DEA Unwilling To Debate Drug Policy

DEA Unwilling To Debate Drug Policy
Posted by CN Staff on March 08, 2004 at 07:39:58 PT
By Kevin Killough, Daily Lobo Guest Columnist
Source: Daily Lobo 
The Drug Enforcement Administration won't hesitate to throw doctors into prison for humanely prescribing opiates to patients in severe chronic pain. The DEA will seize property from everyday citizens without ever charging them with a crime. And the DEA sees nothing wrong with trampling on democracy when California voters approve the medical use of marijuana. But ask DEA agents to discuss the pros and cons of America's drug policy in a public debate, and they run off with their tails between their legs.
Such was the case last week when the UNM chapter of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy organized a drug-policy debate in the Student Union Building. Drug war opponent, Howard Wooldridge, a former police officer and board member for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, was more than happy to debate Finn Selander, demand-reduction coordinator for the DEA. Both sides agreed upon the questions and the debate structure weeks in advance. Everything was set to go.The debate, though, didn't happen. The whole fiasco went from strange to bizarre. At the last minute, Selander backed out citing some vague unspecified DEA policy that forbids debates. Not wanting to cancel the event entirely, SSDP did everything it could to accommodate the DEA's requests. The DEA would only agree to a non-debate forum with 30-minute presentations from each side followed by questions from the audience. Furthermore, the DEA demanded the media be barred from attending the event. Selander was unable to attend, so Special Agent Paul Stone gave the DEA's presentation. When audience members tried to film Stone speaking, he demanded they shut off their cameras saying it could compromise his undercover work. Why would the DEA ban the media and send an undercover agent who couldn't be filmed to a public forum? When I asked Stone about the DEA's policy forbidding debates, he refused to answer my questions and could not direct me to anyone in the DEA who would. What prompted the agency's paranoia remains a mystery. The absence of drug-war supporters in the drug-policy debate is becoming increasingly common. All across the nation, organizations advocating drug policy reform from the Marijuana Policy Project to the Drug Policy Foundation have tried to have these debates. Without fail, drug warriors are either too busy to participate or don't respond to the requests. Where reform advocates have facts, drug warriors have nothing but excuses. Considering the growing controversy surrounding the war on drugs, you would think drug-war supporters would love a public forum to justify America's drug policy and tout its alleged successes. Only in a forum where their claims can't be challenged will drug warriors speak publicly on drug policy. Apparently, the war on drugs is as embarrassing for them as it is for the whole nation. If there is a group that supports the war on drugs and would like to debate the policy publicly, SSDP and many other reform groups would love to hear from you. You won't have any trouble getting advocates of drug-policy reform to debate. We have only two conditions: any place, any time. Kevin Killough is a senior journalism major and a freelance writer. To set up a debate or to get more information on the Students for Sensible Drug Policy, contact UNM SSDP President Gabrielle Guzzardo at: gguzzardo21 msn.comUNM chapter of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy: Source: Daily Lobo (NM)Author: Kevin Killough, Daily Lobo Guest ColumnistPublished: Monday, March 8, 2004Copyright: 2004 Daily LoboContact: gguzzardo21 msn.comWebsite: Policy Alliance DEA Archives
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on March 09, 2004 at 09:49:00 PT
Texas: More Paraphernalia Busts
Here's more on the busts. It's a snipped source so here is the link for those who might want to read about it.***Authorities Light a Fire Under 'Head Shops' March 9, 2004Lisa Sandberg, San Antonio Express-News "If you want a bong," a sign at the Cracker Box Palace reads, "go somewhere else." Storeowner John Lopez insists he sells water pipes, artsy hand-blown contraptions made for smoking tobacco, not bongs for smoking weed. Though the difference between bongs and water pipes may be as hazy as the smoke they produce, the distinction is stark in the eyes of the law. Bongs, long associated with marijuana, are illegal; tobacco-associated water pipes are not. Frustrated by the fine distinctions, authorities say they are tired of playing semantics. On Monday, they declared war on the dozen or so establishments around town that sell what they consider to be drug paraphernalia. "We're putting them on notice: Stop and desist," Javier Pena, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration in San Antonio, said at a news conference. No criminal charges have been filed. Warning letters began arriving Monday morning at Cracker Box Palace and a dozen other so-called "head shops" in San Antonio. Monday's crackdown by local and federal authorities is part of a yearlong nationwide effort to shut down businesses that traffic in drug paraphernalia. Snipped:
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Comment #15 posted by kaptinemo on March 09, 2004 at 04:45:43 PT:
Ron, some historical parallels
I remember reading once of an incident during WW2 when, in ‘retaliation’ for an Allied bombing raid, the Nazis rounded up some Jews and shot if the Jews were directly responsible for the attack. Hardly a rational response. The Nazis were demonstrating their frustration at their impotence in being unable to stem the tide of losses they were experiencing in the war (that *they* started), so they took it out on some hapless, helpless Jews. Just as the DEA is demonstrating it's frustration at it's impotence in being unable to stem the flow of illict drugs into this country by attacking glassblowers and the sick and dying MMJ patients. Neither group is responsible for their failures, but are public reminders of them, and cannot be suffered to exist lest people ask pointed questions.Both were then - and are now - the acts of defiant *losers*. That the DEA seeks to avoid at all costs any semblence of a debate is not surprising, as any well informed reformer could easily sway public opinon in our favor by pointing out the failures the DEA has experienced. And for all their bluster and name calling, the DEA knows this and lives in dire fear of it.Case in point: a few years back, a Ukrainian fishing vessel named the Svesda Maru was intercepted in international waters carrying 13 tons of cocaine. Think about that: 13 TONS of cocaine. According to the DrugWarriors canto, the street price should have skyrocketed, purity dropped as dealers adulterated what they had left with other materials to make it go further, and the availability should have been reduced. Nothing of the sort happened. 13 Tons removed from the market, and nothing happened. Price? The same. Purity? The same. Availability? To quote the Talking Heads: "Same as it ever was."Again, hardly indicative of a success. Embarrassing. And the DEA knows that sooner or later, the Question With Their Name On It will be asked, exposing the entire facade. That's why they blanch like someone in shock, start stammering and run like a scalded dog when the word 'debate' is said; they know just how fast a reformer can take their carefully polished edifice and turn it around to show that its' backside is covered with taped-over cracks, dollops of plaster and nasty stains.
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Comment #14 posted by ekim on March 08, 2004 at 18:55:48 PT
thanks B G 
Congressman Porter chose Sunset Park for a special reason. He calls the problem of drugged drivers an epidemic that needs to be stopped.this lawmaker wants to change law and calls it a epidemic and gives a one time 1997 date with not one other peice of evidence. Mr Porter asprin has killed a 1000 your reasoning a Nanny State. next you will be maken laws against someone betting his hard earned money because the house has such high odds and is hurting the poor gambler.not
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on March 08, 2004 at 17:29:36 PT
News Article from
Congressman Porter Proposes Drugged Driving Bill
 March 8, 2004 
It's meant to keep our roads safe and implement stiffer penalties for those caught driving while under the influence of drugs. Today, Congressman Jon Porter highlighted a national drugged driving bill. News 3's Maria Silva reports from Sunset Park where the announcement was made. Congressman Porter chose Sunset Park for a special reason. He calls the problem of drugged drivers an epidemic that needs to be stopped."For a long time afterward I would always, at night, be waiting for him to come home." But fifteen year old Britanny Faber's father was never going to come home again. On February 13th, 1997, William Faber was killed by a man driving under the influence of marijuana.For Britanny and her family, the sentence the man received was a slap in the face. "He just got six months house arrest and five years probation and I knew that wasn't fair." That's when nine year old Brittany became an advocate, pleading for changes in Nevada's laws."It's part of her healing. I'm just going to follow her and follow her lead." And seven years later, changes have been made. "We have passed the law and Jessica Williams has been prosecuted for killing six teenagers. We've been working a lot, pretty much non stop, so we're really happy this is going to a federal level now."Helping the family along the way was Congressman Jon Porter. Now Porter wants other states to follow in Nevada's footsteps. Others who have also lost a loved one because of a drugged driver say they're grateful that a little girl with a big voice has made such a difference. "It just touches home, and I'm thankful for her because it's helped us."Congressman Porter introduced the bill, which he hopes to name the Brittany Faber bill, formally to congress on Thursday. He will now start getting cosponsors to sign the bill. When it comes to drinking and driving, all states have laws related to drinking and driving and national standards measuring alcohol impairment.
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Comment #12 posted by afterburner on March 08, 2004 at 17:05:25 PT:
Proverbs 6:16-19 -- DEA Watch Out
16 There are six things the LORD hates, 
seven that are detestable to him: 
17 haughty eyes, 
a lying tongue, 
hands that shed innocent blood, 
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, 
feet that are quick to rush into evil, 
19 a false witness who pours out lies 
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. --New International Version (NIV) -- Bible Gateway
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Comment #11 posted by ron on March 08, 2004 at 17:01:49 PT
Some thoughts from DEA on debates
I posted these comments from DEA Watch last year but they're worth repeating: Sep 2003, 21:23 PST, 4th Edition 
" Marijuana Policy Project accepts challenge to debate drug czar", con't: 
Is John Walters a joke, or what??? 
Can you believe that idiot is actually going to debate with pro-marijuana nuts??? 
This is the very same mistake McCaffrey made early on when he became Drug Czar. Mac allowed the druggies and nuts to draw him out into mentioning their names and debating with them... when the VERY LAST THING the Drug Czar should do is give nuts equal time and space on an equal platform that raises them to the same and equal level of the United States Drug Czar! 
When Mac 'got the word' that it was wrong to shine a light on the pro-druggies he stopped mentioning the names of the drug legalizers and he stopped sharing the stage with them. And the effect was immediate!!! Right after Mac refused to give attention to the nuts and goofballs you rarely saw the 'legitimate' media interview them. Their nutty and rambling statements disappeared from the national media, the cable news stations stopped inviting them, and the best part was the entire drug legalization movement quickly collapsed! Even George Soros stopped giving the legalizers major money to launch and sustain pro-legalization initiatives. 
Walters is a moron just like the moron who appointed him. Walters isn't doing anything productive. He has terrible advisors and his own counsel to himself is worse. John Walters is doing nothing but throwing away ODNCP's budget. 
Walters should be"debating" with school districts that have drug problems but refuse to initiate testing and other drug use prohibitors. Walters should not be debating with druggies. 
Walters should be debating city counsels to maintain and fund their D.A.R.E. programs. Walters should not be debating with druggies. 
Walters should be debating his boss to establish a national fink reward program that will assist LE to identify local dealers. Walters should not be debating with druggies. 
All drugs are local. Drugs are on the streets. Drugs are not at the Indy 500 and baseball stadiums where Walters is busy looking for drug PR in all the wrong places. 
Walters needs to get a clue... and a brain. Another agent summed up this way:The DEA believes debaters are druggies, and democracy means do as the law says, and they're willing to break the law to enforce it. Sounds as sensible as destroying a village to save it sounded a generation ago. 
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Comment #10 posted by The GCW on March 08, 2004 at 16:28:32 PT
 Zechariah 14:20-21
I don't want the Gov deciding who is and who isn't, "people that you'd want in your (My) neighborhood."Also, there is this:Zechariah 14:20-21, “And the cooking pots in the LORD'S house will be like the bowls before the altar. 
21  Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the LORD of hosts; and all who sacrifice will come and take of them and boil in them. And there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts in that day.” (They want to prohibit cannabis paraphernalia, yet most any household item can be used to consume cannabis with thanksgiving from and for the Lord... Prohibit spoons and knives.)  
The Green Collar Worker
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Comment #9 posted by OverwhelmSam on March 08, 2004 at 16:13:59 PT:
DEA - Secret Society?
Has the DEA become a secret organization of spies with the authority to make any rule to suppress oppositional debate, investigate without warrants, and licensed to kill? This seems so unconstitutional.
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Comment #8 posted by cloud7 on March 08, 2004 at 13:27:25 PT
Texas: More Paraphernalia Busts
"If these businesses sell narcotics paraphernalia, the people who are going there are not people that you'd want in your neighborhood." Ah, the age old prohibitionist mentality that these people are somehow different and exist apart and away from us. When in fact, it is your neighbors in your neighborhoods who keep these shops in business. Id rather have these people in my neighborhood than some power hungry police state chief like Albert Ortiz.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 08, 2004 at 11:51:06 PT
Texas: More Paraphernalia Busts
Drug Paraphernalia Crackdown UnderwayMarch 8, 2004Cheech and Chong had better steer clear of San Antonio, if they know what's good for them. The San Antonio Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration today launched a crackdown on so called 'head shops,' places that sell bongs, roach clips, cocaine spoons, pipes, and other items used to ingest marijuana, cocaine, and other drugs. "Neighbors and members of city council told us they wanted this action taken," police chief Albert Ortiz said. "If these businesses sell narcotics paraphernalia, the people who are going there are not people that you'd want in your neighborhood." Ortiz said he has no evidence that the 'head shops' are sellng drugs, but he said they are definitely selling the materials 'that contribute to the illegal drug culture.' The Drug Enforcement Agency today either mailed or hand delivered warning letters to a dozen businesses, warning them that continuing to stock and sell fifteen specific types of items could land them in prison for three years, as well as bring 'a substantial fine,' and forfeiture of the items. "We're letting them know that this is a violation, and if you continue, then we will take criminal action," DEA Agent Javier Pena said. Ortiz said officers and federal agents would have to consider 'the totality of the circumstances' before determining whether to make arrests, but he said no businessman is 'naive enough' not to understand what the prohibited items are used for. "These businesses are in the industry of providing narcotics paraphernalia," he said. "Our review of these establishments indicates they may be operating outside of federal law." He and Pena said people who are buying or possessing items sold at the businesses could also face criminal charges. Ortiz said 'undercover operations' are possible if necessary to shut down the businesses.
CannabisNews Paraphernalia Archives
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Comment #6 posted by MikeEEEEE on March 08, 2004 at 11:32:27 PT
Job Security
The DEA will be fighting for its life, and justification in a reforming world. Like good soldiers they don't question, they follow orders. At the Nazi trials they claimed they were just following orders. Without a any sense of humanity the DEA serves as a destructive entity in our society. In the future, on the history channel, will be lessons learned from prohibition part II.
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Comment #5 posted by BGreen on March 08, 2004 at 10:28:33 PT
ekim, The Jesse Ventura Video
It's here at Pot-TV.The Reverend Bud Green
Jesse Ventura's America
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Comment #4 posted by ekim on March 08, 2004 at 09:05:03 PT
Remember Jesse Ventura's Msnbc Cable Show
I hope that someone has that encounter with the DEA as it is the Only real one on record. Question what reg's are in place as to the showing of the TV Show Video and where can we get it. 
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Comment #3 posted by goneposthole on March 08, 2004 at 08:49:31 PT
how's come the DEA is unvilling to debate?
Entry: stupid Function: adjective Definition: irresponsible Synonyms: brainless, dazed, deficient, dense, dim, dodo, doltish, dopy, dotterel, dull, dumb, dummy, foolish, futile, gullible, half-baked, half-witted, idiotic, ill-advised, imbecilic, inane, indiscreet, insensate, irrelevant, irresponsible, laughable, loser, ludicrous, meaningless, mindless, moronic, naive, nonsensical, obtuse, pointless, puerile, rash, senseless, short-sighted, simple, simple-minded, slow, sluggish, stolid, stupefied, thick, thickheaded, trivial, unintelligent, unthinking, witless Concept: ignorance Schwarzenegger has admitted to smoking cannabis. How come the DEA hasn't confiscated his 600 million bucks? John Kerry has admitted to smoking cannabis. How come his fortune hasn't been forfeited?A trucker lost his truck during the Reagan years for having a pack of rolling papers on the dashboard.But those two pot smokers from days gone by have millions of dollars and freewheeling political lifestyles. The DEA's unwillingness to debate manifests their hapless justifications for doing what they do.'Better Dead than Republican'
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Comment #2 posted by mamawillie on March 08, 2004 at 08:47:58 PT
I'd pay money for them to publicly debate Joyce. That would be entertainment.Mama
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on March 08, 2004 at 08:05:13 PT:
To quote Arte Johnson: "Verrrrry interrrrestingk!&
So...the DEA has a 'policy' not to debate drug law reform? Why, pray tell? It's a domestic law enforcement agency no less subject to review and critical examination than any other. The DEA is not above answering to the taxpayers who foot it's bills as to why a debate cannot be held.I think this is something Representative Henry Waxman might want to know about... 
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