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.
States Can Legalize Marijuana (Though Federal Laws Stand), Says Congressional Research Service
(Image: Untitled | Flickr - Photo Sharing!, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from cannabisculture's photostream)
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Alfred Ryan Nerz is a journalist and public broadcasting producer. He smokes weed, sometimes several times a day, for weeks at a stretch.
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)
: "Scott Masumoto of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration cited state health statistics that more than 152,000 West Virginians have an addiction to prescription medication — more than 8 percent of the population. But Masumoto said the price of these pills can be $80 or more apiece, making it difficult for teenagers to sustain their addictions, so they are moving to "cheaper" alternatives such as heroin." (Via Sanho Tree)
Federal data to be released this week through the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that drug overdose deaths rose for the 11th year in a row. Most were accidents involving prescription painkillers: specifically, opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin which are commonly prescribed for pain management, and are widely abused. Those two drugs contributed to 3 out of 4 medication overdose deaths, according to the report.
Not one single death in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data set was due to overdosing on marijuana.
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Dose Nation lauds it an "amazing turd of institutional anti-drug propaganda."
Tony Papa says: "A very interesting story about how a liberal U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy who has a drug addiction problem suddenly becomes an outspoken opponent of the legalization of marijuana."
“It’s almost ‘Reefer Madness’-type stuff about marijuana he’s saying,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance. “There’s something remarkable about Patrick Kennedy deciding to go after users of a drug that is by almost all accounts less dangerous than the drugs he struggled with. Where Patrick Kennedy could have made a really important contribution is by saying that we need a responsible public health model for dealing with legal marijuana.”
SF Gate reports that Kennedy wants to send pot smokers to education camps:
Pot opponents regroup following Wash., Colo. votes
Oxycontin addict, alcoholic, and former Rhode Island rep. Patrick Kennedy has come out with a startling, new plan to oppose pot legalization in the United States: round up potheads and re-educate them in camps.
Kennedy’s communist reeducation scheme is being billed as Project SAM, standing for Smart Approaches to Marijuana, and it launched today in Denver, CO. Project SAM’s stated goals are to create laws that would “funnel marijuana users to interventions or treatment” and deny medical marijuana to cancer and AIDS patients in favor of something that pharmaceutical corporations can profit from.
A great piece in the NYT by Isabel Kershner on Tikkun Olam
, a commercial medical marijuana plantation in Israel. The name is "a reference to the Jewish concept of repairing or healing the world," and while marijuana is illegal in this country, some of the most interesting scientific research into its healing properties is happening here. The last graf is the most amazing. (Thanks, Stoningham!)
Tony Papa says:
In a full-page ad in today’s New York Times, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) thanks the citizens of Washington and Colorado for voting to legally regulate and tax marijuana—signaling “the beginning of the end for the costly and unjust war on drugs.” The ad, created by Fenton, also recognizes US Presidents Clinton and Carter, NY Governor Cuomo, President Santos of Colombia, and other political leaders for their efforts to end the war on drugs. The headline: “80 Years After the End of Prohibition, Prohibition is Finally Coming to An End.”
Below is the text of the ad:
80 Years After the End of Prohibition, Prohibition is Finally Coming to an End
Voters in Washington and Colorado made history on Election Day when they voted to legally regulate and tax marijuana. Their votes signaled the beginning of the end for the costly and unjust war on drugs.
Thank you to the citizens of Washington and Colorado.
The Drug Policy Alliance is especially proud of this milestone, as we worked for years to make this historic day happen.
We’d also like to thank: President Bill Clinton for acknowledging the drug war’s futility and failure; President Jimmy Carter and Pat Robertson for saying it’s time to legalize marijuana; Governor Christie for calling the drug war a failure and Governor Cuomo for working to end New York’s racially discriminatory marijuana arrest crusade; Congressmen Ron Paul and Barney Frank for introducing the first bill to end federal marijuana prohibition; Presidents Santos (Colombia), Pérez Molina (Guatemala) and Mujica (Uruguay) for breaking the taboo on alternatives to drug prohibition; and, most of all, our many allies around the world for demanding no more drug war.
We strive for the day when drug policies are no longer motivated by ignorance, fear and prejudice but rather by science, compassion, fiscal prudence and human rights, with education and treatment available for everyone. Help us fight the good fight by making a tax deductible donation.
Daily Beast contributor David Frum thinks legalizing weed is a bad thing
: "marijuana smoking is a sign of trouble, a warning to heed, a behavior to regret and deplore," and that "young Americans deserve better than to be led to a future shrouded in a drug-induced haze." (thanks, @milesobrien)
Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Drug Policy Alliance, responds to Obama's marijuana legalization comments this morning. tldr; "Obama is sort of heading in the right direction."
Tony Papa of the Drug Policy Alliance says, "Breaking the Taboo, a film narrated by Morgan Freeman about the global drug war, is premiering in December. This is my quote from the film which sums up the insanity of the war on drugs in one sentence: 'If you can’t control drug use in a maximum security prison how could you control drugs in a freee society?'"
Narrated by Morgan Freeman, this groundbreaking new documentary uncovers the UN sanctioned war on drugs, charting its origins and its devastating impact on countries like the USA, Colombia and Russia. Featuring prominent statesmen including Presidents Clinton and Carter, the film follows The Global Commission on Drug Policy on a mission to break the political taboo and expose the biggest failure of global policy in the last 50 years.
If you can’t control drug use in a maximum security prison how could you control drugs in a free society?
In July, Salon's Matthew Yglesias wrote an article about the price of legal marijuana, which is even more interesting now that Colorado and Washington have legalized cannabis for recreational use.
How cheaply could pot be grown with advanced farming techniques? One potential data point is Canada’s industrial hemp industry, where production costs are about $500 per acre. If the kind of mid-grade commercial weed that accounts for about 80 percent of the U.S. market could be grown that cheaply, it implies costs of about 20 cents per pound of smokable material: Enough pot to fill more than 800 modest-sized half-gram joints for less than a quarter!. Those numbers are probably optimistic, since in practice recreational marijuana is grown from more expensive transplanted clones rather than from seeds. Even so, the authors note that “production costs for crops that need to be transplanted, such as cherry tomatoes and asparagus, are generally in the range of $5,000-$20,000 per acre.” That implies costs of less than $20 per pound for high-grade sensimilla and less than $5 a pound for mid-grade stuff. Another way of looking at it, suggested by California NORML Director Dale Gieringer, is that we should expect legal pot to cost about the same amount as “other legal herbs such as tea or tobacco,” something perhaps “100 times lower than the current prevailing price of $300 per ounce—or a few cents per joint.”
This would make pot far and away the cheapest intoxicant on the market, absolutely blowing beer and liquor out of the water. Joints would be about as cheap as things that are often treated as free. Splenda packets, for example, cost 2 or 3 cents each when purchased in bulk.
I wonder how much money the liquor industry is going to contribute in their attempt to get these cannabis laws overturned?
Get High for Free
An excellent long read on the growing phenomenon of prescription drug overdoses in Southern California, which a Los Angeles Times investigative team reports "now claim more lives than heroin and cocaine combined, fueling a doubling of drug-related deaths in the United States over the last decade."
Health and law enforcement officials seeking to curb the epidemic have focused on how OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and other potent pain and anxiety medications are obtained illegally, such as through pharmacy robberies or when teenagers raid their parents' medicine cabinets. Authorities have failed to recognize how often people overdose on medications prescribed for them by their doctors.
A Los Angeles Times investigation has found that in nearly half of the accidental deaths from prescription drugs in four Southern California counties, the deceased had a doctor's prescription for at least one drug that caused or contributed to the death.
Reporters identified a total of 3,733 deaths from prescription drugs from 2006 through 2011 in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and San Diego counties.
Not one of them was from marijuana, which remains a schedule 1 narcotic and is responsible for zero overdose deaths because one cannot die from a marijuana overdose.
Read the rest. Reporting by Scott Glover, Lisa Girion, with photos and video by Liz Baylen.
Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann discusses the legalization of marijuana with Trish Regan on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart."