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.

Rick Simpson is the Mother Teresa of the marijuana movement.  He has made and distributed his cure for cancer for years.  It is hard to believe that marijuana is actually the cure for cancer but the evidence is undeniable.  Rick’s cure is hemp oil, he makes it the same way as honey oil. The results are amazing, just watch his promotional video “Run From The Cure”,

Marijuana has been smoked as medicine for millenia.  Even today more and more medical uses are being discovered.  Cancer patients have used cannabis in a variety of forms since the 70s.  Rick Simpson discovered that in order to achieve the full medical potential it is necessary to consume large quantities of cannabinoids, much more than you can get from smoking.  Following his formula a patient must ingest 1 gram of “hemp oil” per day for 60 days.  After that period 70% of patients are cancer free.  He has had similar success with many other medical conditions.

The cancer fighting effects of cannabis are backed up by independant scientific research.  Studies show that marijuana kills brain cancer cells while leaving regular healthy cells alone (link1, link2).  Other research backs up the claim that marijuana cures cancer (link1, link2).  It has been known since the 70s that natural marijuana can slow cancerous tumor growth (link).  In addition it is physically impossible to have a fatal overdose on any form of marijuana.  It is not addictive, and ingesting cannabis in the form of “hemp oil” eliminates any negative effects associated with inhaling burning plant material.

Non only have these incredible results been ignored by the medical establishment and cancer associations now the RCMP has raided Rick’s house and charged him with marijuana cultivation. Rick is currently in exile in Europe because if he comes back to Canada he will have to face trial and could be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.  Rick Simpson was awarded the High Times Freedom Fighter of the Year 2009 and had a cover story published in the January 2010 issue.

How can cancer groups such as the Canadian Cancer Society claim that they are looking for a cure? Rick has contacted as many groups as he can to get this cure to the people. He has been ignored by every one. It sure seems like a conspiracy doesn’t it?

If you take a look at the treatments for cancer today you really have to wonder why the medical establishment runs from the cure. Chemotherapy only has a 2-4% success rate in treating cancer. The process kills healthy and cancerous cells in the same way. The first chemical used in chemotherapy is same chemical in mustard gas (a chemical weapon). Today’s chemotherapy drugs are considered to be the most toxic substances ever put deliberately into the human body. The side effects of chemo are horrendous and far too many to list here, you can see that list here. It is no wonder that 75% of doctors would not even take chemo themselves if they had cancer (link).  Despite these facts they will encourage you to take chemo, and in some cases people are forced by courts into chemotherapy (link).

Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA of cells.  It kills healthy as well as cancerous cells.  Unlike chemo doctors can target cancerous cells to minimize the damage to healthy tissue but it still does damage.  Radiation therapy also has a laundry list of side effects including hair loss and reduced white blood cell count.  Radiation therapy can actually be a cause of cancer as well.  The success rate is much higher than chemo but does not work for all types of cancer.

There are other treatments as well such as surgery, immunotherapy, hormonal therapy and others.  For each of these treatments patients are given all kinds of pharmaceutical drugs, including medical marijuana.  The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most lucrative industries on the planet.  The estimated market share is in excess of $820 billion and projected to hit $929 billion by 2012.  The cancer portion is estimated to be a $200 billion industry.  With those kind of numbers it is becoming clear why they run from the cure.

It is impossible to patent a natural plant.  Pharmaceutical companies tried and failed.  That is a contributing factor to the ongoing prohibition of marijuana.  Big pharma does not want you to be able to grow medicine yourself.  That is exactly what Rick Simpson demonstrated with his work.  His medicine can be grown by anyone in nearly any part of the world.  Hemp oil is easily produced at home without the need of any specialized equipment.  It is the absolute worst enemy of the pharmaceutical industry.

Living in exile in europe is not cheap.  Rick has never asked for any money for his contribution to mankind but now he needs our help.  Donation can be given to Rick at his website phoenixtears.ca.  We hope the best for you Rick, keep up the fight!

Last night (Dec 28) I caught an anti-marijuana commercial while watching TV. Nothing unusual except this was put on by the Canadian government. It showed a kid being offered a pull on a joint, he then had flashbacks of getting busted for ecstasy and other drugs. You can watch the ad below.

Incidentally I witnessed the beginning of Prime Minister Harper’s new anti-drug media campaign. Anotner step towards the americanization of Canada. The campaign includes advertisements in buses, trains, subways and shopping malls across Canada, as well as Internet banners on websites popular with teens. The strategy is an exact copy of the Partnership for a Drug Free America (PDFA) which has been going on since the 80s and has been proven to be ineffective. The PDFA brought us such ads as “this is your brain on drugs” and the recent “above the influence” camaign. The not4me.ca website is clearly inspired by abovetheinfluence.com. It uses a more appealing website design than standard Canadian government pages to keep young people’s attention. Compare this site to this one and you’ll see what I mean.

A major, and critical, difference between PDFA and the new Conservative campaign is that PDFA is sponsored by corporations not governemnt. Check out the list of sponsors for Harper’s campaign, SPONSOR LIST. Many contributers are Canadian police groups including: Canadian Police Association, Justice Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Another one that really stands out is Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. Nearly all the sponsors are organizations funded by taxpayer money. Harper is once again using our own money against us.

To Harper’s credit the “facts” section stays closer to the real facts than PDFA and DEA. While the PDFA says,

Marijuana is addictive with more teens in treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illicit drugs combined.

The Conservative campaign uses carful wording using words like “may” and “has the potential”. The not4me.ca website says,

Cannabis has the potential to be psychologically and physically addictive.

Here’s another quote that really disturbed me,

Marijuana has over 400 chemicals and some of the same toxic substances found in tobacco smoke that can cause cancer.

If you read that sentence carfully it does not actually say marijuana causes cancer. Although the sentence is technically true it gives a very negative impression of marijuana.  That is exactly what Harper is counting on.  Marijuana has not been proven to cause cancer, in fact it has been proven to cure cancer (articleRick Simpson). The Conservative government has launched a Canadian war on drugs. Its a little late in the game though, the US is taking baby steps towards legalization and the rest of the world is easing their pot laws. I don’t think Harper got the memo.

The national anti-drug srategy is new government plan to ramp up the war on drugs in Canada. Only a few years after the Liberal government tried to decriminalize in 2004 (shot down by pressure from the US) the Harper regime took a U-turn. Look at the budget on this thing, from the drug strategy backgrounder,

The Government of Canada has committed $30 million in new funding over five years to support the Prevention Action Plan.

Conservatives introduced legislation like bill C-15 (mandatory minimum sentences, increased maximums), increased justice budgets and put more cops on the street. They are also promoting DEA style drug courts and other tenants of the failed US drug war. Drug courts promote court-monitored rehab over prison (more on rehab).

Harper is Canada’s George W Bush. We need to get that fucker out before its too late!

American drug laws are being threatened by anti-prohibition groups.  People are beginning to wake up to the evils of prohibition.  The DEA published this booklet, Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization.  It is available online HERE.  The DEA says this booklet is “designed to cut through the fog of misinformation with hard facts”.  Let’s take a look at the top ten “facts” about legalization.

1. We have made significant progress in fighting drug use and drug trafficking in America. Now is not the time to abandon our efforts.

They go on to say “Ninety-five percent of Americans do not use drugs.”

The exact opposite of that is true. An estimated 117,325,000 Americans aged 12 or over (47% of the US) have used illicit drugs in their lifetime. The lion’s share being marijuana use (41% of total US population).   Marijuana use has declined slightly in recent years but heroin use has grown significantly as well as cocaine.  Drug use follows trends for which change over time.  For example acid was popular in the 60s and again in the 90s but not right now.  Speed and meth were popular with the artsy crowd in the 60s and now meth is seen as a hillbilly drug.

Lets not forget the legal drugs.  The DEA only combats illicit drug use but the scope of drug use in America paints a picture.  Over 66% of US adults drink alcohol on a regular basis and 82% have tried it. 90 billion is spent on alcohol annually in the US alone. Tobacco use is also alarming, 173,927,000 Americans have used tobacco in their lifetime. In addition the use of menthol cigarettes among smokers is on the rise. Caffeine use is also alarming, approximately 70% of Americans are addicted to caffeine. Caffeine is an addictive and abused drug, in fact there are four caffeine-induced psychiatric disorders recognized by psychiatric professionals.

2. A balanced approach of prevention, enforcement, and treatment is the key in the fight against drugs.

Prohibition has never worked. Alcohol prohibition created a lucrative black market run by organized crime groups, corruption among law enforcement and politicians, and did little to curb alcohol use. Drug prohibition has taken all these problems to the next level.

The DEA continually promotes it’s special drug courts. These courts often sentence people to forced rehab. While that is better than prison many people don’t need or want rehab. In the case of marijuana the unnecessary treatment is used to create statistics that show marijuana is addictive, which it is not. (see marijuana rehab industry)

3. Illegal drugs are illegal because they are harmful.

Absolute bullshit. The legal drugs are more harmful than the majority of illegal drugs. In the case of marijuana the DEA uses myths and half-truths to show it is harmful.  Here is a quote from the DEA site:

smoking one marijuana cigarette deposits about four times more tar into the lungs than a filtered tobacco cigarette.

That is not true at all (see joint/cigarettes myth).  Another DEA tactic is emergency room mentions. Emergency room mentions are not reasons for visiting the hospital. If you go to ER, lets say for a broken leg, and mention marijuana verbally or on a survey it goes to this statistic. That is a loose measurement of prevalence of use not an argument for harm related to the drug. The DEA’s arguments that marijuana is harmful are 100% false. The lethal dose for marijuana is about 900 joints in one sitting (physically impossible), it is not addictive, and there has never been a recorded death or case of cancer as a direct result of marijuana use.

The DEA’s lies are immoral. A publicly funded agency should not lie to the public to stay in business. They are going after the children too, check out justthinktwice.com.

Alcohol is the drug that society has the most problems with. It is addictive, poisonous, has a high potential for abuse and no medical value. Four in ten criminal offenders report alcohol as a factor in violence. 43% of Americans have been exposed to alcoholism in their families. Tobacco is physically worse. Nicotine addiction is harder to quit than heroin. These drugs are harmful and kill millions every year but they are legal, why?

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

4. Smoked marijuana is not scientifically approved medicine. Marinol, the legal version of medical marijuana, is approved by science.

Marinol is a synthetic form of THC in a pill.  It is not popular among those who need medical marijuana.  There are three major complaints.  First, vomiting patients have trouble swallowing a pill. Then, if a patient does swallow the pill, the good effects don’t kick in for hours. And when the pill finally starts to work – buckle up. “A 2.5 milligram Marinol pill absolutely knocked me out,” reports one man with AIDS. “I wound up lying on the sofa for days, just totally drugged and unproductive.”  Patients prefer smoked marijuana because it is cheaper, more effective, works almost instantly, and easier to dose.  Here’s a good article “Marinol: The Little Synthetic That Couldn’t“.

Marinol costs $652 U.S. for 30 doses while cannabis can be bought for less than $100 for the equivalent amount.  Marinol was first made in 1985 when a company called Unimed bought the patent and began producing.  The reason a pill was created is a plant cannot be patented.  The pharmaceutical industry is based entirely on patents.  If you could grow your own medicine why would you pay thousands of dollars per year to a drug corporation?

The American Medical Association has recently stated that marijuana’s status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance must be reviewed (article).  The DEA suffered a blow and has been working to remove references to the AMA’s stance on marijuana from their website and publications (article).

5. Drug control spending is a minor portion of the U.S. budget. Compared to the social costs of drug abuse and addiction, government spending on drug control is minimal.

What?!?  The DEA’s annual budget was $2.4 billion in 2006 and increases every year.  That’s just the DEA, the cost of maintaining the extreme amount of prison space required for drug war POWs is enormous, as well as local police, judges, prosecutors etc.  In 2003 the US federal government spent over $19 billion on the drug war, that’s $600 per second.

Drug prohibition is the lifeblood of many private industries as well including the private prison industry, private rehab, anti-drug advertising, drug testing, and many others.  There are countless other corporations who benefit from drugs being illegal; big pharma, alcohol and tobacco companies to name a few.  Of course there are the organized crime groups who actually sell the illicit drugs.  The money involved here is insane!

6. Legalization of drugs will lead to increased use and increased levels of addiction. Legalization has been tried before, and failed miserably.

The “legalization” that was tried before was actually the decriminalization of marijuana in Alaska that started in the 70s but they deliberately did not tell the whole story. As the DEA correctly points out Alaskans passed a referendum to recriminalize the personal use of marijuana by a slim margin in 1990. However, in 1993 the Supreme Court of Alaska ruled that a popular vote could not change a constitution amendment. The court has upheld this decision on several occasions. As the law currently stands in Alaska you are legally allowed up to one ounce of marijuana in the privacy of your home and up to 25 marijuana plants.  In Amsterdam you are only permitted to have 5 grams of marijuana without facing prosecution.  The DEA knows this and purposely lied in their “fact sheet”.

Decriminalization does not remove the “forbidden fruit” appeal of  drugs.  Some rebellious teens do drugs because they are illegal.  Under decriminalization people arrested for small amounts of pot don’t get a criminal record but they still pay a fine and it is still illegal.  It was not just an experiment either, twenty one states in the US have decriminalized marijuana to some degree.

The argument that legalization will lead to higher levels of addiction assumes that prohibition limits demand.  That is not the case.  Drugs are available in an absolutely uncontrolled market. High school students frequently claim that pot is easier to get than alcohol.  The law is not much of a deterrent.  When alcohol prohibition was removed in the 1930s did everyone become a drunk?  Absolutely not.

Let’s try a thought experiment.  If a big bucket of heroin and one of cocaine were left unattended on a busy street corner how many people would use the drugs?  Probably the same amount that are using it now.  Less than 1% of the population have used heroin and nearly 10% have tried cocaine.

7. Crime, violence, and drug use go hand-in-hand

That’s true but not for the reasons they say it is.  Illegal drugs are available only in the black market created by prohibition.  In a black market you can’t rely on the cops or other agencies to solve disputes so violence is the only option.  This market is run by criminal gangs who have built up massive amounts of money due to prohibition.  Drug users do not have to be criminals.  If you could go to a gas station and by a pack of “greens” the criminals would not be involved.  You don’t see Starbucks (one of the biggest drug dealers in the world) shooting up the competition do you?

8. Alcohol has caused significant health, social, and crime problems in this country, and legalized drugs would only make the situation worse.

This argument is used frequently by prohibitionists.  Well why is alcohol legal then?  I’ve already pointed out some of the problems with alcohol.  The truth is marijuana is a safer alternative to alcohol and the DEA prevents this alternative from getting to the public.  To me this argument is an admission of guilt.

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?

Drunk driving is a major problem but studies show that stoned drivers are more cautious and safer drivers.  Each drug has its own unique pros and cons. If you can’t compare apples to apples the argument breaks down.

9: Europe’s more liberal drug policies are not the right model for America.

Europe has different forms of decriminalization and harm-reduction.  These policies have already made their way into the US.  The American stance of militarized outright prohibition with no compromise has not worked.  It is pretty ignorant to ignore alternatives when the system is failing.  What is the shelf life for bad legislation?

10. Most non-violent drug users get treatment, not jail time.

Again they are tooting their own horn about the “drug courts”.  The DEA thinks that treatment over incarceration shows mercy.  They won’t let you forget it either.  That does not change that hundreds of thousands of non-violent users are in jail for extremely long sentences.  (see marijuana vs rape).  The US imprisons more of their own people than any other nation past or present.  The drug war is the main recruiter for the growing US prison population.  Jail or not they still get a criminal record and that is just as bad.

The DEA’s arguments against legalization are weak.  I thought they could do better with a $2 billion/year budget.  But why are they arguing about the law anyway?  DEA is the drug enforcement agency they are supposed to enforce the law not rationalize it. As David Bratzer of LEAP said “If police officers are qualified to comment on anything it lies merely in the area of arresting criminals and helping people in distress.” Laws are supposed to be determined by the legislative branch of the government and in a more general sense the voting public, not the cops.  That just shows how fucked up the DEA is.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) is a non-profit organization whose aim is to reduce demand for illegal drugs through advertising. They are famous for ads such as “This is your brain on drugs”. PDFA began in 1986 to “unsell” drugs to the American public. Putting to use all major media outlets, including TV, radio, print advertisements and the Internet, along with the pro-bono work of the country’s best advertising agencies, the Partnership’s anti-drug messages have been able to reach the public on local and national levels for the past 20 years.

The PDFA receives its funding from major pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol corporations. These include:

  • American Brands (Jim Beam whiskey)
  • Philip Morris (Marlboro and Virginia Slims cigarettes, Miller beer)
  • Anheuser Busch (Budweiser, Michelob, Busch beer)
  • R.J. Reynolds (Camel, Salem, Winston cigarettes)
  • Bristol Meyers-Squibb, Merck & Company and Proctor & Gamble (pharmaceuticals)
  • Dupont (munitions, chemicals, everything)

It is obvious why they focus heavily on illegal drugs in their campaigns.  The ads are pure propaganda.  In the past several ads have been removed because of blatantly false claims.  They currently focus on the amotivational syndrome even though it is not generally accepted by the scientific community.  On the abovetheinfluence.com website there is a section called “Stoners in the Mist” which features cannabis users unable to perform even the most basic tasks such as moving, talking, bathing, and even recalling one’s own name.  They have taken amotivational syndrome to a new level.  Here is a commercial from a recent campaign:

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America has been lying to the public for two decades. It is suspicious how PDFA leaves alcohol and tobacco out of its list of “drugs of abuse”.  There are no statistics to back up PDFA’s claim that cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, mushrooms, peyote, hashish, and a few other illegal drugs create anywhere near the havoc in society that is created by alcohol, tobacco, and doctor-prescribed pharmaceutical drugs.  It is ironic that their sponsors produce the substances that account for the majority of drug related deaths.  PDFA anti-drug partner Merck, for example, was marketing Vioxx until news organizations reported that the anti-arthritis drug was apparently causing heart attacks, strokes and sudden death. As has been the case with other high-profile pharmaceutical drug recalls, Merck has been accused of falsifying, jiggling or withholding data that cast doubts on their product’s safety.