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N.J. Senate Moves Towards Dissolving Gov. Christie's Medical Marijuana Proposal As Patients Plead for Action

As the Democratic-controlled legislature and Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s administration continued to clash over how New Jersey’s medical marijuana program should operate, David Barnes from Califon came to Trenton and pleaded for a truce. Testifying at the public hearing Democrats held in Trenton to make the case that Christie’s ideas about legalizing medical marijuana for severely ill patients are too restrictive and ought to be repealed, Barnes, 50, said he was arrested for possessing a half-gram of marijuana last year. He told the local prosecutor and judge the drug helps tame the violent nausea brought on by a seizure disorder, and as soon as the medical marijuana program gets underway, he’ll become a card-carrying member.

Initiative Would Legalize Marijuana in Oregon

The head of the Hemp and Cannabis Foundation in Portland, Paul Stanford, is working to put a measure on the 2012 ballot in Oregon to legalize marijuana.

Medical Marijuana: Assemblyman Paul Aizley Will Introduce the Compassionate Access in Nevada Act

State Assemblyman Paul Aizley will introduce the Compassionate Access in Nevada Act after the legislature opens this month. He has teamed with the owner of a cannabis shop to try to overhaul the Silver State's medical marijuana law.

Sen. Kohl-Welles' New Bill Firms Up Medical Marijuana Regs in Washington

Joining with Rep. Jim Moeller, Sen. Kohl-Welles' introduced new legislation that tries to make crystal clear Washington’s existing medical marijuana laws. "Senate Bill 5073 and House Bill 1100 would establish a regulatory system for the sale and purchase of medical marijuana for qualifying patients," says Kohl. It contains a sales tax exemption for patients, but dispensaries would have to pay a B&O tax. "Other provisions include protecting parental rights of medical marijuana patients and protections against the workplace discrimination of patients," adds Kohl-Welles. "The current legal limits of up to 15 plants and up to 24 ounces of useable marijuana per patient and one patient per provider remain intact."

Michigan's Top Court to Settle Dispute Over Marijuana Bust

The Michigan Supreme Court is considering whether marijuana found by a firefighter during an emergency call can be used to prosecute a man in the state's Oakland County. A judge and the state appeals court so far have thrown out evidence against Mark Slaughter.

Afghan Opium Crop May Rise After "Cash Bonanza"

Opium prices in Afghanistan more than doubled last year after disease cut production in half, the United Nations said, creating a "cash bonanza" for many farmers that could drive up cultivation of the drug in 2011.

The Costs of Drug Prohibition: Let Them Chew Coca, Beware Talk of Victory in Latin America’s Drug Prohibition Wars ‎

To students of the drug prohibition wars, pyrrhic victories that merely displace the problem of the drug barons to the next country are depressingly familiar. They are the story of the past three decades in Latin America. It is no wonder that a growing number of wise heads in the region have concluded that the drug war is costlier than legalizing drugs.

N.J. Advocates for Medical Marijuana to Return to Trenton Today

Medical marijuana advocates are heading back to Trenton today to make their case against the state's plans for regulating the drug. Patients say the rules proposed by Governor Chris Christie's administration are too restrictive. Both houses of the Legislature have voted that Christie is not following the intent of the medical marijuana law adopted last year.

What Are the U.S.'s Real Motives for Launching a Drug War in Mexico?

James Cockcroft's new book 'Mexico's Revolution: Then and Now' exposes the thinking behind U.S. drug policy and the militarization of Mexico and further South.

Bolivia Presents Coca Leaf Soda. The U.S. Objects

The United States is urging all countries to file formal objections to Bolivia’s announcement that it had developed a coca leaf soft drink. Bolivia, like neighboring Peru, permits limited cultivation of coca for legal use in cooking, folk medicine and Andean religious rites. Unadulterated coca is a mild stimulant that counteracts the effects of altitude sickness and suppresses hunger pangs.

Impaired Driving Bill Draws Opposition From Medical Marijuana Users

Montana's House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on Representative Ken Peterson’s bill which aims to make it illegal to drive while on any dangerous drugs "per se." House Bill 33 also includes metabolite, or any molecule left in the body, yet excludes prescription medication if taken under doctors orders. "This bill makes sure you can’t drive while impaired under the influence of drugs and I don’t think this bill requires any showing of impairment, it deems somebody to be on the wrong side of the law merely for having a few molecules of certain substances in their blood," said medical marijuana patient Barbara Trego.

Mexico's Ex-President Vicente Fox: Legalize Drugs

As Mexico drowns in drug prohibition related bloodshed — suffering almost 12,000 murders in 2010 — it is perhaps unsurprising that government critics turn up their screaming that the war on drugs isn't working. But it was a bit of a bombshell when former president Vicente Fox added his voice to the chorus. The cowboy-boot wearing leader, who ruled Mexico from 2000 to 2006, had once declared the "mother of all battles" against crime and rounded up drug kingpins.

Choice Medical Marijuana Strains: Matching Up Strains with Symptoms

The general rule of thumb is that there are two types of marijuana, sativas and indicas, though most plants are a combination of the two with one type dominant. Sativas tend to be more cerebral—that is, better for mood conditions and daytime use. Indicas tend to have more of an impact on the body and are better for treating pain and sedation.

Hemp: Good Stuff, Bad Rap

Hemp has omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, contains 33 percent protein, is a good source of vitamin E and is low in saturated fat. It's an environmentally friendly crop that grows fast and requires few pesticides. But it is also a controversial food source because of its relationship with its cousin, marijuana.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ban Finds Disfavor in Laguna

Medical marijuana dispensaries remain illegal in the city despite a state agency's vote to reject the ban. The Coastal Commission asked Laguna Beach to go back to the drawing board and find a way to regulate marijuana dispensaries instead of opting for a city-wide ban.

Medical Marijuana Ads Help Sagging Media Profits

Medical marijuana advertising is taking off, propping up the fortunes of ailing media companies that have seen income from other business sectors plummet in the recession. Advertisements offering free edibles for new patients and products such as "super silver haze" are helping to keep the San Francisco Bay Guardian, SF Weekly and East Bay Express in business. Similar ads have even started cropping up — tentatively — in more staid publications, such as the San Francisco Chronicle.

British Columbia Man Shot After Being Caught in Mexican Drug Prohibition War Crossfire

A Penticton, B.C., man vacationing in Mexico is recovering in hospital from a gunshot wound after being caught in a bloody crossfire that left one man dead in yet another round of drug prohibition violence in the troubled country. The man, in his 60s, was leaving a Mazatlan pharmacy with his wife on Sunday when gunmen opened fire, spraying their intended target with bullets and striking the man in the leg below the knee, according to family members. Launches Risk-Free Merchant Accounts Services for the Medical Marijuana Industry, a business dedicated to helping business owners in the medical cannabis industry, announces risk-free merchant account services with the launch of its new web site. The site's main focus is to provide credit/debit card processing services for medical marijuana dispensaries, collectives, delivery services, and other related businesses secure merchant account services.

Guatemala Army No Match for Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations

Guatemalan soldiers tasked with sweeping out Mexican drug trafficking organizations are finding they are outgunned and ill-equipped, raising fears of a power vacuum in parts of the country even after a 30-day military siege. "Organized crime is not just infiltrating us, it pains me to say it but drug traffickers have us cornered," Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom told Congress last week.

Perspective: To Prevent AIDS in Russia, Drug Addicts Need Care

Russia has one of the fastest spreading HIV epidemics in the world, driven largely by the government's refusal to institute measures to treat the country's drug addicts — measures that have dramatically reduced HIV infections in drug addicts in other countries, including the U.S.

Introducing Points: The Blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society

 The Alcohol and Drugs History Society Launches

Our chance to win!


Michigan Attorney Has Answers to Resolve Medical Marijuana Quagmire

Medical Marijuana is emerging as a top new industry in Michigan. It may be a sign of changing times, or perhaps it's just getting back to basics as Michigan chose 63 percent to 37 percent in November of 2008 to legalize marijuana for medical use. Grow Shops, colleges, and compassion clubs are just some of the new business models. Attorney Paul C. Youngs has taught the law and lends insight on the effects of Medical Marijuana in The Great Lakes State.

Colombia's FARC May Inherit Hundreds of Men from Slain Drug Lord

Colombia's largest rebel group FARC may benefit from the recent killing of neo-paramilitary drug lord "Cuchillo," newspaper El Espectador reports. According to the newspaper, the death of Pedro Oliveiro Guerrero, alias Cuchillo, late last month brought an end to the paramilitary rule of the underworld of Colombia's eastern plains that started when the AUC took control of the region in the 1990s. A police investigator told El Espectador that members of Cuchillo's organization ERPAC have been meeting to assure a continuation of the drug trade, but have not been able to appoint a successor of their slain leader.

Oregon High Court to Decide Concealed Handgun/Medical Marijuana Issue

Sheriff Mike Winters faces a showdown at the Oregon Supreme Court on March 3 with a medical marijuana patient who was denied a concealed handgun permit. The patient, Cynthia Willis, has allies in her fight for the permit, including Attorney General John Kroger and the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon.

Number of Innocents Killed in Mexico Drug Prohibition War Up 172%

The number of civilians killed in Mexico’s drug prohibition war soared by 172 percent in the last 12 months. Collateral deaths of civilians increased from 61 in 2009 to 166 last year, according to a report from the Attorney General’s Office.

Cambodia: Ex-Drug Czar Charged with Taking Bribes from Drug Traffickers

The secretary general of Cambodia's National Authority for Combating Drugs has been charged with receiving bribes from drug traffickers.

Kiwi Banker Reveals His Part in Mexico's Drug Prohibition War

A Kiwi-born banker has revealed chilling details of his undercover life working for vicious, prohibition-created South American drug trafficking organizations, including watching a hit squad execute and dismember a group of people in front of him. He claims he was approached by the US Drug Enforcement Agency after striking up friendships with Mexican cartel bankers while in jail for conspiring to defraud.

Trafficking Organization's Terror Felt Far from Drug Prohibition War on US Border

A priest who shelters stranded migrants needs police protection, a chopped-up body turns up with a threatening message, beheadings are on the rise, and the local press is too frightened to write about any of it. This is not northern Mexico, where traffickers created by drug prohibition fight for turf along the U.S. border and the Mexican government wages an open battle against them. This is the south, where the brutal Zetas organization is quietly spreading a reign of terror virtually unchallenged, all the way to the border with Guatemala — and across it.

Measures to Relax Marijuana Laws Gain New Backing in Connecticut

After more than 10 years of trying, 2011 could be the year that Connecticut adopts legislation allowing severely ill patients to smoke marijuana. Governor Dannel P. Malloy says he's inclined to sign that bill. Malloy also supports decriminalization legislation to reduce penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana to the price of a motor vehicle infraction. Now, with a friendly face in the governor's office, all the legislative proponents of the two measures have to do is push the bills through a variety of committee debates and floor battles in the House and Senate, fend off opposition and get the bills approved before the midnight June 8 deadline.

Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Compassion Center Applications Released Online

All of the applications can be viewed on the RI Department of Health's website. Link found in original story.

Mexico's Drug Prohibition War: Mexican Mayor Shot to Death – Third One in a Week

Mayor Luis Jiminez Mata, of Santiago Amoltepec, was shot to death by prohibition-created drug traffickers when he was visiting the state capital of Oaxaca. He is the third municipal leader to be killed in a week and in 2011.

Providers to Help Form DEA Policy on Long-Term Care Facilities' Disposal of Unwanted Controlled Substances

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is looking to modify its policies regarding the disposal of powerful medications that long-term care facilities need to discard. Providers, including the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, have submitted comments for the DEA's public meeting, which will be held next Wednesday and Thursday in Washington. Among the hottest topics will be the DEA's concern that abusers might devise new and unwanted pathways to re-route controlled substances from intended destruction.

18 Applications for RI Medical Marijuana Centers

Rhode Island health officials have accepted 18 applications from people interested in opening medical marijuana compassion centers to distribute medical marijuana to qualifying patients. The Department of Health said it would review the applications and hold a public hearing on them February 7.

Mexico's Drug Prohibition War Murders Mapped

The Mexican government has released a database it says covers all murders presumed to have a link to the country's drug prohibition war in which at least seven different drug trafficking organizations are fighting each other and federal forces deployed in a massive offensive against them launched in December 2006. The number of deaths has risen rapidly since then to total 34,612 up until the end of 2010, by far the most violent year so far with 15,273 people killed.

Experts Bolster Calls for Jail Needle Exchange

A string of academics, health experts and former politicians have lent their names in support of a trial of a needle and syringe program in Australian correctional facilities.

N.J. Health Department Releases Revised Rules on Regulating Medical Marijuana

The state health department released a set of revised rules governing New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, despite the Legislature’s intent to repeal them. The new rules reflect an agreement Gov. Chris Christie reached with the law’s Assembly sponsor, Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), that allow for six dispensaries to operate, instead of the four the administration initially sought.

Feds Fail to Protect Witness in Major Drug Case, Killed Hours Before Entering Protection Program

Prohibitionist drug policies did not help thirty-four-year-old Corry Thomas who was shot and killed in front of his sister's home. His plea deal was supposed to place him in witness protection, but he was murdered before he ever got the chance to testify. Sources say his testimony could have helped put high-level drug dealers in prison and the drive-by shooters knew that the clock was ticking.

This Week in History

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

Talking to Your Kids About Drugs: Four Healthy Concepts to Consider

Carole Bennett, a substance abuse counselor and activist who has lectured at a number of rehabilitation centers as well as schools and universities, offers four healthy concepts to consider when talking to children about substance use.

Michigan Woman with Fibromyalgia Evicted from Federally Subsidized Apartment for Using Medical Marijuana

At 25 years old, Shannon Sterner lives with pain. The Leoni Township resident has tried medications to manage the effects of fibromyalgia and reactive arthritis brought on by an infection. For the last nine months, she has been using a new method to deal with the discomfort caused by her conditions: medical marijuana. But her use of the drug, allowed under Michigan’s medical marijuana law, resulted in eviction from her federally subsidized apartment this week.

N.J. Senator Scutari Schedules Hearing to Void Proposed Medical Marijuana Rules

New Jersey's state senator Scutari said he's taking the next step toward voiding Gov. Chris Christie's proposed strict medical marijuana regulations after the Christie administration missed a Wednesday deadline to submit a new version. A hearing on the issue has been scheduled for Jan. 20 before the state Senate's health committee.

Montana: Republican Senator Introduces Second Major Medical Marijuana Bill

A Helena lawmaker has introduced a bill to license and regulate the growing and selling of medical marijuana in Montana and to impose a 10 percent tax on the growers' sales to pay for the cost of regulation and go for other uses. Senator Dave Lewis, R-Helena, is the sponsor of Senate Bill 154, the second major bill intended to impose some regulations on the industry.

Police Can Kick Down Doors in Drug Searches, Some Justices Say

Police officers who smell marijuana coming from an apartment can break down the door and burst in if they have reason to believe this evidence might be destroyed, several Supreme Court's justices suggested Wednesday. In the past, the high court has said police usually cannot enter a home or apartment without a search warrant because of the 4th Amendment's ban on "unreasonable searches and seizures."

War on Marijuana Grow-Ops in British Columbia Has Unexpected Casualties

In the war on marijuana grow-ops, municipalities across the Lower Mainland are slapping homeowners – including those with no link to illegal drugs – with a hefty bill for an inspection of their property, saying the fees cover the costs involved. Critics say the safety inspections are a substitute for police raids of suspected grow-ops. Police cannot enter a home without reasonable grounds for believing that they will find illegal activity. However, safety inspectors can just go in and look around. If they find a grow-op, they call police, who are usually waiting at the curb.

Canada: Voice Your Opposition to Costly Mandatory Minimum Sentencing for Drug-Related Offenses (Action Alert)

The federal government of Canada is currently considering Bill S-10, which proposes legislative amendments that, among other things, would introduce mandatory minimum prison sentenc

Prohibition-Created Drug Trafficking Organizations Intensify Attacks in Mexico's Richest City

Drug trafficking organizations fighting over Mexico's richest city have launched a wave of attacks against police and rivals since New Year's Eve, crushing hopes of a fall in violence and alarming business leaders.

Medical Marijuana Bills Introduced in Washington

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, and Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, announced Tuesday that they had introduced House and Senate bills to clarify the state's medical marijuana regulation.

Hearing Delayed on Medical Marijuana Case After Compassion Clubs Objects to DEA Obtaining Confidential State Records

The Michigan Association of Compassion Clubs filed an emergency motion to halt the federal government's efforts to gain access to confidential medical marijuana records compiled by the state.

Updated NORML Report Reviews Nearly 200 Studies on the Therapeutic Use of Cannabis

NORML has recently posted online the fourth edition of its popular and comprehensive booklet, "Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis & Cannabinoids: A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature." Updated and revised for 2011, this report reviews approximately 200 newly published scientific studies assessing the safety and efficacy of marijuana and its compounds in the treatment and management of nineteen clinical indications: Alzheimer’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), chronic pain, diabetes mellitus, dystonia, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal disorders, gliomas and other cancers, hepatitis C, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hypertension, incontinence, methicillin-resistant Staphyloccus aureus (MRSA), multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, pruritus, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, and Tourette’s syndrome.

Sessions Should Re-Think Marijuana Policy (Opinion)

Columnist Ron Crumpton exposes and discusses Senator Jeff Sessions' antiquated and unscientific approach to marijuana policy.

Two Border Towns Changed by Drug Prohibition War

Tornillo, Texas and Guadalupe, Mexico are two small towns separated by only a fence. In one, residents go about their daily business. In the other, the community lives in constant fear. KTSM in Texas reports on how the drug prohibition war has deeply changed the relationship between the border towns.

Drug Prohibition Violence: 30 Murders in 3 Days in Brazilian City That Will Host 2014 World Cup Matches

A northeastern Brazilian city that will host 2014 World Cup football matches has recorded 30 murders in three days as drug trafficking gangs battle. Police in the city of Salvador say the outbreak of violence began this weekend after the arrest of a drug gang leader.

Your Turn to Comment on Medical Marijuana in Colorado (Action Alert)

Do you care about how medical marijuana is distributed?  Here's your chance to comment:

Poor Economy Forces Georgia to Rethink Drug Criminalization

The high price of enforcing criminal penalties on non-violent offenders has Georgia's new Republican governor rethinking a major linchpin in US domestic policy: the drug war. Roughly 19 percent of Georgia's prison population was incarcerated on drug offenses in 2009, according to a report by the Office on National Drug Control Policy. Nationally, nearly half of all arrests are due to laws criminalizing the cultivation, sales and use of cannabis, which has been shown to be less damaging to human health than alcohol or tobacco.

More Than 30 Killed in Drug Prohibition Violence in Acapulco in 4 Days, Including 2 Cops Shot in Tourist Area

The body of a murdered man found dumped on a main road into Acapulco Monday brought the four-day death toll in the once peaceful Pacific coast Mexican resort city to 31. With the weekend toll, Acapulco is facing the highest levels of drug prohibition violence since President Felipe Calderon declared war on drug trafficking organizations in 2006.

Will Council Grandfather Medical Marijuana Grows in Denver That Violate New Zoning Code?

Today, the special issues committee of the Denver City Council will discuss an ordinance to adopt local licensing procedures for medical marijuana centers, infused product manufacturers and optional premises cultivation, a.k.a. medical marijuana grows -- many of which could be forced to close if they're not protected against new zoning rules via grandfathering.

Philadelphia: City Saving Time and Money with New Pot Procedure (Press Release)


Lawsuit Over Videotaping at Texas Drug Treatment Facility

A lawsuit has been filed against a company that formerly managed a Dallas-area drug treatment facility and allegedly videotaped 36 female residents without their written permission.

A Personal Plea from Sensible Colorado


Dear Friends,

Meth: Tracking Laws Backfire, Create a New Illegal Market

Electronic systems that track sales of the cold medicine used to make methamphetamine have failed to curb the drug trade and instead created a vast, highly lucrative market for profiteers to buy over-the-counter pills and sell them to meth producers at a huge markup. An Associated Press review of federal data shows that the lure of such easy money has drawn thousands of new people into the methamphetamine underworld over the last few years.

Top 10 Marijuana Victories in 2010



Dear Friends:

Sixth Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens in Vancouver

The new dispensary is the first in south Vancouver. Jacob Hunter, director of Imedikate Medical Cannabis Dispensary, said the shops operate "on the edge of the legislative law" because Health Canada refuses to issue a dispensary license, but the country's judiciary has ruled people have a right to medical marijuana.

Drug Truth Network 01/10/11

Cultural Baggage * Century of Lies * 4:20 Drug War NEWS  *  Time 4 Hemp

Cultural Baggage for  01/09/11 29:00  Froma Harrop, nationally syndicated columnist

Acapulco Closes the Weekend with 27 People Killed in Less Than a Day Due to Drug Prohibition

The fabled resort of Acapulco closed its bloodiest weekend ever due to drug prohibition. In less than a day 14 headless bodies and a 15th intact victim were found on a street in front a shopping mall frequented by locals. On Saturday, six people were shot dead and all their bodies stuffed in a taxi, two police officers were also killed and four others in another part of the city.

Drug Trade Among Whites More Open in NYC?

While police crack down on drug deals in mostly minority neighborhoods, the drug trade among whites in New York City operates with relative impunity, statistics show. In 2009, only 10 percent of the 46,000 people arrested on marijuana-related charges by the New York City Police Department were white, according to a 2010 study — though whites are often among its heaviest drug users.

Drug Trafficking Organizations Seize Parts of Northern Guatemala

Prohibition-created drug trafficking organizations have opened a new front in South America's expanding drug prohibition war by seizing control of parts of northern Guatemala, prompting the government to suspend civil liberties and declare a state of siege in the area. The mayhem has deepened alarm that Mexico's drug prohibition war has spilled across southern neighbors and corrupted state institutions that are proving no match for the well-funded, ruthless traffickers.

'False Positives' Suggest Police Exploit Canines to Justify Searches

A study of "false positives" involving drug-sniffing police dogs suggests some police forces may be using canines to do an end-run around constitutional protections against search and seizure, and may be profiling racial minorities in the process. A survey of primarily suburban police departments in Illinois, carried out by the Chicago Tribune, found that 56 percent of all police searches triggered by a drug-sniffing dog turned nothing up. But, perhaps tellingly, that number jumped to 73 percent when the search involved a Latino subject -- meaning that nearly three-quarters of all dog alerts on Latinos turned up no contraband.

Use of National Guard in Legal Michigan Medical Marijuana Grow Raid Raises Questions

The ACLU of Michigan says it is too early to tell if the use of National Guard assets was legal, or if the DEA was right to conduct the raid. "This situation seems to raise more questions than answers. The federal government has a policy of not enforcing federal marijuana laws where state medical marijuana laws are being followed," said Dan Korobkin, ACLU of Michigan staff attorney. "However, if a grow operation is being conducted outside of the confines of the MMMA, federal law enforcement may have reason to investigate and act." Gov. Rick Snyder’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this situation.

Medical Marijuana Licenses Still Taking Months to deliver

A woman who's been waiting five months for an updated license to use medical marijuana says the situation for patients is getting worse. Health Canada issues medical marijuana licenses to people with debilitating illnesses and prescriptions from their doctors. Almost 5,000 Canadians have licenses to carry medical marijuana and just over 3,500 have a license to grow it. A spokesman for Health Canada says the department streamlined its process and is now hitting its eight to 10 week processing time target.

Supporters of Iowa Medical Marijuana Plan to Keep Pushing Their Case

Leaders of both political parties have already expressed an unwillingness to move to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, but that won’t stop advocates of medical marijuana from lobbying for the change when the legislature convenes in January.

Feds Taking Michigan to Court to Get Access to Some Medical Marijuana Records

Michigan's Department of Community Health is refusing to voluntarily turn over the records of seven medical marijuana patients to the federal government. The federal government is now taking the state to court to get them.

This Week in History

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

B.C. Medical Marijuana Growers to Pay Tax on Illegal Income

The Canada Revenue Agency is trying to collect some income tax from marijuana growers who supply B.C.'s Compassion Club. Compassion Club lawyer John Conroy says the two sides have reached an agreement and the club is now trying to convince growers to claim their income. He says many people don't realize that even if you're involved in illegal activities, declaring the illegal income won't result in criminal charges.

Ruling Lets California Police Search Your Phone Without a Warrant

A Superior Court in Ventura County, California, ruled that police in that state can search the contents of an arrested person's cell phone. The ruling allows police in California to access any data stored on an arrestee's phone: photos, address book, Web browsing history, data stored in apps (including social media apps), voicemail messages, search history, chat logs, and more. According to Catherine Crump of the American Civil Liberties Union, "The police can ask you to unlock the phone -- which many people will do -- but they almost certainly cannot compel you to unlock your phone without the involvement of a judge," she said. Experiences Significant Growth in 2010, Creates Medical Marijuana Stock Exchange

Weedmaps Media, Inc. grossed revenue of over $3,000,000 in 2010 compared to a gross revenue of less than $150,000 in 2009, its first year of operation., a division of Weedmaps Media, Inc. is the largest finder site for medicinal marijuana dispensaries in the United States.

Salvia Divinorum Eyed As Treatment for Alzheimer's, Chronic Pain

Doctors hope further studies of salvia will unlock treatments for a variety of neurological disorders including Alzheimer's disease and illnesses that cause chronic pain.

Medical Marijuana Group Objects to Arizona's Proposed Regulations

Allan Sobol, spokesman for the Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals, says Arizona's state Health Director Will Humble has gone beyond what voters approved in imposing restrictions on when a doctor can write the necessary recommendation for a patient to buy up to 2 1/2 ounces of medical marijuana every two weeks.

Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization La Familia Declares One-Month Ceasefire

La Familia leaders say they want the truce to demonstrate they are not responsible for the crimes they are accused in the media of committing. The Mexican Federal Police have been committing much of the recent violence in western and southern Mexico but blaming it on La Familia, the statement says. The police commit the attacks "without caring if it is women, children ... or adults," the La Familia statement said.

Montel Williams Cited for His Medical Marijuana Pipe

Williams was caught by TSA with his medical marijuana pipe while going through a security checkpoint. He paid the citation of $484 and was released to resume his travel plans. Williams suffers from multiple sclerosis and is a prominent advocate for legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.

White Privilege and Illicit Drugs

Algernon Austin, director of the Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy at the Economic Policy Institute, explores white privilege in conjunction with the war on drugs against the backdrop of the book Dorm Room Dealers: Drugs and the Privileges of Race and Class by A. Rafik Mohamed and Erik D. Fritsvold.

Missoula Jury Pool Creates Uproar Across Nation After Marijuana 'Mutiny'

A jury pool's action — and the reaction to it — has serious ramifications for continued prosecution of low-level nonviolent drug crimes, not just in Missoula County but around the country. The story "hit a nerve" around the country, said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the national Drug Policy Alliance that advocates drug law reform. "It shows the emperor-has-no-clothes dimension to what happened. It's an expression of what many people feel — that marijuana possession should no longer be illegal," he said.

Is the U.S. Actually Trying to Help Mexico Terminate the Drug Trafficking Syndicates? (Opinion)

Conchita Sarnoff explores the cooperation, or lack there of, between Mexico and the U.S. in the drug prohibition war raging at our border and farther south.

Mexico's Intensifying Drug Prohibition War Spills Into 2011 (Audio)

Mexico's drug prohibition war continues to claim victims at an astounding rate, and there are no signs that the violence will ease any time soon. In 2010 alone, the death toll from the violence was more than double the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq during the past seven years. This NPR broadcast explores whether the situation might improve in 2011.

Study Explores Therapeutic Value of Ecstasy

The recreational drug known as ecstasy may have a medicinal role to play in helping people who have trouble connecting to others socially, new research suggests. In a study involving a small group of healthy people, investigators found that ecstasy prompted heightened feelings of friendliness, playfulness and love, and induced a lowering of the guard that might have therapeutic uses for improving social interactions. The researchers suggested that ecstasy might help people with post-traumatic stress disorder as well those with autism, schizophrenia or antisocial personality disorder cope with a variety of emotional difficulties.

Abandoned Horses Are Latest Toll of Drug Prohibition

Found tottering alone in the desert with their ribs visible and their heads hung low, horses play a backbreaking, unappreciated role in the multibillion-dollar drug smuggling industry created by drug prohibition. Mexican traffickers strap heavy bales of marijuana or other illegal drugs to the horses’ backs and march them north through mountain passes and across rough desert terrain. With little food and water, some collapse under their heavy loads. Others are turned loose when the contraband gets far enough into Arizona to be loaded into vehicles with more horsepower.

Felons Who Want Medical Marijuana Put State in Awkward Position

Out of 320 requests from felons on supervision in Washington, seven people have gotten permission to use medical marijuana — a select group that includes a forger wasting away from AIDS and a white-haired grandmother named Kathy Parkins with fibromyalgia. A frustrated group of advocates, attorneys, physicians and patients says the state's Department of Corrections is ignoring the state medical marijuana law by substituting its judgment for that of doctors who recommend the drug. The policy, they say, is ripe for a legal challenge, although none has been filed.

I Will Double Your Gift to DPA

SAFER: Time to Double Down

2010 was huge.  2011 will be even bigger...

Invest in the Future of Drug Policy Reform

Happy New Year Friends!

Treating Mexico's Drug Prohibition War Patients Costs El Paso's County-Run Hospital $4.7 Million

Since the start of Mexico's drug prohibition war, 200 people wounded in Mexico have been treated at El Paso's county-run hospital at a cost of $4.7 million, according to the latest figures from the University Medical Center of El Paso. "Local taxpayers are footing the bill for the consequences of a conflict that is occurring on foreign soil," said Jim Valenti, UMC's chief executive officer, and Dr. Jose Manuel de la Rosa, founding dean of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

Federal Fake Marijuana Ban Challenged

A Duluth man is now part of the first lawsuit challenging a federal ban on several ingredients found in synthetic marijuana products. Jim Carlson owns Last Place on Earth in downtown Duluth. He was already challenging the city's ban on fake pot ingredients.

Marijuana Activist Declares Bid to Lead B.C. NDP

Longtime marijuana activist Dana Larsen announced his bid for the leadership of the provincial party from the Vancouver office where he dispenses medical marijuana. The 39-year-old is the first candidate to publicly announce his intention to take over the party since Carole James resigned on Dec. 6. James has said she will remain at the helm until an interim leader is chosen in mid-January. Larson, the founding editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine from 1994 to 2004, says he has support from many members of the provincial NDP party, but admits he isn't in the "inner circle."

Mexico Army No Match for Drug Trafficking Organizations

Four years and 50,000 troops into President Felipe Calderon's drug prohibition war, the fighting has exposed severe limitations in the Mexican army's ability to wage unconventional warfare, tarnished its proud reputation and left the U.S. pointedly criticizing the force as "virtually blind" on the ground. A series of secret diplomatic cables leaked recently revealed the United States' profound unease over Mexico's efforts, despite public assurances to the contrary, with stinging language criticizing the army as stymied by well-protected fugitive drug lords. U.S. diplomats and Mexican intelligence officials say the Mexican military and police distrust each other, refuse to share intelligence and resist operating together, squandering important potential gains.

80-Year-Old Virginia Republican Lawmaker Leads State's Marijuana Decriminalization Fight

80-year-old Republican Delegate Harvey Morgan, also an assistant clinical professor of pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University, is leading the charge to decriminalize marijuana possession. Legislation proposed by Morgan, known as House Bill 1443, would replace the criminal fine for possession with a civil penalty and eliminate the 30-day jail sentence and criminal record that would follow conviction. "In 2007, nearly 18,000 people were arrested in Virginia for simple possession of marijuana...This places a tremendous burden on law enforcement, prisons and the judicial system. In these times of economic hardship, we need to closely examine how our tax dollars are spent," Morgan said.

Drug Gang Kidnaps Mexican Town's Last Remaining Police Officer

A dozen unidentified gunmen set Erika Gandara’s home ablaze on and torched two cars parked outside before abducting her. She joined the police force in 2009, when there were 12 agents on the force with her. As rampant drug prohibition violence spiraled, Ms. Gandara began to lose her colleagues, one after the next.

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