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Drug Prohibition: Still Stupid


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5 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:
5 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

It's pretty cheap if you aren't paying black market prices or oligopolistic pharma prices. Lot cheaper than the alternative anyway. How much does it cost to keep an addict in prison? What do you get for it?

Heroin doesn't worry me much. Addicts with a reliable supply can function ok unless they also have mental health issues totally independent of the addiction. A lot seem to eventually quit on their own accord when they decide to. Meanwhile they have clean needles, clean drugs and certainty of supply so can get on with life if they so desire.

The drugs I dislike are those where the effects spill out into paranoia and violence on others. Still got NFI how to deal with that though if the aim is to suppress/eliminate use rather than just to make it a criminal offence.

Because the latter doesn't lead to the former.

Couple areas where I pretty much agree with Tom and this is one of them.

FKT

I'm not saying it can't be done.  But it ain't cheap.  Just maintaining a supply for tens of thousands of people that is tested and safe will cost a lot of money.  Treatment is expensive.  Lots of the knock-on effects have real costs.

 Saying 'it's cheaper than the alternative' is silly, because there are decades of budgets and infrastructure and funding built up around the alternative, and comparing money that's always been spent to new money is often a bridge too far.  

 

The costs of incarceration/criminalization don't begin and end with prison, as a recent post in the Missouri Hair Braiders thread shows. The answer to FKT's second question above includes a lot of erosion of our rights. Things like no-knock raids and asset forfeiture are obvious examples but the fight against things like good cryptography has a drug war element too.

The drug that seems to be a factor in lots of violence on others is alcohol. Ending prohibition made that problem better but it hasn't gone away. "Late night at a bar" seems to be right up there with "stupid drug war drive by" in the "mass shooting" stories found in the assault weapon thread.

As for Clean's comment, we should stop spending money on criminalization/incarceration because it's not solving the problem as well as Portugal's approach and because it carries attendant costs and risks to our liberty. If a treatment approach is more expensive but works better, is that really more expensive?

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There are a lot of conflicting studies right now on the ratio of CBD to THC and it is likely that studies will find that different concentrations of different ingredients are going to be more or less

Asshole. I was seeing if he would hit 100 solo.

Beware of butterflies! How a Blue Butterfly Stamp Brought Down One of the Dark Web's Biggest Marijuana Vendors Whatever else Mr. Farber may be, he's productive and successful. If you

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Here's Where Marijuana Is on the Ballot in November

https://reason.com/2020/09/30/heres-where-marijuana-is-on-the-ballot-in-november/
 

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Congress appears to be wimping out on the prospect of decriminalizing marijuana and removing it from the federal schedule of controlled substances, thanks to pressure from police and prohibition lobbyists (and a general lack of support from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden).

But the states are continuing to legalize on their own with the support of their voters, and more marijuana initiatives are on the ballot in November. South Dakota and Mississippi voters will be asked to permit the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for certain medical conditions. South Dakota voters will also be offered the chance to legalize recreational use, as will voters in Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey.

 

These voter initiatives are usually a way to go around recalcitrant legislators who simply won't represent the majority of the people they're supposed to serve, so the NJ one is kind of interesting. The state legislature put it on the ballot themselves.

 

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Cannabis Arrests Down Last Year
 

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After rising for three years in a row, marijuana arrests in the United States fell by 18 percent in 2019, according to the FBI's latest numbers. Police made about 545,600 marijuana arrests last year, compared to about 663,400 in 2018. As usual, the vast majority of those arrests—92 percent—were for possession rather than manufacture or sale. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws reports that "much of the national decline resulted from a drop-off in marijuana arrests in Texas in 2019, which experienced over 50,000 fewer marijuana-related arrests last year" than in 2018.

Nationwide, marijuana arrests peaked at nearly 873,000 in 2007; last year's number was 37 percent lower. While the odds that any given cannabis consumer will be arrested have always been low, they are getting lower. Possession arrests in 2007 represented about 3 percent of marijuana users that year, judging from survey data. That risk last year, when there were more marijuana users and fewer arrests, was down to about 1 percent.

...

While the risk of arrest is small and getting smaller, it is not evenly distributed across the population. This year the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reported that blacks are 3.6 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as whites, even though rates of cannabis consumption in the two groups are similar. That was about the same as the ratio that the ACLU reported in 2013.

Racial disparities persist even after decriminalization and legalization. In 2017, the Sun-Times reports, four-fifths of the people busted for marijuana possession in Chicago were African Americans, who account for about a third of the city's population. After states legalize marijuana, the ACLU found, the black-white gap shrinks but does not disappear. In Colorado, for example, public use remains illegal, and blacks are almost twice as likely to be arrested for such offenses as whites.

As with New York City's anti-cannabis crusade, which overwhelmingly targeted blacks and Hispanics, there are possible explanations for these disparities that do not involve racist intent. If police concentrate their resources in high-crime neighborhoods or if people with smaller living spaces are more likely to use marijuana outside, for instance, those factors would be apt to increase the risk of legal trouble for black cannabis consumers. But the fact remains that skin color predicts how likely a pot smoker is to be arrested, which is a troubling state of affairs, regardless of intent, for a country that aspires to equal treatment under the law.

 

So that's generally good news, just not as good if you happen to be black, making people like Bloomberg think you need to be thrown against a wall and frisked for your own good.

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On 10/1/2020 at 4:51 AM, MR.CLEAN said:

I'm not saying it can't be done.  But it ain't cheap.  Just maintaining a supply for tens of thousands of people that is tested and safe will cost a lot of money.  Treatment is expensive.  Lots of the knock-on effects have real costs.

 Saying 'it's cheaper than the alternative' is silly, because there are decades of budgets and infrastructure and funding built up around the alternative, and comparing money that's always been spent to new money is often a bridge too far.  

 

have a look at Portugal... (10% of the users are annoying, 90% you hardly notice)

nice piece about it in https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4897822/

personally i think that taxing (= making it legal) dope like we also tax alcohol (yes, all dope) and spending the money (also the money you save on police work) on education (dope use has consequenses...) and treatment will have a better result than the 'war on drugs' (i think the tryal period was long enough to conclude it's costly and inefficiient).

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19 hours ago, daan62 said:

have a look at Portugal... (10% of the users are annoying, 90% you hardly notice)

nice piece about it in https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4897822/

personally i think that taxing (= making it legal) dope like we also tax alcohol (yes, all dope) and spending the money (also the money you save on police work) on education (dope use has consequenses...) and treatment will have a better result than the 'war on drugs' (i think the tryal period was long enough to conclude it's costly and inefficiient).

I generally agree but note that your link goes to a review of a Michael Moore movie.

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1 hour ago, Cacoethesic Tom said:

I generally agree but note that your link goes to a review of a Michael Moore movie.

yep, funny movie about europe - US...

learned a lot about europe.

 

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On 10/2/2020 at 4:34 AM, Cacoethesic Tom said:

Here's Where Marijuana Is on the Ballot in November

https://reason.com/2020/09/30/heres-where-marijuana-is-on-the-ballot-in-november/
 

These voter initiatives are usually a way to go around recalcitrant legislators who simply won't represent the majority of the people they're supposed to serve, so the NJ one is kind of interesting. The state legislature put it on the ballot themselves.

 

That’s what you do when you are too much of a coward to do your job

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19 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

That’s what you do when you are too much of a coward to do your job

It's one approach, but the more common one seems to be to simply ignore the issue and let voters take it to the ballot if they can get the signatures.

But what are they so scared of? I wasn't afraid to oppose the drug war when almost no one did, back when Biden was busy writing our asset forfeiture laws. Now there's even less reason to be afraid, as the public has moved toward the libertarian position on this issue and polls now show majority support.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Biden Tries To Gloss Over His Long History of Supporting the Drug War and Draconian Criminal Penalties

https://reason.com/2020/10/16/biden-tries-to-gloss-over-his-long-history-of-supporting-the-drug-war-and-draconian-criminal-penalties/

 

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During his ABC "town hall" last night, responding to a question from moderator George Stephanopoulos, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden agreed that it was a "mistake" to "support" the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. At the same time, he defended parts of the law, including the Violence Against Women Act, funding to support "community policing" by hiring more officers, and the now-expired federal ban on "assault weapons." He also implied that the real problem was not so much the law itself but the way that states responded to it. "The mistake came in terms of what the states did locally," he said.

Both the question and the answer were highly misleading. First, Biden did not merely "support" the 1994 law; he wrote the damned thing, which he has proudly called "the 1994 Biden Crime Bill." Second, as much as Biden might like to disavow the law's penalty enhancements now that public opinion on criminal justice has shifted, he was proud of them at the time. Third, the 1994 crime bill is just one piece of legislation in Biden's long history of supporting mindlessly punitive responses to drugs and crime.

Biden is trying to gloss over a major theme of his political career. "Every major crime bill since 1976 that's come out of this Congress—every minor crime bill—has had the name of the Democratic senator from Delaware, Joe Biden," he bragged in 1993. Now he wants us to believe his agenda was limited to domestic violence, community policing, and gun control.

...

 

When you spend enough decades writing, voting for, and bragging about stupid drug war laws, people start to get the idea that you're a drug warrior.

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The stupid drug war usually causes collateral damage to the fourth and second amendments, but in case the first felt left out...
 

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When an Oklahoma judge ordered Johnson & Johnson last year to pay half a billion dollars as compensation for the harm caused by abuse of prescription opioids, he relied on a definition of "public nuisance" so broad that it could cover nearly any product. Worse, as the Goldwater Institute notes in a brief supporting the company's appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, his theory of liability was based on statements protected by the First Amendment.

Cleveland County District Court Judge Thad Balkman—who initially ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay Oklahoma $572 million, a judgment he later reduced to $465 million—concluded that Johnson & Johnson had exaggerated the benefits of its pain medications and underplayed their dangers. Yet several of the statements he deemed misleading, including the observation that patients typically do not become addicted to these drugs and rarely die from overdoses, are actually true.

Some claims about pain medication—concerning, for example, the extent of undertreatment, the long-term benefits of opioids for people with chronic pain, and the concept of "pseudoaddiction," which describes how bona fide patients desperate for pain relief can be mistaken for nonmedical "drug seekers"—are more controversial. Yet taking positions on these issues is not tantamount to commercial fraud. "The trial court characterized legitimate scientific discourse as deceptive," the Goldwater brief says.

Balkman dismissed the notion that he was punishing Johnson & Johnson for constitutionally protected speech. "I conclude that the speech at issue here is commercial in nature and that it is therefore not protected speech under the First Amendment," he wrote. That conclusion was doubly wrong, Goldwater says.

First, "commercial speech is protected by the First Amendment." Although the Supreme Court has said the government has more leeway to regulate commercial speech than it has to regulate other kinds of speech, the restrictions still must meet the test described in the 1980 case Central Hudson Gas & Electric v. Public Service Commission of New York. When speech is not misleading and concerns lawful activity, the Court said in that case, regulations must "directly advance" a substantial government interest, and they must be narrowly tailored, meaning they are "not more extensive than necessary." Balkman's conclusion that Johnson & Johnson's statements are "not protected speech under the First Amendment" therefore relies on his judgment that they were misleading, even when demonstrably true.

Second, the Supreme Court has defined commercial speech as expression that does "no more than propose a commercial transaction." That description plainly does not apply to general statements about, say, the addictive potential of prescription opioids or the extent to which patients who could benefit from them are denied medication. In the 1983 case Bolger v. Young Drug Products, Goldwater notes, the Court held that "informational pamphlets about medicines" did not qualify as commercial speech, even though "they were created with a commercial motive and addressed one specific product."

Having concluded that the First Amendment does not apply to Johnson & Johnson's statements about opioids, Balkman used them to find the company guilty of creating a public nuisance, a concept that no one has been able to satisfactorily define.

...

 

 

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J&J got off easy with only half a billion, at least compared to Purdue Pharma's $8.3 billion
 

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The U.S. Department of Justice today announced an $8.3 billion settlement with OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma, which admitted to lax anti-diversion practices that allowed doctors and pharmacies to distribute its timed-release version of oxycodone far in excess of what was medically appropriate. The misconduct alleged by the government, some of which the company acknowledged in a criminal plea and some of which figured in a lawsuit that has now been settled, includes promoting wider use of OxyContin even when executives knew the legitimate market was saturated, encouraging prescriptions by paying kickbacks to physicians, and disregarding obvious red flags indicating that some distributors, pharmacists, and doctors were doling out pills without regard to medical need.

"Purdue, through greed and violation of the law, prioritized money over the health and well-being of patients," said Steven D'Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office. "Purdue Pharma actively thwarted the United States' efforts to ensure compliance and prevent diversion," added Tim McDermott, assistant administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

All of that seems to be true. Yet the commonly accepted idea that Purdue started the "opioid crisis" by introducing OxyContin in 1996 is highly dubious. So is the notion that dissolving the company and forcing it to pay billions of dollars in fines, forfeiture, and a civil settlement will do anything to address the ongoing rise in opioid-related deaths.

...

While OxyContin's contribution to opioid abuse is routinely exaggerated, the government's assumption that reducing the availability of this particular drug will reduce opioid-related deaths is demonstrably wrong. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen declared that the Purdue settlement "re-affirms that the Department of Justice will not relent in its multi-pronged efforts to combat the opioids crisis." Gary Cantrell, deputy inspector general for investigations at the Department of Health and Human Services, vowed that "we will continue to combat the opioid crisis."

How has that been going so far?

In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new version of OxyContin that was designed to discourage nonmedical use. When the reformulated OxyContin is crushed and mixed with water, it forms a gel. The old version of OxyContin was withdrawn from the market when the new one was introduced, a switch that coincided with a post-2010 spike in heroin-related deaths.

In a 2017 paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Wharton School health economist Abby Alpert and two RAND Corporation researchers investigated whether those developments were related by comparing states with different pre-2010 rates of nonmedical OxyContin use. "We estimate large differential increases in heroin deaths immediately after reformulation in states with the highest initial rates of OxyContin misuse," Alpert and her colleagues wrote. "Our results imply that a substantial share of the dramatic increase in heroin deaths since 2010″—perhaps as much as 80 percent—"can be attributed to the reformulation of OxyContin." They concluded that the increase in heroin-related fatalities offset any decrease in OxyContin-related fatalities, "leading to no net reduction in overall overdose deaths."

More generally, as the government succeeded in curtailing opioid prescriptions in recent years, the upward trend in opioid-related deaths not only continued but accelerated. Meanwhile, patients who relied on opioids to relieve their agony increasingly found that the government preferred they "take some aspirin" and "tough it out." The perverse effect of restricting access to prescription opioids should not have been surprising, since the crackdown on pain pills pushed nonmedical users toward black-market substitutes that are far more dangerous because their potency is highly variable and unpredictable.

 

I have trouble believing lots of things that drug warriors say but I do believe they'll continue to do what hasn't been working.

 

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On 7/12/2020 at 5:07 AM, Quotidian Tom said:

DC may have ballot initiative to decriminalize shrooms

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

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

Shrooms Are on the D.C. Ballot

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In August, the D.C. Board of Elections certified that Decriminalize Nature D.C. had collected enough legitimate signatures to add Initiative 81 to the ballot. 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. The law would not reduce penalties, but it does encourage D.C.'s attorney general and U.S. attorney to drop prosecutions for "non-commercial planting, non-commercial cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing" or possessing magic mushrooms, mescaline, and other natural psychedelics.

...

But the group's biggest challenge may not be convincing voters. Just days after activists submitted their collected signatures to the D.C. Board of Elections, Rep. Andy Harris (R–Md.) announced he would leverage congressional control over D.C.'s finances to bar the use of public funds for Initiative 81's enforcement.

"Public health has to be maintained," Harris told the New York Post. "What would prevent people from using hallucinogens, getting behind the wheel of a car and killing people?"

This is not Harris' first brush with overturning the will of D.C. voters, who have limited autonomy under the Home Rule Act of 1973, which gives Congress authority over the District's budget and veto powers over local legislation. The Baltimore County physician is also responsible for the "Harris rider" that thwarted a key part of the District's 2014 landmark cannabis legalization vote by prohibiting D.C. from instituting a tax-and-regulate scheme. District residents are permitted to possess, gift, and grow small amounts of marijuana for personal use on private property.

But while Harris was able to prevent the creation of a legal retail market for marijuana, he hasn't been able to stop D.C. residents from finding creative ways to interpret the rule allowing "gifting," nor can he force local D.C. police to prioritize drug arrests.

...

Still mulling over the Entheogenic Tom thing.

 

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Too Stoned To Drive
 

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Thirty-three states have legalized medical marijuana, and 11 have taken the further step of allowing recreational use. The list is likely to grow next week, when voters in five states will consider marijuana initiatives.

Even as pot prohibition continues to crumble across the country, many states are still treating sober cannabis consumers as if they were intoxicated. Under Pennsylvania's current rule, any driver with a tiny amount of THC or an inactive metabolite in his blood (one nanogram per milliliter) is automatically guilty of DUI.

Eleven states are even stricter than Pennsylvania, making it illegal to drive with any amount of THC or its metabolites in your blood. Because those chemicals can be detected long after marijuana's psychoactive effects have worn off, that "zero tolerance" policy is akin to prohibiting all drinkers from driving, even when they are sober.

Half a dozen states, including Pennsylvania, have "per se" laws that define DUI based on the concentration of THC in a driver's blood, while one (Colorado) allows an inference of guilt when that level reaches five nanograms per milliliter. But these laws don't make sense either.

Because THC, unlike alcohol, is fat-soluble rather than water-soluble, there is no clear or consistent relationship between THC in the blood and THC in the brain, which means THC blood levels do not correspond neatly to degrees of impairment. Complicating the situation further, individual responses to a given dose of THC vary widely, especially when you compare occasional marijuana users to regular consumers, who may develop tolerance to the drug's effects or learn to compensate for them.

2016 study sponsored by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that "a quantitative threshold for per se laws" based on THC blood levels "cannot be scientifically supported." That's because, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explained in a 2017 report to Congress, the concentration of THC in a driver's blood "does not appear to be an accurate and reliable predictor of impairment."

The Congressional Research Service concurred in a 2019 report. "Using a measure of THC as evidence of a driver's impairment is not supported by scientific evidence," it said.

Thirty-two states recognize that THC in a driver's blood is not enough to prove impairment. They require additional evidence, such as erratic driving or physical and behavioral signs of intoxication.

...

 

It's a lot easier to prove what a blood test said than erratic driving or weird behavior but that doesn't mean the blood test actually reveals impairment. It doesn't because it can't.

 

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Great news from Oregon, good news from New Joisey, and fair news from Mississippi.

https://reason.com/2020/11/04/oregon-becomes-the-first-state-to-decriminalize-use-of-all-drugs/

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Oregon voters today approved a ballot initiative that decriminalizes noncommercial possession of all drugs, something no jurisdiction in the United States has ever done. With 70 percent of precincts reporting, 59 percent of voters favored Measure 110.

Shrooms too!

https://reason.com/2020/11/03/new-jersey-voters-overwhelmingly-approve-marijuana-legalization/

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Voters in New Jersey, where the state legislature allowed medical use of marijuana in 2010, today said the state should extend its tolerance to recreational use. With 58 percent of precincts reporting, more than two-thirds of voters favored Public Question 1, which amends the state constitution to allow the production, distribution, sale, and consumption of cannabis, but only after state legislators and regulators write specific rules.

 

https://reason.com/2020/11/03/mississippi-voters-approve-medical-use-of-cannabis/

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Mississippi voters today approved a ballot initiative that allows patients with a physician-certified "debilitating medical condition" to use marijuana for symptom relief. With 56 percent of precincts reporting, more than two-thirds of voters favored legalizing medical marijuana, and nearly three-quarters preferred Initiative 65, the more liberal of two options.

 

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On 11/4/2020 at 7:20 PM, Quotidian Tom said:

And Montana

Montana ballot initiative already facing a legal challenge

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/montana-marijuana-opponents-file-new-lawsuit-to-overturn-legalization-vote/

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...The plaintiffs argue that the voter-approved statutory proposal unlawfully appropriates funds, violating a portion of the state Constitution that prohibits such activity from being included in a citizen initiative.

...

The legalization measure will establish a cannabis market for adult consumers, the suit states, “with resulting revenues to be earmarked and credited to specified programs and agencies for specified uses.”

Because it contains those provisions, the proposal “is an appropriation of money by initiative in violation of state statute,” the suit, filed on Wednesday, states. Attorneys representing the plaintiffs asked the court to deem the initiative “unconstitutional,” “void in its entirety” and “unenforceable.”

Under the proposal, half of the public revenue generated from marijuana sales will go toward environmental conservation programs—a provision that earned the campaign key endorsements in September. The measure will also send funds toward veteran services, drug treatment, health care and local governments, with the rest flowing to the general fund.

Last month, a state lawmaker announced plans to request that a bill be introduced to repeal the legalization measure, but he set aside those plans this week following the strong vote in favor of the policy change. As of Friday afternoon’s vote tallying, the initiative is ahead by a 57-43 percent margin.

“The only branch of government in this state dumb enough to overturn citizens’ initiative is the [state] Supreme Court, which has done it repeatedly,” the lawmaker, Rep. Derek Skees (R), said on Wednesday.

...

 

It's nice that Skees was smart enough to abandon his planned bill.

As for the lawsuit, it sounds to me like the initiative does appropriate money and direct spending and if the state constitution forbids it, initiative drafters were foolish to try it and might well lose.

 

 

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On 7/29/2020 at 6:26 AM, Quotidian Tom said:

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.

And yet...

20 hours ago, Olsonist said:

The Toms of the world are not going to mention Biden's pledge to decriminalize marijuana. That's because they are dope smoking Republicans.


Wrong again. I already did mention it.

As for the second sentence, I would have thought that the first dozen or so instances of Koch-$pon$ored Trump cheerleading would convince smart readers, and the first hundred or so would convince even the stupid ones, that TeamR partisans are right and my elk are not TeamR at all. You're in the remainder group, I guess.

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"Go to rehab, you non-criminal!"

Thanks, Joe, I think I will!

...is NOT what a lot of cannabis users have in mind. That's why

Biden's Drug Policies Are Still Oppressive

 

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Biden, by contrast, claims to recognize that drug users should not be treated as criminals, but he still thinks they should threatened with criminal penalties. "I don't believe anybody should be going to jail for drug use," Biden said last month. "They should be going into mandatory rehabilitation. We should be building rehab centers to have these people housed."

While Biden considers that approach enlightened and humane, there is no moral justification for foisting "rehabilitation" on people who do not want it and may not even be addicted. That policy strips people of their liberty, dignity, and moral agency simply because they consume psychoactive substances that politicians do not like.

Biden, who in the late 1980s was saying "we have to hold every drug user accountable," now wants to lock drug users in "rehab centers" rather than prisons. If that looks like an improvement, it is only because Biden's prior record is so appalling.


 

 

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The Israeli Government Plans to Legalize Marijuana

https://reason.com/2020/11/17/the-israeli-government-plans-to-legalize-marijuana/

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Israel could become the third country in the world to legalize marijuana for recreational use under a plan recently announced by the government. The recommendations from an interministerial committee call for the introduction of implementing legislation by the end of the month. Legalization would take effect nine months after the bill is approved by the Knesset, Israel's parliament.

...

Under the government's plan, which Nissenkorn described as a balance between "liberalism and responsibility," adults 21 or older would be allowed to purchase and consume cannabis from licensed businesses. Public consumption, home cultivation, advertising, and the sale of edibles that resemble candy would be prohibited. The plan says the government should "ensure the prices are reasonable" to help displace the black market.

Only two other countries—Uruguay and Canada—have legalized marijuana at the national level. Mexican legislators, responding to a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that deemed marijuana prohibition unconstitutional, are considering a legalization bill, and they might beat Israel to the punch. In the U.S., 15 states and the District of Columbia, covering about a third of the national population, have legalized recreational use, although marijuana is still prohibited by federal law.

...

 

Seems to me that one way to "ensure the prices are reasonable" would be to allow, not prohibit, home cultivation. Censoring advertising and prohibiting edibles are also just continuing the stupidity, but at least they're looking at a step away from stupid, so that's good.

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12 hours ago, Quotidian Tom said:

The Israeli Government Plans to Legalize Marijuana

https://reason.com/2020/11/17/the-israeli-government-plans-to-legalize-marijuana/

Seems to me that one way to "ensure the prices are reasonable" would be to allow, not prohibit, home cultivation. Censoring advertising and prohibiting edibles are also just continuing the stupidity, but at least they're looking at a step away from stupid, so that's good.

We don't permit advertising of tobacco products and nobody except the tobacco sellers has a problem with it. I feel the same way about other drugs of addiction. Happy to include alcohol there, before you ask.

FKT

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5 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

We don't permit advertising of tobacco products and nobody except the tobacco sellers has a problem with it. I feel the same way about other drugs of addiction. Happy to include alcohol there, before you ask.

FKT

Do you think cannabis is addictive?

We have some of those restrictions and I think they're just meddlesome Puritans who want the nanny state to rescue people from themselves. We also have a first amendment that protects, among other things, commercial speech and $peech. Eroding it in one area tends not to remain contained to that one area, so I don't like to see it.

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18 hours ago, Quotidian Tom said:

Do you think cannabis is addictive?

We have some of those restrictions and I think they're just meddlesome Puritans who want the nanny state to rescue people from themselves. We also have a first amendment that protects, among other things, commercial speech and $peech. Eroding it in one area tends not to remain contained to that one area, so I don't like to see it.

No opinion on cannabis being addictive. My opinion is, it's functionally impossible to stop people using, just like tobacco and alcohol, so it's a waste of resources trying.

That doesn't mean that those products need to be promoted though. WE've forced all tobacco products into unattractive plain packaging with really big health warnings & gross pictures on them. Anyone smoking can't use the excuse that they weren't told about the possible outcomes. We won court cases against US tobacco companies over this, too.

As for your first amendment, it being extended to include advertising products for sale is ridiculous, especially products known to be harmful. As we don't have any such restriction, we can and do stop such advertising. So does the EU.

Basically this is a self-inflicted example of US exceptionalism. No reason for the rest of us to follow that idiotic example, any more than we should follow you on public health systems. Some of your things stand as examples of what NOT to do.

FKT

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11 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

WE've forced all tobacco products into unattractive plain packaging with really big health warnings & gross pictures on them. Anyone smoking can't use the excuse that they weren't told about the possible outcomes. We won court cases against US tobacco companies over this, too.

I don't think that "I didn't know it was harmful" would be a credible excuse even without those gross pictures.

11 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

As for your first amendment, it being extended to include advertising products for sale is ridiculous, especially products known to be harmful.

Ah, so the goalpost moved from "addictive" to "harmful."

I think Twinkies are a bigger public health problem than cannabis, as are cereals loaded with sugar. Do you have enormously fat people on the labels of those kind of products? Maybe someone who lost a foot to diabetes?

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35 minutes ago, Quotidian Tom said:

I don't think that "I didn't know it was harmful" would be a credible excuse even without those gross pictures.

Ah, so the goalpost moved from "addictive" to "harmful."

I think Twinkies are a bigger public health problem than cannabis, as are cereals loaded with sugar. Do you have enormously fat people on the labels of those kind of products? Maybe someone who lost a foot to diabetes?

Yawn. Not going down that rabbit hole. Lots of things are addictive, lots of things are harmful, a subset are both. Tobacco falls squarely into that subset.

You want to argue that free speech means unrestricted advertising of products known to be both harmful and addictive, have at it. It doesn't apply anywhere outside the USA, something you carefully snipped from my comments.

What you choose to do is your business, it doesn't bind us and I'm not interested. I see no reason to permit advertising of drugs of addiction, you differ. Neither of us are going to change our positions.

FKT

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4 hours ago, Quotidian Tom said:
4 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

I see no reason to permit advertising of drugs of addiction, you differ. Neither of us are going to change our positions.

Well, OK, what about cannabis?

If it's so fuckin' great why do you need to advertise it? Don't people run to buy it enough, already?

- DSK

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20 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

If it's so fuckin' great why do you need to advertise it? Don't people run to buy it enough, already?

- DSK

The question to ponder when imposing first amendment restrictions is: why is this necessary? I posted about this almost a year ago in this thread.

On 1/11/2020 at 7:17 AM, Quotidian Tom said:

In drug war censorship news,

New Mexico Medical Marijuana Supplier Wins First Amendment Challenge to the State Fair's Absurdly Broad Censorship

https://reason.com/2020/01/09/new-mexico-medical-marijuana-supplier-wins-first-amendment-challenge-to-the-state-fairs-absurdly-broad-censorship/

 

Quote

New Mexico officials have agreed to settle a First Amendment lawsuit challenging ridiculously broad and picayune restrictions on a medical marijuana booth at the state fair. Under the agreement, the agency that oversees the fair, which is held each year at the Expo New Mexico campus in Albuquerque, will pay $69,600 to Ultra Health LLC, which runs 23 state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, and drop its challenge to a federal injunction against the fair's "entirely unreasonable" censorship of the company's speech.

That's good. How absurdly broad was the censorship?
 

Quote

 

U.S. District Judge James Parker explored the absurd implications of that edict, which was ostensibly aimed at promoting a "family friendly" environment, in a January 2019 ruling. Ultra Health not only was forbidden to display actual cannabis plants or products; it was also barred from displaying images of them, including signs, photographs, and videos explaining the production, distribution, or use of medical marijuana. Also verboten: any items that would qualify as drug paraphernalia in the context of a medical marijuana booth, including a rosin press, a microscope, a shovel, and a plastic bin, as well as images of those items.

"A picture of a tractor tilling a field to prepare it for planting corn would be allowed in a vendor's booth pertaining to corn, but the State Fair would prohibit the very same picture of the tractor tilling a field if placed in Ultra Health's booth because it would constitute paraphernalia in that context," Parker noted. "That the very same photograph of a tractor or display of an otherwise ordinary agricultural implement would suddenly be rendered 'family unfriendly' when displayed in Ultra Health's booth is entirely unreasonable. Under Defendants' expansive interpretation of the restrictions on implements and their images, even the most innocuous items are rendered objectionable when displayed in the context of medical cannabis, a subject Defendants concede falls within the statutory purpose of the State Fair and is otherwise allowable."

As a "limited public forum," Parker said, the state fair has wide discretion to regulate exhibitors' booths so they are consistent with the event's goals. But its rules can pass constitutional muster only if they are reasonable in light of the forum's purpose and do not discriminate based on viewpoint.

Parker noted that Bingham had accommodated other exhibitors by making exceptions to the seemingly sweeping restrictions laid out in the State Fair Vendor Manual, which include a general ban on "the display, sale, or distribution of weapons (firearms, knives, mace, martial art items, chains, etc.), toy weapons, fireworks, drug-related merchandise or paraphernalia, pornographic materials, offensive wording or graphics of any type, and counterfeit or 'knock-off' items." Notwithstanding the rule against knives and firearms, a cutlery company had been allowed to display its wares, and Bingham testified that she would "allow a hunting and fishing store to display photographs of its merchandise, including shotguns sold in its store."

Ultra Health was granted no such leniency. "Contextual exceptions to the general prohibited items provision are troublesome and bear on the reasonableness of the State Fair's prohibitions as applied to Ultra Health," Parker wrote. "The absence of definite and impartial criteria for determining whether an item is family friendly, combined with evidence of inconsistent application, renders the policy as applied to Ultra Health unreasonable."

 

Wow. "Offensive wording or graphics of any type." I wonder if the fishing store could display a filet knife or just a picture of one?

Judge Parker was right.

Before declaring a picture of a tractor to be naughty, we have to ask why this is necessary?

My answer: it's not necessary or even helpful, it's just drug warriors fighting their losing battle.

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On 6/3/2019 at 4:49 AM, Quotidian Tom said:

Fentanyl Madness is a lot like Reefer Madness

In that it's a buncha BS conjured up to scare people into DOING SOMETHING stupid.
 

OMG! Even a molecule will have you instantly addicted and changed for life!

...

Fentanyl Madness Continues...

https://reason.com/2020/11/23/the-feds-are-spreading-fake-facts-about-fentanyl/ 

Quote

 

...Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, is involved in nearly half of drug-related deaths in the United States, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Among law enforcement agencies, it has taken on quasi-magical properties. First responders around the country have claimed they nearly died from accidental exposure, based on the scientifically inaccurate idea that a fatal amount of fentanyl can pass through human skin or poison the air.

That misconception has spread through a surprising avenue: America's counterterrorism agencies. Police documents released as part of "BlueLeaks," a massive trove of law enforcement data obtained by the hacker collective Anonymous, show that fusion centers—local liaison offices set up by the Department of Homeland Security in the wake of 9/11—have circulated fentanyl misinformation, panicking police officers and wasting first responders' time.

A 2012 U.S. Senate report found that fusion centers had spent as much as $1.2 billion to provide "oftentimes shoddy" and "rarely timely" information. Out of 121 fentanyl-related bulletins in the BlueLeaks trove, at least 36 claimed that fentanyl could be absorbed through the skin and at least 41 discussed the alleged danger of airborne fentanyl.

Some of the documents originated in the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, which shares information between local law enforcement and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. All bulletins about fentanyl from Arizona's HIDTA office between May 2015 and January 2018—documents that were sometimes shared by California fusion centers—came with a warning that fentanyl "can be fatal if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin."

While fentanyl is a dangerous drug, it is very difficult to overdose on it through accidental exposure. The fentanyl patches used by cancer patients require moisture for the drug to be gradually absorbed through the skin. And someone would have to stand near an industrial-sized concentration of fentanyl for more than two and a half hours to feel the effects of airborne exposure, according to the American College of Medical Toxicology.

...

 

Don't forget to PANIC!

 

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On 9/18/2020 at 4:59 AM, Quotidian Tom said:

MORE Act vote this week
 

Quote

 

...

As currently written, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D–N.Y.), would remove cannabis from the CSA's schedules and eliminate federal criminal penalties for growing, distributing, or possessing it. The bill would establish "an automatic process" for expunging the records of people who were convicted of federal marijuana crimes and authorize resentencing of federal prisoners serving time for such offenses.

The MORE Act—which has 120 cosponsors, all but one Democrats—also would prohibit the denial of federal public benefits because of convictions involving cannabis consumption and eliminate immigration disabilities based on marijuana-related conduct. Less promisingly, the bill would impose a 5 percent federal tax on cannabis products, assigning the revenue to law enforcement and a Community Reinvestment Grant Program aimed at providing "services for individuals most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs."

...

 

The one out of 120 is FL Rep Matt Gaetz.
 

Quote

 

...

"I've been working on this issue longer than any politician in America and can confidently say that the MORE Act is the most comprehensive federal cannabis reform legislation in U.S. history," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D–Ore.), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, said in a press release last week. "Our vote to pass it next week will come after people in five very different states reaffirmed the strong bipartisan support to reform the failed cannabis prohibition. National support for federal cannabis legalization is at an all-time high….Congress must capitalize on this momentum and do our part to end the failed policy of prohibition." 

Despite their pre-election misgivings, House Democrats look brave compared to President-elect Joe Biden, a supposedly reformed drug warrior who continues to resist federal legalization, unlike most of the candidates he beat for his party's nomination. His pro-legalization rivals included Vice President–elect Kamala Harris, a recent convert who sponsored the Senate version of the MORE Act. While the 2016 Democratic Party platform supported "a reasoned pathway for future legalization," this year's Biden-shaped platform does not even aspire to that vague goal.

Biden instead says he wants to "decriminalize cannabis use," expunge the records related to such cases, and move marijuana to a less restrictive legal category. Those first two steps would not have much impact, since the Justice Department rarely prosecutes low-level possession cases. Moving marijuana from Schedule I of the CSA, a category supposedly reserved for exceptionally dangerous drugs with no accepted medical use, to Schedule II, which indicates that a drug has a high abuse potential but can be used as a medicine, might facilitate research. But it would not address the untenable conflict between the CSA and state laws that allow medical or recreational use of marijuana, which casts a dark shadow over the burgeoning cannabis industry.

...

 

I doubt Biden can be dragged any further from his drug warrior roots but the article does mention a few piecemeal reforms that he might be persuaded to support. Amending the CSA so that it does not apply to state-legal conduct, protecting banks that do business with cannabusinesses, making the IRS treat business expenses as business expenses even if the business is a cannabusiness, and allowing doctors in the V.A. health care system to recommend medical marijuana in states where it is legal. All of those would be good ideas, even if they don't address the fundamental conflict that is growing between state and federal laws.

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And in "about fucking time" news,

Medical Marijuana Gets the Green Light From the United Nations

https://reason.com/2020/12/02/medical-marijuana-gets-the-greenlight-from-the-united-nations/

Quote

United Nations (U.N.) votes to reschedule marijuana. In a close 27 to 25 vote (with one abstention) on Wednesday, members of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) backed a World Health Organization (WHO) proposal to take cannabis and cannabis resin off the list of Schedule IV drugs—i.e., those which the international body says are "particularly liable to abuse and to produce ill effects" and should therefore be most strictly controlled around the world. Schedule IV drugs include heroin, fentanyl, and—from 1961 until now—cannabis.

 

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image.thumb.png.c7ba622b446826a06af4f245444f6c4d.png

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/house-marijuana-republicans-election/2020/12/04/db2b00a8-35b0-11eb-8d38-6aea1adb3839_story.html

Tom will be along shortly to credit both sides for passing this. It will stall in the Senate because of his boy Moscow Mitch. He will then blame the Duopoly, citing a Reason article as proof.

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48 minutes ago, Olsonist said:

image.thumb.png.c7ba622b446826a06af4f245444f6c4d.png

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/house-marijuana-republicans-election/2020/12/04/db2b00a8-35b0-11eb-8d38-6aea1adb3839_story.html

Tom will be along shortly to credit both sides for passing this. It will stall in the Senate because of his boy Moscow Mitch. He will then blame the Duopoly, citing a Reason article as proof.

Just saw that on Cnn.  It's a step in the right direction.  Once Hickenlooper gets to the senate, things will move quickly.  He oversaw the building out of the CO Pot laws as mayor/gov even though he did not approve of the law.  He got it done right as the people had spoken.  It had been the blueprint for most states so he knows all the pitfalls.  Good stuff.    

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Yeah, I give it zero chance of passing this session. But if the Dems win in GA, it might squeeze through next year. It is surprisingly popular with Republican voters (medical marijuana passed in SD) even as it is very unpopular with Republican politicians (governor of SD hates it).

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16 hours ago, Olsonist said:

image.thumb.png.c7ba622b446826a06af4f245444f6c4d.png

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/house-marijuana-republicans-election/2020/12/04/db2b00a8-35b0-11eb-8d38-6aea1adb3839_story.html

Tom will be along shortly to credit both sides for passing this. It will stall in the Senate because of his boy Moscow Mitch. He will then blame the Duopoly, citing a Reason article as proof.

Both? You didn't notice the TRIpartisan unity?
 

Quote

 

Today, for the first time ever, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the federal ban on marijuana, which was originally imposed 83 years ago in the guise of a revenue measure. The vote was 228 to 164, with five Republicans—including Matt Gaetz of Florida, who cosponsored the bill—joining 222 Democrats and Rep. Justin Amash (L–Mich.) in supporting the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and eliminate federal criminal penalties for cultivation, distribution, and possession.

The MORE Act, which was introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D–N.Y.), is unlikely to get a friendly reception in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) has supported industrial hemp but opposed legalization of psychoactive cannabis. Today's vote is still a milestone in the fight against marijuana prohibition, and the House's endorsement of federal legalization may nudge President-elect Joe Biden to support less sweeping reforms that nevertheless go further than anything he has advocated so far. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who sponsored the Senate version of the MORE Act, could have a positive influence in that respect.

...

 

 

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In triggered drug warrior news,

GOP Lawmaker Files Complaint Over Democrat’s Marijuana Mask Worn During House Legalization Debate

Quote

 

A Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives has filed a formal complaint over a Democratic colleague’s decision to wear a face mask with images of marijuana leaves on it during a debate on a legalization bill, saying the garment amounted to an endorsement of recreational drug use and diminished “the seriousness and decorum of the House floor.”

“Legality aside, it’s unbecoming for a House member to wear clothing that promotes the use of any recreational drugs on the House floor,’ Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “It’s a clear violation of the House’s Code of Conduct which prohibits all behavior that does not, ‘reflect creditably on the House.'”

Banks—who argued that the speaker has “allowed facemasks to be worn on the House floor that wouldn’t be allowed in a High School assembly hall”—was calling out Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a longtime legalization advocate who on Thursday wore a mask covered in a cannabis-leaf print during a procedural debate on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would federally legalize marijuana.

...

 

 

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On the recent House vote...

Massie was wrong to vote against the bill IMO, though I agree with him that some of the social engineering built into the bill will have disappointing or even harmful results.

Justin Amash is absolutely right that legislators should be allowed to offer amendments.

 

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21 hours ago, Jules said:

For the first time in more than 31 years, Richard DeLisi will be able to spend Christmas with family members.

DeLisi, described as the longest-serving inmate for nonviolent marijuana crimes in the nation, walked out of South Bay Correctional Facility in Palm Beach County on Tuesday morning as a free man. Sentenced in 1989 to a 90-year term in a Polk County courtroom, DeLisi left prison ahead of his scheduled June 2022 release.

What a waste of his life and our money. Glad he's finally free.

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On 12/10/2020 at 12:43 PM, Meat Wad said:
On 12/10/2020 at 9:29 AM, Jules said:

For the first time in more than 31 years, Richard DeLisi will be able to spend Christmas with family members.

DeLisi, described as the longest-serving inmate for nonviolent marijuana crimes in the nation, walked out of South Bay Correctional Facility in Palm Beach County on Tuesday morning as a free man. Sentenced in 1989 to a 90-year term in a Polk County courtroom, DeLisi left prison ahead of his scheduled June 2022 release.

 

There are so many more deserving of a lifetime sentence, most of them found in and around places like Washington DC, state capitals and Wall Street.

From the article 

"DeLisi and his older brother, Ted DeLisi, were convicted in 1989 of trafficking in cannabis, conspiracy to traffic in cannabis and a violation of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act. Judge Dennis Maloney sentenced both brothers to three consecutive 30-year sentences, well beyond the recommendations in judicial guidelines."

Sounds more like they were involved directly with the criminal organizations that were also moving the heavier drugs like Heroin and Cocaine. Remember Murder was a big part of the trafficking's culture back then, especially in the South Florida. Hence the RICO charge.

I doubt they were caught selling an ounce like the original poster wants you to believe. I wonder if they were using boats?

Don't do the Crime if you can't do the Time.


Shouldn't be a crime at all.

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On 12/10/2020 at 2:47 PM, Marcjsmith said:
On 12/10/2020 at 1:50 PM, tommays said:

The decade-long party ended in February 1980, in an orange grove near Indiantown. Cops seized a plane loaded with 100 pounds of the DeLisis’ weed, and prosecutors made a case that the brothers had brought more than 150,000 pounds of cannabis into the U.S. from 1975 to 1980.

 

went to prison for a few years and then got sucked into  "just one more run of 1500lbs..." by an informant...  so repeat offender....  bye bye.....

Shouldn't be a crime at all.

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Good news from Louisiana

Louisiana man serving life sentence for $20 worth of marijuana released

https://www.wwltv.com/article/news/crime/louisiana-man-serving-life-sentence-for-marijuana-released-after-12-years/289-9544d556-6ff0-424c-aca0-125096635460

Quote

 

...

In 2008, Winslow was homeless on the streets of Shreveport when an undercover police officer asked if Winslow knew where he could buy some marijuana.

According to his appeal attorneys at the Innocence Project New Orleans, Winslow borrowed a bike and returned with two small bags of weed. For his efforts, the undercover officer gave Winslow $5 for food.

“Rolling Stone magazine did articles about me,” he said. “I was in a bunch of other articles and two documentaries. The other inmates could never believe it. They always said, ‘You’re doing life for a bag of weed?’ ”

In one of the Rolling Stone articles highlighting Winslow’s case, the magazine noted, “The dealer, who was white, wasn’t taken in – even though officers found the marked $20 bill on him.”

Winslow was re-sentenced to time served after IPNO director and lead attorney Jee Park successfully appealed based on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel.

Park was at Angola to greet Winslow as he walked out of the prison’s main gate.

...

 

 

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Trump has been winning the drug war in the usual way, Biden promises to continue winning Trump's way
 

Quote

 

Last year President Donald Trump bragged that "we are making progress" in reducing opioid-related deaths, noting that they fell in 2018 "for the first time since 1990." That 1.7 percent drop was thin evidence of success at the time, and it looks even less impressive in light of the the 6.5 percent increase recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2019. When you add preliminary CDC data indicating that opioid-related deaths rose dramatically this year, you have even more reason to wonder whether the government is actually winning the war on drugs.

...

Although the pandemic and the restrictions associated with it have made matters worse, opioid-related deaths were already on the rise, which suggests once again that reducing access to prescription pain pills, the main thrust of the Trump administration's strategy, has not had the intended effect. To the contrary, it has driven nonmedical users toward black-market substitutes that are more dangerous because their potency is inconsistent and unpredictable, while depriving bona fide patients of the medication they need to make their lives bearable.

Although the government has succeeded in driving down opioid prescriptions, the upward trend in opioid-related deaths has not just continued but accelerated.

...

President-elect Joe Biden's "Plan to End the Opioid Crisis" promises more of the same. Biden emphasizes access to "substance use disorder treatment and mental health services"—a big Trump talking point. Biden wants to "hold accountable big pharmaceutical companies, executives, and others responsible for their role in triggering the opioid crisis," which the current administration also has tried. Such lawsuits and prosecutions might make drug warriors feel good, but they do absolutely nothing to reduce opioid-related deaths.

Biden promises to "stem the flow of illicit drugs, like fentanyl and heroin, into the United States." Why didn't anyone think of that before? To the extent that such supply control efforts succeed, they drive traffickers toward more potent and concealable products. That helps explain why heroin has been displaced by fentanyl, which is far more potent, and fentanyl analogs, some of which are more potent still. The proliferation of such drugs increases the variability that makes black-market opioids more lethal than legally produced narcotics.

Worse, Biden says he will "stop overprescribing while improving access to effective and needed pain management." We know from years of experience how the government is apt to strike that balance, and it is bad news for patients and nonmedical users alike.

Biden wants to expand "drug courts" as an alternative to "incarceration for drug use," but his plan hinges on the threat of incarceration for people who do not want the "treatment" he thinks they should have. And even those who comply will still be treated like criminals. "I don't believe anybody should be going to jail for drug use," Biden said during an ABC "townhall" in October. "They should be going into mandatory rehabilitation. We should be building rehab centers to have these people housed." Biden, who in the late 1980s was saying "we have to hold every drug user accountable," now wants to lock drug users in "rehab centers" rather than prisons.

Biden's plan says nothing about harm reduction measures such as fentanyl test kits, supervised consumption facilities, or expanding "medication-assisted treatment" beyond methadone and buprenorphine (although it does recommend looser restrictions on buprenorphine). The plan mentions "harm reduction" just once, and the phrase is immediately followed by a list of law enforcement initiatives. It looks like Biden, despite all his compassionate talk, will replicate the strategy that is helping to sustain the "opioid crisis" he says he wants to end.

 

I've been sick of all the winning for decades.

 

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The Risk of Arrest for Cannabis Consumers Is Shrinking
 

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After rising for three years in a row, marijuana arrests in the United States fell by 18 percent in 2019. Police made about 545,600 such arrests in 2019, according to the FBI, compared to about 663,400 in 2018.

As usual, the vast majority of those arrests—92 percent—were for possession rather than manufacture or sale. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws reported that "much of the national decline resulted from a drop-off in marijuana arrests in Texas," where the total fell by more than 50,000.

Nationwide, marijuana arrests peaked at nearly 873,000 in 2007; the 2019 number was 37 percent lower. While the odds that any given cannabis consumer will be arrested have always been low, they are getting lower. Possession arrests in 2007 represented about 3 percent of marijuana users that year, judging from survey data. That risk in 2019, when there were more cannabis consumers and fewer arrests, was down to about 1 percent.

...

 

Half a million is still way too many and 1% is still way too high, but at least it's progress.

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Tedious Tom is talking to himself again.  12 posts without answer.  The fact that a mentally ill person possesses an arsenal of assault weapons and ammo is troubling. .  Wouldn’t surprise me if he has a few grenades as well.

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What The New Democratic-Controlled Senate Means For Federal Marijuana Legalization In 2021
 

Quote

 

The Senate will vote to pass a bill to federally legalize marijuana within the next two years.

That’s according to the top Democratic lawmaker who is expected to be installed as majority leader following his party’s projected clean sweep in this week’s two Georgia runoff elections that will give them control of the chamber.

Coupled with Joe Biden’s presidential win, the new situation on Capitol Hill means that federal cannabis policy change is in the cards for the 117th Congress. While the former vice president has declined to embrace adult-use legalization, he’s pledged to adopt modest reforms such as marijuana decriminalization and expunging past records.

And a push from House and Senate Democratic leadership—who are already on record with pledges to advance far-reaching marijuana reforms—could lead to the comprehensive changes that advocates have been fighting for, including the advancement of a federal cannabis descheduling bill that cleared the House last month.

...

 

So it's moderately good news.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Freeing People Who Don't Belong in Prison Is Praiseworthy, No Matter Trump's Motives

https://reason.com/2021/01/20/freeing-people-who-dont-belong-in-prison-is-praiseworthy-no-matter-trumps-motives/

Quote

 

On his way out the door this morning, President Donald Trump approved 143 clemency petitions, including commutations for dozens of nonviolent offenders, most of whom were convicted of violating federal drug laws. The 70 people who were granted commutations include at least 10 who received life sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. Among them: Michael Pelletier, who went to prison in 2007 for importing marijuana; Craig Cesal, a first-time offender who was imprisoned in 2003 for repairing trucks that were used to distribute marijuana; and Darrell Frazier, who was sentenced in 1991 for his role in a cocaine trafficking operation.

...

Fourth, the argument that it's unseemly for Trump to commute sentences in response to appeals from people he knows and trusts can extend to absurd lengths. Thanks to Kardashian West, Trump knows Johnson. Thanks to Johnson, who has tirelessly sought clemency for other nonviolent offenders, Trump learned about many of the people whose sentences he later commuted. Are all of those cases thereby tainted?

Fifth, Trump's arbitrariness has largely replaced the arbitrariness of recommendations from the Justice Department's Office of the Pardon Attorney, which he circumvented in making most of his clemency decisions. Johnson never understood why she was not one of the 1,715 federal prisoners who received commutations from Barack Obama, who shortened far more sentences than any other president in U.S. history. It is hard to come up with a rational explanation for leaving someone like Johnson out. More generally, the Justice Department's clemency review process has been plagued by bottlenecks, understaffing, delays, and inscrutable standards for many years. I'm not sure why Trump's alleged capriciousness is worse.

It was never likely that Trump's commutation total would come near Obama's, which surpassed those of his 13 most recent predecessors combined. But Trump did end up issuing nearly 100 times as many commutations as Obama did in his first term (just one), and his record compares quite favorably to those of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Richard Nixon.

...

 

I think this is about the third time out of over a hundred that the Koch-$pon$ored Trump cheerleading is actually Koch-$pon$ored Trump cheerleading, so sorry to break a predictable pattern.

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13 minutes ago, roundthebuoys said:

Pot being a schedule 1  is absolutely ridiculous and will change. 


Moved this post because I want to be able to find it again as years go by. I hope you're right, but note that the topic post of this thread back in 2015 was on this very (ridiculous) issue. Glad I haven't been holding my breath waiting.

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A heroin fancier speaks out
 

Quote

 

Even among proponents of drug legalization, Columbia University neuroscientist Carl Hart stands apart for his unflinching honesty.

"I am now entering my fifth year as a regular heroin user," the 54-year-old full professor writes in Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear. "I do not have a drug-use problem. Never have. Each day, I meet my parental, personal, and professional responsibilities. I pay my taxes, serve as a volunteer in my community…and contribute to the global community as an informed and engaged citizen. I am better for my drug use."

...

 

 

 

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Cuomo’s New York Marijuana Legalization Plan Draws Mixed Reviews From Advocates

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/cuomos-new-york-marijuana-legalization-plan-draws-mixed-reviews-from-advocates/

Quote

 

...

Here are some of the main features of Cuomo’s legislation:

-There would be no home grow option for medical cannabis patients or recreational consumers. The governor’s budget proposal last year did include the option for patients but excluded the adult-use market—a decision that prompted controversy, especially after it was revealed that major marijuana companies urged the governor to continue criminalizing home cultivation.

-Cuomo and his budget director on Tuesday touted a new provision allocating $100 million in cannabis tax revenue to grants for communities most impacted by prohibition over four years. But advocates say that amount is far too little, which may create conflict when the bill heads to the legislature, where leaders have emphasized the need to aid people from communities harmed by the drug war.

-When it comes to local control, individual municipalities with populations of 100,000 or more will have the option to opt out of allowing marijuana businesses to operate in their area. The way the legislation is written, if a county decides to opt out, it wouldn’t apply to any cities within its jurisdiction that also have a population of 100,000 or more unless they proactively chose to enact their own ban. They have until the end of 2021 to opt out.

-The bill does not create licenses for delivery services or for on-site consumption at dispensaries, but does allow regulators to create additional license types, which leaves the door open for those categories to potentially come online in the future. It also provides for the issuance of caterer’s permit, which would allow the “service of cannabis products at a function, occasion or event in a hotel, restaurant, club, ballroom or other premises” where marijuana could “lawfully be sold or served” during certain hours.

-The proposal generally disallows vertical integration for adult-use cannabis businesses, preventing them from having ownership over everything from production to sales. However, existing medical cannabis organizations may be able to submit applications for recreational licenses and stay vertically integrated.

-Advocates are also pushing back against the concentration of power that would be given to an individual executive director of the proposed new Office of Cannabis Management, which would be responsible for regulating the marijuana and hemp markets.

-The governor is calling for three types of taxes on recreational cannabis products: one based on THC content to be applied at the wholesale level, a 10.25 percent surcharge tax at the point of purchase by consumers and applicable state and local sales taxes.

...

 

 

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On 3/3/2018 at 7:08 AM, Polytelum Tom said:

FL considering some drug law changes

Our legislature is looking at scaling back our stupid mandatory minimums for drug crimes and reducing the size of our drug-free "school zones," both of which were sold as targeting "the big dealers" but in practice they turn out to target low level users.

Users like Theresa Mathis.

She recently died in prison, halfway through her 25 year sentence.

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"All of this for $80 worth of pot."

https://reason.com/2021/01/29/the-dakota-entrapment-tapes/

Quote

The Dakota Entrapment Tapes, a Sundance Now documentary, recounts how Sadek's bewildered parents and friends tried to find out what had happened to the mild-mannered student, who had good grades and no criminal record. They discovered that a federally funded anti-drug task force had tricked Sadek into parting with some pot, which he sold to two confidential informants for a total of $80. The police then pressured him into continuing the cycle of entrapment, which apparently led to his death.

 

 

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On 1/4/2018 at 3:46 PM, Sean said:

 

Was wondering when he would get around to this -

Sessions Ending Obama-Era Policy That Ushered in Legal Weed

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-04/sessions-said-to-kill-obama-policy-that-ushered-in-legal-weed

excerpt -

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding an Obama-era policy that helped states legalize recreational marijuana, throwing a wet blanket on the fledgling industry during what should have been a celebratory week.

The Justice Department will reverse the so-called Cole and Ogden memos that set out guardrails for federal prosecution of cannabis and allowed legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the U.S., according to two senior agency officials. U.S. attorneys in states where pot is legal will now be able prosecute cases where they see fit, according to the officials, who requested anonymity discussing internal policy.

CE0AF062-448C-4789-A72E-7F9E08FCBC13.png

In a tiny bit of progress, the "guardrails" are back.

I'm glad to see it, but would point out that choosing to hinder a bit less is not really helping so much as it is choosing to hinder a bit less. We wouldn't need "guardrails" if we stopped these prosecutions at the source: federal law.

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And in teaching an old dog new tricks news,

Biden Restores a Barrier to Opioid Addiction Treatment

https://reason.com/2021/02/02/biden-restores-a-barrier-to-opioid-addiction-treatment/
 

Quote

 

Anonymous sources close to the White House say the Biden administration plans to reinstate special licensing requirements for physicians to prescribe buprenorphine, the most common medication used to treat opioid use disorder. Shortly before President Donald Trump left office, his administration updated federal guidelines to discontinue the "X-waiver," a regulation that required physicians to obtain eight hours of additional training before prescribing buprenorphine for addiction treatment. Although the Biden administration has made no official decision, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently removed the relaxed guidelines from its website.

During his campaign, President Joe Biden promised to undo regulations that prevent the optimal distribution of buprenorphine. Yet one of his first actions in office reverses a policy that would have allowed unprecedented access to opioid addiction treatment.

HHS officials cited concerns about whether the department had the authority to issue guidelines that bypassed regulations set by Congress.

...

 

 

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Virginia's on the Verge of Legalizing Marijuana
https://reason.com/2021/02/03/virginias-on-the-verge-of-legalizing-marijuana/

Quote

 

A marijuana legalization bill in Virginia has successfully made its way through vital committees in both the House and Senate as lawmakers rush to pass it before the state's mid-session deadline on Friday. 

In its current form, the bill allows for adults 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Any amount between an ounce and one pound would be punishable by a fine. Virginians would be permitted to grow up to four cannabis plants, two mature and two immature, per household. The bill also "provides for an automatic expungement process for those convicted of certain marijuana-related crimes."

...

 

Promising news and I hope it passes.

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On 11/4/2020 at 7:20 PM, Pedagogical Tom said:

And S Dakota

That didn't last for long.
https://reason.com/2021/02/09/judge-tosses-out-south-dakota-ballot-initiative-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/

Quote

 

A South Dakota judge has overruled the will of the voters on behalf of Republican Gov. Kristi Noem and has tossed out a ballot initiative legalizing marijuana use.

In November, South Dakota citizens took the unusual step of legalizing both recreational and medical use of marijuana in two initiatives on the same ballot. Constitutional Amendment A (which passed with 54 percent of the vote) allowed for recreational use and created a licensing system to establish, manage, and tax legal commerce.

Some law enforcement leaders and Noem opposed legalization, and rather than accepting the will of the voters, went to court to try to block it. Noem even paid the legal fees for the challenge from a highway patrol superintendent and a sheriff, meaning that taxpayers were paying to both defend (via the state's attorney general's office) and attack the constitutional amendment.

On Monday, South Dakota 6th Circuit Judge Christina Klinger ruled that Constitutional Amendment A did not follow the proper state processes for approval and is therefore void. (The Argus Leader has embedded the ruling here.)

...

 

Apparently the major problems were that creating regulations for the newly-legal products is not relevant to legalizing them. The author of the article couldn't resist suggesting that they just don't regulate cannabis at all, which would be a funny result. The other problem was, apparently, that only the Governor wants to look after the interests of the legislative branch. Or something.

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The kitten filter guy has an ugly past (and present)

Screen-Shot-2021-02-10-at-2.18.06-AM.png

The Zoom Cat Lawyer Used Federal Agents To Torment a Former Lover With Drug Raids and Bogus Charges
 

Quote

 

For example, a Reason investigation in 2014 and subsequent documentary reported that, as a prosecutor, Ponton leveraged the gears of the federal government in a yearslong effort to level bogus drug charges against a woman in Alpine, Texas, ultimately succeeding at destroying her business.

The target, Ilana Lipsen, was his alleged former lover; she says she had one sexual encounter with him after arriving in town as an 18-year-old college student in 2003. (Ponton, who is now 69, would have been in his early 50s.) Lipsen told Reason that she was "disgusted with herself," and although she noticed odd behavior from Ponton afterward—she recounted him driving by her house, for example—she cut ties.

Until 2012, that is, when she would have no choice but to reconnect with Ponton. Nearly a decade later, Lipsen had opened her own store, The Purple Zone, which sold smoking supplies. Anthony Fisher, who reported this story in 2014, described what happened next:

In March 2012, "10-12 men came in, SWAT team style" to the Purple Zone, Lipsen recalls. They told her she was not under arrest, but cuffed her and threw her in the back of a police van while they searched her store, seized personal property including computers, a cell phone, and hard drives. They also took numerous packets of what Lipsen sells as potpourri in the incense section of the store, adorned with the colorful brand names such as "Dr. Feelgood," "Scooby Snax" and "Bomb! Marley."

According to Ponton, then the district attorney in Brewster County, Texas, Lipsen's potpourri qualified as "spice"—synthetic cannabinoids. The only problem: Her products were legal, as state-sponsored lab tests would confirm over and over.

...

That didn't matter to Ponton. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) would go on to make several undercover purchases over the next few years, and Ponton would continue to beg the state for testing money, apparently hoping that a lab result would finally yield the proof he needed to substantiate the criminal charges he wanted to bring against her.

He was denied the funding. So he got creative, setting his sights on Project Synergy Phase II, a national day of DEA raids on May 7, 2014, organized by the Obama administration to track down synthetic drug pushers who were allegedly using their earnings to fund terrorist groups in the Middle East.

Lipsen and her smoke shop would again be one of the targets. "Led by the DEA and armed with a Brewster County search warrant (which Ponton had requested)," wrote Fisher, "officers from the Border Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security, the Brewster County Sheriff's Office, and the Alpine PD broke down the front door of The Purple Zone with their weapons drawn, turned all the security cameras against the wall, and tore the place to pieces."

...

As for Ponton, he's still at it. His 15 minutes of fame came as he prepared to argue a civil forfeiture case—a helpful reminder that his career is no laughing matter.

 

 

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The cover story on this month's print edition of Reason:

How To Take Shrooms

exhibits the "conservative bias" noted by the vaunted fact checkers. Because conservatives are big on promoting shrooms and other illegal drugs. Or something.

https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/reason/

There's also another example of conservative bias:

From Magic Mushroom to Forbidden Fungus (and Back)
 

Quote

 

In 1968, just 11 years after the international banker and amateur mycologist R. Gordon Wasson introduced Americans to "magic mushrooms" in a landmark Life magazine story, the federal government banned them. That was how long it took for this object of anthropological fascination, source of visions, and tool of self-discovery to become an intolerable threat to the nation's youth.

Two years later, when Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, it listed psilocybin and psilocin, the psychoactive components of the "divine" fungi that Wasson ate, under Schedule I, a category supposedly reserved for exceptionally dangerous drugs with no accepted medical use. Half a century would pass before any jurisdiction in the United States reconsidered that classification.

When Oregon voters approved Measure 109, a.k.a. the Psilocybin Services Act, by a 12-point margin in November, they repudiated decades of anti-drug propaganda that depicted psychedelics as a ticket to the mental hospital. To the contrary, the initiative said, "studies conducted by nationally and internationally recognized medical institutions indicate that psilocybin has shown efficacy, tolerability, and safety in the treatment of a variety of mental health conditions, including but not limited to addiction, depression, anxiety disorders, and end-of-life psychological distress."

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2018 recognized psilocybin as a "breakthrough therapy" for "treatment-resistant depression." That designation, which meant "preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies," signaled the agency's intent to "expedite" development and review of psilocybin, suggesting it might eventually be approved as a prescription medicine.

...

 

When I was in college, we called the person who remained sober a shepherd. The first article above calls that person a sitter. Oregon calls that person a facilitator. I think we had it right back in college.

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Biden Says Drug Users Shouldn't Be Jailed but Won't Do Anything To Stop It
 

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"No one should go to jail for the use of a drug," President Joe Biden told Americans during a televised Q&A session Tuesday night. He's correct, of course—and also a hypocrite. Because if Biden really believes what he said and wants to do something about it, he has myriad options. Instead, he talks a good game on decriminalizing drugs while doing nothing of consequence.

...

 

The article goes on to list several things he could do. Start pardoning people now, instead of waiting until the end of his term as is traditional. Change the Schedule 1 status. Urge Congress to amend the CSA so it doesn't apply to state-legal conduct. Issue an executive order declaring the stupid drug war over and directing federal prosecutors to stop pursuing it. And this:
 

Quote

 

One of the simplest actions Biden could take is speaking out against policies that escalate drug criminalization. He could start by condemning a bill being proposed by West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, which create a new bureau within the Department of Justice to target online content promoting "major crimes." The example he supplies of a major crime? Someone trying to sell or purchase drugs.

Manchin's drug-war-perpetuating "See Something, Say Something Online" Act would also penalize tech companies for not immediately reporting public content or private messages about drugs to federal authorities. Biden has been silent about it.

So far, it seems the Biden administration wants credit for saying the right words about the drug war without actually having to take any action.

 

But old drug warrior dogs don't learn new tricks easily, so it is no surprise that Biden has done nothing to undo his career as a drug warrior.

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The US cannabis industry now supports 321,000 full-time jobs
 

Quote

 

...To put that in perspective: In the United States there are more legal cannabis workers than electrical engineers. There are more legal cannabis workers than EMTs and paramedics. There are more than twice as many legal cannabis workers as dentists.

...

Federal prohibition prevents the US Department of Labor from counting state-legal marijuana jobs. Since 2017, Leafly’s news and data teams have filled that gap with a yearly analysis of employment in the legal cannabis sector.

...

Cannabis job growth in 2020 represents a doubling of the previous year’s US job growth. In 2019, the cannabis industry added 33,700 new US jobs for a total of 243,700.

Despite a year marked by a global pandemic, spiking unemployment, and economic recession, the legal cannabis industry added 77,300 full-time jobs in the United States in 2020. That represents 32% year-over-year job growth, an astonishing figure in the worst year for US economic growth since World War II.

In 2020, Americans purchased $18.3 billion worth of cannabis products, a 71% increase over 2019.

...

 

According to federal laws, the number of legal cannabis industry workers remains near zero. Getting stupider each year.

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New Jersey Finally Legalizes Recreational Marijuana
 

Quote

 

New Jersey officially became the 14th state to legalize recreational use of marijuana after Democratic Gov. Philip D. Murphy signed three bills into law this week.

New Jersey lawmakers have been struggling and failing to actually legalize recreational sales and use for years. Last year, lawmakers punted the matter to voters in a referendum. Those voters overwhelmingly said yes67 percent approved an amendment to the state constitution legalizing marijuana possession, cultivation, and use.

But that amendment still left lawmakers with the job of hammering out the actual laws controlling the marijuana marketplace. In the meantime, police were actually still citing people for marijuana possession despite the legalization proposition passing in November.

The new legislation will allow adults over the age of 21 to possess up to six ounces of marijuana. It'll be months before retail sales actually start, and, of course, those sales will be heavily regulated and taxed. And unfortunately for New Jersey tokers with green thumbs, residents will not be permitted to grow their own.

...

 

Pretty good news but those of us who like to grow plants should be allowed to grow that one.

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25 minutes ago, Pedagogical Tom said:

New Jersey Finally Legalizes Recreational Marijuana
 

Pretty good news but those of us who like to grow plants should be allowed to grow that one.

It has been around a long, long time.  https://420intel.com/articles/2021/02/02/how-scholars-think-ancient-egyptians-used-cannabis-3500-years-ago

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8 hours ago, hasher said:

Oh boy, more Reefer Madness.

Quote

What makes this new study more compelling than previous studies is that the researchers followed the same individuals for over 50 years from a young age to adulthood.  This is precisely what one needs to solve the chicken-or-egg riddle with respect to cannabis and violence:  Just look and see which one happens first.

Correlation is not causation, but I see at the bottom of the page some other articles indicating the bias of the "researcher" in question.

Quote

Fields, R.D. The Absurdity of "Medical Marijuana,"  BrainFacts.org  Dec. 20, 2014.  

That was about a month after I saw cannabis oil help my dad through the pain of the bone cancer that killed him. My (former prosecutor and drug warrior) mother saw it too, and approved.

So maybe using cannabis as medicine caused his report? After all, it did happen sooner!

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Another drug warrior talking point debunked.

Legal Pot Doesn't Seem To Increase Teen Use or Addiction
https://reason.com/2021/02/25/legal-pot-doesnt-seem-to-increase-teen-use-or-addiction/

Quote

 

Opponents of marijuana legalization frequently warn that it will lead to rampant cannabis consumption by teenagers. But two studies published in November found that legalization has not been associated with increases in adolescent marijuana use or addiction. In fact, there is some evidence that both decline when pot prohibition is repealed for adults.

Boston College psychologist Rebekah Levine Coley and four other researchers looked at trends in marijuana use among teenagers in 47 states, as measured by the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, from 1999 to 2017. During that period, eight states and the District of Columbia legalized recreational marijuana use by adults 21 or older.

"We found no evidence that [recreational legalization] was associated with increased likelihood or level of marijuana use among adolescents," Coley and her colleagues reported in the Journal of Adolescent Health. "Rather, among adolescents who reported any use of marijuana in the past month, the frequency of use declined by 16%."

...

 

 

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Washington Supreme Court rules the state cannot make innocent activity a felony

https://ij.org/press-release/washington-supreme-court-rules-the-state-cannot-make-innocent-activity-a-felony/
 

Quote

 

Today, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the state cannot make innocent conduct illegal. In doing so, it struck down Washington’s felony drug possession statute, RCW 69.50.4013, because it criminalizes any and all drug possession, even when the person unknowingly possesses an illegal drug. The case is State v. Blake, No. 96873-0. 

The case concerned the conviction of Sharon Blake from Spokane, Washington. Ms. Blake was arrested for possessing a small baggy of methamphetamine in the coin pocket of her jeans. She argued that she had bought the jeans the previous day from a thrift store and did not know there had been drugs in the jeans when she wore them.  

Washington felony drug possession statute, however, makes it a crime to possess drugs even if the person had no idea that they were doing so. This statute is a “strict liability” statute, so a defendant’s state of mind, or “mens rea,” was irrelevant. Under the statute, a postal employee who unwittingly delivered a package containing drugs or the person who plucked the wrong bag at the airport are all as equally guilty as a person who intentionally trafficked drugs. Out of all states, only Washington had such a strict liability possession law. 

As a result, the court overturned Ms. Blake’s conviction. In doing so, the court recognized the ancient requirement thatwith very few exceptionscriminal laws may only punish knowing, deliberate conduct. It therefore struck down Washington’s felony drug possession law, leaving it to the Washington Legislature to pass a possession law consistent with constitutional guarantees. 

“Today’s decision recognizes what should be obvious—except in exceedingly rare instances, people who unknowingly or unwittingly violate a law cannot be convicted of crimes,” said William Maurer, the Managing Nutjob of the Institute for Justice’s Seattle, Washington, office. The court specifically requested that IJ file a friend-of-the-court brief regarding the constitutionality of the law. “This recognition is particularly welcome now when we have seen how overzealous criminal prosecutions have harmed people across the country.”   

...

 

Weird that the court would specifically request input from non-credible Koch-$pon$ored nutjobs, but it's nice that they actually listened to them.

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16 minutes ago, Pedagogical Tom said:

Washington Supreme Court rules the state cannot make innocent activity a felony

https://ij.org/press-release/washington-supreme-court-rules-the-state-cannot-make-innocent-activity-a-felony/
 

Weird that the court would specifically request input from non-credible Koch-$pon$ored nutjobs, but it's nice that they actually listened to them.

There is criminal negligence.

Saying the pants you're wearing contain something you are unaware of remains the most overused and least imaginative defense.

But, I do agree, drug laws and criminal laws generally are in the need of substantial change.

 

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11 minutes ago, hasher said:

Saying the pants you're wearing contain something you are unaware of remains the most overused and least imaginative defense.

Could be true, though. Just like it could be true that a postal employee doesn't know that there are drugs in a package he delivers.

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On 2/4/2021 at 7:05 AM, Pedagogical Tom said:

Virginia's on the Verge of Legalizing Marijuana
https://reason.com/2021/02/03/virginias-on-the-verge-of-legalizing-marijuana/

Promising news and I hope it passes.

Virginia has passed their legalization bill.

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/27/virginia-legalizes-marijuana-471840

Quote

 

The Virginia Legislature approved adult-use marijuana legalization Saturday in a historic vote marking the first state in the Old South to embrace full legalization.

The House passed the measure in a 48-43 vote, and the Senate approved it in a 20-19 vote. Not a single Republican voted for the bill in either chamber.

...

Virginia is the 16th U.S. state to pass an adult-use marijuana legalization law, though sales would not start until 2024. Only two other states — Illinois and Vermont — have passed legislation to legalize, tax and regulate recreational marijuana through the legislature.

...

The bill contains robust social equity provisions, including prioritizing business licenses for individuals deemed to have been disproportionately impacted by criminal enforcement, which dissuaded some otherwise supportive Republicans from voting for the bill.

“Initially, I was supportive of the approach that is encompassed in this bill,” said GOP Senate Minority Leader Thomas Norment during floor debate. Norment pointed to his advocacy of the marijuana decriminalization bill that passed last year.

“I just don't accept this social equity set aside on the issuance of licenses. We don't do it for alcohol, we don't do it for other matters,” he said.

The bill would allow adults over 21 to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Home cultivation of up to four plants per household would be allowed under the bill.

The bill sets a 21 percent excise tax on marijuana and allows municipalities to add an additional 3 percent tax on retailers on top of existing sales taxes. Marijuana tax revenues would be used to fund pre-K education, substance use disorder treatment programs and other public health initiatives. A portion of revenues would also go toward a Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund, which would provide resources such as scholarships and workforce development for communities disproportionately impacted by drug enforcement.

...

 

Glad to see another legislature do this instead of the more common approach of voter initiatives pushing it despite a recalcitrant legislature. Also glad to see it allows people to grow their own, though that would still be a risky move because there's no sign of any reform of our asset forfeiture laws. Growing it is still a federal crime and if your property is presumed to be guilty of that crime, it's not your property any more.

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On 2/26/2021 at 6:44 AM, hasher said:
On 2/26/2021 at 6:27 AM, Pedagogical Tom said:

Washington Supreme Court rules the state cannot make innocent activity a felony

https://ij.org/press-release/washington-supreme-court-rules-the-state-cannot-make-innocent-activity-a-felony/
 

Weird that the court would specifically request input from non-credible Koch-$pon$ored nutjobs, but it's nice that they actually listened to them.

There is criminal negligence.

Saying the pants you're wearing contain something you are unaware of remains the most overused and least imaginative defense.

But, I do agree, drug laws and criminal laws generally are in the need of substantial change.

It's also not even a defense in Washington, where the courts have recognized for decades that it doesn't matter whether you know you're in possession of a naughty substance or not.

Now legislators want to fix that problem. They shouldn't.
 

Quote

 

Washington was the only state that criminalized innocent, unknowing possession of illegal drugs. The Washington Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the statute under which Blake was convicted does not require evidence of knowledge or intent. "If the legislature had intended guilty knowledge or intent to be an element of the crime of simple possession of a controlled substance," the court ruled in 1981, "it would have put the requirement in the act." Twenty-three years later, the court reiterated that the legislature had made drug possession a strict liability crime.

Despite that well-established understanding of the law, the court had never before addressed the question of whether the omission of a mens rea element made the law unconstitutional. But in their decision overturning Blake's conviction, Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud and four of her colleagues ruled that "the state legislature's exercise of its otherwise plenary police power to criminalize entirely passive and innocent nonconduct with no mens rea or guilty mind violates the due process clause of the state and federal constitutions."

Writing in dissent, Justice Debra Stephens said the court could have fixed the problem by reading a mens rea requirement into the statute. But in the majority's view, the court's longstanding decisions that declined to do so, combined with the legislature's failure to change the statute in light of those rulings, foreclosed that option. "We have overwhelming evidence that the legislature intends the simple possession statute to penalize innocent nonconduct," it said, "and we have overwhelming legal authority that this violates the due process clauses of the state and federal constitutions."

...

The state legislature can—and probably will—recriminalize simple possession by amending the statute to include a mens rea element. A bill introduced by state Sens. Mark Mullet (D–Issaquah) and Steven Hobbs (D–Lake Stevens) would add the word knowingly to the provision making it "unlawful for any person to possess a controlled substance" without a prescription. "Right now, you can have controlled substances and not get arrested," Hobbs told KOMO News on Friday. "It's kind of crazy. I know several states have gone through this very problem before and now it's our turn, and we have to fix it right away."

...

 

They're probably going to "fix" the law but, as noted in the thread title, it will still be stupid.

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Just now, Pedagogical Tom said:

It's also not even a defense in Washington, where the courts have recognized for decades that it doesn't matter whether you know you're in possession of a naughty substance or not.

Now legislators want to fix that problem. They shouldn't.
 

They're probably going to "fix" the law but, as noted in the thread title, it will still be stupid.

Progress tends to be incremental.

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