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March 2008
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Illinois Medical Marijuana advances

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SPRINGFIELD Ö The hazy path to legalizing medical marijuana in Illinois cleared a little Wednesday when a committee on public health sent the legislation to the Senate floor on a 6-4 vote.
The measure, sponsored by state Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, would allow marijuana card holders to receive prescriptions for medical marijuana and the plant it grows on, thus avoiding any illegal means of obtaining the drug.

Of course, the usual jerks are already coming out of the woodwork. Check out this lobbyist:

Limey Nargelenas, director of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, says there are better ways to go about legalizing the drug than ‹hiding behind sick people.Š
‹I think it‰s a shame what they‰re doing here,Š Nargelenas said. ‹They‰re using sick people here to try to legalize marijuana. I think if the Legislature wants to legalize marijuana, let‰s talk about it, debate it and see if that‰s what the people want.Š

Gee, why would a lobbyist for police organizations care about medical marijuana legalization? It wouldn’t be to protect their drug war jobs, would it?

The INCB is out of control and needs to be stopped

Most people in the United States aren’t even familiar with the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), but it has a lot of influence in the world. What is it?
It describes itself as the “quasi-judicial control organ monitoring the implementation of the United Nations drug control conventions.” Quasi-judicial control organ sounds like something diseased that should be removed with surgery. And it should be (although apparently without anesthesia).
What the INCB does through its proclamations, reports, and press releases (it also has some power to actually control countries’ access to legal pain drugs) is to essentially squelch any kind of drug policy reform efforts and push for mindless across-the-board prohibition. Because of its United Nations status it provides cover for hard-line governments looking to reject reform and bullies governments who are trying to look at other solutions.
It’s also “independent.” Which appears to mean that it lacks any accountability and can decide to re-interpret or simply make up what it feels is right for the world’s drug policy.
When I was at the International Drug Policy conference in December, I got to meet a number of incredible international reform figures. The INCB was practically a swear word with them.
Here’s what the INCB is up to now:

Abolishing Coca Leaf Consumption. They are demanding “the Governments of Bolivia and Peru to initiate action without delay with a view to eliminating uses of coca leaf, including coca leaf chewingŠ and that all countries ‹should establish as a criminal offence, when committed intentionally, the possession and purchase of coca leaf for personal consumption.” The coca leaf (found to be beneficial for consumption by the World Health Organization) has been a key feature of Andean-Amazon indigenous cultures.

Read further in this link for a wealth of material about the INCB from the always excellent Transform.

Shutting Down Drug Injection Sites in Canada

The head of the United Nations drug control board put the federal government on notice yesterday to rein in provincial and other health authorities […] The new report says Canada should end regional handouts of drug paraphernalia and close “injection sites” where drug users are allowed to consume illicit drugs under supervision.

In other words, harm reduction is not an allowable activity according to the INCB.