Labs Provide the Only Outside Quality Control
The kitchen in the weather-beaten beachfront cabin near Olympia is
cramped and freckled with mysterious brown stains. A shaggy dog named
Butter is poking around, and a quarter-sized spider dangles at the window.
It's not the best situation, Jim Chaney acknowledges, for a homebased
business making marijuana infused products, called "medibles."
But in Washington's scantily regulated medical-marijuana industry, no
one is checking how such food and drink products are made, or how
safe they are. And there's a lot to check. A dizzying array of
cannabis-infused products - from taco mix to cotton candy, from
pulled pork to carbonated colas - have begun showing up in the past
two years on the shelves at storefront marijuana dispensaries.
[continues 1331 words]
Lawyer Mark Dion uses his problem-solving skills in legal conflicts
arising from medical marijuana.
A man from a small York County town had his medical marijuana stolen
and was getting no satisfaction from the local police, who were
skeptical that a burglary had been committed. As a result, he couldn't
get his insurance company to cover the loss.
Enter Mark Dion, former cop, former sheriff, now criminal defense
attorney. He was able to convince police that the theft was
legitimate, clearing the way for his client to get
[continues 1128 words]
Elizabeth Saul shipped high-grade Oregon marijuana to the East Coast
to pay the bills. In five months, the southern Oregon woman pulled in
$125,000. She was busy, but grateful.
"Thank you so much for the safe and secure delivery of my packages to
NYC," she wrote in her diary. "I love you God! You are the best. Love, Liz."
God wasn't the only higher power Saul had to thank for her success.
The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program deserved credit too. The law
allowed Saul and her associates to grow a surplus of pot, which
police say she sold on the nationwide black market for hundreds of
thousands of dollars.
[continues 2204 words]
ROCK HILL Rubell Alexander has lived in Carnegie Estates -- a middle
class Rock Hill subdivision just off Saluda Road -- "ever since
there's been a Carnegie Estates."
Along with manicured lawns and teens playing basketball, she has
witnessed several cycles of crime trickle into the neighborhood --
from rampant break-ins to the "hoodlums" she said once brought their
conflicts into the area.
But none of that rattled her like finding out that two convicted drug
dealers spent six months in a two-story, four-bedroom home around the
corner from her house -- growing indoors what officials say was a
"high-grade" type of marijuana.
[continues 1699 words]
Paso sheriff's candidates Fortney, Nocco and Radford discuss ways to
fight drugs in county
Pasco County sheriff's candidate Roger Fortney's solution to fighting
drug crime is simple:
Keep close tabs on offenders.
"I believe if we worked closer with parole and probation we could
convince them to stop committing the crimes or to move out of the
county," said Fortney, 59, who worked in road patrol for 23 years at
the Pasco County Sheriff's Office before retiring as a corporal in
2009. He is one of three candidates -- along with Maurice Radford, 50,
a former major with the Sheriff's Office and current Pasco Sheriff
Chris Nocco, 36 -- vying for the top spot in the Republican primary
Aug. 14. The winner will square off against Democrat Kim Bogart in
[continues 1296 words]
Kathryn Johnston was doing pretty well until the night the police
showed up. Ever since her sister died, Johnston, 92, had lived alone
in a rough part of Atlanta called the Bluff. A niece checked in
often. One of the gifts she left was a pistol, so that her aunt might
The modest house had burglar bars on the windows and doors; there had
been break-ins nearby.
Eight officers approached the house, and they didn't knock.
The warrant police obtained, on the basis of a false affidavit,
declared they didn't have to - the house where their informant had
bought crack that day, the affidavit said, had surveillance cameras,
and those inside could be armed.
[continues 7549 words]
For all their fears of sending the wrong message to kids about pot, a
drug some view as a gateway to more serious substances, aldermen have
an overriding concern: getting more police officers on the street to
stop a 35 percent spike in homicides.
That's why members of the City Council's Committee on Public Safety
hemmed and hawed Thursday but easily approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's
plan to ticket people for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
They believe Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy when he says issuing
pot tickets will free officers to concentrate on the gang violence
that's fueling the rise in homicides instead of being tied up on
small-time marijuana arrests - 90 percent of which result in no conviction.
[continues 578 words]
OROVILLE - Butte County's supervisors Tuesday launched a process aimed
at crafting a new medical marijuana ordinance to replace the one that
was rejected by county voters last week.
That measure was a strongly worded ordinance that put strict
limitations on the locations where medical marijuana could be
cultivated and on how many plants could be grown on what size lots.
"It was an interesting Tuesday last week," Paul Hahn, Butte County's
chief administrative officer, told the Board of Supervisors, during
the panel's regular meeting.
[continues 529 words]
ALBANY - The New York Police Department, the mayor and the city's top
prosecutors on Monday endorsed a proposal to decriminalize the open
possession of small amounts of marijuana, giving an unexpected lift
to an effort by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to cut down on the number of
people arrested as a result of police stops.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, whose Police Department made about 50,000
arrests last year for low-level marijuana possession, said the
governor's proposal "strikes the right balance" in part because it
would still allow the police to arrest people who smoke marijuana in public.
[continues 1011 words]
After a nearly two-year legal battle, the Michigan Supreme Court
cleared the way Friday for a referendum question that could make
Detroit the state's first city to legalize marijuana.
Voters in the Aug. 7 primary election can expect to see the question
- -- asking them to legalize possession and use of up to 1 ounce of the
drug, on private property, by those 21 and older, said Tim Beck, a
Detroiter who heads the referendum group Coalition for a Safer Detroit.
[continues 308 words]
A drive to regulate California marijuana dispensaries won a key
victory Thursday, raising the hopes of advocates who argue that state
oversight is critical to staving off federal raids on California's
medical cannabis industry.
The state Assembly voted 41-28 to pass a bill to create a California
policing agency to license marijuana stores and oversee a
state-sanctioned medical pot industry from growers to delivery drivers
to marijuana testing labs.
Since October, raids on California medical marijuana outlets and
threats of federal prosecution against operators and landlords have
shuttered scores of dispensaries across the state, including nearly
100 in Sacramento County.
[continues 621 words]
CHESAPEAKE - When it comes to marijuana, the nose knows.
Even in a moving car. Even with the windows up.
Police officers in Chesapeake have been pulling over cars on the
grounds that they smelled marijuana while cruising down local
roadways, defense attorneys say. And according to the testimony of
one officer, it's become common practice to try to sniff out pot from
behind the wheel.
"We drive our patrol car with the vents on, pulling air from the
outside in, directly into our faces," Officer Barrett C. Ring said
late last year in court during a preliminary hearing, according to a
transcript of the proceedings. "Commonly, we'll be behind vehicles
that somebody in the vehicle is smoking marijuana, and we can smell
it clear as day."
[continues 643 words]
University Enacts Closure After Legal Challenge Fails
There's a visible police presence at the University of Colorado this
morning as administrators roll out their well-publicized attempt to
snuff out the annual 4/20 smoke-out, but, so far, students and
employees seem to be coming and going without ID checks.
Several students -- and one unauthorized visitor -- told the Camera
that they walked onto campus, sometimes past police checkpoints, this
morning without being asked for ID, as CU officials had said would be
the case today.
[continues 571 words]
An Assembly committee Tuesday passed a bill to create state oversight
for pot businesses, as its chairman implored the Legislature to act
to stave off federal raids on medical marijuana providers.
"The worst public policy choice for California is to sit idly by,
doing nothing, and let this failed war on medical cannabis continue
unchecked," said San Francisco Democrat Tom Ammiano as his Public
Safety Committee voted 4-2 along party lines to create a state bureau
to police the California medical cannabis industry.
[continues 336 words]
Every year during April, the University of Colorado administration
warns students about the potential consequences surrounding the
annual 4/20 gathering on Norlin Quad. This year, the university is
upping its efforts to end the unwelcome smoke-out. But it remains to
be seen how far administrators and police are willing to go, or if
their measures will eliminate the event.
In previous years, CU has tried methods such as turning on the
sprinklers or asking students to identify their peers in photos taken
at the event. But most often, CU has just monitored the gathering for
safety and wasn't concerned with major ticketing. With this year's
event, the university has rolled out several new courses of action to
[continues 1851 words]
ATHENS - There is a reason why drug-testing in college athletics
remains such a mystery. It's because nobody wants to talk about it.
By all accounts, at least two Georgia football stars will miss games
next season because they failed random drug tests conducted by the
school. But we know that only because the high school coach of one of
those players was willing to talk about it.
Alan Ingram, the head football coach at Seminole County, said his
former player Bacarri Rambo was one of at least five Georgia players
who failed a drug test ordered by the athletic department (because of
marijuana use) shortly after Rambo returned to Athens from a
spring-break trip to Florida in March. Fellow defensive star Alec
Ogletree also tested positive for marijuana use at that time,
according to Ingram and several published reports citing anonymous sources.
[continues 838 words]
A week before Christmas, Dante Level stands near the vibrant avocado
tree that towers above his grandmother's cream-colored house on NW
52nd Street. The lanky 30-year-old sports thick dreadlocks past his
shoulders and a thin goatee. He swigs a Corona. Two friends and a
neighbor do the same and pass around a cigar. Nearby, Dante's
1-year-old daughter and another baby play on the floor.
Dante's younger brother Khalid, a slim guy with short-cropped hair,
leans against the family's maroon minivan. Inside the house, their
older sister Alexis tends to her 13-year-old paraplegic daughter. Amid
the preholiday revelry, no one notices the silver Chrysler 300 with
tinted windows cruising the tree-lined block.
[continues 4933 words]
Bronx cops made hundreds of unlawful marijuana arrests and trumped-up
charges over a five-month period last year despite a warning from
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, claims a study by the Bronx Defenders.
The study released Friday shows that illegal stops and searches are
an "epidemic" in the Bronx, said Robin Steinberg, Bronx Defenders
Her organization interviewed 518 people apprehended for marijuana
possession from May to October 2011 and found that 41% had their
In 176 cases, there was no cause for people to be detained, and in
184, the organization concluded that cops "manufactured" misdemeanor
charges by forcing people to show their pot.
[continues 342 words]
Norm Stamper's told the story a lot: He was a
rookie cop, working a =93one-man car=94 in an
affluent San Diego neighborhood, when he
approached a home and smelled =93burning vegetable matter.=94
This was around 1966. Possession of marijuana =96
possession of even a seed or stem =96 was a felony.
Stamper, a young cop eager to score the brownie
points associated with narcotics busts, knocked
on the door. No answer. He then kicked in the
door and heard footsteps racing down the hall,
where he found a 19-year-old man trying to flush
his marijuana down the toilet. Stamper scooped
out the soggy pot, placed the young man in
handcuffs and led him from his parents' house to the police car.
[continues 760 words]
LARGO =AD Amid allegations that narcotics deputies
trespassed and lied to gather evidence, the
Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office announced
Tuesday that it is dismissing charges against an
accused St. Petersburg marijuana grower and will
reconsider dozens of similar cases.
The dropped case was against David Cole, 60, who
said he was growing pot in his shed to treat his multiple sclerosis
His attorneys were scheduled Tuesday to grill a
key deputy under oath about possible misconduct
within the narcotics unit. But that opportunity
evaporated along with the case.
[continues 998 words]
Assemblywoman Norma Torres, D-Chino, has introduced contentious
legislation that could conceivably mean DUI convictions for unimpaired
drivers, according to opponents of the bill.
The bill aims to make it a crime for drivers to operate a vehicle with
any level of marijuana in their blood or urine.
But unlike the relatively quick burnoff rate of alcohol from one's
system, advocates say marijuana compounds, or cannabinoids, can remain
detectable in the body after the last use of the substance for up to
30 days. This difference is at the center of the controversy.
[continues 501 words]
A crowd of avid readers packed Books & Books in Coral Gables Thursday
night for a lively discussion with Miami Herald columnist Leonard
Pitts, Jr. and book author Michelle Alexander on a thorny subject:
similarities between today's "profiling" of blacks who end up behind
bars and the Jim Crow era.
"In the era of mass incarceration what it means to be a criminal in
our collective consciousness has become conflated with what it means
to be black," Pitts read to the audience. "So the term white criminal
is confounding while the term black criminal is merely redundant."
[continues 208 words]
Matt, a 20-year-old student at Sacred Heart University, occasionally
buys small amounts of marijuana.
He has never been caught by police, but he said friends have, and they
Faced with two choices -- charging the users with a crime punishable
by a $1,000 fine and possible imprisonment or letting Matt's friends
go after disposing of the pot -- the police chose the latter.
"They didn't arrest them," said Matt, who asked that his last name not
be published. "They just let them go."
[continues 1828 words]
"It's not a question of should there be a medical marijuana law, or
who supports it, but how we follow the current law here," Langley
Mayor Larry Kwarsick said at a Langley City Council workshop last week.
About 80 people, including the full city council and Langley Police
Chief Randy Heston, gathered to talk about whether the council should
approve Lucas Jushinski's business-license application for a medical
marijuana "access point" in Langley.
City Planner Jeff Arango offered a PowerPoint overview of the state
law that he said leaves "regulation of access points open to a wide
variety of opinions and approaches in communities."
[continues 700 words]
COLUMBIA - A low turnout didn't keep Missouri cannabis supporters
from discussing marijuana legalization on Friday.
The Show-Me Cannabis Regulation ballot initiative campaign held a
signature drive outside the Missouri state Capitol in Jefferson City.
The drive aided the campaign in its goal to obtain 144,000 valid
signatures by May 4. The signatures, gathered by about 1,000 unpaid
volunteers, are required to qualify the campaign's proposed
constitutional amendment. Signatures from six out of nine
congressional districts are needed.
[continues 396 words]
Budget issues were a main topic of discussion during the Kalkaska
Village Council regular meeting Monday.
Regarding a millage proposal for the Kalkaska Village Police
Department, Village Council President Jeff Sieting warned that, if the
Police Committee's proposal for the November ballot were not to pass,
the situation would be "bleak."
There is a large misconception regarding how many patrollers are out
in the community, Sieting said.
"The public needs to know what will happen if it doesn't pass,"
Village Trustee Katina Banko said.
[continues 311 words]
Federal drug agents and one of the nation's biggest drug distributors
are heading for a legal showdown that will test the government's
strategy of going after larger corporations to fight rampant
prescription drug abuse. The Drug Enforcement Administration moved
earlier this month to suspend four pharmacies in Sanford, Fla., from
selling controlled substances. The DEA said the four, including two
CVS locations, were dispensing "staggering" amounts of oxycodone, a
pain medication that has spawned a huge and deadly black market.
[continues 1198 words]
State Delegation Hears Firsthand About High Point Model
HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Wilmington seems to already have most of the
building blocks it needs to deploy the crime-reduction strategy that
has helped this city break up open-air drug markets and cut gang
violence, officials here told a Delaware delegation Monday.
"It may be just a matter of connecting those resources," said
Wilmington Police Chief Michael Szczerba.
Szczerba said police are already planning a call-in meeting, possibly
next month, to tell a group of repeat offenders that their behavior
won't be tolerated any longer. Such a meeting is a major part of the
"focused deterrence" methods that High Point police have been using
for several years.
[continues 1036 words]
Live Oak's ban on growing medical marijuana withstood attack Tuesday
and survives, for now.
Sutter County Superior Court Judge Perry Parker denied a request for
an injunction that would have temporarily stopped the ban. The
plaintiff, James Maral, sought the order while he pursues a permanent
way to stop the ordinance.
"I don't have the ordinance to read, so I don't know what the city of
Live Oak even did," Parker said. "They may have said, 'Give marijuana
[continues 312 words]
U.S. Attorney John Walsh justifies federal crackdown on
medical-marijuana shops U.S. Attorney John Walsh said Thursday
evidence that medical marijuana is having a detrimental impact on
Colorado kids spurred his decision to crack down on dispensaries near schools.
Walsh, in the strongest federal action against dispensaries in
Colorado to date, sent letters last week to 23 dispensaries within
1,000 feet of schools. The letters ordered the dispensaries to close
by Feb. 27 or face potential criminal prosecution or seizure of
assets, even though those dispensaries are operating in compliance
with state law.
[continues 368 words]
TRENTON - Prominent defense attorney William Buckman, well known for
the State Police racial profiling case in the 1990s, is prepping a
civil lawsuit against the state health department for delaying New
Jersey's medical marijuana program.
Buckman will co-counsel the litigation along with Anne Davis, the
director of the New Jersey chapter of the National Organization for
the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
The announcement came today during a noon press conference on the
Statehouse steps in Trenton attended by a small group of patients,
advocates and leaders of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New
Jersey. The event was called to commemorate the two-year anniversary
of Gov. Jon Corzine's signing of the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.
The program has largely languished with not one of the state's six
planned medical marijuana centers being anywhere close to opening.
Buckman said he hopes the "strategy of litigation" will put an end to
the administration's "foot dragging."
Bulletin: Michael Shafer turned himself in to the Gibson County
Sheriff's Office Saturday afternoon and remains in custody with bond
set at $50,000 cash. He's scheduled for arraignment Tuesday morning.
Shafer was sought by authorities for a week in connection with the
discovery of a meth lab on the main campus of East Gibson schools in
Oakland city before Christmas break.
OAKLAND CITY -- Oakland City Police Chief Alec Hensley and East Gibson
schools superintendent Franzy Fleck faced a crowd of upset parents
Friday afternoon in the Wood Memorial Junior High Cafetorium, where
the crowd had the opportunity to air their views, their suggestions
and ask questions to police about the discovery of a one-pot
methamphetamine lab found on campus Dec. 21.
[continues 761 words]
15th District Police Officer Wants Justice For Austin 7
A Chicago police officer is seeking the media's help to unravel what
he says is a web of deception, created by the Chicago Police
Department (CPD), which led to the indictment and subsequent
conviction of seven police officers in the 15th Police District on the
city's West Side 15 years ago.
T.C. McCoy, an officer in the 15th District, held a news conference
Wednesday outside police headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave., decrying
a "conspiracy by the Chicago Police Department" to frame these seven
police officers, known as the "Austin 7" in what he calls a flawed
police corruption investigation.
[continues 784 words]
Cmdr. Marc Alcantara of the San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force
showed a visitor photographs of marijuana bales being hoisted by
helicopters onto pickup trucks. This year, task force deputies removed
5,070 plants worth $1.5 million from deep in the county's Skyline
Ridge Open Space Preserve just south of San Francisco.
Rangers, hikers and ranchers had found the operation and called in the
authorities, Alcantara said. The pot growers were tapping mountain
springs to feed irrigation lines linked to "remarkably well-kept"
plants. By the time deputies arrived, all that was left were the
plants, food, hammocks, sleeping bags and a .22-caliber rifle.
[continues 1344 words]
A handful of Canadian police officers are operating as armed federal
law enforcement officers in the United States, part of a little-known
experiment in cross-border policing that will be widely expanded under
the new security plan announced Wednesday.
But while local and provincial police agencies are happy to see their
officers operate in the States, the two federal agencies in charge of
border integrity -- the RCMP and the Canadian Border Security Agency
-- want to make sure it's not the Americans who call all the shots in
[continues 1079 words]
Federal Funding Runs Out, Forcing Local Officers to Pay for Cleanup
It's anyone's guess now whether methamphetamine production is rising
or falling in Georgia.
That's because a funding flap in Washington has thrown what was
previously the best system for counting clandestine meth labs into
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which used to track the
number of meth labs by counting the number of requests for financial
assistance from local law enforcement agencies, can no longer rely on
that method. Federal funding for disposing of the toxic waste from
clandestine meth labs ran out nine months ago, forcing police
departments and sheriff's offices in Georgia to pick up a tab that
last year amounted to more than $500,000.
[continues 449 words]
Sheriff's Deputies Bust Several High-Volume Marijuana Farms
Harvest time in Butte County is winding down, and the Butte County
sheriff's Special Enforcement Unit had a fruitful October, uprooting
4,056 female marijuana plants and gathering 6,654 pounds of processed
marijuana. It also arrested 10 people-alleged growers, their helpers
and a pot hauler.
Various weapons, other drugs and 19 adult dogs and 19 puppies were
"There is not necessarily more being grown," said sheriff's Detective
Doug Patterson. "We're just really kicking ass. Last year a lot of
our time was taken up policing the dispensaries," he said, referring
to a sting operation that effectively closed down the eight operating
dispensaries in the county.
[continues 1335 words]
Now Three Years Old, Michigan's Medical Marijuana Law Is Still
Getting Sorted Out
Marijuana has twice played a role in bringing significant changes to
the life of Barb Agro.
The first time was a blessing.
A former police dispatcher, the 71-year-old great-grandmother from
Lake Orion suffers from arthritis in both of her knees.
"It's really bad," she says.
Because she's allergic to aspirin, she used Tylenol to ease the pain
for years. "But the amount I had to take was so much," she says. "I
worried about it damaging my kidneys."
[continues 5481 words]
Montanans Confront a Dubious Weapon in the War on Drugs
On the morning of March 14, Chris Williams set out on foot with his
two dogs for the 2.5-mile walk to his East Helena-based medical
marijuana business, Montana Cannabis. After a long winter, the
weather was finally warmer. The hound and the pit bull nipped at one
another and pulled on their leather leashes. Pigeons cooed from a
trestle above him.
Williams's mellow mood turned to curiosity when he saw a sheriff's
car leading a line of unmarked cars down Euclid Avenue. "I thought,
'Oh well, maybe it's a funeral," he recalls. When several more cars
joined the caravan, Williams saw that their business looked more
urgent. "Then it registered with me, when my employee comes driving
back the other way on the road: 'Oh shit, they probably just raided
us.'...My worst worry was that they hurt someone."
[continues 4256 words]
In the Absence of Government Regulation, the Local Medical-Marijuana
Industry Increasingly Is Trying to Professionalize the Industry With
Such Self-Policing Measures As "Best Practices" Manuals,
Quality-Control Testing Laboratories and Training Classes.
A dozen medical-marijuana entrepreneurs listened intently during a
unique four-hour class that detailed how they could stay out of
trouble, serve sick patients and prosper.
Among the tips: Keep detailed records. Pay unemployment taxes. Buy
air-filtration systems. Don't buy pot brownies from noncommercial kitchens.
[continues 794 words]
The NAACP has just passed a historic resolution  demanding an end
to the War on Drugs. The resolution comes as young black male
unemployment hovers near 50 percent and the wealth gap has become a
veritable gulf . So why is the forty-year-old "War on Drugs" public
enemy number one for the nation's oldest civil rights organization?
Well, here's why: it's not extraneous, it's central: the war on drugs
is the engine of twenty-first-century discrimination--an engine that
has brought Jim Crow into the age of Barack Obama.
[continues 305 words]
Edgar Jimenez Lugo's Fall Began a Generation Ago, His Youth Fractured
by Crack-Addicted Parents and a Backdrop of Drug Cartel Violence
The top of the boy's head barely reaches the shoulders of the men at
his side as they exit a military pickup shortly before dawn.
He is 14 and small for his age -- a thin figure draped in a sweatshirt
with a concert tour logo. He has a fat lip, a swollen eye and
abrasions on his neck.
[continues 1794 words]
CHAMPAIGN - Champaign Police Chief R.T. Finney was installed recently
as the president of the 1,200-member Illinois Association of Chiefs of
Police, the first Champaign police chief to hold that post in the
organization's 70-year history.
Former Rantoul police chief Eldon Quick was the only other Champaign
County law enforcement officer to hold the post. He was president in
Finney has been at the helm of the city's police force since November
2003. Before that he was police chief in Carbondale for four years and
before that, served 17 years on the Quincy police department.
[continues 955 words]
RED BLUFF - Those looking to get medical marijuana from a dispensary
in Tehama County will have to look elsewhere.
Some 18 months after it held its first study session on the issue,
the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this week to ban the shops
in the unincorporated area of the county.
The ordinance goes into effect 30 days from Tuesday's adoption,
Assistant County Counsel Arthur Wylene said, replacing a temporary
prohibition due to expire.
In May, after several study sessions, the board sent two ordinances
to the county Planning Commission for review. The second draft
stopped short of a ban, but limited the number of dispensaries to one
and required a licensed medical professional to be on site at all times.
[continues 312 words]
Although This New Bill Is Largely Symbolic, the Fact That It's Being
Introduced, and Other Small Victories of Late, Bode Well for a Change
in Tone on This Discussion.
It's been forty years since President Nixon declared a "war on drugs."
And we're not winning.
In local communities, Black and Latino men are being singled out
unfairly and fed into the prison system for minor drug offenses; in
Mexico, an unspeakably brutal drug war continues with no signs of
cessation; sick people continue to be denied legal access to medical
marijuana that could ease their pain.
[continues 858 words]
Hundreds Of Criminal Cases Dismissed In San
Francisco Bay Area As Allegations Of Law-Enforcement Corruption Persist
SAN FRANCISCO-Bay Area prosecutors have been forced to dismiss more
than 800 criminal cases in the past year because of allegations of
police corruption that include selling drug evidence, conducting
unlawful searches and conspiring to get men drunk and then arrest them
on drunk-driving charges.
The series of police scandals has taxed the budgets of the
district-attorney and public-defender offices, and prompted two
[continues 695 words]
Night court in Manhattan, Monday, 7:30 p.m.
For a moment, after the lawyers had finished talking and the judge had
murmured the sentence, Felix did not move. He stood in front of the
bench, then looked at his lawyer, who nodded and sent him to wait in
the pews with the spectators.
Felix slid into the second row, the tension heaving from him in a big
sigh. For the first time in more than 30 hours, he was not sitting
among the arrested in the holding cells. On Sunday morning, he was
arrested on a charge of misdemeanor possession of marijuana with a
group of other young men gathered on 42nd Street for the National
Puerto Rican Day Parade.
[continues 652 words]
For More Than Three Decades, I Watched the Drug War Destroy Values
That, As a Cop, I Swore to Uphold.
It's not hard to explain why I morphed from drug warrior to drug
policy reformer. I observed unnecessary suffering, justice gone wrong,
and widespread corruption within policing. I witnessed the physical
deterioration of whole neighborhoods--streets, homes, and schools
made less safe.
And I saw myself and fellow police officers cast as the "bad guys" in
the enforcement of drug laws.
[continues 564 words]
The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the
world. With less than 5 percent of the world's population, we have
almost a quarter of the world's prisoners.
Experts point to several factors for explanation, but it's clear that
a large number of people are imprisoned for drug-related crimes.
Officially declared the "War on Drugs" by President Richard Nixon in
1971, this has become the longest and most costly war in American history.
The question has become, how much more can we tolerate? America's drug
war has failed to curb demand and I suspect we will never become a
[continues 707 words]
Aspen and Pitkin County's top lawmen met with federal Drug Enforcement
Administration agents on Wednesday in an attempt to shed light on why
they weren't notified beforehand of last week's arrests of six local
residents on suspicion of alleged cocaine distribution.
After meeting for an hour and a half, Pitkin County Sheriff Joe
DiSalvo and Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor said the relationship
with federal drug enforcement officials remains strained.
"We don't feel we have taken any great strides forward," Pryor said,
adding he is disappointed that no concrete agreement was reached.
[continues 883 words]