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
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.
Connecticut’s Senate and House have successfully passed the Medical Marijuana bill!
All that stands in the way of this bill and it coming into law is a signature from Gov. Dan Malloy, which is all but guaranteed.
UConn SSDP did a lot of work, along with CT NORML, A Better Way Foundation, ACLU, and LEAP to help this bill along the way. Congrats to everyone who made this a reality, times are a’changin and we’re at the forefront of the movement.
Teens getting drunk on hand sanitizer: Doctors in California hospitals warn parents after 6 teens drank hand sanitizer
“This is a very real danger.”
“Get the foam variety of hand sanitizer. It’s harder to drink it.”
“You don’t really need it at home. You’ve got soap and water available!”
“I don’t think I would keep it at home, unless you’re going to lock in the liquor cabinet!”
This is a clip from a 1990 made-for-TV special Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue!—a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration which saw Bugs Bunny, ALF, Garfield, and the Muppet Babies teaching a pot-smoking teenager “the million, billion wonderful ways to say no.” The full version is a half hour long. George H.W. and Barbara Bush make an appearance to introduce this “powerful story of a teenager dealing with drug and alcohol abuse.” Enjoy.
The increasingly normalized depiction of marijuana use on television, taken in conjunction with the increase in American marijuana users, raises a chicken-or-the-egg question: Was TV making Americans more tolerant of marijuana use? Or was the increase in American marijuana users encouraging TV to depict the drug less negatively?
Steps taken to thwart a public marijuana smoking event Friday at the University of Colorado appear to have worked. Protesters who gathered at a quad on the campus for the customary 4:20 light-up time dispersed without an apparent toke.
In past years the Norlin Quad on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder had drawn 10,000 to 12,000 people for the event, which falls on April 20 (4/20). Marijuana smokers traditionally wait until 4:20 in the afternoon to light up as a celebration of marijuana culture and a protest against drug policy.
This year, the school closed the campus to outsiders and spread an unpleasant-smelling, fish-based fertilizer on the quad before enclosing it in yellow police tape and stationing police officers around the perimeter.
Hours before the planned event, three students who crossed police lines and went onto the field were led away in plastic handcuffs.
[…] Prior to the Colorado event, university police spokesman Ryan Huff said the smoke-ins have become too dangerous.
“It’s hard to keep track of that many people high on marijuana,” he said.
last year’s gathering looked like this:
Packets of cigarettes will disappear from the shelves of supermarkets in England on Friday and must stay hidden in closed cupboards, out of sight and – the government and campaigners hope – out of mind.
New legislation, aimed at reducing the temptation to smoke for children and young people, will require all large shops and supermarkets to scrap displays at the point of sale. Campaigners argue that these have become more visual, colourful and attractive as bans on other forms of advertising have closed down marketing opportunities for tobacco companies.
On his second trip through high school, former C-student Alex Salinas got a lot of A’s. He was 22, however, and an undercover narcotics officer going by the name Johnny Ramirez.
Eight months later, the ruse was up, and Exeter, a bucolic citrus-growing community in California’s Central Valley, was turned on its ear after a school-day police sweep ended with a dozen Exeter High students in custody on drug charges.
[…] “A lot of jaws dropped when they saw me,” Salinas said. “They knew me as that kid at school that they hung around with, and then the next thing they’re in handcuffs and I’m in a uniform.”
The sting got more attention from the media than a drug bust of 12 students normally would because of something the chief now laments: It happened the same week as the debut of the Hollywood comedy “21 Jump Street,” which features — you got it — undercover cops fighting crime at a high school.
[…] There had been no major complaints about drug dealing at the 1,000-student school that sits within sight of the police station, but Bush said he had been thinking for years about doing an undercover sting to send a message.
[…] In the end, large quantities of drugs were not confiscated and none of the arrests involved trafficking significant quantities, though many purchases were for amounts that exceeded “personal use,” Salinas said.
“Turns out they were just tiny amounts, but if you’ve got just one kid dealing drugs at school, that’s too many.”
William Reddie, 32, was killed by police as Child Protective Services employees attempted to seize his three-year-old. Reddie had been accused of smoking marijuana in front of his son.
A prosecutor in northern Michigan has cleared the police officer who shot and killed a Grayling man as police and Child Protective Services (CPS) employees attempted to seize his three-year-old. The attempted removal of the minor child came after a police officer who came to the scene on a call earlier that same day reported that he smelled marijuana and reported the incident to CPS authorities, who decided the child needed to be removed. The dead man, William Reddie, 32, becomes the 17th person killed in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.
Reddie’s killing took place on February 3, but we only became aware of it when news broke this week that prosecutors had decided that the police officer’s use of deadly force in the incident was justified.
According to the Crawford County Avalanche, Grayling police Officer Alan Somero was called to Reddie’s apartment for an alleged domestic disturbance. Somero made no arrests, but believed he smelled marijuana and reported it to CPS. Two CPS employees went to Reddie’s apartment to check on the situation. They then got a court order to remove Reddie’s 3-year-old son, Cameron, and asked police to escort them to the apartment to serve the court order.
[…] when police and CPS workers arrived to seize the child, Reddie then reportedly displayed a pocketknife and lunged at them. Crawford County Deputy John Klepadlo shot and killed him. Police had been deploying Tasers, but holstered them and grabbed their guns when Reddie displayed the knife.
Crawford County Sheriff Kirk Wakefield then asked the Michigan State Police to investigate his deputy’s use of deadly force. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office referred the case to the neighboring Roscommon County Prosecutor’s Office. After receiving a report from the State Police, Roscommon County DA Mark Jernigan determined that the use of deadly force was justified and that Klepadlo would not be charged with any crime.
[…] Toxicology reports, which were included in the final investigation, showed there was no marijuana or alcohol in Reddie’s system when he was killed.
[…] Cameron Reddie is now in foster care. His father’s family is seeking visitation rights.
Meanwhile, Deputy Klepadlo, who had been on administrative leave after the shooting, is back on the job.
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I put together this image as part of a typography assignment about a year or two ago. It’s a reference to a mantra often repeated by most politicians—whether they are from the United States or Mexico—to justify the aggressive policies of the drug war: “We’re doing it for the children! We’ve got to protect the children!” For those who understand the consequences of drug prohibition, it’s clear that it’s done little to keep children safe.
This excerpt is from pages 29-30 of Children of the Drug War: Perspectives on the Impact of Drug Policies on Young People
The “war on drugs,” in most places, is metaphorical. The term is rarely used by governments and was recently abandoned as a rhetorical device by the United States. In Mexico, however, the war on drugs has a very real dimension. It is “declared” government policy, it is militarized, and it is extremely bloody. Shortly after taking power, President Felipe Calderón ordered a military offensive against the country’s drug cartels that eventually involved tens of thousands of troops. Keeping drugs away from Mexico’s children has been a central justification.
While the consequent violence in Mexico has been well documented, the specific consequences for children are not so often brought to the fore. Despite President Calderón’s justification based on the welfare of children, his decision, combined with a zero-tolerance approach to drug use, has contributed to conditions in which children have been killed, orphaned, and neglected. Since the war on drugs began, there have been increased killings of children and parents with thousands dead and tens of thousands orphaned; increased attacks on drug rehabilitation centers, including massacres of young drug users; and increased attacks on schools resulting in a significant drop in school attendance for fear of violence.
It becomes clear that the harms of the drug war not only exist in the present but also will reverberate through many generations due to the specific harms inflicted on children. Next to them, the small gains against the cartels are rendered meaningless. After four years of poor results in frontally combating drug cartels and adopting zero-tolerance approaches to drugs, rethinking government strategies is now unavoidable. +
Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham, is comforted after the Bronx teen was fatally shot by police.
An unarmed 18-year-old man was shot and killed by a police officer Thursday in the Bronx as the teen allegedly was trying to flush drugs down a toilet, the fourth time police have shot and killed a suspect in as many weeks.
Narcotics officers had arrested two other men whom they watched allegedly sell drugs just before 3 p.m. when they approached the teenager, Ramarley Graham. Mr. Graham ran into his nearby home at 749 E. 229th St., a law-enforcement official said.
Mr. Graham rushed into a second-floor bathroom, where he was trying to flush drugs, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. Mr. Graham spun around when an officer confronted him, and the officer shot him once in his chest. It wasn’t clear what caused the officer to fire.
A law-enforcement official said Mr. Graham had eight prior arrests, including burglary, robbery, dealing marijuana and other offenses. The disposition of those cases wasn’t known.
The New York Police Department didn’t release the name of the officer involved. +
“There are over 2 million people incarcerated in local, state, and federal prisons in the United States, an incarceration rate of 743 per 100,000 people, which is high for a democracy (the incarceration rate is 325 in Israel, 217 in Poland, 154 in England and Wales, 96 in France, 71 in Denmark, and 32 in India). The number of people in jail has increased dramatically since the 1980s. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, incarceration rates between 1880 and 1970 ranged from about 100 to 200 prisoners per 100,000 people. After 1980, the inmate population began to grow much more rapidly than the overall population and the rate climbed from about 220 in 1980 to 458 in 1990, 683 in 2000, and 753 in 2008.
This increase didn’t have anything to do with a rise in crime. It mainly reflected changes in the correctional policies that determine who goes to prison and for how long. In particular, it had very much to do with the war on drugs.
Nonviolent drug offenders now account for about one-fourth of all inmates in the United States, up from less than 10 percent in 1980. The costs, of course, are staggering: State correctional spending now totals $52 billion a year, consuming one out of 14 general fund dollars; spending on corrections is the second fastest growth area of state budgets, following Medicaid.
The real tragedy is that so many children’s lives are destroyed along with those of their incarcerated parents. Over 50 percent of inmates are parents with minor children, including more than 120,000 mothers and 1.1 million fathers. One in every 28 children has a parent incarcerated, up from 1 in 125 just 25 years ago. Two-thirds of these children’s parents were incarcerated for nonviolent offenses.”
— Veronique de Rugy - ‘Prison Math’ and the War on Drugs | National Review
STORRS, CT – Following a meeting with student government leaders on January 30, 2011, the University of Connecticut’s Office of Community Standards altered its penalties for students found in possession of small amounts of marijuana, equalizing the punishment with underage drinking. The change is largely in response to Connecticut’s recent decriminalization of marijuana, which lowered the penalty for possession of under half an ounce of marijuana to a fine of $150 and a 60-day license suspension for those under 21, rather than up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The penalty for underage alcohol possession is a fine of $181 and a 150-day license suspension.
Sam Tracy, current President of the Student Body and former president of UConn Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), says, “I am happy to have worked with the Office of Community Standards to update the list of possible sanctions, effectively equalizing the punishments for underage drinking and possession of small amounts of marijuana. This change has made UConn’s response to these two minor drug violations much more sensible, focusing on the health of the student rather than on harsh sanctions that do nothing to solve the problem.”
The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) has been working on reforming marijuana penalties for many months now, beginning with its endorsement of marijuana decriminalization in March 2011. Student Body President Sam Tracy authored the endorsement as a Senator and later won the race for President on a platform that included reforming campus marijuana policies. In November 2011, the Undergraduate Student Government passed a statement of position supporting allowing Resident Assistants to handle marijuana violations, rather than the current policy in which Resident Assistants are required to call the UConn Police Department if they suspect someone is in possession of marijuana.
Bryan Flanaghan, USG Senator and author of the bill, said, “A vast majority of incidents at UConn involving marijuana involve small, decriminalized amounts, so it makes sense for Residential Life to handle these incidents internally and save the police time that could be better used stopping drunk drivers or other dangerous activities.” Following the bill’s passage, USG leaders set up a meeting with top administrators to discuss the proposal. The administrators were reluctant to take police out of confrontations involving marijuana, citing concerns for the safety of Resident Assistants and the possibility that offenders could be in possession of large amounts of marijuana that would require an arrest.
However, it was agreed upon that rather than equalize the procedures for dealing with alcohol and marijuana violations, equalizing the sanctions would be beneficial. The Office of Community Standards’ website had previously stated that a possible sanction for underage alcohol possession was a warning and the “UConn Compass” program, which is designed to help students make healthy decisions, and that the possible sanction for “possession and/or use of illegal drugs” was a University Suspension. On Janusamary 31, the Office of Community Standards revised its policies to state that the possible sanctions for both underage alcohol possession and possession of small amounts of marijuana include a warning, UConn Compass, and a Wellness and Prevention educational sanction. The possible sanctions for both offenses, when involving aggravating factors such as prior offenses or large amounts of either drug, include “University Probation, Removal from Housing, [and a] Wellness and Prevention educational sanction.”
Michael Gallie, current president of UConn’s chapter of SSDP, says, “Equalizing UConn’s penalties for underage alcohol and small amounts of marijuana simply makes sense – when state law treats the two infractions as equal, it’s sensible for the state’s flagship university to do so as well.”