The video must be seen to be believed.
Now I know what you're thinking. This is just another outlandish scare tactic, so far removed from human experience that it will serve only to amuse its target audience. Well make jokes while you can, hippies, because it won't be funny anymore when there are pictures of you all over Myspace making out with your brother.
Besides, now that they're lacing the marijuana with even stronger marijuana, you could be hooking up with your mom right now and not even know it. So don't tell me these ads are unrealistic. You're being unrealistic if you think you can smoke pot recreationally without supporting terrorists, eating your own hand, losing your girlfriend to an alien, turning into a dickhead, and getting it on with your family.
Advocates of testing say it gives students a powerful reason to say no to peer pressure…In truth, the debate over drug testing research is utterly fake and contrived. When the largest study ever on student drug testing -- funded by NIDA -- found that it didn’t work, drug testing proponents/profiteers (they're often the same) fired back, criticizing the methodology. Under attack from the very people who hired them, the authors responded with further research and achieved the same result.
Critics are just as passionate, arguing that the tests are invasive and expensive, and that studies show testing doesn't deter drug use. In truth, data conflict, and both sides can point to studies that back their position.
What's missing is definitive research that would allow schools to make confident decisions balancing costs against benefits.
USA Today's arbitrary dismissal of authoritative data is frustrating, but they're equally skeptical of smaller studies cited by drug testing proponents. One wonders, then, why they're calling for more research when they're already overwhelmed by the data.
Moreover, the practice of collecting urine from students on a massive scale is itself so objectionable that great weight should be given to any indication that the program's value is dubious. To place the burden of proof on those who oppose visually-monitored urination is absurd.
Update: After writing this but before posting it, I noticed this excellent piece by Marsha Rosenbaum, which ran in the same edition. If USA Today's editorial can be understood as an attempt to debate her, they've certainly done so without much conviction.
Yes, it's bad to take a suspect's pot. But I don't think it warrants criminal charges. Disciplinary charges, to be sure, but the cop resigned first. And, in the grand scheme of things, it's better that someone who overdoses on drugs like heroin not to be afraid to seek medical attention. Some things are better confined to the realm of the doctor-patient privilege.I agree with the overdose prevention angle. In fact, we have a whole category devoted to that idea on this web site. But I'm not sure how I feel about just having disciplinary action in most cases. It's one thing to slip up, especially when it comes to an activity like drug use that shouldn't be a crime at all. It's another thing to arrest a person, take his drugs (his property), send him to jail for the drugs and then commit the same crime that you took the first guy to jail for. That makes me wonder about the officer's moral fiber (even though I don't call for sanctions of officers for mere drug use -- because I don't call for such sanctions for anyone). The Mail & Guardian article did not discuss the fate of the original possessor of the marijuana. I would like to know whether Sanchez arrested him or her, and if so what the outcome was. That said, losing his job is probably enough (even if by resignation), and as I said I agree that 9-1-1 calls over drug overdose scares should not lead to criminal prosecution, for reasons of public health policy. Update: Mark Hemingway commented on this story guest blogging for The Agitator too. In descending order of harshness toward the officer: Hemingway, me, Merritt. Another update: Orin Kerr of the Volokh Conspiracy found audio of the 9-1-1- call.
The United States and its Latin American allies are losing a major battle in the war on drugs, according to indicators showing that cocaine prices dipped for most of 2006 and American users were getting more bang for their buck.We've already covered this story, but it's beginning to generate broader coverage. Of course, no amount of negative publicity will silence our brave drug warriors even momentarily. Here's Karen Tandy just yesterday:
"Plan Colombia is working. The amount of land used for the cultivation of coca is at an historic low in Colombia," the head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, Karen Tandy, told a drug law enforcement conference in Madrid. [AFP]
So why does Washington cover up increased cocaine potency, while aggressively trumpeting increased marijuana potency? The answer is simple, although if you asked the drug czar, he'd turn purple and pretend not to understand what you mean.
In the case of cocaine, the federal government has long identified reducing purity and increasing price as the primary goals of our ridiculously expensive and ongoing South American drug war investments. Increased cocaine potency in 2007 raises serious doubts about the efficacy of the brutal jungle wars we've been bankrolling for 10 years.
In the case of marijuana, however, the government's primary interest is in convincing an experienced public that this isn’t the same drug that has so consistently failed to hurt anyone. Jacob Sullum puts it best:
These warnings have to be understood mainly as a rationalization for the hypocrisy of parents (and politicians) who smoked pot in their youth and thought it was no big deal then but feel a need to explain why it is a big deal now.Of course, while drug war demagogues are fond of comparing today's more potent marijuana to cocaine, there's really nothing to which they can compare today's stronger cocaine. I dunno, anthrax maybe? When I start hearing reports about weaponized nose-candy, I'm totally moving to Jupiter.
• Ti C. Warner, 27, last known address 381 N. Executive Drive, Newark, was charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs, a second-degree felony. The charge also carries a specification of selling drugs near a school. Between March 29 and 30, Warner allegedly was observed by Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force buying a total of about seven grams of methamphetamine on two occasions, according to court reports. Both purchases were allegedly made in the vicinity of a Newark City school, according to court reports. Branstool set Warner’s bond at $40,000. • Sherry L. Runyon, 46, last known address 16328 Pleasant Hills, Newark, was charged with trafficking in crack cocaine, a fifth degree felony. On April 11, she allegedly was observed by Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force buying less than one gram of crack cocaine, according to court reports. Branstool set Runyon’s bond at $10,000. • Kevin L. Barker, 29, last known address 9215 Lancaster Road, Hebron, was charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs, a fourth-degree felony. On March 26, he allegedly was observed by Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force buying 1.64 grams of methamphetamine, according to court reports. Branstool set Barker’s bond at $10,000.Do you see what I mean? These are people who were apparently caught buying drugs. And they are charged with drug trafficking? I don't know who is responsible for these charging decisions—either the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force or local prosecutors—but they don't seem to be supported by the facts. And here's one more bizarre charging example from Licking County:
• Kelly L. Mihelarakis, 32, last known address 633 Mount Vernon Road, Newark, was charged with permitting drug abuse, a fifth-degree felony. Between March 29 and 30, Mihelarakis allegedly allowed an associate to buy about seven grams of methamphetamine on two occasions. Both alleged purchases were made in the vicinity of a Newark City school, according to court reports. Branstool set Mihelarakis’ bond at $5,000.Excuse me!? "Permitting drug abuse"? This person is charging with not stopping someone else from buying speed? This is a crime? You have got to be kidding. Well, my hat is off to the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force and the Licking County criminal justice system. With their apparently unjustified charging decisions, they are certainly doing their part to ensure that Ohio's chronic prison overcrowding crisis continues.
What does a jury glean from all this? That all the cops were dirty, or that one cop who got caught is trying to save himself by selling out a clean cop who worked with him?... Does a dirty cop really sell out a clean cop? Or does he, caught in the headlights, just spread the blame to others as dirty as him, in hopes of a shorter sentence?This sort of deal is made all the time, of course, on countless routine cases. I consider it to be a fundamental corruption of the administration of justice -- it is just too obviously true that one cannot trust testimony given under such a circumstance. The older type of practice is that deals would be offered to informants who provide useful information that investigators can use to then find actual evidence. Instead, drug war prosecutors, with the complicity of judges, have shed their morality and instead use the informants' mere testimony. Hmm, maybe that's one of the reasons some people don't like snitching.
Last month a modest but important sentencing reform bill -- HB 992, which restores parole eligibility for second-time drug offenders -- was passed by the Maryland General Assembly. At the time Gov. O'Malley had indicated that he supported the bill. But now he has flip-flopped and is saying he may veto it.
Please call O'Malley's office and demand he stop playing politics with people's lives and sign HB 992. Mandatory minimums are a terrible injustice and are costly and ineffective public policy -- HB 922 is simply a no-brainer. CALL (800) 811-8336, OR FAX O'MALLEY A LETTER AT (410) 974-3275. (The address to use on your letter if writing is: The Honorable Martin O'Malley, State House, Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1925 -- be sure to use fax, though, there isn't enough time to rely on the US mail.) PLEASE FORWARD THIS ALERT TO YOUR FRIENDS IN MARYLAND TOO!!!
The organization Stop the Drug War (DRCNet) has a form set up online to make it easy to e-mail the governor -- I hope you will use this method too. Phone calls and individual faxed letters are the best, though, so if you can do one of those I hope you will. Please send me an e-mail, and send one to firstname.lastname@example.org to let me and DRCNet know you've taken action. Following is some background on HB 992, from the Justice Policy Institute:
When enacted, HB 992 would operate as follows:
- HB 992 does not apply to violent offenders. HB 992 does not apply to third or fourth time offenders. HB 992 does not apply to volume dealers or drug kingpins.
- A defendant is convicted of possession of intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. The defendant is a second-time offender and is subject to a 10-year mandatory sentence.
- At sentencing, the judge will have available a presentence investigation report (PSI), prepared by Parole and Probation, that details the defendant's complete criminal history (arrests, convictions, warrants, etc.), family history, drug addiction and treatment (or lack thereof) history, and a recommended sentence range based on the defendant's offender score and offense. The judge will hear from defense counsel and the state's attorney concerning a sentence.
- The defendant will be sentenced to 10 years of incarceration. If the defendant is not also guilty of a violent offense, the judge, after a full appraisal of the defendant and listening to argument and recommendations of the state's attorney and defense counsel, MAY sentence to 10 years with the POSSIBILITY of parole.
- The defendant is confined within the Department of Corrections and waits a minimum of two and a half years for a parole hearing.
- The parole commission then determines, based on the defendant's updated presentence investigation report (PSI), offense, offender score, impact statements, a letter from the state's attorney that originally prosecuted the case, and the defendant's "base file" -- i.e., complete institutional record prepared by a case manager detailing tickets, classes, work history, etc., and whether the inmate has an exit plan -- i.e. a job and place to live -- whether to parole the inmate.
- If the inmate is paroled (which is unlikely on the first attempt) and complies with the conditions of his or her parole, the state saves approximately $100,000 and public safety is not impacted.
- If the inmate is paroled (again, unlikely on the first attempt), the inmate is subject to supervised probation and, if the inmate fails to comply with his or her parole conditions, faces serving the entire balance of the 10-year sentence.
While HB 992 by no means does all we would want, it is a beginning. I hope you will take action -- thanks for helping us help Maryland's nonviolent drug offenders this year.
Here's one from the Register-Citizen in Torrington, CT:
"There is a fear that the use of methamphetamine is making its way to this area," Torrington Police Chief Robert Milano said. "It causes quite a bit of concern."So there's really just no sign of any meth activity at all in Torrington. Which is perhaps the best evidence that meth is planning a major assault.
There have been no methamphetamine-related arrests in the city as of yet, but still rumors persist, said Torrington Police Sgt. Rousseau, of the Torrington Narcotics Division.
"I can see the wave," Torrington Police Lt. Mike Emanuel said. "It wouldn't be out of the question for Torrington."Plug your nostrils, children of Torrington! Officer Emanuel can see The Wave.
Rousseau said he could not offer more specific information because he did not want to reveal law enforcement prevention or termination plans that possible users or dealers would benefit from.They'll try to arrest you. It really isn’t any more sophisticated than that. But maybe it's a good thing if hatching secret plans for a nonexistent meth epidemic replaces wiretapping potheads as the favorite pastime for bored New England cops.
Profiling skeptic Steve Chapman now exploits DOJ's report in a widely published editorial that's as sloppy as it is wrong:
Why would black drivers be arrested more often? Maybe because African-Americans commit crimes at a far higher rate and are convicted of felonies at a far higher rate. In 2005, for instance, blacks were nearly seven times more likely to be in prison than whites.This is textbook circular reasoning of the sort that will earn you an F in Philosophy 101. By Chapman's logic, police could stop investigating white people entirely and we'd soon see that minorities commit 100% of all crimes.
By relying on the argument that increased searches of minorities are justified by their criminality, Chapman exposes his own unfamiliarity with the data he's discussing. The previous DOJ report, released in 2005, addresses this issue directly:
Likelihood of search finding criminal evidenceThis data comes straight from a report referenced by Chapman, yet he insists that "a motorist of felonious habits is also more likely to have illegal guns or drugs on board," and "the average black driver is statistically more likely to be a criminal than the average white driver."
Searches of black drivers or their vehicles were less likely to find criminal evidence (3.3%) than searches of white drivers (14.5%), and somewhat less likely than searches of Hispanic drivers (13%).
The great irony here is that Chapman offers his made up statements about the heightened criminality of minorities while arguing that racial profiling doesn’t exist. His premise fundamentally endorses profiling and any officer who agrees with him is highly vulnerable to the exact behavior Chapman denies. It is really just priceless to find gratuitous racial stereotypes in an article about how the days of gratuitous racial stereotyping are behind us.
Dear sisters and brothers! My name is Eugene Kazachenko. I'm from Moscow, Russia. Today, some hours ago my friends from Marijuana march were arrested. They tried to stretch the banner with calling to legalize marijuana. The goal of this march was legalization marijuana for medical use. Now there are about 20 people arrested. The police was very cruel with marijuana activists. With fear for life of our brothers and sisters my friends and I are receiving periodical news of Radio station Ekcho Moskvy ("The Echo of Moscow"). This is the only free radio channel, which real informs of social and political life in Russia. It informs that Police has placed people by faces on the ground. Police has dragged girls upon the ground and has beaten young men. Policemen have banged young men by their faces about parked cars. In the police department some young activist was beaten so cruel that this has caused coming an ambulance. The representatives of The Federal service of drug control have accused all delaying activists in biased attitude to narcotics. Without any reason they have accused participants of Marijuana March in propaganda of narcotics. At the police department some policemen are trying to plant the drugs to activists. However attorney was not passed to his clients for legal defense. On entrance with the sub-machine-gun in hands the policeman did not let to attorney to come into the door of the police department. Marijuana March was organized by Cannabis Legalization League. At this moment all of delaying marijuana activists are in Presnentsky administrative (misdemeanor) court of Moscow (phone number of this court: +7 495 254-53-59). They are accusing for undertaking unsanctioned meetings. This position of government disagrees with 31 articles of The Constitutions of Russian Federation and Public International law. Though many religious confessions concern with a rehabilitation and spiritual counseling for drug abusers, however they never call any attention in regard to the realistic position of medical cannabis. Regrettably Christians and other religious circles of Russia do not raise a voice in rights protection of drugs consumers from unjustified state repression. Because of unchangeable and increased repressive policy of Russia in attitude to consumers of drugs the religious figures are positioning itself apart of to questions of government drugs policy. Hypocritically the majority of them tacitly agrees with official drug policy or on the pattern of flattering politicians they loudly convicts all people, which voice opinion for legalization hemp as a medicine. With respect, Eugene Kazachenko MDiv of Moscow Theological Seminary
State police, local law enforcement, sheriff's offices, HIDTA and multi-jurisdictional drug task forces throughout the nation collectively conducted undercover investigations, search warrants, consent searches, marijuana eradication efforts, drug interdiction and arrest warrants for a period of one week. This collective effort, Operation Byrne Drugs II, was conducted from April 23-29 to highlight the need and effectiveness of the Byrne grant funding and the impact cuts to this funding could have on local and statewide drug enforcement.Actually it is the media efforts that seem to be coordinated, in addition to the drug enforcement. I noticed a suspiciously similar press release distributed by the California Dept. of Justice last July about a suspiciously similar incident:
BNE task forces, comprised of state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, throughout the state served 16 search warrants, seized three firearms, confiscated 53 pounds of methamphetamine, 91 pounds of marijuana, and 37,747 marijuana plants. State drug enforcement agencies across the U.S. on July 27, 2006 participated in a "national day of drug enforcement." Organized by the National Alliance of State Drug Enforcement Agencies, "Operation Byrne Drugs" promoted the continued funding of the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program that supports local and statewide drug enforcement. The federally funded program has suffered deep cuts over the last few years, directly affecting BNE. In fiscal year 2001-02, BNE received more than $11.5 million for personnel and operating costs. In fiscal year 2006-07, BNE received less than $6 million, nearly a 50% decline over five years.your tax dollars at work to get more of your tax dollars Now I run an advocacy group, and I can tell you with confidence that this is exactly what groups who want to achieve a legislative objective will do -- organize media-worthy events in order to get the attention of the policymakers you need to influence, in this case Congress. The main differences between what we do and what the narcs are doing are that: 1) They are using taxpayer funds to carry out their media/lobbying campaign to secure taxpayer funds; and 2) They are using the authority the government has given them to wield state power including guns in order to arrest and incarcerate people, as a component of their media-lobbying campaign. We will generally just hold a press conference or a rally, or issue a report. I suspect that in strict legal terms they have not violated the law. But make no mistake -- this is lobbying of Congress by state agencies to get our money, and they are destroying numerous lives in order to do it. I don't agree with drug enforcement at all (as readers know), but even for those who do, clearly enforcement decisions about when and whom to raid should be based on law enforcement/public safety needs, NOT politics. Unfortunately, it is not only drug money that corrupts our law enforcement; it is drug war money too.
DEA significantly exceeded ratings of other Government agencies in many measures of “Performance Culture,” including:• employees feel personally empowered;
• creativity and innovation are rewarded along with providing high-quality products and services;
• promotions are based on merit;
• performance appraisals are a fair reflection of performance;
• poor performers are dealt with; and
• complaints and grievances are fairly resolved.
Heck I might enjoy working there too if I weren't so knowledgeable about drug policy. But it comes as no surprise that these folks enjoy waging war on their fellow citizens with no performance measures or accountability. In 34 years DEA has exhausted untold sums at our expense while failing to make a dent in America's drug problem.
…But at least they're having a really great time.
They arrested 49 Indian store clerks for unknowingly selling household items that could be used to make meth.
They inadvertently taught children how to make meth as part of a meth education class about why you shouldn't do exactly that.
Several states have created databases of meth offenders. So if you're trying not to buy meth, you'll know exactly who not to call.
They've built a "meth gun," which isn’t nearly as cool as it sounds.
They declared National Meth Awareness Day, so we can celebrate not doing meth. The planning was so intensive that the Attorney General forgot why he fired 9 U.S. Attorneys.
And just last month, they arrested a guy for possessing too much cold medicine because he could have used it to make meth, even though he didn't.
But, spectacularly absurd as they may be, these things really do not compare to this. From today's Des Moines Register:
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Ia., said today that the illegal and highly addictive drug is being colored, flavored and packaged in ways to make it appealing to younger users.
He and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced a bill that would increase the penalties for those found to have manufactured, created or distributed an illegal drug that is flavored, colored or packaged to make it more appealing to people under 21.
Hopefully, the legislation will state specifically that the meth must be "packaged to make it more appealing to people under 21" thereby burdening prosecutors and judges with the arduous task of figuring out what the hell that means. Better yet, perhaps this proposal will collapse under the weight of its own stupidity. But I'm not holding my breath.
If you need some background on why candy-flavored meth isn't worth getting all tweaked out about, I've discussed it here.
Most notably, it's worth considering that the more candy you've got in your meth, the less meth you actually have. So Congress is basically attempting to encourage dealers to sell a stronger product.
Maybe there should also be higher penalties for selling the more potent and addictive candy-free meth. No wait, forget I said that.