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May 2011
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Open Thread

bullet image Guatemala says it is winning the drug war, following decapitation of prosecutor

The title of this article says it all. Another in the series of “people are dying so we’re successful” drug war justifications.


bullet image Three Medical Marijuana Bills Filed in Congress

The trio of bills is a clear signal to the Obama administration that disenchantment with its approach to medical marijuana is growing in Congress. While the Obama Justice Department declared in its famous 2009 memo that it would not go after medical marijuana operations in compliance with state laws in states where it is legal, federal prosecutors and the DEA have continued to arrest and prosecute medical marijuana providers.


bullet image No easy fix for California’s prison crisis

“We have to stop the insanity of sending nonviolent drug offenders and low-level theft offenders to prison for life,”


bullet image Russia hopes to halve number of drug addicts by 2014

The introduction of punitive measures and mandatory treatment would allow Russian authorities to reduce the number of drug addicts in the country by half in three years, Russia’s anti-narcotics chief, Viktor Ivanov, said.

Right. ‘Cause that’s worked so well.


bullet image 3 in MCSO accused of cartel ties

Three Maricopa County sheriff’s employees, including a deputy in the human-smuggling unit, were arrested Tuesday by authorities who say they were involved in a drug- and human-trafficking ring and used Sheriff’s Office intelligence to guide smugglers through the Valley.

If this is true, it’s somewhat mind blowing. Imagine helping the cartels while working for someone as scary as Sheriff Joe Arpaio!

No government in the world can compete with the black market in financial compensation for police officers.Guitherisms

[Thanks, Tom]

bullet image Extend life-saving Patriot Act items

James Sensenbrenner, Jr., one of the worst of the worst in Congress, defends the Patriot Act extensions:

Additionally, no civil liberties have ever been violated.

Just wow.


bullet image Doing Life for Marijuana: A Case Study in Waste – excellent OpEd by ACLU’s Alison Holcomb

So, Louisiana taxpayers are going to spend a lot of money to warehouse a nonviolent marijuana seller for the rest of his life. Does anyone seriously think it will be harder to buy marijuana in Louisiana?

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22 comments to Open Thread

  • Peter

    Any coverage of the insanity of life sentences for petty drug convictions is welcome, but I do have to ask the question, what is the ACLU actually doing about the biggest attack on civil liberties since slavery? The reason I stopped donating to them is because they are unwilling to take on prohibitionist drug warriors in the courts and bring test cases…..that seems to me to be their job description.

    • Ben

      Your frustration is understood. However, the ACLU recently called out the Obama Administration and threatened to bring back a lawsuit that was voluntarily dropped after the Ogden memo if the federal government continued pursuing their current course of action. Hopefully they aren’t just bs’ing and will actually fight it in court.

      The ACLU also says in its letter that the recent U.S. Attorneys’ letters conflict with a DOJ representation to a federal court that the Ogden memo represented a significant policy shift, under which those individuals and entities that use or distribute medical marijuana in full compliance with state medical marijuana laws would no longer be targeted by federal law enforcement. Based on that representation, the ACLU in 2009 voluntarily dismissed a lawsuit against the federal government arising from a 2002 DEA raid of a California medical marijuana garden, in which the ACLU represents a group of plaintiffs including Santa Cruz, Calif. city and county officials, which sanctioned the garden. The federal court had previously upheld the ACLU’s 10th Amendment claim alleging the federal government had selectively enforced federal marijuana laws in an improper federal attempt to undermine and disable the functioning of state medical marijuana laws.


      “If, contrary to the assurances its attorneys provided the court in the Santa Cruz case, the federal government’s enforcement policies now include ‘vigorously enforcing’ federal drug laws against individuals and entities who manufacture and distribute marijuana on a completely non-profit basis and in full compliance with state medical marijuana laws, it marks a significant departure from the federal government’s position in the Santa Cruz litigation and could lead to that case being reinstated in its October 2009 posture with discovery proceeding as originally planned,” the ACLU’s letter reads.

      ACLU Calls On Holder To Make Clear DOJ Will Not Prosecute People Complying With State Medical Marijuana Laws

    • The ACLU also recently appealed the case of the Wal-Mart worker who was fired for being a medical marijuana patient.

    • While this was a while ago, the ACLU got one of the biggest victories we’ve had in medical marijuana in Conant V. Walters, which established that the Clinton administration could not revoke a physician’s license for recommending marijuana.

      I also know that they’ve testified in Congress a bunch of times regarding mandatory sentencing issues. Since the Supreme Court has shown no interest in applying the 8th Amendment to drug cases, the ACLU probably feels that there’s not much point in pursuing those in court – Congress is the better avenue (although I shouldn’t really speak for them — I’ll see if I can get someone to guest post here).

  • Because they are about a paced agenda, regarding multi-billion dollar markets, designed to slow reform as much as practical. Just note Ira Glasser’s acceptance of Tobacco industry money and the Drug Policy Foundation etc. being advised by perhaps THE largest Tobacc-pharmaceutical law form in Washington, D.C.:

    http://freedomofmedicineanddiet.blogspot.com/2010/07/peter-lewis-ira-glasser-is-waste-of.html

    http://freedomofmedicineanddiet.blogspot.com/2009/01/holder-breuer.html

    • DdC

      It sounds like Douglas needs to learn patience. Or reality? So the drug worriers have a problem with Ganja and you think we should have tried to legalize crack, pcp and heroin instead? With logic like that you should be with the czars minions. Utopian Libertarians live outside of the box, of reality. No dude you don’t have the right to nuclear arms or anthrax. White powder drugs do harm and to sell them over the counter would bring statistics to spread fear to the point no one would want to question drug policy. After 40 years of stalling, lying, cheating and more lies you actually believe its the ACLU? How much has Libertines changed anything? Keep whining about not fast enough reform while you sit on your ass and complain. Thats all I’ve heard from you is whiny bitching about reform groups. Paid by donations and thats really none of your business how anyone chooses to donate. Trying to take funding with gossip is drug worrier tactics.

      Sabotage is what the DEAth mongers do. Like using corn for ethanol knowing its a staple food crop for the poor was only going to get protests in hope of eliminating it as a viable alternative fuel source. Something Libertars haven’t a clue and are perfectly satisfied with OPEC. Now it seems you want to stop all reform because dangerous garbage isn’t legal? Crack is whack dude and we’d be better off giving anyone a bag of pot if they stopped using it . Maybe thats the way to get fools away from their dope. Substitute it for something less or non harmful.

      At any rate the ACLU is a private organization, not government. Their agenda is what it has been. Taking on the government abuse of citizens. Not corporate abuse or citizens abuse, just government abuse. I have no love loss for MPP or NORML or do I agree with their political maneuvering. I also think 40 years is too long to keep these Nixon lies continuing into the next generation of DARE graduates. But thats not from what the ACLU or any reformers are doing. Its from what slackers like you aren”t doing. You are free to start a crack reform group and spend your funds anyway you see fit. Like it has been said. Its one thing to say it can’t be done its another getting in the way of those actually doing something. From Ganja to crack disparity to freedom of speech search and seizure laws and many other topics. While the Libertarians NRA buys mandatory minimum sentences. The Libertarians Koch Brothers buy politicians. Siding with their right to pollute the waters and spew particulates into the air. Pitifools!

      ACLU to Confront Obama on Medical Marijuana May 16, 2011

      The Drug War is the New Jim Crow July 31, 2001
      Graham Boyd is founder and director of the ACLU Drug Policy Litigation Project. His article “”This is Your Bill of Rights on Drugs”” appeared in the December 1999 Harpers.

      The ACLU is our nation’s guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.

      Related Issues

      * Drug Testing
      * Freedom of Speech and Belief
      * Health-Based Solutions
      * Marijuana Law Reform
      * Search and Seizure
      * Sentencing and Penalties

      Damage Of Drug War On Prominent Display At Telluride Film Festival This Weekend
      “The Hearne case is a poignant example of the incredible damage done by the so-called ‘war on drugs,’ and ‘American Violet’ highlights efforts we at the ACLU have made to bring justice to our nation’s drug policy,” said Graham Boyd, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Drug Law Reform Project. “Sadly, the systemic injustice exposed in the film continues to plague us to this day, its root causes in urgent need of reform.”

      ACLU Urges Congress to Reconsider Destructive Drug War Strategy
      June 16, 1999
      Testifying before a House subcommittee, the American Civil Liberties Union today told lawmakers that the most effective way to control drug abuse is through regulation, not incarceration.

    • DdC

      ACLU “Drug Wars”
      The ACLU’s documentary on the War on Drugs. Students who want to get involved in ending the Drug War should contact Students for Sensible Drug Policy: ssdp@ssdp.org http://www.SchoolsNotPrisons.com or the ACLU at http://www.ACLU.org

      ACLU report focuses on Mississippi drug war April 1, 2011

      ACLU: DEA’s politics are keeping cannabis-based medicines off shelves

      ACLU’s Drug Reform Project Relocates To Santa Cruz
      One of the primary missions of the Drug Law Reform Project, Verma said, is to disband regional narcotics task forces. The organization currently has three active cases. In one such case, the group represents 10 African-American residents of Hearne, Texas, arrested in 2000 as part of a drug sweep. The arrests were made based on the testimony of a confidential informant, who later confessed to fabricating evidence.

  • Leonard Junior

    Speaking as someone in louisiana, prices have been going down, and enforcement has been going up, dramatically, at least on the Northshore. In a 15 minute time span, watching the highway 190, you will see at minimum 6 patrol cars of varying LEO level. And this is in the sticks.

  • Peter

    The swat team shooting in Pima County, Arizona has finally made it to Huffington Post.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/25/jose-guerena-arizona-_n_867020.html

  • Duncan20903

    “Guatemala says it is winning the drug war, following decapitation of prosecutor.”

    The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers?

  • darkcycle

    Having a two and a half year old is a learning experience. I want to be like D.J. Lance Rock. Caillou makes me want to stick a fork in my eye. Over and over again.
    If you’ve no clue what I’m talking about, thank your lucky stars and never turn on programming for pre-schoolers. Ever. It’ll knock fifty points right off of your I.Q.
    Sorry, open thread and I needed to vent.

  • thelbert

    remember brothers, the best revenge is living well

  • Duncan20903

    Oh oh, it looks like the Dutch are once again on the verghe of terminating their failed experiment with tolerance!

    Dutch Cabinet commits to anti-marijuana plan

    (05-27) 09:14 PDT AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) —

    The Dutch Cabinet says it will push ahead with plans to force anyone wishing to purchase marijuana at the country’s weed cafes to first obtain an official pass — a move designed to curtail tourists from buying the drug.
    /snip/

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/05/27/international/i091439D02.DTL

  • ezrydn

    Those of you who are familiar with our “whipping post,” “Activist1,” I have a question. Anyone know where she ran off to hide? She’s abandoned her Modesto Bee blog. She evidently couldn’t take us.

    Typical Prohibitionist! Can’t take the heat so runs and hides under a big, BIG rock!

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      Maybe she got a job with the TSA and is putting in a lot of overtime doing full body/cavity searches? I can just hear the sound of latex gloves snapping…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MjGThHdazs

      • darkcycle

        Sick. Duncan, seek help.

      • darkcycle

        Maybe she’s off “licking her wounds”. EEWWWW. Damn. Now you’ve got me doing it.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .
        Hey, I did seek help and the shrink told me there wasn’t any for me. I’m not the one that invented the TSA. For that matter, neither did I invent prisons, and you know that this works just as well, “Maybe she got a job with the Department of Corrections and is putting in a lot of overtime doing full body/cavity searches? I can just hear the sound of latex gloves snapping into place…”

        I didn’t write compile the following list of (recently) new TSA mottoes either:

        o When we’re done with you, you’ll need a cigarette
        o
        o Grope discounts available.
        o
        o Can’t see London, can’t see France, unless we see your underpants.
        o
        o If we did our job any better, we’d have to buy you dinner first.
        o
        o Only we know if Lady Gaga is really a lady.
        o
        o Don’t worry, my hands are still warm from the last guy.
        o
        o Throw a few back at the airport Chili’s and you won’t even notice.
        o
        o Wanna fly? Drop your fly.
        o
        o We’ve handled more balls than Barney Frank
        o
        o We are now free to move about your pants
        o
        o We rub you the wrong way, so you can be on your way.
        o
        o It’s not a grope. It’s a freedom pat.
        o
        o When in doubt, we make you whip it out.
        o
        o TSA: Touchin’, Squeezin’, Arrestin’
        o
        o You were a virgin.
        o
        o We handle more packages than the USPS
        o
        o The TSA isn’t silly, they just want to inspect your willy
        o
        o Stroke of the hand, law of the land
        o
        o No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem
        o
        o Let our fingers do the Walking
        o
        o Turn your head and cough
        o
        o Reach out and touch someone
        o
        o Can you feel me now?
        o