April 9, 2002
3:10 PM   Subscribe

Drug War Roundup II. An Indian in South Dakota tried to grow hemp on the rez for the last two years. The DEA comes around harvest time with the weed whackers. He’s going to try again. A Colorado Supreme Court ruling issued Monday gives booksellers the toughest First Amendment rights in the country. The case started when Tattered Cover fliers were found at a meth lab. Also on Monday, the San Francisco appeals court heard a government lawyer argue that "there’s no way of knowing" if someone can get high eating foods containg hemp oil, like potato chips and soda. NORML is using a Mike Bloomberg quote about smoking marijuana, "You bet I did. And I enjoyed it," in a campaign to legalize the weed, man.
posted by raaka (22 comments total)
Rudy G. was a tough act to follow, but I'm glad to see that the new guy was the right pick after all.

NORML's ad.
posted by tsarfan at 3:39 PM on April 9, 2002

man, don't you wish EVERY post on mefi was this good?

i sure do. rock on raaka. rock on.
posted by jcterminal at 4:18 PM on April 9, 2002

Friends, it's not the weed or guns or abortion or physician assisted sucicide or pr0n or whatever that are even the point; it's the incremental erosion of our ability as citizens to have a say in our day to day lives. That is why we have to speak up when we see big brother encroaching on rights we may not even agree with. The State is...well, think Microsoft, Walmart and McDonalds on steroids.
posted by Mack Twain at 4:36 PM on April 9, 2002

luriete - if "the state is McDonald's" as you say wouldn't the state want weed legalized, so that we'd all get high, then drive down to Mickey D's and nosh down 7 Quarter Pounders at a sitting?
posted by jonmc at 5:09 PM on April 9, 2002

The DEA weedwhacked hemp?! WTF are they smokin'? Hemp's not a drug by any stretch of demented imagination.

the government banned food made with hemp because ``there's no way of knowing'' whether some products may get consumers high

Why does the government want to stop people from getting high? I simply don't understand: how can happy, mellow people pose a threat? The government is okay with alcohol, which is a 100x worse than pot; the government is okay with cigarettes, which are 1000x worse than pot; the government is okay with No-Doz pills, which are just plain scary shit... but it's completely against the drugs that make people happy without being particularly harmful.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:57 PM on April 9, 2002

If you want more background on the FBI/DEA seizure at Pine Ridge, the best source is Indian Country Today. ICT used to publish out of Rapid City, SD*, less than two hours from Pine Ridge, and they still keep close tabs on the region if not just for the myriad of treaty and jursdictional issues that crop up everyear. Plus ICT has their full archives online, nonexpiring. A search for Alex White Plume yeilds a modest selection of stories that give details the Post doesn't. One of the more amusing points is that White Plume's "seed crop" came from feral hemp plants that the federal government planted during WWII.

* Editor and publisher Tim Giago sold the paper to the Oneida tribe in 1998 or 1999 and its offices moved to New York state. He's got a new paper but I can't for the life of me remember the name, even though I met with Tim a few months ago.
posted by nathan_teske at 7:34 PM on April 9, 2002

I have always wondered why you cannot get a job at Target, WallMart, Home Depot, etc. without passing a drug test. Since when do corporations get to selectively enforce laws.
posted by chrismc at 8:06 PM on April 9, 2002

Does anyone else find it hilarious that D.A.R.E. (which doesn't really work) is funded by the tobacco companies?

Why legitimately try to compete with other products when you can just use government muscle to push competition into a shallow, watery grave?

All drugs should be legalized, the federal government should have no say in what substances we can and cannot ingest. It's nice Bloomberg said that he liked pot, but this is the same shmuck who thinks a $1.50/per pack tax on cigarettes in NYC is a really grand idea.

Since when do corporations get to selectively enforce laws.

Corporations have the right to hire and fire you based upon known drug use, simply because drug using employees are a liability. They are not held responsible for employees who are drugged up outside, but they are responsible if those employees cause some harm on the job. If you sign a contract with Home Depot agreeing not to use drugs while on the job and accepting a random drug test policy, that's different from the coercive nature of the government throwing you in jail if you use drugs. At worst you would get fired. But at least it's voluntary.

don't ask me where I got shallow, watery grave from, it just seems apt
posted by insomnyuk at 8:25 PM on April 9, 2002

This is a boldface lie.

Yeah, it sounds like the one when my junior high health teacher told us alchohol was only legal for 21 and ups because physiologically we couldn't handle it. These laws are not made on great principles of government, but on lame excuses.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:58 PM on April 9, 2002

I think this thread's preaching to the choir, because I'm sure we can all agree the laws have to change, if only because they are so utterly stupid. I'm sitting here with four delicious substances, all of which do something different to my body and mind, and each one of them I bought from Store24 up the block.

It's been recently decriminalized in the UK, the republican governor of New Mexico is talking about it, and Amsterdam, The Netherlands has had it right for a long time. So when is the US government going to figure it out? I think it'll be soon, probably within 6 years. What's your guess?

And how cool is a name like The Netherlands? I mean come on. Specially with all those spaced-out druggy people wandering around!
posted by Bones423 at 11:23 PM on April 9, 2002

Bones423: Cannabis has not been "recently decriminalised" here in the UK as you suggest. The government are currently considering reclassifying it as a class C drug, which would make posession a non-arrestable offence, more along the lines of steroids or anti-depressants than heroin or cocaine.

From your own link: the Home Secretary emphasised that he was not decriminalising or legalising cannabis. "Cannabis would remain a controlled drug and using it a criminal offence"

They haven't actually done a damn thing, they're just talking about it.
posted by Gamecat at 1:21 AM on April 10, 2002

It's not just Amsterdam. The marijuana laws are the same all over Holland.
posted by bingo at 5:43 AM on April 10, 2002

i wish NY norml had like banner ads and stuff to link to, joint effort!

Bloomberg said Monday that the city would continue making such arrests, no matter what he may have said in the past.

what a pothead :)

also saw this on plastic: Closing The Sentencing Gap Between Coke And Crack
posted by kliuless at 6:00 AM on April 10, 2002

Liberals want to tell me how to run my business, and conservatives want to tell me how to run my life.

I agree with Huxley, who I will now proceed to misquote from memory: "Being unnoticed by those in positions of power is a prerequisite for freedom."
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:42 AM on April 10, 2002

yeah, i think that's the difference between decriminalization and legalization. like the former affords freedom from power, while the latter is just reclassifying it like Gamecat sez.
posted by kliuless at 6:50 AM on April 10, 2002

Do you ever wonder what sort of thinking was involved when Marijuana was originally criminalized in the 50's? From a purely financial standpoint, the federal governement only stood to profit from taxation. Sure it was the drug of choice at the time for the rising threat of the "youth counterculture," and thus had to be stopped, but I wonder if there wasn't a more simple reason behind it as well.

I enjoy weed, and probably smoke it once every few weeks or so -- less than I drink, for sure. I can't ever quite relate to those who like to insist that the drug causes "mellow, happy sensations." I like it because it geeks me up, and makes me feel like I'm staring at the naked bottom of phenomanl experience. If it's good weed, this is often terrifying.

Remember, it's a hallucinogen. I think that people who are overly convinced in an objective, consensual reality might not enjoy the shit at all. My hippie Mom always told me about the time she convinced her uptight mother to smoke out with her. Apparently, this did not go over well.

Weed is a much more potent substence than alcohol or caffiene. Sure, abuse of it will cause less violence than booze, but some people may be more psychologically threatened by it than by drugs presently legal.
posted by Pinwheel at 8:21 AM on April 10, 2002

Do you ever wonder what sort of thinking was involved when Marijuana was originally criminalized in the 50's?

I'm open to correction here, but my impression is that at least part of the push to criminalize marijuana arose from simple xenophobia and racism: the weed was all the rage among black jazz hipsters in the 20s, 30s and 40s (a perusal of the song lyrics of Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and others reveals quite a few references to reefer) and was also popular among the increasing (and increasingly politically active) Latino communities on the West Coast. As jazz crossed over to the American mainstream, it brought reefer with it, much to the horror and dismay of the Powers That Be (who, it should be noted, came of age at a time when as kids they could run down to the corner store for a vial of laudanum). It was part and parcel of the "sickness infesting America": white kids high on dope and dancing to black music with their Hispanic girlfriends was every straight-laced Kluxers nightmare.

Personally, I think it sounds fun as hell.

I'm hopeful that the generational change now happening in our nation's politcal systems will affect this issue. It won't be too many more years until EVERYONE in office has either smoked it themselves or known someone who does, at which point continuing the crackdown will seem even more pointless (despite the significant economic incentives to maintain the status quo). Or maybe I'm just high.

What really bothers me about this right now is that if I were to have a work-related injury I would have to submit to a drug test before I could apply for worker's compensation, whether or not there was any evidence whatsoever that my injury was drug-related. This sucks, especially since I could theoretically gobble ten hits of pure LSD immediately before driving a forklift off the loading dock and test negative an hour or so later, but if I slam the file cabinet drawer on my thumb the joint I smoked two weeks ago would cause me to lose my job, as well as forfeit any workers compensation I was due. I'm not saying that drug testing is wrong, just that lumping everything in under the same heading is specious.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:47 AM on April 10, 2002

Evaluating the Impact of Hemp Food Consumption on Workplace Drug Tests.
Abstract from the Journal of Analytic Toxicology. "A THC intake of 0.6 mg/day is equivalent to the consumption of approximately 125 mL of hemp oil containing 5 µg/g of THC or 300 g of hulled seeds at 2 µg/g. These THC concentrations are now typical in Canadian hemp seed products. Based on our findings, these concentrations appear to be sufficiently low to prevent confirmed positives from the extended and extensive consumption of hemp foods."
posted by Dean King at 9:13 AM on April 10, 2002

Weed is a much more potent substence than alcohol or caffiene.

How do you mean, exactly? If by potent, you mean the likelihood for one to overdose, resulting in death, or the tendency toward addiction, then you might want to rethink this statement.

Just because marijuana has a profound affect on *you*, doesn't mean it is more "potent" for everyone.
posted by brittney at 10:11 AM on April 10, 2002

"make posession a non-arrestable offence, more along the lines ... anti-depressants"

Possession of anti-depressant meds are an offence? That explains so much about Britain!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:18 AM on April 10, 2002

...when Marijuana was originally criminalized in the 50's?

In the US it was criminalized in 1937, or at least the original law which was the basis for criminalization was passed at that point - though it was a tax law, not originally meant to be punitive. Like the Harrison act before WWI, which is what effectively criminalized cocaine and heroin, the original intent of the law was not where it ended up. The harrison act decreed that cocaine and heroin had to be dispensed by doctors, not that it be only the substance of criminals - but doctors couldn't handle the demand properly and moralizing & prohibition caught on as a movement (by the people, not that big scary "state"...)

Anyway, basically it seems like the main reason alcohol got away with it and none of the others did isn't because it's less dangerous but simply that a larger portion of american population finds it important to have drink legal than to have other drugs legal - IOW, the majority answers the question "if you had to choose just one, which would it be" with alcohol, not pot.
posted by mdn at 10:14 PM on April 10, 2002

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