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Law Student Sues St. John’s University for Rescinding Readmission Over Drug Charges

8000 Utopia Parkway St. John’s University
Queens, NY 11439
United States
David Powers, an accountant who took time out of law school at St. John’s University, has sued the Roman Catholic university in New York after it refused to readmit him, saying that he had not been honest about a criminal conviction, since expunged, in his past. Three semesters into his law degree, Mr. Powers was granted a leave of absence to manage a $2-billion investment fund in Hong Kong.
The Chronicle of Higher Education (DC)

Columbian Marching Powder: How Reforms to the Rockefeller Drug Laws Could Help the Alleged Ivy League Drug Dealers

United States
In 2009, after years of debate and political wrangling, the New York state legislature finally passed a bill revising the state's notorious Rockefeller drug laws. Now it turns out that the first high-profile beneficiaries of the reforms could be a bunch of kids from Columbia University. The arrest of five students on Dec. 7 — they allegedly sold $11,000 worth of marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, Adderall, and LSD — may be a "test case" for the new reforms.
Slate (NY)

Talking to Your Kids About Drugs: Four Healthy Concepts to Consider

Carole Bennett, a substance abuse counselor and activist who has lectured at a number of rehabilitation centers as well as schools and universities, offers four healthy concepts to consider when talking to children about substance use.
The Huffington Post (CA)

White Privilege and Illicit Drugs

Algernon Austin, director of the Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy at the Economic Policy Institute, explores white privilege in conjunction with the war on drugs against the backdrop of the book Dorm Room Dealers: Drugs and the Privileges of Race and Class by A. Rafik Mohamed and Erik D. Fritsvold.
The Huffington Post (CA)

Invest in the Future of Drug Policy Reform

Happy New Year Friends!

This was an amazing year for Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

We helped bring the issue of marijuana legalization into the national spotlight by launching the Just Say Now campaign, a project with our friends at Firedoglake, that provided important tools like a free online phone banking system for activists around the country to call voters in four states with marijuana reforms on the ballot.

Make a tax-deductible donation to help SSDP continue our important work.

Our chapter network continues to expand throughout the U.S. and with the addition of an international liaison, SSDP is now rapidly expanding outside of the states and into key places like Mexico City.  And for the first time, we hosted our international conference on the west coast and with over 500 people, it was our largest conference to date!  Now that 2010 is behind us, we're looking forward to 2011.

This is the last chance to give a tax-deductible gift in 2010, so please consider donating today.  Our goals in 2011 are ambitious, and we couldn't do what we do without the generous support of people like you.


Aaron, Jon, Stacia, Patrick, Garret & Edward
National Staff

P.S. There's still one day left to get your early-bird discount when you register for our 2011 Training Conference & Lobby Day at the University of Maryland, March 17-19, 2011.  More details at


Connect with SSDP


No Mas: Mexico Students Unite to Stop Drug War

Ciudad Juárez, CHH
Amidst a deadly drug prohibition war in Juarez, Mexico, a group of college students have emerged from the violence to tell their city that they've had enough. The Juarez "students are quite heroic," said Bruce Bagley, who heads the Latin American affairs department at the University of Miami. "The fact that they are standing up to the military has highlighted the fact that the military in its conduct of the war on drugs in Mexico has actually fallen into numerous human rights violations.
ABC News (US)

LA Times Smacks Down Drug Czar's Anti-Pot Propaganda

I haven't always been impressed by the Los Angeles Times' coverage of marijuana policy, but I've got to give credit when it's due. This editorial properly devastates the drug czar's recent claim that medical marijuana advocacy has led to increased use among teens.

Even if a causal connection is discovered, though, it doesn't imply that the solution is to stop discussing legalization — as evidenced by the same National Institute on Drug Abuse survey that prompted Kerlikowske's comments.

Even as teen marijuana use is rising, tobacco and alcohol use is falling, according to the report, which found that 21.4% of high school seniors had smoked pot in the previous month and 19.2% had smoked tobacco — the first time since 1981 that marijuana was more popular than cigarettes. This may indicate that public health campaigns aimed at discouraging alcohol and tobacco use are working, and that similar campaigns aimed specifically at marijuana might be equally effective. There's little evidence that continued criminalization has discouraged teen drug use, but better education might.

It's not every day that the drug warriors send out a press release only to get picked apart and embarrassed by the editorial board of a major newspaper. That job is typically left to people like me.

One Toke Over the Line: The Assertion That Prop. 19 Is Contributing to a Rise in Teenage Marijuana Use is Unfounded (Editorial)

United States
The Los Angeles Times editorial board says that Gil Kerlikowske should have checked such sources as the Congressional Research Service before jumping to conclusions. An April report, issued to advise Congress on whether to loosen federal restrictions on medical marijuana, examined studies comparing teen pot smoking in states with and without medical marijuana laws and found no connection between such laws and drug use. "Concerns that medical cannabis laws send the wrong message to vulnerable groups such as adolescents seem to be unfounded," it stated. They also note that there's little evidence that continued criminalization has discouraged teen drug use, but better education might.
Los Angeles Times (CA)

Drug Czar Blames Rising Teen Pot Use on Medical Cannabis Laws Rather Than on the Administration’s Own Failed Policies

Paul Armentano, the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, discusses the Drug Czar's spin on rising teen marijuana use.
The Hill (DC)

Medical Marijuana Has Nothing to do with Teenage Pot Smoking

The drug czar's shameful attempt to blame increased teenage pot use on the medical marijuana debate has already been ripped to confetti by almost every good drug policy writer on the web, but in case you haven't seen it, here he goes.

"We have been telling young people, particularly for the past couple years, that marijuana is medicine," the former Seattle police chief argued. "So it shouldn't be a great surprise to us that young people are now misperceiving the dangers or the risks around marijuana." [ABC News]

The very idea that debating the legalization of medical marijuana makes teens more inclined to indulge is just demonstrably false, but the absurdity of the accusation actually goes beyond that. Rather obviously, public pressure to protect patients was a reaction to deeply disturbing actions by federal agencies and pathetic intransigence by elected representatives with the power to uphold justice and compassion.

There would have been no debate about legalizing medical marijuana if you sick idiots had summoned the guts to do the right thing in the first place. We did indeed spend years working to educate the public about marijuana's medical value, and if we hadn't, patients might still be treated like common criminals everywhere in America. If even one person misunderstood our message about marijuana, the blame rests with those who obscured and obstructed the discussion for so long. We didn't want to spend 15 years making noise about this, but a staggering number of public officials abdicated their duty and forced us to take action again and again.

Teenagers looking for a buzz don't give a damn if it's medicine, but they do take note when the government gets caught lying about it at every turn. If these drug war scumbags want the attention of America's youth, maybe they should try saying something that isn't obvious bullshit for once.

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