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.
LIVE IN MICHIGAN?, PLEASE VOTE YES ON PROP 1
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some photo's from the book.
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.
Above, 'sniffer dog' with some dope
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.
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.
COPS SAY LEGALIZE DRUGS!
ASK US WHY
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.
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.
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?
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.
Mexico is going so horribly wrong that the State Department is warning Americans who may be thinking about traveling there:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
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?
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.
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.
Above- Ridiculous sized marijuana plant!, pre-flowering stage.
It's harvest time for marijuana growers, which means it's also the time when patch pirates are busy ripping off local gardens. The result is heightened tension and the possibility of violence, as recent back-to-back incidents in Chico demonstrate.
They both involved a West Lindo Avenue resident who, awakened from sleep last week by thieves stealing his medical marijuana, rushed naked into the back yard and was shot at. The next night somebody else tried to steal his pot, and this time he did the shooting, driving them away.
His neighbors were disturbed to hear gunshots in the middle of the night and to learn of the violence. Who can blame them? That the plants were legal means nothing to them.
Before Proposition 215 passed in 1996, backyard gardens were relatively rare. Besides being illegal, they were hard to conceal from neighbors. Now, of course, they're legal for up to six plants with a doctor's recommendation. But a well-tended plant can produce a pound of pot or more, with a street value of anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000-a tempting target for thieves.
Some people are suggesting Prop 215 needs to be reformed-that it's being abused by profiteers, that six plants is too many, that it's too easy to get a doctor's recommendation, that it's inviting violence into peaceful neighborhoods.
But the real issue here isn't the voter-approved measure to relieve the suffering of sick people. Proposition 215 would work fine if marijuana weren't so valuable and thieves weren't tempted to steal it. And the reason it's valuable is because, for everyone except med-pot users, it's illegal.
All kinds of growers and dealers are making major money providing millions of pot smokers with their herb. They can charge high prices because of the legal risk involved. And as long as there is so much money to be made, law enforcement will never stop the growing or the trading. Anybody who wants to obtain marijuana can do so.
Prohibition of marijuana has the same consequences that prohibition of alcohol had in the 1930s-illegal trafficking, gangsterism and violence-and serves no useful purpose. As drugs go, pot is relatively innocuous compared to, say, methamphetamine. If it were decriminalized, its value would plunge, innocent medical-marijuana users wouldn't have to worry about thieves, and neighborhoods wouldn't be disrupted by violence. In addition, police would be freed up to deal with the really dangerous drugs like meth.
It's not Prop 215 that needs reform; it's the laws prohibiting marijuana use.
This from NORML
While the prohibition of cannabis is absurd, the ban on the plant’s non-psychoactive components is even more mind-boggling — particularly when it’s apparent that these compounds possess amazing therapeutic properties. Case in point: cannabidiol (CBD).
A just published scientific review by Sao Paulo University (Brazil) researcher Antonio Zuardi reports that there’s been an “explosive increase” of interest in CBD over the past five years. It’s apparent why.
“Studies have suggested a wide range of possible therapeutic effects of cannabidiol on several conditions, including Parkinson’s disease,Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral ischemia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory diseases, nausea and cancer,” Zuardi writes. Let’s look at a few of these in detail, shall we?
1. Antiepileptic action
“In 1973, a Brazilian group reported that CBD was active in … blocking convulsions produced in experimental animals.”
2. Sedative action
“In humans with insomnia, high doses of CBD increased sleep duration compared to placebo.”
3. Anxiolytic action
“CBD induce[s] a clear anxiolytic effect and a pattern of cerebral activity compatible with an anxiolytic activity.”
4. Antipsychcotic action
“[C]linical studies suggest that CBD is an effective, safe and well-tolerated alternative treatment for schizophrenic patients.”
5. Antidystonic action
“CBD … had antidystonic effects in humans when administered along with standard medication to five patients with dystonia, in an open study.”
6. Antioxidative action
“[I]t was demonstrated that CBD can reduce hydroperoxide-induced oxidative damage as well as or better than other antioxidants. CBD was more protective against glutamate neurotoxicity than either ascorbate or a-tocopherol, indicating that this drug is a potent antioxidant.”
7. Neuroprotective action
“A marked reduction in the cell survival was observed following exposure of cultured rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells to beta-A peptide. Treatment of the cells with CBD prior to beta-A exposure significantly elevated the cell survival.”
8. Antiinflammatory action
“CBD, administered i.p. or orally, has blocked the progression of arthritis.”
9. Cardioprotective action
“CBD induces a substantial cardioprotective effect.”
10. Action on diabetes
“CBD treatment of NOD (non-obese diabetic) mice before the development of the disease reduced its incidence from 86% in the non-treated control mice to 30% in CBD-treated mice. … It was also observed that administration of CBD to 11-14 week old female NOD mice, which were either in a latent diabetes stage or had initial symptoms of diabetes, ameliorated the manifestations of the disease.”
11. Antiemetic action
“The expression of this conditioned retching reaction was completely suppressed by CBD and delta9-THC, but not by ondansetron, [an] antagonist that interferes with acute vomiting.”
12. Anticancer action
“A study of the effect of different cannabinoids on eight tumor cell lines, in vitro, has clearly indicated that, of the five natural compounds tested, CBD was the most potent inhibitor of cancer cell growth.”
In sum, the past 45 years of scientific study on CBD has revealed the compound to be non-toxic, non-psychoactive, and to possess a multitude of therapeutic properties. Yet, to this day it remains illegal to possess or use (and nearly impossible to study in US clinical trials) simply because it is associatedwith marijuana.
What possible advancements in medical treatment may have been achieved over the past decades had US government officials chosen to advance — rather than inhibit — clinical research into CBD (which, under federal law, remains a Schedule I drug defined as having “no currently accepted medical use”)? Perhaps it’s time someone asks John Walters or the DEA?
“Saying that marijuana is harmless is like saying that a dog is a cat.”
“Scientific research does not indicate marijuana is medicine.”
“All major national medical associations have rejected it.”
Sound wrong to you? It is. Blatantly and outrageously so. But these lies, and others like them, are being spread by the Drug Free America Foundation, in a cynical campaign to undermine the enormous progress that marijuana policy reform has made. As the Pro Marijuana groups rack up more and more victories, the opposition gets more and more willing to lie outright.
Watch MPP's new video fact-checking these lies before you decide where you stand, 'Reefer Madness' style nonsense has no place in the debate, it is an insult to YOUR intelligence.
An odometer roll over effect of sickening proportions is about to happen this October: American law enforcement will make its 20-millionth marijuana arrest. Regrettably however, America will not be one step closer to any solution of this “problem” than we were when the federal government first started arresting people for cannabis seventy-one years ago today, with the first federal cannabis prohibition arrest of Samuel Caldwell.
Halfway through this epoch in American history known as cannabis prohibition, Richard M. Nixon’s own handpicked Shafer Commission studied cannabis for nearly two years and concluded: no criminal penalties for adult possession of 100 grams of marijuana.
Nixon was shocked by their findings and tried to bury the Shafer Commission’s report. Nixon instead proceeded with the “don’t try to confuse me with the facts, I’ve got my mind made up” approach to governance, and the full-scale war on cannabis commenced.
After four decades, this institutionalized war on ganja and its users grows larger with each passing year. This war on otherwise law-abiding cannabis consumers has created literally millions and millions of unnecessary tribulations, taxpayer costs and casualties. In the period 1965-2007* there were 19,342,363 arrests for cannabis offenses, 89% of them for the possession of a small quantity of cannabis. Just before Election Day 2008, cops will arrest their 20-millionth man (or woman) for cannabis.
And if you’re a regular ol’ cannabis consumer or a medical cannabis patient in need of one’s medicine, that tragic 20 millionth arrest could be you!
At the current pace of arrest, the 20-millionth cannabis arrest will happen by Oct. 10, 2008, within a week of the 71st anniversary of America’s very first federal cannabis arrest of the terminally ill Sam Caldwell in 1937. (See Below)
After a decade of U.S. government scare propaganda that convinced Americans that crazed Mexicans, blacks and fans of jazz clubs were pushing marijuana "reefers" on school children and honest youths, turning them into raving murderers, politicians decided to act.
The U.S. Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act. Growing and selling marijuana were still legal, but only if you bought a $1 government stamp. And that stamp was not for sale.
On the day the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act was enacted -- Oct. 2, 1937 -- the FBI and Denver, Colo., police raided the Lexington Hotel and arrested Samuel R. Caldwell, 58, an unemployed labourer and Moses Baca, 26. On Oct. 5, Caldwell went into the history trivia books as the first marijuana seller convicted under U.S. federal law. His customer, Baca, was found guilty of possession.
Caldwell's wares, two marijuana cigarettes, deeply offended Judge Foster Symes, who said: "I consider marijuana the worst of all narcotics, far worse than the use of morphine or cocaine. Under its influence men become beasts. Marijuana destroys life itself. I have no sympathy with those who sell this weed. The government is going to enforce this new law to the letter."
Caldwell was sentenced to four years of hard labour in Leavenworth Penitentiary, plus a $1,000 fine. Baca received 18 months incarceration. Both men served every day of their sentence. A year after Caldwell was released from prison, he died.