Category Archives: Marijuana

Burgeoning Marijuana Market Prompts Concerns about Crop’s Environmental Impact


By Melati Kaye on February 2, 2017

A visit to a marijuana farm in Willow Creek, the heart of northern California’s so-called Emerald Triangle feels like strolling through an orchard. At 16 feet high and eight feet around, its 99 plants are too overloaded with cannabis buds to stand on their own. Instead each plant has an aluminum cage for support.

Welcome to America’s “pot basket.” The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration estimates 60 percent of cannabis consumed nationwide is grown in California. According to the Department of Justice, the bulk of that comes from the three upstate counties of the Emerald Triangle: Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity. Conditions here are said to be perfect for outdoor marijuana cultivation. But that has proved to be a very mixed blessing for the region, bringing with it a litany of environmental disturbances to local waterways and wildlife. Creek diversions threaten fish habitat and spur toxic algal blooms. Road building and clear-cuts erode soil and cloud streams. Deep within, illegal “guerilla grows” pepper forestlands with banned rodent poisons that are intended to eradicate crop pests but are also fatal to other mammals.

On November 8 voters in four states—Massachusetts, Maine, California and Nevada—legalized recreational marijuana. These states join Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, along with the District of Columbia, where one can already legally buy the drug for recreational use. Will this expanded market mean more environmental damage? Or will legalization pave the way for sounder regulation?

In 1996 California legalized marijuana for medical use, providing the first legal space for pot cultivation since the federal government’s blanket ban on the crop some 60 years before. As grow operations in the state flourished, California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Scott Bauer analyzed satellite imagery to examine the impact of cultivation on water levels in four Emerald Triangle watersheds. His study, published in PLoS ONE in 2015, found that in three of the four watersheds, “water demand for marijuana cultivation exceeds stream flow during the low-flow [summer] periods.”

The real problem is not marijuana’s overall water consumption, which still falls far short of California staples like walnuts or almonds, explains environmental scientist Van Butsic of the University of California, Berkeley. Rather it is an issue of where and when pot is grown. Analyzing aerial imagery of 4,428 grow sites in 60 Humboldt county watersheds, Butsic found that one in 20 grow sites sat within 100 meters of fish habitat and one in five were located on steep land with a slope of 17 degrees or more. “The problem is that cannabis is being grown in the headwaters, and much of the watering is happening in the summer,” Butsic says.

If that arrangement goes on unchecked, U.C. Berkeley ecologist Mary Powers warns, summer plantations could transform local rivers from cool and “salmon-sustaining” to systems full of toxic cyanobacteria. Over eons of evolution native salmon species have adapted to “deluge or drought” conditions, she says. But the double whammy of climate change and water extraction could prove to be a game-changer.

Powers spelled out the unprecedented stresses in a 2015 conference paper focused on the Eel River that flows through Mendocino and southern Humboldt. She and her team found riverbed-scouring floods in winter, followed by dry, low-flow conditions in summer, led to warm, stagnant, barely connected pools of water. That is bad news for salmon, but ideal for early summer algal blooms. The algae then rot, creating an oxygen-deficient paradise for toxic cyanobacteria, which have been implicated in the poisoning deaths of 11 dogs along the Eel River since 2002.

Dogs are not the only terrestrial creatures endangered by the grow operations. Between 2008 and 2013 Mourad Gabriel, then a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Davis, Veterinary Genetics Lab, carried out a study of the American fisher, a small carnivorous mammal that is a candidate for the endangered species list. He wanted to suss out the threats to fisher populations in northern California. So he radio-tagged fishers from Trinity County’s Hoopa Valley Reservation and public lands near Yosemite National Park to track their movements. Between 2006 and 2011, 58 of the fishers Gabriel and his team tracked turned up dead. Gabriel studied the necropsies and found that 46 of the animals had been exposed to anticoagulant rodenticides—rat poisons that block liver enzymes, which enable blood clotting. Without the enzyme the exposed mammals bled to death from flesh wounds.

The finding puzzled Gabriel at first, because rat poison is more common in agricultural and urban settings than in remote forests. But then he started visiting the remnants of guerilla grows that had been busted under the guidance of lawmen such as Omar Brown, head of the Narcotics Division at the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office. “We have found [anticoagulant rodenticides] carbofuron on grows in the national forest,” Brown reports. “These are neurotoxin-laced pesticides that have been banned in the U.S. since 2011. And even for allowed pesticides, we’ve found instances where trespass grows are using them in illegally large quantities.” The poisons hit female fishers particularly hard, because the early, pest-prone phase of marijuana cultivation coincides with the fishers’ nesting season, when pregnant females are actively foraging.

Gabriel, now director of the Integral Ecology Research Center based in Humboldt County, says other states may be dealing with rodenticides, water diversions and other problems from guerilla grows, too. “The climate in Colorado, Oregon and Washington is conducive for marijuana cultivation,” he observes. But “there just isn’t the scientific data to prove whether other states have these problems because there has not been research funding put towards answering these questions.”

In California headwater ecosystems could get a reprieve if a greatly expanded legalized pot industry moves to the Central Valley, where production could take place indoors and costs would be less. In pot-growing pioneer states like Colorado or Washington much of the production has moved indoors, where temperatures can be more closely managed. But other factors may hinder that move. “Bud and pest problems are always worse indoors, which biases farmers toward a chemically intensive regime,” says Marie Peterson of Downriver Consulting, a Weaverville, Calif.–based firm that helps growers fill out the paperwork for state and county permits as well as assesses water management plans for their plantations. And besides, the Central Valley already suffers from prolonged drought.

Of the eight states that legalized the cultivation of recreational marijuana, only Oregon and California allow outdoor grows. But regulating open-air pot plantations in these states remains challenging, even though legal operations for medical marijuana have been around since 1998 and 1996, respectively. In 2015 California passed the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which calls on the state’s departments of Food and Agriculture, Pesticide Regulation, and Fish and Wildlife, along with the state’s Water Board—to oversee environmental impacts of the industry. The board came up with a list of requirements for a marijuana plantation water permit, which in turn became a necessary condition for a license to grow medical pot in any of the three Emerald Triangle counties. Counties have until January 2018 to decide whether to create similar stipulations for recreational marijuana growing permits.

Butsic is optimistic about a more regulated future for the marijuana industry in California. “I think five years from now things will be more sustainable. Permitting shows growers that the state is interested in water use and their crop.”

CONTINUE READING…

Ignorance abounds in Kentucky concerning cannabis law


 

In October, farmworkers transported harvested marijuana plants at Los Suenos Farms, America’s largest legal open-air marijuana farm, in southern Colorado.

 

The following story was printed on Kentucky.com and my response is included.

By Thomas Vance

The world is watching Colorado and is finding out that everything we have been told by our government about marijuana has not been factual, to put it nicely.

Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2012 and recreational in 2014. They have paid more than $150 million in taxes on $1.3 billion in sales for 2016 and have created more than 20,000 full-time jobs in the process and none of the predicted harms of legalization have materialized.

California has had an easy access medical marijuana program for 20 years and none of the terrible things we have been told will happen should cannabis be legal have happened.

All we have to do is copy Colorado’s regulations and standards and get on with it. What are we waiting for? The people in our eastern counties are praying for something to replace the coal industry. God has one ready to go for us and we are ignoring his help.

It’s like the old joke about the guy trapped on his roof in a flood. He prays for God to save him. A helicopter comes by and offers to pick the man up. “No, no, thanks anyway but God said he would save me.”

After a while a boat comes and offers to pick up the man. Again he says no because, “God will save me.”

Later on that night, the waters rose and the man drowned. When he gets up to Heaven He asks God, “Why, why God, didn’t you save me?” and God replies, “I sent you a boat and a helicopter, why didn’t you get in?”

Let’s take this winning lottery ticket the good Lord has given us: an industry safer and healthier than coal. Alleviate the suffering of our eastern counties, create thousands of jobs, garner millions in revenue, enable billions in economic activity and put that money to work for the citizens of our great state.

It would seem that if we get to the end of this legislative session and nothing is done, one could reasonably conclude the Republican-controlled legislature is being derelict in its duty to improve the lives and the well being of our citizens and our state.

Thomas Vance of Alexandria is senior adviser for Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access.

Sample of comments:

H.B. Elkins ·

Media Consultant at Kentucky Valley Media Consulting

Industrial hemp, medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are three distinctly different and separate issues. Far too many times, advocates have appeared to champion the first two and then they show their true colors and advocate for the third. This puts a cloud of suspicion over the motives for supporting industrial hemp and medical marijuana.
You do your cause no favors by mentioning Colorado’s approval of recreational use if you are really advocating medical use. I suspect you are really for full legalization and are just using medical use as an incremental step.
Be honest about your motives. It won’t make me support recreational legalization — I don’t — but it will allow me to respect your efforts.

 

MY RESPONSE:

It is people like HB and JOHN below who are complicit in keeping the repeal of cannabis hemp laws out of KY. Unfortunately most of the politicians in KY have the same mindset.

It all boils down to who has the money now and who they don’t want to have any in the future.

Personally, I am not a legalizer, I am a repealer, meaning that I believe all Cannabis statutes from the Federal Government and UN should be abolished as they are illegal to begin with in my opinion. (Do your own research because I am tired) Legalization renders to regulation which renders to incarceration because, well, what can be more profitable than the prison industrial complex?

This plant has been useful for all of humanity’s existence and will continue to be,  regardless of whether it is legalized or not. (Again, do the research).. The sad part is all the people that could be helped (and one day it may be YOU) that will suffer and die needlessly because of evil people whose only concern in life is how much money they can scarf up from everyone else.

In the meantime, many peoples lives are being saved or at least made better by an illegal plant that God put here, by people who are risking there very lives to get this to those that need it – real patients.

Yes, there are those of us who enjoy smoking a good cannabis ‘cig’ – It helps relieve the mind of stress and pain. Sure is a lot better than the alcohol which most people consume on a daily basis and end up dying from in the long run…

So, I guess until everyone gets their heads on straight about Cannabis, everyone will continue to suffer from statutes, regulation, and imprisonment because people are either too stupid to educate themselves, or are too evil to care.

Which one are YOU???

sk

SOURCE AND LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE ON KENTUCKY.COM

Marijuana can be covered in pesticides, fungi, and mold — even if it’s legal


marijuana weed pot 2

There is no known lethal dose of marijuana, which means it can’t kill you. But the stuff that gets sprayed or grows organically on pot buds can.

Studies show that marijuana sampled across the US carries unsafe levels of pesticides, mold, fungi, and bacteria. Earlier this year, Colorado recalled hundreds of batches that tested positive for banned pesticides.

It’s unclear how much cannabis, whether purchased legally in a dispensary or bought from a college roommate’s cousin’s friend, is at risk. But as the industry goes mainstream, experts suggest it’s time legal weed gets quality assurance.

Educating consumers on what they’re smoking might be the first step, according to scientists at Steep Hill Labs, a leading cannabis science and technology firm in Berkeley, California.

In 2016, Reggie Gaudino, vice president of scientific operations at Steep Hill, set out on a scientific experiment. He visited three brick-and-mortar dispensaries in the Bay Area and bought at least five samples of cannabis flower from each.

In order to decide which strains to buy, he asked cashiers, called “budtenders,” for their recommendations. He also chose the strains with the highest percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Many patients choose that option from the menu because they believe it will get them the most high, or give them “the most bang for their buck,” Gaudino explains.

It’s unclear if the dispensaries he visited test their products for contaminants at third-party labs — a practice that’s becoming more common as states with newly legalized cannabis roll out regulations.

When Gaudino took the samples back to the lab, he found that 70% of the samples tested positive for pesticide residues. One-third of samples would have failed pesticide regulations in the state of Oregon, which has the most sophisticated system for pesticide-testing of the seven states with fully legalized marijuana.

Fifty percent of the samples that tested positive for pesticides also contained Myclobutanil, a fungicide treatment commonly used on California grapes, almonds, and strawberries. When digested, it’s harmless. But when heated, the chemical turns into hydrogen cyanide, a gas that interferes with the body’s ability to use oxygen normally.

The central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and pulmonary system (lungs) start to fail when exposed to high concentration of the gas.

The news isn’t quite as alarming as it sounds. Donald Land, chief scientific consultant at Steep Hill, tells Business Insider that most people would not be susceptible to falling ill after inhaling a few spores.

However, someone whose immune system is weakened — like a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy or a person infected with HIV — is much more vulnerable to infection upon inhaling contaminated cannabis. Basically, the people who stand to benefit the most from medical marijuana are also the most vulnerable.

The results of Gaudino’s study have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, though Gaudino tells us a white paper is in the works. The lab plans to test an array of other marijuana products, like concentrates and oil cartridges for vaporizer pens, before publishing.

Land and Gaudino explain that, for the most part, the industry is doing the best it can to provide safe pot.

There is no framework on the federal level that dictates how cannabis should be tested or what threshold constitute a failing grade. Most growers and dispensaries in states with legalized marijuana have to hold themselves accountable for verifying the safety of their product.

Some pay third-party labs like Steep Hill to analyze their product for pesticides and contaminants, but most only want to know the THC content of a given strain, Land says. The more potent the weed, the more they can charge for it.

Fewer than 20 states offer some form of testing, according to estimate provided by Land. The states that offer the most widely available marijuana, including California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, have testing facilities — but they don’t all require testing, and regulations can vary on a local level.

More research is needed to understand the health concerns associated with cannabis. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, making it difficult for scientists to acquire the funding and samples needed for study.

In the meantime, Land suggests marijuana patients and recreational users take responsibility for their health by asking their budtender to see a lab report on the strain they wish to buy. They can compare the results with Oregon’s publicly available threshold levels for safe cannabis.

Even if you can’t make out what the report means, the dispensary’s ability to provide documentation is “absolutely better than nothing,” Land says.

CONTINUE READING…

The MERP Model for Re-Legalizing Marijuana


(The following article was sent to me by Bruce Cain in about 2008 – I found it today while going through some old mail.  It deserves to be re-visited…SK)

 

 

Image may contain: 1 person, text

 

 

The MERP Model for Re-Legalizing Marijuana

This is a recent interview that I (Bruce Cain, Editor of http://www.newagecitizen.com) did with Krystal Cole of “Neurosoup.”

It is the most exhaustive discussion of the MERP model for Marijuana Re-Legalization to date.

1) Do you believe cannabis should be legalized for all adults in the United States? Why?

A resounding yes! Of course Cannabis should be Re-Legalized for all adults. As for why, let?s start with the some of the stronger common arguments:

(1) Cannabis is one of the safest therapeutic agents on the planet. It is also one of mankind?s old medicinal plants despite being politically placed into the most dangerous ?Class 1? category.

(2) 70 years of prohibition have had little or no effect in stopping use.

(3) It has many therapeutic and palliative properties for people suffering from AIDS/HIV; Glaucoma; MS; etc.

(4) There are no recorded fatal overdoses from the use of Cannabis. That alone should be sufficient. But my personal arguments for Re-Legalizing go much deeper. I think it was Judge Brandeis who once said the most important right, was the right to be left alone. Consensual adult activities should not be the domain of any la w provided those acts do not violate the safety and liberties of other citizens. It?s like the Las Vegas commercials that spew this mantra that ?what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.? What you do within the confines of your own property, given the earlier provisos, is not the business of the state: whether that be local law enforcement or federal drug agencies.

It is so important that we push back against each attempt to chip away our liberties. I will even go one better. I think that all consensual activities should be made legal as a counter weight to all the liberties we have been forced to relinquish in the wake of 911. That way if the state?s intrusive powers uncover a bag of Marijuana, there will be nothing they can do about it. We have to start thinking in terms of ?creative resistance.? My utopian vision is to be sitting on my porch, sharing a joint with a friend, and not having to worry about a police car driving by to ruin our afternoon. And if a police car did drive by I would want to feel comfortable sharing a few tokes with that officer. I want to see a world where people can start feeling good about each other once again.

Before going to the next question let me say something about laws in general. Pythagoras developed the scientific method in order to objectively judge the results of any scientific inquiry. To this end he developed theorems in order to provide a method, a structure, for scientific inquiry. It is really this framework, for scientific inquiry, that has propelled science forward ever since.

As we restructure our legal system I believe there are two important theorems that should receive primary consideration:

(1) The Golden Rule and

(2) The Golden Mean. The Golden Rule is straight forward: ?Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.? The Golden Mean has a number of meanings but basically insists on proportionality in all things. Applying this to our Cannabis laws requires asking 2 questions:

(1) would I feel comfortable accepting the current penalties that are being applied to other Marijuana offenders and

(2) Are the penalties proportional to penalties for other drugs: are the penalties in proportion to the danger they pose to society?

2) What steps do we need to take, as a country, to decriminalize cannabis?

Ultimately I would fully implement the MERP model for ?regulating? Marijuana. But let me first describe the prerequisite change the needs to take place prior to implementing MERP.

The Achilles heal to ?Marijuana Prohibition? is the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. We need to force our representatives to take Cannabis completely off the schedule. Once that is done the federal government will no longer have an excuse to meddle in the drug policies of individual states. The raids on Medical Marijuana dispensaries would immediately cease. But, at a grass roots level, people have got to stop being so damn complacent. Con front your representatives when they come to town. Organize with local, state and national groups. Insist that the national groups get behind the MERP model for Re-Legalization.

And what is MERP you ask? It is a short way of saying the ?Marijuana Re-Legalization Policy (MRP) Project.? But that is a big mouthful of syllables. So I like to refer to this model as MERP in order to condense the concept down to a single syllable.

The MERP Model can be succinctly described as follows ?

The MERP model of Marijuana Re-Legalization would minimally allow non-commercial cultivation, by adults above the age of 18, to be done without any form of government taxation, regulation or other interference.? The ?moneyed? drug reform organizations (e.g., those supported by Soros, Sperling and Lewis) contend that this is far too radical. But it really is not significantly different than the way we allow US citizens to produce beer and wine within there homes. Home beer and wine production is neither taxed nor significantly regulated.

And many activists need to be weaned from this false notion that the government should get to tax everything. If they don?t tax your tomatoes or your beer, why should they be allowed to tax your Cannabis? The MERP Model does not preclude commercial licensing. But it forbids the government from interfering with personal cultivation as specified above. In doing this we have, in effect, a mechanism to check government greed. At about $100 per ounce a lot of people would not bother growing their own. But if the government charged $400 per ounce most people would be turning on the grow lamps.

I really think this is one of the best ideas I have ever come up with. It is so elegant in its simplicity. And it is also part of the ?New Agenda for America.? Benjamin Franklin selflessly gave the world ?lightening rods? and refused to profit by imposing a copyright on the invention. Had it not been for the lightening rod, large building structures, such as ?skyscrapers,? would have been impossible. This is due to the associated hazard of fires from lightening strikes. I would like to give the world the MERP model with very similar intentions.

One thing MERP would also do is act as a Gatekeeper Drug: keeping more and more people away from dealers that also sell hard drugs. I am quite sure it would destroy the revenue streams for local drug dealers and terrorist organizations alike.

Here are a few additional links for a broader discussion of MERP and the reasons we really need to end Marijuana Prohibition:

Drug Policy The MERP Project The Marijuana Re-Legalization Policy (MRP) Project http://www.newagecitizen.com/ReLegalization01.htm http://www.newagecitizen.com/editorial_on_the_marijuana_re.htm

Why Lou Dobbs Should Support Marijuana Legalization http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VKf5YfQb7s&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Enewagecitizen%2Ecom%2F

How Continuing the Drug War could make Nuclear Terrorism a Reality by Bruce W. Cain http://www.newagecitizen.com/Editorials/v8n1NuclearTerrorism.htm 

3) How much of an effect would legalizing cannabis have on narco-terrorism?

Under the MERP model it would be quite significant. Virtually all profits in Marijuana sales ? by terrorist organization and drug gangs alike ? would instantly evaporate the very day the MERP is implemented. It should first be understood that over 50% of terrorist revenue comes from the sale of illicit drugs. Currently, Cannabis probably only accounts for 20% of the global illicit drug market. But in a 500 Billion annual global illicit drug market that is still significant. We could probably rob the Mexican drug cartels of 20 billion a year just by Re-Legalizing. And if nothing else it would keep the money in the US economy creating more jobs for US workers. But I think the effect would create a unique form of synergy. As people have more access to cheap, high quality Cannabis ? as under the MERP model — they would be less likely to encounter drug dealers that sell harder drugs such as cocaine, crack, methamphetamine etc. But while it may be hard to quantify I’m quite sure the net effect would, in any case, be positive. Another synergistic effect might be that people become more comfortable with non-alcoholic drugs and it could pave the way for Re-Legalization of other soft plant-based entheogens such as peyote, and psilocybin.

Legal psilocybin in Amsterdam has not resulted in any significant social problems. Entheogens may also have been purposely prohibited because they have a tendency to deprogram people from state propaganda: ever the more reason to make them available to responsible adults. Of course the MERP model would have a much more pronounced effect than current strategies (e.g., Medical Marijuana initiatives) for 2 important reasons:

(1) It completely takes the profit out of the Marijuana market and

(2) it constitutes a permanent and structural change at the very core of our legal system.

4) How would the federal prison population be affected by the legalization of cannabis?

Well, the most significant effect of legalization, under the MERP Model, would be 840,000 fewer arrests a year. And that IS very significant. There would be some reduction in federal prisons but most drug convictions end up with some form of probation. We are now up to arresting 840,000 Cannabis users annually. Over 80% of these arrests involve simple possession. I actually think the lions share of these never go to prison and most that do end up in state facilities.

The problem is that once you get ?tagged? by the criminal justice system it takes years to get out from under that shadow. They force you into ?drug classes? and urine tests and all sorts of totally unnecessary bullshit. It reminds me of the Inquisitions where some citizens were forced to say they were witches, when in fact they were not. And of course they also rob you blind through the entire process. I have been fortunate to have avoided this personally, but I am aware of the disproportionate penalties and costs that go along with a simple arrest for transporting Cannabis. And once your record is blemished they will be on you like flies on shit, for the rest of your life.

I realize I’ve gone off on a tangent here. But there should be no greater penalty for transporting Cannabis than for transporting a case of beer from your local party store. And like I said: once Cannabis is Re-Legalized all of this could go away forever. Of course it isn’t great news if you are an attorney, a judge, or a city that will do anything to raise revenue. Re-Legalization is probably not exactly great for a Medical Marijuana ?gardeners? who are often making between $25 to $35 an hour either. And actually the Medical Marijuana dispensaries have created a rather ironic situation.

The irony is that medical users are still basically paying street prices for the medicine: about $12 to $18 per gram. For patients like Angel Raich, who requires 7 grams per day ? a quarter ounce ? such prices would cost her over $35,000 per year. Since many medical marijuana users are both unemployed and sick, it is difficult for me to imagine how they could even afford the medicine at these prices.

Re-Legalization would allow either patient, or caregiver, to cooperate in the cultivation. Best of all this Cannabis would only cost about $20, pre ounce, to grow under lamps and would be virtually free if it were grown outside.

The current Marijuana laws really make you ask an important question: ?What kind of society goes so far out of its way to criminalize its members, when what they have done should not even be a crime in the first place?? I don?t have the space to entertain that question here. But Naomi Klein does a good job of it in her current book, ?Shock Doctrine.? I definitely recommend reading this book or at least ?Googling? for more information on ?Shock Doctrine.?

5) Are you thinking of running in the 2008 presidential election as a write in candidate? Why?

I am only doing this to promote the ?New Agenda for America.? I have no illusion about moving into the Whitehouse in 2009. Instead what I want to do, through this “faux candidacy,” is motivate people to ask the Democratic and Republican candidates which planks of the ?New Agenda for America? they would support. The MERP model for Marijuana Re-Legalization is currently the 3rd plank of the agenda.

Here are all of the major planks:

NEW AGENDA FOR AMERICA: Preliminary Planks Help Influence the 2008 Presidency [More info: http://www.newagecitizen.com and click on topic]

(1) Universal Health Care for All American Citizens

(2) A 20-year moratorium on all immigration into the United States

(3) Legal Marijuana for all Adults and Medical Patients

(4) An immediate reversal to the Offshoring and In shoring of American Jobs

(5) A strict enforcement on issues of Separation of Church and State

(6) An immediate move from so-called Free Trade Agreements to Bilateral Trade agreements

(7) A major R&D project to bring energy independence to the United States and the World through recycling, reuse, ending hyper-consumerism and investing in the development of sustainable energy sources (e.g., solar, photovoltaic, wind, geothermal)

(8) No further ownership of US Assets (businesses, homes, ports, stock exchanges) by foreign governments or individuals!

(9) Replace the Federal Reserve with a People’s Reserve which allows public oversight

I could be wrong but these are all things that I believe American citizens want today. They are also required in order to stop the colonization of the United States by foreign elites: a trend that has been accelerating in recent decades. But do you think any of the corporate donors, funding both parties, would allow any of the current candidates to endorse ANY of these policy planks? Unfortunately, I think the answer is a resounding ?No Way.?

Ron Paul might endorse some of them; however, I am skeptical of his libertarian religiosity. I ran against John Dingle for US Congress in 1996 as a libertarian, so I do know what I am talking about here. Having said that I still think he is the best candidate out there right now. I am promoting the ?New Agenda for America (NAA), because I think the current economic model is soon going to cause this society to crash and burn. I fear that there could be a world depression or possibly a world war in the coming decade. I believe the NAA could stave off the ?buy off? of the United States of America by foreign elites and offer American citizens a softer landing as this current ?business cycle? crashes, like a lead zeppelin, in the next few years. I?m afraid we may be on the cusp of a Second American Revolution and I would prefer that it be a peaceful revolution if at all possible.

But what would be the first thing I would do if I became President of the United States? At my inauguration I would tell the American people that Marijuana Prohibition is over. Until the MERP model is fully implemented by Congress I would set up a department to solely issue pardons for every non-violent Cannabis arrest. Too bad that just isn’t going to happen, isn’t it?

Finally, let me say that I do intend to go a little further than treating my candidacy as a joke. I will be setting up a signup at my website for people that might be interested in voting for me: http://www.newagecitizen And for those that would like to watch excerpts from my television appearances and political speeches you can look through my ?Video Biography? at the following link: Bruce Cain’s “Drug Policy Video Biography” http://www.newagecitizen.com/Videos.htm In a three-way runoff (e.g., Clinton, Giuliani, Cain) it would take about 40 million votes to win.

Just before the election I would send an email out to each person alerting them to how many have signed up to vote for me. Then they can make their own informed decision as to which direction we want to take the once-great republic. We need to keep in mind that the average longevity for a nation-state is about 250 years. I don?t know about you but, as we have just past the 200 year anniversary for this republic, I?m thinking that I?d like to beat those odds by at least a few hundred years.

Bruce Cain’s latest interview/podcast on the MERP model for Marijuana Re-Legalization:

Bruce W. Cain Discusses the MERP Mode with “Sense and Sensimilla” http://senseandsensi.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=270029

 

BRUCE CAIN ON FACEBOOK

This may be the ultimate indictment of the "moneyed" drug reform movement in this country and I urge you to distribute this article as widely as possible


(The following article is posted from a website that I happened to come across today while looking for information on the “MERRP Model” for RE-Legalization.  I decided to repost it because I think the opinion that is offered needs to be heard and RE-Legalization vs. Legal-Lies or “Legalize” has to be made known.  SK)

Image may contain: 1 person, text

(1) Introduction
This may be the ultimate indictment of the “moneyed” drug reform movement in this country and I urge you to distribute this article as widely as possible.
This is the 8th in a series of essays on the MERP Model for Re-Legalizing Marijuana throughout the planet.  In this essay I am exposing the “smoking gun” evidence that will show that the “Marijuana Policy Project” (MPP) is secretively plotting to put an end to the personal cultivation of Marijuana which has been a perennial goal of all Marijuana activists since the mid-1960’s.  This betrayal, of both Cannabis activists and the MERP Model, requires that MPP is cut off from any further activist funding.  You will find links to all past and future essays, concerning “MERP” at the following link:
(2) Some Brief Background on the Re-Legalization Movement from the 1960’s through 2008
1967 was the year that the first major petition, demanding Marijuana Re-Legalization, was placed in the London Times by Paul McCartney.  Here is a brief description of the petition from Barry Miles “Beatles Diary:”
The “Pot” Ad
The Times ran a full page advertisement on July 24th, 1967, headed, “The law against marijuana is immoral in principle and unworkable in practice” which was signed by, among other, all four Beatles and Brian Epstein. The petition’s arguments included the following: that the smoking of cannabis on private premises should no longer constitute an offence; cannabis should be taken off the dangerous drugs list and controlled, rather than prohibited; possession of cannabis should either be legally permitted or at most be considered a misdemeanor and that all person now imprisoned for possession of cannabis or for allowing cannabis to be smoke on private premises should have their sentences commuted.
It was signed by 65 eminent names including Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the DNA molecule and a Nobel laureate, novelist Graham Greene, and MPs Brian Walden and Rom Drilberg, as well as future MP Jonathan Aitkin, but the four MBEs caused the most press concern. Questions were asked in the House, and a chain of events set off, which did actually result in the liberalization of the laws against pot in Britain. the advertisement was paid for by the Beatles at Paul McCartney’s instigation.
The Beatles Diary: The Beatles years By Barry Miles
Four years later (1971) another Beatle, John Lennon, came to the assistance of Michigan activist John Sinclair, who had been put in prison for 10 years for getting arrested with a mere 2 Marijuana cigarettes.  Recently John Sinclair became the most important luminary to join the roster of activists supporting the MERP Model for Marijuana Re-Legalization.  And the list of supporters is growing by the day.
So for nearly 42 years we have now been fighting to end the prohibition of Marijuana throughout this planet.  Am I the only one that is angered that we have not yet achieved this goal?   Think about it.  It only took 13 years to realize that Alcohol Prohibition was a mistake, despite it being a far more dangerous drug than Marijuana.  Yet it has now been 71 years, that we have endured Marijuana Prohibition, and despite 52% support nationwide (see Zogby Poll), our representatives continue to ignore us.
Despite numerous feeble attempts it was not until 1996 — 29 years later — that the first Medical Marijuana Initiative, Proposition 215, was passed in California.  George Soros was a major contributor to Prop 215 but, according to activist Ron Kiczenski, he was not able to have much input into the structure of this initiative which had no limits to the number of plants that a patient could grow. Proposition 215 also held the counties responsible for granting citizens access to “Medical Marijuana.”
For the uninitiated here is what you should know about George Soros:
(1) He is the primary funding source for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) headed by Ethan Nadleman and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) headed by Rob Kampia.
(2) He has been the primary source of funding for the remaining 12 Medical Marijuana initiatives that have passed through 2008.
(3) He is a ruthless Globalist who supports gun control, open borders and is also a primary funding source to dozens of drug reform organizations throughout the planet.
(4) It is becoming clearer, by the day, that Soros is positioning himself to profit from a highly “taxed and regulated” Marijuana industry that will not destroy the drug cartels or stop the arrest of American Cannabis consumers.
So it is not a big surprise that Soros funded California Senate Bill 420 (SB 420), after Prop 215 passed.  This was Soros’s attempt to limit the number of plants that a patient could grow.  Fortunately the Californian Appeals Court found SB420 unconstitutional because it did attempt to set limits.
Undeterred Soros became the primary funding source for the remaining 12 Medical Marijuana Initiatives which culminated in the passage of the Michigan Initiative in November 2008.  But the clever little Soros made sure that most of the remaining 12 initiatives  were restricted to a 12 Plant limit for the Medical Patient or the Caregiver.
This concludes my brief summary of Soros activities through 2008.  It should also be clear that Soros has shown absolutely no inclination to support initiatives that allow personal cultivation for healthy Cannabis consumers.  In fact Ethan Nadleman would not allow me access to Soros when I attempted to garner more funding for the Michigan Personal Marijuana Initiative (PRA) in July 2001.  We had collected over 270,000 signatures and needed additional funding to bring in professional canvassers to get the remaining 180,000 signatures.  But Nadleman and Soros “just said no” and the initiative never made the ballot.
(3) How Obama, Soros, Rob Kampia and MPP Intend To Betray the Marijuana Re-Legalization Movement in 2009
In a recent email from MPP they talk about the pending AZ Medical Marijuana Initiative:
“What’s unique about the Arizona law is that it would permit qualifying patients or their caregivers to legally purchase marijuana from licensed dispensaries — so they wouldn’t need to obtain it from the criminal market”.
Once you understand what Kampia (MPP) is really hiding you will have every right to get pissed off. You see, under this initiative (should it pass), you will NOT be able to cultivate the common 12 Plant maximum unless you live more than 25 miles from a licensed dispensary.
Here is what Rob Kampia and Soros did not want the Cannabis Activist Community to understand:
“Qualifying patients who live more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary will be allowed to cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants for personal use.”
In other words, once there are enough dispensaries individual consumers will no longer be able to cultivate their own Marijuana!
So the only thing “unique” about Rob Kampia’s (President of MPP) AZ initiative is that it will basically prohibit personal cultivation as soon as Soros can set up his network of “Medical Marijuana Dispensaries.”. On that count alone I urge everyone in AZ to reject this flawed initiative and stop supporting MPP or DPA.
I have not assembled all of the puzzle pieces here but certainly enough to make the case that Soros, Kampia and Nadleman are not honest brokers of the drug policy reform that most Americans would like to see.  untaxed, unregulated cultivation by all American Citizens over the age of 18.
It is also becoming clear that the media is slowly attempting to “manufacture consent” for a highly regulated “tax and regulate” model for Marijuana Re-Legalization that will force American Citizens to pay exorbitant prices for Marijuana (e.g., $300 to $500 and ounce) in order to feed the tax coffers of local, state and federal government.  Why would we want to allow this when the MERP Model would allow you to grow for free outside or for about $30 and ounce if grown indoors under lamps.
A fellow activist also made the astute observation that Obama is most probably also in on this betrayal.  Just consider the following excerpt from a recent Christian Science Monitor article on this subject:
“Several recent polls show stepped-up public support for legalization. This means not only lifting restrictions on use (“decriminalization”), but also on supply – production and sales. The Obama administration, meanwhile, says the US Drug Enforcement Agency will no longer raid dispensaries of medical marijuana – which is illegal under federal law – in states where it is legal.”
Legalize marijuana? Not so fast.
This is how she put it after we discussed the flawed AZ initiative in some detail:
“This is why MPP wants to put the power and control of med pot distribution and sales into dispensaries. and take it out of the hands of the patients. Do the dispensaries now become the care giver/grower as well?  How many plants are they allowed to grow?  Dispensaries will be popping up like convenience stores if that is the case.  I see a whole new set of laws coming under corporate oversight and it’s screaming MONSANTO/DUPONT GENETIC PATENT ON SEED AND PLANT DISPENSARY CONTROL. What a set up…Obama said he won’t raid “DISPENSARIES” in states where medical marijuana is legal…that is why they are taking the power away from home growers/patients…These dispensaries will fall under federal laws….and more than likely federal control and regulation.  Sneaky, sneaky.”
This is exactly what I have been warning people about for years regarding the major drug reform groups supported by George Soros. Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) are two of the greatest beneficiaries of Soros funds. But Soros funds dozens of groups throughout the United States and dozens more outside of the United States .

As an activist in drug reform for over 20 years my goal has always been to change the laws so that ALL American adults, not just the sick, would be able to consume and cultivate their own Marijuana.  And under the MERP Model we will be able to do this just like we are currently able to produce our own homemade beer and wine: without any taxation, regulation or government interference. To that end I have come up with the MERP Model and have produced a series of essays and videos to explain how it would be implemented:
It is bad enough that Soros is moving to “cash in” on Medical Marijuana by prohibiting personal cultivation. What is worse is that such initiatives will do nothing to destroy the Drug Cartels, Terrorist Organizations and Gangs that profit from the illicit sale of Marijuana. The only model that would assure this outcome is the MERP Model, because it would essentially take all but the normal profit out of the Marijuana market.
For most goods the “normal profit” is usually about twice the cost of producing the product. So in the case of Marijuana you can grow it for about 20 to 30 dollars per ounce using the latest hydroponic techniques and High Intensity Discharge lamps. So you would expect the “normal profit” to be somewhere between $40 to $60 dollars an ounce. But the MPP Arizona initiative would do nothing to eliminate the “black marketing” of Marijuana where an ounce will still sell from between $300 and $600 an ounce. In such a setting the Medical Dispensaries, Terrorists, Mexican Drug Cartels etc. will continue to thrive at our expense.
(4) Summary
By looking retrospectively at the the activities of Soros it is clear that he is against any form of personal cultivation and more than likely expects to profit handsomely from a highly “taxed and regulated” system of drug reform.  It is also clear that Obama and the Corporate Media are also on board to manufacture consent for such a stupid and short sighted model.
But from the Hippies of the 60’s, to the Activists of the New Millennium, we have always wanted full rights to cultivate Mother Nature’s plant without the encumbrances of taxes, regulations or other excuses for the government to invade our homes and properties.  As far as I’m concerned Soros, Kampia and Nadleman can go “nadle” one another.  We have uncovered their deception and we will no longer support their flawed plans to control both us and our plant.
I think it is time we stop supporting these Soros-supported organizations and unite to achieve the only solution that will destroy the Cartels and serve the common good: the MERP Model. It already enjoys the support of thousands of activists including some of the most important luminaries of the movement: John Sinclair, Ron Kiczenski and Bruce W. Cain (Editor of New Age Citizen).

 

SOURCE LINK

BRUCE CAIN ON FACEBOOK

THE MERRP MODEL FOR RE-LEGALIATION

Legalize marijuana for the state’s sake


legalize-marijuana-leaf-red-white-blue-flag-300x300

Editorial Board

In 1996 California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Since then 28 more states have approved the drug for medical use, with another eight, including California, allowing adults to use the drug recreationally. Unfortunately, Kentucky has been slow to adapt, despite the many benefits legalizing the drug would provide.

Back in the day, Kentucky used to thrive growing tobacco. That same land, rich for growing tobacco, is ideal for growing marijuana, which can also be used to produce hemp, a versatile product which can be manufactured into paper, textiles, clothing, food, plastic, and a multitude of other products. 

Marijuana would also be useful as a medical alternative for many in the state who are dependent on prescription drugs. 

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky has the highest cancer rates of any state in the country, largely due to our large dependence on the coal and mining industries, which has left countless hard-working Kentuckians with lung cancer. The U.S. National Cancer Institute has said that marijuana kills cancer cells along with alleviating the nausea and other symptoms associated with chemotherapy, which poses a much more effective alternative to prescription drugs. 

With so much of our state crippled by a dying coal industry, legalizing marijuana would be an enormous jobs creator for people looking to farm the crop and others looking to get into the business side of the industry with dispensaries. 

While stigmas still exist surrounding the drug, the issue of marijuana legalization is slowly becoming more of a bipartisan issue that draws support from both Democrats and Republicans, including Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, who has said in the past that he plans to sign a medical marijuana bill into law during his time in office.

 

It has become a trend in the mainstream media to avoid one of the most pressing issues, not …

States that have approved the drug for recreational use, such as Colorado, tax the drug, and use the money in a variety of ways, from helping the homeless, to improving infrastructure and education. In 2016 alone, Colorado is expected to bring in over $1 billion in tax revenue from marijuana. 

If a similar system of policy was applied in the Bluegrass, money could be used for better education throughout the state, a hot-button issue under Bevin’s administration due to his proposed, but unsuccessful, cuts to higher education. Revenue could also go towards helping revitalize eastern Ky. along with infrastructure, homeless, and veterans, following in the footsteps of Colorado’s successful endeavor with the green. 

According to a 2012 poll by Kentucky Health Issues, 78 percent of Kentuckians support the legalization of medical marijuana. It’s time for our lawmaker’s throughout the state to come together and enact a policy to reflect the will of the people. The longer we wait, the more potential tax revenue we miss out on that could go to benefitting Kentuckians in need. It’s time to

“Make Kentucky Green Again!”

Email opinions@kykernel.com

CONTINUE READING…

Kentucky Marijuana Legalization Not In Pre-Filed Bills For 2017


526275994

Across America, Election Day showed strong support for marijuana legalization, but can Kentucky expect the same in 2017?

While Kentucky had some promise in 2016 that legalizing marijuana was in the works, they did not join the eight states that voted for either recreational or medical marijuana on November 8.

According to Marijuana Policy Project, marijuana was legalized for recreational use in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. In addition, Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota, and Montana all voted for medical marijuana.

Currently, 28 states in America have legalized medical marijuana, but will Kentucky catch up anytime soon?

The excitement with Kentucky marijuana laws started in December, 2015, when state senator Perry Clark introduced the idea after many previous attempts.

Dated March 6, the bill Perry Clark introduced was called the Cannabis Freedom Act in Kentucky.

 

Following this, updates about Kentucky marijuana laws hit a milestone on July 5. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, meetings were being held “behind closed doors” about a proposed medical marijuana law.

At the time, Kentucky senator John Schickel, said they needed to hold the meetings about marijuana legalization to “vet” the issue, according to WFPL.

On July 11, WKMS reported that Kentucky’s medical marijuana laws got a boost of support by the prestigious health organization in the state, the Kentucky Nurses Association. About legalizing marijuana in Kentucky, a representative for the nurse’s association stated, “providing legal access to medical cannabis is imperative.”

Although it was talked about in meetings at the Kentucky Senate, according to their notes posted in July, August, and October, the marijuana legalization issue appeared to be stalled.

In late September, WFPL concluded their article about the marijuana legalization attempts in Kentucky with “the bill was assigned to a committee but never received a hearing.”

They also quoted Kentucky state senator Jimmy Higdon, stating that the lawmakers were confused about how the bill would be implemented. Senator Higdon said he would mainly be interested in allowing medical marijuana “to be prescribed in end-of-life situations.”

Does the lack of new updates mean that the bill has completely dried up, and Kentucky will not be seeing more medical marijuana laws to vote on in the next election?

Sadly, the pre-filed 2017 Kentucky House Bills that are available online do not reflect any updates about marijuana as of November 25.

Despite this, there could be updates in the near future because the Cannabis Freedom Act that was discussed in 2016 was actually filed in early December, 2015. This means Kentucky still has some time to see if marijuana legalization might be a big part of elections in the state in 2017.

 

On the other hand, Kentucky could get a lot of new laws about controlled substances in 2017, but they are not marijuana-related. For example, pre-filed bill BR 201 states it will “create the offense of aggravated fentanyl trafficking” in the state of Kentucky law books.

Adding to this, pre-filed bill BR 210 that sits before the Kentucky state senate in 2017 states its purpose is “to make trafficking in any amount of fentanyl or carfentanil subject to elevated penalties.”

New proposed bills in the state of Kentucky are also targeting the medical community. For example, pre-filed bill BR 202 states the following.

“[A] practitioner shall not issue a prescription for a narcotic drug for more than seven days unless specific circumstances exist.”

Of course, Kentucky might not have time to vote on marijuana legalization because Donald Trump may not be building his cabinet with marijuana supporters.

For example, CNN reported on November 25 that Donald Trump is appointing a marijuana legalization opponent, Senator Jeff Sessions, as his Attorney General.

About marijuana, Jeff Sessions was quoted as stating the following at a senate hearing in April, 2016.

“Good people don’t smoke marijuana. We need grown ups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it is in fact a very real danger.”

CONTINUE READING…

Legal Marijuana Poses New Problems For Employee Drug Testing


Pot is legal in some form in 28 states, but it remains illegal under federal law

By

Rachel Emma Silverman

Nov. 22, 2016 11:00 a.m. ET

21 COMMENTS

A raft of new state marijuana legalization laws presents employers with hazy challenges when it comes to workplace drug testing.

Companies that wish to maintain drug-free workplaces face a confusing patchwork of state and federal laws, and it is a gray area in some states whether employers can fire or discipline workers for pot use, say employment lawyers.

In California, where medical marijuana is already legal, voters approved recreational pot on Election Day. Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada passed similar measures, while Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota legalized or expanded medical marijuana measures. These new laws make pot legal in some form in more than half the country—28 states. Meanwhile, it remains illegal under federal law.

 

The legal, recreational use of marijuana passed in four states on Tuesday with another three states passed it for medicinal use. Lance Rogers, manager of the cannabis law practice for law firm Greenspoon Marder, explains how Tuesday’s votes could influence efforts to legalize pot in other states. Photo: Getty

In states like Massachusetts and California, where recreational and medicinal pot use is now legal, employers should tread carefully when testing workers for pot under drug-free workplace policies, says Amanda Baer, an attorney at the Mirick O’Connell law firm in Worcester, Mass. Firing or disciplining a worker for a positive drug test could open firms to legal challenges from employees, she says.

“No company wants to be the test case,” she says. “If workers are not in a safety-sensitive position, they probably shouldn’t be tested.”

One concern is that the active ingredient in marijuana can stay in a worker’s body for several days and it may be hard to tell whether employees used the drug off the job or if they are currently under the influence, she says.

Related stories

Employers are at risk for liability, however, if workers in safety-sensitive positions are high while operating heavy equipment, driving passenger vehicles or doing other tasks that jeopardize worker safety.

In either case, employers should make their policies on pot and drug testing clear to workers ahead of time so workers know what to expect, adds Ms. Baer. Firms should also receive legal counsel specific to their state, since the details of marijuana laws vary state by state.

As pot becomes legal in more states, some employers may also permit on-the-job pot smoking, just as some allow workplace happy hours and beer fridges, according to Ms. Baer. Under Massachusetts’ law, for instance, employers have the right to prohibit or expressly allow on-site marijuana use.

“If your employer allows it, Pot Fridays could happen,” says Ms. Baer.

Write to Rachel Emma Silverman at rachel.silverman@wsj.com

CONTINUE READING…

Cannabis and Hemp Stock News of the Day…


I happened to run across the following stock reports today and thought maybe it might be interesting to someone out there… Check them out…

 

526275994

 

United Cannabis Corp (OTCMKTS:CNAB) Is Today’s Cannabis Focus

By Alex Carlson / in Momentum Stocks, Sector Watch, Stocks / on Monday, 07 Nov 2016

United Cannabis Corp (OTCMKTS:CNAB) has been one of the top performing cannabis stocks of 2016. CNAB traded around the $.25 level during the summer months and then exploded in October as investors get set for Green Rush 2.0 just around the corner. Come election day, voters in at least nine states will decide on whether to legalize either the recreational use or the medical use of marijuana. As it stands now, those states include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada and North Dakota.

CONTINUE READING….

 

Short Interest Change: It Seems NOTIS GLOBAL INCORPORATED (OTCMKTS:NGBL) Will Go Down. Just Reported More Shorted Shares

November 9, 2016 – By Dolores Ford

The stock of NOTIS GLOBAL INCORPORATED (OTCMKTS:NGBL) registered an increase of 6645.51% in short interest. NGBL’s total short interest was 2.40 million shares in November as published by FINRA. Its up 6645.51% from 35,600 shares, reported previously. About 24.60M shares traded hands. Notis Global Inc (OTCMKTS:NGBL) has risen 6.00% since October 10, 2016 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 1.22% the S&P500.  Notis Global, Inc., formerly Medbox, Inc., is a well-known provider of specialized services to the hemp and marijuana industry. The company has a market cap of $5.04 million.

CONTINUE READING…

 

Stock of The Day: 22ND Century Group Inc (NYSEMKT:XXII) Stock Price Gains While Sentiment Worsens

November 11, 2016 – By Clifton Ray

Sentiment for 22ND Century Group Inc (NYSEMKT:XXII)

22ND Century Group Inc (NYSEMKT:XXII) institutional sentiment decreased to 0.86 in 2016 Q2. Its down -0.81, from 1.67 in 2016Q1. The ratio has worsened, as 12 funds started new and increased stock positions, while 14 decreased and sold equity positions in 22ND Century Group Inc. The funds in our partner’s database now have: 3.62 million shares, up from 3.61 million shares in 2016Q1. Also, the number of funds holding 22ND Century Group Inc in their top 10 stock positions was flat from 1 to 1 for the same number . Sold All: 6 Reduced: 8 Increased: 8 New Position: 4. 22nd Century Group, Inc. is a plant biotechnology company. The company has a market cap of $105.28 million.

CONTINUE READING…

Why Donald Trump’s Agenda for the Drug War Is the Dopiest Thing You’ve Ever Seen


A frightening mix of cruel and superficial.

By Phillip Smith / AlterNet

November 2, 2016

One means of judging the competing presidential candidates is to examine their actual policy prescriptions for dealing with serious issues facing the country. When it comes to drug policy, the contrasts between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump couldn’t be more telling.

The country is in the midst of what can fairly be called an opioid crisis, with the CDC reporting 78 Americans dying every day from heroin and prescription opioid overdoses. Both candidates have addressed the problem on the campaign trail, but as is the case in so many other policy areas, one candidate has detailed proposals, while the other offers demagogic sloganeering.

Hillary Clinton has offered a detailed $10 billion plan to deal with what she calls the “quiet epidemic” of opioid addiction. Donald Trump’s plan consists largely of “build the wall.”

That was the centerpiece of his October 15 speech in New Hampshire where he offered his clearest drug policy prescriptions yet (though it was overshadowed by his weird demand that Hillary Clinton undergo a drug test). To be fair, since then, Trump has also called for expanding law enforcement and treatment programs, but he has offered no specifics or cost estimates.

And the centerpiece of his approach remains interdiction, which dovetails nicely with his nativist immigration positions.

“A Trump administration will secure and defend our borders,” he said in that speech. “A wall will not only keep out dangerous cartels and criminals, but it will also keep out the drugs and heroin poisoning our youth.”

Trump did not address the failure of 40 years of ever-increasing border security and interdiction policies to stop the flow of drugs up until now, nor did he explain what would prevent a 50-foot wall from being met with a 51-foot ladder.

Trump’s drug policy also takes aim at a favorite target of conservatives: so-called sanctuary cities, where local officials refuse to cooperate in harsh federal deportation policies.

“We are also going to put an end to sanctuary cities, which refuse to turn over illegal immigrant drug traffickers for deportation,” he said. “We will dismantle the illegal immigrant cartels and violent gangs, and we will send them swiftly out of our country.”

In contrast, Clinton’s detailed proposal calls for increased federal spending for prevention, treatment and recovery, first responders, prescribers, and criminal justice reform. The Clinton plan would send $7.5 billion to the states over 10 years, matching every dollar they spend on such programs with four federal dollars. Another $2.5 billion would be designated for the federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program.

While Trump advocates increased border and law enforcement, including a return to now widely discredited mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenders, Clinton does not include funding for drug enforcement and interdiction efforts in her proposal. Such funding would presumably come through normal appropriations channels.

Instead of a criminal justice crackdown, Clinton vows that her attorney general will issue guidance to the states urging them to emphasize treatment over incarceration for low-level drug offenders. She also supports alternatives to incarceration such as drug courts (as does Trump). But unlike Trump, Clinton makes no call for increased penalties for drug offenders.

Trump provides lip service to prevention, treatment and recovery, but his rhetorical emphasis illuminates his drug policy priorities: more walls, more law enforcement, more drug war prisoners.

There is one area of drug policy where both candidates are largely in agreement, and that is marijuana policy. Both Clinton and Trump have embraced medical marijuana, both say they are inclined to let the states experiment with legalization, but neither has called for marijuana legalization or the repeal of federal pot prohibition.

If Clinton’s drug policies can be said to be a continuation of Obama’s, Trump’s drug policies are more similar to a return to Nixon’s.

Phillip Smith is editor of the AlterNet Drug Reporter and author of the Drug War Chronicle.

CONTINUE READING…