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FACTS

15% of Coloradans have bought pot since it was legalized

64% support marijuana legalization

Study: Legalized pot doesn't increase crime

HISTORY OF THE WAR ON POT

HOW THE WAR ON DRUGS IS HURTING YOUR BUSINESS

DRUG WAR CLOCK

DRUG WAR FACTS

More than 12 million American citizens have been arrested on marijuana charges since 1965.

Steven Wishnia, AlterNet - One 2006 study called cannabis the top cash crop in the nation, worth more than corn and wheat combined. It was the leading crop in 12 states, outstripping grapes in California and tobacco in North Carolina, and one of the top three in 18 others, coming in just behind apples in Washington and cotton in Georgia. . . As the U.S. marijuana market is illegal, there are no sales figures. Estimates of its size range from $10.5 billion a year to $113 billion. But three studies done by economists and policy analysts say ganja taxes could bring in anywhere from $2.4 billion to $31.1 billion in revenue, depending on how big the sales really are. About one-third of that would go to the states. . . A 2005 study by Harvard economics professor Jeffrey A. Miron, makes the most conservative projections of the three studies. It calculates possible pot tax revenues at $2.4 billion.

Collected by Robbie Genner, Huffington Post

"Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica." - Abraham Lincoln (from a letter written by Lincoln during his presidency to the head of the Hohner Harmonica Company in Germany)

"Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country." - Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President

"Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere." - George Washington, U.S. President

"We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp more for our own consumption." - John Adams, U.S. President

"Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marihuana in private for personal use... Therefore, I support legislation amending Federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marihuana." - Jimmy Carter, U.S. President

"I inhaled frequently. That was the point." - Barack Obama, U.S. President

"The war on drugs has been an utter failure. We need to rethink and decriminalize our nation's marijuana laws." -Barack Obama, January 2004

"The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world." - Carl Sagan, renown scientist, astronomer, astrochemist, author and TV host

"Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?" - Henry Ford, whose first Model-T was constructed from hemp fibers and built to run on hemp gasoline

"Prohibition. . . goes beyond the bound of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded" -Abraham Lincoln

"The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this." - Albert Einstein quote on Hemp

"That is not a drug. It's a leaf." - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California

"I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast" - Ronald Reagan

"If the words 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' don't include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn't worth the hemp it was written on." - Terence McKenna

[]

The first Bibles, maps, charts, Betsy Ross's flag, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were made from hemp.

80% of all textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, drapes, bed sheets, etc. were made from hemp until the 1820s with the introduction of the cotton gin.

It was legal to pay taxes with Hemp in America from 1631 until the early 1800s.

Refusing to grow Hemp in America during the 17th and 18th Centuries was against the law. You could be jailed in Virginia for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769.

Rembrants, Gainsboroughs, Van Goghs as well as most early canvas paintings were principally painted on hemp linen.

In 1916, the U.S. Government Dept. of Agriculture predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down.

For thousands of years, 90% of all ships' sails and rope were made from hemp. The word 'canvas' is Dutch for cannabis.

Hemp fuel is non-toxic, biodegradable and does not contribute to sulfur dioxide air poisoning.

In Feb. 1938, Popular Mechanics called Hemp a 'Billion Dollar Crop.' It was the first time a cash crop had a business potential to exceed a billion dollars.

NY Times calls for end of marijuana prohibition

New battle: marijuana vs. water

Indian Country - The drought in California is exacerbating the effect that illegal marijuana farms have on the Yurok ’s water supply, and on July 21 federal and state agencies raided several properties on or adjoining the reservation along the Klamath River.

The Yurok are not the only ones contending with the effects of illegal pot grows on their lands. The Hoopa Tribe has been actively combating incursions as well.

Even without the ongoing and worsening drought, the farms put a strain on Yurok life in a number of ways. Rat poison kills sacred fish and other animals, lower water levels become too warm and unhealthy for salmon to spawn in, and water pressure is just about nil on the reservation.

"They're stealing millions and millions of gallons of water, and it's impacting our ecosystem," Yurok Tribal Chairman Thomas O'Rourke said during the raid, according to the Los Angeles Times. "We can no longer make it into our dance places, our women and children can't leave the road to gather. We can't hunt. We can't live the life we've lived for thousands of years."

“We are coming close to being prisoners in our own land,” O’Rourke said. “Everything we stand for, everything we do is impacted.”

The real reason pot is still illegal

The Nation - Prescription opioids, a line of pain-relieving medications derived from the opium poppy or produced synthetically, are the most dangerous drugs abused in America, with more than 16,000 deaths annually linked to opioid addiction and overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more Americans now die from painkillers than from heroin and cocaine combined. The recent uptick in heroin use around the country has been closely linked to the availability of prescription opioids, which give their users a similar high and can trigger a heroin craving in recovering addicts. (Notably, there are no known deaths related to marijuana, although there have been instances of impaired driving.)

People in the United States, a country in which painkillers are routinely overprescribed, now consume more than 84 percent of the entire worldwide supply of oxycodone and almost 100 percent of hydrocodone opioids. In Kentucky, to take just one example, about one in fourteen people is misusing prescription painkillers, and nearly 1,000 Kentucky residents are dying every year.

Brooklyn DA to stop prosecuting most minor marijuana cases

Firedog Lake - Brooklyn District Attorney Ken P. Thompson has announced he was going to use his power to stop prosecuting most low-level marijuana possession cases in the borough. The plan which has been in the works for months is finally going to be implemented.

The policy should help reducing the huge number of marijuana arrests in the city but it is not a free pass. This DA is simply planning to not waste resources on minor cases going forward but will still prosecute if there are other factors involved. For example if the individual is caught smoking in public, has a record of violent behavior under the use of marijuana, or has an open warrant the DA's office will likely still prosecute.

DEA finally having second thoughts about marijuana

Philly - After a historic House vote to defund the DEA's operating budget for marijuana enforcement in the states earlier in the month passed (with a similar one now in the Senate), the government agency has now asked the federal Food and Drug Administration to consider removing marijuana from the list of Schedule I drugs as defined by the Controlled Substances Act .

This classification is, most reform advocates say, a major step forward to reform required at this juncture. It is, however, just the first step of many that still lie ahead for marijuana just on a legal and policy level to allow broader medical and continued encouragement for commercial development across the country.

DeBlasio as bad on pot arrests as Bloomberg

Hit & Run - New York cops busted an average of 80 pot smokers a day during the first four months of this year, slightly higher than the daily average of 78 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly during the same period of last year. Now as then, the arrestees are overwhelmingly (86 percent) black or Latino, overwhelmingly (79 percent) between the ages of 16 and 34, and overhelmingly (73 percent) first-time offenders. MARP concludes that "marijuana arrest patterns in the first four months of 2014 under de Blasio and Bratton are indistinguishable from those of their predecessors in 2013."


VOX

Booklyn DA wants to stop prosecuting low level marijuana cases

Legalizing marijuana may actually lead to less crime

If you visit a garden shop, the DEA may raid your house

2013

Banks willing to do business with drug cartels but not with legal marijuana

Feds raid Colorado pot facilities

Pot vaporizers catching on

More evidence of ethnic bias in marijuana arrests

Who gets arrested on pot charges

26 percent of Americans say they would buy marijuana at least on rare occasions if it was legal in their state, compared to 9 percent who said they buy it at least on rare occasions now. The percentage who said they would buy marijuana often, jumped from 1 percent who do so now to 4 percent who would buy if it was legal.

Top 50 marijuana users

What scientists, rather than politicians, know about marijuana

The latest Public Policy Institute of California poll found 52 percent of the state's residents believe the use of cannabis should be legal, while only 45 percent think it should remain illegal

Maine value clash: The state of Maine has fined the operator of four medical marijuana dispensaries $18,000 for using pesticides in violation of state law and program rules.

DEA terrorizing pot pharmacies

The TV ad you won't be seeing soon

Holder & Obama playing games on the drug war

Pot smoking isn't what it once was

Before the drug war drove us crazy

Infrequently asked questions

How come the fellow in this photo locks up so many pot smokers? Why isn't he in jail with them?

Blacks 3.3 times more likely to be arrested in Michigan on pot charges

Colo. Gov. Hickenlooper signs first bills in history to establish a legal, regulated pot market

Regular marijuana may cut diabetes and make you skinnier

Not mention helping with Crone's disease

How a drug court works

DARE removed pot from its propaganda courses last December

Bloomberg blows $75 million a year on pot arrests

Arizona appeals court rules that even weeks old pot residue proves DUI

2012

Five seniors serving life without parole on pot charges

Study: Alcohol worse on young brains than pot

Seattle prosecutors dropping pot possession cases

Recovered history: A 42 year old city council hearing on pot

58% say pot should be legalized

Seattle police publish guide to legal marijuana use

220 pot cases dismissed in Washington state

Medical facts on marijuana to get court hearing

Nearly half of all drug violations are for pot

Why do pot users go to prison and this guy gets probation?

Most influential Americans who have used marijuana

Top colleges for marijuana activism

Facebook to allow marijuana reform ads

Best pot stories of the 1960s

Medical marijuana

Medical marijuana would cut deaths from prescription drug abuse

Recovered history: An early medical marijuana victory

Federal court rejects medical arguments for marijuana

2012

Scientific study contradicts war on medical marijuana

Medical marijuana would cut deaths from prescription drug abuse

California county takes children away from parents on medical pot

Over two dozen trials finds marijuana good pain killer

Marijuana can help prevent suicide

San Francisco suspends medial marijuana licensing

Pot smoking keeps teens off more dangerous booze and cigarettes

More marijuana dispensaries in Denver than Starbucks

Jesus was a medical marijuana advocate

Big Pharma poised to take over medical marijuana trade

Medical marijuana already undercutting illegal drug trade

Decriminalization

2014

DC mayor signs pot decrimalization bill

Colorado expects nearly $100 million in pot tax revenue

Pot tourism

Majority of Dems & Indies support pot legalization; Republicans oppose

2013

DC mayor backs decriminalizing small amounts of pot

California's second highest official says it's time to legalize pot

Holder caves on state marijuana laws

Vermont decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana

The downside of decriminalizng pot: it mainly helps young whites and drag out the drug war

Only 6% of Americans think marijuana use deserves jail time

Obama opposes states & public on marijuana

Where pot is legal. . .in one map

An 1855 argument for pot legalization

Colorado plans for pot tourism

UN agency says state marijuana legalization laws violate international treaties

Corporations have their eyes on legal pot

2012

Washington Post finally discovers the war on pot doesn't make sense

Marijuana Decriminalization Drops Youth Crime Rates by 20% in One Year

Three states to have pot legalization on ballot

Rhode Island governor signs marijuana decriminalization bill

Chicago lessens marijuana penalties

DEA head refuses to say that marijuana is less harmful than other drugs

Bloomberg accepts Cuomo's milder pot arrest approach

Over 300 economists say it's time to legalize marijuana

Pat Robertson calls for relaxed pot possession laws

Liberal Party endorses pot legalization

2011

Local heroes; Washington Democrats support legal pot

Philadelphia saves $2 million a year by not prosecuting pot smokers...

12,000 prisoners to be released in recognition of unfair drug policy

How legalizing marijuana could help save the economy...

Frank, Conyers & Ron Paul introduce bill to legalize marijuana..

Local heroes: Maine legislator proposes to legalize marijuana

Four decades ago a national commission recommended decriminalization of marijuana

Potential jurors rebel at prosecuting minor pot case

Other countries

Uruguay plans to nationalize pot

Dutch reverse forty years of pot progress

2011

Some Latin American presidents talk of legalizing both pot and cocaine

British governent ignores official advice to decriminalize drugs

Rightwing Dutch government cracks down on pot pubs

Obama's war on pot

A victim of Obama's anti-pot war tells his story

Obama's deputy drug czar refuses to say whether meth or marijuana is more dangerous

Obama regime raiding pot dispensaries in Washington state

Obama regime goes after hundreds of marijuana shops in California

Obama opposes states & public on marijuana

Obama backs off a bit on marijuana enforcement

California pot school head gives up in wake of Obama raids

Obama worse than Bush on medical marijuana

Obama administration lies about marijuana

California medical pot group sues Obamadmin

Obamadmin raids California medical marijuana center

“I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It’s not a good use of our resources.” — Barack Obama, August 21, 2007

California Medical Assn calls for legalization of pot

Obama threatens media with jail time over medical marijuana

Obama threatens California pot dispensaries with criminal charges

Obama plans to prosecute medical marijuana growers & sellers..

Obama threatening state employees over marijuana reform laws

OBAMA'S MANY VIEWS ON MARIJUANA

2011

Pot use up 20% since 2007

Does marijuana make you dumb?

2010

WHY THE POT PROP FAILED

Not content to fondle grandmothers and three year olds at airports, Jeff Stein in the Washington Post writes, "Federal, state and local officials carrying out a counter-terrorism drill in Northern California Wednesday played out a scenario in which local marijuana growers set off bombs and took over the Shasta Dam, the nation’s second largest, to free an imprisoned comrade. “More than 250 people from more than 20 agencies took part,” said Sheri Harral, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Reclamation, according to the paper. arral said the drill took 18 months to plan and cost the bureau alone $500,000. The other agencies covered their own costs.

UNPATRIOTIC POLICE USE OF PATRIOT ACT In 2009 it was reported that 763 warrant requests were made under the Patriot Act. Of those, less than half a percent were related to charges of terrorism and 62% were related to drug charges.- Huffington Post

HOW MUCH WE COULD SAVE BY LEGALIZING MARIJUANA

POLL: WAR ON DRUGS A FAILURE, LEGALIZE POT

DRUG AGENTS SEIZE POT LEGALIZATION PETITIONS

CALIFORNIA NAACP ENDORSES LEGALIZED POT

PHILLY TO LOWER POT OFFENSES

73% SUPPORT LEGALIZATION OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA

BEST CRIME FIGHTING TOOL: LEGALIZE POT

POT POPULARITY UP FOR TEENAGERS

AMA CHANGES VIEW OF MARIJUANA

A VISIT TO OAKSTERDAM

2009

HIDDEN REASON FOR MARIJUANA PROHIBITION

DENVER STUDYING ONE DOLLAR POT FINE

REGULAR MARIJUANA USAGE ROBS MEN OF SEXUAL HIGHS

NY POLICE MAKE MORE POT ARRESTS THAN ANY OTHER CITY IN WORLD

STUDY: POT HAS MINIMAL EFFECT ON BRAIN FUNCTION

LEGAL POT WOULD BE CALIFORNIA'S NUMBER ONE CROP

POLITICIANS, MEDIA MILES BEHIND PUBLIC ON POT ISSUE

AMERICANS SUPPORT LEGAL MARIJUANA

AMERICA'S LONG DRAG TOWARDS DRUG SANITY

STUDY: POT COULD HELP STOP ALZHEIMER'S

2008

Obama's many views on marijuana

Paul Krassner, 2008 - During a debate in the Democratic presidential primaries campaign, MSNBC moderator Tim Russert, the claymation journalist, asked the candidates who opposed decriminalization of marijuana to raise their hands.

Barack Obama hesitantly raised his hand halfway before quickly lowering it again. However, in January 2004, when Obama was running for the Senate, he told Illinois college students that he supported eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana use or possession. "I think the war on drugs has been a failure, and I think we need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws," he said during a debate at Northwestern University. "But I'm not somebody who believes in legalization of marijuana."

Was Obama now having a time-travel debate with himself? When the Washington Times confronted Obama with that statement on a video of the 2004 debate, his campaign offered two explanations in less than 24 hours. First, a spokesperson said that Obama had "always" supported decriminalizing marijuana, that he misunderstood the question when he raised his hand, and reiterated Obama's opposition to full legalization, adding that an Obama administration would "review drug sentences to see where we can be smarter on crime and reduce the blind and counterproductive sentencing to non-violent offenders."

But, after the Times posted the video on its website, the Obama campaign made a fast U-turn and declared that he does not support eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana possession and use--thereby rejecting both decriminalization and legalization.

What exactly is the difference? The definitions, according to Pot Culture: The A-Z Guide to Stoner Language & Life by Shirley Halperin and Steve Bloom, with a foreword by Tommy Chong: "Decriminalization: When laws governing marijuana are changed to reduce the penalties for possession of small quantities (usually below an ounce) to non-criminal status. The first state to decriminalize was Oregon in 1973, followed by California, New York, Ohio, Nebraska, Minnesota, Colorado, Mississippi, Alaska, North Carolina and Maine."

"Legalization: The complete repeal of marijuana prohibition and removal of all criminal penalties for its use, sale, transport and cultivation. The Netherlands is the only country in the world with such a policy."

IF WE HANDLED POT LIKE CIGARETTES. . . .

Paul Armentano, NORML - According to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control, fewer Americans are smoking cigarettes than at any time in modern history. "The number of U.S. adults who smoke has dropped below 20 percent for the first time on record," Reuters reported. This is less than half the percentage (42 percent) of Americans who smoked cigarettes during the 1960s.

Imagine that. In the past 40 years, tens of millions of Americans have voluntarily quit smoking a legal, yet highly addictive intoxicant. Many others have refused to initiate the habit. And they've all made this decision without ever once being threatened with criminal prosecution and arrest, imprisonment, probation, and drug testing.

By contrast, during this same period of time, state and local police have arrested some 20 million Americans for pot law violations -- primarily for violations no greater than simple possession. And yet marijuana use among the public has skyrocketed from an annual rate of 0.6 million new users in 1965 to some 2.5 million annual new users today.

There's a lesson to be learned here, of course. Tobacco, though harmful to health, is a legally regulated commodity. Sellers are licensed and held accountable by federal and state laws. Users are restricted by age. Advertising and access is limited by state and federal governments. And health warnings regarding the drug's use are based upon credible science. By contrast, marijuana remains an unregulated black market commodity. Sellers are typically criminal entrepreneurs who, for the most part, operate undetected from law enforcement and are free to sell their product to any person.

MARIJUANA USE UP 4000% SINCE IT WAS BANNED IN 1937

AUGUST 2008

MARIJUANA USE UP 4000% SINCE IT WAS BANNED IN 1937

APRIL 2008

NYC LEADER IN POT CHARGES. . .OVER HALF OF ARRESTEES ARE BLACK

JIM DWYER, NY TIMES A study released Tuesday reported that between 1998 and 2007, the police arrested 374,900 people whose most serious crime was the lowest-level misdemeanor marijuana offense. That is more than eight times the number of arrests on those same charges between 1988 and 1997, when 45,300 people were picked up for having a small amount of pot. . .

Nearly everyone involved in this wave of marijuana arrests is male: 90 percent were men, although national studies show that men and women use pot in roughly equal rates.

And 83 percent of those charged in these cases were black or Latino, according to the study. Blacks accounted for 52 percent of the arrests, twice their share of the city's population. Whites, who are about 35 percent of the population, were only 15 percent of those charged - even though federal surveys show that whites are more likely than blacks or Latinos to use pot.

FBI SEIZES $400,000 FROM COUPLE USING MEDICAL MARIJUANA

The police entered the house and discovered the family safe. Because a small amount of marijuana was inside the home - used by Luther to ease his painful arthritis, hip replacement and shingles - the officers decided to confiscate Meredith and Luther's entire life savings, more than $400,000. Shortly afterward, the FBI got involved - not to help the stricken family, but to claim the money for the federal government.

MARCH 2008

HOW TO IMPROVE THE ECONOMY: LEGALIZE POT

BABELED It is estimated that the legalization of marijuana in the U.S. would lead to a $7.7 billion drop in law enforcement costs and generate $6.2 billion in tax revenue. This is a net $13.9 billion improvement to U.S. government budgets, not to mention the fact that the dollars being spent on marijuana would be included in the consumer spending category of GDP, which would improve economic measures. What the study done by Harvard visiting professor Jeffrey Miron doesn't take into account is the improved quality of life which arises from less militant policing of a substance that's use is fairly widespread and has less negative effects on both individual health and society than alcohol. In 2006, there were 829,627 arrests for marijuana, which makes up 43.9% of total drug arrests in the U.S. Of the 829,627 arrested for marijuana-related charges, 738,916 were for possession alone. This is in direct contradiction to the alleged philosophy of the Drug Enforcement Agency, which states, "DEA targets criminals engaged in cultivation and trafficking. . . "

The side benefits are also quite substantial. The Cannabis plant can be used for a variety of commercial and industrial products. Paper, rope, soap, lotions, fuel and lubricants are all among these products. The crops grow well in the United States' varied climates and are relatively easy to grow, making it an ideal cash crop. If the trend could be set by the United States, then other countries may follow suit. This could lead to a situation analogous to the one in the 18th and 19th centuries when America was exporting enormous quantities of tobacco. The trade deficit could be reduced by taking a progressive step forward, one executed with much forethought and wisdom, and enticing the world to join us on our revolutionary quest to change the prejudices of government against its society.

NOVEMBER 2007

78% OF ALL MARIJUANA PLANTS SEIZED IS NON-PSYCHOACTIVE HEMP

NORML - More than 98 percent of all of the marijuana plants seized by law enforcement in the United States is feral hemp not cultivated cannabis, according to newly released data by the Drug Enforcement Administration's Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program and the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics.

According to the data, of the estimated 223 million marijuana plants destroyed by law enforcement in 2005, approximately 219 million were classified as "ditchweed," a term the agency uses to define "wild, scattered marijuana plants [with] no evidence of planting, fertilizing, or tending." Unlike cultivated marijuana, feral hemp contains virtually no detectable levels of THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis, and does not contribute to the black market marijuana trade.

BEFORE THE MADNESS OF THE WAR ON DRUGS

JIMMY CARTER, MESSAGE TO CONGRESS, 1977 - More than 45 million Americans have tried marijuana and an estimated 11 million are regular users. Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marijuana in private for personal use. We can, and should, continue to discourage the use of marijuana, but this can be done without defining the smoker as a criminal. States which have already removed criminal penalties for marijuana use, like Oregon and California, have not noted any significant increase in marijuana smoking. The National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse concluded five years ago that marijuana use should be decriminalized, and I believe it is time to implement those basic recommendations.

Therefore, I support legislation amending Federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. This decriminalization is not legalization. It means only that the Federal penalty for possession would be reduced and a person would received a fine rather than a criminal penalty. Federal penalties for trafficking would remain in force and the states would remain free to adopt whatever laws they wish concerning the marijuana smoker.

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=7908

OCTOBER 2007

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES - EXCEPT DODD AND KUCINICH - BACK FAILED DRUG WAR

STOP THE DRUG WAR - Critics of marijuana policy reform are fond of dismissing the idea as a liberal fantasy. Unfortunately, last night's Democratic Presidential Debate revealed that the party's so-called leaders would still rather play politics than stand up for the 800,000+ Americans that are needlessly arrested each year for the world's pettiest crime:

Tim Russert: Senator Dodd, you went on the Bill Maher show last month and said that you were for decriminalizing marijuana. Is there anyone here who disagrees with Senator Dodd in decriminalizing marijuana?

Clinton, Obama, Richardson, Biden, and Edwards all raised their hands. Only Dennis Kucinich stood with Senator Dodd on this important question. John Edwards was quick on the draw, pulling out the oldest pro-drug war line in the book:

Russert: Senator Edwards, why?

Edwards: Because I think it sends the wrong signal to young people. And I think the president of the United States has a responsibility to ensure that we're sending the right signals to young people.

MARIJUANA USE UP 4000% SINCE IT WAS BANNED IN 1937

STUDY FINDS NO CANCER-MARIJUANA LINK

STUDY: DECRIMINALIZING POT WOULD SAVE $10 BILLION A YEAR

BRITISH SCIENTISTS RANK ALCOHOL & TOBACCO MORE DANGEROUS THAN POT

STUDY: YOUNG POT SMOKERS FOUND TO BE BETTER AT SPORTS, HAVE BETTER RELATIONSHIPS AND GET THE SAME GRADES AS ABSTAINERS

AUGUST 2007

STUDY FINDS POT - UNLIKE ALCOHOL AND COCAINE - NOT ASSOCIATED WITH VIOLENCE

NORML - Cannabis use is not independently associated with causing violence, according to the results of a multivariate analysis to be published in the journal Addictive Behaviors. Investigators at the University of Victoria, Centre for Addictions Research assessed how frequently subjects in a substance abuse treatment facility reported using cocaine, alcohol, and/or cannabis in the hours immediately prior to committing a violent act. Researchers also evaluated subjects' personality for characteristics associated with violent behavior.

Investigators concluded: "When analyses were conducted controlling for covariates, the frequency of alcohol and cocaine use was significantly related to violence, suggesting that pharmacological effects [of the drugs] may play a role in violence. Frequency of cannabis use, however, was not significantly related to violence when controlling for other factors."

The study's conclusions are similar to the findings of a pair of recent government reports refuting allegations that cannabis use triggers violent behavior. The first, published by the Canadian Senate in 2002, determined: "Cannabis use does not induce users to commit other forms of crime. Cannabis use does not increase aggressiveness or anti-social behavior."

POT LAWS PROVIDE GRIM FUTURE EVEN AFTER PRISON

SILJA J.A. TALVI, IN THESE TIMES - Once you've been arrested for the harsh anti-marijuana laws on the books, you can be denied everything from food stamps to voting rights to the right to adopt a child. When a person is sent to prison for the first time on a drug-related felony charge, there is little chance that he or she will be told about the "collateral consequences" of their sentence.

The severity of these residual punishments depends on the state. . . Up until the early '90s, people who smoked pot were rarely arrested in large numbers. If sentenced, most users and small-time dealers did not face long sentences. That has changed. . .

"ONDCP's crusade seems to get more incoherent and detached from reality every day," says Bruce Mirken, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "One minute they say marijuana makes you an apathetic slug, the next they say it turns you into a violent gangbanger. Neither has the remotest connection with reality, and these latest claims of a link between marijuana and violence are based on shameless manipulation of statistics taken completely out of context.". . .

Government-funded propaganda has been disseminated everywhere, from ads in some

http://www.alternet.org/rights/58346/

JULY 2007

STUDY: POT HAS 'CLEAR BENEFITS' FOR HIV PATIENTS

NORML - Inhaling cannabis significantly increases daily caloric intake and body weight in HIV-positive patients, is well tolerated, and does not impair subjects' cognitive performance, according to clinical trial data to be published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. Investigators at Columbia University in New York assessed the efficacy of inhaled cannabis and oral THC in a group of ten HIV-positive patients in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. . . Researchers reported that smoking cannabis (2.0 or 3.9 percent THC) four times daily "produced substantial . . . increases in food intake . . . with little evidence of discomfort and no impairment of cognitive performance."

On average, patients who smoked higher-grade cannabis (3.9 percent) increased their body weight by 1.1 kg over a four-day period. Researchers reported that inhaling cannabis increased the number of times subjects ate during the study, but did not alter the average number of calories consumed during each meal.

http://www.norml.org

MAY 2007

STUDY: POT SLOWS YOU DOWN, BUT DOESN'T AFFECT BRAINPOWER

NORML - Experienced marijuana users perform tasks as accurately after having smoked cannabis as they do sober, according to clinical trial data published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. Investigators at New York State's Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University assessed the impact of acute cannabis intoxication on the decision-making abilities of 36 subjects, as assessed by the Iowa Gambling Task performance test. Volunteers completed the Gambling Task once sober and three times after smoking cannabis or placebo. Though cannabis intoxication increased the time required for subjects to complete their tasks, volunteers' accuracy was not adversely impacted by pot.

APRIL 2007

THE SORRY BEGINNINGS OF THE WAR ON POT

ROSHAN BLISS, GRASS CITY - President Jimmy Carter once told Congress that "penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this clearer than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal use."

That was in 1976. Today, despite the efforts of Carter and many others like him, laws prohibiting marijuana continue to carry penalties and consequences far more damaging than an individual's actual use of marijuana. . .

To understand why marijuana should be decriminalized, we must first understand why it was made illegal. Early in the 1900s, Mexico's political conflicts sparked a surge of Mexican immigrants into America's southwest region. Although marijuana already existed in various forms in the U.S., the new immigrants are credited with being the first segment of the population known for marijuana use. The practice also became popular in African American culture around the same time.

The popularity of marijuana among minorities made racism a powerful tool for the opponents of marijuana. Racist politicians used hate to push anti-marijuana legislation through. One Texas senator claimed that "all Mexicans are crazy and this stuff is what makes them crazy." A 1934 newspaper complained that "marijuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men's shadows and look at white women twice." Media sensationalism put forward blatant lies and misrepresentations of marijuana that misinformed the public and stigmatized the harmless herb. The San Francisco Examiner went so far as to claim that "three-fourths of the crimes of violence today are committed by (marijuana users)." As a result of the pandemonium worked up by politicians and biased media about the marijuana "epidemic," marijuana was made illegal at the federal level in 1937.

Previous prohibition laws were reinforced by the new "War on Drugs" a campaign aimed at reducing the demand for and the supply of illegal drugs. But the war has failed on its own terms. Despite its legal status, 83 million Americans admit to having used marijuana. Punishing smokers for their use has not decreased demand for marijuana, it has only increased arrests of otherwise law-abiding citizens. In 2005, marijuana arrests reached 786,000, of which fully 88 percent were simply for possession a completely non-violent crime.

This rise in arrests adds to the already heavy workload of the justice system. According to a study by BBS News, at least 135,488 people were being incarcerated for felony marijuana charges in 2002, not including another 20,000 being held while they awaited trial. . . It cost $22,174 a year to house a federal inmate and $16,600 a year to house a state inmate in 2002. By the end of 2002, American taxpayers spent $1.8 billion to imprison marijuana offenders for that year alone. . .

A Harvard economics study, endorsed by over 500 economists, concluded that the U.S. stands to save up to $13.9 billion every year by ending marijuana prohibition. .

www.purdue.edu/~norml

MARCH 2007

ANOTHER POINTLESS WAR: THE WAR ON POT

PAUL ARMENTANO, ALTERNET - Thirty-five years ago this month, a congressionally mandated commission on U.S. drug policy did something extraordinary: They told the truth about marijuana. On March 22, 1972, the National Commission on Marihuana (sic) and Drug Abuse -- chaired by former Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond P. Shafer -- recommended Congress amend federal law so that the use and possession of pot would no longer be a criminal offense. State legislatures, the commission added, should do likewise. . .

Nixon, true to his "law-and-order" roots, shelved the report -- announcing instead that when it came to weed, "We need, and I use the word 'all out war' on all fronts." For the last 35 years, that's what we've had.

Approximately 16.5 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana violations -- more than 80 percent of them on minor possession charges. U.S. taxpayers have spent well over $20 billion enforcing criminal marijuana laws, yet marijuana availability and use among the public remains virtually unchanged. Nearly one-quarter of a million Americans have been denied federal financial aid for secondary education because of anti-drug provisions to the Higher Education Act. Most of these applicants were convicted of minor marijuana possession offenses. ..

According to federal statistics, about 94 million Americans -- that's 40 percent of the U.S. population age 12 or older -- self-identify as having used cannabis at some point in their lives, and relatively few acknowledge having suffered significant deleterious health effects due to their use. America's public policies should reflect this reality, not deny it. It makes no sense to continue to treat nearly half of all Americans as criminals.

http://www.alternet.org/story/49597/

FORMER GOP CONGRESS MEMBER JOINS POT CAMPAIGN

CHRIS FRATES, POLITICO - Bob Barr, who as a Georgia congressman authored a successful amendment that blocked D.C. from implementing a medical marijuana initiative, has switched sides and become a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project. But that doesn't mean he has become a bong-ripping hippie. He isn't pro-drug, he said, just against government intrusion.

"I, over the years, have taken a very strong stand on drug issues, but in light of the tremendous growth of government power since 9/11, it has forced me and other conservatives to go back and take a renewed look at how big and powerful we want the government to be in people's lives," Barr said. . .

Ironically, Barr said he will help lead the fight to give District residents a say on whether to allow medical marijuana - the very thing the "Barr Amendment" denied them in 1998. He will lobby for the rights of states to set their own medical marijuana policy without federal interference. The four-term former Republican congressman will also work to unplug a youth anti-drug campaign which a recent study showed actually increased the likelihood that all teens would smoke pot.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0307/3329.html

WHAT IF IVY LEAGUE POTHEADS WERE ARRESTED LIKE POORER USERS?

EZEKIEL EDWARDS, DMI - One of America's central targets in its failed drug war has been marijuana. . . Under our "imprison-first, think later" policies, more than 734,000 Americans were arrested on marijuana charges in 2002 , and more than 5 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana offenses in the past decade; nearly 90% of which were for simple possession for personal use, not sale.

We lock up more people for marijuana than the individual prison populations of 8 of the 10 European Union nations. In North Carolina and South Dakota, marijuana arrests constituted 74% of all drug arrests. In 7 out of 10 states marijuana arrests make up over half of all drug arrests and in almost 3 out of 10 states marijuana arrests make up almost 60 percent of all drug arrests.

In New York City, arrests for marijuana possession and use have risen from less than 2,000 in 1992 to more than 52,000 in 2000. Minor marijuana offenses now comprise 15% of all arrests in the city of New York. . .

If the DEA raided liberal arts campuses in the Northeast and made hundreds of easy arrests for marijuana possession, dragging students from their dorms at Amherst and Williams, handcuffing Vassar and Wesleyan students at a party, taking Yale and Harvard students from the steps of the library and putting them into a police van, and threw them all into jail overnight, forcing them to call their parents and hire lawyers, would those schools, and those students' parents, and our society, turn the other cheek? Would we applaud such an incident? Would we consider the police action reasonable in light of the offense, a worthwhile use of our tax money?

Beyond its biased enforcement, our government's marijuana policies are deeply hypocritical. Why do we imprison people for possession of marijuana but happily sell people alcohol and cigarettes? It seems cigarettes are far more addictive than marijuana, and responsible for many more deaths every year. Alcohol is likewise dangerously addictive, can dramatically alter people's mood and perceptions, and seems more apt to make people behave violently or lead them into poor, often life-threatening decisions (driving drunk, having unprotected sex, etc.). And yet lawmakers and police officers and teachers get drunk and chain smoke on weekends while poor people go to jail for possessing marijuana.

http://www.dmiblog.com/

FEBRUARY 2007

JAILING POT USERS COSTING U.S. A BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR

PAUL ARMENTANO, ALTERNET -The latest numbers are out: nearly 800,000 Americans were arrested on marijuana charges in 2005. American taxpayers are now spending more than a billion dollars per year to incarcerate its citizens for pot. That's according to statistics recently released by the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics.

According to the new BJS report, "Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004," 12.7 percent of state inmates and 12.4 percent of federal inmates incarcerated for drug violations are serving time for marijuana offenses. Combining these percentages with separate U.S. Department of Justice statistics on the total number of state and federal drug prisoners suggests that there are now about 33,655 state inmates and 10,785 federal inmates behind bars for marijuana offenses. The report failed to include estimates on the percentage of inmates incarcerated in county and/or local jails for pot-related offenses.

http://www.alternet.org/rights/47815/

STUDY FINDS POT HELPS EASE PAIN

SABIN RUSSELL, SF CHRONICLE - Doctors at San Francisco General Hospital reported today that HIV-infected patients suffering from a painful nerve condition in their hands or feet obtained substantial relief by smoking small amounts of marijuana in a carefully constructed study funded by the State of California. Although the study itself was small, it is the first of its kind to measure the therapeutic effects of marijuana smoking while meeting the most rigorous requirements for scientific proof -- a so-called randomized, double-blinded placebo-controlled trial. As such, the results of the trial are being hailed by medical marijuana advocates as the most solid proof to date that smoking the herb can be beneficial to patients who might otherwise require opiates or other powerful painkillers to cope with a condition known as peripheral neuropathy. . . "It's time to wake up and smell the data," said Bruce Mirken, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, a group advocating legalization of medicinal use of the drug. "The claim that the government keeps making that marijuana is not a safe or effective medicine doesn't have a leg to stand on.''

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/02/12/BAG6KO3BLP5.DTL

DECEMBER 2006

POT USE UP 4000% SINCE IT WAS OUTLAWED

MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT - A new report from the Marijuana Policy Project challenges the key assumption underlying present U.S. marijuana laws: that marijuana must be prohibited for adults in order to deter teens from using it. Some findings:

-- Marijuana prohibition has not prevented a dramatic increase in marijuana use by teenagers. In fact, the overall rate of marijuana use in the U.S. has risen by roughly 4,000% since marijuana was first outlawed.

-- Independent studies by RAND Europe and the U.S. National Research Council have reported that marijuana prohibition appears to have little or no impact on rates of use.

-- Since Britain ended most marijuana possession arrests in 2004, the rate of marijuana use by 16- to-19-year-olds has dropped.

-- In the U.S., rates of teen marijuana use in states that have decriminalized adult marijuana possession are statistically equal to the rates in states that have retained criminal penalties.

-- In the Netherlands, where adults have been allowed to possess and purchase small amounts of marijuana since 1976, the rate of marijuana use by adults and teens is lower than in the U.S., and teen use of cocaine and amphetamines is far lower than in the U.S. Indeed, some researchers believe it is the prohibition of marijuana that causes progression to hard drug use, sometimes called the "gateway effect."

NOVEMBER 2006

STUDY: MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT PROGRESSION OF ALZHEIMERS

REUTERS - New research shows that the active ingredient in marijuana may prevent the progression of the disease by preserving levels of an important neurotransmitter that allows the brain to function. Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in California found that marijuana's active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can prevent the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from breaking down more effectively than commercially marketed drugs. THC is also more effective at blocking clumps of protein that can inhibit memory and cognition in Alzheimer's patients, the researchers reported in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

SAN FRANCISCO PUTS POT AT BOTTOM OF POLICE AGENDA

NORML - The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 this week to enact an ordinance 'deprioritizing' the local enforcement of marijuana prohibition laws. The Supervisors are expected to confirm the vote next week, making San Francisco the sixth California municipality to approve such a measure.

Under the ordinance, all law enforcement activities relating to the investigation, citation, and/or arrest of adults engaged in the private use of marijuana will be the "lowest priority" for San Francisco police. The measure also establishes a citizens' advisory board to monitor whether police are complying with the law. San Francisco's ordinance closely resembles a 2003 Seattle 'deprioritization' law that has reduced citywide marijuana arrests to approximately 60 per year.

Voters in three California cities Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Santa Monica also approved pot 'deprioritization' initiatives in last week's mid-term elections. Oakland voters endorsed a similar ordinance in 2004, as did the West Hollywood city council this past summer.

http://Norml.org

SEPTEMBER 2006

POT SMOKER ARRESTED EVERY 40 SECONDS; 30% UNDER 20 YEARS OLD

NORML - Police arrested an estimated 786,545 persons for marijuana violations in 2005, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. The total is the highest ever recorded by the FBI, and comprised 42.6 percent of all drug arrests in the United States.

"These numbers belie the myth that police do not target and arrest minor marijuana offenders," said NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre, who noted that at current rates, a marijuana smoker is arrested every 40 seconds in America.

Of those charged with marijuana violations, approximately 88 percent some 696,074 Americans were charged with possession only. The remaining 90,471 individuals were charged with "sale/manufacture," a category that includes all cultivation offenses even those where the marijuana was being grown for personal or medical use. In past years, roughly 30 percent of those arrested were age 19 or younger.

"Present policies have done little if anything to decrease marijuana's availability or dissuade youth from trying it," St. Pierre said, noting young people in the U.S. now frequently report that they have easier access to pot than alcohol or tobacco.

The total number of marijuana arrests in the U.S. for 2005 far exceeded the total number of arrests in the U.S. for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

Annual marijuana arrests have more than doubled since the early 1990s.

"Arresting hundreds of thousands of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly needlessly destroys the lives of otherwise law abiding citizens," St. Pierre said, adding that over 8 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges in the past decade. During this same time, arrests for cocaine and heroin have declined sharply, implying that increased enforcement of marijuana laws is being achieved at the expense of enforcing laws against the possession and trafficking of more dangerous drugs.

St. Pierre concluded: "Enforcing marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers between $10 billion and $12 billion annually and has led to the arrest of nearly 18 million Americans. Nevertheless, some 94 million Americans acknowledge having used marijuana during their lives. It makes no sense to continue to treat nearly half of all Americans as criminals for their use of a substance that poses no greater - and arguably far fewer - health risks than alcohol or tobacco. A better and more sensible solution would be to tax and regulate cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco."

http://norml.org

STUDY: POT MAY CURB PROGRESSION OF MANY DISEASES

NORML - Recently published research on the therapeutic use of cannabis indicates that cannabinoids may curb the progression of various life-threatening diseases - in particular, autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease) - according to a comprehensive new report by the NORML Foundation. The NORML Foundation report summarizes over 120 recently published trials.

REPORT
http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=7002

SEATTLE, SAN FRANCISCO LEAD WAY TO SANER DRUG POLICIES

HEMP EVOLUTION - Famously tolerant San Francisco could become an even friendlier place for pot smokers if the Board of Supervisors passes legislation that proclaims most marijuana violations "the lowest law enforcement priority" for city police. Supervisor Tom Ammiano introduced the legislation last month before supervisors took a four-week late-summer break. His nonbinding ordinance directs police to essentially ignore all marijuana crimes except those involving minors, driving under the influence of the drug or the sale of marijuana in a public place.

Ammiano said Monday that his legislation is consistent with Proposition W - a measure passed by 64 percent of city voters back in 1978 that called for an end to marijuana arrests and prosecutions -- and with city policy permitting the use of cannabis for medical purposes. . .

If passed, the ordinance would commit the city to refusing federal funds intended for the investigation or prosecution of marijuana offenses. It also would prevent a federal agency from commissioning or deputizing a city police officer for assistance in such cases.

http://www.hempevolution.org/media/sfgate/sfgate060912.htm

THE STRANGER, SEATTLE - Largely below the radar, Seattle has moved to the new cutting edge of American social policy on adult drug use. The most obvious example of this is Initiative 75, passed by a strong majority of Seattle voters in 2003. The measure mandated that arrests of adult marijuana users would become the lowest priority for law enforcement agencies in the city, all but decriminalizing pot smoking in Seattle. It was opposed by drug warriors from U.S. Drug Czar John Walters on down to Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr, but it nevertheless succeeded in radically altering the climate for pot smokers here, and has become the model for subsequent similar measures in Oakland, Denver, and Columbia, Missouri. Add in Seattle's innovative drug court, which allows people convicted of drug crimes to choose treatment over incarceration, and the King County Bar Association's new and groundbreaking blueprint for drug-law reform in Washington State, and this city emerges as something of a demonstration project on drug reform for the rest of the country. . .

Initiative 75, if you believed those who warned against its passage in 2003, was going to confuse kids, lead to an explosion of marijuana use, and squander taxpayer money on a citizen review board to study the effects of the new law. None of this has happened, even according to Carr, the city attorney, who had warned before the law's passage that I-75 was "wrong for our children and our community."

Marijuana-related case filings by the city attorney's office have dropped sharply since I-75 took effect, from 178 filings in 2003, the year the initiative passed, to 59 filings in 2004. That's a 67 percent reduction in arrests, prosecutions, and jail sentences connected to marijuana use-and a similarly large reduction in the angst felt by local dope smokers, the lives altered by jail time for smoking some pot, and the taxpayer money spent sending stoners through the legal system. . .

At the same time, the predictions of mass confusion and increased pot smoking among Seattle's youth have not come to pass. A survey of students in the Seattle Public Schools, conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, found that the number of 10th and 12th graders who reported using marijuana within the last 30 days had actually declined slightly between 2002 and 2004. As opponents of I-75 point out, the percentage decline is very slight (less than 2 percent in both grades). But the backers of I-75 respond that they never promised that pot smoking among high schoolers would disappear as a result of the initiative; they just said the concerns of an explosion of pot smoking among Seattle's younger generations were unfounded-and the survey appears to prove that their position was correct.

In addition, the "waste of taxpayer dollars" predicted by Carr is nowhere to be seen. He now describes the financial cost of I-75 as "a small marginal cost"-the cost of, for example, photocopying data on marijuana arrests for the Marijuana Policy Review Panel, whose members are not paid for their time.

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=25507

ALMOST ALL POT PLANTS SEIZED BY COPS IS DITCHWEED - WITH NO USE IN MARIJUANA TRADE

NORML - More than 98 percent of all of the marijuana plants seized by law enforcement in the United States is feral hemp not cultivated cannabis, according to newly released data by the Drug Enforcement Administration's Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program and the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics.

According to the data, of the estimated 223 million marijuana plants destroyed by law enforcement in 2005, approximately 219 million were classified as "ditchweed," a term the agency uses to define "wild, scattered marijuana plants [with] no evidence of planting, fertilizing, or tending." Unlike cultivated marijuana, feral hemp contains virtually no detectable levels of THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis, and does not contribute to the black market marijuana trade.

Previous DEA reports have indicated that between 98 and 99 percent of all the marijuana plants eradicated by US law enforcement is ditchweed.

NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre criticized the DEA program for spending millions of taxpayers' dollars to predominantly eradicate wild hemp. "The irony, of course, is that industrial hemp is grown legally throughout most the Western world as a commercial crop for its fiber content," he said. "Yet the US government is spending taxpayers' money to target and eradicate this same agricultural commodity."

According to a 2005 Congressional Research Service report, "The United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established crop."

St. Pierre said that most of the hemp plants eradicated by law enforcement are remnants of US-government subsidized crops that existed prior to World War II. "Virtually all wild hemp goes unharvested and presents no legitimate threat to public safety," he said. "As such, it should be of no concern to the federal government or law enforcement."

According to DEA figures, Indiana reported seizing over 212 million ditchweed plants - far more than any other state. Missouri law enforcement confiscated some 4.5 million plants, and Kansas reported eradicating approximately 1.2 million plants. More than half of all states failed to report their ditchweed totals.

http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/pdf/t4382005.pdf

http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=7033

AUGUST 2006

STUDY: POT SLOWS ALZHEIMER'S BETTER THAN CONVENTIONAL DRUGS; 4.5 MILLION SICK ELDERLY DENIED ACCESS

NORML - THC inhibits the formation of amyloid plaque, the primary marker for Alzheimer's disease far more effectively than approved medications, according to preclinical data to be published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

Investigators at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California reported that THC inhibits the enzyme responsible for the aggregation of amyloid plaque in a manner "considerably superior" to approved Alzheimer's drugs such as donepezil and tacrine.

"Our results provide a mechanism whereby the THC molecule can directly impact Alzheimer's disease pathology," researchers concluded. "THC and its analogues may provide an improved therapeutic [option] for Alzheimer's disease [by]... simultaneously treating both the symptoms and the progression of [the] disease."

Previous studies have shown cannabinoids to possess anti oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which may play a role in moderating Alzheimer's.

Last year, investigators at Madrid's Complutense University and the Cajal Institute in Spain reported that the intracerebroventricular administration of the synthetic cannabinoid WIN 55,212-2 prevented cognitive impairment and decreased neurotoxicity in rats. Other cannabinoids were also found to reduce the inflammation associated with Alzheimer's disease in human brain tissue in culture. "Our results indicate that... cannabinoids succeed in preventing the neurodegenerative process occurring in the disease," investigators concluded.

Over 4.5 million Americans are estimated to be afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. That figure is expected to triple over the next 50 years.

http://www.norml.org/

JULY 2006

FORMER POLICE CHIEF: LEGALIZE DRUGS

NORM STAMPER, ALTERNET - Illegal drugs are expensive precisely because they are illegal. The products themselves are worthless weeds -- cannabis (marijuana), poppies (heroin), coca (cocaine) -- or dirt-cheap pharmaceuticals and "precursors" used, for example, in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Yet today, marijuana is worth as much as gold, heroin more than uranium, cocaine somewhere in between. It is the U.S.'s prohibition of these drugs that has spawned an ever-expanding international industry of torture, murder and corruption. . . The remedy is as obvious as it is urgent: legalization.

Regulated legalization of all drugs -- with stiffened penalties for driving impaired or furnishing to kids -- would bring an immediate halt to the violence. How? By (1) dramatically reducing the cost of these drugs, (2) shifting massive enforcement resources to prevention and treatment and (3) driving drug dealers out of business: no product, no profit, no incentive. In an ideal world, Mexico and the United States would move to repeal prohibition simultaneously (along with Canada). But even if we moved unilaterally, sweeping and lasting improvements to public safety (and public health) would be felt on both sides of the border. (Tragically and predictably, just as Mexico's parliament was about to reform its U.S.-modeled drug laws, the Bush administration stepped in, pressuring President Vicente Fox to abandon the enlightened position he'd championed for two years.)

[Norm Stamper is former chief of the Seattle Police Department and an advisory board member of NORML and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition]

http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/39565/

DRINKING FOUND FAR MORE DANGEROUS THAN POT

NORML - Past use of cannabis is not associated with an increased risk of injury requiring hospitalization, according to the findings of a case-control study published in the March/April issue of the journal Missouri Medicine.
Investigators at the University of Missouri, Department of Medicine, assessed the association between past cannabis use and injury among adults age 18 to 60. Researchers conducted interviews with 2,161 injured subjects requiring emergency room treatment and 1,856 controls matched for age and gender.

"Self-reported marijuana use in the previous seven days was associated in this study with a substantially decreased risk of injury," investigators reported. In contrast, use of other illicit drugs and/or recent drinking (in the prior six hours) was associated "with a greatly increased risk of injury."

Previous research published last year in the Journal of Trauma Injury, Infection, and Critical Care also reported that cannabis use is not independently associated with injuries requiring hospitalization. That study, conducted by investigators at State University of New York Buffalo's Department of Family Medicine, reported, "Alcohol and cocaine use is independently associated with violence-related injuries, whereas opiate use is independently associated with nonviolent injuries and burns. ... Associations of positive toxicology test results for ... cannabis ... with injury type, injury mechanisms, and outcomes were not statistically significant."

http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6918

APRIL 2006

COLORADO UNIVERSITY POLICE POST 420 PHOTOS ONLINE,OFFER $50 FOR EACH POT SMOKER ID

. .

46% OF AMERICANS WANT POT TREATED LIKE ALCOHOL

HIGH TIMES - Nearly one out of two Americans support amending federal law "to let states legally regulate and tax marijuana the way they do liquor and gambling," according to a national poll of 1,004 likely voters by Zogby International and commissioned by the NORML Foundation.

Forty-six percent of respondents -- including a majority of those polled on the east (53 percent) and west (55 percent) coasts -- say they support allowing states to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. Forty-nine percent of respondents opposed taxing and regulating cannabis, and five percent were undecided.

"Public support for replacing the illicit marijuana market with a legally regulated, controlled market similar to alcohol -- complete with age restrictions and quality controls -- continues to grow," NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. "NORML's challenge is to convert this growing public support into a tangible public policy that no longer criminalizes those adults who use marijuana responsibly."

Respondents' support for marijuana law reform was strongly influenced by age and political affiliation. Nearly two-thirds of 18-29 year-olds (65 percent) and half of 50-64 year-olds think federal law should be amended to allow states the option to regulate marijuana, while majorities of 30-49 year-olds (58 percent) and seniors 65 and older (52 percent) oppose such a change.

Among those respondents who identified themselves as Democrats, 59 percent back taxing and regulating marijuana compared to only 33 percent of Republicans. Forty-four percent of Independents and 85 percent of Libertarians say they supported the law change.

Respondents' opinions were also influenced by religious affiliation. Nearly 70 percent of respondents who identified themselves as Jewish, and nearly 60 percent of respondents who said they were non-religious believe that states should regulate cannabis, while only 48 percent of Catholics and 38 percent of Protestants support such a policy.

A previous Zogby poll of 1,024 likely voters found that 61 percent of respondents opposed arresting and jailing non-violent marijuana consumers.

http://www.hightimes.com/ht/news/content.php?bid=529&aid=5

FEBRUARY 2006

POT DOES MORE FOR WASHINGTON STATE'S ECONOMY THAN SWEET CHERRIES

JOHN K. WILEY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS - Law enforcement officers harvested a dubious record last year: enough marijuana plants to rank the illegal weed as Washington state's No. 8 agricultural commodity, edging sweet cherries in value. The 135,323 marijuana plants seized in 2005 were estimated to be worth $270 million -- a record amount that places the crop among the state's top 10 agricultural commodities, based on the most recent statistics available.. . . The estimated $270 million value of the plants seized in 2005 ranked just above sweet cherries, which were valued at $242 million in 2004, and just below the $329 million the state's nurseries and greenhouses produced. Apples are the state's No. 1 agricultural commodity, bringing $962.5 million in 2004.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/259734_marijuana16.html

SHERIFF SAYS HE'LL USE TICKETS INSTEAD OF ARRESTS IN POT CASES

REUTERS - Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek, who oversees the University of Iowa in Iowa City, told a legislative committee he would treat possession of small amounts of marijuana like a traffic violation, allowing hundreds of students arrested each year to graduate without a criminal record. "The guy that's carrying 50 bales of marijuana ... that's a different animal," Pulkrabek said, adding he favored rounding up intoxicated people in a locked "detox center" in lieu of the crowded jail.

OCTOBER 2005

FORMER SEATTLE TOP COP MAKES CASE FOR DRUG LEGALIZATION

[Norm Stamper is the former chief of the Seattle Police Department. He is the author of "Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing" ]

NORM STAMPER, LA TIMES - I don't favor [drug] decriminalization. I favor legalization, and not just of pot but of all drugs, including heroin, cocaine, meth, psychotropics, mushrooms and LSD. Decriminalization, as my colleagues in the drug reform movement hasten to inform me, takes the crime out of using drugs but continues to classify possession and use as a public offense, punishable by fines.

I've never understood why adults shouldn't enjoy the same right to use verboten drugs as they have to suck on a Marlboro or knock back a scotch and water.

Prohibition of alcohol fell flat on its face. The prohibition of other drugs rests on an equally wobbly foundation. Not until we choose to frame responsible drug use - not an oxymoron in my dictionary - as a civil liberty will we be able to recognize the abuse of drugs, including alcohol, for what it is: a medical, not a criminal, matter.

As a cop, I bore witness to the multiple lunacies of the "war on drugs." Lasting far longer than any other of our national conflicts, the drug war has been prosecuted with equal vigor by Republican and Democratic administrations, with one president after another - Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush - delivering sanctimonious sermons, squandering vast sums of taxpayer money and cheerleading law enforcers from the safety of the sidelines.

It's not a stretch to conclude that our draconian approach to drug use is the most injurious domestic policy since slavery. Want to cut back on prison overcrowding and save a bundle on the construction of new facilities? Open the doors, let the nonviolent drug offenders go. The huge increases in federal and state prison populations during the 1980s and '90s (from 139 per 100,000 residents in 1980 to 482 per 100,000 in 2003) were mainly for drug convictions. In 1980, 580,900 Americans were arrested on drug charges. By 2003, that figure had ballooned to 1,678,200. We're making more arrests for drug offenses than for murder, manslaughter, forcible rape and aggravated assault combined. Feel safer?

I've witnessed the devastating effects of open-air drug markets in residential neighborhoods: children recruited as runners, mules and lookouts; drug dealers and innocent citizens shot dead in firefights between rival traffickers bent on protecting or expanding their markets; dedicated narcotics officers tortured and killed in the line of duty; prisons filled with nonviolent drug offenders; and drug-related foreign policies that foster political instability, wreak health and environmental disasters, and make life even tougher for indigenous subsistence farmers in places such as Latin America and Afghanistan. All because we like our drugs - and can't have them without breaking the law. . .

Although small in numbers of offenders, there isn't a major police force - the Los Angeles Police Department included - that has escaped the problem: cops, sworn to uphold the law, seizing and converting drugs to their own use, planting dope on suspects, robbing and extorting pushers, taking up dealing themselves, intimidating or murdering witnesses.

In declaring a war on drugs, we've declared war on our fellow citizens. War requires "hostiles" - enemies we can demonize, fear and loathe. This unfortunate categorization of millions of our citizens justifies treating them as dope fiends, evil-doers, less than human. That grants political license to ban the exchange or purchase of clean needles or to withhold methadone from heroin addicts motivated to kick the addiction.

MARIJUANA MIGHT MAKE YOU SMARTER

NEW SCIENTIST - A synthetic chemical similar to the active ingredient in marijuana makes new cells grow in rat brains. What is more, in rats this cell growth appears to be linked with reducing anxiety and depression. The results suggest that marijuana, or its derivatives, could actually be good for the brain.

In mammals, new nerve cells are constantly being produced in a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is associated with learning, memory, anxiety and depression. Other recreational drugs, such as alcohol, nicotine and cocaine, have been shown to suppress this new growth. Xia Zhang of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, and colleagues decided to see what effects a synthetic cannabinoid called HU210 had on rats' brains.

They found that giving rats high doses of HU210 twice a day for 10 days increased the rate of nerve cell formation, or neurogenesis, in the hippocampus by about 40%.

A previous study showed that the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) also increases new cell growth, and the results indicated that it was this cell growth that caused Prozac's anti-anxiety effect. Zhang wondered whether this was also the case for the cannabinoid, and so he tested the rats for behavioural changes.

When the rats who had received the cannabinoid were placed under stress, they showed fewer signs of anxiety and depression than rats who had not had the treatment.

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8155

SEPTEMBER 2005. . .

STUDY: WAR ON POT SMOKING IS A COMPLETE BUST

DRUG WAR CHRONICLE - Despite hundreds of thousands of marijuana arrests each year, law enforcement has proven ineffective in curbing usage, the Justice Policy Institute reported in a study. The study, "Efficacy and Impact: The Criminal Justice Response to Marijuana Policy in the United States," concluded that despite a huge increase in drug control spending -- from $65 million in 1970 to $19 billion currently, and that's just at the federal level -- rates of marijuana use have remained essentially unchanged, no matter whether arrests rates go up or down.

The report shows that marijuana usage has remained relatively stable in the past 20 years, except for a dramatic decline in the 1980s, when arrest rates were also declining. While arrest rates jumped 127% in the 1990s, marijuana usage also increased, although by a much more modest 22%.

The report shows that throughout the past 20 years, marijuana usage has remained relatively stable, except for a dramatic drop of 61 percent during the eighties, when arrest rates declined 24 percent. When arrest rates increased 127 percent during the 1990's, the rate of usage remained stable climbing only 22 percent.

In seven out of 10 states, marijuana arrests make up more than half of all drug arrests. On the high end, in both North Carolina and South Dakota, marijuana arrests accounted for a whopping 74% of all drug arrests. While those two states had the highest percentage of marijuana arrests, the per capita arrest rate prize goes to Texas, which arrested pot people at the rate of 222 per 100,000. With an estimated 829,000 marijuana users in Texas, the Lone Star state managed to arrest almost 49,000 in 2003.

There are currently 1,215 people in prison in Texas for marijuana offenses, 1,189 in California -- with a surprisingly high per capita arrest rate of 171 per 100,000 -- and 408 in Alabama. In total, the study estimates that 30,000 are doing hard time for marijuana crime in the United States.

According to Jason Colburn, policy analyst at JPI and the report's coauthor, US drug policy is not only having very little effect on marijuana usage, but it also imposes hefty collateral consequences on those being locked up for marijuana use. "There are 13 million people with former felony convictions in the US, and thousands of people have been convicted of a felony offense involving marijuana. The collateral consequences they will face will not only impact them but their families and entire communities," said Colburn. "Depending on what state they live in, they may be denied public assistance, face substantial barriers to employment, experience drivers' license suspension, and lose the right to vote. Our criminal justice response to marijuana is impacting their ability to take care of their families or contribute as normal taxpaying citizens," added Colburn.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/402/jpireport.shtml

STUDY: MARIJUANA DOESN'T CAUSE LUNG CANCER

NORML - Marijuana smoking -"even heavy longterm use"- does not cause cancer of the lung, upper airwaves, or esophagus, Donald Tashkin reported at this year's meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society.

Coming from Tashkin, this conclusion had extra significance for the assembled drug-company and university-based scientists (most of whom get funding from the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse). Over the years, Tashkin's lab at UCLA has produced irrefutable evidence of the damage that marijuana smoke wreaks on bronchial tissue.

With NIDA's support, Tashkin and colleagues have identified the potent carcinogens in marijuana smoke, biopsied and made photomicrographs of pre-malignant cells, and studied the molecular changes occurring within them. It is Tashkin's research that the Drug Czar's office cites in ads linking marijuana to lung cancer.

Tashkin himself has long believed in a causal relationship, despite a study in which Stephen Sidney examined the files of 64,000 Kaiser patients and found that marijuana users didn't develop lung cancer at a higher rate or die earlier than non-users. Of five smaller studies on the question, only two -involving a total of about 300 patients- concluded that marijuana smoking causes lung cancer.

Tashkin decided to settle the question by conducting a large, prospectively designed, population-based, case-controlled study. "In summary" Tashkin concluded, "we failed to observe a positive association of marijuana use."

http://www.mapinc.org/norml/v05/n1065/a03.htm?134

APRIL 2005. . .

86% OF COLORADO UNIVERSITY STUDENTS WANT POT TREATED LIKE ALCOHOL
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/383/boulder.shtml

DRUG REFORM COORDINATION NETWORK - Students at the University of Colorado in Boulder have voted overwhelmingly to signal their support of equalizing campus disciplinary penalties for marijuana and alcohol. A similar referendum two weeks ago was approved by students at Colorado State University in Fort Collins with 65% of the vote. But CU students outdid their brethren, approving the initiative with a whopping 86% of the vote.

University administrators, stung by a series of scandals and concerned about CU's reputation, quickly repudiated the show of student sentiment. In a statement released Monday, CU officials both denied there were significant differences in the school's alcohol and pot policies and vowed to ignore the referendum. "CU Boulder will not be bound by the outcome of the student referendum," the statement said.

POT FOUND HELPFUL TO HEART
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,8122-1557993,00.html

NIGEL HAWKES, TIMES, UK - THE active ingredient in cannabis protects arteries against harmful changes that lead to strokes and heart attacks, new research suggests. THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is known to affect the brain and make cannabis-users "high". The new research shows that it also has an influence on blood vessels. A study of mice revealed that the compound blocks the process of inflammation, which is largely responsible for the narrowing of arteries.

Inflammation combines with fatty deposits to produce obstructive "plaques," a condition known as atherosclerosis. These can block arteries to the heart, causing angina and heart attacks, or to the brain, leading to strokes. Atherosclerosis is the primary cause of heart disease and stroke in the Western world, accounting for up to half the deaths from both conditions. . .

Writing in Nature, the scientists point out that the THC doses used were low - too low to cause the mice to get "high". They wrote: "Our results suggest that cannabinoid derivatives with activity at the CB2 receptor may be valuable clinical targets for treating atherosclerosis."

DECEMBER 2004

OLDER AMERICANS SUPPORT LEGALIZING MEDICAL POT
http://washingtontimes.com/national/inpolitics.htm

WASHINGTON TIMES - Nearly three-fourths of older Americans support legalizing marijuana for medicinal use, according to a poll done for the nation's largest advocacy group for seniors. . . AARP, with 35 million members, says it has no political position on medicinal marijuana and that its local branches have not chosen sides in the scores of state ballot initiatives on the issue in recent elections.

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