The Canadian Conservatives have lied and used every trick they have to pass Bill S-10.  This law imposes mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes in Canada.  The United States induced mandatory minimum sentences in the 1980’s at the height of drug war hysteria.  These laws paved the way for the prison industrial complex, consisting of corporate for-profit prisons, that exists today in the US.  As a result the US has the highest prison population in the world and the highest disparity in sentencing between whites and blacks.  This is exactly what the Canadian Conservatives are creating in Canada.

Canada’s neighbors and many countries around the world are beginning to ease up on their marijuana and drug laws.  The Canadian Conservatives however are chasing a failed US policy from the 1980’s.  The Conservatives even have the audacity to announce that this legislation is much welcomed by Canadians.  Justice minister Rob Nicholson on Bill S-10,

“we are absolutely convinced in our consultation with Canadians that this is welcomed across the country.” link1

“It does cost money to incarcerate people and I believe that Canadians have been willing to pay those costs up to this point and they’ll continue to do so. If we don’t, then Canadians will be further victimized. That’s what victims groups tell me all the time.” link2

Right now US states are beginning to take steps to legalize marijuana.  Today marijuana is legal and semi legal in many US states:

  • 15 states with legal medical marijuana
  • 9 with medical marijuana dispensaries
  • 13 states have decriminalized recreational marijuana
  • 4 states have voted on full legalization for recreational use

Most notably Proposition 19 which would have legalized marijuana in California lost 44.1% to 55.9% on Nov 2.  There are a handful of states trying to legalize marijuana in 2011 and 2012 and many others fighting for medical marijuana and decriminalization.  In addition Mexico decriminalized all drugs in 2009 including hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.  Canada attempted to decriminalize pot in 2004 but it was shot down by pressure from the US, who ironically had already decriminalized in 13 states.

In a recent visit to Ottawa US Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowski, had this to say,

Lawmakers in almost every single state in the U.S. are looking to reduce mandatory minimum penalties because prison populations have exploded with non-violent drug offenders.

The Conservatives argue that Bill S-10 will give police to tools to bring down organized crime.  They insist that this law targets “the ‘kingpins’ or major players in the drug trade”.  Since when do the Hells Angels or UN gang run a grow op with only 6 plants?  This law specifically targets small time growers for the purpose of filling prisons.  The Conservatives are not stupid and they do not really believe their own lies.  They are cold manipulative liars with a diabolical agenda.  Here is a breakdown of the penalties that Bill S-10 will impose on Canadians, check out cannabisfacts.ca for more info.

Bill S-10 passed on November 4 with final vote in the Senate of 7 to 4.  That’s all 7 of the Conservative senators on the committee vs the 4 Liberals.  All that is standing in the way of S-10 becoming law is the signature of the Governor General.

The Senate committee heard testimony from numerous witnesses and experts who overwhealmingly showed that S-10 is a bad law and will do the exact opposite of what the Conservatives said it will.

Howard Sapers, the independent ombudsman for federal offenders, told the Senate committee,

“There is a large body of research that points to both the lack of a deterrent effect for mandatory minimum sentences and the fact that they can lead to significant increases in the prison population, with little or no impact on public safety.”

Check out the video of the police officer’s testimony in the senate hearings, testimony.  Here is another link to videos of many other expert speakers on this law.

Bill S-10 is not the only law that Harper’s Conservatives are pushing.  They are on a mission.  In fact 40% of all bills tabled since the Conservatives came to power have to do with reforming the criminal justice system.  Here are some of their recent bills,

  • Bill C-25 (passed) – ends “two-for-one” sentencing credit for time that prisoners spend in pre-trial custody
  • Bill C-19 (passed) – increase maximum sentence for street racing (14 years to life)
  • Bill C-9 (passed) – remove alternative sentencing (house arrest) for serious crimes
  • Bill C-10 (passed) – mandatory minimum sentences for offences involving a firearm
  • Bill C-32 (in senate) – would create an offence of operating a motor vehicle while in possession of a controlled substance
  • Bill C-2 (passed) – group of laws called “Tackling Violent Crime Act”, new tougher sentences
  • Bill S-9 (in senate) mandatory minimums for auto theft
  • Bill S-6 (re-introduced) – repeal “faint hope” clause for life sentences
  • Bill C-36 (in senate) – safety of consumer products, very controversial check out the Facebook group

The crime rate fell three percent in Canada last year, and is down 17 percent in the past decade, while the Crime Severity Index is down 22 percent since 1999. Violent crime is also down and represents less than one-quarter of one percent of all crime, while the homicide rate is two-thirds of its peak in the 1970s.

Despite the fact that there is less crime Harper released this statement in 2006,

If we are to protect our Canadian way of life, we need to crack down on gun, gang and drug crime…. If you do a serious crime, you’re going to do serious time.

Harper’s Conservatives have taken major steps to the corporatization of Canada’s prisons.

  1. In April 2007, then-Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day created a panel to conduct a sweeping review of the federal prison system.
  2. Day’s panel released their final report titled “A Roadmap to Strengthening Public Safety.
  3. A task force was created to strategically implement the Roadmap titled ‘The Transformation Team.’

One recommendation of the Roadmap was to ‘modernize’ Corrections’physical infrastructure by building ‘regional complexes’ (super prisons) containing up to 2200 cells, combining minimum, medium, and maximum security, as well as a ‘special handling unit’ aimed at long-term incarceration in complete isolation and under heavy surveillance.

Canada’s first corporate super jail was the Central North Correctional Centre built at Penetaguishene, Ont.  This prison was run by an American corporation called “Management and Training Corporation“.

The Roadmap also called for a strengthening of so-called Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) in super prison construction. While it falls short of advocating for full private management, which was the case in Penetanguishene, it advocates for the privatization of every other part of the process: financing, construction, maintenance, and service delivery (e.g. foodproviders). This process is called backdoor privatization; when carried out to its logical endpoint, it results in a weak, token public agency charged with overseeing an operation entirely carried out by a far more robust profit-driven private sector.   The Roadmap also recommended to eliminate credit for time served before trial which as already come to pass in the form of Bill C-25.

Soon after its inception the Transformation Team began to scale-back maintenance investment in the existing prison infrastructure.  This led to the decay of present facilities and created the need for constructing new infrastructure.

In March 2010 Stockwell Day announced that the federal government needs to spend $9 billion on “much-needed” new prisons.  His reason was “unreported crimes

“We’re very concerned about the increase in the amount of unreported crimes that surveys clearly show are happening,” Stockwell Day

The irony is that unreported crimes are crimes for which nobody is charged or imprisoned.  Despite this obvious attempt to pull the wool over our eyes the spending was approved and the Conservatives are moving ahead with their corporate prison agenda.

Mandatory sentences along with corporate prisons and government policies have created the enormous prison population in the US.  The United States adult prison population now exceeds two million inmates, an average of 724 citizens per 100,000 members of the American population.  In Canada the current rate is 102 prisoners per 100,000 population (one seventh that of the United States).  We are on track to reach US numbers if the Conservative plan is allowed to continue.  Comparable rates in other countries are 98 in Germany, 92 in Italy, 80 in France, 64 in Sweden, 61 in Denmark and 69 in Iceland.

Despite overwhelming evidence that mandatory sentences and corporate prisons have zero effect on crime rates the Conservatives are going forward with their law and order agenda.  The current government under Harper will not change direction based on moral persuasion or sound logic.  This government is driven by a merger of hardened ideologues and religious fundamentalists.  Any strategy based on persuading the Conservatives to ‘do the right thing’ is doomed to fail.  Wake the fuck up Canada.  We need to get rid of Harper and his deranged political party before it is too late.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2011:

Bill S-10 got sent back to house of commons.  That is not the typical process for a Canadian bill and it has already been through the house.  I don’t understand how or why it happened but thank god it did.  The NDP and Liberals are poised to vote against the bill which will kill the bastard where it lies, LINK.  Its not over yet but if there is a shred of democracy left in this country reason will prevail.

Here is some mainstream news articles about the same subject, LINK1, LINK2.

We were betrayed by our fellow stoners who voted no on Proposition 19.  These selfish, ignorant assholes turned their back on decades of activism because this law wasn’t good enough for them.  Prop 19 wasn’t perfect but you can’t hold out for perfection especially in the United States.

Prop 19 had the full support of every marijuana activism group including: NORML, MPP, SSDP, DPA, LEAP, IDPI and Cannabis Culture.  In addition many, many more non-marijuana advocacy groups supported the legislation including police groups, labor unions, politicians and medical associations.  Check out this list, Support for Prop 19.  Even the Humboldt Medical Marijuana Advisory Panel supported it.  Are the traitors smarter than the overwhelming group of supporters?  Absolutely not.  The traitors are misguided conspiracy theorists and profiteers of the current prohibition.

The reasons that were given by the traitors are as ludicrous as the war on drugs itself.

  • Corporatization of cannabis
  • High taxes on retail marijuana
  • Prop 19 creates more restrictive regulations
  • Medical Law (prop 213) will be abolished

Prop 19 allowed for the commercial production of marijuana.  How is that a bad thing?  The traitors argue that the evil corporations would add hazardous additives to the plant like tobacco companies do.  If that did happen who cares?  Prop 19 allowed you to grow your own pot.  Why the fuck would anyone buy corporate weed if you can grow your own?

Mass production and marketing of marijuana will drastically increase the supply of cheap weed.  That will bring the price down to a much more civilized level.  Current prices vary from $150 to $400 per ounce.  That is because of prohibition.  In fact one of the DEA’s main objectives is to drive up the price of illegal drugs.  Marijuana is a crop like any other and can be produced even easier than most mainstream crops.  At today’s prices corn goes for about $7.50 per bushel.  That’s 8 gallons of corn for $7.50, and corn is many times harder and more expensive to grow than marijuana.  The $50 per ounce tax that Prop 19 calls for would still put  marijuana at a much lower price than today.  If Prop 19 passed high end pot would probably sell for $100 per ounce.

Prop 19 was not perfect and did in fact create some new penalties such as,

  • Every person 21 years of age or older who knowingly sells or gives away marijuana to someone older than the age of 18 but younger than 21, shall be imprisoned in county jail for up to six months and fined up to $1,000 per offense.
  • Any person who is licensed, permitted, or authorized to sell marijuana, who knowingly sells or gives away marijuana to someone under the age of 21 results in them being banned from owning, operating, or being employed by a licensed marijuana establishment for one year.

I don’t agree with any kind of legal age for alcohol, pot or any other substance.  Unfortunately that is the paradigm in the United States.  There are many countries with no legal age for alcohol and they are better off for it but that is an argument for another day.  The traitors argue that Prop 19 would penalize medical users who are otherwise free under California Proposition 215.  That is absolutely false.  Prop 19 clearly states that Proposition 215 and SB 420 laws are exempt from the new law.  “No on Prop 19″ claims that there will be stoned drivers and people going to work stoned.  That is clear outright propaganda.

The stoners against Prop 19 also argued that marijuana is still illegal under federal law and that growers, sellers and users could still be prosecuted by the DEA.  That is true but what do you expect?  Prop 19 was isolated to the state of California.  It had zero power at the federal level.  It was unfortunate but expected that the feds announced that they would “vigorously enforce” federal drug laws against Californians who grow or sell marijuana for recreational use even if voters pass the legalization measure.  This kind of federal meddling really casts doubt on the freedom that the US federal government frequently trumpets about.  In addition Govenator Arnold signed bill SB 1449 which reduces simple possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction.  In doing so Schwarzenegger intentionally took some of the wind out of the sails of Prop 19 at a very important time.

Who are the traitors that fucked over Regulate, Control & Tax Cannabis Act?

Dennis Peron

Dennis Peron, author of Prop 215 which legalized medical marijuana in California in 1996.  Prop 215 has done amazing things for the movement.  It allowed medical marijuana to be grown, distributed and used legally as well as the medical marijuana dispensaries that we see today.  Peron opposes Prop 19 because he does not believe in the recreational use of marijuana.  He literally does not believe.  Peron was quoted saying “I don’t even understand what recreational marijuana is, people say they feel high. What were you feeling before that? Not high? Low? In other words, you were depressed.”  Nobody is that naive.  Peron is clearly opposed to Prop 19 because he does not want any competition for his pot friendly bed and breakfast in San Fransisco.

Fortunately Dennis Peron has already tasted justice.  He was recently arrested on hard drug and child porn charges.  Ironically he understands the recreational use of methamphetamine and ecstasy.

Dragonfly De La Luz

Dragonlfly aka Stephanie Taylor is a San Francisco-based cannabis and travel writer for Skunk Magazine.  She has received the most media attention of all the traitors.  Se started a blog titled “Stoners Against the Prop 19 Tax Cannabis Initiative.”  On this blog she spews all kinds of conspiracy theory and misguided information against Prop 19.  Dragonfly erroneously says growers who want to legally cultivate will have to pay $211,000 a year to do so. She was quoted, “Obviously there’s no space for the mom-and-pop small-time farmer who have been living off marijuana legally since 1996.”

Medical Dispensary Owners

In a Huffington Post article a dispensary owner named “Craig” was interviewed.  Here is a quote,

“I’ll give you two reasons, one is big tobacco. Did you know that Phillip Morris just bought 400 acres of land up in Northern California? The minute marijuana becomes legal, they’ll mass produce and flood the market. And of course, they’ll add the same toxins they put in regular cigarettes to get you addicted, and very little THC, so you’ll have to buy more… In short, they’re going to ruin weed.” He gestured around his beloved shop, with every flavor of every strain, in its purist form, selling for at-cost prices. “I like the way things are now.”

Phillip Morris 400 acre thing is a phony conspiracy theory in case you were wondering.

Medical Marijuana Growers

Many growers oppose Prop 19 for the same reason as “Craig”.  They are making a handsome profit the way things are.  I hope these selfish mother fuckers get what they deserve.  Here’s a good article on the growers of Mendocino County in California.

Dragonlfy and the other traitors claim that the godfather of marijuana activism and one of my heros, Jack Herer, opposed Prop 19.  Herer was great activist who did more for the movement than anyone, ever.  He died this year on April 15.  He initially opposed Prop 19 because he wanted full and free legalization.  He saw marijuana as a gift from god and wanted, as we all do, absolutely zero restrictions on its use and cultivation.  Jack’s son Dan Herer wrote the following in a letter to members of the cannabis community,

Jack ‘wanted it all’ and Prop 19 is just part of that dream.  Unfortunately Jack passed away before Prop 19 made the 2010 ballot; so many people think he would still oppose it. We don’t believe that, and we ask that everyone stop saying he would cling to that position as we move toward the Nov. 2 vote. He was smart and had the political savvy to know that once a measure is on the ballot, the time for bickering has passed. That is why he campaigned for Prop 215 despite its shortcomings. That is why, were he able, he would now be telling voters to rally around and Vote Yes on Prop 19.

Unfortunately these traitors, profiteers and conspiracy theorists managed to suck in enough people to vote down Prop 19.  The ballot initiative was defeated with 53.9% of California voters voting ‘No’.  All the marijuana advocacy groups who tried their best to get Prop 19 passed agree that despite the loss a nationwide and perhaps even worldwide debate has been sparked.  People are beginning to listen and the truth is getting a lot harder to hide.  The lies and evils of the war on drugs are more obvious than ever.  Marijuana legalization in North America is no longer a fringe issue.  A new law called the Jack Herer Initiative had been filed in California for 2012.  This new initiative is a much more pure form of legalization than Prop 19.

I just want to say fuck you to the traitors.  I hope you all spend years in a federal prison.

 

California campaign finance reports disclose that The California Beer & Beverage Distributors Association is one of the primary financial backers of Public Safety First, sponsors of the ‘No on Prop. 19′ campaign.

Alcohol_Money

Booze Lobby Funding the No on 19 Campaign

via The East Bay Express

The California Beer & Beverage Distributors disclosed it donated $10,000 to defeat Prop 19 — which would regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol. The alcohol lobbyist’s funds will help spread the lie that employers must tolerate stoned employees, and the talking point that ‘California doesn’t need another legal, mind-altering substance.’ Alcohol causes an estimated $38 billion in costs in California each year from emergency room visits, arrests, etc, according to the Marin Institute. There are roughly 3,500 deaths annually from alcohol-related illness and more than 109,000 alcohol-related injuries in California. Conversely, pot caused 181 emergency room visits in 2008, according to a study by the non-partisan RAND Corporation, despite being used by more than four million Californians monthly.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition spokesperson and retired Orange County, CA. judge James Gray said the booze lobby’s decision was probably financial. The move echoes the tobacco and alcohol industry’s help creating leading drug war group Partnership For a Drug-Free America.

“It was a really wise thing to do from a merchandising standpoint to reaffirm the distinction between a legal and an illegal drug,” he said. “They are protecting their own economic self interest.”

The alcohol lobby’s $10,000 donation to the ‘No on Prop. 19′ campaign is one of the largest monetary donations received by Public Safety First, third only to the $30,000 donated by the California Police Chief’s Association and the $20,500 donated by the California Narcotics Officers Association. (Want to ask PSF campaign manager Tim Rosales why an organization called Public Safety First accepts funding from the pushers of a product that is responsible for immeasurable public safety costs? You can do so by going here.) Last month, the East Bay Express reported total financial contributions to the Prop. 19 campaign were well ahead of those reported for Public Safety First, which at that time had only raised $61,000, with just one citizen donor.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that the The California Beer & Beverage Distributors have targeted their alcohol profits to oppose drug law reform in the Golden State. In 2008, the booze lobby donated a much larger amount — $100,000 in fact — to defeat Prop. 5, The Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act, which among other things would have reduced criminal marijuana possession penalties from a misdemeanor to a non-criminal infraction. (The measure failed 40 percent to 60 percent.) Could it be that the alcohol lobby is fearful of the day when they will have to legally compete with a natural product that is remarkably safe, non-toxic, and won’t leave you with a hangover? Do we even have to ask?

Alcohol along with major pharmaceutical and tobacco corporations have also been long time sponsors of the The Partnership for a Drug-Free America.  The PDFA produces the anti-drug commercials you see on TV.

Las Vegas Police broke into Trevon Cole’s house on June 11th executing a marijuana warrant.  He was soon shot in the face in his bathroom while his pregnant fiancée watched from another room.  Cole was unarmed, non-violent and had no criminal record.  No marijuana was found and the detective was suspended with pay. The police officer who murdered this man was Bryan Yant, he is a 10 year veteran of the LVPD. Yant has been involved in three other unjustified murders while on duty.

“I just feel like they stole everything from me,” Cole’s fiancée said. “They stole it all.”

You can read the full story at stopthedrugwar.org.  The media left out some critical details and tried to spin the story in a way that made the cops look good.  Here are two news articles link1, link2.  This tragedy was ignored by the mainstream national media. Instead the headlines on June 11 focussed on a celebrity pot bust, ‘Gossip Girl’ star charged with pot possession.  When Michale Phelps was photographed using a bong in 2009 it made headline news worldwide.


In May this year Missouri police murdered a family dog in a similar raid.

Here’s a summary of that story:  Under the cover of darkness, a team of militarized SWAT agents enter a family home and immediately engage in gunfire — killing one of two family dogs and wounding the other — and likely inflicting lifelong trauma to the family’s seven-year-old son. Police ultimately seized a small amount of marijuana residue and associated paraphernalia, which resulted in a misdemeanor charge and a $300 fine.

This story was also swept under the rug by the mainstream media.  The shocking video has been made available below,

Both these cases clearly illustrate the failure of the prohibition of marijuana.  Over zealous cops and the politicians that created this situation have caused infinitely more harm to society than marijuana ever has.  How many more innocent lives must be destroyed before we get a coherent drug policy?

You hear it all the time in the news, magazines and word of mouth, “alcohol and drugs”.  Why is there a distinction between alcohol and all other drugs?  You never hear “tobacco and drugs” or “marijuana and drugs” so what makes alcohol  so special?

The separation of alcohol from other drugs in the media and common speech has been going on for a long time.  Alcohol is the most commonly used intoxicating drug in the world.  Roughly 80% of North Americans use some form of alcohol on a regular basis.  The majority of people do not want to be branded a “drug user” because of the ongoing propaganda demonizing drugs and drug users.  If you drink alcohol you are in fact a drug user.  Alcohol is a great drug and I’ve had a lot of good times on it but lets not forget it is just as bad as any drug out there.

Those who are in favour of the separation of alcohol from other drugs will tell you that most of the people who use alcohol do so in a responsible or “social” way.  That is true but alcohol is not the only drug that is used in a responsible way.  The overwhelming majority of marijuana use is done so in a responsible way.  The same is true for most illicit drugs including cocaine, heroin, ecstacy, lsd and many more.  Irresponsible use is simply not sustainable over a long period of time.  Nearly all oversdoeses occur at the extreme ends of the spectrum, first time users and hard-core addicts.

Alcohol is not only a drug it is a hard drug. It is addictive, powerful and potentially lethal.  Alcohol can and does cause cellular abnormalities, high blood pressure, organ damage, and cancer.  Moderate alcohol use leads to impaired motor function, reckless behaviour, slurred speech and possible hangover.  Higher doses can lead to vomiting, loss of consciousness and death.  It is shockingly easy to overdose on alcohol, the amount of alcohol that can kill you is not much more than people drink recreationally.  You are considered legally drunk with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 in many countries, while a BAC of .37 can kill you.  A potentially lethal dose is equivalent to 7 drinks in one hour for a 100 lb female or 12 drinks in one hour for 140 lb male.  How many illegal drugs are that dangerous?  Studies show that alcohol poses a higher risk to society than many illegal drugs (link 1, link2).

This chart sums up the alcohol hypocrisy. It ranks drugs based on the amount of drug it takes to get high vs how much it takes to kill you:

Alcohol is a chemical.  In the chemistry world it is referred to as ethanol which has the chemical formula C2H5OH.  Non-drug ethanol uses include general purpose solvent, additive to gasoline and the red stuff in thermometers.  It is a man-made chemical that has to be refined before it is consumed. Alcohol is just as much a “chemical drug” as methamphetamine or LSD.

Alcohol produces its effects by manipulating your brain’s neurotransmitters just like every other drug.  Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is used all over your brain, alcohol increases the inhibitory effect of GABA.  Alcohol simultaneously blocks glutamate receptors, glutatmate is a general purpose excitatory neurotransmitter.  The combined effect of alcohol  inhibits many activities within the brain, influencing behavioral output.  Alcohol also stimulates the reward center of the brain (the nucleus accumbens) which leads to and reinforces addiction.

The hallmark of hard drugs is addiction.  Alcohol does not disappoint in this regard.  There are an estimated 16 million alcoholics in the US and 1.5 million in Canada.  Over 43% of North Americans have been exposed to alcoholism in their families.  The body and brain of an alcoholic become dependent on the drug’s effect. Without a drink, an alcoholic may experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, nausea, and tremors. In severe cases, seizures may result.  Drug addicts rank alcohol withdrawal symptoms as worse than heroin withdrawals in scientific studies.  A tolerance also develops, over time an alcoholic will need more and more alcohol to achieve the same results.  The prevalence, accessibility and social acceptance of alcohol make it one of society’s most widespread and costly addictions

Alcohol is clearly a hard drug, the kind that the media tries to give us nightmares about.  It fits the criteria for a schedule 1 controlled substance under US law word for word.  It is addictive, potentially lethal, has a high potential for abuse and no medical value. If the drug war had anything at all to do with the ill effects of drug use alcohol would be among the prohibited substances.  Marijuana is currently listed under schedule 1 even though it fits none of the criteria and has been proven effective in treating the symptoms of numerous medical conditions and has the potential to cure cancer.  Cocaine is in schedule 2 because it has medical potential as an anesthetic.  Apparently US lawmakers consider a rarely used anesthetic to have more medical merit than a non-toxic drug that has numerous proven medical uses.  They also somehow overlooked a widely used substance that embodies many of the harms they claim to be protecting us from.

So why is alcohol separated from other drugs in speech as well as regulation?  The answer is simple, money.

Americans spend over $90 billion dollars total on alcohol each year.  It is a massive industry with big corporations and big lobbyists.  Each year the liquor industry spends almost $2 billion dollars on advertising and encouraging the consumption of alcoholic beverages.  Each year, a typical young person in the United States is inundated with more than 1,000 commercials for beer and wine coolers and several thousand fictional drinking incidents on television.  Alcohol is commonly consumed on network TV shows, so much that if often goes unnoticed.  Try to count the number of times you see alcohol make an appearance on you favorite shows.  Then count how many joints you see.  Major liquor companies such as American Brands (Jim Beam whiskey),  Philip Morris ( Miller beer) and Anheuser Busch (Budweiser, Michelob, Busch beer) donate vast sums of money to anti-drug advertising groups like the Partnership for a Drug Free America.

Society is pushing alcohol on us in ways that we might not be aware of.  Direct advertising and product placement in our favorite shows is somewhat obvious but what other methods are being used.  The war on drugs, specifically marijuana eliminates safer alternatives to alcohol.  Marijuana is not addictive, does not cause cancer or other health problems that alcohol does and a lethal overdose on marijuana is physically impossible.  The media and the government conspire to demonize marijuana leaving alcohol as the only legal intoxicant.

Just look what happened to Michael Phelps.  Arguably the greatest Olympic athlete in history got jumped on by the international media for smoking a bong.  Kegs and champagne are present at all kinds of sports championships from the super bowl to formula 1 racing, the winners are often photographed being sprayed with alcohol, but one bong hit and you lose major sponsers.

The fact that alcohol has been systematically separated from all other drugs shows how society is in denial about our drug use and how ridiculous our drug laws really are.  Selective prohibition is worse than the prohibition of alcohol in the 20s and 30s, all the same problems are present today.  We’ve made billionaires out of criminals and locked up millions of good hard working citizens for a victimless crime.  As the saying goes “A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.”

For info on the relative harms of marijuana and alcohol look no further than SAFER. Or get yourself a copy of the new book “Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?

The prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, had a Youtube just like Obama did a few months ago. Questions were added and voted on by the public on youtube.com/talkcanada. With nearly 170,000 votes on over 6000 questions marijuana legalization took the top 4 spots. Cannabis prohibition also ranked high on the US version but the question was not included in the final Obama interview. Surprisingly the question of marijuana legalization was asked tonight, Harper’s response was not surprising.

The question was,

“A majority of Canadians when polled say they believe marijuana sould be legal for adults and taxed just like alcohol. Why don’t you end the war on drugs and focus on violent criminals.”

What we got was pretty much the kind of response you would expect from a guy like Harper.

He started out ranting about his kids.  Harper went on to say,

[Marijuana use] is the last thing I want to see for my kids or anyone else’s children.

First of all the question said marijuana should be legal for adults. What the fuck does that have to do with his or anyone else’s children. Second, prohibition does absolutely nothing to keep drugs out of the hands of children. High school students continually claim that marijuana is easier to get than alcohol.

“I’ve been very fortunate to live a drug free life and I don’t meet many people who’ve lived drug free life and regret it …”

OK that is your opinion, Harper.  So when you made a bet with Obama during the Olympics involving a case of beer you weren’t going to drink it, right?  What he meant to say is “I’ve been very fortunate to live an illicit drug free life”.  When asked in 2004 if he had ever smoked pot Harper has this to say (source),

No I have not. I was offered a joint once and I was too drunk.

Even though alcohol is a much more dangerous drug it is perfectly acceptable, but marijuana will murder babies in South America.

He basically said the same thing when asked about his proposed mandatory minimum sentences. “We think its bad and we’re going to punish people for it.” He’s going for the moral approach here just like his role model George W Bush.

When people are buying from the drug trade they are not buying from their neighbor they are buying from international cartels that are involved in unbelievable violence and intimidation, social disaster and catastrophe all across the world.

Wow! So my neighbor who grows weed and sells it to me is actually a terrorist in disguise? I guess we’ll just have to take your word for it, Harper. Wonder where he got that idea? It is true that drug cartels and many terrorist groups are funded by drug profits that does not mean drugs = terrorism.

Canada is a marijuana exporter, nearly 100% of the marijuana consumed in Canada is grown in Canada. So we really are buying weed from our neighbor. If it was not for the prohibition induced black market we would have a very successful domestic marijuana economy. Gangs reap massive profits and control the majority of the marijuana black market exactly the same as they did during alcohol prohibition. The organized crime element is caused by prohibition not a reason for it.

I know that some people say if you legalized it you would get the money and all would be well. But I think that rests on the assumption that somehow drugs are bad because they are illegal. The reason drugs are illegal is because they are bad.

Here he used the old debater’s trick, the straw man. He built up a phony aspect of the argument (the straw man) and easily knocked it down. Nobody thinks drugs are bad because they are illegal and nobody would argue that. The question is not whether drugs are bad or not. The question is, why is marijuana illegal when 1/6 Canadians are using it? Good or bad people are going to be using it. The prohibition approach has done nothing to stop people from using pot. Prohibition has done very little in preventing drug use, in fact it has failed completely. Prohibition has made billionaires out of villans and ruined the lives of countless good honest citizens.

… and even if these things were legalized I predict with great confidence that these would never be respectable businesses run by respectable people, because of the very nature of the dependency that they create, the damage that they create, social upheaval they create.

So Harper thinks the marijuana business could never be respectable. I wonder if he thinks all the breweries, wineries, bars, and liquor stores in Canada are respectable? This is another example of his moral objection to marijuana. It is also absolutely false.

To sum up Harper’s arguments

I don’t give a fuck if Canada votes to legalize marijuana I think it is morally wrong.

It’s nice to see someone like you steering the ship Harper. Here’s one more question for you, what is the shelf life for bad legislation?

Urban legends and myths about drugs run rampant in our society.  Largely due to the underground networks surrounding the drug culture and the lack of formal education about drugs.  It is hard to tell what is and isn’t a myth.  Usually a friend or relative are the ones spreading the misinformation which makes it even more believable.  With the following guide you will have a much better compass through the murky waters of illicit drug conversation.

Things to look for:

1. Excessive detail in the description.

Does the teller of the myth go into detail above and beyond what is necessary?  Does it seem out of place in the conversation?  You are probably dealing with a myth.  Urban legends often rely on the audience’s lack of familiarity with some highly complex system medical, legal, or otherwise.
Here’s an example,

LSD makes your brain bleed and it drips blood onto your spinal cord, that is the reason people get flashbacks.

This is a great myth in many ways and one of my favorites.

Another example with along the LSD theme,

Taking LSD seven times makes you legally insane.

That’s a classic. What is the definition of “legally insane”? Who knows? The use of a specific number is a dead giveaway that this is a myth. Also the number will often change from source to source.

2. Is it intended to scare you?

Most drug myths are intended to scare you. Especially in the case of marijuana.  Here is a popular myth,

Ecstasy drains you spinal fluid.

or a more alarming variation on the myth,

Ecstasy is stored in your spinal fluid over time and when you crack your back it releases into your system.

There are many more myths about ecstasy and the spine too. People will defend these myths to the death, even though they are utterly ridiculous.

3. Does it have a punch line?

I got this one from snopes.com,

This guy goes down to the States from Canada. He comes across this amazing deal on acid, so he buys a hundredlot. He figures that it’s not likely they’ll strip search him, so he tapes the whole sheet to his stomach when he goes back. At the border he’s ordered to get out of his car and wait in a room while they search the car. He gets so freaked out, thinking that they’re going to strip search him after all, that he starts sweating. The sweat soaks the sheet taped to his body and he absorbs a hundred hits of acid through his skin. Pretty soon he thinks he’s an orange and decides he’ll have to peel himself, so he starts peeling off his clothes. To this day he’s confined to a psychiatric ward, still convinced that he’s an orange.

That is the king of drug myths. It has been regurgitated in a million different ways but the punch line is the same. I’ve heard several different versions of this one. Some say he actually started to pull off his skin thinking its an orange peel.

4. Did it happen to a friend of a friend?

Urban legend spreaders will often say that it happened to someone they know (or say they know)  to add credibility.  That is a dead giveaway that they are feeding you an urban legend.

Here’s an example,

My neighbor’s cousin wend blind from staring at the sun too long while tripping on acid.

5. Does it sound too good to be true?

There are no boring urban legends.  If it does not pique your curiosity what is the point of making up a story?

Here is an example, this one is called the after toke smoke.  It goes like this,

Smoking a cigarette after marijuana gets you 33% higher.

I can’t believe I actually found a link to this myth.  I originally heard it years ago.  This link says 27% higher which shows how it changes from teller to teller.  Exact (although made up) statistics are very common in urban legends.  If you hear different numbers from different sources you are likely dealing with an urban legend.

6. Is there a moral to the story?

Most legends, including urban legends, have a moral.  In the case of drug myths the moral is usually “don’t do drugs”.  This one is a great drug urban legend,

This story was told to me by a friend who heard it on the news on the radio about a year or so ago. It is a factual account.

There was a girl and she was baby-sitting. The parents had gone out to a very big party and had left this infant at home with this sixteen-year-old girl. So she was babysitting and they phoned just to see if everything was all right. She said, “Oh, fine. Everything’s great. The turkey’s in the oven. The mother went, “Oh, okay, fine,” and she hung up. Then she looked at her husband and went, “The turkey’s in the oven? We didn’t have a turkey!” He said, “What’s the matter?” So they decided they had better go home and see what was the matter. Maybe there was something wrong with the babysitter.They excused themselves from the party and went home. So they walked in the house and saw the baby-sitter sitting in the chair freaking out. She had put the little infant in the oven and had thought it was a turkey.

I stole that one from snopes.com.  The moral here is to make sure your babysitter is not on LSD.  Or maybe it is don’t take psychedelic drugs if you are taking care of an infant.  You get the idea.

The truth is never as interesting as the myths.  Drugs have been used for thousands of years and will continue to be used for thousands more.  The prohibition imposed dark ages around illicit drugs have left the door open for urban legends.  Don’t be fooled.


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