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This Week in History

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

80 Percent of Pennsylvanians Support Legalizing Marijuana for Medical Purposes, Survey Shows

A survey shows that some 80 percent of Pennsylvanians are in favor of making marijuana legal for medical purposes. The survey, by two Franklin & Marshall College staff members, also showed that 33 percent of the state’s voters favor the outright legalization of marijuana.

Eating Poppy Seed Bagel Leads to Drug-Related Baby Seizure

The American Civil Liberties Union is representing a western Pennsylvania woman who says her newborn baby was seized by county welfare workers after she failed a drug test because she ate a poppy seed bagel.

Mothers Lead the Charge Against the Nation's War on Drugs

Mothers from across California rallied at the state capitol Wedneday to launch a national movement to end the nation's war on drugs. The group wants alternatives to jail time for drug offenses, such as addiction treatment. "While it may seem counter-intuitive that a group of mothers would say such a thing, it's because we love our children and we really feel the war on drugs is more harmful than the drugs themselves," Gretchen Burns Bergman, mother and rally leader said.

New Jersey Potential Medical Marijuana Dealers: "We Might as Well Grow Hay"

New Jersey officials setting up the state's new medical marijuana program got a pipeful from people hoping to get one of the six Alternative Treatment Center Licenses that the new law calls for initially. It was a raucous assault on the recently revealed regulations crafted by Dr. Susan Walsh and her staff at the Department of Health and Senior Services.

Federal Drug Numbers Are Garbage, RAND Corporation Finds

The independent RAND corporation said that federal drug statistics are pretty much total garbage.

FDA Appoves Drug to Treat Heroin, Morphine Addiction

The Food and Drug Administration has approved an injectable drug designed to treat people addicted to opiates who have undergone detoxification treatment. Vivitrol, made by Massachusetts drug maker Alkermes, is a so-called extended-release formulation of the drug naltrexone that is injected once a month into the muscle, according to an FDA statement. The drug works to block opioid receptors in the brain.

Revolutionary New Device Could Help Drug Addicts

Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles say they’ve come up with an implanted device that administers the medication buprenorphine, which helps end dependence on heroin and opioids that are found in many prescription painkillers.

Drug Traffickers Deliver Decapitated Head of Police Commander Investigating Falcon Lake Murder to Mexican Military

A Mexican police commander investigating the reported shooting of an American tourist on a border lake was decapitated and his head was found in a suitcase outside a Mexican Army base.

Medical Marijuana in Montana Becoming Big Business

Marijuana in Montana isn't just for legal medicinal or unlawful recreational purposes - it's also a booming business. That message was loud and clear among caregivers and others who attended the Medical Marijuana Growers Association gathering in Helena this week.

"Zetas" Drug Prohibition Gang Grows, Sows Fear in Mexico

A decade ago, they were a small group of elite Mexican soldiers who saw a chance to make a lot more money working as hitmen for powerful drug trafficking organizations. Today, the "Zetas" are the most feared gang in Mexico. Their vicious tactics, geographic reach and expansion into new illegal businesses presents a new kind of threat in a drug prohibition war that has already killed 29,000 people since late 2006.

Memorial Service Held for American Allegedly Shot by Drug Trafficking Organization

The search continues for the body of a tourist, David Hartley, believed to have been killed on a Texas lake, which separates the United Stated from Mexico. Friends and family of Hartley held a memorial service for him, without his remains.

Medical Marijuana Question to Appear on Massachusetts Ballot

The question whether Bay State residents be allowed to use, grow and buy marijuana for medical use will be on the ballot next month. The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition is behind the public policy question.

Won't Get Fooled Again: Obama Breaks Medical Marijuana Promise (Opinion)

Using events in Colorado as a backdrop, Robert J. Corry, Jr., a criminal defense attorney, opines on President Obama's actions regarding medical marijuana policy. He says, in part, that "Obama has done the opposite of what we thought, and what he promised. Instead of caging that tiger, he has unleashed it."

Drug Trafficking Organization's Hitmen Kill Eight Policemen in Mexico

A convoy of hitmen ambushed a group of traffic police patrolling a Mexican highway, killing eight officers in the latest strike against security forces. More than 2,000 police officers have been killed due to drug prohibition violence since Calderon took office.

Mayor-Elect Gunned Down in Southern Mexico

The mayor-elect of Martires de Tacubaya, a city near the border with Guerrero in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, was gunned down by hitmen working for drug traffickers. Eleven mayors have been murdered in Mexico this year, and officials say most of the killings are part of the drug prohibition violence that has claimed more than 28,000 lives nationwide since late 2006. The two suspects arrested in the case told investigators they were paid $6,000 to kill the mayor and one of his assistants.

California Democrats Bet on Bong War

Seizing on new independent polling data, proponents of Proposition 19 — the Golden State ballot measure that would make possessing and growing marijuana legal — argue the measure is going to drive younger-voter turnout in such a way that it will benefit the Democrats statewide, from gubernatorial retread Jerry Brown to Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Confessed Mexican Hitman Claims Torture

A man accused of being one of Mexico's most notorious hired killers says his confessions were false and extracted through torture. Soto Arias, 29, a junkyard owner, has been convicted of nothing, and his torture complaint is being investigated by Mexico's human rights commission. Many other crime suspects and ordinary citizens have made similar allegations about disappearances, extra-judicial killings and torture at the hands of the Mexican military and police.

Hundreds Plan Pro-marijuana Presence for Obama Visit (Press Release)

MEDIA ADVISORY 10/10/2010   12:00 NOON ET
Working to reform marijuana laws

Marijuana, Once Divisive, Brings Some Families Closer

To the rites of middle-age passage, some families are adding another: buying marijuana for aging parents.

Drug Prohibition Violence Hangs Over Mexican Mayors

At least 11 mayors have been killed this year across Mexico, as a spooky sense of permanent siege takes hold in the many communities where rival drug trafficking organizations fight for control of local drug sales, marijuana and poppy fields, methamphetamine labs and billion-dollar smuggling routes to the United States.

Electricity Theft by B.C. Grow-ops Costs $100M a Year

BC Hydro says the theft of electricity — mostly from drug prohibition-inspired marijuana grow operations — now costs $100 million every year. Hydro spokesperson Cindy Verschoor said that's a significant increase from the estimated $30-million revenue loss from electricity theft in 2006, the last time Hydro calculated the loss. She said it's because larger and more sophisticated grow-ops are sucking more power each year.

Facebook Co-founders Give $170K to California's Proposition 19 Campaign

California's ballot measure to legalize marijuana has a new friend: Facebook co-founder Sean Parker has given $100,000 to back the proposal. Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz has made two donations totalling $70,000, including a $50,000 contribution last month.

Police Invade Wrong House on Drug Raid, Terrorize Elderly Couple

An elderly couple says sheriff's police on a drug raid smashed into their house late Thursday night, terrorizing them before admitting they had the wrong house.

Hundreds Protest at Hearing for Medical Marijuana Defendants

Buoyed by signs and words of support from several hundred chanting demonstrators, 10 people appeared in court Thursday to be assigned future dates to challenge multiple charges of delivery of manufactured medical marijuana. All were arrested and charged following raids and seizures by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Narcotics Enforcement Team at a medical marijuana clinic and a compassion club and its related dispensary. A Michigan Court of Appeals judge last month urged lawmakers to clarify the state's medical marijuana law, saying the “inartfully drafted” measure has resulted in confusion and arrests that some have called an enforcement nightmare.

Search for Missing Tourist Thwarted by Drug Prohibition Gangs

A search for a missing American tourist presumably shot and killed by Mexican pirates on a border lake has been thwarted by threats of an ambush from drug prohibition gangs.

The Odd History Of Marijuana In The U.S. (Audio)

Cannabis, or hemp, has been grown in the U.S. since the days of George Washington. KPBS looks at the remarkable history of marijuana in this country, including how it got here, its early reputation for making users violent and insane; and present-day efforts to legalize it. Guests include Richard Bonnie, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law and co-author of "The Marihuana Conviction", and Isaac Campos, fellow at the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center at the University of Cinncinnatti.

Poor Mexicans Easy Scapegoats in Vicious Drug Prohibition War

Residents in Ciudad Juarez, the epicentre of Mexico's bloody drug prohibition war, say authorities are going after small offenders and innocent people such as poor workers even as they allow powerful drug lords to operate with impunity. President Felipe Calderon is under pressure to show results in his offensive against traffickers in Ciudad Juarez where he has deployed more than 7,500 soldiers and police, making the crackdown a central part of his war on drug trafficking organizations. But rights groups say corrupt or ineffective police and soldiers have rounded up hundreds of drug addicts and ordinary people in the manufacturing city across from El Paso, Texas without making major drug busts or arresting top capos.

New Report: U.S. Government Data Demonstrates Failure of Cannabis Prohibition (Press Release)

New Report: U.S. Government Data Demonstrates Failure of Cannabis Prohibition

Vote for Medical Marijuana -- Yes on 74!



Advocates Oppose NJ's Proposed Medical Marijuana Rules

Advocates for medical marijuana say the way New Jersey wants to regulate the industry in the state is even more restrictive than they expected.

Strict Laws Against Cannabis Not Working, New Study Finds

Scientists concluded that cracking down hard on the marijuana and its users does not result in people using less of it. "Intensified enforcement of prohibition did not have the intended effects," said Professor Robin Room of Melbourne University. He said that outlawing cannabis "has contributed to increased rates of violence" and called for the drug to be legalized and regulated.

Prop 19 Analysis: Will Marijuana Legalization Increase Use?

As California moves toward the legalization of marijuana — next month, voters will decide on Proposition 19, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 — a key question remains: could the new law produce a whole generation of stoners? Opponents of legalization say, yes, fearing it will lead to a massive increase in pot smoking among youth. But some supporters suggest the opposite: legalizing cannabis could de-glamorize it and ultimately prompt reductions in toking. Who's right?

The D.E.A. Changes a Policy on Painkillers

The Drug Enforcement Administration has issued a new guideline intended to help ease the delay some nursing home residents face in receiving certain painkillers and anti-anxiety medications. The D.E.A. had not previously recognized nurses employed by nursing homes as the legal agents of doctors in conveying controlled substances prescriptions to pharmacists. The agency’s previous stance, critics said in an article last week in The New York Times, caused many nursing home residents to suffer in pain while they waited for their prescriptions.

If California Legalizes Marijuana, How Will Obama React?

If Prop 19 passes and marijuana is legalized, California could become a "test-case" state in challenging federal laws on the matter. But what would this mean, practically? Well, a lot of it hinges on how President Barack Obama reacts.

This Week in History

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

Mexican President Wants to Eliminate 2,000 Local Police Departments Corrupted by Drug Prohibition

Amid a bloody war against drug trafficking organizations, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said that he was sending Congress a plan to overhaul the country's police system by doing away with local forces. The idea, called "unified command," has been debated for months, as the death toll from the nearly 4-year-old drug prohibition war surpassed 28,000 and signs of police collusion with crime syndicates continued to pile up.

Mexico’s Growing Legion of Drug Prohibition Orphans

Largely overlooked is the story of the estimated tens of thousands of children whose lives are blighted by drug prohibition violence. Neither Mexico's government nor the various independent groups studying organized crime keep track of the number of orphans who have lost fathers, and sometimes mothers too, to the drug prohibition war.

California's Prop 19: Leading the Way to Marijuana Legalization

Next month, Californians will vote on Proposition 19: the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010. Prop 19 would make recreational use of marijuana entirely legal — and allow cash-strapped cities to raise funds by taxing it. The latest Public Policy Institute of California poll found that 52% of likely voters support Prop 19, with just 41% who oppose it.

Democrats Look to Cultivate Marijuana Vote in 2012

Democratic strategists are studying California's marijuana legalization initiative to see if similar ballot measures could energize young, liberal voters in swing states for the 2012 presidential election. Some pollsters and party officials say Democratic candidates in California are benefiting from a surge in enthusiasm among young voters eager to back Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana in certain quantities and permit local governments to regulate and tax it. Party strategists and marijuana legalization advocates are discussing whether to push for similar ballot questions in 2012 in Colorado and Nevada — both expected to be crucial to President Barack Obama's re-election — and Washington state, which will have races for governor and seats in both houses of Congress.

Miami Beach's Marijuana Revolution

Sensible Florida earlier this year initiated a petition drive to decriminalize marijuana in Jacksonville that stalled, then they turned their sights on Miami's French Riviera. As of this past September 6, the group collected 2,402 signatures from registered voters in Miami Beach. They need to get another 1,800 John Hancocks in order to hold a special election that would let Miami Beach residents make their city the first in Florida to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

New Spike in Violence Punctuates Mexico's Drug Prohibition War

Clashes between rival gangs created by drug prohibition in Mexico left 34 people dead over the weekend, and the beating death of a mayor is the fifth killing of a city leader in six weeks, the latest fallout from the country's deadly drug prohibition war.

City Told Not to Take Legal Action Against Medical Marijuana Landlord

It only applies to one landlord, but it could indicate what future cases hold. A judge barred Los Angeles city attorneys from taking action against a landlord of a medical marijuana dispensary who is currently part of a lawsuit challenging the city's medical marijuana ordinance.

Falcon Lake 'Pirate' Attack: Sign of Spillover from Mexico Drug Prohibition War?

The alleged shooting of a US boater by Mexican pirates on Falcon Lake, which straddles the Texas-Mexico border, is raising fears about spillover drug prohibition violence from Mexico into the US.

Drugs Are a Development Issue - Which is Why We Should Legalize Them (Opinion)

Jonathan Glennie, a research fellow in the Center for Aid and Public Expenditure (CAPE) at Overseas Development Institute (ODI), opines that since drug prohibition deeply affects some of the world's poorest people, the development community must back legalization calls.

Medical Marijuana a Cash Crop for Newspaper Ads

In Colorado, California and Montana, where medical marijuana is legal, newspapers are enjoying increased ad revenue for this emerging market. This is most valuable at a time when newspapers are hurting for advertising, particularly classified ads, which have plummeted with the rise of online services like Craigslist.

English Soccer and Cricket Unions Want to Stop Recreational Drug Testing

The player unions representing soccer players and cricketers in England have called for recreational drugs to be removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited list. "For the number of players who have tested positive for cocaine, the consequences are far from performance-enhancing and the outcomes in the majority of cases have been very negative," said John Bramhall, deputy chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association. Ian Smith, the Professional Cricketers' Association's legal director, agreed that recreational drug use isn't usually about gaining an unfair advantage, saying "Marijuana is not a big issue with cheating in sport -- let's get it off the (WADA) list."

Marijuana: the Victimless Crime That Costs New York State $15 Billion a Year (Opinion)

Kristin Davis opines that there is one fact that Americans, and New Yorkers, must face (as it slaps us in the face): Prohibition hasn’t stopped the use and domestic production of marijuana. Marijuana is currently used by over 25 million Americans annually and cannabis is the largest cash crop in the United States. In fact, the only thing prohibition has done for the people of New York is cost them a huge amount of money — somewhere in the ballpark of $10-15 billion a year.

Council Could Make New SWAT Policy Permanent

The idea of making recent changes to Columbia police SWAT policy permanent could move ahead this week. Soon after police Chief Ken Burton made SWAT policy changes in May in response to a controversial February drug raid on Kinloch Court, Columbia resident Holly Henry requested that the council and the review board put the new policy into a city ordinance.

Portland Wants Random Drug Testing of Officers

The union representing Portland police officers is pushing back against a proposal that would require random drug testing of police officers. Portland Police Association attorney Will Aitchison said the random testing proposal would violate the officers’ right to privacy.

Thousands March on Wisconsin State Capitol to Demand Cannabis Legalization

Yesterday marchers made the annual trek from Library Mall at one end of State Street to the Wisconsin State Capitol. Longtime Harvest Fest organizer Ben Masel estimated that around 3,200 people paraded this year. Not only were crowd numbers up, but attendees seemed very enthusiastic about flexing the activist muscles gained in the fight for medical cannabis in Wisconsin.

You're Invited

Dear friends:

I hope you'll join us for this special private fundraiser at a breathtaking and peculiar Sonoma wine country estate. 

Help Prop. 19 by Midnight Tonight


Why California Decriminalized Recreational Pot: 5 Theories (Opinion)

Getting busted for having an ounce or less of marijuana in California is no longer that big a deal, or even a crime, under a new law signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Instead of facing a misdemeanor charge, people caught will a small amount of marijuana will now get, at most, a $100 fine. With everything else on his plate — a big budget deal, a landmark health insurance exchange — what might have motivated Schwarzenegger to decriminalize marijuana now?

MPP Insider Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 9



High Time? Websites Give Cannabis a Classy New Look

As state medical marijuana laws push marijuana closer to Main Street, a few websites are starting to give it an updated, more understated image aimed at mainstream marijuana lovers outside the prototypical "stoner" demographic.

34 Dead in Mexico's Weekend of Blood

Mexico has been shaken by yet another weekend of drug prohibition violence, with 34 deaths blamed on drug trafficking organizations and a series of grenade attacks that injured a dozen people.

Mexican Drug Prohibition War Crimes Go Live on the Internet

In the midst of the brutal drug prohibition war encroaching on their lives, thousands of Mexicans every morning check social network websites to see if they will encounter any unpleasant surprises on the way to work or school.

Oakland Leaders Attend Reopening of Pot Mega-Store

It was already known as the Wal-Mart of the marijuana world with 15,000 square feet of everything you ever needed to grow or smoke marijuana. Now, iGrow is growing even more, so much, that it changed its name to "weGrow."

It's Time to Call Off War on Drugs, Former Narcotics Agent Says

Russ Jones, a 10-year veteran with the San Jose Police Department and former Drug Enforcement Agency task force member, wants to legalize and regulate all currently illicit drugs.

Marijuana Soda? Medicinal Users Now Have Smoke-Free Option

A new line of marijuana-infused beverages are now available to patients with a recommendation for medical marijuana. Made by Colorado-based Dixie Elixirs, the carbonated drinks are marketed to medicinal marijuana patients who wish to avoid “weed culture” stigmas.

Authorities: Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations Operating In The Tri-State

Drug prohibition has incentivized Mexican drug trafficking organizations to come to our backyards. Their workers are hidden in crops and hillsides throughout rural Ohio counties.

Drug Legalization -- a Windfall for State Budgets (Opinion)

Researchers say that if marijuana is legalized across the nation, there would be $8.7 billion in law enforcement savings and $8.7 billion in tax revenue. If all drugs are legalized, the savings figure becomes $46.7 billion and the revenue $41.3 billion. A budgetary benefit of $88 billion per year is not chump change, especially given the current state of the economy.

Colorado Plans First Medical Marijuana Tracking System

Colorado is proposing a first-in-the-nation system to track medical marijuana "from seed to sell". The goal is to prevent people from using forged medical marijuana patient cards and to swiftly track down pot contaminated with mold or tainted marijuana food products and oils. Medical marijuana advocates say the all-seeing surveillance system smacks of Big Brother watching patients and worry it will drive up the cost of pot for patients living on fixed incomes.

This Week in History

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

Panel Suggests Adding 'Major Depression' to Medical Marijuana List

A panel that advises the state on medical-marijuana policy voted Wednesday to allow major depression as a qualifying condition. About a dozen people — including a lawyer, a social worker and a woman who drove from Las Cruces — spoke Wednesday in favor of adding depression, and the panel agreed 5-2. No one spoke out against the addition.

New Jersey Medical Marijuana Law Takes Effect on October 1st (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 29, 2010                           

Drugs and Conservatives Should Go Together (Opinion)

Jeffrey A. Miron, a senior lecturer and director of undergraduate studies at Harvard University and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, opines that drug legalization would not only promote specific policy objectives that are near and dear to conservative hearts, it is also consistent with core principles that conservatives endorse in other contexts.

Iowa Medical Marijuana Issue at Stalemate

The Iowa Pharmacy Board has rejected a request that it write the rules regarding medical marijuana.

Marijuana to Be Legalized in Utah?

A California ballot measure to legalize marijuana is now ahead in the polls. This has one of Utah's most prominent and outspoken politicians saying, someday, the drug will even be legal here in Utah. "To put people behind bars for possessing or smoking pot is absolutely absurd. It would make more sense to put people behind bars for smoking cigarettes," said former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.

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Why So Many Mayors Are Now Targets in Mexican Drug Prohibition War

Raul Benitez, a security expert at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, says that the spate of recent deaths may be no coincidence: It comes as the federal government is increasing intelligence capabilities and taking a harder look at collusion between traffickers and local police and authorities, as it looks to centralize the police force. Therefore, many mayors who once may have turned a blind eye to trafficking exploits in their towns might now be refusing to cooperate. “If the mayor is an obstacle, that is when the problem starts,” says Mr. Benitez.

Higher Hurdles for Colorado's Medical Marijuana Entrepreneurs

Attrition among Colorado's estimated 1,100 medical marijuana dispensaries is likely to pick up. Estimates of how many could go out of business in the near future, unable to comply with the new state regulations, range from 20% to 50%.

Portugal Drug Decriminalization 'a Resounding Success': Will Britain Respond? No. (Opinion)

Tom Chivers opines that the "Portugal Experience" suggests that decriminalization is exactly the right approach for the priorities of reducing drug use and reducing crime in the UK.

2,772 People Could Be Eligible for 'Crack Tax' Refunds in TN

Tennesseans, in a slow trickle, have requested and gotten refunds from the state since the Tennessee Supreme Court struck down the so-called crack tax law in 2009. The state Department of Revenue has refunded $3.7 million to 161 people, but 2,772 people who paid the tax have not gotten any money back. "Most of them just don't know, and the state doesn't have any intention of letting them know, that they're eligible for a full refund," said Columbia attorney John Colley, who is leading a class-action lawsuit that would allow attorneys to identify and notify all people who paid the tax while it was still on the books.

Fifth Mayor Killed in Six Weeks in Mexico’s Drug Prohibition War

A mayor who took the job when every other official in his town quit out of fear of drug traffickers was reported slain, the fifth Mexican mayor killed in six weeks. Authorities said Gustavo Sanchez, mayor of the town of Tancitaro in Michoacan state, had apparently been beaten to death with rocks.

Medical Marijuana: An intimate Look Inside One Dispensary

One of the best kept secrets in New Mexico has to do with the medical marijuana program. Who are the growers and what do they have inside their facilities? See how one nonprofit group takes medical marijuana from a seedling and grows the medicine that many New Mexicans depend on.

Mexican Drug War: Mayors Forced to Live in US

Mexican mayors have been forced to move to the US for safety in the face of threats from drug traffickers. Five mayors have been murdered in the past six weeks, with a total of 10 killed this year. About 15 mayors have been killed since President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico's drug traffickers shortly after taking office in December 2006.

Drug Truth 09/26/10

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

Attempts to Ban Fake Marijuana Are Further Proof of Prohibition's Failure (Opinion)

Mike Meno, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project, opines that K2 bans are misguided because they don't address the core issue: millions of Americans want to use marijuana, or something that will mimic its effects, and if they're afraid about illegal means of doing so, they will continue to seek out legal alternatives.

State Patrol Officer Shoots Pregnant Woman During Spokane Drug Raid

A pregnant, unarmed woman was shot during a drug raid in Spokane and remains hospitalized as investigators piece together what happened in the county's third officer-involved shooting in four weeks.

Mexican Drug Wars: Press Freedom Is the Latest Victim (Opinion)

Delia Lloyd opines on freedom of the press in Mexico being curtailed by prohibition-related violence. She concludes with "I've got news for you, Mr. President. You may not want to say it out loud, but Mexico has become Colombia."

PA: Spice/K2 Prohibition Gets Fast Track, Medical Marijuana Bills Wait (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 24, 2010

Mexican Mayor Slain in Drug War

Authorities say gunmen have killed the mayor of a northern Mexican town — adding to a string of attacks on political figures in the drug prohibition-plagued region. Mayor Prisciliano Rodriguez Salinas was gunned down yesterday along with another employee of the town named Doctor Gonzalez, about 50 kilometers east of Monterrey. Rival gangs have been battling to control drug routes through Nuevo Leon and neighboring border states.

Mexican Journalists Seeking Protection After Reporting on Drug War

Mexican journalists gathered yesterday to denounce the violent retaliation they have suffered for reporting on the drug prohibition war and questioned the federal government's ability to protect freedom of expression.

Will the Government's Drug 'Take-Back' Do Anything to Reduce Misuse? (Opinion)

Seeking to address the fact that in 17 states prescription drug combination overdoses kill more people than traffic accidents, and that prescription drug related treatment admissions have recently increased 400%, the DEA will collect your unused medications, no questions asked. But will this straightforward strategy really address the rise in addictions and death? The data suggest that the issue is more complicated than you think.

Maine Likely to Open New England’s First Compassion Center for Medical Marijuana

A spokesman for the Maine Health Department said the first of eight dispensaries across the state should open for business soon after January 1. Over the past two months, the Health Department’s Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services has awarded licenses to operate dispensaries in each of the state’s eight public health districts.

City Apologizes for Worker’s Unlawful Drug, Alcohol Tests

The City of Pawtucket has agreed to apologize to one of its employees and to pay her legal fees after she sued over its drug testing policy. Random testing is not allowed, the ACLU said in a news release. Sinapi said that the ACLU will take action against other employers if they require testing not approved by state law.

California Marijuana Initiative Could Help Propel Barbara Boxer to Re-election

A ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in California could help propel endangered incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to re-election in November, according to a respected polling expert.

What the Pot Legalization Campaign Really Threatens: Alcohol Industry Profits (Opinion)

David Sirota, author of the best-selling books Hostile Takeover and The Uprising, believes our society is drunk off of alcohol propaganda we've had trouble separating fact from fiction.

Why Parents Should Support Legalizing Pot (Opinion)

Hanna Liebman Dershowitz, an attorney and mother of two elementary school children, opines on why parents should support legalizing marijuana.

Arizona Firms Jockeying to Get Medical Marijuana Licenses

More than a dozen companies are setting up shop in Arizona hoping to get into the business of selling medical marijuana. The Arizona law requires that the dispensaries be set up as non-profit corporations. But that isn't deterring would-be medical marijuana sellers who hope to snare one of 120 licenses.

Spain’s Former Drug Czarina Endorses Legalization

Quoting great minds such as Milton Friedman, Gary Becker and Mario Vargas Llosa, Spain’s former drug Czarina Araceli Manjón-Cabeza endorsed drug legalization in a compelling op-ed [in Spanish] published in El País, Spain’s leading newspaper. Just a week ago, Felipe González, Spain’s former Prime Minister, also came out in support of drug legalization.

Mexican Drug Traffickers Reaching Deeper Into San Diego County for Teen Smugglers

Mexican drug trafficking organizations are reaching neighborhoods far from the border. Authorities said potential recruits in the South Bay used to be the primary targets, but now teens living deeper into San Diego County have been among the growing number of recruits. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Joe Garcia said, "I think parents in all neighborhoods need to be concerned."

Judge: State Medical Marijuana Law No Defense for Drug Charges

A Colorado medical marijuana grower trying a first-in-the-nation drug defense based on Obama administration memos about medical marijuana saw his case take a serious blow Wednesday when a federal judge felled the effort. Christopher Bartkowicz wanted to argue he shouldn't face federal marijuana cultivation charges because he started his basement medical marijuana growing business after seeing memos from Department of Justice officials indicating the U.S. government wouldn't pursue medical marijuana cases in states that allow it. But U.S. District Judge Philip A. Brimmer sided with federal prosecutors who argued the memos aren't the same as making medical marijuana legal under federal law.

This Week in History

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

Parent: Quaker Son Shouldn't Need School Drug Test

The parent of a central Pennsylvania high school student wants her son exempted from random drug testing because integrity is a tenet of the teen's Quaker faith.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School