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April 2010
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And the Titanic's band plays on

bullet image Scientists stand up to the government in the UK. Drug ban chaos after resignation of adviser

The war of attrition between the Government and its scientific advisers over how to curb illegal drug use claimed another casualty yesterday as an eighth member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) resigned over claims of ministerial interference.

Eric Carlin said he believed the Government’s decision to rush through a ban on the dance drug mephedrone had been politically motivated in order for the Government to look tough prior to the election.

bullet image Tons of entertainment… It’s the Stanislaus County Insider — an entire publication for the semi-literate prohibitionist.

bullet image It’s nice to have Sting come out on our side…

“The war on drugs has failed but it’s worse than that. It is actively harming our society. People who genuinely need help can’t get it. Neither can people who need medical marijuana to treat terrible diseases,” he said.

And yet, the majority of the Indo-Asian News Service articles worldwide with that article curiously had the headline:

Sting angers anti-drug activists over marijuana campaign

Who were all the upset anti-drug activists? One DARE spokesperson who wouldn’t even use their name.

“Sting should stick to singing and not meddle in matters he doesn’t understand. We do not need pop stars coming out and making irresponsible statements like that,” said a spokesperson for DARE, which teaches schoolchildren about the dangers of drug use. [And yes, that’s an incorrect description of DARE]

bullet image Excellent OpEd by Charles Bowden at CNN: U.S.-Mexico ‘war on drugs’ a failure

The U.S. approach to the killings in Mexico never looks at an economic reason, just as the consequences of our free trade treaty (NAFTA) are never brought up.[…]

We also never question our four-decades-old War on Drugs, which has produced cheaper drugs of higher quality at lower prices in thousands of U.S. cities and towns. It has helped create one of the largest prison populations in the world. If our drug policy were a ship, it would be called the Titanic. […]

We need to have a public discussion of the obvious: Legalize drugs or keep caging Americans for taking drugs — unless of course they are booze, tobacco or happy pills from the doctor — and keep financing the murders of Mexicans.

bullet image Talk about a stretch. Social worker Clark Williams claims that legalizing marijuana will lead to an increase in hard drugs, which, then will lead to further unfair enforcement!

Legalization will likely lead to more use of marijuana and other illicit drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamines and heroin, especially among young people. This would bring a deepening of the societal problems associated with substance use and addiction: the unfair application and prosecution of drug laws, increased poverty and social inequality in communities of color, high unemployment, increased traffic crimes, homelessness and poor health.

… and meteorite strikes.

bullet image The Atlantic says The Push to Legalize Marijuana: It’s Real

Lee now has a a team of pros working for him as campaign consultants.

It includes Chris Lehane, the former Bill Clinton communications adviser and press secretary for Al Gore, both as VP and in the 2000 campaign; Dan Newman, whose firm SCN Strategies consults for Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D) reelection campaign and is heading up communications for Level the Playing Field 2010, the independent-expenditure campaign against multimillionaire GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman; and Doug Linney of The Next Generation, a firm that has worked for state and local candidate campaigns, as well as major issue-advocacy drives and marijuana decriminalization/law-enforcement-prioritization efforts in California.

In short, this will be a legitimate campaign operation. Tax Cannabis is already airing a radio ad in the state’s largest and most expensive media markets, L.A. and San Francisco, featuring a former law enforcement official.

“This isn’t some…whim of a couple of hippies,” said SCN’s Dan Newman, who is handling communications for Tax Cannabis. “It’s a serious, well crafted, well funded campaign that was put together very carefully and professionally run and hopes to win.”

bullet image Afghanistan now world’s top cannabis source: U.N.

It’s amazing. Whenever we show up with our military or military aid in a country, and they somehow become incredible producers of illegal drugs.

[Thanks, Tom]

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.

This is an open thread.

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12 comments to And the Titanic’s band plays on

  • Buc

    Social worker Clark Williams, the one that claims cannabis legalization will lead to more social injustice because of the remaining drug laws was actually named the Santa Clara County social worker of the year, according to the article.

    Well, I now know what my fallback profession will be if the other options don’t work out. They’d all be amazed by the shocking levels of rationality I bring to the table.

  • Stanislaus Insider is at least in part, Linda Taylor. They do have a link to poll (KCRA, right side of page) in which we only have a 2% lead… and worth noting that once again no commenting.

  • kaptinemo

    I have to laugh; Clark Williams is engaging in classic authoritarian ‘projection’: the social ills he enumerates we already have thanks to him and his fellow drug prohibitionist’s efforts.

    But I can’t escape the mental image: after he’s publicly and loudly bemoaned the prospect of legal cannabis, and he’s safely alone in his locked and shuttered office, he’s probably rubbing his hands and chortling at the prospect of getting more money to ‘fight’ those same social ills.

    Sorry, Clark-me-lad, the economy can’t sustain the DrugWar anymore…nor its’ PARASITES. It’s Spring once more, and it’s time for a serious cleaning of Society’s dirty leavings. And this time its’ the DrugWar’s turn.

  • ezrydn

    Hey, Allan, et al.

    Wanna really piss Linda off? Go to the page you mentioned and vote. Click back one page, click on the link again. When you arrive again, you’ll be able to vote again. LOL

  • claygooding

    It is really looking good for the legalization movement and no matter how they try to justify their budgets,the proof of their failure is evident in every story,even the ones that appear to hurt the proponents movement.
    The news is so full of marijuana,you can almost get high just reading them.

  • I’m impressed that the movement is now getting high-powered legitimate professional help-and is able to. Once such pros would have shied away because of the potential “taint” to their careers, but now they are helping the cause.

    Chris Lehane is one of Hillary Clinton’s strongest advisors and strategists. He’s worked on her Presidential Campaign and knows how to win, raise money, and conduct a professional campaign.

    In short, this effort will look and sound professional from the beginning, will be well organized-and if ACT Blue and liberal and libertarian blogospheres can get involved, well funded as well.

    Indeed, that would be my suggestion to Lee: get on the big blogs like Daily Kos and start talking to some of the folks there. We’ve had several diaries supporting legalization over the months, and people are pretty sympathetic overall to the effort. If the blogosphere can fund Obama, we can certainly fund this smaller effort as a practice run for the national push that will come sooner or later.

  • Chris

    Link

    “By now it is clear that smoking anything is detrimental to health. Tobacco kills 433,000 people a year. Marijuana has twice the carcinogens and is also an intoxicant. It adversely impacts memory, motivation, academic achievement, productivity and accounts for 26.9% of injury accidents. Nobody dies of overdose from marijuana, but almost all of the 3,200 Americans that die monthly from drug overdose started their journey with marijuana.”

    I’m so sick of this red herring being used. Yes, tobacco kills lots of people, that is a fact. Oh, you put it next to a fact about cannabis having lots of carcinogens? Ok, but it also has anti-cancerous properties that result in it never causing cancer – just try and name someone who has gotten cancer and only smoked weed. What does that have to do with tobacco? Oh, you’re trying to say that it has twice the killing power as tobacco? But no, it doesn’t kill anyone, and they acknowledge that after wasting some time on the supposed side effects of cannabis use (only one of which is actually a real effect). Then, they bring out another red herring: cannabis somehow leads to overdose deaths. No, the use of other drugs which actually have risks of death due to overdose have risks of overdose. Cannabis is safe. The only facts they have stated about cannabis are that it impairs (short term) memory, which doesn’t count as a fact because they omitted the phrase short term, and that it has no overdose deaths. Hardly a sound argument for its the continued prohibition.

    You know, when we bring up alcohol or tobacco, it’s not to show how dangerous those drugs are; it’s to show how their distribution is better handled by regulated markets than criminal markets. The harm argument is long dead by anyone who doesn’t want to look like an idiot for the above reasons. You simply can’t talk truthfully about drugs and have cannabis look bad without resorting to tactics like these.

  • Well said, Chris.

  • kaptinemo

    Carol, yes, it’s great that we are finally in a position to hire some professional help… but as far as the business of talking up legalization at places such as dKos, well, we tried that during the 2004, 2006 and 2008 campaigns…and the so-called ‘progressives’ didn’t want to deal with it.

    It’s been pointed out here and elsewhere that cannabists comprise the single largest potential voting bloc in America. We cross almost all demographics: age, race, gender, class standing, religious beliefs, etc. Were we to get really angry and motivated, you couldn’t stop us.

    Yet…when we approached the so-called ‘progressive’ blogs and offered our not-inconsiderable numbers to help thwart any potential vote-count skullduggery at the voting booths, we were treated as if we were naughty, undisciplined children who needed to be put in the guest room while the big people made big people talk in the drawing room. Even though we had the largest threads of all, we were still relegated to the back of the bus.

    This time, we’ll have to go it alone…and this time, we’ll show the so-called ‘progressive’ leadership that we are nothing to sneer at. And after we win in California and start winning elsewhere, we’ll remember in future elections who helped us…and who didn’t.

    For people’s lives were ruined while ‘progressives’ (like Nancy Pelosi) stood by and mealy-mouthed about how they were afraid to lift a finger to help during election campaigns for fear that their political favorites might get slapped with the ‘soft on crime’ epithet…which would have happened (and did) happen anyway.

    ‘Progressives’ evidently aren’t so ‘progressive’ as they’d like to think, and the true progressives tend to remind them of that…and the faux ones don’t like that at all.

  • denmark

    So glad kaptinemo that you accurately clarified the dKos idea. Unless one is part of their mentality, which really in their mind is the “in-crowd”, there can be no progress there.
    I’m familiar enough with one person who helped start that blog and their words were and probably still are: “I don’t care about marijuana”.

    swansong, you basically answered the question of why the post.

  • permanentilt

    “You know, when we bring up alcohol or tobacco, it’s not to show how dangerous those drugs are; it’s to show how their distribution is better handled by regulated markets than criminal markets.”

    YES! They have been trotting out the old “Alcohol and tobacco are legal drugs but the societal costs far outweigh the tax revenues” argument at every TV appearance. Every time the reformer says “Marijuana is far safer than either of those two substances”.

    But they SHOULD be saying something like “While those societal costs are high, prohibition of alcohol showed us that the societal costs are exponentially higher in an illegal, unregulated, blackmarket. What is the societal cost of innocent human life ended by drug cartel violence? What is the societal costs of a family torn apart by a lengthy prison sentence???”

  • gads… I love you guys! We have been distilling our points for a long time. As Kap points out, no matter how much sense we make, no matter how many votes we bring to the table (John Kerry… asshat, that’ll teach ya to ignore us), we remain “those people.” Well… we be bringing the kind next time around. Politicians – ignore us at your own risk.