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Join us on Pete's couch., the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
March 2015
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Friday thread

I’m heading back from New York later today — it’s been a crazy and busy week with a group of college students, doing walking tours and seeing theatre.

I hope to get back to some new posting today or tomorrow. In the meantime, you need a new open thread.

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Open Thread

I’m in New York all week with my students, so posting will be sporadic. Check the comments here as the couchmates will likely keep you well informed, if I drop the ball a bit.

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INCB’s pathetically late and weak call to stop killing people

UN Narcotics Agency Calling for Abolition of Death Penalty

the INCB’s annual report, which was published on Tuesday, board members encourage all “states which retain and continue to impose the death penalty for drug-related offenses to consider abolishing the death penalty.”

Encourage to consider? Wow. They blatantly condemn Colorado for pot, but finally, after decades of criticism, work up the nerve to encourage to consider not killing people.

Of course, the INCB has had a hand in all the deaths that have come about as a result of the drug war, as they’ve been egging these countries on to get tougher about drugs.

The INCB reminds me somewhat of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation – a fictional organization in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which were described as ‘a bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came’.

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Stupid prohibition tricks

bullet image As many of you are now aware, yet another lawsuit has been filed against legalization of marijuana in Colorado. This one by Sheriffs in Colorado and neighboring states. The sheriffs claim that they’s been substantially and irreperably harmed, because they don’t know what to do when they encounter marijuana.

When these Colorado Sheriffs encounter marijuana while performing their duties,including under such circumstances as described in the foregoing paragraph, each is placed in the position of having to choose between violating his oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and violating his oath to uphold the Colorado Constitution. […]

Each of the Colorado Sheriffs is aware that the CSA authorizes him to seize controlled substances as contraband, including any and all marijuana he encounters during thecourse of performing his duties, and to deliver such contraband to agents of the federal government for forfeiture and destruction. […]

If a Colorado Sheriff acts on this alternative, he will be in violation of his duty to uphold the Colorado Constitution.

Really? That’s your argument?

But this one is full of delicious outrageousness. Check out this truly tortured moment where they show they have absolutely no awareness of the history of this country:

The opportunity that federal law provides for participation by state and local officials does not mean that states are permitted to enact their own controlled-substances policies and regulatory regimes that conflict with the national controlled-substances policy. The formulation of policy for controlling and regulating these controlled substances and for balancing of controlled-substances regulation, possession, and distribution priorities is a matter exclusively reserved for the federal government. Such regulations do not fall within the state’s traditional police powers and remain the exclusive province of the federal government.

Hmmm, could you, perhaps, quote the part of the Constitution that gives the federal government, and not the states, the power to police drugs?

Fortunately, not all sheriffs are corrupt idiots. Check out this great interview with Bill Masters: A Colorado sheriff responds to peers’ pot lawsuit: ‘I don’t get it.

It’s not about the constitution. It’s about marijuana. To say it’s about anything else isn’t being completely candid with everyone. It’s about marijuana. If this was about firearms and Colorado had more liberalized firearm laws than the ATF had to enforce, then these sheriffs wouldn’t be in such a state of conflict.

bullet image In other news, Kevin Sabet interviewed new Drug Czar Michael Botticelli: Why New White House Drug Policy Chief Opposes Medical Pot, Legalization

Now a lot has been made of the fact that Botticelli is a recovering addict, and there are those who have noted that this is likely to make him more sympathetic to those who are struggling with similar issues. But the problem is that it makes him completely unable to consider the majority of the population that uses drugs non-problematically.

Here’s a really telling moment in the interview:

Botticelli: “As a person in recovery, I don’t want to be walking down the street and smell marijuana smoke. I don’t want to be walking down the street and see one more temptation because there is a marijuana dispensary down the street. We are already inundated through every vehicle in this society about issues around substance use and using drugs. I, as a person in recovery, don’t want more of that. I want less of it.”

That’s right. He wants to continue to arrest people for non-problematic use of marijuana, because it bothers him to smell it or see it.

That’s our drug czar.

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Thoughts on a wonderful thing.

The drug policy reform movement is about ending a set of prohibition policies that cause corruption, destruction and death in just about every aspect of society. It’s not about people wanting to get high.

And yet, I’m sometimes annoyed by the amount of energy we end up expending just debunking junk science and defending cannabis as being not that dangerous, when we should be able to talk more about the positives of responsible use. Even in places where pot has been legalized in this country, they’ve been ridiculously strict about where and how it can be used, like it should be some kind of solitary, shameful activity.

And that’s wrong.

I want to get high and see great modern dance, so I can, for a moment, partially suppress my analytical mind and better immerse myself in the abstract stories being told in movement. I want to smoke a joint with friends on the sidelines of a soccer field, enjoying the beautiful sunny day and the constant joyful patterns of athletic movement.

I want to hang out in a comfortable lounge with intelligent stoned folks discussing philosophy and time travel. And I want to play Cards Against Humanity with them and forget whose turn it is.
I want to play music. I want to play the piano and jam with percussion, bass, and guitar — not for a paying audience (where I’d be paranoid about “performing”), but just for us and good friends. And I want to let cannabis slow down the time as it has for musicians throughout the ages and let us luxuriate in that space between the beats, which is where jazz truly lives.

I want to get high while hiking through nature, and experience the sights, the sounds, the smells. To sit in a gazebo while a spring rain falls. To stand on a pedestrian bridge at night while a train goes under me (OK, I might want shrooms for that).

I want to have a gourmet cannabis barista help me select just the right strain that will be perfect for a Sci-Fi film or a steak dinner, and also have that one batch that I keep in a drawer and only bring out to savor on a special ocassion, just like I might with an aged Gouda, or a scotch from Islay.

I don’t want to get stoned every day. I don’t want to be baked. I don’t want to be sitting on my couch slack-jawed covered with Cheetos stains while the final heartbeat in Dark Side of the Moon pulses in the surround sound…. OK, yes, I do want to do that last bit, but just once in a while.

But I’m not doing any of those things. I’m writing about corruption in the criminal justice system, the financial self-interest of those on both sides of the drug war, the propaganda paid for by our tax dollars, the people dying from unregulated drugs, the wasted lives in prison, the destruction of rights, the failures of international policy, and the feckless cowardice of elected officials.

I will continue to fight to end the scourge of prohibition. But we can’t stop with just putting fewer people in jail. It’s not enough to convince people that these drugs aren’t the satan-spawn depicted in prohibition’s lurid propaganda porn. No, we need to realize that responsible use of drugs can, in itself, be a very wonderful thing.

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Legalization support continues to rise

The latest of polls to now show a majority supporting marijuana legalization.

Majority favors marijuana legalization for the first time, according to nation’s most authoritative survey

For the first time, the General Social Survey — a large, national survey conducted every two years and widely considered to represent the gold standard for public opinion research — shows a majority of Americans favoring the legalization of marijuana. […]

The strong numbers in the latest General Social Survey indicate that the issue isn’t losing salience with the public. At the national level, support for legal marijuana remains robust — and doesn’t show signs of wavering any time soon.

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Why do they call them “Jolly” Ranchers?

Over at the Watch, Radley has a partial list of substances that have tested positive for illegal drugs with field testing kits.

  • Sage
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Motor oil
  • Spearmint
  • Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap
  • Tortilla dough
  • Deodorant
  • Billiards chalk
  • Patchouli
  • Flour
  • Eucalyptus
  • Breath mints
  • Loose-leaf tea
  • Jolly Ranchers

Go to the story for links on each.

Just a warning to all you home cooks, mechanics, pool sharks, and odor-conscious humans out there.

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Crack babies from marijuana smoke

The Fox News Medical A-Team: Fox News doctor: ‘Crack babies’ come from women ‘smoking this whole marijuana business’

“We’re seeing in Colorado that we had 13 kids that came to the emergency [room] and ended up in the ICU as a result of overdose from marijuana,” Samadi said. “Now we have crack babies coming in because pregnant women are smoking this whole marijuana business.”

For those who were wondering, “Now we have crack babies coming in because pregnant women are smoking this whole marijuana business” is apparently some kind of official medical jargon.

Mr. T would pity this fool.

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Washington, DC. February 26, 2015


Oh, wait…

No, that was Washington, DC in 1814. Sorry.

My bad.

Ah, here we go.


Um… no.

That’s from the fictional movie “Independence Day.”


Where are all the scenes of destruction from today’s cataclysm?

DC Legalizes Pot, Ignoring House Republicans

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Comparing drugs

A number of people have been talking about this article: How scientists rank drugs from most to least dangerous — and why the rankings are flawed.

I understand the concerns about rankings. Certainly, there are a lot of different ways to make comparisons, and broad charts of relative dangers are not scientifically exhaustive in their detail.

I would, however, argue for more use of rankings and broad comparisons, for the purpose of helping consumers put things in proper perspective.

Too often, government officials and other prohibition-enablers have avoided comparisons in order to mislead the public about the dangers of specific drugs.

For example, every thing that the government has ever said about marijuana and driving would sound completely different if they were required to put it in perspective as a comparison with alcohol.

We know full well that if you really want to, you can make anything sound dangerous. (See Dihydrogen Monoxide.) Especially with the push of such agencies as NIDA, you can find a study about any specific drug that will say something “scary.”

Our government bombards the public with all sorts of scary stuff about specific drugs, and consumers don’t know what to believe. Context is essential.

Let’s have more comparisons, even though they may be imperfect, not fewer.

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