Wednesday, March 14, 2007

UMD Keeps on Rockin'

My apologies for not getting this post up sooner. University of Maryland SSDP is always setting a great example for SSDP chapters to follow and recently they have added another notch under their belts.

Stacia Cosner and gang succeeded in getting a resolution passed in their Student Government asking the administration to make marijuana penalties equal to that of underage drinking. That is a huge step in this ongoing battle to end a rather ignorant policy.

Heres what Stacia had to say:

Many of you are familiar with the ongoing battle we have been fighting here at UMD to get the changes implemented from our SAFER initiative, passed in April 2006 with 65% of the student body vote. The administration has instructed us to go through difficult, confusing, bureaucratic red tape in order to officially get our changes in place. I'll spare you all of the ridiculous details surrounding our efforts of the past two years. Long story short - this is one huge step in our quest - as now it is going to be almost impossible for the administrators to brush us off any longer! Please check out an Op-Ed that one of our chapter members, Rebecca Ogle, got published last week, it eloquently states what the resolution was concerning: "Sensibility on Cannabis"

The RHA win was and is a huge victory and cause for celebration for us, but it was just a huge step, towards the ultimate goal of ACTUALLY reflecting what the students want in our school's policies. Now, the process begins with the administration.

If the administration blocks these changes at this point, they are blatantly ignoring the students' will . And we - as students - will not stand for that!

Damn Straight. Good luck guys.

Live Free or Die.

New Hampshire's HB 774 would legalize the use of medical marijuana for patients throughout the state.

Check out Live Free's new website for more information about HB 774 and how you can help.

For many New Hampshire residents, HB 774 gives literal meaning to the motto "Live Free or Die".

Monday, March 12, 2007

Rise in Drug Raids

Of all the aspects of the drug war that bother me nothing frightens and enrages me more than the SWAT tactics associated with no-knock drug raids. It is nothing new for most of us who have read Radley Balko's Overkill or spent some time viewing the Drug War Victim's memorial page, that drug raids are often extremely dangerous. Often resulting in traumatized children and families, wrong addresses, and deaths of innocent civilians and police officers as well.

Look at this story focusing on Passaic County, New Jersey, where law enforcement officers from city, county, state and federal agencies have escalated their raids on homes in an attempt to crack down on narcotics. From 2001 to 2006, the number of warrants authorizing such raids more than tripled. Heres is an audio file from victims of one such Paterson raid, in which they describe the shooting of their family dog by raiding SWAT officers.

The raid was one of more than 350 search warrants executed in Passaic County in 2004. In their efforts to crack down on the Paterson-area drug trade, law enforcement officers from city, county, state and federal agencies have escalated their raids on homes, sometimes using heavily armed units to batter down doors and tear through residents' belongings as they search for stored contraband. The number of houses and apartments Paterson Police Department's narcotics bureau entered also tripled during that period; in 2006 city police obtained warrants to search 162 homes.

Local raids have resulted in hundreds of arrests and the seizure of millions of dollars in cash and illegal drugs. They have also left a wake of traumatized innocents -- children, seniors, neighbors and visitors who happened to be present during a search. Despite the Fourth Amendment's safeguard against "unreasonable searches and seizures," residents have few protections during the course of a raid, legal experts say.

Please read this full investigation by Suzanne Travers. It goes into great detail about the after effects of these raids on American's and in particular the children that are involved. Its also talks about incidents in which non-violent teens was smashed in the face with the butt of a rifle and then told to lie about it, saying it was a coffee table that did the damage.

It seems the police can do anything they want when drugs are the excuse. Nothing frightens me more than the idea of having my house raided at 4am because an informant with everything to lose rats me out to save his/her own ass. I just find it disgusting really. No amount of drug use or possession justifies such actions in the privacy of our homes.