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More weekend reading

There’s a whole lot going on right now in drug policy, so I’m going to give you some more links and reading.


bullet image Scalia Criticizes Scope of Federal Drug Laws

In an unusual hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia criticized the expansion of federal drugs laws, saying the large number of federal drug cases necessitated an expansion of the federal judiciary that had diluted its quality.

“It was a great mistake to put routine drug offenses into the federal courts,” he told the committee, adding that routine drug cases belong in state courts, where the vast majority of criminal cases are heard.


bullet image If you missed the excellent Prohibition series by Ken Burns, you can watch it online at PBS


bullet image While most of the media coverage of the Supreme Court of Canada decision to protect the status of Insite from the Harper government’s attempts to shut it down, there were a few ridiculous nay-sayers, such as the editorial board of the Toronto Sun: What Have Judges Been Smoking?

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to legalize shooting galleries for junkies, thereby making them exempt from laws covering the trafficking, possession, and use of illegal drugs, makes us wonder if these judges had been smoking the drapes.

It was not a rational decision.

It opens the door to legalized drug dens across the country, leaving Prime Minister Stephen Harper unable to even trigger the Notwithstanding Clause in the Charter to stop this insanity from advancing. […]

How the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, could be conned into believing the Insite project “saved lives and improved health without increasing the incidence of drug use and crime in the surrounding area” should be absolutely mind boggling to the vast majority of Canadians. […]

Canada will rue this day.

Julio Montaner sets the record straight in this OpEd in the National PostThe science is in, Insite saves lives


bullet image A nice, introductory article to The Economics of Drug Prohibition

Not only does prohibition increase the marginal benefits of violence, but it also decreases the marginal cost of violence.


Some coverage of the recent federal crackdown

bullet image Federal crackdown on medical pot sales reflects a shift in policy (LA Times)

“They’re wasting money they don’t have,” [Sen. Mark] Leno said. “This is not the issue of the day. This doesn’t create jobs. This does not keep the security of the nation intact. It doesn’t clean the environment.”

bullet image U.S. targets pot suppliers who profit in state (SFGate)

bullet image Prosecutors target California’s marijuana trade

Kevin Sabet, former senior adviser at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said that marijuana legalization advocates had “misread the tea leaves” when they predicted that Obama would be friendly to their policies.

bullet image US: California pot crackdown targets large dispensaries (MSNBC)

As for using marijuana as medicine, Sabet said the proper path should be one where components of marijuana are studied and possibly approved by the Food & Drug Administration for use in pharmaceuticals.

bullet image Judge rules for pot dispensaries as feds threaten major crackdown

“This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The administration is simply making good on multiple threats issued since President Obama took office,” said Kevin Sabet, a former adviser to the president’s drug czar.

Kevin Sabet is everywhere. Clearly on a big recent push to get media coverage as part of his career development.

[Thanks, Tom and Daniel]

bullet image If you’re interested in more Kevin Sabet, he’s interviewed in a podcast by Sylvia Longmire at Mexico’s Drug War blog. I’ve just recently learned about Longmire and while I’d consider her far from being on the side of us “legalizers” (though she does support legalizing marijuana), I’ve found her to have an open mind and willingness to learn and be persuaded, so please keep that in mind if you choose to comment at her blog.

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21 comments to More weekend reading

  • Peter

    I could only get the first episode of Burns’ Prohibition to play on the linked PBS site….anyone else have this problem?

  • darkcycle

    I got one and two to play, haven’t made the time to watch three yet…

  • claygooding

    the occupy wall street is spreading across the country,,might bear monitoring,,,maybe time to run out some banners,,after all,it is corporations and federal bureaucracies we are fighting also.

    • DdC

      Occupy Everywhere cybrary
      SF Site Raided, Santa Cruz Takes Park, October 6th
      October 15 – cities all over the world will be joining in…
      * Occupying LA
      * Occupying Chicago
      * Occupying Seattle
      * Occupying Vancouver
      … and the list will only grow

      Liberty for All with Credit Cards… No checks! NRA bought mandatory minimums, now they disregard the ATF ruling. Why is that not a surprise? What is a pleasant surprise is Nader, Ron Paul and Kucinich , comrads in arms supporting the Occupy Wall St. protest. Just like the Ganjawar makes money for both sides, including many many lawyers, reform groups and Growers. So we should not wonder why it’s lasted so long and will remain until the reformers get real and overturn the CSA. Naomi Klein makes a good point that our demands are based on how big Occupy Wall St gets. Stopping the drug war is on the list but they need more visibility. Two weeks and not one NORML or MPP or even a Ganja leaf. WTF? I’m getting up in years and on the left coast but still support those braving the weather.

      Reminiscent of Blocking the Government in DC 1971. My first taste of fear gas, my first boot in the side trying to sleep in the Lincoln Memorial. Seeing the inscription on the wall being drug out into the drizzling rain. Still brings fond memories. More about the $12, 3 fingered lids out of a sawed off school bus from Indiana. I split before the troops Sunday, in pouring rain. Headed to Pittsburgh, caught a ride to Breezewood, truckstops and motels. Picked up then by two guys in a Hearst Rent a Truck. Half full of cases of pepsi about 20 or so hippies were sitting on passing bowls, Got to Sumerset when the drivers said they ran out of gas. Sat there a while and then all hell started breaking loose. Cops, detectives, helicopters, state troopers, suits. Right on the PA Turnpike. Everybody out. I stashed my sack behind a sheet of plywood bolted to the truck. Still raining, ID’s and empty pockets. I’m seeing things go onto the cop car I can’t believe. A syringe, pills, bags of pot, joints. 17 and fücked for life. Back into the truck, someone barked to keep the garage type door open. Off to a rest area and do it all again. As soon as the truck started moving someone reached up and closed the door and fired up a few bowls of opiated hash. At the rest area the various cops are pondering. Everybody back in the truck. Can anyone drive this? Back on the road I found my stash and loaded some bowls. I got off at my exit, last I heard the truck was heading to Lansing. Fück Ma Bell! Thousands were arrested and Unconstitutionally jailed outside of RFK football stadium. Each prisoner sat and formed a huge peace sign. I found out later they settled in court receiving $10k each.

      May Day 71.jpg

  • JDV

    Unfortunately Scalia helped perpetuate the war on drugs in the Raich case. SC Justices may be intelligent and well-educated but they are human and have partisan prejudices just like the rest of us; when it comes down to it they usually vote along predictable liberal/conservative partisan lines.

  • oh man, another federal crackdown on pot dispensaries — wow, nobody saw that one coming.

  • Servetus

    Bryan Fischer of the Koch Bros. funded American Family Association (AFA), a branch of the American Taliban, believes that gays should be persecuted in the same manner as intravenous drug users. At least Fischer is being candid about the drug war and what it means to drug users.

    http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2011/10/08/339627/bryan-fischer-govt-should-treat-gays-like-intravenous-drug-users/

    • hmmmm, i think this is better: “Government should treat Bryan Fischer like Benedict Arnold”

    • Koch Brothers? I haven’t seen evidence of direct funding (although I haven’t looked far). But regardless, what does that have to do with it? The American Family Association is a plenty fine evil without including distracting and polarizing elements like Koch or Soros into the picture.

      I’ve had a lot of dealings with the AFA over quite some years. Never heard of Koch Brothers until recently.

      • DdC

        I’ve had a lot of dealings with the AFA over quite some years.
        Never heard of Koch Brothers until recently.

        That’s not being very informed. Or relevant. Russia knows about the Koch maggots infestation on America. Koch Bros Private Prisons and Buying elections is enough evidence. Soros is more towards legalizing for profits. Sad when I have to go to Moscow to get coverage of Wall St. No different than the censoring of the Bagdad invasion or the truth behind the Ganjawar. It’s harder not to hear of the Koch roaches.

        RussiaToday

        Kochaine A.L.E.C. Drug Detention Centers
        $72,000.00 a head… Tax paid Teabogs…

        Soros Monsanto Connection

        Occupy Everywhere
        SF Site Raided, Santa Cruz Takes Park, October 6th
        October 15 – cities all over the world will be joining in…
        * Occupying LA
        * Occupying Chicago
        * Occupying Seattle
        * Occupying Vancouver
        … and the list will only grow

        • I’ve had a lot of dealings with the AFA over quite some years.
          Never heard of Koch Brothers until recently.

          That’s not being very informed. Or relevant.

          What does that mean, DdC?

          Perhaps you can give me a link that ties them to funding the American Family Association. Or give me a link that says that they were in the news as the Koch Brothers (and not the Koch family) back in the early 1980s, which is when I started dealing with the American Family Association.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    So what, you people don’t know how to download bittorents? I use uTorrent if you don’t already have a client installed. It’s free. All episodes of Prohibition are available without the network begging for money at:

    http://thepiratebay.org/search/prohibition/0/99/0
    ———- ———- ———- ———- ———- ———- ———- ———- ———- ———- ———- ———-
    This is yet another “there’s no such thing as medical merrywanna” screed:

    http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/middle-class-guy/2011/oct/8/cigarettes-versus-marijuana/

    Anti-nausea medication required. Of course that’s unless you enjoy barfing, then this is better than ipecac. No need to clip, the writer’s self description should suffice:

    “Peter Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance writer, freelance photographer, and consultant. He is a passionate cook and eater. He likes to be the sharp stick that pokes, annoys, and provokes. His opinions are his and his alone. ”

    If you think that “Kevin” has a familiar, even though almost polite, writing style that’s because Duncan20903 is banned from the Washington Moon-Times. Careful if you comment, they’re awfully touchy over there.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      Interesting, I skipped a groove and submitted a post to the Washington Times site and it published. Now I’m confused again, I know for a fact that I was excluded from posting there. Oh well, it is what it is.

  • kaptinemo

    I’ve been watching the first episode of Ken Burn’s latest tour de force, and even though I was well aware of how both ‘temperance’ and ‘anti-drug’ hysteria powered both movements, it’s an eye-opener as to just how deeply it ran…and how little that hysteria was challenged and defeated when in its’ infancy. It’s very educational…and frightening to realize how little has changed.

    It’s almost axiomatic that the usual tolerance (to a greater or lesser extent) that exists in American society can be used by fanatics in a jiu jitsu fashion to destroy basic freedoms…and the danger that those social movements fronted by those fanatics were seen as such by those with the necessary ‘understanding’ (as SC Judge Brandeis put it) for exactly what they were. But, as usual, they were ‘voices in the wilderness’, ignored in the face of popular sentiment, with the survivors to derive cold comfort from being able to say, after the carnage has ended, that they told us it would happen..

    The self-appointed moral crusaders had their way, partly because few would believe that they were to be taken seriously…until it was too late, and the damage done, with the ‘men (and women) of zeal’ playing into the hands of those less morally minded, and more engaged in not-so-enlightened self-interest, with destructive results. Results that the ‘moral crusaders’ always claim no responsibility for. They always loudly claim that they ‘mean well’…as their victims lay crushed and bleeding beneath the engines of their good intentions.

    HL Mencken, a contemporary of the times involved, said it best: “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” And this short essay of his brings into very sharp relief the underlying, true premise for all such prohibitions. The early prohibs were no less inclined, their Bible-thumping aside. The modern ones are no less disinclined…and are more honest about it.

    • DdC

      Kapt. I totally agree that what we saw on stage was what you describe. The lack of reasoning in the same lame good intentions motives. The division and stigmatizing. But these are all theater. At the end of the day, or with the repeal of the 18th amendment with the 21st amendment. The only difference was that cars and farmers couldn’t produce their on alcohol for fuel anymore. The large sums of money and lobbyists Rockefeller and other industrialists provided was not for sobriety. The more we add to the red herrings. The less we will see the truth behind all prohibitions. Cannabis provided many industries free reign without Hemp, RxGanja or Ganja. Same propaganda saveding the kids. Same propagandists, Hearst. Until we see that Nixon did the very same damn thing behind the hoopla of Watergate creating the CSA and including cannabis in all forms. We will remain fighting hobgoblins and stirring emotions on both sides. We can’t appease falsehoods just to get a seat at the table. There is no reason to include cannabis as a schedule#1 narcotic other than to eliminate it from the free trade market. None! Time to take reality back from the soothsayers and muck ruckers diverting us from our rights and prosperity. Occupy America!

      “A politician normally prospers under democracy in proportion …
      as he excels in the invention of imaginary perils and imaginary defenses against them.”
      — H.L. Mencken, 1918

      Occupy Everywhere

      Al Capone and Watergate were red herrings to divert the countries attention from the Fascist acts of eliminating competition. Booze/Ethanol or Ganja//Hemp.

  • Fast&Stuffed

    Ariz. sheriffs seek independent ‘gunwalker’ investigation

    In an unusual joint news conference, 10 Democratic and Republican Arizona sheriffs demanded an independent investigation of the ATF’s so-called “Fast and Furious” operation that put guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, and kept them in the dark.

    Accessories to murder ..their words not mine!

  • […] From Drug War Rant: Some coverage of the recent federal crackdown […]

  • We need an investigation of the possible conflict of interest being the true motivation behind this crackdown as the interests of protecting Pharmaceutical Cannabis Sativex.

    http://freedomofmedicineanddiet.blogspot.com/2011/10/obama-racketeering-for-big-pharm.html

    I say, ask within Covington & Burling.

    • Windy

      I’m more inclined to believe it is being done for the revenue, they will use the forfeiture laws to steal these properties and any money they find. It’s just too much of a coincidence that it is happening when the government is running out of other people’s money.

  • DdC

    Ok call me Carnac the Magnificent I guess. Don’t need no crystal ball or weatherman to see which way the wind is blowing. Blaming Obombo for busting buyers clubs the supremes deemed bustable? lol. Chasing tails in circles. Wall St perpetuates the Ganjawar, Obombo was never or will never go against his masters just to make things right for ordinary Americans. As long as money rules rights and buys elections and legislation. Change will only be for the worse. Or maybe I’ll be the Amazing Kreskin. Aummmmmmmm… I see lots of people crying that obombo is a hypocrite, or that the drug tzar lies or that cops are confiscating living rooms. Now RxGanja is coming in a sublingual spray with whole plant extract that should be sufficient for any legitimate patient. Prescribed by doctors and sold in drug stores the same as any other white powder. Just what they ask for, medicinal marihuana. If we the people want to sell or give it away we have one option, overturn the CSA or just grow enough for your own stash in states legalizing its use. So far only California. Alaska has a privacy clause permitting small amounts but I don’t believe there is any stipulation on the legalities of how to obtain it. But don’t let me stop the gossip or obombo trashing. I’m kinda getting used to my eyes rolling…

    Feds can patent cannabinoids. Bayer and Barthwell can patent sublingual sprays. Now surprise, the DEAth is lowering the narcotic classification of THC. Legalizing Big Pharma to sell sublingual whole plant extracts but not homegrown whole plant extracts to smoke or vape from the privacy of your own garden. Top priority is met, Hemp and Ganja will remain prohibited. Especially Buyers Clubs. Perpetuating the sales and service of the Ganjawar or selling synthetics for treating illness and the side effects of the treatments. Can we use the “F” word yet? Fascists! Why would they give us an alternative to the fossil fools and chemical drugs status weirdness? That’s just silly. But it still doesn’t give the Feds jurisdiction over California individuals growing for themselves. Or in any state with laws on the books permitting them. It’s the Compassionate Use Act, with California Constitutional priority over any politician. Not the MMJ act like the other states have. This was approved by the citizens majority and it states for any reason by anyone with or without ID cards or doctors written prescriptions. State wide is the law under the 10th Amendment. Until the true reason for the Ganjawar is seen, nothing much will or can change. Those still believing in the bogus free market Wallmart St. six are the true traitors. Along with the Koch roaches and Dung Worriers.

    “No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back.”

    Profound Hatred for Democracy