Top five questions:
[quote]1. “Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?”
“What will you do as President to restore the Constitutional protections that have been subverted by the Bush Administration and how will you ensure that our system of checks and balances is renewed?”
“What will you do to establish transparency and safeguards against waste with the rest of the Wall Street bailout money?”
“Will you lift the ban on Stem Cell research in your first 100 days in office?”
“What will you do to promote science and mathematics education to Elementary and Middle School students?”[/quote]
YES! :discodance: PLEASE let it happen, finally!
In related news:
[quote]Chong prosecutor dares Obama to fire her
If someone were to make a list of all the things a federal prosecutor could spend his or her time on to distract from fighting the war on terror, organized crime and other top Justice Department priorities, that list would mirror Mary Beth Buchanan’s most touted accomplishments during her previous seven years as a US Attorney.
Now the Bush-appointee – who spent $12 million to put that oh-so-notorious kingpin Tommy Chong behind bars for nine months – has been struck with another bout of headline-grabbing obstinance. Buchanan says she won’t step down once President-elect Obama takes office next month.
“It doesn’t serve justice for all the U.S. attorneys to submit their resignations all at one time,” she told a local paper last week, adding, “I am open to considering further service to the United States.”
The defiant posture and break with tradition could complicate Obama’s attempt to put his own mark on a Justice Department that has seen its reputation sullied over the last eight years. Some speculate Buchanan is essentially daring the president-elect to fire her.[/quote]
Come on, Barrack - fire that a-hole!
Others relevant to the topic:
[quote]Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. His definition fits America’s war on drugs, a multi-billion dollar, four-decade exercise in futility.
The war on drugs has helped turn the United States into the country with the world’s largest prison population. (Noteworthy statistic: The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population and around 25 percent of the world’s prisoners). Keen demand for illicit drugs in America, the world’s biggest market, helped spawn global criminal enterprises that use extreme violence in the pursuit of equally extreme profits.
Over the years, the war on drugs has spurred repeated calls from social scientists and economists (including three Nobel prize winners) to seriously rethink a strategy that ignores the laws of supply and demand.
Under the headline “The Failed War on Drugs,” Washington’s respected, middle-of-the-road Brookings Institution said in a November report that drug use had not declined significantly over the years and that “falling retail drug prices reflect the failure of efforts to reduce the supply of drugs.”[/quote]
[quote]“Although cannabis can have a negative impact on health, including mental health, in terms of relative harms, it is considerably less harmful than alcohol or tobacco,” the report claimed.
“Many of the harms associated with cannabis use are the result of prohibition itself, particularly the social harms arising from arrest and imprisonment,” the authors concluded.
They added that, by legalising dope, it would be regulated and would make it easier to stop children becoming users.
“It is only through a regulated market that we can better protect young people from the ever more potent forms of dope, known as ‘skunk’,” the report said.[/quote]
[quote]On Oct. 22, The New York Times reported Walters’ public support for a drug decriminalization proposal by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, quoting Walters as saying, “I don’t think that’s legalization.” Under Calderon’s proposal, individuals caught with small quantities of marijuana would receive no jail sentence or fine and would not receive a criminal record so long as they complete either drug education or, if addicted, drug treatment. Unlike proposals supported by MPP, the Mexican president’s proposal would also decriminalize possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.
“It’s fantastic that John Walters has recognized the massive destruction the drug war has inflicted on Mexico and is now calling for reforms there, but he’s a rank hypocrite if he continues opposing similar reforms in the U.S.,” Kampia said. “The Mexican proposal is far more sweeping than MPP’s proposals to decriminalize marijuana or make marijuana medically available, both of which John Walters and his henchmen rail against.”
(HOWEVER) In a March 19, 2008, press release from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, deputy director Scott Burns called a New Hampshire proposal to impose a $200 fine rather than jail time for a small amount of marijuana “a dangerous first step toward complete drug legalization.”[/quote]
[quote]The United States’ so-called war on drugs brings to mind the old saying that if you find yourself trapped in a deep hole, stop digging. Yet, last week, the Senate approved an aid package to combat drug trafficking in Mexico and Central America, with a record $400 million going to Mexico and $65 million to Central America.
The United States has been spending $69 billion a year worldwide for the last 40 years, for a total of $2.5 trillion, on drug prohibition – with little to show for it. Is anyone actually benefiting from this war? Six groups come to mind.
The first group are the drug lords in nations such as Colombia, Afghanistan and Mexico, as well as those in the United States. They are making billions of dollars every year – tax free.
The second group are the street gangs that infest many of our cities and neighborhoods, whose main source of income is the sale of illegal drugs.
Third are those people in government who are paid well to fight the first two groups. Their powers and bureaucratic fiefdoms grow larger with each tax dollar spent to fund this massive program that has been proved not to work.
Fourth are the politicians who get elected and reelected by talking tough – not smart, just tough – about drugs and crime. But the tougher we get in prosecuting nonviolent drug crimes, the softer we get in the prosecution of everything else because of the limited resources to fund the criminal justice system.
The fifth group are people who make money from increased crime. They include those who build prisons and those who staff them. The prison guards union is one of the strongest lobbying groups in California today, and its ranks continue to grow.
And last are the terrorist groups worldwide that are principally financed by the sale of illegal drugs.[/quote]
* Government prohibition of marijuana is the subject of ongoing debate. * One issue in this debate is the effect of marijuana prohibition on government budgets. Prohibition entails direct enforcement costs and prevents taxation of marijuana production and sale. * This report examines the budgetary implications of legalizing marijuana – taxing and regulating it like other goods – in all fifty states and at the federal level. * The report estimates that legalizing marijuana would save $7.7 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition. $5.3 billion of this savings would accrue to state and local governments, while $2.4 billion would accrue to the federal government. * The report also estimates that marijuana legalization would yield tax revenue of $2.4 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like all other goods and $6.2 billion annually if marijuana were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco. * Whether marijuana legalization is a desirable policy depends on many factors other than the budgetary impacts discussed here. But these impacts should be included in a rational debate about marijuana policy.
[quote]If you’re a small government guy like me, there are countless reasons to be disenfranchised with the current Republican Party – wiretaps, suspension of habeas corpus, the drug war, the ‘terror’ war, massive government spending, unprecedented debt, and on and on…
This event pushed me over the edge…
My bright and promising 19-year-old nephew was a college Sophomore in 2005. In October of 2005, the local police arrested him for possession of psilocybin mushrooms.
When I first heard the news I thought, ‘shrooms – no big deal – he’ll pay a fine – maybe do a few weeks in county jail – he’ll learn a life lesson – it might even be good for him.
What I discovered over the next few months horrified me…[/quote]
[quote]Uribe cannot stem the cocaine trade. Crop-spraying shifts production into Bolivia, Peru and the Amazon jungle, where mile upon mile of virgin forest is lost to coca each year, an ecological disaster that is a direct result of western drugs policy. As long as prohibition sustains a lucrative market for narcotics, countries such as Colombia will supply it. Traditional coca-growing nations on the Andean spine will have their politics and economics blighted by criminality. Growth will be stifled and governments left vulnerable to left-wing rebellion. The war on drugs is the stupidest war on earth…
…Cut to Afghanistan. Here, too, the West is intervening in a narco-economy that is destabilising a pro-western government. Here, too, quantities of aid have been dedicated to security yet have fed corruption. Here, too, intervention has boosted drug production and stacked the cards against law and order. This year’s Afghan poppy crop is predicted to be the largest on record. European demand has boosted the price paid for Afghan poppies to nine times that of wheat. At this differential a policy of crop substitution is absurd. [/quote]
[quote]According to the new BJS report, “Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004,” 12.7 percent of state inmates and 12.4 percent of federal inmates incarcerated for drug violations are serving time for marijuana offenses. Combining these percentages with separate U.S. Department of Justice statistics on the total number of state and federal drug prisoners suggests that there are now about 33,655 state inmates and 10,785 federal inmates behind bars for marijuana offenses. The report failed to include estimates on the percentage of inmates incarcerated in county and/or local jails for pot-related offenses.
Multiplying these totals by U.S. DOJ prison expenditure data reveals that taxpayers are spending more than $1 billion annually to imprison pot offenders.
The new report is noteworthy because it undermines the common claim from law enforcement officers and bureaucrats, specifically White House drug czar John Walters, that few, if any, Americans are incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses. In reality, nearly 1 out of 8 U.S. drug prisoners are locked up for pot.[/quote]