Bill Weinberg's blog

Philippines: anti-narco dictatorship consolidating?

Posted on September 5th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

South East AsiaRodrigo Duterte, the ultra-hardline president of the Philippines, ominously declared a "state of lawlessness" after a Sept. 2 bomb blast at a night market in the southern city of Davao, where he had long served as mayor. The special powers he is seizing are ill-defined, but he said he would "invite uniformed personnel to run the country." In justifying the power-grab, he stated: “There is a crisis in this country involving drugs, extrajudicial killings, and there seems to be an environment of lawlessness, lawless violence." There's an especially perverse irony to the invocation of extrajudicial killings, as his own government is accued of exactly that.

Justice Department to end use of private prisons

Posted on August 19th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

prisonThe US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced plans Aug. 18 to phase out its use of private prisons. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued the decision in a memo instructing officials to either decline to renew contracts for private prison operators or to "substantially reduce" the contracts' scope. The goal, Yates stated, is "reducing—and ultimately ending—our use of privately operated prisons. They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department's Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security."

'Voluntary' drug testing comes to New Jersey school district

Posted on August 19th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Shadow WatchFrom New Jersey comes the unwelcome news that the Lacey Township Board of Education has voted to approve a program of "voluntary" random drug-testing for middle school students. "I'm a supporter for any intervention to give another reason for kids to say 'no' and that can start at any age, especially with our young teens," district superintendent Craig Wigley told NJ Advance Media after the Aug. 15 vote. Seventh and eighth graders who participate in athletic programs or extracurricular programs will be given the "option" to participate in the testing program, with parental consent. For a first violation, a student would be barred from sports or extracurricular activities for 10 days. With a second violation, it goes up to 45-days, with mandatory attendance of eight counseling sessions. A third strike, of course, means you're out—barred from sports and extracurricular programs permanently. The district already has a similar program in place for high school students.

DEA turns down bid to reschedule cannabis

Posted on August 13th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

THC After much speculation that the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) would reschedule cannabis this summer, the agency on Aug. 11 dashed petitioners' hopes, rejecting their request to remove its classification as a Schedule I dangerous drug. The DEA denied two separate requests by former state governors to re-classify cannabis as a Schedule II drug or lower. The agency stated (PDF) that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has "concluded that marijuana has high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision." Tthe DEA did propose a new policy that would allow universities to apply to grow cannabis for research. Until now, the University of Mississippi had a monopoly on cultivation for study. (Jurist)

Busted for donut glaze —yes, really

Posted on August 8th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

FloridaFrom Orlando, Fla., comes the maddening case of Daniel Rushing—who was literally arrested, handcuffed and charged with methamphetamine possession over a tiny flake of donut glaze on the floor of his car. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Rushing was driving home after dropping off a neighbor at the hospital for a chemotherapy session—something he did every Friday—when he stopped at a 7-Eleven to give another friend a ride home. The 7-Eleven was being staked out for suspected drug activity, and Rushing was stopped by police for failing to come to a full stop on pulling out of the parking lot. Threatened with a ticket, he agreed to a search of his vehicle—confident that he had no illegal materials. But the officer found "a rock like substance on the floor board," claimed to test it positive as meth, and dragged Rushing off to jail.

Philippines: military camps for drug users?

Posted on August 4th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

South East AsiaIn his increasingly draconian anti-drug crackdown, the new Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, actually sent National Police troops to arrest a local mayor—resulting in a shoot-out that left six of the mayor's bodyguards dead. On Aug. 1, Duterte ordered Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera town on Leyte island to surrender within 24 hours—and added: "Otherwise, an order of 'shoot on sight' will be given if they resist and endanger the lives of arresting police officers." Espinosa surrendered to police the next day—but his son, wanted as a suspected drug-dealer, remained at large. The day after that, the gun-fight broke out between the body-guards and police who were on patrol near Espinosa's house. Police of course said the body-guards fired first. The affair began July 28, when five other of Espinosa's body-guards and staff were busted in a sting operation for a street sale of shabu (methamphetamine).

WikiLeaks reveals: alcohol industry promotes Congressional concern for cannabis

Posted on August 2nd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

Shadow WatchIs the alcohol industry spending money to get members of Congress to pay attention to the problem of "marijuana-impaired driving"? That's the case made on the cannabis industry website Marijuana.com, where a blogger seems to have assiduously searched the famous WikiLeaks dump of DNC e-mails for any reference to our favorite herb. What they found was in the May 24, 2016 edition of Huddle, a daily e-newsletter for Capitol Hill insiders produced by the Politico website. That issue included a paid advertisement from the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), which read in part:

Native American teen faces year in clink for one joint —in Oregon!

Posted on August 1st, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

OregonIn an utterly bizarre case reported in Oregon's Willamette Week on July 27, the federal government is taking the almost unheard-of move of prosecuting an individual for possession of a small amount of cannabis. Making it all the more perverse, this is happening in Oregon, which last year legalized recreational cannabis by popular vote. More perverse still, the taregted individual is a Native American youth—who may face one year in prison for possession of just about enought herb to roll a fat joint.

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