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Medical Marijuana Crackdown Sparks San Francisco Protest [FEATURE]

A San Francisco medical marijuana community already unhappy with federal raids on dispensaries was outraged and energized by Monday's raid on Oaksterdam. Hundreds of protestors went to the federal building to let the US Attorney know it. Chronicle story here.

Mexico's Former Foreign Minister Castaneda Slams President Calderon Over Drug War in NPR Interview

Jorge Castañeda, the former foreign minister of Mexico, gave a strong interview to NPR's "Tell Me More" program this afternoon. Castañeda, a longtime legalization advocate, supported Pres. Calderon during his campaign, but became a critic over the Calderon drug war escalation. In this interview he slams Calderon quite harshly, making a case that the arguments Calderon made for the drug war were false, that "willful homicides" have tripled as a result of it, and that the 50,000 drug war murders, likely over 60,000 by the time Calderon leaves office in December were not worth it:

Dear Media, Please Ask Obama to Explain His Escalating War on Medical Marijuana
Monday morning's DEA raid of Oaksterdam University is making major headlines, but there's one detail missing from the coverage: why the f#$k is Obama at War with Medical Marijuana in the first place? Seriously, why is any of this even happening at all?

Under this administration, the idea of raiding state-approved medical marijuana facilities went from being "not a good use of our resources," to being a very popular pastime among federal police and prosecutors. They've been going completely berserk for the better part of a year now, and while they weren't exactly diplomatic before that, they've been acting lately like they won some kind of drug war lottery and are trying to spend all the money before they die.

Raiding Richard Lee is arguably the most audacious play the feds have ever made in the War on Medical Marijuana for a few reasons. He's in a wheelchair and exemplifies the image of a legitimate medical marijuana patient/provider. He runs a school that promotes professionalism in the medical cannabis industry. And most importantly, he was the driving force behind the Prop 19 campaign that nearly legalized marijuana in California.

If you're thinking all of this explains exactly why they want to take him out, well…yeah, but it isn't nearly that simple. Everyone knows who Richard Lee is, and almost everyone supports him. To go after him now, after everything he's done, is to manufacture the most perfect martyr ever to emerge in the increasingly ugly War on Medical Marijuana in America.

I could spend all afternoon speculating as to why the Obama Administration would choose to escalate a policy that's already so deeply unpopular with the American people. But I shouldn’t have to. It's Obama's turn to tell us what the hell happened here, and it's the responsibility of the press to demand an answer.

Feds Raid Oaksterdam University

The feds hit the iconic Oaksterdam University and associated businesses in a Monday morning raid. No word yet on any arrests. Patients are mobilizing. An already scheduled protest set for Tuesday in San Francisco should be even more energized now. Chronicle story here.

Colombia Bill Would Decriminalize Drug Plant Cultivation

Some Colombian congressman want to decriminalize coca and marijuana production in a bid to drive down prices and encourage farmers to plant other crops. Chronicle story here.

Rasmussen Poll: 47% Say Legalize, Tax Marijuana

Marijuana legalization continues to gain support in the latest Rasmussen poll. Chronicle story here.

Washington, DC Selects Medical Marijuana Growers

Medical marijuana patients in the nation's capital could be buying their medicines in dispensaries by this summer after the District government selected growers Friday. Chronicle story here.

Protestors Challenge NYC Mayor on Mass Marijuana Arrests [FEATURE]

NYPD arrested more than 50,000 people, mostly young people of color, for marijuana possession last year. Thursday, protestors went to the mayor's house to tell him to put a stop to it. Chronicle story here.

DC Cop Kills Teen in "Drug Activity" Shoot-Out

A 19-year-old Washington, DC, man is dead after running from police investigating "drug activity," then pulling a weapon and firing at them. Chronicle story here.

Medical Marijuana Update

More DEA raids in California, more threat letters in Colorado, plus action from the statehouse to the courthouse. Just another week in medical marijuana politics. Chronicle story here.

New Hampshire Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

The New Hampshire Senate has passed a medical marijuana bill, but not by enough to overcome a threatened veto. The bill still has to pass the House, so there is time to keep working the Senate. Chronicle story here.

Louisiana Heroin Penalties Not Harsh Enough, Solon Claims

Louisiana state Sen. JP Morrell doesn't like drugs. He's introduced four bills to prove he's serious. Chronicle story here.

This Week in History

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

West Australia Enacts Mandatory Minimums for Marijuana

Western Australia marijuana growers with children better watch out -- the state government has just implemented harsh new laws complete with mandatory minimum sentences if a child is "endangered" by a pot plant or a grow. Chronicle story here.

Colorado Drug Sentencing Reform Bill Introduced

A bill that would make possession of controlled substances a misdemeanor instead of a felony has been introduced with bipartisan support in Colorado. Chronicle story here.

Medical Marijuana Bills Advance in New England

Medical marijuana bills won key committee votes in Connecticut and New Hampshire this week. Chronicle story here.

Michigan Father Killed in Marijuana Child Removal Incident

A Michigan father is dead after Child Protective Services tried to take his young son away after an unfounded allegation of marijuana use. The deputy who shot him has been cleared, but questions and outrage linger. Chronicle story here.

Supreme Court to Decide Second Florida Drug Dog Case

Is testifying that a drug dog has been trained and certified enough evidence to establish probable cause for a search? The Florida Supreme Court doesn't think so, and now the US Supreme Court will take on the case. Chronicle story here.

Schoolgirl Sues Pennsylvania District Over Drug Tests

Yet another Pennsylvania school district is being reminded that it can't make students take random, suspicionless drug tests under the state constitution. An 11-year-old girl and the ACLU are suing. Chronicle story here.

DEA Agent Kills Man in Cartel Murder-for-Hire Sting

A DEA sting in which agents portrayed themselves as members of the Zetas cartel and commissioned a group of men to raid a ranch, kill the owner, and seize 20 kilos of cocaine stolen by a rival cartel has ended with one man dead and three others in custody. Chronicle story here.

Central American Presidents Hold Drug Legalization Summit [FEATURE]

In a historic meeting in Antigua, Guatemala, Saturday, three Central American heads of state attended a regional summit to discuss alternatives to the current drug prohibition regime, which has left their countries wracked by violence. Chronicle feature story here.

Could Romney Beat Obama by Changing His Stance on Marijuana?
When you've been arguing as long as I have that politicians are missing an opportunity by ignoring supporters of marijuana reform, it's fun to see the Washington Post join the conversation.

Here’s a radical proposal for Mitt Romney: If he wants to pick up the much-coveted support of Ron Paul’s energized and organized “army,” the best way to their hearts might be through marijuana.

Pot legalizers note that he could couch his support in terms of a 10th amendment argument — essentially saying it should simply be up to states to decide for themselves. That would allow him to maintain his own opposition to legalization while also giving a shout-out to social conservatives, who love a good nod to state’s rights. [Washington Post]

At first glance this strikes me as a bit too ingenious to actually happen in real life. But nothing is impossible when it comes to the possibility of Mitt Romney changing his position on controversial issues in the hopes of getting himself elected.

I don't see any reason that the instinctive anti-pot posturing we've come to expect from him couldn't get tweaked just enough to open an interesting new angle for the Romney campaign. The real challenge would be conveying the actual facts of the matter to Romney's team in such a way that they recognize the opportunity that exists and the limited scope of the measures required to take advantage of the situation.

Unfortunately, I doubt anyone they'd listen to is actually trying to sell them this storyline, but if someone did, they might begin by introducing the following:

A. Support for medical marijuana is around 80% nationally.

B. Support for marijuana legalization is around 50% nationally.

C. Obama's pledge to respect state medical marijuana laws generated positive media attention and widespread public support.

D. Obama's violation of that pledge drew negative media attention and widespread public disapproval.

E. Obama's recent assault against medical marijuana is very unpopular in Colorado, a key swing state.

F. Romney has no other plausible plan for appealing to Ron Paul's vigorous support base.

A simple nod to state's rights on this issue would ignite a hard-to-reach constituency, while creating virtually zero political risk. Romney would basically be adopting the same medical marijuana position that Obama used successfully in '08. It's a perfect flanking maneuver that would more or less render the candidates indistinguishable on marijuana policy, a comparison that primarily hurts Obama because his supporters expect him to be better.

Would anyone from the right or the left criticize the Romney campaign for doing this? Would any republicans get upset about Romney's state's rights position on medical marijuana and opt instead to support Obama and his incoherent, contradictory position that nobody even understands? No, they wouldn't. It's probably only a slight exaggeration to say that Romney would literally lose zero votes by doing this, while picking up a potential windfall of libertarian-leaning republicans just waiting for Romney to give them a reason to get on board.

Unfortunately, at present, the chances of something like this working are much higher than the chances of it actually happening, because politicians and their handlers remain convinced that no one in America supports any change in our marijuana policy, despite the abundance of very clear evidence to the contrary.

(This article was published by's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

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Warning: Sweaty, Disagreeable Teenagers Might Be High on Drugs

According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta at CNN, this synthetic marijuana stuff the kids are smoking these days is the worst thing to hit the scene since marijuana itself (gasp!), and parents had better add it to their list of things to be concerned about.

If you're a parent and suspect your child may be using synthetic marijuana, look for these signs: Excessive sweating, agitation, inability to speak, aggression and restlessness. If a teen is showing these symptoms, doctors recommend you seek medical attention for your child immediately. [CNN]

This is all very well-intended I'm sure, but it does occur to me that being high as all hell on dangerous synthetic drugs may not be the only possible explanation for why your teenager is sweaty, pissed-off, and not speaking to you.

For one thing, WebMD says these are symptoms of "Dementia in Head Injury," which is also a serious concern now that the Drug Czar is encouraging kids to do parkour instead of drugs. But before you call an ambulance and start racking up hospital bills, you might want to rule out the possibility that you're dealing with a perfectly normal hormonal adolescent who will cheer up in a year or two if you can manage not to panic and over-parent them until they snap.

In any case, some people are saying some really scary stuff about the risks of synthetic marijuana, and although I've been around it enough to doubt that its destructive potential lives up to the hype, I agree there's a lot we don't know. What we do know is that this stuff was invented for no other reason than to circumvent and cash in on the illegality of marijuana itself. No one would touch this crap – hell, it wouldn't even exist – but for the enormous, moronic war against the thing that people actually want when they're messing around with synthetic pot.

Whatever the story on this stuff turns out to be, there's only one perfect plan for making it go away and it rhymes with megalize larijuana.

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Does Refusing a Search Give Police Probable Cause?

Here's the latest clip from my new YouTube series, How to Deal with Cops. Hopefully you'll find it interesting even if you think you already know the answer. Enjoy.

UN Anti-Drug Body Supports Overdose Prevention Measures

Delegates to the UN's Commission on Narcotic Drugs have voted unanimously to endorse overdose prevention measures, including the use of the overdose reversal drug naloxone. Chronicle story here.

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