First up, via Australia (Thanks Evert) we have The decriminalisation (or even legalisation) of drugs by Chris Berg.
It doesn’t take more than a moment of thought to recognise that the rulings on which drugs are legal or illegal are governed by no particular logic.
No theory from medicine or philosophy or psychology demands alcohol, tobacco and caffeine must be legal while marijuana, cocaine, and heroin must be prohibited.
Whether a drug is illegal is nothing more than an accident of history. Drug laws were not written dispassionately by a panel of the best medical and ethical minds in the world. The laws bear no relation to the damage those drugs could cause or their danger to society â€“ they were not written to minimise harm or protect health.
Quite the opposite: the current schedule of drugs in the Western world has been driven by politics, expediency, prejudice, and sometimes outright racism.
But the biggest cultural barrier to such reform is the current status illegal drugs have. In the sort of circular reasoning that only popular discourse can manage, the prohibition of drugs is mostly justified by their pre-existing legal status. Why are certain drugs prohibited? Because they are illicit drugs.
But that status has been set by politics and moral panics, not dispassionate evidence-based risk assessments. Drug prohibition carries the legacy of the ugly politics of the past. Once we realise that, we may start to rethink the justice of a war that is, in truth, not against drugs, but against drug users.
Then, in Canada, we have our friend Eric Sterling trying to advise them from going down our destructive path. Canada is repeating U.S. mistakes on drug sentencing
As Canadian senators meet this week to vote on comprehensive anti-crime Bill C-10, they need to reflect upon the U.S. experience and reject the billâ€™s entrenchment of mandatory minimum sentences for drug offences in Canada. As has been the case in the U.S., mandatory minimums can easily go wrong in Canada, too, in ways entirely predictable. Exploding court and correctional costs for resource-strapped national and provincial governments is one likely calamity that Canadians can expect from mandatory minimum sentencing laws.
In 1986, I played a central role helping the U.S. Congress write the federal mandatory minimum sentences. Soon we saw the devastating effects that this legislation forced upon unprepared court and correctional systems.
But the political temptation to promote harsh-sounding sentences was too seductive in 1986. Ironically, no opponent of mandatory minimum sentences has ever lost re-election on this issue. We have learned that imprisoning countless marijuana gardeners has no impact on organized crime leaders, doesnâ€™t keep drugs away from kids or kids away from drugs, and actually increases criminalsâ€™ profits by driving up prices.
Countless lives have been ruined due to incarceration and criminal records for non-violent drug offences. Based on this irrefutable evidence, and the repeal of mandatory sentencing measures in numerous states, I can see only one reason why Canadaâ€™s federal government and some provincial governments would want to go down this wasteful route: the belief it is good electoral politics to parade as tough on drugs and crime. At this time of fiscal limits, taxpayers canâ€™t afford the luxury of expensive and symbolic anti-crime measures.
Parliament must embrace only policies that are effective, respect the taxpayersâ€™ pocketbook and are evidence-based. Mandatory minimums fit none of these important criteria.
Canadians! Surely you’ve wondered from time to time why Mr. Harper seems Hell-bent on initiating the same kind of failed policies in ‘The Great White North’ that have been such abject failures here.
Google the following:
Versailles France 2003
That’s it, nothing more.
Mr. Harper is in the same banksters pocket that our Lil’ Georgie resided until recently, and where Mr. Obama resides today. Faithfully delivering Canadian sovereignty to the Uber-Rich on their neo-liberal agenda’s silver platter, as promised, and that requires bankrupting your nation as drug prohibition has served to bankrupt us…and in more than monetary ways, such as civil liberties worn down to a smudge on the pavement.
That’s the plan. That’s why just about everything he’s doing is the exact opposite of traditional Canadian governance. His seeming arrogance isn’t just personal; he feels he doesn’t have to worry about your sentiments because his masters will have a nice, cushy job waiting for him after he’s done trashing your country as ours has been.
Harper is a man without a soul…just look into his eyes,even in a photo. He cares for no one but his own.
He has all thinking Canadians worried. Lets hope the latest Robocalls scandal will bring him down or at least wake a few people up but I’m not holding my breath.
The omnibus crime bill is in it’s final stages and he’s not budging on the ridiculous cannabis penalties so we may see a lot of Canuk budheads in prison.
Karma sucks Stevie…you reap what you sow.
NT, I knew the ‘fix was in’ when I found out he’d been there meeting with the 1%ers.
I also figured correctly what his trajectory would be…partly because some people up your way made an anti-Harper commercial from the 2004 election that warned that he would do exactly what he has. I wish I could locate it on YouTube, because it was very, very prescient. You almost certainly saw it:
In description, it was a very stark black, white and scarlet animation in which his former(?) Canadian Alliance membership was pointed out, and the implication was that, as the old saying goes, ‘leopards don’t change their spots’. And that he could be expected do what he has indeed done.
I kick myself mentally because I can’t recall its’ title, but I knew even then that the producers of that commercial were bang-on target. It doesn’t matter that the commercial was courtesy of an opposing party. Mr. Harper is doing just what those who took his lackluster campaign and supercharged it to the point he ‘won’ the election wanted him to do…in return for his fealty, of course.
Which means, as being a tool of the 1%, he has no allegiance to those who he is supposed to work for.
There’s always this 🙂
Oh, jeez. (Brushing crumbs off desk.) I should know better than trying to eat something while watching a political link. Almost had something go down the wrong tube; I hate wasting food, even when I’m LMAO.
Yep, ‘the shoe fits’. Very.
Some crazed comments on the Chris Berg article from Australia….one character called Gunner, objecting to the suggestion that drug users should not be in prison, gives the usual discredited argument about releasing pedophiles as well. He’s in favor of both groups being used by the airforce for bombing practice. Some posts later, totally without irony, he tells us his “20 years of working in prisons” gives him knowledge about drug users the rest of us do not have. So, no conflict of interest there….
Just heard on the radio that a Michigan republican bill restricting medical cannabis is going through the house. One of the measures is removing glaucoma as a reason.
They’re supposed to be adding conditions to the law, not removing them. And why glaucoma instead of chronic pain? Are they trying to whittle them down one by one before they go for that?
The Michigan Legislature needs a 75% supermajority to amend a citizen generated ballot initiative. Montana’s Legislature wasn’t able to do that. They couldn’t even get enough votes to override the Governor’s veto of the law that they passed for de jure repeal and ended up having to go with de facto repeal. [Montana’s residents have the right to overturn a Legislatively implemented law with an up or down ballot initiative which will appear on the ballot on Election Day.]
The Arizona Legislature is also busy trying to monkey wrench that State’s medicinal cannabis patient protection law. That legislative body also requires a 75% supermajority to alter their law. But unless I’m not correctly understanding what I’ve read they’re also only authorized to advance the law so repeal is off the table, at least directly.
BTW the people of Arizona can thank the medicinal cannabis law reform advocates for those restrictions on their Legislature. Arizona was 1 of 2 States to decriminalize medicinal cannabis on Election Day 1996 along with California. The Arizona lawmakers repealed that law needing only a simple majority to do so. In 1998 the Arizona voters took the Legislature out to the proverbial woodshed and spanked them with the new supermajority requirement. Who says voting doesn’t change things?
A better solution than voting is for the people of each State, en masse, to go to the State legislature when it is in session, drag each of them out of their offices and send them packing, saying to them, “You no longer serve us, so we no longer pay you, nor do we allow you in our State House, get the hell out of here and never come back!”
American patriots should do the same with congress.
Of course this is just a daydream, ain’t never gonna really happen, but it should.
nice oped from my good friend Jim Greig here in Eugene:
Cannabis activists are ready to say ‘no Obama’
No way just read article at stopthedrugwar stating that “rock-ribbed conservative” Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) has said it is time to legalize.
Speaking of “conservatives” coming around on cannabis reform, take a look at this story from a few weeks back about a recent Rhode Island poll:
A shift in opinion of that size in that time frame is so mind-bogglingly huge that it’s hard for me to fully credit the poll’s accuracy. But even if the Rhode Island poll results are overstating things, there’s no question that conservative opinion on cannabis reform is beginning to move in a big way. And remember this story about Howard Woolridge making the conservative case for marijuana legalization at CPAC? Howard claimed that â€œ[t]he reactions have been almost 100 percent in favor of what Iâ€™m doing.” That statement is also pretty shocking, but keep in mind that the reaction of the folks at CPAC is a leading indicator of where the opinions of rank-and-file conservatives are likely to be in a few years. That’s why I said that the “conservative” argument is important. And the fact is, it’s true. Cannabis prohibition really does violate many, many stated “conservative” principles. Conservatives who support prohibition are being incredibly hypocritical. You might scoff and say that “conservatives are always hypocrites.” Maybe, most human beings are in one way or another. But people don’t want to be hypocrites. And conservatives are starting to recognize that this is a losing fight. They’re looking for a reason to jump ship. Let’s continue to give them one.
The ‘lifeboat’ is already bobbing in the water beside the sinking ship; 50% (as opposed to 46%) of US poll respondents want legal cannabis. All they need is the courage to LEAP (yes, a double entendre).
A true conservative would never support borrowing more than $1 trillion to squander on an epic failure of public policy.
Liberals make me nauseous. Particularly the liberals that dress in conservative drag and call themselves Republicans.
Nowadays the more accurate descriptor for those on the so called right is crony capitalist. It’s all about suckling from the government teat.
A tiny Spanish country town believes it has found a way to make unemployment, debt and economic crisis disappear in a puff of smoke â€“ by leasing out its land for marijuana plantations.
The town hall of Rasquera in Catalonia on Wednesday voted to sign a â‚¬1.3m (Â£1.1m) agreement with a cannabis association in nearby Barcelona to plant marijuana for its 5,000 members.
It will allow the association to plant on a seven-hectare stretch of town hall land â€“ roughly the size of 10 football pitches. “This is a chance to bring in money and create jobs,” explained mayor Bernat Pellisa of the Catalan Republican Left party, as older townsfolk worried that he was turning Rasquera into a drugs mecca.
Or, as the old saying goes, “Money talks; BS walks”. And if anything is BS, it’s drug prohibition in a time of universal fiscal suffering. This planet cannot afford it anymore, not fiscally, not socially, not ecologically, and not morally, either.
Sad it has to be this way, but if this is the only way heavily propagandized non-users can be taught the value of legal cannabis, then so be it.
Hey can anybody tell me which mmj states DON’T allow home cultivation?
AFAIK, New Jersey, DC, Delaware are the only ones.
Arizona too in most cases. If a patient is within a 25 mile radius of a dispensary cultivation is prohibited.
IIRC the proposed ballot initiatives to protect medicinal cannabis patients from arrest in Ohio and Massachusetts won’t allow it.
Proposed laws that died in committee in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Illinois didn’t allow cultivation.
The proposed law that is nominally still being considered in Kentucky would allow 5 plants. I’ll betcha they picked 5 because currently 5 plants or less would be a misdemeanor although only theoretically.
If any of the three proposed laws in Maryland pass it won’t allow cultivation here. The proposed laws are useless, more useless, and totally useless. What is it with lawmakers that want to have State Universities do the cultivation anyway? Are the people who make the proposal so uninformed as to be unaware that the Feds would likely stop providing any money to the school if that happens? Perhaps they think that they can take credit for being compassionate but blame the big bad Federal boogie man because the Feds are preventing access?
I have never understood WTF the prohibitionists have against cultivation. Yet another one of their fantasy landscapes where they’ll blame us for the death toll in the Mexican civil war because we bought some nasty brickweed but turn around and demand heavy penalties if they catch us removing ourselves from the black market. Oh well, it really is pointless trying to make sense of the senseless.
Better load Nappy up for another trip!!!
Spanish village to raise funds with marijuana
MADRID â€” A tiny Spanish village has voted to lease land for growing marijuana as a source of desperately needed revenue â€” a unique but legally questionable way of battling an economic crisis highlighted by staggering unemployment and a looming recession.
A government official with the National Drug Plan said such planting would in fact be against the law and that prosecutors would intervene as soon as the first pot seed was sown.
Just so we know that we aren’t the only country run by the banks.
That’s in Basque Country, right? IIRC they’ve got autonomy and Spain’s government doesn’t have any say so.
We need to have ourselves a big ol’ get-together one day. Basque country sounds like just the spot!
OT but importante…
Support Guatemalan president’s call for drug legalization
signed and shared.
thanks clay… I also shared broadly. Like dandelion seeds in the wind these things are or can be… and wwwe can generate a pretty good breeze now and again.
Just a heads up here. I’ve run across a prohibitionist posting these statistics 3 times in the past couple of weeks. Of course the prohibitionist will accept anything that appears to support his position at face value. But there’s a major screw up on the page linked.
Netherlands v United States for total drug offenses:
Netherlands: 12,683 per 100,000 people
United States: 560.1 per 100,000 people
Population of the Netherlands: 16,612,213
12,683 * 166.12213 = 2,106,927 (rounded up)
Total crimes in the Netherlands according to the page linked: 1,422,863
That 12,683 per 100,000 can’t possibly be right.
Population of the United States: 311,591,917
560.1 * 3115.91917 = 1,745,043 (rounded down)
So NationMaster is reporting that there are less drug offenses for the entire United States than for that mathematically impossible number they’re reporting for the Netherlands.
Has to be because they closed 5 or six prisons because of a lack of criminals.
I’m working on it, and will get back to you all ASAP!
Here it is:
Drug law offenses in the Netherlands (as number of reports of offenses)
2009 = 17,032
17,032 Reported Drug law offenses in a Population of 16,600,000 = 102.6 per 100.000 people
United States: 560.1 per 100,000 people
The Netherlands: 102.6 per 100.000 people
Sheesh, I had my money on a misplaced decimal point. Oh well at least we can counter this misinformation if it starts popping up. You know that the prohibitionists like any nonsense that makes Dutch drugs policy look like a failure.
Chris Berg nails it. I enjoy seeing someone take the best of what we’ve all been saying (which is what Stossel’s piece on illegal drugs was, a flawless presentation and on Fox no less) and with their own perspectives turning the words in a new way. The older I get the more I apperkiate precision wordsmithing. Berg’s piece rocks.
Eric Sterling gets joined by Norm Stamper in the Vancouver Sun (thanks Tom!):
Prison spending trumps seniors for Harper government
And talk about prisons and rape… Harper’s ready to screw all of Canada with iron bars. Y’all up there need to drop your calm for a bit methinks and stop el Padrone Harper.
Just read that Andrew Breitbart had died… someone on this site once wrote that he was pro-drug law reform, although I never found any evidence of that.
Hey, a little something to warm your hearts. A debate featuring all 3 Democratic candidates for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional Seat (Dems have won this district the last 3 times in a row, so it’s highly likely that one of these candidates will be going to D.C. next January).
When asked whether they will co-sponsor HB 2306, all three say yes and throw in a few choice digs at prohibition. This question is asked at about 8:45 in the video:
Presidenta Chinchilla Wants Drug Legalization Debate
Drug legalization in Central America merits a â€œseriousâ€ debate as a solution to the crime and violence coursing through the region even if it runs up against U.S. opposition, said Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla.
â€œIf we keep doing what we have been when the results today are worse than 10 years ago, weâ€™ll never get anywhere and could wind up like Mexico or Colombia,â€ Chinchilla said yesterday in an interview in San Jose.
While U.S. opposition to legalization is well-known, Central Americans â€œhave the right to discuss itâ€ because â€œwe are paying a very high price,â€ said Chinchilla, 52. ..
.. Having dismantled its army in 1948, Costa Rica has had to tackle drug-related violence differently from its neighbors, Chinchilla said. For example, last year the country ratified a law to decriminalize drug possession in recreational quantities. ..
As more countries realize throwing money into prohibition strengthens their opponents instead of defeating and removing them they are not motivated by the huge financial complex behind America’s drug war machine.
Now instead of just sending congress a few million dollars in election funding for a promise to fight drugs the people buying prohibition from American politicians will have to buy support in all South American countries,,,,in other words,,the price of peanuts is going up!
Of all the places I spent time in Central America, Costa Rica has always been the place I wanted to come back to. I love the country and the people, more school teachers than police, that should tell you a little about CR…
It’s Dr. Seuss’ birthday!
“I not like Green Eggs and Ham, I will not eat then, Sam I Am.”
I will not eat them with Goat, I will not eat them on a Boat,
I will not eat them in a House, I will not eat them with a Mouse…”
Awesome stuff, all with a great message.
the guardian todAy has a story about the push to privatise the police in england. no doubt this will be one more group of corporate interests lobbying for increased drug arrests