Tag Archives: obama

Leonard Peltier Denied Clemency by Obama

Image result for leonard peltier 2014

 

The Office of the Pardon Attorney has announced President Obama has denied clemency to imprisoned Native American activist Leonard Peltier. Peltier is a former member of the American Indian Movement who was convicted of killing two FBI agents during a shootout on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. He has long maintained his innocence.

Amnesty International condemned the decision.

“We are deeply saddened by the news that President Obama will not let Leonard go home,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Despite serious concerns about the fairness of legal proceedings that led to his trial and conviction, Peltier was imprisoned for more than 40 years. He has always maintained his innocence. The families of the FBI agents who were killed during the 1975 confrontation between the FBI and American Indian Movement (AIM) members have a right to justice, but justice will not be served by Peltier’s continued imprisonment.”

Peltier’s attorney Martin Garbus appeared on Democracy Now! today.

“I think it’s fair to say that if he doesn’t get commuted by President Obama, he’ll die in jail. He’s a very sick man,” Garbus said. “So, Obama’s not granting him clemency is like a sentence of death. Trump ain’t going to do it. And he’s very sick, and he’s not going to live past that time. I don’t want to be negative, but that’s the reality. He’s very sick, and he’s been in prison over 40 years, hard years, six years of solitary.”

Garbus was notified of Obama’s decision earlier today. In an email, the Office of the Pardon Attorney wrote: “The application for commutation of sentence of your client, Mr. Leonard Peltier, was carefully considered in this Department and the White House, and the decision was reached that favorable action is not warranted. Your client’s application was therefore denied by the President on January 18, 2017… Under the Constitution, there is no appeal from this decision.”

See our full coverage on Leonard Peltier


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Marijuana reforms flood state legislatures

By Reid Wilson – 01/13/17

Marijuana reforms flood state legislatures

Legislators in more than a dozen states have introduced measures to loosen laws restricting access to or criminalizing marijuana, a rush of legislative activity that supporters hope reflects a newfound willingness by public officials to embrace a trend toward legalization.

The gamut covered by measures introduced in the early days of legislative sessions underscores the patchwork approach to marijuana by states across the country — and the possibility that the different ways states treat marijuana could come to a head at the federal Justice Department, where President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general is a staunch opponent of legal pot.

Some states are taking early steps toward decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. In his State of the State address this week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he will push legislation to remove criminal penalties for non-violent offenders caught with marijuana. 

“The illegal sale of marijuana cannot and will not be tolerated in New York State, but data consistently show that recreational users of marijuana pose little to no threat to public safety,” Cuomo’s office wrote to legislators. “The unnecessary arrest of these individuals can have devastating economic and social effects on their lives.”

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) said during his campaign he would support decriminalizing marijuana. Legislation has passed the Republican-led state House in recent years, though it died when Sununu’s predecessor, now-Sen. Maggie Hassan (D), said she did not support the move.

Several states are considering allowing marijuana for medical use. Twenty-eight states already have widespread medical marijuana schemes, and this year legislators in Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah have introduced bills to create their own versions. Republicans in control of state legislatures in most of those states are behind the push.

Legislators in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware, New Mexico and New Jersey will consider recently introduced measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use. 

There is little consensus on just how to approach legalization: Three different bills have been introduced in Connecticut’s legislature. Two have been introduced in New Mexico, and three measures to allow medical pot have been filed in Missouri.

In 2016, voters in four states — Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and California — joined Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Colorado in passing ballot measures legalizing pot for recreational purposes. Those efforts, marijuana reform advocates say, have lifted the stigma legislators might have felt.

“Now that voters in a growing number of states have proven that this is a mainstream issue, many more lawmakers feel emboldened to champion marijuana reform, whereas historically this issue was often looked at as a marginalized or third-rail issue,” said Tom Angell, chairman of the pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority.

Just because measures get introduced does not mean they will advance. In many cases, Angell said, it is governors — Democrats and Republicans alike — who stand in the way.

Though Democrats control the Connecticut legislature, Gov. Dan Malloy (D) has made clear he is no supporter of legalized pot. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) has not said he would veto a legalization bill, though he is far less friendly to the idea than his predecessor, Democrat Peter Shumlin.

In New Mexico, Gov. Susana Martinez (R) has called decriminalizing marijuana a “horrible, horrible idea.” Democratic legislators are considering a plan to put legal marijuana to voters, by proposing an amendment to the state constitution. If New Jersey legislators advance a legalization law, they would run into an almost certain veto from Gov. Chris Christie (R).

While 14 state legislatures have legalized marijuana for medical use, no state legislature has passed a measure legalizing pot for recreational use.

“Every year, we’ve seen legalizers throw everything at the wall to see what might stick,” said Kevin Sabet, who heads the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “I’m not surprised by any means. I don’t think there’s much appetite to legalize through the legislature.”

Sabet conceded that efforts to stop legalization movements in Vermont and Rhode Island may be difficult. He said decriminalization measures can be smart and effective, if they include provisions boosting funding for treatment and prevention, but he warned that decriminalization bills can be a first step toward looser rules.

“The kind of decriminalization that legalization folks want is a stepping stone,” Sabet said. “Their prize is certainly full legalization. I don’t think they’re going to stop at decriminalization.”

In Washington, the incoming Trump administration has sent signals that encourage, and worry, both supporters and opponents of looser pot rules. The Obama Justice Department issued a memorandum to U.S. attorneys downplaying the importance of prosecuting crimes relating to marijuana in states where it is legal.

Trump’s nominee to head the next Justice Department, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), has been sharply critical of states that have legalized marijuana. In his confirmation hearings this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions said current guidelines, known as the Cole memo, are “truly valuable.”

Marijuana industry advocates seized on those comments in hopes of locking Sessions into maintaining the status quo.

“The current federal policy, as outlined by the Cole memo, has respected carefully designed state regulatory programs while maintaining the Justice Department’s commitment to pursuing criminals and prosecuting bad actors,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association.

Congress in recent years has passed a rider to appropriations bills that has blocked the Justice Department from taking action against states where pot is legal. But that could change, now that Republicans control the House, Senate and White House.

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Obama says marijuana should be treated like ‘cigarettes or alcohol’

By Christopher Ingraham November 30 at 12:33 PM

 

In an “exit interview” with Rolling Stone magazine, President Obama said that marijuana use should be treated as a public-health issue similar to tobacco or alcohol and called the current patchwork of state and federal laws regarding the drug “untenable.”

“Look, I’ve been very clear about my belief that we should try to discourage substance abuse,” Obama said. “And I am not somebody who believes that legalization is a panacea. But I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it.”

Obama has made comments to this effect before. In a 2014 interview with the New Yorker magazine he said that marijuana was less dangerous than alcohol “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.” More recently, he told TV host Bill Maher, “I think we’re going to have to have a more serious conversation about how we are treating marijuana and our drug laws generally.”

In the Rolling Stone interview published this week, Obama also reiterated his long-standing position that changing federal marijuana laws is not something the president can do unilaterally. “Typically how these classifications are changed are not done by presidential edict,” he said, “but are done either legislatively or through the DEA. As you might imagine, the DEA, whose job it is historically to enforce drug laws, is not always going to be on the cutting edge about these issues.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration recently turned down a petition to lessen federal restrictions on marijuana, citing the drug’s lack of “accepted medical use” and its “high potential for abuse.” Congress could resolve the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws by amending the federal Controlled Substances Act, but it has declined to do so.

Marijuana legalization advocates have been frustrated at what they see as Obama’s unwillingness to use his bully pulpit to advocate for their cause. “It would have been very helpful if he had taken more concrete positive action on this issue before it was almost time to vacate the Oval Office,” Tom Angell of the pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority said in a statement. “That this president didn’t apply pressure on the DEA to reschedule marijuana this year will likely go down as one of the biggest disappointments of the Obama era.”

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There is little disagreement on either side of the legalization debate that personal marijuana use should be treated primarily as a public-health issue. Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), the nation’s leading anti-legalization group, says that it “seeks to establish a rational policy” for marijuana use and possession that “no longer relies only on the criminal justice system to address people whose only crime is smoking or possessing a small amount of marijuana.”

But there is vehement disagreement over what such a “rational policy” would look like. SAM advocates for a policy of decriminalization of marijuana use, but not full-scale commercial legalization. Groups like the Marijuana Policy Project, on the other hand, are pushing for the creation of Colorado-style commercial marketplaces where it is completely legal to buy, sell and consume marijuana.

Obama has been hesitant throughout his second term to push for one approach or the other. His Justice Department has created a policy explicitly allowing states to legalize marijuana as they see fit, but he has made no effort to alter the strict federal prohibition on marijuana that complicates any effort to create a legal nationwide marijuana industry.

Pro-legalization advocates are worried that the current Justice Department policy of noninterference on marijuana legalization could be reversed by an incoming Trump administration stocked with harsh critics of such legalization. Trump himself has said that the matter should be left up to the states.

In the Rolling Stone interview, Obama hinted that he may be more vocal on the issue once he leaves office. “I will have the opportunity as a private citizen to describe where I think we need to go” on marijuana, he said.

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Gary Johnson predicts Obama will reclassify marijuana on way out of office

Gary Johnson, who ran for the White house in 2012 as the Libertarian Party candidate, now leads a national movement to allow third-party candidates in national presidential debates. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

 

By David Sherfinski – The Washington Times – Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Former New Mexico Gov. and 2016 Libertarian White House hopeful Gary Johnson says he thinks President Obama is going to remove marijuana from the government’s “Schedule I” list of narcotics considered particularly harmful and addictive on his way out of office.

“It’s going to be just like alcohol,” Mr. Johnson told The Washington Times Tuesday. “I’m going to predict that Obama, when he leaves office, is going to deschedule marijuana as a Class I narcotic. I wish he would have done that to this point, but I think he’s going to do that going out the door. That’s a positive.”

 

Marijuana is currently on the Schedule I list alongside drugs like LSD and heroin. The Drug Enforcement Agency defines Class I drugs as having a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, among others, has suggested reclassifying the drug under Schedule or Class II. Those drugs include cocaine, but also certain painkillers like oxycodone that are available with a medical prescription.

Mr. Johnson’s campaign followed up by saying that the former governor would prefer that the president remove marijuana from the controlled substances list entirely, allowing states to legalize and regulate as they and their voters choose.

But the campaign said most discussion and a more likely near-term step has centered around reclassifying it to Schedule II, which would remove a barrier to prescribed medical uses, though they said that either move would be a step in the right direction.

Mr. Obama has said that Congress can move on such a reclassification.

“What is and isn’t a Schedule I narcotic is a job for Congress,” Mr. Obama said in a 2014 interview with CNN. “It’s not something by ourselves that we start changing … no, there are laws undergirding those determinations.”

Tom Angell, chairman of the advocacy group Marijuana Majority, said the attorney general and the secretary of Health and Human Services can move to get rescheduling done without further legislation under the Controlled Substances Act.

“It’s tough to predict what the president will do on this issue before he leaves office, but if he’s willing to uphold his pledge to set policy based on science, and he listens to the majority of Americans who support marijuana reform, he will exercise his administrative authority for rescheduling,” Mr. Angell said.

Mr. Johnson pointed out that there are still some “dry counties” in the country with respect to alcohol and predicted marijuana would eventually be in that same category.

“I think every municipality has to realize that all the planes to Denver every single weekend are filled up, and that they’re missing out, and Colorado is absolutely vibrant,” he said. “Is it due to marijuana? I think it’s a contributing factor.”

“I don’t know how long it’s been since you’ve been to Colorado, but I think you can sense vibrancy, and it’s there,” he said.

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Indigenous Environmental Network and Alaska Native REDOIL Respond to Obama-Trudeau Joint Statement on Climate Change

IEN-REDOIL

 

For Immediate Release

March 11, 2016

Press Contacts:
Tom Goldtooth, [email protected] (218) 760-0442
Faith Gemmill, [email protected] (907) 750-0188
Princess Lucaj, [email protected] (907) 458-8264

Washington DC – In a joint statement released yesterday, President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised that their two countries would “play a leadership role internationally in the low carbon global economy over the coming decades.” They announced new commitments to work together to boost investment in clean energy; establish a pan-Arctic marine protection network and low-impact Arctic shipping corridors; limit greenhouse gas emissions, including methane; and pursue a number of other initiatives designed to slow global warming and speed up protection of the fragile Arctic.
Below is a response statement by the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Alaska Native network – REDOIL.

Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of  the Indigenous Environmental Network states:

 
“We welcome President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s bilateral dialogue and joint statement on Climate, Energy and Arctic Leadership.
  IEN particularly welcomes the commitment to respect and promote the rights of Indigenous peoples in all climate change decision making. The stated commitment to cut methane emissions from oil and gas operations is admirable and is a strong step towards reducing North America’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is encouraging to hear these leaders talk publicly about reducing GHG emissions and the threat methane poses to overall climate stability.
However, we are concerned that this U.S.-Canada shared vision also promotes a business as usual approach with no further commitments to building a 100 percent clean economy by 2050 and keeping at least 80 percent of fossil fuels in the ground. It appears to rely on carbon trading and offsets as solutions, which only allow carbon pollution to continue at the expense of the communities most affected, including communities in Alaska.

The Joint Statement says the US and Canada intends to implement their INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) pledges for emission cuts as well as providing help to developing country partners. However, citizens need to know these INDCs are a farce. They will not prevent the stabilization of the global temperature to the 1.5 OC aspiration threshold cited in the Paris Agreement. Instead some scientists project that if we implement the current INDCs on the table, we could see global temperature rise by as much as 6 to 8 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

Furthermore, IEN rejects the integration of mega-hydro power as renewable energy, as stated in the Joint Statement. IEN is reminded of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation of Manitoba, Canada whose lands are flooded by a mega-hydro dam, who are vehemently opposed to US and Canadian renewable energy standards that allow energy generated by mega hydro dams to be classified as renewable energy.  This rejection also applies to agrofuel and large format biomass projects that use native and GE trees and tree plantations as energy sources for power generation. Under the Statement’s section on the acceleration of clean technology innovation, Obama and Trudeau include strengthening unconventional oil and gas and carbon capture and storage (CCS). This means more hydraulic fracturing development that many community-based Indigenous peoples are rejecting.  CCS is also not supported by many Indigenous peoples, as it violates indigenous natural laws and traditional knowledge.”

The Joint Statement also makes a lot of reference to the Arctic.

Faith Gemmill, Executive Director of Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), a grassroots Alaska Native group in Alaska states:
“The Joint Statement’s mention of Indigenous sovereignty and inclusion of Indigenous rights is a particularly bitter pill to swallow for Alaskan Natives. We’ve seen our ancestral lands transferred to corporate entities created by land claims and our rights traded for profit at any and all cost. The sovereign authority of Alaska Natives continues to be undermined along with our ancestral ways of life. Business as usual with oil, gas, coal development is devastating and only compounds the effects of climate change.

“Our reality calls for our land and ecosystem to be left intact, that our rights as Indigenous peoples remain intact.   We do not support any agreement, which would continue to threaten our ability to engage in our traditional ways of life. The Joint Statement does little to address this reality, but calls for false solutions such as carbon markets and offsets to somehow end the reality of melted glaciers and sea-ice, rising sea levels, and the pollution of our Arctic homelands.”

Lorraine Netro of Old Crow Agency, Yukon, Canada and Gwich’in Steering Committee board member says:


“For our people, the 15 rural communities that comprise the Gwich’in Nation of Alaska and Canada, protection of the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has always been an international issue. The food security and human rights of the Gwich’in are directly tied to the Porcupine Caribou Herd whose calving and nursing grounds are on the Coastal Plain. Our Ancestral knowledge has long indicated what Western science only more recently has validated – that the Coastal Plain is the biological heart of the Arctic Refuge. We urge President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau to take immediate actions now for further protections as we face continued threats of oil drilling for this sacred and biologically critical area.”

####

The Indigenous Environmental Network

PO Box 485

Bemidji, MN 56619

http://www.ienearth.org/

From Organizing America to Operation Chronic Problem, How Cannabis Prohibition Ruins Lives

 

 

My Bust

 

Katree Darriel Saunders is a 30 year old mother, cannabis activist, and an active member of her community. Katree was living in Las Vegas, NV when she was arrested during a DEA sting called Operation Chronic Problem on the charges of: Conspiracy to distribute marijuana and hashish. For 10 grams of hashish and 3.5 grams of marijuana Katree has had her life as she knew it ended. This dedicated mother lost her family and job for trying to help. Trying to help what turned out to be a lying, conniving, scheming, weasel of a DEA Agent posing as a medical cannabis patient desperate for relief. This is Katree Darriel Saunders story. Her loss, her pain, and what many consider a major injustice as well as a violation of her constitutional rights.

Katree has been addicted off and on to prescription pain pills since the age of 15. In 2007, seeking pain relief from multiple car accidents, Katree Saunders became a medical cannabis patient. Knowing the harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals, plus their lack of effectiveness, Saunders chose medical cannabis. Not only did cannabis end Saunders pain, she was able to stop using prescription drugs all together. As a hardworking mother, Saunders put herself through college and became a positive and active member of her community.

Nevada’s laws prohibited the sale of cannabis in 2007, which forced Saunders to seek it through the black market, known for unsavory individuals who traffic anything from people to weapons to stolen merchandise. Once when Saunders sought cannabis from the black market she was sexually assaulted. This devastating incident convinced Saunders she had to do something. There had to be a way for her to legally and safely obtain her medication.

She contacted the state of Nevada and spoke with Jennifer Barlett, who referred her to Michael McAuliffe of Nevada’s Compassionate Care (NCC). It was there Saunders found her place. She began working with NCC and was helping others away from the black market.

Things were going well for Saunders in February of 2010. She volunteered for a political event called Organizing America where President Barack Obama spoke about healthcare reform. Saunders was chosen to be on stage. She sat in the front row behind the president as he gave his speech. Upon the close, Katree was able to shake hands with the President. While doing so, Saunders said ‘We needed to talk about medical patient’s rights.’ Then, according to Saunders, Obama looked at her and said ‘I’m not prosecuting.’

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Feeling confident and empowered after this Saunders then became active in helping patients obtain their medical cannabis cards from the Nevada state program. Unfortunately, while Saunders was working for NCC, she was set up by undercover DEA agents. They were conducting what was known as Operation Chronic Problem. A federal DEA agent posed as a sick patient asking for help obtaining medical cannabis.

Saunders, being a compassionate person, facilitated this lying individual’s request. Later she was indicted on distribution of a controlled substance. Saunders served four months in prison as well as a lengthy probation since she did not offer up the names of her medical patients.

While on pretrial Saunders was in another motor vehicle accident. This accident totaled her husband’s vehicle and left Saunders with a fractured foot as well as a back injury. She was placed on morphine, Xanax, and MARINOL®. The morphine began to make her heart hurt, so she opted to stop taking it in exchange for MARINOL®. MARINOL® is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring compound known as delta-9-THC. However, since Saunders was on probation, the state of Nevada told her that she could not take MARINOL® since they would not be able to determine if she was consuming cannabis or simply taking the medication.

The State of Nevada Probation Department obtained a court order preventing Saunder’s doctor from prescribing MARINOL® to her. Now, not only was Saunders in trouble for selling 3.5 grams of cannabis and 10 grams of hash, she also lost her job, family and right to medicate.

During her incarceration, her husband divorced her, took the kids and moved away. While in custody at the prison, Saunders says she was ‘sexually assaulted and harassed by US Marshals’.

During Saunders’ trial, her attorneys advised her not to mention anything about her encounter with President Obama. For the 4 months Katree Saunders was incarcerated, the state split her time between a private prison corporation (Corrections Corporation of America – CCA) and a state prison, and earned a minimum of $5,000 for hosting her. The state of Nevada spent an estimated $20,656 per inmate in 2012, and reported 267.9 million in costs. They also claimed to have 15 million dollars in prison related costs outside of the state budget. This is where states and private prison corporations make big dollars housing criminals. In the case of cannabis consumers, these corporations make out like bandits.

 

Imagine charging $21,000 a year to house someone who was busted selling or possessing cannabis. In Saunders case, that 13.5 grams of cannabis, with a street value of $150, cost taxpayers over $20,000 to put her through the system. That doesn’t include the cost of the actual arrest, which stands at $1,500 to $3,500 with booking, paperwork, police officers fees, donuts, etc.

Saunders fought hard to break away from prescription drugs, but in the end they were her only option. Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, has been making billions off victims. Purdue Pharma is involved in countless lawsuits and their officials have admitted to deceitful and immoral medical practices, yet they are still making money. These are the ones that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks out about when he refers to the top one-tenth of 1%.

In 1993 the DEA allowed pharmaceutical companies to produce 3520 kilos of a drug known as oxycodone. Twenty-two years later they are manufacturing 137.5 thousand kilos of the same drug. That is an increase of 39 times in the manufacturing of this controlled substance. Since President Nixon founded the DEA in 1973, they have done nothing but prosecute those who attempt to possess, grow, or in any way affiliate themselves with cannabis.

Medical cannabis helps millions of people across the United States and world to find relief from pain and suffering. Cannabis helped Saunders break her addiction and take back control of her life. Cannabis is a safe treatment alternative for many illnesses, as well as the management of symptoms associated with a broad array of medical complications. Prescription drug addiction, of course, is a problem that is not only plaguing the United States, but the whole world.

Saunders’ battle with a prescription drug addiction from a young age illustrates the carelessness of the medical industry in allowing doctors to over-prescribe dangerous medications. It has also enabled them to receive substantial kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies in the process.

According to ABC News, America consumes over 90% of the world’s hydrocodone and 80 percent of the planet’s opioids. The United States of America makes up only 4.6 percent of the planet’s population. This opioid problem has destroyed mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. Children and soldiers suffer horrendously because of our country’s support for the pharmaceutical industry. Children suffer by being denied medication that could in fact actually help them, and at times even cure them. Children also suffer by losing parents who are consumed by prescription drug addiction. Soldiers who protect our freedom, often with their own lives, suffer from illnesses such as PTSD. They are sometimes denied a natural treatment, such as cannabis, to help with their symptoms.

The Doctors Enforcement Agency

The DEA licenses more than 600,000 surgeons, doctors, and podiatrists to administer prescriptions for narcotic pain relievers. According to NORML (National Reform of Marijuana Laws), in 2011 there were an estimated 1.5 million registered medical cannabis patients living in the United States of America. The sad side of this is that the laws pertaining to medical cannabis forced so many to seek their medication on the black market.

The public seems to believe that we think cannabis is the new cure-all, and other medications should be eliminated. This is not true. Common sense will tell you that there are many medical advancements today which have led us to the most sophisticated and advanced techniques and cures. During this evolution we have managed to de-evolve at the same time, through the abuse of prescription drugs, as much the fault of patients as it is the doctors doing the prescribing. Some individuals get prescription pain pills in large quantities because the doctors will prescribe them. Some individuals do not even take their medication. Instead they sell them on the street. When doctors prescribe as much as 100 to 300 pills at a time, with an average price of $10 a pill, some people can make an extra $3,000 a month.

Prohibition Has Failed and it’s Hurting America

The prohibition of cannabis that began in the late 1930s has devastated countless numbers of American lives and destroyed families across the country. The FDA will approve OxyContin for 6-year-olds but will not support cannabis oil. This is an absurd violation of human rights. The United States of America has held the patent for medical cannabis since 2003. This means that they knowingly have information that solidifies and validates medical cannabis as an effective treatment. This also means that the DEA and FDA know, and have evidence, that cannabis is medicine.

For the past 12 years the DEA has left cannabis as a schedule 1 narcotic. This puts it in the same class as heroin and cocaine, that it has no medicinal value. They have lied to the American people kept the public sick, and now some laugh at us while the cannabis community is trying to change laws to better the world around us.

The Dogs of the Feds

The DEA regularly raids medicinal cannabis facilities and Indian tribal lands. They arrest, abuse, neglect and destroy the lives of countless cannabis consumers. Medical patients and recreational consumers alike suffer the wrath of the DEA everyday. There are no public benefits from cannabis prohibition! The medicinal aspects combined with potential taxes are unquestionably positive. The simple implementation of taxation on cannabis will help to eliminate the black market. This puts a lot of politicians, local sheriffs, and other individuals out of extra income they have enjoyed for years.

Katree Saunders felt the wrath of the DEA during Operation Chronic Pain and now you know her story. From being hooked on prescription drugs at 15, to meeting the President of the United States, to prison, to an avid cannabis activist, Saunders’ struggle is all too familiar to many Americans, except for meeting Mr. Barack Obama.

Help support America by being a seed. One seed can tip the scales of injustice. Are you that seed?

Obama commutes sentences for 46 nonviolent drug offenders

The White House announced Monday that President Obama had commuted the prison sentences of 46 nonviolent drug offenders, bringing the total number of commutations issued by the president to 89.

That’s far higher than his two predecessors. Former President Bush commuted the sentences of 11 people, and Former President Clinton did so for 61 people.

"These men and women were not hardened criminals, but the overwhelming majority had been sentenced to at least 20 years. Fourteen of them had been sentenced to life for nonviolent drug offenses, so their punishments didn’t fit the crime," Mr. Obama said in a video the White House released on Facebook. He noted that if they had been sentenced under today’s laws, nearly all would have served their time already.

"I believe that, at its heart, America is a nation of second chances, and I believe these folks deserve their second chance," the president added.

The White House also released a copy of a letter Mr. Obama wrote to Jerry Allen Bailey, one of the people whose sentences he is commuting. Bailey was sentenced to 360 months’ imprisonment and 10 years’ supervised release in April 1996 for conspiracy to violate narcotics laws.

"I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around," the president wrote. "Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity. It will not be easy, and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change. Perhaps even you are unsure of how you will adjust to your new circumstances. But remember that you have the capacity to make good choices."

"I believe in your ability to prove the doubters wrong, and change your life for the better," he adds at the end.

Criminal justice reform has emerged as a rare issue uniting politicians on the right and left. The Corrections Act, introduced by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, aims to shorten sentences for low-risk federal inmates while also reducing their chances of returning to prison.

A handful of liberals and conservatives — including Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Cory Booker of New Jersey — have introduced the Smarter Sentencing Act. Two 2016 Republican candidates, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, have also signed on to the bill, which would give judges more discretion in sentencing those convicted of nonviolent drug offenses.

Play Video

Hillary Clinton: Criminal justice system "unbalanced"

Paul and Booker have also introduced a bill crafted to complement other sentencing reform efforts, called the Redeem Act (the "Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment" Act) to reduce recidivism.

At the federal level, the Obama administration has attempted to reform the criminal justice system without the help of Congress. In 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a change in Justice Department policy to avoid draconian mandatory minimum sentencing rules. The department now charges low-level, non-violent drug offenders with offenses that don’t impose mandatory minimum sentences.

The White House also asked the Justice Department to develop criteria for identifying and recommending non-violent, low-level offenders for clemency if they might have been given less harsh sentences under today’s policies.

"The President’s decision to commute the sentences of 46 more individuals today is another sign of our commitment to correcting these inequities. We will continue to recommend to the President appropriate candidates for clemency, and we will continue to work with Congress on recalibrating our sentencing laws for non-violent drug offenders," Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates said in a statement after the president’s announcement.

Mr. Obama will discuss criminal justice reforms when he addresses the NAACP convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday. On Thursday, he will visit the El Reno federal prison and will take part in the taping of an HBO special on the criminal justice system, making him the first U.S. president to visit a federal prison.

CBS News Political Reporter Stephanie Condon contributed to this story.

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"WRITE” Obama a real letter to DECRIMINALIZE marijuana NOW

 

Image result for obama marijuana

 

WANT it over?

Write Obama a real letter to DECRIMINALIZE marijuana NOW This month will do it. 30 DAYS IS WHAT IT WILL TAKE FOR OBAMA TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA.

Details below — but ask him to DECRIMINALIZE CANNABIS instead! Start writing!

President Obama today at a fundraiser in Springfield was asked "What would it take for you to legalize marijuana before you leave office?"

The President responded at length "Legalizing marijuana is definitely an issue that many Americans feel strongly about today especially younger Americans. But I have a job to do. I need to look out for the nation as a whole. Let’s face it, smoking pot makes you lazy. Pot smokers have no problem going on a computer or smartphone and sending an email or clicking on a petition while they play those video games. They’re what we call in Washington "couch activists" who will stand up for anything as long as they can do it from their couch. I get emails about legalizing marijuana but in all my time in office as President I don’t think my administration has received more than a few hundred old fashioned letters sent through the mail to me at the White House. Like people used to do.

In fact I’ll make this challenge. If I receive over one million old fashioned letters in the next thirty days, before the end of April, mailed to me at the White House before the end of 2015 I will go to congress and tell them that we must change the laws. I promise you this"

A White House staffer said that the letters must be hand addressed with a postage stamp, no metered mail will count. Citizens can send their letters asking for marijuana to be legalized to:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC

SOURCE

How do marijuana advocates rate Eric Holder’s legacy?

By Paula Reid CBS News March 2, 2015, 5:59 AM

 

When Eric Holder steps down as attorney general, he’ll leave behind a legacy on more than just civil rights issues. For advocates of recreational marijuana use, Holder was a progressive leader who played a key role in the early days of legalization at the state level.

"He has established a foundation that other attorney generals will build on," Dr. Malik Burnett, the policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance told CBS News during a marijuana expo in Washington, D.C. that took place over the weekend. "He’s been progressive on marijuana issues, as progressive as an AG who has to uphold the federal ban on marijuana can be."

The key was a policy of nonintervention at the federal level. In 2013, almost a year after Washington state and Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana, the administration announced it would not sue those states to comply with the federal ban on marijuana. It also issued new guidelines for all U.S. attorneys, in what was known as the "Cole Memo," recommending that they only focus on prosecuting major cases. The Justice Department (DOJ) laid out eight high-priority areas for enforcement, including preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing revenue from marijuana sales from going to criminal enterprises, and preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.

Burnett called the memo "groundbreaking," saying it "provided a bridge that could reconcile the differences between state and local law and ultimately allowed those businesses to exist and to progress."

Later, Holder issued guidance making it easier for lawful marijuana businesses to have access to US banks. And when some members of Congress called on him to block Washington, D.C. from legalizing the possession of marijuana for recreational purposes, Holder declined to intervene.

Still, some enthusiasts say he could have done more.

"Well it’s still not legal. He has not done anything to get it off of ‘Schedule 1’ (DEA designation) when it clearly has medical purposes and uses. What’s holding it up?" Michael McLay, an attendee at the convention, told CBS News.

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, the same classification for dangerous drugs like heroin and LSD. The Attorney General has the power to change these categories if there is an acceptable medical use for the drug, but Holder has repeatedly said any changes to the scheduling status of marijuana should be made by Congress.

"There is a legitimate debate to be heard on both sides of that questions where marijuana ought to be in terms of its scheduling and taking into account all the empirical evidence that we can garner to see if it is a serious drug that would warrant class 1 categorization or should it be some other place," Holder said during a speech at the National Press Club last month. "This is something that would be well informed by having Congressional hearings and Congressional action and informed by a policy determination that the Administration would be glad to share."

McLay said "political reasons" were behind the delay in changing the drug’s classification.

But some see Holder’s deference to Congress as a smart move in the long game to legalize marijuana.

"By unilaterally removing marijuana from the controlled substances act that would have been a radical step given that the marijuana legalization movement is still in its infancy. I think ultimately as you see more and more states ending marijuana prohibition, the attorney general and Congress will find a better place for marijuana," Malik said.

He also sees Holder’s actions on marijuana as directly linked toward his efforts to reduce the U.S. prison population and create a fairer criminal justice system.

"What marijuana is is a gateway to the criminal justice system," Malik said. "Police use marijuana as a pretext towards finding other crimes they can ultimately charge people with and put them into the federal justice system or into state jailing systems. Ending marijuana (prohibition) ultimately helps lower the criminal justice problem we have in the United States."

But it’s still unclear whether Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to succeed Holder at the helm of DOJ, will continue down the path that Holder has taken the agency if she is confirmed.

At her confirmation hearing in January, Lynch said she does not support legalization.

"Not only do I not support legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently, to support the legalization, nor would it be the position should I become confirmed as attorney general," Lynch said.

She also said she didn’t share the same opinion as Mr. Obama, who said in an interview last year that he doesn’t believe the drug is more dangerous than alcohol.

"I certainly don’t hold that view, and don’t agree with that view of marijuana as a substance. I certainly think that the president was speaking from his personal experience and personal opinion — neither of which I am able to share," she said.

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US widens path to clemency for nonviolent federal drug offenders

 

The new Justice Department clemency guidelines, which apply to inmates who have served 10 years of their sentence, are designed to alleviate racial disparities left over from tough drug laws.

By Noelle Swan, Staff writer / April 23, 2014

 

The US Justice Department Wednesday widened the path to clemency for nonviolent federal drug offenders with an initiative designed to alleviate longstanding sentencing disparities left over from tough drug laws that disproportionately affected black drug offenders.

The new clemency guidelines apply to inmates who have served 10 or more years in prison and meet other criteria, with some analysts saying thousands of inmates could be affected.

“The attorney general’s and the president’s actions here are trying to remedy an historic wrong that has detrimented many citizens of color,” says Harvard Law School Professor Ronald Sullivan, director of the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute.

The move is consistent with the constitutional principle that punishment should be proportionate to the seriousness of the offense, says Sullivan, who chaired President Obama’s criminal justice policy group during the then-senator’s campaign for president. 

Mr. Obama took his first steps to bring drug sentencing in line with the seriousness of the offense by signing the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which revamped mandatory sentencing requirements for cocaine-related crime.

Prior to the act’s passage, predominantly black drug offenders convicted of possessing crack cocaine received mandated sentences that were significantly harsher than those imposed on predominantly white drug offenders facing charges relating to the powdered form of the same drug. Punishments for possession of a given amount of crack were on a par with punishments for possession of 100 times that amount of powdered cocaine. Under the act, that ratio was reduced from 100:1 to 18:1 for newly convicted crack cocaine offenders.

The new clemency guidelines aim to extend that equity to inmates convicted prior to 2010, but only if they meet several guidelines released by the Department of Justice on Wednesday. To qualify for consideration, inmates must have served 10 years of their sentence, have no other significant criminal record, have no significant ties to gangs or organized crime, and have demonstrated good behavior during their incarceration.

No one knows exactly how many people will actually meet all of the criteria for consideration, but the number could easily reach the thousands, says American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Vanita Gupta.

“I think [the clemency expansion] marks a turn away from the old business as usual in the federal criminal justice system,” Ms. Gupta says. “That said, it is not going alone to reduce the prison population, which is right now at a crisis point where the federal prison system is 35 to 40 percent over capacity.”

In July, Senator Dick Durbin (D) of Illinois Sen. Mike Lee (R) of Utah introduced the Smarter Sentencing Act, a bill that would shorten mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders and grant judges more discretion when doling out punishment. The latest version of the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in January and a similar bill has been referred to committee in the House of Representatives.

So far, the Smarter Sentencing Act has garnered considerable support from both sides of the aisle.

However, John Malcolm, a legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, suggests that the Obama administration’s announcement on Wednesday could jeopardize that support and effectively “poison the well” of congressional bipartisanship.

“This is a very broad action, it’s very precipitously done. It is sort of thumbing his nose at Congress in the sense of trying to develop any sort of bipartisan solutions here,” Mr. Malcolm says.

The ACLU’s Gupta sees it differently.

Several states, including the predominantly red states Texas, South Carolina, and South Dakota, have taken steps to reduce the number of inmates in the state prison system.

“I think the president is feeling empowered to do this in part because there has been tremendous conservative leadership on this in the states for several years now,” Gupta says.

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