The past three weeks have been pretty devastating, so I have not posted a diary in quite a while. I still collected marijuana news, but I just could not bring myself the write a diary that would just get lost in things that are so much more important. But, it also gave me time to think and reflect about the things that have been said by our elected officials about African-Americans. Even though things may have looked like they have changed in this country in the past 70 years we really have not come that far from testimony at hearings for the Marijuana Tax Act made by Harry Anslinger that marijuana had a violent “effect on the degenerate races.”

With all of the heavy stuff that has been going down in the past few weeks I thought that I would start off with some humour…
I was sent an email with a link to this video posted at Dave Barry’s Blog. Too funny for words.

One of the nice things about the Internet is that it mirrors the interconnectiveness of things in the real world. Here is an example demonstrated in the story One cash crop no longer green. The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, working in conjunction with the Grady County Sheriff’s Office, sprayed herbicides by hand on wild marijuana, which they admitted has little to no THC. Why by hand? Well, they usually spray from a helicopter, but theirs was on loan in the Hurricane Katrina effort. So, think about this for more than a second. Does the War on Some Drugs have a effect on the ability of our government to respond to emergencies and pay for these essential services? Would the money put into this war on our own be better of being spent on improvements in vital infrastructure and emergency preparedness?

Why does this meaningless war continue? Money and power, of course. Sometimes this leaks out and you can spot it easily, much like the latent racism that lurks under the veneer of our society leaked out after Hurricane Katrina. In the Anchorage Press story Why we all can’t just get a bong Southern District press spokesperson Al Overbaugh says:

Operation Headhunter wasn’t that financially lucrative. “We didn’t end up with all that much money in all of our cases.” But, he says, “we can’t put a company in jail, so we go after assets.” Forfeitures (assets seized under federal forfeiture laws) go to the Forfeiture Asset fund. The forfeiture money is usually returned to the state and local law enforcement, with a percentage going to various federal agencies.

I would not be surprised to hear that agencies did not participate wholeheartedly in Operation Headhunter because it wasn’t that lucrative. Of course the resulting public relations campaign was well reported. Hmmmm, no wonder law enforcement is using drug laws to target people just for their assets. More money for the agency, their next operation to get more assets and for the public relations push to do it all over again. Law enforcement should be about enforcing laws, not going after the most lucrative targets.

Reporters seem all to willing to go along with the game and report things like the story State’s war on pot getting more violent by Alan Gathright of the San Francisco Chronicle. Photographer Michael Macor took lots of pictures. That is much better than extensively quoting the latest Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) press release, but really all this style of reporting does is ensure that Mr. Macor and Mr. Gathright get to go on helicopter rides!

Interestingly enough the Justice Policy Institute report Efficacy and Impact: The Criminal Justice Response to Marijuana Policy in the United States shows that the surge in marijuana arrests has little effect on usage rates. Well, when the point is to fund your bureau or agency usage rates mean little, that is if you can spin the media in your favor. Harry Anslinger was a master at this, so why change something that has put a lot of kids through college and gotten a lot of people nice pensions?

Once again we end with the political case of Marc Emery. Peter McKnight of the Vancouver Sun tells the story of Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler in his article Cotler caught in a web of hemp. The very real possiblitiy of Marc Emery’s extradition to the United States to stand drugs charges is reported in a very long and thoughtful way. It’s well worth your time.

As always, there is a lot to read and a lot to think about. Once you have please go out and do something positive. I’m Cannabis and that’s it for “This Week In Marihuana.”

Crossposted at dKos and My Left Wing

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