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Good riddance to the Cole Memo

There’s been a lot of talk about how Attorney General Jeff Sessions has eliminated the Cole Memo – an advisory document intended to reduce the focus on federal prosecutions of state-legal cannabis operations as long as a list of guidelines were followed.

In reality, the Cole Memo was limited, vague, and had no force of law – any Attorney General could overturn it at will (as Sessions has done). It was the appearance of the federal government respecting state law without having to actually, you know, do it.

The good thing about Sessions’ tone-deaf action is that it’s woken a lot of people up to the absurdity of still having a federal prohibition that could allow prosecutors to arrest citizens for openly following state law. Sessions has managed to anger liberals, conservatives and libertarians through his action.

Perhaps the absence of the Cole Memo, and the outrage following its repeal, will finally get Congress to act and do something meaningful.

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217 comments to Good riddance to the Cole Memo

  • Daniel Williams

    Agreed.

  • jean valjean

    Here’s the devil doll stool pigeon himself. Jeffie comes on at around 0:35

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2018/jan/05/california-marijuana-muddle-video-explainer

  • Bruce

    …Mere yards from summit of the great pinnacle after crossing three valleys and five rivers of broken ice the climbers found themselves snatched by black helicopters and deposited back outside the park entrance.

  • kaptinemo

    It must be re-iterated again and again that this happened largely due to Session’s unaccountable, inexplicable myopia, ignoring the tumultuous events occurring at the very height of government, with scandal and counter-scandal being revealed on a daily basis, threatening the very core of democracy…to indulge in what appears to be a personally obsessive moral crusade thinly wrapped in a bug-eaten, see-through fig leaf of legalities.

    This reminds me of the Nixon Administration and its de facto Executive Branch capture of the Legal one, with the various Fed agencies involved in law-breaking themselves, leading to the very crisis that led to Nixon’s removal, and a massive overhaul of government itself.

    Nixon et al were obsessed about cannabis as well, and strove mightily against its ‘normalization’, and used every dirty trick in the book to accomplish that. Trump appears to be making the same mistake, seemingly acting as a silent partner to Session’s efforts. All while Rome is burning.

    Nixon’s AG John Mitchell was later arrested and did prison time for his crimes; Sessions must be a fool if he thinks he might not share the same fate.

  • Servetus

    Research has undercut Jeff Sessions’ and Harry Anslinger’s reefer madness propaganda. A new NIDA funded study focuses on sexual behavior among young adults under the influence of three different drugs: marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol.

    Results of nightclub-based surveys show that Jeff’s and Harry’s demon weed is innocent of inducing drug-fueled Roman-style orgies between people of different ethnicities — that honor instead goes to alcohol. Compared to alcohol or ecstasy, marijuana is a wall flower:

    10-JAN-2018 — …In this study, the researchers surveyed 679 young adults (ages 18 to 25) entering electronic dance music (EDM) parties at nightclubs and dance festivals in New York City to examine and compare self-reported sexual effects associated with use of alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy. The researchers compared self-reported sexual effects of these substances. Of those surveyed, nearly four out of ten (39 percent) reported having used all three.

    The researchers found that compared to marijuana, alcohol and ecstasy were more strongly associated with certain heightened perceived sexual effects, including attraction, sexual desire, and social outgoingness (which can facilitate meeting partners).

    Increased attraction – both feeling more attractive and attraction to others – was most commonly associated with consuming alcohol, followed by ecstasy. More than six out of ten participants reported feeling more attractive on alcohol (67 percent) or ecstasy (61 percent), but only a quarter (25 percent) felt more attractive on marijuana. Similarly, most participants reported that alcohol (72 percent) or ecstasy (64 percent) led them to be more attracted to others, while marijuana only increased attraction in others in about a quarter (27 percent) of respondents.

    Increased social outgoingness – defined as outgoingness making users more likely to meet a partner – was reported by the majority of people who drank alcohol (77 percent) or used ecstasy (72 percent), yet only a quarter (26 percent) of users reported an increase on marijuana. In fact, over a third (36 percent) reported that marijuana decreased their sociability.

    “These results align with previous research on the social effects of alcohol use, which link alcohol use to increased feelings of self-acceptance and decreased feelings of social anxiety in social situations,” said CDUHR researcher Joseph Palamar, PhD, MPH, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of population health at NYU Langone Health. […]

    AAAS Public Release: Young adults report differing sexual effects from alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy: Alcohol and ecstasy more likely to increase both sexual desire and dysfunction, NYU study finds

    Given the lesser affect on human sexuality, Christian Reconstructionists or Dominonists such as Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III—a Sunday school teacher at the Ashland Place United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama—have a new opportunity to lighten up a bit on cannabis prohibition.

  • ExplosiveMix

    Nuclear power meets prohibition:

    Fears over the security of Brazil’s two nuclear power plants have been raised after a heavily armed gang raided a secure workers’ condominium just a kilometre away and blew up two cash machines.

    About 10 men held security guards hostage at around 3am on Monday, robbed guests at a party in a private club then escaped in a waiting speedboat from the Praia Brava condominium for workers at the Angra 1 and 2 nuclear reactors, run by state company Eletronuclear.

    It was the second incident in a month: on 9 December, thieves exploded an ATM in the Mambucaba Condominium, another security-controlled workers’ village 15km away from the plants, near Angra dos Reis on the Rio de Janeiro state coastline.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/12/brazil-nuclear-reactor-armed

  • Tony Aroma

    I agree with you, Pete. I think this move by Mr. Sessions is going to have the exact opposite effect he intended.

    Reminds me of the overzealous prosecution of Tommy Chong. That prosecutor from PA thought she was going to not only make a name for herself, but also put an end to Mr. Chong and his influence once and for all. Ended up making him more popular and well known than ever. Similarly, I think Mr. Sessions is vastly underestimating the unpopularity of his cause.

    • WalStMonky

      .
      .

      In an interesting turn of events AG Sessions’ bloviations motivated me to look up traffic fatality statistics in Alabama (population 4,863,300). In 2016 highway fatalities increased 24.6% from 849 in 2015 to 1058.

      In Colorado (population 5,540,545) highway fatalities increased 10.603% from 547 in 2015 to 605.

      • DC Reade

        I used Colorado Department of Transportation stats to get into some detailed analysis of CO fatal accident rate in this Disqus discussion http://disq.us/p/1p37jmm of a 01/05/2018 Atlantic magazine article on Sessions and the Cole memo, as part of a response to an anti-legalization comment writer. (Note: the jump to the linked article comment takes a couple of seconds.)

        My analysis focused on the number of fatal accidents rather than the number of fatalities- a more useful statistic, because some fatal accidents result in more than one death. But I didn’t think to compare the results with those of other states. I think your comparison with the home state of Jeff Sessions is telling, and it led me to search for even wider context- like this article, which assessed and ranked the most dangerous and least dangerous states for fatal accidents in 2014 (the first year of legal pot sales in Colorado, incidentally.) http://247wallst.com/special-report/2016/05/10/the-most-and-least-dangerous-states-to-drive/5/

        8. Alabama
        > Road deaths per 100,000: 16.9 (13th highest)
        > Total roadway fatalities in 2014: 820 (13th highest)
        > Pct. of residents using seat belts: 96% (4th highest)
        > Pct. of drivers killed w/ BAC ≥ 0.08: N/A
        > Pct. of fatal crashes on rural roads: 66% (tied-20th highest)

        vs.

        32. Colorado
        > Road deaths per 100,000: 9.1 (24th highest)
        > Total roadway fatalities in 2014: 488 (24th highest)
        > Pct. of residents using seat belts: 82% (13th lowest)
        > Pct. of drivers killed w/ BAC ≥ 0.08: 81 (13th highest)
        > Pct. of fatal crashes on rural roads: 47% (tied-18th lowest)

        A few additional notes:

        unlike the CO DoT reports, the 24/7WallSt. article doesn’t mention specific statistics for either the number of fatal accidents or the number of fatal accidents per million miles traveled in making their state-by-state comparisons (although they were apparently used to arrive at the rankings.) I think those are arguably the most relevant statistics- although to produce even more accuracy, they’d need to be weighted to account for traffic on interstate highways vs. surface roads, etc. There are also other confounding factors that none of the studies included- such as the number of days of weather events that were sufficiently severe to make driving more hazardous, or the number of miles of road impeded by construction, damage, washouts, and/or detours, etc. (Speaking of which, were the freeway renovations on I-25 in the middle of Denver ever completed? This out-of-towner ran into closed lanes- not literally!- along with sudden slowdowns, congestion, and detours in 2014, 2015, 2016…)Factors like those undoubtedly figure into the annual variability of accident statistics- it isn’t unusual for fatal accident numbers to swing up and down from year to year, to some extent. As I’ve also mentioned in my linked analysis, which looked at CO DoT reports from 2002 to 2017.

        Geography also plays a role, of course- there’s a case to be made that state-by-state comparisons with immediately neighboring states might provide more fair results.

        In that spirit, compare Colorado (32nd) with neighboring Nebraska (21st), Kansas (15th), New Mexico (4th), Utah (35th), and Wyoming (1st).

        And we might as well compare Alabama (8th) with neighbors Tennessee (14th), Georgia (22nd), Florida (20th), and Mississippi (2nd).

  • New Congressional Bill Handcuffs Sessions’s Marijuana Enforcement https://tinyurl.com/y9oy4kcy

    Good or bad news depending on how you look at it. I think its ridiculous to essentially rewrite the Cole memo into law instead of just changing the law and removing cannabis from the CSA.

    “A new congressional bill would effectively prevent U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions from cracking down on people who are following state marijuana laws. But it wouldn’t change cannabis’s status under federal law.”

    Probably a very good way to aggravate the elf, tho.

    • It seems like a slap in the face to the majority of the country who favors cannabis legalization.

      • WalStMonky

        .
        .

        Congress can pass any bill the Members want but it’s got to be signed by the POTUS or by a veto proof supermajority in both houses. With both houses suffering a significant infestation of authoritarian assholes I’m having a hard time seeing a path to even a simple majority.

        Then again I never thought that the Governor of Louisiana would file a complaint about this issue so there you go. (emphasis added)

        Louisiana governor fighting to protect state’s medical marijuana programs

        BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s governor Tuesday asked President Donald Trump to shield states’ medical marijuana programs from federal prosecutors, urging him to “ensure the safe distribution of this life-changing form of treatment.”
        /snip/

        The Department of Justice’s actions “jeopardize this treatment for those who need it in Louisiana and other states, and I am requesting your support in allowing states like Louisiana to offer marijuana as a form of medical treatment without the threat of federal prosecution,” Edwards wrote in the letter, also sent to the state congressional delegation.
        /snip/

        Acting U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson, who oversees federal prosecutors in Louisiana’s Middle District where both medical marijuana growing operations will be located, has suggested Louisiana’s burgeoning program won’t be affected.

        In a statement, Amundson said the pot cases handled by his office “typically involve violence, individuals with significant criminal histories and/or large-scale, unregulated trafficking” and he doesn’t “anticipate a significant change” in marijuana enforcement in his Baton Rouge-based district.

        • DC Reade

          That’s the practical assessment. We are dealing with politicians here. Most of them aren’t going to vote to change the laws unless or until they fear the wrath of the voters if they don’t do it. Which is why the first legalization measures were passed as ballot initiatives by popular vote, instead of by legislatures. The people will eventually drag their elected representatives into the future- not so much kicking and screaming, as stalling and mumbling. My impression on this is that the battle for some form of Federal legalization is all over but the voting.

          But there are some things to watch out for, that could really mess up the eventual result. This is about lock-in- which sort of system is going to function as the new status quo. The devil is in the details.

          I think the worst possibilities have to do with the position that marijuana still belongs on a “Schedule” of some kind. It does not. Not even on Schedule V. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/
          Beware of any moves to place the only source of legal supply under strict official prescription regulations. Also beware of any moves to forbid cultivation of a small number of plants for non-commercial supply of household quantities of pot. That’s completely unwarranted regulatory capture.

          Another serious problem has to do with DUI per se laws for cannabis, or punitive DUI laws that have the potential to be exploited for revenue enhancement on behalf of police departments, the courts, and the rehab industry. I’d like to see police departments return to their original mission of fighting crime. But if the antipot fanatics succeed in getting people to buy into the fallacy that being high on pot while driving is a menace on par with alcohol impairment, they’ll have both a means to continue persecuting and intimidating pot users for their “antisocial deviance” and a cash cow for the law enforcement agencies and court systems who participate. No one should count on the as-yet unfulfilled promise of “driverless cars” to obviate the threat of such a punitive regime. I’ll believe the brave new world of robot automobiles after I see it in full operating mode for a while. In the meantime, it’s very important to make the point that tens of millions of people have been operating motor vehicles with some amount of THC in their system for around five decades without any indication that it’s led to an additional burden of accident statistics.

          In that regard, the most important thing that we, the stoner hordes, can do is to be on our best behavior as drivers. That means that everyone should check themselves- in that way that drunks are so loath to do- and stay off the road if they have any doubts in regard to being over-served. There should be no need to lecture. If the legal states see their accident rates, particularly their serious and fatal accident rates, stay steady- or, better, decline- in the years immediately following legalization, that should be sufficient to stop the concern trolls from grabbing the narrative and running with it.

          There’s only one major worry I have in that regard: mixing pot with alcohol does tend to lower the amount of alcohol required to produce impairment. That’s a real potential problem. So I wish that the enterprises in the legal states would have a brake pedal, instead of getting giddy with the headiness of victory. Selling marijuana-infused beer, wine, and cocktails is perilously close to instant DUI, and that’s pushing things too far. The problem here is that while it’s the alcohol that’s the real culprit- and we all know it- if the combination results in more serious accidents and fatalities, the loser is going to be marijuana. Across the board. And the DUI laws will add us to their meat grinder.

          I happen to think .08 BAC alcohol DUI laws are excessive- and I say that as a cab driver who’s heard too many stories from passengers who found themselves roped into thousands of dollars in penalties from their first DUI on account of one bad breathalyzer test. Lack of traffic offense prior to the stop notwithstanding. Passing performance tests notwithstanding. Knowledge by the arrested driver that they had only two beers in two hours notwithstanding. I heard too many of those stories. Maybe not all of them were telling the truth, but many of them sounded awfully convincing. They couldn’t have all been lying.
          It’s a serious enough problem that I no longer view alcohol breath or blood tests as probative for DUI. If I’m on a jury, I want to see camera footage.

          Plenty of hard evidence agrees with me:
          http://pix11.com/2017/10/24/over-20000-dwi-convictions-could-get-overturned-in-nj/
          http://kfor.com/2016/09/27/oklahoma-supreme-courts-decision-could-render-breathalyzer-results-invalid/
          https://www.massachusetts-drunkdriving.com/technical-problems-could-overturn-recent-drunk-driving-convictions-in-massachusetts/
          https://www.alcoholproblemsandsolutions.org/unreliable-breathalyzer-tests-innocent-drivers-harmed/
          http://peterlance.com/wordpress/?p=1543

          And that’s alcohol- the favored child in this arena. If THC gets added to that presumption of DUI guilt made simply on the basis of presence in body fluids, the resulting quagmire could take ten years to undo, or more.

          But while I think that proof of guilt determined on the basis of <.08% BAC is unreliable and potentially unjust, I also acknowledge that even small amounts of alcohol- like perhaps .05%, or one hefty pint of strong ale- can turn a formerly functional pot high into a driving hazard, for many people. I don't like saying that; it's untidy. It's an avoidable situation, and hence not an Achille's heel of legal marijuana per se. But it does present an inconvenience, and responsible choices have to be made.

          In that regard, I also have reservations about legal states allowing “pot coffeehouses” that encourage public pot smoking and ingestion of edibles on the premises. Even if those places don’t sell alcohol, that’s pushing it. I’m concerned, and not trolling. It may work out just fine. But if it doesn’t, the negative results may upset the entire experiment. And we are still in the lab stage with this. It’s a move that might be warranted after another four or five years of legal pot with a proven track record of safety. I think there are high-stakes risks with trying it too soon.

          Regardless of my opinion, the “smokeeasy” thing looks like it’s going to happen, in Colorado. I hope that everyone involved knows what exactly they could be getting into. Including a way to roll that particular part of the experiment back if it goes sour. I’d like it to succeed. I think it would have a better chance of succeeding if people exercised some patience about the roll-out. A delay of a few years wouldn’t hurt.

    • Tony Aroma

      That’s the stupidest bill ever! The only conceivable reason for such a bill would be if the author felt it had a realistic chance of passing, while an actual change in scheduling or full legalization bill didn’t stand a chance. As ridiculous as it would be to essentially legalize marijuana without actually legalizing it, it would at least be a decent stop gap and would make a full legalization bill easier to sell in the future. Based on the Cole et al. memos and the budget rider, it looks like some of the die-hard prohibitionists are less hesitant with baby steps.

  • strayan

    Here’s a very confused article:

    “Oregon has a massive marijuana overproduction problem. In 2017 alone, postal agents in Oregon seized 2,644 pounds of marijuana in outbound parcels and over $1.2 million in cash.”

    http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2018/01/us_attorney_a_call_for_transpa.html#incart_river_home

    • WalStMonky

      .
      .

      The thing about diversion to other States that makes me see red is including black market vendors. Only product diverted from State authorized producers and distributors inventories should be considered? How is it reasonable that if the industry can’t stop black market vendors from doing what black market vendors do that the regulated market is to blame and should be shut down? It isn’t as if State and Federal authorities have had much luck, even with billions upon billions upon billions of dollars to squander on the effort.

    • DC Reade

      Amount of marijuana seized annually by US Customs at US-Mexico border in recent years:

      FY2011 2,518,211 lbs.
      FY2012 2,297,662 lbs.
      FY2013 2,428,419 lbs.
      FY2014 1,920,411 lbs.
      FY2015 1,536,499 lbs.

      http://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-drugs-are-seized-at-the-us-mexico-border-2016-10/#marijuana-seizures-by-weight-have-declined-significantly-since-2011-2

      amount seized in Oregon, 2017 (fiscal year? calendar year?) 2,644 lbs.

      = 0.17% of the amount seized by US Customs at the US-Mexico border, FY2015 (Federal fiscal year, between 10/01/2014 and 09/30/2015.)

    • DC Reade

      Annual totals for seizures of marijuana by U.S. postal agents nationwide in recent years:

      2012 42,160 lbs.
      2013 47,056 lbs.
      2014 39,291 lbs.
      2015 34,305 lbs.
      2016 36,000 lbs. (est.)

      http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/courts/sd-me-mailing-pot-20170106-story.html

      That 2015 total seized by the Post Office nationwide is 2.23% of the amount seized by US Customs at the US-Mexico border, FY2015 (Federal fiscal year, between 10/01/2014 and 09/30/2015.) As long as we’re counting.

  • Mike

    With the President touting all the credit for rolling back
    thousands of regulations why are so few lawmakers willing
    to roll back regs on Hemp that are holding back
    jobs and unnecessary accounting hours.

    http://www.thecannabist.co/2018/01/12/cbd-hemp-extracts-dea-congress/96683/

    • WalStMonky

      .
      .

      Because for decades and decades only the “zero tolerance intelligence” candidates could hope to be elected. As a general rule public “servants” have to put in a number of years before achieving a position of influence. The blessings of those who have already achieved that influence are also almost always required to get into the club. Zero tolerance politicians only blessed other zero tolerance politicians, and it’s what the voters wanted. Then one day circa 2012 the population woke up and changed its mind about cannabis. This didn’t do anything about the politicians already holding influence except to confuse them.

      But the logjam has been broken with the election of NJ Governor Murphy. Did you ever imagine that so many State Governors and attorneys general would excoriate AG Sessions recent stupidity? AG Maura Healey and Governor Baker of Massachusetts? Senator Gardner of Colorado threatening the DoJ with gridlock in the Senate?

      Yes, I think AG Sessions has done us a great favor. Not that he intended to do so but that’s the problem with the zero intelligence crowd. It’s a good problem for us because they’re so locked into absolute prohibition that they aren’t even trying to influence the process of installing regulated re-legalization. If they were a little smarter they could have slowed the progress considerably.

      • Windy

        It’s actually worse than that. Here’s the real situation in congress. FTA:
        Today we begin with an extraordinary interview with a sitting member of Congress. It will make you mad but it’s something you should hear. Republican Ken Buck is speaking out of school about the shocking, transactional nature of Washington politics. About party elites he says, “live like kings and govern like bullies.” And he’s lifting the curtain on why he says nothing gets done in Congress, describing collusion between Democrats and Republicans to fleece taxpayers on behalf of special interests.
        http://fullmeasure.news/news/cover-story/bucking-the-system-12-18-2017

        • Atrocity

          Ken Buck is a science-hating fetus fetishist who believes that rape victims should be forced to deliver their rapist’s babies, that sexuality is a choice and that you should be happy to pay your ISP money to prevent you from reading this site.

          To anyone who’s been able to read the news over the last year, his fundamental premise that no one wants to take a “tough vote” is a child’s fantasy. Or, you know, just a lie.

        • WalStMonky

          .
          .

          It appears that you’ve missed my point. My premise is that they’ve lost but are too stupid to figure it out. Ken Buck and AG Sessions can bloviate all they like but
          they’ve painted themselves into a corner. Cheer up sweetie, we’ve won.

  • The “My country right or wrong” crowd run by the good ol boy network is now “last man standing” on the extinction list of 2018.

  • SquareBrick

    Taylor Weyeneth is incompetent, unqualified and a liar. The perfect candidate for ONDCP deputy chief of staff.

    Weyeneth, 24, did not respond to requests for an interview.

    After being contacted by The Post about Weyeneth’s qualifications, and about inconsistencies on his résumés, an administration official said Weyeneth will return to the position he initially held in the agency, as a White House liaison for ONDCP, a job that typically involves working with outside interest groups.

    https://tinyurl.com/MoonBatPattern

    • kaptinemo

      No one should be surprised at this; just look at Kevvie’s CV. He touts himself as a ‘senior drug policy advisor’ when his only role at ONDCP was as a speechwriter.

      Weyeneth is tracing Kevvie’s footsteps. Kevvie got his job in roughly the same way, being ‘sponsored’ politically for his past efforts…and his ‘passion’:

      FDCH TRANSCRIPTS House Government Reform June 16, 1999 HOUSE GOVERNMENT REFORM CRIMINAL JUSTICE SUBCOMMITTEE HOLDS HEARING ON DRUG POLICY This is where Kevvie got his start in the DC political structure.

      ONDCP has always existed as a sinecure for talentless, colorless political hacks dependent upon political patronage for their jobs. Most such hacks realize they’ve found themselves a fairly safe niche, and later seek to use their ‘contacts’ in the equally niche agencies devoted to ‘drug control’ to ‘make ‘featherbeds’ they intend to lay upon after leaving Gub’mint ‘service.

      With unsurprisingly few exceptions, directors, deputy directors and major staff of ONDCP have found jobs outside of the halls of government, jobs directly attributable to their efforts to create the political necessity for those jobs, i.e.,think of Robert DuPont politicking for drug testing as a bureaucrat and then becoming the CEO of a firm engaged in drug testing.

      The trail of breadcrumbs leading through that famous ‘revolving door’ is that shamelessly, brazenly obvious. They get rich, using government policy they help create, while their victims suffer from the implementation of that policy.

      Weyeneth is just another of those that seem to gravitate to ONDCP. The kind that remind me of a line from a famous old poem:

      “The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
      The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
      The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity.”
      – Yeats, The Second Coming (Emphasis mine)

      The DrugWar has been staffed by such people with such ‘passionate intensity’…and little else. They are Brandeis’s ‘men of zeal, without understanding’, ready to destroy a village in order to save it. Deity save us from such, for they very nearly have burnt the village of our rights.

    • jean valjean

      Frat boy to lead ONCD. I’m waiting for the inevitable hazing stories to emerge.

  • Servetus

    Legalizing marijuana is reducing violent crime along the US-Mexico border:

    13 Jan 2018 — …According to the study, Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime, when a state on the Mexican border legalised medical use of the drug, violent crime fell by 13% on average. Most of the marijuana consumed in the US originates in Mexico, where seven major cartels control the illicit drug trade. […]

    “These laws allow local farmers to grow marijuana that can then be sold to dispensaries where it is sold legally,” said the economist Evelina Gavrilova, one of the study’s authors. “These growers are in direct competition with Mexican drug cartels that are smuggling the marijuana into the US. As a result, the cartels get much less business.”

    The knock-on effect is a reduction in levels of drug-related violence. “The cartels are in competition with one another,” Gavrilova explained. “They compete for territory, but it’s also easy to steal product from the other cartels and sell it themselves, so they fight for the product. They also have to defend their territory and ensure there are no bystanders, no witnesses to the activities of the cartel. […]

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/14/legal-marijuana-medical-use-crime-rate-plummets-us-study

  • BouzoukiJoe

    “In a few weeks’ time, an amendment will be brought to parliament to define the legislative framework for the cultivation and manufacturing of pharmaceutical products based on medical cannabis, which will open the way for Greek and foreign investments,” deputy agricultural development minister Yannis Tsironis told Agence France-Presse.

    Tsironis said the legalization of medical cannabis could attract investments of 1.5 to 2 billion euros ( $1.8 to 2.4 billion), with Greek, Israeli and Canadian companies already expressing interest.

    The deputy minister, along with other government officials, attended Greece’s first medical cannabis trade fair this weekend.

    Over 100 local and foreign businesses took part in the event, which was held near Athens.

    https://www.rappler.com/world/regions/europe/193645-greece-allow-medical-cannabis-use

  • jean valjean

    Private prisons are booming under Trump:

    “While most of the coverage on private prisons has focused on the federal contracts, the administration’s rhetoric on reviving the war on drugs is starting to have a domino effect at the state level. Most recently, in Kentucky, the state signed a contract with CoreCivic to reopen a shuttered prison — the Lee Adjustment Center in Beattyville — and move about 800 inmates there. The opioid crisis in Kentucky pushed state policymakers to draft more draconian drug penalties that played a role in increasing its prison population to a record high of more than 24,000 inmates. With full prisons and jails, Kentucky felt it had no choice but to contract with CoreCivic to house almost 1,000 men it doesn’t have room to keep behind bars.”

    https://www.alternet.org/human-rights/trumps-first-year-has-been-private-prison-industrys-best

  • Servetus

    Trump-Sessions regime pot cartoon: “Putting the Heat on What Takes the Edge Off”…

    http://www.truth-out.org/art/item/43223-putting-the-heat-on-what-takes-the-edge-off

    • jean valjean

      It’s what you get when you have a shit-hole president. The rest of the world is rubber-necking this car-crash presidency with growing incredulity and alarm. Whatever next on the Donald Trump show? Presidential dignity? Not much.

      • jean valjean

        Come to think of it Jimmy Carter was probably the last holder of the office to have even a shred of the presidential dignity demonstrated by Eisenhower, Truman and FDR. These days it’s a clown show.

  • Gridiron Cannabis Coalition PSA:
    https://youtu.be/oCRRG0GnXpk

    Worth a watch. From the Netflix series “Disjointed”.

    • WalStMonky

      .
      .

      So that’s where all of the idiot prohibitionists whom I used to see commenting under media stories about cannabis landed. Talk about foaming at the mouth and unable to connect the dots. They don’t seem to realize that the message was delivered by disciplined, highly motivated men who have reached the pinnacle of their profession or that the NFL is a very exclusive club.

  • jean valjean

    OT
    Why Urban farming is the future:

    ‘…. [A]n example of how one patch of Detroit land, where 12 vacant houses were removed to grow food, “has supplied almost 200,000 kilograms of produce for 2,000 local families, provided volunteer experience to 8,000 residents and brought the area new investment and increased safety.”‘

    Urban farms are already economically viable. Adding in a premium crop like cannabis flowers is the icing on the cake. This is a no brainer in cities like Detroit, Cleveland, Gary etc. Wake up rust belt and smell the coffee!

    https://www.alternet.org/local-peace-economy/urban-farming-can-fight-hunger-and-climate-change-video

  • jean valjean

    More shithole.
    God, I love it.

    “Video posted on Twitter shows the words “This Place is a Shithole” projected onto the walls of the hotel Saturday night, alongside poop emojis, and an arrow pointing at the establishment’s arched entrance.”

    https://www.alternet.org/culture/shthole-projected-trump-hotel-washington-dc

  • WalStMonky

    .
    .

    I’m sure that the sycophants of prohibition are befuddled and confused about the recent government surveys which show that “the children” aren’t taking up cannabis consumption in droves and in some States their numbers have actually decreased What would you do if you were a prohibitionist and found out that one of your most effective pieces of hysterical rhetoric has been debunked? I think that the next logical tactic is to concentrate on a very similar meme while making certain that there’s almost no way to disprove the propaganda.

    Marijuana legalization hasn’t drawn more teenage users, but some teens are using more, study finds

    Every trick in the book, no doubt.

  • WalStMonky

    .
    .

    In New Jersey it’s now illegal to fly a drone with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. It appears that you can fly a drone while under the influence of any other substance listed on the governments’ naughty lists.
    No, I’m not kidding.

  • Servetus

    The NIDA is battling against marijuana legalization by misinterpreting a connectome study while concluding that high connectivity in brain regions associated with rewards and habits is dangerous. The new NIDA study has Nora Volkow’s moniker on it:

    16-JAN-2018 — The study, by Drs. Peter Manza, Dardo Tomasi, and Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse … assessed resting brain activity data from the Human Connectome Project of 441 young adults, and compared a smaller set of 30 people who met criteria for cannabis abuse with 30 controls. People with heavy cannabis use had abnormally high connectivity in brain regions important for reward processing and habit formation. The same regions have also been pegged in the development of psychosis in previous research. […]

    “These brain imaging data provide a link between changes in brain systems involved in reward and psychopathology and chronic cannabis abuse, suggesting a mechanism by which heavy use of this popular drug may lead to depression and other even more severe forms of mental illness,” said Dr. Cameron Carter, Editor of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.

    The brain alterations were also associated with heightened feelings of negative emotionality, especially alienation, where one feels a sense of hostility or rejection from others. The link points to a potential biological mechanism for why feelings of alienation are often profoundly increased in people with cannabis dependence.

    “Interestingly, the hyperconnectivity was strongest in the individuals who began using cannabis in early adolescence,” said Dr. Manza, which lines up with reports of a higher risk of psychiatric problems when cannabis use begins early in life. Adolescence is a critical period of brain development, making early use of cannabis particularly detrimental. […]

    Cannabis abuse alters activity of brain regions linked to negative emotion: New study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging looks at the effects of heavy cannabis use on brain function and behavior

    The article is “Subcortical local functional hyperconnectivity in cannabis dependence,” by Peter Manza, Dardo Tomasi, and Nora D. Volkow ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bpsc.2017.11.004 ). It appears in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, published by Elsevier.

    While the study’s authors identify high connectivity in certain brain regions, their interpretation of the data is confined to the prohibitionist paradigm that sees any change as harmful.

    For instance, does the fact that symptoms of psychosis appear in common areas of the brain mean that cannabis necessarily leads to psychosis if marijuana affects the same brain areas in terms of connectivity? If heavy marijuana use can lead to depression (or something worse), as Dr. Cameron Carter asserts, why do so many medical marijuana patients use cannabis to counter major depression, sometimes as an adjunct to other anti-depressants such as SSRIs? Don’t feelings of ‘alienation’ occur naturally due to the illegality and social unacceptability of cannabis? Does fear of ‘hostility or rejection from others’ result from marijuana, or are its origins social in nature — feelings that emerge due to legitimate concerns about living in a society among anti-intellectuals exhibiting or promoting drug hysteria, people who take an unscientific path or a fascist approach leading to the elimination or persecution of drug consumers? Do the researchers conflate the introspection marijuana produces with mental illness?

    We can’t expect answers to these questions to come from the NIDA, which has an obligation to prevent itself from being found out in order to ensure its continuance as an apologist for prohibition. Legitimate research is needed, research that doesn’t come with an agenda, or Nora Volkow’s name on it.

    • I say there is method to this laboratory reefer madness. Follow the scans.

      http://www.drugwarrant.com/2017/12/out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new/#comment-287681

      The market: scans on adolescents, young adults, and elderly patients all needing well documented federally subsidized expensive scans and expensive equipment to produce it. Lets piggyback it onto a growing legal cannabis market. They smell the blood of the bull over the top of the safest plant on earth.

      Shades of Bob DuPont. They are creating their own markets. It ensures marijuana is a safe bet no matter which way the chips may fall.

      • jean valjean

        I’m sure you’re right. I suppose we must now add the scanning industrial complex to the long list of vested interest supporters of prohibition. The list of lobbied-up blood suckers grows ever longer. How they must love Nutty Nora, too.

      • Servetus

        The movie Brainscan (1994) – one star from Rotten Tomatoes, a brain scanner in the form of a video game takes over the conscious mind to produce horrifying experiences that seem real.

        In the future, the prison industrial complex will use brain manipulating scanners to recreate entire torture sessions or prison sentences inside the minds of hapless drug consumers subjected to punitive drug treatments. Prisons will shut down, forced out of business by fascist clinicians with brain probes, but at a tremendous cost savings.

        The addiction treatment industrial complex will expand to take over the psych business, forcing thousands of psychologists and psychiatrists out of business—victims of automation and artificial intelligence.

        The various alphabet agencies, NSA, CIA, DHS, ATF, DIA and so forth, will want a piece of our brains. Child protectors will be there, pedophiles beware .

        Overall, the probability of a brain scanner industrial complex taking over society to produce a dystopian future that invokes punishments for thought-crimes is much higher than it’s ever been. The inquisitions prosecuted thought crimes, but were largely thwarted by lacking direct access to a person’s brain to determine who was godly and who wasn’t. That will change. It will become a battle of who scans whom—a scanner war.

        At the very least, the new scanner industry will inspire better movies than Brainscan.

        • Swooper

          you want to post some links to support your seemingly outrageous claims?

        • Servetus

          Sorry, no links. The outrageous conjectures are my own.

        • jean valjean

          Ha ha… good answer Servetus.

        • kaptinemo

          Actually, Servetus, you may find it of interest that the second Outer Limits series of the 1990’s included an episode entitled “The Sentence”, in which a means of virtually simulating a life sentence in prison is devised, with predictably horrific results:

          WikiPedia entry for “The Sentence”

          Given that there are already various technologies being developed which are supposed to be able to detect terrorist potential by scanning people’s faces (The pseudoscience of ‘physiognomy’ reborn?) what you are suggesting (and warning about) cannot be too far off in the future. (See Faception website.)

          And the age-old question that must always be asked also comes to mind: “Who shall police the police?” Technology placed in the hands of authoritarians is always abused; recall that it was IBM punch cards that enabled the SS (as well as the local Polizei) to round up the Jews in Nazi Germany, as their religion was listed along with their addresses in the German census and imprinted on those cards. Hitler’s minions hardly had to break a sweat.

          Any future pogroms targeting other groups (like illegal drug consumers) will no doubt be even less labor-intensive due to advances in technology. It’s said that technology is a two-edged sword, but it only takes one side to cut you, and it always draws blood.

        • Servetus

          Tech has always been used by both sides in conflicts to gain advantages. Armies squelching opponents with radar and frequency hopping and nukes have been the norm since the 1940s.

          As you yourself, Kaptinemo, have noted, prohibs have their back to the wall and will use anything to fight their way out, like rats in a corner. Anticipating the inevitable reactionary response, it becomes all the more critical in a spy v. spy scenario to invoke tech v. tech, or countertech.

          Prohibitionists have no imagination. It takes an imagination to climb out of a mental rut. The bureaucrats are too scared to climb out of anything. Fear is their Achilles heel.

          To its advantage, the fearless Silicon Valley doesn’t support prohibition. Eager coders, techies and entrepreneurs sample low-dose acid to give themselves a creative edge. Marijuana consumption is the norm. Drug consumers will win because they harness the power of drugs. Prohibs will lose because they harness the weaknesses of superstition and repression.

      • DC Reade

        Perhaps the weirdest part is that while the current state of the art in brain scans can show (rather crudely) some patterns of activation, stimulation, suppression, quiescence, dormancy, etc., in animal/human brains that correlate closely with various sorts of physical activity and behavior, the cause and effect relationships are still pretty much more conjecture than clearly outlined cause and effect relationships (which are most likely considerably more intricate than the scanning technology is able to depict, at least at present.)

        It’s also easy for someone clutching a preconceived agenda to misconstrue some of the findings of brain scanning research. Consider some results of recent brain scanning research that show suppression of some specific forms of waking-state brain activity under some conditions:

        There are two main networks in the brain that are quiet – or “deactivated”[….]the default mode network and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). The former comprises a group of brain areas that are generally active when you are daydreaming or resting. It is your brain’s so-called “default” system. While you are daydreaming, you are generally thinking about yourself: reliving past events, imagining future ones, thinking about how you feel or have felt. Meanwhile, the DLPFC is involved in “executive function” – it acts as a control centre that helps with planning and conscious self-monitoring of whatever you are doing…

        Imagine how a finding like that might be interpreted by media reports if that “quiet” and “deactivation” were observed as a result from a study of mind-altering drugs, and the redacted phrase in the quote above after the word “deactivated” read [when someone is high on ‘substance A.’]

        Shock horror! Brain activity diminished! Including suppression in that critically important area- executive functioning!

        But as it happens, that article excerpt wasn’t referring to a brain scan that was studying the effects of any drug; the researchers were attempting to map correlations between brain activity and creative processes like musical improvisation:

        There are two main networks in the brain that are quiet – or “deactivated” – during improvisation: the default mode network and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). The former comprises a group of brain areas that are generally active when you are daydreaming or resting. It is your brain’s so-called “default” system. While you are daydreaming, you are generally thinking about yourself: reliving past events, imagining future ones, thinking about how you feel or have felt. Meanwhile, the DLPFC is involved in “executive function” – it acts as a control centre that helps with planning and conscious self-monitoring of whatever you are doing.

        At first glance, it is puzzling that the default mode network and the DLPFC would be quiet when you are being creative; creativity is the type of behaviour that seems like it would require intensely focusing on yourself, planning and monitoring your actions.

        Well, maybe not – research shows that the brain is shutting down your inhibitions during these creative moments. It appears that to be really creative, you need to avoid critiquing and controlling your actions, and instead, let yourself go in order to get into the moment, regardless of any mistakes… (complete article is found at https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/feb/20/how-brain-freestyles-music )

        To elaborate on Servetus’ point that whenever study on taboo and prohibited drugs is interpreted by Official Authority, “interpretation of the data is confined to the prohibitionist paradigm that sees any change as harmful”: it doesn’t matter what sort of change it is- whether the “connectivity” or “activity” observed and mapped is an increase or a decrease, it’s always wrong. Any change from “baseline parameters”* is viewed as deleterious, if correlated to forbidden substances.

        (*While I’m a fan of brain research, it’s obviously in a very primitive state right now. Only in the last couple of years has the technology advanced to the point where it can monitor some brain changes in mobile subjects who aren’t strapped into machines. So I anticipate that the concept of “normal baseline brain activity” is due to undergo an overhaul, particularly given the fact that the total number of human subjects tested by these intensive experiments is, as yet, miniscule. So while the current state of the art technology has the ability to detect and map grossly abnormal forms of brain activity- especially those connected with anatomical abnormalities and steady-state chronic or permanent dysfunctions- any brain researcher who deduces that the science has therefore managed to determine “the normal” is kidding themselves. Determining the parameters of “normality” for phenomena as dynamic as brain activity is going to take some doing. And even if the research is able to advance to the point where that definition can be approximated, as a basic matter of semantics, the word “abnormal” is still a lot more synonymous with the word “exceptional” than it is with the word “pathological.”)

  • Mr_Alex

    @DdC

    This seems to be true that the US is ahead of New Zealand in terms Cannabis law reform, any advice on which state I should head to as I am due to graduate in New Zealand with a Batchelor in Information Technology (Networking major) which involves installation of routers and switches and the setting up of Local Area Networks and Wide Area Networks

    • jean valjean

      Don’t be in such a hurry…Trump’s USA is not a safe place for immigrants these days.

    • BouzoukiJoe

      Anywhere in Europe is far safer and way more interesting. Greece is very nice.

    • DdC

      Good advice but CA has a ban on Trump entering. We’re spare changing for a wall to keep ugly Americans out. Drumpf is the ugliest American in modern history. We choose succession over Elfboy Sessions.

      The biggest problem with CA or especially Santa Cruz, is the cost of living here. $800k medium average with rent around $2k/mo. Pot’s cheap with a med card but it doesn’t matter much if you have to live outdoors. I’ve managed to live indoors since 1990, so its doable. I remember when I got here I was living off renting my FL house for $200/mo and couldn’t find a closet for that here. I don’t know about the rest of the country these days. Many places are redder than before. I miss FLA but have no intention on moving there with the fascist in charge. They make the rednecks seem peaceful. Like Woody Guthrie said.

      If you ain’t got the do re mi, boys, you ain’t got the do re mi, Why, you better go back to beautiful Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee. California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see; But believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot. If you ain’t got the do re mi.

      If you do, drop me a post. Although I’m checking out houseboats in Tahiti or the Caribbean.

      Another crock about GOPers supporting the troops.

      VA Won’t Study Marijuana’s Effect on Veterans
      http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread29228.shtml

    • jean valjean

      ICE and the absence of human rights for immigrants:

      “….[The] case highlights the heavy-handed and often arbitrary ways that President Donald Trump’s administration has gone about purging the country of undocumented immigrants….. Now, it appears that anyone ― including those, like Adi Othman, who have no criminal history and have played by ICE’s rules for decades ― is fair game.”

      https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/house-blocks-trump-deport-palestinian_us_5a60c754e4b062a7df0bb547?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

  • TheravedicBrown

    The Narcotics Control Board of Thailand is pushing forward with a rewritten draft of the country’s drug laws in order to legalize medical marijuana. The proposed revision, which is currently going through the parliamentary process, will allow medicinal cannabis to be sold over-the-counter for patients with a valid prescription from their doctor.

    The draft is currently on its way to the Cabinet for consideration and will ultimately be voted on by the junta-appointed interim parliament. The move is expected to pass without opposition.

    https://www.marijuana.com/news/2018/01/thailand-is-poised-to-legalize-medical-cannabis/

  • Mr_Alex

    @DdC

    Not sure if this surprises you, last night I was talking to my uncle who used to work for the Hong Kong Police in regards to the Hong Kong Police busting up Cannabis grow ops in Hong Kong, when I asked him what the Hong Kong Police do with the confiscated plants, I was told the plants are either given to Universities or sold to Big Pharma

    • DdC

      Profits over People Mr Alex. Why we haven’t cured anything since Polio. A $300B profit on cancer treatment drugs is why we still have cancer. The dangerous side effects of Ganja is that its a threat to profits. The prophets of fascist. As a lesser evil I guess that’s better than burning them like foreign terrorist’ ISIL or the DEA domestic terrorists do. Ganja is an ECS supplement and reduces the size of the brains fear centers. Prohibition is a staple of Authoritarians to keep the questions from being ask. Until the internet they had it bottled up pretty good. Now the people are learning things that threaten the status weird and they arn’t prone to giving up profits over the well being of the citizens. Ganja and Hemp seeds give the ECS a boost to bring them back to normal parameters. That means less profits for drugs that only treat symptoms. Many tools fascist use that are contrary to their religions and Constitution story. We the Profits is more accurate than We the People.

    • jean valjean

      No disrespect to your uncle, but the police in Hongkong when “Royal” was still part of their name were notoriously corrupt and very much part of the drug trade. Many British born Hongkong police officers were eventually convicted in the 1970s and 80s for bribery and corruption, and were linked to Triad heroin smugglers and other gangsters in HK and Macau.

      • DC Reade

        lol, as we know, Hong Kong is not any great historical anomaly, when it comes to drug corruption and the police:
        https://stopthedrugwar.org/taxonomy/term/27
        That archive is almost entirely just US reports- 70 pages and running over the past 11 1/2 years, since the first entry on June 27, 2006. That news feed cull is undoubtedly incomplete. And those are only the police, “elite” Tac/gang/narcotics squads, prison CIs, sheriffs, judges, US marshals, Customs agents, FBI, DEA, CIA, etc. who got caught…

  • StormyThursday

    We interrupt this thread to warn Mr Alex not to go to Holland:

    https://youtu.be/gcPigrboH0c

  • Servetus

    Crime in New York City continues to fall despite the end of stop-and-frisks:

    https://www.propublica.org/article/in-new-york-crime-falls-along-with-police-stops

    ***
    States that voted for Donald Trump are correlated with the highest rates of opioid use:

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/1/18/1733906/-US-States-that-take-the-most-painkillers-all-voted-for-Trump-What-does-that-tell-you

  • BrownBunghole

    Trump’s 24-year-old drug policy appointee keeps revising important details on his resume.
    Someone should to check where he went to Kindergarten and work forward from there.

    “We were very disappointed in what happened,” O’Dwyer said. He said that he hired Weyeneth in part because both men were involved in the same fraternity, and that the firm invested time training him for what was expected to be a longer relationship. Instead, he said, Weyeneth “just didn’t show.”

    In a résumé initially submitted to the government, Weyeneth said he worked at the firm until April 2016. When an FBI official called as part of a background check in January 2017, the firm said Weyeneth had left eight months earlier than the résumé indicated, O’Dwyer said.

    A spokesman at the Office of National Drug Control Policy — where Weyeneth, 24, is deputy chief of staff — said Weyeneth was unavailable for comment. In replies to The Post, the White House did not address questions about Weyeneth’s work at the law firm.

    https://tinyurl.com/BungHoleXO

  • Servetus

    The US government is accused of marijuana money laundering by Ellen Brown, an attorney and chairman of the Public Banking Institute:

    January 20, 2018…the U.S. government is the largest launderer of marijuana cash in the nation. The IRS accepts this tainted money in the payment of taxes, turning it into “clean” money; and it is not an unwitting accomplice to the crime. Estimates are that marijuana business owners across the U.S. will owe $2.8 billion in taxes to the federal government in 2018.

    The government makes a massive profit off the deal, snatching up to 70 percent of the proceeds of the reporting businesses, as opposed to the more typical rate of 30 percent. It does this by branding marijuana businesses criminal enterprises, which are not entitled to deduct their costs when reporting their income.

    This is not only a clear case of the unequal protection of the laws but is a clear admission by the government that it is knowingly accepting illegal funds. The government is a principal beneficiary of a business the government itself has made illegal.

    Under those circumstances, both marijuana businesses and banks should be able to raise the “unclean hands” defense. As summarized in Kendall-Jackson Winery, Ltd. v. Superior Court (1999):

    The defense of unclean hands arises from the maxim, “He who comes into Equity must come with clean hands.” The doctrine demands that a plaintiff act fairly in the matter for which he seeks a remedy. . . . The defense is available in legal as well as equitable actions. . . . The doctrine promotes justice by making a plaintiff answer for his own misconduct in the action. It prevents a wrongdoer from enjoying the fruits of his transgression.

    The government is enjoying the fruits of money it considers “dirty.” It has unclean hands and should not be allowed to prosecute others for the same crime.[…]

    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/biggest-launderer-marijuana-money-u-s-government/

    • WalStMonky

      .
      .

      All income is subject to the Federal income tax. Just as the people who enforce the law are specifically immunized from criminal liability in the “Controlled” Substances Act, the US Treasury and IRS employees are immunized for actions taken pursuant to their jobs.

      Does anyone recall a man named Al Capone?

      Taxing Income From Unlawful Activities

      • Servetus

        What Ellen Brown may be going for is not retribution against government employees, but rather a tu quoque defense for people in the marijuana industry getting jacked over by the government. If it works, it could mean they get a massive tax refund.

        The tu quoque defense, despite it being a fruit of a logical fallacy, was employed successfully in the Nuremberg trials when German naval commanders were charged with war crimes for not picking up survivors after torpedoing a ship. The problem was the Americans and Allies hadn’t picked up floating survivors either, so neither side could accuse the other of war crimes, creating a kind of legal stalemate.

  • Servetus

    Boston University School of Medicine researchers debunk long-standing prohibitionist propaganda by showing that cannabis consumption doesn’t interfere with human reproduction:

    22-JAN-2018 — Marijuana use–by either men or women–does not appear to lower a couple’s chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

    The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (JECH), was the first to evaluate the link between fecundability–the average per-cycle probability of conception–and marijuana use. […]

    AAAS Public Release: Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

  • WalStMonky

    .
    .

    Governor Scott has signed Vermont’s unregulated re-legalization of cannabis into law.

  • darkcycle

    Well, medical is protected yet again. For the moment. Rohrabacher is retained in the new budget (that they won’t pass).
    https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2018/jan/23/chronicle_am_trump_opioid

  • Servetus

    The opioid dilemma in the US appears to be acting as a social barometer for hard times among agriculturists in rural states. Penn State researchers explain:

    24-JAN-2018 — The overprescribing of opioid-based painkillers may be the main driver of the increased abuse of opioids in rural America, but economists say that other factors, including declining farm income, extreme weather and other natural disasters, may affect a crisis that is killing thousands of citizens and costing the country billions of dollars.

    In a study of relationships between socioeconomic variables and opioid-related drug overdoses, researchers found several correlations that are often not discussed in the current conversation about the nation’s deaths of despair, which includes opioid overdoses, said Stephan Goetz, professor of agricultural and regional economics, Penn State and director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development.

    For example, a higher number of natural disasters experienced historically in a county is correlated with an increase in opioid overdoses, according to the researchers. They used presidentially declared disasters by county from FEMA — the Federal Emergency Management Agency — to determine the effect of natural disasters on opioid deaths. These disasters primarily include weather-related events, such as hurricanes, droughts and floods.

    If climatologists’ warnings are correct, a changing climate could produce more extreme weather patterns, which could then have an effect on opioid overdoses and deaths, said Goetz, who worked with Meri Davlasheridze, assistant professor in marine sciences, Texas A&M at Galveston.

    Income also matters, according to the researchers. For each $10,000 reduction in net income per farm, opioid overdoses rose by 10 percent from a national average of 10.2 deaths per 100,000 people to 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people. Opioid-related deaths are also increasing in rural counties, they added.

    “Our results confirm that economic factors, including income especially and unemployment, as well as population density — or rurality — are important,” said Goetz. “As we are controlling for economic factors, population density appears to play an independent role in accounting for the disparate death rates.” […]

    Because the self-employed have lower rates of overdose, the researchers suggest that self-employment also seems to be a deterrent against the opioid crisis.

    “Sometimes we think of the self-employed, or entrepreneurs as more stressed and as people who might be looking for an escape from those pressures, but that doesn’t appear to be the case in opioid use,” said Goetz.

    The researchers theorize that one reason this wave of opioid deaths may be higher in rural counties is because of the low number of mental-health treatment facilities in those areas and, perhaps, the stigma attached to seeking help in those facilities. […]

    AAAS Public Release: Weather patterns, farm income, other factors, may be influencing opioid crisis

    Deaths of despair might be greatly lessened were farmers allowed to grow hemp for income and marijuana for their own personal use, substituting it for conventional pain meds. Farm states that haven’t done so need to legalize it before all the farmers are pushing up daisies.

  • https://tinyurl.com/y9u28eua

    The Food and Drug Administration on Nov 1 2017 publicly scolded and threatened companies that claimed that marijuana-based products could treat or cure cancer.

    In the harshly worded announcement, the agency suggested that the “deceptive marketing” was tantamount to “health fraud” and that the agency was “increasingly concerned at the proliferation of products claiming to treat or cure serious diseases like cancer.”

    Its almost 2 years since I underwent chemo for aggressive cancer of my prostate that had also metastasized and spread into bone cancer.

    I just completed my third visit to my doctor yesterday since completing the chemo. He told me “well I think the chemo did the trick. Your scans and tests all look good.”
    He set my next visit for May.

    I also happen to be a heavy marijuana user and I use Simson oil regularly since my treatment and diagnosis to treat my cancerous condition.

    I sincerely hope that in the case of cannabis any patients fighting this dread disease of cancer ignore the objections of the FDA. The use of marijuana when treating cancer is up to you, not the 3 letter governmental agencies who do not have a clue and could care less about your life – until they have become forced to accept the highly convincing data to the contrary.

    Waiting for the FDA to be convinced of the anti cancer value of pot before using it IS the biggest crap shoot of your life. Betting on the fact that the FDA is operating in your best interests is a risky and losing bet to take with your own life, IMHO.

    Cannabis works for me. The FDA can go to hell. They are pushing on bad odds and bad advice for cancer patients. Lives are in the balance. If the FDA can’t do any better than this they should shut up.

    The FDA should stop trying to prevent patients whose interests in living diverges greatly from the FDA’s political inclinations to prevent the use of pot.

    • jean valjean

      It’s not as though the FDA could claim to be an impartial player in this game. They clearly have skin in it, and are desperate to preserve the status quo along with federal grants, job security and career development etc. They should be ashamed of themselves for putting their own vested interest before the needs of cancer patients. This is yet another Sinclair Lewis moment, I’m afraid. Corrupt is the only word for the so called Food and Drug Administration.

      • The government has known about the anti cancer properties of cannabis since 1974, I believe. If the government quits filing these studies in their circular file they could actually make a well informed decision that helps individuals rather than scaring them and dashing their hopes into the dirt.

        Their bottom line does not in any way resemble mine as a cancer patient.

      • jean valjean

        OOps sorry, the other Sinclair, Upton.
        “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

    • NorCalNative

      “…Your scans and tests all look good.”

      Thinking Clearly, that’s awesome news. Glad to hear it.

  • DdC

    Doomsday Clock Ticks Closer to Midnight
    http://www.newser.com/s254577

    Corporatism, also known as corporativism, is the sociopolitical organization of a society by major interest groups, known as corporate groups (as well as syndicates, or guilds) such as agricultural, business, ethnic, labour, military, patronage, or scientific affiliations, on the basis of their common interests.

  • jean valjean

    This is how you become an untouchable drug kingpin. Forget about cartels and mass beheadings, this is the shit you need to do:

    Fund the “Sackler Faculty of Medicine”

    “The Sackler family is listed on Forbes 2015 list of America’s Richest Families comes in at a $14 billion. The Sackler family, which owns Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma, flew under the radar when Forbes launched its initial list of wealthiest families in July 2014, but this year they crack the top-20, edging out storied families like the Busches, Mellons and Rockefellers.[2]

    The Sackler family made their wealth in large part by selling the most popular and controversial opioid of the 21st century — OxyContin.

    All of the company’s profits — totaling billions of dollars alone from OxyContin — go to Sackler family trusts and entities. Nine members of the family are on the Purdue board. The family name has been highlighted and celebrated in the world of philanthropy, where the extended Sackler family has donated hundreds of millions of dollars. Museums, hospitals, and other institutions across the world carry the Sackler name as a result. These include the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London; the Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Museum, and the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

    Dr. Richard Sackler, a board member and past president of Purdue Pharma and according to public records is listed as a Trustee of the New York State / American Program.[3] Richard Sackler was deposed last year by the Kentucky attorney general’s office as part of a state lawsuit alleging that Purdue illegally marketed the potent opioid painkiller OxyContin.[4] Secret documents about the marketing of the potent pain pill OxyContin will be unsealed next month under an order issued on May 11 by a Kentucky judge.[5]…”

    Meanwhile countless lesser “drug dealers” endure life without parole sentences. Smells like corruption on a grand scale to me.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sackler_Faculty_of_Medicine

    • DdC

      A member of Trump’s opioid commission calls its work “a charade”
      In an interview with CNN, former Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy said that the opioid commission’s work has been turned into “a charade” and “sham.”

      ✦ Trump’s Wall will Keep Out Drugs?
      All of the company’s profits — totaling billions of dollars alone from OxyContin — go to Sackler family trusts and entities.

      ✦ Cannabis Shown To Ease Symptoms During Opiate Withdrawal

      ✦ Ignorant Jeff. Miner’s Lullaby Drug Overdoses & MMJ

      ✦ Trump Opiod Idiots.jpg

  • DdC

    The Hypocrisy is Staggering

    Tony Perkins: Trump Gets ‘a Mulligan’ on Life
    The Family Research Council head says that evangelical conservatives are willing to overlook Trump’s past behavior so long as he delivers for them on policy.
    ✦ The Assassins of Youth: DARE t FRCn PDFA
    ✦ Stupid Patrick Project ScAM &
    STRAIGHT, INC Terrorist Cartels
    ✦ Calvina Fay Prohibition Inc.
    ✦ Ganjawar Youth League
    ✦ Ignorant Jeff Orders Moral Thing to do. Profit Prisons
    ✦ The Aʂʂ Police
    ✦ DAREyl SWAT Gates, LAPDog Perversions

  • BungholeBill

    Mexico minister backs marijuana legalization in major beach resorts

    Minister Enrique de la Madrid said Mexico could follow the example of the United States and legalize marijuana in areas with support, urging Quintana Roo, where Cancun lies, and Baja California Sur, the home of Los Cabos, to move ahead with it.

    “It’s absurd that we’re not taking this step as a country,” de la Madrid told reporters at a conference in Mexico City.

    “Even if there’s work to do on the whole of the country, I’d like to see that it might be done in Baja California and Quintana Roo,” he added, describing the states as victims of a poor drug law.

    https://tinyurl.com/BungBongBung

  • Tony Aroma

    If 54 Senators (a majority) think the federal government should respect state marijuana laws, why don’t they just de-schedule it? They have the votes, right? Another question I have, if 29 states have some form of legalized marijuana, why isn’t EVERY Senator and Representative from those states voting on legislation to de-schedule? If Congressmen voted in support of their constituents wishes, rather than trying to thwart them, changing federal law would be a done deal.

    Senators And Reps Tell Trump: Keep Marijuana Promise

    A bipartisan group of 54 U.S. senators and House members are joining together with “urgent concern” to ask President Trump to uphold his campaign pledge to respect state marijuana laws.

  • Will

    .
    .
    Dinosaurs still roam among us;

    Rep. Steve Alford cites belief blacks more susceptible to marijuana

    https://tinyurl.com/y7vq5cd9

    “Basically any way you say it, marijuana is an entry drug into the higher drugs,” Alford said. “What you really need to do is go back in the ’30s, when they outlawed all types of drugs in Kansas (and) across the United States.

    “What was the reason why they did that?” he continued to a crowd of about 60 people, none of whom were black. “One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that. And so basically what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to do a complete reverse with people not remembering what has happened in the past.” [emphasis added]

    Those are real gems Steve Alford. Really great stuff.

    [I’ve been out of the loop for the past few weeks. Very limited internet access, no TV, no newspapers. Just now catching up on the ‘news’. -Will]

  • Swooper

    8 Things We Now Know That Happen (and That Don’t Happen) When We Legalize Marijuana

    We can now measure what happens when pot is legalized, and the picture is pretty bright.

    By Phillip Smith / AlterNet
    January 26, 2018, 10:43 PM GMT

    “The great social experiment that is marijuana legalization is now five years old, with six states already allowing legal marijuana sales, two more where legal sales will begin within months, and yet another that, along with the District of Columbia, has legalized personal possession and cultivation of the herb.

    As a number of state legislatures—including Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York—seriously contemplate joining the parade this year, it’s more important than ever to be able to assess just what impact marijuana legalization has had on those states that have led the way.”

    {snip}

    https://www.alternet.org/drugs/8-things-we-now-know-what-happens-when-legalize-marijuana

  • DdC

    A study of people who consumed psilocybin found that “nature relatedness significantly increased and authoritarianism significantly decreased.”
    https://marijuanamoment.us14.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2b103be7b5d7ad4abd40bfebc&id=c2752219d3&e=8bff18e77b

    Conservatives Have Larger ‘Fear Centers’ in Their Brains
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/1690

    Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency
    https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=95659

    Using Pot To Save Brains!
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/601

    Meanwhile

    Vermont Governor Legalizes Marijuana
    https://www.theonion.com/vermont-governor-legalizes-marijuana-1822407743

  • Servetus

    Televangelist Kenneth Copeland sells miracles while opposing the use of far more effective medical cannabis:

    …In 2013, Copeland claimed that PTSD wasn’t a medical condition requiring psychiatric intervention, but a problem that could be solved by being a devout Evangelical Christian.

    “Any of you suffering from PTSD right now, you listen to me,” Copeland added. “You get rid of that right now. You don’t take drugs to get rid of it. It doesn’t take psychology. That promise right there will get rid of it.”

    Copeland, worth an estimated $26.5 million, cited demons flying on commercial airlines to explain his 2015 purchase of a private jet. […]

    https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/army-prayer-breakfast-feature-christian-extremist-who-believes-ptsd-only-impacts

    • jean valjean

      These people are just astonishing (the religious right)…. it’s like a time machine has taken you back to 1690 and the mentality of Salem. America’s crazies are really coming out of the closet now.
      There was also a phase in the 1990s of dismissing PTSD, shell shock, Adverse Childhood Experiences, whatever you want to call it, as “hysteria,” as if it was something new and a fad, and best avoided. These holy rollers cause real damage with their bronze age way of thinking

    • DdC

      Jerry Falwell Jr. wraps up a bad week for evangelicals
      https://www.salon.com/2018/01/26/jerry-falwell-jr-wraps-up-a-bad-week-for-evangelicals/

      [Perkins’] comments went viral, of course, because the word “mulligan” is so evocative and because it seemed that Perkins was admitting what those on the religious right have long denied: They don’t care about sexual morality, per se. That was just the cover story for the real concern of Christian conservatives, which was always to assert the dominance of straight white men over everyone else, to push LGBT people back into the closet and, perhaps most of all, to force women into subservient roles. As long as Trump’s adultery and even his assaults adhered to an ideology where men were in charge and women were submissive, he would be loved by the Christian right. . .

  • jean valjean

    More on the Sackler’s use of cultural smoozing as camouflage for their drug dealing operations:

    “There’s the question about whether Yale or any other university wants to be complicit in the reputation laundering of the donor.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/27/universities-sackler-family-purdue-pharma-oxycontin-opioids

  • DdC

    Dennis Peron, an activist who was among the first people to argue for the benefits of marijuana for AIDS patients and helped legalize medical pot in California, died Saturday at 72.
    Activist who helped legalize medical pot in California, dies

  • Mouthy

    Threatening us:

    Oklahoma Department of health is saying that the state is so strapped for cash, if voters approve medical marijuana this summer, they probably won’t allow it due to lack of funds, though that didn’t stop them from voting to increase the director’s pay to $189,000 while firing lesser workers within the agency.

    If the Bill Passes, Republican State Senator (from Taiwan) Ervin Yen will push through his own special bill to restrict mmj to only those with cancer, chemo, MS, and AIDS. He’s a medical doctor who won’t allow it for longer term pain, PTSD, depression and the like. The same people who disagree with him will still vote for him because of an US vs. THEM kind of mindset in this state. The poor bad mouth them, but refuse to get rid of the party.

    Living here is enough to make one insane. booze, meth and pills offer a job safe alternative to escaping reality of a state that loves swirling around in such a sardonic cycle of a long term demise. If I was to achieve the funds to move to Colorado, the fact I came from this state is more than enough to merit an MMJ card, where the doctor would place me in his lap, petting my head like a scared animals, going “Shhh, it’s all right now.”

    RIP Ursula K Le Guin

    • jean valjean

      PTSD and A.C.E should be an automatic indicator for the therapeutic use of cannabis. (In Taiwan under Chang Kai-Shek they’d shoot you if you had a red nose. About as far right as you can go. No wonder this so called doctor’s prejudices are getting in the way of his patients’ well being.)

      • DdC

        Racism is a reason to lock up people. Or stigmatize them into a pigeon hole and then cage them. Same as Ganja Prohibition. Both fear mongering the sheep. To make them feel safe knowing the proclaimed bad guys are in cages. The media reads memo’s to the sheep and they bleat. Now it’s not just kickback from guvmint cages tax dollars. It’s a business with max cap contracts ALEC lobbied for. They need people to fill the jail cells or pay tax dollars for empty jail cells. Thats no incentive to build more cages. Why in hell would prohibition profiteers want to make it easier to loose money? Of coarse Ganja is better, cheaper and has none of the side effects that produce more profits. We the Profits, not We the People as written in the fairy tale Bill of Reichs.

        Same as “treating” sick people’s symptoms rather than teach prevention and find cures. Or stop using what is known to do harm and create sick people like Monsanto poisons. No “doctor” has ever sat in an Endocannabinoid class in any US medical school. But that doesn’t stop the propaganda channels from hiring them as experts excerpting reefer madness. Fill in the blanks but the common denominator is profits. Slaves were nothing more than cheap labor. When the Industrial Revolution produced tractors. Lincoln “freed” the slaves. Rockefeller lobbied for the 18th Amendment to monopolize and sell his crude oil gasoline. Electric Trolleys bought up by the Oil Industrial Complex. Gutting maintenance till the trains didn’t run on time. Again when Enron bought up CA power plants and gutted the maintenance. Brown outs, Grey out and Arno in. Its real fascism or corporatism and none of it is supposed to make sense. Chaos seldom does.

        ‘Trump’s First Year: Reign of Chaos’

      • Mouthy

        I wish I had a bag of Woody Guthrie’s ashes and could dump him on the floor to summon his help during moments like this. I worked with Jerry Garcia’s ashes in that movie.