Protest is sprouting throughout the university town of Göttingen, Germany. Last month, pro-pot activists who call themselves “A Few Autonomous Flower Children”planted several pounds of marijuana seeds in parks, city planters and even in front of the police station, in protest of the "demonization" of cannabis. The group says it's unfair that marijuana is prohibited in the country, while alcohol and tobacco are legal. “We can’t set eyes on this useful and beautiful plant because it’s absolutely forbidden in Germany to grow it,” they wrote in a letter in early June. Now the plants are beginning to sprout, and the local youth wing of the Green Party, Green Youth (GJ), is publishing photos on its website so readers can “enjoy with deep relaxation the majestic beauty of this magnificent plant!” But members of local law enforcement have not found the plants relaxing, and are using Green Youth's website as a guide to find the plants and remove them. “Everything that looks like hemp is torn out,” says Göttingen police spokeswoman Jasmin Kaatz. “This action is a big deal, people really put effort into it." An estimated 70 plants have been removed so far.
Glee star Cory Monteith was found dead on Saturday night in a Vancouver, British Columbia hotel room, just a few months after completing rehab for substance abuse. He was 31 years old. An autopsy is scheduled for today, but many suspect that his long battle with drug and alcohol addiction may have been the cause of his death. Monteith, who underwent a 30-day rehab stint in April, has been open about his history of addiction that began in his early teens. "I'm lucky on so many counts—I'm lucky to be alive," the actor said in a 2011 interview, revealing that he had started smoking pot and drinking by age 13, and descended into addiction by age 16. After multiple attempts to get clean, he finally got—and stayed—sober at age 19 after he was caught stealing a large sum of money from his family. "I was done fighting myself," he said. Monteith sustained his sobriety for well over a decade, and after rising to stardom on the musical comedy Glee, said he wanted to share his story in the hopes of helping others. "I don't want kids to think it's OK to drop out of school and get high, and they'll be famous actors, too," he said. "But for those people who might give up: Get real about what you want and go after it. If I can, anyone can." After his most recent relapse, Monteith's girlfriend and Glee co-star Lea Michele expressed support of his choice to go into rehab, declaring: "I love and support Cory and will stand by him through this. I am grateful and proud he made this decision."
- Legal Pot Prompts a Question: What About Hash? [USA Today]
- DC Council Gives Initial Approval To New Public Smoking Ban [Huffington Post]
- Coke House: Cocaine Use Common in UK's Parliament [NY Post]
- NYC Cab Driver on the Loose After Killing Drunk Man, Police and Witnesses Say [Fox]
- A Drunk, Racist Former Goldman Sachs Employee Got Knocked Out [Atlantic]
- Elvis Crespo, Puerto Rican Singer, Admits Alcoholism After Public Beating And Defecation [Huffington Post]
- Tyson Gay Tests Positive for Banned Substance, Withdraws From World Running Championship [USA Today]
Seth Ferranti, The Fix's incarcerated correspondent, is currently in the "hole" at FCC Forest City, a federal prison in Arkansas. In a letter, he describes being held under 23-hour lockdown in the Special Housing Unit, in a six-by-nine-foot cell, since June 27. He is under investigation for an as-yet unspecified reason—but says that he believes that it is "retaliation" for articles he has written about addiction and recovery in prison. "The Bureau of Prisons doesn't like what I have been doing for The Fix," he writes, "so they have locked me in the hole under the pretense of SIS investigation. They have not notified me what I am in here for yet, but I have violated no rules, only written for publication." The SIS (Special Investigative Services), he explains, "is like the FBI in here. They investigate prison rule violations."
Ferranti has been in prison since 1993—when at the age of 22, he received a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. He has been in recovery from addiction for 10 years and has written regularly for The Fix since May 2012. He first informed us of problems related to his writing four weeks ago, saying he'd been "pulled up" by staff for failing adequately to disguise the identities of some sources in his recent article, "What Long-Term Recovery Looks Like From Prison." At his request, some identifying details in that story were then removed.
"Where I fucked up was when I mentioned that I was at FCC Forrest City," he writes now. "I got too specific and they zeroed in on me. Then I thought it was all good, but it spiralled from there. They started looking at all my other pieces, and I think what really did it was the smuggling series." His situation means he is currently ineligible to join the RDAP program, which could secure his early release in May 2014. "I'm good," he writes, "just bored with nothing to do. They won't give me any of my property besides a radio and shower shoes—no access to any of my research materials so I can spend the hours doing something productive."
The Fix asked the warden of FCC Forrest City and the South Central Regional Office of the Federal Bureau of Prisons for comment, but received no response. Prisoners are frequently permitted in practice to write for the media, so long as what they write is not deemed a security risk. But obtaining clarification of what is allowed and what is not, in halfway houses as well as prisons, is notoriously difficult. Julie Stewart, the founder of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), a nonprofit fighting for fairer sentencing laws, can't comment specifically on Ferranti's case, but says she finds it plausible that a prisoner might be held in the hole because of his writing, "if what he was writing was perceived as a threat." She adds, "Segregation should be used far more sparingly than it is, because it is so incredibly cruel."
Anyone wishing to inquire or express concern about Seth Ferranti (inmate 18205-083) can contact South Central Regional Office, Federal Bureau of Prisons at: SCRO/EXECASSISTANT@BOP.GOV
Senator Rand Paul's latest comment on marijuana has pro-pot activists a bit peeved. The self-proclaimed "constitutional conservative" US senator says in a Las Vegas Sun interview that chronic users "have a loss of IQ and a loss of ambition," and that his personal stance is that "marijuana use is not healthy." Despite this, the senator maintains his support for states' rights. "I support the right of the states to make the decision," he said when asked if he supports legal marijuana.
Paul is often outspoken in his criticism of the War on Drugs, but the likely 2016 presidential candidate's latest comments are "either pandering" or doing "some really smart coalition-building" according to NORML director Allen St. Pierre. "It was unfortunate, because Mr. Rand on the one hand is very critical of the drug war, but he wants to buffer his support by declaring, 'I don't smoke marijuana, I don't want my son to smoke marijuana, I don't want my dog to smoke marijuana,'" says St. Pierre. "He's carving out this fascinating position here." Though Paul's statement will rile most pro-pot people, he does not believe in prison sentences for minor, non-violent drug offenses.
His comment is based on "Reefer Madness-fueled fear-mongering instead of sound science," says Kris Hermes, spokesman for pro-medical marijuana group Americans for Safe Access. "Contrary to Senator Paul's unscientific assessment, there are more than 200 peer-reviewed studies that clearly show marijuana's medical efficacy," says Hermes. Mason Tvert, communications director of the Marijuana Policy Project, points to Paul's own marijuana use from his time at Baylor University: "As for loss of ambition, he himself used marijuana," says Tvert, referring to the bizarre "Aqua Buddha" anecdote—which involves a playful kidnapping and forced bong hits—that appeared in GQ in 2010. "I think if you use [marijuana] too much you won't show up for class," Paul said at an April 10 event at Howard University, "I think you'll eat too many Doritos." Perhaps the senator is speaking from experience?
Michael Cera didn't have any fake drugs on the set of his upcoming movie, Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus. His character in the film, Jamie, is on a quest in search of a slice of the famed hallucinogenic San Pedro cactus. Cera describes ingesting mescaline on camera with co-star Gaby Hoffman. "We drank the San Pedro, yeah. We do it on camera," he tells Huffpost Live. "When we drink it in the movie... it was actual drugs." Cera says he didn't feel any effects from the mescaline, but director Sebastián Silva confirms that Hoffman "lost her shit." Silva also admits to trying San Pedro and other similar hallucinogens and says that Jamie's reaction in the movie—in which he stares fixated at his hands and a crab—is fairly accurate to the effect the drug can have. "If you don't do crazy amounts, that's pretty much how you feel," says Silva. "You're a little more sensitive to things. You sort of see the simple things again. You're sort of reborn." Cera says that despite having limited experiences with hallucinogens, playing his character was not a difficult stretch: "There's a crab there and it's a fantastic thing for him to be looking at. It was pretty clear." Check out the interview below: