Thanks as always to Stopthedrugwar.org
Trouble in the Hoosier State this week, with some Indy cops busted for ripping off pot dealers and selling their wares and a Muncie drug task force being investigated over its asset forfeiture practices. Also, a Wyoming jailer steals his cop father's drug dog pot stash, and a Massachusetts cop cops a plea. Let's get to it:
In Indianapolis, three Indianapolis Metropolitan police officers were arrested Tuesday for allegedly participating in a marijuana trafficking ring. Officers James Davis, 33, Jason Edwards, 37, and Robert Long, 34, were arrested by FBI agents after a federal indictment charging them with conspiracy to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute was unsealed Tuesday morning. Long, a narcotics detective, was described as the leader of the conspiracy and is accused of illegally seizing the drug and informing a fourth defendant he was under investigation. Edwards is accused of illegally seizing marijuana and money, and the indictment says Davis illegally entered apartments to steal marijuana and money.
In Gillette, Wyoming, a former Gillette police officer and Campbell County jailer was arrested last Friday for stealing marijuana and giving it to a woman currently in prison on drug charges. Thomas Brent Clark, 23, stole the marijuana from a vehicle belonging to his father, a canine officer for the Uinta County Sheriff's Department. His father kept the marijuana in the car for training purposes. Clark was a Gillette police officer from January to March, when he was terminated. The marijuana theft occurred in February. Clark gave several ounces of marijuana to the woman, whom he met while working as a jailer at the county jail. He now faces charges of delivery of marijuana and conspiracy to deliver marijuana. He is out on bond and awaits an arraignment date.
In Boston, a former Swampscott police officer pleaded guilty June 12 to federal charges he sold oxycodone and cocaine. Thomas Wrenn, 38, was arrested in March after buying 50 pills from a police informant, but his colleagues had been watching him since they were tipped off to his drug use last year. Federal prosecutors alleged he had distributed illegal pain relievers on about 20 occasions in the past five years, and distributed cocaine on at least three occasions in 2006. Wrenn resigned from the force after his arrest.
In Muncie, Indiana, the Muncie-Delaware County Drug Task Force came under scrutiny at a circuit court hearing last Friday. Delaware Circuit Court 2 Judge Richard Dailey conducted the hearing into the status of more than 50 asset forfeiture cases filed by the task force, and the court heard testimony that seized cash and goods were routinely funneled into task force bank accounts in violation of state law. Judge Dailey fended off repeated efforts by Delaware County Prosecutor Mark McKinney to thwart the probe. McKinney unsuccessfully argued that Dailey had no right to review confidential agreements that also included the names of cooperating witnesses or other information key to criminal investigations. McKinney is the target of professional misconduct complaint filed by Muncie Mayor Sharon McShurley charging he misled local courts about the cases, some of which have been pending for years.
This appeal is from Stopthedrugwar.org
You've probably heard of Timothy Garon. ( if not scroll down to 5 /2 / 08 to read more on Timothy)
He's the musician who died recently because he was denied a liver transplant for having used marijuana prescribed by his physician.
You've probably also heard of Rachel Hoffman, a young college grad who was coerced by police to act as an informant after she was arrested for marijuana possession. She was killed by drug dealers following a botched drug sting.
You may even know someone personally whose life has been turned upside down — or worse — because of our country's deplorable drug policies.
Because of extreme situations like these and countless daily injustices, it's time to ramp up efforts to end the Drug War and prohibition.
The Truth 08 Campaign is a multi-pronged strategy from StoptheDrugWar.org to educate more people about the Drug War and to:
- Expand StoptheDrugWar.org resources so more people can get online, read Drug War Chronicle (the world's leading drug policy newsletter), participate in Speakeasy blogs and take immediate action through our Alerts and Latest News postings.
- Bring more elected officials on board through targeted lobbying efforts.
- Empower more grassroots organizations by giving them the tools, materials and exposure they need to strengthen the drug policy reform movement.
- Reach out to local and national media with the "other" side of the story — prohibition does more harm than good.
There is no better time to open people's minds than during this election year when almost everyone is focused on change. As people are taking a long, hard look at the policies that are NOT working in this country, the TRUTH 08 CAMPAIGN will prove that the Drug War should be included at the top of that list.
Your help is needed to capitalize on the tremendous progress we've already made getting the TRUTH out: this past year over 140,000 people each month visited StoptheDrugWar.org — that's a lot of visitors.
Several months the number of visitors topped 180,000 and the trend is continuing upward. We are very excited about the new campaign and the new momentum we're generating.
If you wish to donate please contact :-
Executive Director, StoptheDrugWar.org (DRCNet)
News & Activism Promoting Sensible Reform
If you take only one action to help reform our nation's marijuana laws this year, it should be this one.
Please take one minute to ask your U.S. House member to vote for the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which would stop the federal government from arresting patients who are using medical marijuana legally under state law.
The full U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the amendment in just a few weeks — and there will probably be earlier committee action on medical marijuana legislation any day now — so it's crucial that your U.S. representative hear from constituents like you.
MPP's online action system makes it easy. Just fill in your name and address and we'll do the rest.
Twelve states have passed laws protecting medical marijuana patients from arrest and jail. However, the federal government continues to ignore those state laws. For instance, just last month, DEA agents conducted a series of raids on California medical marijuana dispensaries that were operating legally under state law.
It's outrageous that the federal government is overturning the will of the people in these 12 states.
It's outrageous that the federal government is kicking in the doors and breaking the windows of medical marijuana dispensaries, stealing cash and marijuana from the proprietors of these establishments, and racing off in their black SUVs before TV news cameras arrive to document these governmental assaults.
I know you feel strongly that this is wrong. Would you please use your voice to deliver that message to Congress?
With thanks as always to Stopthedrugwar.org
Busy, busy. Border guards going down, prison guards going down, more cops in trouble, and more investigations of a perjury-condoning prosecutor in Detroit. Let's get to it:
In San Diego, a US Customs and Border Protection officer was indicted by a federal grand jury June 3 for allegedly taking $200,000 in bribes to let illegal immigrants and marijuana into the country. Luis Francisco Alarid, 31, is charged with with conspiracy to smuggle more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, conspiracy to transport illegal immigrants and bribery. In March, Alarid permitted a car driven by his uncle with 18 illegal immigrants and 170 pounds of marijuana to enter the United States, according to authorities. On May 3, Alarid allowed a caravan of four vehicles carrying illegal immigrants into the country. He faces up to 90 years in prison if convicted.
In McAllen, Texas, a US Border Patrol agent was arrested Monday and accused of smuggling 11 bricks of cocaine into the country. Agent Reynaldo Zuniga, 34, faces charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Zuniga allegedly picked up a Mexican drug courier at the border and drove him to meet another man in Hidalgo. Those two are also under arrest. One of them said Zuniga had helped smuggle drugs or illegal immigrants at least six times.
In Texarkana, Arkansas, a Miller County prison guard was arrested May 30 after trying to smuggle syringes into the jail inside tacos and marijuana hidden inside a container of chili. Guard Jordan Michael Waller, 25, went down after a supervisor became suspicious and searched the food. A search of Waller himself also turned up tobacco, methamphetamine, and more drug paraphernalia. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, and furnishing prohibited items inside a correctional facility. He goes to court June 17.
In Andalusia, Kentucky, an Andalusia police officer was arrested June 4 on drug distribution charges. Officer Joshua Chad Wood was arrested at a local motel by members of the Covington County Drug Task Force as he tried to illegally sell legally obtained prescription pills to undercover agents. He is charged with drug distribution, complicity for not reporting the presence of marijuana, and violation of state prostitution statutes. He has been suspended without pay pending a termination hearing.
In Farmington, Missouri, a former state prison guard was sentenced last Friday to seven years in prison on drugs and weapons charges. Seth Barton, who had worked at the Bonne Terre state prison, went down after prison employees searched his vehicle on prison property in February 2006. They found bags of marijuana, a loaded handgun, ammunition, a hunting knife, a jar of marijuana seeds, drug paraphernalia and more than $1,500 in cash. He pleaded no contest in April to charges of felony drug possession with intent to distribute and delivery of a weapon at a prison.
In Indianapolis, a former Indianapolis police officer was sentenced June 4 to three years probation for providing information to drug suspects to help them avoid arrest. Former Officer Noble Duke, 39, pleaded guilty in April to unlawfully disclosing the contents of federally authorized wiretaps with the intent to obstruct or impede a criminal investigation. Duke was monitoring phone conversations in a wiretap case and was aware of another case being monitored in the same room at the Indianapolis FBI office. Duke relayed information about phones being tapped, pending indictments, and the date raids were scheduled. He also has to do four months community confinement and six months of house arrest.
In Detroit, the Michigan Attorney General's Office is taking over the investigation of Wayne County's lead drug prosecutor, who is accused knowingly using perjured testimony in a 2005 cocaine case. Assistant Prosecutor Karen Plants was suspended in April after the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission charged her with misconduct for allowing an informant and two Inkster police officers to lie under oath during a cocaine conspiracy trial. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy asked that another agency investigate Plants, and the Attorney General's Office stepped in after prosecutors in four nearby counties declined to get involved.
Yesterday, MPP began airing this TV ad in New York State, urging concerned citizens to ask their state senators to make New York the 13th medical marijuana state.
The ad features Burton Aldrich, a quadriplegic father of five who relies on medical marijuana to control the excruciating pain and violent spasms related to his condition. In the ad, Aldrich says, "I don't know if I would be around if it wasn't for marijuana. It shouldn't be a crime to treat pain and suffering.”
The New York Assembly passed MPP's bill last June with a 95-52 vote, and now we need the state Senate to act before it adjourns on June 23. You can read media coverage of our campaign here.
As you may know, MPP is 100% dependent on financial help from supporters like you to keep this ad on the air over the next few weeks. If you support MPP's aggressive and effective campaigns to pass medical marijuana laws, would you please help today?
And last week, MPP began airing this radio ad in Rhode Island. You can listen here as medical marijuana patient George Des Roches asks, "Have you ever had a gun held at you to buy your medicine? I have, seven times." You can also see the Providence Journal's coverage of the ad here.
MPP passed a law protecting Rhode Island medical marijuana patients from arrest and jail in 2006. However, because some patients are unable to grow their own marijuana or to find a caregiver who can, they must risk buying marijuana on the criminal market. At least three, including George, have either had guns held at them or been mugged while trying to obtain medical marijuana on the streets.
The radio ad urges Rhode Islanders to pressure the Rhode Island House to pass legislation to allow three nonprofit organizations to dispense medical marijuana to registered patients. The Senate passed such legislation by a 29-6 vote on May 15 but — so far — the House has yet to take action.
The bill is supported by the state medical and nurses associations, as well as the Rhode Island State Council of Churches, the Rhode Island chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Rhode Island Office of the Public Defender, and — according to MPP's new poll — 69% of Rhode Island voters.
We're only able to press forward with ads like these with the financial support of our e-mail subscribers and other dues-paying members. Would you please help us keep these ads on the air by making a donation today?
Passage of the new county law seeks to cap the number of plants adults may legally possess at six. However, activists are expected to challenge the validity of the law in court, arguing that a recent state District Court of Appeals decision prohibits municipalities from imposing limits on the quantity of marijuana patients may possess under state law.
For more information, please contact Dale Gieringer, California NORML Coordinator, at (415) 563-5858.
Washington, DC: The results of a recent study reporting hippocampal volume reductions in long-term, heavy users of cannabis are based on only 15 cases, and are inconsistent with previously published research, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said today.
The widely reported study, published this week in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, found that chronic cannabis smokers (who averaged at least five joints per day for a period of 20 years) experience a measurable (via structural magnetic resonance imaging) reduction in the hippocampus and amygdala compared to non-users.
Commenting on the new study, Armentano said that although the exceptionally heavy use of cannabis may pose unique yet subtle health hazards, these potential risks are likely irrelevant to the overwhelming majority of cannabis consumers who use the drug in moderation.
"While these preliminary results are a cause of concern, they must be replicated in a much larger sample size before we can begin making any determinations regarding whether there may exist a cause-and-effect relationship, or whether these results may hold any significance for the millions of Americans who consume cannabis on a far more limited basis," he said.
Armentano added that a previous assessment of long-term cannabis use on hippocampal volume found no adverse effects associated with marijuana use.
Numerous studies of cannabis use on neurocognitive abilities have also failed to indicate that marijuana use has residual adverse impacts on cognition.
Armentano concluded: "While we have known for decades that chronic alcohol use is toxic to the brain, this fact is not a justification for arresting and incarcerating the millions of Americans who enjoy a glass of wine or beer with dinner. As is the case with alcohol, the findings of this study – even if we are to take them at face value – are an argument in favor of legalization, education, and moderation – not criminal prohibition."
Santa Cruz, CA: Adults who live in areas where marijuana is criminally prohibited are more likely to report a preference for stronger strains of pot as compared to adults who live in areas where the sale of the drug is legally regulated, according to survey data to be published in the forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Drug Policy.
An investigator at the University of California at Santa Cruz randomly surveyed the marijuana use patterns of more than 400 experienced cannabis consumers in San Francisco and Amsterdam. The survey reported that respondents in Amsterdam, where the sale of small quantities of cannabis is regulated in retail stores, were significantly more likely than those in San Francisco to prefer "mild" and "moderate" cannabis over "strong" or "very strong" varieties.
"[B]ecause the cannabis markets in San Francisco remain illicit, users are more apt to feel they can never be certain of potency and so are more likely to choose stronger strains," the study reported. By contrast, "In Amsterdam three decades of de facto decriminalization have fostered a stable and translucent retail cannabis market in which users are reliably able to buy cannabis of the potency they prefer."
Over two-thirds of respondents in both cities reported that they moderated their use of cannabis depending its potency – typically consuming lesser quantities of stronger pot.
Survey respondents in both Amsterdam and San Francisco said that the price of cannabis had little impact on their use, suggesting that "policies designed to reduce aggressive demand for cannabis … by increasing its price are unlikely to have a large impact."
Respondents in both cities also reported that they perceived their risk of being arrested for using marijuana to be "very unlikely." Respondents in both cities reported that they could obtain cannabis within "a few hours," though those who lived in San Francisco were far more likely to report that they obtained their marijuana from "friends."
Age of onset, age at first regular use, and age at the start of periods of maximum use were "nearly identical" in both cities. By contrast, marijuana users in Amsterdam were far less likely than users in San Francisco to have experimented with other illicit drugs, including cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and opiates.
"The differences in response patterns between samples of experienced users in different legal-policy milieux suggest that various aspects of drug policy interact in complex ways with both user cultures and the broader cultures in which they are situated," the study concluded. "But the fact that we found more similarities than differences across the contrasting drug control regimes provides further support for the view that cannabis use is a deeply embedded cultural practice that is not easily reached by drug policy."