Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mexico takes a bold step

Mexico's Senate has sent President Vicente Fox a bill decriminalizing drug possession.

Police would no longer bother with possession of up to 25 milligrams of heroin, 5 grams of marijuana (about one-fifth of an ounce, or about four joints), or 0.5 grams of cocaine _ the equivalent of about 4 "lines," or half the standard street-sale quantity.

The law lays out allowable quantities for a large array of other drugs, including LSD, MDA, MDMA (ecstasy, about two pills' worth), and amphetamines.

However the bill stiffens penalties for trafficking and possession of drugs _ even small quantities _ by government employees or near schools, and maintains criminal penalties for drug sales.

While it's great that Mexico's legislators realize that no one deserves to be punished for what they put into their own body (without harming anyone else) and that it doesn't make sense to waste police resources doing so, it's unfortunate that they've advanced a measure that is only a half-step in the right direction. Choosing to leave drugs unregulated and on the black market will still leave lots of problems. Whenever a trafficker is busted, its nothing more than a job opening for someone else looking for a lucrative career.

The bill has already been approved by both of Mexico's legislative bodies and is on its way to President Fox's desk, where it is expected to be signed.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Another Student Government Endorses Repeal of the Drug Provision.

Almost two months after the FPC Student Government voted not to join CHEAR and endorse repeal of the HEA Drug Provision, our SSDP Chapter brought the resolution back Tuesday night and it passed overwhelmingly in both our Senate and Association of Clubs (AoC). The first time I had presented the resolution it failed 17-14, but with this time it passed in the new senate 15-5 and 16-1 in the AoC.

Right after first resolution failed to pass, we started contacting professors and the Executive boards of other clubs on campus. Professors gave us so much support and one has even offered to become another advisor for the club. Support was gained from clubs such as Black Student Alliance, Brothers Reaching Out, and the College Democrats. We created a facebook page dedicated to this issue and keeping students informed on HEA.

This time around the SGA Executive board was on our side and the vote was completely turned around. Ironically, most of the opposing votes came from the representatives for the class of 2009, the class from which the majority of the students that signed our petition belonged to! One of those representatives has slandered SSDP as an organization, backed out of a debate with me, and attacked our motives without ever coming to a single meeting!

I doubt that too many other chapters will have to put up with the animosity and ignorance that our chapter did when bringing the CHEAR Resolution to their student government, but some forms of resistance and misunderstanding are inevitable with what we are doing. This ordeal actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the issue gained popularity all over campus with articles printed in the campus paper, online magazine, regional papers, and intense conversations on the campus forum.

Some more madness

Nancy Reagan's appearance in the STOP THE MADNESS music video mentioned in the post below reminded me of this video mashup of she and the ol' Gipper talking about the benefits of drug use:

Among other things, the president and first lady proclaim:
* Drug abuse is not a crime.

* Tonight I can report to you that Vice President Bush smokes marijuana regularly.

* Our goal is to expand drug trafficking at all levels of government and in the private sector.
[If the words aren't matching up to the Gipper's lips, you can download the video here (10MB). The world wide interweb still needs to perfect streaming video, it seems.]

Stop the madness... Stop the madness NOW!

Via BoingBoing, comes the announcement of the uncovering of a rare and precious historical gem. STOP THE MADNESS is a 1985 anti-drug music video featuring Arnold Schwarzeneggar (confirmed pot smoker), Whitney Houston (a true anti-drug crusader), the Goodyear Blimp (its oh-so-high up in the sky), David Hasselhoff (just a straight-up loser), and yes, even First Lady Nancy Reagan.

The lyrics are priceless, but the video is even better (or worse, depending on how you look at it).
I believe that together you and I can save a life today.

We can stop a killer from reaching into minds and throwing lives away.

Drugs are causing pain and everyone's a loser in this deadly game that's played.

It's insanity. We know that dope is slavery.

And you know we've got to be free ... come on now, we've got to stop the madness.

Stop the madness now
Stop the madness
Stop the madness now.
Ethan Persoff of was able to get his hands on a copy of the video after making a deal with a defunct Midwest TV station. What did he have to trade to get his hands on this sweet tape, you ask? A bottle of vodka.
Only fools will tell you using drugs is really a victimless crime.

There are casualties standing at the graves of children.

Feel the tears they cry.
You can watch the video embedded above, or by clicking here to give some traffic love to Ethan at

Iowa's other senator says Drug Czar should go

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) said today that he agrees with Iowa's Sen. Charles Grassley (R) that President Bush should fire Drug Czar John Walters for gross negligence.
Harkin says he supports Grassley, "I believe that Mr. Walters has dropped the ball, and he is not focused on the real problems that we have, especially with methamphetamine." He says Walters has been "a failure" and he supports Grassley's call for someone new.
Will President Bush listen?

Jack off

In addition to illegally buying influence and favor with members of Congress, disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff also sought to catch a deal on buying a limo with the help of America's asset forfeiture drug laws.

On Aug. 21, 2002, he sent an e-mail to his friend David H. Safavian, chief of staff at the General Services Administration. "I have a need to buy a stretch limo for the restaurant," Abramoff wrote, referring to Signatures, the downtown establishment he owned. "Are there any coming up on any of the GSA drug property sales?"

Safavian, according to the documents recently filed by Justice Department prosecutors at U.S. District Court, wrote back that the GSA does not auction off seized cars. But he added that he was ready to help: "Let me call a friend at the Marshall's Service. They handle drug seizures."

Abramoff replied: "I was thinking of the druggies bounty. No problem. Thanks, see you Friday."

While the courts have said that law enforcement agencies are completely within the realm of the law when they steal property from Americans just because they are charged with (but not necessarily convicted of) drug offenses, the practice should be just as illegal as bribing legislators.

Check out Forfeiture Endangers American Rights (FEAR) for more info.

7 1/2 years in jail for marijuana

From the AP:
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A judge changed a sentence from six months in prison to eight years after a teenager convicted in a drive-by shooting wrote a letter asking a friend to take over his marijuana dealings.

Aaron K. Lawless, 18, agreed to testify against two men who prosecutors say set up the shooting that killed 19-year-old Alisha Quillen last July. The two men were sentenced to eight years in prison while Lawless got six months. He had only 20 days left to serve.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

SSDP gets press

Do a Google News search for "sensible drug" to have a looksee at all the great press Students for Sensible Drug Policy has been able to foster recently.

In just the past few weeks, we've been in newspapers from coast to coast, including USA Today, the Des Moines Register, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Indianapolis Star, the Detroit Free Press, New Hampshire's Union Leader, and

If you appreciate the anti-Drug War work SSDP is doing on behalf of students nationwide, please make a donation to SSDP today.

Drug warrior senator says fire the Drug Czar

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, has called on President Bush to fire Drug Czar John Walters.
In a conference call with Iowa reporters, Grassley said: "I think the president ought to fire the drug czar." He said that he wrote Walters calling for more action on meth and the response he received was "basically, bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo."

Walters and the Office of National Drug Control Policy continue to place much more emphasis on fighting marijuana use, said Grassley.
While cracking down on meth will only cause more problems and unintended black market collateral damage, it's nice to see a hardcore drug warrior finally realizing that this administration's focus on marijuana is nothing but a distraction and an easy sound bite.

Something's rotten in the State of South Carolina

America should send its drug users overseas to be imprisoned in foreign countries.

Well, that's what Representative G. Ralph Davenport, Jr., of Boiling Springs, SC thinks. You'll recall that he's the same guy who wants to use the threat of arrest to prevent people from using dildos.
Section 24-3-20(A) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 406 of 1996, is further amended by adding at the end:

"Notwithstanding another provision of law, the department may enter into agreements with foreign countries for the confinement of inmates convicted of drug related offenses or offenses related to the sexual abuse of children."

I'm not sure if it's more offensive that Rep. Davenport wants to pay foreign governments with histories of human rights abuses to take America's drug users and do whatever they want to them, or that he equates drug users with child molesters. And a la the HEA Aid Elimination Penalty, he wants to let murderers and other rapists off the hook while punishing drug users as much as he can.

One wonders what the good people of South Carolina's 37th House district think of their representative's work in the capital lately.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The sky is falling

Baylen over at To The People brings us the tragic story of two children accidentally killed by U.S. operatives in Afghanistan on an anti-drug mission. The kids were inside of some tents that the plane slammed into after the pilots overshot the runway.

Ironically, if the crash had occurred a few minutes earlier, the narcs would have also taken out some opium growers. Instead, they just killed the little kids, as well as two Ukranian crew members on board the plane.
The casualty count could have been higher if the settlement's men had not left earlier to work at a farm picking opium poppies.
The full story is here.

EXTRA EXTRA: The Drug War has failed!

A few snippits from three great articles exposing different aspects of the failed War on Drugs:

Rocky Mountain News
exposes the FDA's politicized, hypocritical statement regarding medical marijuana:
"They're terribly afraid of such research, because any serious scientific study of the subject is going to reveal how little basis there is for their claims. Continuing to demonize marijuana is the key to the drug war, and the drug war pays the salaries of a lot of people." [MPP's Bruce Mirken]
Advertising Age exposes the failure of the Drug Czar's propaganda campaign:
"The ads are very silly and act more as a comic relief than to curb drug use. I actually think the ads make kids aware of drugs that they might not have been exposed to and I think they pique their curiosity."


"...if ever a campaign cried out for a smart, targeted, non-broadcast approach-instead of dumb messages dropped with 'media weight'-this is it,"
And finally, the University of Illinois student newspaper, the Daily Illini, University of Connecticut student newspaper, the Daily Campus, presents a compelling argument for the need to end marijuana prohibition:
The legalization of marijuana is by no means a new or shocking concept. What does continue to be shocking, however, is our government's unwillingness to re-evaluate its drug policies and recognize the inefficiency and unfairness of imposing such unreasonable punishments. Decriminalization of the drug state by state is a start but it should lead to legalization.

Our society and government have wasted enough resources. It is time to solve this "drug problem" and focus on more important priorities.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Legislating boredom

[Note: The picture below may be considered inappropriate. You may wish to avoid scrolling down if you are at school, in the workplace, or if you are South Carolina state Rep, Ralphy Davenport.]

Very soon, big drug cartels may start adding a few new products to their shipments to South Carolina.

A new blend of heroin perhaps? Maybe a cleaner methamphetamine? Nope...

Dildos, vibrators, and butt-plugs.

Via Boing Boing:
Lucy’s Love Shop employee Wanda Gillespie said she was flabbergasted that South Carolina’s Legislature is considering outlawing sex toys. But banning the sale of sex toys is actually quite common in some Southern states.

The South Carolina bill, proposed by Republican Rep. Ralph Davenport, would make it a felony to sell devices used primarily for sexual stimulation and allow law enforcement to seize sex toys from raided businesses.
Get ready for Sex Toy Prohibition, kiddos. It's gonna be one heckuva public policy.

I just have to chuckle at the thought of S.W.A.T. teams kicking down the doors of private businesses and rummaging through merchandise to find "devices used primarily for sexual stimulation."

"Officer Smith, does this Pez dispenser look like a sex toy to you?"

"Hmm... check to see what the manual from the Office of National Dildo Control Policy has to say."

"It's rather ambiguous. It is pink and plastic and about the size of *ahem* well, you know. But it also dispenses small tart candies."

"Hrm. Better bring it into the lab for testing."

All jokes aside, the ridiculous lengths to which many of our elected officials are going in order to push their own brand of morality are getting quite scary. "Life, liberty..." and what was that last one, Mr. Jefferson?If the puritans of the South Carolina legislature are successful in criminalizing the pursuit of kinkyness, drug prohibition may give us some warning signs of what to expect. Lucrative black markets for pleasure gadgets will spring up overnight, putting armed salesmen on every urban corner. Sexually experimental youngsters will roam the streets looking for a fix, eventually coming across their first "gateway dildo" to harder plastics. Prisons will be clogged with people whose only crime was trying to relax with a hot bath, some candles, and 'Johnny Depp Junior' after a long day at work. Worst of all, shady opportunists will fashion vibrators out of cheap household appliances, maiming or killing unfortunate masturbators with electrical malfunctions.

Undoubtedly, some concerned citizens will stand up to Sex Toy Prohibition and fight to restore a safe, regulated market for the products. They will be ruthlessly pigeonholed as perverts and sexual deviants, but will continue their fight for a more sensible society. The student movement, of course, will be unstoppable.

Update 4/24:

Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama have already outlawed the sale of sex toys. Initially, I really didn't think the South Carolina proposal had any legs... but it looks like the prudish precedent has already been set.

Thanks for the heads up, Hammer of Truth.

[Apologies to Elian Gonzalez for the photograph.]