Because the crime took place within 1,000 feet of a school, state law
mandated a longer sentence, one that the council members noted "was
more severe than the sentence he would have received for committing a
violent crime such as rape or second-degree murder."
Twelve Metro Council members have signed a letter urging a criminal
court judge to give relief to a Nashville man serving a 17-year
sentence on a nonviolent drug conviction.
[continues 394 words]
Detroit's crackdown on illegally operating medical marijuana
dispensaries has shuttered 167 shops since the city's regulation
efforts began last year and dozens more are expected.
Detroit corporation counsel Melvin Butch Hollowell told the Free Press
that 283 dispensaries were identified last year, all of which were
"None of them were operating lawfully," Hollowell said. "At the time I
sent a letter to each one of them indicating that unless you have a
fully licensed facility, you are operating at your own risk."
[continues 665 words]
Anchorage officials will mark off the minimum 500 feet between
schools and pot shops by using walking distances, not a straight
line, the Anchorage Assembly decided in a unanimous vote Tuesday night.
The decision means more potential properties will be available for
pot businesses in Anchorage. The Assembly's vote, a reversal from two
weeks earlier, effectively loosens restrictions on where businesses
will be allowed to open by in some cases shrinking the off-limits
zone around schools and other restricted places.
[continues 531 words]
Nathan wonders something that a few other people have asked about
too: "My understanding is that it is currently illegal to consume or
possess any amount of marijuana within 500 feet of a school zone,
regardless if you're on private property or not. I have a two-part
question. 1. Will the law allow people to consume marijuana in their
private residence, regardless of where it is in relation to a school
zone? 2. Will businesses be allowed to sell marijuana within 500 feet
of a school zone?"
[continues 1099 words]
Canadian study explored local scene and its link to high-risk
"There was so much crack in the neighbourhood that users and outreach
workers nicknamed the area Rochelaga."
When anthropologist Nelson Arruda explored an east-end Montreal
neighbourhood, he expected to find shooting galleries - dark,
clandestine places where people inject drugs - and sex slaves addicted
to the next high.
What he found in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve were crack houses - located
every three blocks, and concentrated on a stretch spanning 20 streets
- - governed according to strict rules that included a ban on injecting
and prostitutes who on the surface operated independently.
[continues 1294 words]
Republican state legislators want an apology from Governor Malloy for
what they construe as his accusation that they are racist for
opposing repeal of the law establishing 1,500-foot "drug-free" zones
around schools, whereby mere possession of drugs is made a felony
nearly everywhere in cities, where most blacks and Hispanics live,
but not so much in suburbs and rural towns, where most whites live.
While the governor, a Democrat, was not obliged to apologize for what
he didn't quite say, he might have remembered that soft words turn
away wrath and expressed regret for misunderstanding. That would have
facilitated repeal of the questionable drug law instead of
engendering resentment of repeal.
[continues 537 words]
I like taking my medicine in the form of a joint while walking around
the block. It gets me thinking, though: Is it legal to do that as
long as I'm a patient? Where are places I can smoke if I can't smoke
at my apartment?
- -Juan DeRoor
A little exercise, a little medicine. You sound like a health-minded
person. According to California law, medical cannabis patients are
allowed to consume cannabis anywhere tobacco consumption is allowed,
except for a moving vehicle, so a walk around the block is a great
idea. Be aware that some cities have designated entire areas as
"smoke-free zones," mostly in the chichi downtown spots (looking at
you, Walnut Creek), so if you aren't paying attention, you could get
a ticket. But in general, although you may get a few odd looks and
maybe a knowing smile or two, a good walk and a good weed go a long
way toward creating a good day.
[continues 350 words]
The riots in Baltimore in the aftermath of the death of an
African-American man in police custody have produced anguished and
thoughtful reactions. Here's a sampling.
David Simon, former Baltimore Sun police reporter and creator of "The
Wire" TV show, in an interview with the Marshall Project: [The] drug
war which Baltimore waged as aggressively as any American city was
transforming in terms of police/community relations, in terms of
trust, particularly between the black community and the Police
Department. Probable cause was destroyed by the drug war. ... [It]
made everybody in these poor communities vulnerable to the most
arbitrary behavior on the part of the police officers, it taught
police officers how not to distinguish in ways that they once did.
[continues 900 words]
FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks North Star Borough mayor released a
tentative map Friday of where marijuana retail sales might be
allowed, including around Fairbanks International Airport, Van Horn
Road, near the Alaska Railroad Corp depot, on a short stretch of
College Road and along a portion of South Cushman Street.
Marijuana retail sales also might be allowed on either side of the
Johansen Expressway between Peger Road and University Avenue and on
the north side of Phillips Field Road near Illinois Street. The
industrial area beside the Aurora Subdivision also could have pot shops.
[continues 420 words]
In the past year, to my great satisfaction, the NJ family court has
taken a beating in both the federal and state appeals courts.
In Malhan vs Malhan, five parents filed a class action lawsuit in
federal court alleging that the NJ family court system fails to
provide adequate "due process" rights to parents in child custody
proceedings. Surender Malhan, the father, lost his custody rights on
a mere two hours' notice based on a bogus accusation from the mother
without him having an opportunity to refute his estranged wife's allegations.
[continues 1074 words]
What happens on a school campus is frequently a reflection of what is
going on at home. Which is why campus calls to the cops are inevitable.
Rowdy behavior, assaults, petty theft, fake 911 calls and vandalism
are typical infractions that will bring badges to the door.
Compared to other trouble, however, calls for bringing narcotics to
campus have been relatively few in the Verde Valley. Considering the
availability of so many illicit and prescription drugs and the
overall number of arrests of adults in the Verde Valley for drug
crimes, the public schools have been pretty effective with their
[continues 224 words]
As communities and state officials ponder what to do with closed
correctional facilities, state Sen. Michael Nozzolio has an idea of
his own: Transform the shuttered prisons into substance abuse
Nozzolio, R-Fayette, has introduced legislation in the state Senate
that would require the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
Services and the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
to explore whether the prisons could be used as drug treatment facilities.
The bill, S7655A, was one of 25 legislative proposals included in a
report released Wednesday by the Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and
Opioid Abuse. The task force released its report after conducting
several hearings around the state, including a forum May 8 in Auburn.
[continues 364 words]
Back in the day, the Cass Corridor in Detroit was a highway for heroin
and other drugs. Junkies would blend in among students and the
homeless, making it hard to differentiate between those three classes
of urban dwellers. Homeless shelters seemed to be on every other
corner from Forrest to I-375. Drug houses were smartly camouflaged
within the area, which ran from West Grand Boulevard down to Michigan
Avenue, and from John R over to the Lodge freeway. That grid was a
virtual 24-7 Detroit Woodstock, the main thoroughfare for locals and
suburbanites alike, shopping for their drug of choice.
[continues 681 words]
Narcotics prosecutors across the state are forming a task force to
respond to the state's new marijuana decriminalization bill,
Frederick County State's Attorney Charlie Smith said.
The Maryland State's Attorneys' Association, of which Smith is
president of the board, met Thursday to discuss the new legislation,
which police and prosecutors say has critical omissions.
The bill makes it a civil offense, no longer a crime, to possess or
use less than 10 grams of marijuana. But the bill failed to establish
rules for drug-free zones, smoking in schools and smoking in public,
among other things, Smith said.
[continues 69 words]
The Olympia City Council will consider a new law at its April 1
meeting that would establish several drug-free zones downtown.
The proposed ordinance is part of an effort to combat the use of
illegal drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine. If approved, the
ordinance would designate five "civic centers" where drug use is
prohibited within 1,000 feet. These publicly owned and operated civic
centers include the Hands On Children's Museum, The Washington Center,
The Olympia Center, Olympia City Hall and the Olympia Timberland
[continues 118 words]
The Olympia City Council seems more determined than ever to rescue the
downtown core from urban decay and prevalent violent crime. At its
annual retreat, the council discussed strategies to tackle these twin
downtown issues and is wasting no time putting its plans into action.
This week, the council unanimously moved closer to utilizing the
Community Renewal Area to improve downtown blighted properties. Last
week, it met with the Thurston County Commission to address the
epidemic of heroin addiction and discarded syringes.
[continues 475 words]
Stiffer Penalties for Those With Drugs Within 1,500 Feet of a School,
Day Care Center or Public Housing Unfairly Targets Those in Urban
Areas, Where Spaces Are Far Tighter Than in the Suburbs.
Back in the 1980s, many state legislatures passed laws establishing
"drug free" zones around schools on the theory they would protect
children from being preyed upon by people selling marijuana, heroin
and cocaine. It seemed like a good idea at the time but then facts
intervened and the drug free law turned out to be nothing more than a
"feel good" action that provided the illusion of fighting the war on
drugs without actually accomplishing much beyond filling prisons.
[continues 685 words]
Letter to the editor
I was happy to read that the Connecticut Sentencing Commission
unanimously recommended shrinking drug-free zones from 1,500 to 200
feet from public school property [Dec. 20, Page 1, "Drug-Free School
Zones Could Shrink"].
When I was student body president at UConn, I saw the impact of our
current laws first-hand. Since E.O. Smith High School is right next
to campus, its drug-free zone includes many UConn dorms and
apartments. If caught with drugs, the more than 2,700 students living
in the zone were at risk of astronomically higher penalties than
their peers living right across the street.
[continues 132 words]
Protective Zones Around Schools Raise Questions
Do crime-free zones around schools and other places where children
gather actually protect children?
The question will be aired in the next session of the General
Assembly because of two proposals, one that seeks to reduce the size
of drug-free zones around schools and another that would create zones
around schools where sex offenders couldn't live.
The Connecticut Sentencing Commission has unanimously approved a
recommendation to scale back the state's drug-free zone from 1,500
feet to 200 feet of school property. Meanwhile, two legislators are
proposing a bill that would prohibit registered sex offenders from
living within 1,000 feet of a school or day-care center.
[continues 554 words]
The Drug-Free Zone Shrinks to the Family Hearth
Aging hippies have waited a lifetime to achieve their reefer dreams.
Several states are relaxing marijuana laws, and the White House is
right behind. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Monday announced
the first retreat in the War on Drugs since President Nixon declared
the war four decades ago.
"Our system is in too many ways broken," said Mr. Holder, who
proposed to "break free from the status quo," and endorsed
legislation by Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah to
give judges more room to minimize penalties for minor drug crimes.
The idea is to stop flooding federal penitentiaries with nonviolent
offenders. Mr. Holder said the administration wants the federal
government to quit meddling in everything. "Some issues are best
handled at the state and local level," he said. That much is
unexpected good news.
[continues 419 words]