Drugs, Elephants and American Prisons

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  Drugs, Elephants and American Prisons

Posted by CN Staff on April 30, 2009 at 11:17:14 PT
By Bernd Debusmann 
Source: Reuters 

Washington, D.C. -- Are the 305 million people living in the United States the most evil in the world? Is this the reason why the U.S., with 5 percent of the world’s population, has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners and an incarceration rate five times as high as the rest of the world?Or is it a matter of a criminal justice system that has gone dramatically wrong, swamping the prison system with drug offenders?
That rhetorical question, asked on the floor of the U.S. Senate by Virginia Senator Jim Webb, fits into what looks like an accelerating shift in public sentiment on the way that a long parade of administrations has been dealing with illegal drugs.Advocates of drug reform sensed a change in the public mood even before Webb, a Democrat who served as secretary of the Navy under Republican Ronald Reagan, introduced a bill last month to set up a blue-ribbon commission of “the greatest minds” in the country to review the criminal justice system and recommend reforms within 18 months.No aspect of the system, according to Webb, should escape scrutiny, least of all “the elephant in the bedroom in many discussions … the sharp increase in drug incarceration over the past three decades. In 1980, we had 41,000 drug offenders in prison; today we have more than 500,000, an increase of 1,200 percent.”The elephant has ambled out of the bedroom and has become the object of a lively debate on the pros and cons of legalising drugs, particularly marijuana, among pundits on both sides of the political spectrum, on television panels and in mainstream publications from the Wall Street Journal to TIME magazine.True watersheds in public attitudes are rarely spotted at the time they take place but the phrase “tipping point” comes up more and more often in discussions on the “war on drugs”.“Something has changed in the past few months,” says Bruce Mirken, of the Marijuana Policy Project, one of a network of 30 groups advocating the legalisation of the most widely-used illegal drug in the United States. “In the first three months of this year we’ve been invited to national cable news programs as often as in the entire year before.” Shifting Mood Allen St. Pierre, who leads the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), also feels that the most serious public discussion in more than a generation is getting under way. “In mid-March,” he said in an interview, “there were 36 separate marijuana bills pending in 24 states — on legalization, de-criminalization, medical marijuana. Not all the bills will make it, but they are a sign of change.”So are public opinion polls. On a national level, they show an increase from about 15 percent in support of marijuana legalization four decades ago to 44 percent now. The numbers differ from state to state. In California, the most populous, a recent survey showed 54 percent in favour.St. Pierre sees a confluence of reasons for the shift in attitudes — baby boomers, a generation familiar with drug use, are in charge of the country’s institutions; the dismal economy makes people question public expenditures that do not seem essential; and the drug violence in Mexico that has begun spilling across the border.Contrary to widespread perceptions, marijuana accounts, by many estimates, for considerably more than half the illegal drugs smuggled from Mexico to the United States.The argument for legalizing marijuana, and eventually other drugs, is straightforward: it would transform a law-and-order problem into a problem of public health. A side effect of particular importance at a time of deep economic crisis: it would save billions of dollars now spent on law enforcement and add billions in revenues if drugs were taxed.If drug policies were decided by economists, the debate would have begun earlier and might be over by now. Four years ago, 500 economists including three Nobel prize winners urged the administration of George W. Bush to show that marijuana prohibition justified “the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues and numerous ancillary consequences…”Such as prisons holding, in the words of Senator Webb, tens of thousands of “passive users and minor dealers.”While they contribute to prison overcrowding in some states, they have little to fear in others. To fully grasp the bizarrely uneven treatment of marijuana use, consider the annual “smoke-out” on April 20 in Boulder, Colorado.There, on a sunny Monday, a crowd estimated at more than 10,000 converged on the campus of the University of Colorado to light up marijuana joints, whose smoke hung over the scene like a grey blanket. Overhead, an aircraft dragged a banner with the words “Hmmm, smells good up here.” Police watched but made no arrests and issued no fines.Even the most optimistic of reform advocates do not see an end to prohibition in the near future. President Barack Obama endeared himself to reformers during his election campaign by an honest answer to a question on past drug use: “Yes, I inhaled. Frequently. That was the point.” But his spokesman recently said Obama opposed legalization.It remains to be seen whether that stand remains the same if Webb’s proposed commission, assuming it will be established, came up with recommendations for deep change. That happened to the last report by a blue-ribbon commission on the subject.The so-called Shafer report, whose members were appointed by then-president Richard Nixon, found in 1972 that “neither the marijuana user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety” and recommended that there should be no criminal penalties for personal use and casual distribution.Nixon rejected the report. He had already declared “war on drugs”, and American prisons soon began filling up.Note: Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.Source: Reuters (Wire)Author: Bernd DebusmannPublished: April 30, 2009Copyright: 2009 Thomson ReutersRelated Articles:Drug Decriminalization: a Sensible Middle Ground We Must Fix Our Prisons

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Comment #46 posted by Hope on May 05, 2009 at 09:38:22 PT
Comment 42 Museman...Saturday morning...
I didn't get to listen to it until last's beautiful.Good music!Thanks, Museman.
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Comment #45 posted by FoM on May 04, 2009 at 13:48:34 PT
Very nice song. Thank you. 
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Comment #44 posted by rchandar on May 03, 2009 at 08:51:03 PT:
Common Sense
I think all debaters of drug policy should read this very seminal document by Thomas Paine, on the inception of America's independence. As in: "just because a child has sought his mother's milk, means that he can never have meat." Or, more perfectly: "it is impossible for a country as small as Great Britain to rule a nation as large as the United States."Let's re-tread that and: "it is impossible for possession of a plant matter to merit sending a human being to jail as punishment."Paine would definitely cry, "common sense!" had he been privy to our drugs policy.--rchandar
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Comment #43 posted by Had Enough on May 03, 2009 at 08:47:25 PT
….in this thread???…OUTSTANDING…!!!************While My Guitar Gently Weeps version ...George Harrison
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Comment #42 posted by museman on May 02, 2009 at 15:57:48 PT
Saturday offering
W.E.G.O.(Sounds best at moderate to high volume)
Comfort Prison
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Comment #41 posted by josephlacerenza on May 02, 2009 at 14:13:52 PT
As before, I will state I am still new here. I appreciate your expansion of thought behind some of the comments. I only came to academia after my father had died. I believe he had PTSD and took his own life. By doing so his children were given V.A. education benefits. So, yes I struggled for a long time in high school. It took me leaving before I understanding that if I was to make a difference it was not to be in some kitchen making burgers. I hitched up my pride and did the hard thing, I went back to school. I was a drop-out and was scared of what you call the status quo. I appreciate all here on this forum. I do not do the forum thing talking here and there, it feels impersonal, not here!!! I too have had to deal with my 13 and 17 year old step children coming home and spouting what their teachers know to be true and not their own truths. We have let our son go to his youth group with his other friends, it is hard for him to not see us go to church. They, at the youth group, would want him to believe his family is going to hell for not attending church, not to mention the pressure they put on him that it is HIS DUTY to SAVE us. To be a good christian, HE MUST SAVE US!!!! It is a tough thing to explain to a kid that I am not going to hell because I have walked the path he is now on. I had to find THE TRUTH my way!!!So, Museman I appreciate your insight, I appreciate your willingness to share, and I appreciate what has made you you!!!FREEDOM FOR ALL 
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Comment #40 posted by museman on May 02, 2009 at 11:20:25 PT
josephlacerenza #22
"P.S. Museman I understand what your getting at, and don't mean to take it personally, but I am still trying to make a difference the best way I know how!!!?"Dude, I went to one University, and 4 comunity colleges. My eldest daughter speaks five languages, is an Alumni of the U of O, and got her masters degree in Political Science at Oslo University in Norway. I currently have two children enrolled at the U of O.I am very proud of all my children. At a recent point in the past, my eldest daughter and I went round about the vey things I have said about 'academia' etc., and it took a while, with some very emotional moments before she got around to realizing where I was coming from.Its not 'what' you do with your life that matters as much as 'how' you do it.Unfortunately the system of things, as it is, is unbalanced, unfair, and literally suupports the rise of scum to the top.If they taught reality in those schools instead of 'how to make money', my esteem of them would change drasticly.But the fact is, that you can conform to the curriculum that is presented as if it were the whole and sum of knowledge -on any narrow academic subject (and they are very narrow and limited, no matter what course you study) and get a 'degree' without actually ever mastering the subject, because a REAL 'master' lives it, they don't just give lectures, or write books and make their judgements out to be something special. Real masters don't have time for repeating the same information over and over.So, because of this current system, we have way too many 'doctors' -both male and female who are not there because they have a desire to heal, or help people, but because of their personal selfish desires for social status and material wealth and comfort. Their skills are mediocre at best, but because they 'completed their courses' they are licensed and let loose on the world. Their instructors were most likely of mediocre talent as well. If anyone wonders why the 'malpractice' thing got out of hand, well theres a clue.And this applies to all other 'professions' that are deemed so by 'virtue ' of wall paper, 'earned' by the dedication of several years to conforming ones character to the 'academic' prerequisites and requirements of the 'professionals club.'The motivations behind academics is all wrong. All systems serve the status quo.SO we have a condition, where a person can gain much insight and knowledge into the workings of active, moving, living reality, but because such does not fit within the parameters of 'acceptable academia' that experience, wisdom, knowledge and talent -which is probably more real than most (these days anyway) who have a degree in the subject hanging on their wall- is dismissed out of hand for reasons that are arrogant, assuming, and in error.The idea that one can somehow 'make themselves better' than another human being by attending university is false.The idea that ones time is somehow worth more than anothers because they attended university and got their paper, is false.The idea that knowledge is somehow specially available only in University is false.The idea that University will somehow make your life better, is false.The idea that University will do anything but perpetuate the standards, conditions, whims and desires of the ruling faction of the status quo, is false.However, one must do something with their life.Years ago when I and my family were living off the grid, and off the land, we were homeschooling (BTW my eldest with all the academic honors was home schooled until she was 12), and I worried about about isolating my kids from their own peers- because they didn't have the common ground of a school or church to meet and hang out with their peers. It was this situation that eventually led to all but one of my children going to public school -their choice, not mine.Until I did that, I never had to struggle with my kids coming home with some bullshit their teachers had fed them as if it were truth. More than once I have had to go down to the school and correct the damn teachers! And the propaganda that came down concerning the WOD and prohibition was just horrific!I am down to my last child in school, and I'm still having to clean up the mental mess put in my childs mind by teachers who should've probably become janitors, or at least gone out and actually learned something before they went to teach.But they get away with it for one major reason, 'academia' and the system of measurement of skill and talent that concerns itself more with how one conforms to the workings of the status quo than any other aspect.Are there excpetions to this unconscionable situation. I believe that there are -to a degree. For example, I've been dealing with a health situation all my life. I knew about it, I'd even done some thigns personally to deal with it outside of the medical community, including the use of illegal substances, because every single doctor I met until 2003, -thats from 1971 to 2003, a crapload of quacks- absolutely refused to listen to me, simply because they arrogantly assumed that they were the only ones who could possibly know anything about MY body! I almost got committed to an asylum by one doctor because all his 'drugs' kept giving me hellacious side effects, and i stopped taking them. (He said I had a 'death wish') They were all prescribed in error. Not one of those drug prescribed to me was for any condition I actually had. I could have died, suffered brain hemorage, lost motor control, among many possibilities.So for years I suffered with my conditions, getting worse all the time, until something finally literally broke. It was at this time that I met my first REAL doctor in over 30 years. She probably helped extend my life by many years.And you know what? Her initial diagnosis was based on what I told her, not on some impatient patronizing attitude of "Sure, sure. Well we'll just see about that."Don't think that because one must follow the courses that are in front of them until they discover how to make their own way, that because so many have made it corrupt and errant that is just assumedly 'false' for them.As I said, it matters little what you do, How you do it is everything.But don't make the mistake of so many of your academic fellows, don't get tricked into thinking that your efforts at learning are somehow 'better' or 'worth more' than the waitress'es at your favorite cafe.You may have the literary mind of a library, but if you can't love, respect, and honor your fellows with the same you expect from them -no matter their 'occupation' or the 'level' of their 'education' then all your degrees, education, intellect, and 'academic accomplishment' is flat worthless.Somehow Joseph, I don't think this will be so much of a problem for you.I have something else.My youngest son, who is attendng U of O brings home a very important point to me. Up until recently he was taking a class in environmental studies. he showed me the curriculum and I about flipped!Within that undergraduate course was not one item that actually had to do with understanding ecology, or the environment, it was all about 'statistical analysis' of how to move the money around to fund agencies and committees to 'research' environmental issues.My son thought this was wrong, and he went to his next class, and proceeded to ask the questions that got his instructor very embarrassed, because the guy had no answers outside of his government produced 'text.'But my son realized out of this, that in many cases, he, as an intelligent, honest student seeking honest answers from those who proclaim their knowledge to somehow be 'it', but that oftentimes he, by his questions, actually caused the teacher, and his fellow students to learn something, and gain insight that is rarely included in anybody's 'textbook.'So joseph, you not only have a responsibility to make the best of your situation, but you have an opportunity to help begin the long overdue correction of "Academy."And in correcting the errors in the education system, you will be re-creating an integral part of our society, towards its natural place in lifes opportunites, instead of its erroneous, exclusive, half-assed, half-brained, half-incompetent place that it now occupies.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #39 posted by FoM on May 02, 2009 at 10:21:02 PT
I have been waiting for this time since the 60s. I did my best to go thru life wearing rose colored glasses because I won't let anyone rain on my parade. Anger turns me off. Hate turns me off. Hope and love do just the opposite. You aren't alone. Many people and usually quiet people have wanted the same thing. 
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Comment #38 posted by AdaptBones on May 02, 2009 at 10:10:27 PT:
That is hopefull
That comment from Obama about justices with "empathy" gives me great hope. I have realised lately that my entire life has been lived under this power hungry rule and so this is very exciting to see happen. I have felt so cast off by America my entire life because I have never fit with the "status quo". Now I see common sense and fairness becoming important values and it excites me to no end. An end to fear, and end to anger, and end to those power hungry select few who holds all the power in the world; these are the things I am hopeful will become real in my life and that makes me so happy. And Hope, thank you for the welcome I'm very happy to be a part of this place and this movement. Blessed be everyone.
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Comment #37 posted by FoM on May 02, 2009 at 09:20:19 PT

I'm glad you were able to see the videos. I am watching Cat Stevens - Majikat right now. This was made in 76. It's been a longtime coming. We're really getting there. What a nice time in history to just let it happen.Obama wants the Supreme Court nominees to have Empathy. I love it. Empathy what a wonderful word. of Obama's 'Empathy' Remark
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Comment #36 posted by Hope on May 02, 2009 at 08:21:07 PT

Truth talkers I haven't been hearing before?
I meant "hadn't", of course. Welcome... all of you new commenters. So many new people have chosen to speak up here in recent months I haven't been able to keep up with welcoming them, individually, to our forum.You are very welcome, though. We're all sure glad to see you.
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Comment #35 posted by Hope on May 02, 2009 at 08:14:14 PT

"I'm a lurker - hee hee"
I figured you were out there... or dead and I dang sure hoped it wasn't the latter. This cyber cafe that started off as FoM's cyber kitchen is important to lots of us. My gosh... I'd not know at all what was going on in an area that really concerns me. This has been the place to be to get the news of what's going on with cannabis prohibition for over ten years now.I'm really enjoying the recent turn of events, Bro., as I'm sure you are too. It's wonderful to hear these new truth talkers talking. Sure, they're saying the same things we've been saying for what... is it four million years now? It gets frustrating, and we've spoken of the tediousness of the cycles, the wheels, the circles, and "It has to be said again", but we all know how very important it is that it's said. Our words are our swords in this battle that we have every desire to keep as bloodless as possible. It's the bloodiness of the thing, the war on drugs, the war on cannabis, the war on a people, that's the hardest to take... and it's what we all want to stop. A bloodless victory over ignorance, arrogance, and cruelty.They, these truth talkers I haven't been hearing before, are doing a very good job. I'm so glad. To me this is a big development. Troops, big time... I didn't even see them arriving. Backup... the cavalry... I don't know... but it's good.Thanks again for the Juice!
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Comment #34 posted by BGreen on May 02, 2009 at 07:51:09 PT

My pleasure, Hope!
I'm thrilled I was actually able to help you.Bro. Bud B. Green
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Comment #33 posted by Hope on May 02, 2009 at 07:48:08 PT

It worked!
Yeah!Thank you, BGreen!And that video at Zeitgeist is hilarious. Hilarious. The Colbert Report and The Daly Show have another partner in the "News".There are so many feelings and thoughts... good and bad that run through my mind when I hear that policeman's 911 call, that I almost dread hearing it again, but it slipped up on me that time. It's so funny, it's hard to believe it's real. Hollywood couldn't have written it better.JUICED!Thanks again, BGreen.
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Comment #32 posted by BGreen on May 02, 2009 at 06:37:52 PT

I'm a lurker - hee hee
I'm glad you got it up and running.I had read that the Dutch were using this drone. They claim 80% of the Dutch-grown cannabis is exported but I have strong doubts about that claim.The prices of Dutch-grown cannabis and hashish had jumped when I last visited in 2007 because of the crackdown on the Dutch cannabis growers, so to claim only 20% of Dutch-grown cannabis is being sold by the 350+ Dutch coffeeshops is the same as saying four times as much cannabis is exported than is sold and consumed in every single coffeeshop in the entire country and that is complete nonsense.Bro. Bud
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Comment #31 posted by Hope on May 02, 2009 at 06:04:58 PT

This article...
"Hmmm, smells good up here."A banner from an airplane flying over the Boulder 420 celebration. That's cool.
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Comment #30 posted by Hope on May 02, 2009 at 06:00:56 PT

Juice and ZeitGeist 
Loading and subscribing.
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Comment #29 posted by Hope on May 01, 2009 at 21:56:48 PT

Thanks Bro. Green...
I hoped you might be lurking out there with some new advice. I'll be giving that a try... probably tomorrow. Thanks.
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Comment #28 posted by BGreen on May 01, 2009 at 21:52:32 PT

Dial up sucks
The podcasts for Keith and Rachel are each a couple hundred Megs in size so it would probably take an entire day to download those, but the ZeitGeist video is only 13.3 Megs.Bro. Bud
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Comment #27 posted by BGreen on May 01, 2009 at 21:48:25 PT

I think I have your answer, Hope
I download podcasts using a free program called "Juice."I subscribed to the ZeitGeist podcast and, low and behold, there is the video neither you or I could see, just waiting to be downloaded.You can download Juice at the address to subscribe to the ZeitGeist podcast is download the podcasts of Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, the NBC Nightly News and the NORML 4:20 everyday so I can watch and listen on my own schedule ... and without commercials!I'll help you set things up if you have any problems.Bro. Bud
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Comment #26 posted by Hope on May 01, 2009 at 20:25:31 PT

Christ Comment 25
The only way I'll get to see it, it looks like, is if I'm visiting someone and remember to look it up on their computer... unless it gets posted on YouTube.I'd love to see it. It sounds interesting. Thanks for your description of the video.What with dial up, and add to that Firefox and my anti-virus/firewall protecting the thunder out of me... I can't seem to watch a lot of videos.
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Comment #25 posted by christ on May 01, 2009 at 20:15:50 PT

Hope Comment 23
From the msnbc "pre-view" site showing the helicopter, it looks like the video is going to be pro-prohibition. It starts out sounding like it is, but finishes anti-prohibition. As I recall, the first half of the video shows an anchorman talking about false views of cannabis. Then the second half is a live transcript of someone calling 911 about a suspected overdose. The whole video resembles a spoof on the msm's typical cannabis coverage. So in addition to being funny, it's nice to see a major network airing an anti-prohibition message.I kept my other post vague for two reasons. 1. I think some limited number of people could be somewhat offended by the video. IMO, if you have a factual view of cannabis, the video is really funny.2. I don't want to spoil it for you because the second time I watched it, it lost half its humor.
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Comment #24 posted by Hope on May 01, 2009 at 12:09:29 PT

Thanks, Ekim.
I caught the last few minutes because of your post.Nadelmann was great.
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Comment #23 posted by Hope on May 01, 2009 at 12:07:15 PT

Christ comment 17
If you mean the spy plane one... I couldn't get it to load and couldn't find an article with it... so no comment... for sure.I can't really get any videos to a watchable stage except on youtube. Occasionally some place else... but seldom.What's your take on it?
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Comment #22 posted by josephlacerenza on May 01, 2009 at 12:02:37 PT

Don't Forget ekim
You can find Colbert and Stewart on the Comedy Central site, or I can not wait to get home and see the show, you guys talked it up pretty good yesterday night. I usually do not stay up late enough to watch that days airing, and since I am a student in college, yes museman I am an older student, and work in the evil plant bioscience lab here at MSU, I do not get to watch during the day. But, the wife and I curl up in front of the computer at night while we're in bed and laugh our asses off!!!!!! P.S. Museman I understand what your getting at, and don't mean to take it personally, but I am still trying to make a difference the best way I know how!!! 
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Comment #21 posted by greenmed on May 01, 2009 at 11:41:37 PT

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Comment #20 posted by ekim on May 01, 2009 at 11:33:26 PT

Colbert replay 
on now on ch 249 dir tv
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Comment #19 posted by dankhank on April 30, 2009 at 21:13:58 PT

saw alter and didn't know Colbert had two guests.'
I'm gonna tuck in.Leaving for KC by auto in the morning.Ethan was good ...
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on April 30, 2009 at 20:56:52 PT

Ethan Nadelmann
He did a good job.
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Comment #17 posted by christ on April 30, 2009 at 20:56:00 PT

comment #6
I can't believe nobody commented on the msnbc video. That was the funniest thing I have seen in a long time.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on April 30, 2009 at 20:48:23 PT

I heard him say Nadelmann. 
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Comment #15 posted by dankhank on April 30, 2009 at 20:45:55 PT

J. Alter on coberlt, sorryears goofy, I guess ... or wishful thinking 
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on April 30, 2009 at 20:34:20 PT

Thank you. I was getting ready to change the channel to Jay Leno but I saw Nadelmann was going to be on and I will watch it.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on April 30, 2009 at 20:32:30 PT

Ethan Nadelmann on Colbert Tonight
I wanted to pass it on!
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Comment #12 posted by dankhank on April 30, 2009 at 20:31:08 PT

E. Nadelman
on Colbert, now ...soon
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on April 30, 2009 at 16:46:38 PT

I care about money. I wouldn't have what I have in life without money. I believe in the american dream of owning a home and a patch of ground. We have been self employed since the mid 80s when they sent General Electrics work to Mexico. We learned we must develop our own business and never lean on a company again. It has been very hard but we're still here. As far as marijuana reform it is a social issue with me and not a money issue. Cannabis wasn't made by man and it should be legal and free if it could be grown like any other legal medicinal herb. I look forward to a day when Cannabis could be purchased at a nice corner Health Food Store.
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Comment #10 posted by Sam Adams on April 30, 2009 at 16:26:01 PT

FOM have you ever heard the economic theory of "opportunity cost". When money is wasted or misspent you not only lose that money, but you also lose the benefit you would have gained if you'd spent the money wisely. This lost benefit is known as "opportunity cost".You think you don't care about money, but I'll bet you do. If we ended the WOD tomorrow, we could take the money saved and use it to make college education free like Canada and Europe. Or extend Medicare to the entire population without a tax increase (single payer health care).The reason we don't have these things is that we spend all our tax money on military, wars & prisons. The Canadians and Euros don't. We could have our economy based on educated people's innovation and entrepeurship, instead of lawyers, police unions, jails and defense contractors.btw....
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Comment #9 posted by kaptinemo on April 30, 2009 at 14:57:48 PT:

The Djinn's out of the bottle now
And he ain't goin' back in, no matter what anyone thinks. And the proof of that is the MSM's newly acquired respectful handling of the issue.Notice something about the headlines, lately? Fewer and fewer of the cute, snarky little "Aw, look at the poor stoners hopelessly tilting at windmills" attitude that usually show up in the headline. Like "Potheads hopes go up in smoke!" or similar condescending crap. The 'playbook' that I contend the MSM must use as a kind of Chinese menu when it comes to demeaning phraseology to use in headlining the subject, has apparently has been retired. Now, the subject is being treated more and more with the respect it has always deserved, but rarely received.And, as Sam Adams has pointed out, given the top-down nature of the corp-rat-ly controlled MSM, it's obvious that marching orders have been issued. Smaller outlets might continue the snarkiness, but they are few and far between.Again, all this was predicted, that when the news media began picking up on the fact that this is a drug prohibition (and of course every American junior high schooler knows what happened the last time we tried that) there was only one thing for them to do, and that was to take the ball and run with they did. The prohibs were flabbergasted, and pathetically tried to re-frame their positions by calling themselves 'preventionists'. Which was so lame, they stopped doing it for fear of further ridicule.This is the next turn of the screw, with a more respectful addressing of the problem, rather than trying to wave it away like an annoying fly or a child's babbling. A move the prohibs will find is even harder to counter, now. Of course, they'll try. I'm hoping that they do. Their irrelevancy to the issue will only become more obvious...
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Comment #8 posted by paul armentano on April 30, 2009 at 13:40:44 PT

Speaking of changing public opinion polls News: Public’s Support For Pot Legalization Has Never Been Higher!April 30th, 2009 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director Share this Article       Earlier this year, a NORML-commissioned national Zogby telephone poll revealed that a record 44 percent of American voters — including nearly six out of ten adults on the west coast — now believe that cannabis should be “taxed and legally regulated like alcohol and cigarettes.”Since then, several additional polls have confirmed that the nation’s support for legalizing marijuana has never been higher, and is fast approaching “super-majority status.”In fact, a recent poll sponsored by Oaksterdam University indicates that support for legalization among Californians has already achieved such vaulted status (well, almost).Today two more polls are reaffirming America’s new “marijuana Zeitgeist.”First, in California a new Field Research Corporation poll of 901 registered voters found that 56 percent of voters agree with the statement: “Legalize marijuana for recreational use and tax its proceeds.”According to pollsters, this is the first time ever in a California Field poll that a majority of voters have endorsed regulating the adult use of cannabis. In February, California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced legislation — Assembly Bill 390: The Marijuana Control, Regulation and Education Act — to tax the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis. To date, over 8,000 NORML supporters have contacted their state representatives in support of AB 390, which is expected to be taken up by the state Assembly early next year.Nationally, a just-released ABC News/Washington Post poll of 1,072 adults finds that a record 46 percent of all Americans now favor “legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use?” This total is more than double the percentage of Americans who responded affirmatively (22 percent) to a similar ABC poll question in 1997!ABC NEWS/WASHINGTON POST POLL: HOT-BUTTON ISSUES
via ABCNews.go.com46 percent of Americans now favor legalizing small amounts of marijuana for personal use, the most in data back to the mid-
1980s and more than double its level 12 years ago. While 52 percent remain opposed, that’s down from 75 percent in the late 1990s and 78 percent in 1986.The biggest changes in the past two decades are 29- and 27-point advances in support for legalization among Democrats and independents, to 49 and 53 percent, respectively. The slightest: a 10-point gain among Republicans, to just 28 percent support.So much for the myth that supporting marijuana law reform is ‘politically suicidal.’ In fact, if you are a politician — or President — whose constituency leans Democrat or Independent, it’s becoming increasingly likely that more of your supporters favor legalization over prohibition, and if you want to stay elected, you should too!
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Comment #7 posted by MikeEEEEE on April 30, 2009 at 13:10:02 PT

Mexico Senate
That is amazing. WOW! I came back at a perfect time.
They know prohibition is the root of the problem.Hard economic times, added to that all the other problems, failed policies become harder to justify. 

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Comment #6 posted by FoM on April 30, 2009 at 12:53:30 PT

Video: Flying Drone Spies On Marijuana Users
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on April 30, 2009 at 12:25:51 PT

Mexico Senate OKs Bill To Legalize Drug Possession
April 30, 2009URL:
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 30, 2009 at 11:37:47 PT

Money doesn't ever enter my mind but social justice does. I believe Progressives like me think more about fairness then money. 
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on April 30, 2009 at 11:26:10 PT

FOM media
regarding Bruce's comment - that is very encouraging - the mainstream media is pretty much owned by giant corporations. Somewhere along the line the go-ahead was given to increase reporting of legalization.Methinks corporate America is starting to realize the incredible fiscal waste of the Drug War. Sooner or later they'll realize that our criminal justice system is like a giant sinkhole in the ground, into which billions of tax revenues are poured.
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on April 30, 2009 at 11:23:27 PT

>>>Are the 305 million people living in the United States the most evil in the world? Is this the reason why the U.S., with 5 percent of the world's population, has 25 percent of the world's prisoners and an incarceration rate five times as high as the rest of the world?If you're looking for evil try the Capitol building in DC.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 30, 2009 at 11:23:18 PT

I Really Have Hope Now
Excerpt: “Something has changed in the past few months,” says Bruce Mirken, of the Marijuana Policy Project, one of a network of 30 groups advocating the legalisation of the most widely-used illegal drug in the United States. “In the first three months of this year we’ve been invited to national cable news programs as often as in the entire year before.”
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