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war on drugs

Barney Frank Gets Blunt About America’s Failed War on Drugs

Rolling Stone recently spoke with former Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Barney Frank for their “The Last Word” segment, getting pointed opinions from Frank on a wide range of topics. Frank touched on his heroes, why he doesn’t really care for music anymore, and his contentious relationship with Bill O’Reilly. You can read the interview in its […] Thanks to marijuana.com

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Our kids have to be the guinea pigs because the government won’t legalize it

Our kids have to be the guinea pigs because the government won’t legalize it

Marijuana in the United States has been federally illegal since the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.  The substance was made illegal for a number of reasons, most of which would be questioned by today’s generation. Lawmakers made allegations such as the use of marijuana leading to rape or murder, reckless eloping, and made the racist […]

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Teen Marijuana Use Rises as Synthetics Prove Unsafe

K2

Tales of teens being rushed to hospital after synthetic marijuana use are generally terrifying and true.  The crisis appears to become a blatant consequence from the Fight against Drugs and also the criminalization of marijuana.  Untested items for example K2 and Spice were available in the shops of supermarkets without any age limitations, while marijuana continued to be hidden away in black marketplaces.

Holding a constructive dialogue with this teens might not be our most powerful suit like a country.  The amount of teens who attempted synthetic marijuana this year was 11%.  In 2013 time decreased to eightPercent.  Will we think this is actually the consequence of educating our teens on drug abuse,  or teen fears after learning from the fatal/near fatal unwanted effects of synthetics.

Much less People in america are viewing marijuana as dangerous.  The popularity isn’t unique to teens as grown ups sentiments are trending by doing this too.  We hope this doesn’t result in parents neglecting to talk with their teens regarding marijuana.  This season, research demonstrated that 40% of teens seen marijuana as dangerous, lower from 44% last year and 75% two decades ago.  Gil Kerlikowske, director from the National Drug Control Policy is worried about these statistics.  He said around the amounts lately by saying “Youthful individuals are obtaining the wrong message in the medicinal marijuana and legalisation campaigns.  Whether it’s ongoing to become spoken about like a benign substance which has no harmful effects, we are carrying out a great injustice to youthful people by providing them that message.”   This all sounds fine and dandy but exactly how did disregarding the details, staying away from conversation with this teens, and criminalizing a plant exercise for that previous century?

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Like the knockout game, social networking, and “totes mcgoats”, there might be much adding towards the widening generational gap.  Many couldn’t realise why teens would do this not regulated substance, even if these were told it may be dangerous.  The government supplements this argument by classifying cannabis weight loss dangerous than cocaine and comparable to heroin.  Teen encounters don’t match these claims usually producing a breach of trust.    Communication between your “Greatest Generation” and also the “Baby Boomers” also left much to become preferred, and as a result, it brought in drug craze the 60s and 70s.  Regulation, conversation, and a little of good sense would go a lengthy method to keeping our teens safe.

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Eric Holder Tries Patchwork Fix For Federal Drug Sentencing

eric holder

Many of us have heard the outrageous examples of rapists and murderers serving less time in prison than low level marijuana and drug offenders.  To some,  this is just an odd quirk or a glitch in federal policy, a conversation that will soon find it’s way to back of our minds,  buried deep in the abyss of our sub consciousness, well below the layer our daily stresses.  To others, this is a broken family, this is children growing up without a father, this is the realization that your teen’s mistake in college could ruin the rest of his or her life.

The Obama Administration had initially vowed to fix the broken state of drug laws.  He and now Attorney General,  Eric Holder signaled an end to the War On Drugs,  or at least a drastically different approach.  The two indicated that going after the medical marijuana industry would not be an effective use of federal resources.  Apparently, what they meant was that we were not spending enough on attacking medical marijuana patients.  Less than one year through his second term,  President Obama enjoys the unique status of pursuing legal action against far more collectives than the Bush and Clinton years combined.

Perhaps feeling the sting of broken vows, an over saturated corrections system,  and an economy that remains barely in gear, has finally led to policy change.  Yesterday Mr. Holder announced a change in sentencing on a federal level for low level drug charges and that he wishes to circumvent “draconian mandatory minimum sentences.” Small cases that accompany mandatory federal sentences will be shifted to the states.  In regards to the states handling more of the cases,  Mr. Holder said “Some issues are best handled at the state or local level…And that’s why I have directed the United States Attorney community to develop specific, locally-tailored guidelines – consistent with our national priorities – for determining when federal charges should be filed, and when they should not.”

The change is certainly welcomed but it may be comparable to placing a Flintstones band aid over a large fatal wound.  Mr. Holder and federal authorities are basically conceding that federal drug laws are out of control and is not in line with the majority of American’s wishes.  Specifically, a large portion of the public wants marijuana to be taken off as a schedule 1 substance.  Instead of fixing the issue and reclassifying,  Mr. Holder will run from the laws he oversees.  Additionally,  shifting the responsibilities to the states only works if they do not operate under similar ” draconian law”.  Otherwise, those states could require additional funding.  Will this deadlocked Congress, that initially decline Storm Sandy victim relief be willing to designate additional funds to state level drug cases?

There may some optimism to take out of Mr. Holder’s actions.  This is the first time in quite a bit that the federal government is making a significant policy change in low level drug offenses.  Could this be setting up for future maneuvers and a reconciliation of state vs. federal laws?

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Gallup: Rate of Individuals Who Try Marijuana Almost Unchanged Since ’80s

gallup poll

Legal marijuana should be resulting in an increase in consumption.  Right?  Even when this really is the usual understanding for many, recent info launched by Gallup signifies otherwise.  In a poll carried out recently, Gallup discovered that 38 percent of participants reported getting attempted marijuana.  This is just up from 34% in 1999 and33% in 1985.   Only 7% of participants reported current marijuana use. The data seemed to be divided by political preference with 49% of liberals showing they’d attempted marijuana sooner or later and 32% of conservatives saying exactly the same.  Only a tiny 2% of conservatives stated to presently use marijuana. This comes at any given time where individuals in support of overall legalisation is booming continuously, so that as PolicyMic.com lately reported, many for don’t even consume cannabis.

Many feel it’s a formality more individuals are smoking or consuming marijuana. Legal cannabis laws and regulations have broadened in the medical and leisure realm. To date, it doesn’t appear the development of legal marijuana includes a significant effect on overall use. Marijuana isn’t considered physically addictive. Possibly people searching for marijuana, is going to do so in either case, while individuals who abstain will probably still abstain.

There’s also not a way of knowing if individuals questioned by Gallop really believe if marijuana me is rising. Hysteria within the results of cannabis are mainly gone. Two decades have passed because the sixties and individuals gripping towards the old fears are few in number. Lots who attended Woodstock take presctiption Medicare insurance. Because the anxiety about marijuana drops, the frustration using the Fight against Drugs increases.  The ultimate price of prohibition and insufficient results is really a strategy most want to see upon the market. 

The near future ought to provide a good deal conclusive info on any possible links between marijuana consumption rates and availability. Additional states will probably pass medicinal marijuana legislation. Leisure marijuana could also soon be growing. A boost in marijuana use might be likely, although not always due to the reason why formerly feared. Scientists are learning a good deal about marijuana daily. The medical potential is just now being understood.  More patients might find relief and extra education will state and lower the outcome of past propaganda.

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Marijuana may be used to treat addiction in Columbia

marijuana bud

Marijuana’s reputation was relentlessly attacked for decades.  We at marijuana.net have spoken in great length about the propaganda our government has utilized to attack a plant.  Movies such as “Reefer Madness” were used to scare much of the general population, while the War on Drugs has worn out everything from morale to finances.  Propaganda movies and failed politics appear to be on the way out.

While the new marijuana reform movement and medical research has helped to change the perception of cannabis considerably,  we have just learned of a new development that is groundbreaking.  It appears that Columbia’s capital city,  Bogota,  is considering a new approach to combating the issue of serious drug use.  In this case marijuana is not the villain, but may in fact be the savior.  The mayor of Bogota in the city may administer a program that would have basuco users (a cocaine derivative often compared to crack) use marijuana to help combat their physical addiction.

Basuco is considered to be one of the least pure forms of cocaine and there is widespread concern over its health implications.  Experts estimate that there are over7000 problem users (those who take 15-20 hits per day).  There are likely many other users in need of help who use slightly less.

It will be interesting to see if such a program ever makes its way to the united states.  Amanda Reiman of The Drug Policy Alliance does not think it will be anytime soon as she recently told ABC news “Unfortunately, universities rely on grants from the federal government for research, so most of what they do is what the feds want done.  As you can probably guess, the feds are not too interested in beneficial uses for marijuana, and even less interested in how to help people who are addicted to substances, so most of the research in this area occurs outside the U.S. or through private funding.”  If the program is successful in Colombia us authorities may have no choice.  Support for medical marijuana is growing rapidly, and research is regularly revealing new ways in which cannabis can aid patients.

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Marijuana Decriminalization Has Immediate Impact On California Youth Crime Rates

teen crime

The unnecessary arrests of our teens is one of the most troubling byproducts of American marijuana law.   Besides the high economic cost, the social implications can ruin lives.  Marijuana possession arrests can provide an early entrance into legal system for juveniles.  Incarceration of so many young people produces a

The need to alter America’s direction in the war on drugs has been apparent almost since the inception of Nixon’s plan.  This is perhaps why even as early as the 1970s states started to take the initiative and enact decriminalization laws.  Decades later, we are still awaiting federal action, but it only takes a brief glance at the 112th Congress (who has passed the least amount of bills in history) to lose optimism.  Hopefully the 113th Congress is less bitter, partisan, and ineffective.  It is not desirable for state lawmakers to enact legislation that is in direct opposition to state law, but a lack of movement on the federal government’s part has left states with few options.

Critics and misguided fans of the war on drugs are always skeptical of decriminalization and often argue that crime and deviant behavior would increase and run rampant.  Newly published research by the Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice paints an entirely different picture.  The group found that California’s new (which took effect January 1, 2011) decriminalization laws have resulted in a drastic reduction of juvenile arrests. The 20% overall drop now brings juvenile crime rates to their lowest levels since California started keeping such records in 1954.  When analyzing the numbers further, it is interesting to note that underage violent crime dropped by 16%, homicide dropped by 26%, and drug related crimes plummeted by 50%.

Marijuana reform can address many pressing issues in the United States.  Although many critics are unable to understand the complexity of modern economics, financial actions are rarely isolated.  Locking away our youth has a devastating toll on lives, but also a hefty financial price tag.  Lately, the point has been made countless times but the debate regarding the so called “fiscal cliff” and the money required to rebuild the areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy, it is clear we no longer have money to waste on acting “tough” on drugs.

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The Election is Finally Here

voting

Although early voting has been going on in certain states since September, the single day where the majority of voters will cast their ballots is here.  Enthusiasm is high as many pictures have been taken of long lines at polling sites.  Whether you are voting for President Obama, Governor Romney, Governor Johnson, or another candidate, it is simply unacceptable that voting has become a test of endurance.  Our country has previously been an example to the rest of the word for handling our elections in a fair way.  It appears, we have entered the one of the first periods  in U.S. history where voting has become more difficult.

President Obama and Mitt Romney have been frantically traveling to many swing states in the last minutes of campaigning.  Even though most people seem to have made up their minds as to who they will be voting for, we decided to highlight some of the candidates below.  For marijuana reformers, this election may not have touched on the key issues you wish to see dealt with, but we will provide any information available about the candidate’s positions.  Below check out a brief description of the candidates and a brief description of their policy positions:

 

-President Barack Obama (Democratic Party)

Our 44th president was born and raised in Hawaii.  He would eventually move to Chicago and in 2006 he was elected to the United States Senate.  His significant accomplishments as President include ending the War in Iraq, passing the Affordable Health Care Act, and giving the order to Seal Team Six to kill Osama Bin Laden.  Critics have been upset with a stagnant economic recovery and his handling of medical marijuana which includes raids on dispensaries and very little difference in the handling of The War on Drugs.  Many marijuana reform advocates are hoping a second term for Obama would be starkly different for both the War on Drugs and medical marijuana.

 

-Governor Mitt Romney (Republican Party)

The Republican nominee for president of the United States was born in Michigan.  He also spent significant time in Utah before moving to Massachusetts.  In 1994 he challenge Senator Ted Kennedy but ultimately lost the election.  In 2002, he took over the leadership role for the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, which was in dire financial straits.  Mr. Romney is credited with turning the situation around and ensuring that the Olympics would be a success.  He would eventually run successfully for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002.  As Governor, his chief accomplishment was reforming Massachusetts health care program.   After serving one term as Governor, Mr. Romney decided to run for president.  He lost out to John McCain in 2008 but finally received the nomination in 2012.  Mr. Romney has not addressed marijuana often, but did say several months ago that he would fight medical marijuana “tooth and nail”.

 

-Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party)

The former two term Governor of New Mexico was born in North Dakota.  While attending the University of New Mexico, Mr. Johnson paid his way through school by working as a handyman.  He would eventually start Big J Enterprises, and grow his company into one of the largest construction companies in New Mexico.  In 1994 he successfully ran for Governor of New Mexico.  He was re-elected in 1998 and still remains one of the most popular figures in New Mexico politics.  The Governor was previously a Republican but has since fallen from good graces with the party.  Many analysts believe his support for Libertarian causes such as marijuana reform and same sex marriage created a rift between Mr. Johnson and the GOP.  Mr. Johnson is now officially the Libertarian candidate for president and continues to serve as one of the most high profile advocates for marijuana decriminalization and reform.

 

-Jill Stein (Green Party)

The Green Party’s candidate for the United States Presidency was born in Chicago and raised in Highland Park Illinois.  She graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1979.  Jill Stein has been on the forefront of environmental issues across the country for decades.  She has testified numerous times in front of Government panels.  Ms. Stein has advocated what she calls “ The Green Deal”.  She sees it as a modern version of FDR’s “New Deal”.  In her deal, there would be a 30% reduction in military spending, higher tax rates for the wealthy while directing the additional money toward new age green jobs that would put America back to work while simultaneously working to reduce climate change.  Jill Stein has been a marijuana supporter for a long time and less than two weeks ago said that “marijuana is not dangerous at all” in a recent third party debate.

 

Marijuana.net encourages everyone to get out there and vote.    If you see long lines, please do not be discouraged.  We hope you stay engaged and make sure elections are conducted properly in the future.  The candidates are very different from one another so we encourage you to support the candidate you feel most closely represents your interests.  Additionally check back with us as we provide updates on the many ballot initiatives that are on the books.  Three states (Colorado, Washington, and Oregon) have their residents voting on measures that will legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana.  We will be conducting extensive follow up on the election all week.

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Uruguay Moving Forward With Plan To Legalize Marijuana and Combat Drug Violence

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As marijuana.net noted yesterday, the escalating drug cartel violence received no mention during Monday’s presidential debate.  While many of our fellow Western Hemisphere countries look to The United States for leadership on the issue, we continue to maintain our failed drug policy.  Fortunately, other countries in Central and South America are considering their own alternative to the 40 year failed War on drugs.

For the last several months the Uruguay government has been discussing legalizing, regulating, and distributing marijuana.  While there has been some opposition to legalization, the plan appears to be moving forward.  Several government officials have made recent comments regarding the program.   Uruguay Interior Minister, Eduardo Bonomi recently said “We have a progressive tradition… The negative effects of consuming marijuana are far less harmful than the outbreak of violence associated with the black market.”

Uruguay may be far along the process of altering their approach toward reducing drug war violence but they are not the only one.  As the United States continues fighting the cartels in the traditional way, which involves gunfire and bloodshed, other countries now realize they will be responsible for their own safety and legislative direction.  Columbia has recently decriminalized personal possession for marijuana and cocaine.  Bolivia has also been attempting to decriminalize cocoa leaves.

The people of the United States are war weary after a decade of The Afghanistan conflict and the recently ended Iraq operations.  In this region America has taken note of our previous mistakes and has decided on a new direction in its approach toward dealing with Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.  Instead, as we saw both President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney agree to during Monday’s debate, economic sanctions have been used to put the pressure on Iran to come to the table and talk disarmament.  In the modern world, economics can also be an effective weapon.  While we applaud a progressive approach toward Iran, when will see the United States utilize and economic approach to stem the daily violence occurring close to home, not thousands of miles across the world.  Legalization and regulation would reduce the drug cartel’s power, influence, and purpose in the western hemisphere.  If marijuana were regulated and available domestically, this could crush the cartels economically.

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Presidential Debate On Foreign Policy Omits International War on Drugs

3rd debate

Last night millions of Americans tuned in for the 3rd and final debate of the 2012 presidential election.  The event was less tense than the last week’s town hall debate which the saw the candidates create an uncomfortable atmosphere.  Perhaps surprisingly, the attack on the American Consulate in Libya was only briefly mentioned.  The candidates did engage on some important international issues regarding Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan.  However noticeably missing was much of any conversation on our South American neighbors.

The war on drugs is foreign policy area that has a much more direct impact on the lives of daily Americans.  Violence over drug trafficking is out of control and the Cartels have now infiltrated and have a presence in several states including Arizona and Utah.  Additionally, U.S. authorities have found underground tunnels complete with railcars that have been constructed by the Cartels that run between San Diego and Tijuana.  This foreign threat could not be hitting closer to home and there has been almost no mention of the war on drugs on the national stage last night.

Failure to alter the failed course of the war on drugs has now become a decades long blunder.  By electing to ignore the problem, tens of thousands have died in only a few year span.  Additionally, our borders have become less secure.  It is honorable that the United States is compelled to help the civilians in the Middle East, but we should not forget some of our closest allies both geographically and culturally who live in Mexico, Central America, and South America.  Failure to act and amend our laws has also cost the United States money through incarcerations and court expenses while also diverting police resources from other issues.

Instead of using the last best chance to talk directly to the American people about a range of crucial foreign policy issues, the two candidates seemed satisfied by sampling falling back on their domestic economic talking points during last night’s debate.  There was no mention of the European Debt Crisis, only a whisper regarding Greece’s financial meltdown, and of course the violence only miles from our border.  If violence, money, and the security of this nation are important to whoever lives in the White House in January, the War On Drugs cannot afford to be an ignored issue.

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