psmith

psmith's picture

History

Member for
12 years 41 weeks
Blog
View recent blog entries

Stories by psmith


More Reefer Madness Yellow Journalism in Australia

More Australian Reefer Madness Journalism Yesterday, we published a newsbrief about the Australian med

Drug War Chronicle Book Review: "The Heroin Solution" by Arnold Trebach (2nd ed., 2006, Unlimited Publishing, 330 pp., $19.99 pb.)

Arnold Trebach wrote "The Heroin Solution" in 1982. That it is still relevant and relevatory is a sad commentary on how far we've come since then. We review it on the occasion of its republication.

Feature: US Sentencing Commission Again Calls on Congress to Fix Crack-Powder Cocaine Sentencing Disparity

The US Sentencing Commission has again called on Congress to act to reduce sentencing inequities around the federal crack cocaine laws. Will Congress finally listen this time?

Hemp: California Bill Passes Assembly

A bill that would eventually allow California farmers to grow hemp has passed the state Assembly and is expected to pass the Senate. Last year, Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill.

Sentencing: Maryland Governor Vetoes Bill To Give Two-Time Drug Sales Offenders Parole Eligibility

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have allowed second-time drug sales offenders parole eligibility. Instead, they will remain locked up doing 10-year mandatory minimum sentences.

Pregnancy: New Mexico Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Criminalizing Drug Use By Mothers-To-Be

An amicus brief by advocates strongly made the case that prosecutions drive pregnant women away from the health care system and thereby hurt, not help.

Sentencing: Nevada Supreme Court Justices Ask Legislature for More Discretion, More Funding for Drug Courts

With Nevada prisons bursting at the seams, state Supreme Court justices went to the legislature Monday to ask for more discretion in sentencing and more funding for drug and mental health courts.

Latin America: Top Anti-Drug Official Gunned Down in Mexico City

In the highest-profile killing yet in the current round of Mexico's drug wars, unknown assailants gunned down a leading anti-drug official in Mexico City Monday.

Europe: Hungarian Global Marijuana Marchers Sue Over Blocked Demonstration

Hungary's Global Marijuana Marches came a week later than elsewhere, and they ran into some problems with rightist thugs and recalcitrant local officials. Now, the organizers are suing.

Australia: "Super Dope" Marijuana Scare Prompts Threats to Ban Bongs

Over-hyped Australian media accounts of "super dope" marijuana about to invade the country are dovetailing with efforts to crack down on bongs.

Fighting Meth With Misinformation in Idaho

There is no question that methamphetamine is a potentially dangerous drug. Communities that take steps to prevent people from starting to use it in the first place are to be lauded.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Tarnished badges abound this week. We've got a cop who got too high on his own brownies, missing drug evidence, a head narc busted for ripping-off drug dealers, a cop busted for taking bribes from drug dealers, a couple more cops pleading guilty to protecting drug shipments, and the requisite jail guard dealing drugs.

"Cannabis Cash 'Funds Islamist Terrorism'"--Here we go again.

The old "drug users fund terrorism" canard is getting new play in Europe this week, where French and Spanish intelligence agencies reported that, as the Guardian (UK) put it,

Top anti-narcotics official slain in Mexico City

Location: 

Medical Marijuana: Illinois Bill Killed in Senate

A medical marijuana bill has gone down in defeat in Illinois despite broad support from the medical community.

Feature: Turning Up the Heat on New York's Rockefeller Drug Laws (and the Politicians Who Fail to Fix Them)

New York's draconian Rockefeller drug laws turned 34 this week, and the reform movement is doing all it can to see that they don't make it to 35.

Feature: Global Marijuana Marches Take Place in More Than 200 Cities Worldwide

Supporters of marijuana legalization took to the streets around the world in this year's Global Marijuana March. Here's a report.

Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Headed For Final Vote in House, Facing Veto

The Minnesota legislature is one House floor vote from passing a medical marijuana bill, but the Republican governor is vowing a veto.

Marijuana: Wisconsin Towns Join Decriminalization Trend

The far north Wisconsin resort town of Washburn has decriminalized marijuana possession, and the town of Two Rivers is right behind it. They're only the latest Cheesehead State locales to go in that direction.

Europe: Vatican Registers First Drug Conviction

For the first time, someone has been convicted of a drug charge in the Vatican.

Public Health: DEA Puts Fentanyl OD Death Toll at More Than a Thousand

The death toll from a deadly combination of heroin and fentanyl rose all through last year. Now, the DEA says more than a thousand people died.

Latin America: Colombia Bans Coca Products -- Except Coca-Cola

For years, the Colombian government has allowed indigenous traditional coca growers to market coca products nationwide, but now it has changed course, and some are pointing the finger at Coca-Cola.

Criminal Justice: Snapshots of the Drug War

In courthouses across the country, enforcing the drug laws is big business. We look at courthouse action in three separate locations to get a snapshot of the drug war.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Boston cop gets busted, a Tacoma probation officer peddles meth, two former Memphis cops cop pleas, so does a former NYPD officer, and a small-town Texas lawman heads for federal prison.

What the heck is going on in Licking County, Ohio?

There's something funny going on in Licking County, Ohio.

Initial Reports on the Global Marijuana Marches

DRCNet bumper sticker on a car at the SF marijuana march I'll be writing this week about the Global Marijuana Marches that were set to take place in 232 cities Saturday.

Medical Marijuana: By a Veto-Proof Margin, Rhode Island Legislature Passes Bill to Keep It

Rhode Island is set to make its medical marijuana law permanent, after a bill to do so passed both houses of the legislature this week by veto-proof margins.

Feature: Guilty Pleas Only the Beginning in Aftermath of Atlanta "Drug Raid" Killing of 92-Year Old

Two Atlanta narcotics officers have pleaded guilty in the November drug raid death of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston, but it looks like that's just the beginning of problems for the Atlanta narcotics squad.

Feature: US Sentencing Commission Announces Reduction in Crack Cocaine Sentences

The US Sentencing Commission has adjusted sentencing guidelines to allow crack offenders to get a little less time in federal prison. Meanwhile, the pressure mounts for Congress to address the infamous crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity.

Feature: Blacks, Hispanics More Likely to Be Searched at Traffic Stops -- But That Is Not Proof of Racial Profiling, Justice Department Claims

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has released a report showing black and Hispanic drivers are more likely to be subjected to vehicle searches than whites, but it says it can't conclude racial profiling is to blame. It also lacks some key numbers that could make the case.

Weekly: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

It's a real motley crew this week: a small-town police chief gone bad, cops escorting drug shipments, and, of course, more crooked prison guards.

Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Passes Senate, House Version Moving Too

The Minnesota medical marijuana bill has passed the state Senate and is moving in the House, but the Republican governor is vowing a veto.

Methamphetamine: Senators Feinstein and Grassley Introduce Bill to Heighten Penalties for Meth Dealers Who Flavor Their Product

Reacting to reports of flavored methamphetamine entering the market, two senators have introduced a bill that would increase prison sentences for anyone who flavors a drug to lure children.

Pain Medicine: Dr. Hurwitz Convicted of 16 Counts in Retrial

In a victory for federal prosecutors waging war on pain doctors they consider little more than drug dealers, Northern Virginia pain specialist Dr. Bill Hurwitz was found guilty of 16 counts of drug distribution in his second trial.

Marijuana: It's That Time Again -- Marijuana Marches Set for Saturday in More Than 200 Cities Worldwide

If it's the first Saturday in May, it's time for the annual global marijuana marches. This year, people in 231 cities will take to the streets to free the weed.

Sonoma County and the Future of Marijuana

Last weekend, I drove into California on US 101, the Redwood Highway, blowing past Crescent City and the Pelican Bay supermax prison as I headed south toward Sonoma County, where I will be residing fo

Feature: Drug Czar Reluctantly Admits Cocaine Prices Have Dropped in Quietly Released Report

Two years ago, drug czar John Walters trumpeted rising cocaine prices as evidence the drug war was working. But the overall trend is toward lower prices and higher purity, and Walters doesn't want to talk about that.

Feature: Cannabis Nation Celebrates 4/20 -- Dozens of Campus Actions, Mass Arrests in Denver, Foiled in Las Vegas

Last Friday was 4/20, the unofficial holiday for marijuana aficionados. On campuses across the country, students came out. In Denver and Las Vegas, though, there were problems.

Southwest Asia: Drug Trade a Pillar of the Afghan Economy

The opium economy is the leading employer in Afghanistan, despite limited eradication efforts funded by the west.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Three police officers and a prison guard arrested, and another prison guard gets sent to prison. Once again, we present the corrosive impact of the drug war on police ethics and morality in all its mundane banality.

Europe: Belgium, Germany Need to Open Their Own Cannabis Coffee Shops, Says Dutch Mayor

The Belgian and German governments are complaining about Dutch border city coffee shops that cater to their citizens, but a Dutch mayor suggests they just open their own.

Search and Seizure: Supreme Court Takes Up Rights of Vehicle Passengers

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in a case that revolves around whether passengers in a vehicle stopped by police are "seized" like the driver.

Latin America: As Blood Continues to Flow, Mexico's Opposition Calls for Drug Legalization -- Starting with the US

With bloody drug prohibition-related violence unabated despite the latest round of government military offensives, leading members of Mexico's main opposition party are calling for drug legalization as way out.

[Amherst] Rally Aims For Change in Marijuana Laws

Location: 

Police Arrest 78 People at [Denver] Marijuana Rally

Location: 

Hundreds Rally in Denver to Support Marijuana Legalization

Location: 

Charges Dismissed Against Loretta Nall; Happy 4/20 To All of Y'all!

Alabama housewife turned activist Loretta Nall is out from under the long arm of the law, with the marijuana charges against her dropped as Cannabis Nation celebrates its unofficial national holiday,

Sentencing: New York Assembly Passes New Rockefeller Law Reforms

A bill that would significantly expand the so far modest reforms of New York's draconian Rockefeller drug laws has passed the state Assembly.

The Drug Debate: Republican Former Senator Calls for New Look at Drug Policies

Former US Senator Lincoln Chafee spoke out on the need for changes in drug policy at the SSDP Northeast Regional Conference last weekend.

Feature: In Britain, Labor's Decade-Long Drug War a Failure, New Report Finds

As Britain's 10-year drug strategy comes up for renewal or replacement next year, the latest in a long line of reports assailing it has come out.

Feature: Punk Rocker's Jailing Raises Questions About Field Drug Tests

It's kind of ironic when a Germ gets busted for soap, but Don Bolles isn't laughing after a bad field drug test said his Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap contained GHB. Neither is Dr. Bronner's.

Pain Medicine: Judge Dismisses Most Serious Charges in Hurwitz Retrial

The judge presiding over the retrial of Northern Virginia pain specialist Dr. William Hurwitz has thrown out the most serious charges.

Media: The Drug Truth Network on YouTube

The underground radio Drug Truth Network is now doing video, using the popular service YouTube.

Sentencing: Maryland Passes Reform Measure for Drug Offenders

With a big push from reform organizations, the Maryland legislature has passed a measure that will help more than 1,000 drug offenders have a chance to get out early.

Medical Marijuana: Feds to Retry Ed Rosenthal in Futile Prosecution

Vindictive federal prosecutors are determined to go after Ed Rosenthal, even though they can't send him to prison and the judge told them not to.

Europe: British Junior Docs Call for Marijuana-Based Medicine Prescriptions

The British Medical Association Junior Members Forum has called for cannabis-based medicines to be prescribed by the National Health Service.

Salvia Divinorum: Vermont Town Gets Fight Over Sales Ban

Last week, the Middlebury, Vermont, town council blindsided the Emporium Tobacco and Gift Shop with a sudden order to cease and desist from selling salvia divinorum. Now, the shop owner is fighting back.

Latin America: More Trouble in Peru's Coca Fields

Tensions are rising in Peru's Upper Huallaga Valley coca fields, as government eradicators come under attack, growers go on strike, and the García government vows to take a hard line.

Peru's Garcia Seems Determined to Stoke Conflict With Coca Growers

Although the Peruvian government cut a deal with coca growers in San Martin state last month to end a strike, promising a temporary end to forced eradication of coca crops, it has since decided to res

Peru's Coca Farmers Start Indefinite Strike Against Government

Location: 

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

More cops arrested, a dispatcher, too, and yet another prison guard goes to prison.

Feature: The War on Salvia Divinorum Heats Up

Efforts to ban salvia divinorum are spreading across the country. So far, it's illegal in five states and various towns and cities, and seven more states have bills pending this year. The DEA is looking at it, too.

Feature: Oregon's Messy Medical Marijuana Statehouse Politics

A plethora of bills affecting medical marijuana patients or the state medical marijuana program are active in the Oregon legislature this year -- in part because of a strong activist base, in part because of legislative foes.

Medical Marijuana: Bill to Make Rhode Island Law Permanent Passes House, Senate Committees

A bill that would make Rhode Island's medical marijuana permanent is headed for House and Senate floor votes. Unless it passes, the program will end June 30.

Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Passes Senate Committee

The Minnesota medical marijuana bill continues to move through the legislature.

Asia: China Sets Up Drug User Data Bank

Sometimes being a dictatorship has its advantages, at least if you work for the police. China has created a data bank of drug users with more than three-quarters of a million names.

Marijuana: After Denver Votes to Legalize It, Cops Arrest Even More

When Denver residents voted to legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana in 2005, city officials vowed to ignore the will of the voters. Now, they are adding insult to injury.

Europe: French Anti-Globalist Activist and Presidential Candidate Says Legalize Marijuana

Anti-globalization activist and French presidential candidate José Bové is calling for the legalization of marijuana.

Medical Marijuana: California Begins Taxing Dispensaries

California's medical marijuana community is split over whether taxation will help to normalize the coops as accepted business or expose them to greater risk by creating a paper trail available to the feds.

Voting Rights: Florida Clemency Board Votes to Restore to Most Felons

Acting at the behest of Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, the state of Florida has moved to restore voting rights to most ex-felons.

Drug War Chronicle Book Review: "Policing the Globe: Criminalization and Crime Control in International Relations," by Peter Andreas and Ethan Nadelmann. (2006, Oxford University Press, 333 pp., $29.95 HB)

The war on drugs is one part of a web of international crime control regimes that have developed over centuries. But past definitions of crime and today's are not all the same.

Feature: Among Architects, a Prison Design Boycott Gains Steam

Architects are among those who profit from policies that lead to mass incarceration, but one professional grouping is leading a Prison Design Boycott Campaign.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Georgia fire captain gets caught peddling coke, a pair of New Haven narcs lose their jobs, a former Mississippi police chief cops a plea, and a former Ohio cop goes back to prison.

Information: NIDA Drug Library Closed Due to Budget Woes

The NIDA drug library has been closed for budget reasons. The historic collection of more than 12,000 journal volumes and 8,000 books will be dispersed.

The Presidency: Past Drug Use Would Disqualify Nominee for Only 19% of Americans, Poll Finds

Past drug use by a presidential candidate is close to the bottom of the list of concerns for voters, a Gallup poll has found.

Methamphetamine: Feds Make First Cold Medicine Bust Under Combat Meth Act

A New York state man has earned the dubious distinction of being the first person arrested under the federal Combat Meth Epidemic Act, which restricts access to cold medicines containing methamphetamine precursor chemicals.

Methamphetamine: Nevada Governor's Working Group Issues Preliminary Report

A Nevada governor's panel on methamphetamine is calling for more money for treatment, prevention, and policing, but lacks even a mention of harm reduction.

Medical Marijuana: New Mexico Becomes Twelfth State to Approve It

With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Bill Richardson has made New Mexico the 12th medical marijuana state.

Harm Reduction: New Mexico Governor Signs Overdose Death Reduction Measure

With Gov. Bill Richardson's signature on the 911 Good Samaritan Act, New Mexico becomes the first state to provide limited immunity from prosecution to people who seek emergency medical treatment for overdose victims.

Peru's President Looking for Trouble in Coca Lands

Peruvian President Alan Garcia appears determined to spark an open confrontation with the county's hundreds of thousands of coca growers.

[New Mexico] Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Bill

Location: 

Drug War Chronicle Book Review: "Beat the Heat: How to Handle Encounters With Law Enforcement," by Katya Komisaruk (2003, AK Press, 192 pp., $16.00 PB)

We don't usually review books except when they're hot off the press, but we're making an exception with attorney Katya Komisaruk's "Beat the Heat." This is the best legal self defense book we've seen in some time and we think our readers need to know about it.

Feature: Drugs Should Be Classified According to Their Harms, British Experts Say -- And They're Not Now

A study by British drug experts calls for a science-based drug classification system based on the harm related to the use of each drug. It ranks drugs by harm, with alcohol and tobacco both ranked as more harmful than marijuana.

Marijuana: Cincinnati City Council Votes to Extend Tough Ordinance

Last year, the Cincinnati city council voted for an ordinance that would make marijuana possession a criminal offense, saying it would reduce violent crime. It hasn't, but the council this week voted to extend it anyway.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Two cops get busted, a jail guard pleads guilty, a Border Patrol agent is found guilty, and a sheriff's deputy is sent to prison. Just your typical week of drug prohibition-related law enforcement corruption.

Middle East: Marijuana Not Kosher for Passover, Says Green Leaf Party

Marijuana is not kosher for Passover, Israel's Green Leaf Party warned this week. Does that mean it is kosher the rest of the time?

Marijuana: Bob Barr to Lobby for Marijuana Policy Project

Former Georgia Republican Congressman Bob Barr blocked the District of Columbia from enacting medical marijuana. That was then. Now, he has signed on as a lobbyist with the Marijuana Policy Project.

Medical Marijuana: New Hampshire Bill Narrowly Defeated

A New Hampshire medical marijuana bill has been defeated in the House. Advocates are pointing to 2/3 public support and the closeness of the vote, and are promising to come back next year.

South America: Bolivia Moves to Block Coca Crop Expansion

The Bolivian government is moving to "rationalize" coca production in the Yungas region.

Law Enforcement: The Drug War Dominates Grand Jury Action in One Ohio County

Last week's grand jury action in one Ohio county opens a window on the impact of drug prohibition on the criminal justice system.

Law Enforcement: Atlanta Police Change Policies in Wake of Fatal Drug Raid

When 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston was killed by Atlanta undercover narcs in a botched drug raid last November, community outrage was palpable. Now, the Atlanta police are changing some of their practices and procedures.

STATS is a resource you should know about.

I want to bring to your attention a great resource for debunking bad science posing as policy analysis.

The Candy Counter: Georgia Set to Ban Sales of Marijuana-Flavored Lollipops to Kids

The Georgia House has approved a bill that would ban the sale of marijuana-flavored candies to kids. If it passes the state Senate, the state would be the first in the nation to pass such a ban.

Feature: Prison Rape and the War on Drugs

According to a just released study, sexual assaults against prisoners are an endemic problem, not an isolated one, the drug war makes it worse, and drug war prisoners are among those most likely to be victimized.

Feature: Reefer Madness Strikes a Leading British Newspaper

A decade ago, the leading British newspaper the Independent on Sunday called for the decriminalization of marijuana. This week, citing the dangers of skunk weed and alleged links to mental illness, the paper reversed course.

Feature: "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" Free Speech Case Goes to the Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court Monday heard oral arguments in the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case, pitting student free speech rights against schools' anti-drug policies.

Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Approved By Second House Panel

A medical marijuana bill in Minnesota has passed another House committee.

Europe: Heroin Substitute Buprenorphine Now Available in Scotland

Scottish authorities have approved the use of buprenorphine for heroin addicts who don't respond to or can't tolerate methadone.

Europe: Clamor for Licit Medicinal Afghan Opium Grows Among British MPs

A group of 40 British Members of Parliament is calling on the Blair government to support a trial program that would divert Afghan opium from the black market to the licit medicinal market.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Just another week of drug prohibition-related law enforcement corruption. An NYPD cop gets caught with a stash in her undies drawer, an Ohio cop has some bad hits, more prison guards get greedy, and a former St. Paul cop goes to prison.

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