US Marijuana Party

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Oregon donor gives $10,000 to state's inmates

Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. — A Salem businessman has given $10,000 so each inmate in the Oregon State Penitentiary has $4.11 for Christmas.

The $4.11 is their share of a gift from a man who is adamant about remaining anonymous and about how the money was to be distributed, said Chane Griggs of the Oregon Department of Corrections.

Corrections officials initially talked to him about using the money to remodel the visiting area in the Salem prison, she said, but he said not all inmates get visitors.

"He was specific that he wanted it to be to each inmate," she said. The man doesn't have any connection to the prison system or to anyone serving time, Griggs said.

She said the money was distributed to prisoners as of Dec. 14, and any remainder went into the inmate-welfare fund. She didn't have the inmate census at hand, but at $4.11 a pop, $10,000 could be split 2,433 ways, with 37 cents left over.

The money goes into the inmates' personal spending accounts, redeemable only at the prison canteen, she said.

The Oregonian newspaper quoted these prices of items the inmates might buy with their shares: wool gloves, $3; instant rice, $1.10; Wheat Thins, $1.50; a mug, $2.56; a crucifix with a chain, $4; garlic capsules, $3.60.

One busted in FWB drug raid

Andrew Gant
Northwest Florida Daily News, FL

Meanwhile, investigation into crack sales is ongoing

Lawmen hit the apartment complex at about 2 p.m. in a surprise strike, allowing the Daily News to ride along. Sheriff’s Lt. Arnold Brown said each of the targets in the building was a known “smoke house.”

Aarry Glendale Robinson, 24, has been charged with selling crack cocaine. He lives on Evans Street in Niceville, but frequents the Corvet area, investigators say.

Outside the apartments, lawmen dismantled loose air intakes and emptied the trunks of suspect’s cars, searching for evidence. They found trace amounts of crack, including some in dozens of plastic baggies littering the ground.

Inside, children screamed while the adults were questioned.

“The police bum-rush their house and these kids don’t understand what’s going on,” Brown said.

The drug investigation is ongoing.

No-Knock, You're Dead

Ending America's Domestic Quagmire
CounterPunch, CA

A growing number of political pundits are questioning America's military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some are beginning to draw parallels to lawmakers' much longer domestic war effort: the so-called war on drugs. The comparison is apropos.

For nearly 100 years, starting with the passage of America's first federal anti-drug law in 1914, lawmakers have relied on the mantra "Do drugs, do time." As in the Middle East, the human and fiscal consequences of this inflexible policy have been steadily mounting.

America now spends nearly $50 billion dollars per year targeting, prosecuting, and incarcerating illicit-drug users. As a result, the population of illicit-drug offenders now behind bars is greater than the entire U.S. prison population in 1980. Since the mid 1990s, drug offenders have accounted for nearly 50 percent of the total federal prison population growth and some 40 percent of all state prison population growth. For marijuana alone, law enforcement currently spends between $7 billion and $10 billion dollars annually targeting users -- primarily low-level offenders -- and taxpayers spend more than $1 billion annually to incarcerate them.

Despite these unprecedented punitive efforts, illicit drugs remain cheaper and more plentiful than ever. (Who ever heard of crack, ice, Ecstasy, GHB, or Special K 30 years ago?) Among children, the percentage using illicit drugs is little different than it was in 1975, when the government first began monitoring teen drug use (though, comparatively, adolescents' use of cigarettes has fallen dramatically during this time). Illicit-drug use among adults has also remained virtually unchanged; however, far more users are overdosing and dying from substance abuse than ever before.

Americans are also dying in greater numbers a result of drug-war enforcement. For example, members of Georgia's narcotics task force shot and killed 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in November 2006 during a no-knock drug raid of her home. Two officers in the raid eventually pled guilty to manslaughter and admitted that they planted drugs in Ms. Johnston's house as a cover story for their actions.

A similar fate befell 44-year-old housewife Cheryl Noel of Baltimore, who was shot and killed by police in 2005 during a 5 o'clock a.m. "flash-bang" raid of her home. Noel's husband and 19-year-old son were later charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Nevertheless, despite the drug war's growing expense and civilian casualties, lawmakers continue to offer few, if any, strategies other than to stay the course. Such a mindset is epitomized by the outgoing House Drug Policy Subcommittee chairman, Mark Souder (R­Ind.), who authored federal legislation to withhold financial aid from convicted drug offenders, recently pushed for the use of mycoherbicides as biological agents to kill drug crops overseas, and continues to publicly lambaste drug czar John Walters for employing an oversoft (in Souder's opinion) drug-war battle-plan. The families of Kathryn Johnston and Cheryl Noel would most likely beg to differ.

However, in contrast to politicians who call for a review of the U.S. military's Middle East policies, few lawmakers are demanding a timetable to bring about a cease-fire to the war on drugs -- or are even calling for a reduction in the number of "troops" ( i.e., narcotics detectives, DEA agents, et cetera) serving on the front lines. They ought to. If American lawmakers want to take a serious look at the United States's war strategies, let them begin by reassessing -- and ending -- their failed war here at home.

Paul Armentano is the senior policy analyst for NORML and the NORML Foundation in Washington, D.C. He may be contacted at

Mexican marijuana is still plentiful — and cheap

Houston Chronicle, United States - Dec 23, 2007

The popular drug's prices have changed little in 25 years

A car, a home, a gallon of milk — most everything costs more now than a generation ago. Except a baggie of Mexican marijuana.

Give or take a few dollars, authorities say, pot grown in Mexico and sold in Houston and other Texas cities still goes for about the same price as 25 years ago: $60 to $80 for an ounce.

In economic terms, marijuana is far cheaper since the decade when a three-bedroom home in upscale West University cost $150,000, a new ride was less than $6,000 and first lady Nancy Reagan urged kids to "Just Say No."

"I guarantee you it is probably cheaper than it was back in the day," said Lt. Gray Smith of the Houston police narcotics division. "Since I've been in the dope business, it has been pretty much the same," he said of prices during 20 years of monitoring sales.

Boys caught with walnuts... and marijuana

by Craig Garretson
NJ Blog, New Jersey
Tuesday December 25, 2007

Throwing walnuts at a cop is never a good idea... especially when you're carrying a bag of marijuana.

Two teenagers were arrested in Bayonne and accused of throwing walnuts at a cop who was standing outside his patrol car after making a traffic stop.

While Bayonne Police Officer Chester Konopka was questioning the two boys - ages 16 and 17 - about the walnuts, they each dropped a clear bag containing suspected marijuana, police reports said.

The two teens were charged with juvenile delinquency, aggravated assault on a police officer, and possession of marijuana under 50 grams, and released to their parents pending a court hearing.

Monday, December 24, 2007

U.S. police brutality cases on the rise 2007-12-18 23:32:25

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Cases of brutality inflicted by U.S. police officers are on the rise, according to Justice Department statistics revealed by USA Today Tuesday.

Cases in which police and other law enforcement authorities used excessive force or other tactics, violating victims' civil rights, have increased by 25 percent from 224 in the 2001 fiscal year to 281 in the fiscal year 2007, according to the statistics.

Federal records also show the vast majority of police brutality cases referred by investigators are not prosecuted.

The cases involve only a fraction of the estimated 800,000 police officers in the country, but they reflect concerns that reduced standards, training and promotion of less experienced officers into the higher ranks could undermine supervision of police conduct.

For the past few years, dozens of police departments across the country have scrambled to fill vacancies.

The recruiting effort, which often features cash bonuses, has intensified since 9/11, as many police recruits have been drawn to military service.
Editor: Yan Liang

Brownies With Marijuana Sold At High School
updated 11:36 a.m. PT, Mon., Dec. 24, 2007

OMAHA, Neb. - Two teenagers were arrested after drug bust at Elkhorn High School Friday afternoon. The school resource officer received information that students were selling and eating brownies with marijuana baked into them, said Omaha police Sgt. Teresa Negron.

The investigation led to the discovery of an Adderall capsule in a student's backpack that was not prescribed to the student.

Two 17-year-old male students were arrested and booked at the Douglas County Youth Center. One faces a charge of possession with an intent to deliver marijuana. The other was booked for possession of a controlled substance.

Officers also ticketed five other students for possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Betancourt children in release plea

Al Jazeera
8:02 MECCA TIME, 5:02 GMT

"Sarkozy discussed the hostage drama with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on Thursday, and has received Chavez at the presidential palace in Paris."
full story

Ingrid Betancourt