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Drug Prohibition: Still Stupid


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2 hours ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

I hope Congress reacts the same way they did when Obama did this.

What did Obama do? Exactly what did Congress do? That existing policy was put there by Obama and codified in the Ogden memo in 2009. You can read it here:

https://www.justice.gov/archives/opa/blog/memorandum-selected-united-state-attorneys-investigations-and-prosecutions-states

Who did you think did that existing policy? Did you somehow think your boy W did something? Anything?

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8 hours ago, Olsonist said:

What did Obama do? 

Continued to prosecute the stupid drug war, despite the memo suggesting that federal prosecutors might be wise to spend resources on other things.

8 hours ago, Olsonist said:

Exactly what did Congress do?

Took away the money he was using to do it in 2014 and every year since. I hope they do it again.

 

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Obama Administration Overrides 2009 Ogden Memo, Declares Open Season on Pot Shops in States Where Medical Marijuana Is Legal

https://reason.com/2011/06/30/white-house-overrides-2009-mem/

Quote

 

The Department of Justice sent out a memo Wednesday instructing the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration and leading officials in the U.S. Attorneys Office to treat medical marijuana shops as top priorities for prosecutors and drug investigators.

"Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law," the memo reads. "Consistent with resource constraints and the discretion you may exercise in your district, such persons are subject to federal enforcement action, including potential prosecution. State laws or local ordinances are not a defense to civil or criminal enforcement of federal law with respect to such conduct, including enforcement of the CSA."

The memo, authored by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, "clarifies" a memo released in 2009 that declared medical marijuana sales in states that have legalized it to be a low priority for law enforcement and prosecutors. The so-called "Ogden memo" first appeared to drug law reformers as evidence that President Obama was dialing back the war on drugs. The DEA and U.S. Attorneys office continued to raid and prosecute state-legal grow operations and marijuana shops after the memo was first circulated, leading reformers to conclude that Obama was lying when he said that his administration would not be doing those things. 

...

 

I guess those who stopped paying attention as soon as the Ogden memo came out might think Obama was at all helpful in ending the stupid drug war.

A few of us noticed the pattern of behavior and the Cole memo that followed and concluded he was pretty useless on this issue. As I noted in this thread, he issued some pardons on his way out of office that I liked, but that's really it.

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7 hours ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

Continued to prosecute the stupid drug war, despite the memo suggesting that federal prosecutors might be wise to spend resources on other things.

Took away the money he was using to do it in 2014 and every year since. I hope they do it again.

Yawn. The Drug War was your boy Nixon's creation. Congress passed laws, stupid laws, but Congressional laws. You can read about that here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_drugs

Now all you have to do is show the Kenyan usurper's proposed budget and Congress's passed budget. Since you bring up the Ogden memo, you can show how the Kenyan usurper overrode it. Helps if you read it and the big C. You'll note that Congress passes laws and Presidents, albeit Democratic Presidents only, are expected to abide and enforce those laws.

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On 3/24/2016 at 7:25 AM, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

Erlichman Says Nixon's Drug War Targeted Political Enemies

 

Quote
“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...

 

 

On 11/19/2014 at 7:39 AM, Publius Johnson said:

...

History repeats itself to this day.

 

  Quote

"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.

 

 

That was 2016...

6 minutes ago, Olsonist said:

Yawn. The Drug War was your boy Nixon's creation. Congress passed laws, stupid laws, but Congressional laws. You can read about that here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_drugs

Now all you have to do is show the Kenyan usurper's proposed budget and Congress's passed budget. Since you bring up the Ogden memo, you can show how the Kenyan usurper overrode it. Helps if you read it and the big C. You'll note that Congress passes laws and Presidents, albeit Democratic Presidents only, are expected to abide and enforce those laws.

Thanks, I never would have figured out Nixon's role in the stupid drug war without you.

You brought up the Ogden memo, apparently unaware that Obama administration policy ignored it, continued the war on dispensaries, and issued the Cole memo that overrode the earlier Ogden memo.

 

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41 minutes ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

That was 2016...

Thanks, I never would have figured out Nixon's role in the stupid drug war without you.

You brought up the Ogden memo, apparently unaware that Obama administration policy ignored it, continued the war on dispensaries, and issued the Cole memo that overrode the earlier Ogden memo.

You're restating yourself as some sort of proof which is of course convincing to yourself but less so to others. Try again.

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7 hours ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

Obama Administration Overrides 2009 Ogden Memo, Declares Open Season on Pot Shops in States Where Medical Marijuana Is Legal

https://reason.com/2011/06/30/white-house-overrides-2009-mem/

I guess those who stopped paying attention as soon as the Ogden memo came out might think Obama was at all helpful in ending the stupid drug war.

A few of us noticed the pattern of behavior and the Cole memo that followed and concluded he was pretty useless on this issue. As I noted in this thread, he issued some pardons on his way out of office that I liked, but that's really it.

The Cole memo is what allowed banks to begin taking MRB money and Fincos still operate under its guidance.  Guess who rescinded it?

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16 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

The Cole memo is what allowed banks to begin taking MRB money and Fincos still operate under its guidance.  Guess who rescinded it?

So I'm supposed to celebrate a memo "instructing the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration and leading officials in the U.S. Attorneys Office to treat medical marijuana shops as top priorities for prosecutors and drug investigators" because it allowed cannabis businesses access to banking?

Fail. This thread is rife with stories about how they still can't bank.

Obama could have tried for rescheduling cannabis and didn't.

Now, for the first time in my life, we have several TeamD candidates saying they want to do just that, which is great news. Where it seems thin is that I notice I'm the only person here who objects to Bloomberg because of his Jeff Sessions-like views on drug prohibition. I notice that Olsonist wants to pretend that the Ogden memo represented

On 2/10/2020 at 9:09 PM, Olsonist said:

existing policy

After the Cole memo supplanted it.

So, our biggest TeamD partisan hack wants to mislead and Bloomberg's unreconstructed drug warrior views are not a problem. Meanwhile, you guys want to make up thoughts in my head and then wonder why I don't consider TeamD much more useful than TeamR on ending the stupid drug war.

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2 hours ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

 

Fail. This thread is rife with stories about how they still can't bank.

 

Well, three of my biggest clients are banking MRB money as fast as it can be grown.  Feel free to have them contact me despite your anecdotes.

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6 minutes ago, MR.CLEAN said:

Yet another promise he broke.  To me, unforgivable.  Point?

Cannabis should be legalized, the government out of it completely, all non violent convictions expunged and seeds available at Home Depot....there ! 

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3 minutes ago, BravoBravo said:

Cannabis should be legalized, the government out of it completely, all non violent convictions expunged and seeds available at Home Depot....there ! 

Agree with everything except number 2.  government should ensure quality of commercial weed just like every other ingestible product.

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5 minutes ago, MR.CLEAN said:

Agree with everything except number 2.  government should ensure quality of commercial weed just like every other ingestible product.

Well there is a massive 55 year sample indicating otherwise

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4 hours ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

After the Cole memo supplanted it.

So, our biggest TeamD partisan hack wants to mislead and Bloomberg's unreconstructed drug warrior views are not a problem. Meanwhile, you guys want to make up thoughts in my head and then wonder why I don't consider TeamD much more useful than TeamR on ending the stupid drug war.

Tom, the Cole memo didn't supplant the Ogden memo. It extended it. La la la elsewhere.

Ogden memo:

Don't use your resources to go after users in medical marijuana states.

https://www.justice.gov/archives/opa/blog/memorandum-selected-united-state-attorneys-investigations-and-prosecutions-states

Cole memo:

Doesn't rescind the Ogden memo but rather extends it to "all states". It excepted impaired driving, gang activity and few other things.  

https://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/3052013829132756857467.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cole_Memorandum

Sessions rescission of both:

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4343764-Sessions-marijuana-memo.html

Critters attempt at rescinding the rescission:

https://web.archive.org/web/20180104060955/https://www.yahoo.com/news/republicans-democrats-congress-joining-forces-defeat-sessions-war-weed-092026350.html

 

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It's almost like he didn't read Cole at all.  I'd assume that a libertarian would be pleased at Cole and incensed by the Trumpy admin's rescission of it, and refusal to honor States' rights.  Tom, where are you on that?

Here's an excerpt from the marijuana banking policy paper I drafted for many of MI's financial institutions that explains what's going on.  Updated to the latest federal and state guidance (as of 1/30/2020).  Copyright Holzmanlaw PLLC 2020.

 

Background and Policy Statement
Despite the federal contravention against manufacture, distribution, or dispensing of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”), some 34 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of medical and/or recreational marijuana over the past decade.  As of the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill (the “Farm Bill”), hemp – which is genetically identical to plants that produce marijuana – has been removed from schedule I of the CSA and is no longer a controlled substance.

Because of the disconnect between federal and state laws concerning marijuana and hemp manufacture, distribution, dispensary and use, former United States Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole issued a memorandum (“Cole Memo”) to all U.S. Attorneys in 2013 providing guidance to federal prosecutors concerning marijuana enforcement under the CSA.  Such guidance applied to all Department of Justice enforcement activity, including civil enforcement and criminal investigations and prosecutions, concerning marijuana in all states.  

In January 2018, the Trump administration announced its intent to reverse this policy, allowing federal prosecutors to bring forth criminal cases against marijuana manufacturers and distributors. Given the growth of the cannabis industry and the widespread public approval of cannabis and hemp legalization, the announcement caused confusion among financial institutions about how to do business with marijuana-related businesses and hemp manufacturers in states where marijuana has been legalized without running afoul of federal money laundering laws and other Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”)-related regulations.  The threat to Marijuana-Related Businesses (“MRBs”) and the businesses that bank them never materialized despite the announcement, and both the industry and regulators have continued to rely on the Cole Memo for guidance. 

The passage of the Farm Bill further complicated cannabis’ possible legality.  The bill made so-called ‘industrial hemp’ a lawful agricultural commodity and removed it from the CSA, provided certain testing requirements are met.  Industrial hemp contains low levels of THC, the main psychoactive component of marijuana, and is used to make apparel, foods, pharmaceuticals, personal care products and building materials.

As of 2019, Michigan has legalized both adult-use recreational and medical marijuana use and production and the newly formed Marijuana Regulatory Agency (“MRA”) comprehensively administers the state regulatory scheme.  While the regulations are in a near constant state of flux, guidance from the MRA has significantly reduced the risks involved to credit unions choosing to bank Marijuana-Related Businesses (“MRBs”).  

This guidance was tempered somewhat by the language of a memorandum issued in January 2020 by the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (“DIFS”).  The memo identifies itself as a reminder, intended to “reiterate and provide additional information in light of recent changes to the regulatory environment.”  As of the date of the memo, DIFS will remain neutral regarding the provision of MRB banking services, provided the institution has a complete understanding of the associated risks prior to the provision of such services and  identifies, manages, accounts for, and provides sufficient safeguards related to the risks of providing marijuana-related financial products or services.

In August 2019, National Credit Union Administration CUA Chairman Rodney Hood also provided guidance specifically to credit unions in two announcements. The first authorized credit unions to bank hemp producers provided the producers were enrolled in the appropriate Farm Bill-authorized program run by the state.  Hood further announced that the NCUA wouldn’t ‘micro-manage’ credit unions if they chose to take the business decision to bank MRBs.  In both scenarios, the credit unions would be required to follow all appropriate Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) rules as well as all relevant BSA laws and the Know Your Customer (“KYC”), the safety and soundness rule, and other pertinent laws and regulations. 

While the Justice Department retains authority to prosecute individuals and companies that bank proceeds from MRBs, the NCUA’s new policies are the latest indication of a growing consensus that federal action is needed to clarify the situation, and most commentators expect further relaxing of restrictions – including the likely rescheduling of marijuana to a less controlled designation under the CSA -- over the next 24 months.
 

 

 

 

 

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This is the section that explains what banks must do to ensure that Cole Memo priorities are preserved, which means, under Cole, that prosecutors won't come after you.  As I mentioned, that orange obese asshole rescinded Cole.  Federal prosecutors are typically pretty conscientious and in lieu of any guidelines at all, they're still following Cole.  Definitions:

AML= Anti-Money Laundering

BSA= Bank Secrecy Act

MRB= Marijuana Related Business

Cole Memo Priorities

Despite the purported rescission of the Cole Memo, the memo still provides the most significant source of guidance for federal regulators and is therefore an important part of effective BSA and AML monitoring in the context of MRBs. Note also that, as of November 2019, the DOJ says it is committed to using its investigative and prosecutorial resources to address the most significant threats to Cole Memo objectives in the most effective, consistent and rational way. In furtherance of those objectives, the Cole Memo still provides guidance to DOJ attorneys and law enforcement to focus their resources on persons or organizations whose conduct interferes with one or more of the following priorities:
    Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors.
    Preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels.
    Preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states.
    Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity.
    Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana.
    Preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use.
    Preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands.
    Preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.
 

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20 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:
23 hours ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

Obama could have tried for rescheduling cannabis and didn't.

 

Yet another promise he broke.  To me, unforgivable.  Point?

I didn't know he promised to do it but he could have and should have done it, or at least worked toward it.

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19 hours ago, Olsonist said:

Tom, the Cole memo didn't supplant the Ogden memo. It extended it. La la la elsewhere.

Ogden memo:

Don't use your resources to go after users in medical marijuana states.

https://www.justice.gov/archives/opa/blog/memorandum-selected-united-state-attorneys-investigations-and-prosecutions-states

Cole memo:

Doesn't rescind the Ogden memo but rather extends it to "all states". It excepted impaired driving, gang activity and few other things.  

https://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/3052013829132756857467.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cole_Memorandum

Sessions rescission of both:

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4343764-Sessions-marijuana-memo.html

Critters attempt at rescinding the rescission:

https://web.archive.org/web/20180104060955/https://www.yahoo.com/news/republicans-democrats-congress-joining-forces-defeat-sessions-war-weed-092026350.html

 

Heh. OK, so Obama was great for the drug war! Except that "a few other things" mentioned in footnote 1 includes some really elastic gems. For example, if the feds decide, as they did in the Raich case, that the state regulatory regime doesn't respect federal prohibition enough, they'll prosecute. If cannabis is somehow "directly or indirectly" getting to kids, same result. So, pretty much any operation remained at risk and the administration continued to bust them and seize assets.

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20 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

Well, three of my biggest clients are banking MRB money as fast as it can be grown.  Feel free to have them contact me despite your anecdotes.

Reagan allowed a few people, a couple of whom are still alive, to use cannabis when he ended the federal research program.

Are you saying the problems with banking and insurance that I have read about and heard about personally from my friends in the cannabiz don't exist?

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18 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

It's almost like he didn't read Cole at all.  I'd assume that a libertarian would be pleased at Cole and incensed by the Trumpy admin's rescission of it, and refusal to honor States' rights.  Tom, where are you on that?

Thanks for the partial quote of your work, it is informative. I have mentioned two different TeamR drug war dinosaurs with the last name of Sessions in this thread and only a non-reader could conclude I have been a fan.

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18 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

This is the section that explains what banks must do to ensure that Cole Memo priorities are preserved, which means, under Cole, that prosecutors won't come after you. 

That should really have an asterisk for the reason mentioned above. Prosecutors who are convinced that your state regulatory regime (the one in constant flux) is stable and adequate to maintain the federal prohibition priority won't come after you, nor will prosecutors who fail to find that some of your product somehow got to a kid.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

Heh. OK, so Obama was great for the drug war! Except that "a few other things" mentioned in footnote 1 includes some really elastic gems. For example, if the feds decide, as they did in the Raich case, that the state regulatory regime doesn't respect federal prohibition enough, they'll prosecute. If cannabis is somehow "directly or indirectly" getting to kids, same result. So, pretty much any operation remained at risk and the administration continued to bust them and seize assets.

Yeah, the Kenyan usurper was so inhumane at the drug war that your boy Shitstain came along and rescinded the Ogden and Cole memos instantly making things so much better for dispensaries and users. And by the way, Congress has nothing to do with this because ... because it's easier to blame the Kenyan as a good Fakebertarian should.

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40 minutes ago, Olsonist said:

Yeah, the Kenyan usurper was so inhumane at the drug war that your boy Shitstain came along and rescinded the Ogden and Cole memos instantly making things so much better for dispensaries and users. And by the way, Congress has nothing to do with this because ... because it's easier to blame the Kenyan as a good Fakebertarian should.

On 11/16/2019 at 5:24 AM, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

The stupid drug war remains mostly a TeamR project.

My statement from last November remains true. But the fact that I've taken on numerous TeamR types repeatedly in this thread (and a bunch of others) won't penetrate a non-reading mind.

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5 hours ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

 

 Are you saying the problems with banking and insurance that I have read about and heard about personally from my friends in the cannabiz don't exist?

I'm saying people like me are doing something about it, and if your friends need banking services, drop me a line.

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5 hours ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

That should really have an asterisk for the reason mentioned above. Prosecutors who are convinced that your state regulatory regime (the one in constant flux) is stable and adequate to maintain the federal prohibition priority won't come after you, nor will prosecutors who fail to find that some of your product somehow got to a kid.

 

 

  

5 hours ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

 if the feds decide, as they did in the Raich case, that the state regulatory regime doesn't respect federal prohibition enough, they'll prosecute. If cannabis is somehow "directly or indirectly" getting to kids, same result. 

That's why the state agencies work with federal regulators and the DOJ when promulgating their rules.  It's government doing what government is supposed to do (in lieu of congress doing what it is supposed to do), and fortunately, thus far, the feds are playing nice enough to get a bunch of large, risk-averse institutions to bite the bullet.

Here's another piece of my policy which defines the different tiers of MRB.  Some of our clients are not banking Tier I businesses.

image.png

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1 hour ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

My statement from last November remains true. But the fact that I've taken on numerous TeamR types repeatedly in this thread (and a bunch of others) won't penetrate a non-reading mind.

Yeah, this reminds me of Jeff saying he hates his boy Shitstain more than I do.

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1 hour ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

My statement from last November remains true.

dogballs ^^^  he whip it out of the ghost database

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17 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

That's why the state agencies work with federal regulators and the DOJ when promulgating their rules.  It's government doing what government is supposed to do (in lieu of congress doing what it is supposed to do), and fortunately, thus far, the feds are playing nice enough to get a bunch of large, risk-averse institutions to bite the bullet.

I hope that "playing nice" continues. Otherwise, I suspect I'll be covering them over in the Asset Forfeiture thread.

By the way, the exec or the Congress can initiate descheduling. For that reason, I blame both each year it doesn't happen.

17 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

Here's another piece of my policy which defines the different tiers of MRB.  Some of our clients are not banking Tier I businesses. 

A friend of mine retired and sold her nursery/garden supply store, but continued selling from her garage on eBay. She's typical for around here, being a conservative merchant from the midwest. Very grandmotherly.

Some of her better customers were California cannabis growers who tended to call her "dude" a lot and tried to pretend they were not growing cannabis. She's not stupid, wasn't fooled, but also didn't care. What tier would she be in?

I hope a day comes soon when cannabis farmers can just open a bank account without hiring a lawyer, like any other farmer.

If the upcoming election results in President Trump or President Bloomberg, that day will be further in the future, which I guess would be good for your business but I think it's bad for the rest of us.

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4 hours ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

 

Some of her better customers were California cannabis growers who tended to call her "dude" a lot and tried to pretend they were not growing cannabis. She's not stupid, wasn't fooled, but also didn't care. What tier would she be in?

I hope a day comes soon when cannabis farmers can just open a bank account without hiring a lawyer, like any other farmer.

If the upcoming election results in President Trump or President Bloomberg, that day will be further in the future, which I guess would be good for your business but I think it's bad for the rest of us.

Tier III. Incidental MRB.

My business would be even better under complete legalization.  In a world with the Patriot Act and BSA, unless ALL drugs are legalized, commercial growers will always need a lawyer to deal with the anti-money laundering provisions of those laws and the'tough on crime' politicians that passed them. 

Come to think of it, every commercial business needs a business lawyer sooner or later.  I guess cannabis farming really is becoming legitimate business.

 

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17 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

Tier III. Incidental MRB.

My business would be even better under complete legalization.  In a world with the Patriot Act and BSA, unless ALL drugs are legalized, commercial growers will always need a lawyer to deal with the anti-money laundering provisions of those laws and the'tough on crime' politicians that passed them. 

Come to think of it, every commercial business needs a business lawyer sooner or later.  I guess cannabis farming really is becoming legitimate business.

 

Hee hee. I haven't been in a while and might have to go to her orchid club meeting next week just to tell her about her "Tier III Incidental MRB."

Not sure what you mean there about ALL drugs being legalized. How would the legal status of heroin, for example, be relevant to a business that only deals in cannabis?

You're right that any business is going to need at least one lawyer sooner or later. I have two at the moment but have never needed one just to open a bank account.

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On 11/7/2019 at 7:57 PM, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

Speaking of outright stupidity

NYPD DOES SOMETHING Stupid
 

 

They only got 106 lbs of hemp.

Idaho cops grabbed almost 7,000 lbs.

https://reason.com/2020/02/20/hemp-is-legal-what-if-cops-dont-care/

 

Quote

 

The farm bill Congress passed in 2018 brought an end to the federal prohibition of hemp, a variety of cannabis that contains almost no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in marijuana that gets you high. At the time, many would-be hemp farmers anticipated a bright future of legally growing the plant for use in paper products, rope, construction materials, clothing, and nutritional supplements. Jason Amatucci, founder of the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition, predicted to Reason that the farm bill would "help to clarify any legal gray areas that federal and state agencies have towards hemp and their end consumer products."

A year later, the hemp industry is withering on the vine for want of clarity. After the farm bill was signed into law, Montana-based Big Sky Scientific LLC was transporting a 6,701-pound hemp shipment from Oregon to Colorado when the truck was stopped by Idaho State Police. The driver attempted to explain that he was not carrying marijuana, but Idaho state law classifies all parts of the cannabis plant as marijuana, making no distinction for hemp.

With the shipment confiscated and the driver charged with felony trafficking, Big Sky tried unsuccessfully to regain its product. Idaho argued that the shipment was not federally protected because Oregon had not received federal approval for its own rules.

 

I thought the federal hemp bill was official federal DISapproval of laws like Idaho's. I guess not.

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Like Obama before him, Trump deserves and gets a hat tip from me for using his exec power to do a little piecemeal righting of drug war wrongs.

Blago made big news, but...
 

Quote

 

...

While much of the media coverage focused on Blagojevich and some of the other high-profile names on Trump's clemency list (more on that in a moment), there are others whose names you don't know but probably should.

People like Crystal Munoz, who spent the past 12 years in prison for a nonviolent drug offense. Munoz was convicted in 2007 of assisting a marijuana smuggling operation because she drew a map of a dirt road near Big Bend National Park in Texas. That map was used by drug smugglers, and the Drug Enforcement Administration eventually traced it back to Munoz, who got a 19-year prison sentence despite the fact that she never possessed or sold any of the drugs.

Nothing about Munoz's case suggests that the 40-year-old mother of two girls is a danger to society who needs to be kept in a cage—she's just another person in an endless line of drug war victims. Thankfully, Trump's clemency order will allow her to return to her family.

People like Munoz are "are the forgotten majority of the country's crisis in mass incarceration, a crisis that disproportionately impacts lower-income communities and communities of color, and they are every bit as deserving of a second chance," said Holly Harris, executive director of the Justice Action Network, a criminal justice reform nonprofit that advocated for Munoz's release. In a statement, Harris said she hopes Trump will "use this executive power to grant more commutations and clemencies in due course for any of the thousands of deserving individuals who are neither rich, nor famous, nor connected."

...

 

I join Harris in that hope but I hope even more that Trump and future Presidents don't have to do this because we stop trying to win the stupid drug war by incarcerating more and more people. It hasn't worked, isn't working, and is harmful, not to mention expensive.

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Vaper Madness

https://reason.com/2020/02/20/thc-vaping-madness-reaches-reefer-proportions/

Quote

If you've seen the 1936 movie Reefer Madness, you know that this script isn't getting any fresher. And, as they did when that movie came out, prohibitionists now threaten to make things worse by keeping an industry in the shadows where the real dangers lie.

 

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A good sign from Israel.

Israel's Prime Minister To Explore Marijuana Legalization
 

Quote

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday said his government is exploring the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, following a model similar to Canada's. Justice Minister Amir Ohana "has begun work on the issue, and he will head a committee including professionals and Oren Leibovich, chairman of the [pro-legalization] Green Leaf Party, that will investigate importing the Canadian model for regulation of a legal market in Israel," Netanyahu tweeted in Hebrew.

...

Still, it is notable that Netanyahu seems to think legalization would be a popular move, and his tweet also touted his plan to expunge "tens of thousands" of criminal records related to marijuana possession. He said prosecution of cannabis consumers "is a burden on the courts" and causes "unnecessary suffering to many."

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Leibovich, the Green Leaf Party leader, welcomed the prime minister's interest in legalization. "I believe that this week we made a significant step on the path to a legal cannabis market in Israel," he said. "I think this is something that should have been done a long time ago, and I appreciate the prime minister who paid attention, met with me, heard me, and made the right decision." Leibovich said he made overtures to every party, but Netanyahu was the only politician who showed any interest.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Israel since the early 1990s.

...

 

Related to that last, the other thing that has been legal there is medical research involving cannabis, which is why they've done a lot more of it than we have.

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DEA agent accused of conspiring with cartel

https://apnews.com/6c490312bef4c0600002c539d8c80cba

Quote

 

A once-standout U.S. federal narcotics agent known for spending lavishly on luxury cars and Tiffany jewelry has been arrested on charges of conspiring to launder money with the same Colombian drug cartel he was supposed to be fighting.

Jose Irizarry and his wife were arrested Friday at their home near San Juan, Puerto Rico, as part of a 19-count federal indictment that accused the 46-year-old Irizarry of “secretly using his position and his special access to information” to divert millions in drug proceeds from control of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

...

When The Associated Press revealed the scale of Irizarry’s alleged wrongdoing last year, it sent shockwaves through the DEA, where his ostentatious habits and tales of raucous yacht parties with bikini-clad prostitutes were legendary among agents

But prior to being exposed, Irizarry had been a model agent, winning awards and praise from his supervisors. After joining the DEA in Miami 2009, he was entrusted with an undercover money laundering operation using front companies, shell bank accounts and couriers. Irizarry resigned in January 2018 after being reassigned to Washington when his boss in Colombia became suspicious

...

The DEA has declined to comment on its employment of Irizarry and potential red flags that came up during his screening process. Irizarry was hired by the DEA despite indications he showed signs of deception in a polygraph exam, and had declared bankruptcy with debts of almost $500,000. Still, he was permitted to handle financial transactions after being hired by the DEA.

In total, Irizarry and informants under his direction handled at least $3.8 million that should’ve been carefully tracked by the DEA as part of undercover money laundering investigations.

Not all of that amount was pocketed by the co-conspirators, but the indictment details at least $900,000 that was paid out from a single criminal account opened by Irizarry and an informant using the name, passport and social security number of a third person who was unaware their identity was being stolen.

Proceeds from the alleged scheme funded a veritable spending spree. It included the purchase of a $30,000 Tiffany diamond ring, a BMW, three Land Rovers and a $767,000 home in Cartagena as well as homes in south Florida and Puerto Rico, where the couple has been living. To hide his tracks, Irizarry allegedly opened a bank account in someone else’s name and used the victim’s forged signature and Social Security number.

....

 

Legendary. So much winning. They hire the best people.

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On 6/16/2019 at 4:59 AM, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

Safehouse or Crackhouse?
 

Unfortunately, my guess is that the answer to former Mayor Rendell's question is yes. Congress could have excluded drug treatment facilities but did not. So they thought treatment should be criminal and the only SOLution that is acceptable is prohibition.
 

Hat tip to Rendell and the other contumacious people who resist the stupid drug war.

Philadelphia Poised To Open America's First Public Safe Injection Site in Just a Week
 

Quote

 

An indoor space where users of illicit drugs may inject under medical supervision and without fear of arrest may be opening in just a week in South Philadelphia, making it the first of its kind to operate openly in the United States.

On Tuesday, a federal judge confirmed and finalized a ruling from October after Philadelphia and the nonprofit group Safehouse in January requested explicit permission from the judge to open a safe injection facility (SIF).

 

But that might not go so well...

Quote

McSwain has threatened everything from arrests to drug seizures to asset forfeiture in order to stop Safehouse. He insists—and this is the official position of the Department of Justice—that SIFs are illegal, encourage drug use, and shouldn't be permitted by cities or states. Proponents see SIFs as an important harm reduction tool to respond to America's opioid overdose crisis, fed in part by people buying black market drugs of unknown history, some laced with incredibly potent illicit fentanyl.

I doubt that Safehouse is at all safe from asset forfeiture, so this may well come up in that thread. As for the local reaction...
 

Quote

 

some neighbors only see a SIF as a lure for drug users. This morning some South Philadelphia residents who were not expecting the facility to be in their neighborhood protested the deal. One nearby business owner told the Inquirer, "You know the old saying, 'not in my backyard?' That's exactly how I feel."

But the public drug use, addiction, and overdose crisis is already in his backyard. A SIF will make it less deadly.

 

 

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On 2/20/2020 at 3:33 AM, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

Like Obama before him, Trump deserves and gets a hat tip from me

Tom, think about it, Who would want a "hat-tip," if it comes from a dedicated race baiter? 

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On 11/21/2019 at 5:10 AM, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

Cory Booker gave the rusty weather vane a shove

https://reason.com/2019/11/20/cory-booker-just-crushed-joe-biden-over-his-tepid-support-for-marijuana-legalization/
 

Quote

 

...

It came during a segment of the debate focused on how the various Democratic candidates could best appeal to African-American voters—a demographic that figures to be critical for Biden, particularly in the early primary in South Carolina.

Booker argued that Biden's tepid stance on marijuana should be disqualifying. Calling the war on drugs "a war on black and brown people," the New Jersey senator pivoted to criticize candidates who have not experienced first hand the devastating consequences of the drug war.

Cory Booker must seem like a terrible race baiter, in addition to appearing immature and volatile to you, right Joe?

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Police Use Coronavirus To Try To Trick Meth Users Into Getting Themselves Arrested
 

Quote

 

Cops around the country have been issuing fake public health warnings about coronavirus and drugs. In Merrill, Wisconsin, for example, the local police department posted an advisory to its Facebook page Wednesday telling meth users that their drugs might be contaminated with coronavirus and that they should contact an officer for testing

...

These posts also mark an unfortunate contrast with places that are trying to offer real help to drug users. Safe injection sites, for example, not only lead to safer drug use but give participants an opportunity to enroll in drug treatment programs. Unfortunately, many American officials have tried to stop such efforts, preferring the familiar, ineffective, and costly drug war.

...

 

Never let a good PANICdemic go to waste.

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Columbia to resume aerial spraying with RoundUp

https://reason.com/2020/03/02/the-fruitless-narco-wars/
 

Quote

 

...

The Colombian Ministry of Justice announced the decision to resume aerial fumigation in December as part of an approach to "utilize every tool at the disposal of the National government to combat narco-trafficking."

The decision comes on the heels of threats last year by President Donald Trump to revoke aid to the South American nation over U.S. frustration with spiraling cocaine production. Colombia has "done nothing for us," as Trump put it. He even threatened to de-certify Colombia as a partner in the drug war, a decision that would leave America's closest ally in South America in the same category as Venezuela.

A U.S. Embassy Bogota spokesperson told Reason, "An integrated coca eradication program that uses all tools, including manual eradication, crop substitution, alternative development, and aerial eradication, offers the best chance to reduce the high cocaine production that threatens the people of both countries.

In 1998, Colombia produced 90 percent of the world's cocaine, or just over 600 metric tons. In 2017, Colombia produced more than double that amount: 1,379 metric tons, according to UNODC, and the figure continues to rise.

...

Colombia first began fumigation in 1994 at the insistence of the United States. Colombian drug cartels had recently begun domestically cultivating coca, which they had previously imported from Peru and Bolivia, and Colombian production was skyrocketing. The U.S. decision would prove to be a fateful one. It inspired a period of heavy U.S investment and military involvement as part of an anti-drug initiative called "Plan Colombia."

...

"Fumigation dispersed coca crops across all of Colombia," says Gimena Sanchez-Garzoli, Andes director for human rights group WOLA. "As fields were destroyed, armed groups simply pushed into new territories and planted smaller farms among food crops, displacing vulnerable communities or forcing them into their employ."

Critics call this phenomenon, which displaced millions of Colombians and led to the spread of armed groups across the country, the "Balloon Effect."

"The rate of re-plantation from forced eradication is [around] 60 percent, meaning that regarding coca production the impact of Plan Colombia couldn't be called a full success," says University of Illinois at Chicago criminology researcher Jorge Mantilla.

"The Colombian government cites the hectares of coca fields that have been destroyed, but the narcos simply pushed into new areas, and the price of cocaine has not been impacted," observes Sanchez.

She believes that while it is arguable that Plan Colombia helped foster an environment for the peace accord, "the efforts came at a horrible human price." Farmers often planted coca alongside sustenance crops, she points out, and fumigation destroyed indiscriminately, directly harming the food security of vulnerable communities who often had no choice for survival but growing coca. A critical lack of infrastructure made transporting legal crops to market next to impossible, and farmers viewed the aerial attack on coca as an attack on their communities.

 

It worked so well last time.

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The drug war might become half as stupid in Tennessee
 

Quote

 

...

The Tennessee House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill last Wednesday, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Michael Curcio, that would reduce the sizes of the zones. They currently cover the area within 1,000 feet of any school, park, library, or day care; the legislation would reduce that to 500 feet. It would also remove the mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses within the zones and give judges discretion to waive sentencing enhancements in certain circumstances.

Tennessee's laws blanket large swaths of the cities, turning minor drug violations into mandatory sentences that rival—and sometimes exceed—punishments for rape and murder.

"While this was well-intentioned, unfortunately this policy has not been accomplishing the outcome that the legislature intended," Curcio said during Wednesday's committee hearing. "The main reason for this failure is that drug offenders are not often affected by deterrence-based policies."

"It would also be my argument today that these zones cast far too wide a net in our communities," Curcio continued. "While 1,000 feet might not sound like a lot, over a quarter of the state's total land area within city limits are within a zone."

...

 

Cutting the area in half would be a good step but eliminating the mandatory minimums would be a great one.

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On 2/27/2020 at 6:37 AM, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

Philadelphia Poised To Open America's First Public Safe Injection Site in Just a Week
 

But that might not go so well...

I doubt that Safehouse is at all safe from asset forfeiture, so this may well come up in that thread. As for the local reaction...
 

 

NIMBY Ninnies keep Philadelphia dangerous

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When the stupid drug war and the stupid gun war collide...

Quote

Now, because the state of Michigan is issuing CPLs to people who use marijuana, the ATF sent the following letter yesterday notifying all of the state’s FFLs that Michigan CPL holders are no longer exempted from the background check requirement.

 

 

 

 

atf-page-1.jpg

atf-letter-2.jpg

 

Not sure if we have any people here who think they are legal cannabis users and legal gun owners, but if anyone is that ignorant, this should help fix it. There's no such thing as a legal cannabis user who can possess a gun because there's no such thing as a legal cannabis user under federal law and federal gun laws apply to us all.

 

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Trump Attacks Biden on Drug Policy From the Left

Quote

As part of President Donald Trump's attempt to portray himself as a criminal justice reformer, his reelection campaign last week attacked former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading contender for the Democratic nomination, for supporting harsh drug policies that have "wreck[ed] countless lives" and endangered overdose victims by discouraging bystanders from seeking help. It's an interesting gambit from a man who ran for president in 2016 on a "law and order" platform borrowed from Richard Nixon. Whether it will amount to more than that seems doubtful at this point, given Trump's silence on how he would reform drug policy or make the criminal justice system less mindlessly punitive.

I don't think that's accurate. As I noted in 2015, Trump was actually the best among the TeamR contenders in the primary on this issue. He has been mostly useless since, when he wasn't actually being harmful by doing things like appointing Jeff Sessions as AG.

As for the reason behind Trump's attack on Biden this time around,
 

Quote

 

Critics of the RAVE Act pointed out that it discouraged harm-reducing measures such as allowing the distribution of pamphlets with advice for minimizing MDMA risks or even providing bottled water, since such precautions could be cited as evidence that a rave organizer knew attendees would be using drugs. Today federal prosecutors argue that the crack house statute makes it illegal to establish supervised injection facilities where people can use drugs in a safe, medically monitored setting. Prohibiting such facilities, which operate legally in scores of cities around the world, is arguably another way that "Joe Biden made the opioid crisis worse." But the president's re-election campaign is silent on that point, presumably because the Trump administration is using the threat of criminal prosecution to block supervised consumption sites.

Trump also has "made the opioid crisis worse" by ham-handedly cracking down on prescription analgesics, a policy that has hurt bona fide patients while driving nonmedical users toward black-market substitutes that are far more dangerous because their potency is highly variable and unpredictable. For his part, Biden threatens to prosecute employees of companies that make pain medication, although he is vague about the legal basis for that. He also vows to "eliminate overprescribing of prescription opioids for pain" and "improve the effectiveness of and access to alternative treatment for pain," which does not sound promising for people with chronic pain who have found that opioids are the only treatment that makes their lives bearable.

Trump has highlighted his use of clemency, and his administration reportedly is considering reforms that could help reduce the huge backlog of applications for pardons and commutations. Biden promises to "use the president's clemency power to secure the release of individuals facing unduly long sentences for certain non-violent and drug crimes." Citing the example of Barack Obama, who issued more commutations than any president in history, Biden's campaign says he "will continue this tradition and broadly use his clemency power for certain non-violent and drug crimes."

Given Biden's long history as a zealous drug warrior, his recent conversion should be viewed with skepticism. But at least he has laid out specific reforms he would pursue as president, while Trump has done nothing beyond bragging about his accomplishments and sniping at Biden's.

 

I view them both with the same skepticism. Biden wants more research before deciding whether to allow such research, which is idiotic. Trump, meanwhile, has been mostly useless or outright harmful to the idea of ending the stupid drug war. I look forward to continuing my long tradition of voting for someone who wants to end the insanity.

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Pennsylvania Learns To Spell

https://reason.com/2020/03/13/after-a-state-authorized-medical-marijuana-patient-had-an-epileptic-seizure-and-crashed-her-car-police-arrested-her-for-driving-with-marjuana-in-her-system/

Quote

 

Beth Repp, a registered medical marijuana patient in Pennsylvania, crashed her car in Pittsburgh last September after suffering an epileptic seizure. Adding insult to injury, police arrested Repp and charged her with driving under the influence because "blood tests showed marijuana in her system." Now Repp is challenging Pennsylvania's unjust and unscientific definition of stoned driving, which effectively criminalizes driving by anyone who uses medical marijuana in compliance with state law.

...

Under Pennsylvania's "zero tolerance" standard, any patient who regularly uses marijuana for symptom relief will always be breaking the law when he drives. "We have over 200,000 patients registered in Pennsylvania right now," Nightingale told WPXI, the NBC affiliate in Pittsburgh, "and every single one of us is DUI 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year if we're using medical cannabis under Pennsylvania law."

...

Nightingale also argues that keeping marijuana in Schedule I of Pennsylvania's Controlled Substances Act (CSA), a category that is supposed to be reserved for dangerous drugs with a high abuse potential and "no currently accepted medical use," is irrational because "marijuana clearly has medical efficacy." Thirty-four states, including Pennsylvania, recognize marijuana as a medicine. "Pennsylvania patients and recreational consumers are denied equal protection of law," Nightingale writes, when "one statute claims no medical efficacy and another creates a medical cannabis production and distribution program estimated to benefit over 261,000 Pennsylvanians."

The Pennsylvania Superior Court, Nightingale notes in a supplementary motion he filed on March 3, last year held that "medical marijuana," as opposed to "marihuana" in general, is not a substance listed in Schedule I....

 

Really? The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was spelled that way because the scary Mexicans who were a primary target pronounce a J as we pronounce an H.

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  • 2 weeks later...

U.S. Justice Department Charges Venezuelan Dictator Nicolas Maduro With Drug Trafficking, Corruption
 

Quote

 

...

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it was indicting Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on charges related to drug trafficking and corruption. The DOJ is also offering a $15 million reward for information that leads to Maduro's arrest or conviction.

"For more than 20 years, Maduro and a number of high-ranking colleagues allegedly conspired with the [Colombian rebel group] FARC, causing tons of cocaine to enter and devastate American communities," said U.S. Attorney General William Barr in a statement. "Today's announcement is focused on rooting out the extensive corruption within the Venezuelan government that our stupid drug war has spawned."

...

 

Well, OK, maybe I added something to the end of Barr's quote there.
 

Quote

 

...

Charging another head of state with drug trafficking is extraordinary, but not entirely unprecedented. In 1988, Panamanian strongtoad Manuel Noriega was indicted on federal drug and money laundering charges. He was ousted from power by a U.S. invasion the following year, and was later convicted and imprisoned in the U.S.

As the Washington Post notes, "Venezuela's far better-equipped military and Russian support for Maduro would complicate any U.S. attempt to take him into custody the same way."

It's true that President Donald Trump has spent the last few years trying to oust the Venezuelan leader. Throughout 2018, his administration tightened sanctions on Venezuelan government officials and the country's state-controlled oil sector. In January 2019, Trump went so far as to recognize opposition leader, National Assembly President Juan Guaido, as interim president.

That latter move lessens the diplomatic consequences of today's indictments, as officially the U.S. does not recognize Maduro as Venezuela's leader.

In July of that year, the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report detailing the Maduro government's use of arbitrary arrests, torture, and death squads to maintain power in the economically devastated country.

It's nevertheless worrisome that the U.S. government is relying on unjust drug laws to make that happen. While the DOJ's press release accuses Maduro and his cronies of using "cocaine as a weapon" against American cities, the domestic effects of our own domestic war on drugs have been far more devastating. Without the massive black market created by drug prohibition, crooked communist governments would have to find some other illicit activity to keep their regimes afloat.

...

 

I wish I could find the illustration that went along with the article in which Dave Barry dubbed Noriega a "strongtoad."

Anyway, the last sentence there is right, and would be more inclusive and complete without the word "communist" in it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Alcohol prohibition tries to make a comeback in Pennsylvania

https://reason.com/2020/04/07/pennsylvania-has-made-it-both-difficult-and-dangerous-to-buy-liquor/?itm_source=parsely-api
 

Quote

 

Last week, Canal's Discount Liquor Mart, a liquor store in New Jersey located near the Pennsylvania border, reopened after several days of self-enforced closure.

The store's owner had closed its doors because, like many New Jersey liquor stores along the state border, it had been flooded with customers in what Paul Santelle, executive director of the New Jersey Liquor Store Association, described to NJ.com as "a panic, a tsunami of business." 

The crush of customers, which the store's owner said reached more than 120 percent of the store's usual weekend capacity, didn't come from inside the state. Instead, it came from Pennsylvania, which closed all of its liquor stores on March 16. 

Pennsylvania, a "control state" in which every liquor store is operated by the state, has some of the most onerous rules governing alcohol sales in the nation.

The state's response during the COVID-19 panicdemic provides both an unfortunate reminder of the folly of giving the state government a near-monopoly over liquor sales—and an object lesson in how the closure of businesses in the name of public health can backfire.

 

OK, so the article didn't really use the word panicdemic, but it should have.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/16/2020 at 5:45 AM, Steganographic Tom said:


 

OK, so the article didn't really use the word panicdemic

Hey Tom, how has the word you coined held up?  I notice you haven't used it in a week or two.

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21 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

Hey Tom, how has the word you coined held up?  I notice you haven't used it in a week or two.

I answered over in the ESPLERP thread but this one gets an answer here too.

The Panicdemic has created an emergency need to reduce access to hand sanitizer in Hawaii.

Yes, I meant to type reduce.

https://reason.com/2020/04/28/hawaiian-brewery-under-investigation-for-hand-sanitizer-giveaway/
 

Quote

 

A brewing company in Hawaii is being investigated by a liquor board for giving away hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 outbreak with alcohol purchases.

With the temporary death of the bar scene across the country due to stay-at-home orders, brewers and distillers large and small have adjusted on the fly and have started converting to the production of sanitizer instead of beer or liquor, for now.

Maui Brewing Co. in Hawaii began manufacturing hand sanitizer late in March after shutting down its restaurants and brewery to anything but takeout sales. They've been giving away hand sanitizer with purchases at their Kihei location, and they've also donated more than 1,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to local first responders.

...

Maui Brewing Co.'s website now shows they're charging $3 for 16 ounces of hand sanitizer. Marrero explains that it's not cheap to produce, so he's no longer giving it away with purchases. But he says that he's still donating hand sanitizer to local first responders and some nonprofits. During the promotion, he says Maui Brewing Co. was giving away about 20 gallons of hand sanitizer per day.

This shift may also alleviate the Department of Liquor Control's concerns. So, to be perfectly clear, in order to (partially) avoid being accused of trying to profit off of demand for hand sanitizer by attaching it to alcohol sales, Maui Brewing Co. has started charging money for the hand sanitizer they had been giving away for free. What a stupid outcome.

Bonus link: How Food and Drug Administration regulations have made it harder for distilleries to assist in the production of additional hand sanitizer.

 

That's a pretty stupid outcome coming from the enforcement of a pretty stupid law.

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On 8/1/2019 at 5:39 AM, Steganographic Tom said:
On 7/15/2019 at 6:16 AM, Repastinate Tom said:

Meanwhile, in the 2nd Circuit, some Guido wants the DEA to explain themselves

And in the DC Circuit, the DEA has until August 28th to explain themselves

https://reason.com/2019/07/30/federal-court-demands-answers-from-dea-on-stonewalled-research-cannabis-applications/

Quote

The D.C. Circuit has instructed the DEA to respond to SRI's suit by August 28, 2019. The lawsuit is available here

Years after it should have happened, but better late than never.

It's a little after August 28, 2019 but the DEA has finally explained their delays in approving cannabis research.

A Formerly Secret Memo Explains the DEA's Long Delay in Approving New Producers of Marijuana for Research
 

Quote

 

Since the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was founded in 1973, it has allowed only one entity to produce marijuana for research: the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University for Mississippi, which grows cannabis under a contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). According to a newly disclosed 2018 memo, the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) thinks that 47-year-old arrangement has always been illegal.

The OLC does not think this marijuana monopoly is too restrictive. It thinks the arrangement is not restrictive enough.

The memo, which says an international treaty requires tighter controls on the production and distribution of marijuana, explains why the DEA has been so slow in following through on a 2016 commitment to allow alternatives to NIDA's supply. The DEA agreed to disclose the memo yesterday as part of a settlement agreement with Arizona's Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI), which is investigating marijuana's potential as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

...

The solution to these problems seems obvious: Instead of requiring researchers to use inferior marijuana from a government-created monopoly, allow competing producers to suppy what scientists actually want. But while the DEA has long permitted more than one organization to produce other Schedule I substances for research, marijuana was always an exception.

...

Breaking with nearly half a century of policy under administrations of both parties, Whitaker concludes that the federal government's handling of research marijuana is inconsistent with the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, an international treaty that the Senate approved in 1967. Three years later, Congress incorporated the Single Convention's requirements into parts of the Controlled Substances Act. The Single Convention allows the cultivation of marijuana for scientific or medical purposes, but it requires that it be done in accordance with the same restrictions that apply to opium poppies.

...

 

So the short answer to Congressional inquiries as to why the DEA is behaving the way they have been would be: "you told us to by ratifying that treaty and incorporating it into the Controlled Substances Act."

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On 4/29/2020 at 6:18 AM, MR.CLEAN said:

Hey Tom, how has the word you coined held up?  I notice you haven't used it in a week or two.

Are you still engaging with the Covidiots and the tRumpaholics?

Futile.

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On 10/31/2019 at 7:50 AM, Steganographic Tom said:

At the finish line, the Keystone Kops' suspicion of hydroponic gardens cost the taxpayers $150,000

Quote

The Leawood, Kansas, couple whose home was raided in 2012 after sheriff's deputies claimed that loose tea found in their trash was marijuana will receive $150,000 for their trouble under a settlement agreement with the Johnson County Sheriff's Office. The settlement—which caps seven years of litigation, including two trips to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit—falls far short of the $7 million that Adlynn and Robert Harte originally sought. But it represents an implicit acknowledgment that the Hartes and their children suffered an outrageous invasion of their privacy and dignity in the service of a comically inept publicity stunt.

Yep, still stupid.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cracking down on cocaine got us crack. Cracking down on opiods got us fentanyl. And now, cracking down on fentanyl got us isotonitazene

https://reason.com/2020/05/12/a-new-synthetic-opioid-is-killing-american-drug-users/

Quote

 

...

Isotonitazene seems to have arrived in the United States following an aggressive global crackdown on illicitly made fentanyl. The timing makes sense: When governments focus their supply interdiction efforts on one substance, the market responds with alternatives.

Research chemicals are not inherently bad. Many are developed by academics and pharmaceutical companies searching for treatments that are more efficacious or have fewer side effects than drugs already on the market. But these experimental compounds are also a godsend for chemists looking to skirt bans with novel compounds that have not yet been added to the Controlled Substances Act.

We can't ban our way out of the research chemical problem. Drugs like isotonitazene and the various fentanyl analogs that have been killing Americans for years are synthesized from precursors that are also used to make approved medicines and other legal products. They can be produced in large quantities for less money than their plant-based analogs, and they also tend to be more potent than the drugs they mimic.

While isotonitazene might never be as popular as fentanyl, its presence in American communities is a troubling reminder that prohibition makes drug use more dangerous.

 

 

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Why is the CDC fighting the stupid drug war?

As COVID-19 Approached, CDC Asked Congress for More Money To Fight the Drug War
 

Quote

 

Among other things, the CDC sought $100 million for its Drug Free Communities program and another $100 million for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a federal agency that has repeatedly been on the budgetary chopping block because even its defenders don't seem to know exactly what value it provides.

As part of that funding proposal, the CDC told Congress that it planned to build on previous successes like "expanded efforts to partner with public safety (e.g., law enforcement, first responders) by collaborating with the Office of National Drug Control Policy to fund 25 pilot projects" aimed at reducing opioid overdoses. Another CDC project claimed to target "the stigma associated with opioid use disorder within the Native American culture."

Opioid abuse is a serious public health problem, of course, but it's worth asking whether the CDC is the appropriate agency for addressing it. After all, the CDC's mission statement says it seeks to "prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to disease outbreaks at their source," not that it serves as a clearinghouse for government spending on public health.

 

A couple hundred million here, a couple hundred million there... but not much to do with diseases.
 

Quote

 

Americans should be wondering if they are getting what they are paying for. The CDC fumbled the response to the coronavirus outbreak in several key ways—first by downplaying the seriousness of the disease, then by delaying the development of testing kits, and perhaps most crucially by developing tests that didn't work.

It's impossible to know if those mistakes could have been avoided if the agency had stuck to its original mission of combatting deadly diseases rather than straying into a wide field of public health issues, including everything from vaping to gun violence. If nothing else, trimming the CDC's budget would have kept it from duplicating similar research at the National Institutes of Health or elsewhere within the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
8 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:
30 minutes ago, Cacoethesic Tom said:

We are? I was talking about people who "pay funny" as I said, then I noted that the majority of them end up owning the property. After missing payments, paying late, etc, but I never said all or even most of them don't pay. I'm saying exactly the opposite. They do. Or they lose the property, which also happens enough that the interest rate has to be higher than you would say should be legal for the whole operation to make money.

I have a pile of thank you letters from people who would have NEVER become property owners without loans you call "predatory." Better to just have those people rent for life?

And opiates aren't addictive, according to you.

- DSK


I never said that, and if I did it would have been in this thread, not as a random interjection to an unrelated post in an unrelated thread.

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The FDA Is Stunting the Growth of America's Nascent Legal Hemp Industry

https://reason.com/2020/05/30/the-fda-is-stunting-the-growth-of-americas-nascent-legal-hemp-industry/
 

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Wither hemp? Earlier this month, the editors of the cannabis investment news site Technical420 lamented that a predicted hemp boom had failed to materialize. "[T]he sector has not lived up to expectations," the site declared. Likewise, Hemp Industry Daily reported this week that hemp farmers found "production costs far outpaced profits" last year.

Others outside the industry have also taken note of hemp's struggles. Earlier this week, Politico reported that laws passed in Washington, D.C., that were intended to propagate a domestic hemp industry have instead proven to be "a flop." Why? One explanation is that hemp producers and investors didn't account for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when they made their bets.  

Growing hemp, which is used around the world for food, fuel, and fiber, was long illegal in the United States. The federal ban was thanks entirely to the hemp plant's psychoactive sister, marijuana, and the paranoia that crop causes among people who like to ban things.

...

I was optimistic that the 2018 farm bill—which was otherwise awful—could foster a "homegrown hemp renaissance." But while some in Washington saw the farm bill as reason enough to get out of the way of hemp farmers and those who make products derived from hemp, others in Washington saw an opportunity to meddle. Politico suggests a lack of FDA regulations governing hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) is partly to blame for hemp's struggles. But that's misleading.

In reality, the FDA has effectively banned CBD foods. "It is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement," the agency declared, also noting it would study the matter indefinitely.

In other words, soon after Congress legalized growing hemp, the FDA banned the single most profitable use of hemp.

...

 

The FDA's actions are still ultimately Congress' fault because Congress could reschedule the plant.

 

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Wow. Louisiana might start treating cannabis the way it treats far more dangerous drugs!

New Louisiana Law Will Let Doctors Decide When Marijuana Is Right for Their Patients

https://reason.com/2020/06/17/new-louisiana-law-will-let-doctors-decide-when-marijuana-is-right-for-their-patients/
 

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed three laws last week that will expand access to the state's medical marijuana program, allow financial institutions to provide banking services to the medical cannabis industry, and protect from state prosecution doctors and health care facilities who treat medical marijuana patients. The laws go into effect on Aug. 1. 

...

 

 

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Tennessee might start treating murder and rape more harshly than selling drugs.
 

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The Tennessee House voted 88-4 to pass legislation shrinking the state's drug-free school zones from 1,000 feet to 500 feet. The bill, introduced by Republican state Rep. Michael Curcio, also requires a court to find that a defendant's conduct endangered children or other vulnerable people before mandatory minimum sentences can be applied. The Tennessee Senate unanimously passed the bill last week, and it now goes to Republican Gov. Bill Lee's desk for a signature.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia passed drug-free school zone laws during the 1980s and '90s with the goal of keeping drugs away from kids. However, Reason's investigation revealed that Tennessee's particularly harsh law created enhanced sentencing zones that covered large swaths of cities, extending 1,000 feet from every school, park, library, and daycare. Those zones turned minor drug crimes into mandatory minimum prison sentences that rivaled—and sometimes exceeded—those for second-degree murder and rape.

...

Civil liberties groups, and even some current and former prosecutors, say such drug-free school zone laws are rarely, if ever, used to prosecute drug cases involving minors. Instead, prosecutors use the threat of a drug-free school zone charge and accompanying mandatory minimum sentence to squeeze guilty pleas out of defendants who had no idea they were in a zone. (In a few cases, Reason found police intentionally set up drug deals inside school zones to secure enhanced charges.)

Take the case of Calvin Bryant, who was 20 years old when he was sentenced in 2008 to 17 years in Tennessee state prison—15 of them mandatory—for selling ecstasy to a confidential informant out of his Nashville apartment, which happened to be within 1,000 feet of a school.

If Bryant had been convicted of second-degree murder, he would have been eligible for an earlier release. That crime carries a minimum 15-year sentence but includes a possibility for release within 13.

 

Glad to see the mandatory minimums associated with protecting the cheeruns in drug free school zones being rolled back a bit, maybe.

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RIP Lester Grinspoon, who didn't fall for the Reefer Madness BS from drug warriors.

https://reason.com/2020/06/26/rip-lester-grinspoon-who-encouraged-americans-to-reconsider-demonized-drugs/
 

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Lester Grinspoon, a leading drug policy reformer who died yesterday at the age of 92, was an optimist. "Whatever the cultural conditions that have made it possible, there is no doubt that the discussion about marihuana has become much more sensible," Grinspoon wrote in 1977. "If the trend continues, it is likely that within a decade marihuana will be sold in the United States as a legal intoxicant."

It turned out that Grinspoon was off by a few decades. He did not anticipate the reaction against adolescent pot smoking that would lead to an intensified war on weed during the Reagan administration, when public support for legalization dropped after rising during the 1970s. But Grinspoon lived to see marijuana become a legal intoxicant in 11 states, nine of which have government-licensed shops serving recreational consumers. Marijuana retailers not only are legitimate businesses in those nine states; they were deemed "essential" during COVID-19 lockdowns in all but one, meaning they were allowed to stay open as other merchants were forced to close.

...

 

 

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Justice Department Finds Massachusetts Drug Squad Regularly Uses Excessive Force and Covers It Up

https://reason.com/2020/07/09/justice-department-finds-massachusetts-drug-squad-regularly-uses-excessive-force-and-covers-it-up/
 

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A police narcotics unit in Springfield, Massachusetts, regularly uses excessive force on suspects, including punching them in the face, and frequently fails to document the incidents or falsifies reports, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said in a report released Wednesday night.

The Justice Department report found that officers in the Springfield Police Department's Narcotic Bureau "regularly punch subjects in the head and neck area without legal justification," resulting in a "pattern or practice" of unconstitutional excessive force under the Fourth Amendment.

The report also found it was "not uncommon for Narcotics Bureau officers to write false or incomplete narratives that justify their uses of force." 

...

Because of rampant underreporting of use-of-force incidents, the use of vague language to obscure the extent of injuries, and the outright falsification of police reports, the Justice Department concluded that excessive force incidents were likely more widespread than the many violations captured in its report.

And there was little to no discipline for officers involved in those civil rights violations. Because of poor reporting requirements, lax supervisor oversight, and lazy internal affairs reviews, the report found that there was not a single sustained excessive force finding against a member of the narcotics team over the past six years.

...

The Justice Department's investigation of the Springfield Police Department is notable because it is, so far, the only probe of an entire police department launched by the Justice Department under Trump.

The Obama administration launched a record number of so-called "pattern or practice" investigations into systemic civil rights violations by police departments, including in Baltimore, Chicago, and Ferguson, Missouri

However, the Trump Justice Department, especially under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, backed away from the aggressive use of these investigations. Sessions said he never read the Justice Department's scathing report on civil rights violations by the Chicago Police Department, but he nevertheless said such investigations unfairly maligned whole police departments and improperly used the power of the federal government to coerce municipal governments into court-enforced settlements, called "consent decrees."

...

 

Who is surprised that Jeff Sessions is a non-reader?

(doesn't raise hand)

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DC may have ballot initiative to decriminalize shrooms

https://reason.com/2020/07/09/washington-d-c-might-decriminalize-magic-mushrooms/
 

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On Monday, the Decriminalize Nature D.C. campaign, which seeks to decriminalize "natural entheogenic substances" in the District, reached a major milestone after submitting over 35,000 signatures for their ballot measure to the D.C. Board of Elections.

If at least 25,000 signatures are verified, D.C. voters will decide in November on whether to decriminalize these substances across the district.

Initiative 81, also dubbed the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020, would "make investigation and arrest of adults for…engaging in practices with entheogenic plants and fungi among the lowest law enforcement priorities for the District of Columbia," according to the proposal.

Initiative 81 would not reduce any fines or penalties for using or possessing psychedelics already on the books, but it would direct law enforcement to focus on other, more pressing issues. The proposal includes a non-binding call for both the D.C. Attorney General and the federal U.S. Attorney for D.C. to drop prosecutions of people for "non-commercial planting, non-commercial cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing" or possessing these "entheogenic" plants and fungi.

The initiative would decriminalize only naturally-occurring psychedelics, such as DMT, mescaline (found in peyote), and psilocybin (found in certain mushrooms and truffles). "We thought it was really important to focus on what grows in nature," campaign organizer Melissa Lavasani says. 

Psychedelics have gained ground in recent years due to promising medical research conducted by the Johns Hopkins' Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, King's College London, and other researchers around the globe.

U.S. laws have not caught up with the breadth of research on psychedelics. Psilocybin and mescaline are prohibited under schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the category for drugs that are prone to abuse, dangerous, and have no therapeutic applications. 

This miscategorization is a major focus of D.C.'s decriminalization campaigners. 

...

 

I had not heard the term before but now think that Entheogenic Tom might be a good screen name.

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Some good news: Jeff Sessions lost his primary.

https://reason.com/2020/07/15/trump-humiliates-jeff-sessions-one-last-time/

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On Tuesday, Tuberville beat Sessions with 60.7 of the vote to Sessions' 39.3 percent, and Sessions became "a one-man cautionary tale about the risks of linking one's career to a mercurial president to whom loyalty meant everything," as The New York Times put it.

Still, let's be clear: Sessions' loss is America's gain. "Reminder: Jeff Sessions Is a Drug War Dinosaur and Should Be Nowhere Near Government Power," is a good place to start for more on that, though you may also want to see "8 Ways in Which Jeff Sessions Sucked" or "13 Reasons Jeff Sessions is a @$#/!"

 

Trump is pleased. I'm pretty sure I am. Without knowing a thing about Tuberville, he has to be better than Sessions.

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On 4/29/2020 at 11:18 PM, MR.CLEAN said:

Hey Tom, how has the word you coined held up?  I notice you haven't used it in a week or two.

stoned.gif

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On 6/21/2020 at 6:46 AM, Cacoethesic Tom said:

Tennessee might start treating murder and rape more harshly than selling drugs.
 

Glad to see the mandatory minimums associated with protecting the cheeruns in drug free school zones being rolled back a bit, maybe.

Well, they did it.

Tennessee Reformed Its Harsh Drug-Free School Zone Laws. What About the Hundreds Still in Prison?

https://reason.com/2020/07/16/tennessee-reformed-its-harsh-drug-free-school-zone-laws-what-about-the-hundreds-still-in-prison/

Quote

The laws were rarely, if ever, used in actual cases of peddling drugs to minors. Instead they gave petty drug criminals prison sentences rivaling those for murder and rape.

Those still in prison serving sentences usually associated with rape and murder for engaging in a little capitalism will remain there, of course.

At least the reformed law is a bit better than the old one, shrinking the size of the "protect the cheeruns" zones and allowing judges some discretion in sentencing.

 

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On 7/11/2020 at 3:56 AM, Cacoethesic Tom said:

Who is surprised that Jeff Sessions is a non-reader?

(doesn't raise hand)

Tom Ray has the mind of a monarch. He can decree who is a reader, and who is not.

I once made a serious effort to track down, and to read up on, the finest Libertarian history scholars, meaning Halbrook, Kates, Malcom, Hardy, and a few others. Their work was a sham. (Flat-out, Heller mis-represented the positions of Blackstone and Lois Schwoerer. Shameful shit. )

Tom's solution? I was declared a non-reader.

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RIP Arnold Trebach, Who Helped Make Opposition to the Drug War Respectable

https://reason.com/2020/07/27/rip-arnold-trebach-who-helped-make-opposition-to-the-drug-war-respectable/

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Arnold Trebach, who died last week at the age of 92, started the Drug Policy Foundation in the heat of Ronald Reagan's war on drugs. It was the same year that Joe Biden, a Democrat who is running for president this year as a criminal justice reformer, wrote the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which prescribed new mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses and created the notorious weight-based sentencing distinction that treated crack cocaine as if it were 100 times worse than cocaine powder.

It did not seem like an auspicious time to be urging a reconsideration of drug prohibition. Three years later, when President George H.W. Bush announced yet another escalation of the war on drugs while waving a bag of crack on national television, Biden, then a Delaware senator, delivered the Democratic response. "Quite frankly," he said, "the president's plan's not tough enough, bold enough, or imaginative enough to meet the crisis at hand." Calling drug use "the No. 1 threat to our national security," Biden said "what we need is another D-Day, not another Vietnam."

In this context, with Democrats outbidding Republicans in their zeal to deploy violence against people with politically incorrect pharmacological tastes, it took a certain kind of chutzpah—a good kind—to start an organization dedicated to the proposition that there might be a more tolerant approach. But Trebach, a middle-aged lawyer and professor of justice at American University, figured someone should be talking about downside of this bipartisan chemical crusade and suggesting an alternative he called "drug peace."
...

In The Great Drug War, Trebach highlighted the cruel, perverse, and invasive consequences of using force to prevent people from altering their consciousness in ways politicians did not like. The fallout included widespread drug testing, humiliating border searches, civil asset forfeiture, imprisonment of nonviolent drug offenders, police corruption, undertreatment of pain, misinformation about the relative hazards of drugs, coercive "rehabilitation" programs like Straight Inc., vain and destructive efforts to stamp out drug production in other countries, and a running battle between domestic marijuana growers and cops determined to eradicate their crops and livelihoods.

...

 

 
I think The Stupid Drug War would have been a better book title.

 

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Democrats Wimp Out on Federal Marijuana Legalization. Thanks, Joe Biden!
 

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...Marijuana Moment reports that on Monday the Democratic National Committee rejected an amendment to put a plank supporting marijuana legalization into the party's platform. The final vote against, 50-106, is almost a perfect inversion of the two-thirds of the public who want legalization.

Instead, Marijuana Moment reports, the platform will retain language that Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden hammered out with a criminal justice task force that included Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I–Vt.) supporters. It stops short of marijuana legalization but does call for federal reforms:

...

But with marijuana, Biden's historical support of harsh criminal justice tactics has weakened but not faded. And it appears that the Democratic leadership is unwilling to force Biden to accept the reality that Americans would strongly prefer marijuana to be fully legalized, not just decriminalized. While decriminalization is an improvement, it leaves in place mechanisms for unequal enforcement, and research shows that black people are more likely to still be arrested or punished for marijuana possession than white people in states where marijuana has only been decriminalized. And overall, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, marijuana arrest rates in states where the drug has been decriminalized are about eight times higher than in states where it has been fully legalized.

The federalist component of the platform is laudable from a libertarian perspective, if for no reason other than continued state-level legalization shows that the world isn't ending in states that have given the citizenry permission to toke up. Their successes should make other states less afraid to follow suit. It's not unlike how state-level recognition of gay marriage showed that it was ultimately not a big deal and as the public saw more of these relationships and families, resistance largely crumbled away.

Nevertheless, it's absurd for the Democratic Party to want to use the current activism for criminal justice and police reform as a contrast to Trump's cheerleading for crackdowns, but they can't even force Biden to accept the simplest and most popular of drug war reforms that will—in very profound and important ways—reduce overpolicing of black communities.

 

Marijuanapoll.jpg

Back in the 1980's when a relative handful of us supported legalizing cannabis, Biden's drug warrior positions at least made political sense. Now that 2/3 of Americans have come to agree with what was a pretty unpopular libertarian position, it doesn't especially considering that the 32% are likely overwhelmingly TeamR anyway.

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Senator Files New Bill To Federally Legalize Marijuana And Regulate It Like Tobacco
 

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...

This piece of legislation, sponsored by Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and direct several federal agencies to develop regulations for the plant.

Titled the “Substance Regulation and Safety Act,” the bill would deschedule cannabis, require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop rules that treat marijuana the same as tobacco, create a national research institute to evaluate the risks and benefits of cannabis, require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to impose quality control standards and mandate that the Department of Transportation study methods for detecting THC-impaired driving.

The descheduling provisions “are retroactive and shall apply to any offense committed, case pending, or conviction entered, and, in the case of a juvenile, any offense committed, case pending, or adjudication of juvenile delinquency entered, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of this Act,” the text of the bill states.

HHS would have to come up with a “national strategy to prevent youth use and abuse of cannabis, with specific attention to youth vaping of cannabis products.” Further, text of the legislation states that the department would be required to “regulate cannabis products in the same manner, and to the same extent,” as it does with tobacco.

...

 

It seems like this bill aims to regulate cannabis more than tobacco in quite a few ways. The retroactive part seems a bit ex post facto to me, though I agree with undoing harm done by the stupid drug war to the extent it's possible.

The bill has no chance in a TeamR Senate, with only nutjobs like Rand Paul at all likely to support it, but at least Senator Smith is trying to do some sensible things in this bill.

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America’s Invisible Pot Addicts

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/08/americas-invisible-pot-addicts/567886/

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...

Public-health experts worry about the increasingly potent options available, and the striking number of constant users. “Cannabis is potentially a real public-health problem,” said Mark A. R. Kleiman, a professor of public policy at New York University. “It wasn’t obvious to me 25 years ago, when 9 percent of self-reported cannabis users over the last month reported daily or near-daily use. I always was prepared to say, ‘No, it’s not a very abusable drug. Nine percent of anybody will do something stupid.’ But that number is now [something like] 40 percent.” They argue that state and local governments are setting up legal regimes without sufficient public-health protection, with some even warning that the country is replacing one form of reefer madness with another, careening from treating cannabis as if it were as dangerous as heroin to treating it as if it were as benign as kombucha.

But cannabis is not benign, even if it is relatively benign, compared with alcohol, opiates, and cigarettes, among other substances. Thousands of Americans are finding their own use problematic in a climate where pot products are getting more potent, more socially acceptable to use, and yet easier to come by, not that it was particularly hard before.

For Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, the most compelling evidence of the deleterious effects comes from users themselves. “In large national surveys, about one in 10 people who smoke it say they have a lot of problems. They say things like, ‘I have trouble quitting. I think a lot about quitting and I can’t do it. I smoked more than I intended to. I neglect responsibilities.’ There are plenty of people who have problems with it, in terms of things like concentration, short-term memory, and motivation,” he said. “People will say, ‘Oh, that’s just you fuddy-duddy doctors.’ Actually, no. It’s millions of people who use the drug who say that it causes problems.”

Users or former users I spoke with described lost jobs, lost marriages, lost houses, lost money, lost time. Foreclosures and divorces. Weight gain and mental-health problems. And one other thing: the problem of convincing other people that what they were experiencing was real. A few mentioned jokes about Doritos, and comments implying that the real issue was that they were lazy stoners. Others mentioned the common belief that you can be “psychologically” addicted to pot, but not “physically” or “really” addicted. The condition remains misunderstood, discounted, and strangely invisible, even as legalization and white-marketization pitches ahead.

...

 

A two year old article but it just came to my attention.

Seems to me we're "careening" in a straight line since federal law still treats cannabis and heroin the same.

 

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On 8/3/2020 at 10:08 PM, Cacoethesic Tom said:

The retroactive part seems a bit ex post facto to me

I could be wrong but if it removes criminal penalties retroactively, it's not called ex post facto.  It's called an amnesty provision.

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