New York Times: Let States Decide on Marijuana

Game changer of an editorial published July 27, 2014


That law, so antique that it uses the spelling “marihuana,” is still on the books, and is the principal reason that possessing the substance … is considered illegal by the United States government. Changing it wouldn’t even require an act of Congress — the attorney general or the secretary of Health and Human Services could each do so — although the law should be changed to make sure that future administrations could not reimpose the ban.

It’s hard for the public to take seriously a law that says marijuana and heroin have exactly the same “high potential for abuse,” since that ignores the vastly more addictive power of narcotics, which have destroyed the lives of millions of people around the world. (There are no documented deaths from a marijuana overdose.) The 44-year refusal of Congress and eight administrations to alter marijuana’s place on Schedule I has made the law a laughingstock, one that states are openly flouting.

John Entwistle says: Click here to read this important opinion piece. We do take exception to one part of the Times’ proposal which is quoted below:

"Consuming marijuana is not a fundamental right that should be imposed on the states by the federal government, in the manner of abortion rights, health insurance, or the freedom to marry a partner of either sex. It’s a choice that states should be allowed to make based on their culture and their values, and it’s not surprising that the early adopters would be socially liberal states like Colorado and Washington, while others hang back to gauge the results."

John Entwistle continues: This is just plain wrong. Medical pot is as important to patients in Kansas and Texas as it is to us in California. This is why federal action should start with rescheduling pot to Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act with all normal follow through to encourage the states to follow suit in the interest of uniformity. The two Bills mentioned are interesting but not the first step by far, although the “Hands off medical states DEA Bill” is a nice motion in the right direction.

New Report: Medical pot trumps recreational in Colorado as the smoke clears.

Excerpt from: The Denver Post , July 23, 2014

Medical pot is cheaper (7.62 percent sales tax in Denver as opposed to 21.12 percent at retail outlets) and more widely available. And while it requires a doctor’s permission, that has been notoriously easy to secure.

Heavy users — those who consume marijuana every day — “drive almost 70 percent of total marijuana demand,” the Department of Revenue study says. No wonder medical marijuana sales dwarfed retail sales in the first four months of this year — $133 million vs. $70 million — while tax revenues from retail pot are lagging far behind projections.

Click here to read this excellent opinion piece by Vincent Carroll, the Denver Post editorial page editor.

Click here to read the study prepared for the Colorado Department of Revenue. It contains some great statistics about how much pot is being consumed in Colorado. Wow!

Marijuana Considered for Looser Restrictions by U.S. FDA

Excerpt from Bloomberg; By Anna Edney 2014-06-20

U.S. regulators are studying whether restrictions on marijuana should be eased, a step toward decriminalizing the drug at the federal level.

The Food and Drug Administration is conducting an analysis at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s request on whether the U.S. should downgrade the classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, said Douglas Throckmorton, Deputy Director for Regulatory Programs at the FDA, at a congressional hearing.

John Entwistle says: Click here to read the petition yourself. This was filed on November 30, 2011 by the governors of four states. All previous petitions were filed by marijuana legalization activists and were denied but this one is different. We predict that this petition will be granted and the result will be the removal of pot from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. This is what we have worked our entire lives to make happen.

Senate Could Follow House In Blocking DEA From Targeting Medical Marijuana

Excerpt from: The Huffington Post (6-19-2014)

WASHINGTON — The Senate could soon follow the House in banning the Drug Enforcement Administration from using its budget to crack down on states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday introduced a Senate amendment to the Justice Department budget bill that would restrict DEA agents and federal prosecutors from using allotted funds to pursue providers of and patients using medical marijuana in the 22 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized its use.

JE Says: This is a fast breaking story. The Huffpost is doing good work following it and their article has some excellent links. My spin: We’re on the road to rescheduling at the federal level.

New York State Reaches Deal On Medical Marijuana, But There’s A Huge Catch


Excerpt from: The Huffington Post (6-19-2014)

The Compassionate Care Act, the governor said, will make medical marijuana accessible to patients suffering from certain diseases, including AIDS, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and cancer.

The bill, however, prohibits patients from smoking the drug. Instead, doctors can only prescribe edibles, tinctures or vaporizers. Of the 22 other states that have legalized medical marijuana, only Minnesota also bans smoking of the drug, which some experts say is the most effective method of delivery for many patients.

JE says: You gotta start somewhere… Click here to read this excellent article.

For even more info and good quotes: “New York State Reaches Multiple Last-Minute Deals — Agreement Reached to Legalize Medical Marijuana, but No Smoking to Be Allowed” – Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2014

GOP House Backs State Medical Marijuana Laws

WASHINGTON May 30, 2014 (AP)

By ANDREW TAYLOR Associated Press

Libertarian-minded and moderate Republicans joined forces early Friday morning with Democrats in an early morning House vote to block the federal government from interfering with states that permit the use of medical marijuana.

The unusual coalition produced a surprising 219-189 vote in the GOP-controlled House that reflects more permissive public attitudes toward medical pot use. It ran counter to the drug’s official classification as holding “no currently accepted medical use” and a “high potential for abuse.”

Click here to read this story…

US Attorney General Eric Holder admits using marijuana

America’s top law official says he experimented with drugs during his college years

The Telegraph (UK 15 Apr 2014) reports:

Mr Holder joins a growing list of senior American officials who have admitted to drug use in their past, including President Barack Obama, who has said he smoked marijuana at high school.

Around half of the prisoners in US jails are incarcerated for drug offences, with arrests for marijuana possession surpassing those for all violent crimes combined.

A study by the the Federal Bureau of Investigation has found that an American is arrested for a marijuana-related offence every 42 seconds on average.

Click here to read this story with good quotes and a nice picture at The Telegraph website. The HuffingtonPost also did an article on this general topic with more quotes and interesting background links. 

Marijuana’s thirst depleting North Coast watersheds


Excerpt from: THE PRESS DEMOCRAT (Apr 12, 2014) By GLENDA ANDERSON:

The North Coast sits at the center of the escalating environmental crisis. Its remote forests and seemingly ample water supplies have long made the region famed territory for West Coast pot cultivation, earning three counties — Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity — the much-trumpeted “Emerald Triangle” moniker.

That notoriety is now marked, however, by the signs of widespread environmental degradation, endangering the region’s clear, free-running streams and the wildlife that depends on them.

“I think it’s really important that this industry, which has brought so much wealth to our communities and the region, take responsibility for its impacts,” said Scott Greacen, executive director of Friends of the Eel River.

JE Says: California is in the throes of a terrible drought, both ferocious and ongoing. We fight over water on good day. Our industry is perhaps poorly located. Some of the best pot I have ever smoked was grown near Columbia, Missouri. We may have to situate the crop closer to the water. But in our defense, the cannabis crop is pretty important to a lot of folks and Californians who want to see water being irresponsibly wasted just need to put on their mud boots and wade into any publicly maintained park in San Francisco. SF City Government is one of, if not the largest, water wasters in the state and would be a lot easier to catch than paranoids hiding deep in the woods. So YES, pot growers should conserve water but this effort has to go a lot further than that. Tune one of those satellites on Dolores Park or Duboce Park or that staircase at Vallejo & Montgomery. Hell we’re drowning in San Francisco; there isn’t a dry spot to sit down for 49 square miles. Please take some of our water and we’ll even toss in a few thousand flower planting neighbors for good measure. Anyway, read the article, there is a lot of truth in what they are saying, this issue is important and the map is great.

Citibank stressed over Mexican pot? Was the bogus collateral a $400 million dollar farm loan, or what?

What happens when drug money corruption consumes banks deemed too big to fail? One more reason to reschedule marijuana both nationally and internationally.

Excerpt from: Stress and the Citi, by Charles R. Morris writing for Reuters on April 7, 2014:

 “In late February, Citi had announced that its Mexican subsidiary, known as Banamex — the jewel of its international network — was out $400 million because of a garden-variety fraud operation. …”

“Soon after, Citi announced that it had been served with subpoenas for a potential criminal prosecution for money laundering and other violations at Banamex. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Securities and Exchange Commission sent related subpoenas. Federal authorities have long been unhappy with Banamex’s money-laundering controls. Whether the loan fraud is connected to money laundering is not known… But it’s easy to construct scenarios in which large short-term oil-related loans could be used to create seemingly legitimate conduits to process drug money in and out of Mexico.”

Excerpt from: Public Broadcasting System quoting from Money Laundering Alert:

“Citibank’s policies on knowing its “private banking customers extends to the point of “visit(ing) our clients 10 to 12 times a year in their country.” “This is why we go to their homes, this is why we visit with their family, this is why we go to their business, this is why we remember birthdays…. It’s too risky not to do due diligence, not to know who you’re dealing with…,” she testified.”

… “The “know your client,” at least in our bank, is part of the culture. It’s part of the way you do things. It’s part of the way you conduct yourself. If you come in with a prospect and/or name of a prospect, you will be sure to be asked, “Who is this person, what do they do, who introduced them to you,” by at least three or four people higher than you. It’s just the way it is….”

JE Says: Just to be fair, Citi is just the most recent (and out of control) case. There was Wachovia, Hell’s Cargo and HSBC and actually several others in what is becoming a regular pattern of converting black market proceeds into investment capital. We’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars. Keene used to speak of evil fairies doing great good, I wonder if this is what he meant. Here’s a bit more of that recent history.

And contrast this trend to the treatment that medical marijuana clubs in California receive after following the state law and organizing themselves into legal business structures to serve patients and pay taxes yet they continue to grovel and beg for permission to use banking services in a normal manner. It does tend to rattle ones confidence in the US banking industry and government regulatory objectivity in general.

The folks over in London at the Guardian are doing real journalism raising some excellent questions and so we’ll close with a final reference to Gabriel Matthew Schivone from his April 10, 2014 story:

Why aren’t we putting US agencies on trial for financing El Chapo’s drug war? — From Capone to Mexico’s captured cocaine king, the villains we love to hate obscure the truth about America’s secret support

Eric Holder Would Be ‘Glad To Work With Congress’ To Reschedule Marijuana

Source: Huff Post, 4-4-2014

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration would be willing to work with Congress if lawmakers want to take marijuana off the list of what the federal government considers the most dangerous drugs, Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday.

We’d be more than glad to work with Congress if there is a desire to look at and reexamine how the drug is scheduled, as I said there is a great degree of expertise that exists in Congress," Holder said during a House Appropriations Committee hearing. "It is something that ultimately Congress would have to change, and I think that our administration would be glad to work with Congress if such a proposal were made.”

John Entwistle Says: “Looking good for rescheduling folks!” read the article and enjoy the links. We see Mr. Holder’s comments as fitting into a bigger pattern of recent quotes from our nations most powerful politicians all advocating rescheduling.