Part I is here (extending private prison contracts).
And who will fill all of these quota-guaranteed by contract prison ‘beds’ besides the usual suspects? Moar of the usual suspects, I reckon. Aha: when I’d first read at Reuters that WH spox Sean Spicer had announced that Herr Trump might ‘ramp up’ enforcement of federal cannabis laws especially in states in which recreational marijuana is legal, setting up an (ahem) conflict with those states’ laws, this category of decades’ worth of victims of the failed ‘drug wars’ would be convenient bed-fillers.
Reuters also featured the results of a new national Quinnipiac poll released the same day showed that 71 percent of registered voters favored allowing states to decide whether marijuana should be legal, just 23 percent said the U.S. government should enforce federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized it for recreational or medical use. And isn’t Herr Trump into ‘states’ rights’? Oh: just when it serves his purpose…
“”I do believe you’ll see greater enforcement of it,” Spicer said at a news conference. “Because again there’s a big difference between the medical use … that’s very different than the recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice will be further looking into.”
Spicer’s comments drew criticism from the country’s nascent legalized marijuana industry as it was recovering from a scare after Trump’s nomination of former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, a long time anti-drug campaigner, as attorney general.”
Reuters also wrote that Obama’s administration largely looked the other way, but not in CA and other states. He’d declared it something like: “It’s not one of our priorities”.
NBCnewyork.com is reporting that Jefferson Beauregard Sessions ‘Suggests Police Need Less Federal Scrutiny’; “We need to help police departments get better, not diminish their effectiveness, and I’m afraid we’ve done some of that,” Sessions said.
“In his first major policy speech as attorney general, Sessions said his Justice Department would continue to prosecute officers for wrongdoing, but suggested federal civil rights investigations could hinder their effectiveness.
He warned of a surging heroin epidemic, rising homicide rates in big cities and said a lack of respect for police has diminished their crime-fighting efforts.”
“In his prepared remarks Sessions also indicated that, unlike his Democratic-appointed predecessors, he believes some police officers have pulled back on enforcement because of anxiety that their actions could be recorded on video and scrutinized by the public.”
We wouldn’t want the public seeing what the po-po are doing, now would we?
Including remarks from a Spicer presser, Sessions himself, and of course, Herr Trump, cavalierly and speciously link cannabis to opioids, including as a ‘gateway drug’ (studies say it ain’t, although alcohol can be) although the latter seems to approve of medical cannabis, go figure. Maybe he hasn’t looked into it well enough? Yet, in the Atlantic’s July, 2016 ‘What Can’t Medical Marijuana Do?’; Recent studies indicate that the drug is making seniors healthier and helping stem the tide of the opioid epidemic—all while making their health care cheaper. (Hint: the Atlantic ain’t exactly a bastion of potheads, now are they? Or…are they? ;-) But I digress. The main portion of the article focuses on senior citizens, opioid overdose deaths, but jumps to this:
“Of course all of these data are just for Medicare patients, but they match other research that shows that medical marijuana has been particularly effective in reducing deaths (pdf) from opioid addiction. That research has been corroborated and updated with a new working paper that indicates that states with medical marijuana dispensaries not only see reduced opioid deaths, but also an accelerating decrease in opioid substance-abuse treatment admissions. These data might be applicable for seniors, and the data on seniors might be generalizable across the country. Medical marijuana could be reducing deaths—especially for the most vulnerable populations—making health care cheaper for the most expensive groups, and fighting a public-health nightmare.
Just under half the country now allows medical marijuana, and states like Florida and Missouri are considering it. Support for the drug seem to be expanding among both medical professionals and the public at large. In Florida—which already allows for medical marijuana usage for patients facing mortal illness— medical marijuana could help its large population of seniors and help it combat a serious opioid problem at once. That logic holds for the country writ large, fighting a two-front war against health-care costs and the opioid crisis that is driving up those costs, with seniors in the middle of both fights. Medical marijuana increasingly looks like a useful tool in that fight—and the rare health policy that makes health care both cheaper and more effective.”
In his ‘Capitalism and America’s addiction epidemic’, 25 February 2017, wsws.org, Andre Damon applies some Marxist analysis to the issue. All essays are designated Creative Commons, so I’ll quote them liberally…or should I say: radically?
“The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report Friday showing that nearly 13,000 people died from heroin overdoses in 2015, up four-fold from the 3,036 deaths reported in 2010. The overall incidence of overdoses from all drugs has more than doubled since 1999.
The drug epidemic affects all ages, genders and races. The overdose rate for the 55–64 age group has gone up nearly five-fold, while the 45-54 age group had the highest rate of overdoses overall.
Whites had the highest rate of overdose deaths of any ethnicity, more than double the combined death rate for blacks and Latinos. The overdose death rate for whites, which was lower than that of blacks in 1999, has more than tripled since then.
What is behind the shocking and tragic growth in drug overdoses?
The drug epidemic has been concentrated in former coal mining regions such as Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee, along with so-called “rust-belt” states such as Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania. These areas of the country have been hardest hit by decades of deindustrialization, mass layoffs and wage-cutting, beginning in the late 1970s and continuing ever since.
The social distress that finds a particularly concentrated expression in the rust belt exists throughout the country. In 2015, for the first time in 23 years, US life expectancy decreased, led by a sharp increase in mortality rates for white Americans.
Last month, a survey by the Young Invincibles found that millennials earn 20 percent less than their parents did at the same stage in life, despite being better-educated. Homeownership rates have hit their lowest levels since 1965, with record numbers of young people being too poor to move out of their parents’ homes.
At the other end of the age spectrum, indebtedness among seniors has increased dramatically and household debt as a whole is soaring.
There is a palpable sense that American society is going backward. The drug epidemic is a malignant expression of the fact that millions of people see no prospect for living an economically secure and fulfilling life.
The conditions of life for working people, whose incomes have been stagnant or declining for decades, stand in the starkest contrast to the phenomenal enrichment of the ruling elite, whose wealth has more than doubled since 2009, driven by an unprecedented stock market boom.” [snip]
“In its quest for cheap and easy profits at any social cost, the American health care system, dominated by the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance giants and for-profit hospital chains, has turned to over-prescribing opioid painkillers. As a result, over a third of Americans now use prescription painkillers, whether obtained legally or illegally. This is a higher percentage of the population than the portion that smokes or uses smokeless tobacco.
Alongside the economic underpinnings of the social crisis there are the crippling intellectual and cultural effects of a quarter-century of endless war and political reaction. War, xenophobia, chauvinism, the worship of money and power—all are extolled by the ruling elite, its political parties and the media and entertainment establishment. These are the symptoms of an economic and political system breaking down under the weight of its own internal contradictions.” [snip]
“The political impasse caused by the subordination of the working class to the Democratic Party and the two-party system, reinforced by the corporatist trade unions, has fueled the frustrations and dashed hopes that foster anti-social acts, from mass shootings to drug addiction.” [snip]
“The social crisis expressed in the surge in drug overdoses can be overcome only in a struggle to mobilize the working class in the US and internationally against the capitalist system, the source of poverty, inequality and war.”
The comments beneath Damon’s piece add a lot to the subject, including the hypocrisy of the CIA being ‘biggest drug dealer in the world? Known for drug trafficking in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Vietnam, etc…’, and under the watchful care of US and British soldiers, opium poppies have surged post-Taliban to an estimated 75% of the world’s production.
Consider this list from Ellen Brown (after she delves into the history of cannabis and industrial hemp, legal, then made illegal) of the efficaciousness of the beautiful plant:
“The documented medical use of cannabis goes back two thousand years, but the Schedule I ban has seriously hampered medical research. Despite that obstacle, cannabis has now been shown to have significant therapeutic value for a wide range of medical conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma, lung disease, anxiety, muscle spasms, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, and arthritis pain.
New research has also revealed the mechanism for these wide-ranging effects. It seems the active pharmacological components of the plant mimic chemicals produced naturally by the body called endocannabinoids. These chemicals are responsible for keeping critical biological functions in balance, including sleep, appetite, the immune system, and pain. When stress throws those functions off, the endocannabinoids move in to restore balance.
Inflammation is a common trigger of the disease process in a broad range of degenerative ailments. Stress triggers inflammation, and cannabis relieves both inflammation and stress. THC, the primary psychoactive component of the plant, has been found to have twenty times the anti-inflammatory power of aspirin and twice that of hydrocortisone.
CBD, the most-studied non-psychoactive component, also comes with an impressive list of therapeutic benefits, including not against cancer but as a super-antibiotic. CBD has been shown to kill “superbugs” that are resistant to currently available drugs. This is a major medical breakthrough, since for some serious diseases antibiotics have reached the end of their usefulness.”
Noting that the pharmaceutical industry both has much to gain and much to lose from legalization of the cannabis plant in its various natural forms, is it any wonder that she asks: “Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?”
Way-ull…Mr. Market is pretty bullish on the likelihood of the merger being approved. And when Warren Buffet’s money talks….sshhhhhh!…people listen. Note: so far there isn’t a new head of the FTC, just an acting one. Hard to think that anyone would press any anti-trust objections at this point, isn’t it?
But back to ‘enforcing cannabis federal law’: will cannabis arrestees end up filling the prison beds? Will those busted for opiates be treated as a health issue…or a criminal issue? Will it depend on Class Status? Of course it will.
Bonus: But at least the Master of Grift Bill Gates is ‘Excited’ for Next Chapter With Trump