Obama said he’d let science – not ideology – dictate policy — [except for the so-called War on Drugs]

On Thursday, the Drug Enforcement Agency formally refused to reconsider its classification of marijuana, which is officially regulated as a dangerous substance with no medical value, alongside drugs like heroin and LSD. Despite a growing body of scientific evidence and changes in public opinion, the federal government has refused to budge on a 46-year-old stance borne out of the War on Drugs.

According to the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 61 percent of Americans support legalization. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws reports that eight out of ten Americans support medical marijuana legalization…

As public opinion moves in favor of legalizing pot, the DEA is clinging to the past — with little scientific evidence to back up their position.

Research has shown that pot has a multitude of medical benefits. And by reaffirming its position, the government has set back patients who relied on it for treatment for years.

Thursday’s announcement means pot will remain a Schedule I drug, defined as having “no medical value and a high potential for abuse.” That means the federal government believes marijuana is just as harmful as heroin and less harmful than cocaine. It also bars scientists from receiving federal funding and forces them to jump through hoops to conduct their research. Insurance companies are banned from covering marijuana treatment, so patients have to rely on the black market for treatment.

As of 2013, 78 percent of physicians in the world support the use of medical marijuana. In May, Ohio became the 25th U.S. state to legalize it. Even Congressional Republicans who have long opposed pot legalization recently vocalized support for more medical marijuana research.

And Republicans are more afraid of science than they are of democracy, non-white voters and women. More or less.

If Obama persists in saying he prefers science over ideology, how about opting for backbone over election year-opportunism.

Native American teenager confronts a year in prison for possessing one gram of weed


Maybe the Feds want Chemawa students to live like this – again

An Oregon teenager could be sentenced to a year in prison for possessing about one gram of marijuana in a federal case that has sparked widespread outrage about the ongoing “war on drugs” – even in US states that have fully legalized cannabis.

Devontre Thomas, a Native American 19-year-old, is accused of possessing a small amount of weed – enough for about one joint – and will face a federal trial that advocates say is a waste of resources and a stark reminder that US law enforcement agencies continue to target people of color for low-level pot offenses.

The one-count charge brought by the US attorney’s office – which could also result in a $1,000 fine – is the latest illustration of growing tensions in US laws on marijuana. The drug is sold recreationally in four states but remains outlawed at the federal level.

The government’s decision to file charges against Thomas, which criminal justice experts say is a perplexing move that directly contradicts federal guidelines, has also raised questions about how the US Department of Justice enforces laws on Native American territories…

Thomas’s public defender, Ruben Iñiguez, told the local paper Willamette Week that the charge was for “about a gram” of weed and that the case stemmed from an incident at Chemawa Indian school, a boarding school operated by the federal bureau of Indian education.

Thomas, a member of the Warm Springs tribe, did not actually have weed on him at the school – which is located in Salem, Oregon’s capital – but he may have been involved in a $20 sale of marijuana, Iñiguez told local news station KGW-TV.

It’s unclear how or why US law enforcement officials got involved, but more than a year after the alleged incident, prosecutors pushed forward with a charge that carries a maximum sentence of one year behind bars.

Folks have been told time and again – in the face of a groundswell of legalization and decriminalization – that minor busts like this were over. Folks in states with updated laws would not be affected by out-of-date laws. We have been promised at a minimum the Feds would back off from the travesty of using the so-called War on Drugs to destroy the lives of the young and innocent.

Someone in Washington must have noticed that Native Americans may as well be Black or Hispanic in the eyes of law as practiced in America.

Our government may soon announce decriminalizing marijuana — or not

When President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, the federal government put marijuana in the category of the nation’s most dangerous drugs, along with LSD, heroin and mescaline.

In legal parlance, pot is a Schedule 1 drug, with a high potential for abuse and no medical purpose.

Forty-six years later, the law might soon change, as the Obama administration prepares to make what could be its biggest decision yet on marijuana.

Suspense is mounting after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration missed its self-imposed June 30 deadline to decide whether to reschedule the drug and recognize its potential therapeutic value. Twenty-six states already have legalized its medical use…

Voters in Washington state and Colorado became the first in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012…

With the Obama administration adopting a policy to “just look the other way” in states with recreational marijuana, Gregoire said it would be hard for the DEA to justify keeping marijuana on the Schedule 1 list.

Opinions differ on what exactly might happen when the DEA responds to the petition, but a move to reschedule marijuana would be a major milestone in the decades-long push to legalize pot.

Among other things, it could pave the way for pharmacies to fill marijuana prescriptions and allow universities and others to conduct more medical research.

Many pot entrepreneurs hope that Congress would respond by helping marijuana businesses, allowing them to deduct their expenses from their federal taxes and giving them access to banks so they can phase out their all-cash operations.

Someone mail me a penny postcard when Congress decides on bipartisan validation of science less than a century out-of-date, when health and well-being is treated as more important than death and destruction — by that herd of ignoranus conservatives in Congress whose sole function is to stand in the way of anything that smacks of progress.

California got enough signatures to allow referendum on legalization of marijuana

Californians are set to decide whether to make recreational marijuana use legal, as other Western states have done, after the California Secretary of State’s office said on Tuesday the issue could be put to voters in the November ballot.

The proposed so-called “Adult Use of Marijuana Act,” which is supported by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom among others, would allow people aged 21 and older to possess as much as an ounce of marijuana for private recreational use and permit personal cultivation of as many as six marijuana plants…

The measure would also establish a system to license, regulate and tax sales of marijuana, while allowing city governments to exercise local control over or disallow commercial distribution within their borders…

Opinion polls show attitudes have shifted more in favor of liberalized marijuana laws since California voters defeated a recreational cannabis initiative in 2010.

California led the way in legalizing marijuana for medical purposes in 1996, with 22 other states and the District of Columbia following suit, although cannabis remains classified as an illegal narcotic under U.S. law.

Voters in four states – Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska – plus the District of Columbia, have gone a step further since 2012 in permitting recreational use for adults. Voters in several more states will consider similar legislation in November as well.

We’ll have to see if the range of stodgy to backwards politicians here in New Mexico will allow such an opportunity. There are few places where hypocrisy so thoroughly rules a question like smoking or otherwise consuming weed. I’ve witnessed coppers chasing a suspect where neither vehicle was going faster than 25 mph! 🙂

Canada will stroll past the United States to become cannabis capital

…Chief executive of Denver’s largest marijuana dispensary…Andy Williams struggles with a lot of financial hurdles.

The First Bank of Colorado closed the accounts of everyone in the family business, Medicine Man Technologies, including children who have no part in the industry. Williams can’t take on any investment and needs to fund expansion through personal loans from friends and family.

Customers can only pay in cash; banks refuse to hold his money and everyone from employees to contractors need to accept cash payments. Employees, who can’t prove their income as a result, often struggle to get loans and mortgages.

Furthermore, section 280E of the US tax code prohibits the deduction of expenses related to controlled substances for tax purposes, and Williams predicts that he gives the internal revenue service an additional $600,000 each year as a result of business expenses that can’t be written off.

While recreational marijuana legalisation is well on its way in states like Colorado, it remains illegal at the federal level, stifling the growth and innovation of the industry’s first movers.

Our elected officials waver from know-nothing moralists to anti-science hypocrites to old-fashioned cowards. Most know better. Damned few have the courage to act.

Meanwhile, north of the border, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to legalise recreational marijuana consumption on a federal level, opening the door to investment, less restrictive tax policies and banks that can treat the marijuana industry like any other. While legalisation hasn’t yet taken place in Canada, when it inevitably does American marijuana businesses may suddenly find themselves at a disadvantage.

“They’ll be first to market,” says Williams. “There’s going to be a lot of development and innovation in Canada that’s going to spur economic growth and attract investment. First to market is going to get a lot of attention, so it’s a lost opportunity for the United States if and when that happens.”…

“The real setback will be longer term in their jump in developing that intellectual property, whether that’s in producing marijuana or developing brands or discovering new uses for cannabis in the medical field,” he said. “It’s the long-term effect of being behind the eight ball that I’m concerned about.”

Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Canada but many look to its medicinal marijuana system, which is considered among the best in the world, as a sign of things to come. Health Canada, the country’s federal health authority, already regulates over one million square feet of approved marijuana production space spread across 30 industrial-sized facilities…

Recreational legalization in Canada, however, could force policymakers in the US to modernize their federal policies in order to level the playing field.

Between populist hypocrite dope-smokers and spineless liberal hypocrite dope-smokers, our elected officials are doomed to a reaction policy roughly akin to snails racing to escape roadrunners. Trudeau in Canada will be replacing lost revenue from previous conservative government’s allegiance to fossil fuel producers. Obama – and whoever next sits in the Oval Office confronting a Congress populated with close-minded Republicans and centrist-dominated Democrats – will continue to dither and panic over popularity polls that show American consumers ready and willing to move ahead on legalizing cannabis as readily as they have every other so-called controversy petrifying the brains of our spoon-fed politicians.

Other nations in the educated world will continue to remind Americans there ain’t any greatness associated with being backwards, governed by fear.

Canada’s government takes the lead on legalizing marijuana


“Oh, Cannabis”

The Canadian government will introduce legislation next year that would make the sale of marijuana legal, its health minister has said.

If enacted, the move would make Canada one of the largest Western countries to allow widespread use of the drug…

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed for legalisation during his campaign.

The announcement coincided with 20 April – an unofficial holiday among cannabis advocates. Hundreds of marijuana users demonstrated outside Parliament in Ottawa on Wednesday.

Medical use of marijuana is already legal in Canada. Some have argued that legal marijuana would reduce stress on Canada’s criminal justice system.

“We will work with law enforcement partners to encourage appropriate and proportionate criminal justice measures,” Health Minister Jane Philpott said. “We know it is impossible to arrest our way out of this problem.”

However, Gerard Deltell, a legislator from Canada’s opposition Conservatives, opposes the change, saying blah, blah, blah.

Mr Trudeau has named Bill Blair, a former Toronto police chief, as the government’s point person on legalisation.

“We control who it’s sold to, when it’s sold and how it’s used,” Mr Blair said likening marijuana to how alcohol is regulated. “And organised crime doesn’t have the opportunity to profit from it.”

Of course, American Liberals don’t read furrin newspapers, don’t watch much more than network TV – so, they won’t know about this. American Conservatives don’t read at all. They sit and wait in front of black-and-whte TVs waiting for news about America’s world domination to return.

Marijuana trade employs more than 100,000 – in a fraction of the country

As the calendar turns to 4/20 — the unofficial holiday for marijuana — it’s not just weed enthusiasts who are celebrating. The number of jobs in the pot industry has surged in recent years, fueled by more states legalizing the drug. In fact, there are about as many employees of legal weed businesses as there are insurance underwriters, Web developers or nurse practitioners, according to Marijuana Business Daily. Cannabis is legal for adult recreational use in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia, and it’s available for medical purposes in 24 states.

Honest jobs, bringing more employment than coal mines, less political pollution than Republican hot air or Tea Party hate speech. If the Two Old Parties – or even one of them – ever joins the 21st Century, we might have a faster growing economy. Certainly mellower. 🙂

California weed smells more like real business every day

After decades of thriving in legally hazy backyards and basements, California’s most notorious crop, marijuana, is emerging from the underground into a decidedly capitalist era.

Under a new state law, marijuana businesses will be allowed to turn a profit — which has been forbidden since 1996, when California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis — and limits on the number of plants farmers can grow will be eliminated.

The opening of the marijuana industry here to corporate dollars has caused a mad scramble, with out-of-state investors, cannabis retailers and financially struggling municipalities all racing to grab a piece of what is effectively a new industry in California: legalized, large-scale marijuana farming.

And with voters widely expected to approve recreational marijuana use in November, California, already the world’s largest legal market for marijuana, gleams with the promise of profits far beyond what pot shops and growers have seen in Washington or Colorado, the first states to approve recreational use…

Twenty-three states allow some form of legal marijuana, and up to 20 will consider ballot measures this year to further ease restrictions.

California is now making the largest effort in the country’s history to pull marijuana out of the black market. Medical marijuana sales in California hit $2.7 billion last year, accounting for nearly half of all legal marijuana sales in the country…Approval of recreational marijuana use in November could double the market here by 2020, experts said.

Legalization brings jobs and tax revenue to a state. I’m not surprised when some states with an old dope-smoking culture still drag their feet. Face it. Even stoner politicians from either of the two old parties are chickenhearted when it comes to challenging the folkways of church and 14th Century morality – no matter how out-of-date and useless.

But, as the wave of good sense sweeps across a nation sparked by a couple new generations of education and backbone – encouraged by a Great Recession the old politicians rolled over for – change has to come to social behavior whether Liberals approve or Conservatives whine.

RTFA for lots of detail. Some of it silly and irrelevant, of course.

Legalizing Weed is reversing the wasted dollar$ and decades of the War on Drugs

The Mexican drug cartels are finally meeting their match as a wave of cannabis legalization efforts drastically reshapes the drug trafficking landscape in the United States. It turns out that as states legalize cannabis use and cultivation, the volume of weed brought across the border by Mexican drug cartels dramatically decreases — and is putting a dent in their cash flow.

A newly-released statistical report from the U.S. Border Patrol shows a sharp drop-off in cannabis captured at the border between the United States and Mexico. The reduction in weed trafficking coincides with dozens of states embracing cannabis use for both medical and recreational purposes.

In fact, as the Washington Post reports, cannabis confiscations at the southern border have stumbled to the lowest point in over a decade — to only 1.5 million pounds…

…Amir Zendehnam says…“Colorado, for example, is experiencing an economic boom that has never been seen in the state. The biggest issue in Colorado today is what to do with the huge amounts of revenue and economic success the state is gaining as a result of legalization. The Colorado model has proven that legalization reduces crime rates, cuts prices, pushes unfavorable competition out of the market, provides cleaner products with heightened transparency, and increases the standard of living for society as a whole.

“The only people hurt by continued societal acceptance and legalization of cannabis are the cartels and their friends, who have flourished for decades as a result of drug prohibition…”

Consumers are also starting to see the difference. Cheap low quality Mexican cannabis has become almost impossible to find in states that have legalized, while prices for high quality home-grown have steadily decreased…

Since Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs in June 1971, the cost of that “war” had soared to over $1 trillion by 2010. Over $51 billion is spent annually to fight the drug war in the United States…

Early reports from Colorado’s cannabis tax scheme show that revenues that will ostensibly help schools and rehabilitation efforts by flooding the state with cash. In fact, Colorado became the first state to generate more tax revenue from cannabis than alcohol in one year — $70 million.

Overdue – it’s time for the US and other countries to mirror the Portuguese model of treating addiction to drugs like an addiction to alcohol or cigarettes, using rehab instead of jail time to answer the questions asked by substance abuse.

Legal marijuana sales reach $5.4 Billion in 2015

Grow the economy

This week two marijuana analysis and investment firms released a summary of a report that appeared to confirm that the industry has become a gold rush. National legal sales of cannabis grew to $5.4 billion in 2015, up from $4.6 billion in 2014, according to the firms, the ArcView Group, based in San Francisco, and New Frontier, based in Washington.

Demand is expected to remain strong this year, with a forecast of $6.7 billion in legal sales…

The promises and headwinds of the industry are potentially far-reaching and attracting notice on Wall Street. As more states legalize marijuana sales, analysts are weighing the stock market benefits of new businesses as cannabis goes corporate. Funds are considering the ethics of investing in marijuana. Parents are even debating whether to allow their children to buy the stocks.

And say goodbye to the common resealable bags and heat lamps in the closet. Lucrative legal side businesses are spinning off, like the climate systems for growers built by a company in Boulder, Colo., and the FunkSac odor-proof and child-resistant marijuana bags produced in Denver…

The report summary said that by 2020, legal market sales were forecast to be $21.8 billion…

Four states and the District of Columbia allow full adult use, and this year, seven more will vote on allowing it: California, Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Twenty-three states already permit medical cannabis use, and four others — Florida, Ohio, Missouri and Pennsylvania — are positioned to advance medical laws…

Legalization is also a hot topic of national debate, making the industry vulnerable in an election year.

Given that the ranking indoor sport in the United States is hypocrisy – followed by ignorance – that’s an understatement.

I live in one of the states with medical marijuana regs. They’ve functioned well until we acquired a Republican governor. Governor Susana does her “best” to screw medical consumers of weed. Our state legislature is in session doing their level best to ignore public polls which show support for legal weed in the 60-70% range. I sincerely doubt if any legislation allowing a state referendum on legal weed will somehow squeeze through.

And then there’s Congress, Congressional Republicans – and Congressional Democrats often as cowardly on questions like these as Republicans are backwards.

Keep on rocking in the Free World, folks.