Saturday, December 10, 2005

This smells like shit

Police and their drug-sniffing dogs conducted a search of a Colorado high school last week, and although the dogs indicated they smelled drugs a number of times, none were found.
Although narcotics detection dogs picked up the scent of drugs six times during a search Thursday of Moffat County High School, police didn't find illegal substances.

School officials requested the search after finding marijuana at the school earlier this year, Craig police Officer Alvin Luker said.

"Our mission is to create a safe, quality learning environment, and that environment needs to be drug free," Assistant Principal Thom Schnellinger said.

I fail to understand how interrupting the school day by bringing in ineffective dogs does anything to foster a "quality learning environment."

At least one of the dogs used in the search has an appropriate name.
Folks and his dog, Tzar, also participated in the search.
But let's all rest assured that the school officials and police involved know what's best for the students, okay?

The police department has an agreement with the high school to conduct searches using drug dogs. High school officials request searches, but they must have a specific reason. School officials also must agree to pursue a criminal investigation if an illegal substance is found during such searches.

"Our policy states that we won't do a search just because there's suspicion of drugs," Luker said. "There has to be a definite need."

Let's hope some of the local parents raise a stink that this intrusive search failed to reveal a "definite need" for doing anything like this ever again.

"Our purpose is not to try to get kids in trouble for carrying dope," he said. "We're trying to keep kids from bringing it to school. We have to do certain things to protect our children from others."

If dogs give an alert at a locker, school officials take action, Schnellinger said.

"(An alert) creates a scenario of what's called reasonable suspicion," he said. "We will address this with students and parents, on an individual basis."

How can the courts agree that these dogs' alerts amount to "reasonable suspicion" when they falsely alert over and over again?

War on fake drugs

Another case of someone getting busted for having fake drugs in Florida:

When deputies patted down Washington, they found a brown prescription bottle in his shirt pocket that contained five white, rocky objects that looked like crack cocaine, the report said.

As police inspected the substance, Washington allegedly laughed then said, "Go ahead, test it, that ain't crack, it's fake. I sell it to you stupid white m--------- and take your money."

The white substances tested negative for cocaine, the report said. According to deputies, as Washington was booked into the county jail, he was asked what his occupation was and Washington replied, "I'm a crack dealer."

Anyone out there know if other states have similar outrageous "fake drug prohibition" laws on the books?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Drug raids a go-go

Radley at The Agitator has had some interesting and infuriating posts about drug raids gone wrong recently. Check them out here, here, and here.

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

New anti-drug strategy: Get your kids to hate you

I Hate You

So let's get this right... ONDCP thinks that encouraging parents to act like assholes and getting their kids to hate them is a great way to get young people to stay away from drugs. Whatever happened to building important relationships of trust with your kids and making sure they know they can come to you when they need help?

Are these fools serious?

Oh, those students and their drugs

Reuters has a story on some very special students.
The last class of 2005 has completed the core curriculum and picked its majors...

Final exams start soon and graduation is scheduled for December 22 after 13 weeks of rigorous training at one of the world's most elite schools...

Surprisingly, these students just can't get enough illegal drugs. They're crazy about them, and seek them out whenever they get the chance.

Normally, drug-crazy students like these would be at high-risk of losing their college financial aid, but these students just happen to be dogs at an elite drug-sniffing academy operated by the federal government.

I guess we missed the language in the HEA Drug Provision that exempts students who like to do it doggy-style...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Meth mania: Coming to a TV near you

The Drug Czar's office and Partnership for a Drug-Free America recently announced the launch of a series of new anti-meth TV ads. The spots are flashy and raw, and were made by a number of different ad firms on a pro bono basis.
The ad campaign combines real-life stories of people impacted by methamphetamine with scenarios that depict the unique secondhand threat meth poses to communities at large. The campaign's two main themes, "So, Who Has the Drug Problem Now?" and "End Meth in Your Town" challenge individuals to learn more about the threats meth poses to both their families and their communities.
The "So, Who Has the Drug Problem Now" ads actually inadvertently make the case for ending prohibition. The spots show how fumes from clandestine meth labs can seep into other people's apartments. But, of course, the ads don't explicitly say that it is the prohibition regime we live under that forces people to cook meth in their homes using dangerous chemicals because they can't buy their psychoactive chemical of choice from a store under a controlled and regulated system.

This reminds me of how the "drug use = terror" ads from a few years back highlighted how drug prohibition funds terrorism.

I know all of us reading this blog are able to understand the connection between the harms these ads highlight and drug prohibition, but I wonder how much of the general viewing public gets it. What do you think?

The anti-meth ads will also run in Atlanta, Austin, Cedar Rapids, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Des Moines, Grand Rapids, Miami, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Minneapolis, Portland, Raleigh-Durham, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, Savannah, and Tampa/St. Petersburg.
The Drug Czar's cronies are traveling to these cities and holding press conferences to announce the ads. If you live in or near one of these cities, and want to push back against the drug warriors' lies, get in touch with us.

Federal Auditors Question ONDCP Claims on Reducing Cocaine Flow

This morning, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Government Accountability Office, Congress' research arm and watchdog, is set to release a major report that calls into question the credibility of ONDCP's storm of claims that Plan Colombia has reduced the amount of cocaine in the U.S. Pete over at Drug War Rant also picked up this story this morning.

About damn time.

Plan Colombia has so far cost U.S. taxpayers more than $4 billion over the past five years, not to mention the intense acceleration of a 40-year armed conflict within Colombia. It is hard to imagine a more violent use of U.S. taxpayer dollars. Not only has this massive investment NOT reduced the flow of drugs into the U.S, as intended, but on U.S. streets, drugs are cheaper than ever. The forthcoming GAO report is one more example of the questionable evidence on which we are being sold our governments's perpetuation of the Drug War.

Hopefully, the GAO report will be picked up by news outlets and John Walters will have to answer some tough questions. As soon as a copy of the report is available, a link will be posted on this blog. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Colby meet BUSTED

According to the Associated Press, police in Waterville, Maine are going to start going undercover to bust underage drinkers at Colby College.
Undercover work might involve sending some officers to campus to sit in parked cars and watch the activities of students, while other officers will try to blend in at off-campus house parties, [Waterville Deputy Police Chief Joseph] Massey said.
One of the saddest aspects of this new policy is that it appears to be welcomed by campus officials.
Colby spokesman Stephen Collins said college officials do not mind the added police attention, even if it means sending in plainclothes officers. But Collins said some parties are for students over 21 years old and are legal.
Certainly everyone on campus ought to be concerned about limiting alcohol poisoning, property damage and assaults, especially sexual assaults, that are sometimes an unfortunate consequence of people drinking to excess. Responsible behavior among all drinkers ought to be encouraged, especially among 18-20 year old students.

Using the police to arrest minors undermines the university's ability to build trust and educate their students honestly about alcohol. Campus officials should resist the police coming into their community and making criminals out of otherwise hard-working students.

The University of Wisconsin - Madison used to have a similar program called Operation Sting. Every September the MPD sent undercover police into students' private homes in order to find underage drinkers. Madison students, working with their local elected officials, got the mayor to abandon the program. Together, Colby students can do the same.

In the meantime, every student at Colby should get a copy of BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters. It makes a great stocking stuffer and it has the added bonus of possibly keeping you and your friends out of jail!

It's about TIME.

From TIME Magazine's cover story this week, "The Year in Medicine, A-Z":
MARIJUANA - Research into the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis continued to bolster the case for the medicinal use of marijuana, making the "patient pot laws" that have passed in 11 states seem less like a social movement than a legitimate medical trend. One trial--the first controlled study of its kind--showed that a medicine containing cannabis extracts called Sativex not only lessened the pain of rheumatoid arthritis but actually suppressed the disease. An earlier study published in the Journal of Neuroscience showed that synthetic cannabinoids, the chemicals in marijuana, can reduce inflammation in the brain and may protect it from the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Looks like TIME has joined forces with George Soros and the Evil Drug Dealer Society of America (EDDSA) in the fight to legalize drugs so we can feed them to small children and puppy dogs. Where is Chuck Norris and his famous roundhouse kick when you need him??

Seriously though, it's nice to see big mags like TIME taking serious something that has always been medically legitimate. But heads up, TIME: the "social movement" you refer to is simply a direct response to the escalating federal war against people living with debilitating conditions (and their doctors) who have long recognized that marijuana is legitimately effective medicine. The only "trend" I see is that people of influence (such as TIME reporters) are finally starting to accept something that scientific studies have proven, and public opinion has supported, for quite some time. It's about time that TIME caught up. (TIME has reported on medical marijuana in the past, but it has always been framed as a controversial political issue. Now, they are finally framing marijuana as a medicine--one that happens to be surrounded in controversy).

As the scientific evidence mounts and the legalization caucus grows larger, inevitably, from the back of the room comes the familiar plea: "But if we legalize medical marijuana, what message will we be sending to our children?"...

There there, concerned parent... the only message we will send is that our government is compassionate to those who suffer. A change of pace, perhaps. But you'll get used to it.

Packed prisons

On Monday, Gary Fields at the Wall Street Journal had yet another excellent piece taking a look at prison issues. This time, he's shedding light on how overflowing prisons are shipping some of their inmates to local jails, which are in turn letting some prisoners out early due to their own overcrowding.
In Oregon, the state legislature, anticipating prison crowding, mandated in 1995 that all state inmates serving sentences of less than a year would be housed in local jails. County officials who are being forced to release prisoners early criticize the state, saying they haven't been given the funds to handle the extra jail population.

In Indiana, more than 12,000 prisoners have been released from the Marion County Jail in the last four years because of overcrowding, including more than 2,600 this year. In Connecticut, where the state corrections department also runs the local jails, officials have released more than 13,000 prisoners judged to pose the least threat to public safety since 2000.

Ultimately the issue has its roots in the contradictory impulses of state voters, who want to put more criminals behind bars but are reluctant to pay higher taxes to build and operate prisons and jails.
Fields's piece alludes to two important points, but doesn't exactly spell them out:

1) As prison and jail populations bulge, state budgets are starting to
strain. This devastating impact on the public's pocketbook could be the catalyst for ending many of the punitive prohibitionist policies associated with the War on Drugs.

2) There is a real need for more re-entry services and programs as more
people come out from behind bars and back into society. If they don't have access to education, housing, jobs, etc, what are they supposed to do besides commit more crimes to survive?

Why not write a letter to the editor (LTE) connecting the dots? LTEs can be sent to

NJ takes one step forward, one step back on drug-free school zones

AP reports that New Jersey may be shrinking its drug-free school zones in response to longstanding criticism of the way they virtually encompass entire cities, as well as their racially disproportionate impact.

An Assembly committee voted on Monday to decrease the size of the zones from 1,000 feet to 200 feet within the distance of a school. Unfortunately, the committee also voted to increase the sentences of people convicted under the zone laws.
The 4-1 vote, with one abstention, came after the chairman of the state Commission to Review Criminal Sentencing assured legislators that the current 1,000-foot school zone (500 feet for public places) had effectively put entire cities in such zones and resulted in the law being applied almost exclusively to blacks and Hispanics.

"The laws as written don't work. They don't protect our children," said the commission chairman, retired state Superior Court Judge Barnett E. Hoffman. He said state and county prosecutors did not oppose the changes.

As the commission recommended, the revised law would provide a 200-foot drug-free zone around schools and public places. Offenders would face five to 10 years in prison, compared to three to five years under the current statute.
Fortunately, the increased penalties are not mandatory minimums, and judges will have discretion on how long sentences should be.

Judge Hoffman's quote is refreshing, as it is an acknowledgement that punitive prohibitionist policies aren't doing anything to keep young people safe. The reduction of the drug-free school zones' size is a good first step, but let's hope his advocacy doesn't stop there.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Urban Outfitters store caves to parents' pressure

We recently reported that a group of Michigan parents were pressuring retailer Urban Outfitters to stop selling books and board games about marijuana.

Well, it looks like the local store being targeted has buckled under the parents' pressure.
Until this week, you could find a recipe for the marijuana-laced sweets in a cookbook sold at the newly opened Urban Outfitters at the Somerset Collection in Troy.

But the hip store -- which caters to the trendy high school and college crowd with cool clothes, edgy books and games, and funky home decorations -- pulled "The Marijuana Chef Cookbook" by S.T. Oner after a Troy group complained.
The Drug Czar's staff are having a field day bragging about this over at their blog.

But it looks like the drug war acquiescence is limited to the one outlet and hasn't spread through the entire chain.
Calls to the Troy store were referred to the company's Philadelphia headquarters. A spokeswoman there declined to comment. She would not say whether the book had been pulled from other stores. The cookbook was still available Friday on the retailer's Web site,

The Urban Outfitters store in Ann Arbor never got the cookbook, but an employee who answered the phone Friday said the store does sell a board game called "Weed the Game."
It sure is easy to fool those drug warriors into thinking they've earned a sweet victory, isn't it?

At least the DARE Generation knows better than to believe the lie that banning books will do anything to help solve our nation's drug problems.
"If you don't like something they're selling, don't buy it," said 15-year-old Jay Savage of Clinton Township, who visited Urban Outfitters for the first time Wednesday with his mom and 18-year-old sister Natalie.

Right on, Jay.

Former Seattle Police Chief says "Legalize it, All of it"

Norm Stamper, former police chief of Seattle, penned an op-ed in today's Seattle Times calling for full legalization. His rationale is humanistic, practical and non-partisan. Some block quotes appear below, along with a link to the editorial itself.

"As a cop, I bore witness to the multiple lunacies of the "war on drugs." Lasting far longer than any other of our national conflicts, the drug war has been prosecuted with equal vigor by Republican and Democratic administrations, with one president after another -- Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush -- delivering sanctimonious sermons, squandering vast sums of taxpayer money and cheerleading law enforcers from the safety of the sidelines.

It's not a stretch to conclude that our Draconian approach to drug use is the most injurious domestic policy since slavery. Want to cut back on prison overcrowding and save a bundle on the construction of new facilities? Open the doors, let the nonviolent drug offenders go. The huge increases in federal and state prison populations during the 1980s and '90s (from 139 per 100,000 residents in 1980 to 482 per 100,000 in 2003) were mainly for drug convictions. In 1980, 580,900 Americans were arrested on drug charges. By 2003, that figure had ballooned to 1,678,200. We're making more arrests for drug offenses than for murder, manslaughter, forcible rape and aggravated assault combined. Feel safer?

I've witnessed the devastating effects of open-air drug markets in residential neighborhoods: children recruited as runners, mules and lookouts; drug dealers and innocent citizens shot dead in firefights between rival traffickers bent on protecting or expanding their markets; dedicated narcotics officers tortured and killed in the line of duty; prisons filled with nonviolent drug offenders; and drug-related foreign policies that foster political instability, wreak health and environmental disasters, and make life even tougher for indigenous subsistence farmers in places such as Latin America and Afghanistan. All because we like our drugs -- and can't have them without breaking the law.

As an illicit commodity, drugs cost and generate extravagant sums of (laundered, untaxed) money, a powerful magnet for character-challenged police officers.

Although small in numbers of offenders, there isn't a major police force -- the Los Angeles Police Department included -- that has escaped the problem: cops, sworn to uphold the law, seizing and converting drugs to their own use, planting dope on suspects, robbing and extorting pushers, taking up dealing themselves, intimidating or murdering witnesses."

The Seattle Times: Opinion: Legalize drugs — all of them

You can send a letter to the editor at (Letters must include your full name (no initials), home address and daytime and evening telephone numbers for verification.)

Cannabis Production = Education Reduction

In Broken Arrow, Oklahoma an elementary school teacher and her youth counselor husband are facing four drug counts in connection with an indoor marijuana growing operation.
Rebecca "Becky" Ann Meador, 33, and Robert Lee Meador, 35, were charged Wednesday in Tulsa County District Court with cultivation of marijuana, unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, failure to obtain a drug tax stamp, and possession of paraphernalia.
Keith Isbell, a spokesman for the district, said Meador was named Teacher of the Year at Park Lane Elementary School just a month ago. According to the district's Web site, she earned National Board Certification in 2003. National Board Certification complements state licensing by establishing advanced standards for experienced teachers. Oklahoma teachers receive a $5,000 stipend each year if they are certificated.
Robert Meador has worked for the Shadow Mountain Behavioral Health System for several years as a counselor treating children and teenagers with emotional and behavioral problems on an outpatient basis.
Wow. What could better help to disprove the stereotypes concerning marijuana users than this situation? Here we have two American adults, contributing to their community with educational and social work for several years without any problems. One was the Teacher of the Year at the elementary school she taught at!

I am sure that the Meador's marijuana use was not a newly acquired hobby. It is very probable that they have used it for a long time and if so, they have obviously been able to do so in a responsible manner. If this event had not occurred Robert and Rebecca would have more than likely continued to contribute to their community, interact with students, and provide help to troubled youth.

Does this not seem counterproductive towards the goals of education for our youth? Removing two qualified and involved teachers from this school is not going to have any benefit for students. And what kind of a message does it send to the young students of the school? I can only begin to imagine some of the propaganda that will be used to explain this complicated situation to elementary school students.

These kids are going to eventually make the connection that their teacher or counselor were able to attain all the goals that DARE class told them "drug users" could never accomplish. They will realize that whatever the punishment may be for the Meador's (could be stiff; Okalahoma Marijuana Laws), it did not make them or their community any safer.