March 28, 2004 Edition
VOTERS UNLIKELY TO PASS POT PLAN -
CANADA TO MAKE POT AVAILABLE IN PHARMACIES - OTTAWA
DRIVING DRUNK: A STUDY LOOKS AT CHILD DEATHS
- NEW YORK
MEDICAL MARIJUANA GETS BOOST BY RULING
- CONTRA COSTA
SEEKS TOUGHER DRUNKEN DRIVER LAWS - ATLANTA
JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION - ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
PENALTIES FOR DRUNKEN DRIVING WITH KIDS - ATLANTA
EXPANDING DRUG COURTS PICKS UP SUPPORT
- NEWARK STAR LEDGER (NJ)
OVER RISING COCAINE, MARIJUANA USE - EXPATICA
U.S. ANNOUNCES GAINS IN ERADICATING ANDEAN COCA -
NEW YORK TIMES
COLOMBIA GETS RESULTS IN DRUG WAR
GAO FINDS ONDCP MARIJUANA CAMPAIGN LEGAL -
RANDOM DRUG TESTS AT FRONTLINE OF WORKPLACE BATTLEGROUND -
MORNING HERALD (AUSTRALIA)
1) VOTERS UNLIKELY TO PASS POT PLAN -
LAS VEGAS REVIEW
Nevadans narrowly would reject a ballot question seeking to
legalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana for adults
21 and older, a poll commissioned by the Review-Journal
Forty-three percent of the respondents said they would support
the initiative to change the constitution and decriminalize 1
ounce or less of marijuana for adults who use it privately.
But 48 percent said they oppose the idea and 9 percent are
2) HEALTH CANADA TO MAKE POT AVAILABLE IN PHARMACIES -
Health Canada plans to make government-certified marijuana
available in pharmacies. Officials are organizing a pilot
project in B.C., modelled on a year-old program in Holland.
It would allow medical users to buy marijuana at their local
drugstore. There are only 78 medical users in Canada permitted
to buy Health Canada marijuana.
The 30-gram bags of dried buds, sold for $150 each, now are sent
by courier directly to patients or to their doctors.
3) DRIVING DRUNK: A STUDY LOOKS AT CHILD DEATHS
- NEW YORK TIMES
About two-thirds of child passengers who die in car crashes
involving some measurable amount of alcohol are in the vehicle
with the drinking driver, according to a new study of government
statistics by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
The police reports on which the statistics are based do not
indicate the family relationships of crash victims. But very
often the driver is the child's parent, says MADD, which argues
that drunken driving with a youngster in the car is a form of
child abuse and should be a basis for revising custody
agreements and visitation rights in divorce cases.
The report, "Every Child Deserves a Designated Driver," which
uses a government definition of children as those 14 and under,
contradicts the stereotype of the lone drunken driver smashing
into a car in which a family is riding or running down children
playing in the street. According to the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration, the vast majority of children killed by
drunken drivers are in vehicles, and not pedestrians or
And of the 1,985 children who died from 1997 to 2001 as
passengers in alcohol-related accidents, 1,349, or 68 percent,
were in cars whose drivers had measurable levels of alcohol,
government statistics show. Within that group, about
three-quarters, a total of 1,016 children, were in cars whose
driver's blood alcohol level was over 0.08 — that is, 0.08 gram
of alcohol per deciliter of blood — the national standard for
being under the influence.
4) MEDICAL MARIJUANA GETS BOOST BY RULING
- CONTRA COSTA TIMES
A federal judge ruled Monday that evidence of medical marijuana
use could be considered by a jury as a defense in a criminal
The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Nora M. Manella comes
in the wake of a December ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals that a congressional act outlawing marijuana may not
apply to sick people with a doctor's recommendation in states
that have approved medical marijuana laws.
The case of Anna Barrett, 32, and her husband Gary, 35, of Los
Angeles, who were charged with manufacturing and conspiring to
manufacture marijuana marks the first time that the 9th Circuit
ruling, which was made in a civil case, was argued before a
judge in a criminal trial.
Defense lawyers wanted the charges dismissed based on the
appellate court's ruling, but Manella ruled that the government
had enough evidence the couple may have been growing their
marijuana for a "commercial operation," allowing the case to go
But she warned Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Loeser that if the
government can't show the couple was growing the marijuana with
the intent to distribute it, it will likely have a weak case.
5) MADD SEEKS TOUGHER DRUNKEN DRIVER LAWS - ATLANTA
JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION - ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
MADD wants states to standardize their drunken driving and child
endangerment laws to make sure child passengers are protected.
The organization says states should consider anyone under 16 a
child; revoke licenses from drunken drivers who drive with kids;
and require convicted drunken drivers who may transport kids to
pass a Breathalyzer test before they can start their car.
MADD also says states should pass laws requiring a lower
allowable blood-alcohol level of .05 for adults who have been
convicted of driving drunk with kids. The legal limit in most
states is .08.
6) PENALTIES FOR DRUNKEN DRIVING WITH KIDS - ATLANTA
Mothers Against Drunk Driving wants all 50 states to have higher
penalties for people who drive drunk with child passengers.
Below are the states with such penalties and the age the child
passenger must be for the penalties to take effect, as well as
the states without enhanced penalties.
7) BILL EXPANDING DRUG COURTS PICKS UP SUPPORT
- NEWARK STAR LEDGER
Drug courts, the prison alternative program that offers
nonviolent offenders a chance at rehabilitation, would expand
statewide by next February under a supplemental funding bill
endorsed by a legislative committee yesterday.
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed adding
another $1.8 million to drug courts in the current fiscal year,
an allocation that would allow the court to expand into eight
remaining counties in February 2005. Without the added money,
the expansion would occur in May 2005.
8) ALARM OVER RISING COCAINE, MARIJUANA USE - EXPATICA
Cocaine use is increasing sharply in the Netherlands, and is
particularly popular both among heroin addicts and young people,
Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst said on Monday.
In unveiling the findings of the 2003 National Drugs Monitor,
the minister said 70 to 90 percent of heroin addicts are also
users of crack, the smokeable form cocaine. He also said the
nation's youths are increasingly opting to snort cocaine.
Besides the use of cocaine, the rising popularity of marijuana
or hash and the increasing number of cannabis users who are
seeking medical help has also sparked concerns.
9) U.S. ANNOUNCES GAINS IN ERADICATING ANDEAN COCA -
NEW YORK TIMES
The Bush administration released eradication estimates on Monday
showing solid progress in wiping out coca crops in the Andean
region, prompting some officials to predict that by the end of
this year there will be no significant plantations of mature
plants to feed Colombia's cocaine production.
But the price of progress has been high. Some American officials
involved in the aerial spraying program in Colombia warn that
pilots are increasingly vulnerable to attacks by well-armed
guerrillas as they go after plantations in the most remote
areas. The downing of four planes and the death of one pilot in
Colombia last year have prompted some officials to question the
future of the spraying program and the value of security offered
by American-trained counternarcotics battalions.
The spraying of Colombia's coca has been hampered by Marxist
guerrillas and undermined by intelligence breakdowns between
American managers and Colombian forces, according to people who
work in the program, internal memos and the report of a crash
investigation by the State Department, which manages the
10) COLOMBIA GETS RESULTS IN DRUG WAR
- WASHINGTON TIMES
Cocaine production in Colombia dropped significantly last year,
prompting President Bush and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe
yesterday to discuss ways to intensify the war against narco-terrorists
in that South American country.
Meeting at the White House for the third time in two years, the
two leaders focused on "Plan Colombia," a $2.5 billion program
that provides training and military hardware, including
helicopters and intelligence equipment, to authorities in that
country to combat drugs.
Colombia wants Washington to provide funding for the program
until at least 2009.
11) GAO FINDS ONDCP MARIJUANA CAMPAIGN LEGAL -
The General Accounting Office (GAO) ruled that a letter-writing
campaign conducted by the White House Office of National Drug
Control Policy (ONDCP) against medical-marijuana ballot
initiatives during the November 2002 elections was not in
violation of any laws, The Hill reported March 17.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) asked the GAO to investigate letters
written by ONDCP Deputy Director Scott Burns to local
prosecutors. The letters strongly reminded prosecutors of their
role in "fighting the normalization of marijuana."
12) RANDOM DRUG TESTS AT FRONTLINE OF WORKPLACE BATTLEGROUND
MORNING HERALD (AUSTRALIA)
The positive drug test of Canterbury Bulldogs player Willie
Mason has reignited debate over possible intimidation and
breaches of privacy in the workplace as more employees face
Critics of drug and alcohol tests say that what people do in
non-work time should remain their business unless it affects
their job performance. And unions, while opposed to
across-the-board screening, stress that any testing should
conform to properly monitored procedures.
Qantas, StateRail and some mining companies face stiff
resistance from unions as they press campaigns to have staff
An ACTU industrial officer, Richard Watts, said Qantas had
deferred plans to introduce across-the-board testing at the end
of this month only after a revolt among its 34,000 employees.
Mr Watts said unions were concerned that testing would lead to a
"regime of fear" and breach the privacy of people on prescribed
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