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Medical Marijuana Bill Re-Introduced in Pennsylvania (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/27/2011
CONTACT: Chris Goldstein at 267-702-3731 or [email protected]


Hearing Set for Bill Legalizing Marijuana in Maine

At 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, supporters of legalized marijuana in Maine will crowd into a hearing room in Augusta to support a Portland legislator's bill to decriminalize pot. Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, sponsor of LD 1453, "An Act To Legalize and Tax Marijuana," said she was thrilled to learn about the hearing that has been scheduled before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

Mexico’s Congress Considers Changing Security Law In Attempt to Control Drug Prohibition Violence

With the current session of Mexico’s Congress scheduled to expire Friday, members of Mexico’s House of Deputies have less than a week to deliberate over extremely controversial changes to the country’s National Security Law that would give the President the power to deploy Mexico’s Armed Forces against broadly defined internal threats to Mexican national security. PT and Convergencia parties say that the 83-page initiative to change the law constitutes a threat to individual liberties and could create a state of exception in Mexico that would effectively put the country under military control. They remain deeply skeptical of proposed changes to the law, which advocate, among other things, the monitoring and recording of private communication for intelligence-gathering purposes. Organizations such as Human Rights Watch have drawn attention to frequent abuses by the Mexican military and contend that there is a widespread systemic failure to prosecute human rights violations in Mexican military courts.

RI State Rep. Watson Presents His Version of Marijuana Related Arrest in CT

In a televised speech on the House floor about his arrest in Connecticut last Friday on driving-under-the-influence and marijuana-possession charges, House Minority Leader Robert A. Watson admitted to using marijuana to treat flare-ups of the pancreatitis that landed him in the hospital last November. Watson, R-East Greenwich, said he took a small amount of the drug with him when he went to Connecticut that day to help a friend move because he had had a pancreatic attack the day before, and wanted the drug handy if he had another severe one.

Medical Marijuana Bill on Montana Legislature's Agenda

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer says he hopes the Legislature gets the medical marijuana reform bill to him with enough time for him to make changes and send it back for their approval. He says when the bill gets to his desk, he's going to make sure legitimate patients still have the option to use cannabis.

Mexico's Narco Blog: Drug Prohibition Deaths in Real Time

While much of Mexico's mainstream media, especially television stations and local newspapers, has shied away from covering killings and naming the drug trafficking organizations involved, a blog and its anonymous curator publish graphic details of spiraling prohibition violence. At Mexico's "blog del Narco" the images are gruesome and unedited: a dead man in a sports jersey with his face covered in dried red blood and grey sand; a woman hanging from a rope above a busy urban over-pass and naked bodies lined up on the ground displaying clear, uncensored, signs of torture. Some recent headlines from the site include: "Entire town taken hostage by Gunmen in Chihuahua"; "Eleven year old arrested in Acapulco with AK 47"; "Sinaloa cartel welcomes new police chief with tortured body"; and "Mass narco grave, 60 bodies found, total 148 corpses".

Students Pursue Good Samaritan Drug Policy Shift

A new student group is campaigning for a Good Samaritan policy at Virginia Tech. Hokies for a Good Samaritan Policy wants to change the policy to protect people who call 911 when they or a friend are illegally using drugs or alcohol from disciplinary sanctions. "In these situations the clock is ticking," Mark Goldstein, an accounting and information systems major and president of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, said. "Every second you don’t call for help the person is closer to dying."

Mexico's Drug Prohibition Violence Is Spiraling Out of Control Along the Northeast Border

Drug trafficking organizations gunmen have been attacking Mexican border towns once thought to be safe from the country's rampant drug prohibition violence. The cities of Miguel Alemán, across the border from Roma, Texas, and Ciudad Mier have come under siege.

Drug Truth 04/25/11

*DRUG TRUTH NETWORK PROGRAMS, Apr 24 to May 1, 2011*

*Cultural Baggage*, 04/24/11, 29:00,   Reports from NORML conference in


High-Ranking RI Lawmaker Faces Drug Charge

State Rep. Robert Watson (R-East Greenwich), the House Minority Leader, who criticized the Legislature by invoking the image of pot-smoking immigrants is facing drug charges in Connecticut.

Maine Bill Eases Medical Marijuana Rules

A bill to ease Maine's regulations on the medical use of marijuana faces a legislative hearing. A separate bill unveiled last week would legalize personal use and private and commercial cultivation of marijuana, and tax consumer purchases at 7 percent.

Drug Trafficking Organizations Enriched by Prohibition Muscle Into New Territory: Central America

Drug trafficking organizations have muscled their way into Central America, opening a new chapter in the drug prohibition war that almost certainly will exact further cost on U.S. taxpayers as American authorities confront these organizations on a new frontier. The extent of the infiltration is breathtaking. Drug trafficking organizations now control large parts of the countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America. They've bought off politicians and police, moved cocaine processing laboratories up from the Andes, and are obtaining rockets and other heavy armament that make them more than a match for Central America's weak militaries.

Attorney General Paula Dow Wrong to Seek Federal Advice on Medical Marijuana (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2011

CONTACT: Ken Wolski at (609) 394-2137


Two Lawsuits Challenge Los Angeles' Lottery Plan for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Los Angeles' latest plan — to hold a lottery to allow 100 medical marijuana dispensaries to operate — is facing resistance from shop owners who say they've followed all the rules yet still face closure. Lawsuits filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court follow scores of other suits that stymied the city's fitful attempts to crack down on an unknown number of renegade dispensaries. The new ones could launch another series of judicial hearings and thwart the city's bid to enforce its ordinance.

FL Supreme Court Justices Throw Out Evidence Found by Drug Dog

The Florida Supreme Court has cited a lack of state standards for drug-sniffing dogs in throwing out evidence one of the canines detected in a Panhandle case. The 5-1 ruling says training certificates and records aren't enough to establish a canine's reliability.

Marijuana and Racial Inequality: A "Cannabis Day" Look at How Marijuana Arrests Discriminate Against Young Black People

April 20 (4/20) -- the date unofficially recognized nationwide as marijuana day -- is probably as good a time as any to explore how marijuana arrests in the Unites States exemplify racially skewed policing tactics.

N.J. Medical Marijuana Supporters Suspect Legal Review Is a Stall Tactic

As state Attorney General Paula Dow awaited guidance from top federal law enforcement officials on whether New Jersey's planned medical marijuana program is legal, supporters questioned whether the state was looking for a reason to delay the program's launch this summer. Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said there is "nothing new" about the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's position on properly run state medical marijuana programs. "The legislature worked on this bill for almost five years and it was thoroughly vetted legally."

This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

Bill Maher Talks 'Offshore' Pot Smoking and the War on Drugs

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the insanely smart and funny Real Time host talks Palin, marijuana, and politics, among other topics. Here -- in honor of 4/20 -- is the marijuana part.

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act Petition Approved by Attorney General

Arkansans for Compassionate Care have launched a ballot initiative to allow sick and dying patients to have legal access -- with a doctor's recommendation -- to medical marijuana in Arkansas. Arkansas Atty. Gen. Dustin McDaniel approved "The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act" as an appropriate November 2012 ballot title. If the act makes the ballot, it needs a simple majority to become law.

Big Brother or Little Brat? Washington's Governor Gins Up a Federal Controversy Over Medical Marijuana

It appears Washington's Governor Chris Gregoire is being intellectually dishonest regarding a letter the US Department of Justice sent to her saying that federal prosecutors could slap any state employee who administers medical marijuana licenses with a criminal prosecution. Not only is Gregoire mischaracterizing the letter (which never says the Feds "would" prosecute), she also ginned up this whole controversy herself by specifically asking the Obama administration if state employees would be "immune from arrest or liability" knowing full well that prosecutors would never provide blanket immunity. Now Gregoire is leveraging the letter to bully the legislature into watering down the medical marijuana bill this week — asking them to gut key protections for sick and dying patients and complicating access for their caretakers. The fact is that no state employee has ever been prosecuted for activities related to medical marijuana so long as he or she was in compliance with state laws governing its licensing and regulation.

Drug Submarines and the Futile Fight Against Colombian Smuggling

Yet another lessen in the futility of drug prohibition: Drug smugglers in Colombia have a low-cost way to transport cocaine -- narco-submarines. Authorities are struggling to keep up, and the technology keeps improving. Jay Bergman, who heads the Drug Enforcement Administration's Andean division, said it's a whole new challenge. "Without question, it has us all going back to the textbooks and the drawing boards and figuring out what are we going to do about this." Bergman pointed out that so far, no drug submarines have been detected under the sea. But seizures of semi-submersibles have dropped dramatically in the past two years. That could mean that traffickers have already made the switch to submarines – and that they're eluding detection.

Over 7% of Patients Cite Medical Marijuana as Preferred Treatment Option

According to a new study released today by ListenLogic, a social media intelligence firm, 7.3% of patients across 12 therapeutic areas publicly cite marijuana as an alternative treatment option. The study was based upon an analysis of over 30,000 online, patient-level conversations across different medical conditions within which alternative treatments were mentioned.

'More will die': Mexico Drug Prohibition War Claims U.S. Lives

While U.S. officials have long been concerned about the mindless violence bred by Mexico’s bloody and brutal drug prohibition war, they have a new reason to worry: Americans are increasingly getting caught in the deadly crossfire. More and more often, experts say, the casualties are U.S. law enforcement officers and innocent victims who died simply because they ended up at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Thousands Across Mexico Call for New Strategy in Drug Prohibition War

In early April, thousands of Mexicans poured into the streets in over 20 Mexican cities to raise their voices in a chorus of protest against the government's ineffective and increasingly unpopular military campaign against drug trafficking organizations. These mass mobilizations mark some of the most heated condemnation yet of violence and impunity associated with President Calderón's U.S.-supported "drug war." The day of protest has been described as a historic "sea change" in Mexican public opinion.

Caregivers Under Attack -- Again (Action Alert)

Protect Patient Choice: 

Take Action Today!


Odor of Marijuana Not Enough to Order Suspect Out of Car Says Massachusetts' Highest Court

The odor of burnt marijuana is no longer enough for police officers to order a person from their car, now that possession of less than an ounce of marijuana has been decriminalized in Massachusetts, the state's highest court ruled today. "Without at least some other additional fact to bolster a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, the odor of burnt marijuana alone cannot reasonably provide suspicion of criminal activity to justify an exit order," the court ruled in a decision written by Chief Justice Roderick Ireland.

Portland Legislator Pushes Bill to Legalize, Tax Marijuana in Maine

Imagine walking into a neighborhood store to buy beer, wine, liquor and cigarettes. But on your way home you make one more stop – to buy marijuana, legally. That's the vision Rep. Diane Russell will outline at a press conference on Wednesday at Portland City Hall, when she introduces LD 1453: An Act to Legalize and Tax Marijuana.

Obama's Drug Czar Wants to Quit After Less Than Two Years on the Job

Gil Kerlikowske has had enough with being Drug Czar even though he's only been at it less than two years. He has headed police departments in Seattle, WA and Buffalo, NY -- now he'd like to do the same in Chicago.

Ruling Opens the Door to Legalize Marijuana in Canada

An Ontario judge has struck down key aspects of Canada’s marijuana laws, triggering a 90-day countdown when growing, possessing or smoking pot will become legal.

Mexico's Orphans Are Casualties of Drug Prohibition War

"At least 12,000 children have lost one or both of their parents," said Gustavo de la Rosa, an official from Mexico's human rights commission. Those motherless and fatherless children, said de la Rosa, are a lasting and tragic legacy of Mexico's drug prohibition war. After witnessing the execution of a parent, the children -- even if physically uninjured themselves -- face a lifetime of emotional scarring.

Proof of Insite's Value in the Numbers, Fatal Overdoses in Vancouver Have Been Reduced 35 Percent

With a Supreme Court of Canada case looming this summer that could decide its future, Vancouver's safe-injection drug site has received an extra shot in the arm from a new report that says it has helped reduce the number of fatal overdoses in the city by 35 per cent. The report, compiled by Canadian scientists from the Urban Health Research Initiative, the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and St. Paul's Hospital, goes on to argue that Vancouver's Insite - the country's first safe-injection facility - should be replicated in other North American cities where drug use is a common problem.

ACLU Urges Washington State Senators to Move Medical Marijuana Bill

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington is urging state senators to ignore Gov. Chris Gregoire's threat to veto a bill that would set up a regulated medical marijuana dispensary system. The House and Senate have passed legislation to license dispensaries. After a warning from federal prosecutors of arrest liability for employees who break federal law, Gregoire said she'd veto legislation that requires state workers to implement a licensing system.

This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

Gov. Schweitzer Vetoes Repeal of Montana's Medical Marijuana Law

Gov. Brian Schweitzer has vetoed a Republican bill that would have repealed the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law. Schweitzer vetoed the bill along with several others he called "frivolous, unconstitutional or in direct contradiction to the expressed will of the people of Montana." Voters in 2004 overwhelmingly approved the use of medical marijuana.

Mexico, Just Say No to America's Prohibitionist War on Drugs (Opinion)

Gwynne Dyer, an independent journalist based in London, opines on the state of Mexico's drug prohibition war against the backdrop of a remarkable event that occurred in Mexico last week. Tens of thousands of Mexicans gathered in the main squares of cities across the country to demand an end to the "war on drugs". In the Zocalo, in the heart of Mexico City, they chanted "no more blood" and many called for the resignation of President Felipe Calderon, who began the war by using the army against the drug trafficking organizations in late 2006.

Mexican Mass Grave Complex Reveals 88 Bodies

At least 88 bodies have been found in a complex of mass graves in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, security officials say, likely victims of the country's ongoing drug prohibition war. The graves are the largest concentration ever found in one area in Mexico.

Drug Trafficking Organizations Seek to Exploit Corrupt Federal Agents

As the Homeland Security Department's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) bureau has ratcheted up efforts to cope with the tide of crime sweeping across the Southwest border, Mexican drug trafficking organizations have stepped up efforts to infiltrate CBP and other federal, state and local agencies responsible for policing the border.

Poll: Nearly 75% of California Voters Want Possession of Small Amount of Illegal Drugs to Be Misdemeanor, Not Felony

A Lake Research Partners poll found that almost 75% of California voters likely to cast ballots in 2012 believe the crime should be downgraded to a misdemeanor. And 40% went even further, saying they think it should be dropped to an infraction, which is the equivalent of a speeding ticket and carries no prison time.

U.S. Pot Insurance Has Canadian Growers Green with Envy

The growing medicinal marijuana business in the United States despite the drug’s illegal status has many insurance firms seeing green — as in money. But north of the 49th, where there is no federal prohibition on medicinal pot, legal growers are green with envy because it’s next to impossible to get insurance coverage in Canada.

The Midwest Proves Fertile Ground for Marijuana Reform

Republican hardliners in Midwestern state governments have largely stalled efforts to modify marijuana laws there this year. But after more than a decade of pressure from grassroots activists, the region is beginning to show some change. The most dramatic advances have come in Michigan, where voters legalized medical marijuana in a 2008 referendum, and in Kentucky, which in early March reduced the maximum penalty for possession of less than half a pound from a year in prison to 45 days.

DC's Medical Marijuana Program to Get Off Ground on April 15

After months of delay, Washington, DC Mayor Vince Gray announced that the rules and regulations governing the District's medical marijuana program will go into effect on Friday, April 15 when they're published in the D.C. Register. The news comes as advocates of the program started complaining loudly about delays in its implementation, which dates back almost a year.

DC: Mayor to Implement Medical Marijuana

 

DC: Mayor to implement medical marijuana


This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

Is DARE Program Worth It?

While participants remain enthusiastic, scientific reviews have been negative on the effectiveness of the DARE program, which started in Los Angeles in 1983. A 2006 report by the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that those who participate in DARE are just as likely to use drugs as those who don’t. Khadija K. Swims, of Grand Valley State University, reviewed several studies on DARE and concluded the program is "ineffective" in preventing future drug, alcohol and tobacco use in adolescents. The results of such studies mean schools can’t spend federal money on DARE. Under rules that went into effect in 1998, the Department of Education requires agencies that receive federal money to prove within two years that their programs reduce drug use among students.

Delaware Senate to Vote on Comprehensive Revision of State's Criminal Drug Laws

The state Senate is poised to vote on a sweeping revision of Delaware's criminal drug laws. The bill is supported by police, prosecutors and defense attorneys. The House passed it earlier this month with one dissenting vote.

Florida Political Action Committee Protests Gov. Rick Scott's New Drug Testing Policy by Sending Him Urine

Last month, Gov. Scott signed an executive order allowing random drug testing of state employees and a bill is currently working its way through Florida's legislature that would require welfare and food stamp recipients to undergo drug testing. The Committee for the Positive Insistence on a Sane Society, or PISS, is calling the smelly "gift" a peaceful protest. "In one breath our CEO professes to be focusing on cutting wasteful government spending and laying off tens of thousands of state employees, while at the same time he announces a program to drug test state employees without any legitimate basis for such an invasion of privacy," a PISS press release stated.

Vermont Considers Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Medical marijuana has been legal in Vermont since 2004, for those with qualifying illnesses — including cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis — who sign up for the state’s registry. The 2004 law allows patients to grow their own marijuana, but advocates say many find that a daunting task, leaving them with the prospect of making illegal deals for street dope. The answer, advocates say, is to legalize a small number of medical marijuana dispensaries — nonprofit operations that would grow marijuana and sell it to those on the medical marijuana registry.

Venezuelan Drug Trafficker, Walid Makled, Says Chávez Government Officials Tied to Cocaine Trade

Walid Makled says he had top Venezuelan generals and government officials on his payroll. He says that five or six plane-loads of cocaine take off everyday from San Fernandeo de Apure, in south-western Venezuela, bound for the US, via Honduras and Mexico. "It’s an everyday thing. Not every other day, it’s every day. Between FARC and the Venezuelan Army, we’re talking about four or five planes leaving Apure every day."

Thousands Missing in Drug Prohibition War Says CNDH

Mexico’s human rights commission, CNDH, said 5,397 people have been reported missing since President Felipe Calderon declared war on drug trafficking organizations. Many cases of forced disappearances have allegedly been carried out by Mexican soldiers. The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has urged the Mexican government to stop using the army in drug prohibition war operations.

North Carolina Lawmakers Propose Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Lawmakers are introducing the North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act to legalize medical marijuana in the state. The bill would allow people with conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS and hepatitis C to buy and use medical marijuana. Sponsors believe legalizing medical marijuana would bring $250 million a year into North Carolina within four years of legalization.

Medical Marijuana Users Fight for Gun Rights

Cynthia Willis is part of what is considered the first major court case in the country to consider whether guns and medical marijuana can legally mix. When it's over, the diminutive 54-year-old plans to still be eating marijuana cookies to deal with her arthritis pain and muscle spasms, and carrying her pistol.

Alabama Tax on Illegal Drugs Goes from Weapon to ‘Headache’

Alabama’s illegal drug tax dates back to the late 1980s, when state governments were looking for new ways to crack down on the drug trade. In 1998, according to state documents, Alabama collected $161,947 in taxes on illegal drugs. In 2010, collections were just $1,275. Charles Crumbley, director of the Investigations Division at the State Department of Revenue, said, "Enforcing it was just more trouble than it was worth."

Maras and Zetas: An Alliance from Hell

Reports of the Zetas and Maras drug trafficking organizations doing drug deals together or assassinating mutual enemies have been floating around for several years. But human rights workers and police in southern Mexico and Guatemala say they have now formed a more concrete alliance, in which they work together on kidnappings and acts of intimidation and terror.

Mexico's Street Gangs Following Larger Drug Trafficking Organizations' Violence Blueprint

Recent decapitations and killings have residents on edge over whether local street gangs are mimicking larger drug trafficking organization violence in the nation's capital. "I think of these groups as cells, as franchises," said Alfredo Castillo, attorney general for Mexico state, the suburban area surrounding Mexico City. "As franchises what do they want? They want the know-how, the business model, and in the end, they want their backing in case of an extraordinary problem."

Drug Truth Network 04/03/11

*DRUG TRUTH NETWORK PROGRAMS, Apr 3 to Apr 10, 2011*

*Cultural Baggage*, 04/03/11, 29:00,   Margaret Dooley-Sammuli of the


San Diego Hammers Down on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Despite Public Support

Despite overwhelming public input asking for a looser ordinance that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to locate in commercial areas throughout San Diego and remain open while they pursued permits, the San Diego City Council voted 5-2 for an ordinance that will close down all dispensaries for at least a year and force them to locate only in industrial zones — inconveniently far from the patients they serve.

First East Coast Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens in Maine

A small, unassuming house that has been converted to a business opened its doors, making it the first legal medical marijuana dispensary on the East Coast. Safe Alternatives is housed in Frenchville, Maine on Route 1 with no signage, but plenty of security cameras as required by state law.

Texas Representative Says Drug Trafficking Organizations Threatening US Agents

Mexican drug trafficking organization members threatened to kill U.S. agents working on the American side of the border. Republican Michael McCaul said a law enforcement bulletin was issued warning that Mexican traffickers were overheard plotting to kill Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and Texas Rangers stationed along the border.

Majorities of Americans Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana in Their State Says Harris Poll

A new Harris Poll indicates that three quarters of Americans support legalization of marijuana for medical treatment (74%), with almost half saying they strongly support it (48%). Significantly fewer Americans say they oppose the legalization of medical marijuana in their state (18%), and even less are not sure (7%) or decline to answer (1%).

Further Regulation of Medical Marijuana in Rhode Island Opposed

Medical marijuana patients and the caregivers who provide the drug for them came out in large numbers to a hearing at the State House in opposition to a bill that would further regulate the industry. They said the proposal, introduced by state Rep. John M. Carnevale, would raise the prices for medical marijuana and potentially limit patients’ access.

Why It's Obvious We Are Losing the War on Drugs

Ed Dolan, an economist and textbook writer, discusses the economics of drug prohibition. He says drug trafficking organizations are strong because the US drug war strategy makes them strong.

More Black Men in Prison Today Than Enslaved in 1850, Drug Laws the Reason

Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, told an audience at the Pasadena Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, "More African-American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began." Why have rates of incarcerated black men skyrocketed over the past 30 years? Alexander says it's the war on drugs which focuses primarily on minority communities even though multiple studies have proved that whites use and sell illegal drugs at rates equal to or higher than blacks. Despite this data, four of five black youths in some inner-city communities can expect to be incarcerated in their lifetimes.

Poll: Mexicans Think Drug Trafficking Organizations Are Winning Drug Prohibition War

Six out of 10 Mexicans think that drug trafficking organizations are getting the upper hand in the prohibitionist war that President Felipe Calderon launched when he came to office in late 2006, the poll by Demotecnia found. The poll may augur a change in the country's approach to drug trafficking when a new administration takes over after elections next year.

This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

Pot Politics on Capitol Hill: Proponents Aim to Shift Industry's Image

Supporters of decriminalizing marijuana are hoping to build momentum on Capitol Hill after a historic election that saw the politics of pot take center stage in four states. The marijuana industry's public relations campaign has so far been limited to states, especially California, where a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana almost passed in November. But today, the National Cannabis Industry Association, launched in December to represent the interests of legal marijuana growers and distributors, will hold the first congressional lobbying day in the nation's capital, hoping to shore up support for an industry they say could bring billions of dollars in revenue to the government.

Authorities in Awe of Drug Trafficking Organizations' Jungle-Built, Kevlar-Coated Supersubs

For decades, Colombian drug trafficking organization have pursued their trade with amazingly professional ingenuity, staying a step ahead of authorities by coming up with one innovation after another. When false-paneled pickups and tractor-trailers began drawing suspicion at US checkpoints, the traffickers and their Mexican partners built air-conditioned tunnels under the border. When border agents started rounding up too many human mules, one group of Colombian smugglers surgically implanted heroin into purebred puppies. But the drug runners’ most persistently effective method has also been one of the crudest — semi-submersible vessels that cruise or are towed just below the ocean’s surface and can hold a ton or more of cocaine.

First Federal Agency to Acknowledge Medical Marijuana Removes Anti-Tumor Information from Database

Last week, The American Independent was first to report that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) had added a section on medical marijuana to its treatment database, making it the first federal agency to formally recognize marijuana’s medicinal properties. Now, for reasons unknown, NCI has altered the page by removing any mention of the evidence that marijuana can diminish and even reverse tumor growth. The American Independent is awaiting reply from NCI on the reasons for the change.

Arizona's Medical Marijuana Rules Released

The Arizona Department of Health Services released the final draft of the medical marijuana rules. Those who qualify for a medical marijuana patient card can begin registering for cards on April 14 online.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Selling 'Joints for Japan'

A medical marijuana business is donating 100 percent of the profit from marijuana joints to earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. Compassionate Pain Management's two Colorado locations in Lakewood and Louisville are selling joints for $5 a piece to those with a medical marijuana card and recommendation. Owner Shaun Gindi has promised profits from sales for at least the next two to three weeks to go to the Red Cross for recovery efforts in Japan.

230,000 Displaced by Mexico Drug Prohibition War, Half May Have Come to the United States

A new study by the Swiss-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Center that at least 230,000 people have been displaced in Mexico because of drug prohibition violence and that about half of them may have taken refuge in the United States.

D.C. Medical Marijuana: Ask Mayor Gray: What's the Hold Up? (Action Alert)


March 25, 2011

 

Ask Mayor Gray: What’s the hold up?

Dear Friends:


This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

U.S. Led Drug Prohibition Wars Have Failed, Expert Tells Panama Conference

Speaking at a regional security conference, Hans Mathieu, director of the Friedrich Ebert Security Foundation, said using violent repression in the "war" against drugs doesn’t work and policies against drug trafficking, especially those headed by the United States, have failed.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox Tells Four Arts Audience He Favors Legalizing Drug Use

As president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006, Vicente Fox waged war on the wealthy drug trafficking organizations that wield so much power in his country. But now the former president says it is time to end the war that has cost 40,000 lives in five years. The answer, Fox told a Society of Four Arts audience, is to legalize drugs. "I don’t think nobody’s going to eradicate drugs from the face of the Earth," Fox said. "Yes, I am promoting the legalizing of drug consumption. Mexico has to get out of this trap. The sooner, the better. The cost for Mexico is too much."

Marijuana Legalization Advocates Organize to Put New Measure on California Ballot

The campaign behind the initiative to legalize marijuana in California which lost narrowly announced it had formed a new committee to put another measure on the ballot. The Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform 2012 aims to build on the support that coalesced around Proposition 19, which would have allowed adults to grow and possess marijuana and authorized cities and counties to legalize and tax sales. Proposition 19 lost 46%-54% in November, but it drew worldwide media attention and stimulated a vigorous debate over the nation's drug policies. Polls have shown growing support for marijuana legalization nationwide, and a post-election poll in California suggested the measure might have passed if proponents had had the money for a campaign to reach swing voters.

California Medical Marijuana Dispensary Plans to Take IRS to Court

The IRS is thought to have begun audits on at least 12 medical marijuana dispensaries in California under the determination that past business deductions are invalid because of a clause in the federal tax code prohibiting any business that traffics in Schedule I or II drugs from making business deductions on their tax returns. Lynette Shaw, founder and owner of the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, is hoping to strike back before the IRS can deliver any more "final determinations" to other dispensaries currently being audited. Shaw intends to file an appeal in U.S. Tax Court within the month. There is actually a precedent for just such a case, when in 2007, a San Francisco dispensary primarily catering to terminal AIDS patients got its payment cut down to just over 1 percent of what the IRS originally said it owed in back taxes.

More Kids Caught in the Crossfire of Mexico’s Drug Prohibition War

Sadly, the fatal shooting of a 4-year-old girl brought to three the number of children to die violently in the Mexican resort city of Acapulco within the last 72 hours. Fifteen people have been slain in Acapulco since Tuesday, including a woman and two of her grandchildren gunned down inside the family home. The mayhem is taking a toll on tourism in Acapulco, scaring away many of the U.S. college students who would normally flock to the city for spring break.

Federally-Approved Medical Marijuana Patient Stumps Through Montana

Irvin Rosenfeld, as one of only a few surviving federal medical marijuana patients was in Montana, stumping for what he calls a 'Wonderdrug.' Every month, the federal government sends Rosenfeld his medicine: 360 rolled marijuana cigarettes. He suffers from a rare disorder that produces tumors at the end of long bones. "I haven't developed a new tumor or had an existing one grow since I was 21, which was 37 years ago, and I attribute that to my medicine: medical cannabis," he said.

Colombia Is No Model for Mexico's Drug Prohibition War (Opinion)

Sanho Tree at the Institute for Policy Studies reminds us that when Washington ramped up its anti-drug efforts through Plan Colombia, more than 90 percent of the cocaine consumed in the United States came through Colombia. A decade later, we get about 97 percent of our cocaine via Colombia. President Barack Obama recently admitted that drug legalization was a valid subject for debate even though he didn't support it himself. That was the most daring admission made by any sitting U.S. president on this subject. If he's serious, we should stoke this debate before another 35,000 lives are needlessly lost. There are many alternatives in the spectrum between prohibition and total free market legalization.

Mexico Drug Prohibition War Spillover: Texas Resident Says War Getting Closer to Home

The drug prohibition war has been crossing over into the United States for months, some say years. Now, nearly a dozen automatic rifles, grenades and ammo were all found on the U.S. side of the river in Fronton, Texas. "I don't think it will be too late before they come over here...we don't go out anymore," said resident Ismael Guerra. Bullets zoom by his house at times. The latest cache of weapons found means more nights of gun battles outside the Guerra's window.

Drug Lords Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Global Prohibition (Video)

50 years ago the United Nations adopted the first international treaty to prohibit some drugs. The logic of the system was simple: any use of the drugs listed, unless sanctioned for medical or scientific purposes, would be deemed 'abuse' and thus illegal. As a result of this convention, the unsanctioned production and trafficking of these drugs became a crime in all member states of the UN. There is a small group that benefits phenomenally from the global war on drugs: organized criminals and terrorists. View this video from the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and find out more.

Washington State Marijuana Bill Should Reflect Shift in Culture (Editorial)

The Spokesman-Review opines that because Congress refuses to update the absurd Controlled Substances Act, states are trying to figure out the best ways to implement the sane and popular wish that marijuana be made available for medicinal purposes. The newspaper says Washington's bill should put patients first by not erecting barriers that make it more difficult to legally obtain medical marijuana, and that the House should strip the bill of these excessive limitations. It says the bill represents a cultural shift in attitudes toward marijuana, and that regulation and enforcement ought to reflect that reality.

Study Casts Doubts Over Canada's Strategy on Illicit Drug Use

Much like the American approach to drug policy, it's not clear Canadians are getting a whole lot of bang for all the bucks thrown at the illicit drug problem, a new report says. "In the case of the strategy, many programs do not have the means to demonstrate the incremental impact of their activities...Many programs report output information...but the validity of the information remains questionable from an impact measurement perspective," the document says.

What Can You Do to Decriminalize Marijuana in Vermont? (Action Alert)

Dear Friends of Compassion and Common Sense:

The bill relating to decriminalize marijuana (H-427) is in the VT House Judiciary Committee NOW.


Mexicans Seeking Asylum Due to Drug Prohibition War Form Coalition in Texas

The director of the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, Louie Gilot, said cases of Mexicans fleeing drug prohibition violence have risen significantly over the past two years and that the asylum seekers include former police officers, rights activists, journalists, business leaders and even government officials. Carlos Spector, an attorney, said the U.S. government is reluctant to grant political asylum to Mexican applicants because doing so means recognizing that aid from Washington is financing military abuses against the Mexican civilian population.

HUD Says Medical Marijuana Policies Up to Local Housing Authorities

A Colorado-based non-profit has received a statement from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) making it clear that local housing authorities themselves are responsible for determining policies regarding medical marijuana use by recipients of federal housing assistance. "PHAs [public housing authorities] have discretion to determine, on a case by case basis, the appropriateness of program termination for the use of medical marijuana," Milan M. Ozdinec, the deputy assistant secretary for Public Housing and Voucher Program, said in the statement.

Journalist Sues Prosecutor: Claims Medical Marijuana Case Info Wrongfully Withheld

Eric VanDussen, a freelance journalist, filed Freedom of Information Act requests with every prosecutor in the Michigan. He’s looking to learn how each county handles criminal cases that involve registered medical marijuana patients. But not all prosecutors are so forthcoming.

Rhode Island Looks at Legalizing Marijuana for Recreational Use

Rhode Island would become the first U.S. state to legalize marijuana for recreational use under legislation that would replace criminal penalties for possession with alcohol-style regulation and taxes on America's most widely used illicit drug. Cash-strapped Rhode Island would stand to make tens of millions of dollars off the deal. The legislation would allow individuals to grow up to three marijuana plants, but only if they've paid $100 per plant. Wholesalers would have to pay a $50-per-ounce excise tax, retail licenses would cost $5,000 annually, and all retail marijuana sales would be subject to sales taxes.

Hemp House Going Up at North Carolina's Lake Junaluska

If you’re looking for a strong, green, energy-efficient building material that’s resistant to pretty much everything, hemp might be your best choice. This is the concept being pitched by Greg Flavall and David Madera, owners of a business called Hemp Technologies. They’re some of the first to build with the material in the United States, where industrial hemp hasn’t seen the rise in popularity it enjoys in other countries, thanks to a federal ban on U.S. production.

This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

Hawaii Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Committees with Major Amendments

Hawaii Senate Bill 1458 SD2, which creates medical marijuana compassion centers was heard by the House Committees on Health and Public Safety. The committees passed the bill with major amendments, so now it becomes SB 1458 SD2 HD1.

Inhaled Marijuana May Keep Brain Cancer in Remission

A recent medical case-report highlights a striking association between inhaled Cannabis and anti-tumor effects in young adults with brain cancer. This gives scientists new evidence that the chemical compounds from the Cannabis plant (known as cannabinoids) may have significant anti-cancer effects in humans.

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