psmith

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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

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Police Arrest 78 People at [Denver] Marijuana Rally

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Hundreds Rally in Denver to Support Marijuana Legalization

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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

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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

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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.

More Reefer Madness in the UK Press

The current anti-cannabis crusade in the UK press is going hot and heavy.

The Independent on Sunday Reverses Itself on Decrim, Warns of Killer Skunk, Reefer Madness

A decade ago, the British newspaper the Independent on Sunday made headlines itself when it came out strongly for the decriminalization of marijuana.

Peru Suspends Coca Eradication in Key Area

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Sentencing: Tyrone Brown is a Free Man!

Tyrone Brown is a free man! He walked out of prison in Texas Thursday after receiving a conditional pardon 17 years into a life sentence for violating probation by smoking pot.

Harm Reduction: Los Angeles County Okays Needle Exchange Program

The County of Los Angeles has approved a $500,000 needle exchange program in a bid to slow the spread of AIDS and Hepatitis B and C.

Medical Marijuana: Federal Appeals Court Rules Angel Raich Can Be Prosecuted, Even If Only Marijuana Keeps Her Alive

Even terminally ill medical marijuana patients in states where it is legal are not protected from federal prosecution, a federal appeals court has ruled in a case brought by Angel Raich.

Medical Marijuana: Federal Judge Dismisses Charges Against Ed Rosenthal

A federal judge has gutted a federal re-indictment of "Guru of Ganja" Ed Rosenthal on medical marijuana cultivation and related charges, citing "vindictive prosecution."

Feature: Trouble Hits in Peru This Week Over Coca Eradication

The Peruvian government's US-backed forced coca eradication campaign is running into serious problems in the Upper Huallaga Valley. Clashes with police, roadblocks, and a general strike have all broken out in the past few days.

Feature: Medical Marijuana Bill Passes New Mexico Legislature, Awaits Governor's Signature

Despite an apparent vote to kill it last week, the New Mexico legislature has now passed a medical marijuana bill. It awaits only the signature of Gov. Bill Richardson, a strong supporter, to become law.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

An Oregon parole officer, a former Wisconsin prosecutor, a Houston crime lab tech, and a pair of New Haven narcs have all crossed over to the dark side this week.

Australia: NSW Greens' Call to Decriminalize Drug Possession Causes Pre-Election Stir

With state elections just 10 days away in Australia's New South Wales, the Green Party's call to decriminalize drug possession is causing a stir.

Marijuana: Grassroots Protest in Small Town Wisconsin After Drug Bust

When home town police in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, busted a bunch of 20-somethings over small-time marijuana and pill sales, some local residents cheered. But in an example of grassroots activism, others took to the streets to protest.

Search and Seizure: Utah Supreme Court Holds Mere Odor of Marijuana Not Enough for a Warrantless Home Search

The Utah Supreme Court has ruled that the mere odor of burning marijuana is not sufficient justification for police to enter a residence without a search warrant.

Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Approved by House Committee

With sister bills moving in both the state House and Senate, Minnesota could be on the way to becoming the 13th state to recognize medical marijuana.

Mark Kleiman gives drug reformers something to chew on

Mark Kleiman is one of a relatively small number of US academics who thinks and writes about drug policy.

Second Time Around, House Okays Medical Marijuana

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Court Rules Against Dying Woman [Angel Raich] in Medical Marijuana Case

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Drug Raids, Related Trauma, On the Rise

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Gov. Perry Pardons Man's Life Sentence For Pot [Tyrone Brown]

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Bitter, who's bitter? On the New Mexico medical marijuana vote.

The New Mexico House killed the medical marijuana bill there today on a vote of 36-33. The debate was filled with the usual bigotry, hypocrisy, and ignorance parading as expertise.

Southwest Asia: 2007 Afghan Opium Crop Could Be Record-Breaker, UN Predicts

The UN is warning that increases are happening in areas characterized by insurgency.

Europe: British Panel Calls for Complete Drug Law Overhaul

An expert panel in Britain has concluded a two-year study of drug policy there and is now calling for a radical rethinking and a complete overhaul of the drug laws.

Maryland: Drug Reform Efforts Picking Up in the Terrapin State

Medical marijuana, mandatory minimums, college aid and campus marijuana policies are all on the agenda in Maryland this year.

Feature: Medical Marijuana Goes Mainstream in the States

With nearly half the states having bills pending this year and some of them likely to pass, medical marijuana has gone mainstream.

Chronicle on the Scene Feature: In Peru, the Coca Growers' Movement Gathers Strength, But Faces Hurdles

Peru is currently the world's second largest producer of coca and cocaine, and the coca growers' movement there is gaining steam, but it still faces many hurdles, some internal, some external.

Europe: Candidate's Remarks Open Window on Scottish Labor Party Drug Policy Split

A Scottish Labor Party politician is taking his party to task for turning away from harm reduction policies in favor of a hard-line approach, and he says marijuana ought to be decriminalized, and maybe heroin and cocaine, too.

Marijuana: Wisconsin's Dane County (Madison) Will No Longer Prosecute Simple Possession

Prosecutors in Dane County (Madison), Wisconsin, will no longer bother to charge people with less than 25 grams of marijuana under state law. Now, at worst, offenders will face a fine. It's a matter of budgets and priorities, prosecutors say.

Europe: Dutch Left Greens Open Pro-Marijuana Web Site

Two Dutch Left Green politicians have opened a pro-marijuana web site. It is in part a guide to Dutch coffee shops, in part a parody of a ruling party anti-marijuana web site.

Latin America: Brazilian Governor Says Legalize Drugs to Fight Crime

The governor of the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro has called for a debate over drug legalization both within Brazil and internationally. He argues that it would reduce crime in his violence-plagued city and state.

Canada: Afghan Opium Should Be Bought Up and Marketed Worldwide, Defense Think Tank Says

A stolidly mainstream Canadian defense and foreign affairs think tank has called for the creation of a marketing board to buy and sell Afghan opium. It's part of a report on Canada in Afghanistan that calls for innovative thinking to avoid failure in NATO's mission there.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

The "This Week's Corrupt Cops" feature may have been on hiatus while your editor was down South America way, but it's been pretty much business as usual. We're back now, and here's this week's edition with the usual cast of crooked cops and greedy guards.

Southwest Asia: Opium -- Not Just for Afghanistan Anymore?

Casting a wistful eye on Afghanistan's opium bounty, a Kyrgyz lawmaker made a (presumably tongue in cheek) suggestion that his country also allow poppy production. It would help pay off the foreign debt, and it would lead to an increase in foreign aid, he suggested.

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