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February 2011
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Odds and Ends

bullet image A follow-up to the Michael Dearman piece at SMU, where he argued that drug users should note that they have blood on their hands (a useless argument since that can’t lead to practical change, whereas working toward legalization can).

Dearman has published a response piece to some of the criticism, saying that he was misunderstood. In fact, he just muddles it up even more, by bizarrely agreeing with us disagreeably.

What one cannot do, which reader Thomas asserted, is state that the “blood is on the hands of the politicians who…implement the failed prohibitionist model of criminalizing what free people put into their own bodies.” One must not forget that it is the constituents that elect these officials to office in the first place.

If there is a tinge of guilt in the moral conscience of America because of our culture which promotes the use of marijuana, then America has a responsibility to put politicians in to office that will begin the process of the legalization of marijuana to curb the black market created by the illegality of the drugs themselves.

I’m pretty sure that’s what we were saying. And that by creating a distraction through blaming drug users, he was not contributing to a real solution of legalization.

A colleague of his, Adriana Martinez, from Mexico, jumped into the fray as well with No easy answer: Legalization of marijuana is not the solution to Mexican “War on Drugs” She attempts to defend Dearman’s first piece, which he pretty much negates with his second.

The overwhelming response from readers was simple – legalize marijuana. Much like during the prohibition era in the U.S., legalizing the substance will reduce illegal activity and eradicate a black market.

While I agree that this worked historically in the U.S., I do not believe that it is the solution for Mexico’s woes. As a citizen of the latter, I am neither commenting on the feasibility of marijuana legalization in the United States, nor am I making a normative claim about this policy. Instead, I argue that legalizing marijuana is not the solution to the violence south of the U.S. border.

The drug war in Mexico spiked to the extraordinary levels that we see today when the violence between the cartels escalated in recent years. Though attributable to various factors, it is probable that the shrink in the U.S. cocaine market was influential. If this is the case, then the legalization of marijuana in the United States or the increased growth thereof domestically would only result in increased violence as well. The drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs) would struggle violently to gain control of the diminishing market.

The DTOs might also presumably turn to other black market activities to attempt economic hegemony there. Perhaps the sales of pirated movies and music, or maybe the illegal crossing of migrants, or sex trafficking. There is no shortage of options.

The control of these illegal, but influential sectors would only augment the cartels’ power and social dominance. Corruption is not new to the DTOs, and there would be no decrease in this, despite the legalization of marijuana.

Furthermore, what has been referred to as a “grey market” could also likely emerge. As the state taxes marijuana, the cartels can continue to dominate the market by selling marijuana more cheaply.

This is a truly bizarre (yet too common) line of arguments. Sure, we all know that the criminal traffickers will not evaporate (poof!) just like that with legalization. But if you cut off their major flood of income, you diminish their power so that you can actually go after them successfully. Pirated DVD sales? Please. Grey market marijuana? Tell me another. These are tiny pale money pots compared to the drug war profits. Without the same level of dollars, they can’t hire as many foot soldiers, bribe as many police and judges, or pacify entire towns. They become vulnerable.

And without the lure of huge money, there’s less pressure for new criminal enterprises to spring up and replace the ones you dismantle.


bullet image That’s how it starts. Our View: Agents should carry weapons for protection Las Cruces Sun-News.

It’s official that we have agents from ICE, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration embedded and working with Mexico against the drug cartels. Should they not be allowed to carry weapons for self defense?

And when does that become indistinguishable from having troops?


bullet image Good read: Why This Cop Asked the President About Legalizing Drugs by MacKenzie Allen


bullet image Another good read (from last week): Washington Post Editorial: New law on crack cocaine penalties should be made retroactive

The commission is preparing to forward to Congress amendments to the guidelines to reflect the changes in the Fair Sentencing Act. The commission should make the new guidelines retroactive.

Some 13,000 prisoners – 85 percent of whom are black – would be eligible for retroactive sentencing reductions, according to the commission’s analysis. The average prisoner would receive a sentence reduction of about three years. The releases would extend over 30 years, with potentially 3,000 to 4,500 prisoners being released during the first year after the sentence reductions are made retroactive. But release is not automatic: Prisoners would have to petition a federal court for the sentence reduction, and prosecutors would be able to lodge objections, including those based on public safety concerns.

Remember when the first reduction in sentencing occurred? It was two years ago when Attorney General Michael Mukasey warned us that the early release of these offenders would unleash “violent criminals” onto our streets and pose “significant public safety risks.”

Hmmm…. what happened to all that crack-head street violence?


bullet image But they’re keeping the prisons open! State will end all drug treatment funds


bullet image Expensive, counter-productive, and Unconstitutional: Lawmakers in Ten States Mull Drug Testing of Public Aid Recipients

At least two bills would require legislators to be drug-tested as well.


bullet image The Mind of a Police Dog – another must-read from Radley Balko.


This is an open thread.

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34 comments to Odds and Ends

  • This is not my America

    The drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs) would struggle violently to gain control of the diminishing market.

    Yes ..and your point…?
    They get violent when you take their drugs..
    They get violent against each other to control key shipment routes…
    They get violent to gain a greater market sales..
    They get violent just to prove a point…

    They are violent..!

    We have tried this experiement to control free citizens, to control what they put in their bodies.
    We have tried it since Ansliger proved he was a racist.
    We have tried it since Nixon ignored the schaffer report.
    we have tried it since the Reagans said “just say NO ! ”
    We have tried this enough ! It Doesnt work !
    Lets try a new experiement. Lets legalize Cannabis, let the American people grow their own, let the cartels try and compete in a free market..they will loose.
    Then let try to do something about hard drugs in a legalized regulated way.

    Oh thats right,leaders and the morally rightious dont want to give up their crusade to make the world in their image.

    Too bad..we are going to change that morally right attitude of yours.

  • Mike R

    I wonder if he drives a car? Runs central AC? Buys cheap Chinese-made products? Pays taxes? Drinks alcohol?

    This land, like every other, was bathed in blood to prepare the foundation of our Nation. Native Americans, English, Spanish, French and Africans alike have died for the securities we now depend upon. Securities that are largely taken for granted, even as the very providers of these “securities” seek to swallow us whole. People are still dying right this very moment in the name of a Civil War that’s gone on for decades over an ideal that is not only impossible, but inhumane and utterly deplorable – the theft of our Free Will and our individual freedoms.

    What exactly can an American do these days that’s completely divorced of violence or bloodshed? Even the cartoons that my children watch contain a surprising amount of materialism and violence. It’s what keeps the wheels of the prohibition machine lubricated.

    The blood is on the hands of those who fear the Free Will of their fellows and seek so their domination.

  • denmark

    You bet the blood is on the hands of politicians and policy maker’s all around. They’re deluded and unwilling at this point to confront their monster creation prohibition. It’s a sickening thought but it’s been said before in other ways, they actually like prohibition.

    As far as drug testing goes, let’s demand that our political “elected” officials get random surprise drug tests, repeatedly. Something tells me they won’t like it because they’ll be getting some of their own medicine.
    And in thinking further, I do believe we have probable cause to demand drug testing, they’re screwing up so bad they must be on something.

  • David Marsh

    The United States and Mexico suffer from the same problem, malfeasance. The legalization of cannabis will not solve this core problem.

    Legalization will, however, readjust the economic dynamic that allows a geographical area, with virtually no infrastructure, to generate billions of dollars in revenue from a weed. The subsequent economic readjustment will then require both nations to make substantive political and economic changes for permanent solutions that the “War on Drugs” policy has deliberately delayed.

    Ms.Martinez is correct, there are no easy answers. There are problems that need solutions.

    The beast has been kept hungry by the malfeasant master so it knows the hand that feeds it. They must be very careful that the beast doesn’t eat the hand with the master attached. Easy answers are only hors d’oeuvres. When is dinner served? I’m hungry.

  • Zeb

    Everyone who does not support legalization of all drugs and vote accordingly has blood on their hands. Nearly every politician in the country, D or R, is equally complicit in thousands of murders every year. Decriminalization and the focus on cannabis legalization are deadly distractions as they solve none of the serious problems relating to prohibition and only serve to make comfortable, affluent pot smokers less likely to stand up and say something about the true horrors of prohibition.

  • vicky vampire

    Definitely agree make those sentences retroactive,but you know it will be caught up in crappy red tape excuses.

    Drudge Report some years back first brought up thatidea of drug testing THE supreme Court, The Senate and Congress in Washington DC and all over country should be drug tested, of course even if they get caught,they will go nice expensive Rehab then write some Sob Bookstory about it. and it will be forgotten believe me only folks are regular citizens who get screwed with Drugs testing.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    I really wish these dingbats that think that the Mexicans could compete in a gray market understood exactly what kind of a bullshit, inferior product that the Mexicans are importing.

    It’s simply amazing that these people think the cartels can just reach around and pull $10 billion of profits out of their collective hiney holes with little to no effort. This fantasy requires that we believe that these organized criminal syndicates just aren’t exploiting just about every criminal opportunity available.

    Why the heck are they fighting because of the reduction in cocaine supply if post cannabis re-legalization they can just boost exports? Why not boost them now? Is it that hard to pop an extra 10 kilos on the load now? Are all those tunnels under the borders really operating at 110% of capacity?

    If they can ship meth up here and use supply to cultivate new customers, why aren’t they?

    Why are heroin samples testing out at up to 80% pure from street dealers when a junkie in 1969 was likely to overdose if got fed 10% junk?

    These greedy criminals must have “amotivational syndrome” from exporting pot. Yeah, that’s it, that’s the ticket! Everyone knows that pot makes you lazy, and everyone knows Mexicans have a really horrid genetic predisposition to severe laziness. Now we’re making some headway. So what it means is, pot really isn’t all that bad, but we need to keep pot illegal in order to keep the criminals from engaging in real mischief.

    Oh god my brain hurts again. Do these people really believe their own propaganda?

  • DdC

    Why can’t the US legalize drugs? There’s ‘too much money in it,’ Clinton says Feb 22 2011
    In what will likely be seen as something of a Freudian slip by the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said recently in a Mexican news interview that the United States cannot legalize drugs as a means of fighting the black market because “there is just too much money in it.”

    Indiana’s Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels Talks About His Marijuana Use and Conviction

    IRS audits marijuana stores Feb 22 2011
    The IRS is auditing marijuana dispensaries in California, and advocates have called for a change in federal laws. Several members of congress have drafted a letter to the IRS, asking it to allow dispensaries to deduct business expenses and not treat the organizations as drug traffickers.

    “No taxation without representation”
    Many in the colonies believed the lack of direct representation in the distant British Parliament was an illegal denial of their rights as Englishmen, and therefore laws taxing the colonists (one of the types of laws that affects the majority of individuals directly), and other laws applying only to the colonies, were unconstitutional.

    So what about Persecution without Representation?

  • vicky vampire

    Yes Ddc despite California being an overtaxed and regulated state Bless there crazy hearts,it still leads the way for access to Marijuana even with all it many problems to work out IRS ALLOWING TAXATION there’s no going back to prohibition in Calif. Montana and other Idiot states can squeal but eventually CA will lead the way to normalize Cannabis totally into full infrastructure between state and Federal yup, the delusional ramblings will go on what can I say.
    Hey what the Fuck is up with Harry Reid wants get rid of brothels OK what happened to Harry did Chem-trails fry his brain maybe,I know if he had been doing plenty of weed like us here he would not be susceptible to all this no-sense and would be protected and immune could not resist. PLEASE LATELY Charlie Sheens ramblings sounds more Coherent and normal than idiot Politicians.

  • DdC

    Ask NORML: McDonald’s, Monsanto, and Phillip Morris! Oh My!
    February 25th, 2011 By: Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Coordinator

    NORML’s youtube channel, NORMLtv, recently launched a new video series entitled ‘Ask NORML,’ which features NORML staff answering questions submitted by you — the marijuana law reform activist. On this week’s installment, Executive Director Allen St. Pierre makes his debut to discuss the anxiety surrounding a potential corporate takeover of marijuana commerce after legalization.

    NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up
    February 24th, 2011 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    Marijuana law reform legislation is pending in over twenty states

    The DEA Is Ready For Pharmaceutical Pot — Are You?
    February 23rd, 2011 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

  • strayan

    They’re desperately trying to avoid having to attribute the problems to anything but prohibition.

    We’ll have more sex traffic and illegal immigrants? Um, why not just legalise sex work?Here in Australia we virtually eliminated trafficking by giving sex workers employment rights. People smuggling? Re-open the US/Mexican border (like it was prior to 1960), problem solved.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      I think we should just annex Mexico and have 81 States. But that isn’t going to happen because it’s a budget buster. Do you have a clue how many 50 star flags that are owned by governmental authorities? It’s got to be in the gazillions, and you know how the gov’t overpays for stuff.

  • ezrydn

    As for Adriana, does she believe the cartels get their fist full of bucks, GREENBACKS, from Mexicans?

    For the Prohibitionists who peruse this board, here’s as simple of a presentation as I can make…

    A Water faucet is turned on to a trickle. Then, it’s progressively opened until you have full flow. Question: How do you stop the overflow of water that’s destroying your yard? Answer: Your turn!

    • strayan

      They get it from bootleg DVD sales!!!

      Anyone ever heard of a bankrupted liquor store owner resort to people smuggling or kidnapping?

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .
        I do recall the CEO of a bankrupt car manufacturer deciding to deal cocaine to keep his company afloat. Big story back in 1982.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_DeLorean

        Unfortunately he was a clueless babe in the woods and the first coke dealers he met were Feds doing a reverse sting. He managed to beat the rap using an entrapment defense.

        Do you realize that you never will hear about those that succeeded? It’s something people keep quiet about.

  • @Duncan…

    I was in the federal courthouse in Los Angeles, shackled with several others being escorted down to the bus that would take us to the Terminal Island Federal prison when we passed Mr DeLorean and his lawyer/s in the hallway. We were in shackles, he was in a suit. One of my unique brushes with the infamous.

    On topic: Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol may palliate altered chemosensory perception in cancer patients: results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial (translation: pot helps late stage cancer patients eat better, sleep better, feel better)

    • strayan

      Cannabis is medicine and has genuine clinical indications. There is absolutely no doubt about it. People just need to get the message now.

  • Servetus

    The arguments opposing drug legalization as an alternative to the current mayhem and death of the Mexico Drug War all follow a magic bullet rationale.

    Because an approach may not totally eliminate the cartels, it can’t possibly be implemented at all, even if it can be seen to act as a bridge to solving the remaining crime problems in Mexico. The best way to eliminate crime is to eliminate the opportunities to commit a crime. Legalization and regulation of illicit drugs does that.

    If scientists took the same approach to curing cancer as prohibitionists take in their fantasized quest of a drug free society, there would be no anti-cancer drugs on the market at all.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    We might be getting ready to hear & participate in a very loud and protracted discussion over the right of juries to acquit regardless of the evidence proffered. The Feds launched a full frontal assault on the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution by arresting a Mr. Julian P. Heicklen.

    Since 2009, Mr. Heicklen has stood there and at courthouse entrances elsewhere and handed out pamphlets encouraging jurors to ignore the law if they disagree with it, and to render verdicts based on conscience.

    That concept, called jury nullification, is highly controversial, and courts are hostile to it. But federal prosecutors have now taken the unusual step of having Mr. Heicklen indicted on a charge that his distributing of such pamphlets at the courthouse entrance violates a law against jury tampering.

    Beee-ill of rights? We don’t need no steenking Beee-ill of Rights.

  • DdC

    Legalizing Cannabis: High Time for a Discussion By Ryan Blethen
    CN Source: Seattle Times February 25, 2011

    It is rare we publish an editorial on a hot topic and receive near universal praise. But that is what happened last week when we came out in support of Washington state legalizing cannabis. The fact that a lot of people support the drug being legal is not surprising. Most people I know have long supported legalization of marijuana. Knowing people who support it and public opinion about a newspaper supporting it are different things. Read More…

    Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson’s bill to legalize marijuana, tax it and sell it to adults through the state liquor stores — House Bill 1550

    Our American Common Law & Jury Nullification

    Anglo-Saxon common law right of claiming a “necessity” to break the law,
    because doing so prevented a greater harm…
    ~ Rob Waddell

    Julian Heicklen is a 78 year old libertarian activist known for his marijuana protests at Pennsylvania State University where he was a professor and more recently jury nullification outreach. Since October 2009 Julian has been traveling around the USA (mostly the northeast) to do jury nullification outreach at federal courthouses.

    Status: Freed on 2010-06-08. Despite the NYC DOC website indicating his arraignment date had been withdrawn it occurred and Julian was released in the early evening. At 5:57PM bile received a call from the NYC DOC indicating he had been released and at that time the inmate page confirmed as much.

    Fully Informed Jury Association 15 Jan 2011
    The Empire Versus the Two Julians, Assange and Heicklen, and the Anti War Activists The prospect of not being able to convict opponents of its tyranny must be terrifying to the government. There is no better way to stop FIJA activists from educating jurors and, therefore, keeping dissidents free than to start charging them with […]

    On 2009-11-09 Julian Heicklen was arrested for pamphleteering on federal property and bile for filming that arrest. After having the case against bile dropped and a following civil lawsuit against the DHS the video has been finally turned over.

    Raw footage of the arrest of Julian Heicklen and bile U2b
    This cop is a federal pig thug. America is going down the shit tube with heavy handed tactics like this. The right to express yourself peacefully is gone. This cop deserves the worst life can offer. He is a pig, a tool, a zombie. He should be ashamed of himself. He has no honor. May his life be miserable.

  • TrebleBass

    Adriana Martinez says:
    “The drug war in Mexico spiked to the extraordinary levels that we see today when the violence between the cartels escalated in recent years. Though attributable to various factors, it is probable that the shrink in the U.S. cocaine market was influential. If this is the case, then the legalization of marijuana in the United States or the increased growth thereof domestically would only result in increased violence as well.”

    The principal reason for the spike in violence, by far, was Calderon’s crackdown, it was not that Americans started using a little less cocaine. It does make sense that if you take the marijuana business from the cartels there might be a spike in violence for a short period of time when the cartels fight even harder for the cocaine market, but that would subside and, ultimately, a decreased illegal market will result in less violence. As to prostitution, people trafficking, increasing cocaine sales, etc, i’m sure the cartels would attempt that, but there is only so much demand out there for those things and it’s not as if those enterprises are not already being pursued.

  • malcolm kyle

    Duncan posted: Since 2009, Mr. Heicklen has stood there and at courthouse entrances elsewhere and handed out pamphlets encouraging jurors to ignore the law if they disagree with it, and to render verdicts based on conscience.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/26/nyregion/26jury.html

    I think the Mr. Heicklen may have found the most expedient way to bring this whole facade crashing down. Is there anybody reading this that can take it upon his/herself to rustle up a network of volunteers to do the same all over the nation? –It could be all over in a month!

  • malcolm kyle

    And don’t get me wrong; I’ve always been aware that jury nullification may be one of the ways we’ll end this sadomoralistic moronothon. The problem being though is how to get the message out, and Heicken appears to have hit on the best way to do just that.

    We probably won’t even need that many volunteers because Heicken’s persecution has already put this whole thing in the media’s spotlight. A good place to start would be the exact same spot where Heicken was arrested

  • my how the wwweb facilitates meme transmission… I saw news pass by about Mr Heicken whilst I was travelling other avenues this morn. Good on ‘im.

    Washington state has sure picked up some slack in the discussion. Norm Stamper is getting LEAP some space as well in the discussion (as is MacKenzie Allen).

    Part of my compost turning (like any manure pile the drug war’s needs turning occasionally) this morning is turning on Bill Bennett and I ran across this letter to Will’m in the Wall St Journal, Sept 7, 1989:

    An Open Letter to Bill Bennett
    by Milton Friedman, April 1990

    Remember, this is over 20 years ago… (wow, I had just moved to Oregon’s forested gem, Opal Creek – and I was in my 30s!)

    I append excerpts from a column that I wrote in 1972 on “Prohibition and Drugs.” The major problem then was heroin from Marseilles; today, it is cocaine from Latin America. Today, also, the problem is far more serious than it was 17 years ago: more addicts, more innocent victims; more drug pushers, more law enforcement officials; more money spent to enforce prohibition, more money spent to circumvent prohibition.

    Had drugs been decriminalized 17 years ago, “crack” would never have been invented (it was invented because the high cost of illegal drugs made it profitable to provide a cheaper version) and there would today be far fewer addicts. The lives of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of innocent victims would have been saved, and not only in the U.S. The ghettos of our major cities would not be drug-and-crime-infested no-man’s lands. Fewer people would be in jails, and fewer jails would have been built.

    Columbia, Bolivia and Peru would not be suffering from narco-terror, and we would not be distorting our foreign policy because of narco-terror. Hell would not, in the words with which Billy Sunday welcomed Prohibition, “be forever for rent,” but it would be a lot emptier.

    Decriminalizing drugs is even more urgent now than in 1972, but we must recognize that the harm done in the interim cannot be wiped out, certainly not immediately. Postponing decriminalization will only make matters worse, and make the problem appear even more intractable.

    Alcohol and tobacco cause many more deaths in users than do drugs. Decriminalization would not prevent us from treating drugs as we now treat alcohol and tobacco: prohibiting sales of drugs to minors, outlawing the advertising of drugs and similar measures. Such measures could be enforced, while outright prohibition cannot be. Moreover, if even a small fraction of the money we now spend on trying to enforce drug prohibition were devoted to treatment and rehabilitation, in an atmosphere of compassion not punishment, the reduction in drug usage and in the harm done to the users could be dramatic.

    This plea comes from the bottom of my heart. Every friend of freedom, and I know you are one, must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, by the vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence. A country in which shooting down unidentified planes “on suspicion” can be seriously considered as a drug-war tactic is not the kind of United States that either you or I want to hand on to future generations.

    Prophetic stuff there maties…

  • Tim

    White House Requests Meeting with Seattle Times to Bully Against Pro-Pot Editorials

    Guess they’re scared…

    Bruce Ramsey, the Seattle Times editorial writer who wrote the unbylined piece, says the White House called right “right after our editorial ran, so I drew the obvious conclusion… he didn’t like our editorial.”

  • nice grab Tim… I like rattling cages and boy they’re getting rattled. Hey, the Seattle Times should invite the city attorney and Norm Stamper. And make it a public meeting, at least a press conference after…

    Back to Julian Heicken:

    Death to the druggies

  • aaah… today’s reading grows… still doing my digging on Wm Bennett (would you have guessed he’s also anti-gay??? I was *shocked*) and came across what I think is the best summation of the US govt-Straight Inc/Seed collusion yet:

    US Gov and Straight Inc – “A Study in Ethics” : Serial Child Abuse revealed

  • darkcycle

    Help! My wife was mugged by Girlscouts! She went to the store for groceries and returned with a bag full of girlscout cookies. I’ll just be glad she got the shopping done before they grabbed her. For reference: It is not a good idea to go to the store during cookie season after finishing two Volcano bags. *BURP*

  • DdC

    I’ll add it to the list Allan…
    Not that drug thugs can read…

    Mothers Against the Drug Czar’s War on Kids

    Enacted during the Nixon administration, the so-called war on drugs was designed to reduce supply and diminish demand for certain substances deemed harmful or undesirable. But the drug war has never met this objective, and unintended consequences have undermined the health and safety of our citizens, especially our children.

    Calvina Fay Prohibition Inc.

    THE TRUTH ABOUT STRAIGHT, INC &TEEN CHALLENGE
    Kids Helping Kids began as Straight-Midwest and over time was incorporated into Pathway Family Center (owns/owned 4 known programs). Pathway Family Center was founded by Terri Nissley, a “satisfied” Straight, Inc. cult parent who wants to continue in the torturing and brainwashing kids for profit industry. Kids Helping Kids (a Pathway Family Center program) has closed or is closing according to recent reports. Closing after years of protesting against fraud, abuse, and torture at the Milford, OH location.

    In remembrance of all the victims of Straight, Inc.

    Tragedy in the Wilderness
    At least 10 children have lost their lives as a result of their participation in a wilderness therapy program (AKA “Brat Camps”) who failed them in the worst way imaginable. These are their stories as told through media reports, opinion and commentary.

    Anti-Drug Campaigns Dumb Down Vital Message
    Calvina Fay is the Executive Director of Drug Free America Foundation and Save Our Society From Drugs (S.O.S.)

    Drug Free America Foundation, Inc.
    5999 Central Avenue
    St. Petersburg, FL 33710
    Phone: (727) 828-0211
    Fax: (727) 828-0212

    Drug Free America Foundation,
    formerly known as Straight, Inc.

    From 1976-1985 it was known as Straight, Inc. and had a reputation for abusing kids as a drug rehabilitation program. In 1985 it changed its name to Straight Foundation, Inc. in order to protect its money and its principals from civil suits. In 1995 it was changed again to Drug Free America Foundation. DFAF is a national and international drug policy think tank and provider of services for drug free work places.

    Bush. Religious drug treatment in Texas

    CORPUS CHRISTI, Tex. – Over the door of one church-based drug treatment center in Houston, a sign printed in foot-high letters announces: “Drug Addiction Is NOT a Disease. It’s a Sin.” At another, clients pass by a poster of an addict in a hospital bed, ripping IV tubes out of his arms and throwing his pills in the garbage. An angel hovers nearby, offering her protection from this plague of prescriptions.

    And at a Christian young adult home in Corpus Christi, police recently took the unusual step of arresting a supervisor after teenagers complained that they were beaten and roped to a bed, all in the name of Christian discipline. More arrests are anticipated, authorities say.

    These are some of the results–expected and unexpected–of Gov. George W. Bush’s “bold new experiment in welfare reform.” With his conviction that religious groups can transform lives in ways government can’t, Bush sponsored laws in 1997 that allow churches to provide social services their own way, outside the intrusive glare of the state.

    The new laws exempted faith-based drug treatment programs from all state health and safety regulations followed by their secular counterparts, a list contained in a rule book as thick as a Russian novel that covers every detail from fire detectors to frayed carpets. Counselors in religious treatment programs now may skip the criminal background checks and hundreds of hours of training required of their state-licensed peers.

    Cover-Ups, Prevarications, Subversions & Sabotage

    The New American Century by Arundhati Roy
    (January 22, 2004 (February 9, 2004 issue)
    In the great cities of Europe and America, where a few years ago these things would only have been whispered, now people are openly talking about the good side of imperialism and the need for a strong empire to police an unruly world. The new missionaries want order at the cost of justice. Discipline at the cost of dignity. And ascendancy at any price. Occasionally some of us are invited to “debate” the issue on “neutral” platforms provided by the corporate media. Debating imperialism is a bit like debating the pros and cons of rape. What can we say? That we really miss it?

    Signatories to its statement of principles included future Bush administration officials Elliott Abrams, Dick Cheney, Paula Dobriansky, I. Lewis Libby, Peter Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Paul Wolfowitz. Other signatories included Gary Bauer, William Bennett, Jeb Bush, Midge Decter, Frank Gaffney, Norman Podhoretz, Steve Forbes, Eliot Cohen, Fred Ikle, and Dan Quayle.

    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.

    ” U.S. leaders commit war crimes as a matter of institutional necessity, as their imperial role calls for keeping subordinate peoples in their proper place and assuring a “favorable climate of investment” everywhere. They do this by using their economic power, but also … by supporting Diem, Mobutu, Pinochet, Suharto, Savimbi, Marcos, Fujimori, Salinas, and scores of similar leaders. War crimes also come easily because U.S. Ieaders consider themselves to be the vehicles of a higher morality and truth and can operate in violation of law without cost. It is also immensely helpful that their mainstream media agree that their country is above the law and will support and rationalize each and every venture and the commission of war crimes. ”
    ~ Edward Herman, political economist and author

    If Bill Bennett is slouching toward Gomorrah, he has a layover in Las Vegas. Bennett, the former drug czar and author of “The Book of Virtues,” has lost up to $8 million gambling in the past decade, according to published reports. He says he does not have a gambling problem.

    Can you say “denial”? Bennett’s wife says he gambles only three or four times a year and that he is not addicted. Can you say “enabler”?

    There is one more word to say about the former drug czar who advised drug users to just say no: hypocrite.

  • and Milton Friedman, 1972:

    But, you may say, must we accept defeat? Why not simply end the drug traffic? That is where experience under Prohibition is most relevant. We cannot end the drug traffic. We may be able to cut off opium from Turkey but there are innumerable other places where the opium poppy grows. With French cooperation, we may be able to make Marseilles an unhealthy place to manufacture heroin but there are innumerable other places where the simple manufacturing operations involved can be carried out. So long as large sums of money are involved-and they are bound to be if drugs are illegal-it is literally hopeless to expect to end the traffic or even to reduce seriously its scope. In drugs, as in other areas, persuasion and example are likely to be far more effective than the use of force to shape others in our image.

    Forty years ago, mi amigas y amigos…

  • DdC

    Happy Toking: Poll Shows Strong Majorities for Drug Reform
    A new poll from The Economist shows a huge majority of Americans support the legalization and taxation of marijuana. full story

    Massachusetts Bill to Legalize Marijuana
    A bill calling for the legalization, regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana has been introduced into the Massachusetts Legislature. full story

    Barney Frank Backs Repeal of Laws at MMJ Expo
    U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. told the state’s first Maine Medical Marijuana Expo on Saturday that current laws against marijuana use are expensive, are applied unevenly and ought to be repealed. “People who make a personal decision to smoke marijuana should not be subject to prosecution,” said Frank, noting that the movement has allies in the libertarian wing of the Republican Party. “This is the kind of fight that’s worth making. It’s winnable.” full story

    Seattle’s First Cannabis Farmers Market
    As at most farmers markets, table after table came stocked with goodies, touted for their locally grown, healthy, organic qualities. Baby-boomers in berets mingled with twenty-somethings in dreadlocks, eyeballing potted plants, pasta, pizza, cute little cupcakes and Mason jars full of green buds — lots of jars. This was not your grandpa’s market. It was the first Cannabis Farmers Market in Seattle. And an estimated 600 medical-marijuana patients strolled through the doors of the Little Red Studio in the South Lake Union neighborhood to partake, organizers said. full story

  • DdC

    Wal-Mart of Weed
    Want to Grow Your Own Bud? Head to California’s ‘Wal-Mart of Weed’
    Pot-enthusiasts, rejoice: Sacramento’s new weed-centric megamall is open for business. full story

    Cannabis Whets Appetite for Cancer Patients
    People with advanced cancer said food tasted better when they took the active ingredient in cannabis compared with sugar pills, a small Canadian study showed. full story

    Leading Hemp Advocacy Groups Applaud Introduction of California Hemp Farming Bill SB 676 (Press Release)

  • DdC

    Maybe it’s just the “M” states with extra anal rententives mucking up the joint…

    O’Malley Administration Opposes MMJ Bill By Ann Marimow
    CN Source: Washington Post February 28, 2011 Maryland

    Gov. Martin O’Malley’s chief public health adviser Monday dealt a potentially fatal blow to efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Maryland, opposing legislation under consideration in the General Assembly in part because he said it does “does not provide for meaningful limits.” Joshua M. Sharfstein, secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said the proposal does not sufficiently limit the number of dispensaries, quantity of marijuana or types of conditions for which marijuana can be recommended by a doctor. full story

    Can you imagine the headlines if this was a DEAth monger killed? Maybe someday we can have rights like the DEAth. I’ve heard about this place across the great pond where an ordinary man can vote for his leader. They have something called unalienable rights whatever that is. They can speak without reprimand. They can worship any god they choose and everybody chases a dream and becomes middle class with good schools and health care. I wish I could remember the name of the place. Maybe it was one of my Ganja induced wishful thoughts. hum-mm… (my spell checker says that is the way to spell hummmm. hum-mm?)

    NY Drug Bust Yields Year’s 11th Drug War Killing
    An as yet unidentified man in Lackawanna, New York, has become the 11th person killed in US drug law enforcement operations this year. He was shot and killed during a confrontation with undercover officers attempting to arrest four alleged drug dealers in a gas station parking lot early Thursday evening. full story

    Etheridge Film Supports Medical Marijuana Organization
    Singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge has chosen Americans for Safe Access (ASA) to be her charity partner in promoting a groundbreaking new documentary about women and breast cancer. full story

  • caught this note on a story over at Cannabis Culture:

    This year, Drug War Chronicle is going to try to track every death directly attributable to drug law enforcement during the year. We can use your help. If you come across a news account of a killing related to drug law enforcement, please send us an email at psmith@drcnet.org