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Category Archives: War on Some Drugs

The peak month for government marijuana eradication efforts in North Carolina is August. The Marijuana Found In Six Western North Carolina Counties this year was minimal. It took three federal and three state agencies, law enforcement specialist, helicopter pilots and National Guard  to eradicate 815 plants.

Graphic1

Law enforcement agencies using fly-over operations…
The August raids netted 815 plants In Western North Carolina…
Three people face trafficking charges.

Federal agents seize about 4,000 pounds of the finished product a year in North Carolina, according to the U.S.  Drug Enforcement Administration.

Authorities so far this year seized 45,000 plants statewide, which the N.C.  State Bureau of Investigation says is on pace with last year’s rate.

“It is ongoing,” said Haywood County Sheriff Bobby Suttles…we are going to be looking for it.”

Eradication teams typically work in August at the end of the growing season when plants are tall and easier to spot from the air.

Deputies and police work with helicopter pilots from the N.C.  National Guard and the N.C.  Highway Patrol to spot and destroy patches.  SBI agents and the U.S.  Forest Service also join the effort.

Haywood County started at the county fairgrounds, where deputies and federal police went over target areas with Highway Patrol pilots.

When the helicopter took flight, deputies and U.S.  Forest Service police rode in a caravan to the first area in a remote section off White Oak Road.

The team that day hit several more spots with no luck.  …The Highway Patrol aviation unit averages about 400 hours a year on flights searching for marijuana. Since 2007, it has helped eradicate 74,151 plants.

The National Guard averages 2,000 hours in the air each year helping state authorities find pot.

Some communities are tired of the Drug War and Stopped Taking DEA Money for eradication. https://cannabistv.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/drug-war-funds-cut-digging-our-way-out-of-prohibition/

Haywood County deputies seized 431 plants from patches in the White Oak and Fines Creek communities and off Rabbit Skin Road in the first of two fly-overs.

Some of the plants were 10 feet tall and had four-inch buds, the part marijuana users smoke.

“It was a success,” said narcotics detective Mark Mease.  “we had good air support.” Authorities said they found 20 plants in a garden .  A search of the property the next day uncovered an indoor growing operation in a shed.

Sometimes the operations just aren’t productive.

A fly-over in Transylvania County turned up nothing last month and a brief outing in Jackson County uncovered just one plant. Investigators found nothing in Swain County.

How It’s Done In Amsterdam- “The Sniffer Chopper”

Blog Posted by Ray Pague

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

 
 
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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

paxThe venerable CBS News anchor, famous for his heartfelt message to the American people on the futility of the Vietnam War and known as the “Most Trusted Man in America”, Walter Cronkite passed away yesterday at age ninety-two.  Not as famous was his opposition to the another futility – the “War on Drugs”, especially the unfair consequences suffered by families, women and childen as innocent victims.

On Alternet.org today, Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance penned an editorial on Mr. Cronkite’s passing, remembering the honor of being asked by “Uncle Walter” to help in the production of a 1995 edition of his “Cronkite Report” on the Discovery channel. On DPA’s You Tube channel is a six-part video series, “America’s Disastrous Drug war” . Here is Part One:Walter Cronkite & America’s Disastrous Drug War Pt 1 of 6

Here is an article published by Mr. Cronkite on August 8th,2004, From Allen St. Pierre’s blog post at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws:

Drug war is a war on families
By Walter Cronkite

In the midst of the soaring rhetoric of the recent Democratic National Convention, more than one speaker quoted Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address, invoking “the better angels of our nature.” Well, there is an especially appropriate task awaiting those heavenly creatures – a long-overdue reform of our disastrous war on drugs. We should begin by recognizing its costly and inhumane dimensions.

Much of the nation, in one way or another, is victimized by this failure – including, most notably, the innocents, whose exposure to drugs is greater than ever.

This despite the fact that there are, housed in federal and state prisons and local jails on drug offenses, more than 500,000 persons – half a million people! Clearly, no punishment could be too severe for that portion of them who were kingpins of the drug trade and who ruined so many lives. But by far, the majority of these prisoners are guilty of only minor offenses, such as possessing small amounts of marijuana. That includes people who used it only for medicinal purposes.

The cost to maintain this great horde of prisoners is more than $10 billion annually. And that’s just part of the cost of this war on drugs: The federal, state and local drug-control budgets last year added up to almost $40 billion.

These figures were amassed by the Drug Policy Alliance, one of the foremost national organizations seeking to bring reason to the war on drugs and reduce substantially those caught in the terrible web of addiction. There are awful tales of tragedy and shocking injustice hidden in those figures – the product of an almost mindlessly draconian system called “mandatory sentencing,” in which even small offenses can draw years in prison.

Thousands of women, many of them mothers of young children, are included among those minor offenders. Those children left without motherly care are the most innocent victims of the drug war and the reason some call it a “war on families.”

Women are the fastest-growing segment of the prison population, with almost 80 percent of them incarcerated for drug offenses. The deep perversity of the system lies in the fact that women with the least culpability often get the harshest sentences. Unlike the guilty drug dealer, they often have no information to trade for a better deal from prosecutors, and might end up with a harsher sentence than the dealer gets.

Then there are women like Kimba Smith, in California, who probably knew a few things but was so terrified of her abusive boyfriend that she refused to testify against him. (Those who agree to testify, by the way, frequently are murdered before they have a chance to do so.) Smith paid for her terrified silence with a 24-year sentence. Nonviolent first offenders, male and female, caught with only small amounts of a controlled substance frequently are given prison sentences of five to 10 years or more. As a result, the number of nonviolent offenders in the nation’s prisons is filling them to overflowing, literally. The resulting overcrowding is forcing violent felons onto the streets with early releases.

The Drug Policy Alliance also points out other important areas of injustice in the present enforcement system. For instance, people of color – African-Americans and Latinos – are far more likely to be jailed for drug offenses than others. And college students caught in possession of very small amounts of illegal substances are denied student loans and even food stamps.

The Alliance and other organizations are working to reform and reframe the war on drugs. And they are finding many judges on their side, who are rebelling against this cruel system. We can expect no federal action during the congressional hiatus in activity ahead of the November elections, but it would be of considerable help if, across the country, campaigning politicians put this high on their promises of legislative action, much sooner than later.

Also, back in 1998, The Drug Policy Alliance also coordinated an open letter to then Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Anan in opposition to the U.N. Drug Policy, which was signed by 500 prominent persons, including Walter Cronkite

Here is the Epilogue to the 1995 broadcast, courtesy of Stop the Drug War:

The Drug Dilemma, War or Peace?

An epidose of The Cronkite Report, first aired on the Discovery Channel, Tuesday, June 20, 1995.

Every American was shocked when Robert McNamara, one of the master architects of the Vietnam war, acknowledged that not only did he believe the war was, “wrong, terribly wrong,” but that he thought so at the very time he was helping to wage it. That’s a mistake we must not make in this 10th year of America’s all-out War on Drugs.

It’s surely time for this nation to stop flying blind, stop accepting the assurances of politicians and other officials, that if we only keep doing what we are doing, add a little more cash, break down a few more doors, lock up a few more Jan Warrens and Nicole Richardsons, then we will see the light at the end of the tunnel. Victory will be ours.

Tonight we have seen a war that in its broad outline is not working. And we’ve seen some less war-like ideas that appear to hold promise. We’ve raised more questions than we’ve answered, because that’s where the Drug War stands today. We’re a confused people, desperately in need of answers and leadership. Legalization seems to many like too dangerous an experiment; to others, the War on Drugs, as it is now conducted, seems inhumane and too costly. Is there a middle ground?

Well, it seems to this reporter that the time has come for President Clinton to do what President Hoover did when prohibition was tearing the nation apart: appoint a bi-partisan commission of distinguished citizens, perhaps including some of the people we heard tonight, a blue-ribbon panel to re-appraise our drug policy right down to its very core, a commission with full investigative authority and the prestige and power to override bureaucratic concerns and political considerations.

Such a commission could help us focus our thinking, escape the cliches of the Drug War in favor of scientific fact, and more rationally analyze the real scope of the problem, answer the questions that bedevil us, and present a comprehensive drug policy for the future.

We cannot go into tomorrow with the same formulas that are failing today. We must not blindly add to the body count and the terrible cost of the War on Drugs, only to learn from another Robert McNamara 30 years from now that what we’ve been doing is, “wrong, terribly wrong.”

Goodnight.

(“The Drug Dilemma: War or Peace,” can be ordered from Cronkite, Ward and Co., 39 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019; (212) 765-1200.)

 

ladylibThis month has seen lively discussion in newspapers and television across America, on a topic previously given scant copy by mainstream media – the possible legalization or decriminalization of marijuana and/or other drugs as a solution to the violence near the Mexican border and as possible remedy for the nation’s economic woes.  A sampling of these perspectives follows, along with related You Tube videos:

Oregon: April 1, 2009 – Column – It’s Time, At Least, To Have The Conversation

North Dakota: April 2, 2009 – Column- Obama Has A Hazy Pot Policy

Video: MSNBC kicks off our mainstream TV news sampling of the debate, first replaying President Obama’s light-hearted dismissal of the Cannabis legalization question,  then hosting a discussion:MSNBC Holds a “Legalize Marijuana” Debate

Connecticut: April 3, 2009 – Editorial –  Marijuana Bill Deserves Passage

Colorado: April 3, 2009 – OPED – This Is the Truth on Drugs … Any Questions?

 VideoCNN’s American Morning ran a week-long series on the drug war, with logical perspectives by U.S. Representative and presidential candidate Ron Paul, a champion of the Constitution.Ron Paul on CNN – says Legalizing Marijuana could Reduce Crime

Massachucettes: April 5, 2009 – Column – A New Conversation On Drug Prohibition

Washington: April 6, 2009 – Column – Finally, a Little Honesty About America’s Inept War on Drugs

Video: The former Police Chief of Seattle, Norm Stamper, a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and on the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) , appears on Democracy Now! Former Seattle Police chief calls for Legalization of all Drugs!

California: April 6, 2009 – Column – Let’s At Least Begin Talking About Legalizing Drugs

Video: California got the “Tax & Regulate” bandwagon rolling last Feburary when San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced a bill to legalize Cannabis: Legalize Marijuana as Solution to Economic Crisis

Pennsylvania: April 8, 2009 –  Editorial – Recession Hits Drug Policy

Michigan: April 9, 2009 – Column – Wave White Flag In The Drug War

Video: Conservative commentator Glen Beck of the Fox News Channel believes legalization is preferable to the gray area of unenforced marijuana laws: Glen Beck – Legalize Marijuana & Stop the Violence

DC – April 12, 2009 – OPED – We Tried a War Like This Once Before

Colorado: April 12, 2009 – OPED – The War on a Plant

Video: Penn Jillette, of  “Penn & Teller” fame, believes that everyone in the world has smokes marijuana (except for himeself and his kids) and that it should be legalized:Penn Says: Legalize Marijuana

Time Magazine: April 13, 2009 – OPED – It’s High Time

Texas: April 15, 2009 – Column – Time for Serious Debate on Legalization of Drugs

Video: Seriously, though, this guy talks fast and makes a lot of sense:Legalize Marijuana…

‘Nuff  Said!

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