Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"Bailiff, whack his pee-pee!"
December 12, 2008 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Probation officers rejoice! We've talked about the Whizzinator before. Oh, c'mon, you remember? The fake penis that's capable of storing a warm, pre-mixed solution of "clean" urine so as to fool drug testers? Three weeks ago its developers pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy to defraud the government and conspiracy to sell drug paraphernalia and are awaiting sentencing.

(Apparently an older design did not incorporate the heating element that kept the urine warm, otherwise I can't make sense of this bizarre episode of criminality. This, and Onterrio Smith's bust, got the Whizzinator some big attention and ultimately resulted in the developers' indictments. Spoiler: the WaPo article is rife with congressional pee and ding-dong jokes.)
posted by resurrexit (65 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
How long do drugs (including alcohol) stay in your system?

Cocaine ... 1-2 days
Heroin ... 1-2 days
Methamphetamines ... 2-4 days
Marijuana ... the daily, heavy user can sometimes be detected up to 30+ days


The War on Drugs is really a war on pot.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:33 AM on December 12, 2008 [18 favorites]


Drug paraphernalia? Who's in charge of marketing at this company, and why haven't they seen Gattaca?
posted by rokusan at 10:36 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whatever. That thingy didn't work for me at all.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:43 AM on December 12, 2008 [6 favorites]


From Afroblanco's link: "Drug-Use Is Life Abuse - Drug-Use Is Self-Abuse - Drugs Destroy Dreams!"

So are we cracking down on masturbators now, too?
posted by dunkadunc at 10:44 AM on December 12, 2008


Three weeks ago its developers pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy to defraud the government

jack d ripper was right - they really have sapped and impurified our precious bodily fluids
posted by pyramid termite at 10:45 AM on December 12, 2008


Looks perfectly realistic, so long as you're one of the band-aid coloured peoples.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:56 AM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wow, they couldn't get a better lawyer? Head shops stay in business by selling "tobacco water pipes," but they weren't able to claim this was a gag prop of any sort? I guess they weren't even half-coy on their website, but if implements of crime like crowbars and lockpicks are legal, why not this?
posted by explosion at 10:56 AM on December 12, 2008


Does it require unadulterated child's piss? (Withnail, here @ 4:20ish - fantastic)
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 10:57 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


They should have sold it as a sex-toy that *gasp* it has an illicit drug-related use?!
posted by DU at 10:58 AM on December 12, 2008


Damn, the_very_hungry_caterpillar beat me to the Withnail reference. Why must I do this work thing, instead of being at loose ends,vigilantly poised to jump on each new thread?
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:00 AM on December 12, 2008


Down in Jesusland, they would have had to sell it as an "anatomically correct golden-shower simulator", for demonstration purposes only.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:02 AM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


You can still get one on eBay.
posted by resurrexit at 11:02 AM on December 12, 2008


Well, there goes my plans to manufacture and market the Defraudenator.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:05 AM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


what are us girls supposed to do?
posted by runincircles at 11:06 AM on December 12, 2008


"what are us girls supposed to do?"

Claim drag.
posted by klangklangston at 11:09 AM on December 12, 2008


Why did they plead guilty? Is it actually illegal to make a fake penis that warms dehydrated urine?

I mean I'm sure its illegal to actually use the device, but I'm surprised the manufacture is illegal. Problem with the way they marketed it?
posted by no_moniker at 11:12 AM on December 12, 2008


I look forward to the day that all the people who complain about drug enforcement rally together and effect change through their legislators. Until that time, the law is the law and can not be ignored out of disagreement without consequences thereto.

These guys may get off with just a fine, and if so, they should be happy.
posted by dios at 11:16 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


how are radar detectors and the manufacture thereof still legal, then?
posted by klanawa at 11:18 AM on December 12, 2008


no_moinker: Yes. That's why they charge was conspiracy. Their entire business was designed around assisting individuals in defrauding the government in order to facilitate undetectable drug use.
posted by dios at 11:19 AM on December 12, 2008


yeah or all the other drug paraphernalia, there's head shops all over the place and I don't see them getting closed down.
posted by no_moniker at 11:20 AM on December 12, 2008


So they should have had a different marketing strategy then, dios? Sell it as a sex toy for the golden shower enthusiast or something?
posted by no_moniker at 11:21 AM on December 12, 2008


conspiracy to defraud the government and conspiracy to sell drug paraphernalia

How exactly is the Whizzinator either of these things?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:25 AM on December 12, 2008


On not preview: yeah, what they said.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:26 AM on December 12, 2008


no_moniker: the argument you are making is not necessarily that these people should get off; the other logical position is that those people should be prosecuted as well. "Hey, X is breaking the law too" does not mean I should get away with--it means X should be prosecuted as well.
posted by dios at 11:27 AM on December 12, 2008


...the other logical position is that those people should be prosecuted as well.

no_moniker's point is not "but HE'S doing it, so why can't I??". The point here is, what are the two groups doing differently? Because there's no way headshops would remain open if they could be legally closed.
posted by DU at 11:30 AM on December 12, 2008


Metafilter: rife with congressional pee and ding-dong jokes.
posted by ericbop at 11:30 AM on December 12, 2008


Head shops do get in trouble.

Tommy Chong pleaded guilty to.... one count of conspiracy to distribute drug paraphernalia.
posted by dios at 11:32 AM on December 12, 2008


I think the Whizzinator manufacturers would have gotten off had they thought of an alternative legal use and marketed it as such. Like head shops saying their bongs are used only for flavored tobacco. They usually even kick people out for even mentioning marijuana, but still, the ruse is pretty thin.
posted by no_moniker at 11:33 AM on December 12, 2008


The War on Drugs is really a war on pot.

It certainly does seem that way. Myself and other friends of mine have all worked places that required a drug test as a part of the application process. This was never anything fancy - no hair, fingernail or blood samples - just urine. The cokehead, and the acid-dropping Deadheads, they had no qualms with taking a pee test. But the pot smokers, wow. For 30 days prior to submitting the application, they'd be on a regimen of a gallon of water a day, vitamin C tablets, going to the sauna, avoiding fatty foods, sleeping with a pair of scissors under the pillow, walking backwards under ladders and who knows what all else. Half of them flunked anyway.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:37 AM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


I look forward to the day that all the people who complain about drug enforcement rally together and effect change through their legislators.

Me, too. That's why I give a monthly donation to both the Marijuana Policy Project Foundation and PAC. These guys have been instrumental in passing decriminalization and medical marijuana laws around the country; if there was a local pro-marijuana/anti-Drug-War initiative in your state this year, chances are that these guys helped to fund it. If you saw somebody advancing the pro-pot position on television or Youtube during the last two years, chances are that these guys sent them. In short, MPP does good work.

So, if you really want to see the Drug War end, you should support MPP: buy a coffee cup, DVD, or tote bag, a t-shirt or two, or just plain give them your money.

As long as the Drug War continues, political action donations are one of the few rights you have left. Yearly membership in MPP costs less than a quarter-ounce per year -- put your money where your weed is.
posted by vorfeed at 11:38 AM on December 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


on preview: what DU said.

Its been said many times before, but in modern society we're all criminals. The enforcement of the law seems selective and capricious. Many times it seems like only the most arrogant or egregious get punished. And selective enforcement can be used to create de facto discrimination and other problems. I'd be better if the laws we enforced always or not at all, but I suppose thats either easier said than done.

/derail
posted by no_moniker at 11:38 AM on December 12, 2008


I think the Whizzinator manufacturers would have gotten off had they thought of an alternative legal use and marketed it as such.

Maybe. I doubt it. Because there is no reasonable legitimate use for the Whizzinator. If I have a small pipe, tobacco can be a reasonable legitimate use for that. When we start going down the road of water pipes though, the idea that they are for tobacco becomes more unreasonable. That is why Operation Pipe Dreams targeted certain head shops.

Here, the only use for the product is "defraud drug tests which are designed to detect illegal drug activity."
posted by dios at 11:41 AM on December 12, 2008


Oh, trust me, I'm sure some alternative legal uses could be dreamt up. I already mentioned one. Plausibility could be a minor problem, but the head shop excuses don't seem very airtight, so the bar must be pretty low.

first they came for the whizzinator...
posted by no_moniker at 11:46 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Because there is no reasonable legitimate use for the Whizzinator

In a universe where Silly Putty and My Pretty Pony exist, there's a reasonable legitimate use for the Whizzinator.

When we start going down the road of water pipes though, the idea that they are for tobacco becomes more unreasonable.

I just skimmed the Wikipedia article on head shops and I'm already better informed than you.
posted by DU at 11:49 AM on December 12, 2008


Is there a law on the books prohibiting the manufacture of fake penises with attached bladders? If not, I don't see how it's anyone's business what possible uses such a thing might have.
posted by king walnut at 12:01 PM on December 12, 2008


Here, the only use for the product is "defraud drug tests which are designed to detect illegal drug activity."

And the only use for radar detectors/deflectors is "defraud radar guns which are designed to detect illegal driving activity". Yet manufacturing one will get you arrested on Federal charges, and manufacturing the other will not. The same goes for lockpicks, "spy cameras", and any number of similar things which are largely intended for extra-legal use.

I understand the government's argument, here, but at this point, selective enforcement of charges like "conspiracy" have become blatant tools of state policy, and that's not how it's supposed to be. Not in America. I have very little sympathy for law-based arguments when the body of law is essentially being used to circumvent itself. In fact, widespread and justified disrespect for the law is probably the greatest casualty of the Drug War...
posted by vorfeed at 12:02 PM on December 12, 2008 [7 favorites]


Devils Rancher, there was another Withnail moment for you to jump on, you know. (In fact the very one that the_very_hungry_caterpillar quoted.) 1:55 or so, though there's no reason I can see to skip the beginning.

Withnail: At some point or another I want to stop and get hold of a child.
I: What do you want a child for?
Withnail: To tutor it in the ways of righteousness and procure some uncontaminated urine. This is a device enabling the drunken driver to operate in absolute safety. You fill this with piss, take this pipe down the trouser and cellotape this valve to the end of the old chap. Then you get horrible drunk and they can't fucking touch you. According to these instructions, you refuse everything except a urine sample. You undo your valve, give them a dose of unadulterated child's piss and they have to give you your keys back. Danny's a genius. I'm going to have a doze.
posted by felix grundy at 12:04 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Have anything meaningful to add to the discussion?

Pointing out that a participant is contributing little more than right-wing noise is a meaningful addition.
posted by DU at 12:09 PM on December 12, 2008


And yet the expected auto bailout pisses freely as the greatest whizzinator of all. Defraud my ass, stay the fuck out of my body and the harmful drugs I put in it, government. You've already got me on antidepressants and pills to make my penis responsive, and I just need a little something to take the edge off the sinking economy, destabilizing climate, and the constant threat of terrorism pressing on my very livelihood. You make our lives miserable and then spend half your arrests punishing black people for smoking pot who wanted to enjoy some music or a meal, maybe a laugh among friends. Heaven forbid! Pot makes people aware that behind these billboards littered in our open space is something beautiful and free, without a price tag nor a lobbyist to fellate a congressman in its favour. Fight the power, don't let 'em control your piss, nor your internet-purchased prosthetic penis that pisses fakely and freely.
posted by ageispolis at 12:14 PM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]



The War on Drugs is really an extension of the civil war.
posted by hortense at 12:15 PM on December 12, 2008


I woke up this morning with a bad hangover, and my Whizzinator was missing again. This happens all the time; it's detachable.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:16 PM on December 12, 2008 [6 favorites]


DU, are you sure you're not just thinking of other comments from dios? It seems like here he's just giving some well-needed legal insight to why these guys, and not those guys, were prosecuted. Take it easy.
posted by resurrexit at 12:17 PM on December 12, 2008


vorfeed: I do not disagree with the point you make. My only response would be that in a world with limited resources, discretion in enforcement is a necessary reality, despite the fact that I am philosophically opposed to it like you (it's why I lean towards legal positivism instead of legal realism) The rules are the rules and they should be enforced or changed, not merely understood as tools that allow the machines of government to do their thing. But in a world of limited resources, enforcement cannot be 100%. I'd personally prefer that we change the law if we are not going to enforce it. What amounts to precatory laws that permit widespread disrespect for the law do much harm and no good.



(On preview: DU, I'll take that as a "no" and go ahead and quit engaging you from here on out.)
posted by dios at 12:21 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just need a little something to take the edge off the sinking economy, destabilizing climate, and the constant threat of terrorism pressing on my very livelihood.

That's why the government forces you to take antidepressants and penis pills.
posted by owtytrof at 12:25 PM on December 12, 2008


Well let me tell ya that as a god+muslim fearin' American, the SNRI's give you the worst anxiety, and you just can't drink malt liquor like you used to do with the benzodiazepine's them doctor's pump you up with to counter the antidepressant's irritable side-effects.
posted by ageispolis at 12:36 PM on December 12, 2008


Jokes on the man: I just store the urine in my mouth whenever I have to drug test at a new job. Checkmate, Mr. Bush.
posted by Damn That Television at 12:36 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


When we start going down the road of water pipes though, the idea that they are for tobacco becomes more unreasonable.

And when we start selectively enforcing these "conspiracy" laws against peaceful activists who made a strong effort to stay within the letter of the law, like Tommy Chong, a man who did not even own nor run the business he was prosecuted for, the idea that these laws are for the protection of the people or the state, as opposed to open intimidation and political blackmail in defense of the prison-industrial racket, becomes more unreasonable.

Water pipes and federal Drug War charges... one of these two things deals severe damage to the fabric of society, fueling the black market and inciting distrust toward our police and our system of law; the other is for smoking marijuana.

My only response would be that in a world with limited resources, discretion in enforcement is a necessary reality [...] But in a world of limited resources, enforcement cannot be 100%. I'd personally prefer that we change the law if we are not going to enforce it.

Yes, of course. But when that discretion is used not in order to maximize limited resources or defend the public good, but to intimidate people who peacefully disagree with the law, I find that highly suspect. The idea that we can't enforce all of the laws is perfectly reasonable; the idea that these are among the laws we ought to be spending our limited time on is NOT, especially since these laws are in many cases used as tools to prevent people from trying to "change the law".
posted by vorfeed at 12:38 PM on December 12, 2008 [5 favorites]


I look forward to the day that all the people who complain about drug enforcement rally together and effect change through their legislators.

The top issue on Change.gov's "Open for Questions" involves legalizing reefer.

It doesn't matter, though, because in the political world this tool conveys "which major issues -- like the auto industry, health care, ethical standards, and others -- are the most important to this community." You can look through the first 100 items as suggested by the community under discussion and they don't concern the auto industry except to say "fuck the auto industry and let's build some railroads."

I doubt we get any railroads or any pot.

It is possible to smoke tobacco in a water pipe, but when my friends told me this was a poor idea I actually listened for once, so cannot provide firsthand experience.
posted by Sockpuppet For Naughty Things at 12:49 PM on December 12, 2008


And so the people rally against each other; ignoring the issue; and leaving "Change" to become another phrase of salesmanship. Hooray for "Hope"!
posted by buzzman at 12:51 PM on December 12, 2008


Actually, tobacco smoked in water pipes is not unusual at all, though some here might not realize it due to lack of cultural awareness. I know here in my city there are a few Hookah Lounges.
posted by Eekacat at 1:16 PM on December 12, 2008


vorfeed, I respect your point of view. And I'm certainly not going to defend the wisdom of drug laws or conspiracy laws. But (wearing my positivism hat) they are the law, and the law can change.

the idea that these laws are for the protection of the people or the state
posted by vorfeed at 2:38 PM on December 12


The laws ought to be enforced because they are laws. Or at least that's what I would say here. Laws change as our legislature see fit. They ought to be enforced because they are law, not because they *really* protect people or because some people are peaceful activists or not.

We can make the rules whatever we want. But we have to follow them once we set them because we are a nation of laws. If these people are the kind of people who "peacefully disagree" then they should devote their efforts to changing the law, not assisting people in circumventing it.

Alcohol was legal, then we made it illegal. Then we made it legal again. That's the cool thing about the rule of law. But during prohibition, the fact that alcohol was legal last week or that the person disagrees with the law was of no moment to a bootlegger when it comes to enforcement.
posted by dios at 1:18 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


OK, sorry but not totally following the pack here on some unspoken premises. Perhaps a bit tangential to the fake penis, but....

From a public health perspective.... Using it so you can get stinking drunk and drive home? I hope someone wouldn't... but they would, and would hopefully be too drunk to operate it properly and get caught anyhoo.

Habitual ups/downs use? If you can't stay clean for 3 days before a scheduled piss test, then that's an issue, and an issue of risk for your employer. It's unfair that a couple bumps last 2 days and a couple tokes last 10 times that. So an occasional toker would be exposed for using a less addictive drug. (And, those who don't want their boss to know they take ADHD meds would also be exposed without the Wizz.)

Aaannd.... I'm seeing a lot of comments about how pot smoking is all fine and good... and there's a level at which I take issue with that. There are lots of ways to enjoy & cope with life (though ageispolis , I disagree with the accepted idea of taking downs when you're feeling down) and lots of the way we do that are chemical. That said, every-day, heavy-use tokers for years aren't exempt from having a substance abuse problem because it's just pot.


/granny-cane-shaking-tangent.
posted by Sweetdefenestration at 1:22 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I also think it should come back on the market for hetero golden shower fantasy play for lesbians.
posted by Sweetdefenestration at 1:24 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, trust me, I'm sure some alternative legal uses could be dreamt up.

A practice tool for pee shy gentlemen. They use it to accustomed themselves to urinating in public.
posted by pracowity at 1:36 PM on December 12, 2008


OK, I get it that the government is claiming that this device could only have been used to facilitate illicit drug use, and thus constitutes illegal drug paraphernalia, but if that's the case then why can I go down to my local head shop or record store and buy synthetic urine that does exactly the same thing, minus the fake dick part? I've known several people who have passed UAs with this stuff, and it has no discernable purpose other than to facilitate illicit drug use. So why are these Whizzinator folks going to jail and my local head shop/record store isn't getting busted?
posted by baphomet at 1:42 PM on December 12, 2008


Alcohol was legal, then we made it illegal. Then we made it legal again. That's the cool thing about the rule of law.

There are two sides to the "rule of law". Law is a social contract, not a fiat, and as long as the government is happy to violate both the letter and the spirit of their duties as enforcers of the law, I'm afraid our citizens have neither reason nor reward for pretending as though the "rule of law" still deserves their respect.

But (wearing my positivism hat) they are the law, and the law can change.

Again, law enforcement is being used to prevent changes in the law, so the idea that "the law can change" is, in this particular case, naive at best. From the DEA all the way down to the Coast Guard, the government's line is that marijuana has no positive uses and its possession should be severely penalized. High-level government officials are willing to break the law themselves to propagate that belief, as are many law enforcement officers across the country. That being the case, the "change the law" argument is a red herring -- if the US Government was willing to ignore the decriminalization recommendation of its own National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse in order to start the modern Drug War in 1972, what makes you think that more than thirty years of complaining about our expensive and damaging War On Drugs is any more likely to cause the law to "change"? Prohibition wasn't open to change in the first place. And as Sockpuppet for Naughty Things pointed out above, it's not as if this is a minor issue according to our citizens, nor is it that we've failed to make our views known to the government. So where is our change?

Personally, I think it's important to work within the law for change, mainly because local change is still possible... but speaking realistically, I believe that meaningful, nation-wide change in the drug laws is highly unlikely in a criminal justice system whose current form is fueled by drug criminalization and widespread arrests. The idea that people should just "follow them once we set them because we are a nation of laws" falls more than a little flat when compared to the mechanism and history of drug prohibition. The government itself is not willing to commit to your "nation of laws" paradigm, and instead prefers political blackmail and selective enforcement over the legal development of just and Constitutional laws. Is it any wonder that the people should treat our laws with the same degree of respect?

The Declaration of Independence makes the relationship between citizens and the law exquisitely clear, and I'm afraid that responsibility doesn't solely run in the top-down direction you're suggesting it does.
posted by vorfeed at 2:18 PM on December 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


That said, every-day, heavy-use tokers for years aren't exempt from having a substance abuse problem because it's just pot.

Fair enough, but as long as the government continues to treat healthcare as a commodity, then they have no business with substance abusers who pay, out of premiums and their own pockets, for any long-term incurrence of their usage. I see the arguments in a socialized healthcare system, where people ought to care for their bodies so taxpayers are not paying for their rehab, but the proponents of the drug war want to tell us what we can and cannot do with our bodies and at the same time, privatize the medicine of which we depend to keep our bodies functioning and healthy. People have a social responsibility not to drink themselves into oblivion, perhaps, but only if the A.A. meetings are paid for by the people. The logic of the arguments for the drug war and private healthcare, shared by the same politicians, are contradictory of each. They're both argued for teleologically, just as any other republican pseudo-utilitarian view, but obscured under some misconstrued deontological veil of our constitutional right to personal autonomy. The war on drugs wants to throw people in jail instead of treating their addictions, and concurrently wants you to pay for anything you do to your body, so they make it illegal for you to take drugs (except of course drinkin' and copious amounts of mcdonald's and caffeine), and if you choose to break the law, then you have to pay for the consequences of your usage via lung biopsies or whatever other ailments that may or may not arise. How about the logic of it working the other way around? Legalized, controlled, and of the same social system as healthcare ought to be. It's not as if they haven't figured out how to regulate and profiteer off every other Pziser-produced pill out there. Drug companies, should they exist all at all, need to pay Willie Nelson a visit and learn to grow a dank strain of californian kush.
posted by ageispolis at 2:44 PM on December 12, 2008


Alcohol was legal, then we made it illegal. Then we made it legal again.

This brings up the following point. Congress does not have the Constitutional power to make alcohol illegal. Otherwise no amendment would have been necessary. Surely the same principle applies to marijuana? So to those of us who believe marijuana laws are unconstitutional, how should we go about changing it? We'll need to get to the Supreme Court. And to get to the Supreme Court, you have to involve yourself in a federal marijuana case. It's a pretty screwed up system when you have to break a law to have any real shot at getting it changed.
posted by king walnut at 3:05 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


We can make the rules whatever we want.
Who is this we that you are speaking of? I certainly wasn't canvassed about this. In fact, those who do oppose these laws are stigmatized and harrassed by law enforcement. It is most certainly not nearly as easy as you make out to change the legal/economic momentum that maintains the status quo.
posted by anansi at 3:37 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: In court with an electric prosthetic penis and a declaration of independance making the relationship clear.
posted by buzzman at 3:57 PM on December 12, 2008


"Until that time, the law is the law and can not be ignored out of disagreement without consequences thereto."

No, without risk of consequences thereto.

Also, I note that your "positivism" hat has some large sit-in shaped holes in it. When laws are unjust, it is man's duty to break those laws and to work to change them.
posted by klangklangston at 5:07 PM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


dios said: When we start going down the road of water pipes though, the idea that they are for tobacco becomes more unreasonable.

Just for argument sake; I have a water pipe that is easily 200 years old, that belonged to an ancestor. It has a bowl that is party size, and fabric hoses, and bone mouthpieces. It's gorgeous, just gorgeous. It's a tobacco pipe, not a hash hooka. (Bowl is the wrong size and shape for hash.)

My point being that people have used water pipes for tobacco for a long, long time. (For the record, I've never used the pipe, I can't imagine trying to clean the damn thing.)

As to legalization of pot goes, I think we're starting to see some movement there. Certainly nothing on the federal level, and there's a lot of resistance from law enforcement because of the amazing amount of money they make by confiscating anything a drug user has ever touched, including house and bank accounts, but we're starting to see some light in the tunnel. Medical marijuana has become a lot more accepted in the cultural subconscious, plus we've not got at least 3 generations of people who have grown up around casual drug use, and see that the "OMG, Yull DIE!!1!" people are bloody insane. We've come a long way since Reefer Madness. The trick is to keep the wheels rolling, and slowly grind away at the Puritans who would outlaw everything, if they could.
posted by dejah420 at 5:21 PM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


There are two sides to the "rule of law". Law is a social contract, not a fiat, and as long as the government is happy to violate both the letter and the spirit of their duties as enforcers of the law, I'm afraid our citizens have neither reason nor reward for pretending as though the "rule of law" still deserves their respect.

But that justification can be used to ignore any law (i.e.- why should I not cheat on my taxes when the government is only going to bailout industry? Or why should I respect life when the gov. starts unprovoked wars?). Appreciating how important the social contract is moves one to holding government accountable rather than scraping the whole thing for some laws you dislike.

That being the case, the "change the law" argument is a red herring -- if the US Government was willing to ignore the decriminalization recommendation of its own National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse in order to start the modern Drug War in 1972, what makes you think that more than thirty years of complaining about our expensive and damaging War On Drugs is any more likely to cause the law to "change"?


So the dissent opinions in Raich amount to what then? The continuing changes to state laws? Do you really believe Federal marijuana laws will stand if the majority of the states have laws in direct opposition? I'd also point out that there are still dry counties beyond the post-prohibition era.

Drug laws are contentious, where a good majority of folks are still support them in degree. Not to mention the implications towards other drugs (can you legitimately support the legalization of marijuana while being less than enthusiastic about other drugs? Why is marijuana a special case?).

It seems self-serving to promote wholesale dismissal of laws you think are unjust, especially when it is doubtful you will ever be brought up on Federal charges for simple possession alone.

I guess the acceptance of government corruption by mirroring it bugs me most. So many people in jail, and the forces for change have already accepted defeat at the opening gate.
posted by quintessencesluglord at 6:51 AM on December 13, 2008


But that justification can be used to ignore any law (i.e.- why should I not cheat on my taxes when the government is only going to bailout industry? Or why should I respect life when the gov. starts unprovoked wars?). Appreciating how important the social contract is moves one to holding government accountable rather than scraping the whole thing for some laws you dislike.

Again, this assumes that the government can be held accountable. As I said above, I think the jury is still out on that question. Also, I'm not saying one should ignore any law due to any government malfeasance -- the government malfeasance here is directly related to the enforcement of the laws in question.

I believe that the decision to disobey the law and pay the consequences rather than making oneself a complicit party to injustice is central to American culture; as far as I'm concerned, the idea that this is "scraping the whole thing for some laws you dislike" is facile at best.

So the dissent opinions in Raich amount to what then? The continuing changes to state laws? Do you really believe Federal marijuana laws will stand if the majority of the states have laws in direct opposition? I'd also point out that there are still dry counties beyond the post-prohibition era.

Yes, I really do believe that Federal marijuana laws will stand if the majority of the states have laws in direct opposition. Raich says as much, "dissenting opinions" or not, and the behavior of the Federal government so far does not suggest that they're at all willing to look the other way on this issue, no matter how many states wish they would.

As for dry counties, while I'm no fan of that decision, it is their right under the US Constitution. Drugs are a personal decision first, and a local decision second. I do not want a coercive Pro-Drug War any more than I want an Anti-Drug War... and just as nothing stops people in "dry counties" from buying elsewhere and drinking in private, I am sure that it's possible to make local drug laws which set similar public boundaries while protecting people's personal rights.

(can you legitimately support the legalization of marijuana while being less than enthusiastic about other drugs? Why is marijuana a special case?).

IMHO, it's not a special case. All drugs should be legal on the Federal level, according to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. However, marijuana is the obvious place to start, for any number of reasons both political and practical.

As for "can you legitimately support the legalization of marijuana while being less than enthusiastic about other drugs", the answer seems obvious to me, even if I don't personally agree with it: the DEA and FDA already make this decision with regards to every other drug in the country. Assuming we can get them to make this decision on the basis of solid scientific evidence rather than politics, money, and scare-mongering -- a vastly unlikely assumption, IMHO, especially considering that the implications Rat Park has for the current scientific addiction model continue to be ignored, suggesting bias within science itself -- then there might be some rationale for banning some recreational drugs and permitting others.

I guess the acceptance of government corruption by mirroring it bugs me most. So many people in jail, and the forces for change have already accepted defeat at the opening gate.

The first thing I posted in this thread was a call to lawful political action. I spend plenty of money and time on working for legal change in the marijuana laws, so don't pull this "you've already accepted defeat at the opening gate" crap with me. There's a big difference between "accepting defeat" and fighting on even while understanding that victory in our time is unlikely.

There are a handful of people alive today who have been fighting this fight for over sixty years now, if one goes all the way back to the original Marihuana Tax Act. I myself have been in this for almost twenty years. In all that time, prohibition has never been reasonable, nor fair, nor just, nor wise, nor economically and politically sustainable, and our citizens -- sometimes even powerful ones -- have been loudly pointing it out the whole time. Yet change on the Federal level is just as unlikely as it ever was, if not more so, since the Supreme Court has now given the green light for the Feds to commit politically-motivated interference with state and local drug laws.

Sorry, but while we've made huge strides on the local level, the overall outlook on the Federal level is simply not good, and it's delusion to think otherwise. We'll continue to fight, of course, but entering battle without a reasonable assay of the enemy's strength would be foolish indeed...
posted by vorfeed at 12:33 PM on December 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Conspiracy to conspire about conspiracies
posted by tehloki at 12:24 AM on December 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


« Older A homeless man on Queen Street, Toronto cuddling h...  |  A (mostly) complete concert by... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments