So Rational, Entirely Scheduled, Always Escalating War on Drugs & Indie Foods: Mn Board of Pharmacy & our endless circular biochemical police state
Collapsing Budgets Be Damned: Feds and Both Political Parties Determined to Escalate Wars on Drugs and Independent Food Producers; Pharmacy Board Seeks Unlimited Power to Ban Cheeseburgers Without Pesky Public Hearings
By Dan Feidt for Twin Cities Indymedia – The State of Minnesota's budget looks terrible right now, as hardline freshman Republicans and Democratic Governor Mark Dayton look unlikely to cut a budget deal before the legislative session ends this month. However, the leadership of both major parties are avid players funding the thick patronage networks spawned by America's other endless war, the violent administrative system of moral panicking known as the war on drugs. There's action on several fronts and the news is all bad.
The status quo isn't good enough for the moral crusaders, pushing all-out to make Minnesota's drug regulation process itself more secret and totally unaccountable by shutting down public meetings and automating the drug banning system. On the federal level, the well-intentioned but horribly designed new food safety law instructed the Food and Drug Administration to write aggressive new administrative policies to seize all foods produced in ways they don't like, even without any evidence of contamination whatsoever – no doubt intended to neutralize the rapidly spreading raw food alternative distribution networks Americans are flocking towards, at the expense of the FDA's toxic and often lethal industrial food system.
Since the vastly expensive police programs making up the war on drugs cannot be justified at the state level, fiscal deception abounds; the same federal funding source that finances fusion center & police state programs, the little-known Bureau of Justice Assistance, (BJA) actually turns out to be the key linchpin in the drug war police state gravy train.
Below the fold: The latest findings in lethal FDA big pharma corruption; the BJA cash pipeline; State Constitutional Rights vs corrupt FDA operations; Legislative fiscal fraud a permanent feature in drug policymaking. The Board of Pharmacy's possible final public meeting ever, to re-justify Nixon's favorite rule, Cannabis on Schedule One, is Weds, May 11th, 9 AM, 4th Floor Conf Room A., 2829 University Avenue SE, Mpls
Pharmacy Board Seeks Unlimited Power to Ban Cheeseburgers Without Pesky Public Hearings: The obscure Minnesota Board of Pharmacy has a problem. It wants the power to ban cheeseburgers if it feels like it, or if Washington bureaucrats ask it to. It wants Minnesota to permanently open up the war on drugs to any chemical, without any checks, legislation or accountability (let alone budgeting).
Along with adding dozens of compounds to the drug schedules, the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy is determined to eliminate the last 'safety valve' in their hermetically sealed world of corrupt drug policymaking. Several bills at the Legislature would cancel all mandatory public hearings on drug war escalation forever, in order to prevent incensed citizens from shaming them with the shoddiness of their own reasoning and corrupt federally-controlled industry practices. Public meetings would only still happen if a judge thwarts their drug war request. The bills escalating the war on drugs, without regard for financial impact, include HF1359, HF1520 and SF1333, but legislation could easily sneak into end-of-session public safety conference bills.
The Board of Pharmacy still has to face the public one last time, at least, on Wednesday, May 11th, because reform advocates were able to demand the Board reconsider cannabis' fraudulent classification as a Schedule I threat to health. Potentially their last public hearing ever will be the challenge to cannabis Schedule I status on Wednesday, May 11th, 9 AM, Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. 4th Floor Conference Room A., 2829 University Avenue SE, Minneapolis 55414.
The Board's main tasks are perform guild-style enforcement and licensing on pharmacists and controlling the addition of chemicals to the state's controlled substances schedule. Without suffering any further influence from Minnesotans, the Board wants limitless power to expand the war on drugs, passing down administratively generated new drug policies created without legislation, originating from the Popes of the drug war, Washington, DC's infallible drug warrior bureaucrats (acting under the influence of their big pharma lobbyist friends).
Members of the public are currently entitled to challenge chemical scheduling, so drug war opponents have compelled the Board to hear the case for removing cannabis from Schedule I on Wednesday morning.
With the plan at the Legislature pushed by Republicans and law-and-order Democrats, it officially wants to close down public meetings and give itself the permanent power to add virtually anything to any drug schedule. The Board is required to give the public fair notice before hearings that formalize chemical scheduling, and they plan to eliminate this last check on their arbitrary powers unless an administrative judge blocks them. There's no actual requirement for proof of medical harm or public health problems at all – the Board would just have to get a state administrative law judge to issue a SONAR (Statement of Need and Reasonableness) instead. If the judge gives them a SONAR, no more public hearing.
Could the Board of Pharmacy ban cheeseburgers if someone convinced them they were bad for health? That was the question asked by GOP Rep. Mike Beard at the last hearing – and the Board's rep agreed. (MP3: listen to the hearing, starts at 1 hr 16min) The Board of Pharmacy's executive director's full response on Facebook to the petition is also posted below.
FDA Announces Right to Seize Any Safe Foods: Unfortunately, members of Congress often tend to "outsource" the writing of regulations into federal agencies, rather than specifying what laws they shall execute. The creation of these administrative rules tends to favor big industry cartels close to agency leadership, and the FDA strongly believes in the safety of sterilized, industrially processed food – the idea of 'risky' live foods like raw milk or unpasteurized almonds doesn't compute. The new regulations, starting July 3rd, will not require them to prove any contamination, or return food if it's actually safe.
The FDA is apparently working towards setting up joint operations to destroy alternative food distribution networks across the US, from eastern Amish farmers to Wisconsin to the Macalester College campus where raw farm products in farmer Alvin Schlangen's van were recently intercepted and ganked by the state Department of Agriculture. With the new FDA regulation, essentially all raw foods can be stolen and destroyed.
The FDA's new rule conflicts with Minnesota's Constitution which clearly states: "NO LICENSE REQUIRED TO PEDDLE. Any person may sell or peddle the products of the farm or garden occupied and cultivated by him without obtaining a license therefor," which forms the basis of the right for dairy farmers to sell their own raw foods here! Groups such as the Weston Price Foundation and my friend & occasional design client, attorney Nathan Hansen, are going to see more fallout from the new FDA rule once seizures start.
This Year's Profitable Moral Panic: This classic American policy disaster, the war on drugs, and this year's bad policy developments, are driven by the familiar political dynamics of the Moral Panic. Erich Goode and Nachman Ben-Yehuda identified five features of moral panics: Heightened Concern; Hostility; Consensus; Disproportional Evidence; and Volatility. Politicians can always attempt to collect political capital by participating in moral panics and offering salvation from perceived threats by dreaming up new policies posturing as moral rectification.
This year, drunk teenagers overdosed on the rare designer drug 2C-E, even though it's pretty obvious weird drugs and alcohol easily make a dangerous combination. The alcohol lobby is already well-established and funds politicians on both sides, so it could easily deflect all blame onto 2C-E, which has no trade association or mayors flacking at the Capitol. The incident created the requisite heightened concern.
Politicians and actors in the formalized political system are by default hostile to any substance that alters human perception. This is partly because the power of their entire station in life rests on abstract notions like The State and The Law. Let's face it: if you're under the influence of various drugs, their cornerstone conceits like Money, Authority and the theatrical Operations of Power can easily be perceived as weird, pompous scams, free-floating and devoid of necessity. Politicians and authority figures are implacably hostile to anything that reveals how arbitrary and unnecessary their trappings of power really are.
This hostility easily leads to consensus in the formal political system. Since anyone caught transgressing the scheme is often labeled a felon and kicked out of the formal political system, consensus for excluding millions of people from their process is self-reinforcing. Thousands of baby boomers draw paychecks by punishing drug transgressions, which provides a huge rent-seeking lobby to lock in the Capitol consensus.
Anyone watching the legislative process of drug policy recognizes the avid use of often deceptive and disproportional evidence. For example, no one from the University of Minnesota who studies drug addiction and chemical dependency ever indicated salvia divinorum was actually causing public health problems, but a few lurid news clips at hearings sufficed to get it banned in this state.
The actual evidence indicates alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, food additives and opiates are obviously much more damaging to the public than cannabis or rare designer compounds, but the process protects disproportional evidence. Drug warriors also usually engage in deceptive fiscal impact statements in order to stage the illusion that the war consumes no tax dollars, like the $0 Salvia fiscal note which DFL Rep. Tom Rukavina denounced as a shameless fraud. (The formalized coverup of drug war corruption also helps set the stage for disproportional evidence.)
When public health professionals fail to prove real risks to society at large, the mainstream media (heavily financed of course by big pharma advertising) can always step in to create the illusion of volatility. Every moral panic, from wars on terrorism to fears of immigrants, is accompanied by synthetic feelings of volatility. The drugs are always about to Take Over. Volatility – or unstable relations with the symbolic 'Other' – has had a historic racial component, as Mexicans and African-Americans were the actual targets of the original crackdowns on cannabis and cocaine.
These five elements form the sinister pentagram rationalizing reactionary, authoritarian policies – while precluding any sensible policies that would squarely address America's staggering love affair with chemical dependency, including well-established, profitable addictions to alcohol, tobacco and our generally toxic FDA-approved diet of industrial food and prescription drugs.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance: Mainlining Police State Churn into America: Another linchpin maintaining the federal government's high-tempo expansion of military-industrial surveillance and social control technologies is the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, which sends out massive grants of shiny new gear to police departments across America. I remember seeing Harrisburg PA's giant set of special counterterror supertrucks at the G20. Harrisburg is bankrupt, but it got those awesome freedomTrucks. Weird Illinois counterterror forces cracked down on college students with an LRAD recently - that same force was at the G20 training for civil repression. Each outfit they're building up has a major ongoing BJA grant cash input I'd suspect. (See March 2010 TCIMC report on the fusion center tracking agenda)
The BJA's Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Grant Program finances many drug task forces inside Minnesota including the major efforts against marijuana. See the 2011 MN Task Force Report PDF for more. We create public debt for the federal government to hire cops to come after everyone with these evil plants. What does this even mean? Does anyone care?
The BJA, or organizations close to it within the Office of Justice Programs like the National Institute of Justice is paying for the gear, pushing all of it out there, creating the obligation to use the "emergency" "terror" items of technology, and all the various fusion center related projects and software. Minneapolis has collected a lot through the Urban Area Security Initiative recently as well: $1.487 million in cash from grant 2010-UASI-00732.
The BJA, then, is like a main avenue for a domestic version of America's lucrative foreign arms peddling, using freshly borrowed/printed Federal Reserve Notes. The federal government "sends money to the states" but really it just directs them to buy more junk from the now well-established police state vendor industry – all run from the huge new Top Secret America office park complexes of contractors in Virginia.
Many of the shadiest documents – work products of madness – discovered in the war on terror have BJA grant numbers in the corner. The madness has trackable grant numbers, and if someone can reach the BJA spigot, the fusion center & war on drugs crackdowns – paying slabs of overtime money to local cops, all under weird legal agreements – the tidal wave could finally end! Perhaps even, sovereign states can redirect the money to emergency survival community gardens & greenhouses! We can dream, right? (BJA: NO. DEFINITELY NOT.)
Resistance Finally Spreading against War on Drugs: Mexico has reached the grim endgame of the militarized war on drugs, as chains of loyalty and violence inter-penetrate all government, military and economic structures. With around 40,000 killed in recent years, the mindless corruption and violence has finally prompted a nationwide movement against the disastrous war.
Massive protests swept Mexico in recent days, and a new mother's movement to end the war on drugs in the United States is getting off the ground. Mother's Day started as a radical statement against war, and mothers organized and finally brought the Prohibition disaster to an end. (More info)
The obsolete and corrupted drug scheduling system, which has no serious logic behind its structure, fails to list the drugs which the FDA has already approved yet have never proved their efficacy. The FDA waves big pharma products right along, and the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy assumes that mimicking their decisions is the safest move.
If you took Accutane or Nexium, if you're enjoying your aspartame soda and water with delicious sodium fluoride, or a veteran with depleted uranium particles in your body, you too can enjoy the quality administrative output of the endless biochemical war. Natural forces of sustenance need not bother trying to get a license. Or an open hearing.
Hello, this is Cody Wiberg, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. For some reason, I can't respond directly to a post that was placed on the Board's Facebook page by Mr. Kurt Hanna. However, I do think it needs a response. I have communicated with Mr. Hanna by e-mail and in person about the issues of marijuana and the Board's authority in regards to the scheduling of controlled substances. I have shared the following observations with him:
- The Board does, indeed, have the legal authority to add or delete drugs from the state's schedules of controlled substances. (Or to move them between the schedules). In the case of marijuana, that means that the Board could either entirely remove marijuana from the schedules or it could place it in a schedule other than schedule I.
- Here is a problem associated with having the Board entirely remove marijuana from schedule I: the Board would have to find that marijuana has no potential for abuse. If the Board finds that marijuana has at least some potential for abuse, the Board can't entirely remove it from the schedules. I really don't believe that the Board can credibly conclude that marijuana has absolutely no abuse potential.
- Even if the Board somehow did conclude that marijuana has no abuse potential, the Board has no authority to amend the criminal portions of the statutes. That means that it would still be a crime to possess or sell marijuana - under state law. Furthermore, it remains a federal crime to possess and sell marijuana. Although Mr. Hanna quotes the dissent in Gonzalez v. Raich, the majority opinion was, essentially, that Congress has the authority under the Commerece Clause of the U.S. Constitution to regulate the distribution of marijuana and thus did not violate the federal Consitution when itcriminalized its sale and possession.
- In regards to allowing a federal agency to usurp state power, that is simply not true. A regulatory agency like the Board of Pharmacy derives its authority from enabling legislation enacted by the State's Legislature. The Board is not asking the Legislature to enact a law that says that the State of Minnesota will strictly follow the federal schedules. The Board's position is that it is the Legislature, not a very small state agency, that should be making the decision in regards to the scheduling of marijuana and other drugs in Schedule I. There is a good reason for that. If any drug is removed from Schedule I at the state level - but not the federal level - it will remain a federal crime to sell or possess that drug. The Board simply feels that it is the Legislature and Governor that ought to be making decisions about whether the state will defy federal law - not bureaucrats. Note that the Legislature will retain its authority to remove drugs from the schedules or to create a medical marijuana law. So the state is not giving any power away to the DEA.
- If the Board moved marijuana to a lower schedule, it would still be illegal under federal and state law to possess and sell it. However, the law says that drugs in the lower schedule may be prescribed by practitioners and dispensed by pharmacies (and only those individuals and businesses may prescribe and dispense). That means that the Board would potentially be putting practitioners and pharmacies in the position of having people demand that they prescribe and dispense a drug that other parts of the law make it illegal to sell or possess. Pharmacists could potentially be charged criminally if they stocked marijuana in order to fill prescriptions for it. (Practitioners are also allowed to dispense drugs and they, too, could be charged criminally if they possessed marijuana with the intent to dispense it to patients).
The Board will be taking up this issue at its May 11th meeting and, as staff, I am obligated to point out these issues. However, I have not discussed Mr. Hanna's latest petition with the members and I do not know how they will respond. I would note that they did decline to reschedule marijuana when Mr. Hanna previously petitioned the Board.