Newswire

57 Percent of Floridians Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana

A new poll shows that 57 percent of Floridians support legalization of medical marijuana as buzz grows that the issue could be placed on the ballot as soon as 2012. The poll was conducted by Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates, a Republican firm that worked with Rick Scott's gubernatorial campaign. (Link to Story)

Tensions Rise As U.S. and Mexico Meet About Failing Drug Prohibition War

President Felipe Calderón will meet in Washington tomorrow with President Barack Obama in an attempt to repair relations at a time when spiraling drug prohibition violence in Mexico has frayed ties between the two allies. Mr. Calderón's visit, announced last week, also comes after a spate of ill-timed comments by U.S. officials about Mexico's drug prohibition violence. Among them are that Mexican drug trafficking organizations could be allied with Islamic terrorists and that drug traffickers could overthrow the Mexican state, forcing the U.S. to send troops. Such statements have enraged Mexican officials, who are notoriously sensitive to any suggestion of U.S. interference in national affairs. "I don't recall this kind of bad blood in a long time," said Jorge Castañeda, a former Mexican foreign minister. (Link to Story)

Action, Not More Study, on Medical Marijuana in Maryland (Opinion)

Barry Considine, a writer and polio survivor who advocates for (and uses) medical marijuana, opines that it is time to allow patients in Maryland to use marijuana for medicinal purposes without fear of arrest and prosecution under Maryland law. He says we must move forward based on the best anecdotal evidence that is available as the DEA and National Institute on Drug Abuse have consistently blocked the efforts of researchers and scientists to study medical marijuana and provide empirical evidence of its efficacy. (Link to Story)

Kentucky Voices: Desperate Compromise on Bad Anti-Meth Bill (Opinion)

Jim Waters, vice president of policy and communications for the Bluegrass Institute, opines that, unable to secure the votes to pass the original proposal, which makes cold, allergy and sinus products containing pseudoephedrine controlled substances requiring a prescription for purchase, supporters of Kentucky's Senate Bill 45 are now floating what they label a compromise: exempt gel caps. Waters says this new tactic by logically challenged politicians reveals the same intellectual denseness demonstrated all along in this fight. He says that this will do nothing to curb meth production in Kentucky, and that it could even do less by giving citizens a false sense of security that something effective was being done to stop the meth problem. (Link to Story)

Rallies to Legalize Marijuana in Louisiana

A group called Legalize Louisiana is leading statewide marches seeking to change Louisiana laws and legalize marijuana. (Link to Story)

Why Mexico's Losing Its Drug War (Opinion)

Benny Avni opines that Felipe Calderon's war on the drug trafficking organizations created by prohibition is costing a lot in American money and Mexican blood -- and he's losing. Avni says the ultimate solution is legalization, which would lower profits and take violence out of the drug trade -- just as the end of Prohibition reduced America's gang problem. But, instead, Washington muddles on with an expensive and extremely deadly conceit -- pretending that all we need to do is pour some money on the problem, and Mexico's federal government will somehow eventually prevail. (Link to Story)

Washington State Medical Marijuana User Dies Without Transplant

Timothy Garon, a musician who was denied a liver transplant because he used marijuana with medical approval under Washington state law to ease the symptoms of advanced hepatitis C, died. Dr. Brad Roter, the physician who authorized Garon to use medical marijuana to alleviate for nausea and abdominal pain and to stimulate his appetite, said he did not know it would be such a hurdle if Garon were to need a transplant. (Link to Story)

Texas Legislature Considers Marijuana-Friendly Bills

A Texas House Committee heard testimony on a proposed bill that seeks to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. House Bill 548 would lower the penalties for possession to the level of a traffic ticket. Another bill under consideration is HB 1491, which deals with medical marijuana. The bill is designed to protect doctors who recommend medical marijuana as a possible treatment to their patients and gives both parties an affirmative defense in court should law enforcement get involved. (Link to Story)

Minnesota Head Shop Owner Says Fake Marijuana Ban Won't Work

Jim Carlson, the owner of a head shop, says a new federal ban on the sale of five chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana won't make much difference - he'll just stock brands that use other, still-legal substances. Carlson said that with about 210 similar chemicals available, the manufacturers will try to keep one step ahead of the government. "Unfortunately he is correct," said Barbara Carreno, a DEA spokeswoman in Washington, who confirmed Tuesday that many suppliers are offering retailers products with new chemicals. "There are many of these substances and we chose five common ones because we don't have the resources to study all of them." (Link to Story)

New Hampshire Bill Would Legalize Medical Marijuana

A panel of New Hampshire lawmakers is considering a bill to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. Under the bill, possessing two ounces or less of medical marijuana would not be a crime. New Hampshire's legislature passed a medical marijuana bill two years ago, but Gov. John Lynch vetoed it. (Link to Story)

Drug Prohibition Murders Affect Half of Mexican Cities

Half of the cities in Mexico have registered at least one drug prohibition murder since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006. Of the country’s 2,456 municipalities, 1,147 registered at least one murder committed by drug trafficking organizations between December 2006 and the end of 2010. A total of 15,273 people died in prohibition violence in Mexico last year, and more than 34,000 people have died since Calderon declared war on the country’s drug trafficking organizations shortly after taking office. (Link to Story)

Former Mexican Governor Admits Past Presidents Controlled Drug Trade

The Mexican political world was sent reeling after a former PRI politician admitted his party had exercised strong control over Mexico's drug trafficking routes. Former Nuevo Leon governor Socrates Rizzo said that previous PRI presidents had formalized agreements with drug trafficking organization leaders to coordinate and protect Mexico's lucrative drug trade. Rizzo argued that presidential control over smuggling prevented the widespread violence that has been commonplace since 2000. (Link to Story)

Synthetic Marijuana Widely Used at Naval Academy, Some Midshipmen Say

A synthetic form of marijuana is widely used at the U.S. Naval Academy because it cannot be detected in routine drug tests, according to several former midshipmen. Since its introduction at the academy last year, synthetic marijuana has become popular among rank-and-file midshipmen and on the football and wrestling teams. Some isolated corners of the historic Annapolis campus have become well-known gathering spots for smoking it. (Link to Story)

White House Requests Meeting with Seattle Times to Bully Against Pro-Marijuana Editorials

Immediately after the Seattle Times ran an editorial last week supporting a bill to tax and regulate marijuana, the newspaper got a phone call from Washington, D.C. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy director Gil Kerlikowske wanted to fly to Seattle to speak personally with the paper's full editorial board. The meeting is apparently an attempt by the federal government to pressure the state's largest newspaper to oppose marijuana legalization. Or at least turn down the volume on its new-found bullhorn to legalize it. (Link to Story)

Marijuana Debate Reignites in Bay State

A bill to legalize marijuana was quietly introduced last week. Sponsored by Amherst Democrat Ellen Story, the bill could reap thousands of dollars for the state in tax revenue. "Reps come up to me and say thank you so much for doing this Ellen. I support you, but I can't be public about it. Legislators are afraid of being seen as soft on drugs," Story says. (Link to Story)

Rep. Barney Frank Speaks at Medical Marijuana Expo, Receives Award

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank spoke at Maine’s first Medical Marijuana Expo and said that the current laws against marijuana use should be revoked. "People who make a personal decision to smoke marijuana should not be subject to prosecution," said Frank. "This is the kind of fight that's worth making. It's winnable. Most American people think it’s sensible, and are for it," said Frank to the standing-room only crowd as he received the first-ever Patients’ Choice Award — a glass trophy in the shape of a marijuana leaf. (Link to Story)

Former Head of Bolivia's Drugs Police Is Sent to U.S. to Face Cocaine Trafficking Charges

In yet another example of drug prohibition corrupting top officials, the former head of Bolivia's counter-narcotics police, Rene Sanabria, has been arrested in Panama and sent to the U.S. to face charges he ran a cocaine trafficking ring. (Link to Story)

Seattle Farmers Market Features Medical Marijuana

There was little publicity for Seattle's first medical marijuana farmers market, but word of mouth alone packed the hall as hundreds of people lined up to go in. Under the current law, certain health care providers like doctors or nurse practitioners can issue recommendations for medical marijuana for a variety of ailments including cancer, HIV and anorexia. But unlike in California or Colorado where medical marijuana initiatives led to dispensaries that provide the drug, in Washington the medical marijuana community has remained, for the most part, underground. (Link to Story)

Wasting Precious Time for Medicinal Marijuana Program (Opinion)

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-New Jersey Inc., opines that Gov. Christie is solely to blame for the unconscionable delay in access to medical marijuana in New Jersey. The governor has insisted on unworkable and unconstitutional restrictions to the medical marijuana program. These restrictions have outraged patients, advocates and the entire New Jersey Legislature. (Link to Story)

28 Killed in Mexico's Drug Prohibition War Over Weekend

Drug prohibition violence left at least 28 people dead across Mexico over the weekend, including 14 killed by gunmen in bars in the country's north. (Link to Story)

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