psmith

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Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Puerto Rican narc gets caught robbing an armored car, a Mississippi cop gets nailed for selling and using speed, and a Toledo cop who liked to party too much cops a plea.

Search and Seizure: Supreme Court Rules Passengers Can Challenge Police Stops

Passengers in vehicles stopped by police are effectively "seized" and may challenge the constitutionality of that seizure, the Supreme Court ruled in an unanimous opinion Monday.

Middle East: Iran Hangs Four for Drug Trafficking

Iran executed four convicted drug traffickers on Saturday. That makes at least 102 executions in Iran so far this year.

Middle East: Dubai Sentences Two More Westerners To Prison Over Infinitesimal Amounts of Drugs

The Dubai courts continue their harsh treatment of people possessing even tiny amounts of illicit drugs. This week, they sent a Canadian working for an Afghan anti-drug program to prison for four years for traces of hashish that he may have picked up in the course of his work.

Medical Marijuana: Rhode Island Legislature Overrides Veto to Make Law Permanent

Rhode Island's medical marijuana law is here to stay. The legislature this week voted decisively to override a gubernatorial veto of a bill that would make it permanent.

Medical Marijuana: Connecticut Governor Vetoes Bill

A medical marijuana bill passes both houses of the Connecticut legislature, but Gov. Jodi Rell has now vetoed it.

Methamphetamine: With Meth Labs Plunging to Near Zero, Nevada Moves to Track Cold Remedies

Nevada's governor has signed an anti-meth lab bill that further restricts the purchase of over-the-counter cold and allergy remedies. Problem is, nobody is cooking meth in Nevada anymore.

Feature: North Dakota Farmers Sue DEA Over Hemp Growing Ban

A pair of North Dakota farmers have been granted state permits to grow hemp, but the DEA has refused to act on their federal license applications. Now the farmers are going to federal court to ask that the agency be told to butt out.

Feature: Move to Undo Higher Education Act Drug Provision Passes Senate Committee

A key Senate committee voted Wednesday to remove the infamous "drug question" from the federal financial aid form. With a measure calling for outright repeal expected to pass the House, it could be the beginning of the end for Souder's Folly.

Feature: ONDCP Kicks Off Annual Summer Marijuana Scare Campaign With Report Linking Drugs to Gangs, Violence

With the summer season now underway, the drug czar's office has released a scary new report linking youth marijuana and other drug use to gang membership and violence. Critics say there is less there than meets the eye.

North Dakota Farmers File Lawsuit Against DEA Over Hemp Ban

This afternoon, I particpated in a tele-news conference held in Bismarck, North Dakota, to announce the filing of a federal lawsuit by two North Dakota farmers (including a Republican state representa

Advanced Drug Testing: Creepy Science, Creepy Scientists

A German electronic newsletter about scientific innovations advises that a Russian

Doctor or Drug Pusher?

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Middle East: Dubai Customs Busts Canadian UN Afghan Drug Worker

Strict drug law enforcement at the Dubai airport has snagged yet another Westerner -- this time, a Canadian working for the UN anti-drug agency in Afghanistan.

South Pacific: Northern Mariana Islands in Tizzy Over Marijuana Decriminalization Proposal

Trouble in paradise? The hint of a proposal for marijuana decriminalization from the top law enforcement official of the Northern Mariana Islands has blown up a typhoon of criticism.

Chronicle Book Review: "Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom," by Andy Letcher (2007, Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers, 360 pp, $25.95 HB.)

With "Shrooms," British historian (and psychedelic folk band member) Andy Letcher has written a fine revisionist history of the magic mushroom. Modern myco-cultists will be disappointed with his findings, but the ride is entirely enjoyable.

Good-Bye: One Woman Drug War Victim Dies, Another is About To

We say good-bye this week to two women victims of the drug war, Veronica Flournoy, who went from drug war prisoner to reformer, and Crystal Ferguson, whose arrest for testing positive for cocaine at childbirth led eventually to a victory at the Supreme Court

Sentencing: Supreme Court to Decide Crack Sentencing Case

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of a Virginia man sentenced under the harsh federal crack cocaine laws. This is the third case having to do with federal sentencing the court has taken in recent months.

Law Enforcement: Almost No Drug Warrants in Atlanta Since Police Gunned Down Old Woman in Botched Drug Raid

Atlanta police have virtually stopped seeking drug search warrants in the six months since narcs executing a fraudulent "no-knock" warrant shot and killed a 92-year-old woman.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Yet another prison guard goes down, and a Georgia narc gets caught sleeping with his snitches.

Feature: Is Mexico's Drug War "Calderón's Iraq"?

Shortly after taking office late last year, Mexican President Felipe Calderón called on the army to take on the drug traffickers. Six months in, the death toll is mounting on all sides, but the drugs just keep coming.

Medical Marijuana: New York Bill Passes General Assembly, But Now Senate Balks

A medical marijuana bill has passed the New York General Assembly and the governor has indicated he would sign it, but now, the Republican-dominated state Senate is balking.

Bush Seeks to Re-Impose Mandatory Minimums

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Latest Entry in the Annals of Excess Department

This is not directly drug war related, but this is such an asinine abuse of both police and prosecutorial power that I thought I needed to share it.

Mexico is Bleeding

I can't avoid writing about Mexico again this week.

Why do we let cops be our "drug experts"?

We see this at all levels, from the local DARE officer misinforming the kids to national law enforcement associations lobbying for more funding to top cops explaining why marijuana is not a medicine.

Death Penalty: Two More Drug Offenders Sentenced in Vietnam, One Executed in Saudi Arabia

The nations of Southeast Asia and the Middle East continue to inflict the death penalty on drug offenders. This week, two Vietnamese peasants got the ultimate sanction and a Saudi got beheaded.

Marijuana: Mendocino County Supervisors Say Legalize It

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has sent a letter to lawmakers urging the legalization of marijuana. It was a belated response to a ballot measure passed by local voters six years ago.

Medical Marijuana: Rhode Island Governor Vetoes Bill, Override Expected

Gov. Donald Carcieri has vetoed a bill that would make Rhode Island's medical marijuana law permanent, but legislative leaders are vowing to override it -- as they did the last time.

Middle East: Don't Take Your Doobies to Dubai

Travelers beware! Having even the smallest detectable amount of hash or marijuana on you when traveling to Dubai can mean you'll be spending years in prison.

Latin America: Colombia Coca Production Up Again Despite Massive Eradication Efforts

The US government reported Monday that coca cultivation had increased in Colombia again last year -- despite a massive aerial herbicide spraying campaign and $700 million in US aid. The announcement comes as congressional Democrats attempt to cut anti-drug aid to Colombia.

Racial Profiling: It's Getting Worse in Missouri

Driving While Black continues to be problematic in Missouri -- and it's getting worse.

Elected Officials: Baltimore Councilman Calls for Drug Legalization

Frustrated by endless drug war and associated crime and violence, a Baltimore city council member says it's time to talk about drug legalization.

Medical Marijuana: Connecticut Bill Passes Legislature

The Connecticut legislature has passed a medical marijuana bill. Now it's up to Gov. Jodi Rell (R) to sign it, veto it, or just get out of the way. If she does nothing, the bill becomes law.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Well, thank goodness for crooked prison guards! If it wasn't for them, all we would have is blank space here this week.

Feature: Fireworks at Book Forum in Washington as "Lies, Damn Lies, and Drug War Statistics" Authors Confront ONDCP Official

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) came under withering criticism at an event hosted by the Cato Institute last Thursday -- and hit back. Here's a taste.

Feature: Canadian Mom Searching for Missing Daughter Denied Entry to US Over 21-Year-Old Drug Conviction

Canadian Glendene Grant's daughter went missing in Las Vegas last year. Now, US officials won't let her entry the country to look for her because she has a two-decades old drug conviction.

Feature: Congress Moves to End Ban on DC Needle Exchange Funding

In 1998, ideologically driven congressional Republicans barred the District of Colombia from using even its own money to fund needle exchange programs. Now, congressional Democrats are moving to end that ban.

More Border Blues--Canadian Mom Searching for Missing Daughter Denied Entry

Just two weeks ago, in an article titled Border Blues, we wrote about how both the Canadian and the US

Everyone Profits at Helmand's Drug Bazaar--The poppy harvest is in and everyone from the Taliban to local government officials is cooperating to get the opium crop to market.

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Mexico's President is Half Right

Mexican President Felipe Calderon told Deutsche Press-Agentur this weekend that America's drug habit is the cause of Mexico's drug prohibition-related violence.

Mexican President Blames US for Drug War

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Northern Province Says No to Opium

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Feature: Battle Royal Looms as Canadian Government Set to Unveil Tough Anti-Drug Strategy

The Harper government in Canada is about to unveil its new national drug strategy -- it's bad -- and opponents are gathering forces.

Feature: Ed Rosenthal Convicted Again in Pyrrhic Victory for Feds

Federal prosecutors managed to win another conviction against Ed Rosenthal after he was prevented from mounting a medical marijuana defense, but he won't do another day in jail, and his continuing persecution has sparked a novel form of civil disobedience in the courtroom.

Search and Seizure: California Federal Court Throws Out Warrantless Cell Phone Searches

Police need a search warrant to peruse the contents of a cell phone, even if its owner has been arrested or is being booked, a federal court in San Francisco held.

Law Enforcement: US Senate Passes Bill to Restore Drug Task Force Grants

Even the Bush administration wanted to get rid of the federal grant program that funds multi-agency drug task forces at the state and local level. But spurred by powerful law enforcement interests, the Senate has voted to restore funding.

Europe: New Restrictions on Some Dutch Cannabis Coffee Shops

The screws are tightening on Holland's famous cannabis coffee shops. Rotterdam is cutting their number by nearly half, while Maastricht coffee shop owners are instituting a fingerprinting and ID scan scheme to try to avoid the heat.

Medical Marijuana: Rhode Island Bill Passes With Veto-Proof Majorities

A bill making Rhode Island's medical marijuana law permanent has passed both houses of the legislature with veto-proof majorities. Although Gov. Donald Carcieri is threatening a veto, it doesn't appear he will be able to stop it.

A New Activist's Tactic Emerges in the Rosenthal Trial

One of the feature stories I'm working on this week is the Ed Rosenthal re-trial on federal marijuana production and distribution charges, which ended yesterday with a split verdict.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Marijuana gone missing from the evidence room, a sheriff pleads guilty, a cop gets arrested for leaking an investigation, and a trooper gets oral sex, but loses his job. Just another week of prohibition-related police misbehavior.

Search and Seizure: Minnesota Supreme Court Okays Drug Dog Sniff Outside Apartment Door

The Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld the use of drug dogs to sniff the exterior of residences based on the "articulable suspicion" -- not the higher level of proof required by probable cause.

Southeast Asia: More Death Sentences for Drug Offenses

The Southeast Asian version of the drug war keeps producing more death sentences, with nine handed out Tuesday in Indonesia and seven more the same day in Vietnam.

Ponder This Graph for a Moment, Please

(graph from WOLA/AIN memo, link below) This graph shows what about $10 billion in US taxpayer dollars has accomplished.

Why the US is Losing Its War on Cocaine

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Presidential Politics: Democrat Mike Gravel is Latest to Say Legalize

Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel made a splash at the first Democratic presidential debate last month in South Carolina. That's drawing attention to his drug policy platform and recent statements supporting the regulation and control of drugs.

Medical Marijuana: Rhode Island Bill Awaits Expected Veto, Override

After final procedural votes this week, the Rhode Island legislature has sent a bill making the state's medical marijuana law permanent to Gov. Donald Carcieri. He's threatening to veto it, but the legislature has the votes to override as it did last year.

Medical Marijuana: MPP, Michigan Activists Launch Initiative Campaign

Signature-gathering is set to begin in force for a medical marijuana initiative campaign getting underway in Michigan.

Feature: Border Blues -- Canada, US Both Bar People Who Used Drugs -- Ever

Planning to cross the US-Canadian border? No matter which direction you're going, they don't want you if you ever used drugs.

Feature: With UMass Researcher One Decision Away From Approval to Grow Marijuana, Supporters Turn Up the Heat on the DEA

With a DEA administrative law judge ruling in favor of a Massachusetts agronomist's request to grow marijuana for research purposes, supporters are turning up the heat on the DEA to heed that ruling.

Latin America: UN Drug Office Blames Central American Crime and Violence on Drugs, Not Prohibition

A new report from the UN drug office warns that Central America is being submerged in drugs and crime. It recommends heightening prohibitionist efforts.

In Memoriam: Medical Marijuana Researcher, Advocate Dr. Tod Mikuriya Dead at 73

The medical marijuana movement has lost a pioneering researcher and advocate. Dr. Tod Mikuriya is dead at age 73.

Medical Marijuana: Connecticut Bill Passes House, Heads for Senate

Despite opposition by law enforcement and one opponent's virtual legislative crusade, medical marijuana passed the Connecticut House of Representatives by a wide margin.

Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Dies Without House Vote as Legislature Adjourns

A bill that would have added Minnesota to the list of medical marijuana states has died after the House adjourned without a final floor vote. But it has already passed the Senate, and under the state's two-year session, it won't have to again next year.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

The beat goes on: State troopers running Oxycontin rings, problem ex-cops running Oxycontin rings, and another conviction in the infamous Dallas "pool chalk" scandal.

Middle East: Opium Poppies Flower Again in Iraq

Opium poppies flourished along the Euphrates River when the Sumerians ruled. Now, amidst civil war and chaos, they are returning to Iraq.

Europe: Finnish Left Party's Youth Organization Calls for Marijuana Legalization

The youth affiliate of Finland's Left Alliance Party is calling for the legalization of marijuana use and home cultivation.

Remedial Psychedelic Ethics 101: Don't Dose People

You wouldn’t think people who are prominent members of the psychedelic community would need a reminder about elementary decency, but, sadly, that appears to be the case.

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

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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.

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