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State-Federal cannabis sweep in Colorado illuminates the essential flaws of prohibition

2:25 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

The search warrant allowed the agents to seize “everything from pot plants and cash to financial records, safes and computer flash drives”.

cross posted at mLaw

This past week state and federal officials raided more than a dozen Colorado cannabis dispensaries and greenhouses and two homes. The agents, including officers from both the DEA and the IRS, had obtained warrants for 10 individuals connected with the raided properties. The Denver Post obtained a copy of the search warrant that allowed the agents to seize “everything from pot plants and cash to financial records, safes and computer flash drives”. No arrests were made during the sweep that took place over the course of several hours on Thursday.

An attorney for one of the individuals cited in the warrant, Laszlo Bagi the owner of Swiss Medical in Boulder, said that the agents seized $1 million worth of plants from his client’s facility and that the agents left no “instructions saying don’t replant. There was no court order of cease and desist. No explanation,” adding that his client adheres to Colorado’s state laws regarding cannabis sale and cultivation.

Also named in the warrant are Luis Uribe, Carlos Solano, Gerardo Uribe-Christancho, David Furtado, Juan Guardarrama, Carlos Solano-Bocanegro, Jared Bringhurst, Felix Perez, John Frank Esmeral and Joseph Tavares.

At the time of the raids on Thursday, which took place a short six weeks before the historic Colorado law legalizing the recreational use of cannabis by adults will allow the commercial sale of the substance for the first time in the nation, with no additional context, some cannabis advocates cautiously questioned the motives of DEA as reported in articles such as the Huffington Post’s report on the raids titled, “Colorado Medical Marijuana Raids Show Industry Still Risky“.

The Denver Post dug deeper and on Friday reported that the, “Colorado marijuana businesses raided this week by federal agents are being investigated for a possible connection to Colombian drug cartels,” and that the targets of the warrants have been “actively purchasing area dispensaries and grow warehouses over a sustained period of time.”

The Post reports that the raids were based upon allegations of “trafficking marijuana outside of states where it has been legalized, money laundering and providing revenue for criminal enterprises, including gangs and cartels.” One of the subjects of the search warrant, Juan Guardarrama, was recently convicted of racketeering in a case that involved Colombian and Cuban gangs in Miami selling diamonds stolen from gem dealers. During the investigation that resulted in his arrest, Guardarrama reportedly asked under cover agents to help him traffic legally grown Coloradan cannabis in Miami and “take out” a Coloradan business partner.

The state-federal action has been lauded by both supporters and critics of cannabis legalization. Law enforcement officials pointed out to the Post that the agents were doing their job, and Andy Williams, a Denver cannabis dispensary owner and a member of the local Medical Marijuana Industry Group confided, “I want the bad actors gone, quite honestly.”

The entire incident serves also to deftly exemplify the fatal flaws of cannabis prohibition, especially in the new world created by the citizens’ initiatives in both Washington and Colorado and where broad and sustained majorities of American adults approve of ending cannabis prohibition.

What we saw this week and what all parties agreed was the most appropriate course of action was, a daylight police raid with its attendant dangers, pulled off in several locations including at a home in a toney suburban subdivision (a mile from Denver Bronco quarterback Peyton Manning’s home). Where alleged international gang members’ properties and possessions were confiscated, although no arrests were made. Where the confiscated property belongs to individuals who had multiple business locations and, in the case of two of the suspects, had received approval to invest $6 million to build a cannabis grow house in Pueblo County to help boost to economic development. Where the legal product of other cannabis distributors was destroyed by state and federal officials (many distributors rent growing facilities that are shared by other distributors- as was the case in this raid). Where the crazy quilt of local townships’ desires to increase economic growth, local and state regulations covering everything from simple city licensing and state registration requirements to state and federal criminal statutes and as always with the inextinguishable human impulse to “maximize profits” (in a manner of speaking) in this world of commerce can, really, only lead to 26 year-old Columbian gang members buying $1.5 million homes in a suburb near you (should you live in one of the two visionary and courageous states that have legalized consumption of the benign and medically important natural and easy to grow substance, cannabis).

The director of the federal law enforcement program called the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Tom Gorman, told the Post “I have said it before and I’ll say it again — you cannot regulate this illegal industry. You can’t any time you talk about money and profits, and dealing with a customer base and selling product. There are too many loopholes, too many ways to get around it. You just can’t do it.”

Smedley Butler’s formulation interestingly holds true in this “war on drugs” military engagement: “There is a way to stop it. You can’t end it by…conferences. You can’t eliminate it by peace parleys…Well-meaning but impractical groups can’t wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war.” Read the rest of this entry →

Sauschuck forsakes redemption

9:40 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

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”.

Cannabis legalization landslides in Maine and Michigan

7:09 am in Uncategorized by acmerecords

Cannabis leaf

A continuing trend toward cannabis sanity?

cross posted at mLaw

Following the forward thinking Uruguayans and leaping out in front of twentieth century minded politicians in Washington DC and at the level of the states, 70 percent of the electorate in Portland ME and 63 percent of the citizens in Lansing MI voted to legalize cannabis for recreational use in their cities, smashing 80 years of prohibition and sounding a challenge to cities across America to call for an end to the failed drug war.

The Portland city measure allows adult residents of Portland to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis. The measure passed into law by the cities’ residents does not allow the retail sale of cannabis, therefore no system of growers and distributors or tax program has to be created for the law to go into effect.

In Lansing MI, the measure amended the city’s charter to legalize the possession, use and transfer of an ounce of cannabis by any adult 21 years and older on private property. Two smaller Michigan cities, Ferndale and Jackson, also passed measures yesterday legalizing cannabis for recreational use.

Washington and Colorado passed laws legalizing the recreational use of cannabis by adults last year, but citizens in those states await the creation of laws governing the farming, taxation and distribution of cannabis and therefore, though legal, cannabis is still not available for purchase.

Read the rest of this entry →

Uruguay set to beat the black market

7:21 am in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

Cannabis buds in a jar

Uruguay is undercutting the black market by legalizing cannabis.

As Uruguay moves confidently forward with its plan to end the prohibition of cannabis in the country, law makers have set the price of the commodity when it becomes legal for personal consumption by adults later this year. To compete with the Uruguayan black market sale of cannabis, which sells for about $1.40 per gram as contraband, the legislators determined to sell cannabis to adult Uruguayans for one dollar per gram.

National Drug Board chief Jose Calzada told Uruguayan newspaper El Pais that a gram of cannabis would be enough for “one large joint or three slimmer ones,” and reminded that cannabis’ benefits can be achieved by vaporizing the natural substance “which is much less harmful” or it can be consumed “in foods like brownies.”

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica proposed legislation that would end the prohibition of cannabis in his country in an effort to counter the violent and failed internationally waged “drug war.” The bill proposes that the Uruguayan government be the sole grower and seller of legal marijuana for both medical and recreational use. Marijuana is legally consumed in Uruguay, but selling marijuana is illegal. The Uruguayan government projects that the marijuana sold on Uruguay’s black market nets between $30 and $40 million for criminals each year.

In a letter describing the legislative intent of the proposed law, Diego Canepa the pro-secretary of the presidency, wrote that “The type of policy that we have followed for more than 50 years in this country has not had the expected results … the worst thing that can happen to public policy is to not act when the evidence shows that persisting on the same path will not obtain different results.” As it stands, says Canepa, the “war on drugs” causes significantly more harm to Uruguayans than legalized marijuana ever could.

Read the rest of this entry →

Sabet slays science with propagandists’ sabre

8:25 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

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.
TurkSabre_c1917
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 flack 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. We 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 shifts 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 used 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; Read the rest of this entry →

Musicians applaud Mujica for having the courage to ‘dream on’

12:29 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica

cross posted at mLaw

Honoring the heart of passion of Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, members of one of America’s oldest rock bands, Aerosmith, made an unusual personal request to have an audience with the visionary leader when they recently visited Uruguay to perform.

Mujica, who has chosen to draw the line calling to end the destructive war on drugs and for the legalization of cannabis in his nation, is hopeful that a critical mass of Uruguayan popular support for cannabis legalization will help chip away the stone of drug violence and crime profits.

President Mujica met with the band members in the afternoon prior to an evening performance in Montvideo’s Centenario stadium on October 9 spending more than two hours participating in both public and private events, culminating in the president and rock stars contemplating the beyond beautiful Motevidian sunset together.

The band’s singer, Steven Tyler expressed the band’s support and appreciation for Mujica, a former leftist guerrilla who was at one point imprisoned for his views and now is the elected president of his country who gives away his salary to house impoverished families headed by single mothers in Uruguay. “He gives 70 percent of his salary for people’s homes. Here in this small country, Uruguay,” said Tyler, “I think he’s doing it the right way, (at the) grass roots, and we believe in that.”

Many in Uruguay believe that Mujica’s action attempting to permanently seal the Pandora’s Box of the US supported ‘War on Drugs’ by ending cannabis prohibition is a good thing because criminally prohibiting the medicinal, recreational and creative natural substance has proven to be a tragic failure. And, like the band members of Aerosmith, many people around the world see Mujica is a man of peace who has what it takes to break these chains of drug war violence and discompassion, who beacons to reasonable and compassionate citizens of all countries to “walk this way”. Read the rest of this entry →

Will it be modern madness or reefer madness?

6:04 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

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

Homeless man with sign: Give Me Weed, a cop approaches

Is cannabis dangerous to American empire?

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” is 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 example), 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…

Read the rest of this entry →

Obama DEA employs ‘smashing’ new tactic to intimidate cannabis pharmacies

12:46 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

The Drug Enforcement Administration in cooperation with a patchwork of Michigan state law enforcement entities has, over the past three weeks, conducted a series of cannabis dispensary searches in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti areas that have been described by the press as “smash and grab” raids.

The series of raids, including two just last week, are characterized by groups of federal drug agents, sometimes supported by local or state police, swooping into cannabis pharmacies in unmarked vans and SUVs with no sirens or flashing lights. The federal agents’ flash Michigan state warrants and seize cannabis plants and cash. In a series of raids beginning on July 30, agents did not leave copies of the state warrants at the three cannabis pharmacies that were raided.

No arrests have been made in the series of ‘smash and grab’ raids, and the searches seem to end as abruptly as they begin when cash is confiscated and dispensary employees begin photographing the raiding agents. The Michigan chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) issued a ‘raid alert’ after the Ann Arbor pharmacy raid.

In addition to these raids, three cannabis dispensaries in Detroit were raided in the past weeks by the Detroit Police using the same pattern of quick entry and quick exit. In these raids, the Detroit Police were accompanied by Michigan State Police, agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a Detroit city code enforcement official.

Medical cannabis advocates in Michigan are concerned about the new tactics used in these DEA raids, especially in light of the fact that federal agents are serving state-issued warrants. Also of concern is the DEA’s reliance upon state police instead of local police to support the raids. Critics feel the federal agents are choosing to partner with statewide law enforcement entities to preclude local police from participating in the raids in locations, such as Ann Arbor, where there is broad public support for the use of cannabis for medical relief.

The DEA is a federal law enforcement organization within the US Justice Department, an agency under the executive branch. Just last week, a spokesperson for President Obama told the nation 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.” Read the rest of this entry →

Obama tells the truth, Obama re-tells the lie

6:41 am in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

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, I believed you, I trusted you, I voted for you.  marijuana, pot, cannabis, medical marijuana, mmj, protest signObama’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’. Read the rest of this entry →

Uruguay contributes to humanity; in the US, it’s contraband and criminality

5:49 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

A “contribution to humanity” is how Uruguayan President, Jose Mujica, described the courageous step taken by the leaders of Uruguay who agreed earlier this month to fight back against the crime, violence and suffering that has been caused over the course of the ongoing 50-year-log ‘war on drugs’ by repealing prohibition and legalizing cannabis for consumption by adult Uruguayans. Mujica told Agency Press France that the real goal of legalizing cannabis in Uruguay is to eliminate the black market for the substance and consequentially end the savage violence of the drug war.

The history of the world wide drug war, a standoff between criminals who reap billions and militarized police forces who are funded by drug warring nations, can only be viewed as a failure, Mujica told the AFP. In Uruguay, the government spends $80 million a year attempting to stop the cannabis black market that is estimated to be worth between 4 and 5 million dollars per year. “As a business this would be a disaster if you look at it purely from an economic standpoint,” Mujica said, “from a moral point of view, it’s much worse because the violence consumes a lot of people who have nothing to do with it.”

In the US, more than $24.7 billion has been spent so far this year waging the drug war and, over 1 million people have been arrested for drug offenses. The Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a US federal governmental agency, reports that usage of cannabis increased between 2010 and 2012 slightly by 1.1 percent, reflecting that the monies being spent are not achieving the stated goals of drug war enthusiasts in US law enforcement, congress and the White House.

Despite overwhelming evidence that the ‘drug war’ has failed;
on July 25, the Drug Enforcement Agency raided three cannabis pharmacies in Washington state,
on July 31, DEA agents raided a cannabis pharmacy in Michigan, and,
today, August 8, DEA agents raided the oldest cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles.

President Mujica also spoke recently in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba at a memorial celebrating the July 26, 1953 attack on the Moncada barracks that began the Cuban Revolution. In his speech, as reported by Escambray.cu, Mujica said that the rebels who began the overthrow of the Batista regime inspired a “revolution of dignity” across Latin America. “We are convinced”, Mujica said, “that man has the capacity to build a better world, and that fighting capacity must be used to have a world of respect, a world of equality. Human life must be respected, and rich people have to understand and respect the rest of the people”.

Uruguay’s decision to fight drug violence by ending prohibition as an effort by Uruguay’s leaders to “contribute to humanity” reflects Mujica’s commitment to express the capacity of leaders to “build a better world”. Read the rest of this entry →