Drugs and "Drug War"

In Ferguson and Beyond, Punishing Humanity

by Kate Manne

On Sept. 26, two peaceful protesters were arrested in Ferguson, Mo. Watch this video (warning: includes profanity) and you will see two white officers arresting a young black woman who is wearing a red hoodie. One tackles her in a chokehold and yanks her hands behind her back. She whimpers, and they force her face down on the pavement. They then carry her off with one officer holding her by an arm, and the other holding her by a leg. Her body has gone limp; they dangle her between them carelessly. Why were these two men handling her “like an animal?” asks the protester recording the scene with her cellphone. It is a good question. And its answer is not obvious.
 

Marijuana Use Associated With Increased Survival In Brain Injury Patients

By Paul Armentano |  NORML Deputy Director
 

LOS ANGELES, CA — Traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients with a history of cannabis use possess increased survival rates compared to non-users, according data published this month in the scientific journal The American Surgeon.

UCLA Medical Center investigators conducted a three-year retrospective review of brain trauma patients. Data from 446 separate cases of similarly injured patients was assessed.

Of those patients who tested positive for the presence of marijuana, 97.6 percent survived surgery.

By contrast, patients who tested negative for the presence of pot prior to surgery possessed only an 88.5 percent survival rate.

Study Refutes Claims of Widespread Abuse in California Medical Marijuana Program

By Americans for Safe Access
 

92% of participants reported that "medical marijuana helped alleviate symptoms or treat a serious medical condition"

SACRAMENTO, CA — A new landmark study published by the peer-reviewed journal Drug and Alcohol Review refutes the long-held belief that abuse of California’s medical marijuana law is ubiquitous.

The study, “Prevalence of medical marijuana use in California, 2012,” is the first time anyone has formally measured such data in the state according to its authors Suzanne Ryan-Ibarra, Marta Induni, and Danielle Ewing of the Survey Research Group at Public Health Institute in Sacramento.

Decriminalization of Cannabis is Helpful, but Legalization and Regulation in Illinois Is the Answer

The Illinois chapter of NORML (National Organization to Reform marijuana Laws) fully supports Karen Lewis’s plan to legalize and regulate the adult cannabis market.  While Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to decriminalize cannabis statewide is a step in the right direction it simply does not go far enough.  
 Decriminalization does nothing to curb the violence associated with the illegal cannabis trade and does nothing to prevent cannabis from getting in the hands of young people, especially teenagers.  While decriminalization would reduce the stigma of having a criminal record it would still be against the law to consume this plant, and the manufacturing and distribution of this product would still be controlled by criminals, often violent gangs and drug cartels.

Illinois Could Raise $125 million In New Tax Revenue by Ending Prohibition, Legalizing Cannabis

Current Illinois revenue policy is to send this income to the drug cartels as profits. Ask your state representative or senator why he or she still supports such policy and when they plan to do something about it by ending prohibition.

By Thomas H. Clarke |  The Daily Chronic
 

A new study conducted by nerdwallet.com estimates that the United States could earn over $3 billion annually in tax revenue from legalizing marijuana and imposing a modest excise tax on sales.

The study, which breaks down potential tax revenue based on each state’s current sales tax rates, combined with an additional 15% excise tax on marijuana, forecasts a potential $3,098,866,907 annually.

Rauner says he would have vetoed medical cannabis law

via MPP email...

Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner announced earlier this week that, if he had been in office, he would have vetoed Illinois' new lawwhich allows seriously ill patients access to medical cannabis. Rauner also said he preferred a system that would make business licenses available only to the highest bidders in order to raise money for state coffers.

Governor Quinn, who signed the medical marijuana bill in 2013, took exception to the comments, pointing out that the process is both competitive and transparent. His campaign called Rauner’s statements “heartless” and stressed that the law "will ease pain and provide relief for cancer patients (and) severely ill people."

Alaska, Oregon, and DC: A Marijuana Legalization Trifecta in 2014?

By Phillip Smith |  StopTheDrugWar.org
 

Labor Day has come and gone, and the 2014 election is now less than two months away. Marijuana legalization initiatives are on the ballot in two states — Alaska and Oregon — and the District of Columbia.

For the marijuana reform movement, 2014 is a chance for a legalization trifecta on the way to an even bigger year in 2016, but there is also the risk that losing in one or more states this year could take the momentum out of a movement that has been on a seemingly unstoppable upward trend.

The Initiatives

Citing Failed War on Drugs, World Leaders Call for Widespread Decriminalization

Global commission condemns "harsh measures grounded in repressive ideologies"

by Deidre Fulton, Commondreams staff writer
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/09/09/citing-failed-war-drugs-worl...

In the face of a failed War on Drugs, a global commission composed mostly of former world leaders recommended on Tuesday that governments decriminalize and regulate the use of currently illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and psychedelics.

Crime, Bias and Statistics

by Charles M. Blow

Discussions of the relationship between blacks and the criminal justice system in this country too often grind to a halt as people slink down into their silos and arm themselves with their best rhetorical weapons — racial bias on one side and statistics in which minorities, particularly blacks, are overrepresented as criminals on the other.

What I find too often overlooked in this war of words is the intersection between the two positions, meaning the degree to which bias informs the statistics and vice versa.

The troubling association — in fact, overassociation — of blacks with criminality directly affects the way we think about both crime and blacks as a whole.

A damning report released by the Sentencing Project last week (http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/rd_Race_and_Punishment...) lays bare the bias and the interconnecting systemic structures that reinforce it and disproportionately affect African-Americans.

Medical Marijuana States See Less Opiate Pain Killer Overdose Deaths

Overdose deaths from opioids decreased by an average of 20 percent one year after the law’s implementation, 25 percent by two years, and up to 33 percent by years five and six.

by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

The enactment of medicinal marijuana laws is associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates, according to data published online Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine.

A team of investigators from the University of Pennsylvania, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore conducted a time-series analysis of medical cannabis laws and state-level death certificate data in the United States from 1999 to 2010 — a period during which 13 states instituted laws allowing for cannabis therapy.

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