Tag Archives: government regulated sales

national

Farm Bureau and Chamber of Commerce Unclear on the Concept in Arkansas

In Arkansas, organizations set up to assist business people and farmers in navigating and succeeding in the market place have joined forces to hobble small businesses and farmers by choosing to erect barriers to the marketplace.

Arkansans will be able to vote on two initiatives regarding medical cannabis on this year’s ballot in Arkansas.

arkansas farm bureau

Strange as it may seem, and contradicting the stated mission of these private membership organizations, the Arkansas Farm Bureau and the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to block our nation’s most lucrative cash crop, cannabis, from entering the marketplace in that state.

Ostensibly, these two organizations, which have previously been faithful advocates for farmers and small businessmen, would be expected to encourage and lionize the entry of cannabis as a legal product into the Arkansas commerce marketplace, given these groups’ historical support of the manufacturers and sellers all products, irrespective of how dangerous they may be, including the dangerous and addictive products sold by the tobacco and liquor industries.

In the case of the product cannabis, these organizations would be expected to be on the forefront of lobbying for legal cannabis in Arkansas because of the remarkable success for businessmen, farmers and taxing authorities that legal cannabis has been in the states where it is legal, Oregon, Colorado and Washington.

In OR, the state received $14.9 million in tax benefits from the sale of $60 million worth of legal cannabis in it’s first year of sales. And in CO, legal cannabis sales have brought in over $1 billion in sales since 2014 providing tax revenues of $135 million to the cash strapped state in 2015 alone, $35 million of which is targeted by law to fund Colorado’s schools.

The Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation’s Stanley Hill, vice president of public affairs and government relations, said the potential recognition of the medical benefits of cannabis could “be detrimental to the entire economy of the state in our opinion.”

Rather than supporting the creation of a multi-million dollar market place for legal medical cannabis in Arkansas, the Chamber and Farm Bureau have called for simply ignoring the lucrative successes in CO, OR and WA and slamming the door shut for Arkansan businesses and farmers.

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

Hey Volkow, you prohibitionist quack, please try to ‘do no harm’

by Patrick Devlin

For years now, and important years they have been for the cause of freeing cannabis from the grip of propagandists and prohibitionist, Dr. Nora Volkow, the head of our government’s National Institute on Drug Addiction has been spending a whole lot of her time and energies demonizing the substance cannabis.

Strange, her compulsion to do this as we as a nation must console the families of sick and dying addicts every year who fall ill using our favorite addictive substances, the legal life killers tobacco and alcohol. Especially strange as Nora knows full well that cannabis is known by honest scientists to be as addictive as caffeine and acetaminophen (you know, Coke and Tylenol). And even stranger when America’s head of addiction research knows that there is absolutely no dispute that tobacco and alcohol are both extremely addictive and extremely deadly.

quack quacking

Even though it is true that many American citizens are now becoming aware that they have been lied to by our leaders about cannabis – both politicians as well as federally employed research scientists – as cannabis legalization is normalized across the US, Volkow has determined that there is value in continuing to misreport, propagandize, demonize and misrepresent what we know and what we are discovering about cannabis now that 80 years of the prohibition of the medical study of the substance has finally and thankfully come to an end.

We likely cannot expect biased and drug war bred politicos to be honest about cannabis, but doctors? Doctors with degrees and all that schooling, knowing that their statements matter to the citizens that they serve, doctors? One would hope that, having participated in selling a lie for over half a century, a doctor like Volkow would at least (for the sake of truth and the health of our citizens) be shamed into reporting facts as facts and make a personal vow to be objective, to consciously avoid being biased and deceptive.

Maybe a vow like this;

I swear by Apollo the physician, and Aesculapius the surgeon, likewise Hygeia and Panacea, and call all the gods and goddesses to witness, that I will observe and keep this underwritten oath, to the utmost of my power and judgment.

I will reverence my master who taught me the art. Equally with my parents, will I allow him things necessary for his support, and will consider his sons as brothers. I will teach them my art without reward or agreement; and I will impart all my acquirement, instructions, and whatever I know, to my master’s children, as to my own; and likewise to all my pupils, who shall bind and tie themselves by a professional oath, but to none else.

With regard to healing the sick, I will devise and order for them the best diet, according to my judgment and means; and I will take care that they suffer no hurt or damage.

Nor shall any man’s entreaty prevail upon me to administer poison to anyone; neither will I counsel any man to do so. Moreover, I will give no sort of medicine to any pregnant woman, with a view to destroy the child.

Further, I will comport myself and use my knowledge in a godly manner.

I will not cut for the stone, but will commit that affair entirely to the surgeons.

Whatsoever house I may enter, my visit shall be for the convenience and advantage of the patient; and I will willingly refrain from doing any injury or wrong from falsehood, and (in an especial manner) from acts of an amorous nature, whatever may be the rank of those who it may be my duty to cure, whether mistress or servant, bond or free.

Whatever, in the course of my practice, I may see or hear (even when not invited), whatever I may happen to obtain knowledge of, if it be not proper to repeat it, I will keep sacred and secret within my own breast.
If I faithfully observe this oath, may I thrive and prosper in my fortune and profession, and live in the estimation of posterity; or on breach thereof, may the reverse be my fate!
– the Hippocratic Oath, sworn to by all who become degreed physicians

“I will willingly refrain from doing any injury or wrong from falsehood…”, one would hope.

Now, it’s s not because this high flying government research scientist is stupid that she clings to false framing and misrepresentation about cannabis while knowingly shilling for whatever interest she is shilling for, be it the pharmaceutical industry, the private prison industry, the booze industry or the tobacco industry – all leeches feeding off of our society. Volkow is always sleezilly speedy in her invocation of the “true dangers” of cannabis as she has reported in her own research work that suggests a connection between anxiety and depression in cannabis users. Volkow is sure to relate in the interviews she gives as head of a government health agency that she is so very concerned about cannabis users anxiety and depression.

Well, Volkow, having vowed to “impart all my acquirement, instructions, and whatever I know” in the service of advancing the health of the nation, must be damn happy that a new medical study has found that “cannabis use (is) not associated with increased risk for developing mood or anxiety disorders,” or any other mental illnesses. This is in a scientific study that took care to control for a multiplicity of factors, including socio-demographic characteristics, family history, environment and past and present psychiatric disorders. Volkow can now, charged as she is by her vow, to spread honest medical truth, stifle and desist with the fear mongering and advise the nation that her warnings about cannabis causing anxiety and depression were wrong and people should no longer fear that cannabis is an evil anxiety and depression causing weed.

But wait, as the nation’s news fakers report the story, there is scant mention of the years of inaccurate and wrong fear mongering, little reference to the study’s debunking of the prohibitionist anxiety and depression meme from the press and no mention whatsoever from the mouth of our nation’s top addiction doctor.

What the prohibitionist media and Volkow focused on instead was another of the study’s findings, that cannabis users may in the future abuse other drugs that are more dangerous than cannabis, such as alcohol. The study’s authors found that cannabis users were three timers more likely to abuse alcohol three years after the study’s initial research.

Importantly, the researchers pointed out that this association does not prove cannabis use causes other substance abuse problems, but they speculated that similarities between marijuana and other substances “may contribute to the association of cannabis use with (substance use disorders) but not with most other disorders examined.” The researchers posited that, “use of cannabis can also lead to behavioral disinhibition, which increases the likelihood of use of other substances and the risk of abuse or dependence on those substances.”

To be clear, the study found a correlation, not proven causation, between cannabis use (an extremely mildly addictive substance, despite it’s illegality) and later abuse of alcohol (a demonstrably addictive and deadly substance, in spite of it’s legality). More importantly, the study debunked the often repeated scare tactic of prohibitionists regarding cannabis use causing anxiety and depression.

What was it that the good-oath-taking-government-paid-doctor told the press when asked about the study? Volkow told FOXNews;

“These results delineate more clearly the outlines of the possible adverse psychiatric outcomes associated with cannabis use. Patients, doctors, advocates, and policymakers should understand that cannabis use, even for medicinal purposes, is associated with a clear risk of developing cannabis and/or other substance use disorders. This knowledge should be incorporated into clinical care and policy planning.”

So, we should be worried that cannabis users may become abusive drinkers who may become enmeshed in the horrors of alcohol addiction, and this 2 steps from reality consciousness should inform our policy making? Huh?

Maybe the doctor should have advised that drinking alcohol is dangerous, potentially addictive and is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States causing 88,000 deaths each year, and cannabis is mildly addictive and has never caused a death in human history.

Volkow is in a position of power to lobby for the re-classification of cannabis from being considered to be highly addictive and of no medical value. Volkow knows that the classification of cannabis is a destructive and harm causing lie. Volkow keeps quacking and America keeps treating cannabis like heroin. Volkow does nothing. Volkow has broken her vow.

Dr. Nora Volkow, we beg of you, please try to do no more harm.

national

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

By Patrick Devlin

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

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

Sushrut Jagi, Propagandist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

national

The Practicality of Outlawing that which is ‘Unreasonably Impractical’

by Patrick Devlin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

national

Mother’s Misdemeanors Manufactured by
‘Merica’s Marijuana Madness

by Patrick Devlin

A frightening circumstance driven by the failure of timid and narcissistic former cannabis imbibing politicians to take action to set federal standards for the legal use of cannabis medicine has led to the indictment of a Minnesota parent who sought relief for her brain injured son using cannibidiol oils to relieve his chronic pain.

Angela Brown was charged with two gross misdemeanor violations (child endangerment and causing a child to need protection) when she was reported to police for administering cannabis oils to her ailing son, Trey, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2011. Each of the child endangerment-related counts Brown faces carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. The charges came in spite of the fact that in May this year Minnesota’s governor, Mark Dayton, signed a law allowing patients to use cannabis as medicine upon a doctor’s recommendation. The law goes into effect next summer and Minnesota patients should be able to purchase cannabis medicines by 2016.

The Browns traveled to Colorado, where cannabis is legal for both recreational purposes and medical purposes, earlier this year in a desperate effort to find a medicine for their son that would help to combat what his mother describes as “extreme body pain.” Brown told Minnesota City Pages that Trey’s “headaches were so bad he couldn’t function.” Brown detailed how she had to hold her son down to prevent him from harming himself due to the intense pain he was experiencing because “he was suicidal.”

The journey to Colorado revealed to the family the dramatic pain relieving effect of cannibidiol oil, an extraction of the cannabis plant that does not contain psychoactive components. Brown said that the cannabis medicine would calm Trey’s muscle spasms and the young patient said he could feel the cranial pressure releasing when the medicine would take effect.

Trey’s symptoms reduced visibly to the point where Trey’s teachers noticed that he was feeling better. Ms. Brown told Trey’s teachers that the dramatic change was due to prescription cannabis oil from Colorado and within a week local police showed up at the family’s home asking that Ms. Brown “hand over” the medicine. Next, Minnesota Family Services confronted Trey while he was at school and asked him, according to his mother, “how much I was making him smoke and how high I was making him get.” Finally, Ms. Brown received papers through the mail advising her that she had been charged with two counts of committing a gross misdemeanor.

A spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington D.C. based cannabis legalization lobby group, Bob Capecci told Local Minneapolis TV station KARE 11 that, while prosecutors have discretion in which cases they choose to investigate, he was “stunned” when he heard about prosecutors pursuing the Brown family. “I can’t think of an instance,” Capecci said, “where an individual has been brought up on charges like this simply because the effective date hasn’t come around yet for the law that has already been passed.”

Complicating the matter, in March of this year Governor Dayton, reportedly advised parents of sick children, who he met with privately to discuss the pending medical cannabis law in Minnesota, that they should “buy pot off the street” to treat their children who can only be helped by cannabis medicines. The governor’s office has denied that Dayton made the statement.

Sadly, this instance of unnecessary harm being inflicted on the sick and the innocent is only one example of how the our federal politicians’ inaction on cannabis legalization is not some kind of undergraduate level poly-sci experiment in “the states being laboratories of democracy” as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have waxed in self-serving interviews conducted by fake journalist, but rather conscious and determined political positioning.

Witness the tragic and growing phenomenon in America of citizens who become medical cannabis refugees, the Brown family says that they intend to move to Colorado after Ms. Brown’s court case is resolved. Also, the bizzaro attempts by tough-guy local police and prosecutors at enforcing their interpretation of “justice” as they hammer unrelentingly at low-level cannabis users and medical cannabis users. It seems almost as if these prohibitionist law enforcers are determined to bag as many ‘final scores’ as they can, sending as many kids to jail and confiscating as much property and cash as they can before the inevitable federal legalization of cannabis.

The self-exculpating dodge of using the words “laboratories of democracy” to justify no action at the federal level is a common ploy for cowardly and amoral political animals. We have seen this over the course of 50 years where a woman’s right to choose has been under a prolonged and concerted attack by anti-democratic zealots, which has led to the embarrassing and dangerous situation where abortion, a fully legal medical procedure in the US, is unavailable to patients in 98 percent of America’s counties. Inaction on the federal decriminalization and rescheduling of cannabis dressed up as “allowing the states to be laboratories of democracy” is as bigoted, small minded, rooted in brute political calculation and, in a word, immoral as the abusive power wielding that anti-abortionist politicians have practiced over a half a century.

Every self-interested politician who mouths the weasel-words “laboratories of democracy” knows that cannabis medicine saves lives and relieves pain, that allowing cannabis to remain criminal will permanently label over 600,000 Americans every year as arrestees and that the vast majority of these citizens will be young African Americans and Latino Americans.

international

Pope says nope to dope; I say, extend the metaphor

The high priest of the Catholic branch of the Abrahamic school of religions has cast his lot amongst the neo-prohibitionists by dismissing the bold experiments of the denizens of Colorado, Washington and Uruguay to end the nightmare scourge of the prohibition of one of the gods’ most appreciable gifts, cannabis, calling the movements to legalize the biblically referred to substance “highly questionable”.

Speaking to the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome (a group of law enforcement officials and policy makers who are seeking guidance as they face a new world where many have realized that they have been lied to by self-interested money-swillers and bigoted jailhouse-fillers for eighty years about what is arguably the world’s oldest cultivated plant who invited the insights of the spiritual leader of the sect of Abrahamic monotheism that claims that Jesus, the barefoot wandering preacher of the first century who challenged his adherents to care for the sick and remember those who are imprisoned, is their messiah) Francis said that cannabis legalization movements “however limited, to legalize so-called ‘recreational drugs,’ are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce desired effects.” The pontiff continued, “The scourge of drug use continues to spread inexorably, fed by a deplorable commerce which transcends national and continental borders.” Francis told his audience of law enforcers that, “Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise.”

The Pope, having ministered to addicts for years as a priest and even as he rose through the ranks to become the Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in Argentina during Argentina’s dirty war, has surely seen, as many of us have, the hollowed frame of someone we knew who has become addicted to any one of the body eating and mind destroying drugs that are truly a scourge; such as heroin and pharmaceutical opiates, crack and meth – possibly one of gods’ most appreciable evils, addiction. And, I submit, Jorge Mario, who, having had a front passenger’s seat during those Hieronymus Bosch-ian days in Argentina in the 1970’s, when liberation theologists had their babies stolen to be entrusted to ‘true Catholic families’ for proper rearing as the parents were board-walked out of flying helicopters, can be trusted here when he says that drug addiction is truly evil in his view.

It is quite clear, however, that Pope Francis has been getting his information on the addictive properties of cannabis from our president’s go-to neo-prohibitionist, Dr. Nora Volkow who is the Director of our government’s National Institute on Drug Addiction (an agency within the National Institutes of Health) who has in recent years been the public face of the president’s determined, disgraceful and misrepresentational program to continue the prohibition of cannabis. Volkow is the lead author of a recent report that blazed across the headlines of America’s media outlets reminding the ill-informed and timorous that “Marijuana is addictive!” Because these reefer madness reports failed to mention that scientists say that cannabis is as addictive as caffeine, not heroin or crack, I aver that Francis may just be, you know, taking the word of the experts because they are scientists, and addiction is evil, and any way, why would any government agency that is entrusted with protecting safety of the citizens go out of its way to ignore science and willfully pursue an agenda of supporting misinformation about cannabis, destroying lives and forestalling the comfort of the sick over the course of generations? It doesn’t make sense, might as well go with the experts.

I posit that the pope has fallen under the mesmerizing effects of propagandists, and given his participation in the two thousand year old propagation of the meme that there is only one god, he has to be aware of the insidious power of the constant drume-beat of propaganda messaging…perhaps muted but relentless. And in the war on cannabis, with it’s insinuations and conflations, misrepresentations and racist connotations, the eighty year pogrom has been truly compassion consciousness numbing.

So – in the hope of blowing that propaganda dust out of your cranium, Frankie – consider that cannabis prohibition is an addiction. An addiction that breeds crime. An addiction that feeds on human beings as sure as addiction to really addictive drugs can, in prisons and in hospices. An addiction that costs both dollars and lives. An addiction that haunts my president who fears for his legacy as his brethren are suffering and being discriminated against.

And, traversing in the metaphorical realms of the Christ who always sought to connect a message with reality to enhance its resonance; I propose, extend that christic philosophical framing – The bread is the body, the wine is the blood…and cannabis is the mind. I exclaim with you, il papa, “‘yes’ to life, ‘yes’ to love, ‘yes’ to others, ‘yes’ to education, ‘yes’ to greater job opportunities”. Now, let’s do that sacrament thang!

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Drugged driving duplicity damaged in fender bender with actual science

As cannabis legalization begins and the end of the national prohibition of the natural and useful substance appears on the distant horizon as inevitable, propagandists and their enablers in the media have begun to report in a distinctly yellow journalistic fashion on a scary rise in so-called “drugged driving.”

Implicit in the scare-the-suburbanites style of the various media reports on the topic that have appeared in the few short weeks following the commercial availability of cannabis to adult recreational users in Colorado are a host of unspoken assumptions of the type that underpinned much of the drug-war propaganda that Americans were fed during the 80 year prohibition of cannabis. This includes such unfounded memes as; implying that cannabis users have no concern for the safety of others, conflating the known national scandal of drunk driving on America’s highways with cannabis use when the two drugs are widely known by both medical professionals and regular citizens to have significantly different effects on users, and, misrepresenting findings that suggest a connection between cannabis found in drivers’ blood streams and impairment that results in auto accidents.

Another feature of such sensationalized reporting is neglecting to cite studies that countervail the intended message. In the sensationalized reportage found in mega-media over the past few weeks it is interesting that the 2011 study performed by Dr. Daniel Rees, an economist at the University of Colorado in Denver that was published by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the University of Chicago Law School in 2013 is rarely mentioned or cited. Dr. Rees’ study found that in the states where cannabis has been legal for a decade or more for medicinal purposes traffic fatalities have reduced by statistically significant amounts.

The important study shows that highway deaths in states that have allowed their citizens to use cannabis for medicinal purposes have reduced dramatically, an overall reduction of nearly nine percent. The study looked at traffic fatalities nationwide, including in 13 states that have legalized medical cannabis, over the 19 year period between 1999 and 2009. Rees’ research shows that traffic fatalities dropped significantly in the first year after states legalized medical cannabis, decreases ranging between eight and eleven percent. The decrease was most significant for drivers between the ages of 20 and 39.

At the time the study was released, Dr. Rees advised that his research team was “astounded by how little is known about the effects of legalizing marijuana.” The team focused on traffic deaths in America because “there is good data, and the data allow us to test whether alcohol was a factor.” An associate of Dr. Rees who co-authored the study, Dr. Mark Atkinson of the Economics Department of Montana State University, added, “Traffic fatalities are an important outcome from a policy perspective, because they represent the leading cause of death among Americans five to 35.“

The largest reason for the decrease in alcohol related fatalities in states that have legalized medical cannabis, according to Dr. Rees, is that the legalization of medical marijuana is associated with a decrease in alcohol consumption. The study found that “legalization is associated with an almost 5 percent decrease in the consumption of beer, the most popular beverage among 18-29 year-olds.” Rees found that “legalization of medical marijuana leads to sharp reductions in binge drinking, a form of alcohol abuse considered to have “especially high social and economic costs.””

Rees was careful to point out that while traffic fatalities dropped in states where medical cannabis is legal, “the negative relationship between legalization and alcohol–related traffic fatalities does not necessarily imply that driving under the influence of marijuana is safer than driving under the influence of alcohol.” Although this is the case with respect to Rees’ study, Rees points to other studies that have been carried out by scientists that indicate that drivers who are impaired by their consumption of alcohol tend to underestimate how badly their driving skills are impaired and for this reason alcohol users drive faster and take greater risks behind the wheel. On the other hand, cannabis impaired drivers display greater caution than they do when driving sober, driving more carefully and taking fewer risks.

Rees cautioned that, due to the fact that the majority of medical cannabis users as of the date of the study are younger males (69 percent of Coloradans who use medical cannabis are male and 48 percent of Montanans who use medical cannabis are between the ages of 18 and 40) the data used in his study related primarily to these cannabis users and estimates for female users are less precise. Rees also noted that our nation’s disconnected and varied policies regarding cannabis regulation “have not been research-based thus far,” and called for additional scientific study that can lend legitimacy our nation’s cannabis regulatory policies. Dr. Rees concluded, “Although we make no policy recommendations, it certainly appears as though medical marijuana laws are making our highways safer.”

It should be emphasized that scientific studies regarding the benefits of cannabis, medical uses for the substance or studies on how the substance affects social relationships, are nearly impossible for researchers to perform due to the self-imposed federal embargo on medical and psychological research of cannabis. The substance is currently scheduled for political reasons as one of the most dangerous drugs known in America and cannabis is said by federal regulators to have no medical benefit. It is a simple yet startling fact that cannabis is considered by our federal government to be a more dangerous drug than both cocaine and methamphetamine.

Due to cannabis being scheduled so aggressively, researchers cannot study the properties of cannabis to discover the possible medicinal uses of the natural substance. It is for this reason, the self-imposed political embargo on scientific study, that researchers who are seeking to understand the medical benefits of cannabis or its influence in our culture are forced to review more general statistical information and develop hypotheses based upon this general information, as was the case in Dr. Rees’ study. Dr. Rees compiled public medical statistics from several sources including the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the Fatality Analysis Reporting Systems to draw his conclusions regarding the impact of cannabis legalization on traffic fatalities.

The pushers of the drugged driving meme also falsely equate cannabis detected in the blood of drivers who cause accidents with the widely known and understood concept of blood alcohol measurement. As is well known, alcohol levels detected in the systems of drivers using breathalyzers are in fact indicators of physical impairment – impairments that lead to thousands of automobile accidents every year in America and tragically kill tens of thousands of citizens. What is widely known in both law enforcement and the medical establishment is that while the effects (and therefore the possible impairments caused by) cannabis are short lived, lasting roughly an hour or two, cannabis can be detected in a user’s blood stream for 30 days or more.

The obvious truth is that while cannabis (the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, THC) can be found in the system of a user for up to a month after a single use – a cannabis user can never be physically affected by the substance for up to month after using the substance. Law enforcement officials and journalists who suggest that a driver is ‘drugged’ because they used cannabis 30 days ago are liars, liars who know that they are dishonestly manipulating the facts for the purpose of hoodwinking their audience. The bandying about of statistics regarding drivers who have cannabis in their system, without identifying the huge caveat described above, is a tactic used by cannabis prohibitionists that is cynical, deceptive and patronizing.

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Money, Medicine, Marijuana and Moonbeams

The national cable network Comcast has begun running what is the first advertisement regarding medical cannabis of the post-prohibition era. The advertisement, that has begun to run in markets where medical cannabis has been legalized through acts by state legislatures, including in Illinois and New York, will be rolled out into additional markets that are served both by Comcast Cable and by elected officials who understand the humanity in providing medicines to our sick neighbors.

The paid advertisement promotes Marijuanadoctors dot com, which is a business that connects doctors who have experience prescribing medical cannabis with sick patients who are unable for many reasons to get the medical authorization to purchase prescribed medications in their state. Even though cannabis has been legalized as medicine in 20 states (with 13 additional state legislatures considering legalizing medical cannabis), many patients still have difficulty finding a doctor who is willing to prescribe medical cannabis leading to the dangerous, untenable and perverse consequences of, for example, a horribly sick Parkinson’s Disease patient turning to the illicit market to obtain needed medicine. In effect, turning deathly ill Americans into criminals who have to risk both arrest by police and theft and injury by drug dealers in pursuit of life saving and pain ending medications.

Comcast has taken the bold step to be the first media outlet in America to run medical cannabis advertisements because, as Comcast told the on-line news journal the Verge, “It went through our legal department, and they approved it.”

With nothing more from Comcast to analyze, the company’s effort (that is historically the first advertisement that has been presented to Americans on their TV screens involving the nascent commercial cannabis market) may have been inspired out of an altruistic concern for its viewers some of whom are sick and need the relief that medical cannabis can provide them and advertising the services offered by Marijuanadoctors has not been outlawed, or the motivation could have come from the company’s desire to cash in on a truly new and massive market – one can only speculate. But the historic advert does indicate we are living in a changed world.

When the sick and diseased have easily satisfied needs, when suburban moms are lobbying statehouses in red and blue states to repeal prohibition, when international political leaders are finding their courage to confront failed drug warriors, when hippies and international corporations arrive at commonality, when state level politicos and cable company honchos realize the cash that they may be leaving on the table, the finger wagging and tut-tutting of dry-doper politicos and cultural custodians who are intent on maintaining cannabis prohibition are revealed to all as obvious self-serving, self-exculpating and legacy burnishing talking points that have only the effect of consigning more minorities in our country to lives with arrest records and more patients in our land living out lives in pain and desperation – arrests that don’t have to happen and pain and desperation that can be ended by compassionate Americans.

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Sabet sounding like Carrie Nation – instead of caring for our nation

As America steps confidently and comfortably into the post-prohibition era there are some who have apprehended the consequential demise of the cultural custodian/law enforcement industry that blossomed over more than eighty years of cannabis prohibition. While cannabis-ists and capitalists have celebrated the bold step that Colorado has taken to allow adults to consume cannabis for recreational use, prohibitionists are sounding the alarm that America is doomed.

Kevin Sabet, the resident social scientist at the anti-legalization policy workgroup Smart Approaches to Marijuana that was organized by high profile drug warring prohibitionists from both parties (former democratic congressperson Patrick Kennedy and former speech writer for George W. Bush David Frum) penned an op-ed that was placed in the Washington Times recently that deploys scary conflations, manipulated statistics and veiled threats of the end of America as we know it decrying Colorado’s experiment. There was a time when Sabet’s finger wagging and apoplectic scare mongering found a ready audience. In early February 2014 the same old-same old anti-cannabis rhetoric sounds a bit like Anslinger styled reefer madness mongering.

In the first lines of the piece, “Colorado Will Show Why Legalizing Marijuana is a Mistake”, Sabet lunges toward the propagandist’s friend false equivalency saying that “as far as we know” the first weeks of cannabis being sold like alcohol in Colorado did not include incidents of “bloody fistfights among people waiting in line” and “no burglaries or robberies” – yes, Kevin we know that crack addicts commit crimes to support their addictions and boozed up dumbasses present local law enforcement officials with daily challenges at sporting events, bars and in the homes of battered wives across America…but cannabis? Will the next comparison be that which was presented to Congress in 1937 by Henry Anslinger the first head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics?;

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

Heavens, America may not be capable of withstanding the onslaught of tie-dyed wearing dead-head fist-fighters committing burglaries across the Centennial State now that the pernicious experiment is underway.

Sabet goes on to attempt to get the villagers all exorcised because “Multimillion-dollar private investing groups have emerged and are poised to become, in their words “Big Marijuana.” Really? I ask you dear reader, when was the last time in the brave and altruistic press in America you have seen the threat of moneyed industrialists scooping up an entire market to make boatloads of cash described as anything other than “the American way” and celebrated in an unqualified fashion as an example of pure American god gifted patriotic market manipulation?

Mr. Sabet, while I personally agree with you that big biz coming into small markets and destroying long-time local small family run businesses with the assistance of bought-off local officials that drives down wages and is antagonistic to collective bargaining and limits our product choices to plastic disposables manufactured by modern-day slaves is destructive and threatens the American economy (see WalMart), I actually don’t remember you saying anything of note with regard to the development of the private prison industry in America over the past years (during the years of cannabis prohibition). You know, those mega-corps who get no-bid cost-plus contracts to house the human debris of your drug war. Contracts that require that these private prison facilities are stocked full of humans, including the victims of America’s racist drug war…you may refer to the biz as “Big Prison”.

Sabet also points out (using another propagandist tactic- attempting to associate his point of view with an honored institution) that the American Medical Association “has come out strongly against the legal sales of marijuana” Well Kevin, the AMA also has “come out strongly” against universal health care, contradicting the humane and cost-saving practices of every industrialized country on the planet (excluding the US) who provide health care to all of their citizens irrespective of their income…you know, Kevin, as in humanity.

The social scientist, out of genuine concern I am sure, is especially keen to inflame the passions of his audience informing them that they may be “shocked to hear that, according to the National Institutes of Health, one in six 16-year-olds who try marijuana will become addicted to it” Now, now Kevin, put down that Red Bull. While it is true that Americans’ addiction to tobacco leads to 400,000 deaths every year and alcohol addicts kill tens of thousand of innocents on America’s roads every year, you know Dr. Sabet that medical researchers say that cannabis is as addictive as caffeine – the killing drug that powers such deadly concoctions as Coke-a-Cola and that Starbucks espresso that you may have consumed as you prepared to write this op-ed.

The real danger behind the small-d democracy experiment to legalize cannabis for adults to use recreationally in Colorado is revealed by Sabet when he confides, “We can expect criminal organizations to adapt to legal prices, sell to people outside the legal market (e.g. kids) and continue to profit from other, much larger revenue sources, such as human trafficking.” So…legalizing cannabis for personal use by adults in America will somehow contribute to an increase in human trafficking? What the hell are you smoking, Sabet?

Feigning concern for us all Sabet asks, “Why do we have to experience a tragedy before knowing where to go next?” when considering the Colorado experiment. Here Sabet employs, embarrassingly, a shop worn tactic used by luddites and religious extremists for centuries; this change we speak of will only bring tragedy, we know that now – fear this change, fear our future, fear the truth. I wonder if Sabet is thinking of the tragedy of providing relief and cures for patients who are suffering today from horrible diseases like cancer, MS and Parkinson’s disease? I wonder if Sabet is thinking of the tragedy in millions of families whose brother or sister was arrested for possessing cannabis for personal use and now cannot become a lawyer, a doctor or president of the United States because of their criminal record?

Witnessing the lengthening of the already long shadows on the blackened tarmac of America’s drug war, the sun finally setting on the despicable, anti-science, human misery creating and racist war on cannabis, Sabet bleats the warning; “Voters in other states should watch Colorado closely and engage in a deep conversation about where they want this country to go.” I do agree with the good doctor on this point…watch Colorado, think about the possibilities for our future, and follow, America.