Articles Tagged: harm

When a town in Utah does something very noble!

June 18th, 2009 | By Pirate

This is history by about 8 years now, but back in 2001 the little town of 400 people in Utah named “Big Water” passed an ordinance that decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana to a $10 fine (under 1 oz), and possession of paraphernalia a $5 fine.

The motive behind this says mayor Willie Marshall “Our ordinance made justice affordable for everybody,” said Marshall. “Let the punishment fit the crime.”

Under Utah law, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, as well as a six-month drivers license suspension. Under state law, paraphernalia possession nets the same maximum six months and $1,000. According to a newspaper article about this situation that can be found at this link:

I agree with Mayor Willie Marshall, and even though I think a $10 fine is too much for a victimless crime, I believe his intentions were in the right place, and I think you will find the city of Denver Colorado agrees, where it is legal (no fines) for adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana.

Ruining people’s life forever, putting a misdemeanor on their record which denies them the ability for scholarships, military service, working at certain jobs, etc..  for a victimless crime is insane.  A $1000 fine for possessing a plant that has never killed anyone in all of history?
This would be like making drinking from a drinking fountain a misdemeanor punishable with jail time and a $1000 fine.  Based on harm, and social impact, marijuana is no more of a threat than drinking water!

Bravo to this courageous mayor and this courageous city council.  It’s only too bad that these ordinances were later repealed, and that at least one officer is recorded and reprimended for threatening the city council members.

Utah Highway Patrol Officer Nathan Giles blew up at local officials, Marshall said, in an account whose broad contours were confirmed by regional Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Lynn McAfee. “Once the police heard about this, they hit the ceiling, the Kane County sheriff and the Highway Patrol were just enraged,” said Marshall. “They do a lot of intimidating people into letting them search their cars. But Officer Nathan Giles was especially bent out of shape. He came in and yelled at the town clerk. ‘Who’s the dope-smoking son of a bitch who wrote this ordinance?’ Giles yelled. And then he made threats. ‘All hell is going to break loose in Big Water,’ he told her,” Marshall said.

Two weeks after the ordinance passed, UHP started harassing members of the entire town of Big Water:

On December 7, two weeks after the ordinance was passed, the town was hit with an “enforcement blitz” by Highway Patrol and Kane County Sheriff’s officers. “They were ticketing everyone for anything,” said Marshall. “They had a half dozen Highway Patrol cars out there pulling people over for no seat belt, failure to signal, anything they could think of.”

Which was confirmed by Lt. McAfee of the Utah Highway Patrol.

But this wasn’t the end of it, and as you guessed, this all has to do with police funding and getting revenue from these so-called crimes.

But Giles wasn’t done. “Then he went over to the water board office, where one of the council members works, while on-duty and in uniform and started arguing with her,” Marshall said, “telling her the ordinance was unconstitutional, that we had to repeal it, that the Highway Patrol could just stop writing tickets in our town, basically threatening to cut off a source of town funding. Not that we’re a speed trap,” Marshall quickly added. “Giles was very threatening and his behavior was very inappropriate.”

This is Utah life under a huge microscope in relation to the ‘drug war’.  No drug war equals no police funding.  It’s not about harm reduction, it’s about revenue!

This isn’t a war on drugs, this is a war on the American people!

Another Reference from a local newspaper:

Is Idaho ready to legalize marijuana?

May 14th, 2009 | By Pirate

On May 13th in the “Boise Weekly” there was an article ran about the 300 person crowd at the state capitol for the “Global Marijuana March”.


Legalizing marijuana in Idaho

Legalizing marijuana in Idaho

This news couldn’t be better.  I only wish that I had been there.  What an inspiring and wonderful event that I will regret missing for the rest of my days I imagine.

I have been saying that Idaho will legalize marijuana next, becoming the 14th state that legalizes marijuana in some way.  But I think I am wrong about that, because Missouri will be next it looks like.   But we have a proposal for a 2010 bill from an Idaho representative:

Here are a few clips from the “Boise Weekly”:

Then Ryan Davidson, a “Ron Paul Republican” and marijuana activist from Garden City, announced through the bullhorn that Moscow Rep. Tom Trail plans to introduce a medical marijuana bill next year.


Since 1996, voters have favored ballot initiatives removing criminal penalties for growing or possessing medical marijuana in Alaska, California, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. State legislators in Hawaii, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont have passed medical marijuana laws. On Nov. 4, Michigan became the 13th medical marijuana state and Massachusetts’ voters decriminalized personal possession.

Idaho Falls

In an article found in the Washington Post, the current White House drug czar (former police chief of Seattle Norm Kerlikowske) explains that the White House will be changing the current US drug policy to a harm reduction policy instead of a punish and destroy the product policy.

I am amazed and proud of the brave citizens who took to the streets on May 2nd in Boise:

The Worldwide Marijuana March drew more than 300 demonstrators to downtown Boise on Saturday, May 2. Offering peace signs and garnering many supportive car honks, the marchers moved slowly under scattered showers along Capitol Boulevard to the front lawn of the Idaho Legislature.

On some of the local blogs that I go to, I have been told that Idaho isn’t supportive of marijuana legalization.  But after considering how Hailey Idaho has twice legalized marijuana (not just medical, but recreational as well), and how this proposal has been through the capitol a few times, and seeing how four of our neighors on Idaho’s border have legalized marijuana in one way or another.  I think legalization can be clearly viewed on our horizon!

Join NORML and lets start an Idaho NORML chapter!

Philly Chapter Report for 3/16/09

March 18th, 2009 | By slash


Philly Chapter Report

This was my second time attending a Normal meeting.  I wasn’t  going to miss it.  Gone is the fear and nervousness. This was a special event.   Philly Norml was hosting a Cannabis Information Seminar.  I expected a decent turn out and I wasn’t disappointed.  The A-Space was packed to S.R.O.

Chris Goldstein presented a power point presentation on all aspects of our current system of cannabis prohibition.   Explaining from the ’37 Tax Act to Timothy Leary’s Supreme Court case that proved the act unconstitutional. Next followed 2 & 1/2 yrs of grey area where it was no longer illegal on a federal level but all states still had some kind of criminal law.  Then came the new system of schedules 1,2,3, etc… Marijuana became schedule 1 temporarily.  Because, the then, President Nixon commissioned a blue ribbon panel to put to bed this marijuana issue permanently.  The former Governor of Pa.  ‘The Honorable Raymond Philip Shafer’ was the Chairman. This report argued that that the societal harms from prohibition out weighted the potential damage that would be done from legalizing.   Ultimately Nixon flipped out and buried the report. 

The place where things were gonna change became the state level and now we have 13 states where Medicinal Marijuana is legal.   Many states have decrim, fine only, no jail  laws.  On the other hand a man was just given a life sentence for cultivation here in the states last week  and the Derek Copp shooting?… so things are still bad.

The status of the NJ bill was a hot topic.  The legislators are on break so we’ll see some action on this in the fall.   People asked many questions causing the conversation to wander a little but Chris would always pull it back.

One gentleman was recently diagnosed with glaucoma and he was scared, angry and confused. As to what strain might help him and where does he get good info on his problem? The crowd of people felt sorry for him, but how do we help?   Web sites were suggested,  someone  said  ‘can you move to Ca.?’  I really  wish I could  help this guy.

Ken Wolski was unable to make it. Chris did a spectacular job, and the presentation was not lacking.

Getting people out to these info seminars is important.  Removing the stigma of   ‘pothheads’   through educational outreach from the cannabis community is what it’s gonna take.

The whole shebang lasted 2 hours and was well worth the time to go.

I made a new friend, Got a little learnin’ in. Got out of the house, which is good for me.

Get out to a meeting.   Start a chapter.   Become an advocate.  No one is gonna do it for ya, it’s up to you to make a difference in your community.

Thursday the 19th is the regular meeting and I’ll have a report.

Until next time

Slash, Peace out

Veterans – The “Friendly Fire” Casualties of the U.S. Drug War

March 17th, 2009 | By

 It is not surprising that veterans from the U.S. military services have some of the highest rates of alcoholism, domestic disturbance arrests and abusive behavior of any known job description. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) provides some statistical data on the rates of drug and alcohol abuse with veterans in comparison to civilians. According to Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access (VMMA), 70 percent of veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.

There is no question that servicemen and women are asked to do things beyond the scope of ordinary citizens that leave indelible marks in their lives, both for the good and bad.  Many of these behaviors could be mitigated through the responsible use of Marijuana, a medication that has safety been used since man first painted its image on a cave wall.

Quite often when marijuana and veterans are mixed into the same phrase, the first image that comes to many people’s minds is the character Strawberry from Cheech and Chong’s movie, Up in Smoke.  I myself have seen the atypical shell-shocked paranoid combat vet while waiting for care at the VA hospital. The condition most associated with these behaviors is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), with which I have been diagnosed. The wonderful by-products of this affliction include high levels of anxiety, depression, insomnia and lack of appetite to name a few. Common physical problems  caused from the “side effects” of PTSD are numerous. Does it sound like Strawberry the paranoid pothead veteran is having a good time yet?

The reality is that a good portion of vets who struggle with these problems never show up to the doctors because of the stigma attached to their illness. It is hard to find employment if society thinks that you are a tower climber. Many veterans instead choose to self-medicate with alcohol, an intoxicant proven to cause violence and physical deterioration that makes Strawberry’s problems seem like a fun walk down memory lane. If vets do visit their doctors, often times the “cure” they are given has such devastating side effects that, again, employment is hard to attain and keep. The cost to veterans’ personal lives and relationships cannot be measured, but can been recounted with looks of vacant misery by those who are close to the affected.

There are many benefits that marijuana has to offer vets, both to those disabled and the ones who bear the scars of their service quietly in their own heads. The evidence is no longer anecdotal, but well-researched and easy to find out for anyone who bothers to look. Go read the findings of intelligent and well-spoken doctors such as Dr. Phillip Levesque, Mitch Earleywine and Lester Grinspoon, along with numerous accredited government agencies. Not convinced? Do your own test: Ask anyone off the street if they would rather see a combat vet smoke a joint or drink a fifth. You will get an overwhelming response in favor of the joint.

There are other reasons for the legalization of marijuana (MJ) besides the therapy that it can provide to patients with anxiety, depression, pain and other chronic illness associated with servicemen and women. Taxpayers stand to benefit from the integrated usage of MJ with the care the VA provides veterans. Imagine the cost savings to the VA as its patients learned to grow their own medicine. They would suffer fewer side effects from the massive chemical cocktails doled out by the VA and, in some cases, medication loads would be reduced or eliminated. The quality of life would dramatically improve for many veterans with no strain to current resources. Drinking as a side effect of self-medication would most likely be reduced and this would lead to safer homes and streets.  The veteran will also have a hand in their own health care and learn the skill of gardening, which promotes growth and well-being instead of harm and destruction.

Our politicians need to start rethinking how and when we commit ourselves to war and issues of public health. Until marijuana is legalized, veterans will be another victim of a battle that the government has no place waging.  They will continue to suffer disproportionately from arrests, lack of employment opportunities, educational benefits and housing if found using marijuana  to alleviate many of the chronic ailments associated with their service to the very same country that prevents their relief. I find this treatment of those who have stood up for us by the politicians who have served no one but themselves to be un-American and, quite frankly, unpatriotic.

How many people have died from Cannabis?

November 21st, 2008 | By Pirate

This is a survey..  How many people do you know, who have died from marijuana?

How about this.  How many people have EVER died from marijuana?

I’d like to know.  You can post in the forums about this.

Update:  here is some info to consider