A Voter’s Guide to Legalizing Marijuana..at the state level
Brian O’Dea is a big time drug smuggler on his way out of the game when he gets a call from his sworn enemy with the deal of a lifetime. Buckle up for an international ride of shady characters, huge scores, and the true tale of a man who always had to keep one step ahead [16:47 min. audio]. From the Trust Me episode of Snap Judgment on NPR.
Thousands of drug-related convictions in Massachusetts may be challenged as investigators learn more about improper evidence handling and testing at a Department of Public Health laboratory. Over 50,000 samples related to 34,000 convictions were tested by a single chemist at the lab, who is alleged to have violated multiple laboratory protocols. Governor Deval Patrick's office has identified 1,141 inmates currently serving time in Massachusetts whose convictions may be affected by the investigation. [more inside]
"The Mexican drug cartels are at war... with Mormons. VICE founder Shane Smith went down to Ciudad Juárez, near the US border, to investigate this story ... filled with guns, drugs, murder, and Romneys." [more inside]
PBS Newshour brings the science on bath salts (previously). Contains graphic descriptions of awesome laboratory experiments. via BoingBoing
The Fake-Pot Industry Is Coming Down From a Three-Year High - a fascinating read on the multibillion-dollar "herbal incense" business and its latest legal woes after the introduction of more severe legislation on synthetic cannabinoids. Featuring the rise and downfall of Mr. Nice Guy, rogue chemists, warehouses exploding, DEA undercover operations and "the Saul Goodmans of synthetic cannabinoids" - two attorneys specialized in providing "Cutting Edge In Incense Testing and Compliance" services to manufacturers to help them "stay one step ahead of the law". (via longform) [more inside]
Sarah Stillman for the New Yorker on confidential informants and the ends they meet -- "Gaither was tortured, beaten with a bat, shot with a pistol and a shotgun, run over by a car, and dragged by a chain through the woods." [more inside]
Drugs have changed a lot in the past ten years. You have, mainly, these two men to blame/thank for most of the fervor. Laws are flexing accordingly. [Shulgin previously: 1,2]
"I don't want to die doing drugs. I don't want to be that kid who was the son of the head coach of the Eagles, who was spoiled and on drugs and OD'd and just faded into oblivion."
"Garrett Reid, the oldest son of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, was found dead Sunday morning in his room at training camp at Lehigh University." Garrett's legal troubles and struggle with addiction were widely publicized over the years due to his high profile father. After leaving prison he fought hard to change this legacy and was employed as a trainer with the team at the time of his death. "Garrett’s road through life was not always an easy one. He faced tremendous personal challenges with bravery and spirit. As a family, we stood by him and were inspired as he worked to overcome those challenges. Even though he lost the battle that has been ongoing for the last eight years, we will always remember him as a fighter who had a huge, loving heart." [more inside]
Marina Akhmedova amongst the crocodile addicts of Yekaterinburg - published and censored in Russia, translated and mirrored on opendemocracy. "They check intently who is getting how much, and count out the eyedrops. If I ran right now into the middle of the kitchen and bellowed at the top of my voice, they would not turn round. Their world extends only a few metres and has the cooker and its hood at its centre. It is not a world within the world: it is their entire world, a world as narrow as a coffin, but all-encompassing for those who live in it, a world which follows its own laws. In it there are neither saints nor sinners, no thieves or benefactors, only the harsh laws of survival. There is no truth, no certainty about anything, not even that the sun will rise tomorrow. It is a world which arises when people are dicing with death. A supreme, inexorable law instantly appears, an axis around which their universe revolves: it is the right of those as yet still human to play a game they have chosen for themselves."
It's Not Just NYC: Across America, Only Black and Brown People Get Arrested for Pot - "New York City (previously), the pot-bust capital of the Western world, is notorious for the racial skewing (previously) of its marijuana arrests. Over the last 15 years, more than 85 percent of the half-million-plus people charged with misdemeanor possession there have been black or Latino. But the racial ratios of reefer roundups are equally extreme—if not worse—in scores of other U.S. cities." Same (trailer) as it (PDF) ever was? (video)
Q: What's the connection between heroin in Glasgow and a dead goat in Turkey? A: Anthrax.
"The more ghoulish and extreme the show becomes, ...the more accurately it captures the reality of the cartels and their business."
A new piece for the Awl, by writer Amy Sohn "The 40-Year-Old Reversion" satirizing the group of parents she parties with in Brooklyn, has sparked some pretty harsh criticism around the web, from scenester blogs, mainstream sources, and parenting sites alike. But others see it as a very useful lesson about contraception.
Is legalization or at least ending the war on drugs a solution to gang violence? Drug Business is not the Key to Gangs And Organized Crime: With a Prognosis for the Mexican Cartel Wars explores the idea of gangs and other crime organizations as mainly political actors. (previous mention of sociologist Randall Collins)
With the election of Pena Nieto to the presidency, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ends a twelve-year absence from the seat. [more inside]
"Alex White, Professional Snitch: What do you do when the cops you work for are dirtier than you are?" Metafilter previously on Kathryn Johnston.
"There are approximately 250 species of catnip and this figure doesn't include hybrids. But all of these substances have one thing in common. The active ingredient, nepetalactone cycloalkane." (slyt)
"The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal: A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust." [more inside]
Informant, former wiseguy and goodfella Henry Hill (website, Wikipedia) has been made dead by illness. He was not a schnook.
"Barry also had a knack for interceptions. When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted "Intercepted!," and took an extra hit. No one seemed to mind." A User's Guide To Smoking Pot With Barack Obama. [more inside]
Scientists investigate the use of psychedelic drugs in end of life therapy "Grob and his colleagues are part of a resurgence of scientific interest in the healing power of psychedelics. Michael Mithoefer, for instance, has shown that MDMA is an effective treatment for severe P.T.S.D. Halpern has examined case studies of people with cluster headaches who took LSD and reported their symptoms greatly diminished. And psychedelics have been recently examined as treatment for alcoholism and other addictions. "
US Senate probes painkiller makers and their advocates. Improper relationships between pharmaceutical companies and organizations that promote their drugs helped usher in an epidemic that's killed 100,000 people through misuse of opioids. Sales of the powerful drugs have risen 300 percent since 1999 and opioids were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008, more than cocaine and heroin combined.
"The report indicates that police patrol downtown Minneapolis looking for impaired people, then drive them to a testing facility in Richfield for examination of their capabilities while intoxicated. But in some cases where no previously impaired people could be found, police seduced prospective participants with drugs. The study has been ongoing since early last month." [more inside]
Do Anything Stoned with Marty Adams presents: How To Mow Your Yard on PCP. [SLYT]
Rethinking the War on Drugs (WSJ video / not OpEd). A more nuanced view than typically found in the anti-drugs vs. legalize drugs ad nausea. Practical solutions being done today. [more inside]
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has signed legislation that would require thousands of people applying for welfare to pass a drug test before they could receive benefits. [more inside]
"Woodstock is their last refuge, the only old-age home in the world where hard drugs are not a taboo, a place intended for people who, in their early 50s, look as worn out as if they were in their 70s." A model project keeps aging drug users out of the streets of The Hague. [more inside]
In December 1974, New York Times reporter Seymour Hersh's front-page account (paywall) of the CIA's MK-ULTRA program documented their illegal domestic intelligence operations against the antiwar movement and other dissident groups in the United States. The article eventually prompted investigations by the Rockefeller Commission and the Church and Pike committees. "There have been other reports on the CIA's doping of civilians, but they have mostly dished about activities in New York City. Accounts of what actually occurred in San Francisco have been sparse and sporadic. But newly declassified CIA records, recent interviews, and a personal diary of [George H. White,] an operative at Stanford Special Collections shed more light on the breadth of the San Francisco operation." SF Weekly: "Operation Midnight Climax: How the CIA doped San Francisco citizens with LSD." MK-ULTRA: Previously on Metafilter. (Via)
Transparency Life Sciences is a startup drug development company trying to design clinical trials via an open source approach. [more inside]
Chris Arnade is a forex trader with an odd pasttime: taking pictures of New York addicts in a series he calls Faces of Addiction.
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]
Confessions of a middle-aged Ecstasy eater. I believe that my coming to Ecstasy goes further than mere thrill-seeking. I believe it goes to the centre of my life at the time. It was a period of personal devastation. It began with my only child, a son - he was then my best friend, from time to time still is - and I did not see it coming and it culminated in Ecstasy, and to that I see no end. He was beautiful and sensitive and extraordinarily talented, talented enough that at 13 his poetry had won the notice of university professors and New York book editors alike. So when he undertook to destroy himself, he took his mother and father with him. That was not, nor is it, his fault.
For ages humankind has struggled with the definitive question of existence. To wit, "Can An Intelligent Person Like Phish?" A writer for Parks and Recreation says yes, but upon further field investigation involving large quantities of booze, psychedelics, pot, and "moonrocks" (Earwolf podcast) the answer is, obviously, no.
"I would point out to you that medical explanations are modern. That Americans today want medical explanations for things that in the 19th century would have been explained by hysteria, and in the 18th century would have been explained by religious conversion experiences in the context of the Great Awakening, when people were having these types of fits, and in the 17th century by witchcraft."
After years of rumored depression, drug and alcohol addiction, and legal issues, D'Angelo is poised to make a comeback. [more inside]
If you like real-life crime drama, Burgled in Philly, by John Davidson, will keep you occupied for a few minutes. [more inside]
SiHKAL: Shulgins I Have Known and Loved: After spending days, weeks, months poring over the work [PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story; TiHKAL: The Continuation; lab books] of psychonaut-in-chief, Alexander Shulgin, Hamilton Morris mustered up the chutzpah to give him a call and request an interview. The result is this: an epic love-fest on the man who birthed Ecstasy in a test-tube. Hamilton visits the Shulgin residence (in San Francisco, naturally) and tempers his fanboy freakout with a rare and intensive look at the home and laboratory that caused the balls of millions to trip. For those who prefer text, here is the video in article form. [Shulgin previously: 1; 2]
Tuberculosis, which kills around 1,000 people a day in India, has acquired a deadlier edge. Forty years ago, the world thought it had conquered TB. [more inside]
The New Dealers : For some time, I'd been hearing stories from my sources in the interstate marijuana racket about law-abiding "civilians" turning to the game because of the recession, and so, armed with introductions, I hit the road to meet some of these unlikely criminals face to face. That's how, on a hot evening in June, I found myself in Dan's Northern California kitchen.
If I Die Young: Struggling with Addiction and Recovery. "Last year, 249 people died of prescription drug overdoses in Pinellas County, FL. Just about everybody who knew Stacy Nicholson figured she was next. Then an empathetic judge gave her a choice: recovery, or the coffin." [more inside]
It just hasn't been a good month for the Chicago Bears. First they lost Jay Cutler and Matt Forte to injuries, and yesterday wide receiver Sam Hurd was arrested in an undercover drug sting, after an investigation that began in July 2011.
Prisoners in Brazil's prisons formed their own rules for governance, setting up a system much more effective than the government.
Even a little too much Tylenol over a few days can cause a liver failure. Paracetamol or acetaminophen, active ingredient of such over-the-counter painkillers as Tylenol, Panadol, Anacin-3 and many, many others, is considered safe - and it is, in prescribed doses. But even a single overdose can lead to liver failure despite treatment, and then only a liver transplant can avert a fatal outcome. [more inside]
The Mexican Mafia has significant operational control only within prisons, yet manages to tax street gangs at rates of 10-30% of revenues. It has become a kind of government. A PDF of the corresponding journal article exists here.
The media portrayed it as a fight between good cops and evil drug dealers. According to that point of view...
A new malaria vaccine has been shown effective in large-scale field trials. After decades of disappointment, researchers think they're finally on track to unleash the first practical vaccine against malaria, one of mankind's ancient scourges. In the world's first large field trial of an experimental malaria vaccine, several thousand young children who got three doses had about 55 percent less risk of getting the disease over a year than those who got a control vaccine against rabies or meningitis. [more inside]