State & Local Government

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N.J. moves to end ban on over-the-counter syringes (USA Today)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20061003/a_needles03.art.htm

Marijuana Initiative Gets Idaho High Court's Go Ahead

Location: 
Boise, ID
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Oregonian
URL: 
http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/115957594355990.xml&coll=7

Plants Found in Assistant Prosecutor's Home

Location: 
St. Louis, MO
United States
Publication/Source: 
St. Louis Post Dispatch
URL: 
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stcharles/story/A6CBFAD05F5C9AE6862571F700171BD4?OpenDocument

Hemp: North Carolina Governor Signs Bill to Study Industrial Use

North Carolina Governor Michael Easley has signed a bill that will create a commission to study the industrial uses of hemp. With that move coming as California awaits Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision on whether to sign a hemp bill there and North Dakota finalizes rules that would allow farmers to grow hemp under a 1999 law, it appears the hemp logjam is beginning to break -- at least in the states.

The Beneficial Uses of Industrial Hemp Act, passed as part of the as part of the Studies Act of 2006, will lay the groundwork for industrial hemp farming in the heavily agriculture Tarheel State.

According to the new law, a commission will be created to study ""the uses of industrial hemp oil as an alternative fuel and motor oil; the uses of omega-3 rich industrial hemp seed and industrial hemp oil in snack foods, body care products, and food supplements; the uses of industrial hemp fibers as raw materials for construction and paper products and for fabric; and the uses of industrial hemp in the manufacture of recyclable car parts."

The commission will be comprised of 15 members, including delegates of the Governor, the Commissioner of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, House and Senate leaders, Agriculture Committee chairs, the President of the NC Farm Bureau, and the deans of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Fuqua School of Business at Duke, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NCSU and the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at NC A&T. The commission will report its findings and recommendations to the 2007 General Assembly and the Environmental Review Commission by December 1, 2006.

New Intervention: Novel Police Tactic Puts Drug Markets Out of Business

Location: 
High Point, NC
United States
Publication/Source: 
Wall Street Journal
URL: 
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v06/n1284/a01.html

Welcome to the New Drug Scare of 2007

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Stats
URL: 
http://www.stats.org/stories/welcome_drug_2007_sept27_06.htm

Riverside County Bans Medical Marijuana Centers

Location: 
CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
San Jose Mercury News
URL: 
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/northern_california/15619242.htm

Sentencing: No Retroactive Relief for Rockefeller Drug Law Prisoners, New York Appeals Court Rules

People serving tough mid-level sentences under New York's draconian Rockefeller drug laws will not be able to get those sentences reduced if they were convicted before drug sentencing reforms took effect in January 2005, the state's highest court ruled September 21. In its opinion in the consolidated cases of three men sentenced under the old laws, the court held that the legislature intended only to cut the sentences of those newly convicted.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/rockpataki.jpg
not enough: Gov. Pataki signs Rockefeller reform bill, 12/04
Under the Drug Law Reform Act that came into effect last year, some 400 prisoners facing the most severe sentences -- up to life -- were allowed to seek retroactive sentence cuts. But thousands of prisoners doing lesser, but still severe, sentences were not explicitly granted that right. Three of them -- Thomas Thomas Utsey, Michael Nelson and Corey Smith -- appealed to the Court of Appeals, arguing they should have had the same opportunity to seek retroactive redress.

But in a unanimous decision, the court said no way. The bill clearly stated that the law would "apply to crimes committed on or after the effective date," the court noted. "Under the plain language of the statute, the relevant provisions of the DLRA are intended to apply only to crimes committed after its effective date," Chief Judge Judith Kaye said in her decision. "That being so, defendants are not eligible for the reduced penalties contained in the new law."

It took years of dogged effort by a broad coalition of civil rights, prison reform, and drug reform groups to win even the partial reform that was approved in 2004. Now, the New York courts have strongly signaled that any further relief must come through that same cumbersome legislative process.

Pot Politics

It's going to be a lot of pot politics in the Drug War Chronicle this week. With the November elections now little more than a month away, there are developments in both Colorado and Nevada, the two states where measures that would free the weed are on the ballot. In Colorado, SAFER Colorado campaign director Mason Tvert is debating Colorado Attorney General John Suthers today.

In Nevada, the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana reported late last week that its internal polling shows its initiative leading by a margin of 49% to 43%. I'm starting to think that maybe, just maybe, this will be the breakthrough year where we actually win a legalize marijuana campaign. But now, organized opposition is starting to rear its ugly head in both states. This week, I'll be reporting on both states, and I'll be trying to talk to some of these opponents and some neutral observers as well as the usual suspects.

Pot Politics: Marijuana and the Costs of Prohibition is also the title of a new book edited by SUNY-Albany psychology professor Mitch Earleywine. It includes chapters by a number of folks who should be familiar to readers of the Chronicle, including Marijuana Policy Project communications director Bruce Mirken, the Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative's Charles Thomas, and marijuana economist Jeffrey Miron. My review copy just arrived, but I intend to suck it down in the next couple of days and have a review ready for this pot-heavy issue.

My boss, Dave Borden, will grumble. We are the Drug Reform Coordination Network, not the Marijuana Reform Coordination Network, he will point out. He will want some balance, something about harm reduction or sentencing or treatment. Well, we'll get some of that this week, but it'll just be in the news briefs. This is a marijuana week.

Location: 
United States

Possible 40-year term debated for teen accused of drug smuggling

Location: 
El Paso, TX
United States
Publication/Source: 
Houston Chronicle
URL: 
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/4211621.html

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