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August 2009
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Open thread

bullet image Froma Harrop: Pot Could be Gold for California

A bill to “tax and regulate” marijuana like alcohol now before the California legislature has strong support. But it’s not going anywhere as long as “legalization” is not in Obama’s vocabulary. The word “hypocrisy” has apparently made the cut.

bullet image Eric Sterling has a must-read post: NPR — Pot dispensaries in CA are medical fraud. Eric’s post continues beyond the NPR outrage to talking about the use of marijuana in non-medical settings…

Marijuana should be legal for healthy people to use socially, spiritually, or to alter their mood. […]

It seems to me that in considering the totality of circumstances it is close to being within the concept of a fundamental Constitutionally protected liberty to be able to use marijuana at a show like a Rolling Stones concert! Surely no adult ought to apologize for smoking pot there!

bullet image Commentary: War on drugs is over. What’s next? by Rudy Ruiz at CNN. Can anybody tell me what Rudy said? I read it three times and can make no sense of it, in terms of coming up with a coherent commentary.

bullet image Bruce Mirken slams the Idiocy at Forbes.com, where columnist Rachel Ehrenfield has written ObamaCare’s Medical Marijuana. Ehrenfield claims, simply by reading that NIDA has an RFP for growing and packaging marijuana, that Soros-sponsored Obama healthcare is leading to government distribution of marijuana.

Oh dear. That the federal government has been distributing medical marijuana to a small group of patients for more than three decades seems to have escaped her notice. So has the fact that, under present (thoroughly dysfunctional) rules, scientists doing clinical research on marijuana must obtain the marijuana for testing from NIDA, along with the fact that for most of that time the government has contracted with the University of Mississippi to produce marijuana for this purpose.

NIDA has to put out that RFP by law all the time. It’s nothing new, and the contract will once again go to the University of Mississippi, where they will grow the pot used by researchers trying to find something bad in marijuana, and also package the joints shipped out every month to Irv Rosenfeld and others.

See also Jacob Sullum: People Will Be So Stoned That They Won’t Care About the Death Boards

bullet image The increasingly huge American drug testing industry is trying to expand internationally. American biotech company Confirm BioSciences launched a drug testing kit product in Australia.

Parents who buy the $65 kit can collect a lock of their child’s hair and send it to the US to be analysed for drugs including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, amphetamine and methamphetamine.

But Australians may not be so quick to jump on board.

NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Cameron Murphy said such kits were notoriously inaccurate and called for consumers to be wary.

“All parents worry about their kids and these companies exploit their fears,” he said. […]

Australian Drug Foundation director Geoff Munro said testing children would not resolve substance abuse and could even create bigger problems. “It’s a very bad idea for parents to become detectives. It’s like reading a child’s diary, it’s violating their privacy.

“It will destroy trust and once that has gone it’s difficult, if not impossible, to rebuild.”

If parents were concerned children may be using drugs, they should talk to them or seek advice from health professionals, he said.

bullet image Feds Raid Two Los Angeles Pot Dispensaries. Seize plants, money, arrest owner, shoot dog.

bullet image Is there not something fundamentally wrong with this story?

A Talladega man was sentenced to life in prison Thursday by Talladega County Circuit Judge Julian King after having pleaded guilty to three counts of unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance in the second degree.[…]

According to Talladega County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force Commander Jason Murray, Barber was initially arrested on charges of manufacturing and possession of a controlled substance. When he failed to appear for a court hearing, Murray said, Task Force agents went to his house and found him cooking up more methamphetamine.

After posting a bond on the second arrest, but before the first one could be revoked, he was seen purchasing meth precursors, and was caught a third time. […]

“Bless his heart,” Murray said, “he said he just can’t help himself. He’s a disabled Viet Nam veteran, but he just likes getting high too much.”

Bless his heart and give him life in prison. Is perhaps the criminal justice system not the right tool for dealing with this person’s problems?

bullet image I’ll be talking more about this later. Keep watching this space. I may wait for Mark’s book to come out.

bullet image DrugSense Weekly – a weekly review of the most interesting or relevant articles in the press and on the web related to drug policy reform.

bullet imageDrug War Chronicle – weekly update of drug war news and analysis from Stop the Drug War.org.

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10 comments to Open thread

  • DdC

    Californicators are getting rich on moratoriums,
    and Jerry Brownose Prop 215 bastardization opinion.

    Pssst, can you keep a secret?

    Cannabis May Protect Against Osteoporosis
    Cannabis could protect bones from weakening in later life, scientists have said. just don’t tell anyone…

    Kooky’s last gig 100,000 showed up and stoked up.
    Why isn’t everyday, everywhere a Hempfest?

    Seattle Hempfest 2009 kicks off Saturday
    Seattle Hempfest 2009 will roll out the green carpet 10:00am to 8:00pm Saturday and Sunday, August 15th and 16th in Myrtle Edwards Park on the downtown waterfront.

    This is from YOUR drug worriers gossip Unkle Tom Obama…

    Woman Dies After Being Denied Transplant Over Pot
    Hawaiian woman Kimberly Reyes died after HMSA declined to cover her liver transplant due to marijuana use.

    Na na na na na, told ya so…
    damn I love the smell of science catching up…

    The Gateway Out
    Cannabis substitution is being recognized as a viable solution in the battle against drug addiction.

    It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood
    It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood… btw

    Georgia Lawmaker Wants to KILL YOUR CHILDREN
    From the NORML Blog: Loretta Nall
    Georgia Lawmaker Calls for Caning, Executing Marijuana Offenders

    King Georgia does seem to spawn more than its fair share of Fear Godding Knewty groupie Wingnuts, Pa winters started sucking so I would truck on down to Fla. Hitching the East Coast you used to have to skip over the entire state and wait for a ride to Atlanta, then the “Underground” was full of bars and bands, a free “Hitching Post” to crash, Peachtree was a line of strip clubs and they did give us the Allman Brothers and somehow Little Richard.

    The Allman Brothers Band

    Candyman Stoner
    Freaking out over hemp candy. Dudes seeing UFO’s and hearing candy sending the wrong message to kids.

    “Casual drug users should be taken out and shot.”
    ~ Daryl Gates message to kids…
    Founder of DARE – Father of SWAT

    Bob Barr the UnLibertarian
    Potentially converted or maybe just John Birch incognito.

    On the Larry King Show in late 1989, then drug czar William Bennett, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2000, said he had no moral problems with beheading drug dealers -only legal ones.

    Ganjawar Monger “DEAth”

    Death Penalty for Two Ounces of Marijuana!
    (from September/October 1996 Marijuana Policy Report)
    Picture this: An indiscreet American college student returning from a vacation in Mexico is caught with two ounces of marijuana in his pocket. A judge is forced to sentence him to spend the rest of his life in federal prison. If this is his second offense, he will be executed. Could this really happen in America? Yes, if U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and his cronies have their way.

  • I don’t see how someone can say there’s a right to use marijuana but not all other drugs.

    More “pot is okay, but otherwise the drug war is great!” hypocrisy. Drives me nuts. Medical, spiritual, and “rolling stone concert” use of heroin, cocaine, and LSD is just as legitimate as pot, and just as much of a fundamental right. You know, what of those rights mentioned implicitly in the 9th Amendment, like any other action that doesn’t hurt anyone other than the individual making the decision.

  • Who is saying that, Bruce?

  • DdC

    It’s Appeasement Bruce, and you are correct sir,
    in Utopia. But look around.
    We’re far far away in a distant galaxy known as DEAthland.

    Do not confuse appeasement with tactfulness or generosity. Appeasement is not consideration for the feelings of others, it is consideration for and compliance with the unjust, irrational and evil feelings of others. It is a policy of exempting the emotions of others from moral judgment, and of willingness to sacrifice innocent, virtuous victims to the evil malice of such emotions.

    “The truly and deliberately evil men are a very small minority;
    it is the appeaser who unleashes them on mankind.”

    — Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

    It’s the selfish inherent in some, all or most humans survival I guess, when their comfort zones are threatened. Or they find an easy paycheck. When they are “programmed” to get ahead and be the best at any cost, stepping over the homeless to get to the blue plate special. To their own rewards and the hell with the rest.

    White Powders and ignorance along with hallucinogens, same as inexperienced dirt bikers trying back flips, or riding dirt bikes on mescaline, all leads to statistics. Dirt bikes are legal regardless. “Drugs” including plants statistics are to perpetuate mandatory “necessary treatments” for profit. Deprived White Powder Junkies are lower on the food chain, very exploitable and prime tools for LEO.

    The RxGanja and Hemp reformers have been selling out stoners for decades. Selling each other out. Most Reverently Using see the same value in the whole species as do most stoners. Probably the chastisers biggest customers. Very forgiving these stoners. Unlike the system reform units totally disassociating themselves with the right to self governance. So Constitutionally you are correct. They shouldn’t. They shouldn’t lie and schedule Ganja and Hemp #1 Narcotics. False advertising, the lemon laws… Like Nixon’s promise of flashbacks, I mean damn how long I gotta wait?

    Though ignorance is taught and like the prohibition is actually doing the damage, Its only the results the yellow journalists in the mainstream gossip about. The “proper” church deems most addictions as sins. The sins of addiction are in each one who profits on the misery they cause. The drug worriers, thugs and professional propagandists are the sinners.

    I’ve been helping people get Ganja since the 70’s, never made a buck after 72. “Professionally” since 1990, quasi-legally since 96. Loaned a thousand joints out and never got paid back. I’m for needle exchange as a Band-Aid until reality lets the clinics handle it. Heroin Deficiency. Clinical doses the same as any other chemical adulterant. Nothing to do with the Justice stism.

    LSD and stronger for mental disorders clinically seems right, I personally feel they are white powders. Natural substances should be the opposite of clinical and initially under the guidance of Entheogenic Masters and their Sha-persons. Like driving instruction. It should be taught to receive the proper experience. Learning OJT with no one to ask wasn’t always fun and could have and has been bummers for many individuals and hundreds serving big time from judges weighing the paper.

    So I try to remember it is a war and being right doesn’t mean shit to a bullet. They continue to send kids to shoot other kids over fables they know we know they fabricated, for profit. Junkies and Bustee’s make themselves vulnerable to the machine. It crunches humans then re-cycles them, Its big and red and eats rocks, called a big red rock eater. Reformers appeasing the politikop suckers are like dot commies trying to use the system to control the system only ending up making the system fat and lazy, Eating up the small fries til it burst. After the Banksters with the Treasury funds rode off into the sunset. Boosh tossing money on the war brokers like confetti. Then plants a big wet kiss on a cardboard cutout of PT Barnum, waving bye bye to the loyal ditto’s.

    Ganja isn’t a drug and has no business in the discussion, while Hemp is plain business favors to the food and crude monopolies.
    No ConPromise!

    DEAth fascism.jpg

  • kaptinemo

    WRT the Ruiz article, it seemed to me that he was stating that drug prohibition is moot so long as a (European-descended) Mexican ruling class continuing to hoard the wealth.

    As for the RAND study, this looks like “Broken Windows, Lite”…which had produced the very results that have led to prison over-crowding the study seeks to reduce.

    They just don’t get it. The wannabe alchemists and social ‘scientists’ just won’t give up. No matter how hard they try, they just can’t get that lump of mud (DrugWar) to change into an apple pie (a ‘drug-free’ America). But, so long as we’re willing to foot the bill for their madness, they’ll keep trying.

    But that won’t be for long. The money’s running out, and soon there will be loud calls in legislatures around the country for greater fiscal accountability. The tea-bagger stunts are just the beginning. And that means an end to most if not all the policy-tweaking and scavenger hunts for ‘magic bullets’ that only produce more (and even more expensive) failures.

    Studies that fail to take into account the ever-contracting economy and all that that implies, and act as if the present system isn’t already dangerously over-strained, are not being terribly realistic. Where will the money for drug courts come from when Joe The Formerly Employed Taxpayer needs unemployment bennies? He’s not going to give a rat’s backside about locking up ‘dopers’, not when the money to do so needs to be in his wallet right now.

    So, the ivory tower denizens can dream up crap all they want, but when it comes to the crunch, the crunch will have the upper hand. And that crunch is in the form of an economy that just can’t take any more fiscal black holes gnawing at it…

  • DdC

    Hempfest: Playing Down Its Tie-Dye Image By Emily Heffter
    CN Source: Seattle Times August 16, 2009 Washington

    To give Seattle’s annual marijuana festival a more polished, professional look, Hempfest director Vivian McPeak tamed his dreadlocks Saturday, pulling them into a ponytail and topping them with a hat. McPeak and his hairstyle are responding to a culture shift at Hempfest, in its 18th year in Seattle. At the first Hempfest in 1991, 500 protesters gathered at Volunteer Park to push a fringe political agenda.

    Ron Jeremy and The Herbivores at Seattle Hempfest 2009

    US PA: Column: At Woodstock, What If It Was Booze?
    Carpenter, Paul Morning Call 16 Aug 2009

  • America claims to be a ‘free country’, even a beggar in India has more rights than anyone in America, and the airports are just one glaring example of the lack of basic rights in America, while they loudly and constantly advertise ‘Free Country’. It should have already raised everyone’s suspicions, why does America constantly have to advertise ‘freedom’ ? It is because every fundamental freedom in America has been sabotaged and cancelled. Shah Rukh episode is tip of American iceberg. Read this challenging article in http://deshkidarti.com . Find out how India compares to America. We are much more free than them.

  • DdC: I don’t think it’s appeasement, I think it’s hypocrisy. I realize it’s easier to advocate legalizing pot than crack, but it seems extremely hypocritical and even selfish to me. To only advocate for the legalization of your drug of choice while implicitly conceding that all the other drugs that other people like are properly criminalized.

    If one’s position is let’s start with marijuana and then when the world doesn’t end, we can move on to decriminalizing the other drugs, then fine – I can and do respect that position. But I don’t know anyone out there who actually takes that position.

    Either drugs possession/use is a crime or it’s not. All or nothing. The grand purpose should be to end the public policy disaster that is drug prohibition, not to make someone’s glaucoma or chemotherapy a little more bearable (that’s nice too, but it should be seen as a benefit of ending prohibition).

    • DdC

      BruceM

      DdC: I don’t think it’s appeasement, I think it’s hypocrisy. I realize it’s easier to advocate legalizing pot than crack, but it seems extremely hypocritical and even selfish to me. To only advocate for the legalization of your drug of choice while implicitly conceding that all the other drugs that other people like are properly criminalized.

      Well I might agree if Ganja was a drug. Or especially Hemp. But they have no man made poisons involved in their making. White Powders do. I believe everything of Nature is above man’s laws and should be protected from these paranoid drug worriers. But man made substances have a list of victims. Same as anything humans invent that has potential to harm others. It is your right to do whatever you wish but not when it can do harm to others. Not hand grenades or anthrax or nukes. So I agree it is hypocrisy if you lump Ganja and Hemp into the mix. Heroin and crack had victims to build on while Ganja and Hemp were totally out of capitalistic fascism eliminating competition. You’re comparing apples and oranges like most Libitars living in Utopia. Yes yes I agree in a perfect world we wouldn’t need unemployment or foodstamps or housing assistance. But the forefathers didn’t have corporate citizens spending unlimited amounts buying lackeys to legislate for their profits. The international corporations have no allegiance to our Constitution. So cutting off your nose to spite your face is still ludicrous. When we stop the mad slashers from lacerating the people then we can talk about removing the Band-Aids. Not reversed.

      As for the appeasement statement was concerning McPeak, who I have a lot of admiration for his past work. But bending to societies whim tucking his dreads under his hat is appeasing the majority and not being true to himself. Hypocrisy for sure if he still advocates a Natural lifestyle. That would include eliminating human fabricated barbers. The appeasement comes from why he thinks he should do it. My stance is you can’t be true to others if you aren’t true to yourself. So the appeasers are hypocrites. But hypocrites don’t need a reason to appease. Appeasers are trying to compromise for personal gain. All politics is comprised of appeasers while some of them aren’t necessarily hypocrites. At least fully by definition. Not like Bill Bennett losing 8 million in slot machines advocating beheading drug users while writing books about virtues. No appeasing. Just doing the opposite of what he says. Most of these Neocons are flat out wingnuts and say whatever it takes to get your vote.

      If one’s position is let’s start with marijuana and then when the world doesn’t end, we can move on to decriminalizing the other drugs, then fine – I can and do respect that position. But I don’t know anyone out there who actually takes that position.

      That isn’t my position. That is the generic response that doesn’t apply here. Ganja not the derogatory “M” buzzword by Hearst, is not a drug and Hemp is not a drug. So you saying it is, is the same as outlawing gasoline because kids huff it. Actually people die from gasoline and no one has died from Ganja. So it’s clear to me. If you remove Ganja from the controlled substance act, that it should have never been in. The drug war collapses. If you try to legalize poison in the same boat as benign Ganja and Hemp then this is what you get. Perpetuation for Profits. That is why you hear of Ganja and Hemp advocates and no one advocating for crack except Utopians. You might as well lump potatoes into the mix if you include Ganja and Hemp.

      Al Capone and Watergate were red herrings to divert the countries attention from the Fascist acts of eliminating competition. Booze/Ethanol or Ganja//Hemp.

      Either drugs possession/use is a crime or it’s not. All or nothing.

      I agree, just not with Ganja or Hemp or any natural entheogen. I also agree the white powders should be in the same drug stores away from shoplifting kids. Including “entheogens” synthesized into white powders. You don’t have the “right” to nuclear weapons or even to legally commit suicide. Even if it’s a death with dignity occurrence that I support. Not my laws. Nothing in the Constitution states you have the right to kill yourself. So beating this dead horse won’t win the race.

      The grand purpose should be to end the public policy disaster that is drug prohibition, not to make someone’s glaucoma or chemotherapy a little more bearable (that’s nice too, but it should be seen as a benefit of ending prohibition).

      I agree, it should have never been added in the first place. But like a stop sign after so many deaths. The deaths outside of suicide cases are totally caused by prohibition. That should be your agenda to educate the people on, that the drug war is responsible for drug victims more than the drugs, and none by Ganja or Hemp. Until the fascism is understood and dealt with these red herring diversions are inevitable. I’m a-political but if you forced me to claim a party it would be Green Libertarian. Both have flaws but are closer to the way I see it than the status quo Neocons. Libitars have to cut the Wall St umbilical cord and Greens need to realize in Fascism the government isn’t here to protect citizens, only profits. So having them enforce laws against their corporate sponsored existence isn’t going down. Reality is a terrible thing to waste…

      “The United States can’t be so fixed
      on our desire to preserve the rights
      of ordinary Americans . . . .”
      ~ Bill Clinton, March 1, 1993,
      during a press conference in Piscataway, N.J.
      (Boston Globe, 3/2/93, page 3; and USA Today, 3/11/93

  • Did you read the previous comment about this? They seem to have been edited.