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Budding Optimism: Holder on legal pot in CO & WA


But the nation's top law enforcement official, who spoke to The Huffington Post in an interview on Friday, also said it was tough to predict where marijuana legalization will be in 10 years.

...Holder's positive outlook on how legalization is going in Washington and Colorado stands in contrast to the views expressed by Drug Enforcement Administration head Michele Leonhart, who reportedly criticized President Barack Obama for comparing marijuana to alcohol. Leonhart claimed earlier this month that voters were mislead when they voted to legalize and regulate marijuana on the state level, that Mexican drug cartels are "setting up shop" in Washington and Colorado and that this country should have "never gone forward" with legalization. Another DEA official recently claimed that "every single parent out there" opposed marijuana legalization.

Washington and Colorado, of course, aren't the only places in the U.S. reforming their approach to marijuana. In March, Washington, D.C., decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Asked about D.C.'s move, Holder said it didn't make sense to send people to jail on possession charges.

Holder also acknowledged the Obama administration has made the political decision not to unilaterally "reschedule" marijuana by taking it off the list of what the federal government considers the most dangerous drugs, though that is something the attorney general has the authority to do. Instead, Holder has said DOJ would be willing to work with Congress if they want to reschedule marijuana, which doesn't seem likely to happen in the near future.

Holder noted he had experimented with cannabis in college, saw no need for any sentencing for simple possession - disliked the lack of discretion for sentencing he experienced as a judge dealing with possession cases, and noted the federal AG office doesn't go after such cases (tho, of course, the DEA does fund law enforcement efforts that do, in fact, target possession in various ways - but these are all state LEOs, not federal.)

While I understand the need for Congress to do its job to address the will of the scientific, medical, and general population regarding the scheduling AND legal status of cannabis (they're two different things), if Congress does not respond, I hope, as a second-term president, this administration would place cannabis as a schedule IV, rather than I, substance before the Obama term is over. Since voting districts are so gerrymandered, Congress can stonewall reform for decades at this point.

iow, if Congress repeatedly refuses to deal with the error of scheduling cannabis as one of the most dangerous substances with no medical value - the Democratic Party as a whole would benefit from such an action because it is in line with current understandings (and the initial placement of cannabis as a schedule I substance was intended to be provisional anyway - the placement was to placate Nixon - who wanted to use cannabis as a way to attack his enemies list.)

On the other hand - Alaska, Oregon and CA may soon join the two legal cannabis states - at which point Congress will have to admit they are ignoring the will of the people and the medical and scientific communities in order to appease a shrinking segment of the population that would rather arrest Americaans than tax and regulate a substance that has been used for thousands of years without significant harm.

Survey: 76% of doctors would approve of medical marijuana


A majority of doctors would approve the use of medical marijuana, according to a new survey.

"We were surprised by the outcome of polling and comments, with 76 percent of all votes in favor of the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes -- even though marijuana use is illegal in most countries," the survey's authors wrote.

The results appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine on May 30. It included responses from 1,446 doctors from 72 different countries and 56 different states and provinces in North America. In addition, 118 doctors posted comments about their decision on the survey.

Doctors surveyed were given a hypothetical case about a woman named "Marylin," a 68-year-old woman with breast cancer that had metastasized -- or spread -- to her lungs, chest cavity and spine. They were asked if they would give her medical marijuana to help her with her symptoms.

In a commentary for the survey, an American psychiatrist called for studies on the medical uses of marijuana. Doctors spoke of relieving suffering and the benefit of marijuana in comparison to legal painkillers.

Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Plot Against the New Deal

As others here know, Jules Archer wrote about the plot against the president to assassinate FDR from business associates of Andrew Melon (whose descendants have funded some of the most repulsive right wing groups in the 20th and 21st century)

Kim Phillips-Fein wrote Invisible Hands - and here is her talk about her work.


Phillips-Fein (History/New York Univ.) follows conservatism from its birth as a big-business reaction to the New Deal to its zenith as a key element of the Reagan Revolution in the early ’80s. She eschews lengthy theoretical discussion of conservatism’s laissez-faire, small-government tenets, focusing instead on the unique individuals behind the movement, beginning with the wealthy du Pont family, who believed that New Deal economic reforms were nothing less than socialism, and eccentric, influential Austrian economist Friedrich von Hayek, who shaped conservatism into a fully formed ideology. During this period, conservatism would largely remain the purview of such big-business associations as the Liberty League and the National Association of Manufacturers, but it wouldn’t remain in backrooms for long. Phillips-Fein profiles the colorful characters who brought conservatism into mainstream popular culture during the ’50s, including National Review editor William F. Buckley and novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand. An extended section on General Electric executive Lemuel Ricketts Boulware, who expertly used conservative propaganda to help break strikes and achieve political goals, is especially revealing, particularly in the author’s analysis of his hard-right ideology’s influence on GE employee Ronald Reagan. Phillips-Fein ably examines the merging of economic conservatism, anticommunism and religious and moral thought. She details the influence of evangelists like Jerry Falwell, who successfully entwined conservative economic ideology and anticommunism in his version of Protestantism and gained massive popular support. Finally, the presidential campaigns of Barry Goldwater in 1964 and Reagan in 1976 and 1980 show conservatism finally breaking through to the mainstream and becoming part of average citizens’ thinking.


also - to understand the rise of modern conservatism - Rick Perlstein has written a history of this era through biographies of Goldwater, Nixon, and his newest about Ronald Reagan - he's essential reading to understand current politics.

Thank Representative Steven Cohen (D-TN) on twitter

Steve Cohen on Twitter: @RepCohen

from Digby, via Salon, regarding the Republican party's attack on Holder/Obama to enforce federal law regarding CO and WA states' legal cannabis votes/law.


Some days you wonder how much Eric Holder can really like his job. Like last week when the A.G. testified before Congress and got it coming and going on the subject of legalized marijuana. If he were a toking man (and I’m sure he isn’t) he’d have been justified in going home and sparking up a spliff the size of Colorado. After all, he, an African-American, had to sit there and listen politely to a bunch of white conservatives criticize “states’ rights” and insist that he deploy his jack-booted federal thugs to put a stop to it.

You heard that right. The party that has made a fetish of states’ rights ever since … well, ever since about 1776 … attacked the big bad federal government for failing to uphold federal law against the express wishes of the citizens of the sovereign states who went to the ballot box to legalize marijuana. It seems we’ve misunderstood all these years: The states are only sovereign when they’re denying equal rights to their citizens. If they think that individuals have a right to use a reasonably harmless substance that brings both pleasure and pain relief, the federal government has an obligation to intervene. Good to know.

On the other hand, one might try to make the argument that Democrats on the committee were being hypocritical as well in defending the states’ right to legalize pot. But that would be wrong. Their argument was perfectly consistent with the prevailing view that all citizens, regardless of the state they live in, should be allowed to use marijuana, particularly for medical use. Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen pointedly asked the attorney general why the administration hasn’t used its executive power to fix the absurd designation of marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which likens it to morphine and methamphetamine.

(Digby goes on to talk about the rationale for some Democrats regarding the legal cannabis issue (i.e. re-fighting the Nixon years)

...All of which is to say that Democratic congressmen like Steve Cohen (from that bastion of liberalism Tennessee) really do deserve some accolades from progressive Democrats. He took a rational, sane, decent public position on a hot issue — a position that happens to be shared by the vast majority of the people in his party and a majority of people in the country. That practically makes him a unicorn in Democratic Party politics.

So, go thank Cohen if you're on twitter. Or leave a comment on his web site. http://cohen.house.gov/

Show some love to a Democrat who is trying to break the impasse between those living in the past and those who want move on to the future.

Propaganda: Marijuana leads to heroin use

This is the sort of reporting we've seen so often in mainstream media. Thankfully, we now have the internet to dispute this propaganda, rather than let it fester for decades to be regurgitated whenever the prohibitionists need to feed the public misinformation.

The article linked and quoted below claims that legalization is leading Mexican marijuana growers to switch to heroin because the price has dropped drastically when domestic marijuana in the U.S. is legal to grow. Of course drug cartels will look for new avenues of revenue when a product is no longer illegal (in some states, in some ways.)

This is what happened with the mob in the U.S. after alcohol prohibition was lifted - the mafia invested in heroin as an alternate stream of revenue before prohibition ended, in fact.

What is fueling the rise of heroin use, however, is the war on drugs - which has focused on prescription opiates extensively, thus making them (and they, not marijuana, share the features of heroin) difficult to obtain. Therefore, those who are addicted to prescription opiates are turning to heroin.

In fact, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence already knows this is the reality - not the politics of marijuana.


The increase in prescription drug abuse is fueling a rise in heroin addiction, NBC News reports. A growing number of young people who start abusing expensive prescription drugs are switching to heroin, which is cheaper and easier to buy.

Prescription pain pills cost $20 to $60, while heroin costs $3 to $10 a bag. Many young people who use heroin start off snorting the drug, and within weeks, most start shooting up, according to the news report.

“Kids in the city know not to touch it, but the message never got out to the suburbs,” said Chicago Police Capt. John Roberts, whose son died of a heroin overdose. He founded the Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization to help other families deal with teen heroin use.

In 2009, the most recent year for which national data is available, 510 young adults, ages 15 to 24, died of a heroin overdose, up from 198 in 1999. Almost 90 percent of teens who are addicted to heroin are white.

That sentence lets you know the drug warriors are serious about the issue (cough.) Or maybe that comment was intended to scare suburban soccer moms cause their kid may be the next to use - cause, otherwise, who cares if something happens outside of suburbia, amiright? (sarcasm, if that's necessary.)

Maybe all that propaganda that equated marijuana with actual, harmful addictive drugs that those white kids heard in their DARE sessions made them too gullible - too willing to believe authority figures - and then they found out those figures lied about marijuana - so maybe they're lying about other things? And those are the people currently taking on marijuana - heaven help us all when those with good intentions have bad ideology.

Or maybe a reality is that addiction rates have stayed fairly static in the U.S. for decades (under 2% of the population), but the drug of choice changes, depending on which drug source the drug warriors targeted. It's like squeezing a water balloon - the shape changes but the volume doesn't.

Or maybe the economic crisis from economic policies has created a depressing job market for younger people and that makes stronger drugs more attractive in a "what have I got to lose" sort of way. But that statement does not hold true because the majority of addicts hold jobs and are not on public assistance - but there is a diff. in rates based upon age - just as other risk-taking behaviors are concentrated among teens and young adults.


The New York Times' Adam Nagourney reports on the disconnect between Democratic governors and voters when it comes to cannabis policy. Governors like California's Jerry Brown are finding themselves at odds with the public, which increasingly supports legalization.

Even with Democrats and younger voters leading the wave of the pro-legalization shift, these governors are standing back, supporting much more limited medical-marijuana proposals or invoking the kind of law-and-order and public-health arguments more commonly heard from Republicans. While 17 more states — most of them leaning Democratic — have seen bills introduced this year to follow Colorado and Washington in approving recreational marijuana, no sitting governor or member of the Senate has offered a full-out endorsement of legalization. Only Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat in Vermont, which is struggling with a heroin problem, said he was open to the idea.

And finally, The Oregonian editorial board over the weekend weighed in on an upcoming marijuana conference that's closed to the public and the press.

It's a perfect opportunity for Oregonians to learn from those who fear marijuana's legalization the most. And that's why it is flummoxing that the media is barred from the $250-a-ticket event and the nonpaying public unwelcome. Calls by The Oregonian's editorial board to the Mount Hood Coalition and Drug Free America went unreturned.

The Drug Free America coalition is sponsored by the propaganda arm of the federal govt. aka the "Drug Czar's office" whose task and whose budget is allocated to lying to the American public about marijuana as the greatest part of its reason for existence. The bureaucracy has been audited for its value in the past - and those tasked with this job found the Drug Free America commercials, etc. resulted in increased acceptance of marijuana - and a lot of ironic wearing of tee-shirts given away by the same.

Here's some info on the conference -


Oregon State Police Superintendent Richard Evans Jr. caught a whiff of the public's shut-out only after being informed that two of his officers were scheduled to speak at the conference while on the taxpayer's dime. He correctly withdrew the appearances of the officers, whose subject was the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program and the impact of marijuana on property

The stakes are high. That's especially so if you hear from those who argue pot paves the way to cultural and educational ruin. More public education would help. And the conference subjects are enticing: Peter Hitchins, who writes for Britain's The Mail on Sunday newspaper, will excoriate public officials for failing to correlate marijuana use and mental illness. Mitch Morrissey, the district attorney of Denver, Colo., will align 12 Denver homicides that, his youtube.com video contends, would not have occurred were it not for marijuana. Mary Segawa of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, whose background is in drug prevention, will speak about the impact of legalization in Washington. And Calvina Fay, executive director of Save our Society from Drugs and the person sometimes demonized on the Internet as the queen of reefer madness, will present her findings on pot's escalating potency and the latest thinking from "scientific scholars dedicated to advancing research of drug use and drug abuse," the conference brochure states.

But Evans had it right: If Oregonians were to have sent two of its Oregon State Police experts to explain the impacts of marijuana, as it has done in previous years, they should be able to get something in return. Preaching to the well-heeled choir doesn't count. What's needed now, before the next ballot initiative goes to voters and Oregonians make a fateful choice, is information.

Stringing up the barbed wire to keep the media at bay won't help. Press releases surely to emerge from the conference will be crafted to ensure everyone is on-message – in precisely the same ways those who advocate marijuana's legalization follow a script designed to debunk myths surrounding marijuana use. What citizens are left with are extremes, at worst hysterical and at best open to question. Smart decisions ahead won't be made from the extremes.

The Drug War. In actual combat, when generals see that something is not working - they don't continue to do the same thing. Sometimes they sue for peace because the inhabitants of a place get so sick of war they don't want either side to keep fighting. If you've spent trillions of dollars on an ideology (that drug abuse can be abolished), yet the rate of abuse remains static over decades, while spending just keeps on going - and going, primarily, to military contractors - you have to wonder if the war on drugs is a racket of its own.

It's certainly good news for military contractors who will need to build aircraft to, say, poison the groundwater upstream among poor Mexican populations - but we have suburban white kids to save, so spare no expense.

Robert Hooke - 1689 - Royal Society Meeting

via wiki: The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, commonly known as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society still in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London". The Society today acts as a scientific advisor to the British government, receiving a parliamentary grant-in-aid. The Society acts as the UK's Academy of Sciences, and funds research fellowships and scientific start-up companies.

Robert Hooke, a contemporary of Isaac Newton, was also the curator or experiments for The Royal Society. In 1681 he made friends with a sea captain and writer named Robert Knox. From Knox's sea voyages for the East India Company, he had come into possession of "India Hemp" or ganja.

Knox introduced Hooke to the herb, and in 1689, Hooke recommended it to members of the Royal Society for its curative properties - and said the worst side effect was laughter.

William Brooke O'Shaughnessy, who began work shortly before Queen Vic took the throne, is credited with bringing cannabis medicine to Great Britain, after a stint working in India and experimenting with cannabis and observing its use among the population there at the time.

This is probably in the article - but it's a reality that cannabis was part of medical life until it was made illegal in the 1930s. It wasn't until Mexicans began settling in California that it suddenly became the subject of "reefer madness."

"Stoned" Neil Degrasse Tyson LOL


via this link - http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/03/24/neil-degrasse-tyson-introduces-fans-to-stoned-version-of-himself/

Astrophysicist and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson introduced his audience at a recent public appearance to the “stoned” version of himself, Gawker reported on Monday.

“That video — basically, time-dilated — is one you would see if it were moving at 85 percent the speed of light, it was later calculated,” deGrasse Tyson explained during his speech on Friday at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Toronto. “But, someone did this. I didn’t — somebody did this, alright?”

He's so great. He has a sense of humor about himself. And, yes, I did notice that he noted that scientists considered marijuana a beneficial plant throughout history. Robert Hooke - noted sparky.

As the biologist noted, Drs. in Spain are ready for human tests

For both breast cancer and gliomas (brain cancer.)

Guzman, et. al already conducted one human test with 10 subjects with gliomas that were considered beyond standard therapy and the cannabinoids shrank cancer cells in those with brain tumors.


GW Pharma started a series of tests with 20 patients with gliomas - that was announced in Nov. 2013.


This study follows several years of pre-clinical research conducted by GW in the field of glioma which has demonstrated that cannabinoids inhibit the viability of glioma cells both in vitro and in vivoi,ii via apoptosis or programmed cell death, may also affect angiogenesis, and have demonstrated tumor growth-inhibiting action and an improvement in the therapeutic efficacy of temozolomide, a standard treatment for glioma. In addition, GW has shown tumor response to be positively associated with tissue levels of cannabinoids. GW has identified the putative mechanism of action for our cannabinoid product candidate, where autophagy and programmed cell death are stimulated via stimulation of the TRB3 pathway.

"We are very excited about moving this compound into further human study and the prospects of cannabinoids as new anti-cancer treatments. This is GW's first clinical study of cannabinoids as a potential treatment to inhibit tumor growth," stated Dr. Stephen Wright, Director of Research and Development at GW. "We believe this clinical program demonstrates the flexibility and broad application of GW's cannabinoid platform to treat significant, unmet therapeutic needs."

This study is a 20-patient, multicentre, two part study with an open-label phase to assess safety and tolerability of GW cannabinoids in combination with temozolomide, and a double blind, randomised, placebo-controlled phase with patients randomised to active or placebo, and with a primary outcome measure of 6 month progression free survival. The study objective is to assess the tolerability, safety and pharmacodynamics of a mixture of two principal cannabinoids, THC and CBD in a 1:1 allocation ratio, in combination with temozolomide in patients with recurrent GBM. Secondary endpoints include additional pharmacokinetic and biomarker analyses and additional measurable outcomes of tumor response.

Biologist Christina Sánchez: Cannabinoids kill cancer cells

Sánchez (Madrid, Spain, 1971) graduated in Biology at Madrid Complutense University in 1994. Once graduated, she joined Dr. Manuel Guzmán’’s laboratory, where she studied the effect of cannabinoids on lipid and carbohydrate intermediate metabolism first and on cancer cell proliferation later. She obtained her PhD with Honors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Complutense University in 2000.

During her postdoc at Dr. Piomelli’’s laboratory (University of California Irvine, 2000-2003) she studied the involvement of another group of bioactive lipids (lysophosphatidic acid and related compounds) on pain initiation. In 2004, Cristina returned to Spain and she started coordinating a new line of research within Dr. Guzmán’’s laboratory. The goal of her research is to understand and exploit cannabinoids as potential antitumoral agents in breast cancer. More recently, she has also focused her attention on new cannabinoid receptors and their possible involvement in cannabinoid antitumoral action in breast cancer and other type of tumors.


Marijuana researchers: Access to research reefer limited by politics


Researchers looking to study the potential health benefits of medical marijuana use are accusing the government of steering its own supply of the drugs toward probes favoring keeping the drug illegal on the federal level, McClatchy Newspapers reported on Wednesday.

“Nobody could explain it — it’s indefensible,” University of Arizona assistant professor Suzanne Sisley told McClatchy. “The only thing we can assume is that it is politics trumping science.”

Sisley said officials at the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) waited three years before approving a university study into whether veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder benefitted more from smoked or vaporized marijuana, despite the Food and Drug Administration signing off on the project.

...The government’s “stash” is located in a 12-acre garden on the campus of the University of Mississippi. University researchers grow about 13 pounds of the drug per year, with much of it distributed for use in projects approved by both HHS and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The institute reported providing more than $30 million in federal funding for 69 studies related to the drug in 2012.
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