Tag Archives: bigotry

national

Beauregard about to bogart America’s #cannabis sessions

By Patrick Devlin,
art by verbatim

Donald #tRump loaded his good ‘ol boy, Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions, into the senate chamber to see if Sessions’ anti-cannabis obsessions (among many reprehensible sensibilities) would extinguish his appointment to the position of top prosecutor in #cannabis normalizing America.

image

In a ruse calculated to blunt Sessions’ apparent jonesing for the wholesale harshing of the smoke sessions of Americans who choose to use the useful and generally benign substance that is legal in a majority of our states, cannabis, the Attorney General designate chose to answer questions about this topic in writing – away from the spotlight.

A review of Sessions’ written reply to the Senate judiciary Committee reveals that the backward-thinking and confirmed to be racist appointee is still addled by a manic compunction to ‘bust out hippies’ and (mostly) minorities based upon the lying propaganda that was spoon fed to criminal prosecutors during our 80 year war on #cannabis.

Sessions uses weasel wording and vague threats to convey in his answers that if #tRump gives the order to bring the boot heel of federal government enforcement down to quash America’s nascent (but still worth more than $7 billion a year) #cannabis commerce industry, Beauregard will be quite pleased to refuse medicine to our sick brethren and arrest hundreds of thousands of young Americans each year #tRump stinks up the White House.

Let’s have an look at Sessions’ respondes so we can assess the possible backwards actions we can expect from Beauregard’s Justice Department as he re-initiates the war on cannabis and as millions of patients and citizens brace for a return to the tragic and wasteful era of full federal cannabis prohibition.

Session states:

“While I am generally familiar with the Cole memorandum, I am not privy to any internal Department of Justice data regarding the effectiveness and value of the policies contained within that memorandum… I will certainly review and evaluate those policies, including the original justifications for the memorandum, as well as any relevant data and how circumstances may have changed or how they may change in the future.”

This answer reveals a great deal about Sessions’ basic honesty. The Cole memo was written to ensure limited law enforcement resources would not be spent chasing sick patients in states where cannabis is legal. The entire intent of the momo is to allow local US Attorney offices to choose to not pursue such ineffective and wasteful law enforcement actions. What is relevant is that not persuing cannabis as a crime has enabled the DOJ to fight real crime. What is irrelevant is Sessions’ insinuation that somehow there is low value or no value in saving law enforcement resources.

Additionally, since the Publication of the Cole memorandum, several additional states have legalized cannabis for either recreational use or out of medical necessity. This means that circumstances have indeed changed – more and more Americans demand that cannabis be legalized and demand an end to the war on cannabis.

These changing circumstances can only point to the need for Sessions to propose federal cannabis legalization- not a reinstitution of its prohibition. In short, Sessions answer neglects the intent of the Cole memo and disregards Americans’ current demand to abolish cannabis prohibition.

image

Sessions states;

“I will not commit to never enforcing Federal law. Whether an arrest and investigation of an individual who may be violating the law is appropriate is a determination made in individual cases based on the sometimes unique circumstances surrounding those cases, as well as the resources available at the time.”

This is boiler-plate prohibitionist speak and an overt threat. Sessions threat to “enforce the law” is a hardline stance that contradicts both the Cole memo and the will of the Americans who have voted to legalize cannabis.

Sessions knows that congressional politics in Washington is the reason that cannabis is not yet federally legal while it is legal in more than 30 states. Cannabis is illegal because of timorous politicians- not because it is a dangerous drug for individuals or for society.

In states where cannabis is legal, there are less opioid overdoses, less auto accidents, less incidents of spousal abuse, less suicides and there are more suffering patients who are receiving the medicine they need to live and be healthy.

Sessions’ law enforcer’s fear of not enforcing the law with regard to cannabis has nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with his disdain for voters’ choice, his jonesing to arrest minorities and his ugly and discompassionate desire to withhold medicine from our sick brethren – that is downright immoral.

The fact is, laws prohibiting cannabis have been used for 40 years to discriminate against America’s minorities – I guess ‘ol Beauregard’s wants to keep his options open when it comes to cracking down on minorities.

One wonders if Sessions would have threatened to “enforce the laws” that allowed Americans to own slaves, or Jim Crow laws that resulted in discrimination. Whether or not a law may be patently immoral, the enforcement lusting Sessions is chomping at the bit to do some mindless enforcing.

Sessions states;

“A recent federal court ruling that a Congressional rider prevents the Justice Department from going after people complying with state medical marijuana laws “is relatively recent, and I am not familiar with how other courts may have interpreted the relevant appropriations language or the Ninth Circuit’s opinion. As an emerging issue, that is one that will need to be closely evaluated in light of all relevant law and facts…I will conduct such a review. Of course, medical marijuana use is a small part of the growing commercial marijuana industry.”

Here Sessions, feigning a concern for the same sick Americans he moments earlier threatened with arrest, is projecting a Trumpist type of warning – “We are coming for recreational cannabis users.”

Again Beauregard suggests that there are other relevant “emerging issues” with respect to legalizing cannabis beyond the simple and incontrovertible fact that the majority of Americans want #cannabis to be federally legalized. What other facts are “emerging, Jeffrey? That #cannabis is a “gateway drug” (disproven) that more of our nation’s children will become cannabis zombies? (youth cannabis use is down across America).

Just what emerging facts are you scratching for, Beauregard? Final proof that Henry Anslinger was correct in the 1930s when he opined that cannabis use will lead to young American whites listening to Jazz music?

Sessions states;

On “good people don’t smoke marijuana“: My words have been grossly mischaracterized and taken out of context… I was discussing the value of treating people for using dangerous and illegal drugs like marijuana, and the context in which treatment is successful.”

Beauregard, the future US Attorney General, shows here that he can willfully disregard scientific fact. Cannabis has been declared by our own government to be safe. Safer than tobacco, safer than alcohol, safer than prescription pain killers.

Cannabis has been found also to make us all safer, by teating Parkinson’s patients, traumatic brain injury patients, cancer patients…the list of cannabis’s gifts of public health and safety is long and supported by science. The predicate of your statement, Beauregard, reveals you to be either ignorant or a liar.

Sessions states;

“I will defer to the American Medical Association and the researchers at the National Institutes of Health and elsewhere about the medical effects of marijuana. Without having studied the relevant regulations in depth, I cannot say whether they may need to be eased in order to advance research; but, I will review this.”

Another act of dishonesty for our future highest law enforcement officer in this statement.

The national Institutes of Health recently (and by that I mean very recently) concluded the largest study of research into medical cannabis, and amongst its conclusions: Cannabis is a real and helpful medicine – but we need more studies to find out what the full benefits of medical cannabis are because law enforcement’s insistence on treating the substance as both dangerous and illegal has lead to the situation where cannabis is one of the least studied substances on the planet.

Quite basically, because cannabis is illegal – doctors themselves report not knowing how beneficial it may be to help treat and perhaps cure sick Americans.

Sessions’ written answers regarding cannabis legalization oozes with fringed concern about public safety and patient health. Hey Beauregard, if we are to take you at your word, quit with the deceptive and anti-science mumbling and justifications for police bigotry and demand federal legalization now.

national

A confederacy of immoral narcissists threatens public healthy and public safety in America

By Patrick Devlin

More arrests for cannabis possession than for violent crime in bizarro America
THC enables human brain cells to heal themselves and fight disease
All of the memes used by anti-cannabis warriors have been proven false by cannabis legalization

trump-clintion-asshats

Oregon police are baffled that legal cannabis has not brought about a mass crime wave
Former DEA agents call for end of war on cannabis so police can do some real work
Private prison food provider funds anti-cannabis effort in AZ
Researchers find cannabis can be deadly, but only if you are arrested by police for cannabis possession
Congress prohibits veterans from using cannabis medicine
UK approves cannabis medicine, while Ametican patients suffer
Archeologists find pre-Christian tomb with man’s body shrouded in mature cannabis plants

The headlines tell the despicable and sorry tale:

Prohibitionists who continue to place roadblocks to cannabis legalization are now committing immoral and illegal acts that threaten the public safety.

Elected officials who do not demand and work to establish laws legalizing cannabis are violation their oaths of office, are guilty of misappropriating tax payer monies and are enabling criminal enterprises.

Our political leaders, who do not immediately call for the legalization of cannabis are committing violations of public safety and enabling acts of discrimination.

“Laboratory and animal studies show that cannabinoids may be able to kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells” – National Cancer Institute

“law enforcement agencies made 574,641 arrests last year for small quantities of (cannabis) intended for personal use, according to the report, which was released Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch. The marijuana arrests were about 13.6 percent more than the 505,681 arrests made for all violent crimes, including murder, rape and serious assaults.” – New York Times

As compassionate and patriotic Americans, mLaw asks you Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, President Obama and members of congress, Nora Volkow and Kevin Sabet, why do you allow the death, agony, inequality and racism to continue. What purposes are served, other than narissicistic, selfish and immoral personal aggrandizement and perceived political gain, by your calculated and inhumane inaction?

Hillary, Donald, Barack, Nora and Kevin, America implores you to act out of compassion and for the sake of justice. And we ask, “Why do you hate sick children and young minorities?

national

Doucette’s diatribe: duplicitous disinformation or downright dumbassery?

by Patrick Devlin

The chief of police in Bennington Vermont, Paul Doucette, is doing anti-cannabis prohibitionists a disservice after returning from a cannabis fact finding mission in the tolerant and compassionate state of Colorado.

Doucette’s recent anti-cannabis pronouncements are so off-base he threatens the prohibitionist talking-points playbook by relating nonsense regarding legalized cannabis that is so false that it inhabits a bizzaro world that is unmoored from extant reality – not to suggest that anti-cannabis warriors have ever really cared about extant reality.

paul doucette, propagandist

As legislators begin discussion of several bills before the statehouse in Vermont regarding cannabis legalization, Doucette, speaking to TV News WRGB Albany, New York, advised that he counsels against cannabis legalization because;

“To now legalize another mind altering substance, and task us with monitoring that, monitoring the sales, the cultivation and all the things that go along with it, you’re really tasking the police department in Bennington that’s already overburdened with issues we’re seeing.”

We can take from the statement that while the chief may be a good soldier in the nation’s war on cannabis, he falls short when it comes to finding facts.

In Colorado, as in Washington, Alaska and Oregon, states where adults are allowed to consume cannabis legally for recreational purposes, no local police department is “tasked” with overseeing cannabis cultivation, cannabis safety monitoring, cannabis sales or cannabis taxation.

While we are certain that Chief Doucette is really good at spreading propaganda, we are equally certain he knows very well that – across America – no local police department is required by state or federal law to be “tasked” with any government obligation to monitor, regulate or oversee in any way whatsoever either the sale of tobacco or alcohol, and for Doucette to pretend to the TV reporters that legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes in Vermont will require any additional efforts from local police departments that will dangerously “over burden” their resources is a bold faced misrepresentation that is unmoored from the truth; i.e. a lie.

Doucette may, as is the case with many anti-cannabis drug warriors, be of the belief that citizens of Vermont who desire to end cannabis prohibition in the state are befuddled and dimwitted stoners who will simply accept more lying by law enforcement officials, just like during the bad old days of the 80 year war on cannabis in America. But, speaking disinformation instead of telling the truth is not in the job description of police chiefs and actually countervails concern for the public’s safety.

It is clear that Doucette learned nothing from his cannabis commerce junket to Colorado – for example, the fact that drugged driving accidents have declined, that fewer kids report using cannabis, that there are no instances of Coloradans being harmed from poorly cultivated cannabis, and that crime in Colorado is down. In addition, and a fact worth reminding the chief of, Colorado has also made a boatload of cash taxing the sale of legal cannabis – much of which is mandated by law to be spent on law enforcement, including on local police departments. And, also a fact that Doucette did not learn, the police have realized that legalizing cannabis helps them by freeing up their resources, allowing them to pursue actual crime.

Doucette, it seems, keeps gum-flapping, spreading known falsehoods to media outlets while the citizens of Bennington and Vermont plead for politicians and law enforcement officials to end the wasteful and destructive war on cannabis.

We urge Chief Doucette to stop quaffing the truth altering anti-cannabis propaganda, go back to school in Colorado and this time learn something about legal cannabis and public safety, before the citizens of Bennington Vermont learn that their police chief is a left-over drug war zealot who needs to be replaced.

national

Legacy jonesing Obama walks right past America’s convulsing kids

by Patrick Devlin

I was standing next to our local police chief when we saw a crime being committed.

I looked at him – expecting a police response…nothing. I said, gently prodding, “Sir, don’t you see what is happening?”


He looked at me coolly saying nothing.

“There is a crime being committed”, I blurted.

“Well, call the police,” I was commanded.

“Aren’t you the police?, I asked credulously.

“If you call the police and they think a crime is happening then they will do something,” the chief copper said.

“But,” I stammered, you are here right now – you see what is happening right in front of your eyes…do something!”, I ordered the public servant, putting my hand on his forearm to emphasize my exasperation as we witnessed the crime taking place in front of our eyes.

“I can’t say that a crime is happening over there, but if you don’t remove your hand you will be arrested for assault right now,” the chief law enforcement official hissed.

>>

Yesterday, chief Obama was asked again by an American (a congressman) if he would do anything at all within the tremendous authority that he has vested upon him as president to end the criminal and harmful war on cannabis, and he retorted that his intention is to take no personal action whatsoever to help our sick veterans and children, to end the racially motivated arrests of our young people, to spur economic growth in New-Depression America. Barack Obama intends to take no action to legalize cannabis for medical or recreational use in the United States.

What are the consequences of this action Obama intends to take, his action to callously continue the war on cannabis? It will ensure the arrest of hundreds of thousands of Americans in the next year alone (2016- Obama’s last year as president). It will ensure that thousands of sick Americans, including suffering babies, will have to live with relievable pain every day. It will ensure that the nascent marketplace of cannabis commerce will still be encumbered by being unable to use the federal banking system, purchase business insurance or be treated fairly under America’s tax code.

Why would this human who can help choose to do nothing and watch while his inaction results in all of these easily avoidable consequences?

The answer to that question is simple and selfish and appalling and putrid – because Obama does not care about the sick children, Obama does not care about the hundreds of thousands of people of color who will be arrested and Obama does not care that a substantial majority of Americans think that he is wrong. Obama cares only about his sorry neo-conservative finance, military and pharma-industry captive narcissistic ass – he is simply burnishing his personal “legacy” as a political leader for the history books…sick and dying children be damned.

When Obama was first elected, around the same time that he orchestrated a 16 trillion tax dollar give-away to private and failed finance gamblers (banks, Insurance companies, finance companies, etc), he said with a straight face that the freakily-felonious banker bullies “broke no laws.”

Later, when he killed Americans living abroad with no legal proceeding or judicial order (nasty as they may have been before being atomized into a pink spray of bloody body bits) Obama was proud to report, “I have not shied away from using force…I have ordered military action in seven countries.”

When he allowed criminal corporations who spilled millions of gallons of oil to oversee the clean-up of the illegal mess that they created, he boasted that he has “added enough gas and oil pipeline to encircle the earth and then some.”

When he created a law that permanently protects the crimes of the red-lining and medicine withholding insurance industry, he chuckled that “Democrats, just congenitally, tend to see the glass as half empty’ and reminded that his “health care reform is based on the private marketplace.”

When he was busted for maintaining and expanding George W. Bush’s illegal spy-on-everybody pogrom he blithely suggested, flouting the constitution, that his illegal scheming stole “valuable intelligence” from unsuspecting Americans.

When it became clear that he and his predecessors participate in the medieval and illegal act of torture, he admitted unapologetically, “We tortured some folks.”

>>

When you hear some self-interersted dumbassed democratic party operative tell you that you have to vote for the “lesser of two evils”, again, to save our precious American oligarchy of law breaking militarists who think it serves their legacy to give tax dollar hand-outs to rich asshats and arrest the parents of sick children and arrest young minorities, remember that you can do something to help people that you will never meet:

– simply end your support of our criminal class of bought and paid for politicians.

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.

international

Cultural Custodians, Capitalists and Cannabis Companies Create Candy Consumption Confusion

by Patrick Devlin

With Halloween creeping up on us, cannabists are being exposed again to the annual defamatory ritual, sprung from the minds of manipulative propagandists, mouthed by local, state and federal police forces and consumed like fun-sized candy bars by ill-informed and scared silly suburbanites (really, scared to the point of believing out-and-out factually unsupported silliness), the warning from our ‘concerned for the kids’ law enforcers that reefer fiends want in the worst way to get their costumed kiddies “hooked” on the evil weed by spiking their children’s Halloween candy with cannabis.

The hysterical and nonsensical notion that is part and parcel to the urban myth – a myth that began when I was a youth and at that time took the form of dire warnings from police authorities that evil-doers were buying razor blades and inserting them into candy so children will become horribly injured when they scarf down their orange and black waxed paper wrapped peanut butter chewies or Zagnut candy bars – is that cannabis users in general are evil and demented freaks who, at the risk of being jailed and at the expense of purchasing costly legal cannabis, desire to harm innocent children.

Hate to break it to you, but there is not a single documented case of cannabis users tricking children to enter the realm of the devil to be locked forever in a hell of addiction or lie convulsing on the floor of a hospital emergency room by spiking children’s Halloween candy.

With all of the press-releasing and all of those reporters trying to ‘get to the bottom of the story‘ on all of those cannabis using candy spiking psychos out there it only makes sense that pharmacies and their employees who want their patients to know about the prescribed drugs that they are taking (including their possible dangers, paramount among these is warning patients of the importance of keeping drugs away from children) are happy to pass their important advice along – makes sense.

This is especially the case with regard to cannabis edibles that are sold as chocolate, gummy bears and soda, just like alcohol lollipops, these products, of course, should not be given to children. But remember, it is not cannabists who designed these products to trick our kiddies, but rather capitalists who want to make cash. And, while you may not agree with me that the consumption cannabis (by adults) is a patriotic duty of all citizens concerned about the trajectory of American society – capitalism is supposed to be all patriotic and it is capitalist devils, not cannabis fiends who are flooding the market with BabyJane, BudderFinger and mrGreenbud cannabis candies. A salutary component of cannabis legalization is that these capital blinded candy creators can be regulated by the appropriate authorities in WA and CO to ensure that these products are not marketed to children (as tobacco products are regulated) because, you know, legalization is regulation.

Luckily, and speaking of cannabis monetization, a company from Florida has stepped up to allay to the fears of cannabis-candy-concerned parents, selling a candy-drug testing kit that parents can use to tell if their child’s candies can be consumed.

Now, if you have used cannabis, these types of stories- rooted as they are in deep misunderstandings about the substance that are the fruit of eighty years of knowing law enforcement and political deceit – are best to be ignored…it may be sad and silly, but it really just ain’t worth the time and energy to refute these zombie propagandist memes as they appear year after year. I agree.

But it really seems to make sense, however, in the year that many Americans are reassessing what they have been told by self-interested parties in politics and law enforcement and in light of the full legalization of cannabis in Colorado and Washington, to state for the record that the suggestion that cannabis users are demented sociopaths who dream of harming children is both unfounded and offensive. And, by the way the propagandists who mouth the meme know it is unfounded and intend for their propping up of the myth to be defamatory and offensive.

The clear intent of these propaganda-pushers is to infer that ‘pot heads’ are evil addicts who actually desire to harm children. And that is a sick way to attempt to foreclose upon the constructive and commonsense nationwide effort to bring compassion and equality to our land by legalizing cannabis.

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

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 3

by Patrick Devlin

The Grand Rapids Press and MLive Media reported Tuesday on the annual meeting of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) where conferees leveled a unified and scathing critique of the national ‘war on cannabis’ that is driven by self-serving local police, federal level prohibitionist politicians, private prison owners and purveyors of bigoted pseudo medical justifications, which has, according to attendees at this year’s NOBLE conference, “ruined the lives” of countless African American youths, stood as a force against medical treatment of addiction, intensified racial inequality and served to burn bridges of understanding and cooperation between law enforcers and the communities in which they serve.

Chief John Dixon III, police chief of Petersburg, VA, speaking at a session at the NOBLE conference titled, “Decriminalizing the Black Community”, characterized the continued federal prohibition of cannabis bluntly for conferees, stating, “It’s insanity. We know,” adding that after 40 years of prohibition’s failures, “The results haven’t changed.”

Dixon said that while police often view marijuana arrests as victories that ostensibly assist the user come to grips with their use of the illegal substance, the stark fact is that, “locking people up for a dime bag, for a joint,” and putting them into the criminal justice system “pretty much ruins the rest of their lives.” “We, as law enforcement professionals, we need to really take a look at how we can decriminalize marijuana, especially user amounts,” Dixon told the gathering, “Sometimes, we’ve got to say the things that most of law enforcement isn’t going to say.”

Dixon remarked on the devastating effects that criminalized cannabis has had on communities of African Americans across the US and noted that his real-life experiences had led him to conclude that drug addiction is best spoken to as a community health matter rather than as a law enforcement program.

The director of the organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Major Neil Franklin, a 34 year veteran of the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore Police Department, reminded the assembled law enforcement officials of the disturbing statistics associated with America’s failed drug war, stating that between 1990 and 2005 the size of the prison population incarcerated for drug offenses grew from 415,000 Americans to over 1.9 million convicts.

Franklin also expressed his concerns that the war on cannabis is driven by private prison owners who are seeking to have their jails filled with non-violent young minority men caught up in the drug war, and supported by law enforcement agencies which have come to rely upon drug forfeiture laws to extract cash and property from arrested drug users to support their departments in a time of reduced funding of public services across the country as politicians refuse to tax the wealthy and businesses to pay their fair share in supporting America’s communities. Franklin concluded, “Marijuana is one of the biggest money makers for law enforcement agencies today.”

Franklin asked his audience pointedly, “Who do you want to (control the flow of drugs) in your neighborhood? The cartels? The 20,000 gangs we have around the country? Or do we take control of it, regulate it?” Franklin echoed the comments of Chief Dixon when he challenged the audience of law enforcers, “There’s no more powerful voice than the people in the trenches.”

The 38th annual NOBLE conference, which was open to the public and presented sessions on all aspects of law enforcement and a job fair, took place in Grand Rapids Michigan between July 13 and 17.

Note: this news-opinion piece relies heavily upon the reporting of John Agar of the Grand Rapids Press and MLive and mLaw expresses its sincere appreciation for bringing this important event to our attention.

international

Time to Reschedule, President Laughy-Boy – part 2

by Patrick Devlin

A team of scientists from Canada, New Zealand, The United Kingdom and the United States has reported that even heavy users of cannabis have no greater chance of contracting lung cancer from their use of the substance than casual cannabis users or, remarkably, even non-cannabis users.

The study, which is to be published in the International Journal of Cancer, analyzed data from six case studies involving more than 5000 participants and found that there is “little evidence for an increased risk of lung cancer among habitual or long-term cannabis smokers.”

The review of research echoed previous medical studies, reported in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society in 2013, that revealed that “habitual use of marijuana alone does not appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function…Overall the risks of pulmonary complications of regular use of marijuana appear to be relatively small and far lower than those of tobacco smoking.”

The journal actually went further, as another article from 2013 posited that “cannabis smoking does not seem to increase risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or airway cancers. In fact, there is even a suggestion that low doses (of) cannabis may be protective for both conditions.”

The findings support the conjecture of many in the medical community that cannabis contains “anti-cancer properties” including the ability to inhibit the growth of lung cancer tumors, but no studies have been performed on human subjects due in part to the embargo against researching the capacities of cannabis’ medical benefits as the substance is considered by law enforcement and the White House to be amongst the most dangerous illegal drugs, as dangerous and medically non-useful as LSD and peyote, but less safe less medically useful than methanphetamine, cocaine and synthetic heroin.