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April 2010
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Busy Times

It’s the last week of classes, and a host of fascinating (and time-consuming) activities. Yesterday was a 16-hour work day.

So what’s going on that interests you? Is it California? Medical Marijuana? The inability of Arizona to come to grips with borders? Russia wanting to go back into Afghanistan to fight the drug war? Renn Fayre at Reed College?

This is an open thread.

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22 comments to Busy Times

  • ray

    I really enjoy your informative site, I check it out daily….thank you and keep up the good work….I am always interested in marijuana topics.

  • Ari

    How about Florida passing its Bong Ban law through the legislature? The bill states that any store that wishes to sell what they call “marijuana paraphernalia” needs to derive at least 75 percent of their revenue from tobacco sales. I wonder if that will apply to grocery stores too, as any pothead worth his dope can make a pipe out of an apple in about five minutes.

  • ezrydn

    To me, all the other stuff seem like small potatoes compared to California. Just a lot of little distractions. There’ll be more, the closer to November we get. California is the key, at the moment, and they’ll do everything they can to distract us.

  • Dudeman

    I’d like to note my disappointment in the entries to the FDL cannabis legalization campaign name contest. The entrants seem not to have given much thought to slogans that will win swing voters over to their side. Much as I’d like for voters to approve Tax Cannabis 2010 based purely on liberty concerns, that is probably not going to motivate the voters still in play.

  • denmark

    If any of you watch Fringe on Thursday nights you’ve heard Walter, the scientist, mention cannabis in the last two episodes. Last night he was smoking from a bong, the episode before he found a roach in a car, smelled it and knew its brand, saying what he grew was better.
    Small steps, good and not so good in my opinion, but a delight to see and hear never the less. Fringe is similar to X-Files, only better Pete.

    And I’m not impressed with FDL either, would rather stick to reading the informative pro cannabis sites. Nothings nicer than being around like minded individuals, even if we’re all behind a computer screen.

    Spoke to two young male employees in the grocery store yesterday while going through the check out stand. They are all for the end of prohibition and even knew some of the recent happenings. I said to them, “my generation failed, and I’m sorry, please get it done this time, please be active”.
    I shared as much information with them that I could and educated them on who the worst politicians in this state were when it came to prohibition and asked them to share with their like minded friends what we talked about. It was inspiring, to a point.

  • mike

    Another Drug War casualty take a look at this article in the Economist.

  • denmark

    Is it California? Most definitely.

    Medical Marijuana? Yes, but a bigger no. Ending Prohibition at the Federal level and full out Legalization is much more important.
    While I’m glad there are people who can now get it “legally” it’s not enough.

    The inability of Arizona to come to grips with its borders?
    No, but I would add I support AZ’s decision because of one thing I haven’t heard mentioned. That would be Arizona is beyond the saturation point of illegal immigrants, the are at Full Capacity.
    I like Mexican people, grew up with them, but the illegal ones need to go back to Mexico and help change their country.

    Russia wanting to go back into Afghanistan to fight the drug war? No, Afghanistan already kicked their butts.

    Renn Fayre at Reed College? Don’t know.

  • Shap

    The mainstream media’s inability to look at the big picture with regard to the Arizona law makes me sick. They keep talking about drug smugglers crossing the border and causing violence, kidnappings, and killings in Arizona yet they don’t ask the question of why they come over to smuggle drugs and they don’t even approach what the magical solution would be for this problem. Where is the discussion about how drug prohibition is the root cause of this problem? Pathetic display of journalism.

  • my main concern is an enduring (and deepening) sense of deja vu.

  • ezrydn

    Brian,

    You’ll have to admit that we’ve dropped deeper into the void this time than we’ve ever been in the past so this is sort of a new experience. One part of “deja vu” that concerns me is how the drive deflated too soon. “Deja vu?” Oh, hell yes! Yet, I use “waypoints” and we’ve passed several we’ve never seen before.

    And then, what IF California passes Legalization? What will be the response of the Feds? That’s the wild card. Will they begin to understand what 14 states already understand with more probably to follow in November? Or, will they auger down into their cesspool of Ignorance as they always have? Definite wild card.

    If anything, it’ll be a mark on history they can’t erase and it’ll dog them til they finally understand, or leave.

  • Landis

    Yes, the vote that is going to happen in CA. will be an interesting vote to follow. What information on the issue that is made avaliable to the voters will have an inpac on which way they go with this. It will be very interesting to see what the Feds. will say/do when the voters decide legalization is what is best for their state and the country. But as ezrydn states the federal goverment does hold the wild card.

    And yes to denmark…Fringe is a very good show!

  • DavesNotHere

    California has it going on more than anywhere else in the US. The slackers need to pick it up. Myself included.

    Illinois has a slight chance Michael J Madigan will allow the vote on a medical cannabis bill before May 7, albeit a 3 year study that sunsets with the strictest provisions yet. Call your IL State Rep and tell them to vote yes, I guess, but also tell them the real truth about what would be better than that. ASAP. Thanks.

    I am going to experience CA more. I’m enjoying this Sacramento Bee Blog – Weed Wars A daily blog on cannabis from Thee newspaper of the State Capitol’s city. And its named Weed Wars. And they do a respectable job and I wish other newspapers would copy them.

    The most recent blog article is on a lawyer that does private mediation in the marijuana community to avoid courts and such. Wonderful idea.

    Also, Sacramento considering medical cannabis tax to help fill $43 million budget hole. Who wouldn’t love to read about that “new” tax in their hometown paper?

    Something else at Weed Wars that was my kind of trivia, was the article on the antiques dealer.

    He has 1880s California drug store jars for “Cannabis Sativa” and “Cannabis Indica” and empty, turn-of-the-century bottles for liquid weed elixirs.

    “These things have been used for the same symptoms since ancient times,” Jennings says. “They were sold in drug stores and pharmacies up until the 1930s. Now they’re being brought back on the market” as collectibles.

    Jennings has been so successful in acquiring cannabis antiques that he and his wife renamed their business. It used to be Absolutely Wonderful Antiques. Now, it’s Absolutely Wonderful Cannabis.

    Ahhh. Thank you Pete!

  • Windy

    WA State has a much better initiative in the works than CA. It is still in signature gathering phase, but it WILL succeed in getting on the ballot in Nov. and I suspect it will pass with a large majority vote. It was put forward by Sensible Washington, look it up. It is short, sweet, clear and to the point, legalizing cannabis for anyone over 18 — including cultivation, possession, use and transport/transfer/sale — no taxation is called for in the initiative. If you live in WA please support I-1068, first with your signature on the petition and then with your vote in Nov.

  • EZ, in the late 70s we had the President of the United States openly calling for decriminalization of marijuana. there were more medical marijuana states than there are now. alaska legalized personal use and private growing (they still have it too, interestingly enough — so where’s the parade, and why didn’t the rest of the dominoes fall?), and many states (and lower levels of government) had passed their own decrim laws.

    but the main problem i see is that we really haven’t gotten anywhere at all over the past 40 years and have instead heard the same old tired shit from the same old tired voices. here are a few snippets from just one single article in the wash post from sep 2, 1975:

    “The debate on marijuana is over.” Changing public attitudes, backed by federally sponsored scientific reports, have invalidated the old arguments for almost everyone that marijuana is a killer weed bound to produce a generation of zombies, they said.

    “We’re no longer facing substantive battles about whether marijuana is dangerous, and there seems to be a general consensus that jailing users is wrong,” said Stroup, president of NORML. Now it’s strictly a matter of politics, of lining up the votes.”

    Five states, beginning with Oregon in 1973, either have decriminalized marijuana by making it a civil offense like a traffic violation, or reduced it to a misdemeanor punishable only by a fine.

    Nonetheless, in California and Colorado this year, lobbyists for NORML, which officially does not encourage or condone the use of marijuana, settled for reforms leaving possession a misdemeanor, but removing jail sentences.

    In addition to the comprehensive approach, Stroup said that arguments on the right to privacy carry weight in conservative strongholds.

    In Colorado, a strong law and order sentiment was overcome by arguments that valuable police and court resources are wasted on marijuana cases, he said.

    Stroup sees evidence for a new moderation in the federal government under President Ford’s administration and notes the appointment of former Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond Shafer, head of the presidential commission that recommended decriminalization, to the White House Domestic Council, led by Vice President Rockefellar (sic).

    ________

    that’s just one article. i have a huge collection of such articles from the 70s that could easily have been pulled from the news pages of today. we clearly even have some of the exact same people making the exact same arguments (on both sides!). since that didn’t work last time, there is precious little reason to believe it will work this time.

    consequently, i have spent the past decade harping about why we need to change the dialogue; that we need to do more pictorial representations of our points and stop writing gothic novels to argue about this shit; that we need to stop chasing red herrings and put every aspect of the debate into the context of the big picture; and most importantly, that we cannot afford to compromise and must instead push for the complete end of the war.

    i reserve the right to remain unexcited until such point in time that the “leaders” in dpr generate a genuine plan to ensure that they don’t fuck it all up yet again.

    we had *everything* going our way in the 70s — yet here we are, getting overly excited about doing exactly what we have already done and failed at once before. the conditions on the battlefield are exactly the same as they were back then.

    so i fully expect our dpr “leadership” completely fuck up yet again — because there is simply no evidence that they have any realistic plans to do otherwise.

    the only way we’re ever going to actually “win” is by not making the same mistakes over and over. it took 40 years to get where we are today — but where is that exactly?

    don’t get me wrong, i fully believe that we can and will win this war (why else would i be working so hard to help make it happen) — but we really need to make major changes in our battle plan in order to actually “win.”

  • claygooding

    ,and I would be happy if they just reschedule marijuana and remove the ONDCP and DEA,charged with policing marijuana,from control of the studies allowed by researchers and scientists for medical research.
    Legalization would follow,when the drug warriors are no longer in charge of the gateway too legalization.

  • Steve

    Then there’s this business about the UN conventions, treaties being the supreme law of the land and all that bullshit.

    Treaties may be the supreme law of the land, but I gather the argument is bogus, at least as it applies to marijuana. In any event, treaties can be abrogated, right?

    Is there a definitive takedown of the prohibitionist treaty obligations argument?

    • In my experience, the U.S. has never had any real problem ignoring treaties it didn’t like. We break treaties all the time — for example, when we fail to inform a country that we’re considering the death penalty for one of their citizens. There must be a handful of treaties we’ve broken during the Iraq and Terrorism wars.

      Countries can always withdraw from the treaty.

      Article 46

      DENUNCIATION

      1. After the expiry of two years from the date of the coming into force of this Convention (article 41,
      paragraph 1) any Party may, on its own behalf or on behalf of a territory for which it has international
      responsibility, and which has withdrawn its consent given in accordance with article 42, denounce this
      Convention by an instrument in writing deposited with the Secretary-General.

      2. The denunciation, if received by the Secretary-General on or before the first day of July in any year,
      shall take effect on the first day of January in the succeeding year, and, if received after the first day of
      July, shall take effect as if it had been received on or before the first day of July in the succeeding year.

  • Scott

    @brian bennett

    “since that didn’t work last time, there is precious little reason to believe it will work this time.”

    “consequently, i have spent the past decade harping about why we need to change the dialogue; that we need to do more pictorial representations of our points and stop writing gothic novels to argue about this shit; that we need to stop chasing red herrings and put every aspect of the debate into the context of the big picture; and most importantly, that we cannot afford to compromise and must instead push for the complete end of the war.”

    The main difference between then and now is the Internet.

    We have opportunities to communicate with the public majority in a way that we did not even come close to having in the 70’s.

    Upon scrutiny of the prohibitionists’ beliefs, I have found that they literally do not have a single sustainable point to support their policy. In other words, this should be a quick “slam-dunk” for us, but it has not been.

    The reason for this is apparently most of the people in this movement believe that government lobbying is the best way to achieve our desired results, despite the powerful incarceration lobby opposing us successfully for decades. Yes, we have made some gains thanks to the ‘slam-dunk-ness’ of our cause, but progress has been unbearably inefficient.

    I believe that public relations (grassroots and otherwise) should be our movement’s main focus and the main goal should be to convert conservatives by simply showing that marijuana prohibition cannot possibly be constitutional by any rational measure.

    Simply compare the original Commerce Clause to a ban on the free growth, distribution, and possession of the plant, all within a single state (the result of Gonzales v. Raich), and any sane person can clearly see that the Supreme Court is making the law, not interpreting it (a.k.a. judicial activism).

    While liberals/progressives apparently could care less about the written American foundation (e.g. calling our Constitution a “living document” despite the amendment process detailed in Article V which would not be needed if that were true), conservatives rely on it for leverage and many passionately support it.

    The New Deal (loathed by any true conservative) is the sole constitutional basis for drug prohibition, plain and simple.

    If you can’t convince a conservative to simply join you, then politely embarrass them by pointing out the above (e.g. call the shows for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc. and keep challenging them on it).

    Given that the majority of our opponents are in law enforcement, it is powerful stuff for us to proclaim that the law is easily on our side, not theirs.

    I believe that there are already enough people in the other parts of the political spectrum supporting us (though a minor goal should be to continue to focus enough on them too).

    Add passionate conservative support (such passion for our Constitution) and drug prohibition ends fairly quickly due to the then overwhelming public majority support that elected officials will no longer be able to dodge.

    While generally projecting a positive message about improving society by ending drug prohibition and continuously finding better ways to avoid drug abuse, a strong part of our message needs to be discrediting the incarceration lobby by simply challenging them to prove the disasters they proclaimed prior to all past penalty reductions related to illicit drugs (e.g. Portugal decriminalizing all drugs in 2001, states legalizing medical marijuana, etc.)

    No disasters happened, and so we can defuse their ‘legalize and there will be disaster’ argument, the only perceived valid point they have (breaking any public assumption that drug prohibition works enough to sustain it). In other words, there is no cost/benefit analysis proving drug prohibition works, an excellent point for us.

    At some point hopefully soon, I will launch a website solely dedicated to converting conservatives as an additional part of our movement.

    The site would be in conjunction with arguing against them in the comments section of conservative publications. I read WSJ comments a lot, and they are generally conservative. Drug related issues (e.g. the violence in Mexico) no longer produce any effort to try to intelligently support drug prohibition. In short, we have secured that virtual territory (and will continue to monitor it).

    Given the unlikely full adoption of my proposal here, I agree with ezrydn that CA marijuana legalization should be the main focus of those people leading the current movement (I donated to NORML for that focus, and I encourage you to do so as well).

    Implementing my proposal (noting a strong dose of multimedia and the kinds of simple messages that marketers rely on) is needed to win sooner rather than decades from now at the pace we’re moving at.

    @Pete

    I agree with you, but I’m concerned that too much of the public (unaware of your valid point) may still be vulnerable to the ‘We cannot legalize nationally because it violates international treaties.’ argument.

    I examined the relevant treaties and each provision requires that it be constitutional at the national level.

    Since drug prohibition is clearly unconstitutional in the U.S., our nation does not need to unethically break those treaties. We need to repeal the CSA on the basis that it is undeniably unconstitutional, instantly negating our obligation to abide by them.

  • ezrydn

    On the Arizona question, maybe you should read the following: http://news.yahoo.com/s/uc/20100428/cm_uc_crmmax/op_1913861

    Since I’m going on my 10th year living down here, I can attest that this article is Spot On!

    Now that you’ve read it, what was the question you had about Arizona????

  • Scott

    Since AZ has been brought up, with respect to illegal immigration (which helps hinder the good people busting their butts for years to legally enter our nation, btw), I submit that the public needs to repeatedly hear that border patrols might be more effective if they did not have to deal with well-armed drug smugglers in addition to people fleeing their drug-cartel-infested nations.

    Better enforcement of our immigration laws and helping the likes of Mexico strengthen itself enough so the good people there can bravely rise up and reasonably reduce corruption enough to secure their country, is another strong point for ending drug prohibition.

    I apologize if I’m straying off-topic, but for those people who believe in open borders here, take a look at the open source software movement. Each major open source project has an authoritative group to control what software code gets added or not.

    The notion of allowing anyone to come into this country is akin to allowing any code to get thrown into an open source software product. The results would obviously be disastrous.

  • ezrydn

    One thing you and I agree on, Brian, is the lack of leadership and strategy at the corporate levels of our movement. I’ve never really trusted them for the same reason I wouldn’t trust a prison guard saying anything. All of them have their paychecks tied to the topic. No topic, no paycheck. Tell me they’re fighting toward this end.

    And when someone decides to have a bash at the Playboy Mansion while the troops are still battling on the front lines? Well, they get no donations for partying from me. Also, no support.

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