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Trump VP Pick Mike Pence is Bad News on Marijuana, Drug Policy

Drug War Chronicle - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 03:35

The Republican nominee's choice of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate means Trump has selected a man who is the very embodiment of last century's "tough on drugs" prohibitionist attitudes.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Pence's anti-drug reform stances are part and parcel of his overall social conservative, Tea Party positions. He has also been a strong opponent of gay marriage and abortion rights and a strong supporter of "religious freedom."

Indiana has tough marijuana laws, with possession of even the smallest amount of pot worth up to six months in county jail and possession of more than 30 grams (slightly more than an ounce) a felony punishable by up to 2 ½ years in prison. Selling any amount more than 30 grams is also a felony, again punishable by up to 2 ½ years in prison.

Mike Pence is just fine with that. In fact, three years ago he successfully blocked a move in the legislature to reduce some of those penalties, saying that while he wanted to cut prison populations, he didn't want to cut penalties to achieve that end.

"I think we need to focus on reducing crime, not reducing penalties," he said. "I think this legislation, as it moves forward, should still seek to continue to send a way strong message to the people of Indiana and particularly to those who would come into our state to deal drugs, that we are tough and we're going to stay tough on narcotics in this state."

Pence did sign emergency legislation allowing for needle exchange programs in some Indiana counties last year, but only after initial resistance, during which more than 150 cases of HIV/AIDS were reported in one county alone. His hesitance was in line with his anti-drug values, as evidenced by his 2009 vote as a US representative to keep intact a federal ban on funding for needle exchanges.

Pence is also a gung-ho drug warrior when it comes to the Mexican border, having voted to support billions in funding for Mexico to fight drug cartels and for using the US military to conduct anti-drug and counter-terror patrols along the border.

Bizarrely enough, there is one drug Pence has no problems with, but it's a legal one: nicotine. That's right, the drug warrior is an apologist and denier for Big Tobacco.

"Time for a quick reality check," he said in 2000. "Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn't kill."

Pence has been handsomely compensated by tobacco companies for his advocacy against anti-smoking public health campaigns, even though they have proven wildly successful in driving down smoking rates. Pence can be viewed as a man who rejects proven public health interventions for one dangerous substance while insisting on failed punitive, prohibitionist policies for another, less dangerous, substance.

(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

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Philippines: Duterte Defends Deadly Anti-Crime War

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 07/26/2016 - 07:00
Straits Times, 26 Jul 2016 - S. China Sea Gets Brief Mention in His State of the Nation Address Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday defended his deadly anti-crime war even as he enumerated a host of big measures to bring economic relief to wage earners, conclude peace with communist and Muslim rebels, fix infrastructure bottlenecks and improve disbursement of government resources through a shift to federalism.
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Indonesia: Jokowi Told To Cancel Execution Plan

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 07/26/2016 - 07:00
Jakarta Post, 26 Jul 2016 - President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has been urged to cancel the planned executions of drug convicts and review his capital punishment policy as authorities prepare for executions on Nusakambangan prison island, Cilacap, Central Java. Pakistani Zulfiqar Ali, one of the death row convicts, was transferred on Monday to a secluded prison on the island from a nearby hospital, where he had been treated for cirrhosis since May.
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Indonesia: Column: Executions Taint Indonesia's Rise As Global

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 07/26/2016 - 07:00
Jakarta Post, 26 Jul 2016 - Indonesia may have felt proud when its delegation was chosen to represent 16 like-minded countries at a UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem at the UN headquarters in New York last April. For Indonesia, its selection to read a joint statement on behalf of countries that maintain the death penalty showcased trust from others in its persistence to keep capital punishment intact. But Indonesian representatives to the UN forum received boos from many among the 193 delegations attending the session. The jeers sent a message of derision for defending the death penalty as "an important component of drug control policy".
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US CA: Butte County Supervisors to Decide Next Step on Pot

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 07/25/2016 - 07:00
Chico Enterprise-Record, 25 Jul 2016 - Oroville - Pot proponents lost in the June election, but that hasn't stopped them from getting another initiative before the Butte County Board of Supervisors. The board will have to make a decision on the initiative Tuesday, along with mulling over an extension on a tax in Gridley and Biggs, increasing salaries for position in human resources and providing direction on green waste disposal at the dump.
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US MA: Marijuana Dispensary Licenses To The Highest Bidder?

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 07/25/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 25 Jul 2016 - Massachusetts cities and towns are exacting increasingly hefty payments from medical marijuana dispensaries in exchange for letters the companies need to win state licenses, a Globe review of recent compacts shows. In Worcester, a dispensary promised to pay the city $450,000 over three years - and $200,000 a year after that - if officials gave their blessing to the business.
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US MD: Editorial: One Toke Over The Line?

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 07/25/2016 - 07:00
Baltimore Sun, 25 Jul 2016 - Finding Qualified Men and Women to Serve As City Police Officers Is Tough Enough Without an Outdated Marijuana Policy The challenge of police recruiting is nothing new. The modest pay, long hours and duties that can be both boring and life-threatening aren't for everyone. In 2000, for instance, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles reported a drastic drop in police applicants and blamed a number of factors, including low officer morale, for their recruitment woes.
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CN ON: Column: Going to Pot: Why Aren't Police Cracking Down

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 07/24/2016 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 24 Jul 2016 - You used to drop by the Pop Shop to prepare for a party; now you can peruse the pot shop. Stores selling marijuana are cropping up in Ottawa these days, but usually in locales that service other addictions, such as sex and pornography. One local adult video retailer, co-located with a pot shop, went so far as to describe his commercial geography as a "red light district."
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Philippines: 25,230 Drug Users, Pushers Surrender In MM

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 07/24/2016 - 07:00
Philippine Star, 24 Jul 2016 - At least 25,230 drug pushers and drug dependents have surrendered to police in Metro Manila since the government started its war on drugs, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) reported yesterday. NCRPO director Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde also noted the significant decrease in street crimes in the metropolis with the implementation of both Oplans Tokhang and Double Barrel. Tokhang involves visiting the homes of suspected drug users and pushers and asking them to change their ways while Double Barrel refers to a two-pronged campaign to arrest drug lords and pushers.
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Philippines: Church: Thou Shall Not Kill

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 07/24/2016 - 07:00
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 24 Jul 2016 - Message to Duterte to Coincide With Sona THOU shall not kill. The Sixth Commandment is the message for President Duterte that will emanate from a Mass which the Archdiocese of Manila will hold tomorrow afternoon as he delivers his first State of the Nation Address (Sona) to Congress.
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Philippines: Column: A Crisis Of Faith

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 07/24/2016 - 07:00
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 24 Jul 2016 - "LET US not allow violence to rule us but in every circumstance be vigilant and zealous in upholding the dignity and rights of all as befit responsible citizens and followers of Christ" is the plea in a "pastoral letter" issued by La Sallian Br. Jose Mari Jimenez FSC (no relation, as far as I know). Jimenez, who is president of De La Salle Philippines and auxiliary visitor (a regional supervisory post) for the De La Salle Brothers, thus joined other voices raised in concern over the number of people killed as part of the Duterte administration's deadly and bloody antidrug campaign. True, these voices have been muted so far, largely ignored, drowned out by contrary views and official encouragement of extrajudicial killings (no formal charges, no trials). But while alarming, the 408 casualties counted in a mere five days (May 10-15) so far, said Jimenez, are not the biggest reason for his concern. Rather, he says, "what troubles me even more as an educator is the absence of a significant public outcry against the blatant contempt for human life and the rule of law that these extrajudicial killings represent."
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US CA: Editorial: Treatment, Empathy Vital to Halt Painkiller

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 07/24/2016 - 07:00
Chico Enterprise-Record, 24 Jul 2016 - We now know the scope of the prescription painkiller and heroin problem in Butte County. It's imperative that we do more to address it. A seven-part series by reporter Ashiah Scharaga that ended Saturday, "Overdose Nation," studied the issue in depth. The use of opioids is a problem nationwide but it's more pronounced locally. Of California's 58 counties, Butte has the third-highest rate of drug-induced deaths. More than half of those drug-induced deaths are from opioids.
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US MA: Editorial: Make Methadone Easier To Get

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 07/24/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 24 Jul 2016 - The argument against using drugs like methadone and Suboxone to kick heroin usually gets whittled to a cliched, and inaccurate, phrase: It's trading one addiction for another. But ask Dr. Jessie Gaeta about some of the clients she treats in the heart of Boston's so-called Methadone Mile and she'll describe regimens that are about trading despair for hope. Gaeta, who is chief medical officer at Boston Health Care for the Homeless, knows all about the doomsday scenarios that often play out on the grimy blocks around Massachusetts Avenue and Albany Street, where a mix of shelters, treatment centers, and methadone clinics years ago created a subculture of people desperate to get help or get high. Sometimes both.
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US DC: 'How's Amanda?'

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 07/24/2016 - 07:00
Washington Post, 24 Jul 2016 - A Story of Truth, Lies and an American Addiction She had already made it through one last night alone under the freeway bridge, through the vomiting and shakes of withdrawal, through cravings so intense she'd scraped a bathroom floor searching for leftover traces of heroin. It had now been 12 days since the last time Amanda Wendler used a drug of any kind, her longest stretch in years. "Clear-eyed and sober," read a report from one drug counselor, and so Amanda, 31, had moved back in with her mother to begin the stage of recovery she feared most.
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US CA: Marijuana The Focus Of Museum Exhibit

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 07/24/2016 - 07:00
Chicago Tribune, 24 Jul 2016 - OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - It's known as Mary Jane, ganja, Chronic and even the sticky icky and has been featured in countless movies. Now, marijuana is the subject of a contemporary history and science exhibit. "Altered State: Marijuana in California," a one-of-its-kind museum exhibition focusing on the topic, is open through the summer at the Oakland Museum of California. Set against the backdrop of a California ballot measure this year asking voters to legalize marijuana's recreational use, the exhibition features artwork, political documents and posters, scientific displays, and interactive and multimedia exhibits all meant to spark questions and conversations about the provocative plant.
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US CT: OPED: Learning From Europe On Drug Policy

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 07/24/2016 - 07:00
The Day, 24 Jul 2016 - America's drug policies are largely misguided. Many people, from common citizens to seasoned politicians, are aware of this, and have sought to change these laws in response to the needless incarceration of indulgers and addicts and, as a consequence, an ever-expanding population of prison inmates - the largest in the world.
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US TX: Study: Medical Marijuana Cuts Medicare Spending

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 07/24/2016 - 07:00
Austin American-Statesman, 24 Jul 2016 - Legislators who want to expand the use of medical marijuana in Texas - - as well as the green-seeking entrepreneurs who could benefit financially from more state-approved, pot-derived treatments for what ails Texans - might be able to lean on a new study to bolster their argument when the Legislature convenes in January. State senators and Texas House members undoubtedly will be looking for ways to save money next session, especially since the price of oil has dropped into an abyss, taking with it much of the state's oil-based tax revenue. They'll cut programs. They always do. But they also will search for savings.
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Canada: Medical Pot Companies Aim To Grow Export Business

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 07/23/2016 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 23 Jul 2016 - Canada's licensed medical cannabis producers are searching for opportunities to expand overseas while Ottawa works on its plan to legalize recreational marijuana next spring, with two producers recently securing licences to sell their products in Europe. The latest company to announce plans to export marijuana is Canopy Growth Corp., the largest of the country's two dozen licensed producers. Canopy Growth said it would soon begin selling dried cannabis in pharmacies across Germany after securing an export licence from Health Canada on Wednesday. The company also said it had signed partnerships to share its technical expertise with medical marijuana companies in Brazil and Australia.
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US CO: A Colorado Town's Water Tests Positive For Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 07/23/2016 - 07:00
New York Times, 23 Jul 2016 - DENVER - There are no marijuana dispensaries or greenhouses in the tiny railroad town of Hugo, where Theodore Roosevelt once ate breakfast with the local cowboys. But this week, Hugo's 740 residents were told to stop drinking the water after the town's water supply tested positive for THC, the psychoactive chemical in Colorado's most famous cash crop. The trouble started when a local company trying to calibrate its employee drug tests pulled a positive reading from Hugo's tap water. The town's Public Works Department investigated and found signs of tampering and "forced entry" at one of the wells that supply the town's drinking water, a spokesman for the Lincoln County sheriff told reporters. The town sealed off the well that seemed to be the source of the tainted water.
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US AR: Coalition Hosts Meeting About Medical Marijuana Proposal

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 07/23/2016 - 07:00
Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 23 Jul 2016 - If passed, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act would be one of the most permissive medical marijuana measures in the country, Henny Lasley, a founding member of Smart Colorado, said Friday. Lasley was the headline speaker at a meeting of the Coalition for Safer Arkansas Communities held at the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce in Little Rock. The meeting attracted about 35 people, among them law enforcement officers, lawmakers and employees of treatment centers. The coalition says on its website that is an organization of parents, teachers, medical professionals, law enforcement officials, business owners and community leaders.
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