We may be turning the tide, but there are still too many victims

Jacob Sullum soberly reminds us that while people are openly and legally buying pot in some parts of the country, there are others behind bars for inconceivable lengths of time for marijuana offenses.

Life In Prison For Pot And Other Travesties of Marijuana Prohibition

The relatively lenient treatment of cannabis consumers raises a moral question that no prohibitionist has ever satisfactorily answered. If smoking pot is not such a big deal, how can merely helping people smoke pot by supplying the raw material justify locking anyone in a cage for years or decades?

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46 Responses to We may be turning the tide, but there are still too many victims

  1. divadab says:

    Yup – and like a cornered beast, the prohibitionists are continuing to exercise unjust dominion. Just consider the extreme bad faith of the DEA in making it difficult to import hemp products recently. After several years of no problems ( I imported 50 gallons of Canadian hempseed oil in 2006 with no difficulty). Businesses that rely on hemp imports are suffering from the federal government’s restraint of trade in support of their filthy prohibition. Disgraceful law, disgraceful enforcers. The sooner they have to get real jobs doing something useful can’t come too soon.

  2. Daniel Williams says:

    My friend of twenty years is doing time in Florida for being in possession of 10 lbs. What kills me is that in Colorado he’d be considered a retailer. And let’s not forget Leonard Pickard is doing two life sentences w/o parole for conspiracy to manufacture LSD. Just spoke with Leonard this morning, and he remains remarkably positive.

  3. thelbert says:

    if the prohibitches want to put punish people who touch cannabis as if they were murderers, reparations and war crimes trials are past due.

  4. allan says:

    OR Congressman Earl Blumenauer is calling for a federal investigation into the “Oregon Marijuana Education Tour” campaign and alleged misuse of public money.


  5. Howard says:

    We’re too arrogant of a nation to follow the lead of others. Too bad we can’t see the logic that Italy sees;

    Italy to Release 10K Pot Prisoners


    • Servetus says:

      Perhaps Italy has discovered a new way to boost recruitment in the Italian army as well. An army facility has been chosen to create an industrial scale grow-op to produce Italian medical marijuana:

      Roberta Pinotti, defence minister, and Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin have given their backing to the plans to see the army produce drugs using cannabis, La Stampa said.

      If approved the medical marijuana will be cultivated at a chemical plant run by the army, originally used to produce medicines for the military. The plans could see cannabis drugs available in Italian pharmacies as early as next year, the newspaper said.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Howard, you might want to consider Italy’s past relationships with cannabis. I think an apt metaphorical description is 1 foot in a bucket of scalding water, the other in a bucket of ice water and asserting that the result is a very pleasant average temp for foot soaking.

      Italy approves new marijuana law
      By Christian Fraser, BBC News, Rome
      February 8, 2006

      The Italian government has approved a law that increases sanctions against people who smoke marijuana, putting the drug on a par with cocaine and heroin.

      Under the new legislation, people found in possession of cannabis could risk having their passport and their driving licence suspended.

      ….less than 6 moths later:

      Italy Relaxes Cannabis Laws
      Jun 28, 2006

      Boosted by its overwhelming victory in the referendum on devolution yesterday, the centre-left Government of Romano Prodi has moved to dismantle yet another legacy of the Berlusconi era by overturning its “zero tolerance” drugs policy.

      • Howard says:

        Yeah, Italy has veered all over the road (whiplash alert!). But at least they’re veering away from the dominating influence of US drug policy. Consider in the linked article they’ve got 62,000 prisoners housed in facilities meant to hold 48,000. And 40% of those are in prison for drug crimes. They’re not considering building more prisons, they’re reconsidering who should be in prison in the first place. Bravo Italianos!

        Which brings to mind a speech given 25 years ago this month by Bush 1 in which he said, “we need more jails, more prisons, more courts and more prosecutors.”

        That mentality is still out there in varying degrees, but thankfully more and more countries are turning away from that madness. The US has already started to turn away too. But we can be sooo slooow. Italy makes a bold, decisive move. The US has to “study” it more (especially what it means for drug war profiteers).

  6. DdC says:

    If you work under the table, like by growing pot. Or earn less than the cost of incarceration. You are of more value to the state in a cage. More tax paid and prisons profit. Cannabis also happens to be too versatile for Wall St industries and justification for all those cop toys. Did anyone really still think its about the dangers of pot or lol, for the kids? Same as Fat Pharma profits on sick people, not healthy. So you are of more value with some funky disease popping pills and side effect pills than living a healthy life. Again cannabis is competition to the white powders. If you’re going to smoke pot for your illness. To them you might as well stay healthy for all the good it does. Mixed up crazy world we live in, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

  7. ezrydn says:

    I heard that there are 1M cases of PTSD just out of Vietnam alone. Add the numbers from Iraq and Afghanistan and you probably will find another Mil. So, consider how the US Gov’t has kept vets away from the only thing that gives us a day of peace. That, in and of itself, should qualify as a “war crime.”

    For those who don’t know, PTSD produces “sticky” thoughts that compound on each other. This leads to an “episode.” One inhalation at night before bedtime and the next 24 hrs are simple “slick” thoughts. They’re gone before you can dwell on them.

    And I use a straight CBD Indica. Very little THC like a Sativa.

    • allan says:

      ez… add to the vets numbers the millions of women suffering from PTSD as well from rape, assault, abuse etc… all that it takes (in my mind) to have PTSD is a problematic traumatic experience.

      I suppose you could add psychedelic trauma to that as well. Consider how many events like Spanish Canyon have happened to folks tripping over these many decades…

      • claygooding says:

        allen,,just living in a war zone with a 3 week life expectancy can give people PTSD,,it is the continuous knowledge that you are under the gun for a year and the trauma increases the closer you get to your rotation date.,,imagine living with an abusive mate for a couple of decades with no relief in sight..

      • allan says:

        cannabis should be part of any inter-nation “peace talks.” Imagine the Israelis puffing large w/ the Palestinians… having a sauna, a feast and more cannabis and more peace talks.

        2 of my faves from the ’60s – fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity and speed kills.

        Sadly, hardly anyone speaks for peace. But then the bravest of the peaceniks don’t live long lives… and peace is one of those avocations where the adage about no good deed left unpunished, fits to a T.

        The late Gil Scott-Heron said it real well in Winter in America:

        And now it’s winter
        Winter in America
        Yes and all of the healers have been killed
        Or sent away, yeah
        But the people know, the people know
        It’s winter
        Winter in America
        And ain’t nobody fighting
        ‘Cause nobody knows what to save
        Save your soul, Lord knows
        From Winter in America


    • Windy says:

      MDMA appears to give relief to PTSD sufferers for much longer than one day, some forever after just one dose, others need more than one session; but psychiatrists and psychologists who are using it to treat PTSD have had to do so clandestinely, thanks to the DEA. That is just wrong, if a drug helps people, regardless of its potential for recreational use it should be available to whomever needs or wants it, for treatment or just for fun.

      • DdC says:

        A new way to heal

        The early returns are more than positive.
        Studies are showing MDMA several times more effective
        than either Zoloft or Paxil at treating PTSD.

        Thank you Sasha #Shulgin

        Dr. Andrew Weil Says LSD Cured His Allergy
        Andrew Weil on medical uses of Ecstasy, MDMA
        The Harvard Psychedelic Club

        I’m a veteran who overcame treatment-resistant PTSD after participating in a clinical study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. My name is Tony Macie— Ask me anything!

        Just a slimy trail of corruption

      • B. Snow says:

        This IS a problem – Especially when their definition of “abuse” is deceitful – ‘right from the git-go’ aka = When nearly any “use” (as in for pleasure or non-FDA certified/approved “relief of anxiety”) is equivalent to “abuse”, THEN – they’re not only mangling the English language, they’re *also more importantly* = misrepresenting the truth on a grand scale!
        But defining it how they please… YES, there’s a good chance people are likely to “USE” this – because its pleasant, it’s fun – people are frequently into stuff like that – Some folks run “Marathons” for similar effects and that can kill you. (In the original story of the first “Marathon”, it ended with the runner dying after delivering the message he carried = IIRC.)

        So it is accurate to say there IS a large potential for people to USE this… That’s not in accurate, But to say there is a large potential for ABUSE is wrong.

        They’ll likely use it because its pleasant, or it helps deal with symptoms of various health issues, or again because it’s helpful to reduce anxiety (found everywhere in modern culture), they call that “abuse”, and they tend to do things like give it a derisive label – calling it “a crutch”…

        I want to know WTF gives them the right to talk smack about “a crutch” for the mind, or a “disturbed conscious”? Would they do that about someone using a crutch, cane, or timeless “Old man’s walking stick…” to get around in the physical world?

        Some of us need or greatly appreciate a similar device, or tool – in a manner of speaking to help us “get around” and exist – within the world between our ears…

        Hell, even that is given a negative connotation – “your problem is all between your ears” – Again I say , “WTF if it is?” – And also, if that’s true then how can you presume to know precisely what “my problem” IS, Much less – go lecturing me about the best remedy for it?

        And why I should believe you have a “cure” – and that my treating the symptoms of my ‘affliction?” with a temporary remedy is somehow lesser, wrong, or illicit = because it comes with a pleasant/happy side effect, or that it ought not be legally available to me choose – over their morally-approved “cure”.

        So what? That doesn’t make it non-existent = that just means you have to take a person’s word on whether its there or not, and how heavily it weighs on them!

        But, the ‘Teetotalers’ that would prefer you only get relief in “approved manner” = which in their mind is something like going to church, or a group-therapy, or some BS BigPharma product – that has no euphoric effect whatsoever – because then you can stop worrying about the stuff they otherwise would use to control you!

        “But its just an escape”…

        Your damn right it is, its also my choice on whether I need an escape or not and when!

        And – If these people don’t get outta our lives & personal/private business they’re gonna be the ones needing the escape.
        If they prefer to believe that their proper escape begins at death, FINE!
        (Note: That seems like a waste of a Solar System/Universe/*All Of Existence* – but, OKAY whatever…)

        But, meanwhile I’m going to enjoy THIS world first and hope they’re (partially) right about the next.

  8. Jean Valjean says:

    It’s business as usual in the bar them, book em,deport em, imprison em and the generally fuck-em-up for life industries with thousands of victims falling prey to the drug warriors every day. How much longer can this go on? (Did I mention steal their kids?)

  9. Common Science says:

    I like the self-medicating picture of Floridian Irvin Rosenfeld that the Orlando Sentinel is using today. Such a sharp dresser. If it was the only picture that a regular MSM outlet had on him pulling on that Mississippi schwag, a junior editor would have to implement some major Photoshopping to cover his image with enhanced acne, a greasy five day facial pelt and maybe a decrepit ballcap, if there was still time to make copy.


  10. Howard says:

    Let’s not forget the victims of asset forfeiture. Check this out;

    Parents’ house seized after son’s drug bust


    For forty dollars worth of heroin…

    • B. Snow says:

      IMNSHO – The level of bullshit can be summed up in one line quoted from the CNN story:

      “Police and prosecutors came armed with a lawsuit against the house itself.”

  11. Jean Valjean says:

    A new addition the drug warriors’ paraphernalia list: peppercorns are shown to reduce anxiety associated with cannabis. Of course, being high in a developing police state sworn to detect and cage you may also have something to do with cannabis associated anxiety or paranoia.


  12. Duncan20903 says:


    I’m wondering, is there some kind of revival/nostalgia of 1960s slang going on? It may be limited to the “people” on the other side of the table. Recently I noticed that they had started using the word “pusher” again. In the last week I’ve noticed at least 1/2 dozen instances of them using the word “junkie” including one instance specifically referring to me.

    What’s next people saying groovy and flashing the peace sign?

    Oh oh, cheese it — it’s the fuzz!

    • B. Snow says:

      That’s funny, I ‘ve remarked here previously I had a friend in college (circa the mid 90’s ) – that would joke (when people came over) and asked if he knew “where they could get a sack?”
      And he responded in the original “ironic”/sarcastic/sardonic – manner with the reply:
      “I don’t know, let me call – “my pusher” – and see if he has any…”

      It was funny as hell THEN, and its still *almost as funny* to me NOW.

  13. ezrydn says:


    I agree with you. I was speaking only to what I encounter daily.


    Build up, babe. After a short period, you reach saturation. When I went to Europe last year, I had nothing for two weeks. No problems. So, there’s build up to saturation, then you can go without when in said situation.

  14. Duncan20903 says:


    From the town of Crusted Butte, Colorado here’s a dictionary picture worthy example of the typical prohibitionist parasite’s systemic hypocrisy:

    Town Becomes a Beer Ad, but Residents Don’t Feel Like a Party
    By Julie Turkewitz
    September 4, 2014

    That headline is not a metaphor. Anheuser-Busch rented the town to film a commercial. It’s a right ballsy move for Anheuser-Busch picking a town in a rival drug cartel’s back yard. Isn’t anyone worried about the possibility of a gang turf war? I can’t imagine that MillerCoors is going to take this one sitting down!

    • B. Snow says:

      Seems like a horrible choice – was it supposed to be random?
      That’s the impression I got from the couple of commercials I saw about it.

      I’d think they’d want it anywhere but Colorado or Washington these days = maybe?

      Unless the is meant to be an “object lesson” and Someone Else has a similar “Whatever USA” = That will essentially be the same except as a giant Cannabis Festival?

      Mason Tvert – ought to consider jumping on a similar concept (Basically contrasting the relative level of “blow-back” and ‘negative impact’ to the towns in question) = if he hasn’t already done so!

      Although – it would be good to “randomly?” pick a spot very nearby a Town that’s known to be Cannibals-Friendly, and get explicit approval from the locals first, “Anyweed, USA” = looking for Tourism $$ – with some infrastructure to make sure mundane BS doesn’t shit-can the thing.

      OTOH, maybe that’s a horrible idea?

      • Duncan20903 says:


        I was just thinking of the worldwide wailing and gnashing of teeth that would occur if a wholesaler of cannabis for enjoyment were to attempt to do the same thing. I’m actually a little bit shocked that there was any opposition. Well, unless we can trace the opposition back to MillerCoors, then it’s perfectly understandable.

  15. DdC says:

    Marijuana Shows Great Promise For Alzheimer’s – But Research Is Stalled http://www.tokesignals.com/marijuana-shows-great-promise-for-alzheimers-but-research-is-stalled/ via @tokesignals
    “We found out that people who smoked dope in the 1960s were not getting Alzheimer’s,” Wenk explained, reports KJ Hiramoto at the Seattle PI. “These 90-year-olds without dementia were telling us things like, ‘Well, I drank whiskey and smoked dope,’ and these are the things they remember. They don’t remember habits like how often they ate broccoli.”

    He faced other hurdles, as well. Scientists who wish to research marijuana have to compete for approval and grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), for which The University of Mississippi is the only source of marijuana. You see, Ole Miss has the only federally legal, grant-funded cannabis garden in the U.S.A.

    What makes the situation even worse is that, as admitted even by NIDA Director Nora D. Valkow, M.D., is that the agency is only interested in studying the potential harms of marijuana — not the medicinal benefits. So if you want to study how cannabis helps patients, good luck with that!

    Using Pot To Save Brains!

  16. claygooding says:

    Attn couchmates,,please have someone take a picture of you sitting in a chair from 15 ft away facing forward,,we can put them all together sitting on a long couch,,if Pete has time we could all email him the pics and he will have a decoupage on his wall of his prohibitch hunters…
    Or allan,,he might be able to figure out how to photo-fix it.

  17. Servetus says:

    If North America won’t get its act together, at least Central and South America can.

    The Fifth Latin American Conference on Drug Policies took place September 3rd and 4th in Costa Rica. The conclusion was obvious and inevitable: Latin-America’s anti-drug policies feed on the poor. Changes are expected:

    The proposals set forth during the meeting recommended an overhaul of the legal systems in Latin America, to reduce incarceration and establish sentences proportionate to minor crimes. The participants argued that laws and the justice systems should focus on cracking down on the big interests involved in drug trafficking.

    They also recommended that amounts for legal personal possession should be established, along with measures such as the decriminalisation of some drugs or the creation of markets controlled by the state, along the lines of what Uruguay is doing in the case of marijuana.

    Expect to hear more rumblings as Prohibition collapses on its Southern front.

    • claygooding says:

      There is the power of the corporations that own mainstream media and probably a little influence from the feds,,,I don’t recall a single article in the last several weeks that even mentioned the conference,,I may have just missed it but if there was one it must have been carefully worded for my searches to have missed it,,or blocked.

  18. DannZoidal/Loves/Nullification says:

    Sisti argued that convicting Darrell would be unfair, given that he was growing marijuana for personal medical and religious use.

    After deliberating for six hours, the jury unanimously declared Darrell not guilty.

    Juror Cathleen Converse, self-described as a “straitlaced little old lady,” explained her reasoning in an interview with Free Talk Live.

    “Mr. Darrell is a peaceful man,” she said. “He grows for his own personal religious and medicinal use. I knew that my community would be poorer rather than better off had he been convicted.”


  19. DannZoidal/Loves/Nullification says:


    Juror Cathleen Converse, self-described as a “straitlaced little old lady,” explained her reasoning in an interview with Free Talk Live.

    “Mr. Darrell is a peaceful man,” she said. “He grows for his own personal religious and medicinal use. I knew that my community would be poorer rather than better off had he been convicted.”

    Prior to the trial, Darrell turned down several plea deals, including one that included no jail time or fine, Reason.com reports. Sisti said his client insisted on a jury trial because “[Darrell] didn’t think he was guilty of anything; [marijuana is] a sacrament in his religion.”

  20. DannZoidal/Loves/Nullification says:


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