Archive for War on Drugs

Why we need to end the War on Drugs

[Transcript of a TED talk by Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.]

What has the War on Drugs done to the world? Look at the murder and mayhem in Mexico, Central America, so many other parts of the planet, the global black market estimated at 300 billion dollars a year, prisons packed in the United States and elsewhere, police and military drawn into an unwinnable war that violates basic rights, and ordinary citizens just hope they don’t get caught in the crossfire, and meanwhile, more people using more drugs than ever. It’s my country’s history with alcohol prohibitionand Al Capone, times 50.

Which is why it’s particularly galling to me as an American that we’ve been the driving force behind this global drug war. Ask why so many countries criminalize drugs they’d never heard of, why the U.N. drug treaties emphasize criminalization over health, even why most of the money worldwide for dealing with drug abuse goes not to helping agencies but those that punish, and you’ll find the good old U.S. of A.

Why did we do this? Some people, especially in Latin America, think it’s not really about drugs. It’s just a subterfuge for advancing the realpolitik interests of the U.S. But by and large, that’s not it. We don’t want gangsters and guerrillas funded with illegal drug money terrorizing and taking over other nations. No, the fact is, America really is crazy when it comes to drugs. I mean, don’t forget, we’re the ones who thoughtthat we could prohibit alcohol. So think about our global drug war not as any sort of rational policy, but as the international projection of a domestic psychosis.
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Ethan Natelmann’s TED Talk

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Data from U.S. survey casts doubt on U.S. classification of psychedelics as ‘dangerous’

(Eric W. Dolan, Raw Story, August 20, 2013)
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Data from a government-sponsored survey indicates that psychedelic drugs like LSD, magic mushrooms, and peyote do not increase a person’s risk of developing mental health problems. . . . The study, published online Tuesday in PLoS One, used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health survey to investigate psychedelic drug use and mental health problems. The survey is administered annually by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. . . . The researchers found psychedelic use was not associated with a higher rate of mental health problems. In fact, the use of psychedelic drugs appeared to reduce the risk of mental illness, though only slightly. . . . Previous research has established that LSD, magic mushrooms, and peyote are not addictive. They are not known to harm the brain. . . . Psychedelic drugs have been gaining the attention of medical researchers in recent years. . . . Scientists at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center have found psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, can safely treat death anxiety in patients with advanced-stage cancer. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have also found psilocybin created positive changes in attitudes, mood, life satisfaction, and behavior that persisted for more than a year. . . . Preliminary research on another drug that is often classified as a psychedelic, MDMA, indicated it could help those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. . . . The federal Drug Enforcement Administration currently classifies LSD, psilocybin, and peyote as Schedule I substances: a category reserved for very dangerous drugs with no medical value.


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Ethan Nadelmann: The Real Drug Czar

The most influential man in the battle for legalization is a wonky intellectual in dad jeans

(TIM DICKINSON, Rolling Stone,
JUNE 06, 2013)

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The driving force for the legalization of marijuana in America – a frenetic, whip-smart son of a rabbi who can barely tell indica from sativa – has just entered enemy territory. Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, is here in California’s crucible of conservatism, Orange County, to talk about the failure of the War on Drugs and why the government should leave pot smokers alone. As a grizzled ex-DEA agent glares at him from the audience of a lecture hall on the campus of U.C. Irvine, it’s clear that this crowd has not gathered to celebrate cannabis culture. And that’s just the way Nadelmann likes it.

Today, thanks in large part to Nadelmann’s efforts, pot is fully legal in two states and available medically in 16 others. “He is the single most influential policy entrepreneur on any domestic issue,” says John DiIulio, a longtime drug warrior and tough-on-crime academic who has recently come around to Nadelmann’s side on marijuana policy. “He wore me down,” DiIulio says. “What can I say?”

[COMMENT by Lorenzo] This is a somewhat long article, but very much worth the time to read. Here are some of the topics that are covered:
Too High to Fail: Inside Denver’s weed boom
Conservatives Push Marijuana Reform in Congress
The Top 10 Marijuana Myths and Facts

Also, you can listen to a talk given by Ethan Nadelmann in my Podcast 208 – “It’s Time To End The War on Drugs”

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“Confessions of an Ecstasy Advocate”

“Confessions of an Ecstasy Advocate”, a short documentary that premiered at the recent MAPS Psychedelic Science 2013 conference, is now available for free viewing online, thanks to the producers and the support of The Starck Project. Long considered “ground zero” of MDMA hitting the street, the heartbeat of the Dallas scene was the world famous Starck Club. But there was also a lot of X that was sold on the street, and this is the story of how I got involved in this fascinating scene.

Confessions of an Ecstasy Advocate from George Wada on Vimeo.

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Don’t ever speak to the FBI without a tape recorder running and a lawyer present

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Senior Citizens Unite . . . for Cannabis!!!

As a Senior Citizen ( notice the caps 🙂 ), I fully endorse making your golden years your stoned years. Why not?

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Obama Administration Attacks Medical Marijuana Clinics to Cover Up “Fast and Furious” blunders

(Martin A. Lee, Alternet, August 10, 2012)
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Obama Administration sacrifices medical marijuana patients to political expediency.

Team Obama’s decision to crack down on the medical marijuana industry wasn’t motivated by public health concerns. The Justice Department green-lit a scorched earth campaign against medicinal cannabis in order to placate law enforcement and control the damage from the Fast and Furious scandal by deflecting attention to other matters.

Eric Holder, Obama’s embattled attorney general, was under mounting pressure from Congress to explain the botched “Fast and Furious” sting operation, in which 2,000 assault rifles and other firearms were sold to suspected traffickers for the Mexican drug cartels. It was intended as an intelligence-gathering ploy, but U.S. agents lost track of most of these weapons. . . . By early October 2011, there were calls for a special prosecutor to investigate whether Holder had perjured himself during testimony before Congress. Right-wing pundits described the scandal as “Obama’s Watergate.” The ATF announced a major shake-up at the top of the bureau. A chorus of disgruntled sheriffs and other G-men clamored for Holder’s resignation. The attorney general was losing support among law enforcement rank-and-file. . . . But Holder had an ace up his sleeve, and he played it at a crucial moment. . . . Ever since California voters approved Proposition 215, which legalized marijuana for medical use in 1996, law enforcement lobbyists had been urging the federal government to enforce prohibition and choke off the burgeoning industry. . . . On October 7, the same day Holder wrote a detailed letter to Rep. Issa, defending his handling of the Fast and Furious affair, four federal prosecutors in California held a hastily organized press conference in which they threw down the gauntlet and announced the start of a far-ranging crackdown that would nearly decimate the Golden State’s medical marijuana industry. . . . Within 10 months, close to half of California’s 1,400 dispensaries would shut down as the DEA waged an all-out vendetta against what Proposition 215 had unloosed. The drug police weren’t just going after the bad apples; they were going after every apple in the barrel. Cannabis dispensaries abiding by state law were raided by federal agents. Federal prosecutors threatened to seize property from landlords who rented to medical marijuana facilities. The feds also threatened municipal officials who sought to implement state medical marijuana regulations. Federally insured banks and credit card companies refused to service marijuana-related enterprises. . . . Medical marijuana proponents were stunned by the ferocity of the Obama administration’s assault on the industry in California and elsewhere. . . . It’s not as though Americans were dropping like flies because of medical marijuana abuse. More than a million Californians had gotten a doctor’s recommendation to use cannabis, and no fatalities or problematic health patterns attributable to the herb had emerged since the passage of Proposition 215. . . . Team Obama’s decision to crack down on the medical marijuana industry wasn’t motivated by public health concerns. The Justice Department green-lit a scorched earth campaign against medicinal cannabis in order to placate law enforcement and control the damage from the Fast and Furious scandal by deflecting attention to other matters. . . . Medical marijuana facilities were red meat for cops and an easy payday for narcs who were aching to take down pot-selling storefronts throughout the Golden State and beyond. Desperate to shore up support among law enforcement, Holder, a longtime marijuana foe, threw the drug war dogs the perfect bone on October 7, 2011. It was a politically expedient decision designed to protect the attorney general’s bureaucratic position. . . . Marijuana’s illegality has long been a useful vehicle for Machiavellian public officials.

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Penn Jillette Accuses Obama Of Class Warfare For Drug Policy

If Obama had been caught with the marijuana that he says he uses, and ‘maybe a little blow’… if he had been busted under his laws, he would have done hard f*cking time. And if he had done time in prison, time in federal prison, time for his ‘weed’ and ‘a little blow,’ he would not be President of the United States of America. He would not have gone to his fancy-a** college, he would not have sold books that sold millions and millions of copies and made millions and millions of dollars, he would not have a beautiful, smart wife, he would not have a great job. He would have been in f*cking prison, and it’s not a god damn joke. People who smoke marijuana must be set free. It is insane to lock people up.

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DEA Criminals Torture Student, then release him without charges

(Eric W. Dolan,, May 1, 2012)
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Daniel Chong, a 24-year old student at UC San Diego, was taken into custody during a drug raid and abandoned in a holding cell for five days without food or water, according to NBC San Diego. . . . “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.” . . . On April 21, Drug Enforcement Agents raided an apartment where Chong and his friends were smoking marijuana. Nine people were arrested and the agents reportedly seized ecstasy pills, marijuana, prescription medication, psychedelic mushrooms and weapons, according to CBS 8 News. Seven of those arrested were taken to jail and one was released. . . . Chong, however, was left handcuffed in a 5 ft. by 10 ft. holding cell. . . . Chong said he screamed and kicked the door, but to no avail. Eventually, he began hallucinating and drank his own urine in hopes of staying hydrated. After days without any human contact, he tried to kill himself by breaking his glasses with his teeth, and using the glass to cut himself. . . . Surprisingly, Chong allegedly found a bag of methamphetamine in the holding cell, which he used to stay awake. . . . After five days, a DEA worker heard noises coming from the holding cell and discovered him. Chong was taken to the hospital, where he spent three days in the intensive care unit. . . . The DEA has not apologized to Chong. He has not been charged with any crime.

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