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January 2010
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Odds and ends

bullet image I’d heard it was coming, but that doesn’t make it any better. President Obama officially announced his intent to nominate Michele M. Leonhart, Administrator of Drug Enforcement, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice.

We had talked about how maybe, just maybe, the DEA might change a little bit after they got the hold-outs from the last administration out of there. Now he’s making her permanent. To recap, here’s the story I wrote about her years ago. The only silver lining is that the rank and file DEA agents can’t stand her.

bullet image Fascinating article by Bruce Mirken at Alternet on the potentials and the need for human research regarding cannabis and curing cancer. Ignore the misleading title of the article.

bullet image I’d like to see some proof of these stats

He also said the percentage of marijuana-related domestic violence and property crimes in Clark County are higher than those that were alcohol related.

Schwartz said, “Gammick feels that marijuana users are less responsible than alcohol users.”

[Thanks, Logan]

bullet image Remember Change.org? They’ve got another voting thing for putting legalizing marijuana into the top categories.

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25 comments to Odds and ends

  • Dale Gieringer proposes we help nudge Ms Lyin’hart out the door:

    Leonhart should be replaced for having blocked the approval of a medical marijuana research garden by the University of Massachusetts, overruling the reasoned decision of DEA administrative law judge Mary Ellen Bittner. If there is one point on which both sides of the medical marijuana issue agree, it is on the need for FDA-approved supplies of medical marijuana. The DEA’s opposition under Leonhart’s leadership makes such development impossible.

    We should protest Leonhart’s appointment loudly. Although we have little hope of blocking it, there is a possibility that we can generate some pressure upon her at her confirmation hearings. This requires getting one Senator to grill her on her opposition to medical marijuana research. Looking through the membership of the Senate Judiciary Committee http://judiciary.senate.gov/about/members.cfm one deeply regrets the absence of Sen. Kennedy, who represented MA and supported the U Mass proposal.

    Potential supporters who might raise the issue include two senators from medical marijuana states: Chairman Patrick Leahy (VT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) (my own Sen Feinstein is hopeless). Other possibilities include Russ Feingold (WI), Al Franken (MN), Arlen Specter (PA) and Dick Durbin (IL). Let’s see what we can do to get one of these senators to pop the question.

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  • permanentilt

    as far as change.org goes, it will probably win, and they STILL won’t put it up there.

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  • kaptinemo

    The DEA is a political embarrassment and a strategic liability. Their usefulness as cover for the CIA was blown by what has happened in Venezuela the past 10 years and especially the past 5. As a result, with having been exposed internationally as a CIA front engaged in attempting to destabilize foreign governments under the rubric of ‘fighting drugs’, the DEA is held in ill repute.

    Obama wants nothing to do with the impression he’s cloistered with losers, in much the same way the ‘popular’ kids in school shunned the less so, for fear of being associated with them. Leonhart and her agency are now like the ‘developmentally challenged’ children locked away in their rooms with their toys when the better-heeled relatives come visiting. This was a wave off, a back-handed dismissal, not a vindication. And the DEA knows it.

    it’s gotta sting…

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  • Paul

    So, Leonhart is in charge and it is official? Now, I voted Libertarian, so I feel no guilt either way here, but if you voted for Obama, did you get ANYTHING you wanted out of the man?

    Certainly the drug reform community has got nothing. About the only positive thing we can say is that he has not carried on the drug war with any real enthusiasm. This nomination is a big step backwards, though. It doesn’t look like we’ll ever get any help from this president.

    And in a way, the missed opportunity is almost worse than having an active drug warrior in office. Obama’s presence prevents any other more reform friendly figure from occupying the white house, and that could go on for another 7 years.

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  • Duncan

    Well, I can’t say that I voted for Mr. Obama as I went with Barr as well, but he did let medical cannabis in DC get dug out of the hope chest.

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  • just thinking… “change.org” is a misnomer. It should be “givingtheillusionofchange.org

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  • realistically it simply does not matter who signs the letterhead at dea.

    none of any of this shit will matter until people get it that the issue is not about legalizing marijuana — it is to end the war on drugs.

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  • Ditto to Paul, Duncan and Brian.

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  • claygooding

    The 4 billion dollar budget applied for by the DEA would go a long ways in funding education or health care issues.
    But then,the 8+billion dollar budget needed by the ONDCP
    would do even more. We can always pray for a storm of common sense will hit our elected officials and causes the cancellation of programs that ain’t working.
    Over 1 trillion dollars since 1972,half the world hates America for our aggressive destruction of their natural resources,in their countries,and more drugs,more people doing drugs,and more sources for drugs than ever before.
    How do they sell this bill of goods to our funding agencies? How can America not see the games they are playing,with their only true claim of success is that they can spend their budgets?

    America does not have a marijuana problem,we can find marijuana in any town in America.

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  • davidstvz

    Concerning marijuana vs alcohol and responsibility, I think there is some truth to the idea. Alcohol users includes a large swath of society. Marijuana users, by definition, have to be people willing to break the law. The sample itself is going to be less responsible to begin with.

    Also, if you compare someone who smokes weed all day (sneaking hits in at work) with a functional alcohol (who drinks every night but still goes to work despite the hangover), the alcoholic will come out on top.

    This says nothing of people who drink or smoke infrequently though.

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  • Mike

    There sure a lot of strange propasals on change.org “Prohibit cable in public housing because it increases violent and non-violent crime?” I don’t even know what to think anymore. But, there were a lot of sensible transparency related proposals and quite a few for ending drug prohibition.

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  • kaptinemo

    “How do they sell this bill of goods to our funding agencies? How can America not see the games they are playing,with their only true claim of success is that they can spend their budgets?”

    Having been a Fed civil servant, I was forced to swim in a sea of ‘spin’. In such an environment, policy failure can be transmuted into a ‘success’ that just needs a leeetle more funding and support. So long as the rubber didn’t meet the road, where the policy ‘rubber’ would get shredded by reality, so long as the policy could remain in the protected bubble, the Alice-in-Wonderland mindset could continue. Subject it to outside analysis and criticism, and often the bubble would pop, and very messily, too.

    Which is partly why prohibs don’t want to debate us. We provide the ‘road’ the ‘rubber’ must rub against…and in doing so, just by asking questions, we begin the shredding process.

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  • DdC

    No davidstvz, Ganja tokers are willing to break the lie. Boozers are so braindead they go along with whatever their masters tell or sell them. Less responsible as citizens and Americans. Traitors actually. Yes inexperienced tokers may be more apprehensive about driving, or more cautious while driving. But all things being equal, a toker will safely out drive a boozer. No inebriation with Ganja. Or hangovers that are as unsafe as being drunk. As for the amount of people, thats just wishful gibberish. First no one knows how many tokers there are. Estimated at 25 million in the US or over 100 million world wide. So guesstimating hogwash leaves hogwash. Though I agree a functional drunk probably drives better than a novice rendering breath test as false as piss tastes. Save face, next time a thought about Ganja attempts to drive you into responding, let it pass. Though you’re welcome to keep trying…

    Cannabis and Driving

    Al Capone and Watergate were red herrings to divert the countries attention from the Fascist acts of eliminating competition. Booze/Ethanol or Ganja//Hemp. While GOP and DNC continue to bicker over nonsense. Farmers still can’t grow. Drugs and Ganja are Gateways to prison profits and cop-shops.

    The Beginning of the End

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  • DdC

    After 10 Years, MMJ Finally Heads for D.C.
    Twelve years later, the political landscape appears to be profoundly changed. The sponsor of the 1998 congressional ban, Bob Barr, has gone from a drug hawk to a libertarian, legalize-it presidential candidate — even lobbying against the law he once wrote. Fourteen states have legalized medical marijuana in the 14 years since California became the first to do so; several more are working on legislation now.

    US GA: Prosecutors – Shelnutt’s Motion for Attorney’s Fees
    Stating that he paid or must pay attorneys more than $190,000, and that he incurred some $35,000 in expenses while defending himself, Shelnutt argues that prosecutors had evidence before trial that cleared him of any alleged crime. Also, prosecutors knew or should have known that all 40 of the original charges in the May 21 indictment couldn’t be supported by the facts, Shelnutt adds.

    US HI: Council Rejects Marijuana Resolution

    COLORADO FIGHTING THE WRONG PLANT
    Cannabis ought to be like any other plant grown in Colorado. You and I are free to cultivate, buy and sell alfalfa, potatoes or chili peppers. Why should marijuana be any different?

    US CO: Column: Regulate the Dispensaries, Not the Patients

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  • DdC

    After 10 Years, MMJ Finally Heads for D.C.
    Twelve years later, the political landscape appears to be profoundly changed. The sponsor of the 1998 congressional ban, Bob Barr, has gone from a drug hawk to a libertarian, legalize-it presidential candidate — even lobbying against the law he once wrote. Fourteen states have legalized medical marijuana in the 14 years since California became the first to do so; several more are working on legislation now.

    US GA: Prosecutors – Shelnutt’s Motion for Attorney’s Fees
    Stating that he paid or must pay attorneys more than $190,000, and that he incurred some $35,000 in expenses while defending himself, Shelnutt argues that prosecutors had evidence before trial that cleared him of any alleged crime. Also, prosecutors knew or should have known that all 40 of the original charges in the May 21 indictment couldn’t be supported by the facts, Shelnutt adds.

    US HI: Council Rejects Marijuana Resolution

    COLORADO FIGHTING THE WRONG PLANT
    Cannabis ought to be like any other plant grown in Colorado. You and I are free to cultivate, buy and sell alfalfa, potatoes or chili peppers. Why should marijuana be any different?

    Medical Marijuana Dispensary Receives Cease & Desist Order U2b

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  • bobreaze

    @davdstvz

    There are irresponsible people that use marijuana and irresponsible people that drink alchol. Which one causes more problems ? Drinking causes risk taking behavior Ie driving drunk, violent actions and behaviors. Marijuana causes passive behavior IE watching tv or enjoying a hobby. Occasionaly paranoia can be inflicted causing one to think a police man just pulled up to his home or that his parents returned home. This paranoia can be calmed by checking to make sure what your thinking isn’t realy happining or by marijuana becoming legal allowing people to not worry about law enforcement.

    As for use of marijuana at the workplace. I personally think its not the best thing to do but I would rather someone be high at work than come to work drunk. I say this because most high people can still function decently well and are more in control of their actions. Drunk people however are not and tend to cause problems. Marijuana is safer than alchol because marijuana does not become a poison to the body. Alchol turns into a poison that damages organs. The only valid argument about marijuanas saftey is that smoking anything is not healthy. I however would choose to smoke rather than ingest a poison that i must endure its taste for several minutes before feeling any affect on my self.

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  • Duncan

    “Over 1 trillion dollars since 1972…”

    Those are nominal dollars. If you adjust to constant 2010 dollars it’s more like $2.5 trillion. Then, since the country has always been in debt you could add almost 40 years of interest to that figure. Amazing how much less the national debt would be had they not borrowed that money to prosecute a useless ‘war’.

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  • Cannabis

    @Duncan, excellent analysis of the real cost of the War on Some Drugs. How much health care, schools and infrastructure would this have paid for and what kind of return on investment would we have received for it instead?

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  • Cliff

    I reckon now the DEA is hunkerin’ in the bunker to hear each others shrill tirades about how important they are echo from the walls in some kind of incoherent prayer chant and smell each others farts. They can’t even get someone outside of thier nest of tax thieves and parasites to represent them. With that amount of absolute, black hole event horizon fail in that agency, I expect fiscal and moral implosion to be imminent as the rats and back stabbers reveal themselves to save thier high $ jobs.

    Flys on the wall could make a fortune with pay per view reality TV of the real life DEA fighting for its administrative life pleading for the funding it needs to continue its important work instead of showing them busting someone slinging dope for less then minimum wage as is the usual fare.

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  • DdC

    True Duncan, but what we need to focus on isn’t always the waste factor. Plus another trillion since 1937 on to your total btw. A trillion wasted is a trillion in profit. Those profits are behind prohibition. To them it is not wasted.

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  • @davidstvz

    in addition to what bobreaze said, i have a few other comments:

    you appear to believe that you don’t know any marijuana users — fyi, they are just as much a “cross section” of our society as drinkers are. hell, the last three Presidents all tried it at least once (that they admit to at any rate) — but, in fairness, i guess they can hardly be considered representatives of a “cross section” of society.

    the extent to which marijuana users are willing to break the law is limited in the vast majority of cases to those “laws” which illegitimately impose penalties against those who harm no other, and quite likely speed limits on roads.

    nice try on the bit about the “functional alcoholic” (who imbibes only at night) versus the pot smoker “sneaking in hits all day” — and i really get a kick out of how you declare “victory” for mister cirrhosis of the liver with the hangover!

    the proper comparisons would be between those who get drunk every night versus those who get high every night, and between those sneaking hits all day versus those sneaking sips all day.

    incidentally, it is way easier to get up for work after smoking all night than it is to do it with the hangover that results from drinking all night. you see, when you’ve smoked your brains out into the wee hours, you may have a bit of fuzzy-headedness when you wake up (or an “afterbuzz” as it is known) — but only until you take a shower. there really are no residual after effects from pot smoking. that, as many more of “cross section” of our society that are imbibers know, is not the way it works for a hangover.

    the alcoholics are most certainly not going to “come out on top.” hangovers suck — that’s the punishment for drinking too much poison.

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  • @brian… word.

    That was a terrible comparison by davidstvz. But so goes the Reefer Madness… it affects those the most who smoke the least (cannabis).

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  • DdC

    Ganjawarnews * Ganjawareness 2010

    1.20.10

    1.21.10

    1.23.10

    1.26.10

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  • DdC

    Study: Fellatio may significantly decrease the risk of breast cancer in women

    Cannabis Shrinks Tumors: Government Knew in 74

    Granny Storm Crow’s MMJ List

    The Marijuana Cancer Cure Cult By Bruce Mirken, pc, but ok.

    The Kaiser Permanente study
    “Marijuana Use and Mortality” April 1997 American Journal of Public Health”. “Relatively few adverse clinical effects from the chronic use of marijuana have been documented in humans. However, the criminalization of marijuana use may itself be a health hazard, since it may expose the users to violence and criminal activity.”

    Politics of Pot
    more quotes, links and pics

    Virtues’ of Ganja

    Researchers at the University of California (UCLA) School of Medicine have announced the results of an 8 – year study into the effects of long-term cannabis smoking on the lungs. In Volume 155 of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Dr. D.P. Tashkin reported: “Findings from the present long-term, follow-up study of heavy, habitual marijuana smokers argue against the concept that continuing heavy use of marijuana is a significant risk factor for the development of [chronic lung disease. ..Neither the continuing nor the intermittent marijuana smokers exhibited any significantly different rates of decline in [lung function] as compared with those individuals who never smoked marijuana. Researchers added: “No differences were noted between even quite heavy marijuana smoking and non-smoking of marijuana.”

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