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September 2014
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Serving Size

Who decides what a serving size is? And are they talking about real people who actually eat food?

I’ve been reducing carbs in my diet and watching what I eat a bit. So I find myself checking those nutritional information labels. So often, I’ll look at the label and say “Oh, look — only 5 grams of sugar per serving – that’s not bad.” And then I’ll look at the number of servings per container and realize that I just ate 5 servings… as a snack.

It gets a whole lot trickier when you talk about marijuana edibles.

Here’s a great example. Somebody came up with what sounds like a brilliant idea at first: cannabis pizza.

Some Genius in LA is Selling Weed Pizzas


Yeah, it sounds like a great idea, but look at the size of that pizza. What is that? 5″? That’s like a large canapé. A small pizza (10″) will give you about four times as much pizza, and I have no problem eating a medium pizza. So what good is a 5″ pizza?

But it gets worse.

Here’s the big problem with the pizza: It is insanely strong. One personal pizza has 250 mg of weed. For those of you who have never combined eating narcotics and math before, High Times recommends about 25 mgs per dose of edibles to have a safe, good time. To put that into layman’s terms, that means that even cutting this tiny pizza into eighths might lead you to pass out in the nearest bed, too afraid to even watch The Simpsons, because what if they’re real?

The label suggests eating a quarter of it.

What’s the point?

We waited about 45 minutes, and then we just got hungry—y’know, for fucking pizza. [...] Basically, Stoned Oven Gourmet’s weed pizza is the perfect thing to eat if you wanna be high in an hour and go get some pizza.

I really don’t understand the movement in the industry to have such concentrated edibles. It seems like you might as well take a pill.

Maybe I’m showing my age, but I seem to remember back in the day, that you’d make a nice large pan of pot brownies for 3 or 4 people and you’d each have several brownies and get comfortably high while having had a satisfying dessert, and you didn’t have to divide a single brownie into 8 pieces.

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Mary Jane in ‘Grease’

I have no idea if this ad is going to be effective (or for what audiences), but I enjoyed watching it. Yes on 2 (medical marijuana in Florida)

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Consume Responsibly


Catchy ad from Marijuana Policy Project promoting their new Consume Responsibly campaign and website.

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Drug-Sniffing Dogs

Reason.TV has a new piece: “Anal Probes Run Amok: Drug-Sniffing Dogs Must Be Stopped”

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Open Thread

Yesterday I talked about some pathetic things happening on campuses. Today, I want to talk about some better things.

I am an administrator and teacher at a university, and there was a time when even discussions about drug policy reform were considered risky.

Now, I’m teaching an entrepreneurship class and I have a student who decided to interview a medical marijuana entrepreneur in Illinois. An absolutely wonderful idea – talk about entrepreneurship, and the potential risks and rewards. Cannabis is the newest front in entrepreneurship and a perfect topic for various discussions in college.

Tomorrow, I’m taking part in the university’s Human Library project. This is where people with interesting or different views/knowledge base make themselves available like a book to be “read” through people asking questions and learning more about them. I was approached by university staff to participate specifically because of my work in drug policy and the idea that a “book” about legalization would be a good “book” to “read.”

That’s a good sign.

There is change happening at universities. Like everywhere else, it’s slow, but it’s another place where we’re making progress.

For those who missed it, there was a particularly ugly and fact-free editorial in the Washington Post opposing legalization, using S.A.M. speculation as their “evidence.” The folks on the couch here have been doing a first-rate job in responding. For more, read the comments section of this recent DrugWarRant post.

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Recruiting informants in college

This is just another of the despicable side-effects of the drug war.

Undercover students used in drug busts at some University of Wisconsin campuses

Yeah, you bust some college kid of selling pot to his friends, and threaten him with a felony, which would kick him out of school, unless he turns on his friends and buys drugs from them for the police.

Informants have a useful place in the criminal justice system, but this isn’t one of them.

“We don’t use the informants in a targeted, careful way of going after organized crime,” she says. “We use informants the way that a bad cook uses salt.”


Fortunately, this article brought up Rachel Hoffman.

Rachel Hoffman, a 23-year-old Florida State University graduate, was pressured in 2008 to be an informant after Tallahassee, Florida, police searched her apartment and found a small amount of marijuana and ecstasy. But the buy turned out to be an armed robbery, and the robbers killed Hoffman after discovering her recording device, says Lance Block, a Florida attorney. [...]

“The police are supposed to protect us from harm, not subject us to harm,” Block says. “And when law enforcement intentionally expose untrained civilians into these highly dangerous operations, they’re not protecting them from harm … It’s one thing to get information from people secretly and confidentially. It’s another thing to throw them to the wolves, like they did with Rachel.”

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Scary Big Marijuana

Kevin Sabet is at it again with his favorite fantasy.

If you think Big Tobacco was bad, wait till you get a whiff of Big Marijuana

Comments are open.

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Norm Stamper on Militarization

At the same time that the Global Commission on Drug Policy was releasing their report, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs was holding a hearing on police militarization.

Retired Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper’s provided testimony. I thought it was pretty good, so I’ve included his entire written testimony after the jump.

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New York Times: Coalition Urges Nations to Decriminalize Drugs and Drug Use

Wall Street Journal: Decriminalize, Regulate Heroin, Cocaine, Commission Says

Gawker: International Commission: Decriminalize Drugs Everywhere

Huffington Post: World Leaders Call For Massive Shift in Global Drug Policy

New York Daily News: Leaders meet to propose changes to drug policy

Daily Beast: World Leaders’ Proposal for Winning the War on Drugs: Legalize It!

ThinkProgress: Former World Leaders Call For Legal, Regulated Drugs

Seattlepi: International leaders plea for end of War on Drugs

CBC: Decriminalize cocaine and psychedelics, global group urges

International Business Times UK: World Leaders to Meet with UN to Discuss Drug Decriminalisation, also Richard Branson: War on Drugs ‘Like a Business Which has Failed for 50 Years’

U.S. News and World Report: Ex-Leaders of 8 Countries Say It’s Time to Try Drug Legalization

Fox News Latino: World Leaders Of All Stripes Call For Drug Legalization In New Report Ahead Of UN General Assembly

… and still more to come.

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Huge Story – Global Commission calls for decriminalization, regulation, and legalization

We’ve been waiting for a big report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy. It was released tonight, and it’s huge.

Washington Post: Former world leaders call for nations to decriminalize drug use and experiment with legalization

Drug use should be decriminalized and governments should experiment with drug legalization and regulation, a group of former world leaders argues in a new report published on Monday night.

The recommendations from the Global Commission on Drug Policy reflect the views of the former leaders of some of the countries hardest hit by the illegal drug trade. In the report, they strongly argue that a costly global war on drugs has not only failed but threatens public health, fosters discrimination and fuels the very crime and violence it seeks to prevent.

“The facts speak for themselves. It is time to change course,” former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, one of the commissioners, says in a statement. “We need drug policies informed by evidence of what actually works, rather than policies that criminalize drug use while failing to provide access to effective prevention or treatment. This has led not only to overcrowded jails but also to severe health and social problems.”

CNN: Why it’s time for drug regulation by Richard Branson

This latest report, “Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work,” reflects a new evolution in our thinking. We not only reiterate the case for decriminalization, alternatives to incarceration, and greater emphasis on public health approaches, but we now also call for permitting the legal regulation of psychoactive substances.

The reality is that the most effective way to advance the goals of public health and safety is to get drugs under control through responsible legal regulation. Much can be learned from the successes and failures in regulating alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceutical drugs and other products and activities that pose health risks to individuals and societies.

Al Jazeera: World figures call for decriminalization of all drug use

Otto Pérez Molina, the president of Guatemala, floated an audacious idea last December. His government was considering legalizing the production of opium poppy — heroin’s main ingredient — as an alternative to combating drug-fueled bloodshed in Central America, where the number of violent deaths today mirror those of the 1980s, when the region was entangled in civil wars.

That seemingly fanciful proposal gained steam on Monday with the release of a pioneering report titled “Take Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work.” In the report, a group of global luminaries calls for the decriminalization of all drug use and the legal regulation of psychoactive substances. The Global Commission on Drugs — headed by the likes of former U.N. secretary general Kofi Anan, Reagan-era U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, and former presidents of Latin America — represents the most distinguished group of leaders to call for drastic drug policy alternatives.

Punitive drug laws, the commission says, must be replaced by public health principles and a focus on human rights. Treat drug users as patients not criminals, members say, and counter drug-traffickers by regulating illegal drug markets and slicing into the money — and power — generated by drug syndicates, which the United Nations estimates rake in $330 billion a year.

“The call for experimentation with regulation is just common sense given the failures of the current ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach,” said John Collins, coordinator of the London School of Economics’ IDEAS International Drug Policy Project. “It’s clear that the old approach is politically unsustainable as member states such as the U.S. and Uruguay move ahead with new models of regulation around cannabis.”

Tom Angell with Marijuana Majority:

“With polling having shown consistent majority voter support for legalizing marijuana in the U.S. for several years now, it’s been clear that this is a mainstream issue in this country. Now this group of world leaders has not only put marijuana legalization on the table for serious consideration on the global stage, but has gone even further by suggesting that ending the prohibition of other drugs should be considered as a way to better protect public health and safety. The hope now is that these forward-thinking recommendations by so many respected former heads of state will encourage current officials to modernize their nations’ policies.”

Here’s the report

Our recommendations can be summarized as follows:

Putting health and community safety first requires a fundamental reorientation of policy priorities and resources, from failed punitive enforcement to proven health and social interventions. Read More
  • Stop criminalizing people for drug use and possession – and stop imposing “compulsory treatment” on people whose only offense is drug use or possession. Read more
  • Focus on reducing the power of criminal organizations as well as the violence and insecurity that result from their competition with both one another and the state. Read more
  • Ensure equitable access to essential medicines, in particular opiate-based medications for pain. Read more
  • Rely on alternatives to incarceration for non-violent, low-level participants in illicit drug markets such as farmers, couriers and others involved in the production, transport and sale of illicit drugs. Read more
  • Allow and encourage diverse experiments in legally regulating markets in currently illicit drugs, beginning with but not limited to cannabis, coca leaf and certain novel psychoactive substances. Read more
  • Here are some of the members of the commission:

    Global Commission on Drug Policy
    From left: Branson, Annan, Zedillo, Cardoso, Gaviria, Dreifuss, Kazatchkine, Sampaio and Stoltenberg

    The full commission includes:

    Aleksander Kwasniewski
    Former President of Poland

    Asma Jahangir
    Human rights activist, former UN Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary, Extrajudicial and Summary Executions, Pakistan

    Carlos Fuentes
    Writer and public intellectual, Mexico – in memoriam

    César Gaviria
    Former President of Colômbia

    Ernesto Zedillo
    Former President of Mexico

    Fernando Henrique Cardoso
    Former President of Brazil (chair)

    George Papandreou
    Former Prime Minister of Greece

    George Shultz
    Former Secretary of State, United States (honorary chair)

    Javier Solana
    Former European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Spain

    John Whitehead
    Banker and civil servant, chair of the World Trade Center Memorial, United States

    Jorge Sampaio
    Former President of Portugal

    Kofi Annan
    Former Secretary General of the United Nations, Ghana

    Louise Arbour
    Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, president of the International Crisis Group, Canada

    Maria Cattaui
    Former Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce, Switzerland

    Mario Vargas Llosa
    Writer and public intellectual, Peru

    Michel Kazatchkine
    Professor of medicine, former Executive director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

    Paul Volcker
    Former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve and of the Economic Recovery Board, US

    Pavel Bém
    Former Mayor of Prague, member of the Parliament, Czech Republic

    Ricardo Lagos
    Former president of Chile

    Richard Branson
    Entrepreneur, advocate for social causes, founder of the Virgin Group, cofounder of The Elders, United Kingdom

    Ruth Dreifuss
    Former President of Switzerland and Minister of Home Affairs

    Thorvald Stoltenberg
    Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Norway

    This is truly an impressive set of recommendations that have the potential to really shake up the status quo of international drug policy.

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