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August 2009
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Open Thread

bullet image Barrett Brown notices that some conservatives (like the Weekly Standard), who have been fans of drug prohibition, have suddenly come to the conclusion that people should own their own bodies.

Since the terrible bloodletting of the Civil War, and now excepting military service, ownership of one’s body is a matter between the individual and God, with no intermediation by government. Yet assertions are now being made that government should have responsibility for, and thus authority over, the maintenance of our bodies … So let’s make up our minds. Does the government, in the last analysis, own your body, or do you?

Conservatives: If ownership of one’s body is so important that you’ll fight against national health care, why won’t you support the ownership of one’s body when it comes to drug policy?

Liberals: If ownership if one’s body is so important that you’ll fight for a woman’s right to choose, why won’t you support the ownership of one’s body when it comes to drug policy?

bullet image Study says it’s easier for teens to buy marijuana than beer. No surprise there.

bullet image Smoking marijuana does not cause lung cancer. That old news again? A good article by Fred Gardner.

bullet image It sure is hard to keep up the fiction that marijuana legalizers are nothing but stoners on Pete’s couch that have no motivation.

bullet image A Heroin User in Stockholm
An excellent video from the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union on drug policy in Sweden. Sweden is often allied with the U.S. in its hard-line approach to drug policy. This video exposes how Sweden ignores science and often refuses to help those in need.

I started up with heroin in 1991, and ended up in jail for three years, and so on. When I went to the social services they said: No, we can’t help you. You’re not down the drain enough, you have to do heroin for another four years and then you can come back and then we can help you.

bullet image “Just keep grinnin’ – We’re winnin’!”: Prosecutors debate the drug war Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast found an interesting online discussion between Texas prosecutors about the endless drug war.

bullet image Tide turns in favour of drug reform by Alex Wodek in the Brisbane Times

It is now clear that support for a drug policy heavily reliant on law enforcement is dwindling in Western Europe, the US and South America, while support for harm reduction and drug law reform is growing. Sooner or later this debate will start again in Australia.

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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19 comments to Open Thread

  • Chris

    All very good links, thanks.

  • DdC

    Marijuana’s New High Life By Adam Tschorn
    CN Source: Los Angeles Times August 29, 2009 USA

    In June, an estimated 25,000 people attended the inaugural THC Expo hemp and art show in downtown Los Angeles, an event that pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy — including a $22,400 payment directly to the city of Los Angeles for use of its convention center. Barneys New York in Beverly Hills is celebrating the Woodstock spirit by selling $78 “Hashish” candles in Jonathan Adler pots with bas-relief marijuana leaves; Hickey offers $75 linen pocket squares or $120 custom polo shirts bearing the five-part leaf; and French designer Lucien Pellat-Finet is serving up white-gold and diamond custom pot-leaf-emblazoned wristwatches for $49,000 and belt buckles for $56,000.

  • DdC

    Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Twitter Idea Sees ‘High’ Times
    California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s is asking people to Twitter their best ideas about how to fix the state’s economy to Myidea4ca.com. #1 on the list: LEGALIZE MARIJUANA!

  • jhelion

    for the argument of incalculable dose from organic cannabis use, is there a reference for how many micrograms of THC are in the equivalent of 1 joint, for the various strains? I’ve seen that marinol is distributed in 2.5,5 and 10mg capsules and would like to compare.

  • paul

    In response to the comment about people Twittering the governator to legalize MJ, legalizing MJ in California is probably not going to save the state economy. This assumes MJ is California’s number one or number two cash crop, and is a net exporter of the plant. It is important not to confuse the California government budget with the state economy. I see five direct effects of legalization and taxation:

    1. The state collects taxes on MJ, which will be an overall net negative to the local economy, but an overall benefit to California, which is a net exporter of MJ, because this will make money from other states flow into CA.

    2. The price of MJ will drop precipitously after legalization. This is a massive net negative to the state because California will lose all of that black market money circulating in the state economy

    3. Because the price of MJ drops, California MJ consumers will save a lot of money. This will offset the loses caused by point number 2 above somewhat, but not entirely because CA is a net exporter of MJ.

    4. The state economy will save a lot of money when the anti-MJ punishment apparatus is dismantled.

    5. People jailed for MJ will be released and some of them will return to work and contribute to the economy. If some continue to depend on the state for welfare benefits, this is still a big benefit because welfare is cheaper than prison.

    So there are 4 big sources of income and savings as a result of legalization, but one gigantic loss from MJ crop price declines. Without knowing the numbers, my guess is that the MJ price decline will be bigger than the rest of the benefits.

    On the bright side, the state budget will appear healthier, even if the state as a whole becomes poorer. The one unalloyed silver lining is that OTHER states will benefit from the low price of California dope without complications.

  • Cliff

    Regarding the first line of thought;

    Lately, and frequently I’m hearing the words ‘Progressive’ and ‘Statist’ used by conservatives to describe anyone who don’t agree with them. Usually it is without any thought to what they are really saying.

    Being a Libertarian from the Ron Paul for President days in the late 80’s, this comes as a surprise to me because the only time I ever heard the word statist was by a Libertarian and it was not that often. I never heard a Reagan supporter use the statist label, progressive sometimes, but never statist.

    The reason I say this, is because I believe that many conservatives are finally beginning to have a ‘Road to Damascus’ moment and realize that your body is your last and sometimes only refuge from the intrusions of the state.

    I also wonder if they (the conservatives) realize that the beginnings of the progressive movement included the the roots of all prohibitionist agenda, the war on certain drugs. I have a feeling that most don’t, but given some diligent and studious effort the truth will smack them upside the head like it did to me. They will have to study the roots of progressivism to find out that it is ultimately about control.

  • kaptinemo

    “I also wonder if they (the conservatives) realize that the beginnings of the progressive movement included the the roots of all prohibitionist agenda, the war on certain drugs. I have a feeling that most don’t, but given some diligent and studious effort the truth will smack them upside the head like it did to me. They will have to study the roots of progressivism to find out that it is ultimately about control.”

    Cliff, there’s more truth to that than many have realized yet. But there’s a major problem brewing, and if it isn’t nipped in the bud (no pun intended) then there’ll be Hell to pay later. That problem is how thew the word ‘libertarian’ is being dragged through the mud.

    When the NeoConservative movement (comprised largely of former Leftists and Trotskyites who favor using government for ramming their ideals down the throats of all others, just as they accused ‘libruhls’ of doing) took over traditional Goldwater conservativism back in the early 1970’s (which resulted in the Libertarian Party being formed) the writing was on the wall.

    Traditional conservatism, with its’ disdain of all attempts to legislate morality, was supplanted by something that took on the conservative mantle but acted like the very thing it said it stood against. The word ‘conservative’ began to mean right-wing big government, as opposed to left-wing big government. Lip-service was paid to libertarian ideals, but in practice such ideals were discarded. Corp-rat cronyism, which had always existed in this society thanks to the military-industrial complex, got a big leg-up with the ascent of the NeoCons.

    But said cronyism was falsely identified by the Left as being ‘free market’ philosophy in action, when nothing of the sort happened. So now so-called ‘progressives’ are dragging the word ‘libertarian’ in the mud, blaming their poor understanding of its’ meaning for what has happened these past 8 years.

    (And many of these so-called ‘progressives’ are deliberately refusing to correct that misunderstanding; I’ve had plenty of run-ins on ‘progressive’ Websites where I’ve pointed this out and been told they don’t care, they’ll continue to berate the word as they like, and F- you!)

    When there is a concerted effort underway to cause word value changes that will have political and social repercussions, I immediately think ‘propaganda at work’. The last time this happened, it was because the NeoCons wanted to demonize the word ‘liberal’ and make it so few people would associate themselves with that word. Their success is such that liberals are now calling themselves ‘progressives’ to avoid the frame the NeoCons made. Now the ‘progressives’ are doing the same thing…to the word ‘libertarian’. And seeing as the word’s original meaning had to do with the very core beliefs that govern personal freedom in this society, heaping scorn upon this word like this is like playing with matches while hip-deep in petrol.

  • DdC

    Paul, as long as the Feds maintain prohibition, Cali prices will stay according to risk, supply and demand, not much change. The Buyers Clubs charge more than the streets. Convenience and quality assurance is probably better than not having a connection. But price hasn’t dropped. The name of the game is to stay out of the cages.

    I just saw this by chance today, 8.30.9
    Not sure if it will repeat. Its listed for the 21st.
    Good interview.

    C-Span TV: NORML Founder Keith Stroup Interviews Author Of ‘Weed Man

    Fire up the ol’ DVR this weekend because C-SPAN TV is airing Washington Times‘ ‘Inside the Beltway’ columnist and author John McCaslin being interviewed by NORML founder and legal counsel Keith Stroup.

    Keith interviews John for an entire hour about his new book Weed Man, a biography about Jimmy Divine–one of America’s most prolific cannabis smugglers.

    Very progressive Evily Murphy was the Anslinger of Canada and superstar of the sufferage movement. Do gay women have a problem with Ganja?

    Stamp Out Emily Murphy Campaign

  • Guy#1

    It really doesn’t matter what principles conservatives and liberals say they have, a public policy that doesn’t accomplish the goal it was designed to should be terminated, not to mention prohibition of any kind is completely and totally unenforceable, like a law against anal sex.

  • DdC

    Here here Guy#1, I agree.

    We are what we have done not what we say we’re going to do or by having membership in some political club. Ones actions speak louder than words. Neo Cons and Neo Libs are fascists. Corporatists in partnership with government, including the largest corporation, the church. Military Pharmaceutical or Prison Industries. No bid contracts, pisstastes, prohibitions and monopolies. Not a democracy. It matters not who you vote for, what matters is who counts the votes.

  • Cliff

    “When there is a concerted effort underway to cause word value changes that will have political and social repercussions, I immediately think ‘propaganda at work’.”

    I also think about ‘psyops’ using the scorched earth policy of language denial and semantic infiltration.

    When I ran for office in 2000 I met an elderly gentleman who happened to be a judge who was also running for his district’s seat in the Colorado House, he was a Republican and he changed to Libertarian. As staunch a conservative as one could ever meet.

    The one reason he changed parties was the take over of the Republican Party by the Neocons and the Fundimentalist Christians. He was disgusted with the whole neocon agenda and embraced the Libertarian idealogy and platform as easily as one puts on an old comfortable pair of shoes. He was a true Goldwater conservative and his party had lost its way. He was one of the most active and enthusiastic campaigners of that cycle.

    Now we have the likes of Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity claiming Libertarian creds. This is almost as embarrassing as when Howard Stern ran for Governor in New York.

  • paul

    Cliff:

    The three “legs of the stool” supporting the Republican party are an uneasy alliance. Basically, they are God, War, and Money. They can all tolerate each other, but they are also in tension. For example, if you are in the Republican party for God, you may also like War and Money, but they are not what drives you and you will sacrifice them to advance your God faction.

    Recently, the Republican party collapsed under the weight of years of rule and the inevitable corruptions that follow. It seemed to me that War was in the driver’s seat, God was struggling with the wheel, and Money was in the back seat (It usually is). Money faction people fled to the Libertarians or just stayed home in disgust.

    This is the time in the Republican life cycle where War and God apologize to Money for mistreating it so badly when they were in power, and swear eternal friendship until the next successful election whereupon Money winds up in the back seat again. This is why Money faction Republicans tend to join the Libertarians, like the judge you mentioned in your previous post. I figure he was Money because War never joins the Libertarians, and God only rarely.

    There is a fourth faction that explains the rest of Republican behavior. This general Unprincipled faction is the one you hear from most of the time, especially after long periods of unbroken Republican rule. This is where your Glenn Beck and Sean Hannitys come in. These folks love power for its own sake, and will mouth whatever platitudes seem to do the trick, like claiming to be libertarians when in fact they are fascists, or claiming to love Jesus when they could care less about religion.

    The Unprincipled faction is usually in charge, and the Democratic party has a wing of the Unprincipled faction that appears to be in opposition to the Republican Unprincipleds, but is in fact allied to them. These amorphous factions include:

    Big Labor Unions
    many (but not all) Wall Street investment houses
    many corporations and lobbyist organizations
    Major news organizations
    Banks that are too big to fail
    Professional organizations (a.k.a. “guilds”) like the AMA
    Trial Lawyers

    And a host of other villains too petty and numerous to list.

  • regarding the fantastic questions posed to conservatives and liberals about sanctity of body from government and drug policy, those questions must insist that no response can use the word “children” or it is automatically disqualified.

    Invoking “the children” is used to justify any and all hypocrisy, inconsistency, and gross stupidity.

    I wish everyone who says the word “children” in a debate or in general public discourse would get a strong electric shock. We need to condition people not to invoke “the children”.

  • Cliff

    Paul;

    Thanks for your insightful and articulate response. I have never heard of your particular take on the Republicans, but it seems to describe their MO. I will keep it in mind while debating Republicans, it should prove to be useful.

  • DdC

    It sure is hard to keep up the fiction that marijuana legalizers are nothing but stoners on Pete’s couch that have no motivation.

    I’m honored, grateful and proud to be a stoner,
    motivation is my business…

    “Rauschgiftbekaempfung”
    Meant literally “The combatting of drugs”
    It was the unholy alliance of Nazi eugenics and american prohibition.

    Bruce, truth… not more censorship.
    If its a propaganda lie, then bust the liars.
    Anything in the realm of physical science can be proven.
    If it has no tangible evidence, especially when it’s a vested ignorance. Then bust their sorry traitorous butts. Especially those trusted with the publics interest. But as long as we let money and profit guide motive. It can’t change in spite of individuals attempts. Its like telling people not to drink water. If its legal or superficially nobel and you get paid for it, Hell slavery lasted 500 years.

    “If a ruler
    “Hearkens” to Lies
    all his servants are wicked.”

    — Prov:29:12

    If children are being harmed, censorship won’t help. Actually censorship is in full bloom concerning harming the kids. From Wall Mart St. sweatshops to guidance counselor medicating. Juvi prison sodomy deterrents and state foster care and religious rehabs. Not to mention the poisons sprayed over their farms or over-spraying coca crops and ditchweed. Food loaded with man made preservatives and adulterations while banning a balanced nutrition. The same as natural tobacco scapegoated for the harm caused by manufactured cigarettes. Fossil fools spewing asthma to kids and traffic jams breathing toxins, while OPECkers profit filling up more. Sometimes it is for the kids and it ain’t hard to tell. Follow the money.

    Truth

    Pro Life? Not even anti abortionists…
    The Florida Department of Agriculture has joined health officials in investigating three cases of birth defects in children of Immokalee farmworkers. While the state must help determine what caused the terrible deformities, it’s difficult to have confidence in an agency that has failed its obligation to effectively monitor pesticide use in the first place. NOT on Hemp or organic Ganja. Another victim of Calvina and Drug Czar lies…

    Jeffrey’s Journey chronicles the success of Jeffrey’s treatment, as well as the family’s court battle defending their son’s right to unconventional medicine.

    Nixon Lie Keeps on Killing

    “Any change is resisted
    because bureaucrats have a vested interest
    in the chaos in which they exist.”

    – Richard Milhouse Nixon

  • http://www.drugwarrant.com/2009/08/open-thread-197/comment-page-1/#comment-732

    @ BruceM, Invoking “the children” is used to justify any and all hypocrisy, inconsistency, and gross stupidity.

    I wish everyone who says the word “children” in a debate or in general public discourse would get a strong electric shock. We need to condition people not to invoke “the children”.

    I agree with the gist of what you say, but the more we can scrutinize their arguments and expose each and every one of them, the sooner we can end this madness. If we overlook their claims, no matter how outrageous, we’re almost being like them in trying not to address the “best” arguments of the “other side.” I am not saying we need to address their claims as they stand, since much of them stand on lies and false assumptions, but we need to point that out. So here’s my little effort.

    The main problem is not “the message it sends the children” it’s the wrong assumptions of those who say that.

    The main problem with those who say that is they don’t understand children’s cognitive development. Legalizing and regulating drugs is a total non-issue for children. Children are focused on things that are important to children: figuring out language to better communicate, learning how to be friends, the advantages of honesty, coping with feelings and emotions, realizing there are other people in the world with varying perspectives, that the world is larger than the town one lives in, that vegetables are good for you, etc… Children will not get any message about legalizing/regulation because they are instinctively focused on other things.

    (I am not saying drugs are 100% irrelevant or not a part of kids lives, certainly addicted/problem users who are in their lives are an influence of some sort. But 1) legalizing/regulating does not send ANY message to children, it’s an abstract concept, no matter how concrete and obvious it is to those of us with a few decades under our belts 2) legalizing/regulating can only be an open door to help the adults in their lives who have problems. 3) kids who are around users with problems are already “getting the message” that the adult has a problem; and thus I would point back to #2 in order to address the problem.)

    However, there is an age when this issue is relevant. And if people called any of them “children” to their faces, they will be very displeased. That age varies based on one’s cognitive development and one’s environment, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s just call them “teens.”

    But I still contend that legalization/regulation still does not hold the same meaning to them as it does to the odious adults who harp on this. I would also vehemently admonish those who continue the jargon of “the message it sends” and inform them that “teens” DO NOT need to be “sent messages,” teens are perfectly capable of being spoken to plainly! Not speaking to them plainly about these issues, but instead trying to “send them messages” is a serious disservice!

    Thus you can see I totally agree with the first paragraph of yours which I quoted. Addressing the latter paragraph, we will condition them by letting them know we have an answer for this fear of theirs that clouds their minds and have addressed it.

  • Cliff

    I have never met a drug dealer who would knowingly sell to anyone under 18. I don’t doubt that they exist. As for close friends who dealt in cannabis only, they had an honor code, they never pushed their product, it sold itself and they never dealt with anyone under 18, period.

    As for children dealing with feelings and emotions, why are so many of them being put on prescription drugs for ADD and ADHD? I think we are in for some troubling times ahead with people who haven’t dealt with serious issues in their youths and their parents just pass the buck. Cannabis should be the least of their worries.

    When the wheels fall off of peoples’ lives and they go ballistic the bystanders will say, “We don’t know what happened, all of a sudden he just exploded with rage and started killing people.” I’m afraid we are going to get more of that as those pill zombies reach adulthood.

    How many bong hits does it take to become a violent sociopath, I don’t know. I have never met a cannabis only user who was the least bit violent unless they were pushed pretty hard.

    I do know that Kleibold and Harris were on some pretty serious legal pharmaceuticals before they did Columbine. I don’t think they smoked much cannabis.

  • DdC: Normally I’d agree, as censorship is a clear and identifiable evil. However, over the years I’ve concluded that no debate can survive the interjection of “the children” … reason, facts, logic, and rationality go out the window the very second “the children” get invoked in the conversation. People cease to be rational, and the first person to make a plausible case that children will be harmed if the other side’s position wins, the debate is over.

    In a way, being allowed to invoke “the children” is in itself a form of censorship. It instantly stifles the free flow of ideas, it causes market failure in the marketplace of ideas, and it causes all reasonable debates to instantly degrade into a vaginal-oriented contest to appeal to the maternal instinct.

    False concepts (like marijuana being dangerous and addictive) cannot be discussed in a factual, logical way because opponents will cite the false concept as a danger to The Children, and the debate is over – you can try all you want to show with a truckload of data that the false concept is false, but it doesn’t make a difference. People have been reminded that there’s a danger to The Children (real or imagined), and they’d rather be factually wrong than risk dead children. That’s just it – people don’t care about truth, facts, logic, or plain old common sense if their children are threatened. And that’s what invoking “the children” is – an indirect threat that you side with my position or your children will be harmed.

    As long as people are allowed to invoke the children, no meaningful debate is possible. So while I hate censorship, this is one situation where censorship is absolutely necessary. People who invoke the children in a debate need to be punished… we need to get Islamic on their asses and chop off their hand or something.

  • DdC

    Bruce, In a laboratory setting it would make sense to exclude any straw man arguments. In the real world prohibitionists are terrorizing patients, invoking nonsense. Bill Bennett as Education Secretary removed the word hemp from the history books for the wrong message, it would confuse them. How do you not confront such an agenda. Remember the goal is not to win or lose, perpetuate is profit.

    Until the truth is on the table it will continue. Both sides profiting while the middle pays. Its a fraud dude, studio wrestling. The truth would have never scheduled Ganja as a narcotic or a schedule more than aspirin. Hemp isn’t even logical enough to take it serious, yet its also a schedule#1 narcotic and the brainiacs running the asylum keep it going.

    We’re talking people farming. Why shoot the enemy when you can profit on their “treatment”? Military, Prisons and Poisons for profit oh my. No one removing the bogus laws inject anything hypothetical about kids. Kids shouldn’t use Ganja outside of medicinal, but not because it will physically harm them. Its a bullshit world, and the crap excuse for school teaches myth’s and pre job training skills. Ganja gnaws at a person to find the path of least resistance, avoid the hassles. Tell the truth, not necessarily out of some righteousness, out of laziness. Not having to remember so much and a tad of paranoia in getting caught.

    So it seems its almost an urge to question falsehoods rather than go along with them. Lies have no atomic base. You can’t take them seriously. Building theories on them as with the Ganjawar, is for an agenda that doesn’t include the welfare of the people. Ganja is not good for obedience, following orders or taking tests. Tests that determine levels in the future work place. Trouble makers will be placed in worse positions. So to avoid the long term crap, kids should abstain until they get the diploma, and then a gig without piz quizzes, then kick back and toke all you want.

    Truth will set us free, if that’s what we really want. If an ignorant drug worrier lies, call them on it. There are literally message boards in every city in the country and major cities on the planet. Those with vested ignorance will show their hands, then hit em with the reality. You won’t win them over, but the audience can then see for themselves. Again those depending on the drug war to feed their families can’t afford to stigmatize themselves in this real reinforced prejudice against Ganja users and reformers.

    The kids sent to the lie in Iraq deserve the truth. Same with the inner city kids living in combat zones or the sports nuts killing them over a game. Car wrecks and drinking binges kill kids, Kids get Ganja easier than booze or Pharmaceuticals except those getting it from perverts or parents not paying attention. Ganja in a legitimate market would deter kids use the same as booze, not eliminate it but removing prohibition incentives would bring usage down.

    But no where does not discussing it and standing up for the reality of Ganja truth come to play. When worriers spout hobgoblins, embarrass them, don’t appease them. Peace is never becoming a doormat as the democritters never seem to understand. We don need no stinkin strawman, we have hard science and real benefactors, products and test results dating back 5000 years. They have a lie, agreed upon. A big fat ole halluci-nation of sheep beckoning to the call of USAl Qaeda traitors.

    Starving Babies and Illegal Food

    Big Bucks in forced Faith-Based Rehabilitation
    Faith-based groups that provide child care or operate homes for troubled youths can opt out of state inspections and choose to be regulated by a Christian child care agency approved by the state.

    “To secure ourselves against defeat
    lies in our own hands.
    But the opportunity of defeating the enemy
    is provided by the enemy himself.
    If you know the enemy, and know yourself,
    you need not fear the outcome of a hundred battles.
    If you know yourself, but not the enemy,
    for every victory gained you will also suffer defeat.
    If you know neither the enemy nor yourself,
    you will succumb in every battle.”

    ~ The Art of War – Sun Tzu

    Erowid

    Schaffer Library of Drug Policy

    World’s Largest Online Library of Drug Policy

    “The Emperor Wears No Clothes”

    Granny Storm Crow’s list-2009

    Dude there ain’t nothing a drug worrier liar can spew that can’t be countered with common sense reality in the above or hundreds of other websites.