Tag Archives | Decriminalization

Maryland Police Chief Cited Satirical “Mass Marijuana Deaths” News Story In Testimony Against Decriminalizion

Michael PristoopVia Reason, the evidence presented to the Maryland State Senate against legalizing marijuana earlier this year was a DailyCurrant.com joke article informing that 37 people had overdosed and died on the first day of decriminalized weed in Colorado:

Testifying against marijuana legalization before the Maryland legislature, Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop warned of the potentially lethal consequences. “The first day of legalization, that’s when Colorado experienced 37 deaths that day from overdose on marijuana,” Pristoop told the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. “I remember the first day it was decriminalized there were 37 deaths.”

As Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery) quickly pointed out, what Pristoop actually remembered was a joke story at The Daily Currant headlined “Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado on First Day of Legalization.”

Pristoop seemed taken aback that something he had seen in print might not be the literal truth. “If it was a misquote,” he told Raskin, “then I’ll stand behind the mistake.

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For First Time, Majority Of Americans Favor Marijuana Legalization

marijuana

Gallup on new poll results revealing a dangerous drop in the number of squares:

For marijuana advocates, the last 12 months have been a period of unprecedented success as Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. And now for the first time, a clear majority of Americans (58%) say the drug should be legalized. This is in sharp contrast to the time Gallup first asked the question in 1969, when only 12% favored legalization.

Success at the ballot box in the past year in Colorado and Washington may have increased Americans’ tolerance for marijuana legalization. Support for legalization has jumped 10 percentage points since last November and the legal momentum shows no sign of abating.

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Obama Says That Legalizing Marijuana Is Not A Possibility

legalizing marijuana

If only he would accept a phone call and advice from his old buddies in the Choom Gang. Talk Radio News Service reports:

In a speech in Mexico City on Friday, President Obama shut the door on any possibility that he’ll support efforts in his second term to legalize marijuana. “I honestly do not believe that legalizing drugs is the answer,” the president told a large gathering of young Mexicans at the city’s Anthropology Museum.

Polls show that more and more Americans favor ending the federal ban on pot. A handful of states have lifted restrictions on the drug in recent years.

The president likely felt it necessary to touch on drugs in his speech since marijuana is a chief import from Mexico to the United States. It is also largely to blame for the rising swell of cartel violence in Mexico over the years. Obama said that his administration must figure out a way to reduce demand for drugs.

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The National Disgrace Of Marijuana Possession Arrests

marijuana arrestsThe New Inquiry, sociologist Harry Levine explains the terrible mechanics propelling apartheid-style law enforcement in America:

Police arrest mostly young and low-income men for marijuana possession, disproportionately blacks and Latinos. In the last 15 years, police and sheriff ’s departments in every major U.S. city and county have made over 10 million of these possession arrests. Most people arrested were not smoking. They were carrying tiny amounts.

Police make so many because they are relatively safe and easy arrests. All police have arrest quotas and often they can earn overtime pay by making a marijuana arrest toward the end of a shift. The arrests show productivity. Making many low-level arrests of all kinds is very good for training rookie police who gain experience doing many stops and searches of teenagers.

There is also a push nationally, to states, counties, and city police departments, to get as many new people as possible into the criminal databases.

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UK’s Incredibly Unpopular Deputy Prime Minister Turns to Drugs

Picture: World Economic Council (CC)

“Daniel-san, must talk. Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later get squish just like grape. Here, karate, same thing. Either you karate do ‘yes’ or karate do ‘no.’ You karate do ‘guess so,’ get squish just like grape. Understand?”

- Mr Miyagi

It’s a shame Nick Clegg is the UK’s classic example of a politician who breaks promises[1] because his new stance on the drugs laws, reported here by The Guardian, should be applauded:

Divisions between David Cameron and Nick Clegg over Britain’s “war on drugs” emerged on Friday after the Liberal Democrat leader said that current policy was not working and accused politicians of “a conspiracy of sience”.

Committing his party to pledging a major review of how to tackle the drug problem in its 2015 election manifesto, Clegg claimed Britain was losing the war “on an industrial scale”.

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Ten Years Of Legalization Has Cut Portugal’s Drug Abuse Rate In Half

Time to trade swords for plowshares in the War on Drugs? Forbes writes:

Drug warriors often contend that drug use would skyrocket if we were to legalize or decriminalize drugs in the United States. Fortunately, we have a real-world example of the actual effects of ending the violent, expensive War on Drugs and replacing it with a system of treatment for problem users and addicts.

Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. One decade after this unprecedented experiment, drug abuse is down by half.

“There is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal,” said Joao Goulao, President of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction, a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the law.

The number of addicts considered “problematic” — those who repeatedly use “hard” drugs and intravenous users — had fallen by half since the early 1990s, when the figure was estimated at around 100,000 people, Goulao said.

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The Criminalization of the Mentally Ill

David Gonzalez is the recipient of the 1999 NYAPRS Brendan Nugent Leadership Award, the first person with a mental illness to receive the National AAPD Paul G. Hearne Award for People with Disabilities, and the recipient of the New York State Department of Mental Health’s Office of Consumer Affairs 2000 Consumer Advocacy Award. He writes at The American Mental Disability Clemency Organization:

Accurately identifying the various causes behind the criminalization of the mentally ill can only be accomplished by an impartial examination of our society’s preconceived notions of the mentally ill. This can be done by examining society’s treatment of the mentally ill throughout the course of history. Stigma clearly plays a major role in the criminalization of the mentally ill because of society’s inability to accept the dualistic and sometimes vile impulses of human nature inherent in all human beings. Therefore, society seeks to explain away unjustified acts of violence and aggression as symptoms of a mental illness, in effect scapegoating the mentally ill.

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NYPD Officers Defy Orders To End Marijuana Arrests

policeonbikes.nypd_.shutterstockIn short, New York City cops put 50,000 people behind bars last year for marijuana possession — even though the state decriminalized it in 1977 — and they refuse to stop. Via Raw Story:

Police officers in New York are “manufacturing” criminal offenses by forcing people with small amounts of marijuana to reveal their drugs, according to a survey by public defenders.

Under New York law, possession of 25g or less of marijuana [merely] brings a $100 fine. Only when the drugs are in public view are the police permitted to make an arrest for drug possession. One in three respondents said police had forced them to take the marijuana out of pockets or from under clothes and produce it into public view.

In September last year, Kelly issued an order to officers not to arrest people caught with small amounts of marijuana. But the number of those arrested increased after the order was made.

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What Would Drug Legalization Look Like?

Cocaine-ProblemsSuppose we decriminalized hard drugs — heroin, cocaine, and all the rest? The Indypendent ponders the scenario and how we could make it work:

For heroin, says Eric Sterling, the conundrum is how much use would spread if “the price goes down and the ease of acquisition goes up,” but if a legal scheme set the price too high or made the restrictions too inconvenient, users would go back to the illegal market.

He posits a system in which “addiction management” specialists would supply enough drugs to keep addicts from getting sick, but would not tolerate criminal behavior. Rehab and counseling would be available, and addicts might also be required to work or go to school.

Switzerland, which had close to the highest rate of heroin addiction in Europe in the mid-’90s — with an estimated 30,000 addicts out of about 7 million people — has had some success with heroin maintenance.

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