Los Angeles Times, 09 May 2016 - Ten years ago in Los Angeles, Theresa Martinez was finally making progress in her long, painful struggle against drug addiction and the cycle of incarceration it fueled. But in order to continue her methadone program, she needed $200. Homeless, unemployed, and terrified of falling back into heroin addiction, she tried to get the money the only way she knew: selling drugs. Martinez was arrested for a $5 sale of cocaine, a felony that, absent aggravating factors, carried a three-year prison sentence. By global standards that penalty would have been unusual and harsh, especially since she plainly needed help and support - not incarceration. But here in the United States, Martinez faced an even worse fate. California law prescribes sentencing "enhancements" for anyone who has a prior drug-related felony conviction. Martinez was threatened with a nine-year sentence. Anguished, she took a plea deal for six years, bringing her lifetime total to 23 years behind bars, all for drugs.
Chicago Sun-Times, 09 May 2016 - Pot ticket option, fewer cops lead to lowest narcotic bust numbers in three decades, but special unit arrests up ' considerably' The war on drugs may not be over in Chicago, but it's in retreat. In 2015, total drug-related arrests dropped to the lowest level in three decades, a Chicago Sun- Times analysis of city crime data found.
Daily Mail, 09 May 2016 - A number of critical airline staff have tested positive for hardcore drugs and alcohol while on the job, leaving passengers concerned about the protocols in place to keep them safe in the air. At least 14 Australian airline and airport employees operating in 'safety sensitive' roles came to work affected by alcohol and drugs in 2015, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Ottawa Sun, 08 May 2016 - "If I look at five inmates I'm going to definitely find one of them that is bringing in some kind of contraband" The new high-tech body scanner coming to the Ottawa jail is touted as the "ultimate substitute for strip searching" and will give correctional officers a glimpse at an inmate's insides after it is installed within the next month.
Toronto Sun, 08 May 2016 - Weed the North. Queen's Park turned into a big puff of smoke Saturday afternoon as some 20,000 marijuana activists gathered near the King Edward VII statue, before rallying and walking in the 18th annual Global Marijuana March through the downtown core, spliffs in hand. While the federal Liberals made a campaign pledge to legalize marijuana, many of the parade-goers felt like the federal government was dragging its feet. "Thousands of people are still facing criminal charges," said event founder Neev, who refused to give his last name. "It should be legalized, it should be cheaper. It's so expensive because it's not legal yet. I appreciate the Liberals wanting to do it right, but the rollout is so slow." The Toronto event was one of the 100 marijuana parades scheduled in cities around the world.
Dayton Daily News, 08 May 2016 - Society Goes From Racist Approach to Empathy. The Rev. Mike Starks witnessed the destruction of crack cocaine, but not from the sidelines - he was a self-described gangster and drug addict before he became a minister.
Los Angeles Times, 08 May 2016 - Ex-Mexican President Says Both Sides of the Border Should Be Scared Former Mexican President Vicente Fox isn't the guy you would expect to see sporting a bright pink Donald Trump brand tie. Fox has had plenty to say about the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee - and none of it is complimentary. But then he has a point he wants to make:
The Age, 07 May 2016 - Addiction to painkillers is putting many Americans on a road that leads to heroin and an early grave, writes Andrew Purcell. The United States is in the grip of an unprecedented epidemic. In 2014, more than 47,000 people were killed by an overdose more than were killed by guns, or died in traffic accidents.
Sydney Morning Herald, 07 May 2016 - 'This generation is really sick' Addiction to painkillers is putting many Americans on a road that leads to heroin and an early grave, writes Andrew Purcell. The United States is in the grip of an unprecedented epidemic. In 2014, more than 47,000 people were killed by an overdose - more than were killed by guns, or died in traffic accidents.
The Observer, 17 Apr 2016 - Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia, argues that his country's narco-related violent history illustrates exactly why a global rethink on prohibition should be the key discussion at this week's UN general assembly special session on drugs How does one explain to a Colombian peasant in a rural community in the south-west of the country that he will be prosecuted under criminal charges for growing marijuana plants, while a young entrepreneur in Colorado finds his or her legal recreational marijuana business booming?
Sunday Star-Times, 17 Apr 2016 - An Unemployed West Auckland Man Has Proven That Police Claims About Cannabis Hospital Admissions Were False. Tony Wall Reports. The headline figures from a police intelligence report caught Steve Dawson's attention. Cannabis was causing 2000 hospital admissions a year costing more than $30 million, and was the "cornerstone" of drug harm in this country.
Boston Globe, 16 Apr 2016 - NEW YORK - Howard Marks, an Oxford-educated drug trafficker who at his peak in the 1970s controlled a substantial fraction of the world's hashish and marijuana trade, and who became a best-selling author after his release from a US prison, died Sunday. He was 70. His death, from colorectal cancer, which he disclosed last year, was confirmed by Robin Harvie, publisher for nonfiction at Pan Macmillan, which released Mr. Marks's final book, "Mr. Smiley: My Last Pill and Testament," in September. No other details were provided.
Daily Mail, 16 Apr 2016 - A CHIEF constable who wants to legalise drugs has been charged with overseeing how officers tackle the menace nationwide. Mike Barton believes some Class A and B drugs should be made legal and, in some cases, handed out for free to addicts.
West Hawaii Today, 16 Apr 2016 - Once a decade, the United Nations organizes a meeting where every country in the world comes together to figure out what to do about drugs - and up to now, they've always pledged to wage a relentless war, to fight until the planet is "drug-free." They've consistently affirmed U.N. treaties written in the 1960s and 1970s, mainly by the United States, which require every country to arrest and imprison their way out of drug-related problems. But at this year's meeting in New York City later this month, several countries are going to declare: This approach has been a disaster. We can't do this anymore. Enough.
New York Times, 16 Apr 2016 - MEXICO CITY - More than a dozen conspirators gathered at the headquarters of the Honduran National Police just after 9:30 p.m. One of them clicked open a briefcase, and bundles of American dollars were distributed among the police officers - payment for the next day's hit job. After everyone else filed out of the room, the three highest-ranking officers stayed behind to make a call.
The New Mexican, 15 Apr 2016 - Miracle Medication or Dangerous Drug? to Many Using Marijuana, It Can Be Both It is both a plant and a drug, a recreation and a medication, and it is a substance weighed with both pros and cons in our society: marijuana. Some states have decided to legalize it while others have not. Marijuana, also known as weed, ganja, pot, etc., remains one of the most common illicit drugs in the country.
Washington Post, 15 Apr 2016 - FOR HIM, SMUGGLING POT WAS HIS 'DESTINY' Howard Marks, a Welsh-born, Oxford-trained drug smuggler who for years ran a globe-spanning marijuana ring, enraging officials and entertaining the public on both sides of the Atlantic as a countercultural scofflaw, died April 10. He was 70.
New York Times, 14 Apr 2016 - Lee Carroll Brooker, a 75-year-old disabled veteran suffering from chronic pain, was arrested in July 2011 for growing three dozen marijuana plants for his own medicinal use behind his son's house in Dothan, Ala., where he lived. For this crime, Mr. Brooker was given a life sentence with no possibility of release. Alabama law mandates that anyone with certain prior felony convictions be sentenced to life without parole for possessing more than 1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of marijuana, regardless of intent to sell. Mr. Brooker had been convicted of armed robberies in Florida two decades earlier, for which he served 10 years. The marijuana plants collected at his son's house - including unusable parts like vines and stalks - weighed 2.8 pounds.
New York Times, 12 Apr 2016 - Howard Marks, an Oxford-educated drug trafficker who at his peak in the 1970s controlled a substantial fraction of the world's hashish and marijuana trade, and who became a best-selling author after his release from an American prison, died on Sunday. He was 70. His death, from colorectal cancer, which he disclosed last year, was confirmed by Robin Harvie, publisher for nonfiction at Pan Macmillan, which released Mr. Marks's final book, "Mr. Smiley: My Last Pill and Testament," in September. No other details were provided.
Edmonton Sun, 11 Apr 2016 - LOCAL MOM URGES NEW DRUG POLICIES She'll take the message to the UN ... An Edmonton mother is part of a Canadian contingent attending a global drug policy summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York next week to urge governments to forego the "war on drugs" and embrace harm reduction.