Friday, September 21, 2012

Fiona Apple arrested for possession of hash in Texas


TMZ reports that Fiona Apple was arrested in Texas yesterday (9/19) for possession of hash. She's currently beind held at Hudspeth County Jail.
Fiona Apple was arrested at a border stop in Texas yesterday ... after authorities claim they found hashish on the "Criminal" singer's tour bus ... TMZ has learned.

It all went down in Sierra Blanca, TX -- where stars like Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg and Armie Hammer have all been arrested for drugs in the past.

But apparently, Apple didn't learn from their mistakes ... and when her bus was stopped for inspection, cops turned up the hash -- a strong form of cannabis.

Cops say Apple was also in possession of a small amount of weed.

The 35-year-old singer was arrested for possession and is currently being held at Hudspeth County Jail.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Uruguay could soon become the 1st national government to sell cannabis directly to citizens

Uruguay has long been at the vanguard of social reform in Latin America. Today, it is on the verge of passing into law one of its most radical ideas yet.

The Broad Front – the center-left coalition that holds power – is proposing a state monopoly over the production and distribution of marijuana, making Uruguay the first national government to sell cannabis directly to citizens. The government says the measure is necessary to combat rising drug-related crime, decrease health risks for users, and counter ineffective US policies on drugs. But within Uruguay, interest groups have labeled the legislation totalitarian, while some international bodies argue it breaches global conventions.

“We’re putting this forward as international policy,” says Sebastian Sabini, president of the parliamentary commission created to debate the bill. “The war on drugs has failed. There are more consumers and more violence.”

“Uruguay is opening up a new path,” he says.

Pushing the envelope
Uruguay is often overshadowed by the far larger economies of its neighbors Brazil and Argentina. But the country has made a name for itself with a long history of pushing the envelope on social issues.

In 1918, Uruguay became one of the first countries in the region to officially separate the state from the Roman Catholic Church. It implemented South America’s oldest mandatory pension system in 1896, and a bill to decriminalize abortion is expected to pass later this year.

But the bill proposing the legalization of marijuana has been denounced by the United Nations for breaching its 1961 convention on narcotics, and Uruguayans are also skeptical: Polls say just 40 percent approve.

“We’ll end up with people who don’t use marijuana buying it to sell on and make a quick buck,” says Hugo Lacasa, a street trader in Montevideo.

In early September, a parliamentary commission began a six-month debate to refine the bill, which will next be voted on in Congress. The Broad Front has a majority in both houses, but given the audacity of the proposal, President Jose Mujica, a former leftist guerrilla, has said it must have a minimum of 60 percent approval by lawmakers. Usually, just a 51 percent simple majority is required.

'Tackling' black market
The government introduced the bill in part because of “the failure of the global ‘war on drugs,’ ” according to the text of the proposed law. It also believes that by separating the marijuana and hard drug markets, less people will become addicted to the latter – especially "paco," a cocaine-based paste.

Violence linked to the black market for drugs will plummet too, says Julio Calzada, secretary general of Uruguay’s National Committee on Drugs. “Uruguay’s criminality rate has increased by approximately 10 percent in the last few years,” Mr. Calzada says. “We can tackle that by regulating the $40 million marijuana market.”

But legalization campaigners insist the plans would place too much control in the hands of government while the UN is irked by the “grave violation” of its drug interdiction strategy.

Alternative to the 'war on drugs?'

The war on drugs was instigated by President Nixon in the 1970s in an attempt to curtail the consumption of drugs in the US. Since then, a similar strategy of zero tolerance has been adopted by politicians across the Americas, aided by Washington. Amid pushback from drug-trafficking cartels, violence has escalated, and tens of thousands of people have died.

Uruguay’s bill has been depicted as an alternative to that strategy, and other Latin American countries like Bolivia and Guatemala have expressed their support.

The Uruguayan government argues that the war on drugs can never achieve a “world without drugs.” Cannabis use rose by almost 9 percent worldwide between 1998 and 2008, proponents of the bill say.

Uruguay, a country of just 3 million people, has also supported Bolivia’s calls to legalize the coca leaf – the key ingredient of cocaine but also traditionally used in its natural state for medicinal purposes, and to stave off hunger and altitude sickness.

President Mujica said the government will require around 150 hectares, or 370 acres, of plantations to meet the needs of what they estimate are Uruguay’s 18,000 regular marijuana consumers. Most of the current supply is trafficked from Paraguay.

A 'totalitarian' bill
Mr. Sabini, the president of the parliamentary commission, says that if the state controls cultivation, smokers will be assured of a safe product.

A monthly limit of 40 grams per person will also be imposed, Mr. Calzada says. Foreigners will not be allowed to purchase the cannabis, as has been the case in popular party destinations like Amsterdam, Holland.

“The bill is there to resolve Uruguay’s problems,” said Mujica. “We don’t want drug tourism.”

However, in what may come as a surprise, the proposed legislation has not won over marijuana legalization activists, who label it totalitarian.

Juan Vaz, a leading campaigner once jailed for growing cannabis plants, is lobbying lawmakers to ensure they also allow private, domestic production. The current law would mean that individual growers keep breaking the law, and only state-run production would be legal.

“The government should regulate home cultivation rather than seek a monopoly,” says Mr. Vaz.

Mujica has said the proposal puts Uruguay “at the vanguard” once more. “The problem isn’t the marijuana in itself,” he said. “It’s the trafficking and the violence associated with the black market.”

“It’s time for a new approach,” says Mr. Calzada.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

GOP Mogul Behind Drug Rehab 'Torture' Centers Is Bankrolling Opposition to Pot Legalization in Colorado

The Nation

When you look at drug prohibition objectively it, it show how that it only makes since if you are gaining something for continued prohibition. In this case it's shocking to see how far some people will go to continue the business as usual.
Marijuana legalization would harm kids, says Smart Colorado, a group advertising stock images of children along with messages asking for voters to reject Amendment 64, a ballot initiative this year to legalize and tax pot.

Smart Colorado, led former Republican senate candidate Ken Buck and a team of Republican lobbyists and campaign operatives, hopes to drive down the popularity of Amendment 64 before Election Day. The supposedly family-friendly group, however, relies heavily on funds from a pair of controversial Republican fundraisers who once led a drug rehab center shut down over wide-ranging child abuse scandals.

Save Our Society from Drugs, a Florida-based nonprofit founded by Mel and Betty Sembler, has given Smart Colorado contributions totaling $151,497 through September, according to The Nation’s review of state finance disclosures. That’s 95 percent of the money raised by the group so far.

The Semblers have been waging a war on marijuana for decades.

Before they led Save Our Society from Drugs, and its sister nonprofit, the Drug Free America Foundation, the Semblers were at the helm of STRAIGHT, Inc., which operated drug abuse treatment centers, mostly for teenagers, from 1976 through 1993.

Former clients of the rehab center recount episodes of brutal beatings, rape and systematic psychological abuse.

At one facility in Yorba Linda, California, state investigators found that STRAIGHT Inc. subjected children to “unusual punishment, infliction of pain, humiliation, intimidation, ridicule, coercion, threats, mental abuse…and interference with daily living functions such as eating, sleeping and toileting.” Samantha Monroe, who was placed into a STRAIGHT Inc clinic in Tampa at age 13, says she was locked in a room, and forced to wear a clothes stained with urine, feces and menstrual blood—a punishment her counselors called “humble pants.”

Richard Bradbury, a former STRAIGHT patient and counselor-turned-whistleblower, told the St. Petersburg Times that Monroe’s experiences weren’t unique. “It was pure child abuse,” Bradbury told reporters. “Torture.”

In 1988, Fred Collins, an 18-year-old college student, paid a visit to his brother, who was in treatment for drug abuse, at an Orlando STRAIGHT Inc. clinic. Counselors accused Collins of being high on marijuana because his eyes were red, and held him against his will for months. The abduction, strip-searches and other abuses ended when Collins managed to escape. He was one of many to win judgments against the chain of drug rehab clinics before it was forced to close after investigations and lawsuits began to mount in several states.

Though the STRAIGHT drug rehab clinic no longer exist, the Sembler network of anti-drug nonprofits have proliferated, in part because of the family’s extensive political connections. Mel, who served as a major fundraiser for George H.W., Jeb and George W. Bush, was appointed as the Ambassador to Italy in 2001. Betty Sembler, awarded “honorary agent status by the DEA,” has led various anti-drug commissions and task forces on the state and federal level.

Three years after STRAIGHT shut down, the Semblers changed its name to the Drug Free America Foundation, headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Drug Free America Foundation, a nonprofit that shares resources, an office and staff with the Save Our Society group financing the Amendment 64 opposition in Colorado, has a contract with the federal government to help small businesses develop their own drug-testing programs for employees. In 2010, taxpayers forked over $250,000 to a Sembler group to oversee a drug-free workplace program for the Small Business Administration. It also helps produce anti-marijuana literature and promotional campaigns.

Mel Sembler, who made his fortune in real estate, says his opposition to marijuana use influenced his move to the GOP. He switched party affiliation in 1979, when he claims he found out “[President Jimmy] Carter was doing all this pot smoking and stuff in the White House.”

Since then, he’s been a proud Republican. Explaining his early support for Mitt Romney (he’s now a leader of Romney’s Florida fundraising team), Sembler says he accompanied then-Governor Romney to Israel during his first official visit and trusts the candidate’s business acumen. Viveca Novak, of, noted that Sembler was spotted on a Romney bundler yacht during the Republican convention last month.

Sembler hasn’t renounced his sordid legacy with the STRAIGHT clinics. An online biography of Mel Sember posted by his nonprofit proudly touts his role in founding the scandal-plagued rehab centers. The biography cheerfully claims, that during “its 17 years of existence, STRAIGHT successfully graduated more than 12,000 young people nationwide from its remarkable program.” There is no mention of the child abuse scandals that led to its downfall.

There’s little time to worry about the past. He’s waging two battles now: one in Colorado, and another to evict a former Choom Gang member from the White House.

Cannabidiolic acid, a major cannabinoid in fiber-type cannabis, is an inhibitor of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell migration.

This does not imply that weed cures cancer. There are negative and positive effects caused by smoking. However the continued demonization of marijuana could be preventing any number of drug treatments derived form it's component parts.
Cannabidiol (CBD), a major non-psychotropic constituent of fiber-type cannabis plant, has been reported to possess diverse biological activities, including anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells. Although CBD is obtained from non-enzymatic decarboxylation of its parent molecule, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), few studies have investigated whether CBDA itself is biologically active. Results of the current investigation revealed that CBDA inhibits migration of the highly invasive MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells, apparently through a mechanism involving inhibition of cAMP-dependent protein kinase A, coupled with an activation of the small GTPase, RhoA. It is established that activation of the RhoA signaling pathway leads to inhibition of the mobility of various cancer cells, including MDA-MB-231 cells. The data presented in this report suggest for the first time that as an active component in the cannabis plant, CBDA offers potential therapeutic modality in the abrogation of cancer cell migration, including aggressive breast cancers.