This week’s stories: Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson and the End of Marijuana as a Fringe Issue; Drug War Deaths Snuffing Out News in Mexico; Connecticut Close to Legalizing Medical Marijuana; DEA Imprisoned Student Forced to Drink Own Urine; Larry Flynt Argues for Marijuana Legalization; Pelosi Condemns Federal Medical Marijuana Crackdown; Marijuana Driving Bill Approved by Colorado Senate; The Marijuana Vote; and more!
This week’s photos come the Los Angeles contingent of the World Wide Marijuana March, a protest that took place in 400 cities worldwide on May 5.
Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson and the End of Marijuana as a Fringe Issue — Advocates for legalization or decriminalization can no longer be dismissed and there’s no better example than former New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson.
Drug War Deaths Snuffing Out News in Mexico — Four of the last reporters and photographers willing to cover crime stories have been slain in less than a week in violence-torn Veracruz state, where two Mexican drug cartels are warring over control of smuggling routes and targeting sources of independent information. The brutal campaign is bleeding the media and threatening to turn Veracruz into the latest state in Mexico where fear snuffs out reporting on the drug war.
Connecticut Close to Legalizing Medical Marijuana — A bill which would legalize the production, distribution and use of marijuana as palliative for the chronically ill appears poised to become law in Connecticut. The bill passed the Connecticut House on a 96-51 vote, with 79 Democrats joined by 17 Republicans supporting it, and 34 Republicans joined by 17 Democrats in opposing it, reports The Hour. The Connecticut Senate is expected to approve the bill as well on Friday, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has said he will sign it if it clears the Senate, as expected.
DEA Imprisoned Student Forced to Drink Own Urine — Daniel Chong, UC-San Diego student, said he was forced to drink his own urine after he was left in a Drug Enforcement Administration holding cell for nearly five days. Chong was smoking marijuana at a friend’s house celebrating 4/20, when the DEA raided the house. The DEA agents brought him to their offices for questioning, but then told him he could go home. He was not charged with anything. But before Chong could leave he was placed in a cell where he was left for days without any contact. During this time, he survived by drinking his own urine, and eventually he attempted suicide by breaking his own eyeglasses and cutting the words “Sorry Mom” into his arm.
Larry Flynt Argues for Marijuana Legalization — With recent polls showing 50 percent of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana, Hustler publishing legend Larry Flynt is asking why steps are not being taken to make that a reality. Flynt places blame on those that have the most to lose from legal weed: the pharmaceutical, alcohol and prison industries.
Pelosi Condemns Federal Medical Marijuana Crackdown — Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released a strong statement condemning the federal crackdown on state-approved medical marijuana, arguing instead for safe access as a medical and state right. Notably, she acknowledges marijuana’s medical benefits (the federal government’s denial of which keeps medical pot illegal), and advocates for putting science first. Pelosi also appears to offer her support for Congressional legislation protecting access to medical marijuana.
Marijuana Driving Bill Approved by Colorado Senate— A bill establishing a THC blood limit for drivers, after first having appeared to die on the Colorado Senate floor, was called back and passed by a single vote Tuesday afternoon. The bill, which would establish a per se cannabis “impairment” limit of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood (no correlation has been shown between this level and actual impairment) now heads to the Republican-controlled House, where its passage appears likely, reports Michael Roberts at Denver Westword.
The Marijuana Vote — The “marijuana vote” is something that is virtually impossible to demographically study. It cuts across all the standard groupings of age, sex, occupation, living situation, ethnicity, race, religion, and economic status. It can’t be studied, because its members are perpetually underground: What they do is illegal, after all, and who is going to admit to a random pollster on the telephone: “Sure, I smoke pot… I smoke a bunch of pot!” The marijuana vote does not advertise itself on bumper stickers (“I smoke pot, and I VOTE!”) or with any organized political movement. When people can lose their jobs (or worse) by admitting they’re part of a demographic, then compiling stats on the group becomes impossible. They are invisible, and their aim (under our current laws) is to stay that way.
TAKE ACTION OPPORTUNITY
NORML to Protest DEA Imprisonment of Student — Please be advised that on Monday, May 7, 2012 at 4:20 p.m., the local chapter of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) will protest the Drug Enforcement Administration’s detention of UCSD Engineering student Daniel Chong for five days without food and water. The protest will take place outside of the DEA office compound at 4560 Viewridge Avenue in San Diego. If you can’t be in San Diego, show your solidarity by joining the protest live online at live.norml.org.