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Demonstrations at Oregon's Capitol Regarding Medical Marijuana Bill

A large demonstration by medical marijuana supporters is taking place today over Oregon's House bill 2982, which would require a background check on existing medical marijuana cardholders and deny participation to anyone with a drug felony in his/her past.

White House Moves to Fund Needle Exchanges As Drug Treatment

The Obama administration has designated needle exchanges as a drug treatment program, allowing federal money set aside to treat addictions to be used to distribute syringes to intravenous drug users. Two years ago President Obama lifted the 21-year ban on federally funded needle exchange programs as a necessary evil to reduce the spread of HIV among illicit drug users. The new position, determined by the surgeon general, is that the states can receive federal funding for programs that hand out the syringes as a treatment. A 11-year-old study in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment that found that addicts who participated in needle exchanges were five times more likely to enter drug treatment.

Poll: Montanans Overwhelmingly Oppose Repeal of Medical Marijuana Act

Poll results released today by Patients and Families United show that only 20 percent of Montanans support the outright repeal of the Montana Medical Marijuana Act. The findings conflict with the mood in Montana's Capitol. The Senate will soon take up a bill that could repeal the state's medical marijuana law. The House passed the measure on Monday by a vote of 62-37. Sixty-two percent of Montana voters approved the law in 2004.

Guatemala Warns Belize of Drug Prohibition War Spillover

Belize’s Ambassador to Guatemala, H. E. Alfredo Martinez, said there is already evidence that Guatemala’s drug prohibition war problems are trickling over the border. Not only is Belize’s western border with Guatemala infamously porous—Guatemala disputes its very existence, particularly the portion to the South of the Sibun, where anti-narcotics efforts are supposed to be concentrated.

Kenyan Parliament Begins Drug Probe on MPs

Drug prohibition has been known to corrupt government officials all over the globe. Kenya's Committee of Parliament on Security has embarked on an independent investigation into allegations of drug trafficking leveled against four members of parliament. US ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger disclosed that officials have banned several high profile individuals from visiting the US on the grounds of their involvement in drug trafficking.

Money Is Gone, but Proposition 36's Drug Treatment Mandate Remains

Enacted by 61 percent of voters in November 2000 as Proposition 36, the law says first- and second-time nonviolent, simple drug possession offenders must be given the opportunity to receive substance abuse treatment instead of jail time. That "must" isn't a suggestion; it would take another voter-approved ballot measure to undo it. County officials who administer the state's treatment-not-jail program for certain drug offenders are struggling with a lack of funding that's not likely to improve, but advocates say ignoring the mandate simply isn't an option.

Florida's New Corrections Head Pushing for Drug Rehab, Flexibility in Sentencing

More drug treatment, juvenile intervention and giving judges more flexibility in sentencing are the ways to improve Florida's correctional system, the state's newest prisons chief said.

U.S. Agent's Killing Hints at Drug Prohibition War Tensions

Jaime Zapata's killing marks the first murder of an American agent in the line of duty in Mexico's drug prohibition war, which has raged relentlessly since President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006. As such, it adds extra pressure to the already strained U.S.-Mexico drug prohibition alliance. Publicly, the Calderón and Obama administrations have continued to paint a rosy picture of the U.S. and Mexico marching side by side to defeat the common adversary of drug trafficking organizations. But as revealed in WikiLeaks cables and offhand comments by officials on both sides of the border, tensions are growing. U.S. officials complain that they cannot rely on Mexico's institutions — and this concern is exacerbated when their lives are on the line.

Crooked CoCo County Drug Czar Walks Out of Lockup on Discounted Bail

The corruption of police due to drug prohibition has been well-documented. Norman Wielsch, the former commander of the Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team who was arrested last week on suspicion of trafficking drugs his team had confiscated, saw his $1 million bail reduced to an easy $400,000.

Medical Marijuana Clinics Quietly Take Root in Oregon

Within the past three months, Central Oregon has seen at least five medical marijuana clinics or clubs set up shop. There was at first outcry, then indifference -- and now, it seems, acceptance.

New York County Closes Crime Lab Over Massive Drug Test Errors

New York county officials shut down their crime lab because, they said, police officials knew that examiners were producing inaccurate measurements in drug cases even before a national accrediting agency placed the lab on probation. Nearly 9,000 drug cases dating to late 2007 are currently being reviewed for signs of errors after a spot check last week of nine cases involving ketamine or ecstasy revealed that six of them were inaccurately analyzed.

Entire Villages Flee As Colombia Drug Trafficking Organizations Move In

Drug prohibition violence is growing across Colombia, and has reached particularly alarming levels in Cordoba. This latest incarnation of drug trafficking organizations has emerged following the demobilization of paramilitary soldiers. Between 2003 and 2006, after striking a peace deal with the government, more than 32,000 fighters belonging to the paramilitary group called the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) put down arms. But many mid-ranking paramilitary commanders slipped back into drug trafficking, starting up new organizations and recruiting ex-AUC fighters.

Montana Lawmaker Asks That PTSD Sufferers Qualify for Medical Marijuana Use ‎

Democrat Senator David Wanzenried is asking Montana's legislature to authorize post-traumatic stress disorder as a debilitating medical condition qualifying a person for medical marijuana. "I don’t know how medical marijuana works, I can tell you it does work," said Senator David Wanzenried (D-Senate District 49).

Congressman: Eliminate the War on Drugs

Colorado congressman Jared Polis wants to drastically reduce the federal government's funding of the war on drugs. He has introduced amendments to the Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 that, if passed, would virtually eliminate money spent to fight drug crimes. The first amendment, No. 501, proposes to eradicate funding of the drug czar. The second amendment, No. 427, would prohibit the investigation and criminal prosecution for the possession, manufacture or distribution of marijuana. Polis believes that the drug czar's office is not only unnecessary, but has proven to be more harmful than helpful in the case of marijuana.

Medical Marijuana Patient Advocates Hold First-of-Its-Kind Virtual Nationwide Conference (Press Release)

For Immediate Release: February 17, 2011

Contact: Kris Hermes at 510-251-1856 or [email protected]


Missouri Veteran Says He Should Be Allowed to Grow Medical Marijuana Instead of Becoming a Morphine Addict

A wounded Missouri veteran is gearing up for a courtroom battle he says he shouldn’t have to fight. Prosecutors have slapped Ken Unger with a felony charge of growing medical marijuana in his home. Unger says it's strictly for medicinal use to ease chronic pain cause by an accident he had in 1983 while on a tour of duty. "Yes I was growing marijuana, and I was growing it for my own personal consumption," he said. Unger was prescribed morphine to control his pain, which he says he's tired of. "I feel like I’m totally trapped," Unger said. "I’m not allowed to do anything for pain relief other than be a morphine addict, and I don’t want to be a morphine addict."

Arizona Conducts Last Medical Marijuana Forum

The Arizona Department of Health Services has conducted three forums around the state this week to discuss rules for establishing medical marijuana dispensaries. The final rules should be released by the end of March.

Drug Trafficking Organizations Also Involved in Sex Trade, Expert Says

The head of a company that provides security for American citizens traveling in Mexico says powerful drug trafficking organizations are branching out into the $40-billion-a-year sex trafficking industry. They kidnap children and young people, demand ransom, but in many cases never return the victims, according to Brad Barker with Halo Security. He said a family might pay $100,000 ransom, but the kidnap victim can be worth much more in the sex market. "This person can be held in captivity, they can be filmed doing sex acts, they can be sold on the Internet throughout the world and make 10 times that amount of money. So why would they return the person to their family?"

Predicting Demand for Medical Marijuana in Rhode Island

Early next month, the state Health Department is poised to select from one to three proposals for dispensaries that will sell medical marijuana and related products to patients in the growing medical marijuana program. JoAnne Leppanen, executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition, and others seeking to open the centers have varying views on whether it’s financially feasible for the state to have three dispensaries. On Tuesday, there were 3,239 patients and 2,039 licensed caregivers, or medical marijuana growers, in the program. Many of the patients also have caregiver licenses, meaning that they grow their own medical cannabis to deal with chronic pain, nausea and other medical ailments. But just about everyone in the industry predicts that the establishment of one, two or three dispensaries will lead to an immediate surge in the number of patients, who must get approval from the Health Department to use medical marijuana for.

Mexico's Refugees: A Hidden Cost of the Prohibitionist War on Drugs

President Felipe Calderon's four-year-old army-led campaign against drug trafficking organizations created by prohibition has shaken up the balance of power in Mexico's criminal underworld and sparked a wave of turf wars, sometimes trapping civilians in their midst. With more than 34,000 drug prohibition killings in the past four years, Calderon is coming under increasing pressure to help states burdened by drug war refugees.

Legislation Filed to Legalize Medical Marijuana in Kansas

Legislation has been filed to legalize medical marijuana for people with debilitating conditions, such as cancer. House Bill 2330 would provide for the registration and operations of not-for-profit compassion centers, which would have the authority to possess, cultivate, manufacture and dispense medical marijuana. Patients would have to have a doctor’s recommendation and a license from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The license would permit them to possess up to six ounces of medical marijuana.

Marijuana Reform in 2012? It's Your Call...

 

Legalization in 2012: What do YOU think?


This Week in History

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

Big Changes to Kentucky Drug Laws Advance in Legislature

Kentucky's House Judiciary Committee approved the most sweeping changes to the state's penal code in a generation in an effort to reduce prison and jail crowding. The committee voted unanimously to send House Bill 463 to the full House, where a floor vote is expected tomorrow. The result of much negotiation and compromise, the bill would steer many drug addicts into treatment and community supervision rather than prison. It drew praise from prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges and local leaders. The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce endorsed it, warning that the state's incarceration costs are draining resources that could better be spent on education.

Crime Lab Errors Prompt Review of Thousands of Drug Cases

An independent agency will review an estimated 4,000 drug cases in New York after officials from a medical examiner's office uncovered errors at a police crime lab. The possibility does exist, defense lawyers contended, that innocent people have been jailed in drug cases based on faulty evidence from the lab. Already, 16 defense motions seeking judicial reviews or reopening of drug cases have been filed, according to the DA. More are likely. "The credibility of the entire lab has been undermined," said Marc Gann, president of the Nassau County Bar Association.

Why ER Docs Test for Illegal Drugs Without Consent

Dr. Zachary F. Meisel, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation clinical scholar and an emergency physician at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses issues related to emergency room doctors running tests for illicit drugs on patients without gaining their permission.

Mexico Risks Losing Large Areas to Prohibition's Drug Trafficking Organizations

Mexico is struggling to avert a collapse of law and order along its northern border in a region that generates a quarter of its economic output, with two states already facing the threat of criminal anarchy. Even after four years of dramatic military sweeps, drug trafficking organizations in Chihuahua and Tamaulipas are extending their control over large areas and the state governments seem powerless to stop them. Mass jail breaks, abandoned police stations, relentless killings and gangs openly running criminal rackets such as gasoline stolen from pipelines are the new reality in regions once at the forefront of Mexico's efforts to modernize and prosper under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Most Michiganders in Favor of Medical Marijuana Use, Poll Finds

Michigan voters support the state's medical marijuana law by nearly the same margin by which it was adopted in the 2008 election. The poll, conducted by Marketing Resource Group of Lansing, found that 61% of voters said they would vote yes again. Proposal 1 of 2008, legalizing the possession and use of marijuana for medical reasons, won with 62.6% of the vote. A spokeswoman for the Marijuana Policy Project said the poll "proves that a strong majority of Michigan voters stand firmly behind the compassionate medical marijuana law they enacted two years ago."

U.S. Agent Shot to Death in Mexico at Drug Trafficking Organization 'Narco-Blockade'

A U.S. immigration agent who was killed in a part of central Mexico increasingly under the influence of drug traffickers has been identified as Jaime J. Zapata. Zapata was shot to death and another special agent was wounded when they were apparently ambushed by gunmen at a fake roadblock.

Obama Proposes 43 Percent Cut for Murtha's National Drug Intelligence Center

A project championed by the late Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) got the axe in the fiscal year 2012 budget proposed by President Barack Obama. The National Drug Intelligence Center is slated to receive 43.2 percent less money in 2012, going from a budget of $44 million to $25 million.

California Medical Marijuana Industry Seeks to Operate "For Profit" ‎

In California, medical marijuana dispensaries are required by state law to operate as non-profit "collectives" of legal medical marijuana patients who simply cover the costs of distributing the plant or edible products made from it. In the aftermath of dozens of raids on dispensaries that were illegally profiting from the sale of marijuana over the last year, the medicinal marijuana industry is calling for new laws that would allow dispensaries to operate as for-profit enterprises.

Hearing on Indiana Marijuana Study Bill Today (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            February 15, 2011

Hearing on Indiana Marijuana Study Bill Today


Mexican Drug Prohibition Gangsters Menace Natural Gas Drillers

Gunmen representing the Zetas drug trafficking organization have threatened to attack isolated natural gas well drillers unless they pay to operate in parts of northern Mexico. The threats are a new twist in Mexico's failed drug prohibition war, which is hitting businesses near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mexico Drug War Carnage: Nearly 40 Killed Over the Weekend

At least 37 people were killed in drug prohibition violence in Mexico over the weekend. The weekend surge, which hit the major cities of Guadalajara and Monterrey, indicates that violence is quickly spreading beyond the traditionally dangerous regions along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Study: Welfare Drug Tests Not Cost Effective

A study conducted in Idaho concluded the cost of mandatory drug testing of public assistance recipients would exceed any savings from booting offenders from programs. Republican lawmakers demanded the study last March, saying their constituents considered it unfair that some Idahoans are drug-tested by their employers while those on public assistance are not.

Bills Aim to Improve Drug Treatment, Cut Prison Costs Through Alternatives to Incarceration

After months of study, Kentucky's General Assembly will begin considering proposals next week aimed at reducing the state's soaring prison population and thereby curbing costs through such things as better drug treatment and alternatives to incarceration. Two identical 135-page bills were filed in the Senate and House, the work product of a task force that examined a wide range of corrections issues.

Marijuana Arrests in New York City Skyrocket to 15 Percent of Total

More than 50,000 people were arrested last year in New York City for low-level marijuana offenses, according to the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services. Those 50,383 arrests represented 15 percent of all arrests by the New York Police Department. The 50,000-oplus figure is more marijuana arrests in one year than the number of similar arrests made by the New York Police Department over the entire period from 1978 to 1996, according to an analysis for the alliance done by Harry Levine, a sociology professor at Queens College.

Drug War Anniversary a Time for Reflection and Action

This June will mark forty years since President Nixon declared a "war on drugs," identifying drug abuse as "public enemy No. 1." Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of Drug Policy Alliance, opines that what's needed, indeed essential, are reflection -- and action.

Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization Holds 12-Year-Old Girl Ransom in New Mexico

A Mexican drug trafficking organization kidnapped the 12-year-old daughter of a ranch foreman in New Mexico, holding the girl for ransom until her family and neighbors came up with $80,000 for her release. They didn’t dare call law enforcement for help because of very real fears their calls would be monitored by the kidnappers using sophisticated communications relay stations erected on U.S. public lands. "The drug smugglers use scanners, cell phones, GPS systems and other equipment that is better than anything Border Patrol or the local deputy sheriffs have. We could actually see them watching our Border Patrol agents from points on high ground," said Rep. Ed Royce, a Republican from California while visiting hot spots along the New Mexico, Arizona and Texas border. This is yet another example of violence from Mexico's drug prohibition war crossing the border into the United States, and is interesting as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s keeps claiming there has been no "spillover violence".

Converted Trailers Help Rural Residents Get Medical Marijuana

State-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries now outnumber Starbucks in Colorado. But outside Denver and Boulder, few doctors are comfortable dealing with medical marijuana. Now, residents in rural Colorado towns like Salida can see a doctor who are willing to recommend medical marijuana aboard two shiny aluminum vintage airstream trailers, which have been converted into mobile doctors' offices. The trailers criss-cross the state, providing exams for new patients and access to medical marijuana for those deemed eligible.

Canada: Grits Block Jail Time for Growing Marijuana

The Canadian government bill that would impose mandatory jail time for offenders caught growing a handful of marijuana plants appears doomed. The Liberals announced they will not support Bill S-10, which has already been passed by the Senate.

Legalize Dagga and Other Drugs: South African Medical Journal

South Africans are still mulling over comments by the editor of the South African Medical Journal, who has called for government to look at legalizing certain drugs, such as dagga (marijuana) and cocaine. Editor JP van Niekerk says the high number of drug offenses that the country sees is proof that the country's prohibitionist war on drugs is ineffective, and authorities therefore should look at legalizing and regulating certain drugs.

The Addled Piorities of US Drug Policy: As Cities Like Camden, New Jersey Are Forced to Cut Policing, It Is Nonsensical for Law Enforcement to Pursue Prohibition (Opinion)

Jennifer Abel opines on policing priorities given that the state of the economy is forcing cutbacks in law enforcement.

Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations Draw Guatemalan Army to Jungles Where It Fought Civil War

The once-fearsome Guatemalan army has returned to the jungles where it battled Marxist guerrillas a generation ago, this time to hunt shadowy Mexican drug traffickers fighting for control of strategic smuggling routes to the United States. The military operations are the clearest sign yet that as Mexico's wealthy drug trafficking organizations spread into Central America, wary but weak governments here are preparing to follow Mexican President Felipe Calderon's U.S.-backed decision to turn the armed forces against the traffickers. That prohibitionist strategy has failed to slow the violence in Mexico, which has left more than 34,000 dead in four years.

Mexico Drug Prohibition War an 'Insurgency'? US Official's Gaffe Sparks US-Mexico Row

US Undersecretary of the Army Joseph Westphal likened Mexico's drug war to an "insurgency" and suggested the US might need to send troops to Mexico and to prevent prohibition-created drug trafficking organizations from taking over the country. Mexico has condemned the remarks, which Westphal has retracted and apologized for, but they echo September comments from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who also compared Mexico's drug prohibition threat to an "insurgency." President Obama immediately backed away from Mrs. Clinton's comparison then, just as Westphal immediately labeled his own words "inaccurate."

Iowa Lawmaker Faces Ethics Review Over Faking Symptoms to Get a Doctor's Recommendation for Medical Marijuana in California

Rep. Clel Baudler, a Greenfield Republican and former state trooper, who traveled to California and lied to a physician about having painful hemorrhoids in order to obtain a medical marijuana recommendation in California will answer to the Iowa's House Ethics Committee. The Iowa Board of Pharmacy voted unanimously last year to recommend that lawmakers reclassify marijuana so it could be used for medical purposes.

Medical Marijuana Meets Social Couponing with Denver Company

Denver-based mmjDailyDeals.com is picking up where other social couponing sites don't dare to go, offering deals of up to 80 percent off on medical marijuana in your inbox everyday. Founder John Molinare said his company is filling a void for medical marijuana patients who stand to benefit through increased accessibility and affordability.

Confirmed: Drug Trafficking Organization Hit Was Carried Out in Texas Months Ago

Despite Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s claims of no "spillover violence" from Mexico’s drug war, police in Brownsville just announced that a third suspect has been charged in connection with a double murder that took place in the Texas border town back in September. It was a drug trafficking organization hit.

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Bill Clears Washington State Senate Committee

The state Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee approved a bill aimed at clarifying Washington’s law on the medical use of cannabis. The bipartisan measure was introduced by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, and co-sponsored by Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland. Senate Bill 5073 would allow patients to purchase medical marijuana products from licensed dispensaries by taking part in a regulated patient collective, or by continuing to receive it from a designated provider. The Department of Agriculture would create a licensing system for the growing of medical marijuana and the Department of Health would do the same for dispensaries.

Mexican President's Visit to Stanford Meets with Objections Due to His Drug Prohibition War

Mexican President Felipe Calderón has been invited to give the commencement address at Stanford University in June, but an editorial in this week’s El Mensajero calls it the "wrong choice" due to his prohibitionist drug war. El Mensajero editor María Mejía writes that the point of a commencement address is to inspire students, adding that if she were a student, she wouldn’t feel inspired by Calderón. "I don’t admire his war against drug trafficking...I can’t believe that more than 30,000 dead during his administration due to violence stemming from narcotrafficking is something that could inspire me," she wrote.

Beyond Prohibition Foundation Commends Liberal Party of Canada for Opposing Bill S-10 (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 9, 2011


Bill Aims to Legalize Marijuana, Make Washington Pioneer State

Sponsors of a marijuana legalization bill predict Washington will lead the nation in getting rid of the prohibition on marijuana. If bill sponsors get their way, Washington residents will be able to go to the state liquor store and legally buy marijuana. The same laws against selling to minors and driving while impaired would apply.

SF Mayor's Hep C Task Force Recommends Supervised Injection Facilities (Press Release)

For Immediate Release: February 9, 2011                           &


This Week in History

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

Cannabis Council Reaches Out to Help Colorado Teenager Denied Access to Medical Marijuana for Very Rare Condition

Mark Slaugh, membership director of the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council, wrote to Rep. Mark Barker, R-Colorado Springs, and Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs to urge legislative action on behalf of a teenage medical marijuana patient being denied access to his medicine by Colorado's Harrison School District 2. The teenager in question was diagnosed a little more than a year ago with a very rare condition that causes seizures, which can last for days. Slaugh said the district should take a more reasonable approach to the situation and the legislature should rewrite medical marijuana laws so that this situation doesn’t come up in the first place.

Rethinking Drug-Free School Zones: Massachusetts Gov. Patrick Proposes Changing a Policy Critics Say Is Unfair and Ineffective

For years, advocates of criminal justice reform in Massachusetts have been critical of the school zone law, which carries mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes that take place within 1,000 feet of school property. While the law was passed in the name of public safety and the protection of children, critics say it's so broadly drawn that it's ineffective, and that it unfairly penalizes certain defendants on the basis of where they live. Now reformers have found an ally in the Statehouse's corner office. Gov. Patrick announced a proposal to dramatically reduce the size of the school zones, from 1,000 to 100 feet, as part of a plan to address a staggering projected state budget gap of $1.2 billion. The plan also includes proposals to close two state prisons and to ease sentencing laws for non-violent drug offenders, all moves the governor contends would save much-needed money.

Arizona Probation Officer Fired for Supporting Marijuana Legalization

Less than two months after signing a letter calling for the legalization, taxation, and regulation of marijuana, Joe Miller was terminated from his job as a deputy probation officer in Arizona. Miller is just one of a series of law enforcement officials to be fired for their views on drug policy.

New Certification Proposed for Drug-Sniffing Dogs As They Are Wrong Far More Often Than Right

A Illinois state representative has again asked fellow legislators to force police dogs to meet certification standards before being used for tasks such as sniffing for drugs at traffic stops. The bill, introduced by State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) follows a recent investigation that showed drug-sniffing dogs, according to state data, have been wrong more often than they have been right about whether vehicles contain drugs or drug paraphernalia.

US Rep. Jared Polis Says Members of Congress Privately Want Drug Reform

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) says that a lot of members of Congress privately agree that we need to change our drug policy, but that they’re just too timid or scared to go public with their beliefs. He says very few that are 'hard core' drug warriors.

Ex-South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel Says Legalize Drugs; Prohibition Is a Destructive, Costly and Futile Strategy

Former South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel is breaking his silence and taking on America's drug prohibition war, saying he advocates a repeal of the prohibition on drugs and calling the government's response a failure. "Drug abuse is a medical, health care and spiritual problem, not a problem to be solved within a criminal justice model," he said. Prohibition is "our government's most destructive policy since slavery," he added.

Five Found Dead in Execution-Style Slayings in Mexico, Weekend Total Jumps to 41 Drug Prohibition Related Deaths

Mexican authorities recovered the bodies of five men who were dumped on the side of road in the northern state of Zacatecas. The deaths raised to 41 the number of people killed over the weekend due to drug prohibition violence.

Medical Marijuana Sellers Can't Take Their Money to the Bank

Conflict between state and federal laws over the legality of medical marijuana has left owners of medical marijuana dispensaries finding that their financial services can go up in smoke. They're caught in a legal gray area that makes big banks wary or downright hostile. Last spring, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and 14 other members of Congress sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner seeking reassurance for financial institutions. The letter to Geithner asks his office to "issue formal written guidance for financial institutions assuring that Department priorities do not include targeting or pursuing institutions whose account holders are involved in a business ostensibly operating in compliance with a state medical marijuana law." No response has been received.

US Students Shot Dead in Border Town

Three teenage boys were shot and killed in the border town of Ciudad Juárez. Two, 15 and 16-years-old, were US citizens living in the town, but attending high schools in Texas.

As Prohibition-Created Drug Trafficking Organizations Continue Stronghold, Female Mexican Police Chief Taken Near Christmas Still Missing

Relatives feared for her safety and urged Police Chief Erica Gandara to keep a low profile. But she refused, posing with her rifle for newspaper interviews. Then, at 6 a.m. on December 23, 10 drug trafficking organization gunmen pulled up to her residence, dragged her out of the house and set the home on fire. She has not been seen or heard from since.

South Dakota House Rejects Drug Tests for Welfare Recipients

The South Dakota House rejected a bill that would have forced drug tests on welfare recipients to determine their eligibility. The measure failed on a vote of 32-36 after opponents said it would be impractical and would provide little help to children in poor families.

Top Army Official Suggests U.S. Troops Might Be Sent to Mexico to Fight Drug Prohibition War

Undersecretary of the Army Joseph Westphal, the second-highest ranking civilian official in the U.S. Army, described the situation in Mexico created by drug prohibition as an insurgency and fretted over a scenario in which armed U.S. soldiers could be called to the border and/or into Mexico. Westphal is the most senior U.S. official to publicly compare Mexico’s drug cartels to an insurgency since Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a similar assessment last September. Westfall — who said he was expressing a personal opinion, but one he had shared with the White House — said he didn’t want to ever see a situation in which "armed and fighting" American soldiers are sent to combat an insurgency "on our border, in violation of our Constitution, or to have to send them across the border."

Teen's Medical Marijuana Fight Escalates As School Says He Cannot Come Back to Class After Going Home for Medicine, Father Appeals to Legislators for Help

The saga of a Colorado Springs, Colorado teenager struggling with a rare neurological condition best controlled with medical marijuana lozenges became a little more surreal when school officials informed the student’s father that the child cannot return to school on any day that he consumes medical marijuana. The child missed most of the last school year when he was diagnosed with diaphragmatic and axial myoclonus, which causes seizures that can last for 24 hours or more. He spent extensive periods of time hospitalized and used morphine and other narcotics to control the seizures until doctors discovered that THC works better than any other medication.

SPARC Gives Upscale Feel to Traditional Medical Marijuana Dispensary

In San Francisco, a medical marijuana collective is trying to change the idea of a medical marijuana club as a tiny storefront office in a declining part of town, or a huge but impersonal former warehouse.

Canadian Doctors Decry Crackdown on Drugs

A large group of doctors, HIV researchers and other public health officials has just released a letter lambasting the Canadian government’s bill S-10, which would overhaul illicit drug laws. The principle target of the 564 signatories – which includes doctors, nurses, social workers and law professors – is a provision that would impose minimum prison sentences of at least six months for a variety of drug offenses, including operating small-scale marijuana grow operations.

Greenway University Makes Medical Marijuana Education History

Greenway University has received full formal state approval from the Colorado Department of Higher Education. The university has received authorization to teach ten medical marijuana state-approved courses, the only such state-approved and regulated medical marijuana courses in the United States. Greenway University is renowned for its compliance driven medical marijuana educational services in California, Colorado, Arizona and the Western US.

Experts: 'Nothing Amateur' About Narco Submarine

The only narco submarine ever captured is a 73-foot-long camouflaged vessel capable of carrying at least 7 tons of cocaine while cruising stealthily beneath the ocean's surface. In the seven months since the game-changing discovery of the submarine, built by drug traffickers in a covert shipyard deep in the Ecuadorean jungle, naval experts from multiple countries have studied the vessel. Their conclusion: It is the "real deal" — fully capable of making multiple journeys to North America.

Drug Truth Network 02/07/11

*DRUG TRUTH NETWORK PROGRAMS, Feb 6 to Feb 13, 2011*

*Cultural Baggage*, 29:00,  Irvin Rosenfeld, author of "My Medicine"


Police, Drugmakers Face Off Over Restricting Pseudoephedrine

Even though a bill has yet to be introduced in the Missouri General Assembly to return pseudoephedrine to its pre-1976 prescription-only status, both sides have begun to muster arguments and support. A recent poll found strong opposition nationwide for taking pseudoephedrine from behind the counter and putting it behind a prescription wall. Many law enforcement officers now believe that more pseudoephedrine sold in Missouri is used to make meth than to treat cold symptoms, a notion that the pharmaceutical industry disputes.

Michigan Court Cases Involving Medical Marijuana

The Detroit Free Press reports on Michigan communities that have been sued over ordinances restricting medical marijuana.

17 Killed in Mexico Drug Prohibition Violence This Weekend

At least 17 people -- including three young students -- were killed due to drug prohibition violence in northern Mexico this weekend.

San Francisco 30-Member Task Force Unanimously Backs Legal Intravenous Drug Center

A San Francisco task force charged with devising strategies for reducing Hepatitis C infections has recommended making the city the first in the U.S. with a drop-in center where intravenous drug users can obtain needles and shoot up.

Los Angeles Promoting Safe Ecstasy Use

Los Angeles County Health officials have posted tips for safe ecstasy use at the publicly owned Los Angeles Coliseum and Sports Arena.

University of Kansas Scientist Studies Salvia Divinorum's Medicinal Potential

Dr. Thomas Prisinzano, a scientist at the University of Kansas, is studying whether the drug salvia could lead to revolutionary new medicines. He has studied it for nine years. Prisinzano is one of seven scientists in the country with a federal grant to look into what the plant can do.

Mexico's Drug Prohibition War: US Warns About Night Driving in Guadalajara

Officials are warning U.S. citizens not to drive at night in parts of the western Mexican city of Guadalajara after suspected drug trafficking organizations burned vehicles and blocked streets there.

Hawaii Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession Gets Hearing

A bill aiming to reduce the costs of combating marijuana on the streets and in the courts by decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the drug is being heard by two legislative committees. Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana would be considered a civil violation similar to a traffic ticket and subject to a fine of $100 under the bill.

Law Student Sues St. John’s University for Rescinding Readmission Over Drug Charges

David Powers, an accountant who took time out of law school at St. John’s University, has sued the Roman Catholic university in New York after it refused to readmit him, saying that he had not been honest about a criminal conviction, since expunged, in his past. Three semesters into his law degree, Mr. Powers was granted a leave of absence to manage a $2-billion investment fund in Hong Kong.

The Futility of Drug Prohibition: 'Cocaine Clothes' Found in Italy Drug Bust

Another example of the futility of drug prohibition and drug traffickers' unrelenting innovation: Italian police said they had uncovered a drug trafficking ring that used clothes dipped in liquid cocaine to smuggle the drug into Italy from the Dominican Republic.

Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization Selling Counterfeit Microsoft Software

A notorious Mexican drug trafficking organization has been selling counterfeit Microsoft software on the streets and has been shoving it in authorities' faces by stamping fake Office 2007 discs, for instance, with the familiar "FMM" logo of the Familia organization.

Egypt Hates Hemp - Man Could Get Death for Importing Hemp Seed Oil (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 4, 2011


Prison Perks: Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization 'Queen' Got Botox Behind Bars

Corrupt officials working in Mexican prisons is a well-known problem. Sandra Avila Beltran, the alleged leader of the Sinaloa drug trafficking organization has been receiving beauty treatments in jail — seems even behind bars a Queen can't be seen with wrinkles. An inquiry has been launched by Mexican officials into how a doctor was able to perform the "unauthorized procedure" on the high-profile inmate, dubbed the 'Queen of the Pacific', at the Santa Martha Acatitla prison in Mexico City.

Medical Marijuana Grower's Punishment Doesn't Match His Crime (Editorial)

The Denver Post's editorial board opines that Christopher Bartkowicz, a medical marijuana grower who bragged about all the money he would make in Colorado's booming dispensary market, simply said the wrong thing at the wrong time and is now bearing the brunt of overzealous federal prosecution.

Researchers Meet to Discuss Cannabinoid-Based Stroke Therapy

The Cannabinoid Discussion Group at Temple University reviewed a recent scientific publication from a German Laboratory. The presenter was Zachary Reichenbach, an MD/Ph.D student at Temple, who is currently working in the laboratory of Dr. Ron Tuma. The Tuma lab is focused on studying cannabinoid based therapies for the treatment of cerebral ischemia resulting from stroke. Reichenbach led the discussion on a research paper which showed that the cannabinoid JWH-133 activates the cannabinoid type 2 receptor (CB2R), resulting a decrease in infarct size or brain damage during reperfusion following an ischemic event.

Marijuana Backers to GOPers: Why Not Cut the DEA Budget?

With Republicans in the House looking to cut down on spending in the next fiscal year, supporters of legalizing marijuana have a suggestion for where they should start -- the Drug Enforcement Agency's budget. "In the grand scheme of things, the entire federal budget dedicated to keeping marijuana illegal and carrying out all the enforcement measures to do so is really something that is long past its prime," the Marijuana Policy Project's Steve Fox said. "I'm not naive enough to think there would be such a major step, but you can just pick it apart and look at the marijuana seizures -- the amount of time and energy put into those seizures -- is really doing essentially nothing except maybe having a marginal effect on the price of marijuana," Fox said. "So all they're really doing is giving those involved in illegal marijuana dealing a little bit of price support."

Medical Marijuana Patient Sues Royal Oak, Michigan

The city is being sued by a cancer patient who claims the zoning restrictions on medical marijuana violate the Michigan Constitution and state law. Adam Leslie Brook of Royal Oak filed a lawsuit against the city, city clerk, building official and mayor in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Napolitano Is Too Late...Drug Trafficking Organizations Issued Their Own Warning Months Ago (Opinion)

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issued her now famous warning to drug trafficking organizations, saying: "Don't even think about bringing your violence and tactics across this border. You will be met by an overwhelming response." Dave Gibson opines that prohibition-created drug trafficking organizations have already been bringing their tactics across the border. For instance, seven months ago, Nogales, Arizona Police Chief Jeff Kirkham announced that his department had been warned by a Mexican drug traffickers that his officers would be targeted for murder if they carry out another off-duty drug bust. Chief Kirkham said, "The warning was...that the officers, if they are off duty, are to look the other way and ignore any drug trafficking loads that are coming across the border, otherwise they will be targeted."

Mexican Prisons Failing to Keep Drug Traffickers on the Inside

Just as Mexican authorities are struggling to put drug traffickers in prison, Mexican prisons are struggling to keep them there. Hundreds of dangerous inmates have escaped from state penitentiaries along the U.S. border in recent months, some through spectacular action-movie breakouts, others by simply walking out the door.

Medical Marijuana: Lawsuits Likely If New Denver Regs Shut Down Grows, Attorney Says

Could a compromise agreement about medical marijuana grows that passed through the Denver City Council's special issues committee this week still close a huge number of operations? Looks that way, says attorney Christian Sederberg -- and if the measure is enacted as presently written, he's confident litigation will follow.

Police Chief, Guards Killed in Mexican Border City

A retired army general who took over a month ago as police chief of the drug prohibition violence-wracked Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo has been shot to death along with two of his bodyguards.

Cut Drug War Spending (Action Alert)

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America's Third War: Fears Emerge That Mexican Drug Violence Could Spill Into U.S.

A series of high-profile murders of U.S. citizens along the border with Mexico has raised fears about drug prohibition violence spilling over into the United States.

Man Smokes Medical Marijuana at Taxpayers' Expense

On a recent chilly morning, Fort Lauderdale stockbroker Irvin Rosenfeld interrupted his client calls for a quick medical marijuana cigarette in the company parking lot. Then he went back to work. The cigarette perfectly legal for him was one of about 120,000 the federal government has provided to him at taxpayer expense for the past 29 years. He's one of only four people who remain in a now-closed compassionate drug program.

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