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
South Korea introduced new legislation this week proposing that video games need to be strictly regulated, like drugs and alcohol, in order to promote a “happy and healthy society.” Rep. Shin Eui-jin, a member of the conservative Saenuri Party and former medical professor, introduced the bill, backed by fourteen other representatives, which would authorize the government to regulate online gaming, drugs, alcohol, and gambling, by controlling their manufacturing, distribution, and sale. The bill has yet to be voted on in the National Assembly, but is already causing a stir in the country’s gaming industry. “It is regretful that the government views games in the same category as drugs and gambling,” a member of the gaming industry told Inews24. “[This administration is] talking about a creative economy and yet are constantly trying to regulate one of leading industry for content business.” Gaming addiction is a growing problem in South Korea. The government spends about $10 million per year to fund internet and gaming addiction treatment centers, in addition to “prevention programs” such as imposing a national online gaming curfew for people below age sixteen. According to the DSM-5, video gaming is not classified as an addiction, but continues to seriously affect the lives of those who become addicted.
the anti smoking crusade rages on in new york city
The age to legally buy cigarettes in New York City would rise to 21 from 18 under a proposal unveiled on Monday, a measure that would give New York the strictest limits of any major American city.
The proposal would make the age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products the same as for purchasing liquor, but it would not prohibit people under 21 from possessing or even smoking cigarettes.
It is the latest effort in a persistent campaign to curb smoking that began soon after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took office, with bans on smoking in restaurants and bars that expanded more recently to parks, beaches, plazas and other public places.
[…] The proposal has to be approved by the City Council and signed by the mayor, but its enactment is likely since it is being promoted by Ms. Quinn and is supported by Mr. Bloomberg.
beliebers, welcome to the good fight
April 9, 2013 — Today, a coalition of over 175 artists, actors, athletes, elected officials and advocates, [including Russell Simmons, Sir Richard Branson, Will Smith, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Scarlett Johansson, Ron Howard, Jennifer Hudson, Demi Moore, Eva Longoria, Michael Moore, Mark Wahlberg, Harry Belafonte, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cameron Diaz, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Chris Rock, Russell Brand, John Legend, DJ Pauly D, Mike Tyson, Rick Ross, Jon Hamm, Natalie Maines, Ludacris to name a few] brought together by hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons and Dr. Boyce Watkins, presented an open letter to President Obama, urging him to double down on his efforts to change the United States’ criminal justice policy from that of a punitive, suppression-based model to one that favors evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation. According to Department of Justice data, the U.S. leads the world in the incarceration of its own citizens, both on a per capita basis and in terms of total prison population. More than 500,000 of the 2.3 million people behind bars in the U.S. are incarcerated for nothing more than a nonviolent drug offense.
“It is critical that we change both the way we think about drug laws in this country and how we generate positive solutions that leave a lasting impact on rebuilding our communities,” said Russell Simmons. “We need to break the school to prison pipeline, support and educate our younger generations and provide them with a path that doesn’t leave them disenfranchised with limited options.”
The coalition [of concerned activists, humanitarians and celebrities] suggests that the President continue to take a number of reformative actions, including extending the Fair Sentencing Act to all inmates who were sentenced under the 100-to-1 crack/powder disparity, supporting the principles of the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 (which allows judges to set aside mandatory minimum sentences when they deem appropriate), and supporting the Youth PROMISE Act.
Dr. Boyce Watkins added: “The letter is intended to be a respectful appeal to the Obama Administration asking that we develop productive pathways to supporting families that have been harmed by the War on Drugs. Countless numbers of children have been waiting decades for their parents to come home, and America is made safer if we break the cycle of mass incarceration. Time is of the essence, for with each passing year that we allow injustice to prevail, our nation loses another piece of its soul. We must carefully examine the impact of the War on Drugs and the millions of living, breathing Americans who’ve been affected. It is, quite simply, the right thing to do.”
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.
- 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
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.
Washington Post editor David Maraniss‘ forthcoming book Barack Obama: The Story at points describes the president’s marijuana hijinks during his high-school and Occidental College days. Book excerpts posted online reveal that young Barack Obama frequently smoked marijuana, and he and his “choom gang” developed clever strategies for how to better maximize the impact of the “sticky-green.”
On its own, stories like these about a young adult are actually kind of funny, even humanizing — like something straight out of a stoner comedy. But when you realize it’s about President Obama, it becomes a little less humorous.
Less humorous because President Obama has repeatedly laughed off and dismissed serious discussion about drug policy, like in that 2009 virtual town hall where the president mocked online voters for picking a question about marijuana legalization.
Less humorous because the president shuts down medical marijuana dispensaries with a frequency that would have made Richard Nixon stand up and cheer. He presides over a DOJ, IRS, and DEA that have threatened, audited, and shut down legal pot sellers in California, Colorado, Montana, and Washington. All this despite once promising to respect state laws regarding medical marijuana.
“People who may mean well promote and enact measures that produce results they neither intended nor anticipated. The explanation for this discrepancy between what is planned for and what results can be found in the study of chaos, or complexity. The ability to predict outcomes is dependent upon an awareness of all factors influencing events. With complex systems, however, such complete knowledge is always unobtainable, meaning that there will always be information loss that will produce unforeseen consequences. This distortion increases with the passage of time.
The hubris that motivates some people to use the power of the state to impose their well-intended visions upon others derives, in part, from an ignorance of the inherent uncertainties that are embedded in complex systems. Arrogance is grounded in the unstated assumption that one’s understanding is so complete as to render their actions infallible.”
— Butler Shaffer - The Unintended Consequences of Good Intentions
Penn Jillette uncorked one hell of a righteous rant about our pot-smoking president and his life-destroying Drug War hypocrisy