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Number of posts: 28,784
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Timothy Egan worked for The Times for 18 years – as Pacific Northwest correspondent and a national enterprise reporter. In 2001, he was part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that wrote the series “How Race Is Lived in America.” He is the author of several books, including “The Worst Hard Time,” a history of the Dust Bowl, for which he won the National Book Award, and most recently, “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America.”
Social revolutions in a democracy, especially ones that begin with voters, should not be lightly dismissed. Forget all the lame jokes about Cheetos and Cheech and Chong. In the two-and-a-half weeks since a pair of progressive Western states sent a message that arresting 853,000 people a year for marijuana offenses is an insult to a country built on individual freedom, a whiff of positive, even monumental change is in the air.
But there remains the big question of how President Obama will handle the cannabis spring. So far, he and Attorney General Eric Holder have been silent. I take that as a good sign, and certainly a departure from the hard-line position they took when California voters were considering legalization a few years ago. But if they need additional nudging, here are three reasons to let reason stand:
(and here's the third one)
Lead. That’s what transformative presidents do. From his years as a community organizer — and a young man whose own recreational drug use could have made him just another number in lockup — Obama knows well that racial minorities are disproportionately jailed for these crimes. With 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States has 25 percent of its prisoners — and about 500,000 of them are behind bars for drug offenses. On cost alone — up to $60,000 a year, to taxpayers, per prisoner — this is unsustainable.
Posted by RainDog | Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:41 AM (21 replies)
I discovered this woman via this video -
Posted by RainDog | Sat Nov 17, 2012, 06:48 PM (0 replies)
The over 65 voting bloc may be the least likely to support marijuana legalization, but they might find it's in their best interests to do so. Cannabis' ability to help with inflammation and pain is well known.
In addition, not withstanding the stoner memory-loss stereotype, marijuana may help with Alzheimers, brain aging and degenerative diseases. Cases of Alzheimer's disease are expected to triple over the next 50 years.
Since the mid 2000′s researchers have been building an appreciation for the power of marijuana-like substances that make up the brain’s cannabinoid systems. In animal experiments, for example, synthetic compounds similar to THC—marijuana’s main psychoactive component—have shown promise in preserving brain functions. A 2008 study even demonstrated that a THC-like substance reduced brain inflammation and improved memory in older rats.
Activation of cannabinoid receptors can also reduce brain inflammation in several different ways, which may in turn suppress some of the disease processes responsible for degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Andras Bilkei-Gorzo of the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry at the University of Bonn in Germany and an author of the study, is encouraged by the expanding knowledge of the brain’s cannabinoid system and its potential for leading to new understanding of aging in the brain. “annabinoid system activity is neuroprotective,” he wrote, and increasing it “could be a promising strategy for slowing down the progression of brain aging and for alleviating the symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders.”
Other studies covered in the review showed that mice bred to lack the cannabinoid receptors have better memories early in life but have more rapid cognitive decline as they age, including inflammation in the hippocampus, a key region for memory. “This finding suggests that, at some point during aging, cannabinoid activity helps maintain normal cognitive functions in mice,” says Daniele Piomelli, professor of neurobiology, anatomy and biological chemistry at the University of California – Irvine, who was not associated with the study.
In 2006, one study showed -
A molecular link between the active component of marijuana and Alzheimer's disease pathology.
Eubanks LM, Rogers CJ, Beuscher AE 4th, Koob GF, Olson AJ, Dickerson TJ, Janda KD.
Department of Chemistry and Immunology, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.
(The researchers) demonstrate that the active component of marijuana, Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), competitively inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) as well as prevents AChE-induced amyloid beta-peptide (Abeta) aggregation, the key pathological marker of Alzheimer's disease. Computational modeling of the THC-AChE interaction revealed that THC binds in the peripheral anionic site of AChE, the critical region involved in amyloidgenesis. Compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, THC is a considerably superior inhibitor of Abeta aggregation, and this study provides a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease.
These are things the elderly need to know about in order to make informed decisions. Their health may be improved by such actions.
Posted by RainDog | Sat Nov 17, 2012, 06:02 PM (24 replies)
The INCB is a quasi-judicial body charged with monitoring compliance with the Single Convention and associated treaties. It hectors governments that step outside its interpretation of what the treaties allow, although in practical terms, its ability to enforce its will is mainly rhetorical. INCB criticism of Australia and Canada over the establishment of safe injection sites, for example, has not moved those governments to end the practice, nor has its criticism of Bolivia over allowing coca cultivation resulted in a shift of policy in Bolivia.
(Raymond) Yans (president of the INCB) was inspired to speak out by the victories of Amendment 64 in Colorado and Initiative 502 in Washington state, both of which envisage legal, state-regulated commercial marijuana cultivation and distribution regimes and both of which will result in the possession of small amounts by adults being legal by early next year. The INCB also alluded to the votes in the Michigan cities of Detroit and Flint to legalize the possession of up to an ounce by adults on private property.
“These developments are in violation of the international drug control treaties, and pose a great threat to public health and the well-being of society far beyond those states,” Yans said in a Thursday statement. “Legalization of cannabis within these states would send wrong and confusing signals to youth and society in general, giving the false impression that drug abuse might be considered normal and even, most disturbingly, safe. Such a development could result in the expansion of drug abuse, especially among young people, and we must remember that all young people have a right to be protected from drug abuse and drug dependency.”
Yans also noted that “for the international drug control system to function effectively, to achieve its aim of ensuring availability of drugs for medical purposes while preventing their abuse, the conventions must be universally adhered to and implemented by all states.” He called on the US government “to take the necessary measures to ensure full compliance with the international drug control treaties within the entire territory of the United States, in order to protect the health and well-being of its citizens.”
A group of Latin American leaders declared Monday that votes by two U.S. states to legalize marijuana have important implications for efforts to quash drug smuggling, offering the first government reaction from a region increasingly frustrated with the U.S.-backed war on drugs.
The declaration by the leaders of Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Costa Rica did not explicitly say they were considering weakening their governments' efforts against marijuana smuggling, but it strongly implied the votes last week in Colorado and Washington would make enforcement of marijuana bans more difficult.
The four called for the Organization of American States to study the impact of the Colorado and Washington votes and said the United Nations' General Assembly should hold a special session on the prohibition of drugs by 2015 at the latest.
Last week, the most influential adviser to Mexico's president-elect, who takes office Dec. 1, questioned how the country will enforce a ban on growing and smuggling a drug that is now legal under some U.S. state laws. The Obama administration has yet to make clear how strongly it will enforce a federal ban on marijuana that is not affected by the Colorado and Washington votes.
MEXICO CITY — The decision by voters in Colorado and Washington state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana has left Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto and his team scrambling to reformulate their anti-drug strategies in light of what one senior aide said was a referendum that “changes the rules of the game.”
It is too early to know what Mexico’s response to the successful ballot measures will be, but a top aide said Peña Nieto and members of his incoming administration will discuss the issue with President Obama and congressional leaders in Washington this month. The legalization votes, however, are expected to spark a broad debate in Mexico about the direction and costs of the U.S.-backed drug war here.
Mexico spends billions of dollars each year confronting violent trafficking organizations that threaten the security of the country but whose main market is the United States, the largest consumer of drugs in the world.
With Washington’s urging and support, Mexican soldiers roam the mountains burning clandestine plantations filled with marijuana destined for the United States. Mexico’s police and military last year seized almost as much marijuana as did U.S. agents working the Southwest border region.
Uruguay lawmakers consider legalization of marijuana with goal of outselling pot dealers
Uruguay came one step closer to turning the government into the country’s leading pot dealer on Thursday, as lawmakers formally introduced to Congress a framework for regulating the production, sale and consumption of marijuana.
The proposal is much more liberal than what Uruguay’s government initially proposed months ago, when President Jose Mujica said only the government would be allowed to sell pot.
The draft law would instead create a National Cannabis Institute with the power to license individuals and companies to produce and sell marijuana for recreational, medicinal or industrial uses. It would foster marijuana growing clubs to provide the weed to their members. And most significantly, it would allow anyone to grow a limited amount of marijuana in their own homes, and possess marijuana for their own consumption.
“The thrust is the same, to create state-controlled markets. This provides the legal framework,” Colette Youngers, a drug policy expert at the Washington Office on Latin America who came to Montevideo to advise lawmakers and others drafting the proposal, told The Associated Press. “The main difference is that they have incorporated the idea of cultivation for personal use, and also the cannabis clubs, which was not in the initial proposal.”
Talk about irony, eh? The very same day American voters in two states legalize, the Stephen Harper government in Canada brought into force tough new mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana.
As Washington and Colorado both on Tuesday approved measures loosening their pot laws, drug measures in the Conservative government's Safe Streets and Communities Act, passed last spring, came into full force in Canada, reports Bruce Cheadle of The Canadian Press.
Canada's new marijuana law dictates a mandatory six-month jail term for growing as few as six cannabis plants -- which is twice the mandatory minimum for luring a child to watch pornography or exposing oneself on a children's playground.
while only one day before...
Canadians call for marijuana referendum after two U.S. states legalize it
Colorado and Washington voters - you started changing the world!
In April 2011, former Mexican President Vicente Fox sat before an audience at the University of Colorado at Boulder and in his baritone voice and frank tone urged Americans to legalize marijuana. His thrust: it could help enervate Mexico’s violent drug cartels. “The drug consumer in the U.S. yields billions of dollars, money that goes back to Mexico to bribe police and money that buys guns,” Fox said. “So when you question yourselves about what is going on in Mexico, it depends very much on what happens in this nation.”
At the time, many pundits warned that legalization was a nonstarter. But on Tuesday, voters in Colorado and Washington state did exactly what Fox called for: they approved landmark amendments to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana.
As supporters in Colorado jumped up and down, shouting “64, 64” after the amendment’s ballot number, the seismic implications of the reforms began to be slowly digested by activists across the globe, especially in drug-war-torn Mexico. “It was very emotional,” says Jorge Hernández, president of the Collective for an Integral Drug Policy, which is pushing for legalization in Mexico. “Now we are not like madmen in the desert. This transforms the debate.” That’s because the U.S. referendums signal the first time voters have approved the full legalization of marijuana anywhere on the planet, giving advocates from Mexico to Moscow bona fide cases to cite and follow. Even the famous cannabis coffee shops of Amsterdam exist only through an ambiguous policy of toleration often referred to as decriminalization, something Portugal has pursued as well. A 2009 Mexican law also decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis and other drugs, but production and selling has been left in the hands of bloodthirsty traffickers.
The only age group in the U.S. that does not support marijuana legalization is the over 65 group. EVERY other age group, from 18 to 64, supports legalization.
The easiest way to deal with this issue in regard to the U.N. Single Convention on Drugs is to remove cannabis from the CSA, the Controlled Substances list that consists of "schedules" for various substances.
Let the FDA deal with cannabis law in the U.S. and let other countries determine their own law concerning cannabis.
Posted by RainDog | Sat Nov 17, 2012, 05:24 PM (8 replies)
Posted by RainDog | Fri Nov 16, 2012, 06:07 PM (0 replies)
So far, the federal response has been muted. The White House has not commented, the Office of National Drug Control Policy has not commented, and the Department of Justice has limited its comments to observing that it will continue to enforce the federal Controlled Substances Act.
"My understanding is that Justice was completely taken aback by this and by the wide margin of passage," said Eric Sterling, former counsel to the House Judiciary Committee and currently the executive director of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. "They believed this would be a repeat of 2010, and they are really kind of astonished because they understand that this is a big thing politically and a complicated problem legally. People are writing memos, thinking about the relationship between federal and state law, doctrines of preemption, and what might be permitted under the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs."
Here is another group that didn't seem to think polls were telling the truth.
The article goes on to note the standard line about fed law and state law and quotes a former Drug Czar employee who said the crackdowns in CA regarding mmj provide a template for expected responses.
Then this article gets more interesting...
Less clear is what else, exactly, the federal government can do. While federal drug laws may "trump" state laws, it is not at all certain that they preempt them. Preemption has a precise legal meaning, signifying that federal law supersedes state law and that the conflicting state law is null and void.
"Opponents of these laws would love nothing more than to be able to preempt them, but there is not a viable legal theory to do that," said Alex Kreit, a constitutional law expert at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego who co-authored an amicus brief on preemption in a now mooted California medical marijuana case. "Under the anti-commandeering principle, the federal government can't force a state to make something illegal. It can provide incentives to do so, but it can't outright force a state to criminalize marijuana."
good read - more at the link above.
Posted by RainDog | Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:23 AM (7 replies)
The times, they are a changin' when Fox News runs with a syndicated story about the pros and cons of smoking vs. eating.
The story is still full of wrongheaded ideas, etc.
BUT...how many in their GWG (grumpy white guy) audience were ready for that one, I wonder.
Posted by RainDog | Mon Nov 12, 2012, 03:31 PM (9 replies)
David Frum, Karen whatshername, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention himself have, among many others, acknowledged that America has rejected the extremism of fundamentalist Protestant and conservative Catholic belief.
Live how you will, but don't pretend you have the right to tell the rest of us how to live based upon your beliefs. That's what Americans told the Republican Party.
Frum is telling social conservatives to move from their current objective to deny homosexual and women's rights to economic populism of some sort. This is diametrically opposed to the Republican Party's entire reason for being... so, if the social issues are not going to work as an issue - why should economic populists stay with the party that has traditionally opposed labor rights?
Karen whatshername and others are just saying "Shut up, don't say what you really think." - but we've had more than enough years to see what social conservatives really think. If you have to lie to get elected... well, I guess that makes you the modern Republican Party.
Democrats need to heed the changes in the wind too, in terms of economic justice and tax rates and the rest. Wall Street got their bail out. It's time to invest in America.
Posted by RainDog | Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:45 PM (8 replies)
NEW DELHI: What two American states, Washington and Colorado, have decided to do - legalize recreational use of marijuana - was the norm in India until 1985. All cannabis derivatives - marijuana (grass or ganja), hashish (charas) and bhang - were legally sold in this country. As a matter of fact, most state governments had their own retail shops to sell these drugs. India has known, consumed and celebrated ganja, charas and bhang for millennia.
Their consumption was never regarded as socially deviant behaviour any more than drinking alcohol was. If there was any bias against ganja or charas, it was that these were often viewed as the poor man's intoxicant by the upper classes. But come Holi, these prejudices would melt away as rich and poor savoured the joyous high of bhang. Even now, despite a legal ban, recreational use of these drugs is widespread in India.
...Since 1961, the US has been campaigning for a global law against all drugs, both hard and soft. Given that ganja, charas and bhang were a way of life in India, we opposed the drastic measure. But by the early '80s, American society was grappling with some drug problems and opinion had grown against the "excesses" of the hippie generation. In 1985, the Rajiv Gandhi government buckled under the pressure and enacted a law called the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
It was a poor law that clubbed marijuana, hashish and bhang with hard drugs like smack, heroin, cocaine and crack, and banned them all. The minimum punishment for violation of the NDPS Act was 10 years of jail (it has since been relaxed and the crackdown on marijuana has eased somewhat). What happened as a result of this law was that almost overnight the entire trade shifted from peddling grass or charas to smack or worse. This was because while the risk was the same, profits from the hard-killer drugs were ten times higher.
And suddenly, there was a drugs problem in India...
This is also why the Colorado and Washington State votes were big deals - the rest of the world has been held hostage by our drug warriors, too.
Posted by RainDog | Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:09 AM (19 replies)
TO NOTE - for reference. This article on the mainstream news site "Yahoo" uses FOUR anti-legalization sources for quotes and ONE source for pro-legalization. This uneven sourcing skews the article - iow - makes it propaganda for the anti-legalization forces. This uneven reliance on sources against legalization does not reflect the American populace.
This is how you know this issue is about "an appeal to power" to maintain power for certain groups at the expense of others.
The Yahoo source for this article is Reuters news agency, whose articles are picked up by regional news outlets.
It's interesting when you start looking at how public opinion gets its talking points.
(Former Drug Czar Advisor Kevin) Sabet said he expected the Obama administration would at some point file a federal lawsuit to challenge and seek to block aspects of state-level legalization measures and that this "is going to be caught up in the courts for quite a while."
But federal action was not expected to snuff out state-sanctioned marijuana in those states - especially the ability of individuals to possess an ounce or less of the drug without risk of arrest by local police. (Sabet) said U.S. Attorneys could send letters to Colorado and Washington governors warning them not to implement provisions to regulate and tax marijuana at special stores. Or the federal government could wait until such a system is created and sue to block it, he said.
Robert DuPont, who served as drug czar for former Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and opposes legalization, said he welcomed a confrontation. "I think it's time to resolve it," he said.
Ian Millhiser, senior constitutional policy analyst with the left-leaning Center for American Progress, said the federal government, even if it sues to challenge the Colorado and Washington initiatives, cannot force police in those states to arrest people for marijuana infractions. "If I were Barack Obama, I would look at this and say I would rather have young voters with me," Millhiser said.
I had to LOL when I saw a member of the DuPont family weighing in here about the dangers of legalization. The more things change...
Posted by RainDog | Thu Nov 8, 2012, 03:30 AM (12 replies)