The High Cost of Prohibition

  The High Cost of Prohibition

Posted by CN Staff on June 26, 2005 at 08:10:04 PT
By Bill Steigerwald, Tribune Review 
Source: Tribune Review 

USA -- Milton Friedman is no dopehead. But that's his hallowed name atop the list of more than 500 economists who've signed an open letter asking our Drug War-addled politicians to stop the prohibition of marijuana and instead legalize it and tax it. The petition asks the president, Congress and state officials to wake up, smell the ganja and look honestly at "The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition," a report recently done by Harvard economics professor Jeffrey Miron.
Miron's research shows that if we came to our senses and stopped arresting 700,000 of our fellow Americans for mostly minor marijuana offenses each year, federal and local governments could garner $10 billion to $14 billion in savings and new tax revenues. About $7.7 billion would be saved on enforcement costs, says Miron, an expert on drug-related crime who conducted his report for the Marijuana Policy Project, a group that works to liberalize marijuana laws. If pot were taxed like pop, Miron estimates revenues of at least $2.4 billion. Tax pot like society's most hurtful drugs -- booze and tobacco -- and revenues could be $6.2 billion. So far, Miron said Wednesday, his petition has created some publicity but hasn't exactly gotten Washington's drug generals shaking in their boots. Since early June he's been on a few talk shows, and Friedman, who's long advocated legalizing all drugs, told Forbes magazine, "There is no logical basis for the prohibition of marijuana." Miron, like Friedman, believes our current war on (some) drugs does far more harm to society than good. Openly libertarian, Miron said his research sought to answer two things: Do prohibition laws really reduce consumption of the commodity that's prohibited? And is the crime associated with illegal drugs generated by the drugs themselves or the prohibition of them? The effect of tough drug laws on drug consumption is not zero, but is "relatively minor," Miron said. "The claim that people like the Bill Bennetts make that there would be 80 million addicts if we legalized drugs just doesn't stand up to any evidence or any scrutiny." As for the causes of drug crime, Miron said his research "very much suggests that it is prohibition. It's not drug-consumption-related, it's fighting-over-disputes-in-the-illegal-drug-trade-related. And that's a result of prohibition, not a result of the drug." In other words, "If we banned Ben & Jerry's ice cream, there'd be drive-by shootings over Ben & Jerry's." Matthew Marlin is an economics professor at Duquesne University who signed Miron's petition with pleasure. Like all good libertarians, he doesn't believe there is a valid moral argument for prohibiting adults from using drugs -- or alcohol or guns or anything else that's potentially dangerous to society if ill-used. But like all good economists, Marlin has been trained to think in terms of benefits and costs. "That's how we look at the world," he said. "If you follow us, economists are always arguing back and forth about benefits and costs -- the Kyoto treaty versus reduced economic growth, free trade, etc. "We're split down the middle on everything, but you don't see us split down the middle on drug prohibition. It's a case where it's clear that the costs of prohibition exceed the benefits." If only more politicians thought like economists, the chances of ever fixing our stupid, harmful and immoral drug policy might not be so dismal. Bill Steigerwald is the Trib's associate editor. Newshawk: Sukoi Source: Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA)Author: Bill Steigerwald, Tribune Review Published: Sunday, June 26, 2005 Copyright: 2005 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.Contact: opinion tribweb.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:The Miron Report Marijuana Hypocrisy To Save Nation Billions Friedman: Legalize It! 

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Comment #36 posted by FoM on June 27, 2005 at 22:08:59 PT
Thank you. Very good ideas. We really need to keep thinking about the benefits of changing the laws. I believe maybe if we look at it as a valuable asset they might get it.
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Comment #35 posted by b4daylight on June 27, 2005 at 21:53:56 PT
They would nake money off regulation like liscencesTabbacoo farmers could grow hemp
That should help some subsides.We could elimate foreign oil with biodeisel from HempA easyone would be all the money spend on the pursuit of cannabis instant savings.. of manpower, resources, jails etc
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Comment #34 posted by jose melendez on June 27, 2005 at 18:40:44 PT
hemp lunch promotes commerce Hemp Farming Act Introduced at Packed Capitol Hill Hemp Food Lunch; HR 3037 Would Give States the Right to Regulate Farming of Versatile Hemp Plant
International Hydrocarbon -
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Comment #33 posted by macker on June 27, 2005 at 17:20:54 PT
Achieving legalization
Every now and then, I wonder why marijuana isn't legalized (at least for medical use)... and then as the buzz is wearing off, I realize once again the answer.The people on the 'reform' side of things are idealists. I'm going to generalize a bit here, but simply stated, we all want to see marijuana legalized for the right reasons, and we want to play fair in doing so.The people who are fighting that have no such qualms about how they play, so long as they achieve the goal. Don't underestimate the power of people who oppose this... some of them have huge financial motives, some honestly believe they're fighting something evil, etc.So do we have to fight dirty? No. Some popular assessments would say that over half the country agrees with legalizing medicinal marijuana. Why hasn't it been? If there's still more people, shouldn't that overwhelm it? Maybe polls are being rigged, etc? At the end of the day, it's because people are sitting at home, commenting "gee, I wish they'd stop being dumb, and legalize it".We can all sit around and think about why it should be legalized. We can all come up with facts, ideas, rhetoric, etc. But there's only one way progress will ever be made. Make it in the direct interest of the people who set the rules, to change the rules. Either get more people involved, or involve people more effectively.
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Comment #32 posted by global_warming on June 27, 2005 at 16:10:29 PT
Whenever, I witness a heavy hand, I am, reminded, how our world, with its efforts, towards Justice, Truth, and how we are all so much better, than our Histories.It was a dope, a simple minded child, bereft of understanding, who graced our world, who consciously accepted, his sacrifice.That rock, that has remained, for 2K, years, Knew and Understood, his sacrifice, that sacrifice, has survived, into the New World.He tried to break, the hold, of the peoples fixation, for rabid lust of power, money, control, knowledge, and all the new condominiums, sprouting up, all over the corn lands, subtly escape and our precious world, is getting smaller.This may be a prison, planet, though, the prisoners, may come together, and the structures, that throw crumbs, to the hungry masses, may secretly offer, a tithe, an anonymous gift, that this world, may come full term, and be born, the Son of Man,This is the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius, this is the most correct time, for people, who share in the blessings, who are coming to understanding.Your shame, will be forgiven, your blasphemy, will never be forgotten.May my next word, my hand lifting, be filled with the Grace, that is reaching my
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Comment #31 posted by FoM on June 27, 2005 at 12:59:01 PT
I know that Bush will have to pay for this someday but when I don't know. If he had sex with an intern he would be impeached by now.
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Comment #30 posted by VitaminT on June 27, 2005 at 12:54:54 PT
FoM, I concur whole-heartedly!
Those men and women deserve the very best we can give them plus a lot more for having sent them into harms way because of Bush's awful lies. The only thing about the idea that troubles me would be the rusty old signs reading "Correctional Facility."The signs should be cleaned up and reposted on the road leading to a certain "ranch" near Crawford, Texas.
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Comment #29 posted by FoM on June 27, 2005 at 12:48:58 PT
More Pictures of Greenhouses
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Comment #28 posted by FoM on June 27, 2005 at 12:35:10 PT
I thought of one use too. Convert the excess prisons into Re-hab facilities for our returning mamed Soldiers.
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Comment #27 posted by FoM on June 27, 2005 at 12:29:50 PT
This would do wouldn't it?
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Comment #26 posted by VitaminT on June 27, 2005 at 12:27:19 PT
Convert them to hemp farms maybe?
Demolish half of the buildings and reconstruct the great barrier reef in the Gulf of Mexico?Housing for former Congressmen, Senators, Presidents, Wackenhut shareholders, Big Oil and Pharma Execs. etc. ad nauseam.There are a million answers to your question FoM!
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Comment #25 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on June 27, 2005 at 12:25:26 PT
I agree, not every crop would be grown outdoors, but it would be nice to have the option. However, in weather like we've been having, it'd be nice to know people still grew some indoors. If they didn't have to hide their grow, however, I imagine it could be more energy-efficient, or even done in a locked greenhouse. And the idea of someone coming along and stealing some of the crop is, I hope, going to be less tempting when the plant is not worth its weight in gold.And Paul Peterson's post is intriguing, but what are the vegetarians supposed to do?
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Comment #24 posted by FoM on June 27, 2005 at 12:12:31 PT

I see what you are saying. Let me play the devil's advocate for a minute. So what will we do with our very big investment in our prison industrial complex?
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Comment #23 posted by VitaminT on June 27, 2005 at 11:59:44 PT

Neat Idea FoM
I don't know if this gets exactly to the point you're raising but this article seems only to address matters of what the government spends and receives as tax revenue.But what about all the money that comes out of the pockets of those needlessly arrested for posessing this blessed, humble plant?I think I've seen documents stating some figure which is the sum of all typical expenses. Lost time at work (or lost job?), Court costs, legal expenses and the like.If we do the math it would add substantially to the bottom line noted in the article since spendable income is good for our national economy. Of course I'm not an economist.Here are a few figures based on 700,000 posession arrests and some assumptions about out-of-pocket expenses (they could be higher but I don't see how the could be much lower):Out-of-pocket: $1000. >>> $700,000,000.Out-of-pocket: $1500. >>> $1,050,000,000.Congress has been fighting tooth and nail over a few hundred million in funding for public broadcasting so the above dollar figures though small in the context of our massively bloated federal budget, are not insignificant.
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Comment #22 posted by Max Flowers on June 27, 2005 at 10:51:32 PT

JR Bob Dobbs
"...the electricity we could save if prohibition were repealed. All those farmers who could use the real sun instead of trying to re-create it indoors..."That (all growers deciding to grow outdoors if they could legally) would not happen JR Bob, and I'll explain why very simply. Indoors, one can get a crop in 3 months or even less because the grower controls the photoperiod (with the on/off schedule of the lights). Outdoors, it takes a full season (~9 months). Yes you get a lot bigger crop outdoors, however, you also have to deal with everything from rats to deer to insects to mold to ripoffs, and often you are lucky if you bring it in at all.Many people would opt to grow outdoors, but a great many (my guess is, a majority) would choose to stay indoors where they control all the conditions and have more security.
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on June 27, 2005 at 10:10:31 PT

What if Cannabis was Treated Like Alcohol
I have been looking for news but it's slow so I was thinking about what ifs. I look at the stats for CNews every morning and look at what articles are accessed the most during the month that they are recorded. This article went from just being posted to the top accessed article for the whole month of June so far with almost 3,000 hits. I thought why would that be. Maybe we need to talk about how people could generate revenue if the laws were changed. How could we show it would be finanically worthwhile and benefical to capitalism so they might pay attention?Any ideas anyone?
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Comment #20 posted by ekim on June 27, 2005 at 09:07:11 PT

"PHASE SHIFT" any more examples of such?
Comment #15 posted by paulpeterson on June 24, 2005 at 13:18:07 PT 
I just invented a new "drug"-totally legal! 
Yes, I have invented a new way of inducing a "phase shift" in consciousness, which includes:increased spirituality, increased sense of purpose, increased calm and it even makes you weak in the knees and wobbly!. I have been dosing on this for the past three months big time and it gets me toasted each time. This is produced by taking expensive commodity crops and feeding them to livestock in the proper ratios. Then, when you eat the meat it hits! The EFA balance is totally changed and your brain loves this stuff-that is why there is an immediate phase shift (left hemisphere to right) and then when you eat typical fast food get this: you experience another buzz as the "phase shift" hits again and you return to your regular dos programming (already in session).
Remember, people, I am the guy that has decriminalized 8 towns in Northern Illinois, so the first thing I did was to go to my friends at the Police department and they just gave me some parameters and told me to do voluntary trade restrictions (age 16 minimum to purchase, limits on dose allowed to age 21.) I am now, therefore, CLEARED TO START TO SELL THIS PRODUCT. I have a store at 1100 Central Ave. in Wilmette, Il. 60091 847-853-4200. I have a large yoga studio if anyone wants to come and visit and camp out whist you try the beef and pork for the buzz. I am broke and desperately need funds to continue my business and to publicize my remarkable discovery. HELP ME TO SPREAD THE WORD OF THIS WONDERFUL PROCESS. If I get enough people helping me to get this cash flow process done, I will certainly share the specific recipe for this "drug". It could help Autism, ADD, Alzheimer's, etc. It cuts down inflammation and drops your LDL's to HDL's. Sorry, I won't ship it out frozen. Come to Chicago's North Shore and visit my store and you'll get buzzed (I'm sure glad McDonald's started hawking their own "fruit buzz" which actually kills brain cells. Not mine, though. No headache, no vacant feeling the morning after, just balanced EFA's until the next time! Have you omega'd today?Look forward to seeing youall soon enough. And by the way, when this discovery hits the press, if I can continue to produce this livestock, didn't I just knock a big wide hole right in the middle of prohibition? I mean, really, if you can't trust beef to be "straight" ie: if regular meat can get you high, how do they stop the floodgates from opening up?I will try to get state funds to test whether this "buzz" might discourage marijuana usage in kids. (Remember, you always have to frame any research in the negative aspect, etc.) I call this HIGH DOSE, ANIMAL BASE, RAPID INFUSION "PHASE SHIFT" BALANCING of EFA's and it works, really it does. Sorry, I haven't convinced the police to try it yet-they don't want to get too closly identified with me yet. I have suggested, however, that this might be an excellent modality for the police (good anxiety abatement, etc.). Bye for now, hope to see you guys soon? I'll keep the grill hot and ready. What do you want on yours? PAUL PETERSON, drug war on the run in Illinois-got something better than that.
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Comment #19 posted by jose melendez on June 27, 2005 at 05:57:26 PT

prosperity and development
You mean, we could stop supporting air conditioned grow ops, and perhaps reduce global warming? Imagine that. - - -Imagine this:"We are not just exciting the brain, we are using electricity to retune and remodulate.
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Comment #18 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on June 27, 2005 at 04:57:40 PT

The Miron Report
I wonder if there's not more money to be saved than even the Miron Report suggests. I haven't read it thoroughly yet, but a quick search in the PDF file for keywords shows nothing in it about the electricity we could save if prohibition were repealed. All those farmers who could use the real sun instead of trying to re-create it indoors...
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on June 26, 2005 at 19:53:26 PT

News Article from The Jerusalem Post
Alei Yarok Offers New Toke on PulloutBy Nina GilbertJune 27, 2005
Israel -- Activists of the pro-cannabis Alei Yarok party are on a mission to bring relaxation to Gaza during disengagement. On Sunday, party chairman Boaz Wachtel and group members campaigned in Gaza for the government to issue a temporary order to allow settlers and security personnel to use cannabis during planned evacuation of settlements in August to reduce the level of violence. However, Wachtel and his cohorts, who support the disengagement plan, mostly got a negative response to their idea. "A brawl started and we were nearly tossed out of the Maoz Hayam Hotel" where settlers were holed up, he said. The group also blocked a few roads in Gaza to give settlers "a taste of their own medicine in an act of defiance of their violent behavior." Wachtel said that according to research, cannabis is known for its relaxant properties and for its ability to reduce aggression and violent behavior. He said a sizeable amount of cannabis was grown in Gush Katif and the Palestinian area of Gaza. "In the extreme settlements there is a wide
use of cannabis," he claimed. During the visit, he said a few young settlers approached the group and expressed support for cannabis use to reduce violence. Wachtel had planned to quit politics in 2003 after a second unsuccessful run, but activists encouraged him to continue his efforts. He said he had a feeling that elections would be called in
November, but emphasized that the party was operating year round to support medical use of cannabis. He said he was not concerned that supplies would diminish after the pullout from Gaza, attributing government prohibition to encouraging a high price on the black market. He blamed the government for what he said was terrorists making money off of the marijuana trade. "It
contributes to the strengthening of terrorist organizations," he said of the prohibition. Copyright: 2005 The Jerusalem Post
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Comment #16 posted by MikeEEEEE on June 26, 2005 at 15:49:34 PT

Possible meaning for dope
I think it goes back to the days, the 60's probably, when they used dopamine to relax the mind of psych. patients, to affect the dopamine receptors in the brain. The doctors called it dope for short. It probably caught on in the propaganda of time, used for its negative meaning.
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Comment #15 posted by jose melendez on June 26, 2005 at 13:55:58 PT

thick headed 
I seem to be afflicted similarly, as many here and elsewhere may have noticed. - - - "That's why they call it dope!" - my smiling friend "Whale" 
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on June 26, 2005 at 13:27:55 PT

I haven't heard this expression since my Dad always called me it. LOL!thick-headedThat's me! LOL!
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Comment #13 posted by jose melendez on June 26, 2005 at 13:17:31 PT

a sample from my sent LTE to #3
" . . . although Agent Taylor omits these all of these material and relevant facts from his essay, the facts remain that whether it is smoked, vaporized or consumed as a good gift of food as the Lord recommends in Genesis 1:29, marijuana is far safer than many if not most of the products approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Perhaps instead of protecting certain drugs manufacturers against competition from a weed, those sworn by oath of office to uphold and defend the law should fight real crime."Note: Restraints of trade are directly related to economic protectionism, and along with false claims, war on us or aiding and comforting our enemies are defined in U.S. law as felony crimes.Rev. Jose Juan Melendez, Jr.
Marijuana Mission
"First Cannabis Church" [(c) 2005 by Rev. Jose Juan Melendez Jr.]
1630 Lake Drive
DeLand, FL
32724888 247-8183
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Comment #12 posted by jose melendez on June 26, 2005 at 13:13:53 PT

straight dope: high, drunk, baked, holy . . . 
Look up dope at Dictionary.comdope -   1807, Amer.Eng., "sauce, gravy," from Du. doop "thick dipping sauce." Extension to "drug" is 1889, from practice of smoking semi-liquid opium preparation. Meaning "foolish, stupid person" is older (1851) and may have a sense of "thick-headed." Sense of "inside information" (1901) may come from knowing before the race which horse had been drugged to influence performance. Dope-fiend is attested from 1896. see also: The Drinker I Drunk, Demeanor I Get. 
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Comment #11 posted by whig on June 26, 2005 at 12:58:43 PT

You know, you are right. The words are just the words but the meaning behind them is lost to the blind and deaf who will not see or hear because fearful of judgment. Yet, fear not for we all shall be given chance to understand, and all that we conceal for the sake of putting off that day shall be revealed, there is nothing to be gained by further deception.
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Comment #10 posted by global_warming on June 26, 2005 at 12:18:53 PT

Thanks, GP
While I was typing, never meant to post ( I have great respect, for those 2, the Kap, and Old Sam A), my lowest pecking order, have I not forgotten.All these pixilated words, and we to this moment, we, as "messed up" we are working towards, a common dream, maybe we can share that common dream, maybe the good, bad and the ugly, nay be toothless,and they, may have a hug for you.They may hide in the shadows of the righteous, man, there is so much pain, so much helplessness, so much war, so much hatred, .
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on June 26, 2005 at 11:55:33 PT

Thank you for the post. I know one thing. I am not from SF and have never seen a Cannabis Club so I try to listen to what people are saying and learn. It's a delicate issue and one that someday might be a good lesson learner for the rest of all the states. 
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Comment #8 posted by goneposthole on June 26, 2005 at 11:47:14 PT

The Prohibitionists can't give up now
... nor the preventionists. Good for them. They (the preventionists) can prevent themselves from furthering their prohibitionistic zealousness.I have no idea how they are going to prevent people from using a mind-altering substance like cannabis. How can they do it? Especially when cannabis availability is more prevelant than it has ever been.I can understand when they won't give up the fight, it's an epic crusade. They'll never give up the ship. The USS Prohibition is worth saving. Come to think of it now, I have never seen or heard a president utter the words 'mission accomplished' on the deck of the USS Prohibition. Nary a peep about the war on drugs being won. That's because it ain't gonna happen. The prohibitionists are always saying that they are 'winning' the war on drugs.  Yeah, and I'm always winning the lottery, but I ain't won yet. Just like the war on terror will never be won, although the mission has been accomplished (yeah, right), the war on drugs will never be won.Now a new ship has been launched, the USS Prevention; sort of a pre-emptive approach, I suppose.The USS Compassion, USS Respect and the USS Integrity have all been sunk. The prohibitionists' mutiny of the USS Freedom had disastrous consequences. The prohibitionists have runamok ever since.It's a mess.
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Comment #7 posted by global_warming on June 26, 2005 at 11:34:58 PT

Oh..What A High Price
While the fatted calf of prohibition is being slaughtered, nobody is looking over their shoulder, how many bright minds and their chance to participate in the healing of our world, are being led to the alter for sacrifice?It is True Justice, that the height of self conceit and false pride, mark this generations decent into utter dissolution.That sweet taste in your mouth, will sour in your belly, and fill your land with a blight, that has never been seen by the eyes of mankind.The only music that will be heard, will be the sounds of the last gasps for breath, as all the living in this world, are consumed in the empty eternal Night, that Night we call the Universe, that Night we call Mystery, that Night we call God.The only inheritance, that you will leave behind, will not be fit for an insect..."For some of them will blaspheme the truth and proclaim evil teaching. And they will say evil things against each other."Therefore all that which exists not will dissolve into what exists not. For deaf and blind ones join only with their own kind.""And there shall be others of those who are outside our number who name themselves bishop and also deacons, as if they have received their authority from God. They bend themselves under the judgment of the leaders. Those people are dry canals."The Savior said, "For a time determined for them in proportion to their error they will rule over the little ones. And after the completion of the error, the never-aging one of the immortal understanding shall become young, and they (the little ones) shall rule over those who are their rulers. The root of their error he shall pluck out, and he shall put it to shame so that it shall be manifest in all the impudence which it has assumed to itself. And such ones shall become unchangeable, O Peter."The Savior said to me, "He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus. But this one into whose hands and feet they drive the nails is his fleshly part, which is the substitute being put to shame, the one who came into being in his likeness. But look at him and me."But I, when I had looked, said "Lord, no one is looking at you. Let us flee this place."But he said to me, "I have told you, 'Leave the blind alone!'. And you, see how they do not know what they are saying. For the son of their glory instead of my servant, they have put to shame." ..
The Apocalypse of Peter
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Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on June 26, 2005 at 11:31:18 PT

SF Raids
I know this is a huge post, but it answered several questions on my mind re: the recent raids in SF, FOM feel free to delete if it's too big, they didn't post it anywhere on their website:ASA's Analysis of the SF Dispensary Raids 
by Kris Hermes, Legal Campaign DirectorOn Wednesday morning, ASA's office went into high gear "Emergency 
Response" mode following reports of medical marijuana dispensaries in San 
Francisco being raided by DEA and SFPD. This included sending staff members 
to the site to observe, alerting the media, meetings with the offices of SF 
Board of Supervisors, Chief of Police, the DA, the Police Commission, SFPD 
Narcotics Taskforce, and the SF City Attorney, alerting all Bay Area 
dispensing collectives, calling patients and SF organizers to follow up on 
details, managing media, organizing a next-day press conference, managing 
hundreds of calls from panicked patients and advocates. By mid-afternoon, rumors of "Asian Mafia," with ten warehouses of Ecstasy, were 
flying out of control, but two things were certain: 1) SFPD broke the vow of the 
Sanctuary Resolution, and 2) that Medical Marijuana centers had been shut down 
by the DEA. That is why we called for a rally at City Hall the next day 
following the DOJ press conference. In order to explain ASA's reaction to the recent raids, we offer this as at 
least an interim analysis. *** First, is has become clear that the DEA and SFPD (among other local law 
enforcement agencies) were operating collaboratively to shut down medical 
marijuana dispensaries at least two of which had been open for a number of 
years, supplying patients with much-needed medicine. This cooperation would 
appear to contradict the city's medical marijuana sanctuary resolution from 
2001 , 
as well as the District Attorney's comments from last week in the SF Bay 
Guardian  affirming patients' rights 
and expressing an unwillingness to cooperate with the feds. Second, the bulk of the indictments are for marijuana cultivation. This was 
evidenced by the fact that the dominant agency during the raids was the DEA, 
and that what was most visible was numerous plants being hauled out of the 
facilities. While three indictments were for possession with intent to 
distribute ecstasy, and another two were for "money laundering," these 
allegations are from proven and represent a common tactic by the feds to 
create a smokescreen for their real intentions. In fact, the "money laundering" 
accusations appear to be levied as a result of operators simply depositing 
money from medical marijuana proceeds into a bank account. The allegations of 
ecstasy distribution has no physical connection to any of the dispensaries. Third, allegations of "organized crime" within a certain ethnic community 
works to pit dispensing facilities, patients, and people in the "movement" 
against each other in a "divide and conquer" strategy. Accusing only Asians of 
illegal acts allows the feds to claim that the activities were gang-related, 
thereby splitting liberal support for medical marijuana playing on fears of the 
Asian mafia. Fourth, the fact that the DEA made statements that differentiate medical 
from non-medical also points to a "divide and conquer" strategy. The truth is 
that the federal government does not believe marijuana is medicine regardless. 
Their position and intent is not an accident, but likely well planned to 
broadcast to California and the nation that dispensaries (and they are 
implicitly grouping all dispensaries in this strategy) are just front operations 
for drug dealing and organized crime. At a time when over 40 cities and counties 
are deliberating regulations on dispensing, this is no mistake. Fifth, no evidence appears to exist that these operations were anything but 
medical marijuana operations. Again, two of the three dispensaries had been 
operating for years, providing medicine to countless patients. The amount of 
marijuana seized is consistent with the needs of the patients to whom they 
were providing medicine. Therefore, this is a time to come together in defiance against raids such as 
these and for the medical marijuana movement to speak as a united front. 
Similar federal activity happened a couple of years ago, but, due to a strong 
patient response, the feds backed off. The drug war and the feds' war against 
medical marijuana is a political one, that, despite having very real 
ramifications, is typically fought on the streets as opposed to a courtroom. 
Before buying into their "divide and conquer" strategy, ASA invites everyone to 
think critically about what has happened and join us in fighting back against 
this affront to patients. Let us not forget that Bryan Epis, Ed Rosenthal, and 
Scott Imler (among many others) have all been named criminals by the Federal 
government. -- 
Kris Hermes 
Legal Campaign Director 
Americans for Safe Access 
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Comment #5 posted by kaptinemo on June 26, 2005 at 11:03:31 PT:

There's that "P" word again
Prohibition. The word that conjures up the image of narrow-minded, bigoted Church Lady types wailing against 'demon rum' and demanding 'action'...while Al Capone smiles and rakes in the bucks their wrong-headed 'activism' provides him and his crew...while they're giving orders for the execution of gang rivals, and innocents die in the drive-by shootings. "The more things change, the more they stay the same." History repeating itself, once again, and again, and again...The word. The one the antis are trying to dodge by referring to themselves as 'preventionists'. (Don't make me laugh. What do they prevent? If they had had any success, they would have been *proud* of calling themselves 'prohibitionists'. But they haven't done anything but exacerbate a problem easily handled without emotionally charged rhetoric, just good common sense.) The word they are desperate to avoid being tagged with, but no matter how fast they try to they run from it, the historical proofs of what they are continue to dog them. They are the ideological children of the same ne'er do well 'father' as the 'ardent Dry's' who ultimately danced to the tune of the bootleggers. They are prohibitionists.That word. That damnable (for the antis) word. Prohibition. Said by another media type. The media wonks have 'gotten it', all right.And now, the prohibitionists will soon 'get it', too. 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on June 26, 2005 at 09:28:20 PT

Off Topic
Chet Helms -- Legendary S.F. Rock Music ProducerSunday, June 26, 2005Chet Helms, a towering figure in the 1960s Bay Area music scene who brought Janis Joplin to San Francisco and ran the Avalon Ballroom during the Summer of Love, died early Saturday after suffering a stroke last week. He was 62. "Chet Helms was like one of the founding fathers of music scene here," said Mickey Hart, drummer for the Grateful Dead and many other bands. "He was really the heart and soul of the music scene here in San Francisco. He was more than just a promoter. The Avalon really captured the spirit and the vibe of the era."
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on June 26, 2005 at 09:09:09 PT

News Article from The Auburn Journal
Looking Past The Pot SmokescreenSunday, June 26, 2005 
 By Gordon D. Taylor, Guest ColumnistWithin the past five years, the U.S. Supreme Court has twice said "no" to the "medical marijuana" argument. This has led pro-marijuana advocates to spread misinformation on the subject as they seek to push their agenda forward. It is time to set the record straight.First, the scientific and medical communities have determined that smoked marijuana is a health danger, not a cure. There are no Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications that are smoked, primarily because smoking is an unsafe and ineffective way to deliver medicine.Americans today have the world's safest, most effective system for approving prescription drugs, which must undergo rigorous FDA-approved scientific research. They must be proven to be both safe and effective for medical treatment. Smoked marijuana has not passed the safe and effective test, and therefore remains a prohibited substance under federal drug laws.Marijuana advocates often cite the 1999 Institute of Medicine report as justifying the use of "medical marijuana.' However, they fail to mention the study's finding that "marijuana is not modern medicine." The study concluded, "there is little future in smoked marijuana as a medically approved medication." While the study recognized that a compound in marijuana may be potentially therapeutic for some conditions, it recommended that further research be conducted.To that end, the Drug Enforcement Agency has approved and will continue to approve research into whether the active ingredient in marijuana can be formulated for medical use. Over the last few years, the DEA has registered every researcher meeting FDA standards to use marijuana in scientific studies.The DEA and medical science do not fear any compound, even those with a potential for abuse. If any substance has the proven capacity to serve a medical purpose, then it will be accepted. The key term is "proven capacity." Only if compounds from marijuana pass the same tests of research scrutiny that all other drugs must undergo will they become part of the modern medical arsenal.Unfortunately, there are many people who view marijuana as a harmless or soft drug. Information from tests and studies suggest otherwise. On average, the marijuana today is eight times more potent than it was during the early 1970s.Recent studies show that more teenagers enter drug treatment for marijuana abuse than for alcohol and all other illegal drugs combined. Marijuana related emergency room visits for teenagers more than tripled between 1994 and 2001. These statistics directly contradict the claim that marijuana is a harmless drug.Contrary to what legalizers contend, DEA targets not the sick and dying, but criminals engaged in cultivation and trafficking of illegal drugs. In many instances, those who provide considerable funding to the "medical marijuana" movement use the sick and terminally ill as a smokescreen to hide their true agenda, which is across-the-board legalization of marijuana."Medical pot" users often cite minor ailments as their justification to use marijuana, such as anxiety, premenstrual syndrome or sleeplessness. These users, and many like them who use marijuana for so-called medical purposes, are simply exploiting California marijuana laws to shield themselves from local law enforcement and to disguise their desire to get high.The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on marijuana should prompt parents to discuss with their children the problems and hazards associated with marijuana use. We owe it to our children to tell them the truth about the dangers of marijuana and help them see through the "medical marijuana" smokescreen.Gordon Taylor, a veteran of the Drug Enforcement Agency for more than 18 years, has oversight of DEA operations in 34 counties throughout the Central Valley and Northern California.Copyright: 2005 Gold Country Media.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on June 26, 2005 at 08:43:05 PT

When I first saw this article and saw the word dopehead in the opening it turned me off right away. I'm very tired of insults. This is a real issue and it needs serious discussion not words that only fire up people.
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Comment #1 posted by duzt on June 26, 2005 at 08:36:02 PT

nice article
but they could have reduced that last part, "If only more politicians thought like economists, the chances of ever fixing our stupid, harmful and immoral drug policy might not be so dismal" to just:If only more politicians thought, the chances of ever fixing our stupid, harmful and immoral drug policy might not be so dismal. 
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