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Chronicle AM: DC Pot Poll, NM Pot Poll, Molly Fry Petition, EU Sides with Bolivia on Coca, More (9/19/14)

A pair of marijuana polls have good news for DC, but not so good for New Mexico, there's a move on to get Dr. Molly Fry out of federal prison, Ohio employers are pushing drug testing for students, the EU sides with Bolivia -- not the US -- on that country's coca policy, and more. Let's get to it:

Dr. Molly Fry's supporters have started a petition drive seeking a pardon for the medical marijuana practitioner. (change.org)
Marijuana Policy

New Poll Has DC Initiative at 65%. A new Washington Post/NBC News/Marist poll has the DC marijuana possession and cultivation legalization initiative Measure 71 winning easily with the support of nearly two-thirds of likely voters. That's the highest number ever polled for an actual legalization initiative. Click on the poll link for more information.

New Poll Has Legalization Coming Up Short in New Mexico. An Albuquerque Journal poll suggests it may be a good thing New Mexicans aren't voting on legalization this year. The poll asked whether respondents supported legalizing marijuana for adults with a tax and regulation scheme similar to Colorado. Only 44% were in favor, with 50% opposed. Click on the title link for more information.

Medical Marijuana

Change.org Petition to Free Dr. Mollie Fry. California medical marijuana advocate Dr. Mollie Fry is sitting in federal prison for providing the drug to sick patients. Supporters have organized a Change.org petition seeking a pardon for her. As of this writing, there are only 27 signatures. You can add yours by clicking on the title link.

Drug Testing

Ohio Industry Groups Urge Schools to Drug Test Vocational Education Students. The Mahoning Valley Manufacturer's Coalition and the Youngstown/Warren Chamber of Commerce have sent a letter to schools in Columbiana, Mahoning, and Trumbull counties urging them to drug test students who enroll in vocational training programs. While somewhere between 20% and 30% of school districts nationwide subject some students to drug testing, this is the first time we've heard of employers directly lobbying schools to do so.

International

European Union Agrees With Morales, Not Obama, on Bolivia's Coca Policy. The Obama administration this week certified that Bolivia had "failed demonstrably" to live up to US drug policy mandates, but the European Union has joined Bolivian President Evo Morales in strongly disagreeing. "In my opinion, the work we have achieved has been successful, the results as well are visible in the successful and sustained reduction of the coca production in the country, and successes as well related with the prohibition," said Timothy Torlot, head of an EU delegation in Bolivia. "My experience here, working with the Bolivians, is one of a government that seriously executes its work, that has proved its results, no need to talk with the US government about that," he added.

Non-Binding Referendum on Marijuana in Mexican State of Jalisco. The state of Jalisco, home to Guadalajara, the country's second largest city, has begun voting on a non-binding referendum on marijuana policy. The referendum asks whether medical marijuana should be legalized and whether personal possession limits should be increased. Voting takes place through Sunday. So far, medical marijuana is winning approval, but increasing possession limits is not. After the referendum, PRD legislator Enrique Velazquez will present a bill in the state congress.

Luxembourg Justice Minister Says It Is Time to Rethink Drug Policy, But Rules Out Marijuana Legalization. Justice Minister Felix Braz told the newspaper Luxemburger Wort that the country needs to rethink its drug policy, saying that criminalization and repression have not had the desired results. Braz pointed to increasing drug problems in the country. "I am convinced that we cannot help these people only through criminal justice measures," the Justice Minister said. "The fact that drug consumption increases steadily, leads us to the conclusion that we need to rethink our drugs policy. With an open spirit, we need to search for alternative solutions to get the problem under control," he added. But Braz also said that the coalition government of which he is a member is not going to legalize marijuana. Marijuana is effectively decriminalized in Luxembourg.

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More & More & More Drug Testing

 I feel qualified to write on the subject of drug testing, since I was in one of the two original pilot drug urinalysis programs which were begun in 1976---one in New York City and one in Los Angeles. The idea was that they would give you less jail time, and let you back on the street, if you could stay clean. (Or, at least, stay off certain things). They did not test for THC (pot) or alcohol, but they did look for anything else. Any illegal or unprescribed controlled drugs found in your system (a 'dirty' test) meant an automatic 90 days in jail with no time off for good behavior.  (Why is it called 'dirty'? Why, for e.g., is sex also called 'dirty', but institutionalized violence and invasion of privacy are not?).  Exceptions were made if you had a legitimate prescription for a drug, like codeine, for e.g. In fact, it was possible to get stoned with legal drugs (which I frequently did) and not get in trouble.  My P.O. would call me at any time during the month without warning. Sometimes he would call at the end of the month and then again at the beginning to try to catch me off guard. I would bring in my prescriptions. He would shake the pill bottle menacingly, and say something like"SO, these are codeine?" One time, in my presence, he called the prescribing physician, and questioned why the latter were being prescribed to me. I took great satisfaction in the doctor's response, which was loud enough for me to hear it through the phone's earpiece, even from across his desk: The doctor said, forcefully, "HE SAYS HE HAS PAIN!". Then I heard a click. End of conversation. My P.O.'s face turned red.      
     I would love to be able to say that I stayed clean, and played by the rules. But that is not so. On two occasions in that 2 1/2 year period, while under the influence of alcohol, I used substances which might have gotten me busted. After sobering up, I sweat bullets until the danger of getting caught passed. Still, in spite of my recklessness, during that 2 1/2 years I escaped being caught. This is certainly nothing to brag about. I was just very, very lucky.  Because of this 'success', in 1978, I was allowed to be taken off of probation six months early. When I left, all of the probation officers in the Long Beach office lined up (six or so, I think) to shake my hand, and congratulate me. They got out a clipboard and put it on the table in front of me. The lead officer then told me that out of 200 people which began the pilot test in 1976, that I was the only one who did not go back to jail. He flipped through page after page, showing me row after row of names, each with checks beside them indicating a 'dirty' test and an automatic 90 day sentence. I was stunned. They also told me that my performance was the reason that the program was considered a success! Because if NOONE tested clean, the argument was going to be made that there was just no point in trying to test addicts to allow them to be in society (---rather than behind bars, serving the rest of their sentences) since it would be proof that they just couldn't stay clean, period.
     This taught me one thing: what you do in life makes a difference. Even though you may not see how at that moment. True, there were many times during the testing period that fear of getting busted kept me from using. So what? I don't agree with involuntary or punitive drug testing.  It is dehumanizing and demeaning. WITH THE NOTEABLE EXCEPTION OF ALCOHOL, drugs have never caused me anywhere near the problems that the laws against them have, and in many cases have undoubtedly saved my life by buying me time while I found ways to live and get along without them. Viewing drug testing as a 'success' implies that the laws prohibiting substances are just. BUT THEY ARE NOT. Promoters of such programs say that testing 'brings up the bottom', and is 'a tool to force people into recovery'. Perhaps. That does NOT make it OK!. Why? Beacause there is no right way to do the wrong thing. Society has no right to dictate what you do with your brain chemistry. Such attempts to control our fellow humans are part of a radical & draconian policy which is swinish and inexcusable.
     I don't know what they do or don't test for now. I'm sure the list is getting longer and longer since Pharmafascism is still very powerful. But it is not even a rational approach, much less a justifiable one. For e.g., I have personally seen people huffing gasoline. Has there been any call to ban gasoline, or make people show their driver's license to buy it, etc.? No. Why is alcohol OK? Think about this hypocrisy; think carefully about the individual's right to privacy and self-determination before you agree to the idea of drug testing. ONCE WE GIVE UP THESE RIGHTS FOR SOME NEFARIOUS 'REASON', IT BECOMES HARDER AND HARDER TO GET THEM BACK. IT ALSO ENCOURAGES GOVERNMENT TO TAKE MORE AND MORE OF THEM FROM ALL OF US! This is just NOT the way to go...
     Digging through people's bodily fluids & excrement in the name of law enforcement is a vile tactic spawned in fearful totalitarian minds, and insidiously pushed forward in the name of the'greater good'. But it is really co-dependency at a societal, public level. Cramming recovery down people's throats is ludiicrous, and counter-productive. Attraction, not promotion, is far better. Oh, perhaps you'll find someone, somehere who credits drug testing with 'saving' them. But this doesn't justify such forced programs, which are an expensive---and un--American----invasion of privacy and dignity. Now that we see marijuana becoming legal, we have an oppurtunity to rethink this. True, society has a right to protect itself from intoxicated individuals who might do harm to others. But our government has no right to determine what substances one can ingest in the privacy of one's home. Such 'laws' are a blatant attempt to control the mind of the individual for definite social agendas. This is just plain wrong, and the end results will be accordingly poor. Corrosive to liberty, encouraging of blackmail & corruption, as well as truly unjustifiable---except to the mind and purposes of tyrants---drug prohibition is much more harmful to us all than any of the drugs by themselves.

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