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Expert calls for civil drug punishments

Location: 
United Kingdom
Professor David J. Nutt, past chairman of the UK's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, believes a radical new approach to drug policy that may include the regulated sale of some drugs is in order. He thinks drug users should face civil sanctions such as fines or the loss of their driver's license instead of criminal penalties. Nutt says the criminal approach to drugs has failed but there was a reluctance to change because most politicians were scared of losing votes if they were to tell the truth about the failed drug policy.
Publication/Source: 
Bristol Evening Post (UK)
URL: 
http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/crime/Expert-calls-civil-drug-punishments/article-2463346-detail/article.html

Dr. Frank in Michigan June 24,25,28; seminars for patients, physicians in Oakland, California new location TBA

Dr. Frank in Michigan June 24,25,28; seminars for patients, physicians  in Oakland, California new location TBA!
http://drfranklucido.blogspot.com/2010/06/dr-frank-michigan-june-242528-seminars.html

 

Dr. Frank will be in Michigan June 24-June 28, and available to see patients in Ann Arbor, Lansing area

To schedule:
email [email protected] or call office 510-848-0958 during office hours 9-noon, 1:30-4pm Pacific Time

Also in this blog:
Report on Frank's last trip to Michigan, and Dr. Frank's AIMLegal Physician Seminar in Detroit May 8

Coming up in Next Blog:
New venue for Dr. Frank's seminars for patients, physicians in Oakland To Be Announced soon!
Report on High Times 1st ever Medical Cannabis Cup in San Francisco this past weekend June 19, 20, 2010
Report on Maine Medical Cannabis Conference Saturday, University of Southern Maine, June 5, 2010
   Keynote speaker was Montel Williams
http://www.mainemedicalcannabisconference.com/index.html
http://www.mainemedicalcannabisconference.com/conferencespeakers.html
Also: My Montel Williams and Angel Raich story from Drug Policy Alliance Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico last November, 2009

Report on Frank's trip to Michigan: Michigan AIMLegal Michigan Pioneers of Medical Cannabis:

Report on Michigan trip
I was in Michigan April 30-May 10 to:
1. spend some good time with mom and family and friends
2. connect with the Michigan medical cannabis community
3. hold a seminar for medical cannabis physicians and
4. perform medical cannabis evaluations

I feel good about all 4, and had a great time for the 10 days I was in Michigan
1. Good family time staying at my Mom's for 10 days, in East Lansing area (Hi Mom, Dad, brother Mark!!)
2. connect with the Michigan medical cannabis community:
Saturday, May 1:
I had my brother Mark reserve a picnic area in Lake Lansing Park, and I sent out a last minute email invite to my Michigan contacts just before I left California, so I had no idea if ANYONE was going to show up.

I billed it as:
Dr. Frank Lucido's Seminar for Patients, Caregivers, and Patients Advocates: Everybody's Entitled to My Opinion, or 14 years experience with medical cannabis consulting. There will be ample time for Q & A.
My soundbite for Michigan:
I'VE SEEN THE FUTURE: IT'S NOT ALL PRETTY, BUT SOME OF IT IS BEAUTIFUL

I'm glad my brother Mark, and friend Derek came, because for the first hour it was just the 3 of us playing Frisbee. (still lots of fun!)
Then my only other guest showed up.
One person.
But it was the perfect person for me to meet:
Robin Schneider, president of the Capital City Compassion Club.
We spoke for the next hour. I got to talk about my 14 years experience, and got to hear what's been going in Lansing area medical cannabis issues.
I really like the idea of Compassion Clubs, especially to the extent that their intention is not commercial, but informational and networking.
That week, I got to see Robin's name in the Lansing State Journal, about her testimony to the Lansing City Council, about a proposed ordinance that "would require a permit for commercial establishments" growing, storing or dispensing of medical marijuana, including for home delivery."
according to the May 5 article. See:
http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2010305040026

Also on May 2, I was in Ann Arbor at a benefit for SSDP (Students for a Sensible Drug Policy), held at the Michigan Union, at my alma mater, University of Michigan.
Chris Chiles, the outgoing president of Ann Arbor SSDP used the occasion of his graduation to hold a benefit for National SSDP(Students for a Sensible Drug Policy)

I was honored to be asked to speak, and was happy to donate to this great organization.

http://ssdp.org/about/
Mission Statement

Students for Sensible Drug Policy is an international grassroots network of students who are concerned about the impact drug abuse has on our communities, but who also know that the War on Drugs is failing our generation and our society.

SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future, while fighting back against counterproductive Drug War policies, particularly those that directly harm students and youth.

Good going Chris!

3. hold a seminar for medical cannabis physicians:
On Saturday, May 8, 2010, I held my 2nd AIMLegal Course for Physicians from 10am-4pm in
DETROIT, at Law Office of Matthew Abel in Detroit.

I have known Matt Abel for several years, seeing him at NORML Conferences each year, and lately again at various events in my home-state of Michigan, since Michigan became the 13th state to pass a medical cannabis law in 2008.
When I told Matt that I would be having a physician's Seminar on Medical Cannabis, he volunteered the Conference Room of his Detroit law offices at 2930 E. Jefferson Ave in downtown Detroit. It was newly carpeted just in time for the May 8 Seminar, and proved to be a great space for this and future events.

My goal is to make more community based physicians feel comfortable making safe and appropriate recommendations for medical cannabis.
Preferably still practicing medicine besides medical cannabis.

As with my first course in San Francisco last February
http://drfranklucido.blogspot.com/2010/02/dr-frank-lucidos-aimlegal-course-22710.html
there were a number of
Physician-covered topics, and a
panel of knowledgeable local attorneys.
For Michigan, I decided to add a Michigan Medical Cannabis Pioneers panel.

Physician-covered topics:
History of cannabis as medicine; historical, recent
Cannabis benefits, risks
Cannabis bio-chemistry, physiology
Medical-legal practice and ethics: why do ethics matter with a low-risk medicine?
Discussion on Risks to physicians
California report: Which doctors get investigated and why
Special cases: minors, elders, pregnancy, schizophrenia
Methods of use
State and Federal laws (disclaimer: I am not an attorney)

My Attorneys Panel consisted of 3 excellent, experienced Michigan attorneys
Matthew Abel, Detroit attorney,
His practice, Cannabis Counsel, P.L.C., is entirely devoted to cannabis cases and clients. Mr. Abel's Detroit law office provides criminal defense of marijuana cases throughout Michigan. He is a lifetime member of the NORML Legal Committee and NACDL, and is a member of the Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan, the National Lawyers Guild, Americans for Safe Access, and the ACLU of Michigan legal committee.
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/matthew-abel/9/7b3/a99


Thomas M. Loeb, attorney in Farmington Hills, Michigan
Thomas Loeb is an experienced and dedicated trial lawyer who focuses his practice on criminal defense, divorce and family law, plaintiff's police misconduct, and grievance defense.
He is also member of the NORML Legal Committee, and and is knowledgeable on cannabis law.
http://www.loebslaw.com/

John Targowski, Criminal Defense Attorney in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on the legal committee of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML)
http://www.targowskilaw.com/


Michigan Medical Cannabis PIONEERS panel
Expanding on my basic physician seminar agenda of physician delivered topics, and a panel of knowledgeable local attorney, I decided to add a panel of Michigan Medical Cannabis Pioneers.
Time Beck and Adam Book consented

Tim Beck and Adam Brook spoke of their experiences as committed activists and patient advocates

I have known Tim for about 20 years now, but have been seeing him more frequently since Michigan passed their medical cannabis law in 2008.
Tim had just spearheaded a successful signature drive that has put on Detroit's November ballot, an initiative that would allow possession of up to 1 ounce of cannabis on private property by adults 21 and older, and it was a pleasure to hear him report on this recent success, and the many steps that led up it.
http://www.freep.com/article/20100506/NEWS05/5060418/Detroiters-may-vote-on-legal-marijuana--proposal-heads-for-ballot
"Supporters of the proposal say it would free police to go after violent criminals, ease jail crowding and even encourage a safe alternative to alcohol."
Tim gives a good interview on the issue to WJR radio at:
http://wjrpodcasts.com/podcasts/frankbeckmann/Beck-050610.mp3

Adam Brook
http://www.myspace.com/mihashbash
I just met Adam last year October, when I was in Detroit speaking of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Symposium at Wayne State Law School, and have been impressed by his activism and dedication.
Adam has been organizing the Ann Arbor Hash Bash for the past couple decades now.
The first Hash Bash was in 1971, when I was a Freshman at U of Michigan Medical School!

2 other Pioneers I invited, but who were unable to attend, are still deserving of being named
Michigan Pioneers of Medical Cannabis:

Mike Whitty has been a friend of mine for over 20 years now.
He's a Professor at University of Detroit Mercy, and the University of San Francisco.
and unfortunately was in California when I was holding my seminar in Detroit, but he is still one of the pioneers of Michigan Medical Cannabis!

Chuck Ream was similarly unable to attend, but nonetheless is one of the committed activists who has pushed for marijuana law reform, and was instrumental in having Michigan become the 13th medical marijuana state in 2008

I intend to hold more AIMLegal Physician Seminars in the next few months, and hope to have one in Lansing area this Fall 2010.
I'd especially like to do one in Lansing sometime, but can do one wherever for as few a 5 physicians.

AIMLegal Physician Locator:
http://www.drfranklucido.com/pages/aimlegal.org-cannabis-physician-locator.php
Association of Independent Medical-Legal Consultants (AIMLegal)
Expert Witness quality physicians: Why not choose the best?

4. perform medical cannabis evaluations
I saw 7 patients for medical cannabis evaluation, in Lansing area, and in Ann Arbor.

I plan to be in Michigan June 24-June 28, and will be available to see patients in Ann Arbor, Lansing area, and possibly Detroit.

Next Blog:
Update on High Times Medical Cannabis Cup event in San Francisco this past weekend June 19, 20
My Montel Williams and Angel Raich story

More Than Just Medical Marijuana.
Primary Care Medicine: Experienced, Trusted
Frank H. Lucido MD Maria Mangini PhD, FNP Family Medicine since 1979 Medical Cannabis Consultations since 1996
Primary Care Medicine in the Bay Area, California
New Family Practice Patients welcome. Patient-centered care. Experienced practitioners. Courteous, respectful staff.
ey, CA 94704
For Appointment: 510-848-0958

AIMLegal.org: Association of Independent Medical-Legal Consultants
Your Source for Expert Witness-Quality Cannabis Physicians
Founder: Dr. Frank H. Lucido, M.D.
Co-Founder of American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine (AACM) Founder of MedicalBoardWatch
• Expert Witness on Cannabis and Medical Practice • Family Medicine since 1979 • Medical Cannabis Consultant since 1996
Seminars on Medical Cannabis for Physicians Seminars on Medical Cannabis for Patients and Caregivers California • Michigan • Other States By Arrangement
www.AIMLegal.org
Online Locators • Physician and Cannabis Expert Witness Listings* MedicalBoardWatch.com • DrFrankLucido.blogspot.com • [email protected]
For Appointments or *To Get a Listing: 510-848-0958
Michigan Office: 877-787-6900 message phone

(Association of Independent Medical-Legal Consultants)AIMLegal Physician Locator:
http://www.drfranklucido.com/pages/aimlegal.org-cannabis-physician-locator.php
To be kept up to date on future events, sign up for my blog at:
http://drfranklucido.blogspot.com

Also see prior blog:
DrFrank's Medical Cannabis Seminars for Patients and Physicians: AIMLegal
http://drfranklucido.blogspot.com/2010/02/drfranks-medical-cannabis-seminars-for.html

O'Shaughnessy's online: Journal of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians
http://www.pcmd4u.org/OShaughnessys/New_Issue.html
Current and Back issues linked online at this url.

Frank H. Lucido MD, 2300 Durant Avenue Berkeley, Ca, 94704
510.848.0958 (by appointment only) • East Lansing, Michigan office: 877-787-6900 (24 hr message)
www.DrFrankLucido.comwww.AIMLegal.orgwww.DrFrankLucido.blogspot.com


302 Main Street | Suite 201 | Los Altos, CA 94022
3237 Sacramento St | San Francisco, CA 94115


 

Clinton Library releases Kagan papers

The Clinton Library has released a huge volume of writings by Elena Kagan, which are available here for free download. Boxes 15-17 contain writing with regards to drugs

It would behoove us to scan through the relevant documents to get an indication of Kagan's opinions regarding the drug war, and try to inject this into the discussion over her nomination.

Maine Medical Cannabis Conference featuring Montel Williams

In November 2009 a citizen’s initiative, the Maine Medical Marijuana Act, was passed overwhelmingly by Maine voters. This new law expanded and improved Maine’s existing Medical Marijuana law which had been in put in place by Maine voters in 1999. Because of this new law, for the first time Mainers with debilitating and chronic medical conditions will have a number of safe and convenient options to access medical marijuana. But what does the new law mean for Maine? What does it mean for patients, or potential caregivers? Potential dispensary operators? Whether you are a member of the law enforcement community, a doctor or health care professional, or a municipal official concerned about regulating dispensaries you will find answers at Maine Medical Cannabis Conference. Join us June 5th at the University of Southern Maine as experts from Maine and across the country discuss the facts about medical marijuana and Maine’s new law. For more information, and to register, please see: http://www.mainemedicalcannabisconference.com/.
Date: 
Sat, 06/05/2010 - 8:30pm
Location: 
88 Bedford Street University of Southern Maine Portland Campus
Portland, ME 04101
United States

Feature: Drug Czar Gets Grilled on "New Directions in Drug Policy" By Skeptical Solons, Activists, and Academics

Gil Kerlikowske, head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office), testified on Capitol Hill Wednesday that the Obama administration is seeking "a new direction in drug policy," but was challenged both by lawmakers and by a panel of academics and activists on the point during the same hearing. The action took place at a hearing of the House Domestic Policy Subcommittee in which the ONDCP drug budget and the forthcoming 2010 National Drug Strategy were the topics at hand.

The hearing comes in the wake of various drug policy reforms enacted by the Obama administration, including a Justice Department policy memo directing US attorneys and the DEA to lay off medical marijuana in states where it is legal, the removal of the federal ban on needle exchange funding, and administration support for ending or reducing the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenders.

But it also comes in the wake of the announcement of the ONDCP 2011 drug budget, which at $15.5 billion is up more than $500 million from this year. While treatment and prevention programs got a 6.5% funding increase, supply reduction (law enforcement, interdiction, and eradication) continues to account for almost exactly the same percentage of the overall budget -- 64%--as it did in the Bush administration. Only 36% is earmarked for demand reduction (prevention and treatment).

Citing health care costs from drug use and rising drug overdose death figures, the nation "needs to discard the idea that enforcement alone can eliminate our nation's drug problem," Kerlikowske said. "Only through a comprehensive and balanced approach -- combining tough, but fair, enforcement with robust prevention and treatment efforts -- will we be successful in stemming both the demand for and supply of illegal drugs in our country."

So far, at least, when it comes to reconfiguring US drug control efforts, Kerlikowske and the Obama administration are talking the talk, but they're not walking the walk. That was the contention of subcommittee chair Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and several of the session's panelists.

"Supply side spending has not been effective," said Kucinich, challenging the budget breakdown.

"Supply side spending is important for a host of reasons, whether we're talking about eradication or our international partners where drugs are flowing," replied the drug czar.

"Where's the evidence?" Kucinich demanded. "Describe with statistics what evidence you have that this approach is effective."

Kerlikowske was reduced to citing the case of Colombia, where security and safety of the citizenry has increased. But he failed to mention that despite about $4 billion in US anti-drug aid in the past decade, Colombian coca and cocaine production remain at high levels.

"What parts of your budget are most effective?" asked Kucinich.

"The most cost-effective approaches would be prevention and treatment," said Kerlikowske.

"What percentage is supply and what percentage is demand oriented?" asked Rep. Jim Jordan (D-OH).

"It leans much more toward supply, toward interdiction and enforcement," Kerlikowske conceded.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) was more old school, demanding a tougher response to Mexico's wave of prohibition-related violence and questioning the decision not to eradicate opium in Afghanistan. "The Southwest border is critical. I would hope the administration would give you the resources you need for a Plan Colombia on steroids," said Issa.

"There is no eradication program in Afghanistan," Issa complained. "I was in areas we did control and we did nothing about eradication."

"I don't think anyone is comfortable seeing US forces among the poppy fields," Kerlikowske replied. "Ambassador Holbrooke has taken great pains to explain the rationale for that," he added, alluding to Holbrooke's winning argument that eradication would push poppy farming peasants into the hands of the Taliban.

"The effectiveness of eradication seems to be near zero, which is very interesting from a policy point of view," interjected Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL).

Kucinich challenged Kerlikowske about harm reduction. "At the UN, you said the US supported many interventions, but you said that, 'We do not use the phrase harm reduction.' You are silent on both syringe exchange programs and the issue of harm reduction interventions generally," he noted. "Do you acknowledge that these interventions can be effective in reducing death and disease, does your budget proposed to fund intervention programs that have demonstrated positive results in drug overdose deaths, and what is the basis of your belief that the term harm reduction implies promotion of drug use?"

Kerlikowske barely responded. "We don't use the term harm reduction because it is in the eye of the beholder," he said. "People talk about it as if it were legalization, but personally, I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about whether to put a definition on it."

When challenged by Kucinich specifically about needle exchange programs, Kerlikowske conceded that they can be effective. "If they are part of a comprehensive drug reduction effort, they make a lot of sense," he said.

The grilling of Kerlikowske took up the first hour of the two-hour session. The second hour consisted of testimony from Drug Policy Alliance executive director Ethan Nadelmann, Brookings Institute foreign policy fellow and drugs and counterinsurgency expert Vanda Felbab-Brown, former ONDCP employee and drug policy analyst John Carnevale, and University of Maryland drug policy expert Peter Reuter. It didn't get any better for drug policy orthodoxy.

"Let me be frank," said Nadelmann as he began his testimony. "We regard US drug policy as a colossal failure, a gross violation of human rights and common sense," he said, citing the all too familiar statistics about arrests, incarceration, the spread of HIV/AIDS, and drug overdose deaths. "All of these are an egregious violation of fundamental American values."

"Congress and the Obama administration have broken with the costly and failed drug war strategies of the past in some important ways," said Nadelmann. "But the continuing emphasis on interdiction and law enforcement in the federal drug war budget suggest that ONDCP is far more wedded to the failures of the past than to any new vision for the future. I urge this committee to hold ONDCP and federal drug policy accountable to new criteria that focus on reductions in the death, disease, crime and suffering associated with both drugs and drug prohibition."

Nadelmann identified four problems with current drug strategy:

  • The drug war's flawed performance measures;
  • The lop-sided ratio between supply and demand spending in the national drug budget;
  • The lack of innovation in the drug czar's proposed strategies;
  • The administration's failure to adequately evaluate drug policies.

"They want to move toward a public health model that focuses on reducing demand for drugs, but no drug policy will succeed unless there are the resources to implement it," said Carnevale. "Past budgets emphasizing supply reduction failed to produce results, and our drug policy stalled -- there has been no change in overall drug use in this decade."

Carnevale noted that the 2011 ONDCP budget gave the largest percentage increase to prevention and treatment, but that its priorities were still skewed toward supply reduction. "The budget continues to over-allocate funds where they are least effective, in interdiction and source country programs."

"The drug trade poses multiple and serious threats, ranging from threats to security and the legal economy to threats to legality and political processes," said Felbab-Brown, "but millions of people depend on the illegal drug trade for a livelihood. There is no hope supply-side policies can disrupt the global drug trade."

Felbab-Brown said she was "encouraged" that the Obama administration had shifted toward a state-building approach in Afghanistan, but that she had concerns about how policy is being operationalized there. "We need to adopt the right approach to sequencing eradication in Afghanistan," she said. "Alternative livelihoods and state-building need to be comprehensive, well-funded, and long-lasting, and not focused on replacing the poppy crop."

"Eradication in Afghanistan has little effect on domestic supply and reduction," said Kucinich. "Should these kinds of programs be funded?"

"I am quite convinced that spending money for eradication, especially aerial eradication, is not effective," replied Carnevale. "The point of eradication in Colombia was to reduce the amount of drugs coming into the US, but I see no such effect."

"We're dealing with global commodity markets," said Nadelmann. "If one source is knocked out, someone else will pop up. What's missing is any sort of strategic analysis or planning. If you accept that these drugs are going to be produced, you need to manage it to reduce the harms."

"The history of the last 20 years of the cocaine and heroin trade shows how much mobility there is in cultivation and trafficking," said Reuter. "What we do has a predictable effect. When we pushed down on trafficking in Florida, that lead to increases in Mexico. The evidence is striking that all we are doing is moving the trade."

Times are changing in Washington. What was once unassailable drug war orthodoxy is not under direct assault, and not just from activists and academics, but among members of Congress itself. But while the drug czar talks the happy talk about "new directions in drug policy," the Obama administration -- with some notable exceptions -- looks to still have a drug policy on cruise control.

Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture

The Cato Institute invites you to Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture featuring Scott Bullock, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice and Marian R. Williams, Department of Government and Justice Studies, Appalachian State University. The event features comments by Scott Burns, Executive Director, National District Attorneys Association, and it is moderated by Tim Lynch, Director, Project on Criminal Justice, Cato Institute. Under state and federal law, police departments can seize and keep property that is suspected of involvement in criminal activity. Unlike criminal asset forfeiture, however, with civil forfeiture, a property owner need not be found guilty of a crime—or even charged—to permanently lose her cash, car, home, or other property. And according to a new report published by the Institute for Justice, “Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture,” most state laws are written in such a way as to encourage police agents to pursue profit instead of seeking the neutral administration of justice. The report grades each state and the federal government on its forfeiture laws and other measures of abuse. The results are appalling: Six states earned an F and 29 states and the federal government received a grade of D. Please join us for a discussion of policing, constitutional rights, and government accountability. Luncheon to follow. Note: Cato Policy Forums and luncheons are free of charge. To register, visit www.cato.org, fax (202) 371-0841, or call (202) 789-5229 by noon, Tuesday, April 27. News media inquiries only (no registrations), please call (202) 789-5200. If you can't make it to the Cato Institute, watch this Forum live online at www.cato.org.
Date: 
Wed, 04/28/2010 - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Location: 
1000 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Can a President Make a Difference to U.S. Drug Policy?

Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann will give a free public lecture as the closing talk at a conference for health care professionals entitled "Working with Drug & Alcohol Users in Primary Care - Integrating Practice and Policy: Everyone's Business". The conference is hosted by the Royal College of General Practitioners / Substance Misuse Management in General Practice network. For more information, contact: [email protected].
Date: 
Fri, 04/23/2010 - 3:00pm
Location: 
Exhibition Way
Glasgow G3 8YW
United Kingdom

Europe: More British Drug Policy Experts Resign in Protest from Government Advisory Board

Two more members of the British government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) have resigned in the last week, citing the Labor government's emphasis on politics over evidence-based policy making. That brings to seven the number of ACMD members who have resigned since former ACMD head Professor David Nutt was sacked last fall.

Home Minister Alan Johnson fired Nutt after Nutt repeatedly criticized the government's decision to ignore the ACMD's advice and reschedule marijuana as a more dangerous drug. Johnson also took umbrage at Nutt's assertion that taking ecstasy was less dangerous than horse riding.

Nutt's firing provoked the immediate resignation of two other members of the committee, Dr. Les King and Marion Walker, followed a week later by three more: Dr. Simon Campbell, Dr. Ian Ragan and Dr. John Marsden. A seventh member, Dr. Polly Taylor, the veterinary specialist on the panel, resigned two weeks ago, ahead of the council's crucial meeting on mephedrone last week, in protest of new guidelines that said scientific advisors could be fired if they "undermined" the government.

Mephedrone, a so far legal stimulant derived from cathinone, which users say has similar effects to cocaine or ecstasy, has been the object of a media frenzy in Great Britain in recent weeks, with press reports breathlessly linking it to a number of deaths. Those reports are so far unsubstantiated, but that didn't stop the government from announcing it would move to ban it this month.

It was the mephedrone issue that finally drove ACMD member Dr Eric Carlin to add his name to the list of now former ACMD members. In his resignation letter to Home Minister Johnson, Carlin lambasted the government and the ACMD for bowing to political and media pressure on scheduling mephedrone.

Real ACMD business got pushed aside because of "the haste with which we were being pushed to make a decision about classifying Mephedrone; this so that the chair could come to meet with you later in the day and you could do a round of press announcements," Carlin wrote. "We had little or no discussion about how our recommendation to classify this drug would be likely to impact on young people's behavior. Our decision was unduly based on media and political pressure. The report was tabled to the whole council for the first time on Monday; the chair came to brief you before the whole council had even discussed all of the report. In fact, I still haven't seen the final version," Carlin complained.

Saying that "we need to review our whole approach to drugs," Carlin argued that legally sanctioned punishments should not be the "main part of the armory" in addressing drug problems. He added that he had decided not to resign over the sacking of Nutt last fall, "preferring instead to see how things panned out and to hope that the ACMD could develop a work program which would help prevent and reduce harm, particularly to young people. I have no confidence that this will now happen, largely though not totally due to the lack of logic of the context within which the council is constrained to operate by the Misuse of Drugs Act," he wrote. "I am not prepared to continue to be part of a body which, as its main activity, works to facilitate the potential criminalization of increasing numbers of young people."

The dispute between dissident ACMD members and the Labor government has highlighted a deeper argument over the nature of the relationship between the government and the scientists who advise it. Colin Blakemore, professor of neuroscience at Oxford, told The Independent that the furor over mephedrone pointed to "a crisis in the government's use of evidence potentially as serious as that produced by mad cow disease 20 years ago."

In the case of mad cow, British ministers offered false assurances on the safety of beef which went beyond the available evidence. When it emerged that some people had contracted mad cow disease from infected beef, trust in the government collapsed.

"I think there's been terrible pressure to come to a resolution about mephedrone -- inappropriate pressure," Professor Nutt told the Independent. "The meeting this week was rushed through so that the chairman could leave to do a press conference when the Home Secretary wanted to do one. It's a travesty of a proper discussion, of the proper way in which you should deal with an important issue like mephedrone."

The Home Office said that Carlin's resignation was "regrettable," but that "it does not impact our plans to ban mephedrone as soon as parliamentary time allows."

Ciudad Juárez: Caught in the Crossfire

A panel will discuss the wave of violence that has affected Ciudad Juárez and the impact it has for citizen security on both sides of the U.S. and Mexico border. Joining the panel is special guest Juárez Mayor José Reyes Ferriz, who has been brought into the international spotlight as drug cartel-related violence on the border has escalated. Last year, about 2,660 people were murdered in Juárez, which is directly across the border from El Paso, Texas, and has been called "The Most Dangerous City in the Americas." John Burnett, National Public Radio (NPR) correspondent and University of Texas alumnus (Journalism '78) joins the panel, having provided investigative reporting of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands and award-winning coverage on the drug war in the Americas. His reports are heard regularly on NPR's news magazines "Morning Edition," "All Things Considered" and "Weekend Edition." University of Texas at Austin panelists include: educational psychologist Ricardo Ainslie and Assistant Professor of Anthropology Cecilia Balli. Ainslie's work includes the documentary film "Ya Basta! Kidnapped in Mexico" (2007). He is working on "Calderón's War: Mexico at the Crossroads," a book about Mexico's war against the drug cartels, and has made six visits to Juárez in the past year as part of his work. Balli's research focuses on U.S.-Mexican borderlands, gender and violence, and Latino expressive culture. She is a contributing writer for Texas Monthly and is working on a nonfiction book about the murder of young women in Juárez. This event is sponsored by the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies. It is free and open to the public. For more information, contact: Michelle Bryant, College of Liberal Arts, 512-232-4730; Paloma Diaz, Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, 512-232-2415.
Date: 
Mon, 04/12/2010 - 2:30pm
Location: 
2398 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78705
United States

Patients Out of Time Conference Video Promotion

The Sixth National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, co-sponsored by the School of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco; the Rhode Island State Nurses Association and Patients Out of Time will be held on April 15 - 17, 2010 at the Crowne Plaze Hotel in Warwick, RI. The Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIPAC) is the local host and partner with Patients Out of Time for this forum. To view the video, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pxj6f31swS4. For more information and to register, see http://medicalcannabis.com/Clinical-Conferences/2010-upcoming-conference
Location: 
Warwick, RI
United States

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, 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