B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘drug_war’ tag

A Slight Drawdown in the War on Drugs

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Patience please
Patience please

((During one of this humble blog’s fallow periods, the David Simon incident mentioned below occurred at the White House. An incident custom made for my particular interests, and yet I’m pretty sure I only tweeted about it. Oh well.))

The War on Drugs has been dialed back a bit from the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush years, but it does continue. Too many laws have been passed encouraging civil forfeiture, encouraging stripping drug offenders of their voting rights and other civil liberties for the war to ended. President Obama and A.G. Eric Holder have slightly de-escalated the conflict, and various states in the US are de-escalating aspects of the conflict on their own citizens’ initiatives, but too many people are in jail for the crime of altering their own consciousnesses. 

Jelani Cobb of The New Yorker writes:

In May, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder invited several cast members from the HBO series “The Wire” to Washington, D.C., to help promote a Justice Department initiative called the Drug Endangered Children’s Task Force. “The Wire,” which aired for five seasons and was acclaimed for its nuanced portrayal of the war on drugs, was a favorite of both Holder and President Obama. Holder jokingly ordered the show’s creators, David Simon and Ed Burns, to produce a sixth season. “I have a lot of power,” he said. “The Attorney General’s kind remarks are noted and appreciated,” Simon told a reporter. “We are prepared to go to work on Season 6 of ‘The Wire’ if the Department of Justice is equally ready to reconsider and address its continuing prosecution of our misguided, destructive, and dehumanizing drug prohibition.” Fans groaned in despair: the improbable sixth season now seemed to hinge on something even less likely, an end to the war on drugs. But the exchange was significant for reasons beyond its implications for HBO’s programming. Although the catastrophic consequences of that war are widely acknowledged, there is less clarity about what ending it would entail.

The United States has declared war on cancer, on pornography, and on terror, and the lesson to be gleaned from those campaigns is that, unlike most other wars, those declared against common nouns seldom come to a precisely defined conclusion. The wars on cancer and pornography were really instances in which martial language was used to bolster particular policy initiatives by the Administrations that enacted them. The war on drugs has been a multitiered campaign that has enlisted legislation, private-sector initiatives, executive-branch support, and public will. But it actually looks like a war, with military-style armaments, random violence, and significant numbers of people taken prisoner. It has been prosecuted throughout eight Administrations and has had the type of social and cultural impact that few things short of real warfare do. During the Civil War, more than a quarter of a million Southern men died, creating the phenomenon of a vast number of female-headed households throughout the region. Mass incarceration during the war on drugs has produced a similar phenomenon among African-American households.

(click here to continue reading A Drawdown in the War on Drugs – The New Yorker.)

Written by Seth Anderson

August 25th, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Posted in government

Tagged with , , ,

Chicago, Glenview police officers charged with perjury

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Police Line - Do Not Cross
Police Line – Do Not Cross.

In a just world, these officers would all serve time in prison. Knowing our skewed justice system, they will not spend a moment in jail. The state’s attorney’s office must have been pretty pissed at these guys to file felony perjury charges.

Three Chicago police officers and a Glenview police officer have been charged with lying under oath in court during a drug case last year.

The officers — Chicago police Sgt. James Padar, Officer William Pruente, Officer Vince Morgan and Glenview Officer James Horn — have been charged with felony perjury, according to a statement issued early Monday by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

The charges come after a video contradicted the officers’ sworn testimony during a March 2014 court hearing on whether evidence in the drug case had been properly obtained.

The other officers took the stand and backed up Pruente’s version of the stop, to one degree or another, before Sperling’s lawyer played police video of the traffic stop.

The video, a copy of which was obtained by the Tribune, showed Pruente walking up to the car, reaching through the open driver’s window, unlocking the door and having Sperling step out of the car. Sperling was then frisked, handcuffed and led to a squad car while his car was searched.

 

(click here to continue reading Chicago, Glenview police officers charged with lying in drug case – Chicago Tribune.)

The digital revolution has changed our society in many ways, many negative1 but also in one undeniably positive way. So many citizens now have the capability to record what actually happens during interactions with law enforcement. We are learning that police cannot be trusted to tell the truth unless they know there is contrary evidence. How many drug arrests over the decades come down to the word of a police officer cited as incontrovertible evidence? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions?

Footnotes:
  1. planned obsolescence leading to massive amounts of environmental pollution, stripping our planet of resources to feed the insatiable maw, isolating people from human contact, etc. []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 9th, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Posted in crime,News-esque

Tagged with , ,

Swedish Covenant wants to dispense medical pot

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 Remember the Past In the Future Perfect Tense

Remember the Past In the Future Perfect Tense

Why shouldn’t medical establishments be able to participate in the great Green Gold Rush?

Medical marijuana will soon be legally distributed in Illinois, and officials at Swedish Covenant Hospital on Chicago’s North Side say their pharmacy deserves to be among the dispensaries.

They say marijuana could benefit patients with cancer and other serious maladies, and that hospital pharmacists already dispense drugs that that are much more potentially dangerous than cannabis.

One problem, though: Pot, medical or otherwise, remains illegal under federal law, and any hospital that fills marijuana prescriptions risks its Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

So for now, Swedish Covenant officials say they can only try to influence the conversation about the distribution of medical marijuana, pointing out what they see as the illogical exclusion of hospital personnel.

“As long as there’s no change to the federal law, we couldn’t jeopardize services by becoming a dispensary … but we’re not afraid of making the noise,” said Marcia Jimenez, hospital director of intergovernmental affairs.

Hospitals around the country have grappled with this conundrum as more states pass medical marijuana laws. Twenty-three states plus the District of Columbia permit medical use of the drug, but Chris Lindsey of the Marijuana Policy Project said he is unaware of any hospital pharmacy that dispenses marijuana.

He said Maryland officials at first required medical marijuana to be distributed through hospitals, but dropped the idea when none would do it.

Marijuana’s continuing illegality under federal law, Lindsey said, “places large organizations such as hospitals in a very risky position, which could lead to criminal charges for officers, doctors or investors, and possible asset forfeiture for hospital property. There is too much on the line for hospitals to go there.”

(click here to continue reading Swedish Covenant wants to dispense medical pot – chicagotribune.com.)

Needed Somewhere To Go
Needed Somewhere To Go

And the federal government really needs to update their policy to reflect the will of the American citizen. Cannabis remains a Schedule 1 drug, meaning the government considers it worse than cocaine, opioids,  methamphetamine, and other powerful inebriants. Nonsensical.

From Wikipedia, the definition of Schedule 1 drugs includes these:

The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

(click here to continue reading List of Schedule I drugs (US) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

Yeah, cannabis doesn’t really fit this definition now, does it? High potential for abuse? Uhh, no, not really. No medical use in treatment? Uh, except in states which are collectively 75% of the US population. The third point is the biggest laugh of all: how many people have died from too much consumption of marijuana? Zero. Unless you die from a bale of marijuana falling on you, or you get in a knife fight with a drunk…

Written by Seth Anderson

July 28th, 2014 at 8:29 am

Beer Baron John Hickenlooper Hates The Cannabis Competition

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Ballin'
Ballin’

What nearly amuses me is that Beer Baron John Hickenlooper is so opposed, still, to citizens of his state taking positive steps towards ending the ridiculous drug war in the US. The vote wasn’t even very close, considering. No, if Gov Hickenlooper had his way, only beer should be legal…

Colorado Democrat John Hickenlooper has a firm answer to other U.S. governors asking him about marijuana as source of revenue: Just say no.

Hickenlooper said yesterday that about a half-dozen called or asked him at this weekend’s National Governors Association meeting in Washington about his state’s experience legalizing recreational pot. They want to know about the potential to collect money and avoid the costs of enforcement and incarceration, he said.

Colorado projected last week that sales would generate more than $100 million a year toward a general fund of about $9 billion. But Hickenlooper, who opposed legalizing marijuana, said he’s telling fellow governors that he’s not counting on it to lower other taxes or for spending — and that they shouldn’t, either.

(click here to continue reading Colorado’s Experience With Legal Pot Has U.S. Governors Curious – Bloomberg.)

and this is despite admitting in his own state budget that legal cannabis sales could reach $1,000,000,000 in their very first year! Just consider that for a second: a newly legal industry that already is this significant, despite foot dragging from the Beer Baron, and others of his ilk who hold anachronistic viewpoints about the demon weed.

Beer Money at the MCA
Beer Money at the MCA

new budget numbers predicted that those marijuana taxes could add more than $100 million a year to state coffers, far more than earlier estimates.

The figures offered one of the first glimpses into how the bustling market for recreational marijuana was beginning to reshape government bottom lines — an important question as marijuana advocates push to expand legalization beyond Colorado and Washington State into states including Arizona, Alaska and Oregon.

In Colorado, where recreational sales began on Jan. 1 with hourlong waits, a budget proposal from Gov. John W. Hickenlooper estimated that the state’s marijuana industry could reach $1 billion in sales in the next fiscal year, with recreational sales making up about $610 million of that business.

“It’s well on its way to being a billion-dollar industry,” said Michael Elliott, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, a Colorado trade association. “We went from 110,000 medical marijuana patients to four billion people in the world who are 21 and up.”

In the budget proposal that Mr. Hickenlooper released Wednesday, his office said the state could collect about $134 million in taxes from recreational and medical marijuana for the fiscal year beginning in July.

(click here to continue reading Colorado Expects to Reap Tax Bonanza From Legal Marijuana Sales – NYTimes.com.)

Shiner Bock in Lower Yurtistan
Shiner Bock in Lower Yurtistan

and the truth is that Gov Hickenlooper is just a hypocrite, a politician, in other words:

But the state’s Democratic governor said he “hates” his state’s legal weed “experiment.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper revealed his feelings about marijuana legalization to the Durango Herald’s editorial board Friday.

“I hate Colorado having to be the experiment,” he told the newspaper.

The governor said he intends the regulation of legal weed to be even more strenuous than alcohol. “We are going to regulate the living daylights out of it,” he told the Herald.

Hickenlooper was a beer brewer before governor and made his fortune from selling alcoholic beverages — a fortune that wouldn’t have been possible had the U.S. not ended its prohibition on alcohol in 1933. The irony that he hates the the end of another drug’s prohibition in Colorado was not lost on Marijuana Policy Project’s communications director, Mason Tvert.

“I doubt Gov. Hickenlooper felt like he was participating in an experiment when he was making a living selling alcohol in a legal market,” Tvert told The Huffington Post. “Our state has been successfully regulating alcohol for quite some time, so regulating a less harmful substance like marijuana is hardly something new. Does the governor want to go back to a system in which cartels control marijuana instead of licensed businesses and thousands of responsible adults are punished each year simply for using it? We let that experiment go on for 80 years and it never worked.”

Tvert also called out the governor for suggesting that marijuana should be more heavily regulated than alcohol. “Every objective study on marijuana has concluded that it is less toxic than alcohol, less addictive, and less likely to contribute to violent and reckless behavior,” Tvert said. “If he is truly concerned about public health, he should be encouraging adults to consider making the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol when they are socializing or relaxing after work.”

(click here to continue reading Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper Hates His State’s Legal Weed ‘Experiment’.)

Wouldn’t our society be better off if fatties were smoked at sports arenas instead of endless 20 oz mugs of beer? Not to say that pot smokers can’t be aggressive or violent, but let your own experience with drunks be a guide. 

Written by Seth Anderson

February 24th, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Keith Richards Turns 70

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Patience please
Patience please

Wow. I can’t say I’m much of a fan of most Rolling Stones records after, say, Tattoo You, but I enjoyed the hell out of his autobiography, and for a few years, the Rolling Stones made some awesome rock and roll records.

Anyway, Keef’ as alchemist…

But with the drugs and all, people will wonder how the hell you made it.

With the smack, I knew: “I’ve got to stop now, or I’m going to go in for hard time.” The cocaine I quit because I fell on my head! Due to that – no more coke. Actually, my body tells me when to stop . . . the hard way. It’s a knock on the head – OK. It’s no big deal to me, to give things up.

Your book suggests you did heroin because it allowed you to work. I find it hard to believe heroin was part of your Protestant work ethic.

It was – either stay up or crash out or wake up. It was always to do something. Also, I’ve got to confess, I was very interested in what I could take and what I could do. I looked upon the body as a laboratory – I used to throw in this chemical and then that one to see what would happen; I was intrigued by that. What one would work against another; I’ve got a bit of alchemist in me that way. But all experiments must come to an end.

Has there been damage done?

I’ve never felt that it affected the way I played one way or another; if I stayed up I got a few more songs out of it. It’s like Churchill said about alcohol, “Believe me – I’ve taken a lot more out of alcohol than it’s ever taken out of me!” And I kind of feel the same way about the dope and stuff. I got something out of it. Might’ve pissed off a lot of people!

Now it’s just a little weed, a little wine?

Yeah, exactly. I hate all this idea of rehab and giving stuff up because it just means you’re hung up on it. It just means, “OK, I’m drinking too much – I’ll cut down.”

(click here to continue reading Profile: Keith Richards at 70 – MensJournal.com.)

Rock Records
Rock Records

Written by Seth Anderson

June 13th, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Posted in Music

Tagged with , ,

Dr. Gabriel Nahas, Researcher Who Waged a Campaign Against Marijuana, Dies at 92

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Nancy Reagan - Just Say Yo

Dr. Gabriel G. Nahas, a controversial medical researcher who became a prominent crusader against marijuana after being shocked to hear, at a PTA meeting in 1969, about the drug’s widespread use, died on June 28 in Manhattan. He was 92.

Dr. Nahas did research to find the physiological effects of smoking marijuana, wrote 10 books on the drug and became a leader of antidrug organizations. He was a visible ally of Nancy Reagan in her “just say no” to drugs campaign as the first lady in the 1980s.

Dr. Nahas saw his antidrug campaign as nothing less than a continuation of the fight against totalitarianism, which for him began during World War II as a decorated leader of the French Resistance; like totalitarianism, he believed, drugs enslaved the mind.

In 1972, he published his first book about the dangers of the drug, “Marihuana: Deceptive Weed.” In 1974, he announced that he had discovered a link between the drug and the body’s immune system. “The findings represent the first direct evidence of cellular damage from marijuana in man,” he said in a statement.

But scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studied the chromosomes of volunteers who smoked marijuana, found no deficiency in immune responses and no chromosome abnormalities, which Dr. Nahas had also predicted. Nevertheless, Dr. Nahas suggested that the results prompt reconsideration of a recent government report that marijuana’s dangers were less than those of alcohol.

His willingness to make strong political and social judgments was again evident in his more popular 1976 book, “Keep Off the Grass,” which contended that every marijuana user was a “pusher” of the drug.

Dr. Nahas’s conservatism extended beyond narcotics. In the 1970s, he marshaled his newly public persona to sign newspaper advertisements criticizing opponents of the Vietnam War.

 

(click here to continue reading Dr. Gabriel Nahas, Researcher Who Waged a Campaign Against Marijuana, Dies at 92 – NYTimes.com.)

What a sad thing to be remembered by history for doing: for causing hundreds of thousands of otherwise innocent people to be incarcerated. Marijuana is a plant – consuming it should not lead to losing ones citizenship and voting rights, should not lead to being raped in prison, should not lead to destruction of one’s freedoms. Dr. Nahas was an evil, misinformed man, if he was responsible for the Drug War, and Nancy Reagan’s ill-guided crusade against cannabis.

Written by Seth Anderson

July 8th, 2012 at 8:38 am

Posted in News-esque

Tagged with , ,

A Battle With the Brewers on Pine Ridge

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Light
Light

I have two thoughts regarding this horrific article as reported by Nicholas Kristof:

Pine Ridge, one of America’s largest Indian reservations, bans alcohol. The Oglala Sioux who live there struggle to keep alcohol out, going so far as to arrest people for possession of a can of beer. But the tribe has no jurisdiction over Whiteclay because it is just outside the reservation boundary.

So Anheuser-Busch and other brewers pour hundreds of thousands of gallons of alcohol into the liquor stores of Whiteclay, knowing that it ends up consumed illicitly by Pine Ridge residents and fuels alcoholism, crime and misery there. In short, a giant corporation’s business model here is based on violating tribal rules and destroying the Indians’ way of living.

It’s as if Mexico legally sold methamphetamine and crack cocaine to Americans in Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez.

Pine Ridge encompasses one of the poorest counties in the entire United States — Shannon County, S.D. — and life expectancy is about the same as in Afghanistan. As many as two-thirds of adults there may be alcoholics, and one-quarter of children are born suffering from fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

In short, this isn’t just about consenting adults. Children are born with neurological damage and never get a chance.

(click here to continue reading A Battle With the Brewers – NYTimes.com.)

The Longhorn Saloon - Main Street, Scenic, South Dakota

The Longhorn Saloon – Main Street, Scenic, South Dakota

First, Anheuser-Busch aka InBev has long been a sleazy corporation. You don’t give large amounts of corporate donations to scum like the Heartland Institute unless you are a willing tool of Republican agenda, and Anheuser-Busch is a willing tool of the GOP.

More Beautiful Desolation
More Beautiful Desolation

Second, and this is just wild speculation, what would happen if the Pine Ridge Reservation legalized booze sales, but vigorously controlled the sale? Stop selling to obviously intoxicated people, have a quota for how much beer a particular household could purchase in a month, and so on. Try the drug legalization model, in other words, like Switzerland or The Netherlands do (did?). Of course, the slightly-over the county line store would have to be removed, or incorporated into the plan. But isn’t this just as feasible as a public shaming of corporate scum like InBev?

I don’t doubt alcoholism is a big, big problem on the Res, but perhaps there are other ways to tackle this problem. Heroin junkies in Vancouver are allowed to shoot up, but only under watchful eyes of public health officials.

Just days after Canada’s Supreme Court smacked down the ruling Conservative party’s attempts to close Insite, the cutting-edge walk-in safe-injecting clinic in Vancouver, comes the latest volley from harm-reduction advocates north of the border. Over the next three years a new trial will test whether giving heroin addicts access to free, clean opiates can be an effective way to stabilize hardcore users and ultimately entice them into drug treatment.

SALOME (Study to Assess Longer-term Opiate Maintenance Effectiveness) grew out of the earlier NAOMI (North American Opiate Maintenance Initiative) study. whose conclusions were similar to those of similar trials in Switzerland, Germany and other highly evolved nations: “Heroin-assisted therapy proved to be a safe and highly effective treatment for people with chronic, treatment-refractory heroin addiction. Marked improvements were observed including decreased use of illicit “street” heroin, decreased criminal activity, decreased money spent on drugs, and improved physical and psychological health,” as NAOMI’s authors wrote.

Unlike the earlier trial, the focus of SALOME is not on heroin prescribing. With the Conservative government’s panties already in a bunch over injecting rooms, a less controversial alternative to handing out heroin had to be foundt. The solution?  Hydromorphone (trade name Dilaudid), a legally available painkiller whose effects are almost indistinguishable from heroin—not a surprise given that it is synthesized from morphine. “There’s less of a stigma, less of an aura, around hydromorphone, and it’s legally available,” said British Columbia’s medical health officer, Perry Kendall. “In Switzerland and Germany, they don’t have a problem with treating people with heroin, but here we do.”

(click here to continue reading Junkies Get Free, Clean Heroin Alternative in Vancouver Trial | The Fix.)

What do you think? Could this work for alcohol too? Of course, this is idle speculation, and as long as the GOP is around, public health initiatives will get short shrift.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 6th, 2012 at 8:10 am

How Psychedelic Drugs Can Help Patients Face Death

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Painted Trees Overlooking LSD
Painted Trees Overlooking LSD1

Psychedelic drugs have a lot of potential, especially if we can separate the puritanical Drug-War impulses of politicians from science.

Pam Sakuda was 55 when she found out she was dying. Shortly after having a tumor removed from her colon, she heard the doctor’s dreaded words: Stage 4; metastatic.…As her fears intensified, Sakuda learned of a study being conducted by Charles Grob, a psychiatrist and researcher at Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center who was administering psilocybin — an active component of magic mushrooms — to end-stage cancer patients to see if it could reduce their fear of death. Twenty-two months before she died, Sakuda became one of Grob’s 12 subjects. When the research was completed in 2008 — (and published in the Archives of General Psychiatry last year) — the results showed that administering psilocybin to terminally ill subjects could be done safely while reducing the subjects’ anxiety and depression about their impending deaths.

Grob’s interest in the power of psychedelics to mitigate mortality’s sting is not just the obsession of one lone researcher. Dr. John Halpern, head of the Laboratory for Integrative Psychiatry at McLean Hospital in Belmont Mass., a psychiatric training hospital for Harvard Medical School, used MDMA — also known as ecstasy — in an effort to ease end-of-life anxieties in two patients with Stage 4 cancer. And there are two ongoing studies using psilocybin with terminal patients, one at New York University’s medical school, led by Stephen Ross, and another at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where Roland Griffiths has administered psilocybin to 22 cancer patients and is aiming for a sample size of 44. “This research is in its very early stages,” Grob told me earlier this month, “but we’re getting consistently good results.”

Grob and his colleagues are part of a resurgence of scientific interest in the healing power of psychedelics. Michael Mithoefer, for instance, has shown that MDMA is an effective treatment for severe P.T.S.D. Halpern has examined case studies of people with cluster headaches who took LSD and reported their symptoms greatly diminished. And psychedelics have been recently examined as treatment for alcoholism and other addictions.

Despite the promise of these investigations, Grob and other end-of-life researchers are careful about the image they cultivate, distancing themselves as much as possible from the 1960s, when psychedelics were embraced by many and used in a host of controversial studies, most famously the psilocybin project run by Timothy Leary. Grob described the rampant drug use that characterized the ’60s as “out of control” and said of his and others’ current research, “We are trying to stay under the radar. We want to be anti-Leary.” Halpern agreed. “We are serious sober scientists,” he told me.

(click here to continue reading How Psychedelic Drugs Can Help Patients Face Death – NYTimes.com.)

Bear in mind, marijuana is sometimes considered a psychedelic drug, and the US still hasn’t stopped demonizing it, despite the number of successful pot smokers who partake (or have partook)…

Quoting myself:

The Office of National Drug Control Policy is by far one of the most ridiculous wastes of taxpayer money in our nation. Their mandate is to convince young folks that marijuana is a demon weed, and that one toke will corrupt young minds forever, and ever, amen. A current ad asserts that if you partake of cannabis, the only career options left for you will be comical dead-end jobs like “Burrito Taster” and “Couch Security Guard” and so on.

[and from The Agitator: Successful Pot Smokers: Let’s Make a List

Barack Obama, president-elect. Bill Clinton, 42nd president of the U.S. John Kerry, U.S. Senator and 2004 Democratic nominee for president. John Edwards, multi-millionaire, former U.S. Senator, and 2004 Democratic nominee for vice president. Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, 2008 Republican nominee for vice president. British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly, and and Chancellor Alistair Darling. Josh Howard, NBA all-star. New York Governor David Paterson. Former Vice President, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Oscar winner Al Gore. Former Sen. Bill Bradley, who smoked while playing professional basketball. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and former New York Governor George Pataki. Billionaire and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

That’s the result of a five-minute Google search. The presence of so many high-ranking politicians so early in the search results puts the lie to the ONDCP’s ridiculous ad campaign, and shows that to the extent that marijuana is harmful, the harm lies mostly in what the government will do to you to you if it catches you

Footnotes:
  1. Lake Shore Drive, but seems a bit trippy to me []

Written by Seth Anderson

April 20th, 2012 at 11:30 am

Posted in government,science

Tagged with , , ,

LSD helps alcoholics to give up drinking

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LSD and the heartbeat of a city

LSD and the heartbeat of a city

Another victim of Nixon’s ill-guided War on Drugs…

One dose of the hallucinogenic drug LSD could help alcoholics give up drinking, according to an analysis of studies performed in the 1960s. A study, presented in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, looked at data from six trials and more than 500 patients. It said there was a “significant beneficial effect” on alcohol abuse, which lasted several months after the drug was taken. Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology analysed earlier studies on the drug between 1966 and 1970.

Patients were all taking part in alcohol treatment programmes, but some were given a single dose of LSD of between 210 and 800 micrograms. For the group of patients taking LSD, 59% showed reduced levels of alcohol misuse compared with 38% in the other group.

This effect was maintained six months after taking the hallucinogen, but it disappeared after a year. Those taking LSD also reported higher levels of abstinence.

The report’s authors, Teri Krebs and Pal-Orjan Johansen, said: “A single dose of LSD has a significant beneficial effect on alcohol misuse.”

They suggested that more regular doses might lead to a sustained benefit.

“Given the evidence for a beneficial effect of LSD on alcoholism, it is puzzling why this treatment approach has been largely overlooked,” they added.

(click here to continue reading BBC News – LSD ‘helps alcoholics to give up drinking’.)

Puzzling, until you recall that the United States government is adamantly opposed to scientists being able to even research drugs like psilocybin, LSD and marijuana, no matter how many promising studies occur. Tellingly, the US media has not, to my knowledge, published this story.
Update, just took a while. So far, NPR, San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, and a few other not-quite mainstream players have seen fit to run a story.

Sometimes Darkness Is just a Dream
Sometimes Darkness Is just a Dream

The study is available here, as PDF, if you are interested in the details…

Alcohol is said to cause more overall harm than any other drug (Nutt et al., 2010). Alcohol contributes to about 4% of total mortality and about 5% of disability adjusted life-years to the global burden of disease (Rehm et al., 2009). Despite the often extreme individual and social consequences of alcohol misuse, many users find it challenging to stop drinking. Alcoholism, also called alcohol dependence, continues to be difficult to treat, and many patients do not achieve recovery from existing treatments (Schuckit, 2009).

Numerous clinical investigators have claimed that treating alcoholics with individual doses of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), in combination with psychosocial interventions, can help to prevent a relapse of alcohol misuse, for example, by eliciting insights into behavioural patterns and generating motivation to build a meaningful sober lifestyle (Dyck, 2008). LSD is well- known for inducing spectacular and profound effects on the mind (Henderson and Glass, 1994; Passie et al., 2008). It has previously been used in standard treatment programs for alcoholism at many clinics, but, unfortunately, assessments of the clinical value of LSD have not been based on formal systematic review and meta- analysis (Mangini, 1998). Hence, we have performed a quantita- tive evaluation of the effectiveness of LSD for alcoholism, based on data from randomized controlled clinical trials.

Methods Search strategy and selection criteria

We searched the PubMed and PsycINFO databases (1943–2010), without language restrictions, using the following terms: LSD, lysergic, lysergide, psychedelic*, or hallucinogen*; and alcohol*, addict*, or dependence. We independently inspected the searchresults by reading the titles and abstracts. We retrieved each potentially relevant publication located in the search and assessed it for inclusion, subsequently examining the reference lists of eligible studies and relevant review articles. We supplemented our search for trials by contacting experts. If publications lacked important information, we attempted to contact study investigators and institutions.

We specified inclusion and exclusion criteria and defined primary and secondary outcomes in the meta-analysis study protocol. We included randomized controlled trials of LSD for alcoholism, in which control condition involved any type of treatment, including doses of up to 50 mcg LSD as an active control. If a trial included multiple randomized treatment arms, all participants in the eligible LSD arms and all participants in the eligible control arms were pooled for analysis. We excluded participants with schizophrenia or psychosis from analysis, as psychosis is recognized as a contraindication for treatment with LSD (Johnson et al., 2008; Passie et al., 2008).

Written by Seth Anderson

March 9th, 2012 at 8:26 am

Posted in government,science

Tagged with , ,

Mind-altering drugs research call from Prof David Nutt

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Shroom as Big As Your Head
Shroom as Big As Your Head

If only governments listened to reason…

Former government drugs adviser Prof David Nutt has said that regulations should be relaxed to enable researchers to experiment on mind-altering drugs.

Prof Nutt told BBC News that magic mushrooms, LSD, ecstasy, cannabis and mephedrone all have potential therapeutic applications.

However, he said they were not being studied because of the restrictions placed on researching illegal drugs.

He said the regulations were “overwhelming”.

His comments followed the publication of new research by his group in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which suggests that the active ingredient in magic mushrooms could be used to treat depression.

“I feel quite passionately that these drugs are profound drugs; they change the brain in a way that no other drugs do. And I find it bizarre that no-one has studied them before and they haven’t because it’s hard and illegal,” he said.

Prof Nutt was sacked by the home secretary from his government advisory role three years ago for saying that ecstasy and LSD were less harmful than alcohol.

We need to have a more scientific rational approach to drugs and vilifying drugs like psilocybin whilst at the same time actively promoting much more dangerous drugs like alcohol is totally stupid scientifically” Prof David NuttHe says his new research indicated that there were no “untoward effects” from taking magic mushrooms and that it should not be illegal to possess them.

Prof Nutt and his team scanned the brains of volunteers who had been injected with a moderate dose of psilocybin, the active ingredient of magic mushrooms.

They had expected higher activity in areas of the brain associated with visual imagery. But in fact they found that the drug switched off a network of interconnected regions of the brain which regulated an individual’s sense of being and integration with their environment.

The researchers say that this alters consciousness because individuals are less in touch with their sensations and normal way of thinking.

(click here to continue reading BBC News – Mind-altering drugs research call from Prof David Nutt.)

LSD Partners  Dylan

LSD Partners – Bob Dylan

Written by Seth Anderson

January 23rd, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Posted in government,health,science

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Hofmann, Jobs and LSD

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Steve Jobs and Albert Hofmann (source unknown)

stevejobsgrim.jpg

I know we’ve discussed Steve Jobs and LSD previously in this space, but I’m too lazy to find the link at the moment…

Anyway, too many of the obituaries of SJ omit this one facet of his life: he was imbued with the ethos of the counter-culture, possibly due to his experimentation with mind-expanding chemicals like Albert Hofmann’s “problem child”

“Dear Mr. Jobs,” begins the 2007 letter from Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann to Apple’s (AAPL) CEO. “I understand from media accounts that you feel LSD helped you creatively in your development of Apple computers and your personal spiritual quest. I’m interested in learning more about how LSD was useful to you.” Hofmann, as students of the sixties will recall, was the chemist who first synthesized, ingested and experienced the psychedelic effects of lysergic acid diethylamide.

LSD Art
LSD Art.jpeg

Steve Jobs, as readers of John Markoff’s “What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry” may remember, dabbled in psychedelics in the 1970s and has called his LSD experiences “one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life.” “I’m writing now,” Hofmann’s letter continues, “shortly after my 101st birthday, to request that you support Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Peter Gasser’s proposed study of LSD-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with anxiety associated with life-threatening illness.”

(click here to continue reading Dr. LSD to Steve Jobs: How was your trip? – Apple 2.0 – Fortune Tech.)

Ryan Grim adds:

The letter led to a roughly 30-minute conversation between Doblin and Jobs, says Doblin, but no contribution to the cause. “He was still thinking, ‘Let’s put it in the water supply and turn everybody on,'” recalls a disappointed Doblin, who says he still hasn’t given up hope that Jobs will come around and contribute.

That Jobs used LSD and values the contribution it made to his thinking is far from unusual in the world of computer technology. Psychedelic drugs have influenced some of America’s foremost computer scientists. The history of this connection is well documented in a number of books, the best probably being What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer, by New York Times technology reporter John Markoff.

Psychedelic drugs, Markoff argues, pushed the computer and Internet revolutions forward by showing folks that reality can be profoundly altered through unconventional, highly intuitive thinking. Douglas Engelbart is one example of a psychonaut who did just that: he helped invent the mouse. Apple’s Jobs has said that Microsoft’s Bill Gates, would “be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once.” In a 1994 interview with Playboy, however, Gates coyly didn’t deny having dosed as a young man.

Thinking differently–or learning to Think Different, as a Jobs slogan has it–is a hallmark of the acid experience. “When I’m on LSD and hearing something that’s pure rhythm, it takes me to another world and into anther brain state where I’ve stopped thinking and started knowing,” Kevin Herbert told Wired magazine at a symposium commemorating Hofmann’s one hundredth birthday. Herbert, an early employee of Cisco Systems who successfully banned drug testing of technologists at the company, reportedly “solved his toughest technical problems while tripping to drum solos by the Grateful Dead.”

“It must be changing something about the internal communication in my brain,” said Herbert. “Whatever my inner process is that lets me solve problems, it works differently, or maybe different parts of my brain are used.”

 

(click here to continue reading Ryan Grim: Read the Never-Before-Published Letter From LSD-Inventor Albert Hofmann to Apple CEO Steve Jobs.)

Written by Seth Anderson

October 9th, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Posted in Apple

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Free Willie

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Willie Nelson BlvdWillie Nelson Blvd, in Austin, which used to be 2nd Street1

Why are police bothering Willie Nelson, anyway? Don’t they have anything better to do?

You gotta love a sumbitch like Willie Nelson who, unlike Bill “I-Never-Inhaled” Clinton, has always ‘fessed up to using copious quantities of herb. Two days ago, in response to his pot bust last Friday at a Border Patrol checkpoint near Sierra Blanca (that’s a Spanish geographical term for the middle of fucking nowhere), the Red Headed Stranger formed Willie Nelson’s Teapot Party; as of this morning, 20,000 people have joined.

This leads Lonesome Onry and Mean to wonder if any of our politicians are paying attention to the will of the people. We’ll bet Gov. Rick Perry’s anus puckered up tighter than an unfracked shale formation when some aide walked up and whispered in his ear, “Willie Nelson’s been busted for pot.” Terrorists inside the Alamo couldn’t have been a worse scenario for the Governor.

Will Willie’s bust be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back regarding legalization? Wouldn’t it be great if high-profile politicians like former president George W. Bush, Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison got together, called a press conference and said, “OK, enough is enough”?

Or, even better, looked into the camera and screamed “Free Willie Nelson! And while you’re at it, bring us the head of that nincompoop agent who boarded Willie’s bus.”

(click to continue reading Willie Nelson’s Pot Bust: A Milestone In Marijuana Policy? – Houston Music – Rocks Off.)

Of course, this won’t happen because the Christian Taliban who Perry and other Republicans kowtow to would never allow it to happen. If we allowed a little herb to grow, then what’s next? Dancing?

Footnotes:
  1. I guess it still is, officially []

Written by Seth Anderson

December 1st, 2010 at 11:10 am

Posted in government

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War On Drugs Is A War On Brown Skin

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Seemingly, the best way to have your life ruined is to be born with brown skin, and have a joint in your possession.

Pippin in the Grass

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.’s recent chest-thumping against the California ballot initiative that seeks to legalize marijuana underscores how the war on drugs in this country has become a war focused on marijuana, one being waged primarily against minorities and promoted, fueled and financed primarily by Democratic politicians.

According to a report released Friday by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project for the Drug Policy Alliance and the N.A.A.C.P. and led by Prof. Harry Levine, a sociologist at the City University of New York: “In the last 20 years, California made 850,000 arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana, and half-a-million arrests in the last 10 years. The people arrested were disproportionately African-Americans and Latinos, overwhelmingly young people, especially men.”

For instance, the report says that the City of Los Angeles “arrested blacks for marijuana possession at seven times the rate of whites.”

This imbalance is not specific to California; it exists across the country.

One could justify this on some level if, in fact, young blacks and Hispanics were using marijuana more than young whites, but that isn’t the case. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, young white people consistently report higher marijuana use than blacks or Hispanics.

(click to continue reading Smoke and Horrors – NYTimes.com.)

Just Say No Drugs

The saddest part is that Barack Obama and Eric Holder should know better, should be more cognizant of the repercussions of this wrong-headed policy, but instead of changing the ridiculous Drug War’s attack on plants, they continue it. Even escalate it, as Charles Blow explains:

This wave of arrests is partially financed, either directly or indirectly, by federal programs like the Byrne Formula Grant Program, which was established by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 to rev up the war on drugs. Surprisingly, this program has become the pet project of Democrats, not Republicans.

…In the last year of the Bush administration, financing had been reduced to $170 million. In March of that year, 56 senators signed onto a “bipartisan” letter to ranking members of the Senate Appropriations Committee urging them to restore nearly $500 million to the program. Only 15 Republicans signed the letter.

Even candidate Obama promised that he would restore funding to the program.

The 2009 stimulus package presented these Democrats with the opportunity, and they seized it. The legislation, designed by Democrats and signed by President Obama, included $2 billion for Byrne Grants to be awarded by the end of September 2010. That was nearly a 12-fold increase in financing. Whatever the merits of these programs, they are outweighed by the damage being done. Financing prevention is fine. Financing a race-based arrest epidemic is not.

Why would Democrats support a program that has such a deleterious effect on their most loyal constituencies? It is, in part, callous political calculus. It’s an easy and relatively cheap way for them to buy a tough-on-crime badge while simultaneously pleasing police unions. The fact that they are ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of black and Hispanic men and, by extension, the communities they belong to barely seems to register.

This is outrageous and immoral and the Democrat’s complicity is unconscionable, particularly for a party that likes to promote its social justice bona fides.

Written by Seth Anderson

October 24th, 2010 at 9:10 am

Posted in government,politics

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U.S. Will Enforce Marijuana Laws, Despite Wishes of Voters

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Disappointing decision by Eric Holder and the Obama administration. What purpose does locking up non-violent drug users accomplish anyway? Other than let politicians check off the box that says, “tough on crime” on their reelection mailers, that is.

Single serving pod

LOS ANGELES — The Department of Justice says it intends to prosecute marijuana laws in California aggressively even if state voters approve an initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot to legalize the drug. Related

The announcement by Eric H. Holder Jr., the attorney general, was the latest reminder of how much of the establishment has lined up against the popular initiative: dozens of editorial boards, candidates for office, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other public officials.

Still, despite this opposition — or perhaps, to some extent, because of it — the measure, Proposition 19, appears to have at least a decent chance of winning, so far drawing considerable support in polls from a coalition of Democrats, independents, younger voters and men as Election Day nears. Should that happen, it could cement a cultural shift in California, where medical marijuana has been legal since 1996 and where the drug has been celebrated in popular culture at least since the 1960s.

But it could also plunge the nation’s most populous state into a murky and unsettling conflict with the federal government that opponents of the proposition said should make California voters wary of supporting it.

(click to continue reading U.S. Will Enforce Marijuana Laws, State Vote Aside – NYTimes.com.)

Grass Fed Change

So which officials in California are for the bill?

The state Republican Party has officially come out against Proposition 19 and plans to urge people to vote no, said Ron Nehring, the party chairman. He called repeal a “big mistake” and mocked the notion that placing the proposition on the ballot would help Democrats.

“We call that their Hail Mary Jane strategy,” he said.

John Burton, the chairman of the California Democratic Party, said his party had decided to stay neutral on this issue. Asked if he supported it, Mr. Burton responded: “I already voted for it. Why not? Brings some money into the state. Helps the deficit. Better than selling off state buildings to some developer.”

Mark Baldassare, president of the Public Policy Institute of California, noted that polls showed the measure breaking 50 percent, but said that given the history of initiatives in the state, that meant its passage was far from assured.

Opposition has come from a number of fronts, ranging from Mr. Baca and other law enforcement officials to the Chamber of Commerce, which has warned that it would create workplace health issues.

Still, the breadth of supporters of the proposition — including law enforcement officials and major unions, like the Service Employees International Union — signal how mainstream this movement is becoming.

“I think we consume far more dangerous drugs that are legal: cigarette smoking, nicotine and alcohol,” said Joycelyn Elders, the former surgeon general and a supporter of the measure. “I feel they cause much more devastating effects physically. We need to lift the prohibition on marijuana.”

Written by Seth Anderson

October 17th, 2010 at 9:26 am

Drug decriminalization really works – Portugal’s example

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Gee, wonder if the US could try what Portugal did? Ten years of data should give some real insights, no?1

Mounted Police, Black Friars Lane

Time magazine reports that Europe’s most liberal drug policy has been a huge success. Not, as you might think, those hippie Dutch, but Portugal, where possession of all drugs for personal use was decriminalised in 2001.

A study by the Cato Institute (PDF), a libertarian think tank, has found that in the five years after decriminalisation, Portugal’s drug problems had improved in every measured way. The man behind the research, Glenn Greenwald, a lawyer, told Time:  “Judging by every metric, decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success.”

Portuguese policy is that possession of small amounts of any drug is not a criminal offence; if you are found possessing it, you can be put before a panel of a psychologist, social worker and legal adviser, who will decide appropriate treatment. You are free to refuse that treatment, and a jail sentence is not an option. Drug trafficking is still illegal and punishable by jail.

I’ll just go through the figures; apologies for the slew of statistics. Drug use among 13- to 15-year-olds fell from 14.1 per cent in 2001 to 10.6 per cent in 2006. Among 16- to 18-year-olds it has dropped from 27.6 per cent to 21.6 per cent. This, incidentally, has come after years of steadily increasing drug use among the young; between 1995 and 2001, use in the 16-to-18 bracket leapt up from 14.1 per cent to its 2001 high. This drop has come against a background of increasing drug use across the rest of the EU.

There has been a mild increase in use among older groups, 19-24 and up, but this is expected due to the rise in use in the young in the 1990s; it’s a “cohort effect”, meaning that young people get older, and take their habits with them. Further, HIV infections among drug users fell, drug-related deaths fell, there was a decrease in trafficking, and a huge amount of money was saved by offering treatment instead of prison sentences.

(click to continue reading Portugal drug decriminalisation ‘a resounding success’: will Britain respond? No. – Telegraph Blogs.)

Homeland Security Federal Protective Service Police

From Time Magazine:

But there is a movement afoot in the U.S., in the legislatures of New York State, California and Massachusetts, to reconsider our overly punitive drug laws. Recently, Senators Jim Webb and Arlen Specter proposed that Congress create a national commission, not unlike Portugal’s, to deal with prison reform and overhaul drug-sentencing policy. As Webb noted, the U.S. is home to 5% of the global population but 25% of its prisoners.

At the Cato Institute in early April, Greenwald contended that a major problem with most American drug policy debate is that it’s based on “speculation and fear mongering,” rather than empirical evidence on the effects of more lenient drug policies. In Portugal, the effect was to neutralize what had become the country’s number one public health problem, he says.

“The impact in the life of families and our society is much lower than it was before decriminalization,” says Joao Castel-Branco Goulao, Portugual’s “drug czar” and president of the Institute on Drugs and Drug Addiction, adding that police are now able to re-focus on tracking much higher level dealers and larger quantities of drugs.

(click to continue reading Decriminalizing Drugs in Portugal a Success, Says Report – TIME.)

The US officials are too concerned with playing politics with the drug war, and reaping the benefits of asset forfeiture, to actually seriously discuss changing the current farce of a system. Too many vested interests.

Footnotes:
  1. left British spelling as in original []

Written by Seth Anderson

September 28th, 2010 at 7:46 am

Posted in politics

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