10. Hemp benefits are denied. Hemp can be made into paper, paneling, plastics, clothing and thousands of other useful products. The highly nutritious seeds can be used to make flour, cooking oil and cattle feed.
This environmentally friendly plant grows without herbicides, nourishes the soil, matures quickly and provides high yields. It’s the number-one biomass producer in the world – ten tons per acre in four months. It could be an excellent fuel-producing crop.
Hemp, “nature’s perfect plant,” could bring a bonanza to hurting American farmers while greatly reducing America’s dependence on fossil fuels, which could significantly mitigate climate change.
9. Prohibition diverts billions from the needy. More than 50 government agencies feed at the drug war trough. Food stamps and other social programs are being slashed while billions are spent trying to stop adults from using marijuana.
8. Prohibition is clearly counterproductive. Guaranteeing massive profits to anyone on earth who can produce and deliver marijuana to our streets cannot do anything but assure that even more will be produced and delivered.
7. Criminalizing marijuana lacks moral justification. A real crime implies a victim and a perpetrator. Can you imagine being jailed for robbing yourself? As insane as this sounds, our government has done the equivalent by making adult use of marijuana a crime.
Only a depraved, corrupt government could invent a crime you commit against yourself.
6. Marijuana users are not debased human beings. Cultures throughout history – and pre-history! – have altered their minds with a variety of drugs. Billions around the world derive positive benefits from mind-altering drugs (especially from alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and marijuana).
Demonizing and criminalizing some drugs, while approving others without rational criteria, is clearly arbitrary and deceitful. Why are marijuana users criminals while alcohol and tobacco users are not? Why are marijuana dealers demonized, but alcohol and tobacco dealers are not?
5. Marijuana is effective medicine. There’s overwhelming evidence that marijuana can safely relieve pain, nausea and vomiting caused by various illnesses. In fact, marijuana is patently safer than many commonly prescribed drugs.
4. Promising medical research is thwarted. The discovery of naturally occurring marijuana-like substances in the human body that activate so-called cannabinoid receptors has opened up vast possibilities for new medicines derived from the 66 or so cannabinoids identified in marijuana. These receptors are not just in the brain, but also found in many other parts of the body including the immune, endocrine and reproductive systems.
3. Billions in potential taxes go to drug cartels. Our cash-strapped states are being cheated out of billions that could be obtained by taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol.
2. Thousands of prohibition murders occur each year. Mexico is the world’s largest exporter of marijuana (most goes to the United States). There were at least 24,000 prohibition-related murders in Mexico since 2006. Thousands more died here, also a direct result of marijuana prohibition.
1. Prohibition denies our most basic human right. Prohibition takes away our right of sovereignty over our own bodies and gives this power to government. Does any other human right make sense if we don’t have sovereignty over our own bodies?
There’s a word for people who don’t have sovereignty over their own bodies: slaves.
The Glaring Truth About the Drug War
The drug war is a blatantly dishonest, extremely expensive, highly destructive, grossly unjust, abject failure of our government.
Despite 40 years and $1 trillion-plus of taxpayer money spent trying to stop – not robbery, not rape, not murder, not even shoplifting – but mostly trying to stop adults from using marijuana; despite draconian punishments; despite jailing millions of nonviolent Americans; despite thousands of prohibition-related murders each year, illegal drugs are cheaper, purer and more readily available than ever.
The drug war is a vast government scam guaranteed to be perpetually futile. Prohibition only pretends to fight drugs. In fact, it guarantees massive profits to anyone on the planet who can produce and deliver prohibited drugs to our streets.
Jailing drug dealers just creates lucrative job openings for more efficient, more ruthless, eager replacements. Only a small percentage of illegal drugs are intercepted, and these are easily and cheaply replaced.
Prohibition creates, sustains and handsomely rewards the illegal drug industry while pretending to fight that very same industry. Like the classic mafia protection racket, our government creates a perpetual problem and then charges us exorbitantly to “protect” us from it.
This abomination continues unabated because our government is addicted to the taxpayer billions it wastes year after year after year pretending to fight an enemy created and sustained by prohibition itself.
Marijuana is the linchpin of the drug war. Legalizing marijuana will sound the death knell for this devastating crime against humanity.
Virtually any kind of illegal drug can be bought on the Internet and delivered by post to users who no longer need to make direct contact with dealers, an EU study published on Thursday said. It gave no statistics on online drug sales, which are normally conducted on so-called “darknets”, or anonymous computer networks.
The report, compiled by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and Europol, the pan-European police agency, said increased globalisation and communication technology made it harder to track drug routes.
“Practically any type of drug can be bought on the Internet,” Europol director Rob Wainwright told a briefing. “The consumers may feel that it is ‘cleaner’ to buy drugs without any direct contact with the drug dealer.”
These drugs are being moved through legitimate forms of commercial transportation – containers, aircraft and postal services, all making the drugs harder to intercept.
EMCDDA director Wolfgang Goetz said drug users’ behaviour was also changing.
“Patterns of drug use have become more fluid, with consumers often using multiple substances or substituting one drug for another,” Goetz said.
Northwest Europe a major concern
Europol’s Wainwright said drug trafficking was the main activity of organised crime groups, providing funding for other criminal activity.
The report pinpointed northwest Europe — Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium and northern France — as an area where organised crime is high, partly because of its many transport hubs, and Wainwright said the region’s status as a final destination for cocaine and heroin, as well as people trafficking and illegal immigration, made it a major concern.
The report recommended that the European Union work to target high-value crime groups, develop intelligence on the geographic relocation of potential criminals, interrupt money flows and create barriers to drug sales on the Internet.
EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said ministers from the 27 member states would study the report for possible policy changes and action across the European Union.
“We need to keep pace with these new developments and adapt our policies and responses to this reality,” Malmstrom said. “National measures, however robust, will simply not be sufficient if implemented in isolation.”
The European Union is an increasingly important producer of synthetic drugs and cannabis, with mobile production units making it easy for synthetic drugs to be concealed during manufacturing.
“As with synthetic drugs, there has been a trend towards producing the drug near to its intended consumers,” Goetz said. “This will be a growing trend in the future.”
The report estimated 2,500 tonnes of cannabis are consumed each year in the European Union and Norway, with a retail value of 18-30 billion euros.
Malmstrom said no European-wide legalisation of cannabis is on the Commission’s agenda.
I’d like to spend a day or two inside the head of Iran’s Vice President, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi. I’m sure it’s a cavernous place with lots of room for exploring and stuff. But there’s so much weird stuff going on in there, it could become a tourist destination. Extreme tourism.
Two things here: if a Zionist is willing to go into a business partnership with me, take some drugs for a few days and get PAID by the Iranian government, then I’ll go 50/50 with you. I’ll do the research, you do the drugs, we’ll both get RICH beyond our wildest dreams.
Second thing: I personally don’t know anyone who is addicted to drugs. Yeah, I know, I live a sheltered life. Not a single person. Therefore, they’re all drug dealers. It makes sense, doesn’t it. Every person I’ve ever known is a drugs dealer.
I feel like I’m in one of those God-awful M. Night Shyalamamamaman films (or whatever his stupid name is) where there’s a painfully obvious “reveal” at the end, but I’m the only one who didn’t see it.
Every single one of my friends is a drug dealer. Because the logic of Mr Rahimi says so.
And so are all Jews. Woody Allen, you drug-dealing bastard. Scarlett Johansson sells dope, Ben Stiller flogs bath salts and Justin Bieber (go on, you know he’s Jewish) sells skag to addicts in Leith on a regular basis. It’s all true, because Iran said so.
No, hang on, I’m getting hung up on terminology here. It’s Zionists, not Jews. Whatevs. Both of them read this book, you see – it’s called The Talmud. I’ve never read it, but apparently all Jews have read it over and over. Mr Rahimi reckons it makes them drug dealers. Apparently, it says “you shall deal drugs” 20,000 times. Not exactly a page-turner, but then it’s better than Fifty Shades of Grey, which says “dildo” and “buttplug” 20,000 times. Over and over.
As Archbishop Cranmer points out, nobody bothered to report this. What’s more, Mr Rahimi was allowed to accuse Jews of dealing drugs by the UN, who gave him a platform to tell the world that Woody Allen is a crack dealer.
In recent years there has been much talk of the so-called “Portuguese model,” based on an initiative that led to the use of illicit drugs being decriminalised in 2001. In fact, it is often said that Portugal was the first country in Europe to decriminalise drug use de jure, while Spain, for example, took that step de facto for the first time in 1974, except that it was not through a specific law but rather as a result of a Supreme Court ruling.
In any case, the decriminalisation process taken forward in Portugal undoubtedly serves as a clear example of the fact that showing greater tolerance to drug users does not lead to an increase in consumption. On the contrary, in Portugal’s case all the indicators show a reduction in the use of illicit drugs following this move, while the problems associated with such use also declined.
Nevertheless, Portuguese-style decriminalisation has immense loopholes and contradictions, such as the fact that the illicit growing of psychoactive plants (of which cannabis is the most common) is still considered a crime, even when it is destined for personal use. This contradiction, which permits the possession and use of small quantities but not self-supply, means that drug users are forced to depend on the illegal market. Furthermore, possession for personal use is punishable as an administrative offence. Dissuasion Commissions (whose members are legal advisers, psychiatrists and social workers) have been established and are able to impose fines or community service. Another of their roles is to persuade addicts to enter treatment programmes. Most of their rulings have led to the legal proceedings brought against non-addicted drug users being suspended. Around ten per cent of cases have been settled with a fine.
They prefer clubs in Portugal too
For some time, various groups have been arguing that further steps need to be taken on the road to decriminalisation, by means of coherent regulations that would cover all aspects of the matter and permit a system of supply that offers an alternative to the illegal market. A few years ago, the Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc), a leftist party very similar in origin and ideology to Syriza in Greece, and which in the last election obtained about 5% of the vote and 8 seats in the Legislative Assembly (Portugal’s only house of parliament, since the senate no longer exists), came up with a different proposalalong the lines of the so-called “Dutch model,” which suggested that drugs could be supplied through commercial establishments similar to Holland’s coffee-shops.
Nevertheless, the appearance of Cannabis Social Clubs in Spain has led to a shift in attitude among many groups that used to support a commercially-oriented regulatory model. The Bloco de Esquerda itself decided to abandon that proposal in view of the advantages of the model based on non-profit associations. These include greater transparency, self-management by the consumers themselves, the absence of commercial interests (thus reducing the risk of drug use being promoted), elimination of the so-called “back door,”  and the possibility of introducing the arrangement without needing to reform UN treaties beforehand, since the cannabis clubs fall within the sphere of personal consumption.
What the proposal contains
The Bloco’s new proposed law (which has not yet been presented to parliament) covers all aspects of cannabis, from production to distribution. Its justification mentions the failure of the repressive model consecrated by the UN, the manifest success of decriminalisation – which silenced the arguments of the prohibitionists by demonstrating the viability of more tolerant approaches – and the internal contradictions in the current legislation, which indirectly help to sustain drug trafficking.
The text of the proposal defines the legal arrangements applicable to the growing, consumption and acquisition of cannabis and its by-products, and the possession of these for personal use without the need for a doctor’s prescription. In fact, the initiative’s promoters have avoided mingling medical use with so-called “recreational use,” since they believe that the two debates should be kept separate. They also believe that the defence of the right to use cannabis should not be based on its medicinal properties but rather on individual freedoms.
The proposal – the text of which is not yet definitive – imposes limits on acquisition, growing and possession. It stipulates that the acquisition of cannabis products for personal use should not exceed the amount required for one month’s consumption. This is defined on the basis of Decree 94/96 (26 March), which stipulates estimated daily doses for different illicit drugs. Thus, the amounts someone can obtain each time may not exceed 75 grams of marijuana, 15g of hashish or 7.5g of hash oil. Growing would be limited to a maximum of ten plants per person, while possession would not be allowed to exceed the above-mentioned amounts. In other words, if people choose to grow their own they may store the output from the ten plants, and if they obtain their supply through a club (or on the illegal market) they may only keep enough for one month.
The proposal also includes a system of authorisations, which would be non-transferrable and may be withdrawn in the case of failure to comply with the legal obligations they entail, but would not affect personal use. Therefore, if the proposal goes ahead, the consumption, growing, acquisition and possession of cannabis and cannabis products destined for personal use would not only cease to be a crime but would also no longer be considered an administrative offence, thus leading to full depenalisation, in contrast to what has been the case up till now.
A concrete proposal for regulating CSCs
Chapter II of the proposed law deals with the Cannabis Social Clubs (CSCs), which are regulated in some detail. In the proposed text, a club is defined as “a not-for-profit civil-society association for the purposes of study, research and debate on cannabis, as well as the growing of cannabis plants, the production of cannabis substances or preparations and the provision of these to its members, in properly authorised establishments and under the conditions set out herein.” In other words, it outlines a type of organisation almost identical to the model currently being discussed in Spain. In this sense, the Bloco proposal is ground-breaking because, despite being based on an existing model, Portugal could become the second country with a law that permits cannabis clubs. In Uruguay the proposal is that the state would issue licenses to producers, whether they be home-growers or members of growers’ clubs, as is the case in Spain.
The proposed law goes on to establish a series of limits and conditions for the clubs to operate: members must be over the age of 18 and will be invited to join by another club member; the clubs will not be allowed to serve alcohol, and gaming machines are banned; they must be at least 300 metres away from the nearest school; and non-members will only be able to enter the club if they are accompanied by a full member. The clubs will not be able to advertise, and the products they dispense may not have a brand or a trade name.
As far as the acquisition of cannabis products by members is concerned, the proposal stipulates that minors and people who have “an obvious mental illness” will not be allowed to enter the club and may not be provided with any substance whatsoever. The club will make available to its members only the quantity required to cover their monthly needs. The receptacles in which the products are dispensed must indicate the origin and the quantity of the substances they contain, the effects and risks associated with their use, and the international common name as defined by the World Health Organisation.
With regard to oversight of the clubs’ activities and cannabis growing and distribution in general, the proposal gives INFARMED (the national pharmaceutical drugs and health products authority) the power to approve and withdraw authorisations to grow cannabis, although these will not be necessary in the case of possession for personal use. The CSCs must also request permission to extract active ingredients.
INFARMED will also be responsible for “overseeing the growing, extraction and manufacture, distribution, import, transport, acquisition, delivery and possession of substances to be made available to the members of Cannabis Social Clubs.” Responsibility for enforcing the ban on alcohol, gaming, minors, advertising, etc, would fall to local governments. Both they and INFARMED would be able to inspect the clubs’ activities at any time.
As far as infractions are concerned, unauthorised trading in cannabis would be punishable by a prison sentence of up to four years in the case of minor offences and between 4 and 12 years in serious cases, with severity being defined in terms of quantity and circumstances. Other infractions (alcohol consumption, the presence of minors in a club, etc) would be punished as an administrative offence, with fines that in most cases range from 2,500 to 25,000 euros.
Does the proposal have a chance?
At the end of September I was invited by the Bloco de Esquerda to travel to Portugal on behalf of the FAC to explain what the CSC model consists of and how it operates. During my visit I was able to participate in various events, including a parliamentary hearing that was also attended by a Socialist Party representative, Elsa Pais, who was president of Portugal’s Drugs and Drug Addiction Institute (IDT) from 2000 to 2002.
At the hearing, João Semedo, a doctor and Bloco MP (who will also be responsible for presenting the proposal when the time comes), spoke of the need to gather support, which is why they have chosen the formula that seems most acceptable to the rest of Portugal’s political parties. Pais’s role is therefore essential, and she gave quite a forceful speech in which she argued that these issues must not be sidelined in the political debate, especially bearing in mind that individual rights and freedoms of this sort tend to be less respected in times of crisis.
In Pais’s opinion, the Bloco proposal is very positive, because it solves the problem of how drug users are to obtain supplies without resorting to the illegal market. In her view, the CSC arrangement has a number of advantages: it is based on a risk prevention strategy, it respects the seemingly untouchable UN treaties, it gets rid of traffickers by depriving them of customers, and it is a proven model that reinforces informed decision-making and the responsibility of individual users. At the end of her speech, Pais made a commitment to try to convince others in her party to support the proposal. This will be important, since the Socialists are the second largest party in parliament, with 74 seats. 
The Bloco and the Socialist Party together have a total of 82 votes in parliament – less than the 116 needed for a majority. Even if Pais does manage to convince her party colleagues, which is by no means certain, the support of other parties would still be needed. This might include the United Democratic Coalition (CDU), an alliance of communists and greens, whose position does not yet seem to be decided. However, the additional 16 seats of the CDU still will not constitute a majority for the proposal. In other words, a lengthy debate can be predicted before we see concrete results.
It will also be interesting to see what stance is taken by João Goulão, president of the IDT and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), to whom I was able to explain in person how the cannabis clubs operate, and who showed himself open to discussing them as a possible alternative to the current regulations. If Goulão – one of the originators of Portugal’s successful decriminalisation policy – was to support regulation along the lines of the Bloco initiative, it might be more likely to succeed. Because if one thing is certain, it is that right now the likelihood of it being approved un-amended is slight. In any case, the debate promises to be interesting.
 The “back door” problem refers to the fact that the coffee-shops in Holland can sell up to five grams of cannabis to their customers (the “front door”), but they have to obtain their supplies on the illegal market (the “back door”). For the coffee-shops to be able to operate in a way that avoids any activity classified as a crime, the growing of cannabis would have to be regulated.
 In an earlier version of this blog the election results of 2009 were used to calculate the parliamentary support for the proposal, in stead of the June 2011 results, which saw a significant decline in seats for those parties that might support the proposed new law of the Bloco.