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Drug War Chronicle, Issue #631 -(urls + editorial)- 5/7/10

Von: B Sellers (bliss@sfo.com) [Profil]
Datum: 07.05.2010 21:13
Message-ID: <hs1op9$7bm$1@news.eternal-september.org>
Followup-to: talk.politics.drugs
Newsgroup: talk.politics.drugs rec.drugs.psychedelic rec.drugs.misc alt.hemp alt.drugs
Drug War Chronicle, Issue #631 -- 5/7/10
Phillip S. Smith, Editor, psmith@drcnet.org
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631

A Publication of Stop the Drug War (DRCNet)
David Borden, Executive Director, borden@drcnet.org
"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

2010 is Important in Drug Policy -- And So Are You:
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/changing_minds_laws_lives_2010

Table of Contents:

1. FEATURE: OBAMA'S FIRST NATIONAL DRUG STRATEGY -- THE GOOD, THE BAD,
AND THE UGLY
Over the weekend, Newsweek published a leaked draft of the 2010 National
Drug Control Strategy. No one is sure why it was leaked, or by whom. A
pair of leading observers of federal drug policy dissect it for us.
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/2010_obama_national_drug_control_strategy_good_bad
_ugly

2. FEATURE: THE GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCHES, PART ONE
Saturday saw the planet's cannabis nation hit the streets for part one
of this year's bifurcated Global Marijuana Marches. Here's a report,
with more to come next week.
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/global_marijuana_march_part_one

3. MEDICAL MARIJUANA: DC CITY COUNCIL APPROVES BILL, ADVOCATES CRITICIZE
RESTRICTIONS
The nation's capital will soon join the ranks of jurisdictions allowing
medical marijuana use after the DC City Council approved regulations
this week. But according to advocates, the measure is lacking.
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/washington_dc_city_council_approves_medical_mariju
ana_regulations

4. APPEAL: 2010 IS IMPORTANT IN DRUG POLICY -- AND SO ARE YOU
2010 is a critical year in the effort to end prohibition and the war on
drugs. The StoptheDrugWar.org (DRCNet) "Changing Minds, Changing Laws,
Changing Lives" campaign is asking for you to pitch in -- your support
is more important now than it has ever been before!
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/changing_minds_laws_lives_2010

5. LAW ENFORCEMENT: VIDEO OF SWAT TEAM KILLING DOGS IN FRONT OF CHILD
DURING POT RAID STIRS OUTRAGE
Another SWAT raid over pot, another dead dog, another traumatized
family. But this one was caught on videotape, and now the outrage is
spreading across the land.
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/columbia_missouri_SWAT_raid_dog_killed_marijuana

6. LATIN AMERICA: MEXICO DRUG WAR UPDATE
Calderon's war on drugs is closing in on the 20,000 dead figure,
according to a running tally by the Mexico City newspaper El Universal.
And the prohibition-related killing continues unabated.
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/mexico_drug_war_update

7. LAW ENFORCEMENT: THIS WEEK'S CORRUPT COPS STORIES
A South Carolina sheriff gets busted for cocaine trafficking, and so
does a Texas border town cop. And, as always, we have a couple of
misbehaving jail guards, too.
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/police_drug_corruption

8. MARIJUANA: DETROIT POSSESSION LEGALIZATION INITIATIVE HANDS IN SIGNATURES
Organizers of an initiative that would legalize the possession of up to
an ounce of pot have handed in far more than the required number of
signatures required to make the November ballot in Detroit.
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/detroit/marijuana_legalization_initiative_signatur
es_handed_in

9. MARIJUANA: WEED WAR BREAKS OUT AMONG PHILLY POLITICOS
Hard-line former Philadelphia DA Lynne Abraham is taking pot shots her
successor, DA Seth Williams, over his policy of treating marijuana
possession offenders more leniently. Williams and his crew are hitting back.
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/philadelphia_weed_war_williams_abraham_marijuana

10. DRUG TESTING: LOUISIANA HOUSE COMMITTEE PASSES VOLUNTARY DRUG TESTS
FOR OFFICIALS BILL
It must be silly season already in Baton Rouge. A House committee there
has deliberated on and passed a bill that would allow legislators and
state officials to take voluntary drug tests and mental health
evaluations and post the results on the Internet.
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/louisiana_house_committee_voluntary_drug_test_legi
slators_state_officials_bill

11. CANADA: TORIES REINTRODUCE MANDATORY MINIMUM MARIJUANA BILL
Bent on flexing their "tough on crime" muscles and impervious to polls
showing a majority of Canadians want to legalize pot, Canada's
Conservatives have reintroduced a bill creating mandatory minimum prison
sentences for growing as few as 6 pot plants or making any amount of
hash. That's so last century, Ottawa!
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/canada_reintroduces_marijuana_mandatory_minimum_bi
ll

12. EUROPE: EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE HEARS CASE THAT COULD BAN
FOREIGNERS FROM DUTCH CANNABIS CAFES
Can the Dutch ban foreigners from going to their famous cannabis cafes?
The city of Maastricht tried it, and now the European Court of Justice
will decide whether the move conflicts with the European Union's laws
regarding free trade.
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/european_union_court_dutch_marijuana_coffee_shop_c
ase_foreigners_maastrict

13. WEEKLY: THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/drug_war_history

14. WEEKLY: BLOGGING @ THE SPEAKEASY
"Is Medical Marijuana a Step Towards Full Legalization?," "A Small Bag
of Marijuana = Police Shooting Your Dogs in Front of Your Child," "Cop
Accidentally Argues for Marijuana Legalization," "'This Administration
Firmly Opposes the Legalization of Marijuana'," "Weird Drama at the Drug
Czar's Office."
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/blogging_at_the_speakeasy

(Not subscribed? Visit http://stopthedrugwar.org to sign up today!)

===============

1. Feature: Obama's First National Drug Strategy -- The Good, the Bad,
and the Ugly
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/631/2010_obama_national_drug_control_strategy_good_bad
_ugly

A leaked draft
(http://www.newsweek.com/media/58/national_drug_strategy_v2.pdf) of the
overdue 2010 National Drug Strategy was published by Newsweek over the
weekend, and it reveals some positive shifts away from Bush-era drug
policy paradigms and toward more progressive and pragmatic approaches.
But there is a lot of continuity as well, and despite the Obama
administration's rhetorical shift away from the "war on drugs," the drug
war juggernaut is still rolling along.

That doesn't quite jibe with Office of National Drug Control Policy
(ONDCP, the drug czar's office -- http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov)
director Gil Kerlikowske's words when he announced in April 2009 that
the phrase "war on drugs" was no longer in favor. "Regardless of how you
try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a product,'
people see a war as a war on them. We're not at war with people in this
country."

The leak was reported by long-time Washington insider and Newsweek
columnist Michael Isikoff, who mentioned it almost off-handedly in a
piece asserting "The White House Drug Czar's Diminished Status"
(http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/declassified/archive/2010/04/30/the-white-house-drug-czar-
s-diminished-status.aspx).
Isikoff asserted in the piece that the unveiling of the strategy had
been delayed because Kerlikowske didn't have the clout to get President
Obama to schedule a joint appearance to release it. His office had been
downgraded from cabinet level, Isikoff noted.

That sparked an angry retort from UCLA professor Mark Kleiman, a burr
under the saddle to prohibitionists and anti-prohibitionists alike for
his heterodox views on drug policy. In a blog post
(http://www.samefacts.com/2010/05/drug-policy/the-obama-drug-strategy),
Kleiman seemed personally offended at the leak, twice referring to the
leaker as "a jerk," defending the new drug strategy as innovative if
bound by interagency politics, and deriding Isikoff's article as "gossipy."

Kleiman also suggested strongly that the leaker was none other than
former John Walters on the basis of an editing mark on the document that
had his name on it. But Walters has not confirmed that, and others have
point out it could have been a current staffer who is using the same
computer Walters used while in office.

On the plus side, the draft strategy embraces some harm reduction
programs, such as needle exchanges and the use of naloxone to prevent
overdoses, although without ever uttering the words "harm reduction."
There is also a renewed emphasis on prevention and treatment, with
slight spending increases. But again reality fails to live up to
rhetoric, with overall federal drug control spending maintaining the
long-lived 2:1 ration in spending for law enforcement, eradication, and
interdiction versus that for treatment and prevention.

The strategy also promotes alternatives to incarceration, such drug
courts, community courts and the like and for the first time hints that
it recognizes the harms that can be caused by the punitive approach to
drug policy. And it explicitly calls for reform of the sentencing
disparity for crack and powder cocaine offenses.

It sets a number of measurable goals related to reducing drug use. By
2015, ONDCP vows to cut last month drug use by young adults by 10% and
cut last month use by teens, lifetime use by 8th graders, and the number
of chronic drug users by 15%.

The 2010 goals of a 15% reduction reflect diminishing expectations after
years of more ambitious drug use reduction goals followed by the drug
policy establishment's inability to achieve them. That could inoculate
the Obama administration from the kind of criticism faced by the Clinton
administration back in the 1990s when it did set much more ambitious goals.

The Clinton administration's 1998 National Drug Control Strategy
(http://www.ncjrs.gov/ondcppubs/pdf/strat_pt1.pdf) called for a
"ten-year conceptual framework to reduce drug use and drug availability
by 50%." That didn't happen. That strategy put the number of drug users
at 13.5 million, but instead of decreasing, according to the 2008
National Household Survey on Drug Abuse and Health
(http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nsduh/2k8nsduh/2k8Results.pdf), by 2007 the
number of drug users was at 20.1 million.

While Clinton took criticism from Republicans that his goals were not
ambitious enough -- Newt Gingrich said we should just wipe out drugs --
the Bush administration set similar goals, and achieved similarly modest
results. The Bush administration's 2002 National Drug Control Strategy
(http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ondcp/192260.pdf) sought a 25% reduction
in drug use by both teenagers and adults within five years. While teen
drug use declined from 11.6% in 2002 to 9.3% in 2007, then drug czar
Walters missed his goal. He did less well with adult use almost
unchanged, at 6.3% in 2000 and 5.9% in 2007.

The draft strategy, however, remains wedded to law enforcement,
eradication, and interdiction, calls for strong federal support for
local drug task forces, and explicitly rejects marijuana legalization.
It also seeks to make drugged driving a top priority, which would be
especially problematic if the administration adopts per se zero
tolerance measures (meaning the presence of any metabolites of a
controlled substance could result in a driver's arrest whether he was
actually impaired or not).

Still, while the draft strategy is definitely a mixed bag, a pair of
keen observers of ONDCP and federal drug policy pronounced themselves
fairly pleased overall. While still heavy on the law enforcement side,
the first Obama national drug strategy is a far cry from the
propaganda-driven documents of Bush era drug czar John Walters.

THE GOOD

"This is somewhat of a surprise, because for the first time they have
included reducing the funds associated with the drug war in their
strategy, although not in a big way, they're calling for reform of the
crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity, and they are calling for the
reform of laws that penalize people," said Bill Piper, national affairs
director for the Drug Policy Alliance (http://www.drugpolicy.org). "This
is the first time they've included anything recognizing that some of our
policies are creating harm," he added.

"The stuff about syringe exchange and naloxone for overdose prevention
is pretty good. It's the first time they've embraced any part of harm
reduction, even though they don't use that name," Piper noted.

"I'm also impressed with the section on alternatives to incarceration,"
said Piper. "They basically said most drug users don't belong in jail,
and a lot of dealers don't, either. It's still wedded to the criminal
justice system, but it's good that they looked at so many different
things -- drug courts, community courts, Operation Highpoint (warning
dealers to desist instead of just arresting them as a means of breaking
up open-air drug markets), programs for veterans. They seem interested
in finding out what works, which is an evidence-based approach that had
been lacking in previous strategies."

THE STATUS QUO

"Drug war reformers have eagerly been waiting the release of President
Obama's first National Drug Control Strategy," noted Matthew Robinson,
professor of Government and Justice Studies at Appalachian State
University and coauthor (with Renee Scherlen) of "Lies, Damned Lies, and
Drug War Statistics: A Critical Analysis of Claims Made by the ONDCP."
"Would it put Obama's and Kerlikowske's words into action, or would it
be more of the same in terms of federal drug control policy? The answer
is yes. And no. There is real, meaningful, exciting change proposed in
the 2010 Strategy. But there's a lot of the status quo, too," he said.

"The first sentence of the Strategy hints at status quo approaches to
federal drug control policy; it announces 'a blueprint for reducing
illicit drug use and its harmful consequences in America,'" Robinson
said. "That ONDCP will still focus on drug use (as opposed to abuse) is
unfortunate, for the fact remains that most drug use is normal,
recreational, pro-social, and even beneficial to users; it does not
usually lead to bad outcomes for users, including abuse or addiction,"
he said.

"Just like under the leadership of Director John Walters, Kerlikowske's
ONDCP characterizes its drug control approaches as 'balanced,' yet FY
2011 federal drug control spending is still imbalanced in favor of
supply side measures (64%), while the demand side measures of treatment
and prevention will only receive 36% of the budget," Robinson pointed
out. "In FY 2010, the percentages were 65% and 35%, respectively.
Perhaps when Barack Obama said 'Change we can believe in,' what he
really meant was 'Change you can believe in, one percentage point at a
time.'"

There is also much of the status quo in funding levels, Robinson said.
"There will also be plenty of drug war funding left in this 'non-war on
drugs.' For example, FY 2011 federal drug control spending includes $3.8
billion for the Department of Homeland Security (which includes Customs
and Border Protection spending), more than $3.4 billion for the
Department of Justice (which includes Drug Enforcement Agency spending),
and nearly $1.6 billion for the Department of Defense (which includes
military spending). Thus, the drug war will continue on under President
Obama even if White House officials do not refer to federal drug control
policy as a 'war on drugs,'" he noted.

THE BAD

"ONDCP repeatedly stresses the importance of reducing supply of drugs
into the United States through crop eradication and interdiction
efforts, international collaboration, disruption of drug smuggling
organizations, and so forth," Robinson noted. "It still promotes efforts
like Plan Colombia, the Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy, and
many other similar programs aimed at eradicating drugs in foreign
countries and preventing them from entering the United States. The
bottom line here is that the 'non war on drugs' will still look and feel
like a war on drugs under President Obama, especially to citizens of the
foreign nations where the United States does the bulk of its drug war
fighting."

"They are still wedded to interdiction and eradication," said Piper.
"There is no recognition that they aren't very effective and do more
harm than good. Coming only a couple of weeks after the drug czar
testified under oath that eradication in Colombia and Afghanistan and
elsewhere had no impact on the availability of drugs in the US, to then
put out a strategy embracing what he said was least effective is quite
disturbing."

"The ringing endorsement of per se standards for drugged driving is
potentially troubling," said Piper. "It looks a lot like zero tolerance.
We have to look at this also in the context of new performance measures,
which are missing from the draft. In the introduction, they talk about
setting goals for reducing drug use and that they went to set other
performance measures, such as for reducing drug overdoses and drugged
driving. If they actually say they're going to reduce drugged driving by
such and such an amount with a certain number of years, that will be
more important. We'll have to see what makes it into the final draft."

"They took a gratuitous shot at marijuana reform," Piper noted. "It was
unfortunate they felt the need to bash something that half of Americans
support and to do it in the way they did, listing a litany of Reefer
Madness allegations and connecting marijuana to virtually every problem
in America. That was really unfortunate."

MORE GOOD

There are some changes in spending priorities. "Spending on prevention
will grow 13.4% from FY 2010 to FY 2011, while spending on treatment
will grow 3.7%," Robinson noted. "The growth in treatment is
surprisingly small given that ONDCP notes that 90% of people who need
treatment do not receive it. Increases are much smaller for spending on
interdiction (an increase of 2.4%), domestic law enforcement (an
increase of 1.9%), and international spending (an increase of 0.9%).
This is evidence of a shift in federal drug control strategy under
President Obama; there will be a greater effort to prevent drug use in
the first place as well as treat those that become addicted to drugs
than there ever was under President Bush."

Robinson also lauded the Obama administration for more clarity in the
strategy than was evident under either Clinton or Bush. "Obama's first
Strategy clearly states its guiding principles, each of which is
followed by a specific set of actions to be initiated and implemented
over time to achieve goals and objectives related to its principles. Of
course, this is Obama's first Strategy, so in subsequent years, there
will be more data presented for evaluation purposes, and it should
become easier to decipher the ideology that will drive the 'non war on
drugs' under President Obama," he said.

But he suggested that ideology still plays too big a role. "ONDCP hints
at its ideology when it claims that programs such as 'interdiction,
anti-trafficking initiatives, drug crop reduction, intelligence sharing
and partner nation capacity building... have proven effective in the
past.' It offers almost no evidence that this is the case other than
some very limited, short-term data on potential cocaine production in
Colombia. ONDCP claims it is declining, yet only offers data from 2007
to 2008. Kerlikowske's ONDCP seems ready to accept the dominant drug war
ideology of Walters that supply side measures work -- even when
long-term data show they do not."

Robinson also lauded ONDCP's apparent revelation that drug addiction is
a disease. "Obama's first strategy embraces a new approach to achieving
federal drug control goals of 'reducing illicit drug consumption' and
'reducing the consequences of illicit drug use in the United States,'
one that is evidence-based and public health oriented," Robinson said.
"ONDCP recognizes that drug addiction is a disease and it specifies that
federal drug control policy should be assisted by parties in all of the
systems that relate to drug use and abuse, including families, schools,
communities, faith-based organizations, the medical profession, and so
forth. This is certainly a change from the Bush Administration, which
repeatedly characterized drug use as a moral or personal failing."

While the Obama drug strategy may have its faults, said Robinson, it is
a qualitative improvement over Bush era drug strategies. "Under the Bush
Administration, ONDCP came across as downright dismissive of data,
evidence, and science, unless it was used to generate fear and increased
punitive responses to drug-related behaviors. Honestly, there is very
little of this in Obama's first strategy, aside from the usual drugs
produce crime, disorder, family disruption, illness, addiction, death,
and terrorism argument that has for so long been employed by ONDCP," he
said. "Instead, the Strategy is hopeful in tone and lays out dozens of
concrete programs and policies that aim to prevent drug use among young
people (through public education programs, mentoring initiatives,
increasing collaboration between public health and safety
organizations); treat adults who have developed drug abuse and addiction
problems (though screening and intervention by medical personnel,
increased investments in addiction treatment, new treatment
medications); and, for the first time, invest heavily in recovery
efforts that are restorative in nature and aimed at giving addicts a new
lease on life," he noted.

"ONDCP also seems to suddenly have a better grasp on why the vast
majority of people who need treatment do not get it," said Robinson.
"Under Walters, ONDCP claimed that drug users were in denial and needed
to be compassionately coerced to seek treatment. In the 2010 Strategy,
ONDCP outlines numerous problems with delivery of treatment services
including problems with the nation's health care systems generally. The
2010 Strategy seems so much better informed about the realities of drug
treatment than previous Strategy reports," he added.

"The strategy also repeatedly calls for meaningful change in areas such
as alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent, low-level drug
offenders; drug testing in courts (and schools, unfortunately, in spite
of data showing it is ineffective); and reentry programs for inmates who
need help finding jobs and places to live upon release from prison or
jail. ONDCP also implicitly acknowledges that that federal drug control
policy imposes costs on families (including the break-up of families),
and shows with real data that costs are greater economically for
imprisonment of mothers and foster care for their children than
family-based treatment," Robinson noted.

"ONDCP makes the case that we are wasting a lot of money dealing with
the consequences of drug use and abuse when this money would be better
spent preventing use and abuse in the first place. Drug policy reformers
will embrace this claim," Robinson predicted.

"The strategy also calls for a renewed emphasis on prescription drug
abuse, which it calls 'the fastest growing drug problem in the United
States,'" Robinson pointed out. "Here, as in the past, ONDCP suggests
regulation is the answer because prescription drugs have legitimate uses
that should not be restricted merely because some people use them
illegally. And, as in the past, ONDCP does not consider this approach
for marijuana, which also has legitimate medicinal users in spite of the
fact that some people use it illegally," he said.

THE VERDICT

"President Obama's first National Drug Control Strategy offers real,
meaningful, exciting change," Robinson summed up. "Whether this change
amounts to 'change we can believe in' will be debated by drug policy
reformers. For those who support demand side measures, many will embrace
the 2010 Strategy and call for even greater funding for prevention and
treatment. For those who support harm reduction measures such as needled
exchange, methadone maintenance and so forth, there will be celebration.
Yet, for those who support real alternatives to federal drug control
policy such as legalization or decriminalization, all will be
disappointed. And even if Obama officials will not refer to its drug
control policies as a 'war on drugs,' they still amount to just that."

================  ...


___________________

It's time to correct the mistake:
truth:the Anti-drugwar
<http://www.briancbennett.com>

Cops say legalize drugs--find out why:
<http://www.leap.cc>

Stoners are people too:
<http://www.cannabisconsumers.org>
___________________


later
bliss -- Cacoa  Powered... (at sfo dot com)

--
bobbie sellers - a retired nurse in San Francisco

"It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the beans of cacoa that the thoughts acquire speed,
the thighs acquire girth, the girth become a warning.
It is by theobromine alone I set my mind in motion."
--from Someone else's Dune spoof ripped to my taste.
















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