Elite Baltimore police unit robbed with impunity, sold guns and drugs, loaned guns and armor to civilians sent to commit robberies

Detectives Marcus Taylor and Daniel Hersl of Baltimore's elite, seven-member Gun Trace Task Force are on trial for years of robbery, home invasions, drug dealing, gun dealing, and worse -- their defense is that they were not the primary participants in these activities, not that the crimes did not take place. Read the rest

Big Weed: ten farms could supply all of America with marijuana

When Washington State legalized recreational marijuana three years ago, it created a licensing regime that was supposed to protect and encourage small growers, but the data shows that marijuana growing has consolidated into a few large suppliers, even as the price per gram has fallen -- and that the industry's embrace of exotic derivatives like edibles and concentrates is capital-intensive and inaccessible to small, independent providers. Read the rest

The crooked Secret Service agent who stole Silk Road bitcoins did it again after pleading guilty

Shaun Bridges is the disgraced ex-Secret Service Agent who pleaded guilty to stealing bitcoin from online drug dealers while he was investigating the Silk Road; he's serving a 71-month sentence and has just had two years added to it after he pleaded guilty to stealing more bitcoin after his guilty plea, while he was out on bail Read the rest

64% of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, support legalizing marijuana

The latest Gallup poll reveals that more Americans than ever support the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. This is bad news for the private prison industry, which poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into Trump's campaign fund in the hope that weed foe Attorney General Jeff Sessions will lock up millions of mild-mannered dope smokers. He'll try anyway, but he'll have a fight on his hands.

From Gallup News:

Gallup first asked national adults about their views on the topic in 1969, when 12% supported legalization. Support had more than doubled by the end of the next decade but changed little throughout the 1980s and 1990s. By 2001, however, about a third of Americans favored legalizing marijuana, and support has steadily increased since. A majority of Americans have consistently supported legalizing marijuana since 2013.

The trajectory of Americans' views on marijuana is similar to that of their views on same-sex marriage over the past couple of decades. On both issues, about a quarter supported legalization in the late 1990s, and today 64% favor each. Over the past several years, Gallup has found that Americans have become more liberal on a variety of social issues.

From WTF Just Happened Today?:

Business is booming for a private prison company after it contributed to Trump's campaign and moved its company meetings, dinner receptions, and golf outings to Trump National Doral. GEO Group, through a company subsidiary, gave $225,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC and an additional $250,000 to Trump's inaugural committee.

Read the rest

Georgia Sheriff and deputies indicted for repeatedly touching the junk of 900 students at local high-school

Worth County, GA Sheriff Jeff Hobby (+1-229-776-8211) had his deputies repeatedly subject all 900 students at Worth County High School in Sylvester to "highly intrusive" pat-downs that included touching genitals and breasts; they say they were looking for drugs but they never found any. Read the rest

Prisoners sent to Christian "rehab" diversion programs find themselves in forced-labor camps

Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery is a "diversion program" where drug addicts convicted of crimes can be sent to get help, but an investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting reveals that CAAIR is really in the business of supplying low-cost workers to factories, where they are worked seven days/week on threat of being returned to prison, and where workers who are maimed on the job are sent to prison and not given worker's compensation -- all for no pay at all. Read the rest

Philippines legislature sets annual budget for the national Commission on Human Rights: $19.53

The Philippines is ruled by an admitted murderer, President Rodrigo Duterte (previously), whose death squads have operated with impunity since he took office last year (Trump loves him). Read the rest

Singaporean cops investigate participants in silent vigil for executed migrant worker

Attendees at a silent candlelight vigil in honor of Prabagaran Srivijayan -- a Mayasian migrant worker who was executed for drug trafficking on July 14 -- have been notified that they are the subjects of a police investigation. Read the rest

Legal California weed could lead to public banking

Famously, federally insured banks and credit-unions won't take deposits from the marijuana industry, even in states where marijuana sales have been legalized; this leaves the weed industry dealing all in cash, from safes in the basement to sacks of money delivered to the tax-office by armored car. Read the rest

Fake negative reviews are a cheap way to screw up darknet drug marketplaces

In The Network Structure of Opioid Distribution on a Darknet Cryptomarket, (Sci-Hub mirror), a paper presented today at the American Sociological Association meeting in Montreal, social scientists Scott W. Duxbury and Dana L. Haynie lay out their findings on using fake bad reviews to disrupt the darknet drug-trade. Read the rest

An Illinois gubernatorial hopeful will spring all low-level drug offenders from jail

If Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar is successful in winning the Democratic Party nomination to stand for governor of Illinois and then wins the election, he will: 1) commute all low-level drug offenders' sentences and free them from jail; 2) take educational oversight power from Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel and give it to the Chicago School Board; 3) fund schools out of a fairly distributed state pools, ending the system of funding based on local taxes, which disadvantages schools in poor neighborhoods; and 4) make access to paid sick leave and child care universal in the state of Illinois. Read the rest

Peak no-fucks-given Jeff Sessions boosts asset forfeitures

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, having been thrown under the bus by Donald Trump, has clearly run out of fucks to give, and so now he's not only reviving the feel-good anti-drug program that convinced kids to take drugs, not only directing fed cops to arrest people who take weed in states where it's legal -- he's also calling for more civil asset forfeiture, that being the polite name for the widespread, illegal practice of cops stealing your stuff and selling it off to fund off-the-books spending on surveillance gear and other goodies. Read the rest

Proposed Massachusetts law would let cops steal your car if it had a "hidden compartment"

Hey, remember how Bill Clinton doubled down on the War on Drugs, perfecting Reagan's haphazard and shoddily made race-war into a well-oiled incarceration machine that turned America into the world's greatest incarcerator, a nation that imprisoned black people at a rate that exceeded Apartheid-era South Africa? Read the rest

PA supreme court: was illegal to steal elderly woman's home because her son sold $140 of weed

It took four years, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has finally ruled in favor of 72 year old grandmother Elizabeth Young, whose house was seized by the Philadelphia District Attorney under asset forfeiture rules when her son was caught selling $140 worth of marijuana to undercover agents.

Under civil forfeiture rules, cops and DAs get to steal property suspected of being the proceeds of a crime, then they sue the inanimate objects. The owners of the objects can hire lawyers to represent their property, while the taxpayers foot the bill for the state's side of the suit. If the government wins, it gets to keep the property or sell it and pocket the proceeds.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court blasted the DA for the seizure and reminded the state's lawyers and cops that they can only invoke civil forfeiture when there is good reason to believe that the property's owner "knew of and agreed to the crimes" in question.

The cop who bought the marijuana from Young's son is currently serving a 3.5 year federal prison sentence for planting drugs on suspects.

Young is far from the only person to have her house seized by the Philadelphia D.A. for a minor drug crime that she didn't even commit. In 2013, Philadelphia police seized the house of Christos and Markela Sourovelis after their son was arrested for selling $40-worth of drugs outside of it.

The Sourovelis' sued, with assistance from the libertarian-leaning Institute for Justice, a nonprofit law firm that has challenged asset forfeiture laws in several states.

Read the rest

Lawsuit: sicko Sheriff ordered 900 teens groped in illegal mass-frisking at school

A lawsuit is underway in Worth County, Georgia, where Sheriff Jeff Hobby is defending a mass-frisking of 900 high school students, performed in public without warrant or even the pretense of probable cause, during which cops reportedly manipulated student's breasts, inserted fingers inside bras, exposed bare breasts and reached into underwear and cupped and groped kids' genitals. This ostentatious display of power, by cops armed with guns and dogs, was supposedly a drug search. No drugs were found. Not a scrap.

[Interim Worth County Superintendent Lawrence] Walters said in March Sheriff Jeff Hobby told him his department was going to do a drug search at the school after spring break.

"We did not give permission but they didn't as for permission, he just said, the sheriff, that he was going to do it after spring break," said Walters. "Under no circumstances did we approve touching any students," explained Walters. ...

In the student handbook it says school officials may search a student if there is reasonable suspicion the student has an illegal item. Hobby says he was able to search every student, simply because he had an administrator with him.

The intimidatory purpose of this unconstitutional search is made disgustingly clear by the sexualized quality of the touching, as reported by the victims and their parents. From the lawsuit:

The purported justification for the mass search was to discover drugs. To that end, Sheriff Hobby had a list of thirteen students on a “target list” that he suspected of possessing drugs.

Read the rest

America's leading nickname for crystal meth is "Donald Trump"

Looking to score some rock? Be sure to ask for "Trump" (also acceptable: "Agent Orange," "Cheeto-in-Chief," "Mango Mussolini," or "Putin's Puppet").

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Crowdfunding controlled experiments with long-neglected, promising psychedelics

The War on Drugs hasn't just destroyed cities and families by imprisoning millions while enriching organized crime syndicates: it's also denied millions more access to promising therapies for crippling psychological and physiological ailments. Read the rest

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