California debating marijuana legalization

posted at 12:40 pm on February 24, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

More than a decade ago, California legalized marijuana used for “medicinal” purposes, leading to the establishment of pot clubs and setting off a confrontation with the federal government.  Now they want to end the medical pretense and make cannabis flat-out legal for personal use.  The Assembly will take AB390 under consideration, supported by those who see an economic benefit from bringing the industry out of the shadows.  Critics see a whopping hypocrisy from the nanny-staters:

Smoke weed – help the state?

Marijuana would be sold and taxed openly in California to adults 21 and older if legislation proposed Monday is signed into law.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said his bill could generate big bucks for a cash-starved state while freeing law enforcement agencies to focus on worse crimes.

“I think there’s a mentality throughout the state and the country that this isn’t the highest priority – and that maybe we should start to reassess,” he said.

Critics counter that it makes no sense for a Legislature so concerned about health that it has restricted use of trans fats in restaurants to legalize the smoking of a potentially harmful drug.

That does make for a strange conflict.  California’s legislature may label trans fats more dangerous than marijuana to the public.  Regulating one while deregulating the other seems very hypocritical — and calls into question whether the state has the competence to understand personal choices better than the people making them.  Given this example, I’d say no.

Moving beyond that to the issue itself, California and other states will have to make some hard choices on law-enforcement policies as monies start running low in a deep recession.  The Wall Street Journal makes the same point in a column today by the former presidents of Brazil, Mexico and Colombia about the war on drugs in general.  They wonder whether selective enforcement and prevention might prove more effective:

In this spirit, we propose a paradigm shift in drug policies based on three guiding principles: Reduce the harm caused by drugs, decrease drug consumption through education, and aggressively combat organized crime. To translate this new paradigm into action we must start by changing the status of addicts from drug buyers in the illegal market to patients cared for by the public-health system.

We also propose the careful evaluation, from a public-health standpoint, of the possibility of decriminalizing the possession of cannabis for personal use. Cannabis is by far the most widely used drug in Latin America, and we acknowledge that its consumption has an adverse impact on health. But the available empirical evidence shows that the hazards caused by cannabis are similar to the harm caused by alcohol or tobacco.

If we want to effectively curb drug use, we should look to the campaign against tobacco consumption. The success of this campaign illustrates the effectiveness of prevention campaigns based on clear language and arguments consistent with individual experience. Likewise, statements by former addicts about the dangers of drugs will be far more compelling to current users than threats of repression or virtuous exhortations against drug use.

Such educational campaigns must be targeted at youth, by far the largest contingent of users and of those killed in the drug wars. The campaigns should also stress each person’s responsibility toward the rising violence and corruption associated with the narcotics trade. By treating consumption as a matter of public health, we will enable police to focus their efforts on the critical issue: the fight against organized crime.

This sounds like double-speak.  Besides decriminalizing marijuana, which would actually remove the profit potential of the criminal gangs, one cannot fight organized crime without fighting the actual crimes they commit — and the people with whom they commit them.  Imagine a world in which prostitution was illegal but the customers break no laws in procuring sex for money.  Can anyone imagine successful prosecutions of the hookers and pimps if the system explicitly allowed johns to walk free?  It’s absurd.

So is the notion that we need to set up a public-health system for addicts.  I sympathize with the libertarian argument of personal choice, more so for marijuana than most other substances, but don’t sell me personal choice and then demand a publicly-funded support system for it.  If we have to pay for the latter, then keep throwing the users in prison.  The people need to carry the burden and costs of their own personal choices without making it everyone else’s problem, or else we’re back at the original rationale for the war on drugs.

California has other motives than personal choice.  They see a multibillion-dollar industry that exists below the radar of taxation, thanks to its illicit status.  Legalizing pot means allowing transactions to become above-board and eligible for sales and income tax.  I wonder how much of that will evaporate, though, once weed gets legalized.  It’s easy to grow almost anywhere, especially in California, and most users would probably start growing their own supply once the deterrent of law enforcement gets removed.

I keep meaning to schedule John Holowach for my show to discuss his film High: The True Tale of American Marijuana.  I’ll try to get him soon.


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This is a really lame point too. It’s saying “Oh, sure. You might have a point philosophically, but you aren’t thinking about the REAL WORLD.” Except we do have a real world precedent for ending prohibition: ending alchohol prohibiton, and of course, society didn’t crumble.

The real intellectual BS comes in when prohibitionists insist that booze prohibition was TOTALLY DIFFERENT. Sure, it’s an extremely potent example of how you can’t stop people for using a product that has high demand, but it DOESN’T COUNT. Totally, totally nonsense and dishonest. Just read this damn book on booze prohibition. If by the end of you don’t see the striking parrelels between failed booze prohibition and failed pot prohibition, you are just too far gone to ever understand the truth.

justfinethanks on February 24, 2009 at 8:31 PM

Its nothing like alcohol. Try another angle.

Itchee Dryback on February 24, 2009 at 10:21 PM

Its nothing like alcohol. Try another angle.

Itchee Dryback on February 24, 2009 at 10:21 PM

Wow, you sure proved my theory that prohibitionists dishonestly try to claim that this is nothing like booze prohibition wrong.

Anti prohibitionists have the philosophical angle (personal freedom), we have historical precedent (the lifting of booze prohibition, de facto legalization in LA and Canada), and prohibitionists have nothing. Prohibition is a failure and legalization is the cure. This is as true as anything you will ever find in politics, economics, or history. Whether or not you finally accept it is merely a matter of persuasion.

justfinethanks on February 24, 2009 at 10:40 PM

Its nothing like alcohol. Try another angle.

Itchee Dryback on February 24, 2009 at 10:21 PM

what an ignorant comment……

zbunde on February 24, 2009 at 11:39 PM

Oh so smiley faces mean you are making crap up and posting bs.

Jamson64 on February 24, 2009 at 9:08 PM

I’ve reviewed our original comment chain and don’t see how your having resorted to personal insults has anything to do with our later comments. Not that it matters much since people can judge for themselves.

It’s not that long, so here it is:

I saw high school friends’ entire personalities change as a result of smoking “herb” on a regular basis. That was in the mid ’70’s. To say it is not harmful is really advancing a simplistic argument.

kingsjester on February 24, 2009 at 6:16 PM

Then you should support legalization, which will make it much more difficult for kids to get their hands on it.

FloatingRock on February 24, 2009 at 6:49 PM

FloatingRock-

you appear to passively agree with the jester’s point. so I guess you must think it does harm and does change personalities.

Jamson64 on February 24, 2009 at 7:22 PM

Yes, children shouldn’t smoke pot.

But some of them do and it’s easier for them to get than alcohol. That would change with legalization.

FloatingRock on February 24, 2009 at 7:27 PM

I am trying to find the logic and reason in your response to my post. I tend to be open to legalizing pot but every time I run into the subject of legalization I run into guys like you …then not so much.

Jamson64 on February 24, 2009 at 7:53 PM

Maidee: 2 There seems to be some mental retardation attendant with pot smoking but whether this is transitory confusion or a permanent condition, admittedly, has not been scientifically proven yet.

Are you sure it has not been proven? Have you read FloatingRocks posts?

Jamson64 on February 24, 2009 at 8:19 PM

FloatingRock on February 24, 2009 at 11:39 PM

2 There seems to be some mental retardation attendant with pot smoking but whether this is transitory confusion or a permanent condition, admittedly, has not been scientifically proven yet.

MaiDee on February 24, 2009 at 8:06 PM

The best available science indicates that there is no link to smoking MJ and mental retardation. Not only that, but I’m not aware that even government or anti-drug propaganda claims that there is a link.

FloatingRock on February 24, 2009 at 11:48 PM

Wow.

and most users would probably start growing their own supply once the deterrent of law enforcement gets removed.

Talk about talking out of your ass.

A Axe on February 25, 2009 at 1:37 AM

As they say, it beats trans fats

Maybe we will get lucky and the San Andreas fault will finally blow, making the whole question moot

That would eliminate Arnold and save me the pain of watching his biceps deflate

entagor on February 25, 2009 at 2:46 AM

It’s legal in the Netherlands.

Look at the Netherlands.

Oh dear.

Penguin on February 25, 2009 at 2:55 AM

The war on drugs undermines the 4th Amendment. The cops get their info from drug users. In some cities, more than half the raids are on the wrong addresses. People get terrorized in their own homes and occasionally both cops and innocent citizens get killed.

I do not care if it is legal but I do think we should have a right to privacy in our own homes. Keep it off the streets but keep the police out of our homes.

Laurence on February 24, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Pretty much my position.

I will add this:

I’ll begin with a paraphrase: A libertarian is a conservative who’s been mugged. By the cops.

I speak from first hand experience.

In my case the task force had the right address, but the wrong information from one of the local crackhead/snitches.

On at least two other occasions they didn’t.
On one of those occasions, the cops ended up breaking the arm of a pregnant woman.

No physical injuries in my situation, but I’ll admit to being psychologically stressed while prone on the floor of my living room with a coupla shotguns aimed at my head.

After finally placing a badge in front of my face. they cuffed me and placed me on my sofa. Where I stayed until they left hours later. Empty handed.

They did pretty much trash my house. And refused to pay for the door they kicked in. Ironically, had they waited even ten seconds I would have already opened the door for them.

But the most galling part was when one “officer”, (and i use the term lightly) said “Looks like we’re gonna get us a nice stereo”. Not “where are the drugs?”. Not “we’re getting a dangerous drug dealer (my case, not to both) off the streets”.

I’ll repeat that and let the police state ramifications reflected in the “officer’s” mind set sink in.

“Looks like we’re gonna get a nice stereo”.

That’s not a police officer. That’s a thief with a badge.

I’ve not read the few hundred posts before the one I’m replying to, so someone else may have already made my point.

The “War on (some) Drugs” is a nightmare for anyone who values their liberty.

Asset forfeiture laws are extremely dangerous in a free society. They turn cops into revenue generators.
Kind of a local yokel speed trap. On steroids.
And as Laurence said, cops and innocents sometimes get killed.

I’ve had this discussion with a number of present and former cops. Most, would rather spend time preventing real crimes than busting a stoner.

All that having been said. I would support laws against operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.

I would also support harsh penalties for anyone who stole, robbed, and/or killed someone while under the influence.

And no, “I was stoned and judgementally impaired” defense.

But treating a public health problem as a law enforcement problem is insane.

Mankind has been attempting to alter his mental state ever since the first caveman discovered that the mushrooms he ate, or that the fermented jiuce from the berries he had stashed produced a “different feeling”.

Any war on drugs is bound to fail, because like another failed ideaology , Marxism, it’s an attempt at changing the very nature of humans. (yeah, I know some people refuse to see Marxism as failed.)

And that change will only happen through evolution.

It must occur internally.

It cannot be imposed by an external influence.

soundingboard on February 25, 2009 at 3:29 AM

BuckeyeSam on February 24, 2009 at 2:07 PM

A nation of snitches eh?

Might as well change the name America to The United States of Fidel.

soundingboard on February 25, 2009 at 3:41 AM

Alcohol, unless you’re predisposed to alcoholism, also requires fairly long-term use before detrimental effects arise. I will say that alcohol is more dangerous than cigarettes because it can lead to drunk-driving accidents and a lot of stupid and even violent behavior. Still, if you’re only tying one on, you have only a hangover the next morning.

Perhaps you’ve never heard of this.

soundingboard on February 25, 2009 at 3:51 AM

Alcohol is a barbiturate, not a hallucinogen.

Esthier on February 24, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Shh…Harvey’s standing right beside you.;)

And sorry for the little nit pick, but alcohol is not a barbituate. Those are a completely separate class of drugs.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant tho.

soundingboard on February 25, 2009 at 4:10 AM

the war on marijuana and to a larget extent on drugs, is lost in advance simply because you can’t win.

what the gvt should do, in my opinion, is simply to legalize it, drugs related crime would drop, drug usage would stay around the same, and cops would be able to focus on war they can win.

sun on February 25, 2009 at 4:19 AM

I say decriminalization. Legalization involves the government and taxation…They’ll end up subsidizing Marijuana farmers to get votes..

Subsidized Ethanol-Failure
Subsidized Health Care(Medicare and Insurance)-Failure
Subsidized Retirement(SS)-Failure and Bankrupt
Subsidized Airline industry-Failure
Soon to be subsidized Banks-Future Failure

See where I’m going with this? If the government touches it it is the opposite of King Midas-More like King Septic Cleaner……………

adamsmith on February 25, 2009 at 7:17 AM

Anti prohibitionists have the philosophical angle (personal freedom), we have historical precedent (the lifting of booze prohibition, de facto legalization in LA and Canada), and prohibitionists have nothing. Prohibition is a failure and legalization is the cure. This is as true as anything you will ever find in politics, economics, or history. Whether or not you finally accept it is merely a matter of persuasion.

justfinethanks on February 24, 2009 at 10:40 PM

I wasn’t referring to the philosophy of prohibition.

I meant the controlling and regulating the actual substance has zero parallels to alcohol.
We’re dealing with the realities of it and not the idea of it.

Itchee Dryback on February 25, 2009 at 9:14 AM

decriminalize what aspect of it?

Itchee Dryback on February 25, 2009 at 9:16 AM

adamsmith on February 25, 2009 at 7:17 AM

to my question above concerning decriminalization.

Itchee Dryback on February 25, 2009 at 9:17 AM

what an ignorant comment……

zbunde on February 24, 2009 at 11:39 PM

How so? Whats being ignored?

Itchee Dryback on February 25, 2009 at 9:19 AM

Penguin on February 25, 2009 at 2:55 AM

No it isn’t. It never was.

Itchee Dryback on February 25, 2009 at 9:21 AM

Legalize it and tax it, California will be in the black in 3 months.

workingforpigs on February 25, 2009 at 9:22 AM

In some cities, more than half the raids are on the wrong addresses.

Laurence on February 24, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Oh…bullshiit.

Itchee Dryback on February 25, 2009 at 9:22 AM

“Looks like we’re gonna get a nice stereo”.

They took your stereo?

Itchee Dryback on February 25, 2009 at 9:24 AM

We’re all gonna need to get high, just to forget the hell we are living under and the tyrany of The Messiah…

Smoke em if ya got em!

Mark Garnett on February 25, 2009 at 9:28 AM

Reminds me of a story a friend once told me,he was in a psycology class and the teacher asked the students what they felt was more dangerous someone drinking and driving or someone smoking pot and driving.Every student in the class said drinking and driving my friend disagreed his out look came with personal experiance as he stated he had earned 4 dui’s trying to get from one side of town to the other yet he had driven over a million miles while smoking pot.His favorite saying is drunk drivers kill people pot smokers miss thier exits,he quit drinking alcohol he now smokes pot and drinks chocolate milk

heshtesh on February 25, 2009 at 10:10 AM

I obviously screwed up the story the students said smoking pot and driving my friend disagreed.

heshtesh on February 25, 2009 at 10:28 AM

I think everything should be legalized, the rub being that if you want to buy drugs you will need to be fingerprinted and provide a DNA sample. This way when a crime is committed we will more likely be able to know exactly who committed it.

kagai on February 25, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Late to the discussion, and a lot of the cogent points have already been made – some of them rather well, though apparently not well enough to overcome what appears to be the willfully obtuse of some of the commenters in the thread.

To one of the points I saw folks lured by troll bait over – quick responses:

Q: But whyyyyyy do you want to smoke pot?

A: Because I want to. That’s the only answer you need, or deserve, to that question.

This illustrates a major philosophical difference – Those asking that question, or ‘me too’ing a demand for a lengthy, reasoned, air-tight justification for allowing the indulgence in a diversionary vice are of a mindset that puts them on the same sheet of music with Henry Waxman and Carrie Nations – that of sanctimoniuos puritanical do-gooder ‘just trying to do what’s best for everyone’, as individual liberty and the ability of individuals to make their own choices and accept the consequences thereof are overlooked as suddenly less important than the ability to tell others what to do ‘for their own good’, with a few general public welfare noises thrown in for good measure. On the other hand, the ‘stupid stoners’, aside from advocating something they really like to do, and wish to be left alone to do, are holding a position that would be much more recognizable (and probably more politically palatable) to the original framers of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Now, a few disclosures – I wholly support the complete decriminalization of the production, transportation, sale, possession, and use of Cannabis Sativa by consenting adults. Yes, I myself have indulged in the recreational use of this substance, and I have greatly enjoyed the experiences. From both data I’ve reviewed, and through personal experience and observation, it is my assessment that even with daily use, Cannabis use itself apparently causes fewer health consequences than a a number of other ‘legal’ substances. I’d much rather get into a car (or plane, or train, or any other mechanical contraption) with an operator I’d just shared a joint with, than someone with a cold that had self-medicated with over the counter cough/cold medicine. And I’d certainly rather ride in something with someone actually smoking a joint than mindlessly yapping into their cellphone as the control a ton of metal in the midst of other humans. To those that would call this a false choice, true, the optimal situation would be a completely sober (and undistracted) operator – still if you wish to open the equivalency box here, be prepared for the data to come up a bit short when it comes time to use it to back up your assertions. Because there are studies out there, using reasonable methodology, that appear to indicate that the effects of marijuana on the species homo sapiens appear to only minimally reduce their ability to competently operate a vehicle, even during periods of moderately intense intoxication. But of course, that’s just some egghead study, probly done by a bunch of them shifty furriners. So let’s consider this – The statistics tell us that there are millions of americans who have tried pot, and of those, a significant percentage liked it enough to continue smoking it, either on an occasional or regular basis. Now, of those that have chosen to do so on a regular basis, a certain percentage of them report that they imbibe on a daily basis – and probably for a large number of these folks, the time indicated on whatever clock is available probably isn’t really a factor. So, it could be 9am, 2pm, 4:20pm, etc, etc – the point being, you’ve probably been out driving around in a situation where 4 or 5 cars out of a hundred, in a moderately sized American city, is potentially being operated by someone under the influence of dope!! OMFG!!!!!!!!! So, basically – you’ve been driving around for years with a bunch of potheads – and, oh, aside from the anecdotal recounting from the gentleman in Florida who had a bad car wreck and the other driver happened to be stoned, I’d have no problems whatsoever with seeing the results of a pure causality assessment seeking to identify the actual accident rates involved – but I seriously doubt that a ‘pure’ study such as this exists, as it’s hard to imagine a methodology that would reliably exclude other contributory factors. Still, I will acknowledge that, as a society, it is probably in the greater public interest to discourage the operation of vehicles while under the influence of any performance degrading substance. If it was a matter of degree, however, I’d be more likely to cite and fine the driver that’d chugged some Dayquil and hit the road than a stoner with a mild buzz on, if it was a choice I had the ability to make.

As to the economics and organized crimes aspect of the issue – well, it should be a given that the current state of affairs is completely and wholly a situation of our own creation, from our often irrational and paranoia/fear fueled nanny statist tendencies. Someone else pointed out earlier, that if they were an organized crime guy, they wouldn’t be able to come up with a better money making idea than to keep drugs illegal. Excellent point, that. The government prohibition, in the face of ongoing demand, is a large part the mechanism and environment by which organized crime is able to thrive. True, the legalization of pot would not likely bring an end to organized crime – but it would certainly cut down on the overhead noise level, and allow the better use of limited law enforcement resources and personnel to place much more emphasis on those things we know to be truly dangerous. For instance – would you rather have your tax dollars sent to fund the ridiculously ineffective local cash cow known as the D.A.R.E program, which is doing such a wonderful job stemming demand by nipping it in the bud, or would you rather that money be used for scanners and detectors at our ports and border crossings, ones that can detect voids filled with cocaine or heroine, or. . . ida know. . .nasty things terrorists might like to use on use that aren’t actually, you know, drugs. Me, I’d rather see the local yokels detailed out to do D.A.R.E. crap assigned to at least make a showing around the local watering holes at quitting time as a deterrent to the drunks, or make one more pass by the shopping mall to make sure there’s no break-ins, and up the chances we might interdict (along with some drugs) a present from our Iranian friends.

And while we’re talking tax money – it isn’t all good news on the legalization side on that front. The primary reason is that most of the numbers being tossed around are based on the artificially inflated prices that MJ sells for currently – which is completely disconnected from actual production costs. No one out there really thinks it costs $800/oz (even allowing a 10-15% profit margin) to produce even high quality MJ, do they? If you do, well, I don’t hold out a lot of hope for your appearance with Drew Carey on the Price is Right. But what is a realistic number? It will probably be significant, but not of the magnitude some of the politicians and advocates are claiming. On the other hand, it won’t be zero, either. If MJ were to be legalized, and controlled a la tobacco and alcohol, there would arise large corporate producers, who would develop and distribute a marketable product, and yes, there would probably be a re-distribution of the facings in the cigarette display at the convenience store. But, where MJ would differ from tobacco, and not so much from alcohol, is that it is something that individuals could produce for themselves, were they inclined to do so. Would everyone do it? Probably not, for the same reasons people who are perfectly capable of baking their own bread buy prepared loaves from the supermarket. Convenience. The point is, that to generate the amount of money these folks are talking, there’d have to be a supporting demand for the commercially distributed products, matched with a tax levy that is sufficient to garner the level of funds, without artificially depressing the market (or causing it to re-morph into a cottage industry, not unlike a lot of what goes on today). It’s a slippery eel – if the politicos squeeze it too hard, it’ll just go back to being clandestine. And if Cannabis is legalized, it’s going to come under the same negative PR blitz that tobacco has gotten, which will probably do more to suppress use rates than any of the moralistic arguments (which have been working so well, so far. Great job!) – such that usage/purchase figures will probably be on par or less than tobacco and alcohol are today. The final picture will have to be determined by the marketplace – but leaving an economic question with this many unknown variables in the ham-fisted paws of most politicians, it’s probably more likely that those magical numbers won’t be realized.

But before we leave the balance sheet – the cost savings, or more accurately, the ability to redirect more efficiently the resources freed up from playing an elaborate hide and seek gotcha game with a significant portion of the American public – would be enormous. And get out yer pitchforks, folks, but I’m completely behind the President when he says he’s for ending programs that just plain don’t work (although this isn’t what he was talking about, and probably nothing more than a platitude he tossed out, that he really isn’t going to take concrete action on).

Also – the whole ‘gateway drug’ concept. Please. It’s a conveniently scary label to hang off such a little leaf, but it’s a willfully twisted and convoluted approach to looking at it. One in which it’s necessary to completely ignore or deny that there are actually people out there with a pre-disposition for rebellious and or experimental inclinations mixed with addictive personality conditions – and that those people are going to seek out new and different substances to experiment with, or become dependent upon, regardless of whatever laws, norms, or customs they live under permit them or not. Call them pure escapists if you will, but they’ll be there, and do what they do, with or without legal MJ, or MJ at all, for that matter. Point is, you won’t deter them, just change the course of their path somewhat. It’s the behaviour, not the modalities of expression, that should be the issue, particularly when the vast, VAST majority of other practitioners of the given modality (smoking pot) do NOT exhibit the unwanted behaviour (e.g. immediately began planning convenience store stickups to finance an 8 ball of black tar heroin, while looking for a shooting gallery where they can urinate on themselves as they overdose.) Ya know, some of the freed up resources mentioned earlier could probably do a lot of good actually identifying and helping THESE sorts of folks – which to me, naive as I may be, seems like a better use of those resources, than trying to catch Roger and Betty who have a little herb garden in their basement for their own personal use.

That brings us back to the libertarian aspect, which in a way magnifies the outrage at the waste of money, time and resources – and that is the consideration of the human costs, in blood, that these policies have wrought, by creating circumstance and situations that have cost too many law enforcement professionals and innocent citizens their lives or their freedom. It has been the engine that has served as the justification for an increasingly militarized law enforcement contingent, and many of us find the misuse or abuse of the power of the state, at a level of lethal intensity, to be much more troubling and problematic for this nation than wether or not Johnny smoked a bowl with his buddies after school.

A HA! So, I don’t care if kids smoke dope!!!!! Er, yeah, I do, actually. I’m willing to make allowance that there is the potential for, after 3000 years of use by homo sapiens of all ages, that there is some sort of health related developmental bogey man lurking out there that we stupid humans just haven’t identified yet. Fair enough. But that’s not why I’m in favor of age restricting it. My position is one based on informed consent, and the supposition that children and teenage adolescents are still developing and forming their ability to make informed and carefully considered choices – basically for the same reasons that we don’t allow children under 18 to do quite a number of things. But once a person has reached an age where society says that they’ve been here long enough to consider that they understand how to, and are therefore able to make their own choices. . .

And while this will be dismissed as a pure fantasy, it’s easy for me to envision lower teen/young adult MJ use rates if it is legalized, and treated as a controlled substance along with cigarettes and booze. How? Picture it – MJ is now around (convenince store!), and all the ‘old folks’ that have been closet users for years are now ‘visible’. Not completely satisfied, because of the certainty someone is enjoying themselves somewhere, somehow, the like of Henry Waxman will still be hot on his nanny-statist crusade to save everyone from everything, and so there’s likely to be a government sponsored “don’t be a dope” ad campaign, similar to what’s going on with tobacco. Whereas the circumstance today amplifies the sense of adventure, danger, thrill, and attendant peer pressure of being the rebel – how the hell can you be a rebel doin shit that your grandpa likes to do? Peer pressure comes into play, the numbers drop off. Will some kids still get ahold of weed. Sure will, it ain’t a perfect solution, but it will now be the same set of rules as for alcohol and tobacco – a system that works pretty well, when compared to the ‘success’ we’ve experienced with Richard Nixon’s favorite approach to the whole problem.

Oh, one final disclaimer. yeah, I have a personal interest in this. I’d like to be able to sit, in the comfort and privacy of my own home, and make use of an exquisitely designed delivery mechanism, to partake of either the piney, evergreen taste of a fine Sinsemilla, or the musty, ‘basement taste’ of some industrial brown. I’d like to be able to experience the altered state of consciousness that I’m certain this activity will produce, for no other reason than it pleases me. Absolutely self-indulgent and decadent. Please, don’t tell me to just have a drink instead – for I absolutely, positively abhor the taste of alcohol, disdain the loss of motor and reflex control alcohol causes, and completely loathe awaking with nausea and a splitting headache.

But, if you insist upon engaging in what I consider to be such a silly and stupid behaviour, I believe that is your choice to make, and I completely respect and support your ability to make it.

A little reciprocity on this point would be greatly appreciated.

Wind Rider on February 25, 2009 at 2:09 PM

Wow, this still getting posts?
Exit Quetion(be honest): Who’s high right now, in this thread?

abobo on February 25, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Exit QuetionQuestion(be honest):

Sorry bout that, gotta sticky “S” on the key board- dont ask…

abobo on February 25, 2009 at 3:13 PM

:^”

vs

;^)

profitsbeard on February 25, 2009 at 4:24 PM

“Looks like we’re gonna get a nice stereo”.
They took your stereo?

Itchee Dryback on February 25, 2009 at 9:24 AM

No. But had they found anything, they would have taken my stereo, and my house, my vehicle, and any other assets that may have been purchased with “drug profits”.
(just for the record, i’ve never been a dealer, so i’ve never had any drug profits)

Oh, and had they seized any assets, the crackhead informant would have been eligible for a percentage.
Nice huh?

soundingboard on February 25, 2009 at 6:40 PM

I don’t think using MJ is the wisest choice, but as a problem, the potentials for a nuclear winter or a naturally occurring new ice age (which now seems more likely than global warming) dwarf it. Indeed, T. S. Eliot might have said:

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bong but a winter.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on February 25, 2009 at 7:49 PM

This won’t be a problem as long as there is the proper oversight, but since we’re talking about CA here you know this is going to be a disaster.

Cr4sh Dummy on February 25, 2009 at 8:23 PM

, the potentials for a nuclear winter or a naturally occurring new ice age (which now seems more likely than global warming) dwarf it.
Dr. Charles G. Waugh on February 25, 2009 at 7:49 PM

Thats really funny. +1

Itchee Dryback on February 25, 2009 at 8:28 PM

No. But had they found anything, they would have taken my stereo, and my house, my vehicle, and any other assets that may have been purchased with “drug profits”.

Oh, and had they seized any assets, the crackhead informant would have been eligible for a percentage.
Nice huh?

soundingboard on February 25, 2009 at 6:40 PM

Reeeally??… if they would have found anything?

What part of the country do you live in, because that would be a first. Do you know anyone that this has happened to?

Itchee Dryback on February 25, 2009 at 8:30 PM

Having lost a few friends who started off with “beer and weed” then graduated on to stronger stuff I see MJ as less of a “gateway drug” than “training wheels on the road to hell”.
If we are worried about the effects of alcohol and cigarettes on society then why should we promote a third problem? How many more drug related deaths per year do we need?

mad scientist on February 25, 2009 at 8:58 PM

This won’t be a problem as long as there is the proper oversight, but since we’re talking about CA here you know this is going to be a disaster.

Cr4sh Dummy on February 25, 2009 at 8:23 PM

:-) Perhaps advocates should hope that CA *doesn’t* go forward with this, or that another state is the first to go forward, on the premise that if CA does it, they will invariably mess it up and make it look like a *terrible* idea to the other states (no matter *what* its intrinsic merits are)!

RD on February 25, 2009 at 9:44 PM

I live in So California and I am retired law enforcement.

In most So Cal cities, they rarely arrest people for simple possession now and if they do it is a $50 ticket.This has not increased Drug DUI’s or crazed zombies running through the streets.Actually, it has freed most cops to go after the real criminals while on duty.

I too am for the de criminalization of Marijuana and other drugs. The war on drugs is a complete disaster and it has corrupted far too many that are supposed to be enforcing the law. If you doubt that, check out what kind of car or toys your neighborhood narcotics detective is driving or own.

I cannot figure out why it is so difficult for the people and politicians to understand how quickly the organized crime element will be put out of business the day legitimate businesses are able to sell a legal product. It is just like what happened to the mafia when alcohol prohibition was overturned. They turned to, guess what, drugs!

IMHO- The reason this insane war of drugs continues is that some people high in our Government are getting rich beyond imagination. We never bust the big dealers only the small time hoods at the street level for newspaper headlines

I am a member of LEAP that is composed of Judges, Police Officers and others that are involved in the drug war that want drugs decriminalized. We have seen first hand how the drug war has bred contempt of the citizens for authority and has corrupted the criminal justice system.

Please go to the LEAP Website for more information.

ScottyDog on February 25, 2009 at 10:36 PM

I used to be against the legalizing of Marijuana but I have changed my position. I’m gona need it to get through the Obama years…..jeez:
$634 billion for health care, and thats only a down payment.
$410 billion omnibus, just for March thru Sept.
And now he’s going to ban assault rifles PERMANENTLY….

From the whitehouse website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/urban_policy/

“Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.”

PASS THE BONG!

JeffVader on February 25, 2009 at 10:39 PM

Reeeally??… if they would have found anything?

What part of the country do you live in, because that would be a first. Do you know anyone that this has happened to?

Itchee Dryback on February 25, 2009 at 8:30 PM

Do a google on asset forfeiture. This allows the police to seize the assets or fruits of the crime even before they get a conviction in court and it is abused all the time.

I saw innocent people destroyed by this un-constitutional law when they were found not guilty in a trial. Usually they lost their business and homes while waiting for a court date. Bank accounts are impounded not allowing the charged person to mount a defense with no access to their funds.

I do not think this is what our founding fathers had in mind when they said you are innocent until proven guilty.

ScottyDog on February 25, 2009 at 10:43 PM

Reeeally??… if they would have found anything?

What part of the country do you live in, because that would be a first. Do you know anyone that this has happened to?

Itchee Dryback on February 25, 2009 at 8:30 PM

ScottyDog on February 25, 2009 at 10:43 PM

He said it better than I could.

There was a jurisdiction in south Louisiana, a few years back that was stopping people on I-10 and seizing cash from anybody & everybody they could. Innocent or not.

People had to prove the money was legit, rather than the other way around.

So much for innocent until proven guilty.

soundingboard on February 26, 2009 at 12:01 AM

Do a google on asset forfeiture. This allows the police to seize the assets or fruits of the crime even before they get a conviction in court and it is abused all the time.

I saw innocent people destroyed by this un-constitutional law when they were found not guilty in a trial. Usually they lost their business and homes while waiting for a court date. Bank accounts are impounded not allowing the charged person to mount a defense with no access to their funds.

I do not think this is what our founding fathers had in mind when they said you are innocent until proven guilty.

ScottyDog on February 25, 2009 at 10:43 PM

Whats that have to do with it? I’m aware of the practice of forfeitures, but how does that relate to the claim that “if they would have found anything they would have took all my stuff”? Also the example of a google search somehow proving that people on I 10 were the victim of police just randomly seizing innocent peoples money is bullshiit.

The seizure of cash until innocence is proven is the only way to deal with the problem. You can’t “freeze” a companies assets when its cash. If you let someone with 10K in his/her possession and a bag of coke in the spare tire, who has no job, ..or has a job.. drive off with the cash because they tell you that ” I’m going to give this money..which I’ve saved up for years..to my sick grandmother, and this isn’t my car, so I don’t know anything about the coke”,.. well that moneys gone back to the dealers. You can claim that there is no evidence absolutely tying it to drug dealing, but there exist a plausible assumption that it is in fact tied to drugs until the facts can be sorted out to an extent that can not be attained on the side of the road one sunny day. Perfect system? no. But its not a perfect world.
What alternative methods would you suggest?

And no.. any person involved in that situation is innocent until proven guilty. I’m not getting how you arrive at the conclusion that that principle is being violated??

I saw innocent people destroyed by this un-constitutional law when they were found not guilty in a trial. Usually they lost their business and homes while waiting for a court date.

Can you be more specific? If you personally know of a story, why not briefly tell it? I’d be curious to learn more about it.

Itchee Dryback on February 26, 2009 at 6:45 AM

it has corrupted far too many that are supposed to be enforcing the law. If you doubt that, check out what kind of car or toys your neighborhood narcotics detective is driving or own.

Really? What part of law enforcement were you in?
Just curious.

What are the means that are used to determine “Drug DUI’s”?
How is intoxication or impairment determined, on the spot?

Itchee Dryback on February 26, 2009 at 6:58 AM

I hope NJ will legalize marijuana. So much for progressivism! Where’s the progress? :/

Libertarian Joseph on February 26, 2009 at 12:18 PM

it has corrupted far too many that are supposed to be enforcing the law. If you doubt that, check out what kind of car or toys your neighborhood narcotics detective is driving or own.

Really? What part of law enforcement were you in?
Just curious.

What are the means that are used to determine “Drug DUI’s”?
How is intoxication or impairment determined, on the spot?

Itchee Dryback on February 26, 2009 at 6:58 AM

They have police officers go through a drug awareness certification. They determine whether your under the influence by using a card that has eye pupil size on a card. Once they determine that you appear to be under the influence they take you in for a drug test using your blood.

I worked on the street for over ten years and then went on to another LE career that I do not wish to share with this public forum.

Regarding relating how it has destroyed many lives. I do not have the time to serve you up one of the thousands I saw while I was in LE. If You want to be entertained,you might want to watch Law and Order or any of a number of good TV shows that show what happens when someone is arrested with drugs.

We are turning into a Polic State due to War On Drugs. Go to the LEAP website to learn more.

ScottyDog on February 26, 2009 at 2:01 PM

Itchee Dryback on February 26, 2009 at 6:58 AM

I will take the time to show you why I am against the War on Drugs with a few links.

Is this the kind of Sheriffs Department you want..Sheriff Lott is the Sheriff that has been in the news that intends to arrest Mr Phelps the Olympic swimmer that got caught with a photo of a bong in his possession.

Here is a photo of the kind of Department Sheriff Leon Lott intends to run here.Do yo really think it is necessary for a civilian LE agency to posses weapons of war to enforce our laws against the citizens in his county?

This is the kind of thinking that has taken over because of the war on drugs. Police Agencies now posses unnecessary weapons of war to show they are tough on crime. All too often they are used in drug busts and innocent people are killed or maimed.

I urge you to view the national map over at the CATO institute that shows just what happens when civilian police departments start using weapons of war enforcing our drug laws.
Botched Paramilitary Police Raids
Until GWB basically repealed the Posse Comitatus Act in this country this type of behavior by a police agency was illegal.

We are losing our Freedoms and Liberties due to the insane war on Drugs.

ScottyDog on February 26, 2009 at 2:38 PM

Whats that have to do with it? I’m aware of the practice of forfeitures, but how does that relate to the claim that “if they would have found anything they would have took all my stuff”? Also the example of a google search somehow proving that people on I 10 were the victim of police just randomly seizing innocent peoples money is bullshiit.

So you’re essentially calling me a liar?

To that I’ll just say: Intercourse Thyself.

The situation in the referred I-10 jurisdiction was even the subject of a Dateline NBC report.
The most egregious example was an elderly land-scaper carrying about 10k in cash who was on his way to purchase plants from a local nursery.

.
In my situation, the cops spent more time asking about ownership of my house and vehicle than they did questioning me about the alleged dealing.

But you just keep ignoring inconvienent facts that get in the way of your carved in stone ignorance.

Dumb-ass.

soundingboard on February 27, 2009 at 7:25 AM

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