US court rejects bid to reclassify marijuana
What kind of reason is that?! WTF?! -UA
WASHINGTON (AP) —ajc.com
A U.S. appeals court has rejected a petition to reclassify marijuana from its current status as a dangerous drug with no accepted medical use.
The appeals court panel Tuesday turned away the bid from a medical marijuana group, Americans for Safe Access.
In 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration rejected a petition by medical marijuana advocates to change the classification.
The court said that the question wasn't whether marijuana could have some medical benefits, but rather whether the DEA's decision was "arbitrary and capricious." The court concluded that the DEA action survives review under that standard.
Marijuana is classified as a controlled substance, categorized as having a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use, together with drugs like heroin, LSD and ecstasy.
The Fallacy of the DEA: Why the Agency Needs to Concede to Legal Marijuana
There's no denying the pressure that the Drug Enforcement Administration must be feeling lately. The popularity behind the marijuana legalization movement is at an all-time high, and prohibitionists are jumping ship at record rates to support cannabis reform. The drug agency has never been without opposition in its near 40 year history, but it's hard remembering a time when there's ever been this much heat on the narc outfit. The DEA is obviously still alive and well at present, but government bureaucracies are in no way immune from having to evolve with the times for lasting survival.
Looking back, 1973 was an epic year in the United States. The Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade in January, the Watergate hearings began in May, the legendary thoroughbred Secretariat won the Triple Crown in June, and then a month later in July, the world was introduced to the biggest narcotics police conglomerate ever known to man: The United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
I say conglomerate because the DEA wasn't created from thin air. Instead, several existing agencies gelled together to form the inaugural drug enforcement monopoly. The main forerunners to the Justice Department's newest play-toy were the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), the Office for Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE), the Office for National Narcotic Intelligence, and many of the enforcement components from the U.S. Customs Service. These agencies ceased to exist entirely once the DEA came onto the scene, excluding Customs of course, which only relinquished some of its arsenal to the new kid on the block.
Coincidentally, the U.S. Customs Service was the first federal law enforcement agency I worked for, though it was several years later and towards the end of the organization's historic span when I was employed. I bring this up because the fate of U.S. Customs, as it was under the Treasury Department, is a perfect example of the government evolution I alluded to earlier. Ultimately, neither the Customs Service nor the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) could stand the test of time as standalone entities post-9/11, thus the merging of their authorities under the newly formed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003.
Going back to the DEA's similar rocky formation, President Richard Nixon's purpose for establishing the agency was to have a single and streamlined unit at the federal level to combat the nation's growing problem of drug consumption. Leading up to that point, the feds had no real teeth to combat the illicit narcotics industry. Actually, it's not that the feds didn't have the teeth, it's more that they weren't chewing and operating in sync with one another (as is still the case today with the constant red-tape and rivaling between certain agencies).
The concept of having a centralized narcotics bureau might have been admirable in the early seventies. However, we're now witnessing the long-term flaws associated with creating such a robust agency with the sole purpose of drug enforcement, especially considering one of the DEA's biggest targets is marijuana (which is obviously a commodity becoming more and more acceptable every day).
The growing tolerance towards cannabis poses a huge risk for the DEA, or at least the agency seems concerned with pot going mainstream. If this weren't the case, they wouldn't be so relentless in their fight against the medical marijuana industry. Polls consistently show that the use of cannabis via doctor recommendation is welcomed by almost eighty percent of the population. Yet, the DEA refuses to throw in the towel when it comes to this costly and unpopular crusade, even if it means trampling all over the rights of state and local governments in the process. Common sense should tell the DEA to give up on marijuana entirely at this point, including policing against recreational usage, which a majority of Americans now believe should be legally on par with alcohol consumption.
Many long-term factors were neglected when the DEA was formed in 1973. For example, what if public perception changed over time and people later determined that drug abuse and addiction should be treated as health issues rather than law enforcement ones? Or what if society came to agree that prohibition's caustic side effects weren't worth fronting a fruitless multi-billion dollar drug war each year? Or what if citizens deemed that one illicit substance in particular, the one realistically funding more of the DEA's annual enforcement budget than any other, was a plant that could generate a taxable fortune for a country in need of financial aid more than ever?
Unfortunately for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the organization is single minded for the most part, meaning there's no backup plan should Americans one day decide to do away with prohibition altogether. As a result, the agency has a vested interest in maintaining the Controlled Substances Act as it now stands. This is why the agency fights tooth and nail over losing its grip on any banned substance, let alone the most popular and abundant one.
Other agencies (i.e. FBI, ICE, ATF, etc.) have wider scopes, broader authorities, and more mission flexibility. If the threat from terrorism ended tomorrow, the FBI would certainly survive due to the agency's array of enforceable statutes. Likewise with ICE's investigative division, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), as this DHS component actually has the broadest statutory authority of all federal investigative agencies.
One factor often overlooked regarding the futility of drug policing is the fact that the relationship between drug suppliers and drug users is essentially victimless. It's not as if Chapo Guzman and company are down in Mexico with their guns drawn to the heads of Americans, forcing their products into the mouths and noses of Yankee gringos. Rather, it is Americans seeking out the services of the cartels, and ironically and unfairly for Mexico, drug traffickers south of the border have American guns drawn amongst themselves as they compete over U.S. business.
The horrific bloodshed below the Rio Grande is reason enough to legalize marijuana entirely and immediately at this point, and for Americans who still don't get it, our shared boundary with Mexico is 1,969 miles long and unsecured. It's obvious the violence can't remain isolated to only Mexico if it's allowed to foster long enough. Indeed, the Department of Justice reports that Mexican cartels have already set up shop in more than 1,000 U.S. cities.
The southwest border will never be fully secured as long as much of the trade between South and Central America crosses America's southern border. However, there's no denying we'd be much safer if it weren't for the constant criminalization of our neighbors to the south. Illicit marijuana revenues make up around sixty percent of cartel profits per the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and it's the earning potential from this substance alone that tempts and lures most recruits into the narco game. Maintaining marijuana's illegality is only producing, enriching, and weaponizing more and more psychopath killers in Mexico, while simultaneously wasting valuable and scarce resources here in the United States.
Just recently, the DEA's administrator, Michele Leonhart, only reaffirmed her agency's stubborn position on marijuana. She was questioned in front of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, and it's intriguing to me that a congressman from Tennessee, Steve Cohen, was the one who grilled Leonhart the most on the DEA's outdated stance towards cannabis. Not because Tennessee ranks second to only California when it comes to the domestic production of marijuana, but mostly because I imagine the DEA feels confident hedging its bet on "indefinite marijuana prohibition" with southern conservative mindsets. However, as a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), who is tasked with giving presentations in some of the bible belt's deepest parts imaginable, I feel confident stating that I don't think the south will be the DEA's saving grace when it comes to deterring pot legalization.
Obviously the Drug Enforcement Administration is at a crossroads right now, and in no way am I implying the organization should be eliminated or disbanded. However, when it comes to marijuana the ballgame is over, and resources need to be drastically and quickly shifted. The agency needs to bow down gracefully to cannabis's legitimacy at this point, instead of continuing to prolong the inevitable. The government was set up to be run by the people for the people, and it's time for the DEA to recognize this. It might've been in 1971 when President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse to be public enemy number one, but it's nearly half a century later today, and prohibition itself has now become a much bigger nuisance to society (especially concerning marijuana).
Jamie Haase, a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, is a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.
THE GRASS ON THE OTHER SIDE
Releaf Magazine June 2012
Just as young children look to their parents for their rules and guidelines, we have been brainwashed as adults into thinking our government must provide us with the same type of authority. Instead of telling the government how we want to live our lives and the rules they must follow, we look to them to decide if our actions are right or wrong. This is apparent as our Bill of Rights and the Constitution continue to wither away in front of our eyes. It is also blatant in the prohibition of cannabis. 17 states have enacted a medical marijuana program, 15 states have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis, while over 50% of the country supports legalization of cannabis. While these numbers seem encouraging and may show progression in the cannabis movement, it also shows the power we give up by letting the government decide how cannabis should be regulated. It places Americans in a position where they must settle for less than they deserve and still fall victim to the mercy of a cannabis monopoly. In dry states, the DEA has and will continue to control the monopoly. The free enterprise of the California medical system has been viewed by some as the ‘wild west,’ leading to tighter regulation in other states that implement medical marijuana programs. The leniency of the California program allowed for many California residents to realize large financial gains by starting new businesses and engaging in cannabis related commerce. Wait….Americans making a living for themselves off of the land, growing plants that can heal and provide for self sufficiency? In today’s society it seems too good to be true, and unfortunately it will be for many states moving forward. That’s not what we are lead to believe though, just look at the picture that is being painted. Most states considering medical legislation immediately see opposition from those referencing the “flaws” in the California system. This has lead to private interest groups finding a backdoor into the driver’s seat of a cannabis monopoly. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Massachusetts which has multiple bills calling for medical marijuana being legal for its citizens. The bills that have no support are the bills that give patients the rights to provide for themselves, or appoint their own caregiver to provide for them. The bill that has support from the “for profit” patient’s organization is backed by a corporate giant with interest in keeping growing rights away from patients and put directly into the hands of corporations. I will say this as clearly and as blunt as I can: when you grow your own medicine for yourself, no one makes money from it. Sure, you may be better off as an individual, but as stated earlier, the government tells us how, what and when we can chew, rather than we pick out our own piece to chew on. So, to those living in a state without a medical marijuana program ready to support any bill that offers legalization, I will offer the following advice: the grass might look greener on the other side, but check to see if its fertilized with bullshit.
The Urban Alchemist
DEA almost kills student leaving him in a cell for 5 days without food or water
Daniel Chong, the UC San Diego student who was left in a Drug Enforcement Administration holding cell for nearly five days, said the time spent in his cell was a life-altering experience.
The 23-year-old spoke with NBCSanDiego and said he was increasingly worried throughout the days he spent in a 5 ft. by 10 ft. cell, where he could not spread his arms out wide.
“They never came back, ignored all my cries and I still don’t know what happened,” he said. “I’m not sure how they could forget me.”
As NBCSanDiego was first to report Saturday, the DEA confirmed its agents were investigating an incident in which a suspect, arrested Saturday, April 21, was detained at their office for several days and allegedly forgotten about.
Chong said he was at a friend’s house in University City celebrating 4/20, a day many marijuana users set aside to smoke, when agents came inside and raided the residence. Chong was then taken to the DEA office in Kearny Mesa.
He said agents questioned him, and then told him he could go home. One agent even offered him a ride, Chong said. No criminal charges were filed against him.
But Chong did not go home that night. Instead, he was placed in a cell for five days without any human contact and was not given food or drink. In his desperation, he said he was forced to drink his own urine.
“I had to do what I had to do to survive….I hallucinated by the third day,” Chong said. “I was completely insane.”
Chong said he lost roughly 15 pounds during the time he was alone. His lawyer confirmed that Chong ingested a powdery substance found inside the cell. Later testing revealed the substance was methamphetamine.
After days of being ignored, Chong said he tried to take his own life by breaking the glass from his spectacles with his teeth and then attempting to carve “Sorry mom,” on his arm. He said nurses also found pieces of glass in his throat, which led him to believe he ingested the pieces purposefully.
Chong said he could hear DEA employees and people in neighboring cells. He screamed to let them know he was there, but no one replied. He kicked the door, but no one came to get him.
By the time DEA officers found Chong in his cell Wednesday morning Chong was completely incoherent, said Iredale.
“I didn’t think I would come out,” Chong said.
He said when employees discovered him in the cell that they looked confused and nervous. A DEA employee rode with him to the hospital, where they paid for Chong’s visit.
He spent three days in the intensive care unit at Sharp Hospital and his kidneys were close to failing.
Chong and his lawyer spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the claim they will file with the federal court system on Wednesday.
“He was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said his lawyer Gene Iredale, who compared Chong’s experience to the torture suffered by inmates at in the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq
The DEA has not apologized to Chong, said Iredale.
The incident also caused Chong to miss his midterms at UCSD. He said he does not know if he will return to school, as his perspective on life has changed since his isolation.
San Diego defense attorney Gretchen Von Helms said the victim could get millions if he files a lawsuit.
"In all my years of practice I've never heard of the DEA or any Federal government employee simply forgetting about someone that they have in their care," she said.
"There has to be repercussions if people do not follow the safety and the care when they have a human being in their custody."
DEA head: A thousand dead children means we’re winning war on drugs
Michele Leonhart, our top drug cop, has a funny definition of victory
Producing and distributing illegal drugs is a profitable business, because there will always be a lot of demand and because illegality allows you to charge a great deal of money. That illegality also means that the people who produce and distribute the drugs are generally not responsible corporate citizens. So thanks to our expensive, terribly ineffective and endless war on drugs, lots of people are dying.
The Washington Post recently reported that the victims of Mexican drug cartel violence increasingly include children, who are being specifically targeted in order to terrorize people and intimidate potential business rivals:
The children’s rights group estimates that 994 people younger than 18 were killed in drug-related violence between late 2006 and late 2010, based on media accounts, which are incomplete because newspapers are often too intimidated to report drug-related crimes.
Government figures include all homicides of people younger than 17, capturing victims whose murders might not have been related to drugs or organized crime. In 2009, the last year for which there is data, 1,180 children were killed, half in shootings.
This article is actually almost a week old, but I did not notice, until it was highlighted by Jonathan Blanks, this astounding quote from America’s top drug warrior:
U.S. and Mexican officials say the grotesque violence is a symptom the cartels have been wounded by police and soldiers. “It may seem contradictory, but the unfortunate level of violence is a sign of success in the fight against drugs,” said Michele Leonhart, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration. The cartels “are like caged animals, attacking one another,” she added.
It seems “contradictory” because that is absolutely appalling spin. For one thing, these “caged animals” are actually attacking civilians and children. And they are doing so because the drug war has made their chosen industry both profitable and dangerous enough to make murder and brutality effective means of winning competitive advantages. If this is a sign of success, maybe we should reconsider waging this war.
Leonhart, a DEA lifer, is actually a Bush appointee, reappointed by President Obama. She is, obviously, an inflexible zealot when it comes to drug prohibition. This is easily the worst and most offensive thing she’s said that I’ve read, but she does have a history of asinine remarks. This is the sort of quote — dead children are a sign that we’re winning! — that should lead to a resignation. But it probably won’t.
Click on Magazine to see December 2011 Issue!!!!
A California medical marijuana advocacy group is taking the Obama administration to court in an effort to halt the Justice Department's assault on marijuana growers and dispensers, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Americans for Safe Access, an advocacy group based in Oakland, Calif., has filed suit against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and northern California federal prosecutor Melinda Haag, claiming that the federal government's recent crackdown on medical marijuana operations is in violation of the Constitution's 10th Amendment.
Marijuana is a schedule 1 substance, deemed illegitimate for medicinal purposes and outlawed federally under the Controlled Substances Act, which the federal government is entitled to enforce. However, according to Americans for Safe Access, individual states are free to regulate substances as they see fit, and by virtue of the 10th Amendment the federal government cannot compel state authorities to contravene state law.
"Under the 10th Amendment, the government may not commandeer the law-making functions of the state or its subdivisions directly or indirectly through the selective enforcement of its drug laws," the suit claims.
"The federal government has instituted a policy to dismantle the medical marijuana laws of the state of California and to coerce its municipalities to pass bans on medical marijuana dispensaries," the lawsuit says. "To this end, the government has pursued an increasingly punitive strategy, which has involved criminal prosecutions of medical marijuana providers with draconian penalties and letters threatening local officials if they implement state law."
The suit cites, among other notices, a federal missive to the city of Oakland, informing city authorities that failure to enforce federal anti-marijuana laws would make them subject to prosecution.
"I like this lawsuit," San Francisco attorney Kenneth Wine told the San Francisco Weekly.
"While the federal government and its agents can do what they like in enforcing the federal criminal laws, they cannot compel the state to assist them," Wine said. "I suspect this case will cause the federal government in California to be very careful in the way they address state and local officials. Certainly, the threats and coercion against state and local officials by the U.S. Attorneys must stop, and likely will. For the feds to do otherwise is to put their marijuana enforcement strategy in jeopardy."
DEA + classroom full of kids + loaded a GLOCK 40 = open fire .........................pretty standard.....-UA