Thursday, August 7, 2014

Karate for Potheads: More Proof That Drug Courts and Drug Testing Are Huge Legal Scams to Gobble Up Government Pork

by David Downs
Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 10:42 AM

The nation’s specialized courts for marijuana crime, as well as its drug testing policies, while well-intentioned, are also scams to get government dollars. Ensnared marijuana users who don’t have a problem are sent through these courts and end up in rehab programs that are ineffective or downright predatory. When pot users are done with these rehab programs, rampant, government-subsidized urine screening stands at the ready to send them through the system again — all at enormous cost to American taxpayers.

Previously, we told you about how California’s mandatory drug rehab programs have poor oversight and are sometimes staffed with convicted pedophiles and thieves with no qualifications.

Now there’s more.

On July 26, the Los Angeles Times published a damning report on the rapid expansion of wasteful and ineffective drug courts that send folks to those programs. More Americans are arrested for pot each year than for any other drug or for violent crimes. “In many areas, those charged with marijuana possession are the single largest group of offenders sent to drug-court treatment programs.”

The nation’s 2,700 drug courts were pitched as a way to divert hard-core addicts from prison, but those courts don’t actually accept people with real problems like heroin or meth. Instead, these courts, which are controlled by local governments, suck up federal funds and feast on pot users.

“Some pot users who might have simply faced a fine in the regular court system are instead getting moved into the drug-court system for months on end ... They are often required to pay for expensive treatment programs and risk jail time if they break program rules along the way.”

One of those treatment programs: Karate.

“A group of scholars who recently reviewed data from drug courts concluded the system has done little to reduce prison crowding for that reason.”

In Florida, Broward County's public defender called the county's marijuana court "one of the stupidest courts ever created. ... Most of the people in drug court … are not addicts."

There’s more.

Drug testing labs in notoriously conservative San Diego County are the top recipients of Medicare reimbursements, an analysis revealed. One such lab — Millennium -got busted for paying kickbacks to doctors and others for bringing in business. A judge ordered Millenium to pay $14 million in actual and punitive damages for such kickbacks.

“Millennium was San Diego County’s largest recipient of Medicare reimbursements in 2012, according to data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in April. The company received at least $190 million in payments for performing nearly 8.7 million services.”

Millennium does tons of screens for pot.


Some of the chief critics of moves to legalize marijuana — like former White House Drug Czars - own these pot testing companies. These groups have funded a nationwide push to drug test all welfare applicants — all at enormous cost to taxpayers and little benefit.

The panoramic picture that’s emerging is one of rampant tax dollars wasted — not to mention lives destroyed — so a vast swath of companies and bureaucrats can keep profiting from a failed pot prohibition.

More on this to come.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Why Cops Hate Medical Marijuana — They Think It's a Sham

by David Downs
Wed, Aug 6, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Cops in Colorado are playing ball with recreational pot legalization, because they feel that it’s a more “honest” proposal than enforcing medical marijuana law.

That’s just one juicy tidbit from the Brookings Institute’s new report on the implementation of Colorado’s Amendment 64. The report is basically about good governance and praises Colorado state bureaucrats for meeting tough constitutional deadlines to implement their legalization program.

But the report has tons of tips for California, if you know how to read it.

1) It praises the governor of Colorado for setting the tone and implementing the will of the voters. "The governor’s office has spearheaded communication efforts, hiring a marijuana policy coordinator — effectively a marijuana czar — who works internally and externally to identify policy and implementation challenges, communication breakdowns, and other needs across the state." 

Governor Jerry Brown, by contrast, is MIA on California weed law in its hour of need.

2) It praises Colorado’s marijuana task forces — which brought together both cops as well as dispensaries, growers, and regulators. "The government must rely on non-governmental stakeholder groups for much information about a product that, until recently, was illegal in Colorado for nearly a century." Diversity fostered wide political support, the paper finds.

California sorely needs such a task force.

3) And among those task force members, Brookings praises the police for adapting to the changing times. Brookings’ researcher notes cops in Colorado are going along with legalization because it validates their worldview that pot is just for getting high.

“Chief Vasquez cited a broader cultural change: the introduction of retail sales, he said, ‘was at least a more honest conversation than medical.’

Even though the number of medical users has increased since legalization (more on this below), the introduction of legal retail sales has improved optics for those who felt the old system was a sham. By reducing the recourse to wink-and-nod circumventions of medical-marijuana rules, such ‘policy honesty’ may temper resentment, improve the new policy’s perceived legitimacy, and encourage compliance.”
California's 420 nurses decrease the legitimacy of medical marijuana in the eyes of the police and encourage non-compliance with state law, research indicates. - 420NURSES.COM
  • California's 420 nurses decrease the legitimacy of medical marijuana in the eyes of the police and encourage non-compliance with state law, research indicates.

That's a powerful observation. Few things piss off police officers more than liars and people who think they know the law. For example, teenage skate punks who refuse questioning and flash a medical marijuana recommendation just drive them up the wall.

Ironically, full-scale legalization in California may be the one thing that forces police in the Golden State to evolve toward a post-drug war mindset.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New York Times’ Pot Series ‘High Time’ Continues to Blow Minds

by David Downs
Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 9:57 AM

The New York Times is going to go down in history as part of the tipping point in the War on Marijuana.

Last week we noted the paper's debut as a leader in cannabis policy thinking with the bold editorial calling for the national legalization of marijuana.

A week later, it’s become clear that the New York Times had a much bigger plan.

“We decided we wanted to shout something out, to really crank up the volume,” said Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor, in an article by the Time's ombudsman.

Check out the entirety of the six-part series the Times has done over the last week, which continued Sunday with a section on regulation. 

The Times outlined the paper's position last Sunday, then tackled marijuana’s related issues of State’s RightsCriminal JusticeHistory, Health, Track Records, and Regulation.

Along the way, the Times goaded the White House into lying to America about pot yet again, then the paper swatted down those outright lies and straw men erected by the Drug War establishment — and caused other outlets to also push back hard against Pot War propaganda. The Times fact-checked down the annoyingly inaccurate pot-schizophrenia link, and did a video on wet vs dry cities for pot in Colorado.

The New York Times has done more than seize the reins of the debate in this country. The paper made us a subscriber. Other major outlets need to ask themselves (ahem, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, BANG): Just what do they stand for?

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