The Weight of Thought

Cops take your pot?

They’ve got to give it back if you’ve got a medical marijuana card – even one from another state.

Without comment the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to disturb state court rulings that said medical marijuana patients whose drugs are taken by police are entitled to get them back.

Monday’s order most immediately affects Valerie Okun, whose drugs were taken at a Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 8 near Yuma in 2011. While she was never prosecuted – she has a valid medical marijuana card from California – sheriff’s deputies refused to return the drugs.

The order should finally put the issue to rest. Until now, Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot refused to hand over the marijuana despite contrary rulings from the Arizona Court of Appeals and Arizona Supreme Court.

Mounting evidence shows ‘cannabinoids’ in marijuana slow cancer growth, inhibit formation of new blood cells that feed a tumor, and help manage pain, fatigue, nausea, and other side effects.

Cristina Sanchez, a young biologist at Complutense University in Madrid, was studying cell metabolism when she noticed something peculiar. She had been screening brain cancer cells because they grow faster than normal cell lines and thus are useful for research purposes. But the cancer cells died each time they were exposed to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive ingredient of marijuana.

Instead of gaining insight into how cells function, Sanchez had stumbled upon the anti-cancer properties of THC. In 1998, she reported in a European biochemistry journal that THC “induces apoptosis [cell death] in C6 glioma cells,” an aggressive form of brain cancer. 

Subsequent peer-reviewed studies in several countries would show that THC and other marijuana-derived compounds, known as “cannabinoids,” are effective not only for cancer-symptom management (nausea, pain, loss of appetite, fatigue), they also confer a direct antitumoral effect

A team of Spanish scientists led by Manuel Guzman conducted the first clinical trial assessing the antitumoral action of THC on human beings. Guzman administered pure THC via a catheter into the tumors of nine hospitalized patients with glioblastoma, who had failed to respond to standard brain-cancer therapies. The results were published in 2006 in the British Journal of Pharmacology: THC treatment was associated with significantly reduced tumor cell proliferation in every test subject.

What defines the Democrats? 

As the US presidential race enters its final leg, we ask if the Democratic Party is pragmatic or progressive.

Until recently, most scientists believed that neurons were the all-important brain cells controlling mental functions and that the surrounding glial cells were little more than neuron supporters and “glue.” Now research published in March in Cell reveals that astrocytes, a type of glia, have a principal role in working memory. And the scientists made the discovery by getting mice stoned.

Marijuana impairs working memory—the short-term memory we use to hold on to and process thoughts. Think of the classic stoner who, midsentence, forgets the point he was making. Although such stupor might give recreational users the giggles, people using the drug for medical reasons might prefer to maintain their cognitive capacity.

Rebecca Brown says she tried every prescription drug she could find to control the frequent seizures her son suffered because of a severe form of epilepsy.

When nothing worked consistently, and the drugs and special diet caused kidney stones and pancreas problems as side effects, the Oakland County woman turned to medical marijuana.

Now, Cooper Brown, 14, is one of 44 Michigan residents younger than 18 with a medical marijuana card. His mom says his seizures have dropped off dramatically since he started using it early this year.

But the treatment is controversial. Marijuana — medical or otherwise — is illegal at the federal level and some doctors say it shouldn’t be used by adults, let alone children. A lack of clinical studies means there is uncertainty about its effects on developing brains and nervous systems.

Hi, I’m Obama…Oh! You’re a Voter!? I have something you’ll like…..

Election Years Calls for Election Measures

So, Obama has come out of the closet in support of Gay Marriage!!!! Better late than never, I guess. Although in the popular perspective, this is wonderful!!! “Oh that Obama! He gets it! Soon we will all be equal!” While this is important to the ongoing civil rights struggles for LGBTQ citizens, that the president is finally waiving support for Gay Rights in marriage, what exactly does it entail?
    Is he going to sign off and make Gay Marriage legal at the Federal level? I have no idea. Obama is an enigma. Though one thing is fishy about the timing is all. Many of his critics, namely the dastardly Republicans have been calling him out on pandering  for the Gay vote since it’s an election year. Although, we don’t hear enough criticism of Obama from the Left. Even though Obama is Democrat, he operates as one in the way that Green Day operates as a punk band. However, Barack Obama captivates us. He’s so slick and mysterious. He’s great with the youth vote. Utilizing the internet and he speaks to us on a level at par with a hip dad that used to skate board and has palled around with MTV stars, he’s very consumer friendly….and he should be. As a president that will go down in history with the most successful and profitable marketing campaign ever! He even got Sarah Silverman to do an advertisement for his 2008 presidential campaign.

    Considering it’s an election year, Obama has this one in the bag, at least for the moment. I mean the insanity of the presidential options put forth by the Right are theocratic, plutocratic, wanna be fascist nightmares. No one is going to vote for the remaining two GOP’ers in the race….  an oblivious multi-billionaire yuppie that lacks a personality and the gold prospecting old man that was unmasked at the end of every Scooby Doo episode.

    However in reality, there are no oppositional forces pushing for presidential combat from the Left that are willing to call him out on his lack of constructive attention on issues such as crucial civil liberties like freedom of speech, assembly, 4th Amendment issues and commitment to environmental sustainability.

    Within the last two years, the constitutional crisis since 9/11 have become a bit more intense. While most of the rampant wiretapping the Bush administration had rolling post 9/11 had ceased, there are still the humiliating pat-downs and dangerous body scanners at TSA checkpoints in airports and bus stations. The Joe Biden approved Patriot Act and it’s “secret law interpretations” are still in effect. Smart phones are more readily tracked, along with an upcoming aerial drone based surveillance program and a massive NSA data mining center being built in Utah. Oh, and the Supreme Court ruled that anyone can be strip searched when detained regardless of offense….Oh and one more thing, there has been a plethora of Internet censorship and surveillance bills floating around in Congress

    The erosion of the 4th and 1st Amendments became more noticeable during  the Fall of 2011, when America’s own home grown, grass roots, pro-democracy movement Occupy Wallstreet sprang off the tips of the tongues of the disenfranchised middle class and in-debt college youth. As many should already know, back in September of 2011 an amalgamation of politically activated hipsters, labor and civil rights organizations and other numerously mixed politically idealized community activists organized massive sit-ins and demonstrations at a former publicly owned park in New York. As months passed, the Occupy movements’ ideas about directly led, democratic, sometimes peaceful responses to government corruption, income disparity, environmental destruction, racism, homophobia, internet censorship, unfair working conditions, ending foreign and domestic wars, as well as the police violence brought upon peaceful protestors, spread around the world. During the span of the numerous Occupy demonstrations and camps, many law enforcement agencies including the FBI and NSA conducted round the clock surveillance of Occupiers and their activities. In many cases infiltrating general assemblies disguised as concerned citizens and disseminating the movement’s goals and protest strategies back to law enforcement. When the Occupiers set out to march or conduct demonstrations, the police would set up barriers and claim arbitrary laws like “free speech zones” to thwart the protestors’ plans to peaceably assemble. In incidents where protestors started to out number cops in a march, “agent provocateurs” or undercover cops dressed in all black, covering their faces, start to cause trouble by smashing windows or otherwise vandalize property and harass on-duty police officers. As “agents” stir trouble, it gives law enforcement reason to use heavy handed crowd control tactics. Now, objectively, there have been instances, such as in Oakland California and elsewhere that militant protestors used a “diversity of tactics” in which “Black Block” would smash corporate property or set fires to trashcans and throw them at riot cops and the like. However, it would behoove those who wish to be on the right side of history to examine  the incidents of unprovoked police brutality having to do with pepper spray, the use of chemical agents and the reality of citizens mortally injured as a result of “non-lethal” crowd control weapons. These are regular middle class people, as well as college students, who have to risk their lives and reputations to express a right that was fought for by our ancestors…..and Obama has not condemned the police brutality brought upon the Occupy protestors, nor the police violence and intimidation of  citizen journalists, or the arrests, harassment, and surveillance of Occupy organizers. The president has at least responded to the protests by non saliently saying how he gets that it’s hard out there and he knows what it’s like. He only half heartedly, sort of in the way of a father figure, reasserts your feelings of grievance, if only for the sake that you try harder. The numbers on income inequality, rising cost of living, and a minimum wage that must be bumped up to an adequate living wage, belie the president’s nO drama-Bama attitude.

    Now, aside from Obama’s inability to ameliorate the Class War, his willingness to let the social safety nets be subject to the will of the wealthy is only parallel to his willingness to go back on his word about sticking to clean energy and high environmental standards. Earlier this month Obama surprised environmentalists by approving the construction of a massive oil pipeline that will extend from Canada through Nebraska and ends in the Gulf of Mexico. This other election ploy is a pander to big energy, big dirty energy that is. This BP oil spill part dux to-be is the Keystone XL pipeline, which will be transporting the dirtiest of fossil fuels, known as tar sands, from Alberta. Which will be transported overseas to sell to whatever country or corporation’s highest bid. While we in the U.S. will only use some of the energy that comes through….not lessening our dependence on foreign energy and perpetuating the ecocide of our planet.

    This is certainly shaping up to be a mad retarded election year. Just look at all the votes Obama is trying capitalize on. Boom! Took out Osama!(supposedly, pics or it didn’t happen). Now we’re supposedly bringing troops home from Afghanistan, though the military will be maintaining the occupation with military advisers to security forces there on into the 2020’s. So he’s got the military vote. Obama’s been cracking down on Medical Marijuana facilities in states where it was voted legal. He’s been going back and forth on drug policy since he got into office. One big vote that got him into the Whitehouse was the young stoner and Medical Marijuana patient vote because of his rhetoric  on acknowledging state’s rights in terms of allowing the legal market to flourish….However, there is money to be made in law enforcement and the private prison industry (FYI: There are more African Americans in prison today than there were enslaved in the 1800’s). So he’s got the Drug Warrior vote in and now he’s got the Gay vote. Obama has also seemingly come out against the latest internet censorship/surveillance bill but for only some wishy-washy reasons. So his veto threat to CISPA may still win him the tech vote. Only now he needs Wallstreet’s vote. Shouldn’t be too hard, though.

    But can you blame him? He’s such a dapper, clever black man. A lot like the “milk chocolate” guy from the Boondocks cartoon. While I’ll give him credit for the health care law, which I still don’t really understand the controversy or the details of the bill. I do understand the need for a better healthcare system, possibly some kind of sensible, fair, universal, single payer kind of scenario. Cuz, Lord knows the Canadians, Europeans, and Scandinavians do far better in those areas.

    However I’m not certain I can cast a vote for Obama again. I feel like he ran off with my first vote virginity and I didn’t get any commitment in return. Although, I’m certainly not going to vote for anyone on the Right, nor some obscure Third Party, I don’t think we need a new president as much as I think we need a new social contract. Honestly, I think we should skip the election and have a Constitutional Convention.  Get the states and the little people, the natives, the hippies, the poor, the workers, the soldiers. Everyone should just come together  and assert our issues and grievances openly and honestly. Get money out of politics, repair the planet, bring back fairness. We don’t need no fancy leader to tell us we can have things when we have the ability to operate our world and society without insincere “representatives”.

Yesterday the Justice Department unsealed an indictment that charges eight men from three countries with running “a sophisticated online drug marketplace that sold everything from marijuana to mescaline to some 3,000 people around the world,” A.P. reports:

"The Farmer’s Market"…allowed suppliers of drugs—including LSD, Ecstasy and ketamine—to anonymously sell their wares online. They hooked up with buyers in 34 countries and accepted various forms of payment, including cash, Western Union and PayPal transactions, the indictment claims….

The market “provided a controlled substances storefront, order forms, online forums, customer service, and payment methods for the different sources of supply” and charged the suppliers a commission based upon the value of the order, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles.

Responding to the Obama Administration’s latest national drug control strategy, leading drug policy reform advocates assailed the president for “prioritizing low-level drug arrests” over other policies that even the White House has acknowledged to be more effective in boosting public health and safety.

In an introductory statement (PDF) issued Tuesday, President Barack Obama wrote that his strategy outlines “A Drug Policy for the 21st Century“ that emphasizes addiction treatments over incarceration and life-saving outreach over harsh law enforcement. The White House website even brags about the effectiveness of harm-reduction strategies over mass incarcerations, saying the approach is “grounded in decades of research and scientific study.”

“There is overwhelming evidence that drug prevention and treatment programs achieve meaningful results with significant long-term cost savings,” the Office on National Drug Control Policy claims. “In fact, recent research has shown that each dollar invested in an evidence-based prevention program can reduce costs related to substance use disorders by an average of $18.”

By implementing a drug control strategy that acknowledges the growing body of knowledge on how to mitigate the worst effects of substance abuse, “we will not only strengthen our economy but also sustain the national character and spirit that has made the United States a world leader,” Obama’s statement explains.

On today’s episode of NORML SHOW LIVE we spoke live with Richard Lee, founder of Oaksterdam University.  Click this link to hear the interview.

Richard told me he’s doing as well as can be expected when federal agents violate your home and business.  He tells us the nature of the federal warrants that were served Monday in early morning raids.

Richard was “treated well” by the authorities – “they didn’t even break anything,” he told us – and he was not arrested, though that possibility still exists.

Six organizations looking to reform U.S. drug laws urged President Barack Obama to halt raids on medical marijuana providers following the raid on Oaksterdam University in California.

“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,” Drug Policy Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Marijuana Policy Project, National Cannabis Industry Association, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) wrote in a letter to the President.

Oaksterdamn University, which trained people to work in the booming medical marijuana industry, was raided by federal agents on Monday.