I-502 advocates support ‘local solution’ for dealing with marijuana prohibition

By Mike Faulk
Yakima Herald-Republic

YAKIMA, Wash. — When George Rohrbacher talks about marijuana prohibition, his biggest concern isn’t the merits of the drug, but a statistic he likes to call "the butcher’s bill."

The numbers add up to about 26 million over the last 40 years. They don’t represent the costs of enforcement, but the number of people who have been arrested for using pot.

"Even today, in the year 2012, we will arrest another 850,000 Americans for pot," said Rohrbacher, a former state lawmaker, before a crowd of about 150 people at the Capitol Theatre on Wednesday night. "This is a national disgrace with a local solution."

Rohrbacher and former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper shared the stage and statistics supporting Initiative 502, which calls for the state to regulate and sell marijuana for recreational use to adults. The measure would also impose a 25 percent excise tax.

"Marijuana is dangerous, but only if you get arrested for it," Rohrbacher said to laughter and applause from the audience.

Stamper, a spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, compared the current laws to alcohol prohibition, and the black market and associated violence that sprang up as a result.

"Marijuana prohibition causes crime," Stamper said. "It causes violence and it causes deaths."

The heart of the matter for voters should be whether the impact of enforcement of laws against marijuana matches the hypothetical consequences of legalizing its use, said Stamper, who served as Seattle police chief from 1994 to 2000.

Rohrbacher, a Klickitat County farmer who was an appointed Republican senator from the 17th District in Clark County during the late 1980s.

Under the initiative, residents 21 years and older could buy up to an ounce of dried marijuana; one pound of marijuana-infused product in solid form, such as brownies; or 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids.

Washington state already has a voter-approved medical marijuana law that gives doctors the right to recommend — but not prescribe — marijuana for people suffering from cancer and other conditions that cause "intractable pain."

"Last year there were 1,000 deaths in the U.S. from gastric bleeding caused by aspirin," Rohrbacher said. "Do you know how many deaths in this country last year were caused by marijuana?

"Zero."

Stamper said legalization doesn’t open the doors to the public’s use of marijuana when in fact the substance is already available widely on the black market. He said it would be more difficult for minors to access marijuana if it were legalized and regulated, rather than obtained clandestinely from drug dealers.

Also on stage were Alison Holcomb, the director of Initiative 502 sponsor New Approach Washington, and local criminal defense attorney Alex Newhouse.

Holcomb said the federal government has shown that it may not always challenge states’ marijuana reform laws, such as for medicinal purposes, but it will never spearhead efforts to legalize marijuana. That’s up to the states, she said.

"This is an issue where the federal government will not take leadership," Holcomb said. "The states have to take leadership."

A recent analysis by the state Office of Financial Management estimated that I-502 could raise at least $560 million a year in new taxes. However, the analysis noted that revenues would be "adversely impacted" if federal authorities cracked down on the state, as they threatened to do when California voters were considering legalizing the drug in 2010. Marijuana is illegal under federal law.

While a number of former and current law enforcement officials have announced their support for I-502, there remain plenty of detractors from the same community, including Yakima County Sheriff Ken Irwin.

"I understand there’s a large group of people who enjoy the effects of marijuana or think it should be available for medical reasons," Irwin said in an interview prior to Wednesday night’s event. "But I oppose society opening the door further to substances that will inebriate people."

Irwin could not cite numbers, but said he believes the amount of police resources going toward enforcement of marijuana laws is already minimal. He said the biggest expenses go toward busting major operations, such as outdoor marijuana grows.

"I think the efforts are very reasonable," Irwin said.

Some backers of Democratic gubernatorial candidates Jay Inslee hope the initiative will give the former congressman a boost at the polls in November by bringing out younger liberal voters in support of the measure, although an Inslee campaign spokeswoman has said he will vote against it.

His chief Republican rival in the race, Attorney General Rob McKenna, also opposes the measure.


* Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

* Contact Mike Faulk at 509-577-7675 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @Mike_Faulk.

CONTINUE READING…

I-502 advocates support ‘local solution’ for dealing with marijuana prohibition

By Mike Faulk
Yakima Herald-Republic

YAKIMA, Wash. — When George Rohrbacher talks about marijuana prohibition, his biggest concern isn’t the merits of the drug, but a statistic he likes to call “the butcher’s bill.”

The numbers add up to about 26 million over the last 40 years. They don’t represent the costs of enforcement, but the number of people who have been arrested for using pot.

“Even today, in the year 2012, we will arrest another 850,000 Americans for pot,” said Rohrbacher, a former state lawmaker, before a crowd of about 150 people at the Capitol Theatre on Wednesday night. “This is a national disgrace with a local solution.”

Rohrbacher and former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper shared the stage and statistics supporting Initiative 502, which calls for the state to regulate and sell marijuana for recreational use to adults. The measure would also impose a 25 percent excise tax.

“Marijuana is dangerous, but only if you get arrested for it,” Rohrbacher said to laughter and applause from the audience.

Stamper, a spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, compared the current laws to alcohol prohibition, and the black market and associated violence that sprang up as a result.

“Marijuana prohibition causes crime,” Stamper said. “It causes violence and it causes deaths.”

The heart of the matter for voters should be whether the impact of enforcement of laws against marijuana matches the hypothetical consequences of legalizing its use, said Stamper, who served as Seattle police chief from 1994 to 2000.

Rohrbacher, a Klickitat County farmer who was an appointed Republican senator from the 17th District in Clark County during the late 1980s.

Under the initiative, residents 21 years and older could buy up to an ounce of dried marijuana; one pound of marijuana-infused product in solid form, such as brownies; or 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids.

Washington state already has a voter-approved medical marijuana law that gives doctors the right to recommend — but not prescribe — marijuana for people suffering from cancer and other conditions that cause “intractable pain.”

“Last year there were 1,000 deaths in the U.S. from gastric bleeding caused by aspirin,” Rohrbacher said. “Do you know how many deaths in this country last year were caused by marijuana?

“Zero.”

Stamper said legalization doesn’t open the doors to the public’s use of marijuana when in fact the substance is already available widely on the black market. He said it would be more difficult for minors to access marijuana if it were legalized and regulated, rather than obtained clandestinely from drug dealers.

Also on stage were Alison Holcomb, the director of Initiative 502 sponsor New Approach Washington, and local criminal defense attorney Alex Newhouse.

Holcomb said the federal government has shown that it may not always challenge states’ marijuana reform laws, such as for medicinal purposes, but it will never spearhead efforts to legalize marijuana. That’s up to the states, she said.

“This is an issue where the federal government will not take leadership,” Holcomb said. “The states have to take leadership.”

A recent analysis by the state Office of Financial Management estimated that I-502 could raise at least $560 million a year in new taxes. However, the analysis noted that revenues would be “adversely impacted” if federal authorities cracked down on the state, as they threatened to do when California voters were considering legalizing the drug in 2010. Marijuana is illegal under federal law.

While a number of former and current law enforcement officials have announced their support for I-502, there remain plenty of detractors from the same community, including Yakima County Sheriff Ken Irwin.

“I understand there’s a large group of people who enjoy the effects of marijuana or think it should be available for medical reasons,” Irwin said in an interview prior to Wednesday night’s event. “But I oppose society opening the door further to substances that will inebriate people.”

Irwin could not cite numbers, but said he believes the amount of police resources going toward enforcement of marijuana laws is already minimal. He said the biggest expenses go toward busting major operations, such as outdoor marijuana grows.

“I think the efforts are very reasonable,” Irwin said.

Some backers of Democratic gubernatorial candidates Jay Inslee hope the initiative will give the former congressman a boost at the polls in November by bringing out younger liberal voters in support of the measure, although an Inslee campaign spokeswoman has said he will vote against it.

His chief Republican rival in the race, Attorney General Rob McKenna, also opposes the measure.


* Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

* Contact Mike Faulk at 509-577-7675 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @Mike_Faulk.

CONTINUE READING…

For ex-offenders, finding a job remains the biggest challenge to returning to society

By STEVE YODER, The Fiscal Times

March 27, 2012

For ex-offenders, finding a job remains the biggest challenge to returning to society. A 2003 study by Princeton University researcher Devah Pager in Milwaukee found that a criminal record cut someone’s chance of getting a call back from a prospective employer by nearly half.

RELATED: Meet America’s New Small-Business Owners: Ex-Cons

To avoid the prison record stigma, many offenders have chosen to branch out on their own. Here are seven who have launched successful businesses after spending time behind bars.

1. Adrienne Smalls served time from 1989 to 1991 in New York’s Westchester County Jail for hitting a policeman. From 1993 to 1998, she regularly took the bus from New York City to visit her son, who was jailed on a drug offense upstate. That provided the idea for her business – getting on the buses that took family members to visit their imprisoned loved ones to sell them what they needed: everything from Tylenol and pillows to toothpaste and soap. To start out, Smalls got $500 from her family and then, in 1998, she obtained a loan from a local development corporation that funded small businesses (she paid back the loan promptly, according to The New York Times). Today her business, Prisonhelp, is going strong, and when not outfitting upstate visitors for trips, she advises ex-cons on employment, legal and other reintegration issues. 

2. Vickie Stringer served a seven-year sentence in Texas for drug trafficking. While there, she wrote a fictionalized autobiography, Let That Be the Reason. After her manuscript was rejected by 26 publishers, she pulled together $2,500 from friends and family to self-publish the book, selling a thousand copies out of the trunk of her car in the first week. When a small publisher gave her a $50,000 advance to release the book, she launched Triple Crown Publications in 2002 to help other urban fiction writers get published. The company carries at least 96 titles and has revenues of between $2.5 and $5 million, according to manta.com.

3. Augustus Turner of Cleveland, Ohio, spent almost 10 years behind bars after being busted on drug trafficking charges. While in prison, he had a lot of time to think about his dream of creating art. After getting out, he started Masterpieces, an art studio, tattoo shop and silk-screening business on Cleveland’s west side – and it’s been going strong for more than 11 years. “What I learned from the streets is how to hustle,” Turner told The Plain-Dealer in 2010. “You can dream. You can pray. It all starts there. But you have to actively make it happen.”

4. Curtis Jackson, born in Queens New York, and orphaned at age 12, started dealing crack and spent seven months in a juvenile boot camp on gun and weapons charges. After renaming himself “50 Cent,” he began writing and performing rap songs, landing a deal with Columbia Records in 1999. Since then, he’s released five albums, appeared in multiple films, launched a line of clothing and landed a multimillion-dollar deal with Coca-Cola for his vitamin water, Formula 50.

5. Anthony DiVincenzo of Hinckley, Ohio, lost his home and his autobody business in 2005 when he was arrested after an all-night cocaine party. He served three years, but when he got out he couldn’t find a job – and not because he wasn’t qualified. “I have a lot of experience, so I was offered $50,000 a couple times from auto dealerships, but as soon as they found out I had a felony, they couldn’t walk me out the door fast enough,” he told The Plain-Dealer. So in 2008, he started another autobody shop called J.C. Auto Body LLC, before moving into a sales job at a high-end car dealership last year.

6. Dave Dahl, a former drug dealer, spent more than 15 years in prison. After his release in 2005, he experienced a turnaround, left drugs behind, and went to work in his father’s bakery. While there, he developed his own line of breads. Today, Dave’s Killer Bread, based outside Portland, Oregon, sells in health-food and grocery stores across the northwest and has revived the family business.

7. Cedric Hornbuckle served eight years in Texas for drug dealing when he was accepted into the Houston-based Prison Entrepreneurship Program. After going through PEP’s rigorous training program, in 2008 he founded a moving company, Moved by Love. “I always had the [entrepreneurial] mindset; it was just that I used it in bad ways,” he told Portfolio last year. “I knew all about profit margins and managing people; it’s just [that] what I did was illegal.”

CONTINUE READING…

For ex-offenders, finding a job remains the biggest challenge to returning to society

By STEVE YODER, The Fiscal Times

March 27, 2012

For ex-offenders, finding a job remains the biggest challenge to returning to society. A 2003 study by Princeton University researcher Devah Pager in Milwaukee found that a criminal record cut someone’s chance of getting a call back from a prospective employer by nearly half.

RELATED: Meet America’s New Small-Business Owners: Ex-Cons

To avoid the prison record stigma, many offenders have chosen to branch out on their own. Here are seven who have launched successful businesses after spending time behind bars.

1. Adrienne Smalls served time from 1989 to 1991 in New York’s Westchester County Jail for hitting a policeman. From 1993 to 1998, she regularly took the bus from New York City to visit her son, who was jailed on a drug offense upstate. That provided the idea for her business – getting on the buses that took family members to visit their imprisoned loved ones to sell them what they needed: everything from Tylenol and pillows to toothpaste and soap. To start out, Smalls got $500 from her family and then, in 1998, she obtained a loan from a local development corporation that funded small businesses (she paid back the loan promptly, according to The New York Times). Today her business, Prisonhelp, is going strong, and when not outfitting upstate visitors for trips, she advises ex-cons on employment, legal and other reintegration issues. 

2. Vickie Stringer served a seven-year sentence in Texas for drug trafficking. While there, she wrote a fictionalized autobiography, Let That Be the Reason. After her manuscript was rejected by 26 publishers, she pulled together $2,500 from friends and family to self-publish the book, selling a thousand copies out of the trunk of her car in the first week. When a small publisher gave her a $50,000 advance to release the book, she launched Triple Crown Publications in 2002 to help other urban fiction writers get published. The company carries at least 96 titles and has revenues of between $2.5 and $5 million, according to manta.com.

3. Augustus Turner of Cleveland, Ohio, spent almost 10 years behind bars after being busted on drug trafficking charges. While in prison, he had a lot of time to think about his dream of creating art. After getting out, he started Masterpieces, an art studio, tattoo shop and silk-screening business on Cleveland’s west side – and it’s been going strong for more than 11 years. “What I learned from the streets is how to hustle,” Turner told The Plain-Dealer in 2010. “You can dream. You can pray. It all starts there. But you have to actively make it happen.”

4. Curtis Jackson, born in Queens New York, and orphaned at age 12, started dealing crack and spent seven months in a juvenile boot camp on gun and weapons charges. After renaming himself “50 Cent,” he began writing and performing rap songs, landing a deal with Columbia Records in 1999. Since then, he’s released five albums, appeared in multiple films, launched a line of clothing and landed a multimillion-dollar deal with Coca-Cola for his vitamin water, Formula 50.

5. Anthony DiVincenzo of Hinckley, Ohio, lost his home and his autobody business in 2005 when he was arrested after an all-night cocaine party. He served three years, but when he got out he couldn’t find a job – and not because he wasn’t qualified. “I have a lot of experience, so I was offered $50,000 a couple times from auto dealerships, but as soon as they found out I had a felony, they couldn’t walk me out the door fast enough,” he told The Plain-Dealer. So in 2008, he started another autobody shop called J.C. Auto Body LLC, before moving into a sales job at a high-end car dealership last year.

6. Dave Dahl, a former drug dealer, spent more than 15 years in prison. After his release in 2005, he experienced a turnaround, left drugs behind, and went to work in his father’s bakery. While there, he developed his own line of breads. Today, Dave’s Killer Bread, based outside Portland, Oregon, sells in health-food and grocery stores across the northwest and has revived the family business.

7. Cedric Hornbuckle served eight years in Texas for drug dealing when he was accepted into the Houston-based Prison Entrepreneurship Program. After going through PEP’s rigorous training program, in 2008 he founded a moving company, Moved by Love. “I always had the [entrepreneurial] mindset; it was just that I used it in bad ways,” he told Portfolio last year. “I knew all about profit margins and managing people; it’s just [that] what I did was illegal.”

CONTINUE READING…

Industrial hemp has backers in state legislator

Hemp, Hemp Hooray

Posted: 29 Mar 2012 01:08 PM PDT

Industrial hemp has backers in state legislator

By Stephen Lega

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 
http://www.lebanonenterprise.com/content/hemp-hemp-hooray

Terry Mills

Senator Joey Pendleton

Terry Mills normally asks questions during meetings of the Kentucky House of Representatives Agriculture Committee, but recently, he found himself on the other side of the table, answering questions about legalizing industrial hemp.
Mills and State Sen. Joey Pendleton, D-Hopkinsville, have introduced similar legislation in their respective houses in the hopes of making industrial hemp a legal cash crop again across the Bluegrass State.
"It’s not to promote marijuana," Mills stressed in his comments to the committee.
However, industrial hemp has been illegal to grow because it has been tied to its cousin in the plant kingdom.
Pendleton said hemp was used to make rope during the World Wars. After those wars, it faced competition from nylon rope makers, and the DuPont family was involved in producing nylon rope.
"They had enough clout at that time to get it declared illegal," Pendleton said.
Pendleton believes hemp could provide a boost to the Kentucky economy, but first, farmers have to be allowed to grow it.
"For once, I want Kentucky to be proactive instead of reactive," he said.
This isn’t a new issue for Pendleton. He said this year is the fourth time he has introduced legislation to allow industrial hemp to be grown in Kentucky.
He admits that the bill likely won’t be passed this year, but he is seeing more support for it on both sides of the aisle and across the state.
"It’s overwhelming the difference between this year and last year," he said.
Industrial hemp remains one of the most versatile plants in the world. It can be used to make a wide variety of products.
In addition to rope, hemp has been used to make paper for centuries. It’s fibers can be used to make clothing and paper. Its seeds and oil are used in manufacturing beauty products.
It’s also a good source of biodiesel and ethanol, according to Pendleton.
"It will make twice the ethanol per acre as corn will," he said.
This would also help address two issues. Pendleton said one of the concerns about using corn in alternative fuel is the effect that has on food prices by driving up the demand for corn. It could also help address the ongoing concern of the United States dependance on foreign oil for fuel.
Mills said two-thirds of the people in his district who responded to a survey said they supported industrial hemp as an agricultural product. As Kentucky farmers have lost revenue from tobacco, this could help replace some of that income.
"We need to educate the public all over the state about it," Mills said.
Pendleton has been doing what he can to do just that, giving presentations about industrial hemp across the state.
"Every time I do one, we have people that want us to do it somewhere else," he said.
He’s even planning to bring his presentation to Marion County in the near future, although a date has not yet been set.
A big part of the effort to educate the public is explaining the difference between hemp and marijuana. The marijuana plant is more bushy because growers want the leaves, according to Pendleton, while industrial hemp is a taller, more fibrous plant.
"To me, it’s like telling the difference between Johnson grass and corn," he said.
He’s hopeful that with more education, the bill will have a good chance of becoming law in 2013.
"We’re sitting on a gold mine here," Pendleton said.

Letter submitted to LEO Weekly

Retire, Mitch
It’s no surprise that the shameless hypocrisy and lies of Republicans know no bounds. But there are times when they shock even the most jaded critic with the outrageous whoppers they tell. Consider the flat imbecility of Mitch McConnell’s recent response to a constituent’s letter urging him to legalize medical cannabis: “The detrimental effects of drugs have been well documented: short-term memory loss, loss of core motor functions, heightened risk of lung disease, and even death.”

NORML has posted a $10 million reward to anyone who can show one death from an overdose of THC. Nobody has collected it and never will. He goes on: “Second, I am troubled by the manner in which many of the legalization proposals make marijuana available to the public without following the scientific processes of the FDA.”

If McConnell was an honest man, he would have said something like, “In the past, marijuana was illegal because it would interfere with the booze and paper lobby. Today, it’s illegal because it will interfere with the big pharmaceutical lobby.”

Change indeed is painful, yet ever needed. McConnell is full of sordid beliefs and superfluous platitudes that just might dislodge if the enema was forceful enough. The church of prohibition has been open since the 1920s and has afflicted each successive generation of police officer, prosecutor, defense attorney, judge, politician, prison guard and DEA agent since, and none of the congregants will admit that it is a total failure that has cost trillions of dollars and thousands of lives both here and abroad. They don’t care what the grizzly costs are, they only care that it’s paying their mortgage. There is no morality whatsoever in a government, which imprisons its citizens for consuming, growing or selling cannabis while at the same time operating the largest marijuana farm in the U.S. and dispenses cannabis to only certain medical patients.

Each and every single person who supports this asinine policy of the last 40 years is evil. We must have the courage to repeal laws that our grandparents foolishly enacted out of ignorance and fear. We must also apply a little intelligence to elect senators who will serve the people and not merely the corporations. The lying hypocrites like Mitch have had their reign of obstructionism and terror. You’ve done your damage and left your stain on politics. Now, for god’s sake, retire, old man, and get out of the way!
Thomas Clay Jr., Jeffersonville

Federal marijuana trial adjourned again

DETROIT —

A federal court trial date for three men charged in a Lenawee County marijuana growing operation has once again been adjourned.

No new date has been scheduled for a trial that was to begin March 27 for Barry Lee Fisher of Onsted, Todd Bacon of Kalamazoo and Lloyd Richard Smoke of Clayton.

A federal district court notice stated a March 19 plea deadline and the trial date were adjourned by agreement of all parties in the case. Hearing and trial dates have been adjourned several times, reportedly to allow plea negotiations to continue.

The three men were transferred from Lenawee County District Court to federal district court in Detroit a year ago. Fisher and Bacon were arrested after a Feb. 17, 2011, bust of a marijuana growing operation at the Oak City Antiques store in Clinton Township and a rented house in Tipton. The OMNI Team 3 drug enforcement unit reported seizing 345 marijuana plants. Fisher and Bacon face marijuana manufacturing and conspiracy charges. Smoke, the owner of the antique store, was charged with maintaining drug-involved premises.

CONTINUE READING…

Tennessee Representative proposes medical marijuana bill

By Kym Clark – bio | email

A proposal to legalize medical marijuana is once again advancing in the Tennessee House.

A proposal to legalize medical marijuana is once again advancing in the Tennessee House.

News
Memphis civil rights landmark up for sale
Thieves target Tipton County bus during trip to St. Louis
Objection to Olive Branch cemetery withdrawn
Southaven mayor arrested after warrants issued
Suburbs one step closer to creating own school districts
Greg Davis says he’s had blue lights on vehicle for 15 years as mayor
Stronger beer could be on Mississippi shelves soon
Memphis spa owner fights laser treatment bill
Miss. protesters want change in gov’s pardon power
Neighbors place suspect at scene of Starr Harris’ murder

MEMPHIS, TN –

(WMC-TV) – A proposal to legalize medical marijuana is once again advancing in the Tennessee House.
A companion bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Government Operations Committee.  The House Health Subcommittee approved the measure on a voice vote Tuesday.
A previous proposal to legalize medical marijuana made it through Tennessee House committees two years ago, but did not fare well in the Senate.  The sponsor of the latest bill, 89th District Representative Jeanne Richardson, thinks her bill might just pass.
"Medical cannabis is becoming more generally accepted in our society," said Richardson.
The democrat, representing part of midtown Memphis, points to Gallup Poll results for support.
"Over 80 percent of the American population feels that medical cannabis should be legalized," said Richardson.
Richardson said she believes her bill has a better chance of becoming law due to an increase in medical marijuana use around the country, legally or not, to treat chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
"It’s making people understand, mo matter which side of the political spectrum it’s on, that it is a compassionate way to treat certain illnesses," said Richardson.
Richardson claimed the proposed bill would create some of the toughest access standards among states that have already enacted medical cannabis laws.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have already passed bills legalizing medical marijuana.
Richardson said most legislators she has talked with in Nashville support the idea of legalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee but believe it would be political suicide back home in the ballot box to vote in favor of the measure.  She said she believes that would be the only reason a medical marijuana bill does not pass this time.

CONTINUE READING…

Msgt. Tom Vance: Pot bill will not be called up…

Written by :  Msgt. Thomas Vance

Msgt. Thomas Vance

Monday night, 19 March 2012, on Kentucky Tonight with Bill Goodman on Kentucky Educational Television the topic was Prescription Drug Abuse bills and what the Assembly might be doing about them. As has been shown recently and known by medical marijuana users, those who use medical marijuana for pain generally use less prescription pain killers over time and many find they no longer need them. On the program was State Senator Tom Jensen the Chairman of the Senate Judicial Committee where the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana, SB129 is currently. Near the end of the program Mr. Goodman read to the Senator a question that was emailed in. The question was that given the fact that prescription pain medication use is lowered by using medical marijuana instead, shouldn’t the Senate Judicial Committee be calling up Senate Bill 129 the medical marijuana bill? Senator Jensen said basically that the bill would not pass the committee because the committee members are not knowledgeable enough about the issue, the bill had no support in the senate and until it has the votes he will not bring it up. The Senator went on to suggest that the Kentucky Attorney General who was also on the program might not approve.

I must take issue with the statement that there is no support in the Senate for the bill since it was filed by Senator Perry Clark and co-sponsored by the Senate Minority Leader Senator Kathy Stein and Senator Denise Harper-Angel. These are pretty influential Senators to support a bill that is supposedly going nowhere. Senator Clark has said that there is plenty of support for the bill and he expects it to pass next year.

It is interesting to note that the citizens of Kentucky who need this medicine have been told to wait another year in the same week we take note of President Nixon’s rejection of the results of the Shafer Commission. The Shafer Commission, appointed by President Nixon, was asked to study America’s drug problem and make policy recommendations accordingly. The commission recommended, among other things, that possession of and transfer of small quantities of marijuana should not be a criminal offense. March 22nd is the forty year anniversary of the rejection of the commission’s recommendations and the beginning of the Government’s War on Drugs. Marijuana would again be a scapegoat, used to harass not Mexicans in the southwest but Anti-Vietnam War protesters.

Forty years, billions of tax dollars, millions arrested and incarcerated, innumerable lives and families destroyed, and for what? The Vietnam War protests are long over. Can we, for the love of God, can we please put an end to it here in Kentucky while we wait for the Federal Government to come to it’s senses.

We have destroyed the credibility of our government and law enforcement with the untrue statements we have used to keep this war going, a war that thankfully with ballot initiatives for full legalization this coming November in Colorado, Washington, California, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska and Oregon, might be finally coming to a long awaited end. It will be interesting to see to what lengths the Government will go to keep the War going should any one of these initiatives pass. On to November!

continue reading…