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Tag Archives: drug law reform

January and February: The Year began with the Cops Killing a Mother and Dog Police are using these paramilitary raids more than 100 times a day, often on simple possession of non-violent people; dogs are ruthlessly killed because of the war on this plant.

(note that the only marijuana found in this family home had to be scraped from a pipe, and the father was charged with child endangerment…What about the cops shooting weapons in a child’s room, and what about the permanent emotional scars to this child from these cops!)

…and then there was this next story that  led to a lot of accusations from drug policy reformers that police shoot way too many innocent people in overly-aggressive drug raids. You may recall that this case in which the officer claimed that he opened fire on Tarika because he was startled by gunshots downstairs. Those shots were fired by his own fellow officers as they killed the family’s dogs. Tarika Wilson literally lost her life because a cop was freaked out by gunfire from another cop. Oh, and her baby daughter also got shot.

but February also had more SCIENCE coming out to support the anti-cancer properties that new findings are revealing…

February 2010: Medical marijuana news. Cannabidiol stops the spread of breast cancer

February also brought another major study that shows the medical uses for cannabis. This study lasted ten years and costs 9 million dollars. http://blog.mpp.org/medical-marijuana/more-proof-that-marijuana-is-medicine/02172010/The studies, funded by CMCR under the mandate of a 1999 legislative action, found that marijuana is particularly helpful in relieving pain associated with nerve damage and in treating the muscle spasticity from multiple sclerosis.

March found the ever fearful DEA sensing that cannabis is about to be used religiously arrested a minister in Hawaii, Roger Christie, who is becoming well known for using spiritual sacrament  with his congregation. (note of interest Roger is still awaiting bail 9 months later)…here Roger gives instruction on how to make Holy Anointing Oil .

Speaking of the ridiculous Drug War Prisoners, other notable new prisoners for 2010 include…

Eddie Lepp

Marc Emery

John Wilson

Charles Lynch

April 2010: Federal Judge Suggests U.S. Change Anti-Marijuana Law

In sentencing a California pot shop owner to a year behind bars on federal charges of cultivating and selling marijuana, a U.S. district court judge based in Los Angeles suggested that the federal government change marijuana’s outlaw status.

Judge George H. Wu was very sympathetic to the plight of 47-year-old Charles Lynch, who was convicted in 2008 after federal authorities moved against his Morro Bay dispensary despite his bending over backwards to abide by California’s medical marijuana law. “Individuals such as Lynch are caught in the middle of the shifting positions of governmental authorities” vis-a-vis pot, the judge wrote.

Lynch was also caught in between presidential administrations: After Barack Obama took office he ordered the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to stand down on enforcing federal drug laws in states where medical marijuana is legal.

Wu wrote that (PDF) “ … much of the problems [in the Lynch case] could be ameliorated…by the reclassification of marijuana from Schedule I,” which is the government’s highest, outlaw-drug category.

Also In April… The Hemperer,  Jack Herer passed on. Jack was considered the father of the modern Hemp movement, and he was a writer and researcher who wrote The Emperor Wears No Clothes.  He was an activist for the wonders of Hemp plant until the last moments of his life, collapsing on stage having just given a Pro Hemp speech at the Seattle Hemp Fest.  Jack will be missed by the many of us who admired him, RIP.

and another milestone… April 2010: 5 Years After: Portugal’s Drug Decrim

May brought a 30 year scientific finding about Cannabis… May 2010: Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection

June: Study of Cannabis being medically helpful for babies!  Cannabis Reduces Infant Mortality

but the Prohibition War goes on… June 2010: A Record 85 killed yesterday

July 2010: The Veterans Administration will formally allow vets to use medical marijuana if they live in the (now 15 States and the District Of Columbia) that allow it.

In August Prescription drug deaths were skyrocketing…

http://wvgazette.com/News/TheKillerCure/200608130006

http://www.lightparty.com/Health/HealingRegeneration/html/AccidentalDeathPrescriptio.html

September 2010:  I liked it when this country singer Colt Jackson was came out for weed:

October and November…then came Proposition 19 to Legalize, Tax and Regulate Cannabis in California for adults over 21 years old…

Pot Was Smoked On National TV



Past Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders says to Legalize Marijuana

Retired Judge and many retired police came out in favor (note that the video turns to Prop 19 at about 5:oo)…

Conservatives come out…

Pretty Girls came out for Prop 19 too ( note that some really good info starts coming out at about 3:50 into the video)…

3,500,000 Californians said YES!, making 46% of the vote, this was so much more than in 1969 only 12% said yes to legalizing.

November: Arizona Becomes the 15th Medical Marijuana state…and… Washington DC becomes a Medical marijuana District in the November election!

November 2010: 30 Facts About Arizona’s New Medical Marijuana Law

Also in November The Border Patrol Arrested Willie Nelson keeping us all a little safer…Here is what Snoop Dogg thinks about that…

December 2010: New Mexico Approves Addition Plants For Growers

And to wind up the year Pat Robinson gives decriminalization his blessing…December 2010: Pat Robinson Favors Marijuana decriminalization

It’s been quite a year for the Cannabis and Marijuana Law Reform Movement…wishing us all a great New Year, keep on pressing on…blessings to you.

Ray Pague



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

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.)

 

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.

amsaac* Call the White House to Urge President Obama to Immediately Suspend DEA Interference! * –  Americans for Safe Access

During his campaign, Barack Obama won the support of medical marijuana advocates by pledging to end the federal raids on Cannabis dispensaries in states that have legalized the plant for medicine. On this video, candidate Obama reiterates that position, saying, “I would not have the Justice Department  prosecuting or raiding medical marijuana users. It’s not a good use of our resources.” Barack Obama on Medical Marijuana Raids

January 22, 2009 –  Two days after President Obama took his oath of office, the Drug Enforcement Administration raided a medical Cannabis provider in California and two locations in Colorado where medical Cannabis was being grown. Drug War Chronical

nmlThe National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is urging Americans to urge President Obama to keep his promise and direct his administration to respect the laws of thirteen states that have enacted medical marijuana programs. Visit NORML and learn how you can help!

The Herbal Minded Rational You Tube channel has posted a video that connects President Obama’s vision for America with the need to legalize and regulate Cannabis Hemp.Marijuana News for January, 2009

leapThe same You Tube producer has uploaded a series of videos featuring  members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – consisting of police officers, federal agents, corrections officers, judges and other law enforcement professionals. In this video, a retired federal officer explains why the current prohibition (“War on Drugs”) actually makes the situation worse.Federal Agent Tells Obama to Legalize Marijuana

ben2There never was a good war or a bad peace.
Benjamin Franklin (1773)

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: April 18.2008 – Rep. Barney Frank has introduced this billH.R. 5843 -“Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults“. Please tell your representative to support this legislation! ***

Headline: March 21.2008 – Rep. Frank to File Bill to Legalize Marijuanacaptl.jpgWhen the U.S. House of Representatives reconvenes shortly, Rep. Barney Frank (D) MA, has stated that he will introduce legislation to legalize small amounts of marijuana (Cannabis) on the federal level. Making the announcement on “Real Time”, hosted by Bill Maher (Friday night on HBO), Rep. Frank said that locking people up for smoking marijuana is “pretty silly.”

As Barney Frank is a ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, he knows full well the priorities faced by legislators regarding law and order. Here is a video post from Friday night’s “Real Time“, with Bill Maher and Barney’s bombshell:Rep. Barney Frank – Make Room For The Serious Criminals Bill

Barney Frank has realized for years that most politicians are way behind the American people on the marijuana issue, even ignoring the results of free and open elections in states that have legalized Cannabis for medical purposes.

nml.gifIn this video from a National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws conference in Washington, DC, 2001, Barney Frank questions the logic of “conservatives”, normally respectful of a state’s right to autonomy on the health and welfare of its’ citizens, in defying the will of the people and the Constitution.Rep. Barney Frank (MA): Marijuana, Politics & State’s Rights

Headline: March 23, 2008 – Rep. Frank Defends Proposal to Decriminalize Marijuana – Yesterday in the Boston Herald, Barney Frank  expressed concern about the federal raids on medical marijuana clubs in California, saying “I don’t think smoking marijuana should be a federal case”. Also, he insists that “the federal government shouldn’t have a law on the books that is rarely enforced and which doesn’t make sense to large portions of the public”.

*** Please Educate your Representatives in Congress, especially the House of Representatives, on the tragedy, enormous cost and ineffectiveness of the prohibtion of Cannabis. Tell your friends to tell their friends…to support Rep. Frank’s legislation. Call your elected officials on this – it’s your duty as a citizen.***

Cultural leaders like comedian and social critic Bill Maher, who take a stand on problems that the public seems unable to fix, are providing a service by sharing their stage with political leaders brave enough to challenge taboos. With a personal stake in the issue  (his friend Todd McCormick was in prison for researching medical marijuana production for a book project with Peter McWilliams), Bill Maher (then still hosting “Politically Incorrect”) spoke to a highly receptive NORML convention in San Francisco in 2002 on the tragic comedy of America’s war on marijuana.Bill Maher on Marijuana Legalization, NORML 2002

The inequities in our drug laws and the hypocritical politicians that dream them up have frustrated Americans for decades, especially as we export our convoluted, Neo-Puritan ideas out to the rest of the world – even alienating our neighbors in Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. Reforming our drug laws would go far in reforming our image in the eyes of the world and politicians in the eyes of Americans.

jeff2.jpg“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”
-Thomas Jefferson