1) The former drug czar of the UK is expected to call for an end to the criminalization of all drug use, arguing it is a public health issue. "Mr. Ainsworth told The Independent last night: "We need to take effective measures to rob the dealers of their markets and the only way that we can do that is by supplying addicts through the medical profession, through prescription. We cannot afford to be shy about being prepared to do that." He said: "It is far better they are going to a doctor, or going to a chemist and are getting their script [prescription] than turning tricks as a prostitute or robbing their mates." Mr. Ainsworth said his departure from the frontbenches now gave him the freedom to express his view that the "war on drugs has been nothing short of a disaster." More news after the jump.
2) The Christian Science Monitor says it's "Time to again mobilize against marijuana — Backers of marijuana legalization are not dissuaded by the November defeat of California Proposition 19. Expect them to regroup for 2012. Those who oppose legalization must also mobilize, led by Obama and his administration."
3) New Google Database of 5.2 million books published during the last 200 years shows use of the words "cannabis" and "marijuana" at new highs.
4) Mike Jay's High Society by Park Street Press has come out on richly illustrated, full-color glossy paperback. Legalization Nation couldn't get permission to run any of the great art, but they did send us this video on the opium wars. Watch and learn about the Opium Wars.
5) Federal sting tracks train full of Mexico pot to Chicago, WSJ reports. A hundred and twenty-one tons confiscated. Seven arrested. More than 12,000 have been killed in the Mexico drug war this year, LA Times reports.
6) Cal NORML Conference January 29th in Berkeley to discuss the future of marijuana law reform.
"The first part of the conference will be devoted to lessons from the Prop 19 campaign; where to go from here, and what changes in wording and tactics should be adopted in future legalization efforts. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is expected to introduce another legalization bill this year, and parallel efforts are underway to develop ballot language for a 2012 initiative. The second major focus of the conference will be California's medical marijuana system, which is badly in need of repair. Fourteen years after passage of Prop. 215, patient access remains problematic in many parts of the state, as local governments have moved to ban dispensaries and restrict cultivation by patients and collectives. The state's current law governing distribution, sale, processing, delivery and cultivation, SB 420, is vague and ambiguous, leading to scores of lawsuits that remain to be resolved."
The conference will run from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm; the pre-registration fee of $30 includes lunch. The Brower Center is a smoke-free facility located at 2150 Allston Way and Oxford Street near the Downtown Berkeley BART stop.
7) Can't make it to Colorado's KushCon Dec. 17? NORML has the coverage.
8) A San Diego judge sentenced a medical marijuana dispensary owner, after the judge barred the use of a Prop 215 defense. The case is destined for appeal.
9) AlterNet recaps New England's fledgling medical marijuana efforts.
10) Kudos to the Los Angeles Times editorial board for noting, "The assertion that Prop 19 is contributing to a rise in teenage marijuana use is unfounded."
"An April report, issued to advise Congress on whether to loosen federal restrictions on medical marijuana, examined studies comparing teen pot smoking in states with and without medical marijuana laws and found no connection between such laws and drug use." ... Even as teen marijuana use is rising, tobacco and alcohol use is falling, according to the report, which found that 21.4% of high school seniors had smoked pot in the previous month and 19.2% had smoked tobacco — the first time since 1981 that marijuana was more popular than cigarettes. This may indicate that public health campaigns aimed at discouraging alcohol and tobacco use are working, and that similar campaigns aimed specifically at marijuana might be equally effective. There's little evidence that continued criminalization has discouraged teen drug use, but better education might.
That didn't stop Colorado's Republican State Attorney General from blaming dispensaries.
11) Oakland dispensaries to sell $35 million in marijuana this year, Bay Citizen reports. Harborside Health Center brings in $20 million.
12) High Times has its 2010 Global Harvest report ready. Meet "Juanita" from Spain.