Infamously, America’s federally created Cannabis Prohibition marks its seventy-fifth anniversary this August 2, 2012. The so-called ‘great failed social experiment’ of Alcohol Prohibition of the 1920s barely lasted a dozen years in effect. Rightly, it took a constitutional amendment to both ban and restore alcohol products to the free market. Is there a similar constitutional amendment for cannabis products in 1937?
No, of course not.
And that is where the sophistry, hypocrisy and duplicity begin regarding America’s modern cannabis policy of vilifying, arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating cannabis consumers, cultivators and marketers.
Even though virtually every other country’s farmers have the choice whether or not to cultivate industrial hemp, even in countries where cannabis policy is decidedly worse than America’s, can American farmers prosper from cultivating this environmentally-friendly and productive crop?
No, of course not.
Do Americans support this failed, expensive and unconstitutional public policy of criminalizing cannabis?
No, of course not.
It can be readily stated, based on public opinion surveys and focus groups, that three quarters of Americans strongly support cannabis’ soft reforms: medical access and decriminalization of small amounts for personal use. And now, according to Gallup polling, fifty percent of Americans now want cannabis legally controlled in a manner similar to far more dangerous, problematic, addictive and readily available commercial products such as alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals.
Most every governmental commission convened has recommended that at minimum cannabis be decriminalized for adult possession; the federal government can proffer no data or statistics indicating that their war against cannabis consumers has had any success whatsoever; America’s national security and borders are made less—not more—secure because of Cannabis Prohibition.
In response to the federal failure, currently seventeen states and the District of Columbia have chosen to abandon the federal government’s scientifically absurd and inhumane prohibition on sick, dying and sense-threatened patients who’ve permission from their physician to have cannabis in their therapeutic arsenal for relief, safety, affordability and efficacy.
Additionally, fourteen states and numerous large municipalities have rejected the federal government’s blanket prohibition on cannabis and decriminalized possession.
This election cycle, the voting public will once again have the opportunity to put serious political and economic upward pressure on a totally recalcitrant U.S. Congress and Executive Branch to end the national prohibition on cannabis when no less than five states have either binding legalization or medicalization voter ballot initiatives.
Regrettably, regardless of the political party in control or whomever president, will Congress even hold lowly sub-committee hearings to finally start the process of reforming the federal government’s out-of-touch cannabis policies?
No, of course not.
Can Cannabis Prohibition continue to prevail in a free market oriented democracy like America, where approximately one out of eight citizens are considered ‘criminals’ by their own government?
Residents of Springfield, Missouri will likely be voting on a marijuana decriminalization measure this fall. Initiative proponents, Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, submitted their final round of signatures to the city clerk in the past week and received word yesterday that they have met the required threshold of signatures for qualification. On Thursday afternoon, the Springfield City Clerk confirmed the petition has officially qualified with at least 2,132 certified signatures.
The petition now moves to the City Council, which has the opportunity to enact the measure into law as written or place it before voters in Springfield this November. The initiative aims to lower the penalty for possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana, currently a misdemeanor punishable by arrest, to a ticket with a maximum fine of $150.
The Obama administration has done nothing to lift the federal ban on industrial hemp production, meaning farmers in the United States are not allowed to grow hemp for any purpose.
Yet, to help raise funds for his reelection, the Obama campaign has opened a store where people can buy products,and one of those products happens to be a scarf made of hemp.
One of the items offered is a beautiful hemp and organic cotton scarf made by fashion designer Monique Péan.
The scarf is listed as “made in the USA.” What the Obama store doesn’t tell you is that the scarf is made from imported hemp blend fabric made in China.
It is legal to import hemp from other countries, something that makes the ban on growing it in this country even more ludicrous. Legalizing industrial hemp would generate billions in revenue for American farmers every year, and would not affect the prohibition of the cannabis plant one bit. Hemp contains negligible amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
And lifting the ban on hemp is something Obama could use to pound the GOP with if they don’t go along. He could easily portray them as actively hurting American farmers. It’s a win-win issue, and Obama’s campaign doesn’t seem to think there is anything wrong with selling a hemp product. Yet the administration is silent.
Is Obama, in reality, just a ineffective politician with powerful backers and a “rock star” image? Why does he seem to have so much trouble against an ailing and out-of-step Republican Party?
HONOLULU (AP) — A Honolulu police officer has pleaded guilty in an indoor marijuana-growing operation.
Michael Steven Chu said in federal court Thursday that it was his girlfriend who got him involved in growing and selling marijuana. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser ( ) reports that he pleaded guilty to conspiring to cultivate 48 plants and to possess with intent to distribute 49 pounds of processed marijuana.
Girlfriend Athena Sui Lee pleaded guilty earlier this week.
They face maximum five-year prison terms.
After he’s sentenced in December, Chu will be a convicted felon prohibited from possessing a firearm, making him ineligible to be a police officer.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Congresswoman Barbara Lee has introduced a bill (HR 6335) in the U.S. Congress that would protect landlords of compliant medical marijuana businesses from civil asset forfeiture laws, which the feds are using to intimidate landlords into forcing out dispensaries and collectives.
“Yesterday, I introduced legislation to urge the Administration and the Congress to begin to align federal law to states’ laws that allow for safe access to medical marijuana for patients,” said Congresswoman Lee. “As a long-time supporter of the rights of patients to have safe and legal access to medicine that has been recommended to them by their doctors, this bill will provide clarification to California businesses and security for California patients. The people of California have made it legal for patients to have safe access to medicinal marijuana and, as a result, thousands of small business owners have invested millions of dollars in building their companies, creating jobs, and paying their taxes. We should be protecting and implementing the will of voters, not undermining our democracy by prosecuting small business owners who pay taxes and comply with the laws of their states in providing medicine to patients in need.”
HR 6335 will prohibit the federal government from using the civil asset forfeiture statue — 21 U.S.C. 881(7) — to go after real property owners if their tenants are in compliance with state medical marijuana law. At the same time, the new law would not prevent the Justice Department from using the civil asset forfeiture statue against real property owners in connection with conduct not sanctioned by state law.
Steph Sherer, Executive Director of the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, said of the bill: “This is not a hypothetical threat. The DOJ has already initiated civil asset forfeiture proceedings against the property owner of California’s largest medical cannabis patients’ collective, and the threat of additional federal action has sent shock waves through the medical cannabis community nationwide. Numerous providers’ associations have already been closed or evicted in response to federal intimidation.
“Federal civil asset forfeiture laws were created to target large-scale narcotic traffickers, but the DOJ is using these draconian measures to target legally-organized and operated medical cannabis associations. This is fundamentally unfair, and we have to stop it. HR 6335 will prevent the DOJ for misusing the powerful and controversial civil asset forfeiture laws against medical cannabis patients, cultivators, and providers whose conduct is legal under state law.”
MIAMI (AP) — Locking up illegal immigrants has grown profoundly lucrative for the private prisons industry, a reliable pot of revenue that helped keep some of the biggest companies in business.
And while nearly half of the 400,000 immigrants held annually are housed in private facilities, the federal government — which spends $2 billion a year on keeping those people in custody — says it isn’t necessarily cheaper to outsource the work, a central argument used for privatization in the first place.
The Associated Press, seeking to tally the scope of the private facilities, add up their cost and the amounts the companies spend on lobbying and campaign donations, reviewed more than 10 years’ worth of federal and state records. It found a complex, mutually beneficial and evidently legal relationship between those who make corrections and immigration policy and a few prison companies. Some of those companies were struggling to survive before toughened immigrant detention laws took effect.
A decade ago, just 10 percent of the beds in the nation’s civil detention system were in private facilities with little federal oversight. Now, about half the beds are part of a sprawling, private system, largely controlled by just three companies: Corrections Corporation of America, The GEO Group, and Management and Training Corp.
And the growth is far from over, despite the sheer drop in illegal immigration in recent years.
CCA was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2000 due to lawsuits, management problems and dwindling contracts. Last year, the company reaped $162 million in net income. Federal contracts made up 43 percent of its total revenues, in part thanks to rising immigrant detention.
GEO, which cites the immigration agency as its largest client, saw its net income jump from $16.9 million to $78.6 million since 2000.
At the same time, the three businesses have spent at least $45 million combined on campaign donations and lobbyists at the state and federal level in the last decade, the AP found.
This seismic shift toward a privatized system happened quietly. While Congress’ unsuccessful efforts to overhaul immigration laws drew headlines and sparked massive demonstrations, lawmakers’ negotiations to boost detention dollars received far less attention.
CCA and GEO, who manage most private detention centers, insist they aren’t trying to influence immigration policy to make more money, and their lobbying and campaign donations have been legal.
“As a matter of long-standing corporate policy, CCA does not lobby on issues that would determine the basis for an individual’s detention or incarceration,” CCA spokesman Steve Owen said in an email to the AP. The company has a website dedicated to debunking such allegations.
GEO, which was part of The Wackenhut Corp. security firm until 2003, and Management and Training declined repeated interview requests.
Advocates for immigrants are skeptical the lobbying is not meant to influence policy.
“That’s a lot of money to listen quietly,” said Peter Cervantes-Gautschi, who has helped lead a campaign to encourage large banks and mutual funds to divest from the prison companies.
The detention centers are located in cities and remote areas alike, from a Denver suburb to an industrial area flanking Newark’s airport, often in low-slung buildings surrounded by chain-link fences and razor wire. U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents detain men, women and children suspected of violating civil immigration laws at these facilities. Most of those held at the 250 sites nationwide are illegal immigrants awaiting deportation, but some green card holders, asylum seekers and others are also there.
The total average nightly cost to taxpayers to detain an illegal immigrant, including health care and guards’ salaries, is about $166, ICE confirmed only after the AP calculated that figure and presented it to the agency.
Pop princess Miley Cyrus was spotted at another dispensary this weekend, like she was about 4 months ago. The media is all ablaze (pun intended) over whether Miley smokes marijuana, or is just a good friend and likes to drive her friends to get their meds.
But’s there’s a much bigger issue here: what if she does smoke marijuana? What then? Does that make her less of a person? Some stories even suggest that maybe her fiance wants to rethink what he has gotten himself into. Really?
I realize it’s a good story for gossip sites and mags, Disney princess blazing buds, but in the end, is she hurting anyone if she does smoke marijuana? Is she somehow contributing to the downfall of society?
The effort to demonize Miley Cyrus because she might smoke weed is really an insult to all that do use marijuana, for whatever reason. That cannabis users are some sort of subset of “normal” society.
Maybe, in the end, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal if someone smokes weed.
Taken from The420Times
Since the federal medical marijuana crackdown began in California last fall, the U.S. Attorneys in the state have closed over 500 dispensaries. That’s over 500 functioning businesses, and the jobs and tax revenue that went with them.
The majority of the closures have come in southern California, but the north has had some high-profile raids.
Other peg the number of dispensaries affected at a larger number.
Dan Rush, an official at the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, said about 650 out of the 1,400 marijuana dispensaries that existed last October have ceased operating. The union represents between 600 and 800 members working in statewide dispensaries, he said.
Laura E. Duffy, the United States attorney for the Southern District, for one, is happy about how things are progressing. “Most often the individuals who are visiting these places have obtained sham doctor recommendations for really no purpose other than to engage in the recreational use of marijuana,” she said. “To the extent that blatant distribution of marijuana is not available in commercial businesses throughout California, certainly in this district, I think that’s a good thing.”
Despite mounting anecdotal and clinical evidence that medical marijuana can be beneficial to those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the White House wants to make one thing clear: You can go fight multiple tours for this country in useless wars, but if the horrors of war mess with your head,you’re not allowed to smoke weed when you get home.
Responding to a petition by former Air Force sergeant Mike Krawitz asking the White House to consider medical marijuana as a treatment for PTSD, Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske said no go.
Saying marijuana is not a “benign drug,” Kerlikowske asserted that it does not meet standards of safe or effective medicine. ”We know from an array of treatment admission information and federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms,” he wrote.
The Warren County Drug Task Force is southwestern Ohio says a 17-year-old high school student was at the center of a high-grade marijuana distribution ring that was bringing in as much as $20,000 a month.
Investigators say the Mason High School student who is believed to have started the operation had $6,000 in cash in his bedroom when officers arrived with a search warrant.
A smart kid, lured by the big money of selling marijuana under prohibition. Now he’s going to be branded a criminal for life. What would he have accomplished if he hadn’t been caught or if prohibition didn’t exist and there wasn’t much money to be made from selling weed?
Could he have been President someday? I think we all know the answer to that question.