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August 2011
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Open Thread

bullet image Drug Czar ‘Too Busy” to Meet With Fellow Cops – by Norm Stamper

Norm sends a letter to Gil Kerlikowske:

Subject: You Can Run But You Can’t Hide

We didn’t just drop by on June 14, Gil. We had sent emails and made phone calls asking for a meeting. Our requests went unanswered. So we decided to show up in person, and hope for an audience.

Instead, you sent your aide downstairs to head us off in the lobby. The man graciously accepted the report, promised to deliver it to you, and to convey our request that you get back to us with your reactions.

Just curious, have you read it? […]

But we weren’t there to ask for money, Gil. And we do understand that you haven’t the authority to change laws.

Our expectation was that you’d at least be willing to have a grownup conversation about our drug laws. […]

We’ve come by our anti-drug war views honestly, through scholarship, research and real-world experience. Our point of view is increasingly in alignment with that of citizen-taxpayers across the country.

We’re not going away, Gil. Talk to us.


bullet image Day Laborers Tricked Into Harvesting Pot; Get Prison Time at Toke of the Town

Federal prosecutors are wrapping up a weak case against 11 men charged with cultivating thousands of marijuana plants in Ohio. The state’s former top cop claimed it’s an example of cartel-sponsored drug production, but defense attorneys point out that many of the defendants were day laborers who were tricked into harvesting the illegal crop. […]

For instance, Leonel Mondragon-Garcia got a call on his cellphone offering “a day’s work” with no details, according to his attorney, Margaret Quinn. He was driven to a rural wooded area north of the Muskingum River and learned he was expected to help harvest a field of marijuana.

Just about the time he figured out he was trapped of the day, police raided the grow camp, arresting Mondragon-Garcia and 10 others, according to Quinn.

The 29-year-old spent several months in jail before pleading guilty to conspiracy to “knowingly and intentionally manufacture” more than 1,000 marijuana plants. He was given 12 months and one day in prison, after which he’ll be deported to Mexico.

Must make the DEA and the federal prosecutors feel good knowing they’re able to stick it to someone like that.


bullet image War and Memory by John Sinclair

A nice, but sad piece, about concert venues, the drug war, and asset forfeiture abuse.

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24 comments to Open Thread

  • vickyvampire

    Drug Czar too Busy,I thought Gil was looking for employment elsewhere awhile ago.
    Poor baby Gil I guess you are too busy running helter-skelter trying to keep up with trying to shut down all those dispensaries.
    Gil cannot face these fellow cops would crumble like vampire before the light.

    He’s the keeper of the Cannabis lie.it a heavy responsibility,that’s right Gil but like that old song from Guess Who,It’s the -New Mother Nature takin over- and shes bringing plenty of Marijuana to blanket this country even much more,can’t fight the -splendid Lady come to call,Its Mother Nature takin over,She’s gettin us all,
    God I LOVE the Guess Who yes the power of music has helped the resistance a bit.

    Yey, another celeb comes out Eric Roberts and says nice things about Pot but oh no he just got out of celeb rehab don’t let Doctor Drew know you were praising Cannabis,Drew might not like that he might Bitch slap you upside the head.

    http://www.celebstoner.com/201108098051/news/celebstoner-news/eric-roberts-on-pot.html

  • divadab

    Kerlikowski is hiding like all good cowardly government agents who know they are milking it and are afraid of being called out on their moral degeneracy.

    His biggest concern is building his pension points and getting the most out of his golden medical insurance plan before the whole corrupt system is dismantled. Just another looter of the public treasure. Selfish, careerist, oppressor, Scum. The federal government is full of parasites like this who make their living at the public trough at our expense and whose only function is to bring misery and oppression to the harmless, while lying in order to preserve their positions.

    How can anyone respect a man like this or the government he represents?

  • DdC

    Thank You John Sinclair…

    “We the People are the rightful master of both congress and the courts
    – not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
    ~ Abraham Lincoln

    Nixon lied to schedule Ganja #1
    While Nixon Campaigned, the F.B.I. Watched John Lennon
    In December 1971, John Lennon sang at an Ann Arbor, Mich., concert calling for the release of a man who had been given 10 years in prison for possessing two marijuana cigarettes. The song he wrote for the occasion, “John Sinclair,” was remarkably effective. Within days, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered Mr. Sinclair released.

    F.E.A.R.: Forfeiture Endangers American Rights
    “Findings suggest asset forfeiture is a dysfunctional policy. Forfeiture programs, while serving to generate income, prompt drug enforcement to serve functions that are inherently contradictory and often at odds with the demands of justice.”
    —Mitchell Miller & Lance H. Selva,
    Drug Enforcement’s Double Edged Sword:
    An Assessment of Asset Forfeiture Programs

    Sieze this!

    Rainbow Farm Massacre

    More than two years before a five-day standoff with police would leave him dead and buildings at his Rainbow Farm campground burned to the ground, Tom Crosslin already was forecasting his fate.

    “I have discussed this with my family and we are all prepared to die on this land before we allow it to be stolen from us,” Crosslin wrote in a March 29, 1999, letter to Cass County Prosecutor Scott Teter. Teter had sent Crosslin a letter five days earlier warning him he could lose his 34-acre farm if drug use and distribution there

    It ain’t fair, John Sinclair, In the stir for breathing air, Won’t you care for John Sinclair?, In the stir for breathing air, Let him be, set him free, Let him be like you and me

    They gave him ten for two, What else can the judges do? Gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta set him free

    If he’d been a soldier man, Shooting gooks in Vietnam, If he was the CIA, Selling dope and making hay, He’d be free, they’d let him be, Breathing air, like you and me

    They gave him ten for two, What else can the judges do? Gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta,, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta,, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta set him free

    They gave him ten for two, They got Ali Otis too. Gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta set him free

    Was he jailed for what he done? Or representing everyone, Free John now, if we can, From the clutches of the man, Let him be, lift the lid, Bring him to his wife and kids

    They gave him ten for two, What else can the bastards do? Gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta set him free
    ~ John Sinclair by John Lennon

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    630,000 plants. Simply astounding. It looks like we may yet overgrow the government. If California sees yet another decline in wholesale pricing due to a glut of cannabis the government needs to admit their licked and surrender. The last two years CAMP has achieved their all time high for number of plants.
    http://www.sacbee.com/2011/08/09/3826510/massive-northern-calif-pot-raids.html

    I really would like to know what the cost is to have LEOs count 630,000 plants. It’s got to be one of, if not the most absurd thing that the Know Nothings do. When do these people figure out that a “plant of marijuana” is not a standardized unit of measure? Have they never seen a scrog?

    http://forum.grasscity.com/photopost/showfull.php?photo=70310
    That is a single plant.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    Well some good news is that the Israelis have formalized the guidelines for their medicinal cannabis distribution chain basically making the program an ensconced part of the Israeli health care system. The only country in the world that treats cannabis as the valid medicine that it is. Israel, who’da thunk it?

    The Israeli cabinet Sunday gave its approval to medical marijuana guidelines that will govern the supply of marijuana for medical and research purposes. In so doing, it explicitly agreed that marijuana does indeed have medical uses.

    “The cabinet today approved arrangements and supervision regarding the supply of cannabis for medical and research uses,” said a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman. “This is in recognition that the medical use of cannabis is necessary in certain cases.
    http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2011/aug/07/israel_cabinet_approves_medical
    /snip/

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .
        I could be wrong but it seems to me that they’re talking about Sativex and future pharma produce a fairly broad cannabinoid medicines. The Israelis are definitely talking about the whole plant medicinal cannabis. But gosh, their authorities and physicians seem to have come from an alternate reality.

        “According to the [Sheba Medical Center’s] protocol, if a patient needs marijuana, the doctor in charge of treatment will help secure the necessary permit from the Health Ministry. Patients who are able to walk will smoke their joints in the hospital’s smoking room, while bedridden patients will be allowed to smoke in private rooms, near an open window.

        “We make it clear to the staff that smoking medical marijuana doesn’t endanger the medical staff on the wards,” Shamai said. “It does not harm those in the area via passive smoking.”
        /snip/
        .
        Money to purchase vaporizers, which allow patients to inhale the active ingredients without the need for smoking, is being raised by the Israel Association for the Advancement of Medical Cannabis. Five vaporizers are already in use at the hsopital.
        http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/sheba-offering-patients-medical-marijuana-1.3554

  • Jake

    More drug war carnage http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/09/brazil-amazon-tribe-drug-traffickers

    Also, I’m sure you guys have seen what is happening over here with the UK riots.. I can’t help but think that the drug laws have only added to the disenfranchisement of the most disadvantaged in society, partly leading to the general anger towards the police that ignited the fuse…

  • I LOVE that Norm Stamper is truly Gil’s peer. It would have been nice if his letter to Gil had made the NY or LA Times… that would have been worthy of an all caps thud. I hope LEAP continues to have Norm keep poking at Gil.

    • Sukoi

      I completely agree Allan but with Norm writing this in the Huffington Post, it is sure to be read by Gil himself. It’s also pretty huge that Radley Balko is now reaching the audience of the Huffington Post now as well. This, along with our current financial situation, is bound to sway many people into our camp. Added all up, this is almost (if not exactly) like the perfect storm that Kaptinemo has been predicting for years.

  • Servetus

    Arizona needs its own riot. Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is suing four Arizona medical marijuana dispensaries because the businesses are operating without a license that the State refuses to issue.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/09/us/09brfs-STATESUESMAR_BRF.html?src=recg

  • vickyvampire

    OK the psychosis deal has started again with Cannabis,now they say young teens are are becoming schizophrenic and some believe secret messages are being transmitted through the TV.
    This is just one study I believe.

    I get secret messages from my TV to,Yup it whispers to me constantly,There’s no truth here hardly ever on TV, Go read Drug War Rant and become enlightened Vicky, good message Yeah.

    http://thewinstonreview.com/2011/08/09/pot-smoking-teens-hear-secret-television-messages/

    • Francis

      “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

      God, I hate moderated comments. Just in case it gets disappeared, here’s my reply to “Susan”:

      “Postrate” cancer AND “long” cancer? Those sound pretty serious. And you say pot use “elivates” one’s risk of these fearsome diseases? And I would hate to “loose” my memory. If that happened, I might even forget how to spell simple English words!

      Ok, that was admittedly a cheap shot. Seriously the proof that pot use is a significant causal factor in schizophrenia is pretty tenuous. There is some CORRELATION between marijuana use and schizophrenia but correlation does not equal causation. People with certain mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, tend to use ALL intoxicants in greater percentages than the general public. Also there’s a fair bit of anecdotal data that cannabis (particularly cannabis with a high CBD to THC ratio) provides symptom relief. So the odds are good that many schizophrenics (and pre-schizophrenics) who use cannabis are essentially self-medicating. One of the most convincing pieces of evidence that cannabis is not a significant cause of schizophrenia is the fact that there does not appear to be any correlation over time between the incidence of schizophrenia and the rate of cannabis use.
      http://blog.norml.org/2009/07/01/study-debunks-claims-that-pot-smoking-causes-mental-illness/

      And finally, even if cannabis did increase one’s risk for developing schizophrenia, that’s not a particularly compelling reason to lock people who choose to take that risk in a government cage.

      [To which I SHOULD have added: “A policy approach that irrational would be, well, schizophrenic.” (When it comes to commenting on the Internet, I have many George Costanza “Jerk Store” moments.)]

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      The motto of the Know Nothing prohibitionist is “never let the facts get in the way of disseminating an effective piece of hysterical rhetoric.”

  • vickyvampire

    Holy Jesus,Servetus, Yeah I live in a state that needs a riot to for a whole bunch a reasons Utah,but at least our conservative Mormon Attorney General got Cancer and had an epiphany and now is for regulating Pot ,but no one will listen to him in this Uber conservative religious state,but at least he said some good things about Cannabis and now understands its medical potential.

    Does Attorney General Tom Horne need to acquire cancer to have an epiphany,or is has wacko scale set has high has Governor Brewers.

  • marc

    This came out today
    “A majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana according to a new poll from the respected Canadian pollster Angus Reid Public Opinion. The poll found that 55 percent of Americans adults support legalizing marijuana with 40 percent opposed.”

    http://justsaynow.firedoglake.com/2011/08/09/angus-reid-poll-finds-majority-of-americans-support-marijuana-legalization/

    • Francis

      Wow! Yes, there are probably sampling / methodology problems with the poll which make it overly rosy. (The story indicates that a Gallup poll from late 2010 had 46 percent in support of legalization with 50 percent opposed.) But I’m still impressed with the swing in two years. The 2009 Angus Reid poll had legalization favored 53-43. That same polling company now has it favored 55-40. That’s a net +5 shift (from +10 to +15) in only two years. Not too shabby. I’m thinking now is probably not a good time to be standing too close to the Prohibition Wall, assuming you don’t want to end up buried in rubble.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    Wow, is this the first ever report of a billion dollar bust? Even discounting for drug LEO’s habit of overstatement of value this is a big one.
    http://www.sandiego6.com/news/local/story/Another-Massive-Pot-Farm-is-Discovered-this-Time/5V_pDuliKk-fK2YPay3S0g.cspx

    506,000 plants. Good golly Miss Mollie! California really needs to retire the California poppy as the State flower and adopt the cannabis flower instead.

    The thought of police being paid over time to count stalks causes me significant annoyance, particularly when the money to pay them to do so has to be borrowed as well as needing to borrow the money to pay the interest on money squandered in years past.

  • DdC

    Americans Elect 2012

    What is Americans Elect?

    Americans Elect is the first-ever open nominating process. We’re using the Internet to give every single voter—Democrat, Republican or independent—the power to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012. The people will choose the issues. The people will choose the candidates. And in a secure, online convention next June, the people will make history by putting their choice on the ballot in every state.

    The first-ever open presidential nominating process.
    No special interests. No agendas. No partisanship.

    A greater voice for all Americans, no matter their party.
    Every registered voter can be a delegate.
    Any constitutionally-eligible citizen can be a candidate.

    The power to choose your candidate in the 2012 election.
    Real issues. Real candidates. Real votes.

  • only recently discovered my writing for a new NW cannabis rag, CannabisNow Magazine, is online (let me know how I did), these two from the first issue):

    Where Does the Cannabis Money Trail Lead?

    View from an Activist: Have strongs views about marijuana?

    and this is issue #2 (2 pieces along with some of my photos but I’ll be darned what you’ll see… it’s a vid and with me on dial-up I can’t wait that long):

    Cannabis Now Magazine Issue Two

    The first two issues were free but I see now they’ve gone to subscription ($2/ issue). The first issue was on heavy newsprint, the second issue was on quality magazine stock and I think they’ve got a good start to their new enterprise, with some unique coverage, quality writing and photography.

  • Morgan Speichinger

    *This is one of my main ideas from a paper I wrote in my English Class 122. After wrting this essay I have become more interseted in stopping the War on Drugs. I think this paragraph explains a very important aspect of this War on Drugs.*

    Drug enforcement actions cost more than $20 billion per year in state and local law enforcement and make up 68 percent of the $17 billion Federal drug budget, compared with the $5.5 billion in treatment, prevention and research. These numbers will represent six times what the federal government will spend on the child care for 1.25 million children. (Dept. health and human services). Education is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life; with no education, little of the world can be understood in an appropriate way. With out an adequate educational system the children and young adults have little resources to make good decisions, such as drug use. According to Willie Wisely author of the California Expanding Prison Industrial Complex, since 1984 more than 20 new prisons have been built and opened in California. During the same time period only one campus was added to the California State University system and there were no campuses built for the California University system(Wisely 1). According to the California Department of Corrections it currently costs approximately $22,000 to imprison only one inmate for one year. The University of California has an average cost of approximately $4,022 in tuition and fees for one student; the imprisonment of one inmate in California precludes five students from higher education. Unlike universities, 70% of prisoners nationwide have not completed high school and more than 50% are illiterate (Worth). Currently, five times as many black men are in the prison systems as compared to in four-year colleges and universities. The War on Drugs not only promotes incarceration but also the cut back on the federal educational budget. This war has inadvertently created a growing population in desperate need of learning and skill development.

    • There’s nothing quite like holding the ugly truth in your hands to better understand the drug war’s poisonous nature… take a look at Pete’s DrugWar victims page Morgan (under “pages” in the left column of the page). If your blood wasn’t boiling before that should do it.