Thursday, December 11, 2003


I'm hunkered down at HQ tonight, resting up after last night's festivities. Tim's party was a resounding success with great food, good company and the requisite heart-rending speeches. The place was rife with bartenders and being formerly of those ranks myself, all I'm going to say is a good time was had by all.

So failing any adventures to report this evening, we're going straight to the breaking news and there's many updates on the stories we've been watching lately.

First up is this statement by Jamaica's version of John Ashcroft, Solicitor General Michael Hylton yesterday warned parliamentarians studying the ganja issue that Jamaica would breach international obligations and face tough US sanctions, if the drug is decriminalised.

He's been well coached in the prohibitionist rhetoric.

The United States Government is opposed to the decriminalisation of ganja. Embassy spokeswoman, Orna Bloom, has been quoted as saying that it could create "the perception, especially to our youth, that marijuana is not harmful, which could lead to an increase in its use".

Hylton, in explaining decertification in this context, said that the United States Government policy under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, requires the president to take steps to decertify countries categorised as major illicit drug producing and/or drug transit countries. He noted that Jamaica was already listed among the major Illicit drug producing and drug transit countries.

"Thus, if Jamaica were to decriminalise marijuana for personal use, there would be a distinct risk that the country would be subject to the sanctions associated with decertification," he said,. The sanctions, he added, would be significant.

An eerie echo of the recent news that the Bushites are not allowing any country that said anything bad about Georgie going into Iraq to bid on civil contracts to rebuild the country. How did I end up living in a nation that bases its foreign relations and in fact its domestic policy, on intimidation and retaliation?


Incoming update on the Colorado medmar case.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is balking at a Colorado court’s order to return medical marijuana patient Dan Nord’s confiscated plants and equipment. Nord, who legally uses medical marijuana to treat numerous severe ailments – including cancer, diabetes, and chronic pain – won an appeal to reclaim three marijuana plants and two ounces of marijuana...

Predictably, the DEA intends to ignore the decision of the Court.

Dan Reuter, a DEA special agent and public information officer with the Denver field office, tells the Alliance that the plants are "not alive" and, in any event, he "can't think of a case" where seized marijuana was returned to a person who used it under any circumstances, including medicinally. Reuter also told Denver’s Rocky Mountain News that the DEA "is not in the habit of returning illegal contraband." The DEA’s stance could set up a constitutional showdown between federal and state officials over medical marijuana laws.

Given the current climate of judicial unrest in the country, this is a confrontation waiting to happen. With ten states already on board (including D.C. which I think is long overdue for Congressional representation) and legislation pending in many more states including my own Commonwealth, this case could raise the bar on the medicinal marijuana debate.


While we've all been busy with the holidays, Rep. Ernest J. Istook Jr. (R-Okla.), one of the most rabid Drug War dogs in Congress, managed to leech onto to the unprecendented wave of Republican patronage spending and get his slimy provision to suppress political speech attached to the federal omnibus appropriations bill. This blatant attempt to silence debate on drug policy reform comes in direct response to those Change the Climate Legalization ads.

Istook’s rider [which includes $145 million in taxpayer-financed advertising for the Drug Czar’s office to campaign and lobby against reform] would prohibit federal funding for local and state bus, train, and subway systems that allow citizens to run advertising in support of drug-policy reform. If enacted, the provision could be used by Congress and the Bush administration to muzzle the advertising of medical-marijuana and other drug-policy reform groups. The provision could one day be expanded to encompass advertising by pro-life, pro-choice, gay-rights, pro-gun, and other controversial advocacy groups around the country.

The Senate postponed consideration of the bill until after it reconvenes from its winter break on January 20, 2004. Look for action updates on this one next month and please particpate. This one is important folks. They can't refute our arguments so they seek to silence us. They do not like our message so they seek to banish us to free speech zones. This is not even about drug legalization, this is about destroying the foundation of the First Amendment and rebuilding it in the image of the Bible belt.


I was torn between these two for quote of the day and decided to take them both.

It's an odd couple but then it's been said that politics make strange bedfellows.

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. -- Theodore Roosevelt

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." - George Orwell –


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