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April 2014
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Desperately Seeking Calamity

One of the things we knew would be part of the first legalization efforts was that prohibitionists would be poised to pounce on the first idiot to do something stupid in connection with legal marijuana.

And yes, we’ve had our first one: a 19-year-old, after eating a pot cookie, apparently got hostile and jumped off a balcony to his death. (‘Cause you know that’s what always happens when people do pot.)

So this ridiculous article in the Los Angeles Times is no surprise: Student’s death in Colorado raises question on pot and health

Authorities are calling the incident the state’s first marijuana-related death since Colorado legalized sales of recreational marijuana at the beginning of the year to those over 21.

The case has become a grim exhibit in a growing case file as Colorado health officials wonder whether, in the rapid rollout of legalized marijuana, adequate attention was paid to potential health risks of its use, especially in the little-scrutinized area of edible marijuana.

The thing is, when you’re talking about millions of people, shit happens. Sometimes its completely inexplicable. It’s not like we’re thinking “Oh, yeah, forgot about that side effect where people get hostile and leap off a balcony.”

So naturally, you’ve got two things going right now… Prohibitionists getting a little too excited about this death (Prohibitionists Ghoulishly Savor ‘Marijuana Death’ in Denver) and Kevin Sabet calling out legalizers for not discussing it.

Silence among legalizers about CO’s first post-legalization marijuana related death is striking. “Ban banana peels then!” deserves no reply.

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If only

Reason put together this video on April Fools Day, and even though that’s well past, I thought you should see it if you haven’t. Not only is it a fine dream of what officer interactions with the public should be like, but a good reminder on rights.

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Stupid People Quotes

“Each day another state makes it O.K. for my 18-year-old — any 18-year-old — to go and buy pot like he’s buying a Pepsi-Cola”Rob Lowe

Um, no.

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The action of inaction

As the inevitability of cannabis legalization continues to grow (which will then allow us to work on the important larger picture of the legalization and regulation of all drugs), we’re, interestingly, hearing fewer concerns about the “uncertainties” that exist.

Remember the arguments? We can’t legalize marijuana because we don’t know what will happen with “x” (addiction, driving impairment, etc., etc.). And yes, they do still pop up, but every day they become less potent.

But those never were valid arguments.

The notion that we shouldn’t make public policy when we don’t “know” the answers to basic questions seems like a good idea, except that in this case we had already made the public policy — criminalization. And we already know that criminalization as a public policy causes a lot of destruction.

Uncertainty is never a sufficient answer for not legalizing. Inaction in this case is promoting the ongoing action of prohibition.

We’re driving down a dangerous road at 100 miles an hour and we’re told we shouldn’t stop because we don’t know what will happen.


On a completely separate topic, I was struck by this headline: Treating Drug Abuse as a Disease, Not a Crime

This seems to me to be a false dichotomy. I want a third choice. After all, there are serious problems with the disease model of addiction.

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Toxicity becoming apparent

Times have changed.

Even police organizations are coming to realize that they want protection before climbing into bed with Calvina Fay and her ilk.

Oregon State Police withdraws from anti-marijuana summit

The Oregon State Police has withdrawn from an anti-marijuana conference scheduled for later this month after the police superintendent learned the event is closed to the public. [...]

Billed as the 2014 Oregon Summit, the event is closed to the public and to media. In previous years, organizer Shirley Morgan, of the Mt. Hood Coalition Against Drug Crime, has refused to allow The Oregonian to cover the event. [...]

According to the convention brochure, other sponsors include: the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association, the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police, the Oregon Narcotics Enforcement Association, the Oregon District Attorneys Association, Drug Watch International and Save our Society from Drugs.

Calvina Fay, executive director of Drug Free America Foundation, described in the convention brochure as a “fiscal agent” of the Mt. Hood Coalition Against Drug Crime, also will speak at the event.

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Yes, it’s past time to eliminate the DEA

The DEA is becoming more anachronistic every day, and yet it has tremendous power and has historically been almost completely unaccountable.

They’re fighting hard now, though, to maintain their position. They know that without marijuana as part of their scope, they couldn’t get close to the same amount of budget they have now.

DEA Chief: Marijuana Legalization Just’Makes Us Fight Harder’

Wolf then asked Leonhart whether DEA agents have been feeling demoralized as a result of the legalization.

“Actually, it makes us fight harder,” Leonhart replied.

Leonhart also implied that voters in Washington and Colorado had been misled about the benefits of legalizing marijuana. […]

Leonhart claimed that Mexican drug cartels are “setting up shop” in Washington and Colorado in anticipation of a black market. “Whatever the price will be set in Washington and Colorado, criminal organizations are ready to come in and sell cheaper,” Leonhart said. She claimed that many marijuana shops get their supplies from growing operations controlled by cartels.

The DEA administrator also referred to efforts in the Netherlands to prevent foreign tourists from obtaining marijuana, saying that it showed the country was having second thoughts about its marijuana policies. That change, she said, should have served as a warning to the United States.

“We should’ve learned from that and never gone forward with what we’ve seen in this country,” Leonhart said.

It’s really pathetic.

Oh, yeah, and she tried to get animal lovers on her side…

DEA Chief: Please, Think Of The Dogs Before You Legalize Pot

“There was just an article last week, and it was on pets. It was about the unanticipated or unexpected consequences of this, and how veterinarians now are seeing dogs come in, their pets come in, and being treated because they’ve been exposed to marijuana,” Leonhart said. […]

Leonhart was referencing a story in USA Today which noted that the effects of marijuana could make it more difficult for a dog to breathe or vomit up a product that could kill them, like butter. The USA Today article noted, however, that on its own “marijuana itself isn’t particularly harmful to dogs,” and that dogs typically won’t eat marijuana by itself.

This is the quality of testimony from the head of the DEA to Congress.

I just finished giving a budget presentation in my organization to upper administration. I would never even think of presenting material so ridiculously weak and self-serving in one of my presentations. I’d probably be fired if I did.

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Big Marijuana – a billion dollar business

The shame of equitable sharing

Nationwide, the Wall Street Journal reported the federal government scored $1 billion in forfeiture from marijuana cases over the past decade.

Legalization now threatens that forfeiture revenue for the police departments that have relied on it. Legal cannabis and the subsequent drop in forfeiture have already caused one drug task force in Washington to cut its budget by 15 percent. That’s great news for due process and property rights.


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Just when you think the U.S. is finding its soul…

I was so impressed by this: United States Withdraws Radar Assistance in Honduras

The US Embassy in Tegucigalpa today confirmed that the Obama administration has decided to suspend radar assistance that helps the Honduran government detect narco-planes. The decision follows the creation of the Law on Protection of Airspace, which authorizes the Honduran Air Force to shoot down any aircraft in its airspace that is suspected of being used by drug traffickers.

Wow, I thought. Has the U.S. finally learned the lesson from the deaths of
Veronica and Charity Bowers?

And then I read…

According to officials, the concern was because in some cases, these “narcoavionetas” could be undercover agents of U.S. intelligence.

Ah.

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Exonerated

Our School of Theatre is currently producing “The Exonerated” by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen — a play based on the true stories of six exonerated death row inmates.

I saw it tonight – a very powerful and moving performance with outstanding performances by our student actors. I saw it before in New York, but this production still hit me hard.

In conjunction with this production, the hallways are filled with birds — each one representing an exonerated prisoner.

image

One of the important messages of the play is that it’s easy for people to sit back and delude themselves that this kind of injustice can’t happen, or that it’s not their job to fix… but you can’t do that.

Important stuff.

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Not even trying to be police

This isn’t particularly unusual, yet it still caught my eye:

Chiefs of police oppose marijuana legalization, expansion of dispensaries

The Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police issued a statement in March saying it opposes expanding the availability of marijuana in Vermont.

Police believe their concerns about health risks, highway safety and employment issues related to marijuana have been ignored by the governor and lawmakers.

Why are the Chiefs of Police attempting to advise the governor and lawmakers on issues of health in the state? Why are the Chiefs of Police advising the governor and lawmakers on issues of employment in the state? Doesn’t anyone in the media or in government question this?

It’s absurd. We don’t have the heads of the postal service in their official capacity expressing concerns about the effect of policies on farming.

Highway safety? Sure. Go ahead and knock yourself out. But bring the facts, not just scare tactics.

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