Why Reagan told you weed kills your brain cells…

Check this video out below. It turns out that what your parents have been telling you, what your government has been telling you, and what your school has been telling you about marijuana all your life is based on some pretty unethical research. Research conducted on monkeys. With gas masks. I can’t even make this up. And I’d just like to point out: though some folks do smoke from gas masks (on rare occasions I’d assume), no one can smoke anywhere near 63 Columbian grade (whatever that means) joints through one! (View source page here)

I did some further digging into the whole radioactive tobacco thing, because I learned a few years ago that many cancer cells are formed through some sort of radioactivity. Sure enough, this was from wikipedia: “In the United States, tobacco is often fertilized with the mineral apatite, which partially starves the plant of nitrogen, to produce a more desired flavor. Apatite, however, contains radium, lead 210, and polonium 210 — which are known radioactive carcinogens.” I also found this page that seems to suggest that tobacco might not cause lung cancer at all if it was grown organically…not sure how to react. Makes me want to put on a lab coat and figure it out myself.

Regardless of what studies you find to point at or what drugs you compare, it remains a simple cold fact that marijuana has never killed anyone nor has it given anyone cancer. That should be the bottom line talking point in any legalization debate, whether it’s with your pastor or with the director of the FBI:


Two Virginia teachers suspended for showing 'Flex your Rights'

It seems yet another Virginia school district has displayed a warped sense of justice. Two teachers from Norview High of Norfolk, Virginia were suspended after distributing materials from the ‘Flex your Rights’ video that I’ve written about previously. The class in question was a 12th grade government class, so I find it reasonable, even desirable, that kids were being taught what their rights are during a police encounter. Too many American citizens are ignorant of their fundamental civil rights when it comes to police encounters, and since police are a figure of authority, they use this to their advantage in constant situations. I don’t think I need to mention the string of recent botched police encounters in our country to illustrate the fact that our schools should be teaching kids their rights as citizens of this country. High school is a time where kids are starting the very beginning of the long transition into adulthood and independence, especially high school seniors. When else better to educate these kids about the government they must live under? Should kids have to wait until college to learn these rights? Of course not! What about those who don’t go to college, or who attend a trade or vocational school? Kids need a comprehensive, applicable, real-world education. Most high schoolers are also inexperienced drivers, and they deserve to be taught their rights when/if stopped by police.

I read a quote from the complaining party in this whole mess that her granddaughter was being taught “how to hide drugs” in government class. I have seen the Flex your Rights video in its entirety twice, and I can say that the video does not ever teach people how to hide drugs. Instead, it teaches people how to minimize legal and physical harm during police encounters. I call that a public service that every American citizen should be entitled to.

If you don’t believe me, here’s the full video in four parts.

Also, please take a second to send a personal note to the school who has suspended these teachers to let them know how you feel about this action. For inspiration, here’s the message I sent:

“I am extremely disappointed to hear that your district has suspended two teachers for showing the “flex your rights” video at school. I have seen this video in its entirety twice and I find no conceivable reason why this video would be deemed inappropriate for a high school audience. Indeed, I believe that it’s vitally important to educate kids on what their rights are when encountering police. High school is a time of transitioning into adulthood. It’s a time when many students will become drivers for the first time, and when many, whether they break the law or not, will be subject to police encounters and inquires. With so many recent police mishaps and encounters gone bad, kids across the country desperately need to be educated on how to handle the always stressful possibility of a police encounter. I hope that you will issue an apology to the teachers and get them back to work immediately. This action that your district has taken is a blow against our first amendment, and indeed against our entire constitution.”

Huxley's timeless words

Aldous Huxley, 1894-1963

“The problems raised by alcohol and tobacco cannot, it goes without saying, be solved by prohibition. The universal and ever-present urge to self-trancendence is not to be abolished slamming the currently popular Doors in the Wall. The only reasonable policy is to open other, better doors in the hope of inducing men and women to exchange their old bad habits for new and less harmful ones. Some of these other, better doors will be social and technological in nature, others religious or psychological, others dietetic, educational, athletic. But the need for frequent chemical vacations from intolerable selfhood and repulsive surroundings will undoubtedly remain. What is needed is a new drug which will relieve and console our suffering species without doing more harm in the long run than it does good in the short. Such a drug must be potent i minute doses and synthesizable. If it does not possess these qualities, its production, like that of wine, beer, spirits and tobacco will interfere with the raising of indispensable food and fibers. It must be less toxic than opium or cocaine, less likely to produce undesirable consequences than alcohol or the barbiturates, less inimical to the heart and lungs than the tars and nicotine of cigarettes. And, on the positive side, it should produce changes in consciousness more interesting, more intrinsically valuable than mere sedation or dreaminess, delusions of omnipotence or release from inhibition.” -Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception

The whole story's happened before…

A prescription form for medical alcohol, circa 1928

Isn’t it interesting how history repeats itself? Take a quick look at this St. Petersburg Times column about “medicinal alcohol” during prohibition in the 1930s and how alcohol, along with the invention of the milkshake, helped Walgreen’s become such a huge success:


Hope for Columbia

Hello all! I’ve been out of town for the week, but I was delighted to see that while I was gone local attorney Dan Viets and Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton had an exchange of words at a press conference that led to Burton expressing openness to a change in marijuana enforcement if state laws were to change. “I don’t have anything against it except that it’s against the law, and as a police officer, I’ve sworn to uphold the law,” Burton told Viets. However, he also said that many policemen would like to “get out of the [drug war] business” and that he was “with you on the fight”. This is wonderfully reassuring news for those of us who want reform. Burton’s work as Police Chief so far has shown tremendous promise, and I really believe Burton cares deeply about the will of the citizens. Burton has acknowledged in the past that the only power he and his department have comes from the citizens and he has been very open and transparent about his work here in Columbia. A big thank you to Chief Burton for your integrity and your openness to the public’s wishes. See the full conversation below:

Columbia city council meeting (with links to video!)

Spencer Pearson and Holly Henry prepare to address the Columbia City Council on Monday. Photo courtesy of the Columbia Missourian.

The city council meeting left people with mixed feelings of vindication and frustration. While I felt that the presentation I gave with Holly Henry was a powerful and strong message, some have voiced concern that the mayor and the council have remained uncomfortably silent on the issue. However, this issue is far from over. The community needs to remain banded together on this issue until appropriate actions are taken. The next city council meeting is scheduled for June 7th. Hopefully others will be interested in signing up to address the council, but I am prepared to sign up again as well to as the council what has been done. It will be interesting to see the publication of the Internal Affairs investigation, which supposedly will be published within the next week or so. As one citizen pointed out at the Citizen Police Review Board meeting last Wednesday, I sure wish that when I was in trouble for breaking the rules, the judge would just ask me to do an investigation on myself. I’d definitely never conclude that I’d been involved in any misconduct.

Here are a few links to local press on the event:

Story from the Columbia Daily Tribune

Story from the Columbia Missourian

Story from the Maneater, MU’s student newspaper

Also, for video of my speech and Holly’s speech follow this link and click on “Spencer Pearson: Columbia Police Department Issues” under the scheduled public comment section.

I’d like to give a huge thank you to everyone who showed up to the council meeting that night and stood with me as I addressed the mayor and the council. I also would like to thank the folks who’ve kept reading my blog and have signed the change.org petition and/or the LEAP petition. For those interested, the next activity I’m aware of that concerns this SWAT issue is a meeting of a new group called the CoMo Citizens. They plan to meet at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Columbia Public Library. I will be unable to attend, but of course the more support these local groups have, the more they’ll be able to accomplish! Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

SWAT raid petition

Change.org published a petition today calling for an end to paramilitary marijuana raids, and we need everyone’s help in distributing the link to as many people as possible! I’m hoping to take this petition to the city council meeting on Monday, so we have one week to get as many signatures as possible before then. Tell everyone on your contacts about this important petition and stand strong against police brutality and animal cruelty!


Poll shows overwhelming opposition to SWAT tactics

Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton

The Columbia Tribune is conducting an online poll asking whether SWAT actions against Jonathan Whitworth last February were appropriate. So far 92% of respondents have answered “no.” It seems the recent release of the video of the SWAT team raid has caused a public outcry for stricter limits on the police department’s use of SWAT teams as opposed to a debate on whether these actions were appropriate. Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid and Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton held a frantic press conference to attempt to spin the issue after the police department received numerous phone calls, emails, and even a death-threat fax, according to the Columbia Tribune. I will be speaking at the next city council meeting, May 17, and I encourage everyone who cares about this issue to attend. We cannot let our city’s police department act this way and then weasel out of it. It was unacceptable and we need a GUARANTEE that nothing like this can happen again.

Update on police raid response

The release of a police video from the raid of Columbia, MO resident Jonathan Whitworth has been being discussed across the country. The story was most recently picked up by CNN’s iReport. Concerned citizens will be attending the next city council meeting on May 17 to express our concern regarding the SWAT team’s actions. If you can make it to Columbia or live in the area, please come and express your opposition to the paramilitary tactics used by the Columbia Police last February. RSVP via the Facebook event, and if you’d be interested in making a statement please post on the event wall. Everyone who can make it should be there! Tell your friends!

Columbia police shoot dog in front of child

So I just finished up my last blog post, and I read a tweet from HIGH TIMES about a SWAT raid on a Missouri family where cops shot a family pet in front of the kid. Turns out it went down in my college town, Columbia, MO. There’s video, and I’ll warn you, there’s a bit of language and it’s overall pretty disturbing. I just want to make sure everyone sees this; I have no idea what to do in response but rest assured I’ll be talking to some folks around town because this sort of conduct is absolutely unnecessary and unacceptable. Pass this on. If you have any info about the incident or ideas on who to talk to about it or what action to take, please email freethedrugs@gmail.com.

**UPDATE** I think it should be a clear-cut objective of our organization to end paramilitary police raids for narcotics search warrants. Unjustifiable use of money, force, violence and manpower to serve a simple search warrant. Read this article for an idea of where I’m going with this: http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6476