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      Abbreviated rules   07/28/2017

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Uncooperative Tom

Drug Prohibition: Still Stupid

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One cannabis arrest every 54 seconds during 2014

 

Most for possession. A colossal waste of time and money, ruining lives for no good reason.

 

Yep, still stupid.

 

The WOD could be the stupidest war of all time. For anyone who doubts it, the primary gateway drug to Heroin is Oxycodone, and people switch to Heroin not because it is stronger, but because it is cheaper. The illegal drug is cheaper to get and easier to access than a prescription drug you are not supposed to take. There is absolutely zero reason left to try and fight the WOD except to protect the industries and professions which depend on it for their profits. Nobody has been saved by this war, but plenty have been killed by it.

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Tuk Tuk will be along to point out that we have armed government agents eradicating pot plants here and protecting poppy plants in Afghanistan.

 

Which might explain the market distortions.

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It amazes me how little traction this thread gets and how the gun threads generate page after page day after day. The low hanging fruit in stopping gun violence, or any violence, is ending the stupid war on drugs. It is the war on drugs, more than any other thing, which contributes to:

 

1) conflicts between the police and community

2) high incarceration rates for the poor, which disproportionately affects African Americans and Hispanics

3) which then results in dead ending any escape of poverty for those who carry the scarlet letter of a drug conviction

4) gang and turf wars over territory which then catches innocent people in the crossfire

5) the money which drives illegal trafficking in arms which then flood the battlefield in the war on drugs

 

This, of course, does absolutely nothing to address the aberrations and outliers in gun violence which capture all the headlines, but it would actually save a lot of lives, would result in an improved quality of life for tens of millions of people, would offer a path out of poverty for millions of people who are trapped there, and offer the type of hope that chokes off the feed pump to gang violence. It would not just be "doing something" it would be doing something positive that would benefit all of us, or at least all of us who do not derive power and wealth from continuing this stupid unwinnable war.

 

I would add to your list:

 

6) erosion of privacy rights. The drug war has set numerous precedents unfavorable to our rights when it comes to permissible searches, technologies for surveillance and their (lack of) oversight, etc.

7) erosion of property rights. As detailed in the FAIR Act thread.

 

But the drug war concentrates power in government and provides a profit center for private prisons, law enforcement unions, and other interest groups.

 

As for the lack of interest, it's hard to get partisan Dems interested in reducing government power, especially when there's a D in the White House and we're talking about devolving that power all the way down to the individual, not just a lower level of government. So that leaves partisan Republicans, who sometimes like reducing government power but can't stand it if someone smokes a joint instead of drinking a shot of liquor.

 

So if you take away the partisan Dems and partisan Repubs from this place, what are you left with? Me, mostly.

 

But you said the G-word, so maybe this thread will attract some interest now and maybe people will stop voting for drug warriors. And maybe I'll start reeling in a fish with every cast. Hey, it COULD happen.

 

 

How about:

 

8) Not destabilising your neighbours by giving their criminal organisations more power then their governments.

 

You could argue that in a world of vastly different monetary values the US's WOD has DIRECTLY been the cause of 1,000's of deaths and cost Columbia and Mexico legitimate economy $1,000,000's.

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That's a good addition, sparau. In addition to the problems that the black market causes in those places and others, there's another problem. When the cartels are deeply intertwined with the government and have more power than the government, we get weird results here like the DEA laundering cartel money and the ATF arming cartels.

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“See, if you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That's literally true.” - Milton Friedman

 

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Uncle Milty was talking about the role of government in creating risk, which creates the opportunity for return. Even a government that refuses to launder their money and arm them is helping anyone in the drug trade by maintaining the risk.

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DOJ Releasing Thousands of Drug Offenders

 

Hat tip to Obama.

 

...The panel estimated that its change in sentencing guidelines eventually could result in 46,000 of the nation’s approximately 100,000 drug offenders in federal prison qualifying for early release. The 6,000 figure, which has not been reported previously, is the first tranche in that process.

 

“The number of people who will be affected is quite exceptional,” said Mary Price, general counsel for Families Against Mandatory Minimums, an advocacy group that supports sentencing reform.

The Sentencing Commission estimated that an additional 8,550 inmates would be eligible for release between this Nov. 1 and Nov. 1, 2016.

 

The releases are part of a shift in the nation’s approach to criminal justice and drug sentencing that has been driven by a bipartisan consensus that mass incarceration has failed and should be reversed.

 

Along with the commission’s action, the Justice Department has instructed its prosecutors not to charge low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no connection to gangs or large-scale drug organizations with offenses that carry severe mandatory sentences.

 

The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously for the reduction last year after holding two public hearings in which members heard testimony from then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., federal judges, federal public defenders, state and local law enforcement officials, and sentencing advocates. The panel also received more than 80,000 public comment letters, with the overwhelming majority favoring the change...

 

 

It has failed because the black market replaces those who are caught before the justice system can sentence them, but also because keeping those people locked up is costing a lot of money and needlessly ruining lives. It's nice to see a failed and destructive big-government program being wound down.

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Sanders is the best of the major party candidates on cannabis prohibition

 

First ever to say he would support a state legalization effort.

 

Until last week, Sanders sounded a lot like Clinton on marijuana policy, saying he was interested to see what happens in the states where voters have approved legalization. By publicly admitting his support for legalization, he instantly became the pot-friendliest major-party presidential candidate. Even Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the most libertarian candidate in the Republican field, has declined to take a position on the merits of legalization, saying only that the federal government should not try to force pot prohibition on the states.

 

 

If Rand Paul would take a cue from Sanders and say what he actually thinks, I suspect he would say he favors legalization as well. But he doesn't say what he thinks. I guess he hasn't noticed how much support Trump and Sanders have gotten simply by saying what they think.

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Federal Judge Says Dept of Justice Must Obey Law

 

Breyer did not say whether his reasoning would also apply to criminal prosecutions. But he emphatically rejected the Obama administration’s argument that the congressional action allows federal agents to act against individual marijuana suppliers as long as the Justice Department doesn’t directly challenge state laws.

 

“It defies language and logic for the government to argue that it does not prevent California from implementing its medical marijuana laws by shutting down these ... heavily regulated medical marijuana dispensaries,” Breyer said.

 

 

There's a novel concept! Good for him.

 

In fairness to the DOJ, they are not the ones who should be mocked here. Congress should. Congress prohibited the spending of money to enforce the marijuana prohibition that was ordered by... Congress.

 

Conflicting signals. If Congress really doesn't want money spent on their prohibition, they should repeal it, not just defund it.

 

But if they are not going to be consistent, at least this federal judge sees that a prohibition on spending is a prohibition on spending, even when conflicting signals imply strongly that the spending is lawful.

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He's slightly smarter than our current law. He sees some benefit to medical marijuana but the Schedule 1 classification still claims there are none.

 

But being slightly smarter than our stupid cannabis laws is damning with faint praise.

 

He believes the discredited "gateway drug" theory of why ineffective prohibition laws are a good idea.

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It seems some top cops are getting on board with the program finally. Interesting read here:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/police-prosecutors-call-fewer-arrests-nonviolent-offenders-952/#transcript

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Federal Reserve Won't Allow Cannabis Bank in Colorado

There have been conflicting signals from the federal government but the Fed decided that signals are signals and the law is the law, so they decided to obey the law.

 

The law says that there is no known medical application for cannabis and it has a high potential for abuse, just like heroin and other Schedule 1 drugs.

 

The facts about medical uses do not matter. What matters is that Duopoly politicians won't change the federal law. Until they do, there's no reason the banking cartel should want to risk mingling their money with the illegal money generated by (state-legal) cannabis sales. I'd reach the same conclusion if I were on the Federal Reserve board.

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Ben Carson wants to intensify stupidity

 

Because if you try something stupid and notice decades later that it has not been working out as planned, the best answer is to try intensely stupid.

 

Bernie Sanders has come out against the war on cannabis and now it's looking like the smartest Republican on this issue is...

 

 

sigh...

 

Donald Trump

 

 

My reaction: WTF, Rand Paul? You deserve to lose to him just for being slow to realize that libertarians are right on this issue, have been for a long time, and the public is starting to realize it.

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Why Banning Smart Drugs for College Students is Impossible, Evil

Should college students be allowed to take Adderall and Modafinil to improve their academic performance, or should universities treat these so-called “smart drugs” the same way Major League Baseball treats steroids? I attended a debate on the subject at George Washington University last night, and came away convinced that banning smart drugs is not only impractical—it’s profoundly evil.

 

 

The argument that these drugs must be banned, lest students get an education that is too good, is just plain weird.

 

Also weird is the idea that college students want to take drugs for some other reason than getting high, but maybe that's just my generation.

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plenty of local high schoolers taking ADD drugs so they can compete with the other kids on ADD drugs.

 

Some adults doing the same thing.

 

It's the flip side of the Silicon Valley experience.

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The latest numbers I saw for Colorado had $70 million raised in pot taxes compared to $42 million in alcohol taxes in the last year.

 

The FBI stats for 2014 had someone arrested every 51 seconds for pot with just over 80% having small amounts.

 

I wonder how much money Colorado is saving by not arresting people for pot, do the police have more time to chase real criminals

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Good Christians Against Prohibition

 

 

Last Saturday the New England Conference of United Methodist Churches, a group representing 600 congregations in six Northeastern states, voted in favor of Resolution 15-203, which uses Christian principles to call for an end to the War on Drugs.

 

The resolution begins:

 

 

 

In the love of Christ, who came to save those who are lost and vulnerable, we urge the creation of a genuinely new system for the care and restoration of victims, offenders, criminal justice officials, and the community as a whole. Restorative justice grows out of biblical authority, which emphasizes a right relationship with God, self and community. When such relationships are violated or broken through crime, opportunities are created to make things right.

 

...

 

Be it Resolved: That the New England Annual Conference supports seeking means other than prohibition to address the problem of substance abuse; and is further resolved to support the mission of the international educational organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) to reduce the multitude of unintended harmful consequences resulting from fighting the war on drugs and to lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime, and addiction by ending drug prohibition.

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Good Mexicans Against Prohibition

 

And they're not just any Mexicans. They're Supreme Court Justices.

 

One in particular seems to grasp the fundamental point of legalization: self-ownership and individual rights.

 

Arturo Zaldivar, the Supreme Court justice who backed the application and is considered a liberal by many, argued that Mexico’s laws against the personal use and consumption of marijuana are unconstitutional because they suppress the rights of individuals to do as they choose.

 

“The responsible decision taken to experiment with the effects of this substance — whatever personal harm it might do — belongs within the autonomy of the individual, protected by their freedom to develop themselves,” Zaldivar said.

That is markedly different from legalization strategies pursued in the United States, where marijuana advocates tend to focus on overhauling criminal laws or asserting an exception for medical use.

 

 

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Federal Reserve Won't Allow Cannabis Bank in Colorado

 

There have been conflicting signals from the federal government but the Fed decided that signals are signals and the law is the law, so they decided to obey the law.

 

The law says that there is no known medical application for cannabis and it has a high potential for abuse, just like heroin and other Schedule 1 drugs.

 

The facts about medical uses do not matter. What matters is that Duopoly politicians won't change the federal law. Until they do, there's no reason the banking cartel should want to risk mingling their money with the illegal money generated by (state-legal) cannabis sales. I'd reach the same conclusion if I were on the Federal Reserve board.

 

My issue with this is that the Fedgov can't have it both ways. They can't collect taxes on the revenue sales while at the same time continuing to treat it as an illegal activity.

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Federal Reserve Won't Allow Cannabis Bank in Colorado

 

There have been conflicting signals from the federal government but the Fed decided that signals are signals and the law is the law, so they decided to obey the law.

 

The law says that there is no known medical application for cannabis and it has a high potential for abuse, just like heroin and other Schedule 1 drugs.

 

The facts about medical uses do not matter. What matters is that Duopoly politicians won't change the federal law. Until they do, there's no reason the banking cartel should want to risk mingling their money with the illegal money generated by (state-legal) cannabis sales. I'd reach the same conclusion if I were on the Federal Reserve board.

 

My issue with this is that the Fedgov can't have it both ways. They can't collect taxes on the revenue sales while at the same time continuing to treat it as an illegal activity.

 

 

The Fed is a banking cartel and they're not so worried about collecting taxes. They know that if they mix illegal money with all their legal money, all of it becomes subject to seizure. They'd be fools to take that risk. Not being fools, they refuse. I don't blame them.

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Federal Reserve Won't Allow Cannabis Bank in Colorado

 

There have been conflicting signals from the federal government but the Fed decided that signals are signals and the law is the law, so they decided to obey the law.

 

The law says that there is no known medical application for cannabis and it has a high potential for abuse, just like heroin and other Schedule 1 drugs.

 

The facts about medical uses do not matter. What matters is that Duopoly politicians won't change the federal law. Until they do, there's no reason the banking cartel should want to risk mingling their money with the illegal money generated by (state-legal) cannabis sales. I'd reach the same conclusion if I were on the Federal Reserve board.

My issue with this is that the Fedgov can't have it both ways. They can't collect taxes on the revenue sales while at the same time continuing to treat it as an illegal activity.

The Fed is a banking cartel and they're not so worried about collecting taxes. They know that if they mix illegal money with all their legal money, all of it becomes subject to seizure. They'd be fools to take that risk. Not being fools, they refuse. I don't blame them.

What did that have anything to do with what I said??? I said Fedgov. Not "The Fed". Last I checked, the federal govt collects taxes.

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No worries. It was a response to the concept of "conflicting signals". The fed gov won't change the pot laws and still enforces them. Yet, AFAIK, they are happy to collect revenue on illegal activity.

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Ohio overwhelmingly rejected cannabis legalization

 

Ohio's most prominent politicians, including Gov. John Kasich, Attorney General Mike DeWine, and Secretary of State Jon Husted, opposed Issue 3, and so did most of the state's editorial boards. But it's not clear whether the rejection of Issue 3 reflects general resistance to legalization or opposition to the initiative's most controversial feature: a cannabis cultivation cartel that would have limited commercial production to 10 sites controlled by the initiative's financial backers. The ballot description highlighted that aspect of the initiative, saying Issue 3 "grants a monopoly for the commercial production and sale of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes" and would "endow exclusive rights for commercial marijuana growth, cultivation, and extraction to self-designated landowners who own ten predetermined parcels of land."

 

 

I would have had a hard time voting for that crap. Incremental progress can be a viable path but there's no good reason to give these people a monopoly on growing this particular plant. I'm actually glad to see that one go down in flames.

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Personally I prefer the Mexican point of view to the police state...

 

“As a country, we are taking a first step, a step that recognizes this important human right, which is dignity and liberty,”

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Sanders is the best of the major party candidates on cannabis prohibition

 

First ever to say he would support a state legalization effort.

 

Until last week, Sanders sounded a lot like Clinton on marijuana policy, saying he was interested to see what happens in the states where voters have approved legalization. By publicly admitting his support for legalization, he instantly became the pot-friendliest major-party presidential candidate. Even Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the most libertarian candidate in the Republican field, has declined to take a position on the merits of legalization, saying only that the federal government should not try to force pot prohibition on the states.

 

 

If Rand Paul would take a cue from Sanders and say what he actually thinks, I suspect he would say he favors legalization as well. But he doesn't say what he thinks. I guess he hasn't noticed how much support Trump and Sanders have gotten simply by saying what they think.

 

Another hat tip to Bernie Sanders, who has now introduced a bill to end the war on cannabis at the federal level.

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Industrial Hemp Cultivation Becomes Legal in North Carolina

The bill was passed on Sept. 29 in the North Carolina Senate by a vote of 42-2 (6 absent) and has sat on the governor’s desk since. On Saturday, Gov. McCrory allowed the bill to become law without his signature. He explained his decision in a written statement, “After discussion with Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, I have decided to allow Senate Bill 313 to become law without my signature.

 

...

 

Bill 313 states in part, “The General Assembly finds and declares that it is in the best interest of the citizens of North Carolina to promote and encourage the development of an industrial hemp industry in the state in order to expand employment, promote economic activity, and provide opportunities to small farmers for an environmentally sustainable and profitable use of crop lands that might otherwise be lost to agricultural production.”

 

 

The Governor seems to be concerned that people will grow the mind-altering or medically useful variants of the plant. It would be terrible if people were suddenly able to get hold of those kinds, which prohibition has so successfully kept out of the US for so long.

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Head of DEA is a joke

 

He serves at the pleasure of the President, so I guess having a guy who doesn't know that marijuana has medical uses and who thinks it's more or less the same as heroin pleases the President. Of course, we could always elect someone from the other half of the Duopoly and get more or less the same shit, only worse.

 

Close to 15,000 of us have already signed the petition calling for his removal from office. Not that it would matter. Obama would just appoint another drug warrior who puts the interests of his agency above those of the people. Just like a Republican President would.

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Destroying valuable property instead of selling it is evidence of hoplophobia. Those dumbfucks must really hate taxpayers almost as much as they hate guns.

I think the cops destroy drugs they confiscate too.

 

 

 

 

That at least makes some sense, as the drugs are generally contraband and can not be legally sold to people.

 

Of course, drug prohibition is still stupid, but the symptoms don't quite match the symptoms of hoplophobia.

 

It's a different flavor of fear, leading to different calls for the nanny state to protect us from a different segment of the Duopoly.

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Most of us have tried cannabis. Those who have not certainly know someone who has.

 

Ask yourself or someone you know: were you still high WEEKS after using it?

 

I wasn't either.

 

And now, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously stated that the presence of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in the blood does not necessarily mean that a person is impaired.


Tests can detect the metabolites for weeks or months, but that doesn't mean impairment lasts for weeks or months. It doesn't. If you don't know this personally, ask someone who does to verify what I have said.

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Kratom Prohibition Is Stupid Too

 

 

Kerry Biggs needed help managing her chronic pain.

 

Years of taking prescription medications to alleviate the pain caused by her fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and other ailments had left the mother of two "feeling foggy."

 

Desperate to find an alternative, Biggs tried kratom. Derived from the leaves of the kratom tree, a close relative of the coffee plant, it has been used for centuries in Southeast Asia for its medicinal properties.

In small doses, kratom acts as a minor stimulant similar to caffeine. In larger doses its works as a painkiller and can act as an antidepressant for some people.

 

"It gave me a new lease on life," said Biggs, who was able to wean herself off prescription painkillers by using kratom. "It dampened down my pain without all the side effects that come with taking prescription drugs."

 

That new lease on life came to an abrupt end last year, because Biggs lives in Wisconsin. In 2014, Wisconsin became the fourth state to ban kratom.

 

Kratom was never mentioned by state legislators either before or after the vote that made it illegal.

 

Instead, two of the chemicals in it were included on a list of synthetic opioids lawmakers classified as Schedule 1 drugs, despite the fact kratom is neither synthetic nor an opioid.

 

No one in Madison has been able to explain how or why the chemicals ended up on the list, but their inclusion means kratom is now in the same category as heroin and cocaine.

 

At a meeting of the Wisconsin Controlled Substances Board last week, board member Alan Bloom said he was surprised to see the kratom on the list of schedule substances.

 

"They stick out like a sore thumb," said Bloom, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

 

Bloom was blunt in his assessment of the scheduling of kratom. "There's no scientific basis for it," he told his colleagues.

 

But state lawmakers aren't required to rely on science in their decisions. In 2012, legislators in Indiana made kratom illegal by declaring it to be a synthetic drug.

...

 

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Obama's Solicitor General asks court not to hear Nebraska and Oklahoma lawsuit against Colorado

 

I'd like to see the court tell those two states to take a hike but I don't know about the legal justification.

 

 

In their challenge to Colorado's law, filed in December 2014, Nebraska and Oklahoma said marijuana is being smuggled across their borders and that drugs threaten the health and safety of children.

 

Nebraska and Oklahoma noted that marijuana remains illegal under federal law and said Colorado has created "a dangerous gap" in the federal drug control system.

 

Oklahoma and Nebraska's lawsuit was filed under a rarely used Supreme Court process, known as "original jurisdiction," in which the justices hear disputes between states that have not first been handled by lower courts.

 

U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli said in court papers filed on Wednesday that the case was not the type of dispute the court would normally hear.

"Entertaining the type of dispute here - essentially that one state's laws make it more likely that third parties will violate federal and state law in another state - would represent a substantial and unwarranted expansion of this court's original jurisdiction," Verrilli said.

 

 

I have to agree with Nebraska and Oklahoma that state legalization creates a gap in federal law enforcement. I think it's the enforcement of prohibition that creates the most danger, so I'd dispute that it's a "dangerous gap" but there's no denying it's a gap.

 

My conclusion: end the federal war on cannabis to make that problem go away.

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Some progress. Tacked into the spending bill was a provision to prevent the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana patients or distributors who are in compliance with the laws of their state:

http://www.farr.house.gov/index.php/press-releases/71-newsroom/2014-press-releases/1083-farr-statement-on-rohrabacher-farr-medical-marijuana-amendment

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Some progress. Tacked into the spending bill was a provision to prevent the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana patients or distributors who are in compliance with the laws of their state:

 

http://www.farr.house.gov/index.php/press-releases/71-newsroom/2014-press-releases/1083-farr-statement-on-rohrabacher-farr-medical-marijuana-amendment

 

I'm glad Congress did that again, but not sure it will be any more effective than it was last time they did it.

 

It's a bit like Obama doing piecemeal pardons of drug offenders who are serving more time than rapists and murderers. I'm glad to see it, but it's not fixing the problem.

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Gardening is bad

 

Because the cops refused to say why they thought the Hartes were growing marijuana, the couple spent a year and $25,000 in legal fees to get a look at the affidavit supporting the search warrant.

 

Among other things, Lungstrum's ruling means he thought the evidence cited in that affidavit provided probable cause for the search. If so, that's only because probable cause is a much weaker standard than people generally imagine.

 

It turned out that the genesis of the search was a tip from a Missouri state trooper who saw Robert Harte leave a Kansas City hydroponics store on August 9, 2011, carrying a bag. Inside the bag were supplies for a horticultural project involving tomato, squash, and melon plants that Harte thought would be edifying for the kids. Since people often buy indoor gardening supplies for such perfectly legal purposes, that purchase itself was not enough for probable cause. But eight months later, sheriff's deputies rummaging through the Hartes' trash came across wet "plant material" that the Hartes think must have been some of the loose tea that Adlynn favors. Although a field test supposedly identified the material as marijuana, a laboratory test (conducted after the raid) showed that result was erroneous.

The Hartes argued that police should have known better than to trust field tests, which are notoriously inaccurate. Experiments by Claflin University biotechnologist Omar Bagasra found that one commonly used field test, the NIK NarcoPouch 908, misidentified many legal plant products as marijuana, including spearmint, peppermint, basil, oregano, patchouli, vanilla, cinnamon leaf, lemon grass, bergamot, lavendar, ginseng, anise, gingko, eucalyptus, rose, cloves, ginger, frankincense, vine flower, chicory flower, olive flower, cypress, and St. John's wort. Several of those are common ingredients in herbal tea. In their complaint, the Hartes say the test used to incriminate them has a false-positive rate of 70 percent. They also note that the test is not supposed to be performed on "saturated or liquid samples."

 

But according to Judge Lungstrum, the innocent act of visiting a hydroponics store, combined with the result of a test that is accurate only 30 percent of the time (even assuming it is performed correctly), adds up to probable cause for a search....

 

 

I don't think that's right. The field test was done after the search so it could not have been part of the "probable cause" for the warrant.

 

That leaves visiting the gardening store as the act that established probable cause that these people were growing the dreaded killer (that has never killed anyone), marijuana.

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Some progress. Tacked into the spending bill was a provision to prevent the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana patients or distributors who are in compliance with the laws of their state:

 

http://www.farr.house.gov/index.php/press-releases/71-newsroom/2014-press-releases/1083-farr-statement-on-rohrabacher-farr-medical-marijuana-amendment

 

I'm glad Congress did that again, but not sure it will be any more effective than it was last time they did it.

 

It's a bit like Obama doing piecemeal pardons of drug offenders who are serving more time than rapists and murderers. I'm glad to see it, but it's not fixing the problem.

 

 

More on why renewing that Rohrabacher-Farr rider is at best very limited good news.

.

It depends on what the meaning of implement is. One meaning is "tool." I think the DOJ are being obtuse implements

 

...

One reason the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment did not work as advertised is that the Justice Department refuses to interpret it the way Rohrabacher and Farr do. It is clear from the debate that preceded the House vote on the amendment in May 2014 that supporters and opponents of the rider both thought it would bar prosecution of people who grow, possess, or distribute medical marijuana in compliance with state law. But as I predicted last year, the Justice Department argues that prosecuting medical marijuana suppliers or seizing their property does not “prevent” states from “implementing” their laws.

 

...

 

Assuming the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment does ultimately affect enforcement of the federal ban on marijuana in states that allow medical use, that is not the same as eliminating the ban. The rider has no impact in the 27 states that do not have medical marijuana laws, and it applies only to the Justice Department, so it has no effect on actions by the IRS or the Treasury Department that make it difficult for medical marijuana suppliers to pay their taxes and obtain banking services.

 

More fundamentally, the amendment, which has to be renewed every fiscal year, does not change the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which continues to classify marijuana as a Schedule I substance with no legal uses. Because marijuana is still prohibited by federal law, people who grow and sell it, no matter the purpose and regardless of their status under state law, commit multiple felonies every day. If no one is trying to put them in prison right now, that is only thanks to prosecutorial forbearance that may prove temporary.

 

Anyone who provides services to marijuana businesses is implicated in their lawbreaking. This week a Colorado credit union that wants to specialize in serving state-licensed marijuana businesses tried to persuade a federal judge that it is legally entitled to participate in the Federal Reserve’s payment system, without which it cannot operate. The judge did not seem inclined to agree, saying, “I would be forcing the reserve bank to give a master account to a credit union that serves illegal businesses.” This month the U.S. Postal Service announced that periodicals containing marijuana ads are “nonmailable,” citing a CSA provision that makes it a felony to place ads promoting the purchase of illegal drugs. An accounting firm and a bonding company hired by a Colorado marijuana merchant recently paid $70,000 to settle a federal racketeering suit filed against them by a hotel whose owners were upset about plans to open a pot shop near their business.

 

Problems like these cannot be solved without changing marijuana’s status under federal law. The Rohrbacher-Farr amendment does not do that, no matter how many hopeful headlines it generates.

 

 

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The Corrupt Drug Testing Racket In Florida

 

Florida’s top law enforcement officials knew by 2012 that Millennium Laboratories, the nation’s largest drug testing company, was defrauding Florida Medicaid of millions.

 

But that did not stop Attorney General Pam Bondi from urging Medicare to pay for high-priced and unnecessary drug screening tests at the heart of Millennium’s massive scam, even as her own office and federal prosecutors pursued civil charges against the company.

 

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Prohibition Is Going To Work This TIme!

 

All across America last weekend, panicked drug users rushed to their dealers to stock up on marijuana, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine for fear of running out. The arrest of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, head of the biggest drug cartel in Mexico, was sure to cause a sudden shortage of illegal substances in this country.

 

 

Or not...

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The Folly of Prohibition

 

...

While Penn suggests that the war on drugs represents a triumph of theory over practice, the truth is that the results of this crusade were perfectly predictable from basic economic principles. It would be more accurate to say that the war on drugs represents a triumph of emotion, prejudice, and inertia over both theory and practical experience.

 

...

 

 

That sounds more than a little like the Rise of The Donald.

 

As for General Kelly's complaint that he could not interdict enough smugglers because there was not enough money, there can never be enough...

 

...

Kelly apparently thinks interdiction reduces the total amount of drugs reaching the United States. But that is not how interdiction works, to the extent that it works at all. Given all the places where drugs can be produced and all the ways they can be transported to people who want them, the most that drug warriors can hope to accomplish is to impose costs on traffickers that are high enough to raise retail prices, thereby discouraging consumption.

 

How has that been going? “With few exceptions and despite increasing investments in enforcement-based supply reduction efforts aimed at disrupting global drug supply,” a 2013 study published by BMJ Open concluded, “illegal drug prices have generally decreased while drug purity has generally increased since 1990. These findings suggest that expanding efforts at controlling the global illegal drug market through law enforcement are failing.”

...

 

 

The drug market interprets prohibition as damage and finds a way to route around it. Markets will always beat regulators at that game.

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Hat tip to Georgia Rep Allen Peake for breaking the stupid law.

 

...Rep. Allen Peake, a Georgia lawmaker, admitted that he defies unjust cannabis prohibition by bringing medical cannabis into Georgia from states where it is legal, such as Colorado. He recently delivered medical cannabis to a mother whose son suffers from seizures....

 

 

 

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Medical Marijuana Amendment Makes FL Ballot



Allows medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. Applies only to Florida law. Does not immunize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.


I'd prefer to see the legislature do this rather than use our constitutional amendment process to get it done, but will vote for this (or possibly one of the other) amendments on this issue.

This is, in my view, the worst one, but it does have the advantage of being backed by the deeeeeep pockets of attorney John Morgan.

In other news, Maine's Governor is a nutcase. Thinks mandatory minimum sentences are going to start winning the drug war any year now and thinks we'd do even better at making prohibition a success if we brought in the guillotine.

And just like gun control or any other prohibition, it's really more about Us vs Them than the thing being prohibited so there are some disturbing overtones...


“The traffickers, these aren’t people who take drugs. These are guys by the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty,” LePage, a Republican, said during a discussion of the state’s heroin epidemic at a town hall event. “These type of guys that come from Connecticut and New York. They come up here, they sell their heroin, then they go back home.”

“Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave,” he added. “Which is the real sad thing, because then we have another issue that we have to deal with down the road.”

 

 

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Good Christians Against Prohibition

 

 

Last Saturday the New England Conference of United Methodist Churches, a group representing 600 congregations in six Northeastern states, voted in favor of Resolution 15-203, which uses Christian principles to call for an end to the War on Drugs.

 

The resolution begins:

 

 

 

In the love of Christ, who came to save those who are lost and vulnerable, we urge the creation of a genuinely new system for the care and restoration of victims, offenders, criminal justice officials, and the community as a whole. Restorative justice grows out of biblical authority, which emphasizes a right relationship with God, self and community. When such relationships are violated or broken through crime, opportunities are created to make things right.

 

...

 

Be it Resolved: That the New England Annual Conference supports seeking means other than prohibition to address the problem of substance abuse; and is further resolved to support the mission of the international educational organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) to reduce the multitude of unintended harmful consequences resulting from fighting the war on drugs and to lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime, and addiction by ending drug prohibition.

 

 

Wow! Some good Christians in Texas too!

 

Last I heard, TX had the death penalty for hash oil. This is quite a change of heart. Hope it continues.

 

The proposal would make Texas the fifth state in the United States to fully legalize recreational marijuana use. In a surprising, and “unprecedented” bipartisan move, the proposal was approved in a House panel vote.

 

...

 

Republican David Simpson of Longview explained in an op-ed piece that it was his belief in God, and his distrust of government, as well as criticism of the “War on Drugs” which led him to sponsor the marijuana legalization bill.

 

“As a Christian, I recognize the innate goodness of everything God made and humanity’s charge to be stewards of the same,” Simpson explained. “I don’t believe that when God made marijuana he made a mistake that government needs to fix.”

 

...

 

According to the local Houston Chronicle, the panel’s three Democrats joined two Republicans giving House Bill 2165 a “decisive 5-2 victory.”

 

This vote came only days after a 4-2 vote to decriminalize marijuana. This marked the first proposal to decriminalize that has made it out of a Texas legislative committee to date.

 

 

I'm a little surprised that TX Democrats would vote for this. It is, after all, Texas. What's shocking is the two Republican votes. That's two more than I thought I'd live to see.

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Ted Cruz Flip Flops On Mandatory Minimum Sentences

 

A year ago, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley condemned a sentencing reform bill backed by Ted Cruz as "lenient" and "dangerous." Eight months later, it was Cruz's turn. Explaining his opposition to a sentencing reform bill backed by Grassley, Cruz described it as dangerously lenient.

 

 

Not long ago, Cruz understood why drug warriors like Grassley are wrong on this issue:

 

"Although there is nothing wrong in principle with mandatory minimums, they must be carefully calibrated to ensure that no circumstances could justify a lesser sentence for the crime charged," Cruz wrote in his contribution to a collection of essays published by the Brennan Center for Justice last April. "The current draconian mandatory minimum sentences sometimes result in sentencing outcomes that neither fit the crime nor the perpetrator's unique circumstances. This is especially true for nonviolent drug offenders. Harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug crimes have contributed to prison overpopulation and are both unfair and ineffective relative to the public expense and human costs of years-long incarceration."

 

 

You can't win the R nomination if you go around talking about nonviolent drug offenders and their nonviolent drug crimes.

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Tom you really need to see someone about this talking to yourself thing. But until then carry on. You have the floor...

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Facebook takes the federal government's side in the war on weed, taking down medical cannabis dispensary pages for promoting illegal drugs.

 

Illegal under federal law, but not state and local laws, that is.

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-is-purging-medical-marijuana-pages-2016-2

 

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2016/0204/Why-Facebook-deleted-New-Jersey-s-medical-marijuana-pages

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The problem with the drug war is that it is not "winnable." It is a prime example of society's failure to understand how the market works. There is a market for drugs in the US. Take out a drug dealer, and that market still exists. So, the market causes that void to be filled by another drug dealer. The harder the government fights, the more profitable drug dealers become.

 

The only way to "win" the war on drugs would be a very severe punishment system such as a swift death penalty for possession. But the people would not tolerate such a thing. So it is unwinnable. Given that it is not winnable, we need to try something else.

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Ted Cruz Flip Flops On Mandatory Minimum Sentences

 

A year ago, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley condemned a sentencing reform bill backed by Ted Cruz as "lenient" and "dangerous." Eight months later, it was Cruz's turn. Explaining his opposition to a sentencing reform bill backed by Grassley, Cruz described it as dangerously lenient.

 

 

Not long ago, Cruz understood why drug warriors like Grassley are wrong on this issue:

 

"Although there is nothing wrong in principle with mandatory minimums, they must be carefully calibrated to ensure that no circumstances could justify a lesser sentence for the crime charged," Cruz wrote in his contribution to a collection of essays published by the Brennan Center for Justice last April. "The current draconian mandatory minimum sentences sometimes result in sentencing outcomes that neither fit the crime nor the perpetrator's unique circumstances. This is especially true for nonviolent drug offenders. Harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug crimes have contributed to prison overpopulation and are both unfair and ineffective relative to the public expense and human costs of years-long incarceration."

 

 

You can't win the R nomination if you go around talking about nonviolent drug offenders and their nonviolent drug crimes.

 

Senate watering down sentencing reform bill

 

One change involves Section 105 of the bill, which reduced enhanced mandatory minimum sentences for so-called “armed career criminals.”

 

Under the original proposal, certain felons who already had three violent felony or serious drug offense convictions, and were found guilty of possessing a firearm would face a 10-year enhanced mandatory minimum — lowered from the current 15-year minimum sentence.

But the bill’s authors are planning to get rid of this section altogether so that the higher, 15-year sentence remains intact, a senior GOP aide said Monday. The aide added that this section was the subject of the most complaints from conservatives.

 

People legally engaged in various forms of cannabis commerce in some states are committing "serious drug offenses" under federal law. And if they have a gun, they're "armed career criminals."

 

Treating these people the same as people who have committed violent crimes makes no sense to me, but that's what the Duopoly is up there doing.

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The problem with the drug war is that it is not "winnable." It is a prime example of society's failure to understand how the market works. There is a market for drugs in the US. Take out a drug dealer, and that market still exists. So, the market causes that void to be filled by another drug dealer. The harder the government fights, the more profitable drug dealers become.

 

The only way to "win" the war on drugs would be a very severe punishment system such as a swift death penalty for possession. But the people would not tolerate such a thing. So it is unwinnable. Given that it is not winnable, we need to try something else.

 

The states that have tried something else are (very slowly) learning that high tax rates and burdensome regulations result in black markets. The good news is that they are grudgingly reacting to this surprising discovery in positive ways.

 

The bad news is that the discovery is surprising to anyone.

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Tom you really need to see someone about this talking to yourself thing. But until then carry on. You have the floor...

 

Shhhh..... didn't you get the memo? This is one of Tom's Constitutional blogs. ;)

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Tom you really need to see someone about this talking to yourself thing. But until then carry on. You have the floor...

 

Shhhh..... didn't you get the memo? This is one of Tom's Constitutional blogs. ;)

 

 

I know most others are not interested but my view is that our drug war plays a major role in fomenting violence in our cities, it is responsible for such lovely policies as no-knock searches, civil asset forfeiture abuse, and mandatory minimum sentencing, and it corrupts our foreign policy with things like the DEA laundering cartel money and the ATF helping to arm cartels.

 

Why those issues are unimportant to non-libertarians mystifies me but I'll continue to post about them.

 

Coming to this thread, knowing what you'll find, and commenting on how it's only important to me is curious behavior. Why not just ignore me like everyone else?

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I'm not ignoring you and I do think these are important topics. I agree with pretty much all of that. I think the lack of responses generally means that most folks agree with you. Its just not as interesting to agree with someone here. You might get the occasional +1 sort of thing. But this place thrives on contention. Your subject is generally not contentious, so it doesn't generate the buzz or traffic some of the other topics do.

 

Just saying'

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I'm not ignoring you and I do think these are important topics. I agree with pretty much all of that. I think the lack of responses generally means that most folks agree with you. Its just not as interesting to agree with someone here. You might get the occasional +1 sort of thing. But this place thrives on contention. Your subject is generally not contentious, so it doesn't generate the buzz or traffic some of the other topics do.

 

Just saying'

 

Of course it's contentious. We're about to vote in another drug warrior to replace our current drug warrior in chief.

 

If people agreed with me, more of them would mention Gary Johnson. But virtually everyone here is getting ready to vote for more of the same. How can it be that they disagree with more of the same when they quietly vote for it?

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There are exactly two legal users of cannabis in America.

 

There were 13 when Saint Ronald shut down the research program that allowed them access. The rest have since died.

 

One of them speaks out.

 

10 federally-supplied joints a day for over three decades and he's doing pretty well, wants the same freedom for others.

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North Carolina learned what Florida previously learned:

 

Drug testing welfare recipients is just as stupid as the rest of our prohibition policy.

 

Their failed big-government program revealed that welfare recipients use drugs at a somewhat lower rate than the general population

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Behind? Looks to me like Austrailia is at least discussing rescheduling cannabis next month. That's way ahead of us in my book.

 

Health Minister Sussan Ley said the Therapeutic Goods Administration had undertaken public consultation on down-scheduling medicinal cannabis with an interim decision due in March.

 

"This will simplify arrangements around the legal possession of medicinal cannabis products, placing them in the same category as restricted medicines such as morphine, rather than an illicit drug."

 

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If you get a PM from Tom ray, don't open it.

 

The notion that only pot smokers see the stupidity of prohibition pretty much only comes from anonymous Aussies.

 

I used to get this from Americans too but most now seem to know about medical users like the kids with seizures and my father so they understand that only assholes go around calling people who want to end prohibition criminals.

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Drug War Fails In Afghanistan

 

Sopko said Afghan farmers were producing more opium "now then they did during the Taliban years." In fact, the U.S. spent $43 million in 2001 in support of the Taliban's poppy eradication efforts, just six months before 9/11 and seven months before the start of the U.S. war in Afghanistan that toppled the theocratic regime. "It has been a successful export for the last 15 years that we have been there," Sopko said.

 

 

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Drug War Fails In Afghanistan

 

Sopko said Afghan farmers were producing more opium "now then they did during the Taliban years." In fact, the U.S. spent $43 million in 2001 in support of the Taliban's poppy eradication efforts, just six months before 9/11 and seven months before the start of the U.S. war in Afghanistan that toppled the theocratic regime. "It has been a successful export for the last 15 years that we have been there," Sopko said.

 

 

 

That's nonsense, the USG is doing everything in their power to stop the drug scurge.. And besides Killery will put a stop to it! :ph34r:

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Obama's Solicitor General asks court not to hear Nebraska and Oklahoma lawsuit against Colorado

 

I'd like to see the court tell those two states to take a hike but I don't know about the legal justification.

 

 

In their challenge to Colorado's law, filed in December 2014, Nebraska and Oklahoma said marijuana is being smuggled across their borders and that drugs threaten the health and safety of children.

 

Nebraska and Oklahoma noted that marijuana remains illegal under federal law and said Colorado has created "a dangerous gap" in the federal drug control system.

 

Oklahoma and Nebraska's lawsuit was filed under a rarely used Supreme Court process, known as "original jurisdiction," in which the justices hear disputes between states that have not first been handled by lower courts.

 

U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli said in court papers filed on Wednesday that the case was not the type of dispute the court would normally hear.

"Entertaining the type of dispute here - essentially that one state's laws make it more likely that third parties will violate federal and state law in another state - would represent a substantial and unwarranted expansion of this court's original jurisdiction," Verrilli said.

 

 

I have to agree with Nebraska and Oklahoma that state legalization creates a gap in federal law enforcement. I think it's the enforcement of prohibition that creates the most danger, so I'd dispute that it's a "dangerous gap" but there's no denying it's a gap.

 

My conclusion: end the federal war on cannabis to make that problem go away.

 

SCOTUS told Nebraska and Oklahoma to HTFU

 

...Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Samuel Alito, dissented from the Court's decision not to hear the lawsuit. "The complaint, on its face, presents a 'controvers[y] between two or more States' that this Court alone has authority to adjudicate," he writes. "The plaintiff States have alleged significant harms to their sovereign interests caused by another State. Whatever the merit of the plaintiff States' claims, we should let this complaint proceed further rather than denying leave without so much as a word of explanation."

 

 

The effect on other states was the main rationale used in Gonzalez vs Raich so it is a bit curious that the court decided to just ignore it this time around.

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Erlichman Says Nixon's Drug War Targeted Political Enemies

 

“You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

 

 

Of course, Nixon didn't invent lying and dividing people just to get more power for government. He was following in Anslinger's footsteps...

 

 

...

History repeats itself to this day.

 

"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."- Harry Anslinger, first Drug Czar.

 

 

 

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This girl used to measure her time between seizures in hours, back when she was using legal pharmaceuticals to try to control them.

 

Now she's using illegal cannabis oil.

 

12605525_936750439743066_228097945496049

 

One year and counting as of March 19th.

 

But only a pothead would think that a year without seizures is better than hours, right Life Buoy?

 

From the Team Alexis FB page:

 

Alexis Bortell, a young Texan forced to flee the state in order to receive effective treatment for her seizure disorder celebrated one full year without a single seizure yesterday. Alexis’s parents sought refuge in Colorado where physicians were able to successfully treat her seizures with cannabis oil.

 

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The standard Duopoly line from the 70's and 80's was that drug users just need to be locked up.

 

That has given way to the new mantra that drug users just need treatment.

 

This guy says that's not true and that drug users for the most part just need harm reduction education.

 

We've all been fed a diet of panic-inducing misinformation about what drugs actually do to our brains, he says.

 

Most of us were taught that drugs like cocaine are so addictive that a rat in a laboratory experiment will continue to press a lever to receive the substance—to the exclusion of all its other physical needs—until it actually dies. Hart said at first even he believed that finding to be true. But it turns out, those studies weren't what they were cracked up to be.

 

 

I still think most just need to be left alone by government. That's how we treat most alcohol users and should be how we treat users of other drugs unless/until their entertainment harms others.

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The standard Duopoly line from the 70's and 80's was that drug users just need to be locked up.

 

That has given way to the new mantra that drug users just need treatment.

 

This guy says that's not true and that drug users for the most part just need harm reduction education.

 

We've all been fed a diet of panic-inducing misinformation about what drugs actually do to our brains, he says.

 

Most of us were taught that drugs like cocaine are so addictive that a rat in a laboratory experiment will continue to press a lever to receive the substance—to the exclusion of all its other physical needs—until it actually dies. Hart said at first even he believed that finding to be true. But it turns out, those studies weren't what they were cracked up to be.

 

 

I still think most just need to be left alone by government. That's how we treat most alcohol users and should be how we treat users of other drugs unless/until their entertainment harms others.

 

I agree with this. There are plenty of functional users of illicit drugs, especially of pot, just as there are plenty of people who have a few drinks without it destroying their lives. We should focus on whether people are functional or become a danger, not on what substances they are using or not using. When people are not able to function in society, and become a menace and dangerous, then we should compel treatment. What we do now is the worst of all worlds. We continually let out dangerous addicts in the pursuit of the great white whale of drug dealing, it is a game not a concerted effort to protect and improve society. And a very expensive game at that, both in terms of blood and treasure.

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Blood, treasure, and liberty. Civil asset forfeiture abuse, no-knock raids, RICO, and various types of snooping and surveillance have all been justified using the drug war before the war on terror became the bogeyman.

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Meet The Conservative Tea Party Republican Who Legalized Pot Cultivation to Save His Town From Bankruptcy



...along came Johnny “Bug” Woodard and his big idea: Save Adelanto by legalizing marijuana. Woodard, a self-described gun-toting Tea Party Republican, decided to run for city council on the promise of turning around the town's finances by allowing the mass cultivation of cannabis within city limits.

"I had already picked out some property in Arizona to move my family to Arizona, because I really didn't think I'd be elected," says Woodard. "I mentioned the 'M-word.' Mention the 'M-word': political suicide."

But something surprising happened: Woodard won his race, defeating an incumbent and entering the office with a mandate. Adelanto's voters had booted out most of the previous city council and the mayor after they had tried to patch the budget with a utility tax hike, a wildly unpopular move in a city with an unemployment rate above 10 percent. Woodard's outside-the-box proposal seemed to make sense for a desert town with lots of cheap land and giant warehouses that hold everything from windmill turbines to predator drones.

...

slowly but surely, everyone came around and supported Woodard’s plan. The ordinance passed with a 4-1 vote, positioning Adelanto as the first Southern California city to legalize marijuana cultivation on a mass scale. And already, investors are flocking to buy up the land, generating a large spike in real estate prices.


I doubt I'll live to see a libertarian President but I remember when he was right that "the M word" was political suicide. Now it's not.

 

 

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