Ohio Theocrats Want Cannabis Criminalized

Baptist pastors in Ohio launched their own private drug war in a deliberate breach of the separation of church and state:

“We support vibrant communities and encourage policymakers to “Believe Local,”Mansfield Pastor Joe Nichols said during the press conference. “Therefore, based on local community standards reflected in its history and leadership, and as clergymen representing one hundred and ten (110) congregations across North Central Ohio, we believe the legalization of recreational marijuana and the relaxation of drug enforcement laws like syringe exchange programs and designated outdoor refreshment areas disrupt health and safety and are morally wrong.” …During the briefing, Pastor Chad Hayes sounded the alarm on the substance abuse crisis. Hayes leads a faith-based RU Recovery drug treatment ministry to battle drug addiction. […]

Believing is one thing. Acting on it is another. Religious groups that assume the role of government risk being seriously disliked just as if they were actual bureaucrats or politicians. Preventing people from obtaining the optimal medicines they need as an effective addition to addiction or pain treatments, cancer treatments, or as an anxiolytic and anti-depressant, can lead to open revolt. Marijuana and psilocybin decriminalization/legalization has been a revolt of sorts. Thomas Jefferson would have approved, “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”

Anthea Butler’s book, White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America, presents the moral dilemma of legislating morality when it’s based on racist or xenophobic intent. When facing questions of moral right or wrong, a person’s mind isn’t always changed by the passage or enforcement of laws. Legislators know this. In practice, evangelical lawmakers make detrimental use of divisive moral problems to generate scofflaws who can be singled out for crossing moral lines drawn in a shifting sand.

Numerous Ohio evangelicals are using marijuana prohibition to make a distinction between themselves and other groups for the purpose of defamation, domination, exploitation, or elimination of the other. Nothing about this is new. In biblical times, a symbol or indicator of the other was called a shibboleth. Within the dark and secretive confines of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, it was referred to as an indicium. Heresy in ancient societies was as simple as exhibiting the wrong accent when some unfortunate outlier was forced to say the word shibboleth. Identified members of outlying groups or tribes, or those who suffered a speech impediment such as a lisp, would then be summarily put to death.

Fortunately, hashish was still legal in the 4th century as it had been for thousands of years previously. Its joyful use made early Christianity much more tolerable and less a social and political pain than it is today.

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Rachel Hoffman

Rachel Hoffman
The excellent Shaleen Title reminds me that it was 14 years ago today that Rachel Hoffman died. Caught with less than an ounce of cannabis, she was told by police that the only way out of prison was as an informant. They forced her to buy 1,500 ecstasy pills, cocaine, and a gun. During the botched sting, when was murdered with the gun that she was supposed to buy.

Here’s some of my coverage of the case at the time.

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…former Defense Secretary Mark Esper recounts that in the summer of 2020, Trump asked, on at least two occasions, if the military could “shoot missiles into Mexico to destroy the drug labs,” saying, “They don’t have control of their own country.” Told all the various reasons this idea was a non-starter, the then president insisted that they could do it “quietly,” adding: “no one would know it was us.” Apparently informed that yes, in fact, people would know it was the U.S., Trump responded that he would simply lie and say we didn’t do it.

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Drug War Industries Face Obsolescence

The drug war business sector is confronting its own obsolescence as cannabis legalization continues to sweep the nation.

Companies selling urinalysis kits are feeling the pinch-off as people recover their rights to privacy while being given a greater range of medicinal choices involving their own bodies. Reactionary responses from Big Pharma and drug war industries can always be expected and often take the form of new tech products that promise an end to the alleged weed menace once and for all.

Topping the wish list is the marijuana breathalyzer. This elusive tech-creature has been the major choice for testosterone-crazed motor cops whose very job existence may depend on how many potheads they bust in a single weekend. Its market introduction is not going well. There exists no clear standard for judging levels of impairment from marijuana. The possibility of creating such a device, one that can be interrelated and quantified with an actual marijuana dysfunction, is doubtful.

Undeterred, the Biden Administration introduced a bill in Congress that provides $10 million toward equipping all new automobiles—starting in 2026—with breathalyzers that must be used to start the car. Yes, it’s true. The US government wants you to give your car a blowjob. Buy your new car now before it’s too late.

Bypassing the device is far more certain than making it work. A counter-tech gadget that blows clean moist air into the breathalyzer might work. Someone could give the random kid on the street ten dollars to blow into the mouthpiece instead of the driver. A handheld breathalyzer could be used to filter a person’s breath before it’s exhaled into the car’s breathalyzer. More research is needed. Breathalyzer hacking will ultimately rule.

A far better use for the taxpayers’ ten million would be to fund preliminary research into how marijuana use might mitigate certain anxiety-driven social problems, such as child abuse by parents, or by public school teachers and administrators—or situations like road rage, wife beatings, poverty, suicides, and homicides. Under our current Congressional dystopia, serious matters such as these may need to wait their turn for law enforcement to fulfill its dream of a drug-free society.

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John Oliver, Fentanyl, Harm Reduction

If you have HBO, I highly recommend watching the latest episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Season 9, Episode 5). It may be available on other platforms.

In this episode, Oliver takes on the misguided drug war approaches that have led to the massive number of overdoses due to fentanyl and advocates some serious harm reduction approaches.

Update: here is it on Youtube:

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Are drug wars protection rackets?

A protection racket is an organized crime in which racketeers threaten and scare people to force them to pay a monetary tribute to the racketeers to avoid future harm. A racketeer can be a criminal, politician, corrupt government, or any one of their organized accomplices.

Few differences exist between protection racketeers and prohibitionists. Prohibitionists promise American taxpayers reliable public safety from illegal drugs at a bargain-basement price. Then they direct massive and expensive drug arrests by law enforcement that ruin millions of lives with fines and other criminal sanctions. Protection rackets don’t always protect.

Part of a prohibitionist’s tribute is called forfeiture, otherwise known as confiscation of the type that emerged as one of the triggers of the American Revolution against the British. Forfeiture might involve the confiscation of a person’s automobile once drugs are found or planted in the vehicle. Exclusion from voting rights, public office, and employment by the FBIare part of a wide portfolio of authoritarian sanctions. No detail is left untouched. Harm prevention is scorned. Fines are still levied in some states for possessing marijuana while not purchasing a state marijuana tax stamp to accompany it. Homes can be raided with no-knock warrants using conventional law enforcement or SWAT teams armed with military hardware, all for some trivial amount of drug cash believed stored in someone’s hallway closet. Evidence tends to come from some informant under legal duress who says it’s there. A drug cash raid for a non-recovered $8000 resulted in the police shooting death of Breonna Taylor. Police officers have been injured or killed in similar military-style confrontations.

Funding for drug war racketeers will continue as long as prohibitionists can manufacture consent by making civilians believe that fire and brimstone await those who smoke marijuana or take forbidden drugs. Decades of relentless public training in the popular detestation of illegal drugs and their consumers has been a steady windfall for various bureaucrats, politicians, and the dominionist religious groups whose members dominate the ranks of drug enforcement. Giving up a drug war is like beating an addiction. Drug war addicts may well need interventional drug treatment to educate them about their destructive habit.

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Website glitches

Updates to WordPress weren’t working properly with the theme that I was using for DrugWarrant, and we were losing some functionality (along with images, etc.). So I have switched to another theme. It will take a bit of getting used to, and I’m sure there will be glitches that need to be addressed. Please let me know of any problems you see. Thanks for your patience.

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Confusion over CBD for Children

A poll conducted by C. S. Mott’s Children’s Hospital, University of Michigan Health—”Parent perspectives on CBD use in children”, reveals that some parents hesitate giving CBD to their kids because they lack information about its effects. Some think it’s no different from psychoactives like THC or the full spectrum cannabis flower:

Most parents say they either don’t know much about CBD use in children (46%) or they never heard of it prior to this poll (34%); 17% report knowing some, and only 3% say they know a lot about CBD use in children. Most parents (71%) have never used a CBD product themselves, while 24% have tried CBD and 5% use a CBD product regularly.

Parents say the factors that would be very important in deciding whether to give their child a CBD product are side effects (83%), if it was tested for safety in children (78%), how well it works in children (72%), recommendation of their child’s doctor (63%), approval of the US Food and Drug Administration (58%), and product reviews (41%).

Three-quarters of parents (73%) think CBD may be a good option for children when other medications don’t work. Most parents (83%) think CBD products should be regulated by the FDA, and three-quarters (74%) say CBD for children should require a doctor’s prescription. One-third of parents (35%) think taking CBD is basically the same as using marijuana.

Over 90% of parents have never given or considered giving their child a CBD product. Only 2% have given their child a CBD product, while 4% have considered CBD for their child; 1% say their child has used CBD without their permission.

Among parents who have given or considered giving CBD for their child, only 29% say they talked with their child’s healthcare provider about CBD use. Parents’ most common reasons for giving or considering CBD for their child include anxiety (51%), sleep problems (40%), ADHD (33%), muscle pain (20%), autism (19%), and to make their child feel better in general (13%). […]

Parents also demonstrated some inconsistencies in their attitudes about CBD products for children, including the regulation of these products. For example, 83% indicated CBD products should be regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), yet only 58% rated FDA approval as very important to their decision about using CBD for their child. Currently, only one CBD product has received FDA approval for use in children, as a treatment for a rare form of epilepsy. It’s unclear if parents recognize that none of the CBD products they see in stores are regulated by the FDA. […]

One-third of parents in this Mott Poll believe that taking CBD is basically the same as using marijuana, which is consistent with parents’ overall limited knowledge about CBD products. […]

Ignorance about medicines can affect a child’s health. CBD continues to prove itself a side-effect-free treatment for a wide variety of unusually different health problems. Given Congress’s traditional rejection of science that doesn’t suit its own political or moralizing intent, federally funded research establishing the benefits of cannabinoids will continue to receive little or no initiative or enthusiasm.

A decades long government quest to prove that mental, physical, or social harm emerges directly from cannabis consumption has consistently failed. Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result provides governments with a convenient excuse for perpetual war of the sort described by George Orwell in his book 1984, in which he illustrates how socially devastating wars get equated with peace.

Federally funded research proposals still trend toward proving something or anything wrong with cannabinoids. Providing the NIDA with a useful Congressional directive to fund scientific research to expose the benefits of CBD and marijuana’s other amazing constituents is necessary to make it happen at the federal level. The move would represent a gigantic step toward eliminating a dimwitted Middle Ages mindset that promotes ignorance and hysteria over the medicinal effects of simple herbs. Medical necessity could emerge and create a critical historical benchmark. Children might finally have the complete right of access to all available medicines and medical interventions they need and deserve.

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Parents and Drug Wars

Two emergency public health programs, one in New York, the other in San Francisco, highlight problems certain nations, governments and communities face in overcoming their drug war problem.

San Francisco’s latest answer to drug wars is called a linkage center. It allows for onsite opioid injections in sterile conditions overseen by medical assistants who monitor users for overdose. The linkage center also informs its clients on options for readily available medical treatments for addictions. To date, the center is credited with saving the lives of five people from opioid ODs. Yet, a limited number of reactionaries speaking as concerned parents still push an inflexible and absolutist prohibition policy, even though their emotional dismissals of harm reduction or prevention might someday put a tragic end to their own children’s lives. Their kids (in actuality adults) have an opioid use disorder. In San Francisco, the group is protesting the sale and use of opioids within a securely fenced and visually blocked area.

Anyone searching for reasons that entice troubled people to seek out and consume alternative medications that lead to addiction need look no further than helicopter parents flaunting their ignorance about drugs and harm prevention:

Demonstrators in SF accuse city’s linkage center of allowing open drug use

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Supreme Court Frontrunner

According to several articles, the current frontrunner for President Biden to nominate to the Supreme Court to replace Breyer is Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former federal public defender.

Biden’s Likeliest Supreme Court Pick

Brian Fallon, the executive director of Demand Justice, a progressive group advocating for court reform, told me. “It would signal a new era and a shift away from the decades-long default to former prosecutors and corporate lawyers.”

It’s not going to change the overall makeup of the court, but having the voice of someone who has been a defender would be refreshing.

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