by David Downs
1. Police in Oakland shot and killed a man armed with pot and a scale, after he reached into his waistband, Henry K. Lee of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Oakland's police chief says shooting people who make furtive movements is not working.
"I do want to focus on the fact that we need to better ourselves in dealing with people who are going into waistbands, going into clothing, going into different aspects." Aggrieved family members note, "My brother is gone over the fact that he had weed." More news after the jump.
2. Arizona voters ended up approving medical cannabis bill 203, making them the 15th state to do so. Arizonans will be permitted up to 2.5 oz of pot with rules on no public use. Measure 203 goes into effect once election results are certified, which should be Nov. 29. The state has 120 days to develop rules for non-profit dispensaries and registry ID card applications.
3. Drug Enforcement Administration acting head Michele Leonhart is expected to be confirmed by the Senate this week. Medical marijuana patients' rights group Americans for Safe Access is asking patients to "hold her feet to the fire" by calling members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and prodding them to grill Leonhart.
"Leonhart has significant control over medical marijuana research in the U.S., and has used her position as Acting Administrator to obstruct the scientific advancement of this important therapeutic substance. In January 2009, days before President Bush was to vacate his office, Acting Administrator Leonhart thwarted an effort to end federal obstruction of medical marijuana research, ignoring an 87-page recommendation from her own DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner, who ruled that such research was "in the public interest." The DEA and the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) have colluded to obstruct medical efficacy studies by prioritizing research on the supposed harmful effects of marijuana.
NORML recommends calling Senator Dianne Feinstein's office online or via phone directly at: (202) 224-3841. “Tell her to insist that Ms Leonhart stop obstructing medical marijuana research and respond promptly to our eight-year old rescheduling petition to reschedule marijuana for medical use.” Here' is Leonhart's confirmation hearing notice, the ASA Questions for Leonhart, and the ASA Memo to Senate Judiciary Committee.
4. In other D.C. news, the Obama Health Care insurance mandate that Republicans so loathe owes its existence to the drug war, The National Review finds. A court ruling that allows the feds to prosecute cancer patients for smoking pot is being used as the precedent for mandating nationwide health insurance.
"The Justice Department is defending Obamacare by asserting that a 2005 Supreme Court case, Gonzales v. Raich, permits such a broad reading of the Commerce Clause that the federal government can tell individual citizens that they have to buy health insurance. The Raich case was about medical marijuana. Angel Raich, a resident of Oakland, Calif., used medical marijuana to deal with the debilitating pain caused by an inoperable brain tumor, a seizure disorder, and a life-threatening wasting syndrome. California law allowed her to do so, but the Drug Enforcement Administration claimed that the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) made no exception for those in Raich's position.
... Several conservative drug-war supporters in the House joined a brief in support of a limitless reading of Congress's Commerce Clause power in the Raich case but have since denounced the application of that power in Obamacare - the unintended consequence of a shortsighted focus on maximizing drug enforcement.
... The jump from Raich to Obamacare is a short one, at least in the government's eyes. The dissenters in Raich predicted the expansion of Commerce Clause authority. Justice Thomas warned that if the federal government could override a state's licensing of medical marijuana, "then it can regulate virtually anything - and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers."
5. Speaking of unintended consequences, Las Vegas's housing bust is becoming a boon to indoor growers, Gus Lubin with Business Insider reports.
6. And a Humboldt County bookstore owner Amy Stewart writes a New York Times op-ed about receiving eight ounces of premium bud in the mail.
7. Tom Meyer of meyertoons.com illustrates a reason why Prop 19 failed. Weed dealers have become 'The Man'.
8. Mother Jones magazine's Josh Harkinson reports on Why NorCal is Stoked That Pot's Still Illegal.
9. And actor Seth Rogen on Conan on Prop 19 failing. "The good news is, literally anyone on Earth can get a medical marijuana card. .. They said, 'what do you need it for?' I told them, 'I have a very specific ailment. It's called: 'I Ain't Got No Weed On Me Right Now'."