Tag Archives: abuse of power

national

DEA Dimwit Doubles Down with Dangerous Demonization Dumbassery

By Patrick Devlin

In a dramatic display of the dangers of drug war zealotry, anti-cannabis propagandist and Director of the Drug Enforcement Agency Chuck Rosenberg (recently appointed to take over for the previous anti-cannabis propagandist Michelle Leonhart, who headed the agency during the tenures of two of our former cannabis imbibing dry-doper presidents, Barack Obama and George W. Bush) advised the world-wide medical establishment that doctors’ concerns for their patients for whom they have prescribed cannabis medicine are not “intellectually honest” and that their belief in the science behind cannabis medicine is “a joke” because ingesting cannabis medicine by smoking the substance is “bad and dangerous.”

Chuck Rosenberg, Dimwit

As with many drug warriors, to the head of the DEA, Chuck Rosenberg, the facts don’t matter. The patients are lying because they are addicted drug fiends and the medical professionals who support cannabis medicine are dishonest charlatans who are engaged in dangerous quackery when they prescribe cannabis medicine to their sick patients.

As a human living in the 21st century who understands the benefits of modern science and such, I have to vociferously denounce Mr. Rosenberg’s ill informed, medieval and backward notions about medical progress and advise him of our social responsibility to embrace our sick brethren to help them be relieved from pain and suffering and be cured from their ailments if it is possible through modern science and medical technology. Simply put, Chuck Rosenberg, to do anything less is immoral and inhuman.

It is disturbing to me that the head of a governmental agency, laboring under an archaic and non-supportable anti-science belief system, can blithely dismiss learned professionals out of hand and support the dubious and immoral proposition that modern people can and should withhold known beneficial medicines from our sick fellow citizens. Chuck, cannabis, smoked or vaporized “whole plant” does provide blessed relief from real pain – relief that modern addiction prone opiate based pain killers cannot.

Mr. Rosenberg, if you share the medieval superstitions held by dangerous backward belief system supporting cults like Christian Scientists who believe they can simply “pray away” the sickness and the pain, you should stop spreading dangerous and harmful anti-science bullshit as a public safety official, put on a frock, get a 1-800 number and start bilking the stupid and credulous amongst us as a ding-bat preacher.

On the other hand, if you take your position as a public safety professional seriously, you should really cogitate for a moment on the harm done when public officials spread propagandic information that flies in the face of science engendering mistrust in the minds of the public about what our medical professionals tell us.

Right now, America is dealing with a public health crisis because wacky conspiritorialists have caused the public to fear immunization – the time honored and scientifically proven practice that has damn near ended horrible diseases like Polio.

Mr. Rosenberg, do you not see the harm that can be inflicted by you on trusting and curious citizens when you spout your ill informed and propagandistic personal opinions as the head of a government agency denouncing scientific fact? Have you no shame as your agency defends the indefensible failure that is the “war on drugs” by scaring citizens with your un-scientific pronouncements? Does it not embarrass you that your statements contradict the experiences of disabled veterans and parents of sick children as well as the studies of our very own government and the comments of our Surgeon General?

Chuck Rosenberg you today sound very much like the often righy lampooned Henry Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the 1930s, who succeeded in convincing the federal government to outlaw cannabis by describing how the substance “causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.” We now see the ignorance and bigotry contained in this statement (a statement made under oath and before the US Congress).

Mr. Roseberg, it is in part through lies like the one you told today that we do not know more about the medical benefits of cannabis. Your agency has a large part of the blame for creating the current regulatory embargo, ‘Catch 22’, that has barred scientists from studying the medical benefits of cannbis for more than 80 years. You should be apologizing today rather than continuing with the propaganda and lies – you are harming sick Americans, Chuck Rosenberg.

When cannabis is legalized and can finally be fully studied by our medical professionals with vigor and without fear of arrest, Chuck, your comments will then also been seen as stupid, irresponsible, inciting, factually wrong, an act of duplicity and a danger to public safety.

national

Sushrut Jangi’s Sleazy Schemes to Slay Self-created Straw Dogs Are Not Science

By Patrick Devlin

Can we please stop using deceptive and discredited propaganda techniques to scare Americans?

When a guy puts on a white doctor’s jacket and, having wrapped himself in the patina of medical respectability, begins to breathlessly describe how advocating for regulated medical experimentation and equal justice in our country in the twenty first century will endanger the lives of our nation’s precious children, we are obliged to stand up and remind everyone that advancing straw dog arguments in the service of supporting a socially destructive and immoral edifice of laws and brakes on the advancement of science is a shameful act of deceit.

Sushrut Jagi, Propagandist

Dr. Sushrut Jangi has shown in his recent opinion piece (published in the Boston Globe on October 8, 2015) that, while he may be a fine doctor, he has chosen to be a propagandist by deceptively asserting that those Americans who support the recreational use of cannabis or the medical application of the substance to treat sick patients are blasé, neglectful, dismissive or do not care about “the children” as he deploys a self-created straw dog that he can gallantly slay in his self-appointed role as protector of the children from drug craving, child harming cannabis advocates.

Newsflash to the editors of the Boston Globe: No person who advocates for the reclassification of cannabis by the Justice Department, no person who supports legalizing cannabis for medical use or recreational consumption has ever advocated for allowing children to recreationally use cannabis – no one.

The sleazy Sushrut sets forth his thesis early on in the piece establishing quite clearly to an observant reader that he has no intention of speaking as a licensed and trained medical professional:

“(U)nderscoring the incredible momentum to legalize marijuana is the misconception that the drug can’t hurt anybody. It can, especially young people”,

and instead, intends only to obfuscate, misrepresent and terrify through an act of calculated and intentionally deceptive propaganda.

Dr. Jangi, can you please stop inferring the falsehood that the goal of cannabis activists is to in any way allow or make it easier for minors to use cannabis or to promote the use of cannabis by minors? The predicate of your propagandized rant is false. Your intentional fanning of the fear flames is deceptive, immoral and unethical.

I do not care how much you personally hate cannabis or how much of your professional existence is determined by our government’s funding the 45 year horror that has been the ‘war on cannabis’, your donning a doctor’s disguise while peddling faulty logic in the service of broadcasting political propaganda is disgusting, dangerous and deceitful. You may be a doctor, but as an essayist or opinion writer your premise is wholly concocted and your goal is not advancing knowledge but shutting down discussion by promoting bogus and chimerical fears.

It is really revealing when a person who is empowered by his education chooses to mis-use his status to promote patently false theories in support of a hidden agenda. I know that doctors are allegedly guided by the Hippocratic oath (to shorthand for the purpose of this discussion; ‘do no harm’). I ask, Sushrut, how can your misrepresentational assertion that cannabis advocates are not concerned for the health of our nation’s youth be considered as anything less than a lie and nothing more than an ethical failure. To assert that I do not care about “the children” is counter-factual, disparaging, deceitful, unethical and does great harm.

I would suggest, Doctor, if your desire is to engage in deceptive attacks in the world of public policy – take off the hospital scrubs disguise and seek employment at Fox News.

To be clear, this analysis has nothing to do with the so-called medical facts that Dr. Jangi uses to buttress his manufactured straw dog thesis and we have refuted the so-called evidence that Jangi re-hashes in the Globe opinion piece on many occasions. But rather it is with regard to Jangi’s choice to deceptively broadcast his medical credentials to give cover as he proffers a discredited and harmful load of propaganda.

If Jangi wants to be honest for a human second he will have to agree with mLaw that the concerns that he presents in his scare mongering piece will be settled quite easily – not by ending the normalization of legal cannabis in America, which is what he propagandizes in support of, but by re-scheduling cannabis so that we can finally do real scientific experimentation to understand the medical uses of cannabis, as we here at mLaw support.

As it stands, Jangi clearly throws his support behind the medieval and anti-science stance of continuing a knowing and immoral program of shutting down medical research for going on nearly 100 years that is concomitant with a knowing and immoral police policy in our land that has resulted in tens of millions of otherwise law abiding citizens being permanently saddled with an arrest record, if not a conviction record. It is difficult to gauge the cruelty and recklessness of such a stance.

I ask you doctor, have you no concern for the young Americans of color who have been imprisoned unequally and unfairly? Have you no concern for the children who are receiving blessed and unquestionable relief from medical cannabis today?

I ask you Sushrut, have you no human compassion for these, some of our “most vulnerable populations”?

I ask you Sushrut Jangi, have you no sense of decency at long last?

national

The Practicality of Outlawing that which is ‘Unreasonably Impractical’

by Patrick Devlin

As we walk forward into the new American world of legal cannabis normalization, a plethora of citizens’ initiatives and state bills regarding legalization are sprouting up around the country.

The citizens’ initiatives, taking their inspiration from and in some instances borrowing directly from initiatives passed by the thoughtful and engaged citizenry of Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon reflect that regular Americans are fed up with the tail-dragging, cowardly and stumble-block imposing Feds, who do nothing as our culture is engaged in an unstoppable cannabis normalization revolution that will forever change the way we incarcerate, medicate and recreate in America.

In some states, unlike at the federal law and regulation making level, politicians are beginning to explore straight-up legislative cannabis legalization (laws passed by statehouses as opposed to citizen demands in the form of referenda), evidencing that local-yokel politicians are loosening their war on cannabis mindsets largely on account of the fact that they want to keep getting re-elected by their cannabis sensible constituents and (probably for the most part) because they need to raise tax revenue but they don’t want to tax their suburban home owning residents and see cannabis sin taxing as an alternative for raising revenues.

One of the states that is poised to become the first state to legalize cannabis by an act of the legislature is Michigan where, at the same time multiple competing citizens’ initiatives regarding cannabis legalization are moving forward, a Democratic legislator from Ann Arbor, Jeff Irwin, has introduced a bill that would legalize cannabis in Michigan. Irwin’s bill calls for establishing a licensing process, setting a statewide taxation level and calling for revenues raised through the legal sale of cannabis to support health care and education in the state.

The text of the bill (which mLaw has linked to on our home page ) is fairly standard as reflected against other state’s cannabis legalization proposals, but it does have a couple of components that are noteworthy.

The proposed legislation allows a licensed grower to possess “any number of immature plants less than 12 inches in height and diameter that do not have buds or flowers.” This component of the proposal is written incorporating some knowledge of cannabis horticulture as it indicates that the bill’s authors are cognizant of the fact that mature un-fertilized female cannabis plants have a significantly higher value than either male plants or fertilized female plants for adults who are seeking to use the substance for medicine or recreation. It is true that the proposal limits the number of mature plants citizens will be allowed to cultivate under the rule, but the fact that the authors differentiate is a sign that the writers truly want to provide sensible and effective regulation of legal cannabis.

This is opposed to some of the rules established in states where cannabis is legal due to citizen initiatives. Cannabis may be legal, but its growth and use are circumscribed by prohibitionist minded local officials who are concerned only with raising tax revenue and who have absolutely no concern for patients or adults who actually intend to use legal cannabis.

Do you realize that in legal cannabis Washington it is illegal for an adult to cultivate cannabis for their own individual use? And, in Ohio, the ballot initiative regarding legalizing cannabis that stands the greatest chance of passing into law limits the growth of legal cannabis to a tiny cartel of well-connected private parties, as opposed to giving all citizens the right to cultivate for their private use.

In my state, local regulatory prohibitionists in one county have established a fee for applying for a license to grow medical cannabis that exceeds $100,000 (and that’s just the application fee!). Clearly, these local cultural custodians are more concerned with keeping cannabis out than allowing patients to purchase medicine. These are examples of what we here at mLaw refer to as regulatory prohibition, efforts by local town, county and state officials who are miffed dead-enders who lost their “war on cannabis” but still want to impose their prohibitionist fed hatred of cannabis on the rest of us.

Sadly, there are many who spout factually wrong ‘statistics’ to scare themselves and others too intellectually lazy to do the research and find out that it is a fact: cannabis is an incredibly useful medical substance and recreational use of cannabis is safer for society than our other recreational drugs, tobacco and alcohol. See presidential candidates Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie as examples of studiously un-informed practitioners of last-century drug war misrepresentation and dangerous medical quackery. And, in a country where county clerk dictator Kim Davis is some sort of folk hero to bigoted suburbanites for refusing to do her government job, we should expect that the dead-ender-sore-loser fight against reasonable cannabis regulation will continue until the inevitable federalizing of legal cannabis (which could take years).

Thankfully, my experience with capitalism is, in general, that the urge to make cash will eventually overcome the regulatory prohibition schemes that sore loser cannabis warriors come up with to force us to accommodate their prejudices. However, in the meantime we have to be vigilant to not let prohibitionist regulators stymie the normalization of legal cannabis by applying the heavy hand of regulation where it is not needed and where it inhibits the legal medical and recreational use of the substance.

Circling back to the Michigan bill, and to the point addressed above, the writers of the proposal inserted an interesting and liberating concept into their proposal: defining that which is “unreasonably impractical.” The bill prohibits the development of rules and ordinances by tax revenue addicted and prohibitionist minded state and municipal authorities that would “require such a high risk or investment of money, time or any other resource or asset that a reasonably prudent businessperson would not engage in the operation of a marijuana establishment.” The goal of the law is, after all, to enable cannabis commerce, not limit it.

It is a sad statement that a law establishing legal cannabis sales has to include a provision prohibiting officials from creating a licensing and regulatory schema that is so costly and complex that the regulatory system itself will discourage, stifle or confound the marketplace rendering sale of the new consumer product impossible – but that is what we have today in modern, legal cannabis America and that’s exactly what sore-loser drug warriors want.

That is why we here at mLaw favor establishing the right of citizens to personally grow their own cannabis and for patients who are too incapacitated by their illness to garden.

All state laws should allow for the personal gardening of cannabis, a right absent from the Washington state law as I mentioned above. The ostensible reasons for this prohibition stem largely from an understandable but misguided impression that is actually a bit of rotting detritus left over from the drug war days; this being, that politicians are fearful of personal growers selling cannabis in a black market in states where cannabis is not legal or to minors in states where it is legal.

These concerns will of course be made moot in the coming world where cannabis is federally legalized, a world where there is no black market for adults and cannabis is as commercially available as alcohol. In modern America there is simply no scary situation where basement beer brewers are selling their wares to children – and to suggest that adults can’t home brew beer because of this ridiculous phantasm of a fake fear would and should be considered by rational adults to be outlandish and unnecessary. And, additionally, as we have seen in Colorado, since the legalization of cannabis, fewer minors report using the substance: yes, fewer.

To brew beer, grow tomatoes, grow cannabis – all of these, we think, are choices we should be able to make for ourselves to free us from corporate farming, pesticides, bio-engineering and to enable us to know where our food and sustenance are really coming from. All of these liberate us, free us and are, really, fundamentally American.

American legal cannabis will be offered for sale at your local mini-mart in the future. But it also should be growing between the rows of corn in your garden, amongst the chrysanthemums in your flower bed and in every Toledo window box.

national

‘Uprooted’ War on Cannabis Boondoggle Could Become First Win in 45 Year War

by Patrick Devlin

The federal government’s cannabis warriors are given millions of dollars every year to search for and uproot clandestine cannabis grows on federal lands across the US. In 2014, the DEA received $18 million tax payer dollars to uproot cannabis and seize the assets of cannabis criminals (the Asset Forfeiture Fund for the Domestic Cannabis Suppression/Eradication Program).

Federal drug warriors who receive the yearly cash infusions have been able to justify receiving the monies by suggesting that clandestine cannabis farms in the US have links to and ultimately support ‘narco terrorists’ in Mexico and (gasp) worldwide, routinely characterizing cannabis grows on federal lands as “cartel grows.”

Although recent analysis of such links to international terror organizations suggests that these connections exist only in the propaganda addled brains of our fearless anti-drug soldiers, the cannabis eradicating warriors’ need for funding is real, and so the pot-pulling raids continue and continue to rack up costs, even as the citizens of the US, the folks who hire these cannabis-stopper-coppers, have decided that the war on cannabis is (at best) misguided and (more likely) immoral and wasteful.

Last year’s stunning example of this self-justifying, fake-assed anti-terror, overzealous drug war boondoggling pot plant pulling stupidity came from the great state of Oregon, where cannabis is legal for recreational consumption by adults, and where our nation’s DEA spent $960,000 to destroy just over 16,000 “illegal” pot plants.

The simple math shows that taxpayers ponied up 60 dollars per destroyed pot plant in a state where cannabis is legal to purchase by adults and where cannabis sales tax revenue is supporting education and health care.

As all in the law enforcement game will advise, “freedom ain’t free” and we need to pay real dollars for real programs to “keep our kids safe”, and with that in mind, lets run the numbers on this described as important program in our country’s war on cannabis:

The feds spent $960,000 to uproot 16,000 cannabis plants in Oregon in 2014.

The DEA reports that the total value of the assets seized by the DEA under the program (including cannabis plants and property, such as weapons) in 2014 in Oregon was $259,484.

So…the self-justifying fully funded anti-cannabis crusaders in the legal cannabis state of Oregon spent 369.965% more than the value of the assets that they destroyed in the effort to eradicate illegal cannabis in a state where cannabis is legal.

And, if the utterly transparent make-work boondoggle (exposed proudly in a self-congratulatory DEA press release, no less) of 2014 did not bilk tax payers boldly enough, our always vigilant cannabis warring federal authorities have earmarked $760,000 dollars for cannabis eradication in Oregon for 2015!

Thankfully, some law makers agree that uprooting cannabis plants in legal cannabis Oregon is a wasteful folly and have taken steps to end the make work boondoggle. In the mean time we suggest the following course of action;

As an alternative to spending $760,000 to eradicate Oregonian cannabis plants this year, why not use the federal funds to purchase legal cannabis in Oregon that could be distributed cost free to federal tax payers in Oregon who use cannabis?

In the states where cannabis is legal for recreational consumption by adults, the substance sells for about $20 per gram. So, again, let’s run the numbers:

$760,000 / $20 = 38,000 grams of legal commercially sold cannabis.

The federal dollars will go to newly established legal businesses in Oregon, and the state will reap tax benefits from these sales that will support the health care and education of Oregonians, creating a brand new federal DEA drug war program to support communities in Oregon; which could be called: “the Anti-Cannabis Warrior Eradication Program.”

You know, this suggested use of our federal tax dollars by the DEA could be the only victory that our disastrous and immoral drug war has acheived in 45 years of warring.

national

The Inevitability of Democratic Dry-Doperism

by Patrick Devlin

“It would be irresponsible for me as the chief law enforcement officer to take a position based on its popularity without thinking it would actually work” – Kamala Harris, candidate for California Attorney General, 2014

“I am not opposed to the legalization of marijuana, there’s a certain inevitability about it.” – Kamala Harris, newly re-elected California Attorney General, 2014

“Be the change you want to see” – Gandhi

Well, it was inevitable.

That a sitting Democrat, even one from the avant state of California, would admit the obvious after running away from the obvious as she ran for re-election, and come clean, fess up, speak reality and stop with the timorous mealy-mouthery and calculated misrepresentation on cannabis legalization.

Freshly re-elected California Attorney General Kamala Harris recently told Californians that she made a craven choice to obfuscate as the silly season was unfolding – that she believes (a belief shared by about 99 percent of Americans, including the paid prohibitionist anti-cannabis propagandists Patrick Kennedy and Kevin Sabet) legal cannabis in her state and the country is “inevitable”.

What we also know by now, after four states and Washington DC have legalized recreational cannabis consumption, it is inevitable that modern elected Democrats will either hem and haw about their position on legalization or stake an outright (and untenable) prohibitionist stance against cannabis legalization and work to keep the substance illegal – ensuring the arrest of more minority Americans and the pain and suffering of many of their fellow citizens.

And, in this year’s California Attorney General’s race, Ms. Harris shown as a masterfully scheming dry-doper politician, segueing effortlessly from coy quips and chuckles to strongly worded finger-wagging morality plays (see above), ensuring both to-be-arrested young minority males and scared-as-shit suburban parents that she will not lend a hand to equal justice demanding Californians, claiming the tough law enforcement territory on legalized cannabis. In fact, Harris’s republican challenger, the wacky straw-dog candidate Ron Gold, actually took the medically responsible and certainly more rational, law enforcement cost saving and equal justice uplifting pro-cannabis legalization position in the race. It is understood that Gold didn’t stand a chance against Harris with his odd-ball Libertarian worldview, but, who can really argue with the statement; “It is common sense, reasonable and rational to change laws that have driven the market for marijuana into the hands of drug cartels and street gangs.” The answer…Kamala Harris.

Harris’s reaction to questions from the media regarding her challenger’s stance on cannabis legalization, (a very Obama like laugh-off when Harris said with a derisive guffaw, “He’s entitled to his opinion”) angered Californians who are serious about legalizing cannabis, driving some very liberal voters to support the republican from a standpoint of principle – voters who had never voted for a republican in their lives. Harris may have angered some hippies, but she certainly received the support of law enforcement in the 2014 election cycle. And, she didn’t have to admit that law enforcement unequally applies the laws prohibiting cannabis or explain to suburban mommies why she is hanging with those dirty hippies.

While Harris’s crass self-obsessive posturing, her effort to not anger law enforcement constituencies as she scans the horizon of her political career shooting for the stars (again, in a very Obama like fashion – the state senator who supported both cannabis decriminalization and the creation of a Palestinian state for reasons, looking back, that were purely political) may have made her forget the public that she has promised to serve, Democratic Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome (also newly re-elected) chose to insert cannabis legalization as a plank in his 2014 re-election campaign.

As cannabis legalization is forced by the will of the people in state after state and as medical researchers discover the usefulness of the substance after 80 years of the federal government’s suppression of medical research, we can expect to see more self-serving Democratic politicians sheepishly come to grips with Legal Cannabis America and reverse course on the subject.

This is not to suggest that these dry-doper Democrats will reverse course out of principle or personal integrity or compassion. This does not mean that these liars will admit that their clinging to cannabis prohibition (that is antithetical to both equal justice and scientific research) so as to be elected over and over again by both stoking and appealing to fears and bigotries in their constituencies that they once saw as a requirement for ‘tough on crime’ Democrats, was immoral and wrong and served to give tens of millions of young Americans arrest records and limit the quality of life of patients who have terminal diseases. They will admit that cannabis should be legal simply because their future political careers hang in the balance.

That’s not bravery and honesty; it is, rather, cowardice and narcissism.

national

Mr. Obama, Tear Down This Wall!

by Patrick Devlin

Over the past months the national media have stumbled upon the fact that the Great American Prohibition of cannabis has some pretty nasty consequences for regular ‘folks’, as the president likes to refer to us. Perhaps you have followed the stories of the knowing and on-going aggressive application of our nation’s antiquated and unjustly applied local, state and federal laws regarding cannabis.

The national press has reported on how the war on cannabis harms our sick citizens. There has been sympathetic reportage of the plight of families who have become medical refugees, forced to up-root their lives and other parents who have chosen to break the law so their suffering children can get the medical treatment they need in America.

There have been stories about patients who, because they work for institutions that receive federal funding, have to choose between being employed and using medicine. And the press commendably understands the nature of the disturbing threat of our Veteran’s Administration to refuse medical care to veterans who use cannabis to treat their battle injuries and symptoms of post-war-fighting-stress.

Also of note, a stream of reports of grossly overzealous actions against cannabis criminals that seem to be more acts of police force enrichment than acts of public safety enforcement.

In bizzaro America, as even the milquetoasty left media are finally reporting on the failure that is our disastrous war on drugs and how it has been based upon years of self-serving lies, amped up local coppers, go-getter prosecutors, an amalgam of frenzied state and federal agencies, rigor mortis judges and even private gun-wielding helicopter anti-cannabis posses are still hunting prey as our dry-doper politicos duck their heads and kick the cannabis can down the road until they are safely retired.

I know that the ‘we got to respect law enforcement’ crowd pulls out the ol’ “well, it’s still illegal, ain’t it?” dodge when the press reports on aggressive enforcement actions taken by politically motivated prosecutors and bigoted officers to justify prosecuting small time cannabis users – so I want to remind that police and prosecutors are never required to take the most aggressive action allowed under the law and are given tremendous leeway to make prosecutorial decisions. End-of-cannabis-prohibition arrests and ambiguities really don’t need to happen.

An example of this capacity to apply discretion is contained in the letter that the Department of Justice sent to all US Attorneys in 2009 advising that they should make “efficient and rational use of (the Department’s) limited investigative and prosecutorial resources” and should use their “plenary authority with regard to federal criminal matters” in situations involving cannabis, reminding US attorneys that they are “invested by statute and delegation from the Attorney General with the broadest discretion” in the exercise of their authority.

That makes sense to most Americans, but our cowardly federal politicians still hide behind deceptively deployed medical research and the intentionally stoked fears of propagandized voters to take no action on the federal legalization of recreational and medical cannabis.

We are put by self-interested politicians in a position of having to live in an America with a barrier that has been erected to support the failed war against cannabis – a barrier that separates us from one another.

We know, for example, that political inaction on cannabis legalization has created a permanently stigmatized class in our country – 600,000 cannabis arrestees or more added every year. 18 million of our fellow citizens over the course 30 years, the vast majority of whom are African and Latino Americans. This is only one way the war against cannabis harms all of us.

In our attempts to end this fixable travesty we are stymied by self-serving politicos who are fearful of angering constituencies, and who must, therefore, ‘evolve’ on the issue before taking the logical, compassionate and equality enhancing step of legalizing cannabis.

We all know of the unfair application of justice now.

We all know that the sick can be treated using cannabis today.

As long as this war against cannabis exists, as long as this barrier of political inaction is permitted to stand, it is not only the casualties of the war; patients, young African and Latino Americans, our students – our brethren, who are consigned to lives marked by unfairness and suffering, but it is all Americans, at least all Americans who care.

We are barricaded from stepping together hopefully into post-prohibition America.

Mr. Obama, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity, if you seek liberalization, consider this barrier.

Mr. Obama, tear down this wall!

national

Cali Patients Find Relief, National Prohibitionists Looking Pallid

by Patrick Devlin

An analysis of data collected in 2012 through the annual California Behavioral Risk Factor survey revealed that a significant majority of patients who use cannabis for serious medical conditions self-reported that the substance was effective in alleviating symptoms or treating serious medical conditions. 92 percent of respondents who admitted using medical cannabis reported that the substance brought them relief from their symptoms, including relief from the symptoms of debilitating and life threatening diseases such as chronic pain, migraines, arthritis and cancer.

The annual computerized phone poll, conducted by the Public Health Institute, randomly surveyed over 7500 Californians about all kinds of health concerns and conditions – the study did not focus specifically on medical cannabis users. The study revealed that an average of five percent of Californians use medical cannabis, a population that included adult Californians of all ages, races and backgrounds. Although more young adults reported choosing cannabis as medicine to treat their illnesses, the study’s authors reported that “the absolute difference in prevalence (of cannabis use) between the racial/ethnic groups is less than three percent.” A difference in usage rates that the authors consider being insignificant.

The study’s authors said that their analysis of the telephone poll revealed that the percentage of cannabis patients for all demographics is consistent across the population of patients in California and there is no evidence of a single demographic over using or abusing the medicine. Also, and importantly, the authors’ review found that medical cannabis users seek relief from the medicine for “medical conditions for which mainstream treatments may not exist…or may not be effective, including for chronic pain and cancer.”

The findings of the scientists who reviewed the data also conclusively refute one of the more pernicious and arrogant prohibitionist talking points: that cannabis is not medicine, the movement to recognize medical cannabis as a medicine is a cynical scheme by hippies who really are seeking the legalization of recreational cannabis, and patients who use cannabis medicine to treat their illnesses are either liars or pawns.

Patients are listening to their bodies, doctors are listening to their patients; however, police and politicians still refuse to engage, learn and move to reclassify and decriminalize as the states push bravely and with no federal support toward a future where American patients can receive the medicine they need.

national

A Holder of Political Ideology, not Justice

by Patrick Devlin

If you ask an attorney if torture is OK, if broad based warrantless wiretapping is allowed, if wealthy private corporations can be absolved of felonies just because they are wealthy corporations, if American citizens can be executed with a no charges leveled against them or trial – it really doesn’t matter what political party they are affiliated with – a member of the bar will generally agree that none of the above statements make sense, and in fact, these statements actually contravene our laws, our treaties and our constitution.

But, if you are asking these questions of a member of the personal staff of the President of the United States, who happens to be an attorney, you can expect to get answers that turn your concepts of fair treatment under the law, constitutional guarantees and international law into shredded and masticated gloppy pulp.

Over the past decades the nation’s top attorneys, using the magic and misleading mumblings and deliberately deceptive diatribes of their clients, presidents of our United States, our Attorneys General have navigated into new territory as they justify clearly unlawful actions for their clients and set precedents, which have gone unchallenged by our elected officials, that will serve to deform the legal landscape in America for decades, generations.

As in:
“The Constitution doesn’t say every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas.”
Alberto Gonzales, US Attorney General, Congressional hearing, 01.17.2007

“Due process and judicial process are not one in the same.”
Eric Holder, US Attorney General, Northwestern University Law School, 03.06.2012

The retiring US Attorney General, Eric Holder, has recently claimed, after six years, that he believes that cannabis should be considered for rescheduling, removing the substance from the Department of Justice’s list of most dangerous drugs. No useful purpose, susceptible to being abused, a designation that (oddly) also applies to the drug LSD but (oddly) not to the drugs heroin, meth and cocaine.

As is obvious to any sentient being – torture is always wrong and always at the apogee of immoral human behavior, recording and storing forever the private conversations of our citizens with no judicial order violates the Constitution, killing our citizens with no trial, no judge, no jury, no charges, no right to even articulate a defense makes a mockery of the basic principles that are woven into American law as it grew out of fundamental rights recognized by humans since before our country was founded, and cannabis is essentially benign and medically important, the prohibition of which has resulted in life changing arrests for over 600,000 Americans every year that Holder has held his appointed position as US Attorney General – that’s over 3 million Americans since Barack Obama became president, 3 million Americans who are overwhelmingly African Americans and Latino Americans.

I wonder, now that he soon will be no longer ‘retained’ by his former client, if Holder will eventually confide to Katie Couric that, he really, really believes, like all moral humans, that torture is wrong, warrantless surveillance violates our rights, corporations can be charged with crimes and every person deserves a fair trial before being executed.

link to comic courtesy of verbatim&v2

national

Coppers Ride the Cannabis Arrest Tide, Allow Criminals to Slide

by Patrick Devlin

Statistics compiled by the US Department of Justice reveal that arrests of Americans for simple cannabis possession have increased by over 300 percent nationwide since 1991. Washington Post writer Christopher Ingraham analyzed data provided by the DOJ to find that since 1991 cannabis arrests have tripled even though arrests for all crimes, including violent crimes, have reduced over that same period. Ingraham noted that the figures reported by the DOJ with respect to cannabis possession arrests “are likely even higher,” as some states do not report arrest data to the agency.

Ingraham found that 42 percent of all drug arrests in 2012 were arrests for simple possession of cannabis (as opposed to arrests for possession of cannabis with the intent to distribute the substance) and that cannabis possession arrests constituted 5.4 percent of all criminal arrests in 2012. The 2012 statistics as reported by the DOJ exemplify a trend over the course of 23 years reflecting a knowing and considered mindset of local and state police enforcers: cannabis arrests are easy, safe and, in light of failures to combat real crime and violent crime, serve to portray that police forces are doing their jobs promoting public safety. Ingraham also noted that his review of DOJ statistics revealed that, in 2012, 53 percent of all reported violent crimes in the US went unsolved, the perpetrators of these crimes remaining at large.

The government’s figures report that over that same 23 year period between approximately 600,000 and 700,000 Americans were arrested each year for simple cannabis possession. As we know from a raft of academic studies, and even from comments made by President Obama, the overwhelming proportion of cannabis possession arrestees during the past two decades have been African Americans and Latino Americans. While Ingraham notes that not all of the individuals who were subject to cannabis possession arrest ended up in prison, all of the arrestees were faced with the burdens of the costs of defending themselves and the on-going personal costs of living with an arrest record that impacts the arrestee’s employment opportunities, housing choices, ability to apply for student aid and a myriad of life-long road blocks to becoming full participants in our society and economy.

Ingraham’s review of the DOJ data also revealed the widely divergent law enforcement attitudes toward arresting simple cannabis possessors that are reflected in a state-by-state comparison of cannabis arrest rates. Cannabis users in Louisiana and Nebraska are 40 times more at risk for arrest than cannabis possessors in Massachusetts. And, the arrest disparities are even evident between so-called blue states. Ingraham reports that one of every eight arrests in New York is for cannabis possession, while in the bordering state of Massachusetts, cannabis possession arrests number only 1 out of every 1000.

The statistics that our own government provides detail how our citizens have been harmed by a conspiracy between law enforcers who see the value in spending time and resources busting minorities for non-violent victimless crimes and politicians who see the value in promoting the divisive and counterproductive drug war – both seeking to score points with their constituents by looking drug-war tough. But, are the costs to society worth the self-interested grandstanding? The data that Ingraham reviewed shows that the drug war has failed to end cannabis use but has become a perpetual motion machine, serving to promote law enforcement and political careers at the cost of harming the lives of hundreds of thousands of citizens every year for decades and thwarting research into the medical possibilities of cannabis.

Alas, in policy considerations there is never a magic bullet…but wait, reclassify, decriminalize, both of which can be done easily. All that is required is a bit of agreement and concerted effort by our law enforcement officials and politicians…but wait

national

Time to Reschedule, President Laughy-boy part 4

by Patrick Devlin

Nothing to see here – move along…

When a gang of armed men smashed through the doorway of the 600 square foot home of 29 year old Jason Westcott’s partner, 22 year old Israel Reyes, Westcott acting upon directives he received from the Tampa Bay police, grabbed his weapon and was killed in a rain of semi-automatic gunfire.

Westcott had called the Tampa police earlier this year after being threatened by another citizen. As a result of Westcott’s complaint to the police; the person who had threatened Westcott was confronted by the police, but no arrests were made, and the police advised Westcott to avail himself of one of modern America’s most protected rights, not the right to privacy, not the right to a fair trial, not the right to not have the modern version of Caucasian American Christianity (that Christ himself would find objectionable) shoved into your face – but rather the ‘god given’ right to blow the crap out of anyone you feel threatened by with your concealed and carried and beloved human killing machine. The exact quote from the police to the frightened Westcott when he reported the threat was, “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.”

Westcott was an armed drug dealer and was treated as such by the Tampa Police. The Tampa police sent a SWAT team to bring down the drug king pin of Seminole Heights – using whatever force they deemed to be required. Westcott’s evil drug dealing existence was terminated by Tampa’s finest (whose only goal in their action was to protect the community – especially the children, from the evils of cannabis). The police recovered two dollars worth of the dangerous narcotic.

Reyes has not denied in media interviews he has given since Westcott’s killing that he and his partner occasionally sold small amounts of cannabis to friends – but he maintains that this was not their sole source of income and, as Reyes framed it, “There weren’t people coming in and out of the house every day. It wasn’t paying the bills. We were still broke.”

The police dispute that characterization, as they described the SWAT Team raid to the media after the shooting.

They first said that the decision to raid the home was prompted due to complaints from neighbors. When reporters were unable to find such complaining neighbors, the Tampa police admitted that the raid was spurred by an investigation where an undercover Tampa police officer made cannabis purchases at the home. A freedom of information request was filed with the department regarding the incident, and the actual truth of the matter is that the inspiration to SWAT raid the Seminole Heights home came instead from an “confidential informant”, and in police work this could include a criminal who is trying to broker a deal after being arrested to get a lesser charge or not be prosecuted.

Tampa police spokesperson Laura McElroy told Tampa, when confronted with the cover-up the department orchestrated after the shooting that, “Each time the informant was at this house, he saw pre-packaged marijuana.” McElroy also claimed that the “confidential informer” had claimed to have seen a weapon in the home.

The chief of police in Tampa, Jane Kastor, took to the airwaves herself after the community questioned the actions of the department when it became clear that a young Tampa citizen was mowed down by officers over two dollars worth of cannabis, where she spoke a ritualistic incantation as if memorized that all TV news watchers in all American cities have heard and themselves been mesmerized by:

“Mr. Westcott lost his life because he aimed a loaded firearm at police officers…If there is an indication that there is armed trafficking going on – someone selling narcotics while they are armed or have the ability to use a firearm – then the tactical response team will do the initial entry.”

– conclusion

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union released its findings after performing a review of the militarization of America’s local police forces in a report called War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing. During their research, the ACLU became aware of the hundreds of SWAT team assaults on the homes of private citizens that have been carried out by local coppers over the past few years in cases similar to the narcotics raid that resulted in the death of Jason Westcott. The Union examined over 800 SWAT team assaults carried out by local police offices in the years 2011 and 2012 to discover that 79 percent of the gun brandishing, flash bomb utilizing, smash the door down raids were to serve simple search warrants, and of those SWAT raids carried out to simply serve warrants, 60 percent were warrants to search for drugs.

The Union pointed out in their findings that, “Even though paramilitary policing in the form of SWAT teams was created to deal with emergency scenarios such as hostage or barricade situations, the use of SWAT to execute search warrants in drug investigations has become commonplace… The use of a SWAT team to execute a search warrant essentially amounts to the use of paramilitary tactics to conduct domestic criminal investigations in searches of people’s homes.”

Furthermore, the Union reports that, “there is typically no single entity at the local, state, or federal level responsible for ensuring that SWAT is appropriately restrained and that policing does not become excessively militarized,” creating a situation where untrained local police are making decisions to use SWAT raids as they desire to carry out general run-of-the-mill police functions. As can be predicted, the Union also reports that SWAT team tactics are most often used against the poor and minorities – in their study they found that 42 percent of the homes local police raided with SWAT teams were the homes of African Americans and 12 percent were the homes of Latino Americans.

At the same time that SWAT team tactics are becoming the preferred technique used by militarized local police offices as they prosecute the drug war, American citizens are coming to the realization that treating drug addiction as an act of war by our citizens as opposed to treating drug addiction as a community health matter is both counterproductive and immoral.

As a citizen whose family members include police officers, it is difficult to argue against the mesmerizing mantra of police commanders who claim simply to be protecting their officers (and, by the way, the police involved in the killing of Jason Westcott were found by the Hillsborough County State’s Attorney to be justified in their use of deadly force against the decedent). But there is a group of folks who know that cannabis is not a narcotic and is essentially harmless, that communities of color are almost exclusively targeted by local rough and tough militarized small time police chiefs and officers in drug war raids, and that local coppers make boatloads of cash by banging down doors in the middle of the night to lock away cannabis users – both through In Rem forfeiture actions as well as being rewarded by the feds (both Congress and the DOJ) for doing their part to continue the failed, bigoted and immoral war on drugs and on cannabis in particular – these ‘folks’ are your congresspersons and senators and President Obama.

These diners off of tax payer paid for china dinner plates know full well that their self-interested promotion of the drug war is immoral, anti-science and dis-compassionate, that it is a failure, that it supports cartels and gangs in their violent businesses, and harms otherwise innocent Americans rendering them unable to participate in society – unable to help us lift up our country with their individual talents and energies – but they just don’t give a shit. Our leaders cravenly, stubbornly and, quite basically, with malice aforethought, know very clearly that their selfish non-actions with regard to cannabis will without question result in the needless and preventable deaths of other Americans’ sons, daughters, partners, patients, relatives, friends, neighbors – they know and do nothing…except spit out an uncomfortable (or perhaps a knowing, but certainly a not caring) laugh when a citizen asks if they “want a hit.”

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” – M. L. King