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Join us on Pete's couch. is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
January 2015
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Thought for Charlie

It’s baffling to me that we have such insane restrictions on the use of drugs, and yet we let absolutely anybody use religion.

Sure, the vast majority of people who use religion do so responsibly, and in a way that is fulfilling for themselves, but the same is true of those who use drugs.

So why is it that those who are willing to lock up all drug users because of the apparent destructive impulses of a tiny minority, are not calling for the same thing for religion users?

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Unwilling to face reality, we just throw more money at it

Obama reaffirms U.S. support of embattled Mexican President after closed door meeting

Despite pressure from protest groups in both the United States and Mexico, it appears that nothing much will change in terms of Washington’s anti-drug support to its southern neighbor following a meeting between President Barack Obama and his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto. […]

“Our commitment is to be a friend and supporter of Mexico in its efforts to eliminate the scourge of violence and the drug cartels that are responsible for much of the tragedy inside of Mexico,” Obama said. “We want to be a good partner in that process while recognizing that ultimately it will be up to Mexico and its law enforcement to carry the key decisions that need to be made.”

The U.S. has to date provided $2.1 billion to Mexico to combat drug trafficking in the country under the Mérida Initiative – which is pejoratively known as “Plan Mexico.” While the Initiative is loosely modeled after a similar effort in Colombia, many critics claim that it is doing more harm than good – citing as evidence the widespread corruption in Mexico’s civil police forces and a soaring murder rate since its implementation.

Hey, why change your approach when you’ve got one that’s failed so spectacularly for so many years?

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Marijuana legalization is not the third rail of politics

The tide has shifted over the years, and, while all the politicians may not yet realize it, they’re smarter to hitch their wagons to legalization than prohibition.

Councilwoman Resigns Amid Backlash for Anti-Marijuana Vote

Days after officials in Columbia, Missouri certified that activists collected enough signatures to force a recall vote on a city councilwoman after she reversed her support for decriminalizing marijuana cultivation, she has resigned. […]

Chadwick had been targeted by a coalition of activists upset with her reversal on two issues. Despite supporting the decriminalization of growing marijuana during her campaign, she voted against it once seated on the Council. And she angered many voters by helping to broker a deal for a new student housing development after initially opposing the project. Together, groups working on those issues turned in more than enough signatures to force a recall vote that would have taken place in April. […]

“Chadwick made a mistake fairly typical of politicians. Quite simply, she underestimated the degree to which marijuana policy reform motivates constituents,” Amber Langston, deputy director of Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, told in an interview. […]

Chadwick “thought she could appeal to the majority by saying she was in support, but didn’t count on that same majority holding her accountable for failing to stick to her word,” Langston said. […]

The episode is an indication that the politics of marijuana have significantly shifted. Whereas the issue was once the butt of jokes and seen by most politicians as too risky to touch for fear of being labeled “soft on crime,” reform now has majority voter support and legalization has been approved in four states and Washington, D.C.

“Chadwick’s recall effort and resulting resignation show that marijuana is anything but the third rail issue it used to be,” said Langston. “Instead, this discussion cannot be avoided any longer in the political arena. Hopefully this will be a lesson to other public representatives that the tide has turned on cannabis prohibition in Missouri.”

Good for Amber and the other activists involved!

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Same team

This bizarre article in the Washington Post seemed unaware of its own implications.

In fight against drugs, Cuba and U.S. on same team

Cuba is surrounded by countries used as cartel way stations. But it has distinguished itself as a tough place to traffic drugs — and also an unlikely behind-the-scenes partner with its decades-long rival, the United States.

While the U.S. and Cuban governments have squared off over politics and the American economic embargo for generations, they have also quietly cooperated on drug-enforcement issues […]

In the eyes of U.S. counternarcotics officials, many of America’s closest neighbors regularly receive failing grades for their efforts to stop the drug trade. Mexico, where 100,000 have died in drug-related violence over the past eight years, remains “a major transit and source country for illicit drugs destined for the United States,” according to a 2014 State Department report. In Jamaica, drug-related corruption is “entrenched” and “widespread,” while in Guatemala, “transnational drug trafficking organizations are able to move drugs, precursor chemicals and bulk cash with little difficulty,” the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report states.

But the same report offers rare praise for America’s longtime communist foe.

Wow. Apparently, all those people died in Mexico because they weren’t pure enough drug warriors like the U.S. and Cuba.

Cuba’s reputation now — of omnipresent police, strict punishment for drug crimes and low demand from users — contrasts sharply with its pre-revolution heyday. Before the Castros came to power, Havana’s nightclubs and casinos had the full range of illicit substances, and opium dens were a fixture of the city’s once-bustling Chinatown. Soon after taking over in 1959, Fidel Castro and his rebel army shut down the casinos, imposed draconian drug laws, and sent addicts and others to Marxist reeducation camps for hard labor. While American hippies grew their hair long and indulged in pot-fueled paeans to Che Guevara, the real communists in Cuba came to associate recreational drug use with ideological deviation and other political taboos.

So, what you’re saying is, the U.S. today, unlike the hippies of decades ago, is more akin to the real communists in Cuba.

“Cuba’s a police state, and I don’t believe the Cuban government wants to be a hub for drug smugglers,” said Barry McCaffrey, a retired general who served as the White House drug czar during the Clinton administration and is a former commander of the U.S. military’s Southern Command, which focuses on Latin America. “They saw it as a threat to their children, the work force, their economy, their government.”

Again, wow.

Cuba is like us when it comes to the drug war, because they’re a police state.

The article is so unwittingly true.

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The broccoli fraud

Broccoli has been marketed and sold as food that has health benefits to the user, with the idea that people should eat it in order to get their servings of vegetables, and as a good source of Protein, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Selenium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium and Manganese.

Well, guess what? I eat it because I like it — not for any of those reasons above. In fact, I’m getting most of that stuff from other foods and wouldn’t need to eat broccoli at all, but I do anyway because I like it. Sometimes I cook with it just to have the color green in the dish.

Yep. That’s right. Broccoli as a healthy food is a fraud, because it’s being used for other purposes. Oh, sure, there are some people who benefit from its healthy characteristics, but there’s a whole lot who eat it cause it tastes good.

That’s about as absurd as Mark Kleiman’s latest attack on “medical marijuana in scare quotes.”

Some sick people get relief from whole cannabis, but “medical marijuana” is a political fraud, and the “medical marijuana” business is mostly a sham, with most of the volume going to non-medical users – many of them with diagnosable cannabis use disorder – and resellers.

Who the fuck cares?

The key thing is the very first sentence fragment: “Some sick people get relief from whole cannabis.” Period. The rest is just posturing and nonsense.

Remember, there are two ways that medical marijuana can be used politically. One, where they allow sick people to legally get the medicine recommended by their doctor, and also end up with many others finding a way to get this recreational drug from a safer source than criminals. And two, where they callously deny sick people something that could, in some cases, save their lives (or at least improve the quality of their life), in order to continue a failed and destructive policy of prohibition. The two aren’t even closely comparable on the scale of evil.

Mark also declares:

…the variation in natural cannabis means that “marijuana” isn’t the name of a medicine; a medicine is a material of known chemical composition that has been shown in clinical trials to be safe and effective in the management of some condition in some group of patients.

In this way, he decides to define “medicine” as “not-marijuana” — a trick that’s been used by the government for decades.

(‘Gee, they found more medical uses for marijuana — I guess we’ll just have to re-define medicine once again to exclude it. A plant isn’t medicine. Medicine isn’t smoked. Medicine doesn’t have multiple compounds. Medicine isn’t medicine unless the pharmaceutical companies can patent it and make a profit off it.’)

Well, the FDA and Congress aren’t the only ones who can define the word “medicine” (thank God!)

Marijuana (or more properly, cannabis) is, in fact, the name of a medicine. It also happens to be a pretty damned good recreational drug.

And, it could add some green to my dishes.

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Happy New Year!

Here’s wishing a truly great year to all of our DWR family. Let’s take some more stellar steps forward in ending this drug war.

An extra special thanks to a few of you who so generously made an end-of-the-year contribution to Drug WarRant. I don’t do much asking for funds here, and don’t wish you to contribute if you can’t afford it, but I do want you to know that it’s very much appreciated and goes toward paying hosting costs.

bullet image Update on the Westboro Baptist Church picketing. After my post, the Church actually tweeted a thank you to us.

The church did show up to picket, but were heavily outnumbered by supporters of marijuana legalization, and skipped out without going to their second stop.

Many of the counter-protesters weren’t there to take the church seriously, Denver Relief Consulting’s Joseph said, rather they were supporting the pot shops.

“I don’t know that the mass majority takes (Westboro Baptist Church) too seriously,” she said, “but for me it was important to be there — not as a practical protest, because it’s hard to take them seriously, but to show support to the dispensary owners. And they were glad we were there – they were thankful.”

bullet image The Daily Signal inexplicably decided to start off the new year with Kevin Sabet: Will Legal Pot Cut Unfair Drug Arrests? One Opponent’s Take

Here’s the video:

Really lame. Basic take: He doesn’t think we should arrest marijuana users, but says there’s a better way (which he won’t, of course, explain) than legalization, which (again without any evidence) he says will result in a repeat of the last 100 years of tobacco. Apparently legalization will cause marijuana to be just like tobacco and cause us to forget everything we’ve learned about tobacco in the modern age.

bullet image More evidence that the U.S. government is so committed to its drug war that it is regularly involved in, or complicit in, killing those involved in trafficking.

Leaked Documents Show the US Used Drone Strikes to Target Afghan Drug Lords

The latest documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal that US drone strikes in Afghanistan weren’t limited to just al Qaeda and Taliban leaders — they also targeted drug dealers accused of supporting the insurgency.

The papers, obtained by German news magazine Der Spiegel, include a “kill list” that once contained as many as 750 names, including many mid- and lower-level members of the Taliban involved in drug trafficking.

According to the documents, NATO defense ministers decided in October 2008 to start treating Afghan drug lords with ties to the Taliban insurgency as “legitimate targets.”

“Narcotics traffickers were added to the so-called Joint Prioritized Effects List (JPEL) for the first time, allowing them to be targeted for strikes,” one NSA document states.

Iran defends high execution rate for drugs crimes

An Iranian official has defended the regime’s soaring execution rate for drugs offences under so-called ‘moderate’ President Hassan Rouhani.

Mohammadreza Habibi, the head of judiciary in Yazd province, said ‘no sentence can replace death verdict’
as a means of reducing drug trafficking across the country.

He added: “There are some who are critical of the execution of drug traffickers. These should know that if there is no firmness and execution, drugs would be easily distributed across the country.” […]

The London-based Reprieve organization recently published a detailed report on how the aide provided to Iran by UN member states help Iran to carry out executions.

bullet image If you haven’t read about the death of Jason Westcott yet, you need to read this.

Police Informant Says His Lies Killed a Harmless Pot Smoker

It is therefore hard to know what to make of Jamison’s disturbing story, in which Coogle blames his police handlers for fabrications that resulted in the death of a harmless pot smoker named Jason Westcott during a drug raid last May. But one thing seems clear: The cops recklessly relied on Coogle’s highly questionable word as long as he was helping them makes busts, turning against him only after he accused them of misconduct. Now the police department argues that Coogle is utterly unreliable except when it comes to providing evidence against Westcott and other drug suspects.

The drug war incentivizes the use of potentially unreliable snitches to determine what could be life-and-death situations, while also incentivizing lies.

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War is over!

Obama Welcomes End Of The Longest War In American History

Finally, we’re ending the drug war!

President Barack Obama says the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.

Obama is welcoming the end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan. The war came to a formal end Sunday with a ceremony in Kabul.


That war.

Thats great, and all, but it’s certainly not the longest war in American history.

Carry on.

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Year in review

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. My mom decided to celebrate by falling off a chair and breaking her leg, so I got to spend a lot of quality time with her over the past few days visiting with her in the hospital. She’s doing OK, but will have a full-length cast on her leg for some time.

So all of you readers who are advancing in years, remember that your bones aren’t as supple anymore and really be careful out there.

This is a time when we’ll start seeing a lot of year-in-review pieces. And it’s been a big year for drug policy reform.

Here are a couple already.

bullet image Five Drug Scares in 2014 by Jacob Sullum.

The history of drug control in America is a series of panic-propelled policies, most of which have not turned out very well. Those of us who support a calmer, more tolerant approach to psychoactive substances therefore spend much of our time defusing scares aimed at justifying or expanding the government’s role in policing our bloodstreams.

bullet image The Year in Drug Policy: Movement at a crossroads by Alfonso Serrano at Al Jazeera.

The 43-year-old war on drugs had never seen such a barrage of opposition as it did in 2014, with successful marijuana legalization initiatives in several U.S. states, California’s historic approval of sentencing reform for low level drug offenders and world leaders calling for the legal regulation of all drugs — all of which cement the mainstream appeal of drug policy alternatives and offer unprecedented momentum going into 2015.

What are your favorite drug policy moments of 2014?

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Marijuana has finally made it

Poor cannabis – for so many years, despite being extremely prevalent in use, it just couldn’t get any respect.

All that’s about to change:

Westboro Baptist Church hates pot: controversial Church to picket Marijuana shops in Colorado

The controversial church plans to picket Pueblo West Organics located on 609 E. Enterprise Drive and Marisol Therapeutics on 922 E. Kimble Drive.

The church claims marijuana shops are associated with sorceries because of their link to the drug trade.

Anything they picket turns to gold. Look what happened when they started picketing gays. Suddenly gay rights seemed like an incredibly good idea.

You really can’t buy this kind of help.

From Westboro’s schedule of picketing:

Pueblo West Organics (a/k/a Weed Store :( in Pueblo West, CO December 29, 2014 1:15 PM – 1:45 PM
Westboro Baptist Church will picket Pueblo West Organics, to warn the living – it is a most dire warning … GOD HATES YOUR SORCERIES!

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. (Rev. 18:21-24)

Sorceries – pharmakeia far-mak-i?-ah sorcery witchcraft 1; 3

1) the use or the administering of drugs

2) poisoning

3) sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it

4) metaph. the deceptions and seductions of idolatry
Do you see yourselves in that promised coming destruction foolish USA?

Doomed USA leads the world in your illegal drug trade. As if that were not bad enough, now the government sanctions those drugs. You bring down the wrath of God upon you! God Almighty will get his honor in your destruction! Westboro Baptist Church rejoices at the promised coming full, complete, final destruction! God is true and every man a liar. The mouth of the Lord has spoken of this event, so it WILL be!



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Open thread

bullet image More on the lawsuit by Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Nebraska and Oklahoma are misreading Raich By Randy Barnett.

are Nebraska and Oklahoma just Fair-weather Federalists? By Jonathan Adler

bullet image Quote of the day from Radley Balco:

It’s possible to both be appalled by senseless executions of cops, and angry at unjustified killings by cops. This isn’t hard to understand.

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