All posts by Friendly Helper

How to Smoke Cannabis while Avoiding Jail – an illustrated guide by Seattle lawyer Jeffery Steinborn

{Update – thanks Dominic!) This user-friendly guide was Illustrated and created by *awesome* graphic artist Ellen Forney (ellen’s blog) based on an interview with Seattle lawyer Jeffery Steinborn whose 10 Commandments are below for your continued perusal and education. Combine this with the ACLU bust card (download Bust Card .pdf) and you are a much better protected citizen.

Know your rights, these are your rights!

TEN COMMANDMENTS OF CANNABIS

1. One law at a time. If you’re holding or using that’s one. Don’t break any others.

2. Practice Home Hygiene. Sooner or later, someone is going to show up at your door…

3. Never invite trouble into your home.

4. Protect the privacy of your home if you can.

5. Don’t think you’re safe out in the countryside.

6. Don’t take your pipe out of your house. Smoke joints.

7. Don’t be afraid to blend in if you’re on the wrong side of the pot laws.

8. Don’t talk, don’t talk, don’t talk, no digas nada.

9. When confronted by the police, take the advice on the back of my card and ask to call your lawyer.

10. Don’t forget it’s against the law.

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Levon’s Dirtfarmer Documentary

Levon Helm is one of my all-time heroes – drummer, mandolinist, songwriter, sanger, southern gentleman (Arkansasan), cancer (throat) survivor, actor, friend of Canada and a Grammy winner for his folk album Dirt Farmer. Here’s a little featurette of Levon playing music and talking about the state of the USA for farmers, country folk, and civilians everywhere. “I can’t say, i’m just having a soda.”

Levon Helm – “Only Halfway Home” 20:57
A short film inspired by and featuring music from Levon Helm’s
GRAMMY Award winning album Dirt Farmer.
Features: “Calvary”
(Byron Isaacs); (BMI)
“Poor Old Dirt Farmer”
(Tracy Schwartz); Traditon Music Co., (ASCAP)
“False Hearted Lover Blues”
(Trad, arrangement by Levon Helm, Larry Campbell);
Dirt Farmer Music, Talkhouse Music (BMI)
“Got Me a Woman”
(Paul Kennerley); Irving Music (BMI)

Mars Martian Flying Boat Flies o’er Burrard Inlet Vancouver

The Mars Martian is the largest flying boat (or something along those lines). Usually stationed on Vancouver Island, the Martian can skim the water, filling her belly with water, then gain altitude to reach the fire zone and help to douse forest fires.

In this video clip, she doesn’t do the fire drill, but gives a nice slow, low pass over Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet while my pal Richard and I observe from the top floor of Gastown building while the Seabus goes about its business passing the heliport and the West Coast Express waits patiently in Gastown railyards.

Geek further as desired: http://www.martinmars.com/aircraft.htm

Creative Commons – Remix with attribution

Rick Steves gets even cooler with a Cannabis Policy Guest Column in Seattle PI

Travel in Europe guru, PBS super-star, decent Lutheran guy, and multi-purpose enlightened thinker Rick Steves wrote a guest column about the failed USA war on drugs policy – i’ve re-posted for educational use from Seattle P-I.com

We need to get smart about marijuana

RICK STEVES
GUEST COLUMNIST

As a parent helping two children navigate their teen years, and as a travel writer who has seen firsthand how Europe deals with its drug problem, I’ve thought a lot about U.S. drug policy — particularly our criminalization of marijuana.

Europe, like the U.S., is dealing with a persistent drug-abuse problem. But unlike us, Europe, which treats drug abuse primarily as a public health issue rather than a criminal issue, measures the success of its drug policy in terms of pragmatic harm reduction.

Europeans seek a cure that isn’t more costly than the problem. While the U.S. spends its tax dollars on police, courts and prisons, Europe fights drug abuse by funding doctors, counselors and clinics. European Union policymakers estimate that for each euro invested in drug education and counseling, they save 15 euros in police and health costs. Similar estimates have been made for U.S. health-based approaches by the Rand Corp. and others.

While Europeans are as firmly opposed to hard drugs as we are, the difference in how they approach marijuana is striking. Take the Netherlands, with its famously liberal marijuana laws. On my last trip to Amsterdam, I visited a “coffee shop” — a cafe that openly and legally sells marijuana to people over 18. I sat and observed the very local, almost quaint scene: Neighbors were chatting. An older couple (who apparently didn’t enjoy the trendy ambience) parked their bikes and dropped in for a baggie to go. An underage customer was shooed away. Then a police officer showed up — but only to post a warning about the latest danger from chemical drugs on the streets.

Some concerned U.S. parents are comforted by the illusion of control created by our complete prohibition of marijuana. But the policy seems to be backfiring: Their kids say it’s easier to buy marijuana than tobacco or alcohol. (You don’t get carded when you buy something illegally.) Meanwhile, Dutch parents say their approach not only protects their younger children, but also helps insulate teens over 18 from street pushers trying to get them hooked on more addictive (and profitable) hard drugs.

After a decade of regulating marijuana, Dutch anti-drug abuse professionals agree there has been no significant increase in pot smoking among young people, and that overall cannabis use has increased only slightly. European and U.S. government statistics show per-capita consumption of marijuana for most of Europe (including the Netherlands) is about half that of the U.S., despite the criminal consequences facing American pot smokers.

When it comes to marijuana, European leaders understand that a society must choose: Tolerate alternative lifestyles or build more prisons. They’ve made their choice. We’re still building more prisons.

According to Forbes magazine, 25 million Americans currently use marijuana (federal statistics indicate that one in three Americans has used marijuana at some point), which makes it a $113 billion untaxed industry in our country. The FBI reports that about 40 percent of the roughly 1.8 million annual drug arrests in the U.S. are for marijuana — the majority (89 percent) for simple possession.

Rather than act as a deterrent, criminalization of marijuana drains precious resources, clogs our legal system and distracts law enforcement attention from more pressing safety concerns.

But things are changing. For example, in Seattle, Initiative 75, which makes adult marijuana use the lowest law enforcement priority for local cops, was recently reviewed after four years in action. The results clearly show that during that period, marijuana use didn’t measurably increase, and street crime associated with drugs actually went down.

More and more U.S. parents, lawyers, police, judges and even travel writers feel it’s time for a change. Obviously, like Europeans, we don’t want anyone to harm themselves or others by misusing marijuana. We simply believe that regulating and taxing what many consider a harmless vice is smarter than outlawing it.

Like my European friends, I believe we can adopt a pragmatic policy toward marijuana, with a focus on harm reduction and public health, rather than tough-talking but counterproductive criminalization. The time has come to have an honest discussion about our marijuana laws and their effectiveness. We need to find a policy that is neither “hard on drugs” nor “soft on drugs” — but smart on drugs.

Rick Steves is a travel writer based in Edmonds.

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Obama’s Position on Medical Marijuana

Barry Obama, class of '79With the US aflutter with electioneering, my old buddy (who i am very eager to go visit) Hemp Ed in Pe Ell (hear Ed on Bacon, Biscuits and Hemp Ed – Choogle on #39) sent along Senator Obama’s campaign’s response to Ed’s query about the candidate’s medical marijuana policy.

Note that cannabis seems absent from the current political discourse aside from Mitt Romney (stop stalking me Mitt!) telling a terminally ill patient that he wouldn’t allow him to have medicine (he must be stopped!) aside from Ron Paul who has been marginalized by the process (despite rabid grassroots support).

Anyhow, Barack (who has toked in his time)’s folks say:

Dear Friend,

Thank you for contacting Obama for America to inquire about the Senator’s position on allowing severely ill patients to use marijuana for medical purposes.

Many states have laws that condone medical marijuana, but the Bush Administration is using federal drug enforcement agents to raid these facilities and arrest seriously ill people. Focusing scarce law enforcement resources on these patients who pose no threat while many violent and highly dangerous drug traffickers are at large makes no sense. Senator Obama will not continue the Bush policy when he is president.

Thank you again for contacting us.

Sincerely,

Obama for America

We’ll see if noted Olympia correspondent Cosmo (and precinct organizer for Obama AFAIK) has anything to add.

Photo Credit: Awesom high school yearbook image from Pushing String blog Barry Obama and the gang

Cannabis Seeds for Sale at Courthouse as Vancouver 3 Agree to Plea

DEA Go Away - Pot Seeds for SaleMarc Emery and his now-former co-defendants held a press conference this morning (Tuesday January 22nd) to discuss the plea bargain which results in no extradition to the USA. Emery, Greg Williams and Michelle Rainey made their remarks outside the BC Supreme Court house Downtown Vancouver to an assembled mass of journalists, supporters, activist and surprised passing barristers.

Vancouver Seed Bank Manager (and former editor of Cannabis Culture) Dana Larsen and colleagues were on hand to sell hi-grade marijuana seeds in $20 vials as a sign that selling seeds is a legally tolerated activity in Canada, unlike the USA.

Nederlander Tax Write off for Hash

A kinda cheesy article from Canoe but the topic intrigues me so here it is, read more via the link.  I *would* put a photo to a Amsterdam coffee shop here or maybe a big chunk of hash, but i am kinda busy right this minute but maybe later i’ll write some commentary and include a relevant photo but maybe not.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – A Dutch court has added a new item to the list of activities eligible for tax relief – drug running.  Judges in the central city of Arnhem recently declared that a professional fisherman convicted of smuggling drugs could deduct the cost of buying and shipping hashish to the Netherlands from his income on his tax return, national daily De Telegraaf reported Tuesday.

{snip}

The court ruled that because he had only been convicted of drug running and not trading in drugs he could deduct the cost of buying and transporting the drugs on his tax form. That cut his tax bill to euro1.8 ($2.4 million) – a saving of euro1.5 million ($2 million).

Under Dutch law, marijuana and hashish are illegal but police don’t fine smokers for possession of less than five grams (one-sixth of an ounce) or prosecute for possession of less than 30 grams (one ounce).

Authorities look the other way regarding the open sale of cannabis in designated “coffee shops.”But growers are subject to raids and prosecution, meaning the officially tolerated shop owners have no legal way to purchase their best-selling product.

The case isn’t the first time a court’s ruling on taxes has raised Dutch eyebrows. In 2005, judges in the northern city of Leeuwarden ruled that witches can write off the cost of schooling in witchcraft against their tax bills if it increases the likelihood of employment and personal income.

CANOE — CNEWS – Weird News: Dutch court makes hash tax deductible

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Too High To Fight? Interesting article on military drug testing

Hmmm, maybe time to bust out my drug testing in the worlplace white paper.–

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Too high to fight?

 

I usually offer to help soldiers fail drug tests – not pass them

By MATT MERNAGH

NOW Magazine (Toronto)

I got some weird and crazy e-mail recently. Among the updates from war resisters groups and pot legalizers was a letter from the wife of a Canadian Forces soldier. The distraught woman was writing to ask my advice because her husband had failed his urine test and was being prevented from deploying to Afghanistan.

Talk about a moral dilemma. Oddly, just this month, writing for Cannabis Culture, I urged service personnel not wanting to wage war to get stoned and flunk the Department of National Defence’s recently resumed pee test. If any CF soldier doesn’t want to deploy, I’m offering to puff pot in their face all day or send them peace cookies. No reason to go AWOL.

So here I was being asked to help a soldier convince his superiors to retest him so he could deploy. I have no clout at DND, of course. However, it turns out that my anonymous soldier is one of 89 service personnel who popped positive out of the 2,276 tested before leaving for Afghanistan.

Two soldiers have been fired, three were able to show they had a narcotic prescription and five more were sent to counselling. There are 79 more administrative reviews to go.

 

<snip>

 

When interviewed by the media, Hillier admitted at least one crew used cannabis to camouflage their vehicle. All efforts to down the indica thicket using white phosphorus and diesel fuel bombardment failed, he said. But when a small patch did ignite there were other problems: a section of soldiers downwind had “some ill effects.”

The United Nations Office of Drug Control estimates the Afghan cannabis crop at 30,000 acres, one-third of the world supply. The resinous strain packs that classic skunk smell and would be a terrible reefer toke, but it’s pressed into hashish and transported to world markets. You can come across it in Toronto.

Are soldiers retested to make sure they’re straight once they’ve settled into Kandahar? I can’t help querying. “Where would they get the drugs from? In the mail?” Laviolette asks.

“The soldiers are in an enclosed environment. They’re not even allowed to drink alcohol except for two beers on Christmas Day,” minister of defence spokesperson Isabel Bouchard reassures. “The military always needs to be ready. This is Canada, we respect the Afghan way of life and are their

invited guests,” she says.

Contact: letters@nowtoronto.com

NOW Magazine

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