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Monthly Archives: February 2008

pax2.jpgHeadline: Feb.27th, 2008: William F Buckley Jr Is Dead at 82– The passing of Bill Buckley brought to mind my upbringing in a conservative tribe, sure of libertarian principles as solid as the ground beneath my feet. “Firing Line”, the 1970’s PBS show that Mr. Buckley hosted, was more entertaining than any game show, as I tried to understand the nuances of the Master’s obscure words. Those were the days when the word “Conservative” meant something – a firm adherence to the Constitutional principles of individual liberty that made America a shining light – not an excuse for zealots, warmongers and misguided Neo-Puritans.

abe1.jpgLater, as an activist working in drug policy reform, I came again to listen to Buckley’s reasoned arguments against our modern prohibition (War on Drugs) in the National Review, the conservative magazine Mr. Buckley founded.  An uncontrolled black market; subversion of the Constitution; lack of respect for the law; an out of control bureaucracy wasting a billion dollars a week; violence and social instability from organized crime- all reasons that anyone truly concerned about their community and the effectiveness of the government, especially law enforcement, recognizes the “War on some drugs” as a tragedy eclipsing the failed prohibition of alcohol.

*** Just Re-Published: Reefer Madness – an article, written by William F. Buckley, Jr., about Ed Rosenthal, Peter McWilliams and the need to end a senseless prohibition.

In this video series, William F. Buckley, Jr. discusses his viewpoints on the drug war: William F. Buckley on Drug War (1-3)

Mr. Buckley is one of many conservatives that have spoken out against the modern prohibition. Walter Cronkite, the venerable CBS news anchorman of the 1960’s and 70’s (whose reassessment of the Vietnam War as lost caused President Lyndon Johnson to realize the war was fruitless), has long held a similar view of the drug war. The Drug Policy Alliance has a video series featuring Mr. Cronkite’s and America’s War on Drugs:Walter Cronkite & America’s Disastrous Drug War Pt 1 of 6

The Drug Policy Alliance also has a brief video featuring conservative economist Milton Friedman condemning the modern prohibition:Milton Friedman and “The War On Drugs — RIP.” Assignment

Another conservative with libertarian roots, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), is running for President of the United States. This video from one of the presidential debates shows the strength of Dr. Paul’s convictions on this issue:Ron Paul Calls for End to Drug War

If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any natural  right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being a gift from God, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.
Samuel Adams, Father of the American Revolution.

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Headline: Feb.16.08 – Ease Up on Marijuana, Doctors Group Tells Feds– The largest group of internal medicine doctors in America, the American College of Physicians, has endorsed using Cannabis for medical purposes and is urging the U.S. Congress to remove it from Schedule One (which stipulates a drug as having no medical use) of the Controlled Substances Act. The ACP Position Paper (PDF)  also calls for protection for doctors and patients in the twelve U.S. states that have legalized medical marijuana, now suffering raids and intimidation at the hands of the federal government.

On this video, George Lundberg, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Medscape General Medicine (www.medgenmed.com), cites the failure and absurdity of the marijuana prohibition (especially given its’ relative safety compared to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs), recognizes the medical value of Cannabis and calls on Congress to reclassify marijuana.It Is Time for Marijuana to Be Reclassified

Americans for Safe Access, a nationwide patient advocacy organization, is also calling amsfac.jpgon Congress to respect the will of the voters regarding medical marijuana, cease interference in the doctor/patient relationship and let people have access to a natural, God-given medicine. In this video, Dr. Mitch Earleywine, author of Understanding Marijuana, examines the prohibition of medicine and Rebecca Saltzman, Chief of Staff of Americans for Safe Access, explains ASA’s role in reforming medical marijuana laws and supporting patients and providers in the face of federal raids.Cannabis Dispensary Information Pt 3, presented by DrugTruth.Net

Headline: Feb.13.07Judge Sides With Botanist on Pot Supply -Both ASA and the American College of Physicians are specifically requesting the Senate to support access to materials for FDA-approved medical cannabis research and to instruct the DEA to follow the recommendation of its own law judge and grant Professor Lyle Craker, PhD, University of MA at Amherst, and mps.gifMAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) a licence to produce true medical grade Cannabis for research. MAPS has filed a lawsuit to end the U.S. government’s monopoly on medical Cannabis for research.

In this video, Rick Doblin, Founder of MAPS,explains how the federal government hindered medical Cannabis research, intimidated patients and caregivers and ignored state laws.Legalize Marijuana as Medicine 1, video by DrugTruth.Net

At a Drug Enforcement Administration Symposium in November 2, 2007, MAPS staff member Lauren Anderson Payne asks DEA Deputy Admin. Joseph Rannazzisi what it will take for the DEA to allow research with true medical grade Cannabis in the United States.Second Set of Questions ot DEA Medical Marijuana

Ironically, the federal government grows Cannabis ( not medical grade) and sends it to several legal patients on the “Compassionate I.N.D. program (closed to new medical marijuana applicants since 1991).

Patients Out of Time, an advocacy group for Cannabis as medicine, hosting clinical ctc1.jpgmedical conferences featuring doctors, researchers and the latest science from studies around the world on the efficacy of medical marijuana, sponsored the Missoula Study (with the assistance of MAPS and others),  which examined long term use of N.I.D.A.’s low-grade Cannabis by these legal patients. At the 2002 Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics in Portland, OR, Dr. Ethan Russo examines the government-grown marijuana and presents the findings of the study, concluding that even N.I.D.A.’s Cannabis was effective and safe, but that higher grade medicine would be desirable and more effective.Chronic Medical Cannabis Use by U.S. Legal Patients, Part 3

 This is not the first time a DEA Administrative Judge has recommended change on the agency’s policy regarding Cannabis. Notable is the 1988 ruling by Judge Francis Young, DEA Judge, in a petition to reschedule marijuana. Finding that Cannabis was”one of the safest therapeutic agents known to man”, Judge Young recommended that marijuana be moved from Schedule One to Schedule Two of the Controlled Substances Act. The DEA ignored his recommendation.

At the 2004 Cannabis Therapeutics Conference, Arnold Trebach, Founder of the Drug Policy Foundation, describes his experience on the legal team at the 1988 hearings.Marijuana Rescheduling Case ( DEA Judge ), by Arnold Trebach

Also addressing the 2004 Cannabis Therapeutics Conference was Jon Gettman, PhD, discussing Schedule 1 classification of Cannabis, a thirty year history of petitions to DEA/HHS to reschedule and legislative issues.The Rescheduling of Marijuana – report by Jon Gettman

Headline -Jan.29.08 – BUSH BARNSTORMER TOUTS TEEN DRUG TESTSscrollneg.gifBertha Madras, Deputy Drug Czar for the Bush administration,  is on a nationwide barnstorming tour encouraging the random drug testing of all schoolchildren, not just those engaged in extracurricular activities. In this video, Ms. Madras says random testing is “an excuse to resist peer pressure”, but Jenny Kern of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) points out that testing can drive kids away from marijuana and towards hard drugs, as alcohol and narcotics pass out of the body more quickly.* Video –Student Drug Testing Smacked Down in Las Vegas! *

supcts.jpgExperience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficial. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.
Justice Louis Brandeis (1928)

ssdp.gifStudents for Sensible Drug Policy(SSDP) believes that drug testing is demeaning and counter-productive, breaking down the bond of trust between parent and child. Executive director of SSDP, Kris Krane debates a proponent of student drug testing who markets home drug test kits to parents.* Video – SSDP Drug Testing Debate *

Headline: Feb.4.08 Teens Turning To Medicine Cabinets For Drugs– Meanwhile, an alarming rise in prescription drug abuse by children is getting national attention. Raiding their parents medicine cabinets, feeling that legal drugs may be OK or less dangerous and buying extra prescription drugs from their peers, teens may also expect to escape positive tests for illegal drugs.* Video – Officials Warn About Teen Abuse Of Prescription Drugs *

dwfs.gifDrug War Facts, a service of Common Sense for Drug Policy (CSDP) is an extensive resource for those who want to learn the unvarnished truth about the impact of drugs on individuals and society, with detailed scrutiny of the “War on Drugs”.

The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the Prohibition law. albert.jpgFor nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this.
Albert Einstein, My First Impression of the U.S.A., 1921

Headline: Feb.6.08 – British Columbia, Canadaun.jpgWe Can’t Win Drug War With Just Police: ForumDelegates Work To Revise UN Drug Policy
* excerpt -“A United Nations forum on drug policy yesterday agreed that “over-reliance on law enforcement” causes deaths, fuels crime and unfairly targets “poor people of colour.” Former Vancouver mayor Philip Owen said after the Beyond 2008 conference in Vancouver that “drug-policy reform won the day because most rational people on the front lines realize that the war on drugs has been a miserable failure.” The conference drew about 80 delegates from all over North America and is one of several being held worldwide before a drug-policy discussion slated for Vienna this July.”

pax2.jpgFinally, we may be seeing a crack in the fortress of the War on Drugs, a modern day prohibition grinding on for forty years –  fueling gangland violence, lack of respect for the law and abdication of control to the multilevel marketers of organized crime. As with alcohol prohibition, users of drugs, both illegal and legal, are subjected to tainted, contaminated products, outside the realm of quality control and regulation.

wrld21.jpgFor years, the goal of UN Drug Policy has been the eradication of Cannabis (marijuana) and other natural entheogens from the face of the planet, tearing bonds of herbal medical and spiritual traditions going back thousands of years in cultures all over the world.Unfortunately, the folly and failure of this policy has not been benign, with collateral damage on many levels. Hopefully, the forums leading up to the Vienna meeting in July will sweep away old ways of thinking.

An encouraging sign comes from the appearance of  Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at the Drug Policy Alliance conference in New Orleans last fall. Antonio-Maria Costa addresses the DPA conference Part 1

The UN “Drug Czar” hoped we can all agree on five points:

1.The importance of health and security as concerns of society. 2. The need for harm reduction. 3. The assurance that drug policy is based on evidence, not politics or ideology. 4. The dichotomy of prohibition/legalization is too simplistic. 5. That regulation of all addictive drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, is necessary.

Still, the Czar concluded that relaxing drug policy for illegal drugs would only exacerbate the problem of addiction – certainly an overly simplistic viewpoint , leaving the impression that the UNODP has no intention of serious change in drug policy.

Ethan Nadelmann, Executive of the Drug Policy Alliance discusses practical reforms, like decriminalization of marijuana, on a TV show in New Orleans after the conference. New Orleans Meets Drug Policy Reform

Headline: Jan.30.08Opposition To Marijuana Up In Smoke– The only presidential candidate left in the ’08 race that is unequivocally for medical marijuana, legalization of marijuana and ending the “war on drugs” is Rep. Ron Paul, MD. True to his Libertarian roots, Dr. Paul recognizes the folly of a prohibition and its’ counterproductive effects.Ron Paul on marijuana, prohibition, and personal freedom

Headline: Feb.3.08 – A Truth Barack Obama Won’t Dare Tell– Although he favored decriminalization of marijuana in 2004, recently Barack Obama has recently sent mixed signals on the issue. He has vowed to end the federal raids on medical marijuana facilities in legal states like CA. Video from 2004 in which Senator Obama says the drug war is a failure and favors decriminalization of Cannabis. Note: Alcohol prohibition was “decrim” (little or no penalty for users, only sellers) and still had to be ended for society’s sake.Barack Obama Supports Marijuana Decriminalization

Meanwhile, Senator Hillary Clinton, when asked about medical marijuana, says only that more research is needed. Perhaps she is unaware that polls consistently show overwhelming support for medical marijuana, usually over 80%.Sen. Hillary Clinton meets a medical marijuana patient

* Editorial: Hillary and Obama, Ignore the Sleazy Pollsters Who Want You to Cave on Drug Reform

In fact, Cannabis is probably the most researched medicinal agent in the world – referred to as medicine four thousand years ago in ancient China and a traditional medicine all over the world. In America, our ancestors were quite familiar with Cannabis based medicines – one-third of all medical preparations contained Cannabis. Today, science has proved its’ efficacy in many conditions, like chronic pain relief without harmful side-effects of narcotics.

ctc1.jpg2002 Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics– Dr. Ethan Russo gives a history of Cannabis use studies, including several in the U.S. – all coming to the same basic conclusion: “Society has no cause for concern regarding the effects of Cannabis use on health or crime, and in fact, it has many positives – like medicinal value, spiritual traditions and productivity”.Marijuana Use Studies – A History, with Ethan Russo, MD

A nurse and addiction specialist, Mary Lynn Mathre, President of Patients Out of Time (Hosts of the Cannabis Therapeutics Conference), declares the necessary research has been done and it’s time to give patients access medical marijuana.Medical Marijuana – A Nurse’s Perspective, Mary Lynn Mathre