California Cops To Feds: Please Help Us Break The Law!

This from NORML

It’s been twelve years since California voters approved the physician-supervised use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana, and it’s been nearly five years since the state legislature mandated that, “qualified patients … who associate within the state of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not … be subject to state criminal sanctions.”

Too bad nobody told the cops.

According to papers recently submitted to Congress by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, representatives from the California Police Chiefs Association believe that they can simply override laws that they philosophically disagree with.

Here’s what Association President Steve Krull had to say about this matter in a 2006 letter to former DEA head Karen Tandy: “[A] concentrated effort [by the DEA in California] sustained over a period of time would send a strong message to local and county government that ‘medical marijuana’ is not allowed [in this state.]”

Except for the fact that it is.

Jacob Sullum over at Reason.com nails the situation here, but my added frustration comes from mainstream media’s utter failure to cover this story. Forget that this topic has any connection to marijuana; the larger and more far reaching issue here is that we now have physical evidence that a rogue group of law enforcement officers are trying to undermine democracy and the rule of law.

Perhaps if this sort of behavior was taking place in a foreign country, the US news media would be investigating the issue seriously. But instead the guilty parties are our own police officers, so the mainstream press simply sweeps the story under the rug.

Nothing to see here, except there is.


Drug Czar Mixes Cannabis, Caffeine, and Cartography With Catastrophic Results

A fortnight ago Scott Morgan wrote this in his blog at Stopthedrugwar.org

The Drug Czar claimed today that San Francisco has more medical marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks coffee shops.

As we've noted previously, state "medical" marijuana laws breed confusion, abuse, and violence in neighborhoods and communities.

Here's our latest analysis of this phenomenon. In downtown San Francisco alone, there are 98 marijuana dispensaries, compared to 71 Starbucks Coffee shops

As is typical considering the source, this is just totally wrong. There are 25 medical marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco, not 98. I contacted Americans for Safe Access today and they had no idea what’s up with this crazy map. Most of the "dispensaries" on the map simply don’t exist. It’s incomprehensible. My best guess is that they’re including doctors' offices, which might write prescriptions, but certainly don’t provide medicine. It might be something even crazier and more dishonest than that.

The thing is, everyone in San Francisco knows where the dispensaries are. They’re only allowed in certain areas. It’s not a secret. This page includes a list of addresses for all of them and, believe me, a lot of people wish it were longer.

So if "marijuana laws breed confusion" as the drug czar claims, it would appear that the confusion remains confined to his office. Regardless of how many Starbucks and medical marijuana dispensaries there are, there is only one place to go if you’re looking for worldclass bullshit drug war propaganda maps.

ONDCP's fake marijuana dispensary map


And on it goes............

San Francisco Chronicle Catches Drug Czar in a Crazy Lie

Again from Scott Morgan,

The drug czar's recent claim (above) that there are more medical marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks stores in San Francisco has finally achieved the level of public embarrassment it so thoroughly deserved.

San Francisco's Department of Public Health, which issues permits for medical marijuana dispensaries, is also befuddled by the federal data.

"It was extremely incorrect," said Larry Kessler, a senior health inspector at the department. "I don't know how they got that." [San Francisco Chronicle]

SF Chronicle obtained the alleged dispensary list from ONDCP and found double listings, closed businesses, and even a business in Los Angeles. With their fraud fully exposed, ONDCP has issued a totally bizarre reply saying it's "good news" that their story got press.

It’s straight-up insane. By the time you get to the part about how many Taco Bells there are in San Francisco, you’ll join me in hoping Sarah Palin is the next drug czar so we can at least get MSNBC to give these clowns the daily fact-checking they deserve

MPP'S Marijuana two minute truths # 2


Support For Medical Cannabis Is Broad And The Numbers From Michigan Make It Clear

This from NORML board member and Medical Marijuana patient George Rohrbacher

By a huge margin, 3,008,980 to 1,792,870, Michigan’s voters approved a ballot measure legalizing physician directed medical marijuana, making it America’s thirteenth state to legalize medical marijuana. State medical marijuana laws now cover over 25 percent of the nation’s population. Michigan became the first Midwest state to join this growing green fraternity.

Michigan Voters Pass Medical Marijuana Initiative Into Law, 83-0

A review the Michigan State Auditor’s website and their county-by-county election results proves interesting reading. Medical marijuana won in every single county! All 83 counties in the state of Michigan—urban, suburban, or rural passed the measure, and by a margin of over a million votes. It had won in farming, logging, mining, and manufacturing counties! Everywhere the question was asked in Michigan on November 4, the electorate said yes to medical marijuana. In the state’s five largest urban counties, the margins were enormous, an eye-popping 2:1 vote for marijuana.

Medical marijuana received 130,000 more votes in Michigan than even the Obama victory did.

What a vote like this means is that in every part of Michigan, in every school district and voting precinct, every family and every church, in every community, that the people, one by one, have learned the undeniable truth of the utility of marijuana as a medicine—a ‘Truth’ with no expiration date.

The publics’ first-hand knowledge on the subject (over 100 million Americans have tried pot themselves) is finally overcoming the wall of 71-years of lies and distortions about medical marijuana by our federal and state governments. The American public is slowly re-learning the truth about marijuana as a medicine, one person, one patient, one family, one neighbor and one election at a time.

When Uncle Bob uses cannabis for his MS, and Mom needed pot when she underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer, and the kid next door uses it for his migraine headaches…the government can’t continue to lie to the voters anymore that pot is used only by ‘slackers who’re faking illness just as an excuse to ‘get high’. Sorry Congress and Executive Branch, America has seen too many instances where medical marijuana works, and works well. And, there are also now 17,000 scientific studies on the subject!

The great state of Michigan, as a microcosm of America, showed November 4th we, as a country, have passed our tipping point on medical marijuana. Knowledge is tyranny’s biggest enemy. In the 2008 election, the Michigan voters showed, no matter how thick the government lays on the propaganda, nothing can cover up the truth about marijuana as medicine.


* MEDICAL MARIJUANA (YES) total votes  3,008,980 (63%)

* MEDICAL MARIJUANA (NO) total votes   1,792,870  (37%)

* BARACK OBAMA total votes  2,875,308  (57%)

* JOHN MC CAIN total votes  2,050,655  (43%)


* MEDICAL MARIJUANA (YES) =  83  (100%)


* BARACK OBAMA 48 Counties  (57%)

* JOHN MC CAIN 35 Counties  (43%)

In 1937, when marijuana was outlawed against the American Medical Association’s recommendation, cannabis was a component of at least 28 patent medicines made by many pharmaceutical companies still in business today. This national prohibition not only removed cannabis from use as a medicine, but has also produced the social wreckage of 20 million arrests (with an additional 2,200 arrests daily) and today’s pot prohibition bill to taxpayers approaching $25 billion annually.

With the ever-growing national realization that cannabis is one of “the safest therapeutically active substances known to man…”, the American people are taking back their rights to cannabis as medicine, one state at a time. Starting in California in 1996, thirteen states (eight states via voter initiative – five via state legislation) have now taken back their rights to marijuana as a medicine. After this week’s massive victory in Michigan, it is a clear sign that this culture war over medical marijuana is finally over, and the American people (and science) have won—the citizenry refuse to be denied the use of pot in their medicines chest any longer.

President-elect Obama immediately upon taking office should seat a national commission to update the Shafer Commission and bring forward national legislation to address this vital health care and social issue.

Feature: Big Day for Pot -- Decriminalization Wins in Massachusetts, Medical Marijuana in Michigan, All Local Initiatives Win.


Barack Obama wasn't the only big winner in Tuesday elections; marijuana polled just as well, if not better. A medical marijuana initiative in Michigan -- the first in the Midwest -- and a decriminalization initiative in Massachusetts both won by convincing margins, and scattered local initiatives on various aspects of marijuana policy reform all won, too.

Medicinal Marijuana plants growing under lights

In both the statewide initiatives, reform forces overcame organized opposition on their way to victory, mostly from the usual suspects in law enforcement and the political establishment. Michigan enjoyed the dubious distinction of a visit from John Walters, the drug czar himself, who popped in to rail against medical marijuana as "an abomination."

"We could be seeing a sea change in more ways than one in this election," said Bruce Mirken, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which backed both state initiatives. "These are not just wins, but huge wins. In two very blue states, marijuana reform outpolled Barack Obama. At this point, we can look members of Congress in the eye and ask them why exactly they think marijuana reform is controversial."

The results are also an indicator of the decreasing influence of the drug czar's office, said Mirken. "A clear public mandate has emerged, and it's particularly noteworthy coming as it does after eight years of the most intense anti-marijuana campaign from the feds since the days of Reefer Madness," he said. "Despite all the press releases and press conferences, despite all the appearances and campaigning Walters has done to try to convince Americans that marijuana is some sort of scourge, the voters just said no."

In Michigan, the medical marijuana initiative organized by the local Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care and backed in a big way by MPP won a resounding 63% of the vote. Michigan's new medical marijuana law will go into effect quickly -- ten days after the elections are certified, with the Department of Community Health having 120 additional days to come up with regulations for a registry.

The law will allow patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and other conditions to obtain a doctors' recommendation to cultivate, grow, and possess marijuana without fear of prosecution under state law. Registered patients may possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and have up to 12 plants in a secure indoor facility, or they may designate a caregiver to grow it for them.

"Michigan voters have clearly signaled in no uncertain terms their support for a compassionate medical marijuana law," the committee said in a victory statement Tuesday night. "Our opposition threw the kitchen sink at us, hoping one of their false claims and outright lies would cost enough votes to tank this effort. But Michigan voters saw through the deception, and soon numerous seriously ill patients across the state will no longer need to live in fear for taking their doctor-recommended medicine."

Tuesday's win makes Michigan the 13th medical marijuana state, and, more importantly, the first one in the Midwest. The Michigan victory means planned or ongoing efforts in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, and Illinois just got a little easier.

In Massachusetts, Question 2, the marijuana decriminalization initiative, overcame the opposition of every district attorney in the state to win a resounding 65% of the vote. Now, instead of an arrest and possible six months in jail, people in the Bay State caught with less than an ounce of marijuana will face a simple $100 fine. Equally importantly, small-time possession offenders will not be saddled with a Criminal Record Information Report (CORI), a state arrest report that lingers long after the offense and can impede an offender's ability to obtain jobs, housing, and school loans.

Again backed by MPP, the Bay State's Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy (CSMP) took the organizing lead in Massachusetts this year. Building on nearly a decade's worth of winning local questions on marijuana policy reform by groups like the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts and the state NORML affiliate, MassCann/NORML, the committee was able to go over the top statewide with decrim this year.

"It's great to see the people of Massachusetts were able to see what a sensible, modest proposal Question 2 is," said CSMP head Whitney Taylor. "It's going to end the creation of thousands of new people being involved in the criminal justice system each year and refocus law enforcement resources on violent crime."

While some prosecutors are already whining about having to implement the will of the voters, there appears little chance that legislators will attempt to step in and overturn the vote, as they could do under Massachusetts law. A spokesman for House Speaker Sal DiMasi told local WBZ-TV as much Wednesday afternoon.

"Question 2 now has the force of law and the Speaker sees no reason to consider a repeal or amendment at this time," said David Guarino, DiMasi's deputy chief of staff.

Statewide decrim wasn't the only marijuana-related issue on the ballot for some Massachusetts voters. Continuing the tradition of placing questions on representative district ballots, voters in four districts were asked: "Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow seriously ill patients, with their doctor's written recommendation, to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for their personal medical use?"

As with past medical marijuana questions, the question passed overwhelmingly in all four districts.

The question passed with 74% In the 1st Middlesex Representative District (R – Robert S. Hargraves), 71% in the 21st Middlesex Representative District (D – Charles A. Murphy), 73% in the 13th Norfolk Representative District (D – Lida E. Harkins), and 71% in the 6th Plymouth Representative District (R – Daniel K. Webster).

Meanwhile, in other local marijuana-related initiatives:

  • Berkeley, California's, Measure JJ, essentially a zoning initiative that would allow dispensaries operating in the city to expand into more non-residential districts, won with 62% of the vote. The campaign was organized by Citizens for Sensible Medical Cannabis Regulation.
  • In Hawaii County, Hawaii (the Big Island), a lowest law enforcement priority initiative for adult marijuana possession won with 66% of the vote. The campaign organized by Project Peaceful Skies was an outgrowth of the movement to end intrusive marijuana eradication raids.
  • In Fayetteville, Arkansas, another lowest priority initiative passed. Some 62% of voters in the Northwest Arkansas college town agreed with Sensible Fayetteville and its director, Ryan Denham, that police had better things to do than bust pot smokers. Sensible Fayetteville itself is an umbrella organization including the Alliance for Drug Reform Policy in Arkansas, The Omni Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology, the Green Party of Washington County, University of Arkansas NORML and the Alliance for Reform of Drug Policy in Arkansas Inc.

"We think these election results send an extremely important message," Denham told the Northwest Arkansas Times Wednesday. "I'm not surprised since national statistics say that 70% of Americans feel that misdemeanor marijuana offenses should be a low priority. It clogs courts and jails and puts a burden on taxpayer resources."

Election day was a good day for marijuana reform. Let's hope that activists and politicians alike are now prepared to press for more in the near future.


Marijuana Policy Project Alert.....

MPP and our allies across the country passed nine out of 10 marijuana-related ballot initiatives yesterday ... and also defeated a bad initiative. This makes yesterday the most successful day in MPP's 14-year history.

MICHIGAN: MPP's medical marijuana initiative passed by 63% to 37% in Michigan, making it the 13th state to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest and jail. While any new medical marijuana law is a great victory, this one is especially notable, since Michigan is now the first medical marijuana state in the Midwest, and the second largest medical marijuana state in the country (with California being the largest). See http://www.stoparrestingpatients.org/ for details.

MASSACHUSETTS: MPP's landmark initiative to decriminalize marijuana in Massachusetts passed by 65% to 35%. The measure removes the threat of arrest and jail for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana, replacing it with a $100 fine, which can be paid through the mail without lawyers or court appearances, just like a speeding ticket. This is the first time in history that voters have passed a statewide initiative to decriminalize marijuana! See http://www.sensiblemarijuanapolicy.org/ for details.

CALIFORNIA: A measure that would have required the loss of public housing benefits for recent drug convictions lost by a 70% to 30% margin. (The measure would have also increased spending on prisons and law enforcement, as well as increased penalties for gang-related activities and other crimes.)

CALIFORNIA: A measure that would have expanded the number of drug offenders diverted from prison into treatment — as well as improving the marijuana decriminalization law that was originally enacted by the state legislature in 1975 — lost by 60% to 40%. See http://www.prop5yes.com/ for details.

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA: A measure (which received $5,000 from the MPP grants program) to expand the non-residential zones where medical marijuana dispensaries can locate, issue zoning certificates, and bring Berkeley marijuana possession limits in line with recent court rulings passed by 62% to 38%. See http://www.yesonjj.com/ for details.

FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS: A measure (which received $3,972 from the MPP grants program) to make adult marijuana offenses the lowest priority for local law enforcement passed by 66% to 34%. See http://www.sensiblefayetteville.com/ for details.

HAWAII COUNTY, HAWAII: A measure (which received $19,800 from the MPP grants program) to make adult marijuana offenses the lowest priority for local law enforcement passed by 53% to 39%. See http://www.projectpeacefulsky.org/ for details.

FOUR DISTRICTS IN MASSACHUSETTS: Voters in four out of four state House districts passed four nonbinding public policy questions directing each district's state representative to vote in favor of legislation that would allow seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana if they have the approval of their physicians. See http://www.dpfma.org/ for details.


Ruling Favors Medical Marijuana Users.

Advocates of Montana's medical marijuana law hailed a Montana Supreme Court decision that safeguards the rights of sick probationers and parolees who are prescribed marijuana for pain relief.

In a 6-1 decision Tuesday, the high court said a district court judge in Pondera County exceeded her authority by sentencing a qualifying medical marijuana patient to three years of probation with the stipulation that he could not use medical marijuana.

The patient, Timothy S. Nelson of Conrad, uses medical marijuana to alleviate chronic pain from a car accident. Nelson suffers from a degenerative disc disorder and has had four surgeries on his back. He was thrown from a pickup truck in an accident involving a drunken driver, according to the decision, which was written by Justice Patricia O. Cotter.

Nelson was charged in May 2006 after authorities searched his house and discovered evidence of a marijuana-growing operation. He pleaded no contest to criminal possession or manufacture of dangerous drugs, and received a three-year deferred imposition of sentence. Among the 20 conditions of his probation was an order that he not possess or use marijuana, except in pill form.

Nelson argued successfully on appeal that the sentencing condition ignored the intent of Montana's Medical Marijuana Act, which was passed by voters in 2004.

"The District Court unlawfully denied Nelson the right and privilege to use a lawful medical treatment for relief from a debilitating condition under the Medical Marijuana Act," according to the court's decision. "When a qualifying patient uses medical marijuana in accordance with the MMA, he is receiving lawful medical treatment. In this context, medical marijuana is most properly viewed as a prescription drug."

Tom Daubert, of Patients and Families United, a medical marijuana advocacy group, called the decision "a big victory for Montana patients as well as Montana voters. It reflects a common sense and accurate interpretation of our law, and recognizes the voters' intent."

Daubert said the order limiting Nelson's medical treatment to Marinol, a synthetic version of the active ingredient in marijuana, flies in the face of the voter-passed initiative. Daubert says, and many patients agree, that the synthetic treatment is not as effective because it mimics just one substance in the cannabis plant, when a combination of substances may be what helps relieve the pain.

The law also provides that a qualifying patient may possess up to six marijuana plants and one ounce of marijuana.

"In limiting Nelson to the ingestion of marijuana in pill form, and requiring him to have a physician's prescription to do so, the District Court ignored the clear intent of the voters of Montana that a qualifying patient with a valid registry identification card be lawfully entitled to grow and consume marijuana in legal amounts," according to the decision.

Colin Stephens, a Missoula attorney who represented Nelson on appeal, said the decision reinforces the legal rights of medical marijuana patients.

"I think that this case basically solidifies the rights of qualifying medical marijuana patients," Stephens said. "I don't think right now that probation officers can stop a patient from using medical marijuana as prescribed by a physician. I think it's pretty clear in the case law."

In May, the state Department of Corrections backed down from a proposed rule that would have barred anyone on parole or probation from obtaining medical marijuana without a judge's approval. Proponents of the medical marijuana law argued that the law does not allow any penalty for using medical marijuana, regardless of a person's criminal history.

Daubert said Nelson's is the first substantive case relating to medical marijuana to reach Montana's Supreme Court, and the first case taken on by his advocacy group.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana and Patients and Families United worked jointly to defend Nelson.

(GREAT) News From Marijuana Policy Project


Huge news — we did it.

Today, voters in Michigan and Massachusetts passed MPP's landmark ballot initiatives to change marijuana policy in their states.

Of the 13 marijuana policy statewide initiative victories in the history of the country, we just scored the second and third most important. (The first was California's medical marijuana law in 1996.)

MPP's Massachusetts initiative was the first time in history that a decriminalization initiative appeared on any statewide ballot, and voters passed it by what appears to be an overwhelming majority. The measure removes all criminal penalties for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana — replacing it with a $100 fine, which can be paid through the mail without lawyers or court appearances, just like a speeding ticket.

And Michigan voters passed MPP's medical marijuana initiative, making Michigan the first Midwestern state to permit medical marijuana use by seriously ill patients (and the 13th in the U.S.). Michigan now becomes the second largest medical marijuana state in the country (second only to California). And as a result of tonight's victory, almost one quarter of the nation now resides in states with medical marijuana laws.

Despite formidable opposition (including lies and dirty tricks from our opponents), common sense won — in large part because of thousands of MPP supporters who donated as generously as they could to both campaign committees.

The majority of these donors don't even live in Michigan or Massachusetts but donated because this is what the movement for changing marijuana laws is all about — a partnership between people across the country, giving whatever they can afford in order to push change forward. The people of Michigan and Massachusetts owe a debt of gratitude to thousands of people in the other 48 states and Washington, D.C., who donated money for victories that they won't personally see in their own states. And this is exactly how it works: In the upcoming two-year cycle, we're going to be choosing a new slate of states, and we'll all pitch in nationwide to pass those too ... which includes passing bills through state legislatures too.


(GREAT) News From Marijuana Policy Project

Huge news — we did it.

Today, voters in Michigan and Massachusetts passed MPP's landmark ballot initiatives to change marijuana policy in their states.

Of the 13 marijuana policy statewide initiative victories in the history of the country, we just scored the second and third most important. (The first was California's medical marijuana law in 1996.)

MPP's Massachusetts initiative was the first time in history that a decriminalization initiative appeared on any statewide ballot, and voters passed it by what appears to be an overwhelming majority. The measure removes all criminal penalties for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana — replacing it with a $100 fine, which can be paid through the mail without lawyers or court appearances, just like a speeding ticket.

And Michigan voters passed MPP's medical marijuana initiative, making Michigan the first Midwestern state to permit medical marijuana use by seriously ill patients (and the 13th in the U.S.). Michigan now becomes the second largest medical marijuana state in the country (second only to California). And as a result of tonight's victory, almost one quarter of the nation now resides in states with medical marijuana laws.

Despite formidable opposition (including lies and dirty tricks from our opponents), common sense won — in large part because of thousands of MPP supporters who donated as generously as they could to both campaign committees.

The majority of these donors don't even live in Michigan or Massachusetts but donated because this is what the movement for changing marijuana laws is all about — a partnership between people across the country, giving whatever they can afford in order to push change forward. The people of Michigan and Massachusetts owe a debt of gratitude to thousands of people in the other 48 states and Washington, D.C., who donated money for victories that they won't personally see in their own states. And this is exactly how it works: In the upcoming two-year cycle, we're going to be choosing a new slate of states, and we'll all pitch in nationwide to pass those too ... which includes passing bills through state legislatures too.



Marijuana: Two-Minute Truths (MPP-TV)

First of a new series of video's from Marijuana Policy Project.

Do you have a question about marijuana? Just ask Nydia!
Submit your questions to socialnetwork@mpp.org with the subject line "Ask Nydia".



U.S Law Enforcement: This Weeks Corrupt Cops.

With thanks to Stopthedrugwar.org

One cop offers bribes, one cop takes bribes, two cops take drugs and money. Just another week in the drug war. Let's get to it:

In Beaver County, Pennsylvania, a part-time Beaver County police officer was charged October 22 with offering a fellow officer a bribe to drop drug charges against another man. Officer Kenneth Williams, 55, is charged with bribery and obstruction of the administration of law. A man arrested in February 2007 contacted Williams and offered him $1,000 to act as a middle-man in offering the arresting officer a $5,000 bribe. But when contacted by Williams, the arresting officer reported the incident to his superiors, then wore a wire at his next meeting with Williams to discuss the matter. When confronted with the recordings, Williams said it was "all just a joke." Bet he's not laughing now.

In Fallowfield, Pennsylvania, a former Fallowfield police officer was charged Tuesday with stealing thousands of dollars worth of cocaine and marijuana seized in a 2006 case he investigated. Former Officer Allen Pettit, 46, faces a half-dozen charges, including theft and perjury. Pettit was the last person to have custody of five ounces of cocaine and nearly a pound of pot seized in the bust. Police valued the drugs at $8,500. The dope was discovered to be missing during a hearing in April 2007, when Pettit falsely testified the drugs had been destroyed. He is now in jail trying to raise a $50,000 cash bond.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, a former Lake city police officer was convicted October 22 of taking money to protect drug dealers. Shanita McKnight, 35, was convicted on extortion and drug conspiracy charges. As part owner of a Lake City night club, McKnight tolerated drug and prostitution activities at the club, warned family members and others about pending police actions, and took money from at least one cocaine dealer. Another dealer testified that she let him drive her police car while smoking marijuana. McKnight went straight from court to jail pending sentencing.

In Seymour, Tennessee, a former Sevier County Drug Task Force officer was sentenced Monday to nine months in jail and three years probation after pleading guilty to three counts of theft. Former Deputy Mark Shults, 34, admitted keeping $16,521 that he had seized from drug suspects instead of submitting it as evidence. More than 20 other drug cases had to be dismissed or were not pursued because Shults was involved in them. Prosecutors submitted evidence that Shults was strung out of alcohol and pain pills and got drugs by buying them from dealers of stealing them from the task force. Shults and his family say he is clean now, but he's still going to jail.


The Perfect Argument For Medical Marijuana In Michigan.

This from Scott Morgan at Stopthedrugwar.org

The drug czar likes to complain about the deep pockets of the "pot lobby," and he’s lucky it’s a lie. If we could afford to put this video on the airwaves across America, the federal war against medical marijuana would be over in the blink of an eye. This is the truth about why we do what we do. These are the people who pay the price for our brutal drug laws and their stories are in our hearts each day as we fight for change.
If you live in Michigan, please vote YES on Prop. 1. Tell your friends. Tell your mom. With your support, we can win another important victory for seriously ill patients.



Cops Lie, Voters Listen. This from NORML.


One of NORML’s primary functions is to educate the public. Day in and day out NORML’s staff and affiliates work tirelessly to promote factual and scientific information about cannabis — information that in an ideal world would be provided to the public by drug educators, health providers, and police, were not all three entities directly involved in supporting the continuation pot prohibition.

Why does NORML work so diligently to provide this information to the general population? We do so, in large part, because we know that our politicians opponents — including many members of the before-mentioned groups — have no qualms lying about pot in order to stifle our reform efforts. We also know that the mainstream media rarely takes the time or effort to challenge their disinformation.

Unfortunately, as we are seeing in Massachusetts, lies unduly influence voters — particularly when those doing the lying are those the public trusts.

Since September, a coalition consisting of the state’s 11 district attorneys, along with numerous members of law enforcement, have campaigned vociferously against Question 2 — a proposal to reduce minor marijuana possession to a fine-only offense — falsely claiming that the measure will increase adolescent drug abuse, permit large-scale marijuana trafficking, endanger workplace safety, and sharply increase traffic fatalities. (Reality check: If passed, Question 2 would equalize Massachusetts pot penalties with those of neighboring Maine, which last time I checked, isn’t suffering from any such pot-related catastrophes.)

A recent statewide poll conducted by Suffolk University indicates the extent to which our opponents’ lies are influencing the public. Support for Question 2 has dipped precipitously since the launch of the D.A.s’ campaign (though it still remains above 50 percent), with the greatest loss of support occurring among those age 65 and older. (Support among this voting block fell from 70 percent in August to just 40 percent in October.)

This drop, though troubling, is hardly surprising. Those older Americans who typically lack first-hand experience with cannabis and may be unaware of NORML’s efforts are most susceptible to the lies politicians and police spew about pot.

Conversely, support among younger voters in Massachusetts (those defined by pollsters as 45-years-old and younger) has held above 60 percent despite the cops’ smear campaign. In large part, this is also to be expected. After all, these voters are, statistically, most likely to possess first-hand knowledge of cannabis (or still be current users) and are arguably more familiar with NORML’s educational efforts. As a result, they are more likely to be dismissive of the D.A.s’ cynical rhetoric — as they should be.

Will the D.A.s’ disinformation campaign ultimately be responsible for the defeat of Question 2? We’ll know in eight days, but I remain cautiously optimistic. Previous law enforcement led propaganda campaigns designed to defeat statewide medicinal marijuana initiatives have almost universally failed. That said, it can be argued that older voters — the voting block that has the potential to tip Question 2 one way or the other — more readily identify with the medical use issue than the recreational aspects of pot.

One thing is for certain, our opponents’ smears and scare-tactics have made this battle too close to call — and once again revealed that those who support (or whose livelihoods are based upon) pot prohibition will do or say anything in order to keep our community in cages.


United Kingdom

Official Data Seen by guardian.co.uk Shows Potency of Marijuana Gathered in Police Seizures Has Fallen
The potency of cannabis gathered in police seizures has dropped, new official data reveals, casting doubt on one of the government's key arguments for reclassifying the drug from class C to class B. 
Figures collected by the Forensic Science Service and seen by guardian.co.uk show that the potency of herbal cannabis, which includes the strong "skunk" strain, has dropped from 12.7% to 9.5% since 2004, when it was first moved from class B to the less serious class C. 
This means that samples collected by the police are now weaker than when David Blunkett, the then-home secretary, downgraded the drug in 2004. 
According to the figures the level of THC - the main psychoactive ingredient - in herbal cannabis was 12.7% in 2004, 13.5% in 2005 and 11.3% in 2006, before dropping to 9.5% in 2007, the year covered by the latest figures.  Cannabis resin, a milder form, has decreased in strength from 3.4% to 2.6% between 2004 and 2007. 
The FSS said the figures were not representative and were from too small a sample. 
But David Porteous, a criminology lecturer from Middlesex University, said: "This information suggests that, in the time that it has been a class C drug, usage levels of cannabis have fallen and so has its strength.  These findings make a mockery of the decision to re-reclassify cannabis and of the government's wider claim to base policy-making decisions on scientific research. 
"Furthermore they call into question the validity of other controversial and publicly criticised government claims regarding drug policy, for example the link between cannabis and mental illness or the legitimacy of our current classification system."
Announcing the regrading of the drug in May, home secretary Jacqui Smith told the Commons that the potency of marijuana had "increased nearly threefold since 1995". 
A spokesman for the Home Office said that the home secretary's assertion was based on a report from May this year entitled Home Office Cannabis Potency Study 2008.  This report gave the median potency of sinsemilla ( stronger strains such as skunk ) as 15%, that of other herbal cannabis as 9%, and that of resin as 5%.  No statistics for 1995 were given. 
Another Home Office report, from April this year, also using FSS figures, casts further doubt on Smith's assertion.  It says the strength of sinsemilla, intensively grown cannabis, rose from 5.8% in 1995 to 10.4% in 2007, less than a twofold increase.  The strength of other forms of herbal cannabis was 3.9% in 1995 and 2.6% in 2007, a drop. 
The FSS is a government organisation that supplies forensic science services to ministerial departments, government agencies and police forces.  It released the new figures seen by guardian.co.uk earlier this month. 
A spokeswoman for the FSS said that the figures seen by guardian.co.uk were "unlikely to be an accurate representation of THC in cannabis across the board as not all samples submitted to the FSS are routinely analysed for THC content.  The FSS database also does not distinguish between sinsemilla cannabis and imported herbal cannabis."
She said the FSS had been involved in the May 2008 report used by Smith to make her decision.  "The FSS participated in an in-depth study of THC content for the Home Office in partnership with other forensic agencies, and this is likely to be more representative of actual cannabis strength."
The Home Office spokesman said that skunk now made up "a staggering 81% of seized cannabis".  This was up from 15% in 2002 and just over 50% in 2004-05. 
In May, Smith told parliament the strength of cannabis had increased threefold and there was a "causal link, albeit a weak one, between cannabis use and psychotic illness". 
Explaining why she was going to reclassify the drug as class B from next year, she said: "My decision takes into account issues such as public perception and the needs and consequences for policing priorities.  There is a compelling case for us to act now rather than risk the future health of young people."
Smith's ruling went against the recommendations of the government's scientific experts, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which was asked by Smith to take its third look at cannabis classification in recent years.  The council's advice was that cannabis should remain class C. 
When cannabis was downgraded, the proportion of young people using it fell from 25.3% in 2003-04 to 20.9% now.  Among those aged 16 to 59, the proportion over the same period fell from 10.8% to 8.2%, according to the British Crime Survey.

Will Fayetteville Become The Next City To ‘Deprioritize’ Marijuana?

Marijuana law reformers continue to take the phrase “all politics is local” to heart.

Over the past decade, grassroots activists in numerous towns and municipalities — including Seattle, Washington; Columbia, Missouri; Santa Cruz, Oakland, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara, California; and Denver, Colorado — have successfully campaigned for local ordinances making the enforcement of pot possession laws their city’s lowest law enforcement priority.

This year, a coalition of activists — led by the University of Arkansas chapter of NORML and the Alliance for Drug Reform Policy — have placed a similar proposal on the ballot in Fayetteville, Arkansas (population: 67,000).

If passed, the city will become the second Arkansas municipality in recent years to enact marijuana ‘deprioritization.’ (NORML’s state affiliate championed a similar measure in Eureka Springs in 2006.)

In the days leading up to November 4th, most Americans attention will be directed toward Washington, DC and the Presidential election race. But while we remain focused on national politics let’s not forget about the significant changes taking place locally — one community at a time.

NORML applauds the work of Sensible Fayetteville and the efforts of other local — and often unrecognized activists — not only what they’ve already achieved, but also (and especially) for what they will accomplish in the future.

The Party Is Over Vote YES On Prop 5


Marijuana Horticulture by Jorge Cervantes.


Medical Marijuana users thinking of growing their own medicine can read the  growers bible from Jorge Cervantes in pdf form, simply change the number in the address for each chapter, excellent up to date advice from a renowned expert in the field ( no pun intended ).

Includes information on :-   seeds, vegetative growth, flowering, grow rooms and greenhouses, outdoor growing, lamps, lights and electrical safety, soil and containers, nutrients and watering, hydroponic gardening, harvesting, curing & drying, security.

 image image image


Some photo's from the book.


Law Enforcement, This Weeks Corrupt Cops

Cops dealing drugs, cops stealing money. More of the same old same old. Let's get to it:

In Memphis, a Bolivar police officer was indicted by a federal grand jury last Friday on drug dealing charges. Officer William Patrick Jordan is accused of buying powerful pain-relieving drugs from undercover informants and selling them to "young girls at the Sonic Drive-In in Bolivar."

In Knoxville, Tennessee, a former drug task force officer was sentenced October 16 to nine months in jail and three years probation for stealing money from drug suspects and from the drug task force to which he was assigned. Former Sevier County deputy sheriff Mark Victor Shults had earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of theft over $1,000. Authorities said Shults became addicted to the drugs he was seizing and stole money to feed his habit.

In Boston, a former Swampscott police officer was sentenced October 14 to six months of home confinement and two years probation for dealing dope. Former officer Thomas Wrenn pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and Oxycontin in June after being arrested in March during a police sting while trying to buy drugs. He resigned after his arrest.

In Atlanta, a former DEA agent was sentenced September 18 to 21 months in prison for failing to report cash income in 2004. (Sorry, we missed this when it happened.) Gregory Campion, 48, served as an assistant supervisor at a DEA task force office in Atlanta, where he had access to millions of dollars in cash seized from suspected drug dealers. In 2004, Campion deposited more than $200,000 in cash in his bank accounts -- at the same time that seizures conducted during his tenure came up "short" when deposited in banks. He didn't report his income on his tax return, and that's why he is headed for prison.


Parents Are Using Drug Dogs on Their Own Children.


Above, 'sniffer dog' with some dope smile_wink

This from Scott Morgan @ Stopthedrugwar.org

I suppose it was just a matter of time:

Ali is a highly trained German shepherd that spent eight years on narcotics patrol with the New Jersey police force, hunting down drug smugglers at airports and drug dealers on inner-city streets. Post-retirement, he's working in the private sector, sniffing teenagers' bedrooms.

Ali and his handler are now working for a new company in New Jersey called Sniff Dogs.

The company, which also conducts business in Ohio, rents drug-sniffing canines to parents for $200 an hour. It was started this year by Debra Stone, who says her five trained dogs can detect heroin, cocaine, crystal meth and ecstasy.

The dogs' noses are so sensitive that they can smell a marijuana seed from up to 15 feet away and marijuana residue on clothing from drugs smoked two nights before.

One of the selling points of this service? Avoiding the kind of confrontation that comes with a drug test. [ABC News]

Yeah, unless Derrick walks in while you’re marching a snarling drug dog around his room. This is ridiculous. Anyway, it makes no sense to do it when your kid isn’t home. The drugs are usually on them, so there’s gonna be a confrontation after all. And subjecting your children to dog sniffs is at least as likely to provoke animosity as a urine test. Who are they kidding?

Parenting is hard and teenage drug abuse is almost impossible to handle exactly the right way. But bringing drug sniffing dogs into your house is just totally crazy, it really is. It’s the sort of approach that only occurs to parents whose over-the-top hysteria about drugs has already eliminated the possibility that their kids would actually tell them anything voluntarily.


Law Enforcement: This Weeks Corrupt Cops.

Thanks as always to Stopthedrugwar.org

More rogue cops in New York City, a Texas sheriff gets busted, some sticky-fingered narcs in Ohio, a would-be pot-growing cop in Florida, and yes, another prison employee busted for getting the inmates high. Let's get to it:

In New York City, two unnamed NYPD officers will likely be indicted shortly for being part of a violent crew that robbed drug dealers, kidnapping and sexually torturing some of their victims. One is an active-duty officer; the other is retired. The pair are accused of wearing their uniforms and acting as "cops" for a crew that stole more than 100 kilos of cocaine from dealers in robberies up and down the East Coast. The crew would kidnap their victims after a police-style car stop or home invasion raid, then take them to remote areas at gunpoint and threaten and sometimes torture them until they gave up their drugs. A dozen members of the crew have already been indicted, but in a September 16 hearing before Brooklyn federal District Judge Nicholas Garaufis, Assistant US Attorney Andrea Goldbarg said she would soon file a superseding indictment, indicating the arrest of the two cops is looming.

In Hidalgo, Texas, the Starr County sheriff was arrested Tuesday for conspiring to smuggle illicit drugs into the country. Sheriff Reymundo Guerra, 52, was charged in a 19-count federal indictment that includes more than a dozen co-conspirators. Federal prosecutors said Guerra possessed with the intent to distribute more than 700 pounds of marijuana and more than two pounds of cocaine. He is also charged with using a phone to facilitate the conspiracy and helping a co-defendant avoid capture by suggesting the use of fraudulent lease documents. Guerra is looking at 10 years to life in prison and a $4 million fine.

In Warren, Ohio, two Trumbull County Sheriff's Office deputies will be fired for allegedly ripping-off an anti-drug charity for their personal gain. Sgts. Pete Pizzullo and Anthony Leshnack were informed that the sheriff has recommended their termination on October 3. The pair founded the Ohio Narcotics Officers Association in 2004 to raise money for charitable organizations with anti-drug messages and, using a professional fundraising company, collected more than $1 million statewide. It is unclear how much of the money the two are supposed to have skimmed off for personal use. The firing is not a done deal; there is an extensive appeals process. The county prosecutor has asked for a special prosecutor to be appointed, but so far, there are no criminal charges against the pair.

In Valdosta, Georgia, a Georgia Department of Corrections prison employee was arrested October 8 for smuggling drugs to inmates. Deborah Watson, 26, a kitchen employee at Valdosta State Prison, went down after investigators asked to search her at work. She refused and quit on the spot, only to be stopped and searched by Valdosta County sheriff's deputies when she left the prison. In her bra, they found three tubes filled with drugs including marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Authorities valued the drugs at $4,000 on the street and several times that behind bars. That's where Watson is now.

In Orlando, Florida, an Altamonte Springs police officer pleaded guilty in federal court last Friday to setting up a marijuana grow house and having an arsenal of weapons on hand. Clay Adams, 26, pleaded guilty to five federal charges, including conspiring with his wife to grow 2,200 pounds of marijuana. Adams and his wife, Robyn, 32, were arrested July 21 after setting up a grow house in Chuluota. He faces at least 15 years in prison.


L.E.A.P Law Enforcers Against Prohibition.



After nearly four decades of fueling the U.S. policy of a war on drugs with over a trillion tax dollars and 37 million arrests for nonviolent drug offenses, our confined population has quadrupled making building prisons the fastest growing industry in the United States. More than 2.2 million of our citizens are currently incarcerated and every year we arrest an additional 1.9 million more guaranteeing those prisons will be bursting at their seams. For every year we choose to continue this war it will cost U.S. taxpayers another 69 billion dollars. Despite all the lives we have destroyed and all the money so ill spent, today illicit drugs are cheaper, more potent, and far easier to get than they were 35 years ago at the beginning of the war on drugs. Meanwhile, people continue dying in our streets while drug barons and terrorists continue to grow richer than ever before. We would suggest that this scenario must be the very definition of a failed public policy. This madness must cease!

The stated goals of current U.S.drug policy -- reducing crime, drug addiction, and juvenile drug use -- have not been achieved, even after nearly four decades of a policy of "war on drugs". This policy, fueled by over a trillion of our tax dollars has had little or no effect on the levels of drug addiction among our fellow citizens, but has instead resulted in a tremendous increase in crime and in the numbers of Americans in our prisons and jails. With 4.6% of the world's population, America today has 22.5% of the worlds prisoners. But, after all that time, after all the destroyed lives and after all the wasted resources, prohibited drugs today are cheaper, stronger, and easier to get than they were thirty-five years ago at the beginning of the so-called "war on drugs". With this in mind, we current and former members of law enforcement have created a drug-policy reform movement -- LEAP. We believe that to save lives and lower the rates of disease, crime and addiction. as well as to conserve tax dollars, we must end drug prohibition. LEAP believes that a system of regulation and control of production and distribution will be far more effective and ethical than one of prohibition. We do this in hopes that we in Law Enforcement can regain the public's respect and trust, which have been greatly diminished by our involvement in imposing drug prohibition. Please consider joining us. You don't have to be a cop to join LEAP! Find out more about us by reading some of the articles in our Publications section or by watching and listening to some of our multimedia clips,. You can also read about the men and women who speak for LEAP, and see what we have on the calendar for the near future.


War on Marijuana Failing Despite Drug Czar's Happy Talk, New Report Find.

The White House Office on National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office) has failed on its own terms when it comes to marijuana policy, according to a pair of reports examining government data by a noted marijuana researcher. It has not significantly reduced marijuana consumption despite constantly increasing annual arrest numbers and ongoing propaganda campaigns, while at the same time it twists and distorts figures on people in treatment for "marijuana dependency" in order to falsely claim that marijuana is a dangerous drug, while in reality, less than half of all people treated for marijuana even fit the standard criteria for substance abuse.

Too much ''happy talk'' from 'Liar' John Walters

The reports, by George Mason University senior fellow Jon Gettman, are available here. They examine official government data from the annual National Household Survey on Drugs and Health and the Treatment Episode Data Set.

Based on the government's own numbers, ONDCP has failed to achieve its stated 2002 goal of reducing marijuana use by 25% by 2007, Gettman found. According to the national survey, last year there were 14.5 million pot smokers, compared with 14.6 million in 2002. From 2002 to 2007 annual use of marijuana declined slightly from 25.9 to 25.1 million. The number of Americans who have used marijuana at some point in their lives actually increased, from 95 million in 2002 to over 100 million in 2007.

Similarly, teenage marijuana use -- the reduction of which is one of ONDCP's stated goals -- remains high. More than one in nine (12%) of 14- and 15-year olds and one in four (23.7%) 16- and 17-year-olds used marijuana in 2007. But disturbingly, there were 472,000 12- and 13-year-olds and 627,000 14- and 15-year-olds who did not use marijuana in 2006 but still used illegal drugs. Nearly half of them used inhalants and illegally obtained pain relief drugs.

More broadly, there were 35.7 million annual illicit drug users in the United States in 2007, 14.4% of the population. Of all illicit drug users, 41% used only marijuana. Another 29% used marijuana and at least one other illicit drug, while 30% used other illicit drugs, but not marijuana.

"The Bush Administration has failed to reduce or control marijuana use in the United States," Gettman concluded. "Marginal changes in marijuana and other drug use have been distorted to support false claims that incremental progress in reducing marijuana and other drug use has been achieved. Marijuana use is fundamentally the same as when the Bush Administration took office and illicit drug use overall has increased. Drug use data do not support Bush Administration claims that its policies have had a significant impact on illicit drug use in the United States."

The stability -- not reduction -- in marijuana use comes despite at least 127 different anti-marijuana TV, radio, and print ads by ONDCP, in addition to at least 34 press releases focused mainly on marijuana and at least 50 reports from ONDCP or other government agencies on marijuana or anti-marijuana campaigns.

For ONDCP head John Walters, slight reductions in teen marijuana use meant that "teens are getting the message about the harms of marijuana and are changing their behavior -- for the better", as he noted in a September 2007 press release. Still, he was forced to admit in the next breath that "youth abuse of prescription drugs remains a troubling concern."

Similarly, in a July press release, Walters called for an "intervention" against adult marijuana use, and tried to define the pot experience as he did so. "Marijuana is the blindspot of drug policy," said Walters. "Baby Boomers have this perception that marijuana is about fun and freedom. It isn't. It's about dependency, disease, and dysfunction. As the data released today reveal, marijuana is a much bigger part of our Nation's addiction problem than most people realize. While teen marijuana use is down sharply [sic], adult use, with all the social, economic, and health consequences that go along with it, will not improve until we start being more honest with ourselves about the seriousness of this drug. Too many of us are in denial, and it is time for an intervention."

"The government's own statistics demolish the White House drug czar's claims of success in his obsessive war on marijuana," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) in Washington, DC. "The most intense war on marijuana since 'Reefer Madness,' including record numbers of arrests every year since 2003, has wasted billions of dollars and produced nothing except pain and ruined lives."

If ONDCP has failed to reduce marijuana use, it has been quite successful in driving up the number of people forced into drug treatment for marijuana use. The problem is that many of the people seeking treatment for "marijuana dependency" aren't dependent and don't need treatment. The percentage of admissions in which marijuana was the primary substance of abuse referred by the criminal justice system increased from 48% in 1992 to 58% in 2006. But less than half (45%) of admissions met the criteria for dependence established by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychological Association.

"Increases in drug treatment admissions for marijuana, often cited by officials as evidence that marijuana is dangerously addictive, are driven by criminal justice policies rather than medical diagnosis," Gettman noted. "These policies increase public costs for providing drug treatment services and reduce funds for and availability of treatment of more serious drug problems."

Your tax dollars are paying for unnecessary drug treatment for marijuana users. Government programs will pay for drug treatment in 62% of admissions where marijuana is the primary drug of abuse, and 60% of marijuana treatment admissions referred by the criminal justice system.

"In thousands of cases, taxpayers appear to be funding treatment for non-addicts whose only problem is that they got caught with marijuana," said Gettman.

Based on the official data, Gettman also found that ONDCP had demonstrably failed to meet its 2002 two-year goal of a 10% reduction in drug use by teens and by adults or its five-year goal of a 25% reduction in drug use among those two groups. Teen drug use did decline, but by less than ONDCP goals. There was a 7% population reduction in current illegal drug use from 2002 to 2004, and a 16% reduction from 2002 to 2007. But among adults, while the population of current illegal drug users fell 1.5% from 2002 to 2004, it actually increased 4.8% from 2002 to 2007. That increase in adult use of illicit drugs was due to the use of opioid pain relievers, according to the national use survey.

And so goes the war on America's most popular illicit drug. While the drug czar rails against pot, the kids and the adults are turning to pain pills. That's progress?


Police Steal Money From Elderly Medical Marijuana Patients. Another Sickening Story

It is not at all uncommon for the war on drugs to target the very last people among us who ought to be treated as criminals:

For example, the 90-year-old couple, Lester ("Smitty") and Mary Smith--who were raided at their Philo home last week (9.24.08) with law enforcement seizing their life savings and all their plants in the process--are qualified patients with doctors' approvals and did nothing wrong.

Smitty said, "I wasn't worried a bit. I knew it was legal. I planted six plants two years in a row and this year, I planted 17 for me and Mary. That's not too many is it? My wife is very ill, confined to a wheelchair or recliner. She likes the bud tea. She has severe arthritis. It makes it easier for her to get around. She walks easier; she can walk to the bathroom even by herself."

Smitty has health issues too. "I have heart problems, blood clots, stomach cramps, emphysema, bad hips. I've had a heart attack. I sometimes get strong chest pains and can't breathe right. I take nitroglycerine. That brings me back. My doctors want me to take more x-rays here locally but that would be a big expense. Usually, I go to the Veterans Hospital and they pay for it."

Mary Smith was forced to stay in the house by herself during the 5-hour raid while additional warrants for an adjoining parcel were telephoned in and delivered, allowing sheriff's deputies to enter all the residences.

The elderly Smiths were not arrested or charged with a crime, because there was none. Sheriff's deputies were apparently more interested in robbery than arrest. They seized the two things that mattered most to the ill couple--their medicine, all 17 plants, leaving nothing--and their life savings, $52,000 from Mary Smith's inheritance and $29,000 in cashed in CDs.

"As soon as the bail-out hit, I cashed in my CDs and put the money in a safe in my house. I did not sell pot to get it. But turns out my money was not safe. They stormed in here and turned our world upside down. I thought I was legal." [IndyBay]

This is the real war on drugs. It’s not some magic formula that only screws over bad people. The drug war proliferates injustice everywhere it goes.


Go To Beirut It's Safer Than Mexico

Mexico is going so horribly wrong that the State Department is warning Americans who may be thinking about traveling there:

Travel Alert

Bureau of Consular Affairs

This information is current as of Fri Oct 10 2008 19:36:27 GMT-0400 (EDT).


April 14, 2008

This Travel Alert updates information for U.S. citizens on security situations in Mexico that may affect their activities while in that country.  This supersedes the Travel Alert for Mexico dated October 24, 2007, and expires on October 15, 2008.

Violence Along The U.S.-Mexico Border

Violent criminal activity fueled by a war between criminal organizations struggling for control of the lucrative narcotics trade continues along the U.S.-Mexico border.  Attacks are aimed primarily at members of drug trafficking organizations, Mexican police forces, criminal justice officials, and journalists.  However, foreign visitors and residents, including Americans, have been among the victims of homicides and kidnappings in the border region.  In its effort to combat violence, the government of Mexico has deployed military troops in various parts of the country.  U.S. citizens are urged to cooperate with official checkpoints when traveling on Mexican highways.

What a disaster. If there were anything remotely effective about the war on drugs, don’t you think that trying this policy for several decades would have produced a better outcome than this? I mean, look at it. Seriously, just watch what’s happening. Is this the result you’d get from a drug policy that worked?

Ever since President Calderon took office a year and a half ago and began trying to crack down on drug trafficking, everything has gone to hell. It gets worse everyday because using war to attack the drug supply is a terrible policy that destroys everything except the drug supply. What other conclusion could you possibly reach given what’s taking place right before our eyes?





Senators McCain and Obama:

If elected, will you create a Presidential Commission to study marijuana—its Prohibition, Budgetary, Social, and Health effects, and to make recommendations for marijuana law reform?

By George Rohrbacher, NORML Board Member

Federal law prohibiting marijuana dates from 1937. The Marijuana Tax Stamp Act was debated on the floor of the House of Representatives for just over a minute and against the wishes of organizations such as the American Medical Association. Cannabis, as it was then known, was a component of at least 28 patent medicinesmade by industry leaders such as Merck, Eli Lilly, and Squibb. With the passage of this law, not only did the legal sale and possession of cannabis end, but all American research into medicinal use of marijuana ground to a halt, and even the ages-old knowledge of marijuana as a medicine went into deep remission.

Today there is a whole universe of information on the subject of marijuana that is brand-new since the Shafer Commission last studied marijuana in the 1970’s. The information then available lead Nixon’s own handpicked commission come to a surprising conclusion: they recommended no legal penalties for adults possessing up 100 grams of marijuana. Nixon freaked out, flew into a rage, canceled print runs of the report, and refusing to read the document, he buried the Shafer Commission’s recommendations. Tricky Dick did exactly the opposite and started America’s full-scale War on ‘Weed’, instead. And now forty years later, the War on Pot continues to grind on, getting larger with each passing year. After hundreds of billions of dollars expended, after millions of people arrested, is it not time we studied marijuana again? Because, by every measure available, America’s current approach to marijuana has failed—and, in the words of former-President Jimmy Carter, it is “…doing more harm than good.”

Here are 8 pressing reasons why a Presidential Commission on marijuana is needed now:

1) By October 10, 2008, America will have recorded its 20-millionth marijuana arrest, with people of color and the young arrested in disproportionately large numbers. It is time for a re-assessment of marijuana policy, plain and simple.

2) In addition to the pain and suffering visited by these millions of arrests on “we-the-people”, our government expends about $25 billion annually on its pot prohibition efforts, funds that should be expended elsewhere in the budget.

3) In addition to huge costs on expense side, we lose billions in taxation revenue, as well. Because, despite all government efforts to eradicate it, America’s vast underground marijuana market continues on, just as it has for the last seventy years, creating crime where there need be none, churning out billions and billions of dollars in untaxed and unregulated commerce. A tax and regulate posture as a method of control, verses the ‘no control/out of control’ situation we have today where kids can get marijuana more easily than beer—which alternative should America choose?

4) Marijuana use and purchase has been legal for the last 30 years in The Netherlands. This is the world’s great marijuana legalization experiment—and proof positive that a modern society will not collapse when pot becomes legal. Holland’s tightly regulated cannabis sales have created enormous tax revenues, while at the same time, usage rates for Holland’s teens continues to remain at just half of the usage rates of America’s teens even under our draconian prohibition model.

5) There are more than a dozen states over the last dozen years (covering about 1/5 of the US population) that have passed medical marijuana laws, mostly by voter initiative. ‘We-The-People’ created America’s state-by-state crazy quilt of medical marijuana laws, now what have ‘we’ learned from these experiments?

6) The modern use of cannabis/cannabinoids as medicine, buttressed now by17,000 scientific studies, validates humanity’s medicinal use of cannabis that has been going on for as long as recorded history. In any rational world, a non-toxic, useful drug like cannabis would have been re-scheduled long ago by the federal government from Schedule I, where it now resides with heroin, to Schedule III with most prescription drugs, or lower.

Why have the vested interests blocked cannabis from being rescheduled?

7) On 10/07/03 America’s own Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) received US Patent #6630507 for the use of marijuana’s active ingredients under the title, “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuro-protectants.” While HHS filed and supported this application, at the very same time, in other executive-branch Cabinet-level offices, at the ONDCP and the DEA, their legislative charters direct them to fight all use of marijuana as a medicine (the charters contain no standards to correct this prohibitionist posture if marijuana is shown scientifically to be useful as medicine). Either the HHS or the DEA/ONDCP must be wrong.

8.) A Presidential Commission hearing on the subject of marijuana law reform is a necessary exercise in government bureaucracy oversight, and is simply good government.

America, after our 20-millionth marijuana arrest—is that amount of human wreckage not enough? How much longer must our government pursue its failed policy of marijuana prohibition?

Presidential candidates McCain and Obama, show some guts, show some leadership and take the pledge: when you are elected, you will form a Presidential Commission via the National Academy of Sciences, or a like objective review body, to study marijuana.


NOTE: Now, all you fellow voters out there in Blog-ville: Help me out with this.


Help America!

The Shafer Commission needs a 21st Century update. Does anybody think we need 10 or 20-million more marijuana arrests before Congress and the White House wakes up and changes our failed marijuana policies?

The Supreme Court has told us repeatedly not to expect a judicial ruling to fix this social disaster; the change, the correction, must come legislatively. Well, 20-million marijuana arrests is enough and a Presidential Commission is what’s needed at the onset of the next president’s tenure to provide the political cover and scientific validation for members of Congress to find the guts to take the votes needed to reform this sorry mess after 70 long, shameful, and pathetic years.

America eventually found the guts to end slavery, a social institution in place for over 200 years, evil and vile in its consequences but fiercely protected by special interests, even state governments; America can find the guts to end marijuana prohibition.