California passed proposition 47 on election day, changing a number of crimes- including possession of hard drugs- from a felony to a misdemeanor. Meanwhile, Vermont has decided to offer treatment as an alternative to prosecution for those caught with heroin possession, and Rahm Emanuel has discussed changing Illinois law so that those caught with 1 gram or less of any controlled substance won't recieve a felony in an attempt to get support for tougher gun laws. In addition, Oregon, Alaska, and DC voted to legalize marijuana, and Florida's vote to legalize medical marijuana failed but with 58 percent in favor. Is this the beginning of the end for the War on Drugs?
"Debate has surrounded the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes for decades. Some have argued medical marijuana legalization (MML) poses a threat to public health and safety, perhaps also affecting crime rates ... we analyzed the association between state MML and state crime rates ... Results did not indicate a crime exacerbating effect of MML on any of the Part I offenses. Alternatively, state MML may be correlated with a reduction in homicide and assault rates, net of other covariates." (Press Release) [more inside]
In the summer of 2007 on the campaign trail Barack Obama took a clear stance on the controversial subject of medical marijuana. “I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It’s not a good use of our resources.” As President in 2009 he took action to follow through on this promise by instructing federal prosecutors to “not focus federal resources in [their] States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.” The memo cited the “efficient and rational use” of the U.S. Department of Justice’s “limited investigative and prosecutorial resources,” as a motivating factor in the decision." In the winter of 2012 Rolling Stone magazine takes a look back on this subject and the record is surprising. "With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush's record for medical-marijuana busts. "There's no question that Obama's the worst president on medical marijuana," says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "He's gone from first to worst." [more inside]
Contrary to the liberalism many read in a highly-publicized DOJ memo in 2009, federal authorities are cracking down on medical marijuana establishments that exist in the gray area between state and national statutes.
Robin Prosser was a former concert pianist and systems analyst who suffered from an autoimmune disease similar to lupus for over 20 years. The disease left her in constant pain and made her allergic to most pharmaceutical painkillers. Only medical marijuana brought her relief, but last spring the DEA seized her medicine. Unable to cope with the chronic pain any longer, she committed suicide on October 18th. [Via Andrew Sullivan.]
The Lesson of Sativex - By approving liquid marijuana, the Canadian government has just certified that virtually everything our own (American) government has been telling us about marijuana is wrong. A little more on Sativex from GW Pharm. (via The Media Awareness Project ... and the MPP)
AARP poll finds older Americans favor medical marijuana. With a medical marijuana case in front of the Supremes, and with a dozen states now with medical marijuana laws on the books, AARP decided to take a poll. Here's what they found: "Nearly three-fourths of older Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use." My father (a senior citizen) takes prescribed Marinol (synthetic THC) as an appetite stimulant; my wife, a cancer survivor, got through chemotherapy largely on the strength of the weed I was able to buy on the street in New York. [MI]
Rescheduling marijuana: third time's the charm? Rather than hoping activist judges use the outdated notion of state's rights to allow Angel Raich to use marijuana medicinally (she claims she'd die without it), why not reclassify it as Schedule II? Or more appropriately, Schedule III? Don't hold your breath. They've been trying since 1972.
DEA nominee leaves the door open for medical marijuana
He's probably just getting my hopes up.
He's probably just getting my hopes up.