NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- October 27, 2005

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- October 27, 2005
Posted by CN Staff on October 27, 2005 at 09:31:05 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
Liberalizing Marijuana Laws Enables Police To Focus Efforts On More Serious Crimes, Study SaysOctober 27, 2005 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: Depenalizing minor marijuana possession offenses will not increase marijuana use and will enable law enforcement to reallocate criminal justice resources toward addressing more serious crimes, according to a report released today by the JFA Institute and commissioned by the NORML Foundation.
"With respect to the dual questions of decriminalization's impact on [cannabis] use and crime, there seems to be broad consensus based on scientific data that it will have little, if any, impact," states the report, entitled "Rethinking the Consequences of Decriminalizing Marijuana." It adds: "Marijuana already is a widely used substance with over 26 million annual users. And despite increases in marijuana use since the early 1990s, the crime rate has plummeted over the same time frame. If there was a marijuana-crime link, it is not having its expected impact on crime."Regarding the merits of marijuana decriminalization as an alternative to criminal prohibition, the report concludes, "The major benefit of decriminalization, in addition to eliminating the needless arrest, prosecution, and court disposition of over 700,000 people each year, would be the ability of the criminal justice system to focus on more important public safety activities."According to the JFA report, it typically takes police over seven hours to complete the paperwork associated with a criminal arrest. "During this time, the officer's presence to detect and deter other crimes that may be occurring [is] essentially eliminated," the report states. Amending state laws to allow law enforcement the discretion to issue a citation to minor marijuana offenders would significantly free up police time and criminal justice resources that could be redirected toward combating other, more serious criminal activities, it concludes.To date, 12 states - Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon - have adopted varying degrees of marijuana decriminalization for cases involving the personal use of cannabis.Unlike previous analyses of decriminalization, the JFA report does not conclude that liberalizing cannabis laws will necessarily lead to a substantial reduction in criminal justice costs. This is because marijuana possession arrests, despite having risen substantially in recent years, still "represent a relatively small portion" of overall criminal cases. Among those arrested, most defendants are processed through lower or misdemeanor court systems and sentenced to supervised probation.Furthermore, the report finds that "the vast majority of criminal justice costs are 'fixed' or 'static' and do not vary appreciably by the volume of activities, tasks or incidents undertaken by [law enforcement] agencies." It concludes, "[T]he criminal justice system's capacity to reconstitute itself and actually expand in the face of declining crime rates illustrates just how difficult it [would be] to generate actual [criminal justice] savings" by amending one specific aspect of criminal policy. "This is because most [law enforcement] costs are largely linked to agency personnel costs (salary and fringe benefits) which reflect 70-75 percent of a criminal justice budget and do not vary by marginal changes in workloads."The JFA Institute is a non-partisan, multi-disciplinary research center in Washington DC that conducts theoretical and applied research on various criminal justice issues.Full text of report, Rethinking the Consequences of Decriminalizing Marijuana, available at: Department Awards Schools $7.2 Million To Enact Random Student Drug TestingOctober 27, 2005 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: Federal grants totaling more than $7 million will be used to pay for the establishment of random student drug testing in 350 schools nationwide, according to an announcement last week by the US Department of Education (DOE).According to the agency, school districts in 21 states will receive federal grant money to implement drug testing programs for the 2005-2006 school year. Of the 21 states receiving funding, schools in Texas will receive the largest allocation of federal moneys, approximately $2.4 million.Earlier this year, the White House sponsored a series of regional summits to encourage middle and high-school officials to enact random drug testing in public schools for students who participate in extracurricular activities or drive to campus. In addition, the Bush administration recently proposed increasing the amount of federal funds available to pay for student drug testing programs by more than 150 percent to a record $25.4 million annually.NORML Senior Policy Analyst Paul Armentano strongly criticized the White Houses' push for the expanded use of student drug testing, stating: "Random drug testing of students is a humiliating, invasive practice that runs contrary to the principles of due process. It compels teens to submit evidence against themselves and forfeit their privacy rights as a necessary requirement for attending school. Rather than presuming our school children innocent of illicit activity, suspicionless drug testing presumes them guilty until they prove themselves innocent. Is this truly the message the Bush administration wishes to send America's young people?"Armentano added that the only federally commissioned review examining the effectiveness of student drug testing programs found the policy to have no discernible impact on youth drug use. The 2003 study of 76,000 students by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, concluded, "At each grade level - 8, 10, and 12 - the investigators found virtually identical rates of drug use" in schools that drug tested versus those that did not.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. A complete list of grantees is available online from the Department of Education at: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: October 27, 2005Copyright: 2005 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives
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Comment #12 posted by b4daylight on October 28, 2005 at 16:16:54 PT
just a fyi
Senator Bill Frist, the Republican leader, said yesterday that executives of major oil companies will be summoned to Capitol Hill to testify about high energy prices. Some of Mr. Frist's language harked back to the 1970's and early 1980's when cries of price gouging at gasoline pumps were common."If there are those who abuse the free enterprise system to advantage themselves and their businesses at the expense of all Americans," he said, "they ought to be exposed, and they ought to be ashamed."Umm So is this the same man who gave them 9 billion in tax breaks?I think this quote goes well to with medical pot prohibition!
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on October 28, 2005 at 08:57:19 PT
It's good to see you. Yes that could also be a reason. I hope that most people grow out of hard drug use because it can kill. I've noticed that rock musicians that seem to make it into their fifties or older aren't dieing like those in their 40s. The people now in their 40s seem to be the cocaine generation. I missed that part of drugs thankfully.
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Comment #10 posted by trekkie on October 28, 2005 at 08:45:28 PT
Middle-age drug use
I'm not so sure that the recent upswing in OD's in middle-aged folks is due to increased intake, or from decades of steady use.I believe that it is because they quit years ago, and have started up again. Mid-life crisis, depression due to the state of the world, our high-stress and fear-soaked society (and the media driving it), or simply nostalgia for slightly simpler, more youthful times are all factors that would make one want leap off the wagon in cannonball dive. Hell, even Bush has started drinking again, hasn't he?
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Comment #9 posted by charmed quark on October 27, 2005 at 15:12:00 PT
Decriminalization is too little, too late
30 years ago, I would have been happy with decrim. But no more. My exposure to the medical issues makes me realize that legalization is the only thing that would work.If we only decrim it, drug testing will still be a used as a way or persecuting users. And there will be no way to obtain cannabis legally.
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Comment #8 posted by siege on October 27, 2005 at 14:28:48 PT
Ascide Suicide
Back in the 1980's in calif. we where trying to put in place 
Doctor Ascide Suicide by a vote and the doctors said to let them know and they could help, they where afraid of what organ is going with now.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on October 27, 2005 at 14:20:15 PT
I'm glad I'm not alone on how drugs effect me. I thought I was one of a kind! LOL!
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on October 27, 2005 at 14:18:04 PT
Apparently we were thinking basically the same thing at the same time.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on October 27, 2005 at 14:16:28 PT
For some reason, as I get older, I seem to be developing allergies or bad reactions to an increasing number of pharmaceuticals. 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 27, 2005 at 14:15:41 PT
I think it is because as we get older we might have a heart condition and maybe not know it and that could easily cause death. We often become more sensitive to substances as we get older. At least that's the way it is for me. I can only take one aspirin if I have pain. I avoid even aspirin now.
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Comment #3 posted by siege on October 27, 2005 at 14:08:24 PT
As you get older the drug intake gos up,,,
How much of this is pharmaceuticals and being cover up. 
since the last figures was in 2003. And how much of this is 
what they would call Doctor Ascide Suicide when people get sick and don't want to go to a Nursing Home or have what little they have to go to the doctors and Drug companies 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 27, 2005 at 10:50:03 PT
Off Topic: Dangers of Hard Drug Use
Older Drug Users' Deaths Have Doubled Since 1990***Daniel Costello, Los Angeles TimesThursday, October 27, 2005 Californians age 40 and older are dying of drug overdoses at double the rate recorded in 1990 in a little-noticed trend that upends the notion of hard-core drug use as primarily a young person's peril. Indeed, overdoses among baby boomers are driving an overall increase so dramatic that soon drug deaths may surpass automobile accidents as the state's leading cause of nonnatural deaths. "Baby boomers are the first generation that is facing a drug and overdose epidemic in their middle age," said John Newmeyer, epidemiologist and drug researcher at the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinics in San Francisco. "They started using drugs recreationally or regularly over 20 years ago, and they aren't really slowing down." In 2003, the latest year for which the state has figures, a record 3,691 drug users died, up 73 percent since 1990. The total surpassed deaths from firearms, homicides and AIDS. The rate of deadly overdoses among younger users over that period slightly declined, but the rate among those 40 and older jumped from 8.6 to 17.3 per 100,000 people. "We have seen a massive, long-term trend toward more middle-age drug abuse that is leading to an unprecedented number of deaths," said Michael Males, a sociology researcher at the UC-Santa Cruz. But "no one is doing anything about it. It has gotten almost no attention at the state, federal or local level." In California, the age at which someone was most likely to die from a drug overdose in 1970 was 22; by 1985, it was 32; and today it is 43, according to calculations by Males, based on state health data. Snipped:Complete Article:
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Comment #1 posted by runderwo on October 27, 2005 at 10:11:08 PT
"drug testing"
Of course, when they say "drug testing", what they mean is "marijuana testing", since most other drugs are only detectable while they are in your system producing effects. But to the federal government, it is of dire importance that we single out and discriminate against anyone who might have smoked marijuana sometime in the past month...
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