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Odds and Ends

How the War on Drugs Fails Black Communities

Here’s something that all Americans should agree on: Many policies have a disproportionately negative effect on black families—and, by extension, on all of us. The most insidious of them all, however, may be the war on drugs.


Philippines Drug War Out Of Control? Rodrigo Duterte Wants All Addicts, Dealers Dead As Police Kill 110 Suspects

While police have confirmed over 110 people killed, the number is likely higher with other bodies not related to police killings found in the streets with placards on them declaring that the person was involved in dealing drugs. Human rights groups have expressed concern that violence is quickly getting out of control and people are ignoring laws.


Hollywood’s ‘Infiltrator’ shines light on failed drug war

In one moment in “The Infiltrator,” Cranston’s character expresses surprise when his partner, played by John Leguizamo, says that he offered his informant $250,000 for information. Leguizamo responds, “No one said the war on drugs was going to be cheap, bro.”

Julian Zelizer, history professor and author of this piece, gets one thing glaringly wrong:

There is growing support, in the case of some drugs, to abandon a policy that revolved around locking up citizens and unintentionally fostering illegal drug markets, toward a set of regulatory and medical policies that can contain the problem.

These efforts won’t work for all kinds of drugs, given that some can be much more dangerous when used, not just to the user but those around them.

Really? How does making them illegal make them safer to the user and those around them? Even the most dangerous of drugs is safer to the world when regulated and controlled. The prime example is the government supplied heroin programs around the world that drastically reduce crime, death, and other negative side-effects.


Sen. Feinstein Will Not Be Giving Up the Drug War Anytime Soon

No surprise, there.


Congress Finally Passes Bipartisan Legislation To Address Opioid Epidemic

Baby steps.

In a rare instance of bipartisanship and compromise in Congress, the Senate on Wednesday passed legislation by a 92-2 vote that addresses the opioid epidemic. President Barack Obama, who in his State of the Union speech had ad-libbed a plea to lawmakers to do something about the crisis, will now have a bill to sign.

It’s not really a shift in our drug-war mindset, but more a focus on treatment without funding to go along with it, but I suppose that’s still progress.

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53 comments to Odds and Ends

  • Tony Aroma

    FYI, some interesting data. Check out the article for details of the study.

    One striking chart shows why pharma companies are fighting legal marijuana

    There’s a body of research showing that painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with medical marijuana laws…Now a new study, released in the journal Health Affairs, validates these findings by providing clear evidence of a missing link in the causal chain running from medical marijuana to falling overdoses.

  • Servetus

    Big Pharma is likely to retain its death grip on opioid prescriptions despite any adverse consequences of their use—after all, there’s too much money in it:

    TORONTO, July 14, 2016 – Older adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who start using opioids have a more than two-fold higher risk of dying from a respiratory-related complication compared to non-opioid users, St. Michael’s Hospital researchers have found.

    When researchers looked specifically at more potent opioids, they found the risk for respiratory-related death was five times higher for new opioid users compared to non-opioid users.

    The study, published today in the European Respiratory Journal, raises safety concerns about new opioid use among older adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a progressive lung disease that causes breathing difficulty, said Dr. Nicholas Vozoris, a respirologist at St. Michael’s and lead author of the study.

    AAAS Public Release: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-07/smh-nou071116.php

    If edible medicinal marijuana were killing off elderly people who suffer respiratory problems, it would make the six-o’clock news. There is definitely a double-standard being applied by the media, possibly due to preferences being shown to Big Pharma which buys extensive advertising for its products.

  • DdC

    But I suppose that’s still progress?

    But I suppose that’s still Congress.

    In other sleaze. Who needs Laws?

    Can Your Landlord Stop You From Smoking Marijuana?

    Can Your Landlord Stop You From taking Pharmaceuticals?
    Or wearing perfume? Or cooking with garlic?
    Pheromones are not second hand smoke.
    If they are, careful driving past sewage plants.

  • Servetus

    Stanford University scientists call for research on MDMA:

    14-JUL-2016 — MDMA, more commonly known as ecstasy, promotes strong feelings of empathy in users and is classified as a Schedule 1 drug–a category reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. But in a Commentary published July 14 in Cell, two researchers call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA’s effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

    “We’ve learned a lot about the nervous system from understanding how drugs work in the brain–both therapeutic and illicit drugs,” says Robert Malenka, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Stanford University. “If we start understanding MDMA’s molecular targets better, and the biotech and pharmaceutical industries pay attention, it may lead to the development of drugs that maintain the potential therapeutic effects for disorders like autism or PTSD but have less abuse liability.”

    MDMA is described as an “empathogen,” a compound that promotes feelings of empathy and close positive social feelings in users. The drug is a strictly regulated Schedule I compound, along with drugs such as heroin and LSD. However, MDMA’s regulated status shouldn’t discourage researchers from studying its effects, argue Malenka and coauthor Boris Heifets, also at Stanford.

    Researchers still don’t know exactly how MDMA works in humans, what regions of the brain it targets, or all of the molecular pathways it affects.[…]

    AAAS Public Release: MDMA as a Probe and Treatment for Social Behaviors

    Full Text of Publication: http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(16)30853-4

    MDMA isn’t getting the attention it deserves due to its classification as a Schedule I controlled substance. It’s on Schedule I because it can make people feel good about themselves and others—a serious moral crime if you’re an American.

    Scientific evidence of MDMA’s positive therapeutics would give people something good to say about MDMA, an absolute taboo in the primitive, dark world of the sadomoralizing prohibitionist. Thus, Schedule I effectively obstructs or prevents research on its listed compounds and natural substances. The situation highlights a need to abolish the Schedule I category completely, or to reform the drug scheduling concept, as no substance on the list deserves the lack of research it gets, nor does any citizen benefit from the federal policy’s ignorance-inducing scheduling of illicit drugs.

  • “5 Things to Know About ‘K2’ – the Dangerous Form of Synthetic Marijuana on the Rise” http://tinyurl.com/joggy34

    Hell, no one has even been informed about what chemical was in this synthetic concoction. When is the press going to wake up to the fact that synthetic marijuana or K2 could be any number of hundreds of chemicals on the market labeled as K2? The press needs to grow up about this.

    Here is doctor Carl Hart in a good video addressing this K2 stuff.
    https://youtu.be/MqqM2QSVjRA

    Members of the press that like to report on K2 should watch Dr Hart’s video. Maybe then they can sound like they know what they are talking about.

    • Servetus

      A useful language tool in dealing with K2 chemical analogues is one that eliminates the “synthetic-marijuana” analogy. It’s basically what Dr. Hart is saying. Sure, various chemicals affect the cannabinoid receptors, especially if they’re mixed with other drugs. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. The synthetic analogue effects are always slightly different somehow, always inferior, by my estimation. By making a sharp nomenclature distinction between natural THC and CBD, et al., versus “K2” substances that aren’t necessarily synthetic, that imitate natural marijuana compounds (but only to a degree), it’s possible to break the emotional propaganda link created by government propagandists between marijuana and its evil third cousin K2, or whatever new demon lurks in the deep recesses of a prohibidiot’s fearful mind.

  • jean valjean

    Police cover up in Baton Rouge:
    “Watching his friend die would turn out to be only the beginning of Muflahi’s nightmare. According to a lawsuit filed earlier this week by his attorney, Joel Porter, “Immediately after the killing of Mr. Sterling officers came inside Triple S Food Mart and without a warrant confiscated the entire store security system and took Plaintiff Muflahi into custody.”
    Also this:
    “What happened to cause both officers’ body cameras to fall off during the same incident?”

    http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/meet-men-who-risked-their-freedom-expose-police-murder-alton-sterling

  • Servetus

    U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s status as a human rights violator:

    Dianne Feinstein was Chairman of the Senate Narcotics Office (January 3, 2009 to January 3, 2015), and was preceded in that office by then-Senator Joe Biden and succeeded by Senator Chuck Grassley.[…]

    Feinstein voted in support of legislation to override a Department of Veterans Affairs’ prohibition on allowing doctors to recommend cannabis to veterans in states that sanction its use as a medicine; the legislation was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 21, 2015. However, she was the only Democrat who joined a minority of Republicans in voting against a measure designed to prevent federal interference with states’ medical marijuana laws; that legislation passed with a 21-9 vote on June 18, 2015.[45]

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dianne_Feinstein

    But lately:

    Washington, D.C. – July 17, 2016 — This past week, the Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act (S. 3269) was introduced in the United States Senate, which would ease research barriers and create exemptions from federal law for certain medical cannabis patients. The bill was introduced by four members of the Senate Judiciary Committee – Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Tom Tillis (R-NC). Much of the bill is focused on allowing for institutions of higher education or manufacturers to register with the federal government in order to conduct research on cannabis (marijuana) or cannabidiol (CBD), but it’s the “Safe Harbor” provision that is drawing the attention of medical cannabis patients.

    The Safe Harbor provision would exempt pediatric patients with intractable epilepsy and their parents/legal guardians from the penalties of the Controlled Substances Act for the possession and pediatric use of CBD. Patients with conditions other than intractable epilepsy would be excluded, and no amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are permitted.

    “I applaud Senators Grassley, Feinstein, Tillis, and Leahy for taking action on this issue and trying to help this population. As a parent of a child with intractable epilepsy, this bill does much to address the needs of epilepsy patients and their families,” said Beth Collins, Senior Director of Government Relations and External Affairs at Americans for Safe Access (ASA). “However, the bill could do more as many patients with intractable epilepsy, including my daughter, need THC, as do millions of patients with other conditions across the country, and we need to do something to help them too.”

    http://www.theweedblog.com/senators-grassley-and-feinstein-introduce-bill-to-exempt-certain-medical-cannabis-patients-from-federal-prosecution/

    How magnanimous of the mighty Feinstein that she pause in her Carrie Nation hatcheting of democracy to toss a bone to the poor American rabble.

    With the other hand, she takes it away:

    …Despite publicly promoting an open and secure Internet, it has privately undermined the encryption of online communications and surreptitiously created vast international surveillance systems in cooperation with close allies.”

    The reaction of other states to this has been slow, in proportion to their dependence on the U.S. economy and on the American-made (mostly) technology that has underpinned the astonishing global prosperity of the past 25 years. But the reaction has nonetheless occurred, hurried on by the revelations of Edward Snowden. Non-Americans no longer trust the U.S. to put its national interests to one side in the special case of the Internet, nor do they want to have to rely, for their prosperity and even safety, on the altruism and political independence of American technology companies. Americans, similarly, don’t want to accept that 21st-century technological life has to come at the price of total vulnerability to surveillance, nor do they want American technology companies to maintain open global networks at the price of their own personal security. Recent calls for blocking terrorists from posting on social media — from Hillary Clinton, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and Eric Schmidt — reflect a growing American conviction that the state’s responsibility to protect its citizens should extend to restrictions on cyber speech.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-malcomson/welcome-to-the-splinterne_b_8855212.html [Emphasis mine]

    Sen. Feinstein once proposed censoring all information on illicit drug manufacturing, which would have included literature on all possible drug-related precursor chemicals, believing it to be a viable drug war plan—science and freedom of the press/Internet be damned. Her proposal was later rescinded.

  • DdC

    Hello ello ello. Anybody in there? Nod if you can hear me.

  • DdC

    Cannabis News Roundup: 24/7 Wall St.
    Not All California Pot Growers Favor Proposition 64
    Small growers have been emphasizing the boutique nature of their operations: small, well-tended, essentially hand-made products that are the gold standard in the marijuana business. As one grower’s association advocate said, “[The issue with Prop. 64] is whether they are regulations that will allow us to continue long-standing sustainable cannabis farming traditions, or whether new markets will sweep away what we’ve built over the last 40 years.

    • Keepers of the bud split on California marijuana legalization http://tinyurl.com/z5hvkox

    • DdC

      What happens to medical marijuana
      if recreational use becomes legal in California?

      The 21-year-old resident of Grand Terrace, near Riverside, has pictures of cannabis flowers on her Twitter profile and friends whose livelihoods depend on the pot industry. She’s also an unlikely opponent of a November ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana for all adults in California.

      “If it is legalized, more people who don’t respect it and just want to get high are going to take advantage of that,” Rice said. “And people who genuinely need it as medicine will be misplaced and thrown to the side.”

      “We encourage both patients and business owners to look beyond the internal divisions that have hindered the marijuana activist community in the past and read the measure in full,” Kinney said. The initiative, he insisted, “takes great pains to protect the rights of those who have been on the front lines of this fight.”

      mercurynews

  • surprisingly good Sports Illustrated production on Ricky Williams:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYsjAQG6LLs

  • Justin Trudeau Pardons All Canadian Marijuana Offenders – Continues Being Awesome http://tinyurl.com/jkrq3g4

    Canada setting a fine example for the US to follow.

  • Servetus

    White Christian nationalists are definitely in charge of framing the GOP political platform for the 2016 presidential election run. This time the Republican contract on American freedoms conflates non-traditional marriages with drug addiction:

    July 12, 2016 — Additional provisions included those that promoted state laws to limit which restrooms transgender people could use, nodded to “conversion therapy” for gays by saying that parents should be free to make medical decisions about their children without interference and stated that “natural marriage” between a man and a woman is most likely to result in offspring who do not become drug-addicted or otherwise damaged.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/13/us/politics/republican-convention-issues.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

  • NCN

    OT

    Got my fill of anger-porn this morning from reading the comments.

    Not in the ranting mood, just have one simple request. What are people smoking? What’s good? What smells great? What’s really special?

    My favorite right now is Gorilla Glue. It’s potent, hits you immediately, and importantly for this old guy, has anti-inflammatory properties due to its terpene profile which leads with Beta-Caryophyllene.

    What’s special about Beta-Caryophyllene? It’s a dietary cannabinoid that is a “full agonist” at CB2 receptors!

    I’m saving some 29.3% THC for a N.Y. friend who just relocated to my county. It’s called “Trigerian” and is a cross of Nigerian Haze x Triangle Kush.

    Tell me some stories.

    • DdC

      I like Gorilla Glue #4, not sure if they make 1,2 and 3. I like the Sativa buzz of Green Crack lately. The dispensary has a syringe with 65%thc oil that’s good too. Big Sur Holy bud and Catatonic I blend. As long as it lasts and I hope its forever. I’m a Happy Camper.

    • darkcycle

      My favorite strain since the 1980’s: D.J. Short’s Blueberry. Recently been fooling around with Girl Scout Cookies and a few of my own crosses, including Faceplant. Clay can endorse that one.

    • NorCalNative

      Gorilla Glue continued…”German investigators reported that activation of the CB2 receptor reverses Beta-Amyloid-induced memory impairments and neuroinflammation.”

      Source: Martin A. Lee at Project CBD in his article on the ICRS (International Cannabinoid Research Society) 2016 meeting.

      Gorilla Glue has Beta-Caryophyllene as it’s Primary terpene and Beta-Caryophyllene is a FULL AGONIST at CB2 receptors.

      In receptor terminology, whole-plant cannabinoids are “weak, partial, agonists.” The dietary cannabinoid Beta-Caryophyllene found as the Primary Terpene in Gorilla Glue is a FULL AGONIST at CB2!

      According to Ethan Russo in his published work titled “Taming THC” terpenes are physiologically active at concentrations of 0.05%.

      Consumers need to be bugging their contacts for terpene testing of their products. Hopland, CA, is holding the second annual Terpestival, a Terpene Tournament tommorow. Ethan Russo and Martin A. Lee will be there.

      Learn the terpenes. Know your entourage!

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    This one is going to be filed in the “junk science runs amok” and cross filed in the “baffled by bullshit” categories:

    Smart (sic) Approaches to Marijuana wants minimum age of 25 for access to cannabis
    7/17/2016

    /snip/
    One group wants to make sure weed isn’t offered to anyone below the age of 25.

    That would be the minimum age, if ScAM Canada was in charge.

    “Smart” Approaches to Marijuana member Pamela McColl says she’s encouraged by a recent report to Canada’s task force on legalization and regulation.

    “They’re also saying this should be a slow processs. The Canadian population is not educated on marijuana, the perception of risk is declining and so they may be well advised to take 10 years to do this,” says McColl, who believes this should be a health issue.
    /snip/

    • Servetus

      SAM must moonlight as a car rental agency. Now we know where they get their money. Age 25 restrictions for pot—but it’s still okay to give an M-16 or M-4 to an 18-year-old and induct them into a war, or allow an 18-year-old soldier to conduct a torture session? What damages the brain more than war or marijuana? Perhaps indoctrination into Bahá’í before the tender age of five?