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Nixon's Schafer Report (which he ignored) recommended decriminalization

Nixon's (Raymond) Schafer Commission recommended decriminalization. Schafer was a conservative former gov. of PA, so Nixon thought he'd bought off the commission. oops. Here's that report: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/nc/ncmenu.htm

From the final comments:
The Commission feels that the criminalization of possession of marihuana for personal is socially self-defeating as a means of achieving this objective. We have attempted to balance individual freedom on one hand and the obligation of the state to consider the wider social good on the other. We believe our recommended scheme will permit society to exercise its control and influence in ways most useful and efficient, meanwhile reserving to the individual American his sense of privacy, his sense of individuality, and, within the context of ail interacting and interdependent society, his options to select his own life style, values, goals and opportunities.

The Commission sincerely hopes that the tone of cautious restraint sounded in this Report will be perpetuated in the debate which will follow it. For those who feel we have not proceeded far enough, we are reminded of Thomas Jefferson's advice to George Washington that "Delay is preferable to error." For those who argue we have gone too far, we note Roscoe Pound's statement, "The law must be stable, but it must not stand still."

We have carefully analyzed the interrelationship between marihuana the drug, marihuana use as a behavior, and marihuana as a social problem. Recognizing the extensive degree of misinformation about marihuana as a drug, we have tried to demythologize it. Viewing the use of marihuana in its wider social context, we have tried to desymbolize it.

Considering the range of social concerns in contemporary America, marihuana does not, in our considered judgment, rank very high. We would deemphasize marihuana as a problem. The existing social and legal policy is out of proportion to the individual and social harm engendered by the use of the drug. To replace it, we have attempted to design a suitable social policy, which we believe is fair, cautious and attuned to the social realities of our time.

Nixon ignored those recommendations. As revealed in his comments from his tapes, Nixon blamed cannabis use on Jews, psychiatrists, commies and homosexuals. Apparently paranoia isn't limited to some people who use cannabis.

In 1982 an 18-member committee of the National Academy of Sciences who had studied the drug laws for four years unanimously advocated decriminalizing marijuana, and eventually legalizing and regulating it, only to have Reagan’s science adviser, Dr. Frank Press, repudiate their report and successfully pressure the media not to publicize it. (This was during the time Reagan was outright lying his ass off claiming that suffocating monkeys with smoke indicated that cannabis caused brain damage.)

In 1988, Drug Enforcement Administration Judge Francis Young noted: "In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods. 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." (This was during hearings into the use of marijuana as medicine.)

Prescription drugs deemed safe by the FDA kill up to 27,000 per year. Aspirin kills up to 1,000 Americans per year. Zero deaths have been attributed to cannabis ingestion. Ever.

It is impossible to overdose on cannabis for a couple of reasons... a "lethal" does would require someone to smoke or eat more than a pound of it within a hour or so - impossible. Also, cannabinoid receptors in the brain are sparsely located in this autonomous nervous system region - the region that controls for heart and lung function. The reason barbiturates kill is because they depress heart and lung function to the point that someone stops breathing, or their heart stops pumping. This is impossible with cannabis.

(This is just general information about the relative safety of cannabis in relation to a host of other substances that are legal and considered viable for medical or other use in this nation.)

LaGuardia Report from 1941 Indicates U.S. Waged Propaganda Campaign Against Cannabis

Back in the 1940s, Frank LaGuardia, mayor of NYC, wanted to test the scare claims made by the anti-drug warriors that created prohibition in the 1930s because he was skeptical. (Many of these same claims are continually recycled.)

His large-scale study and report debunked the claims made by the prohibitionists. Nevertheless, LaGuardia was attacked. It turns out his report was one of a few done at the time (others were in Canada and Great Britain and in the U.S. Army) that indicated there was no danger of physical addiction or physical or mental deterioration for those who smoked over a period of years. You can read LaGuardia's study and conclusion here:


Since the LaGuardia Commission Report, published in 1944, our govt has known that marijuana is nothing like the claims they have made against it to justify prohibition. In spite of this reality, the Boggs Act of 1951 created harsher penalties for possession than this nation had for serial killers and rapists. The reason for this was that marijuana use was considered something done by African and Latin -Americans...and movie stars and musicians.

When a sociology professor published research in the 1950s that debunked misinformation spread by our govt., his phone was tapped, the federal govt (FBN - federal bureau of narcotics) tried to suppress his work and they also tried to get the FBI to find a way to associate this professor with the communist scare of the time. When Canada created a public service documentary that indicated the FBN stereotypes of addicts and drug fiends were lies, this govt. org. sought to ban the film. This professor (of sociology at Indiana University, fwiw) spoke out about this abuse of govt power that sought to interfere with the medical treatment of people with addictions. Finally, the ACLU, the AMA (American Medical Asso.) and the American Bar Asso. spoke out in defense of this professor and this film - and against the govt. lies.

(Out of this experience, an independent org. began that was dedicated to issues of public heath and science, rather than scare campaigns and propaganda. That group eventually merged with the Drug Policy Foundation to create the current Drug Policy Alliance - a group that still works to provide information based upon research and science.)

On its website, the Drug Policy Alliance notes that: Numerous published studies suggest that marijuana has medical value in treating patients with serious illnesses such as AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and chronic pain.

Global Commission on Drugs Policy Report (2011)


Global War on Drugs Has Failed, say Commissioners


The 19-member commission includes Mexico's former President Ernesto Zedillo, Brazil's ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria, as well as the former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker and the current Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou. The panel also features prominent Latin American writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, the EU's former foreign policy chief Javier Solana, and George Schultz, a former US secretary of state.

It is a damning indictment. The group of world leaders, including former Presidents of Mexico and Colombia which are blighted by the trade in illegal drugs, says urgent changes are overdue.

Their report says current policies to tackle drug abuse and the crime that preys on it are clearly not working, but result in thousands of deaths and rampant lawlessness.

It calls for an end to the 'criminalisation, marginalisation and stigmatisation of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others'.

The leading international figures behind the report do not pull their punches. They say sensible regulation of drugs is working in some countries but they accuse many governments around the world of pretending that the current war on drugs is effective when they know it isn't.[/e]

Senate subcommittee report: drug war has largely failed (June 2011)

(unless you're a private contractor)


A U.S. Senate subcommittee report this week called into question efforts to curb drug exports from Latin America, suggesting that billions in tax dollars had been wasted in no-bid contracts with no oversight on how the money was being spent or whether efforts were succeeding.

"It's becoming increasingly clear that our efforts to rein in the narcotics trade in Latin America, especially as it relates to the government's use of contractors, have largely failed," Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, said in a media advisory. "Without adequate oversight and management we are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we're getting in return."

The McCaskill report indicates that U.S. taxpayers have shelled out over $3 billion for work and equipment related to the drug war in Latin America from 2005-2009, and most of that money went to private contractors.

McCaskill launched the inquiry after looking into counternarcotics efforts underway in Afghanistan. However, neither the Department of Defense nor the State Dept. were able to provide adequate documentation on their contracts and in many cases could not even identify firms that were given millions in tax dollars.

Five major defense contractors received the bulk of drug war contract spending: Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, DynCorp, ARINC and ITT. Out of all the firms, DynCorp benefitted most, winning $1.1 billion.

After Cancer Treatment, Utah Attn. Gen. supports legal medical marijuana


Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said he would support the legalization of medical marijuana after experiencing months of intensive cancer treatment.

"Until you've experienced chemo, you can't describe exactly how it feels," he said Thursday on KSL Newsradio's Doug Wright Show. "It's kind of like having the flu because you ache all over. But it's worse than that... Everything feels awful."

Shurtleff said never used marijuana himself, but had talked to other patients who had traveled out-of-state to receive marijuana treatment.

"They give you pills to help you with the nausea, but if you can't keep those down, then what do you do?" he said. "You just suffer. That's one of the reasons I understand why people who are going through chemo are prescribed medicinal marijuana in states where it is legal."

This is why the DEA must reschedule cannabis and stop preventing people from using medication that alleviates their suffering. This travesty has gone on long enough. Cancer patients should not be denied access to medication just b/c they live in a state that will be among the last to change their laws. The federal govt is making it possible to do this by maintaining cannabis as a substance with no medical value. This is a lie. Everyone knows it - at least everyone who is paying attention knows this.

June 2011: Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) calls for an end to the war on drugs


The War on Drugs was initiated by President Richard Nixon and he said we could have a War on Drugs 40 years ago. And the fact is 40 years later, we've spent nearly 1 trillion dollars on the War on Drugs, we have just as much as drug use in this country as ever before, we've incarcerated millions and millions of people for victimless crimes, and when we get people who sell drugs, which we need to do, all that happens is like a shark's teeth, they're replaced by the next in line... somebody else wanting to make money from a program that the public endorses and supports.

So the War on Drugs has been a terrible mistake.

Medical marijuana is an issue that's come up in this country and most states that have had the opportunity to deal with it have passed it mostly by percentages of over 60 percent. I had a good friend named O.J. Mitchell. O.J. Mitchell was a Navy SEAL and one of the strongest, toughest, best friends I've ever had. When O.J. was 54, he got pancreatic cancer and pancreatic cancer destroys a person, just whittles them away. And the guy was 210 lbs can do all those things SEALs can do, the hand-to-hand, the paratroops and uh—he used medical marijuana and his grandmother and his mother said "Thank god, for the marijuana. It allowed him to have a sense of humor and to eat. It worked." I yield back the balance of my time to urge us to solve the War on Drugs by getting out of it. It is a war. It is a crime. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

from Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/06/rep-steve-cohen-the-war-on-drugs-has-been-a-terrible-mistake/

"Marijuana use has not skyrocketed in the last year, but arrests are vamped up and they use arrest as a basis to get people, particularly people of color where it’s 7 times more likely you’ll be arrested if you’re African American and 4 times more likely you’ll be arrested if you’re Latino and more likely if you’re African American or Latino that you’ll spend a night in jail than if you’re Caucasian,” he noted.

On the 2011 anniversary of the WoD: Former President Jimmy Carter: Call Off the Global Drug War


IN an extraordinary new initiative announced earlier this month, the Global Commission on Drug Policy has made some courageous and profoundly important recommendations in a report on how to bring more effective control over the illicit drug trade. The commission includes the former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, a former secretary general of the United Nations, human rights leaders, and business and government leaders, including Richard Branson, George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker.

The report describes the total failure of the present global antidrug effort, and in particular America’s “war on drugs,” which was declared 40 years ago today. It notes that the global consumption of opiates has increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent and cannabis 8.5 percent from 1998 to 2008. Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others, and to concentrate more coordinated international effort on combating violent criminal organizations rather than nonviolent, low-level offenders.

These recommendations are compatible with United States drug policy from three decades ago. In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts. I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.”

These ideas were widely accepted at the time. But in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan and Congress began to shift from balanced drug policies, including the treatment and rehabilitation of addicts, toward futile efforts to control drug imports from foreign countries.

2011: 40 Years of Drug War Hasn't Worked: Eric Sterling, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation


I have been involved in making drug policy professionally for more than 30 years -- three-quarters of the war on drugs. On June 14, I joined five veteran police officers (local, state and federal), a former judge, and a corrections commissioner -- all speakers from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – to bring to ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske LEAP’s indictment of the failures of war on drugs policy. We held a press conference on the sidewalk outside his office near the White House. As it was breaking up, four construction workers asked my chief of staff what it was all about. She told them it was about legalizing drugs. Immediately they started telling her all the various reasons why our drug policy is a failure...

...The costs are now so high, for a decade the “drug czars” seem to regularly conceal almost one-third of the anti-drug spending by excluding it from the formal anti-drug budget they report to Congress. ONDCP says that $14.8 billion was spent in FY 2009 to fight drugs. But another $6.9 billion was also spent in FY 2009 on anti-drug programs such as the incarceration of federal drug prisoners.

The FY 2011 formal anti-drug budget request is for $15.5 billion, excluding imprisonment and the many other costs which remain concealed in the budget submission.

The cost of imprisoning federal drug prisoners has been over $3 billion annually since FY 2008. On June 9, 2011 the total federal prison population exceeded 216,000. As of May 20, 2011, 50.8 percent of convicted federal prisoners were drug offenders.

How Marijuana Became Legal


Rosenfeld smokes the marijuana to relieve chronic pain and muscle spasms caused by a rare bone disease. When he was 10, doctors discovered that his skeleton was riddled with more than 200 tumors, due to a condition known as multiple congenital cartilaginous exostosis. Despite seven operations, he still lives with scores of tumors in his bones.

Rosenfeld is one of four people in the United States whom the federal government supplies with medical marijuana. Each is a living anomaly because, officially, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, NIDA, and the FDA all take the position that marijuana has "no currently accepted medical use."

That's the only way federal law can continue to classify marijuana, like heroin, as a "Schedule I controlled substance," forbidden from being prescribed by doctors. (Numerous dangerous, psychoactive, and addictive opium derivatives, by contrast, are more leniently classified as Schedule II drugs, allowing prescription use.)

Over the years the government's position has become progressively more embattled, if not untenable.

Irvin Rosenfeld HB 5470 Michigan Medical Marijuana Testimony

Why The DEA Should Not Have The Final Say On Cannabis


If the medication involved were a typical blood pressure pill or arthritis treatment, this sort of pronouncement would come from the Food and Drug Administration, which is charged with determining whether medications are safe and effective. But the drug is cannabis, and the ruling came from the Drug Enforcement Agency.

...The DEA’s website contains plenty of pages explaining why marijuana is so bad. On one, it claims that marijuana is harmful because it “contains more than 400 chemicals, including most of the harmful substances found in tobacco smoke.” If harmful side effects disqualified pharmaceuticals from medical use, we would not see many of the warning-laden advertisements that populate prime-time network television.

On another page, the DEA says marijuana actually does have a medical use, but that the smoked form of the drug does not need to be legal because the active ingredient, THC, has already been isolated and replicated in the synthetic prescription drug Marinol. So, according to the DEA, marijuana needs to be kept away from people because it is harmful in the same ways as cigarettes – which are excluded from the Controlled Substances Act – but marijuana is also different because it is medically useful, while cigarettes are not.

Screwy logic, but that is not the DEA’s fault. It is not in the business of writing laws; it is in the business of enforcing them. Why ask cops to play doctor?
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