For Three Decades, a Federal Agency Has Supplied Irvin Rosenfeld With
Marijuana to Control a Rare Disease. He Tells About It in a New Book.
On a recent chilly morning, Fort Lauderdale stockbroker Irvin
Rosenfeld interrupted his client calls for a quick marijuana
cigarette in the company parking lot. Then he went back to work.
The cigarette - perfectly legal for him - was one of about 120,000
the federal government has provided to him at taxpayer expense for
the past 29 years. He's one of only four people who remain in a
now-closed "compassionate" drug program that at its peak provided 13
patients across the country with daily doses of pot to help manage
[continues 1293 words]
A self-made millionaire Republican is campaigning in Florida on a
platform of spending cuts
and less government.
It's not Rick Scott, anymore.
This is Gary E. Johnson -- a former New Mexico governor and
marijuana-legalization advocate -- who's putting out Florida feelers
in a possible bid for the presidency in 2012.
Johnson's campaign-style stops in Tallahassee, Melbourne and Orlando
last week reveal that the presidential race is already at a low boil
in the nation's largest swing state. Without Florida, Republicans say,
they can't recapture the White House.
[continues 204 words]
MEXICO CITY -- If California voters approve a proposition calling for
the legalization of marijuana in the Nov. 2 midterm elections, get
ready for a domino effect in Mexico and the rest of Latin America. It
is not likely to be immediate, but it will be hard to stop in the near future.
Granted, the Obama administration would most likely challenge
California's Proposition 19 -- it would allow adults to consume
marijuana for pleasure -- in the courts if it were approved.
Most polls show that the California proposal has a better than even
chance of passing.
[continues 641 words]
It's a funny thing about words: sometimes, they convey meaning but not
Take the term "racial profiling." Author Joseph Collum of Plantation says
the Oxford English Dictionary credits him with coining it in 1989 when he
was an investigative TV reporter in New Jersey. We all get its meaning: law
enforcement personnel targeting citizens by their skin color.
But to truly understand what racial profiling is, it helps to hear a story
like that of Chris Stubbs.
She was a 27-year-old black woman, driving home to North Carolina from New
York where she had gone to pick up $10,000 from a friend's brother; the
brother, who owned a car dealership, had agreed to stake Stubbs' dream of
opening a restaurant.
[continues 556 words]
I stand corrected on a claim I made seven years ago that Multnomah
County, Ore., was run by the dumbest bureaucrats on earth, after they
sought to hire a Klingon translator to communicate with mental
patients who prefer the language invented for Star Trek.
I stand corrected because the Drug Enforcement Administration is
looking to hire people who can speak "Ebonics" in Miami and several
other cities, and can translate it for agents who are having a hard
time understanding what suspected drug dealers are saying on the
business end of wiretaps.
[continues 484 words]
MEXICO CITY -- Here's an interesting detail about the much-publicized
recent arrest of Mexico's top drug baron Edgar Valdez Villarreal,
better known as "La Barbie" -- he was caught with a U.S.-made M-16
semiautomatic rifle and other sophisticated arms that Mexican
officials suspect were smuggled from the United States.
In Mexico, U.S. arms smuggling is a big issue. President Felipe
CalderA3n said during a visit to Washington in May that of all the
guns and assault rifles seized in Mexico over the past three years,
"more than 80 percent of those we have been able to trace came from
the United States."
[continues 670 words]
Ron Allen probably thinks Alice Huffman has been smoking
Huffman, president of the California Conference of the NAACP, recently
declared support for an initiative that, if passed by voters in
November, will decriminalize the use and possession of marijuana.
Huffman sees it as a civil rights issue.
In response, Bishop Allen, founder of a religious social activism
group called the International Faith-Based Coalition, has come out
swinging. "Why would the state NAACP advocate for blacks to stay
high?" he demanded last week at a news conference in Sacramento.
"It's going to cause crime to go up. There will be more drug
babies." Allen wants Huffman to resign.
[continues 536 words]
In his July 8 Other Views column, The laws can't curb our appetites,
George Will talks about the unintended consequences of Prohibition in
the 1920s, including the growth of organized crime.
He likens Prohibition to our government's current initiatives to
encourage change from detrimental eating to habits that destroy the
environment. I am amazed that he failed to realize that he should
have compared it to the failed war on drugs.
This prohibition has created a multibillion-dollar industry
worldwide, contributed to the political instability of many
countries, turned the United States into a nation with one of the
highest incarceration rates and fueled illegal border crossings.
[continues 55 words]
'You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the
blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this all while
not appearing to." -- Richard Nixon as quoted by H.R. Haldeman,
supporting a get-tough-on drugs strategy.
"They give [black people] time like it's lunch down there. You go
down there looking for justice, that's what you find: just us." --
Michelle Alexander was an ACLU attorney in Oakland, preparing a racial
profiling lawsuit against the California Highway Patrol. The ACLU had
put out a request for anyone who had been profiled to get in touch.
One day, in walked this black man.
[continues 563 words]
Pro-Marijuana Activists, Backed by the Director of the Cocaine Cowboys'
Documentaries, Are Pushing to Decriminalize Marijuana in Miami Beach
Miami Beach voters could cast ballots for Mary Jane come November
should a budding effort to decriminalize marijuana possession in the
city gain traction.
In front of City Hall Wednesday evening, the Committee for Sensible
Marijuana Policy announced a drive to gather signatures in support of
a proposed amendment that would make "personal" possession of
marijuana in Miami Beach a civil code violation punishable by a mere
[continues 485 words]
I disagree with your May 26 editorial Jamaica's day of reckoning. The
violence in Jamaica is because of drug prohibition, not in spite of
The U.S. drug war has done little other than give us the highest
incarceration rate in the world. Zero tolerance hasn't deterred use.
The United States has higher rates of drug use than European Union
countries that have decriminalized.
Drug prohibition finances organized crime at home and terrorism
abroad, which is then used to justify increased drug war spending.
[continues 64 words]
Jamaica is paying a painfully high price to learn the elementary
lesson that no government can afford to ignore or tolerate drug
At last count, with gunshots still echoing across the capital Tuesday,
at least 30 people had died in the slums of Kingston as police and
soldiers fought to regain control of crime-ridden neighborhoods that
drug kingpins and their armed gangs have long considered personal fiefdoms.
The mayhem involves reputed underworld boss Christopher "Dudus"
Coke. His various nicknames include "Mister President," an
indication of his power and status in Jamaica. It began after Prime
Minister Bruce Golding dropped his nine-month refusal to extradite
Coke to the United States to face federal drug charges in New York.
Coke's ties to Mr. Golding and his Jamaica Labour Party were said to
be behind the government's initial unwillingness to agree to the
[continues 401 words]
Fight Against Drug Criminals Is Also Our Fight
President Felipe Calderon's state visit to Washington on Wednesday
comes at a time when Mexico is under siege by drug criminals as never
before. The violence has claimed some 23,000 lives since Mr. Calderon
declared war on drug gangs.
Traffickers are fighting to control the drug supply into the United
States. Never have the two countries faced a common enemy as powerful
and as dangerous as these gangs.
This puts a premium on mutual efforts to combat narcotics gangsters,
requiring both leaders to go beyond the customary expressions of
friendship and work to defuse the tensions that threaten to drive
Mexico and the United States apart.
[continues 298 words]
As the death toll has climbed from drug-related violence in Mexico,
it's fallen largely to newspapers to keep the count.
Two weeks ago, a government report that legislators leaked spoke of
22,700 deaths over little more than a three-year period, a far higher
body count than the 18,000 or so given by El Universal, a leading newspaper.
President Felipe Calderon's aides won't confirm the report, and some
political analysts have seized on the lack of transparency as an
element in the Mexican leader's difficulties in rallying the nation in
the campaign against heavily armed narcotics syndicates.
[continues 827 words]
MEXICO CITY -- Three years ago this month, Mexican President Felipe
Calderon donned military fatigues and declared a full-scale war on
drugs, ordering the Army into Mexico's streets, highways, and
villages. Back then, Calderon received broad support, both
domestically and from abroad, for what was viewed as a brave,
overdue, and necessary decision. Tangible results were predicted to come soon.
Moreover, George W. Bush's administration quickly promised American
support -- the so-called Merida Initiative, signed in February, 2007
- -- and public-opinion polls showed that Calderon had, in one fell
swoop, left behind the travails of his close and questioned electoral
victory, gaining the trust of the Mexican people. But today, things
look very different.
[continues 745 words]
Regarding Andres Oppenheimer's Dec. 10 column U.S. may take new look
at 'war on drugs,' the drug war is a cure worse than the disease.
Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains
constant only increase the profitability of drug trafficking.
For addictive drugs like heroin, a spike in street prices leads
desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate
habits. The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.
With alcohol prohibition repealed, liquor bootleggers no longer gun
each other down, nor do consumers go blind drinking unregulated
bathtub gin. While U.S. politicians ignore the drug war's historical
precedent, European countries are embracing harm reduction, a
public-health alternative based on the principle that both drug abuse
and prohibition have the potential to cause harm.
[continues 92 words]
If you had asked me 10 years ago whether the United States will ever
change its interdiction-focused counternarcotics policies -- and
perhaps even decriminalize marijuana consumption at home -- I would
have told you, "never." Today, I say, "perhaps."
Earlier this week, in a tacit admission that current U.S. anti-drug
policies are not working, the House of Representatives unanimously
passed a bill to create an independent commission to review whether
the U.S. anti-drug policies of the past three decades in Latin America
are producing positive results.
[continues 716 words]
In an act of merciful sanity, the Obama administration has made good
on its promise to stop interfering with states that allow the medical
use of marijuana. Clink-clink, hear-hear, salud, cheers, et cetera.
Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement surely comes as a relief
to the many who rely on cannabis to ease suffering from various
ailments. This doesn't let drug traffickers off the hook. It merely
means that 14 states that provide for some medical marijuana uses no
longer need fear federal raids on dispensaries and users operating
under state law.
[continues 538 words]
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, never one to let facts get in his way, is
stoking another anti-American controversy among his neighbors. This
one involves non-existent U.S. military "bases" in Colombia.
Given the region's traditional sensitivity to claims of U.S.
intervention, it's no surprise that he's getting traction, but it's
disappointing to see moderate leaders like Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula
da Silva take the bait. "I don't like the idea of an American base in
the region," Brazil's president said recently.
[continues 377 words]
A New Prescription-Drug Monitoring Law Is Overdue
Finally, the state will regulate pill mills that have operated in
South Florida with virtually no oversight, which allowed a black
market of prescription pain-killers to flourish, selling to dealers as
far away as Massachusetts.
The new prescription-monitoring law, signed by Gov. Charlie Crist last
week, closes loopholes that had exempted from state inspections those
pain clinics that don't take insurance.
Incredibly, such clinics, which have proliferated over the past few
years, were able to avoid background checks of their owners and
employees -- even though such scrutiny is required at legitimate
health clinics that take insurance.
[continues 275 words]