Tag Archives: prohibition

Trudeau’s Legal Marijuana Could Produce A Problem At Border

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plans to legalize marijuana could make for longer lines at the U.S. border. Former U.S. ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman thinks legal pot in Canada — illegal in the U.S. — could mean more searches with dogs trained to detect cannabis in vehicles.

Heyman, an appointee of former president Barack Obama, told CTV News that he was tasked with examining the potential effect of legalized marijuana on border security while he was ambassador from April 2014 until the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January. He specifically noted the role of sniffer dogs in the detection process.

“The dogs are trained to have reactions to certain scents. Some of those scents start with marijuana. Others are something that are significantly more challenging for the border. But the dog doesn’t tell you this is marijuana and this is an explosive,” Heyman said.

“The dog reacts, and these border guards are going to have to appropriately do an investigation. That could slow the border down.”

Heyman noted that once the dogs are trained to detect the presence of marijuana it is a skill that stays with them for life. So new dogs would have to be introduced.

Heyman noted that longer line-ups as a result of slower security checks would have a ripple effect on trade as it would be more time-consuming, costly and aggravating to move products and produce across the border. He said that is just one more variable to influence the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that Trump apparently thought he could unilaterally dismantle without first consulting Congress.

“He’s threatened all throughout the campaign that he was going to tear up NAFTA,” said Heyman. “That was a very clear and repetitive dialogue that he’s had all through the campaign. It was only at one day, at one time, where he used the word tweak… So I think that was the exception, the tweak, rather than what was being consistently communicated.”

Heyman remains optimistic about overall U.S.-Canadian relations despite the increasing volume of the trade threats.

“I don’t think the differences are any bigger now than they were before. I think the language being used is different now,” he said.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says the federal government is aware of the potential for longer waits at border crossings as a consequence of legal pot.

Responding to questions from CTV News, Goodale press secretary Scott Bardsley said a secure but flexible border remains vital to trade because “400,000 people and $2.4 billion in trade cross our shared border every day. Both countries recognize the importance of an efficient and secure border for our shared prosperity.”

Follow David on Twitter

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How prohibition limits cannabis & technology

Published on February 7, 2017

Travis Lachner

Travis Lachner
CEO & Creative Director at Cannvas

 

Federal prohibition segregates cannabis and technology.

Complex banking regulation suffocates cash flow.

Research discoveries are suppressed and hidden.

Social media shutdowns are routine procedure.

Simply stated; making progress in the cannabis industry is really difficult right now.

This professional canna-bigotry is due to marijuana’s (mis)classification as a Schedule I substance. Domestic and international companies

Most of the country supports cannabis legalization. Yet, it still remains illegal.

Prohibition causes unnecessary and inefficient problems for the industry – and the nation.

We need to end prohibition and build the industry right to realize the potential of cannabis.

Companies, consumers, patients, and citizens will all benefit from proper legalization.

1) Banking and FinTech access sucks. Cash-only operations are unsafe.

Cannabis companies cannot access basic banking and financial technologies normally.

Federal prohibition restricts most banks from serving companies related to cannabis in any way. Even ancillary companies (that don’t touch the plant) are still neglected.

And legislative progress for cannabis banking created at the state level is stomped out by federal government.

In Colorado, state banking officials approved a charter for the first “Cannabis Bank” ever – A credit union named The Fourth Corner (TFCCU).

However, final admin approval at the federal level is continuously denied… The cannabis bank cannot operate without it.

Financial restrictions force cannabis companies two directions:

  • Option A – Companies operate cash only. Sometimes moving hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time.
  • Option B – Companies pursue private banking opportunities at the state level and operate within financial loopholes.

Neither of these options are ideal.

According to Bloomberg Business, less than 3% of banks in America accept cannabis cash. Which means employees and individuals must move billions of dollars in cash regularly. These are extremely unsafe conditions and procedures.

A new “cannabis security” industry is emerging because of this problem. Ventures like Canna Security America provide comprehensive security services to keep staff, customers, and citizens safe.

But cannabis companies shouldn’t have to hire armed security services for safety… If customers were allowed to just swipe a damn debit card at any dispensary, the context of cannabis will be safer.

Modern banking technology is essential to all modern companies. Why are cannabis companies forced into awkward and unsafe restrictions?

It is unrealistic to make companies to operate under such irrational conditions. Especially while being taxed so heavily.

2) Awkward and vague regulations change often.

Cannabis companies pour capital into compliance. The “cover your ass” attitude is necessary in the ever-shifting regulations and requirements.

Brands balance between state legality and federal prohibition. New laws can make, break, or change business models overnight.

In addition to operational regulation, cannabis companies must abide to marketing and advertising restrictions. They cannot reach audiences like most other businesses.

Traditional companies in America spend millions on marketing and advertising – with minimal restrictions. TV, Facebook, Google, Instagram – pretty much whatever they want. But cannabis related companies can’t participate. (Yet.)

Instead, cannabis companies navigate complex layers of ambiguous regulation. Many areas of requirements are unclear, unrealistic, or nonexistent.

Large companies like Google and Facebook restrict ads for anything and everything cannabis-related.

And to be fair, they are just protecting their companies. Most of these policies are indirectly due to federal prohibition.

National brands fear the possible repercussions of the federal government. So they cover their ass by following suit with whatever the government says at the time.

This creates a contradicting scenario for companies and states… Selling cannabis is legal – but advertising cannabis is tricky.

Beyond regulation, cannabis companies are often pushed around by the “big boys” of media and technology.

I see new stories like those every week. It’s seriously like industrial level bigotry or bullying.

3) Research and development efforts are limited and discouraged.

Cannabis companies cannot complete high-level research and development.

Innovation research and medical studies require strict government approval or federal funding – which is often denied.

But here’s the weird part. The federal government already knows cannabis research will benefit society… The federal government owns the patent to use cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. Yet, they still suppress innovative discoveries.

Back in the 70’s, the US government discovered THC can shrink cancerous tumors. But political forces swept this research under the rug.

Why? Because it did not support the agenda for “The War on Drugs.”

Modern research reinforced the discovery again in 2000.

Spanish scientists successfully destroyed “uncurable” brain tumors with THC (an active component of cannabis).

But you probably didn’t see this story in America. That’s because the revolutionary research was censored and ignored by major media outlets.

The neglected study from Madrid was named the “Top Censored Story” of 2000 by Project Censored

Today, American government is still putting up roadblocks for research.

In 2015, Congress shut down federal research on medical marijuana yet again.

This is an absurd problem. Is our own government suppressing the potential power of cannabis intentionally?

The medical benefits of cannabis and technology deserve to be discovered and delivered to the people.

Let’s take a closer look at the potential of marrying cannabis and technology.

Throughout history, technology innovations pave the path for industries to leverage and build upon.

But unfortunately, cannabis companies are restricted from leveraging existing technologies.

While most American companies sit on the shoulders of giants, cannabis companies barely get to stand on on the big toe of that giant.

Even worse – companies that “touch the plant” are restricted by regulations and fear of prosecution. Which means new innovations in the industry are often discouraged or dismissed.

This type of environment creates irrational risk for entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators. It discourages progress and big ideas..

Instead, we must cultivate an environment for encouraging positive growth and development.

Imagine what we will gain when the cannabis industry can leverage the entire spectrum of modern technologies with less restriction.

1) Companies will focus on improving products and services.

Cannabis companies will devote more time and energy to optimize the customer experience. Products and services will be fixed, upgraded, and optimized over time.

Currently, cannabis companies spend TONS of time, money, and energy navigating a shit-show of regulations and compliance.

Intense, time-consuming administrative projects ensure the entire business isn’t stripped away.

This energy could be (and should be) spent better.

Internal resources should be used to enhance product development, improve services, and innovate the customer experience.

Cannabis companies deserve the right to allocate their bandwidth more efficiently.

2) Companies will mature their marketing (and targeting).

Marketing and advertising will experience noticeable maturity. Companies will focus on more specific target audiences with hyper-detailed precision.

Cannabis companies will target consumers and patients better.

From stereotypical “stoners” to critically concerned medical patients… Proper access to modern marketing and targeting technology will enhance the customer experience.

Customer archetypes, strain-matching, and advanced targeting tools will be standard in the industry. Apps like PotBot will offer custom product recommendations based on user preferences.

Technology allows brands to target the exact type of users best-fit for their product. In the end, that is better for both the consumers and the companies.

But most technologies will be inaccessible or restricted until prohibition is lifted.

Federal prohibition sets the tone for large companies and advertising platforms to follow suit regarding cannabis. And the current advertising restrictions make it extremely difficult for companies to capture targeted audiences.

Cannabis pioneers experience difficulty building and marketing effective, creative and compliant campaigns.

If this problem sounds familiar… Cannvas provides custom cannabis brand-building solutions for 100% compliant marketing, advertising, and PR.

3) Research will unlock the power of the endocannabinoid system.

This is the big kahuna.

The endocannabinoid system is the untapped holy grail of cannabis and medicine.

It could be one the missing key needed to treat, manage, or cure many conditions in the medical community.

The endocannabinoid system is revolutionary. But we are only in the early stages of discovery. Many experts predict mastering the ECS will mark a new era of healthcare.

From cancer, to epilepsy, to simple chronic pain or nausea… The endocannabinoid system is directly related to the biological balance of humans.

Currently, we are just scratching the surface of possibilities. But the convergence of cannabis and medical technology is well under way.

With proper funding, and federal approval, hundreds of medical benefits will be discovered. The full potential of can be literally life-saving.

Cannabis will soon develop its identity as a wellness product.

And canna-pharmaceuticals may be the future of healthcare.

The solution is simple.

Federal prohibition is ineffective. We need to marry cannabis and modern technologies.

Nationwide legalization will enable better access to existing technologies – while encouraging innovation and safety.

Companies, consumers, and citizens will all benefit from legalizing cannabis.

And we can build the industry right.

Let’s do this.

Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (hereafter known as the Patriot Act, because that name is long and dumb)

Data shows Patriot Act used more often to justify drug warrants, not terrorism ones

by Miranda Nelson on September 8th, 2011 at 11:24 AM

 

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New York Magazine has put out an incredibly detailed compendium of 9/11 information on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the attacks that left over 3,000 people dead. The September 11 attacks, as you’re well aware, were the impetus (or used as justification, depending on how cynical you are) for pushing through the USA PATRIOT ACT, which was hurriedly signed into law on October 26, 2001.

One of the main focuses of the Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (hereafter known as the Patriot Act, because that name is long and dumb) is Title II, which is all about surveillance. That’s right: even though those dastardly terrorists who hate our freedom came from overseas (as was the rhetoric beaten into the collective consciousness post 9/11), the U.S. government thought it was prudent to pass a bunch of surveillance laws so it could spy on its own citizens.

Let me quote the relevant section before we proceed:

SEC. 213. AUTHORITY FOR DELAYING NOTICE OF THE EXECUTION OF A WARRANT.

…(b) DELAY- With respect to the issuance of any warrant or court order under this section, or any other rule of law, to search for and seize any property or material that constitutes evidence of a criminal offense in violation of the laws of the United States, any notice required, or that may be required, to be given may be delayed if–

(1) the court finds reasonable cause to believe that providing immediate notification of the execution of the warrant may have an adverse result (as defined in section 2705);

Delayed-notice search warrants: we won’t tell you we’re breaking into your house to look around if we think there will be adverse results, like you calling up your terrorist buddies to let them know we’re on to you.

Something seems wrong with this graph (courtesy New York Magazine).

But between 2006 and 2009, do you know how many times the Patriot Act was used to issue delayed-notice warrants relating to terrorists and related activities? That would be a whole 15 times—even though the act mentions the word terrorism 161 times and terrorism 175 times.

Aside: did you know that not a single person has been brought to justice on American soil for those deaths?

In the same time period, New York Magazine reports that 1,618 delayed-notice search warrants were issued in relation to drugs and related activity. If you had any doubts about the true mandate of the Patriot Act, doubt no longer. Congratulations America on using a senseless tragedy to justify targeting marijuana users!

And why am I concluding that these people are primarily low-level marijuana offenders and not cocaine smugglers or meth manufacturers? The statistics on arrests and imprisonment make it clear: in 2006, 829,627 marijuana-related arrests were made in the United States, 89 percent of which were for mere possession. Not for growing or selling. Just for holding onto the stuff. In 2010, 50,383 arrests were made in New York City alone for possession.

The Patriot Act: great for the War on Drugs, bad for anyone who likes to smoke a joint, laughable in regards to stopping terrorism.

Follow Miranda Nelson on Twitter at @charenton_.

CONTINUE READING…

How A Psychedelic Drug Helps Cancer Patients Overcome Anxiety

December 3, 20167:00 AM ET

Robin Marantz Henig

 

Psychedelic drugs could provide relief for anxiety and depression among advanced cancer patients.

The brilliantly-colored shapes reminded Carol Vincent of fluorescent deep-sea creatures, and they floated past her languidly. She was overwhelmed by their beauty — and then suddenly, as if in a dream, she was out somewhere in deep space instead. “Oh, wow,” she thought, overwhelmed all over again. She had been an amateur skydiver in her youth, but this sensation didn’t come with any sense of speeding or falling or even having a body at all. She was just hovering there, gazing at the universe.

Vincent was having a psychedelic experience, taking part in one of the two studies just published that look at whether cancer patients like her could overcome their death-related anxiety and depression with a single dose of psilocybin.

It turned out they could, according to the studies, conducted at New York University and Johns Hopkins and reported this week in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. NYU and Hopkins scientists gave synthetic psilocybin, the hallucinogenic component of “magic mushrooms,” to a combined total of 80 people with advanced cancer suffering from depression, anxiety, and “existential angst.” At follow-up six months or more later, two-thirds of the subjects said their anxiety and depression had pretty much disappeared after a single dose.

And about 80 percent said the psilocybin experience was “among the most personally meaningful of their lives,” Roland Griffiths, a professor of psychiatry and leader of the Hopkins team, said in an interview.

That’s how it was for Vincent, one of the volunteers in Griffiths’ study. By the time she found her way to Hopkins in 2014, Vincent, now 61, had been living for six years with a time bomb of a diagnosis: follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which she was told was incurable. It was asymptomatic at the time except for a few enlarged lymph nodes, but was expected to start growing at some undefined future date; when it did, Vincent would have to start chemotherapy just to keep it in check. By 2014, still symptom-free, Vincent had grown moderately anxious, depressed, and wary, on continual high alert for signs that the cancer growth had finally begun.

“The anvil over your head, the constant surveillance of your health — it takes a toll,” says Vincent, who owns an advertising agency in Victoria, British Columbia. She found herself thinking, “What’s the point of this? All I’m doing is waiting for the lymphoma. There was no sense of being able to look forward to something.” When she wasn’t worrying about her cancer, she was worrying about her son, then in his mid-20s and going through a difficult time. What would happen to him if she died?

Participating in the psilocybin study, she says, was the first thing she’d looked forward to in years.

The experiment involved two treatments with psilocybin, roughly one month apart — one at a dose high enough to bring on a markedly altered state of consciousness, the other at a very low dose to serve as a control. It’s difficult to design an experiment like this to compare treatment with an actual placebo, since it’s obvious to everyone when a psychedelic experience is underway.

The NYU study used a design similar to Hopkins’ but with an “active placebo,” the B vitamin niacin, instead of very-low-dose psilocybin as the control. Niacin speeds up heart rate but doesn’t have any psychedelic effect. In both studies it was random whether a volunteer got the dose or the control first, but everyone got both, and the order seemed to make no difference in the outcome.

Vincent had to travel from her home in Victoria to Baltimore for the sessions; her travel costs were covered by the Heffter Research Institute, the New Mexico nonprofit that funded both studies. She spent the day before each treatment with the two Hopkins staffers who would be her “guides” during the psilocybin trip. They helped her anticipate some of the emotional issues — the kind of baggage everyone has — that might come to the fore during the experience.

The guides told Vincent that she might encounter some hallucinations that were frightening, and that she shouldn’t try to run away from them. “If you see scary stuff,” they told her, “just open up and walk right in.”

They repeated that line the following day — “just open up and walk right in” — when Vincent returned to Hopkins at 9 a.m., having eaten a light breakfast. The treatment took place in a hospital room designed to feel as homey as possible. “It felt like your first apartment after college, circa 1970,” she says, with a beige couch, a couple of armchairs and some abstract art on the wall.

Vincent was given the pill in a ceramic chalice, and in about 20 minutes she started to feel woozy. She lay down on the couch, put on some eye shades and headphones to block out exterior sights and sounds, and focused on what was happening inside her head. The headphones delivered a carefully-chosen playlist of Western classical music, from Bach and Beethoven to Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” interspersed with some sitar music and Buddhist chants. Vincent recalled the music as mostly soothing or uplifting, though occasionally there were some brooding pieces in a minor key that led her images to a darker place.

Your Brain On Psilocybin Might Be Less Depressed

Shots – Health News
Your Brain On Psilocybin Might Be Less Depressed

With the music as background, Vincent started to experience a sequence of vivid hallucinations that took her from the deep sea to vast outer space. Listening to her describe it is like listening to anyone describe a dream — it’s a disjointed series of scenes, for which the intensity and meaning can be hard to convey.

She remembered seeing neon geometric shapes, a gold shield spelling out the name Jesus, a whole series of cartoon characters — a fish, a rabbit, a horse, a pirate ship, a castle, a crab, a superhero in a cape — and at some point she entered a crystal cave encrusted with prisms. “It was crazy how overwhelmed by the beauty I was,” she says, sometimes to the point of weeping. “Everything I was looking at was so spectacular.”

At one point she heard herself laughing in her son’s voice, in her brother’s voice, and in the voices of other family members. The cartoon characters kept appearing in the midst of all that spectacular beauty, especially the “comical crab” that emerged two more times. She saw a frightening black vault, which she thought might contain something terrifying. But remembering her guides’ advice to “just open up and walk right in,” she investigated, and found that the only thing inside it was herself.

When the experience was over, about six hours after it began, the guides sent Vincent back to the hotel with her son, who had accompanied her to Baltimore, and asked her to write down what she’d visualized and what she thought about it.

Griffiths had at first been worried about giving psychedelics to cancer patients like Vincent, fearing they might actually become even more afraid of death by taking “a look into the existential void.”

But even though some research participants did have moments of panic in which they thought they were losing their minds or were about to die, he said the guides were always able to settle them down, and never had to resort to the antipsychotic drugs they had on hand for emergencies. (The NYU guides never had to use theirs, either.)

How LSD Makes Your Brain One With The Universe

Shots – Health News
How LSD Makes Your Brain One With The Universe

Many subjects came away feeling uplifted, Griffiths says, talking about “a sense of unity,” feeling part of “an interconnected whole.” He adds that even people who are atheists, as Vincent is, described the feeling as precious, meaningful or even sacred.

The reasons for the power and persistence of psilocybin’s impact are still “a big mystery,” according to Griffiths. “That’s what makes this research, frankly, so exciting,” he says. “There’s so much that’s unknown, and it holds the promise for really understanding the nature of human meaning-making and consciousness.”

He says he looks forward to using psilocybin in other patient populations, not just people with terminal diagnoses, to help answer larger existential questions that are “so critical to our experience as human organisms.”

Two and a half years after the psychedelic experience, Carol Vincent is still symptom-free, but she’s not as terrified of the “anvil” hanging over her, no longer waiting in dread for the cancer to show itself. “I didn’t get answers to questions like, ‘Where are you, God?’ or ‘Why did I get cancer?’ ” she says. What she got instead, she says, was the realization that all the fears and worries that “take up so much of my mental real estate” turn out to be “really insignificant” in the context of the big picture of the universe.

This insight was heightened by one small detail of her psilocybin trip, which has stayed with her all this time: that little cartoon crab that floated into her vision along with the other animated characters.

“I saw that crab three times,” Vincent says. The crab, she later realized, is the astrological sign of cancer — the disease that terrified her, and also the sign that both her son and her mother were born under. These were the three things in her life that she cared about, and worried over, most deeply, she says. “And here they were, appearing as comic relief.”

Science writer Robin Marantz Henig is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and the author of nine books.

CONTINUE READING…

Drug Busts Still Lead Arrest Statistics, Even as Marijuana Prohibition Fades

 

Image result for marijuana

 

 

As troubled as our country is at the moment, divided between two main mutually contemptuous (and contemptible) political blocs, facing a rising generation seemingly frightened by the exchange of ideas inherent in a devotion to protecting free speech, and apparently committed to placing either a psychopath or a sociopath in the White House, at least the country is winding down the depredations caused by drug prohibition. Four states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and many more have made it available as a medical treatment. Their ranks are likely to be joined after November by—

What’s that you say? Cops are still filling out their arrest quotas with drug busts?

Holy crap. You’re right.

“The highest number of arrests were for drug abuse violations (estimated at 1,488,707 arrests),” the FBI announced about its recently released crime statistics for 2015. Drug busts were followed by “larceny-theft (estimated at 1,160,390), and driving under the influence (estimated at 1,089,171).”

By comparison, there were 505,681 arrests for violent crimes, and 1,463,213 busts for property crimes of any sort.

I already know the naysayers are going to chime in with complaints that the people busted weren’t all simple users. There were dealers in that mix! And manufacturers! And some folks dealing while manufacturing and using.

Well, so what?

In most areas of human life, we recognize that industry and commerce are perfectly peaceful activities—and beneficial ones that produce prosperity and put food on the table. Drug laws may make industry and commerce in disfavored intoxicants illegal, but that doesn’t render such activities inherently less peaceful and prosperity-inducing. As we saw with our national misadventure in banning alcohol, it takes a prohibition to introduce violence into a trade that might otherwise be as work-a-day as any other.

“[I]ncreases in enforcement of drug and alcohol prohibition have been associated with increases in the homicide rate, and auxiliary evidence suggests this positive correlation reflects a causal effect of prohibition enforcement on homicide,” Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron concluded in 1999 after studying the issue in-depth. “The only way to reduce violence, therefore, is to legalize drugs,” he emphasized 10 years later.

But for the sake of argument, let’s concede the point. Trafficking is bad, mmkay?

If we dig deeper into those FBI figures, we find that only 16.1 percent of them were for sale and manufacturing. Possession made up 83.9 percent of drug arrests in 2015. That is, the vast majority of arrests for all categories of drugs had nothing to do with making or selling illegal substances, if that’s the sort of thing that matters to you.

And yes, those drug arrests represent the lowest level of marijuana busts in 20 years. But that’s a drop after a big surge during that time, and we still saw over 643,000 arrests for the leafy stuff (over 574,000 if you want to stick to that “possession” distinction). And again, a total of 1,488,707 busts by police just for using or trading in marijuana, cocaine, meth, and other officially disfavored intoxicants of people’s choice—the largest category of arrests.

That’s a lot of folks slapped into handcuffs over stuff that makes everybody but government officials and their hangers-on feel good. (Well, a lot of them like the stuff too, but they rarely have to worry that they’ll be wrestled to the ground as a consequence.)

And never mind the outcome of those arrests—whether or not possession busts ultimately result in hard time. Any encounter with the police is likely to be an unpleasant one. It’s astounding how many people picked up on even minor charges manage to expire under mysterious circumstances.

As we’ve seen before, prohibition is a bit of an industry all of its own. Harvard historian Lisa McGirr writes in her 2015 book, The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State, of the “federal penal state” that emerged from Prohibition. “The war on alcohol and the war on drugs were symbiotic campaigns,” McGirr told Reason in an interview. “Those two campaigns emerged together, [and] they had the same shared…logic. Many of the same individuals were involved in both campaigns.”

That penal state at the local, state, and federal level hasn’t shrunk an iota in personnel or power in the intervening years. “There are more than 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States, which is the highest figure ever,” the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund boasts on its website. Those officers need something to do to justify their employment, and while the FBI reports an uptick in violent crime in 2015, that’s after many years of decline–and overall arrests still dropped. “Arrests of juveniles for all offenses decreased 8.4 percent in 2015 when compared with the 2014 number; arrests of adults decreased 3.0 percent,” according to the Uniform Crime Report.

Now the war against marijuana is winding down—several more state are likely to loosen restrictions through ballot initiatives this year. Out of a sheer lack of opportunity, marijuana arrests will have to drop in jurisdictions where the stuff just isn’t illegal. That leaves other drugs, but they don’t have the same popularity, and seem unlikely to keep “the highest figure ever” busy making arrests.

But a never-ending war on booze, or drugs, or other forbidden consensual activities has kept all those cops and prison guards and interagency task forces gainfully employed through the decades.

It makes you wonder what category of prohibition will lead the arrest statistics a few years from now.

    J.D. Tuccille is a former managing editor of Reason.com and current contributing editor.

    Follow J.D. Tuccille on Twitter

    CONTINUE READING…

    The DEA has filed notice of intent to add Kratom to schedule 1

     

    Mitragyna speciosa111.JPGVarious forms of kratom and teas made from the plant’s leaves are sold in cafes and on the internet. Their primary effect is to provide a short-lived peaceful and calm feeling that is described as pleasant. Consistent with this effect being opioid-like, anecdotal reports indicate that some users have used kratom to successfully recover from physical and psychological dependence on prescription opioids and heroin. Comments on my last report on kratom have also indicated the successful use of teas made from the plant in managing chronic pain without the side effects and addictive potential of prescription opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine. LINK

    Due to be published in the “Federal Register” on August 31st, 2016 is the DEA’s “Intent to reschedule” the opioids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine  These are the “ingredients” of the plant Kratom and they are placing it into schedule I using the “temporary scheduling provisions” of the Controlled Substances Act.

    Federal Register Kratom

    The Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, issued this document:

    DOJ Kratom

    There is a petition at Whitehouse.Gov that is asking the Federal Government to not go thru with this decision. 

    KRATOM PETITION

     

    The “drug war” has taken enough of our plants and enough of our lives.  We cannot continue to let them regulate us out of every plant of food and medicine which were given to us as Our “inalienable rights” as Human Beings and laid out in Our Constitution as such, and regulate it out of our reach through the use of “Agenda 21” as laid out by the United Nations, in which the United States is one of only five “permanent members”!

    First, PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION, and then make phone calls and write letters to your Representatives concerning this issue!

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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    693,482 individuals in the United States were arrested in 2013 and charged with marijuana violations

    Why legalizing marijuana will be much harder than you think

     

     

    By Erwin Chemerinsky April 27

    Each week, In Theory takes on a big idea in the news and explores it from a range of perspectives. This week, we’re talking about drug scheduling. Need a primer? Catch up here.

    Erwin Chemerinsky is dean and distinguished professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law

    There are rumors that the federal government may soon lift its ban on marijuana, but that wouldn’t end marijuana prohibitions in the United States. This incongruity is the result of federalism: the ability of each jurisdiction — the federal government and every state — to maintain its own laws as to which drugs are illegal and which are not.

    Completely legalizing marijuana in the United States would require the actions of both the federal government and every state government. If the federal government repealed its criminal prohibition of marijuana or rescheduled the drug under federal law, that would not change state laws that forbid its possession or sale. Likewise, state governments can repeal their marijuana laws, in whole or in part, but that does not change federal law.

    [The paradox at the heart of our marijuana laws — and how to fix it]

    When Colorado and Washington legalized the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, questions arose as to how this would interact with federal law. Specifically, the question was whether such state efforts are preempted by the federal law, which still prohibits marijuana as a controlled substance like heroin and cocaine.

    The answer is clear: States can have whatever laws they want with regard to marijuana or any other drug. No state is required to have a law prohibiting or regulating marijuana. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that Congress cannot force states to enact laws; such coercion violates the 10th Amendment. A state could choose to have no law prohibiting marijuana, or a law prohibiting marijuana with an exception for medical use, or a law allowing possession of small amounts of marijuana, or anything else. In fact, across the United States today, this is exactly the situation — many states have very different laws concerning marijuana.

    Similarly, if the federal government were to repeal the prohibition of marijuana or reschedule it under the Controlled Substances Act, that would not change state laws. States still could prohibit and punish the sale and possession of marijuana under state criminal statutes.

    Contrary to what many believe, marijuana laws continue to be enforced by both states and the federal government. According to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 693,482 individuals in the United States were arrested in 2013 and charged with marijuana violations. Of these, 609,423 — or 88 percent — were arrested for simple possession. There is an enormous cost in terms of law enforcement resources, the criminal justice system and people’s lives for marijuana to remain illegal. Even for those arrested and never prosecuted or convicted, arrest records have real harms in terms of the ability to get jobs, loans, housing and benefits.

    Like all drug laws, the prohibition against marijuana is much more likely to be enforced against African Americans and Latinos than against whites. According to a 2013 study, whites and blacks use marijuana at roughly the same rates, but blacks are 3.7 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession of marijuana.

    [Legal marijuana is finally doing what the drug war couldn’t]

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    Emerging ideas and arguments behind the news.

    Yet there is little benefit to illegality. The primary argument for keeping marijuana illegal is that it is harmful. But as President Obama observed, pot is no “more dangerous than alcohol.” Many things are harmful — cigarettes, foods high in sugar and salt and cholesterol — but that does not mean that they should be illegal. In fact, there is a good deal of evidence that marijuana is significantly less harmful than tobacco or alcohol and that it has benefits in treating some medical conditions such as glaucoma and seizure disorders, and alleviating some of the ill effects of chemotherapy. That is why 24 states and the District allow medical use of marijuana.

    Like the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s, the prohibition of marijuana has been a failure. The drug is readily available and it is estimated that 30 million Americans used it in the past year. And similar to the prohibition of alcohol, it is a costly failure. In addition to the cost in enforcing the criminal laws, there is the loss of significant revenue that could be gained from taxation and legalization.

    It is a question of when, not whether, marijuana becomes legal in the United States. A study by the Pew Research Center last year found that a majority of Americans now favor legalization and only 44 percent believe it should be illegal. Of those under 35 years old, 68 percent believe that marijuana should be legal. But there is no doubt that the confusion federalism entails will make legalizing marijuana much more difficult.

    Explore these other perspectives:

    Keith Humphreys: The paradox at the heart of our marijuana laws — and how to fix it

    CONTINUE READING…

    Old, White Drug Warriors Are Suing to Protect Pot Prohibition — and Their Profits

    By David Downs

     

    A cabal of heavily connected, Washington, DC drug warriors are backing lawsuits to block legalization across the United States, the Denver Post reports. The in-depth report highlights how America’s one-hundred-year-old war on marijuana isn’t going to end without a fight.
    Three of the four lawsuits filed against Colorado’s legal cannabis regime have received funding from a major Washington, DC law firm employed by drug testing groups. (Drug testing companies stand to lose billions of dollars if mandatory marijuana screenings decrease under legalization.)

     Robert Horn's firm Jackson Lewis is suing Colorado, and stands to profit from extending pot prohibition. - JACKSON LEWIS

    • Jackson Lewis
    • Robert Horn’s firm Jackson Lewis is suing Colorado, and stands to profit from extending pot prohibition.

    Mark de Bernardo, a partner in the top 100 law firm Jackson Lewis who has written nineteen books on drug testing, was hired to find local Colorado citizens who would have standing to challenge Colorado legalization, the Denver Post found. De Bernardo and Jackson Lewis are putting up all the money and time to sue Colorado on behalf of a group of Colorado sheriffs.
    Other donors to the lawsuits are former heads of the DEA and the White House ONDCP — individuals who usually leave public office for private positions in the drug war.
    Another lawsuit sponsor is the Florida-based Drug Free America Foundation, whose board includes Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. DFAF is linked to Straight Inc. — a “chain of Drug War-era rehabilitation clinics that were shut down after allegations of sexual, physical and psychological abuse of teenage clients.”

     Florida Drug warrior Calvina Fay is funding an anti-legalization lawsuit in Colorado. - YOUTUBE

    • YouTube
    • Florida Drug warrior Calvina Fay is funding an anti-legalization lawsuit in Colorado.

    DFAF director Calvina Fay told the Post, “our colleagues in Colorado, since all of this came to task, have begged for some kind of relief — ‘What can the group do to help us?’ — because they’re very concerned about their communities.”
    Fay intends to file more lawsuits in legal states.
    Another major backer is the shadowy group, the Safe Streets Alliance, headed by Reagan-era drug warrior James Wootton. These lawsuits are the last stand for the drug war, legal experts argue.

     James Wootton - LINKEDIN

    • LinkedIn
    • James Wootton

    “We are fully aware that this is a national proxy fight,” Colorado official Sal Pace, a defendant in the ranchers’ lawsuit, told the Post. “The result of these lawsuits will have implications for the entire state and nation. If they’re successful in this lawsuit, they can shut down the entire industry in the entire state.”
    The Post story builds on 2014’s expose in The Nation — “The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal“.

    “The opponents of marijuana-law reform argue that such measures pose significant dangers, from increased crime and juvenile delinquency to addiction and death. But legalization’s biggest threat is to the bottom line of these same special interests, which reap significant monetary advantages from pot prohibition that are rarely acknowledged in the public debate.”

    CONTINUE READING…

    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.’

    image (4)

     

    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?