Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


RainDog's Journal
RainDog's Journal
August 31, 2013

Police Groups Furiously Protest Eric Holder's Marijuana Policy Announcement

Source: Huffington Post

A broad coalition of law enforcement officers who have spent the past three decades waging an increasingly militarized drug war that has failed to reduce drug use doesn't want to give up the fight.

Organizations that include sheriffs, narcotics officers and big-city police chiefs slammed Attorney General Eric Holder in a joint letter Friday, expressing "extreme disappointment" at his announcement that the Department of Justice would allow Colorado and Washington to implement state laws that legalized recreational marijuana for adults.

If there had been doubt about how meaningful Holder's move was, the fury reflected in the police response eliminates it. The role of law enforcement is traditionally understood to be limited to enforcing laws, but police organizations have become increasingly powerful political actors, and lashed out at Holder for not consulting sufficiently before adopting the new policy.

"It is unacceptable that the Department of Justice did not consult our organizations -- whose members will be directly impacted -- for meaningful input ahead of this important decision," the letter reads. "Our organizations were given notice just thirty minutes before the official announcement was made public and were not given the adequate forum ahead of time to express our concerns with the Department’s conclusion on this matter. Simply 'checking the box' by alerting law enforcement officials right before a decision is announced is not enough and certainly does not show an understanding of the value the Federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partnerships bring to the Department of Justice and the public safety discussion."

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/30/police-eric-holder-marijuana-_n_3846518.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#sb=807241b=facebook

I'm sure the reality that the war on marijuana funds so many state law enforcement agencies has nothing to do with this. Next thing you know, Holder will go after asset seizure laws, that other pork, like, you know, the constitution mattered or something.
August 31, 2013

Reactions to Holder's Policy Announcement Widely Divergent


...you know what you're going to hear from those who want to end prohibition. what about the other side of the divide?

it's scaaaaaaary!

Critics accused Attorney General Eric Holder of dereliction of duty and called for him to be fired.

“He’s not just abandoning the law, he’s breaking the law because he took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution,” said Peter Bensinger, former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “He’s putting the people of Washington and Colorado at risk. He’s violating the treaty obligations of this country. He’s telling the world we don’t really follow the law here.”

Calvina Fay, executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation, said Holder should be dismissed because he “ignored the cries of law enforcement, the cries of treatment professionals… the cries from parents.”

Holder has created a “tsunami that will most likely result in far too many young people becoming victims of chemical slavery,” Fay said. “It’s really unforgivable.”

I'm a parent. I would rather have weed regulated in the same way that alcohol is. I don't understand parents who think they're doing their children any favors to make the most popular intoxicant in the world only available through people who also sell more dangerous intoxicants.

I think it's important to stress that teenagers' brains are developing, still, and, just as with alcohol, it's not a good idea to use either until you're older, and anyone who has certain medical histories in their families should take this into consideration too. We provide treatment for teenagers who spend too much time getting intoxicated - and this, in itself, indicates some other issue, generally.

That's how we deal with alcohol in society with teenagers. Why should marijuana be any different?
August 30, 2013

Let the experiment happen


...the policy also represents something larger. "It's a loud statement from the Obama administration that their intent is to let the experiment happen," said John Davis, executive director of the Washington state-based Coalition for Cannabis Standards and Ethics.

"It's huge," he said. "The fact it mentions adult recreational use is historic."

"We're finally reaching a point where we can look at alternatives to prohibition," she said. "It's become very, very clear that the war on drugs has failed and we need to look at alternative ways to deal with illicit drugs. I'm hoping this will inspire the federal government to treat drug abuse as a health issue, rather than throw [abusers] in jail and leave them there."

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called states "laboratories of democracy." A "state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."

A huge "Thank you!" to the voters in Colorado and Washington State for creating just such laboratories for democracy with their votes to legalize marijuana for adults. May this prohibition soon be a tale about the olden days, as are stories of rum runners in the 1920s today.
August 30, 2013

Anti-legalization group (Patrick Kennedy) continues reefer madness

Honestly, I cannot tell you how disappointing it is to see members of the Kennedy family first spreading lies about autism (this truly irks since I have an autistic son), and now Patrick has given himself over to propaganda.

He's the equivalent of a copper-haired maiden in a bodice buster and prohibition is the big man he wants to bust its rippling muscles out of that tight, tight shirt.

...but I digress.



A relatively new group, Project SAM, is warning the nation to brace itself for the terrible consequences of legal marijuana.

“We can look forward to more drugged driving accidents, more school drop-outs, and poorer health outcomes as a new Big Marijuana industry targeting kids and minorities emerges to fuel the flames,” said former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, a co-founder of the organization.

“This is disappointing, but it is only the first chapter in the long story about marijuana legalization in the U.S. In many ways, this will quicken the realization among people that more marijuana is never good for any community, which is what happened after the Ogden memo was issued in 2009,” added Kevin Sabet, the co-founder and director of Project SAM.


Apparently no, if someone doesn't pay you to lie about research concerning just such issues.


A 2011 Report shows fewer traffic fatalities after states pass medical-pot laws

The passage of state medical-marijuana laws is associated with a subsequent drop in the rate of traffic fatalities, according to a newly released study by two university professors.

The study — by University of Colorado Denver professor Daniel Rees and Montana State University professor D. Mark Anderson — found that the traffic-death rate drops by nearly 9 percent in states after they legalize marijuana for medical use. The researchers arrived at that figure, Rees said, after controlling for other variables such as changes in traffic laws, seat-belt usage and miles driven. The study stops short of saying the medical-marijuana laws cause the drop in traffic deaths.

Rees said the main reason for the drop appears to be that medical-marijuana laws mean young people spend less time drinking and more time smoking cannabis. Legalization of medical marijuana, the researchers report, is associated with a 12-percent drop in the alcohol-related fatal-crash rate and a 19-percent decrease in the fatality rate of people in their 20s, according to the study.

The study also found that medical- marijuana legalization is associated with a drop in beer sales.

I think SAM made a mistake choosing the heir of an alcohol fortune to speak about the dangers of legalization of marijuana.

Again, the only arguments available at this time are lies and, really, the most idiotic argument of all... liquor is legal. We don't need another legal substance. Well, if you simply look at stats about which one is safer, this is a stupid argument. When you see that alcohol usage declines, that indicates a net health benefit since alcohol is such a dangerous drug with so many negative consequences attached.

Oh, and look!

Another report indicates that, in 2013, so far Washington State traffic fatalities are down to their lowest levels since 1980. Recreational marijuana possession has been legal since Dec. 2012.


we'll have to see if the trend continues, of course.

Another argument from the prohibitionists is that legal marijuana encourages kids to smoke more reefer.

oops! wrong again!


Despite warnings from opponents of medical marijuana, legalizing the drug for medical purposes does not encourage teens to smoke more pot, according to new research that compared rates of marijuana use in Massachusetts and Rhode Island after the latter state changed its laws.

Rhode Island legalized medical marijuana in 2006, but Massachusetts did not. “We wanted to pair these two states because they have so much in common culturally and geographically,” says Dr. Esther Choo, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School and emergency medicine physician at Rhode Island Hospital.

Choo’s analysis used data collected from 1997 to 2009 for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The analysis involved nearly 13,000 youth in Rhode Island and about 25,000 in Massachusetts. In each state in any given year, the study found, about 30% of youth reported using marijuana at least once in the previous month. (iow, no change based upon change in the law.)

These results are consistent with a 2005 analysis conducted by Mitch Earleywine, associate professor of psychology at the State University of New York–Albany, for the Marijuana Policy Project. He found that between 1996 — when California passed its medical marijuana law — and 2004, previous-month pot use by ninth graders declined by 47%. That was a slightly steeper decline than seen nationally during the same period, and Earleywine found a similar effect in all of the medical marijuana states he studied.

Paddy - drop the over-the-top fiction, please.

August 30, 2013

How Poverty Taxes the Brain


Poverty itself drives poverty

Human mental bandwidth is finite. You’ve probably experienced this before (though maybe not in those terms): When you’re lost in concentration trying to solve a problem like a broken computer, you’re more likely to neglect other tasks, things like remembering to take the dog for a walk, or picking your kid up from school. This is why people who use cell phones behind the wheel actually perform worse as drivers. It’s why air traffic controllers focused on averting a mid-air collision are less likely to pay attention to other planes in the sky.

We only have so much cognitive capacity to spread around. It's a scarce resource.

This understanding of the brain’s bandwidth could fundamentally change the way we think about poverty. Researchers publishing some groundbreaking findings today in the journal Science have concluded that poverty imposes such a massive cognitive load on the poor that they have little bandwidth left over to do many of the things that might lift them out of poverty – like go to night school, or search for a new job, or even remember to pay bills on time.

I support a minimum income for all Americans, regardless of their need. Not a means tested program - a program that allocates funds for every American to have a guaranteed minimum to survive.

This would be more cost effective than all the various programs that are now in place, by reducing the bureaucracy around such issues.


Martin Luther King's Case for a Guaranteed Basic Income

One of the demands at the March on Washington was for a $2 minimum wage, which would be $15.27 an hour adjusted for inflation today. But later in life, Martin Luther King Jr. endorsed a different idea—a guaranteed basic income—which as I've said before is the real smart solution to the low-wage dilemma.

The minimum wage typically gets debated in terms of econometric studies about disemployment impacts. But the problem with the minimum wage isn't the alleged disemployment, it's the freedom. Imagine a worker earning just slightly above the minimum wage, and also working under some kind of conditions that he finds annoying. He goes to the boss and asks for a change. Turn the heat up a little in the winter. Or let him pick which music plays rather than sticking with some dumb playlist that's been assigned from the top down. Or get a more comfortable chair. Or manage the line this way rather than that one. There are dozens and dozens of little non-wage decisions in any given workplace that impact a person's happiness and life satisfaction. But the manager looks at it and says there are sound business reasons for sticking with the status quo. Now the problem with the minimum wage is that even if the worker values the change much more highly than he values an extra 2 cents an hour, he's not allowed to trade 2 cents an hour for an improvement in his working conditions.

Since labor has been decimated, the govt. would provide working people with some bargaining power in the workplace.

For this reason and others, we need universal health care.

Which means the wealthy need to pay more in taxes - even tho they'd also get their 15k.

What's going on now is not working for most people. I would rather have legislative/policy changes than social unrest - and the suffering that always comes before that unrest - which we see today.
August 29, 2013

Holder announces fed policy toward CO and WA legalization

since no one cross-posted this here from LN or GD - posting here to archive in the Drug Policy Forum.


The United States Department of Justice announced Thursday that for the time being it will cease pursuing actions against Colorado and Washington over discrepancies in state and federal marijuana policies. The department also issued a memo to U.S. Attorneys with new guidelines for the pursuit of marijuana cases. According to CBS News, Attorney General Eric Holder telephoned Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) around noon on Thursday to inform them that the federal government intends to allow the states to continue with their decriminalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use.

...“This also has major implications for the 20 states that allow medical marijuana,” Reiman (policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance) explained. “The Department of Justice has also directed U.S. Attorneys not to interfere with states that have medical marijuana. Instead the department is going to concentrate on diversion to minors, trafficking, marijuana being used as a front for other activities or diversion into states where it is not allowed.”

When asked what this could mean in terms of dispensaries that have been targeted by the federal government and are currently embroiled in legal action, Reiman said, “What it should mean is that dispensaries in California that are operating within the the confines of state law and their local law should not be subject to federal interference.”

...One hurdle to national decriminalization of marijuana is the fact that the Department of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration, classified marijuana in 1972 as a Schedule I narcotic. A Schedule I drug is considered to have no medical use, to have a high potential for abuse and to be too dangerous to be used even under medical supervision.

August 27, 2013

Leahy Schedules a Senate Hearing on the Federal Response to Marijuana Legalization

posting here to archive for drug policy - with a hat tip/link to bigtree's thread - http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=3536348

this thread is a different link, same subject...

Sept. 10th, 2013, Leahy will convene a hearing to examie conflicts between state and federal mj laws and the Senator has invited AG Holder and Deputy AG Cole to testify.


From Leahy:

It is important, especially at a time of budget constraints, to determine whether it is the best use of federal resources to prosecute the personal or medicinal use of marijuana in states that have made such consumption legal. I believe that these state laws should be respected. At a minimum, there should be guidance about enforcement from the federal government.

From the reason link -

I trust that Leahy will go beyond the question of marijuana consumption to address production and distribution, which are the real issues as far as federal meddling goes. UCLA drug policy expert Mark Kleiman, who has advised the Washington State Liquor Control Board on marijuana regulation, argues that the administration also should go beyond "guidance about enforcement" by formalizing an agreement that the feds will refrain from interfering in exchange for state help with controlling interstate smuggling of newly legal marijuana. (Stuart Taylor made a similar proposal in a Brookings Institution paper published last April.)

In a new Journal of Drug Policy Analysis article, Kleiman notes that the Controlled Substances Act says the attorney general "shall cooperate with local, State, and Federal agencies concerning traffic in controlled substances and in suppressing the abuse of controlled substances." Toward that end, "he is authorized to…notwithstanding any other provision of law, enter into contractual agreements with State and local law enforcement agencies to provide for cooperative enforcement and regulatory activities." Such a contract, Kleiman says, would provide more assurance of federal forbearance than simple inaction. Alternatively, he says, Congress could authorize the attorney general to issue "waivers" exempting state-legal marijuana producers and sellers from federal prosecution as long as certain conditions aimed at minimizing diversion are met.

Here is Kleiman's response to those who argue that the Justice Department has a duty to vigorously enforce marijuana prohibition even in states that have opted out:

To the immediate objection that the Executive Branch—charged by the Constitution with the "faithful execution" of the laws—has no authority to acquiescein the violation of some of those laws, there is an equally immediate rejoinder; those laws are now being violated and will continue to be violated, in ways the Executive is practically powerless to prevent in any case and still more powerless without the active engagement of state and local enforcement agencies. If "the abuse of controlled substances" can be more effectively suppressed with cooperative agreements than without them, then the mandate to cooperate for the purposes of the Act might be best carried out by explicitly agreeing not to do what the federal government cannot in fact do with or without such an agreement.

more at the link... and, just to note, this article notes Kleiman views Holder's 10 month non-response as a sign the administration may be open to review of federal policy.

hopeful news.
August 21, 2013

Rep. Jared Polis: Would be very happy if Holder resigned


"I would be very happy to see him leave," Polis told The Coloradoan in an interview published Wednesday.

Polis offered four major reasons he has lost confidence in Holder, including: the Justice Department's pursuit of reporters during leak investigations; Holder's non-committal to respecting state marijuana legalization laws; his apparent approval of NSA surveillance; and the "abuse of prosecutorial discretion" by federal prosecutors.

Regarding Colorado's marijuana legalization law, which will usher in state-licensed recreational weed shops next year, Polis complained that "[e]very time we've talked to [Holder] about it — and I've talked to him many times about it — it's just kind of the typical attorney thing: no answer, just nothing, talk around it, not yes, not no."

Polis also requested that recreational cannabis stores in states that have made cannabis legal should be dealt with under terms of the Ogden Memo.


Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., wants Attorney General Eric Holder to confirm that the federal approach to state-licensed recreational marijuana stores, set to open next year in Colorado and Washington state, will be similar to the Justice Department's approach to medical marijuana dispensaries.

"Stores are opening next year," Polis told U.S News. "We would like to have the clarification from the attorney general to make it clear that the Ogden memo also applies" to recreational marijuana stores.

The Ogden memo is a 2009 document written by then-Deputy Attorney General David Ogden that says it wouldn't be an "efficient use" of federal resources to go after medical marijuana patients. It also said the Justice Department would primarily target dispensaries that commit other infractions, such as selling hard drugs, using guns or breaking state marijuana regulations.

Polis says the Justice Department has misled the states into believing a policy announcement was imminent for the past eight months.
August 21, 2013

NIDA denies marijuana is less toxic than alcohol

The National Institute on Drug Abuse released an eyebrow-raising statement to PolitiFact on Monday, denying that marijuana is less toxic than alcohol.

"Claiming that marijuana is less toxic than alcohol cannot be substantiated since each possess their own unique set of risks and consequences for a given individual," wrote the institute. NIDA, part of the National Institutes of Health, funds government-backed scientific research and has a stated mission "to lead the nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction."

The statement was in response to a declaration by the pro-pot policy group Marijuana Policy Project that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol –- a claim that was the centerpiece of a controversial pro-marijuana commercial aired during a NASCAR race last month.

PolitiFact took the claim to task, comparing marijuana-related deaths to alcohol-related deaths and toxicity levels of the two substances.


PolitiFact had this to say:


An ad from the Marijuana Policy Project claims marijuana is "less toxic" than alcohol.

Our job as fact-checkers in this case is not to decide whether marijuana is good or harmful. We're focused on whether the drug in its natural form is "less toxic" than alcohol.

In that regard, science and statistics present a strong case:

Deaths or even trips to the hospital are much more likely due to alcohol;
Scientists could not find any documented deaths from smoking marijuana;
A study found the safety ratio for marijuana (the number of doses to cause death) is much greater than compared to alcohol. Put another way, marijuana is 100 times less toxic than alcohol.

Overall, we rate this claim Mostly True.

So, once again, the NIDA lies to the American people about cannabis. This isn't the first time.

If your agency had to lie to support policy, maybe your agency shouldn't get funding for that policy.

By continuing current policy and supporting it by lies, it would also be true that the NIDA is more toxic than marijuana.
August 9, 2013

Gallup: Cannabis Usage Little Changed Over Three Decades


Even as Americans' support for legalizing marijuana has doubled, and more than 20 states have loosened marijuana restrictions in various ways, Gallup finds relatively little increase throughout the past three decades in the percentage of U.S. adults who say they have tried marijuana. Thirty-eight percent of Americans admit to having tried marijuana, compared with 34% in 1999 and 33% in 1985.

Before Americans' self-reported experimentation with marijuana leveled off in the 1980s, it surged in the 1970s, rising from 4% in 1969 to 12% in 1973 and 24% in 1977.

Gallup's trend by age reveals that widespread experimentation with marijuana first occurred among adults aged 18 to 29 between 1969 and 1973, rising from 8% to 35%. It then continued to mount, reaching 56% by 1977, and remained at that level in 1985. Since then, however, marijuana use among young adults has progressively declined. At the same time, as the bulge of young adults who tried marijuana in the 1970s ages and replaces older Americans who never tried it, the rate of all Americans who have ever tried the drug has increased slightly.

There are relatively minor differences in marijuana use by race -- between whites and nonwhites -- and by education. There are no income-related differences among those who say they have tried marijuana, but lower-income Americans are the most likely to say they currently use it. This is consistent with the higher percentage of young adults who say they smoke it, given young adults report relatively lower household income figures.

Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 28,784
Latest Discussions»RainDog's Journal