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Poke Smot, or not?
April 30, 2003 2:37 AM   Subscribe

The times, they are etcetera-ing. Jean Chrétien drew applause and a few whoops of joy at a fundraising dinner Tuesday night when he said that legislation decriminalizing possession of marijuana in Canada would soon be announced. "Don't start to smoke yet," he quickly cautioned the celebrants in the audience. Meanwhile, across the border, there are more than 236,000 drug offenders in state prisons. Hands up who's heading north.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken (94 comments total)

 
Disclaimer : I personally am not fond of the demon weed, but I do support decriminalization.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:38 AM on April 30, 2003


(sorry to editorialize : I just realized, too late, that this is pretty much a newsfiltery kind of post. I hang my head in shame for not exercising more restraint. These kinds of differences between Canada and America are endlessly interesting, to me at least, though. I'll pipe down now.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:42 AM on April 30, 2003


"the federal government and 23 states ratcheted up the mandatory-minimum concept another notch, by passing "three strikes" laws dictating prison sentences of 25 years to life for third felonies. These laws have undoubtedly taken some violent offenders out of circulation -- but they have also handed out life sentences to thousands of people for petty crimes from possessing a stolen bicycle or stealing a spare tire."

Come on. I'd like to see a 3rd strike person actually get it for stealing a spare tire.
posted by Keyser Soze at 2:55 AM on April 30, 2003


;)
posted by Keyser Soze at 2:56 AM on April 30, 2003


Didn't somebody forget to tell Vancouver that weed was illegal in the first place? Meanwhile, south of the border and elsewhere, smokers of the legal weed (tobacco) are being sanctimoniously reviled and criminalized. Peculiar.
posted by hama7 at 3:18 AM on April 30, 2003


For non smokers.
posted by ginz at 3:53 AM on April 30, 2003


between the illegal shrubbery and the illegal marijuana, canada looks better all the time. but i'm not ready to give up on the good old usa quite yet. she's always seemed to bounce back from these setbacks...
posted by quonsar at 4:27 AM on April 30, 2003


hama7,

show me where tobacco smokers are criminalized in the US?
posted by substrate at 4:39 AM on April 30, 2003


Stavros - It must have just slipped your mind, right?

Oh, and "pipe down". That's too funny.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:41 AM on April 30, 2003


Threestrikes.org

Most of the reduced sentences resulted from prosecutors or judges "striking strikes" ignoring one or more of a defendant's previous crimes in exchange for a guilty plea.

That's why it's a law system, not a justice system.
posted by emf at 4:47 AM on April 30, 2003


show me where tobacco smokers are criminalized in the US?

I can't yet. Show me an indoor public tobacco smoker in New York. Or Los Angeles, San Francisco?

By the same token, weed is not yet decriminalized in Canada.

Also, possesion of pot is not a criminal act in Montana or other states beneath a certain weight minimum and depending on the intent to distribute.
posted by hama7 at 4:57 AM on April 30, 2003


Writing the marijuana legisliation should be easy. Strike the statutes against, and any place the law says "tobacco" add the words "and marijuana." Automatic marijuana taxes. The government stands to make a fortune. And so does Big Marijuana.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:34 AM on April 30, 2003


hama7, maybe you should move to France. They love smoking there.
posted by The Michael The at 5:54 AM on April 30, 2003


Show me an indoor public tobacco smoker in New York. Or Los Angeles, San Francisco?

not wanting smokers around because they smell bad and make the air real unhealthy to breathe (not to mention the discomfort of smoke, making the eyes water, etc) is nothing like "criminalizing" them.
posted by kv at 6:25 AM on April 30, 2003


Prejudice against people who enjoy mind-altering substances is one of the last "acceptable" forms of bigotry in society. I will be glad to see it stripped from the legislature, but this is only a first, weak, kitten-step towards facing the dragon.
posted by walrus at 6:30 AM on April 30, 2003


not wanting smokers around because they smell bad

This is a judgement call. I personally enjoy the smell of tobacco smoke.
posted by walrus at 6:36 AM on April 30, 2003


make the air real unhealthy to breathe (not to mention the discomfort of smoke, making the eyes water, etc)

This is what I think of automobiles.
posted by walrus at 6:38 AM on April 30, 2003


They love smoking there.

Wonderful. I live in South Korea where everybody and their cousin smokes, (except women in *public*) so a move to France might be laterally fruitless at best. Plus, French taxes and idiotic socialism would drive me to utter distraction, and I despise their crummy participation in the U.N., which amounts to spineless hysterical browbeating and perpetual collusion with genocidal dictators.

Ah, but French bread and wine are among the best French things on earth.

In any case, the topic of this thread is decriminalization of weed, not legalization.

Sorry to derail with tobacco, but it just seems odd, is all.
posted by hama7 at 6:51 AM on April 30, 2003


Is it really that important to smoke pot?
posted by drstrangelove at 6:52 AM on April 30, 2003


Hey, hama7, maybe you ought to look at that photo of Rummy and Saddam again...
posted by drstrangelove at 6:54 AM on April 30, 2003


This is what I think of automobiles.

Right, and they don't let you drive a Hummer inside a restaurant either...
posted by Foosnark at 6:58 AM on April 30, 2003


hama7, maybe you should move to France. They love smoking there

We'd be delighted to have you in Portugal, hama7 - all the advantages of France with none of the embarrassments you mention, plus a lot of Italy, and the lovely Atlantic thrown in for good measure. And you can do anything you like, even if it isn't within reason. [ Reason is another French thing - ugh, rationalism = Ennui et Terreur! ]

[excuse derailment express]

posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:58 AM on April 30, 2003


Being right on the border of Windsor, this is a great thing.
posted by Degaz at 7:11 AM on April 30, 2003


Also, possesion of pot is not a criminal act in Montana or other states beneath a certain weight minimum and depending on the intent to distribute.

Doesn't matter. It's against US Federal law. Just ask Ed Rosenthal down in California if the Feds give a rat's ass about what the local or state authorities deem "OK". It's a Schedule I drug according to the Feds... no medical value... when even cocaine is ranked a Schedule II.
posted by BirdD0g at 7:14 AM on April 30, 2003


What gives the Feds the right to declare a drug illegal, anyway? As far as I know, it's not a right granted to them by the constitution (and as such, is reserved for the states). Not that the constitution is worth a rat's ass these days, but does anyone know what the federal government's justification is?

I know some drugs are trafficked over state lines, and I can understand the reasoning there, but pot can be grown in-state just about anywhere.
posted by toothgnip at 7:19 AM on April 30, 2003


As the only square left, I'd be happy to show all of the potheads to the border.
posted by Durwood at 7:20 AM on April 30, 2003




Note that pot isn't legalized in Canada, it's just decriminalized. So rather than spending time in jail you get a fine, though I think that selling is still illegal. I've never touched the stuff and I never will but at least for this particular drug the harm done by the sentences always seemed worse than the potential harm done by the drug itself.

And hama7, not being allowed to smoke in public places doesn't mean that smoking is criminalized any more than not being allowed to drink in public places means that alcohol is criminalized.
posted by substrate at 7:29 AM on April 30, 2003


Hands up who's heading north.

If one relocates to Canada for the purpose of smoking pot, one needs to seriously take stock of his life.

/occasional smoker
posted by dhoyt at 7:33 AM on April 30, 2003


Is it really that important to smoke pot?

You know, that is something I've always wondered. Potheads seem to worship their weed; they take pride in the fact that they smoke, how often they smoke, and how it makes them get fucked up. They customize their bongs, they preach the virtues of pot, and they think that if you don't smoke it too, then you are missing out on some deep part of life.

It is all rather cultish to me..
posted by eas98 at 7:40 AM on April 30, 2003


What gives the Feds the right to declare a drug illegal, anyway?

1) Commerce clause

2) Health and safety of the public - The reasoning of this one debatable, but the sovereign that the power inherently to pass these types of laws

I know some drugs are trafficked over state lines, and I can understand the reasoning there, but pot can be grown in-state just about anywhere.

See Wickard v. Filburn and United States v. Lopez and United States v. Perez.

toothgnip, you're not serous are you? Have ever read a real case in all your life? The Federal government has wide ranging powers. I'm not going argue against those powers because I know the good it can do good (at least from the Judaical branch - using your reasoning toothgnip, you're against every civil right case that was ever decided) and because given the case law of the last 60 years its a losing argument. But then again rational thinking has never been that hep thing around here.

toothgnip, you're no better than these guys if you persist in your federalism argument
posted by Bag Man at 7:40 AM on April 30, 2003


Plus, French taxes and idiotic socialism would drive me to utter distraction, and I despise their crummy participation in the U.N., which amounts to spineless hysterical browbeating and perpetual collusion with genocidal dictators.

Why I am shocked! shocked!
I had no idea you had such strong opinions on these matters.
posted by y2karl at 7:40 AM on April 30, 2003


Can I ask a question?

OK here it is. It's not a question my student friends want to consider, let alone the National Health Service, and I've received equal numbers of contradictory answers when I try to research it.

Does the act of smoking pure marijuana cause cancer?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:43 AM on April 30, 2003


Funny how someone thought 'Hey this is a great idea in baseball so why wouldn't it work in the justice system?"
posted by canucklehead at 7:50 AM on April 30, 2003


Pretty_Generic,

from way back in high school health class I recall that the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, was a carcinogen. I just did a check online though, and the MDS sheet says that THC is not a carcinogen. It turns out that there is a compound in marijuana, benzopyrene, which is a carcinogen however.

On the one hand the people I know who use marijuana smoke it a lot less than the cigarette smokers I know smoke cigarettes. On the other hand there are no filters on joints.

I don't think you will find an honest answer on this, or at least not easily. The anti-marijuana folks will make up statistics on the spot and so will the pro-marijuana folks.
posted by substrate at 7:59 AM on April 30, 2003


eas98: almost any subculture appears impenetrable to those not initiated in it. It's just a little group bonding. No different really than wearing a leather jacket to a bike rally.
posted by walrus at 8:07 AM on April 30, 2003


Bag Man, I wasn't arguing anything, I was just asking questions -- trying to get some more information so I can make an informed, reasoned judgment. Do you have any links to those cases you cite?
posted by toothgnip at 8:11 AM on April 30, 2003


there are more than 236,000 drug offenders in state prisons.

Wow, that's probably because they were convicted of a crime maybe? How many had no idea they were committing a crime when arrested? How many of those are there for crack or heroine or some other horribly addictive, horribly detrimental drug? Random numbers don't mean a thing without the rest of the story. How many sit in Canadian prisons on drug charges? Pot's not decriminalized yet there.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:14 AM on April 30, 2003


well, when i finally get thebig c, between the cigarette smoking (now ceased for almost 2 years), pot (old hippies never die, their joints just go out), asbestos (worked for a while in a garage doing brake jobs), aspartame (consistent, ongoing diet pepsi abuse), and alcohol abuse (now ceased for 15 years), ill-advised dietary practices (can you say colon cancer?), and let's not forget chronic masturbation, it'll be anybody's guess what the cause was.
posted by quonsar at 8:15 AM on April 30, 2003


Bag Man: The Commerce Clause (gives the Feds the right to declare a drug illegal).

toothgnip, you're not serous are you? Have ever read a real case in all your life? ...because given the case law of the last 60 years its a losing argument...The Federal government has wide ranging powers


The Commerce Clause:
The Congress shall have power to...regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes

The position that the Feds have no business whatsoever criminalizing drugs is perfectly reasonable. In fact, I think one would have to possess a deft mastery of the art of abstraction to make a case to the contrary.
posted by trharlan at 8:23 AM on April 30, 2003


... Potheads seem to worship their weed; they take pride in the fact that they smoke, how often they smoke, and how it makes them get fucked up. They customize their bongs, they preach the virtues of pot, and they think that if you don't smoke it too, then you are missing out on some deep part of life.

It is all rather cultish to me..


I think it's just one extreme creating another. Draconian anti-pot laws make stoners cling to their bongs more and more fervently.
posted by whatnot at 8:29 AM on April 30, 2003


The Congress shall have power to...regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes

That's pretty much what I was asking about before I was accused of murdering babies. I can see how something like this would affect cocaine, since most of that is transported across state lines, but I don't see how it affects people growing their own pot, or buying from the guy who grows down the block.
posted by toothgnip at 8:33 AM on April 30, 2003


... Potheads seem to worship their weed; they take pride in the fact that they smoke, how often they smoke, and how it makes them get fucked up. They customize their bongs, they preach the virtues of pot, and they think that if you don't smoke it too, then you are missing out on some deep part of life.

Funny. That describes a lot of alcohol drinkers I've run across, too.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:51 AM on April 30, 2003


eas98: Potheads seem to worship their weed; they take pride in the fact that they smoke, how often they smoke, and how it makes them get fucked up. [ ... ]

The potheads are the visible edge of the pot-smoker spectrum. I've known quite a few non-pothead pot smokers. They have normal jobs and normal lives and just like to catch a buzz at the end of a long week, the way other people like to have a beer or two. It's not a big deal. It's just a joint. It shouldn't be a crime.
posted by swerve at 9:10 AM on April 30, 2003


"We're not legalizing it, we're decriminalizing," said Chrétien who points out he has never smoked a joint.

Brownies, on the other hand...
posted by five fresh fish at 9:11 AM on April 30, 2003


How many of those [236,000 drug prisoners] are there for crack or heroin or some other horribly addictive, horribly detrimental drug?

See here, with summaries and plenty of pretty charts and bargraphs here.

Some numbers relevant to Pollomacho's question:

In recent years, about one hundred thousand drug offenders have been admitted to prison annually. Nationally, 31% of prison sentences are for drug offenses. 4% of drug offenses are for marijuana only. (Numbers for each state vary wildly. Most drug sentences are at the state level, not federal.)

At the state level, 28% of sentences were for simple possession, 56% for dealing, and the remainder for "other drug-related offenses (e.g., fraudulent prescriptions and unlawful possession of syringes)."

So, at a ballpark, keeping in mind that I'm badly mixing state and federal numbers, and that the last set of numbers is probably skewed by drugs other than marijuana, we wind up with 4000 people per year arrested solely for marijuana offenses, about 1000 of which are for simple possession.

Interestingly, this:

"The Bureau of Justice Statistics has reported that marijuana was involved in the current offense of 12.9 percent of drug offenders in state prison and 18.9 percent of drug offenders in federal prison."

implies that many marijuana arrests include other drugs as well, and/or that marijuana law is frequently used to increase the penalties for other offenses.
posted by ook at 9:13 AM on April 30, 2003


I don't think you will find an honest answer on this, or at least not easily. The anti-marijuana folks will make up statistics on the spot and so will the pro-marijuana folks.

That is not true. Pretty_Generic, actually a scientist, Dr. Mitch Earleywine, wrote Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence, the currently definitive review of all cannabis related research.

Dr. Earleywine spoke to this on Sunday Morning Edition, where he was interviewed by Liane Hansen. While this transcript is hosted on a pro-marijuana site, he is not a marijuana smoker or advocate. And I quote:

The biggest health risk associated with cannabis use right now just all has to do with lung function and although there aren't any documented cases of lung cancer in people who have smoked cannabis and only cannabis not cigarettes. There do seem to be some small changes in the lungs of people who smoke long term say twenty years or more that suggest they might be at risk for developing lung cancer.

There are no documented cases of lung cancer in people smoked only marijuana and not cigarettes. He does cite one study involving 123 people that suggests there is a slightly elevated risk for lymphatic cancers in the head and neck in marijuana smokers. Smoking cannabis is not risk free but it is not as harmful as smoking tobacco, which is generally smoked with far greater frequency by most tobacco smokers than marijuana is by marijuana smokers.

And, as Dr. Earleywine acknowledged in his interview, those who invest in a marijuana vaporizer can cut down on the harmful byproducts of combustion and lower the risks to their health dramatically.
posted by y2karl at 9:16 AM on April 30, 2003


Er, that's 4000 people per year arrested imprisoned.
posted by ook at 9:18 AM on April 30, 2003


but they have also handed out life sentences to thousands of people for petty crimes from possessing a stolen bicycle or stealing a spare tire

Umm...you've already been arrested twice, shouldn't you have learned your lesson and not steal bicycles or spare tires? Whether you're stealing money from a bank or candy from a baby, it's still stealing, which is illegal.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:23 AM on April 30, 2003


...and I just realized I screwed up one of my links, and that stavros already linked to more current data than I just did. Sigh.
posted by ook at 9:25 AM on April 30, 2003


We'd be delighted to have you in Portugal, hama7 - all the advantages of France with none of the embarrassments you mention, plus a lot of Italy, and the lovely Atlantic thrown in for good measure. And you can do anything you like, even if it isn't within reason.

Miguel, does Lisbopn need marketing execs? And can you pick me up at the airport?

*tokes*
posted by UncleFes at 9:29 AM on April 30, 2003


Is it really that important to smoke pot?

So only really important things should be legal?
posted by languagehat at 9:30 AM on April 30, 2003


FYI: Lisbopn = Lisbon, only typed shittily
posted by UncleFes at 9:31 AM on April 30, 2003


So rather than spending time in jail you get a fine, though I think that selling is still illegal.

Not necessarily. 'Decriminalisation' normally means that the police turn a blind eye to simple possession under a certain amount, which is how it works in the Netherlands. Then there's the British 'reclassification' policy, in which cannabis becomes a Class C drug along with certain prescription drugs: this means that there's no automatic power of arrest for possession but you can still be prosecuted.
posted by riviera at 9:41 AM on April 30, 2003


Miguel, does Lisbon need marketing execs? And can you pick me up at the airport?

*toke*

Saturday, 5 o'clock, do, Fes? Straight on to the Ritz for cocktails and let things sort themselves out from there? Your marketing exec mission: to convince your fellow Americans that, despite all the evidence to the contrart, there are still alternatives to going and living in Canada. Not too tough a job, I hope? :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:47 AM on April 30, 2003


So only really important things should be legal?

Man Gets Life Under Three Strikes Law For Scratching Ass In Public.
posted by y2karl at 9:51 AM on April 30, 2003


This is not about Dope any more than the UN's failure to endorse the US aim to topple Saddam was about WMDs.

Its just another international bitch-slap for Bush. Bush has previously threatened to impose trade sanctions on Canadian goods if they went Amsterdam on him, so stay tuned, dopefans. And its likely that what Canada loses in rade it will make up for in new-found tourism...

This kind of stuff is what the Bush admin gets for having all the foreign policy finesse of a flying brick.

The world sees right through Bush, lets hope the voting public gets it right in '04.
posted by BentPenguin at 9:54 AM on April 30, 2003


Saturday, 5 o'clock, do, Fes? Straight on to the Ritz for cocktails and let things sort themselves out from there?

As if commanded from Elysium by Bacchus himself :)

*calls airline*
posted by UncleFes at 9:57 AM on April 30, 2003


Come on. I'd like to see a 3rd strike person actually get it for stealing a spare tire.
See, for example, Lockyer v. Andrade in which a man was sentenced to a minimum of 50 years in prison for stealing $150 worth of videotapes, or Ewing v. California, in which a man was sentenced to 25 years to life for stealing $1,200 worth of golf clubs. Both were upheld recently by the U.S. Supreme Court.
posted by cobra libre at 10:01 AM on April 30, 2003


The War at Home
posted by homunculus at 10:04 AM on April 30, 2003


Even the Canucks decriminalize pot smoking, we still have a lot more freedom here south of the border.
posted by jasontromm at 10:12 AM on April 30, 2003


Even [sic] the Canucks decriminalize pot smoking, we still have a lot more freedom here south of the border.

Care to explain?
posted by krunk at 10:17 AM on April 30, 2003


LOL. Keep telling yourself, jasontromm.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:20 AM on April 30, 2003


the good thing about canada is that they already speek english, and they pay you to learn french!

we have recently been considering a move to montreal...and stories like this make it all the more worth considering.

we do have good friends in portugal, but I already speak so many other languages badly...
posted by dorian at 11:02 AM on April 30, 2003


Hands up who's heading north.

Don't buy that ticket quite yet. The Liberals have been musing about decriminalizing marijuana for around thirty-five years. They just haven't gotten around to it somehow.
posted by timeistight at 11:03 AM on April 30, 2003


jasontromm, your statement is empty without some clarification.

I think decriminalization is a smart thing. Drugs and alcohol are with us for good and sending people to jail for possession of these things (the drugs, that is) is like trying to stop the wind from blowing; the odds are that these "criminals" will develop worse habits while in prison, not to mention destroy many of their chances for good paying jobs when they get out.
posted by ashbury at 11:39 AM on April 30, 2003


There are no documented cases of lung cancer in people smoked only marijuana and not cigarettes.

Don't get so excited just yet y2karl, I think you left off the "The biggest health risk associated with cannabis use right now just all has to do with lung function and although..." He's saying that pot is bad for you despite the lack of documented evidence, I don't see this as being a "green" light. tobacco at least has regulation and filters, your dealer bought pot could have ANYTHING and I do mean ANYTHING on it, particularly if it came from another country, and especially if that other country has more lax pesticide laws. I'd bet an Indian Spirit light kicks the crap out of (has far less than) a swag filled joint or a dugout in particulates and carcinogen contents in the smoke. Don't believe me, try cleaning the stem of a tobacco pipe vs. a weed pipe, you think resin just sticks to the pipe? Maybe, on a level playing field, raw pure weed vs. raw pure tobacco, the weed would win, but the playing field is not level.

The Congress shall have power to...regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes

The position that the Feds have no business whatsoever criminalizing drugs is perfectly reasonable.


So if I want to still up some moonshine for local sale that's OK then? What about if I find some uranium on my land and I sell it to the nice white supremacist boy next door, he's on parole, so I know he won't leave the state? How about I grow perfectly legal kudzu on the fence row right next to a farmer's valuable crops? How about I raise rabid coyotes in my back yard next to a day care center, for personal use only? How about I make some bathtub oxycontin out of some random ingredients for my sick grandma across town? I really like the flesh of an endangered bird that only lives in my state, is it OK for me to kill it or have someone in state kill it for me then?

Now we can argue that Marijuana is not as dangerous as a rabid coyote, but it is the government's contention that the cannabis sativa plant and its products are potentially harmful and thus has rated them as a controlled substance, tobacco is also a controlled substance by the way. They control said substances because they feel they are potentially dangerous, dangerous beyond the boundaries of a state or city or Indian reservation. They also find controlled substances to be a good source of tax revenue (The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises), or taxation a good way to kill something that they don't want out in the general population. There are uncontrolled substances, you don't have to have a tax stamp for water, or paper (unless its hemp paper) or fill dirt.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:59 AM on April 30, 2003


The position that the Feds have no business whatsoever criminalizing drugs is perfectly reasonable. In fact, I think one would have to possess a deft mastery of the art of abstraction to make a case to the contrary.

and

but I don't see how it affects people growing their own pot, or buying from the guy who grows down the block.

Under modern commerce clause theory (developed nearly 60 years ago) it iis rrelevant whether or not the object has passed across state lines. In the case of weed there are two relevant inquires 1) Is the activity economic? Yes, growing and selling weed is. 2) If a actor in a class can regulated than all actors in the class can be regulated. Can someone in the drug trade be regulated, yes (see inquire 1), than all people who smoke or grow week can be regulated.

That's the gist of the cases I cited.

before I was accused of murdering babies

If you strip the Federal government of commerce clause power in place, you'll take it away in places that it can used for good.

That's the gist of the cases I cited.
posted by Bag Man at 12:29 PM on April 30, 2003


I don't know anyone who isn't buying grass from someone who is growing it at home and is a person they've known for years.

He's saying that pot is bad for you despite the lack of documented evidence--that's bullshit. He's saying that, judging from the accumulated scientific research of the past several years, the physical effects of marijuana are far, far less harmful than tobacco or alcohol.

As for its illegality, most anti-drug laws were passed in an atmosphere of anti-immigrant and anti-black hysteria during the same years that the bulk of segregation laws were passed, and, in fact, the two sets of legislation are very related, as criminal bogeymen from each minority using each of the substances outlawed were cited as reasons for their bans.

If segregation was still on the books, would you be arguing for its continued enforcement? That is no less ludicrous question than your uranium, rabid wolf and bathtub oxytocin (!) blathering.

Personally, I think everyone should be allowed to grow their own marijuana, coca or papaver somniferum, for their own use, just as people were allowed to make their own wine during prohibition, after registering and paying a reasonable tax to do so.

They could then use the unrefined plants in any traditional manner--chewing coca leaves, smoking marijuana or drinking poppy tea-- and barter or even sell it, up to a point. Large scale commercial growing and sale of such plants, or the refining of cocaine or heroin from coca or poppies would be treated the same as it is now.

If commercial production was allowed at all, it could only be on the scale of family owned wineries. That would keep the the big money, and, therefore, crime out of it, I should hope. In fact, I think this is how tobacco should be treated as well: grow your own if you want to use it.
posted by y2karl at 12:33 PM on April 30, 2003


I don't know anyone who isn't buying grass from someone who is growing it at home and is a person they've known for years.

irrelevant as I noted above

If segregation was still on the books, would you be arguing for its continued enforcement? That is no less ludicrous question than your uranium, rabid wolf and bathtub oxytocin (!) blathering.

Law against pot = laws upholding racism...perhaps this is the argument were most right minded people toon out.

Also, those law violate equal protect, hence they are unconstitutional, even if passed by the legislature. Laws that ban pot are constitionently and todays pot law are not racist. On talk about "rabid wolf and bathtub oxytocin (!) blathering."

y2karl, in the adult world we don't bitch and money because can't get stoned and we under stand there is a difference between having the power to make a law and substantive right or moral authority to to uphold it.

y2karl, I never argue pot should not be decriminalized, but them you would know if you read my post or tried understand how laws are made and how they are enforced.

y2karl, under your theory of commerce clause the Federal government would hang-strung to prevent racist laws that argue I would uphold. ironic you call be a racist and yet you want incubate the created on racist laws, yikes, who's the racist now, Justice Thomas?
posted by Bag Man at 12:48 PM on April 30, 2003


Law against pot = laws upholding racism...perhaps this is the argument were most right minded people toon out.

Y2karl, may be referring to a stamp act in the 1930's after prohibition was no more. The alcohol industry noticed that alcohol sales were low in ethnic populated areas of the USA. So the industry supposedly pushed this Marijuana Stamp act in to law hoping to raise their sales of alcohol. During prohibition some people turned to smoking marijuana, which was legal before during & after prohibition. So to catch a buzz, why pay more when pot worked just fine and was cheaper. Kind of like Coors who supports anti-marijuana laws today. This may be what Y2karl was mentioning.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:38 PM on April 30, 2003


Bag Man: Under modern commerce clause theory (developed nearly 60 years ago) it iis rrelevant whether or not the object has passed across state lines.

I presume you mean "irrelevant." I don't dispute this. I merely wondered aloud how a reasonable person could think that this was either what the plain language of the constitution means, or what the framers intended it to mean.

Modern commerce clause theory passes neither test, in my opinion.

They needed an amendment to prohibit alcohol, IIRC.

Further, I would rise up to support my ideological arch-enemy, y2karl, if I had any f'n idea what "ironic you call be a racist and yet you want incubate the created on racist laws, yikes" means.

If you care enough to post, italicize, and bold your text, and you are bright enough to understand "modern commerce clause theory," you are certainly able to reread what you write before pressing that "post" button. Common courtesy, I guess...
posted by trharlan at 1:57 PM on April 30, 2003


Kind of like Coors who supports anti-marijuana laws today. This may be what Y2karl was mentioning.

I have never heard of any support the ban on weed in this way today. Considering the most people who smoke pot are rich white kids, I highly doubt that anti-pot laws are for racist reasons.

Also I want to make clear that I am not against decriminalizing pot, but I am against disrupting the Federal Government's commerce clause power. On the issue, I must admit I think there are valid arguments on each side, which warrant further consideration and debate. However, I seen little debate on this thread.
posted by Bag Man at 2:05 PM on April 30, 2003


Kind of like Coors who supports anti-marijuana laws today. This may be what Y2karl was mentioning.

I have never heard of any support the ban on weed in this way today. Considering the most people who smoke pot are rich white kids, I highly doubt that anti-pot laws are for racist reasons.


I think the point was that Coors wants to stamp out competing high-inducers, not that Coors opposes weed to stick it to a given racial group.
posted by COBRA! at 2:09 PM on April 30, 2003


He's saying that, judging from the accumulated scientific research of the past several years, the physical effects of marijuana are far, far less harmful than tobacco or alcohol.

Maybe you have another source from Dr. Earlywine that you did not provide, but NOTHING in what I read from your links makes any comparative statements whatsoever between pot and tobacco.

most anti-drug laws were passed in an atmosphere of anti-immigrant and anti-black hysteria during the same years that the bulk of segregation laws were passed

So because laws were passed at the same time as Jim Crow laws they automatically are the same? There were a number of child exploitation, fraud and commerce control measures, education bills, labor exploitation, health regulations, protections for the mentally ill and imprisoned, etc. passed during the Jim Crow era (also know as the Reform period) too. I guess we should pull those too? Pot laws may or may not have been targeted at urban blacks, the main community of users at the time they were first implemented, but perhaps this was part of the movement to improve the lot of the poor. Tenement houses were condemned at that time, but not because poor people lived there, but because the living conditions were deemed substandard. The food and drug administration was born at that time to set community standards and to ensure that people didn't eat crap, poison themselves or misuse products. Pot was named as a controlled substance, because it gets you high in case you forgot. Alcohol was named one then too, why, because of racism, because poor Irish people were known to drink a lot? No, because they thought by controlling alcohol they would help the plight of the poor. Besides this, bag man is right, a constitutionally proper law vs. an unconstitutional set of standards is not comparable. Incidentally 1964 was not only the year that the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by LBJ but was also the year that the Single Convention on Narcotics went into effect and the arrest and imprisonment rate for drug offenders began doubled by 1970 and had jumped by a factor of 30 in the next 25 years. So the comparison is a bit of a stretch.

I don't know anyone who isn't buying grass from someone who is growing it at home and is a person they've known for years.

I never in my 15 or so odd years of smoking have never knowingly smoked homegrown pot nor know anyone who grows it, nor know anyone who could get it even, maybe its a east coast/west coast thing?
posted by Pollomacho at 2:27 PM on April 30, 2003


Oh, and where I grew up, homegrown was considered crap weed or was some prohibitively expensive west coast special, we wanted the imported stuff. Oh, and I don't smoke or buy anymore, in case anyone who would care is reading this.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:31 PM on April 30, 2003


I presume you mean "irrelevant." I don't dispute this. I merely wondered aloud how a reasonable person could think that this was either what the plain language of the constitution means, or what the framers intended it to mean.

Modern commerce clause theory passes neither test, in my opinion.


So, should we limit the Constitution to founders intent and only what is written in it? I don't want to say "bye, bye" to the right to vote, Row v. Wade or Brown v. Board. Do you trharlan what to throw away those rights? If take away Federal power, that's want the fundies will do. Or trharlan do only want correct constitutional adjudication when it suits your needs, that want it sounds like to me.

trharlan you also seem to saying that you can analyze the Commerce Clause better than every Supreme Court Justice that has come before. This can't be what you are saying. The good old MEFI cry of rights when it suits me and no rights when it does not. This is way the pro-legalization movement has failed so badly, pushing away even symathedic people like myself.

If you care enough to post, italicize, and bold your text, and you are bright enough to understand "modern commerce clause theory," you are certainly able to reread what you write before pressing that "post" button. Common courtesy, I guess...

It was a typo at worst, beside and I only italicize what others say, I though was the deal around here, just a common courtesy I guess.

Attacking spelling…how low, I guess you really have no other argument. Dude get this Federalism B.S. out of here, trharlan you are like a conservative with a straw man argument, go hang with your buddies Rehnquist and Thomas.
posted by Bag Man at 2:35 PM on April 30, 2003


It means that all the civil rights legislation of the 1960's and 1970's is predicated on modern commerce clause theory. Forced school integration, the criminalization of segregated lunch counters, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX, all of it. Under previous readings of the Commerce Clause, these things would not have been possible. I'm very conflicted on this wide reading of the Commerce Clause myself, but it was the basis for a fair amount of anti-racist and anti-segregation and equal-oppurtunity Federal legislation.
posted by Snyder at 2:37 PM on April 30, 2003


I'm very conflicted on this wide reading of the Commerce Clause myself, but it was the basis for a fair amount of anti-racist and anti-segregation and equal-oppurtunity Federal legislation.

Perhaps my point is this (with out all of the bullshit): the Federal Government needs to protect people against nuts who use state laws to oppress people (usually women, gays and racial minorities). In doing this some bad uses of that power will occur. I think we're better off being protected from racist laws and having pot illegal, this becomes more evident when there are other ways to make legal with out attacking Federal power. In the balance of things, a strong Federal Government means a free people (or the ability for the Federal courts to ensure freedoms).

You gotta sometimes take the good with the bad.
posted by Bag Man at 2:48 PM on April 30, 2003


I have never heard of any support the ban on weed in this way today. Considering the most people who smoke pot are rich white kids, I highly doubt that anti-pot laws are for racist reasons.

Now they are. Historically in the US pot was percieved to be a black/hispanic drug. Similiar to crack 10 years ago.
posted by Mitheral at 3:21 PM on April 30, 2003


Bag Man: So, should we limit the Constitution to founders intent and only what is written in it?

One or the other. Or both. Yes. Yes, indeed.

I don't want to say "bye, bye" to the right to vote, Row v. Wade or Brown v. Board.

Hmm. Right to vote: clearly enumerated in the constitution. Amendments 15, 19, 24 and 26.

Row v. Wade (sic): Abortion ought not to be specifically prohibited or encouraged by the Feds. A state issue.

Brown vs. Board: Another state issue. Why we even have public schools is a mystery to me.

Or trharlan do only want correct constitutional adjudication when it suits your needs, that want it sounds like to me.

Well, Bag man, I suppose that depends on how one defines "correct constitutional adjudication," doesn't it?

trharlan you also seem to saying that you can analyze the Commerce Clause better than every Supreme Court Justice that has come before. This can't be what you are saying.

I understand plain English. And when the reading of the court differs so drastically from what is written, I think the court is wrong.

Pay attention. I wrote that I wondered "how a reasonable person could think that this was either what the plain language of the constitution means, or what the framers intended it to mean."

And you can drag out hundreds of precedents, but the very root of my argument was that the current interpretation of the commerce clause, beginning around the time of the New Deal, bears no resemblance to what is written, or to the intent of the framers.

Is it entirely lost on you that in 1919, the Federal Government needed an amendment to prohibit the "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors"? They had it more or less right for over 100 years.

The good old MEFI cry of rights when it suits me and no rights when it does not. This is way the pro-legalization movement has failed so badly, pushing away even symathedic people like myself

I don't even smoke grass, man. The only way that legalization will benefit me is by freeing up all the people who profit from the war on drugs, and forcing them to actually do something that benefits mankind. And reducing the number of innocents caught by stray bullets in gangland. And freeing my fellow man from his imprisonment for victimless crime.

It was a typo at worst, beside and I only italicize what others say, I though was the deal around here, just a common courtesy I guess.

Alright. Settle down. I didn't attack your spelling. And I didn't criticize you for using italics. I implied that you ought to read what you post. There's no way that "ironic you call be a racist and yet you want incubate the created on racist laws, yikes" is sensible. It's garbage. I had to read it half a dozen times to hazard a guess at what you meant.

Attacking spelling…how low, I guess you really have no other argument.

Did you even read my post? I wrote nothing about your spelling. I said you ought to reread your post before you submit because your syntax makes no sense.

Dude get this Federalism B.S. out of here, trharlan you are like a conservative with a straw man argument, go hang with your buddies Rehnquist and Thomas.

Straw man? You imply that the commerce clause gives the Feds the right to declare a drug illegal. This is what I am attacking. Are you claiming that you didn't (more or less) say this?

Then please, Bag man, identify my straw man.

I love Clarence Thomas. Platonically. Rehnquist, on the other hand, is no better than the rest of them.

Last, I am not a conservative.
posted by trharlan at 3:27 PM on April 30, 2003


Last, I am not a conservative.

Yet you epose the arguments every "good old boy."

Hmm. Right to vote: clearly enumerated in the constitution. Amendments 15, 19, 24 and 26.

Row v. Wade (sic): Abortion ought not to be specifically prohibited or encouraged by the Feds. A state issue.

Brown vs. Board: Another state issue. Why we even have public schools is a mystery to me.


Wrong...The right to vote is enforced by 14th Amendment section 5 legislation (i.e. the Voting Rights Act), which ended up, in part, as 15, 19, 24 and 26 Amendments - Going by your strict constructionist approach there would be no 15, 19, 24 and 26 Amendments. And, equal access to the vote is implied buy the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Armament and the Equal Protection Clause of the 5th Amendment (again not written in the plain langue of the Constitution). Have you ever read a con. law case in your life?

Wrong on Row and Brown too. Row v. Wade and Brown v. Board made school desegregation and abortion both federal issues. In fact Row is only law because the Court read in between the lines of the Constitution (you know Justice Blackmum’s "penumbras and emanations," but you don't any con law, so you won't know). Who else will enforce these right, history has tough use its not going to be states. So who? The Federal Government is only entity with the will and power to ensure your rights and now you want to take away it all the away...thanks.

Well, Bag man, I suppose that depends on how one defines "correct constitutional adjudication," doesn't it?

Don't take my word for it, you can read 100s or even 1,000s of cases to get it if you need.

Alright. Settle down. I didn't attack your spelling. And I didn't criticize you for using italics. I implied that you ought to read what you post. There's no way that "ironic you call be a racist and yet you want incubate the created on racist laws, yikes" is sensible. It's garbage. I had to read it half a dozen times to hazard a guess at what you meant.

Making fun of a typos, that's low.

Is it entirely lost on you that in 1919, the Federal Government needed an amendment to prohibit the "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors"? They had it more or less right for over 100 years.

Is the case Gibbons v. Ogden from 1824 completely lost on you? The example you site was a sharp brake (because of pro-big business politics no less) from Chief Justice Marshall reasoned:

"The enumeration presupposes something not enumerated; and that something, if we regard the language or the subject of the sentence, must be the exclusively internal commerce of a State. The genius and character of the whole government seem to be, that its action is to be applied to all the external concerns of the nation, and to those internal concerns which affect the States generally" and " in any manner, connected with 'commerce with foreign nations, or among the several States, or with the Indian tribes.'"

Sound a lot today's Commerce Clause? So even back before 1919 the Supreme Court was reasoning the Commerce could also be applied (in many ways) to internal commerce. Admittedly Justice Marshall’s reasoning is more restrictive than today's reading of the Commerce Clause, but even in 1824 Justice Marshall allowed for the Federal Government to regulate totally internal commerce.

And you can drag out hundreds of precedents, but the very root of my argument was that the current interpretation of the commerce clause, beginning around the time of the New Deal, bears no resemblance to what is written, or to the intent of the framers.

The above quote from Gibbons v. Ogden shows your argument is bunk, Justice Marshall, who was appointed Supreme Court justice by the framers of the Constitution and perhaps influence its drafting, thinks the Federal Government can regulate internal commerce, check the case, it's still good law.
posted by Bag Man at 4:12 PM on April 30, 2003


Pollomacho, I can read into what Dr. Mitch Earleywine as well as can you, and no documented case of lung cancer in a cannabis smoker who smoked cannabis but not tobacco reads far far safer than tobacco to me.

Pick a year and count all documented deaths attributed to smoking tobacco. Then add 0 documented deaths from smoking marijuana and only marijuana.

The second link below should provide a brief introduction to the history of marijuana prohibition.

As for the association of race and drug prohibition, here are some selelcted quotes about cocaine from the 'Lectric Law Library's stacks - A History Of Drug Use & Prohibition

1910 Dr. Hamilton Wright, considered by some the father of U.S. anti-narcotics laws, reports that American contractors give cocaine to their Negro employees to get more work out of them. [Musto, op.cit. p.180]

1914 Dr. Edward H Williams cites Dr. Christopher Kochs "Most of the attack upon white women of the South are the direct result of the cocaine crazed Negro brain." Dr. Williams concluded that "..Negro cocaine fiends are now a know Southern menace." [New York Times, Feb. 8, 1914]

from The History of the Non-Medical Use of Drugs
in the United States
- A Speech to the California Judges Association 1995 annual conference by Charles Whitebread, Professor of Law, USC Law School,

The Early State Marijuana Laws:

...The only thing you need to know to understand the early marijuana laws in the southwest and Rocky Mountain areas of this country is to know, that in the period just after 1914, into all of those areas was a substantial migration of Mexicans. They had come across the border in search of better economic conditions, they worked heavily as rural laborers, beet field workers, cotton pickers, things of that sort. And with them, they had brought marijuana.

Basically, none of the white people in these states knew anything about marijuana, and I make a distinction between white people and Mexicans to reflect a distinction that any legislator in one of these states at the time would have made. And all you had to do to find out what motivated the marijuana laws in the Rocky mountain and southwestern states was to go to the legislative records themselves. Probably the best single statement was the statement of a proponent of Texas’ first marijuana law. He said on the floor of the Texas Senate, and I quote, "All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff (referring to marijuana) is what makes them crazy." Or, as the proponent of Montana's first marijuana law said, (and imagine this on the floor of the state legislature) and I quote, "Give one of these Mexican beet field workers a couple of puffs on a marijuana cigarette and he thinks he is in the bullring at Barcelona."

Well, there it was, you didn't have to look another foot as you went from state to state right on the floor of the state legislature. And so what was the genesis for the early state marijuana laws in the Rocky Mountain and southwestern areas of this country? It wasn't hostility to the drug, it was hostility to the newly arrived Mexican community that used it.


Drug laws have been about race and still are--witness the penalties for possession of crack cocaine as opposed to powder cocaine. You say the government prohibited the use of marijuana because it was unsafe. Read here how it became banned under federal statute:

The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937
posted by y2karl at 4:16 PM on April 30, 2003


Also there is this from Professor Wright's conclusion:

What interests me though, isn't drugs. What interests me is that larger issue, and the reason that I wrote the piece, and the reason they were my tenure pieces, I am interested in a much larger issue, and that is the idea of Prohibition — the use of criminal law to criminalize conduct that a large number of us seem to want to engage in.

And, for my purposes, — now, Professor Bonnie went on to be associated with NIDA and with all kinds of drug-related organizations and continues to be interested in the drug laws — I am not. My interest is in criminal prohibitions, and, for my purposes, as a criminal law scholar, we could have used any prohibition — alcohol prohibition, the prohibition against gambling that exists still in many states. How about the prohibition in England from 1840 to 1880 against the drinking of gin? Not drinking, just gin — got it? We could have used any of these prohibitions. We didn't. We chose the marijuana prohibition because the story had never been told — and it is an amazing story.

We could have used any of these prohibitions. We could have used the alcohol prohibition. The reason we didn't is because so much good stuff has been written about it. And are you aware of this? That every single — you know how fashionable it is to think that scholars can never agree? — don't you believe that — every single person who has ever written seriously about the national alcohol prohibition agrees on why it collapsed. Why?

Because it violated that iron law of Prohibitions. What is the iron law of Prohibitions? Prohibitions are always enacted by US, to govern the conduct of THEM. Do you have me? Take the alcohol prohibition. Every single person who has ever written about it agrees on why it collapsed.

...That's it. Every criminal prohibition has that same touch to it, doesn't it? It is enacted by US and it always regulates the conduct of THEM. And so, if you understand that is the name of the game, you don't have to ask me, or any of the other people which prohibitions will be abolished and which ones won't because you will always know. The iron law of prohibitions — all of them — is that they are passed by an identifiable US to control the conduct of an identifiable THEM.

And a prohibition is absolutely done for when it does what? Comes back and bothers US. If, at any time, in any way, that prohibition comes back and bothers us, we will get rid of it for sure, every doggoned time. Look at the alcohol prohibition if you want a quick example. As long as it is only THEM — you know, them criminals, them crazy people, them young people, them minority group members — we are fine. But any prohibition that comes back and bothers US is done for.


Read it all--he doesn't think we will come to our senses and stop prohibiting drugs. In fact, he thinks we're going to add tobacco to the list and it's going to work just as poorly as any prohibition ever has.
posted by y2karl at 4:25 PM on April 30, 2003


How about the prohibition in England from 1840 to 1880 against the drinking of gin? Not drinking, just gin — got it?

From a href="http://www/pepysdiary.com ">Pepy's diary, here are several annotations regarding gin. Basically, it was the drink of the very poor, and outlawed because it competed against beer. This parallels the laws against marijuana.


"Beer had been the traditional drink in England for centuries, but by Pepys’s time it was starting to face competition for the first time. Gin, for one, was new on the London scene, but it was just one of a host of new beverages cutting into the national consumption of beer. By 1673, a petition was presented to Parliament that tea, coffee, and brandy be prohibited in order to support the local brewers.
The problem for English ales had begun not long before the start of the diary, when both Parliament and the Royalists created excise duties on beer to pay for the Civil War - Parliament had created the first of these in 1643. After the Restoration beer duties became more important than ever, because they became a replacement for the old baronial duties that funded the army. By 1650 the tax on a barrel of strong beer was 2s. 6d. and became gradually greater all the time.
At the same time, the government was encouraging the distilling of gin as a cheap alternative, beginning when both Charles II and James II licensed brewers to distill as well. In these circumstances the decline of beer consumption was inevitable, although the situation only hit public awareness around 1690. In the 18th century gin drinking became a huge public problem, but that’s another story.
This information comes from Frederick Hackwood’s _Inns, Ales, and Drinking Customs of Old England_, a chatty but informative guide to all things alcohol-related in Olde Englande."

"As noted, gin was fairly new at this time, but by the next century would become a huge public problem. For the moment, however, it was just one of a host of new beverages cutting into the national consumption of beer - by 1673 a petition was presented to Parliament that tea, coffee, and brandy be prohibited in order to support the local brewers.
The problem for English ales began not long before the start of the diary, when both Parliament and the Royalists created excise duties on beer to pay for the Civil War - Parliament had created the first of these in 1643. After the Restoration beer duties became more important than ever, because they became a replacement for the old baronial duties that funded the army. By 1650 the tax on a barrel of strong beer was 2s. 6d. and became gradually greater all the time. At the same time, the government was encouraging the distilling of gin as a cheap alternative, beginning when both Charles II and James II licensed brewers to distill as well. In these circumstances the decline of beer consumption was inevitable, although the situation only hit public awareness well after the time of Sam’s diary."

"one more word about gin--in the next century Hogarth’s paired engravings of Gin Alley and Beer Lane demonstrate the artist’s sense that gin was leading to the destruction of the solid virtues of English life which beer had fostered. Gin Alley is probably the more familiar of the pair with its picture of poor people depraved by strong drink, drunken mothers letting babies fall from their breasts, starving beggars battling stray dogs for food."
"You can find copies of Hogarth’s Beer Street and Gin Lane, together with an excellent commentary here:
http://www.haleysteele.com/hogarth/plates/beer_and_gin.html
The main point to note is the sense of joyful, thriving industry in Beer Street, contrasted with the rack and (mother’s) ruin of Gin Lane…"

posted by five fresh fish at 5:51 PM on April 30, 2003


I don't smoke

I smoke and work, and I've got a house, family, dog and budgie - the full catastrophe :) - and they'll still lock me up for being a menace to society.

Weird.
posted by flowerdale at 8:15 PM on April 30, 2003


No doubt, flowerdale.

I'll bet in addition to what you mention, you
-- don't steal.
-- don't hang out at the local narc park.
-- don't do coke, horse, or other hard drugs.
-- typically don't get shit-facd when you drink.
...and are basically an all-around ordinary joe who lives a regular sort of life.

You criminal, you!
posted by five fresh fish at 8:18 PM on April 30, 2003


y2karl, that's why I was hoping Nevada would pass legislation to legalize and sell. Nevada loves money, and would certainly tax legal pot sales heavily. Other states would see these veritable cash-crops- and BAM! we've got another farming run, country-wide. The same thing tobacco did oh so long ago.
posted by shadow45 at 9:01 PM on April 30, 2003


Canada is a terrible, terrible place to live, we eat babies and everyone must join the communist party. Please stay home, change the laws in your own country. Thanks.
posted by zarah at 11:09 PM on April 30, 2003


That's not very friendly, zarah, nor is this, are you the self-appointed Minister of Immigration-Deterrence, or something? Besides, the more converts we get, the greater our chances of pulling off the vast takeover conspiracy, and then it's weed, ketchup chips and Tim Horton's for everyone...oh wait...I said the thinking thing again...
posted by biscotti at 11:34 PM on April 30, 2003


LOL zarah and biscotti! fact is it's more difficult for an american to get canadian citizenship than it is pretty much any other nationality, so potheads eyeing the border should be prepared for rejection. especially if you try to move into zar's and my neighborhood. whoops, did i say that out loud...? no shit homer was once canadian. i should never post to mefi when i'm eating a donut. mmm donut...
posted by t r a c y at 11:53 PM on April 30, 2003


Five, square as all getout, that's me, and probably that goes for zillions of others who break these stupid laws.

But we'll go ahead with the prohibition and contribute to the suborning of courts and cops, even governments and military in some countries.

What a waste.
posted by flowerdale at 1:25 AM on May 1, 2003


Pollomacho, I can read into what Dr. Mitch Earleywine as well as can you

I think that is the whole problem, you are reading into him and not reading the fact that he does NOT make any comparative statements anywhere in the links you provided. He says that there are not statistics, without data a scientist such as Dr. Earleywine cannot theorize, thus he says, "although there aren't any documented cases" That doesn't mean he said that no body gets cancer from pot, that means that there hasn't been any documentation of people that got cancer that didn't also smoke cigarettes. It might or might not cause cancer, as a matter of fact Dr. Earleywine himself says that there is evidence of such (There do seem to be some small changes in the lungs of people who smoke long term say twenty years or more that suggest they might be at risk for developing lung cancer.), but although there is no documentation yet, he will say that pot seems to be bad for your lungs (The biggest health risk associated with cannabis use right now just all has to do with lung function). Read the whole paragraph, not just the sentence fragment that says that there are no documented cases before you declare pot to be completely safe and to associate it with comparative statements that don't exist. Not that any of that is justification for legalization anyway, it still gets you high. It is still an intoxicant.

Pick a year and count all documented deaths attributed to smoking tobacco. Then add 0 documented deaths from smoking marijuana and only marijuana

How many people in that given year smoke cigarettes and only cigarettes and how many smoke only pot (incidentally that would include none of the pot smokers I know personally, maybe again that is an east/west coast thing). We can't make this comparison anyway because, as Dr. Earleywine has pointed out, there isn't any documentation.

As for the association of race and drug prohibition, here are some selected quotes about cocaine

First of all we weren't talking about "drug prohibition" we were talking about marijuana specifically so quotes about coke are fairly irrelevant, however since your quotes do reiterate my point that law makers believed they were uplifting the poor and oppressed black communities, even in their social Darwinian and racist ways (much like Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger felt she was doing in calling for the sterilization of the "Feeble-Minded" in her book The Pivot of Civilization). Saying American contractors give cocaine to their Negro employees to get more work out of them as a way to promote its prohibition sounds like an attempt to help the workers to me!

Basically, none of the white people in these states knew anything about marijuana

They must have been morons! My grandfather loves to tell about the whipping he got at 8 when he and his brothers were caught by his mother behind the barn "smoking rope" his term for a hemp cigar from leaves they had picked out of their vast acreage of hemp. Of course the people growing hemp didn't want to restrict its trade, but in the Rocky Mountains and South West where it wasn't grown, they would only see it for what it did as an intoxicant in poor communities. Once again this is still no reason to suddenly decriminalize pot, because, as you will recall, it is still an intoxicant.

Now, I'm not arguing here against the decriminalization of pot, I think it should be legalized as a matter of fact, its just most folks approach this issue all wrong. You won't get Congress to buy the history debate, because they couldn't give a shit why it was prohibited in the first place. They won't buy the "less harmful that tobacco" debate even if you get the evidence in plain writing, because two wrongs don't make a right (legalizing a "less bad" thing doesn't make it not bad at all). You won't get them on the "its really just medicine" bit. You won't get them (much) on the "look at all the fancy things I can make from it" stuff. The "George Washington grew it" crap is ridiculous, he also had slaves cultivate it for him, you want that back too? The angles that will work are the ones that strike at the logic for continued prohibition, real or percieved. People smoke it anyway which leads to a) criminal cartels controlling its production, sale and distribution (see Al Capone for reference); b) added harmful elements and substandard product come in during the unregulated trade of a commodity (see the Jungle for reference); and c) the number one cash crop in the South Eastern US goes completely untaxed. Congressmen, particularly those of the more conservative ilk are not going to buy anything that tries to steer discussion away from the fact that pots primary purpose in 2003 America is to get people stoned, so why try and mask that fact? Embrace the high, let the facts and figures used by the DEA to show how they need MORE funding because pot use, sale, distribution and production are on the rise, point instead to all the lost opportunities for the government to create jobs in the legalized pot industry, raise revenues through the taxation of legalized pot, to break the grip of criminal cartels (real or imaginary), give midwestern farmers an alternative to government handouts and to regulate the production of weed to ensure a quality standard of product for users.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:44 AM on May 1, 2003


Oh well. It was a nice idea while it lasted.

"Justice Minister Martin Cauchon reiterated yesterday that legislation to decriminalize marijuana will be tabled soon, while Canadian Alliance Leader Stephen Harper said the move would inflame tensions with the U.S.

"Now would not be the time to irritate trade relations and we've already had plenty of warning that this would do just that."
posted by ook at 1:32 PM on May 1, 2003


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