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April 2011
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Open thread

Feel free to discuss the Cultural Baggage show or anything else you wish.

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25 comments to Open thread

  • strayan

    Where’s the audio?

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    Well how about that Michigan doctor that’s been charged with “aiding and abetting” the distribution of merry wanna for writing medical cannabis recommendations under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act? This looks like a full frontal assault on Conant v. Walters, 309 F.3d 629 (2002). Soomebody must have decided that this novel theory might be upheld by the new makeup of the SCOTUS. Remember, Conant wasn’t grated certiorari so is only binding on the 9th Circuit, and Michigan is in the 6th. IIRC it’s almost certain that the SCOTUS will hear a case if two circuits arrive at mutually exclusive rulings.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/index.ssf/2011/04/saginaw_doctor_facing_addition.html

    It seems the Feds have decided to play it for all or nothing.

    • David Marsh

      @Duncan interesting post. After review of Conant v. Walters, 309 F.3d 629 (2002) I have some questions, and some comments. Conant was affirmed why would they apply for certiorari? Did Walters apply and were they denied? If Walters was denied how would that effect the 6th’s ruling knowing that the 9th’s affirmation was not reviewed? Are administrative and criminal rulings applicable to each other?

      Conant v. Walters, 309 F.3d 629 (2002) is a permanent injunction to prevent adverse “administrative” action in regard to a Dr’s authority to prescribe medicines. It speaks directly to marijuana recommendations as free speech inside the doctor-patient privilege and prohibits administrative action based solely on that recommendation. It does not prohibit administrative investigation or action when “the government in good faith believes that it has substantial evidence that the physician aided and abetted the purchase, cultivation, or possession of marijuana”.

      Conant v. Walters does not prohibit “criminal” investigations or charges. While it may appear that the charges against Dr. Buck are a “full frontal assault” on Conant v. Walters the “free speech” argument underpinnings mentioned in the injunction will be just as hard for the government to overcome in the criminal arena as in the administrative arena. The “aiding and abetting” charges, as with all conspiracy charges, are about intent and can be difficult to prove in both arenas. The “recommendation” in and by itself is not evidence of conspiracy.

      Buck is a criminal case and Conant v. Walters is an administrative case. The news report states that Dr. Buck was allegedly engaged in activities that resulted in three counts of unlawfully distributing controlled substances and one count of aiding and abetting the distribution of marijuana. It appears that the investigation and the charges did not result solely from a “medical marijuana recommendation”.

      It appears that the good Dr. was distributing and the aiding and abetting is icing on their cake. In any event the details of the case will be interesting. If Dr Buck has valid Dr patient relationships I agree that the Feds are all in and we could see SCOTUS get involved. If she is a pill Dr in it for the money they got her for that and the weed too.

  • kaptinemo

    “It seems the Feds have decided to play it for all or nothing.”

    Yes, and it’s partly because they see the piper approaching the Gub’mint with his hand out, demanding payment.

    Been saying this for over a decade that when the false prosperity engendered by all the financial shell-games played by banksters falls through, the time would come for deep cuts in government operations. It would become a choice to either rebuild the tattered social safety net (at the expense of wholly unnecessary net drains on taxpayer dollars such as the War on Some Drugs) or face revolution from scores of millions of angry, disaffected people. We’re just now beginning to see the start of that.

    The ‘anti-drug’ bureaucracies know the fiscal writing is on the wall, written in red ink in upper case letters 40 feet tall. Much of the reason for their continued existence was simple public apathy due to economic ‘good times’.

    Well, the ‘good times’ are over, the belt has to be cinched to the last hole, and when the people stop being apathetic about how their taxes are spent and start to get angry, the pols start looking for any means to they can to placate them…lest their meal ticket gets threatened.

    And that means eventual cuts – if not outright wholesale ‘slaughter’ of entire agencies. And given all the black marks against ONDCP and DEA courtesy of the OMB, a pol who decides to ‘get out front of the herd’ of the rest of his ‘peers’ will eventually start looking into which agencies can be held up for public scorn as being wasteful in a time when waste cannot be tolerated.

    The DrugWarriors know this. They know the bell is tolling silently for them, but soon it will get louder. They know they have to get their last licks in, before they can’t do it anymore. Hence this latest move.

    It’s been my observation that desperate people do stupid things. Despite their bravado, the DrugWarrior leadership is well aware a fiscal butcher knife will eventually swing their way, and they won’t be able to avoid it, any more than their bureaucratic forebears in alcohol Prohibition could. They’re getting desperate…and thus are doing stupid things. This is a perfect example.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      Well, either that or they have some reason for believing the Roberts’ Supreme Court would view the case differently than did the SCOTUS in 2003. In 2003 the Court consisted of Justices William Rehnquist, John P. Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer.

      Today we have a total of 4 Justices who weren’t part of the court in 2003, with John Roberts, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Samuel Alito, in addition to Justices Stevens, Scalia, Thomas, and Souter which completely changes the makeup of the SCOTUS from what it was in 2003.

      It is a very stupid move unless they have at least some kind of nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more, say no more assurance that the SCOTUS will rule in their favor. While the SCOTUS has whittled down the rights protected by several Constitutional Amendments they’ve almost exclusively handed down decisions in favor of maintaining and strengthening the 1st Amendment.

      Yes, I do believe this is a purposeful strategic tactic, mainly because it was broadcast by the ASAM shortly before this case was filed for prosecution. It’s not far fetched at all to think that the ASAM was aware of this strategy with Andrea Barthwell being on their roster.

      Dr. Andrea G. Barthwell, former President of ASAM, said, state approval of medical marijuana put “physicians in an untenable position as gatekeepers to a controlled substance still deemed illicit by the federal government.” She added that physicians who prescribe medical marijuana “could fail to meet their professional obligations to patients and possibly have their license revoked.”

      http://www.hydro-meds.com/addiction-doctors-say-medical-marijuana-should-be-federally-regulated/

      Without the awareness that this doctor’s prosecution was going to happen the entire premise is absurd based on the status quo before its announcement. To me Ockham’s Razor compels the belief that they knew it was going to happen or they wouldn’t have published that press release. Yes, I’ll say it isn’t a certainty, after all they are self interested Know Nothing prohibitionists and it’s not like those people don’t come up with some seriously whacked out bullshit from time to time. Regardless, it’s a moot point. The game is afoot.

      • darkcycle

        Very plausible, but I don’t know what sort of wink, wink, nudge, nudge they would have got from SCOTUS. They play it notoriously close to the vest. It may just be that the DEA and Federal prosecutors have looked at the decisions rendered by this court and figured that this might be the most favorable makeup to come along in recent years. This is interesting though. Doctors have been subjected to a real ratcheting up of the heat. It’s as if DEA has decided that a drug dealer is a drug dealer, and they don’t give a shit if the guy’s got a diploma. Makes you wonder, where do these assholes think they’re gonna get medical help, the shoe repair man?

      • Chris

        Dr. Andrea G. Barthwell, former President of ASAM, said, state approval of medical marijuana put “physicians in an untenable position as gatekeepers to a controlled substance still deemed illicit by the federal government.” She added that physicians who prescribe medical marijuana “could fail to meet their professional obligations to patients and possibly have their license revoked.”

        “If physicians were treating patients with other untested substances, there would be a public outcry,” Barthwell said.

        There is public outcry over this not being used to treat patients, and the other dangerous drugs she’s probably thinking of are mostly already legal for medicinal use. I don’t know why they make some distinction with heroin when there are so many other opiates and opiods to choose from. Probably can’t handle the idea of a world where dope is legal. What fantasy world do these people live in?

        As for physicians being the gatekeepers, the recommendation is just a permission slip. You shouldn’t need one, but it had to be put there to keep everyone else from going crazy all at once. We’ve all but legalized marijuana already except for that minor detail.

      • Julian

        They are aware that Doctors don’t write prescriptions for Medical Marijuana right? I mean they can’t be so stupid that they don’t realize that the way Medical Marijuana systems work in the states that allow it is a doctor writes a recommendation which is then evaluated by the department of health who authorizes use through the distribution of a card, right? It is the same as a physician recomending me to take Siberian Ginseng, a holistic medication like cannabis only not banned federally. He is neither providing me with it nor is he writing a prescription for it, he is recommending it to me becuase it might help and allowing me to use my own judgement on whether or not to take the risk of consuming a medication that is not yet approved by the FDA.

        It just is beyond me that any judge who has attended law school could even contemplate finding a doctor who neither physically provides a drug nor writes a prescription for a drug using their DEA drug license but rather recommends something to their patient as being guilt of aiding and abetting. If this makes it to the SCOTUS and they find a guilty verdict I will literally cry at this blatent defiling of law.

  • pfroehlich2004

    Does anybody know where I can find up-to-date, state-level data on overdose deaths from heroin and prescription opioids?

    I’ve been perusing the substance abuse treatment admissions data at SAMHSA and it seems that the increased use of prescription opioids has coincided with a decrease in heroin use.

    I’m curious as to whether overall opioid-induced deaths have declined. It would seem that prescription opioid users would be at lower risk of overdose since they have accurate dosage information.

    Has anybody seen any data on this?

  • by far, the greatest number of drug-induced deaths are those that are classed as accidental overdoses. you can see the trend information for the years 1999-2007 here:

    http://www.briancbennett.com/charts/death/icd10-drug-induced.htm

    click the category headings in the table or graph legends to see the data broken out for each cause of death

    and i broke out the tallies of which drug types were listed for the various underlying cause of death codes here:

    http://www.briancbennett.com/charts/death/icd10-drug-induced-drug-tallies.htm

    scroll to the bottom of the page to find the navigation graphs to breakouts by underlying cause of death codes.

    clearly the tallies for opiates as a factor in the underlying cause of death have steadily risen. and while the majority of the deaths do involve prescription opiates rather than heroin, they also usually involve more than one drug.

    • Duncan20903

      From what I recall not only is it most times a combination that causes a fatality, but also neither drug is anywhere near its LD-50.

      Just for the sake of clarity let’s remember that an overdose need not include a fatality. E.g. two junkies in parallel allies take a shot of exactly the same heroin. The first dies as a result, but the second guy got the heroin overdose cure and survived. Both most certainly an suffered overdose.

      I forget the name of the heroin overdose drug but have read that the DEA is stonewalling the idea of having it in every ambulance or to competent volunteers in the most afflicted areas. Preferring death over life is just another day at the office for the DEA.
      ———–
      There’s no doubt that the fans of opioids prefer oxycodone to heroin. There are about 215 million past month heroin users in the US. In 1969 there were an estimated 150,000 junkies and the country’s population has at least doubled in the meantime.

      Except in California where the junkies seem to prefer meth.

      • DdC

        There are about 215 million past month heroin users in the US???

        Say what?

        Paramedics use Narcan to revive a heroin overdose victim.

        The Persistent, Dangerous Myth of Heroin Overdose
        People rarely die from heroin overdoses — meaning pure concentrations of the drug which simply overwhelm the body’s responses. What, then, are we to make of frequent reports of heroin overdoses from Plano, Texas and Strathclyde, Scotland? People do die while consuming heroin — but the overdose myth may actually make such deaths more, rather than less, likely.

        The toxicity of medicines, drugs, and poisons is calibrated by the LD50, meaning the lethal dose for 50 percent, signifying the amount of substance necessary to be fatal. Alcohol is considered in the highly dangerous category. Just five times the amount needed to get you happy can be lethal.

        Timeless tinctures
        By Stan Czolowski – Wednesday, October 1 2003

        What is the lethal dose of marijuana?

        According to which US Government authority you want to believe, the lethal dose of marijuana is either about one-third your body weight, or about 1,500 pounds, consumed all at once.

        In summary, enormous doses of Delta 9 THC, All THC and concentrated marihuana extract ingested by mouth were unable to produce death or organ pathology in large mammals but did produce fatalities in smaller rodents due to profound central nervous system depression.

        The non-fatal consumption of 3000 mg/kg A THC by the dog and monkey would be comparable to a 154-pound human eating approximately 46 pounds (21 kilograms) of 1%-marihuana or 10 pounds of 5% hashish at one time. In addition, 92 mg/kg THC intravenously produced no fatalities in monkeys. These doses would be comparable to a 154-pound human smoking at one time almost three pounds (1.28 kg) of 1%-marihuana or 250,000 times the usual smoked dose and over a million times the minimal effective dose assuming 50% destruction of the THC by smoking.

        Thus, evidence from animal studies and human case reports appears to indicate that the ratio of lethal dose to effective dose is quite large. This ratio is much more favorable than that of many other common psychoactive agents including alcohol and barbiturates (Phillips et al. 1971, Brill et al. 1970).

        Nearly all medicines have toxic, potentially lethal effects. But marijuana is not such a substance. There is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality.

        At present it is estimated that marijuana’s LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. In layman terms this means that in order to induce death a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette. NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes weigh approximately .9 grams. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.

      • darkcycle

        Duncan, Narcan, brand name. Nalaxone, drug generic.

  • DdC

    28 medical marijuana raids – in one month!
    Last month, the DEA raided at least 28 medical marijuana dispensaries in Montana and California.

    These raids – and many before them – break President Obama’s promise that he would not use “justice department resources to circumvent state laws” on medical marijuana.

    Their changes in rhetoric aren’t enough. It’s time to end the war on drugs and legalize marijuana. Show your support by signing our petition demanding No More Drug War!

    From Sam Farr April 8, 2011
    These critical services would not cease:

    o Social Security checks for seniors, people with disabilities and survivors would still go out. But new Social Security applications will likely not be processed during any shutdown, as during in the previous shutdowns.

    o Troops would continue to serve, though their pay could be put on hold.

    o Critical homeland security functions such as border security would continue.

    o The Postal Service, which is self-funded, will continue to operate.

    o The FAA would keep the air traffic control system open and safe.

    I’m assuming the DEAth belong to Homeyland Insurance…

    Jeff Jones Yes on 19. Tax Cannabis 2010.
    Sponsored by S.K. Seymour LLC, a Medical Cannabis Provider,
    dba Oaksterdam University, a Cannabis Educator. FPPC 1318272

    Support medical cannabis patients’ right to work

    On Tuesday, April 6, the California State Senate Judiciary Committee approved Senate Bill 129 (SB 129), which would protect medical marijuana patients from being fired by their employers for taking their medicine during off hours, outside of work.

    Click here right now to sign our petition and send it to your state senator!

    • DdC

      “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”
      – George Washington,
      “Farewell Address to the People of the United States,” September, 1796

      US IN: State Lab Marijuana Test Errors Raise Concern
      Questions about the validity of some drug and alcohol test results by the Indiana State Department of Toxicology have yet to affect Southwestern Indiana overtly. An audit of the lab’s results from 2007 through 2009 has turned up problems with at least 200 of the marijuana test results in that time period, said Larry McIntyre, a spokesman for the department. The errors deal with issues such as handling of samples, lab processes and, in some cases, interpretation. He said the potential seriousness of the situation is not yet known.

      US IL: Editorial: House Wrong to Reject Industrial Hemp Bill
      This week Illinois lawmakers voted, 28-82, to reject House Bill 1383, which would have allowed Illinois farmers to obtain permits to grow and produce industrial hemp. The bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Jim Sacia ( R-Pec ), and was also supported by the Illinois Farm Bureau. Not to be confused with cannabis as both come from the same plant, industrial hemp is grown to maximize the fiber content, not the THC level, which means it will not get smokers high. It is grown in tighter rows and harvested much earlier.

      US MA: Column: A Lot Spent to Stop Pot
      Imagine what all this undercover work, involving numerous police officers and a state police helicopter equipped with high-tech surveillance equipment, cost the district attorney’s office. It must be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that doesn’t even count the prosecutions to come. So, what did the six-month investigation yield? Not a lot: five arrests, a little marijuana, a few weapons, recovery of $37,000 and elimination of a couple of marijuana growing operations.

      Alabama Should Allow Use of Medical Marijuana
      US AL: OPED: Sun, 10 Apr 2011 Loretta Nall
      While some Alabama legislators consider this a controversial bill, it is important to point out that 1 ) this bill passed the House Judiciary committee last session, although too late to progress any further; and 2 ) Alabama already has a medical marijuana law on the books. In 1979, the Legislature passed the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act and established rules for medical marijuana. ( This can be found in the Alabama Code sections 20-2-110 through 20-2-120. ) The law states that medical marijuana can be used in the treatment of cancer and glaucoma.

      Sadly, due to drug-war politics, that law was never implemented.

      So if these piglets can “never implement” RxGanja laws why can’t they just not implement the entire frickin drug war?

      • DdC

        Germany Plans to Legalize Medical Marijuana
        The German health ministry has announced plans to legalize medical use of marijuana, prompting praise from advocates for patients with chronic pain and terminal illnesses. full story

        Poland Edges Toward Drug Decriminalization
        In the Polish Sejm (parliament) last Friday, members voted to amend their draconian, decade-old drug laws. The move is designed to draw a distinction between users and dealers, and could result in no charges being filed against users, but slightly stiffer penalties for dealers and people holding large quantities of dope. full story

        Most California Voters Say Possessing Small Amount of Illegal Drugs
        Should Be Misdemeanor, Not Felony

        A strong majority of California voters believe the penalty for possession of a small amount of an illegal drug for personal use should be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, according to a poll released Monday by organizations seeking to relax drug laws. full story

        NY Emmy Goes to Marijuana Report Apr 11 2011
        CELEBSTONER: Regional News Network won a New York Emmy for its “Marijuana and the Law” coverage from 2009 about rising pot-arrest totals in the Big Apple. Reporter Andrew Whitman accepted the award at the Marriott Marquis on Apr. 2. full story

      • DdC

        Pain relief cannabis woman dies
        A cannabis campaigner who fought a court battle in a bid to use the drug to ease the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis has died. Elizabeth Ivol – known as Biz – from Orkney, suffered from the condition for several years and openly used the drug. She campaigned for the drug to be made legal and last year the Crown took her to court but later dropped its case due to Ms Ivol’s ill-health. full story

        Cocaine at dinner parties: Pro or Con?

        Review: ‘Trippers’ by William J. Booker
        Originally published in 2011 ‘Trippers’ by William T. Booker is based on the author’s adventures around Britain in 1971. Set against the backdrop of travels, acid trips and a haze of cigarette and cannabis smoke, the book explores the role of ‘freaks’ in early Seventies British society as well as some of the colourful, and darker, characters of the subculture. In many senses a very personal book, but one that paints a vivid picture.full story

        Congressman Polis Discusses Marijuana Policy on MSNBC youtube

  • Duncan20903

    Last week’s CSI New York had one of the CSI’s getting caught with THC-cooh in his urine after going to a party with his new “bad” girlfriend. Mac says, “it’s not a level high enough to trigger termination, but there were trace levels of cannabis in your system.”

  • DdC

    Study: Conservatives Have Larger ‘Fear Centers’ in Their Brains
    British study shows conservatives’ brains tend to have larger amygdalas, which responsible for primitive emotions.

    Conservatives’ brains have larger amygdalas than the brains of liberals. Amygdalas are responsible for fear and other “primitive” emotions. At the same time, conservatives’ brains were also found to have a smaller anterior cingulate — the part of the brain responsible for courage and optimism.

    Brain structure differs in liberals, conservatives
    Liberals have more gray matter in a part of the brain associated with understanding complexity, while the conservative brain is bigger in the section related to processing fear, said the study on Thursday in Current Biology.

    OK and a so what’s the problem? Sounds about right to me mon.
    Describes the entire GOPervert ideology from reefer madness to the lies in Iraq

    Liberal Bias

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    not 4 assimilated conformists