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TOP 5 SPECIAL INTEREST LOBBIES TO KEEP MARIJUANA ILLEGAL / 5 Favorite Law Enforcement Lies About Marijuana / Democrats Re-Launch Civil War On Drugs – Activist Post

By Lee Fang
April 20, 2012

Last year, over 850,000 people in America were arrested for marijuana-related crimes. Despite public opinion, the medical community, and human rights experts all moving in favor of relaxing marijuana prohibition laws, little has changed in terms of policy.

There have been many great books and articles detailing the history of the drug war. Part of America’s fixation with keeping the leafy green plant illegal is rooted in cultural and political clashes from the past.

However, we at Republic Report think it’s worth showing that there are entrenched interest groups that are spending large sums of money to keep our broken drug laws on the books:

1.) Police Unions: Police departments across the country have become dependent on federal drug war grants to finance their budget. In March, we published a story revealing that a police union lobbyist in California coordinated the effort to defeat Prop 19, a ballot measure in 2010 to legalize marijuana, while helping his police department clients collect tens of millions in federal marijuana-eradication grants. And it’s not just in California. Federal lobbying disclosures show that other police union lobbyists have pushed for stiffer penalties for marijuana-related crimes nationwide.

2.) Private Prisons Corporations: Private prison corporations make millions by incarcerating people who have been imprisoned for drug crimes, including marijuana. As Republic Report’s Matt Stoller noted last year, Corrections Corporation of America, one of the largest for-profit prison companies, revealed in a regulatory filing that continuing the drug war is part in parcel to their business strategy. Prison companies have spent millions bankrolling pro-drug war politicians and have used secretive front groups, like the American Legislative Exchange Council, to pass harsh sentencing requirements for drug crimes.

3.) Alcohol and Beer Companies: Fearing competition for the dollars Americans spend on leisure, alcohol and tobacco interests have lobbied to keep marijuana out of reach. For instance, the California Beer & Beverage Distributors contributed campaign contributions to a committee set up to prevent marijuana from being legalized and taxed.

4.) Pharmaceutical Corporations: Like the sin industries listed above, pharmaceutical interests would like to keep marijuana illegal so American don’t have the option of cheap medical alternatives to their products. Howard Wooldridge, a retired police officer who now lobbies the government to relax marijuana prohibition laws, told Republic Report that next to police unions, the “second biggest opponent on Capitol Hill is big PhRMA” because marijuana can replace “everything from Advil to Vicodin and other expensive pills.”

5.) Prison Guard Unions: Prison guard unions have a vested interest in keeping people behind bars just like for-profit prison companies. In 2008, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association spent a whopping $1 million to defeat a measure that would have “reduced sentences and parole times for nonviolent drug offenders while emphasizing drug treatment over prison.”

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Exclusive: Why Can’t You Smoke Pot? Because Lobbyists Are Getting Rich Off of the War on Drugs

POSTED AT 11:00 AM BY LEE FANG

Police union lobbyist John Lovell
John Lovell is a lobbyist who makes a lot of money from making sure you can’t smoke a joint. That’s his job. He’s a lobbyist for the police unions in Sacramento, and he is a driving force behind grabbing Federal dollars to shut down the California marijuana industry. I’ll get to the evidence on this important story in a bit, but first, some context.

At some point in the distant past, the war on drugs might have been popular. But not anymore — the polling is clear, but beyond that, the last three Presidents have used illegal drugs. So why do we still put hundreds of thousands of people in steel cages for pot-related offenses? Well, there are many reasons, but one of them is, of course, money in politics. Corruption. Whatever you want to call it, it’s why you can’t smoke a joint without committing a crime, though of course you can ingest any number of pills or drinks completely within the law.

Some of the groups who want to keep the drug illegal are police unions that want more members to pay more dues. One of the primary sources for cash for more policing activities are Federal grants for penalizing illegal drug use, which help pay for overtime, additional police officers, and equipment for the force. That’s what Lovell does, he gets those grants. He also fights against democratic mechanisms to legalize drugs.

In 2010, California considered Prop 19, a measure to legalize marijuana and tax it as alcohol. The proposition gained more votes than Meg Whitman, the former eBay executive and Republican gubernatorial nominee that year, but failed to pass. Opponents of the initiative ran ads, organized rallies, and spread conspiracy theories about billionaire George Soros to confuse voters.

Lovell managed the opposition campaign against Prop 19. He told Time Magazine that he was pushing against the initiative because, “the last thing we need is yet another mind-altering substance to be legalized.”

But Republic Report reviewed lobbying contracts during the Prop 19 fight, and found that Lovell’s firm was paid over $386,350 from a wide array of police unions, including the California Police Chiefs Association.

While Lovell may contend that he sincerely opposes the idea of marijuana legalization, he has constructed an entire business model predicated on pot prohibition.

Shortly after President Obama’s stimulus program passed, Lovell went to work channeling the taxpayer money for California into drug war programs. According to documents Republic Report obtained from the Police Chiefs Association, Lovell helped local departments apply for drug war money from the Federal government. Here’s a copy of one letter sent to a police department in Lassen County, California:

There is big money in marijuana prohibition. Lovell represented a police union in a bid to steer some $2.2 million dollars into a “Marijuana Suppression Program.” In 2009 and 2010, California police unions sought a $7,537,389 chunk of Federal money for police to conduct a “Campaign Against Marijuana Planting” program.
The anti-marijuana money went directly into the paychecks of many officers. For example, police departments in Shasta, Siskiyou, and Tehama Counties formed a “North California Eradication Team” to receive $550,000 in grants that helped pay for overtime, a new officer, and flight operations:

The total amount awarded was $550,000, to be split between Shasta, Siskiyou and Tehama counties, which make up the Northern California Marijuana Eradication Team (NorCal-MET). Broken down in the agenda worksheet, the sheriff’s office is expecting to spend $20,000 on flight operations, $94,895 for the full-time deputy’s salary and benefits, $16,788 for the administration assistant salary and benefits and $29,983 to cover up to 666.29 hours of overtime.

The Federal anti-marijuana honeypot might have dried up if Prop 19 had passed. Legalizing marijuana would have generated billions in tax revenue for the state of California, while also reducing victimless crime prosecutions. But for lobbyists like Lovell, legalization was a direct assault on hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential fees for helping to solicit taxpayer money for his clients.

Police unions also contributed about $100,500 to a campaign account used to coordinate opposition to Prop 19. Of the $386,350 in fees paid by police unions to Lovell through 2009 and 2010, status update reports reviewed by Republic Report reveal that Lovell worked on a number of issues, from advocacy against Prop 19 to channeling grants and monitoring legislation.

Of course, police unions aren’t the only interest group with a stake in maintaining broken drug laws. The beer industry, alcohol corporations, and prison guard unions also contributed money to help Lovell stop Prop 19. Howard Wooldridge, a retired police officer who now helps push for legalization as a citizen advocate, told Republic Report that drug company lobbyists also fight to keep marijuana illegal because they view pot as a low-cost form of competition.

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WHEN WE GROW, This is what we can do

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5 Favorite Law Enforcement Lies About Marijuana
[ Legalize Hemp: The Case for Reviving America’s First Crop ]
[ HEMP: Super Plant ]

Cannabis flower
Russ Belville
NORML

As 50% of Americans now support marijuana legalization, the prohibitionists are coming out in full force with hysterical propaganda to once again terrorize voters about cannabis. We intended to scour multiple sources to compile the five most common scare tactics they use, but Joseph Summerill, director of the Summerill Group LLC, a Washington, D.C.- based law enforcement think tank and general counsel for the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, made our job easy by using all five in one op-ed piece published today in the Washington Examiner entitled, “Facts on medical marijuana are stubborn things, too“.

Lie #1) Marijuana’s not really medical. The government says so!
[M]arijuana is a Schedule I drug… a high potential for abuse or dependency… no accepted medical value… unsafe to use, even under medical supervision. [M]arijuana has not passed the rigid scrutiny of medicine proposed by the FDA.

The Truth

National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA) puts the lifetime dependence rate on cannabis at 9%, same as caffeine. Alcohol has a 15% rate of abuse and Tobacco’s is 32%.

One third of federal jurisdictions (16 states and DC) accept the medical value of cannabis.

The federal government is supplying four Americans with this “unsafe” medicine with no medical supervision.
Cannabis has been used medically for 5,000 years without a single human death – a far greater safety standard than an FDA that approved phen-fen and Vioxx.

Lie #2) Doctors and scientists don’t approve of smoked medicine; they do approve of Marinol.

Institute of Medicine and the American Medical Association acknowledged the lack of data to support the use of smoked marijuana for medicinal purposes.

What is scientifically approved by the FDA and accepted by the medical community is a medicine called Marinol, a legal, widely prescribed drug currently in pill form containing synthetic THC, a main constituent in marijuana.

The Truth

The American Medical Association said, “smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.”
Marinol is 100% synthetic THC (the psychoactive component) suspended in a sesame oil capsule. Cannabis flowers are around 5%-30% natural THC combined with CBD (a component that moderates psychoactivity) and other beneficial compounds.
Inhaling cannabis is a superior delivery mechanism for it allows the patient to self-titrate (adjust dose) and get immediate relief. It’s especially helpful to inhale cannabis rather than swallow a Marinol pill when one is vomiting. We recognize many inhaled medications (think: steroid inhalers for asthma patients) and when vaporized, any harms from smoking cannabis are eliminated.

Lie #3) Marijuana smoke is much worse than cigarette smoke!

[S]moked marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals, many of which are identical to the most harmful chemicals and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke. The fact is that a marijuana cigarette contains four times as much tar as a tobacco cigarette.

The Truth

My pencil contains five components, two of which are identical to the graphite found in golf clubs and the wood found in golf tees. This does not make my pencil a golf club or a tee. Water contains hydrogen and oxygen. This does not make water flammable or breathable. Many recipes call for the same ingredients; it’s how you put them together that matters. Joints aren’t cigarettes, they’re far safer than that.

Dr. Donald Tashkin went looking for that “marijuana causes cancer” connection and found quite the opposite, that cannabis smokers had lower incidence of head, neck, and lung cancer. We even have compelling evidence that cannabinoids may be instrumental in unlocking the cure for cancer.

Very few tokers smoke 20 to 40 joints a day, but even if they did, where are these marijuana smokers with the tar-ravaged lungs filling up our hospitals? Again, we have zero recorded deaths from cannabis smoking and over 400,000 annual deaths from tobacco use. Joints aren’t cigarettes.

Lie #4) Marijuana is the gateway drug to cocaine, meth, and heroin!

[L]egalizing marijuana leads to the use of more dangerous and harmful drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine…. [T]eens who smoke marijuana were found to be 85 times more likely to use cocaine than those teens who do not smoke marijuana.

The Truth

Teens who ride bicycles were found to be 85 times more likely to join an outlaw biker gang than teens who don’t ride bicycles*. So we should outlaw bicycles? Sure, most cocaine users may have started first with pot, but they also probably started with alcohol before that and milk before that.

That same Institute of Medicine report Mr. Summerill referenced in Lie #2 said, “There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.”

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 100 million American adults have tried cannabis. There are currently about 1.5 million monthly cocaine users, 430 thousand monthly meth users, and 192 thousand monthly heroin users. So for every 46 people who’ve ever tried pot, only one went on to become a monthly hard drug user. A gateway that only affects 2.1% of the people isn’t much of a gateway. * OK, that one we just made up.

Lie #5) Marijuana legalization leads to carnage on the highways!

[M]arijuana use, including its use for medicinal purposes, is directly related to motor vehicle accidents and reckless driving, as cannabis affects psychomotor functioning.

In a study of fatally injured drivers in Washington state, a state with legalized medical marijuana, about one every eight tested positive for marijuana.

The Truth

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said of marijuana testing of drivers, “It is inadvisable to try and
predict effects based on blood THC concentrations alone, and currently impossible to predict specific effects based on THC-COOH concentrations” because “[d]etection time is well past the window of intoxication and impairment.” Finding pot in some drivers’ systems following a crash just tells you some people smoke pot.

From 2008-2009, fatal crashes in the states that had medical marijuana declined overall 9.34%. Only one medical marijuana state, Rhode Island, had an increase greater than 3%, which resulted in 18 more deaths. Four other states had 1%-3% increases, leading to 9 additional deaths. Of the remaining eight states that saw declines, half saw double-digit declines, including the laxest medical marijuana state, California, which had 353 fewer traffic fatalities.

Legalizing marijuana does not legalize DUI. People who smoke pot and drive now are busted in all fifty states and legalization doesn’t change that.

When it comes to medical information and the safety record of cannabis, we’ll trust real doctors and 5,000 years of historical use. Not the ramblings of a law enforcement think tank director desperately trying to save asset forfeiture proceeds, federal grant money, and overtime hours for state and local cops and job security for prison guards.

Visit and support NORML today to help end marijuana prohibition.


A Civil War on Drugs

Jesse Warren image
Cassandra Anderson, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

California legalized medical marijuana for seriously ill patients in 1996 and it is now legal in 16 states and DC. However, the Obama Administration wants to shut down pot dispensaries in California.

Obama’s renewed ‘War on Drugs’ is ironically led by the Department of Justice while they are currently trying to cover-up the Gunwalker/Fast & Furious scandal that involves the federal government handing military-style assault weapons over to Mexican drug cartels. The guns have been used to murder people on both sides of the border.

More than 42,000 people have been killed in drug related violence in Mexico since their president Felipe Calderon stepped up his ‘War on Drugs’ in 2006.

Legalization of drugs will end drug trade related violence.

The US ‘War on Drugs’ is an abject failure that costs US taxpayers $15 billion a year, or $500 a second. The ‘War on Drugs’ has wrongly imprisoned tens of millions of non-violent American drug users and costs taxpayers almost $200 billion a year.

If the federal government was sincere about stopping drug use, they would end the CIA’s drug smuggling adventures.

The federal government’s enhanced War on Drugs is not really about drugs, it’s about crushing States Rights under the Tenth Amendment and generating mega-profits for the pharmaceutical industry.


Ron Paul endorses ending the War on Drugs.

THE 10th AMENDMENT AND MARIJUANA

California legalized medical marijuana, despite federal government attempts to stop the State, but California nullified the federal drug law under the 10th Amendment. In 2005, California lost the federal Supreme Court case against medical marijuana. But California nullified the federal Supreme Court power grab, thus setting a precedent for ignoring the Supreme Court when they fail to follow the Constitution.

California was successful in nullifying this bad federal law because California had massive support from the People. This is the key!

Therefore, the federal government is struggling to convince the public that its unconstitutional federal laws supersede States’ Constitutional laws.

But you will notice that the feds are not attacking California’s Constitutional law, instead they are using the back door to shut down dispensaries through stealing assets and property by way of forfeiture. The federal plan to close dispensaries involves stealing the land and buildings from landlords who rent space to dispensaries.

The so-called Justice department collects over $1 billion a year from forfeiture theft.

The feds have initiated this Federal vs. State battle to the death to maintain the false illusion that unconstitutional federal laws trump Constitutional State laws. The feds are threatened by the growing 10th Amendment movement.

California’s Governor Jerry Brown refuses to stand up for the People and he frequently sells out California taxpayers.

Ron Paul is a champion of the 10th Amendment.

OBAMACARE

It is important to support the People of California in their choice to legalize medical marijuana because this issue transcends marijuana.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Stevens recently said that the Supreme Court will likely rule ObamaCare is constitutional based on California’s medical marijuana case and the false interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Clause. Stevens forgot to mention that California nullified the Supreme Court ruling.

The real war is the battle of federal tyranny vs. the States and the People. The federal government’s favorite weapon is the Commerce Clause in which the feds pursue ownership and control over trade and goods. The Commerce Clause states:

“The Congress shall have Power To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes”

Judge Napolitano explains how the Commerce Clause has been profoundly abused:

While 12 States have bills to nullify ObamaCare, there are tax penalties included in ObamaCare, so even when ObamaCare is nullified, the People will still have to pay for it. The IRS is the enforcer.

Ron Paul advocates abolishing the IRS.

THE $315 BILLION BIG PHARMA INDUSTRY

Surprise! The pharmaceutical industry (Big Pharma) wants to bring marijuana derived PATENTED products to the market to increase their already bloated revenue (reported to be over $315 billion in 2007).

The medical marijuana market is estimated to reach $1.7 billion in 2011, and Big Pharma wants a monopoly on the market.

The Obama Administration wants marijuana to stay a Schedule I drug and considered to be as dangerous as heroin because of its high abuse potential. But the Obama Administration also considers marijuana safe enough to use on people in Big Pharma drug trials in order to bring marijuana pharmaceutical drugs to market.

Jerry Brown fully supports Big Pharma, toxic drugs and big profits.

Ron Paul endorses reform of the FDA.

FEDERAL INTIMIDATION AND PUNISHMENT

Because California nullified the unconstitutional federal law, the federal government has no legal recourse of merit. So the federal government is strong-arming people to comply with its unconstitutional laws through intimidation and punishment.

• Landlords risk forfeiture of their land and property if they rent space to dispensaries
• The IRS taxes gross income, no deductions, in order to tax this legal business out of existence.
• The ATF says that gun dealers may not sell firearms to marijuana users (again, another great irony, given the ATF’s role in Fast & furious).

Ron Paul rejects unconstitutional federal laws.

MARIJUANA IS A GATEWAY DRUG

Because medical marijuana is legal, it opens up the door to using cannabis for other purposes that threaten corporate monopolies. Industrial hemp, also in the cannabis family, and the reason for outlawing marijuana, can be used for:

• High protein food source
• Animal feed
• Plastic replacement
• Resins
• Fuel
• Wood products
• Paper
• Textiles
• Cosmetics

Ron Paul is an industrial hemp supporter.

RON PAUL 2012!

For more information about state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power as required by the Constitution, please visit Tenth Amendment Center.

Jello Biafra goes over the reasons that Marijuana/Hemp was outlawed as presented in Jack Herer’s book “The Emperor Wears No Clothes”, first published in 1985. The primary thesis being that Marijuana/Hemp was outlawed on the behalf of individuals and corporations that did not wish to compete against it as an industrial product. He describes many uses for Marijuana/Hemp that I have never before heard of (plastic, fuel, etc) and these claims appear to be true from what research I have done. There are some factual errors in the book, especially in the areas of ancient history and modern biology (THC does not bind with opiate receptors, for example, but rather anandamide receptors, although not known in 1985). The book does focus on the positive aspects of marijuana and borders on “hippyish” at times, but its central thesis remains compelling regardless of its drug-positive tone. I have yet to read any critical reviews that challenge the central claims of the book. Overall a great read even though its implications are a bit depressing at times.

Jello Biafra goes over the reasons that Marijuana/Hemp was outlawed as presented in Jack Herer’s book “The Emperor Wears No Clothes”, first published in 1985. The primary thesis being that Marijuana/Hemp was outlawed on the behalf of individuals and corporations that did not wish to compete against it as an industrial product. He describes many uses for Marijuana/Hemp that I have never before heard of (plastic, fuel, etc) and these claims appear to be true from what research I have done. There are some factual errors in the book, especially in the areas of ancient history and modern biology (THC does not bind with opiate receptors, for example, but rather anandamide receptors, although not known in 1985). The book does focus on the positive aspects of marijuana and borders on “hippyish” at times, but its central thesis remains compelling regardless of its drug-positive tone. I have yet to read any critical reviews that challenge the central claims of the book. Overall a great read even though its implications are a bit depressing at times.