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Chronicle AM: Drug Czar Calls Drug War a Failure, But..., New Yorkers Toke Up in Streets, More (12/15/15)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #913)

The New York Times discovers public pot smoking in its backyard, another Florida jurisdiction decriminalizes, Florida's medical marijuana program faces more delays, the drug czar calls the drug war a failure, and more.

Marijuana Policy

New Yorkers Are Smoking Pot on the Streets! The New York Times rather breathlessly reports it has discovered that "lighting up and strolling around seems increasingly common in pockets of Brooklyn, on side streets in Manhattan and in other public spaces." The newspaper cites street smokers are saying they are emboldened by legalization elsewhere in the country and by the low-key comments of the city's leaders, including the police commissioner. Public pot smoking remains an arrestable offense, but that doesn't appear to be stopping a lot of people, especially white people. White people make up less than 9% of those arrested for pot possession.

Florida's Palm Beach County Decriminalizes. County commissioners voted this morning to decriminalize the possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana. Officers can still arrest possessors, but now have the option of simply issuing them a $100 ticket instead. Miami-Dade County has already decriminalized, and so have several municipalities in the Greater Miami area.

Medical Marijuana

Florida Challenged Over Medical Marijuana Grower Licensing. Eleven companies are challenging the way the state issued licenses for the nascent industry. The challenges will be heard by the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings. This means another round of court proceedings and further delays in getting medicine to patients. The program is already a year behind schedule, and now the earliest that medicines could be available is next spring or summer.

Drug Policy

Drug Czar Calls Drug War a Failure, But Resists Calls to Legalize Marijuana. Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office) head Michael Botticelli proclaimed the war on drugs a failure during a CBS "60 Minutes" interview. He said the "failed policies and failed practices" of the past were largely responsible for the country's mass incarceration problem. "It has been all wrong," he said. "We can't arrest and incarcerate addiction out of people. Not only do I think it's really inhumane, but it's ineffective, and it cost us billions upon billions of dollars to keep doing this." But he couldn't wrap his head around marijuana legalization, arguing that legal drugs kill half a million people a year and that legalizing would send the wrong message."So, we know that about one in nine people who use marijuana become addicted to marijuana. It's been associated with poor academic performance, in exacerbating mental health conditions linked to lower IQ," he said, adding that he fears states becoming co-dependent on "tax revenue that's often based on bad public health policy."


Ireland Proposes Drugged Driving Law That Could See "Completely Sober" Drivers Arrested. Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe is backing proposed drugged driving legislation that would allow for roadside drug testing of drivers and prosecution of drivers who had even inactive metabolites of drugs such as marijuana in their systems. When asked if the bill could lead to the prosecution of "completely sober" drivers, Donohoe replied, "yes." Under more questioning, he denied that prosecuting drivers who were not impaired but who had marijuana metabolites in their systems was a case of the government prosecuting drug offenses. "No, it's a road safety offense," he said.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


jimheffner (not verified)

The only way anyone can say that 1 out of 9 people become addicted to Cannabis is because they changed the definition of addiction.  Maybe it's time to turn the tables on the prohibitionists and say that Cannabis addiction needs more study before any action can be taken.  Seeing the obstructionists back off is like being a linebacker and watching the pocket collapse. 

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 5:29pm Permalink
Remmy "CJ" Skye (not verified)

And so what lets say it DID make "academic performance" worse... so what? It's my choice to be a bad student, attentive student. Just because "everybody" else cares about their GPA, what school they go to, who they know, all that great ridiculous materialistic BS, doesn't mean I have to. Personally I am a high school drop out. So much so that I tried to drop out of high school when I was legally not allowed to. In fact, my teenage years were spent trying to drop out of high school until I actually legally could drop out of high school. My GPA was the furthest thing from my mind. I don't know what my GPA was, I don't care. Not everybodies priorities are the same. It may seem astronomically stupid to alot of people but so what? Drug users should know better than to care what other people think. The only thing that matters really is will this substance FORCE you to harm others ? That's the only thing that really matters. Even if the substance harms yourself in any way, thats your choice. Your body. My body. Our choice. And when it comes to harming others, none of this "oh you're hurting my heart, my feelings because of your drug use" well too bad. We can't live our lives strictly to please everybody else.

Wed, 12/30/2015 - 11:08am Permalink

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