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Posts Tagged ‘drug war’

Here’s the link. It’s a long poignant piece that points out the folly of the drug war by focussing on the outrageous case of Cheye Calvo.

The fact that pieces like these do appear in the mainstream media (Washington Post is regarded as one of the three most important US newspapers, along with NYT and WSJ) is a hopeful sign. That, and the fact that a majority of people in the US want marijuana decriminalized according to recent polls, suggests that the tide is turning.

In contrast, while I lived in India, I do not remember seeing a single pro-legalization article in any newspaper, magazine or television channel. However, attitudes can change fast, especially in this globalized world, and if the US ever decides to go the legalization route, I predict that much of the world will follow suit within ten years.

(Hat Tip: The Agitator)

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I just thought I’d share this email I received via the Friends of Charles Lynch mailing list earlier today:

Today in Federal court Charles C. Lynch’s motion for a new trial was denied. Lynch brought new evidence to court showing that he had nothing to do with his employee’s alleged street sales. Judge Wu stated that this was not sufficient evidence to acquit Lynch on all counts and so the motion was denied. Lynch’s Federal Public Defender’s then asked for more time for sentencing. Prosecutor Dave Kowal erupted with objections stating that the Defense was wasting the Court’s time. The judge agreed to move sentencing out to February 23, 2009 at 8:30am and the January 12, 2009 date is canceled. Supporters are encouraged to attend the Sentencing at 8:30am and the following Rally on Main Street at noon on February 23, 2009. The Federal Court House is located at 312 North Spring Street, Downtown Los Angeles on the Main Street side of the Federal Building. With the new sentencing date the latest to send in a letter of support to Judge Wu would be February 5, 2009.

For more information visit the http://www.Friendsofccl.com website. The http://www.Friendsofccl.com website will be updated with the new information within the next couple of days.

Thank you.
ccl

Note: If you are wondering who Charles Lynch is, check out these excellent Reason TV documentaries (in order, this, this and this) or skim through my various posts on his maddeningly unjust prosecution. If you wish to read the letter I sent to Judge Wu about three months ago, click here.

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Radley Balko points out the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the war on drugs:

We’re told that drug war is a moral imperative because, in the words of Walters himself, “dangerous drugs damage [children’s] lives and limit their futures.”  But like most temperance zealots, Walters measures success not by actual lives wrecked or ended prematurely, but merely by how many people are and aren’t getting high.

Switching from the “drugs ruin lives” justification for the drug war itself to “how many people are getting high” when measuring the same drug war’s effectiveness, then, hides a more important statistic:  How many people have had their lives ruined and futures limited by the drug war?  The vast majority of the 873,000 people arrested for marijuana offenses last year, for example, likely had more damage done to their lives by the prohibition of marijuana than could ever be done by the drug itself.

Such is why drug warriors like William Bennett, Karen Tandy, and Walters can assert with a straight face that alcohol prohibition was, also, a “success.” Sure, the crime rate spiked, alcohol hospitalizations soared, and corruption and contempt for the rule of law was rampant.  But fewer people swallowed down less demon rum.  So, score one for social engineering.

Sure, deaths from drug overdose have jumped 70 percent, and more than doubled among young people.  But fewer people are smoking pot.  And that means we’re winning.

As they say, if you repeat a lie enough times, it becomes true. Bennett, Tandy and Walters are proof of that.

But surely then, if you repeat a truth enough times, as Radley, I and so many other try to do, it should make people listen as well? Isn’t that the least that fairness owes us?

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His crime was that he owned a medical marijuana dispensary –fully legal under California law — that sold small amounts of the drug as a pain-reliever to the sick and the dying.

He faces up to 100 years in prison.

It goes without saying that one doesn’t have to be a libertarian or even believe in drug legalization to see the absurdity or the tragedy of the situation. (All you’ll need is a little common sense.)

Added later: Do watch the excellent Reason TV documentaries on Charlie (in order, this, this and this).

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Rachel Hoffman was a college student and a bit of a hippie. She tried drugs and got caught. Police threatened her with prison time unless she agreed to become an informant and set up a meeting with the supplier to buy $10000 worth of drugs and weaponry, a purchase drastically out of character for a person used to buying a few grams of weed once in a while.

She did as the cops told her to. The suppliers, not surprisingly, smelt something very fishy. She never came back from the meeting.

Her body was found last week.

Welcome to the gruesome workings of the war on drugs, where collateral damage is normal and acceptable, where the enforcers are so steeped in morality that they would rather have people dead than high, where the only measure of success is how many people the cops arrest.

And where a young girl loses her life for daring to have a bit of fun.

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In that the addictions produced by both are similar.

I can see the health police salivating at the prospect of using this as a reason to regulate or ban junk food (though to me, it looks like yet another argument for drug legalization).

However, as the author of the linked article says:

Because if we really do crave junk food the way addicts crave drugs, good luck prying those cheeseburgers from our hands.

I am not so sure. The capacity of some people to enforce their standards of correctness on others never ceases to amaze me.

(Link via Andrew Sullivan)

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