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1 US CA: Editorial: Reefer-Tax MadnessWed, 25 Feb 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA)          Area:California Lines:68 Added:02/25/2009

For a California Assemblyman's proposal to regulate and tax the sale of marijuana to work, the federal government would have to alter its drug laws.

Today's culture warriors have better things to argue about than pot-smoking hippies, yet federal marijuana laws are still stuck in the Nixon-era days when conservatives feared that reefer madness was destroying the minds of America's youth. Amid that time warp, efforts by California and other states to nudge Washington in the direction of more sensible drug laws have largely been welcome. But whether or not you're in the camp that thinks marijuana should be legalized, a proposal to regulate and tax its sale as a way of helping to balance California's budget is an idea whose time has not come.

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2 US: Colombia's Worry: Looser US TiesWed, 25 Feb 2009
Source:Christian Science Monitor (US) Author:LaFranchi, Howard Area:United States Lines:118 Added:02/25/2009

Officials Visiting This Week Press for Continued Funding of an Antidrug Strategy and Passage of a Free-Trade Agreement.

Washington - Colombian officials are mounting a full-court diplomatic press in the United States this week as they seek to stave off a fall from the high-flying status their country achieved in Washington as a favored ally of the Bush administration.

Colombia was promoted as a Latin success story by President Bush but denigrated by human rights advocates and some members of Congress as a failed state. Now, it's likely to find itself far from center stage in a Washington grappling with the economic crisis and still finding its foreign-policy footing.

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3US: Mexico Attorney General: We Don't Need U.S. Troops to Intervene in Drug WarWed, 25 Feb 2009
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Gillman, Todd J. Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:02/25/2009

WASHINGTON -- Mexico's attorney general said Tuesday he sees no need for U.S. troops to intervene in his country's war on drug cartels, nor to gear up for a spillover of violence across the border.

"I don't see that," Attorney General Eduardo Medina-Mora said in an interview with The Dallas Morning News. "I don't see the U.S. military playing an active role. The size of the problem on the U.S. side is not calling for that, and certainly Mexico has enough institutional capabilities to deal with this."

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4US TX: Gov. Perry Wants U.S. Troops Guarding BorderWed, 25 Feb 2009
Source:El Paso Times (TX) Author:Valdez, Diana Washington Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:02/25/2009

EL PASO - Gov. Rick Perry said he wants 1,000 troops to help guard the Texas-Mexico border, and for the U.S. to fund strong security measures to fight the Mexican drug cartels that have spread violence and fear in Mexico, including Juarez.

"We're (also) asking the (Texas) Legislature for $135 million for border security - to go after transnational gangs, for technology and aviation assets, and for 1,000 troops," said Perry at a news conference Tuesday at the Chamizal National Memorial.

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5 US: Mexico Drug War Prompts Federal Contingency PlanWed, 25 Feb 2009
Source:Washington Times (DC) Author:Waterman, Shaun Area:United States Lines:95 Added:02/25/2009

The Department of Homeland Security has contingency plans to rush additional personnel and other resources, including the U.S. military, to parts of the southern border if law enforcement agencies on the ground are overwhelmed by spillover effects from escalating criminal violence in Mexico, department officials say.

Several border states likewise are drawing up contingency plans, amid growing concern about possible cross-border effects of the violence in Mexico, which claimed more than 5,300 lives last year - double the number in 2007.

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