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Monthly Archives: September 2008

    Watching our financial system treading the insolvency abyss, mortgaging the future with adjustable economic and political theories, one thing is clear – that we don’t have the cash to fully fund the American dream as we’ve known it. 

One reason – the one billion dollars per week ($52 billion/year – $19 billion Federal; $33 billion States) officially spent on the “War on Drugs”, not counting countless billions more in collateral damage.

The Prohibition/Industrial Complex has become a taxpayer’s nightmare – consuming precious government resources on federal, state and local levels; distorting priorities in law enforcement; funneling money into organized crime and underground economies; incarcerating communities and even criminalizing a versatile crop that could save the family farm.

Headline: Sept 11, 2008 – Marijuana Could Be a Gusher of Cash If We Treated It Like a Crop, Not a Crime – In the web based journal AlterNet, Steve Wishnia talks with policy analyst Jon Gettman about his 2006 study “Marijuana Production in the United States” and with Harvard economics professor Jeffrey A. Miron author of “The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition” (2005).

Many economists, like Jeffrey Miron, believe all drugs should be legalized, with most recognizing the need for regulation of drugs such as narcotics, especially in commercial form. Almost universal is agreement on the need to separate Cannabis (marijuana) from the “hard drugs”, as is now the norm in Europe, and treat it in the same manner as alcohol and tobacco (two much more dangerous substances). Moreover, medicinal Cannabis is fast becoming established as adjunct to conventional pain medicines for the chronically ill, who then need less expensive, debilitating pharmaceuticals (usually government subsidized) and are often able to remain productive members of society.

Here is a video from the University of California that features Jeffrey A. Miron’s theories and observations on drug legalization:Economics Roundtable: Legalizing Drugs

Headline: Sept 25, 2008 –Rhode Island: Economist Speaks Against ‘Just Say No’– Jeffrey Miron brings his views on the modern prohibition and its’ political connections to Brown University, sponsored in part by Students for Sensible Drug Policy – a national organization present on over two hundred college campuses across America.

Due to economic and budgetary pressures, the drug war will be slowly defunded – this has already begun. ( see previous post ) Ending alcohol prohibition was easy. Reforming the “War on Drugs” will be a tougher nut to crack. But if we don’t creatively approach the task of reordering our priorities towards substance use and abuse, social chaos will deepen as law enforcement resources are needed elsewhere, underground economies will expand and we will be left with no clear way out.

Headline: Sept 20, 2008Pot Arrests At Record High In US Last Year, FBI Says – ONDCP claims success, NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) sees conflict of interest. Paul Armentano of NORML has posted an in depth analysis of the statistics on AlterNet.

Headline: Aug 13, 2008 – Kuwait: OPED: America’s Never-Ending Prohibition – Sometimes the clearest viewpoint is from the outside. So it seems with this editorial from our friends on the Persian Gulf, focusing on the marijuana aspect of the U. S. drug war.

In this series of three videos, another noted economist, Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman exposes the history, immorality and bad economics of the War on Drugs:Milton Friedman on America’s Drug Forum, Pt.1 of 3

Headline: July 10, 2008 – US: Communities Pay for High Prison Rate –  The highly respected Wall Street Journal is sounding the alarm on the incarceration of non-violent drug offenders, resulting probations, strains on social programs and the dismal future for families and communities unlucky enough to bear the brunt of the never ending drug war.

The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.
Thomas Jefferson

Headline: May 1, 2008 – Mayor’s Letter Calls For Hearings Of DEA– Tom Bates, Mayor of Berkley, California, has sent a letter to Washington demanding Congressional hearings on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s latest tactic in its’ effort to undermine the medical Cannabis (marijuana) statutes voted on by the people of California. The DEA is sending letters to landlords of medical Cannabis dispensaries, threatening forfeiture of their property and even criminal prosecution if the landlords continue to lease property to the dispensaries.

Here is a newscast from last spring, when the Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers of Morro Bay, CA, a medical Cannabis dispensary that was raided, reopened and then was forced to close permanently after the landlord received a letter from the DEA, threatening prosecution and forfeiture if the dispensary was allowed to continue its’ lease.Closing of CCCC

* July– Opening arguments begin in the Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers and Charlie Lynch *

Headline: May 1, 2008 – Pot Eases Neuropathic Pain, Researchers Report– Confirming studies on neuropathic foot pain experienced by HIV patients in California last year,  a researcher from the University of California’s Davis Medical Center finds that Cannabis is successful in treating the “difficult to treat and extremely painful” condition “without clouding the mind”. Convention treatments use antidepressants, anticonvulsants, opioids, and anti-inflammatory drugs in an futile attempt to relieve this chronic pain.

Headline: May, 8, 2008 – Legislator Asks DEA To Explain Pot Club Raids– House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) has sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration, demanding to know why “paramilitary-style enforcement raids” are used on medical Cannabis dispensaries, patients and caregivers, as well as property forfeiture. Also, Conyers wants to know why landlords are being threatened for leasing to dispensaries and how much all this is costing taxpayers.

Headline: May 27, 2008 – Calif. Appeals Court Tosses Medical Pot Caps – California’s 2nd District Court of Appeals has granted a new trial to a medical Cannabis patient who was arrested for possessing 12 ounces of dried material and several plants. The Judge ruled that the state legislature “overstepped their bounds” in 2003, when they limited the amount of Cannabis (marijuana) that patients could possess for medical purposes.

Headline: May 31, 2008 – Peninsula’s Last Cannabis Club Gets Raided– U.S. federal agents, with a regional drug task force, have shut down the last openly operating medical marijuana dispensary on the San Francisco Peninsula.

Headline: May 31, 2008 – 2 Accused Of Break-In At Pot Club After Raid – Sloppy police work by federal drug agents, who left behind bags of Cannabis (marijuana) and an open door after several raids on medical Cannabis dispensaries in Oakland, San Jose and other cities in the San Francisco area.

Headline: June 1, 2008 – Curb On Growing Marijuana Sought – In 2000, with “Measure G“, the voters of Mendicino County, CA, pushed the envelope – allowing its’ citizens to grow up to 25 Cannabis plants, for medical or “recreational” uses, making this area of Northern California a “pot friendly” sanctuary. Later this week, voters will decide on “Measure B” – an effort to scale back the limit to match state guidelines (at issue in a pending court case).

Headline: June 3, 2008 – Progress On Med-Pot Bill Cheers Patients – Last January, the CA State Supreme Court ruled against a disabled war veteran who was fired from his job at a telecommunications company that had a zero tolerance for his legal medical Cannabis use. The next month, Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) introduced Assembly Bill 2279, which allows medical Cannabis patients to work most jobs, except “safety-sensitive” positions.

Here is a newscast from last January, featuring Gary Ross, the disabled veteran/legal medical Cannabis patient ruled against by the court:Plaintiff Talks About Medical Pot Ruling

On May 28th, Bill 2279 passed the Assembly, now heading for a vote in the State Senate and the signature of Governor Schwarzenegger. A volunteer for the Medical Marijuana Caregivers Association of El Dorado County observed that chronic pain patients can lead functional lives when medical Cannabis allows them to use less heavy narcotic pain relievers – truly debilitating drugs.

“The voters who supported Prop.  215 did not intend for medical-marijuana patients to be forced into unemployment in order to benefit from their medicine,” Leno said.

Headline: June 4, 2008 – Voters Say Yes’ On “B– Voters in Mendicino County have passed Measure B, which repeals Measure G, the county’s personal use marijuana law, and sets medical marijuana possession limits at the state limits of six mature or 12 immature plants and eight ounces of dried marijuana.

Headline: June 22, 2008 – Editorial: Medical-Pot Politics – After unsuccessfully challenging Proposition 215 last year, San Diego and San Bernardino counties are bringing an amended case to the California  Court of Appeals challenging Senate Bill 420, the 2003 state law that implemented Prop 215.

Headline: July 1, 2008 – DEA to Answer Queries on Med-Pot Raids Locally– Required by Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, to respond by July 1st concerning raids in several California counties, DEA spokespeople say a written response is “imminent”. A Congressional hearing could be called if the Drug Enforcement Administration is not cooperative with the Judiciary Committee’s oversight requirements.

Headline: July 1, 2008 – Cannabis Dispensary Takes Arcata To Court Over Cultivation Ban– After the City Council and Planning Commission of Arcata, CA moved to restrict growing of medical marijuana in the city limits, just before the Humboldt Medical Supply planned to begin growing in its’ new facilities next to the Post Office.

Headline: July 1, 2008 – Cable Show About Medical Marijuana to Air– On a local cable television channel in Norco, California (a town that banned medical marijuana dispensaries last year), “Marijuana: Compassion and Common Sense” has begun airing discussions on the science and politics of Cannabis as medicine in California. Host and producer Lanny Swerdlow, a registered nurse, also heads the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, a support group for patients. Here is a past episode, available on You Tube, with great interviews of Dr. Todd Mikuriya, pioneer of Medical Cannabis, and Irvin Rosenfeld, a stockbroker who happens to receive legal medical marijuana from the U. S. government.Marijuana: Compassion & Common Sense – Season 1 Show #021

Headline: July 20, 2008 – Group Backs Medical Marijuana – The Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project in the news again, with the story of a patient from southern California who suffers from multiple sclerosis and seizures. This news story also lists all CA laws concerning Cannabis (marijuana).

Headline: July 28, 2008 – Dr. Kush – An extensive article in the New Yorker Magazine, examining how medical marijuana is transforming the “pot” industry in California.

Headline: Aug 14, 2008 – State Top Court To Review Medical Pot Limit– The California State Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal sought by the state to overturn a lower court ruling ( last May – see above) involving limts on cultivation and possession of Cannabis by state medical marijuana program participants. In court papers, Americans for Safe Access, an advocacy group for patients, argued that the 2003 law did not limit the amount of marijuana a patient could possess, it merely set guidelines for police.

Headline: Aug 15, 2008 – Editorial: California Wins On Medical Marijuana Law– In a case brought by San Diego and San Bernardino counties last June, California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal validated the state’s medical marijuana laws and challenged the federal government’s interpretation of Congress’ 1974 Controlled Substances Act – that “federal supremacy” doesn’t allow states to have less restrictive laws.

Making its’ own interpretation of the CSA, the court concluded that the law did not claim supremacy over the states and, in fact, “signifies Congress’s intent to maintain the power of states to elect to serve as a laboratory in the trial of social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country …  .”

Headline: Aug 17, 2008 – OPED: Pot Power Play – Professor of Constitutional law examines the issues involved in the case above and the Appeals Court ruling.

Headline: Aug 18, 2008 – Medical Marijuana: What Does Science Say? – The Los Angeles Times runs a 3 part series examining positive and negative aspects of medical Cannabis, in a “Pro-Con” format: Pro: Marijuana Use for Chronic Pain and Nausea  &  Con: Marijuana’s Damaging Effects

Headline: Aug 19, 2008 – DEA Letter Targets Medical Marijuana – The Drug Enforcement Administration continues its’ intimidation inquisition.

Headline: Aug 26, 2008 – Attorney General’s Office Releases Medical Marijuana Guidelines – In an effort to avoid unnecessary prosecution, litigation and confusion about Prop 215 and SB 420, the AG’s office has issued guidelines for statewide implementation of California’s medical marijuana program.  Individual counties and municipalities can still set their own local ordinances.

* From the Guidelines: Qualified patients and primary caregivers may possess up to 8 ounces of dried marijuana, and may maintain no more than six mature plants or 12 immature plants, unless a doctor recommends more.

Americans for Safe Access worked closely with the Attorney Generals office on the new guidelines. An ASA spokesperson remarked, “I’m so excited at the release of these guidelines.  This document will stop unnecessary legal action happening across the state. We expect to see less people wrongly having their medicine confiscated, wrongly being cited and wrongly going to jail”.


Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for the DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.
Francis L. Young, DEA’s own Administrative Law Judge, 1988