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    Matt 11:24 am on January 25, 2012 Permalink  

    Why is MMA OK and smoking dope isn’t? 

    There seems to be little sense in which risks people find praiseworthy, and which we condemn, writes Dan Gardner

    Last week, a physicians’ group called on governments to make helmets mandatory for both children and adults on ski slopes. Lots of people support that. They feel that skiers should not be permitted to decide for themselves whether to wear a helmet because skiing without one is too dangerous. Two days later, Sarah Burke, a champion “superpipe” skier, died as a result of injuries sustained in competition. Burke was almost universally praised as a courageous and talented athlete who died doing what she loved.

    Does that make sense?

    Maybe it does. I don’t know. The question isn’t rhetorical.

    Risk is everywhere, always, which means we are constantly drawing lines, whether we are aware of it or not. We draw lines between risks that we are willing to personally engage and those we will leave to others. We draw lines between risk-taking that is praiseworthy and that which is foolish, between risks that should be promoted and encouraged and those that should not. We draw lines between what people should be free to decide for themselves and what should be regulated, restricted, or even banned.

    But we seldom compare the lines we draw and ask if, in juxtaposition, they make sense.

  • avatar

    Matt 8:34 am on January 16, 2012 Permalink  

    Marc Emery’s Advice for Aspiring Activists 

    My wife Jodie Emery and I both receive thousands of letters and inquiries with impassioned pleas that read: “I want to do something to make a difference. I want to legalize marijuana. What can I do? Can you advise or help me start? Where do I begin?” This is a question, without rival, that we hear most often.

    It comes mostly from Americans and Canadians, but I have received the same question from India, Australia, Europe, the Philippines, Japan, and all over the world. It is a universal desire shared by many people in the cannabis culture the planet over.

    If all these millions of people, largely high school and college students, could be harnessed into productive purpose, it would be a huge political force indeed! But most people who consume cannabis and believe in its worth still do nothing to advance our cause in any meaningful way.

  • avatar

    MaryJane 9:28 pm on January 15, 2012 Permalink  

    Marijuana Prisoners 

    Drug Policy Question of the Week – 12-19-11

    As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network on 12-19-11.

    Question of the Week: How many people are in prison for marijuana?

    Aficionados will recall that there are important statistics in drug policy that must be computed. These include the number of marijuana arrests and the number of people behind bars for marijuana offenses.

    To calculate the number of “marijuana prisoners,” two reports are necessary.

    Report #1 is “Prisoners in 2004,” from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Table 1, page 2. Find these numbers:

    Total Federal Prisoners in 2004 =  170,535

    Total State Prisoners in 2004 =  1,244,311

    Report #2 is, “Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004,” again from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, page. 4. Find these numbers:

    Percent of federal prisoners held for drug law violations in 2004 = 55%

    Percent of state prisoners held for drug law violations in 2004 = 21%

    Marijuana/hashish, Percent of federal drug offenders, 2004 = 12.4%

    Marijuana/hashish, Percent of state drug offenders, 2004 = 12.7%

    Now, do the math,

    Multiply total prisoners times the percent of prisoners held for drug law violations. Then multiply this product times the percentage of marijuana offenders. The result is:

    Federal marijuana prisoners, 2004 = 11,630

    State marijuana prisoners, 2004 = 33,186

    Total federal and state marijuana prisoners in 2004 = 44,816

    Thus, those in prison for marijuana offenses represent about 12.6% of those incarcerated for drug law violations and 3.2% of total state and federal prisoners. It should be noted that these numbers exclude those among the 700,000+ inmates who may be in local jail because of a marijuana arrest.

    These facts and others like them can be found in the Prisons and Drugs Chapter of Drug War Facts at

  • avatar

    MaryJane 4:52 pm on January 15, 2012 Permalink  

    Cannabis rescheduling 

    Drug Policy Question of the Week – 12-15-11

    As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network on 12-15-11.

    Question of the Week: How can cannabis be rescheduled?

    According to the Congressional Research Service, the current scheduling scheme for various drugs called the Controlled Substances Act

    “was signed into law as the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.”

    Found under Title 21 of the U.S. Commercial Code. Subchapter I, Section 812 the CSA

    “established five schedules of controlled substances, to be known as schedules I, II, III, IV, and V.”

    In “Initial Schedules of Controlled Substances,” the CSA placed marijuana and its derivatives under Schedule 1, the most restrictive of the five categories.

    Note usage of the term initial. In theory, the schedule of cannabis or any other drug (there are hundreds) can be upgraded (to a more restrictive schedule) or downgraded (to a less restrictive one).

    The Congressional Research Service unfortunately notes that

    “Lawmakers have repeatedly rebuffed campaigns to reschedule marijuana under the CSA, a step that would permit marijuana to be used for some medical purposes. Likewise, courts have refused to carve out exceptions to the CSA, even for individuals who claim a dire need for the drug.”

    Thus, Congress has the authority to reschedule, as do the courts given the right case, but so far neither has done so.

    Robert Miklos in the Stanford Law Review counters that,

    “the CSA authorizes the Attorney General to [reschedule], in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the DEA. … the President would not need the consent of Congress to make this more fundamental change to federal law.”

    Thus, the President and his Executive Branch have the authority to reschedule cannabis, but so far refuse to do so.

    These facts and others like them can be found in the Crime and Medical Marijuana Chapters of Drug War Facts at

  • avatar

    MaryJane 1:35 pm on January 13, 2012 Permalink  

    Synthetic Cannabinoids 

    Drug Policy Question of the Week – 11-30-11

    As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network on 11-30-11.

    Question of the Week: What are synthetic cannabinoids?

    As described in an October 2011 report by Congressional Research Service,

    “Synthetic cannabinoids are substances chemically produced to mimic tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana. When these substances are sprayed onto dried herbs and then consumed through smoking or oral ingestion, they can produce psychoactive effects similar to those of marijuana.”

    A September 2011 issue of Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, explains that these agents are

    “… sold on the Internet as herbal mixtures under the brand names of “Spice,” “Spice Gold,” “Spice Diamond,” “Arctic Spice,” “Silver,” “Aroma,” “K2,” “Genie,” “Scene” or “Dream,” and advertised as incense products, meditation potpourris, bath additives, or air fresheners. These products are often referred to as “herbal highs” or “legal highs””

    They were developed according to the CRS by

    “Clemson University Professor John Huffman [who] is credited with first synthesizing some of the cannabinoids, such as JWH-018, now used in “fake pot” substances such as K2. The effects of JWH-018 can be 10 times stronger than those of THC.”

    Current Psychiatry reported that

    “many have been banned in several European countries, 18 U.S. states, and the U.S. military. In March 2011, the FDA placed 5 synthetic cannabinoids on Schedule I, making them illegal to possess or sell in the United States.”

    However, the CRS notes concerns about the DEA’s action, stating that,

    “Professor Huffman did not intend for K2 to be consumed by humans. He is, however, against adding synthetic cannabinoids to Schedule I, asserting that there is still much to learn about [them] …  Professor Huffman has created several synthetic cannabinoids that are seen as showing promise in treating skin cancers, pain, and inflammation.”

    These facts and others like them can be found in the Marijuana Chapter of Drug War Facts at

  • avatar

    Matt 9:45 pm on November 23, 2011 Permalink

    Down to the Wire 

    The Failure of Cannabis Prohibition in BC, November 10, 2011

    Stop the Violence BC, a group of experts from British Columbia calling for an end to marijuana prohibition, hosted “Down to the Wire – the Failure of Cannabis Prohibition”, the first in a series of events designed to bring attention to destructive cannabis laws.

    Panelists spoke about the costs of cannabis prohibition to public health, safety and, perhaps most importantly, youth in Canada and around the world.

  • avatar

    MaryJane 9:29 pm on November 21, 2011 Permalink  

    The Marijuana Vote 

    For more about the “marijuana vote,” please check out this press release from Common Sense for Drug Policy issued on November 15, 2011:

    Also,  this formatted one-page PDF flyer, “The Marijuana, Minority and Marginal Vote,” contains many of the facts within the CSDP press release.


  • avatar

    MaryJane 9:16 pm on November 21, 2011 Permalink  

    Marijuana Voters 

    Drug Policy Question of the Week – 11-4-11

    As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network on 11-4-11.

    Question of the Week: What is the marijuana vote?

    An October Editorial from the Christian Science Monitor lauded the federal crackdown on California medical marijuana by stating,

    “Pot smokers are a small minority. They are containable … .”

    Are “pot smokers” indeed a small containable minority?

    According to the U.S. Census, 16 million voters in 2008 were Black, 12.3% of the total vote. About 8 million Hispanics and 3 million Asians cast their ballots respectively at 7.4% and 2.6% of the 2008 vote. The youth vote, those 18-24, numbered 12.5 million, 9.5% of the total 2008 vote.

    Applying the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to the Census voting data can compute the “marijuana vote” comprised of 2008 “past year” or “monthly” marijuana users. Because of its illegality, self interest may compel these individuals to vote for candidates who are more lenient toward pot.

    At respective 9.8% and 5.9% of the total 2008 vote, “marijuana voters” numbered about 13 million, with around 7.8 million making up the “medical marijuana vote.” These values are well within ranges that define minority voting blocs like Hispanics, Asians and youth.

    According to Northwestern University Searle Center article,

    “in 2004 less than 2.5 percentage points separated President Bush and Senator Kerry and the margin in 2000 between then-Governor Bush and Vice-President Gore was less than half a percentage point.”

    The Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan declared,

    “the minority support for Obama was instrumental in his success.”

    With almost 40% of the youth vote reporting past year marijuana use, perhaps pot smokers will be not be so “containable” when their support becomes instrumental to candidate success in the 2012 election.

    These facts and others like them can be found in the Civil Rights Chapter of Drug War Facts at

  • avatar

    Matt 10:25 am on November 12, 2011 Permalink  

    If Not Now, When? The Slow Rise of Marijuana Reform 

    Last month the United States reached a milestone in the debate over cannabis’ place in our society. For the first time since it began asking the question, the Gallup polling organization recorded 50% support for legalizing marijuana sales to adults.

    That number has been a long time in the making, as attested by our banner art this month; the trendlines show public support levels from 1970 to the present.

    Why now? What’s changed lately to bring so many people around? And where are we going from here?

    To discuss these questions, we’ve invited a quartet of marijuana reform activists to a roundtable discussion. Each will present an essay on a different facet of marijuana policy, and our conversation this month will be about political strategy, possible future trends, and the interplay among various sub-issues in the field.

    Kicking things off will be Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), writing about the biomedical aspects of cannabis and its prohibition. He will be followed by former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, now with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition; Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of NORML, who will discuss public education and messaging; and Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project, who will discuss upcoming ballot initiatives and legislative developments.

    Although each of the four is more or less in the same camp on this issue, each also brings to the table different experiences, different perspectives, and different areas of expertise. We hope you will find a discussion among them educational and thought-provoking.

  • avatar

    Deb 7:56 pm on November 11, 2011 Permalink  

    Missouri ballot measures proposed to legalize marijuana 

    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. • Advocates can begin collecting signatures for two proposed Missouri ballot measures that would legalize marijuana.

    The secretary of state’s office said Monday the initiative petitions have been approved for circulation to get them on the 2012 ballot.

    One proposal would amend the Missouri Constitution to legalize cannabis for people 21 and older, allow doctors to recommend use of medicinal marijuana and release prison inmates convicted of nonviolent offenses related to cannabis. It would also allow the Legislature to enact a marijuana tax of up to $100 per pound.

    The second proposal is similar but would enact a state law instead of amending the Missouri Constitution.

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