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1 Australia: OPED: Tide Turns in Favour of Drug ReformThu, 27 Aug 2009
Source:Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) Author:Wodak, Alex Area:Australia Lines:101 Added:08/27/2009

One hundred years ago, the US convened the International Opium Conference. This meeting of 13 nations in Shanghai was the beginning of global drug prohibition.

Prohibition slowly became one of the most universally applied policies in the world. But a century on, international support for this blanket drug policy is slowly but inexorably unravelling.

In January, Barack Obama became the third US president in a row to admit to consumption of cannabis. Bill Clinton had admitted using cannabis but denied ever inhaling it. George Bush was taped saying in private he would never admit in public to having used cannabis. When Obama was asked whether he had inhaled cannabis, he said: "Of course. That was the whole point."

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2 US CA: Pot PotpourriThu, 30 Jul 2009
Source:Santa Barbara Independent, The (CA) Author:Welsh, Nick Area:California Lines:84 Added:07/30/2009

Licit Weed: Selling and Missing; Illicit Grow

Responding to complaints from some Eastside and downtown residents that Santa Barbara's medical marijuana dispensaries are out of control, the Santa Barbara City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to revisit the medical pot ordinance it approved barely a year ago. Four dispensaries predate the city's ordinance and have been given three years to find new digs away from schools and establishments catering to young people. Four more have either been recently approved or are undergoing city review. Of the latter, two are within two blocks of each other on Milpas Street.

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3 Mexico: Drugs 'Taliban' Declares War On Mexican StateSun, 19 Jul 2009
Source:Observer, The (UK) Author:Tuckman, Jo Area:Mexico Lines:294 Added:07/19/2009

At Least 19 Police Officers And Soldiers Died Last Week As A Narco Gang Called La Familia Launched A Counterattack Against A Government Crackdown On Cartels. But As Well As Hitmen, The Group Uses Social Handouts And TV Propaganda, Report Jo Tuckman In Mexico City And Ed Vulliamy

The male voice on the line was not a typical contributor to the Voice and Solution TV programme where residents of the Mexican state of Michoacan air their everyday grievances.

"We want President Felipe Calderon to know that we are not his enemies," the caller said, after introducing himself last Wednesday as Servando Gomez Martinez, nicknamed La Tuta, one of the leaders of La Familia drug cartel. "We are open to dialogue."

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4 UK: Drug Policy in the AmericasSat, 27 Jun 2009
Source:Economist, The (UK)          Area:United Kingdom Lines:64 Added:06/27/2009

At Last, a Debate

And an Intemperate Defence of Prohibition

Cardoso Calls for New Thinking

EVER since George Bush senior launched "the war on drugs" in earnest two decades ago, Latin American governments have been more or less willing belligerents. That was partly because of the carrot and stick of American aid and bullying, but mainly because they suffer the brunt of the violence and corruption inflicted by trafficking mafias. Yet now there are signs of a rethink.

The clearest came in February when the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, a group headed by three former presidents--Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, Cesar Gaviria of Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico--published a report arguing that the violent crime and corruption generated by drug prohibition is undermining democracy and that the drug war has "failed". They called for a public debate on alternatives, including treating drug use as an issue of public health rather than criminal law, and decriminalising marijuana.

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5 Web: Hot Off The 'Net and What YOU Can Do This WeekFri, 26 Jun 2009
Source:DrugSense Weekly (DSW)                 Lines:147 Added:06/26/2009

************

Below is the text from the Preface to World Drug Report 2009 - dominated by a detailed rebuttal of the growing calls for a debate on legal regulation of drug production and supply. We have deconstructed these kind of critiques so many times before, we won't be doing it again here - other than to observe it is the same confused mix of misrepresentations, straw man arguments, and logical fallacies that we are used to hearing from the UNODC's drug warriors. The particularly strange thing here though is that some of the analysis of the problem, the critique at least, is actually fairly good - it's where it leads that is so extraordinary....

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6 CN BC: Column: I Fought The WarThu, 18 Jun 2009
Source:Pique Newsmagazine (CN BC) Author:Maxwell, G. D. Area:British Columbia Lines:137 Added:06/19/2009

"It was twenty years ago today, Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play."

When the Beatles sang those first words on the eponymous track of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, nothing in my life had happened twenty years ago. But the driving chords, stabbing guitar and words were a hook that lodged in my - and I suspect almost everyone else's - head, an association that probably won't end until I end or dementia robs me of all but my earliest memories.

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7US WA: Speech: Legalize MarijuanaSat, 06 Jun 2009
Source:News Tribune, The (Tacoma, WA) Author:Barry, Ian Area:Washington Lines:Excerpt Added:06/06/2009

Can I see a show of hands how many people here have ever smoked Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana? I see none of you raised your hand. Well obviously no one would want to admit to a criminal activity in front of their teacher. But why is it that smoking pot is so taboo in our society? After all numerous famous intellectuals support marijuana. Al Gore is considered by many to be the leading figure in climate change awareness and environmental preservation. But few people know that Al Gore also supports the legalization of marijuana. The famed German philosopher Freidrich Nietzche once said, "If one seeks relief from unbearable pressure one is to eat hashish". The founding father of our nation George Washington, said, "Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!" Marijuana is one of the safest medicinal substances on the planet and is supported by many acclaimed celebrity role models. Famous Hollywood actor Johnny Depp says, "I'm not a big pothead or anything like that... but weed is much, much less dangerous than alcohol". Other well known supporters of marijuana include Snoop Dogg, all of the Marley family, Niel Young, Willie Nelson, Michael Phelps, Chris Farley, Al Gore, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Nietzche, Barack Obama, John Adams, James Madison, JFK, and of course myself. A total of 11 United States presidents either grew, smoked, or supported the legalization of Marijuana. With the support of some of the greatest thinkers and world leaders of all time it's a wonder that marijuana is still illegal. "Government ties is really why the government lies" Immortal Technique. Common Misconceptions about marijuana are set about by high end government officials who think only of themselves and own their prosperity. For instance few people know the history of weed and the means by which it was criminalized.

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8 US: Web: Will Obama End the War on Drugs?Mon, 18 May 2009
Source:AlterNet (US Web) Author:Huffington, Arianna Area:United States Lines:171 Added:05/18/2009

When it comes to addressing America's disastrous war on drugs, the Obama administration appears to be moving in the right direction -- albeit very, very cautiously.

On the rhetorical front, all the president's men are saying the right things.

In his first interview since being confirmed, Obama's new drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, said that we need to stop looking at our drug problem as a war. "Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs" or a 'war on product,'" he told the Wall Street Journal, "people see war as a war on them. We're not at war with people in this country."

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9 US: Web: Ending the War on Drugs: The Moment is NowFri, 15 May 2009
Source:Huffington Post (US Web) Author:Huffington, Arianna Area:United States Lines:166 Added:05/16/2009

When it comes to addressing America's disastrous war on drugs, the Obama administration appears to be moving in the right direction -- albeit very, very cautiously.

On the rhetorical front, all the president's men are saying the right things.

In his first interview since being confirmed, Obama's new drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, said that we need to stop looking at our drug problem as a war. "Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs" or a 'war on product,'" he told the Wall Street Journal, "people see war as a war on them. We're not at war with people in this country."

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10US CA: Protesters Object to Pomona Closing Marijuana DispensarySat, 09 May 2009
Source:Contra Costa Times (CA) Author:Consalvo, Lori Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:05/09/2009

POMONA - The signs spoke louder than the protesters.

"Give us back our meds."

"Stop arresting patients."

"Being sick is not a crime."

Thirty-five people - young and old, healthy and sick - took part in Friday's protest that stemmed from Pomona police shutting down a medical marijuana dispensary April 30, just seven days after it opened.

City officials said the dispensary did not have a business license.

The protest in front of the police station on Mission Boulevard was quiet and peaceful. Horns honking in approval were the only loud noises.

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11 CN BC: From Heaven To Hell - 18 Die As Drugs War Rages OnSun, 05 Apr 2009
Source:Independent on Sunday (UK) Author:Rodgers, Paul Area:British Columbia Lines:109 Added:04/05/2009

The Canadian City Has Been Named The Best Place In The World To Live. But Those Halcyon Days Are Over

Once upon a very recent time, Vancouver had a clean, safe image. Nestled between a spectacular bay and snow-capped mountains, this Canadian city, which is twice the size of Birmingham, was described by The Economist as the most liveable in the world. Not any more. As it prepares to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, what it's got now is not cuddly, eco-friendly publicity, but blood-spattered streets littered with shell casings and corpses.

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12 US: FBI Deployed By US To Fight Mexican Drug LordsWed, 25 Mar 2009
Source:Guardian, The (UK) Author:MacAskill, Ewen Area:United States Lines:78 Added:03/24/2009

. Washington fears carnage will spread across border

. Proposals echo battles to control mafia

The White House yesterday revealed plans for a crime-fighting operation targeting Mexican drug cartels on a scale not seen since the battles against the US mafia.

Washington is dispatching more federal agents and equipment to its south-western border with Mexico to target the cartels. Among them are a newly formed FBI unit, to deal with the ringleaders, and treasury officials who will track drug money. An extra 100 customs officers are to be sent to the border within the next 45 days.

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13 US: Legal Move Gives Green Light To US Suppliers Of MedicalFri, 20 Mar 2009
Source:Guardian, The (UK) Author:Nasaw, Daniel Area:United States Lines:63 Added:03/20/2009

In a further sign that the Obama administration is shifting away from the "war on drugs" policies of its predecessor, the country's top law enforcement official has announced that the federal government will end raids on groups that supply medical marijuana.

Eric Holder, the attorney general, said federal agencies would now concentrate their efforts on traffickers who pass themselves as medical dispensaries and "use medical marijuana laws as a shield".

He said: "Given the limited resources that we have, our focus will be on [those] growing, cultivating substantial amounts of marijuana, and doing so in a way that's inconsistent with federal and state law."

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14 CN AB: PUB LTE: Lesson From BushThu, 05 Mar 2009
Source:Calgary Herald (CN AB) Author:Randell, Alan Area:Alberta Lines:24 Added:03/05/2009

Re: "Ganging up on gangs plan spot on," Editorial, March 1.

Ignore the experts you say? Small wonder George Bush, the number one "expert ignorer" on the planet, was invited to speak in your fair city. Look where that attitude got him--and the rest of the world. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Alan Randell,

Victoria, B. C.

[end]

15US WI: OPED: Stop The Insanity Of Pot LawsTue, 24 Feb 2009
Source:Wausau Daily Herald (WI) Author:Maas, Jim Area:Wisconsin Lines:Excerpt Added:02/24/2009

Michael Phelps, Olympic champion and super athlete, smoked marijuana! Shock and awe! Kathleen Parker's Feb. 5 column in the Wausau Daily Herald nailed it: "Phelps embodies insanity of drug laws."

The response to Phelps' "crime" shows how some people have been twisted by a generation of government propaganda. No one seems to question how it is that marijuana became illegal, or stays illegal, while much more dangerous drugs are legal, licensed, and sold openly. How dangerous?

Examine the estimated annual deaths caused by the following drugs:

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16 CN SN: Editorial: Time To Rethink Expensive, Futile War On DrugsTue, 03 Feb 2009
Source:StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)          Area:Saskatchewan Lines:110 Added:02/04/2009

If President Barack Obama is to succeed in convincing allies to pony up for the war in Afghanistan, he must do better than to reinvent former president George Bush's ill-conceived "War on Terror."

He will have to revisit America's much older and disastrous War on Drugs.

The U.S. officially has fought the latter war starting with Richard Nixon's presidency, when the fear of a country made of peaceniks and hippies convinced the Republican leader to copy former president Lyndon Johnston's short-lived but popular War on Poverty. Although the battle against poverty was an unabashed failure, at least it didn't cost the thousands of lives and countless years of lost freedoms claimed by the war on drugs.

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17 CN BC: PUB LTE: Get Rid Of Gangs By Legalizing DrugsFri, 30 Jan 2009
Source:Kelowna Capital News (CN BC) Author:Macdonald, Wayne Area:British Columbia Lines:72 Added:01/31/2009

To the editor:

This is in response to the editorial Gang Shooting a Warning Signal (Capital News Jan. 28).

It is obvious that you, the RCMP chief and like thinkers are all in denial and/or ignorant of the mistakes of the alcohol prohibition era.

You are also in denial and/or ignorant of the fact that a huge chunk of our society smokes pot both young and old. You also seem to be blind to the fact that in the United States they already have virtually a zero tolerance policy. Yet where does most of our precious B.C. bud go?

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18 US CA: Landlords of Medical Cannabis Centers Threatened WithThu, 01 Jan 2009
Source:Coastal Post, The (CA) Author:Patterson, Jacqueline Area:California Lines:151 Added:01/01/2009

Many Bay area medical cannabis dispensary operators, including Marin's own lyrical Lynette Shaw, rallied in Downtown San Francisco on December 20th in protest of the Drug Enforcement Administration's recent execution of another attack on medical cannabis dispensaries. In an effort to overcome the obstacles raised in the raid tactics the DEA employed in earlier attempts to circumvent a compassionate community of medical cannabis connoisseurs, the feds have resorted to sending letters to landlords who rent commercial space to medical cannabis providers, first in Southern California back in July and more recently here in the Bay area. Landlords who own space occupied by medical cannabis dispensaries in Marin, San Francisco, and Alameda counties received letters the second week in December.

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19US WA: Bush Pardons Lynden Womans Drug ConvictionThu, 25 Dec 2008
Source:Bellingham Herald (WA) Author:Jensen, Peter Area:Washington Lines:Excerpt Added:12/26/2008

LYNDEN -- As the presidency of George W. Bush nears its final days, a number of high-profile convicts, including former track star Marion Jones and a former Louisiana governor, are seeking presidential pardons.

While Lynden resident Marie E. Eppens cannot, by most standards, be considered high-profile, Bush an-nounced Tuesday, Dec. 23, that he has pardoned her 1992 conviction of conspiracy to deal marijuana.

Eppens was one of 19 people Bush pardoned Tuesday before leaving for the holidays at Camp David.

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20 US CO: PUB LTE: Prohibition Isn't FunnyWed, 24 Dec 2008
Source:Boulder Weekly (CO) Author:White, Stan Area:Colorado Lines:42 Added:12/24/2008

(Re: "Still smokin'," Buzz, Dec. 18.) Cheech and Chong have been effective splitting my gut exposing the prohibition, persecution and extermination of the relatively safe, socially acceptable, God-given plant, cannabis, for what it is. But cannabis prohibition is not funny. I was angry when I heard George Bush and John Ashcroft's ignoids caged Chong over this bullshit. Government is screwing the country bad with this subsidized discrimination and persecution; it's as though America is run by Nazis trying to destroy us.

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