Pubdate: Fri, 30 Nov 2007
Source: DrugSense Weekly (DSW)
NOTE: Several DrugSense staff members will be attending the Drug 
Policy Alliance conference in New Orleans, so DrugSense Weekly will 
not be published Dec. 7. We will return to our regular publication 
schedule Dec. 14.



Pubdate: Thu, 29 Nov 2007
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Author: Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun

Criminal Drug-Trafficking Trial Involves Important Constitutional Challenge

The death of B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Edwards has 
jeopardized a lengthy and costly Victoria criminal trial involving an 
important constitutional challenge of the marijuana law.

In most criminal cases, when a judge is unable to follow through to 
judgment a mistrial is declared and everyone begins again.

There is too much at stake here, so on Friday a rare hearing has been 
scheduled in Vancouver to see if there is a way to save the huge 
expense incurred and the evidence already presented.

"We don't want to see the incredible effort by the chronically ill 
patients who have supported and testified in this case lost," defence 
lawyer Kirk Tousaw said Wednesday.

"We're hoping to find a way to move forward because this case has 
such widespread repercussions for the tens of thousands of terminally 
ill and ailing Canadians who get therapeutic help from marijuana."


Tousaw and colleague John Conroy have been arguing the criminal law 
is constitutionally invalid because the federal government has failed 
to provide adequate access and supply of medical marijuana as 
required under the prevailing Supreme Court of Canada decision about 
the criminal prohibition.


Should everyone go through the expense of mounting a retrial, or 
might it be possible for the justice to read a transcript of what's 
happened since the trial began in May and continue?



- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Fri, 30 Nov 2007
Source: Minot Daily News (ND)
Copyright: 2007 Minot Daily News
Author: Marvin Baker
Referenced: the court ruling

Bismarck -- A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit two North Dakota 
farmers filed against the federal government in an effort to grow and 
harvest industrial hemp without reprisal.

Judge Daniel Hovland stated in his 22-page judgment Wednesday that 
Wayne Hauge of Ray and David Monson of Osnabrock should allow 
Congress to settle the issue of whether industrial hemp is a legal 
agricultural commodity or a controlled substance.

Hovland said the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007, introduced in 
the House of Representatives in February by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, 
was designed to address the current issue. Hovland referred to the 
act numerous times during a Nov.  14 hearing. It is yet to be debated.

"Congress can best address this problem and passage of the Industrial 
Hemp Farming Act of 2007 would accomplish what the plaintiffs seek in 
this issue," Hovland wrote. "Whether efforts to amend the law 
prevail, and whether North Dakota farmers will be permitted to grow 
industrial hemp in the future, are issues that should ultimately rest 
in the hands of Congress rather than in the hands of a federal judge."


North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson said the 
dismissal leaves the farmers with little recourse except to appeal to 
a higher court.

"The judge said this is a matter best left to Congress," Johnson 
said. "It is disappointing because realistically, I don't think 
Congress will deal with it."

Johnson issued state industrial hemp licenses to Monson and Hauge 
earlier this year under regulations developed under state law by the 
North Dakota Department of Agriculture. However, the licenses 
required Drug Enforcement Administration approval to take effect.

"Mr.  Monson and Mr.  Hauge did everything they were supposed to do; 
they submitted to background checks; they filled out a lot of 
paperwork, and they paid considerable fees," Johnson said. "Now, the 
growing season is long over, and they still have had no word from 
DEA, other than a complaint that there was not enough time for the 
agency to conduct a complete review for a license that, if approved, 
would have been for only one year."


In a related development, the DEA has sent a memorandum of agreement 
to NDSU, which if signed, would clear the way for industrial hemp 
research in Fargo.


Tom Murphy of the Vote Hemp advocacy organization, has been watching 
the case from his home in Rockport, Maine. Like Hauge, he said he is 
disappointed with the ruling but isn't surprised.

Murphy said neither farmer should have to risk his integrity or his 
farm to challenge the government on this issue. Instead, Murphy said 
the DEA should realize industrial hemp is a valuable agricultural 
commodity and that with all the security measures in place in the 
law, farmers should be allowed to grow it.



- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Thu, 29 Nov 2007
Source: Press of Atlantic City, The (NJ)
Copyright: 2007 South Jersey Publishing Co.
Author: Pete McAleer, Statehouse Bureau

Atlantic City quietly began its first legal needle-exchange program 
Tuesday, becoming the first city in New Jersey to take part in a 
pilot program aimed at reducing the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The first day of Atlantic City's needle-exchange program saw 20 
people register and turn in used needles for clean ones at the Oasis 
Drop-In Center on South Tennessee Avenue, according to Roseanne 
Scotti, director of Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey, an organization 
that lobbied for years for needle-exchange programs in New Jersey.

The Oasis center, operated by the South Jersey Aids Alliance, already 
provides free HIV counseling and testing, drug-treatment referrals 
and other social services.  A methadone clinic is located across the street.


Atlantic City and three other municipalities - Camden, Newark and 
Paterson - were given the authority to distribute clean needles 
without a prescription under a December 2006 law signed by Gov. Jon 
S. Corzine.  Camden is expected to start its program in January. 
Newark and Paterson expect to start soon after.


The Drug Policy Alliance of New Jersey continues to lobby for a law 
that would allow for the pharmaceutical sale of syringes without a 
prescription.  New Jersey is one of only three states to require a 
prescription to purchase a syringe in a pharmacy.


- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Fri, 30 Nov 2007
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Hearst Communications Inc.

Put the smartest scientific minds in a computer lab. Give them all 
the time and money in the world to design the perfect organism. It's 
doubtful they could come up with a tougher, more wily creation than 
the virus that causes AIDS.

Ponder its track record: Decades after it terrorized American cities, 
HIV was largely quelled through prevention, awareness and life- 
extending drugs.  The national infection rate has steadied at 40,000 
new cases for years.

But the bug is back and in ways that make it as troubling as ever. In 
the recent past, the new cases were mostly found among needle users, 
a definably small (and politically unappealing) group. That's why 
this country has pretty much gone to sleep on a topic that once 
produced Hollywood movies, books and endless strategizing.

Now, HIV is heading back for a return engagement if the indicators 
are right.  This time, the scourge needs to be finished off once and for all.

One report in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds 
infection rates rising among gay men, the group that first 
encountered HIV and battled back. Why the relapse? According to the 
health experts who wrote the report, the danger of HIV and AIDS is 
"not as frightening as it was," thanks to drugs that can forestall a 
full- blown case.  Successful medicine invites complacency, it seems.

The second dose of bad news is a study breaking down HIV rates in 
Washington, D.C.  The highest percentage of infected residents there 
are heterosexuals, not needle users or gay men. Though the nation's 
capital has a notably lousy health system, HIV has taken full 
advantage and broken out of its familiar boundaries. It's now 
behaving as it does in sub-Saharan Africa: reaching into the lives 
across the board: pregnant moms, men, women and families.

Decades into the AIDS plague, the answers are ready if the will can 
be found.  Education and prevention - including wider testing - 
should be adopted to catch infection early. Also, a ban on federal 
money for needle exchange programs should be lifted.  All three 
leading Democratic presidential contenders now favor allowing federal 
money for such needle swaps, a sign that a once-touchy idea is a now 
a so- what notion.  On the GOP side, no one is railing against needle 

This Saturday marks the 20th World AIDS Day, one of those calendar 
markings that sounds contrived. But with the deadly - and avoidable - 
numbers heading in new directions, it's a moment to mark. The fight 
is nowhere near over.


- ---------------------------


Domestic News- Policy

COMMENT: (5-8)

A local analysis of new crack sentencing guidelines suggests the 
changes will make very little difference for most offenders. That 
same analysis of the local statistics shows again how the disparity 
will continue to affect minorities.  So the sentencing guideline 
overhaul may not have been a revolution in policy, but MDMA might 
offer a revolution for the treatment of post-traumatic stress 
disorder.  That's not a surprise, but the detailed and positive story 
published by the Washington Post was enlightened in a way that most 
WP stories about illegal drugs aren't.

Also last week, professional prohibitionists want presidential 
candidate Barack Obama to be more dishonest about drug use; while a 
tribal court in South Dakota has struck down a local tribal council's 
decision to drug test itself.

- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Sun, 25 Nov 2007
Source: Citizens' Voice, The (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
Copyright: 2007 The Citizens' Voice
Author: Erin L. Nissley, Staff Writer

Get caught dealing five grams of crack and you will get at least five 
years in a federal prison.

It would take a case involving 500 grams of powder cocaine to get the 
same minimum sentence.

It's a discrepancy critics say leads to harsher punishments for 
minorities and the poor, who experts say are more likely to buy and 
sell crack because it's cheaper and more potent than powder.

The U.S.  Sentencing Commission eased the sentencing guidelines for 
crack dealers and users this month, dropping sentencing guidelines 
two levels for crack offenders. That's good news for the 350 people 
imprisoned on crack charges in the Scranton-based U.S.  Middle 
District of Pennsylvania, all of whom could be eligible for early release.

What it does not affect, however, is mandatory minimum and maximum 
sentences for powder and crack. Those have to be changed by an act of 
Congress.  And until then, the two-level drop in sentencing 
guidelines for crack cases is, as local attorney Joseph D'Andrea puts 
it, "almost inconsequential."

The mandatory minimums treat crack offenders 100 times more harshly 
than powder cocaine offender, and can only be changed through legislation.

Here in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, which includes 
Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wayne, Monroe and Susquehanna counties, there 
were sentencings in 133 crack cases from Oct. 1, 2006 through Aug. 30.

In the same time period, there were 70 sentencings in cocaine cases.

Almost 70 percent of defendants in those crack cases were black, and 
about 19 percent were Hispanic.  About 12 percent were white, 
according to data kept by Len Bogart, chief U.S. probation officer in Scranton.



- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Sun, 25 Nov 2007
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2007 The Washington Post Company
Author: Tom Shroder

Post-traumatic stress disorder had destroyed Donna Kilgore's life. 
Then experimental therapy with MDMA, a psychedelic drug better known 
as ecstasy, showed her a way out. Was it a fluke -- or the future?


Or the couch, or whatever.  A futon.  Slanted.

She hadn't noticed it before, but now she can't stop noticing. Like 
the princess and the pea.

By objective measure, the tilt is negligible, a fraction of an inch, 
but she can't be fooled by appearances, not with the sleep mask on. 
In her inner darkness, the slight tilt magnifies, and suddenly she 
feels as if she might slide off, and that idea makes her giggle.

"I feel really, really weird," she says.  "Crooked!"

Donna Kilgore laughs, a high-pitched sound that contains both thrill 
and anxiety.  That she feels anything at all, anything other than the 
weighty, oppressive numbness that has filled her for 11 years, is 
enough in itself to make her giddy.

But there is something more at work inside her, something growing 
from the little white capsule she swallowed just minutes ago. She's 
subject No. 1 in a historic experiment, the first U.S. 
government-sanctioned research in two decades into the potential of 
psychedelic drugs to treat psychiatric disorders. This 2004 session 
in the office of a Charleston, S.C., psychiatrist is being recorded 
on audiocassettes, which Donna will later hand to a journalist.

The tape reveals her reaction as she listens to the gentle piano 
music playing in her headphones. Behind her eyelids, movies begin to 
unreel.  She tries to say what she sees: Cars careening down the 
wrong side of the road.  Vivid images of her oldest daughter, then 
all three of her children.  She's overcome with an all-consuming 
love, a love she thought she'd lost forever.

"Now I feel all warm and fuzzy," she announces. "I'm not nervous anymore."

"What level of distress do you feel right now?" a deeply mellow voice 
beside her asks.

Donna answers with a giggle. "I don't think I got the placebo," she says.

FOURTEEN YEARS AGO, Donna Kilgore was raped.

When the stranger at the door asked if her husband were home, she 
hesitated. Not long, but long enough. That was her mistake.



- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Wed, 21 Nov 2007
Source: New York Daily News (NY)
Copyright: 2007 Daily News, L.P.
Author: Helen Kennedy, Daily News Staff Writer

Anti-drug crusaders bashed Barack Obama's candid chat with New 
Hampshire high schoolers Tuesday, saying his casual manner sent a 
dangerous message: You can get high and still be President.

"A person in his position has an obligation to be very clear about 
the seriousness and illegality and potentially deadly results of 
using drugs," said Calvina Fay, executive director of the Drug Free 
America Foundation.

She said the two most effective weapons against teen addiction are 
emphasizing the harm drugs can cause and stressing societal 
disapproval of using them.

"He basically violated both of those," Fay said.

She said Obama's telling kids he did drugs and came out okay might 
also lull parents into being less alarmed about their kids' dabbling 
with banned substances.

"His outcome was very different from what we normally see. Most kids 
that use drugs don't become presidential candidates," Fay said.



- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Wed, 21 Nov 2007
Source: Rapid City Journal (SD)
Copyright: 2007 The Rapid City Journal
Author: Bill Harlan

Members of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council who were suspended for not 
taking a drug test have been reinstated, after a tribal judge struck 
down the requirement.

In October, the tribal council passed a resolution requiring members 
and other elected officials to take a "hair follicle" drug test.

The ordinance was in response to the arrest in New Mexico of 
Councilman Don Garnier, who faces a federal charge of possession of 
marijuana with intent to distribute it.

Tribal Judge Lisa Adams earlier this month upheld the test for 
council members but struck down the requirement for the tribe's treasurer.

On Nov.  7, a motion to rescind the drug-test requirement order 
failed by a vote of 12-2 of the tribal council.

Last week, however, Judge Adams killed the measure "in its entirety 
for vagueness," according to documents faxed to the Rapid City 
Journal from the office of Oglala Sioux Tribe President John Steele.

At least 11 tribal officials took the hair-follicle test, as did Steele.

Two council members refused, arguing the council had no authority to 
pass the ordinance.



- ---------------------------

Law Enforcement & Prisons

COMMENT: (9-12)

As drug corruption becomes more pervasive in law enforcement, some 
officials are trying to defend their own crookedness, instead of 
actually rooting out the problems. Even self-proclaimed religious 
leaders are getting in on the act. Very sad.

- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Mon, 26 Nov 2007
Source: Star Press, The (IN)
Copyright: 2007 The Star Press
Author: Seth Slabaugh

At Issue Is Where the Drug Task Force Should Deposit Cash and the 
Proceeds From the Sale of Other Property Seized From Drug Dealers.

MUNCIE -- The Muncie-Delaware County Drug Task Force is playing a 
game of keep away that uses money instead of a ball, and the state of 
Indiana is the monkey in the middle.

Going back to at least 1999, the DTF has ignored a state law 
requiring cash and proceeds from the sale of other property seized 
from drug dealers to be deposited in the general fund of the 
governmental unit employing the DTF officers, according to the State 
Board of Accounts.

Any excess money remaining after the reimbursement of law enforcement 
costs is supposed to be transferred from the local general fund to 
the state treasurer for deposit in the state's common school fund.

In response, Muncie police Sgt. Jess Neal, head of the DTF, said in 
an interview that most asset forfeitures here involving drug-related 
crimes go through the local courts.

He provided as an example the case of State vs. Malcom X Crim, 20, 
2013 E. Park Ave.

In August, DTF and the county prosecutor's office obtained a default 
judgment of $312 against Crim ( a suspected cocaine dealer ) signed 
by Delaware Circuit Court 4 Judge John Feick. The judge ordered DTF 
to deliver the $312 to the "City of Muncie General Fund, Account # 

But that account number, as well as account # 227-00-367011, are DTF 
accounts, not city general fund accounts, the State Board of Accounts 
says.  For years, the DTF has been obtaining court orders to forfeit 
assets seized from drug dealers to the two DTF accounts, also known 
as the MPD Drug Interdiction Fund and the MPD Drug Task Force 
Forfeiture Fund, which the court orders falsely call city of Muncie 
general fund accounts, the state says.



- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Sun, 25 Nov 2007
Source: Tribune, The (San Luis Obispo, CA)
Copyright: 2007 The Tribune
Author: Leslie Parrilla


Sheriff calls taping of deputy legal because of criminal 
investigation, but some officials say there wasn't one

Whether Sheriff Pat Hedges is guilty of illegal eavesdropping depends 
largely on whether he ordered a criminal investigation into his 
department's narcotics unit and a chief deputy, as Hedges said when 
defending his actions.

But two investigators in the Sheriff's Department and one former 
high-ranking sheriff's official have told The Tribune there was no 
criminal investigation.

Hedges, the county's top law enforcement official, declined to talk 
to The Tribune for this

story.  He has said that he secretly videotaped one of his chief 
deputies meeting with a subordinate to discuss a grievance last 
year.  The sheriff said the videotaping was part of his criminal 
investigation into an allegation that Chief Deputy Gary Hoving was 
interfering with a criminal investigation into the narcotics unit, 
according to court documents.

Hedges and Undersheriff Steve Bolts have pointed to an audit and 
interviews with employees spanning several months as proof that a 
criminal investigation was conducted.  Ultimately, they determined 
the allegations were unfounded.

The secret taping is the subject of a criminal probe by the state 
Attorney General's Office and a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by 
Hoving against Hedges, Bolts and the county.



- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Sun, 25 Nov 2007
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2007 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Matt Viser

Raps Boston Officer, Sloppy Prosecution

A federal judge has dismissed charges against an alleged drug dealer, 
citing fabricated statements made in court by a Boston patrol officer 
and slow, sloppy work by federal prosecutors.

Earl Dessesaure, who was arrested and charged with drug dealing in 
February 2003, should be released from jail, and no further charges 
can be pursued in the case, according to a ruling handed down Friday.

In her harshly worded decision, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner 
upbraided Boston police for conducting a warrantless search of 
Dessesaure's apartment, which prohibited most of the evidence from 
being used in court.

In addition, court records show that Boston police Officer John 
Broderick Jr.  lied in court, discarded notes that could have 
contradicted his testimony, and relied on information from unreliable 

"This is a deeply flawed prosecution - from the Boston police officer 
who lied in court, to the prosecutor who justified a blatantly 
illegal search," Gertner wrote. "To allow this prosecution to 
continue would not advance the administration of justice; it would 
undermine it."

Police investigators conducted a review in 2005 of Broderick's 
actions and determined that challenges to his credibility were unfounded.



- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Sat, 24 Nov 2007
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Times
Author: Johanna Neuman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Conservatives Are Seeking Pardons for Two Officers in the Shooting a 
Fleeing Man Who Now Faces Smuggling Charges.

WASHINGTON -- Conservatives expressed bitter disappointment Friday 
that President Bush did not use the Thanksgiving holiday to pardon 
two U.S.  border agents who have been imprisoned for a year for 
shooting and injuring a man now accused of drug smuggling.

"We had hoped that President Bush, who was compassionate enough to 
pardon two turkeys in the Rose Garden, might also have had enough 
compassion to pardon two law enforcement officers who spent their 
lives defending us at the border," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher ( 
R-Huntington Beach ).

A group of Christian and evangelical leaders -- including Paul M. 
Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon of 
the Traditional Values Coalition and David A.  Keene of the American 
Conservative Union -- excoriated Bush, saying his inaction ran 
counter to compassionate conservatism and Christian values.



- ---------------------------

Cannabis & Hemp

COMMENT: (13-16)

Prohibitionists who argue that consumers want nothing more from 
cannabis than inebriation have never attended a High Times Cannabis 
Cup in Amsterdam.

A California Appeals Court ruled in favor of Felix Kha, a medical 
cannabis patient seeking the return of 8 grams seized by police. In 
addition to ruling that federal law does not trump state law, the 
court condemned the policy of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) of 
mandatory seizure of medical cannabis.

City counselors in Hailey are awaiting the opinion of the Attorney 
General of Idaho on whether or not, and to what extent, their 
recently passed cannabis law reform acts violate the state constitution.

Canadian cannabis activists are mobilizing against proposed 
amendments to federal drug legislation that would impose mandatory 
minimum prison sentences for cultivation and trafficking, part of a 
larger conservative drug war surge.

- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Sat, 24 Nov 2007
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2007 The StarPhoenix

AMSTERDAM -- Cannabis connoisseurs in their thousands have descended 
on the Dutch capital of Amsterdam this week to sample and select the 
winners of the 20th annual Cannabis Cup competition.

"There's a lot of good competition this year," said 'Herbal Santa' a 
longtime marijuana smoker from Orange County, Calif., who only 
provided his name as Jim when asked.

Organizers said they expected about 3,500 participants.

The week-long Cannabis Cup is spread out at various coffee shops 
throughout Amsterdam, although the main events are held in a club on 
the outskirts of the city, tucked behind a McDonald's fast-food 
restaurant and a do-it-yourself store. The event coincides with the 
annual U.S.  Thanksgiving holiday, allowing participants from across 
the Atlantic to spend a week's holiday in Amsterdam.

The event was started in 1987 by Steven Hager, the editor of New 
York- based magazine High Times that advocates the legalization of 
cannabis, and has become a key annual event among cannabis-oriented 
business and for many pot smokers.

Judges pay a fee of up to $200 to participate in selecting the 
winners with their task to examine the potency, taste, smell, curing 
and overall experience of various herbs.



- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Wed, 28 Nov 2007
Source: Orange County Register, The (CA)
Copyright: 2007 The Orange County Register
Author: Rachanee Srisavasdi, The Orange County Register

Ruling by State Appeal Judges Is a Win for Medical Marijuana 
Patients, Advocates Say.

SANTA ANA - The Garden Grove Police Department must return seized 
marijuana to a medical marijuana patient, a state appeals court ruled 
today, setting a precedent for police agencies statewide to refrain 
from such seizures.

A three-justice panel from the state's Fourth Appellate District 
ruled that police must give back eight grams of the drug from Felix 
Kha of Garden Grove in June 2005 during a traffic stop.

Criminal charges were later dismissed after Kha proved he had a 
prescription for the drug which he uses for back pain. Kha asked for 
the pot back, and a judge agreed.

But the city of Garden Grove appealed, saying it did not want to 
break federal law.  While medical marijuana is legal in California, 
it is illegal under federal law.

But in the published ruling, the justices said state law comes first.

"By returning Kha's marijuana to him, the Garden Grove police would 
not just be upholding the principles of federalism ... They would be 
fulfilling their more traditional duty to administer the laws of this 
state," according to the 41-page ruling.

"We do not believe that federal drug laws supersede or preempt Kha's 
right to a return of his property," they later continued.



- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Tue, 27 Nov 2007
Source: Times-News, The (ID)
Copyright: 2007 Magic Valley Newspapers
Author: Cass Friedman, Times-News writer

HAILEY - Three of Hailey's four City Council members voted Monday to 
freeze their consideration of three recently passed marijuana reform 
acts while the Idaho Attorney General's office forms an opinion on 
the legality of the acts.

But all three council members seemed willing to follow the will of 
voters, so long as it poses no conflict with their oath to not 
violate state laws.  In the meantime they are heeding the direction 
of the city attorney.

"It is my strong recommendation that we do not pursue an option 
tonight," said City Attorney Ned Williamson, who pointed out the 
apparent conflict between the state Constitution and the ordinances.

"I think it would be foolish to admit that there are no issues with 
the general laws of the state of Idaho," Williamson said. "Hailey has 
the right to pass laws but they have to be constitutional."

Williamson said the attorney general's office has begun a review of 
the newly passed measures, but he has no idea how long that review will take.

The three measures passed were to legalize medical marijuana, make 
enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest police priority, and 
legalize industrial hemp.  Voters turned down a fourth initiative 
that would have legalized marijuana use and required the city to 
regulate sales.


After the attorney general offers an opinion, Williamson said, 
council members will have several options. They can simply implement 
the three initiatives without making changes.  They may amend the 
acts to avoid legal conflicts, repeal the acts, or have the city 
challenge the law in court.



- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Mon, 26 Nov 2007
Source: Nelson Daily News (CN BC)
Page: Front Page
Copyright: 2007 Nelson Daily News
Author: Sara Newham

Proposed Legislation: Federal Legislation Introduced by Tories That's 
Aimed at Tougher Drug Laws Slammed by Local Marijuana Advocates

The Conservatives' proposed legislation to implement mandatory 
minimum sentences for drug crimes would clog up the courts and 
increase profits in organized crime according to some Nelson residents.

The Tories tabled legislation last week that would see mandatory 
prison sentences introduced and a longer maximum penalty for cannabis 
production if it is passed in the House of Commons.

"It's a move toward the American drug war style that definitely 
hasn't worked there and I would say it's a nice little Christmas gift 
for organized crime," said Paul DeFelice co-owner of the Holy Smoke 
Culture Shop.

DeFelice, Holy Smoke co-owner Alan Middlemiss, and associates Kelsey 
Stratas and Akka Annis are awaiting trials for a variety of charges 
under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act stemming from a police 
investigation last year.  DeFelice is charged with possession of and 
trafficking in marijuana.


Marc Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine, known widely as 
the Prince of Pot and under threat of extradition to the United 
States for selling marijuana seeds to residents there, agreed with 
DeFelice and explained that it would just drive up the price of drugs.

"It's going to be bad thing for the country in every sense. The first 
thing that's going to happen is the price of marijuana and all street 
drugs rise a lot if they started rounding up people and putting them 
in jail. What that means first and foremost is addicts will steal a 
lot more from the community to pay for these drugs because the drugs 
don't stop getting consumed, they just rise in price to compensate 
for the risk," Emery told the Daily News.

"We'll see more of what we have in the United States: [that is] more 
people carrying guns if they think they're going to be put in jail 
for mandatory minimums.  Some people would just rather have a 
firefight than get caught if they absolutely know they're going to jail."

DeFelice added that it could lead to turf wars.

"It drives out the small time people and caters to the tougher biker 
types and people who have the muscle to protect what they've got. 
Because the law of the black market is if you can't protect it, 
somebody will take it and what we see is prohibition crime, not drug 
crime," he said, in terms of the effect it will have on the pot market.

"It's people protecting their turf.  They can't go to the court to 
solve their problems so they have to pull guns on each other so 
that's what this will lead to."



- ---------------------------

International News

COMMENT: (17-20)

According to Thai politician Chalerm Yubamrung, the extra-judicial 
death squad killing of drug suspects in Thailand in 2003 - over 2,500 
people gunned down - wasn't the handiwork of police, and they weren't 
working down blacklists of old drug arrests. "Instead, it could be 
that people were killed by their peers to cut the leads for 
authorities to pursue... Some people just accused the then 
government.  There was a high number of killings, but no one knew who 
carried out the activities." Yubamrung vowed to "revive" the Thaksin 
Shinawatra style of fighting drugs.

A piece this week by Brian Hennigan of the Edinburgh Evening News 
points out the unintended messages of jailing someone for growing a 
single tiny cannabis plant in his home, while refusing to jail 
violent criminals who have hurt others. Stuart Duncan goes to jail 
for "one sickly plant".  At the same time in Scotland, "a former 
nurse who injected a four-month-old girl with a potentially fatal 
dose of insulin was spared a prison term" and a "chap who shot a 
heavily pregnant woman with his airgun was placed on probation."

Another government panel reports on a forbidden drug, another 
recommendation that users of the drug not be punished so harshly, 
followed by another government declaration they aren't listening to 
their own panel of experts.  After all, the government appointed 
panel of experts came up with the wrong conclusion, namely, that 
"ecstasy could be downgraded." Not to worry: the government (the 
U.K.  government, in this case) "has no intention of reclassifying 
ecstasy," revealed the Home Office.

A row broke out in Scotland over drugs policy when police in 
Edinburgh suggested a drugs amnesty where officers would simply take 
away small quantities of drugs from users, rather than arresting 
them.  The idea is to "free up more time for officers to patrol 
Edinburgh's busiest area rather than dealing with cases of minor 
possession." The proposed move, supported by Edinburgh Chief 
Inspector Andy Gilhooley and Tory councillor Joanna Mowat, was 
denounced by prohibitionist politicians as a "drug tolerance zone".

- ---------------------------


Pubdate: Tue, 27 Nov 2007
Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)
Copyright: The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 2007
Author: Surasak Glahan

Veteran politician Chalerm Yubamrung recently joined the People Power 
Party (PPP) and is seen as its number two. Over the past month, he 
has expressed his ambition to become interior minister and revive the 
Thaksin Shinawatra government's controversial war on drugs, which led 
to the deaths of more than 2,500 people in alleged extra-judicial 
killings by police.  Surasak Glahan asked him how he plans to revive 
the policy. Below are excerpts from the interview.

Do you intend to use the same heavy-handed approach applied by the 
Thaksin administration?

Drug suppression needs to be handled seriously, the same way the 
Thaksin administration did.  Regarding the extra-judicial killings, 
people misunderstood that authorities killed innocent people. 
Instead, it could be that people were killed by their peers to cut 
the leads for authorities to pursue.


We will declare a new phase of the war on drugs. We also aim to 
reduce the number of drug users, so there will be both prevention and 

Don't you think the implementation of this policy should be conducted 
in a careful and gradual manner?

Illicit drug suppression cannot be handled gradually.  It needs 
timeframes and targets, as well as authorities staying alert. But 
when there are mistakes and doubts, we need to clear the air 
promptly.  It needs to be strictly, urgently and hastily handled with 
the provision of special taskforces.

The Thaksin administration set a target for each province to list 
local dealers. Do you intend to do the same?

It won't be changed.  If we are worried about more extra-judicial 
killings, we have to find out first whether the killings, if they 
happen, were driven by large drug traders or by authorities.

Should people be concerned about whether innocent people will be 
victimised by this policy, or by more extra-judicial killings?

There won't be victimisation of innocent people.  Those who were 
affected are not the real innocents. The police did not just break 
into someone's bedroom and shoot them.


Do you think the Thaksin policy had any faults, and if so how do you 
plan to correct them?

There were not any failures.  Some people just accused the then 
government.  There was a high number of killings, but no one knew who 
carried out the activities.

Is the war on drugs policy a political gimmick to instigate fear as 
well as trying to gain votes from fretting parents?



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Pubdate: Tue, 27 Nov 2007
Source: Edinburgh Evening News (UK)
Copyright: 2007 The Scotsman Publications Ltd
Author: Brian Hennigan

AS a small nation on a mission to develop and compete in an 
increasingly complex international environment, it's vital that we 
waste as many of our resources as possible. That is one message you 
could take from a recent court case.

Stuart Duncan bought a cannabis farm kit over the internet. As you 
might expect from the productive efforts of someone who thought 
buying a cannabis farm kit over the internet was a sound investment, 
he failed to produce anything other than one sickly plant. His lawyer 
described the attempt as "virtually useless".

And now Stuart Duncan is going to be sent to a prison. A prison where 
he will need to be fed, watered, cared for and guarded in an 
extraordinary use of resources that seems to scream that we have 
nothing better to do with taxpayers' money.


The other week a former nurse who injected a four-month-old girl with 
a potentially fatal dose of insulin was spared a prison term when her 
case came before the High Court in Edinburgh. Earlier this year, a 
Muirhouse chap who shot a heavily pregnant woman with his airgun was 
placed on probation.

The distinction between these crimes and the dopey dope farmer is 
that one can identify clear victims who sustained real injury. Who 
has been harmed by Stuart Duncan's crime?



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Pubdate: Thu, 29 Nov 2007
Source: Evening Standard (London, UK)
Copyright: 2007 Associated Newspapers Ltd.

The killer drug ecstasy could be downgraded to Class B within months 
- - forcing the courts to take a softer line against dealers and users.

A panel of Government experts has been quietly discussing the hugely 
controversial move for more than a year.

Senior members of the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs want 
the drug to be downgraded from Class A to B when they pass their 
verdict next summer.


Hugely influential voices on the committee want ecstasy downgrading, 
including the Government's main scientific adviser on drugs.

Professor David Nutt argues that ecstasy's presence alongside other 
hard drugs such as heroin and crack is an 'anomaly'.

Sources said the council decided to review ecstasy's status after a 
report by Parliament's Science and Technology Committee suggested it 
caused less harm than other class A drugs.

But separate studies have warned of a long-term danger to users, in 
addition to the short-term risks of dehydration or the body over-heating.

After today's open session the committee will spend six months 
compiling a report for the Home Secretary.

Jacqui Smith must then take the politically difficult final decision 
over whether to accept the drug should be downgraded.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We will consider the Advisory 
Council's advice carefully, as we do for any advice it provides.

"However, the Government has no intention of reclassifying ecstasy."


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Pubdate: Mon, 26 Nov 2007
Source: Edinburgh Evening News (UK)
Copyright: 2007 The Scotsman Publications Ltd
Author: Alan McEwen, Crime Reporter

POLICE officers will be told not to arrest people for minor drug 
possession in the city centre under radical plans being considered.

People carrying "small" quantities of cocaine, heroin, Ecstasy and 
other illegal substances would simply have them confiscated.

Police chiefs want to free up more time for officers to patrol 
Edinburgh's busiest area rather than dealing with cases of minor possession.


But the proposal was attacked by politicians today who said any 
relaxation of the law would create a "drug tolerance zone".

Inspector Andy Gilhooley, who has just taken charge of the central 
policing team at the West End station, briefed his officers on the 
proposed measures last week.

Although he stressed the move had not been implemented, he added he 
supported the idea.


He added: "I'm interested in keeping officers on the streets rather 
than having them distracted for several hours to deal with someone 
caught with a small amount of drugs.


But Tory councillor Joanna Mowat, who sits on the police board, gave 
a "cautious welcome" to the idea.

She said: "I think this could be a pragmatic approach."

A Scottish Government spokesman maintained that cracking down on drug 
possession remained official policy.


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