Drugs This Year on Drugs
posted by December 31 at 15:00 PMon
Most drug news sucks. It’s either a starlet snorting lines or a linebacker getting stoned. And both fuckers say how bad they feel and get off the hook. But these sorts of sin-to-redemption stories are irrelevant. This Year on Drugs endeavors to cover the top ten significant developments and entertaining tragedies of 2007. And, no, Amy Winehouse doesn’t make the cut.
All Time High: A report released by the FBI in September shows pot arrests continued to climb, reaching an annual record of 829,625, at a cost of roughly $8 billion, in 2006. That’s a six percent increase from the previous year—out of proportion with population growth or the rate of use. The Census Bureau estimates the US population increased by only one percent that year. The rate of pot use has remained comparatively stable since the 1980s.
Your tax dollars at work.
Legal Aliens: It’s unclear what test group approved ads depicting a crayon animation girl dumping her stoner boyfriend for a sober Martian. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill were as nonplussed by the bizarre scenario in the drugs ads as the rest of us—so the Democratically controlled Congress slashed the White House’s National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign budget by 40 percent from the previous year, to less than half of Bush’s request.
Cartel Violence: Mexican President Felipe Calderón decided to step up the drug war with alarming consequences. A record 2,500 people were killed by cartels—which specifically targeted musicians, politicians, and police. Undaunted by the apparent relationship between escalating drug enforcement and a rise in organized crime, Calderón is seeking an additional $1.4 billion from the U.S. in 2008 for Plan Mexico. The name is borrowed from the US-funded Plan Colombia, which failed to curb cocaine production but made that country one of the most violent places on earth.
Field of Dreams: Afghanistan yielded a record crop of heroin poppies, supplying a whopping 92 percent of the world's opium, despite (and in part because of) an unprecedented US and NATO military presence there. With the popularity in the US of meth ebbing and a crackdown on Oxycontin suppliers, don’t be surprised if 2008 brings a wave of hipsters biting the bullet while chasing the dragon.
Shorter Sentences: The Supreme Court eliminated mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. The court’s logic was based on the 100-to-one disparity of the length of crack-to-cocaine sentences (possession of five grams of crack cocaine mandated the same minimum sentence as 500 grams of powder cocaine), causing African Americans to serve longer prison sentences for essentially the same crime. Expect a rush in 2008 for appeals to retroactively commute sentences.
Spell check, you fucking stoners.
Send Patients the Bill: Olympia lawmakers passed a bill clarifying Washington’s fucked up medical marijuana law. As it stood, there was no allowable quantity of pot that patients could possess to remain in compliance with the law, so patients were routinely arrested and forced to make their defense in court. A handful of irate pot patients, insisting that the bill would limit their god-given right to smoke as much blessed herb as they want, protested lawmakers and nagged the press. But the legislature overwhelmingly approved the bill, requiring the state’s Department of Health to issue those guidelines in 2008.
Ron Paul: His savvy opposition to the drug war duped gullible techies, who like to smoke pot while coding and take ecstasy on the weekend, into believing a Republican douche bag was their savior. w00t!
Chemo and Junkies: New Mexico refused to be square. The state enacted two unprecedented drug-policy reform bills. The first makes New Mexico the 12th state to allow medical marijuana, but unlike other med-pot laws, this one requires the state to create a marijuana distribution program. Expect a showdown with the feds in 2008 over whether a state government can operate a marijuana program that violates the federal Controlled Substance Act. Also, New Mexico’s legislature passed a “Good Samaritan” bill, which provides 911 callers who report drug overdoses immunity from drug possession charges.
White Lies: Never mind that amphetamines have been popular since the ’60s, America was beat over the head with the idea that meth is a new threat to our nation. A slew of ads bought by the White House, and targeted in progressive regions of the western states, insisted that trying meth “even once” would turn ordinary people into toothless vagabonds. However, most users of meth—a genuinely freaky drug—come down with a full set of teeth. In 2005, considered the peak of the meth epidemic, 10.3 million Americans had tried methamphetamine at least once. Of those 10.3 million, only 1.3 million used methamphetamine in the previous year, and only 512,000 used it within the last 30 days. So, obviously, while doing meth once is not advisable, the ads are more of the failed "Just Say No" propaganda designed to incite fear, not improve public health.
Marijuana’s Gay Marriage? Equal rights for same-sex couples didn’t seem realistic until the landmark Massachusetts Supreme Court’s ruling in 2004. But Mass may be the cradle of the revolution again when an initiative that qualified for the ballot in 2007 reaches the voting booths in 2008. If it passes, the state will be the first to decriminalize marijuana since the ‘70s, making possession of up to an ounce punishable by a mere $100 fine.