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5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill Now

Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner has launched his next assault on freedom. The full House Judiciary Committee is set to vote as early as next week on H.R. 1528, which creates a new group of mandatory miniumum penalties for non-violent drug offenses, including a five year penalty for passing a joint to someone who's been in drug treatment.

That's right: Passing a joint to someone who used to be in drug treatment will land you in federal prison for a minimum of five years.

The "Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005" (H.R. 1528) was introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) on April 6, and it has already passed out of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.

We warned you about this bill last September. It's now coming home to roost. Please visit here to e-mail your U.S. representative and two U.S. senators today. Stop this bill in its tracks.

Marijuana Policy Project reports:

In addition to the shocking joint-passing provision described above,the bill would also create a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for a first-time conviction of distributing a small amount of marijuana to a person under 18 years of age ... and a 10-year sentence for a second offense of distributing marijuana to a person under 21. By comparison, the average time served by convicted rapists in this country is about seven years.

MPP does not condone the distribution of marijuana to minors, nor do we advocate the use of marijuana by people recovering from substance
abuse problems. But we do believe that judges should have discretion to determine whether or not offenders in these circumstances deserve to be imprisoned for sentences as long as five or 10 years. If these mandatory minimum sentences are enacted, judges'hands will be tied.

This bill has traction because it also contains a section that serves as the House Republican leadership's response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made the Federal Sentencing Guidelines advisory, rather than mandatory.* The Republican leadership is highly motivated to pass this bill -- and with it, the harsh new penalties related to marijuana.

The bill will now be debated and voted on by the full House Judiciary
Committee and -- if the committee passes the bill -- the full House
will then vote on it.

Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) also has an action alert on this bill. Here are the gory details, courtesy of FAMM:

  • Makes the federal sentencing guidelines a system of mandatory minimum sentences through a "Booker-fix" provision.
  • Creates new mandatory minimums that further erode judicial discretion.
  • Eliminates the safety valve for low-level drug offenders.
  • Makes virtually every drug crime committed in urban areas subject to "drug free zone" penalties that carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence.
  • Punishes defendants for the "relevant conduct" of co-conspirators that occurred BEFORE the defendant joined the conspiracy.

As written, H.R. 1528 would:

  • Effectively make the federal sentencing guidelines a system of mandatory minimum sentences through a "Booker-fix" provision. This provision forbids judges from departing below the guideline sentence in all but a few cases.
  • Make the sale of any quantity of any controlled substance (including anything greater than five grams of marijuana) by a person older than 21 to a person younger than 18 subject to a ten-year federal mandatory minimum sentence.
  • Create a new three-year mandatory minimum for parents who witness or learn about drug trafficking activities, targeting or even near their children, if they do not report it to law enforcement authorities within 24 hours and do not provide full assistance investigating, apprehending, and prosecuting the offender.
  • Create a new 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for any parent committing a drug trafficking crime in or near the presence of their minor child.
  • Mandate life in prison for persons 21 years or older convicted a second time of distributing drugs to a person under 18 or convicted a first time after a felony drug conviction has become final.
  • Increase to five years the federal mandatory minimum sentence for the sale of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, college, public library, drug treatment facility (or any place where drug treatment, including classes, are held), or private or public daycare facilities - in short, almost anywhere in cities across the U.S.
  • Eliminate the federal "safety valve," granting it only when the government certifies that the defendant pled guilty to the most serious readily provable offense (the one that carries the longest sentence), and has "done everything possible to assist substantially in the investigation and prosecution of another person," and would prohibit the federal "safety-valve" in cases where drugs were distributed or possessed near a person under 18, where the defendant delayed his or her efforts to provide substantial assistance to the government, or provided false, misleading or incomplete information.

This is absolutely sickening. As we said last week,

Sensenbrenner is a one-man disaster for justice. He's been the driving force behind the Real ID Act and bills to strip judges of their discretion in sentencing and subpoena judges' records. In 2004, he wanted to add mandatory minimum penalties to non-violent drug offenses (one example: a five year mandatory minimum sentence for passing a joint to someone who had been in a treatment center.)

Don't let him get away with it.

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    I've been accused of being a "conservative" and I find this absolutely appalling. Thanks for the heads-up. =darwin

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#2)
    by roger on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 04:20:01 AM EST
    So, two people get caught smoking a joint. Court ordered drug treatment. Next time they smoke together, prison? You would think that it would at least be limited to people who actually want to quit.

    I know I've said this before, but I cannot help but be amazed that this is the kind of stuff our representatives spend their time on while even the nonpartisan, legally required, official business of the contry goes unattended. We need to make some changes in this country, and we need to start with Congress.

    Welcome to the world of the AMERICAN TALIBAN!

    Question: If I'm smokng a joint and put it down and some one picks it up is it my fault. If a three year old picks a joint and passes it to a seven year old does he get five years in the pen? What if I pass a joint to an adult and they pass it to a child and the pass it to a child and they pass it to a child, who goes to jail?

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#6)
    by Che's Lounge on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 06:07:30 AM EST
    I'm truly ashamed to be from Wisconsin today. It's time to take up arms against our oppressors. As for D.C.: "This town needs an enema!" The Joker

    Ed B - Catch a clue. You shouldn't be smoking around a child. Gesh.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#8)
    by wishful on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 06:55:14 AM EST
    The only way for crap like this to be stopped is by organized participation of the population. That is why the Republican elite is systematically annihilating the middle class and hoodwinking the born-agains. Too bad it is working.

    Thanks, Talkleft, for bringing this to our attention. I have never smoked pot, and am not interested in smoking it, but I used to be a prosecutor, and I was not the only one who thought marijuana cases were just a big waste of time. I mean, there were serious cases on my docket where people got hurt or had stuff stolen from them. Why should I spend my time prosecuting people who are smoking weed, which causes no harm to others? I always just gave the pot folks community service in exchange for full dismissal of all charges.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#10)
    by wishful on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 07:04:19 AM EST
    Spainster, you used to be a prosecutor. Why oh why do all the good ones leave?

    PPj Try this one genuis; Your local highscool football team gets together and the quarter back whips out a joint, lights up, takes a toke and passes it to the next player and he takes a toke and so it goes, one by one through the entire team and the last player passes it through the smoke to the Town's Sherrif. Who goes to jail and will the entire football team spend it's next FIVE seasons as TIGHT ends for some burley Guys in federal prison?

    The people scream "Legalize It", and the repugs decide they ought to put all the people into cages.

    Is this called the rule of law? the real policy of our non governments both state and federal is to tie our hands behind our backs and put millions in prison, and not for evil doing but for human actions that the government is not happy with. But on the other "hand" why is it that so many drugs are coming into the good old USA? from Mexico, Why do people use drugs? that is the question. and after 40 years of madatory political sentences and millions in prison can't the system see its not working? but maybe its working for a few at the top of our non government?

    The people scream "Legalize It", and the repugs decide they ought to put all the people into cages.
    V2M - you don't have to smoke pot to be caged by the Repubs. You should have come and demonstrtated at the DNC here in Boston - Shades of interrment! Wishful, your comment that
    Republican elite is systematically annihilating the middle class and hoodwinking the born-agains. Too bad it is working.
    is right on. I see it happening all around me and then come to TL and find myself questioning my own perception. Thank you for saying it.

    ED, I checked your comments, your examples don't mention you smoking around a child. So once again PPJ misrepresents folks statements to further his...? I dunno. Can't figure out his position except as a member of the Argumentative party. Don't waste your time getting derailed from progressive discussion by him. Most of us know better than to believe him at face value.

    To, justPaul we have no representatives in congress only people who are being told what to say and how to act, and i am not saying the people are telling the rats what to do. where is bin laden? in the marijuana bill? its not what you see that kills you, its what we don't see that will kill millions of us someday in this land of never-never.

    What happens if I pass an opened bottle of beer to my friend who is in AA? Oh, that's right, THAT drug is legal.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#19)
    by Pete Guither on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 09:28:00 AM EST
    Second offense for someone over 18 distributing drugs to someone under 21 is ten years. So you have a 20-year-old undercover cop. Shows up at a college party. Asks for a hit from Suzie who is also 20. She obliges. 15 minutes later he asks again and she passes it. Two offenses. Is Suzie in the Federal Prison for 10 years? Or am I missing something?

    Fred, I don't share your general doom-and-gloom sturm-und-drang outlook, but I do honestly believe that far too many of the people in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, have forgotten why they are there at all. This stupid bill is just the latest in a long list of inanities that they occupy themselves with while ignoring the real business of the country. There is a reason it was supposed to be a part-time job, and this bill is exhibit number 1.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#21)
    by roger on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 09:56:26 AM EST
    Of course, if you sentence all these people to felonies, they cant vote anymore. This would leave a clear, overwhelming, Repub majority allowed to vote. Is this a drug abuse bill, or a backdoor way to disenfranchise pot smokers, presumably lefties?

    et al - Here is Ed`Bedckman's comments; "Question: If I'm smokng a joint and put it down and some one picks it up is it my fault. If a three year old picks a joint and passes it to a seven year old does he get five years in the pen? What if I pass a joint to an adult and they pass it to a child and the pass it to a child and they pass it to a child, who goes to jail? Why should you bring up 5 and 7 year olds? You can parse words all you want, but the connection is clear. Read your last sentence. Are we to assume the kid is in another house? mfox - What is progressive about discussing 5 and 7 year olds and dope? Try and explain that. Catch a clue. Don't smoke around kids. Ed, Catch another clue. Comments like you wrote are just made for order by people opposed to drug use. Genius? Obviously you aren't.

    We seem to forget that drugs are so endemic in our society that even the CIA has been accused of bringing cocaine and other illegal drugs into the US.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#25)
    by roger on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 10:20:16 AM EST
    Guys, catch a clue..... Jim's point has merit. If you want to advocate kids and pot, we will never see legalization. Dont leave your weed where the kids can get it. Dont leave your alcohol or cigarrettes out either. Pot is for grownups.

    Funny how an anti-pot law can garner so many comments. Call me crazy though, didn't the Supreme Court just decide that minimum sentencing was unconstitutional? I realize they were just deciding on the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, but isn't this bill proposing another Federal Sentencing Guideline? Or just call me crazy. Heh, you think you can get Democrats to support a bill like this even when they oppose Bankruptcy regulation?

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#27)
    by TomK on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 10:28:23 AM EST
    No, thats not true. As long as we act like we accept a lot of the drug war BS is true, we'll never win. As long as people's fundemental notions (formed by almost a century of yellow journalism on the topic) of drugs are unchallenged, reform will never happen. Why you people so ametuerish at framing these debates. You guys have no idea how to properly frame this issue. Sometimes I see some promise from a few of you, but you guys jut take their terminology and run with it. It's because we are more capable of logical thought, so we easily adopt to their language, but take framing seriously. The issue you should be discussing isn't "should adults smoke pot around kids?" but "Should kids have their (better educated, better paid) parents taken away in middle of the night raids by stormtroopers for smoking a harmless plant that has never killed anyone?"

    TomK - Your vulgar comment aside, and the fact that you attack without know all of the information demonstrates your lack of self control and ability to act logically. First, I have commented numerous times I don't care if you smoke pot, and I think our drug laws need to be rationalized. Secondly, I have also commented that I don't want drugs around me and/or my family because we don't do'em, and they are illegal, and life is too short to invite serious legal problems over something such as this. So I don't, you do, Your call. Leave me out. Thirdly, second hand smoke is harmful, and I would guess smoking dope around children would net you a contributing to the deliquiency of a minor if the DA so chose. Fourthly, why in the name of commonsense would anyone bring up smoking dope and passing joints around children, between childre, to adults, etc. That, TomK, is big time dumb. Finally, I'll ignore your comments re dope smoker kids, adjustment, etc. It really means nothing.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#29)
    by roger on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 10:46:31 AM EST
    In Holland, where pot is legal, you are not allowed to smoke in public (outside of coffeeshops). It is considered rude to subject people to pot unless they want to be. A little consideration towards others can go a long way.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#30)
    by Patrick on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 10:47:38 AM EST
    TomK, Thank you! Nuff Said. Roger, Lay off TomK, he's as good a spokesman as any.

    BTW, weren't we supposed to get the Raich decision last week?

    Nice try at being anon, PPJ. I'd put money that above anon is you. Just to be (color me OCD) accurate, I must take issue for the second time with PPJ's comments to ED about pot around kids. First, the bill talks about pot and "children", not distinguishing between 5 and 15 year olds (I first tried pot at 15)so exposure of kids to pot is most certainly relevant as I can be jailed bec. of society's supposed interest in protecting children from the evil weed - even if it means removing said child from otherwise loving, caring parents and subjecting them to the trauma and possible abuse of foster care. As you pointed out in your reply (by emphasizing words purportedly to demonstrate "the" connection), Ed posed two hypoteticals, separated by...hold on to your hats...a period. Ed's first question is:
    If I'm smokng a joint and put it down and some one picks it up is it my fault?
    Hmmm... no kids in the hypothetical ED's participating in by "smoking the joint". Ed's second question is:
    If a three year old picks a joint and passes it to a seven year old does he get five years in the pen?
    Hmmm again... Unless ED is either three or five years old, they got the joint somewhere else. His question is not "are the adults responsible for toddlers gaining access to drugs responsible?" it's "is the toddler passing the jay to the other toddler legally culpable under this bill. Tom K, don't listen to the frothers. Your framing paragraph sounds like a page out of the George Lakeoff book I'm reading now "Don't think of an elephant". Have you read it? Your point is well taken and some of us are struggling with the framing question (it feels sometimes like we're trying to crawl out from under the house that just landed on us.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#33)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 11:19:43 AM EST
    I would never smoke around my kids because it is illegal, but it seems to me that drinking around kids is worse and people do that all the time (I don't imbibe). I am with Roger and the amsterdamians, it is rude to smoke anything around people that don't want to be exposed to it.

    Best Fredism this week (maybe even this month).
    where is bin laden? in the marijuana bill?
    Fred, you are occasionally a true artist. I'll come visit you if they don't extradite you to somewhere I can't find you. : )

    Having bartended, jlvngstn, I can definitely say that being straight around stoned people is definitely more tolerable than being straight around drunk people. I thought it was made illegal because the Mexican migrant workers brought it to the U.S. and corporate influence along with a very racist media campaign convinced folks that the dirty Mexicans are corrupting our kids - besides their not as productive when they're stoned. And Coke used to have Coke in it. Not caffeine. Can we get over this labeling, fingerpointing, judgmental, hypocritical political maelstrom and convince Americans to unite in vote in their best interests instead of being divided by the scare tactic du jour??

    Do me a favor! How about locking people up for selling alcohol, or giving a drink to anyone who has been in a 12 step program, or who has been guilty of a misdemeanour or felony where alcohol was involved. Or for introducing a male who has been arrested for wife beating, to another woman,

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#37)
    by Kevin Hayden on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 12:08:30 PM EST
    This is stupid beyond measure. Being that Sensenbrenner comes from a brewery state, my guess is he's been bought by the booze lobby. I do not mind penalties for adults supplying things to minors, but even there, I prefer to give judges discretion to weigh the merits of each case. I propose a mandatory minimum so that legislators who break ANY law - including speeding limits - get 5 years at least.

    A little consideration goes a long way
    Great point
    Take to the streets and scream- Be Reasonable!!!!!!
    -John Stewart

    For 6 years I had a roommate who was on the AA wagon. For those 6 years I had all manor of alcohol in the house. She was aware of it and took action to not imbibe. Now, had I not known her, met her at a friend's party, offered her a beer would the circumstance change? No. It is her choice, as a responsible adult, whether or not to drink. Same applies for any substance. The giver should not be held liable for the actions of the taker.

    My parents drank alcohol at, oh, every meal of my life. Didn't make me like the taste of it. I imagine that if they'd have smoked it would have a similar lack of effect, but I'm also supposed to believe that every other kid mindlessly imitates Joe Camel, so what else is new.

    Can any of you estimable counselors tell me whether cruel and unusual punishment standards have been successfully applied in non-death penalty situations? This certainly seems violative.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#42)
    by wishful on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 02:07:05 PM EST
    Yes, cruel & unusual has been argued in non-capital cases. CA gives de facto life sentences for misdemeanors in their lovely 3-strikes laws, which were so challenged. The Supremes pretty much said "Get f*cked". The new right hates that liberal activism, and is in the process of replacing our republican democracy, including a more compliant court, with their new theocracy. I guess the new and improved judges would order execution. Sounds like fun, dunnit?

    Mfox, Since we have been having this discussion elsewhere - this is what I mean. Anyone who has been around any large number of people who smoke dope regularly knows that while the effects are not the same as alcohol - it is not harmless. The 50 somethings like me grew up with pot and a large chuck of us smoked it (I didnt inhale lol)- and we dont want our children around it. Putting yourself in the camp of people who say its all right to influence your own children to smoke pot (or smoke cigarettes, or drink alcohol) is political suicide

    I like what robin williams said, you need to be grounded in reality before you can start playing around with it. Children are not yet grounded in reality and that is why they need to not smoke pot. Do not play with reality until you are aware of reality really is, if you fiddle with reality before you are grounded in it, you will never be grounded in reality. Besides, pot should be for adults, whats the fun of being an adult if there is no benefits?

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#45)
    by wishful on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 02:19:10 PM EST
    What is Sensenbrenner's excuse for his lack of grounding in reality? And what is our excuse for letting him play around with the basic principles of our democracy?

    In accordance with Kblankenship's post I'd like to quote Hunter Thompson: "I've never advocated alcohol, chemical substances, violence or insanity to anyone...but it's always worked for me."

    JCH - are you sure that there isn't a message that because we oppose the government stepping in to "protect" children from evil pot smokers we are somehow "for" giving children pot? It seems like that's how you took my position that these aren't things the government should be involved in.

    Wishful said, Spainster, you used to be a prosecutor. Why oh why do all the good ones leave? Thanks. The answer to your question is easy: To make more money.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#49)
    by wishful on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 04:38:05 PM EST
    Spainster, though I don't begrudge you your chance at greater financial success, still it is our collective loss. This is yet another argument that capitalism must be tempered by rational government for the well-being of a functional society. Maybe we could find a way to reward prosecutors that seek and work toward justice instead of a win record. Sensenbrenner and his ilk represent the polar opposite of the type of tempering required.

    Wishful Maybe we could find a way to reward prosecutors that seek and work toward justice instead of a win record. Yeah, just like we'll find a way to get the Johnny Cochran-types to work towards justice. LOL! Stop it Wishful, your killing me!

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#51)
    by pigwiggle on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 04:55:47 PM EST
    The ‘children might see it argument’, aside being wide of the topic, is unconvincing for several reasons. The largest; adults and even parents regularly indulge in activities that would be harmful to a child if allowed, not to mention perhaps harmful even for adults. I’ll spare you the laundry list, but one example is helmets. Adults often do not wear helmets when biking, skiing, skating, etc.; dollars to donuts head injuries kill or otherwise disable many more children than using marijuana. Anyway… The real story in this for me is how folks simply don’t care about the inherently paternalistic nature of this kind of legislation. If marijuana was harmful and addictive I doubt few here would have a problem with punishing enablers. What if this were a heroin dealer giving his former customer post rehab a free spike to get him back; do the opinions change?

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#52)
    by Che's Lounge on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 05:09:48 PM EST
    When my dad would light a pipe after dinner, what difference did it make to me that it was tobacco and not marijuana? He smoked to relax, just like I do now with MJ. As far as anyone else is concerned, the only difference is the smell of the smoke. If you think having a martini in front of your kids is any different (note I didn't say better or worse) that lighting a pipe of MJ, you are a mindless H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#53)
    by john horse on Fri Apr 15, 2005 at 05:54:23 PM EST
    One aspect of our drug laws that needs more attention is the way they help to create a parasite society. The overwhelming majority of those who are locked up are poor and/or minorities, who tend to vote Democratic. They are sent to and provide jobs in prisons in white rural counties, which tend to vote Republican. While there, these counties can count prisoners for census purposes, allowing these counties to get more federal funds and in some cases preventing these underpopulated counties from having to be reapportioned. In a parasite society you want to live off the host but not kill the host. Harsher drug laws are perfect for this purpose in that they ensure a constant supply of prisoners because of the popularity of recreational drug use. Decriminalization of our drug laws would cause these parasites to have to go cold turkey on their dependence on these repressive laws. However, I think they should take the cure because in the long run it would do them and the rest of us some good.

    Mfox: It was more a "why wasnt the ACLU smart enough to know that Skokie was a bad idea even if it was a true 1st amendment issue". Somethings you just want to leave to others to fight over - political credibility wise

    mfox - My comment was not about the proposed law, but noting that it isn't smart to talk about smoking dope, passing joints, 5 to 7 year olds, etc. You dived right in without consideration of any facts, and when I asked you: "What is progressive about discussing 5 and 7 year olds and dope?" You ignored the question. Why? And you know I always sign my moniker, so when I goof up and leave one off, anyone can say it is me with a fair degree of certainity. Actually, they don't even have to make the snarky remark. And once again. If you have to explain and parse why a comment has dope smoking and 5 and 7 year olds in it, you're going to lose the battle. My comment stands. It is just dumb.

    Can you please tell me why we should not treat peddlers of a drug that is a hundred times more powerful as the sixties version as the criminals they are. Is it really only 'dope' or a very harmful drug? If it takes real deterrents to stop these scum then so be it. In fact, the sooner the bill passes the better. I'm sick of having to try and educate doped out little freaks who are stuffed for life by scum peddlers. And only one joint? One is far too many to give to a child. Greg

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#58)
    by john horse on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 03:21:24 AM EST
    Hey Dopeless, Maybe if this bill doesn't deter drug users (warning sarcasm alert), we could pass a law to either whip them or execute them. Worked for the Taliban.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#59)
    by Bob on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 05:36:29 AM EST
    Yes - let's infantilize the ex-junkies even more than they already are. Maybe the government should just hire a couple million nannies to follow them around to protect them from the evil pot smokers and the people with Darwin stickers on their cars. We wouldn't want them to think for themselves now would we? No doubt in my mind that Sensenbrenner is some kind of junkie himself. If a puke tells you not to pass a joint, that means he's got a meth lab in the trunk of his car.

    dopeless,you have 4 too many letters in your name cut out l-e-s-s

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#62)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 06:35:32 AM EST
    “a drug that is a hundred times more powerful as the sixties version” This is 4 or 5 times the already exaggerated number coming out of the ONDP. The man claims to be an educator, believable. When I was a youngster I had teachers like this. When I saw my peers experimenting with drugs absent any of the horror show effects claimed by a few of my teachers ALL my teachers lost credibility. It was a bad generalization, but when you’re a kid … Anyway, no kid is going to believe this guy when he (rightly) warns them about coke or smack after they have tried smoking pot and found him to have questionable credibility.

    John - There are many things in life that I disagree with that I don't run around protesting. It is called focus, also known as pick your battles. Also known as "having a life to live." The right to use conscious altering drugs is not something that inspires me to rush into the streets protesting. In many people's minds, pot use is lumped into the same category as coke, heroin, speed, etc. And please, spare me the lecture about that not being true. That isn't the point. The point is, that is what people believe. All addictive drugs cause problems in society. Some more than others. Some are acceptable to most (alcohol) but not all. Tobacco less so as we start to understand just how destructive it is on a long term basis. And yes, pot is addictive. If it wasn't, people would not risk legal problems to obtain and use it. The rsik/reward factor is skewed way over towards risk, demonstrating the complusion involved. Obviously the sales side is driven by a desire to make money. One of the larger problems is that is difficult to define sales vs use due to people reselling a small amount to help recover the cost. So you can fight this battle by yourself, and spare me the use of the famous Holocaust quote. The situations are not even in the same book, much less on the same page.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#64)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 07:24:33 AM EST
    Dopey, ..a drug that is a hundred times more powerful as the sixties version ... Liar. Get lost troll. By the way, I saw your picture on an Atrios caption contest.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#65)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 07:27:08 AM EST
    Sailor, Thanks for clarifying Pigwiggle's attempt to state that consumers actually drive the fashion market. LOL

    So you can fight this battle by yourself, and spare me the use of the famous Holocaust quote. The situations are not even in the same book, much less on the same page.
    Well, PPJ, I'm not fighting this by myself. Wonder how you'd feel if one of your kids got thrown in prison for having a lid of pot in his car. "Well, son, that pot is corrosive to society, and you shouldn't have risked it. And don't drop the soap." FAMM was started by such non-drug users who felt the fed was out of control, who felt very personally not the destructive effects of drugs, but the destructive effects of criminalization. People take minimal risk to get ahold of marijuana. Many people do not lump it in with heroin. A moment's rational thinking yields such a conclusion, even to to bulk of moderate people in our country. It only seems that way because they have been apathetic about getting it redefined in law as separate from harder drugs, and the politicians are not doing much about it either. Marijuana travels in congenial circles. To define addiction as something people break the law to do or obtain is fallacious. We can quibble about what addiction is, but there's a far cry from someone who smokes a j every once in a while to someone who will sell every last scrap of their humanity for a fix of heroin every day. Nobody does that for marijuana. Maybe people break the law because they feel the law is unjust, the way our country was founded by people who felt the authority over them was unjust. The comparison to the holocaust is apt because non-violent people who are not stealing or destroying other's property or hurting anyone else are being thrown in prison. Lives are being destroyed, it doesn't matter how many or the nature of the mechanisms. It isn't that the right to use whatever substance is at stake, it is that it is a RIGHT that is being infringed. It is a reserved right, in my and many other's opinion, as described by the 10th amendment. You can't pick which right should be protected. They all need to be. No one is asking you to devote your life to the cause. We're just asking you to rethink your apathy and not stand in the way.

    And Sensenbrenner wants to send people to prison for swearing on air. Was I overstating the culture war thing? Jihad. McCarthy. Welcome.

    Follow the money! is a hint to follow the decisions by most elected politicians... if someone has the resources...it would be interesting to find out the connections Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)has to the privatized penal system... after all those corporations cannot make a decision to build more gulags (& incidentally increase profits) unless they know they have an incoming stream of bodies to place there & charge the american taxpayer.

    John writes - "People take minimal risk to get ahold of marijuana." John, risk is risk, and when you start doing things that can cost you a lot of money and get you thrown in jail, there must be a powerful reason behind your actions. And no, I would not want my kid thrown in jail. For any reason. If we want to rationalize drug use in this country, I have no problem. But let's quit pretending legalization won't cause problems all its own. What you are saying is that legalization will create less problem's than the current situation. So when you start arguing for legalization, you need more than the fact that the current laws (may be) too harsh, and everyone you know who uses it is a real mellow person, and besides that it is better for you than booze and you have rights.

    "The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this." Albert Einstein


    The CIA has admitted bringing crack into the US to finance KILLING 40,000 peons in Nicaragua. So, to me, killing people is worse than drugs. The reason pot is still illegal is: follow the money, stupid. If it were legal, folks would grow it in their backyards, eliminating huge profits for those who import drugs (CIA admitted raising money by importing drugs.) Please stop fighting each other. Be mature enough to see we have an oppressive corporate state taking over all of us. This country was begun to control the power of wealth over people. Kings and corporations had absolute control. Now, again, Kings and corporations have absolute control. Each generation has fought for its' freedom anew. Each generation has more closely approached realization of the promises in the Dec. of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Each succeeding generation has achieved more freedom and justice for the people over time. Now its up to us. Pot is a symptom, not the illness. If insurance companies weren't running the country, healthcare would be available at reasonable cost. Over 30% of cost is administrative. Bush knew before 9/11 Bin Laden would attack. All the Army's top brass canceled their plane reservations on 9/10. They knew, too. That's why Bush was safe in a grammar school in Florida. Get educated, people, and quit your petty bickering. There are bigger things happening than pot. But pot law is a symptom of the lies and corruption we face. People are dying for these lies and this corruption. Dead. Not getting educated, falling in love, becoming good consumers. Dead. Bush I killed 40,000 in an illegal war. Now Bush II, the incompetent, has killed a hundred thousand in an illegal war. He's signed off on eliminating the bill of rights, violated his oath of office, lied to congress. Bush profits directly and indirectly from conflict, catastrophe, and corruption. And to top it off, HE CALLS HIMSELF A CHRISTIAN! Can anybody tell me if they've removed the curtain from the statue of Justice? Or do they continue to hide from it like vampires hiding from daylight?

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#74)
    by Jlvngstn on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 12:13:30 PM EST
    Funny, the crux of the argument circles back to the negative effects of heroin and crack, or "if you are breaking the law you must have a problem". Speeders killed approximately 28,000 people last year Handguns killed about 15,000 Alcohol killed tens of thousands Lung cancer killed a million or so Pot killed, well it would appear that the number is infinitely small because there is no tracking on it. Stupid laws should be broken. And the pot laws fall in that category.

    The best part is the provision about parents facing jail unless they report their kids and assist in the prosecution. (Actually, I find much of the above digest of the bill's provisions to be so outrageous as to wonder if this could possibly be correct... haven't yet checked the source of this info so it may be, but for the moment I'm skeptical.) Anyway, here's what to do about it if it is indeed accurate: put liberal billionaires' bucks to practical use-- hire an army of private investigators to continually monitor the social activities of republican politicians' teenage and young adult children. Tip off the police and press whenever a prosecutable offense occurs. Publicly force the parents to participate in sending their offspring to federal prison. These laws will be repealed immediately. Gotta make it truly personal; then you get results. And this is true of virtually any and every political cause. Politicians, especially republicans, are motivated purely by self-interest. When they understand that they themselves will be held personally responsible for the consequences of their actions, they will be a bit more circumspect in regard to what they do. (In essence, this is Tom DeLay's argument from the other side, except in that the left doesn't encourage or condone violence as does the right. Thus we can continue to occupy the moral high ground whilst ruining the lives of the opposition and enjoying the fruits of ironic vengeance.) Emotional ramifications aside however, this really is the way to get things done-- make it personal and it forces them to pay attention...

    This stuff was originally made illegal as a campaign promise preceded by an hysterical propaganda campaign.(sound familiar) If the government really wanted to do something positive, they would follow the example of programs that work. Kids in Europe get taught all the physiology and neuropsychology involved in drugs. They, of course, are given accurate info by a government they seem to trust. The federal anti-drug effort has expanded at the rate of procreation of former member of the program, we spend billions on this crap, then let Afghanistan export two full crops of poppies under our watchful eyes. Your tax dollars at work.

    If the bill went through it probably would not be enforced. The cops, courts, jails, prisons, etc. would be so back-logged they they would not be able to handle it. Nor would they have the resources to do so. They would have to change the law regarding the 90 day speedy trial also. I think there would be a domino effect disaster if they tried to enforce it.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#79)
    by Sailor on Sat Apr 16, 2005 at 05:31:58 PM EST
    erica, no offense, but I'm not sure if you have been paying attention the last 15 years.
    The cops, courts, jails, prisons, etc. would be so back-logged they they would not be able to handle it.
    Its already happened. All of those entities just demand more money, and get it because no one wants to be seen as 'soft on drugs.' Amazingly enough, we have a drug addict and alcoholic in the wh, and he still backs these draconian measures. If I were cynical, I'd say it's because they have contributed to his and the rnc's campaigns.

    Wouldn't it be nice if we could instead pass mandatory minimums of say life in prison for people who start illegal wars with their lies?

    aint that some sh** well because of this rediculous bill more murderes rapist and child molesters will be on tha steeet cause there will be no place to put them cause these cells will be filled with a bunch of pot heads give it to a repub. to do somthin so (ur word here) that it puts the community at danger ..I wonder ifin he has stock or gets donations from the private prison system its gettin to be a huge lobby and u know when it comes to money aint noone better than a repug o screw the ppl

    As the jails overflow, watch for the backlash for yet another unfunded government mandate. This goofball law can't stand. Having said that, I think anyone who exposes a kid under 18 to ganja should get the living sh** kicked out of him. Then he should get sent to prison for 10 years.

    What an opportunity! Next step: conscript felons to serve the rest of their sentence out in Iraq and Iran. You get: 1. disfranchised left 2. no military personnell shortage 3. no need to pay death or injury benefits 4. able bodies from workout in prison 5. limited justice recourse for conscripts 6. less strain on taxpayers to support prison population Anyone have any idea when this bill will be introduced? I predict in June or July of this year.

    All u goddamn druggies will rot in prison..passing a joint IS distribution and should be considered so. Ahem..we'll look away from the illegal war engaged in Iraq...just as long as u potheads rot!!! Thank god I live in Canada, where i can smoke pot on the streets of Vancouver and not be hassled.

    Prisons are getting more and more overcrowded and crime isn't going down. So who's in prison? Poor people who can't afford an expensive lawyer to get them off. It isn't that the poor commit more crime than the rich, in fact I'd bet it was opposite. But the poor can't afford competent council so they are more likely to be convicted. The rich can afford the best lawyers, so they are far more likely to get away with their crime without paying any consequences. Now think about this; who do you think is more likely to vote Democratic? The poor. Who is more likely to vote Republican? The rich. This isn't about crime, it's about politics. If we lock up all the poor as felons and strip them of their voting rights, the only voters left will be Republican voters. Game, set, match, a permanent Republican majority in government. If they could, they'd make it a federal crime just for being a liberal. You say the system doesn't work. The Republicans believe the system is working perfectly.

    In the beginning God said;Behold,I have given you EVERY herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth,and every tree,in the which is the fruit of a tree yeilding seed;To you it shall be for meat.And to every beast of the earth and to every fowl of the air,and to everything that creepeth upon the earth,wherein there is life,I have given EVERY GREEN HERB for meat;and it was so."

    I thought it was made illegal because the Mexican migrant workers brought it to the U.S. and corporate influence along with a very racist media campaign convinced folks that the dirty Mexicans are corrupting our kids - besides their not as productive when they're stoned.
    Actually, the real guiding force behind criminalization was an effort to eliminate the hemp industry in favor of nylon (ca 1937 DuPont Corp / Harry Anslinger) http://www.ethicalmatters.co.uk/articles.asp?itemID=204
    The biggest reason for this burial was that in the 1930's Dupont obtained patents from making nylon from coal, paper from trees and plastic from oil, and didn't want to see hemp as a potential competitor. Remarkably but not surprisingly, the companies chief financial backer at the time, Andre Mellon, owned large swathes of timber land and oil. Mellon appointed his nephew-in-law Harry Anslinger to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics while other Dupont backers such as the Hearst newspaper group began to influence public opinion towards the perceived evils of marijuana. This also saw the rise of the pulp fiction novels with wonderfully lurid covers and titles such as 'I was a slave to marijuana' and films such as Reefer Madness. Basically this propaganda strategy worked and in 1937 Congress outlawed hemp. The actual science was buried, and the fact industrial hemp has such a low THC content that you would be better off smoking bananas was quietly hushed in order to confuse the public. Not only did the probation of hemp protect Du Pont but also many other corporations such as Dow and Monsanto - all of whom had vested interests in ensuring hemp industries didn't see the light of day. Another twist in the tail and 'would you believe it' factoid: car manufacturer Henry Ford grew hemp on his estate to experiment with methanol production and both he and Rudolph Diesel (diesel inventor) predicted by the end of the millennium cars would be running on hemp. Hemp production briefly re-emerged in 1942 when the federal government encouraged American farmers to grow it for the war effort.


    ok, didn't the Reagan years include the drug czars? and... allegations of CIA distributing drugs for contras? remember... the origin of the sixties... DoD LSD experiments... Kesey said... whoa... I gotta spread the word! voila... the "Acid Tests"... by what... 1964... '66... LSD was illegal? in other cultures... "vice" is everyday... pot in Amsterdam, beer in Germany, wine in France, nudity on the beaches, breast feeding... etc., etc., me thinks... follow the money is the route... private prisons or some other corp interest is here... somewhere... but to get the thing off the ground... tried and true republican tactic... attack... and drive it home on an emotional level... abortion, gays, drugs, those are the wedge emotional issues... look under the hood... and someone's getting rich.

    hey sean... thanx for answering my question... as i was typing... b4 i posted... now... can ya followup with some historical ref re: corporations... aren't they the product of England circa 1850... the Limited (Ltd.)?... and weren't they limited to 40 years lifespan... then had to be dissolved...?

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#89)
    by Alan on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 07:34:58 PM EST
    He's a petty little nobody man trying to be a big shot.

    The government is complicit in letting thousands of Illegals come over the Mexican border with huge backpacks full of drugs and weapons. Then Our young American children have access to plenty of drugs, and then Our Children are the ones the "Law" arrests and puts in jail ?? Something is dreadfully wrong with this picture !!!!!

    this marks the beginning of snitch nation

    I wasn't able to read each and every comment here, so if someone caught this angle and I am repeating, I apologize. When I saw this article, it struck me as something other than what it appears at face value. When something as evil as this appears, you can usually find money at the bottom of it. Wackenhut, who has now changed their name to something else due to negative press (can't remember it now) is a corporation on the stock exchange that deals in human slave labor via our prison system. From what I can gather, private business is now is the business of running our prisons. Not all, but a lot of them. They actually sell shares on the open market of this venture. The prisoners are used as labor and this is another way jobs are being outsourced, to prisoners working for this corporation. I saw a documentary on this awhile back and their goal is to "keep the beds full" because if they are empty, there is less profit. (Don't get me wrong, I see nothing wrong with prisoners doing some work to earn their keep, but this isn't about that, it's about profit for big corporations.) In this doc. it was also said that the people who are convicted on lesser offenses, LIKE DRUG CHARGES make the "best employees" because they are basically nonviolent and easier to "handle". This answers the question of why anyone would want a bill like this to pass. It guarantees long-term labor for big corporations. Another way to bring American jobs out of the mainstream and into another cheap labor market.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#93)
    by Bill on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 08:25:30 AM EST
    And I wander if sensenbaum is one of those who participate in the sex ring in Washington, using little girls and boys...............

    I think a lot of people are missing the point. Despite what you may feel about certain drugs, the real issue here is prison. Prison has been shown time and time again to not be an effective deterant to crime. Look how high recividism rate are. Why is that? Here's a hypothetical situation: I'm a college kid, who's never been in any serious trouble aside from the normal young adolescent crap. I smoke a J, and pass it off to a fellow student (who's not yet 18, being born late in the year). I get caught. I'm forced to serve a mandatory multi-year sentance. So, I'm locked away with 2 Million (the US prison population and one of the highest in the world) murderers, rapists, hard core drug dealers, gangs and a host of other violent offenders. So, it's like tossing a fresh stake to hungry dogs. I endure a living hell, but somehow, some way, I survive, but not unscarred... However, when I return to society, I've been a prison so long, I don't know how to function. I can't get a job, becuase I'm a convicted drug fellon, and the only thing I know (thanks to my fellow prisoners) is how to be a criminal. Not so long after, I wind up back in jail and the cycle contiunes until I end up in jail for lilfe, or die. This is exactly what is happening all across The United States. This is why 20% of Black Males are in prison, because of Draconian laws that fail to act as a deterant, and infact breed more crime. Crime, like the problem of substance addiction must be dealt with at its root causes, and that is poverty. People use drugs to escape their dismal lives (I know I did), and people sell drugs because they see no better way to make livings for themselves.

    Re: 5 Years for Passing a Joint: Stop this Bill No (none / 0) (#95)
    by kdog on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 09:43:54 AM EST
    Life, Liberty, and most apt here, the pursuit of hapiness. I smoke pot to pursue happiness (and I always find it!). Why is this not a constitutionally protected right?

    What also bothers me is the government's attempts to label adults over 18 as children. Sure doesn't stop the bastards from infesting our high schools trying to sign up 17 year olds for the draft.

    Following the rights movement You clamped on with your iron fists Drugs became conveniently Available for all the kids Following the rights movement You clamped on with your iron fists Drugs became conveniently Available for all the kids I buy my crack, I smack my b@$#%& Right here in hollywood (nearly 2 million americans are Incarcerated in the prison system Prison system of the us) They’re trying to build a prison (for you and me to live in) Another prison system (for you and me to live in) Minor drug offenders fill your prisons You don’t even flinch All our taxes paying for your wars Against the new non-rich Minor drug offenders fill your prisons You don’t even flinch All our taxes paying for your wars Against the new non-rich I buy my crack, I smack my b@$#%& Right here in hollywood The percentage of americans in the prison system Prison system, has doubled since 1985 They’re trying to build a prison (for you and me to live in) Another prison system For you and i, for you and i, for you and i. All research and successful drug policy show That treatment should be increased And law enforcement decreased While abolishing mandatory minimun sentences All research and successful drug policy show That treatment should be increased And law enforcement decreased While abolishing mandatory minimun sentences Utilising drugs to pay for secret wars around the world Drugs are now your global policy now you police the globe I buy my crack, I smack my b@$#%& Right here in hollywood Drug money is used to rig elections And train brutal corporate sponsored dictators Around the world They’re trying to build a prison (for you and me to live in) Another prison system (for you and me to live in) For you and i, for you and i, for you and i For you and i They’re trying to build a prison For you and me Oh baby, you and me Prison Song by System of a Down

    BOP (Bureau of Prisons) is a growth industry. Follow the money, it'll take you to several interesting places. Since this appears to be about drugs, even Democrats vote for it so it "appears" they, too are tough on crime (when they KNOW the reality of the situation). That's how the original Mandatory sentencing bill got through the first time. Here's a realistic scenario about what happens: Stevie (the Feds' undercover 20 year-old scumbag) infiltrates himself into a group of college kids and plans a party at his house. As things get going Stevie opens up his stash (which the government gave him for this purpose) and rolls a couple of joints. He passes them around where some of the kids partake. Later that night the Feds bust in and arrest all of them (oh, except Stevie the guy who set it all up). AKA as a DRY CONSPIRACY! The prosecutor offers each kid a deal: If they give him/her the names of others at that party they'll reduce their "mandatory" sentence to 1 year. Scared to death, Joe gives up his roommate who left before 10pm. Suzie rats out her best friend... The Feds then give the mandatory sentences to kids who were there before the pot got passed while the ones Stevie set up got a year. In the meantime, the prosecutor has 35 drug convictions under his/her belt and doesn't give a flying flip what happens to these kids. (See antereas' highly knowledgeable post above). And last, Bush announces that he's making a differnce in the drug war because 20,000 more people went to jail on drug charges this month. True fact: Barbara Bush owns a company called Keefe Foods. Keefe Foods services most Federal prisons.

    I did a query and found 5 versions of HR 1528: There are 5 versions of Bill Number H.R.1528 for the 108th Congress 1 . Taxpayer Protection and IRS Accountability Act of 2003 (Introduced in House)[H.R.1528.IH] 2 . Taxpayer Protection and IRS Accountability Act of 2003 (Reported in House)[H.R.1528.RH] 3 . Taxpayer Protection and IRS Accountability Act of 2003 (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House)[H.R.1528.EH] 4 . Taxpayer Protection and IRS Accountability Act of 2003 (Referred to Senate Committee after being Received from House)[H.R.1528.RFS] 5 . Tax Administration Good Government Act (Engrossed Amendment as Agreed to by Senate)[H.R.1528.EAS] none stating what is posted here. please clarify, thanks

    Great post (none / 0) (#100)
    by Magico on Sun Nov 27, 2016 at 12:04:29 PM EST