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Photos: Inside the International Drug Policy Reform Conference, part one

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Big photos below.
Which state will be the next to legalize marijuana? What do the Obama administration's recent announcements about marijuana legalization and mandatory minimums really mean? What are some solutions to the national overdose crisis that takes more lives than car accidents or gun violence? Those were just some of the questions that over 1,000 people gathered to consider at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel October 23-26.

Our correspondent, Shannon Brandt, was there; the first in a series of reports follows:

There's this joke somebody once told me.

Kid walks down the street, comes up to these three strangers and asks them: "If there was an absolute cure for human pain and suffering, would you take it?"

Guy on the left, clearly a scholar, responds back with his own question: "What would life really be like if we were to exclude a portion of the human experience?"

Guy on the right just says,."No," as emphatic, as strong and as daring as a middle-schooler in the middle of red-ribbon week.

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Photo by Shannon Brandt
Woman in the middle says, "You know, it would really just have to depend on the side effects."

Kid takes a step back in his head, thinks that would make a pretty good punchline, but decides to go a little bit further. And so he says, "But who really defines what the human experience is?"

This time, from all three, same answer: "The individual. No one but the individual."

Kid gets real quiet, doesn't say much for a while. Finally, he blurts out: "Wait a minute. Are you telling me that each and every one of us has got some sort of inalienable human right for the pursuit of their own human happiness?"

If I'd stumbled straight down the streets of Denver right into that joke, you can bet that a lengthy conversation would have followed -- but you wouldn't need to hear that. You'd just need to know that what this joke really amounts to is everything that the 2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference was about.

For the uninitiated, the first thing you need to know about the community at this conference is that it is, first and foremost, a drug "policy" movement -- broadly named for more than a few reasons. First off, "reform" of the legal system doesn't mean the same thing for those striking for full-on "decriminalization" of marijuana; likewise, decriminalization's a tad too happy-go-lucky for the folks who say that that process won't get us anywhere without effective regulation. Then there are the efforts for medicinalization, education, incarceration, treatment and more.

At the end of the day, it makes for a pretty big movement -- one of the biggest and fastest-growing in the nation right now, by far. So "policy" really is just about the only word that fits.

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Photo by Shannon Brandt
Attendees gather on the first day of the conference.
But for some people, the word "policy" just won't work. For some, fighting for a "Brave New World" of effective and efficient legalization, decriminalization and regulation of all drugs, medicines, sacraments and anything else you might choose to call otherwise controlled-narcotic substances is the only way to go: full-on policy change from the ground-up -- and back again.

Continue for more coverage of the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver.



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43 comments
TimothyLeary_Sober
TimothyLeary_Sober

"Most of the trouble in the world has been caused by ten to twenty percent of folks who can't mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus."

Erica Vaughn
Erica Vaughn

Does it mention that there were more than one overdose at the hotel they were at?

Jordan Snyder
Jordan Snyder

Yes, if it goes hand in hand with better education, less vilification in general, and better treatment of those dealing with substance abuse issues (since there's usually a deeper emotional healing that needs to take place first). But if our country can't reasonably approach the complicated issue of gun ownership, I doubt we can do any better when it comes to substances.

UneducatedFools
UneducatedFools

The Drug War is un-Constitutional. All these ass-clown drug-war supporters are in violation. And are illegitimate. 

Greg Jabuki DeRuckus
Greg Jabuki DeRuckus

if only we lived in a society that was capable of seeing real substance abuse as the medical issue it is rather then a criminal one. The most important part of decriminalizing drugs is providing help to those that have issues with substance abuse (it negatively impacts their life not just because it's illegal). unfortunately america can't seem to join the rest of the industrialized nations on earth in providing health care to it's citizens.

McShyster
McShyster

Boulder officials also planned to stop processing all pending medical marijuana applications as of Friday so that the city staff could prepare for changes on Jan. 1.

Several owners of medical marijuana businesses said they had applied for their licenses more than a year ago and were within weeks of finishing their build-outs and final inspections. If their applications were frozen, they would lose their entire investment and be ruined, they said.

    Get REGULATED, Bitches! ... you Voted For It !!

                     *** Regulation Works! ***

McShyster
McShyster

Sorry. I'm an asshole, loner cannabis grower from the foothills that has no friends so I take it out on this random message board. Also, I'm pissed that the price for my pounds has dropped so drastically in the last three years that I've got to stick my neck out and sell across state lines these days to make a living. Too bad I didn't pick a viable career.

McShyster
McShyster

What kind of clueless fuckwit would beg the Government to REGULATE, CONTROL and TAX anything they actually cared about?


TimothyLeary_Sober
TimothyLeary_Sober

@Erica Vaughn Postponing your visit to the eye doctor? 

Want me to read the above article to you, Mrs. Vaughn? 


rxmaryjane
rxmaryjane

@Erica Vaughn I was there and I don't know if there were any ODs or not. Perhaps you could cite your source for that info. But even assuming you are correct, let's stop with the insinuations and speak plainly now. Tell me... what exactly are you saying? What's your point?

stuka1
stuka1

@Greg Jabuki DeRuckus    The US government has already declared that it intends to treat any use as a substance abuse problem. The problem being that their working assumption that everyone who uses is an addict.  So instead of sending people to jail, they intend to force them into expensive rehab. One way or another, their philosophy is to cause you great expense and hardship.

stuka1
stuka1

@McShyster  Go back to sucking ChrisTard TurdStone's asshole, you chickenshit whiny pussy.

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

Like suka1 and Kevin Kunt who are bazillionaire hemp tycoons in their own dope-addled dreams.

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt

@McShyster The kind of fuckwit that doesn't want to be ARRESTED for POSSESSING something they actually cared about.

rxmaryjane
rxmaryjane

We need to differentiate between 'use' and 'abuse'. A lot of legal substances we use on a daily basis can easily be abused, like caffeine and high-fructose corn syrup. But we aren't forcing people into rehab for it.

McShyster
McShyster

@kevin_hunt

Prior to A64, possession of up to 2 (two) ounces of pot was NOT an arrestable offense under Colorado statute, it was merely a petty offense with a petty fine only.

But you already knew that, you pig-ignorant lying shitstain.

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

@stuka1   "A straw man or straw person, also known in the UK as an Aunt Sally, is a common type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position."  - so you agree that the people that lobbied and voted for the government to regulate and control marijuana used arguments that misrepresented the issues?

rxmaryjane
rxmaryjane

@stupidstuka If someone can still go to work, take care of their kids and be productive members of society, why should we care if they use crack or any other drug? When it interferes in their life and becomes a problem, then we can call it abuse. At that point, we should treat it as a medical issue, not a criminal one. If we allow people to "use" a limited amount of alcohol without much concern, then why don't we make the same allowance for other drugs? The idea that anyone who so much as tries an illicit drug is immediately deemed an abuser to be thrown into jail and/or forced into rehab is simply ludicrous. 

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

What's the difference between use and abuse of crack?

Be specific and show your work.

stuka1
stuka1

@McShyster    <--- chickenshit troll begging for an ass whipping

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

Enjoy your 3 plant pot plantation, chump.

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt

@McShyster ..and before A64 growing a single cannabis plant without a doctor's recommendation) was punishable by 6-18 months in jail.  Now it is LEGAL for adults 21 and up.


18-18-406(1-4) of the Colorado Revised Statutes

The cultivation of 6 plants or fewer is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by 6-18 months imprisonment as well as a fine between $500-$5,000. 





Heaven-Kunt
Heaven-Kunt

@McShyster @kevin_hunt Soon it will be a new crime under A64 to possess mj without your RFID chip. Bend over and lube up, sheeples, it's a big one!

McShyster
McShyster

" Prior to A64, possession of up to 2 (two) ounces of pot was NOT an arrestable offense in Colorado."

@stuka1 A64 didn't change that

So you admit it was a GIGANTIC LIE when the A64 asswipes falsely claimed it would prevent 10,000 arrests for marijuana EVERY YEAR, eh numbnuts?


stuka1
stuka1

@McShyster  

" Prior to A64, possession of up to 2 (two) ounces of pot was NOT an arrestable offense in Colorado."

A64 didn't change that, idiot.  Quit spreading DISinformation for your prohibitionist master, ChrisTard Turdstone. 

stuka1
stuka1

@Heaven-Kunt    So go cry to the industry piggies who testified at the hearings, and crawl back under ChrisTard Turdstone's desk.

McShyster
McShyster

@Heaven-Kunt @stuka1 

Kevin Kunt and Sucka1 were both spawned and abandoned by toothless crack-whore mothers, and don't feel "legitimate" without the unlubricated FIST of REGULATION firmly implanted in their rectums.

It's a Freudian thing.


Heaven-Kunt
Heaven-Kunt

@stuka1 Uh, actually, they DID beg the government. I guess you didn't pay attention to the HB 10-1284 hearings. The "industry" begged for 1284 b/c they wanted to feel "more legitimate." None of them cared that all the dispensaries that popped up in 2009 were actually 100% legal under the Constitution without any statutes. Stupid stoners didn't understand the the state needed MORE REGULATIONS in order to SHUT DOWN the industry, not to make them "more legitimate". Copes realized they couldn't prosecute caregivers under the Constitution, so they had to devise buckets of regulations to shut them down. AND the MMIG-PIGS and Lyin' Brian Vincente begged for more. They are still begging for more regulations today. Try to pay attention.

McShyster
McShyster

@stuka1 = begs for the unlubricated FIST of REGULATION

... like the submissive bottom-bitch that he is.


stuka1
stuka1

@GuestWho   

"so you agree that the people that lobbied and voted for the government to regulate and control marijuana used arguments that misrepresented the issues?"

 No, I don't, strawmanning fucktard.

stuka1
stuka1

@GuestWho OH, look, the idiot cited a definition of a straw man argument and turned around and threw up a straw man.  Well done, idiot!


CLUE:  NO ONE "begged the government" to do anything here, moron.

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