Medical Marijuana Business Attracts Hedge Funds, Venture Capitalists

Marijuana has been a cash crop for many years in this country. The only problem is that most of that crop had been grown illegally. Now, that medical marijuana is legal in 15 states and the District of Columbia, legalized marijuana has quickly become so popular it is attracting attention from hedge fund managers and venture capitalists, not to mention a whole new batch of entrepreneurs.

Doctors still can’t prescribe marijuana because it is categorized as a schedule one drug like LSD. But they can recommend it and that’s all anyone needs to get a medical marijuana license that allows them to buy marijuana legally in those 15 states, with three more states about join them.

Each license sells for around $130 and some clinics selling the licenses have brought in more than a million dollars in just their first year. The once illegal joint is selling like hot cakes throughout middle America to consumers who no longer have to worry about getting arrested for possession, at least by local or state authorities.

The federal government still outlaws marijuana possession but it’s unlikely someone with a medical marijuana license will be busted by an FBI or DEA agent if caught smoking in his or her own home. In fact, just last year U.S. enforcers promised to leave medical marijuana operations alone if they complied with state law.

That prompted a significant increase in interest among entrepreneurs. Today, there are an estimated 2,400 medical marijuana dispensaries from California to Maine. In Colorado, they outnumber Starbucks two to one.

 

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Four Queens men sue NYPD after being held for 30 hours, busted for laughing at cops

Four Queens men claim they were locked up for more than 30 hours by cops seeking revenge on a crowd of men who laughed at an officer who couldn’t catch a fleeing drug suspect.

The men insist they didn’t even laugh, says their lawyer Gabriel P. Harvis, who filed suit against the NYPD and 10 unidentified officers in Brooklyn Federal Court. They believe they were arrested because cops wanted to take their frustration out on them, he said.

“The cops knew my clients had done nothing wrong, but they didn’t care,” said Harvis, who represents Abdul Kabba, Isaiah Barnes, Hasan Allen and Ishmial Deas. Police “were embarrassed, so they abused their power by locking them up anyway.”

The four were held for 27 hours in the 103rd Precinct stationhouse before the Queens district attorney’s office dropped the charges.

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Move over, Big Pharma and Big Oil, Big Marijuana is here

Legalization ‘looking inevitable,’ spokesman says

If there’s one group of people who get their way in Washington, it’s lobbyists.

Now, advocates of marijuana legalization may have a reason to cheer that political reality: They’re getting their own marijuana lobby group.

And just Big Pharma and Big Oil lobby for greater leeway for their businesses, so too will Big Marijuana push for their industry to be given the freedom to succeed.

Aaron Smith, executive director of the newly formed National Cannabis Industry Association, says that marijuana legalization is “looking inevitable.”

Smith told McClatchy news service: “It’s pretty clear that the medical marijuana industry is becoming recognized more and more by the mainstream as a fully legitimate part of the economy.”

Legalization “didn’t happen in 2010, but it’s likely to happen in 2012,” he added. “It’s going to be relatively soon we’re going to see states move from medical marijuana into broader legal markets. And the federal government needs to catch up. Frequently the American people are ahead of the Congress.”

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Banned marijuana dispensary reopens in Wildomar

A medical marijuana collective engaged in a legal battle against Wildomar re-opened its storefront location Monday in defiance of a citywide ban on dispensaries.

The move by the Wildomar Patients Compassionate Group comes a week after the collective filed a legal petition seeking to block the city from enforcing its ban.

General Manager William Sump said the group believes Wildomar’s ban violates state law, which allows medical marijuana patients access to medication.

“I will only operate until a judge tells us not to,” Sump said.

Wildomar City Manager Frank Oviedo said the city would likely seek a court order forcing the dispensary to shut down.

“We’re going to enforce the city’s ordinance,” Oviedo said. “There is no other option. We can’t ignore our own laws.”

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Calilfornia marijuana Legalization debate gets interesting

Two Norfolk teachers put on leave over material about police

Two Norview High School teachers were placed on paid administrative leave this week after a parent complained that they distributed classroom materials that gave advice on how to deal with police if stopped.

The materials – a one-page handout and a video distributed and aired in a 12th-grade government class – are sponsored by two organizations, one a nonprofit that supports legalization of marijuana and one that calls itself a “decentralized anarchist collective.”

The last paragraph of the flier, titled “When Dealing with Police” states, “Remember You have legal rights, but many police will not respect your rights. Be careful – Be Street Smart.”

Schools spokeswoman Elizabeth Thiel Mather said division leaders are investigating the incident over concerns that the materials were unauthorized.

The parent, who asked not to be named out of fear that her daughter could be ostracized or get a lower class grade, told The Pilot that she contacted the division and police after her daughter described the leaflet and video.

“She came home recently and said, ‘You won’t believe what we are learning in Government. They are teaching us how to hide our drugs,’ ” the parent recounted.

Last week, an Oakwood Elementary School employee was placed on leave with pay in connection with the distribution of plastic fetus models to children, which division leaders also considered unauthorized material. Oakwood’s principal was also put on leave in connection with the incident, and an investigation is continuing.

Mather said it is uncommon to have to put staff on leave for using inappropriate materials. The division typically gets no more than two parent complaints a year about the suitability of textbooks or library materials, she said.

The leaflet handed out at Norview describes the rights citizens have if they are stopped or arrested by police or witness police activity. It is posted on the Web here.

A credit on the leaflet reads, “Assembled by the Crimethinc Police Unwelcoming Committee.” On its website, Crimethinc.com calls itself a “decentralized anarchist collective.”

The video, “Busted: Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters,” is posted online here.  It opens with a portrayal of young adults stopped by a traffic officer who searches their car and arrests them for marijuana possession. Other scenes depict police questioning a young man at a bus stop and patrol officers who visit a home where loud partiers are smoking marijuana.

A commentator on the video states, “Whether or not you break the law, this video is designed to explain what the law is and how you can legally and properly assert your constitutional rights through even the most stressful police encounters.”

For each scene, the commentator explains how legal rights apply to police searches of vehicles, homes or individuals and how people can cite those rights during encounters with police.

The video was created by Flex Your Rights, a nonprofit that advocates educating the public about how constitutional protections apply during encounters with law enforcement. The production has gotten 2.3 million viewings on YouTube since November 2006.

The video’s end credits cite funding from the MPP Foundation, which is part of the Marijuana Policy Project. On the Web, the group advocates legal regulation for marijuana and noncoercive treatment for problem marijuana users.

Pilot writers Hattie Brown Garrow, Lauren Roth and Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer contributed to this report.

Steven G. Vegh, (757) 446-2417, steven.vegh@pilotonline.com

San Jose union begins organizing pot workers

A major California labor union is organizing medical cannabis workers in Oakland, a move that analysts say will help efforts to legalize marijuana and open the door for the union to organize thousands more workers if state voters pass a measure in November to allow recreational marijuana use by adults.

The 26,000-member United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 in San Jose is believed to be the first union in the country to organize workers in a marijuana-related business. It is considering new job classifications including “bud tender” – a sommelier of sorts who helps medical marijuana users choose the right strain for their ailment.

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Columbia, Missouri Police Chief on Board With Legalizing Marijuana?

Oakland Lab Creates ‘Low Anxiety’ Pot

One of the nation’s most sophisticated cannabis testing labs has yielded powerful results this spring, isolating a “low-anxiety” strain of the plant by closely tracking the potency of local crops. The strain of medical marijuana from Oakland’s Harborside Health Center is based on findings from the dispensary’s new Steep Hill laboratory. The strain is a custom-bred True Blueberry crossed with OG Kush, said Harborside Health Center Director Stephen DeAngelo.

Patients report getting pain relief without getting too stoned. “They’re not saying that it’s no buzz at all; what they’re saying is that it’s diminished,” DeAngelo explained. “They describe it as being mellow, even, steady, not overwhelming, not producing anxiety.”

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Medical marijuana stores firebombed in Montana

The Billings, Montana, City Council will take up the issue of regulating medical marijuana on Monday night in a meeting expected to be intense in the wake of the firebombings of two of the city’s medical marijuana storefronts in the last two days.

The southern Montana city’s dispensaries legally provide marijuana to medical patients who use it for maladies from glaucoma to nausea to lack of appetite. In the latest incidents, the phrase “Not in our town” was spray-painted on the businesses, police say.

Billings Police Department Sgt. Kevin Iffland said Big Sky Patient Care was hit early Sunday morning and Montana Therapeutics was the target early Monday. Both had a rock thrown through the front door, followed by a Molotov cocktail. In both cases, Iffland said, the fire was put out swiftly and damage was not extensive.

Iffland said Billings police are working with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and that the two firebombs are being handled as felony arsons carrying sentences of up to 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

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California To Collect $100 million in Cannabis Taxes This Year

While the State of California begins to debate the consequences of taxing and regulating cannabis for personal use, it’s important to note the state is already taxing and regulating the agricultural product used by 2.9 million Californians monthly. California Board of Equalization official Anita Gore told the Express this week that the board estimates it collects anywhere from $50 million to more than $100 million in sales taxes per year from medical cannabis dispensaries.

That’s on top of the millions of dollars municipalities like Oakland have begun collecting in local sales taxes and fees. Gore said the board doesn’t have more precise figures because dispensaries are not required to report the exact business they are in. Their taxes come in under several categories of business like “retail” and “pharmacy,” Gore said.

The board estimates the state can make $1.4 billion annually from fully integrating the vibrant cannabis market into the economy.

Another fascist pig home invasion

Another Mexican Politician Wants Legalization

The state governor of Veracruz, Fidel Herrera Beltrán, has called for the legalization of marijuana as one tool to reduce the narco-violence that plagues Mexico. He acknowledges that it is not a “silver bullet” that would eliminate the cartels or related violence (the straw man argument that many against legalization use to support their gossamer stance). But, he argues that it would be one approach to reducing the funds that fuel the carnage similar to the repealing of the prohibition of alcohol in the US initiated a reduction of violence in the ’30s. He also added that with the legalization of marijuana would not come the unfettered free marketing of the drug by private business (as is the case with Nike or Coca-Cola…another facile bugaboo of the anti-legalization cohort) but that the state would have the responsibility to regulate and control it, as it does with pharmaceutical drugs, alcohol etc).

Widely publicized 4/20 poll actually shows majority support for drug reforms

As most media parroted claim that 55 percent oppose marijuana legalization, contradictory polling figures buried, ignored

As with many instances in politics, actuality can often be obscured behind the wrong frame: ask a question just the right way and results can be wildly tilted, one way or another.

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The Chemist’s War

The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition with deadly consequences.

It was Christmas Eve 1926, the streets aglitter with snow and lights, when the man afraid of Santa Claus stumbled into the emergency room at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. He was flushed, gasping with fear: Santa Claus, he kept telling the nurses, was just behind him, wielding a baseball bat.

Before hospital staff realized how sick he was—the alcohol-induced hallucination was just a symptom—the man died. So did another holiday partygoer. And another. As dusk fell on Christmas, the hospital staff tallied up more than 60 people made desperately ill by alcohol and eight dead from it. Within the next two days, yet another 23 people died in the city from celebrating the season.

Doctors were accustomed to alcohol poisoning by then, the routine of life in the Prohibition era. The bootlegged whiskies and so-called gins often made people sick. The liquor produced in hidden stills frequently came tainted with metals and other impurities. But this outbreak was bizarrely different. The deaths, as investigators would shortly realize, came courtesy of the U.S. government.

Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.

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San Bernardino County sheriff says deputies will not ask immigration status on the street

In a department address Thursday, San Bernardino County’s sheriff reaffirmed positions on two hot-button topics, saying deputies would enforce medical marijuana laws though he feels they’re “greatly flawed,” and only broach someone’s immigration status inside jails.

Rod Hoops delivered a wide-ranging state of the department address, his first since being appointed last February, to a roomful of county leaders and sheriff’s staff. A theme was cost-saving measures he has already taken, and ones still in the works.

That’s when he noted the cooperation with U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement, which recently resulted in a new three-year agreement to help identify illegal immigrants booked into county jails.

Officials have said the program helps cut the long-term cost of housing such suspects. Jail staff is trained to screen inmates for their immigration status, and if applicable, refer them to ICE for possible deportation.

“We will not target anyone from a specific country, and our department does not enforce immigration laws,” Hoops said, emphasizing that screenings only take place in jails, not in contact deputies have on the street.

A local immigration advocate said later that his longstanding worry with the program still exists: that it often results in the deportation of individuals arrested for relatively minor offenses.

“Continuing the agreement undermines the trust in the community,” Emilio Amaya, executive director of the San Bernardino Community Service Center, said later by phone. “It gives argument to people who say they’re afraid to come forward and report crimes.”

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Charges against San Bernardino police officer’s accuser dropped

FONTANA – Criminal charges against a man who accused an embattled San Bernardino Police Department sergeant of illegally detaining and searching him were dismissed Friday.Gregory Parker has spent nearly three years questioning the circumstances of his Sept. 18, 2007, arrest and fighting the two counts of possessing marijuana and receiving stolen property he was later charged with.

During a scheduled court hearing in Fontana Superior Court on Friday, supervising deputy district attorney Richard Alan Young said all charges were being dropped due to “insufficiency of evidence and in the interest of justice.”

He declined to provide specifics about why the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office was no longer interested in pursuing charges.

Parker’s defense attorney, Gary Wenkle Smith, said his client was “elated” and lauded the system for making justice its priority.

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A little brain food for the perpetually Recovering City of Big Bear Lake Council and other prostitutes of the Prison-Industrial Complex

California is free to make its own drug laws

The Times raises two objections in its Jan. 13 editorial, “Legalize pot? Not so fast,” to a proposed state bill that would legalize, tax and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older.

First, the editorial claims that the purpose of California Assembly Bill 390 (Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act) is “simply” to raise tax revenue for the state. This alone, The Times says, does not justify what it calls “rash and reckless” public policy. Second, The Times writes that California “does not have the authority to take such a step.” Both assertions miss the mark.

There are plenty of reasons to support AB 390 apart from the estimated $1.3 billon it would add to the state’s coffers. It would allow law enforcement the time and resources to actually prioritize public safety. In the last 20 years, while arrests for all criminal offenses in California dropped by 40%, arrests for marijuana possession have more than doubled. These arrests (about 78,000 occurred in 2008 alone) constitute a waste of precious resources that could have been spent protecting Californians from violent crime.

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Army scum found guilty in overdose death of girlfriend, 16

FORT LEWIS, Wash. — A 20-year-old Fort Lewis soldier has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of his 16-year-old girlfriend in his barracks.

A military judge ruled Friday that Pvt. Timothy Bennitt was guilty of “aiding and abetting” Leah King’s wrongful use of the painkiller oxymorphone and anxiety pill Xanax.

Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks delivered the verdict on the fourth day of Bennitt’s court martial.

Earlier this week, Bennitt pleaded guilty to drug charges.

King died Feb. 15. She and a friend overdosed on a combination of drugs but the friend recovered. Bennitt was 19 at the time.

On Tuesday, Bennitt’s lawyers entered a guilty plea on his behalf for distribution of oxymorphone, oxycodone, marijuana and Xanax. He also pleaded guilty to use of oxycodone, oxymorphone, marijuana and cocaine.

Bennitt is originally from Rolling Prairie, Ind.

Big Bear’s Out, Aspen’s in Cannabis competition coming to Aspen this spring aims to find out

[ Don't waste your time in the Recovering Big Bear, where the Nazi Republican pigs are stinking, business sucks and attitudes offend visitors.  Big Bear is now devoted to AA and urine samples.  Let's head for Aspen! ]

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — It’s like a beer competition for marijuana.

A cannabis festival in Aspen, Colorado, this spring will be the first in the state for approved growers to put their strains in a contest.

The Western Slope Cannabis Crown will have about 50 medical marijuana growers enter their strains of weed. The marijuana strains will be diagnostically tested for their THC levels. Growers will also be able to sell to medical marijuana patients. The customers would vote on a “people’s choice” strain.

The Cannabis Crown organizer, Bobby Scurlock, says about 1,500 tickets have been sold for the two-day event.

Current TV Bashes “Anti-Drug” Propaganda Campaign

Seattle’s new city attorney to dismiss cases of pot possession

Seattle‘s new city attorney is dismissing all marijuana-possession cases, starting with those that were already under way under the old city attorney.

City Attorney Peter S. Holmes, who beat incumbent Tom Carr in November, said he dismissed two marijuana-related cases in his first day on the job, and several others are about to be dismissed.

In addition, his new criminal division chief, Craig Sims, said he is reviewing about 50 more cases. Unless there are “out of the ordinary circumstances,” Sims said, the office doesn’t intend to file charges for marijuana possession.

“We’re not going to prosecute marijuana-possession cases anymore,” Holmes said Thursday during a public interview as part of Town Hall’s Nightcap series. “I meant it when I said it” during the campaign.

Seattle voters approved Referendum 75 in 2003, making marijuana the lowest priority for local law enforcement. City records show that Carr still prosecuted many cases.

In the first six months of 2009, Carr declined eight of the 62 marijuana-related cases filed with his office, a city report shows. Of the cases he took up, marijuana was the only charge in 21 cases. In the second half of 2008, Carr dismissed 21 marijuana-related cases and filed 60 others. Of those, marijuana possession was the only charge in 20 cases.

Holmes’ policy change comes amid several state-level efforts to decriminalize or legalize marijuana.

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Just a reminder to the pig-sucking, brain-dead, flacid, perpetually-Recovering City of Big Bear Lake Council

Paul Chabot would love this commercial:

Teens Too Smart To Buy Anti-Drug Ads

A kid of about 13 wanders through a house party.  He goes outside where there are a quartet of pot smokers who offer him a joint.

He thinks for a moment, then there are all these quick flashes of him with pills, hiding stuff under his bed, getting into fights with his family, falling asleep in class and getting busted at school.

The ad implies that trying pot once will turn you into a full-on drug fiend within days.  This flies in the face of all science on the subject, but since when were facts used in anti-drug ads?

So the kid just shrugs and goes back into the party — ostensibly to eat more junk food and, quaff ‘energy drinks’, and listen to L’il Wayne and Snoop Dogg.

Does anyone really think kids will believe this fear-mongering balderdash?

In the 1980s, when I was a teen, they tried to stuff all this ‘Just Say No’ stuff down our throats and all it did was make us think that adults were morons.  If this new ad campaign is anywhere near as effective as previous government-run, anti-marijuana messages, we should see the number of teen drug users increase 10% within the next few years.


Now, instead of representing their constituents, like the pretty girl above, our mayor and council work for these guys…

Top row:  Rodney (“Baby Rod”) Hoops and Floyd Tidwell.  Bottom row: Gary Penrod and Cindy Beavers

And these guys work by preying on you.

Bob (RIP) and Mayor Liz, by the way, used to run a little back-room operation from their tourist shop.  They would purchase and re-sell meals to the Sheriff’s Department for their inmates.  They could have bought them direct, but were feeding their sheep while primping for the Master’s Work.

Liz, you’re supposed to be a psychologist.  Do you remember that little thing that Erikson called “ego integrity?”  Where will you find yours?  Tell the truth, Doc.

Welcome To The NORML Women’s Alliance

Attention, Big Bear Ladies:  Let’s Rock!  The Secret to Legal Marijuana? Women

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the nation’s oldest and most well respected grassroots marijuana law reform organization, is pleased to announce the launch of the NORML Women’s Alliance.

Click image for details

2 Lejeune Marines charged in triple shooting

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Two Camp Lejeune-based Marines have been charged in a triple shooting here earlier this week.

Sgt. Michael Sabestian Haridat, 28, and Lance Cpl. Erwin J. Rodriguez Jr., 21, both riflemen with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, were charged Thursday with one count each of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

Authorities say the Marines were involved in an early Sunday morning scuffle outside of a restaurant that ended with three men shot. All three victims, Christian Onate, 29, Jonni Aidoo, 27, and Enation Roney, 27, were taken to area hospitals.

Haridat allegedly shot Onate, and Rodriguez was charged with allegedly shooting Aidoo. They were treated and released earlier this week. Roney remains in critical condition at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville.

Haridat, of the Bronx, N.Y., was arrested earlier this week on charges of possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana, manufacturing marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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Small Town Illinois Sheriff Charged With Pot Dealing And Murder-For-Hire

Raymond Martin had been sheriff in tiny Gallatin County, Illinois, for 20 years. So when he was arrested on federal drug and gun charges last May for allegedly running a large-scale marijuana dealing operation out of his police SUV, residents were shocked.

But that was only the beginning.

On Saturday, when Martin’s wife Kristina Martin and 20-year-old son Cody Martin came to visit him at the jail, they were both promptly arrested. All three were charged Monday on state murder-for-hire charges.

According to the complaint, the trio arranged to have two men — identified as Kevin B. and Thomas H. — carry out first degree murder. The charging documents don’t detail the alleged plot. But citing a source close to the investigation, ABC affiliate WSIL reported that the subjects of the alleged murder plot were two witnesses in Raymond’s upcoming drug trial.

The three are scheduled to appear in Jackson County Circuit Court today.

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Two Washington state lawmakers offer pot legalization bill

A pair of legislators in the state of Washington have submitted a marijuana legalization bill much like the one introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D- San Francisco, back in February.

The bill was introduced by state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, with Rep. Roger Goodman as the principal coauthor. The two Democrats represent Seattle-area districts. Four other legislators have also signed onto the bill. Goodman was scheduled to join Ammiano on a conference call with reporters Thursday morning.

While there have been numerous bills to decriminalize marijuana, advocates say these bills represent the first two times a full legalization bill has introduced in a state legislature. Ammiano’s bill, which would not only remove criminal penalties but set up a regulatory and tax structure for pot sales, was the first such bill to get a full committee hearing, according to Stephen Gullwig, California state director with the Drug Policy Alliance.

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Troops admit to abusing prescription drugs

About one in four soldiers admit to abusing prescription drugs, most of them pain relievers, in a one-year period, according to a Pentagon health survey released Wednesday.

The study, which surveyed more than 28,500 U.S. troops last year, showed that about 20 percent of Marines had also abused prescription drugs, mostly painkillers, in that same period.

The findings show the continued toll on the military from fighting wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. Those wars have required troops to serve multiple combat deployments.

“We are aware that more prescription drugs are being used today for pain management and behavioral health issues,” Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, director of the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force, said Wednesday. “These areas of substance abuse along with increased use of alcohol concern us.”

The survey showed that pain relievers were the most abused drug in the military, used illicitly at a rate triple that of marijuana or amphetamines, the next most widely abused drugs.

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Lines drawn for legalization of pot

The stakes could rise considerably in 2010 in the argument over marijuana use – and not just for medical purposes.

Officials from a group campaigning to put a marijuana-legalization measure before California voters said they have enough signatures to qualify for the 2010 ballot.

The possibility of marijuana being legalized in the state has riled activists on both sides of the issue.

“First off, we don’t think it’s going to pass at all,” said Paul Chabot, co-founder of the Inland Valley Drug Free Community Coalition.

“California has really woken up since Proposition 215 passed in 1996. Most Californians now know this fraud is brought to us by those who funded the (marijuana) legalization initiative.”

Proposition 215 legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

A Field Poll conducted in April found that 56 percent of California residents supported legalizing and taxing marijuana to help bridge the state budget deficit [ So, as you can see, Chabot lies again. ].

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A video to warm the heart of Big Bear’s new “appointed” shill, “Doc” Harris

Drug investigations and police pursuits

Two people are dead in North Bay, Ontario, after a police pursuit. The vehicle was stopped at a drinking and driving road block. Officers initiated a drug investigation and attempted to arrest the occupants. However, they fled in the car, causing minor injuries to one of the officers. During the ensuing pursuit the suspect vehicle drove over a spike belt, continued driving and collided with an oncoming car. Both drivers were killed.

We’ve mentioned these pursuits before on the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition blog. And we’ll surely do it again.

It will be interesting to find out the amount of drugs involved, since that wasn’t provided in the initial press release. As Dave Dale notes in his column, “My only hope is that the initial arrest wasn’t over a relatively minor infraction. Someone please tell me two people didn’t die over a joint of pot.”
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Lil Wayne detained in Texas for marijuana

Rapper Lil Wayne was detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents in Texas on Friday after authorities found marijuana on two of his tour buses.

The marijuana on the buses was detected by a drug dog, said Agent Joe Trevino. The rapper, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., was among a dozen being detained from his group. They were later released.

Trevino said the buses were en route to Laredo, Texas, from a concert stop in Hidalgo.

The case has been referred to the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office.

Calls to Carter’s representatives were not immediately returned Friday.

The Louisiana native was the 2008 best-selling artist, with 2.8 million records sold, and is signed to Cash Money Records.

The rapper is scheduled to begin a prison sentence in February stemming from gun charges in New York.

Former Police Chief Norm Stamper: ‘Let’s Not Stop at Marijuana Legalization’

A new poll shows that most Americans are ready to legalize marijuana, but not drugs like cocaine or heroin. A 34-year police vet says it’s time to legalize them all.

This article is by former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, Ph.D. Read about him here and here.

These days, it seems like everyone is talking in earnest about marijuana legalization, once dismissed as little more than a Cheech and Chong pipe dream. Indeed, a new poll reveals that 53 percent of Americans now support ending marijuana prohibition.

Bolstered by increasing public support for something once considered to be a political third rail, lawmakers from Rhode Island to Washington State have put the issue on the table for consideration. And citizen initiatives (particularly in California) are cropping up faster than ditch weed.

These are welcome developments to a retired police chief like me who oversaw the arrests of countless people for marijuana and other drugs, but saw no positive impact from all the blood, sweat and tears (and money) put into the effort. Soon, it seems, cops may no longer have to waste time and risk lives enforcing pot laws that don’t actually prevent anyone from using marijuana.

Yet, I’m alarmed that the above-mentioned poll showing majority support for marijuana legalization also found that fewer than one in 10 people agree that it’s time to end the prohibition of other drugs.

This no doubt makes sense to some readers at first glance, since more people are familiar with marijuana than other drugs like cocaine, heroin or meth. However, even a cursory study of our drug war policies will reveal that legalizing pot but not other drugs will leave huge social harms unresolved.

Legalizing marijuana only will not:

• Stop gangs from selling other drugs to our kids (since illegal drug dealers rarely check for ID);

• Stop drug dealers from brutally murdering rival traffickers for the purpose of controlling the remaining criminal market for other drugs;

• Stop drug dealers from firing on cops charged with fighting the senseless war on other illicit drugs;

• Stop drug dealers from killing kids caught in crossfire and drive-by shootings;

• Stop overdose deaths of drug users who refrain from calling 911 out of fear of legal repercussions;

• Reduce the spread of infectious diseases like AIDS and hepatitis, since marijuana users don’t inject their drug like heroin users (who sometimes share dirty needles and syringes because prohibition makes it hard to secure clean ones);

• Stop the bloody cartel battles in Mexico that are rapidly expanding over the border into the U.S;

• Stop the Taliban from raking in massive profits from illegal opium cultivation in Afghanistan.

Of course, none of this means that our rapidly growing marijuana legalization movement should slow down.

On the contrary, as the polls show, a majority of Americans understand that legalizing marijuana will produce many benefits. No longer will 800,000 people a year be arrested on pot charges, their lives damaged if not ruined; governments will be able to tax the popular commodity; regulation and revenues will help forge and finance effective programs of drug abuse prevention and treatment; and those vicious cartels will lose as much as half their illicit profits when they can no longer sell marijuana.

Further, once people get used to the idea of allowing legal sales of the previously banned drug we’ll be able to point to successful regulation as a model for similar treatment of all other currently illicit substances.

Marijuana legalization is a great step in the direction of sane and sensible drug policy. But we reformers must remember that we’re working to legalize drugs not because we think they are safe, but because prohibition is far more dangerous to users and nonusers alike.

Jamaica lawmaker calls for legalizing small amounts of marijuana for private use

KINGSTON, Jamaica — A ruling party lawmaker is urging Jamaica’s Parliament to decriminalize possession of small quantities of marijuana for personal use.

Sen. Dennis Meadows, a deputy general secretary of the Jamaica Labour Party, issued a statement on Saturday saying that relaxing laws against marijuana cigarettes – commonly referred to as “spliffs” – would free up the island’s courts and police to focus on violent street crime and harder drugs.

“What I am advocating is that ganja, at the level of spliffs for private use, be treated similarly to a traffic ticket,” Meadows said.

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According to new poll, majority of Americans support marijuana legalization

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many adults in the United States are willing to legalize marijuana, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 53 per cent of respondents support this notion, while 43 per cent are opposed.

Less than 10 per cent of respondents support the legalization of other drugs, such as ecstasy, powder cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine or “crystal meth” and crack cocaine.

The use of marijuana is illegal in the U.S. except in some regulated cases of medical use. The amount allowed for such purposes varies depending on the state. Some states have passed laws to reduce law enforcement for possession of small amounts of the substance.

In May, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, ruled out a push to legalize marijuana, adding, “I’ve never advocated legalization and certainly the president has made it clear that’s his position.”

53% support for marijuana legalization! This is a nationwide sampling with a margin of error of ±3.1%, which means that unless the sample was wildly inaccurate, we can safely say a majority of Americans now support marijuana legalization.

The question asked was “Do you support or oppose the legalization of each of the following drugs?” with no further explanation. With no prompting about the possible economic benefits of taxing cannabis or points about reforming criminal justice, with just the blanket term “legalization” which could lead to a range of solutions from strict marijuana pharmacies to open farmers’ markets, in other words, a question most likely to get the lowest favorable response, we just got 53%. 61% of Democrats and 55% of Independents support legalization, while only 43% of Republicans agree.

In another question the poll asked “The term “War on Drugs” has been used to describe the efforts of the U.S. government to reduce the illegal drug trade. From what you have seen, read or heard, would you describe the “War on Drugs” as a success or a failure?” 68% of Americans called it a failure, with two-thirds of Democrats and Republicans agreeing it’s a failure and over three-fourths of Independents. About 70% of respondents across all political and geographic demographics agreed that “America has a serious drug abuse problem and it affects the whole country.”

Moms say marijuana is SAFER than alcohol

63rd District: You need to know Paul Chabot

Paul Chabot,  who is running for California’s 63rd State Assembly District, recently participated in a debate over drug legalization, which included former judge James “Jim” P. Gray of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Chabot was damaged in childhood by incompetent parenting and by the war on drugs. While compassion and support for the handicapped is honorable, outright patronization and exaggerated, unreal flattery is an insult.

The military, the criminal justice system and many religious cults go a step further and recruit from sources such as Alcoholics Anonymous, where a couple of percent of forced participants who actually are handicaps (euphemistically called “addicts“), buy into the concept of helplessness and are anxious to turn the control of their minds and bodies over to a “higher power.”  Chabot has been a subject of their nurturing since age 12.

These are the people sought by the recruiters.  They will do what rational people will not.  Note that 1 in 8 combat troops needs alcohol counseling.  Note the escalated activity by law enforcement to round them up during “wartime.”

Chabot has already proven his helplessness and mindless obedience to both the prison- and military-industrial complexes.  The next step for such victims is abandonment – or “promotion” to public office for one final round of exploitation.

If he is abandoned now, further damage to himself and his family might be avoided.  Even if this was not the case, society cannot accept the threat he will represent to all of us if he is patronized into a political career as a windfall cut-out for his handlers.

Do you want another “leader” who cannot handle his alcohol and/or drugs?  A leader whose goal is to punish all normal, healthy people for his disease and weakness?  It is time to take control of government away from the vulgar, self-serving military- and prison-industrial complexes and put them back under our control where they belong.  Have they not disgraced us all enough?  Listen to the debate…

Listen to the debate here.

His “testimonial-fired” personal website is here.

His political website is here.

His “bio” is here.

The Secret to Legal Marijuana? Women

Why women have signed onto marijuana reform — and why they could be the movement’s game-changers.

In September, ladymag Marieclaire ruffled some feathers when it published a piece about women who smoke weed. But its most interesting effect was not the “marijuana moms” chatter it unleashed, and instead the fact that it brought to the mainstream media a more open discussion of the fact that women can be avid tokers, too.

Public acceptance of pot is at an all-time high, and the fact that women have drastically changed their attitudes may be what is most fascinating about the sea change in public opinion — and policy — regarding marijuana. In 2005, only 32 percent of polled women told Gallup they approved legalizing pot, but this year 44 percent of them were for it, compared to 45 percent of men. In effect, women have narrowed what had been a 12-point gender gap.

Women are also smoking more weed. The most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that current marijuana use increased from 3.8 to 4.5 percent among women, while there was no significant statistical change for men.

Indeed, it appears the growing acceptance of marijuana is fueled by women having joined the movement for reform.

Women “can reach people’s hearts and minds,” says Mikki Norris, co-author of Shattered Lives: Portraits from America’s Drug War, managing editor of the West Coast Leaf, and director of the Cannabis Consumers Campaign. “I think we can really take it from the third- to the first-person, and make it personal.”

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Czechs Allow 5 Cannabis Plants For Personal Use From 2010

The interim government of the Czech Republic, led  by chief statistician-turned-Prime Minister Jan Fischer, Monday took another step towards making casual marijuana smoking a worry-free affair.

Fischer’s cabinet defined what constitutes “small amounts” of cannabis for personal use, clarifying the country’s new penal code that from next year decriminalizes cultivation and possession of the plant by individuals.

As of Jan. 1 ordinary Czechs can grow up to five marijuana plants or have several marijuana cigarettes in their pockets without fear of criminal prosecution. Previously what constituted a small amount was not specified and the police and courts loosely interpreted the penal code case by case, often resulting in incarceration of home growers.

See story on the cannabis decision from Czech news agency CTK.

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Health Costs from: Tobacco Use = $800; Booze = $165; Pot = $20 — Any Questions?

Writing in the book Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? ( Chelsea Green, 2009 ), I argue that it is irrational for our society to condone, if not encourage, the use of alcohol — an intoxicant that directly contributes to tens of thousands of deaths annually and countless social problems — while simultaneously stigmatizing and criminalizing the use of cannabis, a substance that is incapable of causing lethal overdose and is associated with far fewer societal costs.  Well now a new study, authored by researchers from the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia at the University of Victoria and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse at the University of Ottawa has directly compared the societal costs of marijuana and alcohol, as well as tobacco, and the final tally isn’t pretty.

Health-related costs per user are eight times higher for drinkers than they are for those who use cannabis, and are more than 40 times higher for tobacco smokers, according to the report, published in the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal.

It states, “In terms of [health-related] costs per user: tobacco-related health costs are over $800 per user, alcohol-related health costs are much lower at $165 per user, and cannabis-related health costs are the lowest at $20 per user.”

The study further reported that “94 percent of social costs for cannabis are linked to [law] enforcement.” Hmm, perhaps that explains why law enforcement consistently speak out against marijuana law reform; pot prohibition equals job security.
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Seattle City Attorney Peter Holmes Backs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Incoming Seattle City Attorney Peter Holmes says he’s still stunned by his election victory over incumbent Tom Carr. One area where Holmes hopes to bring change is in the city’s attitudes toward marijuana enforcement. Holmes says he has no plans to charge anyone with simple marijuana possession. And he’s supporting a state bill to decriminalize small amounts of pot altogether.

Newly elected city attorney Peter Holmes says the transition process is more chaotic and uncharted than he expected. He will take office in January. Holmes says the success of his “outsider” campaign has clearly left employees with the city’s legal department nervous, and he’s trying to change that.

Holmes: “And I’m also in the process of reaching out to a 159–employee law department trying to calm them, that this is going to be a very deliberate process, that I’m going through. That I’m going to meet every one of them and talk with them before any decisions are made.”

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ACTION ALERT: Force DEA to Tell the Truth About Medical Marijuana

In a significant reversal, the American Medical Association on November 10 acknowledged the medical value of marijuana and called for the U.S. government to reconsider marijuana’s current classification as a Schedule I substance (drugs that the government says have “no currently accepted medical use”).

However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still claims on its website that, “The American Medical Association recommends that marijuana remain a Schedule I controlled substance.”

Please use the form at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com/dea to send a message to Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice, asking them to correct this misinformation on a government website.

AMA Urges Feds to Reconsider Classification of Marijuana as a Dangerous Drug

John Hoeffel reports in the Los Angeles Times:

The American Medical Association has urged the federal government to reconsider its classification of marijuana as a dangerous drug with no accepted medical use, a significant shift that puts the prestigious group behind calls for more research.

The nation’s largest physicians organization, with about 250,000 member doctors, the AMA has maintained since 1997 that marijuana should remain a Schedule I controlled substance, the most restrictive category, which also includes heroin and LSD.

In changing its policy, the group said its goal was to clear the way to conduct clinical research, develop cannabis-based medicines and devise alternative ways to deliver the drug.

“Despite more than 30 years of clinical research, only a small number of randomized, controlled trials have been conducted on smoked cannabis,” said Dr. Edward Langston, an AMA board member, noting that the limited number of studies was “insufficient to satisfy the current standards for a prescription drug product.”

The decision by the organization’s delegates at a meeting in Houston marks another step in the evolving view of marijuana, which an AMA report notes was once linked by the federal government to homicidal mania. Since California voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 1996, marijuana has moved steadily into the cultural mainstream spurred by the growing awareness that it can have beneficial effects for some chronically ill people…

[continues in the Los Angeles Times]

Marijuana: Colorado Ski Town Votes to Legalize It, Measure Passes With 73%

Residents of the Colorado ski town of Breckenridge overwhelmingly voted to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana Tuesday. The measure passed with 73% of the vote.

That means as of January 1, people in Breckenridge can legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana under local ordinance. The measure also legalizes the possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

“This votes demonstrates that Breckenridge citizens overwhelmingly believe that adults should not be punished for making the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol,” said Sean McAllister, Breckenridge attorney and chair of Sensible Breckenridge, a local project of the statewide marijuana law reform group Sensible Colorado.

“As state and national focus grows on this important issue, the popular ski town of Breckenridge has taken center stage on marijuana reform — and not just for medical purposes,” said Brian Vicente of Sensible Colorado. “With this historic vote, Breckenridge has emerged as a national leader in sensible drug policy.”

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***Great!*** – Prohibition in England

Government adviser fired for saying alcohol is more dangerous than drugs

Professor David Nutt, the government’s chief drug adviser, has been sacked a day after claiming that ecstasy and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol.

Nutt incurred the wrath of the government when he claimed in a paper that alcohol and tobacco were more harmful than many illegal drugs, including LSD, ecstasy and cannabis.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The home secretary has asked Professor Nutt to resign as chair of the ACMD [Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs].

“In a letter he [Alan Johnson] expressed surprise and disappointment over Professor Nutt’s comments which damage efforts to give the public clear messages about the dangers of drugs.

“We remain determined to crack down on all illegal substances and minimize their harm to health and society as a whole.”

Nutt had criticized politicians for “distorting” and “devaluing” the research evidence in the debate over illicit drugs.

Arguing that some “top” scientific journals had published “horrific examples” of poor quality research on the alleged harm caused by some illicit drugs, the Imperial College professor called for a new way of classifying the harm caused by both legal and illegal drugs.

“Alcohol ranks as the fifth most harmful drug after heroin, cocaine, barbiturates and methadone. Tobacco is ranked ninth,” he wrote in the paper from the centre for crime and justice studies at King’s College, London, published yesterday.

“Cannabis, LSD and ecstasy, while harmful, are ranked lower at 11, 14 and 18 respectively.”

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Retired Orange County Superior Court Judge James P. Gray testifies for marijuana legalization

Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP.org) Testifies at CA Marijuana Legalization Hearing

Drugs chief: Alcohol more dangerous than ecstasy, LSD and cannabis

The British Government’s chief drug adviser has sparked controversy by claiming ecstasy, LSD and cannabis are less dangerous than cigarettes and alcohol.

Professor David Nutt, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, attacked the decision to make cannabis a class B drug.

He accused former home secretary Jacqui Smith, who reclassified the drug, of “distorting and devaluing” scientific research.

Prof Nutt said smoking cannabis created only a “relatively small risk” of psychotic illness. And he claimed advocates of moving ecstasy into class B from class A had “won the intellectual argument”.

All drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, should be ranked by a “harm” index, he said, with alcohol coming fifth behind cocaine, heroin, barbiturates, and methadone.

Tobacco should rank ninth, ahead of cannabis, LSD and ecstasy.
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