While production costs for potent "B.C. bud" remain at around $2,000 Canadian per pound, the value of the American dollar has fallen to about $1.10 Canadian due to record public debt and the rise of India and China. This means that the backpacks of cash that regularly cross the Canadian border to buy pot have declined in purchasing power and its no longer worth the risks and costs for many smugglers. This is bad news for Canadian growers, who ship about 90 percent of their crop to the United States, as well as for their customers in the United States, who now have to pay a lot more or buy elsewhere. No wonder rappers are now flashing euros.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
I am a young adult. I work in your retail stores, your movie theatres, I wait on you in your restaurants. I am twenty years old. I attend college. I get good grades, maintain honor roll, and try to stay out of trouble. I also live in suburbia and I smoke dope. Yes, in fact, I like to occassionally smoke that harbringer of police sirens and handcuffs; marijuana. A lot of people are like me, and yet the government and the media would like everyone to believe that people who smoke dope are fiends or criminals. Today, marihuana usage for Americans aged 12 and up is at 39.6% You tell me; are nearly 40 percent of our society criminals? If so, then perhaps those police officers who knocked on my door could knock on theirs as well.
A recent “casualty” of this country’s ongoing Drug War, I finally came to
realize how oppressed we youth really are in today’s modern American society because of an incident i recently had with the Middletown Police Department The amount of control of the police today frightens me. Recently, I was enjoying a beautiful Saturday morning on a friend of mine’s back porch. Apparently, a nosy neighbor detected a scent of an illegal substance, marijuana, and called the police. Within minutes Police Department sent two officers, to the residence to investigate the complaint. The first officer came around the side of the house into the enclosed back yard, without a warrant, demanding us all to give him our IDs. We were all young people, the average age probably 19, so of course the police, as is seems they always do, assumed we were up to no good. My impression was that it was innocent until proven guilty, not the reverse, but the Middletown Police Department seems to be following a separate doctrine.
These officers had no right to barge into private property and order us to
show identification. It seems to me that the official procedure would be to knock on the door and wait for the owner to answer. While the first officer was examining the IDs which he took afterwards to his car to run scans on, I politely asked him who made the complaint, as I was under the impression that it was his duty to let us, or at least the homeowner, know. He brushed me off and continued gathering IDs. The second officer also began demanding IDs. When I began to ask why all of the identification was necessary she immediately told me to shut up and that I smelled of burning marihuana and told me to stand up. As I stood, she told me I reeked and she grabbed my arm and thrust it behind my back. Unaware of what was going on, I pulled my arm out of her restraint and asked why she felt the need to search me. She again, told me to shut up and at this point her partner jumped on the deck and threw my arms behind my back. He searched my pockets and found a baggie of marihuana in my pocket. I was handcuffed, and thrown in the back of a squad car and charged with marihuana possession and resisting arrest.
However, while we are students of your high schools and middle schools,
praised by teachers and counselors for being all around good kids, this is not what police officers see. And when one of us asks politely why our rights our being violated, the police officers do not see a taxpaying citizen worried about their civil rights given to them by the Constitution, they merely see a cocky, young, teenager, who doesn’t know any better. Well, officer, I do know better. I know that I am protected from illegal search and seizure by the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.
It is unfortunate the way we are treated these days by the police, but many adults feel that we deserve it, especially the police. To them, we are guilty until proven innocent rather than the reverse. It’s a shame that the youth of today, the D.A.R.E. generation, has to FEAR the police, the men and women who are supposed to protect and serve seem to only intimidate and detain. Will this ever change? Probably not. Many youth think that they can’t change a thing. This too is a shame. We CAN change things, but society doesn’t want us to, they need us youth to be docile and tame. If our rights are being stripped from us at this rate today, imagine that rate moving exponentially for the next ten years where the police get more and more power behind things like the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act. Please, citizens, watch your back. The police state is on its way.
“I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as
necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” – Thomas
Monday, September 10, 2007
By Woody Hanstein
During the 1980s, the federal government strong-armed all 50 states into passing laws to raise the drinking age to 21. Rather than face the loss of much-needed federal highway funds, Maine went along with the notion that prohibiting young people between the ages of 18 and 20 from consuming alcohol would keep the roads safer and those young adults healthier.
Throughout the country now, intelligent voices are re-examining the logic of this policy, and making a strong argument that it has done little to improve public safety and has, in fact, placed many more underage drinkers at risk. If you examine national data (like the federal government’s most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health which found that 85 percent of 20-year-olds had consumed alcohol and 40 percent of them binge-drank) it is clear that our current laws are about as effective in prohibiting underage drinking as Prohibition was 80 years ago in keeping all Americans from enjoying the fruit of the vine.
Examining the local Franklin County scene yields the same result. If you think the alcohol laws in Maine are effectively keeping our 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds from drinking, you should have a candid talk with some high school seniors or college freshmen you know to find out what is really going on in our world.
The initial argument most people make for lowering the drinking age to 18 is one of basic fairness – if you’re old enough to join the military and vote and marry, why shouldn’t you also be able to legally enjoy a cold beer on a nice summer day? As appealing as that argument is, there is actually an even better one.
The better argument for lowering the drinking age is that it will let the young adults who are already consuming alcohol do it in a much safer and controlled way. If you want proof, you need look no further than the misguided effort taken by the University of Maine at Farmington security officers two years ago who cracked down on campus drinking by summonsing 40 college students for underage drinking at the start of the school year. From all the conversations I had with UMF students after that crackdown, it did nothing to stop them from consuming alcohol. What it did do was cause them to drive off campus to go to parties where they were far less likely to be bothered – and far more likely to have to drive a vehicle to return to campus.
Under our current laws, when your 20-year-old comes home from college for the summer you can only hope for one of two things. One is that he is among the 15 percent of people his age who aren’t consuming alcohol. If he’s like the other 85 percent though, you can only hope that when he meets his friends for a drink or two that none of them drive and none of them get caught for breaking a law that maybe should be changed.
Under our current laws, you’d be crazy to even think about buying a case of beer for your 20-year-old daughter and her friends so they could drink it in your basement while you kept a firm grasp on their car keys for the night. Instead, you’ll do the only thing parents can do – hope that wherever she’s headed she’ll be safe and that her choices will be good ones.
What we’re doing right now in Maine to keep young adults under 21 from drinking alcohol certainly isn’t working. We have driven these young adults underground to consume alcohol in places and under conditions over which we have absolutely no control. Maybe it’s time to consider changing the law to allow adults between the ages of 18 and 21 the chance to drink responsibly in a way that their parents and other adults can better supervise.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
FARMINGTON -- One of Franklin County's three police dogs is nearing retirement and county commissioners Tuesday agreed to set up a reserve fund with drug forfeiture money to use for the county's K-9 program.So the money they steal from you when they violate your rights? Oh, that just goes back into the K-9 fund, so they can violate other people's rights. How convenient!
Under law, to keep money seized as a result of a drug conviction, municipalities have to use it for training and equipment, Sheriff Dennis Pike said.
Commissioners approved a request from Franklin County sheriff's Cpl. Nathan Bean and Deputy David Rackliffe -- both K-9 handlers -- to transfer $4,500 from the county's surplus, or undesignated fund balance, to the new forfeiture account.
The money could be used to buy a new police dog, which costs about $4,500, or for specialized training in drug detection and equipment.
Ben, the German shepherd handled by Bean, is 10.
The other two dogs are handled by Rackliffe and Deputy Chris Chase, and only Rackliffe's is a certified drug dog.
"Our biggest source of revenue is our K-9 unit," Pike said.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Ah, springtime in college... who can forget those glorious days of trying to concentrate on a textbook with your back against a big tree and your face upturned toward the warm April sun? Or the frisbees and the whiffle ball games and the early morning walks to class in shirtsleeves and sandals in the balmy springtime air? And who can forget the drug dogs?
You know, the drug dogs. The drug dogs requested by campus security to make sure that no student could possibly be committing the unthinkable -- smoking marijuana at a time when he should be studying 24 hours a day. The drug dogs that can feret out that single joint of marijuana which, under current federal law, will cost even the best student every bit of her student aid for the next 12 months. (That the same student could be convicted of one or two or even three OUI charges without any effect on her student aid isn't the point of this editorial).
It happened here at the University of Maine at Farmington less than two weeks ago. It happened, as I understand it, when a drug dog was brought onto campus to sniff his way around vehicles and people at an event sponsored by a UMF student group, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy. Put aside the fact that a court could well find that this kind of selective scrutiny by campus security violated this group's free speech rights. (That meritorious potential lawsuit is not the point of this editorial either).
My wife and I moved to Farmington 22 years ago, in no small part, because there was a vibrant college like UMF so closely integrated with the town. For most of those 22 years I have coached UMF rugby players and taught UMF students about the law and personally taken advantage of many of the cultural offerings the college generously shares with all of us.
More than anything, I think it is my great affection for UMF that causes me to write this now. Drug dogs patrolling the campuses at Bates or Bowdoin or up in Orono would unquestionably offend me, but somehow they would not seem quite so offensive. That the "war on drugs" would be so aggressively and foolishly waged at UMF, for no reason whatsoever other than the fact that a group of students want to explore a more "sensible" drug policy, seems incredibly ironic.
And don't get me wrong about dogs. I love them at home and on the farm and in the law office. My dog Mike and I even attended our first UMF faculty meeting yesterday. Dogs doing police work can sometimes bother me more.
As a college-age student back in 1970 I visited the Berlin Wall before it was torn down. The narrow strip of "No man's land" that ran like a long ribbon between between the two Germanys was studded with land mines and barbed wire, but most forboding of all to me were the vicious looking guard dogs walking the perimeter with their armed East German handlers.
Maybe you're right, I probably am going too far. This isn't East Berlin and it's not 1970. But when I heard last week about this ill-conceived decision at UMF, I thought of those East German guard dogs nevertheless. Without very good cause, we don't need drug dogs patrolling the UMF campus.
Monday, May 7, 2007
Security at Event Excessive
On Friday, April 27th, a local organization held an event. The University of Maine at Farmington's chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy put on a concert in coordination with UMF's Spring Fling, a week long organization of events. The concert was held in the Fitness and Recreation Center on-campus, from midnight to 3AM. There was reasonable debate before the concert was put on about security and what would be the best option. Other members of SSDP and I really saw no need for the excessive amount of security Campus Safety wanted us to have, but when braced with an ultimatum of having the event with plenty of security or not having the event at all, we decided to put it on with the amount of security Campus Safety deemed necessary.
Not to my surprise, a day before the concert, I received word that Campus Safety was going to have the Farmington Police Department bring their K-9 Unit. There were at least five police officers at this event and no more than sixty to seventy people attending. Separate security included student security and campus safety. In my opinion, this is extremely excessive. To my knowledge, two women were summonsed for possession of cannabis and one man was arrested for public intoxication.
Campus Safety has no defined security policy and hence never really has to specify how much security will be anywhere. I am an out-of-stater from Rhode Island, but going to school in Maine has made me realize how much Mainers value their civil rights and liberties. This event sent a message to me and many of the members of my organization that slowly but surely those civil right and liberties are being stripped away from us one by one and the biggest proponents are the Drug War and the impeding police state. Please, citizens, realize what the federal government is doing to us every day. Wake up.
University of Maine at Farmington's Students for Sensible Drug Policy
Sunday, April 8, 2007
From MaineToday.comStrimling's bill would order the state Department of Health and Human Services to create a registry of nonprofit corporations that could dispense marijuana to people who have permission to use it.The bill would increase the amount of marijuana a user can legally possess from 2.5 ounces of harvested plant and six plants to 2.5 ounces and 12 plants. It would allow nurse practitioners, not just doctors, to authorize marijuana use for medicinal purposes.
"We need to do what we can do" at the state level, Strimling said. Although Maine voters passed the law eight years ago, he said, "we have yet to figure out a system to get people their medication."
The proposal would direct the state to issue identification cards to eligible patients and permit marijuana use for diseases that are not covered by the current law, including Crohn's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
The bill would prohibit any Maine police officer from helping federal agents investigate, arrest or prosecute anyone holding a valid state marijuana card, unless the case involves a violation of state law. Any police officer who violates that ban would be suspended or fired, according to the bill.
"The law that's in place right now in Maine for medical marijuana is not acceptable," said Jonathan Leavitt of the Maine Marijuana Policy Initiative, which supports legalizing marijuana and strengthening the medicinal law.
"Without dispensaries being set up, it's not a real option," he said of the current law.
Saturday, April 7, 2007
A teenager who was crazed by high-strength cannabis butchered a grandmother after 'voices in his head' told him to stab a woman.
Ezekiel Maxwell, a paranoid schizophrenic, launched the horrific attack after years of smoking super-strength 'skunk weed'.
Yep it's all the fault of the demon weed he killed that woman and not that he was a paranoid schizophrenic.
year-old claimed 'gangster voices' from the ultra-violent computer game Grand Theft Auto had set him on a mission to stab a black woman.
So it's not just weed it's violent video games. I bet Jack Thompson is creaming himself over this story.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Please have your group read over these handouts, and be sure to tell them they come courtesy of Officer Ted Blais, head of Public Safety. I don’t have a car on campus, so I’m not as familiar as I’d like to be with some of the parking issues. The pattern indicated here would be obvious to anyone, though - this is not a student-friendly proposal. The first offense parking fine will be doubled, and a boot is being introduced that could cost students hundreds of dollars, not to mention inconvenience. Parking decals, currently free, could cost as much as $35 each next year. This would bring in, by my calculations, nearly $80,000 - all of which - unlike parking fines, which are redistributed as a part of UMF’s budget - will go directly to Public Safety. Officer Blais said that he intends to use the money to hire more staff, especially in the overnight hours and during the summer. Another portion will be used for the purchase of security cameras, both for the parking lots and entrances to buildings. It’s this last that concerns me most, and I expressed this to Officer Blais - the cameras, ostensibly in place to catch vandals, thieves, and violent criminals - are ultimately going to provide Public Safety with a formidable weapon in Farmington’s very own drug war. The cameras will be used to harass and punish those in our student body who choose to party SAFER, as well as underage drinkers. The post 9/11 proliferation of surveillance is one of the direst issues facing true liberty in our nation, violating our rights to privacy, assembly and free expression, and there is no practical need for this ugly, Orwellian tactic to be introduced in Farmington.
I’m just getting warmed up, but I’m afraid I need to get these papers to you and be on my way. I’d love to come to a meeting sometime and discuss these issues with SSDP, as well as the possibility of preparing a joint statement, or a petition of some kind which could be presented to Public Safety, as well as to the President, the Board of Directors, and the student body - perhaps on the student center projector? Thanks for your help, and... Peace
JW is a member of UMF's Campus Residence Council.
Here's an interesting link, it shows security statistics on campus. Based on these statistics, do you feel unsafe enough to start installing cameras on campus?
Friday, March 23, 2007
Yep. From the article;
“Drug policy is primarily aimed at reducing the harm to individual users, their families and society. But at present there is no rational, evidence-based method for assessing the harm of drugs. We have tried to develop such a method. We hope that policy makers will take note of the fact that the resulting ranking of drugs differs substantially from their classification in the Misuse of Drugs Act and that alcohol and tobacco are judged more harmful than many illegal substances.”
This is nice because they're all scientists, but then figured it all out for the policy makers too, so they don't even have to think extra hard!! Hooray science!!
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Campus drug policy is severely flawed. Students use illegal drugs in their dorm rooms, or share beers with R.A.’s, and our zero tolerance policy is nothing but counterproductive and inefficient. Scare tactics and disinformation no longer keep students away from drugs, and studies have shown that D.A.R.E’s misinformation actually causes students to use drugs rather than “Just Saying No”. Simple programs that are already in place at prestigious universities like McGill and Brown like harm reduction and medical amnesty would greatly affect the student’s relationship with the school. A sensible drug policy here on campus would not only make UMF unique, but it would also increase retention rates as well as reduces public safety funds wasted on the draconian drug policy we now have in place. This presentation will show the harm caused by the current policies, and the many benefits of what I consider a sensible drug policy.
April 11th! I know you want to go.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
-SSDP Montreal Conference on Harm Reduction
-Passport or Government Issued ID and Birth Certificate
-Register online for Free
-or else pay $5-10 at the door
-Leaving at 12:30 PM on Friday.
-Meet at 12 behind UMF Computer Center
-Discussion on the different talks taking place at the conference
Sunday, March 11, 2007
-Need van drivers
-See UMF budget committee about money
-SSDP Northeast conference in Rhode Island
-Ask SSDP if they'll pay for RI and Montreal
-Tony's presentation of the THC Ministry
Members Present:(some signatures on the sign in sheet were illegible and some names were omitted because of it or I got their names wrong)
Adam (can't read last name)
A Department of Education Drug Survey.
This survey was conducted by the Department of Education on campus at the University of Maine at Farmington. Those tested consisted only of first and second year students living in the dorms during October of 2005.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
March 16-18, 2007
Also; Do some lazy person activism.
From the site;
Since 1998, nearly 200,000 aspiring college students have been stripped of their financial aid just because they have drug convictions, usually for small-time marijuana possession. Meanwhile, convicted murderers and rapists are eligible to continue receiving federal student loans and grants.
Students need your help to pressure Congress to overturn the harmful and unfair aid elimination penalty. To make taking a stand as easy as possible, we've created a pre-written letter that you can edit and send to legislators.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Leave it up to the Christian Civic League to link those two;
“It’s good to be a citizen of West Paris today.” Pastor Dallas Henry, who leads Hosanna New Testament Church in neighboring Oxford, said, “The purpose behind this initiative was to do the same thing that the homosexual movement has done [in Maine] in the past, which is to normalize immoral behavior, in this case, marijuana smoking. The West Paris voters were not fooled by this effort by out-of-towners. It is encouraging to see people stand up for what is good, right, and proper.”
Thursday, March 1, 2007
|Posted at TurnMaineBlue.com |
Imagine my surprise as I opened what I've generally considered a conservative paper to the editorial section. There, in big letters, I saw, "Legalizing pot..." and my jaw dropped.
That last part is the crux of the modern movement's argument. I would love to see this on the ballot in 2008.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Rural Voters to Weigh in on Push for Pot Law Reform (with a poll!)
Marijuana Advocates Want Town to Spark Legalization
The Cops' Perspective
Propaganda has Clouded Perception of Marijuana
Who is Jonathan Leavitt?
Don't you just love the double entendres that come along with cannabis headlines?
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Thursday, February 8, 2007
Every year, motor vehicle accidents kill 25,000 people. And yet, we do not criminalize drivers. We have tests. We have licenses. We have seatbelts. We have precautions and steps that are taken to ensure that drivers are as safe as they can be inside their big piece of steel.
Every year, cannabis accidents kill zero people. And yet, we criminalize users. We have mandatory minimum sentences. We have the Higher Education Act, which prevents convicted users from receiving financial aid. We have the largest prison population per capita in the world. We have universities kicking students out of their residence halls for merely smelling like the herb. Every precaution and step we have taken to ensure that society is safe from this herb, has been counterproductive, ineffective, and discriminatory.
Students will always use cannabis and alcohol. These two drugs have been such a fundamental aspect of education, since its inception. The students at The Academy almost certainly drank wine with their teachers after their lectures and discussed on into the evening. In fact, this was the basis of Plato’s Symposium, with Socrates gathering with some students and colleagues to discuss philosophical ideals. Regardless of school policies, even some as drastic as a zero tolerance cannabis policy in the residence halls, students will continue to use cannabis. Certain people, naturally, are risk-takers, and the people always have and always will engage in behavior that involves risk.
So the key to reducing harm is to tell students the truth. The truth that alcohol kills over 85,000 people a year and that cannabis kills zero. Almost every other weekend you hear about another student who gets alcohol poisoning and has to go to the hospital, and yet you never hear of any students getting cannabis poisoning. The truth that studies have shown that alcohol use, not cannabis use, can lead to violence. In that respect, cannabis is truly the safer choice.
It seems that the only harm coming from cannabis comes from the policies surrounding it. This survey hopes to reduce the harm, both to the faculty and the student body, allowing them to make the safer choice of cannabis and not have to worry about their jobs or living situations on campus. By asking about drug use, we hope to find that regardless of campus policies, both students and faculty still use cannabis, in most instances as an alternative to alcohol. With this evidence, we hope to prove to various parts of the administration that their current drug polices cause more harm than good, and offer a new plan of harm reduction and medical amnesty.
Procedure: Data will be collected for two weeks, from to , Monday through Thursday, at a designated table in front of the Beach in the
. The table will have a full description of the purpose of the survey, as well as an informed consent form (attached) detailing the anonymity and confidentiality of the survey. Next to this consent form will be a small cardboard box which to slide the form inside. At the opposite end of the table will be a similar box with the survey next to it. Survey takers will be supplied with pens to take the survey, which they can do right at the table, or can take anywhere in The Beach area. Student Center
In the center of the table will be a small sign that says; this survey has been approved by The Human Subjects Review Board (hopefully) and is in conjunction with Dr. Melcher & Dr. Oplinger. A separate piece of paper will be on the table to sign up e-mail addresses to send out the results.
Much of the information in these surveys is of a very sensitive, and illegal, subject matter. If any of the confidential information were to get out, it could potentially hurt a test subjects reputation or career. As a result, a control survey will be filled out, marking all of the sensitive and illegal questions as a legal standing citizen should. This would serve as a fail safe, for example, if 100% of our survey takers use cannabis. This way, we could say 99.9% use cannabis, but there is that .1% who doesn’t do anything illegal.
Data Analysis: Results will be tallied and displayed as percentages of the whole.
Conclusion: Once the data has been collected and analyzed, the results will be presented to Interim Vice President Celeste Branham. In an effort by UMF’s Students for Sensible Drug Policy to remove all cannabis penalties from UMF’s school policies, this survey was created to demonstrate the affect of our current drug policies on our students.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
This is BUSTED: A Citizen's Guide to Police Encounters. This video tells you what your rights are in regards to police encounters. If you haven't seen this video yet, watch it now. If you have seen it, watch it again. The information in this video bears repeating.
In other news, I've added some links to a few websites that support our cause (for instance NORML) and added a few news feeds to help keep you all updated on what's going on in the drug reform world.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Topics Discussed: We will be having a member for LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) from New York making a Northeast tour come to talk with us soon.
Assistant Vice President of The University of Maine at Farmington, Celeste Branham is running for VP, she has been very supportive of our organization.
We need to make disclaimers for the surveys. It is essential that nobody knows who is taking the survey. Also that anyone who is taking the survey must be cognizant of this.
In April we will be going to the Northeast SSDP meeting at Brown University. We have three busses and are still in need of drivers. The purpose is to meet with other chapters and share ideas.
Members Present: Tony Scala, Matt Doolittle, Eric Talbot, Forrest Bullars, Amy Brown, Samantha MacDougall, Joseph Conrad, Jeff Marten, Lauren Lobikis, Dan Winsor, Davin Currie, Derek Beavdet, Dave Rocha, Morgan Place, Nate Burns, Tim Poulson, Sam Clark, Logan Simpson, Matt Duddy, Mackenzie Brooks, Nick Tolman, Paul Kabatznick, Patrick Fontaine.
Eric Talbot appointed as new VP.
Topics Discussed: We discussed our survey which will give us data on what kinds drugs are being used in Farmington and correlate abused drugs with the laws pertaining to them. The goal of this survey is to educate law enforcement on and off campus and ultimately have student’s, and the general public’s, punishment become less severe for making a safer choice. (Cannabis)
Mike Simpson, Paul Kabatznick, Lorenzo Reef Sgiers, Celia Reef Sgiers, Matt Doolittle, Jack Woods, Nate Burns, Sam Clark, Dave Rocha, Tony Scala, Matt Duddy, Amy Brown, Mackenzie Brooks, Dan Windsor, Emily ?, Forrest Bullars, Eric Talbot, Lauren Lobikis, Samantha MacDougal, Morgan Place, Nick Tolman, Patrick Fontaine, Mark, Chiavone, Derek Beavdet, Joseph Conrad, Davin Currie.