Chronicle AM: Dem Candidates on MJ Policy, IL MedMJ Sales Begin, Ecstasy Q&A, More (11/9/15)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #910)
Consequences of Prohibition

Democratic presidential contenders stake out positions on marijuana, a South Dakota Indian tribe suspends its pot operations, Illinois medical marijuana sales began today, Maine's Tea Party governor threatens to call out the National Guard to fight heroin, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Hillary Clinton Calls for Rescheduling Marijuana. In a campaign speech in South Carolina Saturday, the Democratic presidential contender called for marijuana to be moved from Schedule I to Schedule II, which would allow for federally-sponsored research on its effects. "What I do want is for us to support research into medical marijuana because a lot more states have passed medical marijuana than have legalized marijuana," she said in Orangeburg, "so we have got two different experiences or even experiments going on right now."

Bernie Sanders Criticizes Clinton's Half-Step on Marijuana. The Vermont independent senator and Democratic presidential contender responded to Clinton's call for rescheduling, noting that he has filed a bill to end federal marijuana prohibition: "I am glad to see Secretary Clinton is beginning to address an issue that my legislation addressed," he said, "but her approach ignored the major issue. Secretary Clinton would classify marijuana in the same category as cocaine and continue to make marijuana a federally regulated substance. If we are serious about criminal justice reform and preventing many thousands of lives from being impacted because of criminal convictions for marijuana possession, we must remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act and allow states the right to go forward, if they choose, to legalize marijuana without federal legal impediments," Sanders added.

South Dakota Tribe Cuts Down Plants, Suspends Marijuana Resort Plans. The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe said Saturday it has cut down its marijuana plants and is temporarily suspending its plan to open a pot resort. A lawyer for the tribe said leaders seek clarification from the federal government. The tribe is also running into harsh opposition from state elected and law enforcement officials, who are threatening to arrest people leaving the reservation under the state's unique "internal possession" marijuana law, which allows people to be convicted of having marijuana metabolites in their bodies.

New Jersey Senate to Hold Hearing on Legalization Next Week. Senate Judiciary Chairman Nicholas Scutari (D) today announced that he will hold a hearing of the committee next week on the issue of legalizing marijuana in New Jersey. The committee will hear from invited guests, including health professionals, law enforcement, clergy, civil rights organizations and policy experts. "There is no question that we need to update our archaic drug laws in this country and the majority of people support regulating, taxing and legalizing marijuana," said Senator Scutari. "This is a fact-finding hearing that we hope will help to continue to inform the committee and the Legislature as we take up this very important issue. This is a first step in the process of finally reversing our punitive marijuana laws that have caused harm to our residents and our communities." The hearing is set for next Monday at 1:00pm at the state house.

Medical Marijuana

Illinois Medical Marijuana Sales Begin Today. The state's first dispensaries opened for business today after state regulators last week gave the go-ahead to producers to start shipping product to them. Up to eight dispensaries were expected to be open today, including several in the Chicago area. But some patients were turned away because their customer registrations with individual dispensaries had not yet been processed.

Heroin and Prescription Opiates

Maine Governor Threatens to Call in National Guard to Fight Heroin. In his ongoing feud with the legislature over his demand for more anti-drug agents, Gov. Paul LePage (R) has now threatened to deploy the National Guard to fight heroin in the state. LePage said there is a "dire need" for a tougher response, and "You either work with me and give me some agents, or I will call the Guard up." Legislators last session approved funding for six additional drug agents, two judges and two drugs prosecutors, but that isn't enough for LePage.

New Psychoactive Substances

Bill to Further Criminalize New Psychoactive Substances Heads for House Floor. A bill that attempts to criminalize a whole list of new psychoactive substances has passed out of committee and now awaits a House floor vote. The measure is HR 3537, sponsored by Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA).

Harm Reduction

DPA and EMA Provide Q&A on MDMA. The Drug Policy Alliance and the Electronic Music Alliance have teamed up to provide a brief, harm reduction-related Q&A on ecstasy. "In order to minimize risk and focus on harm reduction, EMA and DPA suggest providing education to drug users, creating safe environments that include cool down spaces, and access to water. Lastly, they suggest testing your drugs so you know what you are ingesting." There's more at the link.


Georgia High Court Rules That Imprisonment for Marijuana Is Unconstitutional. Late last month, Georgia's Constitutional Court declared that imprisoning people for possessing marijuana for personal use is cruel and inhuman punishment. The ruling came in the case of a man arrested for possession of 70 grams (less than three ounces), and the court noted that the law makes no distinction between possession for personal use and possession for sale. The court suggested that the legislature address the issue.

(This article was prepared by's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

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.


Mark Mitcham (not verified)

I respect Hillary Clinton personally.  But I cringe every time she makes prepared remarks about drug policy.  It boggles the mind to think this is the best she can do intellectually; that is improbable.  Her statements always seem to sound like they came from a high-school anti-drug essay, but I believe she is more clever than that.  And these are her prepared statements: the ones she spent time working on!  Clearly, then, it must be a poll-driven position based on precise calculations of political cost and benefit.  That would explain it.  But the problem is, these tepid and out-of-touch statements make her sound stupid!  Schedule II for cannabis?  Are you kidding?  That's not scientifically plausible.  And WTF is that going to do for ordinary Americans?  Seriously?  That's your best offer?

I'll leave the political calculations to political advisors, but I think Bernie Sanders got it right, and I gotta go with Bernie on this one.  Because he's right.  De-schedule, not Re-schedule.  Let's just legalize it, already!

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 8:31am Permalink
Donald (not verified)

Not only is Hillary a war criminal for her actions on Iraq and in Libya and Honduras. She is also a drug war criminal. For the above person to say he "respects her" shows how brainwashed this and many others are in the face of drug war and imperialist war criminals.


These people helped destroy millions of peoples lives with their drug war and you want to plead with them to give us a few crumbs. Fight back or go home because the false opposition that panders to politicians is the enemy of everyone who opposes the drug war and criminal wars, which are largely one in the same.

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 8:47pm Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

Maybe I don't have enough hate in my heart to suit you, but I'm lperfectly capable of respecting Hillary personally while simultaneously opposing her idiotic drug war policies.  I like Hillary, okay, wiseguy?  Who's your 2016 candidate, anyway?  Or don't you vote?  Why not?  Explain your reasoning.

Wed, 11/11/2015 - 7:24am Permalink
potoshot (not verified)

Saying you respect Hillary is like saying you respect Obama.  She is a war criminal.  She voted for every one of Bush's war budgets when she was in the Senate, including approving the catastrophic invasion of Iraq.  The Obama regime has turned the African country with the highest standard of living, Libya, into a non-functioning failed state, when Hillary was Secretary of the Imperium, er State.  She was Secretary of the Imperium when the US engineered the coup in Ukraine.  That anybody could have a trace of respect for a mass-murdering leader of the US military-industrial imperium betrays how far politics has fallen in the US.

Thu, 11/12/2015 - 8:43pm Permalink
potoshot (not verified)

And no, I don't vote.  Why should I vote for one or the other of the candidates that have been fully vetted by the corporate powers that be?  As George Carlin says, don't blame me, I didn't vote for her.  When the catastrophe that is a President Hillary comes to pass, she'll be your fault.  You voted for her; I didn't.

Thu, 11/12/2015 - 8:55pm Permalink

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