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Archive for the ‘Jamaica’ Category

Christopher Coke, Jamaica Drug Lord, Sentenced To 23 Years

Posted by shadmia on June 9, 2012


Christopher “Dudus” Coke has been sentenced after being found guilty in a Manhattan court. 23 years in prison, exactly what the prosecutors in the case were asking for. See the story below.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Posted in Crime, Drugs, Gangs, Jamaica, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Christopher “Dudus” Coke Pleads Guilty

Posted by shadmia on September 4, 2011

Jamaica, the country that brought the world such sportsmen like Usain Bolt and entertainers like Bob Marley also has a dark side. That dark side is represented by Christopher “Dudus” Coke.

In August 2009 the U.S. issued an international warrant seeking the extradition of Christopher Coke from Jamaica to face gun and drugs charges in the U.S. He was accused of being the leader and mastermind behind the notorious “Shower Posse” gang which was involved in the international trafficking of drugs and firearms.

For a long time the government of Jamaica resisted the request but finally, bowing to domestic and international political pressure, moved to arrest Mr. Coke in his neighborhood known as Tivoli Gardens.

The residents of Tivoli Gardens were fiercely loyal to Mr. Coke and when the police and army moved in to execute the warrant they met stiff resistance. The residents erected barricades and engaged in gun battles. The confrontation resulted in the deaths of more than 70 people and substantial property damage as the armed forces went door to door in search of Mr. Coke. In the end Christopher Dudus Coke was captured.

In June 2010 he was extradited to the U.S. to face the charges.

On Sept. 2, 2011 Dudus pleaded guilty in a New York court to assault and racketeering charges bringing to an end a two-year international drama between Jamaica and the United States.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 8, 2011 and Christopher “Dudus” Coke faces a possible 23 years in prison.

As noted in the Jamaican Gleaner, the capture and eventual incarceration of Coke was hampered by political considerations. He was not only generous to the people of his neighborhood, Tivoli Gardens, but could be depended on by the political party, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to deliver the votes at election time. In fact Tivoli Gardens is the seat in Parliament of the current Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, who was reluctant to issue the arrest warrant in the first place.

Christopher Coke personifies the kind of threat to the security and democracy of small and vulnerable countries like Jamaica. Control of large amounts of resources, illicitly derived notwithstanding, endow gangsters with the capacity to corrupt the political process and to control many levers of the State by proxy. Indeed, Coke’s activities – and the criminal machinations of others – were an open secret in Jamaica.

The newspaper also noted that perhaps Jamaica owes a debt of gratitude to the U.S. for pursuing Christopher Coke, since murders and serious crime have plummeted since his capture and it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for the Jamaican authorities to have him tried and convicted locally.

However, given Coke’s political and community connections, underpinned by his ability to distribute largesse and corral votes, it is likely that he would not have been arrested and prosecuted in Jamaica. Such an eventuality would have been made more difficult by the political fault lines in Jamaica.

Christopher Dudus Coke had previously been charged with offenses that carried a sentence of life in prison. When prosecutors approached him and said that they also had evidence that he had ordered the deaths of at least five persons and a judge ruled that tapes of bugged phone calls in which he discusses smuggling marijuana, cocaine and weapons could be played in court, Coke decided to plead guilty to the lesser charges of Conspiracy to racketeer and Conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering. 

Coke stood up in court and said:

“I ordered the purchase of firearms and the importation of those firearms into Jamaica in furtherance of this conspiracy”

When asked about his plea Coke said:

“I’m pleading guilty because I am guilty”

US Attorney Preet Bharara said:

“For nearly two decades, Christopher Coke led a ruthless criminal enterprise that used fear, force and intimidation to support its drug and arms trafficking ‘businesses’.

“Today’s plea is a welcome conclusion to this ugly chapter.”

Posted in Crime, Drugs, Jamaica, news, Our World, world | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Christopher Dudus Coke: Arrives in the US

Posted by shadmia on June 26, 2010

Christopher Dudus Coke: Arrives in the US

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Christopher Dudus Coke: Arrives in the US

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Christopher Dudus Coke: Captured

Posted by shadmia on June 23, 2010

Christopher Dudus Coke: Captured

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Christopher Dudus Coke: Captured

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Christopher Dudus Coke: State of Emergency

Posted by shadmia on May 24, 2010

Christopher Dudus Coke: State of Emergency

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Christopher Dudus Coke: State of Emergency.

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Christopher Dudus Coke: Extradition Approved!

Posted by shadmia on May 22, 2010

Christopher Dudus Coke: Extradition Approved!

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Shadmia’s World – Journal.

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Christopher “Dudus” Coke Wanted

Posted by shadmia on October 31, 2009

Christopher Dudus Coke

Christopher “Dudus” Coke, 40, a Jamaican national, is wanted by the US authorities on a number of drug and weapon offenses. See the story here.

The U.S. has officially asked the Jamaican government to hand him over to face those charges and has complained about the tardiness on the part of Jamaican government to do so. See the extradition request here.

“The U.S. government is looking forward to the Jamaican government respecting their obligations under the treaty,” Patricia Attkisson, spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, said.

Acknowledging the request for Christopher Dudus Coke’s extradition, a Jamaican official responded:

“The Government has been notified and discussions are taking place. It is principally the prerogative of the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s office”, Foreign Affairs Minister Kenneth Baugh said.

Coke’s lawyer, Tom Tavares-Finson, said he had not seen any paperwork and did not know why the U.S. was interested in his client. He claimed that Coke had no connections with the United States and was also not sure if his client would turn himself in voluntarily.

“We’re waiting to hear what the decision is,” said Tavares-Finson, who has dismissed the U.S. charges as “hype.”

According to reports, Coke is the alleged leader of the “Shower Posse” gang. He is charged in the U.S. Southern District of New York with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana and conspiracy to illegally traffic in firearms. Coke faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted. Under the Extradition Treaty, accused persons do not have to sell illicit drugs in the United States to be convicted in that country. See a report in the Jamaican newspaper the Jamaica Gleaner concerning the U.S.- Jamaican Extradition Treaty.

Christopher Coke is not only politically well-connected to the governing party in Jamaica, the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party), he is also the recognized leader of his community of Tivoli Gardens in downtown Kingston. His influence stretches across the entire island of Jamaica and overseas to the U.S. and England. His extradition to the U.S. would likely have huge ramifications among his followers and his community.

Another Jamaican newspaper, the Jamaica Observer gives this perspective on Coke, as well as some background information. His aliases include Dudus, President and Shortman:

“He is the leading figure among JLP garrisons and many leaders in those communities report to him. He is tremendously powerful and is feared by friends and foes alike”

According to an article in Jamaicaviews.com, there could be social unrest if Coke was to be extradited. He has the legitimacy that the government can only envy among the urban poor. A Caribbean scholar with knowledge of the workings of inner-city communities across the region put it this way:

“For the people, legitimacy in the Government stops at Carib 5 cinema (in Cross Roads). From that point down, he (Dudus) is more legitimate than the Government. He has a monopoly of force and consensual power because he has legitimacy that the Government of Jamaica cannot even dream to have where the urban poor is concerned.”

What does a government do when they have created a government within a government? What do they now do when they have to hand up this government to another government?” he asked. “He (Dudus) can get kids to be off the street at 8:30 pm. The Government does not even have the power to scratch anybody’s hair much more to do something like that. People feel safer in Tivoli Gardens than anywhere else. It is the safest garrison. This is touchy. In a country that barely understands order, you have found somebody to provide order in the midst of chaos because downtown is chaos. What do you do with him?”

The government in Jamaica is under pressure to respond to the U.S. request for extradition from the opposition party the PNP (People’s National Party). Peter Bunting, Opposition spokesman on national security, claims that the Government’s failure to extradite Tivoli Gardens strongman, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, has caused a stand-off between Washington and Kingston.

Peter Bunting, said in a press statement that the longer the Government took to honor the US request to send Coke to stand trial, the country’s national interests and international reputation was being jeopardized.

“It is completely untrue,” said Minister of Justice and Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne:

“The Jamaican Government has, indeed, responded through the channels laid down in the Extradition Treaty between Jamaica and the United States and there is ongoing communication between the authorities of both states,” she said in a press statement.

There has also been criticism of Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Bruce Golding. Tivoli Gardens is his constituency and he has mostly been silent on the requested extradition of Christopher Coke. An editorial asked a question that Prime Minister Golding needs to answer clearly and unequivocally:

That question is “whether the Government’s loyalties lie with those who hold that the end justifies the means or the citizens of this country who are committed to order and the rule of law”.

According to Claude Robinson, a journalist with the Jamaica Observer:

All that can be expected of the Prime Minister is a simple and clear statement acknowledging the request and affirming that it will be dealt with in accordance with our democracy and our constitution without regard to the political affiliation of the target of the request. Once that due process is complete, the country will be told the full outcome. That’s all that was expected from the prime minister. He should have delivered.

So the question remains, as it has for over two months now:

Will the Jamaican government hand over Christopher “Dudus” Coke to the U.S. authorities to answer the criminal charges against him?

See Also: Dudus Extradited? and Dudus Still Wanted <<—-

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Posted in Crime, Drugs, Jamaica, news, Our World, politics, world | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Immigrant Victimized by Lousy Lawyers

Posted by shadmia on February 21, 2008

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The three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan took aim at the government, scolding its lawyers for quibbling over irrelevant language in one case in a quest to win a court victory.

Victimized by the failures of lawyers on both sides are the immigrants, “a vulnerable population who come to this country searching for a better life and often arrive unfamiliar with our language and culture, in economic deprivation and in fear,” the court wrote.

“In immigration matters, so much is at stake — the right to remain in this country, to reunite a family or to work,” the court said.

The court was considering the case of a Jamaican immigrant, Garfield Livern St. Valentine Aris, who the government was trying to deport. The court ordered that his case be re-opened after criticizing both the defense lawyers and the government. They noted that Aris, who has not been deported, was an immigrant with limited familiarity with U.S. immigration law.

Aris, who arrived in the U.S. in 1983 at the age of 12, was a legal immigrant. He got married and supported both his wife and step-daughter. He had no close family members in Jamaica according to the court. In 1991, he pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine, was given 3 year’s probation and fined $1,000. After his conviction federal authorities ordered deportation proceedings to begin.

The appeals court said Aris’s lawyers “failed spectacularly” once he was victimized by a simple error: A paralegal told him it appeared his hearing was not scheduled on the day that it was. When he didn’t show up, he was ordered deported on May 3, 1995.

The law firm never told Aris the hearing had occurred and that he had been ordered deported. It wasn’t until June that Aris found out that there was a deportation order against him. When he hired new lawyers, they filed erroneous and legally flawed documents on his behalf.

As a result of all of this, he was detained for nine months, and, without his income, his wife and stepdaughter could not afford to pay rent and were forced to move to a homeless shelter.

The court of appeals made it clear that they thought Aris was not properly served by his original lawyers:

“When lawyers representing immigrants fail to live up to their professional obligations, it is all too often the immigrants they represent who suffer the consequences,” the appeals court wrote. “We appreciate that, unfortunately, calendar mishaps will from time to time occur. But the failure to communicate such mistakes, once discovered, to the client and to take all necessary steps to correct them is more than regrettable — it is unacceptable. It is nondisclosure that turns the ineffective assistance of a mere scheduling error into more serious malpractice.”

The court also faulted the government:

“Governmental authorities, whatever their roles, must be attentive to such lapses that so grievously undermine the administration of justice,” the appeals panel said.

The appeals panel said in a footnote that it seemed Aris had a compelling argument to remain in the United States due to “social and humane considerations,” including that his drug offense was relatively minor and that his family is in the country.

 

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Posted in courts, Garfield Aris, ICE, Illegal Drugs, immigration, Jamaica, Justice System, news, Our World, world | Leave a Comment »

Marijuana – The King of Drugs

Posted by shadmia on July 25, 2007

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Marijuana is by far the most popular illegal drug in the world. According to the 2007 World Drug Report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, it is grown in at least 172 countries. It has various names, including but not limited to: Cannabis, grass, weed, pot, ditch, dope, hemp, ganja, dagga, dimba, and chira. Worldwide consumption of all illegal drugs is estimated at 200 million people, marijuana accounts for 160 million. In other words marijuana accounts for 80% of all illegal drug use worldwide. The possession, use, or sale of psychoactive cannabis products became illegal in most parts of the world in the early 20th century. Since then, some countries have intensified the enforcement of marijuana prohibition while others have reduced the priority of enforcement, almost to the point of legalization, as is the case in the Netherlands. The production of marijuana for drug use remains illegal throughout most of the world.

Who Uses It?

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If all the pot smokers lived in one country, that country would be the seventh largest country in the world.

Just under 4% of the global population uses marijuana however there are some countries where the percentage is much higher:

  • Micronesia and Papua New Guinea (29%)
  • Ghana (21.5%)
  • Zambia (17.7%)
  • Canada (16.8%)
  • Australia/New Zealand (13.4%)
  • US (12.6%)

If broken down by region, the countries with the highest percentage of users are:

  • Africa: Ghana – 21.5%
  • Asia/Middle East: Israel – 8.5%
  • Europe: Cyprus – 14.1%
  • Americas/Caribbean: Canada – 16.8%
  • Oceania: Papua New Guinea – 29.5%

Who Produces It?

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Global production of marijuana also dwarfs other illegal drugs:

  • Marijuana – 42,000 metric tons
  • Opium – 6,610 metric tons
  • Cocaine – 984 metric tons
  • Amphetamines – 480 metric tons

Marijuana is the most pervasive drug in the world. Most countries produce for local consumption and export to neighboring countries. Although most European countries grow their own supplies, it is the only region that relies on importation, mostly from Africa and Asia. Global production by region:

  • The Americas (46%)
  • Africa (26%)
  • Asia (23%)
  • Europe (5%)
  • Oceania (1%)

In general, production of marijuana is declining in North America and Africa, due in part to eradication efforts in those regions, and increasing in Asia, Europe and South/Central America.

Trends

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The use of marijuana has been declining in North America (including Canada and Mexico). In the US consumption has decreased from a 1979 high of 16.6% to 10.4% in 2005. The same situation is true for Oceania (including Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea). In Australia there has been a 37% decline between 1998 and 2004.

On the other hand in South America there has been an increase in demand, with Brazil leading the surge, from 1% in 2001 to 2.5% in 2005. In Africa, 17 countries reported an increase in use, 4 reported a decline and 4 reported no change. In both Europe and Asia there were mixed results.

Some Issues

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Illegalization of Marijuana

Throughout history marijuana has played an integral part in various societies on multiple levels; culturally, religiously and for medicinal purposes. Starting in the early 1900s, in the US, marijuana gradually became an illegal substance. After 1937, with the passage of the federal Marijuana Tax Act, marijuana use became illegal nationwide.

What may be of surprise is that racism played an important role in the “illegalization” of marijuana. Around 1915 the Rocky mountain and Southwestern states (Montana, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado) experienced an influx of Mexican laborers who had migrated north looking for work. They were generally employed as field hands, working in beet fields and picking cotton. They also brought with them marijuana which was unknown to white people at that time. A Texan politician, from the senate floor, used the following logic to propose one of the first state laws making marijuana illegal:

“All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff (referring to marijuana) is what makes them crazy.” Or, as the proponent of Montana’s first marijuana law said, (and imagine this on the floor of the state legislature) and I quote, “Give one of these Mexican beet field workers a couple of puffs on a marijuana cigarette and he thinks he is in the bullring at Barcelona.”

It wasn’t hostility to the drug, it was hostility to the newly arrived Mexican community that used it that prompted the first anti-marijuana laws. A few years later states in the Northeast (New York, Connecticut etc) looked at what had happened in Texas and Montana and also decided it was time to ban marijuana. These states, however, did not have significant numbers of Mexican laborers and marijuana was an unknown drug. They used a different but equally twisted logic to make marijuana illegal:

The New York Times in an editorial in 1919 said, “No one here in New York uses this drug marijuana. We have only just heard about it from down in the Southwest,” and here comes the substitution. “But,” said the New York Times, “we had better prohibit its use before it gets here. Otherwise” — here’s the substitution concept — “all the heroin and hard narcotics addicts cut off from their drug by the Harrison Act and all the alcohol drinkers cut off from their drug by 1919 alcohol Prohibition will substitute this new and unknown drug marijuana for the drugs they used to use.”

They feared that drug addicts and alcoholics would switch to marijuana, so to prevent that they made marijuana, this “new and unknown drug”, illegal. By the time the federal Marijuana Tax Act was made law in 1937, there were some 27 states that had already made marijuana illegal. For more on the history of marijuana in the US click here.


Medical and Religious use

The partnership of Cannabis and man has existed now probably for ten thousand years — since the discovery of agriculture in the Old World. One of our old cultivars, Cannabis has been a five-purpose plant: as a source of hempen fibers; for its oil; for its akenes or “seeds,” consumed by man for food; for its narcotic properties; and therapeutically to treat a wide spectrum of ills in folk medicine and in modern pharmacopoeias.

Ancient cultures of India, Persia, Egypt, Assyria, Greece and Rome used marijuana for medicinal purposes starting as far back as 1,600 BC. The use of marijuana as an intoxicant has been documented in India as far back as 1,000 BC and spread throughout Asia and the Middle East and thoroughly permeated Islamic culture within a few centuries. Because alcohol was prohibited to the followers of Mohammed, cannabis (marijuana) was accepted as a substitute.

The Rastafarians in Jamaica and the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church view ganga (marijuana) as a religious sacrament. Its use became a reactionary device to the society and an index of an authentic form of freedom from the establishment. It would therefore be right to assume that as a protest against society, ganja smoking was the first instrument of protest engaged in by the movement to show its freedom from the laws of “Babylon (society).” But ganja has other sides to it; its use produces psycho-spiritual effects and has socio-religious functions especially for people under stress. It produces visions, heightens unity and communal feelings, dispels gloom and fear, and brings tranquility to the mind of the dispossessed. So, ganja gradually became a dominant symbol among the cultists and has remained so to this day. One of the most popular reggae artists, Bob Marley, a Rastafarian, was a major voice for the cultural/spiritual use of marijuana. In the following interview he explains the Rastafarian religion and the part marijuana plays:

The following video is filmed in a marijuana field in Jamaica. It shows the environment in which the plant is grown on the island.

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Recently in the US there has been much discussion surrounding the medicinal properties of marijuana. In twelve (12) states including California, Oregon, Nevada, Maine and New Mexico marijuana use is legal for approved medical conditions. Thirty-five (35) states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation recognizing marijuana’s medicinal value. This has caused a strain between the federal government and these states. The federal government considers all marijuana use as illegal, regardless of what it is used for. However medical experiments have proven that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana can be effective in the treatment of lung cancer. Marijuana is also “moderately well suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting.” according to the Institute of Medicine.

The medical marijuana journal/newspaper O’Shaughnessy, spring 2004, lists the following conditions for which the California physicians found marijuana use to be effective: (1) AIDS wasting syndrome, (2) arthritis, osteo- and rheumatoid, (3) asthma (while not burning cannabis), (4) Crohn’s disease/inflammatory bowel disease, (5) depression, (6) mental illness–schizophrenia (pro and con articles have been reported), (7) degenerative neural diseases, (8) eating disorders/anorexia, (9) epilepsy/seizures, (10) glaucoma, (11) intractable breathlessness, (12) migraine, (13) multiple sclerosis, (14) nausea and vomiting, (15) obstetric problems (dysmenorrheal, morning sickness, uterine bleeding, and antimiscarriage), (16) pain, of all types, (17) phantom limb pain, (18) tumors ( blockade of a carcinogenesis enzyme), and (19) withdrawal symptoms of alcoholism, morphinism, cocaine addiction, chloral hydrate addiction, etc. (and probably tobacco addiction).


Marijuana Abuse

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Many people smoke marijuana for reasons other than health or religion. In fact most people use it for experimental or recreational purposes:

In 2005, 14.6 million Americans aged 12 or older used marijuana at least once in the month prior to being surveyed, which is similar to the rate in 2004. About 6,000 people a day in 2005 used marijuana for the first time–2.1 million Americans. Of these, 59.1 percent were under age 18. As a percentage of those who had not used marijuana prior to the past year, youth marijuana initiation declined significantly, from 5.8 percent in 2004 to 5.2 percent in 2005.

The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). The membranes of certain nerve cells in the brain contain protein receptors that bind to THC. Once securely in place, THC kicks off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the high that users experience when they smoke marijuana. There have been many studies done on the effects of marijuana on the brain, the heart, the lungs and learning and social behavior:

The Brain: THC connects to specific sites called cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells and influences the activity of those cells. Many cannabinoid receptors are found in the parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thought, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. The short-term effects of marijuana can include problems with memory and learning; distorted perception; difficulty in thinking and problem solving; loss of coordination; and increased heart rate.

The Heart: One study has indicated that an abuser’s risk of heart attack more than quadruples in the first hour after smoking marijuana. The researchers suggest that such an effect might occur from marijuana’s effects on blood pressure and heart rate and reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of blood.

The Lungs: Someone who smokes marijuana regularly may have many of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers do, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, a heightened risk of lung infections, and a greater tendency to obstructed airways. Marijuana abuse also has the potential to promote cancer of the lungs and other parts of the respiratory tract because it contains irritants and carcinogens. Marijuana smoke contains 50 to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke. Marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, which increases the lungs’ exposure to carcinogenic smoke. These facts suggest that, puff for puff, smoking marijuana may be more harmful to the lungs than smoking tobacco.

Learning and Social Behavior: Depression, anxiety, and personality disturbances have been associated with chronic marijuana use. Marijuana compromises the ability to learn and remember information, the more a person uses marijuana the more he or she is likely to fall behind in accumulating intellectual, job, or social skills. Moreover, research has shown that marijuana’s adverse impact on memory and learning can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off. As a result, someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a reduced intellectual level all of the time. In a study, heavy marijuana abusers reported that the drug impaired several important measures of life achievement including cognitive abilities, career status, social life, and physical and mental health.

The latest treatment data indicate that marijuana was the primary drug of abuse in about 15 percent (289,532) of all admissions to treatment facilities in the United States. Marijuana admissions were primarily male (75 percent), White (55 percent), and young (40 percent were in the 15–19 age range). Those in treatment for primary marijuana abuse had begun use at an early age; 56 percent had abused it by age 14 and 92 percent had abused it by 18.

Legalization??

With all the available data on the costs to individuals and society, there is still an argument for the legalization of marijuana. The following is taken from an article promoting the legalization of the drug using cost/benefit analysis to justify its conclusion. To see the entire article click here.

A society outlaws a behavior or a substance when the value in prohibition outweighs the cost of enforcing this ban.

The United States of America has unequivocally reached a point where the costs of criminalizing marijuana are greatly outweighed by the potential benefits of making the drug a controlled and regulated substance. The exorbitantly high costs to law enforcement (and therefore to taxpayers) as well as the benefits to public health that would accompany regulation both point to one undeniable fact: the public good would be served by the legalization of the possession of marijuana.

The most pressing reason for decriminalization of marijuana is the drain on government funds wrought by prohibition. In 2003, marijuana related arrests reached another all-time high of 755,186; 88 percent of these arrests were for possession, not the manufacture or distribution, of marijuana. The cost in imprisonment of these offenders amounts to $1.2 billion each year. The average prison sentence for cultivation of large numbers of marijuana plants (100 or more) is a minimum of five years, longer than the average sentence for manslaughter or grand theft auto. The total costs, including law enforcement, judicial proceedings and imprisonment is estimated to be between 5 and 15 billion dollars annually. That total amounts to roughly $10 billion dollars that could have been used to build new schools, to open homeless shelters or veterans hospitals, to preserve the environment or even to fund anti-drug programs in schools. When state and national budget deficits are reaching all time highs, the costs of prosecuting individuals for possession of marijuana is an unjustifiable waste of taxpayer’s money.

Currently, the market for marijuana exposes users to health hazards. Illegally sold marijuana often contains dangerous adulterants, contaminants and impurities such as herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, which are hazardous to smokers. Legalization of marijuana would subject the production and sale of the drug to government inspection and regulation (a cost that would be offset by the taxing of marijuana sales) that would reduce the current dangers in smoking.

Unadulterated marijuana actually has relatively mild health effects when compared with other legal and illicit drugs. The National Academy of Sciences found “no conclusive link between marijuana and cancer, including cancers normally associated with tobacco.”

Although marijuana contains four times the amount of tar of a cigarette of equal weight, because it is not tightly packed, the smokable substance in one marijuana cigarette is about half that of a normal cigarette. Marijuana is less addictive (only nine percent of users become dependent) than alcohol (15 percent), tobacco (32 percent), cocaine (17 percent) or heroin (23 percent).

The Academy further declared the “gateway drug” theory, the idea that marijuana often leads to use of harder drugs, to be invalid when they stated that there is “no evidence that marijuana serves as a stepping stone on the basis of its particular physiological effect.”

Prohibition of marijuana is clearly a burden the American people no longer need to carry. Spending billions of dollars to prosecute individuals for using a drug with adverse health effects similar to, and in some cases milder than, those caused by other, legal drugs does not make sense. It is time the national government puts an end to the double standard, and makes marijuana a regulated substance for the good of those who use it, and for the benefit of those who do not.

United States Laws

Currently in the US, there are no uniform laws that states abide by. Some states like Arizona and Idaho have strict laws that involve incarceration for first time convictions and there are others like New York and Mississippi that have decriminalized the penalties for first time offenders. Federal laws are stricter than most state laws and possession of marijuana is punishable by up to one year in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first conviction, regardless of the amount involved.

You can check out the laws in various states regarding marijuana use by clicking here:

Click below for more information on marijuana-related subjects:

History of Marijuana Laws

Health-Related Marijuana Issues from the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

History of Drug use in the US

Should Governments Legalize and Tax Marijuana?

Marijuana: Facts for Teens and Parents

Marijuana Convictions: State By State Laws

 

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Posted in Cannabis, Coptic Church, Drug Abuse, Drugs, Ganja, Illegal Drugs, Jamaica, Marijuana, Medical Marijuana, news, Our World, Pot, Rasta, Rastafarian, Weed, world | 32 Comments »

Bob Woolmer was NOT Murdered

Posted by shadmia on June 14, 2007

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Initial reports that Bob Woolmer, Pakistan’s cricket coach, was killed in Jamaica, were wrong. This was the conclusion of three international pathologists from Britain, South Africa and Canada who performed independent autopsies on the body. The three all agreed that Bob Woolmer died from heart failure.

“Taking into account his medical history and the findings of the autopsy, it looks very certainly like it’s a cardiac cause of death,” said Martin, who is head of forensic medicine and toxicology at the University of Cape Town, in a phone interview.

As a result of these findings the murder investigation has been closed. However the Jamaican pathologist, Dr Ere Seshaiah, who did the initial autopsy that prompted the opening of the murder investigation is sticking by his report despite the findings of the three international experts:

“I am sticking to my findings. He was murdered,” Dr Ere Seshaiah told The Jamaica Observer. “Woolmer is not a first for me,” he said. “I have been doing autopsies here since 1995.”

A Jamaican opposition lawmaker, Derrick Smith has called for the firing of Dr. Eke Seshaiah implying his incompetence:

“He led the investigation team down a wrong path,” Derrick Smith said in a television interview outside parliament. “Now that we have found out that he has made an error, he should be terminated.”

National Security Minister Peter Phillips announced in parliament the government will set up a commission to review the investigation into Woolmer’s death. The commission will assess the “appropriateness of the techniques and the standards of professionalism employed by the police investigators as well as the medical and other professional personnel,” Phillips said.

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For previous stories on Bob Woolmer. Click the following: 1.Murder in Jamaica 2. Bob Woolmer Update 3. Woolmer was Drugged

 

 

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