Devil Weed 

Devil Weed 
Posted by CN Staff on April 04, 2007 at 16:38:02 PT
By Robert Koehler
Source: Huffington Post
Tennessee -- "We are the ones we've been waiting for."So of course a guy like Bernie Ellis -- who signs his letters with this catchphrase, and who lives it in so many ways, doing what needs to be done, putting himself in the vanguard of vital social movements like the one for fair elections (which is how I know him) -- would eventually get nailed for crossing a line.
How easy to have played it safe, but Ellis, who until a year and a half ago lived on a 187-acre farm 40 miles southwest of Nashville, Tenn., and worked as a public health epidemiologist, had been growing, along with other crops, a small amount of medical marijuana on his farm. The recipients over the years, via their social workers, were terminally ill AIDS and cancer patients, who obtained nausea and pain relief from what has been called (by no less than Francis Young, a Drug Enforcement Administration law judge) "one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."For reasons that will probably forever remain murky, Ellis' farm was raided in August 2002. A few days earlier, a local dealer had tried to buy some pot from him and was told to shove off, so the suspicion lingers that the dealer turned him in. Two helicopters swooped overhead and eight or nine officers of the Tennessee Marijuana Eradication Task Force entered his property -- a lot of hoo-hah, you might think, for seven pounds of weed, worth about $7,000.Ellis was interrogated for two hours and freely "confessed" to his activities. Indeed, at the very moment of the raid he'd been crafting recommendations, at the request of New Mexico's then-Gov. Gary Johnson, on how that state could establish a program making cannabis available immediately to patients in need. He gave the officers a printout of his proposal. How guilty can you get? "I said this from the beginning," Ellis told me. "I'm not ashamed of what I'm doing." And he wasn't arrested. The Task Force officers did some checking around and learned that Ellis was not only well known but highly respected among county officials. His troubles didn't begin till the federal government became interested in his case -- and this gets at the core outrage of the whole matter. The zeal to keep marijuana criminalized in the face of so much evidence -- it has 50 to 100 therapeutically beneficial subcomponents and has been studied in connection with the treatment and control of Alzheimer's, brain tumors, epilepsy, MS and even schizophrenia, among much else -- emanates from the federal level. Welcome to the Bush administration's other bogus war: the war on drugs. Science be damned. Rationality, compassion and state's rights be damned. What matters is the continual drawing of random and arbitrary borders, which are then ruthlessly defended no matter what. And with the drawing of borders comes the creation of enemies, and in the world of herbs, marijuana is the enemy -- the devil weed, no matter how medically useful. As Ellis noted, "Every federal commission since Nixon has recommended reclassifying marijuana, allowing it to re-enter the medical pharmacopoeia." Yet the feds have been known to prosecute medical marijuana growers even in states that have legalized it. Twelve have done so, including, most recently, New Mexico, whose law, signed last month by Gov. Bill Richardson, incorporates the recommendations Ellis was working on at the time of the raid. No matter. In federal court, Ellis was prosecuted as an ordinary drug dealer and convicted. Though his sentence was relatively lenient -- an 18-month term in a federal halfway house, which ends in May -- he has incurred some $70,000 in legal debt and, far more frightening, faces the loss of his farm in a federal civil action.The Nashville community has rallied to his support, and a series of benefits are planned. If you're interested in contributing to the cause, see:"If you really do believe what you're doing is not wrong, then you've threatened the foundation of their legitimacy," Ellis said. "You've raised your head above the foxhole."For my friend Bernie's sake, I truly hope the forces of rationality are successful. And I recoil at the idea that his beautiful farm, where he has lived for four decades, could be fed into the maw of "example," a reminder to like-minded others that an ignorant and arrogant administration is in power right now and will impose the Dark Ages on all of us for as long as it can.Robert Koehler, an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist, is an editor at Tribune Media Services and nationally syndicated writer. You can respond to this column at:  bkoehler or visit his Web site at 2007 Tribune Media Services, Inc.Source: Huffington Post (NY)Author: Robert KoehlerPublished: April 4, 2007Copyright: 2007, LLC Contact: bkoehler URL: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #21 posted by Hope on April 06, 2007 at 00:41:36 PT
Taylor Comment 12
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Comment #20 posted by Hope on April 06, 2007 at 00:39:47 PT
Comment 1 GCW
"Cannabis is a Godly angel plant." That is such a sweet statement.
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on April 05, 2007 at 14:38:52 PT
That's ok. I would like to see The Farm but it is far away from here so that won't ever happen.
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Comment #18 posted by Celaya on April 05, 2007 at 14:19:34 PT
I guess I made a syntax error. When I said The Farm was "close to here," the "here" I was referring to was the residence of Bernie Ellis, southwest of Nashville. Thus, my concern for The Farm.Sorry for the confusion.
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on April 05, 2007 at 09:37:04 PT
You must go and visit The Farm. If I had anything like The Farm close to me I would have to see it and meet the people. This is just advice you know.
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Comment #16 posted by Celaya on April 05, 2007 at 09:25:22 PT
As disturbing as this is....
.... It makes me even more concerned for The Farm, which is very close to here. For decades, The Farm has been the greatest success in communal living, a carrying on of the very best of the traditions of the hippie ideal, and, of course, a haven for persecution-free consumption of the hippie sacrament - marijuana. It's survival in this rural area for so long is an amazing testament to the tremendous good it has accomplished, garnering the respect and fondness of the surrounding community. Though I have always wanted to visit The Farm, somehow, I haven't yet managed it. But, it almost seemes enough just to know it is there. It's existence means that there is at least an island of reason in the sea of madness. It has been a refuge that has always promised to me that, no matter how bad things get, no matter what destruction comes, I could always go to the Farm and hear "Welcome Home!"I'm hoping the jackals in the area, encouraged by their latest kill, won't set their sites on my/our peace movement mecca. 
The Farm
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on April 05, 2007 at 09:03:13 PT
Michigan: Upcoming Event News 
Cold Weather, Patrols May Put Kibosh on Hash Bash***Memorial for pot concocter Chef Ra planned on Diag By Megan Brown, News Staff Reporter Thursday, April 05, 2007Scores of pro-marijuana activists will gather on the University of Michigan Diag this Saturday for the 36th annual Hash Bash. The event serves as an outlet for citizen protest against current marijuana laws, said Adam Brook, its organizer and master of ceremonies since 1989. "It's a reminder that when you make a law we don't agree with, we're going to come out and let you know,'' Brook said. Snipped:Complete Article:
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Comment #14 posted by Dr Ganj on April 05, 2007 at 08:23:40 PT
LEAP Article (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)EX-OFFICER LIKENS DRUG WAR TO PROHIBITION Retired police officer Peter Christ on Tuesday compared the contemporary war on drugs to National Prohibition of the 1920s. He even likened the bloody St. Valentine's Day Massacre to a "drug-related shooting" in today's big cities. "When some reporter writes a story about a drug-related shooting, the reader says, 'See what drugs cause,'" he said. "Not one reporter in 1929, when reporting on the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, referred to that as an alcohol-related shooting. They all called it what it was -- a Prohibition-related shooting." He said the same is true today. Drug policy, drug sales and drug turf wars end up in gunplay; it is not people high on drugs shooting it out. Therefore, he said, it is the nation's failed drug policy that is causing the problems. He is calling for the legalization -- with strict regulation and control -- of all drugs: Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and LSD. Christ, who spent 20 years as a captain on the police force of in Tonawanda, N.Y., near Buffalo, is a founding member of LEAP -- Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. He spoke to students at Colby College on Tuesday afternoon on the topic of cocaine and later in the day in a Goldfarb lecture on the Mayflower Hill campus. The title of the lecture was "War on Drugs? Or War on People?" The program was sponsored by the Maine Marijuana Policy Initiative and Colby's Goldfarb Center For Public Affairs and Civic Engagement. Christ ( rhymes with wrist ) said the non-profit LEAP was formed in 2002 and now has roughly 8,000 members, including 800 retired law enforcement officers. "We are law enforcement against prohibition -- it's all drugs -- what we talk about is the policy of prohibition as being detrimental to society," he said. "We know that policy of prohibition is at the root of most of the crime and violence we associate with drugs in our society." Christ, 60, said 75 percent of drug-related crime and violence come from people fighting over the marketplace -- who is going to sell what on what corner at what time. "What we are about is shutting down that illegal market, so that we can take this money away from the gangsters," he said. Christ compared the drug market to the old "numbers rackets," where illegal gambling was conducted based on what numbers came up on a given day. He said that game is still in town -- only now it is called the lottery. "That didn't solve our gambling problem," he said. "Legalization of drugs is not to be considered as an approach to our drug problem. Legalization of drugs is about our crime and violence and today, terrorism, problems that are financing themselves off this illegal marketplace." He said well-intentioned police and prosecutors appear to favor a policy of prohibition over a policy of regulation, all the while living with the reality that drugs are not going to go away. Drugs are available, but with no guarantee of purity or distribution sites, he said. Christ said that, like alcohol use, drug use is not the problem. He said addiction and abuse are the problems. He said U.S. laws target the small-time user of, say, marijuana, as a criminal, which fills the nation's jails and prisons with non-violent offenders. He said 10 to 15 percent of all drug users are addicted. The rest are casual users. "Any form of regulated marketplace is better than what we have now," he said. "We're going to have to figure out how to regulate these drugs. It's a war on people -- we aren't putting drugs in prison; we are putting people in prison." He said members of LEAP believe that all of the drugs mentioned are dangerous and that they must be regulated and controlled. "Now, here's the reality," he said. "When you chose the policy of prohibition to deal with these drugs, you give up all of your ability to regulate and control." 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on April 05, 2007 at 07:04:48 PT
I am happy about Iran releasing the soldiers. Maybe there is hope for peace.
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Comment #12 posted by Taylor121 on April 05, 2007 at 04:26:12 PT
OT: Happy for the British
I'm glad Iran released the soldiers. Congrats to their friends and families.
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Comment #11 posted by whig on April 04, 2007 at 23:49:47 PT
All Change
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Comment #10 posted by whig on April 04, 2007 at 23:07:56 PT
Imagine peace
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Comment #9 posted by ekim on April 04, 2007 at 23:06:17 PT
 Dean Kuipers riveting saga
anyone interested in this story will find"Burning Rainbow Farm" very informitive.i can not say enough good things about Dean except to say thank you for telling the rest of the story.
see Dean in MI at theDelton Libriry April 12 -6;pm anyone been listening to NPR drug war 10 min spots
if you have an oppinon please see the leapblog
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Comment #8 posted by whig on April 04, 2007 at 18:30:29 PT
Everything is OK
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Comment #7 posted by whig on April 04, 2007 at 18:29:19 PT
the ones who worshipped the golden idol
Cannabis will treat that condition you find yourself in, eventually.
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Comment #6 posted by whig on April 04, 2007 at 18:19:52 PT
The Story of Rabbit
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Comment #5 posted by whig on April 04, 2007 at 18:14:18 PT
right now
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Comment #4 posted by whig on April 04, 2007 at 18:09:48 PT
power to the people
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Comment #3 posted by whig on April 04, 2007 at 18:07:46 PT
We won before the war even began.
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on April 04, 2007 at 18:03:34 PT
We've Already Won
"If you really do believe what you're doing is not wrong, then you've threatened the foundation of their legitimacy," Ellis said. "You've raised your head above the foxhole."We have already won the moral victory. We have truth and righteousness on our side. There is no possible way we can lose. It's only a short matter of time until total, outright victory is declared.On an unrelated note, you've got to see this one...NBC's Pat Dawson Blows Up at 9/11 Truthers (video): WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Rosie O'Donnell and the Status of Thinking in America: Jones takes on Bill O'Reilly's criticism of Rosie (video):'s 'Big Story' Tells Three Big Lies: Media is Panicking Over Rosie: TO KEEP ROSIE ON THE AIR: Midwest Tour Launched: - A Tale Of Missing Tails - Deconstructing the BBC Smear Job: Fact Sheet:
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on April 04, 2007 at 17:40:53 PT
What to do with that anger.
Tenn. could become state 13.Use the anger to stop the feds.And don't just stop them, embarrass them.-0-Cannabis is a Godly angel plant.The Feds are the devil weed.
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