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The Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008
April 20, 2008 7:40 PM   Subscribe

Thirty-six years after the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse recommended that "simple possession" of pot be decriminalised, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has introduced a bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), to remove federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams (about three-and-a-half ounces) of marijuana and the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce (28.3 grams). Drug reform advocates lit up hailed the legislation as "an important step toward bringing federal law into line with scientific fact, practical reality and public opinion." Is America, at long last, having a collective moment of sanity?
posted by kliuless (76 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
This will never pass.

What excuse would americans use for locking up black people if it did?
posted by lastobelus at 7:43 PM on April 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


I remain unconvinced that symbolic action is meaningful.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:44 PM on April 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


The real question is, will Obama wear a marijuana leaf pin on his lapel?

God bless Barney Frank for this, but the Dems in charge now are so fucking spineless it'll likely come to naught. Hopefully it'll at least start a serious debate, and in an election year, no less!
posted by zardoz at 7:45 PM on April 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


I see no way for monied interests to benefit from this. It won't pass.
posted by cyclopticgaze at 7:48 PM on April 20, 2008 [5 favorites]


Ah, pointless gestures.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 7:48 PM on April 20, 2008


If it does pass I hope it passes to the left...


whfffffffffffffffffffff...


cough cough cough
posted by fuq at 7:49 PM on April 20, 2008 [7 favorites]


not a bad fpp on 4/20
posted by infini at 7:53 PM on April 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


Is America, at long last, having a collective moment of sanity?

Heavens no! You can't just go around legalizing things when 1% of your entire population is behind bars! It gives the impression that laws are fundamentally arbitrary and that we've done a terrible injustice by locking so many people up.

No, we need more things to be against the law. That way people won't complain when 5% or, maybe one day, 10% of our population are living on prison-farms -- growing corn to fuel our cars.
posted by Avenger at 7:54 PM on April 20, 2008 [11 favorites]


More info on the bill from Americans for Safe Access: "The act would change federal policy on medical marijuana in a number of ways. Specifically, HR 5842 would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug, which cannot be prescribed, to a Schedule II drug, which would recognize the medical value of marijuana and create a regulatory framework for the FDA to begin a drug approval process for marijuana."
posted by gingerbeer at 7:58 PM on April 20, 2008


I don't use recreational drugs of any sort, but I think it's a bit crazy that marijuana is still listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
posted by facetious at 8:03 PM on April 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh thaaaat's what preview is for! :-)
posted by facetious at 8:04 PM on April 20, 2008


This would be a good way to dodge the growing states-rights issue in states that have legalized medical marijuana, but are suffering direct interference by the DEA. If this rift is otherwise allowed to grow, it could become a significant source of friction for the federal government. (On the other hand, states have become so accustomed to subjugation for so long that any real resistance seems unlikely).
posted by gregor-e at 8:07 PM on April 20, 2008


While there is no way this is going to pass, especially in an election year, I don't think it's a meaningless gesture. I think the fact that someone actually has the guts to introduce a bill for some level of legalization is important. It opens up the dialogue that will maybe one day lead to some level of legalization. I also think that it's important that this has come in the wake of the sentencing guidelines for crack being struck down, it really shows to me there may be some sort of hope that people are coming around to a more sensible approach on how we regulate and criminalize drugs.
posted by whoaali at 8:15 PM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


OSS scientists created a highly-potent extract of cannabis and, through a process known as esterification, a clear and viscous liquid was obtained. The final product had no color, odor, or taste. It would be nearly impossible to detect when administered surreptitiously which is exactly what the spies intended to do.
posted by hortense at 8:15 PM on April 20, 2008


Do potheads vote?
posted by orthogonality at 8:22 PM on April 20, 2008


Even if this passed, most states would still have marijuana bans on the books, although some states actually have decriminalized it in some quantities, while others still have harsh penalties. Rescheduling it so that it can be used for medical reasons would also be a good thing.
posted by delmoi at 8:27 PM on April 20, 2008


Whooo-Hoooo !!

Ron (Toke, Toke it up!) Paul!!

Whoooooo!
posted by Balisong at 8:27 PM on April 20, 2008


Sativex®
Sativex® is GW's lead cannabinoid pharmaceutical product, administered as an oral spray which is absorbed by the patient’s mouth.
posted by acro at 8:32 PM on April 20, 2008


Do potheads vote?

They do if they get around to it.
posted by orange swan at 8:44 PM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


marihuana. heh heh.
posted by HotPatatta at 8:50 PM on April 20, 2008


I'm assuming that this means Ron Paul has given up any hopes for the Presidency.

It makes me wonder what he's up to, though. It sounds a bit like a wedge issue in the making. If so, then great - I'd far rather see the electorate wedged on pot than on gay marriage or abortion.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:55 PM on April 20, 2008


(not that those wedges are mutually exclusive or anything; more a matter of where to stage the ideological fight)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:57 PM on April 20, 2008


It makes no sense. Where are people supposed to have gotten their 100 grams? From 4 other people, 25 grams each? Then those 4 people could legally replace the 25 grams from someone else closer to the origin?

They're trying to make the dealers easier to find, by making the buyers not be as careful to keep under the radar. Some of the buyers are going to figure they have nothing to worry about, since what they're doing is legal, and stupidly lead the DEA (or whatever they're called now) to the sellers. The sellers, in a more realistic model, are going to have more than 100 grams. Yay! Success!

Except that they give up the "tell us who you got it from, and we'll let you go" strategy. I don't know if that really works or not, but it won't be possible anymore.
posted by ctmf at 9:02 PM on April 20, 2008


I'm assuming that this means Ron Paul has given up any hopes for the Presidency.

Well, he never had a chance to begin with, but for what it's worth he was pretty clearly and loudly opposed to the entire war on drugs during his presidential campaign.
posted by delmoi at 9:09 PM on April 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


With all of our current financial problems it only makes sense. Stop overburdening our prison system with minor drug offenses. Collect taxes on it. What's not to like, I mean other than OMG negros use that, and OMG my kid will be ruined, society will fail and communism will surely overtake us if we fail to control this herbal menace? After we legalize dope, how about we continue on to acid, coke, meth, heroin and OK youngsters, ecstasy, and then we legalize porn and prostitution, gambling, smoking for teens, driving without seatbelts and motorcycling without helmets and living our lives without the nanny state legislating away all risk? On the other hand, perhaps we should make trans fat illegal, and why stop there, you know mountain climbing is just too dangerous, and frankly have you seen the statistics on motorcycles, helmets or no, they are just too dangerous to tolerate - banned. Parents who let their nine year old kids ride the subway alone - life in prison thank you very much. The central scrutinizer will now evaluate your life and recommend mandatory, government ordered, changes in life style to enhance your existence........

I am so glad the government watches out for me. I especially like how when I get sick the government has made sure that I can get health care. Oh wait.....
posted by caddis at 9:35 PM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


While I think I get your point, caddis, are you sure you weren't in possession of 100g of pot when you wrote it?
posted by Ryvar at 9:54 PM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


After we legalize dope, how about we continue on to acid, coke, meth, heroin and OK youngsters, ecstasy, and then we legalize porn and prostitution, gambling, smoking for teens, driving without seatbelts and motorcycling without helmets and living our lives without the nanny state legislating away all risk? On the other hand, perhaps we should make trans fat illegal, and why stop there, you know mountain climbing is just too dangerous, and frankly have you seen the statistics on motorcycles, helmets or no, they are just too dangerous to tolerate - banned. Parents who let their nine year old kids ride the subway alone - life in prison thank you very much.

Man, what are you smokin'? Oh right. Pot.
posted by ALongDecember at 9:57 PM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I guess you see that I really am no fan of the nanny state.
posted by caddis at 10:06 PM on April 20, 2008


It's just the SnackFood Industrial Complex trying to spread their insidious munchy agenda, damn their bloodshot eyes!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:20 PM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm assuming that this means Ron Paul has given up any hopes for the Presidency.

Please.

The campaign continues.

Ron Paul was on the cover of High Times 20 or so years ago. This is not a surprise.
posted by BigSky at 10:38 PM on April 20, 2008


Not to get in the way of the snark, but if anyone would like to contact their elected representatives about this bill, click here.

I'm a pothead, and I vote! Actually, the first time I ever voted, I was wearing nothing but a rubber overcoat, combat boots, and body paint, but that's another story
posted by jtron at 10:44 PM on April 20, 2008 [5 favorites]


The campaign continues.

Amazing, amazing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:58 PM on April 20, 2008


With all of our current financial problems it only makes sense. Stop overburdening our prison system with minor drug offenses. Collect taxes on it.

It'll happen when we run out of money, but not before. I think of it as (paraphrasing Churchhill here) "doing the right thing after all the other possibilities have been exhausted."
posted by trondant at 11:00 PM on April 20, 2008


Do potheads vote?
This one does. He also attends Iowa caucuses.
posted by TrialByMedia at 11:15 PM on April 20, 2008


Sigh...when will the superich assjacket republicrats wake up and smell the sweet kona profits that waft from all that taxable, sustainable, groovy agribussiness? I smoke cigarettes. I smoke pot. If the smokes were banned, I'd be a lot healthier.
posted by vrakatar at 11:17 PM on April 20, 2008


prisons are profitable. for whatever reason, violent crimes are going down, meaning a reduction in long-term (ahem) tenancy. what to do? find a new resource, of course!

if the prison industry has lobbyists in washington, or if single-industry prison towns are well represented in congress, this bill is hopeless.
posted by klanawa at 11:22 PM on April 20, 2008


You have been fishing again, haven't you caddis? In the sun without a hat. However, I am in favor of legalizing and taxing pot. Why should drunks pay all the taxes?
posted by Cranberry at 11:28 PM on April 20, 2008


4/20 events not just grass-roots anymore
posted by homunculus at 11:29 PM on April 20, 2008


Many people do use marijuana as a substitute for medical care. That it has other benefits or detractions seems irrelevant. Why is this?

Many people smoke in the US because there is no adequate public help for relief from conditions ranging everything from depression to hemorrhoids to cancer.

Yet, while there is no adequate public help for relief from general medical conditions, more money is spent fighting against what many use as a substitute for help.

This is crazy.
posted by humannaire at 11:44 PM on April 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


Smoking pot is bad for your health. I don't want to get into the whole "worse or better than cigarettes" argument -- but can we agree that it is actually damaging, overall, to smoke up? I mean, sure, if you are almost dead anyway then the pain killing it is said to do might possibly be worth it...

...but generally, no. I'd actually like to see things go the other way. We shouldn't be decriminalizing pot, we should be criminalizing tobacco.

I'm not saying that the current criminal laws are fair, either. Smoking pot shouldn't get you a term that rivals breaking-and-entering, for instance. But that doesn't mean it should be legal.

(Do I still get to be a Democrat while holding these views?)
posted by andreaazure at 12:25 AM on April 21, 2008


Smoking pot is bad for your health. I don't want to get into the whole "worse or better than cigarettes" argument -- but can we agree that it is actually damaging, overall, to smoke up?

Not without something to back your assertion, no. The pot-cancer connection seems to have been a false trail, much to the surprise of the researchers, with pot actually slowing tumor growth. Then there's the research showing that pot may slow Alzheimer's disease.

How about instead of finding new ways to penalize our fellow citizens, we work on finding ways to make their lives better? You know, the carrot, instead of the stick.
posted by jtron at 12:44 AM on April 21, 2008


And, seriously, criminalizing tobacco? The negatives from that would be insane. Imagine the black market that would instantly spring up, with the concomitant increase in corruption among government officials, especially in the traditional tobacco-growing states.
posted by jtron at 12:49 AM on April 21, 2008


Hey, don't be so cynical about this bill's chances.

It'll certainly pass the joint session.

Thank you! Thank you!
posted by arcadia at 1:53 AM on April 21, 2008 [3 favorites]



Smoking pot is bad for your health. I don't want to get into the whole "worse or better than cigarettes" argument -- but can we agree that it is actually damaging, overall, to smoke up? I mean, sure, if you are almost dead anyway then the pain killing it is said to do might possibly be worth it...

Yeah, we must ban everything that's bad for your health! No more cheesecake for you, fatso!

What the fuck? I mean, you can still be a Democrat, but it doesn't mean you're not a fascist.
posted by nasreddin at 2:45 AM on April 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Do potheads vote?
From oversees even.

ctmf : You have a point. Personal use limits here have the same vagaries as well, but I think you underestimate the wiliness of dealers & buyers.

For example, the older one gets, the harder it is to easily find good contacts. So when the opportunity presents itself, are you really gonna limit your self to the 25 grams? Hell no, you'll buy as much as you can for rainy days and be super careful transporting it back & stashing it.

Look at personal use limits as the first baby step towards a saner drug policy*. In theory the next step would be full on regulation & taxation for marijuana. Problem is getting past that first baby step involves hurdling crowds of people screaming "OMG! REEFER MADNESS MUST! BE! STOPPED!"

*Just be glad they didn't put other drugs alongside it. The latest personal use limits law here abolished the distinction between light & heavy drugs - ie cannabis is on the same level as coke or heroin. Personal use limits are (based on net weight of the principal active ingredient) 500 mg of cannabis, 750 mg of coke(guess which drug is popular in government...), 250 mg of heroin, 750 mg of MDMA, 500 mg of amphetamines, & 150 micrograms of Lsd. And while you can have x amount for personal use, actual consumption is against the law, IIRC.
posted by romakimmy at 2:48 AM on April 21, 2008


Smoking anything probably has some bad consequences. But marijuana has anti-cancer properties too, which may very well offset any negatives from smoking it. But you don't have to *smoke* it if you'd prefer to eat it, by making brownies/cookies/whatever with canna-oil or canna-butter. That way you get all the positives and none of the negatives (and the positives last longer when eaten too, and are more potent).

Seriously, cannabis is pretty benign compared to many things that you can legally buy on store shelves, especially alcohol. I've had several family members die because of alcohol, including my mother, but I know of no one, family or otherwise, who has died because of marijuana. It's a great stress-reliever and sleep aid, yet not so mind-bogglingly overpowering that you can't function semi-adequately when the need arises.

We had a house fire a few years ago (100-year old electrical system, had nothing to do with pot). The night before, I had smoked a joint to help me sleep. The woman had taken a prescription sleeping pill (very addictive). Who was the one who was alert enough to awaken and smell the fire at 5:10 AM? Me, the pot-smoker. My significant other very probably would have died in that fire, because it was tremendously difficult to get her moving, or even conscious, because of that prescription sleeping pill. I slept great because of the pot, but I was still able to become an adrenalin-spurting veritable superman the next morning when the situation suddenly became dire and lives were at stake.

You know who'd really hate marijuana legalization? The big (and violent) Mexican drug cartels. They'd lose tons of money if marijuana were legalized. So really, the question is, why are we doing what the big drug cartels want? Are their interests (making big money off an easy-to-grow plant) really in line with our own interests? Of course not. The states are slowly beginning to realize this. The federal government, unfortunately, seems immune to rational thought.
posted by jamstigator at 3:17 AM on April 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Smoking pot is bad for your health.

You don't have to smoke it. Lame argument from people who don't know/want to know the simple facts about a really beneficial plant (and it's not just for getting high, that's just a great bonus)

Besides. People want to harm themselves, who are you to stop them? Where do you end it? Caffeine, Chocolate, sugar?
posted by twistedonion at 3:26 AM on April 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


andreaazure: Smoking may be bad for your health but vaporizing sure isn't.
posted by auralcoral at 3:30 AM on April 21, 2008


Also, why couldn't Frank and Paul have waited until Bush was out of office and there wasn't a looming threat of veto if the bill did pass? *grumble*
posted by auralcoral at 3:31 AM on April 21, 2008


We shouldn't be decriminalizing pot, we should be criminalizing tobacco.

Don't worry, the government will tell you how to live your life. You are all just like little children and we will make anything dangerous illegal. Trans fat is already in trouble, Studies show that video games make kids violent and that watching telly makes you fat. We had better ban those next. I know you will miss "Survivor" but really, it is for your own good. We are your parents the government and we are here to help.
posted by caddis at 4:27 AM on April 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah, criminalizing tobacco seems pretty stupid. Plus aren't we the ones that grow the stuff? Tobacco is handled fairly well now : Don't smoke it where you might effect others. Pot would get the same treatment.

In the long run, states should be forced to legalize every "effect", but be permitted to ban drugs that are less safe than others with the same effect. So instead states would then force tobacco companies to clean up their cigarets. Indeed, other recreational drug producers could hope to capture virtually all the market by developing safer alternatives.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:07 AM on April 21, 2008


I see no way for monied interests to benefit from this. It won't pass.

See vrakatar' comment. Seagrams would be all over the suddenly available market. So would AP Lorillard, GlaxoSmithKline, and probably every other drug- or vice-producing company in the world.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:13 AM on April 21, 2008


Given that the principal use of small-quantities offenses is plea bargains with stupid (but dangerous) gang-bangers and minor-league dealers arrested with larger quantities, I wonder if this is going to have the desired effect. I don't see the dealers or gang-bangers being allowed free reign, so there will just end up being more trials and potentially longer sentences. I'm not sure justice is served by letting a few potheads avoid 6 months of club fed in exchange for putting a few people who supply those potheads though 10 years of hard time rather than their own 18 months of club fed.
posted by MattD at 5:40 AM on April 21, 2008


If it is legal and regulated there won't be any money in the gang-bangers supplying pot. How many street corner dealers are out there selling 40 ouncers?
posted by caddis at 5:45 AM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you were to write Barney Frank as a fictional character, your work would suffer from suspension of disbelief issues. God, I love him.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:22 AM on April 21, 2008


I saw Barney Frank at my Starbucks last week. He's a lot shorter than I would have imagined, had I thought about such a thing.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:52 AM on April 21, 2008


Metafilter: you can still be a Democrat, but it doesn't mean you're not a fascist
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:28 AM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I see no way for monied interests to benefit from this. It won't pass.

Lotta family farms going under right now.... Let's not forget, one of the reasons pot was criminalized in the first places is that hemp was easy to grow and it was outpacing tobacco, which lobbied like crazy to get it outlawed.

Think of all the farm subsidies the government wouldn't have to pay.

Just pray the crops don't catch fire. Or, if they do, that you're downwind.
posted by tzikeh at 7:32 AM on April 21, 2008


Also, the government could tax the hell out of it.
posted by tzikeh at 7:33 AM on April 21, 2008


After we legalize dope, how about we continue on to acid, coke, meth, heroin and OK youngsters, ecstasy, and then we legalize porn and prostitution, gambling, smoking for teens, driving without seatbelts and motorcycling without helmets

It sounds excellent, where do I sign up?
posted by Meatbomb at 7:46 AM on April 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


at the Ron Paul campaign. He may be crazy, but not about this stuff.
posted by caddis at 8:15 AM on April 21, 2008


I think that the easiest way to determine the likelihood of something like this passing is to look at who will profit versus who will suffer:

DEA: and other federal anti-drug teams will lose money. Less arrests suggests less need for these agencies.

Drug cartels: once it's no longer illegal, there is no need to pay a premium, so the power gained by the cartels in this area is greatly diminished.

Gangs: similar to cartels, once the profit is removed, this is no longer a source of revenue.

Prisons: will suffer, many fewer non-violent drug offenders getting chewed up by this engine. Good.

Pharmaceutical companies: may be a wash. Will certainly lose money when people switch to pot over expensive drugs that may work less well, but may recoup losses based on easier research using marijuana derivatives.

Tobacco companies: Any smart tobacco company probably already has a comprehensive plan on the books to quickly shift their energies to a new income scheme. They could, almost overnight, change their public perception.

So, the real question is, who has the most power?

I don't think this is going to pass. But hopefully it will finally open up some reasonable dialog on the subject. Anything to shine the harsh light of reason on some of the absurd propaganda that surrounds this topic.
posted by quin at 9:25 AM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


In the long run, states should be forced to legalize every "effect", but be permitted to ban drugs that are less safe than others with the same effect.

You gave the example that states could force tobacco companies to 'clean up' their cigs, but smoking tobacco and marijuana result in different effects. Heck, even using Sativex - which was intended to mimic marijuana - isn't identical to using pot. Your statement, then, is sort of nonsensical.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 10:25 AM on April 21, 2008



"I support legislation amending Federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce [28g] of marihuana." --Jimmy Carter, U.S. President Message to congress, 1977"

Yea America! Nice to see some progress on this front!
posted by binturong at 10:44 AM on April 21, 2008


This news coverage, of Santa Cruz's 4/20 celebration/gathering thing, is one of the funniest news clips I've ever seen. In the footage that was on last night's 10 o'clock news, the reporter doing the stand-up in front of a field full of pot-smokers was noticeably squinty-eyed from the clouds and clouds and clouds of pot smoke wafting around her. When story assignments were being handed out, I hope she was all "Ooh! Me! Me! I'll cover 4/20!"
posted by rtha at 10:53 AM on April 21, 2008


Pot makes me violently ill. I think it's an inner-ear thing.

That said, nothing makes me sadder than watching my wonderful friends suffer because of the stupid prohibition. Too many people are serving jail sentences because of pot and my pot-smoking friends shouldn't be treated like criminals... I am a drinker and it feels hypocritical when I'm sitting at the bar and people have to sneak around behind the building under an umbrella to enjoy their choice of recreational relaxant.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:07 AM on April 21, 2008


andreaazure writes "I'm not saying that the current criminal laws are fair, either. Smoking pot shouldn't get you a term that rivals breaking-and-entering, for instance. But that doesn't mean it should be legal."

Why not? Because it might be bad for your health if you smoke it? Why not pass a law that says you can't stand in the sun all day, because you might get cancer?

As others have mentioned, you don't have to smoke it.c
posted by krinklyfig at 11:34 AM on April 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


I remain unconvinced that symbolic action is meaningful.

Sure, and the last time this issue came up it was "oh, those awful pot smokers and their end-runs around the law, how come they can't just work within the system if they want change?"

Plus ça change, plus c'est la catch 22...
posted by vorfeed at 12:01 PM on April 21, 2008


This won't pass because all the people we currently have locked up for small-quantity posession will immediately petition the courts for a new trial. Most of them will be released, and file charges for wrongful imprisonment and damages for the time they spent in jail. We're going to be stuck with this retarded law forever, because it will cost us so much to get out of it unless we first spend a long time simply not enforcing it -- long enough to completely purge the jails of people who are in for this offense.

The first step in meaningful decriminalization will be a semi-official cessation of enforcement. Until you see that, don't get your hopes up.
posted by rusty at 12:03 PM on April 21, 2008


Someday, Ron Paul's candidacy will be seen as a poetic metaphor for an entire generation: an almost spontaneously-coalescing political campaign with no discernible organizing principle whose only tangible effect on the world outside the Internet was to raise recordbreaking amounts of money and spend it on a blimp.
posted by spiderwire at 12:04 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Drinking alcohol is bad for your health. I don't want to get into the whole "worse or better than cigarettes" argument -- but can we agree that it is actually damaging, overall, to drink up? I mean, sure, if you are almost dead anyway then the pain killing it is said to do might possibly be worth it...

...but generally, no. I'd actually like to see things go the other way. We shouldn't be decriminalizing pot, we should be criminalizing alcohol.

I'm not saying that the current criminal laws are fair, either. Drinking shouldn't get you a term that rivals breaking-and-entering, for instance. But that doesn't mean it should be legal.

(Do I still get to be a Democrat while holding these views?)

posted by Mental Wimp at 3:33 PM on April 21, 2008


What excuse would americans use for locking up black people if it did?

They'll think of something, maybe cocaine? Oh yeah, that's already been done.

Do potheads vote?
Damn straight!

I think at this point symbolic action does have value; the pressure has been building from many sides for the last decade, and anything that keeps it on is worthwhile, but certainly something that has the legitimacy of proposed federal legislation.

10,000 kids smoked up at U Colorado on 4/20 too, and not one arrest. I think mass actions will be very valuable going forward, as will steady pressure at the level of law enforcement de-prioritizing pot, and the continued development of alternatives to smoking it, and the accumulation of evidence it can be beneficial and the lack of evidence it causes any significant harm.

But in the end, I'm with the libertarian view on this: bugger off, nanny state. There is no demonstrable rational explanation for criminalizing this substance, and I do no harm to anyone else by ingesting it if it is sold legally -- *you* mofos do harm by keeping it illegal, in fact.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:47 PM on April 21, 2008


When you're old enough to go die for your country (or preferably make the other guys die for their country), then you are old enough to decide what you do or do not put into your body. Once you're an adult you don't need parents, not even a parental government. That's the whole *point* of adulthood: you make your own decisions, and you're responsible for them, for good or ill. If you can vote you should also be able to toke, or drink until you're puking drunk, or whatever. As long as you put no one else at risk, you should be free to do as you wish.

The parental government idea is just idiotic. The list of things that are bad for you is large, and isn't limited to drugs currently classified illegal. Should *everything* that isn't absolutely good for you be criminalized? We'd have 9 out of 10 people behind bars. We need to move toward less invasive government, not *more* invasive. Government can keep its paws out of my mind and out of my body. If I make some stupid decisions along the way about what to smoke/drink/eat, then I'll pay the consequences.

Choice is just another word for freedom. Letting the government restrict our choices allows them to strip from us the very thing the U.S. is supposed to treasure above all else. As long as my choices don't directly affect anyone else in a negative way, then leave me the fark alone and let me reap what I sow.
posted by jamstigator at 5:38 PM on April 21, 2008


This won't pass because all the people we currently have locked up for small-quantity posession will immediately petition the courts for a new trial. Most of them will be released, and file charges for wrongful imprisonment and damages for the time they spent in jail.

I'm no lawyer person, but I find that hard to believe. Wrongful imprisonment seems to be more about not actually commiting a crime one is convicted of, not being rightly convicted of a crime that is no longer in force.
posted by Snyder at 6:54 PM on April 21, 2008


> This won't pass because all the people we currently have locked up for small-quantity posession will immediately petition the courts for a new trial. Most of them will be released, and file charges for wrongful imprisonment and damages for the time they spent in jail.

Just because the law changes to make what you were arrested for no longer illegal, doesn't automatically entitle you to a get-out-of-jail-free card, or even a new trial. In the case of the powder/crack sentencing changes, the U.S. Sentencing Commission had to expressly make the guidelines retroactive. There's no reason why Congress, if they decriminalized marijuana, would make it retroactive. In fact I rather suspect that they wouldn't.

Although I don't think any decriminalization has too much of a chance this time around -- it's great that it's being brought up, though -- what would scuttle it without a doubt would be retroactivity. Letting a whole bunch of people who knowingly ignored a law, even a stupid one, out of jail is a much dicier proposition than simply changing the law to make the offense no longer illegal. (Particularly when there are almost certainly a few true scumbags who were locked up for marijuana possession out of convenience, that could be trotted out as examples of who would be 'roaming the streets tomorrow' by the bill's opponents.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:56 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Snyder & Kadin2048: I'm not in any way qualified to predict whether the argument would fly or not, but I bet you'd see a whole lot of cases trying to test it. It seems likely that it would cost a lot just handling motions for new trials based on the changed law, whether they went anywhere or not.

Prisoners don't have much to do. Many of them pass the time by exploring the mustier corners of the legal system.
posted by rusty at 8:08 AM on April 22, 2008


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