New York Times OpDoc: A True Satire Of The War on Some Drugs

While there is nothing genuinely funny about a seventy-five year prohibition on cannabis that has arrested over 25 million cannabis consumers, making fun of the failed policy never goes out of style, especially when done right, with aplomb, which the NORML staff occasionally highlights on an otherwise serious-minded public policy blog.

While over a week-old it would seem a crime itself not to share this New York Times so-called OpDoc (where videos rather than guest columns are submitted). The Gregory Brothers, a quartet of video artists from Brooklyn, absolutely skew the disparity between American society’s hypocritical legal vs illegal drug paradigm.

They accomplish this by very humorous employment of auto-tune and eye-rolling use of politicians’ own words about the now near universally acknowledged failed war on some drugs.

Check out former Congressman Ron Paul, New York governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey governor Chris Christie (with intentional help from Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes of ‘Jay and Silent Bob’ fame) sing in a way, about a subject matter, they surely didn’t intend t00 when they opened their mouths and spoke the truth about an unpopular public policy (which, ironically, is what elected policymakers are supposed to do in democracies).

You can watch the video here.

Enjoy!

DON’T WASTE YOUR VOTE

There are only ten states where your vote counts. The swing states in play are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. In all the other the states the vote isn’t even close. For instance, in my state, California, Obama is beating Romney among likely voters 53-35 percent.

So if I vote for Obama, my vote is really wasted. His belligerent attitudes towards other countries don’t represent my views on foreign policy and his anti-cannabis stance is vexing. His opposition to privacy and anti-environmental policies are also disturbing. Even so, his regime won’t be as mindless and will be less authoritarian than Romney’s.

This presents an opportunity for conscientious people who live in one of the 40 states that are going either red or blue. They can voice their dissatisfaction with the present system by voting for a third party such as the Green Party, the Libertarians or the party that I am working with, the Peace and Freedom Party. The importance of these parties should not be underestimated. They are the cauldrons of policy and many of their ideas have become part of this nation’s fabric. The 40-hour work week, minimum wage, social security, caste (racial) equality, women’s rights including the right to vote, national parks, and many more rights and privileges were proposed by third parties and then adopted by the major parties. This is still going on. Ron Paul introduced Libertarian ideas to the Republicans and Green-Democrats have an outsized influence in many localities.

If you cast your vote for Obama (or Romney) in the 40 red or blue states you are wasting your vote. In all probability neither candidate represents your views. A few months ago Dale Gieringer, Director of California NORML, and I were discussing the election. We agreed that Ron Paul represented our views more than any other candidate – he was good on three of four. My motivation issues are peace, marijuana legalization, the Bill of Rights and the environment. Our thoughts were that we would rather be opposing Paul on the environment and some rights than dealing with Romney or Obama’s policies. They both exhibit psychopathic tendencies that will continue to lead the U.S. to war, oppose marijuana legalization and preservation of the environment, and have laughable interpretations of the Bill of Rights.

For instance, Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen living in Yemen, was executed by drone for dissing the U.S. and its policies. No trial, no indictment, no attempt to capture. Obama took the easy way out and ordered the assassination. If the government can do it over there, why not here? It is already using drones to spy on us.

With these things in mind you can see that in the 40 decided states it is more important to support one of the losers than to rote-vote a major. By voting for a third party candidate you are encouraging diversity in politics so that the public hears ideas beyond the scope of the corporate parties’ narrow perspective. We are always told that voting for a third party is a wasted vote. But it’s not true. Voting for a corporate party candidate who is going to win or lose no matter how you vote in the red and blue states- is throwing your vote away. But when third parties get even a few percentage points the media takes notice of them and the issues they espouse.

DON’T WASTE YOUR VOTE — VOTE OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE BOX.

NORML SHOW LIVE #859 – Federal Shenanigans Keeping Marijuana Prohibited


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Daily Toker Tunes

Electric Tuesday: Brought to you by Cannabis Cure UK – the reform podcast for the United Kingdom

  • Satta Spliff – “Put It Ina Rizla”

NORML Newsmakers

  • Dale Gieringer, California NORML – Report on the federal crackdown on medical marijuana

Radical Rant

  • Guest Opinion: Wayne Reiss on the FDA Approval of Cannabis is a Red Herring

Ron Paul’s Importance

President Eisenhower warned of the perniciousness of the “military-industrial complex” in 1961. Since that time the U.S. has become steadily more belligerent. There hasn’t been a day our lives that the U.S. hasn’t been engaged in active military action.

In fact, there hasn’t been a day since the government was formed in 1789 that the U.S. hasn’t been fighting somewhere.

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Ron Paul’s Importance

President Eisenhower warned of the perniciousness of the “military-industrial complex” in 1961. Since that time the U.S. has become steadily more belligerent. There hasn’t been a day our lives that the U.S. hasn’t been engaged in active military action. In fact, there hasn’t been a day since the government was formed in 1789 that the U.S. hasn’t been fighting somewhere.

In addition to fighting overseas, the U.S. has conducted three wars on its citizens- the Indian actions, the Civil War and the long running Drug War. To top it off, before Bush botched it up, the neo-conservatives were calling for “The American Century”. THEY planned for a military and cultural empire.

In his book “The Assassination of Caesar”, Michael Franti shows how Rome’s middle-class was drained of its wealth and income to support the empire. The booty from the adventurist policies went to the influential, either wealthy or military plunderers.

Rome went from republic to Caeserian Empire and the middle class devolved to Rome’s welfare class, who were controlled and disenfranchised with bread and circuses of cruelty- Animal against animal; animals vs. people. The Romans decimated North African wildlife and executed many Christians in these arenas of bloodlust.

George McGovern was the first and last candidate to bring up the empire issue in his disastrous run against Nixon in 1972. Since then the anti-empirists and pro-peace, anti-war groups have been invisible to the press. Empire has not been the issue- only how to conduct it.

Now Ron Paul has brought the issue to the forefront by endorsing my platform calling for withdrawal of all U.S. bases from other countries. He has shown how the corporations benefit from our military and the U.S. population suffers. His arguments cannot be ignored.

Paul has put the anti-war, anti-empire argument on the discussion table. The philosophy of not being a military bully has made a giant jump into American consciousness thanks to him. By pulling from the right he gave it a legitimacy that it didn’t have coming from the left.

At first I thought Ron Paul’s campaign was more powerful than the multitude of voices opposing U.S. militarism. But the Occupation movement with its Greek chorus of human microphones has also had a hand in turning public opinion around. It took both right and left to set the stage for a re-evaluation of American exceptionalism. Forty years is a long time to wait for the discussion. Obama, are you listening?

RESCIND OBAMA’S NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

I would assume that the Nobel Committee selected Obama for the Peace Prize in 2009 in anticipation of the good acts they expected of him. Perhaps the closing of Guantanamo, stopping torture of prisoners, pulling out of Iraq, stopping support of tyrants like Mubarek, Assad and Nursultan Nazarbayev of  Kazakhstan. Perhaps they thought he would sign the Kyoto Accords or the Land-Mine Treaty.

He turned out to be another U.S. President-warmonger. He’s the world’s biggest arms dealer. He commands the biggest army. Spends as much on military as the next 10 nations combined, and he just signed a law allowing the use of military courts and military justice on U.S. citizens in the U.S.

Well, its just another example of paying the contractor before the job is completed and inspected. Advance payment is a often a set-up for disappointment and shoddy workmanship.

What should the Nobel Committee do? Rescind the Prize! And rescind Henry Kissinger’s, too. He was an architect of the Vietnam War, which destroyed the lives of millions of people. Instead send both of these suspects to the World Court in the Hague to stand trial for crimes against humanity and genocide. Obama’s eligible now and he’s still piling up the body count*. First step: Rescind their Nobels. Isn’t it unseemly for the Committee to award prizes to these creeps and not to Pete Seeger, one of the world’s foremost peace-mongers?

* Sorry Bush, no prize for you, but you are eligible for the one way to the Hague.

 

The Jodie Emery Show: Support Politicians Calling For Legalization

CANNABIS CULTURE – For the latest news on Marc Emery, CCHQ, and Canada’s cannabis community, watch new episodes of The Jodie Emery Show each week on Cannabis Culture. In this episode: Show your support for politicians on both sides of the US/Canada border who will legalize marijuana!

As Jodie is about to travel to Mississippi to visit Marc, she reminds us how important it is to support Ron Paul in his bid to become President of The Untied States. Go to ronpaul2012.com for more info.

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The Republican Candidates on Marijuana

As we approach the middle of January, Election 2012 is in full swing. Fresh off of the Iowa Caucuses, the six remaining Republican candidates move on to New Hampshire for their January 10th primary.

As a non-profit organization, we are not permitted to endorse candidates for public office, but we hope this guide helps inform you of the marijuana policy positions of the various candidates.

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Ron Paul Finds Supporters Among Medical Marijuana Advocates

While traditional Republicans were meeting at Clare’s Doherty Hotel, a volunteer for presidential hopeful Ron Paul was finding a largely receptive audience a block away before a very non-traditional audience.

“Conservative government, smaller government, less intrusive government,” Paul volunteer Race Williams told members of the Clare County Compassion Club. “That’s what we need.”

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The Brilliant Strategy of Gary Johnson and Ron Paul

Gary Johnson, former Republican governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, has an exemplary record during his time in office.

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The Top Ten People in Marijuana in 2011

Before we get started, let me make clear that this list is not “The Best People” or “The Worst People” or “The Most Important People”.  It is also not NORML’s official endorsement or condemnation of anyone listed.  This is merely my review of some of the personal stories in cannabis law reform, some whom you’ll recognize, others who appear briefly in a news report and are forgotten, that I felt needed recognition.  In fact, if you count them up, it’s more than ten people.

The Top Ten People in Marijuana in 2011 (audio mp3)

10. William Breathes – Journalism defeating unscientific and inaccurate DUID laws in Colorado

William Breathes, Denver WestWord's pot critic

When you say “medical marijuana” to most Americans, they will think “California”.  But Colorado has actually the most regulated and state-developed medical marijuana program in the country.  Per capita, Denver has far more medical marijuana dispensaries than Los Angeles or San Francisco/Oakland.  So I had no doubt that someone from Colorado would have to be included on this list.

Unfortunately, most of activism headlines out of Colorado in 2011 detailed the kind of immaturity and shenanigans that reflect poorly on marijuana activism.  2011 saw Miguel Lopez hectoring a legislator into dropping a patient privacy amendment, lecturing legislative committees, and accused of stealing and destroying legalization petitions.  Corey Donahue was jailed for disrupting a meeting organizing supporters of a legalization initiative, had his “Crazy for Justice” propose making April 20th a state holiday, and is accused of stealing documents from the state’s medical marijuana enforcement division (awaiting re-trial following mis-trial because Miguel Lopez was filming the jury selection).  Kathleen Chippi, Robert Chase, and Laura Kriho boasted openly about their active opposition to legalization efforts.

Thankfully, the “pot critic” of Denver’s alt-weekly, WestWord, comes to the rescue with an inspiring tale of one journalist’s use of the scientific method to help defeat bad anti-cannabis legislation.  Colorado had proposed a “5ng/mL per se DUID” standard, sort of the idea represented by a 0.08 blood-alcohol level to supposedly net drunk drivers.  The problem is that cannabis isn’t alcohol.  The science shows no reliable “impairment standard” for THC for every person.  Marijuana smokers can test above 5ng without displaying any impairment, and frequent consumers, like medical marijuana patients, can be way above 5ng with no recent consumption at all.

Breathes, a patient, took it upon himself to abstain from marijuana use for fifteen hours.  He was then tested and found to be at 13.5ng/mL, even as he was completely sober after a night of restful sleep.  This front-page news and subsequent support from new studies and a deadlocked task force of experts forced the Colorado legislators to kill the proposal.  Which, sadly, was then embraced by…

9. Alison Holcomb – New Approach Washington’s legalization adopts Colorado’s defeated DUID provision

Alison Holcomb

Alison Holcomb of ACLU-WA

Washington State is poised in 2012 to have a marijuana legalization proposal on the ballot that stands a serious chance of winning.  Alison Holcomb, the Drug Policy Director at ACLU of Washington, has done a remarkable job lining up high-profile supporters, including travel guru Rick Steves, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, former US Attorney John McKay, and former FBI Special Agent in Charge of Seattle Division, Charles Mandigo; as well as securing the big-dollar funding an initiative needs to be successful.

However, controversy within the Washington marijuana movement erupted as activists got wind of the details within I-502, the Holcomb-sponsored marijuana legalization initiative.  ACLU’s polling showed the two biggest obstacles to legalization support among the public are “What About the Children?!?” and “Beware the Stoned Drivers!!!”.  To assuage the public’s fear of stoned teenagers, I-502 sets a 21 age limit and zero tolerance for any use by drivers in that age group.  More controversially, to mitigate the stoned driver fear, I-502 adopts the same 5ng/mL per se DUID standard that had just been defeated in Colorado.

That DUID standard has caused longtime legalization advocates, including NORML attorney Douglas Hiatt, NORML Board Member Jeff Steinborn, and Seattle Hempfest Director Vivian McPeak, to publicly condemn I-502.  (To their credit, none of them have been arrested for stealing from and disrupting their opposition, a la Colorado above.)  It will be up to the voters in the Evergreen State to decide whether a few innocent tokers jailed on DUID is worth the potential of all tokers being innocent of possession.

8. Willie Nelson – the case of the living legend and the evaporating marijuana

How do you turn six ounces into three ounces into just a pot pipe? Ask Willie!

Bless Willie Nelson, he’s been a lifetime supporter of NORML and voices many pro-legalization ads on our radio show.  He’s always been synonymous with pot smoking.  But this year, he was one of the 850,000+ arrests for marijuana possession.  The case of Willie Nelson in Sierra Blanca, Texas, shone a spotlight on the idiocy of marijuana prohibition.  In its prosecution, it highlighted the disparity of the “justice” system when it comes to drugs and the rich and famous vs. the poor and anonymous.  The fallout has been a nascent political movement and another successful year of touring for the 78-year-old.

In late 2010, Willie was busted by Border Patrol when his tour bus passed through Sierra Blanca, Texas.  Cops seized six ounces of marijuana according to the reports.  In response, Willie notified Steve Bloom of CelebStoner that he was calling for a “Teapot Party” to promote the cause of legalization, which in 2011 gained mainstream political coverage for endorsing Republican Gary Johnson for president, before backpedaling to account for the singer’s support of Democrat Dennis Kucinich.

As Winter 2011 gave way to Spring, the six ounces of marijuana somehow became just three ounces of marijuana.  The county attorney joked, “Between me and the sheriff, we threw out enough of it or smoked enough so that there’s only three ounces, which is within my jurisdiction.”  But the traditional media didn’t get the joke when they reported Willie would be able to get out of jail time if he sang “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain” in court and pay a fine.  The judge confirmed the hoax and said Willie could just plead guilty by mail and pay a fine.

Also in the Spring of 2011, eleven hours’ drive across the state in Tyler, Texas, a jury sentenced Henry Walter Wooten to 35 years in prison (that’s 420 months; dig the irony) for the possession of four-and-a-half ounces of marijuana.  He did have two felony convictions from around two dozen years ago, one for having a gun without a permit and another for selling cocaine.  Most of all, he can’t sing “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain” worth a damn.

This summer, prosecutors agreed to let Willie plead guilty not to three ounces of marijuana but just possession of paraphernalia, which put him out $780 in fines and court costs.  In that deal, there was no punishment or acknowledgement of possession of any marijuana.  But so far the judge isn’t accepting that, saying the singer doesn’t deserve “special treatment”.

7. Patricia Spottedcrow – Single mother of four imprisoned a decade over $31 worth of pot

Patricia Spottedcrow got ten years for selling $31 worth of marijuana.

Every year there are busts of marijuana consumers that tug at the heart strings.  This year, the tale of Patricia Spottedcrow in Oklahoma garnered national attention:

(AOL News) Patricia Marilyn Spottedcrow, a 25-year-old mother of four, and her mother, Delita Starr, 50, sold an $11 dime bag to a police informant in Oklahoma on Dec. 31, 2009. The informant returned two weeks later to buy $20 of marijuana. Spottedcrow, who worked in nursing homes before her arrest, told The Oklahoman she did it to get some extra money.

The women were charged with drug distribution and possession of a dangerous substance in the presence of a minor, because Spottedcrow’s children were in the house during the transaction. They were offered plea deals of two years in prison but decided to enter a guilty plea instead, a gamble they took because neither had prior convictions and because the amount of drugs sold was so small.

The gamble did not pay off. Spottedcrow was given sentences of 10 years in prison for distribution and two years for possession, to run concurrently. When she was picked up to be taken to prison, she had marijuana in her jacket pocket, which led to another two-year concurrent sentence and a fine of nearly $1,300.

The judge in this story feels like she was compassionate in not sentencing the grandmother of Spottedcrow’s children, ages 9, 4, 3, and 1, to any jail time so she can raise the grandkids while mom is in prison.  Gee, thanks judge!  The family is so struggling to make ends meet they sell dime bags, so lets give grandma four mouths to feed all by herself.

But at least this high-level criminal mastermind is behind bars.  Oklahoma is safe now that $31 worth of weed was taken off the streets and an underpaid nursing home attendant is locked up.

6. Mackenzie Allen – Former cop’s legalization question tops Presidential survey

Continuing a theme he established even as a candidate, President Obama solicited the American people on their concerns on the most pressing issues facing America today.  In January, he utilized YouTube to have citizens ask video questions, to be voted on for response.  Mackenzie Allen, a retired law enforcement officer who represents LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) asked the top rated question, which garnered 13,842 votes – over 1% of all votes cast (people could vote for more than one question).  Of the 193,060 people who voted more than 7% voted for the LEAP question.  That’s about one in fourteen people who took the time to Ask Obama.

Click here to view the embedded video.

As a police officer, I saw how waging the war on drugs has cost a trillion dollars and thousands of lives but does nothing to reduce drug use. Should we discuss legalizing marijuana and other drugs, which would eliminate the violent criminal market?

As an honorable mention, our own Erik Altieri in September penned NORML’s legalization question which garnered the most votes in the “We the People” survey.  This latest incarnation of “Change.gov” / “Open for Questions” / “Citizen’s Briefing Book” / “Ideas for Change” / “Ask Obama” marked the ninth time the president has asked and the ninth time the American people have screamed, overwhelmingly, “legalize it!”

Click here to view the embedded video.

5. U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy – One of four engaged in “crack down” on California medical marijuana

Laura E. Duffy, US Attorney for Southern District of California

The four US Attorneys in California, apparently acting without direction from President Obama or Attorney General Holder, moved to crack down on what they consider to be “abuses” of medical marijuana laws of California.  Referring to Proposition 215, the 1996 initiative that excepted medical use of marijuana from criminal prosecution, Andre Birotte Jr., U.S. attorney for California’s central district, said “What we’ve seen, unfortunately, is the Compassionate Use Act has really turned into the Commercial Use Act.”  (It remains unclear to me why federal US Attorneys think they have standing to evaluate what is and isn’t an abuse of state law, but I’m one of those weirdos who’s read the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution.)

But I’ve singled out Laura E. Duffy of the four because she went above and beyond her colleagues in not only ignoring her boss’s previous policy statements and the 9th & 10th Amendments, but in also threatening the 1st Amendment over medical marijuana:

(California Watch) Federal prosecutors are preparing to target newspapers, radio stations and other media outlets that advertise medical marijuana dispensaries in California, another escalation in the Obama administration’s newly invigorated war against the state’s pot industry.

U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy, whose district includes Imperial and San Diego counties, said marijuana advertising is the next area she’s “going to be moving onto as part of the enforcement efforts in Southern California.” Duffy said she could not speak for the three other U.S. attorneys covering the state but noted their efforts have been coordinated so far.

“I’m not just seeing print advertising,” Duffy said in an interview with California Watch and KQED. “I’m actually hearing radio and seeing TV advertising. It’s gone mainstream. Not only is it inappropriate – one has to wonder what kind of message we’re sending to our children – it’s against the law.”

4. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer – loves fed marijuana policy, hates fed immigration policy

To be fair, this ability is not uncommon among politicians.

There was no shortage of state governors I could have chosen for this spot.  New Jersey’s reprehensible Chris Christie has stonewalled every step of the way in implementing The (No) Garden State’s medical marijuana law, even trying to turn the mandated six dispensaries into only four, limited to growing but three strains statewide that measure less than 10% THC.  Montana’s quirky Brian Schweitzer won praise for vetoing an attempt to repeal medical marijuana, only to earn scorn for allowing “Repeal Lite” to pass without his signature.  Washington’s spineless Chris Gregoire line-item vetoed a legislative measure to establish regulated medical marijuana dispensaries on the pretense of protecting state workers, as did Rhode Island’s invertebrate Lincoln Chafee, when the feds sent a threatening letter.  But then Gregoire and Chafee petitioned the feds to reschedule cannabis so they could operate their dispensaries.  Maryland’s sensible Martin O’Malley signed an expansion of affirmative defense and Delaware’s compassionate Jack Markell signed his state into becoming the 16th medical marijuana state.  Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s vile Mary Fallin signed a law that could mean a life sentence for making pot brownies, but Connecticut’s reasonable Dan Malloy made his state the 14th to decriminalize personal possession by adults.

However, for sheer boldfaced unadulterated political hypocrisy, I have to recognize Arizona’s two-faced Governor Jan Brewer.  First she campaigned against Prop 203 but later said she “believed in the will of the people” who passed that medical marijuana initiative.  Then she was lecturing police that they didn’t do enough to campaign against Prop 203 while admitting that she was “too busy” to do more herself.  Then she was stonewalling on the issuance of dispensary permits that the “will of the people” approved, because she was suing to see that the “will of the people” be denied by a federal court.

In other words, if the people of Arizona pass a law to get illegal marijuana to Arizonans, because Washington DC is out of touch, then the “will of the people” be damned.  Gov. Brewer will sue in federal court to uphold federal law.  But if the people of Arizona pass a law to get illegal Mexicans out of Arizona, because Washington DC is out of touch, then the “will of the people” is sacred.  Gov. Brewer will sue in federal court to uphold state law.  (I have no word on the governor’s position on illegal Mexican immigrants who need medical marijuana, but I’ll bet it is confusing.)

3. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson – former Republican, now Libertarian presidential candidate

Former NM Gov. Gary Johnson with me (in low light)

On the other end of the governor spectrum we find former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.  The two-term Republican governor had been touting his “Our America Initiative” in 2010 and appearing at NORML Conference and other pro-marijuana festivals in full-throated support of legalization of marijuana for adult use.  His vocal support only grew in April 2011 as he announced his run as a Republican for the presidential nomination of the party, and not only continued to appear at pro-legalization rallies, and even had Willie Nelson’s Teapot Party (briefly) endorse his presidential run.

Alas, the Republican party and traditional media didn’t agree and denied Johnson all but a couple of chances on the national debate stage to state his case.  The marijuana issue was ignored despite strong public inquiry about it, even among Republicans.  Johnson continued to speak out on the issue to those who would listen.  But this week, he has abandoned his bid for the Republican nomination and taken up a presidential campaign for the Libertarian ticket.

To his credit, Rep. Ron Paul remains in the race for the Republican nomination and even comes in 2nd in the current polling in advance of next Tuesday’s Iowa caucus.  Paul, a longtime supporter of NORML’s mission, has also introduced The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011 and been a co-sponsor of other pro-marijuana federal legislation.  But the last time Rep. Paul spoke directly to an audience of marijuana activists was 1988.

2. Rep. Barney Frank – the lion of legalization retires from Congress

After sixteen terms in the US House of Representatives, liberal Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts is set to retire.  He’s sponsored or co-sponsored just about every pro-marijuana bill that has ever died in Congress.  He’s spoken directly to pro-marijuana audiences.  For me, though, my favorite Barney Frank moments are when he is chiding conservatives on their decidedly big-government, wasteful-spending, anti-states-rights support of marijuana prohibition:

Click here to view the embedded video.

1. Steven DeAngelo – Harborside’s CEO rebukes recreational legalization on Weed Wars

Harborside CEO Steven DeAngelo and me

Last year I was very encouraged by one Bay Area medical marijuana entrepreneur.  In 2010, Richard Lee put 1.5 million dollars of his own money to legalize marijuana for adult use, regardless of the reason why someone might choose to use it.  For months, I had predicted that the longer medical marijuana was an “industry”, the more that industry would fight to protect itself, even from legalization.

In 2011, I have been discouraged to have been proven right by another Bay Area medical marijuana entrepreneur, Steven DeAngelo of Harborside Health Center, the world’s largest marijuana dispensary.  In January, the IRS was auditing the books of Harborside, building a case that the dispensary was in violation of IRS Section 280E, which explicitly bans any tax deductions related to “trafficking in controlled substances.”  The pressure on DeAngelo wasn’t surprising.  ”If 280E is applied literally and strictly,” DeAngelo said, “it has the potential to close down Harborside and every other medical cannabis dispensary.”

In an effort apparently calculated to steer the IRS away from any claim that Harborside’s business might not be serving strictly medical needs, DeAngelo began casting aspersions on Richard Lee’s legalization effort, which he had publicly supported the year prior.  ”I warned people who were pushing Prop. 19 that losing elections would have consequences,” DeAngelo said, “In large part what we’re seeing is the consequences of an overreach by our community.”  DeAngelo published a manifesto entitled “At the Crossroads, or Wellness, Not Intoxication”, where he chides the legalization supporters fighting for a right to recreational cannabis use, saying, “very little cannabis use is actually for recreational purposes, or intoxication. This truth is not negated by the fact that many users of cannabis buy into the misconception that their own use is recreational.”

Steven and his brother Andrew DeAngelo then became the subjects of a Discovery Channel reality show called Weed Wars.  In the press tours promoting the show, both brothers clearly said “I don’t believe that any psychoactive substance should be used for recreation“ and “we do not support the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes.”  Activists were outraged and what followed from Steven DeAngelo were semantic explanations and rhetorical absurdities.

This all culminated in the fourth installment of Weed Wars closing with Steven DeAngelo saying “I don’t believe in legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes; I think cannabis should be used for purposes of wellness.”  Again, activists were outraged, pointing out DeAngelo was a lifelong legalization activist.  DeAngelo responded again with more rhetoric about believing nobody should be subject to criminal penalties for marijuana and justifications about promoting “wellness” and dissing “recreation” being just a strategy for achieving legalization (which he’s told the public he’s against).  He even tries to shift the blame to editing at the Discovery Channel, when his appearances on live TV show that he meant exactly what he said after editing on Weed Wars.

Ron Paul: Drug War in U.S. Has Racist Origins

Ron Paul’s presidential campaign has spent the last two weeks dealing with the political consequences of the reemergence of racist newsletters that went out under his name in the 1980s and ‘90s.

During that same time period, however, Paul also laid out an historical analysis of the racist roots of the drug war that accurately and honestly reflects its origins.

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Marc Emery: Support Ron Paul for President!

Choosing the next President of the United States begins in Iowa in mere weeks. For the cannabis culture, 25 million people in the United States, there is only one option: Ron Paul.

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NORML SHOW LIVE #801

Video streaming by Ustream
Download Link: Secret Stash – Register to access
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  1. Canadian poll shows 2/3rds majority of British Columbians oppose marijuana criminalization
  2. Denver issues first state medical marijuana business license
  3. Trucker suicides after being pulled over with 600lbs of marijuana in his sleeper
  4. Teen found chained up inside trailer grow op in Florida

Daily Toker Tunes

Groovin’ Thursday: Brought to you by John Doe Radio.com

John Doe Radio

  • Wiz Khalifa – “Still Blazin’”

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Speaker’s Corner

  • James Gierach, former Cook County prosecutor

Radical Rant

  • So you want me to focus more on Ron Paul, eh?

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell: “I Really Don’t Know How [Prohibitionists] Sleep at Night…Without the Booze.”

 

 

By: Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Coordinator

RESCHEDULE MARIJUANA FROM A 1 TO 2..CLICK NOW

Tuesday night, on his program “The Last Word,” Lawrence O’Donnell took an impassioned stance against marijuana prohibition while reporting on the recently released Gallup legalization poll.

O’Donnell, who formerly served as Staff Director of the Senate Finance Committee, notes the disconnect between the public opinion on this issue and policy coming from elected officials.

“In a democracy,” he stated, “we should expect such a dramatic shift in public opinion to be reflected in our public officials, but support for marijuana legalization in the United States Senate…has gone from 0% in 1968 to 0% in 2011.”

O’Donnell then rightfully attacked the Obama Administration’s insistence on keeping marijuana a schedule I substance.

“Now we know that no one in the Obama Administration is stupid enough to actually think [marijuana is as dangerous as heroin], but we also know politicians have no intention of facing reality anytime soon when it comes to marijuana. Politicians will continue to allow young lives to be ruined for mere possession of marijuana; politicians will continue to allow people to be arrested. [They will] allow people to go to jail, allow people to be arrested, allow people to get criminal records, get kicked out of school, be turned down for jobs just because they’ve used marijuana, something more than one president has done and gotten away with.”

In the conclusion to his segment, he unabashedly calls out our country’s elected officials for their hypocrisy on the issue, as many of them have no hesitation to indulge in the legal, more dangerous alternative.

“Senators, members of Congress, presidents, vice presidents, and Supreme Court justices are going to continue to get high, many of them every day and every night. Many of them will do it publicly, and loudly, and legally at restaurants and campaign fundraisers and at state dinners,” O’Donnell said, “They will raise their glasses and get high and they will continue to put people in jail for using a harmless, non-liquid way of getting high like marijuana. Such hypocrisy carries an even stronger stench than the alcohol-drenched breath of those politicians and judges and prosecutors and DEA officials. I really don’t know how they can sleep at night…without the booze.”

If more mainstream media journalists begin embracing the issue with the same intensity and comprehension as Lawrence O’Donnell displayed on his program last night, the end of the war on cannabis might be closer than we think.

You can view the segment in its entirety below:

 

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Record-high 50% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana use.

 

 

 

Courtesy of CNN.

 

By Frank Newport, Gallup

PRINCETON, NJ – A record-high 50% of Americans now say the use of marijuana should be made legal, up from 46% last year. Forty-six percent say marijuana use should remain illegal.

When Gallup first asked about legalizing marijuana, in 1969, 12% of Americans favored it, while 84% were opposed. Support remained in the mid-20s in Gallup measures from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, but has crept up since, passing 30% in 2000 and 40% in 2009 before reaching the 50% level in this year’s Oct. 6-9 annual Crime survey.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States.” The National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2009 found that “16.7 million Americans aged 12 or older used marijuana at least once in the month prior to being surveyed, an increase over the rates reported in all years between 2002 and 2008.”

Many Africans Say Foreigners Traffic Drugs in Their Countries

The advocacy group National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws claims that marijuana is the third-most-popular recreational drug in America, behind only alcohol and tobacco. Some states have decriminalized marijuana’s use, some have made it legal for medicinal use, and some officials, including former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, have called for legalizing its use.

A Gallup survey last year found that 70% favored making it legal for doctors to prescribe marijuana in order to reduce pain and suffering. Americans have consistently been more likely to favor the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes than to favor its legalization generally.

Younger Americans Most in Favor of Legalizing Marijuana

Support for legalizing marijuana is directly and inversely proportional to age, ranging from 62% approval among those 18 to 29 down to 31% among those 65 and older. Liberals are twice as likely as conservatives to favor legalizing marijuana. And Democrats and independents are more likely to be in favor than are Republicans.

Many See Drug Trafficking Widespread, Rising in Latin America

More men than women support legalizing the drug. Those in the West and Midwest are more likely to favor it than those in the South.

Support for Legalizing Use of Marijuana, by Subgroup, October 2011

Bottom Line

Support for legalizing marijuana has been increasing over the past several years, rising to 50% today – the highest on record. If this current trend on legalizing marijuana continues, pressure may build to bring the nation’s laws into compliance with the people’s wishes.

 

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