The War Against The 'War on Drugs'
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The War Against The 'War on Drugs'
Posted by CN Staff on June 20, 2009 at 05:01:38 PT
By Sasha Abramsky
Source: The Nation
Calif. -- As California goes, so goes the nation.If that old adage still holds true, then the nation may soon see a gradual backpedaling from the criminal justice policies that have led to wholesale incarceration in recent decades. For the most populous state in the union is on the verge of insolvency--partly because it didn't set aside a rainy-day fund during the boom years; partly because its voters recently rejected a series of initiatives that would have allowed a combination of tax increases, spending cuts and borrowing to help stabilize the state's finances during the downturn; partly because it has spent the past quarter-century funneling tens of billions of dollars into an out-of-control correctional system. Now, as California's politicians contemplate emergency cuts to deal with a $24 billion hole in the state budget, old certainties are crumbling.
The state with the toughest three-strikes law in the land and a prison population of more than 150,000 is facing the real possibility of having to release tens of thousands of inmates early in order to pare its $10 billion annual correctional budget. At the same time, an increasing number of the state's political figures are challenging the basic tenets of the "war on drugs," the culprit most responsible for the spike in prison populations over the past thirty years; they argue that the country's harsh drug policies are not financially viable and no longer command majority support among the voting public.Similar stories are unfolding around the country; in Washington, federal officials are talking about drug-policy reform and, more generally, sentencing reform in a way that has not been heard in the halls of power for more than a generation.For old-time politicians, who have spent the past three-plus decades navigating the country's roiling tough-on-crime waters, the changes are almost unfathomable. Onetime California governor and current gubernatorial hopeful Jerry Brown, for example, has spent decades trying to erase the public's memory of his liberal tenure in the 1970s, when California's prison population shrank to well below 30,000. As a part of that remodeling, he has assiduously courted the California Correctional Peace Officers' Association, the trade union representing the state's prison guards. Now, with his war chest flush with CCPOA funds, Brown won't do anything to challenge tough-on-crime orthodoxies.Yet many newer political faces view the current moment as something of an opportunity. For Betty Yee, chair of California's Board of Equalization--the office responsible for collecting sales tax in the Golden State--the changes, especially around drug-law enforcement, can't come soon enough.Sitting at her conference table high up in one of downtown Sacramento's few sky-rises, Yee has marijuana on her mind. Specifically, she has become an outspoken advocate for legalizing pot for residents older than 21. Her friend Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a former San Francisco city councilman, is pushing just such a bill in the State Legislature. Yee wants to levy fees on business owners applying for marijuana licenses, impose an excise tax on sellers and charge buyers a sales tax. Do it properly, and the state could reap about $1.3 billion a year, she has estimated. "Marijuana is so easily available. Why not regulate it like alcohol and tobacco?" she says, and gain additional tax revenue into the bargain?Not so many years back, any public figure who dared to advocate such reforms would have been shunned by much of the establishment. It's a measure of how much things have changed that Yee and Ammiano's proposal is being taken seriously across the board. In fact, shortly after I met with Yee, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger--whose office declined my request for an interview for this article--announced that the state should at least consider the merits of pot legalization. He wasn't advocating it, he was careful to stress, but he did think the time was ripe to debate the issue."The budget is so bad now, the populism of the issue is beginning to work here in the Legislature," Ammiano says as he paces back and forth in his office, toward the bookshelves with the four martini glasses and Golden Gate Bridge bookends and then away again. On the wall near the receptionist's desk hangs a huge poster from the movie Milk. "Everyone thinks it's Cheech and Chong," he says with a laugh, describing the marijuana legalization bill. "But there's a lot of policy wonks" supporting it. "There's very conservative support from the oddest sources and locations." The GOP chair in the state, as well as Tom Campbell, a Republican gubernatorial hopeful, have indicated their support for his bill, Ammiano declares. "When it starts to cost more money than it's worth even in the eyes of the pooh-bahs, then you can accomplish something."Over the past three decades, California has tripled the number of prisons it operates, has more than quintupled its prison population and has gone from spending $5 on higher education for every dollar it spent on corrections to a virtual dead-heat in spending. That puts it in the same boat as Michigan, Vermont, Oregon, Connecticut and Delaware--all of which, according to estimates by the Pew Charitable Trust, spend as much or more on prisons than on colleges. California is also under federal court order to implement costly improvements in the delivery of medical and mental healthcare services in prisons and to release close to a third of the prison population--about 55,000 inmates--to improve conditions for those remaining behind bars.Schwarzenegger adamantly opposed that ruling by a three-judge panel. Now, though, in the face of fiscal calamity, he is proposing cutting the prison population by tens of thousands. Of course, he is doing that not out of concern for inmates' well-being, or out of a sense that many sentences are disproportionate to the crime, but simply because the state can no longer pay its bills. Schwarzenegger believes he can save several hundred million dollars by releasing some categories of inmates, in particular nonviolent offenders who are in the country illegally and stand to be deported upon early release.To save money, he's also talking about firing hard-working guards (a far better, but costlier, option would be to scale back the prison system and to retrain surplus guards to work in other venues), and he's asking for close to $1 billion in cuts to vital prison drug-treatment, education and job-training services. At the same time, since this is all about shaving dollars off budgets rather than intelligent criminal justice system reform, there's no talk of investing in crucial re-entry infrastructure.In short, it looks like California will go about a necessary scaling back of the correctional system exactly the wrong way. But however grudgingly state officials are approaching the issue, at least they recognize that the magnitude of prison spending is a problem. Down the road, when Californians start thinking beyond the crisis moment, that new understanding will shape policy responses for years to come. It will both feed off and help create a new national sentiment that being "tough on crime" isn't necessarily being smart on crime.Tough-on-crime rhetoric, and the policies and institutions that grow from it, emerged from Nixon's Silent Majority tactics, from his recasting of politics as a series of debates around "values" rather than bread-and-butter issues. And in the same way the 2008 presidential election ended that peculiar chapter in American history, so too did it end the monotone cry that we could incarcerate our way out of deep-rooted social and economic problems. Despite a few halfhearted GOP attempts to accuse Democrats of being weak on drugs and public safety--Obama had, after all, written about his drug use during his teenage and early adult years, which, according to the old calculus, should have made him an easy target for scaremongers--neither presidential candidate played the tough-on-crime card. It was a nonissue for most voters and thus for the candidates. In fact, recent Zogby polling commissioned by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency suggests that close to eight in ten Americans favor alternatives to incarceration for low-level nonviolent offenders. Another Zogby poll, from last fall, found that just more than three-quarters of Americans felt the "war on drugs" was a failure. The sea change in public opinion holds in California too. In late March the Los Angeles Times ran a column asking readers their opinion on marijuana legalization. So far 4,927 people have replied, and 94 percent of them favor legalization. A Field Poll in April found that 56 percent of Californians favor legalizing and taxing pot.The new atmosphere is most apparent vis-ŕ-vis the Obama administration's move away from "war on drugs" rhetoric and toward a harm-reduction strategy. Gil Kerlikowske, the new head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, has made it clear that he prefers treatment over punishment for drug users, a preference he brings from his time as a reform-oriented police chief in Seattle. Putting money where its mouth is, the new team has increased funding for the Bush-era Second Chance Act, intended to connect released inmates with community services such as housing, family counseling and addiction treatment. Support is also growing for the creation of more drug and mental health courts across the country. Finally, there are the promises being made by drug policy leaders in Washington that state medical marijuana laws will be respected rather than trampled, as they have been for more than a decade.A related issue involves the infamous discrepancy in sentences for crack- versus powder-cocaine crimes. Vice President Biden was one of the architects of these laws--which is why his repudiation of them in recent years has been so significant. The day after Obama's inauguration, the president's website mentioned the importance of eliminating these discrepancies--as well as of promoting needle-exchange programs and expanding the nation's embryonic network of drug courts. The House recently held hearings on the sentencing discrepancy issue.For Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, deputy state director of the Drug Policy Alliance in Southern California, sacrosanct legislative underpinnings of the "war on drugs" are starting to look like the Berlin Wall, "up one day and down the next"--seemingly impregnable; in reality, utterly fragile. Over the past few years, an increasing number of localities have dabbled in ways to simply walk away from the "war on drugs." Initiatives in several states and cities, including Denver; Missoula, Montana; Albany County, Oregon; and Seattle have mandated that law enforcement agencies deprioritize marijuana arrests. Several cities have begun needle-exchange programs. And states like California have passed citizens' initiatives mandating that first-time drug offenders be channeled into treatment programs in lieu of prisons.Then there's Virginia Senator Jim Webb's legislation creating a blue-ribbon commission on criminal justice reform, with a mandate to put all questions on the table during its eighteen-month tenure--from drug law reform to the restoration of judicial discretion in sentencing, from parole reforms to different approaches to gangs, border patrol, prison architecture and the like. Webb has been pushing for systemic criminal justice reform for years; in 2009, he believes, it will acquire legs. During a telephone interview for this article, Webb said that President Obama "has personally called me on this, and he's very supportive of the idea of moving forward." Across the aisle many Republican senators, including senior figures like Lindsey Graham, have also expressed support for the idea.The bipartisan backing for Webb's commission is partly a response to the escalating drug-and-gang crisis south of the border. There's a growing recognition in US policy and law enforcement circles that government dysfunction, phenomenal levels of street violence and the rising power of drug cartels are threatening to move from being a Latin American problem to one that destroys the integrity of the Mexican state and risks spilling over more heavily into the American Southwest. Nobody, no matter their political stripe, wants the Tijuana-ization or Juárez-ization of Phoenix or Los Angeles, of San Diego or El Paso."It really is a serious problem in this country," Webb argues. "The transnational gangs or syndicates are bringing a tremendous amount of drugs into this country."To get a handle on that problem involves thinking of ways to neutralize these gangs, which inevitably leads to a discussion of partial drug decriminalization or legalization. Why? Because once the drug market is no longer confined to the shadows--once it is regulated and taxed, as alcohol was after Prohibition ended in 1933--the violence that accompanies struggles for control of that illicit market will disappear. After years of denying this truth and assuming that the country could incarcerate its way out of the drug-abuse epidemic, a number of American politicians, Webb included, are touting that seemingly paradoxical fact. Want to get really tough on crime? Well, do the smart thing: start working out ways to neutralize the drug cartels, start talking about at least limited forms of decriminalization or legalization.It is, Webb argues, "a fair issue for this commission. Every piece of it should be fair game."For an administration like Obama's that prides itself on thinking outside the box, systemic drug policy reform is an intriguing prospect. An increasing number of law enforcement people and judges have also decided that this is an idea worth running with."I've never seen so much interest," says retired Orange County superior court judge James Gray, who has been advocating marijuana legalization since the early 1990s. "My phone is ringing much more than it ever has before.""We need to ask, Is there a more sensible approach?" argues Norm Stamper, who, like Kerlikowske, is a former chief of police of Seattle who believes the criminal justice system is broken. "And the answer is prevention and education and treatment."After decades of being on the defensive, progressive criminal justice reformers suddenly have a receptive audience. New York, which has closed some of its prisons in the past decade, has spent the last few years unraveling the tangled web created by the 1970s-era Rockefeller drug laws. Michigan, Louisiana and several other states have also scaled back their harshest mandatory drug sentences. The State of Washington is looking at how to redefine low-end drug and property crimes as misdemeanors rather than felonies. And in Michigan, which allows a $100 theft to trigger a four-year prison sentence, legislators are pushing to make the threshold $1,000 instead, so as to reduce the number of low-end offenders pushed into long-term incarceration and hobbled for life by felony convictions.Meanwhile, correctional system administrators in Georgia, Illinois and Arkansas have started the long, hard task of reforming their systems from within even without a new consensus emerging on the issue.Howard Wooldridge, a retired police detective from Bath, Michigan, who advocates in DC for criminal justice system reform, says the moment is ripe for change. "I've been doing this for twelve years, and this is by far the most perfect storm."America isn't about to abandon all of its "tough on crime" tenets. Nor should it in all instances. The three-strikes law will likely remain in place for violent offenders, as will the growing body of laws limiting where sex offenders may live. Violent crimes will probably continue to trigger longer sentences than they did before the get-tough movement. And while some inmates will qualify for early release, many sentenced to long terms at the height of the tough-on-crime years will stay in prison. But out of economic necessity and because of shifting mores, the country will likely get more selective, and smarter, about how it uses incarceration and whom it targets for long spells behind bars.This will be especially true for drug policy--the multi-tentacled beast that's sucking most people into jails and prisons. There, profound changes are likely to develop over the next few years. And when it comes to the mentally ill, momentum continues to build around mental health courts designed to get people medical and counseling help rather than simply to shunt them off to prison. States like Pennsylvania are starting to develop parallel institutions to deal with mentally ill people who run afoul of the law. Many other states will likely follow suit in the near future. Forty years after deinstitutionalization, a new consensus is emerging that prisons became an accidental, de facto alternative to mental hospitals, and that very little good has come from that development."I believe that we have a compelling national interest," explains Senator Webb, referring to systemic criminal justice reform. "That's a term that is carefully chosen. This is a national commission, but it should not be limited to looking at the federal prison system. You have to look at the whole picture and then boil it down into resolvable issues."Note: This article appeared in the July 6, 2009 edition of The Nation.Source: Nation, The (US)Author: Sasha AbramskyPublished: June 17, 2009Copyright: 2009 The NationWebsite: Justice Archives
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Comment #33 posted by FoM on June 23, 2009 at 04:43:32 PT
John Tyler 
I did see David Crosby and he was so young as they all were. I love folk rock music from Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, CSNY etc. I can think of other groups too that touched many people's hearts when they first heard their music. We even have the children of folk rock musicians making good heartfelt music now. A new day is dawning and it's such a good thing.I can remember a good song easier then just about anything. 
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Comment #32 posted by John Tyler on June 22, 2009 at 21:07:22 PT
Byrds link
Thanks for the Byrds link. I was into folk music, then folk-rock, so I was a big Byrds fan. Did you notice David Crosby on the left, wearing the cape? They all looked so young. Their music still seems fresh and relevant.
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Comment #31 posted by FoM on June 22, 2009 at 05:14:15 PT
I'm glad you had a nice Father's Day and thank you so much for the Cat Steven's song. Yusuf's new CD is one of my favorites now. Here's is a song you might enjoy from Roadsinger since you mentioned roses.All Kinds of Rose***Here are all the songs on his new CD.
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Comment #30 posted by afterburner on June 21, 2009 at 22:33:56 PT
Happy Fathers Day
A red rose for fathers still on this big blue marble. A white rose in memory of fathers (or children of fathers) who have departed this mortal coil on their spiritual journey.I had to work all of fathers day, but before I went to work, I got a fathers day call from my daughter. She gave me the virtual "red rose" of thanking me for being her dad.We also created a virtual "white rose" together by remembering my dad and his powerful creative mind.YouTube - Cat Stevens - Where Do The Children Play (live).
3 min 16 sec - 24 Sep 2006 - 
Earth Tour, 1976. Cat Stevens plays Where Do The Children Play
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Comment #29 posted by Hope on June 21, 2009 at 10:59:14 PT
Happy Father's Day, Museman 
and all you other C-News Dads.I posted a wish for a Happy Father's Day to C-News Dads on another thread... but I had to make the same comment here to Museman... a Dad I admire very much. Way to go Museman!This wish is for step dads, grandfathers, uncles, and big brothers, too. Any man that has taken the time to nurture and help the life of a young person get's a heart felt, vigorous high five from me on Father's Day.
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Comment #28 posted by George Servantes on June 21, 2009 at 10:28:32 PT
Yes, you are right. They didn't prove it, yet they are enacting the law. We need smart independent scientists as politicians, not some dumb with greed corrupted beings.I just dislike smoke, I know it's not good for me.Yea, you are right they gotta prove it first.
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Comment #27 posted by museman on June 21, 2009 at 10:02:23 PT
as a Dad
I'd like to offer this fruit, and as an appropriate thought on Fathers Day, about Indigo Children, and their generation of new hope that is growing amongst them while the mainstream maintains the slim and trim denial of the status quo.Where my generation stopped, or faltered, whatever words work, this one is well on its way to a new day.This is a myspace page, it's the 3rd song I'm pointing at, called "Children" I hope you can understand the words.The other music is excellent as well, but Children is a mighty song.This son, who wrote the song, has surprised me beyond any expectations I have had. He and I have had a rough father/son relationship, as many fathers and sons, we have had some turbulence, and I watched him skate on thin ice more than once, with me thinking I would be visiting him next in an institution- but the lad has made it into manhood, and his soundtrack is amazing.When he sings, "Children, don't be like your father's now.." as a father, who was once a son -without a father, I throroughly get it.enjoy
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Comment #26 posted by FoM on June 21, 2009 at 05:07:41 PT
Happy Father's Day
I hope all the Dad's on CNews have a great day!
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Comment #25 posted by GeoChemist on June 21, 2009 at 03:20:08 PT
Tobacco/tobacco smoke contains radio-active isotopes of U-238, cannabis/cannabis smoke does not. I attached a link to ATSDR/CDC site regarding PAH's, it is an accurate site for dealing with organic molecules/contaminants...Happy Father's Day to all of the dads on CNews........End of line
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Comment #24 posted by christ on June 20, 2009 at 21:05:18 PT
GeoChemist comment #2
I'm trying to understand the relationship between cannabis/smoke, tobacco/smoke, PAH's, radiation. Which ones are associated; is there some cause and effect with the tobacco/smoke and radiation; which are worse, etc. 
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on June 20, 2009 at 19:37:46 PT
When I began to see the end of what was a beautiful era I was very sad. I saw them steal it all from us and then the children often turned away and didn't listen and became caught up in our system that has made us what we are now. Now grandchildren are growing up and they look back and think about what they missed and are reaching again for the stars. When my nephew from Florida was visiting this week when he left to get in his car and go he stuck his head out the car window and said Turn Turn Turn was playing on the radio. What a way to end a visit with a nephew that I haven't seen except for a short time in many years. He is about 4 years younger then me and finally we connected and he knows where I am coming from and he is amazed to hope again now too.The Byrds - Turn Turn Turn
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Comment #22 posted by BGreen on June 20, 2009 at 19:11:01 PT
FoM re: Post #17
You're so right. Here's an example that came to mind.I went to the wedding today of my good friend's 19-year-old son. His bride is a year younger than him and just graduated from High School last month.The bride is from a Mormon background but was recently baptized in a Baptist church.The reason I mentioned this is to demonstrate how even though the younger generation's religious views may resemble the so-called "religious right," their social values are much more liberal.The bride had two of her friends at the wedding, a cute couple who happen to both be men. No big deal, except to many of the older generation.The same nonchalance can be seen in their views of cannabis. It's just not a big deal at all.It fills me with so much hope to see young people with such a mature understanding and outlook on life.It's the exact same thing Museman has experienced and I am as empowered as it has made him.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #21 posted by BGreen on June 20, 2009 at 18:52:36 PT
Sorry, George
Of course smoke isn't good for you. That's not the point. The point is that there is ZERO evidence to support the claim that cannabis smoke causes cancer.One thing is for sure, I'd rather have an invalid and erroneous health claim printed on my legal cannabis than suffer the wrath of hateful, evil cops and their itchy trigger fingers.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #20 posted by George Servantes on June 20, 2009 at 16:25:32 PT
they said smoke cause cancer, not thc. they are against smoking, but eating and vaporizing is fine.smoke is not good, admit it or not.
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Comment #19 posted by konagold on June 20, 2009 at 11:39:55 PT
nicotine sulfate
for many years there was a product called Black Leaf 40, an insecticideits principle ingredient was nicotine sulfateone drop of the concentrate could killTHC can cure cancernicotine KILLS
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Comment #18 posted by yoshi on June 20, 2009 at 11:30:52 PT:
Sam/ Jerry Brown
What a sad progression this guy has made. Hard to believe, if we can't get Gov. Moonbeam in our camp, who can we get. Grow grass roots grow
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on June 20, 2009 at 11:26:58 PT
Jerry Brown was born in 1938. I don't think we will see much of any progressive policies from most older Democrats. It's the younger ones that have been exposed to marijuana more often then not. They are the change we can believe in I think.
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Comment #16 posted by yoshi on June 20, 2009 at 11:25:28 PT:
sinse Jones/ eating tobacco
That really is true, it's amazing how sickening tobacco is to non-users. I can remember trying to keep in chewing tobacco in for a long time to be cool when I was real young, wow did that make me feel awful. And every now and again I'll smoke a tobacco cig, and be reminded how nasty it is. Look what an educated public did with legal tobacco use ( use is way down since decades past) without arresting one person. I believe this truth will seep in to the programmed heads of the US public and when it reaches critical mass there will be no turning back.
I've been trying the Pro-noia outlook lately, I like how it feels.
For any Gnostic fans out there, I'm reading Not in His Image by John Lash and probably haven't been this been wowed by a book since reading Terence Mckenna years ago. It's blasphemous for the Zionist and JC crowd, but a dose of the real is just what we need
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Comment #15 posted by Sam Adams on June 20, 2009 at 11:20:32 PT
I thought this little blurb was telling:For old-time politicians, who have spent the past three-plus decades navigating the country's roiling tough-on-crime waters, the changes are almost unfathomable. Onetime California governor and current gubernatorial hopeful Jerry Brown, for example, has spent decades trying to erase the public's memory of his liberal tenure in the 1970s, when California's prison population shrank to well below 30,000. As a part of that remodeling, he has assiduously courted the California Correctional Peace Officers' Association, the trade union representing the state's prison guards. Now, with his war chest flush with CCPOA funds, Brown won't do anything to challenge tough-on-crime orthodoxies.That pretty much says it all about the USA and how we got this way. Everybody sold out. Even liberal leaders of yesterday fell prey to the almighty dollar. They repudiated their own successful policies in order to sell out to the highest bribery/campaing contribution bidder.If people like Jerry Brown can't find it within themselves to do the right thing this country is doomed to become like Russia is today.
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Comment #14 posted by Sam Adams on June 20, 2009 at 11:16:39 PT
Cali law
wouldn't get too worried about the "carcinogen" classification - pretty much every single business in california has to post a cancer warning to all visitors based on cleaning products or the materials in the building, electronics, etc. Probably the dispensaries have to post cancer warnings about their cleaning products in addition to smoke and other stuff
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Comment #13 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on June 20, 2009 at 10:11:53 PT
Cannabis vs Tobacco
I challenge anyone who believes cannabis is as harmful as tobacco to an all-you-can-eat contest.I'll eat a joint for every ciggy you eat, and we'll see who gets sick and dies first.
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Comment #12 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on June 20, 2009 at 10:10:49 PT
THC vs Nicotine
THC encourages cancer cells to die.Nicotine encourages cancer cells to live.
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Comment #11 posted by George Servantes on June 20, 2009 at 09:59:53 PT
california law
I think it might be good, so more people will vaporize, eat and drink cannabis instead. Smoke is not good, period. We need to get people know about other healthier ways of cannabis ingestion.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on June 20, 2009 at 09:54:40 PT
Just a Little Info
We aren't getting a lot of comments since blogs have taken off but that's ok. I appreciate our growth. What is interesting to me and maybe some of you we are doing very well with our stats. The last few days compared to last June we are up over 30%. Keep up the good work everyone!
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on June 20, 2009 at 09:44:56 PT
Amazing isn't it? Also besides the economic factor is the mental health issue. We have locked up the mentally ill because they shut down mental health facilities. I think we are making progress.
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Comment #8 posted by GeoChemist on June 20, 2009 at 09:36:07 PT
christ, HempWorld
christ, gladly, what exactly would you like me to elaborate on? HempWorld, I only skimmed through, but those isotopes start, if you will, as U-238. I have posted (if this is allowed) a link with a reasonable explanation of the U-238 decay series and the associated particles....hope this is helpful......End of line
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Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on June 20, 2009 at 09:31:06 PT:
Ten years
For ten years, here at CNEWS, the economic underpinning of the Drugwar - and the vulnerability of the DrugWar to economic pressures - had been mentioned. This article serves as vindication, as it seems that that's all that's being talked about anymore vis-a-vis the DrugWar: all that wasted money. Which we are fervently wishing we hadn't p***ed away, now that we need it so badly.And it was brought up right here. CNEWS scooped the MSM and out-thinktanked the think-tanks. Not bad for a buncha 'stoners', huh?
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Comment #6 posted by HempWorld on June 20, 2009 at 08:14:04 PT
Why Cigarette Smoke Kills ... 
Here it is folks, just click the link below.My father and 4 of his brothers (my uncles) died of cigarettes so I decided to put this info in one place on the web:
Why Cigarette Smoke Kills, Complete Story
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Comment #5 posted by christ on June 20, 2009 at 08:01:56 PT
Good point GeoChemist. I had heard that about how everything gives off carcinogens when burned. Could you elaborate on the fact you were referring to at the end of your post? It would be great if these Scientists (in the article) could do a study to determine a maximum recommended daily intake of these carcinogens that would keep cancer risk to a minimum... like the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat. I wonder if there is some slightly burnt food that could be benchmarked.Speaking of the Scientists, what qualifications do they have? They don't mention the safety of inhaled vapor, or the federal government's US Patent 6630507/marijuana's antioxidant benefits. I'm not a scientist, but I seem to recall that antioxidants have some anti-cancer properties, and that that was a partial basis for Tashkin's UCLA study. I previously had no idea that the federal government could even "invent" a plant's medicinal qualities. Given this patent, it's unfortunate that federal trial defendants still aren't allowed to say the words "medical marijuana". Is it just me or does it seem two-faced?
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on June 20, 2009 at 08:00:21 PT
Just a Thought About The Mercury News Article
I have seen so many different articles over the years while looking for news and some articles just turn my mind off. Once the logic is lost I get lost and forget about it. I value my mind so I protect it that way. If the logic of the importance of what is being said doesn't mean anything it's hard to put my mental energy into it. Marijuana has not killed anyone but we are surrounded by a toxic environment and that might kill us. What people experience as far as marijuana goes probably won't hurt them but what they don't see very well could. I don't like health concerns that try to tear a movement down thru fear. That's all.
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on June 20, 2009 at 07:36:37 PT
These morons never give up!
Once again, show us the bodies. Even show us one case! You should not be able to say just anything to support your nutso political policies!
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Comment #2 posted by GeoChemist on June 20, 2009 at 06:52:17 PT
Again, the carcinogen(s)
referred to are........polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's), which are associated with ANY material/substance that is combustible....the most notorious source of PAH's is a back yard grill.......PAH's as carcinogens are relatively harmless when compared to the other carcinogen associated with burned tobacco and ONLY with tobacco, and those are radio-active isotopes of uranium-238...eveytime I see the "marijuana smoke has x carcinogens" or "marijuana has x time the carcinogens of tobacco smoke", I love pointing out this FACT....PAH's and radiation or just PAH's? Do the math......End of line
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 20, 2009 at 05:58:14 PT
State Rules Marijuana Smoke is a Carcinogen
By April Dembosky, San Jose Mercury NewsJune 20, 2009Joints and baggies sold at California's medical marijuana dispensaries will soon carry a new warning label. Next to tags like "Purple Haze" and "White Widow" will be the advisory: Contents may cause cancer when smoked.On Friday, California added marijuana smoke to its official list of known carcinogens, joining the ranks of arsenic, asbestos and DDT. Pot brownies, lollipops and other non-inhalables are not affected by the new ruling.Scientists found the pungent smoke shares many of the same harmful properties as tobacco smoke, warranting its inclusion on the Proposition 65 warning list. The law requires the state to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, and businesses and government agencies must post warnings when they use such chemicals or sell products containing them. "Marijuana smoke is a mixture of different chemicals, and a number of those were already on the Prop. 65 list," said Allan Hirsch, chief deputy director of the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, which made the designation. From a health perspective, pot advocates say the ruling was unsurprising, given the state's track record on documenting the harmful effects of all kinds of smoke inhalation. However, some are worried by its political implications as advocates attempt to legalize recreational use of marijuana.URL:
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