How embarrassing!

I’m really not sure whether to laugh or cry.

Former Fort Worth Police Officer Wesley D. Lamb

A Fort Worth cop was recently arrested for the possession of marijuana and tampering with evidence. Officer Wesley D. Lamb was nailed in an undercover investigation after an anonymous tip came in that he was toking up in his car… on duty. An undercover officer posing as a concerned citizen turned in a fat sack of bud he had “found” to officer Lamb (89 grams, over 3 oz). Lamb put it in his patrol car and told the undercover officer he intended to destroy it. He then drove straight home and went into his house for ten minutes. Officers followed and watched, and what they saw was enough to get a search warrant. Needless to say, they found the same sack in his house along with his stash and paraphernalia. The Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead said he has created  a special investigations unit to weed out all the rest of the corruption in the FWPD. Too bad officer Lamb didn’t get a spot on that task force, eh? Full story from the Star-Telegram here.

Big surprise…

A look at murder rates in the U.S. in the 20th century shows obvious spikes during heavily prohibitionist policies.

The Associated Press reports that there was a systematic review of 20 years worth of international studies recently published that concludes that when police crack down on drugs, violence almost always escalates. The studies have shown that violence will usually come as a direct result of heavier enforcement of drug policies, and the researchers have come up with several reasons for this. First, when a large and sophisticated drug operation or drug lord is taken out, a smaller and usually less sophisticated counterpart will rise in its place. In many cases when a top drug lord is taken out, there is a struggle of power to replace him that will inevitably end in violence. This trend can be seen throughout history; the murder rate rose as a result of both the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s and the drug crackdown efforts of Mexican president Felipe Calderon when he took office in 2006 both triggered waves of violent black market activities.

When governments adopt tougher stances on drug eradication efforts, it also drives up the prices of the drugs due to the extra risk involved in trafficking coupled with the decrease in supply (and subsequent increase in demand). Drug trade becomes even more lucrative and profitable, albeit more risky, when enforcement steps up. There will never be a large enough army to sufficiently wipe out all drug use and drug trafficking. When politicians get tough on drugs, that’s when the violence rises. The recent murders, beheadings, kidnappings, etc. that have happened in Mexican border towns are a direct result of a stricter drug policy. We need to change the way we handle narcotics regulation soon, before more innocent bystanders are killed.

Tax Cannabis Update

There has been an absolute flood of good news surrounding Tax Cannabis 2010 this past week! First off, they met their fundraising goal of $42,000 by 4/20 thanks to some help from NORML’s 4/20 fundraiser drive (and no thanks to the zero people who chipped in via this blog). The bigger news though is this: According to a poll from Survey USA done on behalf of California TV news station KPIX, 56% of Californians support legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes!

There are still quite a few concerns come November. The first and most pressing concern is this: how do we make sure that kids will vote? According to the poll, 74% of those age 18-34 support legalization. Many are worried that the act may not pass if there isn’t enough of a youth turnout. Some have even speculated that the youth might not turn out because Obama’s not on the ticket. I personally believe that the Tax Cannabis question will bring out more youth voters than Obama could dream of rallying. Youth are very interested in passing this act because this is about ending a war that’s largely aimed at young people. We know that it’s mostly kids getting busted and we know that enough is enough, and I sincerely hope that all the Californian youth get out to the polls this November and give our country that first step toward national legalization!

Paul Armentano's post on The Hill

Paul Armentano posted an insightful and timely argument about why it’s high time to end marijuana prohibition on The Hill’s Congress Blog. The Hill is a daily newspaper in Washington, D.C. that covers capitol hill politics. There are quite a few comments on the post, which makes me wonder: What if everyone who commented on blogs or clicked on email petitions in support of legalization efforts would come together at a rally or join their local NORML chapter? There may come a day when enough clicks can change a law, but that day is far from here. If you support the fight for legalization online, I challenge you to find a local NORML chapter and recruit friends. Let’s grow our muscle and win this fight!

Dr. Drew: Plant drugs on Lindsay Lohan?

Ok, I know this story is a little weird, but bear with me. Dr. Drew was recently asked what he would do if he were Lindsay Lohan’s father to try and get her help. His reply was: “If she were my daughterI would pack her car full with illegal substances, send her on her way, call the police, and make sure she was arrested. I would make sure she was not allowed to get out of jail. I would then go to the judge and make sure she was ordered to a minimum of a three year sobriety program.” This, of course, is not okay. To pin a bunch of felonies on someone just to get them to go to rehab is not only underhanded and shady, it’s illegal. Also, psychological and mental health services are very ineffective if the patient is forced to attend against their will.

Dr. Drew explains himself on the Huffington Post, but the only defenses he uses are that he’s a father (you can’t let your emotions cause you to stuff felony amounts of drugs in someone’s trunk and then call the police on them) and that addiction is a dangerous disease. I think we should stick to the legal and consensual methods of treatment of this disease; a person has the right to accept or refuse treatment. A person has the right to make their own decisions, even if they decide to become a burnout. Read Russ Belville’s take on the whole Dr. Drew incident on Huffington Post.