Federal Government

RSS Feed for this category

Feature: DEA Raids Ten Los Angeles Dispensaries Same Day City Council Asks It To Butt Out

In what appears to be the latest move in an ever-escalating campaign of attacks against California medical marijuana dispensaries, the DEA Wednesday raided 10 Los Angeles-area dispensaries, seizing marijuana, marijuana products, cash, and two guns. The raids came the same day the Los Angeles City Council introduced an ordinance to regulate dispensaries in the city and approved a resolution calling on federal authorities to quit prosecuting medical marijuana providers operating legally under California law.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/kcal9.jpg
local news coverage
The raids did not go unchallenged, either by local officials or by activists. When DEA agents raided the Los Angeles Patients and Caregivers Group (LAPCG) on Santa Monica Boulevard, they were met by more than a hundred protestors, who blocked access to the building and surrounded DEA vehicles to prevent raiders taking away people at the dispensary. Five people were arrested in that incident.

A DEA spokesperson in Washington told the Chronicle five arrests were made during the raids, but it appears those arrests were of people engaging in civil disobedience to protest the raids -- not dispensary owners or employees.

"Some people were arrested for civil disobedience after barricading the facility itself because federal agents were detaining people inside," said Kris Hermes, communications director for Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the medical marijuana defense group whose rapid response network brings out protestors in response to such raids. "We had at least a couple of hundred people very agitated by what the DEA was doing, and some of them decided to obstruct the agents. The DEA was prevented from being able to process those inside and therefore released them," he said.

City officials who that same day had introduced an ordinance calling for a moratorium on new dispensaries in the city while it drafts regulations governing their operation, but who also called on the DEA to quit prosecuting medical marijuana providers, also reacted angrily. City Councilman Dennis Zine, who authored the letter, called the agency "bullies" at a pre-scheduled news conference that took place as the raids were ongoing.

"I am greatly disturbed that the Drug Enforcement Administration would initiate an enforcement action against medical marijuana facilities in the city of Los Angeles during a news conference regarding City Council support of an interim control ordinance to regulate all facilities within the city," Zine said. "This action by the DEA is contrary to the vote of Californians who overwhelmingly voted to support medicinal marijuana use by those facing serious and life-threatening illnesses," he said. "The DEA needs to focus their attention and enforcement action on the illegal drug dealers who are terrorizing communities in Los Angeles."

Despite the angry protests of patients, activists and elected officials, the DEA was unmoved. "The DEA is required to enforce the Controlled Substances Act," replied tight-lipped spokesperson Rogene Waite when asked about the opposition the raids are engendering. "There has been no change in our policy," she said when asked if the raids signaled a new offensive.

But despite the DEA's protestations, a ramping up of DEA activity directed at dispensaries seems evident. Dozens of dispensaries have been raided this year, including 11 in Los Angeles in January. Hundreds of medical marijuana cases are now pending in the federal courts in California. Last week, the DEA and the Justice Department announced the indictments of four dispensary operators, two in the Los Angeles area, one in San Luis Obispo, and one in Bakersfield. And earlier this month, the DEA and the Justice Department unveiled a new tactic in their war on medical marijuana: Federal authorities in Los Angeles sent a letter to dozens of dispensary landlords warning them they faced seizure of their property or even criminal charges if they continued to rent to the dispensaries.

"The DEA appears to be intensifying its campaign against medical marijuana," said ASA's Hermes. "There are not only the increased raids here in Los Angeles, but also the threats to property owners who choose to rent to medical marijuana providers. This is tantamount to intimidation, and it's a last-ditch effort by the federal government to undermine the state's medical marijuana law."

"It is an escalation, and it's very frightening," said Bruce Mirken, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "They can't stop medical marijuana's momentum because truth, common sense, and decency are on our side, but in the meantime they can cause a lot of suffering for a lot of people."

For California NORML head Dale Gieringer, the raids are like the final twitches of a dying dinosaur's tail. "It's a rear-guard action by the DEA," he said. "They went after the heart of responsible medical cannabis activism by going after the California Patients and Caregivers group. That's where people met to deal responsibly with the dispensary issue. This is a slap in the face to Los Angeles, and I think people there are going to end up being as angry as they already are in Northern California," he predicted.

Still, said Gieringer, the raids won't stop the dispensaries. "There are already 400 of them across the state, maybe more, who knows?" he said. "If the DEA is trying to wipe out the dispensaries, they are now several years too late."

The battle between the federal drug enforcers and the people, patients, and elected officials of California over medical marijuana continues. Congress could have taken the wind out of the DEA's sails by passing the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which would have cut off federal funding for the raids, but it chose not to Wednesday night, just hours after the latest raids took place. That means, at least for now, it's up to the people of California to protect themselves.

Medical marijuana supporters and fellow activists will be taking steps to do just that on Friday. ASA has called for demonstrations against the raids to occur across the state Friday morning. Civil disobedience has already broken out on Santa Monica Boulevard. Maybe there will be more to come.

Henry Waxman's War

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Washington Post
URL: 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/25/AR2007072501880.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

DEA raids 10 pot shops

Location: 
Los Angeles, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Los Angeles Times
URL: 
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-medpot26jul26,0,777205.story?coll=la-home-center

Detailed Compilation -- Stats and Voting Lists -- for Tonight's Hinchey Medical Marijuana Vote

The Hinchey results are in, losing by a vote of 165-262. This is only a very slight improvement over last year, when we lost 163-259. I'm disappointed. On the bright side, at least it increased by two. Suppose we had gotten fewer votes than last year? That would have really sucked. Here's a summary of the key stats:
  • 165 members of Congress voted for the Hinchey medical marijuana amendment this year (150 of them Democrats), but 262 members of Congress voted against it. Ten members did not have votes recorded (plus Pelosi, for some technical reason as Speaker).
  • 78 Democrats voted against the amendment, while 15 Republicans voted for it.
  • Nine members who voted Yes on the amendment last year switched their votes to No this time (hiss), and three who voted No last year switched to Yes.
  • 27 members of Congress who are either newly-elected or did not have a vote recorded on the Hinchey amendment last year, voted Yes, only one of them Republican.
  • 45 members of Congress who are either newly-elected, or did not vote on the amendment last year, voted No, including 24 Democrats and 21 Republicans.
  • Two members of Congress who voted Yes last year did not vote on the amendment this year, and seven members who voted No last year also didn't vote this year.
I guess a lot of Democrats are spooked about 2008 (but will they ever not be spooked?), and most Republicans are... just Republicans. (Sorry, Republican drug reformers, but those are the numbers. Be proud for at least getting the 15.) I have one more request to make of our members on this, which is to not get discouraged but to get angry instead. There will be more opportunities to take action, very soon. Following is a detailed compilation covering all the stats listed above, below the fold (meaning that if you don't already see it, you have to click the Read Full Post link appearing just below, or click through to this post's permanent web page here). Also, check back (maybe tomorrow, definitely by Friday for the Chronicle) for a report on which members of Congress spoke for or against the amendment on the Floor, and what they said. (We know already that Rep. Stephen Cohen, a freshmen Rep. from Tennessee, played a prominent role speaking in favor.) 165 members of Congress voted for the Hinchey medical marijuana amendment this year: Abercrombie (D-HI) Ackerman (D-NY) Allen (D-ME) Andrews (D-NJ) Baird (D-WA) Baldwin (D-WI) Bartlett (R-MD) Becerra (D-CA) Berkley (D-NV) Berman (D-CA) Bishop (D-GA) Bishop (D-NY) Blumenauer (D-OR) Brady (D-PA) Broun (R-GA) Campbell (R-CA) Capps (D-CA) Capuano (D-MA) Carnahan (D-MO) Carson (D-IN) Christensen (D-VI) Clay (D-MO) Cleaver (D-MO) Cohen (D-TN) Conyers (D-MI) Courtney (D-CT) Crowley (D-NY) Davis (D-CA) Davis (D-IL) DeFazio (D-OR) DeGette (D-CO) Delahunt (D-MA) DeLauro (D-CT) Doggett (D-TX) Doyle (D-PA) Ellison (D-MN) Emanuel (D-IL) Engel (D-NY) Eshoo (D-CA) Farr (D-CA) Fattah (D-PA) Filner (D-CA) Flake (R-AZ) Frank (D-MA) Garrett (R-NJ) Giffords (D-AZ) Gilchrest (R-MD) Gonzalez (D-TX) Green, Al (D-TX) Grijalva (D-AZ) Gutierrez (D-IL) Hare (D-IL) Harman (D-CA) Hastings (D-FL) Higgins (D-NY) Hinchey (D-NY) Hirono (D-HI) Hodes (D-NH) Holt (D-NJ) Honda (D-CA) Hooley (D-OR) Hoyer (D-MD) Inslee (D-WA) Israel (D-NY) Jackson (D-IL) Jackson-Lee (D-TX) Johnson (D-GA) Johnson (R-IL) Johnson, E. B. (D-TX) Jones (D-OH) Kanjorski (D-PA) Kaptur (D-OH) Kennedy (D-RI) Kildee (D-MI) Kilpatrick (D-MI) Kind (D-WI) Kucinich (D-OH) Langevin (D-RI) Lantos (D-CA) Larson (D-CT) LaTourette (R-OH) Lee (D-CA) Lewis (D-GA) Loebsack (D-IA) Lofgren (D-CA) Lowey (D-NY) Maloney (D-NY) Markey (D-MA) Matsui (D-CA) McCarthy (D-NY) McCollum (D-MN) McDermott (D-WA) McGovern (D-MA) McNulty (D-NY) Melancon (D-LA) Miller, George (D-CA) Mitchell (D-AZ) Moore (D-KS) Moore (D-WI) Moran (D-VA) Murphy (D-CT) Murtha (D-PA) Nadler (D-NY) Napolitano (D-CA) Neal (D-MA) Norton (D-DC) Oberstar (D-MN) Obey (D-WI) Olver (D-MA) Pallone (D-NJ) Pascrell (D-NJ) Pastor (D-AZ) Paul (R-TX) Payne (D-NJ) Perlmutter (D-CO) Peterson (D-MN) Porter (R-NV) Price (D-NC) Rangel (D-NY) Rehberg (R-MT) Renzi (R-AZ) Rodriguez (D-TX) Rohrabacher (R-CA) Rothman (D-NJ) Roybal-Allard (D-CA) Royce (R-CA) Ruppersberger (D-MD) Rush (D-IL) Ryan (D-OH) Sanchez, Linda T. (D-CA) Sanchez, Loretta (D-CA) Sarbanes (D-MD) Schakowsky (D-IL) Schiff (D-CA) Scott (D-GA) Scott (D-VA) Serrano (D-NY) Sestak (D-PA) Shea-Porter (D-NH) Sherman (D-CA) Sires (D-NJ) Slaughter (D-NY) Solis (D-CA) Sutton (D-OH) Tancredo (R-CO) Tauscher (D-CA) Thompson (D-CA) Tierney (D-MA) Towns (D-NY) Udall (D-CO) Udall (D-NM) Van Hollen (D-MD) Velazquez (D-NY) Walz (D-MN) Waters (D-CA) Watson (D-CA) Watt (D-NC) Waxman (D-CA) Weiner (D-NY) Welch (D-VT) Wexler (D-FL) Woolsey (D-CA) Wu (D-OR) Wynn (D-MD) Yarmuth (D-KY) ... but 262 members of Congress voted against it: Aderholt (R-AL) Akin (R-MO) Alexander (R-LA) Altmire (D-PA) Arcuri (D-NY) Baca (D-CA) Bachmann (R-MN) Baker (R-LA) Barrett (R-SC) Barrow (D-GA) Barton (R-TX) Bean (D-IL) Berry (D-AR) Biggert (R-IL) Bilbray (R-CA) Bilirakis (R-FL) Bishop (R-UT) Blackburn (R-TN) Blunt (R-MO) Boehner (R-OH) Bonner (R-AL) Bono (R-CA) Boozman (R-AR) Boren (D-OK) Boswell (D-IA) Boustany (R-LA) Boyd (D-FL) Boyda (D-KS) Bradley (R-NH) Brady (R-TX) Braley (D-IA) Brown (D-FL) Brown (R-SC) Brown-Waite, Ginny (R-FL) Buchanan (R-FL) Burgess (R-TX) Burton (R-IN) Butterfield (D-NC) Buyer (R-IN) Calvert (R-CA) Camp (R-MI) Cannon (R-UT) Cantor (R-VA) Capito (R-WV) Cardoza (D-CA) Carney (D-PA) Carter (R-TX) Castle (R-DE) Castor (D-FL) Chabot (R-OH) Chandler (D-KY) Clyburn (D-SC) Coble (R-NC) Cole (R-OK) Conaway (R-TX) Cooper (D-TN) Costa (D-CA) Costello (D-IL) Cramer (D-AL) Crenshaw (R-FL) Cuellar (D-TX) Culberson (R-TX) Cummings (D-MD) Davis (D-AL) Davis (D-TN) Davis (R-KY) Davis, David (R-TN) Davis, Tom (R-VA) Deal (R-GA) Dent (R-PA) Diaz-Balart, L. (R-FL) Diaz-Balart, M. (R-FL) Dicks (D-WA) Dingell (D-MI) Donnelly (D-IN) Doolittle (R-CA) Drake (R-VA) Dreier (R-CA) Duncan (R-TN) Edwards (D-TX) Ehlers (R-MI) Ellsworth (D-IN) Emerson (R-MO) English (R-PA) Etheridge (D-NC) Everett (R-AL) Faleomavaega (D-AS) Fallin (R-OK) Feeney (R-FL) Ferguson (R-NJ) Forbes (R-VA) Fortenberry (R-NE) Fortuno (R-PR) Fossella (R-NY) Foxx (R-NC) Franks (R-AZ) Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) Gallegly (R-CA) Gerlach (R-PA) Gillibrand (D-NY) Gillmor (R-OH) Gingrey (R-GA) Gohmert (R-TX) Goode (R-VA) Goodlatte (R-VA) Gordon (D-TN) Granger (R-TX) Graves (R-MO) Green, Gene (D-TX) Hall (D-NY) Hall (R-TX) Hastert (R-IL) Hastings (R-WA) Hayes (R-NC) Heller (R-NV) Hensarling (R-TX) Herger (R-CA) Herseth (D-SD) Hill (D-IN) Hinojosa (D-TX) Hobson (R-OH) Hoekstra (R-MI) Holden (D-PA) Hulshof (R-MO) Hunter (R-CA) Inglis (R-SC) Issa (R-CA) Jefferson (D-LA) Jindal (R-LA) Johnson, Sam (R-TX) Jones (R-NC) Jordan (R-OH) Kagen (D-WI) Keller (R-FL) King (R-IA) King (R-NY) Kingston (R-GA) Kirk (R-IL) Klein (D-FL) Kline (R-MN) Knollenberg (R-MI) Kuhl (R-NY) Lamborn (R-CO) Lampson (D-TX) Larsen (D-WA) Latham (R-IA) Levin (D-MI) Lewis (R-CA) Lewis (R-KY) Linder (R-GA) Lipinski (D-IL) LoBiondo (R-NJ) Lucas (R-OK) Lungren (R-CA) Lynch (D-MA) Mack (R-FL) Mahoney (D-FL) Manzullo (R-IL) Marchant (R-TX) Matheson (D-UT) McCarthy (R-CA) McCaul (R-TX) McCotter (R-MI) McCrery (R-LA) McHenry (R-NC) McHugh (R-NY) McIntyre (D-NC) McKeon (R-CA) McMorris (R-WA) McNerney (D-CA) Meek (D-FL) Meeks (D-NY) Mica (R-FL) Miller (D-NC) Miller (R-FL) Miller (R-MI) Miller, Gary (R-CA) Mollohan (D-WV) Moran (R-KS) Murphy (R-PA) Murphy, Patrick (D-PA) Musgrave (R-CO) Myrick (R-NC) Neugebauer (R-TX) Nunes (R-CA) Ortiz (D-TX) Pearce (R-NM) Pence (R-IN) Peterson (R-PA) Petri (R-WI) Pickering (R-MS) Pitts (R-PA) Platts (R-PA) Poe (R-TX) Pomeroy (D-ND) Price (R-GA) Pryce (R-OH) Putnam (R-FL) Radanovich (R-CA) Rahall (D-WV) Ramstad (R-MN) Regula (R-OH) Reichert (R-WA) Reyes (D-TX) Reynolds (R-NY) Rogers (R-AL) Rogers (R-KY) Rogers (R-MI) Roskam (R-IL) Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) Ross (D-AR) Ryan (R-WI) Salazar (D-CO) Sali (R-ID) Saxton (R-NJ) Schmidt (R-OH) Schwartz (D-PA) Sensenbrenner (R-WI) Sessions (R-TX) Shadegg (R-AZ) Shays (R-CT) Shimkus (R-IL) Shuler (D-NC) Shuster (R-PA) Simpson (R-ID) Skelton (D-MO) Smith (D-WA) Smith (R-NE) Smith (R-NJ) Smith (R-TX) Snyder (D-AR) Souder (R-IN) Space (D-OH) Spratt (D-SC) Stearns (R-FL) Stupak (D-MI) Sullivan (R-OK) Tanner (D-TN) Taylor (D-MS) Terry (R-NE) Thompson (D-MS) Thornberry (R-TX) Tiahrt (R-KS) Tiberi (R-OH) Turner (R-OH) Upton (R-MI) Visclosky (D-IN) Walberg (R-MI) Walden (R-OR) Walsh (R-NY) Wamp (R-TN) Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) Weldon (R-FL) Weller (R-IL) Westmoreland (R-GA) Whitfield (R-KY) Wicker (R-MS) Wilson (D-OH) Wilson (R-NM) Wilson (R-SC) Wolf (R-VA) Young (R-FL) 10 members did not have votes recorded (plus Pelosi, for some technical reason as Speaker): Bachus (R-AL) Boucher (D-VA) Clarke (D-NY) Cubin (R-WY) Davis, Jo Ann (R-VA) LaHood (R-IL) Marshall (D-GA) Michaud (D-ME) Stark (D-CA) Young (R-AK) 78 Democrats voted against the amendment: Altmire (D-PA) Arcuri (D-NY) Baca (D-CA) Barrow (D-GA) Bean (D-IL) Berry (D-AR) Boren (D-OK) Boswell (D-IA) Boyd (D-FL) Boyda (D-KS) Braley (D-IA) Brown (D-FL) Butterfield (D-NC) Cardoza (D-CA) Carney (D-PA) Castor (D-FL) Chandler (D-KY) Clyburn (D-SC) Cooper (D-TN) Costa (D-CA) Costello (D-IL) Cramer (D-AL) Cuellar (D-TX) Cummings (D-MD) Davis (D-AL) Davis (D-TN) Dicks (D-WA) Dingell (D-MI) Donnelly (D-IN) Edwards (D-TX) Ellsworth (D-IN) Etheridge (D-NC) Faleomavaega (D-AS) Gillibrand (D-NY) Gordon (D-TN) Green, Gene (D-TX) Hall (D-NY) Herseth (D-SD) Hill (D-IN) Hinojosa (D-TX) Holden (D-PA) Jefferson (D-LA) Kagen (D-WI) Klein (D-FL) Lampson (D-TX) Larsen (D-WA) Levin (D-MI) Lipinski (D-IL) Lynch (D-MA) Mahoney (D-FL) Matheson (D-UT) McIntyre (D-NC) McNerney (D-CA) Meek (D-FL) Meeks (D-NY) Miller (D-NC) Mollohan (D-WV) Murphy, Patrick (D-PA) Ortiz (D-TX) Pomeroy (D-ND) Rahall (D-WV) Reyes (D-TX) Ross (D-AR) Salazar (D-CO) Schwartz (D-PA) Shuler (D-NC) Skelton (D-MO) Smith (D-WA) Snyder (D-AR) Space (D-OH) Spratt (D-SC) Stupak (D-MI) Tanner (D-TN) Taylor (D-MS) Thompson (D-MS) Visclosky (D-IN) Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) Wilson (D-OH) ... while 15 Republicans voted for it: Bartlett (R-MD) Broun (R-GA) Campbell (R-CA) Flake (R-AZ) Garrett (R-NJ) Gilchrest (R-MD) Johnson (R-IL) LaTourette (R-OH) Paul (R-TX) Porter (R-NV) Rehberg (R-MT) Renzi (R-AZ) Rohrabacher (R-CA) Royce (R-CA) Tancredo (R-CO) Nine members who voted Yes on the amendment last year switched their votes to No this time (hiss): Brown (D-FL) Burton (R-IN) Butterfield (D-NC) Clyburn (D-SC) Dicks (D-WA) Jefferson (D-LA) Meeks (D-NY) Smith (D-WA) Thompson (D-MS) ... while three who voted No last year switched to Yes: Emanuel (D-IL) Peterson (D-MN) Renzi (R-AZ) There are 27 members of Congress who were either elected for the first time last November, or did not have a vote recorded on the Hinchey amendment last year, who voted Yes, only one of them Republican: (Most are freshmen; the several marked with an asterisk were members of Congress last time but did not vote on the amendment.) Broun (R-GA) Christensen (D-VI)* Cohen (D-TN) Courtney (D-CT) Ellison (D-MN) Giffords (D-AZ) Gonzalez (D-TX)* Hare (D-IL) Hirono (D-HI) Hodes (D-NH) Johnson (D-GA) Kanjorski (D-PA) Loebsack (D-IA) Mitchell (D-AZ) Murphy (D-CT) Norton (D-DC)* Perlmutter (D-CO) Rodriguez (D-TX) Sarbanes (D-MD) Schakowsky (D-IL)* Sestak (D-PA) Shea-Porter (D-NH) Sires (D-NJ) Sutton (D-OH) Walz (D-MN) Welch (D-VT) Yarmuth (D-KY) 45 members of Congress who are either newly-elected, or did not vote on the amendment last year, voted No, including 24 Democrats and 21 Republicans: (Most are freshmen; the several marked with an asterisk were members of Congress last time but did not vote on the amendment.) Altmire (D-PA) Arcuri (D-NY) Bachmann (R-MN) Bilirakis (R-FL) Boyda (D-KS) Braley (D-IA) Buchanan (R-FL) Cannon (R-UT) Carney (D-PA) Castor (D-FL) Davis, David (R-TN) Donnelly (D-IN) Ellsworth (D-IN) Faleomavaega (D-AS)* Fallin (R-OK) Fortuno (R-PR)* Gerlach (R-PA) Gillibrand (D-NY) Hall (D-NY) Hastert (R-IL)* Heller (R-NV) Hill (D-IN) Holden (D-PA) Johnson, Sam (R-TX) Jordan (R-OH) Kagen (D-WI) Klein (D-FL) Lamborn (R-CO) Lampson (D-TX) Mahoney (D-FL) McCarthy (R-CA) McNerney (D-CA) Murphy, Patrick (D-PA) Poe (R-TX) Roskam (R-IL) Sali (R-ID) Shays (R-CT)* Shuler (D-NC) Smith (R-NE) Souder (R-IN)* Space (D-OH) Stupak (D-MI)* Taylor (D-MS)* Walberg (R-MI) Wilson (D-OH) (At least two of these, Souder & Hastert, are known to be have always been strong opponents of medical marijuana.) Two members of Congress who voted Yes last year did not vote on the amendment this year: Michaud (D-ME) Stark (D-CA) ... and seven members who voted No last year also didn't vote this year: Bachus (R-AL) Boucher (D-VA) Cubin (R-WY) Davis, Jo Ann (R-VA) LaHood (R-IL) Marshall (D-GA) Young (R-AK)
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Meanwhile...

Meanwhile, the DEA raided at least six medical marijuana dispensaries in LA. Nice timing, DEA, on behalf of patients everywhere (especially in Los Angeles), thank you for your blind obedience to cruel authority. I'm going to put in another link to the letter I received from a medical marijuana patient this week. It's been pushed down by the flurry of posts tonight, but it deserves to be read.
Location: 
Los Angeles, CA
United States

Hinchey Roll Call -- medical marijuana amendment did not pass, total not yet available (online at least)

[UPDATE: I've learned by email the vote was 165-262. Don't look to the Democratically-controlled Congress to protect you, patients!] Didn't make it this time, according to the House Clerk web site. The Roll Call vote results will appear here. We are anxiously awaiting the numbers -- perhaps someone will post it here in the comments, if we haven't already done so first. Last year the amendment lost on a vote of 163-259. The reason we are waiting "anxiously" is that we want to see if there was improvement. It might be several hours, though, or tomorrow.
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Hinchey Medical Marijuana Amendment Does Not Pass -- No Vote Count Yet

I just saw the following on the House Clerk's web site, posted at 8:31pm:
POSTPONED PROCEEDINGS - At the conclusion of debate on the Hinchey amendment, the Chair put the question on adoption of the amendment and by voice vote, announced that the noes had prevailed. Mr. Hinchey demanded a recorded vote and the Chair postponed further proceedings on the question of adoption of the amendment until later in the legislative day.
In plain English, this means that the amendment did not pass this time around. The question now is how many members of Congress voted for it and how many voted against, and which ones. Hopefully we will see an improvement over last year's totals. However, it is going to have to wait until later tonight, as they are continuing with to debate other amendments, before taking the time to record individual Representatives' votes on all of the amendments later. We are also awaiting reports on which members of Congress took part in the debate and what they said. Read the blog post I made just a few minutes ago for one good reason Congress really should have passed this amendment.
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

ONDCP's "Cocaine Shortage" Announcement is Pure Fiction

This week, the drug czar's office has tricked several newspapers into reporting on a so-called "cocaine shortage":
EL PASO — White House drug czar John Walters said wholesale prices of cocaine have risen in more than a dozen major U.S. cities as supplies of the powerful drug have shrunk, including in high-volume markets like Los Angeles and New York. [AP]
The irony, of course, is that there's no such thing as a cocaine shortage. Really, cocaine is probably the last thing we'll ever run out of in America, and if you think otherwise, maybe it's because people aren't telling you how much cocaine they've got.

Fortunately, Associated Press at least had the commonsense to ask an actual expert about the supposed shortage:
Peter Reuter, a public policy professor at the University of Maryland who studies illicit drugs and organized crime, said prices of cocaine have long been declining and that brief price surges are not uncommon. He said gauging the future of the cocaine trade after just a few months is difficult.

"We see short term (price) increases that go on for three, or six months even," Reuter said. "They don't tend to be too long, and then the downward trend continues."
One could praise AP for including Reuter's comments, but I won't. If AP's Alicia Caldwell actually listened to what he said, she'd understand that the story isn’t accurate enough to be worth writing. Moreover, Reuter's revealing analysis -- which renders the entire report meaningless –- is relegated to the bowels of the article. The fact that cocaine prices have continually gone down for decades is treated as an afterthought, a mere side note, in a story that otherwise regurgitates ONDCP's claims about the effectiveness of its own work.

Distinguished members of the press, I beg you once again: whenever the Office of National Drug Control Policy approaches you and offers to describe how well the drug war is going, just look around. Has anything changed? It shouldn’t even be necessary to ask Peter Reuter if their claims make sense. The idea that we're experiencing a cocaine shortage is so plainly ridiculous, I don't see how anyone could report such a thing with a straight face.

I'm reminded of real journalist Ken Silverstein's recent comment about his colleagues in the press:
As a class, they honor politeness over honesty and believe that being "balanced" means giving the same weight to a lie as you give to the truth.
How true -- and depressing – that is.
Location: 
United States

'Illogical' Policy On Hemp

Location: 
ND
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Day (CT)
URL: 
http://www.theday.com/re.aspx?re=760408df-c757-4889-8f24-90044442eb40

Rumors of a DEA Blog Prompt Curiosity & Concern

Adweek profiles The Adfero Group, whose VP Christopher Battle is helping the DEA Foundation improve its image and promote its ridiculous museum.
[DEA] has also asked Adfero to create an interactive Web site that will include blogs and virtual tours of the museum. Right now, the only Web site that exists is a page about the museum on the DEA Web site. Plans to include a blog and a speaker's bureau are also under discussion.

A DEA Blog, huh? Sounds just awesome. Let's hope it's more interesting than the compost pile that passes for a blog over at ONDCP. I wanna see candid posts like "If Potent Pot Doesn't Kill These Hippies, We Will," or "Top 10 Sick People We Don't Care About."

So far the only thing we know about this blog is that it will be completely devoid of any intellectual value. They're already prepared to promise us that much:

The group's strategy going forward is to take its slogan, "Hope through education," and "take the debate about drugs out of the realm of statistics and policy and move it into the realm of personal stories," says Battle.
Is this a tacit acknowledgement that the discussion of stats and policy inherently disadvantages them? Because, as true as that is, I certainly wasn't expecting them to admit it. That should be their blog motto for sure, and I'm so glad they're giving our tax-dollars to a fancy consulting firm to help them brainstorm these sorts of things.

How about this:

"DEA Blog: Replacing Stats and Policy With Anecdotes and Hyperbole"

Location: 
United States

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School