The ‘dogs not barking’ news for this week is that they’re rolling up, smoking bowls and having a high old time in the Rockies, and yet the zombie apocalypse has not yet arrived. In addition to President Obama’s recent foray into rational commentary in the New Yorker, there’ve been a whole bunch of other developments.
H/t to PolicyMic, who found this map and then had a look around the events it documents. Well worth a read.
1. State by State by Nation
This week brought news that Bill Gates supported legalisation in Washington State in 2012, and continues to support the process. We’ve got legislative agendas making the news in a whole bunch of places: Indiana, Maryland, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Oh, and Finland. A note of caution is that none of these are laws yet; but several of them may well become so. As I suggested last post, President Obama seems to be quite happy to let We, The People force him into doing the right thing; and I think it’s good political strategy. I suspect that at the point where there are more states with medical marijuana than without, we might see some actual machinery get into gear in the halls of power. It’s worth noting also that we only need a couple more states for that to happen.
I’m also going to take this opportunity to drop in an honourable mention for the good people of Reddit, who are a damn good crowd and have helped me source a lot of my rolling balls over the last year.
Predictably, those whose salaries depend on the drug war are not just rolling over. Here’s James L. Capra, a drugs-warrior-in-chief at the DEA, channeling the tortured soul of Harry Anslinger:
“It scares us,” James L. Capra said, responding to a question from a senator during a hearing focused on drug cultivation in Afghanistan. “Every part of the world where this has been tried, it has failed time and time again.”
– Ernesto Londoño in the WaPo
This is the same kind of dedication to perverting the course of justice on cannabis that fuelled Harry Anslinger’s war on Hispanics and jazz musicians. Firstly, large parts of the world not only legally used but spiritually ritualised cannabis for several millenia prior to the UNCDP 1961, and suffered no ill effects. Furthermore, large parts of the world today would like to disagree with his assessment. In fact, didn’t the Abrahamic culture from which the Puritan war on fun stems use cannabis heavily for centuries? Oh yeah, it did and still does. I am entirely sure that cannabis legalisation scares the Operations Head of the DEA. As I recently pointed out, his salary depends on the government not changing it’s mind. However, there is also some hope of salvation for even a long-corrupted servant of the insane excesses of the War on Drugs:
After over a decade of working with the federal government to put away drug dealers, Patrick Moen recently abandoned his job at the DEA in order to pursue a career with Privateer Holdings, a Seattle, Washington-based investment firm that specializes in the budding marijuana industry. […]
“Over the course of years I realized that the targeting of marijuana was not an effective use of resources. There was no ‘aha’ moment. It was a steady evolution involving discussions with friends and colleagues.”
[On 1st January] marijuana became completely legal for adults in the state of Colorado to purchase for recreational use. Revenues in the first few days beat expectations by several times over, and hundreds of millions of dollars are expected to be raised during the next year. Washington state will soon follow Colorado’s lead, and Moen and his colleagues at Privateer will have a whole new locale to tap. According to the WSJ, Privateer raised $7 million as of last month and was looking to bring in another $25 million during 2015. Investors are obligated to initial commitments of no less than $250,000, and eventually the firm uses this capital to back cannabis-centric projects.
And this brave gentleman is not alone, either:
Paul Schmidt was the highest-ranking DEA agent in all of Oregon state until 2010, but now works as a medical marijuana business consultant. “A lot of people say, ‘How could you be so against it Monday and then on Tuesday you are all for it?” Schmidt said to Oregon Live recently.
“It was the least of the evils,” he said. “If you go to the newer law enforcement – somewhere 45 years and younger – and you talk to them about cannabis, they are just like, ‘Man, why isn’t it legal? I have got other things to do.”
3. In other news…
Christopher Bucktin is talking about the impact on alcohol abuse if Wales were to decriminalise cannabis. Medical science now has a better idea of why cannabis is such an effective treatment for sufferers of PTSD. Justin Raimondo is focussing on the actual ‘war’ part of the WoD, i.e. all the dead people in Mexico and similar non-white places. And Avinash Tharoor is on AlterNet pointing out the billion-dollar hypocrisy of the relationship between weed and the financial industry, and there’s more on that story from HuffPo.
4. And Finally!
I’ll leave you with two works of Jon Stewart.