Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday that President Obama and former President George W. Bush “got lucky” by not being arrested for smoking marijuana as young adults:
“Look what would have happened. It would have ruined their lives. They got lucky. But a lot of poor kids, particularly in the inner city, don’t get lucky. They don’t have good attorneys. They go to jail for these things. And I think it’s a big mistake.”
Earlier this week Paul introduced a bill with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) that would relax the mandatory minimum sentences handed out to marijuana offenders who do not pose a violent threat to the public. The bill has gained the support of some influential conservatives, including anti-tax activist Grover Norquist.
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. - Albert Einstein
For Cher Neufer, a 65-year-old retired teacher, socializing with friends (all in their 60s) means using marijuana.
Once a week they get together to play Texas Hold ’Em poker “and pass around a doobie,” Ms. Neufer said.
When company stops by her home in Akron, Ohio, she offers a joint, and when it’s someone’s birthday, a bong is prepared. She even hosts summer campfires where the older folk listen to the Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles; eat grilled steaks and hot dogs; and get high (not necessarily in that order).
“It’s nice,” Ms. Neufer said. “It’s just a social thing. It’s like when people get together, and they crack open their beers.”
“Cannabis is a truly global phenomenon. Reports on cultivation and seizures of cannabis and on sources of cannabis products illustrate that cannabis is not only consumed in all countries in the form of cannabis herb (marijuana), it is also grown in most of them.”
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- WASHINGTON: Initiative 502 legalizes the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and over, but does not allow for personal cultivation, except by or for medical marijuana patients. It will license marijuana cultivation and retail and wholesale sales, with restrictions on advertising. Regulation will be the remit of the state liquor control board, which will have to come up with rules by December 2013. The measure creates a 25% excise tax on marijuana sales, with 40% of revenues dedicated to the general fund and 60% dedicated to substance abuse prevention, research, and healthcare. It also creates a per se driving under the influence standard of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.
- COLORADO: Amendment 64 allows adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana or six marijuana plants, three of which can be mature. It will create a system of state-licensed cultivation, manufacturing, and testing facilities and state-licensed retail stores. Local governments would have the option of regulating or prohibiting such facilities. The amendment also requires the state legislature to enact legislation governing industrial hemp cultivation, processing, and sale, and to create an excise tax on wholesale marijuana sales. The first $40 million of that annual revenue will be dedicated to building public schools.
Millions of voters will decide on Election Day in favor of ballot measures to legalize and regulate the use of cannabis by adults. Voters in three states — Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — will decide on statewide ballot measures to legalize the possession and distribution of cannabis for those over 21 years of age. Voters in three additional states — Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Montana — will decide on measures to allow for the therapeutic use of cannabis by patients with qualifying ailments. In Michigan, voters in four cities – totaling over a million people – will decide on municipal measures to legalize or depenalize the adult use of cannabis.
Ballot measures in Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington remain favored among voters, according to the latest statewide polls.
Since 1996, 17 states have enacted legislation to allow for the limited possession of cannabis when a physician authorizes such use. In ten of those states, voters enacted medical cannabis legislation via the statewide initiative process. But to date, no statewide proposal to remove criminal and civil penalties for the broader, personal possession and use of marijuana by adults has succeeded at the ballot box. This reality is likely to change tomorrow.
A summary of this year’s more prominent statewide and local ballot measures appears below.
ARKANSAS: Voters will decide on Measure 5, The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act of 2012, which allows authorized patients to possess up to two and one-half ounces of cannabis for various qualifying medical conditions, including cancer, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The measure also allows state regulators to establish not-for-profit facilities to produce and dispense cannabis to approved patients. Individual patients will also be permitted to privately cultivate limited amounts of cannabis (up to six flowering plants) if they reside further than five miles from a state-authorized dispensary.
COLORADO: Voters will decide on Amendment 64, which allows for the legal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and/or the cultivation of up to six cannabis plants by those persons age 21 and over. Longer-term, the measure seeks to establish regulations governing the commercial production and distribution of marijuana by licensed retailers. Voters in the state approve of the measure by a margin of 50 percent to 44 percent, according to the latest Denver Post survey.
MASSACHUSETTS: Voters will decide on Question 3, which eliminates statewide criminal and civil penalties related to the possession and use of up to a 60-day supply of cannabis by qualified patients. It would also require the state to create and regulate up to 35 facilities to produce and dispense cannabis to approved patients. Individual patients will also be permitted to privately cultivate limited amounts of cannabis if they are unable to access a state-authorized dispensary. Voters in the state approve the measure by a margin of 55 percent to 36 percent, according to the latest Suffolk University poll.
MICHIGAN: Voters in four cities – totaling over a million people – will also decide on Tuesday whether to legalize or depenalize the adult use of cannabis. Voters in Detroit will decide on Proposal M, which removes criminal penalties pertaining to the possession on private property of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults over age 21. In Flint, voters will decide on a citizens’ initiative to amend the city code so that the possession on private property of up to one ounce of marijuana or cannabis paraphernalia by those age 19 or older is no longer a criminal offense. Grand Rapids voters will act on Proposal 2, which seeks to allow local law enforcement the discretion to ticket first-time marijuana offenders with a civil citation, punishable by a $25 fine and no criminal record. In Ypsilanti, voters will decide on a proposal to make the local enforcement of marijuana possession offenses the city’s lowest law enforcement priority.
OREGON: Voters will decide on Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, which provides for the state-licensed production and retail sale of cannabis to adults. The measure does not impose state-licensing or taxation requirements upon those who wish to cultivate cannabis for non-commercial purposes.
WASHINGTON: Voters will decide on I-502, which regulates the production and sale of limited amounts of marijuana for adults. The measure also removes criminal penalties specific to the adult possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use. Voters in the state back the measure by a margin of 56 percent to 37 percent, according to the latest KING 5 poll.
Legalize It 2012
The Colorado Marijuana Initiative 2012 (Colorado)
YES on WA’s Marijuana Initiative 502 (Washington)
Cannabis Tax Act (Oregon)
VOTE YES on Question 3 (Massachusetts)
Arkansans for Compassionate Care (Arkansas)
Marijuana Policy Project
Students for Sensible Drug Policy
Fuck Yeah Drug Policy
Jon Stewart Slams Obama Executive Privilege, Fast and Furious, and Eric Holder
Under the plan backed by President Jose Mujica’s leftist administration, only the government would be allowed to sell marijuana and only to adults who register on a government database, letting officials keep track of their purchases over time. [In a radio interview on Thursday, Defense Minister Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro seemed to backtrack, saying the registry “sounds a little authoritarian and perhaps we should avoid it,” according to the WSJ.]
Profits would reportedly go toward rehabilitating drug addicts.
“It’s a fight on both fronts: against consumption and drug trafficking. We think the prohibition of some drugs is creating more problems to society than the drug itself,” Fernández Huidobro told reporters late on Wednesday.
Fernández said the bill would soon be sent to Congress, which is dominated by Mujica’s party, but that an exact date had not been set. If approved, Uruguay’s national government would be the first in the world to directly sell marijuana to its citizens.
The family of slain U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, who was killed with guns tied to the Fast and Furious program, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon accusing President Obama of compounding their family tragedy by invoking executive privilege.
“Attorney General Eric Holder’s refusal to fully disclose the documents associated with Operation Fast and Furious and President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege serves to compound this tragedy. It denies the Terry family and the American people the truth. Our son, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, was killed by members of a Mexican drug cartel armed with weapons from this failed Justice Department gun trafficking investigation. For more than 18 months we have been asking our federal government for justice and accountability. The documents sought by the House Oversight Committee and associated with Operation Fast and Furious should be produced and turned over to the committee. Our son lost his life protecting this nation, and it is very disappointing that we are now faced with an administration that seems more concerned with protecting themselves rather than revealing the truth behind Operation Fast and Furious.”
President Obama invoked executive privilege to shield the Justice Department from having to release documents sought by House Republican investigating the secret law enforcement program, wherein weapons smugglers were permitted to buy guns so law enforcement could trace them to drug cartels. Law enforcement lost track of hundreds of the guns, which began showing up at crime scenes, most tragically in December 2010, where Terry was killed.
Bill Maher, Rachel Maddow, And Nick Gillespie Have Intense Discussion About Operation Fast and Furious
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ran a series of “gunwalking” sting operations between 2006 and 2011. This was done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States. “Gunwalking” or “letting guns walk” was a tactic whereby the ATF knowingly allowed thousands of guns to be bought by suspected arms traffickers (“gunrunners”) working through straw purchasers on behalf of Mexican drug cartels.
The stated goal of allowing these purchases was to continue to track the firearms as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and key figures in Mexican cartels, in theory leading to their arrests and the dismantling of the cartels. The tactic was questioned during the operations by a number of people, including ATF field agents and cooperating licensed gun dealers. Operation Fast and Furious, by far the largest “gunwalking” probe, led to the sale of over 2,000 firearms, of which nearly 700 were recovered as of October 20, 2011. A number of straw purchasers have been arrested and indicted; however, as of October 2011, none of the targeted high-level cartel figures has been arrested.
Firearms “walked” by the ATF have been found at violent crime scenes on both sides of the Mexico–United States border, including scenes involving the deaths of many Mexicans and at least one U.S. federal agent, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The “gunwalking” operations became public in the aftermath of Terry’s murder. Dissenting ATF agents came forward to Congress in response. As investigations have continued, the operations have become increasingly controversial in both countries, and diplomatic relations have been damaged as a result.
“Consider the number of people who have taken drugs that are purported to cause violence. More than 37 million Americans report trying cocaine at least once; 9 million have admitted smoking crack; LSD has been taken by some 23 million U.S citizens. Imagine the mayhem if each of these users turned violent.
Further, synthetic marijuana — which is sold as “K2″ or “Spice” and has also been blamed recently for violent crimes — has been tried by 11% of American high school seniors. There are no figures for another “legal high” known as bath salts, which contain amphetamine-like compounds and which an emergency room doctor blamed for the Miami attack.
Basically, if drugs were a simple cause of violence, we’d be in far more trouble than we are now, with a crime rate many times what it actually is. Indeed, despite the rise of the new legal highs, rates of violent crime have generally adhered to a decades-long decline.”
— Maia Szalavitz - Why Drugs Are Getting a Bum Rap in the Miami Face-Eating Attack | TIME