great that you bring attention to this issue...last month when Chris Rock was on HBO, he said "It's not that the govt wants you to stop using drugs...they just want you to use THEIR drugs". Isn't that the truth!
Interestingly, there is now a new organization out there that is spreading the (gulp) idea of complete drug legalization across the land. And I happen to be a member. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition was founded by 5 cops in 2002 and now boasts a membership of 3600 cops, judges, prosecutors and others in the criminal justice system, as well as concerned citizens who call for this end to drug prohibition.
Our website is located at http://www.leap.cc.
You'll find bios of our speakers, events where we speak at like the Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, to retired folks, veterans and college students and we attend as exhibitors at all kinds of conferences...conferences like the National Sheriff's Association, National Org of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the Intl Assoc of Women Police. Response is always great.
So, Will, keep chatting about this issue. Politicians are afraid of the issue though most of them whisper of it ending. It's a paper tiger, just like the Berlin Wall. It'll fall over as soon as everyone sees that there is very little support of it.
speakers bureau coordinator
LEAP: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
"First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Social Democrats, but I was not a Social Democrat, so I did nothing. Then came the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist. And then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did little. Then when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me." German Protestant Pastor Martin Niemöller 1892-1984
There is, on average, one marijuana arrest every 41 seconds.There will come a time when the zealotry and hubris of this decade shall be looked upon as a shameful chapter in American History. There shall be a day, and it won't be too far away, when many ardent supporters of that hubris will be looking about in disgust, shock, horror and shame, asking themselves, "How the fuck did we get to this point?" and "What do we now do to fix this mess?" The absurdity of the war against medical self-care [marijuana use being but one component] but a segment of that chapter. For now, documenting the statistics is the best we can do to combat these follies.
Since 1993, marijuana arrests have more than doubled.
The number of marijuana arrests far exceeded the total number of arrests in the U.S. for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Marijuana arrests account for 44.2 percent of all drug arrests in the United States. (Clearly, the War on Drugs is first and foremost a war on casual marijuana use.)
Of those arrested, 89 percent -- some 684,319 Americans -- were charged with possession only.
The remaining 11 percent were charged with sale/manufacture," a category that includes all cultivation offenses -- even those where the marijuana was being grown for personal or medical use.
Over 8 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges in the past decade -- a far greater number than the entire populations of Alaska, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming... combined.
"It's important to remember that each of these statistics represents a human being, and in many cases, a preventable tragedy," said Aaron Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "One of those marijuana arrests in 2004 was Jonathan Magbie, a quadriplegic medical marijuana patient who died in the Washington, D.C., city jail while serving a 10-day sentence for marijuana possession."
"These numbers belie the myth that police do not target and arrest minor marijuana offenders," said Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of NORML. "This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources that diverts law enforcement personnel away from focusing on serious and violent crime, including the war on terrorism."
Read the rest of the story
When American forces burned villages in Vietnam, their excuse for those acts was “we had to destroy it to save it.” It seems the Bush administration is using the same tactic in rescuing Amtrak.
Weeks after their September meeting, it leaked out that the Bush-appointees to the Amtrak Board of Directors had secretly voted to spin-off the Northeast corridor, the railroad’s most heavily ridden and least subsidized (but still unprofitable) rail operation. The plan is that the line between Washington DC and Boston would be run by a consortium of eight states and Federal government.
If approved by the states, that would leave the rest of Amtrak’s national operation to wither and die, cut off from a subsidy of federal dollars and the revenue of the NE Corridor (NEC).
Here’s why their plan makes no sense.
1) Amtrak is a national railroad. To survive, all of its routes must continue as they feed passengers into each other, serving the entire nation. Transportation is a vital utility. We don’t allow a power company to only wire densely populated, profitable areas, so why cut off 42 other states from rail service?
2) We in Connecticut can’t afford to subsidize the Northeast Corridor. We can barely afford to run Metro-North let alone be burdened with the longest section of tracks between Washington and Boston.
3) Ours is the worst section of the NEC. We have the oldest overhead power wires, the worst bridges and some of the most congested tracks. Even in good condition, high speed tracks in the NEC cost $300,000+ per mile to maintain each year. If the Fed’s dump this infrastructure burden on us, how will we pay for it?
4) What will the Amtrak Board do if we don’t agree? Will they just run their trains through our state without stopping, make us the equivalent of “fly-over country”? What will that mean to the economies of Stamford, Bridgeport, New Haven, Old Saybrook, New London and Hartford… the cities now served by Amtrak? How will they be affected if Connecticut loses Amtrak service?
5) If the plan is improved, who’ll be in charge? How will the competing interests of states like Connecticut and New Jersey, both seeking access to scarce track-space in New York City, be decided?
6) For a clue to the risks of such a break-up scheme, look to Great Britain. A decade ago when they broke up their railroads into separate infrastructure (tracks, bridges and signals) and operating companies (trains), it was a disaster! Service got worse and safety deteriorated.