Thursday, January 27, 2011

President Obama’s Response To YouTube Drug War Questions

January 27th, 2011 By: Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator

$15.5 billion this year alone, 2/3rds for ineffective law enforcement.


President Obama responded to the most popular question (or, the eighty most popular questions) on’s “Ask Obama” forum regarding the debate on drug legalization in America.  Despite being the most popular question and gaining four times the support of any other non-drug war question, the YouTube moderator didn’t ask the question until #15.  The President’sresponse is a lot of platitudes about treatment, reducing demand, and reallocating resources, despite the Obama administration’s budget that puts twice the resources toward law enforcement than to treatment. At its core, however, it retains the premise that responsible adult marijuana consumers must be persuaded by our government, through drug tests, drug courts, forced rehab, and incarceration, into not consuming cannabis.

President Obama’s Drug War Answer

Mr. President, we’re never going to stop smoking marijuana. Never. American demand for cannabis is here to stay. You can let criminals control that market or you can do the sensible thing and begin regulating it.


Mainstream Media Finally Recognizing That Americans Want Marijuana Law Reform

January 27th, 2011 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

[Update! While President Obama's YouTube remarks may have beenpredictable, the mainstream media's focus on the popularity of marijuana law reform has been nothing short of extraordinary -- as noted by the growing number of mainstream outlets (CBS, Fox, USA Today, etc.) that have devoted ink to the story. Via today's YouTube forum, the public has made their case to the mainstream media and that ultimately is just as important, if not more important, than making their case to the President.]

Regardless of whether or not President Obama addresses the question of marijuana law reform in today’s live YouTube ‘Ask Obama’ Q&A, the American public has made their case to the mainstream media.

Last night, Universal Press Syndicate ran with the headline, Top Obama YouTube questions: Legalize pot. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The top questions Americans want to ask U.S. President Barack Obama on YouTube Thursday deal with legalizing marijuana, a review of the questions indicated. … The YouTube questions Obama will answer will be based on the number of votes each question receives, YouTube said.

More than 193,000 people submitted nearly 140,000 questions and cast almost 1.4 million votes by midnight Wednesday, the submission deadline, a United Press International review indicated. This is 10 times last year’s 14,000 questions, the first year YouTube hosted an Obama interview.

The top 10 questions all involved ending or changing the government’s war on drugs, legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana and embracing industrial hemp as a “green” initiative to help farmers, the UPI review found.

As NORML’s Russ Belville blogged yesterday, marijuana’s popularity is not just limited the top 10 questions. In fact, the top 100 most popular questions (See them here.) posed to the President are about marijuana and drug law reform.

In the minds of the mainstream media, that is a statement just too big to ignore:

USA Today: Obama’s questions from YouTube deal mostly with legalizing pot

The Politico: Obama is urged to talk about drugs

Huffington Post: Obama Barraged By Pot Questions For Upcoming YouTube Town Hall

CBS News: Marijuana Dominates Questions for Obama’s YouTube Q&A

Fox News: Mr. President, America Wants to Know About…Marijuana

Washington Post: YouTube interviews President Obama

Regardless of how President Obama responds, the media has their story: The American public is ready to engage in a serious and objective political debate regarding the merits of legalizing the use of cannabis by adults. Is the President? Tune in here at 2:30 est today to find out.


“Ask Obama” Top 100 Questions About Ending Drug War, Legalizing Marijuana

January 26th, 2011 By: Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator


Dear President Obama,

Once again you have asked us about changing American policy and the direction this country should take.  Your “Ask Obama” forum sponsored by YouTube promises to take questions from the American people on the issues they find most important in terms of national policy.

When you did this in 2010 you heard from us loud and clear aboutmarijuana law reform.  We asked about re-scheduling cannabis to allow medical marijuana to flourish, decriminalizing marijuana to end thousands of arrests, legalizing pot to raise tax revenue, ending prohibition to cripple Mexican drug traffickers, regulating cannabis to keep it out of kids’ hands, reforming drug laws to re-prioritize police resources, embracing industrial hemp as a truly green energy source, and using science, not politics, to dictate our drug policy.

And you flat-out ignored us, despite those questions dominating in both quantity and popularity.

When you did this in 2009 you got the same response from the public.  That time you didn’t ignore us; you just laughed at us (see:

We know you’re a busy man and there are many pressing issues facing this country.  So we took the time to review the Top 100 questions on the “Ask Obama” site just now and condense each one into a few words so you could get an idea what the country is voting on.

Understand that this is not the list that appears when one clicks on the site.  This list is compiled by choosing “All Questions” and then choosing “Sorted by popularity”.  When one first visits the site, one of seven random topics including Jobs & Economy, Foreign Policy & National Security, Health Care, Education, Immigration, Energy and Environment, and Other, is presented in “Sorted by what’s hot” order, so it isn’t as if a certain topic becomes popular and then gets more popular because more random visitors are exposed to it.

So here they are, out of 97,344 people who have submitted 77,551 questions and cast 826,973 votes, these are the Top 100 Questions(as of Tuesday, 10pm Pacific).  I’ve taken the liberty of color-coding questions about the Drug War in white, questions about you ignoring our questions about the Drug War in yellow, and questions that are not about the Drug War in red.

Wait, make that the Top 101 Questions, so I can have at least one red question… Click the graphic above to read the full-sized version… or continue reading for all the questions…



Monday, January 24, 2011

Mexican Drug Lord Officially Thanks American Lawmakers for Keeping Drugs Illegal

David Henry Sterry Posted March 29, 2009 | 10:53 PM (EST) 

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera reported head of the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico, ranked 701st on Forbes' yearly report of the wealthiest men alive, and worth an estimated $1 billion, today officially thanked United States politicians for making sure that drugs remain illegal. According to one of his closest confidants, he said, "I couldn't have gotten so stinking rich without George Bush, George Bush Jr., Ronald Reagan, even El Presidente Obama, none of them have the cajones to stand up to all the big money that wants to keep this stuff illegal. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say, Gracias amigos, I owe my whole empire to you."

According to sources in the Mexican government, President Calderon is begging American officials to, in the words of reggae great Peter Tosh, legalize it. "Oh yeah," said an official close to the Mexican president, "Felipe is going crazy. He's screaming at everybody who comes in, 'Why don't they make this sh*t legal already! You're killing me here!' Look, everyone knows, when you have Prohibition, you create gangsters. And the more you prohibit, the more gangsters you make. El Chapo is hero now to all those slumdogs who want to be millionaires. Kids in the street, when they play games, they all want to be El Chapo, the baddest man in the whole damn town."

Meanwhile, many speculate that rich and prominent Mexican families are in cahoots with American businessmen in the alcohol industry, wealthy industrialists who launder the unprecedented profits from the drug business with their legitimate enterprises, and lawmakers who get gigantic kickbacks and payoffs to make sure that these drugs remain illegal, so they can remain rich, fat and happy. According to sources on both sides of the border, tens of millions of dollars in payoffs and kickbacks are stashed in Swiss banks every year, blood money from the brutal business made possible by a corrupt system supported by laws that don't, and have never, worked.

Rather than putting El Chapo and his kind out of business by modernizing outdated laws and in the process making billions of dollars from taxing drugs (as is done with cigarettes and alcohol), United States government has spent hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars chasing its tail, and offered a $5 million reward for the capture of El Chapo. Many have said that the offer is unofficially: Dead or Alive.

Meanwhile, as an epidemic of murderous violence rages on the Mexican-US border, and the American government wastes boatloads of badly needed money on the illegal drug business which results from the Prohibition laws, El Chapo is laughing all the way to the bank. "Whoever came up with this whole War on Drugs," one of his lieutenants reports he said, "I would like to kiss him on the lips and shake his hand and buy him dinner with caviar and champagne. The War on Drugs is the greatest thing that ever happened to me, and the day they decide to end that war, will be a sad one for me and all of my closest friends. And if you don't believe me, ask those guys whose heads showed up in the ice chests."

Cop Asks Obama to Consider Legalizing Drugs

Please stop cleaning out your ears. You are hearing correctly! This is one of our friends at LEAP. I’m proud of these kinds of friends!

See my “Links” list on the sidebar of this blog to visit the LEAP website.

President Obama To Answer Online Questions Thursday: Will Marijuana Legalization Be A Top Question Again?

January 24th, 2011 By: Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director

This Thursday, President Obama will field questions submitted from the world of social media during a live-streamed YouTube interview. NORML supporters can send their questions to the President at, or via Twitter, by using the #askobama hashtag.

Obama will answer the top-rated questions when the interview kicks off at 2:30 p.m. EST on Thursday.

In two prior online question-n-answer sessions with the American public since taking office over two years ago, the question of ending America’s failed Cannabis Prohibition was a top question both times–which speaks to the importance and urgency of the public’s want to actually control cannabis via taxation and regulation. However, regrettably, President Obama has dismissed ending Cannabis Prohibition in no uncertain terms.

If you’re interested in asking President Obama about reforming America’s 74-year-old Cannabis Prohibition laws, you’ll have to send in your question by midnight, Tuesday, January 25th.

Be concise! White House staff says each question “should be about 20 seconds long.”

Suggested short questions for President Obama:

-Wouldn’t finally legalizing marijuana in America end the terrible Prohibition-related violence in Mexico. if not, why not?

-You claim you want to be the first ‘green jobs’ president, in a green economy, why does your administration continue to oppose American farmers growing industrial hemp. Governments in Canada, France and China allow thier farmers to prosper from industrial hemp cultivation, why not American farmers?

-Though you say you support medical access to cannabis, why does your drug czar (Gil Kerlikowski) and DEA chief (Michele Leonhart) continue to publicly lie claiming that cannabis has no medical use or value?

-If Jamaica (or Mexico), for example, wanted to legalize and tax cannabis, would your administration oppose their efforts to end Cannabis Prohibition in their country?

-As a person struggling with tobacco addiction, do you think the criminal justice system works better than health services to ween drug abusers from self-destructive behavior? Is the decision to stop using a drug, like tobacco, or marijuana, a personal or governmental decision?

You can check out a great question to President Obama from our friends at LEAP here.


A Response From Senator Lindsey O. Graham R-SC

I sent around five emails to Senator Graham about the issues that concerns myself and NORML as an organization. The emails can be seen here:

Here is the reply about my concerns from Senator Graham.

“January 10, 2011

Thank you for contacting me regarding our criminal justice system. I appreciate the opportunity to hear from you on this critical issue.

I understand your concern that some federal prison facilities are ill-equipped to accommodate the high volume of inmates. While I support a system of federal incarceration that effectively enforces our nation’s laws, I recognize that such enforcement requires adequate prison facilities. I also recognize that many of our nation’s prisons are filled with non-violent offenders who tax limited resources and who may be more effectively and efficiently served by a combination of limited incarceration, rehabilitation, and addiction treatment services.

You may be interested to learn of my cosponsorship of S. 714, the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, introduced on March 26, 2009. This legislation will create a blue-ribbon commission charged with undertaking an 18-month, top-to-bottom review of our entire criminal justice system. The commission will propose concrete, wide ranging reforms designed to responsibly reduce the overall incarceration rate; improve federal and local responses to international and domestic gang violence; restructure our approach to drug policy; improve the treatment of mental illness; strengthen prison administration; and establish a system for reintegrating ex-offenders. S. 714 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for review.

As Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, I was pleased to participate in a hearing on S. 714 on June 11, 2009. During the hearing, testimony was provided by a diverse group of experts including legal professionals and academics, members of the law enforcement community, and prison ministry representatives, all of whom offered unique and valuable perspectives on proposed criminal justice reforms. I am hopeful that the full Senate will have an opportunity to review this important bill soon.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts. If I may be of further assistance to you or your family, please do not hesitate to call on me.


Lindsey O. Graham

United States Senator”

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rick Steves: Travel As a Political Act - Commonwealth Club

Yet another engaging and informative talk with Rick Steves.

Talk To Your Kids About Cannabis? The Flower

I cannot tell you what the answer to that question is. That is up to you. I did find this cartoon very truthful and something to ponder upon for parents. Take a look:



The Flower contrasts a utopian society that freely farms and consumes a pleasure giving flower with a society where the same flower is illegal and its consumption is prohibited. The animation is a meditation on the social and economic costs of marijuana prohibition.
Animation by Haik Hoisington
Music & Sound Design by Ion Furjanic
You can download the music here:

The DEA is Going to Kill Someone!

(NOTE: This article was written a while back and Michelle Leonhart is already confirmed. See the blog archive for my postings on it. Also, the DEA kills daily and 100-150 on average a day of homes have guns put to their heads during DEA raids on “legal” grows and growers. That’s why I support full legalization with medical as a step toward that. It will never truly be safe until we legalize it for everyone! See also my posts on the botched raids by the DEA.)

The DEA has gone rogue. Despite clear guidance from the Department of Justice directing them to do otherwise, agents are conducting raids of homes and businesses where the occupants are acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws.

These agents are storming onto the property of law-abiding citizens with guns drawn, destroying marijuana plants being grown for patients, stealing computers and cash, and even leaving trash on the floor behind them when they are done.

A recent raid in Mendocino County, California targeted a woman who had filed formal paperwork to grow medical marijuana, had paid a $1,050 application fee under the local ordinance, and whose operation had been inspected and approved by the local sheriff. When informed about this, the DEA agent in charge said, "I don't care what the sheriff says."

It is only a matter of time before one of these raids ends tragically with someone seriously injured or killed.

One woman is responsible for all of this. Her name is Michele Leonhart. She became the acting-administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration under George W. Bush and was shockingly nominated by President Obama to be the permanent head of the agency. She clearly has no respect for authority at the Department of Justice and is equally willing to use federal law enforcement power to trample on states' rights.

Yesterday, MPP and its allies called on President Obama to withdraw this nomination. We are hoping you will join us.

We have set up a page where you can send an e-mail to the White House, urging the President to withdraw the nomination. The pre-written e-mail we provide -- which you can modify -- also mentions that Leonhart has personally obstructed research into the therapeutic benefits of marijuana by denying an application from the University of Massachusetts to cultivate marijuana for this purpose.

Michele Leonhart does not deserve to be DEA administrator. Please take action so that President Obama gets this message. GO TO:


Cannabis Cerebral Effects – Medical Studies

Angie Theycall Mehippie’s comments:

It seems that the results replicate themselves when it comes to the effects of cannabis use on the adult brain. Little or no harm to the brain can be established in adult use, including heavy use. The only way to get the brain damage or harm to the brain in monkeys is to literally smother them with the equivalent of 200 joints of smoke all at once and they were harmed or died from lack of oxygen if you look up how these tests were preformed on the monkeys. A gas mask was used to get the 200 joints worth of smoke into the monkey. They died of asphyxiation!!!! Look at the medical facts for yourself and how the tests were done. As I’ve said before with just a little typing you can find out for yourself.

Many Speak Out About Plan To Legalize Pot

Interesting poll results. So why had no legislation passed yet? Are they listening in D.C. or not? You tell me!

One thing is evident: Refer Madness still has a grasp on the country. End the lies!


US gains from legalizing cannabis

A bill to legalize marijuana has been introduced in the U.S. Aaron Houston, the only full time marijuana lobbyist on Capitol Hill, says taxing the drug will bring millions into the U.S. budget.

Cannabis As Possible Cancer Cure!


See the evidence for yourself and allow your on mind to decide! We cannot deny patients this vital medication any longer SC! A little typing and you can verify the validity of this video’s information.




I signed the "South Carolina Medical Hemp Initiative petition!

I signed+the+"South Carolina Medical Hemp Initiative "+petition!+



Angelia Brown


Cannabis is an effective treatment for hundreds if not thousands of ailments. The medical research is available and it is past due that patients are not treated as criminals and cannabis be legally available and treated no different than any drug on the legal market.

To sign it, click here:

South Carolina Marijuana Arrests (1990 - 2007)

SC Marijuana Arrests

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Former Sheriff Gets Life In Prison For Marijuana, Murder Plot



Former Gallatin County Sheriff Raymond Martin was sentenced to two life prison terms today.


Calling a disgraced Illinois sheriff "the worst of humanity," a federal judge on Wednesday sentenced him to life in prison for trafficking marijuana on the job and a foiled plot to have a potential witness killed.

Former Sheriff Raymond Martin should be harshly punished, U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert said, calling the longtime sheriff of southern Illinois' Gallatin County "nothing but a common thief and thug who disregarded the very laws that you swore to uphold, defend, protect and honor, reports Jim Suhr of The Associated Press.

"You could have likely been sheriff until you decided to retire," the judge scolded Martin, who was kicked out of office within days of his conviction last September of all 15 felony counts with which he was charged. "But no, you couldn't stand prosperity, and your arrogance, greed and power got the best of you."

"I believe in your mind your only regret is that you got caught," the judge said. "You represent the worst of humanity."

Martin's lack of visible contrition seemed to anger the judge. Moments before being given two life terms on weapons charges -- along with numerous 10- and five-year terms on other counts -- the former sheriff had pledged to appeal, claiming more documents and witnesses could have acquitted him.

"Your Honor, I come before you today not claiming to be no angel but can assure you I'm not the man prosecutors are trying to portray me as," said the verbally challenged Martin, 48, denying he ever plotted to have anyone killed.

"In all my years as a judge, I have never seen a criminal case where the evidence of guilt was so overwhelming," responded the judge, who also fined Martin $50,000 for good measure, and swatted down the former sheriff's request to be allowed free while he appealed.

Martin, who had been elected four times and served as sheriff for almost 20 years, has been in jail since May 2009, when federal agents hauled him out of his office in Shawneetown on charges of selling marijuana. Despite that and his subsequent plotting -- from behind bars -- to have potential witnesses killed, Martin kept his job as sheriff and still got paid his $40,000 yearly salary until last September when the county fired him after his conviction.

Though Martin had the legal right to keep his job as sheriff pending trial, federal prosecutor Jim Cutchin said Wednesday that the former sheriff should have stepped down as the morally right thing to do. While behind bars, Martin collected $68,087 in salary and benefits from the cash-strapped, drug-plagued county, along with a state stipend of about $4,200, according to county records.

John O'Gara, Martin's attorney, asked the judge for a 30-year sentence, calling that "sufficient but not greater than necessary to punish him."

"You do not need to sign a piece of paper to consign him to death in the Bureau of Prisons," O'Gara said, insisting Martin "has a great capacity for caring" and should not get a life term.

Martin's attorney agreed with prosecutors that the former sheriff would forfeit to the federal government his home and more than $75,000 in other assets. When arrested, Martin had almost $105,000 in cash in his basement safe, and $19,000 in his then-wife's workplace safe, according to investigators.

A Drug Enforcement Administration agent said that Martin supplied a drug dealer, then threatened to kill him when the man said he wanted out of the deal, saying "making him disappear" would be easy. The then-sheriff also threatened the dealer by saying he could "make up a crime" against him and pledged to use his power to shut down rival dealers, according to prosecutors.

Federal investigators said the dealer let law enforcement record his conversations with Martin over a period of several weeks because he was scared of the sheriff's threats.

Even after Martin was jailed on drug counts, he masterminded a scheme to have two potential witnesses assaulted and possibly killed, according to investigators. None of the witnesses were ultimately harmed.

Martin enlisted his then-wife, Kristina Martin, 37, and 21-year-old son Cody Martin in his plot to offer two cellmates as much as $17,000 to kill the witnesses -- even supplying them with a detailed map to the targets' homes, authorities said. Raymond and Kristina Martin have since divorced.

"Words cannot adequately describe how despicable it was for what you did to your son, Cody," Judge Gilbert told Martin. "Animals protect their young more than you did yours."

The alleged plot fell apart when one of the two would-be hit men reported the plan to law enforcement, according to witness testimony.

The sheriff's wife and son pleaded not guilty to murder solicitation charges in Jackson County. Kristina's trial is set to begin Monday; no trial date has been set for Cody.


Another Article:

Illinois Sheriff Caught Selling Lots of Marijuana

by Scott Morgan, May 19, 2009, 08:11pm

Posted in: Police Corruption

Wow, you don't hear a story like this everyday. Oh wait, actually you do. Thanks to the drug war, dramatic incidents of gratuitous police misconduct have become painfully typical:

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Sheriff Raymond M. Martin has been the law for nearly 20 years in a struggling southern Illinois county. But federal prosecutors say he's been breaking it lately by peddling pounds of pot, some seized by his own department, often in uniform and from his patrol vehicle.
Authorities on Monday led away a handcuffed Martin, 46, from his small Shawneetown office after his arrest on federal drug trafficking charges accusing him of supplying a dealer he threatened to kill when that man said he wanted out. The Gallatin County sheriff also allegedly pledged to use his authority to shut down rival drug traffickers.

For 20 years, this creep was the sheriff? Can you even imagine all the filthy things he's done in that time? One of the many reasons the drug war fundamentally will never even begin to work is that you can't even trust the "good guys." I shudder to think how often the federal drug war dollars we pour into regional law enforcement end up accomplishing nothing other than to assist corrupt cops in cornering the local market.
The whole thing is such a colossal joke, it's amazing that anyone would even bother to defend it anymore. Just look at it. How much more fraudulent and corrupt must this thing become before everyone understands what it is?

The Truth About Pot – From Modern Mechanix

Yeah, sorry it’s just a link.

Man hospitalized after Minneapolis police raid


Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

O’Shea Page, 20, says police beat him during a raid Tuesday night in the 3200 block of Fremont Ave. N. The search is under internal police review.


Police searched an apartment but haven't charged the occupants with serious crimes.

By MATT McKINNEY, Star Tribune

Last update: January 20, 2011 - 9:18 PM

A police raid on a north Minneapolis apartment on Tuesday that left a man in the hospital and the apartment in shambles -- but led to no serious criminal charges -- has fallen under internal police review.

Citing the investigation, a police department spokesman said there would be no immediate comment, but people who were at the house said one man was kicked in the face and another was beaten unconscious as police searched for drugs and weapons.

Six people were cited for misdemeanors, according to the police report, and one man was arrested on suspicion of felony narcotics possession. He was released from jail Thursday afternoon with no charges filed.

A search warrant authorizing the raid said the residence on the 3200 block of Fremont Avenue N. housed a suspected drug-dealing operation where police expected to find receipts, drugs, weapons and a man named "J Roc."

The police report says O'Shea Page, 20, is that man. Page says that's not his nickname, but his landlord said that he knows Page as "Rock."

Page was knocked unconscious during the raid and then hospitalized for several hours with disfiguring bruises to his face.

"They're trying to cover something up," Page's uncle, Eric Page, said of the police. "The fact they're trying to cover up is that they whipped him almost to his death."

Public records show that none of the seven people mentioned in the police report has a narcotics violation, and most have no criminal records. O'Shea Page has a single crime on his record -- a two-year-old domestic assault conviction -- and one of the other seven was convicted in 2007 of first-degree aggravated robbery, for which he served time and was released.

Witnesses said the raid began at 6:15 p.m., as several young men stood outside the house while waiting for others to join them for a short walk to a neighbor's house for a birthday party. As they waited, they noticed police cruisers approaching with lights off.

Freddie Jackson, 18, said he saw perhaps 20 cruisers in all; he and most of the other men complied as police approached with guns drawn, ordering them to the ground.

O'Shea Page said he panicked and ran, thinking police were there to arrest him for missing a probation meeting in connection with his domestic assault conviction. He said he tripped and fell on the sidewalk a short distance away.

"I had my hands behind my back; I was laying down," Page said. An officer put a knee into Page's back and during the scuffle forced Page's head into a snowbank, Page said. He said he couldn't breathe and fought to turn his face as police yelled "stop resisting."

"They got to beating me on the head and all that," he said.

Page said he blacked out but remembers waking up at the jail and hearing jailers telling the arresting officers that the jail couldn't take Page because he needed medical attention. At Hennepin County Medical Center the officers told a nurse that Page had fallen down and then hit a tree, according to Page.

Officers Brandon Bartholomew and Christopher Tucker cited Page for fleeing police and loitering with intent to solicit for an illegal narcotic sale, according to the report. Their report says O'Shea did not need medical attention.

"Why did three policemen have to bring him in and not the ambulance?" asked Page's sister, Tyree Williams. "He had to have a CAT scan and all kinds of stuff done."

Thursday afternoon, Page and others were still upset about damage done to the apartment during the raid.

Police broke plates in the kitchen while clearing out a cupboard, pushed a television off its stand and tore clothes out of dressers and drawers, according to Tyeishia Jackson, 23, who lives in the apartment with her four children.

"When it was over, we couldn't open the door," said Jackson. Debris was scattered about, and three doors were damaged, including one that was ripped off its hinges. The damage would appear to be a violation of the police department's manual, which says officers must return a searched location to "some semblance of order."

Ross Lumley, Jackson's landlord, said he estimated damage to the unit at $1,200. He said the apartment, while not always tidy, was undamaged before the raid.

Jackson said her rent money, several hundred dollars in cash, was taken during the raid. A copy of the search warrant left at the apartment cited cash from suspected drug deals as an item police intended to seize.

Another man injured during the raid, Elijah Sullivan, 19, was arrested on a felony narcotics violation. He said that he dropped to the ground on police orders but then was kicked three times, at least once in the face. He said a police officer found a small plastic bag that appeared to hold drugs and put it in his hands, telling him they would beat him again if he didn't hold it.

Sullivan maintained Thursday afternoon that the drugs didn't belong to him or anyone else in the house. He was released Thursday with no charges filed.

This version of events was neither confirmed nor denied by police officers, who could not comment due to the internal investigation.

Matt McKinney • 612-217-1747


Congress censors 18th Amendment while reading Constitution

By "Radical" Russ Belville on January 7, 2011

(FOX News) Newly sworn members of the House reading aloud the country’s founding document on Thursday didn’t recite every verse and article of the document because Republicans decided that the obsolete parts can be skipped since they’ve been superseded by amendment.

For instance, lawmakers did not read the 18th Amendment, which imposed prohibition on liquor in 1919. However, they did read the 21st Amendment, which repealed prohibition in 1933 and is still in force.

Republicans also left out the part about counting slaves and Native Americans as three-fifths of a person.

The Constitution does not have any deleted portions, merely amended portions.  To not read the archaic portions of the document is to not learn from the mistakes and misjudgments of our past.  It is an insult to all the activists who fought for civil rights to not recognize this country was founded by men who believed only white male landowners should be allowed to vote.

Not reading the 18th Amendment is also an insult, both to those who worked so hard to bring about the 21st Amendment and to our historical remembrance of the folly of prohibition.  The 18th marks the first time the Constitution was used to restrict freedom and to take away rights from the people.  The 21st is the only time an amendment has ever been repealed.  The fact that both had to happen regarding government’s prohibition of alcohol but no amendments have been required to prohibit cannabis and other drugs shows how twisted the interpretation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause has become.


LA Times columnist’s unfounded fears of marijuana legalization

By "Radical" Russ Belville on January 18, 2011


(Los Angeles Times) It’s difficult to raise the topic of marijuana usage in America today without somehow touching off intense debate over whether this relatively mild, but still harmful drug should be decriminalized, even fully legalized. That’s how much the pro-pot crowd has hijacked the national conversation over the nation’s ongoing struggle with drug use.

That’s how Nicole Brochu opens her column, originally published in the Sun Sentinel, entitled “Bid to legalize marijuana all smoke and mirrors“.  I’m still left wondering how we “hijacked the national conversation” when she’s the one whose column is appearing in 725,000 copies of the Los Angeles Times and another 225,000 copies of the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel.  The reefer mad mainstream media columnist with almost a million readers complaining that we’re dominating the conversation reminds me of the drug czar with a $421 million annual budget complaining about the “well-funded pro-legalization forces“.

“Hijacked” in this sense means “told the public the truth”.  Isn’t it remarkable how the national conversation leans toward legalization when people know cannabis doesn’t lead to heroin, doesn’t cause cancer, doesn’t cause lung disease, doesn’t make you stupid, doesn’t get you addicted, and doesn’t make your girlfriend leave you for an alien.

Exhibit A: an opinion piece posted in this space earlier this week by a drug treatment psychologist bemoaning a national spike in teen pot smoking and attributing it largely to society’s growing tolerance of marijuana use.

Folks, this is not an outrageous assertion. In fact, in figures released Wednesday, the University of Michigan‘s Monitoring the Future — the largest survey on teen drug abuse polling more than 46,000 8th, 10th and 12th graders — found that teens’ exposure to anti-drug messages has nosedived over the past seven years. This at a time when teens also reported finding such messages actually work.

That’s stretching it.  What the report found is that “Between 2003 and today, the proportion of 8th, 10th, 12th graders that agreed ‘the commercials made them, to a great extent, less favorable toward drugs’ remained fairly stable.”  There is less of the ONDCP’s anti-marijuana propaganda on television, because in 2006, the Government Accountability Office found that “Between 1998 and 2004, Congress appropriated over $1.2 billion to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) for the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign” and that ”the campaign was not effective in reducing youth drug use, either during the entire period of the campaign or during the period from 2002 to 2004 when the campaign was redirected and focused on marijuana use.”

So kids today have the same reaction to the ineffective anti-pot commercials that they had in 2003.

Perhaps it’s not all that irrelevant then that, after a decade’s decline in pot-smoking, the same study also saw a spike in marijuana usage among teens last year, with more high school seniors lighting up joints than cigarettes.

The same percentage of high school seniors smoke pot each month in 2010 as they did in 2003.

Yet back in 2003, before “teens’ exposure to anti-drug messages has nosedived”, 21.2% of seniors used cannabis monthly.  This year, it’s 21.4%.  In 2006, three years into the nosedive, 18.3% were using monthly – why no column about how less exposure to ads caused teen use to plummet?= back then?

The numbers, and the trend, are not in dispute. What is up for debate, a heated one at that, is what to do about it.

Well, there is quite a dispute about your “trend” regarding cannabis use.  About one in five high school seniors has been using cannabis monthly, a trend that holds true back to 1995.  It’s never fluctuated more than around three percentage points one way or the other (23.7% in 1997, 18.3% in 2006) from today’s 21.4%.

The trend that is impressive is the decline in teen smoking.  In 1995, one in three high school seniors smoked cigarettes monthly, a figure that got as high as 36.5% in 1997.  Now less than one in five (19.2%) of seniors smoke cigarettes.  Yes, “more high school seniors [are] lighting up joints than cigarettes”, but that’s not because more kids smoke pot; it’s because much fewer kids smoke cigarettes.

But to suggest that legalizing marijuana is somehow an answer to society’s drug problems — that regulating its sale and distribution would actually lead to a reduction in usage, especially among youth — defies sober reasoning. Legalization proponents like to point out that the Netherlands, with its liberal drug policy, has a lower drug rate than America’s, but they neglect to tell you the country’s marijuana usage among 18- to 20-year-olds nearly tripled after legalization — at a time when usage among adolescents in the United States decreased steadily, according to the medical journal Pediatrics.

Wait, you mean the increase in 18- to 20-year-old adults choosing to visit 18-and-over legal coffee shops in the Netherlands is your argument that use among 16- to 17-year-old adolescent children will increase?  Especially when any American legalization scheme is likely to adopt an age limit of 21?

I find it funny that in that Pediatrics article you cite, you neglected to include their findings that “decriminalization of marijuana in a number of states from 1975 to 1980 apparently had no effect on high school students’ beliefs and attitudes about marijuana or on their use of the drug during those years.”

Or: “Several territories in Australia have decriminalized use of marijuana. Studies comparing use in these territories with use in those that did not reduce penalties found no appreciable differences in use.”

Dutch vs. American Youth on Cannabis

Statistic (Dutch EMCDDA vs. US NSDUH) Dutch Age 15-16 (2007) US 10th Graders (2009)
US 12th Graders (2009)
Lifetime Use?
Monthly Use?
Easy” or “Fairly Easy” to get? “


And why not just tell us what the rate of cannabis use is among Dutch adolescents?  The latest figures I can find from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction says 28% of Dutch youth aged 15- to 16-years old have tried cannabis in their lifetime, 15% used it within the last month, and 49% say it is “easy” or “fairly easy” to acquire cannabis.  In America, those numbers are all greater for 10th graders (14- to 15-years-old) and almost double for 12th graders (16- to 17-years-old).

Putting pot up for sale in convenience stores next to cigarettes and beer will only make it more accessible, and more acceptable, not to mention more affordable, creating more consumers, not less. Youth will be the most vulnerable, if Alaska’s experiment with legalization in the ’70s is any example. The state’s youth started smoking at twice the rate of those nationally, convincing Alaska to recriminalize marijuana in 1990, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

For the reefer mad prohibitionists, it’s either “lock people up for smoking pot” or it’s “pot up for sale in convenience stores next to cigarettes and beer”.  They can accept that “legal drugs” is a broad concept ranging from over-the-counter aspirin to tightly-controlled prescription morphine but for cannabis it has to be buds next to Bud and jazz cigarettes next to the regular ones at the 7-Eleven.  They criticize the Netherlands’ model of adults-only coffee houses without noticing they aren’t exactly convenience stores (in Dutch coffee houses, there are no menus displaying the buds and the prices – you have to push a button to have the menu display so that cannabis is never “passively” advertised.)  They can’t even make the connection to cannabis being vended at state-run or state-controlled adults-only stores like liquor in 19 states.

As for Alaska’s “legalization” (it wasn’t – the Supreme Court of Alaska decided that their constitution protected your privacy to smoke weed in your home – so call it “very limited decriminalization”) I’ve debunked that at length on the Stash.  As I wrote then, if Alaskan teen marijuana use went up from 1975-1979, I wouldn’t be surprised, since teen use of marijuana “skyrocketed” nationwide from 27.1% to 36.5% of high school seniors using marijuana monthly.  That’s an increase of over a third (34.6%), so Alaskan teen use would have to have increased by more than that for Alaskan decriminalization to even be considered as likely a cause as the overall nationwide increase in use.

Alaskans did vote 53%-47% for recriminalization in 1990, when nationwide support for marijuana legalization was at a nadir of 16%.  However, their courts invalidated that recriminalization in 2003 and they’ve had that “very limited decriminalization” since then.  Alaskan teen rates of use continued to decline after 2003′s “legalization” and they continue to roughly parallel the rise and fall in teen rates nationwide.

We’ve seen that with alcohol — ironically, the example legalization proponents keep going back to in pushing for reform. It’s a bad example. Suggesting that age limits will prove more effective than an all-out ban in keeping pot out of teens’ hands ignores the very real problem that alcohol poses for young people today. According to the Monitoring the Future study, alcohol is generally twice as popular among teens as marijuana. Don’t tell me being legal, and more widely available, isn’t instrumental in those statistics. This isn’t a model experiment in legalization we want to duplicate with another recreational substance.

Then why aren’t you pushing for a criminalization of alcohol for adults?  It’s as if prohibitionists understand the disaster that would unfold by criminalizing alcohol and tobacco and they’ve just accepted that those terribly addictive, dangerous, toxic drugs are here to stay, no matter how much they harm the children, because the alternative is criminal gangs, violence, police corruption, inflated prices, and misery for the adults who use will flout the law and use those substances anyway.

Yet that’s the situation they readily accept for dealing with the third most popular substance which is not terribly addictive, dangerous, or toxic.  30,000 slaughtered Mexicans, 850,000 arrested Americans, $15.5 billion in taxpayer dollars, billions more distributed to criminal gangs in over 300 American cities, and 25 million adults will flout that prohibition annually.

And saying pot isn’t as bad as alcohol isn’t by default the ringing endorsement some want to make it. Anyone who says marijuana isn’t harmful is just being dishonest. Studies have shown that long-term marijuana use may shrink parts of the brain and have lasting impacts on mental health.

Wrong.  This study is one I debunked in 2008 that consisted of 15 men who smoked an ounce a week or more.  This would be like supporting alcohol prohibition by noting that guys who drink a twelve-pack a day are likely to get cirrhosis.  Plus, the vast majority of cannabis consumers have nothing to fear about their mental health.

And despite efforts to pooh-pooh its reputation as a gateway drug, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that the younger someone is when using marijuana, the more likely he or she is to use other drugs in adulthood. In fact, according to the Center on and Substance Abuse at Columbia, children who use marijuana are 85 times more likely to use cocaine and 17 times more likely to be regular cocaine abusers. The numbers are equally troubling for heroin. (Think that’s why Holland’s heroin addiction rate has tripled since it legalized marijuana?)

No.  Between 1995 and now the monthly rate of heroin use in America has fluctuated between 119,000 and 338,000 users, averaging about 186,000 over that span and equaling about 230,000 now.  Meanwhile, the monthly rate of cannabis use has steadily increased from about 10 million to 15 million Americans.  Children who use alcohol are far more likely to use and abuse cocaine and heroin than those who use cannabis, yet you don’t advocate for alcohol prohibition, which is good because there is no causation in that correlation, either.

Sure, legalizing marijuana may mean a nice boost to the country’s revenue stream through regulation and taxation, but we don’t need to sell out our morals and public health for financial gain. We’ve done enough of that already.

And there we have it – selling out our morals.  It’s a moral issue.  It seems like the author even believes smoking and drinking are immoral.  That argument I can’t debunk because it is her personal belief.  However, I can note that when we criminalized alcohol out of morality, it was an abject failure.  I can note that we used to criminalize the lottery and slot machines – “playing the numbers” – yet many states have made that legal and turned those proceeds into useful public projects.

You can still believe cannabis use is immoral.  I believe locking up people for home gardening and punishing them for consuming something demonstrably safer to self and society than alcohol is immoral.  The question is whether the country and your fellow citizens are better off with your morality or mine.


Another innocent family terrorized by police over pot

By "Radical" Russ Belville on January 14, 2011

Just another one of the 100-150 paramilitary acts of terrorism perpetrated every day on American citizens over marijuana.  This one makes the papers because it took place at the wrong address.–Cops-targeted-wrong-address–rousted-my-family

SPRING VALLEY [NY] — A village resident said that police conducting drug raids early this morning targeted the wrong house where they roused his family out bed, pointed a machine gun at his 13-year-old daughter and threatened to shoot their poodle.

The raids were conducted by the Spring Valley police and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

David McKay said he, his wife, 13-year-old daughter and his brother-in-law were sleeping at 5:30 a.m. when they heard banging on the door of their townhouse at 36 Sharon Drive. When they went to open the door, at least 10 police officers forced their way into the home, he said.

“They pulled me outside in the freezing cold in my underwear, manhandle my wife, point a gun at my daughter and they won’t even tell me what they are doing in my house,” said McKay. “It was terrifying and humiliating beyond belief.”

McKay, who has worked for the Rockland sewer department for more than 13 years, is also a foster parent and involved in community activities.

McKay said the officers forced his wife, Jamie, and daughter out of their beds. The family’s dogs were barking and police threatened to shoot them, McKay said.

When it was reported in Huffington Post, it was entitled Police Terrorize 13-Year-Old Girl In Botched Pot Bust, Family Says. There was nothing “botched” about this raid whatsoever; it is completely standard procedure to break down doors, shoot pets, and terrorize children in the name of ferreting out marijuana users, sellers, and growers.

Later in the story, McKay overhears the officers talking about a different address, a place just down the street.  He then sees the officers at that location executing the raid at its correct address.  This was part of an indictment of 26 people who had been alleged to smuggle around 1,000 kg of cannabis around the local area since mid-2006.  Wow.  After five years, 10lbs of marijuana per week just got removed from underground economy in the greater New York area and only one innocent family had to be terrorized.  Do you all feel safer now?