The US government can brand you a terrorist based on a Facebook post. We can’t let them make up the rules

 

Innocent people’s lives are being ruined. Why isn’t anyone watching the watchlist?

Arjun Sethi

theguardian.com, Saturday 30 August 2014 09.00 EDT

 

facebook surveillance illustration

Reasonable suspicion is based on a circular logic – people can be watchlisted if they are suspected of being suspected terrorists – that is ultimately backwards, and must be changed. Illustration: Joelle L / Flickr via Creative Commons Illustration: Joelle L / Flickr via Creative Commons

The US government’s web of surveillance is vast and interconnected. Now we know just how opaque, inefficient and discriminatory it can be.

As we were reminded again just this week, you can be pulled into the National Security Agency’s database quietly and quickly, and the consequences can be long and enduring. Through ICREACH, a Google-style search engine created for the intelligence community, the NSA provides data on private communications to 23 government agencies. More than 1,000 analysts had access to that information.

This kind of data sharing, however, isn’t limited to the latest from Edward Snowden’s NSA files. It was confirmed earlier this month that the FBI shares its master watchlist, the Terrorist Screening Database, with at least 22 foreign governments, countless federal agencies, state and local law enforcement, plus private contractors.

The watchlist tracks “known” and “suspected” terrorists and includes both foreigners and Americans. It’s also based on loose standards and secret evidence, which ensnares innocent people. Indeed, the standards are so low that the US government’s guidelines specifically allow for a single, uncorroborated source of information – including a Facebook or Twitter post – to serve as the basis for placing you on its master watchlist.

Of the 680,000 individuals on that FBI master list, roughly 40% have “no recognized terrorist group affiliation”, according to the Intercept. These individuals don’t even have a connection – as the government loosely defines it – to a designated terrorist group, but they are still branded as suspected terrorists.

The absurdities don’t end there. Take Dearborn, Michigan, a city with a population under 100,000 that is known for its large Arab American community – and has more watchlisted residents than any other city in America except New York.

These eye-popping numbers are largely the result of the US government’s use of a loose standard – so-called “reasonable suspicion” – in determining who, exactly, can be watchlisted.

Reasonable suspicion is such a low standard because it requires neither “concrete evidence” nor “irrefutable evidence”. Instead, an official is permitted to consider “reasonable inferences” and “to draw from the facts in light of his/her experience”.

Consider a real world context – actual criminal justice – where an officer needs reasonable suspicion to stop a person in the street and ask him or her a few questions. Courts have controversially held that avoiding eye contact with an officer, traveling alone, and traveling late at night, for example, all amount to reasonable suspicion.

This vague criteria is now being used to label innocent people as terrorism suspects.

Moreover, because the watchlist isn’t limited to known, actual terrorists, an official can watchlist a person if he has reasonable suspicion to believe that the person is a suspected terrorist. It’s a circular logic – individuals can be watchlisted if they are suspected of being suspected terrorists – that is ultimately backwards, and must be changed.

The government’s self-mandated surveillance guidance also includes loopholes that permit watchlisting without even showing reasonable suspicion. For example, non-citizens can be watchlisted for being associated with a watchlisted person – even if their relationship with that person is entirely innocuous. Another catch-all exception allows non-citizens to be watchlisted, so long as a source or tipster describes the person as an “extremist”, a “militant”, or in similar terms, and the “context suggests a nexus to terrorism”. The FBI’s definition of “nexus”, in turn, is far more nebulous than they’re letting on.

Because the watchlist designation process is secret, there’s no way of knowing just how many innocent people are added to the list due to these absurdities and loopholes. And yet, history shows that innocent people are inevitably added to the list and suffer life-altering consequences. Life on the master watchlist can trigger enhanced screening at borders and airports; being on the No Fly List, which is a subset of the larger terrorist watchlist, can prevent airline travel altogether. The watchlist can separate family members for months or years, isolate individuals from friends and associates, and ruin employment prospects.

Being branded a terrorism suspect also has far-reaching privacy implications. The watchlist is widely accessible, and government officials routinely collect the biometric data of watchlisted individuals, including their fingerprints and DNA strands. Law enforcement has likewise been directed to gather any and all available evidence when encountering watchlisted individuals, including receipts, business cards, health information and bank statements.

Watchlisting is an awesome power, and if used, must be exercised prudently and transparently.

The standards for inclusion should be appropriately narrow, the evidence relied upon credible and genuine, and the redress and review procedures consistent with basic constitutional requirements of fairness and due process. Instead, watchlisting is being used arbitrarily under a cloud of secrecy.

A watchlist saturated with innocent people diverts attention from real, genuine threats. A watchlist that disproportionately targets Arab and Muslim Americans or other minorities stigmatizes innocent people and alienates them from law enforcement. A watchlist based on poor standards and secret processes raises major constitutional concerns, including the right to travel freely and not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law.

Indeed, you can’t help but wonder: are you already on the watchlist?

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DEA Ratifies Spike in Marijuana for Research

 

 

Production is going from 46.3 pounds to 1,433 pounds – but it’s unclear where the extra pot is going.

Marijuana is seen in this 1999 photo at the University of Mississippi. The school cultivates and supplies research-grade cannabis in cooperation with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Marijuana is seen in this 1999 photo at the University of Mississippi. The school cultivates and supplies research-grade cannabis in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

By Steven Nelson Aug. 26, 2014

The federal government affirmed Tuesday a large increase in the amount of marijuana it plans to grow for research this year.

The Drug Enforcement Administration offered the production bump – from 46.3 pounds to 1,433 pounds – for public comment on May 5.

One person submitted a comment, which was supportive.

“The DEA appreciates the support for this adjusted 2014 aggregate production quota for marijuana which will provide for the estimated scientific, research and industrial needs of the United States,” a Tuesday notice in the Federal Register says.

“The DEA has taken into consideration the one comment received during the 30-day period and the administrator has determined,” the notice says, the increase is appropriate.

[READ: Former Republican Governor Looks to Build the ‘Microsoft of Marijuana’]

The DEA gave preapproval to the increase in late April, citing urgent need for National Institute on Drug Abuse-facilitated research. But, the DEA said in a May notice, all comments from the public would be taken into consideration.

NIDA, part of the National Institutes of Health, grows marijuana for approved research in partnership with the University of Mississippi.

The increase was necessary because the DEA underestimated researchers’ need when it calculated the initial annual quota in September.

In its May notice the DEA said it simply couldn’t wait for public comment before making the correction.

“Due to the manufacturing process unique to marijuana, including the length of time and conditions necessary to propagate and process the substance for distribution in 2014, it is necessary to adjust the initial, established 2014 aggregate production quota for marijuana as soon as practicable,” the DEA said. “Accordingly, the administrator finds good cause to adjust the aggregate production quota for marijuana before accepting written comments from interested persons or holding a public hearing.”

A spokesman for the DEA referred questions about the increase to NIDA. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the uptick in demand. It’s unclear how much marijuana has been produced to date this year.

A NIDA official told The Washington Post in May the agency was funding more than 100 grants for marijuana research, including 30 studies of the plant’s “therapeutic uses.” Critics say the agency disproportionately funds research into the downside of pot use.

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, who signed the Tuesday notice, is a critic of liberalizing marijuana laws. Leonhart refused to say during a June 2012 congressional hearing if marijuana is less harmful than crack or heroin. In January she criticized President Barack Obama for saying smoking pot is less harmful than drinking alcohol.

“Marijuana is so popular these days with voters, lawmakers and researchers that even the DEA can’t continue to ignore it,” says Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell.

But Kris Hermes, a spokesman for the pro-medical marijuana group Americans for Safe Access, isn’t cheering. He finds the increase “very fishy” and says he cannot recall a previous time the quota was offered for public comment.

[RELATED: House Votes to Protect Medical Pot From Feds]

Hermes also notes the annual pot-production quota was once higher.

In fact, throughout the Bush administration the quota was much higher. From 2005-2009 the annual quota was about 9,920 pounds, according to DEA fact sheets. Before that, from 2002-2004, the quota was about 1,852 pounds and in 2001 it was 1,100 pounds.

The quota hovered at 46.3 pounds beginning in 2010. Hermes says he doesn’t know why the quota dropped so dramatically that year.

Editorial cartoon on pot

See Photos

Editorial Cartoons on Pot Legalization

“They still aren’t divulging why the quota is increasing and why it’s not increasing how much it has in the past,” Hermes says. “It’s shrouded in secrecy.”

About half of U.S. states currently allow marijuana for medical use. Two states, Colorado and Washington, have established regulated recreational marijuana markets. Alaska and Oregon voters may legalize pot under state law in November and Florida voters may adopt medical marijuana. Despite liberalizing state laws, marijuana remains an illegal Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

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Think Before You Smoke: 7 Things to Know About Marijuana Tourism

 

 

Fox News.com Aug 28, 2014

Think Before You Smoke: 7 Things to Know About Marijuana Tourism

By Mark Murphy

When you think about green travel, it usually means an eco-friendly resort or destination.

That’s not the case anymore, as “green” has taken on a new meaning with the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington – and the corresponding increase in tourism to both states. For the purpose of this story, I’ll focus on Colorado, but many tips cover both states. 

Travelers looking for a ski vacation later this year may want to skip Utah or Tahoe, and head to Colorado instead. We are already seeing a direct spike in visitors tied exclusively to the legalization of marijuana, but the lure of legal marijuana could end up increasing tourism to all areas of the state. 

Entrepreneurs are actively going after this market by packaging tours around the idea of getting high, but you can just as easily do it on your own. Land in Denver and the information desk will direct you to any one of the numerous outlets where you can legally purchase marijuana and enjoy a hazy break from the ordinary without worry of arrest.

Related: In Aspen, Even the Weed is Luxurious

Here are the seven things you need to consider before you head out on that stoner trip:

marijuana tourism

Know there is a limit: If you come from out of state you must be 21 years of age and hold a valid form of identification, most often a driver’s license or passport. If you have that covered, the limit for your purchase is a quarter of an ounce. For in-state residents it is a full ounce.

Find a quiet spot to light up: You cannot smoke in public or in most hotels, so finding a legal spot to light up may be your biggest challenge. Ask your hotel front desk or concierge for smoking clubs, lounges, or a safe spot to smoke. If you are out in the mountains, find some open space and go about your business. It may be illegal and land you a fine, but there is a good chance you won’t have any issues. Never smoke in your rental car since any intent to drive would lead to a DUI arrest, even if the car is not turned on.   

Related: Where’s the Weed? Amsterdam’s New Breed of Coffeehouses

Don’t overdo it: You can smoke it, but you can also eat it in packages resembling protein bars they sell at many health food stores. Instead of giving you a nutritional lift, they’ll send you to a very different place. Look at the equivalent dose you might get from any pot bar to avoid getting yourself in trouble. Some bars have 10 times the average dose you might get from smoking a joint, sending you into an uncomfortable state or even the hospital. 

Don’t drive, period: Driving under the influence of pot can lead to arrest, even if you exhibit no indications of impairment. The express consent law in Colorado details that drivers automatically give consent to have their blood or breath tested if an officer has any probable cause to believe he or she is impaired.

Don’t leave the state with any marijuana: Enjoy your legal marijuana experience in Colorado or Washington, but leave whatever you don’t use in those states. If you bring back excess pot, it could result in a steep fine or, depending on the amount and any previous convictions, actual jail time. 

Related: Smoke on a Plane: E-Cigarettes Ignite Controversy

Don’t even think about selling your excess stash: Are you ready to head back home even though you are still sitting on some great weed? Give it away, but don’t try to sell it. Trade it for a Rockies jersey or anything else. Asking for money in exchange of the drug is illegal and could result in fines or worse.

Look up state rules before heading out on your marijuana tour. These laws are subject to change, so make sure you have the latest information to make a safe, and legal, trip.

First Marijuana edibles store opens in Washington State

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Marijuana compound may slow, halt progression of Alzheimer’s

 

 

Neuroscientists found that extremely low doses of a compound found in marijuana may slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported that neuroscientists using a cellular model of Alzheimer’s found low doses of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) reduced the production of amyloid beta, and prevented abnormal accumulation, which is one of the early signs of the memory-loss disease.

“Decreased levels of amyloid beta means less aggregation, which may protect against the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Since THC is a natural and relatively safe amyloid inhibitor, THC or its analogs may help us develop an effective treatment in the future,” said lead author Chuanhai Cao, a neuroscientist and PhD at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute and the University of South Florida College of Pharmacy.

Neuroscientists also found THC enhanced mitochondrial function which is needed to supply energy, transmit signals and maintain a healthy brain.

“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function,” Cao said.

The research noted that the therapeutic benefits of THC at low doses appear greater than the associated risks of toxicity and memory impairment.  

“Are we advocating that people use illicit drugs to prevent the disease? No,” study co-author Neel Nabar said. “However, these findings may lead to the development of related compounds that are safe, legal, and useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”

As many as 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, with the numbers projected to reach 14 million by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Why Synthetic Marijuana Is More Toxic To The Brain Than Pot

 

 

One of the original chemists who designed synthetic cannabis for research purposes, John W. Huffman, PhD once said that he couldn’t imagine why anyone would try it recreationally. Because of its deadly toxicity, he likened it to playing Russian roulette, and said that those who tried it must be “idiots.” Whether that’s the case or not, the numbers of users is certainly rising, and so are overdoses. New Hampshire has declared a state of emergency, and the number of emergency room visits for overdose from the synthetic drug has jumped. One teen died earlier this month after slipping into a coma, reportedly from using the drug.

Synthetic pot also goes by hundreds of names: Spice, K-2, fake weed, Yucatan Fire, Bliss, Blaze, Skunk, Moon Rocks, and JWH-018, -073 (and other numerical suffixes), after Huffman’s initials. Synthetic cannabis, unlike pot, however, can cause a huge variety of symptoms, which can be severe: Agitation, vomiting, hallucination, paranoia, tremor, seizure, tachycardia, hypokalemia, chest pain, cardiac problems, stroke, kidney damage, acute psychosis, brain damage, and death.

Why are the effects of synthetic cannabis so varied and so toxic? Researchers are starting to understand more about the drugs, and finding that synthetic cannabis is not even close to being the same drug as pot. Its name, which is utterly misleading, is where the similarity ends. Here’s what we know about what synthetic cannabis is doing to the brain, and why it can be deadly.

English: The so called "incense blend&quo...

The so-called “incense blend”: Spice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. It’s much more efficient at binding and acting in the brain

One reason that synthetic cannabis can trigger everything from seizures to psychosis is how it acts in the brain. Like the active ingredient in pot, THC, synthetic cannabis binds the CB1 receptor. But when it binds, it acts as a full agonist, rather than a partial agonist, meaning that it can activate a CB1 receptor on a brain cell with maximum efficacy, rather than only partially, as with THC. “The first rule of toxicology is, the dose makes the poison,” says Jeff Lapoint, MD, an emergency room doctor and medical toxicologist. “I drink a cup of water, and I’m fine. I drink gallons of it in some college contest, and I could have a seizure and die. Synthetic cannabinoids are tailor-made to hit cannabinoid receptors – and hit it hard. This is NOT marijuana. Its action in the brain may be similar but the physical effect is so different.”

Another issue with synthetic is its potency, which huge. “Its potency can be up to one hundred or more times greater than THC – that’s how much drug it takes to produce an effect,” says Paul Prather, PhD, professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “So it takes much less of them to produce maximal effects in the brain. So these things have higher efficacy and potency…These things are clearly very different from THC and thus not surprising that their use may result in development of life-threatening adverse effects.”

2. CB1 receptors are EVERYWHERE in the brain

A central reason that synthetic cannabis can produce such an enormous variety of side effects is likely because CB1 receptors are present in just about every brain region there is. When you have a strong-binding and long-lasting compound going to lots of different areas of the brain, you’re going to get some very bad effects.

Yasmin Hurd, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, and Neuroscience at Mount Sinai Medical Center, says that the wide distribution of CB1 receptors in the brain is exactly why they’re so toxic. “Where they’re located is important – their presence in the hippocampus would be behind their memory effects; their presence in seizure initiation areas in the temporal cortex is why they lead to seizures. And in the prefrontal cortex, this is probably why you see stronger psychosis with synthetic cannabinoids.” The cardiac, respiratory, and gastrointestinal effects probably come from the CB1 receptors in the brain stem. It might be any one of these that produces the greatest risk of death.

3. A synthetic cannabis overdose looks totally different from a pot “overdose”

The clearest proof that synthetic cannabis is a different thing all together is that overdose with the drug looks totally different from an “overdose” with natural marijuana. “Clinically, they just don’t look like people who smoke marijuana,” says Lewis Nelson, MD, at NYU’s Department of Emergency Medicine, Division of Medical Toxicology. “Pot users are usually interactive, mellow, funny. Everyone once in a while we see a bad trip with natural marijuana. But it goes away quickly. With people using synthetic, they look like people who are using amphetamines: they’re angry, sweaty, agitated.”

Whatever’s happening, he says, it may be more than just the replacement of THC with JWH. “It’s almost hard to imagine that it could be related to the partial vs. full agonist aspect of the drug.”

4. The body doesn’t know how to deactivate synthetic

One possibility is that the metabolites of synthetic cannabis are also doing damage to the brain. Usually our bodies deactivate a drug as it metabolizes it, but this may not be the case with synthetic. “What we’re finding from our research,” says Prather, “is that some of the metabolites of synthetic cannabis bind to the receptor just as well as the drug itself – this isn’t the case with THC. The synthetic metabolites seem to retain full activity relative to the parent compound. So the ability of our bodies to deactivate them may be decreased.”
He also points out that what’s lacking in synthetic cannabis is cannabidiol, which is present in natural marijuana and appears to blunt some of the adverse actions of the THC. But if it’s not there in synthetic cannabis, then this is one more way the drug’s toxicity may act unchecked.

English: Half a gram of JWH-018.

Half a gram of JWH-018. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5. Quality control is nonexistent

Synthetic cannabis is made in underground labs, often in China, and probably elsewhere. The only consistent thing is that there’s no quality control in the formulation process. “Is Crazy Monkey today the same as Crazy Monkey tomorrow?” Prather asks. “No way. The makers take some random herb, and spray it with cannabinoid. They’re probably using some cheap sprayer to spray it by hand. How MUCH synthetic cannabis is in there? You have no idea how much you’re getting.” He adds that there are almost always “hot spots” present in the drug – places where the drug is way more concentrated than others. “Plus, there’s almost always more than one synthetic cannabinoid present in these things – usually four or five different ones.” The bottom line: There’s no telling what you’re getting in a bag of Spice or K-2.

6. The drugs are always evolving

“Someone’s just kind of riffing off JWH,” says Lapoint. There are hundreds of different forms of JWH, and of other synthetic cannabinoids designed by different labs, and the next one is always waiting to go. “It only takes a grad school chemist level to pull it off,” he says. “The first JWH in incense blends was found in Germany around 2008 – it was the JWH-018 in Spice. It took months for the local authorities to figure out what was in it and regulate it. The next week incense blends with another compound, JWH-073, came out. They already had it ready to go – and they’re making something that’s not even illegal yet. Since we started the conversation 10 minutes ago, we’re already behind.”

* * *

Would legalizing marijuana kill the synthetic industry?

The demand for a “legal high” has been so great in recent history that it’s set the stage for the synthetic market to take off, says Lapoint. “It’s like the perfect storm. First we created black market by making marijuana illegal. Then there are all these loopholes in the legislation, so you can feed synthetics through when you change one molecule and call it a different drug.” As mentioned, it takes so long for the FDA to catch up – a year or more – that by the time one drug is made illegal, dozens of other iterations of the synthetic are already formulated and poised for release into the market.

His solution is a three-pronged: Changing the laws, by moving form a rule-based to a standards-based system, is the first step. “Right now, you either apply analog act to a new drug or make a new law. There will always be a loophole. So you have to move to standards-base. We really need good designer drug legislation reform.”

The second step is that get the public health message across that synthetic cannabinoids can kill. “Science has a poor understanding of how these drugs will effect you,” says Lapoint, “and the public has an even poorer understanding. People think ‘oh it’s just weed, just fake marijuana.’ Clearly the safety perception is way off. Let parents know, let kids know – this is not the same thing. You are experimenting with unknown compounds. You’re being a guinea pig. It’s not the same chemical, even among same brand. Medically, these drugs are a world of difference from THC.”

The last step, he says, is to continue the legalization discussion. Some states are leading the way. “You have to ask if you’re pushing people towards the scarier thing? The answer is ‘yes.’ It’s like prohibition where people made bathtub gin with methanol. We know people are going to use it. No athlete, soldier, student, or parolee wants to test positive for THC. So they just go to the head shop and get the ‘legal’ kind.”

Of course, it’s not legal at all, and it can lead to irreversible health problems and death. Whether legalization of natural marijuana is the solution isn’t totally clear. But remind your friends or kids that being a human subject in an uncontrolled synthetic drug experiment is just stupid. “This was never intended to be used in people,” says Lapoint. “It even says on the label, ‘Not for human consumption.’ Ironically, that’s the only accurate thing on the label. This is not marijuana. It should not be thought of like marijuana. We have to get this out there: Its effects are serious. It’s a totally different drug.”

Follow me @alicewalton or find me on Facebook.

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Marc Emery Returns…

Marijuana Activist Marc Emery Is A Man On A Mission

Posted by Johnny Green at 7:29 AM on August 27, 2014 Ending Marijuana Prohibition

By Phillip Smith

 

Marc Emery

Canada’s “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery has finally returned to Canada after spending just over 4 ½ years in US federal prison for selling marijuana seeds over the Internet. From his base in Vancouver, BC, Emery parlayed his pot seed profits into a pro-marijuana legalization political juggernaut.

Not only did the gregarious former libertarian bookseller relentlessly hassle Canadian and American drug warriors — including the dour then-drug czar, John Walters — he published Cannabis Culture magazine, created the BC Marijuana Party and helped turn parts of downtown Vancouver’s Hasting Street into a Western Hemisphere Amsterdam, complete with a vaporizer lounge and several other cannabis-related enterprises.

Emery also put a bunch of his money — several hundred thousand dollars — into financing marijuana reform efforts on the US side of the border. It’s hard to say what, exactly, got him in the sights of US law enforcement, but when he was arrested by Canadian police at the behest of US authorities, the DEA was certainly quick to gloat that it had struck a blow against the forces of legalization.

The US eventually got its pound of flesh from Emery, forcing him into a plea bargain — to protect his coworkers — that saw him sentenced to five years in federal prison for his seed selling. Emery did his time, was released from prison earlier this summer, then sent to a private deportation detention facility in the US before going home to Canada less than two weeks ago.

But if US and Canadian authorities thought they had silenced one of the biggest thorns in their side, they should have known better. Nearly five years in prison hasn’t exactly mellowed Emery; instead, he is more committed than ever to drug war justice, and he’s raring to go.

The Chronicle spoke with him via phone at his home in Vancouver Monday. The topics ranged from prison life to marijuana legalization in the US to Canadian election politics and beyond.

“If you go to jail for the right reasons you can continue to be an inspiration,” Emery said. “I got a lot of affirmation, thousands of letters, people helped to cover my bills, and that’s a testament to my influence. My experience was very positive. I network well and try to live in the present moment, just dealing with what’s going on.”

Still, Emery needed about $180,000 to get through those 4 ½ years behind bars, including more than $18,000 in email costs — it isn’t cheap for federal prisoners to send emails, but for Emery, keeping his voice heard in the outside world was a necessity. He reports having received between $70,000 and $80,000 in donations while in the slammer.

“That still left Jodie doing the near impossible,” he said. She traveled from Canada to the southern US 81 times to visit her husband, visiting him on 164 days and spending a like amount of time in transit. If it weren’t for Jodie Emery, prison would have been a much lonelier place, as it is for most inmates.

“In my prison, there were 1,700 prisoners, but on an average weekend, only 25 were getting a visit,” Emery noted, adding that most inmates were either black or brown. “And other than Jodie, only seven people came to visit me.”

While Emery waited in prison, the world continued to turn, and he has emerged into a different place. Now, two US states and Uruguay have legalized marijuana outright, and two more states and the District of Columbia are likely to do so this fall. For the Prince of Pot, it’s all good.

“I like that Washington and Colorado went for two different models, although I think the Colorado model is better and has been more quickly executed,” he said. “In both places, prices haven’t really dropped, but they will once other states come on board. It has been really encouraging to see that people would travel to another state to buy it legally.”

That’s a good thing for the cannabis culture, he said.

“We are a proud culture. Legalization means a lot of things, and one of them is the end of stigmatization. We’ve been picked on and scapegoated as if we were taking part in some evil practice, but that is largely over in Denver,” Emery argued. “They’re integrating it into the mainstream economy; we’re going to see a lot of interesting things.”

Unsurprisingly, the small-L libertarian and marijuana seed entrepreneur is not overly concerned that legalization will lead to the commercialization or corporatization of the herb.

“We need big money in order to have an effective lobby,” he said. “When there’s something that tens of millions of Americans want, the money will come, and the money is welcome. It’s going to put into new products, new technologies, and we have to welcome that. Capitalism is way to make things happen legally, and we need to get those people on board.”

But Emery wants people to be able to grow their own, too.

“It’s not legal unless we can grow it in our backyards or fields,” he said, “and as long as we can grow it, it’s basically legal.”

That’s life in these United States, but Emery, of course, doesn’t live in the United States — in fact, he is now permanently barred from entering the country — he lives in Canada, and things haven’t gone nearly as swimmingly there when it comes to freeing the weed.

A decade ago, Canada was the hope of the global cannabis culture. It appeared poised to make the move toward legalization, but first the ruling Liberals were unwilling to even push through their decriminalization scheme, and then they were defeated by the Conservatives, who went in the other direction on marijuana policy, for instance, by adopting mandatory minimum sentences for growing more than small amounts of pot.

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives remain in power today, and Emery has sworn political vengeance on them. He has also aligned himself with the Liberals, whose leader, Justin Trudeau, is now an advocate of legalization. That’s in line with Canadian public opinion, which consistently shows strong support for marijuana law reform, including a poll this week that showed two-thirds support for reform, with 35% saying legalize it and 31% saying decriminalize it.

The Liberals are going to try to take back the federal government in elections in October 2015, and Emery is happy to help savage the Conservatives whether it makes Liberals squeamish or not. His return just two weeks ago has already ignited a firestorm of media coverage, with his pot politics naturally front and center.

“We’ve now hijacked the whole conversation about the election; we are dominating the conversation,” he gloated. “It’s the number one election topic and has been since the second I arrived back in the country. There have been more than 150 articles about me in the last two weeks. It’s a big deal, and I’m delighted it’s a big deal. I have critics using up column inches to say disparaging things about me, and that’s great, too. There’s a real dialog going on, and we have the opportunity to change the feelings of our opponents and get them to understand the benefits to their communities in legalizing marijuana.”

But can the Liberals win? Yes, says Emery.

“Election day — October 19, 2015 — will be legalization day in Canada. If Trudeau becomes prime minister, there is no going back,” he prophesied. “And I am confident the Liberals will win. Normally, the anti-Harper vote is divided among the Greens, the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois, and the Liberals, but this time, with Trudeau being so charismatic, I am urging everyone to just this once vote for the Liberals. And the feedback I am getting is that this is going to happen, a Liberal majority is going to happen, and you should be in on it.”

When it comes to marijuana reform, in Emery’s eyes, Canadian politicians should take a lesson from their counterparts south of the border.

“My opinion of Americans has only improved,” he said. “You did a great job in Colorado and Washington, and even your legislators are underrated. At least one from every state has gone to Colorado to check it out. It’s wonderful! Up here, if it weren’t for Justin Trudeau, we wouldn’t hear anything.”

Well, and now, Marc Emery. Again.

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Sponsors cancel drug summit in Madras after facing criticism from marijuana legalization advocates

 

By Jeff Mapes | jmapes@oregonian.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on August 21, 2014 at 7:25 PM, updated August 21, 2014 at 7:28 PM

A nonprofit group has canceled an October anti-drug summit in Madras — which was to feature a prominent opponent of marijuana legalization — after complaints were raised by sponsors of the ballot measure that would permit recreational use of the drug.

The sponsors of the legalization initiative, Measure 91, charged this week that it was wrong for summit organizers to use federal funds to help pay for an appearance by Kevin Sabet, a former White House drug adviser who has formed an organization opposing marijuana legalization.

Sabet was also scheduled to appear in 12 other Oregon cities as part of an “Oregon Marijuana Education Tour” following the summit.  Sabet had said that, at the request of organizers, he would not talk about the ballot measure at either the Madras event or on the tour.

Rick Treleaven, the executive director of BestCare Treatment Practices and the organizer of the Madras summit, said he decided to cancel the summit because he “could see from an outside perspective that it could look like a conflict.”

Treleaven, whose nonprofit that runs community mental health programs for Jefferson County, said he did not know if the 12-city tour featuring Sabet would still take place.  “It depends on what the other folks do,” he said, referring to the local sponsors, some of whom were also using federal anti-drug grants to help pay for the events.

Treleaven said he hoped to reschedule the Madras summit for some time after the election.  He has noted that the summit has been held for several years in October and that this year’s event was not intended to influence the marijuana vote.

However, Anthony Johnson, chief sponsor of the marijuana legalization measure, said Wednesday that the heavy focus on marijuana during the summit and on the tour smacked of electioneering using federal money — even if participants did not  specifically discuss the initiative.

Johnson could not be reached Thursday evening, but Peter Zuckerman, a spokesman for the campaign said sponsors did the right thing in canceling the summit and should do the same for the 12-city tour.

“Federal taxpayer dollars should not be used to influence an election,” he said.  “Calling this an educational campaign is ridiculous.”

— Jeff Mapes

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Ann Marie Miller: Is ex-MMJ Caregiver Mystery Woman With Burned-Off Fingerprints?

By Michael Roberts Fri., Aug. 8 2014 at 10:50 AM

ann.marie.miller.photos.jpg

A bizarre story out of Ohio in which a woman burned off her fingerprints to hide her identity has a Colorado connection — one that appears to pertain to Ann Marie Miller, a onetime medical marijuana caregiver charged with assorted crimes who was featured in this space on several occasions.

The name’s the same and many of the details are extremely similar in a story that’s strange and getting stranger.

See also: Medical Marijuana: Ann Marie Miller Sues North Metro Drug Task Force, Sheriff Over MMJ Raid

Our first post about Miller dates back to June 2010. Miller told us that she’d been working as an apartment manager at a complex in Adams County when she got into a dispute with the landlord over an alleged theft. A short time later, the landlord entered her apartment to investigate a water leak and found she had numerous marijuana plants.

Miller said she was both a medical marijuana patient and a caregiver, but the landlord called the cops, who determined she had more plants than was legally allowable. She also complained that law enforcers trashed her place — a claim a police representative denied.

A few days later, Miller told us she returned to her apartment to find she’d been locked out and her belongings placed in the parking lot — everything except her plants. So she and a friend broke a window in order to get her marijuana back — a decision that ended with her being charged with second-degree burglary and misdemeanor theft in addition to marijuana cultivation.

The latter charge was listed as a felony even though a law change months later would have made her offense a misdemeanor.

The following February, Miller filed lawsuits against police over the raid — complaints she created herself. She also decided to fight the felony marijuana charge even though she was offered a misdemeanor deal. The reason? She didn’t want a guilty plea on her record because she feared losing custody of a son born in October. According to her, she’d left the boy home alone when he was just a few weeks old in order to visit the emergency room. As a result, he was taken away from her in the wake of a neglect accusation.

A month later, Miller said the marijuana charge against her had been dropped, leaving just the theft and child abuse allegations. But the latest developments call this assertion into question.

The next chapter of the tale is shared by WZVN-TV in Fort Myers, Florida. The station reports that a woman identifying herself as Julia Wadsworth was arrested in Lima, Ohio, after trying to obtain a driver’s license using a bogus birth certificate. But when trying to confirm her identity during the booking process, police discovered she’d burned her fingerprints off.

Voter registration records showed that a woman named Julia Wadsworth had previously been living in a mobile home in the community of Fort Myers Beach. There, she’d been the caregiver for an elderly resident. But since no one knew if Wadsworth was her real name — and because she otherwise declined to cooperate — the cops circulated a photo of the woman as a Jane Doe.

Other pics were shared by the Lima News, an Ohio newspaper, including images from a court appearance when she was said to have been acting in a weird manner. Here’s one of those images, as shared on the WZVN broadcast:

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The photos inspired a call from a tipster, who said the woman was most likely Ann Marie Miller — and investigators have now said they believe that to be true.

But is this Ann Marie Miller the one involved in the events detailed above? Well, the Lima News describes her as a “40-year-old disbarred attorney from Virginia” who’d been charged with assorted crimes, including tampering with a vehicle identification number, burglary, assault, stalking, disorderly conduct and threatening language over a public airway owing to a “love triangle” with a “male attorney” who “left her for a paralegal in their office.”

However, the local sheriff also said Miller is wanted in Colorado for charges that include “burglary, two counts of possession of burglary tools, trespassing, criminal mischief and a felony marijuana cultivation charge.”

We can’t confirm that the woman in these photos is the Ann Marie Miller with whom we spoke; all of our communication took place over the phone. But if she’s not, it’s a mighty large coincidence. Here’s the aforementioned WZVN report about “Julia Wadsworth.”

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Jennica Stein Yesterday at 2:26pm POLICE ARE EVERYWHERE

 

 

Jennica Stein

Yesterday at 2:26pm

POLICE ARE EVERYWHERE

First, this is VERY important to read and understand. I’m doing my best to look out for all the Facebook Users who aren’t as tech savvy as their kids or friends. I’m trying to help explain what’s happening because if I don’t…nobody else will!

If you’re anything like your neighbor…you probably use Facebook on your phone WAY more than you use it on a computer. You’ve been sending messages from the Facebook app and it probably always asks you if you want to install the Facebook Messenger App.

Its always been OPTIONAL but coming soon to your Facebook experience….it won’t be an option…it will be mandatory if you care to send messages from your phone.

No big deal one might think…but the part that the average Facebook User doesn’t realize is the permissions you must give to Facebook in order to use the Facebook Messenger App. Here is a short list of the most disturbing permissions it requires and a quick explanation of what it means to you and your privacy.

Change the state of network connectivity – This means that Facebook can change or alter your connection to the Internet or cell service. You’re basically giving Facebook the ability to turn features on your phone on and off for its own reasons without telling you.
Call phone numbers and send SMS messages – This means that if Facebook wants to…it can send text messages to your contacts on your behalf. Do you see the trouble in this? Who is Facebook to be able to access and send messages on your phone? You’re basically giving a stranger your phone and telling them to do what they want when they want!
Record audio, and take pictures and videos, at any time – Read that line again….RECORD audio…TAKE pictures….AT ANY TIME!! That means that the folks at Facebook can see through your lens on your phone whenever they want..they can listen to what you’re saying via your microphone if they choose to!!
Read your phone’s call log, including info about incoming and outgoing calls – Who have you been calling? How long did you talk to them? Now Facebook will know all of this because you’ve downloaded the new Facebook messenger app.
Read your contact data, including who you call and email and how often – Another clear violation of your privacy. Now Facebook will be able to read e-mails you’ve sent and take information from them to use for their own gain. Whether it’s for “personalized advertisements” or if it’s for “research purposes” ….whatever the reason..they’re accessing your private encounters.
Read personal profile information stored on your device – This means that if you have addresses, personal info, pictures or anything else that’s near and dear to your personal life…they can read it.
Get a list of accounts known by the phone, or other apps you use – Facebook will now have a tally of all the apps you use, how often you use them and what information you keep or exchange on those apps.

Hopefully, you take this as serious as I do…after reading more about it and studying the permissions I have now deleted the app from my phone and don’t intend to use it ever again. I still have my Facebook app but I just won’t use the messaging feature unless I’m at a computer. Even then, I might not use messaging anymore.

With these kinds of privacy invasions I think Facebook is pushing the limits to what people will let them get away with. I remember when the Internet first began its march toward socializing dominance when AOL would send us CD’s for free trials every week. On AOL, we made screen names that somewhat hid our identities and protected us against the unseen dangers online. Now, it seems that we’ve forgotten about that desire to protect our identity and we just lay down and let them invade our privacy.

There may be no turning back at this point because many people won’t read this or investigate the permissions of Facebook’s new mandatory app but at least I can say I tried to help us put up a fight. Pass this along to your friends and at least try to let them know what they’re getting into.

SOURCE:

Marc and Jodie Emery on prison, marijuana and the Liberals

canada.com

Having just returned to Canada from a five-year stint in a U.S. prison, Canada’s “Prince of Pot,” Marc Emery, and his wife Jodie, discuss his time in prison, the marijuana movement and why Justin Trudeau is the man who will bring their legalization agenda to Ottawa.

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