Johann Hari, author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, learns about drunk elephants, the stoned water buffalo, and the grieving mongoose.Read the rest
Screechy plastic replicant lady Nancy Grace gets a lesson from 2 Chainz about the dangers of weed prohibition.
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In December, Obama signed a bill containing a provision that prevents the federal government from interfering with states' medical marijuana activities. Yet, two weeks later, Obama’s Department of Justice filed "a strenuous defense of the drug’s Schedule I classification — the same category reserved for heroin."
This isn’t an abstract issue relevant only to constitutional obsessives. It’s a basic principle of ordered liberty that arises from even deeper foundations than our founding document. When the laws are in such discord and conflict as our drug laws are now, the enforcement of the law becomes of necessity an exercise in executive whim—compounding the capriciousness of arbitrary, selective application that Obama has made so conspicuous in his approach to governance.
At a time when the legitimacy and uniformity of government coercion has come into deep question among urban blacks in addition to suburban whites, the president needs to realize that in dithering on marijuana law he is playing with fire. His haphazard and contradictory mismanagement of America’s shift toward pot reform lends dangerous credence to the growing sense that our government no longer cares to guarantee our equal protection under the law.
The federal spending measure passed this weekend, and one of the provisions in it "effectively ends the federal government's prohibition on medical marijuana and signals a major shift in drug policy," reports the LA Times. The provision forbids federal drug agents from raiding retail operations.
I asked Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, if this was as big of a deal as it seems to be. He said, “It’s an historic vote in the annals of marijuana law reform. The disconnect between Congress and the vast majority of Americans regarding federal interference with state medical marijuana laws at last is over.”
Carrying on the sleazy tradition of professional liar Harry J. Anslinger (first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department's Federal Bureau of Narcotics), weed prohibitionists are stretching the truth and outright fibbing in a desperate attempt to reverse the nationwide trend towards legalization.
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Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance speaks with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now about the growing movement for drug decriminalization that is moving ahead in the United States.
On Monday, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said he would sign a bill that would make Philadelphia the largest city in the country to decriminalize marijuana possession. Just two weeks ago, the City Council in Santa Fe voted to decriminalize marijuana. Earlier this year, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray signed a bill to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana in the U.S. capital.
Ballot initiatives on legalization of marijuana will go before voters in Oregon, Florida and Alaska in November. This comes two years after voter initiatives in Colorado and Washington state legalized recreational marijuana.
The full segment which also includes the Global Commission and its release of their new report "Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Polices the Work" can be seen here.
Science News: "Death rates from overdoses on prescription painkillers or heroin and other illicit drugs appear to be an average of 24.8 percent lower in states with medical marijuana laws than in states without the laws."
Bob Tyrrell, founder and editor-in-chief of The American Spectator (the stupid person's idea of a smart magazine) enjoys scotch, which is sufficient reason to lock up everyone who doesn't share his taste in recreational drugs.
Both drinking and pot smoking are "coping mechanisms," he concedes, but alcohol is clearly more "civilized" because people can enjoy the taste, drink while reading or conversing, and imbibe without getting "blitzed." All this is either impossible or quite rare among cannabis consumers, Tyrrell asserts with the confidence of someone who has no idea what he's talking about.
Shannon Renee McNeal (right), a 42-year-old woman, has filed a lawsuit against St Louis police and court personnel after they falsely arrested her on felony drug possession charges that were meant for Shannon Raquel McNeal (left), who was 13 years younger. The booking officer at the jail acknowledged that Shannon Renee McNeal's fingerprints didn't match the wanted woman's (who, incidentally, had been dead for three months before the warrant was approved) but jailed her anyway, using the "not my problem" excuse.
A county clerk also allegedly confirmed the officer’s mistake, but Shannon Renee McNeal was still transferred to the city’s department of corrections and assigned a caseworker. After the caseworker also confirmed she was not the suspect, McNeal was allegedly told to retain her own attorney -- which she could not afford -- or notify prosecutors herself.
The suit states that McNeal was kept in jail for two days despite the multiple confirmations of her innocence, during which time she was sprayed with pesticides that burned her stomach and back, before being released on the orders of Circuit Judge Thomas Frawley.
McNeal was fired from her job from the mistake and has to pay to get her named expunged from public databases that falsely claim she has a criminal record.
A vast majority of Floridians, including Republicans, are in favor of medical marijuana. That means Florida's Amendment 2 ballot initiative, which legalizes medical marijuana, is likely to pass in November.
This is alarming to the neo-Anslinger crowd, which has formed an anti-marijuana group called Drug Free Florida, with the single goal of defeating the amendment. It's headed up by 73-year-old Carlton E Turner, who served as Ronald Reagan's drug czar and coined the slogan "Just Say No." Turner was an instrumental figure in the escalation of the War on Drugs, which sent millions of non-violent people to prison around the world, provided funding for terrorist groups, created widespread government corruption, incubated ruthless drug cartels, and led to the establishment of violent militarized police.
In 1986, when Turner was a big swinging dick in Washington, he stated in a Newsweek magazine article that he had visited drug treatment centers and learned that 40% of the patients had engaged in homosexual activity, concluding that their homosexuality “seems to be something that follows along from their marijuana use ... my concern is, how is the biological system affected by heavy marijuana use? The public needs to be thinking about how drugs alter people’s lifestyles.”
Drug Free Florida is Turner's last chance to inflict large-scale massive pain and suffering.
Aiding Turner is gambling tycoon Sheldon Adelson who, thanks to the millions of people who've blown their paychecks at his casinos, is one of the richest men in the world. Adelson contributed $2.5 million to the organization.
With that much ill-gotten gain in its coffers, Drug Free Florida has apparently decided to drop the anti-drug crusading mission and become a comedy website instead. Take a look at their latest parody ad: pot cookies are a date rape drug.
If Adelson kicks in a few more million, Drug Free Florida could give Funny or Die some real competition!
Joe Garcia is a deputy special agent with the Department of Homeland Security and head of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force. His task force has found over 200 tunnels under the California-Mexico border since 1990. But every time they close a tunnel, smugglers build a new, better tunnel. "You can't fight markets," says David Shirk, associate professor of international relations and director of the Justice in Mexico project at the University of San Diego.
An internal investigation revealed that the officer "flipped a coin when contemplating which subject to cite," and that he called Washington's legal marijuana law "silly."
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Drug Enforcement Administration employees saw and heard a handcuffed college student locked in a cell without food or water for five days, but did nothing about it because "they assumed someone else was responsible."
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Ed Forchion, aka "The New Jersey Weedman" and his friend Daniel Price, who both have medical marijuana licenses, attempted to go to Washington D.C. where Forchion would be speaking at an event. While going through a security checkpoint, Price was detained for bringing his medical marijuana onto federal property where it is illegal to possess. Forchion gave us this statement afterwards:
"This is a example of The irrational war on drugs at its finest - here on the lawn of our capital citizens arrested and persecuted for a plant! This is the reason we now lead the world in the imprisoned we are not the bastion of a Freedom we once were - Return freedom to America / End the drug war."
The police banned him from the event but they let him go!
Twenty-three-year-old Daniel Price wants to use his prescribed medicine in an Atlantic City casino. He takes medical marijuana to treat seizures and irritable bowel disease. The casino wont let him, and he has hired a lawyer to press the issue.
Northfield-based attorney Michelle Douglass is now representing Price in what she says could be a ground-breaking legal battle clarifying whether patients like Price must be accommodated by private businesses. “Our position is ... that they are required to provide people with disabilities an accommodation,” Douglass said. “It is legal. He is legally permitted to use medical marijuana.”
Well over half of Americans want pot to be legalized, and a panicky Drug Enforcement Administration is ramping up its lies and surliness. Here's a testy exchange between DEA deputy administrator Thomas M. Harrigan and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) on marijuana legalization.
...Harrigan said that "every single parent out there" opposed marijuana legalization.
"Your statement that all parents are against this is ludicrous," said Cohen. "What do you think, that people who are in favor of decriminalization or changing policy don't procreate?"
Very nice graphic design on this pyrex crack pipe vending machine! It's a project from the Portland Hotel Society, which also runs workshops to teach alcoholics how to make beer and wine. The idea behind both projects is harm reduction — clean pipes prevent the spreading of disease, and alcohol less harmful to drink than rubbing alcohol, hair spray, or hand sanitizer gel.
Michael Botticelli, the deputy director of the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, tried to play coy with Rep. Earl Blumenauer about the administration's willfully ignorant position on marijuana prohibition, but the congressman wasn't going to have any of it, and gave him a terrific tongue-lashing.
In the end, Botticelli mustered up some unconvincing false outrage and played his "won't someone think of the children" card. I feel sorry for Botticelli, because he looks like he wants to blurt out the truth but he knows his boss will have his head if he does.
In the above clip, O'Reilly is seen arguing with Columbia University neuroscientist Carl Hart (author of High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society) about the percentage of high school seniors who said they smoked marijuana recently. O'Reilly defends the number supplied to him by his research team, saying Hart should "take it up with the National Institutes of Health," to which Hart replies, "I am a council member on the National Institutes of Health. Your number is wrong... it's a fact." O'Reilly stares down at his papers and shuffles them, and says, "I doubt it's a fact because we don't get this wrong."
At the end of the segment O'Reilly says, in passing, that Hart's number is correct, but doesn't says anything about how this destroys his argument that today's teens are smoking more pot than teens in earlier years.
Hemp is a useful crop. It's used to make paper, cloth, food, fuel, and many other products. But hemp farming in the United States has been illegal for 56 years. The government outlawed hemp cultivation because it didn't want people hiding marijuana crops in hemp fields (they look the same, but hemp does not contain psychoactive compounds, at least not enough to matter).
Interestingly, products made from hemp are legal in the US, but they must be imported from countries that aren't as insufferably schoolmarmish. This year, however, US farmers are starting to grow hemp again. Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for recreational use, and some farmers are taking this as permission to grow non-psychoactive hemp in those states. (Hemp, both the inert and psychoactive varieties, is still prohibited under federal law). The first company in line to buy US-grown hemp is Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. Alternet's April M. Short has a good article about the movement.
Hemp Returns to U.S. Soil After 56 Years -- and Magic Soap King Dr. Bronner's Is Ready to Buy
The U.S. is one of the fastest expanding markets for hemp in the world, and imports currently come primarily from Canada and China. America imported $11.5 million worth of hemp products in 2011, up from $1.4 million in 2000, the majority of which is used to make granola bars, cooking oils, and personal care products.
Steenstra says in addition to supporting American farmers, a local hemp industry will bring the prices down, and mitigate ecological impacts. Dr. Bronner’s is based in California, where just last month a bill to legalize hemp was passed— contingent upon the Justice Department’s reaction.
The law requires California to regulate the farming, processing, and sales of hemp for oilseed and fiber, just as soon as the federal government says it’s okay to do so.
No one spoke in opposition at a hearing in Denver, Colorado to open the first recreational marijuana store in the United States. It was the first of 16 hearings scheduled this month.
The 9 a.m. hearing — for a store called The Grove, at First Avenue and Federal Boulevard — lasted less than an hour, said Larry Stevenson with Denver's Department of Excise and Licenses. The store's owner and a handful of employees spoke in favor of the store's application. No one spoke in opposition, said Mike Elliott, the executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, who attended the hearing.Denver holds first public hearing for recreational marijuana store
The illegality of marijuana has enriched, empowered, and corrupted prison systems, police departments, local and national governments, militaries, liquor manufacturers, and intelligence agencies (not to mention criminal organizations). It has also branded hundreds of thousands of people (mostly minorities) as criminals, ruining their lives and the lives of their families. Despite a century-long propaganda campaign defending the destructive war on drugs, a recent Gallup poll shows that 58% of Americans favor legalizing it.
Success at the ballot box in the past year in Colorado and Washington may have increased Americans' tolerance for marijuana legalization. Support for legalization has jumped 10 percentage points since last November and the legal momentum shows no sign of abating. Last week, California's second-highest elected official, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, said that pot should be legal in the Golden State, and advocates of legalization are poised to introduce a statewide referendum in 2014 to legalize the drug.
The Obama administration has also been flexible on the matter. Despite maintaining the government's firm opposition to legalizing marijuana under federal law, in late August Deputy Attorney General James Cole announced the Justice Department would not challenge the legality of Colorado's and Washington's successful referendums, provided that those states maintain strict rules regarding the drug's sale and distribution.
Researchers from Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) "studied 589 adults who screened positive for drug use at a primary care visit." They found "no differences between daily marijuana users and those using no marijuana in their use of the emergency room, in hospitalizations, medical diagnoses or their health status."
Drug Czar pretends the 1.5 million people arrested every year for nonviolent drug offenses don't exist
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is part of the Library of Congress, and it provides "policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation." This month the CRS issued a report that says Colorado and Washington (where cannabis is legal, according to state laws) can't be coerced to enforcing federal cannabis laws. "While the federal government can ban what it wants," reports Reason, "the Tenth Amendment allows the states to opt out of participating in the law or assisting in enforcement in any way, leaving federal officials to do the heavy lifting themselves." From the report, State Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: Selected Legal Issues:
Although the federal government may use its power of the purse to encourage states to adopt certain criminal laws, the federal government is limited in its ability to directly influence state policy by the Tenth Amendment, which prevents the federal government from directing states to enact specific legislation, or requiring state officials to enforce federal law. As such, the fact that the federal government has criminalized conduct does not mean that the state, in turn, must also criminalize or prosecute that same conduct.
This drug-abuse PSA from 1972 fascinated me as a kid. It's much better than any contemporary PSA about drug abuse.
(Via World's Best Ever)