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April 2016
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Preparing for the U.N. Special Session

Humankind cannot afford a 21 st century drug policy as ineffective and counter-productive as the last century’s. A new global response to drugs is needed, grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.

That’s from this new letter: Over 1,000 Leaders Worldwide Call for End to “Disastrous” Drug War, Ahead of UN Special Session

The list of signatories is significant — of course including a lot of former world leaders, but also current leaders (and a couple of Presidential candidates). Apparently the list also was gathered in a very short time. Impressive.


There will be a pop-up museum in New York for 3 days: Museum of Drug Policy at UNGASS (245 Park Avenue (corner of Park & E 47th St., April 19-21, 2016; open 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM), which will include work by young artists about the drug war – This Is How Young Artists See the War on Drugs: The Winners of Our Poster Contest

There will also be a UNGASS Youth Demonstration conducted by Students for Sensible Drug Policy from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on those three days in the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.

The activists will stage performance art pieces, including slam poetry readings. Visual art depicting the harms of drug prohibition, from as far away as Afghanistan and Eastern Europe, will be displayed, and students will give short soapbox speeches to make their voices heard.

"Breaking Down the Double Standards: Aren't We All Drug Users After All?", by Nuno Pinto, Anca Dima and Clara Abdullah, Portugal

“Breaking Down the Double Standards: Aren’t We All Drug Users After All?”, by Nuno Pinto, Anca Dima and Clara Abdullah, Portugal

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40 comments to Preparing for the U.N. Special Session

  • Jean Valjean

    I see Bernie there on the list…..no sign of Hillary though…. I suppose her employers on Wall St. would have had an issue with it

    • n.t.greene

      You won’t see this get mentioned a ton in the headlines, but I think it’s a big change.

      So of course Clinton is against it — or, as she would say, “I would need to read more on this issue.” She doesn’t really do anything but incrementalism.

  • Freeman

    Nice! The pop-up museum and youth demonstrations will serve as a much-needed rebuttal to the much-hyped propaganda summit immediately preceding it in the area.

    I couldn’t help but notice that while Harrumphreys pays lip-service to giving voice to the views of those who “have an experiential understanding of how heavy marijuana use, as well as policies that attempt to curb heavy marijuana use, affect individuals, families and neighborhoods” because “A major challenge therefore for the legitimacy of marijuana policy is to ensure that people outside the college educated bubble gain more voice in the ongoing political debate”, “Dr.” (k)Lieman assures us that that merely means “very heavy use (daily or near-daily, sometimes for years on end) of cannabis has about the same demographic profile as tobacco smoking: it skews downscale. And that leads well-educated people to underestimate the risks that cannabis use poses to people less privileged than they are.” (No mention of how that might also lead “well-educated” people to underestimate the harms that prohibition poses to “people less privileged than they are”, of course).

    So, no voice for the “under-educated” riff-raff at his conference — that would only confuse all those big thinkers busily trying to over-estimate the risks in order to compensate for their natural ignorance of the issue they’re claiming expertise in.

  • claygooding

    Yippeee-ti-yi MFLR,,let this bitch buck,,only about 4 decades late.

  • Lars

    A friend pointed me towards this agenda of the UNODC for UNGASS. It shows the adoption of the final document having been placed on the second day of four, before much discussion has taken place at all. What a way to ensure that the “wide-ranging and open debate that considers all options.” (quote Ban Ki-Moon) will have no practical impact. Is this for real, or are we missing something?

  • cy klebs

    Yahoo news indicates seizures in Colorado today Friday!

  • Jean Valjean

    Ryan Grim article. Everything that’s wrong with the drug war, policing for profit and privatized prisons in a nutshell:

    “Mississippi Jails Are Losing Inmates, And Local Officials Are ‘Devastated’ By The Loss Of Revenue….
    ‘“If they do not send us our inmates back, we can’t make it,” said one county supervisor.’

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mississippi-jails-revenue_us_57100da1e4b06f35cb6f14e8

  • DdC

    The dream of lasting peace, World citizenship Rule of international morality Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, But never attained – Now everywhere is war – war.

    Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston, and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo are set to announce Thursday that they are launching an anti-legalization campaign that also includes a coalition of doctors, law enforcement officials, and addiction specialists. The push will warn that approving the measure would increase marijuana use among youths.
    Baker, Walsh team up against legalizing marijuana

    That until the basic human rights
    Are equally guaranteed to all, Dis a war.

    California: Legislation
    To Impose Cultivation Tax On Medical Marijuana Pending

    That until there no longer
    First class and second class citizens of any nation
    Me say war.

    Whoopi Goldberg: Government needs to give up on gateway drug ‘lie’

    Until the philosophy which hold one race superior And another Inferior Is finally And permanently Discredited And abandoned – Everywhere is war – Dis a war.

  • Jean Valjean

    “War on drugs: UN challenged by Colombian president”

    ‘His first point turns current thinking entirely on its head: he calls for leaders “to frame policy on drugs with a context of human rights, which stops victimising the victims of drug abuse.
    ‘“Under this principle,” he says, “we expect to progress in preventing stigmatisation against drug users, abolishing death penalty for drug related offences and obligatory treatments for drug abusers, among other measures.”’

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/16/war-drugs-un-colombian-president-farc

  • Jolly Roger

    Recently went to Colorado to spend hundreds on legal cannabis. Found some new places, tried some new strains.
    Sadly the dollar doobie days deals are done at dispensaries in Denver.
    If you are lucky enough to know a native have them go in or you will overpay. Colorado Springs has no recreational cannabis but a small town right next to Co Springs at the base of Pike’s Peak called Manitou Springs is all recreational with some realistic prices. We found the bud and breakfast in Manitou and it is geared for cancer patients with buds delivered at breakfast for $140 a night.
    The standout strains on this trip were Gorilla Glue, Chunky Diesel, Girl Scout Cookies, Purple Bush, Headband Kush, Banana Kush and the CO only strain Dairy Queen!
    Now trust your big pharma mechanic and take this pill…no thanks.

    • DdC

      What’s for dinner on the Central Coast Grand Pa?
      Well we got some Big Sur Holy Bud for grace. Fat pb thc smores, warning not to be a Dowd. Bites, pause a while. Adjust. Atomic Northern Lights and Gorilla Glue#4 with Critical Hog Hash and for desert some 65% thc Chronic Sativa Oil over Green Crack Crumble and 76% thc cherry soda shatter. Ya-uum! Buy it at the Dispensary or have it delivered and paid by CC. Re-Creational.

  • NorCalNative

    Jolly, thanks for the report on your road trip. Sounds like great fun. Someone was pulling your leg on the Dairy Queen, Colorado exclusivity.

    It’s a TGA Subcool Seeds variety that’s been in California for years. Very popular stuff in S.F. Bay Area dispensaries. I’m a fan of Cheese, and the D.Q. is Exodus Cheese, Romulan, and Cindy 99. Subcool says it can hit 26% THC, which is top-shelf potency.

    Glad you made it home safe.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Pennsylvania’s Governor has signed that State’s (sort of) comprehensive medicinal cannabis patient protection law and the media is labeling Pennsylvania the 24th State with a comprehensive medicinal cannabis patient protection law. In this context the word comprehensive means that more than trace amounts of ∆-9 THC are allowed in medicinal cannabis preparations. The CBD only States do not offer “comprehensive” medicinal cannabis patient protection.

    For the life of me I can’t figure out why Florida isn’t being labeled #24. Not very many days ago Governor Scott signed the expansion of that State’s CBD only law to include medicines containing THC. About the only difference between the new laws in Pennsylvania and Florida is that only the terminally ill with less than a year to live qualify for medicinal ∆-9 THC. I can certainly understand why Florida doesn’t qualify in the “CBD” only category. But refusing to include the State as a comprehensive medicinal cannabis State can only be done by creating a 3rd category. It’s very annoying. Hopefully the Florida voters will fix this on Election Day. With the broad brush of available medicinal utility we could soon have 54 categories of medicinal cannabis patient protection and that’s just plain ludicrous.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Meanwhile back in la la land the NO States are back. Evidently the Attorneys General of Nebraska and Oklahoma really enjoyed the public humiliation of being kicked to the curb by the SCOTUS. It also appears that they may also just not like starting a court action where everyone else starts them. Their latest move is to petition the 10th Circuit to allow them to join the appeal of a case already laughed out of Courthouse by the Federal District Judge in Denver, and the appeal seeks to overturn the lower-court decision which concluded that pot opponents had no right to sue on their claim that federal law preempts Colorado’s legalization.

    Marijuana Legalization In Colorado Under Threat Again From Anti-Weed Oklahoma And Nebraska Attorney Generals

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Oh, speaking of CBD only States Oklahoma is one of them. Even more amusing is that they codified their CBD only law while the were waiting for the SCOTUS ruling I guess Federal law is only important when they think that it is.

      Now these people aren’t all bad. Courts in general and Federal Appeals Courts are very dull, somber and depressing places as a general rule of thumb. The people who are volunteering to be laughed out of the Courthouse are providing an invaluable service to our system of justice.

  • CJ

    that event from the 19th on at 47th street. Ill try to be there, if anybody from the site is gonna go… it would be hard to miss me if youre there. say hello.

  • Servetus

    Plotinus, (c. 204/5 – 270 C.E.), a bigtime Greek philosopher, and a pagan, is an example of how something of little apparent use in its time can create something monstrous in the course of later history, with results such as the drug war, and now, this week, attempts at damage control at UNGASS:

    Porphyry [of Tyre, 234-305 C.E.] described all philosophy as an anticipation of death…because death realizes the ideal of philosophy, the complete separation of soul and body. Hence followed an ascetic morality, and a supersensual philosophy. “The greatest of all evils is pleasure…because by it the soul is nailed or riveted to the body, and thinks that true which the body persuades it, and is thus deprived of the sense of divine things.”—Plotinus (W. E. H. Lecky, “History of European Morals”, p. 326.)

    Neoplatonism outdid the Puritans when it came to Puritanizing. It’s the Neoplatonists’ little ditty that by now, more than 17-centuries later, forces nations to come together at the U.N., in April of 2016, to reverse course on the Grecian anti-pleasure principle.

    All the misery and sadomoralistic persecution happening over the sex, drugs, & rock-n-roll meme, is due to some crusty, grumpy old guys in third-century Greece.

    As if that weren’t bad enough, Neoplatonist philosophy actually advocates people adopt a symptom of major depression. In studies of depression, for those who can’t experience pleasure, the technical term is ‘anhedonia’. Regardless of the claims made by Plotinus, don’t go there. Anhedonia sucks.

  • GoingDown

    Watch Prohibition Sink In Real Time In Eerie Animated Recreation

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/downdowngone

  • Servetus

    U.S. police recruitment is suffering in economically-challenged states that retain tough marijuana laws.

    People pursuing careers in law enforcement are forced to confront the possibility they will be expected to arrest friends or relatives who smoke marijuana. Thus in prohibition states, it’s necessary to weed out police candidates who disagree with the drug laws, while it remains difficult enough to find enough young careerists who don’t dislike cops, as well as the profession itself, due to drug enforcement. Medicinal users of cannabis products are also discriminated against in the police hiring process:

    Apr 17, 2016–Few professions require the clean living, honesty and morality that law enforcement requires, and finding candidates that meet the strict standards is becoming tougher.

    Hall said the increase in people experimenting with drugs has kept otherwise good candidates out of CSI’s program.

    Some nearby states have legalized marijuana — for recreational as well as medical use in Oregon, Colorado and Washington — but Idaho’s rules for admission into a law enforcement program include no use of marijuana in the past three years and no habitual use in the past five years.

    Hall recently had a good candidate from Colorado who used marijuana 10 months ago. Though marijuana use is legal where the candidate lived at the time, he now has to wait more than two years to be accepted into the Idaho program.

    Police officers can drink alcohol and get into a wreck and probably be punished with a few days off work, McCraw said, but if they smoke marijuana in their living room without putting anyone else in danger they can lose their career.

    It’s the same effect with other judicial professions. Drug laws taint the character of the judiciary such that largely “clean living”, right-wing ideologues choose careers as judges or prosecutors. In Idaho, this kind of police recruitment results in drug discrimination favoring the hiring of religious fundamentalists, including white evangelicals or sect members who enforce their own peculiar health codes–groups such as Mormons or Scientologists. White supremacists probably get through the recruitment process with few problems. The police personnel situation is severe enough to call for a worldwide travelers’ alert that recognizes the situation in certain geopolitical areas.

    Source: “Anti-police Sentiment, Legalized Pot Contribute to Idaho’s Law Enforcement Student Decline” http://magicvalley.com/news/local/mini-cassia/anti-police-sentiment-legalized-pot-contribute-to-idaho-s-law/article_700bd471-5593-53c8-a561-e14d788feb90.html

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Bothered by insomnia? The State of Colorado cares, and has issued a 147 page report which should take care of that annoying problem for at least the next several months.
    Marijuana Legalization in Colorado: Early Findings

    Please use this report as a sleep aid responsibly. It should not be perused while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment.

    • Frank W.

      Yahoo will comb that CO report for Killer Weed clickbait stories. That’s how a pot news item gets reported on network news as a “some say” story.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        …and people like me are combing it so that we’re ready to discredit the prohibitionist morons when they do that. Like the poet said, they’ve got the guns, but we’ve got the numbers. But even more important we’ve got the truth on our side. It is why we’re winning.

  • Servetus

    The topic of schizophrenics and excessive tobacco smoking has been noted in previous postings by darkcycle when discussing alleged marijuana links to mental illness. Research in Quebec has kindly provided us with a biological explanation for darkcycle’s observations:

    Montreal, April 18, 2016 – [Tobacco] Smoking addiction in schizophrenia can be explained by significantly increased activation of the ventro-medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), a region involved in the brain reward system.

    “Smoking is a real problem for people with schizophrenia,” said Stéphane Potvin, a researcher at the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal and lead author of the study. “Their health and life expectancy are often undermined by this addiction, whose brain mechanisms were until now largely unknown,” said the associate professor at the University of Montreal’s Faculty of Medicine.

    …the research team observed greater neuronal activation of a specific region of the brain (vmPFC) in schizophrenia smokers compared with healthy subjects when presented with appetitive cigarette images. At the behavioural level, the researchers also found that schizophrenia smokers had more depressive symptoms than did participants in the control group.

    “These observations suggest that smoking has a greater rewarding effect in schizophrenia smokers. This corroborates the hypothesis already formulated of their increased vulnerability to this addiction but also demonstrates the great difficulty for them when it comes to quitting smoking,” said Potvin. [Emphasis added].

    In the mindless realm of the prohibitionist, excessive tobacco use by schizophrenics would be interpreted as a “link” and used to claim that tobacco causes schizophrenia. The same technique involving marijuana and schizophrenia disguises the idea that cannabis use is likely an act of self-medication.

    AAAS News Release: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uom-sas041516.php

    Pub. Med: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27005897

    Despite all the new science, however, King’s College researchers in the UK want to give us the BS with no biological explanations as backup:

    April 15, 2016 — “It’s not sensible to wait for absolute proof that cannabis is a component cause of psychosis,” said Sir Robin Murray, professor of psychiatric research at King’s College London. “There’s already ample evidence to warrant public education around the risks of heavy use of cannabis, particularly the high-potency varieties. For many reasons, we should have public warnings.”[…]

    Estimates suggest that deterring heavy use of cannabis could prevent 8-24% of psychosis cases handled by treatment centres, depending on the area. In London alone, where the most common form of cannabis is high-potency skunk, avoiding heavy use could avert many hundreds of cases of psychosis every year.

    Source: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/apr/15/cannabis-scientists-call-for-action-amid-mental-health-concerns

    It is sensible to wait for absolute proof that cannabis is a causative factor in psychosis before persecuting people for it. Otherwise, as marijuana is likely to be shown as harmless, people will have been victimized by the drug laws for nothing. It is Sir Robin Murray who is not sensible.

  • darkcycle

    I can count the schizophrenics I have worked with who didn’t smoke tobacco without running out of fingers. I can count the schizophrenics I have worked with who didn’t use caffeine on one hand with some fingers left over. It’s that ubiquitous.

  • Servetus

    Historical Trivia: Income tax? The wages of the sin tax:

    Before Prohibition, many states relied heavily on excise taxes in liquor sales to fund their budgets. In New York, almost 75% of the state’s revenue was derived from liquor taxes. With Prohibition in effect, that revenue was immediately lost. At the national level, Prohibition cost the federal government a total of $11 billion in lost tax revenue, while costing over $300 million to enforce. The most lasting consequence was that many states and the federal government would come to rely on income tax revenue to fund their budgets going forward.

    Source: http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/prohibition/unintended-consequences

  • heathenist

    I absolutely abhor suppression of free speech. Whether it comes from the left or the right (sadly,it’s always been mostly from the left).

    Now… Here is a very good example of an attack on free speech: drugpolicy.org/news/2016/04/united-nations-orders-security-confiscate-copies-open-letter-ban-ki-moon-calling-end-gl

    Now is the UN left ir right wing? Most of the critics of the UN seem to be on the right.
    That means the UN is left-wing…

    Right…?!

  • heathenist

    The drug cartels and other criminal scumbags are having a huge celebration party tonight: theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/19/un-summit-global-war-drugs-agreement-approved

    But hey! Don’t worry! It is 4/20, dudde! Let’s congregate, blaze it and perpetuate the hippie stereotype. Because the hippie stereotype is exactly what the reform movement needs.

    *kicks over chair*

  • heathenist

    The drug cartels and other criminal scumbags are having a huge celebration party tonight: theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/19/un-summit-global-war-drugs-agreement-approved

    But hey! Don’t worry! It is 4/20, dudde! Let’s congregate, blaze it and perpetuate the hippie stereotype. Because the hippie stereotypeis exactly what the reform movement needs.

    *kicks over chair*

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      What happened to your support for free speech?

      A “herd of house cats” is a very accurate metaphor for the fans of cannabis. We really don’t have a lot of character traits in common throughout our cohort. That’s why we sniggle and snipe each other, sometimes even to the detriment to the timeline of our goal of regulated re-legalization. Some people might think that if we walked in lockstep and speak with on voice that we’d have gotten it done decades ago. I say if that were true that our cohort wouldn’t even exist. We may be slow but we’re getting there.

      There’s one very good reason why the absolute prohibition of cannabis is an epic failure of public policy. That reason is also one of the rare character traits which is arguably shared character by almost if not every single member of our the entire. We really, really, really suck at taking orders from civil authorities. Don’t you know that the government governs by consent of the governed? Well we’ve withdrawn our consent. I don’t believe that it’s a worthwhile goal to try to reign in the very character trait that makes the absolute prohibition of cannabis absolutely impossible to perpetuate.

  • Fuck the UN

    The drug cartels and other criminal scumbags are having a huge celebration party tonight: theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/19/un-summit-global-war-drugs-agreement-approved

    But hey! Don’t worry! It is 4/20, dudde! Let’s congregate, blaze it and perpetuate the hippie stereotype. Because the hippie stereotypeis exactly what the reform movement needs.

    *kicks over chair*

  • Servetus

    Canadian journalist and author of Drug War Capitalism, Dawn Paley, speaks out about the drug war on the eve of UNGASS:

    18 April 2016–Today, funding to uphold prohibition is spread across nearly the entire U.S. federal government, with 13 of the 15 Executive Departments that make up the federal Cabinet slated to receive a segment of the $31.1 billion in funding to support the National Drug Control Strategy in fiscal year 2017. The only cabinet level departments in the US government that do not receive money for the fight against narcotics are the Department of Commerce and the Department of Energy.[…]

    If reducing drug use in the United States were the primary political motivation behind these programs, it would be an obvious choice as to which kinds of policies would be put in place. But … there are political implications to prohibition enforcement which cannot be calculated using the metrics of the availability of narcotics and/or their use. “Conventional drug policy has survived for so long despite compelling evidence of abject failure because dysfunctional policy has been good politics,” in the words of Alex Wodak, President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation.

    According to the U.S. government, international supply funds are used to “disrupt” and “disband” trafficking organizations, carry out investigations and gather intelligence, carry out monitoring and interdictions, and to enact policy changes and development programs in target nations. In 2017, the international supply funds requested for the drug war are to be doled out as follows: Department of Defense International Counternarcotics Efforts ($567.1 million), Drug Enforcement Administration ($467.9 million), Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs ($382.4 million), and the US Agency for International Development ($131.9 million).[…]

    …the militarization of the enforcement of prohibition has allowed the U.S. government to push policies of social control through violence and militarization in Latin America; but it is host governments who provide the majority of funding for these wars against their own populations. Plan Colombia and the Merida Initiative have had devastating social consequences, spurring violence and terror, spiking murder rates, pushing up disappearances, and increasing forced displacement.

    Sourced at teleSUR: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/UNGASS-and-the-Violence-of-US-Drug-War-Policies-in-the-Americas-20160418-0026.html

  • NorCalNative

    I was all set to dress up in full hippie regalia in honor of today’s holiday.

    But, I decided to go with the plain white T-shirt that says: I Smoke Pot and I Vote!

    With this being election season, hopefully that might be the more frightening choice? Mothers hide your childrens.

    SAM or BOTEC ought to hire the scary hippie tribe to parade around in public and scare the “square” investors of the new green rush. Might be useful in keeping the greedy bastards away from my favorite plant.

    A hippie can dream.

  • DdC

    Possibly the first time in 45 years? Pathetic

    Marijuana Advocates Get Meeting With White House
    A member of the Obama administration will meet with representatives of the marijuana advocacy community on Monday in what is being billed as a groundbreaking gathering.

    DCMJ, an organization created in 2013 that has advocated for the legalization of marijuana in the District of Columbia, says it was extended a tete-a-tete with a representative of the Obama administration after having been rebuffed two times prior. The meeting, according to Adam Eidinger, co-founder of the group, will be the first time that they have sat down with a political aide — he declined to name the aide because of the sensitivity of the meeting — and possibly the first time a national reform group has had such an audience.

    What Will Rescheduling Marijuana Mean for Industry

    Is The DEA Legalizing THC? 03/02/11