Send comments, tips,
and suggestions to:
Join us on Pete's couch. is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
July 2014
« Jun    


Catholic Church a flawed and failed experiment

Pope says just say no to legalizing drugs

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis condemned the legalization of recreational drugs as a flawed and failed experiment on Friday, lending his voice to a debate which is raging from the U.S. to Uruguay and beyond.

Francis told delegates to a drug-enforcement conference in Rome that even limited attempts to legalize recreational drugs “are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects.”

Likewise, providing addicts with drugs doesn’t solve the problem and is “rather a veiled means of surrendering to the phenomenon,” he said.

“Let me state this in the clearest terms possible: the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs!”

I like a lot of what the new Pope has been saying, but here he’s just completely out to lunch.

Legalization a “failed experiment”? Where? Name one place where drug legalization has failed. The truly flawed and failed experiment is prohibition.

And that last sentence? Wow. The absolute moral certainty with which he speaks nonsense is breathtaking. I can practically picture him leading citizens with pitchforks against medical scientists vaccinating for smallpox, saying “Let me state this in the clearest terms possible: the problem of disease is not solved with disease!”

Speaking on behalf of morality doesn’t excuse you for ignorance.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

Alaska police chiefs warn that they’ll need new gravy train

Alaska police chiefs say legalizing marijuana will increase funding, training needs

Police administrators across Alaska worry that marijuana legalization could mean increased costs for their departments, according to survey results released Tuesday by the Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police.

AACOP estimates the cost of legalizing marijuana could mean $6 million in unanticipated costs for law enforcement in Alaska if the initiative passes this year. The association says much of those costs account for what they believe will be an increase in drug use, specifically among teens and impaired drivers.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around it, but apparently the idea is that although marijuana is currently widely used and is illegal, and they obviously expend significant resources enforcing it now, with legalization, they’ll have to work harder in order to find ways to continue to arrest people for it.

Laren Zager, Fairbanks chief of police, said legalization would mean most of his 32 patrol and traffic officers will likely have to be trained in the drug recognition expert program as well. Zager estimates that only four officers have the training currently. He said while the number of officers receiving that training has increased in recent years, marijuana legalization would “jet engine” that process.

Zager said his police department will happily carry out whatever becomes law but said this particular initiative is worth a second look.

“(Legalization) carries with it certain social hazards,” Zager said. “Most officers find it alarming.”

Sure they do.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

Leading from the rear

Hillary Clinton Evolves on Another Issue – National Journal

On Tuesday, she was more amenable to change. On medical marijuana, Clinton called for more research into its benefits, without doubting they exist, but she stopped short of endorsing the widespread adoption of medical laws. “I think we need to be very clear about the benefits of marijuana use for medicinal purposes. I don’t think we’ve done enough research yet,” she said.

On recreational use, she was perhaps even more open to reform. “States are the laboratory of democracy,” she said, noting that Colorado and Washington had legalized the drug via referenda in 2012. “I want to wait and see what the evidence is” from the two states, she said.

This is someone being dragged kicking and screaming into the reality that the public supports reform more than the government, and some amount of shifting will be necessary to win votes.

Best response I saw on Facebook to this: “More research on mmj? That’s the opposite of leadership. Wish she had called for more research before voting to invade Iraq.”

Tom Angell gets it:

“Her openness to letting states proceed with implementing outright marijuana legalization shows just how far the politics of this issue have shifted since the 90′s, when her husband’s administration tried to punish doctors just for discussing the medical use of marijuana with their patients,” Angell said.

That’s exactly right. We have moved the discussion so far that we’re forcing politicians to follow.

Kevin Sabet, on the other hand, misses the point completely simply vomits words.

Kevin Sabet, however, the co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which opposes legalization, downplayed Clinton’s evolution. “I don’t think we should read too much into these comments. If anything, she stopped short of embracing legalization, and I have a feeling that once she learns more about Colorado’s negative experiences, and the profit-seeking motives of today’s Big Marijuana industry, she’ll disappoint a lot of legalization advocates,” he said in an email.

I have not heard a single legalization advocate believe that Clinton would be a leader in reform, so that’s just nonsense.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

Freedom is slavery

John P. Walters in Politico: Why Libertarians Are Wrong About Drugs

The drug user’s freedom to consume costs his community not only their safety, but also their liberty.

No, I’m pretty sure you did that.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

Still trying for the impossible, but with a more limited scope

The Partnership at is changing its name.

The Partnership at announced today that it has changed its name to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. The name and a newly expanded website reflect the nonprofit’s ongoing commitment to reducing teen substance abuse and supporting families impacted by addiction.

What this reflects, of course, is that their fundraising model will work better if they focus on kids. It’s a retrenching from ridiculously broad impossibilities.

And, of course, I’d have no problem with them focusing on keeping kids drug free if they’ve given up on meddling with responsible adult use (they haven’t) and if they only provide information that is honest and science-based (they don’t).

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

The long-term structures of legalization

An interesting article over at Reason on the legalization of a drug called alcohol: How Not to Legalize a Drug

Basically, the article talks about the three-tiered system of producers, distributors, and retailers that was set up with the repeal of Prohibition 1, and how that structure still affects the market today.

Fascinating reading, and worth keeping in mind as we determine models for the emerging legal cannabis industry.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

Protecting the children?

Legalization of cannabis in Colorado has not solved the issue of marijuana being considered an element in child-endangerment cases.

Legalizing Marijuana: Changing laws Prompt Child-Protection Review

“The legal standard is always the best interest of the children, and you can imagine how subjective that can get,” said Jess Cochrane, who helped found Boston-based Family Law & Cannabis Alliance after finding child-abuse laws have been slow to catch up with pot policy. [...]

“We moved here across the country so we wouldn’t be criminals. But all it takes is one neighbor not approving of what we’re doing, one police officer who doesn’t understand, and the law says I’m a child abuser,” Barnhart said.

The presence of pot alone should never be a factor in these cases. Taking children away from their parents is actual abuse, compared to the imagined horrors emerging from the specter of mellow parents.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

More on stoned driving

I know I harp on this a lot at Drug WarRant, but I consider it important – the war on stoned driving has had little to do with highway safety, but rather functions as a back-door way to punish marijuana users, and as a scare tactic to prevent legalization.

Yes, being stoned can affect your driving, and so can texting, or being tired, or being upset, or being distracted by a passenger, or… It’s important to keep relative dangers in perspective, and go after actual impairment.

Nice to see The Truth About Driving While Stoned by Abby Haglage. She also dismantles the dishonest piece in USA today by Matt Schmitz and Chris Woodyard.

And while I certainly have had my disagreements with Mark Kleiman, he does a fairly nice job here:

“You shouldn’t be driving stoned,” says Kleiman. “But there are many things that will degrade driving just as much if not more—having a 4-year-old in your back seat, sleepiness, texting.”

Beyond the relative risk associated with marijuana, Kleiman says blood is not a good proxy for how stoned you are. “It’s almost impossible not to be guilty of driving while stoned if you smoke. The fact that THC is fat soluble and then comes back out in your bloodstream means you can be THC positive when you’re not impaired at all,” he says. “There’s no way to tell if you’re breaking the law—that seems unjust.”

Naturally, Kevin had to chime in with his usual nonsense, misusing statistics that sound scary, but are anything but.

In Sabet’s eyes, it’s anything but safe. “Science has determined that cannabis intoxication doubles your risk of a car crash. Despite this scientifically valid fact, people are not getting this message,” he says. [...]

But NIDA’s claim that marijuana use increases the likelihood of an accident is contradicted in some of the government’s own research.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

Ah, Jamaica!

Jamaica Poised to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession, Approve Medical and Religious Use, and Expunge Past Offenses

On Friday, Jamaican Minister of Justice Mark Golding released a statement announcing government support for a proposal to decriminalize the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana and the decriminalization of marijuana use for religious, scientific and medical purposes.

“The objective is to provide a more enlightened approach to dealing with possession of small quantities and smoking, while still meeting the ends of justice,” Minister Golding said. “The proposed changes represent an approach which will ensure to the benefit of the persons concerned and the society as a whole, and reduce the burdens on the court system.”

Good step. I’m pretty sure just about all ganja use in Jamaica is religious. They practically worship the plant.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

Open Thread

bullet image The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding and Rejecting Science

Today, members of Congress, scientific experts, medical marijuana patients and others will join a teleconference that will accompany the release of a new report co-published by MAPS and the Drug Policy Alliance called “The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding and Rejecting Science“.

There will be a time when the political landscape has changed sufficiently that the DEA will no longer be able to act without accountability. Is that time now? We’ll see. There are specific concrete recommendations in the report related to taking away powers from the DEA, based on their documented past abuse. And I think more political leaders are straying from the traditional belief that the DEA is some kind of sacred cow.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon