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DEA Uses Spy Data To Launch Drug Investigations, Then Hide Their Origins

Category: News | Posted on Tue, August, 6th 2013 by THCFinder
dea-spyingAt an undisclosed location in Virginia, a publicity-shy DEA unit is feeding surveillance data from the National Security Agency (NSA), as well as wiretaps, informants, and a massive DEA phone record database, to law enforcement officials around the country to help them launch criminal investigations of American citizens. Reuters broke the story with an investigative report Monday.
 
Law enforcement has been directed to conceal how those investigations really began, deceiving not only defense attorneys, but also prosecutors and judges, raising serious questions about the propriety and even the constitutionality of the practice.
 
“The DEA increasingly qualifies as a rogue agency – one that Congress needs to immediately investigate,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “This latest scandal may well be just the tip of the iceberg,” he added, referring to the agency’s checkered past.
 
“It’s remarkable how little scrutiny the DEA faces from Congress or other federal overseers,” Nadelmann continued.  “With an annual budget of over $2 billion as well as significant discretionary powers, DEA certainly merits a top-to-bottom review of its operations, expenditures and discretionary actions.”
 
The DEA unit in question is the Special Operations Division (SOD), which was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug trafficking organizations. Its members also include the FBI, CIA, NSA, IRS, and Department of Homeland Security, among two dozen partner agencies. Since its inception, SOD has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred, Reuters reported.
 
Most of its work is classified and is intended to remain confidential. But Reuters managed to get its hands on key documents, including the one quoted from below.
 

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Poll says Kentuckians favor varying Marijuana access

Category: News | Posted on Tue, August, 6th 2013 by THCFinder
kentucky-cannabisCannabis, weed, pot and marijuana; it's a plant with many names, but no matter what you call it, the topic has been a political lightning rod for years.
 
“Just because it's raising revenues, we have to be very careful not to make mistakes,” former California governor Arnold Swarzenegger said.
 
Many states allow for the medicinal use of marijuana. Colorado and Washington have officially legalized it for recreational purposes, but where is Kentucky’s voice in the wake of all this change? Recent data put forward by the Kentucky Health Issues Poll sheds light on just that.
 
“We've all heard that marijuana is a gateway drug, and i'm here to assure you that it is,” Dan Smoot said.
 
The poll found that 78 percent of Kentucky adults support the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, additionally four out of 10 favor uses for any purpose. Members of Kentucky law enforcement say that second figure is particularly disturbing.
 
“ It makes me furious, we have so many people addicted in this region and the vast majority of those people started with marijuana,” Smoot said.
 
Most individuals tell us it's easy to get, especially amongst the younger population. It’s cheap. It’s easily accessible so i think it's cool,” Amy Yates said.
 
Read more: http://www.wkyt.com

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Initiative Campaign To Legalize Cannabis Launched In Wyoming

Category: News | Posted on Mon, August, 5th 2013 by THCFinder
wyoming-medical-marijuanaThe newly-formed Wyoming chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has launched an initiative drive aimed at legalizing cannabis in one of the most conservative states in the nation.
 
“We don’t like being told what to do by the federal government,” states Christine Christian, Executive Director of Wyoming NORML, “And Wyoming doesn’t like regulations and having our money go somewhere else.”
 
The group is hoping to put their initiative to a vote of the people in 2016, the next presidential election; they’ll be required to collect roughly 37,000 valid signatures to do so.
 
Under current Wyoming law, the possession of even a few grams of cannabis can result in a misdemeanor that carries with it up to a year in prison, something that Christian believes creates more harm than good; “There are way too many people in jail over possessing minor amounts of marijuana… All we are doing is sending them to jail and making them better criminals.”
 

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Drunk Drivers Are 30 Times More Likely To Get In An Accident Than Cannabis Consumers

Category: News | Posted on Sat, August, 3rd 2013 by THCFinder
drunk-vs-stonedA new study published online by the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention has concluded what cannabis advocates have known for years; cannabis is the least dangerous “drug” to consume before driving; alcohol is the worst. In fact, the study found that those with a blood alcohol level of 0.12% were over 30 times more likely to get into a serious accident than someone who’s consumed any amount of cannabis.
 
Researchers conclude that; “The least risky drugs were cannabis and benzodiazepines and Z-drugs.”
 
For the study, researchers collected case samples from “severely injured drivers of passenger cars or vans in selected hospitals in various regions of the countries [Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Lithuania and the Netherlands]. Control samples (N = 15,832) were sampled in a uniform sampling scheme stratified according to country, time, road type and season. Relative risks were approximated by odds ratios and calculated by logistic regression. The estimates were adjusted for age, gender and country.”
 
This research helps to validate a number of past studies which have found that cannabis doesn’t decrease driver safety, and may in fact increase driving performance for certain people.
 
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Forensic Medicine, and the Technical University of Denmark’s Department of Transport.
 

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Man gets life in prison for trafficking marijuana

Category: News | Posted on Sat, August, 3rd 2013 by THCFinder
prison-for-mmjA Gordon man received life in prison after he pleaded guilty to trafficking $300,000 worth of marijuana in Houston County.
 
District Attorney Doug Valeska said 41-year-old Steven Craig Hooven pleaded guilty to a felony trafficking marijuana charge in front of Circuit Court Judge Brad Mendheim.
 
Valeska said Hooven received an enhanced sentence, of life in prison, because of three prior felony convictions out of Tennessee.
 
Houston County Sheriff’s investigators arrested Hooven on Aug. 16, 2012, on the marijuana trafficking charge.
 
The charge stemmed from a patrol deputy making a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Hooven for speeding on State Line Road near Cottonwood and US 231 South.
 
The traffic stop led investigators with the Houston County Sheriff’s narcotics unit to get a search warrant for Hooven’s home where they discovered a large indoor marijuana growing operation.
 

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Marijuana raids in Humboldt County: 16,100 plants, enough poison to kill 750 bears

Category: News | Posted on Fri, August, 2nd 2013 by THCFinder
humboltd-raidsMore than 16,000 marijuana plants and enough poison to kill more than 750 black bears were found this week during eradication efforts in Humboldt County, officials announced Thursday.
 
”What they're finding is pretty astounding,” Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey said. “Growers are using vastly more than what would be needed. It's enough to kill armies of rodents.”
 
Humboldt County Sheriff's Office deputies, U.S. Forest Service agents, Hoopa Valley Tribal Police officers and the Cannabis Eradication and Reclamation Team investigated and eradicated multiple grow sites this week near Willow Creek, Hoopa Valley and Orleans, alongside three civilian researchers with backgrounds in wildlife, toxicology and ecology.
 
Officers removed 17 pounds of anticoagulant rodenticide bait from three sites, according to a sheriff's office press release. Researchers reported the amount of poison found could kill the equivalent of 2,753 wood rats, 14 Pacific fishers or five spotted owls.
 
At one site, deputies and researchers located carbofuran, a pesticide banned in the U.S. Using conservative numbers, the 32 ounces recovered could kill more than 750 black bears, according to the release.
 
Officers also found nearly 2,000 pounds of dry fertilizer and 58 pounds of liquid fertilizer.
 
Sheriff's Office Lt. Steve Knight said investigations into all three sites are underway, and the office currently does not have any suspects.
 
”There were signs they were there recently,” Knight said.
 
Knight said the officers witnessed environmental damage at all the sites, citing clear cutting, creek damming and multiple truckloads of plastic pipe removed from the ground.
 
Deputies found 7,521 growing plants, 4 to 6 feet tall, on U.S. Forest Service land below the Brushy Mountain Lookout on Friday Ridge in Willow Creek on Monday morning.
 

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