NEW YORK - When I read the news that the Latin American Commission on
Drugs and Democracy "blasted the U.S.-led drug war as a failure that
is pushing Latin American societies to the breaking point" (Wall
Street Journal, Feb. 12), I thought: Someone is finally talking
sense. I have long regarded the U.S. approach to drugs as
self-righteous, overbearing and destructive.
This is not the first time the U.S. "war on drugs," which President
Richard Nixon started back in 1971, has been pronounced a failure.
Five years ago, for example, none other than President George W.
Bush's "drug czar," John Walters, admitted that the "war" was
failing. Of course, Walters, a hard-nosed conservative, made it clear
that the U.S. had no intention of abandoning it. Today, he insists
that intensified drug-related violence in Mexico - 4,000 people
killed in 2008 alone - is a sign that the U.S. war is succeeding.
[continues 851 words]
Young-Gun Wannabes Using Internet To Glorify Thug Lifestyle
The next generation of street thugs is at our fingertips, literally.
They call themselves gangs and they've got the criminal charges to
back up their rep.
But unlike most organized crime groups, they're glorifying the thug
lifestyle in the most public of forums -- online. "It's once again
become cool to be associated with a street gang," says Robert Gordon,
director of Simon Fraser University's criminology department. "With
the availability of the Internet and networking sites . . . they are
communicating more online now.
[continues 804 words]
It looks like any other doctor's office, with white walls, a
receptionist's window and soothing background music.
But then there's the marijuana cookbook in the corner case, and the
"Medical Marijuana Survival Guide" handed out to patients.
The Temecula branch of Alternative Care Clinics opened four months
ago, part of a growing network of Inland businesses connecting
patients with medical marijuana.
"We used to get a lot more questions," said Jonathan Arbel, ACC's
director of operations. "Now it's just more recognized as a
[continues 705 words]
Santa Barbara Reacts to U.S. Attorney General's Promise to Stop
Cannabis Club Raids
Medical marijuana advocates throughout California are celebrating this
week after a serious dose of good news from Washington, D.C.
In a press conference on Wednesday, February 26, U.S. Attorney General
Eric Holder, with the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Michele
Leonhart by his side, told a throng of reporters that President Barack
Obama will hold true to his campaign promises and that fed-led raids
of cannabis clubs operating legally under state laws will come to a
close. Specifically asked about a series of DEA raids at clubs in Lake
Tahoe and Los Angeles in the days immediately after Obama's
inauguration, Holder replied, "What the president said during the
campaign, you'll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what
we'll be doing here in law enforcement . What he said during the
campaign is now American policy."
[continues 663 words]
North Coast medical marijuana growers and distributors offered guarded
optimism to news that federal authorities are expected to stop raiding
California pot dispensaries.
In general, we are very happy about it," said John Sugg, president of
the Sonoma Patient Group in Santa Rosa. "It makes us feel better we're
not going to be attacked just for political reasons."
The federal government has not recognized state laws that legalized
marijuana for medicinal use. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said
this week that the administration of President Barack Obama is
changing the policy.
[continues 233 words]
Olympian Michael Phelps is in good company. The list of athletes
caught using marijuana is long. Could it be that drug warriors have
been lying about marijuana's health impact? They've definitely been
lying about the deterrent value of marijuana prohibition.
The United States has higher rates of marijuana use than the
Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available to adults over 18.
Marijuana prohibition is built on lies, beginning with the reefer
madness myths of the 1930s and continuing to this day with government
anti-drug propaganda masquerading as science. As an admitted former
pot smoker, President Obama no doubt knows the truth about marijuana.
Truthfully, marijuana is easily the least harmful recreational drug,
legal or otherwise. If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of
cultural norms, marijuana would be legal.
Yes, marijuana can be harmful if abused, but criminal records are
inappropriate as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents.
The question is, will Obama bring change or will he continue to
subsidize the prejudices of culture warriors?
Imagine if murders in Philadelphia tripled. Imagine if they
quadrupled. Imagine living in Juarez, Mexico. With a population about
the same as Philadelphia's 1.4 million, Juarez had 1,600 murders last
year; Philadelphia had 332.
Last month, Juarez had more than 80 murders. If you think that sounds
like a war zone, you would be right. Juarez is on the front lines of
the so-called war on drugs. That multi-decade misadventure has filled
U.S. prisons with thousands of drug-law violators, but hasn't done
enough to stem our demand for drugs.
[continues 519 words]
Sometimes rounding up drug suspects is the easy part for law
enforcement officers. Ultimately, the sentences those suspects receive
in the judicial system determines how much of a long-range impact the
arrests have. The Davidson County Sheriff's Office, State Bureau of
Investigation and U.S. Marshal's Service took care of the
investigation into a methamphetamine ring, and the U.S. Attorney made
sure those arrested received stiff sentences. A press conference
Wednesday revealed the depth of the ring. Twenty-five people were
arrested, and most have already been sentenced to as much as 30 years
[continues 360 words]
"For us, the only action we have is to maintain pressure against the
drug traffickers and act against their crops, harvests, labs, goods
and continue this frontal fight."
Colombia Vice President Francisco Santos, on the need for Colombia to
receive foreign aid to continue its war on drugs.
"It's high time to replace an ineffective strategy with more humane
and efficient drug policies."
Written by former Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil,
Cesar Gaviria of Colombia, and Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, suggesting
abandoning the war on drugs and focusing on prevention and education.
[continues 109 words]