Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Pendulum Swings Back

Today is a sad day for the fight against prohibition. Not only was California’s Proposition 19 soundly defeated, but medical cannabis initiatives in three other states failed as well. Even in Arizona, where medical cannabis had already passed twice before. I hate to say it, but I think the pro-cannabis pendulum is now on its way back to the prohibition side. And I’m afraid it will swing pretty far the other way before coming back around again.

If you want to know what’s in store for the future, you just have to look to the past. Anybody remember the 1970s and 1980s? Back in the 1970s, things were starting to look pretty bleak for prohibition. Over 20 states had passed medical cannabis legislation. Many others decriminalized cannabis. But then in the 1980s, things changed. The Republicans took over, and every single one of those medical cannabis programs was either repealed or never implemented. Even the federal government’s own medical program was discontinued. It wasn’t until 1996 that the pendulum started swinging back to the pro-cannabis side again.

I predict the same will happen all over again starting now. In 2012 Republicans will once again control the country. They will be stoked by yesterday’s defeat of Proposition 19 and the other medical initiatives. And why shouldn’t they be? The voters have spoken, and told them that prohibition is what they want. Of course, the politicians knew all along that being pro legalization was political suicide, and this just confirms it. And their fears that medical cannabis was just a first step toward full legalization have also been confirmed. So it will be full steam ahead for prohibition in the years to come.

What can we expect over the next 10 to 15 years? Here are my predictions:
  • No new medical cannabis legislation will pass.
  • No new decriminalization or legalization legislation will pass.
  • Medical cannabis programs in some states will either be repealed or drastically cut back.
  • Penalties for possession and other cannabis-related offenses will increase in some states, which will probably involve mandatory minimum sentences and/or three-strikes laws.
  • Arrests and imprisonment for cannabis offenses will increase across the country.
  • The same things will happen in Canada.
Sure, the Proposition 19 folks are giving things a positive spin, saying they’ll be back in 2012. But let’s face it. There will never be a legalization initiative that will please everybody. The existing black market and wild-west mentality are too deeply established. There's just too much money involved. The result will be what we have now: Constant bickering about the best way to go about ending prohibition without endangering the children or cutting into anybody's profits.

So check back here again in 10-15 years and see how accurate my predictions were. Around that time the pendulum should start swinging back again. The older folks who are the staunchest supporters of prohibition will be gone, and we might have a fighting chance. Then again, the younger voters will be older by then and worrying about the message they send to their children. Sadly, when many people become parents, that message becomes, “don’t do what I did.”

Thursday, September 9, 2010

If Proposition 19 Fails, A New Strategy

If you are even remotely interested in current drug war events, you already know about Proposition 19, affectionately known as Prop 19. For those of you who don't follow drug war happenings, its official title is the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010.” That’s right, it’s the California voter initiative to legalize cannabis, also known by its slang name, marijuana. Prop 19 will be on the ballot this November and, if it passes, will become part of the state’s constitution. Whether it will pass or not is anybody’s guess at this point. But if it does, it will inevitably get the ball rolling in other states. If it fails, it will be a major victory in the war on drugs and a setback to the anti-prohibition movement throughout the country.

Right now, if I had to bet, my money would be against Prop 19 passing. Sadly, I have to be a realist. So I started wondering, what then? Where do we go from there? The answer is really quite simple. Adopt an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” strategy. The next obvious step would be a voter initiative to criminalize alcohol. That should make both sides happy, right? Cannabis remains illegal, which satisfies the prohibitionists. And both alcohol and cannabis are treated the same, which satisfies the anti-prohibitionists.

If you think about it, it’s not that far fetched After all, it happened before not so long ago. A vocal minority did it then, and they could easily do it again. It’s pretty obvious that prohibitionists learned nothing from our little experiment with banning a recreational drug in the 1920s. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the self-proclaimed moral watchdogs, along with rehab professionals, police, prosecutors, and the prison unions, jumped on the bandwagon. Before you know it, we could have another full-blown temperance movement on our hands. Pretty scary thought, if you ask me.

But what would adding alcohol to the list of banned drugs accomplish? Aside from creating a lot more criminals, and being a boon to the private prison industry, that is. After all, two wrongs don’t make a right. So, what’s the point? Just to get even with the prohibitionists, and give them a taste of their own “medicine”?

As nice as that sounds, punishing the prohibitionists would only be a (pleasant) side effect. The point would be to generate a little empathy. Generally speaking, people who support prohibition are not really affected by it. They’re not really interested in using any drug other than alcohol. Their drug is legal because it’s the “good “drug, and people should not be using the other, “bad” drugs. So maybe it wouldn’t hurt for them to walk a mile in the other side’s shoes. See what it’s like to have one’s preferred drug declared “bad.” See what it’s like to be labeled by society a criminal for relaxing with a cold beer at home. Before you know it, the prohibitionists would be organizing protests, having tea parties, and criticizing the government for taking away their rights and intruding into their private lives. Until prohibition has a personal impact on the lives of the people who support it, they will never understand how destructive a policy it really is. Nor will they budge in their adamant support of it.

So, what do you say? Are you with me on this? If Prop 19 fails to pass, let’s do this prohibition thing right. Not the half-assed way we’re doing it now, with some drugs good, and some bad, some legal and some not. Let’s wipe out the devil’s brew once and for all, and for the first time in history, live in a completely drug-free society. We can do it if we keep doing the same thing, but try a little harder this time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A New Prohibitionist Tactic

Over the last few years, since the advent of medical cannabis and especially since the ballot initiative to legalize cannabis in California, one of the main objectives of the prohibitionists seems to be to insult just about everybody. They're no longer belittling just the stoners and potheads like they used to. Now just about everyone is a target of their mistrust and suspicion. Frankly, I'm a little surprised by this new tactic. In a war, don't you want to win the hearts and minds of the people you're trying to subjugate? So what are they up to? Are they really crazy... like a fox?

What got me thinking about this was a recent statement by our beloved former Drug Czar, Barry McCaffrey, that struck me as a bit odd. Speaking about the possibility of legal cannabis in California, he said that he feared that virtually everyone would be under the influence virtually all the time. In particular, he said he fears that truck drivers, teachers, airline pilots, and even eye doctors would be using the drug while on the job. Aside from this being just plain ludicrous, I think the people of California should be very offended. And if I were one of those professions he named, I'd be pretty pissed. If I were a California eye doctor, I'd be thinking “slander.”

But this is not an isolated incident. I've since noticed others using this very same tactic. For example, the Reverend Ron Allen, who opposes the NAACP's endorsement of the legalization initiative in California. He is essentially saying the same thing about minorities that McCaffrey is saying about people in general: Legalization will lead to wild, uncontrolled abuse. It’s one thing when you insult a profession. But when you say that sort of thing about a race of people, I think they call that racism.

What I’m wondering is, why stop there? What about non-minorities and other respected professions? What’s to stop the Drug Czar himself from abusing cannabis if it becomes legal? I guess we’ll find out soon enough as medical cannabis is now legal in Washington DC. Surely we can expect Mr. Kerlikowske to get himself one of those "bogus" medical recommendations and start toking on the job. And lets not forget the DEA. What’s to stop them from swinging by a dispensary and picking up some Kush or Skunk on the their way to work? I mean, if you are going to start accusing people, why would you expect civil servants to make intelligent decisions about their drug use when even respected professionals, like doctors and pilots, won’t be able to?

So what are those crafty prohibitionists up to? Have they somehow stumbled upon the ultimate scare tactic? Or do they really believe that literally everyone is a potential stoner/pothead? Except for themselves of course? Because it really sounds to me like they are saying that the law is the only thing standing between civilization and zombie land (great movie). I surely must be misinterpreting something. No one could really believe such a thing. But I think there just might be a way to find out. Next time you hear a prohibitionist say that legalization will lead to people being high on the job, ask them exactly how high they plan to be on their job. Surely they consider themselves no better than a teacher or doctor, so they too should be expected to abuse drugs on the job. I’d love to hear a prohibitionist’s response to that question. Any reporters willing to ask it?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Whole Truth

When federal agents raid a medical marijuana dispensary or grower, as they’ve been doing and continue to do in California and Colorado, the victim of the raid is charged with a federal crime. Their case is heard in a federal court. No surprise there, as cannabis is illegal under federal law. And did anybody really expect the DEA to stop the raids just because the U.S. Attorney General and President said so? But I digress. Fair enough. You commit a federal crime, you go to a federal court.

But that’s where the fairness stops. You see in federal court, the “defendant” is not allowed a defense. OK, they’ve obviously committed a crime in the eyes of the feds. Unless they can get off on a technicality, it’s pretty hard for a dispensary owner to deny that they were selling and/or growing marijuana when they have a storfront that’s open to the public. So their only possible defense is that they were acting in accordance with state and local law. In one case, the victim a DEA raid had even been deputized by the City of Oakland expressly to shield him from federal prosecution. Sounds like a pretty good defense to me.

But that is exactly the kind of defense that federal judges do not allow. In all such cases to date, the defendants were not allowed to present evidence that they were in compliance with state laws. They were not allowed to mention medical marijuana or use a medical necessity defense. In other words, they were not allowed a defense, any defense, period. There is currently legislation pending that would change this, and would allow what most would consider a reasonable defense when federal and state laws are in conflict. But it’s not passed yet, and the raids continue. And once you are arrested and charged by the feds, you’re as good a convicted as things stand today.

Pretty screwed up if you ask me. But what I’d really like to know is how can these defendants take the oath before testifying? You know, the one that goes, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” If they take this oath and testified, wouldn’t they be committing perjury? They would, under orders of the court, not be telling the whole truth. In fact, they would be witholding pretty much all of the relevant truth. Of course if they do tell the whole truth, they would probably be found in contempt of court and a mistrial declared.

So if it were me, and I took the stand, and I was asked to take the oath, I would have to respectfully decline. I couldn’t, in good conscience, swear to do something that I was expressly instructed not to do. I wonder what would happen? Can a judge order someone to violate the law? I’d like to find out. Might make for an interesting precedent.

If you’d like to learn more about how the system works, Google the cases of U.S. v James Dean Stacy, U.S. v Edward Rosenthal, or U.S. v Charles C. Lynch. For more information about recent and pending cases, check out Federal Medical Marijuana Cases in California & elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Prohibition and the 13th Amendment

Remember the 13th Amendment? The one that goes something like this:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.
According to my dictionary, a slave is
a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.
Putting two and two together (and getting 5), I’m going to go way out on a limb, a limb out past left field, and suggest that prohibition is a violation of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Before you write this off as crazy talk, let me explain my reasoning, circuitous as it may be.

If the government controls what we can and can’t put into our own bodies, and forces us to obey their restrictions with the threat of arrest and imprisonment, doesn't that make us slaves, at least according to the dictionary definition? If I own my own body, then I have the right to decide what to do with it and what to put into it. If I don’t have that right, then someone else must own my body. No one can have that kind of absolute power over me (except maybe my wife or mother) unless they own me. And if someone owns me, that makes me a slave.

“Come on,” you’re probably thinking. “The government’s not beating or whipping you, or making you work the fields.” That’s true. (As far as you know.) But being physically abused or forced into hard labor are not what makes one a slave. You can be a slave and have a relatively easy life, or you can be a paid servant and be abused. We’re more like house slaves than field hands. We get to live in a nice house and wear nice clothes, but are never allowed to forget our place or who makes the rules.

What makes one a slave is that, unlike the free man, the slave does not own their own body. Someone else makes decisions for them, and they do as they are told. When the government decides what we can and can't put into our bodies, whether we abide by their rules or not, then they, for all intents and purposes, own us. Decisions are made by our master, who knows what’s best for us. We must do their bidding, or suffer the consequences. We are no longer the masters of our own domain.

Unlike many other arguments against prohibition, this one does not apply to victimless crimes in general. Things like gambling or prostitution involve others and the behaviors we engage in with them. Prohibition is different in that it seeks to control a behavior that we engage in entirely on our own. If the government tells me that I can’t drink and drive, that’s OK because they are protecting others from my potentially dangerous public behavior. But if they tell me I can't drink, period, then it would appear that they have absolute control over my body.

So what do you think? Am I crazy? Has our government turned us into slaves with their prohibitionist policy? Or do they just want to be my wife/mother? Who knows? But invalidating the Controlled Substances Act based on the 13th Amendment is no more insane than validating it with the Commerce Clause. So who’s more crazy, me or the government?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Prohibitionism: A Religious Cult

It occurred to me that prohibitionists are a lot like religious fanatics. They believe what they believe, because... Well, because that’s what they believe. And they believe it to the max. But, you might argue, their beliefs are not based on any kind of logic or truth. So what? That hasn't prevented their success for the past 70 years. In fact, like most religions, their purely subjective beliefs sound very convincing to lots of people. So much so, that those beliefs have become ingrained into our society. Most people today can recite the prohibitionist prayers without even thinking about it.

Prayers, you say? OK, maybe not prayers exactly. I guess they are more like mantras or incantations. “Just say no.” “Only dopes use dope.” “This is your brain on drugs.” “Think of the children.” “It’s a gateway drug.” “If you legalize it, everyone will use it.” “Those hippies and potheads just want to get high all the time.” I’m sure you’ve heard these and many others, and never really thought about them. Non-prohibitionists might laugh them off, and see them for what they are, meaningless sound bytes. But to a hard-core prohibitionist believer, those mantras are gospel. They are common sense and common knowledge. Anyone who questions the prohibitionist beliefs is trying to destroy the moral fabric of our society. There’s no room for doubters in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Damn those hippies and potheads! Literally.

And just like religious zealots, prohibitionists believe that they are taking the moral high ground. They are the ones that know how people should behave, what they should and shouldn’t do, how they should live their lives. But, unfortunately, they are not content living their own lives according to their beliefs. Like many other religions, they have missionaries, who go out upon the land and preach to anyone who will listen. Ever hear of the Drug Czar? They want everyone else to know about their beliefs, and live their lives accordingly. And they want to punish those who don’t, the infidels.

Of course, you can’t argue with a religious fanatic. You can’t convince them with a logical argument or empirical evidence. That’s because their beliefs are not based on logic or evidence. They know what they know. They’ve always known it, and anyone who doesn’t know what they know is ignorant or delusional. Or worse, evil and deserving of punishment.

So they have their incantations, their moral standards, their missionaries, their intricately-crafted and deeply-rooted belief system. It looks a lot like a religion to me. Except for not having their own special prohibitionist god. But that’s OK. They can and do borrow a god from other religions. Which is what makes them, technically speaking, a cult.

So why does it even matter what they are? Because knowing what they are can help us understand how to fight them. Information, facts, and logic are not effective weapons when dealing with cult members. Sadly, short of an intervention and intensive de-programming, there is very little that can be done to change their world view. Which is why their cult has endured for so long. I wish I knew of an effective means of de-programming them, but I don’t. And, I don’t mean to sound overly pessimistic, but I think the media campaigns I’ve seen recently, in California and elsewhere, will do little to actually change the minds of any of the hardcore fanatics. Might as well try to convert a Baptist to Islam.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Prohibition Really Is A Success

I’ve noticed that prohibitionists never like to talk about the effectiveness of the current drug war. Sure, from time to time they bring the press in and show them a big pile of drugs that were seized. And they talk about things like street value, the number of people arrested, and how long they worked and how much money they spent getting ahold of those drugs and the people who possessed them. And I suppose you could say this is their way of showing off their victory in a major battle. But though they may win a fair number of battles, and brag to no end about it, they never really talk about the war. You know, things like the impact of their victories on drug availability, or price, or use. And who can blame them? Because in reality, the battles they win really are pretty few and far between. Skirmishes really. If you look at the big picture, the war as a whole is not going their way at all. Which is not something to brag about.

But I think I’ve figured out a way for the prohibitionists to show the world indisputable evidence of success in their war. And it’s really just a matter of spin. All the drug warriors need to do is redefine their objectives. In other words, if what you are doing is inconsistent with your intentions, and you don’t want to change what you’re doing, then change your intentions. In the drug warrior’s case, they don’t even really have to change their intentions. They just have to admit to them. Isn’t that always the first step?

The drug warriors just need to admit that the purpose of their current prohibitionist drug policy has nothing whatsoever to do with preventing people from using or abusing drugs. It’s not about public health or safety. It’s not about fighting crime, or protecting us from ourselves, or any of that malarky. That’s just their story for public consumption. Kind of like that bachelor uncle that is just neat, or artistic, or sensitive. He’s just waiting for the right woman. I can understand why the Drug Czar refuses to use the term “harm reduction.” Prohibition doesn’t and can’t prevent any harm associated with drug abuse. And it clearly can't stop people from using drugs. If any of these things are really their intention, then it’s plain to see that the war was lost long ago.

So why don’t they just come out of their closet of denial and admit the real purpose of the war. The truth will set them free. The only purpose and, unfortunately, outcome of their ongoing war on drugs is to punish people for using drugs. Drugs are bad, therefore people who use drugs are bad. They need to be punished for their badness. It’s all about defining a moral standard, then declaring that anyone who doesn't adhere to that standard is a criminal. See? Doesn’t that feel better?

Not only that, but now all of a sudden, the war on drugs can be legitimately described as hugely successful. I’d say that, by this criterion, its success is beyond even the wildest dreams of Richard Nixon, the man who first declared the war. Our government has succeeded in punishing more people for using drugs than anyone ever thought humanly possible. We have the largest prison population, not only in the world, but in the history of the world. If our intent is to punish, we couldn’t be more successful. That’s something to brag about!

Now I usually don’t like to give the bad guys (i.e., the prohibitionists) any help. But I’m feeling generous this fine day. So this one’s on me. Consider it some free ammunition in winning the hearts and minds of the people on whom you’ve declared war. Or at the very least, as a way to get more money to carry on your war. You’re welcome.

Monday, April 26, 2010

McCaffrey Fears Stoned Eye Surgeons

In a recent interview on MSNBC, former Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey was spouting more of the nonsense that he has become so famous for. On that show he was debating the upcoming initiative to legalize marijuana in California with Paul Armentano, director of NORML.

So what is most troubling to Mr. McCaffrey about the possible legalization of marijuana in California? Well, I think the answer is obvious. With a legal supply of the drug readily available, everyone will be smoking it all the time. Truck drivers, teachers, pilots, and yes, eye surgeons will undoubtedly be performing their official duties under the influence. See, I told you the answer was obvious.

Being an open-minded individual, I really want to understand Mr. McCaffery’s concerns. So I will try to see the world through his eyes: Right now, under prohibition, the law prevents responsible people from using marijuana. Only hippies and addicted pot heads smoke marijuana now. Respectable people respect the law and abstain. In other words, it’s prohibition that is keeping our country from falling apart. The fact that another very potent mind-altering drug, alcohol, is currently legal is completely irrelevant. Responsible people understand that, even though alcohol is legal, they should not consume it under certain circumstances, like while driving a truck or performing surgery. But I guess those respectable people aren’t really all that respectable. They’ve been sitting around, abstaining from alcohol while on the job, waiting for the day that marijuana becomes legal. Once the floodgates are open, however, they will rush out and start smoking pot. All the time. Chaos will ensue.

So if I understand Mr. McCaffery’s reasoning, legal alcohol and legal marijuana are two completely different things. Drinkers understand that alcohol can impair them and use their own judgment as to when they should and should not drink. But marijuana is different. Responsible people using their own judgment does not apply to marijuana. I guess that’s because only irresponsible hippies use it. But wait, he’s not concerned about more hippies smoking pot if it were to be legalized. He’s concerned about truck drivers and teachers using it. The responsible ones.

I think I’m starting to get it. Unlike alcohol, marijuana makes people irresponsible. Trying it once in a legal environment would destroy their sense of responsibility. They would become hopelessly addicted and never be able to stop smoking it. They’ll use it constantly, making them unable to carry out their official duties. A rash of airline crashes and botched eye surgeries will necessarily follow.

Thank goodness Mr. McCaffery is looking out for our welfare. I feel so much safer knowing that my doctor or airline pilot does not smoke marijuana. How do I know they don’t smoke marijuana? That’s easy. Because it’s illegal. I shudder to think what might have become of me, for example, if my teachers had smoked marijuana. Like those long-haired, jeans-wearing professors I had in college back in the 70s. Here I thought they were pot smokers. I guess smoking with a few of them was what really fooled me. But now I know, they couldn’t have been marijuana smokers because marijuana was, and is, illegal. I guess they were just liberals. Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. McCaffery.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Simple Solution for Oregon Medical Marijuana Users

If you are a medical marijuana user in Oregon, you’ve probably already heard about the recent Supreme Court decision. I’m talking about the ruling in the case of Emerald Steel Fabricators Inc. v. Bureau of Labor and Industries of the state of Oregon. In their infinite wisdom, the Oregon Supreme Court decided that the state’s medical marijuana law does not protect an individual from being fired for failing a drug test. It’s the same old story, federal law trumps state law. In effect, this ruling could potentially scuttle Oregon’s medical marijuana program. Only the unemployed, and those not receiving federal aid or living in federal housing, will be able to take their medicine without fear of reprisal. Could be devastating to a lot of seriously ill people.

But it doesn’t have to be. The solution is simple, and unfortunately I can’t take credit for it. I’m just posting here in hopes more people will be made aware of it. You see, while the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, the FDA has approved Marinol. In case you don’t know, Marinol is synthetic THC (one of the active ingredients in marijuana) that can be legally prescribed by doctors in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Even better, Marinol is classified as a Schedule 3 controlled substance. (If anyone can explain that discrepancy, I’m all ears.) What this means is that employers in Oregon can fire you for taking doctor-recommended marijuana, but they cannot fire you for taking doctor-prescribed Marinol. So the solution is really quite simple: when your doctor gives you a recommendation for medical marijuana, also ask for a prescription for Marinol. No need to ever fill that prescription. Just keep it around in case you ever fail a drug test. Since drug tests can’t distinguish between synthetic and natural THC, just show them your prescription and you will be fine. Problem solved. No one need ever be fired for taking their medicine in Oregon again.

Of course then it will be up to the feds to sort things out. If drug tests can’t distinguish between a prescribed and a recommended drug, then maybe the classification system needs to be reconsidered. Or maybe they need better drug tests. But who really cares. As long as the federal government wants to play these games, people will always find loopholes. Not that they are so hard to find. When you have the same drug classified under two different schedules, there’s bound to be some confusion. But that’s their problem. And that problem is in turn a solution for medical marijuana users in Oregon and across the country. I have a feeling that the number of Marinol prescriptions being written is going to go way up in the near future. Too bad for the pharmaceutical companies the vast majority of those will go unfilled.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Response to Denny Chapin

Last week, Mr. Chapin wrote a guest article for my blog about the decriminalization and/or legalization of marijuana. Now it’s my turn to respectfully disagree.

Denny, you ignorant slut. How can you live in the good ol’ U.S. of A. and still not have a clue about the American way of life? It sounds like you just don’t understand how we do things around here.

You talk about our president’s apparently contradictory views on the marijuana issue. But it makes perfect sense to me. Before being elected, our president was in favor of decriminalization and medical marijuana. Now that he’s president, he’s not. But he’s an admitted (former?) marijuana user, you might say. OK. And????? It’s just presidential privilege, and it’s as American as apple pie. In fact, it goes all the way back to the days of our Founding Fathers. For example, take John Adams, an outspoken critic of King George and the British government when he was a member of the Second Continental Congress. Yet after being elected president, he signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts, which made criticizing our government against the law. See? Putting others in jail for something you yourself once did is just a part of being president. I think it might even be in the Constitution (I’ll have to check).

And I think you are being a little harsh on Mr. Kerlikowske. Remember, he’s just a civil servant doing his job. Surely you are aware that a Congressional mandate forces him to say the things he does. And you can’t blame the guy for taking the job in the first place. It’s easy money in these uncertain economic times, especially for a cop. So what if he has to lie and say things no self-respecting person would? So what if he had a completely different opinion before becoming Drug Czar? Do you really expect someone with a cushy government job to rock the boat? Again, I have to ask, what country do you live in? The guy’s just doing the job he’s paid to do and being a good American at the same time.

I also have to agree with Mr. Kerlikowske’s statement that science should determine what medicine is, not popular vote. Surely you know that while an individual person may be smart, “people” are most definitely not. Science is the one and only thing our drug laws should be based on. And not the kind of science that’s been done in the last 40 years, the hundreds, if not thousands, of papers published in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals. I mean, most of that research was done by foreigners! When it comes to marijuana, that kind of “scientific” science is totally irrelevant. Our Drug Czar is talking about “real” science. You know, the kind that supports what the government wants you to believe. Until that kind of science is done, and done here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., I fully support Mr. Kerlikowske in his position that there is no evidence of any medical use for marijuana.

And finally, I have to come out in support of Mr. Kerlikowske’s fears regarding the dangers of widespread marijuana use. (I think his examples of the physical and psychological effects were taken from a pamphlet on alcohol abuse, but that’s neither here nor there.) Surely you’re aware of the horrible consequence of marijuana use. Haven’t you ever seen that classic documentary “Reefer Madness”? Watch it some time — you just might learn something. All these decriminalization and legalization advocates want is for everybody to be “high” all the time. Teachers, truck drivers, airline pilots, and yes, even eye surgeons. They want the streets to be filled with crazed hippies and jazz musicians. I’m not sure why they would want such a thing, but they do. So they must have a plan. And I’m sure it’s an evil plan. So I applaud Mr. Kerlikowske for not wanting our country to be overrun with marijuana addicts. As he so eloquently pointed out, marijuana use causes nuisance and crime. I don’t know about you, but hearing loud, overly-long Grateful Dead or Phish songs (or even worse, jazz music) blaring at all hours is a nuisance I can certainly live without.

So, Mr. Chapin, I’m afraid you are delusional, at best. Or perhaps you’re a marijuana addict, preaching your doctrine of immorality and lawlessness. Either way, the American people aren’t interested in the goods you’re selling. Or should I say “pushing”? We are a nation of law-abiding citizens (except of course for the 7.3 million of us currently serving time in jail or prison, on probation, or on parole). We believe in and trust our elected officials, and we know they would never lie to us. Maybe you should tell your story to someone who cares. Like all those hippies in the Netherlands or Portugal or Argentina. And thank your president and drug czar for looking out for your best interests.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Obama: Pro-Decriminalization and Anti-Legalization?

This week we have a very special guest post by none other than Denny Chapin. Mr. Chapin is the Managing Editor of, a directory of drug rehab centers and resource for substance abuse information. He has written for other blogs like Drug WarRant and Morning Donut.

Marijuana is Harmful

Recently-appointed ‘Drug Czar’ Gil Kerlikowske gave a speech on March 4th, 2010 entitled “Why Marijuana Legalization Would Compromise Public Health and Public Safety” in which Kerlikowske, speaking for the Obama Administration, strongly opposes the legalization and continued distribution of medical and potentially-legal marijuana. In his speech, Kerlikowske states that “science should determine what a medicine [referring to medical marijuana] is, not popular vote.” Citing instances where communities are using zoning, creating nuisance laws, and planning regulations, as well as the decrease in marijuana outlets in the Netherlands, the argument seems simple: legalizing marijuana causes nuisance and crime.

Beyond this point, Kerlikowske argues that the issue with marijuana is not about a culture war, but about what recent science has told us about the effects of the drug. “And the science, though still evolving, is clear: marijuana use is harmful. It is associated with dependence, respiratory and mental illness, poor motor performance, and cognitive impairment, among other negative effects.” Kerlikowske also cites decreased attention, negative effects on short-term memory, and decreased ability to learn and process information as other major negative side effects of marijuana use.

Kerlikowske, speaking for the Obama Administration, makes it clear that they are fighting legalization and the growth of medical marijuana dispensaries. The issue with all this is not whether or not it’s accurate, but rather what is motivating this loud reaction to medical marijuana, marijuana decriminalization, and marijuana legalization.

Background on the Drug Czar

Before Kerlikowske became the U.S. Drug Czar he was the Seattle Police Department’s Police Chief from 2001 until his appointment to the Office of National Drug Control Policy in 2009. In 2003 there was a local ballot initiative in Seattle that would make marijuana possession for personal use a low priority. Kerlikowske opposed the initiative, but in a response he stated, “arresting people for possessing marijuana for personal use... is not a priority now,” going on to say that the SPD was focusing more on cocaine and heroin traffickers.

Change in Position?

What changed from 2003 to 2009 that brought Kerlikowske to deliver a vehement speech touting the ills of marijuana? Perhaps these videos will shed some light on the subject:

Barrack Obama – “I inhaled frequently”

Barrack Obama and Medical Marijuana

Barrack Obama on Marijuana Decriminalization

Political Reaction

Barack Obama, too often it seems, has supported liberal views about marijuana decriminalization, medical marijuana, and his own personal use of marijuana, all before he was elected President of the United States.

First, can we not applaud this man for at least being honest about his past drug use, treating it with a bit of humor? At least we can see that Obama willingly goes past politics in certain cases.

However, it seems like the backlash against Obama’s liberal views have prompted a far more conservative, ‘scare-based’ approach at the federal level. Kerlikowske’s statements paint marijuana legalization as the disastrous path that the United States seems to be treading.


Is there contradiction within these views? Obama is explicitly against, and with Kerlikowske’s help, has removed the fiery language of the “drug war,” favoring legislation for marijuana decriminalization, also admitting he smoked marijuana in his youth with the intention of getting high. Kerlikowske stated that police enforcement of marijuana possession was a low priority for the SPD in 2003. So the question remains: are these views compatible with the notion that marijuana legalization is a sure-fire path to a dumber youth population, increase in crime, and decrease in productivity in our citizens?

I believe the answer to this question is simply that there is no contradiction in holding a pro-decriminalization and anti-legalization stance. Being against legalization does not prohibit or necessarily prevent one from being for decriminalization. While this position is uncommon (usually someone who is against legalization is also against decriminalization), there are no inherent logical faults in stating that marijuana possession should not be a criminal offense, while also stating that marijuana should not be legalized. As such, legislating in favor of decriminalization is compatible with legislating against legalization.

One simply wonders: Is this speech a product of millions of YouTube views, or real sentiment our government is willing to spend time, energy, and money on? And that, I’m afraid, remains up in the air.

Be sure to tune in next week for my rebuttal—T.A.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Congress Amends Controlled Substance Act

Washington, DC — In a move many are saying is long over due, President Obama today signed into law the most sweeping changes to the Controlled Substances Act since its passing in 1970. In addition to recreational drugs, the newly-expanded law outlaws a variety of other activities that have been deemed harmful to individuals and to society. Accordingly, the law has been renamed the Controlled Pleasures Act of 2010, or CPA for short.

As expected, prostitution and gambling were immediately classified as Schedule II controlled pleasures under the CPA. Both will now be federal crimes, but because of their Schedule II status, will still be allowed in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Outside of those two locations though, raids are expected to shut down any operations that don’t comply with the new law. Indian reservations are not exempt. To accommodate the anticipated need for more law enforcement personnel, the DEA’s role has been greatly expanded. The agency has been renamed the Pleasure Enforcement Administration (PEA), and former DEA director Michele Leonhart was named as interim PEA director until a formal appointment can be made. “There’s no one better at denying people pleasure,” said Leonhart, “just ask my husband.”

In a surprise move, masturbation was classified as a Schedule I controlled pleasure, meaning it will now be illegal under any and all circumstances. Former Drug Czar, now interim Pleasure Czar, Gil Kerlikowske, was supportive of the decision. “What kind of message would we be sending our children if their government allowed such behavior,” said Mr. Kerlikowske. “We’ve known for years that masturbation is a gateway activity, leading to other forbidden pleasures, such as gambling, drugs, and prostitution. It has no medical benefit, is highly addictive, and undermines the moral integrity of our society.”

Law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and the private prison industry have also unanimously praised the new legislation. Mr. Kerlikowske, a former police officer, pointed out that masturbation is a major contributor to violent crime. “Most violent criminals at the time of their arrest had either recently masturbated or were planning to do so later that night. No other single activity has been associated with such a wide array of antisocial behavior.”

The newly-redesigned PEA web site provides plenty of data to support these and other claims. According to evidence provided by the PEA, masturbation has been linked to a variety of physical and emotional problems, especially in adolescent boys. Poor grades, short attention span, decreased cognitive ability, carpal tunnel syndrome, and blindness have all been reportedly caused by excessive masturbation. “We even have studies that show that masturbation causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others,” said PEA director Leonhart. “Statistics don’t lie,” she added.

Commenting on this far-reaching new legislation, the president admitted it could potentially affect a large number of people, as over 50 percent of the population have admitted to engaging in one or more of the forbidden activities at least once. But in the long run, our nation as a whole will benefit. Especially those in law enforcement and the private prison industry. When asked if he personally had ever engaged in any of these activities, the president admitted, “Yes, I tried masturbation a few times when I was in college. But it was the 70s, and all the kids were doing it. I realize now that no one should be allowed this unhealthy, immoral pleasure. “Choking the chicken” is no longer in my vocabulary.”

But reactions outside of Washington were not as consistently positive about the new law. Susan Herman, president of the ACLU, denounced the legislation as not only an invasion of privacy, but discriminatory to minorities and the poor. “The poor will be unfairly targeted by this law. Because of crowded living conditions, those of lower socioeconomic status will be far more likely to be caught pleasuring themselves than middle-class kids who don’t have to share a bedroom.” Many medical experts also oppose the new law. “Masturbation is a completely normal activity that people have been doing for thousands of years,” said Dr. I.M. Wood of the Stanford Masturbation Institute. “The government’s claims of its potential harm are greatly exaggerated. There has never been a death attributed to masturbation, except of course those that have been linked to DWM (driving while masturbating).”

Nevertheless, the new law will go into effect today, April 1, 2010. If you wanted to “rub one out,” as the kids say, one last time, you are already too late. And if you still must, be sure to be quiet about it. Under the new law, “sounds of pleasure” are now grounds for a search warrant. But remember, it’s for your own good.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and events portrayed herein and any actual people or events is purely coincidental. Happy April 1st!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hillary Clinton Declared Legally Insane

OK, I’m the one making the declaration, and maybe I don’t actually have the authority to make this declaration official. At least not in a strictly legal sense. But I think it’s obvious to anyone who’s been paying attention.

What I’m talking about is the delegation the U.S. of A. sent to Mexico this week to discuss the growing drug-related violence south of the border. In case you don’t know it, lots and lots of people have been killed in Mexico in the past few years since the Mexican government started their crack down on the drug cartels. Not that we really care all that much about some Mexicans killing each other. Sure, we’ve been sending them money to help them in their war on the cartels. But, as they say, out of sight, out of mind.

But all that changed last week when some Americans were killed in Mexico. Killing Mexicans is one thing. We might express our condolences, but beyond that it’s not really much of a concern to us. But when Americans are killed, well that’s an entirely different story.

So what do we do as a response? We send an impressive “delegation” to Mexico (it includes our Secretary of State, our Drug Czar, our Secretary of Defense, and our Secretary of Homeland security) to set them straight. Show them how we deal with drug violence here in the good ol’ U. S. of A. Which, nobody seemed to notice, is exactly the same way they deal with drug violence in Mexico. But no, that alone does not qualify anyone for an official declaration of insanity. What does is this little exchange quoted in the Wall Street Journal:
Mrs. Clinton said the administration was looking at anything that worked in fighting drug cartels. When asked if that included legalizing or decriminalizing drugs like marijuana, she said “no.
They are willing to consider anything that might work. But that does not include decriminalization or legalization of marijuana. I guess her definition of “anything” is different than mine. Could Ms. Clinton have taken a lesson from her husband on how to change the meaning of common words?

Regardless, I think the U.S. strategy south of the border illustrates what Albert Einstein was talking about when he defined “insanity” as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That’s exactly what we are doing. By “anything,” Ms. Clinton really means we will continue to do only what we’ve already been doing. In other words, more of the same. Doesn’t matter that this strategy has been, by any objective measure, a total failure. Both illegal drugs and drug-related violence are as prevalent as they’ve always been. Nevertheless, we are going to stick with it because we know in our hearts that it’s a good strategy. If we keep at it long enough, we’re bound to get the results we want. We just have to be patient. Why try something new, no matter how likely it is to work, when we already know we’re doing the right thing?

So, because Ms. Clinton believes that doing the same thing over and over will eventually produce different results, I officially and legally declare her insane. But what about the Drug Czar, you might ask? He’s spouting the same nonsense as Ms. Clinton. True. But he’s bound by law to spout that nonsense. He’s not insane, he’s just a good civil servant doing his job (not that there’s always a clear distinction between the two). But Ms. Clinton is not bound by the law that requires our Drug Czar to mindlessly regurgitate the party line. She can speak for herself. And if she really believes what she’s saying, it’s time somebody booked her a nice padded room in a secure institution where she can do no harm to herself or others. It’s for her own good. And ours.

Friday, March 19, 2010

US and Canadian Officials on Cartel Payroll?

The evidence may be entirely circumstantial, but its volume is rapidly increasing every day. It’s getting to the point where it will soon be pretty difficult for politicians and law enforcement officials on both sides of the border to deny their involvement. After all, if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...

What first made me sit up and take notice was what some might call a coincidence. Both the US Drug Czar and the Canadian Prime Minister both made public statements in the same week implicating their involvement in the Mexican drug cartels. That was just too much of a “coincidence” for me not to notice.

First there was our very own Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske, who has repeatedly pointed out the connection between illegal marijuana and the Mexican cartels. Here’s a great example from his testimony before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:
The violent international drug cartels operating on both sides of the border are criminals, but they collectively pose a national security threat to our Nation.
He is pointing out the obvious, that the cartels are so dangerous as to threaten our national security. And he agrees that the majority of the cartels’ funding comes from the black market marijuana trade. Yet he consistently opposes any changes in our laws that might serve to undermine those very cartels. “Legalization” is not in his nor in the president’s vocabulary.

And then there was a comment made by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a YouTube interview. When asked about the legalization of marijuana, the number one most popular issue, his reply included the following:
Buying marijuana, he said, means supporting “international cartels that are involved in unimaginable violence, intimidation, social disaster and catastrophe all across the world.”
He’s promoting a policy of strict prohibition and at the same time admitting that that policy is putting money into the hands of some of the most violent criminals in the world. If that isn’t virtually admitting his involvement with those cartels, I don’t know what is. Smells a little ducky to me.

So that got me wondering, if this conspiracy reaches to the highest levels of government, who else is involved? What about some of these so-called tough-on-crime drug crusaders. Is their crusade just a ruse to hide their involvement with the cartels? What about DEA agent Jeffrey Sweetin who recently conducted a raid on a legitimate Colorado medical marijuana grower. At the time of the raid, agent Sweetin commented, “The time is coming when we go into a dispensary, we find out what their profit is, we seize the building and we arrest everybody.” So he wants to put an end to the legal marijuana market. It doesn’t take rocket appliances to know that every legitimate dispensary or grower that is shut down puts money into the pockets of the cartels. Could agent Sweetin be on a cartel’s payroll?

And what about those crusaders in Southern California: San Diego district attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Los Angeles district attorney Steve Cooley, or Los Angeles city attorney Carmen Trutanich? Surely they must realize that every dollar of income they take away from a legitimate dispensary goes directly to an illegal cartel. More lackeys of the cartels? You tell me.

Although circumstantial, I’d say the evidence against these and other alleged prohibitionists is overwhelming. I think it’s about time that these people be investigated. In fact, I’d say that any time any politician or law enforcement official appears to favor the black market over the legal market, that’s grounds for an investigation. Let’s nip this collusion in the bud. Let’s stop these puppets of the most violent criminals in the world from infiltrating and corrupting our government. Let’s root them out and exile them to Mexico where they can hang out with their cartel buddies and leave us the hell alone.