Open Thread

bullet image Drug Courts: Martin Sheen Defends Them in Congress. But Do They Work? – outstanding article by Maia Szalavitz in Time Magazine.

I think Maia does a great job of really laying out the issues regarding drug courts – pointing out that yes, drug courts can be better than long prison sentences (both in effectiveness and cost) for serious drug addicts. But there are a ton of negative factors, including a lack of oversight, a tendency to “widen the net” of the drug war, and forcing people who are not addicts to admit that they are.

bullet image U.S. law would label Mexican drug cartels “terrorist organizations” – a really bad idea

The bill proposed by Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas) would authorize U.S. law enforcement agencies to use extreme measures to isolate the cartels and capture their leaders.

Mexican political leaders have been warning that any U.S. intervention in their drug war could trample Mexico’s sovereignty.

This week, Jorge Alberto Lara Rivera, Mexico’s assistant attorney general, said that if U.S. law enforcement operations continue in Mexico without the government’s consent, “that would make us reevaluate many issues in our relationship,” according to Mexican media reports.

Mexican government officials say they still control their own country despite a war on drug trafficking that has claimed about 36,000 lives since it started in December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon called in troops against the cartels.

McCaul says more serious efforts are needed by the United States as the drug cartels turn their weapons against U.S. law officers.

“Mexican drug cartels are terrorist organizations, and this designation will provide the necessary tools to effectively advance the national security interests of both Mexico and the United States,” he said.

bullet image Drug laws ‘may make matters worse’

Police efforts to fight drug gangs tend to lead to more violence and an increase in murders, according to a new international study.

The authors, writing in the International Journal of Drug Policy, admit they were surprised by their own findings.

Of course, we’re not surprised by this at all. And we’ve talked about a preliminary version of this report before.

bullet image S.F. pot case tossed as video contradicts police – this is another case beyond the original scandal, showing the pervasive extent of the violation of citizens’ rights.

bullet image National Cancer Institute scrubs “anti-tumoral effect” of cannabinoids from website from NORML. The government frantically stepped in to change the positive summary on the cover page at the NCI site (twice), forcing people visiting the site to go to the Laboratory/Animal/Preclinical Studies section to find the information about cannabis and tumors.

NCI offers a rather weak explanation for its quick revisions.

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