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Libertarians and others on last night’s GOP debate

17 Sep
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I live-tweeted the debate. And now I need to write about it. But the whole thing was kind of boring. The only obvious highlights were Rand Paul shining as a reform conservative on criminal justice issues, and that awkward high-five between Bush and Trump which struck me as a least vaguely amusing.
Carly Fiorina didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. Chris Christie has emotional ties to 9/11, which we all knew about and sympathize with. Rubio sounds like an authoritarian who seeks to invite total-war when it comes to foreign policy, yet he’s spectacular in every other arena, especially immigration. I’m apparently a RINO who thinks Pataki owned the happy hour debate, and believes Kasich is one of the few adults in the room.
I’m annoyed by Ted Cruz’s low-talking super-serious lawyer voice. I think Rand Paul is wrong on the 14th amendment from a practical standpoint. I find Huckabee utterly terrifying on every single possible level. Apparently Rick Satorum and Lindsey Graham still exist, and they’re both insane on foreign policy, but at least Graham called Santorum out for essentially being Bernie Sanders on immigration. Oh, and Ben Carson is baller for taking on vaccine truthers, but I’m still not sure why he’s running for President.
Most importantly, TRUMP IS GOING TO BUILD A YUUUGE WALL AND IT’S GOING TO BE TERRIFIC.
TL;DR: I’m a moderate libertarian who literally hates everybody.
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Tonight the GOP has a Presidential candidate debate with a female candidate, an African American candidate and not one but 2 Hispanic candidates…and then its usual usual 7 white male candidates…but who have VERY different philosophies ranging from libertarian to evangelical… Who will the Democrats have on their stage? 4 old white people one of whom is female and all of whom reflect basically the same ilberal, more or less, socialist approach to government.. But the media will attack the GOP for not being diverse…wanna bet?
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Can we please talk about the fact that JEB Bush, generally considered the Republican front runner, openly discussed smoking marijuana as a teenager? The marijuana legalization movement has moved so fast, it’s kind of incredible.
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In what seemed like the longest debate since the Lincoln Douglas debates in 1860,,there were many highlights and no real screw ups. The 3 plus hour debate which obviously gave CNN the largest audience since the missing airliner ,but like that story it went on way too long. There’re were winners: Carly performed like an all star and showed substance and style that will move her up in the game. Jeb Bush had a much better night than his first debate and certainly will give his multi millionaire/.billionaire supporters hope that he can carry their flag. The other establishment candidate , Gov K of Ohio showed knowledge and compassion and had great moments, and he gained some supporters. There is a nice guy quality to the good Doctor Carson. He reinforced that 

and he would definitely be my brain surgeon if I need one. I see why people like and respect him.
Senator Rubio is articulate, knowledgeable and great on his feet and speaks with passion at all times.
Huckabee who got blanked in the first half of the debate had great answers when called upon but didn’t expand his religious base. Christie , Paul , Walker were all ok but didn’t cause anyone to say I am switching , my choice. The leading contender did his Trump act.
Entertaining, at times funny and always quick on his feet, he seemed dismissed by the substance displayed by others. He did not lose his place at the top of the pyramid but made no new converts tonight.
The jr varsity debate was the end game for the four on that stage who will not move to the big table. 
All in all a good debate. It could have been a great 90 min debate instead of three hours. I don’t blame CNN who was selling commercials at 10 times there normal rate. I blame the RNC who as the co sponsor should have stepped in and said your damaging my brand and my candidates. That would have taken leadership!
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Not that Chavez

6 Mar

Last week, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) slapped former middleweight champion boxer Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. with a $900,000 fine and nine-month suspension. Why? Not for using a performance-enhancing drug or throwing a match, but simply because he tested positive for marijuana. Such an excessive punishment should not go unanswered, and fortunately Chavez is planning to appeal the decision. We need to get behind him and take this opportunity to send a message to the sporting world that it’s time to revisit their marijuana policies. 


The NSAC would never punish a fighter so severely for using alcohol, yet marijuana is an objectively less harmful product. It is less toxic, less addictive, and it does not contribute to assaults and other violent crimes like alcohol does. The commission’s harsh marijuana penalties do nothing to promote the health and safety of athletes. If anything, they put them in danger by steering them toward using alcohol and away from making the safer choice to use marijuana instead.


Send a message to the head of the NSAC today and tell him the commission should drop the penalties against Chavez and change their policy regarding marijuana. Let him know it is time to stop driving athletes to drink!

Thank you,


Mason's signature
Mason Tvert Signature Image
Mason Tvert
Director of Communications
Marijuana Policy Project
Denver, CO

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Paul Zuckerberg’s DC city council race

12 Jan
Paul Zuckerberg, a marijuana use defense attorney in DC who is running for the city council at large seat in April, held a meet and greet last night at his Adams Morgan office on Lanier Place, which a couple of local libertarians attended.  There were only around 16 people there, and after people associated with the Petworth charter school Zuckerberg’s kids attend (his campaign treasurer is also a charter school parent at the same school), people from the local libertarian meetup may have had the second best showing.  (I didn’t inquire as to how many were former clients.)

According to Zuckerberg he had 2100 signatures on the 11th.  Every candidate needs 3000; its a special election and even the Democrats and Republicans have to petition to get on the ballot.  News reports so far are that one Republican, Patrick Mara, and 14 Democrats – including incumbent Anita Bonds, Zuckerberg, and Michael Brown, who recently lost a re-election bid – are running.  Zuckerberg thinks he has met some Green Party people petitioning as well.

Zuckerberg hopes to get the 3000 before anyone else, so he can file them and get a news story out of it. You can’t file any signatures until you have the minimum number required, but can then file extras up until January 23rd.  To ward off challenges most candidates aim for 4500 to 6000 signatures.  Both Bonds and Brown (the son of Bill Clinton’s  Secretary of Commerce) have staffs of paid petitioners.

Many DC libertarians are supporting Patrick Mara, who supports charter schools, gay marriage, and fiscal restraint, and is viewed by many as libertarian-leaning.  So we went to Zuckerberg’s event to see if there we some equally good Democrats.  What we found was disappointing, though Zuckerberg is running in such a corrupt city and among such a boring and cretinous crop of Democrats that he still shines a little by contrast.

We began by asking Zuckerberg what his top 5 issues were above and beyond marijuana decriminalization.  He stalled at answering.  He finally got out that he is interested in education, and according to his website he does support charter schools, and sends his children to them.  The only other issue he ever got to was some plan for a bicycle trail from Maine to Key West that would tie together local routes like the C&O canal, allowing one to bike down the eastern seaboard.  No other issues came up.

Back to marijuana, the law and regulation of which is his vocation,  Zuckerberg had a lot more to say.  Much of it simultaneously horrifying and also better than what we have now.  Zuckerberg wants to maintain large civil fines for marijuana use but not have it be a crime with criminal charges.  According to him this is best because it means DC law would not contradict federal law.  In his mind if DC does not make something illegal that federal law does make illegal, that would be a state law contradicting the federal law.  Contradicting it by not existing, apparently.   I suppose large civil penalties mean people would still need marijuana defense lawyers too?

Additionally Zuckerberg favors having ABC style government owned stores to sell medical marijuana, because allowing private vendors to do it, as in California, makes it seem like the industry is a sham attempt to get around The Law and disobey the government.

Zuckerberg did have many anecdotes to tell about his work defending people arrested in DC, many of whom face federal charges since they are often smoking on the Mall, the GW parkway scenic rest stops, Rock Creek Park, and other federal government owned properties.  His heart seems to have some libertarian impulses but they are almost completely strangled by his conventional statist DC hive political faith.

Ellie Mae Norton wants to throw your kids in jail

12 Dec

Norton, City Leaders Condemn Synthetic Marijuana

  • Written by  James Wright
  • Wednesday, 12 December 2012 
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D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton addressed a crowd at a hearing on synthetic marijuana on Nov. 27 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Northwest.D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton addressed a crowd at a hearing on synthetic marijuana on Nov. 27 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Northwest. Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) has joined forces with the D.C. Council to stop the sale of a legal, yet lethal synthetic drug that’s gaining popularity among District youth.
K2 also known as “Spice” is a psychoactive designer drug. It’s a mixture of herbs, spices and shredded plant material sprayed with synthetic chemicals that, when used, allegedly mimics the effects of marijuana. It is illegal in 39 states, including Virginia – it’s legal in the District, but not for long, if Norton has anything to say about it.
“With effects that have been compared to LSD, our city must not let synthetic marijuana use increase,” said Norton, 75.
She received a boost from the D.C. Council on Dec. 4 when it passed a bill, authored by D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson that would ban the sale of the substance in the city.
The movement toward banning K2 gathered steam when Norton convened a hearing of her Commission on Black Men and Boys entitled, “Synthetic Marijuana: Real Drug, Real Consequences” on Nov. 27 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Northwest with 60 people in attendance.
Charles Dark, the director of the D.C. Prevention Center for Ward 5 and 6 in Northeast, said that K2 usage is getting worse and it’s easy to get.
“I have purchased synthetic marijuana from an Exxon gas station,” said Dark, 41. “It’s a pretty easy transaction. D.C. Prevention knows that a lot of these vendors are selling this stuff to underage youth.”
Dark said that he has been to a few gas stations in the District and noticed that the establishments that sell the drug tend to be closer to lower-income black neighborhoods.
“I’ve spoken to men of all ages who have tried this drug,” he said. “They are mixing it with their marijuana to stretch the marijuana they do have or if they don’t have money to buy marijuana [illegally]. The youth seem to know which stores have it and those that don’t have it.”
Dark said that his organization has been tracking K2 usage since 2008 and saw its usage increase in 2010 and 2011. He said that youth involved in the juvenile justice system have told him that many children use K2 as a way to avoid failing mandatory court-ordered drug tests.
“If you look at how this stuff is packaged, it’s clearly packaged to entice a young person to want to buy it,” Dark said.
In her remarks, Norton said that the average age of a K2 user was 13.5 years-old.
Alphonso Coles, a men’s health activist in Ward 7, said that police officers don’t deal with K2 users.
“The police don’t even bother speaking with or stopping anyone from smoking K2,” said Coles, 55. “K2 poses major health risks to people who smoke it and the community needs to rally together to demand that the sale of K2 in their neighborhood stop.”
Norton, Coles and 38 activists protested the sale of K2 at an Exxon station in Northeast on Dec. 4. Coles said that Norton went in to speak with the manager of the station and demanded that he stop selling the drug.
Coles said that the manager complied and that letters will be sent to the franchise owner of the station, Joe Mamo, and the Ethiopian business community, on the dangers of the drug and why they shouldn’t sell it.
Norton agrees with Coles and said that there needs to be a community conversation about K2.
“It needs discussion not only among kids but it needs discussion in schools and with families,” the delegate said. “Kids need to educate their parents. And above all, it needs public discussion.”
WI Staff Writer Elton Hayes contributed to this story.

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 17:13

NORML Down with Droid, Finally!

26 Jun

NORML 06/23/2012
From NORML.org:

Recent Action Alerts:


NORML Down with Droid, Finally!

Dear NORML supporters,
NORML Android Mobile AppAfter the successful launch two years ago of a NORML app on Apple’s iTunes, NORML’s large online information and social activism network to reform cannabis laws is finally linked up in the smart phone universe with Droid fans.
The new mobile app for NORML on Droid, designed by former NORML legal intern Matthew Donigian, is found here.
With nearly 400,000 Facebook supporters, 115,000 opt-in listserv subscribers, 60,000 Twitter followers and NORML-powered Apple and Droid mobile apps, cannabis consumers and activists today can remain dialed in 24/7 to all of the relevant cannabis-related news and information important for us all to know and be aware of on the march to replace failed Cannabis Prohibition laws, with sensible alternatives public policies.
For someone who has worked at NORML pre-Internet, the reality that a cannabis consumer and/or law reform activist can now possess so much verifiable, credible and timely information at the touch of a button (an entire university library’s worth of information!), remotely delivered to a hand-held device, has always helped in my mind to recognize that the writing is on the wall for Cannabis Prohibition in America because we all know that information is power—and now that citizens have more than enough access to information and networking tools, the federal government and other supporters (and beneficiaries) of the seventy-five year old Cannabis Prohibition laws can no longer in unfettered and unchallenged ways continue to mislead and deceive the public about cannabis, cannabis consumers or the ill-effects of prohibition.
Again, information is power. Cannabis Prohibition is a worthy victim of both information and citizen action.
Get the NORML Droid Mobile App!
Cannabem liberemus,
Allen St. Pierre
Executive Director
NORML
Washington, D.C.

D.C. approves 4 to be medical marijuana dispensaries

13 Jun

June 12, 2012 — 8:35 PM @WashingtonExaminer


Four potential medical marijuana dispensaries have cleared the last major hurdle in route to opening their doors in Washington as early as August.
After reviewing applications, the District Department of Health notified the businesses Tuesday that they are eligible to open dispensaries around the city, from downtown to Upper Northwest to Southeast. Now they must acquire permits and begin the normal process of opening a business within the District.
“[Applicants are] tired, a lot of them,” said Mike Liszewski, a policy director for medical cannabis advocacy group Americans for Safe Access. “They’re enthusiastic for getting it going, and they’re looking forward to providing D.C.’s population with medicine. … The progress has been slow and steady over the past several months, so I think D.C. patients have every reason to expect it to come through by the end of the year.”
But people shouldn’t expect legally purchasing marijuana in the District to be easy.
Only residents who suffer from HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, cancer or conditions characterized by severe muscle spasms will be able to obtain a permit to purchase marijuana from the Health Department.
Their usual doctor must write a recommendation for marijuana before a patient can apply for a permit card from DOH. Even with a card, however, residents will only be able to purchase the drug at one specified dispensary.
“D.C. is one of the most restrictive in the country,” Liszewski said, adding, “Clearly we favor fewer restrictions, but we understand political realities and we’re willing to work with them when necessary.”
As for the dispensaries, D.C. rules say no marijuana or paraphernalia can be visible from the street. They must have security measures and can’t be located within a residential district or 300 feet of a school or recreation center.
“I think it remains to be seen exactly what form they are going to take on,” Liszewski said. “I think these places are going to — more or less — blend into the communities they’re entering.”
A neighbor of one of the approved locations, Metropolitan Wellness Center Corporation at 409 Eighth St. SE, thinks a marijuana dispensary on the same block would be good for his business.
“That’s excellent actually,” said Aslam Hayat, manager of Pizza Boli’s on Eighth Street. “We deal with people all day … a lot of the people you can smell marijuana on them. So it seems like a lot of the people are using marijuana. So I really like it.

D.C. Council myopia on Ward 5 warehouses

3 Feb

D.C. Council myopia on Ward 5 warehouses

By Mark Lee @Washington Blade

What is it with Northeast Washington’s Ward 5 and the ferocious opposition by some neighborhood leaders and residents to development plans for usage of even the tiniest number of the long underutilized area’s vast array of abandoned former light industrial commercial buildings that causes D.C. politicians to roll over like puppies wanting their stomachs rubbed?
Why doesn’t the area embrace realistic economic development opportunities and functional applications for a very few of the plentiful unused warehouses that blight the ward at both visible and tucked away locations?
Why have issues related to zoning-specific and usage-appropriate business revitalization relevant to the LGBT community in recent years not been effectively or successfully addressed – if at all – by local advocates and organizations?
Perhaps most important, what causes the city’s elected officials to buckle so quickly to such anti-business protestations, abandoning common sense along the way?
The D.C. Council previously limited both the number and permissible locations in the area for gay strip clubs displaced by the Nationals stadium hoping to re-open, at the insistence of disgraced former Ward 5 Council member Harry Thomas Jr.
The result? No venue relocated to Ward 5 due to insurmountable prohibitions, with only Ziegfeld’s/Secrets surviving at a grandfathered new location near the previous cluster of businesses and the stadium site.
The latest dust-up is over D.C.’s medical marijuana program that hit another snag two weeks ago when the D.C. Council approved emergency legislation to limit the number of cultivation centers allowed in Ward 5.
Introduced by At-Large Council member Vincent Orange, who previously represented Ward 5 prior to an unsuccessful mayoral campaign, and co-sponsored by Council Chair Kwame Brown, it primarily affects a ward encompassing the upper northeast corner of the city from the nexus of New Jersey Avenue at 3rd Street, N.E., and surrounding the New York Avenue commercial corridor within a southern boundary continuing along Florida Avenue and extending outward via Benning Road.
The approved legislation limits the number of marijuana cultivation locations in any ward to six, passed with lightning speed within a week of introduction.
Gay At-Large Council member and Committee on Health Chair David Catania was credited with striking a deal reflecting the best possible compromise. With neither side certain of the vote alignment, and Mayor Vincent Gray’s statement that the bill would “further delay implementation of this important program, which is necessary to assist individuals who suffer with chronic debilitating pain” not making much of an impact, Catania negotiated the lessened limitation.
The original regulations, approved by the Council more than a year ago, dictated the city’s business proposal solicitation and qualification process to date. The Council’s action has upended and complicated progress and will likely cause further delays and difficulties in determining locations for the small necessary number of production sites. This may result in insufficient product becoming available and eventually being more difficult to obtain at the separate dispensaries at only five locations scattered across the city for patient access convenience.
Nearly all of the 28 business applications to operate each of only 10 cultivation centers permitted citywide – including a signed property lease – selected available and appropriate sites in Ward 5. Eight qualifying proposals have been forwarded to a respective Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC), which have a near-veto opportunity under scoring rules that portend more obstacles to come. Six of the eight sent for ANC review are for locations in Ward 5, resulting in the probability that remaining applications under review won’t fulfill the new geographic restriction.
Because these businesses are production facilities only with no distribution component, strict security protocols are required, only 95 plants are allowed at each location in order to avoid heightened criminal penalties should the Obama administration continue with threats and prosecution interfering with programs nationwide and require only a modest and discreet size with a nondescript and non-commercial exterior, the reaction is both dumbfounding and disappointing.
Cultivation businesses – essential to implementation of the District’s pending medical marijuana program – do not constitute behemoth “Walmart of Weed” footprints or activity. Their presence will actually be difficult to detect.
The D.C. Council’s kowtowing to opponents of these businesses is cowardly and will further delay and potentially limit or ultimately deny patients the benefit of physician-prescribed medical relief.
Mark Lee is a local small business manager and long-time community business advocate. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.