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April 2012
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Open Thread

Is it a sea change? Certainly we don’t expect reform to come from the top down — it’ll take an overwhelming revolt by the population to overcome the governmental self-interest. And the U.S. is firm in its resolve to keep the drug war going unchanged.

And yet, we have a huge number of leaders of Latin American countries blatantly calling for a discussion of legalization, and the two hard-line prohibitionists in the Western Hemisphere — Canada’s Stephen Harper and U.S.’s Barack Obama actually felt the need to express these thoughts this weekend:

Harper: “I think what everyone believes and agrees with, and to be frank myself, is that the current approach is not working, but it is not clear what we should do.”

Obama: “I think it is entirely legitimate to have a conversation about whether the laws in place are ones that are doing more harm than good in certain places.”

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25 comments to Open Thread

  • primus

    They both seem to lack any degree of commitment. The comments are oh so tentative. One baby toe in the water, let’s see what the tribe says.

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  • darkcycle

    I don’t think that they were ready for actual pressure. I think they honestly thought that their pre conference statements would be an end to it. If they didn’t get the pressure from the delegations of the other nations (and it seems they did), the world press was certainly there to ask the hard questions. I must say, I’m a little surprised myself, it seems the entire event turned on this one issue.

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  • Servetus

    The prohibition buck stops neither with Obama nor Harper. So much for their place in history.

    The economy is booming in SA, especially Brazil. Success breeds sovereignty. Latin America doesn’t need to take any crap off of the North Americans anymore. Gunboat diplomacy is dead. Prohibition diplomacy needs to be the next fatality.

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  • darkcycle

    Pete, here’s a selection of drug news for YOUR visit. Think Globally, Act locally and all that….
    http://www.whig.com/search?vendor=ez&qu=marijuana

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    • Thanks! But too late. Already returned home. Only had time for part of one day with my Dad to play some pool and fix his email problems.

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  • Duncan20903

    .
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    The DEA has announced that they’ve busted a stunningly huge multi-national criminal syndicate which was pocketing the mind boggling gross revenue of at least $500,000 per year!

    If you use TOR you may as well chuck it onto the trash heap of hollow promises.

    Ecstasy, Marijuana, LSD Sold at Online ‘Farmers Market:’ Feds in L.A. Move In For The Bust
    By Dennis Romero Mon., Apr. 16 2012
    /snip/

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  • Windy

    Steve Kubby is one of my Facebook friends, and I saw this in my newsfeed (because Steve “liked” it) — Jodie Joanna Emery writes on Facebook: Well, the Metro News broke the story (or at least the teaser!) today on Twitter, so I’ll share it here – but I can’t say anything more about it until after the event on Wednesday morning. ;)

    “@VancouverMetro: A former US attorney who prosecuted Marc Emery for selling seeds will appear w/@JodieEmery Wed. to call 4 marijuana regulation and taxation.”

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  • Idea’s like of “its not the right time” and “Its a good thing to discuss” are very much stall tactics and political maneuvering. Keeping the door open a crack is a good safe rhetoric. A stall tactic, none the less.

    There is no hope for real change from Obama, he has made it clear he is against legalization. Four more years is not acceptable. I ask four more years of what?

    Oaksterdam University is the only thing that comes to mind. Lots of Blackhawk helicopters and money gone South. Lots more Homeland Security. Just lots more of lots more. Obama and Harper are like two peas in a pod.

    When is enough, enough?

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  • claygooding

    420 is going worldwide:

    High Court rules against Marijuana Day rally

    http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=266354

    The High Court of Law on Tuesday ruled against allowing a rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square planned for International Marijuana day on April 20.

    Activists, represented by the Dor Emet (“Truth Generation”) interest group, had appealed to the court to overturn a police decision against holding the rally, in which illegal substances are smoked publicly to protest anti-drug laws.

    The Israel Police notified activists last week that any such rally in Tel Aviv would not be tolerated, and refused to authorize the event, saying it constitutes a blatant violation of the law.

    The world wants this stupid prohibition to end but big industry just won’t turn hemp loose.

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  • Francis

    Recent studies have shown that a state’s passage of a medical marijuana law is associated with statistically significant reductions in both traffic fatalities and suicides. I wonder what other benefits researchers could find if they looked: fewer incidents of domestic violence, fewer homicides, fewer assaults, fewer overdose deaths from alcohol, prescription, and other drugs, fewer self-referrals for addiction counseling? It seems like we have the data points. Someone just needs to mine them!

    (Oh, and Obama, thanks for that “entirely legitimate”. Really.)

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    • Duncan20903

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      How about better comedy and music? More organic gardens? More prohibitionists even more highly annoyed? More peace, love and understanding? More wildflowers? More naked women?

      I think that it’s a good idea for us to always look on the bright side of life proactively. Otherwise I think we run the risk of falling into the black hole of hysterical rhetoric and that’s a hard one to dig yourself out of. Somehow noting that we’ll have less death and mayhem seems rather dark.

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  • http://youtu.be/7SGWH3kirzg Check this Clay. Goes right along with whats in store for the future here in the US now too.

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    • claygooding

      Yup,,next will come a bill allowing all states too send marijuana criminals to federal rehab centers/re-education camps,,,at the judges discretion. So we can either be interred in one and pay for the privilege,plus court costs and probation fees,,or refuse and be sent to prison.

      With my health problems,,I would take prison,,,it would cost them more and it is coming down to our breaking their policy based on arresting people by keeping the costs rising on both ends,,,more money going out through ONDCP for keeping prohibition in place and more expense continuing the facade of driving down demand,,,and failing at both.

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  • Francis

    If a law or policy is subjected to judicial review under the “strict scrutiny” standard, the government has the burden of establishing:
    1) It is justified by a compelling government interest.
    2) The law or policy must be narrowly tailored to achieve that goal or interest.
    3) The law or policy must be the least restrictive means for achieving that interest, that is, there cannot be a less restrictive way to effectively achieve the compelling government interest.

    The Supreme Court applies the strict scrutiny standard when a “fundamental right” is infringed. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court doesn’t appear to consider sovereignty over one’s own body and consciousness a “fundamental right.” Suffice it to say, I strongly disagree, but that’s not really the point of this post. The point is the insight contained in the third prong of the test. We usually argue against prohibition by attempting to show that “the harms of prohibition outweigh its benefits” (assuming, for the sake of argument, that it has any benefits). Prohibitionists naturally take the opposite position. But even if the prohibitionists were right (they’re not), I would still oppose prohibition. It is such an inherently barbaric approach to the problem of drug abuse, it is so fundamentally violative of individual autonomy, that even if it were “effective” (it’s not), the drug warriors would still need to at least demonstrate that it’s the only effective approach. They can’t do that.

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  • Leeg Galizer

    Don’t Stephen Harper’s comments make you wonder? I mean if he recognizes that what we’re doing isn’t working, then why did he spearhead laws to do “more of the same” in Canada?

    These guys are all morally bankrupt and should be put out of office as soon as possible.

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  • n.t. greene

    It is nice to see the zealots concede an inch. Granted, if we went by the actual will of the populous we’d have taken more than that inch.

    Time to keep hammering at it with the informational artillery. Who would have thought that those who serve as the US intelligencia would be hitting the drug war’s flank?

    It’s weaker now than ever before. Not a time to rest for certain, but I think in a few years we will have the larger army.

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    • claygooding

      I give it 5 months,,if we keep it hitting every political debate,,we need a question in every debate,,how do we get it there?

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  • Duncan20903

    .
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    Bruce!

    Bruce Margolin, Marijuana Attorney in Bid for Congress, Launches Yoga Tour for His ‘10 & 10 Campaign’

    With only weeks left between now and the California June 5th Open Primary, congressional candidate, marijuana attorney Bruce Margolin announces that he is pioneering a ground breaking $10 & 10 Minute Micro-Donation Campaign. The campaign asks that everyone who can, participate in this movement by making a very small donation at http://www.MargolinForCongress.com and then take ten minutes to share Mr. Margolin’s message using social media, blogs and good old fashioned phone calls.

    Santa Monica, CA (PRWEB) April 16, 2012

    “If we are successful in running a campaign that is exclusively financed by micro donations, it will have an enormous impact on the entire election process going forward. There will be no more tolerance for politicians who compromise their principles in exchange for campaign contributions.” Bruce said during a recent interview.
    /snip/

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  • thelbert

    didn’t congress pass a law making it a crime for american citizens to engage in actions that may be legal in a foreign country but are illegal in the states? such as smoking dope in amsterdam or hiring whores in columbia. i think it’s time for a law to force law enforcement to obey the law.

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  • Outlier

    Sea change isn’t quite the right way to put it. I see it more like a pressure valve that is gradually increasing in strength until it red lines and there’s a shock to the system. The question is only where does it come from. I’m hopeful this November that it will be Washington, Colorado, and possibly Oregon that force the system to red line. Certainly 3 states withdrawing from marijuana prohibition will provoke a response at the federal level and an open discussion of an indefensible status quo. What direction do they take it though? Do the drug warriors in Congress try and ram through a bill to cut off highway funds to the states that legalize it? Does Eric Holder send every available DEA agent to those states? Or do these victories scare the crap out of enough people to just see how it plays out. If those elections go well for drug policy reformers, I think there needs to be a huge push for legalization in California at the state legislature. If that domino falls, prohibition will be on the ropes and close to being down for the count.

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    • Duncan20903

      .
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      Do you think that we could get them to propose a law that disallows liquid diets for the first 6 months of an infants life? Every single drug addict, criminal and politician all were fed a liquid diet right after birth. If we don’t want our infants to grow up to such heinous way of life we need to feed them beef steak from day 1.

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