Fed Allows Cannabis Legalization, Police Unhappy

 yes-we-cannabis

Eric Holder, head of the Department of Justice, recently announced that the DOJ will allow the legalization of cannabis in Washington and Colorado.  While cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, it has been legalized for recreational use in both states.  Recreational users and those using cannabis as a medicine have been rejoicing since the beginning of the year, but had remained nervous due to potential federal crackdowns. It appears the smoke has been cleared; Washington and Colorado are completely free to ingest cannabis without interference at the federal level, well almost completely.

Related Article: Portugal Decriminalizes All Drugs, 10 Years Later the Results are Mind Blowing

Although the DOJ has reserved the right to file a lawsuit against the states, they have taken a “trust but verify approach” to the new state laws. According to Deputy Attorney General James Cole,

The Department’s guidance in this memorandum rests on its expectation that states and local governments that have enacted laws authorizing marijuana-related conduct will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that will address the threat those state laws could pose to public safety, public health and other law enforcement interests. A system adequate to that task must not only contain robust controls and procedures on paper; it must also be effective in practice.

Related Article: War on Drugs Farce Continues Unabated

Despite a new level of state freedom, the DOJ will still prosecute individuals to prevent:

  • the distribution of marijuana to minors;

  • revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels;

  • the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states;

  • state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;

  • violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana

  • drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use;

  • growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands;

  • preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.

Regardless of the stringent guidelines, this represents another huge step in the right direction.

Illinois, the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana, along with Washington D.C. is part of a growing list of regions in America that want an end to the fruitless War on Drugs, and free access to a totally non-toxic, highly effective medicine.

2013-Marijuana-States-August

Despite former heads of the DEA warning the federal government earlier this year that allowing state legalization of cannabis would be dangerous, a growing number of Americans aren’t buying the mindless propaganda.  Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance accurately states that:

The former DEA chiefs’ statement can best be seen as a self-interested plea to validate the costly and failed policies they championed but that Americans are now rejecting at the ballot box.

Some of the most outspoken individuals against the DOJ’s decision are police officers and police chiefs across the country.  Law enforcement officers have already begun protesting the decision.

Related Article: The Incredible and Diverse Medicinal Properties of Cannabis

Despite the role of police as ‘law enforcement,’ they have decided that they are better suited as political activists.

According to a letter submitted to the DOJ from police groups around the nation:

It is unacceptable that the Department of Justice did not consult our organizations — whose members will be directly impacted — for meaningful input ahead of this important decision.

Now, when the police say they will be directly impacted, they are not referring to work load or moral obligations, they are referring to the almighty dollar.  Cannabis crackdowns makes up a large portion of police funding, and without being able to destroy the lives of peaceful, pot smoking citizens, a large portion of officers may very well become unnecessary. Less criminals means less police.

Related Article: Another Casualty of the Paramilitary State

According to the police groups,

The failure of the Federal government to act in this matter is an open invitation to other states to legalize marijuana in defiance of federal law.

For once, let’s hope the police are right. Not only will the DOJ’s decision give freedom back to states and individuals, it will also allow a medley of marijuana stocks to leave their penny stock status and enter the market place, providing additional state and federal revenue and more jobs.  Who knows, maybe all the cops made redundant can get a job at a pot shop.

In the poignant words of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.),

the Justice Department should focus on countering and prosecuting violent crime, while respecting the will of the states whose people have voted to legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal and medical use.

 

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/29/eric-holder-marijuana-washington-colorado-doj_n_3837034.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/30/police-eric-holder-marijuana-_n_3846518.html

http://marijuanastocks.com/content/list-marijuana-stocks

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/05/dea-marijuana_n_2810347.html

http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881

https://wondergressive.com/2013/06/30/the-incredible-and-diverse-medicinal-properties-of-cannabis/

https://wondergressive.com/2012/09/19/portugal-decriminalizes-all-drugs-10-years-later-the-results-are-mind-blowing/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/06/28/war-on-drugs-farce-continues-unabated/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/01/17/another-casualty-of-the-paramilitary-state/

 

Failure of Central Planning and the Venezuelan Toilet Paper Shortage

Venezuelan officials continue to undermine individual freedom by further demonstrating the deleterious effects of economic central planning. The nation is experiencing shortages of dozens of staple items including rice, milk, butter and toilet paper. These shortages have been exacerbated by a new pilot program designed to limit the amount of goods each person can purchase. However, innovation and decentralization have provided a way for savvy shoppers to once again beat the government’s vain attempts to control the market.

In an attempt to curb the crisis, the western state of Zulia is embarking on a digital endeavor that will track the goods individuals purchase and will block them from buying staple products from different stores on the same day. Blagdimir Labrador, a state official, explains:

Considering the average size of a family, one person should only buy 20 staple products during the period that we establish, which we think will be one week.

The initiative’s pilot will be run in 65 supermarkets in Maracaibo, the capital of Zulia.

Related Article: Public School Failure in America

The shortages were in part caused by price controls set into law during the Hugo Chavez administration, which keep goods like rice and flour below their market price. Steve Hanke, an economist at Johns Hopkins University, describes the flawed policy:

State-controlled prices – prices that are set below market-clearing price – always result in shortages. The shortage problem will only get worse, as it did over the years in the Soviet Union.

Although the intention of these policies was to ensure that the poor would have access to these necessities, their actual (and predictable) effect has been to dramatically reduce the supply of staple items.

Recognizing the shortage, many people are stocking up on supplies and some are reselling them at greatly inflated prices to needy Venezuelans. Zulia borders Colombia, where prices are several times the subsidized costs in Venezuela, and there has also been an increase in trade across the border.

Related Article: Income Inequality in America: Red Herrings and Wealth Envy

The result of this market mangling is an eminently foreseeable feedback loop: Economic controls and central planning distort the actual prices of staple products. This imbalance between cost and actual value leads to shortages which create incentives for people to hoard goods. This further diminishes supply, and by rationing the remaining goods the government further induces people to stockpile and the shortage is exacerbated.

In short, the Venezuelan government dug itself into an economic hole and is trying to dig its way out.

The national shortage of toilet paper has struck a nerve with many Venezuelans. In order to quell their frustration, the government says that it is going to import an additional 50 million rolls along with 760,000 tons of food.

Related Article: Bitcoin’s Rise and the Cyprus Bailout

Amazingly, Commerce Minister Alejandro Fleming blamed the shortage of staple goods on “excessive demand.” To a dyed-in-the-wool statist, the inherent friction involved in managing a society is always to be blamed on the proletariat, never on the Top Men attempting to organize the nation.

However, people are already ingeniously subverting the statists’ attempts to model society. On May 29 Jose Augusto Montiel launched an app called Abasteceme, which translates to “Supply Me,” which helps people get around government-caused scarcity. The app utilizes crowd-sourcing technology that alerts users to supermarkets that still have desired goods in stock. According to Montiel, toilet paper and flour are the items most sought after by shoppers. When users find a store that has these items on the shelves, they flock to the market and whip out their checkbooks. More than 12,000 people have already downloaded Abasteceme, mostly in Caracas, but its popularity is spreading.

The economic problems in Venezuela are intrinsic to the state-controlled political legacy Chavez helped create. Venezuela ranks 174th out of 177 in the 2013 Heritage Foundation report on economic freedom, nestled neatly between Eritrea and Zimbabwe. Chavez’ authoritarianism echoes elsewhere in Venezuelan society, as Chavez repeatedly attacked and censored the media for criticizing his regime and held human rights in disregard.

Related Article: The Senate is Useless and Should be Dismantled

Central planners believe in Top Men who have the knowledge and ability to maximize the productivity of a country and its people. They fail, however, to have the humility to realize that this is an absurd task for any leader or politburo, as it’s inherently impossible for a group of few to effectively run a nation of many. History has borne this out repeatedly and this further elucidates the mindset of Top Men. Every problem or inefficiency can be blamed on the Little People who audaciously have an “excessive demand” for anything, be it toilet paper, a free press or even liberty itself. For them, the problem isn’t that their political and economic ideology is fundamentally flawed, logically destined to devolve into the same illiberal hell that every socialist government has thus descended.

It’s that the proletariat didn’t comply or simply that the “right” Top Men weren’t in charge.

Modern technology has made controlling human activity gloriously challenging. This is a decided advantage of living in the 21st century, where people can wirelessly transmit knowledge and innovate myriad wrenches to throw into the machinery of tyranny. However, to statists this development makes their ultimate goals more difficult to achieve. To them it is something to be stymied and snuffed out, perhaps most dramatically seen during the 2011 uprising in Egypt when the Mubarak regime literally turned off the Internet to make it more difficult for the protesters to organize.

This authoritarian impulse can also be seen in America, as news of secret NSA surveillance has been leaked. Also reminiscent of Chavez’ regime, the Associated Press was specifically targeted and the phone records for 20 reporters were seized by the Department of Justice.

The statist playbook is outdated; their only remaining tool is the administration of further force onto an increasingly unwilling populace. This gambit continues to work in many regimes around the world, but its expiration date is nearing. People have begun to realize that the decentralization of power and the abandonment of Top Men leads to freedom and peace.

By innovating to strip Top Men of their iron authority, the Little People—too numerous and evasive to be stomped out—can hopefully reject unwanted and unwarranted authority in illiberal governments around the world.

Sic semper tyrannis.

 

Related Article: Gossip Through the PRISM: NSA Shenanigans

 

Sources:

http://news.yahoo.com/venezuelan-state-considers-system-limit-food-purchases-160925448.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/venezuela/10112604/Venezuelans-use-smartphone-app-to-find-toilet-paper.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/venezuela/10062640/Venezuela-running-out-of-toilet-paper.html

http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking

http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/03/05/venezuela-chavez-s-authoritarian-legacy

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/01/egypt-isp-shutdown/

wondergressive.com/2013/06/11/prism/

North Korean Propaganda About the Western World is Sadly Accurate

North Korea has recently released a propaganda video illustrating the consumeristic and capitalistic world of the West.  It sent shivers down my spine. In an endless attempt to better ourselves and our world, we may as well learn from any and all sources.

Strangely, the video is hauntingly accurate.  It is weird to think that a video produced in such an underdeveloped, struggling, downright crazy country can present so much truth about the life of the West in one package. Take a look in the mirror.  You have been born and raised in this society.

That being said, I am by no means claiming that North Korea is a great country.  It is a country founded on the deception of its citizens and a refusal to cooperate with the world at large (sound familiar?).  The North Korean government starves its citizens of healthy food and jobs on a massive scale in favor of an expensive, standing military (sound familiar?). Don’t get me wrong, despite working in South Korea right now, I don’t want to be anywhere near North Korea as it now stands.

Instead of talking about how much better we are than other cultures in the world, why don’t we compare ourselves to… our selves.  Growth and evolution (on an individual, communal, national, and global scale) for the sake of being the best we can be, not just one-uping someone else!

North Korea Propaganda About the Western World is Sadly Accurate

 

North Korea has recently released a film illustrating what it sees as Western propaganda; revealing the consumeristic and capitalistic world of the West.  The poignancy of the video sent shivers down my spine. In an endless attempt to better ourselves and our world, we may as well learn from any and all sources.

The video is hauntingly accurate.  It is weird to think that a video produced in such an underdeveloped, struggling, downright crazy country can present so much truth about the life of the West in one package. Take a look in the mirror.  You have been born and raised in this society:

That being said, I am by no means claiming that North Korea is a great country.  It is a country founded on the deception of its citizens and a refusal to cooperate with the world at large (sound familiar?).  The North Korean government starves its citizens of healthy food and jobs on a massive scale in favor of an expensive, standing military (sound familiar?). Don’t get me wrong, despite working in South Korea right now, I don’t want to be anywhere near North Korea as it now stands.

Instead of talking about how much better we are than other cultures in the world, why don’t we compare ourselves to… our selves.  I’m talking about growth and evolution (on an individual, communal, national, and global scale) for the sake of being the best we can be, not just one-uping someone else!

 

Sources:

North Korea Propaganda Video

Vice: Inside North Korea

The New York Times: North Korea Abandon Deal with US

United States Military Budget