Tag Archives: incarceration

national

Barney Fife alert: don’t look suspicious in Kilgore’s County

A Sheriff in rural Nevada is defending his office’s new use of an old tactic in his own private battlefield as the world-wide-war-on-cannabis continues to sputter and stumble. Sheriff Ed Kilgore of Humboldt County Nevada, a rural county in Northwestern Nevada, says that the two speeding stops that his deputies carried out where more than $60,000 was seized even though no criminal charges or allegations were made against the two drivers were legal and not speed-trap shakedowns.

In one of the instances, Tan Nguyen was stopped for driving 78 in a 75 mph speed zone. Nguyen’s attorney, who filed a federal lawsuit against Humboldt County, asserts that the police stop last September, was a “profile stop” based upon the suspicion that Nguyen was transporting drugs in the rental car that he was driving through Humboldt County. No drugs were found during the police search of Nguyen’s vehicle, and Nguyen was given a simple warning (instead of a speeding ticket).

Nguyen was told during the stop that if he handed over the $50,000 he was carrying with him, he would be freed. Nguyen was required to, as a condition of his release, sign a “property for safekeeping receipt” that indicated that the money Nguyen was forced to relinquish during the police roadside take-down was abandoned or seized and was therefore not returnable. Deputy Lee Dove is alleged in the federal lawsuit to have intimidated Nguyen into signing the release telling the speeding suspect his vehicle would be impounded unless he “got in his car and drove off and forgot this ever happened.”

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s office and the Humboldt County District Attorneys Office have refused to comment on the two arrests that are the subject of the federal lawsuits stating, “as a matter of policy, we never comment on pending litigation.” But at the time of Deputy Dove’s roadside cash bonanza speed-warning incident, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office issued a self-congratulatory press release that included a photo of Deputy Dove and the $50,000 seized from Nguyen, which said in part; “This cash would have been used to purchase illegal drugs and will now benefit Humboldt County with training equipment. Great job.” Would have been used…really?

The speed concerned sheriff’s deputies of Humboldt County stopped Denver resident Ken Smith in December who was also, according to the federal lawsuit that he filed against the county, required by deputies to relinquish $13,800 he was carrying. Smith, also stopped by Deputy Dove, was held, according to the deputy, because of an outstanding warrant for a man named Smith. Smith was never charged with a crime and was eventually released, but the money he was carrying and a handgun were “seized” by Deputy Dove. As it turns out, the Smith that Deputy Dove stopped, held and seized property from was born on a different day and is of a different race than the wanted Smith (personal identifiers that Deputy Dove was well aware of during his speed-confiscation-stop). Held due to a warrant…really?

The tactic that Humboldt County is manipulating, civil forfeiture, is both legal and controversial. In situations where an arresting officer suspects an individual obtained property illegally or intends to use property for illegal purposes, police officers can seize the property of an arrestee or suspect. But, in situations such as those detailed in the federal lawsuits filed against Humboldt County, where police stops are based upon subjective determinations made by officers on the ground, allegations of profiling have given rise to further allegations regarding police shakedowns and conflicts of interest.

Humboldt County deputies are “trained to recognize evasiveness during questioning”, and report that they have seized over $180,000 from suspicious drivers over a two year period. Money that they proudly report via press release that they have targeted uses for within their police force. When property such as money is charged with a civil offense – the basic idea behind asset forfeiture, former property possessors have a steep judicial hill to climb in having their property returned to them. In many incidents, as in the two cases that resulted in federal lawsuits in Humboldt County, there is often no criminal arrest or criminal charges filed against the property possessor. The Humboldt County District Attorney is correct in stating that individuals whose property (including cash) is seized have a right to make a claim for their property in the courts.

But, in such proceedings, in a topsy-turvy fashion, the person claiming the property, who may have never been even charged with a criminal violation, is required to prove that his possessions are his possessions and that he came into possession of what was confiscated by officers lawfully; i.e. putting the claimant in the position of having to prove his or her innocence – contrary to most other instances in American jurisprudence, where one is innocent until proven guilty.

It is because of instances of civil forfeiture like those Humboldt County has been sued over that “civil asset forfeiture has been harshly criticized by liberals and civil liberties advocates for its greatly reduced standards for conviction, reverse onus, and financial conflicts of interests arising when the law enforcement agencies who decide whether or not to seize assets stand to keep those assets for themselves”

Humboldt County law enforcers claim that their confiscatory efforts are indeed well intended, stating; “We’re trying to combat crime in our own little way in the war on drugs. We’re not just talking about people driving to buy medical marijuana. These are drug traffickers with guns who may be staying in our hotels.” Staying in your hotels…really?

An interesting side note in all of this is that Humboldt County’s rough and tough Sheriff, Ed Kilgore – a gun-lover, has “put the Obama Administration on notice” with regards his interpretation of the second amendment, advising the president that he will not enforce any new gun laws that he feels violate his personal interpretation of the constitution. His vision of the constitution…really?

Additionally, Humboldt County was the subject of a lawsuit that made its way up to the US Supreme Court in 2004, where sheriff’s deputies’ practice of requiring uncharged citizens to identify themselves at the threat of arrest was challenged. The Supreme Court agreed that (given precedents set in other cases) requiring citizens who have done nothing wrong and are not the subject of a law enforcement investigation to identify themselves on the threat of being arrested was all A-OK with “folks” on the court who opined that the narrow requirements of Nevada’s “stop and identify” law were met and the petitioner’s rights had not been violated in that case.

The majority opinion was, however, countered by two justices (Stevens and Breyer) who both recognized that the acquiescent to and in service of America’s para-militarized drug-warring local coppers majority opinion was problematic. Stevens wrote, “The officer in this case told [Hiibel] that he was conducting an investigation and needed to see some identification. As the target of that investigation, [Hiibel], in my view, acted well within his rights when he opted to stand mute. Accordingly, I respectfully dissent.” And, Breyer conveyed his concern that giving on-the ground police such latitude to question an uncharged citizen would be dangerous and could open the door encouraging aggressive police officials to tramp upon the constitutional rights of Americans.

So, in sum – A self-promoting county sheriff, who thinks he has the right to not prosecute laws due to his personal interpretation of the US Constitution, has conveyed that his officers have done nothing wrong and broken no laws as they stop “certain vehicles” and confiscate large sums of money from US citizens who have not been charged with any crime, so he can buy a bunch of cool-neato law enforcement equipment, in a county where sheriff’s deputies (it was in fact Deputy Dove whose behavior landed the state in the Supreme Court because of his 2004 “stop and demand ID on the threat of arrest” incident) seem to feel they can stake out their own personal territory when it comes to enforcing (or forcing as the case may be) the state’s laws against just the specific types of folks that they “know” are really law breakers.

As a majority of our Supreme Court Justices – supremely attentive to the needs of the military, law enforcement, the national security state and corporate oligarchs – would surely exclaim: “no laws broken – nothing to see here – move along now.”

national

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.

national

Barack and Cannabis: legacy burnished, propaganda furnished

All I can say today is, quite simply, spare me the bullshit.

As our government has reported:

  • In 2012, four years into the Obama era, 749,825 Americans were arrested for possessing cannabis.
  • This figure represents fully 48.3 percent of all drug arrests in the US in 2012.
  • Of these arrestees, 87 percent, 651,231 Americans were arrested for possession of cannabis for personal use.

That means that during Obama’s fourth year as president, one of his fellow American citizens was thrown in jail every 48 seconds because they use cannabis.

And, my compassionate friends, I ask you to try and remember a time when you were very ill – as we all have been at some point. When the pain was so horrible that you felt time slowing and as the seconds ticked by you felt hopeless. When your belly and back were sore from vomiting. When the headache pounded like a jackhammer to wake you up and 6am seemed like sixty days away. Every forty eight seconds of sickness and suffering was a lifetime. We have all been there, with most of us, thankfully, returning quickly to full health. Consider now if you can, chronic spasticity, paralyzing rigidity, incapacity to eat, palsy, fatigue, fever, inability to breathe or swallow.

Its great that science and medicine (and I’m not talking about health commerce, but study and experimentation that is largely funded socialistically, meaning thorough the support of all of us- as it should be) have found that cannabis can bring relief to patients who suffer from: glaucoma, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia/wasting syndrome, muscular dystrophy, severe fibromyalgia, spinal cord disease(s), Rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Tourette’s, Lupus and many other painful and life eroding diseases.

And, in the fourth year of the Obama presidency, our own government told its citizens who are hopeful for answers from medicine that can assist them and their oncologists that experiments performed over the past ten years show that cannabinoids “possess anticancer activity” and can actually impede the growth of tumors and help prevent the spread of cancer cells in the bodies of afflicted patients.

It is important to reiterate these scientific anti-cancer breakthroughs: cannabis not only relieves the side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy as we have know for some time, but cannabis has also been found to inhibit the growth of cancer tumors and stop the spread of cancer to other organs in diseased patients. That is amazing and brings hope to millions of our fellow citizens across America.

With the citizens in two states taking the initiative from “some of the folks who are writing those laws” and legalizing cannabis for adult recreational use, and the promise of a substance the medical applications and usefulness of which have been knowingly ignored and shunned by the medical establishment for 80 years (for what is basically the entire history of modern medicine), one could say that we are truly at a moment of cultural epiphany – note I didn’t say “panacea”.

There are very few moments in history where we as a society, an egalitarian people who embrace science and have compassion for our sick brothers and sisters, a free society that is capable of understanding what it means to our fellow citizens when one of them is unfairly and unnecessarily jailed and given the life sentence of being an ex-convict, can together take simple actions that effect so many of our brethren and have such positive implications for our heirs. So it really rankles me to hear a dry doper elected official tell us that stopping kids from being arrested, making the daily life of my sick neighbor bearable and giving cancer patients the hope of a cure cannot happen today because, “There is a lot of hair on that policy.”

I’m supremely aware, as has been so often pointed out by patronizing “practical and intelligent” players of eleventy dimensional chess over the last five years, that I am simply too simple to understand what all that “hair” refers to, but I do have one question – asking the so-called “great men” who see themselves at the head of “great movements” to think beyond their scheming and dreaming and meme-ing about their personal “legacies” for a moment…how about the currently imprisoned and dying? What can possibly be more important than these human beings, what is more “hairy”?

Oh, I get it…”evolution”.

Thanks to the device of “framing”, provided by the soft-ball tossing hagiographer Mr. Remnick, we see now how a heavy cannabis user, who ran for US senate supporting cannabis decriminalization, who then consciously altered his view when he ran for president, and then once becoming president, refused to answer questions about the relative safety of cannabis for going on five years – five years that included making calculated and demeaning jokes at the expense of citizens who are seeking answers from this so-called “representative” of the people – we now are informed that President Obama has “evolved” with respect to his understanding that cannabis is, with absolutely no qualifiers, safer than the legal drugs tobacco and alcohol. With over 400,000 deaths yearly in the US over the last 9 years caused by tobacco and over 10,000 automobile accident deaths yearly in the US over the last 9 years caused by alcohol (as a matter of fact, Obama’s government reports that one in three auto accidents involve alcohol) during which time exactly zero deaths were caused by cannabis, one who is concerned about health and equal justice must gasp in a state of understandable amazement – Huh? Sorry to inform you Mr. Remnick, that’s not an evolution – it is cynical, thought out, intentional election year deception and voter manipulation, nothing more. Where I come from (Chicago, Illinois – Obama’s ‘home town’) we call that type of duplicitous bullshit what it is – lies spoken by a lair.

Obama wouldn’t have been lying if he had said that cannabis is less harmful than the legal products sold by our billions of dollars a year alcohol and tobacco industries in 1979 the year he graduated high school. If he made the statement in 1983 when he graduated college it would have also been true. He could have said the same thing in 1988 when he entered law school, or in 1997 when he started to write laws as a state senator in Illinois – but wait…

We also hear from Obama’s hagiographer that Mr. Obama chides “some of the folks who are writing those (cannabis) laws” because they themselves “have probably done the same thing.” Who is the president talking about here besides his own guilty self? 1997 is seventeen years ago – I know that Obama had some really important self-promotion to attend to over the course of those years, but- seventeen years of remaining silent about the simple to understand, easy to demonstrate and widely accepted fact that cannabis is less harmful than America’s debilitating and death dealing legal drugs? The math is easy with respect to arrests; 17×700,000= 11 million nine hundred thousand arrestees whose lives have been shackled to an arrest record that “folks” just like Obama (and including Obama himself) were blasé about – did nothing about – did not speak up about – did nothing to help. Yep, just let those Americans slide down the alimentary canal of our legal system. Nice.

Also known for decades by all (but revealed to be a concern of Mr. Obama just now in his fifth year as President) is the 80 year history of African Americans and Latino Americans being targeted in a discriminatory fashion by America’s collective law enforcement using drug laws. It’s good to know that Obama admits that he is aware of the near century of discrimination in drug arrests by local and federal law enforcement. And we can all be sure that Obama (although calculatedly never uttering this widely known fact) has known that this is the truth for many years, meaning it ain’t an ‘evolution’. Eighty years of discriminatory law enforcement actions that have landed millions of our fellow citizens behind bars, in many cases ending these citizens’ chances to become full members of our society – to live productive lives and bless us all with their skills, intelligence and talents. Good to know – but, hey Obama, what have you done about it in five years as president, four years as US senator and seven years as a state senator?…cue crickets.

Finally, and echoing Obama’s cynical, deceptive, authoritarian and a-scientific modern drug war strategy, we get this slice of unctuous skanky bullshit from our dear leader;

“I also think that, when it comes to harder drugs, the harm done to the user is profound and the social costs are profound. And you do start getting into some difficult line-drawing issues. If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that? If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?”

Who, I ask simply, is suggesting that providing life supporting and life saving medications to Americans with fatal diseases and saving our future’s Americans from lives tainted with arrest and conviction records is a super-secret subterfuge attempt to legalize cocaine and methamphetamine? No one – besides pin headed propagandized drug warriors, the suburban moms that they scare the shit out of with their lies, and smarmy, calculatingly self-interested, dishonest, fake assed liars who know the truth (that cannabis is generally benign and medically important, which our government has made very plain to all of us and is upheld by years of scientific research) who don’t give a damn about the sick and dying or the unfairly imprisoned, and who are only concerned about their “legacy”.

Another thing that Obama knows but calculatedly does not utter to the public – he is happy as shit that cannabis will not be federally legalized on his watch. That is truly something that Obama has spent time, energy and political capitol endeavoring to prevent.

Long live the legacy.

“nothing worse than a dry doper” -g.singlaub

national

Sauschuck foresakes redemption

This week Americans in several cities and small towns decided to stop waiting for their putative “representatives” (whether in DC or their local statehouses) to, you know, “represent” their interests by legalizing cannabis for consumption by adults. We are all aware – and for some time now – that a majority of Americans seek the end of the violence inducing, life destroying, bigoted, wrong-headed and not in the least effective prohibition of cannabis in the US.

We also have seen push back by self-appointed cultural custodians and propagandized law enforcement who fear losing a raison d’etre for their discompassion, their smug self-righteousness, their bigotry, their orgies of taxpayer-dollar funded militarized storm-trooping police equipment procurement, their drug bust quotas, their tacit support of the dangerous and debilitating drugs tobacco and alcohol and their blithe shit-canning of arrested and convicted cannabis users as not-possibly-able-to-contribute-to-society. It is important to remember that such people are liars, who have supported societally harmful lies for nearly a century.

The comments by police chief of Portland Maine, Michael Sauschuck (an appointed by the mayor public service position in that city, which voted overwhelmingly to allow adults to consume cannabis for recreational purposes earlier this week) exemplify the predictable but tragic ‘sore loser’ mindset of these prohibitionists who are facing their own extinction. Sauschuck stipulated that his police force will not take into consideration the will of the electorate, you know, as in American Democracy, but will rather continue to arrest Portlanders who, following the local laws, choose to use cannabis recreationally.

Sauschuck personally wants to make sure that Portland residents who carefully follow the recently enacted law and possess 2.5 ounces of legal in Portland cannabis for personal consumption but who are arrested by his coppers will be fined between $350 and $1000 and given an arrest record. And, Sauschuk wants everyone to know that he ensures that, should his patrolmen decide to consider that the Portland residents who are arrested because they are in possession of legal in Portland cannabis may have thought of selling the substance, well then that criminal will be charged criminally and face possible jail time and a lifetime of being an ex-con. That is brave Sauschuck’s threat, and he wants you to know it. He assures that the only reason for his harsh application of laws that the electorate of the city he was hired by just days ago rejected out of hand, is because of his respect for the law, the state law that outlaws the use of cannabis. That is the only reason that Sauschuck will forever damage the unlucky college kid’s life. It is, after all, his duty.

There is an alternative, as in Michigan, where cannabis use by adults was legalized in 3 cities (Lansing, Ferndale and Jackson) and where local police have advised the people who they protect that they will honor the “will of the people” and cease arresting cannabis users (and instead use their resources to protect the citizens of their towns from actual crime).

Sauschuck, who was appointed as Portland Police Chief in 2012, was lauded by city councilman Vern Malloch, who said that the city council “couldn’t have made a better choice” upon Sauschuck’s appointment because he’s “fair, he’s compassionate, and he has the utmost respect of everyone inside the Police Department” and because he said he would not speak ill of his fellow police officers. All of which, I suppose, would make Sauschuck a fine work peer. But his job as the police chief is actually to be “fair,” “compassionate” and “have the utmost respect for” the citizens of Portland-not members of its police force.

Another of the confused as to who he is supposed to serve&protect copper Sauschuck’s credentials that propelled him to his position from which he commands that he will simply disregard the will of the people of the fair city of Portland, was his receipt of the Enrique Camarena Memorial Award from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. This award, according to the MDEA, is granted to a “unit or individual that through outstanding effort continued the battle for which Special Agent Camarena gave his life” – that being “trying to protect his fellow citizens from the too often violent and seedy world of narcotics”.

Now, I don’t want to throw a wet blanket on award winners and the ‘awards’ that they are given- but I have to stipulate that cannabis users are not violent, that is a simple fact. They don’t steal things to support their usage (as opposed to addiction) – and, by the way, cannabis is not addictive (well, less so than caffeine). Prohibition is the cause of violence, not cannabis. And, I just have to point out that the award giver’s description of the “violent and seedy world of narcotics” to describe cannabis users in the United States is fanciful at best if not sleazily bigoted on its face. I suspect that our dry doper presidents would likely have their Secret Service goons tackle and arrest a MDEA member if they had walked up to Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama and called them violent and seedy…although if I had the chance I would probably choose “violent” as one of my personal descriptors for these narcissistic war criminal baby killing machines.

I rather think that, as with many well paid and high status promoters of cannabis prohibition in both politics and law enforcement, Sauschuck and other low level drug warriors really don’t give a shit that their entire structure of bullshit science, lies of omission, misrepresentation and conflation and hair-on-fire scare tactics have led to 80 years of prison sentences, ended careers, lost opportunities, broken families and unimaginable pain from disease suffered by Americans from Maine to Hawaii. They are concerned for only their careers and their personal wealth and status in the world of law enforcement tough-guy high school hippy hazers. Oh so dangerous…

But, it is really unfair (and fairly simple) to castigate this low-level city cop drug warrior for failing to recognize his personal role in the world-wide conspiracy of rich private prison contractors, drug manufacturers and tobacco and alcohol sellers, scheming political hacks (see the list from above of our dry doper presidents) and the whole peanut gallery of cultural custodians and finger wagging teachers and clerics – when we all know (including the small minded and wrong-headed Sauschuck himself) that local enforcers of the drug war are simply low level pawns. And, as it is, these local tin-pot dictators’ days are numbered.

The Barney Fifes and the real owners of the ‘drug war’ and its profits reaped both in trillions of black-market cash and electoral successes over the careers of drug warring pols still have the capacity to do great harm while cannabis is legalized in the US, and this is only more harm on top of the years of harm. When cannabis legalization comes to the USA it must include broad amnesty for the arrested and convicted, or we will not have truly “freed the green”.

national

Sabet slays science with propagandists’ sabre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and further;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In 2006, Robert Gable reported in Scientific American Magazine;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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will it be modern madness or reefer madness?

Half Ounce of Pot Gets Louisiana Man Twenty Years in Prison

Man sentenced to 3 years for cannabis plea

California dispensary owner sentenced to 22 years in federal prison

Marijuana dispensary operator Aaron Sandusky sentenced to 10 years

Hennepin County sheriff: Lax marijuana enforcement is bad

For the record, for what it’s worth, and while every (generally assumed to be well intentioned, but still demonstrably) ill-informed, under-informed or outright propagandized ‘stake holder’ is chiming in about how to legalize cannabis, or not legalize as the case may be, we here at mLaw think it is part of our civic duty to express our very real concern, founded as it is upon significant anecdotal experience and ceaseless empirical study, regarding what is, to our minds, perhaps the most frightening and destructive (frightening and destructive to average American families, institutions of higher learning and the halls of power in the US) aspect of a typical American cannabis user’s outlook and mindset that, should cannabis be legalized in the US, could weave its way into the fabric of the American psyche.

As the debate churns on in the US about how to move beyond the prohibition of cannabis it is mostly being carried out by;

• ashamed dry-dopers who are as concerned today about burnishing their “legacies” as they were years ago about ensuring that all of the “choom” was consumed by employing the technique of “total absorbsion”,

• interested private parties who have made scads of booty while cannabis has been illegal (from private prison builders to pharmaceutical manufacturers and liquor distillers),

• propagandized daddies and mommies who fear for their toddlers who someday may choose to put a buzz on and consequently find themselves at ‘rock bottom’ (after taking a frightening and uncontrolled death ride on the devil’s own highway) being elected president of the United States (see the horrific life stories of Ronald Reagan, Bill/and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, for examples), and,

• members of our respected federal, state and local law enforcement establishment (who worked together to arrest more than 800,000 Americans for drug possession in 2011 and 749,825 last year, with 87 percent being cannabis possessors, and during the same time period arrested just over 500,000 Americans for violent crimes – 4.2 percent of all arrests, compared to drug arrests which comprise 12.7 of all arrests in 2012) who just love throwing scary and dangerous college kids into jail, ruining their lives forever with a criminal record, because they look so good in their body armor and mirrored aviator sunglasses.

While any sentient being can see that the debate is hopelessly tilted toward ill-conceived and dangerous support for maintaining federal prohibition by these highly vested parties, we have to remember the deep and ever metastasizing psychological and philosophical toll exacted on our country’s body politic when our citizens choose to use cannabis. Because of this, the editors of mLaw want to go on record to state our belief that:

The use of cannabis by otherwise law abiding, thoughtful, intelligent, productive US citizens is in fact a threat to our current society in general and modern America in particular…

As any American cannabis user knows, cannabis is safer than both tobacco and alcohol (the two most frequently used drugs in America). In fact, very recently the director of Australia’s government office for Alcohol Policy Research, Professor Robin Room, called for legalizing cannabis (in part) so that heavy drinkers could temper their intake of debilitating alcohol with cannabis in an effort to reduce the alarming rate of alcohol related violence and injury in Australia.

And, although cannabis’ relative safety as a recreationally used substance is not the only concept that an American cannabis user is confronted with upon ingesting this “useful substance” (term coined by writer Thomas Pynchon), this fact does dovetail into our awareness at mLaw of what we view as the most dangerous quality of cannabis: this being, that cannabis users become aware through their personal usage of the substance that they have been surrounded by both liars and cultural custodian know-nothings for their entire lives, which is a paradigm shifting danger that threatens lying and bullying law enforcers, legislators, clergy, educators, health professionals, business owners, media kingpins and parents across this great land.

To be quite clear, it is the awareness of the boldfaced and agreed upon hypocrisy that underpins our nation’s prohibition of cannabis that is in itself paradigm shifting. Of course, appreciating this hypocrisy stoned can be of interest and worthy of speculation about its ramifications, but it ain’t necessary to be high to appreciate the gross hypocrisy and the conscious choices made by those who cooperate with prohibition (as referenced above) that are required to continue the despicable and amoral charade.

Cannabis users come to be aware that this confederacy of liars and know-nothings has conspired to propagandize lies, censor and thwart scientific study, dehumanize, economically shun and imprison entire sectors of our society inhabited by millions of citizens, blithely determining that these Americans cannot take part in building and advancing our country and civilization (no matter what skills, energies or ideas they have that we will lose).

In short, cannabis users very quickly realize that (with respect to cannabis) the law is a lie, politicians are lairs, and there is a massive and broad based conspiracy to hold up these insane and socially debilitating laws and demonize and cast out anyone who does not take up defending the indefensible and the destructive.

How does this awareness threaten the superstructures of power in America and place the “American Way of Life” under a seismic and existential threat?

Well, we have been told by our president, for example, that banking felons “broke no laws” (a nonsensical mashing of words that simply does not comport with reality as it is apprehended by most Americans), we have been told by our leaders, the military, weapons manufacturers and our ‘friends in the middle east’ that it is a humanitarian act to blow the pancakes out of little children whose leaders we want to overthrow. We have been advised that “no one is listening to your telephone calls”. We have been told that having defined pension benefits, being members of a union and sending our children to public schools is treasonous to the free market and basically un-American. We have been told that killing hundreds of thousands and displacing millions of poor people in countries we have invaded will promote small-d democracy. We have been told that health care is not a human right – but owning an insurance company is a right that must be protected by our nation’s laws. We have been told that we have free and fair elections. We have told that we are accorded the right of ‘due process’ under our constitution. We are told that patriots and good people don’t give weapons to terrorists. We are led to believe that there is upward social mobility in America’s class system. We are told that we have the best schools and healthcare. We are led to believe that giving trillions in tax payer dollars to the private owners of private businesses with absolutely no strings attached (except for the proviso that no banker will go to jail) will spur economic growth for the poor in America. We have been advised that protest, the kind of spirited civic engagement that led to us declaring ourselves “free” people as we broke from the UK in a revolution, has to be clamped down on and rendered illegal under federal laws.

A cannabis user in America knows one thing is sure – that the system of politics and law enforcement lies about who (and for what reason) it is doing its protecting; and who (and for what reason) will be ignored, imprisoned, abandoned, trampled upon and dictated to. A substance that clarifies in the minds of users that the American government is a lying, rich person protecting racket that disregards science and morality in service of protecting the wealth of the already wealthy and perpetuating biggoted stereotypes is a very dangerous commodity indeed in modern America.

Most cannabis users I know really think that they are good Americans and they understand their relationship to the law, society and law enforcement. But, growing up during wartime (the American drug war) with all of its fakery, bigotry, lying and all of the lives ruined; although they are often reminded of all the goodness in our country (so much goodness that we coined the term “American exceptionalism” that was used very recently by President Obama) they also are keenly aware of what GWBush mis-said; “fool me once…won’t get fooled again.”

Therefore, to reiterate, the editors of mLaw believe that:
The use of cannabis by otherwise law abiding, thoughtful, intelligent, productive US citizens is in fact a threat to our current society in general and modern America in particular, and cannabis should therefore be immediately legalized at the federal level.

national

Obama tells the truth, Obama re-tells the lie

Following the punch-a-hippy&sick-person scheme that has worked so well for President Obama, the White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest, responding to a reporter’s question, stated on August 21, apparently reading from a prepared text, that the president will not reschedule the substance cannabis for medical or recreational use, even suggesting that Obama will not even consider rescheduling to allow for medical research of the curative and pain management potential of the promising natural medicine. And that’s the truth.

Obama’s spokesperson then segued serpentine-like into the established position of the administration, that “the president and the administration believe that targeting individual marijuana users, especially those with serious illnesses and their caregivers, is not the best allocation for federal law enforcement resources.” A statement that, on it’s face is difficult to assail as it suggests the Obama team has endeavored to formulate a cogent, mature, reasoned, aware, progressive and public safety conscious program to acknowledge our ill brethren and protect our children. And that’s the lie.

The administration’s continued attacks on the systems of dispensing medical cannabis reveal Obama’s dishonesty and dis-compassion. One has only to scan recent headlines to understand that our leaders are cynically deploying talking points, memes that infer compassion for the sick, as they continue a pogrom of intimidation and aggressive enforcement actions against the very pharmacies that are allowed by state law to provide medicine to “those with serious illnesses and their caregivers”.

Earlier this year, President Obama released his administration’s revamped compassion forward new think war on drugs program (reported here by mLaw). In it’s justification to thwart the onrush of medical progress and quash the nascent small d democratic movement afoot in the US to legalize recreational use of cannabis by adults, the president’s appointees equated cannabis to the drugs heroin and ‘crack’ cocaine. The administration says that it truly believes that there are “addictive” properties to the natural substance cannabis. Because of this, and (of course) for the protection of our children, cannabis has therefore to be dealt with in the same fashion as heroin, cocaine and meth. It’s all about public safety, don’t you know.

Additionally, we as concerned Americans, can’t possibly want criminals to hijack the system of cannabis pharmacies (the administration warns) to traffic cannabis to states that have not yet legalized cannabis for medicinal relief. With this reasoning, the Drug Enforcement Administration, a federal agency under the office of the president, raided the People’s Choice Alternative Medicine pharmacy in Ann Arbor MI on Tuesday August 20. The DEA raided Los Angeles’ oldest cannabis pharmacy on August 8 (cannabis has been legal for medical relief in California for more than ten years). In late July, the DEA raided three cannabis pharmacies in Washington state. All of this follows the May 2013 US Department of Justice coordinated action threatening over 100 cannabis pharmacies in Long Beach, CA and Los Angeles county with up to 40 year jail sentences if the did not close their doors immediately.

Obama’s spokesperson ended the questioning about the future for sick Americans who want to be able to use the medical substance for pain relief by saying that he was, “not really sure what steps are required or what changes could be implemented into the law to have an impact on marijuana research,” adding an attempted joke “this is going to draw me all kinds of traffic on twitter…I’m predicting that now, and maybe I’ll have an update for you later.”

Well, moments before Mr. Earnest stated quite plainly and in apparent earnestness that the administration has concern for “individual marijuana users, especially those with serious illnesses and their caregivers.” One would think that after five years on the job they may have given some consideration to the state of cannabis research in the US and its relationship to the prolonged prohibition of the medically useful substance, you know, in an act of compassion for our sick neighbors.

As it stands today, Obama is happy to continue the cynical self-imposed standoff catch-22 that criminalizes research into the medically beneficial qualities of cannabis; because cannabis is said by politicians and law enforcers to have no medical benefits, researchers cannot procure the drug legally to perform the research that will establish that the politicians and law enforcers are wrong in their assertions. Obama’s continuation of this obvious to all double talk on cannabis research signifies the extent to which the administration desires to help sick Americans.

I live in a country that says it is compassionate and caring for those who are struggling with terminal disease, with debilitating conditions for which there is no cure. I live in a country whose president’s spokesperson replied to a question about our country’s intentional embargo on the medical research of cannabis with a sophomoric joke about twitter retribution.

Obama plays a lot of these semantic games: “no laws were broken”, with respect to the banking criminals, “look forward not back”, with respect to war criminals, “nobody’s listening to your phone calls” with respect to warrantless surveillance of Americans. And most often our courageous White House press corps snicker along with his spokespersons because they are all ‘in on the joke’.

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cannabis medicine links : 05.16.2013

Study claims marijuana tied to lower bladder cancer risk : USA Today

Active Ingredient in Marijuana Kills Brain Cancer Cells: ABC News

Federal Government Reports Marijuana Effective in Combatting Certain Cancers Reports ADSI : NBC News

Researchers Say Compound in Cannabis Plant Could Cure Cancer : KION TV/ABC News


Smoking Marijuana Causes ‘Complete Remission’ of Crohn’s Disease, No Side Effects, New Study Shows
: San Francisco Chronicle

Colombia’s capital banks on marijuana cure for hard drug addicts : Miami Herald

You could be lighting up a fat-ass sticky-icky cure for HIV, dude : MSNBC News

Study: Why Pot Smokers Are Skinnier : the Atlantic

Feds threaten medical pot dispensaries with 40-year sentences : Salon

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cannabis legalization links : 04.12.2013

Vermont House backs marijuana decriminalization : Burlington Free Press

Marijuana legalization group replaces vandalized pro-pot billboard in downtown Portland : The Oregonian

Majority Now Supports Legalizing Marijuana : Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

Marijuana Research Funding Cut as Support for Drug Grows : Bloomberg

Legal marijuana draws crowds to US states : Irish Examiner

New in Congress: A marijuana states’ bill of rights : Seattle Post Intelligencer

As Marijuana Goes Legit, Investors Rush In : Sci-Tech today

Pennsylvania Marijuana Legalization Bill Formally Introduced : the Daily Tribune

Alabama, Pennsylvania Marijuana Legalization Bills Introduced : the Daily Chronic

national

holder’s hackery holds little hope for an
honest hearing on hemp

The recent Senate hearings about President Obama’s declared authority to excecute Americans with no trial, charges, lawyer, ability to question witnesses, ability to be informed of evidence (otherwise known as ‘due process’) where Attorney General Eric Holder was questioned were revealing as the Justice Department winds down its ‘review’ of the ballot initiatives in CO and WA that legalized cannabis for recreational use by adults.

The style of legal pettifoggery deployed by Holder throughout the entire drone-American-style debate that ended in spectacular fashion when libertarian senator Rand Paul and a group of brave but clearly marginalized senators filibustered against the a-constitutional notion that a president can assassinate Americans in the US (or anywhere) with no judge,  jury or charges is what anyone paying attention over the past four years would expect. 

When Holder’s reasoning was not specious it was circular. Most frighteningly Holder’s entire defense of the program took as a predicate that America is in lock-down mode because it is in a permanent war state where citizen’s rights are, you know, necessarily suspended for the duration.  Though slimy and lowbrow, the message was clear – Eric Holder advises the President with supreme, one may even say god-like confidence that the US President has a legal right to blow the pancakes out of you and me at any moment, for safety reasons.  We have previously seen Holder arguing in this style.  An example that can’t go unmentioned was his comments last March in Chicago where he asserted that due process was not judicial process; see v2 at the demise for a take on that statement that is informed by recent history. 

This wacky word-play as constitutional analysis has been seen throughout what little the Obama administration has revealed of it’s legal justifications for abrogating provisions of the US Constitution.  The DOJ’s neo-Orwellian re-defining of the word imminance in it’s leaked drone white paper is an example. When both Holder and his former chief of criminal prosecutions Lanny Breuer argued many times that banking criminals deserve to be treated differently than you and me under the law and when the DOJ judged Aaron Schwartz’s actions as terrorism, Holder is helping his boss justify any action, inaction or Constitutional infraction so the president can do as he pleases. 

And I have to point out, for chain-of-command challenged Democrats, progressives and other critics of George W. Bush who are weirdly mum on our current commander in chief: Holder is an employee of Barack Obama, not some sort of free wheeling individualist forming policy in Washington DC.

As Americans look toward the Obama administration’s forthcoming legal analysis of the people supported, ‘small D democratic’, ‘We the People’ rejection of law enforcement’s and private capital’s bigoted and destructive ‘drug war’ in the popular rejection of the prohibition of cannabis, we should remember that in the current Obama government, as  in previous administrations over the past 50 years both Democratic and Republican, what comes first in America is the political and the commercial, not the will of the people.

While this Democratic administration’s efforts to normalize the anti-democratic and anti-free society pronouncements and actions of the previous Republican power holders are most troublesome and far reaching when they normalize extrajudicial extermination, torture and total surveillance, we have seen its pandering to private business owners almost as much as its pandering to the unaccountable national security state.  Whether it is easing environmental standards for oil exploration and environmental degradation or deeming banking felons to be above the law and granting these private parties trillions of tax payer dollars to prop up their ‘businesses’, commerce always comes before the will of the people in Obama’s world.  And the legalization of cannabis for either medical or recreational use is fundamentally violative of that which Barack Obama has decided in his life to protect at all costs.  It is not the moral (medical marijuana), or the logical (the harms associated with cannabis juxtaposed against those of legal tobacco and alcohol), nor the fair (with hundreds of thousands of otherwise productive Americans languishing in jail) – but rather it is where ‘commerce’ and ‘public safety’ intersect as politics, what used to be known as fascism.

So now we are being softened up by former DOJ drug warriors who are bought off by industrialists and are being chicken-littled by international ‘enforcement’ entities about the defilement of ‘treaties’ that were written within the thinly veiled racist and population subordinating constructs of cannabis prohibitionism, being primed for the preordained proclamation of Obama’s DOJ: that the will of the people must be bridled for the sake of ‘international obligations’.  The pettifogger Holder, on this one, will seek refuge for his justifying Obama’s predetermination by squealing his solemn ‘adherance to international law’.

The editors of mLaw ask readers to consider Palestine, Kyoto, torture and rendition, black-site prisons, imperial wars, the threat of death from the skies…sacrosanct treaties indeed.  It is you and me, friends, who are being ‘convinced’ by this high school level rhetoric and disingenuous gum-flappery, and it is us who will pay the price for our inaction in the face of this neo-fascist policy framing.  As Sinclair Lewis noted, self-deluded Americans are fond of incanting, “It can’t happen here”.

It ain’t hard to figure what Obama is going to do regarding acknowledging the will of the people, honest and thoughtful American adults, with respect to legalizing the use of cannabis.  All one has to do is simply consider the compassionate, the rational, the just, the intelligent, the safe, the science supported, the popularly supported, the equality uplifting, the violence stemming, the patient saving, the public coffer enriching,  the just plain right and correct alternative…and Obama will do the mirror opposite.

Its not about the suffering of the afflicted, its not about the wasted future of those unfairly prosecuted, its not about the will of the people, its not about free market capitalism, its not about saving public works and the social safety net, its about one thing – the reason America exists in the mind of our current corporate sycophant and careerist narcissist: its all about the burnished legacy of an amoral former user.

Hail to the chief.