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Michael Botticelli testified on the Obama administration’s marijuana policy. The hearing occurred as a number of states had decriminalized or legalized marijuana possession, which were at odds with current federal laws. Chairman John Mica called the policy “schizophrenic,” a reference to President Obama, who recently said marijuana was less dangerous than alcohol. Committee Democrats meanwhile asked how the administration could keep canabis on the DEA’s list of most dangerous drugs in the face of changing public opinion and moves by states to decriminalize and even legalize the drug.
Posted by RainDog | Tue Feb 4, 2014, 11:35 PM (1 replies)
compared to spending on the War on Drugs during this same time.
The rate of addiction stays relatively stable. Rates of addiction average about 1.3%.
Different drugs become fads and then fade as another takes its place. But addiction, overall, doesn't show much of a change, even with more than a trillion dollars spent to stop the sale of addictive substances that are not legal. Those that are legal, of course, are regulated and taxed.
This chart comes from documentary film maker Matt Groff. He compared the rate of addiction to illicit drugs from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, pairing it with federal drug control budget spending numbers from the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy.
The numbers on this chart alone don't add up to $1.5 trillion, which represents a more inclusive count of drug control spending, with prison costs and state level costs determined by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, but instead to $800 billion. Groff included that $1.5 trillion because the chart appears in the documentary as a source discusses that more complete amount.
"Drug use and abuse exists on a spectrum and as a society we must accept that some portion of the population will be addicted to drugs even if we don’t like it," Groff says.
Posted by RainDog | Tue Feb 4, 2014, 05:20 PM (20 replies)
In the first month of legal recreational marijuana sales in Colorado, retailers who shared their proprietary data with NBC News say they have collected $1.24 million in tax revenue.
In a back-of-the-napkin calculation, those who shared the data say they figure February’s tax collections in Colorado likely will exceed a quarter of a million dollars a day, putting it on pace to near $100 million annually.
When Colorado first considered legalizing recreational marijuana, it was estimated the first year’s tax take would be $67 million.
By comparison, Colorado took in about $39.9 million in sales, use and excise taxes from alcoholic beverages in fiscal 2013, according to the state Department of Revenue. Cigarettes generated $165.5 million in taxes, and tobacco products $31.6 million in the same fiscal year, July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013.
Posted by RainDog | Tue Feb 4, 2014, 03:48 PM (24 replies)
via MPP: Recently we asked you to sign our petition to President Obama, urging him to remove marijuana from the DEA’s list of scheduled drugs. More than 90,000 of you have, and now Congress is taking notice. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is circulating a letter he plans to send to President Obama asking him to reconsider marijuana’s “Schedule I” status.
Please write your member of Congress and urge them to sign on to this letter.
Just yesterday the president was asked about rescheduling and said it’s “a job for Congress.” This is the same president who promised during Tuesday’s State of the Union speech to take executive action when Congress stalls, as it has on marijuana for 40 years. We need as many members of Congress in our coalition as possible, so please write yours today.
Posted by RainDog | Mon Feb 3, 2014, 04:07 PM (0 replies)
God said, "Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth.…To you it will be for meat." … And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." (Genesis 1:29-31)
And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. -- Ezekiel 34:29
Posted by RainDog | Sun Feb 2, 2014, 07:38 PM (0 replies)
Before he made the feature, Wes Anderson made a short film of his story of suburban criminal wannabes who go on the lam after they rob a bookstore.
The original feature film is available online through pay outlets. Great, sweet, funny film if you've never seen it - and this short is an introduction to the characters.
Posted by RainDog | Sun Feb 2, 2014, 06:22 PM (2 replies)
Those ten states are: Colorado, Washington, California, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia.
Farm legislation breezing through Congress could make northern Colorado the nation's leader in the cultivation, study and use of industrial hemp.
The farm bill provision authored by Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would allow colleges, universities and state agriculture agencies to grow and do research on the crop without being penalized by the federal government.
The provision applies only to states where industrial hemp is legal, Polis said Wednesday after the House approved the five-year, $500 billion farm bill by a vote of 251-166.
Though the farm bill includes his hemp language, Polis voted against the legislation citing a host of other problems, including an $8.6 billion cut in the food stamp program.
Hemp -- marijuana's non-intoxicating cousin that's used to make everything from clothing to cooking oil -- could soon be cultivated in 10 states under a federal farm bill agreement reached late Monday that allows the establishment of pilot growing programs.
The plant's return to legitimacy could clear the way for U.S. farmers to compete in an industry currently dominated by China. Even though it hasn't been grown in the U.S., the country is one of the fastest-growing hemp markets.
In 2011, the U.S. imported $11.5 million worth of legal hemp products, up from $1.4 million in 2000. Most of that growth was seen in hemp seed and hemp oil, which finds its way into granola bars and other products.
"This is big," said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a Washington-based group that advocates for the plant's legal cultivation. "We've been pushing for this a long time."
McConnell: Farm Bill to promote hemp revival
Hemp production may be on the verge of a comeback in Kentucky, where the non-potent cousin of marijuana once thrived.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says the final version of the federal Farm Bill will allow limited hemp cultivation in pilot programs in states that permit the production.
Kentucky lawmakers passed a bill last year to allow industrial hemp's reintroduction but only if the federal government lifts its ban.
McConnell says the Farm Bill language he secured will allow state agriculture departments to oversee pilot hemp projects. Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has promoted the crop, which can be turned into products ranging from paper to cosmetics.
Posted by RainDog | Sun Feb 2, 2014, 03:18 PM (31 replies)
This was written in 2012, before CO and WA legalized marijuana at the state level. The article was written in response to questions by lawyers about the current changes in the way the world views marijuana and public opposition to the "war on drugs."
Nowhere is this battle more pronounced than in the so-called ―marijuana wars, which are slowly
growing into an old-fashioned standoff between the states and the federal government. As of August 2012, seventeen states (and the District of Columbia) have passed laws legalizing medical use of marijuana, several states have introduced initiatives to outright legalize the use of recreational marijuana, and now there are two proposed federal bills designed to lift the ban on marijuana. The Gallup polls show that at least 70% of Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use and now over 50% are in favor of its legalization for recreational use as well.
Lately, all eyes have been on the Obama Administration, which, with the reversal on its marijuana policy, has baffled the drug reform community and often, the public at large. One of President Obama’s campaign promises was to leave the issue of medical marijuana to state governments, stating, "I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue." Indeed, his Administration first declared a policy of nonenforcement
against medical marijuana dispensaries operating in full compliance with state laws. Over the past year, however, the Administration has backtracked, famously announcing a―crackdown on not only dispensaries, but also landlords, banks, media outlets and all but the sickest of patients taking advantage of the medical marijuana laws.
(since the writing of this piece, the AG has stated CO and WA laws may go forward and the AG has agreed to a framework that allows marijuana businesses to utilize banks without those banks being viewed as money launderers (though quite a few of them have had no problem laundering international drug cartel money in the past...)
...In addition to the 1961 Single Convention, two other international treaties have a direct bearing on international control of narcotics and psychotropic substances. These are the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, which, enacted after an upsurge of drug use in the 1960s, added certain synthetic, prescription, and hallucinogenic drugs (including LSD) to the list of controlled substances. The 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances was enacted in response to an increase in trafficking. The 1988 Convention required member countries, for the first time, to criminalize possession for personal consumption. Notably, the 1988 Convention did not specify how users were to be punished; only that ―possession, purchase or cultivation for personal consumption be made a criminal offense. The 1988 Convention specifically states that its implementation should be accompanied by prudence and is subject to each party’s ―constitutional principles and basic concepts of its legal system.
These three international treaties constitute the international law concerning the control of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The treaties are not ―self-executing, meaning that each country must enact laws implementing the treaties in their own jurisdictions. The Conventions are legally binding pursuant to the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties—a country ―may not circumscribe its obligations under the treaties by enacting a conflicting domestic law. On the other hand, there is no international police force standing at the ready to force countries to fulfill their obligations. The INCB has no real power to enforce them: its powers are limited to ―quiet diplomacy, or ―blaming and shaming. In extreme cases, the INCB can recommend an embargo on all prescription medicines coming into or going out of a country. In our interview with former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Narcotics and current INCB member Melvyn Levitsky, he noted that this is ―not a strong provision, since, for humanitarian reasons, it is highly unlikely such a measure would ever be taken against a country.
(Many nations have interpreted the 1988 Convention to make possession illegal as "possession with intent to traffick." This is how The Netherlands can have coffee shops that sell cannabis, while possession laws themselves remain on the books - The Netherlands simply chooses not to enforce the law in relation to cannabis or psilocybin use while the production or sale, prior to the sale to an individual, does result in arrests for possession. Portugal, as well, decriminalized all drugs because the 1988 Convention does not indicate any punishment for possession. Therefore, Portugal made possession a civil infraction and punishment is limited to a fine. They also recommend drug treatment programs, but have not made these mandatory as a result of possession. )
The article mentions the Bolivian coca leaf exception as an example of the move in various nations to directly challenge the drug treaties that have existed since conservatives in the U.S. led the move to more restrictive international drug treaties. Prior to Uruguay's full legalization of cannabis, many Central and South American nations challenged the U.S. intransigence on marijuana drug policy at the Summit of the Americas.
Since Uruguay legalized, the United Nations has protested the change in drug treaty compliance as an international violation. Since there is no actual legal cost to any nation for violating these drug treaties, however, there is little incentive for nations to continue outmoded policy. The violation of such treaties is a matter of consequence when those nations can be targeted with a refusal of UN aid monies, as has been the threat in the past. However, since Uruguay is already negotiating international trade in marijuana, any sanctions, based upon projections for profit in regard to marijuana sales, may seem minor in comparison.
While this article makes the claim that President Obama may feel obliged to continue prohibition in order to honor international treaties, there is no force behind the action, i.e. there is NO INTERNATIONAL CONSEQUENCE for refusing to enforce the treaties the U.S. helped to create.
The claim, in the article, that the World Health Organization must approve rescheduling is not based upon precedent. Congress has added items to the drug schedule without seeking approval from any outside body. The International Drug Policies themselves were largely crafted and forced upon every other nation by the United States.
Therefore, the logic is that the U.S. cannot change the scheduling of marijuana because marijuana was temporarily placed as a schedule I drug pending further investigation. Since that time, the DEA has refused to consider rescheduling, in spite of its own administrative judge noting marijuana is the safest medicinal substance known to humankind in its natural form, and in spite of the judgment of the Schafer Commission that marijuana possession should not be the subject of ANY legal sanction.
The law as it exists, in other words, is based upon political and ideological resistance, rather than any scientific or medical justification, and the law exists in spite of the evidence that indicates illegality is worse than the substance itself.
This circle jerk of "we can't do this because we can't do this" is ludicrous. We very well can do this, and we should.
When the U.S. cares as much about its treaty obligations in regard to torture as it does to cannabis, maybe then the argument would have some teeth. Until then... this is all just theater.
Posted by RainDog | Sat Feb 1, 2014, 05:20 PM (1 replies)
Epidiolex, a medicine that uses cannabidiol (CBD) as an active ingredient, has been designated an orphan drug for Dravet syndrome by the US Food and Drug Administration, giving manufacturer GW Pharmaceuticals the go-ahead to run a clinical development programme next year.
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant. In GW Pharmaceuticals’ formulation, it is administered orally, as a liquid.
The orphan drug designation means it is recognised as a potential therapy for a condition that only affects a small number of people – in this case a rare form of paediatric epilepsy.
...GW Pharmaceuticals expects to begin a formal clinical development programme for Epidiolex in 2014. In the meantime, some US paediatric epilepsy specialists will be able to treat patients with the drug immediately thanks to seven Investigational New Drug (IND) applications granted to the firm by the FDA.
Posted by RainDog | Sat Feb 1, 2014, 03:27 PM (1 replies)
The following nations all allow marijuana to be sold through pharmacies: Great Britain, Canada, Israel, Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Austria, France. In those nations, marijuana is sold under the name Sativex.
Sativex is whole-plant marijuana that is reduced and suspended in liquid and is used as a mouth spray for treatment of spasticity in relation to M.S.
In addition, Uruguay legalized cannabis in 2013. Canada and Israel have entered into negotiations with Uruguay to grow the marijuana used for their cannabis medicines. These three nations have intent to traffick marijuana, internationally.
The United States Congress authorized the legal sale of marijuana as medicine in Washington D.C. in 2013 when it finally funded the law passed more than a decade before by residents of D.C. to legalize marijuana for medical use/sale.
Colorado and Washington State have legalized marijuana completely, not simply for medical use.
When a law or treaty no longer reflects the reality of nations or the science that is supposed to undergird those treaties, the treaties themselves should change, because they are worthless.
And, in fact, nations have come to this conclusion themselves and are refusing to agree to the outdated conventions regarding marijuana in relation to their laws.
Bolivia received a special exemption from international drug treaties for the use of coca leaves by the indigenous people of that nation. The exemption was granted because chewing the leaves of the coca plant has been used to mitigate the hard labor of workers among the indigenous population.
Marijuana, like coca, is a plant, not a drug. It is part of the American tradition. Cannabis was legal tender in the U.S., in hemp form, when this nation was founded. Farmers were required to plant cannabis at that time. Cannabis was also part of the war effort in WWII, with hemp cannabis again playing a fundamental role in the nation's freedom through industrial uses.
Marijuana has long been associated with the musical heritage of the U.S. and the creation of SPECIFICALLY American music: blues and jazz. These two musical forms are the only indigenous musical forms to come out of the creation of the U.S. Marijuana was part of the culture of jazz. Songs were composed extolling the benefits of "reefer", or "vipers", and the form of jazz itself, improvisation, is considered part of marijuana culture, in the attention to detail and the alteration of time, as many cultural critics have noted.
Marijuana, in other words, has just as much claim as part of this nation's heritage as coca leaves do to Bolivia's population.
...and just to put the claim that marijuana cannot be rescheduled by the AG to rest.
Rescheduling has nothing to say about treaties anyway, because a drug's schedule is supposed to relate to its danger and value.
At this time we have a sclerotic bureaucracy, the DEA, dedicated to propagating lies about marijuana. Their stance undermines support for law and order and creates a climate of doubt about the legitimacy of laws because of their refusal to address the reality that marijuana has medical value.
That reality, that marijuana has medical value, is not going to change in favor of the DEA's stance.
Instead, people in this nation will suffer because of the DEA's intransigence. They are harming people in this nation by their refusal to address the reality that marijuana has medical value. Maybe we should propose a citizen's arrest of Michelle Leonhart.
The DEA has been complicit in the murder of American citizens because of its intransigence regarding cannabis laws, including an HIV/AIDS patient named Peter McWilliams, during the Clinton administration, and the recent death of a child in Indiana whose state refuses to allow the use of cannabis for the treatment of a life-threatening disorder called Dravet's Syndrome epilepsy.
This isn't just a matter of semantics. The DEA has conspired to undermine the health and well being of American citizens because it remains irrational about marijuana as a medical substance, and it remains irrational about the harm of marijuana in relation to other substances.
Posted by RainDog | Sat Feb 1, 2014, 02:54 PM (27 replies)