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Open thread

Working on researching a couple of things right now that may result in posts later. Talk amongst yourselves.

Query for discussion if you wish: With OWS and the Tea Party (and their likely overlapping interests), with government crackdowns on medical marijuana at the same time as Fast and Furious investigations, and much more, is there a potential general groundswell of unhappiness with the status quo that could result in a more powerful grass roots interest in drug policy reform? If so, how best to light that spark?

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35 comments to Open thread

  • Bailey

    Medical Marijuana. The Feds make it available, then condemn states that do too. The Feds list marijuana as having no medical value, then sell off rights to pharmaceutical companies. There are lots of failed, corrupted things about federal drug policy. However mmj hypocrisy is really one of their most public mistakes.

    People know it can be medicine, they know the feds are against it. What only drug policy wonks really understand is that the feds still supply remaining federal patients, and that they allowed patents of marijuana’s compounds to big corporations. If the OWS/Tea Party/general public really internalized these facts, the governments double talk would no longer be sufficient.

    The only other issue that might have specific traction is for profit prisons. I have a hunch the 99% find the idea of incarceration to make a buck really reprehensible.

    I’m going to be at a local Occupy event in Olympia, Wa. I’m collecting signatures for a specific legalization initiative, but will bring up these issues specifically to see what the response is.

    • muggles

      Bailey is right on track…” The Feds make it available, then condemn states that do too. The Feds list marijuana as having no medical value, then sell off rights to pharmaceutical companies. There are lots of failed, corrupted things about federal drug policy. However mmj hypocrisy is really one of their most public mistakes. “

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .
        The Compassionate IND program was shut down by George the 41st in 1992. Back then there was a fatal disease that was exclusive to gay men called AIDS. Since medicinal cannabis helped these gay men overcome cachexia it prolonged their lives and they were going to blow the cover off the IND patient rolls. Dying gay men who smoke pot just don’t seem to be a priority of the Feds, at least back then.

        I’d speculate the Feds “grandfathered” the patients already in the program to avoid litigation the knew that they’d lose. They’re not saying that cannabis is medicine by distributing to the remaining patients. They’re avoiding have a real judge with powers to give orders tell them that it is.

        One of the things that I’ve never been able to satisfactorily explain, why the fuck did we let them get away with doing this? Wasn’t including cannabis in the IND program done because of Bob Randall’s victory in litigation in the mid 1970’s?

        • Bailey

          ‘They’re not saying that cannabis is medicine by distributing to the remaining patients. They’re avoiding have a real judge with powers to give orders tell them that it is. ”

          This is true, but no one can objectively look at the events and conclude “The feds did this because marijuana isn’t medicine.” If the public was actually aware of the Compassionate IND program, any excuse from the government would come across as what it is, weak, forced, and insufficient.

  • claygooding

    I used to feel bad about buying marijuana off the streets because to support any organization that kills innocent people to protect their interests is just not my vision of a “good” person,,until I figured out I was paying taxes to another organization that does the same,,,plus,,they give money to Mexico to fight the drug cartels,,then sell guns too the cartels,,and fast and furious is just the tip of the ice burg,,IMO.

    • kaptinemo

      It may be that the ‘criminality of government’ has finally reached such critical mass that the issue of drug law reform can no longer be deflected from public view as successfully as it has in the past.

      The sheer insanity of knowingly allowing purchases of firearms to shady characters with connections to narco groups while simultaneously arming the Mex government (whose corrupt members then transfer the American-supplied weaponry to the cartels) after learning of how the Zetas came into being just boggles the mind. That is, the mind of anyone sane. Which excludes any and all prohibitionists…who bear the greatest responsibility for this mess in the first place.

      I’ve said it many times before that a confluence of forces is gathering and moving in a direction that will eventually require the long-avoided issue of drug prohibition in this country to be addressed. The social ferment we are witnessing right now, with the Occupy movement, is but a small symptom of the groundswell I believe is building in American society. Either that ferment is allowed to proceed to its’ natural conclusion of political action leading to reform courtesy of that ferment…or the matter will become moot, courtesy of a long-delayed ‘correction’, a ‘cleansing’ if you will, courtesy of a radical change in the form of government from what we presently ‘enjoy’.

      The murdering, sanctimonious criminals presently ‘serving’ the public who look at us and call us criminals for our choices of intoxicants have been able to get away with their schemes for a very long time.

      But, as Catherine Austin Fitts put it, “The winners in a rigged game get stupid”. This latest scandal is an example of that terminally arrogant stupidity at work. Hopefully it will prove to be the tipping point…before things get knocked over for other, much more disastrous reasons.

  • damaged justice

    Government agents used paid informants and pole mounted cameras to kidnap people for the “crime” of trading in unlicensed food:

    http://www.thecompletepatient.com/journal/2011/10/7/rawesome-investigators-used-paid-informants-pole-cameras-pro.html

    Anthony Gregory comments on “two peoples separated by a common language”:

    http://mises.org/daily/5746/Occupy-Wall-Street-A-Story-without-Heroes

    Every peaceful, honest person needs to do what they can to find the other peaceful and honest people.

  • Ken

    In my opinion, The war on drugs will not stop because of the money. The money that backs prohibition is much greater than the money for legalization. The money generated by legalization would go to the people (taxes), not to the groups (Timber, alcohol, Pharmacuticals, DEA (all law enforcement), cotton, plastics, and oil companies) that profit off of prohibition. Money is the “GOD” of our capitalist society and until people are put before money, things will stay the same. Also, until the drug problem is viewed as a health issue and not a criminal issue, things will stay the same. Hell, I could be wrong, As I said it is just my opinion.

    • kaptinemo

      Ken, I agree, but with one proviso: the money has to retain its’ value if it is to be the main reason for continuing prohibition. And at the rate the dollar is being devalued as opposed to gold, the currency may lose its’ value in such a way that the entire financial system of the planet may either deflate or shatter. Recall a few years ago, before Europe felt the effects of the Meltdown, that the Euro was gaining in value over the dollar…and its’ value is still greater than the greenback. So much so that the narcos insisted in Euros for payment. Now the Euro is in big trouble, just as is the dollar. Narcos of all stripes will start to look for more stable currencies…if there are any, as other governments are inflating their currencies in the same way the US is, too.

      So, it’s “Quo vadis?” (“Where do we go from here?”) time for the entire illegal enterprise…and every ‘anti-drug’ bureaucrat who is symbiotically linked to it. If the dollar crashes, as well it might, then the entire issue will become moot. No money for narcos…and no money for the supposed ‘white hats’ that ‘fight’ them. And everyone but the top 1% of the wealthiest people in every nation will be too busy scratching to survive to be concerned about who puts what in their own bodies.

      I want to see peaceful change by ballot, not the revolutionary nightmare that that would represent. But a very large portion of the blame for the latter, if it happens, will fall upon those very same government functionaries that have gleefully made our lives Hell for squandering so much of the nation’s treasure – when it really was worth calling it treasure – in this insane Children’s Crusade of a DrugWar.

  • Matthew Meyer

    Joy to have an open thread!

    I need help with Helen Harberts. She’s a retired drug court cop / prosecutor in Butte County, California, who is working with DA Mike Ramsey to prosecute a bunch of dispensary cases.

    Nearly every time the local paper runs an article about cannabis, there’s Helen Harberts, screeching to the treetops that it’s not medicine, people are being duped, etc. It seems so…illegal for her to opine on cases she’s trying.

    What really gets me is she keeps trying to convince people that Sativex is medicine and whole plant cannabis is not, that 215 is nothing but a scam, etc.

    Some of you may want to weigh in on some of her comments. Here’s her latest work (you have to enable Facebook on NoScripts if you run it):

    http://www.chicoer.com/opinion/ci_19075321

    Check out Mickey Martin, the “Cannabis Warrior” on Harberts and the Butte County Mountainside collective case:

    http://cannabiswarrior.com/?s=harberts

    Helen Harberts is one of the people in California who is really stoked now that the feds are “on their side.” It makes me sick and I try to comment on her ignorant rhetoric and conflicted agenda all the time, but I could use some help. Thanks.

  • DdC

    Apple Genius Steve Jobs Was an Acid Freak
    Steve Jobs died this week after fighting a long battle with cancer. The technological visionary who founded Apple and brought us the personal computer and the iPod was called a hippy by his close friends, and reportedly said taking LSD was “one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life”.

    Lithium for Cannabis Junkies
    Dr Jennifer Johnston from the University of Sydney has come up with a grand scheme to sustain her financial security and position by obtaining a government grant to come up with the World’s first solution to help people overcome withdrawal symptoms when attempting to give up their “Cannabis Drug Addiction”. She is presently calling for 30- 40 volunteers to participate in a trial to evaluate the use of lithium to manage cannabis withdrawal.

    Brown Vetoes California Hemp Bill, Criticizes Federal Ban
    California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has vetoed a bill that would have allowed farmers in select counties to grow hemp, saying it would subject them to federal prosecution, but in doing so, he lashed out at the federal ban on hemp farming in the US, calling it “absurd.”

    Hemp Corporatism.jpg

    Feds can’t get their story straight on pot
    If officials in the Obama administration had set out with a goal two and a half years ago of causing local communities as much headache as possible with their policy on medical marijuana enforcement, it’s hard to imagine they could have done a better job.

    Cannabis is legal for some Individuals

  • claygooding

    Selling 100 guns to cartel agents and following them to their destination is intelligence gathering,,selling thousands of guns to enemies of a foreign government is warmongering and gun running.

    The over sight committee and the Republicans are all self righteous and wanting to jump on Holder because they wanted to know when he knew about the deal and he lied..
    Where is the committee hearing on the “deal” being done in the first place.

  • Ziggy

    When you’re painted into a corner, like perhaps a RAND study that dispensaries help quell rather than create violence, you fight back with whatever means you can. You tell everyone the RAND study is flawed and you coerce them into removing their study. You start attacking the very business that they said helped stop the violence.

    I’d say it’s a cornered badger, but it’s far more like a cornered hippo… eventually it will be subdued, but it’s going to take some time.

    That said, I believe it is a mixture of that, and posturing a tough on drugs message to counter the republican election rhetoric that would call Obama otherwise. If we keep traveling this road of pandering to vocal minorities, soon Iranians are going to have more personal liberty than us.

  • jay

    Nicely refreshing thread with intelligent discussion. The only thing I found missing is posing some solutions. It is time to put people in power who will end these drug wars, limit the federal governments power, stop these wall street bail outs. There is only one guy running that has been preaching these ideas for years and has the congressional voting record to prove it. If you don’t know who I’m referring to, his name is Ron Paul. I don’t smoke pot, but I think it should be legal. I can’t have an abortion, but its not my place to say you can’t. This is his running platform, right now, check him out. If you think he’s a nobody, its because that is what the media wants you to think.

  • JDV

    These two groups might share some common goals, but they are not friends. I think it will take people who are perceived as leaders or at respected, prominent people from both movements publicly joining hands to bring the two sides together on this issue. Maybe Kucinich and Gary Johnson, for example.

    The social conservative wing of the tea party will be a big problem. They will belittle efforts to end the drug war as selfish efforts to legalize drugs for personal consumption(not that I think there’s anything wrong with that, but it will give the average voter pause.) The message has to be: that the drug war does much more harm than good and the government shouldn’t have so much control over people’s personal lives.

    • Windy

      Face it, NEITHER party gives a fuck about anything except their own power, quit doing the yoyo thing between them, as long as that continues they will succeed in turning every American into slaves for them to fuck over whenever they wish. its time for America to have a paradigm change, to stop expecting either the entrenched Rs or Ds to ever do anything Constitutional.

      That is why we need Ron Paul, he is the ONLY candidate (in spite of the R behind his name) who WILL force government to abide by its Constitutional limits and respect the unalienable rights of the People.

  • Gary Floyd

    I know this off topic but it has ramifications all around.

    The Supreme Court will hear a case this week on the scope of a defendant’s protection from double jeopardy. A judge in Arkansas instructed jurors to consider several charges in order of seriousness. The jury voted against the charges of capital and first-degree murder, but deadlocked on manslaughter, so the case was declared a mistrial. How do you think the Court will rule regarding this Fifth Amendment issue?

  • claygooding

    There is talk of joining the “Occupy” protest,,at every county courthouse and state capitol across the nation.

    Occupy has no set objective,with people supporting policy change of all sorts,,it won’t be our fault if marijuana legalization people end up out numbering all other groups.

    I just hope,regardless of where we start our protests,that people don’t get so baked that the cameras have easy targets and everyone they interview can’t do anything but stutter how stoned they are.

  • vickyvampire

    Oh Christ the A=hole state Utah I reside in is at it again,they the Lawmakers banned Synthetic Spice Duh they were told the recipe would be adjusted accordingly many times and now its back on shelves, around the state.
    The Authorities are angry cause there have been a few overdoses and problems and folks circumvented the ban so now cause legislative process takes so long.the lawmakers want to by pass the constitution and just appoint a board and I guess by fiat ban any new synthetic forms of spice without legislative approval look I’m not an expert but Hell this unethical,stupid,unlawful right Yeah well it never has stopped the government here anyway.
    http://www.standard.net/stories/2011/10/08/new-laws-may-be-needed-deal-spice-recipe-changes

    I know if they just legalized Cannabis and hemp in Utah tourism would skyrocket.Yeah I know I can dream for a few moments,snap out of it Vicky Utah is just to weird.

  • palemalemarcher

    I have protested to the stephanie miller program making light of the plight of POW’s last friday and other occasions. Free speech is also appropriate at stephanie@stephaniemiller.com the next tin-eared attempt at humor.

  • Outlier

    I think state budgets are the biggest thing we have going for us. With the economy stagnant and states cutting back on public education and health care, the tax revenue from legalization is undeniable, it just needs to be demonstrated as viable in one state and it will spread. In Arizona its estimated taxation of cannabis alone could generate 242 million for the state. That’s enough to wipe out the hit higher education took in the most recent legislative session. That’s a huge difference in students lives as the recent cuts caused universities to raise to tuition over $3000 annually. Since it takes most students 5 years to graduate, that’s $15,000 less in student loans they’d be paying. If you look at what the Occupy Wall Street movement is fighting for, student loan debt is assuredly at the heart of it and legalization is part of the answer.

  • Jose

    After following the drug war for quite some time I have become pessimistic that our representatives can or will do the right thing. However, I do believe that a spark can be triggered to force Americans to re-evaluate our current drug policies. The spark will come at a hefty price.

    The destruction and pain that the drug war creates needs to come “home”. The government needs to step up marijuana enforcement to an extreme
    that will eventually be seen as the abuse that it is.

    Many Americans see the drug war as a poor Black or Latino issue. I realize people on this forum likely do not feel this way but I do believe
    it is a widespread opinion. Just look at evening news reports that show a drug raid. Where are those places normally located? Unfortunately for many poor minorities, having a relative serving time for simple possession is a way of life.
    Americans need to see the lives of average middle class adults and their children being torn apart by the legal system to finally wake up. The majority of Americans
    need to see people being jailed,and be able think “he/she looks like me, lives in a home like me, has a family like me”. The majority must be able to relate and sympathize with the victim.

    To wake up the masses that believe they can legislate morality and lock away what they dislike they will have to feel the impact of the beast they have
    been feeding. With increased federal funding, and heavy handed enforcement by the feds the playing field might be leveled enough to get through to the prohibition mind lock.

    A hard-right religious Republican President would likely fund the drug war enough that it could escalate to this level.

    To summarize: The impact of the drug war is easily brushed under the carpet by most citizens. They are quick to say “oh, those dumb potheads” or “damned crime filled barrios”. Once they see the feds coming down hard on people they can relate to will we possibly see change. I realize this may seem harsh and it is just my opinion. I believe that if drug laws would be applied more equally to ethnic groups we may actually see some change. At this point the prison population does not reflect the majority, thereby making it easier for staunch prohibitionist’s to point the finger and hide under their ONDCP blanket. I also think that the War on Drugs should be framed for what it is, a War on Citizens.

    • kaptinemo

      No, actually, you are quite right…and you’re not alone in thinking this. You’re in very good company, actually.

      For years, since I found it on the ‘Net I’ve been re-posting the link to The History of the Non-Medical Use of Drugs in the United States
      by Charles Whitebread, Professor of Law, USC Law School; A Speech to the California Judges Association 1995 annual conference
      . In which he makes exactly the same argument, based upon the historical data.

      The (unfortunately, now late) good professor Whitebread did not, however, take into account the added dimension of economics. namely, the the fact that alcohol Prohibition was ended largely because the country could no longer afford it, thanks to the Great Depression.

      His ‘Iron Law of Prohibition’ was exactly as you describe the dynamics as being: a war on easily identifiable minorities. But the ‘Iron Law of Prohibition’ ran into and was shattered by what I call the adamantine steel Law of Social Economics: A society has the ethics it can afford.

      And in this case, the ‘ethics’ were in fact nothing more than prejudices enshrined into law. When continuing the funding of implementing those prejudices proved impossible, the law was repealed, but not on the basis of it’s moral repugnance, but simply because the money was needed for more important things, such as attempting to rebuild society from a disastrous financial meltdown…much like we are experiencing today.

      Whitebread got a lot of it right…as do you. But I continue to believe the economics of the situation will be the ultimate arbiter as to whether we continue to maintain this disastrous social policy, the highly questionable morality of it be damned as far as the public is concerned. And if things get even worse than they are right now – and I maintain that they most likely will – it will not be a matter of choice for any right-wing zealot of a Prez to make. The choice will be made for him by a wholly impersonal and implacable force that cannot be cajoled or threatened or bargained with.

  • FiddleMan

    “Is there a potential general groundswell of unhappiness with the status quo that could result in a more powerful grass roots interest in drug policy reform? If so, how best to light that spark?”

    Hi Pete,
    Is there any report or estimate on the amount of money that is made directly and indirectly by “The 400” (or top 1%)? This report would have to include ALL PRODUCTS that may have a Cannabis-made alternative. (Actually, a figure that considered ALL DRUGS should be included as well). It would also have to deal with private prison money, interestes in drug rehabs, and on & on…

    Add this figure to the huge amount that we already know the government spends on prohibition and it might anger a few people (as it should)!

    Being screwed by the top 1% is not making people happy anymore!

  • FiddleMan

    Oops! I think that I accidentally deleted two very important words! I meant “Is there any report or estimate on the amount of money that is made directly and indirectly FROM PROHIBITION by “The 400″ (or top 1%)? “

    • kaptinemo

      I don’t have a scientifically verifiable answer, but given how consolidated the world economy has become, with that centralization directly and indirectly benefiting the aforementioned 1%, because of their lock on banking on this world, and the fact that the banks were kept afloat by dirty money from drug laundering, I would say 80-90%…if not higher.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    Here’s one I’d never heard before, ‘criminal solicitation of marijuana’.

    I think I’m going to move to New Mexico. It seems pretty cut and dried that they don’t have any significant crime if the local cops sit around reading Craigslist for leads.

    New Mexico woman sought marijuana via Craigslist: police

    By Dennis J. Carroll

    Wed Oct 12, 2011

    SANTA FE, New Mexico (Reuters) – A New Mexico woman was arrested this week after she sought out marijuana on Craigslist in a notice that said she was “new in town” and “looking for Mary Jane,” police said on Wednesday.

    Anamicka Dave, 29, of Roswell was released from the Chavez County jail on a $5,000 bond, and faces one felony count of criminal solicitation of marijuana, authorities said.

    Roswell police spokesman Travis Holley said Dave was arrested by undercover officers on Monday evening in the parking lot of a local business after a narcotics officer surfing the Web on his own time spotted her posting.
    /snip/
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/12/us-craigslist-marijuana-idUSTRE79B7UL20111012

    • kaptinemo

      ‘Criminal solicitation of marijuana’

      (Mental image) Pot plant being approached by hooker: “Hey, sweetie, wanna have some fun?”

      Only a prohib could abuse the language that badly…

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    Pete said, “how best to light that spark?”

    Well really, it all depends on what you mean by a “spark.” Are you asking how within the constraints of logic derived arguments and ethical intentions? No suggestions if so, but if we’re willing to play dirty…

  • It’s gonna be an interesting day on Wall St in the morning…

    For those bemoaning the OWS lack of focus… there is so much to be pissed off at that to demand focus is irrelevant – we’re pissed at everything. People are understanding that this country has changed and not happy at being broke, not happy at being despised by too many, and when they see that it is Lady Liberty herself being sodomized by the Mammonites many more will join in.

    Liberty… freedom… aren’t concepts or illusory philosophical what-ifs, they have grown as vital aspects of our most basic nature and grown from our wandering the planet unencumbered by fences and digital toll booths for hundreds of thousands of years.

    Freedom burns… and will rise as inevitably as the sun does on a daily basis. Liberty is a natural state of being and history shows that no matter how oppressive rulers and states become, they guarantee their own demise.

    Like Kap I hope that all goes well and change is smooth and peaceful. I have my doubts tho’… I do know that we, the people need to remain steadfast in our non-violence. Defense is another story, but for now we should consider this an offensive first step towards reclaiming our nation and Constitution.

    And one of the not-really-funny funny things about it all? W/o hemp we well may not have ever won our freedom as a nation.

  • ooh… and here’s an event I just know many here would like to attend tomorrow:

    ONDCP drugged driving summit

    The National Drug Control Strategy includes a goal of reducing drugged driving in the United States 10% by the year 2015. Specifically, ONDCP aims to make preventing drugged driving a national priority on par with preventing drunk driving. To work toward this goal, the Strategy calls for:

    * Encouraging states to adopt Per Se drug impairment laws;

    -snip-

    Gosh… di’n’t see that coming… and I should throw this in here as well:

    the Governors Highway Safety Association – Highway Safety Policies & Priorities
    (thanks to Doug McVay for those)

  • Kaytee

    I should be able to sue the Feds for SOMETHING…. First off, according to ALL medical science, I should not even be alive right now. I drank myself to death at 19. Not weekend-binge alcohol poisoning, the kind of death historically referred to as “consumption”. I did, in just 4 years of drinking (yeah, Feds, kids ARE drinking! A LOT!) what takes most hard-core alcoholics a lifetime to do to their bodies. Now yes, I do laugh at the official Drug Schedule’s blatantly hypocritical pro-pharmonoply agenda; Natural Marijuana* – Schedule I: most dangerous, no medical value – compared with Heroin**, LSD, Ecstasy, GHB or date rape drug… but, on the other hand is prescription Marinol*, a synthetic THC, somehow approved by FDA – Schedule III:some chance for dependency, but accepted for medical value – compared with Vicodin**, ketamine or Special K, Codeine**. *=Both Cannabinoids, **=All 3 opioids. Same natural basis, but 2 drasticly different classifications… And somewhere in between, you can squeeze in all the Schedule II drugs, like cocaine (including crack), meth, raw opium, and PCP… but nowhere is alcohol or nicotine mentioned, let alone classified… Then it’s not so funny anymore. My insides are perminately F++KED, the mere process of digestion hurts like hell. So, basically, the DEA and FDA are saying that the drug that killed me is not even dangerous enough to be listed as a drug at all… yet the one drug that really seems to help (marijuana) is held up like the devil incarnate (marijuana is more dangerous than PCP?!?!?! Who the hell came up with that load of crap?!?!) It’s false and omitted information like this that is the TRUE gateway to hardcore drug abuse; We’re teaching kids that smoking a joint is as bad as shooting up heroin, and worse than smoking crack. So when peer pressure takes over, as it so often does, and a kid realizes marijuana isn’t so bad, they can’t help but think… maybe that other stuff isn’t so bad, either…

    Good work, Gil and Barry! (Barry McCaffrey was czar when I first drank) You have DEFINATELY done your fair shares of destroying the coming generations!!