ChrisWeigant.com

D.E.A. Ignores Reality In The War On Weed

[ Posted Thursday, August 11th, 2016 – 17:16 PDT ]

The Drug Enforcement Agency finally just released its long-awaited decision, and it was a disappointing one for anyone hoping for a sane realignment of federal policy towards marijuana. Marijuana will remain a Schedule I dangerous controlled substance, although (the one silver lining) the federal monopoly on marijuana legally grown for scientific research purposes will end, and multiple sites will be allowed (only one now exists). This will help expand medical research on marijuana -- something that the federal government has been actively discouraging for decades, now. So at least there's that. But the D.E.A.'s refusal to recognize that (as Dylan once said) the times they are a-changing means that federal marijuana policy reform is likely to happen from one of two other possible routes.

Before I examine those possibilities, however, a quick review. Here is the difference between Schedule I and Schedule II (these are the "schedules" that dangerous substances get pigeonholed into in federal law):

(1) Schedule I.
    (A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
    (B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
    (C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

(2) Schedule II.
    (A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
    (B) The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.
    (C) Abuse of the drug or other substances may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

Marijuana is on Schedule I. Methamphetamine is on Schedule II. That, right there, is impossible to defend. Is weed more of a problem than crystal meth? In what universe?

The language of the Schedule I definition is now also absolutely impossible to defend for marijuana. Half of the states have legalized medical marijuana. Others have legalized certain distillations made from marijuana for medical use. Some states are even using some of the marijuana tax funds to finance their own medical research. This means that there is now only a minority of states that don't have "a currently accepted medical use in treatment." This makes the federal position untenable and indefensible. It is quite simply wrong to state that marijuana is not accepted for medical use, because of the reality of over half the states disagreeing.

But, thankfully, the D.E.A. doesn't have the final word. Congress could act to change the law, or the Attorney General could act on her own to change the scheduling.

 

Legislative Reform

Yes, Congress could act. [Pause for laughter...] No, really, they might!

While there certainly still are plenty of drug warriors in Congress who are happy to continue the federal War On Weed, even some of these hardliners are beginning to evolve on the subject of medical marijuana. Since the scheduling decision is largely about loosening up medical research, Congress may actually move to reschedule marijuana (to Schedule II or even Schedule III) on their own.

Several very specific and directed bills on medical marijuana have actually passed Congress in recent years, even though Republicans control both houses. Allowing soldiers to use marijuana to combat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has been approved, and Congress has at least twice told the Justice Department that they cannot spend one thin dime on prosecuting (and persecuting) businesses or individuals who are in compliance with state law -- which has (almost) put an end to overzealous federal prosecutors pursuing companies that are pretty obviously acting above-board. Both these changes made it through Congress, with bipartisan support.

Rescheduling marijuana isn't exactly ending the War On Weed, but that is what actually might make it possible for some politicians to support the idea. They could claim to merely being compassionate towards the ill without the stigma of "being pro-drug abuse." Earlier in this election cycle, we saw virtually every presidential candidate (including all of the Republicans) say in debates that no matter what their position on recreational usage was, they all supported the concept of medical marijuana. That is a major sea-change. When even national politicians are on board, it makes it a lot easier for individual congressmen to support the same idea -- especially because both parties seem to be in agreement on supporting medical usage. So in this instance, Congress may indeed actually act on their own -- perhaps in the lame-duck session, or perhaps next year under a new president.

 

Administrative Reform

Speaking of the lame-duck period (between the election and the new government being sworn in), President Obama could also act, even without Congress. The law which set up the whole schedule system has written into it rules for schedule changes. One of those rules is that the Attorney General has the sole power to move substances between schedules or even remove them from the schedules altogether. All that is technically required is her signature.

No matter who replaces him, President Obama's term will end next January. There is nothing stopping Obama from rescheduling (or even descheduling) marijuana during this period. After the election is over, Obama could reschedule marijuana either (1) to take some possible political heat off of President-Elect Clinton, or (2) to put some possible political heat on President-Elect Donald Trump, who would have to decide whether to reverse the change when he took office. Either way, Obama himself has nothing left to lose -- he'll join the ex-presidents' club and it'll be part of his legacy, for better or worse.

If Obama doesn't act before he leaves, then either Trump or Clinton could also make the same change. I have no real idea of how probable it would be under either of them, as neither one of them has articulated all that clear a policy stance on the issue. Which is why Obama acting in the lame-duck period would be the much more probable route, in my opinion.

Tom Angell, Chairman of Marijuana Majority, while commenting on today's news from the D.E.A. just gave Obama the perfect spin to use if he ever does decide to order the Justice Department to make the change.

It's really sad that DEA has chosen to continue decades of ignoring the voices of patients who benefit from medical marijuana. President Obama always said he would let science -- and not ideology -- dictate policy, but in this case his administration is upholding a failed drug war approach instead of looking at real, existing evidence that marijuana has medical value. This unfortunate decision only further highlights the need for Congress to pass legislation curtailing the ability of the D.E.A. and other federal agencies to interfere with the effective implementation of state marijuana laws. A clear and growing majority of American voters support legalizing marijuana outright and the very least our representatives should do is let states implement their own policies, unencumbered by an outdated "Reefer Madness" mentality that some in law enforcement still choose to cling to.

President Obama did indeed make this promise, before he was even sworn in. His was going to be an administration that respected science and made policy decisions based on science rather than politics. That has, sadly, not always been the case (the fight over Plan B, just to name one bad example). Obama spent his first term waffling on the subject of marijuana, often treating it as a joke. The Justice Department issued contradictory memos, and the U.S. Attorneys were left to continue ignoring the fact that states were passing medical marijuana legalization laws across the land. Obama (and Eric Holder) did improve significantly in his second term, and has eased many of the most onerous hurdles for state-legal marijuana businesses to operate. Plenty still remain, though, and the biggest signal that the federal government was open to changing its Draconian views on marijuana would be either rescheduling it or descheduling it altogether -- throw the issue to the states, and let them figure it out, in the same way that Prohibition ended.

Four states -- and Washington D.C., the "Nation's Capital" -- have already gone further and completely legalized adult recreational use of marijuana. The War On Weed is over, in these jurisdictions. At least five more states will get the chance to vote on recreational legalization this November (Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada). If all pass, it means weed will be legal on the entire West Coast all the way up to Alaska, as well as two East Coast states. It's only a matter of time before surrounding states get jealous of all that lovely tax revenue flowing in, and legalize it on their own.

Much like the battle for gay rights shifted at some point from being satisfied with "civil unions" to demanding full marriage equality, the battle for marijuana reform seems also to be undergoing a shift from being satisfied with, perhaps, a Schedule III designation, to now looking at the most obvious and easiest answer to the problem -- remove it from the drug list and let the same federal bureau that deals with alcohol and tobacco regulate it instead. Force the D.E.A. to focus on the real problems out there, instead of their continuing obsession with the War On Weed. Since they refuse to be reasonable, remove the power of marijuana enforcement from them altogether.

That day is coming. Perhaps we'll move through rescheduling before descheduling happens. Most politicians are timid and prefer incrementalism, so we'll likely have an interim period before the true end to the War On Weed. The D.E.A. just refused to take that path, but that doesn't mean the end of the road for the descheduling effort. Either Congress or the Attorney General could act to move federal marijuana policy towards the direction of reality. When half the states approve medical use, it will be politically impossible for the federal government to continue to assert that it has no medicinal value for very much longer.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

81 Comments on “D.E.A. Ignores Reality In The War On Weed”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Somebody should ask Mr. Trump about what he would do. Maybe he could help his chances with the right answer ...

  2. [2] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    CW,

    Marijuana is on Schedule I. Methamphetamine is on Schedule II. That, right there, is impossible to defend. Is weed more of a problem than crystal meth?

    You are correct that Marijuana should not be on Schedule I, but methamphetamine does belong in Schedule II. Ritalin is a methamphetamine. The scheduling placement isn't really meant to determine which drugs are more of a problem to society. There are far, far, far more deaths every year due to overdoses of prescription pills than from illegal drugs. Our true drug problem come from overuse of prescription drugs, but BigPharma doesn't want us talking about that!

  3. [3] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    "Maybe he could help his chances with the right answer ..."

    Like when he said this?

    "I say it's bad. Medical marijuana is another thing, but I think it's bad, and I feel strongly about it."

    Reefer madness for 2nd graders.

  4. [4] 
    apophis wrote:

    Maybe the Presidents daughter will give the old man a poke and say, daddy, come on you know you want too.

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, JFC, I think he'd have to flesh that answer out a bit before it had any impact at all on his chances ...

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hey, JFC ... you must be a Grateful Dead fan, no?

  7. [7] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Not even a little bit.

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Me neither. But I do have a good link! Which I will share with anyone who would like to see it ...

  9. [9] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    "I think he'd have to flesh that answer out a bit"

    He's a very needy Twitter Troll. He's only interested in saying things with the very best simple, inflammatory words. It's amusing that people are only recently catching on to that.

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    They just don't make bands like the Grateful Dead and the Eagles and many others of that era who are continuing to make good music, 40 years on, anymore.

    The "bands" of today are more manufactured than anything else and, indubitably, have a much shorter shelf life.

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What's amusing is that you think I'm being serious about Mr. Trump. :)

  12. [12] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Come on now. Did you not notice that I left out "before it had any impact at all on his chances"? I like gratuitously insulting the Orange One and I'm under the impression that your opinion of him couldn't be much lower. I don't think you're expecting any drastic turnaround.

    Try Peter Wolf's new album.

  13. [13] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    "it will be politically impossible for the federal government to continue to assert that it has no medicinal value for very much longer."

    MM makes you feel better. Believe me. Terrific!

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Try Peter Wolf's new album.

    Okay.

  15. [15] 
    apophis wrote:

    "MM makes you feel better. Believe me. Terrific!"

    I will second that!!..

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What do you say we host a cognac tasting party!?

    A little toast before we begin ...

    "Friends may come and friends may go. And friends may Peter out, you know.

    But, here's to us, through thick or thin, Peter out or Peter in.

    I like it!

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Friends may come and friends may go. And friends may Peter out, you know.

    But, here's to us, through thick or thin, Peter out or Peter in.

    ...ulp... :D

    Michale

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    "it will be politically impossible for the federal government to continue to assert that it has no medicinal value for very much longer."

    OK... OK....

    How about a compromise...

    We make marijuana illegal throughout the land, no recreational use at all, harsh penalties for it's recreational use and distribution..

    But we completely free up all MEDICAL use and research..

    Who's game?? :D

    Michale

  19. [19] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    The DEA posted their "Denial Of Petition To Initiate Proceedings To Reschedule Marijuana" online and I've just taken a look at it.

    In this denial, the DEA states that they relied on a determination from HHS, and HHS depended on their subsidiary agency, the FDA.

    In their response letter, HHS writes:

    Marijuana meets the three criteria for placing a substance in Schedule I of the CSA under 21 U.S.C. 812(b)(1). As discussed in the enclosed analyses, marijuana has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

    Waaay down at the bottom of this document, HHS finally gets around to explaining how they got to this conclusion and the explanations they provide are revealing of just how political the whole issue has become.

    Before I discuss these, it is worthwhile to point out a few things about the politics of the science of this. Firstly, for the last forty years or so, there has been effectively a prohibition against studies of the positive effects of pot. For more on this see this article:

    http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-04/why-its-so-hard-scientists-study-pot

    Secondly, this Denial leans heavily on input from the FDA, which has famously close ties with the pharmaceutical industry. The current head of the FDA was criticized at the time of his nomination by Bernie Sanders (for instance) for his "extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry".

    The pharmaceutical industry has been very publicly against legalization for decades - for instance, the group "Partnership for a Drug-Free America" (which, in the wake of increased support for legalization has been renamed "The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids") receives much of its funding from the pharmaceutical industry. It used to get funding from tobacco and alcohol industry giants as well, until its tax returns were made public.

    So, back at the bottom of the DEA Denial document, the reasons given for denial are:

    1. Marijuana has a high potential for abuse.

    The HHS concluded that marijuana has a high potential for abuse based on a large number of people regularly using marijuana, its widespread use, and the vast amount of marijuana that is available through illicit channels.

    By this reasoning, anything that is both popular and also available on the black market has a 'high potential for abuse', such as video games, movies, music CD's...

    2. Marijuana has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

    The HHS stated that the FDA has not approved an NDA (new drug application) for marijuana.

    Which it cannot do as long as cannabis remains a schedule I drug. This is a circular argument.

    The document then goes on to list other reasons that cannabis cannot be considered for medical use, which all boil down to "pharmaceutical companies don't produce it".

    As detailed in the HHS evaluation, the drug's chemistry is not known and reproducible; there are no adequate safety studies; there are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts; and the scientific evidence is not widely available.

    3. There is a lack of accepted safety for use of marijuana under medical supervision.

    The argument made for this is essentially a reiteration of points one and two:

    According to the HHS, the FDA is unable to conclude that marijuana has an acceptable level of safety in relation to its effectiveness in treating a specific and recognized disorder due to lack of evidence with respect to a consistent and reproducible dose that is contamination free.

    So in conclusion, the argument that the DEA makes against decriminalization is essentially a self-licking lollipop: the Controlled Substances Act(CSA) places cannabis on schedule I, and limits research, and can't be removed from schedule I because it hasn't been well-enough researched, and oh yeah, is popular. Good luck ever getting past that argument.

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    Just a friendly reminder for ya'all partisan slav.... er.... servants.. :D

    It's ODUMBO's FDA, HHS and DEA that is doing all of these (ya'all claim) bad things...

    If the current POTUS had a -R after his name, ya'all would be castigating him to hell and back alongside his agencies... Ya'all know it's true...

    But, because the current POTUS has a -D after his name, ya'all limit yer castigation and damnation to the minion agencies and leave the place where the buck stops and the person that the buck stops with OUT of yer attacks..

    Funny how that is nearly *ALWAYS* the case, eh? :D

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    . the accusation came from citizens united - yes, THAT citizens united, and there's no proof the DOJ ignored whatever evidence citizens united presented.

    No, the accusation came from three different and distinct FBI field offices....

    Irregardless of that, if the DOJ is under an obligation to investigate an accusation, then the source of the accusation SHOULD be completely irrelevant..

    Whether it be black avtivists pushing a racist agenda or a biased and partisan political group pushing a political agenda or FBI field offices wanting to see justice done..

    Michale

  22. [22] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    As the facts clearly show, the DOJ is under NO OBLIGATION to investigate accusations that they don't want to for whatever reason..

    that's just not true. there's an ethical obligation to investigate every potential crime; the issue is that there are limited resources and those resources have to be divvied up based on how important to the national interest the particular case happens to be. if a beat cop is walking down the street and three people rush up to him screaming about three different possible crimes, he has to quickly evaluate which one is more important to investigate first:

    person one says, "look, a guy smoking pot!"

    person two says, "look, a dead body!"

    person three says, "look, a banker seems to have paid money to a charity in exchange for a meeting with the mayor! (person three also happens to be the mayor's opponent in the next election.)"

    which of the three do you think should get the most attention? which of the three should get the least? what would you do with the one in the middle?

    JL

  23. [23] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    if the DOJ is under an obligation to investigate an accusation, then the source of the accusation SHOULD be completely irrelevant..

    agreed, that's ad hominem thinking and should be logically disregarded. logic doesn't always dictate how we see these things though.

    JL

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK, OK...

    Let's go with your "lack of resources" meme. I don't believe it for a second, but lets roll with it..

    Black racist activist 1 says, "Look!!! Some cop just shot a black guy!!! That's racist!!!!"

    FBI Field Office 2, 3 and 4 says, "Look!!! We have Democrat public official corruption on a scale of hundreds of millions of dollars!!!"

    Would of the two SHOULD get the most attention??

    Which of the two WOULD get the most attention under a Democrat Administration where the POTUS is black???

    Michale

  25. [25] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    can we first agree that the guy smoking pot should get the least attention?

    JL

  26. [26] 
    Bleyd wrote:

    If there are any Futurama fans here looking for a good laugh, Billy West, the voice actor for Fry and a bunch of other characters in the show, has been doing recordings of various Donald Trump quotes in the voice of Zapp Brannigan. It's both hilarious on its face, but also eerie at how easily you could picture Zapp's character saying those lines in the show. I don't have a direct link, but it's pretty easy to find them by searching on google.

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    agreed, that's ad hominem thinking and should be logically disregarded. logic doesn't always dictate how we see these things though.

    But logic SHOULD dictate how things are seen by agencies entrusted with the public good..

    And when those agencies FAIL to be dictated by logic... When those agencies are dictated by partisan agendas...

    Then those agencies SHOULD BE CALLED on their malfeasance...

    Irregardless of whether it's a -D controlled agency or an -R controlled agency...

    I am sure that YOU will agree with that. Just as I am sure that no one else will...

    Michale

  28. [28] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Black racist activist 1
    FBI Field Office 2
    Democrat Administration where the POTUS is black

    that's ad hominem thinking and should be logically disregarded. logic doesn't always dictate how we see these things though.

    JL

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    can we first agree that the guy smoking pot should get the least attention?

    Depends. Was the guy smoking pot driving?? Taking care of a small little girl who is face down dead in a bathtub??

    All things being equal... A guy sitting on a park bench in the middle of the day smoking pot is worthy of the least attention..

    Agreed..

    Michale

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    that's ad hominem thinking and should be logically disregarded. logic doesn't always dictate how we see these things though.

    See #27...

    Or I could retype :D

    Michale

  31. [31] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    But logic SHOULD dictate how things are seen by agencies entrusted with the public good..

    i agree with that statement. we can argue over the details later, but it's a good starting point at least.

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    Getting you to agree to logical or rational assessments has never really been a problem. :D

    Michale

  33. [33] 
    Paula wrote:

    Rude Pundit on the DOJ report on BPD:
    Read the whole thing, if you have the stomach for it. You can see the pattern of cover-ups, the cavalier attitude towards the law by law enforcement, and the gut-wrenching violence. And remember that all those recent changes to policy and training occurred only because the cops were too public with some of their murders. In other words, they got caught.

    Frankly, the fact that there haven't been anti-cop riots every day in Baltimore shows just how successful terrorism can be.

    http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2016/08/baltimore-police-department-report-what.html

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    Long on hysteria and hyperbole...

    Very VERY short on facts...

    Michale

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Speaking of which, Michale, what the heck is all the fuss about the Clinton Foundation and Cheryl Mills.

    I just don't get it ...

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    Speaking of which, Michale, what the heck is all the fuss about the Clinton Foundation and Cheryl Mills.

    I just don't get it ...

    Hillary had to sign an agreement where it was specified that as SecState neither Hillary nor Hillary's State Dept staff could have *ANYTHING* to do with the Clinton Slush Fund... er.. Foundation..

    As Hillary's emails prove, there was a LOT of activity between Hillary, Hillary's staff and the foundation...

    Hillary broke the agreement...

    Bad Hillary!!! Bad!!!!!

    Michale

  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The Clinton "slush fund"? What is it exactly that the Clinton Foundation does?

  38. [38] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Is there a Trump Foundation?

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:
  40. [40] 
    Paula wrote:
  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    The Clinton "slush fund"? What is it exactly that the Clinton Foundation does?

    Provide power and money to the Clintons..

    Is there a Trump Foundation?

    Trump donates millions to various charities...

    Trump is not so egotistical to put his name on a charitable foundation.. :D heh

    Michale

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    [34] Read the report, then comment.

    I would no more read the report than you would read a report on the Iraq War and it's justification made by the Bush Administration..

    I know this DOJ enough to know that it screams racism at the drop of a dime, when absolutely NO RACISM exists...

    I don't need to read the report to know what it says..

    THIS cop is racist, THAT cop is racist.. THIS department is racist, THAT department is racist. THIS sheriff's office is racist, THAT sheriff's office is racist..

    That sums up the report perfectly..

    "What is it with you and curses!? You ain't happy without a good curse. 'This is cursed!!' 'That is cursed!!'. Jeesh!"
    -Spivey, THE MUMMY II: The Mummy Returns

    :D

    Odumbo's DOJ just ain't happy unless it can accuse SOME cop or department or SO as racist....

    Michale

  43. [43] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Do you know how much the Clinton's have paid in taxes over the years they have released their tax returns?

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Provide power and money to the Clintons..

    Really? I mean, is that the sum totality of what the Clinton Foundation does? There must be more to it than that ...

  45. [45] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, after you answer the 'how much' question, take a stab at the 'why' question, too.

  46. [46] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Oh, and ah, take your time ... I'm outta here for the rest of the day and weekend. :)

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    Do you know how much the Clinton's have paid in taxes over the years they have released their tax returns?

    With regards to charitable donations, I think the Clintons have paid around $70K in the last 10 years..

    Compare that to the tens of millions Trump has paid to charitable organizations in the same time frame..

    Michale

  48. [48] 
    Paula wrote:

    Michale: coward.

  49. [49] 
    Paula wrote:

    Michale: you know your nonsensical presumptions will be shattered by the report. So it's easier not to read it. Sad.

  50. [50] 
    Michale wrote:

    Michale: coward.

    Name-calling will avail you of nothing...

    I already KNOW what's in the report. A bunch of self-serving lies and complete and utter bullshit..

    Why would I waste my time reading that??

    Especially since, if I DID read the report and point out it's utter bullshit, you would simply ignore the facts, as you ALWAYS do when the facts show how utterly contemptible your Demcorats are...

    So, there is absolutely NO INCENTIVE for me to waste my time reading an entire report based on nothing but bullshit and a partisan agenda...

    Michale

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:

    Michale: coward.

    Name-calling will avail you of nothing...

    But I'se still like ya :D

    Michale

  52. [52] 
    Michale wrote:

    “We couldn’t help her any more than we have, she’s got just a free ride so far from the media, we’re the biggest ones promoting her campaign, so it had better happen."
    -CNN's Chris Cuomo...

    Well, give the guy a kewpie for being honest.. :D

    Michale

  53. [53] 
    Paula wrote:

    Michale: You don't know what's in the report. And, of course, you don't have to care. But you also can't pontificate about the report with any credibility whatsoever. So in the friendliest way, I maintain you are being a coward.

    If you didn't constantly make assertions about related matters it wouldn't be relevant. But you do -- constantly. And you don't what you are talking about, and thus, remain the worst possible spokesman for law enforcement.

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:

    Michale: you know your nonsensical presumptions will be shattered by the report. So it's easier not to read it. Sad.

    Tell ya what..

    You quote from the report ANY bona fide FACTS that prove beyond ANY reasonable doubt that there is systemic and ongoing instances of racism amongst the Baltimore PD and I'll address your points..

    But if YOU are not going to read the report to support your accusations, why should I waste my time reading the report to refute your unsupported accusations??

    Michale

  55. [55] 
    Michale wrote:

    “Oh, I wake up early, so probably 6:30 or so,”
    -Hillary Clinton

    Shit, she don't know what "EARLY" is!!!

    If I sleep in til 0630, I feel like I wasted half my day!!!

    :D

    Michale

  56. [56] 
    Michale wrote:

    If you didn't constantly make assertions about related matters it wouldn't be relevant. But you do -- constantly. And you don't what you are talking about, and thus, remain the worst possible spokesman for law enforcement.

    See comment #54... :D

    Besides, as I pointed it.

    If ya'all (sans Joshua) had a track record of actually ADDRESSING my points when I point out ya'all's fallacies I would be more inclined to waste my time reading a report I already know what is about..

    But ya'all don't have such a track record so I won't bother wasting my time...

    But, as I said, if you want to quote the sections of the report that proves what you say it says, then I'll be happy to address your points.

    *I* don't have a problem doing that.. :D

    Michale

  57. [57] 
    Paula wrote:

    Let's start with some of the Executive Summary:

    Today, we announce the outcome of the Department of Justice’s investigation of the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD).1
    After engaging in a thorough investigation, initiated at the request of the City of Baltimore and BPD, the Department of Justice concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that BPD engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution or federal law. BPD engages in a pattern or practice of:
    (1) making unconstitutional stops, searches, and arrests;
    (2) using enforcement strategies that produce severe and unjustified disparities in the rates of stops, searches and arrests of African Americans;
    (3) using excessive force; and
    (4) retaliating against people engaging in constitutionally-protected expression.
    This pattern or practice is driven by systemic deficiencies in BPD’s policies, training, supervision, and accountability structures that fail to equip officers with the tools they need to police effectively and within the bounds of the federal law.
    We recognize the challenges faced by police officers in Baltimore and other communities around the country. Every day, police officers risk their lives to uphold the law and keep our communities safe. Investigatory stops, arrests, and force—including, at times, deadly force—are all necessary tools used by BPD officers to do their jobs and protect the safety of themselves and others. Providing policing services in many parts of Baltimore is particularly challenging, where officers regularly confront complex social problems rooted in poverty, racial segregation and deficient educational, employment and housing opportunities. Still, most BPD officers work hard to provide vital services to the community.
    The pattern or practice occurs as a result of systemic deficiencies at BPD. The agency fails to provide officers with sufficient policy guidance and training; fails to collect and analyze data regarding officers’ activities; and fails to hold officers accountable for misconduct. BPD also fails to equip officers with the necessary equipment and resources they need to police safely, constitutionally, and effectively. Each of these systemic deficiencies contributes to the constitutional and statutory violations we observed.

  58. [58] 
    Paula wrote:

    More:
    Throughout our investigation, we received the full cooperation and assistance of BPD and the City of Baltimore. We interviewed current and former City leaders, including current BPD Commissioner Kevin Davis and former commissioners. We also interviewed current and former officers throughout the BPD command structure. We participated in ride-alongs in each district, interviewed numerous current and former officers individually, and met with the leadership of the Baltimore City Lodge No. 3 of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents all sworn BPD officers. We are also heard from hundreds of people in the broader Baltimore community who shared information with our investigation. We met with religious organizations, advocacy groups, community support organizations, neighborhood associations, and countless individuals who provided valuable information about their experiences with BPD. We thank everyone for sharing their experiences and insights with us.

    In addition to these interviews, we reviewed hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, including all relevant policies and training materials used by the Department since 2010; BPD’s database of internal affairs files from January 2010 through March 2016; BPD’s data on pedestrian stops, vehicle stops, and arrests from January 2010 to May 2015; incident reports describing stops, searches, arrests, and officers’ use of non-deadly force from 2010 to 2015; all files on deadly force incidents since 2010 that BPD was able to produce to us through May 1, 2016; and investigative files on sexual assault cases from 2013 to 2015. We were assisted by a dozen current and former law enforcement leaders and experts with experience on the issues we investigated, and we retained statistical experts to analyze BPD’s data on its enforcement activities.

  59. [59] 
    Paula wrote:

    Continues:

    BPD’s targeted policing of certain Baltimore neighborhoods with minimal oversight or accountability disproportionately harms African-American residents. Racially disparate impact is present at every stage of BPD’s enforcement actions, from the initial decision to stop individuals on Baltimore streets to searches, arrests, and uses of force. These racial disparities, along with evidence suggesting intentional discrimination, erode the community trust that is critical to effective policing.

    Followed by bullet points elaborating on this. Then:

    BPD deployed a policing strategy that, by its design, led to differential enforcement in African-American communities. But BPD failed to use adequate policy, training and accountability mechanisms to prevent discrimination, despite longstanding notice of concerns about how it polices African-American communities in the City. BPD has conducted virtually no analysis of its own data to ensure that its enforcement activities are non-discriminatory, and the Department misclassifies or otherwise fails to investigate specific complaints of racial bias. Nor has the Department held officers accountable for using racial slurs or making other statements exhibiting racial bias. In some cases, BPD supervisors have ordered officers to specifically target African Americans for stops and arrests. These failures contribute to the large racial disparities in BPD’s enforcement that undermine the community’s trust in the fairness of the police. BPD leadership has acknowledged that this lack of trust inhibits their ability to forge important community partnerships.

    Followed by:

    Use of Constitutionally Excessive Force
    Our review of investigative files for all deadly force cases from 2010 until May 1, 2016, and a random sample of over eight hundred non-deadly force cases reveals that BPD engages in a pattern or practice of excessive force. Deficiencies in BPD’s policies, training, and oversight of officers’ force incidents have led to the pattern or practice of excessive force that we observed. We identified several recurring issues with BPD’s use of force:

    With more bullet-points elaborating on Excessive force

  60. [60] 
    Paula wrote:

    And so on. Read the report and learn something.

  61. [61] 
    Michale wrote:

    Point to a single provable and proven FACT or series of facts that PROVES a case of systemic and ongoing racism...

    You can't, because none exists...

    Michale

  62. [62] 
    Michale wrote:

    It has a LOT of accusations..

    But NOTHING in the way of FACTS that support the accusations..

    Sure glad I didn't waste my time reading the report. Because it says EXACTLY what I said it would say...

    THEY ARE RACIST!!! THEY ARE RACIST!!!! THEY ARE RACIST!!!

    Whaa?? Facts!???? We don't need no stinkin' facts...

    That sums up the report...

    Michale

  63. [63] 
    Michale wrote:

    For example..

    BPD engages in a pattern or practice of:
    (1) making unconstitutional stops, searches, and arrests;
    (2) using enforcement strategies that produce severe and unjustified disparities in the rates of stops, searches and arrests of African Americans;
    (3) using excessive force; and
    (4) retaliating against people engaging in constitutionally-protected expression.

    Where are the FACTS that support these accusations???

    NOWHERE TO BE FOUND....

    Michale

  64. [64] 
    Paula wrote:

    From page 50:
    The high rate of stopping African Americans persists across the City, even in districts where African Americans make up a small share of the population. Indeed, the proportion of African-American stops exceeds the share of African-American population in each of BPD’s nine police districts, despite significant variation in the districts’ racial, socioeconomic, and geographic composition.56
    For example, African Americans accounted for: 83 percent of stops in the Central District (compared to 57 percent of the population), which contains the City’s downtown business area; over 93 percent of stops in the Eastern District (compared to 90 percent of the population), which includes predominantly low-income, urban neighborhoods; and 83 percent of stops in the Northern District (compared to 41 percent of the population), which includes many affluent, suburban neighborhoods. Even in the Southeast District—with an African-American population of only 23 percent—two out of three BPD stops involved African-American subjects. Figure 2 illustrates this pattern.

    Page 51:
    Closer analysis highlights the impact of these racial disparities. Individual African Americans are far more likely to be subjected to multiple stops within relatively short periods of time. African Americans accounted for 95 percent of the 410 individuals stopped at least ten times by BPD officers from 2010–2015. During this period, BPD stopped 34 African Americans at least 20 times and seven other African Americans at least 30 times.57
    No person of any other race was stopped more than 12 times. One African-American man in his mid-fifties was stopped 30 times in less than four years. The only reasons provided for these stops were officers’ suspicion that the man was “loitering” or “trespassing,” or as part of a “CDS investigation.” On at least 15 occasions, officers detained the man while they checked to see if he had outstanding warrants. Despite these repeated intrusions, none of the 30 stops resulted in a citation or criminal charge. The map on the following page shows the concentration of stops in African-American neighborhoods.

    Page 56-57
    The differential rates at which BPD supervisors release without charges or local prosecutors decline to charge BPD’s misdemeanor arrests underscore their discriminatory nature. To arrest for a misdemeanor offense, BPD officers must have probable cause that an offense occurred. As
    – 57 –
    explained above, in some cases reviewing officials at booking or the State’s Attorney’s Office disagree with officers’ probable cause determinations and decline to charge arrestees. If officers apply a consistent, unbiased standard when making arrests, the rate of such declinations should be roughly equivalent across racial groups for arrests on any particular offense. However, our outcome analysis shows large racial disparities: misdemeanor arrests of African Americans are dismissed or declined at significantly higher rates than other arrests.
    During their initial review of arrest documents, booking officers and prosecutors dismissed charges against African Americans at significantly higher rates than arrests of other people. This disparity exists for every common misdemeanor offense we examined, as evident in Figure 5 below. Officials dismissed charges against African Americans for trespassing at a rate 52 percent higher than the rate at which they dismissed other trespassing arrests; dismissed African American resisting arrest charges at a 57 percent higher rate; failure to obey charges at a 33 percent higher rate; false statement charges at a 231 percent higher rate; disorderly conduct charges at a 17 percent higher rate; and disturbing the peace charges at a 370 percent higher rate. These disparities are statistically significant. Notably, the racial disparities in outcomes for these highly discretionary, non-violent offenses are not present for less discretionary felony offenses. We found that reviewing officials’ initial review resulted in dismissal of charges for first degree assault, burglary, and robbery at nearly identical rates across racial groups. The implication of these findings is that there are no underlying conditions that cause officials to dismiss African-American charges at higher rates. Instead, the large racial differences in the proportion of dismissed charges for misdemeanor street offenses demonstrate that, where officers have wider discretion to make arrests, they exercise it in a discriminatory manner.

  65. [65] 
    Paula wrote:

    From pages 56-57
    The differential rates at which BPD supervisors release without charges or local prosecutors decline to charge BPD’s misdemeanor arrests underscore their discriminatory nature. To arrest for a misdemeanor offense, BPD officers must have probable cause that an offense occurred. As
    – 57 –
    explained above, in some cases reviewing officials at booking or the State’s Attorney’s Office disagree with officers’ probable cause determinations and decline to charge arrestees. If officers apply a consistent, unbiased standard when making arrests, the rate of such declinations should be roughly equivalent across racial groups for arrests on any particular offense. However, our outcome analysis shows large racial disparities: misdemeanor arrests of African Americans are dismissed or declined at significantly higher rates than other arrests.
    During their initial review of arrest documents, booking officers and prosecutors dismissed charges against African Americans at significantly higher rates than arrests of other people. This disparity exists for every common misdemeanor offense we examined, as evident in Figure 5 below. Officials dismissed charges against African Americans for trespassing at a rate 52 percent higher than the rate at which they dismissed other trespassing arrests; dismissed African American resisting arrest charges at a 57 percent higher rate; failure to obey charges at a 33 percent higher rate; false statement charges at a 231 percent higher rate; disorderly conduct charges at a 17 percent higher rate; and disturbing the peace charges at a 370 percent higher rate. These disparities are statistically significant. Notably, the racial disparities in outcomes for these highly discretionary, non-violent offenses are not present for less discretionary felony offenses. We found that reviewing officials’ initial review resulted in dismissal of charges for first degree assault, burglary, and robbery at nearly identical rates across racial groups. The implication of these findings is that there are no underlying conditions that cause officials to dismiss African-American charges at higher rates. Instead, the large racial differences in the proportion of dismissed charges for misdemeanor street offenses demonstrate that, where officers have wider discretion to make arrests, they exercise it in a discriminatory manner.

  66. [66] 
    Paula wrote:

    Page 63:

    a. BPD’s Enforcement Activities Disproportionately Impact African Americans
    The magnitude of the racial differences in BPD’s stops, searches, and arrests are evidence that BPD’s disproportionate enforcement may constitute intentional discrimination. We found consistent racial disparities in BPD’s stops, searches, and arrests that are not attributable to population patterns, crime rates, or other race-neutral factors.

    • BPD stops African Americans disproportionately in each of its nine police districts, despite significant variation in the districts’ demographic characteristics and crime rates. Moreover, BPD has used pedestrian stops as a regular part of its discretionary enforcement—documenting over 300,000 stops in five years—despite their demonstrated ineffectiveness for ferreting out crime. Only 3.7 percent of pedestrian stops uncovered evidence of criminal activity—and the rate of criminal activity found during stops of African Americans was lower than stops of others. Supra at 28.

    Page 64:
    • Racial disparities in BPD’s search rates persisted after controlling for the area in which a search occurred and numerous other factors, including the unit assignment and experience level of the officers involved. And searches of African Americans were less likely to find contraband compared to searches of people from other racial backgrounds, indicating that officers apply a lower threshold of suspicion when deciding to search African Americans. Supra at 53.

    • There is also substantial evidence that the large racial disparities in BPD’s enforcement of drug possession statutes are not explained by rates of drug usage. While survey data on drug usage shows that African Americans use banned substances at rates similar to or slightly higher than other population groups, BPD arrested African Americans for drug possession offenses at five times the rate at which it arrested others. BPD also arrested African Americans for drug possession offenses several times more often than law enforcement agencies in cities with similar crime rates and demographic and economic characteristics. Supra at Section II.B.1

    • The consistent racial disparities in outcomes from BPD’s misdemeanor arrests also do not appear to be attributable to non-racial factors. For every misdemeanor offense we examined, supervisors at Central Booking and prosecutors dismissed a significantly larger share of charges brought against African Americans than others. This consistent pattern suggests that, for these highly discretionary offenses, BPD is disproportionately likely to arrest African Americans based on insufficient evidence. See supra at Section II.B.1.

    Together, these findings provide substantial evidence that BPD’s disparate stops, searches, and misdemeanor arrests of African Americans are not part of a calibrated, proportionate strategy for responding to criminal activity.

    In addition, BPD’s disproportionate enforcement against African Americans is suggestive of intentional discrimination because the racial disparities are greatest for enforcement activities that involve higher degrees of officer discretion. In the five years of arrest data we reviewed, African Americans accounted for a larger share of charges for highly discretionary misdemeanor offenses than for other offenses, including: 91 percent of those charged solely with trespassing, 91 percent of charges for failing to obey an officer’s orders, 88 percent of those arrested solely for “impeding” and 84 percent of people charged with disorderly conduct. As noted above, booking supervisors and prosecutors dismissed a significantly higher portion of charges made against African Americans for each of these charges. This pattern indicates that, where BPD officers have more discretion to make arrests, they exercise that discretion to arrest African Americans disproportionately. Moreover, the racial disparities in dismissal rates exist only for highly discretionary misdemeanor arrests, not felony arrests. That is, booking officials and prosecutors dismissed charges at nearly identical rates across racial groups for felony charges like first degree assault, burglary, and robbery for which there is little officer discretion about whether to arrest suspects. For every discretionary misdemeanor offense that we examined, however, officials dismissed charges against African Americans at significantly higher rates—indicating that officers apply a lower standard when arresting African Americans for these offenses.

  67. [67] 
    Paula wrote:

    There's plenty more. Makes quite fascinating reading.

  68. [68] 
    Michale wrote:

    There's plenty more.

    But not a SINGLE documented and verifiable fact to be found..

    Makes quite fascinating reading.

    I am sure that, for you, it does..

    Because it's saying EXACTLY what you want to hear...

    Michale

  69. [69] 
    Michale wrote:

    In addition, BPD’s disproportionate enforcement against African Americans is suggestive of intentional discrimination because the racial disparities are greatest for enforcement activities that involve higher degrees of officer discretion.

    It's "suggestive"!!!????

    *THAT* is what Odumbo's is basing this lynching on??

    SUGGESTION!!????

    Holy crap, how utterly disgusting..

    But expected... TOTALLY expected...

    Where are the FACTS!!???

    {{chirrrrpppppp}} {{{ccchhhiiirrrrpppppppppp}}}

    Yea, that's what I thought..

    Michale

  70. [70] 
    Michale wrote:

    What Hillary Clinton has to say about her health
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/clinton-discusses-her-health-in-new-campaign-podcast/article/2599200

    Looks like Hillary is dancing to Trump's tune... :D

    Trump starts slamming Hillary on her death-bed health... And Hillary starts sputtering, "But.... But... But... I'm healthy!!!" :D

    No wonder Hillary's numbers are sinking and Trump's numbers are rising...

    Michale

  71. [71] 
    Paula wrote:

    Just confirming for me, once again Michale, you are a silly, silly man.

  72. [72] 
    Michale wrote:

    Just confirming for me, once again Michale, you are a silly, silly man.

    Who is nearly always factually dead on ballz accurate :D

    Michale

  73. [73] 
    Michale wrote:

    Just confirming for me, once again Michale, you are a silly, silly man.

    Who is nearly always factually dead on ballz accurate :D

    Michale

  74. [74] 
    Paula wrote:

    Who is nearly always factually dead on ballz accurate :D

    Not.

  75. [75] 
    Paula wrote:
  76. [76] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Compare that to the tens of millions Trump has paid to charitable organizations in the same time frame..

    Too bad you can't find any organizations that he has given that money who can verify anywhere near that amount being given! Trump has a long history of making promises to charitable organizations when in front of a camera, and an even longer history of never following through with a donation. This is definitely part of the reason Trump doesn't want his tax returns being seen -- because it is hard proof that the man, who doesn't know that West Virginia is a state and NOT the western part of Virginia, is a lying fraud!

    Liz,

    There is a Trump Foundation. It has no staff, the board is made up of Trump, his kids, and one attorney they use, and it has no physical office -- only a mailbox. What it does is highly questionable.

  77. [77] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Trump is not so egotistical to put his name on a charitable foundation.. :D heh

    Meant for this to be in the above post. Sure would be great to be able to edit our comments...(hint,hint,hint!)

  78. [78] 
    Michale wrote:

    There is a Trump Foundation. It has no staff, the board is made up of Trump, his kids, and one attorney they use, and it has no physical office -- only a mailbox. What it does is highly questionable.

    "Of course, you can PROVE that, right?? Oh yea, that's right. I forgot.. You were absent the day they taught LAW at Law School.."
    -Tom Cruise, A FEW GOOD MEN

    :D

    This is definitely part of the reason Trump doesn't want his tax returns being seen

    And Hillary is on deaths door which is "definitely part of the reason" she doesn't want her neurological records being seen..

    And Hillary is in bed with bankers which is "definitely part of the reason" she doesn't want her speech transcripts seen..

    Iddn't it funny how it cuts both ways.. :D

    Michale

  79. [79] 
    Michale wrote:

    Who is nearly always factually dead on ballz accurate :D

    Not.

    That's yer claim.. But it is as devoid of facts as that DOJ report you keep crowing about.. :D

    Michale

  80. [80] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's "suggestive"!!!????

    *THAT* is what Odumbo's is basing this lynching on??

    SUGGESTION!!????

    Holy crap, how utterly disgusting..

    But expected... TOTALLY expected...

    Where are the FACTS!!???

    {{chirrrrpppppp}} {{{ccchhhiiirrrrpppppppppp}}}

    Yea, that's what I thought..

    You see, Paula, that is EXACTLY what is wrong with Obama's DOJ specifically and the entirety of the Left Wingery in general..

    The reach a conclusion, they have their hearts SET on that conclusion and the come up with a list of accusations not supported by ANY facts at all that "proves" that pre-determined conclusion..

    In addition, BPD’s disproportionate enforcement against African Americans is suggestive of intentional discrimination because the racial disparities are greatest for enforcement activities that involve higher degrees of officer discretion.

    OK, so it's POSSIBLE that racism was a factor here.. But there are a thousands OTHER possibilities that could be the determinative factor..

    The DOJ *ONLY* looks at racism and ignores EVERY OTHER possibility...

    One only has to look at how that rhymes-with-witch Mosby totally frak'ed up good officer's lives and careers to know that this was a witch hunt, pure and simple..

    The DOJ said BPD IS RACIST and set about to prove this conclusion with absolutely NO FACTS AT ALL and a bunch of flimsy possibilities that are "suggestive" of racism..

    If Listen wasn't so stubborn and totally locked into the Demcorat Party ideology, he would be telling you the exact same thing I am telling you..

    The DOJ report is nothing but a bunch of insinuations and innuendo with not a SINGLE SOLITARY FACT that proves ANY of the assertions beyond a reasonable doubt..

    If the DOJ was a district attorney office and the BPD was a defendant, this case would NEVER go to trial on such flimsy evidence.. If it DID make it to trial, the judge would laugh and throw the case out...

    Michale

  81. [81] 
    Michale wrote:

    Having said that, let me say this..

    Are some cops racist??

    Of course. I am sure there are MANY cops out there who are racist.. But, it may come as bit of a shock to you, it's not illegal to be a racist.. It is no more illegal or immoral to hate black people than it is to hate Republicans or cops...

    But the idea that ENTIRE PDs or SOs are racist or that racism plays a part in the actions of said PD or said SO??

    There are absolutely ZERO facts that support such a claim beyond a reasonable doubt... And the facts that DO support such a claim ALSO supports a multitude of other possibilities...

    This is the reality, whether you want to admit it or not...

    Michale

Comments for this article are closed.