3. REFORM GROUPS CALL FOR MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION AMIDST COVID CRISIS,
DEA PART OF FEDERAL ANTI-CRIME SURGE, MORE... (7/23/20)
The initial draft of the Democratic platform calls for not interfering
with state marijuana laws but doesn't call for legalization, a North
Dakota legalization campaign comes up short, hospitals are warning of IV
opioid shortages, and more. https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2020/jul/23/reform_groups_call_marijuana
4. OAKLAND PSYCHEDELIC ACTIVISTS TAKE NEXT STEP, NY SENATE PASSES MEDMJ
HOUSING PROTECTIONS, MORE... (7/24/20)
Congress could take up an amendment that aims at protecting state-legal marijuana programs next week, Oakland activists are pushing forward with
plans to open up natural psychedelics for healing -- but not commercial
-- purposes, and more. https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2020/jul/24/oakland_psychedelic_activists
5. HOUSE COULD VOTE ON MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION IN SEPTEMBER, FRANCE TO
ISSUE INSTANT FINES FOR DRUG USE, MORE... (7/27/20)
The House could vote to legalize marijuana this fall, DC activists say
their natural entheogen initiative has qualifed for the ballot but it's
not official yet, and more. https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2020/jul/27/house_could_vote_pot_1
7. HOUSE TO VOTE ON PROTECTING ALL STATE-LEGAL MARIJUANA PROGRAMS,
BOLIVIA COCA CULTIVATION UP, MORE... (7/29/20)
An amendment to block the Justice Department from using its funds to go
after state-legal marijuana programs is headed for a House vote,
Maryland's Supreme Court rules that the smell of weed isn't enough for a
police search and arrest, and more. https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2020/jul/29/house_vote_protecting_all
8. HOUSE PASSES BILL TO BLOCK DOJ MEDDLING IN STATE MARIJUANA PROGRAMS,
SCOTS WANT SAFE INJECTION SITES, MORE... (7/30/20)
The House has voted to block the Justice Department from interfering
with state-legal marijuana programs, a populous Maryland county moves to
end no-knock raids for drugs, and more. https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2020/jul/30/house_passes_bill_block_doj
9. SD MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OPPOSES MARIJUANA INITIATIVES, ONDCP TOUTS
MEXICO OPIUM REDUCTION, MORE... (7/31/20)
Rhode Island's governor is once again pushing for marijuana
legalization, the South Dakota state medical association comes out
against both medical marijuana and marijuana legalization initiatives,
and more. https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2020/jul/31/sd_medical_association_opposes
The Year of Dangerous Days: Riots, Refugees, and Cocaine in Miami 1980
by Nicholas Griffin (2020, Simon & Schuster, 318 pp., $26.99 HB)
In this, of all years, that a book like The Year of Dangerous Days
should make an appearance seems apropos. As we live our own year of
dangerous days, with pandemic, economic disruption, and streets
simmering over police violence, especially aimed at Blacks, this is a
tale of Florida's glittering jewel living through a similar
three-pronged existential crisis.
It is both fast-paced thriller and thoughtful meditation on race, class, immigration, crime, and the role of cocaine in violence and corruption.
We're still grappling with all those issues that beset Miami 40 years
ago, a sad truth that doesn't reflect too favorably, but perhaps leaves
some room for lessons to be learned.
In Dangerous Days, Miami resident and veteran author Nicholas Griffin
takes us to 1970s Miami, or rather, the three Miamis: Anglo, Black, and Hispanic. With the city becoming increasingly Spanish-speaking thanks to
the influx of Cuban refugees after Fidel Castro's revolution came to
power in 1959, Whites were grumbling about speaking English in America,
damn it! -- while Blacks were feeling displaced, left behind, and tired
of heavy-handed policing and the Cubans were mainly flexing their
growing political power as right-wing anti-communist extremists devoted
to restoring their ancien regime 90 miles across the Caribbean in Havana.
The up-and-coming Sunbelt city was presided over by a charismatic,
visionary Puerto Rican mayor, Maurice Ferre -- the city's first Latino
mayor -- whose family construction business fueled its fortune by
supplying the concrete that helped build the I-95 freeway through the
heart of Overtown, the city's Black commercial and social soul back in
1965. That act of "urban renewal" drove thousands of displaced black
residents into Liberty City, the nation's first public housing project,
where tensions festered throughout the 1970s.
Ferre's vision for Miami was as a southward-facing city keyed to the
economies of Latin America -- and it worked. Foreign banks piled into
the city, Latin American tourism and home-buying boomed, and Miami soon
earned the sobriquet "the capital of Latin America" as flight capital
from Central and South American countries. But capital flight alone
couldn't account for the massive, multi-billion dollar surpluses showing
up in the Miami Federal Reserve bank at the time. That money was cocaine
The laundered cash from cocaine sales took place quietly and largely
unnoticed -- at least at first -- but the violence unleashed by
Colombian drug traffickers in Miami was another story. The July 1979
Dadeland Mall Massacre put those gunmen on the map, and repeated brazen
broad daylight killings by Colombian hitmen finally got the attention of
Miami police, although they remained bewildered by just who they were
dealing with. (And the homicide unit in particular remained hampered by
the fact that a third of its detectives went down in a cocaine
corruption bust engineered by the FBI.)
Griffin follows an eventual joint federal-local investigation into
cocaine money-laundering, Operation Greenback, as its operatives watch a
key Colombian money-launderer literally carrying duffle bags full of
cash to a series of all-too-welcoming banks on a daily basis. And he
follows the efforts of Miami police and prosecutor Janet Reno to
actually arrest and convict their first Colombian hitman. Here's where
the book most resembles a police procedural.
From a drug policy perspective, Griffin is not great. For him, that
cocaine is illegal is unquestioned, and the role of its illegality in generating both violence and black-market profits in the billions goes
largely unmentioned. He does mention that if cocaine were legal, that
money launderer would just be considered a hard-working professional,
but he leaves it at that.
At least Mayor Ferre acknowledged the role of cocaine capital in helping
build the city: He called the illicit drug trade "a depravity of the
human soul," but then went on to say that "from the economic point of
view, once the money goes to the bank and gets deposited, and is loaned
out to build more condominiums, well, money is money."
Miami's 1980 cocaine crisis was, of course, only part of the city's
struggle that year. After Dade County police beat Black motorcyclist Art McDuffy to death in late 1979, the city's Black community seethed with
anger, and when an all-White jury in Tampa cleared the killer cops of
any criminal liability, Liberty City exploded in some of the worst race
riots of the past half-century. Over three days in May, the destruction
left 10 Blacks and eight Whites dead and at least $80 million in
property damage before the flames died down. Griffin details the
trajectory of this disaster in fine form.
At the same time, tensions over immigration exploded when Fidel Castro responded to pressure (from within and without) to let disaffected
Cubans leave the island by opening the doors to a flotilla of boats
piloted by Miami Cubans gone to rescue their family members. This
resulted in the Mariel boatlift, in which more than 100,000 Cubans were
ferried to Miami. But Castro had the last laugh, using the boatlift to
dump thousands of prisoners, mental patients, and other "anti-social
elements" on Florida.
Between the cocaine cowboys, the racial tensions that exploded in
Liberty City, and the radical demographic shift heralded by the
Marielitos, 1980 was indeed a watershed year for Miami. Nicholas Griffin
turns the tangled tales of triple trouble into an eminently readable and illuminating tale, even if he doesn't provide us with a scathing
critique of the results of cocaine prohibition.
bliss -- Cacao Powered... (-SF4ever at DSLExtreme dot com)
bobbie sellers - a retired nurse in San Francisco
"It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the beans of cacao that the thoughts acquire speed,
the thighs acquire girth, the girth become a warning.
It is by theobromine alone I set my mind in motion."
--from Someone else's Dune spoof ripped to my taste.