Sunday, July 31, 2005

America targets Emery

London Free Press

A London friend says U.S. authorities want to make an example of the pot activist.

Sharon Ho, Free Press Reporter

The arrest of Canadian pot activist Marc Emery is being used to advance the agenda of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, a London friend charges.

"Someone needed to made an example of (him) to further the agenda of the American drug enforcement agency," said Teresa Tarasewicz, co-owner of the City Lights Book Shop.

"He's a pawn in the politics of drug enforcement between the two different countries," she said. "It'll be interesting to see whether Canada holds fast or hands him over."

Tarasewicz bought the bookstore from Emery, a former Londoner, in 1992. She last spoke to him about a month ago.

Emery was arrested Friday by RCMP in central Nova Scotia after Vancouver police raided his pot seed and paraphernalia store and arrested two others, Gregory Keith Williams and Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek.

They are wanted in the U.S. on charges of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, conspiracy to distribute seeds and conspiracy to engage in money laundering.

A conviction on the charges carries a sentence ranging from 10 years to life in prison.

Emery, leader of the B.C. Marijuana Party, was in a Halifax-area jail yesterday waiting to be returned to Vancouver, while U.S. authorities try to extradite him.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has said the three were indicted by a U.S. federal grand jury in May after an 18-month U.S. police probe of the sale of marijuana seeds on the Internet and by mail.

Emery moved away from London in 1992, but was well-known in this city for his various campaigns. As owner of City Lights, he wanted the downtown business improvement area organization dismantled and fought its right to levy a charge on his store.

The high school dropout founded the Freedom Party with Robert Metz, its current president. The two later started two-short lived newspapers -- the London MetroBulletin and the London Tribune.

"If you want to change the law, you have to be prepared to break the law," Metz once said in describing Emery's philosophy in life.

Emery became known for his pot activism in 1994 after moving to Vancouver from Indonesia.

In Vancouver, he started the Cannabis Cafe, a meeting place for marijuana smokers, Hemp BC, a supply store, and Little Grow Shop, a seed and plant outlet. These places were raided a few times and eventually closed.

For the last 10 years, Emery has been selling marijuana seeds on the Internet. He's made more than $2 million from the business.

"He's receiving attention because he's successful at it," Tarasewicz said.

"Whatever happens, he's not going to go quietly. He'll raise awareness (of the marijuana legalization issue). The business wouldn't be profitable without the support of regular folks."

Emery has been convicted in the past of trafficking in marijuana seeds.

He spent three months in jail last year for passing a joint at a Saskatoon pot rally in 2004. It was Emery's 11th drug-related conviction, but the first time he was sentenced to jail.

Yesterday, City Lights customers were asking for Tarasewicz's reaction to Emery's situation. Londoners tend to think of him as someone regularly "raising controversy and trouble," she said.

Drug News + Drugs + Marijuana + Canada + Drug Trade

Friday, July 29, 2005

LSD suit against CIA dismissed

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - A lawsuit filed by a former U.S. marshal who claimed the CIA slipped LSD into his drink in 1957, causing him to act irrationally and rob a bar, has been dismissed by a federal judge.

Wayne Ritchie, 78, a former marshal and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, claimed he was part of Project MKULTRA in which government operatives tested LSD and other psychoactive drugs on unwitting subjects.

He claims the drug, given to him at an office Christmas party, made him feel "overcome by a sense of worthlessness that compelled him to engage knowingly in self-destructive conduct."

Later that day, he tried to rob the Shady Grove bar in San Francisco's Fillmore district before getting beat up. He pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and in March 1958, was sentenced to five years' probation and resigned from his job.

U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel dismissed the lawsuit in a ruling issued on Tuesday, following a four-day nonjury trial in her court in San Francisco in April.

Patel noted the government has conceded that CIA operatives drugged some individuals without their knowledge in December 1957 during testing of the drug.

But she said Ritchie hadn't proved the drug was slipped into his drinks or that the robbery was the result of an LSD-induced psychotic disorder.

A call to Ritchie's lawyer, Sidney Bender, was not immediately returned.

Drug News + Drugs + LSD + CIA + MKULTRA

B.C. marijuana store raided, leader arrested News Staff

Police raided a marijuana seed store run by the B.C. Marijuana Party leader in Vancouver Friday, apparently at the request of U.S. authorities in Seattle.

As a result of the 11 a.m. raid, two people were arrested in Vancouver, and Marijuana Party leader Marc Emery was picked up in Nova Scotia.

The warrant cited a request from U.S. officials.

The charges are:

Conspiracy to manufacture marijuana;
Conspiracy to sell marijuana sell marijuana seeds;
Conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Party spokesperson Kirk Tousaw, reached at the store in Vancouver, said he had not spoken to Emery since the raid.

"I can express a pretty significant disappointment that police would choose to go this route to go after Marc and others who have been operating there for years with no harm to anyone," Tousaw told News.

"The timing stinks. They do it on Friday so that they can keep you in jail the maximum amount of time before you can be released on bail," said Tousaw.

Emery's operation on West Hastings houses a head shop, a book store, the headquarters for PotTV and the operations behind an Internet-based seeds sales company.

The seed business alone is said to be worth $1 million a year.

U.S. officials will hold a news conference in Seattle later today to discuss the case.

Drug News + Drugs + Marijuana + Marc Emery

Bush's War on Pot

Rolling Stone

Forget meth and other hard-core drugs -- the administration would rather waste taxpayer dollars in an all-out assault on marijuana


America's long-running war on drugs has, literally, gone to pot.

More than two decades after it was launched in response to the spread of crack cocaine -- and in the midst of a brand-new wave of methamphetamine use sweeping the country -- the government crackdown has shifted from hard drugs to marijuana. Pot now accounts for nearly half of drug arrests nationwide -- up from barely a quarter of all busts a decade ago. Spurred by a Supreme Court decision in June affirming the right of federal agents to crack down on medical marijuana.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has launched a series of high-profile raids against pot clinics in California, and police in New York, Memphis and Philadelphia have been waging major offensives against pot smokers that are racking up thousands of arrests.

By almost any measure, however, the war has been as monumental a failure as the invasion of Iraq. All told, the government sinks an estimated $35 billion a year into the War on Drugs. Yet illegal drugs remain cheap and plentiful, and coca cultivation in the Andes -- where the Bush administration has spent $5.4 billion to eradicate cocaine -- rose twenty-nine percent last year. "Drug prices are at an all-time low, drug purity is at an all-time high, and polls show that drugs are more available than ever," says Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance, a drug-reform organization in Washington, D.C. Drug smugglers and South American cocaine growers, he adds, are fast developing new ways to evade U.S. eradication efforts. "All they have to do is double their efforts," he says. "They can adapt more quickly than the government can."

Given the government's failure to halt the flow of drugs, many soldiers who eagerly enlisted in the war are beginning to desert the cause. In March, the archconservative American Enterprise Institute published a report -- titled "Are We Losing the War on Drugs?" -- that concluded "criminal punishment of marijuana use does not appear to be justified." Scores of states and cities, whose jails and courts are bursting at the seams with people serving lengthy sentences for minor drug offenses, are rejecting harsh sentencing laws backed by the White House. And most schools and employers are deciding not to test students and workers for drugs, despite a national testing push by John Walters, the tough-talking drug warrior who became America's "drug czar" in 2001. Even the Pentagon, engaged in fighting real wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, has quietly cut back on its efforts to interdict drug traffickers in the Caribbean and Central America.

"Americans will be disappointed to learn that the War on Drugs is not what they thought it was," says Mitch Earleywine, associate professor of psychology at the University of Southern California. "Many of us grew up supporting this war, thinking it would imprison high-level traffickers of hard drugs and keep cocaine and heroin off the streets. Instead, law enforcement officers devote precious hours on hundreds of thousands of arrests for possession of a little marijuana."

Since taking over as drug czar, Walters has launched an extraordinary effort to depict marijuana as an addictive "gateway" to other, more powerful drugs. "Marijuana use, especially during the teen years, can lead to depression, thoughts of suicide and schizophrenia," he declared in May. Trying to capitalize on fears of terrorism, Walters has linked drugs to terror, running a much-derided series of television ads suggesting that the money marijuana users spend on pot winds up funding terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda.

"For Walters, it's all marijuana, all the time," says Graham Boyd, director of the Drug Law Reform Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. "He is reinforcing the atmosphere that marijuana is the drug we should care about, and that the government will do everything it can, including locking everyone up, if that's what it comes to."

In June, the anti-pot crusade got a boost from the Supreme Court, which ruled that federal authorities can crack down on medical marijuana, even in states where it has been legalized. A few weeks after the ruling, as part of Operation Urban Harvest, scores of federal agents swooped down on pot clubs that supply patients in San Francisco. They raided dozens of homes, businesses and growing areas, seizing 9,300 pot plants and arresting fifteen people on federal drug charges. At one dispensary, the Herbal Relief Center, agents seized computer records, medical files and plants.

"We can't disregard the federal law," said Javier Pena, special agent in charge at the DEA. "The Supreme Court reiterates that we have the power to enforce the federal drug laws -- even if they are not popular. We're going to continue to do that."

Since 1992, according to a recent analysis of federal crime statistics by the Sentencing Project, arrests for marijuana have soared from 300,000 a year to 700,000. The government spends an estimated $4 billion a year arresting and prosecuting marijuana crimes -- more than it spends on treating addiction for all drugs -- and more and more of those busts are for possession rather than dealing. One in four people currently in state prisons for pot offenses are classified as "low-level offenders." In New York, arrests for possession -- which now account for nine of every ten busts -- are up twenty-five-fold during the past decade. In Memphis, marijuana arrests are up nineteenfold, and large spikes have also been recorded in Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Houston.

Walters insists that the surge in arrests is having a "deterrent effect," scaring kids away from smoking pot. Testifying before Congress in February, he reported that the administration has exceeded its goal of reducing teen drug use by ten percent. "Over the past three years," he declared, "there has been a seventeen percent decrease in teenage drug use."

But in reality the numbers for pot use have remained remarkably steady. About a third of all teens and young adults report having smoked pot in the past year, as do one in seven adults over thirty-five. And despite the government's all-out assault on marijuana, there's still plenty to go around. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, part of the Justice Department, as much as 19,000 tons of pot are still harvested each year in the United States, with more coming from abroad.

To catch more marijuana users, Walters has launched a nationwide effort to persuade schools to conduct drug tests on student athletes -- and even entire student populations. The drug czar has asked Congress for $25 million to support drug testing next year, up from $10 million this year and just $2 million in 2004, and he is leading a series of national summits on student drug testing. The Supreme Court has upheld drug testing of students involved in sports and other extracurricular activities, and the Bush administration believes "extracurricular activity" can be stretched to include any student who parks on campus. "The court did not elaborate on random drug testing of student populations," says Jennifer de Vallance, a spokeswoman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. "But we think that schools would be on very safe ground to conduct that kind of testing."

Studies have shown, however, that such tests fail to deter students from using drugs. They're also inaccurate: Because hard drugs such as cocaine and crack exit a user's system quickly, most tests manage to detect only marijuana use. "Drug testing is, in effect, marijuana testing, because that is what stays in your system," says Boyd of the ACLU. As a result, fewer than five percent of schools currently conduct drug tests, and many companies are giving up on the practice as well. According to a survey by the American Management Association, only forty-four percent of firms currently screen employees for drugs -- down from sixty-eight percent a decade ago. The administration is also running into widespread opposition over its efforts to force welfare recipients and public-housing residents to pass drug tests in order to qualify for benefits. Michigan, the only state that requires welfare recipients to undergo drug testing, recently suspended its program when a federal court declared such testing illegal.

Even more striking, states are backing away from the tough mandatory-minimum sentencing laws that have put tens of thousands of pot smokers behind bars for years, stretching state budgets to the breaking point. Unlike federal drug hawks, who continue to call for even harsher penalties, more than two dozen states have rolled back or repealed state mandatory minimums. "The federal government continues its love affair with mandatory minimums, but the states are moving in the other direction," says Monica Pratt, spokeswoman for Families Against Mandatory Minimums. "Most people aren't worrying as much about drugs these days. It's just not at the top of their list anymore."

The war on pot diverts money and manpower from fighting far more harmful drugs. While the feds target pot smokers, a burgeoning meth epidemic is swamping rural communities, especially in the West and the Great Plains. Nearly half of state and local law-enforcement agencies identify meth as their greatest drug threat -- compared with only one in eight for marijuana -- and more than 1 million Americans use the highly addictive drug, which is linked to violent crime, explosions and fires at meth labs, severe health problems, and child and family abuse. In 2003, drug agents busted a staggering 10,182 meth labs, and the fight against meth is straining the resources of local police and sheriffs in small towns. But the White House has proposed slashing federal aid for rural narcotics teams by half. "If those cuts go through, they're going to totally wipe us out," says Lt. Steve Dalton, leader of a drug task force in southwest Missouri.

Over the past four years, as the War on Drugs has been eclipsed by the War on Terror, the administration has been forced to scale back its expensive and ineffective efforts to stem the tide of drugs from South America. President Bush has barely mentioned drugs since September 11th, and key federal agencies, from the Department of Defense to the FBI, are quietly bowing out of the anti-drug crusade to concentrate their attention on Iraq and Al Qaeda. "The number-one stated priority for the FBI is to prevent another attack," says a spokesman for the bureau, which has diverted hundreds of agents from its anti-drug task forces to anti-terrorism work. "Other things are not the primary focus. We've had to retool."

For the agencies now grouped within the new Department of Homeland Security, the ones responsible for border security -- the Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs -- preventing terrorists from entering the country trumps their anti-drug mission. The Pentagon, meanwhile, has shipped troops responsible for drug interdiction in South and Central America to the Middle East. Surveillance flights in the Caribbean have been cut back by more than two-thirds. "We're concerned about the ability of the Defense Department to continue to provide support to law enforcement for drug interdiction," says an aide to Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., who chairs the House subcommittee that oversees the War on Drugs.

For the military, the drug war has become a convenient training ground for troops heading to Iraq and Afghanistan. Joint Task Force North, a unit under the U.S. Northern Command, is supposed to provide military assistance to U.S. law enforcement agencies, especially in Southwestern states along the Mexican border. But after soldiers from a Stryker brigade based in Alaska recently spent sixty days training in "rugged desert terrain" to support the border patrol, they were promptly given their marching orders for Iraq.

"This is what we term a win-win situation," says Armando Carrasco, a Northcom spokesman. "We provide assistance, and we get training directly related to our activities."

Those "activities" have left the feds with fewer troops to fight the drug war. With America engaged in a quagmire in Iraq, at great cost in lives and money, the administration is simply unable to push its anti-drug agenda with the same intensity. "The president could sell the War on Drugs in peacetime," says Timothy Lynch, director of the Project on Criminal Justice at the conservative Cato Institute. "But they don't want to embarrass themselves now that we're in the midst of an honest-to-God shooting war. To continue that kind of rhetoric in the middle of a real war, when American soldiers are getting blown up in Iraq, makes it look trivial. There's just no comparison."

Drug News + Drugs + War on Drugs + Marijuana + Crack + Bush + Drug Policy

Enforcing marijuana laws wastes time, money

Duluth News Tribune


State lawmakers recently beat back a huge budget deficit with a new 75 cent per-pack cigarette tax hike worth about $202 million a year. Thinking ahead, here is how a new study can help state officials balance the budget next time around.

Minnesotans spend about $91 million each year to enforce state and local marijuana laws -- money, Jon B. Gettman, a senior fellow at George Mason University's School of Public Policy, finds is mostly wasted.

Gettman's study, titled"Crimes of Indiscretion: Marijuana Arrests in the United States," was prepared for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

"Marijuana arrests," says Gettman, "are instruments of a supply-reduction policy. But, he adds, "The doubling of marijuana arrests in the 1990s has produced the opposite of the intended effect in every major indicator. An increase in arrests should produce a reduction in use and the availability of marijuana. However, during the 1990s both use and availability of marijuana increased."

Marijuana possession arrests in the U.S. totaled 260,000 in 1990. By 2003, that figure topped 662,000.

But even failed public policies can cost a bundle.

Who pays? Minnesotans are, in effect, paying for Washington's marijuana prohibition policies. "The use of criminal law to control the availability and use of marijuana," says Gettman, "is a federal policy that is dependent on local law enforcement for its implementation." And state and local costs quickly add up.

Boston University economics professor Jeffrey A. Miron estimates that nationally, state and local officials spend about $5 billion per year enforcing marijuana laws. Minnesota's share of this multibillion dollar hand-out to Uncle Sam looks like this: $37 million for police services; $48 million for judicial services; and $6 million for correctional services.

The thousands of people arrested on marijuana possession charges in Minnesota each year -- especially teenagers -- pay extra. "Marijuana arrests," Gettman stresses, "make criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens. Indeed, the primary consequence of marijuana arrests is the introduction of hundreds of thousands of young people into the criminal justice system."
Once a teenager has a criminal record, a number of other penalties often follow. In Minnesota, for example, employers can ask job applicants about arrests, even arrests not leading to a conviction, and a criminal record may bar a person from public housing.

Taking a close look at marijuana arrest patterns, Gettman notes that young people are disproportionally targeted. "The brunt of marijuana law enforcement," he says, "falls on both adolescents and the youngest adults -- on teenagers. Nationally, almost 17 percent of all persons arrested for possession of marijuana were between 15 and 17 years old. Another 26 percent were ages 18-20.

And what do Minnesotans get for these financial and personal costs? In 2002 there were 5,884 marijuana possession arrests in Minnesota, but the number of users keeps going up. While 5.3 percent of Minnesota's population was estimated to be monthly users in 1999, in 2002 the estimate stood at 6.3 percent.

Nationally, monthly users went from 4.9 percent in 1999 to 6.2 percent in 2002.

The basic problem, says Gettman, is that the "Overall supply of marijuana in the U.S. is far too diversified to be controlled by law enforcement."

If the marijuana policies are both costly and ineffective, what is the next best strategy? Because marijuana is so widely used, Gettman recommends treating marijuana like a pharmaceutical product, subject to Federal Drug Administration testing and regulatory requirements.

By shifting to a policy that treats and taxes marijuana like tobacco and alcohol, Minnesotans could see a decrease in illegal activities surrounding drug sales, ensure government control of marijuana quality, get better control of underage access to marijuana and remove the profit motive of pushers, including a substantial number of teenage sellers who, most frequently, supply other teenagers.

On top of that, Miron estimates a marijuana sales tax would replace the $91 million a year Minnesota taxpayers are spending to enforce unenforceable laws, with a new revenue pipeline bringing in $14 million a year. And that $105 million would go a long way toward fending off future budget deficits.

Drug News + Commentary + Marijuana + Drug Laws + Minnesota + Teenagers

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Positive cocaine test evidence of epidemic: horse trainer

PM - Wednesday, 27 July , 2005 18:43:00
Reporter: Julia Limb

MARK COLVIN: Is the snorting sound at one of Sydney's top racing stables just coming from excited horses?

Sydney's premier trainer Gai Waterhouse is using a novel defence this week at a hearing into a positive cocaine test on her horse Love You Honey.

Gai Waterhouse says the equine drug test is actually evidence of an epidemic of cocaine-snorting by humans and a number of staff in her Sydney stables have now admitted using the illicit drug.

Julia Limb reports.

JULIA LIMB: Every year thousands of racehorses are tested for banned substances, but to test positive for the white powder cocaine is rare.

In fact, it's the first time in New South Wales racing history that a horse has tested positive to the drug more commonly sniffed by well-to-do partygoers than equine noses.

And the Racing New South Wales steward's inquiry into the positive sample taken from Love You Honey has so far had some serious ramifications.

Track-rider Roy Storch has admitted to taking the drug on two occasions, leading to trainer Gai Waterhouse's defence team suggesting the rider may have contaminated the horse.

But the President of the Randwick Trainers' Association, John O'Shea, says to then suggest that there's a cocaine epidemic is unfair to the rest of the racing industry.

JOHN O'SHEA: The defence put up by Mrs Waterhouse's team is quite broad and non-specific and the reality, you know, by reading the transcripts, they're quite unaware of what's happened, which is exactly what's the scenario. They don't know what's happened, so all they're doing is speculating and in doing so they've been casting aspersions on a whole industry.

JULIA LIMB: Claims of an epidemic were made at the inquiry earlier this week, and Chief Steward Ray Murrihy says the hearing has been adjourned until Friday so evidence can be heard from stable hands who've admitted to using cocaine.

RAY MURRIHY: Well, there's not a lot of cocaine use per se, if we're talking about horses, it's one in the history of racing in New South Wales, so that's what we're dealing with at the moment.

JULIA LIMB: The Chief Steward says the use of any illegal drugs in the industry will not be tolerated.

RAY MURRIHY: Well it's a big issue if it's found. Obviously any prohibited substance found in a horse doesn't do anything for the image of racing and that's why there's stringent rules and such stringent testing in place.

JULIA LIMB: But John O'Shea says the use of recreational drugs is no more widespread in racing than it is in any other industry.

JOHN O'SHEA: We're just seeing what's the repercussions of that culture of unfortunately caught up with Gai Waterhouse, and might I add it could well and truly happen to any other stable unfairly.

It's not Gai's fault and Gai shouldn't be penalised for what's gone on there. But I think we're starting to touch on some very broader issues, apart from the fact that there's been a horse with a very miniscule residue of cocaine in its system perform at the races.

JULIA LIMB: And according to Paul Dillon from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, there is no cocaine epidemic.

PAUL DILLON: Cocaine is a drug that realistically in this country is used by very, has been used by very few people – about four per cent of the population have said that they've used the drug, far less than those who use drugs like ecstasy, amphetamines, and even LSD and other hallucinogens.

MARK COLVIN: Paul Dillon from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. The plot thickens. Julia Limb reporting.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Meth busts down since limits on cold pills

Number of labs seized tumbles 49% in May, June since law enacted.


The number of methamphetamine labs seized by authorities in Tennessee during May and June decreased significantly — 49% statewide — compared with the number of busts from the same months in 2004.

The decline is attributed to Tennessee's stringent anti-meth legislation, which became effective May 1, according to the Governor's Task Force on Methamphetamine Abuse.

"I think the thing that is responsible is the lack of being able to buy pseudoephedrine products by the pickup truck load. We just hope that the number stays going in the right direction. We think that it will,'' said Commissioner of Agriculture Ken Givens, who also is chairman of the task force.

Tennessee's Meth-Free Tennessee Act of 2005 was signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Phil Bredesen. A major component of the law required pharmacies to move products containing pseudoephedrine behind the counter. In addition, stores that do not have a pharmacy are prohibited from selling products containing the chemical.

Pseudoephedrine is a necessary raw ingredient in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, a highly addictive stimulant that has become the drug of choice in many rural communities across the state. Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient in many cold remedies.

Joey Mundy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Nashville office reported the decrease to the task force.

"This is a significant decrease. We've had pocket decreases in certain areas, but there's been nothing of this magnitude. It's half of what it was a year ago,'' Mundy said.
July appears to be on the decrease, too.

"We haven't had a lab reported since the 19th of July. At times we have had three or four a night. It's good news,'' Mundy said.

Tennessee's results are similar to decreases that Oklahoma saw when it enacted its anti-meth legislation in 2004. Oklahoma's law, considered to be the most stringent in the nation, was used as a model for the Tennessee law. Since then, Oklahoma has been able to maintain a decrease in the number of labs seized compared with before the law's passage.

TBI Director Mark Gwyn is hopeful that Tennessee's experience will be the same, but he said the state's meth problem is far from over. There is evidence, he said, that some meth cooks in East Tennessee are "slipping over the border" into North Carolina to purchase pseudoephedrine and returning to Tennessee to "cook" the dope.

Gwyn also expects imported meth, primarily from Mexican cartels, to filter into the state at some point.

"We're preparing for that, but from a law enforcement perspective we can deal with that through conventional law enforcement methods like we deal with large quantities of cocaine. It's a lot easier to deal with that than the many clandestine labs that are spread throughout the state,'' the TBI chief said.

Drug News + Drugs + Tennessee + Methamphetamines + Pseudoephedrine

Kate Moss wins "cocaine coma" case

British supermodel Kate Moss won substantial libel damages on Wednesday over a Sunday newspaper's claims that she had collapsed in a cocaine-fuelled coma.

Moss's lawyer Gerald Tyrrell told London's High Court that the model had accepted a public apology and a substantial but undisclosed sum from the Sunday Mirror over its report from January 23 this year.

The paper's article, headlined "Kate in Cocaine Coma" and tagged a "showbiz exclusive", had made a number of serious and defamatory allegations, he said.

The story had alleged that Moss, 31, had "collapsed into a drug induced coma and had to be revived after taking vast quantities of cocaine" in Barcelona in June 2001. "These allegations are untrue," Tyrrell said.

The Sunday Mirror publishers now accepted that Moss had not behaved in this way and accepted that the allegations were false, he added.

The paper's lawyer Philip Conway told the court: "The defendant apologises to Miss Moss for the distress and embarrassment they have caused her."

Drug News + Drugs + Cocaine + Kate Moss

Osama wanted to sell poisoned cocaine in US

Sify News

New York: Nearly a year after 9/11, Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden had plotted to kill thousands of Americans by selling poisoned cocaine in the US.

Had his plan succeeded, the number of casualties would have been more than 9/11 casualties, said a report in the 'New York Post'. According to the paper, Osama was willing to spend tens of millions of dollars to finance the deal, but his plot failed when the Colombian drug lords, whom he had approached, decided it would be bad for their business.

Bin Laden hoped that large number of Americans dying from 'poisoned coke' would lead to widespread terror, said a source, adding that "They wanted to kill thousands of people -- more than the World Trade Center."

It further said that though the drug lords would have reaped millions of dollars as profits by selling cocaine to Osama, they knew that if the plan succeeded, it might effectively destroy the market for their coke in America for years.

The other reason the drug lords didn't agree to the deal, was their fear of retaliation from the US government once its citizens started to die from the drugs, the paper added.

According to the paper, the Federal Bureau of Investigation sleuths had the information that Osama had personally met leaders of a Colombian drug cartel in 2002 to negotiate the purchase of cocaine, but didn't make it public.

However, the place where Osama met the drug lords could not be known.

Drug News + Drugs + Cocaine + Osama bin Laden + Terrorism

Youth Trade Drugs at 'Pharming' Parties

Prescribed Ritalin, OxyContin stolen from medicine cabinets at home, and other psychoactive prescription drugs are the stock in trade at so-called "pharming parties," where young people trade medicines and often mix pills with alcohol to get high.

Time reported July 24 that even as use of "hard" illicit drugs like heroin and cocaine has declined in recent years, abuse of narcotic painkillers and stimulants has skyrocketed. An estimated 2.3 million kids ages 12-17 abused legal medications last year, according to the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

"It's a hidden epidemic," says Dr. Nicholas Pace of New York University Medical Center. "Parents don't want to admit there's a problem out there."

At pharming parties like one recently held in suburban New Jersey, painkillers like OxyContin -- which can produce a strong high, but also present a great danger of overdose -- are highly valued. "If I have something good, like Oxycontin, it might be worth two or three Xanax," said a 17-year-old at the New Jersey party. "We rejoice when someone has a medical thing, like, gets their wisdom teeth out or has back pain, because we know we'll get pills. Last year I had gum surgery, and I thought, 'Well, at least I'll get painkillers.'"

Part of the allure of prescription drugs is that they can be easier for kids to get than illicit drugs. Some trade on their own prescriptions (obtained legitimately or by faking symptoms), while others steal from family members or order drugs from online pharmacies.

"When adults and medical professionals treat medications casually, we need not be surprised that adolescents are treating them casually," said Francis Hayden, director of the adolescent mental-health center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

"My friend told me to save the painkillers for when I'm drinking or getting high," says the 17-year-old at the suburban party. "I know a lot of people who live by pills. They take a pill to wake them up, another pill to put them to sleep, one to make them hungry and another to stop the hunger. Pills can dictate your life -- I've seen it."

Drug News + Drugs + Prescription drugs + Oxycontin + Teenagers + Painkillers + Stimulants

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Austrians Find Cocaine at Lost-And-Found

VIENNA, Austria (AP) --
Police at the Vienna Airport on Tuesday found 24 kilograms of cocaine worth an estimated $16 million at a lost-and-found counter, police said.

The narcotics were in a suitcase that had been at airport lost items counter for almost a month, police said in a statement.

The drugs were placed in 22 bags wrapped in an oily foul-smelling paper, in an apparent attempt to irritate police dogs specially trained to detect narcotics, police said.

The suitcase had been by mistakenly checked in at Mexico City along with the luggage of a 60-year-old Austrian tourist, who had left it at the lost-and-found counter.

Drug News + Drugs + Cocaine + Smuggling

Monday, July 25, 2005

Colombia offers to buy farmers coca

BOGOTA, Colombia, July 25 (UPI) -- Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has offered to buy illegal coca plants from farmers to stem the drug trade.

Coca is the plant from which cocaine is made.

Uribe told farmers to "hand over the crop and take the cash," El Tiempo reported Monday.
Critics of the program like Colombian Senator Rafael Pardo said the president's plan will in fact worsen the drug trafficking dilemma in Colombia.

"The problem is not the cocaine leaf, it's the transport of the cocaine (used to make it)," Pardo said Monday.

Colombia is the world's largest producer of cocaine and a major supplier of heroin.

The United States has spent $3.3 billion in the last five years on coca plant eradication equipment and military training for Colombian soldiers but seen limited results.

Drug News + Drugs + Cocaine + Columbia + Drug Trade + Coca

Executives who inhale

by Matthew Flamm

Some New York executives unwind in the evening with a glass of wine. Others go out for a beer. And some take the edge off in a way they rarely discuss with their colleagues. Particularly in the summer, when children are at camp, these Gothamites are kicking back in a fashion reminiscent of their college days. "When my son's away, I keep my bong and my bag out on the dining room table," says Jim, co-owner of a furniture manufacturing company, who, like every other pot smoker interviewed in this article, asked not to be identified. "It makes me feel young again.

Despite the ongoing war on drugs and the stigma surrounding any illegal activity, a certain portion of the New York business community never turned in its rolling papers. For many of these otherwise law-abiding citizens, taking a few tokes of their favorite illicit substance is simply their preferred way to decompress. Though they might conceal their after-hours smoking from their co-workers, they insist that, used in moderation, the evil weed doesn't have to hurt job performance.

"It's an asset to the conceptualizing part of the business," Jim says. "It's a liability to the implementation part."

Among New York professionals, smokers tend to be discreet, even when children aren't in the picture. There's too much to lose from being typecast as a stoner. After all, Cheech and Chong--the pothead comedians of the 1970s--weren't exactly known for productivity.

"It's not something I would discuss with clients, even if they brought the subject up," says Sam, who has his own architecture firm. "And I only smoke with close friends."

Most popular

But statistics suggest that some of those clients are probably indulging as well. According to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, 97 million Americans have smoked marijuana at least once, and it is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States.

In the marijuana underground, New York has a reputation not only for widespread use but for the buying habits of its upscale users. City dwellers fork over as much as $600 an ounce for top-quality product, while dealers brag about selling strains grown from winners of the Amsterdam Cannabis Cup.

The city is also famous for its efficient delivery services.

"It's the only place in the country where you can get cannabis delivered, uptown and downtown, faster than pizza or Chinese food," says Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, based in Washington.

New York is also known for strict enforcement of laws against marijuana. Under the Giuliani administration, marijuana-related arrests peaked in 2000 at about 74,000; about 90% of those busts were for possession.

Arrests for grass have dropped by more than half under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to about 34,000 last year--a number that still makes the city among the national leaders in marijuana arrests per capita, according to NORML.

Though there is disagreement about government policy, even critics of the laws warn that heavy pot use can stunt ambition and accomplishment, as well as destroy personal relationships.

Growing use

"Marijuana is the most difficult drug to get people to give up, because it allows them to keep functioning," says Andrew Park, a Manhattan psychotherapist who specializes in addiction. "You can't see the damage to a person's life that you would if they were smoking crack or shooting dope."

But neither the law nor the dangers of abuse have dampened the nation's appetite for cannabis: the government's survey recorded 15 million current users in 2003, compared with 10 million in 1995.

"Alcohol dulls everything," says Abe, a litigator at a Manhattan law firm who says he would rather toke than imbibe. "Pot sharpens certain things, like creativity."
Marijuana is also the one illicit substance that appears to enjoy widespread appeal across social and economic lines.

"Lawyers, accountants, actors, cooks ... I deal with people across the board," says Jason, who has been selling marijuana full time in New York since 1996. "From people living in hellholes who can't really afford it, to people whose secretaries I have to talk to before I can talk to them."
But longtime aficionados find that, just like the sports they played in college, the drug is something they can no longer partake of as often as they did when they were young.
"The lifestyle changed when I had kids," says Bill, who manages a short-term apartment complex in midtown Manhattan and smokes only on those rare occasions when his children are not around. "Yet I still have a roach, wrapped in aluminum foil, in the back of my sock drawer."

Drug News + Drugs + Cannabis + Marijuana + Business

Afghans to consider legalising opium production

By Andrew Jack in London

Afghan farmers could from next year be able to grow opium for legal medicinal purposes, under an innovative plan designed to curb illegal production being drawn up by a drug policy think-tank.

The Senlis Council, a group that studies narcotics, is in preliminary talks with international organisations and Afghan regional administrations to garner their support for pilot programmes designed to tackle the country's problem with opium by using it to produce the legal painkillers codeine and morphine.

The council, due to present in September a feasibility study funded by a dozen European social policy foundations, calculates that Afghan farmers and intermediaries could receive revenues from the scheme that almost match their current earnings from unauthorised opium production for smuggling abroad.

The plan could help bring greater stability to Afghanistan and reduce illegal flows of opium to the rest of the world.

It could also help fill developing nations' large demand for painkillers. The group calculates this demand could be for twice the amount of Afghanistan's annual opium harvest.

"This may be the only chance Afghanistan has to solve its drug problem," said Emmanuel Reinert, co-ordinator of the study for the Senlis Council, who emphasised that discussions were at an early stage.

He hoped agreement for pilot projects could be reached later this year. "We think there are some good possibilities for shifting the debate," Mr Reinert said.

He said the plan had met cautious interest from officials including Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, although some members of the Afghan cabinet and foreign governments had expressed concern it could undermine current efforts to eradicate domestic opium production.
However, he argued neither eradication nor alternative employment programmes provided a realistic short-term alternative for Afghan farmers of opium, which accounts for an estimated 60 per cent of the country's gross domestic product and 80 per cent of the world's illegally consumed heroin.

The Senlis plan is modelled on programmes in India and Turkey, which have helped reduce illegal opium production through a strictly supervised licensing scheme backed by the US Congress.

Congress requires 80 per cent of painkillers for the US market to use materials originating from these two countries.

Mr Reinert said Turkey may be supportive because Afghan drug smuggling threatens its security, while India may resist new suppliers of painkillers.

Drug News + Drugs + Opium + Afghanistan + Heroin + International Relations

Feds Shut Down Drug-Smuggling Tunnel

Lynden, Wash. (AP) --

The loads of dirt coming out of the boarded-up hut perplexed Canadian border guards. So did the loads of construction materials going in. Acting on a hunch that the activity wasn't legitimate, the guards tipped off investigators, who found that the hut was a starting point for an elaborate, 360-foot drug-smuggling tunnel beneath the U.S.-Canadian border.

On Thursday, authorities said they have shut down the tunnel — the first such passageway discovered along the nation's northern edge — and arrested five people on marijuana trafficking charges.

"They were smart enough to build a sophisticated tunnel," U.S. Attorney John McKay said in this border town about 90 miles north of Seattle. "They weren't smart enough to not get caught."

The tunnel ran from the hut on the Canadian side and ended under the living room of a home on the U.S. side, 300 feet from the border. Built with lumber, concrete and metal bars, it was equipped with lights and ventilation, and ran underneath a highway.

The passageway was 3 1/2 to 4 feet high and wide, and ran anywhere from 3 to 10 feet below ground, authorities said.

U.S. officials were trying to locate the owner of the house on the U.S. side. "We know who that individual is. We are very interested in speaking with him," McKay said.

Authorities had been monitoring construction of the tunnel for six months and had allowed its operators to make at least a few trips — all under surveillance — before sealing the passage Wednesday, McKay said.

Although numerous smuggling tunnels have been found on the U.S.-Mexican border, this was the first discovered along the border with Canada, he said.

Canadian authorities learned of the tunnel in February and alerted U.S. officials.
Pat Fogarty, a law enforcement official in British Columbia, said Canadian border guards "saw dirt going out and construction materials going in. They thought it was something we should check out."

On July 2, U.S. agents entered the home on the American side to examine the passageway. They later installed cameras and listening devices in the home.

"We were in there before it was completed. There was not a day they did anything that we weren't assessing them," said Greg Gassett, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent.
Francis Devandra Raj, 30; Timothy Woo, 34; and Jonathan Valenzuela, 27, of Surrey, British Columbia, were arrested Wednesday. They were charged with conspiracy to import and distribute marijuana.

The three appeared in court Thursday to hear the charges against them but did not enter pleas.

Raj owns the property under the hut. Woo was a fugitive in a 1999 marijuana case in Seattle, authorities said.

On July 16, two other people were arrested separately in Washington state for transporting marijuana that had come through the tunnel, Gassett said.

One was a woman who had 93 pounds of marijuana in her vehicle when she was stopped, authorities said. The other was a man pulled over with 110 pounds of the drug.

Drug News + Drugs + smuggling + Marijuana + Canada

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Stressed US troops in Iraq 'turning to drugs'

Telegraph News

Two years into the occupation of Iraq the menace of drug abuse appears to be afflicting American troops.

Aware of the debilitating effect drugs had on the morale and effectiveness of GIs in the Vietnam War, the authorities are attempting to stifle a repeat in Iraq.

Aside from random urine tests and barrack room searches, commanders have asked their troops to inform on colleagues.

In the past month a soldier has been arrested for selling cocaine and two per cent of the troops from one brigade have been charged with drug and alcohol abuse.

According to US army figures, out of the 4,000 men of the 256th Brigade Combat Team, 53 faced alcohol-related charges and 48 were charged with drug offences.

Since the overthrow of Saddam's regime the borders that have been so porous for insurgents have been equally open for heroin and hash smugglers from Afghanistan and Iran providing a cheap market for troops. With colleagues being killed or wounded on a daily basis, some US soldiers have turned to drugs to escape the horrors of fighting insurgents.

In one case, according to Stars and Stripes, the in-house US forces newspaper, Sgt Michael Boudreaux was found with drugs, four bottles of whiskey and 22 videos of Iraqi pornography. He received a seven month confinement, was demoted to private and given a bad conduct discharge.

In another case, Pte Emily Hamilton told a court martial that she used a hashish pipe belonging to a colleague because "it helped me go right to sleep". She was given a year's confinement and a bad conduct discharge.

"Some of these young soldiers just can't handle the stress," said Capt Christopher Krafchek, a military defence lawyer.

The majority of drug-users are in their teens or early 20s, and sometimes get their drugs from local Iraqis while on patrol in Baghdad.

Troops caught in possession of illegal substances are either jailed, demoted or discharged from the forces.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Cannabis for canines: happier pups?

Sydney - Dog owners with deep pockets can now buy cannabis treats for their pampered pets in the knowledge that what they are doing is not only legal but a benefit for a rural community in a remote part of Australia.

The biscuits are called Hemp Hound Hors d'oeuvres and were dreamed up by Tasmanian farmer and entrepreneur Ian Rochfort.

The idea stems from the success Rochfort has had with geese brought up on Flinders Island and fed a diet of low-punch cannabis sativa seed, which is rich in healthy amino acids.

The Hemp Hound treats bear the promise of healthier teeth, shinier coats and happier dogs.

They have the stamp of approval of the Australian government and could turn into a moneyspinner for Rochfort and other hemp growers on the isolated Flinders Island in the Bass Strait that separates Tasmania from the mainland.

The "bickies" are guaranteed to contain no more than 50mg per kilogram of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC). This means that Rover is not going to get high and jump off a cliff.

"There is no chance your dog will be hallucinating rainbow cats," Rochfort told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Drug News + Drugs + marijuana + cannabis + Dog food

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Wife influences husband's marijuana use - study


A newlywed wife can help determine whether her husband smokes marijuana, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.
The researchers found that when people in their 20s first marry, husbands are more likely to start or resume smoking marijuana if their wives smoke it, and are more likely to stop smoking marijuana if their spouses do not smoke.
But husbands had little influence on whether their wives used marijuana, the team at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions found.
"For both social drinking and smoking marijuana, wives influence husbands' use from the first to second anniversary," said Kenneth Leonard, who led the study.
"Although wives influence husbands' marijuana use from before marriage to the first anniversary, they did not influence husbands' heavy alcohol use during that period."
Writing in the Journal of Drug Issues, the researchers said they studied 634 couples, 471 of whom provided data before marriage, at their first anniversary and at their second anniversary. They were in their late 20s on average.
"In this study, we found that the prevalence of marijuana use decreased for both men and women over the first year of marriage," Leonard said.
"For men, use decreased from about 25 percent to 21 percent from the year before marriage through the first year of marriage, and for women over the same period, from 20 percent to 14 percent."
Smokers were often married to other smokers.
"We identified one direction of influence, that is, wives influenced their husbands' initiation of marijuana use, but husbands did not influence wives' use," Leonard said.
The first year of marriage may be a unique time for setting the ground rules for a relationship, Leonard said, citing other studies.
"Substance use tends to decline as individuals progress through their 20s," he said.
"This may be a part of the maturing process, but it also reflects periods of transition in life, such as marriage with its increased responsibilities."

Drug News + Drugs + Marijuana + alcohol + marriage