Contumacious Tom

Drug Prohibition: Still Stupid

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On 11/20/2018 at 6:12 AM, jocal505 said:
On 11/20/2018 at 5:51 AM, dogballs Tom said:

Maybe look at how violence is involved in black markets and decide the black markets cause more trouble than legal markets?

That's been the case in Portugal.

The good discussion had just begun, and then you slimed on me. Why lead any discussion with some wild, offensive assumption about the beliefs of another?

Perhaps I was wrong about your legal goals.

So let's focus on the good discussion.

Your post was about "Whatever the legalize drug theory may be," and that's a large part of it right there.

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On 11/20/2018 at 3:12 AM, jocal505 said:

(from dogballs) Of course, gun grabberz have always followed in the legal trails blazed by drug warriors so I can see why someone like yourself might want drug prohibition to continue blazing those trails.

You were wondering why certain community members have you on ignore. Look at this stuff. You are ignore worthy.

DEBATE CLUB TOM (can't repeat opponent's actual position, causing worthless interchanges)

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OK, I admit that I can indeed see why gun grabbers would enjoy the favorable legal precedents set by the drug war.

That's a statement about me, not you.

So it can't be "sliming" you since it is not even about you.

You can say something about yourself by commenting on that subject.

Do you think it's a good thing that we have drug warriors to blaze legal trails for gungrabbers to follow?

Or, since drug prohibition involves lots of non-gun stupidity, comment on something other than guns for once.

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Mandatory Stupidity
 

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In 2014, 26-year-old Tennessee resident Chris Young was sentenced to life in federal prison for a drug offense. The judge in his case had no choice but to sentence him to die behind bars under an obscure "three strikes" law for prior drug crimes after prosecutors filed what's known as an 851 notice.

The filing, known for the section of the U.S. Code from which it's derived, was originally intended to give prosecutors leeway to avoid some of the harshest mandatory minimums on the books. But as the drug war expanded, the threat of an 851 filing became a prosecutorial bullying tactic used to dissuade defendants from exercising their constitutional right to a jury trial. It also ties the hands of judges, taking away any discretion they have over sentencing, and has sent hundreds of drug offenders to prison for life. Congress may take up reforms soon—but only if "tough-on-crime" conservative senators and President Trump's new acting attorney general don't scuttle the legislation.

'The sentence that everybody knows is coming is certainly more harsh than is necessary.'

Young has since become the poster child for criminal justice reforms that would limit the length of those sentencing enhancements. And one of his strongest supporters is Kevin Sharp—the judge who was forced to sentence him to death behind bars. Sharp dealt with a lot of drugs and guns cases as a U.S. district judge in Tennessee, and Chris Young's case was in many ways not unusual.

Young was a peripheral figure in the bust of large drug ring. Yet even though he was facing serious charges for cocaine trafficking, he rejected the plea deal that federal prosecutors dangled in front of him.

Prosecutors responded by filing an 851 notice against him, using two prior low-level crack cocaine offenses that he'd caught when he was 18 and 19 years old. The combined weight of the drugs in Young's previous convictions amounted to about 7.5 grams, or roughly the weight of three pennies.

 

When the judge who sentenced the guy is one of his big supporters, the law is likely wrong. These judges have seen a few sob stories.

The nature of the "plea deal" was probably, "help us lock up these people who can reach out from prison and kill you or we'll lock you up for life." Talk about an offer one CAN refuse, if one enjoys breathing.

Not that I blame prosecutors for offering that deal. That's what they're hired to do and they'd be negligent if they didn't do it.

The problem is that we think we're going to win this stupid drug war by locking people up and we're just not.

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"Studying" the costs of legalization

To drug warriors, that means:

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conflating correlation with causation and counting every purported cost to which a number can be attached, no matter how implausibly, while ignoring every benefit except for tax revenue and the increased value of Colorado homes since legalization (which suggests the state has not turned into the drug-addled dystopia predicted by prohibitionists).

 

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IRS Rule Says Tax Exempt Corporations Can $peak For, Not Against, Prohibition
 

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...The rule, described in an Internal Revenue Bulletin dated January 2, says the IRS will deny tax-exempt status to "an organization whose purpose is directed to the improvement of business conditions of one or more lines of business relating to an activity involving controlled substances (within the meaning of schedule I and II of the Controlled Substances Act) which is prohibited by Federal law regardless of its legality under the law of the state in which such activity is conducted."

As Washington, D.C., lawyers David Rivkin and Randal Meyer point out in The Wall Street Journal, that language arguably applies to any organization that advocates legalization of marijuana (or any other prohibited substance) or favors looser restrictions on certain prescription medications, both of which would improve "business conditions" for companies that sell those drugs.

...

Since the IRS rule applies to organizations "whose purpose" is "improvement of business conditions" for enterprises dealing in Schedule I or Schedule II drugs, it might not encompass groups—such as the Reason Foundation, the 501(c)(3) organization that publishes this website and Reason magazine—that support drug policy reform along with other causes. But an educational or social welfare organization that is mainly devoted to liberalization of drug policy, such as the Drug Policy Alliance or the Marijuana Policy Project, would seem to fit the description.

Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, says his understanding is that the rule applies to new applicants for tax-exempt status but not organizations that have already been granted it. "It sounds like" a new group similar to MPP could be rejected "if whoever is reviewing the application determines the applicant would be working to advance the cannabis industry," Tvert says in an email. "It wasn't necessarily simple before. It seems like this new rule could make it even more difficult."

The IRS says groups engaged in illegal activity are ineligible for 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) status. But advocating changes in drug laws is not a crime; it is constitutionally protected speech, even though it may result in "improvement of business conditions" for marijuana merchants or pharmaceutical companies.

 

I'm glad that the MPP will apparently not lose their exemption but that seems to present another problem, on top of the viewpoint-based cen$or$hip problem.

Namely, "you didn't get here soon enough" isn't a valid reason to treat a new, competing organization working on the same subject any differently.

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EEK! A Nahmix!
 

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Here are some numbers from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that should, in addition to the challenges noted by Mike Riggs, put a damper on Donald Trump's dream of stopping the illicit fentanyl trade.

"Traffickers can typically purchase a kilogram of fentanyl powder for a few thousand dollars from a Chinese supplier," the DEA says, "transform it into hundreds of thousands of pills, and sell the counterfeit pills for millions of dollars in profit." Taking the average of two actual sales cited by the DEA, a kilogram of fentanyl that costs $2,600 can be pressed into 666,666 fake pain pills, each containing 1.5 milligrams of the active ingredient, generating about $10 million in revenue at $15 each.

By comparison, a kilogram of Mexican heroin might generate something like $840,000 in revenue, based on the average retail price per pure milligram reported by the DEA in 2016. In other words, fentanyl is more than 10 times as profitable as heroin, which helps explain why the former has displaced the latter in the United States, especially since smugglers are keen to squeeze as many doses as possible into a given volume.

...

The fentanyl conundrum is just the latest example of how prohibition undermines itself by enabling criminal organizations to earn a risk premium that motivates all manner of creative evasion. To the extent that increased enforcement has an impact, it tends to makes drug use deadlier. Interviewing drug users and dealers in the Philadelphia area, Bate found that fentanyl has swiftly replaced diverted pain pills, which are less dangerous because their potency and dosing are predictable. "It is arguable that policies to drive oxycodone and other prescription opioids from the illicit market are the main cause of the rise of fentanyl in these markets, and regrettably the resulting spike in fatal overdoses," he writes. "By making prescription opioids harder to come by, government policy has probably driven illicit actors to supply—and drug users to ingest—fentanyls."

...

According to the CDC, deaths involving pain pills more than doubled from 2002 to 2010. But they continued to rise after 2010, even as prescriptions fell by about a third between 2010 and 2017. More important, total deaths involving opioids, including heroin and fentanyl, rose dramatically, more than doubling between 2010 and 2017.

 

The drug warriors' response to the prescription pill addiction problem has created the much worse fentanyl problem. We could always find a way to replace fentanyl with something worse by continuing down the same road.

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Marijuana Federalism's Time Has Come
 

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Sessions resignation gave President Trump the ability to appoint an attorney general who agrees with his support for marijuana federalism. Unfortunately, Trump's pick to replace Sessions, William Barr, was a staunch supporter of the war on drugs when he previously served as attorney general from 1991-1993. Congress should make sure Mr. Barr will respect states' authority to set their own marijuana policies before confirming him.

Congress should protect states right to nullify federal anti-marijuana laws by passing the STATES Act. Introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the bill is supported by conservative Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R) and libertarians like my son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R). The STATES Act enjoys true bipartisan support and advances the cause of limited, constitutional government.

The federal war on marijuana failed to reduce marijuana use. It did succeed in expanding the federal police state and shredding large parts of the Bill of Rights. Fortunately, the majority of Americans ejected the inane policy of locking people up for using a non-government approved drug. President Trump and Congress can side with this pro-Constitution majority by making sure the next Attorney General is a consistent supporter of the 10th Amendment and by passing the STATES Act.

 

Both of those would be nice, but Step One, which Congress should have taken years ago, would be rescheduling.

That's because it's illegal for the government to be honest about Schedule 1 drugs that actually do have medicinal uses.
 

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"I assure you that the ONDCP seeks all perspectives, positive or negative, when formulating Administration policy," Carroll responded, according to Bennet. "You have my full and firm commitment that ONDCP will be completely objective and dispassionate in collecting all relevant facts and peer-reviewed scientific research on all drugs, including marijuana."

Such evenhandedness would be hard to reconcile with a requirement imposed by the ONDCP Reauthorization Act of 1998, which Congress passed two years after California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use. The provision says the director of that office shall "take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance" that is listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act—as marijuana is—unless the Food and Drug Administration has approved it for medical purposes.

Suppose the ONDCP's research finds that marijuana legalization is working out pretty well. On the face of it, the agency would be legally obliged to obscure that fact.

 

 

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Noted Drug Warrior Andrew Cuomo Figures Out That Libertarians Have Been Right For Decades
 

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Today New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unambiguously endorsed marijuana legalization, culminating a rapid evolution of his views on the subject. "We must...end the needless and unjust criminal convictions and the debilitating criminal stigma and...legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all," Cuomo said in a speech outlining his goals for next year.

As recently as last year, Cuomo was describing marijuana as a "gateway drug" and worrying about what might happen if the state repealed its prohibition.

 

Better late than never, but it was obvious last year that the "gateway drug" thing was long-discredited drug warrior propaganda, yet he clung to it.

Giving up on a prohibition program is the hardest thing you can ask an American politician to do.

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Brilliant solutions to the government-created opioid problem:

One dose fits all! Punish the patients!

So doctors now have a magic number (90) above which pain relief causes additional hassles. So guess how much pain reliever you need, regardless of your circumstances, weight, etc? Less than 90!

When regulators practice medicine, this is what you get.

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Driving back from a recent 2000 mile business trip in the RV. 45 minutes from  home I get pulled over by a shady looking suv. I noticed the same shady looking suv about 20 minutes back with a other car on the side of the interstate.  20 minutes later a red pickup and I got pulled over by the same two cars.  The cop claims they are doing a maximum DUI enforcement stop and I was weaving slightly into the number two lane.   Interestingly he had a hard time getting it out and couldn’t look me in the eye.  I assured him I  had not had a drop to drink.  He took my license but no registration or insurance back to his car. After about five minutes he came back and apologetically gave back my license. He said “been driving a long way huh?” I was shocked and asked him how the heck he knew that as we had not had any conversation further than what I said above. When pressed, telling him that I had  law enforcement in the family, he told me my license plate had been captured two states away and it was common to smuggle drugs on that route in RVs. “ We use the info in part to catch people lying”.

 So the guy pulled me over under false pretenses. I left the traffic stop feeling like I was living in one of Random’s favorite places like Russia or China.

 Apparently driving an RV across state lines now is probable cause to get pulled over. 

 

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Another Drug Warrior Come Lately
 

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De Blasio wants to legalize marijuana but also control who gets to profit off it, all to fulfill his fantasies of what the industry should look like rather than letting the market sort it out. He doesn't want more freedom for New York City's citizens; he wants control over the marijuana market. Marijuana Moment quotes a letter he wrote explaining his vision of legal marijuana in the Big Apple:

The mayor's letter spells out what he thinks a legal marijuana industry should look like.

"We've seen these kinds of new industries spring up before. Legalization can follow two routes. In one, corporate Cannabis rushes in and seizes a big, new market, driven by a single motive: greed," he wrote. "In another, New Yorkers build their own local cannabis industry, led by small businesses and organized to benefit our whole diverse community."

"Tragically, we know what happens when corporations run the show," de Blasio wrote.

Yes, we all recall the time that goons from R.J. Reynolds attacked Eric Garner on a street corner and choked him to death. No, wait, those were officers from de Blasio's own police department, and one reason they were hassling Garner was because of his history of hustling untaxed loose cigarettes. New York City has a massive cigarette black market caused not by corporations but by the city's high taxes, price controls, and other controls on the market. Is that what New Yorkers want marijuana legalization to look like too?

The government of New York City is the villain of this story, not the hero. Government control over who may participate in markets leads to cronyism and corruption. Consider occupational licensing regimes that serve entrenched business interests and protect them from market competition. It's typically the poor who ultimately suffer as their opportunities to participate are reduced.

De Blasio insists he's going to try to force the opposite here, but that's just not how government permitting works in actual practice. Restricting access to this market will hurt those who lack influence, not help them.

 

People who trust government so much more than private organizations tend to create black markets like the NY cigarette market. That's because your trust in government doesn't mean others trust government as much.

 

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10 hours ago, chum said:

Driving back from a recent 2000 mile business trip in the RV. 45 minutes from  home I get pulled over by a shady looking suv. I noticed the same shady looking suv about 20 minutes back with a other car on the side of the interstate.  20 minutes later a red pickup and I got pulled over by the same two cars.  The cop claims they are doing a maximum DUI enforcement stop and I was weaving slightly into the number two lane.   Interestingly he had a hard time getting it out and couldn’t look me in the eye.  I assured him I  had not had a drop to drink.  He took my license but no registration or insurance back to his car. After about five minutes he came back and apologetically gave back my license. He said “been driving a long way huh?” I was shocked and asked him how the heck he knew that as we had not had any conversation further than what I said above. When pressed, telling him that I had  law enforcement in the family, he told me my license plate had been captured two states away and it was common to smuggle drugs on that route in RVs. “ We use the info in part to catch people lying”.

 So the guy pulled me over under false pretenses. I left the traffic stop feeling like I was living in one of Random’s favorite places like Russia or China.

 Apparently driving an RV across state lines now is probable cause to get pulled over. 

 

You were one officer's suspicion away from ending up in the Asset Forfeiture thread. If he thought that your RV committed a crime, you would not own it any more.

If you do end up there, the libertarians at IJ will be around to help when Duopoly types are not.

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1 hour ago, dogballs Tom said:

You were one officer's suspicion away from ending up in the Asset Forfeiture thread. If he thought that your RV committed a crime, you would not own it any more.

If you do end up there, the libertarians at IJ will be around to help when Duopoly types are not.

It’s pretty frightening. I’m still processing it. I feel bad for the cop who lied. He has to reconcile this shit in his head in a quiet moment too. I’m not the one who has to walk up to vehicles with my gun holstered into a possible gunfight over this shit, then lie to ordinary law abiding people about what I’m doing there with the hope that they will lie back to me. The whole thing is fucking ridiculous.

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22 minutes ago, chum said:

It’s pretty frightening. I’m still processing it. I feel bad for the cop who lied. He has to reconcile this shit in his head in a quiet moment too. I’m not the one who has to walk up to vehicles with my gun holstered into a possible gunfight over this shit, then lie to ordinary law abiding people about what I’m doing there with the hope that they will lie back to me. The whole thing is fucking ridiculous.

He may or may not have trouble reconciling that encounter in his head.

Some cops are opposed to the drug war they are charged with enforcing and have a hard time with it.

Many are of the opinion that such things are perfectly OK in the service of the sacred prohibition program, which is the best overall good. They're honestly trying to do the job that our representatives have charged them with doing. They'd file lying to citizens like yourself under "insulating the public from stuff that's our job, not theirs" and move along happily with their day.

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"Your House Smells Funny" Means "We Don't Need No Steenking Warrant" in Kansas

For the same reason we have no-knock raids: the evidence might be destroyed and since there's no victim when the "crime" is possession, there goes any case.
 

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You might speculate that Nicholson caught a whiff of the cigarillo as Hubbard opened his door and confused the smell of burnt marijuana with the smell of "raw marijuana." But that hardly seems possible in light of Nicholson's extensive training and experience. "As part of her law enforcement training and while in her official capacity," the trial judge noted, "Officer Nicholson has detected the smell of raw marijuana 200 to 500 times and burnt MJ 100 to 300 times." So either she was exaggerating her ability to distinguish "raw marijuana" from burnt marijuana by odor, or she was asserting a superhuman (and maybe even supercanine) ability to detect Hubbard's triply contained stash from a distance of 30 feet.

Nor was that the only dubious claim that Nicholson made to justify entering Hubbard's home without a warrant. Looking through his window, she said, she saw "five to seven people." She and her colleagues ordered Hubbard's guests to leave. Notably, "the officers testified they did not smell marijuana on anyone as they were leaving," meaning that the source of the "raw marijuana" odor must have remained in the apartment. While waiting for a warrant, Nicholson et al. "did a security sweep to make sure no one remained in the apartment." It was during this "security sweep" that the officers found the cigarillo, along with "several bongs, which were clean and had no marijuana residue." They also noticed Hubbard's safe.

The police argued that the "security sweep" was necessary to protect officer safety and prevent the destruction of evidence. A state appeals court rejected the first rationale, noting that "it is limited to warrantless sweeps incident to a lawful arrest." The court also found that "the officers failed to articulate specific facts that reasonably warranted a belief that anyone in Hubbard's apartment posed a danger to the officers or others." But the appeals court was persuaded by the second rationale, the fear that someone would flush the marijuana that Nicholson and Ivener claim to have smelled down a toilet. The appeals court concluded that the alleged odor provided probable cause to believe a crime had been committed, while "the officers' perceived need to preserve evidence" of that crime constituted an "exigent circumstance" that justified searching the apartment without a warrant.

The Kansas Supreme Court concurred. "We agree with the lower courts that the facts as found by the district court established probable cause to believe contraband would be found inside the apartment," the majority opinion says. "We further hold an exigent circumstance—the need to prevent evidence destruction—supplied an exception to the warrant requirement that permitted the officers to search the apartment for individuals who might have been remaining within it."

After the warrant was issued, the cops opened Hubbard's safe and found what the court describes as "25.07 grams of raw marijuana inside a Tupperware container." Hubbard received two 12-month sentences for possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors, and was granted probation. While we should by no means dismiss the cost of Hubbard's arrest and prosecution, or the lingering collateral consequences of those convictions, the implications of this decision for the privacy of other Kansas residents are at least as troubling, notwithstanding the court's assurances.

"We hold that the totality of the circumstances surrounding a law enforcement officer's detection of the smell of raw marijuana emanating from a residence can supply probable cause to believe the residence contains contraband or evidence of a crime," the Kansas Supreme Court says. "Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, proximity to the odor's source, reported strength of the odor, experience identifying the odor, elimination of other possible sources of the odor, and the number of witnesses testifying to the odor's presence. This is ultimately a case-by-case determination based on the circumstances. Not all cases relying on odor will have the same result."

But if the utterly implausible odor claim in this case provides probable cause, so does any such claim. And if the possibility that evidence will be destroyed, which is always a concern in drug cases, counts as an emergency justifying a warrantless search, no one's home is safe from such invasions.

 

That last line almost caused me to put this in the Flash Bang Baby thread, but then I remembered that no-knock raids are a boring subject and that thread has been archived due to lack of interest.

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On 12/24/2018 at 8:09 PM, Not guilty said:

1_1_1r_pk1jkxAGsW1sj4wwb_540.jpg

Portugal's overdose problem is not nearly as bad as ours and is improving.

Our prohibition program is causing more deaths (and other kinds of harm) than it's preventing.

A wall through our remote deserts is a stupid idea for enforcing immigration law because it's a super-expensive and ineffective speed bump. It's even less likely to be effective against more valuable and less troublesome cargo.

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Reefer Madness 2018 Reboot
 

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Here are 17 of 2018's most ridiculous overreactions to weed:

 

1. Kansas state rep: Pot is illegal because of African Americans' "character makeup" and "genetics."

Kansas state Rep. Steve Alford (R–District 124) started poorly and just kept digging. "Any way you say it, marijuana is an entry drug into the higher drugs," he said in January. (Spoiler: No, it's not.) "What you really need to do is go back in the '30s, when they outlawed all types of drugs...What was the reason why they did that?" he asked.

"One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that. And so basically what we're trying to do is we're trying to do a complete reverse with people not remembering what has happened in the past."

...

 

It goes on like that.

Some of us do remember Anslinger, just not all that fondly.

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Hemp4War.jpg

Or, you know, for research.

But not on private property.
 

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Thank you all for your support of the UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project (“UF hemp program”) this year. We have made important strides towards our objectives and look forward to getting plants in the ground in 2019. I write to you with some hemp news, an update of our activities this year, and some plans for the new year.
 
In summary:
- The farm bill passed and begins a national transition to hemp commercialization. However, it is still illegal to grow hemp without a permit in Florida.
- The UF hemp program obtained the necessary funding and authorization to initiate the program this year. We are preparing the necessary permits, personnel, and infrastructure to plant our first experiment spring 2019.
- We have not yet identified any Qualified Project Partners and are still communicating with any individual or group that is interested to collaborate with the research activities.
- We are working to expand the scope of our program in 2019 with multiple project partners and sponsorships.

...

Keep in mind, research activities related to hemp production will be conducted only at UF research facilities. UF will not authorize hemp production on private land as part of our pilot project. Despite that position, we are very keen to engage with anyone interested in making a meaningful contribution to our research program. Such partner contributions can include knowledge, effort, technology, resources, and other creative means.

 

I'm glad to see tiny bits of progress but this kind of thing also makes my Uncooperative side kick in and makes me want to see what would happen if I sprinkled a few forbidden hemp seeds around my place.

But I don't want my property to become a subject of the asset forfeiture thread.

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9 hours ago, dogballs Tom said:

Hemp4War.jpg

Or, you know, for research.

But not on private property.
 

I'm glad to see tiny bits of progress but this kind of thing also makes my Uncooperative side kick in and makes me want to see what would happen if I sprinkled a few forbidden hemp seeds around my place.

But I don't want my property to become a subject of the asset forfeiture thread.

Better to sprinkle them around the properties of the local police and pro-forfeiture politicians, film the plants if they reach a decent size, then publish YouTube videos demanding the properties be confiscated.

There's more ways than one to skin a cat....

FKT

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3 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Better to sprinkle them around the properties of the local police and pro-forfeiture politicians, film the plants if they reach a decent size, then publish YouTube videos demanding the properties be confiscated.

There's more ways than one to skin a cat....

FKT

It has crossed my mind to find a suitable victim whose property should be stolen that way but I just don't want to be any part of it.

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22 minutes ago, dogballs Tom said:

It has crossed my mind to find a suitable victim whose property should be stolen that way but I just don't want to be any part of it.

You're missing the point - they *WON'T* take the property if it's a cop or politician but the excuses they use to not do it could be quite useful next time they DO try it on....

There's a lot to be said for malicious obedience to stupid laws. Back here, in the day, sodomy was illegal and aimed at gay men. A bunch of women decided to protest the law by turning up to the cop shops en masse and confessing to having participated in sodomy, demanding to be arrested & charged. The cops & political leaders were not amused but it arguably helped to get those laws taken off of the books.

You could try seeding some expensive bit of corporate real estate then report them for growing drugs.

FKT

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49 minutes ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

There's a lot to be said for malicious obedience to stupid laws. Back here, in the day, sodomy was illegal and aimed at gay men. A bunch of women decided to protest the law by turning up to the cop shops en masse and confessing to having participated in sodomy, demanding to be arrested & charged. The cops & political leaders were not amused but it arguably helped to get those laws taken off of the books.

Sometimes I'm glad everything that happened back in the day isn't still on youtube today.

Then there's now.

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7 hours ago, dogballs Tom said:

Sometimes I'm glad everything that happened back in the day isn't still on youtube today.

I've had that thought many times WRT digital cameras, phones with cameras and a number of the voyages I did to Antarctica....

FKT

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Sigh. What's old is new again in California.
 

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While "state officials estimated there would be as many as 6,000 cannabis shops licensed in the first few years," the Los Angeles Times reported last week, "the state Bureau of Cannabis Control has issued just 547 temporary and annual licenses to marijuana retail stores and dispensaries." The New York Times notes that legal cannabis sales totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, which is about $500 million less than in 2017, before the first recreational shops opened. Marijuana tax collections amounted to $234 million at the end of September, which suggests the total for 2018 will be less than half what officials predicted and less than a third of the $1 billion annual haul they were expecting within a few years.

What went wrong? Nothing really surprising. California is regulating and taxing the hell out of cannabis, which makes it hard for legal suppliers to compete with the state's longstanding, extensive, and highly developed black market.

 

The original Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 enacted a tax that was never intended to be collected, and wasn't.

They used the power to tax to impose prohibition.

Now California is using the power to tax to continue prohibition while trying to discontinue prohibition.

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What might the new Congress do?
 

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By the end of 2018, medical marijuana had been legalized in 33 states, 10 of which also now let adults use cannabis without a doctor's note. Nearly a quarter of the U.S. population lives in a jurisdiction where recreational use is legal. Yet marijuana is still prohibited in any form for any purpose under federal law, something that could change now that Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives.

The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, a bill first introduced by now-former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R–Calif.) in 2013, would have made the federal ban inapplicable to "any person acting in compliance with State laws." The most recent version of the bill attracted 46 co-sponsors, 70 percent of whom were Democrats. It never got a hearing.

"While members of Congress in both major parties have become increasingly supportive of good marijuana legislation," Marijuana Policy Project co-founder Rob Kampia wrote on his blog the day after the elections, "approximately 90% of Democrats—and only 25% of Republicans—support such legislation generally." When it comes to marijuana reform, Kampia said, "the Democratic takeover of the U.S. House was the most important outcome" of the 2018 elections.

Assuming that the new House leadership lets something like Rohrabacher's bill advance, a coalition of reform-friendly Democrats and federalism-friendly Republicans should be able to pass it. While that prospect may seem more remote in the Senate, which is still controlled by Republicans, a similar bill introduced in June by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), known as the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, attracted 10 co-sponsors, evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. "We'll probably end up supporting that," President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly said states should be free to go their own way on marijuana, told reporters after the STATES Act was unveiled.

 

Entrusting States. Interesting concept.

Justice Thomas' dissent in the Raich case emphasized that what Raich was doing was authorized by her state and county. He said that Congress could rely on the state to enforce its laws. A good point.

The majority countered that Congress need not depend on the states to enforce their laws. Another good point.

But now Warren and her bipartisan co-sponsors say that Congress can and should let states enforce their own laws. And Trump seems to agree, at least at the moment.

We've come a long way since decades ago when only a handful of nutty libertarians talked about ending prohibition, but killing a big government program is a very long, slow process.

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I guess this is encouraging.

The Fake "Dry Alabama" Campaign

Quote

 

The “Dry Alabama” Facebook page, illustrated with stark images of car wrecks and videos of families ruined by drink, had a blunt message: Alcohol is the devil’s work, and the state should ban it entirely.

Along with a companion Twitter feed, the Facebook page appeared to be the work of Baptist teetotalers who supported the Republican, Roy S. Moore, in the 2017 Alabama Senate race. “Pray for Roy Moore,” one tweet exhorted.

In fact, the Dry Alabama campaign, not previously reported, was the stealth creation of progressive Democrats who were out to defeat Mr. Moore — the second such secret effort to be unmasked.

 

The good news that I see is that prohibition is viewed as so stupid that supporting it is a smear.

 

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It's the shipping containers, stupid
 

Quote

 

As The New York Times notes (citing a 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment), most of the heroin smuggled into the country does come in via the southern border with Mexico.

But it's not coming in the knapsacks of border jumpers. "For the first 11 months of the 2018 fiscal year, 90 percent of the heroin intercepted at the border and 88 percent of the cocaine, was captured at a legal port of entry rather than between those ports," USA Today explains, citing Customs and Border Protection data.

Even if the wall gets built, legal ports of entry aren't going away. Most smugglers aren't trying to hop across in the first place; they're trying to sneak contraband by manned border posts. A border wall likely won't change this.

It's also worth noting that, according to the Times, most black market fentanyl comes into the U.S. from China. As Trump's own opioid commission reported in November 2017: "We are losing this fight [against fentanyl] predominately through China."

 

And the airplanes, and the private vehicles, and of course the boats and submarines and underground railways.

We had a problem with doctors and pharamacists going around prohibition laws and prescribing opiates with few or no questions asked. A good answer would have been to bring the behavior of addicts out into the open to help them recover.

We went the "cause a Chinese fentanyl epidemic" route instead, in the process making life more difficult and painful for people who really do need large amounts of opiates.

And a stupid wall won't help any of it.

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Reefer Madness Is Still A Thing
 

Quote

 

Alex Berenson, the former New York Times reporter who has just published an anti-pot polemic that he aptly named after a notoriously hysterical 1936 anti-pot movie, says marijuana legalization "appears to lead to an increase in violent crime." Like his claim that marijuana causes schizophrenia and other "serious mental illnesses," his claim that it causes violence is based on a highly selective reading of the evidence.

...

University of Oregon economist Benjamin Hansen finds that "the homicide rates in Colorado and Washington were actually below what the data predicted they would have been given the trends in homicides from 2000-2012." He says "we can't conclude that marijuana legalization increases violence, and perhaps even there could be small negative effects."

Nor is the effect that Berenson perceives apparent in national data. The share of Americans reporting past-month marijuana use in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health rose by 55 percent from 2002 to 2017, a period when the national violent crime rate fell by 23 percent.

How plausible is it that legalizing marijuana would immediately cause "sharp increases in murders and aggravated assaults"? Here is how a bunch of experts at the RAND Drug Policy Research Center summarized the evidence in a 2013 report commissioned by the Office of National Drug Control Policy: "Even though marijuana is commonly used by individuals arrested for crimes, there is little support for a contemporaneous, causal relationship between its use and either violent or property crime. There is evidence supporting a possible intertemporal relationship, but it is not clear to what extent this is unique to marijuana." The authors flatly state that "marijuana use does not induce violent crime," while "the links between marijuana use and property crime are thin."

In line with that research, several studies have found that relaxing legal restrictions on marijuana is not associated with an increase in violent crime. A 2016 analysis of data from 11 Western states, published in the Journal of Drug Issues, found "no evidence of negative spillover effects from medical marijuana laws (MMLs) on violent or property crime." To the contrary, the researchers found "significant drops in rates of violent crime associated with state MMLs."

...

Berenson's book has received respectful reviews in The New Yorker and Mother Jones, along with considerable pushback from people who study these issues. You can expect to see more of the latter.

 

I cut out some of the evidence that he's wrong because there's just too much of it.

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My mother buys those things. I don't know what's in them and don't really approve but my dogs have all seemed to love them. I also find them eating rotten fish and things, so it's not a high bar.

3 hours ago, Gouvernail said:

Had to post this somewhere 

There's some relevance here because dogs do have an amazing sense of smell but I've called them "search warrants on leashes" in this thread for a reason.

They react to cues from their owners. I see this all the time because some of my activities, mostly involving internal combustion engines, are upsetting to my dogs. How the fuck they KNOW that I've entered my shop dozens of times but one particular time I'm going to fetch string for the weedeater is beyond me, but they KNOW. The scolding starts as soon as I head that way.

A drug sniffing dog knows what his trainer is up to and knows when an "alert" would be appreciated.

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@.22 Tom makes a very interesting accusation about the use of drug sniffing dogs. 

 

I could set up appropriate tests to determine whether the dogs react accurately. I am not willing to accept a government commissioned test or a test by druggies.

A couple things to test: 

a. Do clean  cut people who are carrying drugs get past the dogs? 

b. Are false positives more common in those who “look like druggies?”

 

  • Downvote 1

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On 7/20/2017 at 6:14 AM, dogballs Tom said:

The Problem With Search Warrants On Leashes

If a well-trained drug sniffing dog named Kilo alerts on a car in Colorado, it's not a search and might just indicate the presence of legal weed so it doesn't justify a search. Oops.
 

Quote

 

Since Kilo's alert might indicate nothing more than the legal possession of marijuana, it could not by itself provide probable cause for a search, which requires a "fair probability" that contaband will be discovered. "A drug-detection dog's alert does not alone give a Colorado state law enforcement officer probable cause to conduct a search of a vehicle where the occupants are at least twenty-one years old," Berger writes in his concurring opinion.

...

When I covered this issue in 2015, I asked Lawrence Myers, a veterinarian and neurophysiologist at Auburn University who is an expert on dogs' olfactory capabilities, whether the animals can be retrained so they no longer react to marijuana, as some police departments intended to do. "Retraining is possible," Myers said, "but it takes time and scientifically valid testing to show that the dogs no longer alert to marijuana." He added, "I doubt that many departments would do the testing."

That concern is fully justified given the uneven training and lax testing that make the "well-trained narcotics detection dog" of the Supreme Court's imagination more an aspiration than a reality. Even with proper training, a dog may respond to its handler's expectations, distracting stimuli, or smell-alike cues rather than actual drug odors. Given the relative rarity of illegal drugs in cars stopped by police, even the best-trained dog is apt to be wrong far more often than right when he signals the presence of contraband. In light of these problems, which the Supreme Court has consistently ignored or minimized, marijuana legalization is merely the latest reason dogs should not be trusted to issue search warrants.

 

 

There are a couple of links there at the end that may be of interest to you Gouv.

 

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6 minutes ago, dogballs Tom said:

I'll read the article and post something later - A few days ago, I had read a meta-study that suggested that CBD is ineffective compared to THC at moderating things like seizures and the WHOLE CBD debate is a read herring - it's the 'nasty' THC that matters.   I'll see if I can dig it up.  If nothing else, the psuedo-legalization might help resolve some of those issues.

 

 

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On 1/14/2019 at 4:54 AM, cmilliken said:

I'll read the article and post something later - A few days ago, I had read a meta-study that suggested that CBD is ineffective compared to THC at moderating things like seizures and the WHOLE CBD debate is a read herring - it's the 'nasty' THC that matters.   I'll see if I can dig it up.  If nothing else, the psuedo-legalization might help resolve some of those issues.

There are a lot of conflicting studies right now on the ratio of CBD to THC and it is likely that studies will find that different concentrations of different ingredients are going to be more or less effective for different conditions.  The Charlotte's Web drug that has been super effective in humans is almost entirely CBD i believe.  I think at this point, it's unfair to write off one chemical or another...

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13 minutes ago, EquusAsinusDomesticus said:

There are a lot of conflicting studies right now on the ratio of CBD to THC and it is likely that studies will find that different concentrations of different ingredients are going to be more or less effective for different conditions.  The Charlotte's Web drug that has been super effective in humans is almost entirely CBD i believe.  I think at this point, it's unfair to write off one chemical or another...

I'd REALLLLY like to see Marijuana moved off the 'schedule 1' bad guy list so that researchers can actually.. you know.. DO RESEARCH...  and answer some of these questions!

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1 minute ago, cmilliken said:

I'd REALLLLY like to see Marijuana moved off the 'schedule 1' bad guy list so that researchers can actually.. you know.. DO RESEARCH...  and answer some of these questions!

The Canadian research will provide some answers, although probably not the answers the prohibitionists want.

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I read that moving to schedule 2 is problematic cause application will be regulated by the FDA meaning endless clinical trials.  Need to go straight to schedule 3.  Sadly William Barr’s comments on MJ today were not promising.  Guys a dinosaur.

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3 hours ago, Fakenews said:

I read that moving to schedule 2 is problematic cause application will be regulated by the FDA meaning endless clinical trials.  Need to go straight to schedule 3.  Sadly William Barr’s comments on MJ today were not promising.  Guys a dinosaur.

Your whole fucking government is something out of 1860, WTF is wrong down there?

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9 hours ago, Fakenews said:

I read that moving to schedule 2 is problematic cause application will be regulated by the FDA meaning endless clinical trials.  Need to go straight to schedule 3.  Sadly William Barr’s comments on MJ today were not promising.  Guys a dinosaur.

The Pure Food and Drug Act was the only legislative effort that ever reduced addiction in America.

It happened because people learned that "snake oil" was actually "morphine" and yes, it makes you feel good, with a price.

If you're going to be in the business of selling medicine, you need to prove it's medicine. And it's for what you said it's for. That's what Schedule 2 trials would be about and it's not such a bad idea if you look at our pharm industry before the PFDA.

But there's another problem: the FDA regulates food and drugs to ensure they're safe and effective. That's why nicotine can't be a drug. That cigarette is safe and effective for what, exactly? Ummm... OK, it's not a food nor a drug. It's a product.

That's the only way to treat the recreational market without running into: That joint is safe and effective for what, exactly?

So I think we'll need to regulate it two different ways: the usual way for medicines and the usual way for, for lack of a better word, vices.

Not such a simple proposal, since someone could then hint at the medical benefits of his recreational product.

Ending the drug war will cause an explosion of regulation. That's not a bad thing because the alternative is one very simple, very stupid rule.

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On 1/14/2019 at 5:48 AM, dogballs Tom said:

From the article:
 

Quote

 

By the time Charlotte turned 5, her parents had tried just about every treatment available. Yet Charlotte still needed a feeding tube to eat and was debilitated by seizures that came on at all times of day and night.

"We did vitamins, acupuncture, gluten-free, dairy-free, keto, all raw and organic," Figi says. "We tried every pharmaceutical drug on the market except ones that were dangerous to children. You're just sort of throwing darts aimlessly."

Even after all those failures, there was one more thing Charlotte's parents wanted to try. During the hundreds of hours Figi spent researching Dravet syndrome, she came across studies from Israel and Europe that showed that CBD worked as an anticonvulsant and could possibly keep Charlotte's seizures at bay.

Figi wanted to administer CBD to her daughter. She found translators so she could talk to physicians and researchers in Israel and France. From these distant mentors, she learned how to extract CBD from marijuana, how to dose it, and how to test its purity.

The only remaining obstacle was finding a doctor who would recommend giving a cannabis derivative to a kindergartner. While federal law is shifting all the time, in 2011 CBD was illegal. As a compound that could be derived from cannabis, it was classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it had no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. It was therefore illegal to manufacture, possess, sell, purchase, or consume. Even in pioneering Colorado, then home to a very liberal medical marijuana system, giving CBD to a small child was a tough sell.

"I was terribly nervous," Figi says. "The 'red card' doctors"—physicians who specialized in approving people for the state's medical marijuana program—"were all opposed." Eventually, Figi convinced a small team of physicians across several institutions to review Charlotte's case and sign off on giving her CBD, making her the youngest medical marijuana patient in the state.

After 18 months, Figi stepped forward to announce that her daughter was free of seizures and no longer taking any medication aside from CBD. Sanjay Gupta, a physician and talking head, flew to Colorado to meet the Figis and eventually created a series of CNN specials on medical marijuana that sparked national interest in Charlotte's case.

 

Parents of kids who have seizures are desperate to help their kids and drug warriors are desperate to continue their sacred prohibition.

I remember when former drug warrior Sanjay Gupta stopped parroting drug war propaganda and came out and said that Americans had been "terribly and systematically misled" about cannabis, including by him.

It was the topic article and subject title in the thread that was purged by the moderators, mentioned in the topic post. Lots of good info there and purging it was an asshole move.

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We're almost, but not quite, done with alcohol prohibition.

The 21st amendment did pass, but what does it mean?
 

Quote

 

If you want to sell liquor in Tennessee, a state law requires that you live there for at least two years before seeking a license. And if you want to renew that one-year license after it expires, you need to show that at some point you lived in Tennessee for at least 10 consecutive years. On Wednesday, the 100th anniversary of the 18th Amendment's ratification, two lawyers told the Supreme Court those blatantly protectionist rules are constitutional thanks to the 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th but recognized that states retained the authority to ban alcohol within their borders.

Notably, neither of those lawyers represented Tennessee, which stopped enforcing the residency requirements after the state's attorney general concluded they were unconstitutional. A federal judge and an appeals court agreed, and now the Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association (TWSRA) is asking the Supreme Court to overrule them. Shay Dvoretzky, the TWRSA's lawyer, was joined on Wednesday by Illinois Solicitor General David Franklin, speaking for his state and 34 others. Carter Phillips represented the respondents, who include the owners of a Memphis liquor store they are not allowed to operate because they recently moved there from Utah.

 

I hope the TWRSA loses this one. States do have broad authority to regulate and ban alcohol but the commerce clause is also quite broad.
 

Quote

 

Justice Samuel Alito was similarly skeptical. "The 21st Amendment is about the transportation or importation of alcohol into a state," he told Dvoretzky. "How do you get from there to a durational residency requirement that is imposed on the owner of a retail outlet in the state?"

The Supreme Court has already said the 21st Amendment is not a free pass for alcohol-related protectionism. In Bacchus v. Dias (1984), the Court rejected an excise tax exemption designed to favor local distillers in Hawaii over out-of-state competitors, and in Granholm v. Heald (2005) it said Michigan and New York could not constitutionally prohibit out-of-state wineries from shipping their products directly to consumers while allowing in-state wineries to do so. The TWRSA wants the justices to read those precedents as applying only to discrimination against manufacturers.

"I know you want to limit it to producers," Justice Sonia Sotomayor said to Dvoretzky, "but that's not the way that Granholm talked about...this issue." She also noted that if the Commerce Clause has no relevance in cases involving state alcohol regulation, as Dvoretzky maintained, Bacchus and Granholm must have been wrongly decided.

 

Professor Sotomayor is right that previous cases conflict with the idea that any state regulation is OK.
 

Quote

 

That argument seemed to resonate with several justices, but there was also concern that overturning Tennessee's rule would invite challenges to other longstanding aspects of state alcohol regulation, including the "three-tier system" of segregated producers, wholesalers, and retailers. The Court has repeatedly said that system is within the authority granted by the 21st Amendment, even though it discriminates against out-of-state businesses in some ways.

Justice Neil Gorsuch suggested that an "Amazon of alcohol" could argue that states violate the Commerce Clause when they stop online retailers from selling beer, wine, and liquor directly to consumers. Phillips said his clients have no interest in challenging the three-tier system, but that did not really answer the question of whether the principle on which they are relying implies that courts should overturn other stupid, anti-competitive restrictions on the distribution of alcoholic beverages. Would that be such a bad thing?

 

I think an "Amazon of Alcohol" could make exactly that argument and be right.

Of course, each of those tiers would probably have a lot to $ay about the issue.

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On 1/19/2019 at 4:53 AM, dogballs Tom said:

We're almost, but not quite, done with alcohol prohibition.

The 21st amendment did pass, but what does it mean?

I still haven't studied this case, just read a couple of articles, but this one cracks me up.
 

Quote

 

...

If not all justices are comfortable striking down the law on the Commerce Clause grounds, there is another constitutional provision that could invalidate the law. According to the Institute for Justice, which represents the Ketchum family, the law is also unconstitutional because it violates the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Ratified after the Civil War, the Clause responded to the notorious Black Codes enacted by many Southern states, which sought to re-impose slavery on newly freed black Americans by denying their right to earn a living.

In its brief, the Institute for Justice notes that the Privileges or Immunities Clause “squarely recognizes the right of a resident newly arrived in a state to be treated on terms equal with those who have resided there longer” and originally protected the right “to migrate in pursuit of a livelihood.” Although the Supreme Court largely gutted the Privileges or Immunities Clause in the 1873 Slaughter-House Cases, “both the majority and dissenting opinions” in the decision “recognized that the clause protects such a right.”

Nearly 20 years ago, the High Court ruled that California’s one-year residency requirement for full welfare benefits violated the Privileges or Immunities Clause because it discriminated against new residents. “If the Privileges or Immunities Clause protects the right of a newly-arrived resident to be treated equally in the receipt of welfare benefits,” IJ argues, “it surely protects her right to be treated equally in the pursuit of a livelihood…States cannot hoard or reserve economic opportunity for longtime residents only.”

 

Hmm... Now I want to look up that California case. I thought the Privileges and Immunities Clause was a zombie.

From the oral arguments in the McDonald case:

Quote

 

Alan Gura

--Although it's impossible to give a full list of all the unenumerated rights that might be protected by the Privileges and Immunities Clause, just as it's impossible to do so under the Due Process Clause, at least with respect to the Privileges and Immunities Clause we have wonderful historical guideposts.

There are--

 

Antonin Scalia

Mr. Gura, do you think it's at all easier to bring the Second Amendment under the Privileges and Immunities Clause than it is to bring it under our established law of substantive due process?


Alan Gura

--It's--


Antonin Scalia

Is it easier to do it under privileges and immunities than it is under substantive due process?


Alan Gura

--It's easier in terms, perhaps, of -- of the text and history, the original public understanding of--


Antonin Scalia

No, no.

I'm not talking about whether -- whether the Slaughter-House Cases were right or wrong.

I'm saying, assuming we give, you know, the Privileges and Immunities Clause your definition, does that make it any easier to get the Second Amendment adopted with respect to the States?


Alan Gura

--Justice Scalia, I suppose the answer to that would be no, because--


Antonin Scalia

And if the answer is no, why are you asking us to overrule 150, 140 years of prior law, when -- when you can reach your result under substantive due -- I mean, you know, unless you're bucking for a -- a place on some law school faculty--

[Laughter]


Alan Gura

--No.

No.

I have left law school some time ago, and this is not an attempt to -- to return.


Antonin Scalia

Well, I mean, what you argue is the darling of the professoriate, for sure, but it's also contrary to 140 years of our jurisprudence.

Why do you want to undertake that burden instead of just arguing substantive due process?

Which, as much as I think it's wrong, I have -- even I have acquiesced in it.

[Laughter]

 

That didn't go well.

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The NFL Still Just Says No

Quote

While the NFL has never allowed players to use marijuana for any reason, there is a well-documented history of teams handing out pharmaceutical pain-killers by the handful. "The medicine being pumped into these guys is just killing people," former player Nate Jackson told Rolling Stone in 2016, as part of an excellent piece on the league's nonsensical marijuana rules and how they've led to an over-reliance on opioids.

Just say no to weed, of course. If you crash into giant athletes for a living, you're going to need handfuls of opiates and anti-inflammatory drugs, all of which are fine.

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Florida's New Ag Commissioner
 

Quote

 

QUESTION: When will we see directives on medical marijuana and industrial hemp?

FRIED: We will be creating a director of cannabis. You will start seeing those changes once that person is in place. We’ll start doing a lot of initiatives that we talked about on the campaign trail: the edibles rule; such as making sure we’re doing best-management practices in regard to medical marijuana treatment centers; and start working on rules and regulations for hemp per the 2018 federal farm bill.

 

A Director of Cannabis.

So the State of FL will have a single person in charge of how, where, and when Floridians violate federal law.

Lots of states have such officials now, all of whom seem to me to be potential subjects of RICO charges. I mean, that's what happens to people whose job is violating federal law, right?

It sounds like the Director of Cannabis will be regulating edibles and industrial hemp, as if we're talking about the same plant or something. Wow.

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Michael Bloomberg: Legalizing Weed 'Is Perhaps the Stupidest Thing We’ve Ever Done'
 

Quote

 

As he considers a 2020 run for the Democratic presidential nomination, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is continuing to defend his controversial positions on several issues. Speaking yesterday at the United States Naval Academy's 2019 Leadership Conference in Annapolis, Maryland, Bloomberg explained why he opposes marijuana legalization and still believes "stop and frisk" was a good idea.

Bloomberg has long been ignorant when it comes to weed. In 2013, he called medical marijuana "one of the greatest hoaxes of all time," despite endless evidence to the contrary. And in 2015, he said marijuana legalization is "one of the stupider things that's happening across our country."

In Bloomberg's mind, stop and frisk helped lower the city's murder rate. He said:

We focused on keeping kids from going through the correctional system, where they just came out worse than they came in, kids who walked around looking like they might have a gun, remove the gun from their pockets and stop it, and the result of that was, over the years, the murder rate in New York City went from 650 a year to 300 a year when I left.

Bloomberg's argument is flawed. As Sullum noted in September, crime in New York actually started declining in the '90s. And while that decline continued while stop and frisk was in full effect, the homicide rate still went down by 43 percent between 2011 and 2017—as the program was being phased out!

 

Prohibitionists can't be bothered with the facts about policies like stop and frisk. The power is too seductive.

Pursuing Nixon's drug war for decades is among the stupidest things we've ever done. Every crackdown leads to more potent drugs and more dangerous drug dealers.

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Here's a Laffer!

Californicators think that lowering tax rates might increase tax revenue.
 

Quote

 

A.B. 286, sponsored by Assembly Member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) and three other legislators, would immediately cut the excise tax on marijuana from 15 percent to 11 percent and eliminate the cultivation tax, which is $9.25 per ounce for buds and $2.75 per ounce for leaves. The taxes would revert to their current levels on June 1, 2022.

"A.B. 286 is an important step to ensure that we protect legitimate taxpaying businesses and stop the illegal black market in California," Bonta said at a press conference on Monday. "Once the legal marketplace has established its roots, once it is on its way to success, the tax rates will return under this bill."

 

OMG. The idea that cutting tax rates might be a good idea has penetrated to TeamD Californicators. The end must be near.

In other good news,

Baltimore's Top Prosecutor Will Stop Prosecuting Marijuana Possession Cases

Woo hoo! Prosecutorial nullification (it's called discretion when they do it) is even better than the jury kind!

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15 minutes ago, Blue Crab said:

Dogballs, please give us more of you quoting yerself, and regurgitating your drug war routine.

(s) all posters


OK.

Please regurgitate stupid gossip that shows your firm membership in the chorus. Thanks in advance.

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On 1/30/2019 at 12:20 PM, badlatitude said:

1423cbCOMIC-spot-the-criminal-danger.jpg


This cartoon needs updating.

Drug warriors cracked down on the "pill mills" and now we have much more dangerous dealers peddling much more dangerous fentanyl.

That's "winning" drug warrior style.

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What happens to doctors who actually want to use opiods in treatment?
 

Quote

 

To treat just 30 concurrent patients, qualified providers must complete eight hours of training and receive an additional Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) prescribing number. Even after completing that training, providers must wait a full year to apply for federal permission to treat 100 patients concurrently. According to Herdman, most of his team won't be eligible to treat 100 patients concurrently until June 2020.

In recent years, harm reduction advocates have suggested that the training requirement and patient caps endanger patients by discouraging provider participation. Herdman agrees, telling Feldman, "That limitation on prescribing is really weird. A regular physician can prescribe all sorts of other narcotics without additional training. But for buprenorphine, they want additional training."

...

We must also consider the fact that applying for permission to prescribe buprenorphine puts physicians under intense DEA scrutiny, and that the DEA is known to raid the homes and offices of doctors who prescribe the drug, sometimes for reasons that don't hold up in court. While there are doctors who do hand out Suboxone in a way one might charitably describe as uncareful, the drug is significantly safer than methadone, which is itself significantly safer than illicit fentanyl and heroin. Put another way: if it were as easy for Philadelphians to obtain pharmaceutical buprenorphine as it is for them to obtain illicit fentanyl, there would likely be fewer Philadelphians in the county jail and fewer still in the ground.

If you haven't already, please read Jacob Sullum's recent Reason feature on the deadly consequences of the feds micromanaging prescribers, and my interview with Christopher Moraff on Philadelphia's fentanyl problem.

 

Short answer: too many rules and too much liability created by drug warriors, so they make money practicing medicine in other ways.

And the addicts go off to fentanyl dealers, who don't face nearly as many rules and are far harder to catch so face far less liability too.

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14 hours ago, AJ Oliver said:

Billionaires decline to play by any rules . .   

Many of them, not just the Sacklers, get rich by causing others to suffer . .  

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/unredacted-lawsuit-against-oxycontin-maker-reveals-they-pushed-opioid-low-n965721

 

Quote

Purdue is accused of trying to profit off a crisis that it helped spark by having its sales force tell doctors that the prescription painkiller OxyContin had a low addiction risk.

Ah, the good old daze, when our stupid prohibition policies led to a prescription opiod crisis instead of the current, and much worse, Chinese fentanyl crisis.

That's what happens when drug warriors crack down: the unintended consequences are worse. Again.

Heroin was a wonderful development in its day. It was going to get rid of that nasty addiction problem we were having with morphine.

Uh huh.

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Philly tries to do something smart, the DOJ sues to block it
 

Quote

 

President Donald Trump said in his State of the Union Address last night that he wants to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS in America within 10 years.

This morning, a Justice Department attorney announced he would try to stop a supervised injection site planned for Philadelphia that would help reduce both the spread of HIV among intravenous drug users and overdose deaths.

U.S. Attorney William McSwain of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held a press conference Wednesday morning to announce he would be seeking a judicial review that might prevent a local nonprofit named Safehouse from moving forward with plans to build a center funded by private donations.

This nonprofit group is not attempting to force this building and program into the city. Philadelphia officials, including the city's mayor, police commissioner, and district attorney, are all supportive of a supervised injection center, where intravenous drug users can be supervised by health workers and counseled about treatment options. Philadelphia has a serious problem with drug overdoses and public use, having seen more than 1,200 overdose deaths in 2017.

 

Ever try telling an alcoholic, "Go fix your life!"

I have. It didn't work. Helping did.

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The Chemists and the Cover Up
 

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...

Both scandals undercut confidence in the criminal justice system and the validity of forensic analysis. And both pose the obvious question about how chemists could behave so badly for years without detection.

This story is an effort to reconstruct what was known about Farak and Dookhan's crimes, and when, based on court filings, diaries, and interviews with the major players.

Dookhan's transgressions got more press attention: Her story broke first, she immediately confessed, and her misdeeds took place in big-city Boston rather than the western reaches of the state. But the Farak scandal is in many ways worse, since the chemist's crimes were compounded by drug abuse on the job and prosecutorial misconduct that the state's top court called "the deceptive withholding of exculpatory evidence by members of the Attorney General's office."

Thanks largely to the prosecutors' deception, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in October 2018 was forced to dismiss thousands of cases Farak may never have even touched, including every single conviction based on evidence processed at the Amherst lab from 2009 to the day of Farak's arrest in 2013. The court also dismissed all meth cases processed at the lab since Farak started in 2004. At least 11,000 cases have already been dismissed due to fallout from the scandal, with thousands more likely to come.

Because state prosecutors hid Farak's substance abuse diaries, it took far too long for the full timeline of her crimes to become public. In the aftermath, the court felt it necessary to make clear that "no prosecutor…has the authority to decline to disclose exculpatory information."

...

 

The bolded bit is quite a discovery.

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Kamala Come Lately
 

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Charlamagne says there's a rumor going around that she's against marijuana legalization and she says that's "not true." If you listen carefully, the two of them are circumspect about how they're approaching this. They are talking about Harris' current position on marijuana legalization. She states very clearly that she is in favor of legalizing marijuana.

But that's a significant change of her position in the last 10 years, and the show simply does not grapple with any of it, treating Harris as though she's ahead of the curve on legalization.

She's not. She is playing catch-up and has been publicly supporting legalization for all of a year.

Harris has a lengthy history as a prosecutor in California of opposing marijuana legalization. She opposed Proposition 19, the first failed attempt in California to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Here's a quote from her campaign manager when she was running for attorney general in 2010, when Prop. 19 was on the ballot: "Spending two decades in court rooms, Harris believes that drug selling harms communities. Harris supports the legal use of medicinal marijuana but does not support anything beyond that."

In 2014 she actually laughed at a reporter in response to the very idea (pushed by her Republican opponent) of legalized recreational use.

For almost the entirety of Harris' political career, she has been against legalizing pot. Like a lot of politicians, she has only recently come around to recognize the reality that whatever damage marijuana use might cause pales in comparison to the harms created by the government enforcing marijuana laws.

 

Laughable in 2014, a campaign position in 2019.

Better late than never, so welcome Senator Harris!

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Like many drug warriors, Senator Harris got so friggin' high she didn't know what she was listening to.

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In an interview yesterday with the radio show The Breakfast Club, Harris admitted to smoking weed in college ("I did inhale," she said, laughing, "I just broke news!") and that she listened to Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur while getting high. Here's the problem: Harris graduated from Howard in 1986 and law school in 1989. Snoop Dogg, then known as Snoop Doggy Dogg, didn't get started until 1992 and Tupac's "career did not take off until the early 1990s when he debuted in Digital Underground's 'Same Song' from the soundtrack to the 1991 film Nothing but Trouble."

 

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Reefer Madness
 

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The no-knock warrant claimed that Fricke had sold marijuana to a confidential informant on February 1. One sale for $20, one for $40.

Fricke is said to have fired four times through the hole the police made in the door with the battering ram, using an AK-47 type pistol. One of the shots hit officer Rittner.

As the officers finished breaking down the door, Fricke said he realized they were police, raised his hands, and surrendered.

...

The case illustrates the dangers of no-knock warrants. It seems likely Fricke would have surrendered to officers and peacefully allowed the search of the house if the officers had knocked peacefully and allowed him time to answer the door.  He quickly surrendered once he was convinced the intruders were actually police.

We do not know what “equipment used in drug sales” might have been. Scales and ziplock baggies are plausible items.

None of the guns are alleged to have been illegal. No fully automatic guns or sawed-off shotguns appear to have been found.

If illegal drugs had been found at the house, it is likely they would have been included in the complaint.

Was Fricke a small-time marijuana dealer? It may be so. Did he illegally sell guns? We do not know for certain. It is possible.

Was the no-knock raid dangerous and unwarranted?

It resulted in the death of Officer Rittner.

Did Fricke act legitimately under the Wisconsin Castle Doctrine law? That may be left up to a jury.  It may depend on whether the jury finds that Fricke was using the dwelling to further criminal activity.

 

Officer Rittner died to preserve evidence of small time weed sales, and the evidence wasn't even found.

I doubt they can get a conviction on the gun sale thing because proving he was "in the business" is likely to be difficult, since he likely was not. There are exemptions for hobbyists, which he likely was.

I don't know about Wisconsin Castle Doctrine but he'd likely be convicted in Florida. He shot through a door. He could not have known who/what he might hit. He hit a cop. And that's why we don't shoot through doors.

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CBD Madness
 

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Last week New York City's health department, long the bane of food freedom supporters, banned city restaurants from adding cannabidiol—a compound found in both cannabis and hemp that's commonly known as "CBD"—as an ingredient in food or drinks they sell.

CBD products, purported to offer health benefits to consumers, also offer quite a premium for sellers. A coffee at Bushwick's Caffeine Underground costs $2.50. A CBD-infused coffee—presumably the same coffee with a couple drops of CBD added—will set you back $6.00.

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (who is also a potential mayoral candidate) blasted the health department's move this week, saying it "doesn't make any sense."

I agree with Johnson. But considering the health department's long track record of targeting food ingredients—including sugar, salt, and trans fats—the agency's latest turn against CBD is hardly unexpected. Neither is it unique. It follows a similar crackdown last month by Maine's state health department. Other locales, including Detroit, have since jumped on the bandwagon.

But is there any merit to the move? The risks of ingesting CBD, if any, are somewhere between unclear and unconfirmed. Its benefits are better known.

 

That's true about the risks and NY health authorities are probably guarding against a minor threat, but about those benefits...
 

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A key element of media and government skepticism of CBDs stems from claims about their seemingly miraculous curative powers. Health websites regularly tout CBD as a marvel substance that can aid everything from digestion to pain relief and cancer prevention. Critics argue that CBD proponents claim falsely the cannabis derivative "cures everything."

Indeed, CBD proponents have become something like the new Paleo or vegan diet evangelists. Like many of the most vocal adherents of those diets, CBD fanatics have been mocked for claiming that CBD products can cure any and every malady—up to and including rigor mortis.

 

It does seem to have a range of uses and I'm open to exploring most of them but rigor mortis?

Whether the "miracle cure" does much (or any) harm doesn't really have any bearing on whether it is being sold based on fraudulent claims.

The "snake oil" salesmen who prompted the Pure Food and Drug Act were making fraudulent claims, mostly about morphine.

 

 

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On 1/30/2019 at 5:50 AM, Contumacious Tom said:

Not so funny: California Governors Still Addicted To Prohibition

 

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Before he was elected governor, Gavin Newsom was instrumental in legalizing marijuana for recreational use in California. Now, as he settles into office, he faces the challenge of fixing a system that has been slow to bloom.

But a new report from the state Cannabis Advisory Committee on the first year of legal pot sales in California says there is problem that requires urgent action: “Fragmented and uncoordinated” enforcement has allowed the black market to flourish, threatening licensed business with unfair competition.

“Lack of enforcement is creating a thriving environment for the unregulated ‘underground market,’ ” said the 22-member panel, which was appointed by former Gov. Jerry Brown.

...

The governor proposed that at least 150 California National Guard troops would be redeployed from the U.S.-Mexico border to join a federally funded Counterdrug Task Force. The new forces would focus on illicit cannabis activity in Northern California.

Newsom said recently that he would address the black market with a carrot-and-stick approach that would “move expeditiously at licensing more and more dispensaries” while also “making sure we go after the bad actors.”

“I want to see more enforcement,” Newsom told reporters two days after the critical advisory committee report was released.

 

As a candidate, he understood that more enforcement wasn't working and never will.

What is threatening licensed businesses with unfair competition? Taxes and regulatory hurdles.

 

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So far, the number of sellers and growers getting state licenses is significantly less than many in the industry expected — a result of high taxes, city bans on pot businesses and the large underground market, experts said.

“Enforcement in the past has been expensive and ineffective,” said Hezekiah Allen, the chairman of Emerald Grown, a cooperative of 130 licensed cultivators. “If we had a robust and thriving regulated market, it is possible that enforcement might help. We don’t, though.”

The state Bureau of Cannabis Control, which has licensed 634 pot retailers, has sent out 2,842 cease-and-desist letters to cannabis shops and businesses suspected of operating without state licenses.

 

How about sending out "let us help you get licensed" letters?

 

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On 2/13/2019 at 8:19 AM, Contumacious Tom said:

In 2014 she actually laughed at a reporter in response to the very idea (pushed by her Republican opponent) of legalized recreational use.

I got curious and looked up the video of this, which starts at 1:10

REPORTER: We asked California's top cop, Kamala Harris, for her position on this controversial issue.

INTERVIEWER (To Harris): Your opponent, Ron Gold, said that he is for the legalization of marijuana recreationally. Your thoughts on that?

KAMALA HARRIS: (Pauses) Umm...I...that he's entitled to his opinion. (Laughs)

And a funny opinion it was way back in 2014.

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6 hours ago, Contumacious Tom said:

I got curious and looked up the video of this, which starts at 1:10

REPORTER: We asked California's top cop, Kamala Harris, for her position on this controversial issue.

INTERVIEWER (To Harris): Your opponent, Ron Gold, said that he is for the legalization of marijuana recreationally. Your thoughts on that?

KAMALA HARRIS: (Pauses) Umm...I...that he's entitled to his opinion. (Laughs)

And a funny opinion it was way back in 2014.

I think we should legalize the recreational use of fentanyl and outlaw the use of Narcan.  

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