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Prison Company Combats Legalization of Marijuana: Big Surprise – PRISON FOOD CONTRACTORS FUNDED EFFORTS TO COMBAT MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION
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Food Services of America, a subsidiary of Services Group of America is funding efforts to keep marijuana illegal. It makes sense, considering that a vast majority of America’s prisoners are locked in prison on marijuana charges, and the company stands to gain a lot of business from the laws staying the same. The influence that the alcohol and pharmaceutical industries have on keeping marijuana illegal has been well documented, but the influence of prison contractors is rarely discussed. The prison industry is one of the fastest growing and top-earning businesses in the United States. In the past three decades, this enterprise has grown into a monstrous system of oppression that now houses over 2 and a half million people in the US. This number is, by far, the largest prison population in the world. No country on earth has as many inmates as the “land of the free.” Ironic isn’t it? Since 1991 the violent crime rate in America has dropped at least 20%, while the amount of people in prison has increased by 50% in that time. These numbers show that the rapid growth in the prison population is primarily due to over prosecution of nonviolent crimes. This has nothing to do with “cleaning up the streets” or making our society safer — it is all about money and control. The prison system as it stands now does not make our society any safer but instead turns average nonviolent offenders into hardened criminals by exposing them to such a harsh environment. The sad truth is that the way our prison system has been structured has actually outlawed more than half of the US population. Nonviolent offenders have no place behind bars. The savage conditions of prison will turn most people into violent offenders once they get out. Which is exactly what the prison establishment wants – return customers. This establishment is the collection of state and quasi-state/private industries that make up the “prison industrial complex.” Billions of dollars are made every year in this industry. One company, Wackenhut Corrections, makes over a billion dollars a year and they aren’t even the biggest prison service in the country. These numbers also don’t take into consideration the many satellite businesses that surround this industry. There are over 1,000 vendors that specifically sell correctional paraphernalia. Even local phone companies cash in on the operation. The companies install payphones for free because those phones can generate $15,000 per year from each inmate making a phone call every day. Those companies are just the tip of the iceberg. That isn’t even counting the police, lawyers, wardens, politicians and food distributors that line their pockets through the incarceration of peaceful Americans. All of these organizations have a distinct interest in keeping nonviolent people in jail. So, it should come as no surprise a prison contractor is working to keep marijuana illegal. [...]
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Hells Angels Members Protest Legalization of Marijuana in Canada
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Canada: Hells Angels Members Protest Legalization of Marijuana OTTAWA | As Canada’s newly elected Liberal government is on the verge of legalizing marijuana, thousands of Hells Angels members have taken the Parliament by storm yesterday to protest the new proposition. The legalization of marijuana could cost the organized crime hundreds of thousands of jobs, believes the spokesman for the Canadian chapter of the Hells Angels, Jean-Roch Fournier. “We estimate that Prime minister Justin Trudeau’s radical proposition to legalize marijuana could cost us over a hundred thousand jobs” says the former lawyer. “From growing operations, to trimming, packaging, transportation and selling, this new legislature will threaten the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Canadian workers” he warns. Newly elected Prime minister Justin Trudeau’s proposition to legalize marijuana has enraged members of the Canadian chapter of the Hells Angels who believe legalization could destroy “hundreds of thousands of Canadian jobs” A multi-billion dollar industry The legalization of marijuana could bring in between 5 to 12 billion dollars to the Canadian economy each year, reveals a recent 2014 joint study by the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. “Our research suggests more than 7,366,000 people in Canada use pot and we estimate the Canadian pot industry is worth between $5 billion and $12 billion a year, depending on suggested prices” explains Economics professor, Zahir Mahalik. “Our study evaluated not only the legalization of cannabis on a recreational use basis but also for its inherit potential in the medical and pharmaceutical business, which explains the high numbers” he acknowledged. “It is obvious the legalization of marijuana will cause major profit losses to organized crime organizations nation-wide” he told local reporters. A massive blow to organized crime Many members of organized crime fear they will lose their way of life if legalization is implemented. Gino Ouellet, Hells Angels member for 36 years, fears legalization could put him out of work “I’ve been selling weed since I’m 12 years old” admits Gino Ouellet, aged 56 and Hells Angels member for the past 36 years. “Do you think I’m going to want to go work at Wal-Mart or McDonalds at minimal wage? I don’t think so” he told reporters. “Who’s going to want to give me a job? I’ve got tattoos all over my body and all over my face” asks another protester, Bob Wilkinson, condemned in 1977 for triple homicide. “It’s not the job of the federal government to regulate illegal drugs, they should take care of their own business and leave that to us” he argues. If marijuana were legalized in Canada, it would be a first among developed nations. In the US, [...]
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After Legalizing Recreational Weed, Colorado Has Lowest Teen Use in the Country
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(Carey Wedler) Cannabis prohibitionists have long cautioned that legalizing the plant will inevitably lead to increased use among teens, couching their restrictive beliefs in concern for the youth. While some of these concerns may be genuine, a recent survey from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment demonstrates — for the second year in a row — that youth in Colorado do not use cannabis any more than teens in other parts of the country. In fact, by at least one measure, they use less. The Healthy Kids Colorado survey is a “voluntary survey that collects anonymous, self-reported health information from middle and high school students across Colorado,” according to the initiative’s website. Over 17,000 middle- and high-schoolers throughout the state were randomly selected to participate. The survey is conducted every other year, and the 2015 version, released this week, confirmed the 2013 findings that marijuana use among teens in Colorado had fallen flat. As the Denver Post reported: “The 2013 version of the survey found that 19.7 percent of teens had used marijuana in the past month. The 2015 version puts that number at 21.2 percent, but Larry Wolk, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said that increase is not statistically significant — meaning it could be a wiggle in the data and not a meaningful increase. In 2009, at the beginning of the state’s boom in medical marijuana stores, the rate was 24.8 percent.” The survey analysts found 78 percent of teens, roughly four out of five, had not used cannabis in the last month. In addition to the survey’s conclusions that cannabis use among youth failed to skyrocket — as detractors from legalization predicted it would — the survey found cannabis use among teens in the state was actually lower than teens around the country, solidifying prior research that has found teen use does not increase with legalization. Whereas 21.7 percent of teens across the country currently use cannabis, 21.2 percent do so in Colorado. While the difference is small — and therefore attributable to statistical variables — at the very least, the rates are nearly identical, indicating legalizing the plant does not create a cavalcade of teenage stoners wantonly puffing dope on the streets. Rather, the most widely-used drug, the survey found, was alcohol, with 59 percent of Colorado teens saying they had used it at least once (compared to 63 percent across the rest of the country). In contrast, just 38 percent of Colorado teens said they had used cannabis, tying with the teens across the rest of the country. Colorado teens’ use of alcohol fell several percentage points from the 2011 and 2013 surveys, both for teens who had ever used the drug and those who had binged on it — five or more drinks in a day — in the last 30 days. Nevertheless, alcohol remained the most commonly used drug, with 30 percent of teens admitt [...]
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Americans imprisoned for marijuana, while feds get patents on the drug
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The federal government has secretly withheld information regarding the medical benefits of marijuana in an attempt to control the market by waiting for the right time to legalize and eventually sell the drug on their terms. While dozens of states have progressed towards marijuana freedom, nearly 700,000 Americans are arrested each year for possession of pot because the federal government still considers it a Schedule I substance, placing it next to drugs like heroin, LSD and meth. amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0"; amzn_assoc_search_bar = "true"; amzn_assoc_tracking_id = "marajuana-20"; amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "manual"; amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; amzn_assoc_marketplace = "amazon"; amzn_assoc_region = "US"; amzn_assoc_title = "My Amazon Picks"; amzn_assoc_linkid = "9f2a69cee3a618de637d280900b48b28"; amzn_assoc_asins = "1936807238,B00P6YWUVW,B01BW5FA06,B007YJ1CNO"; The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), says marijuana is one of the most dangerous drugs out there, and that it has no medical benefits and a high potential for abuse. Publicly, government says marijuana is bad; privately, they’re moving to control the industry While publicly the government insists pot is bad, privately they’re patenting it. In 2003, a patent titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” was awarded to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a taxpayer-funded agency. The patent, which was originally filed for in 1999 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), specifically focuses on cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in marijuana that provides medical effects but doesn’t make you “stoned,” the feeling that comes from the compound THC. The patent provides the government with exclusive rights on using cannabinoids for treating neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke, as well as arthritis, diabetes, Chrohn’s disease and heart attacks. It only covers a specific application of cannabinoids and not overall production or use of marijuana or cannabinoids, according to Leaf Science. The government has released many studies to the public detailing the negative effects of cannabis, while secretly withholding government-funded science that’s unlocked many of the positive effects of marijuana. Federal government moves to shut down marijuana businesses, while filing for patents on the drug There truly is no finer example of hypocrisy, or cronyism. Despite new state regulations legalizing recreational and medical marijuana, the federal government is still harassing and jailing individuals for pot-related offenses, including those seeking the plant for medical use. The government is also actively working to shut down marijuana businesses through an IRS tax loophole in states like Colorado, where recreational pot is legal. Because marijuana remains a Schedule I substance under federal law, a tax code passed in 1982 called Section 2 [...]
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The Failed Promise of Legal Pot
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It’s just after four o’clock on a hot Seattle afternoon, and Thomas Terry is standing in the parking lot of a Jack in the Box. Known for fights that end with police sirens and sometimes ambulances, it’s a spot some locals half-jokingly call “Stab in the Box,” but today the scene is quiet. A man is walking up the street toward Terry and a few other young men who are gathered in the shade of a brick wall where the parking lot meets the sidewalk. As he draws near, one of them opens his mouth, and the words tumble out: “Kush? You want some weed?” amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0"; amzn_assoc_search_bar = "true"; amzn_assoc_tracking_id = "marajuana-20"; amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "manual"; amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; amzn_assoc_marketplace = "amazon"; amzn_assoc_region = "US"; amzn_assoc_title = "My Amazon Picks"; amzn_assoc_linkid = "9f2a69cee3a618de637d280900b48b28"; amzn_assoc_asins = "1936807238,B00P6YWUVW,B01BW5FA06,B007YJ1CNO"; Whether the man does or not, he says nothing, and keeps walking. It’s the middle of August, two years and eight months after voters in Washington passed an initiative to permit both the possession and sale of recreational marijuana—making the state the second in the nation to do so. In large part, the law was aimed at eliminating the black market for marijuana and redirecting those sales from parking lots and living rooms into stores, where the state could monitor and tax the transactions. Yet, although legal marijuana has generated real declines in arrests, the presence of Terry and the young men on the corner points to a hitch not just in the nuts and bolts of marijuana sales but in one of legalization’s most touted goals. Asking to be identified only by his initials, D.C., one of the young men on the corner, breaks it down. Business has fallen since the law passed, but enough people think they can score a bargain, or simply don’t trust the shiny new stores, to keep things moving. The police know about it—they always have—and they still bust dealers. Sometimes they do sweeps, D.C. says, referring to a well-publicized raid downtown. The cops are definitely more relaxed about it, he says, but sometimes they still show up and bust whoever’s around. A few days later, the corner is empty. The reason is a Ford SUV, painted black, blue, and white, idling at the curb a few feet away; a police officer’s arm hangs out the window as he surveys the faces passing by. A few hours later he is gone, and the crowd is back. Mostly, the crowd is black. Mostly, the cops who will bust them are white. Mostly, on the corner it’s hard to see how anything was changed by a movement that aimed to change everything. The dream of legal marijuana as it is being sold to the American public is that it will not only give states a chance to reap a tax windfall off of a drug millions of Americans already use; it will end the back-and-forth tussle among cops, users, and dealers, and shift poli [...]
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‘Legalise all drugs,’ business and world leaders tell UN
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A British billionaire, three former presidents and a renowned Aids researcher have called for all drugs to be decriminalized at a press conference that was sharply critical of the United Nations’ latest drug policy agreement, adopted this week. Leaders of the Global Commission on Drug Policy said the UN’s first special session on drugs in 18 years had failed to improve international narcotics policy, instead choosing to tweak its prohibition-oriented approach to drug regulation. “The process was fatally flawed from the beginning,” said Richard Branson, the head of the Virgin Group, adding that it may “already be too late” to save the international drug law system. Russia's 'cold turkey' approach highlights global divide over drug treatment at UN Read more This week’s United Nations general assembly special session, UNgass, clearly displayed the deep divisions between member states over narcotics: while a growing number of countries, including several states in the US, have moved towards decriminalizing or legalizing drugs, others continue to execute people convicted of drug crimes. Three UN conventions prohibit drug use that is not medical or scientific. The meeting, held Tuesday through Thursday in New York City, was billed as a forum to debate drug laws, called for by Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala in 2014. All three countries suffered disproportionate violence from cartels controlling drug supplies to the north. In Mexico alone, the government estimates164,000 people were the victims of homicide related to cartel violence between 2007 and 2014. On Thursday, Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, announced plans to legalize marijuana-based medicines and proposed raising the amount of the drug that can be legally carried. Activists for drug policy reform had already warned there was little hope that UNgass would provide a forum for serious debate of the issue. Activists criticized the process by which the meeting’s agreement – known as the “outcome document” – was drafted and negotiated. Some accused countries with repressive drug control policies, such as Russia and Egypt, of exerting undue influence on the outcome. Meanwhile, provisions advocates hoped for, such as a ban on capital punishment for drug crimes and a reference to “harm reduction”, were left out. Within the general assembly, the divide between countries over drug policy was in stark relief. Though the outcome document was immediately adopted after the session opened, many liberal nations called its conclusions “insufficient” and vowed to fight for reform at the next drug meeting, in 2019. Over the past two decades, nations from [...]
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Man Set Free After 10 Years In Prison Because Police Lied In Court
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A Chicago man, who spent 10 years in jail on drug charges, has been set free after an investigation proved that police officers and a state’s attorney investigator lied under oath to get him convicted. Jermaine Walker was released from prison in late March after his lawyer found proof that there was a surveillance camera in the alley during his 2006 altercation with three Chicago police officers, a fact that contradicts testimonies from the officers and state’s attorney investigator. According to court records, Eric Reyes and Sebastian Flatley, two of the Chicago police officers, who apprehended Walker, testified that there was no security camera in the alley, where the arrest took place. Their testimony was supported by a Cook County State’s Attorney’s office investigator Thomas Finnelly, who took photos of the scene and told the court that he visited the alley twice and never saw a security camera on the Lawrence Houses. On June 2, 2006, a jury found Walker guilty. He was sentenced to 10 to 22 years in prison for dealing drugs within [...]
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This man is sentenced to die in prison over marijuana
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The supreme court won't even hear his appeal. My god, does the absurdity ever end? Lee Carroll Brooker, a 75-year-old disabled veteran, is sentenced to die in prison thanks to a mandatory sentence involving marijuana. Brooker was growing about three dozen marijuana plants behind his son's house in Alabama, reportedly for his own medical use. But when Alabama officials found out, they prosecuted Brooker, putting him in prison for life without the possibility of parole. How did this happen? Jesse Wegman explained for the New York Times: [Brooker] said the plants were for his own medicinal use only — he suffers from multiple chronic ailments — and prosecutors did not dispute that. Remarkably, they didn't have to. Alabama, like three other states, mandates a life without parole sentence for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana by people with certain prior felony convictions — and Mr. Brooker had been convicted of a string of robberies twenty years earlier in Florida, crimes for which he served 10 years in prison. In such a case, the law doesn't require prosecutors to prove any intent to sell the drug. In Mississippi, 30 grams — barely one ounce — is enough to send someone to prison for the rest of his or her life, with no chance of release. Alabama's cutoff is slightly higher, at one kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, but that makes no more sense, and was no help to Mr. Brooker, whose plants weighed in at 2.8 pounds, including unusable parts like stalks and leaves. So Brooker, an elderly man with disabilities, is now serving a life sentence for a string of robberies 20 years ago, for which he already served time, and marijuana possession. It's an incredible situation, not least because Brooker likely wouldn't be in prison if he lived in one of the 24 states that allow people to use pot for medical purposes or four states that let people use the drug for any other reason. Brooker's situation is very rare — a minority of prisoners are in for drug offenses. But Brooker's story shows how out of step drug laws can be with public opinion, especially since a majority of Americans agree marijuana should be legal. Even Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who's notoriously conservative, called Brooker's sentence "excessive and unjustified." (The sentence was mandatory — so once prosecutors brought charges that triggered the sentence, judges were required to enforce [...]
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“Good People Don’t Smoke Marijuana” — Clueless Senator Just Vilified 50% of All Americans
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As cannabis legalization sweeps the nation, a small group of U.S. senators held a desperate anti-pot circus show this week where they showcased the absurdity of cannabis prohibition. The hearing was dubbed “Is the Department of Justice Adequately Protecting the Public From the Impact of State Recreational Marijuana Legalization?” Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, the two oldest members of the Senate, hosted the event and invited other prohibition crusaders such as Nebraska attorney general Doug Peterson, who attempted to sue Colorado for being a drug cartel. Sen. Jeff Sessions also attended and provided perhaps the most laughable statement of the hearing when he said, “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” I can’t tell you how concerning it is for me, emotionally and personally, to see the possibility that we will reverse the progress that we’ve made…. It was the prevention movement that really was so positive, and it led to this decline. The creating of knowledge that this drug is dangerous, it cannot be played with, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about, and trying to send that message with clarity, that good people don’t smoke marijuana. It’s hard to know where to begin with this asinine statement. Firstly, Sessions insulted about half of the American population who use cannabis. Pot has never seemed to stifle success, but surely the righteous Senator would not dare insult his fellow statesmen who have used the plant recreationally. All those people treating their health ailments with cannabis, whether smoked or its extracts eaten, can’t be doing any good in healing themselves. Medical science should not be promoting such bad behavior! On a more serious note, as we discover the miraculous functions of the endocannabinoid system, we are finding ways to harness that system through the application of cannabis compounds to both heal and prevent disease. The National Cancer Institute has recognized that cannabis kills cancer. The American Epilepsy Society has deemed cannabis the most promising treatment for seizures. We have reported on numerous studies and instances of the incredible potential of cannabis in treating epileptic seizures. Many veterans of war are finding the only thing that can treat the post-traumatic stress disorder is cannabis, with some able to give up harmful prescription drugs. But these aren’t “good people” to Sen. Sessions, even if they are avoiding mental breakdowns by using the plant. Indeed, all cannabis use can be considered therapeutic. Conditions that are treated with dangerous pharmaceutical drugs—marketed by a lucrative partnership between government and Big Pharma—can instead be alleviated with a plant that anyone can grow. With all that we now know about cannabis, it is truly a mystery as to how anyone—especially one of a hundred Senators who profess to lead our nation in progress—can cling to the fallacies of 20th-century prohibition. Sen. Grassley set th [...]
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Hawaii considering decriminalizing all recreational drugs for personal use
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It's a bold move, the likes of which hasn't been seen in recent United States history: The state of Hawaii is on the cusp of decriminalizing ALL recreational drugs. If the resolution passes, Hawaii would become the first state to investigate alternative solutions for treating drug addiction other than just locking people up. Instead of imprisoning drug users, Hawaii would look at the situation from a different angle. Drug users caught in a vicious cycle will be able to get professional help instead of fearing long-term imprisonment. Families, friends and support groups will be more empowered and able to create an environment of accountability that breaks the addiction and resets the priorities of drug users. Hawaii lawmakers admit that incarceration isn't working: "Despite a longstanding policy that enforces illicit drug prohibition and imposes some of the world's harshest penalties for drug possession and sales, illicit drug use in the United States has been increasing," states the resolution. With drug use rising in the U.S., and with incarceration rates continuing to climb, the root of the problem isn't really being dealt with. Criminalizing drug use has perpetuated hard drug abuse while creating heightened fear and violence where it is unnecessary. A shift in how we approach drug addiction For so long, all drugs have been treated in the same way, as something for law enforcement to use as evidence against people to lock them up. This doesn't solve addictions or help people strive to have better priorities. There's now growing support for looking at each substance for what it is, and how best to approach the problem on an individual basis. Instead of locking people up for possessing the cannabis plant, for example, resources could be better used helping people who are dependent on methamphetamine. Distinctions have to be made, and better approaches have to be used, other than violence and control. That's why Hawaii is looking to set up a commission to study the benefits of drug decriminalization. If the measure passes both chambers of the legislature, the state's Legislative Reference Bureau would be activated to, "conduct a study on the feasibility and advisability of decriminalizing the illegal possession of drugs for personal use in Hawaii," so that such conduct, "would constitute an administrative or civil violation rather than a criminal [...]
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Hawaii May Become First State In US To Decriminalize All Drugs
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Submitted by Claire Bernish via TheAntiMedia.org, Following Portugal’s model, Hawai`i could become the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize all drugs — including cocaine and even heroin. “[D]espite a longstanding policy that enforces illicit drug prohibition and imposes some of the world’s harshest penalties for drug possession and sales, illicit drug use in the United States has been increasing,” states a resolution that passed, amended by the Hawai`i House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Now that it’s been approved, the study’s findings will be due later this year, “no later than 20 days prior” to the convening of the legislature’s 2017 session. According to testimony from the Legislative Reference Bureau Acting Director, Charlotte A. Carter-Yamauchi, the study will reference Portugal’s successful decriminalization with the caveat of recognizing Hawai`i’s obligation to follow federal law. But the state recognizes the numerous failures and pitfalls of the national war on drugs and its policies, beginning with passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914. “Addicts are still considered to be violating the law by possessing drugs and have no legal way of obtaining them. The war on drugs most problematic effects are in its pursuit of dealers and traffickers. This is what has made the business lucrative and violent, caused addicts to steal to obtain drug money, and burdened the tax payers [sic] and criminal justice system,” Libertarian Party of Hawai`i Chair, Tracy Ryan, submitted in support of the study, with the recommendation to examine pre-1914 U.S. drug policy. Among others offering testimony, the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai`i issued a statement in “strong support” of studying the issue, as well as a recommendation the LRB carry out a “twin study” on “the effects of legalization of marijuana for adult use.” Noting the Supreme Court’s refusal to intervene in a dispute between Colorado, Nebraska, and Oklahoma — stemming from Colorado’s cannabis legalization — the Forum claimed it would be an “opportune time” to conduct the parallel study. Policymakers in Hawai`i decided to turn to Portugal’s across-the-board decriminalization, which became law on July 1, 2001, for consideration, after the CATO Institute issued a report touting the policy’s success. Cited in testimony by Kat Brady, Coordinator of Community Alliance on Prisons, the report’s conclusion stated: “None of the fears promulgated by opponents of Portuguese decriminalization has come to fruition, whereas many of the benefits predicted by drug policymakers from instituting a decriminalization regime have been realized. While drug addiction, usage, and associated pathologies continue to skyrocket in many EU states, those problems — in virtually every relevant category — have been either contained or measurably improved within Portugal since 2001 […] “By freeing its citizens from the fear of prosecution and imprisonment f [...]
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