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Drug Czar Faints While Speaking at Harvard, Faints Again Later in Airport

The U.S. drug czar, R. Gil Kerlikowske, collapsed while speaking to law students at Harvard. He fainted again later while at Logan International Airport on his way back to Washington, D.C. (Link to Story)
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Los Angeles Voters Asked to Tax Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The cash-strapped city of Los Angeles is trying to create a new source of revenue by asking voters to tax medical marijuana dispensaries. Measure M, if approved, would allow to the city to collect $50 out of each $1,000 in "gross reimbursements" that dispensaries receive from their patients. That could generate $10 million a year, which the city can use to pay for basic services such police, libraries and street repairs. "This is something we cannot say 'no' to," Councilwoman Janice Hahn said. (Link to Story)

Knox County D.A.R.E Drug Prevention Curriculum Bumped in Face of Call for Measurable Results

This spring, the Knox County Sheriff's Office will teach its final classes of the 25-year-old Drug Awareness Resistance Education program in local county schools. D.A.R.E., developed as a drug prevention curriculum by the Los Angeles Police Department for children 10-12 years old, has been long criticized by many studies and organizations -- including the U.S. Surgeon General, the National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Department of Education -- for not being effective at keeping kids away from drugs later in life. (Link to Story)

Mexican Shoot-Out Kills 18 As Drug Prohibition Violence Surges

A shoot-out between rival drug trafficking organizations left 18 people dead in Mexico's Tamaulipas state, amid a surge in deadly drug prohibition violence. The state has been the scene of horrifying killings, including last August, when a mass grave containing the bodies of 72 people, believed to be Central American migrants, was found on a local ranch. (Link to Story)

Washington State Workers Await Court's Decision on Protecting Legal Medical Marijuana Use

Among the questions left unanswered by Washington's medical marijuana law: Can legal use of medical marijuana get you fired? Thirteen years after voters approved its use, that question is likely to be answered by the Washington Supreme Court, which heard a test case on the issue last month. (Link to Story)

Illinois Lawmaker Determined to Breathe New Life Into Medical Marijuana Debate

Nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries could soon be supplying patients in Illinois, if state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, is successful in his latest push to get the long-awaited measure through the state legislature. Lang said that he plans to place tighter restrictions on the amount of medical marijuana distributed to patients and take out the grow-your-own provisions that opponents railed against during the last General Assembly. If he is successful, the bill could be out of committee and on the state House floor late this week. (Link to Story)

Tommy Chong Lights Up Canadian New Democratic Party Campaign

Other contenders for B.C.'s NDP leadership race might be making campaign promises and rolling out platforms, but candidate and pot activist Dana Larsen is bringing out actor and comedian Tommy Chong. The celebrity marijuana user — one half of the former movie duo Cheech and Chong — has publicly endorsed Larsen for the leadership. (Link to Story)

Acapulco’s Taxi Drivers Being Murdered in Drug Prohibition War

In the last few weeks, more than a dozen taxi drivers and passengers have been murdered in the resort city of Acapulco. A 2008 survey reported that 120 of the 200 taxi drivers in the city of Chetumal, Mexcio, reported to have been threatened with violence against their families if they refused to deliver drugs on behalf of the local drug trafficking organization. (Link to Story)

N.J. Patients, Advocates Criticize Proposed Rules on Medical Marijuana

For nearly two hours, dozens of patients and their advocates — some through tears, others at the top of their lungs — vented their frustrations over the state's proposed rules for New Jersey's yet-to-launch medical marijuana program. The hearing, though required before the state can adopt new rules, might be for naught. The Democrat-controlled Legislature are two votes away from overturning the health department's regulations and ordering them to start over or write the rules itself. (Link to Story)

Mexico's Drug Prohibition War Disappearances Leave Families in Anguish

Thousands of people have vanished without a trace – some caught up in prohibition violence, others for no reason anyone can fathom. Relatives remain in agonized limbo. The disappearances are a disturbing echo of a tactic employed by dictatorships in the so-called dirty wars that plagued parts of Latin America in the last half of the 20th century. (Link to Story)

Save a Cop's Life: End the Drug War (Opinion)

Neill Franklin, who performed narcotics enforcement with the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore Police Department over a 34-year career, opines that we desperately need to end the "war on drugs" which has done so little to prevent people from using drugs but which has done so much to enrich organized criminals who do not hesitate to use violence to protect their black market profits. Franklin asks: How many more hardworking and brave law enforcers do we have to see killed in the line of duty before our elected officials will change this policy? (Link to Story)

New England New Hotbed for Marijuana Law Reform? (Opinion)

The northeast has historically been a hotbed for marijuana use — with five of the six New England states self-reporting some of the highest percentages of marijuana consumption in the nation. But recently New England has also become a regional leader in marijuana law reform. Lawmakers in every New England state are now debating marijuana law reform legislation. Paul Armentano of NORML offers a closer look at what is happening. (Link to Story)

Morales: DEA Not Coming Back to Bolivia‎

The arrest of Bolivia's top counternarcotics cop, Rene Sanabria, has not changed President Morales' stance on allowing the DEA into the country. Morales insisted he has no intention of inviting the DEA back. He alleged "interests of a geopolitical nature" were behind the Sanabria case. "They are using police to try to implicate the government," he said. Vice minister of social defense, Felipe Caceres, suggested that Sanabria's arrest was the DEA's revenge for being expelled. The president also hinted at U.S. hypocrisy, recalling reports that American agents ran guns to Nicaraguan Contra rebels in the 1980s with the proceeds of cocaine sales in the United States. (Link to Story)

Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations Targeting Rights Activists

Hitmen are killing human rights workers across Ciudad Juárez -- the city in Mexico most affected by drug prohibition violence -- in brazen attacks that activists say authorities are unable and unwilling to halt. (Link to Story)

Oregon Supreme Court Hears Medical Marijuana Case

The Oregon Supreme Court heard an hour of arguments in the case of Sheriff Mike Winters v. Cynthia Willis. In 2008, Willis was denied a concealed handgun license because she is a medical marijuana cardholder. (Link to Story)

Police Link Arizona Beheading to Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization

Police have tied the October beheading of a man in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler to a Mexican drug trafficking organization. "They stabbed him, we believe to death, and then severed his head. There was a lot of blood," Chandler police Sgt. Joe Favazzo said. (Link to Story)

Over 2,000 Streets Closed in Mexican Border City for Security Due to Drug Prohibition Violence

Residents have closed more than 2,000 streets in Ciudad Juarez, the city in Mexico most affected by drug prohibition violence. About 200 families have been wiped out in 10 zones heavily affected by the drug prohibition war. (Link to Story)

Why Cops Love the Drug War (Opinion)

Jacob Hornberger, founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation, opines that public officials and drug lords are the biggest beneficiaries of the drug war. He says what police don’t realize (or maybe some of them do) is that the only way to shut down the drug lords, immediately, is to end the drug war by legalizing drugs. Continuing to wage the drug war only ensures that the drug lords will continue supplying drugs and that the cops will continue making busts, and that both groups will continue making beaucoup bucks off the war, which is really what the drug war is all about. (Link to Story)

Washington State Senate OKs Changes to Medical Marijuana System

Washington senators moved forward with establishing more regulation on the state's medical marijuana system, approving a bill with changes that would give patients greater protection from arrest and bring the supply chain out of a legal gray area. After lengthy debate, senators approved the bill on a 29-20 vote. The measure now moves to the House. (Link to Story)

Drug Smuggling Scandal Shakes Bolivia

Drug prohibition is responsible for a phenomenal amount of government corruption across the globe. Retired-general Rene Sanabria, the former head of Bolivia's main anti-narcotics unit serving as a top intelligence adviser to the country's Interior Minister Sacha Llorenti, pled not guilty in a Miami federal court on charges of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the U.S., in a scandal that has rocked the government of Evo Morales. Felipe Caceres, Bolivia's top antidrug official said Mr. Sanabria's security unit "was riddled" with corruption, and that 15 other police officials were in the process of being detained for complicity in the drug-smuggling operation. (Link to Story)

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