Tag Archives: federal crack downs

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.

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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.

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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

Breaking: DEA Says No to Medical #Cannabis

by Patrick Devlin

The Drug Enforcement Administration has determined again that cannabis has “no currently accepted medical use and (has) a high potential for abuse.”

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The federal agency that is under the direction of the office of the president has determined that cannabis is among the “most dangerous drugs” and threatens users with “potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.”

The DEA confirmed their belief that cannabis is as great a danger to the public as heroin,
lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.

The DEA said in a letter that their decision was “based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine,” he said, “and it’s not.” The letter went on to say that it “would be a wonderful and welcome development” if it could be scientifically proven that cannabis is an effective medicine, “but we insist that CBD research, or any research, be sound, scientific, and rigorous before a product can be authorized for medical use.”

President Obama has stated that he wants the decision to re-schedule cannabis to be driven by science rather than ideology, but critics point to the fact that the DEA’s own aggressive scheduling of cannabis itself stifles research into the medically important substance.

The regulatory dilemma that exists; where cannabis is deemed too dangerous to research by regulators and deemed not scientifically studied enough to be medicine by law enforcers, has led to a stalemate that has thwarted the advancement of science to the peril and ill health of sick patients.

Forty-two states have passed laws allowing their citizens to use medical cannabis.

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

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

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.

national

HillBilly on the same prohibitionist page as Choomer-in-Chief

Over the course of the past couple of weeks and culminating recently in an interview on Meet the Press, it appears that the woman who would be king and her first-mate to be, the HillBilly (sm), have laid out their dry-doper vision for speaking to the concerns of both America’s dire-medication needers and it’s life changing arrest-recorded-pocket-carrying weeders – “Who cares what you think”, in a manner of speaking and referencing a quip of the highly quotable GWBush.

What we have heard from the HillBilly is language that they know is crowd tested to seem mildly progressive in tenor and even hopeful (tm – Barack Obama), that cannabis may be medically useful and that the states are “laboratories of democracy”.

Thanks HillBilly, but we were already aware that the National Institutes of Health said in 2003 that cannabinoid “compounds have been shown to inhibit the growth of tumour cells in culture and animal models by modulating key cell-signalling pathways,” and then went further in 2012 when the NIH stated firmly that the properties of cannabis have “anti-cancer activities.” And, that in states such as Illinois where cannabis has been made legal for medicinal purposes, politicians agree with the medical establishment that asserts that cannabis is medicine that helps patients who are suffering from a long list of crippling and permanent medical maladies including these diseases that the HillBilly most assuredly do not have or do not want to contract or become afflicted with:

“Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency, syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia/wasting syndrome, muscular dystrophy, severe fibromyalgia, spinal cord disease, including but not limited to arachnoiditis, Tarlov cysts, hydromyelia, syringomyelia, Rheumatoid arthritis, fibrous dysplasia, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Arnold-Chiari malformation and Syringomyelia, Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA), Parkinson’s, Tourette’s, Myoclonus, Dystonia, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type I), Causalgia, CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type II), Neurofibromatosis, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, Sjogren’s syndrome, Lupus, Interstitial Cystitis, Myasthenia Gravis, Hydrocephalus, nail-patella syndrome, residual limb pain,” as well as “any other debilitating medical condition” recognized by Illinois Department of Public Health as being treatable with the useful and important medicine called cannabis.”

Hooray for the forward march of science.

And, HillBilly (sm), we are also aware that the states can indeed be “laboratories of democracy” – as we have seen over the past decades, where obstructionist politicians who are keenly concerned with pandering to the rubes (so as to keep their jobs) have labored to reduce Americans’ access to abortion, enable citizens to carry high powered rifles into restaurants and shopping malls, forestalled equality in marriage and voted over and over to ensure that we do not follow “shria law” in places like Oklahoma and Florida. And we have seen even in the past year, in states that have legalized cannabis usage for medical and recreational purposes, state level prohibitionists and suburban township cultural custodians effectively stymie the will of the people by imposing ridiculous “home rule” restrictions on the sale of cannabis for no other reason than to make it difficult for the citizens who they represent to use the legal substance.

Hooray for small “d” democracy.

When I hear the HillBilly talking like this, it’s hard for me to say hopefully that the statements that have come from both of the soon-to-be first couple reflect a growing “evolution” on matters related to cannabis. I think rather the stance is nothing more than self-serving dry-doper kick-the-can cowardly narcissistic bullshittery.

I am certain that the cynical liars HillBilly know full well that the current dry-doper in the White House has used this exact fake-assed framing throughout his tenure (when he wasn’t actually publically making fun of those Americans who understand the medical usefulness of cannabis and are cognizant of the bigoted pogrom that is the war on cannabis in America, by using his ‘bully pulpit’ as a dais from which to be a bully), as in when Obama told a New Yorker writer earlier this year that, “it’s important for it to go forward…And the experiment that’s going to be taking place in Colorado and Washington is going to be, I think, a challenge.”

Hooray for “evolving”.

When I hear self-serving asshats talk like this it’s difficult for me to think of progress because, since Obama became president and decided to do nothing regarding cannabis for legacy burnishing reasons, more than 4.2 million of our fellow citizens have been arrested for possession of cannabis – the overwhelming majority of these arrests have been for small amounts of the substance (i.e. personal use – not drug trafficking) and the overwhelming majority of these arrestees have been minorities. Seems to me that’s a step backwards for our country.

I also think about the “smash and grab raids” that Obama’s DOJ has performed on medical cannabis dispensaries since he became president, and the fact that Obama’s DEA is currently threatening doctors in Massachusetts (a state that has legalized cannabis for medical use) that, if they prescribe cannabis as medicine, they will lose their license to prescribe any medications. Nice, that hopeful and evolving mindset, eminently reasonable.

I know, I know – why take such a hard stance against the clear and considered, callus and continual foot-dragging of our royal Democratic class members? Those Republicans are so mean and selfish and so much worse that our Democrats…and, by the way, it’s only cannabis, I can hear supporters of HillBilly intone patronizingly. Let me advise, I realize that it’s “only” cannabis.

So – let’s instead consider; banker bailouts, imperial wars, inescapable total surveillance, union busting, propping up the amoral health insurance industry, supporting polluters over our people, killing citizens in extra-judicial executions, funding illegally occupying religious zealots, criminalizing dissent, supporting the oxymoronic concept of “humanitarian war” and rehabilitating torture as US policy – these are the legacies of Bill Clinton and the vision for America that define the motivations of Hillary Clinton to run this nation.

Hooray for oligarchy.

“I recognized at once that we had never understood the meaning of these words, so common and yet so sacred: Justice, equity, liberty; that concerning each of these principles our ideas have been utterly obscure; and, in fact, that this ignorance was the sole cause, both of the poverty that devours us, and of all the calamities that have ever afflicted the human race.”
– Pierre Joseph Proudhon

international

Cannabis brain study study finds measurable inaccuracies

Today, while tweeting our weekdaily twitter #cannabis headline blasts (follow @mLaw_news), we found an article that piqued our interest.

Last week mLaw published a parody critique of the fawning and uncritical media reportage of a medical study of cannabis users and the pop-psychological puffery that the doctors who performed the research engaged in while engaging the press, all of which was presented with baited breath by the ‘oh so concerned for the kids’ MSM worldwide (our article focused on reports in the Washington Post and the Boston Globe).

Our parody took the form of a report on an analytic study that purported to demonstrate that scientists who receive moneys to perform studies from America’s “drug warring law enforcement/scientific agencies” have problems with emotion and decision making that were revealed in the doctor’s decisions to make claims that are not born out of their research study and are instead emotional appeals for ‘protecting our youth’ (which, obviously no one disagrees with) that are of the distinct character of those which have been made over the past 80 years by prohibitionists to help sustain the unfair and anti-science prohibition on the substance cannabis.

Today we find an analysis of the national reportage of the study and what its authors told credulous media the study demonstrates: “Does Researching Casual Marijuana Use Cause Brain Abnormalities?” wherein the author Lior Pachter, the Raymond and Beverly Sackler professor of computational biology at UC Berkeley and professor of mathematics and molecular and cellular biology with a joint appointment in computer science, in a causal effort – as opposed to a rigorous study, slammed the cannabis brain research as “quite possibly the worst paper I’ve read all year.”

Dr. Pachter breaks down his critique into 3 categories; flaws in the design of the study, flaws with regard presenting data, and that the researchers suggest correlation in their study amounts to causation.

The study’s design flaws, as analyzed by Pachter, include; the small sample size of the study from which the authors intuit the results that they reported to the press, and Pachter also questions the definition in the study of “casual user” stating that, for him an acknowledged non-cannabis user, smoking 30 joints a week (as one of the study’s participants admitted) seemed to be more than a casual cannabis user.

But beyond these criticisms, Pachter advised (as our parody analysts found) that the media statements of the researchers did not accurately describe the results of the research. One of the researchers (Dr. Hans Breiter, of Northwestern University) told the media in unequivocal terms; “People think a little recreational use shouldn’t cause a problem; if someone is doing OK with work or school. Our Data directly says that is not the case.” After reviewing the research paper Pachter found that, “Breiter’s statement in the press is a lie.” Pachter states, “There is no evidence in the paper whatsoever, not even a tiny shred, that the users who were getting high once or twice a week were having any problems.”

Going deeper into the science behind the study, Pachter discovered that the findings reported by the researchers were not corrected to take into account data recorded in multiple tests. The study measured different aspects of the brains of the test subjects, including grey matter density, volume and shape. Multiple tests were taken by the researchers and brain volumes of the test subjects were estimated. Pachter says that the researchers “should have…correct(ed) the p-values computed for each type of analysis,” and not doing this led the researchers to report findings where “the extent of the testing was not properly accounted for.”

Additionally, and importantly, Pachter found that “many of the (study’s) results were not significant.” An example Pachter points to is a “volume analysis (that) showed no significant associations for any of the other four tested regions.” Pachter says that, in one of the brain volume tests, for the left nucleus accumbens, if the researchers removed the “outlier at a volume of over 800 mm3” the study would have possibly revealed no effect whatsoever (“flatten the line altogether”) in the brains of cannabis users…a theory that would be of interest to test, but, as Pachter points out in frustration, “the authors did not release any of their data.” (bold in original)

Further – and even more bizarre in an academic study, is that for some of the charts that the researchers use as examples in the study, “the authors did not report the p-values at all” or only reported them where “they were significant or not” and even in these instances “without correlation.” (italics in original)

And finally, Pachter took the researchers to task for pretending to the reporters that, out of all research ever performed, it is only in their cannabis study that the differences that they were able to measure can only be related to what they posit – cannabis use. Even mLaw’s ‘analysts’, who received their certificates in parody from far less well known institutions than Harvard, Northwestern and UMass, did actually point out to the researchers in our parody what they may have missed in their first college classes: “correlation does not prove causality”.

Pachter closes his critique by suggesting in all apparent seriousness; “I believe that scientists should be sanctioned for making public statements that directly contradict the content of their papers, as appears to be the case here.”

It goes without saying, the staff at mLaw are not scientists and claim no expertise at all regarding the study of the brain. What we can do, however, is read and our review of the articles that were widely and sensationally broadcast across the spectrum of MSM found that the doctors made statements that the study revealed data that the researchers themselves claimed they never studied.

The single biggest finding from this study, as we see it, is: we need more medical research on cannabis and politicians are standing in the way of this needed research.

But, the researchers’ first demand was not that President Obama must reschedule cannabis for medical research, as he (a never running for office again lame duck) has the power to do. And mLaw is not letting congress off the hook on this, but in the case of Obama, its one man and one action that is consciously not being taken. Instead, the doctors took their time to wax all Dr. Phil in the media interviews, making connections that simply are not supported by the study and that are also of the same tenor as the barrage of prohibitionist scare-talk we have heard since Washington and Colorado citizens voted to legalize cannabis – it is all standard Smart Approach BS.

The study seems significant and worthy of further research – but cannabis is scheduled as being of less value and more dangerous than heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. Doctors can’t easily experiment with cannabis due to this listing on the federal schedule of drugs …think about that for a second, our leaders assert that cannabis and LSD are more dangerous and of less value than cocaine and heroin.

To be clear, there is one unequivocal finding from this study…whether you are a supporter of medical cannabis, support ending the prohibition of cannabis, or favor continuing the war on cannabis, we have to agree “more study is needed”, cannabis must be rescheduled immediately.

We find, however in the reportage of the brain measurement study on casual cannabis users that received so much attention in the MSM, that these doctors – who promised to do no harm – spend their energies broadcasting results that are not results that the research afforded and, moreover, are the kind of scare tactics that are used every day by appointees in the White House’s Office on Drug Control Policy, a White House that, in contradiction of scientists on the government’s payroll who have called for more cannabis study, in callous dismissal of mothers and fathers of children suffering from Epilepsy, in immoral support of un-equally applied drug laws as hundreds of thousands of our citizens have to live their lives under the stigma of a cannabis arrest or conviction, and (surprisingly for this particular White House) when, at a time when harsh economic realities are facing this nation, thousands of potential small businesses (and even the felonious banksters who pull Obama’s strings) stand to make boat loads of legally earned dollars should cannabis prohibition be ended federally, has steadfastly refused (for purely political reasons relating to Mr. Obama’s “presidential legacy”) to re-classify cannabis – at least to free up our scientists to perform needed research.

And, although our previous article on this matter was indeed a parody, we at mLaw have to ask ourselves to consider the motives behind all parties involved in the study, its mischaracterization by the researchers and its broad based uncritical boostering by our mainstream media.

What is known is that, in general, regular folks when listening to a doctor describe research, assume a whole lot of good faith on the part of the professional. In this case, sadly, what we find is that while science is science (whether one agrees with or likes what is revealed by scientific study), doctors, on the other hand are humans who can be objective or decide to misuse the good faith with which they are approached by regular citizens to spout propaganda and emotional appeals that are hardly scientific – for whatever reason, whether to support their own predeterminations or to kiss (as opposed to bite) the hand that feeds them and their research studies.