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1 Japan: OPED: What 'Prohibition' Has WroughtSun, 01 Mar 2009
Source:Japan Times (Japan) Author:Sato, Hiroaki Area:Japan Lines:130 Added:03/01/2009

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.

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2 CN BC: Gangsters Strut OnlineSun, 01 Mar 2009
Source:Province, The (CN BC) Author:Mercer, Katie Area:British Columbia Lines:120 Added:03/01/2009

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.

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3US CA: Wider Acceptance Of Medical Marijuana Has Anti-Drug Groups WorriedSun, 01 Mar 2009
Source:Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) Author:Horseman, Jeff Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:03/01/2009

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 legitimate treatment."

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4 US CA: Medical Marijuana Is BackSun, 01 Mar 2009
Source:Santa Barbara Independent, The (CA) Author:Stewart, Ethan Area:California Lines:97 Added:03/01/2009

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."

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5 US CA: North Coast Pot Dispensaries Welcome Federal PolicySat, 28 Feb 2009
Source:Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA) Author:Anderson, Glenda Area:California Lines:63 Added:03/01/2009

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.

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6 US CA: PUB LTE: Marijuana Myths Get In The WaySun, 01 Mar 2009
Source:Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA) Author:Sharpe, Robert Area:California Lines:37 Added:03/01/2009

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?

Robert Sharpe

Arlington, VA

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7 US PA: Editorial: Losing The War On DrugsSun, 01 Mar 2009
Source:Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)          Area:Pennsylvania Lines:86 Added:03/01/2009

Mexico

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.

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8 US NC: Editorial: Cooperation Puts A Dent In Meth RingSat, 28 Feb 2009
Source:Dispatch, The (NC)          Area:North Carolina Lines:68 Added:03/01/2009

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 in prison.

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9US: Drug Wars Near And FarSun, 01 Mar 2009
Source:San Francisco Chronicle (CA)          Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:03/01/2009

"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.

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