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Criminal Justice Reform

Some of you may recall that former Senator Jim Webb had been leading a charge to create a blue-ribbon commission to take a look at our criminal justice system – a much needed and long overdue task.

Well, this week there were some hopeful signs in the House…

… ten House Judiciary Committee members joined together to pass a resolution to form the Over-Criminalization Task Force of 2013 to examine and make recommendations for paring down the federal criminal code, which has expanded rapidly in recent years. The Task Force will conduct hearings and investigations on over-criminalization issues within the Committee on the Judiciary’s jurisdiction, and has the opportunity to issue reports to the Committee on its findings and provide policy reform recommendations. This is the first review of the expansive federal criminal code since a Department of Justice review in the 1980s.

It’s not quite the same as Jim Webb’s commission, but it has a similar apparent intent.

The Drug Policy Alliance also notes that the task force will address mens rea issues. Supposedly all our criminal law is reuired to demonstrate criminal intent, but in fact in recent years, the mens rea requirement has been dramatically watered down (particularly in drug “conspiracy” cases).

Of course, just because there’s a task force doesn’t mean that we’ll end up with positive results. This is Congress, after all. They could decide that we’re over-criminalizing banking fraud and leave the rest as is.

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61 comments to Criminal Justice Reform

  • DonDig

    Yeah, there really are far too many bankers in jail these days!
    They should all be released so we can imprison more pot smokers and poor people. We’re the ones causing the downfall of society. 🙂

  • Servetus

    Having Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on the task force does not bode well. “Terror babies” scare this guy.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      That could actually be a positive. There’s nothing like an idiot lunatic to give reasonable people perspective.

      But this concept of terror babies is brand spanking new as of this moment for me. Is there a reason beyond making the babies eligible to be elected POTUS after their 35th birthday in this particular wacko conspiracy theory? It hasn’t appeared to me that U.S. citizenship is required to produce people that hate the United States. In fact, that actually strikes me as an impediment. You don’t know Timothy McVeigh’s name because there are so many citizen terrorists, but because there are so few.

      Until today the only people I’ve been aware of who rail against the bedrock principal that any human being who escapes from his mother’s womb anyplace in the United States is granted citizenship automatically are the people who so hate our country’s unregistered guests. I notice that Rep. Gohmert is from Texas and that makes me suspect that this particular stupidity has more to do with immigration than foreign terrorism.

      • claygooding

        Except for all the children that were killed the only mistake Tim did was park the van at the wrong address,,if he had parked a semi full between the House and Senate in session he would be a national hero instead of fried.
        Does anyone remember that we,the people were getting into a heated fight over the IRS when OKC occurred,,it took all discussion of a march on DC out of the news,,always wondered about that.

        • Plant Down Babylon

          But False Flags are just for conspiracists, right? Im sure the Fbi/Cia would never nurture/train weak minded easily influenced patsy’s to carry out their agenda for them.

          Don’t worry, it’s just another weird concidence….

  • Capo

    Hey Pete! That last paragraph is a little more cynical than your usual self, don’t let those finals stress you out too much. I agree with the sentiment though, and unfortunately you are probably right that is the most likely outcome.

    • divadab

      Yep – Enron fraud criminal Jeff Skilling just negotiated a deal to get out of jail 10 years early. Lucky for him they didn’t find any pot on his person or he would have been in forever.

  • allan

    OT… my friend and fellow Oregonian Jim Greig lobs a good one:

    An open letter to President Obama

  • Servetus

    The attempt to subvert the will of Colorado referendum voters favoring legal recreational marijuana use by citizens has crashed and burned…

    …the bill’s sponsors backed down and took the bill off the table in the face of a filibuster threat and defeat in the House. From the Associated Press:

    The last-minute maneuver infuriated marijuana legalization supporters, some of whom ran up several flights of stairs to testify against the measure when they got word it would be heard.

    “You’re subverting the will of the voters,” argued Joe Megysy, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, a major backer of last year’s pot measure.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      C’mon Servetus, it isn’t like that twaddle had even the proverbial snowball’s chance of getting on the ballot. Do you really think that the prohibasites would take the chance that the voters would change their minds without the Constitutional amendment that they voted into law actually being implemented?

      I don’t need to be Kreskin to predict that this isn’t the last laughable absurdity that we’re going to hear from the mouths of the enemies of essential liberty in Colorado or Washington. They’re going to keep generating even more laughable nonsense and I don’t think we’ll have to wait very long to find out the next one. I can’t predict what it will be but I certainly can predict that it will be a doozy.

      Settle down my friend…we’re winning. Hell, I’m even going to retire the bear.

  • claygooding

    Feel free to print some up and send them to your favorite shit for brains prohib:

    http://tinyurl.com/cr7aupg

  • allan

    Speaking of criminal justice reform, most excellent piece on Alternet by Kristen Gwynne, w/ LEAP’s Stephen Downing:

    Why Cops Bust Down Doors of Medical Pot Growers, But Ignore Men Who Keep Naked Girls on Leashes

    • Jean Valjean

      Nothing I didn’t know already but it still left me infuriated…this corrupt criminal justice system is screaming out for reform

      • allan

        that made me grin… indeed we rely more than a little on redundancy on our side of things. Think of it like a rock drill/pneumatic hammer…

    • B. Snow

      Strange – My first thought was about all the parasites that would try to use that guy a a reason to “come in and take a look around” whenever they can’t pull a real warrant and/or (probable cause) out of their ass for some reason…

      Kind of like the “courtesy stops” you get from some cops in some instances/places = If you’re lets say:

      Walking with an upset crying young woman down the street literally around the block from a downtown coffeehouse your friends own & run… they asked for ID’s from both of us – and they were perturbed when she didn’t have any.

      (FWIW, I wasn’t the source of said crying/tears and this was like 20 years ago I was young too ~ 3 years older an she was dating a friend of mine, ironically I did date her older sister, and a roommate of mine dated an even older sister (there were 7 of them iirc)… The cops never really said why they stopped us – BUT they implied a couple possibilities – before *fortunately* someone else from the coffeehouse walked down/around to check on the original “drama”/situation she had been upset about – and essentially vouched for us = the we had “gone for walk around the block” literally it was like 2 blocks – but still…
      Looking back, I can kinda see why they stopped us, But it’s sad that those cops were all-too-willing to assume the worst at the time. And her not having an ID was nearly a real problem for us both.

      ANYWHO, I can see this news-story being used as yet another reason to invade people’s privacy = Yes, its tragic about that particular instance – the guy is apparently a sociopath.

      Still, I just wouldn’t bet on this being accepted as an example of why they should spend less time hunting pot smokers… and more time hunting real/actual criminals.

      But, I can EASILY see it being argued by a reformer and quickly used to fuel a darkside hand-wavium force effect = and spun into a “Don’t you have any decency? blah, blah, blah… respect,” type retort from a prohibitionist. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m still not gonna hold my breath on this one yet.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        You’ve given me a flashback to the 1990s and a serial killer named Jeffrey Dahmer. If you’re old enough you likely to remember him, that his favorite food was human flesh, that his preferred sex partners were pubescent Asian boys and that he tried to lobotomize his victims using a power drill with the goal of inventing a sex slave without all the emotional baggage. One of his victims, a 14 year old Asian boy managed to escape and contact a couple of police officers in close proximity very shortly thereafter. The boy happened to be butt naked at the time. Mr. Dahmer was a registered kiddie diddler for raping the asian boy’s brother years before. The cops returned the boy to Mr. Dahmer who later murdered him.

    • B. Snow

      Why is that page you linked to -> “Federal Over-Criminalization Task Force Formed”
      show itself as being – “Posted on May 10, 2013”
      aka Tomorrow???

      • allan

        oh that… that’s a stoner time warp. Or as Malcolm might call it, a temporal perturbation of the custardial modality.

        No worries, Malcolm clearly defines it for us:

        Unpretentiously put, Custardial Modality (CM) is thought to provide a new understanding of how intrinsic development and evolution of consciousness invariably includes those areas and disciplines which until recently were not even remotely considered as being connected to Integral Trans-formative Practices, such as business, education or ‘international all-star plumper wrestling’.

        CM. is therefore seen by many of it’s aficionados as going far beyond rationalism in attempting to introduce a more universal and holistic perspective or approach to the crème moulĂ©e experience, rather than simply denying its reality.

        Hope that clears things up.

  • claygooding

    They spent $50 million proving Clinton got a blow job,,,I wonder what an investigation of just the drug laws and seizure laws will cost,,much less the gamut of other crimes that need to be addressed,,,like putting bankers in prison for furnishing the cash to buy the guns from the ATF with money laundered by the DEA and probably brokered by the CIA,,,what a web we weave when we attempt to deceive.

  • Duncan20903

    Well, speaking of the 5 ng/ml laws in Washington & Colorado…how the heck did we miss the SCOTUS decision in Missouri v McNeely for almost a full month?

    /snip/
    The question presented here is whether the natural metabolization of alcohol in the bloodstream presents a per se exigency that justifies an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement for non-consensual blood testing in all drunk-driving cases. We conclude that it does not, and we hold, consistent with general Fourth Amendment principles, that exigency in this context must be determined case by case based on the totality of the circumstances.

    linky

    • darkcycle

      Nice catch. Feed Duncan a bong hit. He deserves it!

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        After further reflection I’m not sure that it will be of much practical benefit. At least in the population centers because they’ll just keep a magistrate on duty 24/7/365 and issue telephonic warrants. Though there is at least one State where the warrant has to be written on paper before it’s valid. Perhaps in the more rural places it might make a difference. But I can see the cops/prosecutor arguing exigent circumstances if there’s no one awake to issue the warrant because the town rolled up its sidewalks at 9 P.M.

        • claygooding

          I have always asked for an attorney present the minute the officer asks for more than my drivers license and insurance,,it usually stops all fishing trips/mind games by them,,especially if the say ok call them and I say you will have to get me one appointed cause I am broke.

  • I can tell you when our justice system lost its justice exactly. When we accepted plea bargaining as a way to free ourselves from overcrowded court systems generated by prohibition.

    Any criminal justice reform that does not address the abolition of forfeiture laws, the legalization of marijuana, the abolition of mandatory sentencing, and the reinstatement of a system that does not allow plea bargaining, is not serious about Criminal Justice Reform or the Constitution.

    • primus

      What would make anyone think they are serious? They just want to make a pretty picture for the media.

    • claygooding

      If every marijuana arrest demanded trials it would take about a week for congress to react,,,all it takes is cajones and total frustration with the system.

      • Plant Down Babylon

        That’s what I did, and my case made it all the way to my state supreme court.

        Just awaiting the result. Used a PD, and other than time spent in the courtroom, it didn’t cost me a dime.

        Of course, it helped that my original judge was a complete nincompoop (did i spell it right)?

        Seeing their faces when i refused to plea was priceless.

        • claygooding

          I have been through two trials with PD’s and never been convicted,,been charged with marijuana crimes 4 times and never plea bargained,,spoke of the last one where they kept my hi-dollar grow lights but all charges droppped,,no lawyer at all,,just showed up at the DA’s office the day after the grand jury met and asked for my copy of the indictment,,the look on his face,,,priceless.

        • thelbert

          good for you , plant down babylon

    • Interesting that NATO seems to be adopting a hands-off approach to this year’s opium crop. Russia won’t be happy, but maybe the increased supply will drop the prices so there will be less Krokadil use.

      A number of people seem to think we could buy up the opium crop for production of pharmaceutical opioid drugs. This won’t end heroin production due to the balloon effect, but it may help Afghanistan. There is a global shortage of morphine especially in third world countries so it would make sense to contract with Afghan farmers. Hard to say if this would hurt the narco-traffickers (Afghan’s president’s brother is said to be a major player in the opium trade) who supposedly have years worth of opium stockpiled. The price of raw opium is very cheap, almost all the profit from heroin comes from trafficking it to the consumer countries, so the heroin producers could triple the price of raw opium without hurting their bottom line. If heroin producers offered higher prices than pharmaceutical producers, diversion may occur. Modern pharmaceutical production utilizes a large scale poppy straw extraction method where fields of poppy are mowed and the whole plant is used, which cuts down on diversion. Afghanistan may not have the infrastructure for a poppy straw method and may have to rely on the old fashioned (but reliable!) opium collection method.

      The opium poppy, such a beautiful flower that has given so much to mankind. Opium (and morphine) was so valued as a medicine that it was once called “God’s Own Medicine” and has been part of America since the Puritans brought opium and poppy seeds with them across the Atlantic. Since then opium has been part of American life as a ubiquitous and valued medicine, as well as recreational drug (although in this respect it has always been second to alcohol). There is no evidence that it ever posed a threat to public health or order. Much like the origins of our other drug laws, opium prohibition came about as a result of racist policies, in this case an attempt to harass and criminalize Chinese immigrants. Who would have thought harassing Chinese immigrants would have such far reaching consequences more than a century later?

      • allan

        ah Opie… you make too much sense.

        One of my interesting observations re Afgahnistan and poppies…

        … when I was consistently doing the newshawk thang for MAP I was paying particular attention to the issue. The Senlis Council was circulating a proposal to legalize opium production in a manner similar to the way it was handled in Turkey. In 4 years, the Senlis proposal was mentioned 22 times in the US press and only 6 the first two years when it should have been a hot issue. Almost 140 mentions in the foreign press with 50 of those in the first 2 years. Take from that what implications you will.

        It is a fundamental human right to be free to garden and to grow whatever sustenance – nutritional or medicinal – one’s thumb (green or otherwise) is capable of producing from the soil.

        • You know Allen I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if in a few years someone like Gary Webb (author of Dark Alliance) publishes a book detailing all sorts of behind the scene drug trafficking by the DEA and CIA in Afghanistan. We know the US government has not been above using drugs to raise cash for its clandestine operations in the past.

          As for growing one’s own opium, I am a bit surprised more opiate users and chronic pain patients do not go that route. The fact that opium poppies already grow all over North America has been obfuscated as much as possible, but thanks to the internet people are learning the truth. In the last few years I’ve been reading a few stories of poppy busts, almost always found surreptitiously planted alongside marijuana. Note to poppy growers, don’t grow weed if you don’t want to get caught, cops by and large aren’t looking for fields of flowers.

          Each poppy pod only produces a little opium, according to this document produced by the DEA and edited with commentary by the wonderful Jim Hogshire (author of Opium for the Masses):

          The opium yield from a single pod varies greatly, ranging from 10 to 100 milligrams of opium per pod. The average yield per pod is about 80 milligrams. The dried opium weight yield per hectare of poppies ranges from eight to fifteen kilograms.
          Opium – Poppy Cultivation, Morphine and Heroin Manufacture

          Given that most opium is only 10% morphine, a single pod only produces 8mgs of morphine on average. A regular user can easily use a dozen or two pods in a single dose, and needs to dose a minimum of twice a day. Well, you can begin to see where the problem is, unless you live in a rural area most users simply do not have enough land to grow a significant amount. Even using the lower bound of 8kg per hectare, that’s about 3kgs per acre. The average opium addict uses 1.6 kgs per person per year, so if my calculations are sound it would take around half an acre to supply, on average, one addict per year. For a junkie living in NYC, this is simply not doable, yet a single farm could produce enough medicine for hundreds of addicts and occasional users.

          Farmers who produce for the black market grow fields of 60,000-120,000 plants. Unless you’re using the poppy straw method, which requires a factory that can extract the alkaloids from tons of plant matter, it can take weeks to collect all that opium.

          Thanks to our misguided drug policies, opium itself is next to impossible to obtain on the black market while heroin is accessible to anyone with money, determination and a modicum of street smarts. I myself, in over ten years as a regular consumer of opiates, have only seen real opium sold twice (I’ve seen a lot of that “lettuce opium” crap that is sold in the back of High Times).

          One thing I like to do is carry around a bag of poppy seeds when I go hiking in the spring. Like Johnny Appleseed, who was planting apples for ciderjack, I like to distribute the seeds whenever I come to a clearing. With a little luck the seeds will take root and spread the medicinal plants naturally. One poppies are established, they come back year after year.

        • allan

          hmmm… makes me wonder how much someone just using it as a home remedy would consume (a friend of mine told me how his grampa grew opium just for his occasional aches and pains). You know, along the lines of coca leaf tea vs cocaine.

          Mother Nature seems to be pretty good at chemistry. If coca tea is only habit forming (while being beneficial to health) yet cocaine can be a mean mistress, is raw opium (especially as say a steeped tea) similar? Desirable yet not to the point of addictive?

          And could gummint posture of denial about legal pot be because they haven’t yet figgered out how to get a white, addictive powder out of it? (that was a mental post-it I just detected drifting by)

        • As a traditional medicine opium has been used for pain relief, antidiarrhetic, cough suppressant, general mood elevator and for grief (in some Persian cultures poppy tea was served at funerals).

          For someone opiate naive (no tolerance) one or two pods would constitute a dose, similar to a percocet, keeping in mind there may be a large variation between batches. It is not necessary to score the pods, contrary to popular belief it appears that the morphine does not significantly degrade over time.

          The scoring of the pods (also called ‘lancing,’ ‘incising,’ or ‘tapping’) begins about two weeks after the flower petals fall from the pods. The farmer examines the pod and the tiny crown portion on the top of the pod very carefully before scoring.

          The grayish-green pod will become a dark green color as it matures and it will swell in size. If the points of the pod’s crown are standing straight out or are curved upward, the pod is ready to be scored. If the crown’s points turn downward, the pod is not yet fully matured. Not all the plants in a field will be ready for scoring at the same time and each pod can be tapped more than once.

          If you skip scoring the pods they can still be harvested for medicinal use. I recommend cutting them after the petals have fallen (see above), spraying with an antioxidant solution such as ascorbic acid (vitamin c helps prevent degradation of the alkaloids but is not essential), and then drying for later use. You don’t actually have to harvest opium to utilize the poppy.

          This is illegal within the US (and I would certainly never advocate doing something illegal), but if you live in a country where the state has not assumed control of your right to grow and consume your own medicines, growing poppies on a small scale is both rewarding and practical. Different breeds produce different numbers of pods, but 5-7 per plant is possible. After enjoying the beauty of the flowers, it is certainly possible to harvest enough pods in even a small garden for occasional use.

          Poppy pod tea (PPT) is made easily by steeping the pods in hot water. Morphine base is only sparingly soluble in water so adding some lemon juice helps with the extraction. Alternately the pods can be mixed in a blender, then strained through a coffee filter. So a ten pods in a blender could be made out to ten doses of a mild narcotic, adjusting for individual variation. If the alkaloid concentration is low, which can occur due to growing conditions, it may take more to constitute a single dose. It’s always best to start small, fortunately PPT is very bitter which discourages overconsumption. PPT is great for minor aches and pains, and is especially recommended for the flu. It’s sad people are prevented from utilizing this safe and effective home remedy. There are still parts of the world where people use poppy in exactly this way.

          As for the addictiveness of opium, it’s hard to judge. Its hard to say what exactly addiction is, much less how to measure it objectively. Compared to purified cocaine, coca is harmless. But the same cannot be said for opium, as Thomas de Quincey can attest opium can be a harsh mistress. While there are other alkaloids that contribute to opium’s effects, whether smoked or eaten, we’re mainly talking about morphine. Certainly though opium taken orally or smoked is less reinforcing than an injection of heroin.

          I remember reading a study of cultures where opium use was normalized. IIRC it was Laos and opium was used in much the same way as alcohol in the west. Opium dependence varied, it was highest in the villages that produced opium, but even here it was only around 10% (this could be explained by addicts moving to producing villages). It was significantly lower in non-producing villages. Opium use was not stigmatized, there was social disapproval of addiction and although addiction was somewhat stigmatized, the addicts were certainly not criminalized or ostracised from their communities. I think we can conclude that in a society with opium as the socially approved drug of choice addiction is comparable to alcohol. Under these conditions we can also ask if addiction really constitutes a problem. Aside from the physical need for opiates, opiate addiction is not necessarily a disabling condition any more than tobacco addiction is in our society. And unlike tobacco, opiates are not toxic even if taken in large doses over long periods of time.

          With pressure from the US opium was eventually made illegal. Aside from creating a sudden outbreak of heroin use it also robbed the people of what they called “flower medicine”. Keep in mind these people are too poor to purchase pharmaceuticals to control their diarrhea, or western cough medicines, or xanax or their anxiety and so on. Alcohol use was incentivized as a replacement for opium as the intoxicant of choice for “civilized” nations, with all the harms that comes with widespread alcohol use.

          Going after the plants is a crime against nature. I get so irate, how dare they declare themselves above God and destroy His creations? If the prohibitionists could they would drive every coca, poppy and cannabis plant to extinction.

      • darkcycle

        Opie, here in Seattle, the Seattle PD used to maintain a community outreach officer in the International District. His job was to speak to Senior Citizens groups and new Asian arrivals and convince them not to harvest the pretty flowers. It’s not a problem to grow them (they grow everywhere around here), but when you scarify them, they frown upon it. Every few years, the SPD bust some elderly Asian folks for the flowers in their gardens.

        • Interesting. I don’t know how much longer the prohibs can keep the lid on domestic opium production. I’m surprised some enterprising drug dealer doesn’t invest in a farm to produce locally and cut out the cartels.

          There was a social worker named Eric Detzer who lived in Seattle. He was also a heroin addict who partially maintained his habit by raiding the gardens of old ladies in the rural areas of Washington. Apparently poppies grow all over that state, though he suffered in the off-season. He published a book, Poppies: An Odyssey, I’ve read a couple of chapters about his midnight poppy raids.

    • Instead of buying opium from Afghanistan, pharmaceutical firms seek to
      expand production in Australia.

      Two of Australia’s biggest opiate producers are hoping to grow poppies commercially in Victoria as soon as next year, to meet growing demand for painkillers.
      TPI Enterprises and global drug maker GlaxoSmithKline are pushing the state government to bring opium production laws in line with those of Tasmania, which supplies half of the world’s medicinal opiate market.
      Tasmania is the only state that allows poppies to be grown for the commercial production of legal narcotic drugs such as codeine and morphine.

      Tasmania also has genetically modified “super poppies” that have increased yields of morphine from 10% to the 20-25% range. I bet the current illicit opium growers would love to get some of those seeds.

  • Moving article on the use of solitary confinement in US prisons.
    Shane Bauer, one of the three American hikers imprisoned in Iran after being apprehended on the Iraqi border in 2009. He spent 26 months in Tehran’s Evin Prison, 4 of them in solitary. Bauer is winner of the 2013 Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism for the article below, his special investigation into solitary confinement. The winning feature was published in Mother Jones

    What I want to tell Acosta is that no part of my experience—not the uncertainty of when I would be free again, not the tortured screams of other prisoners—was worse than the four months I spent in solitary confinement. What would he say if I told him I needed human contact so badly that I woke every morning hoping to be interrogated? Would he believe that I once yearned to be sat down in a padded, soundproof room, blindfolded, and questioned, just so I could talk to somebody?

    I want to answer his question—of course my experience was different from those of the men at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison—but I’m not sure how to do it. How do you compare, when the difference between one person’s stability and another’s insanity is found in tiny details? Do I point out that I had a mattress, and they have thin pieces of foam; that the concrete open-air cell I exercised in was twice the size of the “dog run” at Pelican Bay, which is about 16 by 25 feet; that I got 15 minutes of phone calls in 26 months, and they get none; that I couldn’t write letters, but they can; that we could only talk to nearby prisoners in secret, but they can shout to each other without being punished; that unlike where I was imprisoned, whoever lives here has to shit at the front of his cell, in view of the guards?
    I Thought Solitary Confinement in Iran Was Bad — Then I Went Inside America’s Prisons

    • divadab

      Wow – this explains why the hitchhiker I gave a lift to a couple of years ago, who had just been released from Pelican Bay, broke down and cried in the back seat after we shared our medicine with him. He said it was the worst experience of his life. For what? A trafficking offense. No victim, no crime, but apparently deserving of the harshest punishment by institutional sadists.

      IMHO this would be appropriate treatment for that rapist torturer scum Castro in Cleveland, for the rest of his wretched life. But for a victimless, non-violent crime by a young person? Beyond stupid, beyond cruel, beyond wasteful – pure fucking evil.

      • allan

        The feds sent me to Terminal Island for my remaining days of incarceration after being initially held in Lompoc FCI for trespassing during a protest against nuclear weapons at Vandenberg AFB in ’83. I knew I didn’t want to ever go back (even tho’ the experience was unique and not traumatic at all because we were only in there for 3 days).

        When they sent Tod McCormick there I was shocked and disgusted. His mom stopped into the DrugSense chat room a few times back in the day and it always made me sad… that a man so ill and incapacitated could ever be sent to a place like that by my gov’t.

        I’m still disgusted… just typing this has my heart rate up and my brow furrowing as my anger grows. I’m gonna smoke a bowl and go outside and hang out with the dogs and my garden. Fucking drug war… aargh…

    • allan

      more from Mother Jones:
      America’s 10 Worst Prisons: Reeves County (full index at bottom of article)

  • .
    .

    For the last couple of weeks I’ve been wondering if Florida is already a State that offers medicinal cannabis patients protection from conviction for possession and cultivation but no one had noticed. That seemingly absurd train of thought started the day that the Florida State’s Attorney declined to press charges against Robert & Cathy Jordan for growing medicinal cannabis. He declined to prosecute because he believed that they could prove that their plants were grown for medicinal use. I never waxed philosophical over it because I thought it highly unlikely that the question would be resolved. I was wrong about that. The Jordans have filed a “lawsuit against the sheriff’s office asking a judge to grant Robert Jordan relief from any future charges or arrests for growing medical marijuana.

    ‘Precedent-setting’ Manatee lawsuit filed for marijuana use

    Apparently they think that Cathy Jordan is already protected by the precedent in Jenks v State of Florida, 582 So.2d 676 (1991). This one could be very interesting.

  • darkcycle

    I am in the custody of a busy and very demanding nine-month-old at this time, and I won’t have an opportunity to sit down with this one for a while….

    • divadab

      The CO Sec of State thinks you are endangering your child. What a dangerous maroon the guy is.

    • Plant Down Babylon

      HAHAHA! Just wait for terrible two’s.
      HAHAHAHA! Good times….

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      It’s must be wonderful to get to spend time with someone who’s more mature than and probably twice as smart as the average prohibitionist.

  • claygooding

    Lawmakers Reject Medical Marijuana Protection for Patients
    http://tinyurl.com/cgctkv7

    Despite emotional pleas from seriously ill and their caregivers

    Lawmakers on the House Public Health Committee appeared sympathetic to the pleas of patients and caregivers who offered emotional testimony in favor of the bill during a May 1 hearing. No one registered or testified against the measure.
    Nonetheless, Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, declined to call the bill up for vote by the whole committee, signaling that the measure didn’t have enough votes to be passed to the House floor for consideration. With the deadline for House bills to receive initial consideration on the floor just hours away – midnight tonight – the bill has died.

    This is the fifth time in as many sessions that the bill has failed to move. (Indeed, the news angered many bill backers; at least one posted to Facebook a snapshot of Kolkhorst’s campaign contributions, noting a string of sizable donations made by large pharmaceutical interests.)’snipped’

    I hope this next election brings us out of the closets and has more people besides us ugly old hippies asking questions of incumbents like”Why are you opposed to what 85% of voters want?”

  • allan

    more oh-so-sucky criminal justice schtuff to share:

    Special-ed student used as drug sting ‘bait,’ parent says

    Michigan drug sting involving kids spurs push for new law

    and it does suck when the criminal justice system is itself criminal.

  • allan

    QUESTION for the couch:

    besides Ellen Rosenblum (OR), Martha Coakley (MA) and William Sorrell (VT), are there any other states’ Atty Gens doing anything positive ganja wise?

  • allan

    Obama and the Militarization of the “Drug War” in Mexico and Central America

    Though Obama claims that he has sought to avoid “militarizing the struggle against drug trafficking”, the opposite trend has been observed throughout his administration. As the “Just the Facts” database of U.S. military spending in the Western Hemisphere shows, military assistance to Central American countries has significantly increased under Obama, from $51.8 million in 2009, to $76.5 million in 2013 and an anticipated $90 million in 2014.

    The U.S. sale of arms and military equipment to the region has also soared. According to a recent Associated Press investigation by Martha Mendoza , “the U.S. authorized the sale of a record $2.8 billion worth of guns, satellites, radar equipment and tear gas to Western Hemisphere nations in 2011, four times the authorized sales 10 years ago, according to the latest State Department reports.”

  • allan

    hope nobody minds my busy-ness w/ these posts… seems a lot is going on out there. Not so much here. But I tell ya, I sure like a lot of what I’m seeing. Like this:

    Mr. President: Legalize Hemp!

  • I like that allan. This is good by Russ Belville: Low-Level Marijuana Offenders “Pay The Rent” For Law Enforcement http://tinyurl.com/d6ewe79

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