The Drug Debate

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Attempts to Ban Fake Marijuana Are Further Proof of Prohibition's Failure (Opinion)

Mike Meno, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project, opines that K2 bans are misguided because they don't address the core issue: millions of Americans want to use marijuana, or something that will mimic its effects, and if they're afraid about illegal means of doing so, they will continue to seek out legal alternatives.
Publication/Source: 
The Huffington Post (CA)
URL: 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-meno/attempts-to-ban-fake-mari_b_738634.html

Oregon Representative to Introduce Marijuana Legalization Bill

Supporters of marijuana legalization in Oregon failed to get the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act(OCTA) on the ballot this year, but now another path appears to be opening. State Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland) has announced he will introduce a legalization bill. He said he expected a hearing in February.

Buckley told the Portland Medical Marijuana Examiner he was using OCTA as a starting point because it was "a good proposal." He said that with budget concerns and "the desire to make progress on this," the OCTA proposal was something for the legislature to consider.

Rep. Peter Buckley and family

OCTA would set up an Oregon Cannabis Commission to regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana -- but not hemp, which would be legal and unregulated. The commission would license commercial growers and processors, which would sell their product to the commission, which in turn would retail it in commission stores. Cultivation and possession for non-commercial use by adults would not be regulated.

Whether Rep. Buckley actually introduces the bill remains to be seen, and its fate in the legislature is murky. But OCTA activists aren't just sitting around waiting for the politicians to set matters right; they are already gearing up for an effort to put OCTA on the ballot in 2012.

It looks like, one way or another, Oregon is vying to be one of the first states to cross the finish line in the decades-long marathon to end pot prohibition.

Ashland, OR
United States

Former Spanish Drug Czar Says Legalize Drugs

Madrid
Spain

Why Parents Should Support Legalizing Pot (Opinion)

Location: 
CA
United States
Hanna Liebman Dershowitz, an attorney and mother of two elementary school children, opines on why parents should support legalizing marijuana.
Publication/Source: 
Alternet (CA)
URL: 
http://www.alternet.org/drugs/148278/why_parents_should_support_legalizing_pot

Stop the Lies About Prop 19 -- It Will Help, Not Hurt, Medical Marijuana Patients

A small but loud group of medical marijuana businesses are in the media claiming that Prop 19, California's "tax and regulate" initiative to legalize marijuana, would make marijuana less available to medical patients. Their arguments are demonstrably false, but the media has mostly given them a pass on it. I have a piece on Huffington Post today that calls them out. Check it out and then comment there and/or here.

Location: 
CA
United States

Spain’s Former Drug Czarina Endorses Legalization

Location: 
Spain
Quoting great minds such as Milton Friedman, Gary Becker and Mario Vargas Llosa, Spain’s former drug Czarina Araceli Manjón-Cabeza endorsed drug legalization in a compelling op-ed [in Spanish] published in El País, Spain’s leading newspaper. Just a week ago, Felipe González, Spain’s former Prime Minister, also came out in support of drug legalization.
Publication/Source: 
CATO@Liberty (DC)
URL: 
http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/spains-former-drug-czarina-endorses-legalization/

California Marijuana Legalization Measure Has Nine-Point Lead in Latest Poll

Proposition 19 pot legalization initiative leads 47%-38% in the latest Public Policy Polling survey of likely voters. That's good, but not great, news for the campaign.

Good because nine points is a nice cushion six weeks out from election day. But not great because Prop 19 is still polling under 50% when it needs 50% plus one vote to win and because the race is closer than in the previous Public Policy Polling survey in July, when it led 52%-36%.

The poll is an automated phone survey of 630 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.9%. It took place last week.

victory in November? (chart from polltracker.talkingpointsmemo.com)
Most, but not all recent polls, have shown Prop 19 leading. The Talking Points Memo Poll Average on Prop 19, which combines all the recent polls, has the measure leading 47.8% to 38.8%.

Telephone robo-polls have generated higher numbers than face to face interview polls, leading some observers to suggest some people may be more willing to embrace a controversial position like marijuana legalization in the facelessness of the robo-polls.

Prop 19 was supported by 74% of liberals, 47% of moderates, and only 27% of conservatives. 53% of men supported it, compared to only 42% of women, suggesting the campaign has not been able to overcome lackluster support in what it considers a key swing constituency.

Whites showed the strongest support at 49%, followed by blacks at 46%, Asians at 44%, and the large Hispanic electorate at 42%.

Six weeks out, victory appears tantalizingly within reach, but defeat cannot be ruled out. This sucker is going down to the wire.

CA
United States

Threatened Mexican Journalist Granted US Asylum

Location: 
Mexico
A Mexican journalist threatened by drug gangs said he had been granted political asylum in the United States to escape the drug trafficking organizations' increasingly violent campaign to silence the media.
Publication/Source: 
Reuters
URL: 
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2115054820100921

Moms United to End the War on Drugs Campaign Rally

Moms are uniting and leading the charge to end drug prohibition, just as they did with alcohol prohibition in the 1930s.  It's time to end the pointless and punitive criminalization of people who use drugs and the needless deaths caused by the illegal drug trade.

Mothers, family members, healthcare professionals and individuals in recovery will gather to bring focus to our country’s failed drug policies and the havoc they have wreaked on our families.  Please join us.

For more information, contact anewpath@cox.net

Date: 
Wed, 10/13/2010 - 11:00am - 1:00pm
Location: 
10th St. between L & N Streets West steps of the State Capitol building
Sacramento, CA 95814
United States

More Marijuana Law Reform Talk in Britain

Marijuana law reform is back in the news in the British Isles, as both a high-ranking police officer and a leading Liberal Democratic politician made comments over the weekend suggesting that pot should be decriminalized or regulated and sold legally.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/tim-hollis.jpg
Tim Hollis
Marijuana is currently a Class B drug with possession punishable by up to five years in prison. It was down-scheduled to Class C under the Labor government in 2004, but then returned to Class B by Labor in 2008. The current Conservative/Liberal Democratic government supports keeping marijuana as a Class B drug.

But on Saturday, Tim Hollis, chief constable of the Humberside police and chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers' drug committee, told the Guardian marijuana possession should be decriminalized to allow police to devote more resources to dealing with more serious crime. The criminal justice system can offer only a "limited" solution to Britain's drug problem, he said.

"We would rather invest our time in getting high-level criminals before the courts, taking money off them and removing their illicit gains rather than targeting young people," said Hollis. "We don't want to criminalize young people because, put bluntly, if we arrest young kids for possession of cannabis and put them before the courts we know what the outcome's going to be, so actually it's perfectly reasonable to give them words of advice or take it off them."

Hollis also backed increasing calls for the current drug classification system to be reexamined. He said concerns that placing drugs such as heroin and ecstasy in the same classification were justified. He also said whether to include tobacco and alcohol in the country's drug strategy should be open to debate.

"My personal belief in terms of sheer scale of harm is that one of the most dangerous drugs in this country is alcohol," he said. "Alcohol is a lawful drug. Likewise, nicotine is a lawful drug, but cigarettes can kill," he said. "There is a wider debate on the impacts to our community about all aspects of drugs, of which illicit drugs are one modest part."

Hollis's comments came as a row between scientists and politicians over marijuana policy continues. Just last week, Professor Roger Pertwee, arguably Britain's top marijuana researcher, called for decriminalization. But last month, the Home Office rejected marijuana decriminalization, calling it "the wrong approach."

And on Sunday, the junior partner in the government, the Liberal Democrats, were scolded by one of their leaders for staying "silent" on drug policy since the issued was last discussed at a party conference in 2002. Then, the party voted to legalize marijuana and end jail sentences for simple possession of any drugs.

At the party's national conference, Ewan Hoyle, founder of Liberal Democrats for Drug Policy Reform, called for a "rational debate" on drug policy, saying the party had been left "vulnerable" because it was seen as "soft on drugs." What is needed, he said, is detailed discussion of regulating drugs, the sale of drugs in pharmacies, and the diversion of profits from those sales to drug treatment programs.

"The last time we talked about this was in 2002 and we certainly haven't heard our candidates and representatives talking about it very much since," Hoyle told delegates. "I put it to you that we have been silent on this issue because we got our policy wrong. Our policy, especially on cannabis, was a soft on drugs policy which has left us vulnerable," he said.

"We have to start discussing policy features like pharmacy sales, the provision of detailed information on harm before individuals are permitted to purchase the drug, and bans on branding and marketing," Hoyle proposed. "We have to find a policy that can best protect our citizens from harm, especially our children, and that can end the massive profits from the criminal gains that control the illegal trade."

Will the Liberal Democrats listen and perhaps nudge their Tory partners toward a more reformist stance? Time will tell, but the pressure is mounting.

United Kingdom

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