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Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:39 pm

Politico.com wrote:Federalism should extend to marijuana raids

by Radley Balko, Politico.com
September 11th, 2007


Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) recently said that, if elected president, he would end the federal raids on marijuana clinics in states that have legalized the drug for medical purposes.

That makes the Democratic field unanimous now — all would end the raids and allow the states to craft their own medical marijuana policy, free from federal interference. By contrast, just two of the remaining GOP candidates — Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) and Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) — and none of the front-runners have promised to call off the raids.

This is unfortunate for a party that once fancied itself the torch-bearer for federalism — the idea that most laws should be made on as local a level as possible, both to encourage state “laboratories of democracy” to experiment with different policies and to allow people to utilize the freedom of movement to choose to live in those jurisdictions with laws that best reflect their own values.

If ever there were an issue for which federalism would seem to be an ideal solution, it’s the medical marijuana issue, which touches on crime, medical policy, privacy and individual freedom — all the sorts of values-laden areas of public policy that states are best equipped to deal with on a case-by-case basis, and for which a one-size-fits-all federal policy seems particularly clunky and ill-suited.

Yet the GOP won’t let go. The White House continues to send federal SWAT teams into convalescent centers, dispensaries and treatment centers, often putting sick people on the receiving end of paramilitary tactics, gun barrels and terrifying raids.

It’s difficult to understand how the same party that (correctly, in my view) argues that the federal government has no business telling the states how they should regulate their businesses, set their speed limits, keep their air and water free of pollution or regulate the sale of firearms within their borders can at the same time feel that the federal government can and should tell states that they aren’t allowed to let sick people obtain relief wherever they might find it.

Medical marijuana is probably a nonstarter politically.

Though polls show most Americans support medical marijuana, few decide their votes on the issue, save for a cadre of drug reform activists and the people who actually need the stuff to treat their symptoms.

But the issue ought to be of wider concern to principled federalists, because it was the GOP’s stubborn support for near-limitless federal power to fight the drug war that killed the nascent federalism revolution before it ever grew wings.
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Hazy stances

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:54 pm

The Indiana Daily Student wrote:Hazy stances

Amanda Lowry | IDS | 10/11/2007


I personally believe that there should be a requirement that every politician who runs for public office must have smoked pot at some point. Even if that experience doesn’t make the politician want to legalize it, he or she will at least realize how dangerous it isn’t.

My position on this issue was only strengthened this week after watching a CNN video of Mitt Romney, in typical 2008 Republican front-runner style, dismiss a multiple sclerosis sufferer advocating that medical marijuana arrests be stopped. The MS sufferer caught Romney on camera and explained to him that, although he is against legalizing marijuana, the smoked form of the drug is the only pain reliever for his lifelong illness that he can use without getting sick.

His question, then, was “Will you arrest me and my doctors if I get medical marijuana prescribed to me?”

Romney dodged the question, answering, “I’m not in favor of medical marijuana being legal.” After that, he returned to his mission of shaking hands with as many rally attendees as possible, ignoring journalists who pressed him to answer the man’s question.

Romney’s attitude toward the MS patient exemplifies the 2008 Republican front-running presidential candidates’ chronic dodging of the issue of medical marijuana arrests and raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, which have been common since the U.S. Supreme Court decided Raich v. Vernon in 2005. The verdict allowed federal officers to arrest sellers and users of medical marijuana, regardless of individual state laws.

Determined to at least appear concerned for everyone’s well-being, the candidates have tried to make their anti-medical marijuana stance appear justified through pointing out the drug’s safety issues, health risks and its potential to proliferate recreational drug use.

But that appearance falls apart when someone brings up the topic of medical marijuana arrests and dispensary raids. Standing firm in the belief that cancer patients and well-meaning doctors should be tossed in the slammer doesn’t exude that same sense of compassion about public health.

So to avoid the hypocrisy, the candidates draw attention away from the arrests and toward the drug’s risks.

When a woman at a New Hampshire conference last week asked John McCain whether he would legally allow her use of medical marijuana, he replied:

“You may be one of the unique cases in America that only medical marijuana can relieve pain from ... Every medical expert I know of, including the (American Medical Association), says there are much more effective and much more, uh, better treatments for pain.”

And last week at another conference, when a woman asked Rudy Giuliani about his position on the raids, he, too, avoided the topic and talked about the FDA’s evaluation of cannabis alternatives.

The health and safety issues medical marijuana presents are important topics for political discussion. But the discussion that needs to come first is the one about people who are getting arrested for trying to put themselves out of agony while hurting no one else – and how to stop those arrests.
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Dear Mr. Romney, will you arrest me?

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:56 pm

The Eagle wrote:Dear Mr. Romney, will you arrest me?

by Mike Overson, Editor, The Eagle (College of Eastern Utah)
October 11th, 2007


Over the weekend I was watching Fox News Network when a story caught my eye. Various people were interviewing Mitt Romney, republican presidential hopeful, when one man’s question caught my attention. The man asked whether or not Romney would arrest him as well as his doctors because of medical marijuana usage.

“I don’t support medical marijuana” was Romney’s response.

Answer the question though, whether you support the states’ rights to govern themselves is not the question. Will you in your presidency, if elected, continue to crackdown on doctors that are convinced this plant is a natural beneficial way to cope with cancer and other ailments? What about those patients who do not show signs of improvement except when marijuana is used? It seems to me that as a voter and more importantly an American, I have the right to know where potential leaders stand on this and other issues. For the sake of being fair, I would implore all candidates to answer that question as well.

For too long the federal government has had free reign over the states. Medical marijuana is a huge topic of debate in this election. The time of “stupid pot-heads” is coming to an end. People are fed up with being stepped on, abused and ignored. More and more states are ratifying their own laws concerning this.

But how is it that the feds continue to abuse their limitless resources and get away with anything badges? I think it is appalling the president has to ask Congress for money to support our troops. If anyone should get what they need and not have to wait for our country’s “democratic” process to decide its fate, the military should be it. How is it that the Drug Enforcement Agency has a blank check? If you are the DEA and you need money to bust non-violent drug offenders you don’t ask, you sometimes give receipts after the fact. Only when pressured will the DEA publicize its spending. While our troops across the world need better armor they have to wait to maybe, just maybe get new equipment before their deployment ends.

But back to arresting people with legitimate licenses. As long as patients abide by laws set forth by their resident state, the federal government should step back and let the state worry about the pandemic this issue created. With all those patients using this devil substance in the privacy of their own homes, I’m waiting for these cancer ridden citizens to start pillaging different cities. Twelve medical states are bravely doing what no one else is daring to do. Sticking it to the man.

While the DEA continues to raid pharmacies in hopes of crushing what it sees as a peasant rebellion more and more people are getting these licenses and supporting the movement, which is medical marijuana.

The majority of the DEA’s endless power comes from the administration’s lack of caring. If a president doesn’t care that hundreds of thousands of people are being incarcerated for simple marijuana possession charges, then the DEA will continue to be government thugs with no fear of repercussion. My hope is this, one day the people of America will care about who leads them; who makes the laws, who enforces laws and who decides that pursuing happiness is wrong if a certain substance the government chooses is illegal is used.

So, Mr.. Romney, will you arrest that man and thousands like him? Will you condemn people to a life in prison for not obeying federal laws? Why is it that states have to bend to the power of the federal government? Shouldn’t states have rights to decide constitutional matters?

If someone disagrees with my point of view then I am happy. This country guarantees a right to say what you think. If that right is not taken advantage of then this country will soon end up like countless others around the world. Places where free speech is looked down upon almost as much as women in some religious countries. If the United States of America ever ends up like those places, the world will be hell on Earth.


Send Mike Overson a comment at m.overson@ceu.edu
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Video - Romney turns his back on Multiple Sclerosis patient

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:57 pm

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Politicians continually fail to recognize marijuana's value

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:19 pm

The Daily Trojan wrote:Politicians continually fail to recognize marijuana's value

<span class=postbigbold>Marijuana has long been construed as a drug for social deviants, and its critics overlook its many benefits.</span>

by Tim Strube, Daily Trojan
October 25th, 2007


"I am not in favor of medical marijuana being legal in the country," gloated Mitt Romney during an "Ask Mitt Anything" session in New Hampshire.

The former Massachusetts governor's statement was in response to the inquiry of Clayton Holton, an individual who finds relief from the symptoms of his muscle dystrophy by using medical marijuana.

The video of wheelchair-bound Holton asking, "Will you arrest me or my doctors if I get medical marijuana?" has been widely circulated online and made it unequivocally clear that Romney, in true American fashion, refuses to take an objective look at medical marijuana.

Like Romney, a large number of Americans don't take marijuana seriously.

To many, the very utterance of the word "marijuana" conjures up images of stoners, hippies and Grateful Dead fans who wear ponchos and participate in drum circles.

From what the Office of National Drug Control Policy suggests, if you smoke it you'll either find your dad's shotgun and shoot yourself in the face or run over a little girl on her bike at a drive-thru.

Marijuana users are widely perceived as apathetic, lazy, unmotivated and downright empty-headed - a joke to be joked about, if you will.

Marijuana was not always viewed this way, though. The notion of marijuana as a dangerous, addictive substance is exclusive to modern-American discourse - merely the result of the misguided social politics of the 20th century.

What most people don't know is the current American view of marijuana is a misconception that denies thousands of years of history.

In fact, the recreational use we commonly associate with marijuana is its most fruitless application.

Prior to the 20th century, marijuana (properly referred to as cannabis) was widely used in the American and international pharmacopeia, and its medicinal use since 2,737 B.C.

The nonintoxicating, untreated cannabis plant itself is said to have more than 25,000 uses (textiles and clothing, paper, rope, culinary oil, cosmetics, paint and varnish, dietary supplements and bio-fuels, just to name a few) and accordingly, it's been referred to by many as "the most useful plant known to mankind."

Despite this, all derivatives of the cannabis plant remain illegal on the federal level.

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, it's a Schedule I drug alongside such substances as heroin, methamphetamines (e.g. MDMA, ecstasy) and lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD. As such, cannabis is considered to have absolutely "no medical use in treatment in the United States."

Even cocaine and PCP have a more moderate scheduling.

Why has "the most useful plant known to mankind" remained illegal in the United States for more than three-quarters of a century? Why people such as Romney avoid the topic of marijuana is a difficult question to answer.

But a variety of factors have snowballed over the years into this seemingly never ending prohibition we see today.

It's possible, however, to name a few individuals who have had the most significant contribution to this continued misunderstanding.

Harry Anslinger, the first American drug czar, is said to be the father of cannabis prohibition. In the 1930s, Anslinger, employing manipulative rhetoric, almost single-handedly created the notion that "marihuana" was a societal ill, threatening the lives of our youth.

Anslinger's (and many other politicians') racist inclinations led them to criminalize cannabis. Anslinger, unabashed by his racism said, "the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races…[It] makes darkies think they're as good as white men."

Obviously, he wasn't basing his views on any sort of clinical or scientific research.

Moreover, because cannabis was first used by Mexican workers in the American Southwest (and, interestingly enough, Mormons living in Mexico brought it to Utah), it was a common belief that Hispanic culture's use of "devil's weed" was tainting the American social atmosphere.

Upon the latter half of the 20th century, one would think that such irrational thinking would have faded with time, but inevitably, that wasn't the case. Richard Nixon, the U.S. president who years later insisted upon an "all out war" on cannabis as a part of his "war on drugs," was no different than his irrational predecessors.

Nixon asserted that "every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish" and that there's something "wrong with them." Apparently, Nixon didn't care for the commission's scientific findings (or Judaism).

Unfortunately, things are no different today. The severely misguided, unfounded and prejudiced views of years past still prevail, evident in Mitt Romney's refusal to appropriately field the question of a seriously ill individual who uses cannabis for medicinal purposes.

As far as evaluating its potential for medicinal use, things remain in a stalemate. The American Medical Association concluded that the lack of "high-quality clinical research ... continues to hamper development of rational public policy" on medical marijuana.

In other words, a number of researchers would love nothing more than to investigate cannabis further, but its tough scheduling makes any research virtually impossible.

Unless proper research is conducted, cannabis will forever remain an undeserved societal taboo.

Its continued illegality is nothing more than a mistake that's been echoed for generations, the basis of which takes time to understand and will take even more time to change. At this point, given the persistent 75-year-long campaign against cannabis, it's almost impossible to look at it objectively.

Imagine waking up one morning and hearing about a newly discovered plant: Not only can its derivatives be used medically in treating a variety of ailments, but it can also be used in place of a variety of petroleum-based products and, consequently, compensate for our country's over-consumption of said resources and greatly reduce our nation's harm to the environment. And that's just the half of it.

Contrary to popular belief, such a plant does exist; the American population, Mitt Romney included, has just been told otherwise for far too long.
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Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Dec 16, 2007 3:42 pm

GraniteState's candidate reportcard: http://granitestaters.com/candidates/

<span class=postbold>See Also:</span> All Democratic presidential candidates pledge to end raids - 22 Aug 07
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Obama Open to Limited Legalization

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:11 pm

MSNBC wrote:Obama Open to Limited Legalization

by Aswini Anburajan, MSNBC
November 25th, 2007


AUDUBON, IA -- Obama can't seem to escape the smoke of his youthful indiscretions wafting after him on the campaign trail. Just four days after he told a group of high school students that he had experimented with drugs in high school, Obama had to admit to it again at a town hall here.

When a voter asked Obama if he was for the legalization of medical marijuana, Obama said that he wasn't in favor of legalization without scientific evidence and tight controls. Citing his mother who died from cancer young, Obama compared marijuana to morphine saying there was little difference between the two.

"My attitude is if the science and the doctors suggest that the best palliative care and the way to relieve pain and suffering is medical marijuana then that's something I'm open to because there's no difference between that and morphine when it comes to just giving people relief from pain,” Obama said. “But I want to do it under strict guidelines. I want it prescribed in the same way that other painkillers or palliative drugs are prescribed.”

But he added that he was concerned that the reasons for the use of marijuana would grow and create a "slippery slope."

"I was feeling really tense, so I needed a joint," Obama joked with the crowd of those who might try and undermine that type of system.

The question was followed up by another voter asking him, "Unlike other presidents, did you inhale?"

"I did," Obama said to loud applause and laughter. "It's not something that I'm proud of. It was a mistake … But you know, I'm not going to. I never understood that line. The point was to inhale. That was the point."
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The argument to reassign pot's drug classification

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:38 pm

The San Francisco Chroncle wrote:The argument to reassign pot's drug classification

by Wesley J. Smith , OpEd, San Francisco Chronicle
December 2nd, 2007


The United States is a nation governed by law at the federal, state and local levels. Sometimes these laws differ with each other. That's where the great principle of federalism comes in. Federalism permits state laws to be in conflict with each other, and even with the federal government. But that's OK. The sometimes messy business of federalism permits different locales to try different solutions to vexing problems, allowing the states to act as the "test tubes of democracy."

We see federalism in action most vividly today surrounding the controversy over medical marijuana. Ten states have either legalized cannabis for medicinal use or permit a medical purpose defense against prosecution. Their actions do not force other states to go along.

But federalism also means that the federal government can't be compelled to accede to the state's laws, either, and indeed, when federal and state laws conflict - as currently it does in states that have legalized medical marijuana - both federal and state laws may operate at the same time. Thus, the Supreme Court of the United States has twice ruled that the federal government is entitled to enforce its total ban against all marijuana possession and consumption where such use is statutorily authorized.

And that's exactly what the Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Justice have done under Presidents Bill Clinton and Bush. People using and distributing marijuana for medicinal use have been prosecuted and convicted - even in states like California, where it is legal. The upset caused by federal law enforcement actions has made medical marijuana an issue in the current presidential campaign, with candidates increasingly being asked by reporters and medical marijuana activists whether they will promise to call off the DEA raids.

According to Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana (www.granitestaters.com), most of the Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards, have promised to call off the dogs. The leading Republican candidates, including Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, have refused to so pledge, worrying, as John McCain put it in also rejecting the request, that marijuana is a "gateway drug." (Fred Thompson did not answer the question.)

But this is both the wrong question and the wrong solution to the controversy. The problem isn't the DEA raids. They are a symptom. The real illness, if you will, is the Federal Controlled Substances Act, passed in 1970, which explicitly lists marijuana as a "Schedule I" drug. This means that under federal law, marijuana has a "high potential for abuse" and "no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States." Because marijuana is listed under Schedule I, doctors may not legally prescribe it, and the federal government can ignore state medical marijuana laws.

People can debate marijuana's potential for abuse, but it is increasingly clear that cannabis has definite medicinal benefits. Studies and abundant anecdotal evidence demonstrate that marijuana can stimulate the appetites of people with AIDS and cancer, reduce nausea in chemotherapy patients, and help people with such debilitating conditions as multiple sclerosis, diabetes and glaucoma. And the American people know it: Polls show support in the 70 percent range for medical marijuana.

The good news is that just because marijuana is currently on Schedule I, doesn't mean that it has to stay on Schedule I. The classification can be changed in two ways: Either by the DEA - a highly unlikely course - or by legislation. Indeed, Congress could pass a law tomorrow listing marijuana under Schedule II of the controlled substances law. This means that marijuana would still be considered a drug with "a high potential for abuse" but one that also "has a currently accepted medical use."

This would hardly be a radical move. It would merely allow doctors to prescribe cannabis according to the same rules currently permitted for far stronger and addicting drugs such as morphine, opium and cocaine. Moreover, and here's a bitter irony, Marinol - the synthetic version of marijuana (which many patients contend does not work as well as the real McCoy), is listed as a Schedule III drug, meaning it has less of a "potential for abuse" than drugs on Schedule I or II.

Given these facts and the high public support for marijuana as medicine, one would think that the Democratic Congress would be galloping to reclassify marijuana into either Schedule II or III. But you can hear the crickets chirping: Even though most of the Democratic presidential candidates are currently in the U.S. Senate or House, there is no bill pending to reschedule marijuana. Moreover, while there is discussion among medical marijuana supporters about introducing a bill of some sort, past proposals have not attacked the heart of the problem, which is the Schedule I classification.

To be sure, reclassifying marijuana would be resisted. But this isn't because opponents are heartless. They worry that marijuana promoters are cynically using the medicinal issue as a subterfuge for outright legalization. This is undoubtedly true in some quarters, but so what? If morphine and cocaine can be prescribed without being legalized as an intoxicant, why can't marijuana?

Opponents are also concerned that legitimizing medical marijuana would increase abuse. But it is the Schedule I listing that actually forces medical marijuana to be distributed through a semi-anarchic system in which doctors write notes, instead of properly regulated prescriptions, and patients pick up their drug from pot "clubs" instead of pharmacies.

This is a prescription for chaos. "None of us would have advocated for the current model of distribution," Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of the marijuana legalization advocacy group the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told me. "The government's actions have led to the law of unintended consequences: People are literally getting cannabis for writer's block." The best way to prevent such shadow legalization is to change the law and thereby cut medical marijuana off from the broader advocacy movement.

This much is sure: Marijuana's Schedule I status breeds disrespect for government, forces the DEA to waste resources raiding the homes of sick people, leads to chaotic distribution schemes, and prevents reasonable medical testing to see which maladies benefit - and which do not - from marijuana use. Worse, the stigma of federal illegality deters some sick people from seeking a drug that could help them feel better.

So the time has come to put the presidential candidates on the hot seat. Merely asking whether they will halt the DEA raids allows them to expediently wiggle past the real issue, and indeed, seeks a promise from a future president to violate his or her oath of office by pledging not to enforce valid federal law.

What we really need to know is whether the next president will remove marijuana from Schedule I classification. That would help sick people, remove the issue of medicinal use from the broader debate over legalization, and bring the federal law in alignment with empirical realities.


<small>Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, an attorney for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, and a consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture.</small>
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A Science Challenge for G.O.P. Candidates

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:54 pm

The New York Times wrote:A Science Challenge for G.O.P. Candidates

by John Tierney, Columnist, New York Times
December 1st, 2007


Some of the Republican presidential candidates have dismissed medical marijuana as unnecessary or “too dangerous.” Now they’re being offered $10,000 to come up with the scientific evidence.

The Marijuana Policy Project, a group advocating the use of medical marijuana, will be in New Hampshire next week with a mobile billboard offering to contribute $10,000 to the campaigns of Rudy Giuliani, John McCain or Mitt Romney if any of the candidates can substantiate their statements about medical marijuana.

Before any of the candidates tries for that money, I’d recommend taking a look at this study showing a way to administer medical marijuana without patients inhaling harmful smoke. Or this one showing that marijuana offered pain relief comparable to morphine.

Somehow, though, I don’t think any of them will be poring over those studies. Now that medical marijuana has become an issue on the campaign trail — the candidates have been getting visibly irritated at the continual questions at their town hall meetings — the GOP candidates seem to have decided the best course is to try ignoring it. Here’s a collection of videos showing Mr. Giuliani, Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney dodging the question when asked if they’d continue the federal policy of raiding medical marijuana clinics and arresting patients in states where medical marijuana has been legalized.
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New pot raids call for new national leadership

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:04 pm

The Daily 49er wrote:New pot raids call for new national leadership

by Niki Payne, Daily 49er (Cal State Long Beach)
December 11th, 2007


For all you stoners out there, we all took a hit a couple of weeks ago (and I'm not talking about the kind that makes you all happy and giddy). The hit I'm talking about is when the feds raided a Long Beach medical marijuana dispensary.

Long Beach Compassionate Caregivers (as the joint was officially called), located on 342 E. Fourth St., has now been "closed indefinitely" after the feds served a search warrant "on the basis of probable cause."

"We believe they are in violation of federal law," said a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

There are currently 12 states that acknowledge the medicinal value of marijuana by allowing shops like Compassionate Caregivers to operate. However, federal law still refuses to recognize it because of this so-called "War on Drugs" that's been going on for virtually forever now. It's all politics. They disregard and overlook the health-related benefits for the seriously ill and dying.

Medical cannabis patients cannot be prosecuted in the state of California, but they can be prosecuted under federal law because federal laws supersede state laws.

Recently, in Garden Grove, the court ordered police to return medically prescribed pot confiscated during a traffic stop, after police refused to do so because of federal law. The judge ruled that it's not the responsibility of local police to enforce federal drug laws.

You would think that the state laws would be made in accordance with federal law. Even so, it's sad that we, the people who voted for the Compassionate Use Act in 1996, can't even get the backing of the men in black, who claim they are working for us and not against us.

If you ask me, the federal government is exercising discrimination against the 12 states that recognize medical marijuana in their laws. That was all the "probable cause" they needed. The feds have nothing better to do, so to cause a little raucous, they attack California, a state about as liberal as they come.

How fitting for this to have occurred. It might be a political message to presidential candidate Barack Obama who admitted to inhaling when he was a kid.

"I inhaled frequently. That was the point," said Obama during a televised interview.

That is the most candid thing I've ever heard out of a politician's mouth, especially one running for president. Remember when Bill Clinton said, "I did not inhale?" Who was he kidding? We saw right through you, Bill. So you smoked a little ganja back in the day, big deal.

Speaking of Bill, Hillary Clinton better watch out because Obama might be winning over the votes of stoner America with the issue of legalizing medical marijuana. The War on Drugs would be another twist to the election besides this whole "War against Terrorism."

As a woman, I was all for Clinton becoming the first woman president. But, in light of the fact that Obama may possibly be a supporter of medical marijuana, I am given hope that, one day, marijuana will become a controlled substance just like alcohol and tobacco.

"I would not have the Justice Department prosecute anybody with medical marijuana. It's not a good use of our resources," said Obama just a few months ago. He seriously said that. Look it up on YouTube. It'll make any pothead start chanting his name in song. It's no wonder he seems to appeal to the younger voters.

With Obama in the White House, maybe there is a chance at legalizing marijuana. He's been there, done that. He knows how it goes. People are going to smoke pot regardless of what laws are in place, the same way minors are still consuming alcohol despite the age limit set forth by our laws.

The government should just stop fighting it and capitalize on the black market sales of marijuana by legalizing and regulating it. They can tax the hell out of it and pump that money back into our economy. Plus, instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on federal raids like the one in Long Beach, they would be saving themselves a lot of money.

Like Obama said, it's just not a good use of our resources.

Up with hope! Legalize dope!

Niki Payne is a senior journalism major and a contributing writer for the Daily Forty-Niner.
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NH: Liz Kucinich Talks Drug Reform With Clayton Holton

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Dec 24, 2007 4:59 pm

The Huffington Post wrote:The Huffington Post

NH: Liz Kucinich Talks Drug Reform With 22-Year-Old MD Patient

Posted December 21, 2007 | 10:44 AM (EST)



Clayton Holton was scheduled to receive a visit from Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich Tuesday morning at his residence, the Riverside Rest Home in Dover, NH. At 22, Clayton is the youngest person ever admitted into a retirement home in New Hampshire, and Kucinich wanted to hear his story.

Unfortunately, Kucinich had to race back to Washington to vote against continued funding for the war in Iraq, so his wife Elizabeth came instead. Did Clayton, who suffers from a rare form of muscular dystrophy, mind the substitution?

"She's beautiful," he told me on the way back to his room following a lengthy, intimate conversation with Mrs. Kucinich in the cafeteria.

Clayton got his first big taste of the limelight Oct. 6, when he encountered Mitt Romney following an "Ask Mitt Anything" event in Dover. The video was broadcast on CNN and all over the internet.

After explaining his condition and the relief he receives from marijuana, Clayton asked Romney a pointed question: "Will you arrest me and my doctors if I get medical marijuana prescribed to me?"

"I'm not in favor of medical marijuana being legal," Romney replied, and quickly escaped to shake hands with less instructive voters.

The encounter generated considerable discussion about medical marijuana policy nationwide. And that, of course, was Clayton's aim all along. He says he got involved with a campaign called Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana to change public opinion so that people like him all over the country could be helped by legal access to medical marijuana. Clayton's MySpace page, which showcases video from his encounters with Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Ron Paul, John McCain, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, and Rudy Giuliani, is topped with a simple quote: "Making the world a better place."

Elizabeth Kucinich sat and listened for what seemed like an hour as Clayton told her his story. He said that although he only weighs 79 pounds, he is actually six feet, two inches tall. His genetic disorder, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, manifested itself in early childhood and robbed him of his ability to walk at age 10.

Losing the ability to walk had one positive consequence for Clayton: his stepfather stopped beating him and started ignoring him. As if his medical problems weren't enough, he describes his home life as "screwed up" and says he never had a real friend until he was 14 or 15.

Clayton first experienced serious painkillers at age 16 when his wheelchair was struck by a car. The doctors gave him Vicodin. "I blacked out for a day and a half, and I don't remember any of it," he explained.

Since then, Clayton says he has been prescribed every type of painkiller in existence. "They change who you are," he said. Since he is unable to use marijuana at the retirement home (he'd be exposing his caretakers to possible arrest), he has to use Oxycontin, but went without it Tuesday in order to be lucid for his expected meeting with the Congressman. "It makes me feel angry for no reason at all... I don't like being around people when I'm on it," he told the congressman's wife, echoing concerns voiced by chronic pain patients all over the country.

Soon after the wheelchair accident, Clayton tried marijuana as a substitute for Vicodin. The effects were entirely positive. Clayton was able to dramatically reduce his intake of painkillers, and as an added bonus, he found that marijuana took the edge off his anxiety and depression, stimulated his appetite, and helped him maintain a healthier weight.

That is, until recently. Clayton checked into Riverside Rest Home a few months ago when his mother chose to stop taking care of him. There was nowhere else for him to go. Without access to marijuana, his weight is down along with his spirits. Now he is a young man with an 89-year-old roommate, an expressionless gentleman who sat immobile listening to a very old set of headphones as I visited their room following the interview. But Clayton is a man with a cause, and Elizabeth Kucinich, for her part, is quite convinced.

"You are a real lesson to everyone out there who has no illness, who has no disease," she told Clayton.

As the conversation came to a close, the congressman's wife signed Clayton's copy of her husband's book and assured him she would make arrangements for him to attend their New Year's Eve Party in Manchester.

After the chat, I spoke briefly with Mrs. Kucinich. "He's such a courageous man," she told me. She also praised Clayton for understanding that although politics can be ugly, "engaging in the process is the only way to change the policies."

Clayton is happy with the attention he has been able to draw on the internet, but he told Mrs. Kucinich the real attention should be on the fact that the DEA is still conducting raids on medical marijuana patients: "There's more information about me than the raids that are going on... that's not right."

But still, his biggest fear isn't that he'll wind up in a jail cell.

"I'm just worried we're gonna end up with Romney," Clayton confessed to Mrs. Kucinich. "The man's on a power trip."


(As we chatted back in his room, Clayton asked me to publish his email address: clayton.holton@yahoo.com. He also asked me to communicate the fact, obvious to visitors, that a retirement home is no place for a young man who needs to keep his spirits up. "I really need a family," he told me.)

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Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:22 pm

Who answered and what they said: http://www.10questions.com/

1. Net Neutrality

2. Is America a Theocracy?

3. Medical Marijuana

4. Warrantless Wiretapping

5. Campaign Reform

6. Corporate Personhood

7. Transparency

8. Is Our Voting System Broken?

9. Shrink Government

10. Two Party System
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Richardson expected to quit race

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:13 pm

The Los Angeles Times wrote:From the Los Angeles Times


Richardson expected to quit race

<span class=postbigbold>The New Mexico governor, who finished fourth in Iowa and New Hampshire, will end his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, sources say.</span>

By Nicholas Riccardi
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

January 10, 2008

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will reportedly drop out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination today, ending a campaign that failed to excite voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

A former congressman, secretary of Energy and U.N. ambassador, Richardson presented himself as an experienced problem-solver with impeccable international credentials. He finished fourth in both early contests.

A day after winning 5% of Tuesday's vote in New Hampshire, Richardson flew to New Mexico and huddled with aides.

The Associated Press on Wednesday evening quoted two sources close to Richardson as saying the governor would withdraw today. The Richardson campaign declined to comment on the report.

From the onset, observers wondered whether Richardson was really shooting for the White House or had his eyes on another post, such as vice president or secretary of State. Richardson insisted that he wanted the presidency and was the best-qualified candidate, with deep experience at all levels of government.

The garrulous 60-year-old, the child of a Mexican mother and a wealthy New England father, is perhaps best known for his sometimes freelance negotiations in international hot spots. He convinced leader Kim Jong Il to free an American pilot shot down over North Korea and then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to liberate U.S. aid workers who had accidentally entered Iraq from Kuwait.

President Clinton tapped Richardson to be United Nations ambassador, then Energy secretary. After Clinton left the White House, Richardson returned to New Mexico, which he had represented in Congress, and was elected governor. He became a dominating force, presenting himself as a pragmatist who cut taxes, legalized medical marijuana and expanded children's healthcare.

His background generated some early buzz in Iowa and New Hampshire, particularly with a witty ad that showed him interviewing for the presidential job. But Richardson's campaign never created enough excitement to vault him into the top tier of contenders. He won 2% of the vote in last week's Iowa caucuses.

His term as governor runs through 2010. There has been speculation that Richardson might run for the Senate seat being vacated by New Mexico Republican Pete V. Domenici, who is retiring this year. One of Richardson's supporters, Democratic Rep. Tom Udall, is already running for the seat.

nicholas.riccardi@latimes.com
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Giuliani, McCain, Romney Offered $20,000 to Prove Claims

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Jan 20, 2008 9:07 pm

The Salem News wrote:Salem-News.com (Jan-16-2008 20:16)

Giuliani, McCain, Romney Offered $20,000 to Prove Medical Marijuana Claims

<span class=postbigbold>MPP Doubles Offer As Campaign Reaches First Medical Marijuana State -- Nevada</span>


(LAS VEGAS, Nevada) - Days before the first presidential caucuses in a medical marijuana state, the Marijuana Policy Project today doubled its offer to presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney to back up their statements opposing medical marijuana with scientific evidence.

<table class=posttable align=right width=350><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg src=bin/challenge_2008.jpg></td></tr></table>If any of the candidates can prove his statements are true, MPP will donate the legal maximum of $10,000 to his campaign ($5,000 for the primaries, $5,000 for the general election), plus an additional $10,000 donation to the candidate's favorite charity.

MPP's original offer of $10,000 for the campaigns was made December 6th in Manchester, New Hampshire.

"In responding to questions from patients who have benefited from medical marijuana, Giuliani, McCain and Romney have all made claims that are patently false," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C.

"When appeals to science, compassion and common sense didn't work, we offered $10,000 to the campaign that could back up the claim that medical marijuana isn't needed or is too dangerous. The fact that not one of these candidates has yet to offer any proof indicates they know they're lying. Patients in Nevada and the 11 other medical marijuana states deserve a real 'straight talk express,' not political flimflam."

"I'm living proof that marijuana works when conventional medicines fail," said David McDonough of Henderson, a registered medical marijuana patient who suffers from chronic pain that limits his ability to walk.

"Any candidate who's willing to use the guns and power of the federal government to raid and arrest me for using marijuana legally under state law and with my doctor's approval had better be able to explain why."

Any responses from the campaigns will be evaluated by an independent panel of medical experts. Full details of the challenge and relevant scientific data are posted at MedicalMarijuanaWorks.org.

In response to voters' questions at campaign events in New Hampshire and elsewhere, Giuliani, McCain and Romney have claimed that marijuana is either too dangerous for medical use or not needed because adequate substitutes exist -- claims that are contradicted by published scientific data. In letters sent this week to each of the three candidates, Kampia cited their specific statements and challenged them to supply proof. In his letter to McCain, Kampia wrote:<blockquote>"We are struck by the fact that you consider marijuana to be too 'damaging to one's health' for use even under medical supervision, considering that the Arizona Republic has reported that at least half of your family's wealth comes from an Anheuser-Busch beer distributorship. The CDC reports that excessive drinking was responsible for 75,000 U.S. deaths in 2001. Marijuana has never been proven to increase death rates or to have caused even one fatal overdose."</blockquote>Medical marijuana states loom large in upcoming presidential primaries and caucuses. Maine holds Republican caucuses on February 1st and 2nd, and four more medical marijuana states hold primaries or caucuses on "Tsunami Tuesday," February 5th -- Alaska, California, Colorado and Montana.

The Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

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Thompson wakes up in time to get serious

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:49 pm

Thompson wakes up in time to get serious about upcoming primary

<span class=postbigbold>'Sleeping bear' on the prowl for win in S.C.</span>

knoxnews.com
By Michael Collins (Contact)
Friday, January 18, 2008

knoxnews.com wrote:
...At the back of the room, Thompson supporter Jerry Wolf rose from his seat and assured the candidate, "South Carolina is yours for the asking."

On the other side of the room, a man who identified himself as an Air Force veteran told Thompson that he had been injured in the service and has been in pain for years. He urged Thompson to support the legalization of medical marijuana.

"Well, buddy, I'm sorry for your pain … but I can't support you on medical marijuana. It's a controlled substance," Thompson said, drawing a round of applause. The man got up and left in disgust.

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Fred's Final Days

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:07 pm

Reason Magazine wrote:
Fred's Final Days

<span class=postbigbold>Barring a miracle, South Carolina will bury the last libertarian-leaning candidate of '08</span>

Reason Magazine
John Tabin | January 18, 2008


COLUMBIA, SC—One by one, the great libertarian hopes of the 2008 presidential cycle have been dashed.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson was touted—some might say over-hyped—as an example of a Western "libertarian Democrat" for his friendliness to gun rights, for signing a medical marijuana law, and for a tax-cutting record that earned him a B on the Cato Institute's Fiscal Policy Report Card. He dropped out of the race after failing to break the six percent mark in Iowa or New Hampshire. At his final debate appearance in New Hampshire, the Clinton-Obama-Edwards triumvirate hardly seemed to notice him.

While few thought Congressman Ron Paul, the one-time Libertarian Party candidate and anti-war Republican, would be a viable contender for the presidency, lots of people thought that he might at least raise the profile of libertarian ideas. Now his history of associating with the uglier side of the paleolibertarian movement has come back to haunt him, and many once-sympathetic observers are wondering if his campaign might actually be bad for libertarianism.

That leaves former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson. For a while, during his endless flirtation with the GOP race, Thompson looked to some people like the Great Libertarian Hope. The Cato Institute's Michael Tanner praised Thompson last May for "a solid record as a fiscal conservative," adding that in the Senate he was "a consistent supporter of entitlement reform" and a reliable vote for free trade. "On federalism," Tanner wrote, "there may be no better candidate."

Indeed, Thompson is the only major candidate who talks about the importance of federalism, which has helped earn him endorsements from an impressive roster of libertarian-leaning law professors, including Volokh Conspiracy blogger-profs Eugene Volokh, Jonathan Adler, Todd Zywicki, and Orin Kerr.

On the stump, Thompson likes to say that "a government big enough and powerful enough to give you anything is big enough and powerful enough to take anything away from you." He waxes on about how the principles this country was founded on include "respect for a market economy, and what can be done in a free country with free people doing free things in healthy competition with one another and trading with their neighbors."

Alas, Thompson has hardly taken the race by storm. Glenn Reynolds wrote last month that he might have joined Volokh et al. in endorsing Thompson if he hadn't observed how poorly Thompson's campaign is run behind the scenes. That poorly run campaign has yielded poor results. Thompson's low-key affect and introverted personality made him ill-suited to the hands-on retail politicking that Iowans expect, and he edged out John McCain for third place in the Iowa caucuses by just three tenths of a percentage point despite spending much more time than McCain stumping in the Hawkeye State (McCain focused on New Hampshire, where he won). He made almost no effort in the New Hampshire and Michigan primaries, where he got less than 2 percent and less than 4 percent of the vote, respectively.

Now Thompson is putting all of his hopes on a strong finish in South Carolina. "We have to be very successful [here]," Thompson spokesman Jeff Sadosky told me Wednesday. "He would say he has drawn his line in the sand in South Carolina. We've been down here for the last couple of weeks while everybody else was up in Michigan. We're campaigning heavily throughout the state. It's his neck of the woods." Does he have to finish second or better? "I'm not going to get into that," says Sadosky. "We're working hard, we're going to be successful. I'll let the pundits figure out where we need to be."

Very well, then: Thompson needs to finish second or better in South Carolina, or his campaign is over. There are signs that he's gaining steam; polls show a small uptick in support for Thompson over the past week, coming at Mike Huckabee's expense. But it's not at all clear that it'll be enough. In Orangeburg on Wednesday, at 6:30 in the evening, Thompson attracted a good-sized crowd. At 12:45 the next day, Mike Huckabee attracted an even bigger crowd in Florence.

Huckabee's mixture of nanny-statism, populist economic rhetoric, and social conservatism makes him a libertarian's nightmare, and anything that trips him up is to be welcomed. But if Thompson really is dragging down Huckabee, the biggest beneficiary is McCain, who is either leading or tied with Huckabee in every poll this week. A libertarian journalist could fill a book with things that are troubling about John McCain, and reason editor Matt Welch has done so.

Perhaps something will change the dynamics of the race in the remaining hours before South Carolina Republicans go to the polls tomorrow, and Thompson will catch a break. But at the moment, his prospects don't appear to give fans of smaller government any reason to abandon the pessimism that has by now become all too familiar.

John Tabin is a writer and blogger for The American Spectator.

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Step up, Barack

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Jan 21, 2008 7:09 pm

The Pittsburg Tribune-Review wrote:
Step up, Barack


By Bill Steigerwald
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, January 20, 2008

Too bad young Barack Obama wasn't as deeply into the drug trade as the Clintons' smear artists would like America's Democrat voters to believe.

Too bad he hadn't been a serious teenage drug dealer on the mean middle-class streets of Honolulu, where he was raised by his grandparents and attended an elite high school.

Better yet, too bad Obama hadn't been arrested for selling pot or possessing cocaine as a teenager but had still grown up to be what he is today -- a political rock star just one Clinton away from becoming America's second black president.

If Obama had suffered serious legal pain for his youthful dalliance in illegal drugs -- as hundreds of thousands of Americans do every year -- he might not be the hardened drug warrior he is today.

Obama has gotten props for being the first electable presidential candidate to fess up to his youthful interest in illegal drugs without pretending he didn't enjoy the experience.

"When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently -- that was the point," Obama can be seen admitting on YouTube. More famously, in his 1995 bestseller "Dreams from My Father," he said he used marijuana and cocaine as a teen but never heroin.

Obama's candor is refreshing in the morally challenged land of big-time politics, where invertebrates, hypocrites and liars rule. But when it comes to the mindless prosecution of the war on (some) drugs, he's as spineless as the next politician.

Though he's way too smart, sophisticated and street-wise to be unaware of the arguments against drug prohibition, he's made nary a public peep about what the drug war has done to our liberties and wallets.

Nor has he railed about the decades of socioeconomic damage it's done to black communities. Nor about the young black males who've died in disproportionately high numbers in shootouts over drug turf.

No one expects Obama to wreck his White House chances by challenging the puritanical premises behind the drug war. But except for methamphetamine, which is ravaging many (white) communities in Illinois, Sen. Obama virtually ignores the issue of illegal drugs.

A search for the word "marijuana" on his official Web site, obama.senate.gov (which archives his Senate speeches), brings not one hit. Ditto for "cocaine." "Heroin" comes up three times -- in connection with Afghanistan and Burma.

Obama is not even in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. And he was the last potential president to promise he'd call off federal drug raids on medical marijuana clinics.

If his past is vetted by the media the way the Clintonistas are praying it will be, Obama's drug experiences may turn out to be not as innocent as he's portrayed. But for now it seems that -- like umpteen millions of his fellow law-breaking Americans -- he did his pot and coke and didn't get caught.

Too bad. If his life had been spoiled even a little by the evil drug war, he might have more sympathy for the 1.6 million Americans who get busted each year for nonviolent drug offenses.

Then, instead of merely being the most charismatic of three indistinguishable liberals competing to see who can use Big Government to "change" America the most, he could become a real American political hero -- by using his famed oratorical skills to end America's most senseless war.

Bill Steigerwald is the Tribune-Review's associate editor. He can be reached at bsteigerwald@tribweb.com or 412-320-7983.

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Step up Barack and oppose the drug war

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:42 pm

The Wilmington News-Journal wrote:1/23/2008 7:41:00 AM

Step up Barack and oppose the drug war

The Wilmington News-Journal
BILL STEIGERWALD
Cagle Cartoon columnist


Too bad young Barack Obama wasn’t as deeply into the drug trade as the Clintons’ smear artists would like America’s Democrat voters to believe.

Too bad he hadn’t been a serious teenage drug dealer on the mean middle-class streets of Honolulu, where he was raised by his grandparents and attended an elite high school.

Better yet, too bad Obama hadn’t been arrested for selling pot or possessing cocaine as a teenager but had still grown up to be what he is today — a political rock star just one Clinton away from becoming America’s second black president.

If Obama had suffered serious legal pain for his youthful dalliance in illegal drugs — as hundreds of thousands of Americans do every year — he might not be the hardened drug warrior he is today.

Obama has gotten props for being the first electable presidential candidate to fess up to his youthful interest in illegal drugs without pretending he didn’t enjoy the experience.

“When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently — that was the point,” Obama can be seen admitting on YouTube. More famously, in his 1995 bestseller “Dreams from My Father,” he said he used marijuana and cocaine as a teen but never heroin.

Obama’s candor is refreshing in the morally challenged land of big-time politics, where invertebrates, hypocrites and liars rule. But when it comes to the mindless prosecution of the war on (some) drugs, he’s as spineless as the next politician.

Though he’s way too smart, sophisticated and street-wise to be unaware of the arguments against drug prohibition, he’s made nary a public peep about what the drug war has done to our liberties and wallets.

Nor has he railed about the decades of socioeconomic damage it’s done to black communities. Nor about the young black males who’ve died in disproportionately high numbers in shootouts over drug turf.

No one expects Obama to wreck his White House chances by challenging the puritanical premises behind the drug war. But except for methamphetamine, which is ravaging many (white) communities in Illinois, Sen. Obama virtually ignores the issue of illegal drugs.

A search for the word “marijuana” on his official Web site, obama.senate.gov (which archives his Senate speeches), brings not one hit. Ditto for “cocaine.” “Heroin” comes up three times — in connection with Afghanistan and Burma.

Obama is not even in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. And he was the last potential president to promise he’d call off federal drug raids on medical marijuana clinics.

If his past is vetted by the media the way the Clintonistas are praying it will be, Obama’s drug experiences may turn out to be not as innocent as he’s portrayed. But for now it seems that — like umpteen millions of his fellow law-breaking Americans — he did his pot and coke and didn’t get caught.

Too bad. If his life had been spoiled even a little by the evil drug war, he might have more sympathy for the 1.6 million Americans who get busted each year for nonviolent drug offenses.

Then, instead of merely being the most charismatic of three indistinguishable liberals competing to see who can use Big Government to “change” America the most, he could become a real American political hero — by using his famed oratorical skills to end America’s most senseless war.

<small><span class=postbold>EDITOR’S NOTE</span> — Bill Steigerwald is a columnist at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. E-mail Bill at steigerwald@caglecartoons.com. </small>

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