Newswire

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. (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)

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." (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)
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'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. (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)
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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. (Link to Story)

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. (Link to Story)

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