One of the most frustrating problems in the efforts to end marijuana prohibition has long been the distrust of freedom and the pretense that we are somehow “boldly going where no politicians have ever gone before.”
Specifically, marijuana has been sold over-the-counter to anyone over 18 for decades in the Netherlands (not just in Amsterdam). It also allows for on-premise consumption. And with almost no regulations, except NO HARD DRUGS. And essentially no problems. (Except on the still banned supply.)
However, when Nevada legalized recreational sales, even Las Vegas did not initially license on-premise consumption because they were unsure how it might work and what the consequences might be.
In states where the politicians and the police distrust the people even more, the regulations have been even more absurd. For example, Ohio’s new medical marijuana laws (and some other states) do not allow the sale of marijuana to be smoked by patients, because the prohibitionist party line is that “NO MEDICINE IS SMOKED.”
That is the result of the Institute of Medicine’s study paid for by the Drug Czar’s office in 1999 that concluded that marijuana was as safe or safer than most medicines, except for the risks inherent in smoking anything. That point was seized as propaganda by the Drug Czar who ignored everything else. So 20 years later when Ohio voted to stop arresting the sick and dying, they included the Czar’s propaganda without having ever read — or even heard about — his propaganda.
Louisville, Kentucky got unwanted national publicity after Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old unarmed African-American nurse, was fatally shot while she was sleeping in her apartment on March 13, by white plainclothes officers on a “no-knock” drug raid. (No drugs were found.)
The city of Louisville, Kentucky, has agreed to pay $12 million to the family of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African American nurse, who was fatally shot eight times by Louisville Kentucky Metro Police Department officers who entered her apartment, while serving a “no-knock warrant” on March 13. She was in her bed sleeping and no “drugs” were found.
And Louisville has agreed to “institute sweeping police reforms.”
CNN reports that “as part of the settlement, the city agreed to establish a housing credit program as an incentive for officers to live in the areas they serve; use social workers to provide support on certain police runs; and require commanders to review and approve search warrants before seeking judicial approval, among other changes.”
Unfortunately, these reforms are limited to the city of Louisville, and will do nothing to stop similar tragedies in the rest of the country, resulting from similar raids that have become “Standard Operating Procedure” in the Drug War.
In fact, even in Louisville, that is still a problem because it makes it difficult to prosecute the police officers involved in the shooting. The Louisville raid was probably illegal, but which of the officers involved were responsible?
I have not been able to find an accurate count of the number of raids but it would appear that there were at least 20,000 “No Knock” raids last year, and perhaps far more.
I turned 80 in June, and my father died of prostate cancer at the age of 81, so I have more than a casual interest in the subject. Of course, when he died 29 years ago, we did not know what we know now, because the federal government has done everything possible to block research on marijuana.
“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men (aside from non-melanoma skin cancer) and the second most common cause of cancer death in the United States. Even with widespread screening with prostate-specific antigen (PSA), still 5% of cases present with metastatic lesions at the time of diagnosis. Because of all this, there is a fundamental necessity to search for and find new and novel treatments to this common pathology.Cannabis and cannabinoids have often been an issue of much polemics in the realm of science, but since the discovery of cannabinoid receptors in rat brain in the late 1980s, there has been a growing interest in the research of these compounds and our knowledge continues to expand. There has been experimental evidence that cannabinoids possess anti-androgenic proprieties.”
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is one of the smallest (998.6 sq miles, pop. 626,108) and richest ($112,045 per capita) countries in Europe. (It is actually the third richest in the world.)
Its location on the border of Belgium, France and Germany has given it an outsized importance in the European Union, so its moves to legalize cannabis will have a significant impact on other EU countries. It was also a part of the Benelux free trade group that ultimately became the European Union.
I love Spain, but I feel sorry for anyone who tries to govern it. In addition to the usual Left/Right political divisions, several of Spain’s “autonomous” regions, most notably Catalonia (Barcelona), have strong independence movements that resent the Madrid government.
However, Spain has been hit very hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is more dependent on tourism than any other major European country. Consequently, it is going to need a major bailout from the European Central Bank, but that will not solve its terrible unemployment problem, especially for its younger citizens.
While Spain needs to diversify its economy, that will take time, and the problems in its devastated tourism sector have to be addressed now, because it is a major source of employment, especially for the young, and the pandemic is still keeping it closed.
Jaeger reported that on a campaign visit to Wisconsin, Trump “urged Republicans not to place marijuana legalization initiatives on state ballots out of concern that it will increase Democratic turnout in elections … and that he blames marijuana legalization efforts on former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) defeat in the 2018 election.”
“The next time you run please don’t put marijuana on the ballot at the same time you’re running,” Trump said, directing his advice to Walker, who was in the crowd. “You brought out like a million people that nobody ever knew were coming out.”
The great thing about voting machines is that you can vote with one hand and hold your nose with the other one. Believe me, I have had a lot of practice with that, and I will do it again this year.
After Biden cinched the Democratic nomination, his campaign focused on getting the support of Bernie Sanders’ young supporters. Biden was greatly relieved that Sanders was willing to help, so they launched what they called a “Unity Task Force,” and one of the major topics was Federal marijuana prohibition.
Frankly, I absolutely reject that formulation. Marijuana legalization has been supported by the Libertarian right far longer than by the Left. The late Milton Friedman and William F. Buckley Jr. and many other conservatives have long opposed prohibition. Obama, Holder, Biden, Shalala, Clinton, Feinstein and Schumer all supported arresting millions of Americans. Until they opposed it…
However, in a meeting with Biden, Sanders is definitely on the Left. Given Biden’s long support for the Drug War, even coining the term “Drug Czar,” the real world results were not too terrible.
Race being inherent in the topic, I should begin by explaining that I am an 80-year-old white guy, which means that I am not in BLM’s target demographic. On the other hand, I am not the target demographic for trigger-happy police either.
Nonetheless, I can readily understand why black Americans would rightly expect “equal justice.” Do we whites think that Black Americans are deaf and don’t hear the words “Liberty and Justice for All” and all that good stuff? They bleed on our battlefields in our endless wars, so why should they bleed on our streets?
It was actually founded seven years ago, but it did not seem to get much attention by whites until this year, after two particularly outrageous killings: George Floyd by suffocation in Minneapolis, and Breonna Taylor, shot in a “no-knock” drug raid as she slept, in Louisville, Kentucky.
I heard that Las Vegas is going to be changing their longtime slogan: “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” And that’s good, because that was never true.
I’m sure that there a lot of clinics that could switch to that. Also a lot of bankruptcy lawyers. With the idea of Vegas becoming a center for recreational cannabis, things come into mind. Number one is my wonderful city of Amsterdam, which I love. I live there. I view the coffee shops, everything there, as a wonderful experience. Nobody needs to go to Amsterdam anymore though.
The fact is that what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas because they missed it, by being as aggressive as they were with legalization and much more. Of course, being Vegas in everybody’s face, some Miami people were going to Colorado to get cannabis because it was the first place where they could go. But now it’s Vegas. And because it’s Vegas, they’ve got whatever else you like there. Incredible restaurants, great shows, really cheap little hotels by comparison. If you don’t gamble, it’s still a really great thing. And now, some of the dispensaries there are absolutely amazing.
President Trump has been widely criticized for not listening to the “medical experts,” but that may not always be a bad thing.
Last year, Dr. Jerome Adams, Trump’s Surgeon General, said that pregnant women and teenagers “may be unaware that modern crops [of marijuana] pose greater health risks because of their potency.”
“This ain’t your mother’s marijuana,” said Surgeon General Jerome Adams.
Well, that ain’t nothin’ new. In fact, the potency (THC percentage by weight) has been a part of prohibitionist propaganda for decades, including the cliché about it not being your father’s Oldsmobile, or whatever. Of course, any kind of data on contraband is inherently problematic, but in states with legal marijuana, it is labeled so you can at least know what your mother is using.
The Grey Area Coffeeshop in Amsterdam is one of my favorite places. I think it may be the only American-owned coffee shop still there. A dear friend of mine, John Foster, owns it, who is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever known. –
For years, John was there every day, standing on his feet, supplying particularly to a lot of American tourists.
Going there is still both wonderful and funny to me. When they first opened, and you see the line around the corner, it was quite funny. But I understand the draw and why there is a line.
I don’t think we’re really going to have a problem with CBD. That particular genie is out of the bottle.
But I think that Texas is going to be a major battleground over medical marijuana more generally, and ultimately about recreational use. The state is very split demographically. There are four or five major metropolitan areas that tend to, not surprisingly, be more socially liberal. Also, in particular, the sheriffs in Texas mostly have disproportionate political power. The state Legislature is distorted somewhat in that the rural areas are disproportionately represented. This creates a real problem in terms of passing laws that are really the greatest impact in the cities. But the cities do not have direct control over this.
“Chaos Theory” is the idea that very small events can have major consequences. It is often illustrated by what is called the “Butterfly Effect,” where the fluttering of tiny wings could set off a series of events leading to a major storm halfway around the world. Of course, even though there are millions of butterflies, they don’t have cameras, so there is no way to monitor these events, but there are plenty of real world examples.
For instance, try to imagine that the cruel and incredibly stupid action of a policeman in a very liberal city would kill a suspect by keeping his knee on the suspect’s throat until well after he was dead. And all of it was caught on a camera and immediately broadcast around the world. What could possibly go right?
I think you are very likely to see marijuana legalization this year in New York. Governor Cuomo, who is certainly a smart politician, knows how to read his Legislature, and has obviously learned from their failed attempt previously to do this.
I think that New York, more than most places, has all of the complexities and the rules of great cities. You also have a state that is otherwise pretty much like the rest of the country. This case, really big city and the rest of the country. But well represented in the sense that there is a wide variety of things there.
What happened last time was a really good example of the saying, “If your enemies don’t get you, your own folks may.” People who said they were in favor of the legalization of marijuana then only wanted to do it their way.
I’ve argued that even fascists should support the legalization of marijuana. In fact, marijuana prohibition is a perfect example in some ways of fascism, or of communism, or of any authoritarian system that you would think of. However, just from the civil point of view of economics and basic politics, you have really finite resources to bring to bear in a society in terms of criminal justice activity. At some point or other, the most brutal totalitarian societies will find that prisons are simply too full. Also, by the way, the United States has more prisoners per capita than any other country in the world. We have 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Thank god for the leaders of the free world … I think we feel like otherwise.
Marijuana/Hemp/Cannabis is a fascinating subject. As marijuana (meaning a “recreational drug”) it has been “controversial” for almost 100 years. Before that, as hemp, it was mostly just an agricultural staple for thousands of years. It was used as fiber for rope and canvas sails, etc. It was also cheap cloth (“Hempen homespuns” – Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Act III Scene I).
Researchers Have Focused on Strains High in the Anti-inflammatory Cannabidiol (CBD).
First, let me make clear that my focus is on politics, not directly on medicine. As the president says, “I’m not a doctor.” However, as we have seen, medicine does become political, and this is nothing new for those of us who can remember the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic.
Early in the epidemic, people with AIDS in San Francisco and New York, where marijuana was easily available, discovered that it helped with some of the more debilitating symptoms, notably loss of appetite. The “munchies” had long been a joke in the weed world, but it was no joke to patients who were either too nauseous to want to eat, or who simply had no appetite, resulting in a “wasting syndrome” that increased their suffering and hastened their deaths.
There have been questions about whether my generation is using more cannabis, and it’s almost certainly true. My generation is the one that’s been lied to literally from the very beginning of the Reefer Madness 1930s. I think that one of the things that my generation did learn about marijuana prohibition is that you had to lie about it. It reminds me of one of the great lines from The Simpsons where Bart Simpson said “I didn’t do it.”
The thing that my generation never heard of: Where can I get some? But at the same time, as medical information gets out, in spite of the government, not because of it, people see their friends doing the thing that my generation is terribly aware of: A lot of the things that are supposed to help us, in fact, hurt us. Also, a lot of things that may be useful in the short-run for acute situations are actually harmful in the long-run – particularly if something is addictive like benzodiazepines or opiates and so on.
“Quebec, with less than one-quarter of Canada’s population, is the country’s worst hit province. It accounts for a staggering 59 percent of all COVID-19 deaths and 54 percent of cases in Canada. … Quebec is responsible for over 60 percent of new Canadian deaths and cases over the last week, meaning its share of Canada’s COVID-19 problem is still increasing.”
In the midst of this tragedy, the provincial government decided to go ahead and raise the legal age to consume and purchase recreational marijuana from 18 to 21. (The legal age for alcohol remains 18 in Quebec and 19 in the rest of Canada.)
I think the advice that I would give to the Latin American countries generally, and to every other country in the world in terms of how to proceed with legalization, begins by saying, Americans, generally speaking, are not welcome in terms of giving advice. But my advice in that regard is don’t repeat our mistakes. A few years ago, I had the honor of being invited to speak to the committee of the Mexican Congress.
This was particularly an honor and a thrill at this time because no one in Mexico was thinking about legalizing marijuana. And fortunately, that has changed very quickly. But my advice, describe the mistakes that have been made. Ironically, it is correcting the lies that the Dutch justice minister had told them about the Dutch system. Welcome to Provisionals World. People lie about their own countries.
I really love Mexico, and having grown up in Texas, I have visited there many times, starting in 1947, when I was seven years old and my parents drove to Mexico City on the then new PanAmerican Highway with me standing up in the backseat. (There were no seatbelts in those days.)
It was much safer then than now, because it was long before the Drug War. In the meantime, 20 years later in 1967, I discovered a certain Mexican agricultural product that could have gotten me life in prison in Texas.
My most recent visit to what is now a metropolitan area with over 20 million people, was in April of 2009, when I…
First thing to remember about GW’s product, which is called Epidiolex, is that it has been approved by the FDA. Some may be saying: “Well, maybe CBD is just a fad. It is a placebo effect. Whatever.” The fact is, GW spent a huge amount of money getting it approved by regulatory agencies in the United States and other countries to prove that it is not a placebo.
A placebo is a really interesting phenomenon, which is a much longer topic than we can get into right now. But basically, if you give a group of people sugar pills and tell them that it will alleviate their “whatever,” 15-20 percent – sometimes even more – will get relief from their “whatever.” This really complicates testing new drugs. Is this new drug really effective or is it the placebo effect? So that is a big part of the FDA procedure.
Although California’s Proposition 64, the “Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act” which legalized the sale of recreational marijuana, won by an overwhelming victory four years ago (Yes 7,979,041 = 57.13% vs No 5,987,020 = 42.87%) it was — and still is — opposed by law enforcement in rural areas, some urban localities, and — of course — by the Feds.
Also, there has been great confusion and controversy over how to implement it by licensing retail sales. As is almost always the case, the drafting of the lengthy text involved many compromises with the state’s numerous “stakeholders” — AKA “special interests.”
In the midst of the pandemic, there is much uncertainty about almost everything, but one thing does seem certain. America is going to be much poorer. Or, to put in a global perspective, America and a few other countries will be much less rich and the rest of the world will be much, much poorer, and no wall or welfare program will protect us.
In Los Angeles, the global center of the entertainment industry, the unemployment rate is already around 50 percent, and many jobs and businesses are gone forever. The sheer scale of the problems will almost certainly lead to social unrest which will be visible to the world. But so will the solutions, because the world really does look to “Hollywood” for imagination.
So use your imagination. Imagine what Los Angeles and America and the world would look like without marijuana prohibition.
I should begin by explaining that I have rather strong libertarian, capitalistic tendencies. But when I’m asked about the tobacco industry – yet again to the cannabis industry – I confess to having very mixed feelings. Remember that I was born in 1940. I grew up in the good old days of not a cough and a carload, 9/10 doctors who smoke, recommend… and so on. Back in those days, on the evening news with John Cameron Swayze, he would be smoking while he gave the news. You’d see a little cigarette over there with the smoke rising up, and so on. On the topic of cigarette advertising, when I wrote the article for National Review on why conservatives should support the legalization of marijuana which was in December of 1972, seemed like only yesterday.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to live a long life (I’ll be 80 this year) probably fear Alzheimer’s Disease more than almost anything else, and the last 10 years of Ronald Reagan’s life demonstrate why.
He was 94 when he finally died in 2004, of Alzheimer’s, 10 years after he was diagnosed. His long life meant that he suffered longer from the worst of Alzheimer’s than most people. His family also had to endure seeing his decline over a period of years. The Reagans could afford to hire nurses and others to spare the family the onerous burden that exhausts most families – physically, emotionally and financially – but that did not lessen their heartbreak.
Every day there are news stories about marijuana legalization, the marijuana business and financial analysis, medical marijuana/CBD studies, etc. However, there is almost no discussion of marijuana prohibition, which remains the policy of the U.S. government and the Trump administration.
As CannaLawBlog.com reported, “During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump asserted that, as president, he would allow states to choose whether to legalize marijuana without interference from the federal government.
“After his election, however, Trump’s position completely reversed. In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo, an Obama-era policy of not interfering with states who have legalized marijuana. Trump’s press secretary at the time, Sean Spicer, then implied that there would be a crackdown on legalization states. Sessions, however, did not specifically order law enforcement to direct more resources toward enforcing marijuana laws.”
April 20th (420, 4/20 and 4:20) became the international symbol of the celebration of marijuana use as an act of public defiance against marijuana prohibition. It was furtive at first, but with increasingly public defiance.
Over the almost four decades since it began, “420” has become vastly bigger and more open, but it remains essentially a one day celebration. Now the time has come for us to move beyond having just a one day party and make it a month of defiance, planning and mobilization for however long it takes to take back our freedom.
One of the things I have said often in speeches and written about is that the best two-word explanation for marijuana prohibition is bad journalism. You’ll hear that again, and again.
There are so many examples of that. Don’t get me started.
I remember, for example, when I was at NORML, there was a really terrible article in The Washington Times which tends to specialize in articles about marijuana in particular. So I called up the reporter and said, “Could I send you some material that contradicts the party line?” She said, “Oh, I’d love to see it, but that, you know, there’s really no point in it. I was just given this assignment. I probably will be writing about it again.” But what I had to do was to call the drug czars office and get them to say something. And that was journalism dealing with marijuana. You know, it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. And this went on for decades.
Oh, surely now, isn’t that an overstatement? Mass murder? After all, it’s a complicated subject, and we need to be careful about it.
I would double down, and say NO, in fact, it is actually a huge understatement and it would be obvious if so many of our institutions weren’t morally, intellectually, scientifically, medically, journalistically, politically, ethically and spiritually bankrupt. (Did I miss anyone?)
Right now we are living (and/or dying) through a pandemic that is the result of the failure of virtually all of our institutions, and if we cannot now see how this is happening, then it’s only a matter of time before we will all lose our freedom, if not our lives. And we cannot blame a virus.
The whole context of family communication around the topic of cannabis is one that is fraught with tension, one might say. I could help if everybody got stoned first, but that’s the whole topic, isn’t it? How do you talk to your children, or grandchildren? Not being the marrying kind, I don’t have any grandchildren. But, one of the great things about having been involved with the marijuana reform movements over the decades is that I actually occasionally get to meet these “young people” they’re called. Yes, that’s it.
Going to college campuses and debating narcs was one of the more enjoyable aspects of being involved with the issue.