Last year 858,408 people were arrested for Marijuana violations. This is a 1.3% increase of arrest reported by the FBI since 2008. Approximately 52% of drug arrest in the US comprised of Marijuana, a decade ago it was 44%. 758,593 of those 858,408 were arrested for possession, this arrest total is second highest in US history. In 2007, 872,721 people were arrested for violating Marijuana laws which constitutes the highest arrest record in American history, as reported by the FBI.
Yet the Drug War pushes on, despite the fact that America is now the #1 ranking country consuming the herbal drug known as Marijuana (and even Cocaine), beating out all others. So far over 20 million people have been arrested since the Drug War started way back in 1971, since that's when Nixon first coined the term. Even though it's been going on long before that, since 1914, with the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act.
Every 38 seconds somebody is arrested for possessing Marijuana. Sometimes all you need to get arrested, is by possessing a simple joint:
Joseph "Jazz" Hayden Founder of Still Here Harlem Productions filmed these 3 undercover NYPD police officers search, frisk and arrest a Harlem citizen after finding a joint of Marijuana. Jazz, vocally questioned the officers conduct and procedures, considering that a small amount of Marijuana is considered a violation in New York State. This incident took place two days after a very violent shooting incident in Harlem involving police http://current.com/... and community members.
Or, sometimes you get incidents that undermine the Drug War by proving it easily corrupts and waste taxpayer dollars:
Sean Alivera, 31, and Christopher Luciano, 23, allegedly robbed a supposed drug dealer of 20 pounds of Marijuana with a street value of $24,000 as well as $3,000 in cash. It turns out that the man they thought was a drug dealer was actually an undercover officer.
Authorities also believe that the two planned to have the drugs redistributed on the street by an un-named drug dealer.
Crooked cops and unreasonable raids on people complying with state laws, but how can you ignore the fact that schools get raided as well, and come up with nothing:
Police last month raided an Española-area school looking for Marijuana growing in a greenhouse, but all they found there were tomatoes...
"We were all as a group eating outside as we usually do, and this unmarked drab-green helicopter kept flying over and dropping lower," she said. "Of course, the kids got all excited. They were telling me that they could see gun barrels outside the helicopter. I was telling them they were exaggerating."
After 15 minutes, Pantano said, the helicopter left, then five minutes later a state police officer parked a van in the school's driveway. Pantano said she asked the officer what was happening, but he only would say he was there as a law-enforcement representative...
"As we have nothing to hide, you know, they did the tour and they went in the greenhouses and they found it was tomato plants and so that was the story," she said...
Residents in the Cerrillos and Madrid areas have complained that the flyovers are scaring livestock, disturbing the peace in the rural areas and resulting in invasions of private property without search warrants...
Some parents, who did not want to be named, said they, too, were concerned about the raid on their children's school.
Pantano said she did not want to make too big an issue out of the raid, but questioned why such a commotion was necessary when anyone who asked would have been given a tour of the greenhouses.
"We're sitting here as a teaching staff, always short on money, and we're thinking, 'Gosh, all the money it takes to fly that helicopter and hire all those people, it would be great to have this for education.' "
Wouldn't it be great? Unfortunately, we're too busy raiding our schools for drugs, instead of funding them. This isn't the only time this has happened too, 7 years ago a school in South Carolina was raided with SWAT and drug sniffing dogs, students were detained with guns pointed at their heads:
GOOSE CREEK, SC - Students as young as 14 were terrorized by police with guns and drug-sniffing dogs in an early-morning SWAT raid at Stratford High School that violated their rights, the American Civil Liberties Union charged in a lawsuit filed today on behalf of 20 families.
"What this school administration allowed is truly shocking," said Graham Boyd, Director of the ACLU's Drug Policy Litigation Project and lead counsel in the lawsuit. "Officials at this school, along with law enforcement officers, treated innocent children like hardened criminals."
This week a police video of the raid surfaced showing even more disturbing detail of police handcuffing students and holding guns to their heads while a large drug dog sniffed and tore at the students' book bags. No drugs or weapons were found during the sweep and no charges were filed.
But I bet those at the DEA saw nothing wrong with their actions, it's as if they deliberately ignore the facts about Marijuana usage, and that it's been in a decline for 10 years among students during the time of this story:
But these escalating measures have no justification in reality since long-term studies show that student drug use has declined in the last 10 years.
The DEA says Marijuana is dangerous and views it as something that will cause more "dependency and treatment issues, and open the door to use of other drugs, impaired health, delinquent behavior, and drugged drivers." The DEA and apparently the rest of the Federal government believe Marijuana has no medicinal value, that "there is no consensus of medical evidence that smoking Marijuana helps patients."
Despite evidence to the contrary:
IOM's findings recognized Marijuana's therapeutic potential in
decreasing the intraocular pressure for glaucoma patients, controlling the severe nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, acting as an anticonvulsant, relaxing muscles and thus counteracting spasticity problems, and other uses. The IOM investigators highly recommended further research to determine the full therapeutic potential of this drug.
This study also noted that Marijuana seems to work differently than other conventional medicines (Institute of Medicine, 1982). The government's response was to print only 300 copies of this study -- not even enough for each member of Congress.
The study, conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams of the University of California at San Francisco,
found Marijuana to be safe and effective at treating peripheral neuropathy, which causes great suffering to HIV/AIDS patients. This type of extreme pain, which is caused by damage to the nerves, can make patients feel like their feet and hands are on fire, or being stabbed with a knife. Similar pain is seen in a number of other illnesses, including multiple sclerosis and diabetes, and cannot be treated effectively with conventional pain medications.
Standard pain medicines -- even addictive, dangerous narcotics -- have little effect on this type of pain.
So, despite the facts that prove Marijuana can be used to treat a whole host of ailments, from extreme pain to vomiting, the DEA remains willfully ignorant and would rather step on our individual freedoms. Regardless of the fact that Marijuana is 60% of the Mexican Drug Cartels profits, the DEA would rather wage war on its own citizens. But for what reasons?
Maybe it has to do with the Pharmaceutical companies, "who were allowed to develop a Marijuana pill that is composed of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive chemical in the plant." Even though it remains illegal as a schedule 1 drug, noted as one of the most dangerous. We can't have any drug unless it's in pill form and sold by Big Pharma, so it makes since that they would try to capitalize on the plant by trying to turn it into a pill.
Why do they choose to ignore reality and trample on American citizens? Last year the President laughed off questions about how Marijuana legalization would give a boost to the economy and create jobs:
Three point five million people voted. I have to say that there was one question that was voted on that ranked fairly high and that was whether legalizing Marijuana would improve the economy -- (laughter) -- and job creation. And I don't know what this says about the online audience -- (laughter) -- but I just want -- I don't want people to think that -- this was a fairly popular question; we want to make sure that it was answered. The answer is, no, I don't think that is a good strategy -- (laughter) -- to grow our economy. (Applause.)
But why not, there is a new study out by the CATO Institute, that I think you should take a look at:
This report estimates that legalizing drugs would save roughly $41.3 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition. Of these savings, $25.7 billion would accrue to state and local governments, while $15.6 billion would accrue to the federal government.
Approximately $8.7 billion of the savings would result from legalization of marijuana and $32.6 billion from legalization of other drugs.
The report also estimates that drug legalization would yield tax revenue of $46.7 billion annually, assuming legal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco. Approximately $8.7 billion of this revenue would result from legalization of Marijuana and $38.0 billion from legalization of other drugs.
I have not read this whole report, but it's possible that it did not look at the savings generated when you release prisoners who are locked up for merely possessing Marijuana. Our prisons are overcrowded and it's not getting any better at the rate we are going, yearly a prisoner cost from $20,000 up to $100,000 depending on the type of inmate and the state they are being held in each year.
So why not follow California with it's popular Prop 19 and legalize marijuana federally? Billions of dollars will be saved and generated, and it will put a dent in the Drug Cartels profits, which will help end the Drug War. So far, over 22,000 people have died due to the Drug War going on in Mexico. It has gotten so bad that "A new report on human rights abuses by Mexico's military in the country's ongoing armed conflict with drug traffickers depicts in stark terms the air of fear and impunity that have come to define the drug war, particularly in violence-torn Ciudad Juarez on the U.S.-Mexico border."
People have been beheaded and left on display:
At least 13 people were killed Saturday, some of them beheaded, around the popular beach resort of Acapulco, just as foreign visitors have begun arriving for spring break.
Elsewhere in the Guerrero state where Acapulco is located, 11 other people, including soldiers and suspected traffickers, were killed, authorities said.
Mexico newspapers are even pleading to Drug Cartels, because reporters are major targets, 65 workers have been slain since 2000:
A newspaper’s stunning, front-page editorial of seeming surrender to drug capos has set off a national debate from the presidential palace to Mexico’s equivalent of the water cooler – its ubiquitous town squares.
"What do you want from us?" El Diario de Juarez asked the cartels whose war for control of the border city across from El Paso, Texas, has killed nearly 5,000 people – including two El Diario journalists – in less than two years. "You are currently the de facto authorities in this city ... Tell us what you expect from us as a newspaper?"
For many Mexicans, it was a voice that finally exposed in a very public and unusual way the intimidation felt across the country.
"We weren’t speaking directly to (drug gangs). It was an open message," El Diario director Pedro Torres said in one of dozens of interviews since the editorial appeared Sunday. "We wanted to provoke a reaction that would call attention to what’s happening in Juarez, and in the end, I think we met our objective."
So just "what the fuck" is it going to take to at least, legalize Marijuana, and for our elected officials who have been ignoring this for some time, to focus on and try to end the Drug War? Forget about nation building and flying across seas to battle insurgents in Afghanistan, when we have a war waging on our actual borders right now and has been for over a decade. All in the name of National Security.
What do petitions do? They gain awareness and they show the government that we don't approve, 22,726 people have signed this petition, along with myself. The goal is to make it to 100,000, we can be the change. I'm sure you have heard that before, but it is true.
We obviously can't rely on our federal government to do the right thing when it comes to our nation's drug addiction, they'd rather ignore it, or throw us in jail and toss the key into the trash. So we are going to have to do it ourselves. We are obviously going to have to start with Prop 19, California will lead the nation against the status quo and will bring us out of this abyss.
It's late here in Alaska, so I'm going to go to bed. I wish I could stay and discuss this, but my brain needs a rest. This has been bugging me all day after reading some of these news articles I linked too, and I had to express myself and share it with my community. We can do this, we can change this country for the better if we just keep fighting and voting for our causes.
Good night . . . and good luck.
Update at 1:03pm, October 06, 2010: H/T to weathercoins for posting this link Welcome to Just Say Now's Voter Contact Tool (somewhat amended), which is an interactive phonebanking tool that can help gain awareness and help end the Drug War.
Also, thank you everybody who recced and tipped this diary, it took a while to make and I am eternally grateful that you all placed this on the Recommended list.
Another Update at 1:29pm, same day: H/T to Angie in WA state for posting this video: