DRUG WAR BRIEFS: Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

October 24- The Oregonian reports: The daylight basement in Leroy Stubblefield's Sweet Home area house seems an unlikely battlefield for America's war on drugs.

Stubblefield, a 52-year-old quadriplegic, and two of his caregivers were growing 12 marijuana plants in his basement in a state-licensed operation until Sept. 23, when a federal drug agent seized them in a drug raid. No one was arrested.

It is thought to be the first time in Oregon that federal authorities have overstepped state law -- which allows cultivation of marijuana for personal medicinal purposes under a $150 annual license -- and raided a marijuana growing operation.

October 25- Canada's London Free Press reports: London police shot and killed a family dog after a botched drug raid on the wrong apartment Wednesday.

Police Chief Brian Collins has launched a full investigation to determine how the mistake was made.

"He's my lifeline," Marcie Carroll said of her six-year-old dog, Bear.

Six officers, some in riot gear, knocked down the door of Carroll's apartment on Oxford Street, east of Highbury Avenue, Wednesday afternoon.

Police told her there was an informant in her apartment. But sources say the informant told police several times the person they were seeking didn't live in the building.

Carroll spent most of yesterday looking for a clinic to cremate the dog she raised since he was a puppy.

"They screwed up large," she said of the police raid, adding police never apologized for their mistake. "They never found anything and they destroyed my apartment."

October 27- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports: A man shot during a police raid was awarded more than $2 million by a federal jury.

The jury on Thursday also found that the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners had been "deliberately indifferent" in allowing its officers to illegally enter homes when serving search warrants.

David Doran, a 52-year-old mechanic, was shot twice in the 1998 raid on his home. Officers looking for a methamphetamine lab battered in the front door, and Doran was shot after he came out of his bedroom with a gun.

October 28- The New York Post reports: A Time/CNN poll revealed that 72 percent of Americans now feel that people arrested with small amounts of marijuana should not do any jail time, while just 19 percent favored sending pot smokers up the river.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans still want marijuana possession to be considered a criminal offense - but 34 percent now favor complete legalization.

The new poll also offered good news to activists and lawmakers who are calling for the legalization of medical marijuana: 80 percent of those surveyed said they favored dispensing pot for medicinal purposes.

October 28- The FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report is released, indicating that 723,627 Americans were arrested on marijuana-related charges in 2001, with 88.6% of the arrests for possession only.

The total number of marijuana arrests far exceeds the total number of arrests for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

October 30- Utah's Deseret News reports: For the first time ever, a federal appeals court has ruled that the government cannot revoke the prescription drug licenses of doctors who recommend marijuana to sick patients.

A three-judge panel also ruled unanimously Tuesday that the Justice Department cannot investigate doctors for merely recommending marijuana to patients, upholding a 2-year-old court order that prohibited such federal action.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that such investigation would interfere with the free-speech rights of doctors and patients.

"An integral component of the practice of medicine is the communication between doctor and a patient. Physicians must be able to speak frankly and openly to patients," Chief Circuit Judge Mary Schroeder said.

Federal prosecutors argued that doctors who recommend marijuana use are interfering with the drug war and circumventing the government's judgment that the illegal drug has no medical benefit.

But the San Francisco-based court, noting that doctors are not allowed to dispense marijuana themselves, said physicians had a constitutional right to speak candidly with their patients about marijuana without fear of government sanctions.

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

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