Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Sheriff Reports Marijuana Haul Worth $14 Billion

Los Angeles County sheriff's officials announced Monday the department seized an estimated $14 billion in marijuana this season, which they believe is the largest one-year haul ever.

Found largely in outdoor pot farms in the forest, the plants are primarily grown by Mexican cartels, officials said.

"I believe this is probably the highest season in ... history," said Lt. Joe Nu ez of the sheriff's Narcotics Bureau.

This year also saw the largest single seizure of pot in United States history, according to sheriff's officials.

The Marijuana Enforcement Team team in August found a 116,000-plant farm in mountains of the Angeles National Forest above San Dimas.

It took 40 people two days to chop down the crop, bundle it and fly it out by helicopter.

The pot was estimated to be worth nearly $500 million, officials said, and shattered the previous record of about 85,000 plants seized in a single bust by the MET team in 2007.

"I believe this is the largest marijuana grow in the United States," Sheriff Lee Baca said of the bust.

Pot was seized in the forest above San Dimas several times this year, and officials return annually to find new outdoor marijuana grows, Lt. Phil Abner of the sheriff's Narcotics Bureau said.

In all, this year saw a 30percent increase in the amount of marijuana seized by the Sheriff's Department compared to last year, officials said.

Officials also noted that large-scale marijuana cultivation has steadily increased in recent years.

"The vast majority of these grows are being operated by the Mexican cartels," sheriff's Capt. Dennis Werner said.

In addition to the illegal drug activity, forest pot farms pose both environmental risks and safety risks to those using the forest legally, Baca said.

"( The growers ) also leave behind mounds of trash and human waste," the sheriff said.

Chemicals such as insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers are often carelessly discarded and pose a risk of contaminating the forest, Baca said.

Furthermore, the marijuana groves are often guarded by armed gardeners, posing a serious threat to any hiker, biker or hunter who may wander into a grow site, sheriff's officials said.

In addition to the 360,000 marijuana plants seized this year by the MET team, officials made five arrests, confiscated 15 guns and removed tons of trash and chemicals from the forest, Baca said.

In recent decades, marijuana has become significantly more potent that it used to be, Baca said.

A single marijuana plant can yield from $4,000 to $7,000 worth of marijuana, Abner said.

California's Compassionate Use Act, which permits marijuana use for medical reasons, may also be contributing to an increase in pot farms, Abner said.

The marijuana dispensaries that have sprung up since provide an additional marker for pot growers, who may sell their crops to the dispensaries, he said.

A MET deputy who identified himself only as "Bob" for security reasons said the outdoor marijuana busts, which are carried out in the heat of summer, are tough work.

"It's very hot. There's rattlesnakes out there, and all kinds of insects," the MET deputy said. "It's very physically demanding."

But keeping drugs off the street and making the forest safe is rewarding, he said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Parks Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the California State Parks Service and the California Department of Justice all participated in the marijuana seizures, officials said.

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom

URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n1022/a08.html
Newshawk: http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm
Votes: 0
Pubdate: Tue, 11 Nov 2008
Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2008 San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Contact: http://www.sgvtribune.com/writealetter
Website: http://www.sgvtribune.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/3725
Author: Brian Day
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?115 (Cannabis - California)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Three years ago, agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency
broke down the door of a South of Market medical pot club and raided
the premises. It looked like the first skirmish between federal
agents and the city, which passed liberal pot laws in 1996.

Instead, the city took the crackdown as a wake-up call.

Quietly, with little fanfare, San Francisco is on the way to becoming
a model for medical marijuana clubs done the right way. Exploitive,
profit-hungry drug clubs are being forced out and community-based,
patient-friendly ones are becoming the norm. Neighbors have shut down
dispensaries in school zones, and patient services have been increased.

Beginning in 2005, when Mayor Gavin Newsom worried aloud about "a
path that would allow for a club on every street corner," the city
has made a series of small steps that have improved a situation that
was nearly out of control. A moratorium on new clubs was enacted, and
Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and Michela Alioto-Pier pushed for
restrictive legislation. Among other things, all pot clubs were
required to get an operating permit from the Planning Commission.
Neighborhood input, proximity to schools, and criminal and employment
background checks were all included in the consideration for a permit.

Since then, almost half of the clubs have closed.

And here's an indication of just how well the regulations have
worked. When state Attorney General Jerry Brown proposed strict state
guidelines for marijuana dispensaries in August, and Newsom's office
drafted similar regulations a month later, advocates responded
immediately - they said they were wholeheartedly in favor.

"We went through 10 years of an unregulated cannabis environment,"
said Kevin Reed, president of Green Cross dispensary, which delivers
medical marijuana to patients. "Now they are going to try something
completely different, and to see it run correctly is a wonderful thing."

Nothing speaks to the spirit of cooperation like the recent fuss
kicked up about a proposal by Newsom to require clubs to record the
names and addresses of patients. That requirement is stricter than
Brown's proposal that the clubs keep some sort of general "membership
records. "

Pot advocates are concerned about patients' confidentiality rights
and fear it may be a step toward bringing criminal charges against pot users.

But the mayor's office promises to continue working with the
responsible club owners and that any other suspicions about their
intentions are just paranoid fantasy.

"We understand the concern," said Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard.
"And we are happy to work with them on that. If there's a way to
protect patient confidentiality, we'd be interested in making the
changes so that could be accomplished."

That's the spirit of cooperation that has generally typified the pot
club issue in the last three to four years. The concern about
confidentiality demonstrates that there is still a certain amount of
suspicion between marijuana advocates and the city, but in general
they've been on the same page. When it became clear that some
unscrupulous dealers were in to make a quick buck, legitimate pot
club operators spoke up against them.

"This was never meant to be a moneymaking scheme," said the Rev.
Randi Webster, the former executive director of the San Francisco
Patients Cooperative. "A lot of those places were just money, money, money."

Shona Gochenaur, executive director of Axis of Love pot advocacy
group, said that in the last two years, fly-by-night dealers have
moved from city to city as officials strengthen the regulations.

"They knew they were only staying here until the gray areas were
defined," she said. "They made as much money as they could, but now
that we are setting guidelines, they are moving on."

Reed said that three to four years ago, the city had 42 clubs. Now it
is down to 25, and he thinks more will close soon, in part because of
how hard it is to get a final operating permit. Dispensaries have
until January to meet requirements to get a permit, which requires,
among other things, that the clubs get separate approval from a
number of city agencies and do background checks of employees.

"What is happening now will actually weed out a lot of the (clubs),"
Gochenaur said. "What we are saying is that excessive profit is not
OK. Not having direct patient services is not OK. These people are
going to say, 'This is not my entrepreneurial dream' and they are not
going to want to do it."

This is not only interesting because of how it is playing out in the
city, but there are also national ramifications. Gochenaur says as
many as 12 states are keeping an eye on how things play out in pot
clubs California, and San Francisco is leading the way in the state.

She thinks they will look to the city as a model of how to regulate
the clubs. God knows, the city has made plenty of mistakes along the
way. At one point a pot club was housed in the ground floor of a Care
Not Cash hotel that housed many recovering addicts. Those are the
kind of missteps that had to be corrected.

But Gochenaur thinks we're almost there.

"We've come a long, huge way from 2005 when neighbors were lining the
halls of City Hall to say they were concerned," she said.

There are still some neighborhood complaints, but today local pot
clubs are surprisingly dull and uncontroversial places. If you had
predicted that three years ago, critics would have likely had just
one question.

What have you been smoking?

Newshawk: http://www.canorml.org/news/2008electionroundup.html
Pubdate: Tue, 14 Oct 2008
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Page: B - 1
Webpage: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/10/14/BAS313G9VL.DTL
Copyright: 2008 Hearst Communications Inc.
Contact: letters@sfchronicle.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/388
Author: C. W. Nevius, Chronicle Columnist
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/opinion.htm (Opinion)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/topic/dispensaries

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The McCain-Palin Mob

Please support your local public schools.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Global Cannabis Commission: “No Justification For Incarcerating an Individual"

Monday, October 06, 2008

Global Cannabis Commission: “No Justification For Incarcerating an Individual"

On October 2, the Global Cannabis Commission, a group of top scientists commissioned by the Beckley Foundation, issued its groundbreaking report, "Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate." Your faithful correspondent was able to attend the daylong seminar in which the report was discussed, held in the distinctly imposing Moses Room of the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster.

This is a highly condensed summary of the 175-page report. I wrote a lengthier summary here, and the full document can be downloaded here.

The report was written by five leading marijuana and drug policy researchers: Benedikt Fischer of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Peter Reuter of the University of Maryland, and three Australians: Wayne Hall of the University of Queensland, Simon Lenton of the National Drug Research Institute at the Curtin University of Technology, and Robin Room of the University of Melbourne. A number of other important researchers joined the discussion (and contributed advice and research to the report).

Some highlights:


Marijuana is not harmless. Intoxication "increases the risk of motor vehicle crashes 2-3 times" — not trivial, but "far more modest than that of alcohol." There is clearly an increased risk of bronchitis among heavy marijuana smokers, but no evidence of increased rates of emphysema, while the evidence regarding lung cancer is mixed.

Marijuana almost certainly exacerbates symptoms of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals, but epidemiologic evidence argues against it causing psychosis in healthy people. As for worries about increased potency, more research is needed. If users adjust their intake in relation to potency, dangers are minimal. Perhaps most important, "All of these trends [toward increased potency] have been encouraged by prohibition, which favors the production of more concentrated forms."

Overall, the report finds the risks of marijuana use are "modest" compared with those of legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco.


While causing obvious harm to those arrested and convicted, criminalization of marijuana possession has not succeeded in preventing marijuana from being widely available. Contrary to wild claims being made in Massachusetts right now, decriminalization measures have not increased use rates. "If a nation chooses to use the criminal law for controlling cannabis use, there is no justification for incarcerating an individual for a cannabis possession or use offense, nor for creating a criminal conviction," the report concludes.

While not firmly advocating one policy alternative, the report lays out many advantages to a system of legal regulation like that used for alcohol. As report co-author Prof. Robin Room noted succinctly, "If something is not legal, you can't regulate it very effectively."

Cops-Kid keeps calling the cop Popi

Either way your paying for this. And don't forget not concentrating on the violent crimes and people who really want to harm us.

college kids smoking weed get busted by one cop

Friday, October 3, 2008

Mexico seeks to legalize smalltime pot, cocaine use

02 Oct 2008 20:46:45 GMT
Source: Reuters

MEXICO CITY, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Mexican President Felipe Calderon,
locked in a high-stakes battle with drug cartels, wants to legalize
the possession of small amounts of cocaine and marijuana, a plan that
will likely irk Washington.

Calderon, a conservative in power for nearly two years, sent a
proposal to Congress that would also scrap penalties on carrying
small amounts of heroin, methamphetamine and opium for personal use.

Reviving a similar push by his predecessor, Calderon's bill aims to
free up police to hunt for narcotics dealers and smugglers, but it
could meet opposition in largely conservative Mexico as well as in
the neighboring United States.

"What we are seeking is to not treat an addict as a criminal, but
rather as a sick person and give them psychological and medical
treatment," said Sen. Alejandro Gonzalez, head of the Senate's
justice committee.

Former president Vicente Fox tried to pass a similar bill in 2006 but
ditched it after Washington objected and critics both sides of the
border said laxer laws could lure "drug tourists" from north of the

Calderon's bill would mean people carrying up to 2 grams (0.07
ounces) of marijuana or opium, half a gram of cocaine, 50 milligrams
of heroin or 40 milligrams of methamphetamine would not face criminal

It would also give Mexican states the power to try drug dealers in
local courts, rather than at a federal level.

Drug use is much less common among young people in Mexico than in the
United States or Europe, but consumption is creeping up with the
growth of the middle class and as tighter border controls mean more
cocaine is kept back in the country.

Calderon has deployed thousands of troops to clamp down on the drug
gangs that shuttle Colombian cocaine up and over Mexico's northern

But cartel violence has soared as a result, killing some 3,000 people
this year, including eight that died in a grenade attack, the first
major strike on the public by drug hitmen. (Reporting by Miguel Angel

Attachment: http://drugsense.org/temp/6ARukpVY4Asz.html

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

ASA Fights On, Despite Veto of Job Rights Bill

ASA Fights On, Despite Veto of Job Rights Bill

Dear ASA Supporter,
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s veto of AB 2279, a bill to ensure job rights for California’s medical cannabis patients, is a setback for fairness and non-discrimination, but Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will fight on in the courts and the Capitol to protect and expand patients’ rights. AB 2279 would have stopped workplace discrimination against hundreds of thousands of legal patients, whose right to work was compromised by a California Supreme Court decision earlier this year. The governor’s veto means that California employers can still fire patients who follow state law – even those who only use medical cannabis in the privacy of their homes.

The veto certainly represents a failure of common sense for California’s embattled governor, but medical cannabis patients are also caught with other constituencies in the crossfire between Gov. Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers over the state’s budget. The governor vetoed a record number of bills this year, including some that passed both houses unanimously and had no registered opposition, in apparent retaliation for the legislature’s reluctance to adopt his controversial budget.

But ASA has been heartened by the number of people who helped fight for patients’ rights during this campaign – so many that it would be impossible to name them all here. ASA members and allies generated an avalanche or emails, calls, letters, and district office visits in support of the bill. Grassroots supporters deserve the lion’s share of the credit for pushing AB 2279 so far this year. The staff at Assemblymember Mark Leno’s office worked tirelessly on this bill, and also helped ASA staff members navigate the intricacies of legislative politics in Sacramento. While ASA staffers Joe Elford, Kris Hermes, Noah Mamber, and Rebecca Saltzman worked tirelessly on this bill, none of it would have been possible without the amazing support and energy of our coalition members, including the Service Workers International Union (SEIU), the Americans Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and several prominent HIV/AIDS advocacy groups.

This was a tough year for medical cannabis in the Legislature. Two other bills and a joint resolution never made it as far as AB 2279. The governor’s veto is disappointing, but we have seen that persistent and strategic work by ASA – supported by our robust grassroots effort – can get results. I am confident that in a different political climate, we would have succeeded this year. I know that we have the know-how and support to do it next year.

It is important that Governor Schwarzenegger and his staff understand that Californians strongly disagree with this decision. This is not the last time the Governor will be asked to sign legislation to protect patients’ rights. ASA is asking supporters to call Governor Schwarzenegger at (916) 445-2841 to tell him you disagree with his decision to veto AB 2279. Please contact the Governor this week and tell him:

“I am a medical cannabis patient/supporter who is very disappointed in your decision to veto AB 2279, a bill that would have stopped workplace discrimination against legal medical cannabis patients. This veto leaves hundreds of thousands of law abiding Californians in jeopardy. I expect the Governor to work with lawmakers to protect legal medical cannabis patients from discrimination next year.”
Thanks to everyone who helped out. Do not be discouraged by this delay. The fight for patients’ rights is still on, and we are going to win!


Don Duncan
California Director
Americans for Safe Access

P.S. We need your continued support to keep fighting to protect and expand patients’ rights. Please make a contribution to support ASA today.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Smoking Weed

It's this kind of governing that makes it difficult for me to trust the people who are supposably keeping me safe.

Schwarzenegger is a hypocrite!!!!

Sacramento, Sep 30th. Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed Assemblyman Mark
Leno's bill to protect workers' right to use medical marijuana. The
bill, AB 2279, would have made it illegal for employers to
discriminate against workers in non-safety-sensitive jobs for using
marijuana as medicine. In his veto message, the governor said "I am
concerned with interference in employment decisions as they relate to
marijuana use. Employment protection was not a goal of the
initiative as passed by voters in 1996."
Prop. 215 sponsors disagree disagree. "The intent of 215 was to
treat marijuana like other legal pharmaceutical druga," says Prop 215
co-author Dale Gieringer of California NORML.
AB 2279 was intended to overturn a Cal. Supreme Court ruling,
Ross v RagingWire, that found that 215 did not protect workers
against arbitrary discrimination by drug urine testing. Employers
failed to present any evidence that off-the-job marijuana use
presented any safety risks.
Gov. Schwarzenegger, a former recreational pot smoker, has
vetoed every marijuana reform bill that has come to desk.
Release by Dale Gieringer.

2008 Ballot Watch: Proposition 5: Nonviolent offenders

By Andy Furillo - afurillo@sacbee.com
Published 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lower-level criminals with major drug problems would be in line for more
treatment and less prison time if voters approve the Nonviolent Offender and
Rehabilitation Act of 2008.


Proposition 5 seeks to build on the Proposition 36 drug treatment initiative
California voters passed in 2000, the success of which is subject to debate.

The 8-year-old measure was designed to divert lower-level drug criminals out
of the criminal justice system. Only a third of offenders who enter
Proposition 36 programs complete them, a UCLA study found last year.

But the same study also found that the measure saves taxpayers $2.50 for
every $1 spent and $4 for every offender who completes the program.

Billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros, who has backed drug
decriminalization measures in other states, provided the financial backing
to get Proposition 5 on the ballot.


Proposition 5 sets aside $150 million in state spending this year and $460
million next year, with cost of living and population adjustments
thereafter, for expanded prison and parolee drug programs.

Expands diversion programs to get more addicts out of prison and into

Earmarks 15 percent of funding for juvenile offenders.

Splits off parole and rehabilitation operations from the state corrections
agency under a new secretary, with a new 23-member commission to oversee

Keeps technical parole violators out of prison. Serious and violent
offenders would be placed on parole supervision for longer stretches.

Reduces some inmates' prison terms through good-time credits.

Makes marijuana possession an infraction rather than a misdemeanor.

Expands the Board of Parole Hearings from 17 to 29 members. Senate
confirmation would no longer be required.


The Legislative Analyst's Office says the program could cost taxpayers $1
billion a year, but save $1 billion in reduced prison and parole
expenditures. It also could save $2.5 billion in future prison construction


Supporters had raised approximately $4.5 million as of Sept. 24, including
$1.4 million from New York financier George Soros, $1.4 million from retired
New York businessman and philanthropist Bob Wilson, $700,000 from Goldman
Sachs senior partner Jacob D. Greenfield of New York and $500,000 from
University of Phoenix founder John G. Sperling of Phoenix.

Opponents had reported about $288,000 in contributions as of Sept. 24,
including $175,000 from the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and $60,000
from the California Narcotics Officers Association.


New York financier George Soros

Drug Policy Alliance Network

California Public Defenders Association


• Proposition 5 would ease California's prison overcrowding crisis by
treating drug addiction as an illness.

• The initiative would provide $65 million in funding for youth drug
treatment programs that don't exist now.

• It would save money over time in reduced prison construction and operation


California District Attorneys Association

California Association of Drug Court Professionals

California Chamber of Commerce


• Proposition 5 in effect would decriminalize drugs and spark increases in
crime by diverting offenders out of the criminal justice system.

• The initiative would undermine the inmate rehabilitation and re-entry
components contained in last year's Assembly Bill 900.

• It would create new bureaucracies with no accountability and add costs
through higher crime rates.


Read previous installments in 2008 Ballot Watch: sacbee.com/ballotwatch

See supporters' Web site: www.NORAyes.com

See opponents' Web site: www.noonproposition5.com

Sunday, September 28, 2008



Pot, Politics and the Public. The Move to Decriminalize Marijuana.

Shelley doesn't want her real name used.

She's 40 years old, the mother of four, a full-time professional in a Worcester office. And a pot smoker.

Eleven years ago, she was going through a painful divorce and taking Zoloft to help her cope.

"It was awful. I didn't feel good, I didn't feel depressed, I didn't feel anything. My physician at the time said, 'Look, I'm not supposed to tell you this, but there is something that could help you.'"

He didn't "prescribe" marijuana, she says, but suggested there might be some benefits. Shelley came off the Zoloft and began smoking several nights a week out by the fire pit in her backyard, usually after 9 p.m. If it rained, she retreated to the garage.

The pot relaxes her, helps her sleep. She said she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder dating back to childhood, and the weed "re-sets me." She continues the ritual of a few nightly tokes, which she equates to the glass of wine someone else might drink after a long day.

There is one significant difference.

"I would lose everything if I got caught," she says, shaking her head. "For what? For smoking an herb that comes out of the earth."

Shelley has been writing checks to the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy ( CSMP ), the group promoting the passage of Question 2 on the Nov. 4 ballot. Question 2 would decriminalize the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana by replacing arrest and judicial processing with a system of civil penalties. That baggie of grass, so long as its weight stays beneath the magic number, would net the holder a $100 fine, and no permanent criminal record.

Whether or not marijuana should be legalized is a debate that has been waged in fits and starts since pot became the drug of choice for a new generation. Currently, 12 states have decriminalized marijuana at some level ( see sidebar ). Nevada was the most recent to decriminalize, in 2001.

Now it's Massachusetts' turn to wrestle with the question of whether the full force of the criminal justice system should be brought to bear on low-level marijuana offenses. Question 2 made it to the ballot in large part because of the financial backing of billionaire George Soros, who in 2007 contributed $400,000 to the ballot campaign. In 2000 Soros contributed heavily to a failed ballot question that would have softened penalties for manufacturing or distributing controlled substances.

Despite the heat generated between proponents and detractors, Question 2 has largely flown below the radar, subsumed by a highly charged presidential campaign, Wall Street woes and beetle invasions. It's not even the most controversial question on the Nov. 4 ballot: that title goes to Question 1, the repeal of the state income tax.

Still, while national leadership and pocketbook issues dominate the airwaves, both sides on the pot decriminalization issue are ramping up efforts to convince the public this is either the best or worst idea to come down the Mass Pike in a long time.

$29.5 Million.

That's the amount CSMP pegs as the potential savings if the one-ounce law is passed. The figure comes from a 2002 study by Jeffrey A. Miron, Senior Lecturer on Economics at Harvard University ( updated to reflect 2008 values ), who with several studies on the topic under his belt has become something of a pied piper on decriminalizing marijuana.

Miron contends that tens of millions of dollars are being spent in law enforcement, judicial and corrections resources in connection with marijuana-related incidents. Resources, he says, that could be better deployed.

"This is a modest proposal," says CSMP spokesperson Whitney Taylor. "We're saying that $29.5 million should stay in public coffers to fight serious or violent crimes. Jeff's economic model shows that once a cop puts the cuffs on somebody, he's [the police officer] off the street. He gets paid to go to court ... there are a lot of law enforcement costs. We just think the money could be put to better use."

Taylor says the proposed law also means that someone arrested for a marijuana offense will not have his or her name listed permanently as part of CORI ( Criminal Offender Record Information ), as is presently the case. A CORI check reveals if a person has been arrested, even if the charges are dismissed. Such an arrest, Taylor insists, can be a lifelong barrier to employment, housing, coaching youth sports, becoming a foster or adoptive parent, or obtaining professional licensure.

"With Question 2, the penalty would fit the crime," Taylor says. "Those lifelong barriers would not be there.

"We don't promote or condone marijuana use," she adds. "This is a criminal justice issue to us." In the case of youthful offenders, Taylor says, the CSMP proposal brings parents or guardians into the loop immediately, since the citation is delivered directly to them. The offender is then required to complete a drug awareness course and community service.

"You put a kid in an orange jumpsuit picking up trash as his friends go by, that's an effective punishment," she says.

"A dopey smokescreen" is William Breault's favorite description of Question 2 ( his favorite term for Soros: "Sugar daddy of drug legalization" ). It pops up in the packet of anti-legalization literature he's been passing out. It crops up in conversation. It's the rallying cry he's using in his Sherman's March from the Berkshires to New Bedford to torch the arguments of his opponents. For months the director of the Main South Alliance for Public Safety has been visiting police chiefs, mayors and public officials of every grade to spread the message that decriminalizing possession of even small amounts of marijuana is a bad idea.

"If you lower the bar on use, then abuse will rise. If this passes, getting caught with an ounce will be like getting a speeding ticket," he says, noting that an ounce is the equivalent of about 40 joints.

Breault bristles at the suggestion that marijuana is not a gateway drug to harder stuff.

"I've seen it," he says. "I've lived with it. Through the years I've seen people [with drug problems] who started smoking a joint at age 12, and the fact is if they don't smoke that joint they have a 70 percent better chance of not moving on to harder drugs."

He cites a report by the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association that, in turn, pulls together studies done by organizations like the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, that shows marijuana use has declined significantly among teenagers since 2001. Decriminalizing the drug, they insist, could reverse that downward trend.

One thing both sides seem to agree on -- although they don't acknowledge that they agree -- is that few people actually do prison time for possession of marijuana. Representatives from each side say it's not true that thousands are languishing in jails for pot possession while murderers and rapists roam free.

"Nobody goes to jail for simple possession," says Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr., who has joined the other 10 D.A.s throughout the state to oppose Question 2. Early says possession is typically not a stand-alone charge, and is often clumped with other offenses like assault and battery or operating under the influence.

The D.A. touts his Diversion Program, which allows offenders ages 17 to 23 to do eight hours of community service, take a substance abuse counseling class online, and stay clean ( testing is done ), after which possession charges are dismissed. Early stresses that all this is done pre-arraignment, which keeps the charge off the offender's permanent record.

The catch: you only get one bite of the apple. Subsequent arrests are handled in standard fashion. Still, he notes, possession of an ounce or less results in a continued-without-finding for six months, and if there are no violations in that time, the person's record is sealed.

"We've got to look at it and say, 'Why are we doing this?'" Early says of Question 2. As a matter of public safety, it's a no-brainer, he believes, citing the incidence of motor vehicle and workplace accidents due to marijuana use.

Early and Breault note that the pot being smoked circa 2008 is a far cry from the stuff the baby boomers inhaled during the Summer of Love. Breault points to a study by the University of Mississippi's Potency Monitoring Project that found levels of THC -- the main psychoactive substance in cannabis -- in samples the university tested are more than double what they were in 1983 thanks to advanced growing methods. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy also recently released a report that using marijuana increases the risk of developing mental disorders by 40 percent, and that teenagers who use are three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than nonusers.

Taylor says opponents are throwing up red herrings to refute CSMP's arguments, especially regarding the amount of prison time, or lack of, for offenders.

"We've never said the prisons are full of people arrested for possession of marijuana. We know that's not true," she says. "If you look at the other states that have decriminalized marijuana, an ounce is about the median amount. This is a pragmatic course of action."

She contests the assertions of Breault and others that marijuana is a gateway to harder drugs.

"That's like saying every person who rides a bicycle is going to ride a motorcycle," Taylor says.

Not all local government officials oppose the relaxing of weed laws.

State Rep. Jim O'Day ( D-Worcester ) supports Question 2, and says the key is to educate voters that the measure is not a blanket attempt to legalize marijuana.

"If it was, I'd vote against it," he says. Until the CORI system can be reformed, a pot arrest "haunts someone for a long time. If you can keep them off of CORI and there is a fine associated with an offense, there is still a consequence to negative behavior."

O'Day, a former bar owner, says "alcohol is the true gateway drug."

"I've seen behavior in people drinking that would boggle your mind," he says. "I can't remember ever seeing the violence and rage in people who smoke marijuana that I've seen in people when they're drinking."

State Sen. Harriette Chandler ( D-Worcester ) offers the prevailing legislative view that the laws are working. The "current law is satisfactory," she says. "The district attorney and the police know how to implement them. The laws are there and I see no reason to change them."

For now, Shelley, will continue to quietly write checks in support of Question 2.

"Just saying pot is bad isn't enough," she says. "Saying I can't use it responsibly is not enough. I'm sorry, but people don't go from being potheads to being cokeheads because they like what pot does and they want more. They go from pot to coke, or something else, because they don't like the buzz they get from pot.

"Look, I'm involved in the community, I pay my taxes, my kids aren't troublemakers. I don't drive when I'm high. If this passes, I wouldn't change the precautions I take when it comes to smoking pot. It's still a pretty intimate act."



If Question 2 passes, the new law would replace the criminal penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana with civil penalties, to be enforced by issuing citations, and would exclude information regarding this civil offense from the state's criminal record information system. Offenders age 18 or older would be fined $100; those under 18 would also pay a fine of $100 and be required to complete a drug awareness program within one year of the offense. The program would include 10 hours of community service and at least four hours of instruction or group discussion about the use and abuse of marijuana and other drugs.

If the underage offenders don't complete the program, the fine could be increased to as much as $1,000, unless the offender showed an inability to pay, or an inability to participate in such a program. The offender's parents could also be held liable for the increased penalty. Anyone under 17 who fails to complete the program could be subject to a delinquency proceeding.

Under the proposed law, possessing an ounce or less of marijuana could not be grounds for state or local government entities imposing any other penalty, sanction or disqualifications, such as denying student financial aid, public housing, public financial assistance including unemployment benefits, the right to operate a motor vehicle, or the opportunity to serve as a foster or adoptive parent. The proposed law would allow local ordinances or bylaws that prohibit the public use of marijuana, and would not affect existing laws, practices, or policies concerning operating a motor vehicle or taking other actions while under the influence of marijuana, unlawful possession of prescription forms of marijuana, or selling, manufacturing, or trafficking in marijuana.

The money received from the new civil penalties would go to the city or town where the offense occurred.

. Summary from the Attorney General's Office

[sidebar By Andy Sullivan]


"Vote yes" on Question 2, the Massachusetts Sensible Marijuana Initiative Policy, was the cry for thousands of supporters on Boston Common for the 19th annual Freedom Rally Sept. 20. With a mix of activists, supporters and hippies of all ages, the field was littered with acoustic guitars, games of hacky sack and a hazy cloud of smoke. It was a relatively peaceful gathering filled with live music and vendors. Worcester-area residents made the trip to Boston and found the event a unique experience.

"It's a positive environment," said Sean LeVoir, 20, of Worcester. "There's a lot of love going on around here.

"It's definitely not what I was expecting," he said. "I thought it would be some crazy festival and everyone would be smoking pot. There's really not that much weed-smoking going around. It's more for the cause, I think."

The event was co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition ( MassCann ) and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Some felt the benefit of the rally was the chance to share their opinions about marijuana use in an open forum.

"If people get together, it'd be nice to see some changes," said John Jacobs, 17, of Holden. "I don't think it's bad for anyone, as long as you are responsible enough to control it."

LeVoir thinks Massachusetts could benefit from a change.

"Massachusetts tends to be a state that tries to impose laws on freedoms and keep people from doing what they want," said LeVoir. "People should be able to smoke weed if they want. There are a bunch of things that are much more addicting. Nicotine is at the top of the list, and you can buy that."

Police patrolled the area all afternoon; Six arrests were made. Steven Epstein, a MassCann founder, said he hopes people don't fall into the trap of perceiving the rally as a haven for slackers and troublemakers, but rather as a call for reform.

With Question 2 appearing on the ballot, this year's event took on more significance, Epstein said.

"If you take away the criminal aspect of [marijuana] and the forbidden fruit, kids have become less interested," he said.

The rally seemed to have the kind of impact Epstein was anticipating. Rally goers who were interviewed said they plan to make Question 2 a priority when they cast their vote. The new policy would be a $100 fine, without any further disciplinary action for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana.

"It's been passed in 11 other states," said Courtney Caramillo of Worcester. "Why couldn't it be successful here?"



Currently, 12 states have decriminalized marijuana at some level -- Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Oregon.

A sampling of the penalties:

New York issues a civil citation for the first two offenses of possessing 25 grams or less, and fines of $100 and $200 respectively. A third offense is a misdemeanor, which can result in five days incarceration and/or a fine of $250.

In Colorado, possession of less than 100 grams is considered a "minor misdemeanor," which does not create a public record.

Nebraska issues a civil citation and fine of $300 for a first offense of 1 ounce or less. There is also the possibility the offender may have to take a drug education course.

URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n899/a07.html
Newshawk: http://www.MassCann.org/
Votes: 0
Pubdate: Thu, 25 Sep 2008
Source: Worcester Magazine (MA)
Page: Cover Feature - Image www.mapinc.org/images/UpinSmoke.jpg
Copyright: 2008 Worcester Publishing Ltd
Contact: editorial@worcestermag.com
Website: http://www.worcestermag.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2124
Author: Jim Keogh
Cited: Question 2 http://sensiblemarijuanapolicy.org/
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/topic/Committee+for+Sensible+Marijuana+Policy
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?161 (Marijuana - Regulation)

Friday, September 26, 2008


A majority of Michiganians is inclined to legalize marijuana for sick
people, but a second statewide ballot proposal to relax restrictions
on stem cell research in Michigan is a closer contest -- and the
advertising blitz has just begun on that measure.

The latest Detroit News-WXYZ Action News poll found that the voters,
by a 59-37 margin, favor the ballot proposal to allow terminally and
seriously ill people to legally use marijuana if a doctor certified
the drug could ease their suffering.

The statewide poll was conducted for The News, WXYZ and three
outstate television stations from Saturday to Monday by Lansing's
EPIC-MRA. It showed that the biggest backers were women (63 percent
support), Metro Detroiters (60 percent) and Democrats (68 percent).
Among men, the proposal garnered 51 percent support and 49 percent of
Republicans favored it.

If Proposal 1 is approved by voters in November, Michigan would
become the 13th state to legalize medical marijuana. Supporters
estimate that as many as 50,000 Michigan residents would legally
qualify for medical marijuana to treat a host of "debilitating"
medical problems such as cancer, HIV /AIDS, hepatitis C, Alzheimer's
disease, Crohn's disease and chronic diseases or their treatments
that produce wasting syndrome, severe pain, sever nausea, seizures or
muscle spasms, such as those caused by multiple sclerosis.

"I'm all for it," said poll participant Jeff Bergel, a 52-year-old
wholesale representative and father of two from Walled Lake.

"I lost a brother-in-law to brain cancer last year and I think
marijuana could have helped make his more comfortable. My dad has
glaucoma and I understand it could help him as well."

On the controversial issue of stem cells, poll respondents, by a
50-32 margin, favor amending the state Constitution to allow
scientists to derive embryonic stem cells from human embryos for
medical research. Support among women is 57 percent compared to 42
percent among men. Support is 56 percent in Metro Detroit, but 45
percent among voters in the rest of the state.

Michigan has one of the nation's most restrictive laws on stem cell
research; a scientist here who uses new human embryos for stem cell
research can face a $10 million fine and up to 10 years in prison.

Supporters of embryonic stem cell research say research could lead to
better therapies and possible cures for a host of diseases and
injuries such as cancer, Parkinson's, juvenile diabetes and spinal
cord injuries. Opponents -- including political heavy hitters Right
to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference -- say
research on human embryos is morally wrong because it destroys life.
Critics of the measure also say its adoption could lead to human
cloning, although the proposal doesn't seek to change state law that
already bans cloning.

"I've thought about it a lot and I think stem cell research would be
all right," said Regina Gerling, a grandmother from Muskegon who took
part in the poll.

"I'm a diabetic, so I wish they would find new cures." Law
enforcement groups are near unanimous in their opposition to medical
marijuana, saying it's part of a broader agenda to legalize marijuana
for everyone. But there doesn't appear to be any group ready to spend
money on an ad campaign to defeat the measure.

Michael Opland, a 64-year-old father of three from Harrison Township,
said he supports medical marijuana, although he believes a lot of
people would get the marijuana even though their medical conditions
wouldn't warrant it.

"A certain number of people would probably take advantage of the
law," he said. "But it's worth it to get marijuana to people who
really need it."

The stem cell campaign is likely to get red-hot in the coming weeks.
Opponents of the proposal started running TV commercials this week,
suggesting that Michigan taxpayers would shell out hundreds of
millions of dollars for the research. The opposition group, Michigan
Citizens Against Unrestricted Science and Experimentation, filed a
financial statement with the state on Thursday, showing it has rose
about $595,000 -- including $500,000 from the Catholic Conference --
and had $233,000 on hand as of Sept. 18.

Supporters of stem cell research have not yet launched an ad
campaign, although they are expected to shortly. They say the ballot
proposal doesn't direct a dime of state money to research. The group,
CureMichigan, filed its financial statement on Thursday, showing it
had raised $2.27 million and had $257,000 on hand. It also has loans
and obligations of more than $1.5 million, including more than $1
million in loans from the A. Alfred Taubman Trust of Bloomfield Hills.

Judith Maser, a retired clothing buyer from Novi, was originally
opposed to stem cell research.

"Now I believe stem cell research could help a lot of people," she
said. "I think medicine has gotten so advanced that this is the
future for our young people

Newshawk: Updated Website: YES on 1 http://stoparrestingpatients.org/
Pubdate: Thu, 25 Sep 2008
Source: Detroit News (MI)
Webpage: http://drugsense.org/url/UjWp9S8j
Copyright: 2008 The Detroit News
Contact: letters@detnews.com
Website: http://detnews.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/126
Author: Charlie Cain, Detroit News Lansing Bureau
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/topic/Michigan+Coalition+for+Compassionate+Care
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mmj.htm (Marijuana - Medicinal)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Medical Marijuana Laws Must Be Changed Federally to Have Any Impact

California Attorney General Jerry Brown's new attempt to settle the
nerves of medical marijuana dispensers and patients is a weak attempt
to make proposition 215 stronger.

Attorney General Brown has introduced an eleven-page directive aimed
at clearing up some issues between state and federal governments. He
believes his new guidelines will minimize legal worries and ease
patient worries.

In 1996 when proposition 215 was passed by an overwhelming vote,
medical marijuana dispensaries started popping up like Trader Joes
all over the state. People started getting prescriptions for their
"back pain" and everyone was happy.

At the same time, federally, this was all very illegal.

Twelve years has gone by and dozens of dispensaries have been opened,
been raided, and been reopened just to be raided again. Hundreds of
millions of dollars have been made from the profits and millions have
been spent on trying to fight the legislation.

Brown's eleven-page directive now gives police the ability to
distinguish between criminals and legitimate marijuana sellers. It
also protects patients from getting arrested unlawfully. Brown's plan
also will change dispensaries into non-profit or cooperatives, to cut
out big money operations that exploit the medical label and sell to
just about anyone.

One other step Brown wants to take is to change the amount of pot on
the market, making it so only a patient, caregiver or dispensary
could grow the small amount of medical marijuana needed. Brown's plan
has just cleaned up the legislation at the state level. It will not
stop the DEA from raiding dispensaries or harassing patients.

The police should already be able to distinguish criminals from
legitimate marijuana sellers. Don't the legitimate guys usually sell
during the day at a place with a sign that says medical marijuana in
neon green?

As for turning these dispensaries into non-profits, they probably
only report a quarter of their earnings as it is so this will be no
big hurdle for them to get around. I am sure there are millions of
tax-free dollars going through legitimate dispensaries.

The amount of pot on the market will not change by only allowing
patients or dispensaries to grow the plants. The law now says a
patient is allowed to grow up to six plants and a dispensary is
allowed to grow six plants per patient it serves. There is no way a
dispensary knows how many patients it has from week to week or even
day to day. If they have 65 regular patients they must 65 people that
try and go to a different dispensary every week. Does that mean they
have 130 patients and are allowed to grow 780 plants?

Making all these changes at the state level is continuing to get the
medical marijuana laws nowhere. The changes need to be made federally
and only then will the dispensers be able to run their business with
out fear from the DEA.

Newshawk: Just Say Know: http://www.efsdp.org
Pubdate: Wed, 24 Sep 2008
Source: Sonoma State Star (Sonoma State U, Edu)
Copyright: 2008 Sonoma State Star
Contact: http://www.sonomastatestar.com/home/lettertotheeditor/
Website: http://www.sonomastatestar.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/4862
Author: Benjamin Browning
Referenced: The Attorney General's guidelines http://drugsense.org/url/kKMJR2lu
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/people/Jerry+Brown
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/topic/dispensaries
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mmj.htm (Marijuana - Medicinal)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/opinion.htm (Opinion)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

California sees nearly 75,000 marijuana arrests in 2007

Donna Tam/The Times-Standard
Article Launched: 09/23/2008 01:29:06 AM PDT

The nearly 75,000 marijuana-related arrests in California last year are
prompting marijuana law reform activists to say that laws aren't stopping
people from getting what they want, while local law enforcement responds
that the increased number of arrests is simply the result of tighter

"This has been going on for close to a century now and they're clearly not
eradicating or stopping anything. It just continues," said Dale Gieringer, a
spokesman for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

According to the state Department of Justice's Criminal Justice Statistics
Center, 74,119 felony and misdemeanor marijuana arrests were made in 2007, a
jump of nearly 10,000 arrests from 2006, which saw 65,386.

Between 2001 and 2006, the differences from year to year were much smaller.

In Humboldt County alone, more people are getting arrested, and more of
those arrested are getting charged with serious crimes.

The number of marijuana-related arrests in Humboldt nearly doubled between
2006 and 2007, jumping from 564 to 971. In 2006, 138 people were charged
with marijuana felonies, while in 2007 that number ballooned to 550.
Meanwhile, the number of marijuana misdemeanors between the two years has
stayed roughly the same.

Gieringer said the statewide numbers are the highest since 1990, which he
says is a sign that these arrests are only wasting taxpayer money.

Marijuana should be legalized and taxed like alcohol, he said.

Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos said while there may be some
legitimate reasons to legalize marijuana, increased arrests is not one of

"I don't think the increased arrest is any indication that this needs to be
legalized," he said. "It's no more than if murder went up that we should
legalize murder."

Gallegos said there could be more marijuana in the streets, but more arrests
could also mean an increase in the amount of resources dedicated to
intercepting the drug, as demonstrated by recent federal activity.

"There's been an increase of federal presence, and there's going to be more
increases of fed presence," he said. "What they're seeing is law enforcement
saying, enough is enough."

The main source of the jump in numbers from 2006 to 2007 is felony arrests,
the Criminal Justice Statistics Center numbers show. In 2006, there were
13,548 felony arrests made while 16,124 felony arrests were made in 2007.

The state Department of Justice's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, or
CAMP, has also been eradicating more marijuana plants.

Last year the agency pulled 271,000 plants in Humboldt County, up from just
59,000 in 2006.

But Humboldt County Sheriff's Department Spokeswoman Brenda Godsey said the
destruction of those plants probably doesn't add much to the state's arrest
numbers. The Sheriff's Department works closely with CAMP to target
large-scale commercial grows.

"In Humboldt County our efforts are particularly in outdoor grows and
because they can be so dangerous we make a deliberate effort to be
conspicuous and noisy when we enter," she said, adding that their goal is to
eradicate the marijuana.

Regardless of the numbers, Gallegos said the threat of illegal marijuana is
a very real one, citing the abuse of 215 cards.

"They're putting a law that was enacted to alleviate the suffering of ill
people at risk," he said.


The 2007 Numbers:

74,119 arrests statewide

16,124 felony

57,995 misdemeanor

971 arrests in Humboldt County

550 felony

421 misdemeanor

The 2006 Numbers:

65,386 arrests statewide

13,548 felony

51,838 misdemeanor

564 arrests in Humboldt County

138 felony

426 misdemeanor


Monday, September 22, 2008



"I Was Never Really Worried About The Court Case Because I Was Following The State Law."

A University of Colorado at Boulder student who has a medical-marijuana card will be given his pot back by campus police Monday.

CU officials relented when threatened with a lawsuit after campus police confiscated less than 2 ounces of pot from Edward Nicholson's dorm room, and officials threatened him with suspension.

Nicholson, 20, said he was holding the drug for his 23-year-old brother, a chronic-pain sufferer.

State law allows doctor-recommended marijuana use for those "suffering from debilitating medical conditions." Caregivers of patients must carry state-issued medical-marijuana cards.

Nicholson is the cardholder because he says pot is easier to buy in Boulder than in Aurora, where his family lives.

The ordeal started last winter when an officer smelled pot in Nicholson's dorm lockbox during a room walk-through on winter break. When Nicholson brandished his registry card, that officer didn't cite him.

But in February and March, Nicholson said he was awakened several nights in a row by CU-Boulder police officers who said they could smell pot coming from his room. Nicholson said he doesn't smoke pot and called the late-night door knocks obnoxious.

"They were on an unbelievable power trip," he said.

CU officials couldn't talk about the case, citing student privacy laws.

In May, campus authorities threatened to suspend him for a semester, to commit him to community service and drug and alcohol testing, and make him write a paper about the harmful effects of the drug on his schooling.

After Nicholson hired lawyer Robert Corry, who threatened a lawsuit, CU officials threw the case out.

"They didn't do any harm to me, but they sure tried," said Nicholson, who is now in his second year at CU and living off-campus. "I was never really worried about the court case because I was following the state law."

CU officials revised their policies this fall to accommodate the 8-year-old medical-marijuana law.

CU students - even medical-pot cardholders - are not allowed to store the drug in dorms. But officials say they'll release first-year students from the on-campus residency requirement if they are cardholders "at their prerogative," said CU lawyer Jeremy Hueth, who worked on Nicholson's case.

"If they ( medical-marijuana cardholders ) would rather move off campus . . . we're not going to penalize them for it," he said.

There are 1,955 cardholders in Colorado, according to last year's statistics from the state health department.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said in a statement responding to the CU case Friday that the medical-marijuana law has become a "front for widespread marijuana distribution."

"The proponents of these laws make them intentionally ambiguous, causing significant problems for law enforcement in Colorado and elsewhere," he said

URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n884/a08.html
Newshawk: Just Say Know: http://www.efsdp.org
Votes: 0
Webpage: http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_10519236
Pubdate: Sat, 20 Sep 2008
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2008 The Denver Post Corp
Contact: openforum@denverpost.com
Website: http://www.denverpost.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/122
Author: Allison Sherry
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mmj.htm (Cannabis - Medicinal)

Monday, September 15, 2008


George Jung, played by Johnny Depp in the movie "Blow," made me and millions of Americans question the logic of our nation's drug laws. In the movie, Jung is sentenced to prison for possession of marijuana. After Jung is released, he said, "Danbury wasn't a prison, it was a crime school. I went in with a bachelor of marijuana, came out with a doctorate of cocaine."

Our country has one of the largest per-capita prison populations in the world, and taxpayers spend over $450 billion per year to enforce laws against consensual crimes, which is more than five times what we spend on education each year. We found out pretty quickly during prohibition how well those laws work. At least that time Congress passed a constitutional amendment.

The idea that we should lock up drug addicts began in the U.S. and quickly spread to the rest of the developed world. Recently, some countries are beginning to question why we are spending so much money punishing rather than rehabilitating drug addicts. Mexico, Switzerland and Portugal are among the countries that have decided to funnel often-scarce police and correctional funding into combating violent criminals and those who endanger others with their drug use, instead of locking up nonviolent offenders found with only small amounts of illegal drugs.

In 2001, Portugal's drug czar Vitalino Canas told England's The Guardian, "America has spent billions on enforcement but it has got nowhere. We view drug users as people who need help and care."

Canas says the change is not meant to completely legalize drug use, but instead of jail time, drug users are still subject to fines and community service in addition to probation and court-ordered detox treatment, to the discretion of the judge.

In 2006, Mexican President Vicente Fox signed a bill into law that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of controlled substances, a controversial decision that has given Mexico more resources to fight drug cartels and violence.

The "war on drugs" began in the early 1970's, when President Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Administration. Can we even call the war on drugs an actual war? After all, wars end. Since then, our prison population has more than quadrupled, and more than one out of every 100 adults is in jail or prison. In the 1980s, several laws were put into place that were supposed to help us deal with the drug problem. One of these was a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for crack cocaine possession. Only recently has the logic of this law been questioned by Congress. As research shows, it tended to unfairly target minorities, and it was disproportional to the penalty for possessing powder cocaine.

Perhaps we should begin to think about the drug problem as a public health problem, not as a crime problem. If we spent as much money rehabilitating our nation's drug users as we do locking them up, we would be able to provide addiction treatment, vocational training, and extended probation programs to keep people off drugs without throwing them into our prison system, where non-violent offenders are subjected to violent crime, infectious disease, and overcrowding. Nearly 60 percent of prisoners are drug felons and over 65 percent of those released from prison commit a felony or serious misdemeanor within three years of their release. This pattern turns nonviolent offenders into violent and repeat criminals instead of treating the underlying drug addiction and providing a path back into society.

URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n864/a10.html
Newshawk: Just Say Know: http://www.efsdp.org
Votes: 0
Pubdate: Thu, 11 Sep 2008
Source: TCU Daily Skiff (Texas Christian University, TX Edu)
Copyright: 2008 TCU Daily Skiff
Contact: http://www.tcudailyskiff.com/home/lettertotheeditor/ url
Website: http://www.tcudailyskiff.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1289
Author: Matthew Rosson
Note: Matthew Rosson is a sophomore prebusiness major from Lincoln, Neb.

The group Sensible Fayetteville has gathered enough signatures to put a measure on the Nov. 4 ballot that will make a misdemeanor possession of marijuana the lowest priority for law enforcement.

Many have mixed feelings about the effect this ordinance could have on the city: Jacob Holloway, field organizer for Sensible Fayetteville, said an initiative like this sends "a message that we will no longer accept inaction," while City Attorney Kit Williams said the ordinance essentially would have "no effect" on Fayetteville residents.

What actually should bring the issue of decriminalizing marijuana to full focus, then, is the overcrowding of jails and the spending of taxpayers' money to house those charged with misdemeanors.

About 400 marijuana-related arrests were made in 2005 in Fayetteville, and the state of Arkansas spends about $30 million a year making arrests for marijuana use, said Ryan Denham, campaign director for Sensible Fayetteville.

"We have more serious fish to fry than going after someone with a small amount of marijuana," Mayor Dan Coody said.

We agree. But legalizing marijuana - or keeping it illegal - is not the issue.

The fact this measure simply is being placed on the November ballot is a significant step forward for all Fayetteville citizens. Who better to decide whether marijuana possession should be criminalized and how tax money should be spent than the Fayetteville taxpayers themselves?

URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n861/a06.html
Newshawk: Just Say Know: http://www.efsdp.org
Votes: 1
Pubdate: Wed, 10 Sep 2008
Source: Arkansas Traveler, The (AR Edu)
Copyright: 2008 The Arkansas Traveler
Contact: traveler@uark.edu
Website: http://thetraveleronline.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2717
Cited: Sensible Fayetteville http://www.sensiblefayetteville.com
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/pot.htm (Marijuana)

CO: Marijuana a growing battle

Medical Marijuana Can Be Used, Distributed, but Cultivators Face Jail

HUERFANO COUNTY - Mike Stetler is proud of his garden. It took him
months to get the lush jungle just right.

"Beautiful, isn't it?" he said.

A decade ago, the labor of planting would have been impossible for
Stetler. Strung out on Demerol, OxyContin, morphine and oxycodone,
the pain-addled Navy veteran was, he says, "a slobbering zombie,
stupid and living in la-la land."

Since 2002, though, when he started growing and smoking the medicinal
marijuana he now tends so carefully, he hasn't touched a pill.

"The pain isn't all the way gone, but I can live again. I can get out
of bed. The sun is shining on me again," he said. "See what God does?
He gives us something beautiful to use. This healing herb. And what happens?"

What happened is sheriff's deputies landed a helicopter on his land,
broke open two padlocked gates and ransacked his trailer, ripping a
gaping hole in the roof. They seized 44 marijuana plants and more
than eight state-issued medical-marijuana cards that indicate other
medical-marijuana patients have told the state he is their designated
caregiver. They left a search warrant hanging over Stetler's
medical-marijuana sign.

Almost eight years after Colorado voters approved Amendment 20,
engraving in the Colorado Constitution the lawful use of
doctor-recommended medical marijuana for those "suffering from
debilitating medical conditions," police and prosecutors zealously
pursue medical-marijuana growers like Stetler, citing everything from
the fact that they just don't like the law to concerns about public
safety and confusion over what the law allows.

The law is "overly broad," "a work in progress," "vague" and "a
mistake," according to cops and prosecutors along the Front Range,
home to more than three-quarters of the state's 3,302 residents
enrolled in the Colorado medical-marijuana registry program. There
are 12 states in the U.S. that have medical-marijuana laws. Of the 10
with marijuana card systems, Colorado is the only state that does not
issue caregivers like Stetler licenses that specifically allow for cultivation.

"Marijuana cultivation is a violation of federal and state law. Just
because someone says 'medical marijuana' doesn't mean we
automatically back off and we don't enforce the law," said Larry
Abrahamson, district attorney for Larimer County, where more than 45
percent of felony marijuana cases in the past decade have involved
growers, many with state-issued cards. "Just because we have
Amendment 20 does not mean we have free marijuana for everyone."

Raid, but No Charges

Tucked into a lonely corner of 7,755- resident Huerfano County,
Stetler has nursed 33 new marijuana plants from the sandy soil. Good
medicine, he says, squeezing sticky, stinky and crystallized buds
atop listing 7-foot stalks.

His plants are growing on private land miles from a paved road in two
sheds posted with 13 state-issued medical-marijuana certificates that
designate Stetler is now a licensed care giver for 13 patients. His
doctor has advised he needs 15 plants to alleviate his constant pain
stemming from a 1990 car accident.

Since the raid more than a year ago, Huerfano County Sheriff Bruce
Newman has not filed any charges or returned Stetler's plants. No
visits from police. Not even a ticket or a letter. Newman said he's waiting.

"We want to see what happens with some of these other cases," said
Newman, who suspects not all of Stetler's 44 plants were legal and
has destroyed them. "There's a lot of legal stuff up in the air, and
it's going to take judges making decisions to figure it out."

The amendment seems to be functioning for people who use and
distribute medical marijuana. Eleven storefront dispensaries operate
openly in Colorado, some distributing medical marijuana to as many as
600 patients who need as much as an ounce of the weed a week. More
than 500 doctors have recommended marijuana, and the number of
patients on the state's registry has almost doubled since January.

"I'd have to say it is working," said Denver attorney Warren Edson,
who represents half of the state's dispensaries. "But the
dispensaries are not cultivating, and there's a huge need. The
cultivation side is problematic." Lawyer Sean T. McAllister of
Breckenridge. (Joe Amon, The Denver Post)

Indeed, for the green-thumbed suppliers of the statewide demand for
thousands of pounds of medical marijuana, life is not good. While
Amendment 20 outlines a host of protections for medical-marijuana
patients and allows them to designate a caregiver, the law does
nothing to address growers.

So though many medical-marijuana patients designate growers as
caregivers, the marijuana farmers are subject to arrest-first,
ask-if-it's-medical-later SWAT raids. They face lengthy and costly
legal battles, which, regardless of an acquittal, dismissal or
conviction, end with dead marijuana plants.

"The police are supposed to be protecting me from thieves and such,
but they are the thieves," said Stetler, who is one of three
designated caregivers in Colorado preparing a civil lawsuit demanding
compensation for plants destroyed by police.

"It's not right. They are making up their own laws and mocking the
state's laws they are supposed to be protecting. They are mocking the
voters they serve."

"Where do they think all the medical marijuana for more than 3,000
patients comes from?" said marijuana farmer Chris Crumbliss, who has
been raided twice in Larimer County despite possessing dozens of
state-issued medical-marijuana cards from patients listing him as
their primary caregiver. "Do they want one person growing for 50
people, or do they want 50 people growing on their own?"

Law Rubs Wrong Way

For police, Amendment 20 conflicts with federal laws and long-held
state laws prohibiting cultivation of marijuana.

Even worse, say police, Amendment 20's requirement that all property
and plants seized in a medical-marijuana investigation "shall not be
harmed, neglected, injured, or destroyed" is unworkable. (If a cop
waters a marijuana plant, is she breaking the law?)

And the notion that marijuana - which the federal government
considers a "Schedule I" substance alongside PCP and methamphetamine
- can be legal at all dismisses decades of law enforcement culture
and ingrained drug war doctrine.

Larimer County's Jim Alderden is a folksy sheriff who refers to
Amendment 20 as an "ill-conceived law" and aggressively pursues
marijuana growers. They may call themselves licensed caregivers, but
he calls them "dope dealers."

"Wholesale drug dealers are hiding under the umbrella afforded them
by the statute," he says. "These people are nothing more than dope
dealers, and they are hiding under this thing, and we are not going
to back off. These people who say they are caregivers providing for
60 to 70 people are running the same sort of scam you see on the West
Coast where people see a physician who is willing to prostitute
themselves for money and say 'here's the dope.' "

Scott Carr, the regional director for Colorado's THC Clinic in Wheat
Ridge, disagrees with Alderden's assessment of doctors who recommend
marijuana. Carr says the doctors in his clinic care for their
patients and advise the best treatment for their ailments.

"We do a pretty extensive screening of medical history. We get charts
and copies of doctor notes," Carr said.

Jeff Sweetin, head of Denver's branch of the federal Drug Enforcement
Administration, regularly hears growers pleading their product is
medical marijuana. When the operations "reach into hundreds of plants
and millions of dollars, that argument that they are immune because
of state medical-marijuana laws is absurd," Sweetin said.

"I think it was a mistake. It's bad public policy, and it put cops in
a terrible spot," Sweetin said of Amendment 20. "The very term
'medical marijuana' doesn't hold much water. I mean really, what kind
of medicine do you smoke?"

Sweetin fields calls "all the time" from Colorado cops begging his
help when a court orders the return of marijuana or growing equipment.

"Ninety-nine times out of 100, our answer is, 'This is not our
problem to fix.' I feel for these guys and they are my friends and
they are partners, but it is not the position of the DEA to rescue
everybody from their state's legislation."

A Need for Clarity

If there's one thing cops, prosecutors, attorneys and growers agree
on, it's that more work is needed to lift the fog surrounding
Amendment 20 and its implementation. How it's going to get done is
the big question.

Last month, Crumbliss stood trembling with his arms held high in his
front yard at 4 a.m., his boxers pulled to his ankles, his head and
face wrapped in a T-shirt, a laser-scoped assault rifle trained on
his chest and his dogs howling from a shower of tear gas. He kept
saying one thing over and over: "I have a license to grow medical marijuana."

The armored men behind the guns were Larimer and Boulder county
sheriff's deputies in a multi-jurisdictional, predawn SWAT-team raid
of three of Crumbliss' homes. After months of investigation - which
included no-subpoena-needed access to Poudre Valley Rural Electric
Association electrical usage reports from Crumbliss' and neighbors'
homes - the raid netted 200 marijuana plants and 25 pounds of
cannabis. Crumbliss and his wife, Tiffany, were arrested and charged
with a host of felonies that could land them in prison for almost a
decade. It was the second time in two years Larimer County cops have
raided the Crumblisses, who have never hidden their predilection
toward medical marijuana.

"I thought I was going to be executed," said Crumbliss, a father of
two and a perpetually grinning marijuana farmer who holds more than
40 state medical-marijuana licenses from patients who list him as
their primary caregiver. "I've never had a felony in my life. I
preach love and compassion. I really believe what I'm doing is legal
and I am following the letter of the law. And it's an honor and a
privilege to stand up for sick people who can't stand up for
themselves. It might earn me a spot in jail, and it might earn me a
place in heaven."

Sean McAllister, the attorney who represented Crumbliss against his
previous and still-pending marijuana cultivation charges from 2007,
called Larimer County's "smash and grab" tactics "the worst abuse
I've ever seen by police of the medical-marijuana law because they
are arresting first and determining if it's medical later."

McAllister, the founder of Sensible Colorado, a nonprofit advocating
for drug policy reform, said the writers of Amendment 20 made too
many compromises and growers like Crumbliss are left in the law's "gray areas."

"You can smoke it. You can dispense it. But how are they supposed to
grow it?" said McAllister, a Breckenridge attorney who specializes in
medical-marijuana cases. "Unfortunately the Crumblisses are the
guinea pigs who are going to have to test the legal status of
Colorado's medical-marijuana laws."

Prosecutions Increase

Larimer County, which medical-marijuana attorney Rob Corry calls "the
worst" in its pursuit of medical-marijuana caregivers, is not alone
in its hunt for marijuana farmers. Across the state, prosecutors in
recent years have pursued more cases than ever against growers who
argue they are within the bounds of Amendment 20. Last year,
prosecutors in El Paso, Jefferson, Denver and Larimer counties - home
to nearly half the state's medical-marijuana patients - tried 72
felony cultivation cases, up from nine cases in 2000.

Part of the issue is public safety, said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman
for Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey. She explained a litany
of potential hazards involving the unregulated business of marijuana
growing operations: fire danger from high electrical use and indoor
grow lamps, price gouging, the safety of the product and the
potential dangers facing future residents of a house where marijuana was grown.

"There is no mandate in our office to go out and aggressively
prosecute caregivers or growers, but we are not going to look the
other way," Kimbrough said. "I think (district attorneys) would
welcome some more attention to this because there is a sense that
there is some work that still needs to be done to clarify the process
and perhaps regulate the business aspect and ensure the safety of the
people for whom this law was meant to help."



Attorneys for law enforcement and the medical-marijuana community are
staying busy. Tweaking an amendment to the state constitution is much
more difficult than tinkering with legislation, so guidance is found
in court decisions. In recent years, Colorado's courtrooms have
hosted a few explorations of Amendment 20's gray areas:

Q. To how many patients can one licensed caregiver provide marijuana?

A. Denver District Judge Larry Naves in July 2007 tossed out the
former state mandate of five, ruling the limit set by the state's
department of health lacked public input and "does not appear to be
based on any medical or scientific evidence." So the question is: How
many patients can a caregiver have? The answer, apparently, is more than five.

Q. How many plants can a caregiver tend for each patient?

A. The amendment allows for six plants but also notes that patients
and caregivers can argue that "greater amounts were medically
necessary to address the patient's debilitating medical condition."
That "greater amount" part has been tested in Arapahoe County, where
the district attorney has declined to prosecute a 2004 case involving
one licensed patient growing 12 plants and a 2007 case involving 71 plants.

Q. Do you even need a medical-marijuana license?

A. Maybe just a doctor's note or recommendation is enough, according
to a Gunnison jury in 2006 that acquitted a man of felony charges
leveled by police who found four marijuana plants growing in his
garage. Ryan Margenau did not have a card from the state's registry
program, but he did have a doctor's verbal recommendation to use
marijuana to ease the pain of the 14 herniated discs he suffered in a
car wreck. The jury, in what was Colorado's first medical-marijuana
jury trial, said the doctor's advice was enough.

Q. If police destroy marijuana involved with a medical-marijuana
investigation, do they have to compensate the patient or caregiver?

A. Police in Jefferson County, Aurora, Craig and Fort Collins
reluctantly have returned marijuana-growing equipment and desiccated
plants. The possibility of reimbursement -- at the federal Drug
Enforcement Administration's estimated value of $5,200 per plant --
will be tested in a trio of lawsuits. The not-yet-filed lawsuits in
Huerfano County, Fort Collins and Aurora would demand police pay for
plants seized and destroyed in investigations that ended without prosecution.

Newshawk: Please Write a LTE www.mapinc.org/resource/#guides
Pubdate: Sun, 14 Sep 2008
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Webpage: http://www.denverpost.com/previous2/home/ci_10452384
Copyright: 2008 The Denver Post Corp
Contact: openforum@denverpost.com
Website: http://www.denverpost.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/122
Author: Jason Blevins, The Denver Post
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/topic/Amendment+20
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mmj.htm (Marijuana - Medicinal)

Friday, September 12, 2008

September 12, 2008: "SWAT Team Abuse in Berwyn Heights" featuring Cheye Calvo.


Here's an MP3 from the Cato Institute with Cheye Calvo (Mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland) describing how police conducted a baseless no-knock marijuana raid on his home, killing his two labrador retrievers. It's chilling.

The good news is that Calvo and his family adopted a new labrador from a shelter and are working to restore some order back into their life.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rethinking the government's War on Drugs

September 11, 2008 by Bob Barr

As both a U.S. Attorney and Member of Congress, I defended drug prohibition.
But it has become increasingly clear to me, after much study, that our
current strategy has not worked and will not work. The other candidates for
president prefer not to address this issue, but ignoring the failure of
existing policy exhibits both a poverty of thought and an absence of
political courage. The federal government must turn the decision on drug
policy back to the states and the citizens themselves.

My change in perspective might shock some people, but leadership requires a
willingness to assess evidence and recognize when a strategy is not working.
We are paying far too high a price for today's failed policy to continue it
simply because it has always been done that way.

It is obvious that, like Prohibition's effort to eradicate alcohol usage,
drug prohibition has not succeeded. Despite enormous law enforcement efforts
— including the dedicated service of many thousands of professional men and
women — the government has not halted drug use. Indeed, the problem is worse
today than in 1972, when Richard Nixon first coined the phrase "War on

Whether we like it or not, tens of millions of Americans have used and will
continue to use drugs. Yet in 2005 we spent more than $12 billion on federal
drug enforcement efforts. Another $30 billion went to incarcerate
non-violent drug offenders.

These people must live forever with the scarlet letter P for prison. Only
luck saved even presidents and candidates for president from bearing the
same mark, which would have disqualified them from not only high political
office, but also many more commonplace jobs.

The federal drug laws affect even those who have never smoked (or inhaled!)
a marijuana cigarette. One of the lessons I learned while serving in
Congress is how power tends to concentrate in Washington, and how that
concentration of power begets more power and threatens individual liberty.
The ever-expanding drug war is a perfect illustration of this principle.

We simply must bring our system back into balance. First, the federal
government should get out of the "drug war" and allow states to determine
their own drug policies. Rather than continuing to arrest and imprison
people for offenses that do not directly harm other people, we should focus
federal law enforcement on crimes involving serious fraud or violence, with
identifiable victims. Even then, only where there is a clear and specific
federal interest, should the federal government be involved.

As president, I would also begin dismantling the vast bureaucracies that
have grown up as part of the drug war. My drug "czar" would diminish rather
than expand the office. Importantly, the vast power of the federal
government would no longer be employed to override the decision of the
citizens of the states to reform their drug laws.

I also would review my presidential pardon and commutation powers as a
possible means to reduce the number of people in federal prison for
non-violent drug offenses. We can no longer afford the human and economic
costs of imprisoning so many thousands of people for drug possession. This
is the most destructive impact of drug prohibition.

With regard to the medicinal use of marijuana, it appears that politics,
rather than true science, led to the government's classification of
marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, preventing its medical use,
and has blocked attempts to reconsider that classification. As president, I
would direct the DEA to initiate, for the first time, a truly open, fair,
and objective process to test and evaluate the medical potential of
marijuana. Based on the studies that I have consulted, I believe the result
would be reclassification of the drug.

Regardless of federal policy, the federal government should accept the
decisions of the citizens of the states if they choose to allow the medical
use of marijuana. As president, I would ensure that no executive branch
official interfered in a state initiative or referendum campaign. I also
would direct the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Agency to
respect state law. Crimes of violence, whether involving drugs or not, must
continue to be investigated and prosecuted by the appropriate law
enforcement agencies.

None of this means that I believe drug use to be harmless, or appropriate
for minors. For that reason I would encourage people and institutions
throughout America, from churches to social agencies to sports leagues, to
work together to address drug abuse. One of our nation's greatest strengths
is the willingness of people to organize outside of government to solve
human problems.

But treating what is, at base, a moral, spiritual, and health problem as a
matter of federal criminal law has solved nothing. The next president must
put politics aside and take a long, hard look at the failure of the federal
war on drugs. We must reestablish the primacy of individual choice and
state's rights in deciding these issues. This always has been the greatest
strength of America, and should be again.


Did McCain Tamper with the Drug Enforcement Agency to Protect His

by: Matt Stoller
Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 02:06

A whistleblower is coming forth against John and Cindy McCain, and
the picture he is painting is not a pretty one. You've probably
heard about Cindy McCain stealing prescription drugs from her charity
in the 1990s. Today, Tom Gosinski, her former employee and a close
friend of the McCain's, came out on the record about the entire
sordid episode. And it appears that McCain used his Senate staff and
resources to cover up Cindy's drug use, and potentially to prevent
the Drug Enforcement Agency from investigating his wife's theft of
illegal prescription drugs. John McCain certainly used his political
connections to begin a campaign of intimidation against Gosinski,
because at the time - this was after the Keating 5 scandal - another
major scandal would have derailed his career. Gosinski stayed quiet
out of fear until today; a recent fight with cancer has strengthened
his resolve. As he told me today, if he can beat cancer, he can go
on the record regarding how the McCain's do business.

Gosinski was an employee of Cindy McCain who helped her run her
charity, the American Voluntary Medical Team (AVMT) in the early to
mid-1990s. At the time Gosinski worked for her, Cindy McCain was
addicted to prescription painkillers, taking between 30-50 pills a
day of Vicatem and/or Percocet. She had doctors writing out
prescriptions in other peoples' names, including Gosinski. When
Gosinski found one of the prescription slips, he got angry, and Cindy
had him fired. This part of the story is just kind of sad, but not
damning; Cindy McCain was a lonely and bored wife who turned to drugs
in place of what was a loveless marriage full of fundraisers and in
all likelihood, various infidelities (or so were the rumors Gosinski
heard at the time).

Now, it begins to get dangerous and vicious after Gosinksi was
fired. At first the McCain's said they'd help him find a job, but it
became clear to Gosinksi that McCain was using his political
connections to blackball him from another job in Republican politics
in Arizona. So he sued the McCain's for wrongful termination, and
went to the Drug Enforcement Agency to find out the legal
repercussions of having prescriptions for painkillers written in his
name. To retaliate, McCain then had his political ally, Rick Romley,
open an extortion investigation against Gosinksi. In the course of
that investigation, it was revealed that the DEA was circling around
Cindy McCain and her charity. It's not clear what they were
investigating her for, but it is clear she was bringing illegal
prescription drugs around the world on a diplomatic passport secured
for her by McCain's Senate office.

McCain's Senate staff and Senate resources were intimately involved
in Cindy's work with the charity. John McCain procured her a
diplomatic passport, which meant that her bags were not searched by
customs, and Mark Salter and Torie Clarke were both coordinating with
Gosinski on logistics for the trips abroad. Here's Gosinski on the
coordination with McCain's Senate staff.

The charity was supposed to conduct medical missions abroad, but
Cindy was also stealing from the charity's supply of drugs for her
own personal use. In August of 1994, the story was going to come
out, and so John McCain came out with his side of the story. He
claimed he didn't know that Cindy McCain was using drugs until 1994,
a clear lie. Cindy McCain overdosed in 1991, and John McCain went to
the hospital in Sedona and told the hospital staff not to make the
information about Cindy public. Gosinski heard about the overdose in
1992, after he began work for Cindy McCain.

There are lots of unanswered questions, but the basic contours of the
story are clear. John McCain used his position as a Senator to help
his wife abuse illegal drugs and avoid being searched by customs, and
somehow his wife managed to avoid any charges by the DEA or the state
(which has mandatory minimums in cases like this) on drug charges
despite ample evidence. Did the DEA or the state not file charges
against her because of political pressure? Did they keep this on the
Federal level to avoid mandatory minimums for Cindy McCain because of
political pressure from McCain? Did John McCain and/or his Senate
staff tamper with a criminal investigation of his wife and her
conspiracy to fraudulently obtain illegal drugs?

Whether illegal or not, and an investigation by Congress should
happen, this is clearly a massive and overreaching case of both
corruption on a personal sordid level and an abuse of power. And you
might be seeing Gosinski on mainstream media soon.

We need an investigation into what happened here. What did McCain
know about the investigation of his wife and did he use his power as
a Senator to help her abuse drugs or avoid prosecution? When he was
one of a hundred Senators, it was of minor importance. And now?
Well it would be nice to know if the next President is engaged in
behavior more characteristic of an influence peddling mob boss than
an upright politician.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Eat it up


Four men were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of taking 23 marijuana
plants from a backyard garden off Valley West Drive in west Santa Rosa.

The homeowner had a permit to grow the plants legally for medicinal use.

Witnesses in the neighborhood said they saw several men climbing a
fence around the Jose Avenue home just before 1 p.m., then hauling
the freshly cut plants to a car parked nearby.

Residents in the home said they had seen the men before.

"We had been seeing people circle the neighborhood for about a week,"
said one of the residents who asked not to be named. "Either they
sniffed it out or had seen it."

The four suspects were taken into custody after police interrupted
the theft, said Sgt. Steve Fraga.

Greg Cibrian, 20; Victor Raul Marin Coria, 19; Lloyd Melvin Fouche,
20; and Hector Said Magana, 22, all of Santa Rosa, were arrested on
suspicion of grand theft, conspiracy and possession of marijuana.

All four of the men are known gang members, Fraga said.

A fifth suspect dropped several pounds of freshly harvested marijuana
at the corner of Jose Avenue and Josefa Street and fled. Police
searched the area, but did not find him, Fraga said.

The stolen plants were found in the trunk of a 1994 Cadillac sedan,
as were gardening shears used to cut the plants, Fraga said.

Residents said the 4-foot-tall plants were four to six weeks away
from harvest and were being grown to assist a family member suffering
from knee and back pain after several operations.

Newshawk: Richard Lake
Pubdate: Wed, 10 Sep 2008
Source: Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Press Democrat
Contact: letters@pressdemo.com
Website: http://www.pressdemo.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/348
Author: Laura Norton, The Press Democrat
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?115 (Marijuana - California)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mmj.htm (Marijuana - Medicinal)