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Category Archives: Pot Politics 08

scrollnegPresident-Elect Obama’s transition team has opened a second forum for questions submitted and voted on by Americans – http://Change.Gov/OpenForQuestions

After the first round of questions was closed two weeks ago, the Change.Gov team posted responses to the most popular topics , including:

Question: “Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?” 

Answer: President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.

This brief response to the most voted on question (according to NORML – see Previous Post) underscores the disconnect between government policy and the new silent majority recognizing Cannabis Hemp’s proper role in America – past, present and future. Thirteen states have now legalized medicinal Cannabis (an issue that has polled at least 75%  for decades); our farmers are suing to grow a crop their ancestors depended on; and thirteen states have now decriminalized small amounts of marijuana despite efforts by government officials to misrepresent and thwart reform.

vhsThis morning the good folks at Vote Hemp alerted me to the second round of questions now open at Change.Gov,  asking hempsters to search and vote for this question:

“Agricultural hemp is oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis that are low in THC. Please see CRS report RL32725. What is your position on supporting farmers in the U.S. having the opportunity to once again farm hemp, an important agricultural crop?”

Vote for this question (search “CRS RL32725) at:

http://Change.Gov/OpenForQuestions

* Current news and videos about industrial hemp – from the U.S. & Canada:

Headline: Nov 13, 2008 – US: Hemp Growers Take Case to Higher Authority – After paying $2,300 for a DEA permit in February 2007 and losing in federal court, two farmers in North Dakota are taking the federal government to the next legal level – in hopes of taking America to the next economic and environmental level. In a previous post, you can see ND’s Commissioner of Agriculture extolling the benefits of returning hemp to Dakota fields. Here is a local newscast, provided by Vote Hemp at You Tube:Wayne Hauge on KXMB Bismrck

canadaHeadline: Nov 13, 2008 – CN MB: Demand For Hemp Soaring, Firm Moves To Bigger Plant –  “In the last 10 years, the Canadian hemp industry has grown from an emerging niche market to a point where we are now being recognized as a global leader in hemp production”, said Mike Fata, chairman of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance ( CHTA ) and president and co-founder of Manitoba Harvest Hemp. The following, a video produced by Manitoba Harvest , is hosted on  Mike Fata’s You Tube Channel:Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils – Harvest Video

Headline: June 25, 2008 – CN MB: Growers Breeding New Hemp – In another story from Manitoba, the Parkland Prairie Hemp Growers Co-Op announced exciting results from eight years of work – cross breeding modern hemp varieties with 18th century genetics– the hemp of our grandfathers. PPHG has just received a grant from Canada’s Agri-Food Research & Development Initiative (ARDI) to further pursue the science and profit of hemp genetics.

neMeanwhile, back in the U.S.A., the only hemp fields to be found are feral remnants of the 18th & 19th century genetics so carefully selected by our ancestors. Recently, Cannabis TV visited one gene pool oasis in eastern Nebraska, where the famous “Kentucky Hemp” variety was introduced to support the cordage industry.  In this video, plant breeder David West, PhD examines the ripe hemp seed heads so important to pheasants and other wildlife, details history of hemp in the region and laments the loss of an important American legacy.Feral Hemp Patch, with Dr. Dave West

thomas“An acre of the best ground for hemp, is to be selected and sewn in hemp and be kept for a permanent hemp patch.” – Thomas Jefferson’s Garden book 1849

cannabisDuring the most urgent transfer of power ever to occur in America, President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition team is hearing from countless constituencies for change. The internet was important to his election and Obama’s team’s website – Change.Gov – provided a forum for questions important to the people. Our silent majority is speaking up!  The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is keeping track of a question important to medical Cannabis patients and civil libertarians alike. Paul Armentano provides the details in NORML’s  Blog

nmlPresident-Elect Obama, The People Have Spoken; Will You “Answer” Their Question? – After receiving nearly 100,000 total votes on more than 10,000 public policy issues, the most widely voted on question for Obama is:

Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion-dollar industry right here in the U.S.?

Polls have consistently shown public support for reform of Cannabis laws and empty promises have been made – During his campaign, George Bush said he would leave medical marijuana issues to the states. Barack Obama seems to understand the issue, but recently hedged his position on marijuana law reform. This You Tube video quotes Obama’s views on marijuana law reform and challenges him to bring about real change: Will Obama Keep His Words?

ssdpStudents for Sensible Drug Policy, with chapters in colleges across America, has an Online Petetion on Facebook , with a message to Barack Obama – requesting that his administration and the next “Drug Czar” treat drug abuse as a health issue rather than a criminal issue and will move away from a “War on Drugs” paradigm.  Here is a relevant news article: VA: Edu: Column: Students’ Concerns For Drug Policy

NORML has called on the entire You Tube video community to help send a  message to the new administration – a video contest with $10,000 in prizes!NORML – Pro-Cannabis Law Reform Ad Contest

Headline: Dec 9, 2008CA: Column: Obama Sends Mixed Messages On Marijuana– This article examines the medical marijuana issue, the history of the pot prohibition,. “harm-reduction” policies in Europe and speculates on Barack Obama’s choice for “Drug Czar“.

ohCoincidentally, recent research at Ohio State University has shown again that Cannabinoids and marijuana may slow or prevent Alzheimer’s associated plaque buildup in aging brains, by neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory actions. Here’s a news story and a video that links science and politics:

Headline: Nov 20, 2008 – Puff-A-Day Of Pot May Keep Old Memory Functioning – The Society for Neuroscience hears a researcher explain his study of rats, Cannabinoids and memory.

“Cannabinoid-Deficient people tend to accumulate in government” , says Dr. Robert Melamede, PhD, Professor of Biology at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. His “Forward-Looking People” and “Backward-Looking People” theory credits Cannabis and Cannabinoids with actually stimulating creative thinking . I visited him in his office in 2006:Politicians & Cannabinoids – FLP/BLP Theory, Dr.Bob Melamede

george“ Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”

– President George Washington, 1794

 

abe1Seventy-five years ago – December 5th, 1933, Congress repealed the Volstead Act (a.k.a. the “Noble Experiment“), which had prohibited the sale and manufacture (with “decrim” for users) of alcohol since 1920.  Among the reasons was the Great Depression, which began in 1929 and brought America to it’s knees. Continued funding of alcohol prohibition was impossible, while a new source of tax revenue was badly needed.  Other reasons were corruption of law enforcement and government, gang wars, drive-by shootings and contaminated “hooch” – just like today’s drug war. And once again, America is in need of additional revenue. 

Dec. 5, 2008 – Today’s Headlines on our Modern Prohibition:

* MA: OPED: A Day to Remember: Prohibition Isn’t Forever *

*Wall Street Journal OPED: Let’s End Drug Prohibition*

* Drug Czar’s Reply: Our Drug Policy Is a Success *

 Last spring, I wrote about the complexity of reforming the drug war compared to the simplicity of repealing alcohol prohibition and the defunding of the drug war that has already begun. Most experts agree that legalizing or decriminalizing Cannabis (marijuana) is a good first step. Treating it the same as alcohol and tobacco, as several countries in Europe have done, is likely the only reform that mainstream America will immediately accept. Restriction and regulation of narcotic drugs like cocaine and heroin will still be necessary – hopefully using  “harm reduction” methods, again following Europe‘s lead.

Prohibition Too Big to Fail ? – (Previous Post)

Note that users of alcohol were “decriminalized” during the first prohibition and the “experiment” still had to end. The same is true today – ultimately, legalization is the only answer for long term stability of society, respect for the law & government institutions and adherence to the Constitution.

I filmed Rep. Barney Frank (D) MA at a National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws conference back in 2001. Rep. Frank believes that the states could be a “laboratory” of drug law reform, much like after alcohol prohibition ended, when states enacted their own laws.Rep. Barney Frank (MA): Marijuana, Politics & State’s Rights

Rep. Frank’s observations still hold true today, including the contradiction of “conservatives” in Congress ignoring the results of elections in legal medical marijuana states and the logic of putting marijuana in the same category as alcohol and tobacco.

The following are several recent newspaper articles that address the issue of the modern prohibition, with more videos from You Tube to further illustrate the controversy.

Headline: Dec 2, 2008 – MD: Column: Legalizing Drugs: The Money Argument – A report funded by the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, in association with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, features Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron (see previous post) and his conclusions:

Legalizing drugs would save roughly $44.1 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of drug laws, with about $30.3 billion of this savings going to state and local governments and the rest staying in the U.S. Treasury.

Drug legalization would yield tax revenue of $32.7 billion annually.  That’s assuming legal drugs are taxed at rates similar to those on alcohol and tobacco.  About $6.7 billion would come from sales of legal marijuana, $22.5 billion from sales of cocaine and heroin and the remainder from the sales of other drugs now prohibited.

The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation was founded by Eric Sterling,  Counsel to the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary from 1979 until 1989. Mr. Sterling actually help draft much of the draconian drug legislation passed during the Reagan administration. Since then he has worked to undo the injustices wrought by these same laws. Eric was the first “activist” I met in the drug law reform movement and I have deep respect for him. If only other civil servants were so conscious of their actions and duty to their country.  Here is a video from a German documentary on the American war on drugs featuring Eric Sterling.The War on Drugs – An Insider’s View

Headline: Nov 20, 2008 – CA: OPED: It’s Time To Revisit War On Drugs – Quoting Albert Einstein and citing problems oversees with 37 years of Richard Nixon’s drug war, this article looks at the “Drug War Clock” at DrugSense.org for the following figures:

 The U.S. federal government spent more than $19 billion dollars in 2003 on the War on Drugs, at a rate of about $600 per second .  State and local governments spent at least another $30 billion.  
Police arrested an estimated 829,625 persons for cannabis violations in 2006, the highest annual total ever recorded in the United States, according to statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Of those charged with cannabis violations, approximately 89 percent, 738,915 Americans were charged with possession only.  An American is now arrested for violating cannabis laws every 38 seconds.

The Drug Truth Network has produced a video exposing the “eternal horror, the empowering of our enemies, the death disease and destruction of drug war”.Eternal War = Drugs &  Terror

Headline: Nov 29, 2008 – IL: OPED: Obama Should End War On Drugs – A member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition from Barack Obama’s home state sends a message:

leap“President-elect Obama – we need an end to drug prohibition and a drug czar committed to treating drugs like a health problem, not a law-enforcement problem. We need harm-reduction. We need drug policy reform.”

LEAP has an on-line petetion calling on Congress to create a “Blue Ribbon Commission” to bring an end to the modern prohibition. Make your voice heard today!

In this video, another LEAP member reiterates the reasons that law officers and anyone concerned about the stability of our society should favor reform of the drug laws.Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper on Ending the Drug War

Headline: Dec 4, 2008 – CA: Should We Tax Pot?– A columnist from Los Angeles concludes that legalization and taxation of marijuana is a bad idea, citing a study from the Rand Corporation’s drug policy research center.

I think these prohibitionists should watch this video from the Marijuana Policy Project, with an inescapably logical appeal to our new president:Open Letter to Barack Obama from MPP

Headline: Dec 5, 2008 – Web: Prohibition Ended 75 Years Ago, But What Have We Learned? –  Rob Kampia, Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, gives his observations on the old and new prohibitions in this article posted on Alternet.

albertThe 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

paxflag… A new medical marijuana state; Decriminalization at state and local levels; Low priority or budgetary restraints on arrests and prosecutions at county and municipal levels – across America voters solidly affirmed what polls have shown for years.  In spite of this news worthy trend,  local newspapers seem to be the only traditional media reporting on these issues in the U.S. The first article national level news article I found after election day was this one from Britain – US Elections: Massachusetts and Michigan Ease Marijuana Laws. The following are news stories from several states, annotated with videos posted on You Tube.

miHeadline: Nov 6, 2008 – Michigan: Questions on Ballot Initiatives Remain– Almost two thirds (63-37 %) of Michigan’s voters approved an initiative making Michigan the thirteenth state to legalize Cannabis for medicinal purposes. After December 4th, patients will be able to possess 2.5 ounces and grow 12 Cannabis plants, but the program won’t be fully implemented until next April. Currently, only New Mexico plans to assist medical marijuana patients in obtaining their medicine, so many of Michigan’s chronically and terminally ill will have to access the “black market” to obtain their medicine.

This video from Oakland County NORML’s You Tube Channel outlines details of Michigan’s new medical marijuana law, examining some of the tactics used by the opposition, and also discusses Cannabis on the ballot measures in Arkansas, Hawaii, Massachusetts and California.ONN #20

hiHeadline: Nov 5, 2008 – HI: Planning Commissions and Marijuana Initiatives Pass– An amendment to the Hawaii County Code now makes the enforcement of marijuana laws on people over eighteen a low priority for police on the Big Island. Also, it prohibits the county from accepting deputizations or commissions from a federal law enforcement agency for investigating, citing or arresting adults using marijuana on their own property for personal, religious or medicinal purposes. This is the culmination of a citizens movement to stop accepting federal money for marijuana detection and eradication (see previous post).

The following is the first of a video series featuring Hawaii County residents testifying before council regarding “Project Peaceful Sky”, beginning with the director of the organization that led the effort to place the issue before the voters.Project Peaceful Sky HI Pot Vote – 01 – Adam Layman

Headline: Nov 7, 2008HI: Police chief: Vote Won’t Stop Pot BustsThe County Clerk and Police Chief on the Big Island of Hawaii say that there is already enough money in the budget to continue the marijuana eradication program “Full Force”, as the budget went into effect in July – even providing for matching grants from the federal government, which Police Chief Mahuna said he will accept when made available.

maflagHeadline: Nov 5, 2008 – Massachusetts: Initiatives Provoke Ire, Joy“Politicians wish they won their races by 65 percent of the vote”, said a spokesperson for Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, an organization formed in support of the ballot initiative that decriminalized possession of small amounts (less than an ounce) of Cannabis. Harvard law and economics professors and students comment in the article.

As the video from Oakland County NORML points out, four legislative districts in MA also passed directives for their representatives to vote on a future initiative to make Massachusetts a medical marijuana state! No new video from Mass yet (please check back), but plenty of newsprint has praised and lamented the vote in MA. Here are a few:

Headline: Nov 6, 2008 – MA: Officials Look for Guidelines on Marijuana Initiative ; Headline: Nov 6 – MA: Officials Hurry To Hash Out New Marijuana Law ; Headline: Nov 7 – MA: Police See Confusion Ahead With Marijuana ; Headline: Nov 8 – MA: Why The Pot Question Won ; OPED: Nov 9 – MA: Question 2 Landslide Opens Drug Policy Debate

moHeadline: Nov 7, 2008 – MO: Take Note– As this OPED from Joplin, Missouri notes, President-Elect Obama has already promised to end the federal persecution of patients and caregivers in states that have instituted medical marijuana programs for their citizens.  Given the new science that shows the efficacy of Cannabis in chronic illness and the general awareness that many conventional pharmaceuticals are ineffective (even harmful), if the feds will stand down from the struggle, many more states will soon follow Michigan into truly modern medicine.

wiHeadline: Nov 8, 2008 – WI: Michigan’s Marijuana Law May Nudge Wisconsin– Medical Cannabis advocates in Wisconsin are encouraged by the win in Michigan, hoping that their own long struggle to have a medical marijuana law will also be successful. This video from eleven years ago shows medical Cannabis patients and caregivers on a “Journey for Justice” – rolling and walking on the sides of back roads, carrying their message to the statehouse in Madison.2nd Journey for Justice – Wisconsin – with Newscasts

jeff2A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement.
                                       – THOMAS JEFFERSON      First Inaugural Address, 1801

***Update*** – Nov 5, 2008 – Michigan is now the 13th state to legalize Cannabis as medicine and Massachusetts is the 13th state to decriminalize Cannabis (marijuana)! Read more on a post from NORML.

Headline: Sept 28, 2008 – Michigan: Election 2008 – Medical Pot Issue Called “Ploy”, “Good Idea” – A lively controversy accomponies Michigan’s medical Cannabis (marijuana) ballot proposal, which if successful, will make Michigan the thirteenth state to allow citizens access to Cannabis for medicine. The measure directs the legislature to enact a state program to register patients; will allow patients and caregivers to grow their own Cannabis, with limits on possession amounts; and will establish a “medical necessity defence” for persons not registered in the state program, but seeking to defend their use of Cannabis as medicine in front of a jury. This last provision is causing some law enforcement to vehemently oppose the proposal.

Headline: Oct 3, 2008 – MI: Editorial: Vote Yes on Proposal 1 for Medical Marijuana – The Detroit Free Press has identified half a million potential patients who would qualify under the proposed medical marijuana measure on the ballot in Michigan and urges its’ readers to vote Yes.  The Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care, proponents of the new medical marijuana ballot measure, cite a September poll showing 67% support across the state.

Oakland County, Michigan’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has a You Tube Channel – OCNORML, which has just posted a video outlining the ballot proposal and media treatment of the issue:OCNORML on Proposal 1

Headline: Oct 3, 2008 – MI: Group Launches Campaign to Stop Proposal on Pot“Pot dream come true for drug dealers”, says a coalition fighting the Michigan medical Cannabis proposal. Law enforcement groups and anti-drug groups like “Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Kids” warn of dire consequences, but the Michigan State Medical Society is neutral on the bill, while the Michigan Nurses Association is in favor of the legislation.

Headline: Oct 14, 2008 – MI: U.S. Deputy Drug Czar Says Proposal 1 Is ‘About Dope, Not About Medicine’U.S.  Deputy Drug Czar Scott Burns, using taxpayer dollars, is fighting Michigan’s potential medical Cannabis proposal – with the usual warnings of crime, chaos and “pot shops in strip malls“, like in California. However, a spokesperson for Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care pointed out that Proposal 1 does not have a provision for dispensaries.

Headline: Oct 14, 2008 – Massachusetts: Column: Marijuana Skirmish in the War on Drugs – Meanwhile, on the east coast, “Question 2 “, a voter initiative that would decriminalize small amounts of Cannabis, has also generated controversy – despite it’s modest goal of including Massachusetts in the roster of “decrim” states (around a dozen), some of which decriminalized simple possession and eased other marijuana statutes way back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These states were responding to government studies suggesting that liberalizing Cannabis laws would be the smart way to go and few have reversed their stance.

The Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy says that 71% of MA’s voters already support “Question 2”. (See our previous post from this spring), claiming wide based, mainstream recognition of the need for change. Economist Jeffrey Miron of Harvard University (see previous post) estimates that decriminalizing marijuana would save the state’s police departments, courts, and jails nearly $30 million.

Headline: Oct 20, 2008 – MA: DAs Fight Bid To Ease Penalty For Marijuana – District Attorneys across the state of Massachusetts are using their public offices to influence a voter initiative – morally questionable policy at best. Question 2, which would decriminalize small amounts of Cannabis in a rather modest effort at easing the states harsh marijuana statutes, which unnecessarily saddle many otherwise law abiding citizens with criminal records and other punitive measures. 

Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is also a supporter of Question 2.  LEAP, consisting of retired police officers, judges and other law enforcement personnel, educates the public from a “law and order” point of view – showing how a prohibition always makes things worse, including crime and corruption.

Here is a radio ad (on video), featuring a long time Boston police officer who supports Question 2.  The You Tube Producer who posted this video has more on Massachusetts’ efforts for reform of Cannabis laws.Radio Ad: MA Marijuana Decrim Question 2, Retired Boston Police Officer Supports It

Keeping in mind that alcohol prohibition was “decrim” (targeting only sellers, not users) and still had to ended for the good of society, please vote in our poll on how best to reform Cannabis prohibition in 21st century America

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.

      Tonight’s presidential debate is at Hempstead, NY – on Long Island, where just a few generations ago, huge fields of Cannabis Hemp waved in the wind. Especially important during WW2, when the military contracted for hemp to make parachute webbing, rope and canvas, industrial hemp had been established as an essential crop in Hempstead since Colonial times.

Given the amazing potential of modern industrial hemp utilization in America (the last of the G-8 not allowing its’ farmers to grow it) and the immediate need to support local economies during our coming economic restructuring,  tonight would seem an appropriate time to discuss joining the 21st century with our ancestors’ knowledge of this remarkable plant. High quality industrial fiber (already in luxury cars); cellulose suitable for papers, plastics and ethanol; high quality seed oil – found at health food stores for its’ EFA (Essential Fatty Acids) profile and even suitable for biodiesel!

Local hemp mills and biodiesel facilities could save the family farm and sustain America through turbulent times, all without poisoning the land like cotton or depleting the water, as corn does. Who would’a thunk it – except for Jack Herer back in 1989. Check out“The Emporer Wears No Clothes” for the details – it’s a classic.

Here are some recent news stories concerning Cannabis Hemp from around the world, inter-spaced with videos that just scratch at the surface of this urgent issue. With the growing problems with hydrocarbon fuels and products, it would behoove John McCain and Barack Obama, as Congressmen and a future President, to allow our farmers to benefit from the next wave in eco-agriculture.

Aug 19, 2008 – New Zealand: Perseverance Leads to Hemp Approval– After developing its’ own cultivar of hemp -“Aotearoa 1 “, the Catlins Industrial Hemp Group has been approved by the NZ Director-General of Health to proceed with the countries’ first planting of the versatile crop, promising farmers many future markets and sustainable biofuels for New Zealand’s long-term stability. Mack McIntosh, the developer of the new cultivar, foresees New Zealand’s strain of hemp to be marketed around the world.

In this video, from a Series on You Tube, Kevin O’Connell the Auckland central representative for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party talks about the future of Cannabis in New Zealand.Kiwi Cannabis News Vault Update – Consequences of Legalization

Aug 24, 2008 – New Zealand: Holistic Way of Hemp– Luxury car maker Lotus is showcasing an eco-friendly concept car, the Eco Elise, that utilizes industial hemp in an exciting design conforming to new EU Flower Certification” standards for protecting the environment. Canadian hemp is already being utitlized in the automobile industry, e.g. – as a safer replacement for fiberglass in door and dashboard panels. 

Sept 7, 2008 – Europe: Marijuana Ingredient May Fight Bacteria – Another example of how our modern world needs Cannabis Hemp – researchers from Italy and Britian have found that Cannabinoids are effective as topical compounds that inhibit the growth of MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus), a nasty little bug that might just wipe us out if we don’t react correctly. This article points out that Cannabis has long been known to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

In this informative and imaginative video, a You Tube Producer details of the history and efficacy of Cannabis in germ fighting:Marijuana Cures Skin Bacteria

Sept 30, 2008 – WI: Legalizing, Taxing Pot Urged To Raise Cash – Drawing a parallel between the economic pressure to end alcohol prohibition during the Great Depression in 1932 and the logic of ending marijuana prohibition during our modern economic crisis, Gary Storck, co-founder of the Madison chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, joins a chorus of drug law reform advocates who have long recognized the potential of tax revenues from re-legalized marijuana sales and industrial hemp production.

Bruce Mirken, director of communications with the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, said legalization and regulation could mean between $10 billion and $40 billion a year to state and federal budgets.

“An acre of the best ground for hemp, is to be selected and sewn in hemp and be kept for a permanent hemp patch.” – Thomas Jefferson’s Garden book 1849

    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