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Mexico Drug War Update

The cavalcade of arrests, busts, and killings continues in Mexico. Chronicle story here.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A meth-dealing cop in Hawaii, a dope-load protecting cop in Houston, a pair of cops willing to sell information to drug dealers in Jacksonville and Cincinnati, and a contraband-toting jail guard in Alabama make this week's hall of shame. Chronicle story here.

New Study: Smart People More Likely to Use Drugs

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I have a feeling they won’t be mentioning this in DARE class.

A new British study finds children with high IQs are more likely to use drugs as adults than people who score low on IQ tests as children. The data come from the 1970 British Cohort Study, which has been following thousands of people over decades. The kids' IQs were tested at the ages of 5, 10 and 16. The study also asked about drug use and looked at education and other socioeconomic factors. Then when participants turned 30, they were asked whether they had used drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the past year.

Researchers discovered men with high childhood IQs were up to two times more likely to use illegal drugs than their lower-scoring counterparts. Girls with high IQs were up to three times more likely to use drugs as adults. [CNN]

So much of what we’ve been told about drugs and drug users turns out to be the opposite of the truth, it’s amazing that the anti-drug fanatics are able to find any audience at all anymore. News like this comes as a surprise only if you understand remarkably little about what drugs actually are and why people use them.

It ought to be intuitive that the curiosity which comes along with above-average intelligence would also be correlated with a heightened interest in experiencing altered states of consciousness. No doubt, a little extra brain-power also serves to inoculate against believing a lot of the BS we’re fed about how certain substances will turn your brain into a turnip.

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Herman Cain Says Feds Shouldn't Interfere With State Medical Marijuana Laws

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Looks like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are no longer the only GOP presidential candidates with the sense to distance themselves from the federal government’s hideous war on medical marijuana:

URBANDALE, Iowa -- GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain said he supports the ability of states to make medical marijuana available as a treatment for patients.

"If states want to legalize medical marijuana, I think that's a state's right," Cain said while campaigning in Iowa. "Because one of my overriding approaches to looking at all of these issues -- most of them belong at the state, because when you do something federally ... you try to force one-size-fits-all." [MSNBC]

Of course, the trampling of state’s rights is just one of a hundred reasons to support medical marijuana, and Cain could've impressed me a lot by going a little further. But this will do. Cain's argument ought to be embraced by every candidate who identifies as Republican, regardless of their views on medical marijuana itself. The failure of leading republicans to respect state’s rights on this issue is an embarrassment to the party.

(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.)

Mexico Drug War Deaths Leveling Off, Study Says

Hardly a day goes by without another report of some heinous prohibition-related violence in Mexico, but a new report suggests that the killings may have peaked and are leveling off -- albeit at horrendous levels. According to the Latin American Herald Tribune, the report, "The Effect of Violence in Mexico on Migration and Immigration Policy," by researchers at the University of San Diego's Trans-Border Institute, was presented at a discussion on the topic last week in San Diego. Chronicle story here.

Dominican Presidential Candidate Says Legalize Drugs

A Dominican presidential candidate who is also a prominent government official and head of one of the parties that make up the current government said Monday he favors drug legalization. Luis Acosta Moreta, nicknamed "El Gallo," told the program Propuesta on Channel 45 Monday that drug prohibition creates corruption and social decay. Chronicle story here.

Michigan AG Says Cops Can Seize Medical Marijuana

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) has opened another front in his battle against medical marijuana. In an official opinion released last week, Schuette said police are not required to return medical marijuana seized from patients in compliance with state, even though the state's voter-approved Michigan Medical Marijuana Act demands they do so. Chronicle story here.

DEA Raids Seattle Area Marijuana Dispensaries

In an orchestrated strike Tuesday, DEA agents raided at least 14 medical marijuana dispensaries in the Seattle area, according to the locally based Cannabis Defense Coalition. The raids hit dispensaries in King, Pierce, and Thurston counties, including three operating inside the Seattle city limits. Chronicle story here.

Washington Marijuana Initiative Gains Support

Initiative 502, the Washington state initiative to tax and regulate marijuana, is gaining both financial and political support. In the past week, the effort has picked up some important endorsements from former law enforcement figures, and a good sized cash contribution that will invigorate its signature-gathering efforts. Chronicle story here.

White House Denies Responsibility for Confusing Everyone About Medical Marijuana

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In a long piece detailing Obama’s badly botched approach to medical marijuana, the San Francisco Chronicle has a rather ridiculous quote from the White House:

A White House spokesman said that its position on medical marijuana "has been clear and consistent."

"While the prosecution of drug traffickers is a core priority, targeting individuals with cancer and serious illnesses is not the best allocation of federal law enforcement resources," said the spokesman, Adam Abrams.

It’s really an amazing thing to say, considering that literally nobody understands what the hell Obama’s position on medical marijuana is supposed to be anymore. To describe as “clear and consistent” something that has created sweeping confusion across the country is hilariously dishonest and insulting, but I guess it’s exactly the kind of crap we ought to expect from these people at this point.

I’d just love to hear someone at the White House explain to me why it is that their “clear and consistent” messaging about medical marijuana policy was so thoroughly misunderstood by the mainstream media, the medical marijuana industry, and the numerous state governments that invested countless hours developing new regulatory mechanisms as a direct result of the Obama administration’s statements. If every single interested party is horribly confused, then you are not in a good position to claim that you’ve been communicating clearly.

Cities Can Ban Marijuana Dispensaries, CA Court Rules

An California appeals court decision saying localities can ban medical marijuana dispensaries is only adding to the industry's woes. Chronicle story here.

California Marijuana Arrests and Quote of the Day
It turns out that New York City isn't the only place where marijuana possession arrests have skyrocketed in recent decades. It's also happened to The State of California. The SF Weekly reports on a new study to this effect, published by the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice.

I'm sure Phil will be writing something for the Chronicle about this, but in the meanwhile, I wanted to post a quote from the article by Mike Males, the researcher who authored the study:

"The War on Drugs is not intended to solve the drug problem -- it's intended to maximize the harm drugs cause in society."

I strongly agree with this and I think it sums up one key aspect of our prohibitionist policy. It's not that most supporters of the drug war think this consciously. It's that the drug war support is incoherent and emotionally based. Drugs have to continue to harm people, and more than they might do on their own without public intervention, so that we can continue to point out how bad drugs are.

If the harm that drugs do can be reduced -- and the harm of drug policies of course counts as harm from drugs, that's how incoherent it is -- there would be less reason for people to refrain from drug use, and less opportunity to tell people not to use drugs or to say we told you so. Given how low marijuana falls on the harmful substances scale, it's especially important for zealots to focus on marijuana. Otherwise people might get the idea that it would be okay to legalize it. (Oh wait, that's happening anyway...)

NORML Sues Feds in CA Medical Marijuana Fight [FEATURE]

The federal crackdown on medical marijuana in California is provoking legal challenges. First ASA, and now, NORML have filed lawsuits seeking to halt it. Chronicle feature story here.

Mexico's Symbol of Drug War Resistance Says It's Our Fight, Too [FEATURE]

A panel at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference last week called on Americans to take action to help end the drug war in Mexico, even as Human Rights Watch releases as a damning report on government killings, tortures, and disappearances in the drug war. Chronicle story here.

The 2011 International Drug Policy Reform Conference Meets in Los Angeles [FEATURE]

For three days last weekend, the towering Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles was awash with drug reform activists running from presentation to presentation and chatting in hallway confabs while discussing myriad topics on the streets outside. It was the Drug Policy Alliance's 2011 International Drug Policy Reform Conference, and it was the largest yet, with more than 1,200 people from around the country and the world in attendance. Chronicle story here.

The Medical Marijuana Industry Comes to Reality TV

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This is going to put a very big exclamation point on Harborside Health Center’s reputation as the biggest and best dispensary in the medical marijuana business.

Reality TV might seem an unlikely backdrop for the political debate over marijuana in America, but increased interest in the issue makes anything and everything possible, and perhaps inevitable. Unless you think no one will tune in to see big bags of glowing green ganja flashing across the screen, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that this show is happening.

It’s a remarkably well-timed opportunity for experienced industry leaders to show the world what regulated patient access to medical cannabis looks like. As the Obama Administration escalates its senseless, backstabbing assault on medical marijuana, Americans can soon tune in to watch with their own eyes as marijuana is exchanged between responsible people in a responsible way. That can only be a good thing.

This Week in History

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

Tacoma Passes Lowest Priority Marijuana Initiative

Voters in Tacoma, Washington, overwhelmingly approved an initiative Tuesday directing the city to make adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority. The measure passed by a margin of 65% to 35%. Chronicle story here.

Missouri Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Approved for Circulation

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced Monday that two initiatives for marijuana legalization measures have been approved for circulation. Both were filed by attorney Dan Viets, a long-time marijuana legalization advocate and a member of the national NORML Legal Committee and board of directors. Chronicle story here.

Bolivia Restores Ties With US, But Rejects DEA

The US and Bolivian governments announced Monday that they were restoring diplomatic relations after three years, but Bolivian President Evo Morales Tuesday made it clear that DEA agents would not be welcome back in his country. Chronicle story here.

Dutch Bar Foreigners from Southern Cannabis Cafes

No one other than Dutch residents will be allowed to buy marijuana in southern Holland cannabis coffee shops after January 1, the Dutch Justice Ministry said Tuesday. The stated objective of the move is to spare locals the nuisance of drug tourism, but if the experience of one city is any indicator, it will also spare locals millions of dollars in receipts. Chronicle story here.

US Drug Arrest Rate Dropping, But Still Sky High

The arrest rate for drug violations in the US has decreased for the last four years, but still remains more than twice as high as rates in the early 1980s, the University of Maryland's Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) reported Monday. Chronicle story here.

Mexico Drug War Update

The ugliness continues unabated in Mexico, and another blogger has joined the ranks of the murdered. Chronicle story here.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Sleazy, sleazy. That's what a Missouri drug court monitor is accused of being, plus we have a crooked Puerto Rican cop and a sticky-fingered Louisiana narc. Chronicle story here.

Kalamazoo Passes Marijuana Lowest Priority Initiative

Voters in Kalamazoo, Michigan, overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative making the use or possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults the lowest law enforcement priority. But more work may be needed to get local police to cooperate with the will of the voters. Chronicle story here.

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