Despite 144 Million Americans Living in Legal States, DEA Making More Cannabis Arrests Than Ever

Since 2012, 19 states and Washington, DC have legalized marijuana for adults over the age of 21. In total, 38 states and DC have legalized medical marijuana — meaning that a majority of Americans have access to cannabis, whether medically or recreationally. There are just 12 states in the country left who outlaw cannabis entirely — and even they are fading fast.

Currently, 144 million Americans live in states where recreational marijuana is legal and decriminalization measures are currently sweeping through all the other states where it is not. The war on weed is crumbling and the drug warriors who’ve ruined an untold number of lives over this plant are quickly finding themselves on the wrong side of history.

Despite the prohibition wall collapsing and legal cannabis winning the drug war, there are still police state-addicted tyrants holding strong while attempting to maintain their relevancy through enforcement. The US Drug Enforcement Administration is full of these tyrants and their latest numbers prove just how bad their addiction to the drug war is.

In the last two years, one would think that cannabis plant seizures and arrests related to marijuana would go down thanks to widespread legalization. Unfortunately, however, one would be wrong. The DEA is still carrying out their Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program with a vengeance.

Federal law enforcement agents and their partners seized over 5.5 million cultivated marijuana plants and made more than 6,600 marijuana-related arrests in 2021, according to annual data compiled by the DEA.

According to figures published in the DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program Statistical Report, agents and their partners confiscated approximately 5.53 million cultivated cannabis plants last year – a 20 percent increase over 2020’s totals. Law enforcement also reported making 6,606 marijuana-related arrests, a 25 percent increase over the prior year’s totals (when agents reported 4,992 arrests) … for a plant.

These numbers are record breaking and are the highest since 2011 — before any states had legal weed. Since then, arrests have been going down, but in 2021 a surge began once more as police-state worshipping tyrants ramped up their hatred of this amazing plant and the people who choose to grow it.

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These Mormons Have Found a New Faith — in Magic Mushrooms

On a Sunday afternoon in March, a group of 30 strangers huddle under a park pavilion in Salt Lake City, Utah, sipping hot cocoa and shaking hands shyly as snow clots the cottonwoods. A clean-cut gang of mostly white professionals, they are united by their interest in the Divine Assembly, a two-year old church with 3,000 members that considers psilocybin its holy sacrament. 

The church’s co-founders, husband and wife Steve and Sara Urquhart, mingle quietly with the psychedelic-curious, many of whom are either new to tripping or considering their maiden voyage. Steve sticks to the sidelines, every so often reaching to smooth a conical white beard that, combined with his blue eyes and bearlike frame, make him look like a punk Santa Claus. The long beard is the only outer marker of his new identity: Before pivoting to mushroom churches, Urquhart was one of the most powerful Republicans in the Utah State Legislature, serving from 2001 to 2016, with a stint as majority whip in the House before eventually moving over to the Senate. Former colleagues and friends recall his small-government brand of Republicanism as “rock-ribbed.” He was also, like more than 60 percent of Utah and approximately 86 percent of the Legislature in 2021, deeply, devoutly Mormon. 

“We were all the way in,” Urqhuart says of the proudly peculiar American religion with about 6.7 million adherents in the U.S. and about 16.6 million globally. Founded by Joseph Smith in 1830 during the Second Great Awakening in upstate New York, Mormonism (or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as church authorities requested it be called in 2018, though many Latter-day Saints, or Saints for short, still use the term “Mormon”) bases its teachings on the revelations of Smith, whom they consider a prophet. According to Smith, who claimed to have translated the Book of Mormon from a pair of gold plates inscribed with “reformed Egyptian,” Latter-day Saints are God’s chosen people destined to restore the original Christian gospel — a gospel that included, they professed up until 1890, polygamy. 

“I knew all the secret handshakes,” Urquhart later divulges after one shot of tequila, and he means it quite literally, demonstrating a dizzying pattern of grips, bumps, and daps that look straight out of a Monty Python skit. 

In all likelihood, Urquhart and others believe now, Smith lifted those handshakes and many other ceremonial elements from the Freemasons, the then-popular secret society that counted Smith as a member. Urquhart also believes, 100 percent seriously, that the LDS Church (the mainstream one he and Mitt Romney are from, not the fundamentalist offshoots depicted in Under the Banner of Heaven) is a cult. Specifically, he says, alluding to the church’s polygamist history and fact that some bishops still ask teens if they are masturbating, “a sex cult with really bad sex.”

Church or cult, Urquhart crashed out of it around 2008. In the park that Sunday, he is in good company. Although the Divine Assembly is not limited to former LDS members, or “post-Mormons” as they refer to themselves, the majority of the crowd by default is, and they’re aching for a new kind of spirituality to fill the void. One couple, Yesenia and Guillermo Ramos, tell me they left the LDS Church in 2012, after it began to feel like the opposite of what they thought it stood for. “God is love,” Yesenia says with conviction, but within the church, she says she felt judged for her decision to be both a mom and a nurse, rather than a stay-at-home mom. Furthermore, Yesenia says, she was sick of the pressure to appear perfect all the time, a common complaint among LDS women that Dr. Curtis Canning, president of the Utah Psychiatric Association, has called “Mother of Zion Syndrome.”

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How an NHL Enforcer Broke His Body — and Turned to Psychedelics to Heal His Brain

Riley Cote’s journey to enlightenment began in earnest when a hulking man punched him in the face. Cote, now 40 and retired from professional hockey, remembers the moment with a dark laugh. He’d gotten into this particular bust-up one night during the 2009 season with one of the NHL’s most vicious fighters, and took the worst of it, waking the next day with his left eye blackened shut.

“What,” he asked himself, “am I doing?”

He drove to the Philadelphia Flyers training facility and got into the shower. Feeling congested, he reached for a tissue. He didn’t realize he’d suffered a cracked sinus, so what happened next was physics. When he blew his nose, the air — rather than coming out of his nostrils — inflated his face. The pressure surged instantly behind his good eye and closed it tight.

Team trainer Derek Settlemyre heard Cote scream. “His whole face had swollen up,” Settlemyre recalls. “We tell them, if they think they have a fracture, ‘Don’t blow your nose’ — and he did.”

After eight years in pro hockey (four in the NHL, four hopping around its minor-league teams), Cote felt his retirement bearing down. As an NHL “enforcer” — a player whose main role is to get into fights — he’d taken countless hits on the ice. Off it, he self-medicated with booze and drugs. He’d brutalized his body inside and out by the tender age of 28. “I damaged my brain,” Cote says. “Punching it and dehydrating it and partying my ass off.”

Today, Cote is a new man, with a mane of long brown hair, a yoga-trimmed physique, and an aura of ease in his own skin. It is a transformation he credits largely to psychedelic drugs. Since retiring, Cote has emerged as one of the sports world’s most vocal advocates for what he calls “plant medicines” — from cannabis, itself a light psychedelic, to weightier hallucinogens including DMT and magic mushrooms — to treat post-concussion symptoms (think headaches, insomnia, depression, and possibly, the degenerative brain condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE). In 2017, Cote co-founded Athletes for Care, a group that promotes research into the physical and emotional health issues athletes face and novel paths for treatment. He regularly speaks at conferences on the benefits of psychedelics. And, perhaps most important, he reaches out to players who are known to be struggling post-career, even arranging magic-mushroom ceremonies where they can safely experiment with the drug.

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Biden’s Cigarette Crackdown a Boon for Drug Dealers, Experts Warn

A new Biden administration effort to regulate cigarettes will bankroll street gangs and bankrupt U.S. tobacco farmers, experts say.

The Food and Drug Administration is preparing this month to require lower nicotine content in all cigarettes—a move critics argue will wreck the $75 billion U.S. tobacco industry amid a global economic crisis and boost a black market as crime spikes nationwide. The news comes weeks after the agency announced its plans to ban menthol cigarettes, which will cost federal and local governments an estimated $6.6 billion in the first year alone.

Richard Marianos, a 27-year veteran of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, said these regulations will shift the demand for cigarettes toward unregulated tobacco grown internationally, which is then purchased and sold by drug dealers.

“The problem again with this administration is they do not take into consideration a totality of subject matter experts,” Marianos told the Washington Free Beacon. “I’ve never seen this much foolishness in my life.”

Marianos, who worked on gang violence at the ATF, said the black market for cigarettes is dominated by street gangs and would grow at least a hundredfold after the FDA implements its nicotine decision. He claims one of his former informants discovered some dealers make $5,000 selling cigarettes in a single afternoon. The FDA’s “uneducated and silly” cigarette plan, he said, would require law enforcement to focus on tobacco sales rather than drugs and violent crime.

The FDA’s cigarette regulations are a part of the Biden administration’s larger “harm reduction” strategy that enables illicit drug use while criminalizing tobacco. The Free Beacon reported in February that the Department of Health and Human Services was set to fund the distribution of crack pipes through a $30 million harm reduction program, which according to the New York Times sparked an “uproar” that “derailed” the agency’s entire drug policy.

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Psychedelics: How They Act On The Brain To Relieve Depression

Up to 30% of people with depression don’t respond to treatment with antidepressants. This may be down to differences in biology between patients and the fact that it often takes a long time to respond to the drugs – with some people giving up after a while. So there is an urgent need to expand the repertoire of drugs available to people with depression.

In recent years, attention has turned to psychedelics such as psilocybin, the active compound in “magic mushrooms”. Despite a number of clinical trials showing that psilocybin can rapidly treat depression, including for cancer-related anxiety and depression, little is known about how psilocybin actually works to relieve depression in the brain.

Now two recent studies, published in The New England Journal of Medicine and Nature Medicine, have shed some light on this mysterious process.

Psilocybin is a hallucinogen that changes the brain’s response to a chemical called serotonin. When broken down by the liver (into “psilocin”), it causes an altered state of consciousness and perception in users.

Previous studies, using functional MRI (fMRI) brain scanning, have shown that psilocybin seems to reduce activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that helps regulate a number of cognitive functions, including attention, inhibitory control, habits and memory. The compound also decreases connections between this area and the posterior cingulate cortex, an area that may play a role in regulating memory and emotions.

An active connection between these two brain areas is normally a feature of the brain’s “default mode network”. This network is active when we rest and focus internally, perhaps reminiscing about the past, envisioning the future or thinking about ourselves or others. By reducing the activity of the network, psilocybin may well be removing the constraints of the internal “self” – with users reporting an “opened mind” with increased perception of the world around them.

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Scientists Expose “Laughable” CDC Misinformation Video Currently Up On Their Website

Within the CDC there is a smaller department known as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). NIOSH claims to promote productive workplaces through safety and health research. But as the following video on their website shows, the last thing they appear to be interested in is research.

According to the CDC, this video helps “emergency responders understand the risks and communicate what they can do to protect themselves from exposure to illicit drugs.”

But it does nothing of the sort and actually does the opposite.

To save 13 minutes of boredom, there is no need to watch the video. It simply shows multiple cops enter a hotel room in which there is a tiny bit of fentanyl on the dresser. Within minutes of being in the room — and while wearing a respirator — one of the officers falls out. According to the video, the CDC, and the experts who conducted their “research,” this was due to fentanyl exposure — for merely being in the same room with the powder — and despite toxicology results showing negative for fentanyl.

Amanda D’Ambrosio, an Enterprise & Investigative Writer for MedPage Today interviewed several experts in the field about the CDC’s use of this video and their misinformed messaging on fentanyl exposure. She is warning that the CDC’s guidance is actually misleading law enforcement.

“No one has explained exactly what’s happened in that video, it’s all conjecture,” Brandon del Pozo, PhD, a drug policy and public health researcher at Brown University and former police chief told the outlet. “It is surprising to see something with such a basis in conjecture being presented by an agency that has a commitment to science.”

The NIOSH video provides little evidence confirming how these officers were exposed to the drugs, and no real explanation of the health effects that it aims to prevent, experts told MedPage Today. Drug researchers and scientists say that the video inflates law enforcement officers’ risk of overdose, incites fear within the police force, and ultimately, causes harm to people who use drugs.

As TFTP reported this week, overdose deaths in the U.S. have hit record numbers and of the more than 100,000 people who have died, roughly 70 percent of them involved fentanyl. Make no mistake, fentanyl is deadly but only when it is ingested.

You cannot overdose by merely being exposed to fentanyl.

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Marijuana violations have taken over 10,000 truck drivers off the road this year, adding more supply chain disruptions

Delayed packages, bare grocery store shelves, and inflated prices have become the norm for American consumers over the past two years. While the COVID-19 pandemic has been the catalyst, there are other challenges causing supply chain issues, including a lack of truck drivers to transport goods from one place to another. In late 2021, the American Trucking Associations reported that the driver shortage had risen to an all-time high of 80,000, partly due to the aging population and shrinking wages.

In response, the Biden administration vowed in December to get more truck drivers on the road by boosting recruitment efforts and expediting the issuing of commercial licenses. However, that won’t have an effect on another hurdle: disparate marijuana laws across the U.S. that are contributing to an increase in violations. In 2022, a growing number of truckers are being taken off the job, which could soon worsen the already suffering supply chain.

As more states legalize recreational marijuana—four of which did so in the past year and three more are expected to by the end of 2022—more truck drivers have tested positive for the substance. As of April 1, 2022, 10,276 commercial vehicle drivers have tested positive for marijuana use. By the same time in 2021, there had been 7,750 violations. That’s a 32.6% increase year over year.

Truck drivers who travel cross-country face inconsistent state regulations as 19 states have legalized recreational marijuana and 37 states permit it for medicinal purposes. But even if a driver used marijuana or hemp-based products like CBD while off duty in a state where those substances are legal, they could still be faced with a violation due to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) zero-tolerance policy at the federal level.

“While states may allow medical use of marijuana, federal laws and policy do not recognize any legitimate medical use of marijuana,” a DOT handbook for commercial vehicle drivers reads. “Even if a state allows the use of marijuana, DOT regulations treat its use as the same as the use of any other illicit drug.”

Stacker looked at what’s causing thousands of truckers to be removed from their jobs, and the looming domino effect of the continued supply chain disruptions.

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