DRUG WAR BRIEFS: Follow the Money

August 5- The CT New Times reports: Inmates at a Thai prison responded so positively to an Indian guru's vegetarian diet and meditation course, the Corrections Department plans to expand the program nationwide, Thai officials said Monday.

The inmates -- 50 men and 50 women serving time for drug offenses at a prison in provincial Thailand -- participated in a program in which they practiced meditation at 4:30 a.m., ate vegetarian meals and listened to tapes of chanting.

"We found that it changed the behavior of the prisoners, it made them aware of right and wrong," said Surang Ekkachote of Thailand's Office of Correctional Inspectors.

Ten-day courses were taught to the inmates by followers of Indian guru S. N. Goenka.

August 8- The Tahoe Daily Tribune reports: Another poll shows Nevadans are evenly divided over a ballot initiative legalizing the possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana.

The latest poll conducted for the Reno Gazette-Journal and KRNV-TV in Reno shows 48 percent of likely voters statewide support the initiative, while an equal number oppose it and 4 percent are undecided.

The telephone survey of 600 likely voters was conducted in July by Research 2000 of Rockville, Md. The poll has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

August 8- The Blade from Toledo, OH, reports: Supporters of a constitutional amendment that would require treatment instead of jail time for first and second-time drug offenders said they turned in 700,000 signatures yesterday to get the measure before state voters.

The Ohio chapter of the Campaign for New Drug Policies needs 335,442 valid signatures to get the item on the ballot.

August 11- The Chicago Tribune reports: Nevada's largest police organization has ousted its president and reversed his endorsement of a statewide initiative that would let adults legally possess small amounts of marijuana.

The Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs issued a statement blaming former President Andy Anderson for a "misunderstanding" and declared that the executive board had not endorsed decriminalizing marijuana when Anderson polled them Tuesday.

The organization said Friday that it does not endorse the measure, which will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot, "nor will it support any measure for the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana."

August 11- The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports: Concert-goers at last weekend's reunion of surviving Grateful Dead members surprised people with their good behavior at Alpine Valley, but the two-day festival did generate drug seizures, as well as citations and arrests in connection with drug-related offenses.

Among the totals released late last week by the Walworth County Sheriff's Department's drug enforcement unit were: 269 county citations for marijuana possession, which usually means a $407 fine for less than an ounce (Ed note: generating a total of $109,483 income for the local police department); 80 arrests for 132 state violations, which carry heavier penalties than county citations; and 10 people charged with possessing hallucinogenic mushrooms and referred to the district attorney.

August 12- Associated Press reports: A drug-policy initiative that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana will appear on Arizona's general-election ballot, state officials announced Tuesday.

Proposition 203 would make possession of 2 ounces or less of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine of no more than $250. The fine could be waived by taking a drug education class.

In addition, the proposal would expand existing laws that generally bar prison or jail sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. It would bar judges from including jail time as a probation condition.

Send tips and comments to Kevin Nelson at kcnelson@premier1.net.

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