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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Criminal Apostate New York Taxation without Representation

Criminal apostate New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer proposes tax upon popular substances as Marijuana, cocaine, etc., WITHOUT the protection of law.

Proposal would again make the courts accomplices to crime.
N.Y. Gov. Proposes Drug Tax
January 24, 2008 News Summary

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer this week proposed imposing a tax on sales of illicit drugs, adopting a concept already in place in 29 other states, the New York Times reported Jan. 24.

Seeking to close a $4.4-billion budget gap, Spitzer proposed a commodity tax on drugs as part of a broader package of taxes and fees, perhaps hoping to emulate the success of states like North Carolina, which collected $11 million in taxes on illegal drugs and alcohol last year.

Spitzer estimated that a drug tax could raise $17 million annually for New York. The tax would be $3.50 per gram of marijuana and $200 per gram for other drugs, but paying the tax would not shield dealers from criminal prosecution on possession charges.

In other states, such laws have led to litigation, with some struck down for violating constitutional protections against self-incrimination. As a result, many state laws now say that taxes can be paid anonymously, and that taxpayers cannot be reported to police.

In North Carolina, a federal appeals court ruled that the states was violating double-jeopardy rules by effectively punishing drug dealers twice, first with jail time and then with high taxes. The North Carolina tax was subsequently amended, and the state has a special division within its Department of Revenue devoted to collecting drug taxes.

Since few dealers pay the tax up front, most of the collections come after dealers are arrested on criminal charges.

And from New York State:

http://publications.budget.state.ny.us/eBudget0809/fy0809artVIIbills/REVENUEConsBMwtoc.htm#partG

Part G– Require a tax stamp on illegal drugs.

Purpose
:

This bill improves the enforcement and tracking of illegal drug trafficking by requiring all marihuana and controlled substances to have a tax stamp.

Summary of Provisions, Existing Law, Prior Legislative History, and Statement in Support:

This bill would amend the Tax Law to add a new Article 17-A, requiring a tax stamp on all marihuana and controlled substances acquired or possessed by a dealer in this state. Marihuana and controlled substance are defined in the bill to parallel existing definitions in the Penal Law and Public Health Law. Under the bill, “dealer” encompasses every person who manufactures, produces, acquires, possesses, ships, sells, distributes, transfers or transports in this state, or imports or causes to be imported into the state, marihuana or a controlled substance.

The bill sets a tax stamp rate for marihuana of $3.50 per gram, and of a controlled substance at $200.00 per gram or fraction thereof, whether pure or dilute. The tax is paid by the dealer, in advance of his or her receipt of the marihuana or controlled substance, through the purchase of tax stamps from the Department of Taxation and Finance (“Department”). Upon receipt of the product, the dealer must affix enough stamps to the packages of marihuana or the controlled substance in order to show the tax has been fully paid.

All marihuana and controlled substances within the State are presumed subject to the tax. The bill exempts from the tax, however, all marihuana and controlled substances acquired or possessed by the United States, by the State of New York and its legal subdivisions, or by an employee of a state, local or federal government who legally acquires or possess the product as part of his official duties. In addition, anyone lawfully acquiring or possessing marihuana or a controlled substance, e.g. pursuant to Article 33 of the Public Health Law, is exempt from tax.

The bill requires prompt notification of the Commissioner of Taxation and Finance (“Commissioner”) by all law enforcement agencies and district attorneys who obtain any information that indicates that a dealer has failed to pay the tax due under Article 17-A. This requirement does not apply, however, if providing the information would violate a legal prohibition or would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation or prosecution.

The bill contains a unique and strict secrecy requirement, preserving the confidentiality of any information obtained from a dealer under Article 17-A. Disclosure of this information is generally prohibited, although it may be disclosed for purposes of a criminal or civil proceeding involving taxes under Article 17-A. However, the bill specifically provides that none of the information may be used against the dealer in any criminal proceeding (other than a tax crime) unless it has been obtained independently.

The bill provides that all moneys received under Article 17-A are to be deposited into the general fund of the state.

A wide array of enforcement provisions is set out in the bill to ensure proper collection of the tax. These provisions include a civil penalty for failure to pay the tax, an authorization of jeopardy tax assessments, and criminal sanctions for various offenses.

Twenty-nine states– Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have passed tax liability legislation for controlled substances.

Budget Implications:

Enactment of this bill is necessary to implement the 2008-09 Executive Budget because it would increase revenues by $13 million in 2008-09 and $17 million thereafter.

Effective Date:

This bill will take effect 90 days after it becomes law and will apply to marihuana and controlled substances possessed in the state on or after that date.

Such laws only increase the government's liability for its criminal drug war mercantilism scheme.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Criminal Apostate Virginia House of Delegates Disgraces itself before God Again!

Votes 98-0 to violate Freedom of Medicine and Diet with another criminal prohibition of a Gift from God- Salvia Divinorum, in violation of the 9th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

Salvia Divinorum: Virginia House Passes Ban

A bill to ban the hallucinogenic herb salvia divinorum was approved by a vote of 98-0 in the Virginia House of Delegates Tuesday, paving the way for the Old Dominion to join the handful of states and localities that have already criminalized the member of the mint family. The measure now moves to the state senate.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/salvialeaves.jpg
Salvia leaves
(photo courtesy Erowid.org)

Salvia divinorum produces powerful but short-lived psychedelic effects. Once obscure, it has become increasingly well-known thanks to Internet-spread word of mouth. While the DEA considers it a "drug of interest," the agency has yet to move to designate it a controlled substance, and it remains freely available over the Internet or at various retail outlets in locales that have not banned it.

Sponsored by Delegate John O'Bannon (R-Henrico), HB21 would move salvia from unrestricted status to a Schedule I controlled substance under Virginia law. O'Bannion said he introduced the bill after receiving suggestions he do so from law enforcement.

"It's really not a pleasant thing to take. It can cause bad trips, dysphoria and sweats," O'Bannon said. [At what dose?]

Which is why, despite all the hullabaloo, salvia has not emerged as a popular drug. Most users are quite happy to limit themselves to using it once or twice.

O'Bannon demonstrated an idiosyncratic view of individual liberties as he discussed his bill. O'Bannon said. "I'm respectful of individual liberties and public good. I think what's happening is this is becoming a drug that can be misused,""Putting it on the Schedule I will not harm anybody," he said, but would make "a reasonable balance between public safety and civil individual liberties."

Of course, putting salvia on Schedule I, where its users would be subject to the same prison terms as the users of other proscribed drugs, would harm those people unfortunate enough to be arrested with it. But O'Bannion and his fellow delegates apparently didn't consider the impact that being caged in jails or prisons for long periods of time has on individual liberty.

Drug War Issues Salvia Divinorum
Politics & Advocacy State & Local Legislatures
Something can be misused, so it's mere possession is made into a "felony".

That's some "logic". Where would that leave just about anything from knives, hammers, bricks and guns?


John O'Bannon

Delegate O'Bannon bears false wittness by stating that kidnapping people and extorting their liberties will not hurt anyone.

He further bears false witness on his web site where he claims:
Dr. John O’Bannon is a lifelong Virginian who has dedicated himself to caring for others...

John is a national leader in improving the medical profession. He is a leader in the American Medical Association where he serves as a member of the Council for Ethical and Judicial Affairs. Here in Virginia, John is a past Chairman of the Board of the Richmond Academy of Medicine. He has also been a past Chairman of the Medical Society of Virginia’s Legislative Committee where he helped pass the Virginia Patients Bill of Rights.
He is only caring for the twisted elements who would continue this shameful pharmacratic inquisition.

Considering that this is in a State up to its neck in promoting deadly bright leaf cigarettes, this action is just another criminal act of mercantilism.

Virginia with its Delegates voting 100% in favor of such illegalities, is definitely NOT Christian, and is utterly apostate to the values of Thomas Jefferson, who designed the building in which they convene.

Virginia House of Delegates


Obama Pledges to Continue the Pharmacratic Inquisition

Obama Pledges to Continue the Drug War

How shall I respond when a prominent politician rejects drug legalization, while in the same breath criticizing the costs and consequences of our wildly bloated criminal justice system? Should I condemn his tacit endorsement of the drug war or give him credit for at least recognizing a problem that so many still pretend doesn’t exist? I guess I'll try to do both.

Here's what Barack Obama said when a questioner pointed out how lucky he is to have avoided arrest for his past drug use and asked if he would consider ending the drug war:

"I'm not interested in legalizing drugs,'' Obama said, adding that he prefers an approach that puts more emphasis on a public health approach to drugs and less emphasis on incarceration.

He said there should be more programs to keep young people from using drugs. And he said first-time offenders should be given help to overcome their drug use instead of being locked up at massive taxpayer expense from which they emerge as unemployable ex-convicts.

"All we do is give them a master's degree in criminology,'' Obama said. [AP]

What a shame that Obama's most forward-thinking comments on criminal justice reform must be prefaced with a rejection of the one idea that has a chance of working. The inherent flaw in Obama's narrow, palatable rhetoric is revealed unintentionally by The Weekly Standard's Jonathan Last:

The only problem with this is that there are very, very few people incarcerated for first-time drug use.

Last goes on to laboriously downplay the persecution of first-time offenders in our criminal justice system. It's an outrageous attempt to argue that everyone in prison deserves to be there. But it does have the effect of reminding us how limited Obama's proposed reforms truly are.

The root of our drug war-fueled incarceration crisis lies in the practice of vigorously arresting and criminalizing people for having drugs. As long as this machinery remains in place, our prison population will continue to grow exponentially. Obama's first-time offender focused model of criminal justice reform is like trying to drain an olympic swimming pool with a pint glass.

Meanwhile, the drug war itself continues to function as a massive black market job recruitment program; a fully functional drug offender factory whose participants are often much more addicted to grocery money than drugs. Treatment-focused reform strategies don't address or even acknowledge this. Still, it remains perfectly commonplace for proponents of partial criminal justice reform to insist that we continue imprisoning suppliers while searching for ever more suppliers to imprison, all while failing entirely to disrupt supply.

The silver lining here is that important people are becoming increasingly comfortable admitting that something is wrong. When the reforms they've agreed upon fail to address the problem, they can't just go back and pretend to be cool with it. They've promised to fix our criminal justice system and if they continue to follow the trail of clues, they will eventually find themselves face to face with the war on drugs.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Criminal Apostate U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case on Freedom of Medicine For the Terminally Ill

U.S. court rejects appeal seeking unapproved drugs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal on Monday by two advocacy groups arguing that dying patients have a constitutional right to access experimental drugs that have not received regulatory approval.

The Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs and the Washington Legal Foundation sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2003 seeking greater access for terminally ill patients to medicines that have cleared early, limited safety tests, but have yet to be approved.

The lawsuit argued that the FDA's policy to withhold early-stage experimental drugs from terminally ill patients violates the Constitution by depriving them of life and liberty without due process.

Without any comment or recorded dissent, the justices refused to review a U.S. appeals court ruling in August that there is no fundamental constitutional right of access to experimental drugs for the terminally ill.

More ...

The lower court that accepted this suit, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Court, by a 2-1 decision included the positive vote of Judge Douglas Howard Ginsburg. U.S. President Ronald Wilson Reagan had proposed him for the U.S. Supreme Court in 1986, but who was unjustly forced to withdraw via the intervention of Inquisition agent William Bennett, because Ginsburg had smoke Marijuana.
The appeals court ruled 2-1 that once FDA has determined, after Phase I trials, that a potentially life saving investigational new drug is sufficiently safe for expanded human trials, terminally ill patients have a constitutional right to seek treatment with the drug if there are no other FDA-approved drugs available to the patient. The court held that the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause encompasses a right, recognized throughout American history, of all individuals facing terminal illnesses to make fundamental decisions regarding whether to seek or not to seek medical treatment. The court said that if FDA wishes to prevent such patients from gaining access to investigational drugs that have completed Phase I trials, it bears the burden of demonstrating that its restrictions are “narrowly tailored” to serve a compelling governmental interest.

The majority decision, written by Judge Judith Rogers, was joined by Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg. Judge Thomas Griffith dissented. Unless FDA appeals the decision, the case now returns to the district court, where WLF will prevail unless FDA can demonstrate that it has a “compelling interest” in restricting the constitutional rights of terminally ill patients.

http://www.wlf.org/upload/050306RS.pdf


Continuing the Criminal Mercantilism of the Pharmacratic Inquisition

Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs v. Eschenbach

Criminal Apostate Texas, U.S. Marshals Murder Citizen...

In the U.S., governments criminally violate the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms for those who exercise their 9th Amendment Rights to possess that gift from God- Marijuana.

Instead, why not arrest those responsible for this- namely the politicians that pass such laws, and the police and courts that have debased themselves for violating their oaths to uphold the U.S. Constitution?

From MPP:
The story I'm about to share with you sickens me. It's a story of how our government turns the prohibition of medical marijuana into an excuse for murdering a cancer patient.

Dallas resident Stephen Thorton was a thyroid cancer survivor who used marijuana to control chronic pain, eliminate nausea, and gain weight. In 2005, a federal court in Texas convicted Thorton of "possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance and for distributing marijuana and marijuana plants."

In other words, this cancer patient faced a federal prison sentence for having a gun that would have been legal except for the presence of marijuana, which he was using to treat a life-threatening illness.

Thorton fled Texas in late 2005, fearing that his prison term would undermine his battle against cancer -- and in the process became a fugitive who was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service. He took up residence in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he continued to grow his medical marijuana. Last week, he was shot and killed by law enforcement officers in a drug raid at his home.

Investigators said they thought Thorton was the "kingpin" of a marijuana manufacturing ring.

You can read more about this latest victim of our government's war on marijuana users at http://control.mpp.org/site/R?i=qHADv-WKrjJpjR4sg4FMOQ.. .
(excerpt)

When sheriff's deputies and ABC officers entered Thornton's home, they found evidence of a full-scale marijuana-growing operation, including 43 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, soil additives, lights and plant-growing chemicals, according to a search warrant made public Monday.

Thornton was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service. He fled Texas in late 2005, before he was to be sentenced by a federal judge for possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance and for distributing marijuana and marijuana plants.

Texans for Medical Marijuana disbanded in May after two bills the group supported to legalize the medical use of marijuana stalled in the state legislature. Its former executive director, Noelle Davis, did not know Thornton but said that he was likely living with a lot of shame because he had to use an illegal substance for relief from his illness and that his fear of prison was probably compounded by the prospect of receiving inadequate medical treatment.

"It could have been a death sentence for him," said Davis, who now works as a consultant for the Marijuana Policy Project, the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States.

A Republican activist and medical marijuana advocate, Ann Lee of Houston, called Thornton a casualty of a failed war on drugs.

"They took a life because of it," said Lee, whose paraplegic son is a medical marijuana user. "Why have they spent $30 billion and not achieved a single goal?"


Friday, January 11, 2008

Criminal Apostate Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Iran and Others

Disgracing themselves before God

The criminal -- human rights violating, Tobacco protectionist -- entities of the governments of Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Iran and others Murdering People for Cannabis and Other Drugs.

Useful reading

The women on the left just before being murdered;
the women on the right, along with her bosses are the real criminals that are going to hell.
(excerpt)

Lines said it is time to act. "As I did the research for this report, I was surprised how little attention this issue has received, despite the fact that executions for drug offenses clearly violate international law. There was much less literature on the topic than I assumed there would be when I started," he noted. "I was also surprised to see that while the worldwide trend is clearly toward the abolition of the capital punishment -- the number of countries with the death penalty has steadily decreased over the past 20 years -- at the same time, the number of countries with laws allowing the death penalty for drugs has increased," Lines continued. "That's completely opposite to the general trend away from capital punishment. I think this is an issue where we can almost empirically measure the negative effects of the war on drugs on human rights."
Let's not forget that cigarettes of addictive bright leaf Tobacco are legal in these countries, so it's definitely NOT about addiction or health.

Don't overlook role of Big Tobackgo

The demonization of "drugs" (always including cannabis)
serves the agenda of the tobacco industry to keep their product looked upon as "normal" compared to something else. Politicians and jurists trying to measure up to the standard of "strong against drugs", even to the point of executions, are reacting to the disproportionate power of the tobacco industry and its natural allies (for example, Big Pharma). For example, one website asserts that tobacco is the biggest money crop in Pakistan and furnishes 10% of government revenues.

Big Pharma Feeds off Big Tobackgo

I mention Big Pharma because a large percentage of its revenues is derived from treating unnecessary diseases caused by hot burning overdose nicotine cigaret addiction. If, say, cannabis turned out to be helpful to millions of addicts trying to quit tobacco addiction, this would soon lead to a drop in sales of drugs used to treat high blood pressure, etc.

Cigaret Smoking Promotes Execution Mentality

If you examine cigaret smoking itself as a educational force on the personality, it teaches the user to carry out a dozen or more symbolic executions a day-- each cigaret starts out large, adult, clean, straight, white and pure looking, and winds up small, dirty, stinky, sort of like an evil baby, and is disposed of much like a disposable diaper. Children, seeing adults enact this process, learn that the cigaret is guilty of the sin of being small (used up, no good), the sin of being stinky, etc., and therefore is being punished. Children notice things like the way an adult grinds out a cigaret or throws it away.

We've been trained to ignore the fact that this kind of "training" sticks with a person growing up into a legislator or a judge empowered to handle human beings in the way required by the "sponsor" (Big Tobackgo) which funds governments all over the planet.

The Caveat Emptor Society

Aside from overt capital punishment, another assault on human rights is the cigaret genocide itself-- advertising and peer pressure used to train youngsters to damage themselves through smoking. Children who acquire the habit in order to have an easier time staying awake to study for the big text, or fool the boss and get a paycheck etc., know somewhere in their mind that they are sacrificing themselves--or the last ten years of their life-- in order to do their duty by making enough money to pay the bills for the family.

This is the biggest crop of suicide bombers on earth (well, think of the side-stream smoke, right?).

Overlooked Obvious Universal Remedy

A uniform (25 mg. servings) smoking reduction utensil, with a narrow screened crater, if promoted worldwide and used by all smokers, could rapidly result in a reduction of 700-mg. cigaret addict "executions" from 5.3 million/year to almost zero. (Illegality of cannabis is a stratagem to suppress the emergence of such a utensil. In Queensland, for example, any utensil permitting smaller, safer tokes is either illegal or suspected of being so, due to a "Cannabis utensil law" which is in turn part of a garbled tobacco control system which permits the tobacco industry to go on selling hot burning overdose cigarets.)

As long as the secret sacred cigaret holocaust continues unanswered, we are hypocrites if we raise our stink only about a few hundred "drug executions". It's time to get serious about the links between these two problems and promote a worldwide harm reduction smoking equipment reform..

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Pharmacratic Inquisition: Subverting Public Health

Criminal Market Control

(Criminal Mercantilism)


Protecting the more dangerous from the less:

- alcohol and Tobacco from Coca and Cannabis

- synthetics from herbs. Cigarettes the biggest beneficiary and public health threat; methamphetimine the ultimate result of prohibition’s iron law


Making the safer infinitely more dangerous:

- Coca to crack

From cigarettes to crack, the pharamacratic inquisition costs billions upon billions in added health care costs.

The Pharmacratic Inquisition: Subverting Freedom of Medicine and Diet: The Right to Choose

A basic violation:

Subverting the U.S. Constitution

Violating the 1st, 8th, 9th, 10th Amendments


It's a Pharmacratic Inquisition

as a continuation of past inquisition[s]

It enforces a drug control regimen of what substances are legal or illegal.

It does so with statutes making certain substances illegal and setting penalties for their manufacture, sale or possession with lengthy prison sentences.

the force of the police and the courts, which have simply accepted the government's power to prohibit.

Within just the U.S.A., over 800,000 persons were arrested and taken to jail for possessing Marijuana.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Understanding America’s Drug War

Useful Reading ...

Collision Course: Bolivia's "Coca, Si; Cocaine, No" Policy Runs Afoul of the International Drug Control Board and, Probably, the United States

From DRC Net

About Criminal Mercantilism that Subverts Liberty and Health

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/leaves-drying-in-warehouse.jpg

Drying the leaves in the warehouse.
The sign reads ''Coca Power and Territory, Dignity and Sovereignty, Regional Congress 2006-08''


That does not sit well with either the United States or the international anti-drug bureaucracy based in the United Nations. This week, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) took direct aim at Bolivia in its 2006 annual report (go to Special Topics, beginning with paragraph 171). In the report, INCB accuses Bolivia of violating the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics, which defines the coca plant as an illicit drug.

"The situation in Bolivia, which for many years has not been in conformity with that State's obligations under the international drug control treaties, continues to be a matter of particular concern to the Board," the report reads. "Bolivia is a major producer of coca leaf, and national legislation allows the cultivation of coca bush and the consumption of coca leaf for non-medical purposes, which are not in line with the provisions of the 1961 Convention."

The INCB was particularly concerned that Bolivia "has indicated its intention to review existing national drug control legislation, with a view to using coca leaf for a wide range of products, some of which might be exported." That, too, would not be in line with the INCB's interpretation of the Convention.

The language of the INCB report is a clear shot over the bow aimed at the Morales government's expressed policy of "coca, si; cocaine, no" and its efforts to expand the use of the coca leaf for medicinal and nutritional products. Worse yet, in INCB's view, Bolivia could set a bad example for other coca producing countries: "The Board is also concerned that policy developments in Bolivia could have repercussions in other countries in South America," the report fretted.

The United States has also expressed concern about Bolivian coca policy under Morales, as well as concerns about Morales' ties with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, whose government earlier this month finalized an agreement with Bolivia to finance the construction of coca processing plants in Bolivia and to import Bolivian coca products to Venezuela. So far this year, the US government has limited its expressions of concern to worries about the "anti-democratic" natures of the two left-leaning South American leaders, but the State Department's annual review of other countries' compliance with US anti-drug policies is due later this month. A key question is whether Morales' policies will lead the US to "decertify" Bolivia as being in compliance with those objectives.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/vitalia-and-daughter.jpg

Coca grower union member and former leader Vitalia Merida with her daughter in their coca field -- hidden several miles from the road via arduous hike, a legacy of eradication days

The Bolivian government didn't help matters last week when its foreign minister, David Choquehuanca, told a gathering of the Organization of American States that Bolivia would never eradicate coca and that it was more interested in "consensus" than "democracy." "The struggle of the indigenous peoples goes beyond democracy," said Choquehuanca. "In the word democracy, there exists the word submission, and to submit to one's neighbor is not to live well. For this reason, we wish to resolve our problems through consensus."

Clearly, there is no international consensus right now on coca, and if the Bolivian officials and analysts Drug War Chronicle spoke with this week are right, neither is there any indication the Bolivian government is about to bow to drug warriors in Washington and Vienna.

Industrialization of coca processing and expanding legal markets are the correct course of action, said Bolivian Deputy (congressman) Asterio Romero Wednesday. A member of Morales' Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) Party, Romero strongly supports the "coca, si; cocaine, no" policy. "First, I want to say that I am from the Chapare, I was a coca grower leader. It was always 'coca zero,' but there will never be zero coca," he told the Chronicle. "We fought for many years, we suffered many dead and imprisoned because coca is a source of economic subsistence for us. We will never allow other governments to impose 'coca zero' on us. We are a sovereign nation; it is a matter of Bolivian dignity," he said.

"While, yes, we fight against the drug traffic -- and we are doing quite well; seizures of cocaine and precursor chemicals are up -- we also have to decriminalize coca growing, and industrialization is the way," Romero argued. "We have to revalorize the coca, we have to find more markets for coca. There are friendly countries that help us, like Venezuela, and we thank them for that."

"With its opposition to the coca leaf, the INCB merely foments the drug traffic," said Silvia Rivera, founder of the Bolivian group Coca y Soberania (Coca and Sovereignty), professor emeritus of sociology at the University of La Paz, and advisor to Romero. "Every leaf that goes to good, healthy uses is a leaf that doesn't go to the traffickers," she told the Chronicle. "That's the best way to fight against the drug traffickers. Those bureaucrats at the UN simply do not understand; they think coca is a drug."

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/coca-museum-la-paz.jpg

The Coca Museum, downtown La Paz

"It is the same thing with the government of the United States," said Rivera. "The Americans cannot recognize the rationality of other ways of life, and its approach is truly schizophrenic. It fears the drug trade, yet creates the conditions for it to flourish by trying to block other uses for the coca plant. The US tries to argue that Evo is in favor of the cocaine dealers, but it is the US policy that aids them. Also, the US has backed the narco-dictators in the past because they were radical fascists. That's who the US supports and gives arms to so they can kill the people."

In fact, rather than retreating in the face of criticism from the INCB and the US, the Morales government appears determined to push the envelope with its agreement to supply coca products to Venezuela. Bolivia is also making noises about going to the root of the problem by mounting an effort to amend the Single Convention to remove coca from its list of illicit drugs.

"This is a way for Chavez to push the limits and see what the boundaries are," said Kathryn Ledebur of the Cochabamba-based Andean Information Network, which has monitored the Bolivian coca economy and efforts to repress it for years. "Who is going to stop him? There are already substantial coca leaf exports to northern Argentina, and nobody says anything about that. Still, if this helps sharpen the focus on changing the Single Convention, that's a good thing -- it needs to be amended."

Ledebur doubted that the Morales government would make a concerted effort to amend the Single Convention in Vienna next year. "Let's just say that his domestic coca policy is more advanced than his international one," she said. "I see little chance of anything getting done unless there is some sort of concerted lobbying effort with Peru, and I don't see Peruvian President Garcia as someone who is willing to actively buck the US."

Such a move would require a concerted effort by coca producing countries, said Romero, and he didn't see that happening just yet. "It is the job of the Bolivian government to change the Vienna Convention," he said, "but it is also the job of Colombia and Peru to join us at the UN. While we here in Bolivia have with Evo a government with popular support to push this, in Peru and Colombia, the governments are neo-liberal and pro-imperialist and they will not join us. But we are anti-neoliberal and we are going to maintain this position. Still, we are willing to talk government to government and man to man about this."

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/santos5.jpg

La Paz street vendor Santos, enjoying an afternoon coca chew

But for Romero and the Bolivian government, standing up for coca is a matter of national pride. "We are a sovereign government, and we will move forward with our policies," he said. "Coca is not dangerous, coca is not poison. We will work bilaterally with countries that support our position. And countries that now try to impede us, like the US, well, perhaps we can send them some coca, too."

With Bolivia already facing off against the INCB, the next measure of the Morales government's coca policies will be the US certification decision, which should come by the middle of March. But given the current conjuncture in hemispheric affairs, with a rising tide of left-leaning governments and the US, obsessed as it is with affairs in the Middle East, losing influence in the region, the US may well step back from attempting to isolate and punish Bolivia via the certification process.

"The US still cannot step out of its anti-drug framework of using the military and forced eradication," said Ledebur, "but there is no agreement within the Bush administration about what to about certification. If it decertifies Bolivia, it loses what little leverage it has left. Bolivia now has other sources of assistance, and not just Chavez; it no longer has to blindly obey US dictates. If the US chooses to decertify now, what does it do next year?" she asked.

This is getting very interesting. The Morales government's "coca, si; cocaine no" policy is anathema to both the US and the INCB, but there appears to be little either can do to stop it, and chances are the Bolivian challenge will eventually aim directly at the 1961 Single Convention, perhaps knocking the first hole in what is the legal backbone of the global drug prohibition regime. Stay tuned.

A confrontation is brewing over Bolivian President Evo Morales' effort to rationalize coca production in his country and expand markets for coca-based products. After decades of fruitless efforts to wipe out the coca crop in Bolivia -- the "zero coca" policy embraced by the United States and shoved down the throat of successive Bolivian governments -- Morales, a former coca growers' union leader, has crafted policies that allow for the increased cultivation of coca from the 30,000 acres allowed under current Bolivian law to 50,000 acres. Now, the Morales government is also pushing for expanded legal markets for coca products and, in a joint venture with the Venezuelan government, is preparing to begin coca product exports to that country.

Drug War Issues Coca - Eradication

Bolivia should challenge US criminal mercantilism

Has EVo Morales considered suing the US under any free trade provisions?

Or the fact that Coca is safer then Coffee and infinitely safer then Tobacco?

What about a law suit against the US government for mass murder, given that Tobacco takes 40 million lives annually, Coca takes 0, and that the US largely went after Coca in the early 1900s as a "tobacco habit cure"?



DRC Net

Pharmacratic Mentality: Favoring Toxicity

The pharmacratic mentality favors generally more toxic substances: isolated elements in concentrated forms, whether derived from nature or synthetic, versus herbal compounds in dilute forms. It promotes a trend in general medical practice in much of the industrialized world since the early 1900s.

It’s not necessarily scientifically consistent, applying different standards to different substances with comparable and different uses. Coca leaf has comparable uses to that for Coffee and Tobacco leaf, with each containing small amounts of an alkaloid that for humans serves as a stimulant. Yet no one judges caffeine and nicotine by the standard used to condemn cocaine. Likewise those that would define any marijuana use as abuse would not do the same with the more toxic alternative of alcohol.

This encourages confusion and mis-information on the relative safety of these substances by distracting from the importance of the different forms of drugs:

- Dilute are the safest

- Concentrated the most dangerous.

It also distracts from the relative safety of the different substances.

- Coca

- Tea (caffeine-containing)

- Coffee

- Marijuana

- Opium

- Alcohol

- Tobacco- Bright Leaf (for cigarettes)

Pharmacratic Mentality: Intellectually Lazy Over Generalizations

Nearly everyone takes “drugs” of some sort. A drug is something that effects a temporary change on the human organism, with the definition between a drug and a food overlapping.

Of some sort includes:

- Drinking dilute preparations such as Coffee, tea

- Smoking plants such as Tobacco and Marijuana

- Swallowing pills such as anything at a drug store

- Snorting powders (ground up pills).

- Smoking rocks (chunks of pills) such as crack

- Injection

Each of these forms of drug use have different effects: a reality commonly overlooked in favor of U.S. Congress enacted, William Randolph Hearst pushed mercantile schemes of protecting favored commodities.

William Randolf Hearst's Reefer Madness