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1US FL: Column: Marijuana Still Illegal, And We're Still StupidTue, 27 Dec 2011
Source:News-Press (Fort Myers, FL) Author:Koehler, Robert Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:12/27/2011

"Play faster!" he cried, wildly, over and over. "Play faster!"

The dame who was tickling the ivories complied, out of control herself. The music revved to a dangerous velocity oh, too fast for decent, sober, well-behaved Americans to bear and ... well, you just knew, violence, madness, laughter were just around the corner. The year was 1936 and, oh my God, they were high on marijuana, public enemy No. 1

The scene is from "Reefer Madness," arguably the dumbest movie ever made but smugly at the emotional and ideological core of American drug policy for the last three-quarters of a century. The policy, which morphed in 1970 into an all-out "war" on drugs, has filled our prisons to bursting, created powerful criminal enterprises, launched a real war in Mexico and presided over the skyrocketing of recreational drug use in the United States. The war on drugs just may be a bigger disaster than the war on terror.

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2 US FL: Collier Remains Committed To Dare Program While OthersSun, 25 Dec 2011
Source:Marco Eagle (FL) Author:Carpenter, Jacob Area:Florida Lines:180 Added:12/26/2011

NAPLES -- The Palmetto Elementary School students bounded to the front of their fifth-grade classroom two-by-two, each coming under friendly questioning from Collier County sheriff's Cpl. Sandra Doria.

Cassie Figga, wearing a D.A.R.E. T-shirt and red headband, took the situation in stride.

"You're hanging out at Hollywood 20," Doria said. "After the movie, a pack of cigarettes is passed around. What do you say?"

"First," Figga said, sizing up the question, "I would tell them that's not a very good idea, and then I'd go tell a manager."

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3US FL: Former Flagler Addict's Actions A Positive SignSun, 25 Dec 2011
Source:Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL) Author:Murphy, Julie Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:12/26/2011

BUNNELL -- A dark-haired girl wearing a sandwich board smiled and waved at passing motorists along Moody Boulevard in Bunnell.

Suzanne Garrison wasn't hawking coffee or tax services. Her message was personal -- "Drug Court Works."

"I've been addicted to oxycodone since I was 18," the 21-year-old said, standing on the shoulder of the roadway in front of the Kim C. Hammond Justice Center. "I get treatments through the courts."

Drug Court is a supervised, comprehensive treatment program for those charged with non-violent drug-related felonies, according to information provided on Flagler County's website by coordinator Mike Greenier.

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4US FL: Surveillance Of Largo Hydroponic Supply Shop Ends, ButSat, 24 Dec 2011
Source:St. Petersburg Times (FL) Author:Farlow, Rita Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:12/24/2011

Jeremy Harris' household was winding down for the night. It was about 10 p.m., his children were getting ready for bed and he was watching TV, when a uniformed deputy and two undercover detectives knocked on the door of his Dunedin home.

Harris says the Pinellas sheriff's detectives told him they had gotten an anonymous tip that he was growing marijuana, and they asked if they could search his property.

Harris stepped outside and was astonished to see other deputies standing nearby in groups of two - 10 to 14 of them, he estimates.

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5US FL: Editorial: Another Hero Dies For His CommunityThu, 22 Dec 2011
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:12/22/2011

The tragedies are coming with appalling regularity. Lakeland police officer Arnulfo Crispin, 25, died Wednesday after being shot in the head Sunday night while investigating suspicious activity in a city park. The suspect is 19 years old.

Last February, a St. Petersburg police officer was shot while approaching a suspicious individual on the street. A 16-year-old was charged.

A few weeks before, two St. Petersburg policemen were shot to death and a federal marshal seriously wounded as they attempted to serve a domestic abuse warrant on a sex offender, who was killed during the encounter.

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6US FL: Site Where Officer Shot A Drug HavenTue, 20 Dec 2011
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL) Author:Morelli, Keith Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:12/21/2011

Arnulfo Crispin In Grave Condition As Suspect, 19, Arrested

A neighborhood park where a Lakeland police officer was shot and gravely wounded is known more for being a hang-out for drug dealers than a place where children clamor over the jungle gyms.

'Little kids got guns,' said Phillip Rogers, 22, who lives near the city-owned Crystal Grove Park, 'and they ain't afraid to use them.' A 10 p.m. Sunday call about suspicious activity in the park ended in tragedy for a popular police officer, who was left for dead. By the day's end, officer Arnulfo Crispin barely clung to life at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

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7 US FL: Miramar Cop Guilty Of Official MisconductMon, 19 Dec 2011
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Olmeda, Rafael A. Area:Florida Lines:97 Added:12/21/2011

Jury Deadlocks On Trespassing Charge

FORT LAUDERDALE -- A Miramar police officer was found guilty on Monday of official misconduct, falsifying records and criminal mischief in connection with the search of a drug suspect's apartment in 2010.

Officer Jean Paul Jacobi bowed his head as the verdicts against him were read late Monday afternoon.

The jury deliberated more than four hours before announcing they reached a partial verdict, deadlocking on trespass charges against Jacobi and his co-defendant, Det. Jennifer Conger. Broward Circuit Judge Raag Singhal declared a mistrial on those charges.

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8 US FL: Undercover Drug Sting Continues With More StudentSat, 17 Dec 2011
Source:Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Author:Freeman, Marc Area:Florida Lines:91 Added:12/16/2011

It was a typical Thursday morning at Lake Worth High School until police burst onto the scene and arrested three students in an undercover drug sting.

"They knew who they were coming after," Principal George Lockhart said a few hours later. "They grabbed the kids and they were gone."

The action - which coincided with nine arrests at Boynton Beach High School - was the latest milestone in a long-term investigation called "Operation D-Minus," Palm Beach County School District Police Chief Jim Kelly said.

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9 US FL: Schools Crack Down On SpiceTue, 13 Dec 2011
Source:Santa Rosa's Press Gazette (FL) Author:Pellegrino, Mathew Area:Florida Lines:62 Added:12/13/2011

The Santa Rosa County school district is looking to stop a drug problem in its schools before it gets out of control.

Spice, also known as K-2 and Blaze it is a potpourri substance sprayed with a chemical. When smoked, the substance gives the same effects that someone might feel while high on marijuana. The drug gained popularity over the years, and is available at most gas stations and smoke shops.

The federal government cracked down on the drug back in July banning the chemical in the substance. Since the ruling, the school district has continued to see the drug being used in the schools. The law passed by the government does not outlaw the potpourri, but the actual chemical it is sprayed with. Only lab tests can determine how much chemicals, if any, have been sprayed on the potpourri.

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10 US FL: PUB LTE: Cancer Patients Denied Needed Pain TreatmentMon, 12 Dec 2011
Source:St. Petersburg Times (FL) Author:Balducci, Lodovico Area:Florida Lines:44 Added:12/13/2011

Patients Deserve Pain-Free Dignity

I practiced medicine for more than 40 years and oncology for more than 30. I can remember patients literally screaming from pain all the way to death. Based on my experience, effective pain management has been the most important achievement of medical care in the last 30 years.

Dr. Kathy Foley, who spearheaded this effort, is a Catholic neurologist who works at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She has devoted her professional life, supported and inspired by her faith, to bringing back a human dimension (the patient perspective) to an increasingly technological type of medicine.

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11US FL: Editorial: America Shouldn't Be A Surveillance SocietySun, 11 Dec 2011
Source:St. Petersburg Times (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:12/11/2011

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has been using a law enforcement technique that resembles a fishing expedition. It surreptitiously trained a camera at a hydroponics supply business, turning every customer who walked through the door into a suspected marijuana grower. This kind of surveillance may be technically legal, but it is intrusive and violates the spirit of the Fourth Amendment's privacy protections. People should be allowed to pursue lawful activities without automatically provoking a police investigation.

To his credit, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has ordered the camera taken down. Gualtieri, who was only recently appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to fill the remainder of an unexpired term, says the prescription drug problem, cocaine and other drugs where public safety is at risk will be the agency's priority. Encouragingly, he also says that his agency has to be careful about focusing attention on people who are going about their business and not engaging in inherently suspicious conduct.

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12 US FL: In War On Drugs, Dissent 'Unpatriotic'Mon, 05 Dec 2011
Source:Miami Herald (FL) Author:Garvin, Glenn Area:Florida Lines:87 Added:12/08/2011

I owe Kyle Vogt an apology. A former military policeman, he's now a member of a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP, a group of former cops, prosecutors and judges that supports ending the war on drugs.

When I interviewed Vogt for a column earlier this year, everything he said about the high cost and low results of the war on drugs made perfect sense. But he made one claim which, though I smiled politely, I didn't believe and didn't use in my column: that dozens and dozens of drug cops have contacted LEAP to express their support.

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13 US FL: PUB LTE: Police Resources WastedThu, 08 Dec 2011
Source:St. Petersburg Times (FL) Author:Caputo, Jim Area:Florida Lines:24 Added:12/08/2011

Once again police resources are wasted with surA-veillance cameras and manpower and a net result of one arrest and one marijuana plant confiscated.

We are not paying attention to the lessons learned (or not) from Prohibition. The number of arrests for pot-related crimes is mind-boggling. The war on drugs a colossal failure. Pot should be legal and taxed like tobacco.

Jim Caputo, Spring Hill

[end]

14 US FL: PUB LTE: Genuine Pain IssuesThu, 08 Dec 2011
Source:St. Petersburg Times (FL) Author:McCarthy, Daniel Patrick Area:Florida Lines:23 Added:12/08/2011

As someone suffering with chronic pain issues, I took exception to the comment by the pharmacy owner that if an 'addict can't get oxycodone, Adderall is viewed by some as a reasonable alternative.' It is this attitude by pharmacists that is part of the problem, as well as the profiling they subject people to. People with genuine pain issues are being forced to suffer due to a small segment of the population that abuses these medicines. It is not fair that these people make snap judgment calls as to who is an 'addict' or not.

Daniel Patrick McCarthy, Clearwater

[end]

15 US FL: Florida's Welfare Drug Testing Halted By Federal JudgeWed, 07 Dec 2011
Source:Miami Herald (FL) Author:Catalanello, Rebecca Area:Florida Lines:114 Added:12/08/2011

A federal judge in Orlando on Monday temporarily blocked Florida's controversial law requiring welfare applicants be drug tested in order to receive benefits.

Judge Mary Scriven issued a temporary injunction against the state, writing in a 37-page order that the law could violate the Constitution's Fourth Amendment ban on illegal search and seizure.

The constitutional rights of a class of citizen are at stake," Scriven wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the state last month on behalf of Luis Lebron, a 35-year-old Navy veteran and single father from Orlando who is finishing his college degree.

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16US FL: Search For Pot Crops Starts At Small StoreSun, 04 Dec 2011
Source:St. Petersburg Times (FL) Author:Farlow, Rita Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:12/06/2011

Lawyers Cry Foul When Deputies Focus on a Legal Hydroponic Garden Shop to Hunt Marijuana Growers

LARGO - Last fall, a white Chevy truck pulled into the parking lot of a hydroponic gardening shop on Ulmerton Road.

A man went in, purchased some supplies and drove off.

Someone was watching.

Detectives with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, watching via a camera mounted on a pole nearby, recorded the Chevy's license plate number, checked motor vehicle records to identify the owner, and soon showed up at his home in Seminole.

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17 US FL: PUB LTE: Loss Of Civil LibertiesSat, 03 Dec 2011
Source:St. Petersburg Times (FL) Author:Sharpe, Robert Area:Florida Lines:31 Added:12/06/2011

The steady rise in drug-sniffing dogs in schools, warrantless police searches, and random drug testing have led to a loss of civil liberties in America while failing miserably to prevent drug use.

Based on findings that criminal records are inappropriate as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents, a majority of European Union countries have decriminalized marijuana. Despite marijuana prohibition, lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the United States than any European country.

The drug war threatens the integrity of a country founded on the concept of limited government. It's not possible to wage a moralistic war against consensual vices unless privacy is eliminated, along with the U.S. Constitution. America can either be a free country or a "drug-free" country, but not both.

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Arlington, Va.

[end]

18US FL: Editorial: Restore Due Process To Drug CasesThu, 24 Nov 2011
Source:St. Petersburg Times (FL)          Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:11/27/2011

Due process should not be tossed aside for the sake of expediency. Yet Florida state courts are doing just that by upholding drug convictions despite a recent finding by a federal judge that a key state drug law is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven of the Middle District ruled in July that Florida's statute making possession and delivery of an illicit substance a crime is constitutionally flawed and violates due process protections. But state courts have barely noticed. Miami-Dade's 3rd District Court of Appeal joined many other state courts recently in upholding the law.

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19US FL: Drug Law Case On Fast Track In Fla Supreme CourtMon, 21 Nov 2011
Source:Florida Today (Melbourne, FL)          Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:11/21/2011

TALLAHASSEE - A case that could result in the release of hundreds, if not thousands, of drug offenders is on a fast track in the Florida Supreme Court.

The state's appeal of a Manatee County judge's decision on Sept. 14 that struck down Florida's drug law regarding "guilty knowledge" of illegal drugs is running parallel with, but quicker, than a similar federal case.

Just two weeks after the Manatee ruling, a three-judge state appellate panel sent the Manatee case to the justices without a decision so it could get to Florida's highest court as quickly as possible.

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20US FL: Column: Few Applicants Test PositiveMon, 14 Nov 2011
Source:Florida Today (Melbourne, FL) Author:Zwieg, Susan Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:11/14/2011

The drug testing bill for welfare recipients in Florida, specifically for those receiving cash benefits under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, should be repealed.

The bill does not include drug testing for those receiving other types of subsidies, such as food stamps. (These cash benefits are $180 a month for one person and $364 for a family of four.)

The state would reimburse the welfare recipients if they tested negative. The bill recently was halted because of an appeal by a single father and Navy veteran who felt the requirement was unconstitutional. Florida federal judge Mary Scriven (a George W. Bush appointee) agreed with the plaintiff.

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