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Latin America: Mexican Narco-Saint On the Move

A Mexican folk saint who supposedly protects outlaws and drug traffickers as well as the poor and defenseless has a new shrine in Mexico City.

Medical Marijuana: Vermont Bill to Expand Therapeutic Use of Cannabis Advances

A compromise version of a bill that would expand Vermont's two-year-old medical marijuana law has passed its first legislative hurdle.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Prison and jail guards gone bad! Evidence gone missing! Narcs gone to prison! Busy, busy, busy.

Is the Bush Administration Getting Nervous About Afghan Opium Licensing Schemes?

When the European drug policy and defense think-tank the Senlis Council in late 2005 unveiled its proposal to deal with illicit Afghan opium

Tyrone Brown is one step from freedom, and you can help today!

Last month, the Chronicle featured the story of Tyrone Brown,

Mayor proposes 'revolutionary' plan for addicts; Sullivan wants city exempted from federal narcotics laws


Colombia "good model" for Afghan drug war, US says


Medical Marijuana: Washington State Group Raided

Local drug enforcement agents raided the offices of CannaCare, an Everett, Washington, medical marijuana support and advocacy group this week, accusing of it providing marijuana to patients.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

It's been relatively quiet on the corrupt cop front this week, but we've still got a Newark police officer who made a bad choice of boyfriends, and the requisite pair of crooked jail guards.

Feature: DEA Makes Major Move Against Los Angeles Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The DEA was at it again Wednesday, raiding 11 medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles County, including five in West Hollywood. City council members there had only the night before introduced an ordinance to permanently regulate the dispensaries, and they aren't happy.

Feature: New Study Rips Canadian "Tough on Drugs" Policy, Funding

Even as Canada's Conservative government works on a tough, law enforcement-heavy new national drug strategy, a study released Monday says such approaches have failed.

Treatment Not Jail: California Governor Proposes Cutting Proposition 36 Drug Treatment Funds

In his new state budget, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has under-funded for the popular and successful treatment-not-jail program Proposition 36. He's in for a fight.

Law Enforcement: Florida County Will Pay for Manhandling Men in Errant Drug Bust Caught on Videotape

A video camera captured the brutality of a pair of wrongful arrests in a case of mistaken identity in Pinellas County, Florida. Now the county gets to pay up.

Europe: Scottish Labor Politician Fights for Harm Reduction as Party Turns Hard-Line on Drugs

The Scottish drug debate heated up this week as a Labor Party MSP attacked her party for heading in the wrong direction, and more than 250 senior police, health officials, academics, and others interested in drug policy pondered the future.

Medical Marijuana: Bills Introduced in Michigan, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Vermont and Soon in New Mexico

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 10 states, but that number could nearly double with bills already introduced in a handful of states this year.

Marijuana: Decriminalization Bills Filed in Massachusetts, New Hampshire

No marijuana decriminalization bill has passed since the 1970s, but legislators in Massachusetts and New Hampshire are ready to try this year.

Finally, Someone is Getting Serious About Marijuana

Why screw around arresting pot smokers when you can get to the root of the problem by simply eliminating marijuana?

US Weapons Fueling Mexican Drug Violence


Ending an Opium War; Afghan Poppies and Recovery Can Both Bloom


Ecuador's divided loyalties; Both fighter and front in the drug war, it chafes at U.S. presence on its soil.


The West Should Buy Afghanistan's Opium Crop


Law Enforcement: Faced With Rising Murder Rates, Newark and New Orleans Turn to Repressive Drug War Strategies

Faced with rising crime and murder rates, city officials in Newark and New Orleans are blaming drugs and using more of the same old same old to try to crack down.

Feature: More Cops Died Directing Traffic Than Waging the Drug War Last Year

Police portray themselves as up against dangerous criminals as they fight the war on drugs, but you might be surprised...

Law Enforcement: DEA Lax on Handling Seized Cash, Audit Finds

DEA agents seize hundreds of millions of dollars a year in drug busts, but a Justice Department audit finds the agency is pretty lax in its handling of all that cash.

Europe: European Union Funds Dialogue With Civil Society on Drug Policies

The European Parliament has budgeted $1.3 million to promote a dialog with civil society over its continent-wide drug policy review set for next year.

Report: Lies Involved in No-Knock Warrant [Kathryn Johnston killing]


Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Hiding marijuana inside cannoli, taking cocaine from a murder scene, and peddling cocaine are all on the radar this week. So is an investigation into drug smuggling at a US Air Force base in England.

Latin America: Mexico Considering Creation of "Drug Czar" Post

Early in his presidential term, Mexican leader Felipe Calderon has already called out the army to fight drug traffickers. Now, his government is pondering the creation of a "drug czar" to coordinate the fight.

Law Enforcement: Woman Arrested Over Flour-Filled Condom Wins $180,000 in Suit Settlement

Bryn Mawr coeds apparently liked to squeeze condoms filled with flour to fend off stress over final exams, but when one student tried to take one home for the holidays, she ended in jail for three weeks charged as a drug trafficker. Now the city of Philadelphia gets to pay for its mistake.

Medical Marijuana: Colorado Case Will Test State's Law

The arrest of a pair of registered Colorado medical marijuana patients last fall is setting off a legal battle that will help clarify the state's medical marijuana law. But if they lose, they face up to six years in prison.

Law Enforcement: Small-Time Drug Possessors No Longer Charged as Felons in Wichita -- Cops Grumble

Police in Wichita are no longer charging small-time hard drug possession as a felony -- less than a quarter-gram of meth or coke, and all you get is a misdemeanor paraphernalia charge, and you don't even go to jail!

South America trip back on again, and maybe a visit to the meth conference, too.

As readers of this blog know, I had to postpone my trip to Peru and Bolivia to report on coca doings because the Bolivian government announced on New Year's Day that US citizens would need visas to en

Judges Look to New Congress for Changes in Mandatory Sentencing Laws


DEA selective in medical marijuana arrests; Raids on two high-profile dispensaries elicit criticism that agency is only targeting sellers who live affluent lifestyles


Owners of Medical Marijuana Dispensary Arrested


Mexican Drug Cartels Move into Peru; Worry Spreads As Their Presence Increases Coca Production, Violence


The message in Calderon's war on drugs; some view his use of military as a way to quickly gain support, show security a priority


Tijuana Police Force Ordered to Turn In Guns


Drug War Chronicle's South America trip postponed

I decided today to postpone my long-awaited trip to Bolivia and Peru because of uncertainty surrounding the situation with Bolivian visa requirements.

Feature: Afghan Opium Dilemma Sparks New Calls for Alternative Development, "Normalizing" the Poppy Crop

While the US using tried-and-failed eradication schemes on the Afghan opium trade, others including the UN and World Bank are calling for smarter alternative development. Others are going even further.

Hemp: DEA Has Spent $175 Million Eradicating "Ditch Weed" Plants That Don't Get You High

The DEA has spent $175 million in the past two decades to eradicate "ditch weed" plants that don't get anybody high. Your tax dollars at work.

Medical Marijuana: California's Booming Market Offers Substantial Tax Revenues, Report Finds

The California medical marijuana market could be a substantial source of tax revenues for the state, according to a new study, but it isn't happening yet.

Drug Prohibition: Vermont Prosecutor Calls for "Peace Talks" in War on Drugs, Consideration of Public Health Approach

A Vermont prosecutor is calling for "peace talks" in the war on drugs. It is time to debate alternative approaches, he says.

"Magic Mushrooms" May Ease Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Study Finds


Latin America: Mexican Soldiers Occupy Tijuana in Fight Against Drug Trade

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has sent thousands of soldiers and federal police into Tijuana in a bid to stamp out the drug trade in the border city where more than 300 died in prohibition-related violence last year.

Latin America: Colombian Senator Calls for Drug Legalization Debate

A Colombian senator is calling for a debate on legalizing the drug trade. His father, a leading presidential candidate, was assassinated by Medellin Cartel hit men in 1990.

Marijuana: Judge Throws Out Religious Defense in Arizona Marijuana Case, Says Defendants Lack "Sincere" Belief

The leaders of a religious group arguing that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects them from prosecution under the federal marijuana laws were shot down in federal court when the judge ruled their beliefs were not "sincere."

Europe: Support for Marijuana Legalization Low

A survey conducted by the European Commission finds low levels of support for marijuana legalization in Europe. The Netherlands and Spain poll highest.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Continuing fall-out from the Henry County, Virginia, sheriff's office bust in October, another Tennessee cop running interference for drug dealers, a long-time fugitive INS officer caught, and, of course, a couple more jail guards bringing goodies to the prisoners.

I've Got Those Mean Old Bolivian Visa Blues

With my departure for South America set for 10 days from now, the Bolivian government has put a hitch in my plans.

Put Drug Laws on the Day One Docket


Colombian Slum Turns Into Cocaine War Zone


Senator son of slain Colombian cartel fighter proposes drug legalization


Rebels Boosting Poppy Business in Myanmar


Afghan Heroin's Surge Poses Danger in US; the World's Purest Form Can Kill More Addicts, As Seen in LA County


Most Europeans Reject Marijuana Legalization


Ex-Cop Gives Tips on How to Hide Drugs; Former Texas Drug Cop Makes Video Titled "Never Get Busted Again"


Monitoring the Future Annual Report Warns of Prescription Drug Use

The annual Monitoring the Future survey of drug use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders was released Thursday.

Feature: Marijuana is America's Number One Cash Crop, Study Finds

A new study using federal government statistics and conservative estimates illustrates the extreme failure of prohibitionist policies.

It Was the Worst of Times: Drug Reform Defeats, Downers, and Disappointments in 2006

As 2006 comes to a close, we look back at the year's biggest drug reform defeats, disappointments, and downers.

It Was the Best of Times: Drug Reform Victories and Advances in 2006

As 2006 comes to an end, we look back to find the most significant victories and advances for drug reform this year.

South Pacific: Australia Wants to Ban the Bong

As Australia shivers through a fit of Reefer Madness, the government of Prime Minister John Howard says it wants to ban bongs.

Latin America: Peruvian President Lauds Coca Leaf in Salad, Blasts Guerrillas

Peruvian President Alan Garcia asks for the death penalty for terrorism after Shining Path guerillas attack police and anti-drug workers trying to wipe out illicit coca crops. The following day, he says coca is great in salads.

Harm Reduction: Experts Call for Urgent Action as Fentanyl-Related Overdose Death Toll Climbs

More than 120 medical experts, public health departments, and drug user advocacy groups have signed on to a letter urging Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt to take aggressive action to stem a wave of fatal overdoses related to heroin cut with the synthetic opiate fentanyl.

Harm Reduction: New Jersey Governor Signs Needle Exchange Bill

New Jersey Gov. John Corzine (D) quickly signed the needle exchange passed by the state Assembly last week. Now, up to six Garden State cities may begin pilot programs.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Virginia drug-fighter gets caught selling drugs, so does a former NYPD cop, and yet another jail guard goes down. Also, an interesting update on Operation Lively Green.

Heading Down South America Way

Very early on January 12, I will board a plane in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and that night I will be sleeping in a hotel in downtown Lima, Peru.

Peru President Favors Using Cocaine-Producing Leaf for Salad


[New Jersey] Governor Corzine Signs Legislation Establishing Pilot Needle Exchange Programs


Analysis: Cocaine Fuels War, Undermines Peace in Colombia


Government to Open Opium Processing to Private Firms


Mexican Officials Find Nearly 1,800 Marijuana Fields


Number of Heroin, Cocaine Busts Increasing Along Texas-Mexico Border


Afghanistan: Government Warns of Possible Poppy Crop Spraying


Pot Is Called Biggest Cash Crop; The $35 Million Market Value of US-Grown Cannabis Tops Such Heartland Staples as Corn and Hay, a Marijuana Activists Says


The Best and Worst of 2006?

The year is coming to an end, and it is time to look back at 2006. What did we achieve? What did we fail to achieve? What were the highlights and lowlights for drug policy reform this year?

Bad Science: Congress Passes Measure Okaying Mycoherbicide Testing, But Limits It to US Labs

Congress has passed a measure that will allow for the testing of potentially dangerous mycoherbicides to be used to destroy illicit drug crops. But in a victory for reformers, the okay will be limited to labs in the US -- not fields in Latin America.

Medical Marijuana: Eddy Lepp Wins a Battle

The DEA seized more than 30,000 plants from Eddy Lepp in 2004, calling it their biggest cultivation bust ever, but a judge this week threw out the evidence. Lepp has more battles ahead.

Addiction Treatment: Congress Allows Certified Physicians to Take On More Buprenorphine Patients

Congress last Friday moved to expand the number of patients certified physicians can treat with buprenorphine for opiate addiction. This is the second increase in two years.

Feature: Clamor Grows for Freedom for Texas Marijuana Prisoner Tyrone Brown

Tyrone Brown violated probation as a 17-year-old by smoking marijuana, and was sentenced to life in prison for it. He's still there, but maybe not for long.

Feature: Belgian Bud Brouhaha Unfolds as Antwerp's First Open Marijuana Garden Gets Busted Before Beginning

A Belgian marijuana consumer group used a Tuesday press conference to announce its collective garden, but police had other ideas.

Feature: New Jersey Legislature Approves Needle Exchange Bill, Governor Will Sign

The last holdout state in the needle exchange battles has now enacted legislation legalizing the programs.

Prohibition: a crippling habit; There is only one way to end the misery of addiction revealed by the investigation into the Ipswich murders: legalise the drugs.


Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

This week's edition of corrupt cops stories is heavy on the dope-dealing prison guards. Not to worry, though, there's more.

East Asia: Reefer Madness Snares Taiwan Celebrities

Some Taiwanese celebrities are getting unwanted attention these days as police pursue allegations that they -- gasp! -- smoked marijuana.

Methamphetamine: DEA to Create National Lab Site Registry

The DEA jumped on the meth registry bandwagon last week, with a twist.

Southwest Asia: US Drug Czar Announces Afghanistan Will Spray Opium Poppies

With Afghan opium production going through the roof, US drug czar John Walters announced Saturday that the Afghan government would begin using herbicides to eradicate the poppy crop. But the Afghan government hasn't officially agreed yet.

The Drug Czar Has Another Brilliant Idea

Afghanistan is in flames. The Taliban are resurgent. The opium economy provides livelihoods for millions of Afghans.

Lawmakers Approve Clean-Needle Bill; Divided Senate and Assembly Approve Program After Emotional Debate


US Anti-Drug Chief: Afghan Poppies To Be Sprayed With Herbicide


Commute This Sentence; A Clemency Case Not Even President Bush Can Ignore--Or Can He?


Poppy Business Booms in Western Burma


Pain Patients: Richard Paey Loses Appeal, Wheelchair-Bound Man to Remain in Prison

Richard Paey, the wheelchair-bound pain patient serving a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence as a drug dealer under Florida law, will remain in prison after losing an appeal this week. But a sympathetic appeals court suggested he seek clemency from the governor.

DRCNet Book Review: "Fatal Distraction: The War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terror," by Arnold Trebach (2006, Unlimited Publishing, 398 pp., $19.95 PB)

Arnold Trebach, the dean of American drug reform, is at it again with the publication of his latest book, "Fatal Distraction: The War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terror."

Drug Reform and the Democratic Congress: What's Going to Happen?

Will Democratic control of the Congress mean significant drug reform progress next year? Drug reformers certainly hope so, but the prospects are uncertain.

Judge Rejects Counties' Medical Marijuana Suit


Harm Reduction: New Jersey Needle Exchange Bill Moves to Final Floor Votes Next Week

New Jersey is the only state in the nation with neither needle exchange nor non-prescription needle sales, but that could change Monday as a needle exchange bill heads for final floor votes in both houses of the legislature.

Medical Marijuana: County Lawsuit Challenging California Law Thrown Out

Officials of San Diego, Merced and San Bernardino counties who are hostile to California's medical marijuana law lost a court battle.

Marijuana: Yet Another Scientific Study Debunks "Gateway Theory"

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are the latest to produce studies challenging the validity of the "gateway theory" -- the idea that the use of marijuana is a "gateway" to harder drug use.

Hemp: North Dakota Becomes First State to Legalize Industrial Production

North Dakota becomes the first state to legalize industrial hemp production, with licenses available beginning January 1. But someone is going to have to do something about the DEA's opposition, or nobody's going to be growing hemp any time soon.

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