DEA agents apologize for forgetting college student in cell for four days.

By Liz Goodwin National Affairs Reporter

The Drug Enforcement Administration extended an apology to a University of California engineering student who was locked in a holding cell for more than four days and forgotten about. The studentdrank his own urine in desperation and attempted to kill himself, before agents returned four days later and found him, he said in a news conference covered by NBC and other outlets.

“I am deeply troubled by the incident that occurred here last week,” DEA San Diego Acting Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman said in a statement provided to Yahoo News. “I extend my deepest apologies the young man and want to express that this event is not indicative of the high standards that I hold my employees to. I have personally ordered an extensive review of our policies and procedures.”

An earlier statement from the San Diego DEA office was less contrite, with spokeswoman Amy Roderick saying that the student was caught in a drug raid because “he was at the house, by his own admission, to get high with his friends.” Daniel Chong, 24, said that he was taken to the local DEA office after he was caught in a drug raid where he was smoking marijuana on April 20. The agents didn’t charge him criminally and even told him they would drive him home, but apparently forgot about him in a tiny holding cell, where he languished for days without food, water, or a bathroom. Chong says he finally gave up on screaming for help, and eventually tried to kill himself with the glass from his spectacles and drank his own urine, sure he would die there. A DEA agent discovered him days later and quickly called an ambulance which drove him to the hospital, where he spent three days in intensive care because of his near-failing kidneys, he said.

Chong’s lawyer, Gene Iredale, tells Yahoo News his client could hear agents talking and other sounds from his cell, but no one answered his screams. He said Chong was handcuffed. “I believe it was, at best, inconceivably indifferent negligence” Iredale said of the incident. “I have dealt with cases in which police have abused citizens, but I’ve never seen anything as egregious as this.” Iredale plans to file a civil suit as soon as possible.

San Diego DEA agent Amy Roderick said earlier on Wednesday in a statement to Yahoo News that Chong was caught in a home raid on a “suspected MDMA distribution organization” that also netted several weapons, 18,000 MDMA (“ecstasy”) pills, marijuana, and hallucinogenic mushrooms. “The individual in question was at the house, by his own admission, to get high with his friends,” she wrote. She admitted in the statement that Chong was “accidentally” left in one of the holding rooms, while eight other suspects were either released or transfered to the county jail. Chong also told agents he ate a packet of white powder he found in his cell, which turned out to be meth. “DEA plans to thoroughly review both the events and detention procedures on April 21st  and after,” Roderick wrote.

ESPN’s Article On College And Marijuana Didn’t Surprise Anyone..especially weeddeservebetter


Marijuana and College Athletes: A Story Everyone Already Knows

By Sam Chapman

 With all this pointless drama surrounding the ESPN story regarding University of Oregon football players’ usage of marijuana, it’s time to clear the media smoke screen and have a real conversation about college athletes who use marijuana.

A large majority of the general public, including current UO students and alumni, find this entire media blitz laughable – to say the least. Imagine that ESPN had released an article on the rate at which Arizona State University athletes consumed alcohol. Since ASU didn’t win the Rose Bowl or compete in a recent BCS National Championship Game, my guess is that the responses it would probably have received range along the lines of “who cares?” or “who forgot to inform ESPN that ASU has a cultural atmosphere and history that shows high rates of alcohol consumption?” The fact that ESPN and the rest of the mainstream media still finds it fascinating that student athletes (as well as professional athletes) smoke marijuana for whatever reason just goes to show how ignorant they are to the rising acceptance of the marijuana culture in America today.

Ok, so ESPN has already received tons of flack from a number of different venues on the issue, but what is going through the mind of student athletes? Student athletes are likely to be an upcoming topic of conversation as to why marijuana should be treated like alcohol. But can we honestly approach student athletes and expect them to speak openly about their recreational use of marijuana? Of course not.

What we should consider doing for them is to create a safe place for them to talk about marijuana in a way that allows a real dialogue to take place outside the realm of media spitfire and shaming. It is with that goal that I have decided to create a Student Athletes for Sensible Drug Policy group. This group will aim to engage student athletes in an attempt to reveal and expose draconian athletic drug policies that treat marijuana as if it is more harmful than alcohol.

Do you think Oregon football coach Chip Kelley would rather have his team go out binge drinking the week before a big game? Or do you think he would rather have them stay home, light up a joint and remove themselves from the possibility of getting into trouble from attending a raging keg party? I have firsthand experience watching UO football players pounding shots at the bar, and it’s fairly scary when one of them starts to near his limit.

Yes, marijuana is unfortunately still illegal, and understandably, I don’t expect athletes to come out and advocate for the legalization of marijuana. But if they can get good grades, take our team to the Rose Bowl and BCS National Championship Games, all the while smoking some pot here and there, I say: let ‘em play.

Sam Chapman

University of Oregon Senior

Oregon Students for Sensible Drug Policy State Coordinator

Student Athletes for Sensible Drug Policy FB page

Students for Sensible Drug Policy

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What We Have to Say About Marijuana and Hemp Production.


By Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy

America’s farmers deserve our Nation’s help and support to ensure rural America’s prosperity and vitality. Federal law prohibits human consumption, distribution, and possession of Schedule I controlled substances. Hemp and marijuana are part of the same species of cannabis plant. While most of the THC in cannabis plants is concentrated in the marijuana, all parts of the plant, including hemp, can contain THC, a Schedule I controlled substance. The Administration will continue looking for innovative ways to support farmers across the country while balancing the need to protect public health and safety.

For more about what we have to say about marijuana, please see the President’s National Drug Control Strategy, as well as this earlier petition response below:

What We Have to Say About Legalizing Marijuana

When the President took office, he directed all of his policymakers to develop policies based on science and research, not ideology or politics. So our concern about marijuana is based on what the science tells us about the drug’s effects.

According to scientists at the National Institutes of Health- the world’s largest source of drug abuse research – marijuana use is associated with addiction, respiratory disease, andcognitive impairment. We know from an array of treatment admission information and Federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms. Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has almost tripled over the past 20 years, raising serious concerns about what this means for public health – especially among young people who use the drug because research shows their brains continue to develop well into their 20′s. Simply put, it is not a benign drug.

Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses. That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine. To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smokedmarijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.

As a former police chief, I recognize we are not going to arrest our way out of the problem. We also recognize that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use.

That is why the President’s National Drug Control Strategy is balanced and comprehensive, emphasizing prevention and treatment while at the same time supporting innovative law enforcement efforts that protect public safety and disrupt the supply of drugs entering our communities. Preventing drug use is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences in America. And, as we’ve seen in our work through community coalitions across the country, this approach works in making communities healthier and safer. We’re also focused on expanding access to drug treatment for addicts. Treatment works. In fact, millions of Americans are in successful recovery for drug and alcoholism today. And through our work with innovative drug courts across the Nation, we are improving our criminal justice system to divert non-violent offenders into treatment.

Our commitment to a balanced approach to drug control is real. This last fiscal year alone, the Federal Government spent over $10 billion on drug education and treatment programs compared to just over $9 billion on drug related law enforcement in the U.S.

Thank you for making your voice heard. I encourage you to take a moment to read about the President’s approach to drug control to learn more.

Check out this response on We the People.

Cannabis Culture News LIVE: A Trip to Yazoo, Mississippi

CANNABIS CULTURE – Watch Cannabis Culture News LIVE for the latest news and views on pot politics and the marijuana community. In this episode: CC Editor Jeremiah Vandermeer talks about his trip to visit Marc Emery in a federal prison in Yazoo, Mississippi.

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Why is Obama So Chicken, Unwilling to Even Address the Question of Pot and the Failed Drug War?

“We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws.”

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Not That Kind of Smoke-Filled Room

Potheads had high hopes for President Obama’s Google+ hangout on Monday. The Web superpower had invited citizens to submit questions for the president via YouTube, and it encouraged people to vote on the questions they’d like Obama to answer in a live video chat. The results: 18 of the 20 most popular questions were about marijuana policy.

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Yukon Family Pushes to Legalize Medical Marijuana in Oklahoma For Autistic Son

Supporters of medical marijuana say it can be used for a wide variety of treatments including glaucoma, cancer and AIDS. But now support is growing, including here locally, to give it to children who suffer from autism.

When legislators return to the statehouse next week, medical marijuana will be back on the table. And one local family says they will be pushing for it to pass for the sake of their autistic son.

Life with 7-year-old Deacon is a constant challenge.

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Panel Votes to Ban Medical Pot From Colleges; Suit Looks Likely

A House panel voted Wednesday to ban medical-marijuana use and possession on college and university campuses, setting the stage for a lawsuit.

The unanimous vote by members of the House Committee on Higher Education came after Rep. Amanda Reeve, R-Phoenix, said the schools fear loss of direct federal aid and federally backed student loans if they allow faculty members and students to possess the drug.

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Calgary City Seeking Locations of Medicinal Grow Ops

Fears that licensed medical marijuana grow operations could be major safety hazards are pushing a city alderman to demand that Health Canada disclose the locations of the homes.

The issue came to a head two weeks ago after the city shut down a licensed operation due to numerous safety violations. And in October, an explosion rocked another licensed operation as two men cooked byproduct on a stove.

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Bill C-10 Will Hit Nunavut Hard, Shewchuk Tells Senators

Dan Shewchuk, the Nunavut justice minister, told the Senate legal affairs committee Feb. 2 that Bill C-10, the Conservative government’s omnibus crime bill, will create big costs and other problems for Nunavut’s justice and correctional systems.

Bill C-10, known as the Safe Streets and Communities Act, would amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other federal laws to limit the use of conditional sentencing, create more mandatory minimum sentences and make the youth justice law more tough.

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Pot-Trial Lawyer Given Time to Prepare Questioning

A Victoria man’s challenge to Health Canada’s medical marijuana access regulations was delayed in B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday to allow his defence lawyer to prepare for a cross-examination.

Owen Edward Smith, 29, challenged the regulations in relation to charges against him from Dec. 3, 2009, when a police search of a downtown apartment turned up large amounts of pot cookies and cannabis-infused baking oils.

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Strong Poll Numbers Could Mean Big-Money Donations For California Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Wine

CANNABIS CULTURE – A new poll showing 62% of California voters in support of a ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like wine could result in large financial contributions by wealthy donors to a 2012 legalization campaign.

The statewide poll, by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, Inc. surveyed 800 likely voters and found they would be willing to support a ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like wine by a 62% to 35% margin, with 3% unsure.

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Marijuana Arrests Rose in 2011, Despite Police Directive

Low-level arrests for marijuana possession in New York City increased for the seventh straight year in 2011, according to a study released Wednesday — despite a September memorandum from the police commissioner that reminded officers to follow the letter of the law and not arrest people with the drug unless they have it in plain view.

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Canada: Conservatives’ Reactionary "Tough on Crime" Bill Soon to Become Law

Stephen Harper’s new majority Conservative government has made pushing the Safe Streets and Communities Act, Bill C-10, through parliament a top priority.

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From Under the Influence with Marijuana Man: February 1, 2012

CANNABIS CULTURE – Get high and talk pot with with Marijuana Man and friends LIVE every Wednesday at 4PM Pacific on From Under the Influence. In this episode: We’re talkin’ Indica and Sativa.

We get up close and personal with Indica and Sativa strains. Fun for the whole (18+) family.

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