Margaret Wente at The Globe and Mail writes:The UK made marijuana possession semi-legal a few years ago, but experienced an explosion of pot use among minors, as well as a sharp rise in harmful effects attributed to more potent strains of weed. She's just factually wrong. Here's what the Guardian says in an Oct. 2007 article entitled Fewer young people using cannabis after reclassification:Cannabis use among young people has fallen significantly since its controversial reclassification in 2004, according to the latest British Crime Survey figures published today.The Home Office figures showed the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds who had used cannabis in the past year fell from 25% when the change in the law was introduced to 21% in 2006/07 - still about 1.3 million users.Similarly, her claim that there's been "a sharp rise in harmful effects attributed to more potent strains of weed" is utterly false. There has been research suggesting that marijuana may increase the risk of certain mental illnesses, but there has been no increase in people actually developing those conditions. The idea that marijuana potency is a factor here is also purely theoretical and unproven. Here's what the Britain's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has to say:"The evidence for the existence of an association between frequency of cannabis use and the development of psychosis is, on the available evidence, weak. The council does not advise the reclassification of cannabis products to Class B; it recommends they remain within Class C. [Telegraph]There simply was no "explosion of pot use among minors" and no "sharp rise in harmful effects". Those things never happened, can't be cited, and don't belong in print. The article's flaws don't stop there either, but I want to focus on these points because they demonstrate reckless and presumably willful disregard for basic facts, rather than simple manipulation or selectivity. There's a difference in terms of journalistic ethics, and I think Margaret Wente forgot that. ********Let's let The Globe and Mail know about these clear factual errors. It's easy:Letters to the Editor - The editor of The Globe and Mail welcomes letters on any subject but reserves the right to condense and edit them. Brevity counts. All letters should be less than 200 words, and must include the name, mailing address and daytime phone number of the writer. The copyright becomes the property of The Globe and Mail if they are accepted for publication. You may also reach us by fax at 416-585-5085.I know, I know, it feels like you're banging your head against a wall, but enough letters can provoke a response. Do it right now so you wonât forget.
A crazy woman, Dr. Ada M. Fisher, was authorized to speak to the press on behalf of the McCain campaign at the NAACP convention. She took that opportunity to make some of the most unfortunate and incoherent remarks about drug use in recent memory:AF: "â¦Obama in his book about his father talked about his use of drugs. And I think itâs disingenuous of people to vote for somebody for President when you wonât allow a drug user in any secure or nuclear facility. Yet we as a nation, are willing to consider making somebody President of the United States I think that speaks very poorlyâ¦Bill Clinton said he smoked but he didnât inhaleâ¦But he didnât come out and flagrantly say he used drugsâ¦and if thatâs going to be our standard God helps us in nuclear facilities and secure facilities who have this kind of history..and this nation must be very careful when it lowers the bar on who and what it will accept.â¦AF: See, if you admit it, it should disqualify you. Otherwise, weâll have to let all those people who â¦applied for jobs in these facilitiesâ¦There is a reason that those rules are there. I was a detox director for 16 counties in North Carolina , so I have a great understanding about what drugs and what they do to people. And I know that in moments of weakness, people tend to revert those things that theyâve used in the past. I donât think itâs disingenuous, I donât think its fair. If I ran for President of the U.S. and I had that history, I would expect people to look at that very carefully. We cannot have a nation high on drugs and have the Presidentâ¦ as an example. Iâm sorry I disagree with that. [Wonkette]On second thought, I give up. I just cannot compete with this. It never even occurred to me before that if we elect an admitted drug user to be president, we'll have to let druggies work in our nuclear facilities. Drug policy reform was a fun hobby, but I've been outclassed. See ya in hell, hippies.Note: Pete Guither has more at DrugWarRant, observing among other things that no one seems to have a problem putting recovering alcoholics in the White House.(This blog post was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares 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.)
In another sloppy example of government errors made in the war on drugs, Hawaiiâs Department of Public Safety amazingly emailed the entire list of state authorized medical marijuana patients to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. The paper ran a front page story mentioning how the state had provided the names, addresses, card numbers, and recommending physicians of all Hawaiiâs registered patients. Needless to say the over 4,200 people who find marijuana helpful with a doctors recommendation were not impressed with the breach. "Nobody here was a very happy camper," said James Propotnick, the department's deputy director for law enforcement. "People started calling. ... We were notified immediately. I don't think the paper was hot off the press 15 minutes and we started getting calls." From what the editor is saying it looks like this all arose because of someone being lazy with very secure information. "We just wanted to know the number of people in Hawai'i County who were currently receiving medical marijuana, and they erroneously sent us the list with the actual names."So from this perspective it seems the Department of Public Safety just sent the whole list out instead of actually counting the number of patients. The information requested clearly was not that complex and rather then taking ten minutes to answer a media inquiry, they have threatened the security of Hawaiiâs patients and their medicine. Thankfully Hawaiiâs best and brightest are on the case."It has to do with safety," Propotnick said. "Let's say that there's a whole lot of people who want to steal marijuana and you publish the list with the names and addresses. Now what have we done?â Thank you Captain Obvious.
A dimebag of heroin - $10 A urine test - $30 A drug testing advocate busted for heroin distribution â priceless hilariousNORWALK, Ohio â A northern Ohio woman who encouraged Norwalk school board members to start drug testing students has been indicted on charges of heroin trafficking.Police in Norwalk say Stephanie Broz admitted to them that her advocacy of drug testing was to take attention away from her. Norwalk Detective Todd Temple says she told police it was a scam.Broz also faces a charge of possession of heroin.Police arrested her in early June during a traffic stop. Officers say they found her with a large amount of heroin. [Columbus Dispatch]Of course, it's tempting to now suggest that this is just the tip of the iceberg, that proponents of drug testing around the country are all a bunch of closeted crooks and perverts diverting attention from their own misdeeds by calling on us to collect bodily fluids from children. I bet at least one person won't even read this whole post before ironically suggesting in the comment section that we start drug testing the drug testers.Yet, it makes no more sense to arbitrarily scrutinize them than anyone else. Few crimes they commit could do more harm than the one taking place before our eyes: stealing money from our children's education to be spent on worthless programs that don't effectively prove or disprove drug use and encourage use of more-dangerous less-detectible drugs.Drug testing is generally only effective against marijuana anyway, so dealers of cocaine, heroin, and meth have every reason to support it.
Editor: Irina Alexander is vice president of University of Maryland SSDP. Too often, proponents of the War on Drugs pose the question, "What about the children?" in a misleading attempt to guilt those who rightfully believe todayâs drug policies are a dismal failure. In reality, it is we who should be asking them this very question. CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) â Twelve-year-old Alexia Belen Moreno was afraid living in her father's house in Ciudad Juarez, where drug cartels are fighting a bloody war. She begged to move in with her mother just across the border in El Paso, Texas. Her parents agreed â but asked her to stay a few more weeks to finish school. Three days later, Alexia was shot in the head blocks from her home in broad daylight. Authorities believe she was caught in the crossfire when gunmen killed two men riding with her in a car. Alexia's death is part of an alarming trend of children dying in Mexico's drug wars. Mexican officials say they don't track the number of child deaths from drug-gang violence. But newspaper tallies find nearly 50 kids have been killed this year â and a code of ethics in which hit men took care to avoid harming children appears to be evaporating. [Associated Press] I just donât understand why itâs so hard for people to come to the simple and logical conclusion that in order to put an end to these brutal consequences, we must legalize and regulate drugs. Once there is no black market for drugs, drug cartels will have no profit to fight for. Once there is no profit, they wonât be outside on the public streets forcing people to resort to barricading themselves in their homes, praying that the few inches of wall separating their family from the gunshots will be enough to keep them safe since thatâs the most they can do. Simple as that. Instead, weâve been relying on policies that sound good while overlooking whatâs really happening. Of course, the entire original attempt at keeping drugs away from children has been a complete counterproductive disaster. According to the Monitoring the Future study, 86% of 12th graders reported marijuana "very easy" or "fairly easy" to get, easier than alcohol. Fancy that. Think we could convince some drug dealers to start checking ID? Poor Alexia is now one of the countless innocent victims to the War on Drugs. As if the drug war isnât awful enough already, now itâs shooting and killing children. What kind of a person could openly support policies that have such lethal effects? I just hope one day before itâs too late, theyâll realize what theyâre doing. Unfortunately for Alexia and so many others, it's already too late.
Graham Boyd at ACLU has a fascinating series of posts on the U.N. drug policy summit in Vienna. It is a remarkable event bringing together AIDS organizations, public health groups, human rights advocates, treatment specialists, police officers, substance abuse researchers, academics, drug policy reformers, and other experts from around the world to critique UN drug policy and make recommendations. Not surprisingly, the Drug Czar's office felt threatened by the event and sent an enforcer to intimidate everyone:First, the intrigue. Throughout the first day, I kept noticing this one person who harrumphed, guffawed, and muttered every time someone spoke in ways critical of the drug policy status quo. By accent, she seemed to be from the United States. And she had a yellow badge, where everyone else had a red badge. Who was she? Why did she keep shuffling over to the U.S. groups like Drug Free America and other cheerleaders for U.S. hardline policy? She settled in right behind me, and gave instructions to her allies â tactics for blocking inclusion of harm reduction. She said "one of you needs to interject to stop the hand clapping in favor of their proposals." More and more, she seemed like some sort of puppet master. As the day concluded, she rushed up to the podium, accosted the chair, and, in the most agitated way, began lambasting the chair for various procedural points.I had to find out about the American woman with the yellow badge. At a social gathering later that evening, I described my observations to some of the NGO delegates who regularly attend these U.N. events. Turns out that the yellow-badge woman is June Sivilli, an employee of the U.S. drug czarâs office and a regular fixture at Vienna drug meetings. Until now, she has been able to speak as an official voice of the U.S. government â and the U.S. is always the most important voice on U.N. drug policy issues. Now that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are bringing the voices of ordinary people to the table for the first time ever, she was actively subverting the process, throwing every possible obstacle in the way of this quite benign process.Iâd always heard that the U.S. government played a bully role in international drug policy. But itâs really ugly to see it in practice.It's really impossible to overstate the tyrannical role U.S. drug warriors have taken in attempting to subvert the U.N.'s deliberate effort to include diverse viewpoints in the NGO summit. I've discussed it before, and I'm not at all surprised to see the same tactics deployed in Vienna. I'd be surprised not to.The mindset it requires to resist participation from such a vast group of experts is really an incredible thing to contemplate. One must really be in love with the drug war to struggle with such vigor to keep it just the way it is. What is it about the war on drugs that merits this devotion and loyalty? It is their deformed cannibal monster-child that must be sheltered and fed at any cost.
There exists a gaping black hole where the Drug Czar's credibility used to be. Even John Carnevale, a former big-shot at the Drug Czar's office is over at Huffington Post explaining that the drug war isn't going the way the White House says it is:As an insider in the nation's war against drugs, I spent almost fifteen years in the executive office of the President. Eleven of these years were in the Office of National Drug Control Policy where I served four of the nation's so-called drug czars preparing the federal drug control budget, writing many of the national drug control strategies, and conducting performance measurement and analysis of the efficacy of those strategies.â¦In the latest 2008 National Drug Control Strategy, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) -- the federal executive office agency charged with shaping this nation's national drug control strategy -- claims that America has reached a turning point in the war on drugs. In reality, we have little reason to believe a significant change has occurred. ONDCP based its claim on declining use for youth -- a trend that long precedes this administration's tenure -- but ignores the lack of progress with regard to adult drug use, rates of drug addiction, the inaccessibility of substance abuse treatment, and new emerging drugs of demand such as pharmaceutical drugs and methamphetamine. If America is to be successful in the fight against drugs, the first priority for the next administration -- Republican or Democrat -- must be to reinventing ONDCP as an effective policy office capable of leading the nation's struggle with drugs.That is basically the most polite possible way of saying these guys have their heads up their asses. It's a familiar sentiment, to be sure, but not what one typically hears from the guy who used to write the national drug control strategy. To be clear, Carnevale is hardly the new poster child for drug policy reform. He simply wants to curtail our failed foreign drug war adventures and bring the money home to be spent on prevention and domestic law-enforcement. But his remarks serve to illustrate that there remains next to no one in America at this point who believes a single word the Drug Czar says. In this context, it seems likely that none of the people who've run that office into the ground over the past 8 years will still be working there in January regardless of who is elected president. Update: Pete Guither has more over at DrugWarRant.
If there's one thing we can count on in the marijuana debate, it is the ceaseless propensity of our opposition to say the first thing that pops into their head. This effect becomes particularly pronounced when state-level reform initiatives threaten to deprive entrenched drug enforcement professionals of their cherished authority over petty marijuana offenders.The latest examples come from Massachusetts, where a November ballot initiative aims to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.Local law enforcement personnel are sharply opposed to dropping the criminal penalties for possession, saying that dealers who travel with more than an ounce of marijuana can simply carry around less, to avoid criminal charges.District Attorney David Capeless said decriminalizing marijuana will mean a proliferation of use, as dealers pick up more customers. [Berkshire Eagle]So dealers will carry less, but sell more? David Capeless's enthusiasm for ruining young lives over marijuana is already well-documented, but is this really the best he can come up with? It is exactly these sorts of plainly ridiculous protestations that lead one to wonder what the hell these people even want. And solving that riddle becomes a greater challenge the longer you listen to them:[William] Breault, an activist who heads up the Main South Alliance for Public Safety, said citizens have an obligation to get educated about the issue. He accuses the decriminalization advocates of using "deceptive tactics" to gain voter support. â¦ he claimed that few, if any, inmates in the state's jails are sent there for minor marijuana possession alone; in local courts, it's not uncommon for first-time possession offenders to receive an eventual dismissal of the charges, with no criminal record resulting.Huh? That's frickin' great, but if you're cool with it then why are you arguing with us? The whole point of the initiative is to stop running people through the gauntlet over petty marijuana offenses. If some people are already beating their charges without society coming to a crashing halt, then obviously we're onto something with this. Our opponents are literally going around exclaiming that we absolutely must vigorously prosecute marijuana offenders, then two seconds later they're boasting about how that's not what we're doing now anyway.Of course, observing, as we often do, that our opponents' arguments are just transparently silly and disingenuous brings us to the question of why they even bother. There will always be better things to do with billions of dollars than investigate and bust marijuana users, so it's tempting to ponder how anyone struggling to grasp that concept nonetheless manages to put pants on in the morning. Personally, I don't think it's just greed or meanness, although there's plenty of that to go around. Really, I think they're just scared of what a post-drug war America might look like. I can't wait to show them.
At StoptheDrugWar.org we work hard to expose and address abusive police practices, particularly the aggressive paramilitary drug raids that too often target the innocent. We watch in horror as lives are destroyed or lost in the name of counterproductive war on drugs law-enforcement tactics and we understand the strong feelings that such discussion generates among our readership.Nevertheless, I want to make it perfectly clear that this is not the place to post comments that threaten or endorse violence against police. This is the sort of thing I'm talking about:AMERICANS MUST MAKE IT TO DANGEROUSE TO HAVE THIER HOMES BROKEN INTO BY THESE THUGS TERRIOSTS LIKE THESE MUST BE MEET WITH THE FIRE POWER TO STOP THIS BEHAVIOR OR IT WILL CONTINUEI hesitate to even dignify this kind of talk with a response, so I'll leave it at this: violence is not a means through which we'll achieve drug policy reform, or any social justice goal, ever. Advocating violence destroys and discredits popular movements. We need not and will not stoop to that level, both because it is morally wrong and tactically suicidal.I hope everyone, except possibly the person(s) responsible, will understand why it is necessary for me to delete comments like this from the site. I do not enjoy censoring anyone and I will never remove anything simply because I disagree with it, but language like this embarrasses our movement and carries the potential to damage vital relationships if we become associated with it. I felt it was necessary to bring this up because I've had to remove a few comments recently and I want to be open about that. Moreover, I want to make it clear that any comments which are relevant and do not advocate violence are very welcome and I tremendously appreciate the overwhelming majority of the feedback we receive. Thanks for reading and understanding. Update: Our friend has returned with another comment, which in this case I will share instead of delete:MAYBE YOUR DOG WASENT SHOT BY CRAZY POLICE IN FRONT OF YOUR CHILDREN .MAYBE YOU WERNT HELD TO THE GROUND WITH A SHOT GUN TO YOUR HEAD MAYBE YOUR FAMILY WASENT HELD HOSTAGE BY THESE TERRIOSTS .WHILE THEY RIPPED YOUR HOUSE APART LOOKING FOR A FEW JOINTS .I STAND BY MY RANT .TRY IT AGAIN YOU WILL FEEL THE STING OF MY RIFLE .NO MORE NAZIS WHY DID I SERVE IN VIETNAM JUST TO COME HOME TO BE ROBBED BY SCUM SUCH AS THEM .MAYBE I DONT HAVE THE EDUCATION TO RIGHT SENSABLE .BUT I HAVE ENOUGH SENSE TO KILL MY ENEMIES WHEN ATTACKED IN MY HOME .WTFSir, I think we all understand how you feel. And you read the blog so you know that I'm well-versed in the horrible things police do to people in the name of the drug war. But we are here to save lives, not end them. Getting yourself killed in a shootout with police won't bring back your dog and it won't end the drug war. If everyone took your advice, it would make things worse, not better. Maybe you're so angry you don't care. I hope not. But please, hear me out on one thing: there are police working with us to end the drug war. The folks at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition are doing incredible work and I don't want them coming to our site and reading comments about killing cops. You are welcome to post here anytime, and I don't care if you're a brilliant writer. You can tell us what they did to you. You can tell us about your dog. But please stop telling us to shoot the cops. Please, tone it down just a little. That's all I'm asking.
Gunmen killed 16 people,including a police chief,in a spate of separate shootings across Mexico,which is grappling with a spike in drug violence,local officials said Thursday.This article appeared in
Radley Balko points out that police in Flint, MI have started going after people whose pants sag below their boxer shorts:Leaving aside the absurdity of telling people how to wear their pants, just contemplate the ironic path that brought us here. The style itself is an artifact of prison culture, where inmates' belts and shoelaces are confiscated and the standard-issue clothes never fit right. The style made its way back onto the streets where it entered popular culture. Now, in 2008, you can go to jail for 93 days to a year just for dressing like an inmate.In an urban landscape already ravaged by decades of racial profiling and drug war demolition tactics, police have codified their own authority to stop and frisk people whose style of dress is already stigmatized by presumed criminality. The number of things young people in America can't get arrested for approaches zero at an exponential rate.
Drenched in tequila, the brave men who fight the war on drugs will be the first to tell you that our asset forfeiture laws are a vital resource for law-enforcement:IN 2005 the Montgomery County district attorneyâs office held a party at the county fair in east Texas. They had beer, liquor and a margarita machine. The district attorney, Mike McDougal, at first denied that this had been paid for by drug money. He acknowledged that his office had a margarita machine at the fair. In fact, he said, they won first prize for best margarita. But he insisted they came by it fair and square. In any case, he pointed out, the countyâs drug fund was at his discretion. Under Texas forfeiture law, counties can keep most of the money and property they rustle up.â¦Mr. McDougalâ¦fessed up in the end about the margarita machine. [Economist]It really more or less speaks for itself. They spent confiscated drug proceeds on booze, won an award for their awesome margaritas, and then lied about it. These are the people that will put you behind bars for smoking marijuana. They are the champions in the fight against drug abuse and they are as good at putting people in jail for drugs as they are at mixing alcoholic beverages.Literally drunk on their own power, the hypocrites on the front lines of our war on drugs ought to arrest themselves if they ever sober up.
On Tuesday, I discussed the latest botched drug raid, in which police in Troy, NY tore an innocent family's home apart, found nothing, and defiantly refused to clean up after themselves. They argue that the warrant was valid, based on probable cause and signed by a judge, thus they have no legal obligation to clean up the mess they made. It's technically correct, but still despicable, which led me to call for reforms to that policy. Initially, it struck me as a no-brainer; here we have police trading leniency for information, then raiding homes based on the word of informants with a monumental incentive to lie. Officers should do the necessary footwork to verify such information, or else bear the cost. It's really the least we can do for the innocent victims of the drug war's rock-bottom evidentiary standards. If police don't want to help innocent people, then what are they for?But ezrdyn, a commenter on this DrugWarRant post, responded with a chilling counterpoint: if police must clean up after unsuccessful drug raids, we're giving them an incentive to make sure, by any necessary means, that drugs are found no matter what. It's a terrible catch-22 that the same policies that might encourage police to be careful when planning a raid also encourage planting evidence against innocent people to avoid responsibility when they damage property and come up with nothing.The real solution then is to reform our informant policies themselves, prohibiting police from raiding homes based on coerced testimony from criminal defendants. That is the common denominator, the unifying trait shared by so many of the worst botched drug raid disasters. Police will do anything to conceal their sources and shield from meaningful scrutiny the inherently corrupt process by which these decisions are made to begin with. That is the thread that must be pulled if we are to unravel and expose the questionable conditions under which these catastrophes continue to occur.
Total pandemonium broke out this week after a young man doing community service delivered cookies to police and they became convinced he tried to drug them with LSD and marijuana. They said the basket smelled like pot and the cookies initially tested positive for LSD. Now it's become clear the cookies were just, well, regular cookies, but not before throwing the young man in jail on $75,000 bond and creating a media circus. Lesson learned: don't feed the cops. Everything smells like drugs to them.
Yasha Spector of drugpolicycases.com has joined us in the Speakeasy with a discussion of the intersection of immigration law and drug law. As Spector, who works in immigration law, explains in some detail: [P]retty much every drug offense is sufficient to permanently bar getting a green card or obtaining U.S. citizenship. There are exceptions that the government can make in limited circumstances, but they are limited, and many more cases carry the likelihood of automatic deportation -- no judicial exceptions. Plea bargaining might help one avoid a prison sentence, but it doesn't help with the immigration problems. There was a little good news in this area courtesy the Supreme Court in 2006. But there is still little to be done in most cases, and people are being deported who for all intents and purposes have never lived in any other country than here.
For most drug policy reformers, the answer is probably an exasperated "duh," but a fascinating piece at Huffington Post from NORML's Paul Armentano raises some very plausible doubts about the popular theory that the pharmaceutical industry is pushing pot prohibition to kill competition.I highly recommend reading the whole thing before forming an opinion, but here are the basic points as I understand them:1. Pharmaceutical companies are vigorously pursuing patents on various marijuana components and derivatives for a great variety of potential medical applications. Given the rigorous and heavily politicized FDA approval process they'll ultimately need to pass, there's no sense in indulging anti-marijuana hysteria within the government bureaucracy.2. These products will ultimately be marketed to a populace that has been spoon-fed mindless anti-pot propaganda for decades. Since the origins of the coming generation of marijuana-based medicines will be widely known, their manufacturers have an interest in marijuana being trusted, rather than feared, within the marketplace.3. Pharmaceutical companies understand that marijuana can never live up to its reputation as a panacea that can replace modern medicine. This is true because most people don't smoke it, and most people donât want their medicines grown on a tree. Conditions in places where medical marijuana is currently widely available demonstrate this.4. Government bureaucrats, police and prison lobbies, and voters who've succumbed to drug war propaganda are the real forces behind marijuana prohibition.Paul also observes the important role marijuana reform efforts have played in fostering a climate in which marijuana-based medicines have become recognized as viable. Only by breaking down bit by bit the barrier of hysteria surrounding marijuana have we been able to set a tone in which medical marijuana research can be discussed rationally in the public domain. There are exceptions, of course, but now that the science and the will of the voters can speak for themselves, corporate profiteers associate marijuana with dollar signs, not reefer madness.It has also been proposed by some in the reform movement that pharmaceuticalized marijuana may lead to a crack down on the medical use of herbal marijuana, as corporate profiteers pressure police to purge their most obvious competitor. I reject that notion for a couple reasons: 1) the marketing of new marijuana-based medicines will have a trickle-down effect of politically legitimizing pre-existing medical marijuana activity. 2) We can't afford to bust 'em now, we won't be able to afford to bust 'em then. 3) The risk of jury nullification when bringing medical marijuana cases to trial is substantial and will remain so.Finally, though Paul doesn't address this, many people have cited instances of pharmaceutical companies supporting organizations like Partnership For a Drug Free America as evidence of their complicity in the war on marijuana. I've attempted to research this in the past and couldn't find anything worth our time. The story died on my desk. To the extent that pharmaceutical companies fund so-called "anti-drug" advocacy, I now believe it has nothing to do with marijuana, but rather with a desire to proactively cover their asses for the destructive effects of the legal drugs they themselves manufacture and market. So, I believe Paul's analysis should probably replace much of the conventional wisdom that currently exists on this issue. Unless other evidence emerges, or other experts of Paul Armentano's caliber (few exist), emerge to convincingly challenge his assertions, the burden of proof placed on those blaming Big Pharma for marijuana prohibition has been raised several notches today. If this helps us to refocus our advocacy towards other more demonstrable, palatable, and persuasive arguments for reform, that would be a good thing.