This Is Your Government on Drugs

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  This Is Your Government on Drugs

Posted by CN Staff on April 04, 2009 at 05:54:50 PT
By David Sirota, Creators Syndicate 
Source: AlterNet 

USA -- Finally, a little honesty.Now that America has frittered away billions of taxpayer dollars arming Latin American death squads, airdropping toxic herbicide on equatorial farmland and incarcerating more of its own citizens on nonviolent drug charges than any other industrialized nation, two political leaders last week tried to begin taming the most wildly out-of-control beast in the government zoo: federal narcotics policy.
It started with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stating an embarrassingly obvious truth that politicians almost never discuss. In a speech about rising violence in Mexico, she said, "Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade," and added that "we have co-responsibility" for the cartel-driven carnage plaguing our southern border.She's right, of course. For all the Rambo-ish talk about waging a "War on Drugs" that interdicts the supply of narcotics, we have not diminished demand -- specifically, demand for marijuana that cartels base their business on.According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Americans spend about $9 billion a year on Mexican pot.Add that to the roughly $36 billion worth of domestically produced weed, and cannabis has become one of the continent's biggest cash crops. As any mob movie illustrates, mixing such "insatiable" demand for a product with statutes outlawing said product guarantees the emergence of a violent black market -- in this case, one in which Mexican drug cartels reap 62 percent of their profits from U.S. marijuana sales.That last stat, provided by the White House drug czar, is the silver lining. Every American concerned about Mexico's security problems should be thankful that the cartels are so dependent on marijuana and not a genuinely hazardous substance like heroin.Why? Because that means through pot legalization, we can bring the marijuana trade out of the shadows and into the safety of the regulated economy, consequently eliminating the black market the cartels rely on. And here's the best part: We can do so without fearing any more negative consequences than we already tolerate in our keg-party culture.Though President Barack Obama childishly laughed at a question about legalization during his recent town hall meeting, his government implicitly admits that marijuana is safer than light beer. Indeed, as federal agencies acknowledge alcohol's key role in deadly illnesses and domestic violence, their latest anti-pot fearmongering is an ad campaign insisting -- I kid you not -- that marijuana is dangerous because it makes people zone out on their couches and diminishes video-gaming skills.(This is your government on drugs: Cirrhosis and angry tank-topped lushes beating their wives are more acceptable risks than stoners sitting in their basements ineptly playing Halo ... any questions?).Despite this idiocy, despite polls showing most Americans support some form of legalization, and despite such legalization promising to generate billions of dollars in tax revenue, Clinton only acknowledged the uncomfortable reality about demand. That’s certainly no small step, but she did not address drug-policy reform. Confronting that taboo subject was left to Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.Last week, this first-term lawmaker proposed creating a federal commission to examine potential changes to the prison system, including a relaxation of marijuana statutes.Webb hails from a conservative-leaning swing state whose criminal-justice laws are among the nation's most draconian, so there's about as much personal political upside for him in this fight as there is for Clinton -- that is to say, almost none. That isn't stopping him, though."The elephant in the bedroom in many discussions on the criminal justice system is the sharp increase in drug incarceration," he said in a speech, later telling the Huffington Post that pot legalization "should be on the table."Finally, a little honesty -- and now, maybe, some action.Copyright: 2009 Creators Syndicate, Inc.Note: Some politicians are starting to acknowledge the tragic absurdity of the war on drugs. But we have a long way to go.Source: AlterNet (US)Author: David Sirota, Creators SyndicatePublished: April 4, 2009Copyright: 2009 Independent Media InstituteContact: letters Website: Articles:New York's New State of Mind on Drugs Webb's Courage

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Comment #44 posted by FoM on April 08, 2009 at 10:01:35 PT
Fatal Attraction was a big renter for us. I like Glenn Close but I haven't seen her in anything since FA. I really don't watch movies. They want too much money for us to get any movie channels on DirecTV. When they are open we watch movies though.I never saw Black in anything but Easy Rider. When I think of her that is what comes to my mind.
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Comment #43 posted by Hope on April 08, 2009 at 09:51:53 PT
Who can look at him without thinking of
his most famous character? And if anyone can without despising the character... that's not a bad thing.Kumar is a fictional, but likable character and Penn played him well. It's a strange thing that actors have to deal with. Sort of like,"I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV." I've always been pleasantly surprised that Glenn Close overcame the perception of how extremely scary she was as the character she played in Fatal Attraction.Karen Black, for instance, was so dang scary in that TV thing called Trilogy... with the little killer voodoo doll or whatever it was, and the butcher knife scene... that people didn't really want to see her much after that because she was so dang scary.
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Comment #42 posted by FoM on April 08, 2009 at 09:28:13 PT
I wanted to say that I have practically no idea what is going on in movies or tv anymore. I watch Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow at night and to get a better perspective on news of the day with humor I watch The Daily Show. As far as Penn I didn't know he wasn't a marijuana enthusiast because I just assumed if you act in movies like those you are. I think he will be good for the Obama administration though since people like me thought he was seriously pro pot and I'm sure many people will type cast him that way. I really like it that Obama is not afraid to put someone with his reputation for pot movies in his administration. I can't imagine the last administration doing anything like that.
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Comment #41 posted by FoM on April 07, 2009 at 21:03:05 PT
I only saw House a few days ago for the first time. They had a couple shows in a row. He is one serious drug addict on the show. The shows were weird but interesting to watch. I don't know if they aired the show where Penn takes his own life yet since I am not up on the show. I watch MSNBC in the evening and that's when House is on.
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Comment #40 posted by Hope on April 07, 2009 at 20:47:18 PT
I really liked his character on House, too. I'm glad I missed it last night.
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Comment #39 posted by FoM on April 07, 2009 at 20:30:48 PT
He said eating the hamburgers made him feel lethargic. I bet it would since he is a vegetarian. I actually never saw any of the movies more then a little here and a little there. 
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Comment #38 posted by Hope on April 07, 2009 at 20:26:53 PT
Major marijuana enthusiast... or in pursuit
of a hamburger. He was only acting.He did a pretty good job, though. No doubt.
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Comment #37 posted by FoM on April 07, 2009 at 20:26:52 PT
I didn't know that. Well at least he is in movies about marijuana and he said I just read he doesn't have anything against marijuana. He said he is just a control freak.
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Comment #36 posted by Hope on April 07, 2009 at 20:20:37 PT
Tommy Chong, as we know,
is a serious marijuana enthusiasts.But Penn has always said he's never even tried it. He also is a vegetarian though in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, he was in pursuit of a hamburger.
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Comment #35 posted by FoM on April 07, 2009 at 18:32:19 PT
I have been thinking tonight about Tommy Chong and how it would have been if he was made drug czar after reading about Kal Penn getting an appointment in Obama's White House. He is a serious marijuana enthusiast. It is strange, funny and hopeful for me. Plus I just read it looks good for lifting the ban on Cuba. My older sister vacationed in Cuba way back when they could and she said it was the nicest vacation they ever had and they've been about everywhere. I wonder if we would be able to go and get medical treatment there like how the people got treated in Sicko?Excerpt: Penn, 31, will become associate director in the White House Office of Public Liaison, administration officials confirmed Tuesday. The Indian-American film star will be an emissary to the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities, along with arts and entertainment groups.Penn campaigned extensively throughout the country for President Obama last year and was a hit on college campuses.URL:
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Comment #34 posted by Hope on April 07, 2009 at 18:23:00 PT
Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
I haven't seen that one yet, but one night while I was visiting my son and his wife, and after we'd put his young children to bed, we watched Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. He had told me, "Mom, you've got to see this movie. It's hilarious." And it was. It was so funny.I'll load the Bush and Kumar clip. While I haven't seen the movie, I'm sure I've seen the clip somewhere ... not sure when, but it'll be fun to see it again.
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Comment #33 posted by FoM on April 07, 2009 at 17:03:53 PT
Yes, they just showed a scene on MSNBC of him smoking with Bush (not really Bush) in the Guantanamo movie. I haven't seen the movie but it was a funny clip.Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
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Comment #32 posted by Hope on April 07, 2009 at 16:52:18 PT
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Comment #31 posted by FoM on April 07, 2009 at 14:49:21 PT
More on Kal Penn From Rolling Stone Magazine
Kal Penn Quits “House” for the White House: Will “Harold and Kumar” Suffer?***April 7, 2009In a stunning bit of news, actor Kal Penn has accepted a full-time job at the White House where he will serve as a liaison between the government and arts groups. To pave way for the career transition his character on House committed suicide last night. This is good news for Penn and probably our country, but terrible news for fans of stoner comedy. What does this mean for Harold and Kumar 3? It supposedly had gotten the green light. What if Star Wars stopped after Empire Strikes Back because Mark Hamill went to work for Ronald Reagan?I supported Obama in every way possible, but I never imagined it would be at the cost of Harold and Kumar 3. If he ran on a platform of “Vote for me and I’ll crush any future sequels to Harold and Kumar” I would have voted for John McCain or a third term for George W. Bush, or the mummified remains of James Buchanan. This cannot stand. President Obama, for the sake of your country, grant Kal Penn a furlough to film the next Harold and Kumar movie.Andy GreeneCopyright: 2009 Rolling StoneURL:
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Comment #30 posted by FoM on April 07, 2009 at 14:38:33 PT
Afterburner This Ones For You
We’re the Generation ***How reggae and Rasta are relevant to the economy and emerging values. By Galia MyronApril 7, 2009 Reggae legend Bob Marley would have turned 64 this past winter, Soul Rebel: An Intimate Portrait of Bob Marley in Jamaica and Beyond featuring work by award-winning photojournalist David Burnett has just been published, and director Jonathan Demme is currently at work on a Marley documentary slated for release on the singer’s 65th birthday. Years after his passing, his image still appears on t-shirts and countless bedroom walls, and new books on the icon seem to emerge regularly.Is the new consciousness of green living, increased vegetarianism and veganism, and shun of materialism inviting an emergence of reggae and Rastafari values into mainstream living? “It would make perfect sense,” says reggae expert Roger Steffens -- “What Bob Marley said would affect us in the future, does. Now we look back and see the artists who were truly important, and he is one of them. Bob is among a handful of those who are immortal.”Why does Marley connect with every new generation of young people? Steffens, author of The Reggae Scrapbook ( notes that like Che Guevara, Marley is a ubiquitous image of rebellion. “But Bob never killed anybody, so he is much more deserving of respect,” he notes.The well-known shot of Marley smoking a spliff, so commonplace in frat houses and dorm rooms everywhere, is a key image for Generation Y. “Bob is also a hero to young people because of his embrace of marijuana,” Steffens adds. “But you have to understand his relationship to it; you have to know more about his private opinion of it.” Steffens, who spent time with Marley, says that they discussed the role of marijuana, or herb, and the Rasta way of life. “Bob said, ‘Herb is for education,” Steffens says, recalling that once Marley even chastised an acquaintance who constantly partook, “You don’t have to smoke herb all the time.” 
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Comment #29 posted by FoM on April 07, 2009 at 14:25:26 PT
OT: Kal Penn
I thought he really committed suicide but he didn't.Actor Kal Penn's Surprise Suicide on 'House' Opens Way To Job with Obama White House***Excerpt: Penn gained fame as the co-star of the raucous and profane "Harold and Kumar" stoner comedies that have become a cult favorite with fans worldwide. The first installment, "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle," followed the misadventures of two New Jersey guys with a pot-stoked craving for their favorite burgers.He famously smoked weed with a fictional President Bush in the sequel, "Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay,"URL:
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Comment #28 posted by Hope on April 07, 2009 at 10:24:48 PT
Bad News
He was talking about "Possession". said, "I asked reporter Ginger Thompson whether Holder had been talking about distributing or importing rather than possession.Her reply:  Thanks very much for your query.
  Mr. Holder said he thought that too few marijuana possession cases were prosecuted by the federal government, and that he was exploring lowering the minimums to prosecute more."
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Comment #27 posted by FoM on April 07, 2009 at 06:30:39 PT
OverwhelmSam Comment #4
Monday, April 06, 2009Someone -- The New York Times? -- confuses possession with importation, distribution, or possession with intent to distribute.The New York Times reported on Friday (for Saturday publication) on an interview with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, before his meeting with his counterpart in Mexico.URL:
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Comment #26 posted by afterburner on April 05, 2009 at 23:16:19 PT
To paraphrase 
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should have said that... Our insatiable demand for alcohol fuels domestic violence, alcoholism and highway carnage. We should increase penalties for imbibers who are supporting these vile events. Oh, yeah! We already tried that and it -did- -not- -work-!!! I am disgusted with governments giving the alcohol industry a free pass while profiting from the tax blood money.
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Comment #25 posted by kaptinemo on April 05, 2009 at 13:22:57 PT:
Obvious correction needed
They just can't seem to get it. Or, perhaps, they don't want to. Drug prohibition is the cause of the problem, but like a bunch of 'developmentally challenged' children, just can't seem to figure out that 2 + 2 = 4.What I get for being too fast.
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Comment #24 posted by kaptinemo on April 05, 2009 at 13:05:04 PT:
2 + 2 is, uh, er, um 3.9999999999
They just can't seem to get it. Or, perhaps, they don't want to. Drug prohibition is the cause of the problem, but like a bunch of 'developmentally challenged' children, just can't seem to figure out that 2 = 2 = 4.I keep being reminded of Galileo and his problems with the Bishops of the Roman Church. Ol' Gal offered the bishops a peek through his telescope; they wouldn't look. The Bishops said all they needed to know was in the Bible...and they were all set to burn him at the stake. Being best buddies with The Pope is what saved him.The drug prohibs are like that. They won't 'look through the telescope'; they know that all they need to do is throw more money and more lives at the problem, just like they've been doing, and that will be enough. Uh-huh, it's just a matter of willpower, is all. They can outlast the narcos and use superior force to bring them to heel. After all, they say, the eruption of horrific violence between the cartels is 'proof' the prohibs are winning.Having been an observer of this government's rhetorical practices these past 30-some years, I've learned to filter out the signal from the noise. The noise is obvious (we're winninggggggggg!), but the signal is that the Gub'mint has no idea about how to do anything but what it's been doing all along...and that is to fail, and fail miserably, just like it did in Colombia.I did a little search using CNEWS's own in-house engine for "Plan Colombia 1999' as the parameters, set to 320 articles, and let it rip. Here's the results: to the bottom and read how people here, 10 years ago, predicted its' failure. You don't need a crystal ball to see that this 'Plan Mexi- uh, er, 'The Merida Initiative' will suffer the same fate...and at a time when every dollar spent outside the US for this nonsense is one that doesn't go to an unemployed US worker's soon-to-be homeless-and-hungry family. Who are going to become very angry, very soon, and will want to know why.
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on April 05, 2009 at 10:01:05 PT
A Conversation With Terry Goddard
A Conversation With Terry Goddard, Attorney General of ArizonaApril 5, 2009Excerpt: Most Americans think that drug smugglers make their big profits off cocaine, but you say otherwise.Marijuana is the horse. Marijuana is the profit center for the cartels. We think approximately 65 percent of the total revenue that the cartels get from drug smuggling is based on marijuana. You could say indirectly that much of the carnage in Mexico is financed because of profits from marijuana.URL:
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on April 05, 2009 at 08:18:14 PT
US Aid Delays in Drug War Criticized
April 4, 2009URL:
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Comment #21 posted by kaptinemo on April 05, 2009 at 06:21:38 PT:
OT: The "Cannabis-Kills-Cancer" meme
being explored on a blog I visit fairly regularly...and tweak the noses of those who think the subject is beneath them.Is THC a Cure for Cancer?
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on April 04, 2009 at 20:54:51 PT
Your welcome. Tomorrow is a brand new day. We get radio channels on the satellite and it is nice to tune out now and then. 
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Comment #19 posted by rchandar on April 04, 2009 at 20:45:01 PT:
Didn't they outlaw music, by now? All people seem to listen to is that techno, late gangsta-rap or "pop" country garbage that sells records on the Billboard. No one cares about good music, it's practically illegal as far as I can see.Yes, as you can see, it wasn't a good day. There's always tomorrow. And thanks, thanks for writing me back.--rchandar
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on April 04, 2009 at 20:29:03 PT
It sounds like you had a bad day. Our days was cleaning the chimney and woodstove and listening to music all day. The news is boring particularly on the weekend and music makes us both feel better. Made some cookies tonight too. I hope tomorrow is better for you.
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Comment #17 posted by rchandar on April 04, 2009 at 20:07:47 PT:
....gosh, what a happy day today was. Kidding, of course......I don't keep mementos of "a day in the life" of prohibition. Been lied to, about a hundred times today? See your best buddy hauled off to jail over a joint? Listen to speaker after speaker on television rehearse and religiously avoid the ethical breach of convicting people of the dangerous crime of having some plant matter in your pocket? Watch dozens of TV shows proclaiming conspiracy after conspiracy, which we accept simply because we're too lazy to think any other way? Listen to another corrupt, prostitute-chasing, cholesterol-loaded oldie on TV preach, and preach, and......well, I HOPE your day wasn't as tedious and nonsensical as mine!--rchandar
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on April 04, 2009 at 18:03:53 PT
The GCW 
You're welcome. I liked it too. 
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Comment #15 posted by The GCW on April 04, 2009 at 17:45:25 PT
Thanks for the Santana clip.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on April 04, 2009 at 14:19:38 PT
That article is a satire and really isn't something we should have to read unless we want to read it. Here's the link for those who want to read it.URL:
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on April 04, 2009 at 13:10:49 PT

Not Afraid Anymore
What it has boiled down for me after following Obama's campaign for 2 years very closely he has taught many of us it's ok not to march to the beat of those who have been controlling us. Speak out and say how you feel about issues. Change does come from the bottom up. I believe yelling, hating, and cursing Obama will just show the world what you are made of but be kind, be strong, be determined and march on. He is the most liked President in my life time without a doubt. He has connected with so many people. I love the change that is coming in our country. It was only a dream for me before.
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Comment #11 posted by kaptinemo on April 04, 2009 at 12:48:28 PT:

The Djinn won't fit back in the bottle, anymore
Djinn as in the more popular pronunciation of 'genie'.Sorry, Mr. Holder, but the cat's out of the bag now, thanks to the media. The media is rapidly turning against the DrugWar, as witnessed by the plethora of articles favorably regarding cannabis law reform, and questioning drug prohibition in light of how incredibly expensive it is in these very tight times. Arguing for even greater penalties will prove to be a no-brainer, politically. The only people it might appease politically already view Mr. Obama with very grave suspicion. He'll find very few allies in that camp...and make even more political opponents in his own.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on April 04, 2009 at 09:53:01 PT

Is Latin America Tiring of U.S. Drug Policy? 
April 1, 2009Excerpt: Meanwhile, there is a growing sentiment in the Americas that the U.S. drug prohibition is a failed policy. Barack Obama promised during his campaign, and was later echoed by Attorney General Eric Holder, that the administration would not use federal resources to prosecute individuals possessing marijuana within their state’s laws. Some allow for medical use while others simply fine possession of small amounts. URL:
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on April 04, 2009 at 09:28:11 PT

One More Comment
I can't find a quote by Holder. I keep searching on Google but it appears at this point it was the writer of the NYT article that said he said that. I want to find an absolute quote by Eric Holder. If anyone finds it please post it. He said he will stop prosecutions of pot shops if they aren't in violation of Federal or State law. I know many shops will go down that aren't following state law but if they are running by the rules of Prop 215 they should be ok. Ramping up federal marijuana laws would be the exact opposite of what he said about pot shops. Something isn't right about this. Hopefully he will be interviewed and we will hear his words not a reporters.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on April 04, 2009 at 07:46:11 PT

Blue States Could Turn Red
California, Washington State and Oregon are the bluest of blue states. If Holder can get Federal penalties increased for marijuana possession those 3 states will turn to Red states at the next election. 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on April 04, 2009 at 07:32:49 PT

This Could Be Good
It seems Eric Holder fires his ideas off before he even realizes what he is saying. His statement might very well force President Obama to make a strong stand one way or the other and then we will know for sure.We can't have temper tantrums dictating marijuana policy in this day and age.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on April 04, 2009 at 06:56:25 PT

I hope when Obama gets back to the States he will correct Holder for that statement. 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on April 04, 2009 at 06:52:27 PT

Well bummer. If they do that it will be all over and it will be time to find other good causes to get involved in.People will go back into hiding like how it has been for way to many years.
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Comment #4 posted by OverwhelmSam on April 04, 2009 at 06:30:51 PT

In Case You Missed It
Hide your pot:AG Holder to Seek More Federal Marijuana Possession Prosecutions
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 04, 2009 at 06:17:32 PT

Thank You Carlos Santana
Oye Como Va - Carlos SantanaURL:
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 04, 2009 at 06:10:01 PT

Santana: 'Mr President, Please Legalise Pot'
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 04, 2009 at 05:56:24 PT

News Article From
New York Lightens Up on Some of the Harshest Drug Laws in the CountryApril 3, 2009URL:
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