Saturday, June 30, 2012
Setting the Record Straight
Posted on Facebook by Nancy J. Allen in FREE DANA BEAL FREE OURSELVES ·
First are the links to the two articles written by Paul Hammel in June, 2012 for the Omaha World-Herald regarding Dana's case in Nebraska, followed by Dana's response:
"Marijuana Advocate in a Tough Fight" - June 12, 2012
Court Rejects Medicinal Marijuana Argument" - June 20, 2012
"Setting the Record Straight" by Dana Beal - June 29, 2012
Dear Paul [Hammel]:
Thanks for the article, but as always, a few little inconsistencies crept into your well-intentioned coverage. Most important, our understanding with the Manhattan DA’s office does not allow for a dispensary. We meet in the apartments, which change every week, of patient “hosts.” Hosts get their medicine for free. Dennis Brennan was one such host. Given the threat of ongoing federal prohibition or outright theft, this “Tupperware Party model” is very useful for all the medical marijuana states that do not allow dispensaries but do allow patients to form support groups to grow or buy in bulk.
A related point is that much of the medicine in both seizures was destined for Michigan, which now has more than 100,000 registered patients, and Washington, DC, which is still working out its regulations. As I pointed out, when you take the amount seized in Ashland and divide it by the number of patients, that’s less than a gram per patient. With only twelve marijuana plants allowed per patient, there’s never enough medicine and availability is seasonal. I was bringing fresh, green medical grade marijuana weeks before harvest, and it was priced to sell at $4-6 a gram, not the $10, $15, and $20 a gram you find in most dispensaries. Also, dispensaries fall in a gray area in Michigan law and in 2009, none had been established yet. We were hoping to spread the “Tupperware Party model” to Michigan, where I grew up and where my mother, sister, and two brothers still live.
You also glossed over the point that marijuana is not just a painkiller, like opiates. Down regulation of glutamate makes it an anti-inflammatory, which is the reason it’s good against a host of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Glutamate dysfunction is involved in carcinogenesis, which is the reason cancers tend to feel hot to the touch. Painting them with pure oil of cannabis (Rick Simpson’s oil) shrinks skin cancers. Smoked or vaporized medical marijuana probably helps keep you from developing cancer to begin with. My co-defendant in Wisconsin, Lance Ramer, was a medical marijuana patient. After 90 days of confinement where he was denied his medicine, he was urinating blood from a galloping bladder cancer. Iowa County had to release him with time served because they didn’t want to pay for a second operation.
These effects may also be related to cannabinoid inhibition of the AIDS virus (study of SIV in chimps, June-July 2011). The first antiretroviral, AZT, was an anti-cancer drug originally shelved because of toxicity concerns. One of the reasons I am choosing a stipulated bench trial is to establish the fact that pot doesn’t just give you the munchies, it fights AIDS wasting by cutting viral load, perhaps by affecting viral replication like a protease inhibitor. This is tremendously important to countries in Africa that cannot afford the “AIDS cocktail” of meds, where “slim disease” kills millions. If we can get these very conservative governments to opt out of the US/UN drug war, everyone can afford to grow a plant in their yard. Ibogaine fits into all this because I have never gone to a medical marijuana conference that didn’t feature a patient getting up and complaining how difficult it was to get off his prescription opiates once he found out all he needed for his particular condition was medical marijuana.
Ibogaine eliminates medical addiction to opiates in 48 hours. We can send people abroad for ibogaine treatment because it is usually only taken once. The thing that makes changing the law so urgent regarding medical marijuana is that patients are going to need the medicine every day for the rest of their lives. Ibogaine, on the other hand, is only technically illegal, and is almost never prosecuted. In the only recent case involving one dose of ibogaine seized from Dimitri Mugianis, DEA agents apologized to him after viewing his film “I’m Dangerous With Love” and the U.S. prosecutor dropped the case upon being informed Dimitri was mounting a religious defense.
You also omitted mentioning the much safer, supposedly nonhallucinogenic “18 MC” (synthetic ibogaine), which in animals is especially effective for nicotine – and is completely legal.
The ibogaine clinic mentioned in your story is not located in NYC, but in Agua Prieta, Mexico, opposite Douglas, Arizona. We were hoping to get a dedicated wing of a new hospital under construction there with the money that was seized in Mattoon, Illinois. Agua Prieta is a relative oasis of calm for a Mexican border city. We can still do treatments there; the problem has been finding staffing while keeping the price of treatment in the $2000-3000 range. Unfortunately the price of treatment has ballooned lately at many other clinics – still a steal compared to conventional rehab, such as $1000 a day for Hazelden, which might as well be the moon for anybody but the rich. And Hazelden's treatment doesn’t work. Ibogaine works, but many people relapse and require retreatment. So having a place people can drive to from Nebraska instead of flying to Puerto Vallarta or Cancun is a boon for people who desperately need something effective for drugs, alcohol and nicotine.
We also have a clinic charging $2000 in Toronto, but no one with a criminal record can get into Canada - which excludes the kid I already bumped into in here who found out about ibogaine on his own and just needed referral to affordable treatment for his heroin cravings. (Have the prosecutor and the judge in this case really thought through the consequences of locking me up with hundreds of people who need ibogaine treatment? Since they contend that a law that excuses killing someone in self-defense doesn’t cover the non-violent provision of life-saving medicine to sick people, I guess not.) Your readers can locate the cheapest, safest ibogaine treatment appropriate for their particular situation by calling the Yippie! Museum café at 212-677-5918.
A related issue left out of your story is the utility of medical marijuana as a maintenance drug after ibogaine treatment. Among my private patients were many ibogaine-treated ex-addicts who kept on the straight and narrow with medical cannabis. They are much less likely to relapse than those who drink. Somehow, after a little too much alcohol, a bag of heroin can seem like a really great idea. We now have a study, on the other hand, showing that cannabis fights cocaine craving - and White House Drug Czar Kerlikowske is now waffling on the “Gateway Effect” of the Just Say No era. Both ibogaine and medical marijuana work much better for a number of conditions than conventional drugs that were developed for a completely different indication. Readers should go to YouTube for “Sam’s Story” about an autistic child doing much better on medical marijuana than the heavy anti-psychotic meds he was on before. It breaks my heart to think of all the autistic children who could be helped by the “safest therapeutically active substance known to man.”
Finally, I recommend to you the story of my friend and former journalist for the New York Post, Mark Stamey. Mark broke the story of the Central Park cave man, but working long, grueling hours for Rupert Murdoch, he fell asleep at the wheel, crashed and woke up the second time with major head trauma and a permanent seizure disorder. The heartless New York Post fired him so they wouldn’t have to pay for his medical care. None of his conventional meds stopped the grand mal seizures. His girlfriend had to drive him up from Florida so that he could get the only thing that worked. And yes, I am proud I could furnish him with adequate medical grade marijuana for $900 to $1400 a pound. Now he has relocated to California.
It’s unfair to admit the testimony of the original arresting officer in my case, who was fired in western Nebraska for lying to a federal judge in a cocaine seizure, when no jury will get to hear from Mark, or the lady in a wheelchair with MS, or the man with AIDS who kept himself alive for 30 years on nothing but medical marijuana – no AZT, no drug cocktail. [underline added]
On Sept. 27, 2011, during my first heart attack, I actually died for a couple of minutes. I feel Almighty God brought me back because He still has things for me to do. When I was 13, and JFK was running for president, I got to shake his hand. He was a medical marijuana patient – smoked it for back pain. In 1962 he removed Harry Anslinger, the man who made marijuana illegal in 1937, from direct day-to-day supervision of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, for going after Alfred Lindesmith and other “political enemies”.*
When I was 16, I hitchhiked to Washington and stood just next to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for the “I Have a Dream” speech. So I have been blessed. We are offering ibogaine treatments for the worst addicts in Omaha, Lincoln, and Wahoo – who have failed every other treatment – as a community service alternative to confinement. But if I have to be imprisoned for following my conscience, I am there with Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. I may well die in prison of “natural causes.” But at least I don’t have to take an assassin’s bullet.
I. Dana Beal
* Anslinger was kicked upstairs to the UN, where he passed the Single Convention international treaty against pot.
This was the basic defense offerered by Dana Beal's legal counsel, which was rejected by Judge Mary C. Gilbrite
A defense asserted by a criminal or civil defendant that he or she had no choice but to break the law.
The necessity defense has long been recognized as Common Law and has also been made part of most states' statutory law. Although no federal statute acknowledges the defense, the Supreme Court has recognized it as part of the common law. The rationale behind the necessity defense is that sometimes, in a particular situation, a technical breach of the law is more advantageous to society than the consequence of strict adherence to the law. The defense is often used successfully in cases that involve a Trespass on property to save a person's life or property. It also has been used, with varying degrees of success, in cases involving more complex questions.
Almost all common-law and statutory definitions of the necessity defense include the following elements: (1) the defendant acted to avoid a significant risk of harm; (2) no adequate lawful means could have been used to escape the harm; and (3) the harm avoided was greater than that caused by breaking the law. Some jurisdictions require in addition that the harm must have been imminent and that the action taken must have been reasonably expected to avoid the imminent danger. All these elements mirror the principles on which the defense of necessity was founded: first, that the highest social value is not always achieved by blind adherence to the law; second, that it is unjust to punish those who technically violate the letter of the law when they are acting to promote or achieve a higher social value than would be served by strict adherence to the law; and third, that it is in society's best interest to promote the greatest good and to encourage people to seek to achieve the greatest good, even if doing so necessitates a technical breach of the law.
The defense of necessity is considered a justification defense, as compared with an excuse defense such as duress. An action that is harmful but praiseworthy is justified, whereas an action that is harmful but ought to be forgiven may be excused. Rather than focusing on the actor's state of mind, as would be done with an excuse defense, the court with a necessity defense focuses on the value of the act. No court has ever accepted a defense of necessity to justify killing a person to protect property.
Most states that have codified the necessity defense make it available only if the defendant's value choice has not been specifically contradicted by the state legislature. For example, in 1993 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected the necessity defense of two people who were prosecuted for operating a needle-exchange program that was intended to reduce the transmission of AIDS through the sharing of contaminated hypodermic needles (Massachusetts v. Leno, 415 Mass. 835, 616 N.E.2d 453). Their actions violated a state law prohibiting the distribution of hypodermic needles without a physician's prescription. In rejecting the defense, the court held that the situation posed no clear and imminent danger. The court reasoned that citizens who disagree with the legislature's policy are not without remedy, as they can seek to have the law changed through popular initiative.
The necessity defense has been used with sporadic and very limited success in the area of civil disobedience since the 1970s. The most common circumstances involve public protests against Abortion, Nuclear Power, and Nuclear Weapons. Virtually all abortion protesters who have tried to avail themselves of the defense have lost. The courts have reasoned that because the right to an abortion is constitutionally protected, it cannot simultaneously be a legally recognized harm justifying illegal action. In these cases the courts have also denied the defense on the basis that the criminal act of protest would not stop abortions from occurring; that the harm caused by the act was greater than the harm of abortion; and that legal means of protest, such as demonstrating outside of the clinic rather than entering the clinic or trespassing on its property, were available. Consequently, according to the courts, there was no necessity for the protesters to break the law. In the vast majority of cases in which protesters, trespassing on property, blocked the entrance to nuclear plants, the courts have denied the necessity defense on the grounds that there was no imminent danger and that the trespassing protesters could not reasonably have believed that their actions would halt the manufacture of nuclear materials (see, e.g., State v. Marley, 54 Haw. 450, 509 P.2d 1095 [Haw. 1973]). The defense has also been denied in civil disobedience cases involving protests against U.S. policy abroad, the homeless problem, lack of funding for AIDS research, harmful logging practices, prison conditions, and human and Animal Rights violations.
Necessity has been used successfully by inmates who escape from prison under certain circumstances. In Spakes v. State, 913 S.W.2d 597 (Tex. Crim. App. 1996), the highest criminal court in Texas allowed the jury to be instructed on the necessity defense before deliberating the verdict for an inmate whose three cellmates had planned an escape and threatened to slit his throat if he did not accompany them. The defendant inmate argued that because of the terribly violent crimes of which his cellmates had been convicted (one had bragged about chopping his girlfriend up with an ax), he accompanied them and escaped. Even though he made no attempt to return himself to custody when he was separated from his cellmates, the court still allowed the defense. In contrast, most jurisdictions have held that an escapee must make an attempt to surrender or report to authorities as a condition for asserting the necessity defense. These courts have reasoned that once the immediate threat is no longer present, the action of escape is no longer necessary, and consequently it should end.
The judge needs to look at the basic statistics concerning the substance Dana is charged with possessing with intent to distribute.:
Marijuana is what U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young declared in September 1988:
“In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.The drug laws being based not upon science, are a denial of due proces and equal protection under the law.
[DEA Administrative Law Judge - 1988]” ― Francis L. Young -- In the matter of MARIJUANA RESCHEDULING PETITION, Docket No. 86-22; OPINION AND RECOMMENDED RULING, FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DECISION
Friday, June 22, 2012
43rd annual July 4th Smoke In - A Movement Stalled Since Summer 1971
EVENT WEBSITE: http://www.smoke-in.org/mj/
RALLY with SPEAKERS at NOON to 3 PM Lafayette Park north side of the White HouseThis is the annual July 4th Smoke In to Legalize Marijuana, in Washington D.C.at Lafayette Park immediately north of the White House, held every year since 1971.
MARCH 3 PM to 4:20 PM to Constitution and 23rd
CONCERT with SPEAKERS at recreation field at Constitution and 23rd just to the north of the Lincoln Memorial from 4 PM to 9PM - I shall be at this entire event with other drug legalization activists
Held annually on July 4th in Washington, D.C. for the past 43 years, this rally, march and concert is one of the oldest demonstrations advocating drug policy reform in the United States. The Smoke-In has undergone several changes since being created out of the BE-IN era of political movements. During it's history elected politicians in Washington DC have tended to view this annual demonstration as a youthful indiscretion at best, and arresting protesters at worst, and failing to engage in any meaningful compromise concerning marijuana prohibition. This is why our grass roots demonstration has an indelible appeal to the people who are having trouble getting a representative voice in their federal government's drug policy. Activists occupy and attend the Smoke-In year after year by unleashing the pride and empowerment of being a marijuana activist and will not cease until the politicians listen to and respond to their point of view. Currently the goal is to achieve equality and respect buy rescheduling marijuana at the federal level, please support this effort. Many thanks to the people involved in producing this demonstration year after year. Please support the activists who have donated their time & talent, they truly deserve credit for my dedication to the belief that some day marijuana prohibition shall end.1971- 41 years ago- so many thought that legalization - ending the nightmare of prohibition -- was 'just around the corner'. Yet instead a lingering status quo, with meaningful change stymied, especially with the changes for the worse in 1978 through 1986.
1986- I say take the fight beyond Marijuana, also end the prohibitions on Coca and Opium.
1987- The Drug Policy Foundation was founded in response to the this hysteria over 'drugs' and particularly cocaine ... and after 1992 drops the ball! It makes itself more of a redundent 2nd NORML, limiting itself to Cannabis (Marijuana), plus a few "safe" things like clean needles. Its as if injection should remain any drug's main mode of use- distracting from rationally questioning whatever happened with natural plant drugs as Opium and Coca and others including Iboga - supressed under a drug war scheme that's all about protecting pharmaceuticals and cigarettes.
2009 - Dealing with the situation with the 'Within The Beltway' stonewalling, with say a 300 year agenda as admitted by Ira Glasser at his keynote address at the DPA conference in November 2011, to eventually reduce such prohibitions - maintaining them as long as they can get away with to protect markets in pharma -- Dana Beal and other drug policy activists smell a rat. Hence, upon my advice, we organize the initial protest to begin seriously targeting a particular nexus of political power in Washington, D.C. long overdue in being spotlighted.
The founders of Covington & Burling LLP foresaw the pervasive effects of the forthcoming era of federal legislation, regulation, and taxation. In 1919, they sought to create a firm in the nation's capital that could advise and represent corporations located anywhere in the nation or the world on a wide range of legal issues. Today our Washington office has over 300 lawyers representing clients according to the highest standards and fulfilling the firm's strong commitment to public service. http://www.cov.com/washington/
On January 20, 2009, President Obama was inaugurated, and we said farewell to a number of our lawyers who answered his call to service. Among them was our partner Eric Holder, who became the Attorney General of the United States almost sixty years to the day after Dean Acheson’s swearing in as Secretary of State. http://www.cov.com/about_the_firm/firm_history/
Obama delivered heated rhetoric, but his actions signaled different prioities. Had Obama wanted to strike real fear in the hearts of bankers, he might have appointed former special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald or some other fire-breatheras his attorney general. instead, he chose Eric Holder, a former Clinton Justice official who, after a career in government, joined the Washington, joined the Washington office of Covington & Burling, a top-tier law firm with an elite white collar defense unit. The move to Covington, and back to Justice, is an example of Washington's revolving door ritual, which, for Holder, has been lucretive- he pulled in $2.1 million as a Covington partner in 2008, and $2.5 million (including deferred compensation when he left the firm in 2009.)
Putting a Covington partner- he spent nearly a decade at the firm- in charge of Justice may have sent a signal to the financial community, whose marquee names are Covington clients. Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Deutsche Bank are among the institutions that pay for Covington's legal advice, some of it relating to matters before the Department of Justice. But Holder's was not the only face at Justice familiar to Covington clients. Lanny Breuer, who had co-chaired the white collar defense unit at Covington with Holder, was chosen to head the criminal division at Obama's Justice. Two other Covington lawyers followed Holder into top positions, and Holder's principle deputy, James Cole, was recruited from Bryan Cave LLP, another white shoe firm with A-list finance clients.
Justice's defenders point out that prosecuting financial crime is a complicated matter requiring the highly secialized expertise found in the white-collar defense bar. But some suggest there is the potential for conflicting interest when the departments's top practices representing the very financial institutions that Justice is supposed to be investigating. "And that's where they're going back to," says Black. "Everybody knows there is a problem with that." (Two members of Holder's team have already returned to Covington.) A spokesperson for Covington was not available for comment. (Newsweek uses the firm as outside counsel.) http://freedomofmedicineanddiet.blogspot.com/2012/05/newsweek-on-covington-burling-eric.html
Co Founded by James Harry Covington - a U.S. Congressman with Food and Drug Law evolution into the 1914 Harrison 'Narcotics' Act
JH Covington Becomes Judge and UpHolds Harrison 'Narcotics' Act
Covington & Burling Tobacco
Coca Feared by U.S.D.A. as a 'Tobacco Habit Cure'
Covington & Burling - Drug Policy Reform Bottleneck or Facilitator?
Covington & Burling Food & Drug Practices
Covington & Burling Pharma attorney Eric Holder's Law Firm
DPF Covington & Burling Legal Connection
DPF Advised by Covington & Burling Food, Drug & Insurance Attorney
Open Invitation to Covington & Burling attorney Marialuisa Gallozzi 'assigned to take primary responsibility for advising the [Drug Policy] Foundation', with Covington & Burling long involved with organizations as DPF-DPA and Marijuana Policy Project, to speak at the Smoke In about legal activist strategies to end the 'drug war' - re-legalize plant drugs Opium and Coca as well as Marijuana and Iboga-Ibogaine. Though useful for treating drug addictions, Iboga root bark and the isolated ibogaine alkaloid are 'schedule 1' - of a drug war not alleviating but rather perpetuating suffering.
Expose the 'drug war' as a FRAUD- in reality a criminal mercantilist pharma-cigarette 'drug war' enacted in a twisted U.S. Congress in 1914 against Opium, Coca and in 1937, Cannabis- a legal travesty further marked by the sweetheart exemption for alcoholic beverages and Tobacco products from retail ingredient labeling requirements.
2012 - the year to begin the end this mega boondoggle international estrangement from common sense- of perverting useful plants as Opium and especially Coca into white power poisons of abuse for a scheme to protect pharma and cigarettes.
Let's DO IT- End the pharma-cig mercantilism before the 100th anniversary of the Harrison 'Narcotics' Act.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Mid 1986 - Became extremely concerned about Ronald Wilson Reagan's insane ratcheting up the socially destructive - mega continuing boondoggle 'drug war'
April 1987 - purchased the book 'Cocaine- Its History Uses and Effects' by Richard Ashley, where I first read about Angelo Francois Mariani and his Vin Mariani created amidst the 1860s female Parisian opera performer culture, and found safe and effective in western Europe and North America.
September-October 1987 - wrote the Fitz Hugh Ludlow Library Memorial Library about Mariani - Coca and received letter informing me of Chas Vermeulen Windsant in Amsterdam who got obsessed about the Mariani story, in spring 1978, at about the 64th anniversary of Mariani's April 1, 1914 death in southern France.
December 1987 - wrote letter to the Westchester Gannett newspapers about the banning of Coca and its perversion into concentrated cocaine while we push tobacco cigarettes upon the world - is published January 4, 1988
July 1989 - traveled to Amsterdam and Paris to pursue the Mariani story.
November 1989 - attended my first international conference of the Drug Policy Foundation, and have attended every such annual and subsequently biennial conference since.
July 1990 - traveled to Amsterdam to pursue the Mariani story.
November 1990 - attended my 2nd DPF conference, and published in their conference paper compendium my paper- 'The Ever-changing, Ever-confused Popular Conception of Cocaine'
November 1991 - attended my 3rd DPF conference; this is the 2nd time the D.P.F. publishes a paper by me; this 1991 paper is 'Water or Gasoline- Cocaine Prohibition'; and its the first time that I apply and am approved to appear upon a D.P.F. conference panel "the Cocaine/Crack Scene" where I talked about the cocaine continuum from ultra concentrated cocaine to Coca.
November 1992 - attended my 4th DPF conference; this is the 3rd time the D.P.F. publishes a paper by me: 'Cocaine Conversion- Onwards to Coca'. And its the 2nd time I appear upon the cocaine panel "Cocaine- Trade and Policy", plus they put me upon an additional panel "The Americas- Is the U.S. Exporting Its Problems" that is moderated by Ethan Nadelman.
That's Nadelman I appear with in that newspaper photograph, doublessly seen by many people throughout the Washington, D.C. area, in an article about the drug policy reform movement and in particular the then recently held 1992 DPF conference. The picture is simply captioned 'DPF to new administration- can we talk?' My name does not appear. But I am clearly recognizable.
After this point I am never again published by the DPF and its successor organization. Asides from my successful COCA '95 panel at the October 1995 DPF conference, I am never again placed upon a panel, and the regular cocaine and crack' panel is deleted from the conference schedules, despite the DPF being established to deal with the drug war beyond Marijuana, and that it had been founded in response to the hysteria regarding 'cocaine'.
'Coca - Turning Over a New Leaf Towards Reducing Health Care Costs', to be moderated by Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard University
'Tinctures of Opium, Wines of Coca, etc: Popular, Pre-prohibition Uses of Natural Plants Perverted by Drug Prohibition into today's "Hard" Drug Plague'
A Douglas Willinger proposal for a 'History Panel' for 1999 was accepted, but neither Willinger nor the coca-cocaine issue were allowed. This was so even with the subsequent 'History' Panel in 2003 which had only 2 or 3 panelists, rather than the overflowing amount on the 1999 panel that featured the final DPF appearance of Dr. Rufus King, who died that December.
Mis-managed Drug Policy 'Reform' to protect existing pharma-cigarette markets
4.Reduce Drug Use to Reduce Drug Consequences.
The best way to reduce the substantial harms associated with drugs is to reduce drug use itself. Public health services for drug users, including HIV interventions for people who inject drugs, should be implemented in the context of comprehensive, recovery-oriented public health systems that also provide drug users access to treatment for addiction. Policies and programs such as injection rooms, drug distribution efforts, and drug legalization should be opposed because they tolerate drug use and allow the debilitating disease of addiction to continue untreated.
This ignores whether the 'cocaine' use is coca or concentrated cocaine, and hence has NOTHING to do with public health, and EVERYTHING to to with criminal mercantilsim for protecting caffeine and cigarettes.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Scott Morgan: If You Think Marijuana Isn't an Important Issue, You're Dead Wrong:
As the debate over marijuana legalization continues to heat up, those who'd rather duck the discussion are increasingly incapable of concealing their discomfort. We recently saw Mitt Romney snap at a reporter for asking about marijuana in Colorado, and in a recent segment, CNN contributor LZ Granderson went further still:
CNN's Carol Costello asked contributor LZ Granderson to respond to any of the Colorado voters who might be less likely to back President Barack Obama because he does not support marijuana legalization.
"Well, they're idiots," Granderson explained. "If you're voting for a president, any president, on one single issue -- especially one issue that is so peripheral such as marijuana usage -- you're a idiot. I don't want to mince any words here. We have way too many more important things to talk about as Mitt Romney said earlier, as the president has said earlier." [Raw Story]
One scarcely knows where to begin unraveling such an arrogant and self-righteous statement about what other people should and shouldn't care about. To call it a "peripheral" issue makes a mockery of the millions of Americans who've had their lives turned upside down by a marijuana arrest. It's an insult to innocent victims of rampant racial profiling brought on biased and brutal drug enforcement practices. It dishonors the memory of the tens of thousands who've lost their lives at the hands of violent cartels to whom we've handed a huge stake in the lucrative American marijuana trade
On a daily basis, the war on marijuana destroys families, ends lives, destabilizes communities and diverts limited resources away from the people who need them and into an endless cycle of drug war devastation. Either that, or it prevents all these horrible things, as its defenders continue to claim. In either case, the question of how we as a society choose to deal with marijuana is more than just a serious issue, it's a matter of life and death. Of course it is. There's no such thing as a multi-billion dollar question that isn't worth asking.
That's why it's odd to see people like Romney and Granderson taking such pride in their indifference to the issue. When the marijuana debate is surging would strike me as a stupid time to start showing off how little you care about it. It should be obvious that so many people are raising this topic because they take the matter seriously and that offering anything other than a smart answer could make you look less than smart. LZ Granderson does his best to prove my point:
So if you're basing your vote on who's going to be president about whether or not they let you roll up a blunt then you're just an idiot and I hope you don't have the right to vote anyway.
If you've ignored the legalization debate long enough to persist in thinking it's about nothing more than people wanting to get high, I almost understand why you think it's not important. Heck, I'd even agree with you that aside from medical use, it's not exactly a tragedy if some dude can't get stoned on one particular occasion or another.
Of course, stopping people from smoking marijuana isn't even a feature of our marijuana laws. In all my years fighting for marijuana reform, I've met very few people whose complaint about our marijuana policy was that it deprived them of pot. The only time we actually stop people from smoking marijuana is when we rip the joint out of their mouth and cuff their hands behind their back so they can't roll another.
The real marijuana reform debate is about much more than that, and it ought to be obvious that legalization wouldn't poll so high if only stoned self-interested stereotypes sympathized with it. The belief that our marijuana laws are wrong is a mainstream viewpoint among regular people, a majority of them in fact, and that's who you're attacking when you reject the reform argument as some form of drug-induced idiocy.
As a child raised in the midst of Reagan-era drug war hysteria, I attended my first anti-drug assembly at the age of 5. I was literally taught the terrors of drugs at the same time that I learned to add, subtract and spell. From childhood through adolescence and into adulthood, I've been told again and again by my government that making the right decisions regarding drugs is one of the most important things I can do in my life. Today, I watch in frustration as that same government makes one bad decision after another in its own approach to drugs. And when I speak up, I'm told this isn't an important issue? The hell it isn't.
Monday, June 4, 2012
New York City's Mayor Bloomberg seeks to ban certain establishments from offering sugared drink sizes above 16 ounces. No word how this shall impact my 32 ounce McDonald's *half* sweetened, *half* unsweetened habit which gives me the larger drink but with the limit of the 16 ounce size sweetened. No mention is given to the sugar-high fructose corn syrup issue.
This makes me wonder about the per-cigarette mercantilism days -- aka the early 1900s cocaine demonification scares of the infamous USDA-AMA-APhA drug racketeering to get people to fear cocaine in any form in order to clear the way for the increased marketing of Tobacco cigarettes -- when Coca Cola and other such soft drinks contained cocaine. Small amounts of cocaine, often 3-4 milligrams per fluid ounce, or 6 or 7 milligrams per fluid ounce as in Coca wines such as Vin Mariani.
Do the math. If say a Coca leaf extract or even isolated cocaine beverages contained for the sake of argument 1.5 milligrams per fluid ounce, the amount cited by Stephen Karch for Coca-Cola:
12 milligrams in the 8 ounce drink;
18 mg in the 12 ounce drink;
24 mg in the 16 ounce;
48 in the 32; and
96mg in the 64 ounce.
Such an era came when soft drink sizes were relatively low- in the 8 ounce/12mg cocaine to 12 ounce/18 mg cocaine range; without or with caffeine, such as Coca-Cola.
Now do the logic. Cocaine is not just a stimulant. Cocaine is also an anesthetic- drink a cocaine containing beverage and one does not simply get a mild stimulant effect, one's stomach numbs out and one looses an appetite for more, making it somewhat self limiting. Try it yourself with some Coca tea (I do NOT recommend using street cocaine unless perhaps one is a sufficiently trained pharmacist), made with say 4 or 5 bags per large cup and you will find it way less swill-able than a standard caffeine beverage or water.
Makes me wonder how much excessive consumption of sugar was initiated by removing the whole coca-cocaine alkaloid from soft drinks, removing the "I am full signal" so people would drink larger servings.
I am sure there is a whole science within the food and drug and beverage industry to encourage excessive consumption, as with MSG type 'doping', and the burn additives in cigarettes.
Perhaps there's a trove of secreted research of 'poison squad" USDA related research on the interactions between the consumption of a range of products, involving a whole range of agricultural products, including all sorts of "habit-forming" things including sugar, soft drinks, Coffee, tea, and of course Coca and of Tobacco. Research showing the effects of each taken separately, or together, to see how they interact, particularly drugs with overlapping uses: caffeine, cocaine, and nicotine; beverages, chewables and various forms of smokes. Yes, we not only had cocainated soft drinks (as well as Coca Wines as Vin Mariani), we had Coca leaf cigars, cheroots and cigarettes- either alone or blended some way with Tobacco, and described as roughly equivalent in potency to drinking Coffee.
Such as that showing that Coca soft drinks were shackling the sales growth of mass machine produced Tobacco cigarettes - the Bonsack machine was patented in 1881, yet the sales growth was relatively slow until 1907 with the irresponsible elimination of cocaine from beverages, eliminating the competition to and potential addiction relief potential from Tobacco.
British and French and North Americans Examine Coca: 1870s-1880s
Sugar Promoter Harvey Washington Wiley