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September 2009
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Open Thread

A big thanks to Tom and Tom (you know who you are), two wonderful people who probably don’t know each other, but who are always on the lookout for interesting and/or informative drug war news and send it my way.

bullet image The Day the SWAT Team Came Crashing Through My Door by Cheye M. Calvo.

…the wagons have circled in Upper Marlboro. The response is textbook: Law enforcement stands its ground and concedes no wrongdoing — and elected officials burrow their heads in the sand.

Just go and read it.

bullet image Ending the ‘War on Drugs’ by Misha Glenny in the New York Times

I have spoken to countless politicians who agree in private that, as one of them put it, “in 100 years we may look back and ask what on earth were we doing by prohibiting narcotics?” But they remain hesitant to articulate this in public for fear of the opprobrium it will bring.

Supporters of legalization have all but won the moral and intellectual debate, but they now face the most difficult argument of all — the political one. That is unlikely to be won in Washington, where prohibition continues to enjoy powerful support. But we are seeing an erosion of the drug-war consensus in countries like Argentina, Mexico, Portugal and Switzerland — where drugs either have been decriminalized or de facto legalized.

bullet image Not high on my must-see-TV list… Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) is airing a special TV program on September 24 (webcast or C-band) titled Countering the Drug Culture. Hmm, should I watch that, or Weeds?

bullet image Venezuela considers shooting down drug planes

President Hugo Chavez said Thursday he’s mulling the possibility of allowing Venezuela’s air force to shoot down suspected drug planes, but he is not convinced it’s a good idea.

“We are studying it. This is something tough. There are countries that have it: authorization to shoot down planes,” Chavez said. “I don’t like the idea, but I’m thinking about it.”

Never forget: Veronica and Charity Bowers

bullet image Drug legalisation is no solution – it’s a disaster waiting to happen by Neil McKeganey in The Guardian.

This is a particularly stupid OpEd by a “professor of drug misuse research at the University of Glasgow.” As several commenters noted, this is trash that is expected in the Daily Mail, not the Guardian.

bullet image No Matter How Bad You Think the Drug War Is, It’s Worse by Scott Morgan

Just imagine what would happen if the average American actually came to grasp the full breadth of abject unfairness that characterizes the application of our drug laws in every conceivable circumstance. The totality of injustice in the war on drugs is its own galaxy. Even as someone who actively tries to keep track of it, I’m routinely stunned by the magnitude of systemic corruption, callousness and incompetence that festers in every corner of the massive drug war juggernaut.

As advocates for change, we must accept that we can never teach everyone among us to truly understand and appreciate the full spectrum of cruelty and perversion that defines the war on drugs. Fortunately we don’t have to….

bullet image Odd moment in news gathering… I was browsing through my news reader earlier this week and was struck by this headline: “University Allows Freshman Pot Patients to Live.”

Turns out the title had been truncated and the word “Off-Campus” had been left off the end. Much different meaning.

arrest
bullet image This ABCnews article has a nice quote from Tom Angell in it. But I was also taken with the stock image they used to illustrate the article.

Does anybody else find it odd? First of all, drugs (marijuana?) these days in a quart size zip-lock baggie? Second, shouldn’t the guy with his face on the car hood be young and black? Third, the officer’s expression is very… Joe Friday.

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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20 comments to Open Thread

  • The Dude

    Seems like this story hasn’t gotten much play:

    http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-09/scientists-find-thc-gene-hemp

    The time is not far off when THC could be spliced into any plant.

  • Jon Doe

    Intriguing. Maybe some day we’ll be smoking actual blueberries :).

  • Carol

    Flavored pot? Could be right around the corner. Imagine pot brownies where the pot is inside the raisins or the nuts. Would certainly make eating it a bit easier.

  • Guy#1

    If you have that much cannabis that you need a quart sized bag what are you doing driving with it and/or letting cops search your vehicle? You still have some civil rights, just use the words ” I do not consent to a search” Hopefully that will be a enough.

  • Nick Zentor

    They’re trying to make the bad connection between pot-possession and driving, but how else is someone supposed to carry their pot home? Just because the guy possesses it doesn’t mean he’s been smoking it while driving. Oh… we’re sposed to think he did something wrong while driving and the pot is to blame. Bullshit, just like most of the anti-pot propaganda out there. Pure BS.

  • kant

    of all the articles the one that disturbs me the most is the one about shooting down “suspected” drug planes. This suggests that they may not actually know if the plane is being used to transport drugs. It also won’t be foolproof which means innocent and possibly passenger planes could be shot down…The drug war absurdity knows no bounds.

  • DdC

    Texas High Ways By William Martin
    CN Source: Texas Monthly September 18, 2009 Texas
    Why the Unlikeliest of States–Ours–Should Legalize Marijuana.

    Requests For Pot Shops Kicked To Curb
    US CA: Laguna Beach Independent Fri, 18 Sep 2009
    “We’re on a collision course with a cottage industry that’s growing no matter if we deal with it or not,” he said. Rather than treating the problem punitively and using schools as “babysitters” for young people, Roley suggested that the schools make more efforts to get students interested in activities that they find constructive, preempting marijuana use.

  • paul

    Kant,

    Chavez is really only thinking of shooting down planes from drug cartels he is not allied with. FARC planes will have fly-over clearance.

    I’m pretty happy about a couple of the articles, especially the one in the NY Times that says the legalization crowd has essentially won the moral and intellectual debate. I certainly feel that way, and it is good to hear other people feel that way, too.

  • kant

    I know it’s only being considered but the fact that is receiving serious thought is very disturbing in my book.

  • R.O.E.

    “..the NY Times that says the legalization crowd has essentially won the moral and intellectual debate.”

    Unfortunatly we now have to win the corruption/government debate too. Even if we win that debate we have to force their hand to stop this maddness. They wont do it willingly.

  • R.O.E.

    The first step to recongizing you have a problem is admitting itto your self.. Our government refuses to admit there is a problem with prohibition. They need treatment.

  • DdC

    “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. “
    ~ Mark Twain

    Hemp Guru Jack Herer’s Condition Critical But Stable
    Bonnie King Salem-News.com Sep-19-2009 14:32
    Jack Herer is the author of “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” the best-selling cult classic that ignited the Hemp Revolution worldwide.

    “We ask for every one to focus their energies toward spiritually connecting with Jack and telling him it’s time to wake up,” another friend said. “He’s got a lot of things he’s in the middle of, and we need him to wake up today, even for a brief moment, to show his loved ones that he’s healing, and continuing to fight.”

  • DdC

    ‘My Wonderful Fortune’
    Laurence Cherniak for Salem-News.com Sep-21-2009 01:17

    A letter to Salem-News.com, from a friend of Jack Herer’s.

  • DdC

    Don’t Fear The Reefer
    Tyler Kula Observer 19 Sep 2009

    Legalizing marijuana would help put criminals out of business.

    So says Josh Dawson, a University of Western Ontario student originally from Brigden, who is leading a rally at the courthouse in downtown London, today at 2 p.m.

    The 24-year-old is speaking out against Canadian marijuana laws while raising awareness about Marc Emery, a former London man who is facing extradition to the United States for distributing marijuana seeds.

    “If we legalize marijuana it would stop the funds that are going into the black market,” Dawson said. “As soon as you prohibit something, you make that substance very profitable to those that can get away with selling it.”

    Similar rallies are also scheduled across Canada, in the United States, Europe and South Africa.

    “A Canadian citizen is being sent to the United States when he hasn’t been charged in Canada,” he said.

    Thousands Worldwide Demand Freedom For Marc Emery
    Thousands of protesters rallied in cities around the world on Saturday, demanding freedom for pot activist Marc Emery.

    Free the ‘Prince of Pot?’ You Be the Judge…
    Next week, Canadian political activist, publisher and businessman Marc Emery – known by many as the “Prince of Pot” — will be extradited to the United States, where he will likely be sentenced to five years in federal prison. His crime? Selling marijuana seeds

    STOP Bill C-15!: PHONE JAM Continued
    After a very successful PHONE JAM Monday, we are keeping our campaign alive until bill C-15 falls. Everyone concerned about these mandatory minimum jail sentences should keep phoning until the Senate votes NO on Bill C15.

    We Caught A Really Nasty Kop This Time by Barry Cooper
    Our second sting was a success. Our KopBuster team assisted S.W.A.T. in the execution of a search and arrest warrant that landed a krooked kop in jail.

  • DdC

    by Ed Rosenthal – Monday, September 21 2009

    Recently I saw the movie Taking Woodstock. In many ways it was a fair depiction of the exuberance of the sixties. Even though the war was going on, we were living in a society in which a good portion of youth were searching for something different and were trying to discover themselves. They were alienated from a system upon which they could have little effect- so they dropped out. Did a DIY (that is, do it yourself) and created their own realities. continued

    Excerpted: You were probably wondering where marijuana comes into all this. Well, marijuana is the lubricant that allows the mind to journey, to think thoughts out of the set that was designed to reign us in. If you will, dream the impossible dream, to see new vistas beyond the immediate That’s what being a couch potato is all about. Isn’t it? That is why marijuana is such a priority in the criminal justice system and other government faculties.

    Marijuana is a vaccination from oppression. The 1960s-80s Yippies had a sound bite about this, “when freedom is outlawed only outlaws will be free.” Perhaps more appropriate is Fat Freddie’s comment, “pot will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no pot.” Or maybe pot could stir the economy and spur new our dreams of freedom.

  • Nick Zentor

    “pot will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no pot.”

    God, that is soooo true! But careful man, it also sounds anti-capitalist and socialist (ergo anti-american). (Insert sarcastic smiley here).

  • Richard Steeb

    I believe it was Freewheelin’ Franklin’s words o’ wisdom…

  • Rhayader

    Hah, not sure about you guys, but I personally often keep my grass in a “quart size zip-lock baggie”.