RSSCategory: Drug laws

A list of evidence justifying the #Occupy movement

November 4, 2011 | By | 5 Replies More
A list of evidence justifying the #Occupy movement

Consider the joy shown by Americans celebrating the Fourth of July.

If the Fourth is such a happy time, shouldn’t we now be equally furious that the government has been rigged to ignore the needs and wants of the People? Over the past few years, I’ve heard dozens of educated middle class Americans admit that Congress has ben bought―federal corruption at the highest levels is now accepted as unquestionable truth.

More recently, I’ve run into more than a few people who have become frustrated with the Occupy movement. For instance, last week I heard this from an acquaintance, who was speaking of the protesters:

Acquaintance: “They should get a job.  What the hell are they expecting to accomplish out there?”

Me:  Isn’t it a huge problem that all three branches of our federal government make decisions to accommodate large corporations, often ignoring the needs of ordinary citizens? Isn’t that worth protesting.

Acquaintance: “Still, the protesters are stupid.”

Me: What is your solution?   Ordinary people are barred from participating in a government that is supposedly to be run by ordinary people. Further, the news media is largely under the control of these same interests―they are too often serving as stenographers for the corporations that pull the strings of the federal Government.
[Fourth of July flag photo]

Acquaintance: [Silence].

Along the same lines, here’s an excerpt from an email I recently received from a DI reader:

About your note regarding ways to support the Occupy movement… yes, you are right to encourage people to talk about what is going on, but don’t you think that it is time for those who are actually doing the “occupying” to go home and do their homework.  It seems pretty apparent that it is mostly the late teen to early 20 year olds that are involved and that they don’t seem to have any really intelligent, well thought out ideas or goals.  The media and general public are already bored with the story, and the whole thing will have been an exercise in futility unless they move on in a dignified way.  Their goal should be to have an effect on the 2012 election which is a full year away.  They should go home and get organized and become better informed in order to form a voting block that will further their agenda (that is if they can come to a consensus as to what that agenda is).

In short, this reader wants the Occupiers to return home to do the same thing that millions of people have been doing for the past decade, i.e., doing nothing likely to invoke change.

[More . . . ]

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LEAP once again points out the insanity of the “war on drugs”

October 30, 2011 | By | 15 Replies More
LEAP once again points out the insanity of the “war on drugs”

The following information is from a mass emailing I was recently sent by LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition):

Late Friday night the White House issued a typical evasive rejection of the several marijuana legalization petitions that collected more signatures than any other issue on its “We the People” website. Even though recent polls show that more voters support marijuana legalization than approve of President Obama’s job performance, the White House categorically dismissed the notion of reforming any laws, focusing its response on the possible harms of marijuana use instead of addressing the many harms of prohibition detailed in the petitions.

One of the popular petitions, submitted by retired Baltimore narcotics cop Neill Franklin, called on the Obama administration to simply stop interfering with states’ efforts to set their own marijuana laws.

It’s maddening that the administration wants to continue failed prohibition polices that do nothing to reduce drug use and succeed only in funneling billions of dollars into the pockets of the cartels and gangs that control the illegal market,” said Franklin, who serves as executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of cops, judges and prosecutors who support legalizing and regulating drugs. “If the president and his advisers think they’re being politically savvy by shying away from much-needed change to our drug policies, they’re wrong. The recent Gallup poll shows that more Americans support legalizing marijuana than support continuing prohibition, so the administration is clearly out of step with the people it claims to represent. President Obama needs to remember his campaign pledge not to waste scarce resources interfering with state marijuana laws and his earlier statement about the ‘utter failure’ of the drug war.

United States spends $52 Billion every year attempting to enforce prohibition, a demonstrably futile endeavor. From a recent article in Esquire Magazine, we get to know the “War on Drugs” by the numbers: “15,223 dead and $52.3 billion spent each year.”  Don’t believe the White House numbers that claim we’re spending more on treatment than law enforcement–those are cooked numbers, and they are shot down by the numbers in the Esquire article. Therefore, the “war on drugs” is, indeed a matter of good versus evil, but not in the way the federal government preaches.  Ken Burns’ recent documentary, “Prohibition,” shines a bright light on every mistake we are now making regarding street drugs. I’ll conclude with a quote by Albert Einstein:  “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

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Nothing better to do with tax dollars than put drug-users in prison

October 9, 2011 | By | 4 Replies More
Nothing better to do with tax dollars than put drug-users in prison

I’m still stunned that President Obama has decided to crank up the federal drug war by clamping down on medical marijuana dispensaries. This has been yet another political about-face by Barack Obama. Don’t we have anything better to do with our tax dollars and energies than to throw people in prison for using a substance that makes them feel good, where that substance is far less dangerous than alcohol? And keep in mind that there are legally available pharmaceuticals that have comparable effects on one’s psyche, available only if the user is wealthy enough to afford the doctor appointment and the pharmaceutical.

But wait . . . the stories is even worse. As reported by Glenn Greenwald, there is is evidence to counter-balance the idea that currently illegal drugs are always destructive:

[T]he deceit at the heart of America’s barbaric drug policy — that these substances are such unadulterated evils that adults should be put in cages for voluntarily using them — is more glaring than ever. In light of his comments about LSD, it’s rather difficult to reconcile America’s adoration for Steve Jobs with its ongoing obsession with prosecuting and imprisoning millions of citizens (mostly poor and minorities) for doing what Jobs, Obama, George W. Bush, Michael Phelps and millions of others have done. Obviously, most of these banned substances — like alcohol, gambling, sex, junk food consumption, prescription drug use and a litany of other legal activities — can create harm to the individual and to others when abused (though America’s solution for drug users — prison — also creates rather substantial harm to the drug user and to others, including their spouses, parents and children: at least as much harm as, and usually substantially more than, the banned drugs themselves). But no rational person can doubt that these substances can also be used responsibly and constructively; just study Steve Jobs’ life if you doubt that. Jobs’ praise for his LSD use is what I kept returning to as I read about the Obama DOJ’s heinous new policy to use the full force of criminal prosecutions against medical marijuana dispensaries in California.

In the meantime, do you know how your local law enforcement officers are spending most of their time?

To make it clear: I’m not advocating drug use. I’m stating facts that make it undeniable that the “war on drugs” is much more dangerous to all of us than the use of those drugs.

There’s a drug-related arrest in the U.S. every 19 seconds. Consider, also, that 45 people are massacred in the U.S. every day thanks to our “drug war,” and that it is this “war” that causes the violence.  This is a war that has failed at every one of its announced objectives.  Many of our law enforcement officer have declared the “war on drugs” to be an immoral war.  Consider this conservative judge’s harsh words toward the “Drug War.”  The most harmful thing about marijuana, according to Judge John Gray, is jail.  Here’s why:  the “war on drugs” by the numbers.  It’s time to take a deep breath and get over America’s obsession with imprisoning otherwise law-abiding citizens for partaking of a relatively harmless drug.

What the hell is wrong with us?

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LEAP points to new FBI report: A drug-related arrest every 19 seconds

September 19, 2011 | By | 3 Replies More
LEAP points to new FBI report: A drug-related arrest every 19 seconds

LEAP included me on a mass emailing that contains some stunning statistics:

New FBI Numbers Reveal Failure of “War on Drugs”

A new FBI report released today shows that there is a drug arrest every 19 seconds in the U.S. A group of police and judges who have been campaigning to legalize and regulate drugs pointed to the figures showing more than 1.6 million drug arrests in 2010 as evidence that the “war on drugs” is a failure that can never be won.

“Since the declaration of the ‘war on drugs’ 40 years ago we’ve arrested tens of millions of people in an effort to reduce drug use. The fact that cops had to spend time arresting another 1.6 million of our fellow citizens last year shows that it simply hasn’t worked. In the current economy we simply cannot afford to keep arresting three people every minute in the failed ‘war on drugs,'” said Neill Franklin, a retired Baltimore narcotics cop who now heads the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). “If we legalized and taxed drugs, we could not only create new revenue in addition to the money we’d save from ending the cruel policy of arresting users, but we’d make society safer by bankrupting the cartels and gangs who control the currently illegal marketplace.”

Today’s FBI report, which can be found at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010, shows that 81.9 percent of all drug arrests in 2010 were for possession only, and 45.8 percent of all drug arrests were for possession of marijuana.

A separate Department of Justice report released last month shows that Mexican drug cartels are currently operating in more than 1,000 U.S. cities, whereas two years ago they were in 230 U.S. cities. Meanwhile, a new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report released earlier this month shows that nearly one in 10 Americans admit to regularly using illegal drugs.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA agents and others who want to legalize and regulate drugs after fighting on the front lines of the “war on drugs” and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. More info at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com.

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Law Enforcement Officers point out Barack Obama’s hypocrisy regarding the war on drugs

September 14, 2011 | By | 1 Reply More
Law Enforcement Officers point out Barack Obama’s hypocrisy regarding the war on drugs

You’ve got to give a lot of credit to the people at LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition). This organization consists of law enforcement officers who have come to the stark realization that the “war on drugs” is more destructive than the drugs themselves.  That means that the law enforcement officers now agree with 76% of Americans who “have come to realize that the war on drugs is a failure” (Zogby International (October 2008)).  How many law enforcement officers agree that the war on drugs is a failure?

LEAP is made up of current and former police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA agents, corrections officials, military officers and others who fought on the front lines of the “war on drugs” and who know firsthand that prohibition only worsens drug addiction and illicit drug market violence. Including our civilian supporters, LEAP represents more than 40,000 people in more than 80 countries.

LEAP has now released a short brochure titled “Ending the Drug War: a Dream Deferred.” The focus is the hypocrisy of Barack Obama. Consider this comparison of how the war on drugs was treated by the man who started it, Richard Nixon, with the way it is being treated by Barack Obama (the following quote is from LEAP’s “Ending the Drug War”):

While the Nixon administration’s public messaging carefully stressed punishment, it directed resources primarily toward public health. Today, the Obama administration’s press releases emphasize public health while its funding requests are actually weighted toward punishment.

The LEAP report quite reasonably insists that actions speak louder than words, and follows the budget dollars Mr. Obama has allocated toward the use of illegal drugs versus the number of dollars used for treatment and counseling. When one considers these numbers, one can see that the Obama administration is putting a high priority on punishment, and deemphasizing treatment. When one follows the same budget dollars, one can also see that the United States is pouring gasoline on the drug war fire in Mexico:

One of the ugliest signs of the failure of the war on drugs is the wildly escalating rate of illegal drug trade murders in Mexico. Since Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against drug cartels shortly after taking office in late 2006, nearly 40,000 people have been killed in attacks that the media calls “drug violence,” but which are in fact the predictable turf battles that accompany the policy of prohibition. The tally of dead of course includes cartel members themselves, but an alarming number of the fallen are police officers and civilian bystanders as well as some U.S. citizens.

(See page 9 of LEAP’s well-documented report).  40,000 dead people is a lot of blood on the streets to “protect” Americans from drugs that they want to use at a time when most illegal drugs have legal equivalent available with a prescription through your local drugstore (and see here), or available without a prescription at your local tavern.

The source of the hypocrisy of Barack Obama is his admission that criminally prosecuting illegal drug users is not effective and his complementary admission that he thinks of drugs as “more of a public health problem.”

OK, Mr. President.  If you feel that way, why have you acted the opposite? Instead of calling it “the war on drugs,” it’s time to call it what it is: Prohibition. And prohibition has been proven to not work.

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How do the police occupy most of their time?

August 5, 2011 | By | Reply More
How do the police occupy most of their time?

NORML asks where your police officers are, and the answer is revealing:

A local St. Louis judge recently told one of my co-workers that prosecutors are finding it almost impossible to convict someone for mere possession of marijuana.   The people are apparently speaking, in the form of jury nullification.   Perhaps they too think that their limited numbers of police officers should be focusing on violent crimes and other serious crimes such as burglary.

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Forty-five people were massacred in the United States yesterday

July 24, 2011 | By | 18 Replies More
Forty-five people were massacred in the United States yesterday

Forty-five people were murdered in the United States yesterday (16,591 homicides for the year 2009). And another forty-five will be murdered tomorrow. And another forty-five every day of the year and next year and next year.

What happened in Norway was terrible. A Christian extremist named Anders Breivik killed 91 people.* It was clearly a massacre. Here in the United States, we have a massacre the size of Norway’s every other day, but we don’t call it a “massacre” because the killings aren’t as geographically clustered–but then again, many of them are clustered in the inner cities of America. And if we don’t call it a “massacre,” we don’t feel as compelled to do something to stop the killings.   Something simple like  calling off the “war on drugs.”

For anyone who objects that I’ve called the Norwegian killer a “Christian,” I’m willing to make a deal. Next time a Muslim inflicts violence in America, will you agree that you won’t describe him as a Muslim when you describe his conduct?  That would avoid a double-standard. Deal?

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Obama to continue vigorous prosecution of marijuana users

July 17, 2011 | By | 1 Reply More
Obama to continue vigorous prosecution of marijuana users

LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) is disappointed that Barack Obama has reneged on his promise to turn over the enforcement of marijuana regulation to the states. Here’s the first paragraph of an email I received from LEAP today:

Previously, the Obama administration wanted the public to believe that they were going to respect how states decided to handle medical marijuana legalization and regulation. But a new memo released to the public today confirms that this president is simply continuing the harassment and interference policies of the Bush administration when it comes to actually providing patients with their doctor-recommended medicine.

Here’s the evidence that Barack Obama seeks only more wasteful and destructive prohibition.  As you can see, there is no sharp line protecting those who are using marijuana at the recommendation of their doctors.   Why not?

What are alternatives to prohibition? Travel Guru Rick Steves has become outspoken on this issue. Here’s his general philosophy:

Like my European friends, I believe we can adopt a pragmatic policy toward both marijuana and hard drugs, with a focus on harm reduction and public health, rather than tough-talking but counterproductive criminalization. The time has come to have an honest discussion about our drug laws and their effectiveness. When it comes to drug policy, you can be soft, hard…or smart.

I whole-heartedly agree with Rick Steves, and I admire him for taking this forthright stand, even when taking this could lose him some customers and fans.  Speaking of fans, I recently met two brave souls pushing for medical marijuana in front of Busch Stadium, where thousands of fans get high on liver-threatening beer.   While I discussed medical marijuana with them, they were jeered and scorned by several fans.  They described cancer patients they knew who would like to use marijuana in Missouri, but were afraid that they’d be arrested and thrown in jail.  Folks with similar situations are described in this recent NYT piece.

Every year authorities arrest more than 750,000 people each year for possessing or using an extremely safe drug that many people find pleasurable and others use because it relieves them of pain. This is more than the entire population of South Dakota, and these users include many people you know and respect.  I mentioned LEAP at the top of this article. LEAP consists of law enforcement officers who have seen first-hand that prohibition fails. LEAP’s approach is this:

We believe that drug prohibition is the true cause of much of the social and personal damage that has historically been attributed to drug use. It is prohibition that makes marijuana worth more than gold, and heroin worth more than uranium – while giving criminals a monopoly over their supply. Driven by the huge profits from this monopoly, criminal gangs bribe and kill each other, law enforcers, and children. Their trade is unregulated and they are, therefore, beyond our control.

History has shown that drug prohibition reduces neither use nor abuse. After a rapist is arrested, there are fewer rapes. After a drug dealer is arrested, however, neither the supply nor the demand for drugs is seriously changed. The arrest merely creates a job opening for an endless stream of drug entrepreneurs who will take huge risks for the sake of the enormous profits created by prohibition. Prohibition costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars every year, yet 40 years and some 40 million arrests later, drugs are cheaper, more potent and far more widely used than at the beginning of this futile crusade.

We believe that by eliminating prohibition of all drugs for adults and establishing appropriate regulation and standards for distribution and use, law enforcement could focus more on crimes of violence, such as rape, aggravated assault, child abuse and murder, making our communities much safer. We believe that sending parents to prison for non-violent personal drug use destroys families. We believe that in a regulated and controlled environment, drugs will be safer for adult use and less accessible to our children. And we believe that by placing drug abuse in the hands of medical professionals instead of the criminal justice system, we will reduce rates of addiction and overdose deaths.

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Who is providing high powered weapons to Mexican drug cartels? The U.S. ATF

March 5, 2011 | By | Reply More
Who is providing high powered weapons to Mexican drug cartels?  The U.S. ATF

Here’s yet another incredible story. I listened carefully, but I still don’t get the motive. I’d like to see a few dozen subpoenas issued so that the American People and the Mexican People can get to the bottom of this idiocy.

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