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2018-04-20 11:51 by Karl Denninger
in Federal Government , 231 references
[Comments enabled]  

I never thought I'd write a Ticker in which I agreed at a 100% level with anything that a Democratic Senator, especially Schumer, wants to see happen.

The day has come and Hell is below freezing for the first time in history.

Specifically, Leader Schumer’s new legislation would:

Decriminalize Marijuana: The legislation would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level by descheduling it, which means removing marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act of 1970;

Respect States’ Rights: The legislation would maintain federal law enforcement’s authority to prevent marijuana trafficking from states that have legalized marijuana to those that have not;

Level The Economic Playing Field: The legislation would establish dedicated funding streams for women and minority-owned marijuana businesses;

Ensure Public Safety: The legislation would wake targeted investments in highway safety research to ensure federal agencies have the resources they need to assess the pitfalls driving under the influence of THC and develop technology to reliably measure impairment;

Invest In Public Health: The legislation would invest in public health research to better understand the effects of THC on the brain and the efficacy of medicinal marijuana for specific ailments; and

Protect Children: The legislation would maintain federal authority to regulate marijuana advertising in the same way it does alcohol and tobacco advertising to ensure that marijuana businesses aren’t allowed to target children in their advertisements.

I can only quibble with one element of this -- the "dedicated funding streams" that are by definition discriminatory.  Codifying discrimination in law is bad -- always.

But seriously, we're quibbling here.  The nation desperately needs an objective, scientific standard for impairment.  Colorado's is known (scientifically) to be wrong (in other words, people not stoned are flagged as "DUI", albeit as a rebuttable presumption rather than as a dispositive fact.)  This needs to be fixed on a uniform basis so that individuals (and businesses) can know whether they're impaired as a matter of law, just as can be done today with a $100 hand-held device you can put in your car, or a bar can install to deter people from driving while intoxicated.  Science can and will get there, quickly, but only when there are no barriers to said study, as right now it's literally impossible to get both the funding and approval to do so.

We also need actual medical studies to be able to figure out not only what works scientifically and what's anecdote when it comes to various maladies, but also what specific compounding, or choice of administration routes, works best when it comes to various ailments.  There is a high probability, for example, that many ailments are best handled with preparations with little or no THC in them; such treatments would not only be ridiculously cheap in an unscheduled commercial environment but have zero impairment associated with them.

De-scheduling and leaving it to the states also means, however, that even if the science is either not yet done or inconclusive if a particular individual finds that some preparation relieves their symptoms they're free to use it for that purpose without interference, risking a prison sentence or winding up on some government "list."

And finally, the 50 State political laboratories model is one that I've never heard out of a Democrat before.


But that model is not only "correct" politically it's the only model that's valid under our Constitution.

The People get to vote with their feet.  Those who believe that there is something "unholy" about weed can move to a state that refuses to recognize the medical and social benefits from decriminalization or even full legalization as a matter of state law.  If you want to live in a state where the people have decided that it should be a crime to smoke or possess a joint, have at it.  Those who believe that such a position is not only stupid it's criminally insane can move to a state that believes that individual rights, personal privacy and medical benefit are plenty of reason to treat marijuana and its derivatives like alcohol.

The line in this proposed bill is in the correct place; the Federal Government has the explicit delegated power to regulate interstate commerce, which includes weed, but has no power to regulate commerce that takes place solely within a state, Wickard .v. Filburn's lie notwithstanding.

Now Senator, can we have a conversation about the medical scams and get a similarly-reasoned and rational response out of you in that regard?

You might actually give me a reason to vote for a Democrat.

PS: Press releases and even introduced bills won't get there.  Actual passed legislation is required.  "Trust me" has no value in this nation any more and hasn't, especially among Federal legislatures and the Executive, for decades.

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2018-04-16 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Federal Government , 125 references
[Comments enabled]  

Comment now folks; here is what I submitted. Comments close on April 23rd; get off your tush and do it today!

Please do not copy and paste this; "spam" comments are routinely ignored or rejected.  Instead, write your own.

"Marijuana" and its derivative products, in other words those derived from the plants of the genus Cannabis, should be de-scheduled under both United States and International drug conventions.

Their current scheduling under "Schedule I" in fact meets none of the criteria required for same.  These preparations are not "high" in abuse potential, they have known and recognized medical use, and an essentially-zero set of safety concerns, all of which are exactly the opposite of the criteria for such scheduling.

Known effective uses for these compounds include pain, various side effects of cancer treatments (including nausea, vomiting and appetite suppression), migrane headache and a number of seizure disorders, with the latter being especially potent in children with intractable epilepsy.  It is effective in reducing interocular pressure in glaucoma patients and there is evidence for effectiveness in several muscular-spasm and chronic inflammatory conditions, such as Crohn's disease.

In most of these cases the alternative therapies are ridiculously more expensive, less-effective or, in many cases, both.  Some alternative options, particularly for maladies involving pain, are extremely dangerous with severe addictive and overdose risks, such as the entire class of opioid compounds.  There is a developing body of evidence among marijuana-legal states that when marijuana is medically available opioid death rates fall to a significant degree. Ref:

Marijuana and its derivatives are also demonstrably safer on a scientific basis than either tobacco or alcohol, both of which are regulated yet not scheduled.  While smoking any substance comes with risks to one's health it is not necessary to smoke marijuana to consume it since controlled heating of extracted oils and other concentrates, or the consumption of foods prepared with it, is equally effective in delivering the active compounds.  Unlike both nicotine and ethanol there is no known LD-50 associated with marijuana and its extracts. Finally, while any substance that can bring pleasure to the consumer can be psychologically habit forming marijuana and its compounds have no physical addictive properties, again in contrast with both nicotine and ethanol -- both of which are highly and moderately physically addictive, respectively.

De-scheduling marijuana and its related compounds will not remove the capacity of nation states to regulate production, import, export and distribution.  Indeed doing so will bring "into the light of day" the production, import, export and distribution of these compounds, making possible enforcement of purity standards, detection and punishment for those who adulterate these substances and dramatically increase the medical research opportunities for same.

Marijuana and its derivatives, in short, meet none of the criteria to be classified under the existing scheduling system either nationally or internationally.

De-scheduling is not only appropriate under the criteria published for same to not do so would be to continue a gross public fraud and injustice.

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2018-04-15 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Federal Government , 168 references
[Comments enabled]  

... make sure you lift a glass to Beelzebezos and Donald J Rump.

Amazon (AMZN.O) received a $137 million federal rebate on $5.4 billion in U.S. profits, resulting an effective tax rate of negative 2.5 percent, by using a tax break that allows companies to write off the value of executive stock options, according to ITEP.

That's right -- last year Amazon was paid by the US Treasury (that's you!) to operate.  They had a negative 2.5% tax rate; the government literally gave them $137 million dollars; they paid nothing in federal income tax.

And this was before Trump's tax cuts took effect.

This year?  They'll steal even more thanks to Trump and his "tax cut", sold to the people because, as he claimed, our taxes on corporations are too high.

Make sure you say thanks as all the stores and other retailers who actually do pay taxes are put out of business by a firm that the US Federal Government literally pays to screw retailers large and small.

PS: Yes, I know, you don't actually to file and pay until the 17th..... 

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So allegedly Trump "bought off" a standoff on DOJ nominees.

President Trump has promised a top Senate Republican that he will support congressional efforts to protect states that have legalized marijuana — defusing a months-long standoff between Sen. Cory Gardner and the administration over Justice Department nominees. 

In January, the Colorado Republican said he would block all DOJ nominations after Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo that heightened the prospect of a federal marijuana crackdown in states that had legalized the substance. Gardner’s home state made recreational marijuana legal in 2014. 

But in a phone call late Wednesday, Trump told Gardner that despite the DOJ memo, the marijuana industry in Colorado won’t be targeted, the senator said in a statement Friday. Satisfied, the first-term senator is now backing down from his nominee blockade. 

Satisfied..... with a phone call?

C'mon Senator.  You know damn well that's unenforceable.

If Trump actually meant it then he could demand Sessions re-instate the Cole memo and get behind a bill (which, by the way, where is it Senator?) that would de-schedule Marijuana.

He has done neither.

Senator Cole, you actually could, perhaps, convince me to move from Florida to Colorado.  In the can I have a business opportunity that I've been working on for a while that's great for consumer energy efficiency and would likely create jobs -- and tax revenue.

I'm not going to market it here in Florida due to the outrageously unconstitutional actions taken by our Governor and legislature.  Indeed, that's enough for me to pull up stakes and move -- likely within the next year or so.

Before someone spouts off with "you just want to get stoned", well, if that was it I'd have moved a few years ago. It's not; my particular preference when it comes to recreational pharmaceuticals happens to run toward craft beer, and Colorado has a fair bit of that out there too (Three Barrels being a particularly nice micro-brewery and brewpub I recently visited.)

So where's the bill?  Now that, put on the table with a hard commitment from the President to support it which he publicly makes with the text of the bill is far more enforceable than a mere phone call.  Sure, you still can't make him keep to it, but a commitment that he'll sign the bill when it gets to his desk goes a long way.

Here's my proposed text, incidentally:

As of the signing of this legislation:

1. The drug commonly known as "marijuana", the plants of the genus Cannabis and products and preparations made from same are hereby removed and exempt from Federal Drug Scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act (21 USC Chapter 13, Sub1, Part B, Sec 812.) and 21 CFR 1308.

2. The specific reference to marijuana shall be removed from federal firearms regulation and law by specific mention, including on Form 4473 in question 11(e), rendering it no different than any other non-controlled substance.


Update: Probably need to add to the above --

(3) Federal laws or regulations, whether in statute, CFR or policy that are in conflict with (1) or (2) of the above are hereby superseded and void with respect to conduct that occurs within the States and Territories of The United States.

(4) Nothing in the foregoing shall constrain the enumerated Constitutional power in Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution with regard to the importation or exportation of marijuana and its derivative products to and from other nations.

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Why aren't we talking about this?

 DatePublic DebtIntergovernmentalTotal
-09/30/201513,123,847,198,347.81 5,026,770,468,136.52 18,150,617,666,484.33
Purchasing Destruction 1,049,576,318,548.01373,250,728,904.451,422,827,047,452.46

Remember, the actual "public" deficit is the difference in borrowing between the end of the fiscal year and the beginning in debt held by the public.  The total increase in debt, including intergovernmental (mostly Social Security and Medicare) is the actual deficit and is exactly equal, on an arithmetic basis, to the destruction in your personal purchasing power that the government causes (or gain if the government runs a surplus.)

The actual deficit -- that is, the destruction in purchasing power the federal government caused last year, is the percentage of 1.423 trillion .vs. the total GDP of 18.450 trillion or approximately 7.7%.

That's right -- the government intentionally destroyed almost 8% of your paycheck and your savings last year, running a $1.423 trillion dollar budget deficit, which is roughly equal to the worst of the "great recession" when tax revenues went through the floor.

Today there is no such "tax shortfall" excuse. 

The breakdown of exactly where the ugly is coming from will be published next week.  I already know what is in there because I've been following the monthly treasury statements all fiscal year, but wish to report final "as tallied" facts -- and thus will have another post at that time.

Let me be clear: On the arithmetic if we do not stop this now within the next 4-5 years -- that is, within the next Presidential term -- our government will collapse, our economy will collapse, our health care system will collapse and both the stock and housing markets will collapse.  This is not politics, it's arithmetic.  And the worst part of it is that I am utterly certain that the "references" count, along with the "views" count on this article will both be a fraction of the politically-oriented articles I've recently posted.  That the real end of our way of life in America, a threat that is obvious, mathematically certain, not very far in the future and yet avoidable if we act now fails to garner any sort of serious attention is the real outrage folks.

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