Does Pot Lead to Suicide for Supreme Justices?

Does Pot Lead to Suicide for Supreme Justices?
Posted by CN Staff on October 07, 2005 at 07:14:49 PT
By Jacob Sullum 
Source: Reason Magazine
USA -- Last June the Supreme Court said regulating interstate commerce can involve seizing marijuana from patients who grow it for their own medical use, even when state law permits such cultivation. If so, it may not seem a stretch to claim that regulating interstate commerce can involve stopping doctors from writing barbiturate prescriptions for terminally ill patients who plan to take lethal overdoses, even when state law permits such prescriptions.
The Bush administration's attempt to nullify Oregon's Death With Dignity Act, the focus of a case in which the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Wednesday, ultimately depends on that claim. But given how broadly the Court has been reading the Commerce Clause lately, I'm hoping it can avoid the issue.The direct question posed by the case is whether the Justice Department is correct that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) prohibits doctors from prescribing drugs to help patients kill themselves "regardless of whether state law authorizes or permits such conduct." Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a directive to that effect in 2001, warning doctors they could lose their prescribing privileges if they assisted suicides.That interpretation was a reversal of the position taken by Ashcroft's predecessor. In 1997 Ashcroft, then a Republican senator from Missouri, unsuccessfully urged Janet Reno to declare physician-assisted suicide a violation of the CSA.Reno said the CSA was not "intended to displace the states as the primary regulators of the medical profession, or to override a state's determination as to what constitutes legitimate medical practice." She concluded that "the CSA does not authorize [the Drug Enforcement Administration] to prosecute, or to revoke DEA registration of, a physician who has assisted in a suicide in compliance with Oregon law." This clash between Reno and Ashcroft cast them in roles that contradicted their political reputations. As a "liberal," Reno should have been comfortable with an overbearing federal government that routinely overrides state policy choices. As a "conservative," Ashcroft should have been keen to maintain the distinction between local and national matters at the heart of our federal system and reluctant to flout the will of Oregon's voters, who approved the Death With Dignity Act in 1994 and again in 1997.It seems both Reno and Ashcroft bent their principles and the law to fit their personal policy preferences. This is the sort of result-oriented legal reasoning President Bush has promised his nominees to the Supreme Court will eschew.When it comes to Commerce Clause cases, that will be tough, because the Court's precedents invite unprincipled, ad hoc decisions. Consider the comparison I mentioned before: If a ban on medical marijuana is a legitimate part of a broader regulatory scheme involving interstate commerce, is the same necessarily true of a ban on physician-assisted suicide? On the one hand, doctors, unlike patients who grow their own marijuana, get paid for their services, making their prescriptions an economic activity that, in the aggregate, may have a "substantial effect" on interstate commerce. Furthermore, the drugs they prescribe, unlike homegrown marijuana, are apt to cross state lines before they're consumed.On the other hand, only a few dozen patients a year get prescriptions for suicide drugs in Oregon, compared to tens of thousands of medical marijuana users in California who, unlike the Oregonians, consume their drug regularly. Not only are the drug quantities much smaller in Oregon, but the distributors are tightly regulated, making illicit diversion even less likely.Depending on which factors he chooses to emphasize, a justice could vote to uphold a federal ban on medical marijuana but not a federal ban on physician-assisted suicide, or vice versa. He could vote to uphold both or neither.Because the rules are so malleable, a justice's analysis is apt to be influenced by his personal views regarding medical marijuana and physician-assisted suicide. Against this all-too-human tendency, a determination not to "legislate from the bench" is meager protection.Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and the author of Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use. Sullum's weekly column is distributed by Creators Syndicate. Note: Vague Commerce Clause precedents give free rein to personal preferences.Complete Title: Does Pot Lead to Suicide for Supreme Court Justices?Source: Reason Magazine (US)Author: Jacob SullumPublished: October 7, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Reason FoundationContact: letters reason.comWebsite: Related Articles:They're Dying in Oregon To Review Oregon's Right-To-Die Law
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Comment #35 posted by Toker00 on October 09, 2005 at 06:15:47 PT
That's kool. Can't wait for their response!Wage peace on war. END CANNABIS PROHIBITION NOW! 
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Comment #34 posted by Dankhank on October 08, 2005 at 20:24:56 PT
Old shows on History Channel
Just sent this to History-A&E channel ... :Re: Your drug shows ...They are dated 2000, and are 6-7 years old, considering pre-release shooting and editing time.About the time the Marijuana Show was first shown Peter McWilliams was choking to death on his own vomit because the local DA and the Federal Government threatened the loss of his mother's house if he was shown positive for Marijuana while waiting for his trial.Thus began a terrible, dark period in our history marked by ever renewed Federal Government fury against all things Cannabis, and especially Medical Cannabis users in California.The lates ploys of the Federal Government include an attempt to extradite a canadian Citizen, Mr. Mark Emery, for which crimes Canada has never tried him.Steve Tuck was just manhandled by Canadian police, handed over to American police in Washington State and incarcerated for the crime of helping sick Californians gain access to a state-approved medicine that works ... Cannabis.someone needs to check on him to see if he is OK. He is frail physically.Jonathon Magbie died in custody in Washington DC a year ago. His crime? Small quantity possession of Cannabis, and being a wheel-chair-bound quadraplegic apparently.Google any of those names and you will find much to consider. While you're at it, google "Drug War Victims."I would love to discuss this more. E me or call Thank You ...
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Comment #33 posted by FoM on October 08, 2005 at 11:15:43 PT
John Tyler 
What an experience you must have had. Wow! 
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Comment #32 posted by FoM on October 08, 2005 at 11:14:06 PT
Thanks: The History Channel
 Tune In:
Saturday, October 8   8pm ET/PT  
In a series investigating the history of drug use, we begin our trip tracing the rise of marijuana and synthetic amphetamines. Marijuana, from the Indian hemp plant, has been used worldwide as a source of rope, cloth, and paper; its medicinal qualities were first documented 4,000 years ago in China. But it's best known as the drug of choice of the 1960s. During WWII, US troops were given an estimated 200 million amphetamines to fight drowsiness and battle fatigue, and they're still used to fight depression.  TVPG cc
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Comment #31 posted by John Tyler on October 08, 2005 at 11:13:37 PT
Rolling Stones
I was at the Stones concert on Thursday night when they had the bomb hoax. The concert was delayed for an hour. The Stones came back out. They got back in the groove in about 5 seconds as if nothing had happened. They were great! The crowd was great. Cannabis smoke was in the air. It was aging hipsters bring their kids to see an event. They did a three song encore that lasted past midnight even as a light rain began to fall. It was a great concert. See them if you get a chance.
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Comment #30 posted by John Tyler on October 08, 2005 at 11:00:00 PT
History Channel tonight
Tonight, Sat. Oct 8 2005 at 8 pm EST on the History Channel there will be a show on cannabis, titled: "Marijuana Unhooked". Check it out or set your VCRs. These are usually pretty informative.
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Comment #29 posted by Dankhank on October 08, 2005 at 10:44:17 PT
History Channel
running the illegal drug shows again tonight ...starting about 8 or nine .....The dateline for the Cannabis show is 2000does anyone agree with me that it may be time to update these shows .....?On Steve ... I just read the riot act over the phone to a young man, sorry dude, soliciting money for the Democratic effort here in OK and nationally.Spelled Steve's name and told the man to Google him, read, and then call me back and tell me what will be done for Steve before I will send ANY money.I mentioned Peter McWilliams, too.No quarter!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Comment #28 posted by FoM on October 08, 2005 at 09:19:23 PT
One More Note About Steve
I emailed Steve about a week ago and asked him if he still needed medicine that if he stopped he would get sick. He answered me but missed my question so I knew he would have a hard time. I mentioned to Steve that maybe the VA would help him and he didn't understand that either. If anyone is a Veteran maybe contacting the VA would help in getting Steve into a VA hospital for drug dependency. 
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Comment #27 posted by FoM on October 08, 2005 at 09:11:16 PT
I posted about Steve on this thread. I feel really bad for Steve but I knew this would happen because of his dependency on pain meds. If he makes it thru withdrawal he will make it but he should have a doctor because of seizures and possibly dying during withdrawal. No one should not have medical attention during a time like this.
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Comment #26 posted by JoeCitizen on October 08, 2005 at 08:57:16 PT
Steve Tuck, who I think has posted here under the handle herbdoc215, is in a lot of trouble.  He has been extradited out of a Canadian hospital, and dumped in Whatcom Jail in Washington State. He is not being given cannabis, and even worse, they have discontinued the morphine he was being given in Canada, and he is in full blown withdrawal at this point.Dick Cowan has all the details on his page. We need to call, e-mail, and otherwise harass the Whatcom sherriff into treating Steve humanely.I'll admit, I haven't always agreed with Steve or his posts, but NO ONE deserves to be treated like this. We need to bring all of our attention to bear on this. Even the Nazis had the sense to clean things up and throw the prisoners a bone when the Red Cross came calling.Go read Dick Cowan's page, and then call or e-mail the Whatcom Jail.One thing I do know about Steve: He'd do it for you.JC
Steve Tuck crisis alert!
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Comment #25 posted by FoM on October 08, 2005 at 08:05:30 PT
Thanks Mayan
I watched the Fiore Cartoon. All I can say is I know why I don't like Republicans. White collar crime is A-OK but watched out if you want laws changed on a plant.
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Comment #24 posted by mayan on October 08, 2005 at 07:36:58 PT
The new Mark Fiore is great. Tom DeLay in a wife-beater! Hee-Hee!
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on October 08, 2005 at 07:25:39 PT
Thank you. I will check it out this weekend. I really like some of the Beatles music. They had a few years of great music in my opinion.
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Comment #22 posted by afterburner on October 08, 2005 at 06:25:29 PT
Off Topic: Fab 4 Day Weekend
Q107 devotes this weekend to playing all your favourite Beatles tunes in a lead up to Monday's Sir Paul McCartney concert in Toronto. Paul McCartney plays the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Monday.Is McCartney the cute one? Or the cautious one?
Globe and Mail, Canada - 7 hours ago
... much pride or ambition. Maybe that helps explain the ambivalence that many people feel about Paul McCartney. He has written many ... 
The Mighty Q
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Comment #21 posted by mayan on October 08, 2005 at 05:50:46 PT
Off Topic
State, federal statutes clash on medicinal uses of pot: want to use BC Hydro info to find grow-ops: working on new rules for pot clubs: Regulations could include waiting lists, distance regulations: WAY OUT...9/11 JAVA JACKASS: Christian Theologian Speaks Out: David Ray Griffin to speak in NYC! THE CORPORATE CONTROLLED PRESS AVOIDS TRUTH OF 9/11:
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on October 07, 2005 at 18:19:02 PT
I thought exactly the same thing about the Stones.
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Comment #19 posted by mayan on October 07, 2005 at 18:14:21 PT
I wonder if the Stones concert would have been threatened if they didn't have a song titled "Sweet Neo-Con" on their new album. It's strange how Toby Keith concerts don't get threatened. One would think the "terrorists" would go after those who support Bush. I believe we may be witnessing a coup as the Bushies have simply created too many enemies within the highest levels of the military and our intelligence agencies. DeLay,Frist and ROVE are all on the hot seat. Rove is the biggie as he is Bush's brains and is behind most of the criminal activity we have witnessed since Bush was appointed. This Neo-Con regime is imploding but they won't go down without trying to take us all down with them.And why is Mayor Bloomberg riding the subway? Wouldn't his handlers keep him away from there unless they knew the threats were fake? Wayne Madsen has been dead on as of late... Washington Insider: Subway Alert Is Fake Terror To Distract From Indictments: Coming Off White House As Bush-Cheney Indictments Pending: Police Evacuate Washington Monument: Examines Computers in Cheney's Office: the stage...Bin Laden planning another 9/11 on US: ex-CIA official: dead men plan no attacks...Osama bin Laden: A dead nemesis perpetuated by the US government everyone is ready for a long,cold winter. 
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Comment #18 posted by siege on October 07, 2005 at 15:28:47 PT
OT fuel additive
The better part of the fuel additive are added to the fuel after it go's in the 18 wheeler trailer it is in power form they have a bucket and Units of Measurement and pore it in, been there and done it. and when the truck move it mixes till it gets where it is going. and lead was an additive it was not in the gas when Refined they had to add it. they have an additive that drops your gas mailage by a 1/3 or more... and philip 66 uses the hell out of it here... and Conoco and 76 Brands are part of that group. so just see what your gas mailage is.
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Comment #17 posted by runderwo on October 07, 2005 at 15:20:37 PT
hey cq
What SCOTUS will be deciding is whether a law against physician assisted suicide is unconstitutional on its face. The authority justification for anti-suicide legislation at the federal level is that suicide pills themselves affect interstate commerce. The Raich decision supports that justification because it established that even non-interstate non-commerce can be regulated by the federal government, even if it affects no legitimate market at present.Of course, the Raich decision also means that, even if the regulatory power WOULD have been limited to those suicide pills crossing state lines, now it is no longer limited as such. So even if an Oregon manufacturer were to produce the pills the federal government could shut em down. That's ridiculous under any literal reading of the commerce clause!AFAIK, the commerce clause issue doesn't have anything to do with the use of the pills to end one's life. Just as the CSA does not control use, only possession.
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Comment #16 posted by charmed quark on October 07, 2005 at 14:29:53 PT
Reason Magazine missed it this time
I normally find Reason Magazine articles very well done. But this one focused on the interstate commerce clause, which will have nothing to do with the arguments. The Supreme Court will assume that the CSA is constitutional and will only focus on whether assisted suicide with controlled drugs is a misuse of controlled drugs as defined by the CSA.-CQ
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on October 07, 2005 at 14:14:53 PT
It's really sad where we are and where we are going.
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Comment #14 posted by MikeEEEEE on October 07, 2005 at 13:59:51 PT
Off-topic: Oil Company Welfare
House narrowly approves bill to help US refineries, By Chris Baltimore In a cliffhanger vote held open by Republican leaders until they won, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by two votes on Friday a bill clearing the way for U.S. oil refineries to expand.The legislation, written by Republican Joe Barton of Texas, barely won approval despite dropping a White House-backed provision that would have gutted clean air rules to help refineries and coal-powered utilities.In the first major House vote since Texan Tom DeLay was forced to step down as majority leader, Republicans won, 212-210, in a roll call that ran more than 40 minutes, far beyond the allotted five minutes.Democrats in the chamber chanted "shame, shame, shame" as the final tally was announced.When over two dozen Republicans initially voted no, DeLay, Barton, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and new Majority Leader Roy Blunt circled the chamber and cajoled the holdouts.The palm-sweating vote switched from "yes" to "no" several times, but Republican Rep. Mike Simpson (news, bio, voting record), the speaker pro tempore, did not gavel the vote closed until it swung in the Republicans' favor.Several Democrats protested that the vote was being held open. "I am informed that every member of Congress who is in town has voted," Democratic whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (news, bio, voting record) of Maryland said at one point, when the tally was 210 yes, 214 no.House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi also complained, saying the proceedings were bringing "dishonor to the House."The bill aims to add 2 million barrels per day of capacity by offering abandoned military bases for refinery construction sites.It also speeds up permits by giving the Energy Department more authority over the process, and offer federal insurance to refiners in case new projects are delayed.The bill was prompted by hurricanes Rita and Katrina, which plowed through the heart of the U.S. energy producing region and shut offshore drilling rigs and refineries.Its most controversial item would have deleted a portion of the Clean Air Act known as "new source review" that requires costly new equipment to cut emissions when refineries and coal-fired power plants are expanded.However, Barton was forced to drop that proposal from the bill late on Thursday because of opposition from Democrats and moderate Republicans. Although the plan to dismantle new source review was a White House priority, the administration released a statement saying it still supported the legislation."We look forward to working with Congress to improve the bill further as it moves forward in the legislative process," the White House said.No new U.S. refinery has been built since 1976 and dozens of plants have been closed despite rising fuel consumption."We haven't built a new refinery in a generation. We need more," said Rep. Fred Upton (news, bio, voting record), Michigan Republican.Democrats say refiners are loath to build new facilities amid record-high profits, while Republicans say permitting and environmental requirements keep them from expanding.Refiners are "making more money from refining less gasoline," said Rep. Rick Boucher (news, bio, voting record), Virginia Democrat. Rep. Edward Markey (news, bio, voting record), Massachusetts Democrat, said refiners have engaged in a "systematic conspiracy" to idle capacity, pointing to some 30 plants that were closed in recent years. Democrats were unsuccessful in pushing an alternate bill that would create spare refineries that the federal government could activate during gasoline shortages. The House Rules Committee blocked a bipartisan plan by Markey and Sherwood Boehlert of New York to require an 8-mile-per-gallon rise in vehicle mileage to curb gasoline demand. Consumer groups said the legislation would do little to help American households facing near-record fuel prices. "Its approach leaves the decision to increase refining capacity in the hands of an industry that has deliberately taken advantage of tight supplies in recent years," said Mark Cooper of the Consumer Federation of America. Other provisions in the bill include: * Expanding Northeast Heating Oil Reserve to 5 million barrels, from current 2 million barrels; * Limiting anti-pollution gasoline blends to six, from the current 17; * Requiring FTC to prepare a report on the price of gasoline and heating oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange; * Waives federal, state and local fuel additive requirements after a natural disaster that disrupts supplies; * Gives Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the power to monitor offshore gas gathering lines to prevent anti-competitive practices. 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on October 07, 2005 at 13:53:56 PT
I agree. Follow the money. 
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Comment #12 posted by MikeEEEEE on October 07, 2005 at 13:40:22 PT
Oil and Drugs
All you have to do is follow the money. This govt. love$ big oil and drug companie$. Drug companies are not about to give up their monopoly, whether it means barring cannabis for the sick or stopping assisted suicide. There's money to be made. Imagine the profits lost if the dieing weren't prolonged, the lost revenue from heart medicines, kidney medicines, etc.Just follow the money.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on October 07, 2005 at 13:35:09 PT
I really believe that we use words way to often to put a person or party in a ticky tacky box. I am conservative but I really believe in social issues more then a conservative would I think. See no one can truly be categorized.
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Comment #10 posted by kaptinemo on October 07, 2005 at 13:25:00 PT:
The labels have become just noise
'Liberal'. 'Conservative'. There's more difference between salt and pepper these days than between those two labels.I remember (I can't believe it was so many years ago!) Vice President (and one-time Presidential Candidate) Hubert Humphrey giving a speech in which he said he was proud to be called a 'liberal', because in his day it was the liberals who were for 40 hour work weeks, Social Security, etc.But the neoconservatives took the word 'liberal' and threw so much mud at it that the mud stuck, and only someone to the far left of Eugene Debs is supposed to be proud of the epithet. But neither side of the political spectrum can recall what the *original meaning* of 'liberal' was; it originally meant 'libertarian' with a lower case "l". As in maximum personal freedom possible without abridging that of your neighbor. And a government that knew it's place, which BTW, wasn't your bedroom or your wallet.Labels don't mean anything close to their original intent anymore. Black has become white, up is down, and 'liberals and 'conservatives' share the front and backs of the same thirty pieces of silver they got for pimping themselves and selling the rest of out.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on October 07, 2005 at 12:46:48 PT
Thank you. I really do mean what I said. I am so turned off by it all. The world changes and as it changes we are changing too. If we say I believe this way and would never believe any other way then we stop growing and we will be left behind. I believe in staying in tune to all that goes on around us and be ready to change if the situation arises rather then being stubborn and bullheaded and maybe miss the mark.
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Comment #8 posted by Dankhank on October 07, 2005 at 12:35:23 PT
Well put ...think it describes me pretty well, too ...I was registered as an Independent mostly, but changed to Demo to participate in the process where it most seemed amenable to reason.  Still demo for now ,,,In OK, if you register as Independent you are ineligable for ANY party votes. Nader didn't even get on the bill in 2000 ... all left were Libertarian and ... I forget.good observation of the conundrum many of us face ...
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on October 07, 2005 at 12:21:07 PT
What Am I?
I really mind labels. I am not a Libertarian or a Republican or a Democrat or a Green. I am none of them but I do believe each of those groups makes a few good point. As long as we group political beliefs as pro or con we won't get along and we will sit and spin. No person from any party is worth being devoted to or believed beyond a shadow of a doubt. I won't put anyone or any organization on a pedestal. That's against my personal beliefs.
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on October 07, 2005 at 12:12:28 PT:
Reno and Ashcroft: Two sides, one coin
The currency of statism. The same smiley-faced "Hi, I'm from the Gub'mint and here to help you!" while wearing a black jumpsuit, body armor, Fritz helm and drawing down on the sick and dying with an MP5 submachinegun. In the immortal words of The Who: "Meet the new Boss; he's the same as the old Boss." The only thing that's changed is the latest bunch are more aggressive, is all. Other than that, not a thing has changed. Not a bloody thing. 
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Comment #5 posted by kaptinemo on October 07, 2005 at 11:59:34 PT:
(Choke! Cough! Sputter!) WHAT?! Reno? Liberal?
The antis accuse us of suffering from brain rot from cannabis use; what excuse could this author possibly have?Let us not forget that this so-called "liberal", at the press conference she shared with with Donna Shalala(la-la-la) and "Billion dollars for Ineffective PR" McCaffery to sicc the Fed attack dogs on doctors who recommended cannabis in the spirit of Props 200 and 215.Let us also not forget that that it was the counterattack by brave physicians Conant and Company that pinned back the ears and kicked the rumps of those attack dogs as they tried to urinate on the First Amendment as if it were a handy fire hydrant. If Reno was a "liberal", I'm a d**ned Commie. Believe *that* one, and I'll happliy frogmarch you to the nearest looney bin and toss you in before you hurt somebody. "Liberal" my hirsute backside...
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 07, 2005 at 11:19:02 PT
Just a Comment
I hope everyone has a good and safe weekend. The news is slow but that's the way it's been for quite sometime. I also wanted to mention I hope everyone is doing alright in NYC with all the chaos happening right now. I read last night that The Rolling Stone's concert somewhere in Virgina was interrupted about 30 minutes into the concert. The Stones said they had to leave the stage and they evacuated the first 20 rows of people and had bomb sniffing dogs. What a mess our country is in now. I'm glad I live in the country.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 07, 2005 at 10:11:29 PT
News Article from The San Francisco Chronicle
Supervisors Working on New Rules for Pot Clubs ***Regulations could include waiting lists, distance regulations Charlie Goodyear, Chronicle Staff WriterFriday, October 7, 2005 A Board of Supervisors committee began Thursday the difficult work of hammering out a series of regulations governing medical marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco that protect patients' access to cannabis while curbing abuse of the clubs and their effect on residential neighborhoods. About 35 clubs are doing business in the city with more than 8,000 medical marijuana patients registered in San Francisco. Mayor Gavin Newsom and every member of the Board of Supervisors have expressed support for medical marijuana, which was established by state law in 1996. But exactly how the clubs should operate, where they should be located, what fees they should pay to the city and how much they can sell to individual patients are up for debate in the absence of any city law regulating the dispensaries. A moratorium barring the opening of any new club is set to expire Nov. 20. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi has been leading the effort to pass legislation that will clearly and effectively define how the clubs can operate. Earlier this week, Newsom said some provisions of the legislation to be considered by supervisors were not strong enough. One proposal pushed by the mayor would require pot clubs to be located 1,000 feet or more from schools, recreation centers and parks. The ordinances being considered by supervisors would allow a club to be run 500 feet from a school if marijuana is not smoked on the premises. Snipped:Complete Article: 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 07, 2005 at 09:25:53 PT
Thank you for the link. We also had a terrible drought here too. Hemp could save the day in so many respects.It's a rainy, cool day here and it makes me sleepy. It's great to see the fields growing again after this drought. I didn't get anything out of my garden to speak of. Our neighbor's cows decided to visit and they ate the corn and squashed everything else! LOL!
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on October 07, 2005 at 08:23:20 PT
Great opinion on hemp
by Stephen Young, (Source:DrugSense Weekly)
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