Apparently Nobody Told Rhode Island AG Kilmartin That The Drug War is Over
Rhode Island’s General Assembly recently passed a ban on “synthetic marijuana” products, which includes products such as “K2” or “Spice”. While it’s puzzling that the General Assembly is ignoring the fact that these products existence is simply yet another negative effect of marijuana prohibition, something Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said is even more puzzling:
“Synthetic drugs are the new frontier in the war on drugs and we must provide law enforcement with the tools to effectively prosecute those who manufacture, distribute and possess the drugs and chemical compounds.” [source]
Apparently, nobody has told Kilmartin that we’re no longer supposed to be waging “war” on drugs. Gil Kerlikowske, current head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, claims the term “War on Drugs” is counterproductive, and that we should putting emphasis on treatment of drug addiction, rather than wasting time declaring war on inanimate objects. Unfortunately, as Rhode Island continues to struggle with high levels of drug abuse, both the state and federal governments rather spend millions of dollars a year on law enforcement efforts instead of education and treatment. Obama’s 2014 budgets proposes 58% of the federal drug budget to be used on law enforcement efforts, showing that the change in rhetoric hasn’t resulted in a change in tactics.
URI Hempfest is our annual event promoting cannabis law reform. The event is a music festival on URI’s quad, featuring live bands, speakers, vendors and more! This year’s event will be on Saturday, April 20th from 3-11pm. Check out the facebook event pagefor more details.
FUNGUS AMUNGUS ROZ RASKIN AND THE RICE CAKES THE KOLOUR KULT DYLAN SEVEY AND THE GENTLEMEN BOO CITY MATH THE BAND VULGARRITY AUSTIN HEVEY AND THE HEAVIES
Presented by WRIU 90.3FM
Also featuring Vendors, Speakers, Glassblowing, a silent auction,and more!
Our first meeting of the semester is TONIGHT at 7PM in Room 354 of Memorial Union. We’ll be talking Hempfest updates, other plans for spring events, and some new developments in the RI legalization effort. Hope to see you there!.
Best Way to Protect Teens from Marijuana? Tax and Regulate.
This election season, voters in two states, Washington and Colorado, decided to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. These were not spontaneous events, and these votes weren’t decided by your stereotypical couch-locked stoner. In fact in Colorado, votes in favor of legalizing marijuana outnumbered those for President Obama, who won the state, clearly showing that those who support legalizing cannabis are just those who are just looking to “get high.” In fact, more and more average Americans are waking up the deeply disturbing effects that marijuana prohibition has had on our country. Just a few weeks ago, Indiana state Police Chief Paul Whitesell publicly called for the end of marijuana prohibition, saying if it was up to him, he’d tax and regulate the substance.
Despite the rhetoric that the war on marijuana is protecting our children, marijuana use amongst teens is still alarmingly high. That being said, states that have decided to implement medical marijuana programs have seen no negative impact in teen use rates. In fact, a study right here in Rhode Island showed that this state’s medical marijuana program led to no increase in use among teens. Similar studies have shown an actual decrease in teen use following the regulation of marijuana, showing that regulating the drug makes it harder for teens to get their hands on it. It’s simple logic, drug dealers don’t typically ask for I.D. Many teenagers, in fact, report that alcohol is much more difficult to obtain than cannabis, despite alcohol being a legal substance.
While legalizing marijuana in order to protect children may seem paradoxical to some at first, it’s clear that our current tactics of criminalizing use simply are not working. By legalizing marijuana, we can tax adult recreational use (which is clearly already occurring) while protecting children through sensible regulation which requires proper I.D, and strict penalties for those who sell marijuana to minors. In a future with legal cannabis, teens caught with the substance wouldn’t be sucked into the criminal justice system. Instead, teens would receive treatment for potential drug problems, while the registered store or individual responsible for teen sales could be brought to justice. Furthermore, the tax revenue made from legal cannabis, combined with the freeing of funds now used to arrest and prosecute marijuana users, could be used to help pay for the much underfunded programs that seek to help prevent and treat teen drug abuse.
A growing number of people are now speaking out about the failures of the War on Drugs. Last friday, a documentary was released on youtube, called Breaking the Taboo. Narrated by Morgan Freeman and featuring several current and former heads of state, including Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, the film highlights how the War on Drugs and criminalizing drug possession has failed to reduce global drug use. The film also discusses how the Netherlands has less cannabis use than surrounding European countries, even though the dutch have de-facto legalization, where cannabis is sold to adults in tightly regulated coffee shops.
Many so called prevention organizations refuse to listen to the growing amount of criticism towards our nation’s cannabis laws. They think that more taxpayer money and harsher treatment of adult smokers will someday magically lead to an end of recreational cannabis use. The reality of their rhetoric is they focus on frightening parents who have honest concerns for their children, and they stay clear from discussing the nuances of drug policy, because they realize their arguments have little logical merit.
A common argument against regulation is that legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco cause enough damage to our teens, and that we shouldn’t add another drug to that list. This claim fails to acknowledge, however, that cannabis is less addictive than both of those substances, and chronic marijuana use has a substantially smaller health impact than abuse of legal drugs. Not to mention that both states that recently legalized dedicated a certain percentage of tax revenue to drug prevention and treatment, allowing for funding of programs designed to allow teens the education to make the right choices about all drugs.
Another common argument from prohibitionists is that stoned drivers will wreak havoc following legalization, but driving while high will remain as illegal then as it is now. Regulation would allow police officers to focus more attention on intoxicated drivers anyways. We hardly blame alcohol companies for drunk driving, so why we should blame an inanimate substance rather than the irresponsible user who chooses to get behind the wheel?
Both of these arguments also rely on the fallacy that legalization will cause a dramatic increase in marijuana use. However, it’s clear that despite the current laws, the majority of people who have the desire to use cannabis recreationally are already doing so. Legalization critics ignore the fact that these policies that are desperately trying to save will continue to fail to curb marijuana use, just as they have failed since the beginning of the War on Drugs in the the 1970’s. We at Students for Sensible Drug Policy, as well as _a majority of Rhode Islanders_, believe that the only way we can protect teens from marijuana use is to legalize the substance for adult use. Only then will we be able to eliminate the black market and set up a system of sensible regulation in it’s place, one that actively works to keep cannabis out of the hands of our youth.
- Eric Casey, URI Students for Sensible Drug Policy, URISSDP.org
“According to research by Harry Levine at Queens College in New York, Latinos and African Americans are arrested in New York City at rates far exceeding whites, even as whites use marijuana at higher rates. Similar disparities have been found in the top 25 counties in California as well as in 11 of the largest cities in the United States. The targeting of non-white people for marijuana smoking is a primary reason the NAACP has endorsed the legalization measures pending in three Western states.”—Beating the Drug War (via prettayprettaygood)
“I’ve heard many Democrats address Obama’s handling of the marijuana issue by asking, “what do you expect?” and I’m happy to answer them. I expect change. Absent that, I expect an explanation. An explanation is something you ought to have when you’re arresting millions of people to protect them from a piece of plant material they put in their own pocket. The billions we spend trying to stop people from relaxing in this particular fashion should be subject to the same scrutiny as any other enormous amount of money our government spends, if not far more.”—Scott Morgan (via prettayprettaygood)
If you are an incoming freshman or transfer student, welcome to the University of Rhode Island! If not, welcome back for another year!
I’m Eric Casey, president of the URI chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. SSDP is a grassroots organization with hundreds of chapters at universities around the world, dedicated to ending the so-called “War on Drugs” and advocating for sensible drug laws that treat drug use as a public heath issue, and not a criminal justice issue. Some of the causes we believe in include:
Legalizing cannabis at the state and federal levels.
Protecting Rhode Island’s medical marijuana system from federal interference.
Encouraging campus policies that do not unjustly punish a student for minor drug possession violations.
Lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 years of age.
Protecting students from losing financial aid due to a drug possession arrest.
Policies that treat drug addiction as a disease, not a crime, as well as policies that distinguish between addictive drug use and recreational drug use.
Implementing good samaritan policies, which allow students to report drug/alcohol overdoses without disciplinary repercussions.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy is a great way to meet like-minded peers, have fun, learn critical career skills and to make a positive difference in the world. In the two years I’ve been apart of URI SSDP, I’ve been presented with some amazing opportunities to travel to different drug policy reform related events, often with financial assistance from URI. Some of our past endeavors have included:
Going to the International Drug Policy Reform conference in Los Angeles, where our members took tours of medical marijuana facilities and urban areas heavily impacted by the drug war, as well as participating in panels with leading experts in the drug policy reform movement.
Attending the 2012 New Hampshire Republican primary elections with other university’s chapter members, in order to get the drug policy related views of the leading candidates for president on record.
Going to Washington D.C. to advocate the importance of drug law reform at political conferences such as CPAC.
Traveling to the United Nations with other chapter’s members for a debate regarding drugs and crime and their impact on economic and social development.
Our meetings this year will be onThursdays from 6pm-7pm in the Senate Chambers, 3rd floor of Memorial Union. Our first meeting will be next week (Sept. 13th). All are welcome! Topics will include an introduction to SSDP and the drug law reform movement, discussing plans for the regional conference as well as our upcoming trip to the Boston Freedom Rally, making preliminary plans for URI Hempfest, a discussion of the recent success of the marijuana legalization movement, and much more.
If you can’t attend our meetings but still want to be in the loop, or If you just want more information about our organization, check out these sites. Especially our facebook and twitter pages so you can stay informed about meeting times and other on-campus events :
Even if you don’t decide to attend our meetings, if you are ever working on a school project involving drug use, or If you have any questions at all regarding drug policy reform as well as campus, state or federal drug laws, please don’t hesitate to contact us. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll probably know someone who does.
We have big plans for this school year and hope that you’ll be apart of them. Thanks and hope to see you soon!
What troubles me about this… I think it’s beyond hypocrisy. I think it’s something to do with class. A lot of people have accused Obama of class warfare, but in the wrong direction. I believe this is Obama chortling with Jimmy Fallon about lower class people. Do we believe, even for a second, that if Obama had been busted for marijuana — under the laws that he condones — would his life have been better? If Obama had been caught with the marijuana that he says he uses, and ‘maybe a little blow’ – cocaine! This casual attitude toward drugs… that makes him really cool on Jimmy Fallon. Makes him the hip president. ‘I’m the cool president. I say weed. I say blow. Ha Ha Ha!’ Huge laugh from the college students.
If he had been busted under his laws, he would have done hard fucking time. And if he had done time in prison, time in federal prison, time for his ‘weed’ and ‘a little blow,’ he would not be President of the United States of America. He would not have gone to his fancy-ass college, he would not have sold books that sold millions and millions of copies and made millions and millions of dollars, he would not have a beautiful, smart wife, he would not have a great job. He would have been in fucking prison, and it’s not a god damn joke. People who smoke marijuana must be set free. It is insane to lock people up. One in six people in prison are in there for weed that Jimmy Fallon and the President of the United States of America laugh about.
“Who are we? We are people who love drugs…we need to find a way to live with it in peace. But we are also people who hate drugs. We have suffered from overdoses and addiction. But we know that drugs are here to stay, and prohibition and the criminal justice system is not the way to deal with it. And we are people who don’t care about drugs. People who care about the Constitution, who care about 2.2 million Americans behind bars, who care about fundamental rights and freedoms.”—Ethan Nadelmann, on the Drug Law Reform movement.
Trenton isn’t exactly known as a factory of good news, but yesterday the New Jersey Supreme Court produced a decision that was certainly not terrible:
A Long Branch police officer violated a resident’s privacy when the officer seized drugs from a third-floor bedroom while responding to a noise complaint during a party, the state Supreme Court ruled this morning.
The Court affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the drugs, which were in plain sight in the bedroom during the 2009 house party, could not be used as evidence because the officer did not have a warrant to search the whole house.
Hemp regenerates in months; it grows extremely quickly, sounds like a perfect thing to make paper with. Unlike trees that can take over 30 years to be ready to harvest hemp is ready to go right away! Why are we still clear cutting forests? Hemp is a way better alternative! The paper that is made from hemp doesn’t become yellow or brittle because hemp is naturally acid free. Did you know that the original declaration of independence was written on hemp paper? Hemp can be recycled up to 7 times, while wood pulp paper can only be recycled a maximum of 3 times. Not to mention that 220 million pounds of toxic pollution or added into the air and water every year during the production of wood paper and pulp. Hemp paper does not need to be bleached with chlorine; it can be whitened with hydrogen peroxide, which is a lot safer for the water and soil of the earth.
2. Clothing & Fabrics
As a fabric, hemp is the optimal choice! ‘Hemp doesn’t wear out, it wears in!’ Hemp clothing becomes softer every time you wash it. Growing hemp requires the use of very little pesticides and no herbicides, so not only is this great for the environment, but in turn, if used for clothing and blankets, it is not harmful for your skin. One acre of hemp will produce as much material as 2-3 acres of cotton. Wow, this hemp really is amazing isn’t it? Hemp material will keep you cool in the heat and keep you warm in the cold, it is known to be 4 times warmer than cotton material! The production of hemp into fabric instead of cotton, as if there aren’t enough amazing facts about hemp fabric as it is, it is also naturally fire retardant! So as oppose to most other fabrics, clothing, bed sheets, linens etc.. it would not need to have fire repellant chemicals added, what a great bonus! :P
3. Plastic & Building Materials
Did you know that Henry Ford made a body for a car that was lighter than steel but could stand 10 times the impact without denting? Of course, it was made of hemp! Hemp can be made into various different building materials, hempcrete, fiberboard, carpet, stucco, cement blocks, insulation, and plastic. Not only are Hemp building supplies a lot better for the environment but also walls made from Hemp are rot free, pest free, mold free and fire resistant! Walls made from hemp can last up to 500 years. How’s that for sustainability? Hemp plastic can completely replace oil based plastic materials that we are using today that contain large amounts of dangerous chemicals such as the very well known Bisphenol A. If all our plastics were made from hemp material you could literally purchase something that came in a plastic hemp container and then throw that container directly into the compost, as hemp plastics are completely biodegradable. Now why have we even been using the other harmful destructive ways of producing plastic?
Hemp can be made into fuel in two ways: The oil from the pressed hempseed can be turned into biodiesel. The fermented stalk can be made into ethanol and methanol. Biodiesel is completely biodegradable and a much cleaner fuel for the air. Even the exhaust produced from burning hempseed biodiesel has a pleasant smell. Although hemp is not the greatest alternative to fuel that is available, hemp fuel can be used temporarily because it can be used in all the existing vehicles today without making any alterations. Both sources of hemp fuel are non-toxic and are completely biodegradable.
So, not only is hemp great for the environment, it is great for your body too! Hemp seeds are known to be one of the most nutritious seeds on the planet! Quite impressive, I know. Along with magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber and almost every vitamin and mineral that the body needs, Hemp seeds contain high amounts of essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Hemp seeds are very high in protein, containing 25% protein content. They do not contain phytic acid, which means every last bit of goodness that these tiny seeds have to offer can be absorbed and utilized by the body! Hemp seeds have a great nutty taste to them too, so you’ll enjoy sprinkling them over salads or your other favorite dishes!’
It is my sad duty to inform that this year’s Hempfest will be cancelled. After discussing it among our organization we have decided is in the best interest of all parties to cancel the event. This was a hectic year for our organization with several board member changes, and ultimately it became too much to accomplish with too little time to do it. HOWEVER, we are working on a replacement event, possibly a dance party on the quad to raise awareness about the marijuana decriminalization bill currently in the State Assembly. More details will be announced soon.
I would like to sincerely apologize to all those who were planning on attending. Since taking over as President a few weeks ago, the organization and I have done everything possible to make this event happen, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. As President of SSDP next year, I promise you that next year’s Hempfest will the best in recent memory. Next year 4/20 is a Saturday, and our first objective of the year will be to secure that date. Until then, SSDP will continue to do everything possible to promote student activism and to change the laws regarding Cannabis and other drugs in our state and federal governments. With Decriminalization on the agenda in Rhode Island and several states looking to legalize in November, it’s look like we’ll have plenty to celebrate at next year’s Hempfest.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy , which is chaired by former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, has pushed the debate about drug legalization into the mainstream. (Photo: Global Commission on Drugs)
What is the best way to deal with drugs? Criminalizing drug users or treating them as patients? Sticking to a strict prohibitionist stance or experimenting with alternative forms of regulation and prevention?
As you may or may not be aware, Pat has resigned as president to attend to some personal matters. Hempfest will still go on as planned. We have quite a bit of work still to do to make that happen, but I am still 100% confident we can do it. So let’s go down to business:
I don’t know if the school is going to make us elect someone as president or if we’re just going to go on as is. I’ll find out before next meeting.
I’ll be meeting with S.E.A tomorrow to figure out what paperwork still needs to be completed.
Hopefully I will hunt down the elusive Chris Warren. I have no idea why it’s so hard to get a hold of him. I sent him an email last week and left him a note today and have gotten nothing. I’m not going to leave campus for the weekend until I talk to him, as obviously a finished set list is something we drastically need right now. This is honestly my biggest concern right now, as is everything else is in our control and do-able.
I’ll be submitting the ATR Treehouse grant for senate approval tomorrow. I may need someone to attend a meeting for me if I can’t get work off or something, so I’ll keep you posted.
We need a t-shirt design, ideally by the next meeting. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something people will buy for $10.
We still need to fundraise. I believe the vendor fees should cover a lot of the money that the senate requires us to raise, but the more the better. Hemp bracelets we could sell would probably be a profitable and easy enough thing to do.
If you got any questions, concerns or ideas, don’t hesitate to call or text me. 774-285-1729.
On a side note, I’m probably going to cancel the movie showing we have scheduled. We should probably focus on Hempfest.
I know this isn’t how we pictured this year panning out, but as I said before, we got this. I think that as long as WRIU hold up their end of the bargain, this year’s Hempfest will equal last year’s if not better it. Also, I just want to take this to tell you how honored and excited I am to be president next year. I have a lot of big plans for the chapter, and will probably spend a solid amount of my free time in the summer laying down a framework to make next year awesome and every meeting worth going to. I also want to make the group as democratic as possible, as well as to make sure we all make it our responsibility that everyone who wants to go on some of the amazing SSDP adventures we have has the opportunity to do it. URI SSDP needs to rep hard everywhere and these conferences and other SSDP events are some of the most awesome things one could possibly imagine. I now realize running a student organization is not as easy as it may seem, but I feel completely ready to take on the responsibility.
Drug Policy Groups Unite to Demand End to Medical Marijuana Raids
THE LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA:
April 4, 2012
President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington D.C. 20500
Via Fax: 2024562461
Dear Mr. President:
Our coalition represents the views of tens of millions of Americans who believe the war on medical marijuana patients and providers you are fighting is misguided and counterproductive. As your administration prepares to release its annual National Drug Control Strategy, we want to speak with one voice and convey our deep sense of anger and disappointment in your lack of leadership on this issue.
Voters and elected officials in sixteen states and the District of Columbia have determined that the medical use of marijuana should be legal. In many of these states, the laws also include means for providing medical marijuana patients safe access to this medicine. These laws allowing for the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana actually shift control of marijuana sales from the criminal underground to state-licensed, taxed, and regulated producers and distributors.
Instead of celebrating – or even tolerating – this state experimentation, which has benefited patients and taken profits away from drug cartels, you have turned your back as career law enforcement officials have run roughshod over some of the most professional and well-regulated medical marijuana providers. We simply cannot understand why you have reneged on your administration’s earlier policy of respecting state medical marijuana laws.
Our frustration and confusion over your administration’s uncalled-for attacks on state-authorized medical marijuana providers was best summed up by John McCowen, the chair of the Mendocino County (CA) board of supervisors, who said, “It’s almost as if there was a conscious effort to drive [medical marijuana cultivation and distribution] back underground. My opinion is that’s going to further endanger public safety and the environment – the federal government doesn’t seem to care about that.”
The National Drug Control Strategy you are about to release will no doubt call for a continuation of policies that have as a primary goal the ongoing and permanent control of the marijuana trade by drug cartels and organized crime. We cannot and do not endorse the continued embrace of this utterly failed policy. We stand instead with Latin American leaders, members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, and the vast majority of people who voted you into office in recognizing that it is time for a new approach on marijuana policy.
With approximately 50,000 people dead in Mexico over the past five years as the result of drug war-related violence, we hope that you will immediately reconsider your drug control strategy and will work with, not against, states and organizations that are attempting to shift control of marijuana cultivation and sales, at least as it applies to medical marijuana, to a controlled and regulated market.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)
Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA)
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
cc: Eric Holder, Attorney General, Department of Justice
James Cole, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice
Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy
A Rhode Island state senator warned police of political retaliation after Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio was pulled over Wednesday on suspicion of driving under the influence, Barrington police said Friday.
According to a police report released Friday, Sen. Frank Ciccone, D-Providence, tried to contact top police officials to deal with “‘the problem’” and told an officer “‘you think you got pension problems now, wait `til this [shit] is all done.’”
Ciccone, 64, told The Associated Press he has been advised by Ruggerio’s attorney to say little about the incident.
"I do not agree with the accuracy of some of the details," he said of the police report released Friday. "I regret anything I may have said that might have been inappropriate."
I heard a lot of crazy things at the decriminalization hearing yesterday, but Sen. Shibley took home the prize by repeating this line two or three times.
NO ONE buys less than an ounce of Marijuana.
Really Senator? Ignoring the obvious question of how a senator would possibly know how much of a drug people on the street are buying, and that comment is still puzzling. I’m not even going to discuss his comments in greater detail, as anyone with the slightest knowledge of recreational Marijuana use knows that the vast majority of people who use cannabis don’t buy that much in a month, let alone at once. I sent him an email to asking about where he got his information.
During Tuesday’s hearing regarding Marijuana Decriminalization, you seemed quite adamant that marijuana users never purchase less than an ounce of marijuana at a time. I had a few people ask me about this statement, and was wondering what your logic or source behind this sentiment was. If you or someone from your office could get back to me on this, It would be greatly appreciated. I know my organization and your view points on this issue differ, but we at URI SSDP appreciate the fact that you had the courage to state your beliefs on the issue, unlike many of today’s politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Don’t like gay marriages? Don’t get one. Don’t like marijuana? Don’t use it. Don’t like cigarettes? Don’t smoke one. Don’t like abortions? Don’t have one. Don’t like sex? Don’t do it. Don’t like drugs? Don’t do them. Don’t like porn? Don’t watch it. Don’t like alcohol? Don’t drink it. Don’t like guns? Don’t buy one. Don’t like your rights taken away? Then don’t take away someone else’s.
“We have realized that the strategy in the fight against drug trafficking in the past 40 years has failed. We have to look for new alternatives. We must end the myths, the taboos, and tell people you have to discuss it, debate it.”—