Clinton: Pot Smokers Shouldn't Go to Prison
December 7, 2000 11:17 AM   Subscribe

Clinton: Pot Smokers Shouldn't Go to Prison Whoa -- now he tells us.
posted by snakey (16 comments total)
It's only when you're an extremely popular lame-duck president with no future political aspirations that you can get away with saying that.

On the one hand I want to smack him for not saying anything when, you know, he could do something about it.

On the other hand, I want to knee him in the balls for not saying anything when he could do something about it.

I'm torn. Help?
posted by solistrato at 11:50 AM on December 7, 2000

Jimmy Carter also said he wanted to decriminalize pot, but he didn't do anything about it either. Let's kick him in the balls while we're at it.
posted by snakey at 12:02 PM on December 7, 2000

Let's kick all those in the balls that know better but continue to toe the party line for the sakes of their own worthless political careers.

posted by norm at 12:11 PM on December 7, 2000

"Quack, quack, quackquackquack!" goes the lame duck. . .
posted by Mr. skullhead at 12:18 PM on December 7, 2000

I was going to say, "what could the federal government do about it anyway, the states create and enforce laws about that kind of thing." But then I thought maybe I was wrong.

Is it a federal crime to possess marijuana? Does the federal government force states to imprison low-end marijuana users (mandatory sentencing)? I seriously don't know.

Of course, the US govt could use highway funding incentives to "encourage" states to change their laws like they have done with speed limits, drinking age, and blood alcohol levels.

But I agree it's pretty wimpy of Clinton to pull this one out at this late point.
posted by daveadams at 12:47 PM on December 7, 2000

He could de-wimpify himself if he got busy and started signing pardons. Let's see, imagine it takes about eight seconds to pull one off the stack, sign it, and put it on another stack - looks like he could get about 60,000 people out of prison before his term ends. A drop in the bucket, really...

posted by Mars Saxman at 12:59 PM on December 7, 2000

IIRC, a lot of the drug laws are federal laws, or at least encouraged by the federal government by the kind of funding incentives you're talking about. I believe the last major court challenge of a medical-marijuana law was based on the principle that it was a violation of federal law.
posted by harmful at 1:12 PM on December 7, 2000

It's pretty clear that you can't get elected in this country telling the truth and saying intelligent things (like not imprisioning pot smokers).

Could you imagine if a candidate came out and said pot should decriminalized? Why they'd probably get less than 3% of the vote. Or even less than 1%!

At least there was that ballot measure in Alaska to make all pot use by those over 18 years old legal, but it was defeated, right?
posted by mathowie at 1:17 PM on December 7, 2000

Actually, Mars, Clinton could do a blanket pardon of all drug offenders like what Carter did with draft dodgers/deserters after the Vietnam War.

I take issue with Matt's last comment. New Mexico's governor Gary Johnson has come out in favor of decriminalization, and my governor, Jesse "Turnbuckle" Ventura, has expressed support as well. It's not a political death warrant anymore to speak the truth.

posted by norm at 1:44 PM on December 7, 2000

Knees in the balls for everyone!
posted by Hackworth at 3:42 PM on December 7, 2000

Imprisonment of drug offenders in the Clinton Adinistration was higher under Clinton than any other president. Granted, most of this was at the state and local level, but it really does annoy me that Clinton is saying this now. Of course, if the House Republicans hadn't forced Monica on us, who knows what Bill might have done during his second term...
posted by cell divide at 5:07 PM on December 7, 2000

There certainly have been federal prosecutions under RICO. The War on Drug (Users) is orchestrated from Washington, with resources and training given to the states.
posted by dhartung at 7:33 PM on December 7, 2000

whoops -- preview not post preview not post

Anyway, Clinton could have done something meaningful about this -- if he hadn't screwed up his first year so much, giving an in to the GOP that they took full advantage of in 1994, and if he hadn't got caught with his weenie in an intern and had to spend the end of his 2nd term spending all his political capital to save his sorry ass.
posted by dhartung at 7:35 PM on December 7, 2000

You know, (as I get all puffed up and angry) all the Republicans can be very proud of themselves for winning the cultural wars and initiating the need for neo-Liberals. They started the liberal media bias myth, they can take credit for the Democrats pushing through racial and vindictive drug laws which Reagen readily signed in the wake of the Len Bias death. That leaves us with a political dialogue which consists of outgoing politicians making dated statements like: “... people are in prison because they have drug problems ... and too many of them are getting out ... without treatment ...” Who, seriously, didn’t know this? Damn near the entire country, because had it been discussed by politicians they’d look soft on crime. If it’s discussed by the media they look like liberal media elite.

Our political sensibility is dictated to us by a conservative (neo-liberals are conservatives, they’d be equally comfortable as Republicans), affluent minority. The only intelligent statements made anymore are by a disenfranchised voting base and powerless politicians.

Here’s to hoping electronic voting is instituted for every election, because we know who the freethinking hackers want.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 10:33 PM on December 7, 2000

They started the liberal media bias myth

And it IS indeed a myth.

(generally speaking)

Considering the drug trafficking that scum-suckers National Heroes like Ollie North were involved with in Central America, the "war on drugs" does reek mightily of hypocrisy.

It's like poking holes in the dam and then declaring a "war on floods".

posted by ethmar at 8:29 AM on December 8, 2000

Knees in the balls for some, tiny American flags for everyone!
posted by Dirjy at 9:40 AM on December 9, 2000

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