Monthly Archives: October 2013

international

Uruguay set to beat the black market

As Uruguay moves confidently forward with its plan to end the prohibition of cannabis in the country, law makers have set the price of the commodity when it becomes legal for personal consumption by adults later this year. To compete with the Uruguayan black market sale of cannabis, which sells for about $1.40 per gram as contraband, the legislators determined to sell cannabis to adult Uruguayans for one dollar per gram.

National Drug Board chief Jose Calzada told Uruguayan newspaper El Pais that a gram of cannabis would be enough for “one large joint or three slimmer ones,” and reminded that cannabis’ benefits can be achieved by vaporizing the natural substance “which is much less harmful” or it can be consumed “it in foods like brownies.”

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica proposed legislation that would end the prohibition of cannabis in his country in an effort to counter the violent and failed internationally waged “drug war”. The bill proposes that the Uruguayan government be the sole grower and seller of legal marijuana for both medical and recreational use. Marijuana is legally consumed in Uruguay, but selling marijuana is illegal. The Uruguayan government projects that the marijuana sold on Uruguay’s black market nets between $30 and $40 million for criminals each year.

In a letter describing the legislative intent of the proposed law, Diego Canepa the pro-secretary of the presidency, wrote that “The type of policy that we have followed for more than 50 years in this country has not had the expected results…the worst thing that can happen to public policy is to not act when the evidence shows that persisting on the same path will not obtain different results.” As it stands, says Canepa, the ‘war on drugs’ causes significantly more harm to Uruguayans than legalized marijuana ever could.

national

Sabet slays science with propagandists’ sabre

In an opinion piece posted recently on the CNN International news website, a former White House Drug Policy Advisor named Kevin Sabet denounced the nascent but growing movement to end the prohibition of cannabis in the US in a 763 word ‘comment’ that does not include a single statistic about the subject substance : Cannabis. That the writer spends 377 words of the piece presenting alarming statistics about the horrible and horribly addicting drugs heroin, cocaine and tobacco should cause readers to question the motivations of this law enforcement scientist and his use of the misrepresentational mechanism of false equivalency and scare tactics may lead readers to question the honesty of CNN International for presenting this piece of propaganda (even couched as it is as opinion) to its readers.

While reading Sabet’s piece we grew more and more furious with every paragraph and with each incidence of an intellectually dishonest apple to oranges example that Sabet presents, we were moved to find out more about this lying mouthpiece for the disgusting alliance who seek the continuation of the harmful ‘war on drugs’ that we all know is addicted to cannabis prohibition; drug criminals, militarized law enforcement, pharmaceutical companies and private prison builders. As readers of mLaw are aware, we have zero tolerance for vested players who lie and frighten uninformed or ill-informed citizens to support their goal of perpetuating the insane, discriminatory, harmful, anti-science prohibition of cannabis through lies, distortions and reiterations of discredited scientific studies as well as other more disturbing forms of propaganda including those that rely upon promoting stereotypes and bigotry.

It turns out that this scientist (and Sabet is indeed a scientist – well, he’s not a medical professional, but rather holds a doctorate in the field of “social policy”) was actually an unabashed drug warrior from the wee age of 15, when he stood up to the Orange County school board who chose not to accept federal matching funds for an after school anti-drug program. That action brought Sabet at that young age to national prominence amongst drug warriors, which eventually led to the youth (and when I say youth- I’m talking about a teenager) to work with the National Institute of Drug Abuse in its public relations department. I wonder why Bill Clinton’s (dry doper) NIDA would hire a 19 year old, not yet graduated from college, non-scientist to work on public relations projects?

This serial prohibitionist’s past history of being utilized by the propaganda spreading federal boosters of the notion that criminal enforcement action is the only effective response to drug use in the US includes Sabet’s work for all of the ‘dry doper’ presidents who have occupied the White House over the past 20 years, all of whom (embarrassed or ashamed of their own cannabis use and how it threatened their narcissistic march to be ‘the most powerful man on the planet’) have been proud, swamp-science supporting, let patients live in pain, swarthy American jailing drug war enthusiasts – countering compassion, reason and scientific study with their aggressive pro-prohibition actions.

Throughout the past 20 years, the same time that Sabet has been a paid functionary in the ‘war on drugs’, the medical establishment and popular consciousness have made a dramatic shift in their perceptions of the natural and curative substance cannabis. While at the same time, federal and state prosecutors have arrested hundreds of thousands of American citizens for cannabis related crimes every year (over 700,000 last year alone), the largest percentage of these arrests being for simple possession of cannabis for personal use.

An awareness of how this anti-drug ex-teenage-zealot has been used for his entire post-adolescent life by propagandists to uphold the drug war and proselytize dross of the type that fills the easily debunked CNN piece can inform us of the tactics use by those who conspire to continue cannabis prohibition. It is also instructive to observe the statements of propagandists like Sabet to identify some of their most often employed tactics. The pro-prohibitionists in DC, including the choomer in chief Barack Obama, know full well that cannabis is curative and minimally harmlful, and they also know they need the support of both soccer-moms and hippy busting cops; and therefore, they must lie. And, when the goal is to counter good sense, compassion, known science and objective reality as it is perceived by the tens of millions of adult Americans based upon their own experiences, propagandists must make appeals to unreasoned fear.

Sabet says legalization of cannabis will increase addiction. But, as a scientist I am sure he must be aware that that statement is not supported by science. A review of the science by the Institute of Medicine reveals;

“Because it is an illegal substance, some people consider any use of marijuana as substance abuse. However, this report uses the medical definition; that is, substance abuse is a maladaptive pattern of repeated substance use manifested by recurrent and significant adverse consequences. Substance abuse and dependence are both diagnoses of pathological substance use. Dependence is the more serious diagnosis and implies compulsive drug use that is difficult to stop despite significant substance related problems,

and further;

In summary, although few marijuana users develop dependence, some do. But they appear to be less likely to do so than users of other drugs (including alcohol and nicotine), and marijuana dependence appears to be less severe than dependence on other drugs.”

We can see here one of the propagandists’ tricks, taking care to use the frightening term ‘addiction’ in an article about cannabis as if the addictive properties of all substances is the same or produces the same behaviors when science itself carefully distinguishes between levels of dependence and addiction between different substances, including legal drugs, is misleading at best and misrepresentional on its face.

Another intentional wrong turn made by Sabet that reveals his real purpose is contained in the following passage:

“According to internal documents that the government forced Big Tobacco to release during its historic court settlement, those companies are ready to pounce on the golden opportunity of drug legalization.

It is no wonder that the parent company of Phillip Morris, Altria, recently bought the domain. If this sounds frightening, it should be.”

We can see here that Sabet considers accepting the small-d democracy movement to end cannabis prohibition (you know, one of the constitutional process by which we make law in our great land) to be allowing a “golden opportunity” for the death dealing tobacco industry that is all “frightening” as “it should be.” (More false equivalency and more scare tactics). And perhaps unwittingly, as he just ain’t that good a propagandist, Sabet reveals the master tactic of all liars – scare the shit out of the intended audience. The science shows that tobacco is both more harmful and less addictive than cannabis.

Tobacco causes 440,000 deaths each year according to the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC stated in 2010 that there were no deaths attributable to cannabis in the United States, following a 237 year trend.

In 2006, Robert Gable reported in Scientific American Magazine;

“Of the people who sample a particular substance, what portion will become physiologically or psychologically dependent on the drug for some period of time? Heroin and methamphetamine are the most addictive by this measure. Cocaine, pentobarbital (a fast-acting sedative), nicotine and alcohol are next, followed by marijuana and possibly caffeine. Some hallucinogens—notably LSD, mescaline and psilocybin—have little or no potential for creating dependence.”

And way back in 1994, about the time Sabet was getting into the pro-prohibition biz, Dr. Jack Henningfield, chief of clinical pharmacology at the Addiction Research Center of the Government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse found that tobacco has the same addictive qualities as heroin.

Sabet goes on through the rest of the article spinning off of the false equivalencies and frightening scenarios he sets up by talking about the great efforts that we have made over the past decade in our financial support of the Columbian Military that has reduced the amount of cocaine that enters the US (off point) and Sabet veers off to mention the frightening scourge of pharmaceutical medication addiction (false equivalency) concluding that “legality means commercialization, normalization and wider access”.

For Sabet, the only solution to the mythical problem he has identified by dishonestly conflating the effects of vastly different drugs is; drug courts, offender re-entry and probation reform, indicating quite clearly that he can only view American cannabis users the way he has been trained by the pro-prohibition establishment: as criminals. We wonder if Sabet has considered what the results of this way of thinking would have been if it had been applied to the young heavy cannabis using Barack Obama (dry doper), the latest boss who appointed Sabet to his most recent propaganda spewing position in the federal government. By the way, the Obama ‘pivot’ on drug policy is predicated upon the same conflation, exaggeration and misrepresentation that Sabet trades in, but it is official US policy.

Sabet closes by saying that cannabis legalization will “sweep the causes of drug use under the rug (untested hypothetical conveyed as a known outcome, scare tactic), it would open the flood gates to more addiction, suffering and costs than we could ever bargain for (false equivalency, scare tactic, unsupported hypothetical).

A very interesting thing about the propagandist Sabet’s conclusion is that we here at mLaw want to end prohibition and put an end to the lives lost and ruined by its lies, bigotry, violence, fakery and anti-science biases so that cannabis use can be understood and normalized (countering 80 years of propaganda and bigotry) and commercialized (ending the current requirement that American cannabis users must associate with criminals and themselves be criminals) and so that Americans can enjoy wider access to this useful substance without fear of prosecution or stigmatization by misrepresenting self-justifying self-appointed cultural custodian hucksters like Sabet.

Sabet, as a well trained and well compensated mouthpiece for the prohibitionists knows very well that the only hope to extend the drug war that enriches both drug kingpins and university social scientists is to lie, lie big and lie long because they know well, as the moral philosopher Mohandas Gandhi once said, “the truth never damages a just cause.”

international

Musicians applaud Mujica for having the courage to ‘dream on’

Honoring the heart of passion of Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, members of one of America’s oldest rock bands, Aerosmith, made an unusual personal request to have an audience with the visionary leader when they recently visited Uruguay to perform.

Mujica and Tyler 'Come Together'

Mujica, who has chosen to draw the line calling to end the destructive war on drugs and for the legalization of cannabis in his nation, is hopeful that a critical mass of Uruguayan popular support for cannabis legalization will help chip away the stone of drug violence and crime profits.

President Mujica met with the band members in the afternoon prior to an evening performance in Montvideo’s Centenario stadium on October 9 spending more than two hours participating in both public and private events, culminating in the president and rock stars contemplating the beyond beautiful Motevidian sunset together.

The band’s singer, Steven Tyler expressed the band’s support and appreciation for Mujica, a former leftist guerrilla who was at one point imprisoned for his views and now is the elected president of his country who gives away his salary to house impoverished families headed by single mothers in Uruguay. “He gives 70 percent of his salary for people’s homes. Here in this small country, Uruguay,” said Tyler, “I think he’s doing it the right way, (at the) grass roots, and we believe in that.”

Many in Uruguay believe that Mujica’s action attempting to permanently seal the Pandora’s Box of the US supported ‘War on Drugs’ by ending cannabis prohibition is a good thing because criminally prohibiting the medicinal, recreational and creative natural substance has proven to be a tragic failure. And, like the band members of Aerosmith, many people around the world see Mujica is a man of peace who has what it takes to break these chains of drug war violence and discompassion, who beacons to reasonable and compassionate citizens of all countries to “walk this way”.