Why Can't You Smoke Pot? Because Lobbyists Are Getting Rich Off of the War on Drugs;
Sad Truths On Really Why We Still Put Hundreds Of Thousands Of People In Steel Cages For Pot-Related Offenses.
- www.alternet.org, March 7, 2012
John Lovell is a lobbyist who makes a lot of money from making sure you can't smoke a joint. That's his job. He's a lobbyist for the police unions in Sacramento, and he is a driving force behind grabbing Federal dollars to shut down the California marijuana industry. I'll get to the evidence on this important story in a bit, but first, some context.
At some point in the distant past, the war on drugs might have been popular. But not anymore - the polling is clear, but beyond that, the last three Presidents have used illegal drugs. So why do we still put hundreds of thousands of people in steel cages for pot-related offenses? Well, there are many reasons, but one of them is, of course, money in politics. Corruption. Whatever you want to call it, it's why you can't smoke a joint without committing a crime, though of course you can ingest any number of pills or drinks completely within the law.
Some of the groups who want to keep the drug illegal are police unions that want more members to pay more dues. One of the primary sources for cash for more policing activities are Federal grants for penalizing illegal drug use, which help pay for overtime, additional police officers, and equipment for the force. That's what Lovell does, he gets those grants. He also fights against democratic mechanisms to legalize drugs.
In 2010, California considered Prop 19, a measure to legalize marijuana and tax it as alcohol. The proposition gained more votes than Meg Whitman, the former eBay executive and Republican gubernatorial nominee that year, but failed to pass. Opponents of the initiative ran ads, organized rallies, and spread conspiracy theories about billionaire George Soros to confuse voters.
Lovell managed the opposition campaign against Prop 19. He told Time Magazine that he was pushing against the initiative because, "the last thing we need is yet another mind-altering substance to be legalized."
But Republic Report reviewed lobbying contracts during the Prop 19 fight, and found that Lovell's firm was paid over $386,350 from a wide array of police unions, including the California Police Chiefs Association.
While Lovell may contend that he sincerely opposes the idea of marijuana legalization, he has constructed an entire business model predicated on pot prohibition.
Shortly after President Obama's stimulus program passed, Lovell went to work channeling the taxpayer money for California into drug war programs. According to documents Republic Report obtained from the Police Chiefs Association, Lovell helped local departments apply for drug war money from the Federal government. There is a copy of one letter sent to a police department in Lassen County, California: >> here <<
There is big money in marijuana prohibition. Lovell represented a police union in a bid to steer some $2.2 million dollars into a “Marijuana Suppression Program.” In 2009 and 2010, California police unions sought a $7,537,389 chunk of Federal money for police to conduct a “Campaign Against Marijuana Planting” program. The anti-marijuana money went directly into the paychecks of many officers.
For example, police departments in Shasta, Siskiyou, and Tehama Counties formed a “North California Eradication Team” to receive $550,000 in grants that helped pay for overtime, a new officer, and flight operations: The total amount awarded was $550,000, to be split between Shasta, Siskiyou and Tehama counties, which make up the Northern California Marijuana Eradication Team (NorCal-MET).
Broken down in the agenda worksheet, the sheriff’s office is expecting to spend $20,000 on flight operations, $94,895 for the full-time deputy’s salary and benefits, $16,788 for the administration assistant salary and benefits and $29,983 to cover up to 666.29 hours of overtime.
For source, visit - Why Can't You Smoke Pot? Because Lobbyists Are Getting Rich Off of the War on Drugs
Why Weed Isn't Legal and May Never Be
- by Robert Weinstein
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Unintended consequences. Every law has them, but some overreach so far that the medicine is worse than the disease.
Few laws encompassing the depth and scale of the prohibition of Cannabis sativa's use have had unintended consequences for so long, but eradicating its hopelessly failed criminalization appears more difficult than stopping sunrise every morning.
I will explain why in a moment, but let's examine a recent event just south of me in Chicago.
Tavares Taylor, better known as Def Jam's rapper Lil Reese, bought a front-row ticket to the horror show titled "Why Cannabis Isn't Legal" over the weekend when he was arrested and charged with marijuana possession.
The show is produced by the following colluding participants, or as I refer to them, machine operators:
Police, product manufacturers, labs for testing (pre- and post-conviction), defense lawyers and staff, prosecution lawyers and staff, judges and staff, jail staff, contractors providing food and other products for inmates, probation officers, counselors for court-ordered drug rehab and on and on ad nauseum.
It's a man-eating machine with dull blades that will rip and tear a totally helpless Lil Reese's wallet and bank accounts to shreds while molesting his emotions for months or longer. Once inside the machine, victims are rarely allowed to exit until its operators have extracted their pound (or more) of flesh.
One may argue that some of the participants are merely implicitly colluding, but not all. For example, five years ago, California's prison guard association spent more than $1 million in opposition to a state proposition to substitute increased treatment for prison terms for cannabis offenders.
Other conspiring organizations are the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and state narcotics law-enforcement associations, not to mention the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The amount of pressure applied ebbs and flows but doesn't stop. And why should it, for there are massive amounts of money in the criminalization business. Whoever said "Crime doesn't pay" obviously didn't think about it from prosecution's point of view.
And we can't forget federal law itself.
The budget for the federal court system is about $7 billion a year. If drug and related crimes comprise 30% of cases, that's a 1,600-job and $2.1 billion-a-year incentive to keep the status quo from the federal judicial branch alone.
In fiscal 2012, the DEA added another 10,000 jobs and $3 billion worth of incentives to prevent decriminalization. That's over $5 billion a year, and we haven't added the other above-listed participants.
It also doesn't include the state and local levels of law enforcement. Once you include government money spent outside the U.S. in trying to disrupt supply, the estimates skyrocket to $20 billion and more.
Some estimates place the total "war on drugs" cost at over $1 trillion. It's a lie though, it's not a "war on drugs," it's a war on citizens and freedom. It wasn't drugs that were arrested over the weekend; it was Lil Reese, a young man who apparently wasn't causing a problem for anyone else.
And that's not the only lie we hear.
The federal government is authorized (some claim required) by law to lie to you and spend taxpayer money promoting propaganda.
If you think the government's spying on you is scary, what's your thought on the government's spending taxpayer money to promote false information to keep drugs illegal? The responsibilities of the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy's include ensuring:
(12)...that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and tak[ing] such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that-- (A) is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and (B) has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration....
It's part of the Reauthorization Act of 1998, or what I like to call the "Drug Prosecutors Full-Employment Act."
What do we receive for the billions spent, lives ruined as a result of criminal convictions and violence on the street because market share is determined through violence instead of commercial methods?
Well, some drugs that would otherwise be available are taken off the market. Even the strongest opponent can't deny it.
Logically, the next question is what percentage of drugs are kept off the streets? The answer may surprise you, but, using the most optimistic estimates, after all the time, money and resources are expended, less than 5% of drugs are confiscated.
Unfortunately for Lil Reese, his stash adds to the amount seized.
But are the streets safer and are drugs removed from the hands of kids? No one can deny that the answer to that is a resounding "No."
For source, visit - Why Weed Isn't Legal and May Never Be
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