Still Lying to the End

December 31st, 2008 9 Comments Kate Zawidzki

David Murray, the alleged “chief scientist” at the White House drug czar’s office, seems determined to end his tenure in a blaze of dishonesty. In a just-published article in New Scientist that examines the excellent Beckley Foundation Global Cannabis Commission report, Murray touts recent declines in U.S. teen marijuana use and claims, “In the absence of prohibition, it would have been difficult to achieve that.”

That’s nonsense, as we’ve already pointed out. As many U.S. teens currently smoke marijuana as smoke cigarettes, which are legal for adults. Since 1991, teen marijuana use has increased while teen cigarette smoking has dropped by nearly half. Read the rest of this entry »

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President Bush’s Drug War Report Card (MPP-TV)

December 25th, 2008 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

As we say goodbye to the Bush Administration, we’d like to take this opportunity to give the outgoing president and his drug czar their final grades. Don’t forget to subscribe!

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

New Year’s Resolutions

December 22nd, 2008 5 Comments Kate Zawidzki

With that time of year approaching, we humbly offer a few New Year’s resolutions for some of the individuals and institutions sure to be affecting all of our lives in 2009:

President-elect Barack Obama: To move quickly to keep your campaign promise to end the DEA’s medical marijuana raids. And to appoint a drug czar who treats science as a guide for policy, not something to be spun in the service of ideology.

The news media: To treat announcements from the drug czar’s office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other government drug war agencies with the same skepticism that normally greets other political statements — and to seek out the perspectives of drug policy critics and reformers without us having to throw ourselves at you. Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana

California’s top cops: “If you don’t like the law, circumvent it”

December 19th, 2008 4 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Apparently the adage “if you don’t like the law, change it” isn’t that simple – not in California, anyway.

Despite a tough opposition campaign by the law enforcement lobby, California voters approved Proposition 215, enacting the nation’s first effective state-level medical marijuana law, in November 1996. But that didn’t stop some law enforcement officials from trying to circumvent the very law they campaigned against, 12 years after its passage.

Frustrated with the fact that medical marijuana is legal in their state, the California Police Chiefs Association asked the DEA to use federal law to arrest and prosecute medical marijuana providers.

Read more on the topic from our friend Jacob Sullum over at Reason Magazine’s blog.

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Medical Marijuana

California’s capital county finally decides to obey California’s law

December 18th, 2008 2 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Medical marijuana patients living in California’s capital will finally be able to realize the full benefit of the state’s medical marijuana law.

This week, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution making the state-mandated medical marijuana ID card program available to county residents. The cards keep patients who are already allowed to possess marijuana under the state’s 12-year-old Compassionate Use Act from being wrongfully arrested by state and local law enforcement.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Year in Review: 2008 a Huge Year for Marijuana Reform

December 16th, 2008 15 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Since this is the season for year-end reviews, “best of” lists and the like, it seems like a good time  to take note of why 2008 was one of the most successful years ever for marijuana policy reform. 2008 saw major progress on legal reforms plus a raft of new data that validated reformers’ critiques of current marijuana laws. Some highlights:

     MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZED IN MASSACHUSETTS: A measure to replace criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana with a $100 fine similar to a traffic ticket passed with a whopping 65 percent majority in the Bay State. Read the rest of this entry »

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Marijuana Two-Minute Truths: The Cost of Marijuana

December 16th, 2008 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

Join Nydia as she answers this week’s question: “How much does marijuana cost?”

Do you have questions about marijuana? Its history? The laws? The science? E-mail them to with the subject line: Ask Nydia!

Please be sure to check out our other videos, and don’t forget to subscribe:

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News Flash! Marijuana Still Not Eradicated!!

December 15th, 2008 5 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Well, the federal government’s National Drug Threat Assessment for 2009 is out, and — who’dda thunk it? — “Marijuana availability is high throughout the United States.” This is despite record seizures of marijuana plants in 2007, as well as an all-time record number of marijuana arrests, over 872,000. Indoor cultivation — often in converted homes and other dubious locations — has increased “because of high profit margins and seemingly reduced risk of law enforcement detection.”

This year’s Monitoring the Future survey confirmed marijuana remains widely available, with 83.9% of high school seniors saying that marijuana is “easy to get” — a figure that remains virtually unchanged since the survey began in 1975.

The western U.S. remains a hotbed of domestic marijuana cultivation, yet the Drug Threat Assessment reports that only 2% of law enforcement in the Southwest  region(stretching from Southern California  to Texas and Oklahoma) report marijuana as being the greatest drug threat in their area, while in the Pacific region (Northern and Central California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Nevada) only 1.1% see marijuana as the greatest threat.


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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Another Drug Czar Marijuana Offense

December 12th, 2008 12 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Yesterday, Bruce pointed out that the latest government data indicate that over the past 15 years teen cigarette use has declined and marijuana use increased to the point where teens use them pretty much equally now.

At his press conference announcing the annual report, Monitoring the Future, I asked White House drug czar John Walters to explain his insistence that marijuana must be prohibited for adults in order to protect children when the data suggest the exact opposite. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tax and Regulate

Marijuana policy tops Obama’s “Open for Questions”

December 12th, 2008 17 Comments Kate Zawidzki

With over 600,000 votes cast and thousands of questions posted, Barack Obama’s “Open for Questions” tool has closed its first round of questioning.  Topping the list is the following:

“Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?” (link)

This is a clear indication that visitors to Obama’s transition Web site want to see a change in America’s marijuana policy.  After decades of failed prohibition, rising marijuana use, and the recent surge in drug trade violence along the Mexican border, it makes sense that Americans are ready for a new approach.

The Web site’s blog will post responses to this and other questions over the next few days.

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