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by Ray Stern
Arizonans no longer risk getting a DUI for driving with an inactive metabolite of marijuana in their blood following a ruling by the state's high court.
The Arizona Supreme Court announced this morning that it was reaffirming the trial court's decision to dump the case of Hrach Shilgevorkyan, who was prosecuted for driving while impaired after a blood test revealed the presence of marijuana. New Times covered the case and overall issue in detail in our May 2013 article "Riding High."
Note: An article about this very study was published in the News-Gazette this week. The paper uncritically reports on this sort of flaky stuff, but rarely notes any of the numerous much more rigorous studies that suggest significant medical benefits from cannabis, because those contradict the N-G Editorial Board's assertion that cannabis has no medical value.
by Pete Guither
So, of course, everyone in the media has been gushing about the study that proves that even casual pot smoking damages the brain. Of course, that’s not even close to what the study showed, even if you accept the study itself as legitimate.
The people who really know, know better.
Here’s John Gever, Deputy Managing Editor, MedPage Today: Striking a Nerve: Bungling the Cannabis Story
Correlation does not equal causation, and a single exam cannot show a trend over time. Basic stuff, right?
But judging by coverage of a study just out in the Journal of Neuroscience, these are apparently foreign concepts for many folks in the media. [...]
by Eric Zuesse
A study, to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, finds that the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question, "Who governs? Who really rules?" in this country, is:
[Note: Urbana provides a decrim option to its police, but this bill would make a much-needed, clear-cut break with past policy by removing all criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis in every Illinois jusrisdiction.]
CHICAGO, IL — Supporters of a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Illinois released the results of a statewide poll showing strong support for such legislation. The Illinois House Restorative Justice Committee approved the bill last week, and supporters are now calling on members of the House to approve the proposal.
by Marijuana Policy Project
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A poll released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center showed that for the second year in a row a majority of Americans (54%) support making marijuana legal. This represents a two percent increase in support from last year.
Only 42% support keeping marijuana illegal. Three-quarters of those polled think that the sale and use of marijuana will eventually be legal nationwide.
The poll also revealed that 69% of respondents see alcohol as more harmful to individual health than marijuana, and 63% think alcohol is more dangerous to society.
Pew’s nationwide survey of 1,821 adults was conducted February 14-23. Detailed survey results are available at here.
by Thomas H. Clarke
DALLAS, TX – Long before Washington and Colorado legalized pot for recreational use, opponents to marijuana legalization were arguing that allowing marijuana for medicinal purposes would result in higher rates of crime and delinquency. But a new study by researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas determined that not to be the case.
In fact, researchers say, decriminalizing marijuana may actually reduce violent crime rates.
“The main finding is that we found no increase in crime rates resulting from medical marijuana legalization,” explained Dr. Robert Morris, associate professor of criminology and lead author of the study, which was recently published in the journal PLOS ONE. “In fact, we found some evidence of decreasing rates of some types of violent crime, namely homicide and assault.”
To save a click or two, let's cut to the chase. In deep fiscal crisis, Illinois spent more than $200,000,000 in 2010 enforcing the law against marijuana possession. Enforcement has grown nearly 30% over the decade from 2001 to 2010. Nearly 60% of those arrested are black, despite use rates no higher than whites. Almost 98% of all marijuana arrests were for possession (although prosecutors often trump up charges with the nebulous "intent to deliver.") Illinois has a racial disparity in marijauna arrests that ranks 4th highest of the 50 states, with blacks more than 7.5 times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana.
Illinois is a national disgrace.
The inequities that helped inspire change in Maryland are even worse in Illinois. In Illinois, minorities are almost eight times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, where in Matyland they are only about 3 to 1. It makes no sense for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana to result in criminal charges. It also makes no sense for this situation to continue in Illinois, with Democrats holding power in both houses in the state legislature, the governorship and the state attorney general. So why hasn't Illinois decriminalized marijuana? You should ask all candidates and your representatives and senators what their position is and what the plan to do to quit wasting the lives of young people and our very limited state resources on criminal charges over a few grams of vegetable matter.
by Harry Belafonte
There is a crisis that demands our urgent attention. For the last four decades, this country has been obsessed with expanding the number of people we throw behind bars and the length of time we hold them there. Crime rates have been falling for the last 20 years, but still we have a massive and unsustainable prison population, particularly targeting the poor and powerless. We're not strengthening communities, we're using our criminal justice system to throw away certain people's lives – disproportionately the lives of Black and brown men, women, and children. This has decimated communities around the nation and it's gone on for far too long.