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The Speakeasy Blog

White House Rebuffs Marijuana Legalization Petitions

Can you guess the drug czar's official response to those White House marijuana legalization petitions? We thought you could. But did the White House guess that marijuana legalization would be their most popular petition topic? Chronicle story here.

Video: Former Mexican President Says Time to Legalize Drugs

Video from October 18 Cato Institute forum featuring former President of Mexico Vicente Fox (Cato's Ian Vasquez moderating):

Hint to politicians and the media: When people with that kind of stature bring up an issue over and over, that means it's important.
Washington, DC
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Simultaneous Worldwide Drug Legalization, Anyone?

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Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos has some interesting ideas about international drug policy.  

Do you think legalizing softer drugs could be a way forward?

Yes, that could be an answer, provided everyone does it at the same time.

Is that something you would support?

If the entire world does it, yes.

But somebody has to take the first steps?

Yes, and it won’t be me.


Because for Colombia, this is a matter of national security. Drug trafficking is what finances the violence and the irregular groups in our country. I would be crucified if I took the first step. We need to insist on more multinational actions on drug trafficking and innovate the ways we are dealing with it. [Metro]

So…either the president of Colombia is dangerously insane, or there are actually some pretty enormous problems with the way drug use is dealt with around the world. His candor is impressive considering the unbelievable amount of effort it takes to get our president to talk about drug policy for even 30 seconds. 

Canada Mandatory Minimum Crime Bill Set to Pass [FEATURE]

It looks like Canada's Conservative government is finally going to get the ugly crime bill it has long wanted. That will mean mandatory minimums for growing as few as six marijuana plants. Chronicle story here.

Is President Obama Responsible for the Latest Attacks on Medical Marijuana?

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As controversy over the federal government’s escalating nationwide assault on medical marijuana continues to swell, some federal officials are trying to shield the President from the political fallout.

WASHINGTON -- U.S. attorneys have a message for California's medical marijuana advocates: Don't blame Barack Obama. After it was announced that the crackdown on medical pot establishments in the Golden State was a collective decision by the four U.S. attorneys in California and not the result of any directive from Washington, spokeswoman Lauren Horwood emphasized that the administration never even green-lighted the ramped-up enforcement actions.

The only D.C.-based official with whom California U.S. attorneys coordinated, Horwood said, was Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who was chosen by Attorney General Eric Holder, an Obama appointee. [Huffington Post]

This is amazing. Literally, we are being told by presidentially-appointed officials not to blame the president when they do things we find disgusting.  I don’t recall ever being handed a ballot with the name Lauren Horwood on it, and the same goes for James Cole, Eric Holder and every other federal prosecutor presently presiding over this massive new war on medical marijuana patients and providers.

When the president’s own appointees defy his campaign promises and dishonor the values of the American public, the president himself is so obviously, thoroughly, and undeniably at fault that it seems silly to argue the point further. 

After all, any effort to sugarcoat this mess is indicative of an increasing awareness at DOJ that their approach to medical marijuana is becoming a bit of a political fiasco. Deflecting criticism from the president is a smart strategy for avoiding a scenario in which mounting public outcry forces Obama to revisit the issue. The lesson here for advocates is to apply more pressure on the president, not less. 

Mexico Drug War Update

Mexican drug trafficking organizations make billions each year smuggling drugs into the United States, profiting enormously from the prohibitionist drug policies of the US government. Since Mexican president Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and called the armed forces into the fight against the so-called cartels, prohibition-related violence has killed around 40,000 people, including more than 15,000 last year. Chronicle story here.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Texas DA gets greedy, and so do a California narc, a California prison worker, a Washington state evidence clerk, and a Washington, DC, police officer. Chronicle story here.

Obama Met With San Francisco Medical Marijuana Protest [FEATURE]

Hundreds of angry medical marijuana patients and supporters gathered in San Francisco's South of Market Tuesday to greet President Obama as he appeared at a $5,000 a head fundraiser at the W Hotel. They were joined by hundreds of other protestors, mainly Occupy San Francisco members and environmentalists upset with the Keystone pipeline. Chronicle story here.

Prop 19 Backers Eye 2012 Medical Marijuana Initiative

A budding coalition of medical marijuana reform backers, including some of the same folks behind last year's Proposition 19, is working on an initiative for the 2012 ballot that would impose statewide regulation on California's crazy-quilt medical marijuana dispensary scene. The announcement came during a San Francisco press conference Tuesday preceding a demonstration during a visit to the city by President Obama. Chronicle story here.

What’s it like to smoke herb with Rick Santorum?

Huffington Post has a nifty little slideshow looking at the Republican presidential candidate’s positions and past statements on marijuana. Short version: Gary Johnson and Ron Paul support freedom and common sense, the rest are generally in favor of arresting lots of people.

But if I learned one thing from reading this, it’s that holy crap, Rick Santorum smoked weed in college. I did not know this. Really, just try to picture Rick Santorum sucking on a bong without cringing and freaking out a little. I can’t do it.

Still, it does a raise a lot of interesting questions, such as who the hell gave weed to that guy and what happened next? Honestly, if I was packing bowls in a dorm room somewhere and somebody brings Rick frickin’ Santorum into the session, I’m immediately calling a Code Red Suspected Narc alert and jumping out the window.

In any case, Rick Santorum makes a pretty good poster-boy for proving that you can smoke pot without getting addicted, turning into a hippie, or otherwise derailing your dream of becoming a homophobic, bible-thumping Republican Senator.

(This article was published by'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.)

Federal Judge Blocks Florida Welfare Drug Testing Law

A federal judge Monday halted Florida's law mandating drug testing for welfare applicants. District Court Judge Mary Scriven in Orlando granted a temporary injunction barring the state from enforcing the law until the case is resolved. Chronicle story here.

Pennsylvania Drug Suspect Dead After Swallowing Baggie

A Pittsburgh-area man has become the third person to die from swallowing drugs during a bust in recent weeks and the 41st to die so far this year in US domestic drug enforcement operations. Chronicle story here.

Colombia President Calls for Global Marijuana Legalization

Colombia's president says the world should legalize marijuana, but don't look for his country to lead the way. Chronicle story here.

Senate GOP Blocks Criminal Justice Commission Amendment

An amendment that would have created a national criminal justice commission to study wide-ranging reforms in the US criminal justice system was blocked Thursday after most Senate Republicans voted against it, saying it would encroach on states' rights. Chronicle story here.

Bay Area Pols Slam Feds' Medical Marijuana Crackdown

A pair of Northern California elected officials Wednesday urged the federal government to back off on its "senseless assault" on medical marijuana dispensaries. At the same time, they said they want to meet with federal officials to see what's behind the crackdown. Chronicle story here.

Comments Temporarily Disabled Due to Security Issue, Will Restore as Soon as Possible.

Comments Temporarily Disabled Due to Security Issue, Will Restore as Soon as Possible.

Obama Must Explain His Broken Promise on Medical Marijuana, and Soon

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I have a new piece at Huffington Post demanding answers for Obama's badly botched approach to medical marijuana. The situation has spiraled into total insanity, and whatever anyone actually did or did not expect from this administration no longer matters. What we got is unacceptable, and if the president can't defend these policies, then he lacks the credibility to carry them out.

Freedom Fighter of the Month

I’ve been named Freedom Fighter of the Month in the November issue of High Times. I think this happened either because of that incident where we crashed the White House contact page, or because they ran out of other people to give it to. In any case, I think it’s pretty cool. I remember years ago I was just out of college, doing unpaid internships, living with my parents, reading High Times at the office and hoping I would one day be worthy of this particular honor. Well, thanks guys, and yes my offer still stands, I suppose.

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell Slams Politicians for Opposing Marijuana Legalization

I’m sure I’ve never seen anything quite like this on MSNBC and it’s about time:

If I’m correct in assuming that MSNBC has until now avoided this sort of subject matter for fear of being branded as a bunch of liberal hippies, then I’m grateful to see the network getting over it. Face it, people are going to say that about MSNBC regardless of what the network does or does not say about marijuana policy, or anything else for that matter. Fortunately, this way MSNBC can at least score points with its viewership, which is 104% in favor of legalization according to the latest polling data.

As for the substance of the whole thing, I suppose O’Donnell is on target in trashing the drunken hypocrisy of our political culture, but when he promises that the wholesale arrests of marijuana users will continue for that very reason, I wonder if he let his frustration take the fun out of the story. What matters here is that the American people are finally in favor of legalizing marijuana and that’s a positive indicator of what the future holds for the fight to reform marijuana laws.

Dr. Drew on Marijuana: “Legalize it and Whatever”

Here’s “Celebrity Addiction Specialist” Dr. Drew going out of his way to remind critics that he’s actually cool with legalizing marijuana (starts at 4:50):

That’s nice to hear, I suppose, since we haven’t always had the nicest things to say about him around here. I seem to recall referring to him as a “dangerous quack,” I think it was. But I was just a little pissed off at the time about his endorsement of planting drugs on drug users to get them locked up and thrown in drug treatment. It was a tough time in our relationship and I’m willing to leave the past behind and look forward to a bright future in which he reluctantly supports legalization and hopefully stops saying stupid or crazy things about Lindsey Lohan.

UK Government Rejects Advisors' Decriminalization Call

Britain's governmental Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has once again called for the decriminalization of drug possession. Once again, the British government doesn't want to listen. Chronicle feature story here.

Mexico Drug War Update

Mexican President Calderon admitted this week that the state of Veracruz had been left to the cartels. Meanwhile, the killing continues without let up. This weekly Chronicle feature is online here.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A quiet week on the corrupt cops front this week, with only two reports. But one of them raises interesting questions: Why does a drug task force commander who steals from suspects and tries to cover up his crimes only get probation, when the suspects if convicted may get prison? This weekly Chronicle feature is online here.

The Feds Can't Stop Medical Marijuana, CA Activists Say [FEATURE]

Federal tactics seen in California lately have been tried before, but failed due to the sheer scale and robustness of the medical marijuana market. In the meanwhile they are galvanizing the movement -- ultimately adding force to legalization efforts too. Chronicle story here.

DEA Hits More California Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The DEA raided dispensaries in Sacramento and Stockton on Monday. One of the agents in the Sacramento raid is reported to have said they are shutting down all the dispensaries in the city. And so the Obama administration's campaign to destroy medical marijuana continues. Chronicle story here.

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