tagged w/ 420
thevirtueallliberal — April 29, 2010 — Looks like we have some more of those Republican "family values" at work, ha...?
In Orange County California, people were asked to sign a petition supporting the legalization of pot . The only problem was it was a complete lie . What they were really signing was to register as Republican voters . When people found out what they were really signing, needless to say they were very upset (That's an understatement) . Kent Jones of the Rachel Maddow show reports on this case of Republican voter Fraud.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFwAE_N5wL4&feature=player_embeddedthevirtueallliberal — April 29, 2010 — Looks like we have some more of... more
New Zealand police have shut a chain of home garden supply shops called Switched On Gardener that they allege form part of the backbone of the country's illegal cannabis industry.
All 16 branches of the chain were closed after employees allegedly sold drugs, cannabis plants and growing equipment and offered cannabis-growing tips to undercover officers, deputy police commissioner Rob Pope said today.
The closures were part of a major crackdown on the drug that has resulted in raids on 35 gardening businesses across New Zealand and the arrest of some 250 people, including employees, managers and company directors.
Some of those arrested were charged with selling drug-growing equipment, including 600-watt light bulbs, fertilizers including one called Budzilla, soil test kits, insect sprays, and magazines on cannabis, Mr Pope said.
The Switched On Gardener chain, which advertised on nationwide television, mainly sold garden supplies and equipment to home gardeners.
In New Zealand it is illegal to manufacture or sell equipment knowing it will be used to grow or make drugs.
More than 100 commercial cannabis growing operations allegedly linked to the businesses were found and dismantled during the operation.
Police said dried cannabis was found in at least one Switched On Gardener shop, while LSD, methamphetamine, ecstasy and firearms were seized by search squads from some other premises.
"We've got strong evidence of its (Switched On Gardener's) complicity in supplying equipment for cannabis growing on a sophisticated scale,'' Mr Pope said.
The national gardening chain would not have turned a profit if it hadn't been knowingly supplying equipment and advice to cannabis growers, he noted.
Offenders can be sentenced to a maximum of seven years in prison for cultivating cannabis in New Zealand, while supplying the drug can attract a maximum sentence of 14 years. Public campaigns to decriminalise cannabis so far have been unsuccessful.
- Article from The Associated Press.
http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/content/2010/04/28/New-Zealand-Grow-Store-Busted-Cannabis-CrackdownNew Zealand police have shut a chain of home garden supply shops called Switched On... more
Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who has assailed medical marijuana dispensaries as illegal, profit-reaping operations, is targeting the legitimacy of the November ballot initiative to legalize recreational pot and allow local governments to tax and regulate its use.
In a letter to attorney general Jerry Brown, Cooley charges that the title and summary for the measure is "wrong and highly misleading" and should be disallowed.
Cooley, a Republican candidate for state attorney general, charges that the initiative offers false promises of providing "major tax and other fiscal benefits" for the state and local governments and regulating marijuana like alcohol.
Cooley argues that the burden will fall on "local governments to promulgate comprehensive cannabis-related regulations." He said that will "unduly burden local governments" and "lead to a chaotic and confusing result."
He also argues that the measure, which would allow Californians over 21 to grow pot in 25-square-foot residential spaces, would also "create an absolute right to cultivate marijuana on private property" and, possibly, on public lands.
Cooley's April 13 letter was followed 10 days later by a memo in The Huffington Post from the Drug Policy Alliance, an group advocating alternatives to the drug war.
In "Dismantling the Talking Points of Marijuana Prohibitionists," Tony Newman and Stephen Gutwillig of the Alliance argue that "the California ballot initiative simply acknowledges that marijuana is here and that it's more sensible to regulate this massive market."
"The bottom line," they wrote, "is that marijuana is California's largest agricultural commodity, freely consumed by millions...with no financial benefit to the state...This is a reality we literally can't afford to ignore any longer."
- Article from The Sacramento Bee.
http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/content/2010/04/29/LA-DA-Continues-Anti-Marijuana-CrusadeLos Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who has assailed medical marijuana... more
CANNABIS CULTURE - Four-Twenty, the international day of celebration for the cannabis culture held annually on April 20, saw record numbers of marijuana consumers and legalization advocates at huge rallies across the planet this year.
Pot-puffing citizens from cities in Canada, the United States, and other points across the globe came out in force to proclaim their love for the cannabis plant and tell authorities it is time to end marijuana prohibition. Despite a few minor unexpected incidents in Vancouver and Toronto, the rallies were a huge success with activist organizers claiming their highest numbers ever.
Rallies were reported in Canadian cities including Vancouver, Toronto, Victoria, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Ottawa and more.
US cities know to have rallies included Denver, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Oakland, Dallas, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Miami and many others.
Pot consumers were also expected to hold rallies in Australia, New Zealand and other points in Europe (updates will be posted as they come in).
Cannabis Culture was on-hand for the celebration in Vancouver, where overcast skies and occasional rain didn't stop record numbers of smokers and vendors from piling onto the grounds of the Vancouver Art Gallery earlier and in stronger numbers than years previous.
Hundreds of vendors set up booths and patrolled the crowd, openly selling an amazing spectrum of marijuana strains, extracts, and edibles, as well as pipes, bongs, T-shirts and tons of other pot-themed products to a crowd estimated at over 10,000.
One one side of the Art Gallery, prominent pot activists including David Malmo-Levine, Jacob Hunter and Marc and Jodie Emery rallied the crowd and spoke about the dangers of current government drug policies. On the other side of the large building, live bands performed while onlookers smoked large bongs and budder tokes. Joints were thrown to the crowd for a massive 4:20 smoke-down that filled the air with a dense cloud of sweet and skunky smoke.
\VIDEOS AND FULL STORY ON LINK///
CONTINUED>>> http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/content/2010/04/21/Record-Numbers-Celebrate-Marijuana-420CANNABIS CULTURE - Four-Twenty, the international day of celebration for the cannabis... more
April 20th, or 4/20 for short, is a day on which people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. It allegedly derives from a group of students at San Rafael High School in the 1970s, who adopted 4:20 p.m. as an unofficial time to smoke up. And it spread from there to the point where 420 is synonymous with smoking pot. True or not, It’s part of pop culture these days, and Tuesday is the day to make your voice heard on the matter.
We at Gunaxin take no official stance on the legal matter, but we support individual choice. And if that choice is to smoking ganja, so be it. As we like to do at Gunaxin, we will celebrate the holiday…..but with women. Below are some of the 420 girls who have a very pro-pot stance, via 420 Magazine. No word on if any of them are named Mary Jane. Make of them as you will:
http://girls.gunaxin.com/happy-marijuana-day/18113April 20th, or 4/20 for short, is a day on which people gather to celebrate and... more
Make Marijuana Matter has achieved 1000 items! Woo and Yay :D
http://www.photoschau.de/images/20091220175730_nr_1000.jpgMake Marijuana Matter has achieved 1000 items! Woo and Yay :D... more
Celebrate Jack Herer's life! On Sunday, April 25 the memorial service for Jack Herer will be held at Eden Memorial Park located at 11500 Sepulveda Boulevard in Mission Hills, CA 91345-1133.
Because of the financial burden incurred by Jack's family due to his illness and final expenses, it is respectfully requested that attendees make donations at the memorial service.
The Herer family thanks you for your many displays of sympathy.
If you are unable to attend, please consider donating at www.jackherermedicalandmemorialfund.org. PayPal accepted.
Click here to read Jack Herer Remembered
Click here for a Jack Herer photo gallery
Click here for the I love Jack Herer Tour>>>
http://hightimes.com/news/ht_admin/6373Celebrate Jack Herer's life! On Sunday, April 25 the memorial service for Jack... more
It was forty years ago when I was sixteen years old. It was going to be another night at the Bitter End, the legendary Greenwich Village coffeehouse where I gloriously misspent my youth. It was the very beginning of that process. Two months earlier I smoked pot for the first time and a month later I bought my first bag of weed and went to the Bleecker Street club to watch George Carlin reinvent the comedic wheel. Carlin was a known quantity, a veteran funny man familiar to me for years from many television appearances who finally grew his hair, listened to the weed and gave his craft over to the counterculture.
Tonight was different. We were going to the Bitter End to watch a pair of unknown comedians whose shtick was soaked in weed. They had one album out but were still relatively unknown. Whereas Carlin was a comedian who turned into a hippie, it seemed as if Cheech & Chong were hippies who had turned into comedians.
Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin may have been unknown but they were also familiar. In 1970 there was an “Us” and a “Them” and Cheech & Chong were decidedly, unequivocally, without question two of “Us.” Cheech & Chong, like the culture they came to represent, turned out to be loosey-goosey, multicultural, shockingly crude, hysterically funny and most importantly – stoned! They were all about the marijuana and so were we, and their comedy gave concrete expression to our emerging stoner sensibilities. That first night at The Bitter End I was introduced to a collection of memorable characters which would be impressed forever on my freshly enhanced neural pathways. At the start of my marijuana journey, between the punch lines, Cheech & Chong were teaching me that I wasn't alone, that I wasn't wrong and that the best way to deal with disapproving authority was to laugh at it together. These were important lessons. Cultural resonance was commencing and it would last the rest of my life.
Four decades later and I am almost forty years stoned. That sixteen-year-old neophyte pothead has evolved into the Associate Publisher of HIGH TIMES and what began as a diversion has turned into a career – this weed thing seems to have worked out. Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, 62 and 72 respectively, have released Hey, Watch This!, a concert film of their highly-anticipated 2009 reunion tour – and I approach that event with a doobie-ous critical eye. The standup shtick in Hey, Watch This! cannot be just a collection of skits and jokes pulled out of the closet for profit. I hold them to a higher standard. It must be nothing less than the empowering moments of my youth memorialized, preserved and digitized for all time. I have a lot of emotional currency invested in this film. A lame retread, a commercial repackaging would break my heart, while a collection of glittering gems that stand the test of time would reaffirm long-held truths. I place the advance screener in the CD drive, hold my breath and push the button.
Hey, Watch This! is a sparkling jewel of a film filled with a soft-green light. It succeeds not only as a document of Cheech & Chong’s seminal standup and a celebration of marijuana culture but also as an affirmation of my deep convictions. Earliest reports from industry insiders sniffed that Hey, Watch This! will only give stoners what they want but that anyone looking for something new will be disappointed - that is simply not true.
The film contains many (but not all) of the dank duo's most beloved bits that somehow manage to be both intact and updated. The structure and substance of the routines remains the same – the punch lines are all there and the audience howls at each familiar line – but the careful listener with discern the upgrade – call it Cheech & Chong 2.0. There are plenty of references to dotcoms, digital technology, modern-day dank and George W. Bush. A huge digital screen behind the boys enhances the performance and during the first bit – “Two Guys In A Car” – the addition of a synchronized road clip in the background provides a sense of terminal velocity that the original standup left to the imagination. We’ve come a long way from the Bitter End.
There’s more music in their modern show than ever before, including performances of the 1985 hit, “Born In East L.A.” and a sing-along of the title song of their first film, “Up In Smoke.” Over the years Tommy Chong had become an accomplished blues guitarist, a skill that now lends his “Blind Mellon Chitlin’” bit an air of authenticity that the old act didn’t have. In fact, Chong’s blues sound is so good, it is far too short. It would have been nice to see him extend the riffs more than he did.
There is additional new material in short setups and blackouts used to cut and pace the performance. The boys offer running commentaries as an aging gay couple and as a couple of aging stoners in the balcony watching the show. Tommy Chong’s wife, Shelby, is also on hand as virtually a new member of the team who gives an extended anecdotal introduction to the act and, most funny, plays Fifi, the infamous love interest of Ralph and Herbie, the butt-sniffing dogs.
The world has changed much since the dank duo last performed. Medical marijuana is legalized in fourteen states with more to come. California is on the cusp of legalization and cannabis has gained a cultural acceptance that no one would have predicted. “Our long nightmare is over,” Tommy declares early in the film, “Cheech & Chong are back together!”
I tend to agree.
http://hightimes.com/entertainment/rick/6367It was forty years ago when I was sixteen years old. It was going to be another night... more
The iGrow store in Oakland sells everything one needs to grow pot at home, including soil, lighting, fertilizer, and even a mobile marijuana cultivation station.
http://www.overthelimitentertainment.com/profiles/blogs/42010-45-of-us-wants-to-smokeThe iGrow store in Oakland sells everything one needs to grow pot at home, including... more
Put arguments for and against legalization aside for a moment. If people could use marijuana—without fear of legal consequence—just how much would get used? More to the point, how much money is at stake?
A variety of businesses and tax-deprived governments would love to know the answer. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple one. By its taboo nature, marijuana consumption and demand is not well-measured.
Economists, reformists, law enforcement authorities and the pro-marijuana lobby, however, have come up with a variety of estimates. Put them all together and you get a range of $10 billion to over $120 billion a year. Such a wide spread is hardly a solid answer.
But some calculations may be better than others. All estimates begin with some key assumptions on the basic economic theory of supply and demand, thus laying the foundation for the size of the pot market.
Demand-Based Models: How Much Do People Consume?
Demand-based models use consumption volumes and price to estimate the size of a total market. Here, the tricky part is coming up with exact figures on how much pot is consumed and how much it costs. Opinions differ.
IMAGE= http://www.rolledtootight.com/images/dispensaries-marijuana-viles-1110.jpgPut arguments for and against legalization aside for a moment. If people could use... more
The legalization of marijuana is no longer the unthinkable and we will soon see more and more countries moving towards legalizing of this natural plant and stop the criminalization of possession or its use. California is one such US state that is moving to legalize of this plant for personal use and they will be voting on it in November. So the legalization for personal use may be a reality by the end of the year.
Many Americans support legalization of pot, over 45% voted yes to the legalization with a 55% saying no, kill every plant and let those who depend on it for medical reason suffer.
What does 45% mean…Well, to me it simply telling me almost 50% of the US population needs marijuana and those who opposed it if educated or just simply realized its just a plant and wasn’t created in a lab will move to the legalization of the plant.
It's very funny, look at us arguing over a plant that is on this earth before us...If it should be legalized or criminalize.
If we should find a fruit that give us a different state of mind or stimulate our brand, would the government banned it...?
Few of the many reasons California moving towards legalizing pot is listed below:
■To help with their budget crisis
■Lift burden off their police force
■Reduce prison population
■More and more people simply just need it
■Marijuana Tourism boost “This will surely save many from going to UK or Canada Pot shops”
One of the obvious question regarding the Caribbean specially Jamaica is why they don’t see the need to legalize Marijuana, since they love fallow every move the US mad, why not legalized it for medical use?
This move by Jamaica will surely boost Jamaica economy and probably even give the Jamaican Dollar a boost.
Mark my words…when more and more US state move towards decriminalization and legalization of marijuana; you will then see Jamaica jumping on the bandwagon. Why not set the trend for a change and be one of the first to do it…
What do you think? should Marijuana be legalized? before you answer this question, ask youself these question.How many people alcohol kills daily? How many People Cigarette Kills?
How many people get sick from over the counter side effects?
The only thing they have to say about Pot is that it Leeds to harder drugs…it’s a door way drug they call it...
http://www.overthelimitentertainment.com/profiles/blogs/42010-45-of-us-wants-to-smokeThe legalization of marijuana is no longer the unthinkable and we will soon see more... more
Pot advocates gathered across the country Tuesday and puffed en masse to protest the prohibition of marijuana.
Supporters of the legalization of marijuana celebrate the so-called 4-20 event every April 20, lighting up joints at 4:20 p.m. local time in various parts of the country.
This year, smoke-ins were held from Toronto to Victoria and several points in between.
Nobody seems certain about the origins of the 4-20 tradition, but the pro-marijuana gatherings have been held across Canada and around the world each year for a decade now.
In Vancouver, the party/protest got started early, and by noon, a few thousand people had gathered in front of the Georgia Street entrance of the city's art gallery.
Clouds of smoke rose over the conspicuously mellow crowd. Hash cookies were on offer at a cost of $5 for three, and an array of colourful pipes was displayed for sale.
In one corner of the public square outside the gallery, two men hung a sign that read "No Prison for Pot." Another banner urged Canadians to "Free Marijuana."
By the time 4:20 p.m. rolled around in Vancouver, marijuana enthusiasts were crammed shoulder-to-shoulder on the art gallery grounds. A steady stream of rain did little to discourage them.
Cheers and air horns could be heard as the master of ceremonies announced the magical moment had arrived, and by 4:21, a large cloud of smoke rose above the crowd.
Justice minister touts crime bill
Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson took advantage of the 4-20 event to announce a tough-on-crime bill at a news conference in Ottawa.
Only a few hundred metres away, on the lawn in front of Parliament's centre block, hundreds of youths openly smoked pot while police looked on with no apparent concern.
Nicholson was asked repeatedly about the point of maintaining a law prohibiting marijuana possession when it's so openly flouted and not enforced.
"We're not the party that will be decriminalizing this," he said. "We don't encourage this kind of activity, but we have zeroed in on our drug bill. It targets people who traffic, people who import, export drugs, manufacture, people in the grow-op business."
The bill Nicholson referred to was introduced in the last session, but died when Parliament was prorogued. It's expected to be reintroduced shortly.
Police, for the most part, turned a blind eye to the gatherings.
A few officers could be seen scouting the crowd in Vancouver.
In Toronto, hundreds of marijuana enthusiasts converged in downtown's Yonge-Dundas Square.
Police stood and watched as the generally happy bunch puffed on reefers, danced and played drums.
While the crowd was mostly peaceful, police arrested a man after he reportedly pulled out a gun. A spokesman said police are still trying to confirm whether the object seized was an actual firearm or a replica.
A "smoke-out" was also held in Winnipeg on the front lawn of the Manitoba legislature.
More than 2,000 people openly smoked up, while more than a dozen officers watched the crowd from a distance but made no arrests.
"Our main focus for the afternoon is the safety of everyone in attendance," said Const. Jason Michalyshen, spokesman for the Winnipeg Police Service.
In Edmonton, the air outside the Alberta legislature had a distinctive aroma as marijuana supporters met outside the building.
Premier Ed Stelmach said their music rattled the windows of his office and made it trying at times to work but that he wasn't tempted to join the crowd.
Similar 4-20 events were planned for Regina, Victoria, and Calgary, as well as Colorado, New Hampshire, New York and California and several other U.S. states.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/04/20/bc-4-20-smoke-ins.html#ixzz0ljrjiRjp
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/04/20/bc-4-20-smoke-ins.htmlPot advocates gathered across the country Tuesday and puffed en masse to protest the... more
RIP Jack - "The late godfather of the hemp movement, talks within the picture window on the pages of his book The Emperor Wears No Clothes."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhr1n3da_50&feature=player_embeddedRIP Jack - "The late godfather of the hemp movement, talks within the picture... more
PHOENIX — Today, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project will submit more than 250,000 signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office in order to place medical marijuana on the November ballot in Arizona. The initiative requires 153,365 signatures to qualify for the ballot. Once the initiative qualifies, Arizona voters will be asked on November 2 to vote yes on the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, which would allow terminally and seriously ill patients who find relief from marijuana to use it with their doctor’s approval.
“We are proud to turn in these signatures today on behalf of the thousands of patients in Arizona who will benefit from this law once it is enacted,” said Andrew Myers, campaign manager for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project. “People suffering from multiple sclerosis, cancer, AIDS, and other serious illnesses should not be forced to seek on the streets the medicine they and their doctors know they need. This initiative proposes instead a dispensary system that will give patients safe and reliable access to medical marijuana if they possess a doctor’s recommendation to use it. We look forward to qualifying for the ballot and bringing our message to voters over the coming months.”
Upon its passage, medical marijuana will be regulated by the Arizona Department of Health Services and will permit qualifying patients or their caregivers to legally purchase their medicine from tightly regulated clinics, as they would any other medicine – they need not purchase it from the criminal market. It will protect seriously ill patients from arrest and prosecution for the simple act of taking doctor-recommended medicine.
If the initiative qualifies, Arizona will join South Dakota in having medical marijuana initiatives on the ballot this November. Currently 14 states have effective medical marijuana laws, and more than a dozen other states, including New York, Illinois, and Delaware, are considering medical marijuana laws this year.
AMMPP receives significant support and funding from the Marijuana Policy Project. With more than 124,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States.
http://www.opposingviews.com/i/medical-marijuana-expected-to-qualify-for-arizona-ballotPHOENIX — Today, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project will submit more... more
IDAHO FALLS - Many doctors support using marijuana to help patients with chronic pain.
But do enough state legislators feel the same way to legalize the drug in Idaho?
"Legalized marijuana in Idaho is an untried, unproven principal, said district 33 Representative Russ Mathews. "Therefore I oppose it. It's a dangerous way to go, especially with secondhand smoke."
"It depends what the legislation is about," said district 32 Representative Janice McGeachin. "Is it about people being able to carry it around in their car? To be able to smoke it? I think that we need to carefully consider those things."
Representative Tom Trail of Moscow is proposing the legislation.
He wants patients with certain chronic illnesses like cancer and Lou Gehrig's disease to have access to medical marijuana through state-controlled dispensaries.
Local police say that could complicate law enforcement.
"It's certainly out on the streets, and it's illegal and people are getting it," said Sergeant Phil Grimes of the Idaho Falls Police Department. "So certainly if it's legal it's going to be that much easier. I think from a legal standpoint or from a law enforcement standpoint it would definitely make things more difficult for us."
And what about the cost to the state?
"I'm not sure that the state can actually have the resources that would be needed to monitor that [the marijuana] is being use the way that it would be intended to be used for a medical purpose," said Representative McGeachin.
Still every year hundreds of patients travel from Idaho to places like Washington state to get medical marijuana because they say they need it for their pain.
http://www.kidk.com/news/local/90979354.htmlIDAHO FALLS - Many doctors support using marijuana to help patients with chronic pain.... more
NORML - As a longtime media observer, I’m beginning to see a shift in the way mainstream media are covering the medical marijuana issue. Back in the day, these sort of talking-head segments used to feature the host in-studio with the official-looking spokesperson for prohibition getting the opening and closing questions and being allowed by the host to dominate the discussion. The guest representing the reform position is then brought in for conflict and balance, but usually in a remote shot. The sober and serious prohib would be given open-ended questions and allowed to speak at length to make the point. The marginalized reformer would be given leading questions on some inane fallacy about “legalization” and then be forced to defend themselves against the implied frivolity of their position.
In this interview, the roles are reversed. Chris Goldstein comes off as the sober and serious one in-studio, with the host hanging on his every word and eager to give him opportunity to advance the agenda. The fellow from Heritage Foundation comes off as the fringe defender of an unwelcome position, with the host’s leading questions that could almost be completed with “tell us why you believe that nonsense?”
It’s getting to the point where mainstream media organizations are having difficulty booking guests to take an anti-medical marijuana position. Even those they find can only bring themselves to criticize the smoking of cannabis and even they are being rebutted by interviewers who are increasingly aware of vaporization, tinctures, and edibles.
This is how NORML is working to end adult marijuana prohibition – by winning the hearts and minds of the American people through honest education about cannabis and through responsible intelligent spokespeople appearing in local and national news media. Chris Goldstein is but one of the hundreds of activists in our nationwide chapter network who are making a difference by stepping up to be the face and voice of the responsible adult cannabis consumer…
http://blog.norml.org/2010/04/14/normls-chris-goldstein-debates-medical-marijuana-on-cbs/NORML - As a longtime media observer, I’m beginning to see a shift in the way... more
A minor change in court processing procedures in Philadelphia, streamlining the handling of arrests for pot possession, sparked a major controversy recently that totally missed the most outrageous aspect of marijuana law enforcement.
This controversy, focusing on feared decriminalization of marijuana despite the fact that this widely used substance remains illegal under Pennsylvania law, ignored the insidious racial discrimination rampant in marijuana law enforcement.
Across Pennsylvania, whites accounted for 58% of the marijuana possession arrests in 2008 according to the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Report covering that year.
Yet, in Philadelphia during 2008, black males accounted for 82.8% of the 4,716 adults snatched up for smoking pot (not selling it) according to data culled from Pa’s 2008 UCR by the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Assertions from authorities that race neutral reasons – like higher criminal activity – explain the extraordinarily high number of marijuana possession arrests among black males in Philadelphia defy realities of parity in percentages of population and pot usage rates.
Since the proportion of blacks and whites in Philadelphia’s population is nearly equal (43% and 45% respectively) and studies consistently detail white illegal drug use exceeding that of blacks, the accurate explanation for disproportionate pot possession arrest rates is police specifically targeting blacks.
This targeting of blacks crosses gender lines.
“Just 90 white women” endured arrest for pot possession in Philadelphia during 2008 compared to “345 black women arrested for the same offense,” stated a Philly NORML examination released in February 2010, noting the critical context of several studies showing that “black and white woman choose cannabis at near equal rates.”
This targeting of blacks in Philadelphia is a common trait of the U.S. War on Drugs.
Drug arrest rates for blacks nationwide has exceeded that of whites for the past three decades despite blacks and whites engaging “in drug offenses at comparable rates” stated a March 2009 report issued by the respected Human Rights Watch organization.
Data in that HRW report included disturbing state-by-state arrest rates documenting the targeting of blacks.
In Delaware, the state twenty miles south of Philadelphia, blacks comprise 20% of the population but 55% of the drug arrests. Blacks are 15% of the population in Illinois but account for 80% of drug arrests while blacks are 21% of the drug arrests in California where they comprise 7% of that state’s population.
In New York City, blacks and Latinos comprise 86% of the pot possession arrests despite comprising less than half the population of the city where billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg openly admits having used marijuana and ‘liking it’ when younger. Whites are 35% of NYC’s population but just 12% of the pot possession arrests.
In March 2008, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination harshly criticized the U.S. record on race matters in a report where recommendations called on the U.S. government to rectify “stark racial disparities” in the criminal justice system including Drug War discrimination.
Discriminatory Drug War deprivations comprise some of the most devastating civil rights violations in America today.
Conviction for a drug offense – even simple possession – bars persons from college financial aid, public housing plus numerous employment opportunities. Convictions – particularly for blacks – produce imprisonment…most often lengthy.
Many of the most pronounced Drug War deprivations involve federal crack cocaine laws where discriminatory enforcement has dumped tens of thousands of low-level offenders into prisons – helping swell federal prisons from 36,000 inmates in 1986 to over 200,000 today.
Most drug offenders in federal prisons are low-level seller’s – not major traffickers – or mere crack users, subjected to mandatory five-year minimum prison terms for possessing five or less grams of that substance.
The US Senate recently refused to fully eliminate race-based disparities in federal crack cocaine laws despite the congressional advisory agency, the US Sentencing Commission, first requesting elimination of disparities in 1995.
The Obama Administration agreed to Senate compromises skirting gross discriminatory disparities in crack laws despite President Obama pledging to fully
eliminate those disparities while campaigning for office.
This Obama flip-flop drew stern March 2010 rebuke from the net-based lobbying group ColorofChange.org, a supporter of Obama’s presidential candidacy.
“Shameful” is how ColorofChange.org described Obama’s support of that Senate bill sacrificing justice on the altar of bipartisanship.
Festering, decades-deep racism in U.S. anti-drug policy is a topic generally downplayed or denied by many American political leaders, press pundits and influential pastors.
For example, former President Bill Clinton condemned America’s “less than just” justice system during an October 15, 1995 speech on race delivered to upstage the seminal Million Man March that day where numerous speakers castigated crack law disparities.
Yet, Clinton, two weeks after his race speech backed less-than-just congressional rejection of legislation to eliminate crack law disparities. Clinton justified his discrimination sanctioning action with canards about crack dangers that were thoroughly refuted in an extensive U.S. Sentencing Commission study on crack released months earlier.
America’s outlawing of marijuana sale and possession in 1937 rode the back of embedded individual and institutional racism.
The then head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the infamous Harry Anslinger, deliberately inflamed members of Congress with inaccurate assertions like “marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes.” Legal segregation – with stiff prohibitions against interracial sex – then dominated all areas of American society.
Ed Forchion, one of the few blacks in America widely recognized for his marijuana legalization activism, argues that U.S. pot prohibition rests on “medieval European Christian superstition about cannabis, industrial conspiracies [against hemp plant production] and outright racism.”
Forchion, better known as NJ Weedman, feels the budget crisis from recession-spawned revenue shortfalls will force governments (federal, state and local) to legalize and tax marijuana.
Philadelphia spends over $2-million per year just processing pot possession arrests while similar processing in NYC costs $90-million annually. Across America, pot prohibition enforcement consumes between $10-12-billion annually.
Newspapers will never carry headlines “that the government has won the War on Drugs,” said Forchion who operates the Liberty Bell Temple medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles. “But I believe we will see a headline saying: MARIJUANA IS LEGAL.”
http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/content/2010/04/14/Drug-War-Racism-Ravishes-AmericaA minor change in court processing procedures in Philadelphia, streamlining the... more
The Onion wins by KO. Still, it's hard to laugh about this considering how often police actually do raid homes on suspicion of pathetically minor drug offenses.
http://www.theonion.com/video/dea-official-announces-successful-drug-bust-on-son,17224/The Onion wins by KO. Still, it's hard to laugh about this considering how often... more