As some of you may remember, February 12th is the twelfth anniversary of the passing of one of our own. To most it will be remembered as the first day "Bluelight went black." To those of us who knew Ryan Haight (a.k.a Quicksilver) it is also the day we lost a friend.
The impact of Ryan's life and untimely death have echoed forward in the passage of the Ryan Haight Internet Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008, signed into law by President G.W. Bush in October of the same year. In honor of Ryan, Bluelight is proud to announce the launch of a new collection of forums designed to support sober living, and provide help to those struggling with drug use. The Recovery Forums will be launched shortly, and represent a reaffirmation of Bluelight's mission of drug-related harm reduction.
For those of you who knew Ryan, please take a moment in your day to honor his memory. We hope you'll stop in the Recovery Forums and share your thoughts and wisdom in the coming days.
THOUSANDS of people plead guilty to crimes every year in the United States because they know that the odds of a jury’s believing their word over a police officer’s are slim to none. As a juror, whom are you likely to believe: the alleged criminal in an orange jumpsuit or two well-groomed police officers in uniforms who just swore to God they’re telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but? As one of my colleagues recently put it, “Everyone knows you have to be crazy to accuse the police of lying.”
But are police officers necessarily more trustworthy than alleged criminals? I think not. Not just because the police have a special inclination toward confabulation, but because, disturbingly, they have an incentive to lie. In this era of mass incarceration, the police shouldn’t be trusted any more than any other witness, perhaps less so.
That may sound harsh, but numerous law enforcement officials have put the matter more bluntly. Peter Keane, a former San Francisco Police commissioner, wrote an article in The San Francisco Chronicle decrying a police culture that treats lying as the norm: “Police officer perjury in court to justify illegal dope searches is commonplace. One of the dirty little not-so-secret secrets of the criminal justice system is undercover narcotics officers intentionally lying under oath. It is a perversion of the American justice system that strikes directly at the rule of law. Yet it is the routine way of doing business in courtrooms everywhere in America.”
When cocaine and alcohol meet inside a person, they create a third unique drug called cocaethylene. Cocaethylene works like cocaine, but with more euphoria.
So in 1863, when Parisian chemist Angelo Mariani combined coca and wine and started selling it, a butterfly did flap its wings. His Vin Marian became extremely popular. Jules Verne, Alexander Dumas, and Arthur Conan Doyle were among literary figures said to have used it, and the chief rabbi of France said, "Praise be to Mariani's wine!"
Pope Leo XIII reportedly carried a flask of it regularly and gave Mariani a medal.
Seeing this commercial success, Dr. John Stith Pemberton in Atlanta -- himself a morphine addict following an injury in the Civil War -- set out to make his own version. He called it Pemberton's French Wine Coca and marketed it as a panacea. Among many fantastic claims, he called it "a most wonderful invigorator of sexual organs."
You might be surprised by what we’re about to say: the most tight-lipped, conservative and controlling country in the world is also a weed-smoker’s paradise. Despite the North Korean government’s deadly serious stance on the use and distribution of hard drugs like crystal meth (which has its own inauspicious legacy in the North), marijuana is reportedly neither classified illegal or in any way policed. The herb of the bohemian and free is not even considered a drug. As a result, it’s the discerning North Korean gentleman’s roll-up of choice, suggesting that for weed smokers at least, North Korea might just be paradise after all.
NK NEWS receives regular reports from visitors returning from North Korea, who tell us of marijuana plants growing freely along the roadsides, from northern port town Chongjin, right down to the streets of Pyongyang, where it is smoked freely and its sweet scent often catches your nostrils unannounced.
There is no taboo around pot smoking in the country – many North Koreans know the drug exists and have smoked it. In North Korea, the drug goes by the name of ip tambae or “leaf tobacco.” It is reported to be especially popular amongst young soldiers in the North Korean military – rather than getting hooked on tar & nicotine like their contemporaries in the West, they fraternize without fear of repercussion by lighting up king-sized doobies during down time on the military beat.
In 2001, a small European country, Portugal, took a brave step, changing its drug policies and refocusing its efforts away from arresting and criminalising drug users, towards smart public health interventions. How did the political establishment of a Catholic-Conservative country come to such an agreement about decriminalization? How does the system work? Is it effective? Ten years after decriminalization, the HCLU film crew traveled to Lisbon and Porto to get answers to these questions – and now you can learn them from our latest movie, produced in cooperation with APDES - an NGO partner in our European Drug Policy Initiative. The film tells the story of decriminalization from various perspectives, through the eyes of people involved in its formation, implementation and evaluation.
Contrary to the expectations of the new law’s critics, drug use did not skyrocket in the years following decriminalization – actually it stabilized or declined among young people, in accordance with the patterns and trends of other European countries.
In the pale light of early morning, a mobile unit sits curbside in Atlanta, Georgia’s most notorious crime zone. A woman in a tattered coat shuffles up to the vehicle. She’s diabetic and carries a bag of over 300 used syringes. The people in the mobile unit are happy to accept the needles, and they offer her clean insulin syringes in exchange. Mostly volunteers, they have braved the cold to bring public health services to the neighborhood’s residents. In doing so, they are breaking the law.
Syringe exchange, the act of exchanging a used syringe for a clean one, is an accepted practice for reducing bloodborne disease transmission in much of the northern United States. Not so in the South, which has steadfastly refused to endorse syringe exchange, and the practice is more or less prohibited in all Dixie states. But despite a legal situation that is ambiguous at best and often outright hostile, 13 syringe exchange programs exist in the South. Scattered across nine states, the programs and the people who run them are as colorful as they are unexpected. A program in New Orleans runs a clandestine exchange through volunteers on bicycles, advertising their services through a circus and the local music scene. In South Carolina, a doctor, two reverends and an atheist formed an unlikely alliance to create the first syringe exchange program in their state. In North Carolina, a former drug user living with HIV and hepatitis C distributes needles from the back of his van to help others avoid his fate.
A federal showdown with Washington state over its newly realized marijuana law has gone up in smoke, as people puffed pot in public this week with no repercussions.
The blatant disregard of federal and local threats about using marijuana in public echoed public sentiments in 1933, as the nation saw the end of Prohibition on the horizon, and it started to party in its own way with alcohol.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A 7-year-old girl suffering from leukemia is one of Oregon's youngest medical marijuana patients.
Her mother says she gives her daughter marijuana pills to combat the effects of chemotherapy, but her father, who lives in North Dakota, worries about the effects of the drug on her brain development.
Mykayla Comstock was diagnosed with leukemia last spring. Her mother treats her with a gram of cannabis oil daily, The Oregonian reported (http://bit.ly/TcqSqW ).
Mykayla's mother credits the drug for the leukemia's remission. "As a mother, I am going to try anything before she can potentially fall on the other side," said Erin Purchase, 25, who with her boyfriend administers Mykayla's cannabis.
The girl says the drug helps her eat and sleep but also makes her feel "funny."
"It helps me eat and sleep," Mykayla said. "The chemotherapy makes you feel like you want to stay up all night long."
Mykayla's father, who is divorced from the girl's mother, was so disturbed by his daughter's marijuana use that he contacted child welfare officials, police and her oncologist. The father, Jesse Comstock, said his concerns were prompted by a visit with Mykayla in August.
"She was stoned out of her mind," said Comstock, 26. "All she wanted to do was lay on the bed and play video games."
If politicians and the public can put aside long-held prejudices, then they may be able to solve some of the tough economic questions Britain has to answer by unleashing the financial power of two untapped markets: drugs and prostitution.
These multi-billion pound industries lurk in the shadows of Britain, operating at every moment of every day in every part of the country.
Ending Britain's role in the War on Drugs and its criminalisation of the sex worker industry, for many, makes perfect fiscal as well as moral sense.
The main adviser to Mexico's president-elect says votes legalizing recreational marijuana in the U.S. states of Washington and Colorado will force the Mexican government to rethink its efforts on halting marijuana smuggling across the border.
Luis Videgaray is the man in charge of President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto's presidential transition. He tells Radio Formula that the Pena Nieto administration that takes office in three weeks remains opposed to drug legalization. But he says the votes in the two U.S. states complicate Mexico's commitment to quashing pot growing and smuggling.