Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke
If you've ever been arrested on a drug charge, if you've ever spent even a day in jail for having a stem of marijuana in your pocket or "drug paraphernalia" in your gym bag, Assistant Attorney General and longtime Bill Clinton pal Lanny Breuer has a message for you: Bite me.
Breuer this week signed off on a settlement deal with the British banking giant HSBC that is the ultimate insult to every ordinary person who's ever had his life altered by a narcotics charge. Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank, opting instead for a "record" financial settlement of $1.9 billion, which as one analyst noted is about five weeks of income for the bank.
The banks' laundering transactions were so brazen that the NSA probably could have spotted them from space. Breuer admitted that drug dealers would sometimes come to HSBC's Mexican branches and "deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, in a single day, into a single account, using boxes designed to fit the precise dimensions of the teller windows."
This bears repeating: in order to more efficiently move as much illegal money as possible into the "legitimate" banking institution HSBC, drug dealers specifically designed boxes to fit through the bank's teller windows. Tony Montana's henchmen marching dufflebags of cash into the fictional "American City Bank" in Miami was actually more subtle than what the cartels were doing when they washed their cash through one of Britain's most storied financial institutions.
( Learn More >> )
How The State of Oregon Profits When Medical Marijuana Patients Suffer,
"Radical" Russ Belville
Last year, a terrible thing happened to the Oregon Medical Marijuana
Program. In some last-minute backroom wheeling and dealing, the legislature
passed a law to raise the annual fee for a state medical marijuana card
from $100 to $200. Also, a new $50 fee was created for patients who wish
to designate a person to grow marijuana for them. On top of that, if you
have to change your registration for any reason, now there is a new $100
Usually state governments raise the fees for their services when there is a
shortfall in the program's budget. Yet in Oregon, the state medical
marijuana program always runs a surplus. In the past, on numerous
occasions, the state has redirected over a million dollars of medical
marijuana program money to shore up ailing budgets for other programs, like
Clean Drinking Water or Children's Health Plan.
What do medical marijuana patients get from the State of Oregon for their
$200 - $250 annual fee? A paper card that protects them from arrest.
That's it. The program does not collect statistics on patients, study how
medical marijuana works for patients, offer any guidance on how to grow or
acquire marijuana, hook-up prospective patients with potential growers, and
as of this year, doesn't even maintain an in-person customer service window
that had been a mainstay of the program in the Oregon Bldg. since the
It's no surprise many Oregon medical marijuana patients refer to the fee as
"protection money", as if they're paying off a mobster who's extorting
their business, because "we wouldn't want something bad to happen,
kapische?" It's an apt metaphor, as the state that offers the protection
from "something bad" is the same state with the police that will make
"something bad" happen if you don't pay up, paisan.
The shocking thing is the State of Oregon makes no secret of their
intentions. They specifically raised the fees for two reasons. One was to
shore up the state funds for other programs as I've explained but the other
is to combat what they call "abuse" of the medical marijuana program, based
on the fact that over 50,000 patients have paid the state their "protection
money" to the tune of what will now be around $1,000,000 a year.
This "abuse" notion keeps getting echoed in the press, about how the
medical marijuana program was only supposed to be for 500 patients, despite
the pro argument in the voter's guide saying "thousands of patients will be
helped". Somehow, 50,000 patients indicates that some must be faking it,
despite a quarter of all adults who suffer from recurring pain and despite
17,000 new cancer diagnoses a year in Oregon.
How does doubling the fee reduce the abuse? If you really are the sick,
disabled, or terminal patient for whom the program was created, you're on a
limited income or can't work and the difference between $100 and $200 a
year is huge, especially when you consider that doesn't include the clinic
visits and the doctor visits that are also required to establish your
legitimacy for medical marijuana use. (You could bring paralyzed Prof.
Stephen Hawking to Oregon in his wheelchair, but without medical records
showing he's been diagnosed with ALS, he couldn't get a medical marijuana
recommendation.) Even worse, the state used to allow poor folks on SSI
(Social Security), OHP (Oregon Health Plan), or SNAP (our Food Stamps) to
pay just $20 for their "protection money". Now the poor folks' fee is
$100, and they can only qualify under SSI. Yes, the state quintupled the
"protection money" for the poorest patients while running surplus after
surplus after surplus.
However, if you're the alleged medical marijuana faker who's just got a
card for his Arrest Anxiety Syndrome so you can party hearty, what's
another $100 to you? You're well, you work, and you were used to paying
$300 for an ounce of weed anyway.
Patients themselves don't like to see this alleged "abuse" of the program,
either, but these exorbitant fees foster more abuse of the system, not
less. I was recently told the story of a patient who desperately needed a
grower. The state, as I mentioned, has no referral service and
dispensaries are illegal (more on that later), so patients like her have to
go to CraigsList or activists' meetings and hope to meet some stranger who
will grow her the medicine she needs to live a pain-free life.
So this patient finds a grower who agrees to help her, but only if the
patient agrees to name the grower's girlfriend as her caregiver. Mind you,
the girlfriend is in no way caring for the patient in any medical manner,
but in Oregon, we get to name a caregiver, who need not be a relative or
even live in the same house. Basically, the grower is just trying to keep
his girlfriend out of trouble with weed.
No surprise, the grower turns out to actually be a dealer, using the
patient's card to keep him and his girlfriend safe while they grow 24
plants and harvest 6 at a time. The grower is stingy with what by law is
the patient's property - the marijuana - providing her only small amounts
every so often, and then insisting on being paid his "reimbursement" of
$240 per ounce. OMMA allows growers to recoup expenses for supplies and
utilities, but not labor. It costs nowhere near $240 per ounce to grow
marijuana, even accounting for labor.
Here's a clear case of abuse of the medical marijuana program. That abuse
would end today if the patient could afford to end it, but she can't.
She'd drop her grower and caregiver today, but she cannot afford the new
$100 change fee for her caregiver and another new $50 fee if she finds
That brings me to the dispensaries. Oregon doesn't legally have them, but
a combination of compassion, entrepreneurship, and outlaw spirit have led
many people to open "compassion clubs", "patient lounges", "farmers'
markets", "co-operatives", and "collectives". I just prefer the term MWIOs
- Money Walks In, Marijuana Walks Out. But there aren't enough of them and
their prices aren't low enough yet for most patients to get enough access
to their medicine, forcing them into a charcoal-gray area of the law,
dependent on the luck of drawing a grower who's not a criminal, and then
paying the state $50 for the privilege.
Thus, Oregon profits when patients can't get medicine. Oregon profits when
growers abuse patients. But worst of all, Oregon profits when the federal
government raids the MWIOs that some patients have used to avoid the
pitfalls of having a grower.
Southern Oregon NORML's Lori Duckworth sent me an estimate of the patients
affected by the latest DEA raids of "High Hopes" and other medical
marijuana providers. She figures 500 patients were dependent on these
providers, which means the State of Oregon profits another $50,000 when
they all have to pay their $100 change fee. This means the State of Oregon
has a profit motive for assisting the feds when they want to go after
Oregon medical marijuana.
All these estimates of profit, however, may be a bit steep. Many patients
aren't bothering to pay their "protection money" anymore and returning to
their pre-1998 solutions to their medical issues, that is, the black market
and risks of danger, arrest, and imprisonment.
Read more >>>
by "Radical" Russ Belville,
Host of The Russ Belville Show,
LIVE from 1pm-3pm Pacific at - RadicalRuss.com
Shipping Address and Fax Number:
4110 SE Hawthorne Blvd. #161,
Portland, Oregon 97214 *
*  on AlterNet: alternet.radicalruss.com
*  on NORML: stash.radicalruss.com
5 Marijuana Compounds That Could Help Combat Cancer, Alzheimers, Parkinsons (If Only They Were Legal)
By Paul Armentano,
September 14, 2012
Imagine there existed a natural, non-toxic substance that halted diabetes, fought cancer, and reduced psychotic tendencies in patients with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. You don’t have to imagine; such a substance is already here. It’s called cannabidiol (CBD). The only problem with it is that it’s illegal.
Cannabidiol is one of dozens of unique, organic compounds in the cannabis plant known as cannabinoids, many of which possess documented, and in some cases, prolific therapeutic properties. Other cannabinoids include cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). Unlike delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, consuming these plant compounds will not get you high. Nonetheless, under federal law, each and every one of these cannabinoids is defined as schedule I illicit substances because they naturally occur in the marijuana plant.
That’s right. In the eyes of the US government, these non-psychotropic cannabinoids are as dangerous to consume as heroin and they possess absolutely no therapeutic utility.
In the eyes of many scientists, however, these cannabinoids may offer a safe and effective way to combat some of the world’s most severe and hard-to-treat medical conditions. Here’s a closer look at some of these promising, yet illegal, plant compounds.
After THC, CBD is by far the most studied plant cannabinoid. First identified in 1940 (though its specific chemical structure was not identified until 1963), many researchers now describe CBD as quite possibly the most single important cannabinoid in the marijuana plant. That is because CBD is the cannabinoid that arguably possesses the greatest therapeutic potential.
A key word search on the search engine PubMed Central, the U.S. government repository for peer-reviewed scientific research, reveals over 1,000 papers pertaining to CBD – with scientists’ interest in the plant compound increasing exponentially in recent years. It’s easy to understand why. A cursory review of the literature indicates that CBD holds the potential to treat dozens of serious and life-threatening conditions.
“Studies have suggested a wide range of possible therapeutic effects of cannabidiol on several conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral ischemia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory diseases, nausea and cancer.” That was the conclusion  of researcher Antonio Zuardi, writing about CBD in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry in 2008. A 2009 literature review  published by a team of Italian and Israeli investigators indicates that the substance likely holds even broader clinical potential.
They acknowledged that CBD possesses anxiolytic, antipsychotic, antiepileptic, neuroprotective, vasorelaxant, antispasmodic, anti-ischemic, anticancer, antiemetic, antibacterial, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and bone stimulating properties. Martin Lee, cofounder and director of the non-profit group Project CBD  – which identifies and promotes CBD-rich strains of cannabis – agrees. Cannabidiol is “the Cinderella molecule,” writes Lee in his new book, Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational, and Scientific (Scribner, 2012). “[It’s] the little substance that could. [It’s] nontoxic, nonpsychoactive, and multicapable.”
It’s also exceptionally safe for human consumption. According to a just published clinical trial  in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design, the oral administration of 600 mg of CBD in 16 subjects was associated with no acute behavioral and physiological effects, such as increased heart rate or sedation. “In healthy volunteers, … CBD has proven to be safe and well tolerated,” authors affirmed. A 2011 literature review  published in Current Drug Safety similarly concluded that CBD administration, even in doses of up to 1,450 milligrams per day, is non-toxic, well tolerated, and safe for human consumption.
Yet despite calls from various researchers to allow for clinical trials to assess the use of CBD in the treatment of various ailments, including breast cancer , colon cancer , prostate cancer , and schizophrenia , a review of the website  – the online registry for federally supported federal trials worldwide – identifies only four US-based clinical assessments of CBD. Two of these are safety studies; the other two are evaluations of CBD’s potential to mitigate cravings for heroin and opiates. Sativex , a pharmaceutically produced, patented oromucosal spray containing extracts of THC and CBD, is also undergoing testing in North America for use as a cancer pain reliever under the name Nabiximols. The drug is already available by prescription in Canada, the United Kingdom, and throughout much of Europe for the treatment of various indications, including multiple sclerosis.
Presently, however, options for US patients wishing to utilize CBD are extremely limited. Most domestically grown strains of cannabis contain relatively little CBD  and many smaller-sized cannabis dispensaries do not consistently carry such boutique varieties. A handful of prominent cannabis dispensaries, mostly in California and Colorado, do carry CBD-rich strains of cannabis or CBD-infused products.
However, in recent months, several of these providers, such as Harborside Health Center in Oakland and El Camino Wellness in Sacramento, have been targeted for closure by the federal Justice Department, which continues to deny evidence of CBD’s extensive safety and efficacy.
Cannabinol (CBN) is largely a product of THC degradation. It is typically available in cannabis in minute quantities and it binds relatively weakly with the body’s endogenous cannabinoid receptors. Scientists have an exceptionally long history with CBN, having first isolated the compound in 1896. Yet, a keyword search on PubMed reveals fewer than 500 published papers in the scientific literature specific to cannabinol.
Of these, several document the compound’s therapeutic potential – including its ability to induce sleep, ease pain and spasticity, delay ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) symptoms, increase appetite, and halt the spread of certain drug resistant pathogens, like MRSA (aka ‘the Superbug’). In a 2008 study, CBN was one of a handful of cannabinoids found to be “exceptional ” in its ability to reduce the spread MRSA, a skin bacteria that is resistant to standard antibiotic treatment and is responsible for nearly 20,000 hospital-stay related deaths annually in the United States.
Cannabichromene (CBC) was first discovered in 1966. It is typically found in significant quantities in freshly harvested, dry cannabis. To date, the compound has not been subject to rigorous study; fewer than 75 published papers available on PubMed make specific reference to CBC. According to a 2009 review  of cannabichromine and other non-psychotropic cannabinoids, “CBC exerts anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and modest analgesic activity.”
CBC has also been shown to promote anti-cancer activity in malignant cell lines and to possess bone-stimulating properties. More recently, a 2011 preclinical trial  reported that CBC influences nerve endings above the spine to modify sensations of pain. “[This] compound might represent [a] useful therapeutic agent with multiple mechanisms of action,” the study concluded.
Similar to CBC, cannabigerol (CBG) also has been subject to relatively few scientific trials since its discovery in 1964. To date, there exist only limited number of papers available referencing the substance – a keyword search on PubMed yields fewer than 55 citations – which has been documented to possess anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-bacterial properties. According to a 2011 review  published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, “[A] whole plant extract of a CBG-chemotype … would seem to offer an excellent, safe new antiseptic agent” for the treatment of multi-drug resistant bacteria.
A more recent review  published this year in the journal Pharmacology & Therapeutics further acknowledges that CBG and similar non-psychotropic cannabinoids “act at a wide range of pharmacological targets” and could potentially be utilized in the treatment of a wide range of central nervous system disorders, including epilepsy.
Discovered in 1970, tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is most typically identified in Pakistani hashish and cannabis strains of southern African origin. Depending on the dose, THCV may either antagonize some of the therapeutic effects of THC (e.g., at low doses THCV may repress appetite) or promote them. (Higher doses of THCV exerting beneficial effects on bone formation and fracture healing in preclinical models, for example.) Unlike, CBD, CBN, CBC, CBG, high doses of THCV may also be mildly psychoactive (but far less so than THC).
To date, fewer than 30 papers available on PubMed specifically reference THCV. Over half of these were published within the past three years. Some of these more recent studies highlight tetrahydrocannabivarin’s anti-epileptic and anticonvulsant properties, as well as its ability to mitigate inflammation and pain – in particular, difficult-to-treat neuropathy .
Like CBD, THCV is on the radar of British biotech GW Pharmaceuticals (makers of Sativex). According to its website, the company has expressed interest in the potential use of tetrahydrocannabivarin in the treatment of obesity, diabetes and other related metabolic disorders.
Though the compound has been subject to Phase I clinical testing , a keyword search on clinicaltrials.gov  yields no specific references to any ongoing studies at this time.
Read more >>>
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.
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.
Read more >>>, if you dare!
SMOKED CANNABIS' EFFECT ON LUNGS |
NORTH AMERICA: USA (Video) -
Does regular marijuana smoking cause COPD, Emphysema and/or Lung Cancer? In part 1, Donald Tashkin, MD examines risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
Donald P. Tashkin, MD - Medical Director of the Pulmonary Function Laboratory, Professor of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles.
Presented to Fifth Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics held in Pacific Grove, CA, April, 2008. Conference hosted by Patients Out of Time.
for more info.
International Drug Policy Reform Made Easy With DrugSense/MAP
When Mexican President Vincente Fox bowed to U.S. pressure and refused
to sign a bill that would have legalized the personal possession of all
drugs, DrugSense was there. When England nearly re-criminalized the
adult possession of cannabis, DrugSense was there. When American and
Canadian activists, researchers, politicians and drug policy reformers
organized a counter-symposium in Montreal to protest the DEA's
International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC), DrugSense was there.
Whether it's decriminalization efforts in Mexico or Canada, the
rejection of drug interdiction funding by Latin America, or ongoing
harm reduction efforts in Europe, DrugSense/MAP is there to help
organize these international efforts.
For example, they created a Canadian media contact list for the recent
IDEC counter-conference in Montreal using their powerful and
comprehensive Media Contact on Demand mapinc.org/mcod/.
Coverage of this conference was then tracked through their MAP DrugNews
Archive of drug-related articles from around the world
(drugnews.org), which now tops 164,000 clippings and
In fact, about half of the news articles received and posted by MAP are
from outside of the U.S., and DrugSense has been integral in starting
up Canadian, German, French, and Dutch versions of its popular Media
The progress made by other nations toward evidence-based drug policy
may represent one of the best tools to push for positive change in the
U.S. So, although DrugSense/MAP continues to focus on American drug
policy reform, they have long been aware of the importance of assisting
reformers all over the world.
But, if DrugSense/MAP is to continue to provide news and services to
the international drug policy reform community, and to use
international pressure to push for U.S. reform, they need YOUR help right
Please donate today!
Their secure server at > DrugSense.org/donate
< accepts credit card and Paypal account payments.
Or you can snail-mail Money Orders and Checks which should be made payable to DrugSense and sent to:
14252 Culver Dr., #328
Irvine, CA (USA) 92604-0326
Please note that DrugSense is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your
donation is tax deductible to the extent provided by law.