Pot Smokers Must Choose: Guns Or Pot?

Young Turks – “The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday unveiled their proposed rules for the state’s medical marijuana pilot program — including several proposals that are receiving significant backlash from marijuana advocates. medical-pot-symbol

Among the proposals are that medical marijuana users would need to pay a $150 annual fee to participate in the program by getting a special photo ID, in addition to agreeing to be fingerprinted, undergoing a criminal background check and relinquishing their right to own a gun, the Associated Press reports.

The IDPH is now accepting public comment on their proposals through Feb. 7 before it plans to submit their recommendations to state lawmakers by the end of April, followed by another public comment period, the Chicago Tribune reports. Patient applications aren’t expected to begin to be considered until September.”

Jailing Photogs & Smokers, Outlawing Chipotle! Nanny Of The Year 2013

At Reason TV’s Fifth Annual Nanny of the Year Awards, we recognize those who devote their lives to telling us how to run ours! The nominees for 2013 are trailblazers who insist on breaking barriers that would have been politically impossible to confront just a short time ago…

45998-the-nanny-state-nanny-state-political-poster-1302703375

They Proved Him Right: FBI Interrogated Man After Comment About ‘Police State’ on Facebook

Police State USA
Fri, 27 Sep 2013 

SOTT.net - “A man says that within hours of making an impassioned post on Facebook, he was being interrogated by police and the FBI.

Blaine Cooper, 33, contacted policestateusa.com with a concerning story about how his sentiments posted on Facebook had drawn the attention of the federal government. He showed me the comment and told me that within 24-hours of posting it, he was being contacted by the police and FBI.

His colorful comment was in reference to what he believes is an “American Police State,” in which the power of the federal government is growing in a direction which may one day lead people to fight back.

Cooper, who is training to be a wild land fire fighter, said that on August 23, he was contacted by Officer Jason Kuafman of the Prescott Valley Police Department and was told that he needed to come to the police station for an interview with the FBI.

He complied with the request for an interview, which lasted 45 minutes with federal agents present. He was released after apparently being determined to not be a threat.

They had every Facebook post I had ever made in a huge file, along with all my wife’s information, and parent’s information,” Cooper told policestateusa.com.

Cooper said that he was told that without “defusing the situation” by complying with the interview, his house might have been raided.

“The FBI made mention they came to question me so they didn’t have to kick in my door,” Cooper told policestateusa.com.” Full Story

27-Year-Old Man Gets “20 Years Hard Labor” for Half an Ounce of Pot

“Defense lawyers are appealing the twenty year sentence for Mr. Ladd, but the hundreds of thousands of marijuana arrests continue each year. This insanity must be stopped.”

AlterNet – “While Colorado and Washington have de-criminalized recreational use of marijuana and twenty states allow use for medical purposes, a Louisiana man was sentenced to twenty years in prison in New Orleans criminal court for possessing 15 grams, .529 of an ounce, of marijuana.

Corey Ladd, 27, had prior drug convictions and was sentenced September 4, 2013 as a “multiple offender to 20 years hard labor at the Department of Corrections.”

Marijuana use still remains a ticket to jail in most of the country and prohibition is enforced in a highly racially discriminatory manner.  A recent report of the ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White,” documents millions of arrests for marijuana and shows the “staggeringly disproportionate impact on African Americans.”

Nationwide, the latest numbers from the FBI report that over 762,000 arrests per year are for marijuana, almost exactly half of all drug arrests.

Even though blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates, black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white people.

For example, Louisiana arrests about 13,000 people per year for marijuana, 60% of them African Americans.  Over 84 percent were for possession only.   While Louisiana’s population is 32 percent black, 60 percent of arrests for marijuana are African American making it the 9th most discriminatory state nationwide.  In Tangipahoa Parish, blacks are 11.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than whites and in St. Landry Parish the rate of black arrests for marijuana is 10.7 times as likely as whites, landing both parishes in the worst 15 in the country.

In Louisiana, a person can get up to six months in jail for first marijuana conviction, up to five years in prison for the second conviction and up to twenty years in prison for the third.   In fact, the Louisiana Supreme Court recently overturned a sentence of five years as too lenient for a fourth possession of marijuana and ordered the person sentenced to at least 13 years.

Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) argues that “the “war on drugs” has been, is, and forever will be, a total and abject failure.  This is not a war on drugs, this is a war on people, our own people, our children, our parents, ourselves.” LEAP, which is made up of thousands of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities, has been advocating for the de-criminalization of drugs and replacing it with regulation and control since 2002.” Full Story

New Research: CBC Cannabinoid Sparks Brain Cell Growth

california-marijuana-dui-d-bill

Marijuana.com- “One by one – the irrational lies of the prohibition set are slowly being put to down like rabid animals. Even within the stubborn old guard, cannabis as medicine is continually finding new allies. Example: a new report offered by the Journal Neurochemistry International has discovered that marijuana’s CBC cannabinoid helps to promote brain cell growth.

Apart from the psychotropic compound Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), evidence suggests that other non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids are also of potential clinical use. This study aimed at elucidating the effect of major non-THC phytocannabinoids on the fate of adult neural stem progenitor cells (NSPCs), which is an essential component of brain function in health as well as in pathology. We tested three compounds: cannabidiol, cannabigerol, and cannabichromene (CBC), and found that CBC has positive effect on the cell viability of mouse NSPCs during differentiation in vitro.

While some  marijuana myths die slow – this research recently performed at the Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry was funded by the manufacturers of Sativex, and is merely one of a multitude of studies which has demonstrated that marijuana cannabinoids can accelerate brain cell growth.”

“Scientists at the Institute of biomolecular chemistry concluded;

Based on a previous report, we studied the potential involvement of adenosine A1 receptor in the effect of CBC on these cells and found that the selective adenosine A1 receptor antagonist, DPCPX, counteracted both ERK1/2 phosphorylation and up-regulation of nestin by CBC, indicating that also adenosine is involved in these effects of CBC, but possibly not in CBC inhibitory effect on GFAP expression. Next, we measured ATP levels as an equilibrium marker of adenosine and found higher ATP levels during differentiation of NSPCs in the presence of CBC. Taken together, our results suggest that CBC raises the viability of NSPCs while inhibiting their differentiation into astroglia, possibly through up-regulation of ATP and adenosine signalling.

Scientific studies like this are hard to ignore – though the NDIA have tried. The mounting successes of medical marijuana being passed in state after state, have ushered in a new age of cannabis reform and acceptance – only this time we have science on our side.” Learn More at Marijuana.com

 

Indiana AG Suggests Pregnant Women Be Forced To Take Drug Tests

*Updated* As pointed out by a reader – this has just been suggested and is not yet a law as is presented here. Apologies for the screw up in not verifying that part of the story before I posted.*

via The State Weekly – “If you are a pregnant woman living in Indiana, the state Attorney General now says you have to take a second urine test after the pregnancy test – a mandatory drug test.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller argues that women should be subject to drug testing among pregnancy testing due to the scores of infants that are addicted to drugs upon delivery. He also claimed that the drug testing could save up to or more than $30 million dollars in hospital expenses related to caring for babies suffering from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, reported Care2.

This certainly becomes a controversial issue. Regardless of the state having good intentions of protecting babies from drug-addicted mothers, forcing all pregnant women to undergo drug testing is a definite violation of civil liberties.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, “A specific intrusion into personal privacy stemming from drug prohibition is the mandatory testing of individuals for the presence of drugs, whether as a condition of employment or as a requirement for the receipt of public assistance, even in the absences of any reason to believe those individuals have committed a crime.”

It is a constitutional and moral breach to force a woman, not suspected of using drugs, to be tested for drugs just because she is pregnant.

This makes my brain spin so fast that I can hardly type out a right and proper rant about this story. No state official has the right to demand this; I don’t know who this arrogant prick thinks he is but he needs a reality check…Upside the head. With a fully-loaded diaper…bag… 

Balance Your Budget – Wisdom From Washington

money_on_fire_op_449x600-224x300Last year hubby & I got pulled into some bad dealings with a very unscrupulous boss/businessman. Without going into a lot of boring details, I’ll skip ahead and say that today we are headed to court to finalize our bankruptcy…the end result of our accepting promises without legally binding contracts.

Needless to say, none of this has made me very happy…left to my own devices, I’ve only ever had 2 credit cards with under $1,000 limits. I have spent my entire adult life trying to avoid our bogus credit ratings and whatnot…and here I am now in my 40′s, dealing with the gov’t in ways I never dreamed I would – and it’s been more irritating than I ever imagined – and believe me, I have one hell of an imagination!

As part of the bankruptcy deal, we’ve had to pay to take 2 online financial courses that are mandated by law. Grumble, grumble…but hey, maybe I’ll learn something, right?

Learn. About budgeting my money. From the government. What was I thinking???? 

Here’s what I *learned* from the government approved and mandated *financial help* classes:

  • Buying several insurance policies saves me money on my monthly budget.
  • Full coverage auto insurance saves me money.
  • Dental insurance is a necessity and saves money.
  • My (total, combined) utility bills should not exceed $60 during any given month.
  • Eating before I shop saves money.
  • The FTC exists to protect me and this also saves me money.

If you’ve been struggling to stay afloat and balance your budget, you’ve now got the secret tools and tips you need to get ‘er done! Just buy more insurance, turn off your heat and water and be sure to eat up before you head out to shop for shoes! And don’t worry about the rough financial times, folks…as soon as Uncle Sammy applies these awesome money-saving tips in DC, I’m sure the deficit will be wiped out and the economy will be back on track in no time! Money-down-the-toilet-106-300x207

FDA Requests $300 Million To Implement Food Safety Modernization Act

“Apart from a full-fledged revolution initiated by the people against the corrupt federal government, it is highly likely that Congress will grant the FDA its funding increase, which will effectively turn up the heat of police state tyranny against American farmers and food growers. But the people can still make their voices heard by contacting their representatives and demanding that the FDA not receiving funding to implement the onerous provisions of FSMA.”

(NaturalNews) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has requested nearly $300 million in additional agency funding from Congress in order to implement the oppressive tenets of the so-called Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which will stifle American farmers and commercial food growers and potentially put many of them out of business. The FDA claims it is having to struggle through “tight budget times,” and insists that a roughly 17 percent budget increase over its 2013 budget will be needed for 2014.

If granted by Congress, the requested funding increase will bring the FDA’s overall operating budget to a massive $4.7 billion for the 2014 fiscal year, which is the highest it has ever been. This is in spite of the fact that FSMA is completely despotic, granting the FDA sweeping new authority over the cultivation, transport, and sale of food, particularly at the local level. As we covered many times in the past, FSMA will allow the FDA to preemptively regulate and control farmers and commercial food growers.” Full Story on Natural News

You can contact your Congressmen by visiting:
http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

Food Safety Modernization Act Far More Costly Than Supporters Claimed (openmarket.org)
FDA requests $4.7 billion to implement food safety law (vitals.nbcnews.com)
Obama Administration Seeks FDA Funding Increase for FSMA Implementation (trackmycrop.wordpress.com)
Food Companies Must Prep For FDA & FSMA (drughealth.blogspot.com)
Q&A With Michael Taylor, Part I: The Next FSMA Rules and Imports (trackmycrop.wordpress.com)
White House Guts Food Safety Modernization Act, Testing Nixed (poisonedpets.com)

A Call To Action: Join The Fight For Food Freedom

Last week, I shared a story about the Levesque family in Terra Haute, Indiana who were forced to give up their pet chickens after the city abruptly decided that chickens are farm animals, not pets. Their story is both heartbreaking and infuriating and I’d like to ask the WordPress community to please support the Levesque’s as they fight to stop something like this from happening to other families – and to preserve their right to provide food (and education!) to their kids. Please take a moment to sign the petition below and then pass it around, email it, link it and share it as much as possible…

SIGN PETITION HERE

Connect With Simpler Times Homestead on Facebook

This fight isn’t just about one family in one city…laws and ordinances that restrict our ability to produce/grow our own food supply are popping up all over the place. If we do not fight them now, we will all pay the price (literally, at grocery stores when they are the only food source left) if we don’t stand up for ourselves – and each other – NOW.

Thanks in advance for any and all help you can give! 

Belle Plaine Discussing Urban Chickens (kcrg.com)
Connellsville Health Board cries foul to chicken farms in city (triblive.com)

More chickens allowed in Orlando (clickorlando.com)
Urban Chicken Bi-Laws in Winnipeg: What the CLUCK?! (mbfoodgeographies.wordpress.com)
Virginia government prosecutes homeowner with criminal charges for backyard chickens (secretsofthefed.com)
Hopewell’s growing backyard chicken business spurs “chicken chat” gatherings (nj.com)
Young Girl Rescues Family By Farming Chickens (nextworldtv.com)
Terra Haute Officials Force Family To Give Up Pet Chickens (misbehavedwoman.wordpress.com)
Is it cheaper to keep chickens or buy eggs? (chickentales.wordpress.com)

Terra Haute Officials Force Family To Give Up Pet Chickens

I must confess that I never bothered to even look and see if our city has an ordinance against having hens before getting our girls a few weeks ago…I honestly don’t care what officials have to say about it; they have no right to dictate what I do in my yard s’long as I am not bothering or harming anyone… and should a problem arise, I will fight to keep my hens…and my personal freedom. 

1Boo-Radley

My happy girls, Radley & Boo taking a break on my lap…

(WTHI) – “When you think of family pets, usually a dog or cat comes to mind, but for one Terre Haute family they say their life isn’t complete without the family hens. The only problem is their pets are a violation of city code.

It’s the kind of after school activity you see on a farm, collecting the eggs from the hen house.

“The prices (of eggs) in the store are almost two dollars a dozen with the exception of the holiday,” Kevin Levesque of Terre Haute said.

But the hen house we encountered is located on a backyard farm. Kevin Levesque’s in the city of Terre Haute.

“That was the baseline for it pretty much for more eggs and to teach the kids a little more than just a dog and a cat,” Levesque said.

But a few weeks ago the Levesques were told their hen house pets are a violation of city code; for having farm animals in a residential zone.

“If you look up the definition of farm animal at USLAW.org it doesn’t include chickens,” Kevin said.” Full Story Here

Excerpt from the Change.org Petition to help the Levesque’s in the fight for food freedom:

“For two years, Various city officials would tell people that as long as no neighbors complained, there was no ordinance against it. Now in 2013, we are suddenly being told that there are such ordinances disallowing chickens and that after 2 years we must now find another place for them. Meaning we must get rid of our family pets that our children have raised from 2 days old and grown to love.

We want the government to realize that chickens are important many citizens of Terre Haute. Major cities across the United States are coming to realize that chickens bring a Green initiative to their cities. Raising local chickens increase food awareness, reduce transportation cost, and supply the community with a level of sustainability. One example of this would be during emergency situations where government assistance can focus on other pressing issues as was the case in 2005 with the massive flooding that decimated so much farm land along the Wabash River and dislodged so many local citizens.

Chickens aren’t farm animals they are beautiful and entertaining pets that provide many benefits. Homegrown eggs are without hormones or chemicals, are higher in nutrients, lower in cholesterol, and taste 10 times better that store-bought. Chickens will eat anything that moves, meaning they eat ticks (that carry lyme disease), fleas, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, stink bugs, slugs, and even mice, baby rats, and small snakes. Chickens are fun, loving, and really should be considered domestic pets…”

Read More & Sign The Petition

SWAT Raids Home Over Hydroponic Equipment Purchase, Finds Tomatoes and Squash

Grow your garden outdoors, officials will bust you, fine you and demand that your ‘eyesore’ be removed from their cookie cutter communities…try to be nice and plant your veggies indoors where the neighbors can’t complain…and SWAT is going to come bust in your door and seize your uh…squash. After all,  everyone knows that the only thing hydroponic equipment could ever be used for is growing that terrifying plant known as “Pot”, right? 

The Activist Post – “Did you know that buying hydroponic growing equipment is now being used as probable cause for the government to raid your house?

Neither did Bob and Addie Harte, a Kansas couple who were raided by SWAT without a warrant last April because the authorities took notice of their purchase of indoor gardening items.

The illegal raid turned up “just six plants — three tomato plants, one melon plant and two butternut squash plants — growing in the basement”, and now the couple is suing the sheriff’s department.

The Associated Press reports:

~Two former CIA employees whose Kansashome was fruitlessly searched for marijuana during a two-state drug sweep claim they were illegally targeted, possibly because they had bought indoor growing supplies to raise vegetables. 

Adlynn and Robert Harte sued this week to get more information about why sheriff’s deputies searched their home in the upscale Kansas City suburb of Leawood last April 20 as part of Operation Constant Gardener.~

It seem peculiar that the couple are former CIA agents.  Perhaps government watches their former employees’ purchases more closely?

“With little or no other evidence of any illegal activity, law enforcement officers make the assumption that shoppers at the store are potential marijuana growers, even though the stores are most commonly frequented by backyard gardeners who grow organically or start seedlings indoors,” the lawsuit says.

“If this can happen to us and we are educated and have reasonable resources, how does somebody who maybe hasn’t led a perfect life supposed to be free in this country?” Adlynn Harte told the Associated Press.

The lawsuit says the Harte children (7 and 13) were traumatized when deputies wearing bullet-proof vests armed with assault rifles pounded on their door.

“It was just like on the cops TV shows,” Robert Harte told The Associated Press. “It was like ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ ready to storm the compound.”

“You can’t go into people’s homes and conduct searches without probable cause,” said Harte’s attorney Cheryl Pilate.” Source

The Crime of Laughter

Charged with a crime…*AHEM* for laughing too loudly…in your own damn apartment. Can you imagine??? I better start keep a rag handy to stuff in my mouth during moments of joy and humor because I have a ROARING laugh and gosh…I’d hate to be arrested for it should it ever offend the neighbors! 

WFSB – “A Long Island man says he didn’t know it was a crime to laugh.

Robert Schiavelli of Rockville Centre was slapped with two summonses for “disturbing the peace.”

Police responded to his home on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13 after receiving complaints from his next-door-neighbor that his loud laughs could be heard across the driveway.

The 42-year-old was charged with acting “in such a manner as to annoy, disturb, interfere with, obstruct, or be offensive to others.”

At his arraignment Tuesday, a judge declined to dismiss the charges.

Schiavelli told the New York Post his neighbor often taunts him due to his disability. He learned to deal with it by laughing him off.

Schiavelli suffers from seizures and neurological impairments.” Source

USDA Rule Demands Almond Sterilization, Mislabeling

From Organic Consumers Association – “Last Friday, the DC Court of Appeals held that California almond producers don’t currently have the right to even argue that the USDA overstepped the bounds of its authority with the Almond Rule.

The USDA’s Almond Rule, issued in 2007, ordered all almond growers to “sterilize” almonds in one of several ways: heat them using steam, oil roast or blanch them, or treat them with propylene oxide (PPO). As we told you at the time and again last year, these are all poor options:

  • Roasting and blanching completely cook the nuts, so they are no longer raw.
  • Steam reduces nutrient content and also cooks the nuts.
  • PPO, a “probable human carcinogen,” is an extremely volatile liquid now used in the production of polyurethane plastics, and once used as a racing fuel until it was banned for being too dangerous.

Almond producers argue that labeling such almonds “raw” is therefore misleading—they are actually cooked or chemically treated. They want to argue that the Almond Rule oversteps the USDA’s authority—but the court ruled the almond producers lost the right to make that argument because they didn’t raise their concerns during the rule-making process.

However, the rule-making process in itself was unfair and legally questionable. The USDA handpicked 115 almond growers and handlers—out of over 6,000—to invite them to comment, and consumers and retailers were almost universally unaware of the proposed rule. Because of this, there were a total of only eighteen public comments.

During the rule-making process, the USDA merely regurgitated the findings of the Almond Board, a biased and financially motivated stakeholder. The rule-making process is supposed to be conducted by an unbiased decision-maker without any financial interests, but six out of the ten seats on the Almond Board are controlled by Blue Diamond, an enormous almond producer. The interests of small, organic almond farmers weren’t even considered.

The Almond Rule isn’t just about almonds. The rule actually expands the USDA’s powers, allowing the agency to mandate how dairy, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and animals are processed—something they have never been able to do. The USDA is legally allowed to establish minimum standards for farm products based on grade, size, or quality; they can say, for example, that “Almonds must be free of salmonella.” But the Almond Rule changed all that, allowing USDA to claim it can mandate how that outcome is achieved (e.g., “Almonds must be made salmonella-free via one of the following pasteurization processes…”).

If this newly asserted authority is upheld, it could be the USDA’s latest weapon in the war against raw foods. Instead of saying that milk needs to be pasteurized, it can now dictate the way it is pasteurized. This sort of authority favors ideological zeal over real scientific evidence, as we saw with the CDC’s deeply flawed study on raw milk, or the more recent (but equally flawed) raw cheese study.

If the government is this enthusiastic about shielding consumers from the extremely small risk from raw almonds, why can’t they get excited about protecting us from untested GMOs or the larger, nearly annual salmonella outbreaks from ground beef? (USDA, take note: “more processed” doesn’t necessarily mean “safer”!)

We may have lost this battle, but not necessarily the war. The DC Court of Appeals sidestepped the issue and didn’t rule on the legality of the Almond Rule itself, just said that almond farmers “missed the boat” on expressing their reservations by not raising objections during the rule-making process, although that was done as much behind-closed-doors as USDA could make it. For further litigation, a producer must convince the court that it has actually been harmed, or some brave company must defy the USDA and after being enjoined to stop and take the agency to court. If any of this happens, the producers can go back to court and spend money and time all over again. ANH-USA will be conferring with friends and colleagues about how to try to make this happen.

Action Alert! In the meantime, we should all voice our complaint to the USDA about its high-handed tactics and absurd Almond Rule and, importantly, send a copy to Congress. Please send your message today!

Click Here To Take Action Now

 

FL Man Faces 5 Years In Prison For Releasing A Balloon Bouquet

As I put my fingers to keyboard to type out an intro to this article, I took a long, deep breath & sighed…then I realized that act is almost a pre-post ritual for me these days. Either I am getting particularly ornery and snarky in my middle-young age or else the world around me is getting to be more insane by the minute…or both?

A man is facing a possible FIVE YEAR PRISON TERM…for releasing a bundle of balloons…tell me that doesn’t spin your head around backwards at least once…?!

the-exorcist-head-spin

From the Sun Sentinel“Anthony Brasfield saw romance when he released a dozen heart-shaped balloons into the sky over Dania Beach with his sweetie. A Florida Highway Patrol trooper saw a felony.

Brasfield, 40, and his girlfriend, Shaquina Baxter, were in the parking lot of the Motel 6 on Dania Beach Boulevard when he released the shiny red and silver mylar balloons and watched them float away Sunday morning.

Also watching the romantic gesture: an FHP trooper, who instead noted probable cause for an environmental crime.

Brasfield was charged with polluting to harm humans, animals, plants, etc. under the Florida Air and Water Pollution Control Act.

Endangered marine turtle species and birds, such as wood storks and brown pelicans, seek refuge in John U. Lloyd State Park, about 1.5 miles east of the motel.

Between 2008 and 2012, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said there were 21 arrests statewide under the rarely used environmental crime statute. The third-degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison.”  Source: Sun Sentinel

That Florida would be the state to charge a man with a felony for releasing a batch o’ love balloons for his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day really isn’t all that shocking if you consider that this is the same state about to name a college stadium after a private prison corporation. I wonder if GEOGroup is really getting hard up for new clients, er, customers…uh…prisoners..! and is applying pressure on state officials to provide more  ‘criminals’ for them…or if this officer is really such an ignorant hardass as to see no other possible choice (outrageous things like oh..a warning ticket, a few minutes of environmental education…) but to slap someone making a romantic (tho careless/stupid) gesture with a full out FELONY charge which will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in the end?