Drunken United Nations demands continued worldwide cannabis prohibition.

Some ironies are just too compelling. On the same day that the United Nations demands that the USA overturn votes to legalize cannabis in US states, the same international diplomats are revealed to be too drunk to work. The ossified International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) president Raymond Yans attacked not only Washington and Colorado state votes for legalization for personal use, he also damned the 18 states that allow medical exemptions.

At nearly the same time, as reported at CBS News, “Ambassador Joseph M. Torsella, who represents the U.S. on the U.N.’s budget committee, said Monday that the tense process of negotiating the world body’s annual budget is made more complicated by the number of diplomats who turn up drunk.” This does not necessarily imply drunkenness at the INCB, but does show the arrogance of an organization that denies the entire planet the medical benefits of cannabis sativa while behaving like drunken louts.

INCB president cloaks his charges in the most Orwellian double speak imaginable. “They also undermine the humanitarian aims of the drug control system and are a threat to public health and wellbeing,” said Yans. He claimed that so-called “medicinal use” initiatives were little more than “a back-door to legalisation for recreational use”. Like a good drug war bureaucrat, he apparently does not see his “humanitarian aims,” in the misery of tens of millions of career killing, family-smashing arrests, the planet’s largest incarceration gulag, and a trillion dollars wasted.  His disdain for the now thoroughly proven medical benefits of cannabis disclose his total ignorance.

Sitting in Vienna, this UN bureaucrat seeks to disallow the freedom of medical cannabis consumer in US states to access their chosen medication,  the will of US voters be damned.

With this anti-cannabis stance, the United Nation is morphing into an evil organization. The denial to the world of the medical and prosperity benefits of cannabis sativa is a crime against human rights.  And the humans rights abuses go beyond incarceration and family breaking. Every years people are executed, to the silence of the UN, for “crimes” concerning this beneficial plant. Please see, UN Anti-Drug Day Soon: Get your execution pay-per-view now!  The worldwide arrests, incarcerations, forfeitures and even executions of the last 50 years are evils like the Inquisition and will be viewed at such by future generations.

Give “Drug Peace” a chance. Oh, never mind.

Rarely does this site quote from Forbes, as in Steve Forbes, but Doug Bandow has performed a great service with his current piece at Forbes.com, It’s Time To Declare Peace In The War Against Drugs.

The former special assistant to Ronald Reagan elegantly catalogs the malignacies of current drug policy. Concerning cannabis policy he writes,

  • “The Drug War also interferes with treatment of the sick and dying. Cannabis and other drugs can aid people suffering from a variety of maladies. Additional research would help determine how, in what form, and for what marijuana could be best used. Yet government effectively punishes vulnerable people in great pain, even agony.”

Author Bandow notes some of the ruinous wrongs ending the war on drugs would correct:

  • “Banning drugs raises their price, creates enormous profits for criminal entrepreneurs, thrusts even casual users into an illegal marketplace, encourages heavy users to commit property crimes to acquire higher-priced drugs, leaves violence the only means for dealers to resolve disputes, forces government to spend lavishly on enforcement, corrupts public officials and institutions, and undermines a free society. All of these effects are evident today and are reminiscent of Prohibition (of alcohol) in the early 20th Century.”

Bandow must have not been responsible for Ronald Reagan’s drug policies. This ‘small-government’ president’s worst hypocrisy and mistake was to “run up the battle flag on the war on drugs.” See Why 1984 WAS like 1984.

During this “Just Say No” era, bloated bureaucracies such as the DEA had money thrown at them, the Bill of Rights was disemboweled with the drug war exception, mandatory minimums were enacted. A quintupling of the US prison population began, now burdening the USA with the world’s highest number (and percentage) of caged citizens. Many of them are totally non-violent and no risk to society, ordinary Americans entrapped by draconian laws.

In late 2011, incredibly, the USA is again on the path of ramping up the drug war yet again, especially against cannabis, a medically beneficent natural substance that should never have been illegal, much less Schedule I. As long as it is Schedule I, self-serving Feds have everything they need to promote and expand their jobs and pensions with a renewed war on marijuana. Evidence of this new heavy hand of prohibition is everywhere.

  • Obama’s pathetic renomination of Bush-appointee and arch-medical cannabis nemesis Michele Leonhart to head DEA. The president’s ill thought appointment, and her gag-inducing Senate confirmation, allows this national police force to reinvigorate its war against Americans benefiting from medical marijuana.
  • The California dispensary system, conforming with state law, is about to be broken. One of the few positive aspects of the California economy just now, the dispensary system efficiently provides Californians their medicine, while generating employment, innovation and local and state tax revenue. Now the IRS and threats of ruinous property forfeitures are being used to close down these employers and tax payers.
  • Another crushing blow to any drug peace, was the Senate’s idiotic rejection of Jim Webb’s National Criminal Justice Commission Act (S. 306).  Crucial issues, such as grotesquely counterproductive laws, prosecutions, mandatory minimums and incarcerations could have been questioned in the light of day. Not going to happen.

It is preposterous that the USA, at this challenging point in its history can reinvigorate one of its most clearly failed policies, the federal war on marijuana. The country desperately needs to not be wasting its resources and attacking the rights, medical freedoms and lives of its citizens, but it is doing just that.

Publicizing rational ranking of drug harms to show relative safety of cannabis.

Patriots interested in ending the tyranny that is the war on drugs have been given a powerful new tool.  From Britain comes a novel ranking of the dangers of various drugs to their consumers and harms to families and society. In a finding that tears at the foundation of drug prohibition, ranked the legal drug alcohol the most dangerous of all drugs, legal or illegal. The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, headed by the esteemed Professor David Nutt found highly illegal marijuana, by contrast, was to be far safer.

Many were shocked that alcohol was declared the most dangerous drug. But others were less surprised, as alcohol is by far the most abused drug, causes the most addiction and promotes behaviors damaging to family and society. It also directly causes disease and death, especially through liver disease. Heroin came in as the second most harmful drug, mainly from it highly addictive nature, although it is not any where near a cause of violence as alcohol. Crack, the most volatile form of cocaine, was ranked as the next most destructive drug. Far down the harm list came marijuana and even lower other psychoactive drugs such as ecstasy and LSD.

The ranking looked at 9 categories of drug harm. Harm-to-self categories are:

  • Drug-specific mortality
  • Drug-related mortality
  • Drug-specific damage
  • Drug-related damage
  • Dependence
  • Drug-specific impairment of mental function
  • Drug-related impairment of mental functioning
  • Loss of tangibles
  • Loss of relationships
  • Injury

Harms-to-others categories include:

  • Crime
  • Environmental damage
  • Family conflict
  • International damage
  • Economic cost
  • Decline in community cohesion.

Numeric rankings were assigned to the Overall Harm Score, the higher the score, the more harmful the drug.

  • Alcohol – 72 – This is a huge number far out pacing the rest.
  • Heroin – 55
  • Crack –   54
  • Crystal meth – 33
  • Cocaine – 27
  • Tobacco – 26  – This number seems low considering the 5 million yearly world-wide cigarette deaths.  1,200 Americans die from cigarettes every day. Tobacco is also the most highly addictive drug and 3,000 American teenagers become addicted to cigarettes each day.
  • Amphetamine/speed – 23
  • Cannabis – 20 – This seems a little high, considering that zero medical deaths are associated with marijuana, and use of cannabis tends to reduce violence.
  • Benzodiazepines – Valium -15
  • Ecstacy – 9
  • Anabolic steroids – 9
  • LSD – 7 – Powerful potential as a psychiatric drug
  • Mushrooms – 5 – Yet psilocybin mushrooms, which grow from cattle dung and may be spiritually beneficial, are persecuted as Schedule I by the DEA

Headlines blared the new rankings:

This is not news, of course. Over a decade ago a similar ranking looking a addictive potential, impairment, danger to health and other indicators had cannabis competing with coffee as the least dangerous drug. The fresh rankings are news, though, in that they diverge from much of the public’s distorted view of drug dangers, fed by decades of federal drug war propaganda. And the new rankings of drug dangers are in nearly a directly opposite ranking of the legality of the drugs in the US federal government. The most dangerous drug, alcohol, is legal (as is the most addictive and lethal drug, cigarettes) while the far safer cannabis is legally ranked as Schedule I. This labels it as among the most dangerous drugs, without medical value, deserving of the harshest prosecution in criminal codes.

Ecstasy, MMDA, LSD and even psilocybin mushrooms are also legally scheduled as terribly dangerous, and of no medical use.  It turns out they inflict little harm and many may well have great value, especially in treating war caused disorders such as PTSD. If only the psychiatrists could use them, but they cannot, because congress and the DEA, in their self-serving wisdom, have declared them Schedule I. Politicians and bureaucrats have set the drug’s schedules, science be damned, and harms not considered. Knee jerk scheduling remains decades later, after legally scourging millions of American lives.

This new, rational ranking of drug harms can be used effectively for those arguing to end the damage of drug wars. This has already been done, e.g. in letter to the Pot Shots at the Criminalization of a Soft Drug. The writer, Alan Shanoff, state, “The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs in England recently rated marijuana with a harm score of 20 compared with alcohol at 72.” This numerical rating can be a real eye-opener and winning argument for reducing the only real harms from cannabis, those that come from its prohibition.

Cannabis liberty denied free speech.

A month ago, the US Supreme Court declared that corporations are essentially people and have the free speech rights of persons, especially to influence elections with vast amounts of money. During this time actual people supporting the end of the prohibition and persecution of cannabis have seen their free speech rights denied.

  • A NORML ad on the economic benefits of cannabis prohibition repeal and taxation was rejected by CBS corporation. Check out the ad here. Decide for yourself if it is immoral.
  • A YouTube event to allow participants a chance to ask President Obama a question via video was censored. Video inquiries regarding the end of cannabis prohibition were the most common, yet they were ignored by YouTube. The free speech was trounced of all those submitting questions about marijuana. The President was denied the opportunity to even learn of the true interests of the audience addressing him.

Paul Armentano covered the CBS ad rejection in an AlterNet article. CBS and/or the ad buyer, Neutron media suggested the ad was rejected on “moral” issues. Armentano points out that unjust cannabis prohibition laws have resulted in 20 million needless arrests since 1965.

  • Each arrest is a soul-killing, criminal record-establishing, family-smashing, career-destroying, big-government travesty. The prohibition of marijuana and the legal persecution and incarceration of those breaking this unjust law ranks high among America’s worst, least effective and most destructive policies. For a citizen’s group like NORML seeking to right this wrong to be denied the opportunity to buy ad space from a company supported, in great part, by alcohol ads, is ludicrous. The claim that it was doing so on “moral” grounds, is particularly nauseating.

Even more troubling than this rejection by old media such as CBS was the stab in the back reformers took from new media resource, YouTube. Unable to communicate the benefits of ending cannabis prohibition to the president directly, patriots have been effective at using Web-based events to bring this vital issue to Barack Obama’s attention.

In the YouTube question opportunities, people could make short YouTube videos addressing the president. Many did, with the largest number of questions again asking the president to end cannabis prohibition. President Obama, as it turned out, never got any such questions nor was made aware of their rank as question number 1. Instead, YouTube organizers took it upon themselves deny their participant’s free speech by ignoring such questions, along with hiding this #1 audience interest from the Chief Executive. WTF?

YouTube’s owner, Google, if it participated in such censoring, violated its own basic creed, To Do No Evil. The censoring of people speaking knowledge to power by YouTube was a corporate action of true social evil. Such actions delay the day the bloated cancer of America’s war on its own people, marijuana consumers, comes to an end.

Rahm Emanuel – Free Speech Hall of Shame

For a man that likes to curse a great deal, Barack Obama’s Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel does not much believe in the free speech rights of his fellow Americans. Indeed Rahm Emanuel committed an act so in conflict with his Constitution’s Bill of Rights he should be denied any government position. Yet, despite his egregious attack on the First Amendment Right of Free Speech, he is now “the second most powerful man” in the American government.

What was Emanuel’s great crime? In the 1990s the Chicago democrat was a key Clinton administration drug policy adviser. This was a time of rapid rise in drug arrests, especially cannabis arrests, driven by all the new laws and huge funding of the “war on drugs.”  After Californians voted in 1996 to legalize the medical use of cannabis, Emanuel, and fellow drug war mongers Joe Biden and Barry McCaffrey sought to deny these voters their rights by threatening cannabis-prescribing California physicians. In just this one policy, then, Emanuel and company worked to deny state voters their elected choice and also deny doctors the right of free speech in making their medical recommendations. Californians suffering from medical need such as glaucoma and nerve pain would be denied medical information by these bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

So much for democracy. The actions of Rham Emanuel and the drug czar McCaffrey show total disdain for voter rights, states rights, and medical rights. Their coercive policies reek of tyranny. In just about the only US Supreme Court decision favorable to these rights in the last 40 years, the high court said such over-bearing federal meddling violated the free speech rights of the physicians and their patients. Such arrogance and disregard for the US Constitution and the rights of fellow Americans should preclude Emanuel from any important goverment job.

President Obama professes to view Abraham Lincoln as a role model. Good idea. Perhaps, you Mr. President and your zealous chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel should revisit the earlier president from Illinois opinions on prohibition. Abraham Lincoln said,

A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded… Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man´s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes.

Too bad now we are stuck with a presidential chief-of-staff who views medical cannabis in the most reactionary possible way.  Rahm Emanuel is no Abraham Lincoln. Regrettably, neither is Barack Obama.