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.

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?

A new hydroponics store opened in Oakland California on January 28.  The thing that sets this store apart from all the other hydroponics stores is that it is huge.  This store is in a 15,000-square-foot warehouse.  iGrow is based their store design on Ikea, they have a variety of hydroponic systems layed out on display.  There is a doctor on site who can issue a medical marijuana card as well as technicians who will travel to your house and help you set up your new pot growing equipment.  The only thing this store doesn’t have is clones.  Check out this video,

So what its a huge pot growing store.  The store itself is not all that significant but the media coverage that it is getting is.  It is one more notch in the belt of the legalization movement and perhaps a glimpse of what the post-prohibition world will be like.

2009 hosted several firsts in the legal marijuana industry. In March 2009 the first publicly traded medical marijuana company, Medical Marijuana Inc, was founded.  It is a consulting company for medical marijuana businesses.  Last year in Colorado a gourmet marijuana restaurant opened called Ganja Gourmet.  It is the first marijuana restaurant.

Each of these businesses helps get society ready for the legal marijuana industry that is to come.  Recreational marijuana possession is still illegal throughout the US.  Pot is decriminalized in many states for non-medical use but it is still against the law and trafficking and cultivation are met with long prison sentences.  Up here in Canada it is 100% illegal for non-medical use.  There are not any marijuana producing corporations yet unless you count gangs and cartels which have multi-billion dollar market share on the black market.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is a pro-legalization advocacy group made of active and retired police, judges, prosecutors, prison wardens, FBI and DEA agents and others.  Members of the group have been on the front lines in the war on drugs and that is where they get their credability.  LEAP members are conscientious objectors to the war on drugs.  Their purpose is to end the drug war entirely, not just for marijuana.

LEAP has two main goals as stated in their mission statement.  Those are:

  • To educate the public, the media, and policy makers, to the failure of current drug policy by presenting a true picture of the history, causes and effects of drug abuse and the crimes related to drug prohibition and
  • To restore the public’s respect for law enforcement, which has been greatly diminished by its involvement in imposing drug prohibition.

The group’s headquarters is in the United States but it is very much an international effort.  Since its beginning in 2002 LEAP has spread to over 80 countries across the globe.  LEAP has over 100 speakers that spread their message at all kinds of public events worldwide.  LEAP speakers were featured in the Canadian documentary “Damage Done – A Drug War Odyessy”, very good documentary.  The LEAP multimedia site has lots of videos of their speakers in action (well worth the time to check out these videos).  Also check out the official promotional video below

The fact that LEAP members are the very people fighting the war on drugs makes them hard to dismiss.  You can’t say that LEAP speakers do not know what they are talking about.  Activist groups like NORML or MPP have very knowledgeable members but they aren’t cops.  The general public who is ignorant to the ills of prohibition is more likely to listen to the police.  That is why the DARE program has gained so much momentum, except DARE straight up lies to our children. I’ll end with a quote from LEAP speaker, Jay Fleming

There are no gangs fighting over whiskey territories. Drug prohibition creates a black market with enormous profits that attracts criminals and gangs. With drugs literally worth their weight in gold, as long as people can grow gold in their basement this will not stop.

Marijuana prohibition and anti-homosexual laws are two heads of the same snake – laws governing morality. Victimless crimes that are committed in the privacy of your home. The laws for marijuana and homosexuality vary significantly throughout the world. In places such as Malaysia and Saudi Arabia you can get the death penalty for marijuana as well as for homosexuality. While in other parts of the world both cannabis and gay rights are accepted by society. Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, South Africa, and Spain legally recognize gay marriage (including adoption) they also have some of the most lax marijuana laws. Look at the similarity of these two maps of marijuana and gay laws (click to see larger image).

World Gay Laws by Country

World Cannabis Laws by Country

The southern hemisphere on these two maps is almost an exact match. The majority of countries where marijuana is decriminalized (light blue) also allow civil unions for homosexual couples (also light blue). The United States is divided on both maps, the West coast and Colorado having the more liberal laws. Africa has the harshest penalties for morality crimes, in Sudan and several other countries you can get the death penalty for sodomy. The cultural contrast between South Africa and its neighbours really stands out.

In ancient Rome homosexuality was commonplace. Several emperors openly enjoyed sodomy and homosexual and straight relationships were seen as equal. Ancient Greece and Japan were also pretty cool with homosexuality. In 385 BC Plato argued that love between males is the highest form and that sex with women is lustful and only for means of reproduction.

Marijuana was legal in the ancient world, too. While it was used all over the ancient world for fibre the medicinal and recreational effects of marijuana were unknown except for in China, India and Persia. The Arab world was fond of cannabis, they prefered hashish which was invented in Persia in A.D. 1155. Later hashish caught on in India and Europe. In the 1890s 70,000 to 80,000 kg of hashish was legally imported into India from Central Asia each year.

Homosexuality became illegal in Rome during the conversion to Christianity. As Catholicism spread throughout Europe so did harsh anti gay laws. Homosexuality remained illegal in most of the world until the French Revolution in 1771.  The Netherlands and Portugal soon followed, they were also pioneers in marijuana legalization.  During the 19th and 20th centuries the Western world slowly legalized homosexuality.  In 1989 Denmark was the first country to legalize gay marriage. Same sex couples were given a special status called civil union which is basically the same as marriage excluding the right to adoption and the right to marriage in a church. Gay marriage is still a hot political topic today, Canada just legalized gay marriage as well as adoption in 2005.

Napoleon prohibited marijuana for the first time in history in 1798, less than 30 years after France legalized homosexuality. Strangely he found cannabis important enough to invade Russia over during the war of 1812. The first anti-marijuana law in North America came into effect in 1910 in Utah. During that time Mormons who came back from Mexico were smoking marijuana and the church’s reaction led to the ban. Several other states followed but federal marijuana prohibition would not happen until Harry Anslinger came into the picture in 1937. The Canadian version of Anslinger, Emily Murphy, beat him to the punch in 1922 when she convinced parliament to criminalize marijuana possession. By 1961 nearly the entire planet prohibited marijuana with the passing of the UN Single Convention of Narcotic Drugs.

Homosexuality laws originated with Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity and Judaism). Marijuana laws were driven mainly by racism but religion played a role as well. Early anti-marijuana laws in North America were created to satisfy Christian and Mormon clergy. Church backed temperance groups like the WCTU, of which Emily Murphy was a member, successfully campaigned for prohibition of alcohol in the early 20th century. The WCTU wanted to have marijuana and tobacco prohibited as well. Temperance created the prohibition mentality and the propaganda that followed. Even today the WCTU website calls medical marijuana a scam and warns of the dangers of hemp agriculture.

No government has the right to legislate morality. Your body and your mind are not the property of the state. Abraham Lincoln summed it up in 1840 when he said, “Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”

What a year for marijuana!  More progress has been made in 2009 than the previous three decades combined. Marijuana discussion has hit the mainstream with major articles in publications like Fortune Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, CBS News, CNN, the Economist and dozens of others!  Let’s take a look at the top ten news stories of this momentous year.

1. Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps Caught Smoking Bong

The photo of Michael Phelps hitting a bong was on the front page of every newspaper in February.  The sight of the world’s greatest Olympic athlete smoking pot got people talking.  This story broke less than a year after he won the most Olympic medals in history.  Phelps lost some major sponsors, including Kelloggs, but some stayed behind him.  Subway capitalized on the media attention and released TV ads starring Phelps with the slogan “Be Yourself” (Youtube).  Kellogg’s reputation sank after dropping Phelps largely due to a boycott in support of the athlete (link). Not even an industry-wide peanut scare inflicted as much damage on the food company’s reputation.

2. US Federal Government Stops Medical Raids

Until 2009 the DEA was raiding medical marijuana dispensaries even though they were legal under state law.  Under the Bush regime these raids peaked.  Thirteen US states have allowed the sale of medical marijuana with California being number one.  There are over 400 medical marijuana dispensaries in LA alone.  Obama stated early in the year that he opposed  these raids but it was not till October that it became official.  Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

3. American Medical Association Calls for Government to Review Marijuana Restrictions

Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drugs in the US.  That means it has a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug.  Cocaine and methamphetamine are in the lower classification Schedule II.  The official AMA statement reads

The AMA urges that marijuana’s status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods.

The AMA statement shows that marijuana has undeniable medical uses and federal law should reflect that reality.

4. Marc Emery Gets Fucked Over by US Feds

The Prince of Pot was arrested in Canada on orders from the US DEA.  He was arrested in 2005 and the long extradition battle finally ended this year.  Marc was targeted because of his involvement in the marijuana legalization movement.  He was the leader of the BC Marijuana Party and publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine.  The charges against Emery include Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana, Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana Seeds and Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering.  He was the owner of Emery Seeds a company that sold marijuana seeds to Canadian and US customers over the internet.  Canadian authorities have not pressed charges.  Marc expected to be sentenced to five years in US federal prison.  DEA does not dispute that Emery is a political prisoner they issued a press release lauding his arrest as a blow to the legalization movement.  More on Marc Emery.

5. Latin America Ex-Leaders Say Drug War is a Failure

Cesar Gaviria, former president of Columbia, has joined with former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo to try to change the debate on drugs in Latin America.  Trafficking gangs have killed tens of thousands of people and weakened democracies through corruption. The presidents form a group called Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy.  They say

the war against drugs is failing and the U.S. government should break with prohibition policies that have achieved little more than cram its prisons and stoke violence.

The commission’s report was successful in changing they way Latin America thinks about illicit drug use.

6. Mexico and Argentina Decriminalize Marijuana and Other Drugs

Mexican congress voted to decriminalize marijuana and other drugs in June.  The bill says users caught with small amounts( 5 grams of marijuana, 500 milligrams of cocaine, 40 milligrams of methamphetamine or 50 milligrams of heroin) of drugs will not be criminally prosecuted.  Argentina followed Mexico’s lead in August of this year.  The Argentine supreme court ruled that drug laws were in conflict with the constitution.  Possession and consumption of small amounts of narcotics were decriminalized. In exchange, the government will publicly fund drug treatment programs for minor offenders and addicts, much like other nations, including the Netherlands and Spain.  Brazil and Ecuador have plans to decriminalize as well.

7. California Proposes Bill to Legalize Marijuana

In February Tom Ammiano of the California State Assembly proposed a bill titled The Marijuana Control, Regulation and Education Act.  This bill would legalize marijuana and tax it in the same way as alcohol.  If passed marijuana would be legally sold to anyone over the age of 21.  To obtain a commercial grow license one would pay an initial $5,000 fee, then a $2,500 fee each year after that. A tariff of $50 per ounce would also be placed on all sold and grown marijuana.  An estimated $1 billion in annual revenue would be made.  The bill has been delayed and is expected to be heard by state committee in early 2010.  The press jumped on this story broadcasting it all over the world.  It got people talking about the financial benefits of legalization.

8. Breckenridge, Colorado Voters Legalize Marijuana and Paraphernalia

The small ski town in Colorado voted 3 to 1 for the legalization measure.  It was placed on the ballot after campaigners turned in a petition with almost three-times the number of signatures required.  Breckenridge is the first place to legalize paraphernalia in the US. Possession of marijuana is already decriminalized in Colorado, up to 1 oz results in nothing more than a $100 fine.  Drug laws are not determined at the municipal level but this measure makes marijuana possession a low priority for police.

9. Five Years After: Portugal’s Drug Decriminalization Policy Shows Positive Results

In 2001 Portugal decriminalized the use and possession of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, LSD and other illicit street drugs.  The country was facing rising levels of HIV and drug related deaths.  They took the bold move in an effort to focus on treatment and prevention instead of incarceration.  A report published in the spring of 2009 by the Cato Institute, a Washington libertarian think tank, showed the real world benefits of decriminalization.  Five years later, the number of deaths from street drug overdoses dropped from around 400 to 290 annually, and the number of new HIV cases caused by using dirty needles to inject heroin, cocaine and other illegal substances plummeted from nearly 1,400 in 2000 to about 400 in 2006.  The report shot down the assumption that liberalizing drug laws will create an increase in drug use and addiction, one of the DEA’s top ten reasons against legalization.

10. British Drug Advisor Fired for Saying Pot is Safer Than Alcohol.

David Nutt was chair of the UK’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and a professor of neuropsychopharmacology.  The British government moved cannabis from Class C to the more restrictive Class B in opposition to Nutt’s recommendations. According to Nutt, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made “completely irrational statements” about the dangers of marijuana use. According to Nutt:

“I’m not prepared to mislead the public about the harmfulness of drugs like cannabis and Ecstasy.”

His opponents say he embarrassed the British government, which toughened the penalties for possessing marijuana earlier this year.  The decision to fire David Nutt was no doubt tied to the upcoming general election.  After all, it’s hard to convince voters you’re on their side when your own drug advisor is going about telling them you’re full of shit.

Runner Up

Drug Czar Calls for End to the War on Drugs

The head of the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, aka the drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske said in an interview that the Obama government wants to make changes to the drug war.  The new strategy will spend more money on treating addiction and scale down the war on drugs rhetoric as part of an overhaul of U.S. counternarcotics strategy. He emphasized the point that “legalization is not on the table” and that the war will continue but they don’t want to use the title “War on Drugs” any more.