Friday, September 17, 2010

Daily Roundup: DEA Continuing Dispensary Raids In Secret

By David Downs
Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 11:59 AM

The Huffington Post reports new legalization group Just Say Now delivered 52,000 signatures for ending the drug war to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, while Holder attended a press conference of former drug czars urging Holder to fight Prop 19 if it passes in California. With video! More headlines after the jump.

2. While President Obama has said medical marijuana raids were over, they actually just continue in secret, the Daily Caller finds. "Despite campaign promises to the contrary, the Department of Justice under President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder hasn’t stopped raiding marijuana dispensaries operating in states where sale of the drug is legal for medical purposes. But the DOJ has demonstrated one marked change now that it’s under Democratic control: The department has stopped publicizing medical marijuana raids, both by requesting that more cases be sealed under court order and by refusing to distribute press releases."

3. Also in D.C., The Nation uncovers email links between Blackwater assassination squads and DEA operations inside America and outside. [via Democracy Now]

4. In California, the 'Pot not alcohol' group SAFER is a little miffed at Big Beer's backing of the No on 19 campaign. They "call on the No on Prop. 19 campaign to explain why it is working with Big Alcohol to drive people to drink.”

"We understand why Big Alcohol wants to protect its turf and keep Californians drinking," said Mason Tvert, executive director of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) and coauthor of Marijuana is Safer: So why are we driving people to drink? (Chelsea Green 2009). "But why does the No on Prop. 19 campaign share this goal?

"As a group calling itself 'Public Safety First,' it seems odd they would be working to ensure adults use alcohol — a substance that has been found to contribute to violent and reckless behavior — instead of marijuana, which does not contribute to such problems," Tvert said.

5. And the SEIU endorsed Prop 19 this week, the New York Times reports. "At the very least, the support by the S.E.I.U., which claims over 700,000 members in the state, could make it easier for other groups to rally around the measure. More practically, it means access to the union’s considerable campaign apparatus, which could finance mailings, telephone calls and leaflets.”

6. The Bay Guardian clowns the Chron's recent 'vote no on prop 19' editorial as 'laughably alarmist'. “Bottom line: Chron editorial writers fall into the same old tired reefer madness stereotypes that have driven the drug war's 'abject failure,' but they just aren't honest enough to admit the contradiction with their stated claim that 'if this were a simple referendum on the status quo, and the ability of a 21-or-older Californian to possess an ounce or less for personal use, it might be an easy 'yes' vote.' ”

7. Announcement: Len Richmond's film, What If Cannabis Cured Cancer? screens Saturday, September 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Landmark Shattuck Cinemas in Downtown Berkeley. The HuffPo ran an article yesterday by Dr. Weil, and he mentions Len's documentary. The screening is part of the 19th Berkeley Video Film Fest, which screens 68 indie films including shorts and animations. Friday, September 24, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, September 25, 1 p.m. - Midnite; Sunday, September 26, 1 p.m. - 11 p.m. $13/$10 Students, Seniors. Three-day pass: $27.50 available from East Bay Media Center only: 510.843.3699. Tickets available at the Landmark Shattuck Cinemas Box Office, 2230 Shattuck Avenue, Downtown Berkeley. Box Office: 510.464.5980. Festival Info . 510.843.3699

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