Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Small Step Down the Long Road

Pertinent to the previous post, we have Obama talking more sense than any sitting president so far on marijuana legalization. He predictably waffles back to the “center” on harder drugs, though. 


From “Stop the Drug War”:

The comments came as interviewer David Remnick prodded Obama on the issue of marijuana policy in the midst of a whopping 15,000-word profile of the president.

Obama said, "As has been well documented," Obama said in response to a Remnick question, "I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don't think it is more dangerous than alcohol."

But is it less dangerous, Remnick asked?

It is "in terms of its impact on the individual consumer," Obama conceded. "It's not something I encourage, and I've told my daughters I think it's a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy."

Perhaps marijuana smoking is a bad habit, but racially biased marijuana law enforcement is bad policy, Obama said.

"Middle-class kids don't get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do," he said. "And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties. We should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing."

And thus, the administration's hands-off policy toward marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington:

"It's important for it to go forward because it's important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished."

But then, the professorial president argued the other side of the issue.

"Having said all that, those who argue that legalizing marijuana is a panacea and it solves all these social problems I think are probably overstating the case. There is a lot of hair on that policy. And the experiment that's going to be taking place in Colorado and Washington is going to be, I think, a challenge."

“I also think that, when it comes to harder drugs, the harm done to the user is profound and the social costs are profound. And you do start getting into some difficult line-drawing issues. If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that? If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?”


What we are OK with is drug abuse being treated as a medical issue rather than a law enforcement issue.

Why is that so difficult? Our government is still under the influence of corporatists and puritans. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Long Road

As the militarists love to tell us, freedom isn’t free. What they don’t like to recognize is our freedoms have suffered more from the narrow vision of reactionary and conservative government policies than from terrorists or drugs.

Enter democracy, the last tool Americans have in defending freedom. Citizen ballot initiatives have paved the way for sane drug policies, along with the restored freedoms long suppressed by the war on drugs.

Colorado Makes History with First Legal Retail Marijuana Sales

Thank you democracy.

Meanwhile in less fortunate states, run primarily by Republicans, we see the cruelty and insanity continue.

Texas Deputy Killed in Dawn No-Knock Drug Raid

How many more casualties must be suffered in their war on sanity?

Not enough, apparently. More will die. More will be imprisoned. More will lose the meager sustenance they can muster. Republicans are doubling down on their class war by sticking it to the unemployed:

Drug Tests Falter as Way for States to Deny Public Aid

If signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, the Michigan bill would join drug-testing laws enacted this year in Kansas, Texas and North Carolina that try to navigate a delicate legal landscape.

Taking it to the courts is a long battle, but slowly progress is being made.

Federal Judge Throws Out Florida Welfare Drug Test Law

Florida's law mandating the suspicionless drug testing of welfare applicants has been found unconstitutional by a federal district judge. Gov. Rick Scott (R) says he will appeal.

Yeah, the same corpo-crook Rick Scott who led his Columbia/HCA into fraud charges. But does he get to take a drug test? Whatever for?

From Politifact:

Was Scott running Columbia/HCA when it found itself at the center of a massive federal investigation? Yes.

Did the company pay a record $1.7 billion in government penalties and fines? Yes, Columbia/HCA paid.

And as we checked in this item, did his former company commit fraud? Yes, it pleaded guilty to fraud charges as part of a settlement.

With little to no help from Democrats, the war between democracy and the Republican-led war on drugs continues. 

We the people have a long road ahead.