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Chronicle AM: More Obama Commutations, FL Face-Biting Killer Wasn't on Synthetics, More... (11/23/16)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #951)
Politics & Advocacy

The president continues to exercise his commutation power on behalf of drug war prisoners, the Florida face-biting killer was not on any new psychoactive substances, Montana activists want their medical marijuana program to restart now, not later, and more.

Obama meets with prisoners at the El Reno, Oklahoma, federal detention facility. (
Medical Marijuana

Montana Activists File Suit to Force Early Action on Patient Cards. In the wake of last week's vote to reinstate the state's medical marijuana program, the Montana Cannabis Industry Association has filed a lawsuit seeking to force the Department of Health and Human Services to immediately begin processing and issuing medical marijuana cards. The language of the ballot measure means the state has until next summer to act, but the MCIA doesn't want to dally.

New Psychoactive Substances

Florida Face-Biting Killer Wasn't on Bath Salts, Flakka. Austin Harrouff, the Florida man charged in the face-biting slaying of a neighbor couple was not under the influence of new psychoactive substances, an autopsy report released Wednesday revealed. Early press and law enforcement commentary had suggested Harrouff was high on bath salts (methcathinone) or flakka (alpha-PVP), but the autopsy revealed only prescription medications and a "minimal" amount of THC in his system. "Austin is struggling with severe mental illness and the judicial process will bear all of this out in due time," his attorney, Nellie King said.


Obama Announces More Commutations, Total Now Over a Thousand. President Obama Wednesday announced that he was commuting the sentences of 79 more drug offenders sentenced under draconian drug laws dating back to the 1980s. That brings the total of commutations under Obama to more than one thousand, which is more than the list 11 presidents combined. Thousands more commutations requests filed in response to an Obama administration call in 2014 remain pending as the clock ticks down on Obama's time in office.


Cayman Islands Legalizes CBD Cannabis Oil. Gov. Helen Kilpatrick last week signed into law legislation allowing for the use of CBD cannabis oil in the island nation. The oil can be used for the treatment of conditions including epilepsy and cancer and as a pain reliever for arthritis symptoms. The law does not allow for marijuana to be grown in the country, but the legislature last month passed a separate law allowing for the importation of CBD cannabis oil.

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.


William Aiken (not verified)

The fear of appearing soft on crime has always been a barrier for elected officials to right wrongs in our criminal justice system. President Obama has long recognized the injustice of some of there insane sentences that were meted out like candy in the 1980s and 90s. The fact that this country jails so many of its citizens has never really been pressed on the politicians to correct this problem. President Obama never had to be convinced of the damage caused by the drug war. From the beginning, he got it and without having to do deals with Republicans or give up political leverage. Fortunately, this is a positive President-elect Trump won't be able to undo.

Wed, 11/23/2016 - 7:46pm Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

In reply to by William Aiken (not verified)

@ William Aiken,

I agree with you regarding President Obama.

I encourage you to consider the John Thomas proposal on the comment section of the Feature Story on opposing Jeff Sessions.  In short, it is this: Once pro-legalization Trump supporters come to terms with the fact that they been scammed, they will be looking for new representation.  (Do you think that is a safe assumption?)  John Thomas says we should form a People's party comprised of Libertarians, Green Party, and progressive Democrats, and other citizens likewise motivated to unite in self-defense for the sake of the common good.  I agree with him.  He thinks it could include 70 percent of voters.

I'm furious at Trump supporters.  But I'm not angry at them for being duped.  When a deception occurs, the blame falls to the deceiver, not the deceived.  Trust is a good thing, not a bad thing; and in my opinion, a civilized society cannot survive without it.

The reason I'm angry at Trump supporters is because they supported, applauded, and went all-out for a racist, sexist, bigoted sociopath, when they goddamn well should have known that was just wrong.  Period.  He has disqualified himself for the Presidency so many times in his life, his untrustworthiness should have been a moot issue.

But they did, and now Trump has fucked them good, and us along with them.  Now we're all in deep shit.  I could go on, but the real question becomes: what in the hell do we do now?

Which brings me back to the John Thomas proposal.  My question to you  is: In your opinion, would disillusioned Trump supporters join or support such an alliance?  Or are they, as they like to brag, "a train with no brakes", meaning, would they just turn and run right into the arms of the next right-wing nut-case waiting in line to lie to them?

Thu, 11/24/2016 - 9:15pm Permalink
saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

In reply to by William Aiken (not verified)

Just his summer his stinking administration reaffirmed that cannabis is not medicine. The criticism he will getting in the history books over this will be severe and it's locked in now. I don't know if he's a big pharma stooge or what, but he miserably failed people who NEED medicinal cannabis. No room for them at Obama's inn.

Fri, 11/25/2016 - 11:23am Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

In reply to by saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

I acknowledge that Obama has "split the baby", so to speak, in some ways, on the cannabis issue.  He never campaigned on being a "legalizer." People read a lot of that into him.  Including me, I guess.  I really thought he would do more than he has for the movement, when he had the opportunity; but nevertheless, I don't regret voting for him twice, once per election.  We could do a lot worse, and that's my point.

On the grand scale, he showed us a TOLERANCE that neither of his Republicans opponents were about to show us.  And he's been better on this issue than any other president since Jimmy Carter, as far as I know.  And it seems highly likely Trump will be much worse on this issue -- we won't have to wait long to see who's right about that!  So, actually, he's the cream of the crop, and I'll think we'll sorely miss his lack of overt hostility toward us.

But the previous comment was about those people released from prison, and I'll bet, to those people, he's an angel!

Fri, 11/25/2016 - 12:59pm Permalink
William Aiken (not verified)

There's a lot of speculation in your reply. There's nothing official on the record as to how Trump would handle drug policy issues. What's the harm in waiting until he actually states details of his drug policy? Most of Trump's supporters have said they were motivated to vote for him on economic issues and wanting an outsider in the White House.  These concerns are priorities for his supporters.

The pick for Drug Czar is much more relevant and it's never even mentioned in the 24/7 coverage by the media. So until Trump articulates his drug policy or announces his choice for that position, I don't think it's useful to speculate. Momentum for a broad coalition you describe will be based on having a Drug Czar or policy position that inspires the people to rally against Trump.  .

Fri, 11/25/2016 - 11:06am Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

In reply to by William Aiken (not verified)

I truly wanted to hear your thoughts on the matter, and I'm grateful you responded.

Okay, you want more time;  that's understandable, actually.  Thanks again!

Fri, 11/25/2016 - 12:29pm Permalink

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