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Obama Told Me I Was Doing The Right Thing
December 31, 2009 7:59 AM   Subscribe

A medical marijuana provider in California is mounting a novel defense after his marijuana farm was raided by Federal agents.

James Dean Stacy is arguing that statements made by President Obama while on the campaign trail about easing marijuana laws constitutes "entrapment by estoppel, defined as when an official tells someone that something is legal, then busts them for it. Put plainly, Stacy would not have formed the collective if the government hadn’t assured legal collectives that they wouldn’t be prosecuted."
posted by reenum (69 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
"while on the campaign trail"

Um...
posted by Sys Rq at 8:03 AM on December 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Let us know how that goes.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:10 AM on December 31, 2009


I don't think that anything a Senator says in day-to-day life is legally binding, regardless of whether that guy goes on to be President.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:10 AM on December 31, 2009


I'm not sure about the campaign trail, but the Obama administration made these kinds of statements after the inauguration. I remember one announcement shortly after inauguration, and another a few months later where they made it official DOJ policy not to bust people who were not violating state laws (after a few raids had taken place)
posted by delmoi at 8:13 AM on December 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yeah, read the article people:
When he assumed office, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder echoed the sentiments during several meet-the-new-DOJ appearances in California and New Mexico—“You will be surprised to know that the Justice Department will be acting in a manner consistent with what [the president] said during the campaign”—and, in October, Holder formalized the policy in a set of guidelines distributed to U.S. Attorney offices.
...
In a Dec. 10 court motion, Stacy says he did the due diligence: He researched the prosecutorial policies articulated by Holder, hired a lawyer to walk him through the process and corresponded with the California Secretary of State’s (SOS) office on how to file for “public benefit” status, the technical term for a California nonprofit. The SOS even provided him with a copy of the state Attorney General’s guidelines for running a collective.
He didn't base his activities on campaign statements, but rather official DOJ policy as statement by the AG .
posted by delmoi at 8:15 AM on December 31, 2009 [17 favorites]


First they came for the gays, and I did not speak up because I was not gay.

Then they came for the uninsured, and I did not speak up because I was not uninsured.

Then they came for the stoners, and I did not speak up because I was way too fucking stoned to talk...
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:17 AM on December 31, 2009 [14 favorites]


Stacy opened the medical-marijuana collective, Movement in Action, in the space adjacent to his martial-arts dojo

This is my surprised face.
posted by emelenjr at 8:17 AM on December 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


I think the constitutional argument is far more interesting and probably more likely to stand up to scrutiny. I mean, who's ever heard of a pot dealer* arguing against federalism?


*Medical marijuana collective organizer is rather unwieldy.
posted by brina at 8:18 AM on December 31, 2009


I've been amazed at the rapid progress -- even the opening floodgates -- since the medical marijuana wedge got stuck under the door, and I would expect a rough patch of pushback from the feds (and more to the point, the hundreds of billions of dollars in interests vested in just the anti-pot portion of the drug war, including elements at all levels of law "enforcement," not just federal) until the entire thing collapses on its own absurdity.

Man, for me it's so simply a freedom of religion issue. But if we need to justify it scientifically to bring the law into alignment with common sense, la luta continua.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:28 AM on December 31, 2009


Barack Obama is a huge liar, like all other successful politicians. I thought everyone knew this. Irregardless of how little Obama cares about effective medicine, I hope this turns out well for the medical marijuana folks. One of my best friends died last year from early onset breast cancer, and the only treatment that didn't hollow her out and wreck her body was smoking marijuana. Her doctor agreed that the best way to treat the side effects of chemotherapy was smoking weed. Imagine her pain and my pain those times when she was unable to get relief from the effects of her chemotherapy because she couldn't get the one drug that helped her cope with her treatment and enjoy her life.

So, this is a rather touchy and upsetting subject to me.
posted by fuq at 8:29 AM on December 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


I hope both his arguments hold up in court since each sets a good sound precedent.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:33 AM on December 31, 2009


I'd really like to see the AG just drop this case.
posted by empath at 8:33 AM on December 31, 2009


As far as I'm concerned, the high point of all this is the word "estoppel."

Unless this defense succeeds. That would be even more awesome than saying "estoppel." And did I mention that saying "estoppel" is awesome?
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:38 AM on December 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one that thinks the public statements of a public official, made while campaigning for the office, or while in acting under the auspice of thier office, should be held to the same legal standard of sworn statements made under penalty of perjury? Is there something inherently flawed with that idea? Can we start doing that now please?

And did I mention that saying "estoppel" is awesome?
* bubbling noise *
posted by clarknova at 8:43 AM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Folks - the economy gets bad enough it'll be legal just to tax it. Not to mention if you are toked up, are you gonna care about the bad economy?

Let us know how that goes.

Me, I'm still waiting for the reports from the Free Marijuana Church - the part where you take a toke then sit down and think about what you have done. Its been over a year, you'd think someone woulda blogged about what they had though about.

Barack Obama is a huge liar, like all other successful politicians.

On the Blue, you'll find people who have argued that under the Big O man corruption is 100% stopped. Done. Over.

Judicial Watch thinks not, but hey....not like such a claim would be well accepted on the Blue as a front page post.

Others have claimed that the Big O man didn't backtrack or flip flop on ANY of the campaign promises. Yet such a claim is not believable unless The President this time was really above and beyond any other politician in history.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:46 AM on December 31, 2009


He didn't base his activities on campaign statements, but rather official DOJ policy as statement by the AG .

Public statements are not the same as "official policy." Does he have an official DOJ Policy Memo? How about a Federal Register Notice? You get one of those then maybe you have a case, so long as you can prove that you were actually following the policy and that they busted you despite such published policies.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:49 AM on December 31, 2009


Am I the only one that thinks the public statements of a public official, made while campaigning for the office, or while in acting under the auspice of thier office, should be held to the same legal standard of sworn statements made under penalty of perjury?

From the 5th ammendment:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury

Presentment: an accusation of crime made by a grand jury on its own initiative

So, go find a Grand Jury and have 'em make a presentment. It may help to attach a ham sandwich somehow to the public official.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:51 AM on December 31, 2009


I think they might have a problem with this defense. Specifically, in the article it says "In a Dec. 10 court motion, Stacy says he did the due diligence: He researched the prosecutorial policies articulated by Holder..."

To me, prosecutorial policies would be a list of things which are illegal, and a policy on how aggressively (or not) to prosecute those. So I don't think they told him what he was doing was legal, I think they told him they weren't going to prosecute people for it any more.

Which still sucks when they turn around and prosecute people anyway, but I think that's a very different thing than telling them it's legal.
posted by FishBike at 8:54 AM on December 31, 2009


On the Blue, you'll find people who have argued that under the Big O man corruption is 100% stopped. Done. Over.

Man, is that straw itchy.

Marijuana legalization is a major, important issue to me. I stay abreast of the debate and vote when I can with this issue in mind. In New York, I always vote Marijuana Freedom Party if the dem or progressive candidate I want is on their ballot line (generally, this is the case).

I was happy to vote for Barack Obama, and I continue to be heartened by his performance so far, although I have of course been disappointed in some of his decisions and failures (Afghanistan, the lack of torture prosecutions).

If you consider his stance and the range of possible political options on this issue, he's the best those of us who support legalization could have hoped for. This is not a battle that will be fought out at the level of presidential politics.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:57 AM on December 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Which still sucks when they turn around and prosecute people anyway,

Sucks when the mere growing of a plant falls under 'drug manufacturing' and so ya can't take 100+ acres of land that can only seem to grow jackpine and you want to plant a high yield oilseed crop. Even importing the seeds to be setting off TPTB these days.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:00 AM on December 31, 2009


rough ashlar: "On the Blue, you'll find people who have argued that under the Big O man corruption is 100% stopped. Done. Over."

This does not sound like the metafilter I know.
posted by boo_radley at 9:04 AM on December 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


this may be why he was arrested:

...practices he felt were in keeping with the spirit of the California AG’s guidelines.

and this may be how he dodges the bullet:


Last month, a San Diego jury in state Superior Court acquitted Jovan Jackson, the coordinator of Answerdam Alternative Care, of all marijuana-related charges; the foreman told the press following the verdict that California’s laws are too vague to determine whether Jackson’s collective wasn’t in compliance.

Personally, I am ambivalent about marijuana, I am 100% all for legitimate medical uses. However, I do think there are plenty of cases where that claim get abused (hell, I know of a few myself), as drugs go pot seems less destructive than most but it is not risk free. Yeah those high school film strips are/where fucking absurd, but as with anything that fucks you up there are real risks. Abuse of any substance is pretty depressing to witness.
posted by edgeways at 9:08 AM on December 31, 2009


On the Blue, you'll find people who have argued that under the Big O man corruption is 100% stopped. Done. Over.

Actually you'll have to substantiate that claim, modify it, or withdraw it.
posted by edgeways at 9:13 AM on December 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


So, when you go to a marijuana dispensary, how does -- and I'll try to stick to neutral terms here to avoid hurhur pot jokes -- dosing and strength work? When I go to the pharmacy, I get x pills at potency y guaranteed. Reading about marijuana dispensaries, it seems like the process is sort of up in the air: maybe you have a doctor's note for it, but even complimentary accounts don't say anything like "well, you'll need to have x THC in your system for y hours; if you vaporize Type A here, you'll need 30 grams, but if you bake it, you'll need 60 and smoking would be 50. Type B would be 20, 55 and 42"

That seems kind of odd to me.
posted by boo_radley at 9:13 AM on December 31, 2009


Under the Big O man corruption is 100% stopped. Done. Over.

This would make rough ashlar's statement true if only I didn't mean by that that being placed underneath Oliver Platt will cause a corpse to cease putrefaction, which is well known.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:20 AM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pollamacho, from the article:

in October, Holder formalized the [DOJ] policy in a set of guidelines distributed to U.S. Attorney offices.

The SOS even provided [Stacy] with a copy of the state Attorney General’s guidelines for running a collective.

So the argument seems to be, Obama and Holder made public statements about policy after taking office. Holder ran workshops with states' Attorneys General. Holder then distributed written guildelines aboug DOJ policy to Attorneys General. Those DOJ guidelines were used by the California SOS to generate state guidelines for running a dispensary. Stacy then hired a lawyer and communicated with SOS about those guidelines, receiving a copy of the official SOS document.

Seems to me that a jury may agree that given this timeline there can be a reasonable assumption that Stacey was following written federal policy, since SOS policy was based on written statements from DOJ.
posted by spicynuts at 9:39 AM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Drug Policy Alliance - Donate (will accomplish more than posting to metafilter)
posted by jcruelty at 9:40 AM on December 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


So, when you go to a marijuana dispensary, how does -- and I'll try to stick to neutral terms here to avoid hurhur pot jokes -- dosing and strength work?

Correct dosages are a lot more important for drugs that have unwanted side effects or toxicity at high dosage. Cannabinoids vary in potency quite a lot, but any standard dosage is likely to get you to the top of the dose curve. At that point, consuming more isn't going to have any additional effect (all CB receptor binding sites are occupied), but since the toxicity is so ridiculously low there's no downside to overindulging.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 9:54 AM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


"So, when you go to a marijuana dispensary, how does -- and I'll try to stick to neutral terms here to avoid hurhur pot jokes -- dosing and strength work?"

It doesn't work like that. It's not a truly dangerous drug like alcohol or heroin where you have a real chance of dying if you overindulge. THC has its own negative feedback mechanism where before you get anywhere near a toxic level, you totally forget what you were doing. When you find a pipe/joint/bong in your hand and can't remember why or how it got there, that's when you stop.
posted by mullingitover at 10:07 AM on December 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one that thinks the public statements of a public official, made while campaigning for the office, or while in acting under the auspice of thier office, should be held to the same legal standard of sworn statements made under penalty of perjury? Is there something inherently flawed with that idea? Can we start doing that now please?

Yes, that is flawed. Under whose jurisdiction does that fall, if someone campaigning for office makes a promise they don't keep? What is the precedent for doing such a thing? How practical would this be, given that the courts are already overburdened by the Drug War and tough-on-crime legislation? Doesn't the FEC already regulate elections?

I do think, however, that statements made by the AG should be held to a higher legal scrutiny. Not subject to perjury, however. I don't think anyone is going to take an oath to that effect.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:14 AM on December 31, 2009


At that point, consuming more isn't going to have any additional effect (all CB receptor binding sites are occupied), but since the toxicity is so ridiculously low there's no downside to overindulging.

Most people who use for medical reasons are able to self-regulate the dosage. In other words, people are only going to use what they need, and as mentioned toxicity is not an issue.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:16 AM on December 31, 2009


Personally, I am ambivalent about marijuana, I am 100% all for legitimate medical uses. However, I do think there are plenty of cases where that claim get abused (hell, I know of a few myself), as drugs go pot seems less destructive than most but it is not risk free. Yeah those high school film strips are/where fucking absurd, but as with anything that fucks you up there are real risks. Abuse of any substance is pretty depressing to witness.

Yes, there are risks, but is it worth it to keep it illegal? The risks are considerably less than with most OTC medications, and far less than alcohol or tobacco, or even junk food. Your discomfort is not enough to justify putting people in jail over it. If people need help quitting weed, they need counseling and potentially other forms of treatment. Jail is not the place to deal with that, a medical issue, and people who have problems quitting weed are almost never a danger to themselves or others by their smoking of weed alone.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:21 AM on December 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


Where I work, we don't call them "novel" defenses, so much as "Alan Shore" defenses.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:29 AM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Public statements are not the same as "official policy." Does he have an official DOJ Policy Memo?

Well, look.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. directed federal prosecutors Monday to back away from pursuing cases against medical marijuana patients, signaling a broad policy shift that drug reform advocates interpret as the first step toward legalization of the drug.
I don't have an official memo, but it's not exactly a secret that the government has publicly stated, multiple times, that they are not going to peruse these cases. That announcement was in Oct, though, probably after this guy was arrested. But similar statements were made back in march, February, and so on.
posted by delmoi at 10:29 AM on December 31, 2009


Wait, wait, wait. So what we're saying here is that if a guy says he's selling medical marijuana, then the fed. gov't can't pursue him?

Because, obviously, everybody that sells marijuana for medicinal purposes in California only sells marijuana for medicinal purposes. Right?

I'm sure we're just getting one side of the story here. And the other side might (this is speculation) say something like "dude put up a front for a medicinal co-op in order to actually sell marijuana illegally."

I'm sure that about 90% of pot smokers in California have come up with the idea that if they got into a co-op, and, like, said it was for medicinal purposes, then, like it would be totally legit for them to buy/sell/distribute all the pot they wanted, man.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:46 AM on December 31, 2009


...practices he felt were in keeping with the spirit of the California AG’s guidelines.

For what it's worth, Guidelines for the security and non-diversion of marijuana grown for medical use [pdf].
posted by peeedro at 10:47 AM on December 31, 2009


Thoughtcrime: "Correct dosages are a lot more important for drugs that have unwanted side effects or toxicity at high dosage."

well, my complaint isn't fatal overdosing, but just matching the medicine to the complaint. I know that nobody's going to die because of pot's effects.

I was thinking of one particular medicine I take that helps with joint swelling. You can't really overdose on it, but taking 3 pills is enough to manage the swelling. I could take 8, and that would be ok, but it wouldn't be more effective, and I'd wind up buying more because of the increased consumption.

So let me change my question a bit: If I come in with a complaint, how does the dispensary dispense accordingly? Is there a table of some kind, or is it all by ear? It would seem to me that having guidelines for reference would be useful and lend legitimacy to those who might object to marijuana (I am not one of those people, this is just something I've been thinking about.)
posted by boo_radley at 10:50 AM on December 31, 2009


Holder then distributed written guildelines aboug DOJ policy to Attorneys General.

Here are the guidelines:

As a general matter, pursuit of these priorities should not focus federal resources in your States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana. For example, prosecution of individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or those caregivers in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law who provide such individuals with marijuana, is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources. On the other hand, prosecution of commercial enterprises that unlawfully market and sell marijuana for profit continues to be an enforcement priority of the Department. To be sure, claims of compliance with state or local law may mask operations inconsistent with the terms, conditions, or purposes of those laws, and federal law enforcement should not be deterred by such assertions when otherwise pursuing the Department's core enforcement priorities.

So, yep, DOJ did issue guidelines alright, but not guidelines that said what Stacey would like them to have said. The guidelines do say that small non-profit organizations that follow state laws and policies might not get prosecuted, but for-profit, large scale organizations should continue to watch out. While I think his case is strong in that he followed the advice and interpritation of the state AG, in this case it is not the state AG that gets to interprit the laws. Federal law enforcement and prosecutors are the ones in this case that get to define what they will pursue and if they feel an operation is consistent with the state laws as they are tasked with enforcing Federal laws.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:12 AM on December 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wait, wait, wait. So what we're saying here is that if a guy says he's selling medical marijuana, then the fed. gov't can't pursue him?

No, that's not how it works. Dispensaries are regulated at the state, county, and city level. There are rules and regs and paperwork and taxes. You can't just be Some Dude who declares he is a provider of medical cannabis so he can sell out of his apartment.
posted by rtha at 11:50 AM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you consider [Obama's] stance and the range of possible political options on this issue, he's the best those of us who support legalization could have hoped for.

Obama does not support marijuana legalization. He appointed a drug czar who does not support marijuana legalization or medical marijuana, as in "Marijuana legalization, for any purpose, remains a non-starter in the Obama Administration. It is not something that the President and I discuss; it isn't even on the agenda. [...] The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which studies and approves all medicines in the United States, has made very clear that the raw marijuana plant is not medicine, and any state considering medical marijuana should look very carefully at what has happened in California". [emphasis mine]

There were two Democratic candidates in the primary who do support marijuana legalization -- Kucinich and Gravel -- so don't tell me that Obama is "the best we could have hoped for". He's much better than McCain or Bush, certainly, but Obama is absolutely anti-legalization, and has never claimed otherwise. IMHO, even Hillary came across as being [a little] more supportive of drug policy reform.

If you really want to make a difference, take the money you spent on supporting Obama and send an equal amount to MPP -- and do it today, because a philanthropist is matching all donations until the end of the year. And if you smoke, send these guys some money every time you buy a bag, even if it's just a dollar or two. If every one of us pitches in toward real legislative change, we can win this... because I agree, this is not a battle that will be fought out at the level of presidential politics. MPP is in the trenches on the state and local level every single day, fighting against Obama's harmful drug czar and his continued Federal raids on marijuana users, medical and otherwise.
posted by vorfeed at 12:00 PM on December 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


If you smoke stuff bought on the street, you may also consider donating a buck or two to some relief charities in Latin America.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:18 PM on December 31, 2009


Abuse of any substance is pretty depressing to witness.

I know a lot of people who have fucked up their lives because of online games like WoW. Do you propose to make WoW illegal?
posted by Justinian at 12:24 PM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure that what the drug czar says is relevant at all.

Title VII Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998: H11225
Responsibilities. –The Director– [...]

(12) shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that–

1. is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and
2. has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:30 PM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


On the Blue, you'll find people who have argued that under the Big O man corruption is 100% stopped. Done. Over.

cite, please
posted by the bricabrac man at 12:34 PM on December 31, 2009


the Big O man?
posted by matkline at 12:46 PM on December 31, 2009


y'all can't do this, man, we headed to Hamsterdam!
posted by klapaucius at 12:55 PM on December 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


krinklyfig: I never said that I thought the solution was throwing people in jail, my noted concern is in counterpoint to all the cheerleading marijuana gets, which at times seems rather Pollyannaish, "oh if we just legalize it all the problems with pot will just go away". I know not everyone thinks this, and not everyone in favor of legalization thinks this, but I am, personally, burnt out on the overenthusiastic rah rah POV. On balance I favor some level of legalization, although I do think that it would come with trade offs, both positive and negative. However, I also think the real push should be for legitimate medicinal uses over recreational use. I don't know, but I suspect that proponents of recreational use piggybacking on medicinal-use, or using medicinal-use as a way to game the system to score doobage do harm to those who are trying to convince enough people to allow legal medical use in other States.
posted by edgeways at 1:14 PM on December 31, 2009


If you smoke stuff bought on the street, you may also consider donating a buck or two to some relief charities in Latin America.

And if you use electronics, you may also consider donating a buck or two to some relief charities in China, right? We're playing the same blame game with that economic decision, too, aren't we? How about people who don't buy organic food -- do they have to donate, too?

Be fair. Yes, buying local marijuana is a Good Thing, but the main obstacle to non-organized-crime, US grown marijuana is pretty clearly not the end consumer, and it is silly to pretend otherwise. I'm not saying "don't donate", but IMHO, this is a guilt trip which has very little to do with the real problem. Spending your money on getting marijuana decriminalized or legalized in the United States will do just as much for the long-term health of people in Latin America as a direct donation will, if not more so, because it addresses the reason why people in Juarez are killing and dying over a plant that grows just as well in El Paso.

Drug violence in Latin America is a problem which cannot be solved as long as there's a thriving black market for drugs in the United States... and if you seriously think that frowning at people who buy Mexican weed will eliminate that, good luck to you.
posted by vorfeed at 1:27 PM on December 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Justinian, you're comment doesn't really detract from what I said, which wasn't about making pot illegal, but was about acknowledging that pot can be harmful, it is not a neutral thing. And to answer the semi-question there, if you fuck up your life by playing on-line games, or by smoking too much dope, there are certain penalties that seem reasonable, and some that may naturally accrue. In both cases if you have children an evaluation of your capacity to care for them should be made, you might get fired from your job, lose your apartment/house/significant other, etc.

I am not trying to provoke a fight here, but it seems that anytime someone makes a criticism about marijuana legalization, no matter how tepid, the counterargument seems to jump to, "well do you just want to throw them in jail?" "What if XYZ where illegible?" "This thing causes problems so do you want to make that illegal too?"

I actually am quite down with the whole "prisons are too crowed, we criminalize too many people" meme. I agree completely that the war on drugs is out of hand. But, I am never going to be in the "Fuck yeah! Pot's legal! Woo Hoo!" gang. Though again, on balance I think it should be legal in some fashion.
posted by edgeways at 1:30 PM on December 31, 2009


I know a lot of people who have fucked up their lives because of online games like WoW. Do you propose to make WoW illegal?

Now that you mention it, among the handful of people I know who are hardcore WoW players, approximately 100% are also hardcore potheads. World of Warcraft: Gateway Drug®???
posted by Sys Rq at 1:55 PM on December 31, 2009


if you fuck up your life by playing on-line games, or by smoking too much dope, there are certain penalties that seem reasonable, and some that may naturally accrue.

Ever fucked up your life? Believe me, there's no need for externally- imposed penalties. The fact that your life's fucked up is in itself the penalty. Your statement is like saying that people who touch live electrical wires should be punished; regardless of fault, they've already experienced harm. Nothing inspires one to sort out one's life quite like the experience of having a life that isn't sorted.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:02 PM on December 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


I don't know, but I suspect that proponents of recreational use piggybacking on medicinal-use, or using medicinal-use as a way to game the system to score doobage do harm to those who are trying to convince enough people to allow legal medical use in other States.

This may be true, but it hardly mitigates the very real need for marijuana to become legally available for people who need it for medical reasons. I could say the same thing about nearly any special interest group/cause. I think your gripe is with the cheerleaders, not the cause itself, but you're arguing with a straw man.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:12 PM on December 31, 2009


Now that you mention it, among the handful of people I know who are hardcore WoW players, approximately 100% are also hardcore potheads. World of Warcraft: Gateway Drug®???

Anecdotally, all the WoW players I've met do not use marijuana or any recreational substance, aside from social drinking.

In any event, there is a pretty strong correlation with certain conditions like ADD/ADHD and marijuana use, as well as video games. To be clear, marijuana and video games do not cause ADD, but those things are appealing to those who have ADD. The hyperfocus which MMORPGs encourage is perfect for the mindset, and marijuana is often used by the same people to alleviate social stress as well as to help focus.

These may or may not be the most beneficial things someone like that could be engaged in, but people with ADD are also drawn to substances like cocaine and speed due to the medicating effect similar to drugs like Adderall. So, it could be worse, and someone playing videogames and getting stoned too much is not cause for alarm or any sort of law enforcement. In fact, it's possible to be prescribed marijuana for ADD/ADHD in many states which allow it for medical use, though it is usually contraindicated in the literature, though the need by the patient can vary and may or may not be beneficial for such people.

Disclosure: I have ADD. I have been known to enjoy a joint or two, but Adderall is usually (though not always) better for my productivity, but not necessarily creativity. I don't play WoW. I do enjoy a good strategy game like the Total War series.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:24 PM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


OK, think about it this way. I could say, "Well, I sure would like for us to have pulled out of Iraq when Bush was president, but Cindy Sheehan and those Code Pink people really pissed me off, so I couldn't get on board with promoting the idea." Pretty self-defeating to have that sort of attitude.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:29 PM on December 31, 2009


"I was thinking of one particular medicine I take that helps with joint swelling. You can't really overdose on it, but taking 3 pills is enough to manage the swelling. I could take 8, and that would be ok, but it wouldn't be more effective, and I'd wind up buying more because of the increased consumption."So let me change my question a bit: If I come in with a complaint, how does the dispensary dispense accordingly? Is there a table of some kind, or is it all by ear? It would seem to me that having guidelines for reference would be useful and lend legitimacy to those who might object to marijuana "

I'm guessing but it's probably proscribed "as needed". Lots of pain medication is this way, half the stuff my Dad is on they'll refill at crazy rates. And the acid reflux medication I take, though it says one pill once per day on the bottle, is crazy expensive and my doctor has always said just take it when I need it which turns out to be once or twice every few weeks.

Because it is essentially impossible to kill or even seriously harm yourself smoking pot, and because no one is getting a pot script for a sprained ankle, it is fine for a dispensary via a script to say "Here's a dozen joints. Smoke till you feel better/not nauseous/hungry and come back when you need more".
posted by Mitheral at 2:45 PM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ever fucked up your life? Believe me, there's no need for externally- imposed penalties.

see. what you are describing is the part where I say ....there are certain penalties that seem reasonable, and some that may naturally accrue.

And I tend to agree there are not needs for externally-imposed penalties, except in the areas where fucking up your life also means fucking up other people's lives.
posted by edgeways at 3:48 PM on December 31, 2009


Eh, so what are you saying then? That some people use too much pot? I suppose. Water is wet, the sun is sunny, and people do occasionally self-destructive things. What exactly does that have to do with anything except in a sort of "eh, whatcha gonna do" sort of way? Being against prohibition doesn't mean you think pot is the greatest thing ever, or even that you like it, or even that you think it is harmless.

I don't think any of those things, for example.

But you don't seem to be doing anything but mumbling some wishy-washy ambivalence that doesn't really lead to anything. That sentence sounds harsher than I mean it, sorry. I just mean that I'm not exactly sure what you're getting at.
posted by Justinian at 4:29 PM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yep. All the way.
posted by peeedro at 4:50 PM on December 31, 2009


Barack Obama is a huge liar, like all other successful politicians. I thought everyone knew this.

There is a great danger in making statements like this. Not the Obama-is-a-liar statement (others have responded to that one acceptably), but the one that all successful politicians must be liars. It is true there are a lot of crooks out there, but to dismiss them all like that both gives them carte blanche to be that way ("everyone does it") and plays into the hands of right wing bathtub-drowners like Grover Norquist. The fact is, government is the only thing we have to defend us against the rapacious businessmen that continue to erode what good faith is left in this country. The solution to this problem is not to throw your hands up and say whatyagonnado, it is to elect honest men, and Obama, for his faults, is better than many.
posted by JHarris at 6:47 PM on December 31, 2009


What's the sense behind the medical marijuana debate anyway? It's so dangerous that those who smoke/sell it must be hunted down and put in prison- but at the same time it's safe enough to be prescribed even to people who are lingering on death's door on account of serious disease?

Maybe it's just some kind of neo-Puritanism or w/e- you know; "well I guess it's alright for THAT guy to smoke it because he's wasting away in immense pain from an incurable disease so it's not like he's having TOO much fun with it, lol owned."

I've been clean for 8 years so legalization doesn't affect me personally but come on now, let's not half-ass it- or give it out and then take it away- from people who are suffering if it makes them feel better. Pretty sure the doctors aren't just handing out scrips to let terminally ill folks have a little fun ebfore they die either, I really can't see a doc saying "smoke Camels & drink Jack Daniels as needed for pain." Besides, once it's legalized and pharma is getting rich off it you can bet that political opposition to weed will go away quickly, and followed in turn by popular opposition. People weren't storming the gates of Merck or voting politicians out after the Vioxx scandal, after all.

Maybe that's what legalizaiton advocates should try- don't advocate on behalf of the dying or the imprisoned, advocate on the behalf of the benevolent megacorps. "Stop big government from meddling in the free market" or something.
posted by hamida2242 at 7:03 PM on December 31, 2009


What's the sense behind the medical marijuana debate anyway? It's so dangerous that those who smoke/sell it must be hunted down and put in prison- but at the same time it's safe enough to be prescribed even to people who are lingering on death's door on account of serious disease?

Well, I think there are a few sick people who feel like they need marijuana and don't think it should be legalized because they think that trying to make it legal for everyone would just make it harder for them to get, it would push back the date that it was available for everyone. I think the argument is "Marijuana makes you an unproductive member of society. But I'm too sick to be productive, so there's no harm in letting me smoke."

But look, a lot of people think that there is some kind of coherent theory behind the laws of the land. There isn't. It's a result of people arguing with each other and taking whatever scraps of progress they can get.

Stop big government from meddling in the free market" or something.

Libertarians are usually for legalization, with that exact argument (among others)
posted by delmoi at 9:30 PM on December 31, 2009


Interestingly, in The Netherlands, where pot legalization works pretty well, it's not really completely legal, at least not in most of the country. I remember stepping outside a "koffeeshop" with a joint in my hand, and the proprietor came out and asked me to come back inside. He explained that there was a police station across the street, and the tacit agreement was that the cops were going to pretend that the shop wasn't selling hashish and bud, and that in return, the shop wasn't going to rub it in the cops' faces that they were. Or maybe the issue was that they could sell it, but we weren't supposed to be consuming it. But one way or another, the expected consumer experience at that establishment (which was pretty typical) was not actually legal.

Similar things happen in parts of the US where tolerance for pot is high (so to speak). Cops in some parts of NYC will tell public pot smokers to move the pot out of sight, and take no other action as long as they get compliance.

I guess my point is that, even in situations where marijuana legalization/tolerance is working, there remains a sense that it's not so much as right, as a privilege that can be taken away if the powers that be decided one day to crack down.
posted by bingo at 12:00 PM on January 1, 2010


There were two Democratic candidates in the primary who do support marijuana legalization -- Kucinich and Gravel -- so don't tell me that Obama is "the best we could have hoped for". If you really want to make a difference, take the money you spent on supporting Obama and send an equal amount to MPP -

If you really want to make a difference stop wasting your time supporting minor candidates who have no chance of winning or influencing policy. And stop whining about Obama. He has liberalized federal pot policy more than any president in the last 100 years. There's no such thing as a "change society instantly - just push here" button.
posted by msalt at 4:40 PM on January 2, 2010


i dreamed i lived in a country where what i do to and for myself is nobody else's goddamn business.

dear self-righteous pricks of hamerka:

I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes,
You'd know what a drag it is to see you.
posted by Twang at 9:36 PM on January 2, 2010


If you really want to make a difference stop wasting your time supporting minor candidates who have no chance of winning or influencing policy. And stop whining about Obama. He has liberalized federal pot policy more than any president in the last 100 years. There's no such thing as a "change society instantly - just push here" button.

I'm not going to stop voting according to my conscience. This is a democracy, not Survivor: Washington Edition. Voting solely for people "with a chance of winning" means surrendering any hope of true change in this country... and I'm more than willing to spend my primary vote on someone who "can't win" rather than voting for someone who shouldn't win.

As for Obama's "liberal" marijuana policies -- sure, if you don't know who Jimmy Carter was. When Obama stands before Congress and asks them to support decriminalization, he can join Carter's club, and I'll be happy to applaud him; until then, I'll continue to point out his stance on this issue. Sorry, but linking to his own position on marijuana legalization is not "whining". It's the truth, whether you like to hear it or not.
posted by vorfeed at 9:15 PM on January 5, 2010


No one's asking you not to change your vote. Just don't claim that you're making a difference, or attack others for not making a difference, because you vote for Mike Gravel.
posted by msalt at 12:11 PM on January 6, 2010


No one's asking you not to change your vote. Just don't claim that you're making a difference, or attack others for not making a difference, because you vote for Mike Gravel.

Frankly, I'm not sure how "stop wasting your time supporting minor candidates" isn't "asking you to change your vote" -- as it appears to be exactly that, only with less "asking" and more "telling" -- but I guess I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. So here it is: OK, you're not asking me to change my vote, you're just saying that my opinion is invalid because of who I voted for.

Thanks, that's a lot less insulting.

At any rate, the "making a difference" paragraph of my post was about donating to MPP, not about voting/not voting for third parties, so I'm not sure what you're on about. Donating to a political action group which specializes in this issue pretty clearly does make a difference, especially when that group has been responsible for tremendous progress over the last few years.
posted by vorfeed at 2:00 PM on January 6, 2010


Sometimes I wonder if the real opposition to legalization is about the country's credit rating. The US borrows a lot of money and owes even more. We are able to do this because we're (at least when we're begging for money) The United States, a god-fearing nation that locks up drug dealers and drug users, and where of course we are all sober as judges (except a little nip off the bottle here and there, but hey who doesn't right?) and this is a factor in why we have a bullet-proof credit rating. If legalization happens and our creditors get all huffy and say "Well this just won't do" or they decide we're more risky than before and start wanting higher interest rates, it might be a wee problem.
posted by mullingitover at 2:51 PM on January 6, 2010


Oh and I'm sorry that voting third party is exactly the same as voting for whatever you're most against, but it is. Put your efforts where they'll count and start demanding instant-runoff or some other sensible alternative to winner-take-all.
posted by mullingitover at 2:57 PM on January 6, 2010


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