At this week's UN General Assembly Special Session on drug policy - scheduled after lobbying by Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia, whose leaders are calling for a more “humane solution” to the drugs problem that goes beyond a focus on enforcement and criminalization - Canada's Health Minister Jane Philpott announced that Canada will begin the process of legalizing and regulating marijuana in spring 2017.
In a 4-to-1 decision, the Mexican Supreme Court has ruled that recreational marijuana use is legal, an enormous change in policy that will impact the drug war, our relations to the US, and pretty much everything about the path our country has been on for decades.
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)
Is breastfeeding while using marijuana child abuse? The (warning: graphic) audio recording of Daisy Bram's pleas to police taking her (15-month- and 4-week-old) children away from her likely affected Butte County, California (Chico) voters' decision to soundly reject Measure A, a proposed new law to restrict marijuana cultivation. Today, Bram faces charges of felony child abuse and misdemeanor child endangerment for breastfeeding while using cannabis.
"Dozens of federal agents on Monday raided the Oakland businesses and apartment of Richard Lee, the state's most prominent advocate for the legalization and regulation of marijuana, carting away loads of pot and belongings but not revealing the purpose of their investigation." ... Today, "[f]our of the six medical marijuana providers who are suing the U.S. government over last year's raids of pot businesses across Montana have been arrested on federal drug charges."
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]
"It begins with a freshly showered person riding naked for hours on a clean, washed horse inside a two-meter-high 'forest' of marijuana. Afterwards, the human body and that of the horse are covered with a thick layer of resin mixed with sweat. This produces a substance that is usually dark brown in color, which is then thoroughly scraped off the human and horse's bodies." The Chu (sometimes Chui or Chuy) valley produced much of the marijuana available in the Soviet Union, and continues its unique harvest to this day. Via The World on PRI (audio link). [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.
Philadelphia is going to decriminalize Marijuana. Or maybe they aren't. Well, the police aren't going to stop arresting people. “We’re not going to stop locking people up,” said Lt. Frank Vanore. “We’re going to stop people for it. . . . Our officers are trained to do that,” Vanore said. “Whether or not they make it through the charging process, that’s up to the D.A. [more inside]
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.]
Many people want to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana and other drugs, however, few know that many U.S. states are content simply to tax. In fact, even the federal government wants a share (middle of p. 89 of the PDF), and used tax stamps in early prohibition, but only the states have recently issued issued cool stamps (be sure to click "exhibit"). The point, of course, is not to actually tax the drugs, but to penalize the drug dealers for tax evasion as well as drug sales. They have brought in some money, though. A few interesting state government pages: Conecticut, Nebraska, North Carolina and their tax return form, and Kansas.
NORML Releases "Most Comprehensive Analysis Of US Marijuana Arrest Data To Date" Among the reports' findings: * The enforcement of state and local marijuana laws annually costs US taxpayers an estimated $7.6 billion, approximately $10,400 per arrest. * While adult African Americans account for only 8.8% of the US population and 11.9% of annual marijuana users, they comprise 23% of all marijuana possession arrests in the United States.
It's Just A Plant: a children's story of marijuana "One night Jackie woke up past her bedtime. She smelled something funny in the air, so she walked down the hall to her parents' bedroom." Here's a new way for parents to teach their kids about drugs--through a brightly-illustrated children's book, not second-hand misinformation or Drug Warrior scare tactics. Parents, librarians, and booksellers, please take note. [via D'Alliance, the blog of the Drug Policy Alliance]
Drug War Roundup V. "It's the most horrible mistake I've ever made," says a juror who helped convict Ed "Guru of Ganja" Rosenthal of marijuana production. The judge in Ed's case didn't consider him a flight risk, but may have after reading "The Drug War Refugees" (reg. req.), about Americans fleeing to Canada. The entire drug trade is approximately "the size of the Spanish economy and about 8 percent of world trade." And, of course, is responsible for hippo migration to Columbia.