In a special “420” edition of New Rules, Bill Maher argues that Democrats should use marijuana legalization as a wedge issue in the upcoming elections.
Apr 20 2015
Happy 420! I’ve got a few smoky things for ya! Then maybe go grab the chips!
Apr 17 2014
Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when
we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.
(Truth be told, friends, we’re really not that disorganized; the fact that we’ve managed to put this series together and stick with it disabuses the notion that we’re disorganized, right? Also, I wish I had a censored night once in awhile, but alas, this is something my producers made me say.)
This Day in History
Feb 07 2014
“It is ludicrous, absurd, crazy to have marijuana at same level as heroin. Ask the late Philip Seymour Hoffman if you could. Nobody dies from marijuana. People die from heroin.”
“Every second that we spend in this country trying to enforce marijuana laws is a second that we’re not enforcing heroin laws. And heroin and meth are the two drugs that are ravaging our country,”
“And every death, including Mr. Hoffman’s, is partly the responsibility of the federal government’s drug priorities for not putting total emphasis on the drugs that kill, that cause people to be addicted and have to steal to support their habit.”
“When we put marijuana on the same level as heroin and crack and LSD and meth and crack and cocaine, we are telling young people not to listen to adults about the ravages and problems, and they don’t listen because they know you’re wrong.”
“You can’t name one person who’s died from a overdose of marijuana can you?”
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) tore into deputy drug czar Michael Botticelli on Tuesday, highlighting federal drug policy’s failure to address the substances “ravaging our country” while still considering marijuana to be as dangerous as heroin.
Speaking during a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform focused on the Obama administration’s marijuana policy, Cohen urged drug policy officials to rethink marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 substance, which the Drug Enforcement Administration considers “the most dangerous class of drugs.” Other Schedule 1 substances include heroin, LSD and ecstasy, while methamphetamine and cocaine fall under the Schedule II definition.
It is time to refocus and admit that the war on drugs has been lost.
Sep 01 2013
Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice would no longer seek to reverse state law that legalize the use of marijuana. However, it still leaves the door open for abuse and harassment by individual US Attornies.
Eric Holder Says DOJ Will Let Washington, Colorado Marijuana Laws Go Into Effect
by Ryan J. Reilly and Ryan Grim, Huffington Post
Deputy Attorney General James Cole also issued a three-and-a-half page memo to U.S. attorneys across the country. “The Department’s guidance in this memorandum rests on its expectation that states and local governments that have enacted laws authorizing marijuana-related conduct will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that will address the threat those state laws could pose to public safety, public health and other law enforcement interests,” it reads. “A system adequate to that task must not only contain robust controls and procedures on paper; it must also be effective in practice.”
The memo also outlines eight priorities for federal prosecutors enforcing marijuana laws. According to the guidance, DOJ will still prosecute individuals or entities to prevent:
- the distribution of marijuana to minors;
- revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels;
- the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states;
- state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;
- violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use;
- growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands;
- preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.
The eight high-priority areas leave prosecutors bent on targeting marijuana businesses with a fair amount of leeway, especially the exception for “adverse public health consequences.” And prosecutors have shown a willingness to aggressively interpret DOJ guidance in the past, as the many medical marijuana dispensary owners now behind bars can attest.
Longtime investigative reporter and co-founder of FAIR, the national media watch group, Martin Lee joined Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! to discuss the changes:
“There is so much cultural momentum with respect to marijuana, there is a significant shift in place that the politicians are now starting to catch up to it,” says Martin Lee, longtime investigative reporter and author of several books, including “Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific.” He also notes that “the guidance issue made by the Department of Justice yesterday is kind of littered with caveats and red flags.”
Transcript can be read here
Aug 10 2013
In an amazing reversal, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta changed his position on marijuana’s health benefits and apologized.
Over the last year, I have been working on a new documentary called “Weed.” The title “Weed” may sound cavalier, but the content is not.
I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning.
Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled “Why I would Vote No on Pot.”
Well, I am here to apologize.
I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.
Meet the little girl who changed his mind. Charlotte Figi is a 6 year old who suffers from Dravet Syndrome:
Dravet syndrome, also known as Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy (SMEI), is a rare and catastrophic form of intractable epilepsy that begins in infancy. Initial seizures are most often prolonged events and in the second year of life other seizure types begin to emerge. Development remains on track initially, with plateaus and a progressive decline typically beginning in the second year of life. Individuals with Dravet syndrome face a higher incidence of SUDEP (sudden unexplained death in epilepsy) and have associated conditions, which also need to be properly treated and managed. [..]
Children with Dravet syndrome do not outgrow this condition and it affects every aspect of their daily lives.
Unless a cure or better treatments for Dravet syndrome and related epilepsies are found, individuals with these disorders face a diminished quality of life. Current treatment options are extremely limited and the prognosis for these children is poor. The constant care and supervision of an individual with such highly specialized needs is emotionally and financially draining on the family members who care for these individuals.
Long Search For 6-Year-Old’s Seizure Relief Ends With Medical Marijuana
Nicole Flatlow, Think Progress
Before she started using medical marijuana, Charlotte Figi was suffering from seizures lasting 2 to 4 hours that landed her in the hospital and several times stopped her heart. She lost the ability to walk, talk, and eat, and her parents said their goodbyes on several occasions. Doctors had her on seven different potent, addictive medications; they had her on a special diet. But each time, the benefits were only temporary, and the side effects were overwhelming.
Charlotte’s mother, Paige Figi, had voted against the Colorado medical marijuana ballot initiative that passed in 2000. But after doing some research, she and her husband Matt changed their minds. They found a video of a young boy in California who suffered dramatic seizures and whose life had been changed by a strain of medical marijuana. [..]
To find a steady supply of the substance, they turned to brothers known as the “Robin Hoods of marijuana” who ask patients to donate only what they can. Forty-one other patients with seizures and cancer are now using the strain that’s been named Charlotte’s Web for its first user.
Now Charlotte is feeding herself, walking, and riding her bike. She usually only has one seizure a day, and usually in her sleep. [..]
But the Figis are lucky enough to live in one of the 20 states where medical marijuana is legal, which largely insulates them even from federal criminal prosecution. Suppliers of medical marijuana in these states, however, are not immune from criminal crackdowns, even when they are seeming models for compliance with state law. A recent survey found that the overwhelming majority of U.S. doctors – 76 percent – would prescribe medical marijuana to their patients.
In all my 30 plus years in Emergency Medicine, I have never treated a patient for a marijuana overdose. Yet, I have treated patients whose only relief from pain of glaucoma, or the side effects of drug therapy for AIDS or cancer chemotherapy was marijuana.
Please support the legalization and fight for marijuana reform nation wide.
Dec 15 2012
This past election cycle was made more interesting, not so much for the main event between Pres. Barack Obama and presidential wannabe Mitt Romney but, by the ballot initiatives in Washington and Colorado that legalized the recreational use of marijuana in those states. There are eighteen states and the District of Columbia that have legalized its use for medical purposes and several others in the process of doing the same.
Currently under federal law, marijuana is classified under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I narcotic whose cultivation, distribution, possession and use are criminal acts. Besides the legal ramifications there are the social and economic impacts. Both states are looking into controlling marijuana sales and use the same as they do alcohol, which makes a great deal of sense. In a recent national poll taking by Quinnipaic found that across the entire country 51 percent of American voters think marijuana should be legal and 44 think it should be illegal.
In an interview with ABC News’ Barbara Walters, President Obama said that at this time he does not support legalization of marijuana but needed to find a middle ground on punishing use of the drug. He then punted to congress for the solution:
“This is a tough problem, because Congress has not yet changed the law,” Obama said. “I head up the executive branch; we’re supposed to be carrying out laws. And so what we’re going to need to have is a conversation about, How do you reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that say that it’s legal?”
Either the president is unaware or just trying to avoid the responsibility but blaming congress for not changing the law is false, as FDL‘s Jon Walker at its Just Say Now blog points out, the president has does not need congress to change marijuana status:
With 99 percent of federal laws this would be the case, but the Controlled Substance Act is fairly unique. The law explicitly gives the executive branch the right to change the legal status of any drug without Congressional involvement. If the administration, after examining the latest scientific research, determines that cannabis shouldn’t be Schedule I it has the power to move it to a lower schedule, which would make medical marijuana legal under federal law, or even unschedule it all together, which would effectively legalize it.
Several sitting governors in states with medical marijuana have petitioned Obama asking him to reschedule marijuana, and currently the Obama administration is actually fighting an effort in federal court to get the executive branch to provide a legitimate review of marijuana. There is no reason Obama can’t simply stop fighting the case and reschedule marijuana without needing to involve Congress.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes and his panel guests on his December 2 Up with Chris Hayes talked about how Washington and Colorado are dealing with the result of the ballot measures that legalized marijuana in those states:
Aug 03 2011
Cross-posted from Main Street Insider
The United States is by far the world leader in a dubious category: incarceration of its citizens. As the result of a dramatic rise since 1980, over 1% of the adult population is now behind bars, and the federal “war on drugs” is at least partially to blame. This week, we examine an aggressive proposal by Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul that allows states to set their own marijuana policies by ending federal prohibition of the drug.
Oct 16 2010
( If you needed proof that the current “Democratic” administration is throwing support behind getting more Republicans elected this November instead of Democrats, here’s more.)
The Obama administration’s Attorney General Eric Holder, fresh off his decision to appeal of Judge Virginia Phillip’s injunction against enforcing DADT because of its unConstitutionality, has written a shocking letter to the former chiefs of the DEA on Oct 13th. And why did he write them a letter ? Because they want the Attorney General to sue California if Proposition 19 passes, which would decriminalize marijuana at the state level.
Holder just sent them a letter in agreement.
“We will vigorously enforce the CSA (Controlled Substances Act) against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law,” Holder wrote.
Control and tax ? Quit wasting money and resources ? More like Drone and Arrest as usual.
The Department of Justice under Holder has not decreased the number of arrests and prosecutions for marijuana possession compared to the previous Bush administration, in spite of assurances that medical marijuana users in the state of California would not be targeted. https://www.docudharma.com/diar… Over a quarter million Californians were arrested last year for drug offenses, with 52% of them being for pot, that’s over 115,000 people getting arrested in CA in 2008 just for possession, per statistics from the FBI. Make no mistake about it, this is a big cash incentive the Feds are waving at the state when they declare your local LE can only get money this way.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, co chair of the “Public Safety No On 19” committee along with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, also said at a news conference that Federal law would over rule state law and therefore any new law would be unenforceable, and that public use of the drug would continue to be targeted, as usual, whether or not Prop 19 passes.
The “Yes on 19” committee’s former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara issued a response today, saying that:
“Passing Proposition 19 in California will undoubtedly kick start a national conversation about changing our country’s obviously failed marijuana prohibition policies,” he added. “If the federal government wants to keep fighting the nation’s failed ‘war on marijuana’ while we’re in the midst of a sagging economic recovery and two wars, it just proves that the establishment politicians’ priorities are wrongly focused on maintaining the status quo.”
McNamara, now a research fellow in drug policy at Stanford University, has argued that the 60 percent of the cash that supports violent drug cartels comes from the sale of illegal marijuana.
I’ve written about the Indian Casinos, the beer and wine industry, and the Oil companies backing this continued idiocy. Now let’s talk about the Pharmaceutical companies.
The last time the Obama administration made a drug deal with Big Pharma, er, PhRMA, before a law was passed was back in March of 2009 when the President met secretly with PhRMA drug lobbyist Billy Tauzin, Pfizer’s Jeff Kindler, AHIP’s Karen Ignani, the Chamber of Commerce’s Tom Donohue and the RW Johnson Foundation’s Risa Lavizzo-Mourey.
Five months later,in August, Billy Tauzin admitted that the WH had forsworn Medicare drug price bargaining and given up on importing cheaper drugs from Canada or Europe in the deal to get the health care reform bill passed. By February of 2010, Tauzin took another golden parachute. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes…
This time, Baca and Feinstein’s committee “Public Safety First No on 19” is getting money from the following Pharmaceutical Companies, thru CalBusPac (California Business PAC) thru PHARMA IEC PAC, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Independent Expenditure Committee. They know how to time the donations so it’s less obvious. And please remember these drug companies aren’t all based in America. So this is from some foreign money sources.
Baca – DiFi No on 19 list of donors, see CalBusPac
California Business Pac (CalBusPac) scroll down to the 5/7/09 filing to see the donation from PHARMA IEC
PHARMA IEC pac’s donations for this campaign cycle – Drug Companies against decriminalization of Marijuana
Pharma For HomeLand Security Money to Fight Against Legalized Pot List, October 2010
Bristol Myers Squibb gave Barack Obama $43,385 in 2008 http://www.opensecrets.org/org…
Abbott Laboratories spent a million on candidates in 2008, and has given money to Tauzin’s old Phrma Pac, http://www.opensecrets.org/pac…
Hoffman La Roche (Switzerland) http://www.whorunsgov.com/Prof… Rick C Wade, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Commerce Dept under Gary Locke, was a senior government affairs advisor for Hoffman La Roche Inc, and also has on his resume state director of S. Carolina Dept of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services, besides being a director of Business development at Palmetto GBA/Blue Cross Blue Shield of S. Carolina. Oh, and the senior advisor to the Presidential transition team. Hoffman La Roche makes Boniva, an osteoporosis treatment drug (bisphosphonate class ) marketed to post menopausal women which has been causing osteonecrosis of the jaw bone and which double the risk of esophageal cancer. http://www.360reports.com/p/bo…
Johnson & Johnson just lost a lawsuit and owes Louisiana $258 million for misleading doctors about the harmful effects of the anti psychotic drug Risperdal http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10… spent $3.5 million lobbying this year so far http://www.opensecrets.org/lob…
Eli Lilly – maker of PROZAC anti depressant , spent $3.8 million on lobbying this year with 248 lobbyists, gave $62,782 to Barack Obama in 2008 http://www.opensecrets.org/org…
Novartis(Switzerland) maker of Ritalin for ADD, and antipsychotic med Clozapine http://www.opensecrets.org/pac… another bisphosphonate manufacturer, drug may be linked to broken leg femur bones in the elderly
Merck, maker of biological immune system suppressants ATNF drugs such as Remicade, gave money to Blanche “there will be no public option” Lincoln in 2008 and 2010
http://www.opensecrets.org/pac… Just lost price fixing trial on generics
Glaxosmithkline – 3rd largest pharma co worldwide, United Kingdom, makers of Paxel, (paroxetine) the antidepressant which is known for difficult withdrawals http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P…
http://www.opensecrets.org/org… spent $3.4 million in lobbying in 2010
Glaxosmithkline gave Obama $51,909 in 2008
Pfizer Inc Ranked #1 in World Sales per Wiki, they make statin cholesterol drugs, neurontin, the antidepressant Zoloft, and VIAGRA, pled guilty in 2009 to fraud, will spend $25 million in lobbying this year http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P…
Obama received $155,183 from Pfizer in 2008 http://www.opensecrets.org/org…
Perdue Pharma LP of Roseville don’t know why this is listed as Roseville when Perdue Pharma is in Canada. Perdue makes Oxycontin, Dilaudid, and codeine contin. http://www.purdue.ca/en/produc…
Prozac. Paxel. Risperdal. Ritalin. Oxycontin ?!
I hope you enjoyed the knowledge that you just gained, that indeed our nation’s Attorney General is willing to leave over 51 million Americans without health insurance, while acting as an enforcer for a price fixing pharmaceutical monopoly – including expensive, addictive, and mood altering drugs – even narcotics – and intends to keep people from growing a herbal weed that science and research has shown to be NOT a narcotic and not as addictive as many of the drugs listed above.
More “Change” You Cannot Believe In. So They Say.
image of President and Drug Czar, from the “Nip It In the Bud No On Prop 19” Website
previously in this series:
BP Oil and No on Prop 19, The Smoking Gun
Saturday morning update: FDL shows that one of the ex DEA letter writers to AG Holder, Robert Bonner, has a company which made nearly a half million $$ in Federal Homeland Security “consulting” Contracts concerning the US/ Mexico border. And he’s been appointed co chair to the Southwest Border Task Force by Janet Napolitano.
Nice work if you can get it.
Oct 06 2010
In my past diaries on Yes on Proposition 19, Control and Tax Cannabis, aka marijuana decriminalization in California, I’ve shown that right wing conservatives funded by their usual business interests, are behind the continued attempt to let the Federal government waste money on continued harassment of pot users. I agree with the former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara, who says that:
most bad things about marijuana – especially the violence made inevitable by an obscenely profitable black market – are caused by the prohibition, not by the plant.
An “obscenely profitable” black market cannot exist with out high level cynicism and corruption in our Federal, state, and even sometimes, county governments. The state of CA has been severely cutting back maintenance, employees, hours, access to public parks and recreational areas and facilities for outdoor sports and recreational users under their self inflicted “budget austerity,” and the Federal government has been socking us with increased, draconian “user fees,” for groups, yet they continue to have plenty of loot to fight against personal growing of a weedy herb, which would deflate the market for it. Priorities are misplaced. The war on pot has been an expensive failure.
Oct 05 2010
– Another in the series of where’s the money coming from to keep marijuana possession a felony because it’s good for getting cash from the Federal Homeland Security Paranoia State. –
The “Placer County Deputy Sheriff’s Association PAC,” based in Loomis, CA, has donated $1000 on Sept 2nd to the Public Safety First No On Prop 19 Committee, the unfortunate love child creation of “Democratic” Senator Dianne Feinstein and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.
The Happy Prohibitionist Couple- CA Sen. Feinstein and LA County Sheriff Baca.