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February 2004



Chicago Trib tells Drug Czar’s pet “doctor” that the public knows better

Earlier this week, Andrea Barthwell of the Drug Czar’s office had an OpEd piece in the Chicago Tribune attacking medical marijuana that I fairly thoroughly attacked here.
It turns out that, while the Tribune is willing to let Andrea spout off on their pages, they apparently are not taken in by her propaganda. In an editorial today, they made the point very clear.

Different people respond differently to the same treatments, which is why treatment decisions are better made in doctors’ offices than in police stations. …

On this, the public appears to be way ahead of the legislators. A 1998 poll by the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University found 67 percent of Illinois residents believe “doctors should be allowed to prescribe small amounts of marijuana for patients.” …

Americans have taken a nuanced approach, according to polls. Most support legalizing marijuana for the ill, but not for other use. With that, the public shows admirable thoughtfulness on this issue. So should legislators.

To add insult to their failure to toe the Drug Czar’s line, the Trib also printed a long letter (right next to the editorial), which responded to Barthwell’s OpEd.
This, along with the earlier Sun Times piece, now means that both major Chicago newspapers have endorsed medical marijuana in Illinois!
Hat tip to Richard Lake and the always incredibly useful Media Awareness Project.

Drug Czar Shares his Qualifications for the Job

The Drug Czar went to Akron to try to score some child urine. But local officials are skeptical of the push for drug testing.

The superintendent suggested that perhaps the Bush administration should test itself before requiring the same of students.

This is when our Drug Czar proudly showed his credentials:

Walters said […]

Update on Illinois Senate Candidates

I’ve added the Illinois Senate Candidates’ responses to Vote-Smart’s survey on drug issues to the Senate Candidates page. Still not enough information for me to give endorsements, but I’m working on it. If any of the campaigns wish to contact me with more information about their views, I’d love to hear from them.


Government agency spends our money, investigates self, says ‘It’s all good’

The Drug Czar’s office has given out yet another self-congratulatory press release: New Survey Shows More Teens Recognize Harms of Marijuana: Exposure and Effectiveness of Anti-Drug Advertising Continues to Rise. This comes from their release of the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), which has become the method by which the ONDCP has decided it […]

The new legalization tactics in Nevada

Despite a staggering loss in the last attempt in Nevada to legalize marijuana, a new attempt is being made (this is legalization, not decrmininalization or medical use). As the Las Vegas Review Journal notes in this article, the organizers have learned from the last attempt.

You could be excused for thinking that the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana was formed only to “establish a comprehensive system of strict regulation to reduce or eliminate teenage access to marijuana, driving under the influence of marijuana, and the smoking of marijuana in public places.” After all, it sounds strict.

But read further, and you’ll get to the heart of the matter: If the committee’s proposed state constitutional amendment passes, those age 21 or older will be allowed to toke up, so long as they do it in private, buy the drug only at an authorized retailer and don’t drive under the influence.

The new approaches have been designed to address every objection (real or imagined) brought up during the last campaign (and there were some ugly challenges). But they’ll still have a battle:

And two, if the prohibitionists were willing to stretch the truth to their own ends last time, they’re not suddenly going to play fair this time. There will still be lies, exaggerations and the inevitable visit of drug czar John Walters, campaigning at taxpayer expense. But the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana still has the right idea, no matter the changes made to persuade voters that prohibition doesn’t work.

Maybe this time, the voters will see that.

Sorting fact from bad science and government propaganda

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a good overview article on Ricaurte’s false ecstasy studies.

The fallout from the mistake has brought not only Dr. Ricaurte’s reputation into question, but also that of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has supported his research for years. “It kind of gives science a black eye […]

Teachers: Not In Our Joint

The education system in England seems a bit more skeptical of climbing in bed with the drug warriors based on some of these reactions in Monday’s Sun:

RADICAL plans for random drug-testing in schools triggered a furious backlash from teachers last night.

Premier Tony Blair has urged heads to put pupils through urine tests and to allow sniffer dogs to patrol corridors.

But teachers’ leaders believe the controversial move is doomed to fail. They said staff should not be saddled with the task of rooting out drug takers. And they fear it could lead to teachers being sued by parents over human rights abuses.

Meanwhile experts warned testing could backfire — by driving drug use among youngsters underground.

But while the teachers in England have some sense, The Sun has shown its stupidity by actually believing the lies of our drug warriors:

Figures from America show testing there has dramatically slashed drug abuse by pupils.

President Bush claimed drug users had been cut by 400,000 in a pilot scheme across 1,000 schools.

Oh, give me a break. Considering the only reputable study has actually shown no difference between those who tested and those who don’t, I have no clue where The Sun, or John Walters’ boss, got those completely fabricated numbers.

Tony Blair holds hands with our Drug Czar and seeks children’s urine.


Tony Blair was tonight facing a wave of opposition from across the teaching profession over his plans for random drugs testing in schools.

The move – which could see sniffer dogs in classrooms and pupils being ordered to give urine samples – was greeted with a mixture of confusion and dismay.


A phony war defeats free speech

Robyn E Blumner of the St. Petersburg Times writes an outstanding column about how drug warriors are so afraid of the truth, that they continually resort to censorship.

The beauty of Jefferson’s marketplace of ideas is that it opens our society to all voices and all arguments, presuming the most persuasive will rise to […]

Assistant principal admits planting marijuana in student’s locker

From today’s Herald Palladium in Michigan.

SOUTH HAVEN — Facing a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge, South Haven High School’s assistant principal, Pat Conroy, resigned Friday, Schools Superintendent Dave Myers said…

In his police report, South Haven Deputy Police Chief Tom Martin said Conroy told him that last year he placed some of the marijuana […]