The Feds Get a Bit Snarky on Medical Marijuana

It’s probably not news to anyone that the federal government doesn’t much care for marijuana. It’s a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law (see 21 U.S.C. § 812(c)(I)(c)(10)), which, according to 21 U.S.C. § 812(b)(1), means that:

(A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

(B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

(C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

A fair number of doctors would most likely disagree with (B) and (C) there, and I don’t know much about (A)’s truth (as compared to its truthiness).

Federal courts have repeatedly held, however, that Congress has the authority to designate marijuana as a Schedule I drug, whether Congress has any clue what it’s talking about or not (see Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics v. DEA, 15 F.3d 1131 (D.C. Cir. 1994); Gonzalez v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005)). Back in April, a federal judge declined to rule that marijuana’s Schedule I classification was unconstitutional in a 38-page order (PDF file) (see the court’s blog, or this page at The Daily Chronic, for more info on that case).

As more and more states pass laws allowing the use of marijuana for medical reasons, or for whatever the hell reason you want, it gets a bit more complicated for the federal government to enforce its laws and regulations. That must be frustrating, but they don’t have to get all snarky about it. Observe: Continue reading


What I’m Reading, March 28, 2014

The Internet, Where Languages Go to Die?, Ross Perlin, Al Jazeera America, March 18, 2014

We’re used to the triumphalist universalism of the digital utopians: Google organizes the world’s information. Facebook connects everyone. Twitter tells you what’s happening. Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. It’s all true — for a mere 5 percent of the world’s languages.

What few acknowledge is that the online world — when compared with offline, analog diversity — is very nearly a monoculture, an echo chamber where the planet’s few dominant cultures talk among themselves. English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic and just a handful of other languages dominate digital communication. Thanks to their sheer size and to the powerful official and commercial forces behind them, the populations that speak and write these languages can plug in, develop the necessary tools and assume that their languages will follow them into an ever-expanding range of virtual realms.

Copyright Alliance Attacks As ‘Repugnant,’ Wants DMCA System With No Public Accountability, TechDirt, March 17, 2014

Sandra Aistars of the Copyright Alliance issued a statement during the recent DMCA-related hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee. As was noted earlier, a bunch of effort was made to turn the “notice and takedown” system into a “notice and stay down” system, and weirdly, the word “free” was thrown about as if it was synonymous with “infringement.”

Her statement details the shortcomings of the DMCA system from the expected position, citing the personal travails of creators like Kathy Wolfe, who for some reason has chosen to spend half her profits battling infringement. In general, it painted a bleak picture for future creativity, claiming that unless infringement is massively curbed, creators will stop creating. (There seems to be no place in this argument about the lowered barriers to entry, and the swell of creation that has enabled.)

But where her statement really goes off the rails (even for the Copyright Alliance) is with the attack on the popular copyright notice clearinghouse, Chilling Effects.

We Shouldn’t Arrest One More Person for Having Marijuana, Dice Raw, Blog of Rights, March 18, 2014

When you look at marijuana arrest data in the U.S., you’ll be floored to know that every 37 seconds, someone gets handcuffed and booked for weed-related crime, and Black people are 3.73 times more likely to be the ones arrested (communities of color have felt this to be true for a long time, and now we have the stats to back us up).

That doesn’t reflect the true voice of the people. In fact, 9 out of 10 adults in the U.S. don’t think a person should face jail time for a small amount weed. In 2010 alone, states spent $3.61 billion enforcing marijuana possession laws, yet many cities also experienced mass school closings that threaten to hinder the progress of our youth.


What I’m Reading, March 24, 2014

Neil deGrasse Tyson at the Big Bang (with sunglasses)


Neil deGrasse Tyson Squashes Creationist Argument Against Science on National TV, Dan Arel, AlterNet, March 17, 2014

Watching the Christian Right, especially the creationist wing, struggle to counter “Cosmos” each week is like watching a frightened, cornered animal that knows it is about to die. What else could explain the weekly grasping at straws, and the unremitting blasting of social media links meant to reel their following back in as their eyes are opened to the scientific method’s greatness.


Creationism’s days are numbered. “Cosmos” frightens the conservatives more than anything has in a very long time. Every day their numbers grow smaller and their grasp on America becomes weaker.

The time is now for a scientifically literate America to return, for scientific innovations to flow out of our borders and spread around the world. We can no longer take a backseat to the world of science and must return once again to the driver’s seat.

Terrifying Precedent: Woman to Be Tried for Murder for Giving Birth to Stillborn When She Was 16, Nina Martin, ProPublica, March 19, 2014

The case intersects a number of divisive and difficult issues — the criminal justice system’s often disproportionate treatment of poor people of color, especially in drug prosecutions; the backlash to Roe v. Wade and the conservative push to establish “personhood” for fetuses as part of a broad-based strategy to weaken abortion laws. A wild card in the case — Mississippi’s history of using sometimes dubious forensic evidence to win criminal convictions over many years — could end up playing a central role.

Ignoring Fox News’ Racism is Good for Democrats but Bad for the Country, Isaac Chotiner, The New Republic, January 27, 2014

Fox still has, as far as cable news is concerned, a giant audience among all Americans—especially Republicans, conservatives, and influential businessmen and businesswomen. It still has major power within the Republican Party. To say that Fox’s bigotry should just be discounted is therefore odd. I am sure Rich has spent some time watching Fox News, so he must be aware of how toxic it is. Putting aside its top-down class warfare, segment after segment is meant to scare its white audience into believing that African Americans, or Muslims, are out to get them. This is not some random nut on Twitter: no, this is real bigotry transmitted to a large audience, and it must be combatted.

Michelle Alexander: White Men Get Rich from Legal Pot, Black Men Stay in Prison, April M. Short, AlterNet, March 16, 2014

Alexander said she is “thrilled” that Colorado and Washington have legalized pot and that Washington D.C. decriminalized possession of small amounts earlier this month. But she said she’s noticed “warning signs” of a troubling trend emerging in the pot legalization movement: Whites—men in particular—are the face of the movement, and the emerging pot industry.


Alexander said for 40 years poor communities of color have experienced the wrath of the war on drugs.

“Black men and boys” have been the target of the war on drugs’ racist policies—stopped, frisked and disturbed—“often before they’re old enough to vote,” she said. Those youths are arrested most often for nonviolent first offenses that would go ignored in middle-class white neighborhoods.


This Week in WTF, June 7, 2013

3556826420_d006ae707e_oI return to my hallowed tradition of collecting oddities for the enjoyment of my reader(s). These are sort of some “greatest hits” collected over the past few months, but “This Past Six Months in WTF” doesn’t sound as good as “This Week…” Just go with it.

– The female southern bottletail squid was the topic of some discussion this week after io9 revealed that she, uh………swallows.

– A Chinese real estate company came up with a novel way to sell properties, by painting the floor plans on the backs of women in bikinis. Apparently, it’s working (h/t Sallie).

Via [Fair use]


– A Ukrainian woman sought political asylum in the European Union because of persecution due to her participation in the adult film industry. To be clear, the woman, who performed under the name Wiska, claimed that the government was persecuting her because of her involvement, which she contends was based on economic need, not direct coercion. She faced criminal charges in Ukraine and possible loss of her children. The Czech Republic denied her asylum application, but she announced that she intended to appeal. The protest group Femen, which consists of topless Ukrainian women, is supporting her.

– A county employee in Dallas offered perhaps the best excuse in the history of the universe for being late to work: Continue reading