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DrugWarRant.com, the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
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December 2020
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Drug policy wins

Whatever depression you may be experiencing regarding the election process in this country right now, you can at least take comfort in the voters coming through in drug policy reform.

Every Single Marijuana And Drug Policy Ballot Measure Passing On Election Day Bolsters Federal Reform Push

Five more states legalized cannabis in some form and Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapy and also more broadly decriminalize drug possession. Meanwhile, voters in Washington, D.C. also approved a measure to decriminalize psychedelics in the nation’s capital.

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Miss America, USPS, and the DEA solve our drug problems.

Why didn’t we think of this before?

Drug Free America Forever Stamp

‘Drug Free USA Forever’ Stamps Launched By DEA, Postal Service, And Miss America

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Beer and spiked wine jumpstarted civilization

Brian C. Muraresku’s just-released book Immortality Key: The Secret History of a Religion with No Name explores the history of how psychoactive substances shaped the development of Christianity and Western civilization.

Armed with the new science of archeological chemistry that accurately detects and analyzes residues found in ancient pottery and cave paintings, and combining it with a Jesuit education in the Classics and linguistics, Muraresku describes the accidental brewing of beer 13,000 years ago when the last ice age receded. Some lucky person added yeast from their hands to a mixture of wheat and water and let it sit until it fermented. With wheat beer later came ergot mold that spiked the brew that could produce an after-worldly glow without priests or charlatans intervening or getting in the way — a prospect that irritates certain members of the clergy and their followers to this day.

Variations on the spiked or fortified wine meme began in roughly 3000 BCE. The wine included additives from whatever was widely available at the time, the stuff of witches’ brews, like cannabis, psilocybin, henbane, and nightshade, as examples. A more recent and familiar example of a fortified vintage is the famous Vin Mariani that contained coca and was a preferred beverage of Pope Leo XIII, Pope Saint Pius X, and aficionados like Ulysses S. Grant and Thomas Edison. The list is long.

A Joe Rogan Experience interview of Brian Muraresku and Graham Hancock discusses the fantastic journey into the past undertaken by Muraresku in the footsteps of pioneers such as ethnomycologist Gordon Wasson, Carl A. P. Ruck, and chemist Albert Hofmann to bring us a highly detailed and scientific overview of our ancient ancestors who consumed scary drugs initially provided by female shamans. The drug war is revealed as a war waged by a reactionary clergy determined to retain their middle-man status between heaven and earth:

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The war on drugs complicity in the death of Breonna

Jacob Sullum does a great job of detailing the horrendous state of our criminal justice system that essentially encourages fatal confrontations.

The Legal Response to Breonna Taylor’s Death Shows How Drug Prohibition Transforms Murder Into Self-Defense

State prosecutors concluded that the two other officers were justified in returning fire after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot one of them in the leg. Yet local prosecutors decided not to pursue an attempted murder charge against Walker.

Those seemingly contradictory decisions reflect Kentucky’s standards for self-defense, which make it possible that Walker and the cops were both legally justified in using deadly force. But that puzzling situation also has to be understood in the context of the war on drugs, which frequently involves armed home invasions that invite potentially deadly confusion. That unjustified violence is the root of the problem highlighted by Taylor’s senseless death and the unsatisfying legal response to it.

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Taking bets

So, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019 would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, among other things.

It was scheduled for a vote next week.

According to NORML, it’s now been postponed until after the election.

Any bets on when or if this will actually happen?

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Idaho’s Marijuana Border War

A small Nevada gambling resort just south of the Idaho state border called Jackpot intends to set up recreational cannabis dispensaries. An editorial by Stephen Hartgen in an Idaho newspaper exposes the impending peril and doom Idaho residents and its public officials feel as cannabis intrudes upon their comfort zone:

…it’s a fair question whether marijuana sales on Southern Idaho’s border is a good social move. The Elko County sheriff says Idaho law enforcement sees the issue as one of Nevada’s politics, not one of Idaho’s concern…. That sends a clear signal, does it not, that Idaho may not set out to quash incoming traffic.

Still, the costs to Idaho by increased marijuana availability aren’t hard to spot: more drug arrests, jail expenses, law enforcement staffing, plus the well-established linkage of marijuana use to a host of other criminal and socially irresponsible behaviors.

Yea, we’ve heard all the arguments. Recreational marijuana use is a personal thing; it doesn’t affect anyone else; would open up “new” business, etc. But privately, law enforcement officers, social workers, medical professionals and educators will mostly tell you there’s an obvious link from marijuana use to other crimes. […]

You don’t have to look far to see marijuana use as an underlying feature of many social and criminal activity. As part of its recent investigation, Oregon police learned last week that the antifa killer in the Portland shooting had sent a text message to his teenage son that read, “Sell me the gun for a quarter pound of weed and $100 I’m getting tired of this shxx. I need a piece now.” (Oregonian, 9/4). Interesting that the “teenage son” has both access to firearms and drugs. Such goes modern parenting. […]

Despite his misgivings about cannabis, credit is due to Stephen Hartgen for giving the world a heads-up that Idaho law enforcement views marijuana convictions as an excellent way to arrest otherwise innocent people and felonize them for life before they actually do anything that’s criminal in nature.

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Site update

Hey, gang. There have been a number of automatic upgrades recently, including WordPress and php, and hence some of usual features may have broken. The recent comments widget on the right stopped working and I had to replace it with another one that gives less information (but at least it’s something).

Let me know if there’s anything else not working properly.

Thanks!

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Federal Agents Invade Albuquerque

On July 22, Donald Trump called for a “surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime.” Seeking to exploit crime-drama distractions prior to the presidential election, U.S. Attorney General William J Barr sent thirty-five federal special agents to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to solve homicides and to arrest members of violent street gangs. Operation Legend, as it’s called, is turning out to be a legendary joke. Mr Barr’s secret agents look for drugs and guns instead of murderers and gang members.

…federal agents are posing undercover as drug users and soliciting drugs and guns from people on the street in order to induce the commission of felony crimes. As one source told us, federal agents are “just running right up to you asking for drugs and guns. Anybody they see moving around here with bags, they’re profiling. And I don’t know why they figure they can get to the drugs and guns off the homeless.” […]

Barr described Operation Legend as “an initiative to combat rising violent crime in a number of our cities,” but the people we talked to on the street describe it as an aggressive, at times clumsy, entrapment operation by agents unfamiliar with Albuquerque and unable to keep their cover. This “kid comes up to us,” one person told us “and says he’s dope sick and starts asking for drugs, but like asking for all the drugs. What is that? No one asks for heroin and cocaine. And he had a bike and so we knew he was a Fed when he said he wouldn’t give it up. What junkie doesn’t give up a bike?”

Another person told us that when agents first arrived, they were approaching people near Albuquerque’s downtown and were “asking for crystal.” This tipped people off because “we don’t use the word crystal,” they told us. “They’ll ask for black. Now they’re asking for shards and dark, and they’re asking for pistols.” All of them “are asking for heroin” but they don’t act like heroin addicts. They’re “alive, awake, sitting in areas for four to six hours. Four to six hours,” our source repeated. “An addict doesn’t act that way.” […]

The mayor of Albuquerque, Tim Keller, called the agents “Trump’s secret police,” and said he’d not been briefed on Operation Legend, which Mayor Keller says he vigilantly opposes. In fact, the Albuquerque city police had already been coordinating with AG Barr’s federal agents six days earlier.

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Qualified Immunity on the Chopping Block

A Mississippi federal judge has challenged the qualified immunity defense that police officers use to deflect responsibility for their degrading treatment of suspects and innocent citizens.

In Jamison v. McClendon, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves recently concluded that Officer Nick McClendon violated Clarence Jamison’s Fourth Amendment rights when he subjected Jamison to a nearly two-hour ordeal that included badgering, pressuring, lying and intrusively searching his car. But the judge’s hands were tied by the qualified immunity doctrine so he was forced to deny Jamison’s legal claim. Reeves, an African American man, traced the development of the law and the institutional racism and police brutality that continue to plague our society. “Black people in this country are acutely aware of the danger traffic stops pose to Black lives,” the judge wrote.

Police behavior in the Jamison case is reminiscent of the United States in the 1930s when American citizens considered themselves safer on the streets than inside their local police precincts. Rubber-hose torture was a way of beating a confession or information out of a hapless captive of any color or creed while leaving their outer skin largely unmarked. Its use was common until the Supreme Court outlawed it. Times have changed. The domestic terror and psychological abuse of the rubber-hose treatment has emerged again with the aid of plausible disguises afforded by the drug war. Jamison v. McClendon is likely to be appealed and decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Hedonism and Weed Leads to Happiness

Sharp legal and social distinctions are often made between medicinal and recreational marijuana, with indistinguishable recreational marijuana typically having a dark cloud cast over it. Why the distinction? At universities in Zurich and The Netherlands the need for hedonism and recreation is getting a major overhaul.

We all set ourselves long-term goals from time to time, such as finally getting into shape, eating less sugar or learning a foreign language. Research has devoted much time to finding out how we can reach these goals more effectively. The prevailing view is that self-control helps us prioritize long-term goals over momentary pleasure and that if you are good at self-control, this will usually result in a happier and more successful life.

“It’s time for a rethink,” says Katharina Bernecker, researcher in motivational psychology at the University of Zurich. “Of course self-control is important, but research on self-regulation should pay just as much attention to hedonism, or short-term pleasure.” That’s because Bernecker’s new research shows that people’s capacity to experience pleasure or enjoyment contributes at least as much to a happy and satisfied life as successful self-control. […]

Bernecker and her colleague Daniela Becker of Radboud University…found that certain people get distracted by intrusive thoughts in moments of relaxation or enjoyment by thinking about activities or tasks that they should be doing instead. “For example, when lying on the couch you might keep thinking of the sport you are not doing,” says Becker. “Those thoughts about conflicting long-term goals undermine the immediate need to relax.” On the other hand, people who can fully enjoy themselves in those situations tend to have a higher sense of well-being in general, not only in the short term, and are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, among other things. […]

Anti-hedonism in Western culture is linked not only to self-control but to a custom originating with Plotinus (204/5 – 270 C.E.); a neo-Platonist who maintained that hedonism leads to too much happiness and thereby an unwelcome death. The average life expectancy in the early Christian-Roman period was 26. Today’s average life expectancy in the United States is roughly 79. With death less immediate for many, and for quality of life issues in which death anxiety is reduced using psilocybin, there exist alternatives to prohibition and to drug wars.

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