS These writers will also be in the book. Andrea Walker Antonio Howard Brandon Brewer Charles Mungin Chon Dimas Clark Stuhr Clayton McCormack Curtis Siemer Daniel Walker Darrell Say Dave Babb David Keeton Earnest Bray Jr. Elvin Esmay Gary Jimenez Gilbert Bao James Anderson James Meier Jason Ritchie Jeffery Martin Jerry Jones Jose Rodriguez, Jr. Joseph Burgeson Joshua Kruger Justin Rueb Kelley Gettling Kenneth More Kevin Matthews Lawrence Ball Lissette Aguirre Maria Moon Mark Jenkins Michael Suggs Michael Williams Reginald Barnes Rex Ravelo Rhonda Wheeler Richard Ruse Rita Stricker Robert Colkitt Ronald Brook Sammy Moore Sherman Fields Shurondalin Green Temple Japh'et Terrance James Shaw Thomas Kendrick Thomas Price Troy Anderson Vanessa Nelson Wade Fuger
United States

Announcement: Prison-Related Poetry Contest by Shot Caller Press, LLC

Shot Caller Press, LLC is conducting a poetry contest for prisoners, ex-prisoners, family members or friends of people in prison, prison guards, prison volunteers, or prison workers. The first place prize is $250, second place receives $100, and coming in third gets one $50.

The rules are that poems must be about the life, the events and the feelings associated with being in or involved with prison; they must be submitted with a signed consent form; must be no more than three pages long; must be readable (typed poems preferred, but handwritten poems are accepted as long as they are readable, with photocopies discouraged); and cannot be "found" poems that take the words of other published authors and are used to make a poem. In addition, poets can enter up to three poems (each poem needs to have a separate consent form); poets must consent to being published if picked for the book; any employees, friends or family members of any employee or member of Shot Caller Press, LLC cannot enter the contest; and all entries must be postmarked by December 31, 2007.

To enter, print out an entry form, then sign and mail it along with your poem(s) to: Shot Caller Press -- Poetry Contest, 8316 N. Lombard #317, Portland, OR 97203. Or, e-mail [email protected] with the name and address of the person to whom you want an entry form sent. Click here for additional details and answers to frequently asked questions.

Prison Poetry Contest with Cash Prizes!

Dear Friend, I am with Shot Caller Press, LLC a publishing company dedicated to prison art and literature. Currently we are holding a contest for prison poetry, with cash prizes. The contest if for prisoners, ex-prisoners, family members or friend of someone in prison, any prison guards, prison volunteer, or prison worker. First Place is $250.00, Second Place: $100.00, and Third Place: $75.00. If you would like more information about this contest please log on at: This site will outline the rules and tell you about our publishing company. If you have any further questions please feel free to email me or call me at the number below. Theresa M. Huggins Shot Caller Press, LLC 8316 N. Lombard # 317 Portland, Oregon 97203 503-890-1027
United States

Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop presents "Hear Us Out"

Hear Us Out will feature the writings of 16 and 17-year olds who have been charged and incarcerated as adults in the DC Jail. Poems will be read by Free Minds members who have been released and are now living and working in the DC community. Come celebrate their successes at this free community event! Though I am behind these bars I'll start my life anew Despite these walls around me My sun will still shine through -by Leon, age 17, "Sunshine" You are invited to bring a new or used paperback book for the DC Jail's new lending library. Invite your friends. Light refreshments will be served. Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop is a 501©3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to introduce young inmates to the transformative power of books and creative writing. By mentoring them and connecting them to supportive services throughout their incarceration into reentry, Free Minds inspires these youth to see their potential and achieve new educational and career goals. Since 2002, Free Minds has served nearly 200 youth. For more information, see
Wed, 05/16/2007 - 7:00pm
1816 12th Street, NW
Washington, DC
United States

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