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Drug War Chronicle #569 - January 23, 2009

1. Feature: Narcs Cheer -- House Economic Stimulus Bill Would Give Byrne Grant Program $3 Billion Over Three Years

In one of the few actions that won it kudos from drug reformers and civil rights groups, the Bush administration tried for years to zero out the Byrne grant program, which funds multi-jurisdictional anti-drug task forces. Now, as part of the economic stimulus bill, Congress wants to give it more money than ever.

2. Feature: After Decriminalization Victory, Massachusetts Activists Fight Rear-Guard Action Against Recriminalizers

Massachusetts voters approved a decriminalization initiative by a two-to-one margin in November. Now, decrim foes are fighting back with local ordinances banning public consumption, but they are finding that once again they have a battle on their hands.

3. The White House: Obama on Drug Policy

The incoming Obama administration has made its agenda available online. When it comes to drug policy, there's some good, some bad, and some things missing.

4. Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle?

Do you read Drug War Chronicle? If so, we need your feedback to evaluate our work and make the case for Drug War Chronicle to funders. We need donations too.

5. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Apply for an internship at DRCNet for this spring (or summer), and you could spend the semester fighting the good fight!

6. Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

No crooked jail guards this week, but we do have a nice variety of law enforcement and prosecutorial misbehavior.

7. Medical Marijuana: DEA Hits California Dispensary in First Raid of Obama Administration -- New President Promised End to Raids

The DEA raided another California dispensary Thursday, marking the first raid on President Obama's watch. Obama vowed during the campaign to end them, and activists are hoping it's just Bush administration holdovers at work. What is Obama going to do?

8. Medical Marijuana: Bill Introduced in Minnesota, One to Come Tuesday in South Dakota

With the number of medical marijuana states growing at the rate of one a year, and with Michigan last November becoming the first state in the Midwest to embrace therapeutic cannabis, two Upper Midwest state legislatures are about to grapple with the issue -- again.

9. Medical Marijuana: Montana Bill to Require Patients Who Drive to Take Drug Tests or Face Revocation of Registration Card Gets Hearing

One Montana legislator wants to make medical marijuana patients who get into a traffic accident or get pulled over for a violation to have to automatically submit to a drug test. It doesn't appear to be a popular idea.

10. Marijuana: Kalamazoo Next for a Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Initiative

Activists in Kalamazoo, Michigan, are laying the groundwork for making it the next town or city to pass an ordinance making adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority.

11. Search and Seizure: Supreme Court to Hear Case of School Girl Strip-Searched for Ibuprofen

Is it okay for middle school authorities to strip-search a girl in search of a couple of Ibuprofen tablets? The Supreme Court will decide.

12. Sentencing: Texas Judges Call for Reducing Drug Possession Penalties

A Harris County, Texas, judge began a lonely crusade two years ago to get the legislature to reduce drug possession penalties. Now, it's not so lonely as some of his colleagues sign on.

13. Methamphetamine: Grassley, Feinstein Reintroduce Candy-Flavored Meth Bill, Despite Little Evidence the Stuff Even Exists

Ever eager to charge at windmills in the name of the war on drugs, two US senators have reintroduced a bill that addresses a non-existent menace and threatens to increase prison sentences for people who aren't the intended target.

14. Weekly: This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

15. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"CNBC's Marijuana, Inc: Propaganda, Pot Porn, or Both?," "DEA's Medical Marijuana Raids Continue Under Obama Administration," "Drug Smuggling Robots are the Future," "Marijuana, Inc. Tonight on CNBC," "Drug Policy at WhiteHouse.gov," "Barack Obama is the President."

16. Announcement: "Unintended Consequences -- Global Drug War Poster and Video Contest," Hungarian Civil Liberties Union

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union is now accepting submissions for "Unintended Consequences -- Global Drug War Poster and Video Contest," part of a campaign to raise awareness of the UN's ten-year review of global drug control efforts.
Permission to Reprint: This issue of Drug War Chronicle is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

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