- Legal Drugs, Deadly Outcomes [LA Times]
- Washington DAs Begin Dropping Marijuana Possession Cases [Drug War Chronicle]
- Unlikely Allies Behind Marijuana Votes in Washington, Colorado [LA Times]
- Whiskeys Face Alcohol Crackdown in Russia [San Francisco Chronicle]
- Paraguay Seizes 1,700 Kg of Cocaine Near Brazil Border [BBC]
- Addicted to Porn: How it Destroys Lives [The Sun]
- Afghan Opium Addicts Get Married at Kabul Rehab [Daily Mail]
Colorado and Washington are currently awaiting the federal response to their citizens' votes this week to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Meanwhile, Colorado's pre-existing, highly-regulated business structure for growing and selling (previously just medical) pot is set to go into overdrive. The reassuring fact that strict oversight of medical marijuana was already in place played a big role in the eventual success of Amendment 64; under current regulations, every step in the growing process is rigorously overseen and constantly filmed by video cameras monitored by the state’s Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division. No video blind spots are allowed, and truck shipments must detail the total weight of all marijuana products, in addition to the times of their arrival and departure. On top of that, every marijuana worker must be licensed. “The thing that Colorado really has going for it is that there is already a high level of comfort and familiarity with the state licensing, taxing and regulating the above-ground distribution of marijuana,” says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “People had become accustomed to the notion that this can be a source of tax revenue, and that police can play a role in insuring effective regulation rather than just arresting anyone they could.”
Revenue and profit considerations also played a major role in the amendment passing. Amendment 64 is predicted to siphon considerable profits away from drug cartels and generate up to $60 million annually in combined tax revenues and savings from reduced law enforcement costs (according to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy). There will also be a 15% excise tax on wholesale marijuana sales, with the first $40 million in revenues every year earmarked for the construction of public schools. And despite protests from DEA administrators, Colorado's Attorney General won't go after the hundreds of dispensaries in the state—only those that are within 1,000 yards of a school will be targeted. Colorado's new law allow residents over the age of 21 to possess and use pot, as well as personally cultivating up to six plants.
Peru's President Ollanta Humala is targeting the remaining members of insurgent rebel group Shining Path, in an effort to crack down on the country's fast-growing cocaine trade. The Shining Path is a Maoist-inspired insurgency that was stifled by the government in the '90s after a brutal, decades-long war that claimed 70,000 lives. Although rebel numbers have since dwindled from 2,700 to an estimated 400, the group has survived—largely due to collaboration with drug traffickers and involvement in the cocaine trade. The Shining Path now oversees the country's largest coca-producing region, the Valley of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers [VRAE] where they "pretty much have a free rein over the area and want to keep it that way to support their main interest, drugs," says Jaime Garcia, a former deputy interior minister. Under their supervision, Peru's cocaine production has risen 25% in the past six years—now rivaling Colombia as the world's largest, according to the UN. Meanwhile, the rebels have become increasingly violent; they've reportedly killed 84 members of the security forces since 2008. “The remnants of the Shining path have become stronger in the last few years as they’ve narcoticized,” says Garcia. “They’ve no real political agenda or ambition for power. They exist at the moment because of the drug trade.” The president has vowed to ramp up military and police security forces in the VRAE. In September, his government budgeted a 68% increase in spending on the area, to install military bases and night vision equipment with the aim of reclaiming control of the region.
"Recovery" and "fair" aren't two words that have often been paired—until now. Tomorrow The Fix will be throwing the first ever Recovery Fair along with The Hills rehab up at The Hills' four-acre grounds, on Mulholland Avenue at the top of Laurel Canyon in LA (8207 Mulholland). People in recovery from addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, food, money—even cluttering—are welcome at this entirely free event. (And so is everyone else!).
Recovery Fair will feature face painters, bouncy slides and game booths for kids of all ages to enjoy. And for those who prefer their activities a tad more spiritual, yoga and recovery expert Tommy Rosen will be leading a yoga class, while sober authors Nic Sheff and James Brown, among many others, will be there signing books sold by Recovery Fair sponsor Book Soup.
Delicious goodies, from Velvet Rope Bake Shop, Theo Chocolate and Vita Coco coconut water, among others, will be a further temptation. Meanwhile, the newly sober looking to rid themselves of addiction-acquired ink can consult with Dr. Tattoff laser tattoo removal while fitness enthusiasts can jump into new regimes through Fit Happens Boot Camp. And if you're going through a divorce, struggling through a potential sex addiction or scared to face the fact that you blew off paying your taxes during your last run, Divorce Detox, the Center for Healthy Sex and Bismark Taxes are there to be consulted while Tannenbaum Chiropractic, Laurie Hermann Skincare and Bio-K Probiotics will be around to help the newly (or not newly) sober build the healthiest lives possible. Like munching on gluten-free Kind bars? Hope to catch some extra zzz's but can't reach for the Ambien so you're thinking about trying some Dream Water? Why not sample them for free tomorrow? For more information about Recovery Fair—which has been endorsed both by LA's Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LA Councilman John Duran—check out the site…or just show up and join thousands of us any time between 11 am and 5 pm. Look around for Dr. Drew Pinsky, Intervention's Candy Finnigan and Jay and Silent Bob star Jason Mewes mingling in the crowd. Valet parking!
Reader's Question: Do you support the increased use of drug testing in our society, in the workplace and elsewhere? Is it helpful or an invasion of privacy?
[Jane is now exclusively answering your questions about addiction, recovery and the like. Send your questions to email@example.com.]
After navigating Phase I: Orientation, Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) participants are expected to continue building positive relationships with other prisoners and staff. Phase II consists of two segments of 11 weeks each. "2A is about rational thinking and learning how to do an RSA (Rational Self Analysis)," one RDAP prisoner tells The Fix. "An RSA is a tool you can use when you don't feel the way you want to feel and you aren't doing the things you want to do. It challenges those beliefs so that you start thinking more rationally." Each prisoner is required to demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between his thoughts, feelings and behaviors. By understanding his habit formation and his roadblocks to positive attitudes, the idea is that he'll then comprehend the harmful effects of manipulation and grandiosity, the advantages and disadvantages of criminal behavior, and the effects of his criminal behavior on others.
"It also deals with criminal lifestyles which focuses on the criminal thinking errors," the prisoner says. "I realized in 2A that I'm not just here for the time off [a sentence reduction of up to a year], that I have a problem with the way I think and my beliefs. It made me realize that if I want to change my life, I need to change my beliefs." By practicing RSAs and actively applying them to criminal thinking, participants develop effective communication strategies. "2B deals with costs and payoffs of criminal behavior and drug use," the prisoner says. "It also covers living with others, which teaches you to see the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships and it opens your eyes to what roles you play—like dominator, neglector or manipulator. I learned I am a manipulator and dominator, and that people won't change until the costs outweigh the payoffs."