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August 2011
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Odds and Ends

bullet image The International Business Times is really a joke of an online publication, and has published some really bad pro-drug-warrior stuff in the past. Here’s another one, this by Amrutha Gayathri: Why DEA is Against Legalizing Smoked Marijuana

It’s mostly a list of DEA and ONDCP talking points, but then it actually goes to Irma Perez!

DEA reports a graphic story that occurred in California in the spring of 2004 which proves that legalization of marijuana is a much more complex issue than what the public perceives.

14-year-old Irma Perez was “in the throes of her first experience” with the drug Ecstasy. After taking one Ecstasy tablet, she became ill and told friends that she felt like she was ‘going to die’. Her teenage friends, instead of seeking medical care tried to get Perez to smoke marijuana. When that failed due to her seizures, the friends tried to force-feed marijuana leaves to her, “apparently because [they] knew that drug is sometimes used to treat cancer patients.” Irma Perez lost consciousness and died a few days later when she was taken off life support.

I can’t believe that they’re actually still using that story as an argument against medical marijuana.

Irma was so clearly a drug war victim and not a medical marijuana victim, as this article back in 2004 shows.


bullet image What perhaps would have saved Irma’s life is a good Good Samaritan law.

DPA’s Gabriel Sayegh at Syracuse.com talks about New York’s new 911 Good Samaritan law: Sunday’s commentary: New York’ 911 Good Samaritan law to limit overdose deaths a national model.

In my view, it doesn’t go far enough, but it’s a very good first step.

“No one should go to jail for trying to save a life,” said Hiawatha Collins, a leader and board member of VOCAL-NY, one of the many groups that worked with the Drug Policy Alliance in advocating for the reforms. “This law will help make sure that calling 911 is the first thing someone does if they witness an overdose — not worry about what the cops will do. New York is making clear that saving lives needs to be our priority, not locking people up.”


bullet image Government agencies try to keep massive marijuana eradication effort secret.

[thanks, Tom]

bullet image A New Way to Fight Mexico’s Vicious Cartels: Legalizing Marijuana – Time Magazine.

New? I think not.

However, still a good article.

However, policy reformists point out that whatever the exact numbers, everyone agrees that Mexican gangsters are making billions of dollars selling marijuana to American smokers. “There is no doubt that marijuana legalization would hurt Mexican gangsters in their pocketbooks,” says Tom Angell, spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a U.S. group that opposes the war on drugs.[…]

Policy reformists like Angell, however, argue that a yes vote in a marijuana referendum would be a first step toward a historic change in drug policy. If marijuana were sold legally in shops north of the Rio Grande, Mexican authorities would be much less eager to spark more bonfires of captured weed. “Politicians across the U.S. and in Latin America would become emboldened to change their own marijuana laws,” Angell said. “It is a vote that will be heard across the world.”


bullet image Check this out. Thinking Drugs – a new site where people can go and rate the arguments on drug policy to see where they stand on the issues. Nicely done. Doesn’t attempt to tell you what to think, but makes you think about the positions you hold, which I think could help people who are unclear about their position (as opposed to most of us).

No surprise: The survey pegged me as a “Drug Policy Reformer” on the “legaliser” and “harm reducer” ends of the scales.


This is an open thread.

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9 comments to Odds and Ends

  • Maria

    I was extremely fortunate that I had mostly smart and caring friends when I started experimenting. I read up a lot, asked a bunch of questions, scoured places like Erowid, and I got through relatively unscathed. Lots of people are not that lucky or that pedantic. Looking back on it I find my experience telling. Cannabis was the third drug I tried, fourth if I count alcohol, and for the amounts I drank back then I should.

    After mellowing out, I volunteered with Ravesafe/Dancesafe in my early 20s. I was horrified by what I was seeing. The consequences of “Just say no” and fear mongering mixed in with rebellion, anger and hyper active, hormonal, bullshit detectors. Spent some good weekends helping to babysit kids on E, overwhelmed, drunk, or just feeling threatened and creeped out by some guy. I don’t know if we ever prevented a death. But I know we made some feel safe.

    The reason I did this is precisely because I didn’t want to see people around me die or get fucked over, either that night or later. And so many get fucked over due to the astoundingly stupid mix of pseudo information the authorities, the schools, their parents, and their friends feed them.

    The web has made a huge difference in that kids who want to find out the truth, can. But they have to search it out. There’s still a shocking lack of proactive harm reduction policies. Plus a surge in laws and regulations that make it hard or even impossible to help, to guide, to educate; precisely because each and every single Irma serves a purpose for the monsters who relish and clutch at these deaths as if they where some sort of worthy sacrifice to their despotic gods.

  • DdC

    So I guess Bidon’s bogus RAVE Ax will be overturned eh…

    Ecstasy Study Shows MDMA Won’t Harm Your Brain
    Startling results of one of the most extensive studies regarding the illegal drug Ecstasy shows that MDMA won’t harm your brain. The study was published during the second week of February in the journal Addiction and found that 3,4-Methylenedioxyethampetamine (MDMA or Ecstasy) will not effect cognitive function in humans. The study is contrary to the long held beliefs of the illicit drug’s harmful effects.

    • DdC

      How speeeecial… a glitch?

      Glitch Blamed for Rise in Pot-Possession Reports
      A glitch in the Seattle police computer system last year routed nearly three times as many pot-possession reports to City Attorney Pete Holmes as the year before. The jump wasn’t a matter of a changed focus by the department, said Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department (SPD). Police are continuing to make pot their lowest priority, Whitcomb said. And the department says its officers made no arrests last year in which marijuana possession was the only charge.

      Cover-Ups, Prevarications, Subversions & Sabotage

      * Ecstasy Study Shows MDMA Won’t Harm Your Brain
      above

      United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Disappointing 12/02/03

      According to the report, ecstasy users risk suffering the effects of early decline in mental function and memory, or Alzheimer-type symptoms.

      The report was released just weeks after scientists at Johns Hopkins University retracted their research findings that suggested that a single evening’s use of ecstasy could cause permanent brain damage and Parkinson’s disease.

      The scientists admitted that they utilized the wrong drug in their studies.

      The UN report makes no mention of the retracted studies.

      * Ecstasy: Are ‘Scare Tactics’ Valid? March 18, 2002
      Critics are calling the federal government’s current anti-Ecstasy campaign overhyped “scare tactics” based on faulty science.

      * Sentencing Guidelines Toughened for Ecstasy
      * ‘Ecstasy’ For Agony
      * Scientists Oppose Punishing ‘Ecstasy’ More Harshly

      * The RAVE Act Has Landed
      The RAVE Act, authored by Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), was intended to target the electronic music shows, called raves, which are known for open use of the drug ecstasy, by making it a crime for the owner of a venue to knowingly host an event where illegal drugs are used. Opponents of the law, fearing that it would be used to infringe on the free speech of groups advocating drug law reform, were able to block it in Congress last year. But Biden attached it as an amendment to the popular Amber Alert bill passed in May.

      * Drug labelling error forces retraction…After RAVE Ax Passes
      A prestigious scientific journal is retracting a study about the effects of the drug Ecstasy on the brain because the animals used in the research were given a different drug. The researchers blamed the error on a labelling mix-up. Previous studies had reported on the brain hazards of Ecstasy, and the researchers said the problems with their study did not call into question the earlier ones.

      Report of Ecstasy Drug’s Great Risks Is Retracted
      * It’ll kill you — wait, no it won’t
      * Results Retracted On Ecstasy Study
      * Report of Ecstasy Drug’s Great Risks

      * SECOND ECSTASY STUDY RETRACTED Mon, 15 Sep 2003
      Johns Hopkins scientists find new error involving vial mislabeled in the first experiment.

      * What the WHO doesn’t want you to know about cannabis
      Health officials in Geneva have suppressed the publication of a politically sensitive analysis that confirms what ageing hippies have known for decades: cannabis is safer than alcohol or tobacco.

      * The Rave Act stops NORML benefit concert
      Well, you may or have not heard by now but the Rave Act has hit very close to home. On the 30th of May the Billings chapter of Montana NORML/SSDP had organized a highly publicized and expensive benefit concert featuring a number of local acts, the proceeds from which would have gone to help the medical marijuana campaign in Montana in 2004. Unfortunately, not only did my probation officer arrest me the day before, but the DEA came and shut things down the day of. The reason being of course that due to the RAVE Act anyone caught on the premisis with marijuana would automatically subjects our generous venue to a fine of $250,000.
      Billings NORML/SSDP

      * RAVE Act Protests Across the Country, May 31, 2003

      The UN report is also disappointing for its adoption of US government rhetoric. It used to be that governments banned books because of how they changed the way that people thought. Today its drugs both legal and illegal that are changing the way that people think. Just as it was wrong for the government to censor books, its equally wrong for the government to censor cognition itself by making peaceful people criminals just for taking a drug like ecstasy. According to the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics, equating drug use with drug abuse not only leads to bad social policies, it infringes on the fundamental right of adults to mediate their own mental processes.
      ~ Richard Glen Boire,
      legal counsel for the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics

      DEA Agents Raid Wrong House in Sterling Heights
      Drug Enforcement Agency Officers bust into a home in Sterling Heights, armed with a search warrant. The only problem? The guy they were looking for doesn’t live there. Fox 2 talked to the man who opened the door, and was stunned by what happened next.

  • DdC

    “If the jury have no right to judge the justice of a law of the government, they plainly can do nothing to protect the people against the oppressions of the government; for there are no oppressions which the government may not authorize by law.” – Lysander Spooner, “Trial by Jury”

    Smuggling… Least Violates the Consciences of Men

    Florida Pays To Bury Teen After Marijuana Arrest
    The death of a young person in a Florida correctional institution was common enough that the Department of Juvenile Justice already has a policy in place to pay for the burial expenses.

    Missing Facts in the Magbie Case
    Respect seems hard to come by for Jonathan Magbie, the 27-year-old quadriplegic who was dispatched to the D.C. jail by a Superior Court judge for 10 days for simple possession of marijuana. Magbie died five days after being placed in the custody of the D.C. Department of Corrections.

    Woman Dies in Jail While Serving Two and a Half Weeks For Marijuana Possession
    Thus far, officials aren’t revealing the circumstances or the cause of death, but this isn’t the first time someone has died serving a short jail sentence for marijuana possession. In September 2004, quadriplegic Jonathan Magbie — who used marijuana to relieve the chronic pain lingering from the childhood accident that left him paralyzed — died in the Washington, D.C., jail while serving a 10-day sentence for marijuana possession.

  • kaptinemo

    Oh, boy; they’re catching on:

    From the third article about the futile (and contemptibly laughable) attempt by California LE to deny their wasting of the taxpayer’s money a.k.a. “Operation Full Court Press”

    “Cost of officers alone for the three-week, six-county mission is estimated to be at least $3 million in a rural, poverty-stricken area.”

    That’s it. The knife is already in. Now twist it, like having the local media talking to poor people on the edge that desperately need the money these yahoos are p*ssing away so casually…and arrogantly.

    Now, sprinkle some salt in the wound, like having those desperately poor – and very angry – people confronting pols who mouth support for this madness and point out that their constituents are not happy with this, and in these brutal fiscal times, that displeasure is turning into previously unheard of grass-roots political action like in Wisconsin, where pols who voted against the people’s will are being recalled. As in, “You’re fired, @$$hole!

    Enough of that, and it won’t take much to create an atmosphere of uneasiness amongst previously fat, dumb and happy pols, who will now have to take their constituents – and their constituent’s desires – much more seriously.

    More of this, please. Much more…

  • DdC

    Tiny Town Tops in Medical Marijuana

    Williams, Ore. — Nearly 20 percent of the population is registered to grow pot legally.

    One ZIP code covering mostly rural residences shows 60 out of 80 residents with permits.

    The number of residents registered as patients, caregivers and growers this year hit 120,945

    The number of people authorized to grow for others has also mushroomed, from 12,274 in 2006 to 26,734 in 2010. In Williams, the number jumped from 122 to 301 in the same period.

    Neocon Teabogs Really Are “Bloodlusting Terrorists”

    Neoconservatism… originated in the 1970s as a movement of anti-Soviet liberals and social democrats in the tradition of Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Humphrey and Henry (‘Scoop’) Jackson, many of whom preferred to call themselves ‘paleoliberals.’ [After the end of the Cold War]… many ‘paleoliberals’ drifted back to the Democratic center… Today’s neocons are a shrunken remnant of the original broad neocon coalition. Nevertheless, the origins of their ideology on the left are still apparent.

    How Neo-Cons, Neo-Nazis And Neo-McVeighs
    Crashed Ron Paul’s Tea Party

    The Tea Party, which started off as a Libertarian protest against taxes and government, has turned into a right wing, corporate sponsored, racist hate-fest. Three groups have joined the Libertarian founders of the Tea Party movement to add money, racism, hatred and conspiracy theory based paranoia to the Tea Pot.

    In the late 1990s Irving Kristol and other writers in neoconservative magazines began touting anti-Darwinist views, in support of intelligent design. Since these neoconservatives were largely of secular backgrounds, a few commentators have speculated that this – along with support for religion generally – may have been a case of a “noble lie”, intended to protect public morality, or even tactical politics, to attract religious supporters.

    Bush laid out his vision of the future in his State of the Union speech in January 2002, following the September 11, 2001, attacks. The speech, written by (now) neoconservative David Frum, named Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as states that “constitute an axis of evil” and “pose a grave and growing danger.” Bush suggested the possibility of preemptive war: “I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.”

    And ignorant blowhards in 3-2-1

    Responding to David Frum

  • DdC

    pbs The Pot Republic

    WA Man Refuses Marijuana Fines, Chooses Jail

    Enough already!

    Fabulous Freakdom: Trippers by William J Booker

    Chronicle Book Review: Drugs and Drug Policy
    Mark Kleiman isn’t real popular among the drug reform set. The UCLA professor of public policy is no legalizer, and even though he’s too much of an evidence-minded academic to be a wild-eyed drug warrior, he still seems to have an unbecoming fondness for the coercive power of the state. Kleiman, who gets top-billing over coauthors Jonathan Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon and Angela Hawken at Pepperdine, also ruffles reformers’ feathers with unnecessary snideness and snark.

  • DdC

    Tell Holder: Protect Every Citizen’s Right to Vote!

    “The jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts”
    ~ Samuel Chase,
    US Supreme Court Chief Justice 1796

    “The Jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both law and fact”
    ~ Oliver Wendell Holme, Chief Justice

    “The law itself is on trial quite as much as the case which is to be decided”
    ~ Judge Harlan F. Stone,
    Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1941-1946

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

    Jury Nullification

    Only registered voters are called to serve on juries. Most cannabis trials by jury are deterred by 404 gag rules and mandatory minimum sentencing. Plea bargains make up the majority along with $4500 rehabilitation facilities and urine testing, monitoring and probation costs. One way to remove someone from voting is prison disenfranchisement.

    A.C.L.U. Action Alert
    Protect Every Citizen’s Right to Vote
    Today, 30 states have passed laws requiring voters to present identification to vote, and in 15 of those states, voters must present a government-issued photo ID. These laws will result in untold numbers of legal voters being turned away from the polls because over 21 million Americans do not have government-issued photo identification. Obtaining a photo ID presents a substantial — and unnecessary — barrier for many of our nation’s citizens. There is no credible evidence that in-person impersonation voter fraud — the only type of fraud that photo IDs could prevent — is even a minor problem in our country.

    The attacks are not just limited to voter ID. Some states are engaging in other voter suppression tactics like restricting voter registration drives and reducing the amount of time for early voting. All these laws disfranchise eligible voters — especially racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, low-income individuals, students, and voters with disabilities.

    The Voting Rights Act vests significant authority in the Department of Justice to ensure laws are not implemented in a discriminatory manner. Because of some states’ troubling history of voter suppression, any changes in their elections laws are subject to approval — or “pre-clearance” — by the Justice Department under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. In jurisdictions not covered by Section 5, the Department must ensure that these laws are implemented in a way that does not discriminate against protected groups in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.