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As of March 2010, Google is no longer supporting FTP publishing of it's Blogger blogs. Therefore I will be consolidating all of my blogs into a single front page format that I will be experimenting with and changing from time to time until I find something I like.

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posted by Lorenzo 3:27 PM

Protestors to Obama: “Stop Rogue DEA Raids”
(Christopher N. Osher, The Denver Post, February 18, 2010)
An assortment of protest groups have gathered in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant across the street from the venue where President Barack Obama will speak this afternoon. . . . Those holding signs aloft range from medical marijuana advocates to die-hard, law-and-order Republicans. . . . Wearing a "Dont' Tread on Me" T-shirt, Hughes said that Obama is not upholding the constitution because of his push for health-care reforrm and his push for reduction in the nation's carbon footprint. . . . About 20 others joined Hughes to express opposition to Obama's policies. . . . Nearby, about 30 people organized by the group Sensible Colorado, which lobbies for the state's medical marijuana industry, showed up for a different cause. . . . They protested the recent raid and arrest by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration of Chris Bartkowicz, who contends he was growing medical marijuana in Highlands Ranch home. . . . Bartkowicz was charged Tuesday on a drug distribution charge in U.S. District Court and could face up to 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine. . . . Dan Pope, 44, of Longmont said he struggles with muscular dystrophy and found it "appalling" that federal agents were conducting such raids. . . . He noted that Colorado voters approve medical marijuana in 2000, which he says gives him a constitutional right to grow and use it. . . . Also present, separately, were a handful of supporters of Andrew Romanoff's challenge of U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, who are displeased Obama is supporting Bennet in the Democratic primary. . . . One held a sign that read, "Andy is dandy so recycle Michael."
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posted by Lorenzo 10:29 AM

Sometimes you've just got to laugh about the WoD
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posted by Lorenzo 6:24 PM

Medical Marijuana Lab Raided by DEA
( Kurt A. Gardinier, MPP, January 29, 2010)
On Wednesday, DEA agents raided Full Spectrum Laboratories, a lab in Denver, Colorado, that tests medical marijuana for dispensaries. Bob Winnicki, president of the lab, said the DEA issued a subpoena requesting that it turn over customer and patient records from the past six months. Winnicki said he wasn't charged with a crime, but agents seized about $10,000 worth of marijuana, some of which was going to be made into capsules for people with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. . . . Winnicki said his operation isn't a dispensary, but rather a lab that tests marijuana for mold, fungus and pesticides, and tests the effectiveness of different strains of marijuana for treating various ailments for dispensaries and patients. He said he applied for a DEA license back in October to use standards needed to test the marijuana, but didn’t hear from them until Wednesday. . . .
Though the circumstances involved are still unclear, there is no doubt that federal law enforcement agents have bigger fish to fry. While this company was trying to ensure that medical marijuana- the use of which has been sanctioned by the Obama administration- is safe for patients, Mexican drug cartels are operating in 230 cities across the country. If the DEA truly cares about public safety, this is the last place they should be spending their time - and a single dollar spent on any kind of prosecution of these individuals would be one of the most egregious misuses of government resources imaginable.
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posted by Lorenzo 1:11 PM

Study Debunks Marijuana-Suicide Myth
(Dr. Mitch Earleywine, MPP, Jan 26, 2010)
Yet another myth about marijuana takes a beating thanks to some splendid research out of Scandinavia. Although it's no surprise to MPP's fans, marijuana use has no link to suicide. A thorough study of Swedish military men confirms that those who use marijuana are no more likely to take their own lives than those who don't. Prohibitionists often grab results like these and squeal 'the sample is too small to mean much," but this research focused on more than 50,000 people. If you can't get marijuana to link to suicide in 50,000 people, you can't get marijuana to link to suicide. ... Prohibitionists also often shout "Well, you didn't follow them up long enough. They would have killed themselves eventually." This study followed the participants for 33 years. If you can't link marijuana to suicide after 33 years, you can't link marijuana to suicide. If there's no smoke, there's no fire. This study also showed markedly smaller links between marijuana and depression than folks thought. . . . Clearly, the biggest bummer about marijuana doesn’t stem from its use; it’s from arrests. At 800,000 per year, our current rate, we’d have 26,400,000 more arrests for the next 33-year follow-up. Let’s not let that happen. It’s just too depressing. . . . Dr. Mitch Earleywine is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York, where he teaches drugs and human behavior, substance abuse treatment and clinical research methods. He is the author of more than 100 publications on drug use and abuse, including "Understanding Marijuana" and "The Parents' Guide to Marijuana." He is the only person to publish with both Oxford University and High Times.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:47 PM

Pot Smokers' Get Revenge in Massachusetts
(Ben Morris, MPP)
Last night, Scott Brown (R-Mass.) beat Democrat Martha Coakley in a special election to replace the late Senator Ted Kennedy, becoming the first Republican to hold a Senate seat in Massachusetts since the 1970s. So what happened up there? . . . To state it simply, the Democrats chose a bad candidate. They backed one of the most vocal and public opponents of the MPP-funded ballot initiative, Question 2, which decriminalized marijuana possession in Massachusetts in 2008. Question 2 was more popular than President Obama on Election Day, garnering 65% of the vote compared with the president's 62%. All but three towns in the state supported the initiative. . . . There is a lesson here for Democrats and Republicans alike: Support for marijuana reform will help, not hurt, a candidate in elections. Public support is surging forward. Polls on legalization are moving quickly toward majority approval nationwide - in the west, it's already passed the 50% mark - and medical marijuana enjoys 81% support. Politicians on both sides of the aisle must recognize that it's time to use this populist platform as a tool for winning elections. . . . Scott Brown is not a card-carrying member of the marijuana reform movement by any stretch of the imagination. As a state senator, he proposed that possession of marijuana in a vehicle remain a criminal offense, attempting to pull back parts of Question 2. But Brown was not a leading opponent of the measure nor was he publicly associated with the issue, as Coakley was. The lesson here, however, is of the could have should have variety: Democrats could have backed a candidate that supported Question 2, and they should have used marijuana reform as a tool in the campaign. Had they, today's election results may have looked a lot different.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:28 PM

10 Signs the Failed Drug War Is Finally Ending
(Tony Newman, AlterNet, December 4, 2009)
1) Three Former Latin American Presidents Call Drug War a Failure (February) ... 2) Michael Phelps and the Bong Hit Heard Around the World (February) ... 3) Obama Justice Department Says No More Raids on Patients and Caregivers in States with Medical Marijuana Laws (March) ... 4) Drop the Rock! NY's Draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws Finally Reformed (April) ... 5) Governor Arnold Calls for Debate on Legalizing Marijuana: Voters to Decide in 2010 (May) ... 6) Drug Czar Calls for End to the Drug War (May) ... 7) Mexico and Argentina Move to Decriminalize Marijuana and other Drugs (August) ... 8) The Results Are In: Portugal's Decriminalization Law of 2001 Reduced Transmission of Disease, Cut Overdose Deaths and Incarceration, While Not Increasing Drug Use. (August) ... 9) Coming Out of the Closet: "Stiletto Stoners" Explain Why They Like Marijuana (September) ... 10) The Marijuana Legalization Debate Hits the Mainstream (Fall ) ... The Drug War Grinds On, but Change is in the Air (December)

For all the recent progress, drug policy reformers are under no illusion that the drug war will end any time soon. We know that drug prohibition and our harsh drug laws - fueled by a prison-industrial complex that locks up 500,000 of our fellow Americans on drug-related offenses - are poised to continue for some time wasting tens of billions of dollars a year and leading to the deaths of thousands of Mexicans and Americans every year due to prohibition-related violence. But we are clearly moving in the right direction, toward a more rational drug policy based on compassion, health, science and human rights. We need people to continue to join the movement to end this unwinnable war. If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

Tony Newman is communications director for the Drug Policy Alliance.

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posted by Lorenzo 3:37 PM

The No-hitter Thrown While on LSD
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posted by Lorenzo 1:17 PM

Prohibition's Pillars Starting to Crumble
(Cynthia Tucker, St. Petersburg Times, November 4, 2009)
The nation's approach to drugs has turned us into a penal colony. We lock up more of our citizens per capita than brutal dictators like Robert Mugabe and Fidel Castro. . . . Much of the social cost has been borne by black men, who use illegal drugs at rates about equal to whites but are nearly 12 times as likely to be imprisoned for drug convictions as adult white men . . . That's because lazy tactics encourage police to focus on penny-ante street dealers to pump up their arrest records. . . . [Also see: One Drug Arrest Made Every 18 Seconds] . . . That practice can have tragic consequences, as it did in 2006, when Atlanta police fraudulently targeted the home of an innocent elderly woman, Kathryn Johnston, and shot her dead. . . . the streets are not made safer when we put non-violent offenders in prison for selling or possessing small quantities of illegal drugs. . . . Counting local, state and federal spending, the nation fights this losing war at an annual cost of more than $40 BILLION . . . Yet, the violence associated with the drug trade is fueled by the illegality of the product, just as it was during Prohibition.
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posted by Lorenzo 5:08 AM

One Drug Arrest Made Every 18 Seconds
(Huffington Post, September 14, 2009)
Someone is arrested in the United States for a drug-law violation every 18 seconds, an FBI report released Monday shows. . . . More than four-fifths of those arrests were for possession only and nearly half were for possession of marijuana. Of the 847,863 marijuana arrests -- one every 37 seconds -- 89 percent were for possession alone. . . . And those folks do spend time in jail. University of Maryland drug policy expert Peter Reuter told the Huffington Post that in Maryland, roughly a third of those arrested for marijuana possession spend time in jail, from a night to several days or more. . . . There are profound consequences to spending even a short stint in jail. "You can get get over an addiction, but you will never get over a conviction," said Jack Cole, a retired undercover narcotics detective who now heads the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) in a statement. . . . If the Maryland research is extrapolated to the rest of the country, then roughly a quarter million Americans spent time in jail in 2008 for possession of marijuana -- a drug used at one point by roughly half of all Americans, including the past three presidents. . . . Last December, LEAP commissioned a report by a Harvard University economist that found that legalizing and regulating drugs would inject tens of billions a year into the U.S. economy. In California, medical marijuana is currently taxed and generates several hundred million dollars per year in revenue for the state treasury. . . . "In our current economic climate, we simply cannot afford to keep arresting more than three people every minute in the failed 'war on drugs,'" said Cole. "Plus, if we legalized and taxed drug sales, we could actually create new revenue in addition to the money we'd save from ending the cruel policy of arresting users." . . . A spokeswoman for the White House "drug czar," Gil Kerlikowske, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
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posted by Lorenzo 9:21 AM

More Evidence That Marijuana Prevents Cancer
A Population-Based Case-Control Study of Marijuana Use and Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Cannabinoids, constituents of marijuana smoke, have been recognized to have potential antitumor properties. However, the epidemiologic evidence addressing the relationship between marijuana use and the induction of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is inconsistent and conflicting.

Cases (n = 434) were patients with incident HNSCC disease from nine medical facilities in the Greater Boston, MA area between December 1999 and December 2003. Controls (n = 547) were frequency matched to cases on age (±3 years), gender, and town of residence, randomly selected from Massachusetts town books. A questionnaire was adopted to collect information on lifetime marijuana use (decade-specific exposures) and associations evaluated using unconditional logistic regression.

After adjusting for potential confounders (including smoking and alcohol drinking), 10 to 20 years of marijuana use was associated with a significantly reduced risk of HNSCC [odds ratio (OR)10-<20 years versus never users, 0.38; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.22-0.67]. Among marijuana users moderate weekly use was associated with reduced risk (OR0.5-<1.5 times versus <0.5 time, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.32-0.85). The magnitude of reduced risk was more pronounced for those who started use at an older age (OR15-<20 years versus never users, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.30-0.95; OR20 years versus never users, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.17-0.90; Ptrend < 0.001). These inverse associations did not depend on human papillomavirus 16 antibody status. However, for the subjects who have the same level of smoking or alcohol drinking, we observed attenuated risk of HNSCC among those who use marijuana compared with those who do not.

Our study suggests that moderate marijuana use is associated with reduced risk of HNSCC.

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posted by Lorenzo 10:49 AM

The Mexican Army is Running Amok
(Charles Bowden, Mother Jones, June 17, 2009)
The military has again flooded northern Mexico, ever since President Felipe Calderón assumed office in December 2006 with a margin so razor thin that many Mexicans think he is an illegitimate president. One of his first acts was to declare a war on the nation's thriving drug industry, and his favorite tool was to be the Mexican Army, portrayed as less corrupt than the local or national police. Now some 45,000 soldiers, nearly 25 percent of the Army, are marauding all over the country, escalating the mayhem that consumes Mexico. In 2008, more than 6,000 Mexicans died in the drug violence, a larger loss than the United States has endured during the entire Iraq War. Since 2000, two dozen reporters have been officially recorded as murdered, at least seven more have vanished, and an unknown number have fled into the United States. But all numbers in Mexico are slippery, because people have so many ways of disappearing. In 2008, 188 Mexicans—cops, reporters, businesspeople—sought political asylum at US border crossings, more than twice as many as the year before. . . . The entire Mexican north has become a killing field. In Palomas, a nearby border town of maybe 7,500 souls, more than 40 men have already been executed in the past year, and several more have vanished in kidnappings; a mass grave was discovered in May. Some of these murders are by drug cartels. Some of these murders are by state and federal police. Some of these murders are by the Mexican Army. There are now many ways to die. . . . There are two Mexicos. . . . There is the one reported by the US press, a place where the Mexican president is fighting a valiant war on drugs, aided by the Mexican Army and the Mérida Initiative, the $1.4 billion in aid the United States has committed to the cause. This Mexico has newspapers, courts, laws, and is seen by the United States government as a sister republic. . . . It does not exist. . . . There is a second Mexico where the war is for drugs, where the police and the military fight for their share of drug profits, where the press is restrained by the murder of reporters and feasts on a steady diet of bribes, and where the line between the government and the drug world has never existed. . . . Here is what a wise man knows: that certain people—the cartel leaders, the corrupt police, the corrupt military-these things cannot be written about at all. That other people should be mentioned favorably unless they are caught in circumstances so extreme that the news cannot be suppressed. Then, the blow is softened as much as possible. Nor are investigations favored. If someone is murdered, you call the proper authorities and you print exactly what they tell you. But you don't poke around in such matters. . . . This is the reality of Mexican reporting, where a person is inside but outside, where a person knows more than the public but can only say what is known in code and this code had better not be too clear. . . . On February 13, 2008, he notes in an unbylined story that "heavily armed commandos" (Emilio now estimates a convoy of 700 men and 100 vehicles) swept the area from Palomas down to Casas Grandes. In Ascensión they ransack the house of Emilio's friend, a guy who runs a pizza parlor. The friend is given the ley fuga, the traditional game of the military where they let you run and if you can dodge the bullets, you live. His friend is mowed down in the street in front of his home. That night 20 people vanish from the area and only one ever returns, a Chilean engineer who is saved by his embassy. The others simply cease to exist. . . . But then memory can be a very short-term thing here. Within an hour or two of a killing, there is no one left to describe the murder. In a day, it is a dim memory. In a few days, it is beyond recall except when talking in private to the closest friends and family. This loss of memory is not because of cowardice. It is the wisdom that comes with survival. . . . But there is another way of looking at the facts on that ground that is un-Mexican with its fetish of a pyramid of power going back to the Aztec emperors, and un-American with our conviction that every place is kind of like our nation only with unsafe water and spicy food. Maybe, the center no longer holds. In the last 10 years, since the death of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, head of the Juárez cartel and first among equals in the drug world, the industry has fragmented into independent baronies and smaller outlaw bands. Since the collapse of the PRI, the ruling party that lasted more than 70 years, Mexico's civil society has also fragmented, with power leaving the capital and recombining with the narcogangs. The Army, the largest gang, is not attempting to seize the bankrupt and withering state, but grabbing market share in a place whose two largest industries are supplying American drug habits and exporting millions of people. Cartels once imposed constraint of trade. But like soda-pop CEOs, the generals now angle to increase their share of the skyrocketing domestic drug market. And of course, the United States finances this move, via the Mérida Initiative, in the delusion that it is shoring up a republic south of the Rio Grande. We are staring into the future but using old prescription glasses. Murderous cholos on the corner in Juárez and troops marauding and robbing in the disguise of a Mexican drug war may be writing the future while President Obama and President Calderón wander in their bunkers of power, and cling to the fantasies of the ancien régime.
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posted by Lorenzo 2:48 PM

Medical pot users, growers can sue over raids
(Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, July 2, 2009)
Officials in Butte County, where the case arose, argued that patients and suppliers can invoke the medical marijuana law only as a defense to criminal charges, not to sue for damages. The court's dissenting justice said no one is entitled to compensation for the destruction of a drug banned under federal law. . . . But the court's majority said a marijuana patient or member of a collective has the same right as anyone else to sue officers who violate the constitutional ban on illegal searches and seizures. . . . The plaintiff, David Williams, is relying on "the same constitutional guarantee of due process available to all individuals," Justice Vance Raye said. He said Williams is not required to go through "the expense and stress of criminal proceedings" to assert his rights. . . . Williams belonged to a seven-member collective near the town of Paradise. When a sheriff's deputy came to his door without a warrant in September 2005, Williams showed doctors' recommendations for all seven patients that allowed them to grow and use marijuana, he said. . . . He said the officer had questioned the legality of the collective and ordered him to destroy 29 of the 41 plants on his property or face arrest. He complied, then sued the officer and the county for damages. Wednesday's ruling upheld a Superior Court judge's refusal to dismiss the suit.
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posted by Lorenzo 12:33 PM

NORML Pro-Pot TV ad blankets US
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posted by Lorenzo 11:33 AM

Marijuana Expo Draws 20,000 in Los Angeles
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posted by Lorenzo 10:13 PM

Excrescences of the Mexican Drug War
"Drug prohibition is the golden goose of terrorism all around the world." -Judge James Grey
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posted by Lorenzo 8:13 AM

THC initiates brain cancer cells to destroy themselves
(WorldHealth.Net, May 20, 2009)
THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, causes brain cancer cells to undergo a process called autophagy in which cells feed upon themselves, according to a study conducted by Guillermo Velasco and colleagues at Complutense University in Spain. Using mice designed to carry human brain cancer tumors, the researchers found that the growth of the tumors shrank when the animals received THC. The study also involved two patients with glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive form of brain cancer. Both patients had been enrolled in a clinical trial designed to test THC's potential as a cancer therapy. The researchers used electron microscopes to analyze brain tissue taken before and after a 26- to 30-day THC treatment regimen. They found that THC eliminated the cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact. In addition, in what they described as a "novel discovery," the specific signalling route by which the autophagy process unfolds was isolated. . . . "These results may help to design new cancer therapies based on the use of medicines containing the active principle of marijuana and/or in the activation of autophagy," says Velasco. The findings were published in the April 2009 issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation. . . . According to Dr. John S. Yu, co-director of the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program in the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, "The findings were not surprising. There have been previous reports to this effect as well. So this is yet another indication that THC has an anti-cancer effect, which means it's certainly worth further study." . . . Dr. Yu warns cancer patients that they should not consider marijuana a potential cure for cancer and urges that people "not start smoking pot right away as a means of curing their own cancer." However, Dr. Paul Graham Fisher, the Beirne Family director of Neuro-Oncology at Stanford University, says that's precisely what many brain cancer patients are doing. "In fact, 40 percent of brain tumor patients in the U.S. are already using alternative treatments, ranging from herbals to vitamins to marijuana," says Dr. Fisher. "But that actually points out a cautionary tale here, which is that many brain cancer patients are already rolling a joint to treat themselves, but we're not really seeing brain tumors suddenly going away as a result, which we clearly would have noticed if it had that effect."

News Release: Marijuana chemical may fight brain cancer

News Release: Active ingredient in marijuana kills brain cancer cells

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posted by Lorenzo 7:32 PM

Who is the American Connection?
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posted by Lorenzo 7:45 PM

FBI Admits "No one ever died from marijuana
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posted by Lorenzo 5:28 PM

Supreme Court Hands Medical Marijuana Major Victory
(Huffington Post, May 18, 2009)
The U.S. Supreme Court handed medical marijuana patients and advocates a resounding victory on Monday, refusing to hear a case brought by San Diego County, which has long chafed at implementing statewide medical marijuana laws. . . . The state of California, in an effort to systematize the 1996 voter-approved initiative, required localities to implement identification card programs for patients with doctor approval in 2004. Such ID cards are required to enter medical marijuana shops in California and can be shown to police officers who find patients in possession of marijuana. . . . San Diego County, however, argued that the federal ban on marijuana trumps the state law, meaning they are not required to follow the state law. The county filed suit in 2006. Both the San Diego Superior Court and the Fourth District Court of Appeals rejected the argument, which was followed by the California Supreme Court's refusal to review the case in 2008. . . . The San Diego Board of Supervisors voted to appeal to the Supreme Court. . . . "The courts have made clear that federal law does not preempt California's medical marijuana law and that local officials must comply with that law," said Joe Elford, chief counsel with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a national medical marijuana advocacy group with a large presence in California. "No longer will local officials be able to hide behind federal law and resist upholding California's medical marijuana law." . . . It is not the job, in other words, of local cops or municipalities to enforce federal laws. In fact, the federal government has never made such an argument. The California counties acted on their own. . . . The Supreme Court ruling, following the Obama administration's decision not to raid medical marijuana clubs acting in accordance with state law, removes one of the last barriers to full implementation of the state law. . . . ASA has now given notice to 10 conservative holdout counties (Colusa, Madera, Mariposa, Modoc, Mono, San Bernardino, San Diego, Solano, Stanislaus, and Sutter) of their legal obligation to implement the ID card program. . . . "The Supreme Court and the lower courts in California have blown away the myth that federal law somehow prevents states from legalizing medical marijuana," said Rob Kampia, executive director for the Marijuana Policy Project. . . . Thirteen states have laws that allow certain folks to use medical marijuana if their doctor recommends it. Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York are currently considering medical marijuana bills in their state legislatures.
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posted by Lorenzo 5:45 PM

Kids, don't do drugs
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posted by Lorenzo 11:29 PM

Legalization Finally Making the Mainstream Media
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posted by Lorenzo 2:30 PM

Pot vs. Booze: A Former Police Chief's Take
(Norm Stamper, Huffington Post, April 22, 2009)
We at LEAP are current and former cops and other criminal justice practitioners who have witnessed firsthand the futility and manifold injustices of the drug war. Our professional experiences have led us to conclude that the more dangerous an illicit substance -- from crack to krank -- the greater the justification for its legalization, regulation, and control. It is the prohibition of drugs that leads inexorably to high rates of death, disease, crime, and addiction. . . . Back to booze vs. pot. How do the effects of these two drugs stack up against specific health and public safety factors? . . . Alcohol-related traffic accidents claim approximately 14,000 lives each year, down significantly from 20 or 30 years ago (attributed to improved education and enforcement). Figures for THC-related traffic fatalities are elusive, especially since alcohol is almost always present in the blood as well, and since the numbers of "marijuana-only" traffic fatalities are so small. But evidence from studies, including laboratory simulations, feeds the stereotype that those under the influence of canniboids tend to (1) be more aware of their impaired psychomotor skills, and (2) drive well below the speed limit. Those under the influence of alcohol are much more likely to be clueless or defiant about their condition, and to speed up and drive recklessly. . . . Hundreds of alcohol overdose deaths occur annually. There has never been a single recorded marijuana OD fatality. . . . According to the American Public Health Association, excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of death in this country. APHA pegs the negative economic impact of extreme drinking at $150 billion a year. . . . There have been no documented cases of lung cancer in a marijuana-only smoker, nor has pot been scientifically linked to any type of cancer. . . . While a small quantity, taken daily, is being touted for its salutary health effects, alcohol is one of the worst drugs one can take for pain management, marijuana one of the best. . . . Alcohol contributes to acts of violence; marijuana reduces aggression. In approximately three million cases of reported violent crimes last year, the offender had been drinking. This is particularly true in cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, and date rape. Marijuana use, in and of itself, is absent from both crime reports and the scientific literature. There is simply no link to be made. . . . Over the past four years I've asked police officers throughout the U.S. (and in Canada) two questions. When's the last time you had to fight someone under the influence of marijuana? (I'm talking marijuana only, not pot plus a six-pack or a fifth of tequila.) My colleagues pause, they reflect. Their eyes widen as they realize that in their five or fifteen or thirty years on the job they have never had to fight a marijuana user. I then ask: When's the last time you had to fight a drunk? They look at their watches. . . . All of which begs the question. If one of these two drugs is implicated in dire health effects, high mortality rates, and physical violence -- and the other is not -- what are we to make of our nation's marijuana laws? Or alcohol laws, for that matter. . . . Anybody out there want to launch a campaign for the re-prohibition of alcohol? Didn't think so. The answer, of course, is responsible drinking. Marijuana smokers, for their part, have already shown (apart from that little matter known as the law) greater responsibility in their choice of drugs than those of us who choose alcohol.

Norm Stamper is former chief of the Seattle Police Department, and an advisory board member of NORML and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). He is the author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing (Nation Books, 2005).
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posted by Lorenzo 8:53 PM

Former drug smuggler interviewed on CNN about legalization
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posted by Lorenzo 10:51 AM

Legalization: Yes We Can

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posted by Lorenzo 8:01 AM

Drew Carey Responds to Obama's Anti-Marijuana Speech

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posted by Lorenzo 1:59 PM

Obama & Holder Lied To Us!
Drug Agents Raid SF Medical Marijuana Clinic
(CBS News, March 26, 2009)
One week after President Barack Obama's top law enforcement official seemed to indicate the feds would no longer raid pot clubs, DEA agents busted a medical marijuana facility in San Francisco Wednesday night. . . . As agents carried large plastic containers of marijuana plants out of Emmalyn's California Cannabis Clinic at 1597 Howard Street, a small crowd of protesters formed a gauntlet outside the door, booing the agents and chanting, "our medicine is marijuana ... listen to Obama!" ... [COMMENT by Lorenzo: Yeah, I've been listening to Obama, but all I'm hearing are lies.] ... DEA spokeswoman Casey McEnry told CBS 5 the documents regarding the raid are sealed, so the DEA was not able to give any details. . . . "Based on our investigation we believe there are not only violations of federal law, but state law as well," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams in a written statement. . . . Emmalyn's has a provisional permit from the city, according to Eileen Shields, spokesperson for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, which she said is an indication the club is in good standing with city laws. . . . Brendan Hallanin, the pot club's attorney, said Emmalyn's is in compliance with state and local laws. . . . "They are well-respected and have a good reputation in the medical marijuana community," said Hallanin, who added the business has never been raided in its five year existence. . . . Hallanin said the DEA would not tell him why the club was being busted. . . . "They're going to have a huge fight on their hands if they're arbitrarily busting clubs that are in compliance with state and local laws," said Hallanin. . . . Kris Hermes, spokesperson for Americans for Safe Access, a national advocacy group for medical marijuana issues, wants the attorney general to explain the DEA's actions. . . . "We're shocked that after the Attorney General has made repeated statements that raids on California medical cannibis dispensaries would be suspended that we are seeing a continuation of that policy," said Hermes.
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posted by Lorenzo 2:05 PM

Obama is a Hypocrite

I get a sick feeling in my stomach when I hear something like this:

He said the question about cannabis "ranked fairly high". The truth, which he doesn't seem to be able to handle, is that it was by far, by far the number one question asked. So right off the bat he is obscuring the real facts.

Had young Mr. Obama been arrested for marijuana possession when he was young (as happens to almost 2,000 people EVERY DAY), he wouldn't be living a glorious life in the White House right now. He would be in a prison cage like a million other Americans.

And to be so cavalier about it, making a joke about marijuana users, who just happen to include a significant part of his rapidly dwindling 'base', is disgusting. He obviously has been spending too much time pandering to the Wall Street bankers who all have their hands out, begging for more of our taxes for their personal use. How sad to see Obama become such a two-faced politician, just like the rest of them.
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posted by Lorenzo 11:01 AM

Marijuana & the Economy

Typical pro/con arguments giving "equal" time to ignorant people . . . but it's still better than no discussion at all. ... And I have to hand it to CNBC here for doing one of the better jobs at presenting this debate.

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posted by Lorenzo 8:41 AM

Santo Daime Church Wins Right to Use Sacramental Ayahuasca
(Mark Kleiman, The Reality-Based Community, March 18, 2009)
Another Federal district court has ruled in favor of another church that uses the DMT-bearing brew called ayahuasca. . . . This time the case is in Oregon and involves a branch of the Santo Daime, one of the two large religious organizations with Brazilian government permission to use the "tea." The previous case was in New Mexico, and involved a branch of the UdV, the other major Brazilian church that uses ayahuasca. . . . In the Oregon case, Judge Owen Panner has issued a permanent injunction, and a very clearly-reasoned opinion to go with it. (It's as good a statement of the facts as I've seen.) That doesn't quite end matters; the church and the DEA still have to work out a regulatory process to prevent diversion, and the Justice Department could still choose to appeal. . . . In the New Mexico case, the government appealed the preliminary injunction all the way up to the Supreme Court, which affirmed 8-0. But so far the government has insisted on its right to have a full-dress trial on a permanent injunction, even after the week-long hearing on the preliminary injunction and three rounds of appellate briefs and arguments (a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit, an en banc, and then the Supreme Court). . . . In both cases, the government's arguments amounted to "OOOOGA BUGGA! DRUGS!!!!" Neither court was having any, thanks. Without evidence of either physical or psychological harm or of diversion to non-religious use, the judges refused to suppress religious exercise on the basis of merely speculative harm. These were not Constitutional cases under the Free Exercise clause, but statutory-interpretation cases under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In the New Mexico case, but apparently not in the Oregon case, the Justice Department argued that the government was bound by treaty obligations to ban any non-medical use of DMT, the one hallucinogen known to be produced within the brain itself. . . . Now the new leadership at DoJ faces a question. The government can appeal the Oregon ruling and continue to fight the New Mexico case, and do the same with every religious body that comes forward to ask permission to used a controlled-substance sacrament. As a practical matter, that would mean that only well-financed churches had any chance of winning recognition; these are expensive cases, albeit the churches can recover their attorneys' fees at the end of they win. Or the Attorney General could tell the DEA Administrator to draft, and publish in the Federal Register, a set of procedures and criteria to deal with such cases in the future. (The Supreme Court ruling makes it clear that RFRA provides ample statutory authority for issuing such regulations.) It's an interesting test of Eric Holder's skill, and I'll be interested to see how he handles it.
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posted by Lorenzo 9:29 AM

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