Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mother Nature Trumps "ImPOTsters!"

For those familiar with Facebook you'll know that on the right hand side of the home page is space allotted for advertisements.  Last week one promoting the Facebook page for "The IZMS" caught my attention so I did what any well informed mama would do and used that ad (under Fair Use, of course) to warn others: "Don't take this fake shit!  It is synthetic, a dangerous man-made abomination not meant for human consumption!"

Today I was not surprised when a Canadian news station ran this "Parents Beware!" story with accompanying video about a youth taken to the hospital from "Synthetic Marijuana": Drug alert: THC-laced lollipop lands teen in hospital The story was also posted on their Facebook Page here.

While I was very disappointed at the "scary THC!" headline and the fact that nowhere in this video did the reporter, doctor, or police officer inform people that this chemical shitstorm stuffed into a lollipop is very different from real cannabis, I was at least thankful for a spotlight being shone on these dangerous "Legals", as some people call them.  These products with names like K2, Spice and the above mentioned "IZMS" are man-made, sprayed and laced with who knows what additives and other than the fact that they're smoked the similarities pretty much end there. 

Now I'm not saying that cannabis is 100% completely harmless for every single person but from the reactions reported from the "fake weed" it is safe to say that all natural Mother Nature made cannabis is exponentially safer by leaps and bounds.  Cannabis' safety record is one of the reasons it has been utilized by humans for thousands upon thousands of years. 

Regardless of their different monikers, man-made synthetic (JWH-018) "herbal blends" are NOT natural cannabis/marijuana/hemp and should not be compared to the real, non-toxic plant. There has never been one recorded death from Cannabis. In fact, according to the LD-50 rating system in order to induce a toxic response from Cannabis use only, a person would have to ingest approximately 1500 pounds of it within 15 minutes.

Admittedly cannabis is not for everyone - just like peanuts, lactose or gluten.  But don't you think we need to educate people about the verified possible side effects instead of letting rhetoric and propaganda muddy the waters so much that kids don't know what to believe?
  When real facts about nicotine cigarettes were given smoking rates went down, all without a prohibition or arresting a single person.  Also, pot dealers don't ask teens for ID like the LCBO does which translates into restricting access to minors.

I am a parent myself and do not want my kids to ever touch this fake stuff because through my research I have come to the conclusion that it is very dangerous. This currently legal stuff is being mass produced and people are using this instead of natural cannabis because
it is legal. (While banned in a few places, makers just tweak the chemical compositions and BAM! - they now have a new drug to sell which hasn't been prohibited.)

I had first researched "synthetic weed" when I discovered people were using it to avoid arrest and beat employee drug tests. (Thanks, Prohibition!)  As someone who writes about drug policy I believe it is imperative to be truthful and not misinform.  Having said that I have provided some info and links from many different websites not to scare you, but so more people can read about synthetic herbal blends and become more knowledgeable regarding this "ImPOTster".  I hope this information helps, I would honestly hate to hear of anyone else being harmed by one of these brands. 

In my honest opinion the best thing we can do to address this problem is to re-legalize Cannabis, once people can freely and responsibly use the real thing without fear then products like IZMS will fall out of favour and become obsolete. 

Ain't nothing like the real thing!


There’s a New Brand of Synthetic Pot on the Market:
Fake Pot Cited as Cause in 16 Cases of Kidney Damage

Graphic via To The The Maximus Foundation
("Click" to enlarge)
What Is Synthetic Pot, and Why's It Causing Heart Attacks in Teenagers?

Synthetic Cannabinoid Exposures Reported to Texas Poison Centers

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 6,959 calls nationwide related to adverse effects associated with "fake pot" compounds in 2011, nearly 2.4 times the amount of calls in 2010.

Health effects from the drug can be life-threatening and can include:

-Severe agitation and anxiety.
-Fast, racing heartbeat and higher blood pressure.
-Nausea and vomiting.
-Muscle spasms, seizures, and tremors.
-Intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes.
-Suicidal and other harmful thoughts and/or actions.

Update 10/30/2013: Izms Boss Gets Busted

'Fake weed' CEO Adam Wookey charged in $2M drug bust

via CBC News - "The head of a synthetic marijuana company whose product was being sold in Hamilton is in trouble with the law again after a $2-million drug bust.

Toronto police arrested Adam Wookey, 29, of Toronto, on Monday along with four others. The CEO of the Izms and PurePillz companies is now facing a host of drug-related charges."

Here is the comment I left where the story was cross-posted at the Huffington Post:

As an advocate for the legalization and regulation of Cannabis for adults I am thankful for this development. I'd like to state that we must stop calling products like The Izms "fake pot", "fake marijuana", "synthetic marijuana" etc. These man-made concoctions are nothing like natural cannabis and should be avoided at all costs.

The popularity of these licit "ImPOTsters" is a direct result of our innate utilization of the now prohibited cannabis plant. Humans have used cannabis for thousands upon thousands of years, just because it is deemed illegal does not remove our affinity for it, hence our continued growth and use of it for medicine and recreation/relaxation regardless of its legal status.

Once re-legalized, quality tested and regulated for sale; all-natural weed will obliterate this fake crap out of existence. Until then I support leo's shutting down its production.  I know Mr. Wookey hasn't been charged for selling the Izms but I admit I am thankful that his arrest may lead to his product being shelved for good.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Go Home, Drug War, You're Drunk!

Read the story: NYPD Spent 1 Million Hours Making 440,000 Marijuana Possession Arrests Over Last Decade
"We cannot afford to continue arresting tens of thousands of youth every year for low-level marijuana possession,” Alfredo Carrasquillo, a civil rights organizer with the activist group VOCAL-NY, said in a release. “We can't afford it in terms of the negative effect it has on the future prospects of our youth and we can't afford in terms of police hours."
It's bad enough that the United States alone has already squandered over a TRILLION dollars fighting The War on Drugs; now we get a glimpse of all of the time that is wasted on it as well.

Just think of all of the other things that could have been properly addressed with this kind of precious time and tax-payer money!
  • Schools
  • Health Care
  • Elder Care
  • Veteran Support
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Mental Illness Support
  • Substance Abuse Rehabilitation
  • The Environment & Green Jobs
  • Homelessness and Affordable Housing
  • Infrastructure
  • Fraud
Law Enforcement Officers could be solving exponentially more homicides, assaults and cases of child abuse and paedophilia.  Instead of building and staffing more jails we could be funding laboratories and skilled workers that process crime scene evidence and expedite the processing of sexual assault forensic exam kits. (Something that is obviously lost on the likes of Ol' Sheriff Joe!*)

We must evaluate where our priorities lie as citizens of our communities and as members of the Human Race.  Ask yourself where *you* want your hard earned taxes to go.  Where do *you* want police to focus their attention?  "Herbal" offenses?  Or on actual crimes that really do hurt us all?

Visit the updated website for the NORML Women's Alliance of Canada and get involved!

Along with the NORML Women's Alliance of Canada, there are many, many organizations working to reform and change our drug policy laws.  Check them out today!

Marijuana Majority

*Sheriff Joe! ~ Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office spent so much time and money seeking out non-violent people that he prompted an internal investigation which discovered at least 32 reported child molestations in which the sheriff's office failed to follow through, even though suspects were known in all but six cases.  El Mirage, a community near Phoenix, alleged there were many cases in which sheriff's investigators wrote no follow-up reports, collected no additional forensic evidence and made no effort after the initial crime report was taken.  Arpaio's office eventually reopened more than 400 of its sex-crime cases countywide after finding they were inadequately investigated or not examined at all. Read about this tragedy here at THINKPROGRESS: Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Failed To Investigate Over 400 Sex Crimes, Including Molestations Of Undocumented Children

Additional Info

Count the Costs - 50 Years of the War on Drugs

Unless present policy is redirected, we will perpetuate the same problems, tolerate the same social costs, and find ourselves as we do now, no further along the road to a more rational legal and social approach than we were in 1914. - "Drug Use in America: Problem in Perspective", issued 40 years ago today. (March 22 1973 - March 22, 2013) From "Shafer Commission Report on Marijuana and Drugs, Issued 40 Years Ago Today, Was Ahead of its Time"
by Eric E. Sterling.  Please read this, it is an amazing article! 

"Ironically, these policy failures are often cited by law enforcement as a justification for continuing current policies. Just as the costs of enforcing marijuana laws are cited as a cost of drug abuse rather than public policy, these social problems are misrepresented to the public as evidence that marijuana use requires criminal sanctions rather than regulation. Policy failures brought about by this lack of effective controls is not a valid justification of current policies. The statistical data cited in this report on the supply, availability, use, price, and value of marijuana demonstrate that the amount of lost taxes and other fiscal costs of current policy are increasing and proliferating over time."
From Lost Taxes and Other Costs of Marijuana Laws by Jon Gettman - Read the full report of the tremendous annual cost of marijuana prohibition in the October 2007 issue of the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform

14 Reasons Why Marijuana is Good for the Economy (HuffPo Slideshow, scroll down the page)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Making Money Off of Crime: It's Criminal!

"Shabby Justice"

First, read/watch: Conrad Black: Privatizing Prisons 'A Catastrophic Idea' (VIDEO, PHOTOS) on the Huffington Post.

I replied to "otherguy58" on HuffPo (click to enlarge)

“He can contribute because he *has* been all of those things. Who better to learn from than somebody who has actually served jail time? It would be stupid to not listen to him, I have before and wrote about it:

If our goal is to "correct" people then we must continually strive to improve our correctional system. We don't call it "Punishment Service of Canada" because the priority is to rehabilitate people while they serve their sentence and before they reintegrate into society. The majority of jailed offenders are not kept in jail forever, don't you believe that we owe it to ourselves to stop recidivism?  I, as a Mother, want people who are released from prison to have been given the tools to never re-offend thus making the country I live in a much safer place for my children.  Don't you?

The worse thing we could EVER do is make our incarceration system private and for profit - this is a public service that our hard earned taxes go to because we like having professionals in Fire and Police Departments, ambulances, jails, hospitals and mental health facilities, public schools etc. These public servants are properly trained to help us live our safest and healthiest lives. The Correctional Service of Canada is a necessary public service with the priority of public safety and therefore should forever be exempt from making profit for privately owned businesses and corporations. Making Money Off of Crime: It's Criminal!”


I know taxes suck but where I don't mind mine going is toward healthcare, public safety, (cops, fireman, court and jail workers, probation officers, mental health workers* etc) education (child and youth programming throughout all communities) public transit and infrastructure (roads, highways bridges) and social services for families and people in need as lower poverty rates translate into less crime.

All of the above aid me, you, and our families every day.  Public servants help to keep us healthy and safe and if something does happen to us they are there.  Their goal is a job well done, not boosting their funds.  All of us benefit when these different service agencies are given support and are at the top of their game.  As professionals in their respective fields they contribute to effective work, policies and positive outcomes. 

Private corporations could care less about the people they contain and spit out, after all, they love it when people come back for another stint.  Their main objective is to make money, every new and returning prisoner raises their stock on Wall St. and taxpayers end up footing the bill.  Canadians deserve to have our safety be a top priority and leaving this task to private companies is just asking for tragedy and economic failure. The Americans have been down this treacherous road, let's be smart and not follow.


Excerpt from: Private prison companies look to Canada as industry faces lawsuits in US
US states are beginning to rely less on privately run prisons, but Canada may be a land of opportunity for the two biggest firms

"US private prison firms are targeting Canada for fresh opportunities as pressure builds at home on the troubled multi-billion dollar industry from human rights groups and legal actions, and as more states look to scale back their reliance on them.

Two of the biggest operators in an industry once regarded as recession-proof, Geo Group and Management and Training Corporation (MTC), have been lobbying various government departments in the Canadian capital, Ottawa.

With a massive prison overhaul plan already underway – as well as the passage in March of Bill C-10, a suite of crime legislation that most observers agree will see more Canadians face prison time and keep those already locked up behind bars for longer – it seems the American industry's interest in its neighbour to the north could not come at a better time.

The private industry's lobbying of Canadian lawmakers has some Canadian prison watchers worried. "There is something unethical with having corporations seeking profits from locking people up," wrote a group of former high-ranking Canadian justice officials to the Kingston Whig-Standard newspaper in March."  ~ Read the whole article here.

90% Full Prisons Guaranteed!

Private Prisons-Commerce in Souls

For-Profit Prisons Promise Investors Growth

Making Investors Rich!

More links:

Lobbyists Behind Omnibus Crime Bill Aimed at Privatizing Prisons ~ 404 System Error Democracy Not Found

Right and proper  With a record of being tough on crime, the political right can afford to start being clever about it

 In Prison Reform, Money Trumps Civil Rights By MICHELLE ALEXANDER

*There is a higher rate of mental illness in the poor than in the rich (source Brill 40)
~ Death in Remand: Stacked Deck
"Forty-nine per cent of all prisoners admitted to a B.C. jail between 1997 and 2004 had a diagnosed mental illness. Fully half of those were also addicted to alcohol or drugs. In total, 56 per cent of provincial prisoners in B.C. during that time, both on remand and sentenced, were either mentally ill, addicted to something, or both. There's obviously a spectrum there. "Mental illness" covers a broad swath. But even still, it's hard to overlook the connection.
Remand rates are going up at least in part because of the judicial response to breaches of bail and probation condition. At the same time, the justice system is dealing more and more often with the sort of people most likely to breach.
It has to be asked: Are we setting them up to fail?"
~ Tory crime bill will make matters worse for mentally ill: expert

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

ENOUGH! Forget Oil - Plant In the Soil!


Added to the screenshot of Huffington Post's Front Page

June 19th. 2012

(click on photo to enlarge)

Third pipeline leak in Alberta in three weeks

I am sharing this asking Canadians to PLEASE check out
Franke James
' most awesome Visual Essay "What is Harper

afraid of?" posted on Dogwood Initiative.  Above is

the animated version, go read the original and all of the

other awesomeness on Franke's website
My Green Conscience
, Canada is lucky to have her!  Although,

the Harper Government doesn't think so!

Banned on the Hill (and in Europe!)

Harper government targeted artist for her green

conscience, internal documents reveal

Anti-Gateway comic gathering steam

Activist Artist vs. Pipeline


Hemp is our answer to depend less on Big Oil, save our trees 
and forests, use less water and reduce use of
Hemp has been decriminalized in Canada since 1997, there 
is no excuse to not utilize this plant
for the benefit of our 
ecosystems and environmental health. I know we've come a 
long way since '97 but there's
still much work to do!
I hope you signed Franke James' letter to your Member of

Parliament at the bottom of her Visual Essay
regarding Bill C-38. 
Also, don't be afraid to ask
your MP: "What about Industrial

More on my blog about Hemp, click here.

UPDATE: Ecocide in Arkansas!

Huffington Post

Arkansas Oil Spill:
Exxon Shuts Pegasus
Pipeline After

NEW YORK, March 30 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil was working to

clean up
thousands of barrels of oil in Mayflower, Arkansas,

after a pipeline
carrying heavy Canadian crude ruptured, a

major spill likely to stoke
debate over transporting Canada's

oil to the United States.

shut the Pegasus pipeline, which can carry more than

90,000 barrels
per day (bpd) of crude oil from Pakota, Illinois,

to Nederland, Texas,
after the leak was discovered on Friday

afternoon, the company said in a

Exxon, hit with a $1.7 million fine
by regulators this week over

a 2011 spill in the Yellowstone River,
said a few thousand

barrels of oil had been observed.

company spokesman confirmed the line was carrying

Canadian Wabasca
Heavy crude. That grade is a heavy

bitumen crude diluted with lighter
liquids to allow it to

flow through pipelines, according to the
Canadian Energy

Pipeline Association (CEPA), which referred

to Wabasca
as "oil sands" in a report.

The spill occurred as
the U.S. State Department is considering

the fate of the 800,000 bpd
Keystone XL pipeline, which would

carry crude from Canada's oil sands
to the Gulf Coast. Environ-

mentalists, concerned about the impact of
developing the

oil sands, have sought to block its approval.

Supporters say Keystone will help bring down the cost of fuel in

the United States.

Arkansas spill was the second incident this week where

Canadian crude
has spilled in the United States. On Wednesday,

a train carrying
Canadian crude derailed in Minnesota, spilling

15,000 gallons of oil.

expanded the Pegasus pipeline in 2009 to carry more

Canadian crude
from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast refining hub

and installed what it
called new "leak detection technology". 

Read the rest of the article here.

And via The Raw Story:

"The ExxonMobil Pegasus tar sands pipeline spilled around
185,000 gallons of tar sands, undisclosed toxic chemicals and
contaminated water in Mayflower, Arkansas yesterday.

Like many tar sands pipelines, Pegasus was actually an older
which had its flow reversed. This is also the case for
the Seaway
pipeline in Texas and proposed tar sands pipelines
East through Canada
to New England.

Forcing the evacuation of 20 homes and shutting
down sections
of the interstate highway; hazardous materials team from
Office of Emergency Management has contained th
e spill and is

currently attempting a cleanup.

1000s of gallons of crude oil
erupted from the breach around

3:00 p.m. on Friday, spilling through a
housing subdivision and

in to the town’s storm drainage system, fouling
drainage ditches

and shutting down Highway 365 and Interstate 40.

Residents were evacuated to avoid health hazards from crude

oil fumes
and to keep stray sparks from igniting the standing oil.

workers contained the spill by hastily constructing

earthen dams. Read the rest at The Raw Story.

Can you imagine if this was your backyard?  Your HOME?
~Mayflower Arkansas photos from

UPDATE! 2/4/2013: LOOK---> The Arkansas Oil Spill
Photos the Keystone Cabal Doesn't Want You to See

Friday, June 8, 2012

Quarters! Nickels! Dimes! Gateway to "Death by Vending Machine!"

Stop sleeping in your bed!

Steer clear of vending machines!

And for the love of jeebus! Stay the hell away from the deceptively cute but evil Killer Deer!

Read "What kills more people than Pot?"

~Pic courtesy of "The Internets"

By the way:

"A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response."

"In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough cannabis to induce death."

"Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."

by FRANCIS L YOUNG, Administrative Law Judge
"Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Decision." for the United States Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) September 6, 1988