Eat 'em if you got 'em: hemp-based foods were banned several years ago, thanks to the Drug Enforcement Agency's neverending "war on (some) drugs" but lawyers for hemp-based food companies successfully overturned the law, and the deadline ran out on the DEA to challenge it. Not that I would ever want to eat a hemp cheeseburger, but it's nice to know I can. Hopefully hemp rope will remain legal as well.
A frequent point of opposition to the war on drugs is that of taxation. The argument goes like this: If the prohibition on illegal drugs ended, the government would see a surplus like no other (and pay for treatment, enforcement, etc). The folks in Kansas have a strange hybrid option: keep them illegal, but ask that drug dealers report taxes on their profits. Their FAQ lists the details and the a rate sheet (pdf) is available. Drug dealers not following suit can be busted as tax evaders, in addition to selling drugs. Novel approach or silly idea?
As an update to a difficult earlier thread, "Ripper" or Brandon Vedas has a new memorial site dedicated to "the education and prevention of future tragedies", and is up thanks in part to the work of his brother.
And the top 200 prescriptions for 2001 are... I see Claritin near the top of the charts, with zoloft and paxil not too far behind. Prozac is down, with viagra shooting up the charts like a... hmm. In total 3.1 billion prescriptions were filled in the US, which would be about an average of a dozen per citizen. Also interesting are the previous six years of data, allowing anyone to build a "Rx Zeitgeist" of the american hypochondriac.
Needle exchanges reduce the number of new HIV infections, rid the streets of dirty needles, while not increasing drug use among those participating in exchanges. Too bad the US gov't refuses to fund them.
Offshore pharmacy sites selling prescription drugs to US customers were shut down this week. I wonder if the cat is already out of the bag on this one, will there ever be a way to regulate prescription drug traffic on the web? There's no worldwide organization to watch over things like this, nor are there laws that every country can agree on. Something tells me that getting steroids and "date rape" pills online is going to be a problem that's never going away.