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Category Archives: Medical Cannabis

Heart Attack Ended Marilyn’s Life, but Bureaucracy Killed Her

Zero Tolerance…Was It Worth It?

Marilyn Holsten died of a heart attack in August. A nearly blind, diabetic, double amputee.  Marilyn was another evicted medical marijuana patient.  Marilyn used cannabis to control the pain.  Her last year on Earth was a living hell after being evicted because of cannabis.

RIP Marilyn

“I’m really scared”

“I don’t want to be out on the streets. I don’t have anywhere to go.” Holsten, a 49-year-old diabetic who is also losing sight in her right eye, has lived for eight years in a building run by the non-profit Anavets Senior Citizens’ Housing Society.

“I get these terrible ghost pains,” she said.

“Doctors say there’s nothing that’ll work for it, so the only thing they suggested was to try pot.”

When she started smoking pot — about a gram a day — she gave a note from her doctor to the society that runs the building on East 8th Ave.

She got her first eviction notice in April 2008.

In order to stay, she signed a document promising that she would light up outdoors only.

“I was exhausted. I didn’t have time to fight,” said Holsten.

Last month, she received her second eviction notice after management said the smell of marijuana from her suite was wafting into the public areas.

Holsten said she tries to smoke outside, but admits she smokes in her room when she wakes up in pain in the middle of the night.

She does her best to diffuse the smell, she said — keeping her window open, using a fan and sprays.

Holsten’s physician, Dr. Fraser Norrie, supports her pot use.

“I agree with this medical treatment,” he wrote in a letter to the housing society.

“I would ask you to accept her medical needs, including her need to smoke marijuana.”

But the doctor’s note wasn’t enough for building management.

“While your doctor supports your decision to use marijuana, he has not prescribed it for medicinal purposes,” society administrator Mary McLeod wrote in a letter to Holsten dated April 24.

“Marijuana use is still against the law and … [as] part of your tenancy agreement, you agreed you would not participate in illegal activities.”

Anavets refused an interview request.

 – article by THE PROVINCE

photographs by Cannabis Culture Magazine

Jeremiah Vandermeer photographer

 

 

wasit worth it

 
 
cut image
 
 
and in the USA

MS Medical Marijuana Patient Evicted in Colorado by HUD

 
Co Man and dog
 
William Wood photographer
Nancy Lofholm The Denver Post August 28,2009

…smoking marijuana has allowed him to cut out many prescription medications with bad side effects. He said he no longer uses tranquilizers, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills and a nerve drug. He still takes medications for his heart, bladder and stomach and a half dose of the painkiller methadone…

Teresa Duran, interim director of the Colorado Division of Housing. “Until the federal laws change, we have to abide by that.” 

There is no data to say how widespread the problem is. HUD officials say they don’t track evictions or complaints tied to medical- marijuana use.

Medical-marijuana users and suppliers say it is common and becoming more so.

“It’s safe to say this is a growing problem. We’re going to encounter it more,” said Brian Vicente, executive director of Sensible Colorado, a nonprofit resource for medical- marijuana users.

Hewitt said he knows three other disabled users in federally subsidized housing in the small town of Olathe who plan to move into his trailer park rather than fight HUD rules.

“It’s disgusting. Most disabled can’t afford a house, so they get assistance. These people should not be thrown in the street because they use a medication that alleviates pain,” Hewitt said.

He said he received an eviction notice this spring, a day after HUD inspectors looked over his rental house and told him everything was satisfactory. He said he gave them a copy of his medical-marijuana card months before that.

 Hewitt is fearing the winter in his little trailer. He said
the owner has told him that it will be like an icebox.
And he has to make his way about 50 yards across a lot
to use a rest room in a former gas station.
 

 

another in the USA
 Allowed by state to grow his own medicine,
MS sufferer – evicted by HUD

niles

Barbara Allison Photographer

The Niles man who’s growing marijuana in his federally subsidized home under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act is once again facing eviction…

That date turned out to be Tuesday. Bell said Wednesday he has refiled in Berrien County Trial Court the commission’s motion to evict Allain, calling the new action “a belt-and-suspenders way to deal with some of the procedural defenses Steve (Allain) raised.’’

heart of the matter: Whether state or federal law takes precedence.

“That’s the issue we need the court to decide,’’ he said.

Bell said Allain, as he did with the initial eviction motion, would still be able to receive a jury trial…

Allain and his teenage son reside in one of Niles’ 50 scattered public-housing sites, which are subject to rules and regulations set down by the U. S. Department Of Housing and Urban Development.  Bush said earlier she sympathized with Allain, who has stated he suffers from Crohn’s disease, hepatitis C and acute depression, but a check with HUD revealed it has a “zero tolerance’’ policy regarding marijuana.

 – This post assembled by Muggles

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 Senator Kennedy pleaded with the DEA to stop interfering with medical marijuana research.  The Senator, along with Senator Kerry and forty-three Congressmen, sent at least one-hundred and ten official letters to DEA Administrators Tandy and Lionhart, Attorney General Holder and Deputy Attorney General Ogden with concerns that the DEA and ONDCP were purposefully keeping a monopoly on marijuana and keeping scientific and medical research from happening.  They also requested that Dr.Lyle Cracker , an expert in plant genetics, plant physiology and biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts be allowed to grow research grade cannabis at  the University of Massachusetts for an FDA study already approved by the FDA to explore the possibilities to producing cannabis based medicines in pill form.  

The DEA will currently only allow one site in the entire country to grow marijuana, and only one man has a license to grow cannabis for the entire country.

In 2007, Federal Judge Mary Bittner ruled after seven days of professional testimony that the DEA was not releasing enough cannabis or of a high enough  medical quality to support research that the public deserves on marijuana.  Judge Bittner ruled that the ” it is the public interest” that the DEA allow Dr. Craker a Schedule 1 License to produce medical grade marijuana. DEA Administrator Lionhart decided on Jan. 14, 2009 to disregard Judge Bitters ruling. http://www.maps.org/mmj/kennedy_Kerry_to_Ogden_april_29_2009.pdf

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 When Ted Kennedy was originally diagnosed  with brain cancer in May of 2008, Cannabis TV posted the latest science on the potential for cannabis and cannabinoids to be effective treatment for brain cancer. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has compiled recent medical research on the anti-cancer effects  of cannabinoids on Glioma cancer.

In this video from the 2008 Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, Rick Doblin, founder of the MAPS,  explains efforts to break the government monopoly on medical Cannabis production in America, including Dr.Lyle Cracker’s application. Conference hosted by Patients Out of Time.NIDA, DEA & Medical Cannabis Research, with Rick Doblin, MAPS

“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

Posted by Muggles 

 

 

sativaA perfect storm of relaxed federal intervention, intriguing new science and the failure of pharmaceutical narcotics for treating chronic illness has citizens clambering for legal access to medical Cannabis (marijuana) and several state legislatures scrambling for solutions to an issue many politicians don’t adequately understand.

While most states with legal medical marijuana are concentrated in the west, their programs established through voter referendum, eastern states generally don’t have ballot initiative processes, so changes must come through the legislature. So far, lawmakers in three states have passed medical marijuana access statutes – Hawaii, New Mexico and Rhode Island. But several more are poised to join the list and the thirteen states with legal medical marijuana access.

NJHeadline: June 5, 2009 – New Jersey: Tighter Medical-Marijuana Bill Clears Panel– The Garden State’s journey for medical Cannabis has gone on for years, but now appears close to fruition. The House has passed it’s own version of the bill approved by the Senate last winter, but with substantial changes that merit concern. Removed were provisions for patients growing their own medicine – instead, the Cannabis must be procured through approved treatment centers. At a  committee hearing on June 4th, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) patient struggles to express to lawmakers her preference for a natural medicine verses pharmaceutical narcotics for her terminal illness -shown here by the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey on their You Tube channel:ALS Patient – NJ Medical Marijuana Assembly Committee 6-4-09

Hightened emotion is a side-effect of ALS – this is one brave lady. I know another brave soul with ALS who has found Cannabis to be a life saver for her, having survived for 23 years now and enjoying good quality of life. Visit her You Tube channel for this compelling story.

nhempshireHeadline: June 24, 2009 – New Hampshire: Panel’s Changes In Medical Marijuana Bill Face Concord– A state whose name traces to Cannabis Hemp had already passed a medical marijuana bill in both of its’ legislative bodies, but made a last minute change upon threat of veto by Governor Lynch – guess what, patients will not be allowed to grow, but must procure through three “Compassion Centers”, with no more than two ounces possessed at any time. Matt Simon of NH Common Sense for Marijuana Policy and an opposing Senator appear on this video: NH senator vs. Pot Activist

The outlawing of growing medical Cannabis by individuals may seem logical for several reasons – quality control; security; residential codes and risks associated with amateur “grow-ops”. Certainly, many patients can’t grow their own and dispensaries will be necessary for many reasons. . But experience in Canada highlight problems with the state system – low quality and high cost. It’s not surprising that government agencies are not famous for producing high quality Cannabis. Ending the prohibition would end most problems. Indeed, the Institute of Medicine Report in 1999 recommended universal and immediate patient access to medical cannabis in its’ natural form. 

Case in point: The U.S. government already grows Cannabis for several legal patients grandfathered in from the Investigational New Drugs Program, closed to Cannabis in 1991. Grown at the University of Mississippi, the government pot is notorious for its’ seeds and stems content, extreme age (typically 12 years old, freeze-dried). ctc1Although shown to be effective in long-term studies, patients and researchers are demanding the end of the government monopoly on growing Cannabis. At a recent Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, hosted by Patients Out of Time, legal patient Irv Rosenfeld displays seeds and stems collected over a years time from his medicine shipments. Also in this video is Elvy Musikka, a legal patient receiving Cannabis for her Glaucoma, who doubts the concern of the federal government for her health and sight.Seeds & Stems Blues – Irv & Elvy’s Legal Marijuana

Ther are two eastern states that are considering medical marijuana programs with provisions for personal growing still in place – Delaware and North Carolina.

DEHeadline: June 1, 2009 – DE: Editorial: Medical Marijuana Is a Necessary CompassionSenate Bill 94 has been introduced in Delaware, allowing for growing by patients and six ounces in their possession. In this news video, a patient eloquently explains how Cannabis lets him decrease the amount of narcotics and their side-effects – a synergistic benefit now substantiated by science.Delaware Online News: Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced

ncHeadline: June 23, 2009 – NC: Editorial: House Ponders Legalizing Medical Use Of Marijuana – The Bible-Belt state of North Carolina is considering legislation that would allow individual growing, caregivers and dispensaries. Crafted from the best aspects of many state’s bills and consultation with court-certified experts like Chris Conrad, the NC Medical Marijuana Act is generating news and debate in the House health committee. The NC Cannabis Patient Network’s You Tube channel has a three part video series of a hearing on the bill, with public testimony, plus several patients who didn’t get to address the committee.NC Med Marijuana Act 1380 Health Comm Hearing, pt. 1

 GAHeadline: June 21, 2009 – Georgia Gets A Medical Marijuana Green Light– Georgia and South Carolina already have basic recognition of medical marijuana on their books, but no legal access. Can they be far behind?  The medical Cannabis juggernaut rolls on!

FredDglssThose who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle! Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
Frederick Douglass, August 4, 1857.

“Based on claims made on your product’s label, we have determined that your Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug –  Federal Drug Administration  letter to General Mills, posted on the FDA’s website, May 12, 2009.

CheerLeafWith today’s Alternet headline, “Cheerios are a Drug? FDA’s Surprising Letter to General Mills”, the government’s subservience to Big Pharma should be obvious to mainstream America. By claiming that it’s product could lower bad cholesterol, General Mills challenges the notion that only pharmaceutical preparations can be considered therapeutic. This monopoly on medicine and suppression of natural plant cures (until pharmaceutical patents can be acquired) mirrors our experience with medical marijuana and hemp seed food products, both targets of government control and misinformation.

Jethro Kloss knew in the 1920’s that oats were good for us – it just took modern science to explain exactly how – “used to lower cholesterol and prevent, lessen or treat the disease hypercholesterolemia, and to treat and prevent coronary heart disease” (FDA quote). Interestingly, Cannabis Hemp seed oil (available alongside flax oil at your local health food store), having been called “Nature’s Perfect Oil” by Udo Erasmus for it’s Essential Fatty Acid profile and unsaturated fats that drive down bad cholesterol, is also used as a healthy replacement food.

ctc1This video from the Second Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics in 2002, hosted by Patients Out of Time, features Mary Beth Augustine, an Integrative Medicine Nutritionist, describing the nutritional profile of hemp oil and compares it to Flax, Fish and Soy oils.Hemp Oil Nutrutional Profile, MaryBeth Augustine, RD,CDN

fxglveThe confusion about plants and drugs seems rampant these days. Like Digitalis from the plant Foxglove, THC is derived from Cannabis. Our government warns us about the “new, more powerful marijuana” with high levels of THC, yet allows pure THC in the form of Marinol to be prescribed as a Schedule Three medicine. I hope beautiful Foxglove flowers will not also be banned from our gardens.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2007 observation that marijuana was “not a drug, just a leaf” was a rare moment of clarity in an issue that affects us all – corporate control of food production and medicinal plants.Arnold Schwarzenegger – *Marijuana Not a Drug, Just a Leaf*

On a similar theme, last March at the United Nation’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna, Austria, Bolivian President Evo Morales chews on a cocoa leaf while urging the CND to remove the cocoa plant from it’s list of banned substances, as the natural plant  is “not a drug but a traditional medicine”.   Morales at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs

I wrote last year about the worldwide corporate race to pharmaceuticalize Cannabis – to patent Cannabinoid derivatives and concentrates, while governments and the UN continue to deny access to the natural plant. Also, current U.S. legislation that would restrict what foods we grow in our own gardens and buy in Farmer’s Markets is awakening many to the new threat from Big Brother.

jeff2 If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”
– Thomas Jefferson

paxflagAmerica is relearning a hard lesson these days – one that Al Capone, Sir Issac Newton and Lao Tzu could easily understand – that applied force triggers an equal and opposite reaction. Our modern prohibition – the “War on Drugs” – has plenty of unintended consequences and threatens to plunge our nation into a nightmare far eclipsing the short lived alcohol prohibition fiasco of the last century.

Paradoxically, Cannabis (marijuana) is the major focus of the drug war – the reason being sheer numbers. The abusers of narcotics like cocaine, heroin and ‘meth’ are statistically insufficient to politically justify the huge “prohibition complex” bureaucracy, sativaso marijuana is included to bolster the ranks of offenders. To further frighten the public, substance abuse statistics always include the ravages of alcohol and pharmaceuticals, skewing perceptions of the true effects of illegal drugs on society. For excellent analysis of this deception, check out Mike Gray’s book, “Drug Crazy – How we got Into this Mess and How we Can get Out” and listen to Mike Krawitz’s interview with Amanda Fielding of the Beckley Foundation, broadcast on the Drug Truth Network last week.

So, when President Obama walked to his first “Internet Town Hall Meeting” yesterday, where he would respond spontaneously to popular questions from the on-line public (supposedly unknown to him), he was pulled aside by an aide to warn him about the number one ranked question, “Would you support the bill currently going through the California legislation to legalize and tax marijuana, boosting the economy and reducing drug cartel related violence?”  Here is his response:Obama Says No to Legalizing Marijuana

That the President would break his own rules regarding this first digital fireside chat and refuse to seriously address the marijuana question is not surprising. “Drug War Exemptions” to the Constitution and Bill of Rights are routine – so why not exemptions to discussion. Laughing off any intellectual challenge to the drug war has become a tradition for politicians and the media. As it is said, “Truth is the First Causality of War” . In this silence of debate, perhaps we should look to wisdom of the past, Lao Tzu and the “I Ching” , for guidance in the present.

“By letting it go, it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.”

oldboy“The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.”

“Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish. Do not overdo it.”

“Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.”

“The words of truth are always paradoxical.”

Ah, the Cannabis Paradox – not a narcotic, but often called that; an ancient medicine now legal in 13 states, but classified as “Schedule One – having no medicinal use” by the federal government; cited for crossing state borders even when it doesn’t; and blamed for undermining our national security when the best marijuana can be produced right here in the U.S.

The following video, featuring former Attorney General of the United States Ramsey Clark, medical marijuana patients on a “Journey for Justice” , victims of the drug war portrayed by the November Coalition and the Sacred Pipe and Conch bring the truth to the nation’s capitol:Ramsey Clark & Pot Activists, with “Give Chanumpa a Chance”

galax2“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.” – Carl Sagan

“My attitude is that if it’s an issue of doctors prescribing medical marijuana… I think that should be appropriate because there really is no difference between that and a doctor prescribing morphine or anything else”.…Raiding clinics “would be a waste of federal funds.” – Candidate Barak Obama, March, 2008

scalesU.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has spoken of a new policy concerning medical marijuana several times in recent weeks. On February 25th, Holder announced to a gathering of DEA agents and to the Chief of the DEA, Michele Leonhart, that what President Obama said during the campaign was now “American policy” – the DEA would no longer raid medical marijuana dispensaries, patients, doctors, clinics and states will be allowed to make their own decisions on medical marijuana.  Then on March 22nd Attorney General Holder reaffirmed he would “not use federal resources to prosecute patients or providers who use marijuana and are within state laws.”

caThe Plight of Charles Lynch
The Charles Lynch case is pivotal in that it is the first trial with national attention to be brought before a federal judge since Attorney General Holder announced “a new American policy.”
Charles was a medical marijuana dispensary owner in Morro Bay, California – sanctioned by both state and local governments, but raided by DEA agents in 2007.  In his federal trial, his lawyers were not allowed to say the words: “medical, medical marijuana, patients, doctors, doctors prescriptions, state sanctioned, local sanctioned or even that California is a medical marijuana state”.  Patients were not allowed speak on Charles Lynch’s behalf if they described their diseases using the words “medical marijuana”.

Headline: Aug 6, 2008 – CA: MorroBay Pot Dispensary Owner Found Guilty of Federal Charges

Last week, ABC’s 20/20 presented a special report by John Stossel examining  Charles Lynch’s story, with commentary from Drew Carey and cancer patient Melissa Etheridge. Here is a rebroadcast posted on Charles Lynch’s You Tube channel:John Stossel with guest Charles C. Lynch

Headline: March 24, 2009 – CA: Shift On Marijuana Policy Delays Sentencing – On March 23 Charles Lynch was scheduled be sentenced by Federal Judge George H. Wu, but uncertainty about the “New American Policy” caused Judge Wu to pospostpone sentencing to allow himself time to ask the Justice Department for a written reply about the new policy.

New Sentencing Date: April 30, 2009

Another documentary featuring the Charles Lynch story aired on CNBC March 15th- Marijuana, Inc, with Al Roker.  A 17 year old with bone cancer, approved by his doctor and father to use medical marijuana, tells how he attempted to testify in support of Charles, but was cut off when he used the words “medical marijuana”, with the Judge saying “such evidence is irrelevant under federal law”.Al Roker Marijuana Inc with Charles C. Lynch

You Can Help!

Friends, we implore you to call the U.S. Attorney Generals office at 202-353-1555 (comment line) 202-514-2001 (office line) and leave a request that  Attorney General Holder encourage Judge Wu to allow all evidence concerning medical marijuana and all character witnesses to speak unrestricted in his courtroom in the Charles Lynch case.  We believe that this is a pivitol case for the “New American Policy”.

Support Charles Lynch at:   www.FriendsOfCCL.com

“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

moCliff village, a small community just outside of Joplin, Missouri, has garnered a lot of attention lately for a largely symbolic town ordinance that permits patients to possess and grow small amounts of Cannabis with doctor approval.

Headline: Feb 10, 2009 Southwest Missouri Hamlet Lights A Fire For Legalizing Medical marijuana The Mayor of Cliff Village, Joe Blundell explains that the ordinance won’t actually protect anyone from prosecution, but is more a show of support for a medical marijuana law currently pending in the Missouri legislature. This newscast posted by Joplin NORML tells how the Cliff Village came to be in the forefront of this issue.Cliff Village, MO Passes Medical Marijuana Ordinance

Headline: Feb 21, 2009 – Missouri Drug Policy Reform Conference Pushes For Change – In Columbia, a larger Missouri town that also passed a law permitting medical Cannabis, the 2009 Missouri Drug Policy Reform Conference, hosted by the MU chapters of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and NORML brought together patients, activists and civil libertarians for ideas on integrating an ancient medicine into modern medical practice. Mark Pedersen of the Cannabis Patient Network, which collects stories of patients around the country, interviewed Mayor Blundell of Cliff Village.Medical Cannabis Testimonies: Mayor Joe Blundell of Missouri 1 of 3

Headline: Feb 18, 2009 – Pot Hole: A Southwest Missouri Hamlet Is Leading The Latest Fight To Legalize Medical Marijuana– This article examines the medical marijuana legislation pending at the state capitol in Jefferson City. When asked what he would tell the lawmakers, Mayor Joe Blundell of Cliff Village says, “I’d tell them I’m not a criminal, that I’m in a horrific amount of pain and I’d rather take something natural and holistic rather than something being pushed by Pfizer.”

Chronic pain sufferers, especially severe cases like Mayor Blundell’s, have little chance of real relief from conventional narcotic pain medications – many of which are opiate-based, with debilitating side-effects that are unsuitable for long term use (intestinal shutdown, liver damage, inability to work, etc). ctc1After finding Cannabis, some patients are able to discontinue the narcotics entirely, but some still need additional pain relief. Interestingly, new science shows that Cannabis and opiates act in synergy, allowing a patient to reduce the opiates by up to two-thirds when Cannabis is used as an adjunct medication. Sandra Welch, PhD explains the THC-Opiate Synergy at the 2004 Cannabis Therapeutics Conference, hosted by Patients Out of Time:Opiate & Cannabinoid Interactions, with Sandra Welch 

brandi“The makers of the constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man’s spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure and satisfaction of life are found in material things. They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred,  as against the government, the right to be left alone – the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized man.” – Justice Louis Brandeis

unI remember it well – in 1998 the United Nations General Assembly declared a ten year plan of action, “A Drug Free World – We Can Do it!”, with the goal of eradication of all drug crops, from Coca to Cannabis.  A blasphemy against Nature and laughable even to a novice drug policy reform advocate, the declaration underscored the disconnect between government and reality on the issue of drug use amongst humanity.

UK: Column: Never Mind The Evidence – A Drug-Free World Is Nigh

Well, ten years passed with no abatement of drug “abuse”, while the number one prohibitionist, America, continued to incarcerate more of it’s citizens than any other nation– breaking families, destabilizing communities and corrupting the mission of law enforcement. Amid this dismal failure of vision, the U.S. delegation led the prohibitionist charge at the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna, Austria last week. Despite numerous European countries’ successes with harm reduction and health models in drug policy, and with several South and Central American leaders even calling on America to end the zealotry that is destroying their homelands, the final position and “Plan of Action” from UN CND in 2009 is the same, dangerous, head-in-the-sand denial of reality of which we’ve all grown so sick.

wrld21But the UN heard the new voices for change and so has the world, even prompting  the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to admit the failures and unintended consequences of our modern prohibition – even praising harm reduction to the media. Several NGOs (Non-governmental organizations) presenting reform agendas in Vienna educated the UN delegates with sometimes novel methods. In this video produced by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, the HCLU, Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Britain’s Transform Drug Policy spoke from behind bars to passing delegates about tragedies of the drug war.Protest Against the Global Drug War – 11.03.2009

In this next video, from the United Nations’ You Tube channel, the head of the UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa sounds like a reformer himself, saying that drug addiction is an illness that has to be dealt with “by doctors and not by policemen”. “Drug addiction is an illness” (Antonio Maria Costa, UNODC)

Also featured on the UN’s channel is a remarkable plea for sanity and indigenous cultures, from Bolivian President Evo Morales, who chews on a cocoa leaf while urging the CND to remove the Cocoa plant from it’s list of banned substances, as the natural plant  is “not a drug but a traditional medicine”.Morales at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Headline: March 14, 2009 – NY: OPED: Let Me Chew My Coca Leaves

This recognition of our God-given right of people everywhere to interact with the plant kingdom (the “Standing Silent Nation” , as the Sioux Indians say) certainly applies to Cannabis – a time-tested natural medicine and not even a narcotic, which should ease the fears of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.  A recent poll in Canada and pending legislation in California shows that people are ready for legal cannabis.

In fact, the anti-prohibition bandwagon is rapidly filling with unlikely allies in drug policy reform. The drug war chaos threatening the stability of Mexican government is spilling over into the U.S., opening many eyes to the evils of prohibition.

Headline: March 8, 2009 – US AZ: Column: Legal Drugs: The Only Route To Ending Mexican Violence

albert The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the Prohibition law.  For 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