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April 2007



Open Thread

I’m up in Chicago today, playing the piano for an agent showcase at Victory Gardens’ Biograph theatre. I know there are lots of interesting things to discuss. “bullet” thehim’s Drug War Roundup is always wonderful. “bullet” The White House’s embarrassing screw-up about cocaine and Colombia continues to get growing coverage in the media. “bullet” Alex […]

Presidential Candidates…

Mike Gravel:

The United States incarcerates more people and at a higher rate than any other peacetime nation in the world. According to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics the number of US residents behind bars has now reached more than 2.3 million.
We are losing an entire generation of young men and women to our prisons. Our nation‰s ineffective and wasteful ‹war on drugsŠ plays a major role in this. We must place a greater emphasis on rehabilitation and prevention. We must de-criminalize minor drug offenses and increase the availability and visibility of substance abuse treatment and prevention in our communities as well as in jails and prisons. […]

Dennis Kucinich

I have studied the issue for decades and recognize that our “War on Drugs” has failed. In fact, because our War on Drugs drives up the price, it encourages violence. Prohibition simply doesn’t work. It only creates thousands and thousands of Al Capones. Prison should be for people who hurt other people, not themselves. We don’t jail people for merely drinking. We jail people when they drink and drive or hurt another human. […]

Ron Paul

While recognizing the harm that drug abuse causes society, we also recognize that government drug policy has been ineffective and has led to frightening abuses of the Bill of Rights which could affect the personal freedom of any American. We, therefore, support alternatives to the War on Drugs.
Per the tenth amendment to the US Constitution, matters such as drugs should be handled at the state or personal level.
All laws which give license to violate the Bill of Rights should be repealed.


Kind of unusual, wouldn’t you say? Three major-party candidates taking strong positions in opposition to the war on drugs (along with Bill Richardson’s support for medical marijuana). Admittedly, they’re three fringe major-party candidates, but still… it’s pretty impressive. And Gravel and Kucinich even put their positions out boldly right on their candidacy web pages (I’m not sure why Paul hasn’t done that, but he’s certainly been an extremely strong advocate for reform.)
Sure, when it comes to the actual election, we’ll probably have to choose between a drug war cheerleader and a drug war apologist, but let’s enjoy the moment.

The story of Kathryn Johnston’s death

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which has been doing an excellent job of coverage, has the timeline of the actual events that led to the death of Kathryn Johnston

They fabricated all the right answers to persuade a magistrate to give them a no-knock search warrant. By 6 p.m., they had the legal document they needed to […]

Open Thread


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A former political hack talks about medical marijuana

He’s long been both a hateful drug war cheerleader and and embarrassment to Illinois (see this for some examples), and now former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has weighed in on the medical marijuana debate in Illinois with this letter in the Chicago Sun-Times

As a former schoolteacher and coach and father of […]

An embarrassment for the Drug Czar

White House letter: U.S. cocaine prices drop despite billions spent on drug war

The street price of cocaine fell in the United States last year as purity rose, the White House drug czar said in a private letter to a key senator, seemingly contradicting U.S. claims that US$4 billion (euro2.9 billion) in aid to Colombia […]

… and now for something completely different

I’m in a Terry Gilliam-drawn heaven. I have just received a wonderful gift from my Amazon wish list — the complete, 16 DVD megaset of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, with every episode in the series history, plus two bonus discs: Monty Python Live! Wow! It’ll be some great fuel, Phil. Thanks so much!

Some of Kathryn Johnston’s murderers indicted

New York Times

A Fulton County grand jury has indicted three current and former police officers who were involved in botched drug raid that led to the death of an elderly Atlanta woman in November. Officer Jason R. Smith, who is on administrative leave from the Atlanta Police Department and Gregg Junnier, who retired from […]

Marijuana Stories

Check out the following three stories about marijuana. Consider which ones are the most important, and then consider on which one the Drug Czar decided to focus.
“bullet” Studies Validate Smoke-Free Marijuana on the use of vaporizors.

Two new studies, one from the University of California, San Francisco, and the other from the University at Albany, State University of New York, provide strong evidence that technology now allows medical use of marijuana with the rapid action and easy dose adjustment of inhalation, but without the respiratory hazards associated with smoking.

“bullet” Marijuana May Fight Lung Tumors

In lab and mouse studies, the compound, known as THC, cut lung tumor growth in half and helped prevent the cancer from spreading, says Anju Preet, PhD, a Harvard University researcher in Boston who tested the chemical.
While a lot more work needs to be done, ‹the results suggest THC has therapeutic potential,Š she tells WebMD.
Moreover, other early research suggests the cannabis compound could help fight brain, prostate, and skin cancers as well, Preet says.

“bullet” U.S. marijuana even stronger than before: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The marijuana being sold across the United States is stronger than ever, which could explain a growing number of medical emergencies that involve the drug, government drug experts on Wednesday.

OK, so maybe that was too easy. Obviously, the drug czar skipped one and two and went directly to three. Of course, as Scott Morgan notes, the ONDCP had to promote the massive dangers of pot that is, on average, twice as potent as the old pot, while somehow ignoring their earlier claims of it being 10, 20, or 30 times as potent.
And, of course, there are the two big points that make the drug czar’s hysteria irrelevant:

When it’s more potent, people smoke less. (Nobody sits down with a six-pack of Bacardi 151 rum.)
If you’re concerned about potency levels, the best response is to legalize and regulate.

And then the Drug Czar lies:

John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy and President Bush‰s ‹Drug CzarŠ expressed serious concerns regarding this trend, ‹This new report serves as a wake-up call for parents who may still hold outdated notions about the harms of marijuana. Evidence now tells us that the higher-than-ever potency of today‰s marijuana translates into serious health consequences for teens. Among teens who are receiving treatment for drug abuse or dependence, more than 60% report marijuana as their primary drug of abuse. Additionally, we are now seeing more mentions of marijuana during visits to emergency rooms than ever before. A growing body of research now tells us that marijuana poses a serious threat to the health and futures of young people.

Oh, yes, it is a lie. Plain and simple. He’ll tell you that it’s not, but he’s lying.
The definition of “lie”

: to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive
: to create a false or misleading impression

The drug czar knows that the information he gives about treatment and emergency room visits have nothing to do with potency, so by continually implying that they do, he is lying. (I’ve gone through the numbers before, you can see some of them here, or pick up a copy of Lies, Damed Lies, and Drug War Statistics).
I know that we come to expect as normal that our government (and particularly the ONDCP) is going to lie to us. But we should never get complacent about it. And the press should stop letting them get away with it.

Have you acted yet?

The General’s Inner Frenchman makes it clear why you should.