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March 2011
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Open Thread

bullet image Here’s a nice spot over at the Economist to get a sense of some of the commenting of Malcolm Kyle, one of our regulars here. Malcolm really does a great job challenging the readers in comments sections at all sorts of media outlets.


bullet image It’s not just Obama that fails the question test. Check out this excellent piece at UKCIA News Blog: David Cameron shows his ignorance about cannabis

Democracy is a great idea, but the problem is it gives us politicians who can be the most dishonest peddlers of misinformation on the planet. David Cameron showed just how badly politicians can mislead when he answered a question about cannabis law reform this week.

When asked: “Why is marijuana illegal when alcohol and tobacco are more addictive and dangerous to our health, but we manage to control them? Wouldn’t education about drugs from a younger age be better?”

He answered:

“Well there’s one bit of that question I agree with which I think education about drugs is vital and we should make sure that education programmes are there in our schools and we should make sure that they work. But I don’t really accept the rest of the question. I think if you actually look at the sort of marijuana that is on sale today, it is actually incredibly damaging, very, very toxic and leads to, in many cases, huge mental health problems. But I think the more fundamental reason for not making these drugs legal is that to make them legal would make them even more prevalent and would increase use levels even more than they are now. So I don’t think it is the right answer. I think a combination of education, also treatment programmes for drug addicts, I think those are the two most important planks of a proper anti-drug policy.”

The article does a nice job of fisking that.


bullet image For those of you who may have missed it…

Jury nullification is an important tool for dealing with bad criminal laws that lawmakers (for whatever reason) don’t want to change. Judges and prosecutors are hostile to it and would prefer that jurors not know their rights and responsibilities in this area.

Is Advocacy of Jury Nullification a Crime?

Now someone has been arrested specifically for passing out information about jury nullification. This will be a case to watch since it is about silencing opposition.


bullet image Meanwhile, in our drug war next door…

28 in Mexico Killed in Attacks

It’s so routine it hardly seems worth reporting. Sigh.


bullet image An interesting legislative stunt in Minnesota…

Legislators want medical marijuana farming in Minnesota

A bill introduced in the Minnesota Legislature on Thursday would make it legal for farmers to grow medical marijuana and sell it to dispensaries in states where marijuana can be legally used for medicinal purposes. The Medical Marijuana Production and Export Act would direct the state government to develop a strict licensing plan for the potential grower and cites a positive economic benefit for the state’s agricultural sector.

It appears to me to be some kind of protest bill, because I can’t imagine it ever actually happening (at least until marijuana is legalized nationally). You can imagine that the feds would go ballistic over the idea of exporting medical marijuana across state lines, and the mental image of Minnesota shipping medical marijuana to California is pretty hilarious.


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36 comments to Open Thread

  • undrgrndgirl

    while it seems illogical…there is a precedent. sale and consumption of alcohol was illegal in canada through much of the 1920s, but manufacture and EXPORT (especially to the united stated – despite its own prohibition) was legal…and much of the booze consumed by americans during alcohol prohibition came from canada…

    • Duncan20903

      Minnesota is not a foreign country. You might want to remember why Marc Emery is in jail as well.

  • kaptinemo

    In re: David Cameron’s (non)answer:

    “So I don’t think it is the right answer.”

    When a pol says “I don’t think…” I believe it is the most honest thing any of that particular class of people can say. Anything else is bordering on mendacity if not actual lying. His and his Cabinet’s actions regarding cannabis demonstrate that clearly.

  • David Cameron has disgraced himself with response that is inaccurate, misleading and deeply irresponsible.

    http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/dont-let-cameron-get-away-with-his-untruths-about-cannabis-write-a-letter/

  • Brandon E.

    “The Pentagon has poured millions of dollars into the development of tiny drones inspired by biology, each equipped with video and audio equipment that can record sights and sounds.”

    The hummingbirds that want to spy on you are coming!

    http://tinyurl.com/624cnqb

    • This is not my America

      Humm….guess all humming birds are suspect and possiblely in danger of bieng shot on sight.

      By the way, they also have dragonfly drones too.

  • strayan

    Cannabis use would only increase if it were commercialized like alcohol (marketed by football stars, heavily discounted at supermarkets etc)

    Treat it like tobacco and consumption of cannabis use will fall.

  • darkcycle

    From Paul A., Up at alternet.org:
    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/150009?page=1

    • The Stranger has learned that immediately after the Seattle Times ran an editorial last week supporting a bill to tax and regulate marijuana, the newspaper got a phone call from Washington, D.C. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy director Gil Kerlikowske wanted to fly to Seattle to speak personally with the paper’s full editorial board.

      The meeting is scheduled for next Friday […]

      • claygooding

        They are trying to get the Editorial board to video the meeting and put it live on the internet Allan,,,,,waiting impatiently to post the link

  • This is not my America

    But I don’t really accept the rest of the question. I think if you actually look at the sort of marijuana that is on sale today, it is actually incredibly damaging, very, very toxic and leads to, in many cases, huge mental health problems.

    Wow ok where is the data to back that up? I can say alcohol can make you a race car driver (cause drunk drive fast ) with no data too.

    • This is not my America

      Oh and by the way…being put in prison for cannabis use or sale can cause great harm to body and mind….much more so than cannabis ever could.

  • vicky vampire

    Gosh,Golly gee David Cameron I’ll Pretend I’m in an alternate universe your words were illuminating and irradiant.

    Minnesota Legislators want to grow medical Marijuana a great stunt. Here in Dead Zone State I live a realty not stunt kids given at age 2 to 18 psychotropic drugs wish that truly was a stunt its a INSANE TRAGEDY side effects of this is nuts, mentioned on KSL TV5 10:pm new today sorry could not find link.
    and they worry about a little weed. Ignorant Bastards!!..

    Magnanimous kudos Malcolm comments Fucking Brilliant.YES were are constantly told by religious right and some republicans and conservatives that founding father social conservatives on the whole yet read in your comments on Lincoln and that citizens should did not believe we should be subordinate to any particular narrow religious moral order, I think deep down some knew thisI’VE Read enough to innately know this also just unfortunately not has articulate has you to express myself here better sadly anyway ,great words and insights will share with many.

    Just purchased books – The Pot Book-Acomplete Guide to Cannabis -Julie Holland MD.
    AND YOU WILL DIE- The Burden of Taboos -Robert R, Arthur
    Has anyone read these books.?

    • malcolm kyle

      Thank you kindly Vicky for your encouraging words! Unfortunately, I’m not as good at communicating on a personal level as I am “to the masses” so please forgive me for keeping this rather short. I sometimes suspect I’m possibly borderline autistic while my wife’s eternally convinced I’m definitely full-blown, lol. Anyway, whatever it is I’m “suffering” from, it does, at times, appear to lend itself generously for certain applications.

      %&$#* to those who willfully ignore the intentions and illuminated vision of the founding fathers of this great nation!

      Thank you too pete!

  • malcolm kyle

    We’re having a competition for the best “Mexican Holliday Slogan”.
    Here’s mine:

    “Go to Mexico and become beheaded by prohibition engendered thugs with gold-plated AK-47s and albino tiger pens who will then generously proceed to dissolve your torso in a vat of acid!”

    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/americas/02/28/mexico.violence/

  • Peter

    The Independent has had a bee in its bonnet about cannabis and psychosis….here they go again:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/cannabis-link-to-increased-risk-of-psychosis-2229810.html

    • Jake

      What they, or the BBC don’t mention is that “An accompanying editorial questions the UK’s decision to retain criminal penalties for cannabis use, despite evidence that removing such penalties has little or no detectable effect on rates of use.” Maybe that is why they don’t link to the article on their site.

      In said editorial:

      An informed cannabis policy should be based not only on the harms caused by cannabis use, but also on the harms caused by social policies that attempt to discourage its use, such as criminal penalties for possession and use.

      It also says that: preventing 2018-4530 young people in the United Kingdom from becoming regular cannabis users to prevent one case of schizophrenia, or to prevent four to five times as many (10 000-23 000) from light cannabis use to achieve the same result. Do the maths and this is an incredibly small percentage (approx 0.03% risk). So why not regulate…?

      Even David Cameron suggested as much “It is also worth recalling that, as a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into drug misuse in 2002, David Cameron voted in favour of a recommendation that “the Government initiates a discussion within the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of alternative ways – including the possibility of legalisation and regulation – to tackle the global drugs dilemma” (http://www.ihra.net/contents/746).. as soon as he gets a taste of power he does the same thing all our ‘leaders’ do…

      • kaptinemo

        Now they’re moderating comments. Guess they’re getting tired of being rhetorically bruised and bloodied by all the intelligent (and withering) commentary.

    • strayan

      The comment section is heartening. People are clearly starting to get it.

      • kaptinemo

        The prohibs there seem to be the usual mentally narrow-minded-as-an-axe-blade monomaniacal type. In this case, one I’m dueling with right now seems to be a kilometer wide and a millimeter deep. Hardly a workout…

      • Peter

        The Independent seem to have closed off the comments section and removed previous posts. I wonder if they realized it was a crap article in the first place? It has been replaced on the site by another item: “International watchdog warns on designer drugs….” ho hum….

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    The Minnesota thing makes me want to puke. It may be arguable that Mr. Milburn and his Montanan henchmen are actually ignorant enough to be true believers in what they’re doing with the medical cannabis laws, but this proposed Minnesota legislation can only be for the purpose of distracting the Minnesota voters from the looming monetary crunch that the lawmakers are unwilling to deal with.
    ———————————————————————————————————————–
    I’m very hopeful that the jury nullification case will backfire on the Feds big time. After all, no way to prosecute it without telling the jurors that they have the right to acquit regardless of the evidence.

  • darkcycle

    I suspect all of us net-heads have Asperger’s syndrome to one extent or another. Why else choose a social forum that doesn’t allow personal contact? It removes that troublesome need to ‘read’ the emotional reactions of those we communicate with. And it puts them on the same plane: no visual cues to read, so if it’s not in the text…it’s not there. Asperger’s is a social disease in that it is manifest only in face to face social interactions.
    People with Asperger’s are generally very bright, but hopelessly crippled in social situations by the inability to read social and emotional cues. And there are levels of Asperger’s syndrome. Some people are crippled by it while some are merely inconvenienced. But for the people who have it, the net is a great field leveler. (BTW, I at one point was the treatment director at a facility that serves Autistic adults, and had a few Asperger’s cases. One of my clients was a self pay, who made more money online as a programmer and Beta-tester than I did as treatment Director. But his Asperger’s was so bad it was nearly impossible to complete simple tasks like renting an apartment because it involved face-to-face interaction. He also couldn’t read people, and would get himself involved with dangerous people and into bad situations because he couldn’t read the warning signs that we all learn to read. He needed a structured environment or he would have never made it. Those were special challenges.)
    Anyway, however you manage it Malcolm, keep it up, you’re a dynamo. And I’ll just have to wait to find out if you’re as intelligent and well spoken in person.

    • Duncan20903

      You can toss into the equation that these forums remain written, even years after it became not a big deal to communicate face to face over the ‘net, skype for example.

      So you know, for a while I’ve thought that animosity between the races are primarily caused by an inability to understand each others “social and emotional” cues. Have you ever been accused of being a bigot when you were thinking how tasty a cheeseburger is? That’s happened to me several times. But then I do think about tasty cheeseburgers a lot.

    • malcolm kyle

      I believe I may be oscillating somewhere in between “occasionally inconvenienced” and “utterly unhinged”.

      If you really wish to affirm my shaky self-diagnostic abilities in person, just give me your ETA, and I’ll pick you up at Amsterdam airport, whisk you down to The Hague and lavish you with my wife’s organic cooking for a period of your own choosing. BTW, that goes for anybody I’ve got to know here who’s in need of a brief escape from the criminally insane and dysfunctional American government.

      • Duncan20903

        Yeah, have you thought of how you’re going to get me out of the house and on my way home? But it’s OK with me if you want to adopt me.

        Does Holland allow people with a checkered past to enter? I know for a fact that I can’t go into Canada. Well at least not without crossing the border Mexican style.

      • darkcycle

        Malcolm…I’m gonna make the “Cup” one of these days (really, I’m gonna…), when I do, expect a visit, at least for Coffee and a sit in a nice shop for awhile, I’d love to say Hi…and sample the local wares, too.
        As for diagnostic abilities….I went into Testing and Teaching, my friend, and not because I was a bang-up diagnostician…..
        I can read a DSM, but who would want to? My therapy days are decades behind me. I spent the last part of my career in the PERFECT Asperger’s job. I gave tests and I supervised clinicians. In both cases all I had to do was be there and be quiet! My feed back was mostly written anyway. And students EXPECT the guy who runs the testing office to be a little weird. So make of that what you will.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    Well it appears that someone has done a study that shows that “above the influence” type PSAs are effective at keeping the childrens from trying drugs.

    http://news.discovery.com/human/anti-drug-ads-may-curb-teen-marijuana-use-110301.html

    More promotion of “reefer madness” today, google it if you want I’m not going to link that crap.

  • malcolm kyle

    Duncan, the Dutch border authorities, unless you owe them money, are regarded as being pretty cool. What’s your favorite cake?

  • malcolm kyle

    “Make mine Space!”

    A wise choice indeed DC, but with or without goat’s cream topping? ;>)

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    I’d pay good money to watch somebody tie up and (literally) scalp the popular Dr. Phil, but it seems we have a Dr. Phil of our very own.

    http://www.salem-news.com/articles/february212011/marijuana-schizophrenia-pl.php

    “Sort of like apples and elephants; a TIME article’s suggestion that cannabis and schizophrenia are a bad mix is irresponsible and wrong; in fact the opposite is far more likely”

    OK, I’m sure everyone else here has heard of the man and several of you have gone out and had dinner and beers with him, but humor me, I’ve just discovered his column. Evidently he enjoys writing about cannabis.

    Nice bona fides:

    Dr. Phillip Leveque has degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and minors in physiology and biochemistry. He was a Professor of Pharmacology, employed by the University of London for 2 years, during which time he trained the first doctors in Tanzania. After training doctors, he became an Osteopathic Physician, as well as a Forensic Toxicologist.

    Before any of that, Phil Leveque was a Combat Infantryman in the U.S. Army in WWII. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 60 years after the war, and specialized in treating Veterans with PTSD during his years as a doctor in Molalla, Oregon. Do you have a question, comment or story to share with Dr. Leveque?
    Email him: ASK DR. LEVEQUE

    More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton’s Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences “from a foxhole”. Order the book by mail by following this link: DOGFACE SOLDIER OF WWII If you are a World War II history buff, you don’t want to miss it.

  • DdC

    It’s Not Just A Plant – A Documentary By Kain Derrick
    According to the United States Food and Drug Administration. The (FDA). False claims of any kind of “cure”, without FDA trials. Carries a 5 to 40 year Federal Prison sentence.Therefore the following film is a work of fiction. OR IS IT?

    Titans’ Simms will fight driving-while-high charge
    Mar 1 2011
    Tennessee Titans backup quarterback Chris Simms will fight to clear himself and defend his rights and reputation after being charged with driving while high on marijuana, one of his lawyers said Tuesday.

    Medical marijuana student back at school
    Mar 1 2011
    A Colorado Springs student kept off campus while under the influence of THC has allegedly received an apology from the district’s lawyer and is back in school.

    Wash. State MMJ User Dies Without Transplant
    A musician who was denied a liver transplant because he used marijuana with medical approval under Washington state law to ease the symptoms of advanced hepatitis C died Thursday. The death of Timothy Garon, 56, at Bailey-Boushay House, an intensive care nursing center was confirmed to The Associated Press by his lawyer, Douglas Hiatt, and Alisha Mark, a spokeswoman for Virginia Mason Medical Center, which operates Bailey-Boushay. full story

  • denmark

    Interested in submitting a question or listening? Today.
    Should we legalize marijuana?

    Join Seattle Times writers and guest panelists for an online chat today at noon about whether Washington state should enact House Bill 1550, which would legalize marijuana. The chat will include proponents and opponents of the bill and will be moderated by Editorial Page Editor Ryan Blethen.
    Submit questions in advance of the chat.

    http://bit.ly/fdXeo5