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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Adult to Be Sentenced as Juvenile

posted by on August 14 at 1:21 PM

Donalydia Huertas was 17 when she gave her 16-year-old friend, Danielle McCarthy, ecstasy on December 31, 2006. Even though McCarthy began to show symptoms of an overdose—delirious, urinating, a seizure—her friends waited hours before taking her to a hospital in Edmonds, where she was pronounced dead. I wrote about the whole sordid story here, and here’s an excerpt about the penalties:

In Washington, when a person dies from taking an illegal drug, the individual who supplied the drug has committed "controlled-substances homicide," according to a law passed in 1987. It's the equivalent of holding a gun dealer liable if someone shoots himself.

"It was clear who gave her the drugs and who sold her the drugs," said Deputy Prosecutor Coleen St. Clair of the Snohomish County Superior Court, who is handling the case….

The penalty for administering a lethal dose of a drug is usually 51 to 68 months in prison for adults. The penalty for juveniles is typically a month in jail.

The prosecutor charged Huertas with manslaughter as an adult after she turned 18, but a judge rejected the charge in June. And today, the Times’s (excellent reporter) Jennifer Sullivan reports on the sentencing decision.

On Wednesday, the case neared its end in Huertas' favor. A Snohomish County judge ruled that Huertas will be sentenced in juvenile court, a decision that clears the way for the 19-year-old to receive a standard sentencing range of up to 30 days in a juvenile jail, instead of the nearly 5-1⁄2 years in an adult prison that she could have faced if sentenced in adult court.

[Judge Ellen] Fair said Huertas acted with "stupidity" by not coming to McCarthy's aid when the girl was overdosing. But since then, Fair said, Huertas has "gained some maturity."

Huertas should definitely be punished: She didn't save her friend's life when she had the chance. However, this lighter juvenile sentencing makes sense. Offenders who were kids at the time shouldn’t be given trumped up adult charges. And Heurtas, the only non-white person charged, wasn’t the only one to blame. David Morris, an adult who sold the ecstasy to the girls, accepted an offer to testify against Huertas in exchange for a shorter sentence. McCarthy paid for the drugs with her own money, court records show, and she asked her friend to make sure her parents didn't find out. And about a half-dozen people were also with McCarthy when she died—and one of them even told the group not to call an ambulance. The negligence of all her friends, ecstasy, and strictly punitive drug policies all conspired to kill Danielle McCarthy. But only Donalydia Huertas was facing years in prison.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The French Do It Better

posted by on August 13 at 1:43 PM

Here’s an ad—of hot young people drinking and having a good time. But then they drink more and more, and things go downhill…

This is the sort of ad we should be running in the US: It admits that drinking alcohol can be really fun, in moderation. But it’s the sort of ad I've never see here. Even our “know your limits” ads cut right to freaky depictions of drunkenness. Never could the puritanical educators of youth gain some credibility with teenagers by divulging that, perhaps—just maybe—using a little bit of drugs or alcohol can make for good time. But using too much, that's abuse.

Via Cornichon.

Former UK Drug Official: Legalize Recreational Drugs

posted by on August 13 at 11:00 AM

Gee, I wonder if any of our former "drug czars" feel the same way:

A former senior civil servant who was responsible for coordinating the government's anti-drugs policy now believes that legalisation would be less harmful than the current strategy. Julian Critchley, the former director of the Cabinet Office's anti-drugs unit, also said that his views were shared by the "overwhelming majority" of professionals in the field, including police officers, health workers and members of the government.... In a contribution to the debate on the "war on drugs" on a BBC website, Critchley spelled out his reasons for now supporting legalisation and claimed the government's position is hypocritical. Yesterday Critchley, who is now a teacher, confirmed that the blog posting accurately conveyed his views.

"I joined the unit more or less agnostic on drugs policy, being personally opposed to drug use, but open-minded about the best way to deal with the problem," he wrote on the blog. "I was certainly not inclined to decriminalise. However, during my time in the unit, as I saw more and more evidence of 'what works', to quote New Labour's mantra of the time, it became apparent to me that ... enforcement and supply-side interventions were largely pointless. They have no significant, lasting impact on the availability, affordability or use of drugs."

Headline of the Day

posted by on August 13 at 9:31 AM

It's not even 10:00 a.m., and we have a winner.

Man with rifle and 10lbs of pot caught driving over 90mph while taping himself masturbating

Here's a link to a more complete story, from the Northern Territory News. This man is an end-of-days hero, Mad Max incarnate, speeding through the Australian bush with a whole lot of pot and a whole lot of testosterone.

Sgt Edwards said Mr Erhardt was arrested and told officers he had "found'' the drugs at a rest stop 100km north of Coober Pedy -- and he intended to smoke all of it at his Noonamah home.

Mr Erhardt also told police he had used the rifle to shoot "kangaroos from the vehicle whilst driving north.''

Mr Erhardt applied twice for bail last week so he could get married before going to jail.

Mr. Erhardt is also a father of three.

Thanks to Slog tipper Matthew.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Set Your Tie Dyes on Fire

posted by on August 12 at 1:40 PM

Has anyone seen a Hempfest poster? An ad? An anything? I hope they didn’t forget. It's this weekend, so to give the old dame of pot rallies a little ink—err, a few pixels—here’s the poster for Hempfest this weekend.


"I think of all my pot-smoking friends who don’t go to Hempfest because it’s not their culture," says Rick Steves, travel writer and fearless pot-legalizing celebrity, who will be speaking each day at 4:20 p.m. "That seems like a real missed opportunity." It is a huge missed opportunity. So if you have any tie dyes in your closet, be sure set them on fire before heading to Hempfest.

The theme, by the way, is industrial hemp. With all due respect to industrious hippies and a helpful crop, what an insipid theme. Industrial hemp? That’s like having the theme of gay pride be “Gay!” The theme should have been “Pot makes sex better.”

The subliminal theme is pretty crafty: "Hope." The poster bears a striking resemblance to…


Friday, August 8, 2008

This Week on Drugs

posted by on August 8 at 5:13 PM

The Surge at Home: McCain’s neighborhood plan.

On Friday at the National Urban League, McCain suggested he'd fight crime using "tactics somewhat like we use in the military."

He went on to describe how it would work: "You go into neighborhoods, you clamp down, you provide a secure environment for the people that live there, and you make sure that the known criminals are kept under control," he said. "And you provide them with a stable environment and then they cooperate with law enforcement."

One Life in Bangkok: Thailand to open high-security drug prison.

Last Hurrah: Medical examiners office employee charged with stealing pills from the dead.

Reuters Strike: Reuters columnist whacks the drug war.

Sponsor Ship: Pot bill picks up supporters in the House.

Oh, What a Night: Executive of National Night Out, a drug and crime awareness event, paid $322,000 a year.

Above the Law: Police drop charges against mayor—whose house they raided for pot that wasn’t his and shot his Labradors—but they refuse to apologize.

Prince George's County Police Chief Melvin C. High … exonerated the mayor and his family and expressed regret that they were victimized by drug dealers and that their dogs had been killed, but he stopped short of apologizing for any action by law enforcement, police and [mayor Cheye] Calvo said. ...

"The chief called and told me that me and my family had been absolutely and completely cleared of any charges. He also said that he did not apologize for any action or wrongdoing by the police department, although he did express regret about what has happened to my family and me," Calvo said.

Heath Ledger OD Case Dropped: Federal prosecutors won’t pursue grand jury subpoena for Mary-Kate Olsen.

Creepy: Scientists develop test for law enforcement to test fingerprints for presence of drugs and other substances; test could be mass produced for widespread use.

Blown Away: Local police dismantling meth enforcement teams; now the labs are safely in Mexico.

Herb in the Wine: Pot growers supplant Washington vineyards.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sorry About Killing Your Dogs

posted by on August 7 at 12:52 PM

Here at Slog, your all-drug-raids-all-the-time headquarters, we get your tips. And we love your tips. Even when they exacerbate our pot-induced paranoia.

Today, we follow up on two panic-inducing emails about the mayor of Berwyn Heights, a D.C. burb, whose house was raided by a SWAT team last week. Officers burst through the door, forced the mayor to kneel in the corner, bound his mother-in-law in the kitchen, and shot his two black labs. Cops were there over a box of pot that was shipped to the mayor's home, addressed to his wife. We posted about it last week over here, but new details emerge.

The pot was delivered by a police officer dressed as a FedEx delivery man. The sheriff for the county, Prince George's County, had applied for a warrant to search the house, but, as it turns out, the judge who granted the warrant hadn’t permitted a no-knock, guns-drawn, battering-ram entry. But after Mayor Cheye Calvo brought the package inside, a fleet of officers burst through the door with guns drawn anyway. As everyone knows, the only way to tame a pothead is not with milkshakes, but with weaponry. And, as everyone knows, the only way to handle two grinning black labs is not by petting them and tossing them a squirrel, but BLAM! BLAM!


Neighbors hung a “We Support You” banner on the couple’s fence after the mayor and his wife claimed that they weren’t drug dealers—and it appears they were telling the truth. The Washington Post reports this morning that police “arrested a delivery man and another man, both of whom they say are involved in a scheme to smuggle marijuana by shipping packages addressed to unsuspecting recipients." This should all be very embarrassing for the Prince George's Sheriff's Office, right?

Unbelievably, no.

Sheriff Michael A. Jackson won't apologize for the raid, which he said was "conducted responsibly," and Police Chief Melvin C. High (what a name) told the Washington Post his department still hadn’t cleared the couple of charges. He reportedly said, “From all the indications at the moment, they had an unlikely involvement, but we don't want to draw that definite conclusion at the moment.” Jeezy Creezy on Cheezit, man, what else do you need?

There’s more. The mayor just asked for an investigation by the Department of Justice, which marks the second time in as many days that drug raids are becoming a federal issue. So while Slog may seem overwrought with crazy-ass drug-raid shit, the issue is suddenly getting huge. We’ll smoke to that.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

They Pissed Off the Wrong Grandmother

posted by on August 6 at 12:29 PM

Her grandson's finger was shot off, and her unarmed daughter was fatally shot while cowering from police. The cop, conducting a drug raid, was acquitted of all charges in a local court. But now Darla Kaye Jennings has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, challenging the use of no-knock drug raids altogether.

Darla Kaye Jennings filed the lawsuit on behalf of Sincere Wilson, her 1-year-old grandson who was injured when his mother, Tarika Wilson, 26, was shot. The lawsuit asks for compensation for Sincere’s injuries as well as seeking an end to "police abuse by requiring that high risk search warrant executions be limited to situations where they are truly needed and where the least amount of force necessary to the situation is employed." ...

According to the lawsuit, the shooting that led to Wilson’s death and her son’s injuries was "excessive, unreasonable, and completely unnecessary." The lawsuit further said that Sergeant Chavalia acted "negligently" when he used deadly force.

Godspeed, Ms. Jennings.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Leathery Ol' Drug Dealer

posted by on August 5 at 4:06 PM

Cindy McCain is chairwoman of Hensley & Co., one of the nation’s largest beer wholesalers. So a group in Denver is branding her a drug dealer and distributing “wanted” posters with her leathery ol’ face. And they’ve made this video:

The commercial is a riff on the belching Bud-weis-er frogs—only these guys croak “Drug deal-er.” Behind the campaign is a pot-legalization group, Safer Alternatives For Enjoyable Recreation. It seems pretty incredible that folks who want to reduce the stigma of drugs would smear someone for selling drugs—legal or illegal—but they freely admit it’s a stunt. “Our purpose is to draw attention to the fact that our government steers citizens to choose alcohol over marijuana,” says Mason Tvert, executive director of SAFER, “despite the fact that marijuana is far less harmful.”

The LA Times recently pointed out that if John McCain were elected president (Christ almighty, please don’t let it happen), the presence of his alcohol-industry-profiteering wife in the White House would constitute an unprecedented conflict of interest. Meanwhile, to point out SAFER’s frustration about the double standards, John McCain has vowed to maintain raids on medical marijuana patients. "The law is the law, and I do not believe it's going to be changed,” he said last fall at a town hall meeting, “and it's not going to be changed by me."

Monday, August 4, 2008

That Cop who Killed the Unarmed Woman on Her Knees and Shot Her One-Year-Old Baby

posted by on August 4 at 3:29 PM


The inequity is sickening. When a cop shoots someone in a drug raid, that person was in the wrong for having a gun, or drugs, or not cooperating fast enough, or for being near a nefarious scene. The dead person never gets a say, of course, so we never hear his or her side of the story. But when a cop kills a woman and shoots off the finger of her baby as part of routine business--cops almost always shoot the dog, and the sound of a dog being shot is now apparently grounds to shoot at mothers holding their babies--the cop is acquitted. This one story, never mind all the others like it, is reason alone to stop drug raids.

Friday, August 1, 2008

This Week on Drugs

posted by on August 1 at 5:45 PM


UK Drug Commission Report: Drug enforcement is expensive, futile, and highly effective at making drug dealers rich.

Still Didn’t Slip Past: Customs agents stop steroid shipment labeled “Gay Lube.”

Are Energy Drinks Linked to Risk-Taking Behavior? Or are risk takers tempted to quaff energy drinks?

Turtle Power: Half-shell informant leads cops to pot garden.

Mighty Mouse: Work-out pill makes buff vermin.

Dogg Catcher: Cops find pot on the Snoop-mobile.

Just a Bill: Lefty Dems clamor to join pot-legalizing love fest.

Give them an “F": Congress upholds aid eliminations for drug convicts, because murderers and rapists should better themselves, but not drug users.

Give them an "A": California pisses on feds.

"The (federal) law does not compel the states to impose criminal penalties for marijuana possession," said Justice Alex McDonald in the 3-0 ruling, which upheld a Superior Court judge's decision….

State and local officers can't arrest marijuana users for violating the federal law, he said, and applications for the medical marijuana cards contain a warning that they provide no shield against federal authorities.

Desperate Force: Drug Czar’s office hands out book titled “Marijuana: The Greatest Cause of Illegal Drug Abuse.” Which is another way of admitting that, despite all its work, pot remains outlandishly popular.

Driving Force: Police officer runs over and kills drug suspect.

Photo of the Week
: DEA agent wears Blackwater t-shirt to a bust.


Cop Makes Case to Kill Anyone Who Owns a Dog

posted by on August 1 at 12:31 PM

The raid that kicked off the Winning the War on Drugs series has gone to trial.

A white police officer told jurors Thursday he thought his life was in danger when he shot at an unarmed black woman during a drug raid, killing her and injuring the 1-year-old boy she held in her arms….

"There was absolutely, positively no doubt in my mind right then and there that whoever this was is shooting at me. They're trying to kill me," Chavalia said.

Chavalia told jurors that he now knows the gunfire he heard was coming from downstairs, where other officers shot two charging pit bulls.

In other words, it was fine to shoot this woman and her baby because police were engaged in business as usual. Officers will typically kill any dogs encountered in drug raids--charging pit bulls or complacent Labradors. And when that happens. Blam! (The mother holding the baby, by the way, she was on her knees and apparently complying with police orders when she was killed.)

Of course, when a resident pull a gun on intruders in the middle of the night, they also do it because they fear for their life. However, that’s yet another reason for cops to kill them. So no matter who fears for their life--cop or resident, guilty or not, especially when there's a dog at the house--that’s a reason to shoot and kill the resident. Your tax dollars at work.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Winning the War on Drugs

posted by on July 30 at 3:59 PM

In Maryland.

The Mayor of Berwyn Heights, Md. was the target of a drug raid Wednesday after a package containing several pounds of marijuana was shipped to his home, according to police.

Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo is still reeling after a team of heavily armed sheriff deputies burst into his home Wednesday. "It was an explosion followed immediately by gunfire," said Calvo.

The deputies bound the mayor and fired shots, killing the Calvo's two black Labradors. Calvo tearfully expressed his love for his "good dogs" while showing ABC 7 reporter Brad Bell, exactly where they were shot by a Prince George's county sheriff.

After the Calvo's brought, unknowingly they claim, the package into their home Tuesday evening, the waiting officers moved in. The Calvo's said the box wasn't even opened when the officers stormed into their residence.

In Michigan.

A Cass County man apparently shot himself as police came to his door during a drug investigation Monday, authorities said.

Nels Wilson, 51, was found dead inside his mobile home at 25560 Jefferson Court Road after Michigan State Police approached his home to question him about marijuana plants found growing outside, according to a news release.

Police had flown over Wilson's property as part of Operation Hemp, a joint venture of the Southwest Enforcement Team and State Police, and spotted more than 130 marijuana plants.

In Ohio.

A woman shot and killed by a police officer during a drug raid was likely on her knees and complying with a SWAT team's orders to get down when she was hit in the neck and chest, two experts testified Wednesday at the officer's trial.

A forensic pathologist and firearms expert each said that bullet wounds indicate that Tarika Wilson, 26, wasn't standing.

Sgt. Joseph Chavalia has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor counts of negligent homicide and negligent assault. He faces up to eight months in jail if convicted of both counts.

God Bless Barney Frank

posted by on July 30 at 10:19 AM


The U.S. should stop arresting responsible marijuana users, Rep. Barney Frank said Wednesday, announcing a proposal to end federal penalties for Americans carrying fewer than 100 grams, almost a quarter-pound, of the substance.

Rep. Barney Frank's bill would radically curb federal penalties for personal marijuana use.

Current laws targeting marijuana users place undue burdens on law enforcement resources, punish ill Americans whose doctors have prescribed the substance and unfairly affect African-Americans, Frank said, flanked by legislators and representatives from advocacy groups.

"The vast amount of human activity ought to be none of the government's business," Frank said during a Capitol Hill news conference. "I don't think it is the government's business to tell you how to spend your leisure time."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Winning the War on Drugs

posted by on July 29 at 10:33 AM

Before dawn.

A man was shot and killed by police this morning in a Kensington-Eggert neighborhood home as hundreds of law enforcement officers fanned throughout Buffalo to round up members of a violent drug gang.

The shooting occurred inside a bedroom at 202 Kay St., police said.

"During entry, a firearm was pointed at the entering officer and the officer [fired]," said Buffalo Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson. The suspect was hit but didn't return fire, the commissioner added.

The man, whose name and condition weren't immediately available, was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

It's always the same story at first: The suspect allegedly had a gun but didn't shoot, the officers fired, and the sap ends up wounded or dead. But after the smoke clears, we often learn that no drugs were found, the person didn't have a gun, or the person shot wasn't even the suspect. I know that these guys in the drug gangs aren't saints, but, after reading these reports week in and week out, it's completely vexing why we keep going after them this way. Just today, there's this story about how a cop in Lima had fatally shot a woman in response to gunfire from another officer. Considering the track record for pre-dawn drug raids, and considering 400 officers were willy nilly storming people's bedrooms with guns drawn, and considering these suspects are supposedly armed and dangerous, it's a miracle only one person was killed this morning.

Friday, July 25, 2008

This Week on Drugs

posted by on July 25 at 5:15 PM

“Heroin Logs”: Allegedly tossed out window to police officers’ feet.

A Stash Indeed: Pot found in evidence room after 29 years.

Seized Cars: Become sweet ride for police chief’s daughter.

During Labor Day weekend 2002, St. Louis city police responded shortly after midnight to an unusual call. The police chief's daughter, Aimie Mokwa, then 27, had crashed a car.

It was a car she didn't own. St. Louis police had seized it during a drug arrest and turned it over to a private company that holds a lucrative towing contract with the department.

Eight Years: Teen sentenced for giving pot to tots.

Bitter Sixteen: Starbucks closing more stores than announced.

Singapore Sling: Aussie journalist faces 10 years for heroin.

Street Stupid: Non-pharmaceutical fentanyl blamed for rash of overdoses.

Green Giant: Congressional Black Caucus split over menthol rules.

Seattle Hipsters Vs. Sunny Tucson

posted by on July 25 at 4:46 PM

Blogger Brian Davis writes, “When you sit in ‘an office full of PhDs’ all day long, you’re inspired to ask the really hard questions, to plumb the depths of human knowledge and probe the mysteries of the ancients.” Indeed, he’s been plumbing away on the math of Seattle’s relative sunshine deficit to Tucson, Arizona. This weekend should be no exception, as the forecast is unseasonable gray for the this Saturday and Sunday's Capitol Hill Block Party (formerly running for the title of Heastrokepalooza). Davis devised a method to makes up for Seattle’s solar-energy shortfall that is both energy conscious and festive:

According to, a bottle of Budweiser contains 145 calories, or 606 kilojoules (a bottle of decent Russian Imperial can contain up to 1,000 kilojoules). That translates to about .168 kilowatt hours (kWh) per 12 ounce bottle (.278 kWh for the stout)….

This vast difference in solar energy [between Tuscon and Seattle] is the equivalent of about 9,529,916,667 Budweisers (or 5,759,086,331 boutique beers). Given that Seattle has a population of about 592,800 people within the city limits, this means that our denizens would have to pitch in and consume 16,076 beers per person per day (or, if they can afford it, 9,715 thick microbrews) just to equal the power potential of Tucson’s beamy rays.


One problem, though; it looks like Budweiser is out at this year’s block party and the Champagne of fortified soda water is in. Regardless, it can be safely predicted that all energy derived from beer consumed at the block party will be processed into stamina for… more drinking. Bottoms up, hipsters.

Friday, July 18, 2008

This Week on Drugs

posted by on July 18 at 6:00 PM

Mess in Texas: Prosecutors used seized money to rent a margarita machine.

Blow Up in Oklahoma: Publisher sues sports fan for fabricating story about quarterbacks caught with cocaine.

Ayahuasca: Peruvian government approve tripping for “entering the secrets of the spiritual world."

California: Prison reform and sentencing measure makes ballot.

Ciao: Point one, Italian Rastas exist. Point two, one had pot charges dropped for religious accommodations.

Auf Wiedersehen: Ketamine comas help cure pain in Germany.

Aloha: State of Hawaii accidentally emails medical-marijuana registry to newspaper.

Loco: McCain spokeswoman babbles incoherently about Obama, drugs, and nuclear facilities.

Obama in his book about his father talked about his use of drugs. And I think it’s disingenuous of people to vote for somebody for President when you won’t allow a drug user in any secure or nuclear facility. Yet we as a nation, are willing to consider making somebody President of the United States I think that speaks very poorly…Bill Clinton said he smoked but he didn’t inhale…But he didn’t come out and flagrantly say he used drugs…and if that’s going to be our standard God helps us in nuclear facilities and secure facilities who have this kind of history ... and this nation must be very careful when it lowers the bar on who and what it will accept.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Smell of Marijuana Is Insufficient Cause for Search and Arrest

posted by on July 17 at 4:07 PM

It’s quite a week for news about cops smelling pot. The Washington State Supreme Court ruled this morning that an officer was unjustified when he arrested a car passenger after smelling marijuana. On behalf of the unanimous court, Justice Charles W. Johnson wrote:

On April 6, 2006, state trooper Brent Hanger passed a vehicle with very dark, tinted windows…. Hanger detected the "moderate[]" smell of marijuana coming from the car. … He informed both Hurley and Grande they were under arrest based on the odor of marijuana. Hurley and Grande were both handcuffed and searched. The search of Grande revealed a marijuana pipe containing a small amount of marijuana….

Each individual possesses the right to privacy, meaning that person has the right to be left alone by police unless there is probable cause based on objective facts that the person is committing a crime. This probable cause requirement is derived from the language of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provides, "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause . . . ." Our state constitution similarly protects our right to privacy in article I, section 7, stating, "[n]o person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law." …

We hold that the smell of marijuana in the general area where an individual is located is insufficient, without more, to support probable cause for arrest.

Shorter: “Police have to have evidence of who has marijuana,” says Alison Holcomb, director of the Marijuana Education Project for the ACLU of Washington. “They cannot just arrest everybody and sort it out later.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

For The Last Fucking Time

posted by on July 16 at 5:10 PM

To my critics: I do not smoke pot. If you want to connect my writing with a substance, make it wine...

All I ever do is this:
Thank You!
(Also, I have marked many--too many--freshman papers. I know what they look like. Enough said.)

Friday, July 11, 2008

This Week on Drugs

posted by on July 11 at 5:24 PM

Seattle isn’t the only city with an anti-pot zealot named Carr (we have Tom Carr, the city attorney). Boston has its own anti-pot Carr, first name Howie. And he’s a dolt (our Carr is actually smart on non-pot issues). Here's Boston-Carr's op-ed in the Herald.

Marijuana makes you stupid. It’s as simple as that.

And now in Massachusetts, we are going to have a ballot question that asks the following: Do you really want to make it even easier than it already is to get stupid, and stay stupid?

Yes, the Bong Brigade is on the march again. They want to put the high back into high school, the truckin’ back in truck stops, the joint back in all those joint legislative committees. Stand by to see stoners at the Stone Zoo, potheads in Marblehead. The grass is always greener in Greenfield, dude.

This one’s, like, totally for Jerry Garcia!

The ganja-guys then cite the alleged “collateral damage” of this CORI indignity: “inability to find employment, obtain housing and receive a college loan.”

Please. The reason stoners can’t find employment is because they’re too wasted. They forgot to turn on the alarm clock. They went out for a smoke break and never returned. They missed the bus, man. They can’t “obtain housing” because they can’t get it together to ever leave mom’s rent-free basement….

The fact is, once you make something legal, even if it’s just de facto, it’s easier to get. Pot does fry your brain.

On cue for the marijuana-decriminalization initiative--which appears likely to pass--Howie Carr trots out every stale joke (dude!) and hackneyed stereotype (your brain's an egg in a skillet!) to paint all pot smokers as a bunch of behind-the-times dolts. But the joke is on Carr. Most of the adults reading the Boston Herald have smoked pot (thousands of them still do), and they have jobs, and set their alarm clock, read the paper, and have every reason to disdain Carr’s simplistic, unscientific hackery. The proof is in the clicking. Pot-law reformers are using increasingly sophisticated media and messages to earn enormous followings online. Paul Armentano at Huffington Post, Scott Morgan at DRCNet, and Bruce Mirken at AlterNet deconstruct bad science and shred federal drug propaganda, with class and sophistication. They’ve been so effective that the White House has established its own shamelessly defensive blog, Pushing Back, in an attempt spar. But like Carr, all they’ve got are the half-baked arguments of yesteryear. So ironically, it’s the drug warriors who live up to stereotypes of yester-decade, while the time-warp hippies leave them in the dust.

Roll Another One: Medical-marijuana patients in Washington say 24 ounces isn't enough.

Killer Weed? Guys busted growing dope in cemetery.

Killer Cop? Chokes marijuana suspect.

Winning the War on Drugs

posted by on July 11 at 1:22 PM

In Toledo:

A man who was shot by police in a drug raid Thursday night around 11 p.m. in the 200 block of Wasaon near Western faces charges of drug trafficking.

Police Chief Mike Navarre says detectives from the vice unit and the SWAT team went to the duplex with a search warrant to look for drugs. The officers yelled "Police!" then went up to the second floor, finding the door open and a man inside holding a shotgun.

An officer fired on the suspect, Perry Buck, hitting him in the wrist. Buck was taken to an ambulance; we are told his injuries are not serious. He and a woman were both taken into custody.

Toledo police confiscated marijuana, a 20-gauge shotgun and shells and Vicodin from the residence.

Navarre says this is proof of the danger officers face every day.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again ... Tonight was just another example where the officers went in and looked down the barrel of a shot gun. We're very fortunate that no officers were injured tonight," Navarre said.

Indeed, police got the pot and the painkillers and no cops were hurt. Another success.

Winning the War on Drugs

posted by on July 11 at 11:01 AM

In the deepest, darkest woods of California.

One armed man was shot and killed and two others escaped on foot into the brush during a raid this morning on a marijuana patch in the hills south of Saratoga, a Santa Clara County sheriff's lieutenant said.

The shooting happened when five deputies and 15 other officers confronted the men at the patch around 7:30 a.m., Lt. Ed Wise said.

It was not immediately known if the men fired at officers or how many shots were fired, or by whom, Wise said.

"The deputies started to enter a large marijuana garden and encountered three subjects armed with guns," Wise said. "During the encounter, shots were fired. One subject was shot and fatally wounded and two others fled on foot."

To point out something obvious to everyone but agents who killed this guy, pot growers like these ones are armed so they can defend themselves from agents who shoot first and face a press that doesn't ask questions later. That and the black market for pot creates 1920s style turf wars, which drives gangs to grow it in secluded woods instead of the fields of the Napa Valley, where the pot should be grown, next to the grape vines. Then we could have wine and pot tours...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

KUOW: The Conversation

posted by on July 9 at 1:02 PM

Hey, Sloggers. I’ll be on KUOW’s The Conversation with Ross Reynolds at 1:50 p.m. We’ll be talking about the MSM’s credulous reporting of drug busts and the highlights of the last week on drugs. If there’s druggish news you think we should ramble about, toss it in comments.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Winning the War on Drugs

posted by on July 8 at 11:05 AM

In Upstate New York:

When the Troy Police Department executed a search warrant at a home at 396 First St. last week, they thought they were targeting a drug house. But now that is being questioned as it appears they raided the wrong location.

There is now a coat of fresh paint on the door along with a new doorknob and lock. But you can still see a dent in an aluminum window frame and a rip and a window shade.

The damage was caused when all hell broke loose on July 3. The Troy Police Emergency Response Unit shot the door lock off, broke the front window and tossed in a flash grenade. The woman living on the first floor was taken into custody, but she was soon released.

Um, this reporter must have missed the memo that he's supposed to credulously report whatever bullshit law enforcement says about drug busts.

(I moved the video that was here after the jump because it was funking up the Slog for Firefox users.)

Continue reading "Winning the War on Drugs" »

Monday, July 7, 2008

Last Week on Drugs

posted by on July 7 at 11:56 AM

She Jumped! Police informant leaps from bridge.

A handcuffed prisoner in a summer dress jumped from the Sleepy Hollow Bridge instead of following through on an arranged drug deal for Columbia River Drug Task Force agents Tuesday night.

Sandra I. Duffy, 43, jumped about 20 feet to the water, which is about 48 degrees. She was handcuffed, with a coat draped over her hands to hide the restraints.

She Lived! But was recaptured.

"It turns out, that story that she was going to meet a seller was fabricated," Moore said. "The whole time she'd been utilizing her cell phone, which was given back to her to arrange the meet, and texting folks to help her escape."

We’re Number One: Americans are the leading drug users, and the tough laws here? We smoke them for breakfast. The study found that the highest Americans weren’t poor—they were single young adult men with high incomes. The lengthy report is here. The article in easy-to-swallow pill form here.

Magic Mushrooms: Johns Hopkins study finds that mushrooms trips provide psychological benefits to users for fourteen months.

The Volley Begins: McCain visits Colombia to demonstrate his competency in matters of foreign policy—by lauding the success, of all possible things, of drug interdiction programs.

Corrections for the Record: New York Times rebuffs the Republican poppycock about Colombia and drug interdiction, writing....

This enthusiasm rests on a very selective reading of the data. Another look suggests that despite the billions of dollars the United States has spent battling the cartels, it has hardly made a dent in the cocaine trade.

Well That Hit a Nerve: The White House responds to the NYT in the ONDCP blog, Pushing Back.

Today's New York Times has published an editorial that willfully cherry picks data in order to conform to their tired, 1970's editorial viewpoint that we're "losing the war on drugs."

Despite our numerous efforts to provide the Times with the facts, their editorial staff has chosen to ignore irrefutable data regarding the progress that has been made in making our nation's drug problem smaller.

Irrefutable Data: Mexican drug homicides continue to set records this week.

Pic of the Week: Photo is below, the Lumberjack Song is over here.


Hope for The Stranger Offices: The Drug Czar’s guide for creating a drug-free workplace.

Cancer Drug: Not as awesome as docs thought.

Dept o' Flying Pigs: California initiative would legalize dope by November.

The DEA Turns 35: A series of unfortunate events.

Mamma Mia! Drug testing pregnant women produces false positives.

Anti-Meth Crusader: Wasn’t really a cop, but now he’s really an inmate.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Winning the War on Drugs

posted by on July 3 at 9:35 AM

Oh, my...

Three people including two police constables were yesterday shot dead as the police stormed Kalerwe, a city suburb in Kawempe Division to arrest drug abusers.

In the botched operation, police constables ended up turning their guns on each other and creating a bloody scene that lasted about two hours.

Among the dead was a 10 year-old-boy identified as Willy Byamukama, killed by a police constable's bullet.

The constable then shot and killed two colleagues who had tried to apprehend him for killing the child—leaving some of the suspects they had come to arrest looking on in shock.

According to an eyewitness, the gruesome incidents started at 3:30pm after the police raided the area to arrest an unidentified marijuana dealer.

Read the whole story, including an attempt to lynch the police publicist, over here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

How Much Pot Can You Grow?

posted by on July 1 at 6:27 PM

That’s the question folks have been asking since 1998, when Washington voters passed a medical-marijuana initiative. Here’s the problem: The law only says patients with a doctor’s authorization can have a "60-day supply." But some cops claim they don’t know which patients are growing in compliance with the law and which ones are abusing it. So in places like Kent, police have arrested parents and taken away their children even though they had the right paperwork.

But now, according to an email that arrived in my inbox about an hour ago, the state Department of Health has issued draft guidelines that are easy for patients to follow and for cops to understand. (The guidelines are required under a controversial bill passed by the legislature on the 2007.) A 60-day supply under the guidelines would be 18 immature plants, 6 mature plants, and 24 ounces of ready-to-use pot.

The Dept of Health had recommended more, but withdrew the recommendation after Gov. Gregoire balked. Here’s a visual of the current recommendation:

18 little ones like these:


Six of these:


And 24 of these:


Before it’s set in stoned, the Dept. of Health is providing a public-comment period, and a hearing next month in Tumwater, of all places.

re: There Better Not Be Any Tobacco in That Joint, Kid…

posted by on July 1 at 5:15 PM


Adapted from Toward a Global View of Alcohol, Tobacco, Cannabis, and Cocaine Use: Findings from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys in PLoS Medicine.

More graphs and analysis at the Dear Science blog.

There Better Not Be Any Tobacco in That Joint, Kid...

posted by on July 1 at 12:14 PM

Dutch pot cafés are freaking out over the Dutch smoking ban. They argue, and rightfully so, that not enough customers want to smoke pure-pot joints because they're just too goddamned strong.

The owners claim the law, which will allow customers to light up potent tobacco-free pure cannabis joints but ban milder spliffs in which tobacco is mixed with cannabis, threatens to put hundreds of them out of business.
"It's absurd. In other countries they look to see whether you have marijuana in your cigarette, here they'll look to see if you've got cigarette in your marijuana."

The Netherlands: Where conservatives support gay marriage and you can smoke pot—but not tobacco—in bars.

And hamburgers eat people.

Via the Guardian.

Friday, June 27, 2008

This Week on Drugs

posted by on June 27 at 5:24 PM

Pissing Match: Over an X-Box and a bong.

A man in his late teens told police that he knew his roommate in Crown Hill smoked marijuana when they moved in together about a month ago. But there was too much pot smoking too often.

Until last week, when one roommate took a few bong hits. The other roommate had enough, said there would be no more pot smoking and shattered the bong on the sidewalk.

The next morning, the bong-breaking roommate returned to find that his Xbox and the power supply had been removed from the stereo shelf. When he grabbed the game console, a liquid ran out that he said "smelled like urine," according to the police report.

Drugs: In rugs.

Coca-Cola Launches Some Weird Coffee Shit: With vitamins.

Pot: Bad for acute pain, good for nerve pain, and great for cancer.

Movie Magic: Pot tolerance on the silver screen.

Fired: Smugglers executed in Indonesia.

Figured: Drug use and production inflate in 2008.

Filtered: High-tech cigarettes pulled from shelves.

Opium: Linked to uranium.

Doobie Howser: Pot popular with future doctors.

Where You’ll Need a Prescription: Even if you bought it over the counter.

While many other countries also apply controls to the following drugs, UAE is unusual in conducting extremely thorough searches of many travellers through its airports, with highly sensitive equipment.

Fire with Fire: Stop drug use by taking more drugs.

Cops: With a place in hell.

Police officials on Tuesday fired 17 officers here in connection with a botched raid on a bar last week that triggered a stampede, leaving a dozen people dead.

The firings came as newly released video footage showed police officers blocking exits as hundreds of young patrons tried to flee. The bar's owners were suspected of serving alcohol to minors.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

You Thought It Was Bad Here

posted by on June 26 at 12:19 PM

Decades-long sentences without evidence, over a million annual arrests, and a multi-billion dollar enforcement budget all make the drug war in America seem pretty egregious. But then, in contrast, it doesn't seem quite so bad.

Indonesia says it will speed up the execution process of drug traffickers, in a major blow for three Australians on death row for heroin smuggling.

As authorities prepared for the executions last night of two Nigerian heroin smugglers, Attorney-General Hendarman Supandji said other drug offenders on death row could expect their cases to be expedited.

"To give them a lesson, drug traffickers must be executed immediately," Police chief and National Anti-Narcotic Body chairman General Sutanto said. Officials said the two Nigerians had been moved to a special cell at their prison on Nusakambangan Island, off Central Java, before their executions by firing squad.

That'll teach 'em, eh? Those guys will never smuggle drugs again.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mile High Club

posted by on June 25 at 1:45 PM

In Denver, there’s a push to allow smoking in the airport—which already has the smokiest airport in which I’ve ever had a breakfast margarita. But this push is to allow pot smoking.

[Mason] Tvert, a crusader for legalizing marijuana, has called for pot-smoking lounges in the nation's airports. His reason for doing goes beyond his cannabis liberation mission: He wants to help make flying safer.

"There's been this growing trend of alcohol-related air rage," he said Tuesday, alluding to episodes of drunken passengers creating in-flight disturbances.

Just last week, Christina E. Szele, 35, of New York, was accused of drunkenly disrupting a JetBlue flight, punching a flight attendant and screaming curses and racial slurs after she was prevented from smoking. A cigarette, that is.

This make perfect sense, especially to the people who hate pot. You see, the criticism among the “I hate pot” crowd is usually that smoking dope turns prodigious workers into slackers and energetic teens into non-communicative sloths. But does anybody want a chatty Cathy in the seat next to them from here to St Louis, or some guy who needs to get up forty times during the flight to “stretch his legs”? Fuck no. You want someone completely fulfilled by reading Sky Mall.

And if you’re one of the folks who actually likes to smoke weed, then you know an on-site lounge is necessary. Because the problem with getting high at home is that in the time it takes to get to the airport, check in, eat two Whoppers, walk to your gate, take a requisite pre-flight piss, board, taxi, and take off—your buzz is gone. We need pot lounges in the airport. And they should sell travel-pack brownies for mid-flight bumps to keep Bob quiet. Hell, airport pot therapy lounges could help save Ted Kennedy and, if the government will back off, become become part of a cancer-treatment regimen. We need them—for safety’s sake.

PS: Think pot-lounges at Sea-Tac are a great idea? Don’t like the idea of a stoner smacking on Cheetos in your ear? Rocky Mountain News is conducting a poll, and, at the time of this Slog post, the yes and no votes are neck-and-neck. 49% for, 48 % against, and 2 % voting maybe. Vote here.

3:30 PM UPDATE: Since the Sloggy masses started voting, the pro-pot-lounge poll has increased to an 8-point spread. But the conservatives are sure to get a second wind after leaving Wednesday-night mass. So, if you haven't yet, go vote.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"I've often thought that there should be beauty contests for the insides of bodies..."

posted by on June 24 at 1:09 PM

The Spring '08 men's fashion shows are happening right now in Milan.

Prada is the line that always goes its own way, for better or worse, last season's odd and fetishy tutus definitely being on the side of worse. Provocative and much more believable are these rubber garments shown this week.
They're quite spare and beautiful. I think the feel of that thick rubber would would be lovely and they would look just right in Seattle's pearlescent light, if you happen to be a wealthy, good-looking gay millionaire with an interest in fashion.

But more than anything else, they remind me of this..

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Winning the War on Drugs

posted by on June 21 at 6:49 PM

...and underage drinking in Mexico City.

Panicked youths rushed for the exits during a police raid on a Mexico City nightclub on Friday, leaving at least 12 people dead in the crush of bodies, the capital's police chief said.

Chief Joel Ortega said three police officers and nine youths, at least three of them minors, were killed. At least 13 others were injured.

Police went to the News Divine club in the working-class district of Nueva Atzacoalco in the early evening to check reports of drugs and alcohol being sold to minors. Ortega told the Televisa network the club's owner announced to the crowd that the officers were there to arrest them, causing a stampede.

Police may blame the club owner, but the mayor is blaming police:

Mexico City's mayor expressed outrage Saturday that youths as young as 13 were among the dozen people killed in a nightclub stampede and said the officials involved in the police raid that sparked the crush had been suspended.

"The city is indignant," Mayor Marcelo Ebrard told a news conference. "What we saw yesterday was ethically unacceptable."

Juan Carlos Maya, a club employee and the brother of owner Alfredo Maya, acknowledged that alcohol was being served but said patrons were asked for identification at the bar.... [H]e showed the club's liquor license and an inspection certificate from 2007 and said police blocked the emergency exit, apparently to prevent suspects from escaping.

Video is over here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

This Week on Drugs

posted by on June 20 at 6:22 PM

Time Capsule: Contains a surprise.

Smoking Ban: Doesn’t apply to pot.

Mom: Smuggling cocaine with daughters.

Dad: Sentenced to life for overdose of son.

Arlen Specter: Wants to get high.

Black Market Cigarettes: Contain arsenic.

Puerto Rico: Proposes legalizing the herb.

Michigan: Winning the war on drugs.

Israel: Five years for a bong.

Switzerland: Allows therapy using LSD.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Marijuana: Like a Bullet Through Your Brain

posted by on June 18 at 4:09 PM

Over at the drug czar’s blog, the hyperbole is pretty unbelievable. The post at the top of the page today is about a report called Marijuana: Rite of Passage or Russian Roulette?

“The good news is that in recent years teen marijuana use has declined. The bad news is that 10.7 million teens still report that they have used marijuana. The worst news is that teens who use the drug are playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette with the bullets of addiction, accidents, crime and mental illness in the chamber,” noted Califano. “With all the evidence now available, simple prudence requires parents to prevent their children from using marijuana. Those parents who fail to do so are uninformed or irresponsible, or both.”

Pot may be more potent than it used to be, but not by much, and people smoke less of it to get the same effect. But does anyone believe that getting baked is suddenly akin to putting a gun to your head? People have been smoking pot for thousands of years; this is not an emerging threat. If pot were so dangerous, we would have already seen the marijuana-related crime, accidents, and insanity.


National Institute on Drug Abuse

The language isn’t just hyperbolic, it’s intentionally misleading. This blog comes from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and U.S. drug-control policy is clear: Drugs are illegal. We spend tens of billions a year arresting and locking up people who break the law, yet we under-fund treatment programs so they run month-long waiting lists.

But the posts on the front page of the blog manage to avoid the words “police,” “jail,” and “prison,” and they gratuitously repeat the word “treatment.” According to the federal government’s own findings, treatment has proven more effective at reducing drug use than jail. Nevertheless, the drug czar’s office is using sensationalized reports that illustrate the need for treatment—kid are using drugs!—to justify a bloated budget that emphasizes police, jails, and prisons.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Crime and Punishment

posted by on June 14 at 10:26 AM

Washington residents can rest a little easier now that the 61 year-old co-owner of a garden-supply store in Kent has been sent to prison for three and a half years. Le My Nguyen was the "matriarch of marijuana growers" in our area, according to the Seattle Times, and she sold supplies to folks that grew marijuana. And marijuana, of course, is an illegal and very dangerous drug—why, the potency of pot is a 30 year-high, and that's just one of the things that makes marijuana so very, very deadly.

Wait, what's that you say, NYT?

Legal Drugs Kill Far More Than Illegal, Florida Says

From “Scarface” to “Miami Vice,” Florida’s drug problem has been portrayed as the story of a single narcotic: cocaine. But for Floridians, prescription drugs are increasingly a far more lethal habit....

Drugs with benzodiazepine, mainly depressants like Valium and Xanax, led to 743 deaths. Alcohol was the most commonly occurring drug, appearing in the bodies of 4,179 of the dead and judged the cause of death of 466 — fewer than cocaine (843) but more than methamphetamine (25) and marijuana (0).

Friday, June 13, 2008

This Week on Drugs

posted by on June 13 at 2:50 PM

Alchemy: In the Daily Mail.

AF Harrier jump jets have blown up the world's biggest drug haul in Afghanistan by dropping three 1,000lb bombs on a 237-ton stash of cannabis. Officials believe the area - near to the Taliban stronghold of Quetta in Pakistan - was turning dried cannabis leaves into heroin.

Opium Brides: Poppy eradication linked to sex slavery.

High Tides: Pot’s better than ever.

Marijuana potency increased last year to the highest level in more than 30 years, posing greater health risks to people who may view the drug as harmless, according to a report released Thursday by the White House.

"The increases in marijuana potency are of concern since they increase the likelihood of acute toxicity, including mental impairment," said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which funded the University of Mississippi study. "Particularly worrisome is the possibility that the more potent THC might be more effective at triggering the changes in the brain that can lead to addiction," Volkow said.

Low Blows: How the media blew it.

The operative word in Volkow's statement is "might." The claim that higher-potency marijuana means greater risk of addiction is entirely speculative, supported by precisely zero data. That, too, was pointed out by Earleywine, but in a comment buried at the very end of the story.

[N]ot acknowledged anywhere, either by AP or most other news outlets, is the very large body of evidence suggesting that the whole "it's not your father's marijuana" scare story is phony.

Wet Blanket: Pot crop stunted by rain.

Clean Green: Pot activist jailed for suspected money laundering.

San Diego: Tries to overturn state law.

Bad Deal: Folks trying to get arrested to sell drugs in prison.

Getting High After Work: Court says it’s groovy in Oregon.

Wake Cup: Smell of coffee is all you need.

Protein: Blocks booze cravings.

Top 10 Celerity Stoners: Jack Black to Barack Obama.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Winning the War on Drugs

posted by on June 12 at 1:28 PM

In the name of marijuana possession.

A drug bust at a Kansas City home on Wednesday ended with a dog being shot to death. Officers said they found marijuana in the home at 58th Street and Highland Avenue. Police said a dog approached an officer and was acting violent, so the officer shot it.

In the name of unsubstantiated rumors.

Police say a Fort Lauderdale-area officer helping conduct a drug raid shot and killed a man who confronted him. Pembroke Pines police did not release the dead man's identity. He was described as in his 40s. A police special response team went to the house after neighbors complained about drug activity there.