Tag: Marijuana Laws

Federalism: Republican Utah Senator Supports States’ Rights

On May 25, Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R) enjoyed a rather thought provoking conversation with C-Span’s Neal Katyal regarding the 10th Amendment, federalism, government overreach, and the complex issue of voter-approved state marijuana laws.

A timely issue for states that have reformed their counterproductive pot laws, Sen. Lee’s new book scrutinized the federal government’s overreach and assessed just how ‘The Forgotten Founders Who Fought Big Government’ would have reacted to a United States Atty. Gen. threatening the sovereignty of individual states – for simply legalizing a peaceful herb.

For his new book, “Written Out of History: The Forgotten Founders Who Fought Big Government,” the Utah Senator evokes the powerful philosophy that motivated our seemingly forgotten forefathers who fought valiantly against an overly burdensome federal government.

When asked during the interview whether or not Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and the rest of our founding fathers would have allowed the individual states to legalize marijuana, the Utah Republican answered succinctly – ‘Yes.’

“Most certainly, it would have been a matter of first principles.”

Click here to view video

Click here to view video

The junior Sen. from Utah explained: “I think deciding whether or not you’re going to allow a particular treatment, a particular pharmaceutical product for example; specifically if that product can be produced and sold entirely within the state in question, that a state ought to have that power.”

Sen. Lee, a trailblazer within the GOP, has continuously searched for alternatives to stiff sentences for those accused of low-level crimes. During his 2010 campaign, Sen. Lee continually shared the disheartening story of Weldon Angelos. Sentenced to 55 years in 2004, Angelos was handed what was essentially a life sentence without the possibility of parole for his first marijuana distribution charge.

Once an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Sen. Lee felt the extended sentence was little more than institutionalized cruelty. Instrumental in obtaining the Utah man’s early release from a federal correction facility, Lee’s intervention was paramount in getting Angelos released from prison after 12 long years.

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With marijuana decriminalized by a majority of voters in roughly 70% of U.S. states, the will of the people is currently trumping those outdated policies in the nation’s capital. However, with the new ‘law and order’ administration seizing power and threatening all states with federal marijuana enforcement, the tension between legal states and the federal government remains extremely high.

As more states try and legalize cannabis while the federal government moves enthusiastically to enforce their laws against it, many anticipate this debate to spark a constitutional conundrum over the federal government’s ridiculous prohibition.

 

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Drug-Related Deaths in Germany Rise for Fourth Consecutive Year

In 2016, 1,333 people died in Germany due to the use of dangerous substances — a nine percent increase compared to the previous year.

Drug Zar Marlene Mortler (CSU) and the President of the Federal Police Office (BKA) Holger Münch recently announced the death toll figures during their presentation of the annual criminal statistics this month in Berlin.

The number of drug-related deaths has now risen for the fourth consecutive year and appears poised to eclipse the 2008 record of 1,449 deaths. The majority of Germany’s drug-related deaths are caused by opioids and opiates.

Overall, the number of registered offenses in 2016 rose by 7.1 percent to 302,594 cases. In the case of cannabis-related offenses, a rise of 8.5 percent to a total of 183,015 was recorded.

According to these figures, more than 60 percent of all drug-related offenses are connected to cannabis. The increase from 132,745 to 145,915 does not include trafficking, smuggling, or possession of large quantities. The spike in offenses strongly suggests that the German police continue to target cannabis users even though consumption is not punishable and possession of small quantities has been decriminalized, at least according to the letter of the law.

The year-to-year increase in seized quantities of illicit substances is even more drastic. In 2016, a total of 1,874 kg hashish was confiscated, an increase of 17.2 percent over the previous year. The 5.9 tons of cannabis, which ended in German Police’s evidence lockers, means a substantial increase of 54.6 percent compared to the previous year. That sounds like quite a lot, but compared to the German Hemp Association’s (DHV) estimation of 198 to 396 tonnes of annual cannabis demand in Germany, 5.9 tonnes is hardly significant when it comes to availability. As aptly stated in the annual crime report, “Cannabis remains the most commonly consumed drug.”

The most alarming death toll increase stems from the so-called Legal Highs. In the case of substances sold as “herbal mixtures” or “bath salts,” the number of deaths rose from 39 in 2015 to 98 in 2016. Legal highs, most of which have fallen under the reformed Narcotic Drugs Act since December 2016, are predominantly consumed in the south of Germany. Many users order the dangerous herbal mixtures online, because the extreme repression in the southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg makes it difficult to access prohibited cannabis buds. Another reason for the consumption of Legal Highs is drug testing — most those substances can not be detected in the blood or urine during a DUI-test. In a country that places a limit of 1ng of THC, even occasional users can be punished for an DUI-offense days after consuming cannabis.

According to the “Global Drug Survey“, artificial cannabinoids are 30 times more likely to be responsible for health complications than real cannabis. For Germany, such figures are not available, because such toxicity is statistically determined by the ICD10 code defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as disorder F12 “Psychological and behavioral disorders caused by cannabinoids.” There is still no international code for “mental and behavioral disorders caused by Legal Highs/ Designer drugs.”

In respect of the rapid increase in violent offenses mentioned in the criminal statistics, targeting cannabis users is almost absurd. The strategy has long since failed and is becoming more and more dangerous, as the Legal High-problem proves. By lifting  Germany’s cannabis ban, Legal High abuse would not likely be the significant problem it is today. The managing director of the German headquarters for addiction (DHS), Raphael Gaßmann also called for a rethinking of the drugs policy. “The fact that the substances are getting cleaner and cheaper shows that we will not go further with the ban policy at this end,” Gaßmann stated in the ARD, Germany’s largest television station.

Photo courtesy of frankieleon

 

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Canadians Still Arrested For Pot Despite Looming Legalization

Although the government of Canada is in the process of legalizing adult-use marijuana, at times it can be hard to tell. Legalization was a major campaign promise for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, however, his refusal to decriminalize the plant in the interim has been widely criticized. This dissidence has come from members of the opposition […]

 

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