Tag Archives: local government

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

New Hampshire Attorney General #JohnFosterAsshole

by Patrick Devlin

Many compassionate Americans now know of the struggle of Linda Horan, a victim of cancer who passed from this earth on February 2 who was a resident of the state of New Hampshire.

Ms. Horan’s story is a happy/sad tale that is really indicative of the America that we live in today- where selfish politicians from both parties are happy to turn a callously blind and narcissistic eye when confronted with a sick American who needs medicine, and yet proceed to call themselves public servants, moral humans and Christians.

Linda Horan, medical cannabis hero

In New Hampshire, it should be noted, the legislature has passed a law that allows sick citizens to buy cannabis medicine – but only after dispensaries have been established. The estimated opening date of New Hampshire dispensaries is April 2016. Unfortunately given Horan’s disease, doctors said waiting until April would surely be too long for the dying woman.

Ms. Horan sought the protection of the courts against the inhumane and self-serving political caculus that led to her being denied medicine to help her deal with her disease. Her simple request of New Hampshire courts was to be allowed to buy cannabis medicine in Maine, a progressive and compassionate state that allows its sick citizens to purchase cannabis medicine.

Yes, it’s true, Horan asked the courts of equity in New Hampshire to allow her to break both the state’s and the nation’s scientifically backward and destructive cannabis prohibitions.

Attorney General #JohnFosterAsshole, allegedly in service of protecting the citizens of New Hampshire, made the gruesome and discompassionate argument to the court that if the dying cancer patient got scientifically proven cannabis medicine to ease her pain, the citizens of New Hampshire would be harmed and placed in danger.

A human, Judge Richard McNamara, doing what judges do, i.e. making a decision based up the facts of the situation, ruled that the dying person in modern America should have the right to medicine. That is the happy part of the story – an American with the power to do something helped a woman who was suffering from a “painful, terminal disease” (as the good Judge McNamara wrote in his order).

#JohnFosterAsshole and loser, lost his argument, but, as with other self-promoting drug warriors, he did not lose his assholeness. #JohnFosterAsshole, proving he is an amoral asshole, appealed Judge McNamara’s ruling, seeking to make damn sure that a sick and dying woman would not get her medicine.

At that point, with Horan’s disease spreading and death drawing near, Ms. Horan’s attorney Paul Twomey chose not to reveal to his client that the government’s provision of cannabis compassion had been challenged by #JohnFosterAsshole.

“I didn’t want her to be worried having it in the press and by that time she was in hospice care,” Twomey told reporters recently.

The sad part of this real-life modern American tale? #JohnFosterAsshole has determined, even with the death of the plaintiff, even with the opening of legal medical cannabis dispensaries in the state within the next 60 days, the loser attorney general is going to continue with his appeal of Judge McNamara’s compassionate ruling…did I mention that the loser is an asshole?

#FrankFredericksAssistantAsshole a subordinate of #JohnFosterAsshole recently gave reporters his transparently specious reasoning for continuing the expensive time wasting appeal that will serve no citizen of the state’s interest: “We want clarification on the important points of law where New Hampshire residents can obtain cannabis,” Fredericks said.

Horan’s attorney pointed out the obvious, “This is absurd,” Twomey said. “There is no one to have a case with” with the death of Horan.

The decidedly duplicitous #FrankFredericksAssistantAsshole maintained that the state has an interest to discover whether New Hampshire’s medical cannabis law “authorizes a New Hampshire patient to obtain or possess cannabis from a source other than the alternative treatment center the patient designated when applying for a registry identification card with DHHS.”

Twomey (a good attorney who knows how the courts work – as opposed to a fake public servant who is trying to burnish his anti-cannabis credentials in hopes of running for congress, i.e. #JohnFosterAsshole) countered that the court ruled on only one issue – whether or not Horan should be issued a state cannabis medicine card, and the matter that #JohnFosterAsshole wants an answer to was not even at issue in the lawsuit.

Twomey further noted that the New Hampshire Attorney General can in fact request an opinion on the matter from the state legislature – the people who wrote the actual law. But, to do so would not give #JohnFosterAsshole the opportunity to grandstand, self-promote and basically be a craven and narcissistic political animal, as opposed to being an attorney for the people and human being.

Going a step further, Twomey reminded that the New Hampshire state Supreme Court cannot rule on whether New Hampshire citizens can obtain legal medical #cannabis in Maine, telling reporters, “This court doesn’t have any jurisdiction over Maine. It’s none of their business what Maine does.” #JohnFosterAsshole knows this too, he’s just an asshole.

As you may have noted, we here at mLaw are making an effort to promote and immortalize the self-serving drug war loser gambit of the Attorney General of the State of New Hampshire #JohnFosterAsshole by starting the internet meme #JohnFosterAsshole, and, as with all good memes, they have to be repeated to catch on.

So, we are seeking your help, dear reader, to take the time and tweet anything that comes to your mind after reading the happy/sad tale of Linda Horan and scuzzy attack on her well being that was initiated by #JohnFosterAsshole. Anything will qualify, for example, “Attorney General John Foster is a self-serving, war against cannabis losing, fake public servant who does not care about sick women, #JohnFosterAsshole”, or “Why does #JohnFosterAsshole want to withhold medicine from the sick?”, or “Do the people of New Hampshire want to be represented by #JohnFosterAsshole who is happy to let sick patients die without their medicine?”, or ” #JohnFosterAsshole is an immoral douchebag”‘ really anything that comes to your great mind will suffice.

Thanks for helping us do the people of the state of New Hampshire a favor, and remember #JohnFosterAsshole is an asshole.

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

The Inevitability of Democratic Dry-Doperism

by Patrick Devlin

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

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

“Be the change you want to see” – Gandhi

Well, it was inevitable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

national

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.

national

Coppers Ride the Cannabis Arrest Tide, Allow Criminals to Slide

by Patrick Devlin

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

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

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

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

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

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

national

Time to Reschedule, President Laughy-boy part 4

by Patrick Devlin

Nothing to see here – move along…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

national

Time to Reschedule, President Laughy-boy – part 3

by Patrick Devlin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

national

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

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

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

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

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

Hooray for the forward march of science.

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

Hooray for small “d” democracy.

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

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

Hooray for “evolving”.

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

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

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

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

Hooray for oligarchy.

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