Drug Prohibition: Still Stupid

Pertinacious Tom

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When does stupid cross the line and become evil?

A look in the rear-view mirror, courtesy of Team Alexis on FB:

Team Alexis
6 hrs ·

As I am sitting here alone watching Alexis sleep I wrote this. I hope legislators get a chance to see it. Feel free to share:

Tonight I find myself sitting at the foot of the bed watching Alexis sleep. She is sleeping peacefully having just completed 509 consecutive days seizure free thanks to THC and CBD products but still I sit here worrying. You see, this week Liza and Avery are out of town picking up Alexis’s new service puppy and we are once again a military family torn apart by the drug war. Alexis simply can’t ride to Texas due to state laws.

Suddenly, I am back to our life in Texas. The countless sleepless nights flood through my mind. The horror of waiting for the seizure monster’s next attack still causes goosebumps even tonight. As a man of faith I know that God has blessed us all with this plant meant to save lives and he is showing it through Alexis. As a disabled veteran, I know I have to project fearlessness to Alexis while I am the only one here to care for her should the seizure monster resume his attacks. However, the scientist in me knows the seizure monster is still here in this room. Cannabis has stopped his relentless attacks on Alexis’s little body but the hunt (the disease) continues. The scientist in me also knows that neither prayer nor cannabis cures epilepsy. The father in me knows that Alexis’s facial ‘ticks’ whose return I have recently noted are the exact same ones she used to have when the monster could reach her. I can’t logically discount the significance of their return at the exact time that her doctors are saying it may be time to up her THC dose again. After all, she has some of the world’s best doctors monitoring the blood she donates to Children’s Hospital Denver Colorado every month.

However, as she grows, it is obvious something slight is changing. We adjust her dose every week for weight changes, but early on we were told by her doctors that as she approached puberty her THC demands would likely go up and perhaps go up significantly. Luckily, here in Colorado, THC access is not a problem but for CBD-Only states where the legislators serve double duty as doctors, we would be out of luck.

Tonight I sit here and for the first time in months I worry. I know it is mathematically probable that Alexis will have a serious seizure again someday. We have a whole-family plan to deal with that. However, tonight that plan can’t be executed because Alexis’s THC medicine isn’t allowed in the states along the path to Texas. Tonight Alexis’s support group has once again been splintered by Texas’s (and other states) choice of political expedience over life.

Tonight, Alexis is once again in more danger because of CBD-Only legislation and she doesn’t even live in a state that has it.

Texas Governor Greg Abott are you listening sir? Do you care?

Respectfully,

Dean M. Bortell
Disabled American Veteran

509 days seizure-free.

The best legal drugs bought her hours, not years.

 
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Pertinacious Tom

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DEA Issues Routine Denial On Rescheduling Petition

the DEA has until now insisted on maintaining NIDA's marijuana monopoly, which is one of the ways it has obstructed the research it says is necessary to move marijuana out of Schedule I. A 2001 attempt to get DEA approval for a private source of marijuana, backed by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), dragged on for a decade and ultimately failed, despite a positive ruling from an administrative law judge. The DEA rejected the MAPS petition in January 2009, just before Barack Obama took office. Instead of reversing that decision, Obama appointed the acting administrator who made it, Michele Leonhart, to head the agency. Now Leonhart, who famously refused to say whether marijuana is less dangerous than heroin, is gone, replaced by an acting administrator who calls medical marijuana "a joke" but apparently is willing to let researchers prove him wrong.

"As long as folks abide by the rules, and we're going to regulate that, we want to expand the availability, the variety, the type of marijuana available to legitimate researchers," Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg told NPR. "If our understanding of the science changes, that could very well drive a new decision."

Rosenberg emphasized that the decision to keep marijuana in Schedule I was based exclusively on a judgment about its medical value. "This decision isn't based on danger," he said. "This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine, and it's not."
But the dangerous anti-seizure drugs that gave Alexis hours of relief are OK. 509 days seizure free with far fewer and less severe side effects is not nearly as safe and effective. Just a joke. Hah. Hilarious.

You really can't blame the DEA. Every bureaucracy wants to continue and expand its funding. They're just protecting their money. Congress and/or the President could stop this insanity but the Congress is still too full of fossilized drug warriors like Grassley and the President just isn't interested. He figures someone else should lead on this issue.

 

Sean

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NYTimes opinion - Stop Treating Marijuana Like Heroin

Unfortunately behind a paywall. Here's a clip -

Supporters of a saner marijuana policy scored a small victory this week when the Obama administration said it would authorize more institutions to grow marijuana for medical research. But the government passed up an opportunity to make a more significant change.

The Drug Enforcement Administration on Thursday turned down two petitions one from the governors of Rhode Island and Washington and the other from a resident of New Mexico requesting that marijuana be removed from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. Drugs on that list, which include heroin and LSD, are deemed to have no medical use; possession is illegal under federal law, and researchers have to jump through many hoops to obtain permission to study them and obtain samples to study. Having marijuana on that list is deeply misguided since many scientists and President Obama have said that it is no more dangerous than alcohol.

Over the years, Congress and attorneys general have deferred to the expertise of the D.E.A., which is the part of the Justice Department that enforces the nations drug laws. So the D.E.A. has amassed extensive control over drug policy making. It determines who gets to grow marijuana for research and which scholars are allowed to study it, for example. It has strongly resisted efforts by scientists, state officials and federal lawmakers to reclassify marijuana by rejecting or refusing to acknowledge evidence that marijuana is not nearly as harmful as federal law treats it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/13/opinion/a-small-victory-for-more-sensible-marijuana-policies.html

 
A

Amati

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I'm guilty of not reading every post here, but a comment from someone who lives in Washington State, where the stuff is legal:

I've played golf with more than a few law enforcement folk and medics statewide since legalization, and all of them say that legalized marijuana has made their jobs easier and safer. Even meth addicts imbibe, so when there's a Call, the Mellow that has resulted means that less officers are needed, and the EMT's and Blues are pretty much welcomed by everybody. Not a scientific study, but I think significant. Add to that tax income. The state is working on making the legal product cheaper than any of the black market stuff, to get rid of that pit of violence. Even in a really scary town like this, the vibe is less violent and tense. It's just easier to get high legally, so people do it.

The medical uses are wonderful, but that is frosting, at this point. I know he's long dead while porking the hooker, but Rockefeller and all his neo Calvinist fucking crazed friends have to get their heads out of their asses.

I think any environmental problems can be worked out. It's a crop.

Canadians worship Washington State. They consider us rational. 'No more ruined lives' is what you hear. Refreshing. Really Nice. Its like what being an American used to be like.

 
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Pertinacious Tom

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NYTimes opinion - Stop Treating Marijuana Like Heroin

Unfortunately behind a paywall. Here's a clip -

Supporters of a saner marijuana policy scored a small victory this week when the Obama administration said it would authorize more institutions to grow marijuana for medical research. But the government passed up an opportunity to make a more significant change.

The Drug Enforcement Administration on Thursday turned down two petitions one from the governors of Rhode Island and Washington and the other from a resident of New Mexico requesting that marijuana be removed from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. Drugs on that list, which include heroin and LSD, are deemed to have no medical use; possession is illegal under federal law, and researchers have to jump through many hoops to obtain permission to study them and obtain samples to study. Having marijuana on that list is deeply misguided since many scientists and President Obama have said that it is no more dangerous than alcohol.

Over the years, Congress and attorneys general have deferred to the expertise of the D.E.A., which is the part of the Justice Department that enforces the nations drug laws. So the D.E.A. has amassed extensive control over drug policy making. It determines who gets to grow marijuana for research and which scholars are allowed to study it, for example. It has strongly resisted efforts by scientists, state officials and federal lawmakers to reclassify marijuana by rejecting or refusing to acknowledge evidence that marijuana is not nearly as harmful as federal law treats it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/13/opinion/a-small-victory-for-more-sensible-marijuana-policies.html
Good to see that the NY Times is finally saying what libertarians have been saying for years. And no, it's not that we don't like laws against littering. We don't like stupid and harmful laws.

Did they happen to mention that Obama's first appointment to head the DEA came out and said marijuana is as dangerous as heroin? Or that his next appointment learned the PR lesson and just won't say whether that's true or not? Meanwhile, actions speak louder than words and the DEA continues to treat marijuana like heroin.

As I said a few posts back, the DEA isn't really to blame. They're protecting their turf and their budget and enforcing laws made by the legislative and executive branches.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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DEA's Self-Contradictory Reasons To Keep Cannabis In Schedule 1

Admitting that it is less dangerous than drugs in Schedules 2 and 3, DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg said:

"Schedule I includes some substances that are exceptionally dangerous and some that are less dangerous (including marijuana, which is less dangerous than some substances in other schedules)," Rosenberg writes in an August 11 letter to Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, whose predecessors filed one of the rescheduling petitions that the DEA rejected this month. "That strikes some people as odd, but the criteria [sic] for inclusion in Schedule I is not relative danger….It is best not to think of drug scheduling as an escalating 'danger' scale—rather, specific statutory criteria (based on medical and scientific evidence) determine into which schedule a substance is placed."
So it's not about danger.

Schedule I drugs are supposed to lack "accepted safety for use…under medical supervision."
Oh, that explains it. It's about safety, which is completely unrelated to danger.

The difficulty in finding an appropriate schedule for marijuana reflects a broader problem with the CSA's classification scheme. If a controlled substance does not have an accepted medical use (however that's defined), it has to go in Schedule I, even if it has a low potential for abuse and is safer than over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or diphenhydramine. The only alternative is to take the drug out of the schedules entirely, which in the case of marijuana can be done only by Congress, given the CSA's deference to the Single Convention, which allows medical use of cannabis but calls for strict regulation.

Although the DEA has the power to move marijuana from one schedule to another, it was Congress that put it in Schedule I to begin with. The CSA was not intended to regulate recreational intoxicants, which are banned unless Congress omitted them from the law's schedules, as it did with alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. The DEA's assumption that all nonmedical use of marijuana constitutes abuse may be absurd, but it's an absurdity that Congress demanded.
And while arguing about Hillary and Donald, we're about to do what we always do and reelect incumbents to Congress at a very high rate.

It's an absurdity we are demanding. Except for a few libertarians.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Kill Them All

That's what Rodrigo Duterte is doing in the Phillipines. An admirable effort according to US drug warriors.

HRI identified 33 countries that authorize the death penalty for drug offenses, but it classified just seven—China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia—as "high application states," meaning "the sentencing of people convicted of drug offences to death and/or carrying out executions are routine and mainstreamed part of the criminal justice system." Three of those countries—China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia—account for almost all known executions of drug offenders: 546 out of 549 in 2013.

...

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the crime bill that former President Bill Clinton alternately brags about and apologizes for, authorized the death penalty for large-scale drug trafficking, a provision that has never been carried out. It probably never will, since it seems to be unconstitutional under Kennedy v. Louisiana, the 2008 case in which the Supreme Court said the Eighth Amendment requires that the death penalty be reserved for "crimes that take the life of the victim."

As far as William J. Bennett is concerned, that's a shame. Back in 1989, when he was running the Office of National Drug Control Policy under Clinton's predecessor, Bennett said "there's no moral problem" with beheading drug dealers—the preferred method in Saudi Arabia. Although beheading might be legally problematic, he said on Larry King Live, it would be "morally proportional to the nature of the offense." And Bennett ought to know, since he has a Ph.D. in philosophy. "I used to teach ethics," he told Larry King. "Trust me." The following year, Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates took Bennett's logic a step further, telling a Senate committee that casual drug users "ought to be taken out and shot" as traitors in the war on drugs.

Although Rodrigo Duterte is sometimes compared to Donald Trump, he could be taking his cues from Bennett, Gates, and other American drug warriors who heartily endorsed lethal responses to nonviolent actions. Duterte's portrayal of meth addicts as subhuman and unworthy of life also has parallels in American propaganda. His main distinction is that he follows through on the murderous implications of his mindless anti-drug rhetoric—something voters apparently admire. The New York Times reports that "Mr. Duterte's crackdown has been hugely popular."
 

Pertinacious Tom

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9th Circuit Upholds Ban on Sales of Tools to Medical Marijuana Card Holders

...

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has told gun sellers they can assume a person with a medical marijuana card uses the drug.

The 9th Circuit in its 3-0 decision agreed that it's reasonable for federal regulators to assume a medical marijuana card holder is more likely to use the drug.

In addition, a ban on the sale of guns to marijuana and other drug users is reasonable because the use of such drugs "raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated," Senior District Judge Jed Rakoff said.

...
I think the court is right that this is what the law says. It's another example of how the war on drugs and the war on guns combine to erode our rights.

I also think that alcohol use "raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated," and this is another good reason we should treat cannabis more like alcohol.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Portugal’s Example: What Happened After It Decriminalized All Drugs, From Weed to Heroin

As diplomats gather at the United Nations in New York this week to consider the future of global drug policy, one Portuguese official, João Goulão, will likely command attention that far outstrips his country's influence in practically any other area. That's because 16 years ago, Portugal took a leap and decriminalized the possession of all drugs — everything from marijuana to heroin. By most measures, the move has paid off.

...

"We had a lot of criticism at first," recalled Goulão, a physician specializing in addiction treatment whose work led Portugal to reform its drug laws in 2000, and who is today its national drug coordinator. After decriminalizing, the first inquiries Portugal received from the International Narcotics Control Board — the quasi-judicial UN oversight body established by the UN drug convention system — were sharp and scolding.

"Now things have changed completely," he went on. "We are pointed to as an example of best practices inside the spirit of the conventions." Indeed, Werner Sipp, the new head of the board, said as much at the UN's Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna earlier this year.
The doomcasters were wrong again. Ending prohibition is not the end of the world. Most measures of the harm brought by drugs have gotten better, not worse.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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I hope to see some jury nullification here in FL soon

Fifty-four-year-old Bridget Kirouac was followed home by Martin County sheriff’s deputies just over two years ago after a visit to Mr. Nice Guy Hydroponics. Deputies raided her home and found about 20 marijuana plants, some cannabis tincture and some harvested pot.

She said she needs the marijuana to help get her through days of pain and depression.

Facing 10 years in prison if convicted, Kirouac is scheduled to stand trial in Stuart next week, and her attorney is hopeful he can present a defense claiming the pot was medicinal and that a recommendation from Kirouac’s doctor in Maine is sufficient for her to legally use cannabis here.

“I will show the jury that this is a medical necessity,” said Stuart defense attorney Michael Minardi in a telephone interview Friday, “that she has a right to this treatment.”
He might convince the jury of that but I don't think it matters under our law. I don't think our law accepts certification by a doc from another state to establish medical necessity.

So even if he does convince the jury that this woman has a medical need, failing to convict her would still be jury nullification.
Her trial was apparently delayed and went to the jury yesterday.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Kirouac Not Guilty

I don't see how this can be viewed as anything but jury nullification.

It's more and more common and good to see jurors exercising their power to tell drug warriors to shove it up their ass.

It would be even better if voters did it, but I guess we'll have to wait some more years for that.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Legalize Heroin

The last five years have seen heroin overdose deaths dramatically spike in the United States, from just over 3,000 in 2010 to more than 10,500 in 2014, the latest year for which the National Institutes of Health provides data. In fact, drug overdose deaths now outpace car crashes in taking American lives, and about half those overdoses are attributable to heroin and other opioids.

...

here in the States, strict prohibition has utterly failed to prevent drug use rates at world-record levels. Drug war spending is perhaps the only thing to spike faster than heroin addiction, and we have nothing to show for it. In 2016, Rolling Stone notes, "the federal government is spending more than $1,100 per person to combat the habit of America's 27 million illicit-drug users, and 22 million of them use marijuana." With more than $1.5 trillion down the drain, U.S. addiction rates have utterly failed to improve.

If anything, the drug war makes illicit opioid use more dangerous than it otherwise would be. Heroin abuse often begins as an extension of opioid addiction fostered by over-prescription, and once users get their supply from the street instead of the pharmacy, prohibition produces tainted and mislabeled products that make overdose more likely — just like it did with alcohol nearly a century ago.

Criminalizing the heroin supply chain produces a risky and therefore lucrative market for violent criminals, leading to casualties far beyond the toll of drug abuse itself.
Drug prohibition is causing the same list of problems that alcohol prohibition did.

Legalization made alcohol safer. Not safe. Safer.

On that subject, a year ago I was afraid we would soon lose my alcoholic brother. I'm happy to report he hasn't had a drop of alcohol since late last year and doesn't seem to miss it a bit. Watching his decline, I could see why the Temperance Movement wanted alcohol prohibition, but the horrors of addiction are not cured by prohibition. They are cured one individual at a time and prohibition makes that more difficult.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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643,121 marijuana arrests in 2015

Such a colossal waste.

FBI statistics released last week show that the number of marijuana arrests in the United States, after rising slightly in 2014, fell by 8 percent last year, reaching the lowest level in two decades. The total was nevertheless more than twice the number in 1991, before a nationwide cannabis crackdown that peaked in 2007. The number of marijuana arrests has fallen more or less steadily since then, reflecting a growing consensus that cannabis consumers should not be treated as criminals.

The FBI's numbers indicate that police across the country made 643,121 marijuana arrests in 2015, 26 percent fewer than the 2007 total of 872,720. As usual, the vast majority of pot arrests—almost nine out of 10—were for possession, as opposed to sale or cultivation. A 2006 analysis by the Sentencing Project's Ryan King and Marc Mauer found that less than 6 percent of marijuana arrests lead to a felony conviction.

It's not clear exactly why police started targeting cannabis consumers with renewed zeal in the early 1990s. Changes in marijuana use do not account for the surge in arrests. To the contrary, the risk of arrest for the average cannabis consumer rose substantially between 1991 and 2007, when the number of marijuana arrests tripled. Marijuana accounted for 52 percent of all drug arrests by 2010, up from less than 29 percent in 1991. "Since 1990," King and Mauer noted, "the primary focus of the war on drugs has shifted to low-level marijuana offenses. During the study period [1990 through 2002], 82% of the increase in drug arrests nationally (450,000) was for marijuana offenses, and virtually all of that increase was in possession offenses."


Last year the lion's share of drug arrests—43 percent—still involved marijuana. But that percentage has been dropping since 2010.

...

Still, 643,121 marijuana arrests are 643,121 too many. Even though marijuana offenders typically do not spend much time behind bars, they have done nothing to deserve the cost, inconvenience, humiliation, loss of freedom, and ancillary penalties associated with an arrest.

"While the numbers are thankfully dropping over time," says Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell, "it's alarming and simply unacceptable that someone is harassed by the police just for marijuana every 49 seconds in this country....
Mr. Angell is right but I wouldn't put it that way. "Harassed by the police" implies the police are doing something wrong. They're doing what they have been asked to do for the most part. It's asking them to do this that is wrong.

 

mikewof

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The Alaskan pot activist who quit her newscaster job on-air last year, now faces up to 40 years of prison. Her blog suggests that the prosecutor for her case lied to the Grand Jury to get the indictment for ten felonies.

https://www.theweedblog.com/charlos-place-the-lynching-of-charlo-greene/

Kinda looks to me like she's being railroaded on this one. She has guts, gave up a lot, likely her on-air quit may have pulled the extra votes needed to get the medical law passed in Alaska, someone in Alaska seems to want to see her in prison, I hope something intercedes here.

3-charlo-greene-weed-535x560.png


 
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Pertinacious Tom

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Hillary On Cannabis Legalization: Short In All Senses Of The Word

URSULA BURNS: So long means thumbs up, short means thumbs down; or long means I support, short means I don't. I'm going to start with — I'm going to give you about ten long-shorts.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Even if you could make money on a short, you can't answer short.

URSULA BURNS: You can answer short, but you got to be careful about letting anybody else know that. They will bet against you. So legalization of pot?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Short in all senses of the word. (emphasis added)

...

The Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016—who had to "evolve" a number of her long-held policies and supposed principles just to make it through her bruising primary battle with Bernie Sanders—now fully supports both medical marijuana and the removal of the drug from the DEA's Schedule I classification.

The question is, which Hillary Clinton should be believed?
I take "all senses of the word" to mean she opposes legalization and she thinks she can't get the lobbying money from legalization proponents that she can get from those opposed.

So I believe the 2014 version of Hillary.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Marijuana Legalization Likely in 3 More States

A look at the latest initiative-specific polling suggests that marijuana will be legalized for recreational use in California, Maine, and Massachusetts, while Florida will become the first Southern state to recognize marijuana as a medicine.
Florida will continue our tradition of doing this the stupid way, through constitutional amendment.

Our cluttered constitution will pick up more junk that doesn't belong there.

The thing is, it's easier for the people to just do this ourselves through constitutional amendment than it is for us to convince our "leaders" to comply with our wishes and change the law.

 

SloopJonB

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Medical Marijuana Fails To Make GOP Platform

...Medical cannabis has greatly improved the lives of patients with debilitating conditions, noted delegates in favor of the measure. They also said children “are being saved” by hemp products because their conditions often can’t be controlled with any other substance. ...
Opponents, presumably citing Reefer Madness, claimed that legalizing medical use would cause kids to become mass murderers.

No, really, I didn't make that up. That's really what they claimed and is really the argument that won the day for the GOP platform.
In high school in 1969 they held an assembly and played Reefer Madness - in all seriousness.

We knew it was coming and 1/2 the school smoked up before it.

The teachers seemed puzzled by all the laughter. :D

You'd have to be mentally deficient to be unable to make the connection between liquor prohibition in the Twenties and all the social harm it caused (can you spell Mafia children?) and current drug prohibition.

I suspect that the current WOD costs American society hundreds of $billions every year after everything is factored in. Just one item - what does 65% of your prison system cost annually?

This cure is far worse than the disease.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Obama Continues Pardoning Drug Offenders

When he was arrested in 1990 for participating in a cocaine conspiracy, Ignatzio Giuliano was the 55-year-old owner of a dinner cruise boat in Fort Lauderdale. He is now an 81-year-old federal prisoner, suffering from multiple maladies and eager to spend time with his children and grandchildren before he dies. Thanks to President Obama, it looks like Giuliano will get that chance. Giuliano is one of 98 prisoners whose sentences Obama shortened yesterday and one of 42 who received life sentences for nonviolent drug crimes.

...

"I am an old man now," Giuliano told the ACLU in 2013. "I made mistakes in my life, but I am not a threat to society, and I begrudge no one. My co-defendants have been home for years. All I am asking is to be afforded the dignity to spend the last few years of my life with my family, and to die outside of prison." After spending a quarter of a century behind bars, Giuliano is now scheduled to be released next February.
Are we done punishing this guy yet?

Imposing life sentences on people like him back in the 90's didn't win the drug war. The harsh sentences increase risk, increasing returns, and there's an endless supply of people who think they won't get caught.

 




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