Open Thread

bullet image Absolutely scathing article in the Village Voice about New York Mayor Bloomberg: Young Men’s Initiative: The White Mayor’s Burden – Bloomberg aims to help the young black and Latino men he has been throwing in jail for a decade

Consider that, according to a study by Professor Harry Levine of Queens College, Giuliani “only” averaged arresting 24,487 people a year for marijuana. By 2008, Bloomberg was averaging 36,069 pot arrests annually.

In 2010, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, he arrested 50,383 people—”more than capacity seating in Yankee Stadium.”

In 2011, he’s on track to arrest more than 60,000 by year’s end.

Now, while you’re still sober, take a wild guess: What color and gender were most of those arrestees? […]

And now it has come out that the most overpoliced, harassed, questionably searched, often illegally arrested New Yorkers are exactly the citizens the mayor suddenly wants to “help.”

His Young Men’s Initiative, which Bloomberg announced last month to great fanfare, will lavish $127 million of public and private funds on young black and Latino men over the final years of the mayor’s tenure.

This is utterly befuddling to his critics, who have fought him over the past decade as he has suspended young black and Latino males in schools, stopped and frisked them on the streets, and locked them up in record numbers.

bullet image Via VOCAL New York… The Drug Czar is in New York today, visiting with DA Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. in Washington Heights to discuss their “progress” in fighting the war on drugs.

A group of New Yorkers (members of VOCAL and New Yorkers who believe we need an end to the drug war) are there at this moment protesting the drug czar’s war.

bullet image Billionaire Peter Lewis: My War On Drug Laws at Forbes.

It’s become sort of a central philanthropic interest of mine—by no means my only interest. But I’m pretty clear. I’ve thought it through, and I’m trying to accomplish something. My mission is to reduce the penalties for growing, using and selling marijuana. It’s that simple.

I’ve been conducting a great deal of research on public opinion on marijuana. Change in this area is inevitable, much like the movement toward equal rights for gays and lesbians. An ever shrinking fraction of the country resists changing marijuana laws, largely for moral reasons. But change is coming. It’s just a question of when and how we get there.

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29 Responses to Open Thread

  1. divadab says:

    Re: NY Mayor Bloomberg continues to increase cannabis arrests of brown people:

    New York City is the most segregated city in America (surprising, isn’t it?). Cannabis laws serve the purpose of providing law enforcement with an easy justification for stopping, questioning, searching, and arresting brown people who stray into the wrong neighborhood.

    This is what it’s all about. And my bet is that most New Yorkers are just A-OK with it. Esp. white New Yorkers.

    And the market price for weed is the highest in the nation since the distribution system is under constant attack.

    There has to be a better way to handle this.

  2. Corry O'Neill says:

    Hello Drug WarRant and its readers,

    I have started a petition on We the People asking that the control and regulation of cannabis be given to the states. It needs 5000 signatures in 30 days to be brought to the President. If you promote it, it will get that in a day. Here is the URL that those who wish to sign will need to access the petitiion.

    Thanks for all you do,

    Corry O’Neill

  3. Corry O'Neill says:

    Please repost the previous where appropriate.

  4. Terry Nelson says:

    If the Mayor really wants to make a difference in the lives of young blacks, Latinos and others he can do so. He can order his police to stop strictly enforcing cannabis laws and petition the governor to commute the sentences of those arrested and/or serving time for cannabis possession. Stay safe. /tln/

  5. claygooding says:

    I am waiting on the to accept my sign-in app so I can sign this petition.
    I am betting that they won’t allow you to sign more than one petition.

    “”The site is currently undergoing maintenance. We appreciate your patience while we make some improvements.

    Please check back soon.””

    Apparently they are being flooded with more petitions than they can process.

    • Windy says:

      “Apparently they are being flooded with more petitions than they can process.”
      Or they are keeping the site closed so that it will not be possible for the petition to get the needed 5000 sigs in the given time.

  6. Windy says:

    Since it is an open thread, just thought I’d drop this url: here.
    Radley Balko sez these statistics are “telling”, he’s absolutely correct about that.

  7. Pingback: Whitehouse petition(s) -

  8. Pingback: Whitehouse Petition(s) - Forums

  9. Duncan20903 says:

    I actually had never before seen Mr. Lewis and didn’t realize that he was the model for that classic painting called “American Gothic”. He must be a very old man.

  10. Wade S says:

    Decided to create a petition to shed light on government obfuscation of unsound drug policy:

    Thanks for checking it out.

  11. Duncan20903 says:

    So nobody checked to see if his tongue had turned green??

    Level of marijuana at issue in trial in jogger’s death
    Wednesday, September 21, 2011
    By Paula Reed Ward, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    When Benjamin Cope drove his SUV into a Mt. Lebanon woman and the stroller she was pushing, killing her on June 28, 2010, he had a low level of the active ingredient in marijuana in his blood stream.

    But in cross-examination, defense attorney Bruce Beemer rattled off a list of his client’s physiological responses at the scene that day — his pulse was not increased, his eyes were not red, his blood pressure was steady and his reaction to light was appropriate.

    Ms. Janssen acknowledged those reactions but said they did not change her opinion.

    She told the jury that based on two different ingestion models, Mr. Cope likely smoked marijuana between 8 a.m. and the time of the crash.

    However, Mr. Beemer asked if that estimate was valid if his client smoked marijuana every day.

    Ms. Janssen said it was not and that she could not pinpoint a specific time period in such an instance.

    “It is possible that someone who is a daily user would have a baseline level in their blood,” Ms. Janssen said.

  12. claygooding says:

    16:15 central and already 4600+ signatures on Norml’s petition and only a few showing on Cory’s,,

  13. Duncan20903 says:

    Can somebody tell me why the heck the USPTO quit updating it’s list of cannabinoid and cannabinoid related patent? There were 4,917 in 12/201 and kept increasing to 5,451 in May. It has been stuck there ever since. Does anyone else agree that they did this just to annoy me?

    I’ve got to say this ad on the search page is intriguing:

  14. allan says:

    LEAP’s petition:

    and all open petitions:!/petitions

    Nice to see people protesting Droop Doggie Dog’s appearance in NY. He needs to be met by protests everywhere along his path. And those protests should be publicized, w/ PRs going to media.

    I was thinking about the WO(s)FD the other day (and the day before that, the day before that…) and it very much is a civil rights issue as much as gays/lesbians and black injustices became protested civil rights issues.

    And I’m just philosophically pokin’ at the fire with a stick here, but isn’t the concentration on mmj a bit like if 50 years ago blacks had said “we’ll live w/ equality for those of mixed race. We just don’t feel those who are completely black/african-american/negro should receive equal rights because most americans wouldn’t accept such a radical move. Maybe in the future we can take a closer look at that.”

    • it is absolutely a civl rights issue: every citizen has the equal right to make his/her own decisions about the acts he/she chooses to commit upon him/her self: and no one has the right to punish them over such acts.

      nothing could be more “self-evident.” today it’s the “dopers” — and next it’s the blubber-butts

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Umm, no, not in the least. Wax philosophical all you want but criminalization of using cannabis for enjoyment isn’t a crime against humanity. Denying medicine to sick people resulting in their suffering more than needed is worthy of the Nazis.

      Anyone who wants to mention the fraud of “Godwin’s ‘Law'” in relation to this assertion can go jump in Asshole Lake.

      • killing people for smoking plants, poisoning the citizens of foreign nations by spraying toxic chemicals on them, and invading sovereign nations to kidnap and jail their leaders (panama if you didn’t catch the reference) are all acts that are most certainly crimes against humanity duncan.

        so wtf are you talking about?

      • allan says:

        criminalization of using cannabis for enjoyment isn’t a crime against humanity

        Indeed? I would absolutely say it is. Humanity’s right to access the produce of the natural world is essential. Freedom isn’t a modern notion. We have used cannabis and been intimately aware of and associated with many, many plants (ours is or can be a very symbiotic relationship as any gardener – and his garden – can attest) longer than any of the so-called major religions have been in existence on this earth, longer than any system of governance.

        The growing of gardens is indeed a fundamental, universal right. Without such an acceptance of indigenous rights… we doom the remaining native populations of our earth. In fact we can write off our oceans, our forests… and all those who inhabit them.

        Then, in a hundred or five, ten thousand, years (or maybe next week!) a really big space rock falls on us or the continents all trade places and we start from scratch, again.

        We’re grandfathered in to cannabis use. And when fraudulent laws are violently, even fatally enforced, by the state, we have a fundamental crime against humanity.

        To discriminate against me because I poke smot differs how from discriminating against me because I’m black, or gay, or a woman…? And now, heck, I poke smot and I’m 60. Employment? … what employment?

        As to

        Denying medicine to sick people resulting in their suffering more than needed is worthy of the Nazis.

        [italics mine]

        I don’t disagree… but I have to add, so is sending police into a HS w/ dogs and weapons drawn. As is shooting the family dog in front of a 7 year old… as is shooting a 78 year old grandmother under a fraudulent warrant and then planting pot on her…

        I’m not disagreeing with you (a quick search of my writing archived at MAP shows that out of my 162 LTEs and Opeds, 67 of ’em deal to some extent with the medical side of the issue, so I’m no slacker in my dedication to the medical components of this issue.

        Look, I’m f’ing disgusted with it all. Imagine for a second (wax philosophic w/ me) that in 1974 a new chemical compound had been discovered that was very effective in fighting cancer – and extremely safe/non-toxic. Yet for some reason the gummint buries the study for 3 1/2 decades… then some reporter finds this old news story about a possible cure for cancer that was hidden by the government. Do you think, that were that substance anything other than cannabis that there would be a huge outcry?

        I’m absolutely stunned that the cancer community (docs and patients) haven’t joined our chorus. I would have thought the call for rescheduling by the AMA should have at least provided cover for some – tepid at minimum – oncological outspeaking.

        I mean really? No one out there much beyond Pete’s couch is outraged? Hiding important cancer research data is ok with everyone? Really…?

        Yeah well I guess… 30,000 mostly dark skinned people dying from starvation and malnutrition everyday, day after day, doesn’t create collective outrage either.

        There aren’t many positive conclusions to my philosophical meanderings these days. I usually find that my pessimism concerning humanity’s nobility is not far off true north. Were it not for the occasional glimmers and sparks of real light in humans I would’ve retreated to the cave long ago. Maybe I should call it philosophical waning?

      • Windy says:

        It is absolutely a crime against humanity, each and every human adult has the unalienable right to determine for themselves what they will ingest and for what purposes. The government does NOT own us, the government has no legitimate authority to regulate what any or all individuals may ingest, we each own ourselves. If people do not begin to stand up for that fact, we will become slaves in fact to a very few people who have no love or care for anything but their own power, wealth, and comfort.

  15. allan says:

    hmmm… got the under construction msg. And I’m curious, what DO they mean when they say “your voice, our government”… [emphasis mine][because that’s the way I read it]

    Sounds like they’re being truthful, like when Coca Cola said “nothing is better than coke.”

    Kinda like they’re behind mirrored glass, thumbs on noses and fingers waving, going “natter natter natter.”

  16. DdC says:

    Decriminalization of Drug Use
    The Greek government made the first big step regarding decriminalization of drug use.

    In Bulgaria marijuana is replacing tomato Sep 15 2011
    “The phenomenon continues to grow in south-west Bulgaria, where farmers have decided to put aside traditional plantations, such as tomatoes, to engage in something more profitable, but also punished by the laws of Bulgaria.”

    Geraldo Rivera on Mexico’s Violent Drug War youtube

    Prohibition-addicted police can’t believe closing medical marijuana dispensaries INCREASES crime

  17. DdC says:

    Cannabis ‘Could Ease Pain Of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder’
    Cannabis could help ease the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, scientists say – as long as it was administered early enough.

    How Liberals Should Reframe Crime Bills
    But if we are really reinventing the Liberal Party then why are we in any way bound by the past. Why wouldn’t we take the statement the “war on drugs has failed” to its only logical conclusion, namely that “the Liberal Party of Canada would therefore end the war on drugs. We will legalize and regulate drugs. We were wrong in the past to support policies that based on objective evidence do not work and only have destructive consequences domestically and internationally but we have learned from our mistakes and if Canadians trust us to form government again, we will do things differently.”

    Drug Shocker
    Police have issued a public warning about the potential of grow-ops to create live earth in the wake of a pair of fires at separate drug operations.

    Marijuana Growers to Face More Jail Than Child Rapists Under Harper’s New Omnibus Bill
    Prime Minister Stephen Harper is getting tougher on pot growers than he is on rapists of children.

  18. DdC says:

    Industrial Hemp in Russia
    Russia May Legalize Cannabis for Agriculture, Industrial Use
    Russia may soon authorize the cultivation of hemp – otherwise known as cannabis sativa – for agricultural and industrial needs, Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service said on Friday.

    Marijuana Legalization Trails in New California Poll

    The man behind Prop 19, Oaksterdam medical marijuana entrepreneur Richard Lee, said earlier this month that his group’s effort to return to the ballot in 2012 is “pretty much dead, the funders didn’t come through.”

    The funders haven’t been coming through for the other proposed initiatives, either, according to the California Secretary of State’s office. It reports no significant donations so far for Lee’s Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, the Repeal Cannabis Prohibition Act of 2012 initiative sponsored by a pair of North Bay attorneys and Northern California activists, the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine initiative championed by Libertarian and marijuana activist Steve Kubby and retired Judge Jim Gray, and the (reduce) Marijuana Penalties Act of 2012 initiative, being pushed by long-time Southern California political operative Bill Zimmerman.

    NYPD Ordered to Stop Marijuana Possession Arrests

    Willie Nelson “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die” youtube

  19. DdC says:

    Conservatives’ Ominous Omnibus Crime Bill
    We dissect the bill and discuss the details with Beyond Prohibition Executive Director Kirk Tousaw.

    Ottawa’s efforts to get tough on crime mean stiffer sentences and higher bills for taxpayers

    Conservatives Reintroduce Dangerous and Costly Crime Legislation
    Conservative government today reintroduced crime legislation in a massive omnibus bill that includes mandatory minimum sentences for minor marijuana offences and other extreme and costly measures.

    UK Liberal Democrats Overwhelmingly Back Overhaul of Drug Laws
    Liberal Democrat members voted overwhelmingly to investigate the decriminalisation of all drugs yesterday.

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