Red Ribbon Open Thread

I’m at a conference in Minneapolis (it’s a really, really busy month).

We’re into the annual craziness of the DEA’s Red Ribbon Week.

No, this isn’t about AIDS (the original Red Ribbon), but rather the DEA’s own manufactured cause to promote themselves and prohibition, usually with bizarre over-the-top events in schools around the country.

Check out the articles through the Google News Link and share some of the silliest things you find.

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52 Responses to Red Ribbon Open Thread

  1. Francis says:

    Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country. In 1985, after the murder of a DEA agent, parents, youth and teachers in communities across the country began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the destruction caused by drugs.

    Enrique (Kiki) Camarena was a Drug Enforcement Administration Agent who was tortured and killed in Mexico in 1985. Camarena worked his way through college, served in the Marines and became a police officer. When he decided to join the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, his mother tried to talk him out of it. “I’m only one person”, he told her, “but I want to make a difference.”

    The DEA sent Camarena to work undercover in Mexico, investigating a major drug cartel believed to include officers in the Mexican army, police and government. On Feb. 7, 1985, the 37-year-old Camarena left his office to meet his wife for lunch. Five men appeared at the agent’s side and shoved him in a car. One month later, Camarena’s body was found. He had been tortured to death.

    Ugh. I think this is the first time I’d read about the origins of Red Ribbon Week. What a tragic story. But how blind do you have to be to use it as an example of the “destruction caused by drugs” when it is so clearly an example of the destruction caused by prohibition? I know this is hardly an uncommon theme around here, but the prohibition apologists are constantly using the failures of prohibition (like the violence it creates) to justify it — by attempting to blame those problems on “drugs.” It is absolutely maddening, and they need to be called on it. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

  2. stlgonzo says:

    Red Ribbon Week celebrates success in curbing drug abuse

    “Drug and substance abuse among Defense Department (DoD) military and civilian personnel and their families is at its lowest point in the department’s history, the Pentagon’s director of operational readiness and safety said.

    The substance abuse rate dropped from 7.5 percent in 1980 to less than 1 percent in fiscal 2011, Joseph Angello Jr. said in an interview with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.”

    Study: Nearly Half of Military Binge Drinks; Painkiller Abuse Skyrockets
    Prescription painkiller abuse has increased five fold since 2002

    Which is it? Oh binge drinking doesn’t count.

  3. Klay says:

    My 6 year old daughter told my wife that I should not do drugs (due to red ribbon) for this week. The drug she was referring to was pepsi. I am glad she recognizes it is a drug – though I wonder if she feels the same about chocolate, but I am not sure I want her being used this way… So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.

  4. darkcycle says:

    More propaganda. Paid for by you and I.

  5. claygooding says:

    Luckily we don’t have just a week to celebrate our ideal society,,,there is a hemp event occurring somewhere nearly every month of the year,,,and attended by a much happier lookin crowd.

    • allan says:

      when I attend Seattle HF I take the ferry from Bremerton and then back. The majority of the folks on the ferry ride back to Bremerton in the evening sure smile a lot… a lot. Of course I’m an instigator, I look at people, in the eyes, and smile at them. Eye contact, what a concept.

  6. Maria says:

    Well, if Pete doesn’t mind, since this is an open thread… (and in celebration of all the things that make us see red):

    1) Based on feedback and questions Matt Groff has updated his 1315 Project chart here
    (BTW There are only 2 more days for his Kickstarter project and it looks like he’ll need a miracle) So if you can sponsor it it or spread the word go at it. It looks like a worthy project but maybe he was a tad too optimistic on the funding process.

    2) Speaking of crowd funding, Stuart McMillen (the mind and hands behind the Drug War web comic) has 6 more days on his rather reasonable goal of 6k to fund/produce/print/deliver his next web comic about psychology, drug research, and science. (Who doesn’t love science?)

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Who doesn’t love science?

      What about the director of the ONDCP? Calvina Fay? The police excluding members of LEAP? Linda Taylor? The Amish? The Pope? Christian Scientists? Richard Nixon? George Bush the lesser? A significant supermajority of elected officials?

      Settle in for the evening. This is going to be a very long list. jk

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      McMillen’s next project is apparently about Rat Park, the famous experiment suggesting that rats with better things to do won’t just take drugs all day–even when they’re readily available.

      Love to see that in comic? Donate.

  7. Nunavut Tripper says:

    Because it is part of the illegal drug trade and is the most widely used illegal substance in North America, marijuana is a major contributor (directly and indirectly) to petty crime and drug related violence.
    Smoking marijuana while pregnant can have similar effects on a baby as drinking alcohol. These effects are irreversible, and for many children they will last a life time. NAS or Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome can be caused by ANY type of illicit drug use during pregnancy; this includes marijuana use.

    A couple of choice whoppers from the Aboutcom Teen advice page.
    A study of Jamaican mothers who toked during pregnancy seemed to show no problem. Petty crime and drug related violence? I attended the Toronto Freedom Marijuana March last May..twenty thousand tokers in Queens Park with four TO cops for security monitors of which two were females. The cops were basically bored because nothing happened, the stoners and cops were all very polite to each other. I wish the prohibs could be forced to witness an event like that.

    • Maria says:

      Yup. That’s a good one.

      “Our hospitals are / are gonna be full of Weed Babies!”

      I wonder what the stress effects of prohibition related violence, or threats of violence and detainment, are on pregnant women?

      Not to mention the potential effects of malnutrition and poverty that can come from detaining parents/caregivers.

      Or the effects of the foster system when the parents only “crime” was possession.

      “Won’t Somebody Think of the Childrens!”©

      • kaptinemo says:

        “Our hospitals are / are gonna be full of Weed Babies!”

        Too bad I’m at work, or I’d have split a gut, laughing. That’s rich.

        Remember the mythological ‘Crack Babies’? That’s just the same kind of ‘Bad Journalism’ that Richard Cowan warned us about so long ago. The ‘Cut and Paste’ brigade, too busy acting like panting little Pomeranian lapdogs scarfing up propaganda uncritically to realize they’re being used…or maybe they just don’t care.

    • Curmudgeon says:

      Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome sounds like what will happen when a pregnant woman doesn’t use ANY drugs.

    • Francis says:

      Because it is part of the illegal drug trade and is the most widely used illegal substance in North America, marijuana is a major contributor (directly and indirectly) to petty crime and drug related violence.

      Blaming the substance for the negative consequences of its prohibition? Wasn’t someone just talking about this phenomenon? But wow, what an exceptionally sloppy example. (I mean, c’mon guys, you can’t be quite that obvious about it. In fact, that sort of defeats the purpose. It might encourage some heretical thoughts.)

  8. darkcycle says:

    Tripper…put quotes around that first part…

    • stlgonzo says:

      Yes, I thought it was a troll at first.

      “Because it is part of the illegal drug trade and is the most widely used illegal substance in North America, marijuana is a major contributor (directly and indirectly) to petty crime and drug related violence.”

      This thinking reminds me of the anti-cocaine ad from my youth.

      “I do coke, so I can work more. I work more so I can afford more coke. I do more coke so I can work more…..”

      • Duncan20903 says:

        Cocaine made a new man out of me, no doubt. Unfortunately the first thing that new man wanted was a hit of cocaine.

        • darkcycle says:

          Wiser words of wisdom were never written.
          Why, when whiffing, was Duncan left wanting? Was it the waiting?
          Perhaps the sweating, or the fretting?
          Standing at peepholes, looking for peoples,
          Whos weren’t there?

  9. Liberty. says:

    My MMJ friends are all against I-502. I have read convincing arguments from both sides. Those opposed are calling it a trojan horse and saying its a way to make it legal to posess but not to have in your system because of the 0.5 ng dui part of it. I tend to think that as reformers we take the opportunity and use the system to tweak, alter or outright change things later. I look at the gay marriage movement. They werent after civil unions but it brought them a step closer. I look at 1-502 the same way. Any thoughts. I really enjoy the thoughtful and well written points of view I typically find in the comments here.

    • claygooding says:

      The dui limits of 5 nano is not scientifically or clinically confirmed to establish impairment,,and in most states it is illegal to drive with any cannabis metabolites in your blood already,,not familiar with WA laws on it.

      The funny thing is that if 502 doesn’t pass,the WA legislature could vote in the very same dui law that opponents to 502 claim is so dangerous and the fear and hype the no crowd has displayed over that dui law will only put blood in the water for the prohibs still in office.

    • stlgonzo says:

      I think the mai nreason to vote for the measure, is that it starts to undo the ability of the goverment to keep persecuting minorities for possesion. The MMJ people who seem to be against it mostly seem to be white folks whom dont have as much to fear from the system.

  10. Dave Finch says:

    I am relatively new to this debate. The comments you all make enrich my research into and my writing about the irratioanality of criminal punishment for drug use. I get the impression in this thresd that many of you would abandon all control of marijuana production and use. I agree that use is neither immoral nor particulary harmful to adults, and should not be prohibited. I do think that teenage and young adult use is not a good societal norm because of effects on learning and career building. I would like some input on this point.

    • claygooding says:

      When you remove the harms caused by prohibition,the unemployable because of urine analysis and the lack of an arrest record,most of those harms disappear.

      Marijuana was legal for thousands of years before it was made illegal,,with no restrictions on age or anything else and mankind made it this far,,young people’s ability to learn was not a problem before prohibition,as far as we know,and most of the “harms” to children are prohibition propaganda science,,the same science that our government has used for decades to keep marijuana illegal.

    • darkcycle says:

      Dave, the current policy DOES “…abandon all control of marijuana production and use”. If there is a total ban on production (as we have now) you have automatically defaulted all control to people willing to violate the law. How can you regulate the production when you’ve BANNED it? People HIDE their crops…they don’t invite the “regulators” in! The “regulators” will shoot you, or put you in prison, regardless. If you ban the sale, how can you possibly control who sells it or who buys it?
      You don’t understand….most of us here are all FOR regulation. It’s the prohibitionists who want no regulation at all.

    • Maria says:

      Dave, we get a lot of trolls, including concern trolls, so please pardon the down votes. You seem sincere in your desire for feedback and input… this is also a place of learning despite all the soapboxing and ranting. 😉

      To your point I would agree that it is important to prevent children and teens from consuming drugs and intoxicants willy-nilly. Their minds and bodies are still forming and often times are roiling with hormones and neural changes; complex enough on their own without adding outside substances to the mix. I would actually take your point one step further and say that the rates of over-medicating children and teenagers through prescription drugs is one of the most alarming trends I know of; but then I’m in danger of getting side-tracked.

      I think darkcycle put it best above:

      “Most of us here are all FOR regulation. It’s the prohibitionists who want no regulation at all.”

      This is it in a nutshell.

      Prohibs constantly stir up fear by saying that what we want is an anarchic free-for-all drug orgy which will cause the collapse of society. It is essentially the last major lie they have. I feel that, in this case, I can speak for many who are diligently working toward saner drug policies. Drug orgies aren’t our fantasy dream. Drug orgies are the prohibs fantasy kink.

      Most of us believe that the best way to protect all members of society – children, teens, and adults – from the “dangers of drugs” is through:

      a) Honest medical and scientific information about the effects (both positive and negative) of each drug.

      b) Health and safety policies and programs that provide services, treatment, and support for substance abuse and mental health problems.

      c) A regulated consumer market.

      The meaning of regulated market can vary from person to person and from state initiative to state initiative but replacing the black market with a regulated market is often the common thread. The ‘out of sight/out of mind’ black market is no place for children (or adults) to be exposed to and learn about drugs and their effects. A regulated market separates the corruption, violence, and violent crimes inherent to black markets from any dangers or problems related to the item/service being bought and sold.

      If your desire is to protect children then you must first ignore the misleading layers of feel-good new-speak that come out of the mouths of Drug Free America types. You must step back a bit from the emotional immediacy of the heart breaking (often out of context) anecdotes used and take a look at historical trends, patterns, policies, and laws and their effects on real lives and communities.

      Only when you pull back from the immediate call to “protect the children” will the real reasons behind criminalizing use, production, or possession become apparent. It is not to keep children safe. It is not to keep anyone safe.

      What prohibs want is control over human lives. This control is not meant to be wielded as a shield to protect and safeguard the public. It is to be wielded as a sword to exert fear, leverage, and to punish the public when required.

  11. allan says:

    did someone mention jury nullification? No? Well here, let me:

    Jury Nullifies in “NJ Weedman” Marijuana Trial

    Now that deserves a red ribbon. Way to go Ed!

  12. kaptinemo says:

    You know, when they trot out their Red Ribbon Week, we ought to have Black Ribbon Week. In honor of these folks.

    A perfect way of pointing out the hypocrisy of drug prohibition in general and the the DEA in particular, to those who ask why the black ribbon, particularly when you explain that it’s worn partly because kids have been slaughtered in the DrugWarrior’s zeal to ‘save them’.

    Oh, and that’s also true for all the soldiers who died in the VN War, the Gulf War , and who probably will continue to die in the Iraq and Af-Pak Wars; make no mistake, they’ve died for mineral wealth, oil and opium, and for the bankster profits from dirty money derived from those ‘commodities’, for opium more than anything else..

    The soldiers of the Iraq and Af-Pak Wars went where they were sent in good faith, and just like with some of their fathers and uncles in the VN War and the Gulf War, their faith was abused by cynical REMFs who got filthy rich off of their suffering and dying. If anyone deserves such recognition, they do.

  13. darkcycle says:

    FDL is starting the speculations. What will Barry O’Bushma Or Willard R. Money do when we legalize?

    • claygooding says:

      I think I have said it here before but how many federal trials need to be nullified or have a hung jury for any state worker,licensed retail outlet or licensed producer before the Federal government goes and plays somewhere else.

      They have to pick a jury from voters that legalized the actions that the feds are now charging as criminals and I don’t see even one conviction.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      I don’t get why people think that the Federal government would have the right to even pursue this in court. To the Feds these proposed laws are identical to medicinal cannabis patient protection laws. It’s been 16 years, 3 Presidential administrations and 4 trips to the SCOTUS for the California Compassionate Use Act (AKA Prop 215) and it’s still the law. The SCOTUS wasn’t even interested in hearing the preemption argument in County of San Diego v San Diego NORML 165 Cal. App. 4th 798; 81 Cal. Rptr. 3d 461 (2008).

      In City of Garden Grove v Felix Kha, 157 Cal. App. 4th 355; 68 Cal. Rptr. 3d 656 (2007) the SCOTUS wasn’t interested in hearing the arguments from Garden Grove that it was illegal for police and/or local authorities to return property that is legal under State law but illegal under the Federal code.

      Another item that most people are forgetting when this subject comes up is severability. All 3 proposed laws include the severability clause. Even if I’ve overlooked something in my understanding of the interaction of Federal law with State law the best that the Feds can do is to get parts of the law struck down.

      I must admit that I’ve not understood people who think that Federal law “trumps” State law. It was only a few days ago when I saw a post from one of the Ignorati which made it clear that those people believe that State and local authorities are allowed (or required) to enforce Federal law.

      The people on the other side of the table have been waiting 16 years for the Federal cavalry to come riding in to have State medicinal cannabis patient protection laws struck down. After that many years I’d think that these people would re-evaluate. But not only are they still waiting for the Federal cavalry to swoop in and strike down those laws they’re not even skipping a beat in their prediction that the Feds will strike down the proposed laws if the ballot initiatives are passed. But the prohibitionists have never let the facts get in the way of their arguments even though their predictions have been so wrong, wrong, wrong.

      Perhaps we’ll have to wait to find out. An Elway Poll of 451 likely voters shows a marijuana initiative (I-502) leading 48-44 percent. I do think it’s a good bet that there was some monkey business involved in that poll since it’s claiming that I-502 support has declined by 7% in a single week. That’s 7% of the “Yes” votes changing to “No” not changing from “Undecided” to “No”. In the absence of a rather spectacular exogenous event (e.g. infants used for human sacrifice or hors d’oeuvre at dispensaries) that thought is laughably absurd.

    • kaptinemo says:

      I saw that earlier this morning, but the article doesn’t cover any real new material, so I didn’t bother commenting…save for repeating that the Feds are risking a ‘worst case scenario’ if they insist on their intransigence.

      If the States (not just those who have the initiatives but those contemplating their own) decide they’ve had enough interference, and begin the call for a Constitutional Convention, it will be a explosive in its’ ramifications.

      Since the Civil War, the trend has been towards the very centralization of power that drove many of the Southern States to rebellion (it wasn’t all about slavery, but economics and the fear of the States becoming de facto provinces of an empire). That centralization overstepped some critical boundaries, WRT the imposition of Federal power at the expense of the States, with the concomitant reduction in rights and liberties of the citizens of those States. And its’ only gotten worse since then.

      This issue, of all the possible ones, could be the spark that lights the fuse to a gigantic pile of old, unstable, nitro-dripping dynamite. For that’s what would happen if the citizens of the various States, sick and tired of Federal intransigence in the face of their legitimately using the democratic process to determine their own fate (as they are supposed to be able to!), decide to call for a Constitutional Convention.

      Do the Feds REALLY want to risk that? DO they? I imagine we’ll see soon enough…

      • claygooding says:

        I would suggest a Constitutional Convention attended by the 50 governors of the states with their AG as consultant,,that would be an interesting meeting.

  14. divadab says:

    What are the ramifications for BC Bud exports if Washington State legalizes? Article from the Globe and Mail:

    The cat’s already among the pigeons……and we are the cats, the disgraceful lying prohibitionists are the pigeons!

  15. darkcycle says:

    Retired Federal Judge laments his role in the War on Drugs:
    “I send more than 1000 non-violent offenders to Federal Prison.”

    • Maria says:

      Hindsight indeed… Good for him but it seems that with the War on Drugs retirement equals 20/20 vision.

    • Emma says:

      “Several years ago, I started visiting inmates I had sentenced in prison. It is deeply inspiring to see the positive changes most have made. Some definitely needed the wake-up call of a prison cell, but very few need more than two or three years behind bars.”

      wtf, US federal prison is not a rehabilitation program. 2-3 yrs for these crimes (mostly “conspiracy” to make a small amount of meth) would still be considered inhumane in western Europe. And he doesn`t even mention the lifelong harms of being labeled a felon even with no prison time (detailed in the book The New Jim Crow). His problem is just with mandatory minimums, he doesn`t seem to being seeing the bigger problems with prohibition.

      But anyway, nice essay, good start, hope he gets in touch with LEAP.

  16. Peter says:

    excellent post from glenn greenwald about dea agent who gets it

  17. Liberty. says:

    How long until the social stigma starts to wane after legalization?
    How long until seeing someone take a hit is as normal as seeing someone take a swig of beer or wine?

    • claygooding says:

      I think it will be a lot quicker than it took to start waking America up to the propaganda that gave them that attitude about tokers.

  18. darkcycle says:

    Well, if you mean seeing people toking up in public, don’t hold your breath (you gotta let the smoke out eventually, anyway). That’s out, at least in Wa. But if it’s the normalization of pot use…should be pretty quick. However, I wouldn’t look for it to make a (public) appearance at Christmas office parties just yet (depending on where you work, that is!).

  19. BirthOfToast says:

    Qantas pilot Captain Steve Anderson combined with alcohol, sleep deprivation, and changing time zones —it’s an accident waiting to happen!

  20. Dave Finch says:

    My thanks go to Darkcycle, Maria and Claygooding for their thoughtful responses to my question. I am largely in agreement with your comments, especially that prohibition doesn’t work. I would like to see a system for all drugs, including M, that would make them legally available to adults within a not very intrusive counseling/monitoring system, chartered on a state by state basis, with a dual purpose of putting dealers out of business, and of keeping users informed of the science and treatment options in their circumstances. If such a system were put in place in one or more states, would you think M should be excluded?

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