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February 2013
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Open Thread

Work and out-of-town visitors have kept me busy, but there’s still a lot going on…

bullet image Why Congress Might Legalize Marijuana This Time by Rep. Earl Blumenauer in Salon

“It’s just come to a head,” he told Salon Thursday afternoon. “This is largely going to be resolved in the next five years.”

Blumenauer, along with Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis, introduced legislation this week to make the federal government treat cannabis like alcohol and let states decide whether to keep it illegal. And they think they have a real chance of getting somewhere this time. [...]

“I think we are in a position now to have a group of members of Congress who are able to spend a little more time and energy in a focused way on this. I think we’ve got a little bit more running room; I think our coalition is broader, and we’ve got people who have not normally been involved in this,” he added, pointing to more conservative members from Colorado who now care about marijuana after the state legalized it in the fall.

On top of his and Polis’ bills (which tax marijuana and end the federal prohibition on it, respectively), he said he anticipates “about a dozen” different pieces of legislation dealing with drug policy reform moving forward. With “a number of folks” already working together in an informal working group, he explained, “We’ve got more people working more systematically.” He declined to elaborate on other members, saying they would be making public statements in the coming months. [...]

The long-term goal, however, is to get the federal government to end the prohibition on marijuana and leave it to states to regulate the drug, just as Congress did when the prohibition on alcohol ended, something that two-thirds of Americans seem to support. “I honestly think that in their heart of hearts, most members of Congress would support that,” Blumenauer said.

I’m not going to get carried away with optimism — after all, I’ve been following the attempts by Hinchey et al since 2003, but still, this sounds good.


bullet image The slow death of the 4th Amendment at Daily Kos.

A lot of really old news to us, but still good to see progressives getting the message.


bullet image U.S. Representative Massie
Introduces Industrial Hemp Bill
in Kentucky — with 28 original co-sponsors!

“Industrial hemp is a sustainable crop and could be a great economic opportunity for Kentucky farmers,” said Rep. Massie. “My wife and I are raising our children on the tobacco and cattle farm where my wife grew up. Tobacco is no longer a viable crop for many of us in Kentucky and we understand how hard it is for a family farm to turn a profit. Industrial hemp will give small farmers another opportunity to succeed.”


bullet image Who Will Legalize Pot Next? in The Nation.

Increasingly, people realize that the country’s exorbitantly expensive, excessively harsh prison system has been more costly than it has been successful at making us safe. The question is whether Congress and the White House will recognize this and use their powers to expedite, rather than impede, change.


bullet image Discovery Channel debuts new prohibition-porn series.

Exclusive: New Discovery Channel series ‘Pot Cops’ chronicles marijuana crackdown”

“Pot Cops” will give audiences an unprecedented look at what it takes to conquer growers who are running a large weed farm in the Redwoods and shooting at local children on a reservation, as well as a bizarre, slow-speed chase of a stoned grower and investigations into parents who may be putting their own children at risk while hiding a huge grow somewhere in the surrounding hills.
But what Musson anticipates viewers will be most surprised to learn more about is the heavily-debated “medical marijuana” issue, and he claims that in his decade-long career as a law enforcement officer, he can “count on one hand the amount of legal growers” he has encountered.

Note the scare quotes around “medical marijuana” and the one-sided perspective.

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31 comments to Open Thread

  • kaptinemo

    First, a warning:

    DANGER! DANGER! BEGIN SELF-MEDICATION PROCEDURE IMMEDIATELY! APPROACHING WONDERLAND; CONTINUED SANITY CANNOT BE ASSURED!

    Isn’t it amazing how the connotations of words change over time?

    ‘Liberal’ used to mean ‘libertarian ‘. Which meant that you were for individual, civil rights standing strong against infringement of those rights by government…as used to be the old Conservative ideology of strict interpretation of the Constitution to prevent such infringments.

    Now ‘liberal’ means someone who wishes to use the power of the State to effect needed social change…as they define it.

    When the early NeoCons (who are former Commies, Trotskyites, who also want to use the power of The State to achieve their goals and to Hell with civil liberties, see how weird it gets?) successfully turned the word ‘liberal’ into an epithet, the ‘liberals’ dragged up out of History the old term ‘Progressive’. Which meant essentially the same thing as a modern ‘liberal’.

    But the modern ‘Progressives’ weren’t as up to the task as their ideological forebears; they dropped the ball in a big way. And that failure was their milquetoasty aversion to taking a hard stand against the DrugWar, as doing so would endanger the very foundations of the political power that they had successfully accreted to the Federal government courtesy of the early State drug laws leading to the Federal Harrison Narcotics Act…and in the process stripped rights and liberties from the very people they said they sought to ‘save’. Hence Menken’s famous observation that the urge to ‘save’ Humanity is often a false front to rule.

    (This, also, is why the Supremes voted the way they did in Raich, as a ruling supportive of Raich would have destroyed Wickard, and thus nullified the basis for the entire Federal bureaucracy as we know it today.)

    Out of tremulous, lip-quivering fear of their politicians being slapped with the ‘soft on crime’ epithet, said ‘progressives’ would march in lockstep and even engage in one-upmanship with their NeoConservative opponents to ratchet up the penalties of the drug laws to the present mess we have today. Even when it was causing horrendous damage to their ‘native’ constituencies (minorities and the poor) they continued, out of that same fear.

    The late Alexander Cockburn, disgusted with how modern ‘progressives’ were behaving, labeled them ‘pwogwessives’. A viewpoint I share.

    To make matters worse, the ‘pwogwessives’ have taken to using the word ‘libertarian’, regardless of case, as an epithet. In short, they are calling the basic, original’ liberal/libertarian precepts upon which this government was supposedly built as being invalid.

    Meanwhile the only true ‘progressives’ in this country nowadays don’t even call themselves that; if they call themselves anything, it’s more likely to be something like ‘reformer’…which to a pwogwessive’ is synonymous with ‘radical’. It is these ‘radicals’ that are attempting to undo the damage caused by BOTH ‘pwogwessives’ and NeoCons, such as ending the insane DrugWar. And thus are, by default, the only sane people around.

    Welcome to the modern American political system.

    Don’t blame me if you are now rolling on the floor, grinding your teeth, holding your heads and screaming in agony; I did warn you to medicate.

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    • Freeman

      To make matters worse, the ‘pwogwessives’ have taken to using the word ‘libertarian’, regardless of case, as an epithet. In short, they are calling the basic, original’ liberal/libertarian precepts upon which this government was supposedly built as being invalid.

      Damn straight! We’re glibertarians for not caring enough about their “needed social changes”.

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    • War Vet

      I was rolling something, but not myself on the floor though. I’m now paranoid about pot being legal in the next half decade or so . . . what will that mean? Does it mean the Feds are legalizing pot to make Americans think voting and democracy is real, just so they can pull the wool over our eyes on other losses of other liberties? The War on Drugs was the best practice a police state could ever have. Maybe the system works and we can successfully reverse the corrupt powers of our government. Maybe the removal of our 4th Amendment rights will stop with the end of the drug war. Of course everyone on this couch is required by morals and ethics to fight against the War on (insert prohibited act here) in the future. Will we have learned our lesson? I think this ‘War’ will last as long as America exists and it’s up to us to fight for all the civil liberties known to man.

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    • Duncan20903

      It was the Progressive Party that pushed through the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

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    • Windy

      I posted a link to your comment on facebook with my own comment being:
      My only correction to the above quote from the comment would be to change “civil rights” to “natural rights”.

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  • claygooding

    medication is not enough,,had to break out the kief catcher on my grinder.

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  • darkcycle

    Rabbits, holes, pocket watches. And that damn cat, whose grin still remains, mocking. Good thing I know my way around here now, you know, like, it’s really useful at times like these to know where to find that Caterpillar and his Hookah….

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  • damaged justice

    So a Taliban sympathizer is charged with wanting to blame a bombing on “anti-government” types:

    http://www.fbi.gov/sanfrancisco/press-releases/2013/federal-agents-arrest-man-after-he-attempts-to-bomb-bank-in-oakland

    Harder to find information on this guy now, but one paper has claimed he was “self-medicating with medical marijuana”. Oooh, Mister Authorized Journalist. It feels so good when you push those buttons. Don’t stop!

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  • Bruce

    Discovery Bleccch. Never before in the History of Mankind a more Suckified display of Smooching lovingly up to Insane and Nefarious NWO Dogma and Policies. Like telling the Children the Ailerons are what make the Plane go up and down.
    Calf Season. Such Beautiful Creatures. Shotgun that Damn TV and git outdoors and see Em.

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  • Servetus

    It looks like the Discovery Channel is selling out. Depending on the political slant of the series, the Discovery Channel risks antagonizing numerous cannabis aficionados who will email them with complaints about accuracy and fairness. Sponsors of the series risk a backlash from activists. It’s questionable the network can stay a neutral course while delivering anything but trash TV.

    Well-liked Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    • claygooding

      The Discovery channel has a lot of shows that are centered on government funded research and testing,,so if Gil wanted a show that looked favorably on his side of the argument I am sure he would “pressure” them to produce one,,of course then they have to do what he can’t do,,make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear.
      I have several of their marijuana shows recorded and watch them occasionally,,love looking at those huge plants after seeing my 3 foot tall babies.

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    • Duncan20903

      TDC was the network that broadcast “Weed Wars” with Steve DeAngelo of Harborside Health Center. I never watched the show so I don’t know what that means.

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  • divadab

    Discovery Channel selling out? More like loading up on vulgar dreck designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. My theory? As more younger and smarter people abandon their cable, Tee vee gets cheaper and dumber and trashier to appeal to the remaining shallow end of the smarts pool.

    They’re milking a declining market, as the trash they are promoting shows. It’s yet another victory for marketing and greed – and it wouldn’t surprise me if they are receiving some kind of subsidy from the DEA or some other corrupt fed agency to produce this crap.

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    • Duncan20903

      I’ve got 13,000 channels of crap on the TV to choose from. It wouldn’t even be in my house anymore except for the wife.

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      • primus

        I got rid of both (wife & TV) a long time ago. Very quiet and peaceful around here now. TV is such thin soup that it isn’t worth the time one trades for what passes these days as ‘entertainment’.

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        • As a white bread middle class kid TV was as natural as breathing. Heck, the whole broadcast system went to bed at a decent hour and all you got was the test pattern until the next morning.

          After I did my military thing (USAF, ’70 – ’74) I used my GI bill and went to college. My film instructor (Casey Case) didn’t own a TV and grew up w/o one. I swear, I had never met anyone in my life (in the US) that didn’t have TV. And then I read Jerry Mander’s Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. I got rid of my TV. I even agitated my roommates about their TVs.

          When my ex and I finally got a TV it was a 13″ or something small like that. It stayed in the closet unless Star Trek (Picard!) was on, plus the kids got a bit of PBS when mom needed a break.

          Now I watch very little. And when it is on I’m not watching it much. No cable. Just the 3 networks, PBS (2 channels plus OPB radio), Fox local, CW and “This.’ I can’t imagine cable now. !3,000 channels of crap and nothing is on. I love PBS. I’m almost willing to wager Romney’s Big Bird statement cost him the difference in the popular vote. Ya don’t mess w/ the Bird.

          I’m glad to hear there are still those who killed their televisions and didn’t adopt another. But everything is relative after all. Old Grampa Semu when he was a kid, grew up w/o TV or cars! He remembered Santa Barbara w/ dirt roads and boardwalks.

          (and if anyone is curious, Grampa Semu was an old Chumash medicine man. He started several foundations and helped many young folks discover their connection to the land and gave many a tribal Vietnam vet a quiet place to hang out w/ nature and listen in the ’70s and ’80s. He was also a Hollywood actor, friends w/ the likes Marlon Brando, Neil Young… he claims he got Steve McQueen high on Peyote in the hills of the Los Padres Nat’l Forest, he read for the old guy part in Dances w/ Wolves but was beat out by Floyd ‘Red Crow’ Westerman for it. A really special guy, we adopted each other and I helped w/ his last foundation, Muhu Tasen, on 40 acres east a couple of miles from the sprawling metropolis of Ventucopa, CA.)(here’s a pretty good pic of him

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        • darkcycle

          My TV viewing is limited to RT and the Speed Channel. Gots ta have my racing fix. No, I don’t watch NASCAR. I like it when they turn right, too. Rolex sports car series. Looks like I’m going to have to add Speed2, ’cause they moved F1 there.
          Otherwise I don’t watch. Wife and I went to a charity dinner with a quiz show theme a coupla weeks ago. 90% of the questions we exchanged blank looks. Whats a Kardashian? I thought they were star trek aliens…

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    • Windy

      Cheaper to produce, perhaps, but certainly no cheaper to the end user. My cable bill goes up every year. There are dozens of channels which I never even skim, let alone watch, that are included in my “package”, I wish I could pick and choose which channels I want to pay to watch (they would be all the Seattle stations — network TV — FX, MTV — only for Teen Wolf, and Syfy; though hubby would want some others, too), and get all the rest off my TV and my bill.

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  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Has it been verified that “Pot Cops” isn’t just a fictional “reality” show? The more I think about Deputy Dumbshit’s absurd claim that

    “We are not interested in interfering with people who have a legitimate marijuana license for their own personal use, and contrary to popular belief, it is not legal to grow marijuana for profit. It is illegal even with the license,” Musson insisted. “It is also illegal to give it away, just as it is to sell it. Even if you have a medical need. That’s the main thing we would like to get out there to people.”

    the more I think that claim is just so incorrect that the guy can’t actually be a sworn California officer, can he? There’s no such thing as a license issued to medicinal cannabis growers in California. Do they really let sworn officers wear beards and long hair in California? Other than the undercover guys of course but I don’t think starring on a TV show fits that job description. On this side of the country there’d be no doubt that the guy is an actor.

    It was Discover that aired the other fictional reality show “Moonshiners” which we recently ridiculed so the people running TDC are certainly not above doing that. My wager is on fraud. Is there anyone ready to take the other side of that bet? I’m not holding my breath.

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    • Chris

      Well, if they’re not real cops then they had better have medical marijuana recommendations, otherwise I don’t think they can legally possess any amount.

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      • Duncan20903

        They can if it’s origami weed. Why would you expect them to use real cannabis if they’re using phony cops?

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  • Over at Rand Corp:

    RAND Corp. Holds Discussion on Public Health Effects of Marijuana

    2 parts, part 1 is viewable, part 2 viewable soon. The link is right hand column, Video Playlist, near top.

    I still haven’t found who is on this panel but here’s a description:

    With Colorado and Washington both passing initiatives to legalize the commercial production, distribution, and possession of marijuana for non-medical purposes, policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels now face questions that have never been addressed. To help leaders better understand the possible consequences of these decisions, the RAND Drug Policy Research Center will convene a session focused on issues surrounding the development of public health regulations for marijuana.

    The purpose of this conference is not to address whether passage of these state initiatives was good or bad or whether the federal government should intervene; rather, it will focus on raising awareness of the multitude of regulatory issues facing agencies trying to design a comprehensive policy. There will be a special focus on how different alcohol and tobacco regulations (e.g., licensing, advertising restrictions, user/sales restrictions) influence youth access and minimize public health harms.

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    • strayan

      the RAND Drug Policy Research Center will convene a session focused on issues surrounding the development of public health regulations for marijuana.

      The admission here is that there haven’t been any effective ‘public health regulations’ whilst cannabis was prohibited.

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      • claygooding

        It also means that the cost of treatment for marijuana issues has not been enough to track or raise any interest,,or they would be screaming it out.

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    • claygooding

      There was a study done in Canada a few years back that reported marijuana health costs were 1/30th(?) the cost of alcohol health costs,,will have to see if I can find it.

      Good old Rand,,a non-profit research org that just charges the expenses incurred for researching for mostly,,the federal government,,chaired by a pharmaceutical corp board member and capable of reducing the Cartels profits in marijuana trade from $40 billion dollars per year to a little over $4 billion in just 3 months of research.

      An amazing research group!

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  • claygooding

    Gil Kerlikowske, White House Drug Czar, Says Administration Hasn’t Done ‘Good Job’ On Marijuana

    http://tinyurl.com/bfs38o2

    White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske recently gave an interview with Canada’s Maclean’s Magazine and appeared to candidly criticize President Barack Obama’s administration for falling short in its effort to address marijuana policy.

    “The administration has not done a particularly good job of, one, talking about marijuana as a public health issue, and number two, talking about what can be done and where we should be headed on our drug policy,” he told the magazine. “There are significant health concerns around marijuana from all the science, not ideology. I don’t see the legalization of drugs and making them widely available as a good thing, and I don’t think locking everyone up is a good thing either.” ‘snipped’

    As long as you are allowed to keep persecuting marijuana users,whether it’s with prison or forced rehab and get to continue treating them as second class citizens,,your happy you droop dog looking piece of shit.

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    • Duncan20903

      Treating people like second class citizens allows morons to fool themselves into thinking that they’re first class citizens.

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