Editorial: What's With All the Good News Lately?

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David Borden, Executive Director

David Borden
One of the recurring complaints we receive at Drug War Chronicle is that we publish a lot of bad news. Some readers find it can be hard to take. Some even stop reading; they just find the whole thing too depressing.

That's easy to understand -- there is a lot of bad news in the drug war, and it can be hard to take. Even when the Chronicle's headlines seem hopeful, it only takes a few Google News searches to see that the government's mass arrest campaign, mostly of very low-level, nonviolent offenders, continues unabated. That means bad news for about 4,000 people a day who are arrested across the United States on drug charges, plus all the other countries, and all the other ways the drug war brings trouble and harm and grief.

Still, sometimes the headlines are too good to ignore, even in drug policy. When a friend of mine posted to Facebook this week about THREE medical marijuana bills making significant progress in state legislatures -- not one, but THREE, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Rhode Island -- that caught my attention. When the news crossed my e-mail that the Obama administration would call for federal crack cocaine penalties to be lowered to equal the ones that exist for powder cocaine, at a hearing taking place in the Senate, that caught my attention. And when I read that Mexico's Senate has passed a bill, supported by President Calderón, to decriminalize possession of small quantities of drugs, despite their having gotten raked over the coals by drug warriors in Mexico and the US the last time they tried this, that definitely caught my attention. All of it this week.

There's still plenty of bad news, of course, and the road ahead is still not going to be easy. Mexico's decrim bill is not as good as the one they almost passed the last time. Minnesota's medical marijuana bill faces a strong veto possibility by the congenial but not always reasonable governor of the state, Tim Pawlenty. Reportedly Missouri's Speaker of the House is preventing the bill from even coming up there. Medical marijuana isn't everything, and neither is decrim. The administration is hedging their bets on whether crack sentencing reductions should be retroactive. And of course, the government's mass arrest campaign continues unabated. But the headlines are still too good to ignore.

Twelve and a half years ago, after our movement's first state ballot initiatives passed (Prop. 215 for medical marijuana in California, Prop. 200 for sentencing reform in Arizona), colleagues of mine at the old Drug Policy Letter placed an appropriate Winston Churchill quote on the cover: "[t]his is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

In light of all that has changed since then, it's fair to say that 1996 was in fact the end of the beginning. In 2009, are we now experiencing the beginning of the end?

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Agreed, but The Roots of Ignorance Still Persist

The christian drug wars have lasted over 3 generations now and we are probably still 1 to 2 generations away from a full return to lawful laws... free of religious coercion of conscience!

Religious bigotry and ignorance should decline as the theory of christ continues to fail and christian exceptionalism is reversed.

I love this blog but often lament it's failure to correctly identify our enemies for who they frequently are.... fundamentalist christians... putting faith before democracy!

Our democracy suffers because fundametalists are to busy chasing the grace of god... with blinders on!

Know your opponent(s)!

Fundamentalist Christians are one component, but I do believe you are overstating their influence. The real factor here is money. Follow the money and you will find the reason behind our current drug laws. In 1937 it started off as the paper industry and police (alcohol prohibition just ended).

Currently our main opponents seem to be (in order of influence):
The prison industry
Police (reason for bust - cash for police force from forfeiture)
The religious right (GOP - tough on crime - unless they do it)
Pharmaceutical companies (competition, but also drug testing kits)

The Pharms are a bit scary. They might not lobby congress much directly in relation to the drug war, but they have (almost) every doctor's ear well before they leave medical school. If you are interested, google Harvard's recent debacle with medical professors being employed by Pharms. Scary stuff.

The first one...

on your list of beneficiarys should be Big Business. I don't know exactly all how they are related, but it definitely smells like they are. I think somewhere in there there is a lot to be gained by keeping the pot smoker down, and I do know that Fundamentalists, Evangelists in particular, have been courted by the right since the Reagan years. Billy Carter is a fundamentalist Baptist, exept he broke with the Southern Baptist League years ago when he objected to their increased emphasis on paternalistic hierarchy in the organization. But as president, he operated on a Christian philosophy, but not like this hypocritical, contrived group of Pharisees, but as a real Christian, the kind that Christ would have been proud of.

GW Bush, the biggest idiot puppet ever to take office, was hand picked by big business who portrayed him as Christian. I've no doubt that they encouraged him to publicly claim, "I am a Christian," to appeal to Christians in this country weak on their own critical thinking skills. This is definitely not to say that every Christian is ignorant, or has been oblivious to GW;s duplicity about faith, but there's a whole movement there, remember, that is paternalistically driven, and that discourages free thinking. And as such, this same collective group of people will fall every time for taking something someone says at face value, and praising absolute but superficial decisions such as the Terry Schiavo case, or creationism (by whatever so-called "intelligent" name you choose) in the schoolsand the list goes on. Meanwhile, how Christian is it to screw someone's life up completely just because they choose to do something in the privacy of their own home that goes against your values? If you don't believe that God wants you to smoke pot, then DON'T SMOKE POT!

But also, you might want to get a better understanding and distinction between these Pharisees and certain Christian groups that are more open minded, such as United Methodist, Quakers, or a few other faiths to see that there are some Christians that live according to what the Bible really says. And google a little further and find sites like Christians For Cannabis, to name one pro-pot Christian group.

But everything else in your blog is dead-on. Pharmaceuticals are definitely in on it (just another big business) and you better believe they court doctors. We have so many clocks and notepads and pens with drug names on them that you can get stoned by just looking at one. (and speaking of stoned-a little sidebar here-I was prescribed a low dose of Zoloft last year when I went through a stressful period and the anxiety got out of hand. I have to tell you, I could not function. I probably shouldn't have driven to work that day, or tried to work for that matter, but that crap had me STONED and not in a good way. But it did sure as hell make me docile.) I agree pharmaceuticals are a bit scary.

marijuana vs FDA approved


Here at this site ( http://suitsusall.org/fdadrugs.aspx ), there is a list of 17 comparative drugs (including marinol) which are FDA approved for symptoms which cannabis (herb) has been proven to treat.

This information was retrieved using a 'freedom of information act', forcing the FDA to relinquish the data.

This is a comparative review of marijuana (cannabis) and 17 FDA APPROVED primary and secondary causes deaths from 1996 - 2005.

Remember, many of those FDA approved drugs have been on the market much longer!

Something else to see is the CBEE (Cannabis Biomass Energy Equation), also on the www.suitsusall.org

Don't forget: U.S. Marijuana Patent # 6,630,507

Most folks are aware that the gov't continues to maintain the old drug war refrain that marijuana has no accepted medical value... yet the same gov't holds the patent for... are you ready for this... "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants".

That's right, your government currently holds, since 2003, U.S. Patent # 6,630,507 claiming: "Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties... cannabinoids are found to have particular applications as neuroprotectants... limiting neurological damage following... stroke and trauma... or in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases... such as Alzheimer's... Parkinson's... and HIV dementia".

It's not the THC that scares the crap out of the gov't... it's the BSB's... the 'Bullshit Blockers'!

"Truth is Treason in the Kingdom of Lies" - Ron Paul

Don't forget: U.S. Marijuana Patent # 6,630,507

Most folks are aware that the gov't continues to maintain the old drug war refrain that marijuana has no accepted medical value... yet the same gov't holds the patent for... are you ready for this... "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants".

That's right, your government currently holds, since 2003, U.S. Patent # 6,630,507 claiming: "Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties... cannabinoids are found to have particular applications as neuroprotectants... limiting neurological damage following... stroke and trauma... or in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases... such as Alzheimer's... Parkinson's... and HIV dementia".

It's not the THC that scares the crap out of the gov't... it's the BSB's... the 'Bullshit Blockers'!

"Truth is Treason in the Kingdom of Lies" - Ron Paul

Imagine the numbers if alcohol were considered a drug?

Imagine the numbers if alcohol were considered a drug?

If it weren't for christian exceptionism alcohol and tobacco would be on the Control of Some Substances Act... were they belong... if harm were the true measure of things... instead of religious and politic populism and greed.

Christian groups that are more open minded, such as Methodist

Sorry, but history clearly shows that the 1st drug war, against alcohol between 1902 -1933, was a direct product of a methodist 'temperance' movement.

Fundamentalists, like Harry Anslinger who not coincidentaly was our first drug/propaganda czar, merely started a second drug war, against marijuana, after the failure of the 1st drug war.

Christians are never short on wars... always doing gods work and gaining his grace is what's important to a christian... not the constitutional rights of those that disagree with them... and are destined to hell on earth anyway!

Do Not Underestimate Religions Negative Influence...

Yea forget that 80% of americans claim to be christian... with christian values... deploribly weak as they are!

Blind faith and uninformed voting... in anything... is harmful to a democracy that relies on an informed responsible citizenry.

Let's not forget that the 1st drug war against alcohol between 1920 -1933 was a fundamentalist religious movement by the methodists temperance movement.

The fact that pharma and textile industries conspired for profit is just another example of christian america... they had no problem slaughtering millions of native americans... and they have little shame for their current crimes against democracy.... in favor of their gods grace.

Fundamentalists = Crackheads of Christianity

god, country, family

Don't be so harsh on Christians; remember, we've received the same information as the rest of America. The same brainwashing, the same information...whatever.

God comes before all else; the problem is that we have too many people listening to someone else's interpretation of the word (preachers, reverends, politicians even) and not enough communing with God personally.

Attacking Christianity isn't going to help. Seek to change MINDS, not hearts, and good ol' common sense aligns itself with religion almost every time.

we've received the same information.... so why stop there?

God doesn't exist and therefore comes in dead last on the list of things to consider.. besides the old testiment proves he was a major murdering asshole... that i'd rather kill then worship.

Good ol common sense aligns itself with religion? You've got to be kidding me... care to guess how many people have been slaughtered in the name of your god. Thank yahwah we took the dope popes army away!

We've received the same information? And you bought it hook line and sinker... did you bother to get an opposing viewpoint... or did you just nod your head and say amen?

Religion is an infectious disease that has no place in government or public policy... precisely because it places worship in something that does not exist over our constitutional rights.

Attacking christianity isn't going to help? Funny but attacking marijuana isn't going to help either but it doesn't stop them.

And as long as christians get their exceptionism... like their drug of choice alcohol remains legal, is readily available and socially aceptable, then they simply do not care about others... compassion my ass.... it's ignorance to the hilt!

Help fight cognitive dissonance disorder... abolish organized religion... it's all modern witchcraft!


I couldn't have said it better!!!

Christians for Cannabis

You are mistaken about the who the enenies of cannabis are, Jesus says repeatedly not to judge a person for what he consumes...it is not what you eat (or smoke) that makes one sin, but the actions from the heart do.

Prohibition is all about GREED and power and fear...follow the money and please read Jack Herer's book "The Emporer Wears No Clothes" before you make such ridiculous statements. Besides, 60 Christian clergy came out for passing a law in Illinois regarding medical cannabis.

And what's god got to do with jesus

Already read jacks great book... but what does it have to do with delusion and false idols.

I guess organized religion would'nt be so pathetic if it were just about an intelligent wiseman named jesus.... without the dead weight of his murderous asshole and father... god.

Guess what, organized religion is all about greed and control too... so why embrace that which seeks to destroy us... with conformity and confusion.

I would agree that some religious leaders are coming around... some eventually do... because they see first hand how marijuana can help with improving the quality and/or quantity of life... a constitutional right by the way... not a gov't or religious license.

I'd rather be accused of being ridicules then guilty of ignorant and murderous behavior towards those that disagree with me.

You should read some books on how-far-back religion has set our civilization with it's endless crimes agains humanity and free thought.

Religion = Conformity Through Coercion

Bashing Christians will hurt us much more than help us.

Millions of marijuana smokers are Christians. Millions of the American voters for legalization are Christians, and we're going to have to convince a lot more Christians that marijuana prohibition is doing more harm than good if we want to get it legalized. Bashing Christians won't help. We should discourage that. One sure fire way to drive people away is to attack their religion. Just leave that alone. Drop it. No good will come from it. It will only hurt us. It's destructive. Move on to something productive.

Agreed, Religion... No good will come from it!

It only hurts society... with ignorance and exceptionism!

Just Say No to Gods & Gov'ts they are 2 greatest antagonistists to ourt rights, liberties, and freedoms.

Neither can survive by promoting the general welfare, as the law requires, so they must stoop to unlawful mandates, dictates, and proclamations instead!

The end

The end will come when our military stays in power to fight the drug war long enough to take bribes like the cops now do and is the main reason those in power bring in our soldiers in the first place as our police know it is usless to fight probition so they get in on the take. Our soldiers would soon follow and get in on the take too if they could stay in power long enough to take bribes. It may not be so bad as we would all soon be working for the military and no one would be out of work.

Legalizing Marijuana in California

A new Field Poll released yesterday found that 56 percent of California voters support legalizing recreational marijuana and taxing the proceeds. This is exactly what California Assembly Bill 390 would do.

If you live in California and favor legalizing marijuana for adults, YOU can make it happen. Tell your state representatives to support California Assembly Bill 390. It's easy. Visit yes390.org

Critical Mass and Momentum

Never before have I seen a time where there were two bills in the United States congress designed to look seriously at the drug war. Sen. Webb's S-714 could be a major assault on the war on drugs. While Rep. Engel's H.R.2134 looks like the drug warriors are scared enough of Sen. Webb's bill that they had to write their own piece of crap in an attempt to regain the initiative for the drug war side.

Combined with all that is going on in the states there is enough new momentum in the movement that it calls for a redoubling of all efforts to capitalize on this critical mass that seems to be exploding in our favor this year.

the trajectory

I agree. I think the trajectory started a slow upward trend in 1996 and maybe a little before that. I can remember back in 1992 you knew that the conservative 80s climate was over. But since 1996, probably up until 6 months ago, there was a gradual upward trend, but in the last few months I've seen a signficant upturn in terms of public attitude and the amount of publicity this issue has gotten. Now that I think about it, probably the biggest factor was the Change.Gov website where thousands of potheads made legalization the number one question of public interest and nobody knew what to do with the phenomenon. Since then, and Barney Frank's bill introduction didn't hurt either, there seems to be more and more people discussing this in a favorable light.

I think, too, that if people rally together on this and lean in to the momentum that we got going now, that this will quickly gain power and conceivablhy could sail right through, possibly even by next year.

So the more people see that marijuana isnt' going to destroy society and the more it's talked about, the sooner public acceptance will hit that critical mass.

Give it a few more commercials, a few more Michael Phelps's, and CNN's continued brinigng up of this issue, and you'll see this on a national ballot by the next election. I can conceive of this being on the table for next year.


I think the disappointment among reformers of electing Clinton only to have him spit in our faces drove the momentum that resulted in Prop-215 being passed in California in 1996. Obama's triangulation today is inspiring the same backlash and momentum. This time with a national media behind reform.

It is vitally important that we now give drug policy reform a body. Demonstrate the scale of support for reform in physical ways and as often as possible.

We don't have to wait until the next election. Sen. Webb's S-714 could have reform of the entire drug war on the table by then. If your senators support it write to them and thank them. If your senators don't yet support it badger, cudgel, browbeat and beg them to support it. The drug warriors are putting up their own bill to counter S-714 so the fight for ending the war on drugs is actually going on in the United States congress as we speak.

I'm pro reform.... in the right direction.... preferably!

I'm not a big fan of creating new laws that may, or may not, overturn old, questionably legal, laws.

Creating new laws requires a lot of energy, ass kissing, and leg humping... at the taxpayers expense... and will always have unintended consequences... because lying always does... no matter the motives.

The best law is NO law. Constitutional law, not to mention common laws based on the declaration of independence, is already crystral clear on this subject.... assuming you're not looking through a religious or authoritarian prism.

We should be calling attention to... and demanding... an end to marijuanas illegal prohibition... or we should demand that the christian drugs of choice, alcohol and tobacco, be placed on the 'Control of Some Substances' list.... where they belong... if that law were truely legal!

Just because liarticians can pull something out of their collective assholes... it does not mean it's legal. In fact such criminally smelly peices of legislation should be immediately shoved so far up their collective asses it gives them all marty feldman eyes.

So the next time some 'bug eyed bastard' asks for your vote or support... tell them to go to hell... where they will eventually end up anyway... if the christian theory(s) are correct!

The war against drugs is war crime to profit from terrorism

Once everyone not only realizes that the people who started the prohibition are serial murderers/rapists from project paper clip,mk ultra and other sick venture's but actually floods police and military forces with demands to remove them as with any other terrorist and/or criminal forced religion;then the end of prohibitionists' and the wars that are funded secretly by running drugs and slaves to fund the terror will end. Until then the terrorist cartel that start prohibition while dealing legal and illegal drugs,weapons,and sex slaves(dyncorp,Oliver North,Dick Cheney,many more) will remain in power along with their double standards. Make loud noise and big stink in mass to the guys with the guns not the guys with pens. Law enforcement and military do not want to be seen as backers of serial murder and child pornography such as the prohibitionists commit with their mind control brain fragmenting cult. The nicer people with guns have to be convinced that the leaders in charge playing human chess are severely mentally deranged and must be removed from power.

Never Give up

I have been alive for 57 years and yes, we are past the beginning and changes are happening. It is too slow for the thousands incarcerated, dead and addicted. However, I do not underestimate the power of the people to make change once they are aware. The Drug Policy Foundation along with it's members are pushing and educating and I believe we will see a huge change. This 100 year long prohibition has to end. Don't forget that a lot of the old draconian, conservative and pseudo-religious humans are dying off. That may not sound very nice but they are not too nice. Once my generation really clears the halls of Congress and the state, I believe we're gonna clean up this mess. The WAR on DRUGS has hurt all of us, way more than a drug could and the truth will prevail. I will be a warrior along the way for great changes and will persist till the end. During the Vietnam war the people got out and revolted, as well as the soldiers who were sent there needlessly. I want to hear any bit of good news. Thank you.

This ties in to what your talking about

I got this link through 420.com. http://mrlunk.blogspot.com/2009/04/why-ignorant-mass-wants-weed-illegal..... This guy is pure genius and is the best argument I've heard about why drugs will not be legalized. It all comes down to money.

Thank you: Sam Harris, Paul Kurtz, Hitchens, Dawkins, etc...

"...the very faculty of reason that would otherwise notice the strangeness of these events seems to have succumbed to sleep."

" ...the very idea of privacy is incompatible with the existence of God."

Thanks for letting me know about Sams book...sounds like another must read... right after I finish "The God Delusion" by Dawkins.

Sam eloquently confirms what I've been telling my deeply religious family for over 30 years: Gods Grace Does NOT Come Before Constitutional Democracy. God is an Opinion... while the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land.

If your not aware of Paul Kurtz, the Center For Inquiry, and his 'Principles of Humanism' as outlined in his monthly magazine 'free inquiry' you should check it out.

Perhaps the most rewarding thing I saw coming out of the last election was an interview I saw after Obama was elected with a 100+ year old black christian woman who observed "... it's not about religion... it's about being human!"

This coupled with a recent poll that shows, for the first time in this countries christian history, that the majority of americans DO NOT think religion has an important roll to play in addressing societal problems/risk!

I'm Pro-Choice on Everything... Including Reality & My Rights!

2,380,000 American familys

Have someone in our prison system for nonviolent drug law infractions, and who knows how many more are in for violent crimes that would have never been commited , if these stupid eveil laws had never been passed, and the lies hacn`t been allowed to be spread.

Prohibitionist are Criminals and Belong in Prison

And I'm not interested in their excuses... they'll have decades to try to justify their crimes to their cell mates.

Last time I checked perjury was still punishable by 5 years in prison... and as far as I'm concerned everytime a politician lies after taking the oath of their office... they are committing perjury!

The sooner we can free the 100's of thousands of people being illegally detained on victomless charges... the sooner we can get all the prohibitionist criminals behind bars and out of society!

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