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Drug Prohibition: Still Stupid


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2 hours ago, nolatom said:

Why Louisiana is quirky in several and different ways, the upcoming US Senate race.  If you don't get a chuckle out of this, then you're just no fun.

Republican Incumbent John Kennedy is always good for a quirky turn of phrase, in a faux-redneck dialect. 

His Democratic challenger, here we go...

https://www.audacy.com/wwl/news/local/u-s-senate-candidate-smokes-marijuana-blunt-in-campaign-ad

Hell, Kennedy's bullshit persona pisses me off so much I'd vote for a dead iguana instead.

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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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7 hours ago, nolatom said:

 

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The ad was filmed in New Orleans and shows Chambers sitting in an armchair in a field as he lights and puffs on a blunt.

“For too long, candidates have used the legalization of marijuana as an empty talking point in order to appeal to progressive voters,” said Gary Chambers, in a press release. “I hope this ad works to not only destigmatize the use of marijuana, but also forces a new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology.”

...

 

I agree with him but am not sure a blunt is the best way to illustrate a beneficial drug. Not a blunt guy myself, but isn't that kinda half cigar, half joint? NTTIAWWT, I've smoked has by mixing it in a tobacco cigarette. But that's smoking tobacco too, so kind of a mixed message on medical cannabis.

I'm learning more than I'd care to about the many ways to use it as my brother's cancer progresses. There are patches and little syringes with extracts and edibles and even pre-rolled joints and various ways to use those and more I still don't know. And none of them come with tobacco.

 

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A TeamR Congresscritter's Koch-$pon$ored cannabis legalization bill


 

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On the second floor of the Cannon House Office Building, across Independence Avenue from the U.S. Capitol, Representative Nancy Mace is drinking rosé out of a can as her Havanese named Liberty—who is a very good boy, she assures—sits next to her in a leather chair. As the sun sets over The District, Mace talks about why cannabis should be legal.

 

“There's a million reasons to end federal prohibition and the only place where this is controversial is up here,” says Mace. “It’s an enormously popular idea. America is like: ‘WTF, D.C., why have you not done this yet?’”

In November, the 44-year-old freshman Congresswoman, who represents South Carolina’s coastal swing district spanning Charleston to Hilton Head, introduced the States Reform Act, a bill that would end the federal government’s 85-year prohibition on marijuana. Mace is certainly not the first politician to introduce a cannabis legalization bill, although it’s been impossible to get one passed by both chambers of Congress.

But Mace already has one of the most powerful conservative groups in the world in her corner: Charles Koch’s Americans for Prosperity. And now she has one of the world’s largest companies supporting her bill: Amazon.

In June, the retail giant announced that it would exclude marijuana from most of its employee drug testing and started lobbying to legalize cannabis. Six months later, the company met with Mace and now says it will support her States Reform Act.

...

 

Wow, Amazon-$pon$ored too!

And Liberty is a good dog name. My Liberty Belle just turned 13. She's a good girl. But the funniest was a woman walking her dog who told me that her dog is named Liberty Risk. I looked puzzled. She explained that a "liberty risk" is a person who will wind up getting your shore leave taken away if you hang around him long enough. A Navy thing. Funny dog name too.

Anyway, I wish her doomed bill well, for all the good that will do.

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On 1/19/2022 at 7:10 PM, Pertinacious Tom said:

I'm learning more than I'd care to about the many ways to use it as my brother's cancer progresses. There are patches and little syringes with extracts and edibles and even pre-rolled joints and various ways to use those and more I still don't know. And none of them come with tobacco.

I took him to Trulieve south of town the other day. You have to have a card to go in, I guess, so I didn't attempt it. As I sat in the car, a couple more customers came and went. Old white guys driving expensive cars. The drug war has changed. It could use a lot more change.

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On 11/4/2020 at 6:07 AM, Pertinacious Tom said:

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

...

 

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

 

Mississippi's ballot initiative never took effect but their legislature acted instead, which is what should have happened in the first place IMO.

Now That Pot-Averse Conservatives Are Openly Defying the Federal Marijuana Ban, What Excuse Does Congress Have for Maintaining It?
 

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In 2020, Mississippi became the 35th state, and the second in the Deep South, to approve medical use of marijuana. But Initiative 65, which was favored by three-quarters of voters, never took effect, thanks to a legal requirement for ballot measure signatures that was impossible to satisfy. After the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned the initiative, the state legislature responded by independently approving a medical marijuana bill, which Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law yesterday.

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Even Reeves, a conservative Republican who worried that medical marijuana could become a cover for recreational use and threatened to veto S.B. 2095 if his objections were not addressed, eventually felt compelled to respect the will of the voters who overwhelmingly approved Initiative 65. "The 'medical marijuana bill' has consumed an enormous amount of space on the front pages of the legacy media outlets across Mississippi over the last 3+ years," the governor complains in a statement he issued when he signed the bill. "There is no doubt that there are individuals in our state who could do significantly better if they had access to medically prescribed doses of cannabis. There are also those who really want a recreational marijuana program that could lead to more people smoking and less people working, with all the societal and family ills that that brings."

Reeves says the changes he demanded (not all of which he got) were aimed at balancing the benefits of medical marijuana against the risk that it might, God forbid, allow some people to smoke pot for fun. "I have made it clear that the bill on my desk is not the one that I would have written," he writes. But he adds that "significant improvements" to the bill—including a reduction in the monthly purchase limit, an in-person visit requirement for cannabis prescriptions, and a ban on marijuana dispensaries within 1,000 feet of churches or schools—made the legislation something he could stomach. He thanks legislators for their responsiveness but ends on a churlish note: "Now, hopefully, we can put this issue behind us and move on to other pressing matters facing our state."

Given his anti-pot prejudices, Reeves' grudging support for medical marijuana speaks volumes about the current politics of prohibition.

...

 

Oh no! People in Mississippi might suddenly be able to get pot and smoke it for fun! That could lead to fewer working people in prisons and less police looting, with all the societal and family ills that that brings.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC,
 

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Congress, meanwhile, has done nothing to address the untenable conflict between state and federal marijuana laws, except for an annually renewed spending rider that bars the Justice Department from interfering with state medical marijuana programs. Notwithstanding that rider, the department is helping California and Kansas cops use civil forfeiture to steal money earned by state-legal medical marijuana suppliers.

President Joe Biden, who says states should be free to go their own way on this issue, nevertheless opposes repealing the federal ban on marijuana. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.), who says he wants to legalize cannabis, recently torpedoed a bill that would have removed federal barriers to banking services for state-licensed marijuana businesses.

According to the latest Gallup poll, 68 percent of Americans think marijuana should be legal. When even pot-averse Republicans like Tate Reeves are responding to public opinion by openly defying the federal ban, what excuse do Biden and Congress have for maintaining it?

 

Old habits die hard.

 

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When Is Drinking Ayahuasca a Religious Experience?

We know the answer is NOT when your church sues the DEA.
 

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Inside the vast apparatus of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), there's a bureaucrat who is tasked with investigating the tenets of psychedelic churches. That improbable job figures in the legal troubles encountered by Arizona's Vine of Light Church.

That group used to sponsor monthly meetings at which paying guests drank ayahuasca, a powerful psychoactive brew that originated in South America. Those gatherings ended in May 2019, when a federal drug task force raided the Phoenix home of Clay Villanueva, the church's pastor.

The task force says it seized dozens of pounds of ayahuasca, along with psilocybin mushrooms and marijuana. But Villanueva was not arrested until 18 months later, under a Maricopa County warrant that neither he nor his attorney knew existed. He now stands accused of running an illegal drug enterprise.

The raid happened 12 days after a group Villanueva co-founded, the North American Association of Visionary Churches (NAAVC), sued the DEA under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). As interpreted by the Supreme Court, that 1993 law allows qualified religious groups to import and possess ayahuasca, which contains dimethyltryptamine, a Schedule I controlled substance. But the groups have to petition the DEA for an exemption from the Controlled Substances Act, which requires proving that their ayahuasca use is part of a sincere religious practice, not just a weekend retreat for psychedelic tourists.

The NAAVC argues that the DEA is retaliating against groups that file RFRA petitions. It also says the permit process is illegal under a 2006 Supreme Court ruling that said RFRA requires the government to examine religious freedom claims and, absent a compelling government interest, grant exceptions for the use of otherwise illegal drugs.

If you wanted to highlight the absurdity of the drug war, it would be hard to find a better example than charging federal narcs with parsing the religious beliefs of groups like the Vine of Light Church.

...

 

It's pretty ridiculous but ayahuasca and shrooms are both showing lots of promise in mental health treatments. I watched enough of the Superbowel last night to catch a local news promo with a shrink talking up shrooms. Might have to watch local news for the first time in decades this week.

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Reefer Madness At NBC And The NFL
 

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During Sunday's Super Bowl, you're likely to see some good football (go Bengals), an entertaining halftime show by Snoop Dogg (thankfully well past his Snoop Lion phase), and a bunch of try-hard commercials for everything from Amazon to Vroom (the online car retailer).

One thing that won't be advertised is marijuana, despite being legal for medical use in 38 states and recreational use in 19. The NFL and NBC blocked an attempt by Weedmaps, a company founded in 2008 to help California medical marijuana users locate dispensaries, to run an ad that CEO Chris Beals said would have tried to "push the dialogue forward around cannabis."

Both the NFL and NBC, the network broadcasting the Super Bowl, prohibit weed commercials. Ironies abound: Hard liquor, an intoxicant that even prohibitionists agree is more dangerous than marijuana, has been advertised during the Super Bowl since 2017. That year also saw commercials for other drugs such as antidepressants and birth control pills. Anheuser-Busch's Super Bowl beer commercials are their own subgenre, and the rapper Snoop Dogg, "whose name is synonymous with weed," is providing the game's entertainment.

Additionally, this year's Super Bowl will be played in California, the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. The game will be hosted at SoFi Stadium, located in Inglewood, just an hour north of Weedmaps' headquarters in Irvine. Last year, the NFL announced it would no longer test players for marijuana during the off-season, though pot's active ingredient, THC, is still on the list of forbidden substances during the regular season. NFL players are widely known to smoke weed not simply to get high but to relieve the immense pain that comes simply from doing their jobs. The NFL is even funding research on the health benefits of cannabis, even though its use can lead to suspension or expulsion from the league.

Former tight end Martellus Bennett once claimed that "about 89%" of players use marijuana, telling a Bleacher Report podcast in 2018. "There are times of the year where your body just hurts so bad…You don't want to be popping pills all the time. There are anti-inflammatory drugs you take so long that they start to eat at your liver, kidneys and things like that."

Weedmaps surely knew that its proposed Super Bowl commercial would be blocked like a sloppy punt by network and NFL suits. In that sense, the whole story may simply be a publicity stunt. Yet, as Beals told Fox Business, the underlying question of pot's legal and cultural status is one well worth discussing at the national level.

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Of course submitting the commercial was a publicity stunt by Weedmaps, next best stunt to actually airing it during the game. They're right about the underlying question but the suits who blocked the ad are in the business of knowing what's popular/acceptable. And they figured out that a country that just elected a career drug warrior as President isn't ready to talk about it.

 

 

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Two Courts Debunk Persistent Opioid Myths
 

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Since 2014, state and local governments have filed thousands of lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies they blame for causing the "opioid crisis" by exaggerating the benefits and minimizing the risks of prescription pain medication. The theory underlying these cases is pretty straightforward: Drug manufacturers lied, and people died.

Two recent rulings show how misleading this widely accepted narrative is. Both decisions recognized that undertreatment of pain is a real problem and that bona fide patients rarely become addicted to prescription opioids, let alone die as a result.

Three California counties, joined by the city of Oakland, started the flood of litigation against opioid manufacturers with a 2014 lawsuit arguing that they created a "public nuisance" by encouraging increased use of their products through a false or misleading marketing campaign. In a scathing November 1 ruling, Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter J. Wilson concluded that the plaintiffs had failed to prove any of their allegations.

A week later, the Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected similar claims against Johnson & Johnson, one of the defendants in the California case. The court said Cleveland County Judge Thad Balkman, who in a landmark 2019 ruling held the company liable for his state's opioid-related problems, "erred in extending the public nuisance statute to the manufacturing, marketing, and selling of prescription opioids."

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In other news, my brother is on morphine now. Judge Thad Balkman would not find it a nuisance if he were in the same condition.

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On 2/15/2022 at 6:46 AM, Fat Point Jack said:

The new store owners canned me and the other "old" guy last week, we were too expensive.  I am now their worst customer.

I liked the old owner. I would come in with a plan and start looking for products. I learned that instead of asking him where the products were, I should tell him my plan. He would then tell me his better plan and sell me the products to do it.

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1 minute ago, Pertinacious Tom said:

I liked the old owner. I would come in with a plan and start looking for products. I learned that instead of asking him where the products were, I should tell him my plan. He would then tell me his better plan and sell me the products to do it.

The most fun I.ve ever had on a job.

The old guy from up north says, "What an unsophisticated place you live in.

Me. "OK, What's our problem?"

Him. "I can't fish a wire on the outside wall of the house because of the furring strips, it's easier on my house up north."

Me, "OK".

Him, "Do you have a goof up plate".

Me, "Sir, I don't know what that is".

Him, "It's for covering up a hole for a box that's cut too big".

Me, "Sir, We use a different 4 letter word for that".

 

 

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The stupid drug war affected my brother's death.

If you use up morphine faster than anticipated, they won't give you more. Quadruple doses at half the recommended interval weren't working.

At that point, he had to go into the hospice house and get a stronger cocktail of three pain meds.

You can prepare all the living will documents you want in Florida, but if your heart stops and you don't have the yellow DNR paper, they will restart it. The hospice nurse wanted to make sure I understood what I was signing.

I looked her right in the eye and said, "His heart stopping would be the greatest blessing he and my family could receive right now." Then I signed it.

They were using a dangerous combo of three drugs on a patient with cancer throughout his body who had lost 50 of his 150 lbs. When the last dose reached its peak concentration in his bloodstream, he died. I'm convinced the drugs killed him, no not at all think it was deliberate, but view it as a blessing to him and the rest of us.

He had a massive tumor on his neck. The radiation doc described what happens to these. They choke off breathing and swallowing on the inside and rupture into a giant, infected wound on the outside. The description made him cringe. What makes a cancer doc cringe?

We were about to find out. I saw some ugly stuff recently, but nothing that would make a cancer doc cringe. I'm so glad my brother didn't live to experience it and I didn't have to watch.

I would never let things go this far with one of my animals. Long before a tumor got to the point of making a cancer doc cringe, I would have a vet kill them. Death With Dignity failed recently in Florida.

I'm still a Dr. Kevorkian fan, but did gain a greater understanding of the other side. Even in his last days, which were mostly filled with misery, there were various glimmers of the joy of life. It has value. Even right at the end.

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On 2/24/2022 at 10:49 AM, Mike in Seattle said:

Sorry about your brother, Tom.

 

Thanks, Mike. It's weird how our brains work. Well, mine anyway. The other day I saw a nutrition drink in the fridge and thought I'd better make sure to get it to him and see that he drinks it. Then yesterday I was watching a TV show he likes and a guy puked and I thought I'd better make sure to skip that episode so as not to exacerbate his nausea. I know he's dead, but part of me obviously does not.

But this is about the stupid drug war and on that front,

Several Justices Seem Dismayed at the Idea That Doctors Can Be Accidentally Guilty of Drug Trafficking

And also dismayed at how the stupid drug war became a stupid war on needed pain relief (and then led to fentanyl).

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I like to look through SCOTUS oral argument transcripts for the word laughter.

In Ruan v US, the first instance was illuminating. It looked to me like Gorsuch and Sotomayor and possibly Thomas are bit skeptical of the idea of unintentional criminality. Starts on page 25.

 

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Growing Weed In Prisons
 

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Halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, baking in the 100-degree heat of the Central Valley, a former prison is in the midst of an unlikely second act.

Inside its cinderblock walls, a company is growing the very product that led some prisoners to be locked up there.

Longtime music manager Dan Dalton and Casey Dalton, his sister, bought the 20-acre site in 2016 for $4.1 million, choosing the location because its dry and sterile environment would provide a secure place to store marijuana.

The purchase also allowed their cannabis company, Evidence, and others that have bought shuttered prisons to come face to face with the lasting effects of the war on drugs, particularly on people of color, as they try to shape the role the industry will play in confronting that legacy.

...

Dalton’s longtime music client and a partner in Evidence, Damian Marley, the son of the reggae legend Bob Marley, said he believes prisoners still being held for cannabis violations should be set free.

“I mean, as Jamaican, as a Rasta, as my father’s son, we’ve always been advocates of cannabis as something we use daily in our life, as a part of our spiritual sacrament,” said Marley, who recorded the music video for his song “Medication” in the former prison among the leafy green plants.

...

 

Hmm... they have a piece of property that's worth millions and a business partner with a headline-grabbing name and they're using the property to commit federal crimes. Makes me wonder if this business will wind up in the asset forfeiture thread?

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Green Thumb Industries, one of the largest cannabis companies in the U.S., bought a prison in Warwick, New York, last year and plans to invest $150 million to turn it into a cultivation facility. CEO Ben Kovler said he hopes Green Thumb will be among the first cannabis companies in the state to hire former inmates.

OTOH, who needs Evidence when there are much larger looting targets?

 

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P

7 hours ago, Pertinacious Tom said:

Growing Weed In Prisons
 

Hmm... they have a piece of property that's worth millions and a business partner with a headline-grabbing name and they're using the property to commit federal crimes. Makes me wonder if this business will wind up in the asset forfeiture thread?

OTOH, who needs Evidence when there are much larger looting targets?

 

Is DOJ going after state-legal operators now? Haven’t seen a single prosecution that would go against the Cole memo. Whatcha got?

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19 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

P

Is DOJ going after state-legal operators now? Haven’t seen a single prosecution that would go against the Cole memo. Whatcha got?

Prosecuting people is expensive and troublesome and doesn't come with cool new toys for your department.

I was talking about drug war looting, which doesn't require a prosecution. As mentioned in the relevant thread, drug war looters are going after the armored cars that these businesses use instead of banks. Why not go straight after the property?

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50 Years After Nixon's Commission Said Cops Should Stop Busting Pot Users, the Federal Ban Remains Unchanged
 

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Fifty years ago today, the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse issued a report that was quite different from what President Richard Nixon probably was expecting when he appointed the blue-ribbon panel, which was chaired by former Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond Shafer. From the perspective of a president who the year before had declared drug abuse "America's public enemy number one," the report's title—Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding—was not promising. And it got worse from there.

"The criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession [of marijuana] even in the effort to discourage use," the Shafer Commission concluded. "It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior, a step which our society takes only with the greatest reluctance."

Based on that assessment, the report recommended that "possession of marihuana for personal use no longer be an offense" and that "casual distribution of small amounts of marihuana for no remuneration, or insignificant remuneration, no longer be an offense." That policy, which became known as marijuana "decriminalization," went nowhere with the Nixon administration.

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Congress, meanwhile, still has not followed the Shafer Commission's recommendation. At the federal level, marijuana remains illegal for all purposes, and even low-level possession is still a crime. Even relatively modest attempts to address the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws have failed to make any headway in the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) insists his own legislation should take priority.

President Joe Biden, a longtime drug warrior who now portrays himself as a reformer, says he supports federal decriminalization of marijuana use and thinks states should be free to legalize. But unlike nearly all the other candidates he beat for the Democratic presidential nomination, he opposes repealing the federal ban on marijuana.

Biden promised that he would "broadly use his clemency power" to commute the sentences of nonviolent drug offenders and specifically said that anyone who had been convicted of marijuana offenses "should be let out of jail." But so far he has not used his clemency power at all.

Biden also talked about facilitating medical research by reclassifying marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, which can be done administratively, without new legislation. But he has not taken any steps in that direction either.

...

 

The Shafer commission was right about the bolded bit and it's still true today but it went nowhere with Nixon and continues to go nowhere with Biden.

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image.thumb.png.d6e782e663c60176d66f9f3c9fbcb142.png

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/01/house-passes-marijuana-legalization-bill-again-but-with-no-clear-path-forward-00022303

The House passed a far-reaching marijuana legalization bill on Friday by a 220-204 vote, largely along party lines and still with no real path to President Joe Biden’s desk.

 

I wonder which party passed it?  Hi Tom!

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10 hours ago, Pertinacious Tom said:

The one with the drug warrior President who said he would not sign legalization?

What do I win?

Of course, you are aware that President Biden said in October 2020:

“We should decriminalize marijuana. ... I don’t believe anybody should be going to jail for drug use.”

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/biden-talks-marijuana-decriminalization-while-trump-promotes-criminal-justice-record-at-dueling-town-halls/

Yeah, you're about as anti drug war as you are anti war war.

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7 hours ago, Olsonist said:

Of course, you are aware that President Biden said in October 2020:

“We should decriminalize marijuana. ... I don’t believe anybody should be going to jail for drug use.”

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/biden-talks-marijuana-decriminalization-while-trump-promotes-criminal-justice-record-at-dueling-town-halls/

Yeah, you're about as anti drug war as you are anti war war.

Move those goalpoasts!

Your other post was about "legalization" and now you want to talk about "decriminalization" possibly because Biden said he won't sign legalization. As I said.

Go vote for another drug warrior and get back to me when your party manages to avoid electing one.

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On 11/17/2021 at 4:11 AM, Pertinacious Tom said:

Cops Thought Sand From Her Stress Ball Was Cocaine. She Spent Nearly 6 Months in Jail.

Bungling drug warriors screwed up an unreliable field test and imprisoned an innocent person. Par for the drug war course, more or less.

Weirdly, the cops didn't get qualified impunity on this one.
 

And, apparently, whether the officers were qualified to use the field test at all.

But bungling drug warrior cops are not as bad as bungling drug warrior prosecutors IMO.

Arrested in October. State lab confirms cops bungled in November. Charges dropped in March?

I'd like to see the prosecutor spend a day in jail for each day between the lab result and the dropped charge.

In crappy field tests and lazy cops resulting in innocents locked up news,

Faulty Police Field Tests Said This Trucker Was Carrying 700 Gallons of Meth. It Was Diesel.
 

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Police and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents in Pharr, Texas, thought they had intercepted a massive meth smuggling operation this February. Juan Carlos Toscano Guzman, a Mexican national, spent nearly six weeks in jail accused of transporting roughly 700 gallons of liquid methamphetamine. But it turned out not to be illicit drugs at all, just the result of unreliable drug field tests that have led to hundreds of other wrongful arrests.

...

"This massive drug seizure impacts way beyond our region where it was headed," Pharr Chief of Police Andy Harvey said in a Facebook post. "This stemmed from a patrol officer's attention to detail when he observed something out of the ordinary and he used our resources to further investigate. This is great policing!"

But a DEA crime lab would later invalidate those field test results, leading prosecutors to drop their case against Guzman in late March. Guzman's lawyer told the Star-Telegram he was transporting a mix of diesel and oil.

...

 

The article notes that the person wrongfully imprisoned in the previous story got a 1.5 million dollar award from a federal jury. So that's nice but I think my plan of locking up the dilatory prosecutor would have been more effective at changing future behaviors.

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Florida's Agriculture Commissioner Says the Ban on Gun Possession by Marijuana Users Is Unconstitutional
 

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Nikki Fried, who runs Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, is suing the Biden administration over a federal law that prohibits marijuana users from possessing guns. Fried, who is the only Democrat among Florida's statewide elected officials and is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, argues that the ban violates the Second Amendment and a congressional spending rider that bars the Justice Department from interfering with state medical marijuana programs.

Florida is one of 37 states with such programs, and Fried is suing in her official capacity, because her department oversees concealed carry permits and parts of the state's cannabis industry. "I'm suing the Biden Administration because people's rights are being limited," she said on Twitter this morning. "Medical marijuana is legal. Guns are legal. This is about people's rights and their freedoms to responsibly have both."

That announcement provoked considerable consternation among Democrats. One Twitter user described Fried as a "DINO" (Democrat in Name Only), saying "FL does that to you." Another commented: "Oh yikes! I was supporting you until I read this. No thanks, Nikki. Unfollowed. And I hope there's a better Democrat out there to take your place."

It says something about the Democratic Party's view of the Second Amendment that defending the rights it protects is enough to make you a DINO. If a federal law said marijuana users are not entitled to freedom of speech or can be searched at will without a warrant, Fried's critics surely would be outraged. But because she is focusing on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, she is obviously a bad Democrat. The party's expurgated version of the Bill of Rights evidently imposes no constraints on gun control, even when it is clearly arbitrary and unjust or disproportionately harms racial minorities.

...

 

She's right but I doubt her heresy can be forgiven.

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The Equal Protection Problem
 

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Jonathan Wall, a 26-year-old cannabis entrepreneur, has been confined at a federal supermax facility in Maryland for nearly 20 months, awaiting a May 2 trial that could send him to prison for life. Wall is accused of transporting more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana from California, where cannabis is legal for recreational use, to Maryland, which allows only medical use.

Wall's case illustrates the draconian penalties that can still be imposed on people for selling pot at a time when most states have legalized marijuana businesses. As far as the federal government is concerned, all of those businesses are criminal enterprises. But depending on how federal prosecutors choose to exercise their discretion, selling pot can make you millions of dollars as a state-licensed supplier, or it can send you to prison for decades.

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Wall's Denver-based attorney, Jason Flores-Williams, spends some of his time advising cannabis investors. "I am in a situation where I get off the phone with Jonathan," he told Insider, "and the next phone call is from somebody in Nevada who is looking to invest $1.5 million into a cannabis corporation based here in Colorado that is expanding into Mexico….These are the exact same activities."

One might reasonably disagree with that last claim, since Wall is charged with transporting marijuana into a state that does not allow recreational sales. But that detail does not matter under federal law: Even if Maryland had no objection to what Wall did, he would still face the same federal penalties, and so would state-licensed marijuana suppliers if the feds chose to prosecute them. Although an annually renewed spending rider currently precludes prosecution of state-licensed medical marijuana suppliers, that restriction does not apply to businesses that serve the recreational market.

As Flores-Williams sees it, the injustice of federal marijuana penalties is especially clear when they are applied unevenly. "Right now there is this profound inconsistency in this country," he told Insider. "I go to court in Maryland, and then just 40 miles down the road you've got a 72,000-square-foot warehouse that's rented out for the next 20 years because someone was smart enough to buy it and convert it into a pot grow and rent it out."

Flores-Williams argued that the indictment against Wall should be dismissed on equal protection grounds. "A citizen's ability to engage in this American market depends neither on talent nor [on] work ethic, but on the preferences of the local prosecutor," he wrote. "If you're in LA and own several dispensaries, then you are a successful businessperson. If you're in Maryland, then you are evidently a criminal."

Flores-Williams noted that "there are millions of people right now in this country who are engaged in the manufacture, distribution, and/or possession of cannabis, who are not, in fact, being prosecuted." Depending on where they happen to be located, he said, "some citizens [are] enjoying economic liberties that other citizens are being denied, which violates bedrock equal protection law."

Last May, Flores-Williams tells me, U.S. District Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher rejected that argument from the bench without offering much in the way of legal reasoning. The double standard that Flores-Williams highlights nevertheless should trouble the jurors who hear Wall's case. Flores-Williams says it's not clear how much leeway he will have to talk about disparate treatment of marijuana suppliers, since prosecutors will argue that it's irrelevant to the charges against Wall, but "we're going to fight like maniacs" to make that point at trial.

Wall notes that former House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican who had no qualms about marijuana prohibition when he served in Congress, is now "sitting on the board of Acreage Holdings, one of the largest publicly traded cannabis companies in the world." The ad calling attention to Wall's case pointed out that "cannabis corporations" in Maryland and other states are "making billions in revenue growing, manufacturing and distributing pot," while celebrities such as Willie Nelson, Jay-Z, and Seth Rogen have their own marijuana brands. "Jonathan Wall faces life in prison," the ad said, "while Beyonce says that she's starting a cannabis farm. This is not the way the law is supposed to work."

 

If Mr. Wall does get a life sentence, I suppose it's still possible Joe Biden could keep his campaign promise and pardon him. Or maybe that'll be up to the next President. At 26, he's got plenty of life left.

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20 hours ago, Sol Rosenberg said:

Not a very encouraging comment from John Morgan.

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...

President Joe Biden’s refusal to act on federal marijuana regulations has been a sore point for Democrats, including supporters like John Morgan, a Florida trial lawyer and Biden fundraiser who financed the state’s successful medical marijuana initiative.

“I talked to Joe about this personally, and he just won’t do it. Joe Biden doesn’t understand marijuana,” Morgan said, attributing the president’s resistance to his age, 79, and the members of his family who suffered from alcoholism and drug abuse, including his son Hunter Biden.

“Joe has so much drug abuse in his own family that in his mind it’s a no-go. The older you get, the less people understand what marijuana is all about. To them, it’s all the same — marijuana, heroin, LSD,” Morgan said, dismissing the idea that such substances are so-called gateway drugs with a profanity. “We know the gateway drug is alcohol.”

Although he likes Fried’s marijuana policy, Morgan is backing her rival in the governor’s race, Rep. Charlie Crist, and he said he’s not sure how much political mileage she can get out of it.

When asked by NBC News about Fried's lawsuit, Crist didn't comment on the policy but instead said the filing of it was "Interesting timing."

...

 

I think Crist's comment was a reference to filing suit on 4/20, which is mildly amusing and really not that interesting.

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Just came across this on FB.

 
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Recently my mom had an issue with a former employee. This employee threatened her. Mom decided she wanted to purchase a handgun for her personal protection. So I took mom to go look at handguns at a local firearms store. After looking and talking with the employee she found one that she liked and decided to purchase it. She had to fill out the federal application and she answered all of the questions honestly. Her application was kicked back due to the fact that she has her medical marijuana card. Although she follows her State law, Federal law still holds marijuana as illegal. My 75 year old mother who runs a business was unable to exercise her 2nd amendment right because she also chooses to use a plant for medicine. Let that sink in for a moment. She follows all of the rules that her State has set forth but the Federal government is still penalizing her.
 
My mother has two ancestors that each played a huge role in setting up our constitution. One in fact signed the constitution and the other signed the Declaration of Independence. I’m going to go out on a limb and state that I don’t think they ever thought someone would have to choose which “right” they would want to exercise at the exclusion of another “right” when they helped construct our Constitution.
 
I’m proud to say that my mother is a party to a lawsuit against our Federal Government. She has joined Nicole Hansell an Army vet who is a single mother and Neill Franklin a retired Major from the Maryland State Police…now a Florida resident. These three people are fighting for you, me and anyone else that is exercising their rights to consume a plant legally in their State.
 
No one should have to choose which rights they want to exercise.
 
This is a bipartisan issue so please leave politics out of it. This is something that each side of aisle needs to come together on and correct. They need to remove Cannabis from the CSA and legalize it.

 

 
BenzingaCC.jpg
 
Benzinga?
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Biden Begins Undoing His Drug Warrior Legacy
 

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President Joe Biden used his clemency powers for the first time today, granting three pardons and 75 commutations. All but one of the beneficiaries were convicted of drug offenses, and many were serving egregiously long prison terms of the sort that Biden enthusiastically supported during his 36 years in the Senate.

The commutations announced today, Biden noted, involve "people who are serving long sentences for non-violent drug offenses, many of whom have been serving on home confinement during the COVID pandemic—and many of whom would have received a lower sentence if they were charged with the same offense today, thanks to the bipartisan First Step Act." The New York Times reports that "almost a third of those who benefited from the clemency would have received a lower sentence if they were charged today."

As a presidential candidate, Biden presented himself as criminal justice reformer who had seen the error of his draconian ways. He called for abolishing the mandatory minimum sentences he was largely responsible for creating and promised to "broadly use his clemency power for certain non-violent and drug crimes." While Biden still faces a huge backlog of clemency petitions and has a long way to go in ameliorating the damage he did as a gung-ho drug warrior, this first installment of commutations seems promising because of its timing.

Although Biden waited more than 15 months before issuing any pardons or commutations, that delay compares favorably to those of many previous presidents. Even Barack Obama, who ultimately granted a record 1,715 commutations, did not approve any until the last year of his first term, and then just one. Obama did not get serious until the third year of his second term, and the vast majority of his commutations came during his last year in office.

...

 

Glad to finally see this starting to happen! Better late than never.

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1 hour ago, Olsonist said:

@Pertinacious Tomwas running the same nonsense about his boy Shitstain, Bernie and the drug war. Good times!

Well, no. The stupid drug war has never been "good times" to me. I was opposed to it when your boy Biden was helping Reagan wage it and haven't changed my mind.

I still think the drug war is nonsense and would welcome an opposing point of view from a drug war voter like yourself. Have at it.

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12 minutes ago, Olsonist said:

I think Tom's boy JD

You sure have endless thoughts about me, but JD is a drug warrior like your boy Joe. So that makes JD and Joe your drug warrior boys. And the drug war is still stupid, though your boy Joe is showing a glimmer of intelligence by finally starting to undo a bit of his drug warrior legacy.

If only he'd get to work on his drug war looting legacy and undo what your boy Sessions did.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/5/2022 at 5:12 AM, Pertinacious Tom said:

I like to look through SCOTUS oral argument transcripts for the word laughter.

In Ruan v US, the first instance was illuminating. It looked to me like Gorsuch and Sotomayor and possibly Thomas are bit skeptical of the idea of unintentional criminality. Starts on page 25.

 

More on the Ruan case.

The Blurry Legal Line Between Doctors and Drug Dealers
 

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Xiulu Ruan, a board-certified Alabama pain specialist, was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for prescribing opioid analgesics "outside the usual course of professional medical practice." According to the appeals court that upheld his 2017 conviction, it did not matter whether he sincerely believed he was doing what a physician is supposed to do.

...

Criminal penalties traditionally are reserved for people who knowingly break the law. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has held that a physician's "good faith belief that he dispensed a controlled substance in the usual course of his professional practice is irrelevant" to the question of whether he violated the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Based on that reading of the law, the 11th Circuit rejected Ruan's argument that he was entitled to a jury instruction precluding a guilty verdict if the evidence indicated that he honestly thought his prescriptions were "for a legitimate medical purpose" and that he was "acting in the usual course of his professional practice," as required by CSA regulations.

As the appeals court saw it, Ruan could be sent to prison for decades even if he unintentionally fell short of those ambiguous standards. In a case that was consolidated with Ruan's, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit likewise held that good faith does not matter in deciding whether a prescription was written in "the usual course of professional practice," which must be determined "objectively."

Several justices seemed dismayed by the idea that prescribers can be accidentally guilty of drug trafficking. Justice Stephen Breyer argued that the CSA should be read to require that prosecutors prove a doctor "knowingly or intentionally" broke the law.

"The doctor may have violated that objective standard but might have legitimately thought that the standard was somewhat different," Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted. He added that the phrase "legitimate medical purpose" is "very vague language in my estimation, and reasonable people can disagree."

Even in "an extremely close case," Justice Neil Gorsuch noted, a defendant facing "20 years to maybe life in prison" is, according to the 11th Circuit, "unable to shield himself behind any mens rea requirement." Justice Clarence Thomas likewise emphasized that "quite significant criminal penalties" can be imposed on physicians for what amounts to a regulatory infraction: violating the conditions of their DEA registration.

...

 

Ignoring intent and punishing people anyway is a common theme for prohibition programs, and that's what is happening here. Again.

"Legitimate medical purpose" is something about which people disagree. Lots of us think there are legitimate medical purposes for cannabis and its extracts, but federal law says no.

Doctors have recently asked me and my dying brother to rate our own pain on a scale of 1 to 10. So that's how "objective" measurement is achieved.

And since that's obviously as stupid as the rest of the drug war, the real standard that Dr. Ruan encountered has nothing to do with how much pain his patients may have suffered, or may have told him they suffered. It's just a DEA worksheet of what other doctors have done.

If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, at least until the DEA overrides his medical judgement and substitutes their own.

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21 hours ago, sparau said:

Combine with many servings of the anti human 'war on drugs' for societal destruction.   : ( 

It's like there's a complete lack of honesty about some topics 

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Among 17 nations surveyed by the World Health Organization, the United States ranks first in lifetime use of three substances - cocaine, cannabis, and tobacco

 

This thread has been around since 2015 and had a predecessor lost in one of the purges and I'm just NOW learning we're on the same side of the stupid drug war?

Speak up more often, please.

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4 hours ago, Pertinacious Tom said:

  

This thread has been around since 2015 and had a predecessor lost in one of the purges and I'm just NOW learning we're on the same side of the stupid drug war?

Speak up more often, please.

I did once several years ago but mostly I avoid political discussion  : )  I did comment that the USA should pay reparations for this unjust war both to it's citizens and central America, lol.

I was aware when I typed it you had some quite sensible views on the war on drugs, which is really a social and health issue.  It's really coming to crazy places in several countries now with people mixing hideous chemicals together rather than being able to access something less damaging.

rat poison FFS in South Africa

Fenatyl mixed with tranquilliser in the USA.  

This is a good series, each episode end with "we'd like to congratulate drugs for winning the war on drugs"

https://video.vice.com/en_ca/topic/war-on-drugs

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On 10/19/2021 at 8:13 PM, Pertinacious Tom said:

California Seizes 1.2 Million Dangerously Untaxed Marijuana Plants
 

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Marijuana prohibition has officially ended in California, but you might be forgiven for thinking otherwise given the continued crackdown on grow operations across the state. On Monday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the seizure of 1.2 million illegally cultivated marijuana plants and 180,000 pounds of processed marijuana as part of the state's Cocksuckers After My Pot (CAMP) program.

The CAMP program dates back to the "just say no" days of the 1980s.

 

Expand  

And hasn't changed much.

Governor Newsom has the right reaction to this.

Gov. Newsom Proposes Eliminating One of California's Many Marijuana Taxes
 

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The latest California budget submitted by Gov. Gavin Newsom could go a long way in fixing the state's ailing recreational marijuana industry by fully eliminating an oppressive cultivation tax.

Newsom's May revisions to the 2022–23 fiscal year budget call for some significant statutory changes to the state's cannabis tax system. The biggest change would be zeroing out the cultivation taxes beginning in July. The excise tax of 15 percent would remain intact.

When Californians voted to legalize recreational marijuana cultivation and sales back in 2016, the industry ended up saddled with state and local taxes that make it inordinately costly to attempt to sell or buy cannabis legally. As a result, the black market for marijuana still dominates sales in a state where it's legal to buy it. Industry analysts estimate about $8 billion in black market marijuana sales annually in California—double the amount of marijuana purchased through licensed dispensaries.

...

 

When the illegal market is twice the size of the legal market, it means the legal market isn't working. Not because it can't, but because politicians won't let it. Tax something enough and you've prohibited it. That was the point of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Glad to see Newsom moving in the right direction.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dr. Oz Warns That Legalizing Marijuana in Pennsylvania Would Aggravate Unemployment by Weakening 'Mojo'
 

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...

The charge that marijuana saps motivation goes beyond the commonsensical observation that the acute effects of cannabis, like the acute effects of alcohol, are generally incompatible with work. It alleges that regular marijuana use has a persistent impact, making people so lazy that they fail at school, neglect their personal responsibilities, and "stay home" rather than go to work or look for a job. Since Oz cited "addiction to marijuana" as a distinct concern, he implied that even moderate cannabis consumption, unlike moderate drinking, makes people disinclined to work for a living.

Harvard psychiatrist Dana Farnsworth put a name to this perceived problem during congressional testimony in 1970. "I am very much concerned about what has come to be called the 'amotivational syndrome,'" he said. "I am certain as I can be…that when an individual becomes dependent upon marijuana…he becomes preoccupied with it. His attitude changes toward endorsement of values which he had not before; he tends to become very easily satisfied with what is immediately present, in such a way that he seems to have been robbed of his ability to make appropriate choices."

...

Despite its long appeal as a propaganda theme, the idea that smoking pot makes people unproductive remains scientifically controversial. In their 1997 book Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts, the sociologist Lynn Zimmer and the pharmacologist John P. Morgan examined the evidence and concluded: "There is nothing in these data to suggest that marijuana reduces people's motivation to work, their employability, or their capacity to earn wages. Studies have consistently found that marijuana users earn wages similar to or higher than nonusers."

1999 report from the National Academy of Sciences noted that amotivational syndrome "is not a medical diagnosis, but it has been used to describe young people who drop out of social activities and show little interest in school, work, or other goal-directed activity. When heavy marijuana use accompanies these symptoms, the drug is often cited as the cause, but there are no convincing data to demonstrate a causal relationship between marijuana smoking and these behavioral characteristics."

 

Seth Rogan is open and funny about his pot smoking. He's also hyperactive and hyperproductive. He suggested in an interview that those "young people who drop out"  are drawn to self-medicate with pot, meaning that's the effect, not the cause.

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