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A Crack in the War on Drugs

The US Sentencing Commission has recommended that Federal sentencing guidelines be reduced for crimes involving crack cocaine -- and is now deliberating making the new guidelines retroactive for prisoners already incarcerated. [WaPo] If taken into effect, about 3,800 inmates could be released by this time next year. [more inside]
posted by Avenger on Nov 12, 2007 - 29 comments

Never Get Busted Again

"We would pull over cars that had college bumper stickers, because we knew college kids often partied with marijuana...we would pull over 'Vietnam Vet' plates, because a lot of our vets developed a habit over there...I would look for Mexicans. I would look for black people. It works." A former Texas narcotics officer is selling a DVD that can teach you how to avoid arrest. (Unless you're black, Mexican, a veteran, or a college kid, presumably.) Youtube. More youtuberance.
posted by dersins on Oct 31, 2007 - 46 comments

Just Say No .. to John Stuart Mill

"An open society must be prepared to listen to those who offer a critique of its conventional wisdom—and our conventional wisdom about drugs and addiction should be no exception."
posted by daksya on Sep 22, 2007 - 50 comments

Debating the war on drugs

The British Transform Drug Policy Foundation has recently released their 2nd guide After the War on Drugs: Tools for the debate. Described as a guide for prospective and current policy reform advocates, it enumerates the points typically brought up against reform, and offers strategies to rebut them. Somewhat of a counterpoint to the US DEA's Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization.
posted by daksya on Aug 9, 2007 - 48 comments

A Clean Getaway

This video is a welcome conclusion to the previous post regarding the arrest of Germ's drummer Don Bolles for possession of "GHB" in the form of Dr. Bronner's soap. In the video David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's demonstrates how drug field test kits return false positive results for any true natural soap.
posted by well_balanced on Aug 3, 2007 - 33 comments

Nothing to sneeze at

Buy Sudafed, have a chat with Officer Friendly. Detective Brian Lewis returns to his desk after lunch, scanning e-mails he missed. One catches his eye: It says a suspected member of a methamphetamine ring bought a box of Sudafed at 1:34 p.m. at a CVS pharmacy. Minutes later, Lewis is in his truck, circling the parking lot, searching for the woman.

MethCheck is one of the new computerized tracking systems that will notify police of your decongestant purchases. Buy too much, or buy if you're already a suspect, and you'll be getting a visit from the law. Uncomfortable? Better hold your nose - the next version of the software will match you against everyone on your street to see if your aggregate buying warrants investigation.

We've discussed the Sudafed problem before, but this level of tracking opens up a new can of worms. It seems a small step before you get this tautology:
Why do you care that she bought Sudafed? Because she's a suspected meth ring member.
Why do you think she's in a meth ring? Because she bought Sudafed, silly!
posted by bitmage on Jul 19, 2007 - 143 comments

Laws on getting high

Spiritual Highs and Legal Blows - the power and peril of religious exemptions from drug prohibition
posted by daksya on May 23, 2007 - 8 comments

You're doing a heckofa job, brownies

Another casualty in the War on Drugs "I think we're dying," he said in the 5-minute tape, obtained under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.
posted by Kirth Gerson on May 10, 2007 - 152 comments

Turn on, tune in, get out

Entheogens and Psychotherapy. A 2001 paper by Canadian psychotherapist Andrew Feldmar on the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelics and his own experience with LSD. Now, because of this paper, he is no longer allowed to enter the U.S. [Via MindHacks.]
posted by homunculus on Apr 24, 2007 - 20 comments

Four Decades into America's War on Drugs

America's forgotten war. Are we winning?
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Apr 11, 2007 - 39 comments

[Bustfilter] Follow the Pretty Soap Bubbles to the Pokey

Don Bolles arrested for soap possession? Germs drummer Don Bolles likes Dr. Bronner's Soap. Or maybe that should be past tense, as Orange County police have arrested him for drug possession, apparently over the hemp oil in his soap bottle. Friends are rallying to raise his bail, and asking sympathetic souls to spread the word.
posted by Scram on Apr 6, 2007 - 62 comments

Prison Rape and the War on Drugs

Stories from Inside: Prisoner Rape and the War on Drugs (PDF). A new report by the human rights group Stop Prisoner Rape. [Via Drug WarRant.]
posted by homunculus on Mar 23, 2007 - 61 comments

(Almost) Straight Shooting on Dope

Dopey, Boozy, Smoky—and Stupid - Mark Kleiman of UCLA examines drug policy in general and offers some suggestions [via]
posted by daksya on Jan 30, 2007 - 49 comments

Tough Love

The Trouble with Troubled Teen Programs
posted by daksya on Dec 28, 2006 - 85 comments

Carne Asada

The House of Death A DHS/DEA/DoJ/US Media coverup. Another victory in the War on Drugs?
When 12 bodies were found buried in the garden of a Mexican house, it seemed like a case of drug-linked killings. But the trail led to Washington and a cover-up that went right to the top.
Other online coverage (1, 2, 3)
posted by i_am_a_Jedi on Dec 3, 2006 - 26 comments

U.S. uploads anti-drug videos to YouTube

Let The Fun Begin! U.S. uploads anti-drug videos to YouTube, hilarity sure to ensue. [look who they popped]
posted by taosbat on Sep 18, 2006 - 81 comments

Drug War Progress?

Seattle is proud of the public policy success of I-75, the marijuana enforcement deprioritization inititative. I-75 has been followed by similar local intiatives across the Western US, such as Oakland's Measure Z and Denver's I-100 (sponsored by SAFER). These grassroots initiatives presumably already rankle the federal government. But the council of San Francisco may be poised to outdo them all with a new proposal that "would commit the city to refusing federal funds intended for the investigation or prosecution of marijuana offenses. It also would prevent a federal agency from commissioning or deputizing a city police officer for assistance in such cases."
posted by owhydididoit on Sep 12, 2006 - 40 comments

Lalo.

In a small-town jail in the upper Midwest sits a once highly-paid informant the U.S. government would probably rather you not know about. Guillermo Ramirez-Peyro, AKA Lalo, sits in prison without being charged. He's a former Mexican Highway Police Officer that found himself incahoots with the drug trade on the Juarez-El Paso border, but then received more than $200K from the U.S. Federal Government for information. The same U.S. agency that paid him, however, now wants to deport him back to Mexico and an almost certain death.
posted by Ufez Jones on Aug 24, 2006 - 8 comments

“Roll that s—t, light that s—t, smoke that s—t.”

Dude, like, what did you do during the war? Young Israeli activists fight the war on terra in their own little way. Similar criticisms have been used before, usually to political advantages. Others call it yet another hysterical conflation.
posted by yonation on Aug 16, 2006 - 9 comments

Reefer Madness Undone?

"The system for classifying illegal drugs in Britain, which determines how users are punished, is unscientific and illogical and should be completely overhauled", according to a new report. See updated chart on the harm potential of various drugs.
posted by daksya on Jul 31, 2006 - 31 comments

The Militarization of Mayberry

Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America. Radley Balko (also mentioned here and here) has released a year long study of the militarization of police departments across the United States. Cato has a corresponding interactive map to track and filter botched paramilitary raids.
posted by ryoshu on Jul 17, 2006 - 84 comments

Puppycide

The Drug War Goes to the Dogs. SWAT teams (usually the young ones) seem to commit a lot of puppycide. (Via The Agitator, who is also a MeFite.)
posted by homunculus on Jul 13, 2006 - 31 comments

The geopolitics of opium

So how's the War on Drugs proceeding in Afghanistan? Barry McCaffrey, former drug czar, trumpets, "Opium production has been dramatically slashed by 48% just in the past year[2005].". Oops, actually that's the acreage of opium cultivation; production went down by only 10%, due to increased yields. In any case, that's so last year. Instead of the socially detrimental policy of poppy eradication, wouldn't it be preferable to allow licensing of poppies for legitimate medical needs? The Afghan farmers agree, but some think the idea is flawed.
posted by daksya on Jun 16, 2006 - 17 comments

Smokescreen

With all the public smoking bans coming in effect over the past few years, the anti-tobacco movement seems en route to achieve its favored objective: prohibition. Michael Siegel keeps a careful eye on them at The Rest of the Story.
posted by daksya on Jun 2, 2006 - 238 comments

Schaffer Library of Drug Policy

Schaffer Library of Drug Policy - read the transcripts of hearings held on the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, or the text of court decisions regarding drug policy, or the well-researched Consumer Unions report on licit and illicit drugs, or the differences between beer and drugs, according to Anheuser-Busch. A huge archive of materials, admittedly compiled from a pro-reform perspective.
posted by daksya on May 20, 2006 - 27 comments

War on Drugs, by the numbers

In the "debate" over the War on Drugs, there's a lack of nice quantitative data presentation in one place. Brian C Bennett aims to rectify that. From trends in alcohol initiation relative to legal age limits, to investigation of the deaths classified by CDC as marijuana-induced. There are lots of charts, as for cocaine purity over the years, or treatment admissions, or arrest trends. The site map is your quick guide to the 2000 charts & articles.
posted by daksya on Feb 27, 2006 - 18 comments

Goodbye Rosie, The Queen of Corona

Overgrow.com --one of the largest and most comprehensive sites written by and for cannabis growers about cannabis cultivation, complete with user forums and immense photo galleries--along with Heaven's Stairway Seeds (hempqc.com), Cannabisworld.com, and Eurohemp.com have all been shut down, their owners arrested in Canada, and the servers seized. The story hasn't yet made the Canadian news, but it raises many questions about free speech online.
posted by fandango_matt on Feb 5, 2006 - 45 comments

Commerce of Cocaine

Drug policy reform in Colombia [via]
posted by daksya on Jan 3, 2006 - 13 comments

SMOKING MARIJUANA DOES NOT CAUSE LUNG CANCER

SMOKING MARIJUANA DOES NOT CAUSE LUNG CANCER "Even heavy longterm use"- does not cause cancer of the lung, upper airwaves, or esophagus, Donald Tashkin reported at this year's meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. Over the years, Tashkin's lab at UCLA has produced irrefutable evidence of the damage that marijuana smoke wreaks on bronchial tissue. It is Tashkin's research that the Drug Czar's office cites in ads linking marijuana to lung cancer.
posted by well_balanced on Jul 8, 2005 - 68 comments

Costs of cannabis prohibition is lot more potent than in the 70s

The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition by Jeffrey Miron of Boston U.. So far, endorsed by 500+ economists, including Milton Friedman.

Key points:
*End prohibition and save $7.7 billion in govt. expenditure.
*Tax its sale, like alcohol, and generate $6.2 billion in revenue.
posted by daksya on Jun 1, 2005 - 79 comments

Radley Balko fisks the DEA's Karen Tandy

Radley Balko fisks the DEA's Karen Tandy 'So which is it? Are doctors a "very small part of the problem," or are they "the primary sources of diverted pharmaceuticals available on the illicit market?" ...I guess it depends on whether the agency is trumpeting its victories to Congress, or defending its tactics from critics in newspaper op-eds.'
posted by Kwantsar on May 16, 2005 - 34 comments

Dr. Stonedlaw: Or How I Stopped Toking and Learned to Love the Law

"Defending America's Most Vulnerable" - a new bill, introduced in the House by the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Sensenbrenner (R-WI). Among other provisions, 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for a first-time conviction of distributing a small amount of marijuana to a person under 18 years of age; virtually every drug crime committed in urban areas subject to "drug free zone" penalties that carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence; a 2-year sentence for those who witness or learn about drug distribution near colleges and do not report it to authorities within 24 hours and do not provide full assistance investigating, apprehending, and prosecuting the offender.
posted by daksya on May 16, 2005 - 45 comments

Terry Bressi's long saga

Terry Bressi's long saga
"I was stopped, threatened with lethal force, dragged out of my vehicle, and detained for several hours for no reason - other than requesting to know what law authorized the police to stop me and demand ID after admitting I wasn't suspected of violating any law and I wasn't being detained. Instead of answering my inquiries, the 'peace officers' preferred to initiate force against me."
posted by trharlan on Apr 12, 2005 - 59 comments

Narc!

High school kids. Doing drugs! A 23-year-old female undercover agent posed as a student at Milford High School. The investigation culminated Friday with the arrest of 16 students on drug-trafficking charges. Twelve are juveniles. Public opinion is running 20 - 1 in favor of the sting.
Sandy Howdyshell, a 34-year-old Milford graduate who has an elementary school student in the district, said she was undecided on the school district's $108.6 million bond issue that will appear on ballots May 3 - until she heard about the undercover investigation... "I think it was a brilliant idea to put an undercover cop in the high school," Howdyshell said. "This event certainly has made an impact in my eyes. Now I know I'll be voting to support Milford schools."
posted by trharlan on Apr 8, 2005 - 93 comments

NORML Releases Most Comprehensive Analysis Of US Marijuana Arrest Data To Date

NORML Releases "Most Comprehensive Analysis Of US Marijuana Arrest Data To Date"

Among the reports' findings: * The enforcement of state and local marijuana laws annually costs US taxpayers an estimated $7.6 billion, approximately $10,400 per arrest. * While adult African Americans account for only 8.8% of the US population and 11.9% of annual marijuana users, they comprise 23% of all marijuana possession arrests in the United States.
posted by trharlan on Mar 15, 2005 - 33 comments

Regulated Drugs Distribution Proposal

The King County Bar Association of Washington state, has released a resolution as part of their Drug Policy Project calling for a non-commercialized & state-supported regulated distribution of currently illicit drugs. Their FAQ addresses the inevitable concerns over such an approach. Another document provides a tour of the historical and cultural contexts of drug laws. The Association also outlines how the regulated approach might be workable, considering the purview of the federal Controlled Substances Act. [via DrugWarRant]
posted by daksya on Mar 3, 2005 - 13 comments

The Fourth Amendment grows narrower

The Supreme Court, in a 6-2 decision Monday, ruled that police do not violate the Fourth Amendment when they use a drug-detecting dog to locate illegal drugs in the trunk of a car during a legal traffic stop. The decision, and dissents from Ginsburg and Souter.
posted by trharlan on Jan 24, 2005 - 45 comments

War on (Some) Drugs?

Real Reason the Government Won't Debate Legalization of medical cannabis and industrial hemp re-legalization? Since reading the previous AARP FPP and an article about how DEA Ruling Renders Federal Approval of Medical Marijuana Impossible while the Supreme Court weighs marijuana as medicine, I found the historical perspective in "Real Reason" about how the current state of insanity quite enlightening... and not too hard to believe. (Please try to separate information herein from its location and knee-jerk accusations of Godwinism.)
posted by Enron Hubbard on Dec 19, 2004 - 21 comments

Do you remember the War on Drugs?

War on Drugs - Do you remember it? A call for support of this amorphous war has been trumpeted by every American President from Nixon through Clinton. The current guy, has associated himself (at least a little bit) with the Drug War in the previous campaign but current policy, not so much. What I’m curious about is the actual phrase, the concept of War on Drugs. It looks like we still dedicate large sums of money to the effort. It seems to me that we just don’t use the phrase much anymore. Did we win? Did we lose? Do we just want to forget about it? Or, did we repackage the endeavor under a new name? I tend to think we are not capable of waging more than one war against the nameless other at a given time. It would just be too scary. So, I think maybe we're bundling the War on Terror and the War on Drugs under a new brand name.
posted by Crackerbelly on Dec 8, 2004 - 31 comments

Transform Drug Policy Foundation

"After the War on Drugs - Options for Control is a major new report examining the key themes in the drug policy reform debate, detailing how legal regulation of drug markets will operate, and providing a roadmap and time line for reform." It's concise and reasonable, but is this report from the Transform Drug Policy Foundation (Google News lookup) really "the first practical road map for a benign drug policy that must follow the collapse of drug prohibition"? ... "No countries have yet legalised any drug covered under the U.N. convention" - will anything change anytime soon?
posted by mrgrimm on Nov 2, 2004 - 10 comments

Dude you are soooo high

Eat 'em if you got 'em: hemp-based foods were banned several years ago, thanks to the Drug Enforcement Agency's neverending "war on (some) drugs" but lawyers for hemp-based food companies successfully overturned the law, and the deadline ran out on the DEA to challenge it. Not that I would ever want to eat a hemp cheeseburger, but it's nice to know I can. Hopefully hemp rope will remain legal as well.
posted by mathowie on Sep 30, 2004 - 19 comments

Don't touch that plant!

Opium Made Easy: One gardener's encounter with the war on drugs.
posted by Gyan on Sep 22, 2004 - 35 comments

Prohibition, as we suspected, is a failure.

More kids smoking marijuana than tobacco. A report by the CDC reports that more kids now report having smoked pot in the last thirty days than those that reported having smoked a cigarette, and in fact, tobacco usage is showing a steep decline while marijuana usage is showing a steady uptick. This item is just one of many interesting statistics contained within the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance report, taken between February-December, 2003. The war on some drugs wages on... (via my friend C-Dawg)
posted by WolfDaddy on Jun 23, 2004 - 69 comments

Ashcroft rejected counterterrorism funds on Sept. 10

Ashcroft rejected counterterrorism funds on Sept. 10
"Yet the commission staff statement quotes a former FBI counterterrorism chief, Dale Watson, as saying he ``almost fell out of his chair'' when he saw a May 10 budget memo from Ashcroft listing seven priorities, including illegal drugs and gun violence, but not terrorism.

Additionally, on Sept. 10, Ashcroft rejected an appeal from Pickard for additional funding, the commission said."
posted by specialk420 on Apr 13, 2004 - 39 comments

Economists on drugs

A slim majority of sampled economists favor drug decriminalization, according to this .pdf article in the newly-launched Econ Journal Watch.
Via Marginal Revolution.
posted by trharlan on Apr 1, 2004 - 4 comments

No drugs for you, pal...you'll just get addicted.

DEA wants to reclassify low grade painkillers as morphine equivilants. The DEA, in all it's wisdom, has decided that the next target on the "war on drugs" is hydrocodone, the most commonly used prescription pain killer in the country. "Ah," you say..."but surely there's congressional oversight for that sort of radical change in the Drug Schedule." But you'd be wrong. Funny old world when the budget and staff keeping getting bigger and bigger and the only way they can win a battle is to chase the arthritic.
posted by dejah420 on Feb 17, 2004 - 33 comments

Guns don't kill people, bongs kill people

Tommy Chong in prison. 3 months into his 9 month prison sentence for selling bongs, the LA City Beat talks to Tommy Chong and the LA Weekly talks with his family about the details of his case. [Via Drug WarRant.]
posted by homunculus on Dec 17, 2003 - 21 comments

The war on pain relief

The war on drugs is unfairly targeting doctors who prescribe legal pain medication to their patients who suffer from chronic pain, according to a spokeswoman of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. She was speaking at a press conference of patient and physician advocacy groups, sponsored by the Pain Relief Network, in support of Dr. William Hurwitz. Dr. Hurwitz has been indicted and imprisoned for prescribing high doses of opioid pain relievers, as have other pain-management doctors. But these crackdowns may end up doing more harm than good to patients in chronic pain. [More inside.]
posted by homunculus on Oct 13, 2003 - 22 comments

Rush Limbaugh Checks Into Rehab

"I am no victim and do not portray myself as such. I take full responsibility for my problem." Rush Limbaugh finally admits to what everyone's been guessing for a while now...to read the text of his statement, he claims to be making a clean breast of things and taking full responsibility for his own actions. Is this really an example of a vocal ideologue finally living up the standards they proclaim, or is it somehow readable as self-serving hypocrisy?
posted by LairBob on Oct 10, 2003 - 130 comments

Drug War Victims

Drug War Victims. "Increasingly, people are dying because of the tactics of the drug war. Military operations are being conducted on our soil, and collateral damage is inevitable... Every now and then, a death happens that is particularly grotesque -- that points out the horrific folly of our actions. This page presents some of those deaths." This is part of the Drug WarRant blog. [Via TalkLeft.]
posted by homunculus on Sep 29, 2003 - 41 comments

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