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Chronicle AM: A Century of Drug War, Yet Another Drug War Bill, Iran Drug Executions Slammed, More (12/17/14)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #865)
Politics & Advocacy

It's the 100th anniversary of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, a GOP senator chides Obama for "pro-marijuana" messages, human rights groups urge the UNODC to quit funding Iranian drug enforcement because of its resort to the death penalty, and more. Let's get to it:

An execution in Iran. The Islamic Republic has executed more than 300 drug offenders this year. (
Marijuana Policy

Republican Senator Says Obama Administration's "Pro-Marijuana" Messages Promote Teen Drug Use. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) suggested Tuesday that the Obama administration's failure to block marijuana legalization had sent kids the message that drug use is okay. "When kids receive the message that marijuana use is acceptable and even welcome, it's no wonder that the perception of harm from marijuana goes down," Grassley said in a statement. "By offering pro-marijuana messages, the president and his top appointees are working at cross purposes with the federal government experts who are trying to stop drug use among teenagers." Grassley was complaining that the annual Monitoring the Future survey of teen drug use showed that kids didn't think pot was as dangerous as they used to. But he seems to have missed the part that showed that teen marijuana is not increasing.

Anchorage City Council Kills Move to Ban Pot Sales. A proposal from Anchorage Assembly member and mayoral candidate Amy Demboski to ban recreational marijuana sales in Alaska's largest city went down in ignominious defeat Tuesday night. After four hours of public testimony -- almost unanimously against the measure -- and debate, the measure was killed on a vote of 9-2.

Medical Marijuana

Indiana Lawmaker Will Introduce Medical Marijuana Bill. Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) said today she plans to introduce a medical marijuana bill in the upcoming legislative session. She cited Congress's vote to bar the use of Justice Department funds to go after medical marijuana in states where it is legal. In previous sessions, Tallian has introduced pot decriminalization bills, but those have gone nowhere.

Drug Policy

A Hundred Years of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act. Today is the 100th anniversary of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, generally considered to mark the beginning of America's 20th Century war on drugs. While the act was not directly prohibitionist -- it was a regulatory and taxation measure -- it led almost immediately to the criminalization of both drug-addicted people and the doctors who sought to treat them with maintenance doses of opiates. A hundred years later, we're still mired in the drug war.

Senate Approves Yet Another Drug War Bill. The Senate Monday approved Senate Bill 706, the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act, which would give the Justice Department the authority to prosecute people in other countries who manufacture drugs or precursors that they have "reasonable cause to believe… will be unlawfully imported into the United States." It also increases penalties for trafficking in counterfeit drugs. The bill was cosponsored by Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Charles Grassley (R-IA). An identical bill, HR 2214, is in the House, but has not moved since May.


Citing Death Penalty, Human Rights Groups Urge UN to Quit Funding Counter-Drug Operations in Iran. Six human rights organizations today called on the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to quit funding anti-drug operations in Iran until the Islamic Republic ends the death penalty for drug offenses. The call came in a letter sent to UNODC head Yuri Fedotov. The groups said more than 300 drug traffickers had been executed in Iran so far this year. Signatories to the letter included Human Rights Watch, Reprieve, Iran Human Rights, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Harm Reduction International and the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation.

French Health Minister Wants to Ban Pot Vaporizers. Health Minister Marisol Touraine said Tuesday she would seek to ban a new e-cigarette than contains marijuana. The move came on the same day a French-Czech company called Kanavape announced its vaporizers were going on sale in France. "I am opposed to such a product being commercialized in France," Touraine said. Such as product would "incite the consumption of cannabis," she added. Kanavape argues its product is legal because its oil contains no THC.

Most Dutch-Grown Pot is Exported, Government Report Says. A report from the Dutch government's Research and Documentation Center (WODC) estimates that between 78% and 91% of marijuana grown in the Netherlands is exported. The report is expected to support moves by the Dutch government to crack down on marijuana cultivation instead of moving to regulate it.

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.


kickback (not verified)

Yea , that `ol Grassley is at it again . Reefer Madness in action . How about this . Ice Cream is bad for children . Example = First , you start off with vanilla . Then , you move on to chocolate . Soon , you are on the rocky road to having your foot removed from diabetes . Grassley is of an age gone by ..............

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 11:45pm Permalink
Shoreline1 (not verified)

Grassley is a firm believer that the cost of freedom is too high.  I've tried debating the issue with him previously  and found it impossible given that he is very selective with regard to the information he accepts as facts.  He only accepts facts and information that support his position, others are discarded as irrelevant.  It makes me wonder about his ability to make decisions on other issues.  Can he make decisions based upon factual information when this information does not support his vision of reality?  The answer is no he can not, his method of making decisions is faulty or severely limited in scope, he can not accept things that do not fit into his narrow vision of reality.  I can only speculate why he is this way, possibly his strict religious upbringing, leading him to act more like a cleric than a representative of the people's will.  Many politicians are this way, they have never been trained in critical thinking.  Plumbers are required to train, exhibit proficiency in their trade, and pass a certification tests in order to practice their craft.  It is apparent that in our country you need no particular qualifications to be a politician other than being proficient at getting votes.

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 1:40pm Permalink
Dave K (not verified)

Thanks to Grassley's assistance, Iowa arrests Blacks for possession of marijuana at a rate over 8 times that of Whites according to the ACLU's report.  Racism is alive and well in Iowa and being promoted by Grassley and others making money from Iowa's private prisons.  Grassley is hopelessly addicted to Drug War money! This is a far more serious addiction than that experienced by users of marijuana.  Addicts lose all reason and the ability to examine evidence that contradicts their position.  Legalize and regulate in 2016.  

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 5:21pm Permalink

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