Marijuana grows openly in California towns as traffickers hide behind laws, police say

California’s San Joaquin Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the country. It is also where, among the fresh fruits and vegetables, an estimated half-a-million plants of marijuana are growing openly, some allegedly being sold for non-medicinal purposes.

“In the last two years, we’ve seen large-scale commercial farming operations of marijuana and explosions of backyard marijuana grows,” said Lieutenant Rick Ko of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Ko says the spike in cannabis cultivation is a result of California’s booming medical marijuana trade.

California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana almost 16 years ago to help people manage the nausea and pain associated with serious illnesses such as cancer and HIV.

Law enforcement authorities say traffickers are hiding behind California’s medical marijuana laws and distributing the drug illegally. Although medical marijuana is prohibited under federal law, 16 states and the District of Columbia have legalized… Continue reading

Pro-marijuana policy bloc swings Oregon attorney general primary election

by Robert Capecchi

The rational and peaceable instrument of reform, the suffrage of the people.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Last night, the people of Oregon took to the ballot and utilized that rational instrument of reform, electing Ellen Rosenblum – champion of marijuana policy reform – to be the Democratic nominee for attorney general of the State of Oregon. With no Republican challenger in the field, Ms. Rosenblum’s victory means she will be Oregon’s next AG.

Ellen Rosenblum defeated Dwight Holton in the Democratic primary, 63% – 37%, in what many characterized as not only a primary election for attorney general, but also a referendum on marijuana policy. The candidates had similar stances on many issues, including environmental issues, consumer protection issues, and civil rights. Where they differed greatly, however, was on the issue of marijuana policy in the state of Oregon.

Ellen Rosenblum has taken a good… Continue reading

Mitt Romney Clarifies Position on Medical Marijuana. Sort of.

By Morgan Fox

Last week, Scott Morgan at StoptheDrugWar.com made the argument that it may be premature to think that Mitt Romney would be worse than President Obama when it comes to marijuana policy. He accurately pointed out that Romney was not in favor of medical marijuana, but that he also hadn’t really explained his position clearly. Romney certainly was not openly suggesting the kind of attacks perpetrated by the Obama administration over the last few years. To assume that he would be worse than Obama simply because he is a Republican, the party traditionally most opposed to marijuana policy reform, would be reactionary.

Well, Romney still has not clearly laid out his position, but he gave us all some hints in an interview published the following day. He only spoke about the issue under duress and berated the reporter for bringing it up, saying that marijuana policy… Continue reading

Hypocrisy in America’s Favorite Pastime?

On May 5, the Orioles’ 2006 first round draft pick, Billy Rowell, tested positive for marijuana and received a 50-game suspension. Following the suspension, Billy called Major League Baseball “hypocritical” for their treatment of him. While that may not be the most appropriate word, the MLB policy on drugs and other illegal activity is certainly inconsistent.

In February 2011, Miguel Cabrera, the current Detroit Tigers’ third baseman, was arrested for DUI after being found in a disabled S.U.V. after he allegedly forced other vehicles off the road and threatened to blow up the bar he had been drinking at previously. While Cabrera rightly faced legal repercussions, the league was mysteriously quiet on the issue. Cabrera did not receive any disciplinary action from the league; he was not suspended, and he did not receive a fine. Cabrera also has a history of both alcohol abuse and violence. In 2009, he… Continue reading

Pot smoking may help relieve symptoms of MS

By Rachael Rettner MyHealthNewsDaily

Smoking marijuana may improve some symptoms of multiple sclerosis, a new study suggests.

Patients with multiple sclerosis in the study had less muscle tightness, also called spasticity, and less pain after they smoked marijuana, compared with after they took a placebo.

Spasticity is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS) and can cause exaggerated reflexes, spasms and problems walking. Existing medications can ease spasticity, but they cause side effects, and not all MS patients are helped by them.

However, patients in the study experienced short-term decreases in their abilities to pay attention and concentrate after they smoked marijuana. Patients also reported feeling “high” after smoking marijuana, and two patients withdrew from the study because they felt uncomfortably high.

More research is needed to confirm the findings and to investigate whether lower doses of marijuana may have similar benefits with fewer adverse effects, said study researcher… Continue reading

Drug Czar Being Disingenuous and Evasive. No Kidding.

At the Center for American Progress on May 1, Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske answered a question from MPP’s Steve Fox regarding marijuana prohibition. Or did he? What Steve essentially asked is that if a great many Americans use both marijuana and alcohol, and alcohol causes disease, violence and death while marijuana is not responsible for any of these problems, why are there laws prohibiting the use of marijuana, if alcohol is legal?

Now, with the exception of some brief gibberish about alcohol prohibition, the issue of allowing a harmful substance (alcohol) to be legally consumed by adults while outlawing a harmless substance (marijuana) was completely ignored. What was addressed, however, was the issue of prescription drugs.

The drug czar argued that there is no reason to tax, regulate, and control marijuana because legal prescription drugs take over 15,000 lives a year, saying, “we do a very poor job of keeping… Continue reading

Mexico’s drug war: No sign of ‘light at the end of the tunnel’

Mexico is struggling to contain a drugs war that has claimed more than 50,000 lives in less than six years. Msnbc.com’s F. Brinley Bruton spoke to NBC News contributor Jorge Castañeda, who is a former Mexican foreign minister and a New York University professor, about the problems he sees with the ongoing efforts to stamp out the illicit trade and possible ways out of the violence.

Q: An estimated 50,000 people have been killed in Mexico since 2006, the country is one of the most dangerous in which to be a journalist, and kidnapping and extortion are rife. Is Mexico teetering over into chaos.

Residents look at shoes of missing people that have been arranged to form the number 49 in memory of dozens of people whose bodies were found dumped near Mexico’s northern city of Monterrey on Sunday. The mutilated corpses of 43 men and six women, whose hands… Continue reading