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Spain’s Former Drug Czarina Endorses Legalization

Location: 
Spain
Quoting great minds such as Milton Friedman, Gary Becker and Mario Vargas Llosa, Spain’s former drug Czarina Araceli Manjón-Cabeza endorsed drug legalization in a compelling op-ed [in Spanish] published in El País, Spain’s leading newspaper. Just a week ago, Felipe González, Spain’s former Prime Minister, also came out in support of drug legalization.
Publication/Source: 
URL: 
http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/spains-former-drug-czarina-endorses-legalization/

The Heritage Foundation's Marijuana Policy Paper Takes Absurdity to New Heights

The Heritage Foundation's Charles Stimson has released a completely bonkers prohibitionist screed on marijuana. Will the think tank retract it?
Publication/Source: 
Alternet (CA)
URL: 
http://www.alternet.org/drugs/148233/right-wing_think_tank%27s_marijuana_policy_paper_takes_absurdity_to_new_heights

Alcohol Lobby Teams with Law Enforcement to Fund Anti-Marijuana Campaign (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                 

SEPTEMBER 15, 2010

Alcohol Lobby Teams with Law Enforcement to Fund Anti-Marijuana Campaign

California Beer and Beverage Distributors Give $10K to “No On Proposition 19” Campaign in Attempt to Kill the Competition 

CONTACT: Mike Meno, MPP director of communications …………… 202-905-2030 or 443-927-6400

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On September 7, a major new front opened up in the campaign for Proposition 19, the ballot measure to tax and regulate marijuana in California. On that day, the California Beer and Beverage Distributors made a $10,000 contribution to a committee opposing Proposition 19. Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project and co-author of Marijuana is Safer: So why are we driving people to drink?, had the following reaction to the news:

         “Unless the beer distributors in California have suddenly developed a philosophical opposition to the use of intoxicating substances, the motivation behind this contribution is clear,” Fox said. “Plain and simple, the alcohol industry is trying to kill the competition. They know that marijuana is less addictive, less toxic and less likely to be associated with violent behavior than alcohol. So they don’t want adults to have the option of using marijuana legally instead of alcohol. Their mission is to drive people to drink.”

         The alcohol industry is now working hand-in-hand with the law enforcement community to keep marijuana illegal. For example, the California Police Chiefs Association has given at least $30,000 to the “No on Proposition 19” campaign, while the California Narcotics Officers’ Association has chipped in $20,500 of its own. This partnership underscores the hypocrisy among law enforcement officials opposed to Prop. 19.

         “Members of law enforcement have argued against Proposition 19 by asserting, ‘We have enough problems with alcohol, we don’t need to add another intoxicating substance to the mix,’ implying that marijuana is just as bad as alcohol,” Fox continued. “But the truth is that a legal marijuana market would not add another dangerous intoxicant to the mix; rather it would provide adults with a less harmful legal alternative to alcohol.”

         “In their campaign to defeat Proposition 19, members of law enforcement and the alcohol industry have joined together under an umbrella group calling themselves ‘Public Safety First.’ Sadly, by fighting to keep marijuana illegal and steering adults toward alcohol instead, they are putting public safety last,” said Fox.

         With more than 124,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit www.mpp.org.

####

Location: 
CA
United States

Booze Lobby Funding the No on 19 Campaign

Location: 
CA
United States
The California Beer & Beverage Distributors disclosed it donated $10,000 to defeat Prop 19 — which would regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol. The alcohol lobbyist's funds will help spread the lie that employers must tolerate stoned employees, and the talking point that 'California doesn't need another legal, mind-altering substance.' The move echoes the tobacco and alcohol industry's help creating leading drug war group Partnership For a Drug-Free America.
Publication/Source: 
East Bay Express (CA)
URL: 
http://www.eastbayexpress.com/LegalizationNation/archives/2010/09/13/booze-lobby-funding-the-no-on-19-campaign

New UN Drug Czar From Russia Takes Office

Location: 
Yury Fedotov, a veteran diplomat who until recently was the Kremlin's top envoy to Britain, replaced Italy's Antonio Maria Costa as the head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.
Publication/Source: 
The Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iisaDRVYRxm8aUd_92iTTH6HhVXAD9I75MAG0

We Won't Stand For Their Lies (Action Alert)

 

Show our opponents that their scare tactics aren't fooling anybody!

Sign the Petition

Dear friends,

We need to fight back.

California's marijuana initiative, Proposition 19, would be the biggest drug law reform in U.S. history. But it's being threatened by opponents who are trotting out the same old drug war misinformation and scare tactics.

Tell the opponents of Proposition 19 that we won’t stand for their lies!

Prop. 19, which would make marijuana legal for adults in California, is a game changer. The special interests that benefit from the drug war know it, and are doing everything they can to scare voters away from reforming the state's failed marijuana laws.

Here are some of the outrageous statements the other side has already made:
• "It's going to cause crime to go up. There will be more drug babies."
• "It gives inmates in our prisons and county jails the right to both possess and smoke marijuana while incarcerated."
• "Next Health Nightmare If Marijuana Legalization Takes Place? Killer Black Mold."

And unless we call them on their ridiculous claims, they’re just going to ratchet up the rhetoric as Election Day draws near. Let's show our opponents that the whole country is watching – and that their scare tactics aren’t fooling anybody!

Sincerely,

Stephen Gutwillig
State Director, California
Drug Policy Alliance

Location: 
CA
United States

Drug Czars Past and Present Oppose Prop 19 Marijuana Init

In an absolutely unsurprising turn of events, current head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske and five former drug czars have come out against Proposition 19, California's marijuana legalization initiative. The six bureaucratic drug warriors all signed on to an op-ed, Why California Should Just Say No to Prop 19, published in the Los Angeles Times Wednesday.

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske with President Obama
Joining Kerlikowske in the broadside against legalization were former drug czars John Walters, Barry McCaffrey, Lee Brown, Bob Martinez, and William Bennett.

The drug czars claim that Prop 19 supporters will "rely on two main arguments: that legalizing and taxing marijuana would generate much-needed revenue, and that legalization would allow law enforcement to focus on other crimes." Then they attempt to refute those claims.

Noting that marijuana is easy and cheap to cultivate, the drug czars predict that, unlike the case with alcohol and tobacco, many would grow their own and avoid taxes. "Why would people volunteer to pay high taxes on marijuana if it were legalized?" they asked. "The answer is that many would not, and the underground market, adapting to undercut any new taxes, would barely diminish at all."

Ignoring the more than 800,000 people arrested for simple marijuana possession each year, including the 70,000 Californians forced to go to court for marijuana possession misdemeanors (maximum fine $100), the drug czars claim that "law enforcement officers do not currently focus much effort on arresting adults whose only crime is possessing small amounts of marijuana."

They then complain that Prop 19 would impose new burdens on police by making them enforce laws against smoking marijuana where minors are present. Those laws already exist; Prop 19 does not create them.

The drug czars warn that if Prop 19 passes, "marijuana use would increase" and "increased use brings increased social costs." But they don't bother to spell out just what those increased costs would be or why.

The drug czars' screed has picked up a number of instant critiques, including those of Douglas Berman at the Sentencing Law and Policy blog, Jacob Sullum at Reason Online, and Jon Walker at Firedoglake.

We're waiting for a drug czar to come out for pot legalization, not oppose it. Now, that would be real news.

Los Angeles, CA
United States

Are Opponents of Marijuana Legalization Getting Dumber?

The opposition to Prop. 19 in California would like you to believe that marijuana rots your brain. So it's just a bit ironic that the people writing their slogans couldn't pass a 3rd grade English class.

This one from Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana remained on their site for weeks after being mocked around the web:

Our children’s future are in your hands…

And this week, the anti-pot group Public Safety First launched a new ad campaign that had to be corrected immediately:

As California goes, do does the
rest of the country.

Hey, mistakes happen. Maybe it's a bit childish to focus on something so trivial when so much is at stake. But I can't help but indulge my amusement at the notion that growing support for legalization has left our opposition in the hands of a bunch of remedial grammar students.

Congress: Drug Warrior Rep. Mark Souder Resigns over Affair

Family values crusader and drug war zealot Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) announced Tuesday he was resigning from Congress after admitting to an affair with a female staffer. The bombshell announcement came at a Capitol Hill press conference. (See Souder give his statement here).

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/souder-cspan.jpg
Rep. Souder conceding an amendment that would have limited his financial aid drug penalty to sales convictions, 2009. The amendment was stripped earlier this year as collateral damage in the health care reform battle.
Adding to the irony of the moralizing conservative's downfall, the staffer with whom he had the affair, Tracy Jackson, worked together with him on one of Souder's pet passions: promoting abstinence education. They even created a video in which the pair of them discuss his efforts to promote abstinence. The various copies of that video on YouTube have had more than 100,000 views as of Tuesday night.

"I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff," Souder said in the statement. "In the poisonous environment of Washington, DC, any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain," he said. "I am resigning rather than to put my family through that painful, drawn-out process."

Souder's enthusiasm for the war on drugs led him to the chairmanship of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources from 2001 to 2007, where he used his position to support harsh drug policies. He was, for instance, a staunch foe of medical marijuana and a loud voice against the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendments, which would, if passed, have stopped federal raids on medical marijuana patients and providers.

Even before attaining the chairmanship, Souder gained notoriety among drug reformers, educators, and civil libertarians for authoring a provision of the Higher Education Act that denied federal financial assistance to students convicted of a drug law violation, no matter how minor.

Souder's "smoke a joint, lose your federal aid" provision resulted in more than 200,000 students being denied college grants and loans. It also resulted in the formation of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, which has played a key role in the ongoing Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform. A partial reform -- actually supported by Souder, whether sincerely or out of pressure -- in 2006 rolled back the provision to include only offenses while the student was enrolled in college. A reform this year that would have limited the provision only to drug sales offenses was derailed after the education package it was part of got added to the health care reform bill, getting deleted along with other provisions that Democrats feared could trigger a procedural challenge.

We will skip the schaudenfreude, although Souder richly deserves it, and merely take heart in knowing one of the most poisonous of the cultural conservative drug warriors has taken himself out of the game.

thanks for the memories:

former SSDP executive director Shawn Heller confronts Mark Souder after a financial aid forum in his district, aired on all the local news channels

somewhere in this documentary Mark Souder slams the door on MPP lobbyist Aaron Houston, refusing to discuss medical marijuana

Souder complains about student groups "harassing him across the country"

Top Drug Warrior Mark Souder Resigns from Congress After Affair with Staffer

Ending Souder's reign of terror has been a high priority for the reform movement for many years, but we never saw this coming:

Rep. Mark Souder, an Indiana Republican known for his support of traditional family values, announced Tuesday that he will leave office, ending a tense week in which a key staffer confronted him with rumors about his alleged extramarital affair with a part-time aide.

He said he was "ashamed" that he had "sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff." But he blamed the "poisonous environment of Washington" for his decision to resign, effective Friday. [Washington Post]

Following the departure of Bush's drug czar John Walters, Souder unquestionably remained the reform movement's most dangerous and fanatical opponent. For many years, he chaired the House Subcommittee responsible for federal drug policy, doing everything in his power to continue our reckless death march into drug war oblivion. No one has done more to infect the drug policy debate in with mindless hysteria, while opposing and obstructing reform at every opportunity.

Souder is best known as author of the HEA Aid Elimination Penalty that has denied financial aid for college to more than 200,000 students with drug convictions. In so doing, he galvanized student activism for drug policy reform, leading to the formation of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, which eventually played a significant role in scaling back the law itself.

Yet today, we learned that the man who held others to such high standards was himself capable of being a bit naughty. As glad as we are to see him go, I think Souder's years of drug war demagoguery will come to be remembered as an important catalyst for the growing national recognition that it's time to move our drug policy in a new direction. Souder just took everything way too far, and in the process, he gave many of us a reason to stand up and fight back. We've accomplished a great deal despite Mark Souder, and I can't wait to see what we can do without him.

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