For those of you who are not signed up for the Marijuana Policy Project's emails, the bulk of their latest mailing will appear below the fold. Usually, they have some urgent policy issue coming up, and those I usually blog about. Today, they sent out a selection of horror stories concerning the persecution of pot users worldwide that should move even rabid anti-pot fanatics.
For those of you who are not signed up for Rob's excellent mailing list, I strongly suggest you visit www.mpp.org and sign up for it. I would also strongly suggest that if these stories sicken you, that you make a small donation. Rob is asking for $1 from everyone who supports the cause.
That's not even half a latte.
1. In a major blow to privacy rights -- not to mention the Bill of
Rights -- the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on January 24 that police may
have drug sniffing dogs present at routine traffic stops. If the dog
indicates that drugs might be present, the police may search the car.
The ruling stemmed from a 1998 case, Illinois v. Caballes, in which
Roy Caballes was stopped for driving six miles-an-hour over the speed
limit. During the stop, an Illinois state trooper with a police dog
arrived, and the dog led the police toward the trunk, where marijuana
Caballes, who had prior drug-related arrests, was sentenced to 12
years in prison for the marijuana. He appealed, arguing that the
evidence of marijuana in the trunk should have been thrown out,
because the police had improperly widened the boundaries of an
ordinary traffic stop and violated his Fourth Amendment protections
against unreasonable search and seizure.
In ruling against him, the Supreme Court has significantly broadened
the powers of the police to find, arrest, and imprison marijuana
users -- not to mention harassing and violating the privacy of
2. In Indonesia, a 27-year-old Australian woman is facing death by
firing squad for allegedly bringing marijuana into the country.
On October 8, 2004, airport authorities found 4.2 kilograms of
marijuana in Schapelle Leigh Corby's luggage. Corby says the marijuana
was not hers, and her supporters suspect it was planted there. Local
police acknowledge it is highly unusual for marijuana to be smuggled
into Bali rather than out of it (as marijuana prices are much lower in
Bali than in Australia).
If found guilty, Corby will be shot to death by a firing squad of 12
Visit http://mpp.org/states/site/quicknews.cgi?key=1065 to read more.
3. Five police officers in Campbell County, Tennessee, are pleading
guilty to beating and torturing a 42-year-old man they suspected of
selling drugs. As they tried to force Lester Eugene Siler to sign a
form stating he had consented to let them search his home, the
officers were caught on tape brutally beating him and threatening to
kill him. The officers are heard on the tape threatening to attach a
battery charger to Siler's testicles, to shoot him, and to burn him
with a lighter.
"We're going to take every dime you have today and if we don't walk
out of here with every piece of dope you got and every dime you got,
you're (expletive) ass is not going to make it to the jail," one
officer says on the tape. Another officer is heard saying, "Shoot his
Visit http://www.mpp.org/TN/news_1279.html for the full article.
4. And in Palm Beach, Florida, 15 high school students face up to 15
years in prison for selling small amounts of drugs -- mostly
marijuana -- to undercover agents who befriended them. Some of the
teens sold as little as $10 worth of marijuana. Visit
http://mpp.org/FL/news_1254.html for the story.