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September 2004
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So much going on…

Here are a number of things I’ve gotten from the drug policy reform community that I hadn’t gotten around to yet, and probably deserved posts of their own. Check them out.
“bullet” Run Ricky Run: Football, Pot and Pain by Fred Gardner

“Williams, who suffers from social-anxiety disorder and was a spokesperson for the anti-depressant Paxil, said marijuana helped him once he had to stop using Paxil because it didn’t agree with his diet.

“‘Marijuana is 10 times better for me than Paxil,’ he said.

Interesting. Can’t be well received by Paxil’s company GlaxoSmithKline (huge campaign contributors). Doesn’t Ricky know that it’s un-American to replace expensive, synthetic, patented chemical drugs from Pharmaceutical companies with natural plants?

[Thanks to David]

“bullet” Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor of The Progress Report writes about the difficulties of supporting either major party given the way they are acting today and notes:

The President claims to be a compassionate conservative, but where is the compassion in denying suffering cancer victims medical marijuana? The Republican opposition to legalizing medical marijuana constitutes a denial of individual freedom and intrudes into criminal law that is Constitutionally reserved for the states. It shows cruelty rather than compassion.

I am continually amazed at the ease with which so many Republicans seem to have willingly given up the notion of states’ rights and individual freedom and responsibility. I’m very curious to understand why that has happened.

[Thanks to Scott]

“bullet” Weather report: getting chilly in the Netherworld. Last week, something very rare happened:

DENVER — Dana May, a chronically-ill medical marijuana patient, and his lawyer Robert J. Corry, Jr., will pick up May’s marijuana growing equipment seized by the DEA earlier this year. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) earlier said this is the first time in history that the federal government has returned marijuana growing equipment it previously seized.

Boy, I would have liked to watch that.

[Thanks to Walter in Denver]

“bullet” Alaskan marijuana rights. This new development has been widely reported, but I hadn’t gotten around to commenting on it. You may want to first read my post when the courts in Alaska legalized the private in-home posession of 4 ounces or less of marijuana.

“With regard to possession of marijuana by adults in their home for personal use, (the law) must be interpreted to prohibit only the possession of 4 ounces or more of marijuana,” wrote Court of Appeals Judge David Stewart in the conclusion of the unanimous decision.

That decision was based primarily on the Alaskan state constitution clause which states: “The right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed…”
Now, the courts have clarified that there must be reason to believe that the amount of marijuana in a home is over 4 ounces before issuing a search warrant. Well, that just makes sense. Except to prosecutors:

State prosecutors argued that the earlier decisions did not legalize marijuana possession in the home. Rather, the decisions created a defense that people can use when they are charged with possession.

How stupid is that? OK, so there’s a law that is based on the rights of the individual to privacy in their own home and possessing marijuana for their own use. Yet, somehow prosecutors don’t see a problem with going into your home after any amount of marijuana and have you, what, reclaim your privacy by showing in court that it was only an ounce? Fortunately, the court struck down that nonsensical notion. Are the prosecutors that dumb? Or that corrupt?
“bullet” Libby at Last One Speaks has the story that we’ve lost medical marijuana patient and activist Biz Ivol. She’ll be missed.
Also, Another DEA raid, Eddy Lepp (Medical Marijuana Producer) facing two life sentences, and more ridiculous eradication stories.
“bullet” Baylen at D’Alliance has a lot of good stuff as usual, including a picture of the Change the Climate ads as they made it into the Metro stations! Also, a chilling and strange story of Canadian customs activities, plus info on the decision by Drug Policy Alliance to reject Ford Foundation funding because of potential speech restrictions.
Baylen also points us to an outstanding editorial in the Denver Post: It’s time to rethink and reform drug laws

Thoughtful conservatives such as William F. Buckley are joining the call for sweeping reforms, including legalization, taxation and regulated sale of marijuana.

America’s war on drugs is now in its 90th year. Federal law first restricted access to cocaine, heroin and related drugs in 1914. Marijuana was outlawed in 1937. Now, after nine decades of largely futile and often counterproductive efforts at drug prohibition, the time has come to reevaluate and reform America’s drug laws. …

Even the last-gasp argument of prohibitionists against legalizing marijuana — the claim that today’s varieties are more potent than the pot so many baby boomers puffed in the ’60s and ’70s — is actually an argument for the legalization and regulation of the product. Tell major companies such as R.J. Reynolds that they can make billions of dollars growing and selling marijuana legally if they keep it within specified ranges of potency and you can be assured that their legal products will fall within the specified standards. As long as marijuana remains outlawed, there is no possibility of setting such standards.

Because of the federal government’s pre-emptive authority, Colorado cannot take the final step of legalizing and regulating marijuana on its own. It is time for Congress and the president to call a cease-fire in what has become not a war on drugs but a war on people who use drugs. Buckley and the wide-ranging authors of “The New Prohibition” have performed a signal service by highlighting the current drug war as a microcosm of the inevitable failures of a federal nanny-state mentality.

Read the whole thing.

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