July 8, 2014
Everything Wrong With Andrew Cuomo's Medical Marijuana Law

LTMC: The bill is a joke.  As suggested above, the bill prohibits doctors from prescribing marijuana in smoking form, meaning that patients will have to pay beaucoup dollars to pharmaceutical companies to get the “proprietary marijuana solutions.”  Many of the people who could benefit from medicinal marijuana will not be able to access it because of the secondary costs associated with procuring and utilizing the legally prescribable forms of the drug.  Patients can also expect to fill out paperwork for insurance companies that almost certainly won’t cover the “proprietary marijuana solutions” or the machines needed to use it  without a prior authorization, which will deter doctors from suggesting it, and patients from asking for it.

(Source: prettayprettaygood)

July 2, 2014
Pot researcher abruptly fired by University of Arizona

From the article:

The University of Arizona has abruptly fired a prominent marijuana researcher who only months ago received rare approval from federal drug officials to study the effects of pot on patients suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

The firing of Suzanne A. Sisley, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry, puts her research in jeopardy and has sparked indignation from medical marijuana advocates.

Sisley charges she was fired after her research – and her personal political crusading – created unwanted attention for the university from legislative Republicans who control its purse strings.

“This is a clear political retaliation for the advocacy and education I have been providing the public and lawmakers,” Sisley said. “I pulled all my evaluations and this is not about my job performance.”

University officials declined to explain why Sisley’s contract was not renewed, but objected to her characterization.

Read More

May 28, 2014
"If I had to write a prescription for the heroin problem, the first thing I’d do is legalize marijuana."

Retired Cincinnati police Capt. Howard Rahtz

May 12, 2014
Legal Pot in the US Is Crippling Mexican Cartels | VICE News

What I love about marijuana legalization in America is that literally every good thing that legalization proponents have argued would happen, is happening.  Legalization is creating economic growth.  It’s creating jobs.  It is reducing criminal justice costs.  It is creating new sources of tax revenue.  Civil society has not collapsed into a Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic wasteland where disputes are resolved by Thunderdome-style combat.  And now, the Drug Cartels are losing the profits that fuel their empire.  

It is fascinating to compare this trail of policy confirmations to what H.L. Mencken wrote in 1925 about the effects of Prohibition:

Five years of Prohibition have had, at least, this one benign effect: they have completely disposed of all the favorite arguments of the Prohibitionists. None of the great boons and usufructs that were to follow the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment has come to pass. There is not less drunkenness in the Republic, but more. There is not less crime, but more. There is not less insanity, but more. The cost of government is not smaller, but vastly greater. Respect for law has not increased, but diminished.

And now, almost 90 years later, we see the same validation in reverse.  Every benefit of legalization touted by proponents is coming to pass.  To quote Pelle Almqvist of The Hives: I hate to say I told you so.

April 22, 2014
Newspaper Article Accidentally Sums Up The Marijuana Legalization Debate

A newspaper in Ohio tried to create a forum for opposing viewpoints on marijuana legalization.  Un(?)fortunately, they were unable to find a writer that was willing to take the anti-legalization viewpoint:


February 21, 2014
Colorado’s Legal Pot Market Far Exceeds Tax Revenue Expectations

Hit it.

February 16, 2014
How To Make Irresponsible Journalism

NBC News has posted this gem of a headline, "Pot Fuels Surge In Drugged Driving Deaths."  Like every good story, it leads with a compelling anecdote—in this case, someone who was killed by a stoned driver.  Then it cites the following statistics:

As medical marijuana sales expanded into 20 states, legal weed was detected in the bodies of dead drivers three times more often during 2010 when compared to those who died behind the wheel in 1999, according to a new study from Columbia University published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

“The trend suggests that marijuana is playing an increased role in fatal crashes,” said Dr. Guohua Li, a co-author and director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University Medical Center. The researchers examined data from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), spanning more than 23,000 drivers killed during that 11-year period.

But wait!  Buried towards the bottom of the article are these statistics:

A separate study — also based on FARS data — found that in states where medical marijuana was approved, traffic fatalities decrease by as much as 11 percent during the first year after legalization. Written by researchers at the University of Colorado, Oregon and Montana State University, the paper was published in 2013 in the Journal of Law & Economics.

Those authors theorized pot, for some, becomes a substitute for alcohol. They cited a recent, 13-percent drop in drunk-driving deaths in states where medical marijuana is legal.

“Marijuana reform is associated with … a decrease in traffic fatalities, most likely due to its impact on alcohol consumption,” said Michael Elliott, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, a trade association in Colorado.

So there’s an increase in marijuana-related crashes in states with some form of legalized pot, but there’s also a corresponding decrease in alcohol-related crashes.  The net result is a decrease in the overall number of traffic fatalities.  Yet NBC still chose to run a headline that, without context, suggests that legal pot is leading to more traffic fatalities, which it is not.  The opposite is in fact true.

Most people aren’t going to dig to the bottom of the article to get this important contextual information.  Instead, they’ll see the headline, read the first couple paragraphs, and the message they’ll get is that legal pot is increasing the number of traffic fatalities—without realizing that legal pot has actually reduced traffic fatalities overall.  

Presenting the story in this manner is irresponsible.  The headline is misleading, as are the initial supporting paragraphs.  A lot of people are going to walk away from this article with the wrong message because NBC presented it in a poor fashion.  And now, we get to listen to anti-pot crusaders tell us about how legal pot activists have blood on their hands, despite the fact that legal pot hasn’t actually increased the number of people dying in traffic fatalities.  It has actually reduced them.  And if this story leads people in battleground states to vote against legalized pot, it will be NBC that has blood on its hands, not legalization activists.

February 12, 2014
Members of Congress Call on President Obama to Reschedule Marijuana | NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

18 Members of Congress signed a letter to President Obama today asking him to remove Marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act:

“We request that you take action to help alleviate the harms to society caused by the federal Schedule I classification of marijuana. Lives and resources are wasted on enforcing harsh, unrealistic, and unfair marijuana laws,” the letter reads, “Nearly two-thirds of a million people every year are arrested for marijuana possession. We spend billions every year enforcing marijuana laws, which disproportionately impact minorities. According to the ACLU, black Americans are nearly four times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite comparable usage rates.”

 You can read the full text of the letter here.

February 7, 2014
Texas Grand Jury Declines to Indict Pot Grower Who Shot and Killed a Cop During an Early-Morning Raid

Surprising news:

This week a Texas grand jury declined to indict a marijuana grower for shooting and killing a sheriff’s deputy who burst into his home in the early morning to execute a search warrant. Henry Goedrich Magee, who was indicted on drug and weapon charges (the latter only because he was growing marijuana), said he believed Burleson County Sgt. Adam Sowders was a burglar. “This was a terrible tragedy that a deputy sheriff was killed, but Hank Magee believed that he and his pregnant girlfriend were being robbed,” Magee’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, told A.P. “He did what a lot of people would have done. He defended himself and his girlfriend and his home.”

DeGuerin, a well-known defense attorney who has been practicing for half a century, said “he could not immediately remember another example of a Texas grand jury declining to indict a defendant in the death of a law enforcement officer.” That sort of outcome is rare not just in Texas but throughout the country, since people who shoot cops invading their homes usually do not get the same benefit of the doubt as cops do when the roles are reversed. (Just ask Cory Maye.)

Rare indeed.  This is a big win for civil liberties advocates of every stripe.  While I don’t relish the thought of police officers being shot to death, it is no crime for a person that genuinely and reasonably fears for their life to defend themselves using deadly force.  It is not the homeowner’s fault that he reasonably feared for his life when his door was busted down in the middle of the night by armed men shouting at the top of their lungs.

This is a perfect example of why these types of drug raids are dangerous to everyone involved.  Police frequently execute these raids in the middle of the night, often using no-knock warrants when people are asleep, startling the inhabitants and leading them to believe that their house is being invaded by an intruder.  This creates a low-information/high-stress environment where tragic consequences are entirely predictable.  These raids are completely unnecessary in most cases where they are used, and they put everyone involved—police officers and home-owners alike— in unnecessary danger.  

February 7, 2014
Nailed it.

Nailed it.


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