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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

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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.

Pot Block! Trapped in the Marijuana Rescheduling Maze

One journalist-provocateur’s journey into the drug war bureaucracy shows why previous efforts to reschedule pot have been DEA’d on arrival.

From: Harmon Leon writing for The Nation (10-30-2013)

Under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug in America. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Cannabis sativa is as dangerous as heroin. (You know… as in heroin!) To justify this ranking, the DEA has declared that the plant has absolutely no medical value. Zero. Nada. Zip. The federal government has determined that this position is backed by science.

Marijuana’s current status as one of the most dangerous drugs in America became official in 1970, during the Nixon administration. (Putting matters in ludicrous perspective, cocaine and even Breaking Bad meth are Schedule II.) Every administration since then has treated marijuana as mad, bad and dangerous to know, with virtually no attempt made to reclassify it. And that list includes the current one.

John Entwistle says: This is a short, easy to read article in which Mr. Leon nails the problem dead on! Click here to read this excellent article.

News Roundup:

Utah to Welcome Marijuana for Limited Medical Use

Here’s How Much a Pack of Marijuana Joints Could Eventually Cost

State agencies forecast millions in regulation costs if Alaska legalizes pot

Government approves medical marijuana research

Congress says “meh” to marijuana banking bill

JE Says: Changes are happening fast everywhere. These stories all contain great information of interest to all of us trying to keep up. And our question of the day. Why are so called recreational use advocates so defensive about rescheduling? Isn’t rescheduling a no brainer irregardless of why you think people use cannabis?

Big Victory for Canadian Medical Marijuana Growers — Injunction filed to stop Health Canada!

imageThis is a huge developing story involving thousands of patients in Canada and several million cannabis plants said patients are growing with licenses from the government of Canada. Health Canada is trying to remove the right of these patients to grow their own cannabis. The plan is to force them to purchase their medicine from a central source with little or no choice about price or strain or method of ingestion. The press release from the government ordering patients to destroy their own medicine by mixing it with kitty litter is so stupid and mean it should be enshrined as a testimony to the ignorance and hubris of those in power today. (Right next to this story from Washington state.)

As always we will refer you to original sources and journalists for the full story. But our thanks and congratulations go out to (Sir) Leland Cole and all our hard fighting friends in Canada on winning this last minute injunction. We pray they win the court case to follow..

First: The press release from Health Canada ordering patients to destroy their own meds.

Next: The whole story as it is breaking. The National Post reports on the Late March Injunction & Huffpost Canada throws in some more details.

Why is cannabis still a Schedule I drug? Political Magic 101 — Misdirection.

By John Entwistle & Dennis Peron on March 13, 2014

Medical marijuana was the new face of the evil weed when we wrote the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.  It was new to a nation under the influence of a 60 year long reefer madness campaign. It was new to all but the very old.  The rest of us were too young to know that from the time before the pyramids right up until 1937 cannabis was medicine. It was new because it was outside our experience of modern drugs keeping us healthy. So we thought it was brand new and what came before – the so called recreational use of pot – was old. 

Back then most folks figured recreational pot meant everyone and medical was just for sick and dying people. In other words we were talking about two different groups of users, a few medicating and the majority “getting high.” And most of us would still identify with the latter category if the alternative meant copping to some socially demeaning vulnerability such as illness or even the most minor disability.

Therein lays the misdirection, our fixation on the chimera of recreational pot. That we see two groups instead of one sets us up to be manipulated by those wizards of prohibition. The illusion exploits human ego and misconceptions about cannabis, in particular the trivialization of its many therapeutic applications so nicely accomplished today.

So when the magician asks us to choose between medical and recreational reasons to explain our personal use of marijuana we will pick the answer that saves face. We’ll claim perfect health saying that we toke up for the buzz or some such nonsense. And so we are manipulated into accepting a binary scenario in which we can only see ourselves as non-medical users. It’s a powerful spell. We’ll insist that we’re just getting stoned a hundred times over. Eventually we will believe it. And so will everyone else.

Thus set up we will never ask the revealing question. Is medical pot really new or is recreational use just a slanderous short term memory that should be lost ASAP? The history of the world indisputably backs this second point but the entire experience of our short lives sets us up to think that medical marijuana is a new idea. This mother of all working memory limits is as effective as a blindfold.

As best as anyone can remember, prior to the AIDS epidemic pot was a recreational drug used by people who used superlatives describing the so called “high”; it was illegal and getting caught was bad. To buy marijuana you had to know a criminal and it was more expensive than gold.

Cannabis users lived semi-underground in a world where lying was commonplace. Our collective identity was violently imposed on us through decades of media stereotyping alongside mass arrests to the tune of a half million of us (now closer to 800,000) per year. Many have been arrested multiple times for nothing more than marijuana.

Misunderstood is putting it mildly. As “Potheads” we were broadly regarded as disrespectful of authority, even a bit masochistic for choosing not to get with the program and quit. It was hard not to buy into it; hell, it was futile to argue – we’d just dig the hole deeper. To the extent that we fought at all for our civil rights our banner read:  Recreational use. No one, including ourselves had any idea of what the hell that slogan meant (although it did have a nice ring to it). And so we would lose in the poles, the elections and in the courtroom.

As so called recreational users we were marginalized, even by ourselves. This allowed for victimization, disenfranchisement and discrimination to occur uncontested in ten thousand ways. We were thrown out of schools, jobs and even our biological families. In hind sight, it was a failure to communicate. We didn’t really know who we were so we couldn’t find common ground with the greater society. This deplorable situation could have gone on forever had it not been for the AIDS epidemic coming out of nowhere during the early 1980’s. That’s when everything changed.

AIDS killed the appetite for reasons unknown. It left the body vulnerable to diseases that required massive doses of stomach wrenching medications. The early years of the epidemic were a combination of mind numbingly painful images soaked in an atmosphere of frustration.  Guys were wasting to death with purple skin cancer lesions, flat hard circles of fungus type growths consuming their bodies eventually “going internal” through the mouth or nose. For several long years there was no treatment whatsoever, no cure, no explanations, no nothing. Many died, slowly in great pain. They exist now as memories in the minds of their surviving friends.

That’s when we found out that marijuana is one of the most powerful wonderful medicines there ever was. The munchies were a medical miracle. In fact, during those dark years cannabis was the safest and most commonly used medication for AIDS patients. As it turned out, the doctors had fancy words for all the qualities we used to joke about when we were just “getting high.” It eased nausea, reduced pressure in glaucoma patients’ eyes, and its qualities as a euphoria promoting agent could bring laughter to the dying. Those diagnosed with cancer were the next obvious demographic to jump on the bandwagon followed closely by glaucoma and multiple sclerosis patients.  When the alcoholics and the people in treatment for mental health issues started talking to their doctors the truth was revealed: all use is medical.

So the AIDS epidemic opened our eyes to the truth about cannabis. We finally put the confused rhetoric behind us telling the world who we were and what we wanted in clear precise language.  That was the origin of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and when 5 ½ million Californians (56%) voted it into law we figured federal rescheduling would be right around the corner. That was 18 years ago. What went wrong?

Curiously, we are seeing a high powered revival of those same clichés and stereotypes that enabled President Nixon to say pot is not a medicine when he put it on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act where it remains to this day. Millions of dollars per year are now being spent through public relations and legal professionals to convince America that cannabis is not a medicine but a “recreational drug” being used for trivial reasons. In some states we’re legislating this point of view.

Ironically this successful ongoing effort to misdirect America’s attention away from rescheduling is being marketed as an effort to” legalize marijuana for recreational purposes.” And that sophisticated little twist of phrase is the magical incantation that stops rescheduling cold in its tracks while disguising that malicious genie of prohibition in such innocuous terms as  “regulate, control and tax.“ The new narrative, an inexhaustible source of confusion, claims “limited medical use” was just a stepping stone to “widespread recreational use.”

What does this new direction mean to a cancer patient entering chemotherapy or alcoholic using cannabis as an alternative to drinking? It means they are going to be a big herd of cash cows. And if they break any of the restrictions designed to keep the price of their medicine high, then they get treated like criminals. Since that is the outcome we are trying to put behind us it is hard not to see this as a U-turn returning us to a very dark place in recent history.

Are we really going to force seniors treating glaucoma to lie, to have to claim to be recreating when they use cannabis? Are we going to smash their doors down and point loaded guns at their heads if they have too much? Yes we certainly will, we’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.

Thus when the smoke clears we see that so called legalization maintains many key problems of prohibition. First we rebrand cannabis as “anything but medicine.” Then we control, regulate and tax it keeping the price high, the black market thriving and the prisons full. Instead of rescheduling the federal government just suspends enforcement of a few laws on a temporary state by state negotiated basis. Abracadabra! Marijuana stays on Schedule I, right where President Nixon categorized it in 1972.

So here we are today, arrested in a state of empty verbiage. I call it magic and misdirection but Noam Chomsky calls it manufacturing consent. Edward Bernays called it propaganda before rebranding it public relations after Hitler and Goebbels gave the trick such a bad name.  Call it what you will but this is why the public is no longer even demanding rescheduling of cannabis and that is not only unfortunate, it is also by design. 

The authors can be reached at: castrocastle@gmail.com & www.marijuana.org

Soros blinks! 2014 DPA initiative effort tabled under fierce opposition from California patients.

Source: LA Times, Feb 18,2014

California ballot measure on pot legalization delayed until 2016 

A national drug reform coalition decides not to put an initiative before voters in November, saying it needs more money and time.

The decision not to go forward in 2014 was “very close” and “one that came down to the wire,” said Graham Boyd, counsel to Lewis and a leader in working to legalize marijuana in California. “We see this as a trial run or a dress rehearsal for 2016.” …

After extensive polling, the group had put together a campaign staff, drafted the Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act, registered it with the California secretary of state and was poised to gather signatures to get the initiative on the November ballot. …

But with an April 18 deadline looming to hand in signatures, the group halted its efforts. In an interview Monday, Boyd and Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann said they needed more time …

Money is also an issue. At least $10 million, they said, would be needed to run a successful campaign over California’s vast terrain and costly media markets.

John Entwistle says: This buys us two more years as a state. A lot can happen in that time. Too bad patients in California have to waste so much energy and time fighting these Wall Street guys.

Click here to read the whole article.

Buy my book! — learn your roots…

Reviewers give Peron’s New Book Five Stars on Amazon’s verified rating system. —”In an area whose subject matter is dominated by histories of the War on Drugs it is great to see a biography that begins to write down history on the efforts to legalize Medical Marijuana. I am grateful that Dennis Peron took the time to put his experiences and memories down in writing. The history of marijuana prohibition is a subject where there are few primary sources on the activists involved and history to legalize it. This will become one of the essential historical sources of that period.” — “A Missing Link in the History to Legalize Medical Marijuana