Archive for war on drugs

Why Prohibition Doesn't Work On Drugs

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Volstead Act

Perhaps the closest parallel to the "war on drugs" is the war on alcohol -- the Volstead Act of of 1919. Highlights from Wiki:

The three distinct purposes of the Act were:

1. to prohibit intoxicating beverages
2. to regulate the manufacture, sale, or transport of intoxicating liquor (but not consumption), and
3. to ensure an ample supply of alcohol and promote its use in scientific research and in the development of fuel, dye and other lawful industries and practices, such as religious rituals.

It provided further that "no person shall manufacture, sell, barter, transport, import, export, deliver, or furnish any intoxicating liquor except as authorized by this act." It did not specifically prohibit the use of intoxicating liquors.

In 1933, after this "experiment" proved to be an utter failure, leading to massive deaths caused by bootleggers and a growth in the mob for the purposes of providing this contraband, the government passed the the Twenty-first Amendment rendering the Volstead Act unconstitutional and restored control of alcohol to the states.

It was a tragic right-wing plan to control the masses and under the guise of protecting them, really caused more deaths and imposed more prison sentences for a low risk, non-violent crime -- drinking. By their restrictions, they generated an environment of death and destruction far greater than the booze itself.

Marijuana justice

Maybe we're about to smarten up on the current "war on drugs," specifically marijuana. With a number of states lessening their restrictions on usage, a few even allowing people to participate recreationally, sanity seems to be without our reach. The importance of this isn't so people can get high. It's important that our rights are being snatched from us with restrictions that have a disproportionate number of poor and minorities caught up in the government web.

Here's a short summation that's as concise and succinct as I've ever seen. It's worth a gander:

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Speaking of Government Revenue Shortfalls, Tax Marijuana Instead of Prosecuting It

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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) officially signed marijuana legalization into law.

And with that, Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

[T]he White House and Department of Justice are not only going to likely continue their wasteful prosecution against marijuana, despite laws passed on cities and states, it may very well expand the baffling war on weed [...]

Yes, it would be ludicrous to claim that tax revenues on marijuana would close the federal budget gap (cut military spending and raise taxes on those who need to pay their fair share for the benefits of democracy), but it could surely help contributing to alleviate it. [...]

Furthermore, making the marijuana industry a home grown product beyond Humboldt County, California, and other illicit hot spots would keep a lot of dollars that go to growers south of the border in the United States. [...]

And while other drugs, including cocaine and an increasing amount of meth are critical to the narco trafficking through Mexico, allowing marijuana use and cultivation in the US would reduce at least one of the drugs that the US is conducting a crusade against (via the corrupt forces of the Mexican government, military and police), a crusade that is killing tens of thousands of Mexicans in a failed show war. [...]

If you had two focus groups: one getting drunk on whiskey, and one getting high on marijuana, what would be the different end results?

Well, with the drunk group, you might end up with one or two of the participants getting into car accidents on the way home; if some of them didn't get into fights and arguments during the session; and if any one of them had a gun, all bets are off.

As for the group smoking marijuana, you might end up with one or two of them sitting with their legs crossed mesmerized by a kitten crossing a window sill; three of them listening to music on their I-Pods, with one of them singing along very loudly; and a couple making out.

So why is marijuana the banned control substance?

Please read the rest here.

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Video Mid Day Distraction- Psychedelic anti-Marijuana TV spot from the 1980s

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Hope I haven't posted this before. Via Boing Boing.

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Is Big Pharma Peddling Narcotics? Take Oxycontin, For Instance

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Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, by my pal Mark Karlin:

It is difficult to believe that Big Pharma is not aware of this growing abuse of legal drugs.  It is difficult to fathom that their actuarial predictions of profit don't take into account the addictive and widespread abuse of narcotics.  [...]

In fact, in 2004, the manufacturer of Oxycontin, Purdue Pharma, settled a lawsuit with the Attorney General of West Virginia charging them with misleading and overly aggressive marketing of Oxycontin in the states.  According to a 2004 New York Times article:

In addition to challenging Purdue's marketing, the suit had accused Purdue of purposely hiding from doctors the extent to which OxyContin's morphinelike qualities could lead to addiction.

In a later suit, in 2007 in a federal criminal prosecution in the State of Virginia, Purdue settled a for $634.5 million dollars in penalties (and pleaded guilty to a felony charge), according to the New York Times:

[...]

The company, Purdue Pharma, agreed to the penalty, one of the largest ever paid by a drug company in such a case, after an affiliate, Purdue Frederick, and three current and former executives pleaded guilty last month to criminal charges that it had misled doctors and patients when it claimed the drug was less likely to be abused than traditional narcotics.

[A]re mega-billion dollar corporations going to regard growth in sales of a patented drug -- regardless of its misuse -- as anything but an increase in profits?

Good question to ask the largest legal drug cartel in the world: Big Pharma.

Please read the rest here.

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Who is the Biggest Drug Cartel in the World? Big Pharma

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Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

[T]he flow of illegal drugs to the US are not being reduced through bloody militarized, interdiction, but rather increased. And as pointed out in the BuzzFlash at Truthout commentary, "The US War on Drug Cartels in Mexico Is a Deadly Failure," the wholesale price of many illegal drugs coming into the United States has fallen as the purity and potency has increased.

Of course, there is a drug cartel in the United States that operates with impunity: Big Pharma. Yes, America's pharmaceutical companies have produced life-saving and life-prolonging drugs and have provided medication that assists many US citizens in living healthy, active lives. That is something to be grateful for.

But Big Pharma has not lost the opportunity to push pain-killing drugs, and off-label use of many drugs, both of which result in "collateral damage" injury and death. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, told Truthout that more US citizens die from opiate overdoses due to legally prescribed pharmaceuticals than from heroin. [...]

This is not your street corner selling of cocaine: it happens in hospital conference rooms.

Coincidentally, the online Guardian UK posted a commentary today entitled, "America's prescription drug addiction suggests a sick nation: The growing taste for prescription opioids in the US is a concern. What is it about our way of life that necessitates such relief?" [...]

So BuzzFlash at Truthout asks again, who is the biggest drug cartel in the US that makes profits on mood altering narcotics with impunity?

Big Pharma. You can invest in them on the New York Stock Exchange.

The 1% makes money off of keeping an increasing number of Americans doped up and, with their capital gains, go on vacation to four star hotels in Monte Carlo; the minority sellers of cocaine and marijuana on street corners or a white rural meth dealer just...well, they just go to jail.

Please read the rest here.

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Why Can’t You Smoke Pot? Because Lobbyists Are Getting Rich Off of the War on Drugs

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Lee Fang has always been more than generous about allowing me to post his work here, and I will again, but only in part. Please link over to read the rest, because Lee is fantastic and deserves to be read at his new site, Republic Report.

Here's the bare bones of his latest exclusive about why marijuana is still illegal:

At some point in the distant past, the war on drugs might have been popular. But not anymore — the polling is clear, but beyond that, the last three Presidents have used illegal drugs. So why do we still put hundreds of thousands of people in steel cages for pot-related offenses? Well, there are many reasons, but one of them is, of course, money in politics. Corruption. Whatever you want to call it, it’s why you can’t smoke a joint without committing a crime, though of course you can ingest any number of pills or drinks completely within the law.

Some of the groups who want to keep the drug illegal are police unions that want more members to pay more dues. One of the primary sources for cash for more policing activities are Federal grants for penalizing illegal drug use, which help pay for overtime, additional police officers, and equipment for the force. [...]

Of course, police unions aren’t the only interest group with a stake in maintaining broken drug laws. The beer industry, alcohol corporations, and prison guard unions... [D]rug company lobbyists also fight to keep marijuana illegal because they view pot as a low-cost form of competition.

Go here for the rest of Lee's piece.

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"A person can... purchase all manner of addictive drugs...Yes, I'm talking about Rite Aid and Walgreens."

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Today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, Part 2, because our voices matter:

Marijuana's place in L.A.

Re "Stuck with pot dispensaries," Editorial, Jan. 4

I live and work in downtown L.A. I was shocked and dismayed when two purveyors of dangerous and addictive drugs opened their doors mere steps from each other.

A person can walk into either of these establishments with nothing more than a doctor's recommendation and purchase all manner of addictive drugs. In addition they both sell tobacco, which has no known medical value, and one of them even sells alcohol, a gateway drug. Yes, I'm talking about Rite Aid and Walgreens.

What sort of message does this send to our children?

Jim Bean
Los Angeles

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