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Why Parents Should Support Legalizing Pot (Opinion)

United States
Hanna Liebman Dershowitz, an attorney and mother of two elementary school children, opines on why parents should support legalizing marijuana.
Alternet (CA)

Mexican Drug Traffickers Reaching Deeper Into San Diego County for Teen Smugglers

United States
Mexican drug trafficking organizations are reaching neighborhoods far from the border. Authorities said potential recruits in the South Bay used to be the primary targets, but now teens living deeper into San Diego County have been among the growing number of recruits. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Joe Garcia said, "I think parents in all neighborhoods need to be concerned."

Parent: Quaker Son Shouldn't Need School Drug Test

United States
The parent of a central Pennsylvania high school student wants her son exempted from random drug testing because integrity is a tenet of the teen's Quaker faith.
Centre Daily Times (PA)

Torturing Children to Protect Them From Drugs

Some would say there's a certain inherent fairness in "zero tolerance" drug policies that approach every situation with equal levels of panicked overreaction. But as this story shows, zero tolerance is nothing more than a prescription for unfathomable cruelty.

TROPHY CLUB, Texas - Administrators at Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club suspended a 16-year-old boy on Tuesday because his eyes were bloodshot and they thought he might have been smoking marijuana.

The teen said he was not high. Instead his eyes were red because he had been grieving the loss of his murdered father.

Kyler Robertson’s father was stabbed to death on Sunday. His mother honored his wishes and let him go to school on Tuesday to be with his friends. []

Wow, that sounds pretty bad, but surely the school officials chilled out once they were made aware of the situation:

Kyler was allowed to return to class after he showed school administrators a copy of his negative test results.

The teen’s mom still wants an apology from administrators and she wants the district to remove the suspension from his permanent record. She is in the process of appealing it.

“We had other things to do this week than worry about a three day window for an appeal, a two hour window for a drug test and my son’s reputation and high school career,” she said.

The marijuana debate is characterized by constant conflict over whether prohibition funds drug cartels, wastes police resources, and rejects potential tax revenue. If only we could somehow measure the totality of cruel and stupid acts carried out independently on a daily basis by self-righteous morons who believe they're helping solve the drug problem by treating innocent people like trash.

Cops Say Yes to California Marijuana Legalization Measure [FEATURE]

It was a law enforcement trifecta in support of California's Proposition 19 Monday, with a phalanx of police, prosecutors, and judges coming out in support of the marijuana legalization initiative in a pair of early morning press conferences in Oakland and Los Angeles and a teleconference later in the day for those unable to attend the live events. The endorsements come with Prop 19 in a very tight race and Election Day just seven weeks away.

While, unsurprisingly, a large number of California law enforcement officials have come out in opposition to Prop 19, Monday's events were designed to show that law enforcement opposition to marijuana legalization is by no means monolithic. Organizers of the events also released a letter endorsing Prop 19 signed by dozens of current and former law enforcement officials.

"As police officers, judges, prosecutors, corrections officials and others who have labored to enforce the laws that seek to prohibit cannabis (marijuana) use, and who have witnessed the abysmal failure of this current criminalization approach, we stand together in calling for new laws that will effectively control and tax cannabis," the letter read. "As criminal justice professionals, we have seen with our own eyes that keeping cannabis illegal damages public safety -- for cannabis consumers and non-consumers alike. We've also seen that prohibition sometimes has tragic consequences for the law enforcers charged with putting their lives on the line to enforce it. The only groups that benefit from continuing to keep marijuana illegal are the violent gangs and cartels that control its distribution and reap immense profits from it through the black market. If California's voters make the sensible decision to effectively control and tax cannabis this November, it will eliminate illegal marijuana distribution networks, just as ending alcohol prohibition put a stop to violent and corrupting gangsters' control of beer, wine and liquor sales."

The same themes were reprised in the three press conferences Monday. "I was with the LAPD when Nixon declared the 'War on Drugs' over 40 years ago and was one of the 'generals' on the front lines who helped implement that same failed drug policy that is still in effect today," said Stephen Downing, a retired deputy chief of police with the LAPD who is now a speaker with the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). "During my career, I not only saw the ineffectiveness of our marijuana laws up close but also witnessed the harm our prohibition approach inflicts on public safety. By keeping marijuana illegal, we aren't preventing anyone from using it. The only results are billions of tax-free dollars being funneled into the pockets of bloodthirsty drug cartels and gangs who control the illegal market."

Former LAPD sergeant and Los Angeles County deputy district attorney William John Cox added, "This November, Californians finally have a chance to flip the equation and put drug cartels out of business, while restoring public respect for the criminal laws and their enforcement by passing Proposition 19 to control and regulate marijuana."

"This is a very, very good opportunity to increase safety on our streets and highways, get officers out of drug law enforcement and back on patrol," said LEAP executive director Neill Franklin, a now retired 34-year law enforcement veteran. "In addition, it will give up more cops on the streets to focus on drunk and drugged driving. All of our police officers are trained in drug recognition,and this is an opportunity to get more cops out stopping vehicles and checking for those who are driving impaired."

Former San Jose police Chief Joseph McNamara, now a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institute, also took to the podium in support of Prop 19. "I've been studying drugs for years," he said, relating how he rose through the ranks of the NYPD before becoming chief in Kansas City and then San Jose. "We learned pretty quickly in New York that the people we were arresting were low-level offenders. All the arrests weren't doing any good. As cops, we felt the community would be better off if we were arresting robbers, burglars, and rapists. Enforcing prohibition took us away from protecting people on our beat," he said.

"I signed onto Prop 19 because I think it is a real opportunity for the voters to eliminate somewhere between 40 million and 200 million crimes overnight by making legal behavior that is today wasting so many law enforcement resources," McNamara continued. "Prohibition hasn't reduced the use of marijuana, and it also produces enormous funding for the cartels and the drug gangs. And violence, not because people are getting stoned on marijuana, but by the whole gangster syndrome that exists with prohibition driving prices up."

Passage of Prop 19 would be a "game changer," McNamara said. He challenged the media, which has been closely scrutinizing the measure, to apply the same rigorous evaluation to marijuana prohibition itself. "They are ignoring the details of the status quo," he said. "What do we have with this costly war against marijuana?" he asked. "Widespread violence, more use than if it were manufactured legally, and tremendous disrespect for the law."

Former federal prosecutor and California Superior Court Judge James Gray also spoke in support of Prop 19. "I was basically a drug warrior until I saw that the tougher we get with regard to nonviolent drug offenses, the softer we get with everything else because we only have so many resources in the criminal justice system," he said.

Gray also addressed the opposition's "what about the kids" argument by turning it on its head. "We are corrupting our children, not because of marijuana, but because of marijuana prohibition," he argued. "We are putting our children in harm's way. Ask our young people what's harder to get, beer or marijuana, and they will tell you it's easier to get marijuana, because alcohol is regulated and controlled by the government, and illegal marijuana dealers don't ask for ID."

Calling the Prop 19 vote "probably the most important election of my lifetime," Gray said the voters are ahead of the politicians. "I think we have a pretty good chance of doing something good for our state and for the country by passing Prop 19," he concluded.

Monday's law enforcement endorsements are just the latest in a long and ever-growing list of people and organizations lining up to support the measure, including labor unions, the National Black Police Association, the NAACP, doctors, politicians, political parties, and many more. Let's hope that list grows much longer in the remaining weeks until election day on November 2.

United States

SSDP Heads Back to School!


Dear friends,

The 2010 fall semester brings with it SSDP's largest chapter network to date. SSDP now has chapters on 135 college campuses throughout the U.S., and we expect to reach nearly 200 chapters by early 2011! We're also holding five regional conferences across the country and will be hosting our first training conferenceat the University of Maryland in March.

Back to School Fundraising Drive 
A donationof $100, $50, $25 or $10 to SSDP will help us provide materialsand resources to our chapters so that they can wage successful campaigns on and off their campuses. Please consider making a one-time donation or signing up as a monthly sustainer and donating as little as $10 per month to SSDP.

If you can't support us financially right now, you can help us grow by spreading the word and telling a friend about our Action Alert list, becoming a fan of us on Facebook, joining our Facebook Cause, and by following us on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

Just Say Now!
We have officially launchedour "Just Say Now" campaign with, one of the world's biggest political blogs, to combine their online presence with our grassroots organizing strength. Together we will be working to identify supporters of marijuana reform across the country to get them engaged in the battle, while simultaneously attracting the attention of the nation and the world. Sign the petitionand make a $10 donation to get your awesome Just Say Now sticker! Through the Just Say Now Campus Challengeour chapters are competing to see which school can gather the most signatures.

New Student Organizing Manual!
SSDP's outreach staff has launched a revamped student organizing manual, arming every SSDP chapter and activist with guides on lobbying, working with the media, running productive meetings, organizing successful events and much more. Your donation of $20 will pay for 10 manuals to be printed and shipped to chapters!

SSDP Regional Conferences
Northeast Regional - October 16-17
University of Connecticut

Mid-Atlantic Regional - October 9-10
Virgina Commonwealth University

West Coast Regional - October 16
San Francisco State University

Mountain Plains Regional - November 6
University of Colorado Boulder

Midwest Regional - Date TBD
Kent State University

Help Us Reach 10,000 Fans on Facebook!
Are you a fan of SSDP on Facebook? We are currently at almost 10,000 fans and we hope that after this message is sent out, we will reach 15,000. All you have to do is visit our Facebook pageand click "like". Then update your status with "I like SSDP! Can you do the same?" and attach this link:

SSDP Training Conference and Lobby Day
SSDP is excited to be holding our first three-track training conference aimed at delivering chapter members with intensive participatory workshops and trainings on campaign management, running a chapter and lobbying.
Location: University of Maryland College Park
Date: March 17-19, 2011
Donate to our conference scholarship fund



Can you make a donation to SSDP today?

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SSDP Endorses California's Proposition 19

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Absence of Morphine Condemns Children to a Life of Pain

Morphine, as a narcotic, has such a bad reputation in many poor countries that doctors cannot obtain it for their patients. A new report from Human Rights Watch describes the suffering of children in pain in Kenya.
The Guardian (UK)

State Appeals Court Upholds Halt to Drug Testing

United States
A California appeals court has upheld a temporary ban on the Shasta County school district’s policy of drug testing students in extracurricular activities as it may violate the state Constitution.
Siskiyou Daily News (CA)

Shootout Near School Shocks Mexico

Monterrey, NLE
Drug prohibition violence continues to build in Mexico where a gun fight occurred in front of the American School Foundation, the school of choice for the children of many of Monterrey's top businessmen as well as the children of Americans working in the city. The gun battle is the latest sign that Mexico's prohibition violence is spreading to wealthier areas of the country which had long thought themselves immune, and has deepened the fear that has gripped Monterrey in the last few months.
The Wall Street Journal (NY)

Five Ways the Drug War Hurts Kids (Video)

One of drug prohibition's many unintended consequences is negative effects on children lives.'s Ted Balaker sat down with Franklin to discuss how battling drug dealers in Baltimore turned him against the war on drugs and why ending prohibition would improve safety for children, as well as the rest of us.
Opposing Views (CA)

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