Senior White House and Justice Department officials are considering plans for legal action against Colorado and Washington that could undermine voter-approved initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in those states, according to several people familiar with the deliberations.
Even as marijuana legalization supporters are celebrating their victories in the two states, the Obama administration has been holding high-level meetings since the election to debate the response of federal law enforcement agencies to the decriminalization efforts.
Not that I am in support of the “war on drugs” in America, but this is a great read on geospatial predictive analysis.
And now, this PSA, brought to you by the Long Island Regional Poison Control Council, as well as the Flip Mode Squad.
As Speaker of the House, Gingrich introduced the “Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996.”
The bill would have required a “sentence of death for certain importations of significant quantities of controlled substances.” It would have applied to anyone convicted more than once of carrying 100 doses — or about two ounces — or marijuana across the border. Defendants would have had a window of 18 months to file their one and only appeal.
“If you import a commercial quantity of illegal drugs, it is because you have made the personal decision that you are prepared to get rich by destroying our children,” the Georgia Republican said at a fundraiser for Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA) in 1995. “I have made the decision that I love our children enough that we will kill you if you do this.”
“The first time we execute 27 or 30 or 35 people at one time, and they go around Colombia and France and Thailand and Mexico, and they say, ‘Hi, would you like to carry some drugs into the U.S.?’ the price of carrying drugs will have gone up dramatically.”
U.S. law already allows the death penalty in the cases of large-scale drug operations — or continuing criminal enterprises — that result in murder.
Gingrich charged in 1994 that 25 percent of President Bill Clinton’s White House staff used drugs, but at the same time admitted that he had also smoked pot 25 years earlier.
“That was a sign we were alive and in graduate school in that era,” he explained.
“See, when I smoked pot it was illegal, but not immoral,” Gingrich reportedly told Wall Street Journal reporter Hilary Stout in 1996. “Now, it is illegal AND immoral. The law didn’t change, only the morality… That’s why you get to go to jail and I don’t.”
Black youth are arrested for drug crimes at a rate ten times higher than that of whites. But new research shows that young African Americans are actually less likely to use drugs and less likely to develop substance use disorders, compared to whites, Native Americans, Hispanics and people of mixed race.
U.S. attorneys in California today sent letters to at least 16 medical marijuana dispensaries informing them that they must close up shop within 45 days or risk being brought up on federal charges prohibiting the possession and sale of the drug.
This despite the fact that medical marijuana is legal in the state of California.
The Associated Press reports that the notice is part of larger crackdown on pot dispensaries in the state, the details of which will be revealed in full tomorrow.
“Under United States law,” read the letter, “a dispensary’s operations involving sales and distribution of marijuana are illegal and subject to criminal prosecution and civil enforcement actions.”
The letters, which claim that federal law “takes precedence over state law” set up a possible states’ rights showdown.
In late June, the Obama administration reversed its policy of leniency toward medical marijuana dispensaries, saying that so-called “pot shops” were subject to persecution in accordance with federal anti-drug laws.
A recent Rand Corp. study found that the crime rate in areas where medical marijuana dispensaries were shut down actually increased by up to 59%.
“This will happen to all the Internet snitches.”
The bodies of a man and a woman hang from a bridge in Neuvo Laredo, a city along the US-Mexico border. The two were allegedly killed by drug cartel members for reporting information about drug violence to Mexican Web sites that aggregate such data.
The quote above is from a sign found near the two.
Via a September 15 New York Times post in the Lede Blog:
The murders were all the more disturbing because, absent regular news reports on the drug violence, many in Mexico turn to Twitter and other social media for information. Hashtags — which tie Twitter posts together — have become an important sorting mechanism, turning connected reports by individual Twitter accounts into an ad hoc news service.
And from today’s New York Times:
The killings highlighted the growing power of the so-called cyber guardians, whose Twitter accounts sometimes carry avatars depicting Pancho Villa and other heroes of the Mexican Revolution. The drug cartels, which have often successfully enforced information blackouts at the local level by intimidating the police and reporters, are clearly threatened by the decentralized distribution of the Web. And it may be harder for them to control.
Today’s Times story begins with Mexican Twitter users alerting one another to stay away from a particular street in Veracruz. Masked gunmen were in the process of dumping 35 bodies under a bridge.
Image Source: Borderland Beat.
The SAMHSA recently released this statement about how “illicit drug use is on the rise,” illicit being another word for illegal. The country’s drug use raised roughly a percentage point per year. This increase largely comes from a significant rise in marijuana use, unsurprising given the number of people around the country “legally” prescribed the substance in the last few years. “In 2010, 17.4 million Americans were current users of marijuana - compared to 14.4 million in 2007.”
What’s buried, several paragraphs in and after SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde’s useless PR-quote (emphasis mine):
Despite some troubling trends, the 2010 NSDUH showed some areas of improvement in terms of lower use levels for certain substances. The number of current methamphetamine users decreased by roughly half from 2006 to 2010 — from 731,000 people age 12 and older (0.3-percent) to 353,000 (0.1-percent). Cocaine use has also declined, from 2.4 million current users in 2006 to 1.5 million in 2010. In addition, among 12 - 17 year olds there were decreases between 2009 and 2010 in current drinking rates (from 14.7-percent down to 13.6-percent) and current tobacco use rates (from 11.6-percent to 10.7-percent).
Seems to me they spun this whole thing terribly. I would count this as a victory in the “War on Drugs.”
For terrorism: 15
For fraud: 122
For drugs: 1,618
Since the drug war started, there’s been a very sharp increase in incarceration rates; the U.S.’s incarceration rate is way beyond maybe five, ten times as high as comparable countries, and its target is primarily black males, Hispanic males, some women, some whites — very disproportionately to the population. After all, think of the history of this country. After the Emancipation Proclamation, there were about 10 years in which blacks were formally sort of free, and then slavery was reintroduced by incarceration. By the 1870s the states had passed laws, and federal government approved them, in which essentially black life was criminalized. If a black man was found standing on a street corner, he could be arrested for vagrancy. If somebody claimed he looked the wrong way at a white woman, he’d be incarcerated for attempted rape. Pretty soon, you had the black male population mostly in jail, and they were a slave labor force. A lot of the American industrial revolution was based on slave labor from leased prisoners in U.S. steel, the mines.
This went on until the Second World War, when there was a need for labor. There was a post-war boom, and during that period black men could begin to integrate into the work force and get a job in an auto plant — a fairly decent job with wages — buy a house, send their kids to school, and so on. Well, by the ’70s it was over. The economy was being financialized, production was being exported, there was a rust belt developing where the manufacturing jobs were essentially no longer available. So what do you do with the black population? Well, the answer was throw them back in jail under the pretext of the drug war.