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June 2013
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Odds and Ends

bullet image Powerful piece by LEAP’s Neill Franklin in the Baltimore Sun: Another needless death in America’s long, failed war on drugs

As long as we continue with the failed drug war and prohibition, the losses will continue to mount on all sides. Families will continue to lose fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, nieces and nephews; some to prison, some to murder and too many to both. Neighborhoods like Reservoir Hill will remain captive to violence and decay, and residents will continue to question what happened to the security and prosperity they once enjoyed as a community.

bullet image Great speech by Stephen Lewis at the International Harm Reduction Conference. Starts off slow, but really gets going. He rips into the INCB and the UNODC big-time. Here’s a taste:

“You know what I’d like to do?  I’d like to criminalize the International Narcotics Control Board.  Not to criminalize the use of drugs, but to criminalize the International Narcotics Control Board, and I’d like to put all of them in drug detention centers for a year, and let them understand what they’re doing to so many perfectly innocent people who have a health problem in other parts of the world.

“And then it strikes me that we should go after the members of the Board individually – there’s only a dozen of them […] I think we should go after them by way of OpEds and by way of letters to the editor and by way of press conferences, and just nail these hypocrites to the mast.”

bullet image Matthew Cooke: How to End the War on Drugs

Call me crazy but I find it absurd to claim we’re a free country while our government dictates what adults can or can not do in the privacy of our own homes. We’ve accepted a massive blow to a fundamental expression of individual freedom if our own minds and bodies are off-limits to personal exploration. […]

My recommendation would be to allow pharmacies to sell recreational drugs to adults-only, along with plenty of warning information. We regulate and cap the prices at cost — so they’re viewed as cheap and the black-market incentive is eliminated along with the tendency for corruption.

You may disagree with his specific recommendation, but at least it’s a recommendation. It bothers me a bit that we have to turn to Transform in the UK for an actual set of post-drug-war regulatory options. We need a group in the U.S. to put together a version of it (perhaps just adapting Transform’s document) so it can be promoted through our media just how many viable options there are for different drugs other than drug war.

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16 comments to Odds and Ends

  • claygooding

    The only way to remove corruption and the black market is to put marijuana on the open market,,not with any sin taxes but as a normal commodity and let the law of demand and supply fix the price of the market,,if people want to grow their own or buy it from the retail outlets should be up to the consumer just like tomatoes.
    It is time to raise that point to congress,,we will not replace the funds the government has wasted prohibiting marijuana in the first place and the government’s continued irrational policy is what is costing America so much,,make the people that caused this pay for the wasted tax dollars,,I will not pay the government for standing on my neck for the last 45 years.

  • […] READ FULL ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE: news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNHWoHfIWkMMncpeKyVuG40WxiAp9Q&url=http://www… […]

  • DonDig

    ‘My recommendation would be to allow pharmacies to sell recreational drugs to adults-only, along with plenty of warning information. We regulate and cap the prices at cost — so they’re viewed as cheap and the black-market incentive is eliminated along with the tendency for corruption.’
    ———

    I agree, suspecting this could actually end the black market on drugs. It probably would not be that expensive to implement, undoubtedly a fraction of the cost of the wod.
    Most of our leaders obviously have no desire for this war to end, as indicated by Hilary Clinton’s quip regarding making marijuana legal, ‘It’ll never happen, there’s too much money in it.’
    It’s obviously all about power (money), and the self-serving (erroneous) belief that those who hold the power have a better way of dealing with this that they are happy to force onto all of society. (The beatings will continue until morale improves!)
    It is barely even about the drugs: much more about challenging their power. The moralist power brokers have set the rules of the game, and since they have more and bigger guns, we function as their board pieces in this race and class driven conflict. And since it is a game to them, (with an incredibly cruel rule-set), they don’t take it seriously enough to think all the resultant harm matters very much, compared to the claimed ideal (and power) they pursue.
    Never let them find us holding anything. OK, that may be a little inconvenient at times, but . . . don’t carry the stuff around!
    We are getting out ahead of all this dysfunction bit by bit, and even though we still have a long way to go, our journey gets clearer and we will eventually reach our destination, or at least, get much, much better at avoiding theirs.

    • A Critic

      “I agree, suspecting this could actually end the black market on drugs. ”

      Why would pharmacies donate labor and resources to attract hordes of drug addicts?

      This would replicate the CA pot dispensary problem…lots of gangsters running pharmacies and laundering the profits. Seems more like a gray market at best.

      • B. Snow

        I believe you missed the point,
        “We regulate and cap the prices at cost…”
        This means they would be inexpensive = Particularly if they’re free of “Sin Taxes” aka “Sumptuary Taxes”.
        Unlike, (for example) what we do with tobacco = where the majority of the retail price is some sort of tax.

        [I’m not going to argue the merits of ‘sin taxes’ here – right now. Except to point out that such taxes often create a black-markets where (previously) none existed.]

        But I’d focus on the 2nd part of that, as my main argument with a minor change:
        so they’re viewed as cheap and the black-market incentive is eliminated along with the tendency for corruption.

        I’d argue that “viewed as cheap” wasn’t the best way to phrase it = technically.
        IMHO, it would be more useful as a persuasive argument – if it read “so they’re inexpensive, and therefore – the black-market incentive is eliminated…” – But, I didn’t write the article, & it may read better to/for some people “as is”.

        If you read the whole thing it explains the “at cost” part even more – saying no advertising would be allowed, and that there would be little/limited profits = and he explains the reasons why – very well.
        There are a number of products sold at ‘very low profit margins’ – essentially as a way to bring in customers to a store.

        And the “icky drug addicts” thing would be much less of an issue, IF the drugs are inexpensive (at or near cost to manufacture) people wouldn’t need to commit crimes (theft, prostitution, etc.) to pay for them = and 99% of the ‘problems’ you’re inferring would be insignificant.

        There wouldn’t be any ‘horde of druggies’ – it would be more like people buying gasoline – and drugstores could sell them and still make a profit on whatever else people purchase while they’re there… Like people buying a snack & soda with their gas -aka- basically all business at convenience stores.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Wow, I just realized that we haven’t heard from David Evans in a dogs age. But like they say, birds gotta fly, fish gotta fry, and all good things must come to an end. Tell me, are we 100% certain that Mr. Evans isn’t from an alternative reality or universe? From the no comments allowed Christian “Science” Monitor:
    Put our kids first, Mr. Holder, and enforce federal law against marijuana

    Some days I spend the day banging my head against a brick wall out of utter frustration.

  • allan

    I read Neill’s piece yesterday… fine work. In just over a decade LEAP has risen from an opportune start up dpr org that had to nag local rag editors to get pieces in print. Now, with the firepower of their criminal justice membership they literally can place an oped virtually in any paper in the world. ‘s not bad…

    Now if they’ll keep poking at that Norm Stamper – Gil Kerlikowske button others might start the echo.

    There are two current operating questions that should carry more significance…

    Where is the debate and discussion?

    Where is the science?

    Saw a PR piece the other day, some young fellow claiming he “invented/created” the ibogaine treatment for addiction… folks need to operate with a little more humility and a whole lot more respect regarding the medicines.

    That bit of arrogance got me thinking about sweat lodges w/ new millenium gurus in Sedona, NM…

    • Windy

      Sedona is in AZ, not NM. I’ve been there, nice town but uppity, liked Oak Creek Village (10-15 miles south of Sedona) better. Liked your comment, anyway, especially the Norm-Gil part.

    • allan

      thanks for catching that geographic boo-boo Windy… doh!

  • claygooding

    “”Wall Street Investors Sample Marijuana Industry
    JUNE 18, 2013 • ANTHONY GRECO

    http://tinyurl.com/kvgrxr7

    Twenty companies serving the legal marijuana industry displayed their wares on Wall Street last week in search of investment capital—possibly the first baby steps of what some view as a budding sector.

    “The writing is on the wall. This is going to be the next great American industry,” said Troy Dayton, cofounder and CEO of ArcView Group, a San Francisco-based network that seeks to match investors with marijuana-related businesses.

    The ArcView Group hosted the road show-style conference, the third of a planned five across the U.S. this year. Investors pay ArcView a $10,000 annual membership fee—$20,000 for a lifetime membership—for access to the companies and other services.

    These ancillary businesses, which do not grow, produce, process or handle marijuana, currently generate $2 billion in revenue, said Dayton, who envisions stock traders buying and selling shares of companies in marijuana-related businesses and commodities traders making markets in cannabis.””

    I hear the greed coming,,it’s coming around the bend,,,toot-toot-toot

  • Servetus

    Matthew Cooke presumes drug enforcement began as an altruistic act. In fact, it was instigated within Christian culture as a means of countering competition from a materialistic world view created by people ingesting natural substances. Using a psychedelic drug and seeing one’s god in a tree or a rock, instead of a temple or church, threatened what many considered (and still do), the absolute core of the status quo.

    The principles (drugs) found within the ceremonies conducted at the Temple of Demeter were targeted for attacks beginning in 170 C.E., culminating with the demise of the Temple in 395 C.E.

    Scholars think ergot was used by the Greeks as an active ingredient to produce hallucinogenic visions during religious ceremonies. The greatest of Greek philosophers, Plato, Aristotle, along with a few Roman emperors, were said to have experienced these visions, known as the Eleusinian mysteries, in the form of a drink made available at Demeter. The drug cocktail, called kykeon, was believed to be evil by Christian authorities because it threatened the authority of those who sought to control people’s minds through the use of mythology and punishment.

    The ancient punitive tradition of attacking countercultures by attacking counterculture drugs, seen as symbols or scapegoats of the despised culture, has been maintained throughout the centuries, and resides today among idiots on Fox News like Greg Jarrett who claims Trayvon Martin may have been violent enough from smoking marijuana to justify being shot by George Zimmerman.

    • allan

      it’s not just drugs… tribal folks in the US couldn’t do sweat lodges and performed their ceremonies in secret for decades…

      and what you’re talking about Servetus is on the money. Cultural repression/elimination is the hallmark of those we shouldn’t be following. And it’s why the epic tale will always be told. No matter the story, the quest is for freedom from threat, liberty of thought and life. The drug war is itself an epic battle. History won’t be kind on this nonsense.

      There is no common course save that struggle which leads to peaceful resolution. Greed and all the bugaboos in humanity need to be tempered. Why the hell aren’t prisoners allowed – nay! encouraged! – to smoke pot. The same with NFL players and others in contact sports (the mixed martial arts fighters are upping their allowable thc test limit).

      We need these substances… to some of us out here the shaman wasn’t a “witch doctor” in the western fictionalized sense, s/he was a practicing psychopharmacologist that knew the community members, their histories and tendencies, and were generally a tad odd themselves. Nature’s living pharmacopeia is our birthright.

  • claygooding

    Is anyone else going to sit out under the “super moon” the 23rd?

    Thinking about going catfishing at the lake all night just to watch it with no city light glare to confuzz the view,,may not take a pole or bait,,just joints and cold drinks.

    • Viggo Piggsko Flatmark

      For sure Clay, if the weather is ok.

      Anything “Super” on the celestial sphere and I’m out looking for/at it.

  • N.T. Greene

    So, when do you guys want to start nailing some hypocrites to the mast?

    Let’s get a list of names and some quotes to tear apart or something.

    I’m not advocating ad hominem attacks at all here, I’m just suggesting that we actually investigate them some. Wouldn’t it be just wonderful if there was some corruption underneath it all?

    I don’t even know their names and my suspicions are raised based solely on the position they are in… but I am willing to be objective if others are willing to be.