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October 2009
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Open Thread

bullet image ENCOD sends a letter to Malaysia asking them to stop killing people for trafficking small amounts of a plant that doesn’t kill people.

Many people in Malaysia want to consume cannabis and other drugs, so it is obvious that other people will supply them. Taking the life of people will not change that situation.

bullet image Pot legalization gains momentum in California

The state already has a thriving marijuana trade, thanks to a first-of-its-kind 1996 ballot measure that allowed people to smoke pot for medical purposes. But full legalization could turn medical marijuana dispensaries into all-purpose pot stores, and the open sale of joints could become commonplace on mom-and-pop liquor store counters in liberal locales like Oakland and Santa Cruz.

bullet image San Francisco mayor (and candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor of California) Gavin Newsom:

“I really feel strongly about the drug war being an abject failure. If you can point to huge evidence that drug polices in this country have worked, I’d love to see that evidence. [..] Low-level marijuana possession, with all due respect to those that will use this video to attack me, is not a top priority for my current job and role as mayor and hasn’t been, nor would it be as governor.”

bullet image California Supreme Court refuses to overturn ruling that OKs collective cannabis cultivation.

…finding that the contribution of collective members may be solely financial, and patients “should not be required to risk criminal penalties and the stress and expense of a criminal trial in order to assert their rights.”

bullet image Via The Agitator, more than one million people were stopped and frisked in America last year without probably cause.

In Harlem, George Lucas changed his route home from work to avoid a stretch of Seventh Avenue, because he kept being stopped by the police.

calendarbullet image Off-topic. Drug WarRant regular and photographer Allan Erickson has a wonderful 2010 calendar highlighting the beauty of Oregon. It’s only $25.

bullet image 1,000 feet from anywhere. What’s the point of needle exchange programs if you have to conduct them in cornfields?

bullet image Delightful! Drug Czar complains about LEAP getting more publicity than the prohibitionist law enforcement lobby. Here’s the text of the drug czar’s speech. Here’s the 600+ word letter to the editor(!) by President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Russell Laine that was rejected by the Washington Post (few papers accept letters that long), responding to this OpEd by Peter Moskos and Stanford Franklin.

Pretty good trick by LEAP’s media director — getting the drug czar to mention Law Enforcement Against Prohibition to a large group of law enforcement officers.

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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12 comments to Open Thread

  • kaptinemo

    From the first article on California’s re-legaliation effort:

    Doug Richardson, a spokesman for the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, said the office is in the process of re-evaluating its policies on marijuana and other drugs.

    Richardson said the office under Obama was pursuing a “more comprehensive” approach than the previous administration, with emphasis on prevention and treatment as well as law enforcement.

    “We’re trying to base stuff on the facts, the evidence and the science,” he said, “not some particular prejudice somebody brings to the table.”

    Hear that? That’s the sound of a tectonic shift in motion. The kind that can lead to a court battle to prove cannabis’s supposed ‘danger’ to those who consume it. A court battle the professional prohibs and their ‘concerned citizen’ cat’s-paws cannot possibly win…and they know it.

    And behind it all, looming like a gigantic steamroller, slowly but inexorably bearing down on the prohibs, is the ever-contracting economy. The realization that the money to run the DrugWar the way it’s been these past 30 years jus’ ain’t there, no more.

    The sands of time are running out on the DrugWar. It remains a race to see which happens first, though: re-legalization or economic collapse…which the latter case will make the arguments moot, anyway.

  • Carol

    Economic collapse the last time in the 1930’s helped legalize alcohol again. When you have to lay off cops and decide which prison to keep open due to falling tax revenues, victimless crime just isn’t worth the effort.

    When times are good and the money is flowing through the system, it’s easy to throw a bone to the moralizers. But when you have to really decide between a stoner and an armed robber, somehow the stoner just isn’t that important. Not only that, but as we are seeing, the potential profits and jobs from a taxed legal weed industry is, like the old saloons, too good to pass up. When the Feds start feeling some of the pinch too, weed will “suddenly” get legalized through an amendment to some must pass bill. This will allow the IRS to collect from these now previously untaxable at the Federal level dispensaries, and from an excise tax on each bag/box fo weed.

    That is the weakness of prohibitionist policies. Unless something is truly destructive, funding it’s prohibition doesn’t last the hard times. Even abstinence doesn’t really last the hard times either. Imagine someone going through the Great Depression and unable to have an occasional cheap beer to tamp down some of the hunger pangs and low spirits. This new Great Recession is also creating a market for people who want an occasional pick me up and who now have ample time to smoke. Prohibitionists have nothing to offer these people except platitudes and threats. Nor can they replace the lost funds during an economic downturn-they insist that even if the Government is turning over its piggy bank to keep the lights in the building on, their morality must be enforced by the state.

  • Chris

    Boggles my mind that drugs are illegal. I don’t need to go into detail obviously but it just makes me mad to think about it. And the only way they can officially justify it is some ridiculous interpretation of the commerce clause, even though alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment. Hopefully federalism will work like it’s supposed to and we will see California re-legalize.

  • paul

    On Malaysia: This country is one of the least likely to legalize drugs. I remember when “Return to Paradise” came out, depicting Malaysia hanging an American for drug possession. At the time, the Malaysian government said they very much approved of the movie because it showed how justice was done there. I have made it a point never to visit that country. They may be a “moderate” Islamic country, but they remain DEEPLY illiberal by our standards. You must carefully watch your behavior whenever you visit places like that.

    I like the sound of the SF mayor running for governor. He’s a money spending democrat, but we’re almost out of money anyway, so he probably can’t make it worse. And if he promises to lay off the drug war, he can have my vote!

    Glad to see LEAP keeps getting press and attention. Keep up the good work, guys!

  • DdC

    Help Free Dana Beal…
    Activist Dana Beal Busted in Nebraska Oct 2 2009
    Founder of MMM – Cures Not Wars – Ibogaine Treatment

  • DdC

    1,000 feet from anywhere.
    What’s the point of needle exchange programs
    if you have to conduct them in cornfields?

    I vote on vending machines in back allies
    Insert 1 dirty needle in place of the coin slot,
    receive 1 clean needle.

    SCruz had a small photo-mat size Ex, illegally in the 90’s,
    that worked pretty well. Downtown. Health brochures. Alcohol packs. Always a struggle educating the cops to not enforce bad laws,
    or enforce laws they disagree with. They don’t come out of the box trained and it usually takes several busts or deaths to sway politicians, but it can work if that is what the people want. And they persist in electing like minded locals. Community TV is an asset.
    Though it boggles the mind how anyone can rationalize drug worriers moronalities. Hey bubba if the syringe is sterile its less likely to spread infectious diseases, eventually to anyone. Duh, It creates junkies??? It authorizes it??? Can’t let doctors and clinics dispense quality assured dosages and ingredients, better to let the junkies cut it, and crave it to make snitching easier. 80% of the drug busts are by snitch. Can’t run out of snitch. Making it safe for junkies sends the wrong message to Congress when bloated budgets are the agenda. It lessens statistics to use as propaganda to keep them illegal. AFLAK!

    ENCOD sends a letter to Malaysia

    MALAYSIA-EXECUTES-DRUG-OFFENDERS

    The Drug War is Our Greatest Export…
    Drug worriers will be ecstatic when prenatal test
    can determine future junkies. Op Rescue Abortion Clinics?

    US PRAISES THAI DRUG WAR!

    The US Drug War is the only governmental policy of ANY country that directly results in the death of Akha people. Up to 20% of some villages died as a direct result of the US drug war.

    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.

    Death Penalty for Two Ounces of Marijuana!
    ~ x-U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA)

    Exporting DEAmocracy

    This is part of our global contribution. The drug war has become the preferred foreign policy approach toward controlling much of the world. We export our drug war, our tactics, and, most of all, our DEA.

    Now with offices in…
    Malaysia
    Thailand
    Indonesia
    Philippines
    Burma continued…

    SOS Different Day Carol
    Economic collapse the last time in the 1930’s helped legalize alcohol again.

    Since I have absolutely no problem believing corporations were behind Ganja/Hemp prohibition, it isn’t hard to believe the same about booze prohibition. There wasn’t that great of an alcohol problem outside of the depressed south. 90% of the “stills” produced ethanol for the farmers equipment, not drinking. Rockefeller boosted the Temperance League state campaign into the national arena with a $5 million donation. With Congress puppets no different than today and a Hearst press first pushing prohibition, then after Rockefellers Oil was established as the best source of fuel, Hearst changed the headlines to stopping the prohibition do to the collateral damage. Keeping booze legal but limited to small quantities, enough to get drunk but not fuel a tractor. So I don’t believe the fascist corporatists have any concern over another depression or the well being of the country or its citizens. Profit is their god. Same with Ganja and Hemp prohibitionists leading the teabog ditties by their nose.

    The Elkhorn Manifesto

  • DdC

    ? I think booze is still illegal to distill without major hoops to jump through, moonshiners seem to think so, but you can brew small quantities of beer and get a license for microbreweries. Some of the corn ethanol experiments were basically a sabotage of ethanol, again. Knowing it is a staple food source, driving up the cost. When there are many other sources of biomass and oil plants for biodiesel. Hemp being the most versatile. If Hemp is illegal because it looks like Ganja, then Gin Tequila and Vodka should be illegal because it looks like Moonshine. Come to think of it outlawing jugs of water makes as much sense as outlawing Hemp. Just too damn versatile for the fossil fools.

  • Carol

    But Prohibition would have gotten nowhere (politicians like a drink now and then, and boozed up workers raise hell only with each other) without the moralizers. Many women who had no recourse with domestic violence or abandonment, puritans who thought that abstinence for all was the way to go, people who railed against the degenerate “immigrants” who liked beer, proved to be the votes for prohibition.

    Now it may have suited some business purposes for Rockefeller to support some restrictions on the amount of alcohol that could be individually distilled on the farm, but beverage alcohol was hardly a threat to the rule of petroleum. Getting rid of saloons and nightclubs was hardly going to help his cause, especially city ones where the only time people saw a tractor was in the movies. More than likely he thought that prohibition would create sober workers who would be less likely to fight on the job, get into industrial accidents or spend time in saloons and clubs where they could organize into unions.

    I think he and a lot of people were genuinely shocked at how fast and how bad things got. Instead of a sober, Protestant nation, they got the Roaring Twenties and the faster loosening of morals. They got shootouts in the streets, underage drinking, and jazz instead of hymns. In the end, they lost whatever they had and more. Prohibition not only failed to keep men from drinking, but women in increasing numbers drank in the speakeasies with them.

  • DdC

    But Prohibition would have gotten nowhere (politicians like a drink now and then, and boozed up workers raise hell only with each other) without the moralizers.

    Exactly, bait and switch, it was and is the self appointed moralists issue, but even with the laudanum sipping tea toaders. It never had more than a few states and even counties refused the dry status. The Whiskey Rebellion showed the support for booze from the gitgo. Beverage alcohol wasn’t the target of Rockefeller, ethanol was, like I said 90% of the stills were running tractors.

    Now it may have suited some business purposes for Rockefeller to support some restrictions on the amount of alcohol that could be individually distilled on the farm, but beverage alcohol was hardly a threat to the rule of petroleum.

    Diesel invented his engine to run on peanut oil. Electric trolly’s were all bought up and replaced with petroleum. Coincidence? They also bought the patents on solar panels and shelved them in the 80’s. Hid cancer tumor research in the 70’s, lied about Iraq and several volumes of of other lies and sabotage. Not mentioning the Ganjawar or Indians or Hippie bashing and Congressional manipulations. The saloons were collateral damage, except the speak easy’s doing prohibition prices the same as buyers clubs. No one who wanted to drink had a hard time getting it, just manufacturing. The only real harm was to the farmers and bystanders in the wrong place. Chaos is necessary for fascism.

    I think he and a lot of people were genuinely shocked at how fast and how bad things got.

    Probably similar with the “Marihuana Tax Act” Thats the point. The influx of money and Rockefeller connections made it happen that fast after years of yap yap yap and nothing. With Hearst who had been using “Yellow Journalism for decades against Chinese Opium and Blacks and Cocaine. Behind the “moronalists” same as today with the Calvinas and Walters faith based rehab rhetoric. Booze was Hearst’ only reversal. He wasn’t concerned with busting stoners or telling the truth. The entire group openly praising Mussolini and trading with IG Farben in the 20’s and 30’s. Scruples? Enron Ethics. All of the drugs wars were racist and harmful. Plenty of collateral damage to minorities under drug prohibition then, and it continues. Yet booze was brought back as a legal status, under conditions and local authority to vote in dry counties in some states. Controlled by the ATF similar to the Ganjawar and DEAth.

    Booze Prohibition never stopped drinking for the working class. Just a boat ride to Hiram Walker in Canada. Speak easy’s aren’t known for violent raids as much as the “traffickers” and stills or gang fights and cop fights do to prohibition. So at the end of the day we can’t distill enough to run the tractors and gasoline is now available. Another coincidence. Teabog ditties that follow clavina or lush rimjob spout the same venom about Ganja and Hemp as the Emily Murphy and followers in Canada or the Temperance League or the mal sampler child molesters drugs free in america. But at the end of the day no less drug use and still no cannabis competition on the market shelves.

    All minding our business instead of their own and the only ones gaining anything are the drug war profiteers, cops, rehabs and prisons… and corporations selling crude oil, trees, cattle, wheat, cotton, steel, Pharmaceuticals, Booze and 25,000 other fossil fool products replaced by Ganja and Hemp, cheaper and safer. With 30 years of censorship since Nixon to the mid 90’s really. Still blacked out of TV, papers and most Radio. That is not the job of a Free Press. Its the job of a propaganda ministry.

    Obama overturns Nixon big lie it all ends. RxGanja and Hemp are free by default. Like Prop 215 is the “Compassionate Use Act, for any reason. Not the MMJ Act if politician DA’s and cops feel like it. “Don’t follow leaders, Watch the parking meters” — Bob Dylan

    “I am against Prohibition because it has set the cause of temperance back twenty years; because it has substituted an ineffective campaign of force for an effective campaign of education; because it has replaced comparatively uninjurious light wines and beers with the worst kind of hard liquor and bad liquor; because it has increased
    drinking not only among men but has extended drinking to women and even children.”
    — William Randolph Hearst, initially a supporter of Prohibition, explaining his change of mind in 1929. From “Drink: A Social History of America” by Andrew Barr (1999), p. 239.

  • DdC

    Just let it be. Stop terrorizing Americans!

    Maggie says that many say
    They must bust in early May
    Orders from the D. A.
    Look out kid
    Don’t matter what you did

    LA DA Cooley Plans All-Out Assault on City’s Dispensaries

    “Last year, the state’s attorney general issued a legal opinion that clearly stated that ‘a properly organized and operated collective or cooperative that dispenses medical marijuana through a storefront may be lawful under California law,'” MPP noted in Opposing Views. “Maybe Cooley didn’t get the memo.”

    Realists have a Religious Right to Medical Marijuana

    Governments and Law are part of an evolutionary process. As with our Doctrine, the constitutions of nations are designed to serve the people and to give people as comprehensive a set of rights as they know how to at the time. But also as with our Doctrine, sometimes they leave important rights out and sometimes they just get it wrong. For example, here in the United States it took our nation almost 90 years to realize that black people are humans and to end slavery. It took almost 150 years to recognize that women are humans and have the right to vote. Governments are often slow to respond and the job of the courts is to interpret the law, and not to write the law, even when they know the law is wrong. Fortunately for those of us in the Church of Reality, we are able to more quickly respond to things that just don’t make any sense. Our evolution is faster than that of the governments. As it should be.

    Note. Compassionate Use Act not the MMJ Act

    or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.

    Any individual who provides assistance

    A designated primary caregiver who transports, processes, administers, delivers, or gives away marijuana for medical purposes.

  • DdC

    The High Cost of Empty Prisons
    Last Wednesday, changes to New York’s notorious Rockefeller drug laws went into effect, allowing judges to shorten the prison terms of some nonviolent offenders. This measure will further reduce New York’s prison population, which has already declined, in the past 10 years, from about 71,600 in 1999 to about 59,300 today. (The state’s crime rate also dropped substantially during that time.) Nevertheless, mainly because of opposition from the correction officers’ union and politicians from the upstate areas where most of our correctional facilities are, the state has been slow to close prisons.

  • I’ve enjoyed reading these types of blogs. Intriguing stuff! Solar energy has constantly been a fascination with me.