August 13, 2014
So this is an ad put forth by anti-marijuana activists in Florida, where voters will soon have an opportunity to vote on Amendment 2, which would amend the Florida Constitution to ban the implementation of any “criminal or civil penalties” against doctors, patients, or registered treatment centers for prescribing, possessing, or distributing marijuana for the treatment of a “debilitating” illness.
It’s hard to think of a more cynical, dishonest way to attack a medical marijuana initiative.  This ad single-handedly misappropriates activism against sexual assault, demonizes patients with debilitating illnesses, and insults the integrity of every medical professional in the state of Florida.
The ad misappropriates activism against sexual assault by suggesting that legalizing medical marijuana will subject intimate partners to an increased incidence of rape (which to my knowledge, has not occurred in a single state that has legalized marijuana, medical or otherwise).  It demonizes patients with debilitating illnesses by implying that patients who get prescribed cannabis will use it for nefarious purposes, e.g. to drug and rape intimate acquaintances (again, no evidence of this occurring at all in states that have legalized medical marijuana).  And it insults the integrity of doctors and nurse practitioners by implying that they would ever willingly prescribe cannabis to someone who in their professional opinion, doesn’t seem like they would benefit from it in light of all other treatment options (because you know, even though many of them spend six figures on med school and are subject to the continuing scrutiny of state licensing agencies, there’s an army of them waiting to throw away their careers by prescribing cannabis to their patients all willy nilly).  
In the world of law, there’s a saying: If the facts aren’t on your side, pound on the law.  If the law isn’t on your side, pound on the facts.  If neither the facts nor the law are on your side, pound on the table.  The facts are clearly not on the side of Anti-marijuana activists, and soon, the law won’t be either.  So now, they’re pounding on the table.  Of course, if you reach that point, it means you’ve already lost the argument on all the merits and you’re just trying to scare people with whatever far-fetched scenarios you can gin up.  Which is precisely what this ad is trying to do.

So this is an ad put forth by anti-marijuana activists in Florida, where voters will soon have an opportunity to vote on Amendment 2, which would amend the Florida Constitution to ban the implementation of any “criminal or civil penalties” against doctors, patients, or registered treatment centers for prescribing, possessing, or distributing marijuana for the treatment of a “debilitating” illness.

It’s hard to think of a more cynical, dishonest way to attack a medical marijuana initiative.  This ad single-handedly misappropriates activism against sexual assault, demonizes patients with debilitating illnesses, and insults the integrity of every medical professional in the state of Florida.

The ad misappropriates activism against sexual assault by suggesting that legalizing medical marijuana will subject intimate partners to an increased incidence of rape (which to my knowledge, has not occurred in a single state that has legalized marijuana, medical or otherwise).  It demonizes patients with debilitating illnesses by implying that patients who get prescribed cannabis will use it for nefarious purposes, e.g. to drug and rape intimate acquaintances (again, no evidence of this occurring at all in states that have legalized medical marijuana).  And it insults the integrity of doctors and nurse practitioners by implying that they would ever willingly prescribe cannabis to someone who in their professional opinion, doesn’t seem like they would benefit from it in light of all other treatment options (because you know, even though many of them spend six figures on med school and are subject to the continuing scrutiny of state licensing agencies, there’s an army of them waiting to throw away their careers by prescribing cannabis to their patients all willy nilly).  

In the world of law, there’s a saying: If the facts aren’t on your side, pound on the law.  If the law isn’t on your side, pound on the facts.  If neither the facts nor the law are on your side, pound on the table.  The facts are clearly not on the side of Anti-marijuana activists, and soon, the law won’t be either.  So now, they’re pounding on the table.  Of course, if you reach that point, it means you’ve already lost the argument on all the merits and you’re just trying to scare people with whatever far-fetched scenarios you can gin up.  Which is precisely what this ad is trying to do.

August 11, 2014
Tennessee Drug Tests Welfare Applicants, Discovers Less Than One Percent Use Drugs

LTMC: And how much did the state pay to institute the drug-testing program?  Every state that has implemented welfare drug testing has discovered that the government spent more on the drug tests than it saved in benefit denials.  It will be a good day when this misguided policy dies a fiery death.

(Source: think-progress, via cognitivedissonance)

August 8, 2014
Legal Pot in the US Is Crippling Mexican Cartels | VICE News

And yet another block falls over in the domino line of “things legalization activists were right about.”

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 7, 2014
"[A]fter an extremely slow start using his clemency powers, the president has issued criteria for jailed nonviolent drug offenders to be eligible. More than 18,000 prisoners have applied, but the Republican-led House of Representatives passed an amendment in May preventing the use of federal funds for screening applications."

Matt Welch (via letterstomycountry)

A response to the quote above from laliberty:

The blue #politics tag caught my eye here before I read the actual quote. I thought “what could reason’s Matt Welch have said to make it through the partisan censors at the #politics tag?”. Then I read it and realized it was all about showing Obama as some good guy and Republicans as obstructionists… and it all made perfect sense. 

Let’s not forget that, as noted in the Welch piece linked to above (in fact, earlier in the very paragraph this quote was strategically extracted from), (1) “Obama’s Justice Department raided more medical marijuana dispensaries than Bush’s ever dreamed of, while the president himself literally laughed out loud at the prospect of legalization for recreational use,” (2) the president has the power to pardon criminals and, as one presidential candidate once promised, pardoning non-violent drug offenders is something that can be done from the oval office, and (3) even if he didn’t have such power, Obama has repeatedly shown his willingness to circumvent Congress whenever it suits him and has flaunted such willingness repeatedly (he’s “got a pen,” remember?). That republicans have blocked funds is ultimately a tiny road block, since (as I understand it) there is nothing stopping the administration from redirecting DOJ resources and directives away from those many aforementioned drug raids, away from further federally prosecuting drug offenders, and toward screening applications - or, instead, doing their own due process. Indeed, that Holder and the ACLU have asked for applications is an extra step that only serves to push accountability away from the president - after all, what is the DOJ for? Furthermore, as president, that makes him de facto head of his party. For years, his party had control of both houses while he was in office. Indeed, it was under these circumstances that Obamacare was able to be crammed through the Senate without a single Republican vote. Since presidential clemency ultimately does nothing to change unjust drug laws or set president, that would have been the opportune time to make real changes to laws that punish the peaceful consumption of plants by consenting adults. Then again, they wouldn’t have been able to blame Republicans if it didn’t pass.

Forgive me if I’m not so eager to declare Obama as some righteous drug war liberator.

LTMC: I think your suspicions about the intention behind this “strategically extracted” quote are a bit misplaced.

First, some of your skepticism appears to be based on a misunderstanding of the clemency process.  The process for securing a pardon begins with a Petition for Clemency, Commutation, or Pardon, which is submitted to the DOJ.  It’s not an “extra step” to push accountability away from the President.  It’s a step that has always been a part of the process.

Second, it’s true that the White House can unilaterally redirect funding from different Agencies to give affect to its enforcement priorities.  However, this power is subordinate to Congress’s power to place express restrictions of funding to Executive Agencies.  Congress’s ability to limit the use of federal funds by other branches is the main historic tool by which Congress can limit executive power.”  Congress can tell the President how an Executive Agency must spend its money, or whether it can spend money at all.  So the amendment that was passed in the House is not merely a small roadblock.  The amendment banned the use of federal funds to expand the number of staff attorneys at the Office of the Pardon Attorney so they could process more clemency applications in a shorter amount of time.  This has the direct effect of causing  prisoners who are eligible under the new clemency guidelines to rot in jail for longer periods of time than they would otherwise have to.  So yes, the Republicans deserve to be criticized for this. If Obama looks better by comparison on this particular issue, it’s because he made a good drug policy decision for a change.

Third, regarding editing of this quote: I pulled this quote from Matt Welch’s piece because it was a point of information that I thought was relevant for anyone concerned with drug policy.  I edited the quote because the other information in that paragraph wasn’t relevant to the issue of Executive Clemency.  To be honest, I also don’t know how anyone could look at this quote and think it was clipped to make Obama look good.  The quote begins with: "after an extremely slow start using his clemency powers[.]"  That’s not a flattering lead.  If I was trying to make Obama look like a "righteous drug war liberator," I would have clipped that opening sentence, so there wasn’t even a suggestion of failure on Obama’s part. 

I have no interest in making Obama look good.  I’ve criticized his administration countless times—including for the previous conspicuous absence of Drug War pardons, and his position on Drug Prohibition generally.  I’ve taken heat from the liberal side of Tumblr on numerous occasions for stuff I’ve written about the guy—including when I suggested that Ron Paul was a better Presidential candidate on numerous issues that most self-identifying liberals claim to care about.  Perhaps the editor who selected this quote promoted it because they thought it made Obama look good in comparison to the GOP-led House.  But that’s certainly not the primary reason I pulled the quote from Welch’s article.

(via laliberty)

July 7, 2014
"[A]fter an extremely slow start using his clemency powers, the president has issued criteria for jailed nonviolent drug offenders to be eligible. More than 18,000 prisoners have applied, but the Republican-led House of Representatives passed an amendment in May preventing the use of federal funds for screening applications."

Matt Welch

July 5, 2014
humansofnewyork:

"If it wasn’t for this job, I’d still be on heroin. A few years ago, one of my bosses came to me, and he said: ‘You’re approaching a crossroads in life, and pretty soon there will be no turning back.’ Then he told me: ‘Go to rehab right now. And your job waiting for you when you get back.’""What was the boss’s name?""Robert DelPrete."

LTMC: Human boss is human.

humansofnewyork:

"If it wasn’t for this job, I’d still be on heroin. A few years ago, one of my bosses came to me, and he said: ‘You’re approaching a crossroads in life, and pretty soon there will be no turning back.’ Then he told me: ‘Go to rehab right now. And your job waiting for you when you get back.’"
"What was the boss’s name?"
"Robert DelPrete."

LTMC: Human boss is human.

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

June 29, 2014
"My Aunt has been an addict for more than half of her life. It caused a lot of chaos in our lives. I had never met her when she was sober, She was addicted before I was born. I asked my mum one day why she still tried? And she said “When people look at her all they see is an addict… But when I look at her, all I see is my baby sister.”"

HONY Comments

Related: The End Of The Addict

June 25, 2014
"Aggressive enforcement of the War on Drugs has lost its public mandate, as 67 percent of Americans think the government should focus more on treatment than on policing and prosecuting drug users. This waning public support is warranted, as evidence continues to document how the War on Drugs has destroyed millions of lives, unfairly impacted communities of color, made drugs cheaper and more potent, caused countless deaths of innocent people caught up in drug war-related armed conflict, and failed to eliminate drug dependence and addiction. The routine use of heavily armed SWAT teams to search people’s homes for drugs, therefore, means that law enforcement agencies across the country are using this hyper-aggressive form of domestic policing to fight a war that has waning public support and has harmed, much more than helped, communities."

ACLU - The Excessive Militarization Of American Policing

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