Police Cannot Identify Good Marijuana.....


Typical police exaggeration,    CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - North Charleston police have scored a major pot bust, seizing 500 pounds of marijuana with a street value of more than $2 million.

The cops told reporters there was so much weed they could not let reporters near as the smell would overpower them, when has weed ever been effective simply by standing near it!

Photos reveal the pot to be ugly, brown and stemmy. It was shipped from Arizona, indicating that it is exactly the sort of ubiquitous Mexican commercial garbage that its appearance suggests. I doubt it’s worth even half of the $2 million pricetag proposed by police.

Again and again, we find law-enforcement recklessly exaggerating marijuana prices to the point of absurdity. In fairness, prices shift dramatically depending on quality, but it is precisely because police often lack the subtle ability to judge marijuana quality that they so often issue such laughable claims. This is a really dumb move and just encourages people to grow and sell marijuana


This Weeks Corrupt Law Enforcement Offices

Thanks as always to Stopthedrugwar.org

Cops "misplacing" money, cops providing help to a pot crew, a court security officer peddling pain pills, and a jail guard getting caught bringing in the goodies. Just another week in the drug war. Let's get to it:

In Bartow, Florida, a Lake Wales police officer was arrested August 13 for providing police information to a friend of his who headed up a marijuana distribution ring. Officer Keenan Olson, 50, faces one count of conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering action, five counts of unlawful use of two-way communications device, and four counts of unlawful use of computer access after he was tied to an investigation that ultimately netted 18 arrests. Olson was overheard on wiretapped phone conversations revealing that a certain car belonged to an undercover officer, confirming that an arrest warrant had not been issued for a ring member, and counseling his friend on how to move forward with his marijuana ring by avoiding police-controlled phone calls and drug buys. Olson resigned the day he was arrested.

In Newport News, Virginia, a Curry County Adult Detention Center officer was arrested August 14 after being caught on videotape supplying drugs and other contraband to prisoners. Officer Charlie Aguirre, 23, is charged with bringing contraband into the jail, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and attempt to commit a felony. He met an $11,000 bond and was released the same day. Aguirre is the fourth Curry County jail guard to be arrested for smuggling dope to inmates this year.

In Dedham, Massachusetts, a former Stoughton District Court security officer was sentenced August 15 to two years in jail for selling prescription pain pills on the courthouse grounds. Keely Johnson, 32, was convicted of two counts of possession with intent to distribute a Class C drug and drug violation near a school or park. After the state attorney general's office received a tip Johnson was peddling pills at the courthouse, undercover officers went in and twice bought Percocet tablets off her. Johnson only got three months for the possession with intent charge, but two years on the drug-free zone charge.

In Hamburg, Pennsylvania, a former Lykens police chief was sentenced Monday to nine months in jail and three months house arrest for "misplacing" $3,200 in money seized in drug arrests. Former Chief Chris Wade must also serve two years on probation and pay $6,000 in fines and restitution.


Weed-Whacking Drug Czar Looks Stupid – Sounds Idiotic


Ever want to see a perfect example of rank government propaganda? Watch this public relations stunt filmed by CNN of moralist-masquerading-as-drug czar John Walters making a flaccid attempt at being funny, and relevant. The video immediately goes into a 2:30 story about outdoor cannabis in California that largely parrots the government’s party line.

Some thoughts after watching the videos:

-John Walters, the self-described anti-1960s warrior (well, in the video he apparently has moved onto hating the ‘values’ of the 1970s), lumbers up a hillside for a highly staged public relations stunt and the best message he can stammer out is to try to shame ‘Hollywood’ (a favorite target of rightwing moralists) into ‘helping us spread the word against cannabis’ (this is the very same rhetoric Reagan and to a degree Bush 1.0 employed to incite emotional contagion in the media against ‘drugs’ in the halcyon ‘just say no’ days).

Help the ONDCP? Is Walters whining that Hollywood is no longer an ONDCP stooge?

Is Walters forgetting the hundreds of absurd and insulting ads from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, produced largely gratis by, well, ‘Hollywood’? Or, when the ONDCP used to sneak anti-cannabis ads into popular TV shows produced in, well, Hollywood, before NORML successfully sued them via the FCC?

-What is it with the obsession these drug czars have with trying to pigeon hole every derogative thing they can think to say about cannabis into what they believe is a witty dig on ‘Cheech and Chong’? Clinton’s Drug Czar, former General Barry McCaffrey, frequently would deride medical cannabis as “Cheech and Chong medicine”.

How’d that work General
? Apparently, Walters has not learned from such blundered, detached-from-science rhetoric.

Also, my guess is that Walters is likely a big Bill O’Reilly fan. Shocking, I know. Why do I surmise as such? Did you catch all the weird references from Walters in the video to people who use cannabis being in their “basement”? The only person I’ve ever heard, on numerous occasions, make references to cannabis consumers as ‘boobs in the basement’ is O’Reilly.

Ironically, on the times that O’Reilly disparages cannabis consumers as ‘boobs in the basement’ he is usually quick to add that he favors decriminalizing cannabis for adults.


BTW, while NORML’s blogs are not usually the environ for a commercial plug, but since Walters chose to waste the taxpayers’ money in southern California to propagandize, I think it only karmic that I let readers know that Cheech and Chong have just re-united and are going out on tour in September. Get your tickets here…think of it as good time protest against the government’s war on cannabis consumers. Also, there is a rumor that Cheech and Chong will be speaking at the upcoming Democratic National Convention. If true, how those apples Walters?

Tommy Chong is a NORML Advisory Board member and served 9 months in a federal prison for selling bongs.

-Walters and company claim to care about the safety of law enforcement personnel trying to enforce our country’s feckless cannabis prohibition laws, namely the effort to eradicate domestically grown cannabis? If true, 1) prohibition, rather than tax-n-control policies create any attendant violence associated with the uncontrolled sales of cannabis and 2) I think it entirely avoidable for the deaths of three to eight police officers and pilots that perish annually flying over the countryside in the US looking for ‘needles in a haystack’, not because of prohibition-created criminals, but from junky, faulty and old Viet Nam era helicopters often used on loan from state national guard units.

Hey, Czar Walters, any law enforcement personnel die last year flying around looking for tobacco, grapes, apples, barley, corn, potatoes, etc…?

Yep…I thought not.

-Walters and the ONDCP care about illegal aliens who grow cannabis on public and private lands? Really? Any illegal aliens growing tobacco, grapes, hops, potatoes, apples, etc…?

If Walters cares about illegal immigrants supposedly being forced by who he claims are Mexican drug cartels to tend illegal cannabis gardens, then he can’t morally and intellectually continue to support the failed policies of cannabis prohibition that creates a distribution system for cannabis where some of the players will camp in the woods and live off of the grid.

Finally, Walters says in the video ‘Hollywood and the American people need to know the consequence of these plants”.

Wrong! More importantly: Hollywood and the American people need to know about the misguided efforts and abject failure of cannabis prohibition, and Walter’s zealous efforts to perpetuate it.

Cannabis Versus The ‘Superbug’


According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, colloquially known as MRSA or ‘the superbug,’ is now responsible for more annual US deaths than AIDS. Yet despite this sobering statistic, it’s unlikely that either JAMA or anyone in the mainstream US media will report on the findings of a forthcoming Italian study — you didn’t actually think I was going to say that this took place in America did you? — demonstrating that compounds in cannabis possess “exceptional antibacterial activity” against multi-drug resistant pathogens, including MRSA.

“Although the use of cannabinoids as systemic antibacterial agents awaits rigorous clinical trials, … their topical application to reduce skin colonization by MRSA seems promising,” the study’s authors write. “Cannabis sativa … represents an interesting source of antibacterial agents to address the problem of multidrug resistance in MRSA and other pathogenic bacteria.”

(You can read the full text ahead of publication here.)

Ironically, the study notes that preparations from cannabis were “investigated extensively in the 1950s as highly active topical antiseptic agents.” Predictably — in yet another ‘victory’ for prohibition — authors declare that little, if any, research into this potential clinical application has taken place since.

Several years ago, when I first began writing the booklet Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids, I mused about what sort of advancements in the treatment of disease may have been achieved over the past 70+ years had U.S. government chosen to advance — rather than stifle — clinical research into the therapeutic effects of cannabis.

Now, more than ever, this is a question that our elected officials — both Republican and Democrat — must answer.


Joe Biden's Awful Record on Drug Policy.

Among the likely choices for Obama's running mate, Joe Biden was not the person reformers were hoping to see on the democratic ticket. Radley Balko sums up Biden's drug war credentials:

…from a policy perspective, it’s a disaster. Biden has sponsored more damaging drug war legislation than any Democrat in Congress. Hate the way federal prosecutors use RICO laws to take aim at drug offenders? Thank Biden. How about the abomination that is federal asset forfeiture laws? Thank Biden. Think federal prosecutors have too much power in drug cases? Thank Biden. Think the title of a “Drug Czar” is sanctimonious and silly? Thank Biden, who helped create the position (and still considers it an accomplishment worth boasting about). Tired of the ridiculous steroids hearings in Congress? thank Biden, who led the effort to make steroids a Schedule 3 drug, and has been among the blowhardiest of the blowhards when it comes to sports and performance enhancing drugs. Biden voted in favor of using international development aid for drug control (think plan Columbia, plan Afghanistan, and other meddling anti-drug efforts that have only fostered loathing of America, backlash, and unintended consequences). Oh, and he was also the chief sponsor of 2004’s horrendous RAVE Act.

On the other hand, Biden has recently spoken out against the crack/powder sentencing disparity and introduced legislation to address that issue. Pete Guither also notes that Biden's votes on civil liberties issues have consistently improved over the years, which may be a sign that he's evolving in his thinking. But I see no evidence that Biden has ever stepped back in any meaningful sense from his rabid drug warring ways. If he's made any philosophical realignments on drug policy in general, he hasn't said so out loud.

Thus the silver-lining may be that as Vice President, Biden would no longer be serving on the judiciary committee, where he's exerted his influence in the form of the various atrocities outlined above. As VP he'd technically be losing his authority over drug policy issues, except to whatever extent Obama may seek his advice when selecting the drug czar and so forth. It's certainly possible that Obama's more enlightened views would prevail within his administration, or even that Biden's "tough on crime" credentials could provide cover for reform, but Biden would be a strange ingredient in the behind-the-scenes reform agenda that's so often attributed to Obama by liberal reformers. It was bad enough when Obama softened his reform positions to avoid attacks from the right. Will he now begin watching his step around his own running mate?

Medical marijuana supporters prepare to battle Washington

SEATTLE - Muraco Kyashna-Tocha has back problems few of us can imagine. Diagnosed with degenerative disk disease, Muraco has had multiple back and neck surgeries and still suffers debilitating pain.

"Fairly constant. It can move from a shooting pain to a dull throb all the time," she said.

To cope, a doctor authorized Muraco to use medical marijuana. And from the second floor of her Capitol Hill apartment, she grows herself a steady supply. It's all legal under a 1998 citizen initiative.

But Muraco could soon be breaking the law. You see, the 1998 initiative never spelled out how much marijuana a patient could have.

So the Department of Health is proposing new limits of 6 mature plants, 18 immature plants and 24 ounces of marijuana.

"It's arbitrary and capricious and it shouldn't stand. It's not based on science," said attorney Doug Hiatt.

Medical marijuana supporters say the state is trying to play doctor by prescribing one dosage for all patients.

"It's going to make it virtually impossible for the sickest of the sick, the patients who need it most," said Dr. Frances Podrebarac, medical marijuana user and advocate.  

Department of Health officials say the agency came up with the new rules after consulting with patients, doctors and law enforcement.

Still, people like Muraco fear the rules are ill-advised and will cause more pain.

"Hugely concerned…very difficult for me to be in compliance with the new rule," she said.

Patients and their advocates say they believe the hearing at the Department of Health is just a formality and they're just waiting for the rules to go into effect and they will then sue the state.



Massachusetts Looks to Turn Over New Leaf on Pot Laws

An overwhelming number of Bay Staters replying to a Suffolk University/WHDH Ch. 7 poll say the state’s marijuana laws should go up in smoke.

The poll regarding questions set to appear on the Nov. 4 ballot shows that 72 percent of Greater Boston residents favor snuffing out criminal penalties for suspects carrying less than an ounce of pot, and replacing them with civil fines. Under the measure, a person stopped with marijuana would be given a $100 ticket and forced to forfeit the drug

"The public may be signaling that pursuing small-time marijuana users is a waste of taxpayer resources," said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Bureau at Suffolk University. "This issue suggests there is a libertarian streak in the thinking of the Massachusetts voter."

The poll also found lingering resentment toward former Gov. Mitt Romney. State residents would reject likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain more heartily if he chose his former rival Romney as his running mate. The poll shows that 41 percent would be less likely to vote for a McCain/Romney ticket, while 24 percent were unswayed.

Bay Staters were also icy toward a ballot measure aimed at abolishing the income tax, with 50 percent opposed to eliminating income tax, and 15 percent undecided.

The pollsters gathered the data from 400 state residents who were contacted between July 31 and Aug. 3.

If the Drug War Works So Well, Why Did Teen Access to Marijuana Increase This Year?

Today, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) released a new study that perfectly demolishes one of the central myths underlying the war on drugs. The National Survey on American Attitudes on Substance Abuse shows that youth access to marijuana has increased significantly in the past year:

According to the report, half of the 16- and 17-year-olds surveyed said their peers use marijuana more than tobacco. More teens say it’s easier to acquire marijuana than beer. And there’s a 35% increase from last year in the number of teens who say they can buy marijuana within an hour and a 14% increase in the number of teens who say they can find it in a day. [MPP]

It almost speaks for itself. Nothing could more directly obliterate the false notion that the war on marijuana is reducing youth access. Just days ago, the drug czar stood on a California mountaintop proudly pronouncing the importance of marijuana eradication. He's bent over backwards to explain that reductions in youth marijuana use provide proof that the war on marijuana is working.

What then can be said about marijuana's ever-increasing availability to young people? Rather obviously, recent declines in youth marijuana use owe nothing to the brutal and controversial tactics the drug czar is duty-bound to defend. After another year of dead dogs,dead informants and dead cops, marijuana is more available to our children than ever before. If fewer of them are using, then that is because they don't feel like it, not because they don't know where to get any.

Of course, the drug war supporters at CASA must have realized how badly their data reflects on marijuana prohibition, so they cooked up one the most embarrassingly backwards statistics possible:

Teens who can obtain marijuana readily are more likely to use it. Forty-five percent of teens who say they can get marijuana in an hour or less have used the drug, compared to 10 percent of those teens who say it would take them a day to get it and less than one percent of teens who say they would be unable to get it.

Oh, mercy. Is it really necessary to explain that teens who smoke marijuana are more likely to know where to buy it? This is just a crime against the scientific method, a pathetic face-saving ruse to defend marijuana prohibition within a report that unintentionally – yet transparently -- humiliates the drug war status quo.

Today, the drug war's failure to keep drugs out of the hands of our young people has been revealed in stark, unambiguous terms. No, the debate won't end here, but it is moments like this that cause one drug warrior after another, after another to jump ship and admit that the whole thing is just a monumental travesty


NORML To Drug Czar "Now that we have your attention"

More than 100 readers have posted comments in support of NORML’s recent guest editorial, “Criminalization of Marijuana Must End,” which appeared inThe Hill’s influential ‘Congressional Blog.’ Editors at The Hill inform NORML that it’s the highest volume of readers’ response they’ve ever received on any commentary on any topic!

So it’s hardly surprising that the Drug Czar’s office has grudgingly and belatedly offered their two-cents worth in a factually bereft editorial entitled “Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Ignores the Facts.” It’s an unintentionally amusing essay — though judging by the comments it appears that few people, if anyone, have actually bothered to read it — topped off by this half-baked claim, “[L]egalizing marijuana [is] a topic more often heard in college dorms at 2 o’clock in the morning than in the hallowed halls of our Congress.”

Excuse me, but if debating the merits of America’s failed cannabis policy is, in the Drug Czar’s opinion, a topic only appropriate for midnight musings, then why is the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy straining their already diminished intellectual capacities responding to this discussion in The Hill (which, last time I checked, was not a publication frequently read by college students in their dorm rooms at 2 am)??!!

Of course, I suppose The Hill should thank their lucky stars that the Drug Czar responded at all, given that no representatives from the ONDCP, CADCA, or other ‘pro-prohibition’ groups will ever agree to engage with NORML in a face-to-face debate in a public forum. I mean, it wasn’t all that long ago that federal officials were distributing a guidebook, “How to Hold Your Own in a Drug Legalization Debate,” that recommended that prohibition advocatesdecline invitations to publicly debate drug policy issues.

My how times have changed!


MPP-TV Profiles in Marijuana Reform: Milton Friedman, Ph.d. ( pt 1)

This weeks Corrupt Law Enforcers

Thanks always to Stopthedrugwar.org

A tough week for jail and prison guards, and a pair of Virginia deputies could find themselves in trouble. Let's get to it:

In Wytheville, Virginia, the Smyth County sheriff has launched an internal probe after sworn affidavits for search warrants in a federal drug case linked two deputies to the subject of those warrants. Sheriff David Bradley would not confirm reports that one deputy had been fired and another suspended, nor were the deputies named. According to the affidavits, based in part on what the suspect unwittingly told confidential informants, one deputy, "Deputy A," "uses methamphetamine, cocaine, and prescription pills but his drug of choice is methamphetamine." The affidavit alleged that Deputy A scored from Anthony Richardson, former chief of the Damascus Police Department, who is currently facing multiple meth conspiracy and distribution charges in state court. "Deputy B," identified as a Smyth County Sheriff's narcotics investigator, "used to steal drugs and give them to [the suspect] to sell," according to the DEA's affidavit. No word on when or if a grand jury indictment is coming down.

In Clovis, New Mexico, a Curry County jail guard was arrested and fired August 7 for trying to smuggle drugs into the county jail. Former jail guard Julian Patrick Garcia, 36, is charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, bringing contraband into a jail, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, attempt to commit a felony by furnishing drugs to a prisoner and a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Garcia went down as a result of an internal investigation at the jail after officials heard allegations an inmate was arranging for drugs to be smuggled in. At last word, Garcia was trying to make a $56,000 bond.

In Lincoln, Nebraska, a state prison guard was arrested August 8 for allegedly smuggling drugs and tobacco into the Nebraska State Penitentiary. Andrew Myers, 23, faces a charge of providing contraband to an inmate. Myers had been under suspicion for two months. Prison officials said they believed he had taped the contraband to his body and delivered it to an inmate in return for $100.

In McAlester, Oklahoma, a former lieutenant at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary was sentenced August 8 to a series of suspended sentences after pleading guilty to felony drug charges. Marion Bess, 44, had faced up to life in prison. He had pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine; conspiracy to deliver/manufacture/possess a controlled dangerous substance -- which carries a sentence of from seven years to life -- and unlawful use of a communication facility, meaning a telephone. He also pleaded guilty to one more count of meth possession. He has to do five years on probation and go to drug treatment.


University of California Trials Suggest Inhaled Cannabis Halts HIV Pain

Inhaled Cannabis Halts HIV Pain, Study Says Clinical Trial Results Undermine Feds' 'Flat Earth' Position That Pot Lacks Medical Efficacy

San Diego, CA:  Inhaled cannabis significantly reduces HIV-associated neuropathy compared to placebo, according to clinical trial data published online on the website of the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Investigators at the University of California at San Diego, in conjunction with the University of California Center for Medical Cannabis Research, assessed the efficacy of inhaled cannabis in 28 HIV patients with neuropathic (nerve-related) pain not adequately controlled by other pain-relievers.  Researchers reported that the proportion of subjects achieving a pain reduction of 30 percent or more was greater for those smoking cannabis than among those smoking the placebo.

“Smoked cannabis … (1-8% THC) significantly reduced neuropathic pain intensity in HIV-associated DPSN (distal sensory polyneuropathy) compared to placebo, when added to stable concomitant analgesics,” authors concluded.  “Mood disturbance, physical disability, and quality of life all improved significantly during study treatment.  … Our findings suggest that cannabinoid therapy may be an effective option for pain relief in patients with medically intractable pain due to HIV-associated DSPN.”

The study is the third clinical trial conducted by CMCR investigators to determine that inhaled cannabis significantly reduces chronic neuropathy, a condition that is typically unresponsive to both opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.

Commenting on the study, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “It is becoming increasingly apparent why the US government has tried to stonewall clinical research on the therapeutic effects of inhaled cannabis. Each new trial the Feds approve provides additional evidence undermining the government's 'flat Earth' position that cannabis is without medical value.”

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director. Full text of the study, “Smoked medicinal cannabis for neuropathic pain in HIV: a randomized, crossover clinical trial,” will appear in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology


Medicinal Marijuana Effective For Neuropathic Pain In HIV, Study Finds.

ScienceDaily (Aug. 7, 2008) — In a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to assess the impact of smoked medical cannabis, or marijuana, on the neuropathic pain associated with HIV, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found that reported pain relief was greater with cannabis than with a placebo

The study, sponsored by the University of California Center for Medical Cannabis Research (CMCR) based at UC San Diego, will be published on line, August 6 in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Led by Ronald J. Ellis, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of neurosciences at UCSD School of Medicine, the study looked at 28 HIV patients with neuropathic pain not adequately controlled by other pain-relievers, including opiates. They took part in the controlled study as outpatients at the UCSD Medical Center. The proportion of subjects achieving pain reduction of 30 percent or more was greater for those smoking cannabis than those smoking the placebo. For the rest of this report go HERE



So Where Did All The Ditchweed Go??????


Who among us doesn’t like to brag after a job well done? It’s human nature, right?

I mean, even the DEA enjoys boasting about their so-called ‘accomplishments.’ They even have their own (taxpayer funded) museum.

Given this fact, it’s both curious and notable that the DEA has suddenly ceased publicizing data regarding how many millions of feral hemp plants (aka ‘ditchweed’) law enforcement eradicate each year.

In previous years, upwards of 98 percent of all the pot seized by law enforcement was categorized as ‘ditchweed’ — a term the DEA uses to define “wild, scattered marijuana plants [with] no evidence of planting, fertilizing, or tending.”

For instance, in 2005 the DEA reported that cops destroyed some 219 million feral hemp plants versus only four million cultivated marijuana plants. DEA data for the year 2004 tells a similar story. Of the estimated 265 million marijuana plants destroyed by law enforcement that year, more than 262 million (roughly 99 percent) were classified as ‘ditchweed.’ In 2006, roughly 84 million plants seized by law enforcement (and more than 94 percent of all the marijuana eradicated) were ‘ditchweed.’

So, how much ditchweed did police confiscate in 2007? That would be anyone’s guess.

Upon referencing Table 4.38 (Number of marijuana plants eradicated and seized, arrests made, weapons seized, and value of assets seized under the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, by State, 2007) in the latest version of the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, visitors will discover that the column that previously reported on ‘ditchweed’ seizures (in prior years’ tables, it was seventh column from the left) is now conspicuously missing.

So why would the DEA abruptly want to cease taking credit for destroying hundreds of millions of pounds of marijuana each year? Perhaps it’s because unlike cultivated marijuana, feral hemp contains virtually no detectable levels of THC — the primary psychoactive component in cannabis — and does not contribute to the black market marijuana trade.

Or perhaps it’s because the public was finally beginning to smarten up to the fact that they’ve been paying their police millions of dollars each year to do nothing more than pull a few weeds.


This Weeks Corrupt Law Enforcers........

Thanks to Stopthedrugwar.org

Prison guards get busted as cocaine traffickers in Louisiana and New Jersey, and a pair of North Carolina cops plea to helping out the local cocaine trade. Let's get to it:

In Lake Charles, Louisiana, a Texas prison guard was arrested Monday night after Louisiana state troopers found 1.2 pounds of cocaine in her vehicle during a drug dog search after a traffic stop. LaQuatta Felder of Houston works at the Darrington Penitentiary in Rosharon, Texas, and was traveling with a former Darrington prisoner, Joseph Harris. Both were booked into the the Jefferson Davis Parish Jail for possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

In Newark, New Jersey, a veteran Newark prison guard was charged July 24 with leading a cocaine trafficking ring that bought the drug in Texas and Florida and sold it in New Jersey. Senior corrections officers Eugene Braswell, 29, worked at Northern State Prison. He first came under scrutiny last August, when he shot and killed a former Northern State prisoner outside his home. The investigation into that shooting led to two arrests earlier this month, and then Braswell and three others were arrested last week. Police found $16,000 in cash and a .357 magnum revolver when they searched his home. He is charged with leading a narcotics network, other drug charges, money laundering and conspiracy. Bail was set at $500,000.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, two former Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers have cut a plea deal with federal prosecutors in the case against them for conspiring with a drug dealer and an informant to sell crack cocaine. Ex-officers Gerald Holas Jr. and Jason Ross agreed to guilty pleas in return for a prosecutorial recommendation they be sentenced to the statutory 10-year minimum sentence for drug conspiracy. In return for the recommended minimum, the two men must make "full, accurate and complete disclosure" to federal authorities about their involvement in the conspiracy. If they're found to have lied, or if they commit any crime, the deal is off. The pair went down after a confidential informant told the FBI a drug dealer was being protected by them. They claimed they were "working" the dealer to make more arrests, but the feds didn't buy that. Now, local prosecutors say they will dismiss any drug cases brought by the pair. Those could number in the hundreds. The plea bargain must be approved by a federal judge in the fall.


California Appeals Court Backs Medical Marijuana.


California’s medical marijuana law got an endorsement yesterday from a state appeals court: A three-judge panel ruled that San Diego and San Bernardino counties, which have been fighting the state law, must issue government-sponsored ID cards to patients whose doctors say they can benefit from marijuana.

The counties had argued that there is no federally approved medical use of marijuana, and the cards condone behavior that violates federal law, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

But in a sign of just how ambiguous the medical marijuana situation is in California, on the same day the court issued its opinion, federal DEA agents were busy raiding a medical marijuana dispensary in Culver City, in the Los Angeles area. Here’s the Los Angeles Times story on the raid.

For a broader take on Cali’s medical marijuana scene, check out this article from last week’s New Yorker. The reporter rides along with a former classmate, an Ivy League grad who has become a marijuana dealer in the vast gray market that’s sprung up since the state’s medical marijuana bill was signed into law in 2003.


Botched Paramilitary Police Raids ("SWAT")

This list is compiled by Stopthedrugwar.org

Tanika Williams and Sincere Wilson – Lima, Ohio January, 2008
A SWAT team Burst into the home of Tanika Williams, her one year old son, and her boyfriend, and immediately opened fire. Tanika was killed, her son wounded, and even one of the family dogs was killed. While the SWAT team executed the raid at the proper address, their wanton use of excessive force cannot be justified by the undisclosed amount of marijuana and crack they purportedly found in the possession of the boyfriend.

the El-Bynum family – Philadelphia, September 2007
The El-Bynum family was the victim of a botched police raid while sitting down to Sunday dinner. Police burst into the wrong house, found no evidence of illegal activity, yet arrested Mr. and Mrs. El-Bynum anyway.

Frances Thompson – Atlanta, September 2006
Two months before Kathryn Johnston was killed, Atlanta police conducted a no-knock search on the home of 80-year-old Frances Thompson, who brandished a toy cap gun at them. She dropped the gun when told to and no shots were fired. Police later realized their mistake and apologized.

Norma Saunders – Philadelphia, September 2007
Norma Saunders returned home from a family reunion to find her home trashed, her front door broken in, and her burglary alarm torn from the wall. Police officers had raided the house looking for drugs and weapons. The house they intended to hit was several houses away.

David and Lillian Scott (and family) – Temecula, California, August 2007
A specialized police unit has been temporarily disbanded after mistakenly bursting into the house of David and Lillian Scott. After throwing Mr. and Mrs. Scott, their two teenage children and two friends of their daughter to the ground and handcuffing them, police searched the house, breaking several doors, without finding any evidence of illegal activities. The Mayor of Temecula later apologized for the mistake.

Carol Wallace – Chicago, July 2007
A narcotics team raided the home of 63-year-old grandmother Carol Wallace. Wallace said about six of the officers dumped clothes from a dresser and closet on her bed and floor and rifled through her medications. She has no criminal record, but had earlier accused the police dept of harassment.

Sadly this is the tip of the iceberg! a complete list can be seen at 

 http://stopthedrugwar.org/policeraids  this a 'work in progress and will be updated on a regular basis.