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Stop the Blunt Ban!

A bulletin distributed by our friends at Philadelphia NORML: Dear NORML members: Previously, we had emailed you asking to help stop this Bill on November 16. We got lucky, and it did not pass unanimously as was previously thought. The Bill itself was merely amended.

Tim Pawlenty is a Drug War Idiot

But don't take my word for it, just look what he did:

Despite near-unanimous support, Gov. Tim Pawlenty has vetoed a bill preventing prosecutors from using bong water to calculate the weight of controlled substances in drug prosecutions — and a lawmaker who helped pass the legislation accused the governor of doing so for political reasons.

The bill was the result of a 4-3 Minnesota Supreme Court decision last year that allowed Rice County prosecutors to charge Sara Ruth Peck, 47, of Faribault, with first-degree drug possession — a charge often reserved for drug dealers — after the water in a glass pipe tested positive for traces of methamphetamine.

If Pawlenty is condoning this nonsense for political reasons, he needs to go on the internet or something. This guy is a rumored republican presidential candidate for 2012, but he apparently missed the memo that mind-blowing acts of reefer madness aren't exactly selling out stadiums these days.

Perhaps this bong controversy is too nuanced to screw him, but his veto of a medical marijuana bill that would only have protected dying patients is another story. Note to Gary Johnson: if you find yourself in a debate with Tim Pawlenty, ask him why he wants to arrest terminal AIDS patients for using pot brownies to stimulate their appetite.

And while you're at it, ask him if he thinks Michael Phelps should have been charged as a drug trafficker for the weight of the water in that bong he smoked.

Banning Pot Didn't Work, So Let's Try Banning Bongs

Even as record numbers of Americans begin recognizing the profound stupidity of our marijuana laws, Florida legislators are still thrashing around in panicked desperation:

A bill passed Wednesday will make it illegal in Florida to sell the drug paraphernalia in most head shops.

The so-called "Bong Bill" passed by the Senate and then overwhelmingly passed 115-0 in the House now heads to Gov. Crist for final approval.

The bill prohibits the sale of the items by businesses that don't make at least 75 percent of their money from tobacco sales or make over 25 percent from sale of the prohibited items. [NBC]

So the Florida legislature's idea of fighting the drug war is to tell retailers they have to sell more tobacco. And the vote was unanimous, of course.

Prosecution: No More Crack Pipe Felonies for Houston

Prosecution: No More Crack Pipe Felonies for Houston Beginning January 1, prosecutors in Harris County, Texas, will no longer file felony drug charges against people found with less than one one-hundreth of a gram of illegal drugs. Currently in Houston, people caught with trace amounts of drug or holding crack pipes with drug traces are routinely charged with felonies. But under a new policy promulgated by Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos, police are instructed to instead issue Class C misdemeanor tickets to people caught in possession of crack pipes or trace amounts of drugs. That means arrestees will face only a $500 fine, not the up to two years in state jail mandated by the felony charge. The cops are not happy. “It ties the hands of the officers who are making crack pipe cases against burglars and thieves,” said Gary Blankinship, president of the Houston Police Officers' Union. “A crack pipe is not used for anything but smoking crack by a crack head. Crack heads, by and large, are also thieves and burglars. They're out there committing crimes,” he told the Houston Chronicle. But Lykos told the Chronicle there were good reasons to change the policy. Less than one-hundreth of a gram of a drug is not enough for more than one drug test, and defense attorneys often want to run their own tests, she said.